Steve’s Box Office Report: February 2009
Top 10 Films for the Month of February:
1. He’s Just Not That Into You – $93,953,653
2. Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail – $90,508,336
3. Coraline – $75,286,299
4. Friday the 13th – $65,002,019
5. Confessions of a Shopaholic – $44,277,350
6. Under the Sea 3D – $35,970,523
7. The Pink Panther 2 – $35,922,978
8. Push – $31,811,527
9. The International – $25,450,527
10. The Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience – $19,162,740
1. Fired Up – $17,231,291
2. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li – $8,742,034
February Winners: He’s Just Not That Into You, Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail, and Friday the 13th
So as we head into the second month of 2009, it was pretty clear that the year was already off to a solid start with the films that came out back in January. Unlike the last two years where February had to try and make up ground from how lackluster January was, this February had a slight advantage in that it could actually build on the momentum from January. While nothing from this month had that same impact that a few of the films from January did, there were still a decent amount of winners from this month to push the month up. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the romance film He’s Just Not That Into You, based on the self-help book of the same name which follows nine different people and their romantic struggles. Despite the mixed reviews from critics and coming out a week before Valentine’s Day which was a bit of a puzzling move, the film still did well enough in its opening weekend and carried that momentum into Valentine’s Day and ended up finishing with just under $100 million which was a major success for this movie. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the comedy film Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail, a film where the title character is sent to jail due to her anger issues. Being the first film featuring Madea since 2006’s Madea’s Family Reunion, there was some good hype going into the film and it ended up having a very successful run despite the mixed to negative reviews as it nearly ended up overtaking He’s Just Not That Into You for the top spot of the month. The third and final film from this month that makes it into this category is the horror film Friday the 13th, a reboot of the classic film which sees a group of teens try to survive Jason Voorhees at Camp Crystal Lake. Despite the negative reviews from critics who felt the reboot was unnecessary, the film would end up doing very well coming out on the titular Friday the 13th and led one of the busiest President’s Day weekends in history although it would end up falling fast after that and didn’t even finish in the top 3 for the month. So while this month doesn’t quite live up to how well January did and did not capitalize on the momentum, it was still a fairly successful month and overall did better than February 2008 did.
February Losers: The Pink Panther 2 and the International
So one constant that has been going since I started doing these recaps is that the last two Februarys have somehow only managed to have one loser of the month. This has been slightly surprising considering that most of the films that are released in February don’t seem to make a lot of money, but luckily for them their production budgets are usually small enough that they don’t make it into this category. Having said that, the trend is finally bucked here as we have more than one film make it into this category though it ends up just being one more which means we only have two films in this category. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the comedy the Pink Panther 2, a sequel film that sees Inspector Clouseau team up with other detectives to stop a criminal mastermind dubbed the Tornado. Much like its predecessor, the film would end up receiving negative reviews from critics who felt it squandered the talent they had, but unlike the previous film which did very well despite the negative reviews this one did not fare as well and would end up being a major disappointment. The second and final film from this month that makes it into this category is the political thriller film the International, a film about an Interpol agent and an American district attorney who investigate corruption within a merchant bank in Luxembourg. The film would receive mixed reviews from critics who felt that while the theme of the film was unique, the plot was very uneven and it would end up making just over $25 million before fading from theaters rather quickly. So while this category is still relatively low for the month of February in terms of the films included, it will be interesting going forward if the number of films in this category increases.
The Surprise/Story of February 2009: Romance blossoms as He’s Just Not That Into You wins February 2009
Since I started doing these recaps back in May 2006, one thing I have noticed when doing the last two Februarys is that it seems like romantic films tend to take a backseat to other films released during the month. It seems a bit of a questionable tactic considering that this month has Valentine’s Day though it’s not as major as the President’s Day weekend, but you would figure that at least one romantic film has a good run especially if it comes out around Valentine’s Day. So after the last two years of having a different genre make it to the top of the month, this year sees a romantic film actually take the top spot as He’s Just Not That Into You finishes atop of the month and finishes with just under $100 million. While the month also saw Madea Goes to Jail have a great run and nearly take the top spot away, He’s Just Not That Into You managed to do just enough and help establish the ensemble romantic film that we would see over the next few years though it would be interesting to see if those films do just as well. It will also be interesting to see going forward if romantic films take control over the next few years or if other genres would take back control of the month.
Overachiever of February 2009: He’s Just Not That Into You
So in looking at the films from this month, it was a bit of a challenge in choosing which film deserves the title of overachiever of the month. While nothing stood out in a major way and broke away to reach the $100 million mark, there were still at least one or two films who did very well and were in contention for this category. In the end, the film that ends up receiving the title of overachiever of the month is He’s Just Not That Into You which may seem like a cop out, but it was still worthy of the title. This was really the first romantic film to feature an ensemble cast of big names involved and having various stories intertwined within the main storyline, and it would be a style of film that we would come to see over the next few years. Even though the film received mixed reviews from critics who felt that it didn’t take advantage of its cast, there was just enough interest in it for people to watch it and in addition to being released around Valentine’s Day help prop it up to the top of the month and this leads to it being named the overachiever of the month.
Underachiever of February 2009: Coraline
Much like in choosing the overachiever of the month, it was a bit of a challenge in choosing a film that deserves the title of underachiever of the month. There were a couple of films that were released this month that maybe should’ve done a bit better than what was expected of them, but nothing really bombed when it was expected to succeed and most of the films released ended up doing fairly well or at least decent enough. But there was a film from this month that looked like it could’ve been a surprise hit of the month and that was the stop-motion animation film Coraline, a film about a girl who uncovers a secret parallel world that holds a dark secret. This was the first film released from the new studio Laika headed up by Henry Selick who had directed The Nightmare Before Christmas, and as the stop-motion animation style was still relatively fresh this was a unique film that received critical acclaim from critics. The film would go on to make over $75 million and would become the second highest grossing film in terms of stop-motion animation, and the numbers seem like it shouldn’t belong in this category when you think about it. However, despite the buzz surrounding the film and the positive critical reception, I think the film was viewed as being too scary for kids and families avoided it which led to it not being able to have a better run that it probably should’ve had. It would be a while before another stop-motion animation film is released and we will see how that fares, but at the end of the day Coraline ends up being the underachiever of the month though it is a fairly weak underachiever compared to previous ones.
February 2009 Awards Watch: Coraline, the Pink Panther 2, and the Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience
As I have mentioned a few times, February is the culmination of the awards season as the Golden Raspberry Awards and Academy Awards usually take place during this month so any films released this month are included in the next year’s award season. As a result, February usually doesn’t see a large number of award contenders being released though we do see a few films this year make it into this category. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is Coraline which was one of the few critically acclaimed films from this month, and it would be nominated for one Academy Award (Best Animated Feature) which it wouldn’t win as well as one Golden Globe Award (Best Animated Feature) which it wouldn’t win though the fact that it was nominated for both was a big success for the film and Laika. The second film from this month that makes it into this category is the Pink Panther 2 which was the exact opposite of Coraline in terms of critical acclaim, and it would be nominated for two Golden Raspberry Awards (Worst Actor and Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off, or Sequel) though it wouldn’t win either one. The third and final film from this month that makes it into this category is the concert film the Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience, a film chronicling the Jonas Brothers and their Burin’ Up Tour while promoting their new album. The film would receive negative reviews from critics and was nowhere near as successful as the Hannah Montana concert film the previous year, and it would win one Golden Raspberry Award (Worst Actor) while being nominated for one more (Worst Screen Couple). It is always interesting to see films from February be nominated for awards for the next year though it is rare to see them get nominated for that year’s awards which we’ll have to see going forward if it happens.
Overall Thoughts of February 2009:
So overall, the month of February 2009 ended up being a pretty pedestrian month and was not able to continue the momentum that January had going into the month. It was a bit of a surprise that January ended up doing as well as it did considering how poor the previous two years were, and you hoped that February would be able to keep that going though ultimately it was unable to do so. There were a few successes for the month as a few films did make a good amount of money and it did fare a bit better than the previous year, but it wasn’t quite as good as 2007 was in terms of money made. 2009 has been a very interesting year thus far just two months in and while February was not as successful as it could’ve been, we were still in a solid state and we will see if March can regain some of the lost momentum. As for the month of February in 2009, it was a pretty decent month that had a little success but could not match what January ended up doing.
Final Grade: C-