Weekend Forecast for February 20-22, 2015
By Reagen Sulewski
February 20, 2015
Last weekend saw a record breaking performance for the month of February, albeit from a terrible film. Despite that film's impending enormous dropoff, the three new wide releases (which may not be any better, to be fair) combined won't match its total this week. Such is the slate of the early part of the year.
Likely leading the way is a film that must have studio execs looking around at each other saying, “Wait, I thought *you* greenlit that! If you didn't, then...” Hot Tub Time Machine 2 is the sequel to the 2010 film that essentially exists as a dare to see how dumb of a premise can get made into a major feature. Although it had some charm, there wasn't a lot to write home about, and it could have been easily filed under the “harmless and mildly enjoyable” file, despite the ludicrousness of the setup. Then it made $50 million on a $30 million budget, so now we have Hot Tub Time Machine 2.
Made for an even cheaper amount, possibly due to shedding John Cusack (although I don't think he was pulling eight-figures or anything), it sends Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, Clark Duke (at least, the 1980s alternate universe versions of them) and newcomer Adam Scott into the future to solve the mystery of who shot Corddry in the testicles. Heady stuff, this. Loaded to the brim with “wow, the future is sure different” gags, plus a bevy of vulgar and raunchy jokes that take a look at the lowest common denominator and say “We can dig below that!” I'm struggling to find a reason for this film to exist, and it's maybe for Corddry to go full bore on his psychopathic Peter Pan shtick, which even then is stretching. Still, it's a brand, and presumably has some fans looking for a retread of the non-Cusack parts of the original. I'd look for about $9 million here.
McFarland, USA is the latest film from the “Disney True Sports Story” catalog, starring Kevin Costner as a cross country running coach for a small-town California high school, helping to propel his students to national prominence. While these Disney-produced films once were surefire hits, with The Rookie and Miracle being among the most prominent, they've fallen on harder times, as last year's Million Dollar Arm showed, grossing just $36 million.
In the last couple of years, Kevin Costner has attempted a comeback to respectability, and it's been successful to the extent that he's appearing again as a viable lead in wide release films, as opposed to the “not working” that was his fate for a long stretch. That hasn't meant his films have been super-successful – last month's Black or White opened to just $6 million – but he's certainly giving it the old college try. Sports movies have always been Costner's bread and butter, although that's generally been with him as an athlete. Last spring's extended NFL commercial Draft Day only managed $28 million domestic. With the relative obscurity of cross-country as a sport, I can't see this doing significantly better. I'd expect an opening weekend of $7 million.