So January is over, and, though a few surprises arose, it was fairly underwhelming. February is coming up, the month known for Valentine's Day, and, ironically, there are few romantic options for impending date nights this month. Although there's a void in "chick flicks", there are plenty of opportunities for solid hits, despite the consistently crowded weekends.
Super Bowl weekend is generally slow, even though last year set a new precedent when Chronicle and The Woman in Black both scored openings north of $20 million. With three wide releases this weekend, a repeat of last year seems a bit far-fetched, but it still has some promise.
Normally action films are a great draw at the box office, but Sylvester Stallone's first solo action film since 2001's Driven has two strikes against it already. After Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand and Jason Statham's Parker both bombed in their opening weekends, there's not much chance of this fairing much better. Add in the fact that it's competing with the Super Bowl, and it may fall victim to the current trend of dying muscle movies.
The first of three romantic films this month may be the perfect metaphor for the lack of movies appealing to females -- somehow in a desolate environment, romance ensues. The fact that Warm Bodies plays into the supernatural romance genre Twilight left behind (zombies instead of vampires) gives it a hand up this weekend, especially since the movie, unlike Twilight, is intentionally funny. Check out the review at the bottom of the review.
Super Bowl weekend is a great time for guys, and Al Pacino is definitely a guy's guy. Stand Up Guys features Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin star in this mobster action comedy about loyalty amongst friends. The problem is that it's opening in less than 1,000 theaters, and, due to the big game, will probably not see many seats filled.
Despite a few notable exceptions, comedies have been fairly big at the box office lately, especially R-rated comedies like Ted and 21 Jump Street. Identity Thief, from the director of Horrible Bosses, brings hot new comedy star Melissa McCarthy together with the brilliant Jason Bateman in this topical comedy. Seeing that Universal is distributing the film, which made hits out of 2011's Bridesmaids and the aforementioned Ted last year, this has a wonderful shot at being a hit.
Steven Soderbergh is (supposedly) retiring from directing, and Side Effects is poised to be the brilliant filmmaker's last film. Touting a cast featuring Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Channing Tatum, Soderbergh's farewell film, a medical drama about one woman's trials on an experimental medication, is poised to be critical favorite, even if it's not a box office success.
3D conversions haven't been doing extremely well the past two years, and Top Gun 3D is certainly not bound to take off. The re-release is opening in a paltry 300 theaters, and, with the death of the film's director Tony Scott still resonating throughout the film community, this conversion seems to be in bad taste to an extent.
This year's Valentine's day is quite a crowded one. With two romantic films competing head to head, the revival of a popular action franchise, and an animated kids' film, who will come up as the victor is anyone's guess at this point.
Just in time for Valentines Day comes an adaptation of the teen supernatural novel written by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, and the second film taking advantage of the end of Twilight. With a cast featuring Emmy Rossum, Emma Thompson, and Jeremy Irons, and a story about a young spellcaster falling in love with a mortal, it could be a fairly big hit.
Animated films were hit and miss in 2012, and this year's first animated film, Escape From Planet Earth, looks like a miss. Even with a voice cast featuring Rob Corrdry, Jane Lynch, Brendan Fraser, and William Shatner, the film's trailer looks ridiculous, and the story closely resembles Planet 51, which wasn't stellar either.
Even though it seems like the worst idea for a Valentine's Day date night, A Good Day to Die Hard is definitely a great counter-programming option for those who are looking for action and Bruce Willis spouting one-liners. The fifth installment of the classic action franchise seems it would have been more fitting in the Summer, but, seeing that it's been almost six years since the last Die Hard film, perhaps it's better late than never.
Channing Tatum's romantic film The Vow was a solid hit last Valentine's Day. Though Tatum is not in Safe Haven, Nicholas Sparks adaptations do fairly decent business. However, Josh Duhamel has yet to prove he can carry a film on his own, and Julianne Hough and Cobie Smulders aren't quite box office draws either, so it's a toss-up.
Aliens were huge last year, and Dark Skies looks to be a decent alien thriller. Paranormal Activity producer Oren Peli stunned with 2011's underrated Insidious, yet failed with last October's Sinister, so it could be another toss-up. However, going with psychological horror rather than blood-and-gore seems to give it a better shot.
Dwayne Johnson's stock is on the rise, hitting success with Journey 2 and Fast Five last year. The only problem with Snitch is that it's coming off of two action-star-driven pics bombing horribly, and Johnson's streak has been with the assistance with a large cast, where his solo films, like 2010's Faster, don't seem to fair well. Johnson will more than likely fare better with next month's G.I. Joe: Retaliation.