January 1, 2013

2013: THE MOVIE YEAR TO COME (January – March)


The rest of this slow week, as the studios bask in their holiday releases and the networks very gradually emerge from hibernation, we’re going to take a look at what 2013 has in store for us at the movies.  (April-June is here, July-September is here, and October-December is here.)

Januaries are typically ugly for new releases, because the bulk of multiplex screens are still booked with their December bounty and Oscar hopefuls, and 2013 is unlikely to be an exception.  The only wide opening of 2013’s first week is a 3D version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, this time shorn of its multiple murder connotations (a post-Aurora, post-Newtown decision?) as the more streamlined TEXAS CHAINSAW (Lionsgate) .  It can join Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The New Generation, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3, and the 2003 remake ( so long ago!) Texas Chainsaw Massacre in the mass grave.  On January 11, the major arrival is GANGSTER SQUAD (Warners), and let’s just say this isn’t the movie for those longing for a return to the intelligence and sophistication of LA Confidential.  Thinking of intelligence and sophistication, January 11 also brings the Marlon Wayans horror movie parody A HAUNTED HOUSE (Open Road).   January 18 features an interesting trio:  the political thriller BROKEN CITY (20th), with Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe (as the Mayor of New York–at least he doesn’t sing), and Catherine Zeta Jones, along with the return to starring roles of Arnold Schwarzenegger (thinking of politics) in THE LAST STAND (Lionsgate), and MAMA (Universal).  The latter would be easy to dismiss as another low-budget horror filler, except that it’s produced by Guillermo del Toro and stars the estimable (and possibly soon to be Oscar winning) Jessica Chastain, who doesn’t tend to waste her time on nonsense.  The month ends with less ambition:  January 25 arrivals HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS 3D (Paramount), already postponed from 2012, the sketch comedy MOVIE 23 (Relativity), with everyone from Emma Stone to Richard Gere to Kate Winslet making an off-color appearance, and Jason Statham’s action vehicle (what else?) PARKER (FilmDistrict).

February has a few more spots of potential, although there’s plenty of dross in the month. The first week is livened (so to speak) by the very off-beat romantic charmer WARM BODIES (Summit/Lionsgate), about a zombie (Nicholas Hoult) who falls for a human (Teresa Palmer).  Also opening that day is the latest Stallone shoot-em-up BULLET IN THE HEAD (Warners) as well as general release of the tepid STAND UP GUYS (Lionsgate), the Al Pacino/Christopher Walken comedy-drama that made a fruitless stab at awards interest with a 1-week run in December.  February 8 offers what will apparently be Steven Soderbergh’s last theatrical film, at least for a while (he has one more coming to HBO), before he takes a long sabbatical:  the thriller SIDE EFFECTS, with Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum and Catherine-Zeta Jones.  It shares the day with the Melissa McCarthy/Jason Bateman comedy IDENTITY THIEF (Universal), one of two high-profile comedies McCarthy has this year as she tries to extend her Bridesmaids breakout role to movie stardom.  The long holiday weekend brings a crowded February 15:  BEAUTIFUL CREATURES (Warners) will aim at the post-Twilight YA crowd (witches this time instead of vampires), SAFE HAVEN (Relativity) goes for the older romance audience with yet another Nicholas Sparks adaptation, while A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD (20th) zeroes in on the exact opposite demo:  Bruce Willis fans.  February 22 is less promising, with the horror thriller DARK SKIES (Weinstein) and THE SNITCH (Summit/Lionsgate) starring The Rock.

The film year finally gets in gear in March, but not in its first week.  March 1 features another special effects picture postponed from 2012, Bryan Singer’s JACK THE GIANT SLAYER (Warners), along with the horror sequel THE LAST EXORCISM 2 (CBS) and comedy 21 AND OVER (Relativity).  Once those are done, March 8 gives us the year’s first “event” movie, Sam Raimi’s OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL (Disney), with James Franco as the would-be Wizard, and Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams as various witches.  Oz shares the day with the Tina Fey/Paull Rudd comedy ADMISSION (Focus/Universal) and the thriller DEAD MAN DOWN (FilmDistrict) with Colin Farrell.  March 15 presents an odd pair:  the remake of CARRIE (Screen Gems/Sony/MGM) with Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore, along with (Note: the remake of CARRIE, scheduled for this date, has been moved to Halloween season) the comedy THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE (Warners) with Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Steve Buscemi and Olivia Wilde.  The first big animated movie of the year is THE CROODS (DreamWorks Animation/20th) on March 22 (marking the start of DWA’s partnership with 20th), which is also the day for OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN (FilmDistrict), the other White House invasion thriller (this one stars Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman–White House Down, with Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx, opens in June).  March 29 shapes up as a dull day with the (alsopostponed) GI JOE: RETALIATION (Paramount), THE HOST (Open Road), which will attempt to find out if there’s a sizable audience for Stephenie Mayer stories that don’t feature fangs, and the latest from Tyler Perry, TEMPTATIONS: CONFESSIONS OF A MARRIAGE COUNSELOR (Lionsgate). That day also includes the limited release of THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES (Focus/Universal), the accomplished but frustrating multi-generational saga featuring Ryan Gosling (and from his Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance) and Bradley Cooper.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."