After a jubilant start of 2012 with resurging January all eyes are on the imminent romantic talkies. Deemed as the most romantic month of the year, February in the past has made otherwise good romances look great.
May it be the 2010's Nicholas Sparks hit adaptation Dear John that dethroned Avatar after its seven week reign, Valentine's Day record breaking opening weekend that still stands as the biggest February weekend, last year's surprise breakout hit Gnomeo and Juliet or the Adam Sandler-Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy Just Go With It February has been the month with romance in the air.
Sony brings Rachel McAdams-Channing Tatum amnesia romantic drama The Vow that seems to be perfect bait to lure audience over Valentine's Day. 50 First Dates showed that romance in memory loss can succeed but that was a comedic take on the subject and had star power of Adam Sandler and Drew Berrymore. Fox brings Director McG's Spy vs Spy comedy This Means War boasting the famed cast of Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon and Tom Hardy. While spy movies are not tried and tested formula in this month but this is romantic comedy. McG in the past has created entertaining if brainless action movies and this looks just another one with predicted storyline. The strength of this movie will lie in how many male audience it can attract over Valentine dates. Speaking of comedies Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd starer Universal's delayed feature Wanderlust looks like it will finally come out. Given the factors in play I will be surprised if it does anything better than The Switch or Love Happens cause the target audience would already be satisfied with earlier much buzzed offerings.
An array of thrillers hit theaters to counter these love movies. The best of the lot is the box office consistent Denzel Washington and incosistent Ryan Reynolds Action Thriller Safe House from Universal. While last year's Drive Angry with its Thriller on the Run theme did not click with the audience, the presence of Washington guarantees this movie will travel well at box office. Summit brings serial killer thriller with Amanda Seyfried in Gone, last year's Red Riding Hood proved that Seyfried herself isn't a big pull, but these movies do well in March so this one could have good legs if the movies turns out to be interesting enough. Relativity brings real life soldier story in Act of Valor, they have been successful in the past with this genre but that was due to either known actors or empty market, none of which this movie will enjoy.
Fox brings found footage Sci-fi Actioner Chronicle(2012) about teens finding super powers, this is a fresh concept with impressive trailers and agressive marketing. This movie possesses the best chance of a breakout this month. While found footage movies are always beneficial because of their low budget this is a mix of some untested flavors with lesser degree of horror components where found footage genre is very effective. Talking of mixes we also have the action horror sequel to Marvel Comics dark superhero in Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance, the prequel left sore taste among target audience and while the trailers have been better, there is nothing special that will be able to bring in new crowd while loosing a lot from the original's. Daniel Radcliffe's first major role after Harry Potter series comes with CBS Films's The Woman in Black. Riding soleley on Radcliffe's name the movie will test his box office prowess plus CBS Films haven't yet established themselves as a studio that can garner big hits.
Lionsgate brings drama Tyler Perry's Good Deeds from the titular actor, writer, director. Perry movies have done good in the past but most of them have come with empty market or having the cross-dressed character Madea. Outside of Madea his movies have been shaky as seen by 2010's For Colored Girls plus it is coming too close to Washington's Safe House still the yearly quota of Perry movies will ensure this movie does good deeds at box office. Universal brings Drew Barrymore, Kristen Bell, John Krasinki drama Big Miracle about antartica trapped whales. This inspired by true story looks very familiar to last year's disabled dolphin true story Dolphin Tale with much better and known cast but the latter had very strong reviews. Regardless this will do well with families which would be craving for something new after no new family friendly movies in January. If last year was any indication then families might also flock to year's first domestic animation release with Studio Ghibli's The Secret World of Arrietty. The movie has already made more than $100 million from its Japan run. While this might not reach the levels of Anime genre's successful Pokemon movies but it should still be one of the biggest anime-to-animation movies.
Releasing domestically after a month from its international release date is Warner Bros./Walden Media's sequel to the 2008 remake Journey to the Center of the Earth in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island this time with "Rock" Dwayne Johnson. While the reviews haven't been as kind as the previous entry they have been stable enough for it and the addition of Rock might attract new crowd though loosing a big audience from the original is certain. Fox adds an extra dimension to the first installment of George Lucas epic sci-fi franchise with the re-release of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (in 3D). Domestically these movies are really famous but the final three parts including this 1999 movie does not seem to something that new audience might be queuing up in cinema halls, still the strength of existing consistent fans will make sure this re-issue is a successful release.
In Limited Platform we have Chico & Rita the surprise Oscar nominated animated feature film which sees its minor expansion in domestic market. This spanish movie about the hardships of a music industry couple hopes to gain popularity with its romantic theme. Madonna's first directorial debut W.E., the costume design Oscar nominated movie also hits theaters but the otherwise lukewarm reviews might prevent the movie from major expansion. IFC is screening Ewan McGregor and Eva Green's Perfect Sense in micro-release. The reviews haven't been kind for this genre and it might fade quite quickly even with the talent involved.
February 2011 made $659.5 million ending up a disappointing fifth biggest but the lowest since 1995 years in terms of attendance. Last year saw the breakout of Gnomeo and Juliet, plus the surge of Just Go With it and Justin Bieber: Never say Never. This year we don't have bigger movies but overall the month looks more steady with much better medium sized hits plus the strength of January 2012 movies is much bigger. Lookout for my next edition Movies 2012 - March