February 2015 Box Office Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

February 5, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

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February 2015 presents a battle between Fifty Shades of Grey on the one hand and a diverse selection of genre films and cartoon crustaceans on the other. At the moment, the lurid and decidedly inappropriate choice leads the month. Also, February has a somewhat atypical distinction: at least five of the 10 films listed below were pushed back from concrete 2014 release dates.

1. Fifty Shades of Grey (February 13th)
Little need be written about Fifty Shades of Grey. If you know what it's all about, you're covered, and if you don't, you're better off. Details of the film's plot, casting, re-casting, and choice of director have pre-occupied some minds for years or even months. Reviews likely won't matter. The only question is just how high this book adaptation - a sort of Twilight for the particularly bored - will go? And how low will the box office sink to, to accommodate it? Between the famished fanbase and the singularly-inappropriate Valentine's Day release date, it's obvious the film will probably make more than half of all it's ever going to make right there in its first weekend. I'll be relatively conservative in my opening prediction, but given how far the box office can go when you get a demographic all riled up, I could be low-balling.

Opening weekend: $70 million / Total gross: $80 million (just kidding - maybe. Let's say $150 million)


2. Kingsman: The Secret Service (February 13th)
Along with Jupiter Ascending and Seventh Son, Kingsman is one of the three big action movies this month (some people say that Fifty Shades of Gray also has a lot of action). The film's director, Matthew Vaughn, usually alternates between niche genre movies for niche audiences (Kick-Ass) and niche genre movies for the mainstream (X-Men: First Class). Kingsman will likely play more like the latter. The film's getting good reviews so far, and it wouldn't be a bad wager that Kingsman ends up the best-reviewed movie of the month (although, to be fair, many critics have already given Fifty Shades of Grey two fingers up). Star Colin Firth, in his most prominent role since The King's Speech, is not exactly an established lead of explosion-laden motion pictures (although his fistfight with Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones 2 was well-choreographed and performed with conviction). But he does seem to settle nicely into this rather distinctly English character, while Samuel L. Jackson appears entertainingly loopy as the villain. Kingsman may open lower than Jupiter Ascending, but I'd assume it will have better legs.

Opening weekend: $30 million / Total gross: $88 million

3. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (February 6th)
Cartoon stalwart SpongeBob returns in a follow-up 10 years after the first film (speaking of which, where is that South Park sequel?). I have to admit I know very little about film's lead and his escapades, although the subject matter seems at least somewhat more wholesome than the month's current frontrunner for highest-grossing film. The trailers are kind of fun, and it's likely that fans of the material will make SpongeBob 2 at least almost as big a hit as the first one (SpongeBob 1 took in $85 million, impressive, particularly in 2004 money). The target audience for this is children... right? And so if I call a late 20s opening, I'd have to assume kids movie legs will apply?

Opening weekend: $28 million / Total gross: $83 million

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