February 2010 Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
February 5, 2010
4. The Wolfman (February 12th)
The horror remake invasion continues. Indeed, with its lush cinematography, big studio budget, and name cast, The Wolfman comes off like the long-lost third chapter in that '90s series of old school horror redos - Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994). While star Benicio Del Toro hasn't headlined anything in a while, Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt are around to provide some English-accented respectability. There's also some all right action and suspense in the trailers, and the opening day or two ought to deliver. What's troubling, though, is that The Wolfman has been getting delayed longer than almost any major film of late - having originally been scheduled for November 2008, before bouncing its way up into the next decade. So what's the deal with this one?
Opening weekend: $22 million (four-day) / Total gross: $48 million
5. Dear John (February 5th)
Here's a romantic drama that comes off like a subdued alternative to the presumably more comic shenanigans of Valentine's Day. More to the point, it's one of two Nicholas Sparks adaptations that await us in the spring - and this is the one without Miley Cyrus. Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum are the rising stars doing the weeping in this weeper, and indeed Dear John looks to follow the Sparks trademarks to a tee - it's about initially-reluctant lovers, it's set right on the beach in the Carolinas (South, this time), it contains a strong father figure (the masterful Richard Jenkins), and at the end, someone will no doubt meet their untimely demise (Will it be Seyfried with a terminal illness? Tatum off at war? Or could it be Jenkins, mauled to death with a pogo stick?). Either way, Dear John's been scheduled at exactly the right time of year for such an estrogen-tinted enterprise, and if reviews are good (or quite possibly even if they aren't), this will rack up a decent enough sum - and pave the way for the Cyrus-Sparks box office blow-out that will follow in April.
Opening weekend: $15 million / Total gross: $42 million
6. From Paris with Love (February 5th)
Welcome to another travail into European action, with movie stars shooting off at unknown thugs while landmarks pass by in the vague background. But hey, the trailers look breezy enough, if generally plotless, and there's a decent bout of star power - Jonathan Rhys Meyers and John Travolta, the latter looking increasingly like Terl the Psychlo, and seemingly enjoying himself as another loose-cannon killer. From Paris with Love was helmed by Luc Besson-protege Pierre Morel (who also directed Taken, as the trailers correctly point out), and while this surely isn't going to get as strong an audience reaction as the Neeson picture, it does look like a decent enough time at the action sweepstakes. At the very least, it should have a higher body count than Dear John.
Opening weekend: $14 million / Total gross: $38 million
7. Cop Out (February 26th)
After some 2000s-era indulgences (Clerks II, Jersey Girl, the Die Hard cameo), Kevin Smith returns with what looks to be a frankly mainstream piece of entertainment. Cop Out's a buddy comedy about mismatched policemen, a subgenre that has not been much heard from lately. As far as the cast goes, Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan sound like a good team for such an endeavor, but the whole premise just seems kind of old and worn-out - doesn't it? - and the trailers didn't much convince me otherwise. So, #7 it is.
Opening weekend: $9 million / Total gross: $21 million
8. The Crazies (February 26th)
Another week, another horror remake. This time around, though, we're digging real deep into the well of lesser-known titles - the widest release I can find for George A. Romero's original 1973 Crazies was a mere four theaters, and indeed that makes it a film not likely to have been much seen, even by horror fans. The cast is led by a pack of the usual genre stalwarts (Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell), the premise is reasonably intriguing, if not spectacularly original, and the late month timeslot ought to be able to sustain just one more horror film. But just the one.
Opening weekend: $9 million / Total gross: $19 million