Jan 10 2014, 2:57pm CST | by Forbes
For some reason, certain stories pop up in the Zeitgeist at the same time and Hollywood finds itself with matching films hitting theaters in quick succession. In 1998 it was asteroid disaster films. Both Armageddon and Deep Impact hit theaters that year. Both ended up in the top 10 of domestic box office hits with Armageddon ranking as the highest grossing film at the global box office with $554 million.
Last year we saw two movies about the White House being attacked (White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen) and 2012 had two Snow White films (Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman). It looks like 2015 will be the year of the Hercules film.
Hercules is an appealing story because it echoes the sword and sandal success of films like Immortals, 300 and even the recent Thor sequel. The story is also in the public domain which means film makers can do what they want with it without worry about being sued.
The first Hercules movie hits theaters this weekend. The Legend of Hercules stars Kellan Lutz, best known for Twilight, as the Greek hero faced with 12 difficult labors. Directed by Renny Harlin, expectations for the film are pretty low. Lions Gate has put very little effort into marketing the film and releasing it the second weekend in January makes it feel like the film is quietly being dumped into theaters. The film gets a zero on Rotten Tomatoes which means there are no critics who recommend the movie.
This weekend will likely once again belong to Mark Wahlberg whose 2012 film Contraband brought in $24 million this weekend two years ago. His new movie, the war film Lone Survivor, is expected to top the box office this weekend with $24 million, according to Exhibitor Relations.
Hercules isn’t even expected to rank in the top five, according to Exhibitor Relations. That means the film will likely earn less than $8 million this weekend.
That should clear the way for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s epic take on the same topic. His movie, titled just Hercules, hits theaters in July. Directed by Brett Ratner, there are high hopes that the film could spark a franchise for Johnson. I wrote about the film, which is based on a graphic novel, here.
Johnson’s version of the story takes place after the 12 labors. (This weekend’s movie is more of an origin story.) By picking up the story after the main mythical action, Johnson and Ratner can take the story pretty much wherever they want. There’s no trailer for the movie yet but expect a serious summer swords and sandals blockbuster.
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Source: Forbes Business
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