Critical Warnings Ignored, ‘Valentine’s Day’ Opens Big with $14.6 Million

I’ve waited long enough, apparently the results for six films are all I am going to get this Saturday morning as I have used both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter to gather the list at the end of this post.

First off, it looks like we are in for a huge weekend beginning with the $14.6 million the critically panned Valentine’s Day took in on Friday. Variety’s Andrew Stewart says it is the highest grossing comedy for a Friday during Presidents Day Weekend, which tells me we are looking at far too many caveats to come up with a record, but whatever. The film is now likely to run into the $45+ million range for the three-day weekend and over at Deadline Nikki Finke is calling it a potential $60 million four-day.

As I was telling a friend this morning, I can understand people wanting to go see a romantic comedy in the theaters. They are the kinds of movies that just make an afternoon at the movies enjoyable, but that is only when the movies themselves are enjoyable. The trailers for Valentine’s Day are cautionary at best and a 15% rating at RottenTomatoes and a 34 at MetaCritic don’t spell out good things.

Like I said, I can understand wanting to see a rom-com in theaters, but at 2 hours and five minutes I can’t understand paying good money to see such a film. I would assume most people will walk out of the film, having spent hard earned money to see it, saying, “It wasn’t that bad,” but when you’re taking my $12.50+ I want a movie that’s more than “not bad.” Especially when I learn Julia Roberts was paid $500,000 a minute just to be in it. I would much rather stay home and catch Love Actually and You’ve Got Mail.

In the comment section of my review someone asked why I continue to see these movies, wrongly assuming I hate romantic comedies at the same time. Aside from the obvious answer, which is to say it is my job, the even better answer is to tell you critics see films so in some cases you don’t have to. I love romantic comedies, as I think everyone does, but I’m not going to give the genre any slack just because they hired a bunch of TV actors and called them movie stars.

Second on the Friday totem pole is Universal’s The Wolfman, which garnered an estimated $9.8 million from the masses and most likely won’t see the same kind of traction Valentine’s Day will over the weekend given the holiday and its R-rating. However, Fox’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians will probably see a generous bump considering it is a family friendly film, which means its Friday $9.7 million could translate to something like $30+ million for the three-day.

Last week’s #1 film, Dear John, is in a battle with Avatar to see if the sappy romance can once again top the sci-fi all-time #1 for a second week in a row. The holiday helps, but will couples decide to see the love between a blue alien and a white man blossom on Valentine’s or just another white couple fall in love? Tough call.

Finally, Lionsgate’s From Paris with Love serves as the alternate to all causes, earning $2.7 million on Friday.

Laremy will be here Sunday morning with the complete three-day results, but for now here’s what I was able to collect concerning Friday’s numbers:

  1. Valentine’s Day – $14.6 million
  2. The Wolfman – $9.8 million
  3. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief – $9.7 million
  4. Avatar – $4.5 million
  5. Dear John – $4.1 million
  6. From Paris With Love – $2.7 million


Marvel and DC