February 2016 Box Office Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
February 4, 2016
5. How to Be Single (February 12th)
The month's second missile aimed at seekers of on-screen romance is based on the novel by Liz Tuccillo, who also wrote the print version of He's Just Not That Into You (there is a trend here). And just like that film, which was perhaps not-too-surprisingly successful in February 2009 ($93 million total), How to Be Single has been pitched to play like an ensemble romantic comedy just in time for Valentine's Day, with a cast that seems more distinctly female-led than Tuccillo's previous.
The film is headlined by Dakota Johnson, who ruled over the same weekend last year with her carnal misadventures in Fifty Shades of Grey. She is joined here by Rebel Wilson, who seems to add anywhere from $30 to $100 million to the total grosses of ensemble comedies, and who I would have loved to see play Johnson's role in Fifty Shades (talk about turning the tables on Mr. Grey!). Also on hand are Leslie Mann, who seems to have found her place in this type of ensemble film (she co-starred in, though not as, The Other Woman), and Alison Brie, whose film work has thus far mostly been limited to indies of varying levels of success. They're joined by lower-billed but no less notable names like Jason Mantzoukas, Damon Wayans, Jr., Jake Lacy, and even SNL's Colin Jost, making his big-screen debut. So the cast is game, even if they're not quite at the A-List, and the studio and some of the same team from He's Just Not That... are behind the scenes here as well. This follow-up won't be quite as big, I think, and it should come in third for its weekend; but given the release date, it's certainly in the right time and place to at least open well and fill a niche for a few weeks more after that (February 5th might've been a better slot, but they've ceded it to the Nicholas Sparks film).
Opening weekend: $20 million / Total gross: $48 million
6. Gods of Egypt (February 26th)
In the big-budget mythological B-movie tradition of The Mummy and Clash of the Titans comes Gods of Egypt, a fantasy set many moons ago in northeast Africa and directed by Alex Proyas, whose output usually leans toward more somber genre fare like The Crow and Dark City. Despite the title, the picture's true lead is a mere mortal, embodied by Brenton Thwaites, who previously carried The Giver and will also star in Pirates of the Caribbean 5 (don't look for him in a film set in the present day anytime soon). He's joined by somewhat bigger names playing the aforementioned gods, most notably Geoffrey Rush as sun god Ra, Nikolai Coster-Waldau as the multi-tasking Horus, Chadwick Boseman, the film's only American actor, as wisdom god Thoth, and then by the man who seems to be the film's biggest selling point, Gerard Butler, who's thoroughly pulling double-duty this month (his follow-up London Has Fallen bows just the following week).
Gods of Egypt cost an exorbitant, princely sum ($140 million), and was clearly meant to be cut from the same fantastical cloth as many a summer blockbuster past. Its release date is suspicious, though, and echoes of underperforming epics like Pan and especially the underrated Exodus: Gods and Kings ring loudly through my mind. If critics abandon the film, it will need to work very hard to recoup its budget (I don't want to indulge in punnery, but the film might then be in need of divine intervention).
Opening weekend: $21 million / Total gross: $43 million