February of 2012 has come and gone. Last year at this point things were looking fairly dreary. Most movies were under-performing, yet the outlook for March was good. However, things didn't quite work out. Rango was a hit at $123M and Battle: Los Angeles performed decently with $83M, but that was about it. This year is looking a lot better. This February was much improved February. In fact, historically it ended up being one of the best Februarys. Last February, there were only four movies that opened north of 20M, three of them coming in one weekend. This February doubled that with eight movies opening up north of 20M, which was at least one per weekend, with Valentines Day weekend seeing a historic four movies pulling that off, which is only the second time in history that has happened. Those eight movies from last month include The Woman in Black, Chronicle, The Vow, Safe House, Star Wars Episode I (3D re-release), Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, and Act of Valor. Out of those movies, The Vow has already topped 100M, Safe House will do so before the weekend hits, and before March ends, Journey 2 will have joined the club, making three movies from this February in the 100M club. Adam Sandler's Just Go With It was the only movie to do so last year, barely clearing the mark with 103M. With that review of this past month in mind, it provides a great omen for this upcoming month that will see several potential blockbusters. In fact, a few of the smaller movies seem to have forecasted this already and shied away to April where there is less competition. So now lets jump into this month and see what movie goers have to look forward to!
Much like last year, this March will start off with a bang. Last year had the animated hit Rango released in the first weekend of March which went on to win Best Animated Film in the Oscars. This year in the first weekend has another animated film in Dr. Suess' The Lorax start March off and it is sure to be a hit as well. The reason I am sure of that is that history is on it's side. First off, it is the fourth Dr. Suess book to be turned into a movie since the year 2000. The three previous Dr Suess movies were all able to have Box Office success. Even Cat in the Hat, which was a terrible movie, wound up with decent success at 101M. The Lorax shouldn't be any different. Secondly, it is the third animated movie that Illumination Entertainment has put out and both movies they have done so far have had success. If you are unfamiliar with Illumination Entertainment, they are the company that did Despicable Me. That make you excited for The Lorax? Illumination also did the less popular but still successful Hop. Now I doubt that The Lorax will reach the level of The Grinch and Despicable Me (both of which reached $250M), but it should reach the level of Rango ($123M) or Horton Hears a Who ($154M) without a whole lot of trouble. The last note I will give on The Lorax is that it has a rather interesting cast. It brings together long time famous movie stars Danny DeVito and Betty White with the younger rising star in Zac Efron, singer Taylor Swift, and The Office star Ed Helms the as the main voices in the movie. Competing with The Lorax this weekend will be Project X. The Lorax shouldn't have much of a problem taking the top spot on the week, but nonetheless this is probably the best weekend in March for Project X to come out since The Lorax and Project X will have targeted audiences that are polar opposite. Project X is an R rated comedy about a group of high school seniors that throw a birthday party that spirals out of control when the word of the party spreads. It is rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, drugs, drinking, pervasive language, reckless behavior and mayhem - all involving teens. So add that to the storyline that is based around a crazy party and you can pretty much guess what this movie will be like. R rated comedies were quite successful towards the beginning of last year and so Project X seeks to start that trend again this year, but there is the fact that another R rated comedy in Wanderlust completely fell on its face last week, so it could go either way.
This week the story of John Carter will begin to unfold. This project has started to raise a lot of eyebrows and for good reason. Now John Carter is a movie that is based on a book series written back in the early 1900's and it was almost the first ever animated movie ever made. Now that obviously didn't go through but now many years later it has, but as a live action film. Now this seems like an innocent project that wouldn't cause people to question Disney. The issue arises with the fact that Disney spent $250M to make this movie. So in order for this to be a worthwhile project, it will have to be a huge box office hit. I personally think it will do well enough to attract a good audience, but I doubt that it will make as much as it needs to make for Disney to wind up with a profit on it. My guess is that it ends up around $150M - 200M and will have to rely on international grosses to make a profit. John Carter does have some competition, but not a lot. Silent House is a horror movie that is randomly placed in March. A lot of horror films have a similar premise so not a lot needs to be said here. This one is about a woman who is trapped in her family's lakeside retreat. The most interesting thing in my opinion is that it stars Elizabeth Olsen, the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. So if you want to go get scared or you are feeling sadistic and want to see an Olsen twin get terrorized, then this movie is for you. The second movie competing with John Carter is A Thousand Words. A Thousand Words stars Eddie Murphy. I'm not convinced that this will be a huge hit, but it could be a fun smaller film that tries to portray good message about being careful and smart about what you say. Eddie Murphy is a great actor, but that doesn't always translate to Box Office success. This movie could meet a similar fate to Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson's The Big Year film that got 7.2M total last year.
There is only one movie that is daring enough to open up right in between John Carter and The Hunger Games. Most movies are wise to avoid that weekend because lots of people just payed for John Carter and/or are saving up to go to the Hunger Games and less interested in what comes between those. 21 Jump Street is the daring one and its banking on reaching an audience that is slightly different than the audiences of John Carter and The Hunger Games, otherwise it may be in trouble. 21 Jump Street is a movie that is based on the TV series in the late 80's of the same name. 21 Jump Street was the TV series that made Johnny Depp famous and he makes a cameo appearance in this movie version. 21 Jump Street sees Channing Tatum make yet another appearance on the big screen this year and co-stars Jonah Hill.
This is the weekend that many people have been anticipating for quite some time now as The Hunger Games officially comes to theaters. Now attempting to make a book series into a movie series is always a high risk, high reward. People love their book series' and if you make a movie that screws it up, they will call for your head for the rest of eternity. However, if you are successful enough, that same crowd will love you forever. The Hunger Games will try to take the path of Harry Potter and Twilight while attempting to avoid the fate of Percy Jackson and Eragon. Personally, I think The Hunger Games will do well and take the path of the former. I don't know if it will make quite as much money as the Harry Potter and Twilight movies, but it has potential to if it does really well in this first movie. As far as Box Office success goes, I think Twilight is a good comparison. The original Twilight made $190M and fans of the Twilight books liked it so much that the ensuing movies all made around $300M. I know lots of people that already have their Hunger Games tickets purchased. In fact, early ticket sales numbers indicate an opening that will beat out the original Twilight's $70M dollar opening in its first three days. It set a new record on Fandango for first day ticket sales, beating Twilight: Eclipse.
With The Hunger Games set for one of the biggest March openings ever the previous weekend (Alice in Wonderland's $116M opening isn't out of reach and anything above $70M will give it second place), this weekend isn't looking good for the two new releases opening up in Hunger Games's shadow if they are wanting to open up on top. The movie that will come closest is The Wrath of the Titans. It's predecessor, The Clash of the Titans, opened up to $61M on its way to its way to $163M almost exactly two years ago. If Wrath were to open with those exact numbers or higher, it would probably take the weekend, but keep in mind that star Sam Worthington was just coming off Avatar and the 3D craze was just underway and so those two aspects helped boost Clash. The reviews on clash were mixed, with many people not looking too highly on it. After that take, the success of the sequel domestically trends down. Think of Ghost Rider 2 this past month . The first one was successful in the Box Office but got poor reviews which caused the second one to open up with a mere $24M. I don't know if it will be that bad for Wrath, but I don't expect an opening for Wrath of the Titans above $35M - $40M which will most likely not be enough to takeover the weekend. Now internationally, its a different story. Clash earned $300M overseas and the recent trend is that sequels do really good, so Wrath of the Titans is almost certain to make most of its money from the international box office. The other new release for this month kicks off an odd Snow White fetish. Mirror Mirror is the first of two Snow White movies to come out this year, both of them separate franchises and both of them quite different. Snow White and the Huntsman will come out in June and is more Lord of the Rings esque. Mirror Mirror is a more lighthearted Snow White that stars Julia Roberts and is geared for the younger crowd. Judging from the trailer, I think that Snow White and the Huntsman will be the much better Snow White movie, but maybe Mirror Mirror will surprise. I doubt it though.