When I started looking at the movie releases for this month, I realized I was going to have trouble ranking my February 2004 top ten even more trouble than usual. I think my top six films are going to be close in weekend revenue, but there are a couple that I think have a chance to make a huge impact. With that, let’s go to the top ten.1. 50 First Dates
If this film were being released on a “normal” weekend, I think it would end up in the middle of pack. However, it has no openers competing against it on the 13th. It got some advertising during the Super Bowl and you have the star power of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. I think the commercials will bring in moviegoers opening weekend, but if the moviemakers used all the funny bits during the ads this will sink like a stone in future weeks.
Even though Miracle is being released on a weekend that I think has three high potential films, it should stand out. Again, this movie had a big commercial push during the Super Bowl, which is a good venue to feature sports films. The story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team has maintained the public’s interest through the years and is not being forgotten. Plus, Kurt Russell’s performance stands out in the ads we’ve seen. This should all add up to a winning combination for the studio.
The “road trip” genre always seems to do well. The “wild teens” genre always seems to do well. If you mix these together in one film, it *has* to do well, doesn’t it? I think so. The teen audiences that have the dollars to spend love this type of film and should turn out in droves this weekend to get their fill of wild adventure and lots of skin exposure. What more could you ask for?
4. Barbershop 2
The first Barbershop movie was a huge success at the box office. It has also done well on DVD from word-of-mouth advertising. The studio kept the successful combination of actors together from the first film. Plus, they’ve added Queen Latifah. If there are any people on the fence about seeing this one, she should help change some minds and get viewers coming in.
5. Catch That Kid
This film tries to capitalize on the recent success of “kids taking on adults” films, which include the three Spy Kids films, Agent Cody Banks, and Big Fat Liar. The main characters are relative newcomers to the scene, but that didn’t stop the Spy Kids actors. There’s been a lot of publicity on this one, especially in recent weeks. This seems to be the most successful strategy that studios use and it should draw in the younger audiences that have been neglected for the past few weeks.
6. The Passion of Christ
Like I said in my introduction, there are a few films that have the potential to make a big impact and this is one of them. This is the extremely controversial Mel Gibson film that has been featured all over TV, newspapers, the Internet, etc. There has been a lot of talk about this film having an anti-Semitic message, which I think may turn away some moviegoers. However, I think the controversy aspect will bring in other moviegoers. There are theaters around the country that are setting up special screenings for church groups, which should increase box office numbers. But I’m not sure how much impact these showings will have. My feeling is that this film will generally turn off audiences, but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if it had a huge opening weekend.
Ashley Judd stars in this film as a detective whose ex-boyfriends are being murdered. But this time she’s paired with Samuel L. Jackson, rather than the usual Morgan Freeman. This film hasn’t had as much exposure as previous Judd films, but I think that her fans will be able to seek her out anyway. The one thing that worries me is that Judd’s roles are blurring together and people are going to start losing interest thinking that this film is just like the last one. Maybe this will be the one that starts the downhill slide.
8. Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen
Lindsay Lohan is fresh off the success of Freaky Friday. She’s finally coming into her own and I think that people are noticing. However, this film is being released the same weekend as Eurotrip, which should pull away some viewers from this film. I think that this movie is going to suffer quite a bit from its competition, but should hold its own fairly well after opening weekend. It should also find a good life on DVD, but that doesn’t help its top ten ranking.
9. Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights
Rather than a sequel, this is being touted as a remake of the hugely successful 1987 film starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. Again the film takes place in the 1950s, but in Cuba instead of a summer retreat in the U.S. It still has the same basic story of love and dancing, but I’m not sure it will have the same impact on audiences that the first one did.
10. Welcome to Mooseport
The bottom spot was kind of difficult for me to pin down. It was a toss-up between this one and Broken Lizard’s Club Dread. This movie’s not going to be a blockbuster by any stretch of the imagination. However, I think the advertising during the Super Bowl and Everybody Loves Raymond will be just enough to push it into the top ten.