Like the proverbial time and tide, movies wait for no man. No sooner has the discarded popcorn gone cold underfoot and the projectionist stopped the film and turned the lights out, than the next spate of new films arrives to overtake the most recent record-breaking blockbuster. With each new film seemingly costing more yet making more than the last hot title, there is a constant race with film-makers and distributors to bring something to the table to entice ever more discerning and demanding filmgoers.
So it was on Wednesday night that a specially chosen group of on-line film bloggers and lucky competition winners were asked by the Film Distributors‘ Association (FDA), to a preview evening of films for the Christmas season, as well as what we can expect to see in cinemas throughout 2013. Television presenter and comic Alex Zane, along with the help of some alcoholic beverages and festive food, put us at our ease as we were regaled with the delights (as well as a few horrors) which we can look forward to over the next twelve months.
If the figures released by the FDA are anything to go by, 2012 has been a lucrative year for the film industry. Perhaps because of, as opposed to in-spite of, the recession, people are increasingly turning to the escapism of the cinema in order to forget their troubles for a few hours in the fantasy world of movie make-believe. In the first 45 weeks of 2012 (up to the 9th November), UK film distributors have spent a staggering £300 million releasing 567 new titles, providing cinema goers with more choice than ever before. Amongst the UK’s top ten films of the year it’ll come as little surprise that Daniel Craig’s latest James Bond outing Skyfall takes top position with 14 million people (a quarter of the UK population) having seen it so far and spending £83 million in the process. Others on the list to date for 2012 include the superhero outings The Dark Knight Rises (No.2 – £56.2m), Marvel Avengers Assemble (3D) (No.3 – £51.9m) and The Amazing Spider-Man (3D) (No.6 – £25.8m). A surprise hit was the risqué comedy Ted (No.4 – £30.1m), whilst perhaps not quite so unexpected was the inclusion of The Hunger Games (No.9 – £23.2m).
So what can we expect in the weeks running up to Christmas? Well, being the season for family entertainment there is plenty to keep children happy, including the impressive animated feature Rise of the Guardians, starring the voice talents of Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher and Jude Law and produced by master of the macabre Guillermo Del Toro. There’s also a new cartoon adventure Tinkerbell and the Secret of the Wings featuring featuring Peter Pan’s mischievous fairy friend, as well as a reissue of the old festive favourite The Muppet Christmas Carol.
Of course there is really only one fantasy that everyone’s looking forward to this year and that is the eagerly awaited The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. However, as this ins’t released until the 14th December, there is plenty to look forward to beforehand. Gambit, the remake of the classic 1966 crime comedy, starring Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz is expected to do well, whilst The Oranges, a tale of two feuding suburban families featuring Hugh Laurie and Leighton Meester, looks set to provide a more sophisticated humor for older audiences.
Boxing Day is traditionally popular for cinema trips as people look to escape the house for a few hours and the inevitable reruns on television. This year there is an added reason to visit the movies when Tom Cruise is unleashed as former military investigator Jack Reacher, in the first big screen treatment for British author Lee Child’s all-action-hero.
Which leads us to what we can expect next year. The evening was rounded off with a selection of trailers for the biggest titles of 2013 including the Hitchcock with Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren and the 3D Disney animated extravaganza Wreck-It Ralph – which going by advance buzz and the success it has seen since opening in America, looks set to be a smash on this side of the Atlantic as well. Other to look out for include Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut Quartet starring the one and only Maggie Smith and at the other end of the spectrum Brad Pitt’s zombie fest World War Z.
Going by what was shown on Wednesday night, it appears that UK cinemas may be one of the few businesses set to transcend the ongoing economic gloom and continue to add a bit of sparkle to all our lives.
Further details of all these new films and a host of others to look forward to can be found at: www.moviepreviewnetwork.com