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2008 Preview: February

February 1st, 2008

2008 got off to a faster than expected start with January helping the year to a 17.5% lead over 2007. It seems unlikely that February will be able to keep up that pace, but there are still enough releases that most avid moviegoers should find something to get excited about. Granted, this is partially due to the combination of the lead year and February 29th landing on a Friday. This means we have five weekends in February this year, something that only happens approximately once every 28 years, which explains the number of films.

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

Name: Be Kind Rewind
Distributor: New Line
Official Site: BeKindMovie.com
Release Date: February 22, 2008 - limited
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexual references
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Movie Business
Production Budget: $20 million
Box Office Potential: $15 million
Notes: The best time of year to open a limited release is late in the year to take advantage of the Award Season buzz. January is arguably the worst time of the year to open a limited release; in fact, the limited release market doesn't really bounce back till May, which is bad news for this film. On the other hand, there is at least some talk that Be Kind Rewind will open / expand wide, and if it does, it could double or triple the box office potential above. I think the combination of Michel Gondry at the helm and Jack Black and Mo Def in the leads could be a magical combination. I could become a sleeper hit and top Eternal Sunshine as Michel Gondry's biggest hit so far. However, that's at the very high end of the scale, it is more likely that the movie will earn some measure of mainstream success theatrically, but will have to wait till the home market to find an audience. Note: This film was pushed back from January, which explains the sense of deja vu you may be feeling right now. This change should not have a large effect on the film's box office chances, but I've increased the box office potential marginally as there's slightly more buzz and the prospects for expansion are greater.

Name: Charlie Bartlett
Studio: MGM
Official Site: CharlieBartlett-TheMovie.com
Release Date: February 22, 2008
MPAA Rating: R for language, drug content and brief nudity
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: New Kid in School, Mental Illness, Boarding School, Coming of Age
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $25 million
Notes: Charlie Bartlett stars Anton Yelchin as the titular character, who after being thrown out of his previous boarding school is forced to go to public school. As the new kid, he has to deal with the new principle, a romantic instrest who happens to be the daughter of the new principal, and of course a school body that is just as messed up as his life. This film was originally supposed to open in April, April of last year. It was pushed back to early August, which is not a bad release date for this type of film, but was then pulled from the schedule at the last minute. This treatment by the studio is a bad omen for the movie and likely means they don't have a lot of confidence in the film's box office chances. Even with strong reviews, it is likely there won't be a strong ad campaign to match it and I can't see it becoming a major hit. I hope I'm wrong, but the evidence it not good. Perhaps it will win over enough moviegoers and become a hit on the home market.

Name: Definitely, Maybe
Distributor: Universal
Official Site: DefinitelyMaybeMovie.com
Release Date: February 14, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, including some frank dialogue, language and smoking
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Keywords: Relationship Advice
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $30 million
Box Office Potential: $55 million
Notes: A romantic comedy coming out on Valentine's Day. If this movie doesn't do big business opening day, it is dead. In the movie Ryan Reynolds plays a father going through a divorce when he is asked by his daughter, played by Abigail Breslin, about how he met her mother. Instead of just telling her the story, he decides to change all of the names to keep her guessing whom he ended up marrying. This movie will live or die on its chemistry, and not just between Ryan Reynolds and his three leading ladies, but more importantly between Ryan Reynolds and Abigail Breslin. If that father / daughter relationship isn't believable, then this movie will fail to win over audiences. Early word is mixed, sadly, but even with mixed reviews it should still perform rather well at the box office and become a midlevel hit.

Name: Diary of the Dead
Distributor: Weinstein
Official Site: MySpace.com/DiaryOfTheDead
Release Date: February 15, 2008
MPAA Rating: R for strong horror violence and gore, and pervasive language.
Source: Sequel
Major Genre: Horror
Keywords: Zombies, Gratuitous Cameos, and others
Production Budget: Unknown - reported at $10 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million
Notes: George A. Romero returns to the genre that made him famous. This is the fifth installment in the Night of the Living Dead franchise (not counting remakes), and it should so about as well as Land of the Dead did, which itself was a little disappointing at the box office. Reviews for that film were strong, but not up to the level Night of the Living Dead earned, and early reviews for this film are even worse dipping below the overall positive level. On the other hand, a low production budget and a built in fanbase should leave the studio be happy with the film's performance by the time it gets to the home market.

Name: The Eye
Distributor: Lionsgate
Official Site: TheEyeTheFilm.com
Release Date: February 1, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence/terror and disturbing content
Source: Remake
Major Genre: Thriller / Horror
Keywords: Hauntings, Medical and Hospitals
Production Budget: Reported at $12 million
Box Office Potential: $40 million
Notes: A remake of an Asian horror movie, just like last month's One Missed Call. This movie does have some advantages, like a slightly better release date, but also some bigger obstacles to overcome, like stronger competition. and in the end will earn roughly the same amount. This movie does more advantages, including more star power and should get better reviews. (It would be impossible to get worse reviews.) This should help it earn more at the box office, but it won't reach any higher than a midlevel hit, and that's thanks mostly to its low production budget.

Name: Fool's Gold
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Official Site: FoolsGoldMovie.WarnerBros.com
Release Date: February 8, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for action violence, some sexual material, brief nudity and language
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Adventure
Keywords: Treasure Hunter
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at between $50 and $80 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million
Notes: I think Treasure Hunter movies is officially a trend. This film reunites Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson who starred in How to Lose a Guy in 10 days, which was the last $100 million hit for either actor. Since then neither actor has really shown a lot of box office drawing power, in fact, both took 2007 off releasing no films. That said, Matthew McConaughey is familiar with the genre having been in Sahara, but this might not be a good thing. That movie cost nearly $150 million to make and earned less than half of that domestically and even less internationally. Perhaps the reunion with Kate Hudson will do both actors a world of good. Also, the romance angle of the film should help as the film is opening the week before Valentine's Day. However, expectations are not very high and the trailer isn't very effective. The combination of action and romance could help it become this year's must see Valentine move, but becoming just a midlevel hit is more likely.

Name: Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour
Distributor: Disney
Official Site: Disney.Go.com/DisneyPictures/HannahMontana3D
Release Date: February 1, 2008
MPAA Rating: G for General Audiences
Source: Based on Real Life Events
Major Genre: Concert
Keywords: 3-D and Twins (Joke)
Production Budget: Reported at under $7 million (see notes)
Box Office Potential: $40 million
Notes: Miley Cyrus could be the biggest thing to come out of Disney since High School Musical, which is saying a lot. This 3-D concert film is playing for only one week in less than 700 theaters. However, it should still make a fortune during that time for three key reasons. Firstly, because the film is in 3-D, tickets are going for $15. Secondly, because the concert is only 75 minutes long, they can pack an extra showing into each day. Thirdly, Miley Cyrus is insanely popular and there are already reports of sellouts, and not just sporadic sellout in the odd theater here and there, but more than 1000 sellouts so far. Selling out that many shows at that price should result in a massive opening weekend and anything over $20 million could convince Disney to extend its run one more week. I'm saying this will happen for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised. As for the cost of this movie, it is unknown if the reported figure includes the cost of the concert itself (lights, the sound equipment, the stage, etc.), or just the additional expenses associated with filming the concert and turning it into a movie. Even if it is the latter, this movie will be able to turn a profit very, very fast. Last minute update: the buzz for this movie is growing and so is its box office potential. There are some predictions that the movie will finish the weekend with a per theater average of $40,000. At that number, theater owners will be begging to keep the movie around at least one more week and it could remain in theaters for two additional weeks before U2 3D expands and needs those 3-D screens. If it does remain in theaters for three weeks, it could top $100 million at the box office.

Name: The Hottie and the Nottie
Distributor: Regent
Official Site: TheHottieAndTheNottie.com
Release Date: February 8, 2008 (limited)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual content.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Keywords: Relationships Gone Wrong
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $1 million
Notes: Paris Hilton continues her attempt to prove she has some talent. It's been three years since House of Wax earned just over $30 million while Pledge This! was unceremoniously dumped in a few theaters before hitting the home market. It is likely that this movie will suffer the same fait. While there are mixed reports with regards to this film's release strategy with more than a few sources saying it will be coming out wide, the combination of the distributor's history and the Paris Hilton's track record suggests it won't. In fact, it could come out in just a handful of theaters with a box office so small that the studio won't even release the final figures. Even the best case scenario has it earning less than $10 million at the box office. On a side note, I don't think I'm alone in thinking Christine Lakin is far more attractive than Paris Hilton.

Name: Jumper
Distributor: Fox
Official Site: JumperTheMovie.com
Release Date: February 14, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense action violence, some language and brief sexuality
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Adventure
Keywords: Mutants, Visual Effects? Perhaps we need a Teleportation keyword.
Production Budget: Unknown - reported at $100 million
Box Office Potential: $75 million
Notes: The post-Star Wars reunion between Hayden Christensen and Samuel L. Jackson. Written by David S. Goyer and Jim Uhls (of Fight Club fame), and directed by Doug Liman, so there's definitely potential here. However, the buzz is weak and mostly negative. On the other hand, it is opening on Valentine's Day and President's Day long weekend, so it should get a sizeable boost from that and should become one of the biggest hits of the year so far. On a side note, the film also features AnnaSophia Robb playing young Millie. Millie was originally played by Teresa Palmer (from December Boys and other movies), and it is freaky how much these two look alike. There's a picture of the two of them on AnnaSophia Robb's Official Site and they look like sisters.

Name: The Other Boleyn Girl
Distributor: Sony
Official Site: SonyPictures.com/Movies/TheOtherBoleynGirl
Release Date: February 29, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic elements, sexual content and some violent images
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Drama
Keywords: Royalty, Costume Drama, and more
Production Budget: Unknown - reported at $40 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million
Notes: A costume drama about royalty; this is the kind of movie that award voters tend to love. So why is it being released in February? It wasn't always set for this release date; in fact, at one time it was set to come out December 21st. The fact that it was moved suggests this film is busted Oscar bait. I can see it opening semi-wide (just below 2000 theaters) and then disappearing from theaters shortly after. Had it opened in December, it could have picked up an Oscar nomination for costumes and / or makeup, but it won't be remembered this time next year.

Name: Over Her Dead Body
Distributor: New Line
Official Site: OverHerDeadBodyMovie.com
Release Date: February 1, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content and language.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Keywords: Hauntings and Relationships Gone Wrong
Production Budget: Unknown - Reported at $10 million
Box Office Potential: $15 million
Notes: A romantic comedy that has been earning a lot of negative buzz. So much so, that it will take stellar reviews to counteract it. There are a lot of good comedic actors in this movie, Paul Rudd, Stephen Root, and others. But I fear their talents will be wasted here. There are some good signs here, including the fact that it is a romantic comedy opening just two weeks before Valentine's Day. And with a production budget that is reported at just $10 million, it should earn a profit sooner rather than later. But even so, I don't many will remember the film by the time it hits the home market.

Name: Penelope
Distributor: Summit Entertainment
Official Site: PenelopeTheMovie.com
Release Date: February 29, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements, some innuendo and language
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Dramedy
Keywords: Curses
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $20 to $30 million
Box Office Potential: $10 million
Notes: Another movie opening this month that may or may not open wide. It is also one of a few movies on this list that has been pushed back from an earlier release date and has a star that hasn't managed a $100 million hit in close to a decade now. These are all bad signs. On the positive side, reviews are better than average and the trailer is effective, so if it does actually open wide, it has a shot at finding an audience. On the other hand, this is not the kind of film that will survive in limited release. I would be a lot more bullish if the movie had a powerhouse distributor backing it up, but that is not the case here. Perhaps it will find an audience on the home market.

Name: Possession
Distributor: Yari Film Group
Official Site: PossessionMovie.com
Release Date: March 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, some sexuality and language.
Source: Remake
Major Genre: Suspense
Keywords: Possessed? Or is that too obvious?
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $5 million
Notes: I don't expect this film to open wide, at least not truly wide. Yari Film Group has never managed to push one of his releases into more than 2000 theaters and its best release so far has been The Illusionist, its first release. Even if the film does get a truly wide release, I don't expect it to be a major player at the box office. First of all, it is remake of an Asian horror movie, or should I say yet another remake of an Asian horror movie. This is a sub-genre that has played itself out. Secondly, its star, Sarah Michelle Gellar, has not had a strong track record recently. After finding major success in The Grudge, The Grudge 2 earned less than $40 million at the box office. Then The Return earned less than $8 million. Then Southland Tales earned less than $1 million followed by Suburban Girl, which didn't even make it to theaters. So the studio, the sub-genre, and the star are all in slumps, which is too much to overcome when it comes to box office potential. It could surprise, but I'm not will to predict it will. Last Minute Note: The film has been pushed back, again, this time till March, at least according to its official site. That could change. It probably will change.

Name: Semi-Pro
Distributor: New Line
Official Site: SemiProMovie.com
Release Date: February 29, 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated - Probably PG-13
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Basketball, Slobs vs. Snobs, and likely more
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $40 to $60 million
Box Office Potential: $100 million
Notes: We could be looking at the first $100 million film of the year. It seems any comedy Will Ferrell touches turns to gold and that makes it very hard to bet against him. In this movie he plays the owner / coach / star player of a professional basketball team in a league that is about to be absorbed by the NBA. However, only the best teams will make it, so it is up to his band of misfits to turn the season around. It should be pretty easy to guess what happens next. I expert there to be a lot of sport clichés thrown around during this movie, as well as a few jabs thrown at the 70s. But as long as Will Ferrell has the energy and the supporting cast has the comedic chops, the movie should do well with his fanbase and that should be enough to come close to $100 million, if not hit it.

Name: The Spiderwick Chronicles
Distributor: Paramount
Official Site: SpiderwickChronicles.com
Release Date: February 14, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG for scary creature action and violence, peril and some thematic elements
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Adventure
Keywords: Secret Magic, Talking Animals, Sword & Sorcery, Child Heroes, and other dimensions
Production Budget: Unknown - reported at $100 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million
Notes: The latest in a long line of adventure movies starring kids. Harry Potter wasn't the first to enter into this sub-genre, but it is the post popular and has spawned many imitators. Some, like Bridge to Terabithia, have done rather well both with the critics and at the box office. Most have not. Best case scenario has this film living up to Bridge to Terabithia, or maybe beating it by enough to match its production budget. Worst case, it pulls a Seeker and disappears before the month is over. Regardless, with a high production budget and a weak release date, I think this movie will be yet another failed attempt to jumpstart a franchise.

Name: Step Up 2 the Street
Distributor: Disney
Official Site: No Official Site
Release Date: February 14, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language, some suggestive material and brief violence.
Source: Sequel
Major Genre: Drama
Keywords: Dancing
Production Budget: Unknown - reported at $35 million
Box Office Potential: $40 million
Notes: The original film showed little promise, earned terrible reviews, but still managed to beat expectations and earn over $100 million worldwide. This movie, which is more of a remake than a sequel, is looking to capture the same spirit and energy that helped the first movie. The target audience is a fickle group, and this movie has less going for it than the first did, but it should still be able to match the film's production budget and eventually show a profit. Just don't expect Step Up 3 to come out any time soon, at least not in theaters.

Name: Strange Wilderness
Distributor: Paramount
Official Site: StrangeWildernessMovie.com
Release Date: February 1, 2008
MPAA Rating: R for non-stop language, drug use, crude and sexual humor.
Source: Orginal Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: TV Industry
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $10 million
Notes: Wasn't Justin Long in another movie dealing with Bigfoot just over two months ago? Very weird. Anyhoo... Strange Wilderness is a Happy Madison film, which is Adam Sandler's production company. However, it is not starring Adam Sandler. Most such films earn terrible reviews and bomb at the box office. Considering this film is opening in just over 1000 theaters, I see no reason this one will be any different. In fact, it could fail to match Grandma's Boy at the box office.

Name: Vantage Point
Distributor: Sony
Official Site: SonyPictures.com/Movies/VantagePoint
Release Date: February 22, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense violence and action, some disturbing images and brief strong language.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Thrill
Keywords: Assassination, Political, and more
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $50 to $70 million
Box Office Potential: $40 million
Notes: After an assassination attempt on the president at an anti-terrorism conference, we are treated to a Rashômon-like look at the event from several different points of view. An interesting premise, but the movie is on a topic that moviegoers have not embraced for a while now. It will still be interesting to see how it performs, especially with a first time writer, Barry Levy, and a director, Pete Travis, working on his first theatrical release. With an impressive cast, it could top some of the previous films, but it is unlikely that it will become anything more than a midlevel hit.

Name: Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins
Distributor: Universal
Official Site: RoscoeJenkins.com
Release Date: February 8, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual content, language and some drug references.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: TV Industry, Reality TV, Family Reunion, Dysfunctional Family, and African-American
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $30 million
Box Office Potential: $45 million
Notes: Coming off the biggest hit of his career, this is the first Martin Lawerence film since Wild Hogs, but he also has College Road Trip coming out next month. (That movie is a Disney movie co-starring Raven and not a sequel to Road Trip.) In this movie Martin Lawerence plays a successful talk show host living in Los Angeles who comes home to a small town in Georgia for his parents' 50th anniversary. You can almost smell the clichés from here. That said, lack of direct competition should help the movie earn a reasonable amount at the box office and become a midlevel hit.

Name: Witless Protection
Distributor: Lionsgate
Official Site: No Official Site
Release Date: February 22, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude and sex-related humor
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Corrupty Cops, Mafia, and others.
Production Budget: Unknown - Reported at $7.5 million
Box Office Potential: $10 million
Notes: This is the third year in a row that Larry the Cable Guy has starred in a movie. I'm not sure why; it's not like his previous two films were hits, either at the box office or with critics. In fact, they were both considered among the worst movies of their respective years. I see no reason why this film will be any different. I guess if you make a movie cheap enough, it doesn't matter how bad it is, it will eventually show a profit, but in this case it will take till the home market for that to happen.


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Filed under: Monthly Preview, Jumper, Vantage Point, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Fool's Gold, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour, Step Up 2 the Streets, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, Semi-Pro, Definitely, Maybe, The Eye, The Other Boleyn Girl, Be Kind Rewind, Penelope, Over Her Dead Body, Strange Wilderness, Witless Protection, Charlie Bartlett, Diary of the Dead, The Hottie and the Nottie, Possession