Box Office Pick’em: February 2013

With January in the bag, Aaron got to choose first in February’s Box Office Pick’em. I bet you can guess what his first pick was.

Before we begin, we’re starting something new for February. At the bottom of this post, you’ll find a poll where you can vote for who you think will win the month.

Pick #1: Aaron

Selection: ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’

Reasoning: Since I won January’s overall total, I find myself with the difficult decision of which movie to pick first in February. Like the dog days of August and September, the second month of the year always feels like an unceremonious dumping ground for a load of movies that wouldn’t hack it with the big boys during the prime moviegoing months. However, there are a few promising titles this month. Having the first pick is quite the conundrum, though. I have two movies that I’m eyeing, and I know that if I pick one, Luke will most likely grab the other. (I won’t mention both movies yet in the off chance that Luke is completely clueless.) So, with the first pick of the February draft, I select ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’. Sure, it’s tough taking on a big-budget action movie at the beginning of the draft, but John McClane has staying power. Yippee-ki-yay!

Estimated Budget: $125 million

Pick #2: Luke

Selection: ‘Identity Thief’

Reasoning: Being the first full-on comedy to hit the big screen in months (since I don’t count spoof movies as comedies, ‘A Haunted House’ isn’t worthy of that title), I suspect that ‘Identity Thief’ will do pretty well. Jason Bateman has been loved for more than a decade now, and Melissa McCarthy won over a lot of people with her role in ‘Bridesmaids’. I suspect that ‘Identity Thief’ will hold its own. I don’t know if this is the pick that Aaron was eyeballing, but there are a few others I’m hoping to snag before he does.

Estimated Budget: TBD

Pick #3: Aaron

Selection: ‘Warm Bodies’

Reasoning: Frankly, I’m surprised that Luke didn’t go for ‘Warm Bodies’ here. I actually thought about picking it over ‘Die Hard’ in the first position. Zombies are hot right now and ‘The Walking Dead’ starts back up next week. People can’t seem to get enough zombies in their movies. Add to that the fact that this zombie movie adds a cute love story to the equation, and you have something different for the zombie-lovers to obsess over for the entire month.

Estimated Budget: $30 million

Pick #4: Luke

Selection: ‘Safe Haven’

Reasoning: Yes! Aaron didn’t pick what I wanted! I didn’t go for ‘Warm Bodies’ because it’s a teen movie that will be knocked down a peg by the similarly teen-driven ‘Beautiful Creatures’, which I’m also not choosing here. Reeling in both the teen and romance-hungry female audiences is the repetitive and predictable work of Nicholas Sparks. Yes, the guy’s movies suck ass, but they’re always winners. That’s why I’m going with ‘Safe Haven’. Opening on Valentine’s Day, the sap market has never been better.

Estimated Budget: TBD

Pick #5: Aaron

Selection: ‘Side Effects’

Reasoning: I’m going to put my faith in Steven Soderbergh’s (allegedly) final film. As much as I hope he’s not actually done making movies, I admire his ability to tell stories and make money. ‘Haywire’ wasn’t a huge hit at the box office, but ‘Magic Mike’ and ‘Contagion’ ended up pulling together nice profits. I’ve already seen ‘Side Effects’ and can attest to how good it is.

Estimated Budget: $30 million

Pick #6: Luke

Selection: ‘Dark Skies’

Reasoning: If low-budget horror movies weren’t bankable, they wouldn’t be made. The fact that ‘Dark Skies’ carries a teen-friendly PG-13 rating only deposits more cash in the bank. I know nothing about the movie, but after the success of ‘Mama’ in January, I’m not discounting ‘Dark Skies’.

Estimated Budget: TBD

Pick #7: Aaron

Selection: ‘Snitch’

Reasoning: We just went from bad to horrid. Seriously, the movies left in February are just scary. ‘Escape from Planet Earth’ has been mired in studio fiddling, lawsuits and the Weinsteins’ grubby hands. ‘Beautiful Creatures’ reportedly has a budget that exceeds the $60 million mark. Yikes! So, I’ll keep it sort of safe here. I’m going with the proven commodity of the Rock, and hoping that adding a semi-expensive movie this late in the month doesn’t hurt my February totals too much.

Estimated Budget: $35 million

Pick #8: Luke

Selection: ‘Beautiful Creatures’

Reasoning: I’m already on a kick with February’s teen flicks, so why not keep that going? Personally, I think ‘Beautiful Creatures’ looks like a turd, but it’s certain to bring out the ‘Twilight’-deprived fans of the book series. There’s no way that it will perform anywhere near ‘Twilight’ numbers, but it ought to fool a few suckers into thinking that it might be good.

Estimated Budget: $60 million (rumor)

Pick #9: Aaron

Selection: ‘Escape from Planet Earth’

Reasoning: Blech! I didn’t want to pick this one, but I’d rather have an actual bullet in the head than pick Stallone’s newest turkey. ‘Escape from Planet Earth’ has been buried in all sorts of legal wrangling and studio fiddling. I wouldn’t be surprised if it bombs horribly. Let’s just hope it doesn’t end up on the level of ‘Mars Needs Moms’.

Estimated Budget: TBD

Pick #10: Luke

Selection: ‘Stand Up Guys’

Reasoning: Boy, am I glad that Aaron picked ‘Escape from Planet Earth’. Sure, it’s the first kids’ flick to open in over two and a half months, but I’m having flashbacks to that mega-flop ‘Hoodwinked Too’. I haven’t seen ‘Stand Up Guys’, but it has to be better than that!

Estimated Budget: TBD

Pick #11: Aaron

Selection: ‘A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III’

Reasoning: At least it’s not ‘Bullet to the Head’, right? The cast actually looks pretty good, so I have a suspicion that a wider release looms.

Estimated Budget: TBD

Pick #12: Luke

Selection: Anything but ‘Bullet to the Head’ – How about ‘Sound City’?

Reasoning: With a $55 million budget, I don’t suspect that ‘Bullet to the Head’ will ever end up in the black. I’ve picked ‘Sound City’ for my last choice because it couldn’t have cost very much to make. It’s a passion project by Dave Grohl, so I imagine that it hardly cost a thing.

Estimated Budget: TBD

Important Notes

  • There are a lot of obscure limited releases in February, but we both decided that six films each was enough for the month. Plus, we had to find a way to exclude ‘Bullet to the Head’. “Just pretend it doesn’t exist,” was my motto for this month.
  • Remember, the box office earned by January movies in February counts for the new month. The budgets of those movies stay in the month they were drafted. Essentially, it’s free money as far as the monthly total is concerned.

Luke’s Net Budget Total: $42,873,530

Aaron’s Net Budget Total: $108,993,658

Who do you think will win Box Office Pick'em in February?

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  1. Drew

    Anybody that thinks Aaron is going to win this month is insane. All of Aaron’s top picks are going to underperform, compared to their budget. ‘Die Hard 5’won’t do much better than making back its cost. In contrast, Luke’s top picks will over perform, compared to their modest budgets, and ‘Beautiful Creatures’ will probably be a surprise hit. ‘Identity Thief’, alone, will probably be enough to push Luke to a win, when you consider how much more profitable than ‘Die Hard 5’ it’s going to be. I think people are voting on grosses, and not understanding that only profits matter, in this contest.

  2. Drew

    ‘Escape from Planet Earth’ is the one that’s really going to cripple Aaron. It’s rumored to have a budget approaching 100 million.

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