2021 Spring Season Box Office Preview: February

Here we look at the upcoming month’s offerings.

February 12, 2021

Judas and the Black Messiah

Premise: From IMDb: “The story of Fred Hampton, Chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, and his fateful betrayal by FBI informant William O’Neal.”
Box Office Prospects: $12 M
Expectations: Uncertain. This would be the kind of film that might turn out to be a sleeper hit at the early February box office, but the pandemic is still going and its chances are probably minimized because of the simultaneous streaming release that Warner Bros. is forcing on them.
Oscar Prospects: Uncertain. With February being the last month to release movies for Oscar consideration this year, due to the pandemic, a lot of major contenders are finally making their way to cinemas. This one had some early buzz, but that buzz hasn’t really gone anywhere of late.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Land

Premise: From IMDb: “A bereaved woman seeks out a new life, off the grid in Wyoming.”
Box Office Prospects: $1 M
Expectations: Weak. Why this kind of film is opening wide is beyond me. Even if it’s targeting a lot of older audiences, they aren’t likely to go to the theaters for this film, which looks like a bit of a snooze.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.



French Exit (Limited)

Premise: From IMDb: “An aging Manhattan socialite living on what’s barely left of her inheritance moves to a small apartment in Paris with her son and cat.”
Box Office Prospects: $0.5 M
Expectations: Uncertain. On the indie circuit, the film might do quite well, but the lack of Oscar buzz might diminish its prospects.
Oscar Prospects: Unlikely. Michelle Pfeiffer had some early buzz for a Best Actress nomination for this film, but the studio botched the release and no one’s really gotten a chance to see it, meaning it isn’t likely to be very competitive.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

February 19, 2021

The Mauritanian

Premise: From IMDb: “A detainee at the U.S military’s Guantanamo Bay detention center is held without charges for over a decade and seeks help from a defense attorney for his release.”
Box Office Prospects: $2 M
Expectations: Weak. Jodie Foster isn’t the box office draw she might once have been. The combination of that and the Guantanamo prisoner storyline and the unexceptional reviews suggest this will die a quick death at the box office.
Oscar Prospects: Unlikely. This film was rushed to theaters to compete in a supposedly less competitive Oscar market and at first, it sounded like Oscar catnip. Reviews haven’t been very good in general, so it’s probably going to be ignored.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Nomadland (Limited)

Premise: From IMDb: “Follows a woman in her sixties who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.”
Box Office Prospects: $2 M
Expectations: Good. This film’s biggest problem is that the people who were likely going to make it a platform releasing hit are holed up for the pandemic. Still, the IMAX release earlier in the month might bolster its prospects, but I doubt it will be a surprise hit.
Oscar Prospects: Excellent. While this is technically a 2020 release in terms of qualifications for many precursors, Nomadland has been lighting up the critics prizes taking numerous awards, which could make director Chloé Zhao only the second woman in Oscar history to win a Best Directing Oscar.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

February 26, 2021

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Premise: From IMDb: “Feature film adaptation of the musical about a teenager from Sheffield, England who wants to be a drag queen.”
Box Office Prospects: $25 M
Expectations: Uncertain. This film could have been huge without the pandemic in the way, but its appeal to younger audiences who may not be at risk for death from COVID-19 might be willing to risk it for a fun night at the theater. I doubt it, though.
Oscar Prospects: None.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

Cherry

Premise: From IMDb: “An Army medic suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder becomes a serial bank robber after an addiction to drugs puts him in debt.”
Box Office Prospects: $1 M
Expectations: Uncertain. A streaming release won’t help the film and the choppy, disjointed, and confusing trailers aren’t likely to entice many to the theater.
Oscar Prospects: Uncertain. This is a late-breaking release, which didn’t get onto most critics groups’ lists, which means the potential buzz for Spider-Man actor Tom Holland will probably evaporate.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

The Father (Limited)

Premise: From IMDb: “A man refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.”
Box Office Prospects: $0.5 M
Expectations: Uncertain. While it’s an Oscar contender, there have been a lot of Alzheimer’s films in recent years and few of them have been successful. This film does have Anthony Hopkins in it, which might give it a little more gravitas with older audiences.
Oscar Prospects: Good. Another 2020 release waiting for its regular limited release until closer to the Oscar deadline to earn last-minute attention, this film got its Oscar-qualifying run already, making it eligible for several precursors. Those precursors recognized the film mostly for Anthony Hopkins’ lead performance, but supporting actress Olivia Colman and the film’s director have also gotten a few mentions meaning it’s a minor contender right now for Picture, Directing, Actor, Supporting Actress, and for its writing, but a single nomination for Hopkins wouldn’t be a shock either.
Cinema Sight Preview: See my preview of this title here.

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