Every year we get blockbusting releases that gobble up cash, and we also get blockbusters that fail to deliver critically or commercially. Though we wish every film success, it’s inevitable some are going to fall amidst the myriad of releases this year. So join us as we take a look ahead and pick out the riskiest film releases of 2017, where inflated budgets, acting/directing careers, and potential franchises are all on the line.
Boy does this need to be good, not just for cinema chains but for Lionsgate too. There are two major properties just waiting to be given due diligence in the movie realm, that would go on to make an absolute shit ton of money. The first is Pokemon, the second is Power Rangers. That being said there hasn’t been a cinematic release for the latter since Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in 1995. However despite this the franchise and numerous shows remain immensely popular with both kids and adults. Just take a look at my fellow usher and grown man Welshy, he loves Power Rangers. There is a universal demand for a new film for Power Rangers, however get it wrong and fans will come down on it harder than a Megazord’s foot stomp. More importantly, Lionsgate would have wasted the opportunity to successfully launch what could be the biggest teen franchise since Harry Potter.
Ghost in the Shell
White washing came to the fore in 2016 with a few casting choices and films causing some kerfuffle. Scarlett Johansson’s casting in the live action adaptation Ghost in the Shell being one of them. Casting aside, the source material this film lends itself from is critically adored, and one of the first films you’d mention when asked about Manga adaptations. Now though Rupert Sanders obviously has a bit of visual flare, his only other feature film Snow White and the Huntsman was a horribly dull affair. There is an incredible weight of expectation on this film, and though the trailer looks canny, it might to too tough a job to escape the shadow of the original.
Kong: Skull Island
The first trailer for this film was ace, the second not so much. With a promising young director at the helm, a cast chock full of experience and talent, and some scintillating imagery in the trailers, it has all of the ingredients of a monster hit. However, the success of Kong: Skull Island holds the money shaped key to a future heavyweight monster mash up between King Kong and Godzilla. Obviously Warner Bros want it to work so they can make more movies and money, but which one of you doesn’t want to see some legendary fisticuffs between two of cinemas biggest monster icons. If this fails to succeed we may never get to see that, and that thought makes me sad.
Baywatch is actually one of two TV to film adaptations arriving this year, the other is CHiPS directed by and starring Dax Shepard. Anyway I digress. The reason Baywatch is a risky proposition is…well there are a few. It’s based on a questionable, oft spoofed series that was really just a bit rubbish. Seth Gordon directs after three sorely tepid outings Identity, Four Christmases and Horrible Bosses, and with an A list pairing of Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron expectations will be high. After the success of 21 Jump Street I’m happy to be surprised, but the trailer for the film carries little humour or weight with it. If Baywatch bombs it’ll sorely affect Johnson and Efron’s drawing power, hurting the latter more than the former.
June is a tough month to crack for any film, Jurassic World got it perfect in 2015, and then 20th Century Fox tried the exact same thing with Independence Day: Resurgence and they did not get that perfect. Even Universal’s Warcraft stumbled hard this year. Not to mention this is sort of Universal’s second attempt to create an interconnected universe of movie monsters that includes the likes of Dracula, Van Helsing, the Wolfman etc following the false start of Dracula Untold. This time they’ve recruited Tom Cruise to lead the charge, with support from Russell Crowe as Dr. Jekyll, who also has a rumoured of a spin off should this prove to be a hit. The presence of Sofia Boutella in the film is a highlight, but it doesn’t shake some dodgy CGI in the trailer. Also with the burden of a potential shared universe looming large over the project, will it stifle the story?
The Dark Tower
There have been many adaptations of Stephen King’s work over the years, but none have been close to tackling the sprawling epic, comprised of eight books, that is The Dark Tower series. The road to the screen has already been an arduous one, and that rarely bodes well for many films. It’s a project that has been at and left Universal, and Warners, before winding up at Sony. The casting of the film is solid, with Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey as two of the leads, but is Mid-World to weird and wonderful for cinema audiences? The dynamic blend of genres including western, horror and dark fantasy might be a little much for the casual cinema goer. But you never know, it could be the new The Lord of the Rings.
Valerian & The City of a Thousand Planets
Science Fiction/Space Opera films can always be a tough sell if they are too ‘out there’ and by that I mean immersed in all sorts of alien lore and fantasy. Sure there will be ardent fans like there are for Star Wars and Star Trek who’ll lap every bit of information up, but for the average person it can be just a bit too much. And judging by the trailer for this, it might just be a little out there (I do however think it looks great). The film is adapted from a french comic series which most are not familiar with, and Luc Besson returns to the genre following directing The Fifth Element, which has went down as one of the most divisive Sci-Fi films ever made. To compound matters, Cara Delevingne stars in a lead role following what was one of the weirdest performances I’ve ever seen as Enchantress in Suicide Squad, and Dane DeHaan has never led a big budget film like this. I also forgot to mention, it is now the most expensive French film ever made. Talk about burden.
Now Justice League isn’t risky in the sense that it won’t make money, but if they get it wrong DC’s whole plan may just implode. So just how bad did Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice affect Warner Bros and DCs interconnected movie universe? We’ll find out in November. Though you can’t help but feel WB and DC were already swimming against the tide when they decided to rush instead of build into an superhero ensemble movie. Whereas The Avengers didn’t have to worry about introducing characters or provide an origin story within it’s own arc, Justice League will have to successfully bring together Cyborg, Aquaman, and Flash for the first time alongside Batman and Wonder Woman, within the confines of it’s own story. If they can achieve that then great, but based on the woefully poor Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, and pitiful Suicide Squad, our hopes are not high.
There we have it, 8 of the riskiest films coming out in 2017. Are you worried about any of the above? Or is there another film out there that concerns you? Let us know!