2019 Spring Season Preview: February

Here we look at the upcoming month’s offerings.

February 1, 2019

Miss Bala

Premise: From IMDb: “Gloria finds a power she never knew she had when she is drawn into a dangerous world of cross-border crime. Surviving will require all of her cunning, inventiveness, and strength. Based on the Spanish-language film.”
Box Office Prospects: $50 M
Expectations: Uncertain. I’m tempted to compare the film to Proud Mary, which released a couple of weeks earlier last year with the same general feel. However, this film feels more in the vein of Liam Neeson revenge flicks and the Hispanic community tends to rally behind films that have good word of mouth.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

February 8, 2019

Cold Pursuit

Premise: From IMDb: “A snowplow driver seeks revenge against the drug dealers he thinks killed his son. Based on the 2014 Norwegian film ‘In Order of Disappearance’.”
Box Office Prospects: $85 M
Expectations: Good. And speaking of Liam Neeson, his latest revenge actionery comes out a week later and has the same potential of his other films like the Taken series and Non-Stop.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

Premise: From IMDb: “It’s been five years since everything was awesome and the citizens are facing a huge new threat: LEGO DUPLO® invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than they can rebuild.”
Box Office Prospects: $200 M
Expectations: Excellent. The original film took in an unexpected $257 million at the box office. While the sequel isn’t likely to strike twice, it will still do incredibly well at the box office.
Oscar Prospects: Uncertain. When the original debuted five years ago, it cleaned up the precursors and was on its way to certain victory at the Oscars. That is until the Academy’s animation branch collectively voted not to nominate the film. It was the biggest scandal of the year and may have led to the eventual changes made to the voting process, hoping to get more popular films nominated. That said, anything that uses technology that’s been used for various direct-to-video and TV animation tends not to impress the Academy’s animation voters, so it could still face an uphill battle. If it’s good, would the Academy do it again?
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

The Prodigy

Premise: From IMDb: “A mother concerned about her young son’s disturbing behavior thinks something supernatural may be affecting him.”
Box Office Prospects: $45 M
Expectations: Uncertain. There haven’t been a lot of horror films released in the last year that have been exceptionally successful at the box office. This film trades on supernatural elements, which could help bolster its bottom line.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

What Men Want

Premise: From IMDb: “A woman is boxed out by the male sports agents in her profession, but gains an unexpected edge over them when she develops the ability to hear their thoughts.”
Box Office Prospects: $70 M
Expectations: Uncertain. Taraji P. Henson hasn’t done very well as a solo draw at the box office, but this film is a bit different than her last few tries and if Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish can turn Night School into a $77 million hit, Henson can make this film a success. A funny trailer helps.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

February 15, 2019

Alita: Battle Angel

Premise: From IMDb: “An action-packed story of one young woman’s journey to discover the truth of who she is and her fight to change the world.”
Box Office Prospects: $50 M
Expectations: Uncertain. If the live action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell with Scarlett Johansson in the lead cannot win at the box office, this film with a cast of mostly no name actors isn’t going to do much better. Anime just hasn’t caught on enough in the U.S. to make a film like this a huge hit even if only one the characters has an anime vibe.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Happy Death Day 2U

Premise: From IMDb: “Sequel to the 2017 film ‘Happy Death Day.'”
Box Office Prospects: $60 M
Expectations: Uncertain. The original film was a surprise $55 million hit two years ago. Can lightning strike twice? The change in release windows might hurt the film a bit, but there’s not a lot of strong competition to give it a huge challenge.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Isn’t It Romantic

Premise: From IMDb: “A young woman disenchanted with love mysteriously finds herself trapped inside a romantic comedy.”
Box Office Prospects: $65 M
Expectations: Uncertain. Rebel Wilson hasn’t proven herself a box office draw. While a part of the ensemble of the Pitch Perfect films, Anna Kendrick was the star and probably better contributed to those films’ success than Wilson. However, the first trailer for this promises a fascinating concept that could draw in fans of the Pitch Perfect series to the theater and then some.
Oscar Prospects: Uncertain. Any major original musical should be considered for at least some consideration in the Best Original Song category. If the songs aren’t any good, though, all bets are off.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Birds of Passage (Limited)

Premise: From IMDb: “During the marijuana bonanza, a violent decade that saw the origins of drug trafficking in Colombia, Rapayet and his indigenous family get involved in a war to control the business that ends up destroying their lives and their culture.”
Box Office Prospects: $1 M
Expectations: Uncertain. This finalist for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar is going to need broad support from critics to succeed. If it gets the nomination, it could do well. Otherwise, might be forgotten. The prior film by this director, Embrace the Serpent pulled in $1.3 million three years ago, but that film got the nomination.
Oscar Prospects: Uncertain. There’s some stiff competition this year and this film just hasn’t built enough momentum to break through to a nomination. That said, the Academy’s voters in this category have gone strange directions before, so it’s possible.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

February 22, 2019

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Premise: From IMDb: “As Hiccup fulfills his dream of creating a peaceful dragon utopia, Toothless’ discovery of an untamed, elusive mate draws the Night Fury away. When danger mounts at home and Hiccup’s reign as village chief is tested, both dragon and rider must make impossible decisions to save their kind.”
Box Office Prospects: $150 M
Expectations: Good. The original film made $217 million. The second film dropped, but still did a solid $177 million. The third, and purportedly final film, will likely play well like the others, but I don’t think it will surpass either of its predecessors.
Oscar Prospects: Good. Few sequels or prequels have ever been nominated for Best Animated Feature. How to Train Your Dragon 2 was one of them. That means the third film will have a solid chance. However, the group does not care much for sequels, so look to Incredibles 2 and Ralph Breaks the Internet and whether each are nominated for a clue to whether the new rules hurt or favor good sequels.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

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