February 1st - 3rd-
Looking like it may be dead on arrival will be STX Entertainment's sci-fi film The Space Between Us. This is another movie that got bounced around a bit as it was initially slated for a summer 2016 release before being postponed to December. Realizing that releasing a sci-fi film on the same weekend as "Rogue One" and one weekend before "Passengers," STX smartly pushed it back again to this weekend. Turns out it may not have made much of a difference anyways as this is looking to debut outside the top five, despite being released on an already poor weekend in just under 3,000 theaters. Hurting it's cause are the abysmal reviews which currently stand at 16 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with 65 reviews counted. The movie stars Asa Butterfield as a the first human ever born on Mars who isn't able to come to Earth until he's 16 years old. When he finally gets the chance, with the help of a girl played by Britt Robertson, he is able to experience the wonders of Earth for the very first time.
February 10th - 12th-
As I just mentioned, a year after "The LEGO Movie" opened to $69.1, the worldwide phenomenon that was "Fifty Shades of Grey" broke the February opening weekend record with an $85.2 million opening. The previous record was held by "The Passion of the Christ," which opened to $83.8 million late in February 2004 and played very well throughout that Easter season. "Fifty Shades of Grey" only held that record for a year as last year "Deadpool" opened to $132.4 million. The popularity of "Fifty Shades of Grey" in 2015 means that the world will be graced with the entire trilogy, which continues with Fifty Shades Darker. Given the strong negative reaction towards the first movie from everyone that didn't read the books, this sequel won't win any new audience members and thus probably won't hit the box office level that its predecessor hit, but fans of the franchise will still turn out in droves, especially since this is the only romance movie option this Valentine's Day. The novels began as a "Twilight" fan-fiction and are now well-known for their erotic sex-sequences that implement BDSM. The movie franchise is scheduled to conclude next February with "Fifty Shades Freed."
Looking to come in third place on the weekend, but certainly not be ignored will be John Wick: Chapter Two. With "The LEGO Batman Movie" targeting family audiences and "Fifty Shades Darker" targeting the adult female audience, there will be something for everyone this weekend as "John Wick: Chapter Two" will be targeting the adult male audience looking for an action movie. "John Wick" arrived in theaters in October 2014 with almost no anticipation and only opened to $14.4 million. However, despite the lack of anticipation and small opening weekend, reaction to the movie itself was very positive as the movie surprised a lot of people by how good it was. This led to a healthy hold at the box office as it finished with $43.0 million. The positive word of mouth continued to spread as the movie gained a bit of a cult following post-release. This reaction was good enough for everyone involved to feel comfortable moving forward with the sequel, which has been highly anticipated ever since it was announced. Online buzz for the film is currently very strong. All things considered, this should make for one of the highest grossing weekends in February to date.
February 17th - 20th-
The second throwaway movie of the weekend is Ice Cube's Fist Fight. If you've ever had a burning desire to see two of your high school teachers get in a fist fight after school, then Warner Bros. has made your dream movie. Or not. Because that would also assume that you've also dreamed that one of these teachers was Ice Cube and the other one was a scared wimp. Because this is a movie where Charlie Day plays a teacher who gets his fellow teacher, played by Ice Cube, fired and now Ice Cube is angry and wants to pick a fight. Seems like the perfect role for Ice Cube given that he always seems to have a forever angry look on his face even when he is happy. Now Ice Cube has been on a role recently as his two "Ride Along" films both opened over $35 million around this time of year. And he's also played roles in the recent Barbershop sequel as well as 21 and 22 Jump Street. Plus, the movie "Straight Outta Compton" put his backstory in the spotlight. So it's feasible that this could end up as the highest grossing new release of the weekend. Although I imagine neither will come close to dethroning "The LEGO Batman Movie." It might even be a battle for third or fourth place.
Last and most certainly least on this weekend will be A Cure for Wellness. This is the second of three February horror films following "Rings" and preceding "Get Out." This sees director Gore Verbinski return to the director's chair for the first time since the epic financial disaster that was "The Lone Ranger." After Verbinski directed the first three "Pirates of the Caribbean" films, that whole crew was brought on to do "The Lone Ranger" and they were given a budget way higher than they should've been given, causing Disney to lose a buttload of money on the project. That's the end of that story. No surprise he now returns doing a low-budget horror film instead of another big-budget blockbuster. Speaking of "Rings," the last time Verbinski directed a horror film was "The Ring" in 2002, which was a major success. So there's a positive for this movie. The movie stars Dane DeHaan as a young executive who is sent to a wellness center in the Swiss Alps and realizes that the "cure" they are given there really isn't a cure.
February 24th - 26th-
The final two movies of the month are two smaller movies that look like the could also be dead on arrival. The first of the two was a late addition to the calendar and that is Collide. The cast in the movie is big as it stars Nicholas Hoult, Felicity Jones, Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley. The tagline here is "How far would you go for the one you love?" Nicholas Hoult and Felicity Jones are in love and Felicity Jones gets kidnapped by a ring of drug smugglers led by Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley, so to save Felicity Jones, Nicholas Hoult is forced to get involved with these guys in an effort to save her life and now we have a big action thriller dumped in the end of February. Let's just say that it looks like these four actors lost a bet and were forced to do this movie. This was released in a small handful countries last year that included China, Japan and Germany in which it made just under $3 million total.
And finally we will end this by talking about the movie that has a high probability of making the least amount of money this month and that is the animated film Rock Dog. In this movie, the sheep live in harmony, but the dog that was bred to guard them would rather be a rock star than a guard dog. One day, a radio falls from his sky that gives him the motivation to go to the city to live his dream. Based on the animation and the story, as well as the lack of a major animation studio putting this together, this looks like it was made as a direct-to-DVD animated film aimed at three-year-olds that got thrown into theater last minute. This is distributed by Summit Entertainment, which also distributed the animated film "The Wild Life" this past September, which opened to $3.3 million and made $8.0 million total. That's probably a good range for this movie. Other comparisons from last year that come to mind include "Norm of the North" ($6.8 million/$17.1 million) and "Ratchet and Clank" ($4.9 million/$8.8 million).