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2009 Preview: February

February 1st, 2009

2009 got off to a great start and February hopes to continue that run, but I don't think that's likely. First of all, none of the releases coming out this month look like they have what it takes to reach $100 million. Or even $80 million. This means the best film of this month will likely be lower than the biggest-earning film of last month and the biggest earner of this month last year. Hopefully there will be fewer outright misses and more mid-level hits, which will help 2009 keep pace with 2008.

Interested in discussing these predictions? Then join us in the forums.

Name: Confessions of a Shopaholic
Distributor: Disney
Official Site: ShopaholicMovie.com
Release Date: February 13, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild language and thematic elements.
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Keywords: Fashion, Corporate Life, and more
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $30 to $50 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million
Notes: There are only two films opening this month that I'm really looking forward to, and this is not one of them. However, I am cautiously optimistic about the movie. I don't expect it to be award-worthy, in fact, I expect it to be rather predictable, as all romantic comedies are. However, with the charming Isla Fisher in the lead, it might win over more than a few critics, and plenty of moviegoers. Also, considering it is being released the day before Valentine's Day, it should have a boost at the box office. Look for the film to become a solid mid-level hit theatrically, while it should do well enough on the home market to show a profit.

Name: Coraline
Distributor: Focus Features
Official Site: Coraline.com
Release Date: February 6, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements, scary images, some language and suggestive humor
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Horror
Keywords: Talking Animal, Alternate Dimension, Rescue, and more
Production Budget: Reported at $60 million
Box Office Potential: $40 million
Notes: This is one of only two movies I really am looking forward to watching this month, and the other is Fanboys (and I'm not sure that movie is even coming out this month). I'm looking forward to this movie for a number of reasons, including the fact that it is a stop-motion animation, and I love that format. Not only that, but it is directed by Henry Selick, who made The Nightmare Before Christmas. It is also based on a novella by Neil Gaiman, which is an added bonus. That said, I'm not overly bullish over this film's chances for a number of reasons. For instance, it could be a little to dark for kids, while the animation might turn away adults. I hope I'm wrong, and I hope the film at least matches its production budget, but I see this one being a mid-level hit, at the most.

Name: Crossing Over
Distributor: Weinstein Co.
Official Site: WeinsteinCo.com/#/Film/CrossingOver
Release Date: February 27, 2009
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language, some strong violence and sexuality/nudity
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Drama
Keywords: Ensemble, Immigration, and more
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $30 to $50 million
Box Office Potential: $5 million
Notes: Original set for an August 22nd release, the film was pulled from the schedule at the 11th hour with no new release date immediately given. This is a really bad sign. It was then given a release date in the middle of Awards Season, which was a really good sign. However, it was then pushed back until February 27th, and there's talk that it won't even get a wide release. If it does open in limited release, there's little chance that the film will expand wide, and it might not even pull in $1 million at the box office. Even if it opens wide, it is unlikely to open truly wide, and it will struggle to match its estimated production budget. The above box office potential is a weighted average of the two extremes.

Name: Fanboys
Distributor: Weinstein Co.
Official Site: Fanboys-TheMovie.com
Release Date: February 6, 2009 (maybe)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for pervasive crude and sexual material, language and drug content.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Road Trip, Gratuitous Cameos
Production Budget: Reported at $8 million
Box Office Potential: $5 million
Notes: This is a movie that has been pushed back more times than I can remember. It was originally scheduled for an April, 2007 release, but over the years it looked like it would never be released theatrically, or perhaps ever, in its original form. You see, one of the characters has cancer, which is why the group wants to steal Phantom Menace, so they can watch it before he dies. That's a rather dark storyline, but it is what gives the movie its heart. Plus it has Kristen Bell in a Princess Leia metal bikini, which is the all time number one nerd fantasy. That said, it is only opening in 41 theaters, at least that's the number I heard last. If it opens with a per theater average of more than $10,000, it could expand, but it has a better chance of opening below the Mendoza line and disappearing before it reaches $1 million. I hope I'm wrong, but the evidence suggests otherwise.

Name: Fired Up
Distributor: Sony
Official Site: SonyPictures.com/Movies/FiredUp
Release Date: February 20, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, partial nudity, language and some teen partying
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Misc. Sport, Love Triangle, Underdogs, etc.
Production Budget: Unknown - Reported at $23 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million
Notes: This movie feels like the bastard child of the Bring It On direct-to-DVD releases and the American Pie direct-to-DVD releases. And both of those franchises have long since worn out their welcome. With a premise that won't win any awards for originality, the film could try to sell the cast, but that is a bit of a problem. The most famous member of the cast is Philip Baker Hall, who has been in more than 100 movies and TV shows. However, the character actor is hardly a major draw for the target audience of this movie. So it's going to need a really strong trailer. Strike three. To be fair, the trailer is not the train wreck I was suspecting it would be, but it is certainly not particularly strong either. Thinking about this movie, I keep coming back to College; however, with a better release date, less competition, and a more box office friendly PG-13 rating, this film should be a bigger hit. Then again, it would almost have to be. I still don't think it will make back its production budget theatrically, and it will have almost no drawing power internationally. But it could become a hit on the home market as a guilty pleasure to some, especially with an Unrated DVD / Blu-ray release.

Name: Friday the 13th
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Official Site: FridayThe13thMovie.com
Release Date: February 13, 2009
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence, some graphic sexual content, language and drug material.
Source: Remake
Major Genre: Horror
Keywords: Teenage Slasher
Production Budget: Unknown - Rumored to be $16 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million
Notes: A remake of one of the very first Teenage Slasher films. Actually, to be more precise, it is a remake of the sequel of one of the very first teenage slashers, as it follows the plot of the second film more than the first. In fact, it follows some of the plot details of the third and fourth films as well. Hopefully it will be as good as the first movie as the quality of the franchise quickly declined. However, I'm not optimistic. The trailer seems way too generic to be optimistic. On a side note, I'm not happy with the release date. Granted, the film had to open on Friday the 13th, but there are three months this year that have such a date, and February is the weakest of those three. Even March would be slightly better, while November would be the best. That said, it is very likely that the movie was cheap enough to make that is will show a profit regardless. And if it makes $25 million at the box office, and there is a chance it will do that during its opening weekend, then it will overtake Saw as the highest-grossing horror franchise of all time (if only until October).

Name: He's Just Not That Into You
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Official Site: HesJustNotThatIntoYouMovie.com
Release Date: February 6, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content and brief strong language.
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Keywords: Relationship Advice and Relationships Gone Wrong
Production Budget: Reported at $25 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million
Notes: February is a good month to release a romantic comedy, but it has been a few years since a February romantic comedy really scored at the box office. This film has the potential to become a solid mid-level hit, and could come close to $100 million. However, I think it would be wise to keep expectations in check. There are a large number of actors in the film that could help draw in moviegoers, but the film was delayed a number of times and the buzz is not strong. Then again, with a reported $25 million budget, it won't need to be a major hit to show a profit. Last Minute Update: The film is reportedly opening at saturation levels on Friday, which is a higher theater count than expected. If this means the studio is a lot more enthusiastic about the film than I expected given the numerous release date changes, and I've increased the box office potential from $40 to $50 million.

Name: The International
Distributor: Sony
Official Site: EveryBodyPays.com
Release Date: February 13, 2009
MPAA Rating: R for some sequences of violence and language
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Thriller
Keywords: Interpol
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $50 to $70 million
Box Office Potential: $55 million
Notes: Clive Owen stars as an Interpol agent who works with an ADA played by Naomi Watts to try to stop a banking scandal. A banking scandal that involves a lot of gunplay. Given the current economic meltdown, that premise might hold a lot of appeal to many, many people. That said, I'm not sure how well this movie will do, as there is almost no buzz, and it was pushed back until February for reshoots to give the film more action. That's not a good sign. Nor is the fact that its previous release dates were late August and September, which are terrible times of the year to release a film. I don't think the studio has a lot of confidence in this movie, and I think the best it can hope for is becoming a mid-level hit. Assuming it didn't cost too much to make, and the international cast can help it outside of the United States, and it should have what it takes to show a profit sooner rather than later.

Name: Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience
Distributor: Disney
Official Site: Disney.Go.com/DisneyPictures/JonasBrothers3D
Release Date: February 27, 2009
MPAA Rating: G for General Admission
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Major Genre: Concert
Keywords: 3-D and Rock'n'Roll ... Or something resembling that
Production Budget: Unknown - Predicted at $10 million
Box Office Potential: $40 million
Notes: After the success of Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour last year, it was a no-brainer that Disney would try their luck again. This time they are betting on The Jonas Brothers to bring in the crowds. There are a few things about this film that could help it outperform the previous film, including the increased number of theaters that are set up to do 3-D films, which should help it open wider (although not truly wide). Also, because of the massive success of the previous film, there will be a lot more advanced hype for this one, as the studio and theater owners know what to expect. On the other hand, The Jonas Brothers are just not as popular as Miley Cyrus. Yes, their concerts sell out, sometimes in record time; for instance, they sold out the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles in just 2 minutes, which was a record. However, Miley Cyrus sold out the Staples Center in record time, and it's three times larger. Finally, the Miley Cyrus concert was initially advertised as being around for only a week, which increased opening weekend demand by a lot. I still think this film will be a success, but don't expect it to do better than the original.

Name: Madea Goes To Jail
Distributor: Lionsgate
Official Site: MadeaGoesToJailMovie.com
Release Date: February 20, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material, drug content, some violence and sexual situations
Source: Based on a Play
Major Genre: Comedy or Drama, depending on what ad you are seeing
Keywords: Prison, Prostitution, and more
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million
Notes: Is this movie a comedy or a drama? I ask because the ad campaign seems to be a little schizophrenic with regard to its genre. If the movie tries to hard to be both, it will succeed at neither, which will hurt its reviews. Then again, Tyler Perry's movies have rarely earned anything above terrible reviews, but that hasn't done too much damage to his box office so far. I do think this film will bounce back from his previous effort, at least at the box office, as Madea is his most popular character. On the other hand, critically I would be surprised if it earns better than 40% positive. Anything above $30 million at the box office will practically guarantee a profit sometime during its home market run.

Name: The Pink Panther 2
Distributor: Sony
Official Site: SonyPictures.com/Movies/ThePinkPanther2
Release Date: February 6, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG for some suggestive humor, brief mild language and action
Source: Sequel
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Heist
Production Budget: Unknown, but the original cost $80 million
Box Office Potential: $60 million
Notes: The original Pink Panther and its sequel, A Shot in the Dark, are amazing movies. The remake from 2006 was crap. In fact it was even worse than its Tomatometer score would indicate. However, it still was a surprise hit at the box office. That said, I don't think this film will make as much as its predecessor did. First of all, there's even weaker buzz surrounding this movie, in both strength and quality. Almost no one is talking about this movie, and most who are talking about it are merely asking why it was made. Secondly, Steve Martin gave away the ending in an interview, which could hurt ticket sales. That said, it should still be a mid-level hit, and assuming it didn't cost too much more to make than the first movie, there could be a Pink Panther 3 coming out in a couple of years.

Name: Push
Distributor: Summit
Official Site: Push-TheMovie.com
Release Date: February 6, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, brief strong language, smoking and a scene of teen drinking.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Thriller
Keywords: Fugitives, Psychic Abilities, and more
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $40 to $60 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million
Notes: This looks like a Jumper for 2009. On the one hand, I didn't like Jumper quality wise, but it did make a healthy amount at the box office. I don't think this film will earn as much, mainly because so many people are comparing the two films, and it will take some positive buzz to overcome Jumper's drag. It's not fair that one film can be hurt by a totally unrelated film, but such is life. Also hurting the film's box office chances are the competition, which includes three or four other films. (I'm not 100% convinced Fanboys is coming out.) This film could be the biggest hit of the weekend, and Summit is coming off their biggest hit of all time, but I still think it will have to settle for a mid-level hit, even if it does come out on top its first weekend of release.

Name: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
Distributor: Fox
Official Site: StreetFighter.com/Movie
Release Date: February 27, 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated - Likely going for PG-13
Source: Bsaed on a Game
Major Genre: Action
Keywords: Martial Arts
Production Budget: Unknown - Reported at $50 to $60 million
Box Office Potential: $40 million
Notes: A movie that is based on a video game that peaked in popularity more than a decade ago. This seems like a huge mistake. So far there's not much detail about the plot of the movie, which could either mean there's a surprise twist that the producers are trying to keep secret, or more likely there's little in the way of plot to talk about. I believe the latter is a lot more likely. I expect this movie to do better than the first film, mainly because there has been 15 years of ticket price inflation since its release. I also expect it to earn better reviews, mainly because it would be hard to earn worse reviews. That said, I expect it to earn a Tomatometer score of 20% to 40% positive while it will struggle to match its reported production budget. There is a chance it will be a surprise hit, but I think there's a much better chance it will perform no better than Elektra in terms of box office or reviews. I'm getting that kind of buzz from the film.

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Filed under: Monthly Preview, He's Just Not That Into You, Madea Goes To Jail, Coraline, Friday the 13th, Confessions of a Shopaholic, The Pink Panther 2, Push, The International, Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience, Fired Up, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Crossing Over, Fanboys