February 1st - 3rd-
February 8th - 10th-
Getting a head start on the Valentine's Day week will be the adult-targeted comedy What Men Want. This is a remake of sorts of the popular romantic comedy "What Women Want," which starred Mel Gibson as a man who gains the ability to hear women's thoughts. This helps him realize that most women don't like him, which in turn helps him work to repair those relationships. "What Men Want" flips the script on that by starring Taraji P. Henson as a sports agent who gains the ability to hear men's thoughts, which helps her know how to gain an advantage in her male-dominated field. While "What Women Want" is your traditional PG-13 romantic comedy, and was a huge success in the year 2000, "What Men Want" does seem to be leaning heavier on the comedy aspect of things, even though it does have a romance side arc, and also carries with it an stronger R rating. This could work out, though, given that we haven't had too many adult-themed comedies recently. While comedies are hard to predict at the box office, producer Will Packer has an excellent track record, thus this does have potential to match the opening weekend totals of fellow Will Packer produced comedies "Night School" ($27.3 million) in 2018 and "Girl's Trip" ($31.2 million) in 2017.
The third movie of the weekend sees Liam Neeson once again searching for revenge in his new movie "Taken 4"... I mean Cold Pursuit. I joke around with that, but tell me if this premise sounds familiar. Liam Neeson is minding his own business until a group of people do a misdeed to one of his children, causing Neeson to find who did it and get revenge. In "Taken," the people kidnapped his daughter. In "Cold Pursuit," the people killed his son. So "Cold Pursuit" hits a bit darker, but it's a similar idea. Neeson's method of revenge in the movie primarily involves him discreetly getting revenge using his snowplow that he drives around with. Neeson has been rather regular with these gritty action movies, so it's easy to point out a range here as to what this might make. Without the benefit of the "Taken" brand name, said comparisons point this one to the low teens for its opening. The best comparisons are 2018's "The Commuter" ($13.7 million), " 2015's "Run All Night" ($11.0 million) and 2014's "A Walk Among the Tombstones" ($12.8 million). If the R-rating here catches enough people's attention, 2011's "The Grey" ($19.7 million) could be a comparison, but "Run All Night" and "A Walk Among the Tombstones" were also R, so it all depends on the reaction.
Most likely to get left in the dust this weekend is the horror film The Prodigy. This is a movie distributed by Orion Pictures, a studio trying desperately to make a comeback. Back in the day, Orion released movies such as "Dances with Wolves," "Platoon" and "Silence of the Lambs." But then they went bankrupt and shut down, with their final release being in 1997. They were officially revitalized by MGM in September 2017, with their first release being 2018's "Every Day," a moderate release that only made $6.1 million overall. They tried again with "Anna and the Apocalypse," but that barely hit 100 theaters, so the comparison isn't good. With "The Prodigy" they are going big with a 2,500 theater release, but the interest level or awareness doesn't seem to be super high. The plot centers around a young boy who is a genius kid, but starts to show disturbing behavior, which causes his mother to suspect that he's being possessed. The budget on this type of film is never too high, so the bar of success is most likely quite low, but nevertheless a good comparison might be to November's "The Possession of Hannah Grace," which opened to $6.4 million. If it gets really lucky, it could even hit the $9.3 million that last February's "Winchester" opened up to.
February 13th - 18th-
Despite the slate of new releases, the winner of this weekend looks to be "The LEGO Movie 2." If it follows the trajectory of "The LEGO Batman Movie," that would mean a $32.7 million second weekend. "The LEGO Movie" itself scored $49.8 million in weekend two. Somewhere in that range is where the sequel will hit. Meanwhile, the top new release is looking like it will be Happy Death Day 2U. This is a follow-up to the surprise teen horror flick "Happy Death Day," which was a surprise hit in October 2017, opening to $26.0 million. The movie revolved around a college girl who got stuck on a Groundhog Day style time loop, where she had to relive the day of her murder over and over until she was able to figure out who her killer was. As it turns out, her time loop adventures with death aren't over as she gets stuck in it again, this time with the Baby-face killer seemingly also going after all of her friends. The original film was very self-aware if its silly premise, which is why it was able to entertain its target audience so well. Predicting how a horror sequel does is also quite tricky. Sometimes they explode. Sometimes they are DOA. But the reaction to the trailers seems positive, so there's a good chance this opens in the same general range as the original.
After a very long journey to get to theaters, it appears that Alita: Battle Angel will finally be arriving. This is based on the Japanese cyberpunk manga series titled "Battle Angel Alita" or "Gunnm," which began in 1990 and has produced several volumes or chapters since. James Cameron, director of "Avatar," "Titanic," "The Terminator," "The Terminator 2" and "Aliens" has stated in interviews that he's been trying to get this made for a long time, since at least the early 2000's, but has been too busy with "Avatar" and all of its sequels to get it done. Eventually he settled in as simply being producer, while Robert Rodriguez, director of "Sin City" was hired as director. Even after being finished, the movie has bounced around on the release schedule quite a bit. The movie stars Rosa Salazar as Alita, a human-like robot girl who is very good at her fighting skills. Thus the movie is yet another one of these human vs. technology films that we've seen a hundred times, which is why the initial reviews here are mediocre. It's being praised for its visuals, but it was a huge uphill battle with this premise, and it looks like its a battle that it'll lose. The very similar live action "Ghost in the Shell" movie opened to $18.7 million in 2017, a total that looks like it'll be on the high end of the range for "Alita."
Battling for positioning in the top five with "Happy Death Day 2U" and "Alita" will be our big Valentine's Day movie, Isn't It Romantic. This stars Rebel Wilson as a girl who has always thought that what happens in romcoms is all fantasy and never realistic to life. One day she is mugged in a train station and knocked out, which somehow puts her into a PG-13 romantic comedy fantasy world where everything is perfect and she's the only one who realizes what's going on. Thus if this movie hits the notes right, it could be the type of self-aware comedy that has entertains those who are well aware of the romcom cliches as the movie spends its time making fun of all of them, while also potentially being a decent romcom itself. With the "Fifty Shades of Grey" franchise being officially complete, there's a bit of a void this February in terms of Valentine's Day box office that this movie and last weekend's "What Men Want" will attempt to fill. For "Isn't It Romantic," the most obvious comparison is Rebel Wilson's own "How to Be Single," which hit theaters at this exact time in 2016, opening to $17.9 million. The biggest difference with these two is that "How to Be Single" was R, while "Isn't It Romantic" remains PG-13, but the totals should still be similar.
The final film of this extended weekend will be the wrestling drama Fighting with My Family. This is based on the 2012 documentary "The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family," and tells the story of Saraya "Paige" Bevis, who grew up in a family of professional wrestlers and eventually went onto be a two-time WWE Divas Champion. The movie follows the drama behind her getting into the WWE, especially in regards to her making it in while her brother didn't. Florence Pugh plays Paige in the movie while Jack Lowden plays her brother Zak. Their parents are played by Nick Frost and Lena Headey. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is an executive producer of the film and also makes a brief appearance, playing himself in the movie. The exact theater count on this one hasn't exactly been revealed, making it a bit tricky to project its total, but it did have its debut at the Sundance Film Festival, which just recently finished up. It came out of there with positive reviews from the Sundance crowd. It has an 8.0 on IMDb and a 86 percent on Rotten Tomatoes after 22 reviews. Potential comparisons that I came up with for its opening weekend are "McFarland, USA" ($11.0 million), "Eddie the Eagle" ($6.1 million) and "The Miracle Season" ($3.9 million). But again, theater count will be huge.
February 22nd - 24th-
Since there's no other movie this weekend, allow me to take some time to discuss this movie's box office potential. The first "How to Train Your Dragon" opened to $43.7 million in 2010. It quickly became a well loved film, thus word of mouth pushed it to $217.6 million. Based on good will from the first one, "How to Train Your Dragon 2" was expected to hit $250-300 million domestically. Yet despite great reviews of its own, it only opened to $49.5 million in 2014 and fell harder than the first, ending up with $177.0 million. That's certainly not a failure by any stretch of the imagination. But it was a surprising underperformance. That leaves "The Hidden World" at an interesting spot. It's already had several early screenings and is soaring high at an incredible 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with over 50 reviews counted. But what does that mean for its box office? Despite doing better with its recent films, Dreamworks still hasn't had a $200 million film since "Madagascar 3" in 2012 and great reviews didn't help the second movie either. One also has to consider the direct competition from "The LEGO Movie 2" and next month's "Dumbo." So it makes sense to peg this movie at about $45-50 million for its opening and a final total that finishes around $150-175 million.