Steve’s Box Office Report: February 2012
Top 10 Films for the Month of February:
1. Safe House – $126,373,434
2. The Vow – $125,014,030
3. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island – $103,860,290
4. Act of Valor – $70,012,847
5. Chronicle – $64,575,175
6. This Means War – $54,760,791
7. The Woman in Black – $54,333,290
8. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance – $51,774,002
9. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D Re-Release – $43,456,382
10. Good Deeds – $35,025,791
1. Big Miracle – $20,157,300
2. The Secret World of Arrietty – $19,202,743
3. Wanderlust – $17,450,535
4. Gone – $11,682,205
February Winners: Safe House, the Vow, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Act of Valor, Chronicle, the Woman in Black, and Good Deeds
We continue on through the year of 2012 and after an extremely poor start to the year with January, the box office was already in a hole and on paper it didn’t look like the films of February would do much to improve things. However, we did have a few surprises from this month and it ended up being a lot better than I think many expected it to be. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the action film Safe House, a film about a CIA agent who must keep a former operative alive from mercenaries who are trying to kill them. The film would receive mixed reviews from critics though it would do very well by making over $126 million and would become a bit of a breakout hit amongst the other films released this month. The second film from this month that makes it into this category is the romance film the Vow, a film about a man who works to win back the love of his wife who loses her memory after a car accident. The film would receive negative reviews from critics though being one of the few romance films released this month, it would do well and made over $125 million though it just got beat out by Safe House for the top spot of the month. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the fantasy film Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, a sequel to the first film where Sean Anderson and his stepfather team up to find his grandfather in a mystical place. The film would receive mixed reviews from critics who felt it was a step down from its predecessor though it would finish with just over $103 million which was slightly more than its predecessor. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the action film Act of Valor, a film about a team of Navy SEALs go on a covert mission to save a CIA agent. The film would receive negative reviews from critics though the general audience enjoyed it as it would finish with just over $70 million which was a nice haul for this film. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the sci-fi film Chronicle, a film about three friends who gain telekinetic powers and use them for fun until one of them turns bad. The film would receive positive reviews from critics and ended up finishing with just over $64 million which put it in the top 5 of the month and it was a good win for this film. The next film from this month that makes it into this category is the horror film the Woman in Black, based on the novel of the same name where a lawyer comes to a town which is haunted by the ghost of a scorned woman. The film would receive mixed to positive reviews from critics and finished with just over $54 million which was solid for a horror film being released in February. The last film from this month that makes it into this category is the drama film Good Deeds, a film about a businessman who finds his life turned upside down after he meets a member of his cleaning crew. The film would receive negative reviews from critics and ended up finishing with just over $35 million which did put it in the top 10 for the month. The fact that we got 7 seven films from this month that made it into this category is quite impressive since February doesn’t usually have this many winners and it is a good sign for the month.
February Losers: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D Re-Release
Usually, it seems like there are more losers in the month of February than there are winners though we actually divert from that as we have a ton of winners this month and only one loser. Not only that, but the fact that the only loser for the month was a re-release as opposed to a new film that came out this month is another plus for the month as the re-release wasn’t expected to carry the month. After teasing it, the only loser of the month is the 3D re-release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the beginning of the prequel trilogy which tells the story of Anakin Skywalker’s fall from grace into becoming Darth Vader. Intended to be the kickoff of the entire Star Wars series being re-released in 3D throughout the year, this ended up being a failure as it would finish with just over $43 million and the idea was cut short as we will talk more about that later in the recap. Again, having the only loser of the month be a re-release was a good shot in the arm for the month and helped put things back on track after a bad January.
The Surprise/Story of February 2012: Romance takes a backseat to action as “Safe House” wins overachieving February 2012
Over the last few years that I have done these recaps, I have noticed a trend where February is more of a mixed bag when it comes to different genres being released and romance is no longer the dominant genre of the month. It does feel a bit weird given that Valentine’s Day is this month and you would think romance would be the controlling genre, but we have seen other genres have a lot of success over the years and this month ends up being another example of that. In the end, Safe House ends up taking the top spot for the month though the Vow nearly stole the spot away and only missed it by about $1 million which is as close as you can get, and throw in a solid run by Journey 2 and a few other films and the month ends up overachieving a bit which was good given how poorly the year started with January. Now thanks to this month, the box office seems a bit more stable as we head into the spring and with March having some potentially big films, it looks like 2012 is headed back in the right direction.
Overachiever of February 2012: The Vow
As I mentioned a minute ago, it seemed like romance was no longer the dominant genre in the month of February and that is clearly the case here as we only have one true romance film released this month with the Vow. You did have a few other films that were technically romance films though also included other genres, but the Vow was the only pure romance film that came out this month. With Valentine’s Day falling on a Tuesday, the film was released the weekend before and did end up finishing at number one for the weekend though Safe House nearly took the top spot away as only $1 million separated them. Coincidentally, Safe House would take the top spot of the month by only about $1 million with the Vow taking the runner up spot even after falling pretty far after Valentine’s Day passed and other films came out. However, there is no doubt that the Vow did very well when it came out and as a result, it ends up being the overachiever of the month though it was one of the weaker overachievers that we’ve had to this point.
Underachiever of February 2012: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D Re-Release
As I mentioned earlier, the fact that the only loser of the month was a re-release was a point in favor for the month and that same thing applies here as the 3D re-release of Episode I also ends up being the underachiever of the month. 2012 was marking the 35th anniversary of the release of the first Star Wars film back in 1977 and the idea to re-release the entire series in 3D seemed like a good idea, and after word came out that Disney was going to be acquiring Lucasfilm later in the year it seemed like a good lead-in for the deal. However, after the film ended up finishing with just over $43 million and was not as successful as was expected, the idea was quickly scrapped and we wouldn’t see a Star Wars film back in theaters until December of 2015 which we will get to down the road. Obviously, we will see what Disney ends up doing with this legendary franchise but as for this 3D re-release idea, it ends up being a big bust and this film ends up being the underachiever of the month though it is also a weak underachiever.
February 2012 Awards Watch: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and Good Deeds
Now that we come to the end of the 2011 awards season and are about to kick off the 2012 awards season, February usually doesn’t have a lot of films that end up in this category and this February is no exception as we only have two films from this month that make it into this category. The first film from this month that makes it into this category is the action film Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, the sequel to the 2007 film where Johnny Blaze attempts to redeem himself by protecting the son of the Devil and removing his curse of being the Ghost Rider. The film would receive negative reviews from critics and finished with just over $51 million which was a major step down from the previous film, and it would be nominated for two Golden Raspberry Awards (Worst Actor and Worst Prequel, Remake, Ripoff, or Sequel) and wouldn’t win either though it effectively ended Ghost Rider as a potential franchise. The other film from this month that makes it into this category is Good Deeds which was nominated for two Golden Raspberry Awards (Worst Actor and Worst Director) though it wouldn’t win either. Again, you don’t expect much from this month in terms of award contenders and it will be interesting to see if that changes anytime soon.
Overall Thoughts of February 2012:
Overall, the month of February for 2012 ended up being a better month than I think it had any reason to be and it was a refreshing surprise to see February actually do very well which we haven’t seen a lot to this point. Usually, February is a hit-or-miss month that tends to miss a lot more than it hits and this was one of the few times that it hit, and given that there were no major blockbusters released this month it makes it a better testament to the fact that the month did as well as it did. We managed to have three films from this month make over $100 million which was extremely rare for this month and nothing else dragged the month down completely, and the only real dog of the month was a re-release that didn’t effect things that much. 2012 has been an interesting year just two months in as January was a terrible month and things were not off to a good start, but this month helps the year rebound pretty significantly and all signs point to March continuing the upward trend. As for the month of February 2012, it is a pretty solid month that is head and shoulders better than January and 2012 is back on the right track.
Final Grade: B-