Friday, February 14, 2014

Kevin Hart and Robocop are Set for a Shoot-Out at the Box Office

Love is in the air. And if we are to believe the reviews, love stinks. This likely won't stop people for trying to soak up some sap and sugar this evening at the cinemas. Scott analyzes what is traditionally the best weekend in what is typically a slow month.

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While we are in the typically slow time of the year for the box office, Valentine’s Day weekend is able to see a spike in theatre traffic as couples show their undying love for each other by participating in the courtship ritual of dinner and a movie. Just like last year, there will be four new movies coming out in wide release, but unlike last year, three of those movies are remakes of films from the 1980s. Audiences will have multiple choices of regurgitated material with which to woo a potential mate, but what will stand out on top?

Robocop is half man, half machine, and all cop, at least that is what I learned from the version starring Peter Weller in 1987. The movie was great for its time as it focused on the run down city of Detroit (almost a bit of a prophecy there) and the attempt of a company to replace human police officers with production units that housed the organic materials of humans. Evil corporation (they fix everything), human identity, and oodles of blood entertained the masses. I’d buy that for a dollar. The new film takes a bit of a different spin on the story, but I have to wonder just how well it will do based off of its PG-13 rating. What made the original such a blast was the insanity of it all, massive amounts of squibs and blood splatter. The third Robocop movie detoured from the R-rating, and that is where the franchise fell apart.

One also has to wonder just how acquainted the next generation of movie goers is with this film, and if it is only older folk who raised a brow when hearing the title. The character definitely has a place in pop culture history, as the city of Detroit is going to be erecting a statue of the cybernetic law enforcer sometime later this year. It is getting some good traffic on Twitter, but at the same time it had a weak opening Wednesday of just $2.8 million. On the other hand, action movies can succeed during this time of the year, as evidenced by the $24 million opening of A Good Day to Die Hard last year. And then again, there is no major star taking up the lead role. It is so hard to tell where this one will land. A number I see thrown around a lot for it right now is $28 million for the weekend, but I think it may actually disappoint a little.

Robocop Opening Weekend Prediction - $25 million

The movie that I believe will lead the way among the new releases is About Last Night, a couples comedy that has Kevin Hart in it. It was interesting to see the marketing for this movie change gears and focus more on the Hart name in the last little while, but who could blame them for doing that? The man is a hot comedy commodity right now, just as Melissa McCarthy was last year. This is the type of movie that a lot more couples could possibly agree upon than Robocop, although I know what choice I would make (actually, I would just stay home and watch the original Robocop… your move, creep). It is not opening in as many theatres as Robocop, but I think it could end up edging it out and beating it by a hair.

About Last Night Opening Weekend Prediction - $26 million

If guys have their way this weekend, they will be seeing guns, bullets, and ED-209. If girls have their way this weekend, they will be seeing Endless Love. The best thing this film has going for it is the fact that it is a flat out romantic drama released on the best day of the year for it. What it does not have going for it is much else. Alex Pettyfer is not an established draw as of yet, but this movie could help him in that direction. There has been a high amount of Twitter activity going for it the last few days, but that is almost a double edged sword as there is roughly one negative tweet for every two positive tweets. This amount of negativity coupled with a dreadful 17% on Rotten Tomatoes makes me believe that Friday night is its time to shine, and after that it could see some quick decline.

Endless Love Opening Weekend Prediction - $20 million

And finally we get to the last horse in the race, Winter’s Tale, a film that stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, and Colin Farrell. I have so little confidence in my other predictions, but this one I am feeling good in, at least in predicting that it will finish last among the new releases. While it has a good cast, it is being reviewed horribly; something which could keep away the audiences that would be more likely to see this film. On top of that, it is a romance/drama/fantasy, and I don’t know just how much of a market there is for such a film right now. Personally, I found the trailers for this film to be incredibly boring, and it may be that others did as well as it is getting very little Twitter activity. Farrell did not fare well in the box office with his lead role in Dead Man Down ($5 million opening weekend), and Farrell may be hoping that now it’s time to erase that mistake.

Winter’s Tale Opening Weekend Prediction - $10 million

(Christopher: I follow a decent amount of film writers and critics on Twitter, so I've seen a good deal of tweets for Endless Love and Winter's Tale. The former has mostly been in the vein of "this is so awful, but I may watch it again in a year just so I can laugh out loud one more time." The latter has been something like "I'm surprised there aren't more fans of the book rioting over how bad this story has been massacred."  So yeah, not ringing endorsements.)

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