February 2015 Box Office Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
February 5, 2015
4. Jupiter Ascending (February 6th)
This one's a science-fiction action extravaganza yanked suddenly out of the July 2014 slate and moved into more shallow waters. February is not a month particularly conducive to action blockbusters (March is a better fit). The film does, however, have some star power in its corner, namely Channing Tatum, the biggest movie star of his generation (that's a fact), and Mila Kunis, who's ended up in her share of big films. What's dragging Jupiter Ascending down, however, is the basic inescapable oddity of its existence: with its costumes, sets, and hard-to-explain premise, it looks every bit like a companion piece to the Wachowski siblings' previous film, the well-reviewed and equally atypical sci-fi drama Cloud Atlas, except on a bigger scale (but with just as many extravagant visual flourishes). Jupiter Ascending may well outgross Atlas' total of $27 million in just one weekend, but it's hard to see this as a leggy film without at least a solid critical reception.
Opening weekend: $25 million / Total gross: $55 million
5. Focus (February 27th)
Focus is a film that's perhaps more interesting for what it represents than what's on screen: a comeback vehicle of sorts for Will Smith, once the undisputed box office champion of planet Earth (and if you adjust some numbers, maybe the entire universe). Other than a Men in Black sequel, Smith hasn't headlined a $100 million grosser since Hancock in 2008. The reasons for this fact range from circumstance (he's chosen not to work as often) to misfortune (After Earth). While Focus clearly won't rank among Smith's biggest films - and isn't meant to - just how well this middle-of-the-road con artist picture does in late February might tell us a bit about Smith's current star power. The trailers and release date aren't distinctly promising, but I'd say Smith's name is still such as to give Focus an above-average run.
Opening weekend: $19 million / Total gross: $53 million
6. Seventh Son (February 6th)
The month's last big-budget release is this high fantasy film, with Narnia star Ben Barnes headlining opposite Oscar winner-in-waiting Julianne Moore (as a villainess) and mentor figure Jeff Bridges, who spearheaded another youth genre film with the underrated The Giver. Somewhat surprisingly, fantasy films don't really do particularly well outside of the big names (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings). And with competition from Jupiter Ascending and a lack of familiarity with the source material (The Wardstone Chronicles series of books upon which it's based), Seventh Son will probably play somewhat like the similarly witch-busting Hansel & Gretel. This film is a lot more appropriate for family audiences, though, which ought to help somewhat.
Opening weekend: $17 million / Total gross: $42 million
7. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (February 20th)
Here's a sequel to the 2010 film, which took in $50 million (since that film had to overcome the hurdle of being titled "Hot Tub Time Machine,” that's a more than fair number). Tub 2's presence on the release calendar is clearly somewhat belated (or at least that's what SpongeBob told me). The original is an entertaining picture and a cult classic of sorts, so there's a lot of goodwill for this film, even if a sequel's not been virulently demanded. The trailer is moderately amusing even without original star John Cusack, but barring a positive critical consensus, HTTM 2 will probably play like February filler.
Opening weekend: $15 million / Total gross: $38 million