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2012 Spring Preview Wrap-Up: February

February 3, 2012

Big Miracle

Box Office Prediction: $50 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "It has that feel good quality that makes a lot of minor films successful. Drew Barrymore hasn't had a hit in awhile, so the circumstances are a bit of a challenge for her."
Box Office Results: $20.2 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Audiences are certainly fickle and with Drew Barrymore, they are amazingly so. This appealing, family film about stranded whales should have been a bigger hit; yet, it failed to manage a very exciting box office result. The fact that it released so early in the year should have been a good indication of the level of support test audiences gave the film.

Chronicle

Box Office Prediction: $40 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "Part of me wants to predict a slightly higher total, making it a success on the same level of young adult-friendly I Am Number Four last year around this time. However, the film hasn't had nearly the press it needs, so I'm thinking it may end up a failure."
Box Office Results: $64.6 M
Thoughts: [Success] This is what happens when I ignore my gut reaction...at least sometimes. The film not only outperformed my prediction, but did admirably well for a poorly advertised found-footage style superhero movie.

The Woman in Black

Oscar Prospects: What I said: "If the film is a huge success, I could see art directors and costume designers giving it a few mentions, but opening so early in the year may mean the film is forgotten by year's end."
Oscar Results: So-so box office coupled with less than ecstatic reviews may keep this film from serious Oscar consideration, especially considering just how many art direction/costume design-baity films are coming out this year.
Box Office Prediction: $65 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "Daniel Radcliffe is the latest franchise star to attempt to strike out on his own. So far Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart of the Twilight films have had little success and Radcliffe's co-stars Rupert Grint and Emma Watson have had downright flops. However, Radcliffe has a potent combination in this film. Gothic horror tends to draw large audiences to the theater. Add to that curiosity of how well Radcliffe can lead a film on his own (the best actor of the five previously mentioend) may send the film higher than expected."
Box Office Results: $54.3 M
Thoughts: [Success] Radcliffe didn't do too badly on his first outing, scoring a respectable $54 million. Certainly, it's not the harbinger of a stellar big screen career most expect from an actor hot off a hugely successful franchise, but something so popular is hard to overcome and only after another half-decade will we really know what kind of staying power Radcliffe will have.

February 10, 2012

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Box Office Prediction: $70 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "The first film was a surprising success, but what made the first film so entertaining for a lot of people doesn't seem to be in evidence here. Why else would they be releasing the film in February and not July where the original debuted. I think my total is a bit overzealous since the Star Wars 3D feature will likely cannibalize available theaters."
Box Office Results: $103.9 M
Thoughts: [Success] Ensuring an inevitable third film, this franchise proves to be something of a bizarre success. Dwayne Johnson can't open films by himself, but franchises he has little problem with. Josh Hutcherson hadn't had The Hunger Games exposure yet, so his appearance in the predecessor didn't guarantee an audience. However, fans fo the first film had no problem showing up again.

Safe House

Box Office Prediction: $55 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington are both uneven when it comes to the box office, but the premise alone, set against its competition may make it something of a success, though a minor one."
Box Office Results: $126.2 M
Thoughts: [Major Success] Alone, Reynolds hasn't been very successful at the box office; however, in tandem with the popular Denzel Washington, he had a stellar outing with this unexpected hit. Washington is probably a key factor in its success as Reynolds still doesn't have the undying devotion of a specific subset of audiences that they'll come out for just about anything he's in.

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace 3D

Box Office Prediction: $75 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "Part of me hopes that George Lucas' latest money grab will be an abject failure, but as the success of retread The Devil Inside proves, audiences will buy just about anything."
Box Office Results: $43.5 M
Thoughts: [Minor Flop] Not everything will be The Lion King. Proving that everything Lucas churns out for a decreasingly rabid fanbase isn't going to be an unmitigated success, this This showing, while not spectacular is on the same level as Disney's recent 3D release of Beauty and the Beast. This means that it probably has little to do with the disgraceful state of the Lucasian Empire, but more to do with the seeming lack of disinterest in 3D re-releases...The Lion King notwithstanding.

The Vow

Box Office Prediction: $30 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "A corny premise, a hostile box office environment for romantic dramas and a slate of heavily male-oriented films this weekend may spell death for this film, though it could be appropriate counter-programming."
Box Office Results: $125.0 M
Thoughts: [Major Success] Proving that the Valentine's date movie is alive and well, Channing Tatum is proving to be one hell of a film opener, much to my surprise all things considered. Were this film released at any other point in the year, it would have likely bombed, but paired with the romantic holiday, the movie soared to unexpected heights.

February 17, 2012

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Box Office Prediction: $100 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "Another film that will likely be a success in spite of itself. Nicolas Cage hasn't had a hit in a long time, but this film has a built-in audience and the original had a smashing run. I see little reason not to expect this to be a success even if I hope it won't be."
Box Office Results: $51.8 M
Thoughts: [Flop] I'd say that this should put a nail in the awful Ghost Rider franchise, but I have my doubts. This is an undoubtedly disappointing result at less than half the total accumulated by its predecessor. Most sequels don't have this level of dissipation.

The Secret World of Arrietty

Oscar Prospects: What I said: "Animated Feature isn't as hostile an environment to anime as the American marketplace, so it could compete."
Oscar Results: The film still has some competition this year, but a lot of expected Grand Slammer this year have come out with a lackluster swing, meaning the always quirky feature animation branch could send another Miyazaki-associated pic into the Best Animated Feature race, though a win is highly unlikely.
Box Office Prediction: $20 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "If Hayao Miyazaki's most acclaimed features couldn't break the $15 million barrier, this Miyazaki-looking anime film may face similar hurdles. The one bonus this film has over Miyazaki's is that it's being advertised heavily and is opening wide, something Miyazaki's films unfortunately never got."
Box Office Results: $19.2 M
Thoughts: [Success] Almost exactly where this film was expected to finish, it proves there is still a market, albeit a small one, for Japanese animation in the U.S.

This Means War

Box Office Prediction: $60 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "It's a novel enough concept that a lot of curious moviegoers will flock to see it. It's likely, however, that the film will make most of its gross in its opening weekend then quickly crash and burn out"
Box Office Results: $54.8 M
Thoughts: [Minor Success] Not bnefiting from the Valentine's Day crowd directly, the film undoubtedly benefited from busy couples not finding their way to the theater until later weekends. Not a success on the level of The Vow, these numbers aren't disastrous.

February 24, 2012

Act of Valor

Box Office Prediction: $60 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "World War II was a unique situation wherein audiences wanted to take their mind off war and watch pro-U.S. propaganda. This semi-fictional film about Navy Seals starring real Navy Seals seems like just the type of pro-government film that would have done brilliant box office 60 years ago but will struggle to find an audience today."
Box Office Results: $70.0 M
Thoughts: [Success] Never underestimate the impact a war film can have on a male-driven marketplace. Sure, it isn't a comic book movie type result, but this total is well above expectations and should put plenty of money in conservative coffers and provide plenty of impetus for similar films in the near future.

Gone

Box Office Prediction: $35 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "Amanda Seyfried isn't a box office draw and this female-skewed film doesn't seem like the kind of movie that does well in the theater, but does ok on DVD."
Box Office Results: $11.7 M
Thoughts: [Major Flop] You can stick a fork in Seyfried. She's done. This abysmal finale may have just cemented her career as one of the worst headliners in recent memory. This is so jaw-droppingly awful that my insultingly low prediction was well over the result. Seyfried had been tested before, but producers saw the success of Mamma Mia and assumed she could do it by herself (but she had help from Meryl Streep on that one)...they were wrong.

Tyler Perry's Good Deeds

Box Office Prediction: $60 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "Never underestimate the power of Tyler Perry. His films while not mega blockbusters are generally highly profitable. Thanks to smaller budgets, Perry's films have a target demographic that will turn up no matter how savaged the film is. It's an almost-guaranteed success. What keeps it from being absolutely certain is that Perry has failed a few times and without his signature Madea character in tow, his target audience may not be as keen to give the film their time. Then there's the flop For Colored Girls."
Box Office Results: $35.0 M
Thoughts: [Minor Flop] The once unquenchable thirst for Tyler Perry films seems to be abating. While the non-Madea films aren't that solid of performers, this is still a rather disappointing total and looking forward to the performance of Madea's Witness Protection, it's likely the star has been tarnished and is fading, but for what reason I'm not quite sure.

Wanderlust

Box Office Prediction: $45 M
Box Office Expectations: What I Said: "I don't have high expectations for this. It was moved from a more cushy spot in 2011 and shunted into late February, a sign that the studio isn't confident in its capabilities. Still, its likable leads could help it along."
Box Office Results: $17.3 M
Thoughts: [Flop] Jennifer Aniston isn't a box office draw and Paul Rudd isn't selling tickets the way he should be. This total may very well kill any chances either actor has of headlining a film alone or in tandem with other low-box office-capable stars, requiring them to team up with more famous people who can at least sell tickets.

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