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2005 Preview: February

February 1st, 2005

Just one look at February and it feels like it's a worse month than January was. Maybe it's the fact that January was stronger than expected so February's releases look weaker by comparison. Or maybe it's the lack of a massive hit like we had last year. Regardless of the reason, there's little to be enthusiastic about this month.

Name: Because of Winn-Dixie
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Official Site: BecauseOfWinnDixie.com
Release Date: February 18th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for thematic elements and brief mild language.
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Drama
Genres: New Kid in Town
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $15 million
Box Office Potential: $30 million
Notes: I'm not entirely sure this film will get a wide release, or at least not a saturation level release most films have. The film's been pushed back twice and the general lack of buzz, which leads me to believe the film will have trouble playing in anything significantly more than 2000 theatres. Also hurting the film's chances is Pooh's Heffalump Movie, which has a similar target audience and opens just one week earlier.

Name: Boogeyman
Studio: Sony
Official Site: SonyPictures.com
Release Date: February 4th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of horror and terror/violence, and some partial nudity.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Horror
Genres: Monster
Production Budget: $20 million
Box Office Potential: $50 million
Notes: Quickest way to judge this film's success is to compare it with Darkness Falls as it should have a similar appeal. However, this film does have more going for it, including Sam Raimi as a producer. On the other hand, there are a few horror films already in theatres and that added competition will hurt the film's chances. But a $50 million box office should cover the production budget and a good chunk of the P&A budget with profitability coming at the home market.

Name: Constantine
Studio: Warner Bros.
Official Site: ConstantineMovie.WarnerBros.com
Release Date: February 18th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence and demonic images
Source: Based on a Comic Book
Major Genre: Action Adventure
Genres: DC Comics
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $75 million
Box Office Potential: $55 million
Notes: The film stars Keanu Reeves, who despite having high name recognition has never become a major box office draw. Outside the Matrix franchise, his box office career has been hit and miss … mostly miss. Adding the to film's problems is the losing streak Super Hero movies are on, especially when it comes to lesser-known Super Heroes. If Warner Bros. can hype this movie it might become a surprise hit, but the six release dates suggests they are not enthusiastic about the film's chances, and neither am I.

Name: Cursed
Studio: Dimension
Official Site: None
Release Date: February 25th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for horror violence/terror, some sexual references, nudity, language and a brief drug reference
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Horror
Genres: Monster
Production Budget: $35 million
Box Office Potential: $65 million
Notes: The most aptly named movie released this month. Cursed has suffered through script problems, shooting delays, massive reshoots, cast changes, etc. Overall the film was pushed back about a year and a half, but hopefully having Wes Craven and some of the other people behind the Scream franchise will help save this movie. Note: The $35 million figure for the production budget doesn't take into account the extensive reshoots and the final cost is undoubtedly more. Additional Note: The movie has been cut for a PG-13 rating, which may hurt the films chances as Horror fans will think the producers wimped out on the gore.

Name: Diary of a Mad Black Woman
Studio: Lions Gate
Official Site: DiaryOfAMadBlackWomanMovie.com
Release Date: February 25th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for drug content, thematic elements, crude sexual references and some violence
Source: Based on a Play
Major Genre: Drama
Genres: Cross Dressing
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million
Notes: I have the feeling this film's box office potential is directly related to the number of time it is mention on Oprah. This is also one of a few films coming out this month that may have to settle for a sub-2000 theatre opening. If it does get mention enough it may be able to earn a Waiting to Exhale like run, however, I wouldn't bet on it at this point.

Name: Hitch
Studio: Sony
Official Site: SonyPictures.com
Release Date: February 11th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language and some strong sexual references.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Genres: Relationship Advice
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $50 million - $60 million
Box Office Potential: $120 million
Notes: One of two date movies being released before Valentine's Day and this one looks likely to crush the other. That alone should help the film hit $100 million during its run, making it the first film in 2005 to do so. Also helping the film is the strong cast, especially Will Smith who is on a 4 movie winning streak, (not counting his cameo in Jersey Girl.) In the end, I expect it to have a very similar performance as How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, both in terms of box office and in terms of critical appeal.

Name: Man of the House
Studio: Sony
Official Site: SonyPictures.com
Release Date: February 25th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content, crude humor and a drug reference
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Cheerleaders and Hitmen
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $50 million
Box Office Potential: $40 million
Notes: This movie almost makes you forget that Tommy Lee Jones once won an Oscar. He stars in the film as a stuffy Texas Ranger forced to guard a group of cheerleaders after they witness the assassination of a key witness is a trial. Hi-jinx ensues. At least that's what the makers of the film are hoping but the trailer isn't impressive and makes the film look rather uninspired and by the numbers.

Name: Pooh's Heffalump Movie
Studio: Disney
Official Site: Disney.Go.Com
Release Date: February 11th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated G
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Animated
Genres: Living Toys
Production Budget: $20 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million
Notes: This film was originally planned for a Direct-to-DVD release, which is pretty much all you need to know about the movie to judge its chances. The film should finish somewhere between the Piglet and Tigger movies and given its price tag that will be enough for the film to be judged a success.

Name: Son of the Mask
Studio: New Line
Official Site: TheMaskIsBack.com
Release Date: February 18th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action, crude and suggestive humor and language.
Source: Sequel and Based on a Comic Book
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Possessed
Production Budget: $100 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million
Notes: I am stunned. Not only am I stunned that someone would think this movie would be a good idea, but I am stunned somebody thought this movie would be such a good idea that they would spend $100 million making it. Sequels are popular because they have a built in audience, however, when you take a film like The Mask and turn it into a family film, without the star, you lose that built in audience. This film is going to need a huge amount of hype not to completely bomb, and even then it will have trouble just matching its P&A Budget.

Name: The Wedding Date
Studio: Universal
Official Site: TheWeddingDate.net
Release Date: February 4th, 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content including dialogue.
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Genres: Dates-for-Hire
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $40 million
Box Office Potential: $25 million
Notes: This is an obvious date movie, and Valentine's Day should really help it out at the box office. However, the film has some real obstacles to overcome, not the least of which is the lack of buzz. Out of the ten movies on this list, this is the one that people probably know the least about and its one of the first to open. And while Debra Messing is well known for her role in Will & Grace, this is her first staring role and the transition from TV to movies is usually not a smooth one. Note: early reports are the film will only open in roughly 1500 theatres and the predictions have been reduced accordingly.


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Filed under: Monthly Preview, Hitch, Constantine, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Boogeyman, Because of Winn-Dixie, The Wedding Date, Man of the House, Cursed, Pooh's Heffalump Movie, Son of the Mask