Where’re all my single people at? Valetine’s Day weekend at the movies doesn’t have to suck for us, especially with offerings such as The Wolfman. Either way, the Valetine’s/Presidents weekend and the weekend before has slowly become a pretty hot spot on the release calendar for movies not confident they can compete with the big boys of summer and winter, but can make some noise in the lesser months despite the so-so reviews many of them expect to garner. That makes this weekend a busy one at the movies for everyone: single, hitched, young, old, etc. Heck, last year’s box-office winner during this weekend? Friday the 13th. That was, of course, because He’s Just Not That Into You came out the week before.
There are definitely choices in the new releases, or you can keep on that quest to see and rent all the ten Best Picture nominees (I’m going to try and nab An Education this weekend to finish my list). No matter, this is a great movie weekend. Don’t let it go to waste.
The Word: Can you count the number of stars in this film? I would venture a large population of Americans can’t – and so a large population of Americans will go see Valentine’s Day, the more explicitly named version of last year’s star-studded He’s Just Not That Into You. You can’t help but think they’re overcompensating plot for big names. Katherine Fugate (The Prince & Me) writes and legendary Pretty Woman filmmaker Garry Marshall directs.
Rotten Tomatoes: 15% (very bad)
My Thoughts: One of the latest techniques in Hollywood would be the “but it’s got all those people in it” maneuver. I’m not buying, especially after He’s Just Not That Into You was not well-received last year. Garry Marshall is certainly more than competent at directing romantic comedy, but any hope that gives you is dashed by an a horrific 15% on Rotten Tomatoes, plus, they’re saying it’s not even funny.
Recommendation: Worth dismissin’. Guys with girlfriends can thank me later for arming them with above information.
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Directed by: Chris Columbus
Written by: Craig Titley, Rick Riordan (novel)
Starring: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Pierce Brosnan
The Word: Chris Columbus, director of the first two Harry Potter films, tries to jumpstart what Fox hopes will be their big pre-teen fantasy novel franchise. Don’t expect Potter quality or numbers at the box office, but “Percy Jackson” could prove to be the most successful next attempt. Whereas countless other fantasy films geared for the tweens have failed, the anticipation for Percy seems to be pretty real. The story is about a teenager who discovers the world of Greek Mythology isn’t, well, mythology, and that he himself is a demi-god, son of the sea god Poseidon, in fact. The Lightning Thief (referring to Zeus’ thunderbolt, presumably) is the first of five books by Rick Riordan.
Rotten Tomatoes: 55% (okay)
My Thoughts: It was inevitable, but the reviews are already drawing all the Potter comparisons. I don’t expect Percy to rival it, but it’s not unreasonable to think it could end up a likable fantasy, something that really hasn’t happened outside of the Potter franchise with exception of the first Chronicles of Narnia film. Not how anyone would care to spend Valentine’s Day weekend, but I don’t think most 12-year-old boys reading Greek myth fantasy novels have to worry about that much.
Recommendation: Worth renting later for anyone that liked fantasy at that age (or mythology). Using young cousin or nice/nephew as an excuse is optional.
Directed by: Joe Johnston
Written by: Andrew Kevin Walker, David Self, Curt Siodmak (original 1941 screenplay)
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt, Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving
The Word: Nothing says “I love you” on Valentine’s Day like taking your girlfriend to see The Wolfman. Seriously though, if you’re a guy who can pull that off, tip of the cap to you, sir. The big story with this remake of one of the original monster movies is how it bounced all around the release calendar. Originally put in production to be released in 2007, it got started late, was supposed to release this time last year, got moved to November 2009 and then ended up this weekend. I’m sure Universal is glad this is going to be over with.
Rotten Tomatoes: 34% (not good)
My Thoughts: Originally fairly high on my list of films to see this winter that might be worth it, my interest has waned and the not-so-favorable reviews haven’t helped. I still think this might be one of the more entertaining films released so far in 2010 that isn’t just God-awful, especially with Sir Anthony Hopkins in the mix as well as the lovely Emily Blunt.
Recommendation: Worth renting later, but in a pinch, it’s my pick of the weekend.
Box Office Predictions
Never thought I’d see the day again where I was predicting Avatar for number one. Obviously it was a mistake last week, only my third failure to predict No. 1 since I started this gig in September. This week I think I have to ride the favorite to the top and that’s Valentine’s Day. Last year’s big-cast romantic comedy He’s Just Not That Into You as my barometer, I’m predicting a bold $38 million.
I’m also fairly convinced that Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief is going to do really well. With a few hundred theaters less than “V-Day” and the huge demographic that will attract, I had to keep it down. However, I really think this movie can make $33-35 million. Let’s say that total was ambitious and “V-Day’s” was modest. They could, however, end up both being ambitious, who knows.
Does that leave enough for my No. 3 pick, The Wolfman, to do well? I think so. Should be $20 M left in there, especially after what Friday the 13th managed in 2009. Then should be last week’s winner Dear John, still performing well after a huge opening weekend plus it’s still a Valentine’s Day option. I didn’t factor it taking away from the “V-Day” total, but I’m not changing anything around. $17 M is fair after last week’s big debut. Avatar is poised to take its biggest hit yet, but I’m going to be modest and say $15 million.
- Valentine’s Day
- Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
- The Wolfman
- Dear John