February 2017 Box Office Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
February 2, 2017
3. John Wick: Chapter 2 (February 10th)
The first film was a straightforward action revenge film for dog lovers, even if, after a while, most people probably deduced that John Wick can effectively and efficiently kill armies-worth of career criminals without deigning to obtain a single injury, himself (Denzel Washington had suffered the same condition in The Equalizer, released just weeks before). John Wick seems to have inspired a stronger following, however, because when Wick killed, he not only did so stylishly, but in a film that was directed and acted at a crisp pace, and with a certain lean and logical progression towards its inevitable conclusion. The original grossed $43 million and was wildly popular on DVD, serving as one of the bigger recent roles for Keanu Reeves since the likes of the Matrix sequels and Constantine in the mid 2000s. He's back.
So, as with the LEGO Movie, the first film was clearly the beginning of something new and exciting, but how many more have signed up for the second who weren't on board for the first? Chapter 2 has some fortuitous timing, as a vaguely comedic action film opening on the same weekend wherein Deadpool marked similar territory last year. There's a more international setting (Rome), and a new array of people whose life John Wick will gently bring to an end, although it appears his motive is a bit less personal this time (as in, I'm pretty sure the plot isn't: he gets a new dog, then another bad guy comes around with a pick-axe, and...). It's hard to pinpoint Wick 2's exact slot amid that whole blockbuster second weekend of February; presumably it's coming in third, but if the film delivers the goods in an agreeable manner, it can more or less double its predecessor, just as the on-screen body count itself has likely been multiplied by two (at the very least, of course).
Opening weekend: $39 million (4-day) / Total gross: $83 million
4. Get Out (February 24th)
This is a film title that sounds like either a hostile command or a desire for a self-preservative departure, and might mean to evoke both. It's a sort of Micro-aggressive Stepford Wives mixed with a Guess Who's Coming to a killer robot-cooked Dinner, wherein an African-American man and his caucasian girlfriend travel to an estate in the middle of the remote outdoors; there, they will meet her parents, who seem like nice people, but harbor dark and unwholesome secrets, including, oh, I don't know, what appears to be a large collection of telepathically-enslaved African-American houseservants (this is all topical... right?). In this country house, the people spin their teaspoons a little too slowly and stare much too probingly. The maids and butlers appear to be brainwashed remnants of plantation days. The premise and parts of the trailer seem like comic satire (and indeed, The Stepford Wives was re-made as a comedy in 2004), but at bottom line this looks like just plain horror, and kind of a creepy one at that. Writer-director Jordan Peele (of "Key and...") had some success last year with the epic biopic Keanu, and this should be the month's own Split, opening well opposite the Academy Awards and a handful of less noticeable titles. And it's from Blumhouse, which distributes horror films very well and should have no trouble keeping a winning streak through late February, probably outgrossing everything else this month except for forecast slots #1 through #3.
Opening weekend: $22 million / Total gross: $55 million
5. The Space Between Us (February 3rd)
The title is to be taken absolutely literally, because this is a romance drama with a nastily science fictional bend. The Space Between Us is headlined by Asa Butterfield and Britt Robertson, the latter of whom just starred in A Dog's Purpose, and who in this film again takes in a stray: this one happens to be a teenage boy who was born and raised on some other planet, after his astronaut mother fell pregnant shortly before her departure for the stars (Facebook status: "It's complicated").
So yes, this in the territory of young adult entertainments, as the hero picks his teen age to travel to earth and acclimate to his ancestral planet, discovering all its strange and very embarrassing customs. Butterfield for his part is quite the leading man for his age (19), having headlined a slew of book adaptations going back to 2008 and ending with Tim Burton's most recent film; this is his first major film not inspired by literature. As a nice little romance with touches of comedy (he's startled to see a wild horse, for whatever reason), it will likely attract a high school (or junior high) audience, a group that in 2017 lives in a cinematic landscape without many notable YA or even traditional teen films to entice them to the theatre (for example, The Edge of Seventeen was severely underseen last November, a situation I hope its DVD release rectifies). And as the only other romance in town outside of whatever those two in Fifty Shades are up to, maybe it'll get some Valentine's Day audiences looking for a film with just a little less sadomasochistic self-flagellation.
Opening weekend: $14 million / Total gross: $40 million