Opening this Weekend: The Date Movie to End All Date Movies! Plus, Dakota Fanning Times Two and Steve Martin Goes French

A funny thing happened during the month of January … Hollywood figured out a way to make some money—a lot of money. Contrary to popular belief, January wasn’t the coldest month on the fiscal calendar for studio executives, as no less than eight (!) movies opened with more than $19 million in ticket sales, and, overall, a record $1 billion (!!) was accrued at the box office. (At least we know Hollywood doesn’t need a piece of the stimulus package.) Five movies open wide today, as February comes roaring in like Christian Bale, hoping to grab a piece of all that hot January action. Here’s a handy guide to the weekend’s new releases.

He’s Just Not That Into You

What’s the story: We had been quite looking forward to seeing He’s Just Not That Into You. That amazing cast! The funny trailer! The Grey’s Anatomy–approved music cues! And then we read the reviews. To call them “scathing” would be a compliment. As our esteemed colleague wrote in her brilliant takedown, He’s Just Not That Into You “made me not want to be a member of the entire human race.” You know, on second thought, maybe we’ll just wait for Netflix.

Who should see it: Carrie Bradshaw.

The Pink Panther 2

What’s the story: Is Steve Martin actually funny anymore? Because based on his guest-hosting stint this past weekend on Saturday Night Live, we’re beginning to think he’s really not. Backing that up with The Pink Panther 2 probably isn’t going to change our minds. Mr. Martin does his best/worst Peter Sellers impression as Inspector Clouseau, and if that sounds like a good time, then heaven help you. Naturally, this will make a lot of money.

Who should see it: Nicolas Sarkozy.


What’s the story: The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick is back with a stop-motion–animated adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s best-selling children’s book. But make no mistake, this is one kids’ flick that’s pretty scary: a young girl enters an alternate world where everything seems better than real life. However, once her new parents try to keep her around forever by making her sew buttons over her eyes, trouble starts. Yikes! Buttons are scary! Coraline features the voices of Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher and Ian McShane, who we hope keeps his sailor mouth in check for the sake of the children.

Who should see it: Young girls who shop in Hot Topic.


What’s the story: Man, Dakota Fanning is busy. The former precocious child star grows up a bit in Push (her hair has green streaks!), a science-fiction amalgam of Heroes, X-Men, Jumper and Minority Report. Ms. Fanning plays a precognitive on the run from a shady government agency headed by Djimon Hounsou. Chris Evans, the man you cast when you can’t get Ryan Reynolds, is along for the ride, too, as her telekinetic guardian. Expect lots of cheesy special effects and plenty of teenage moping.

Who should see it: Hiro Nakamura.


What’s the story: With one of their own dying from cancer, a group of friends decide to travel cross-country to break into Skywalker Ranch so they can see The Phantom Menace during the summer of 1998. Nothing says gross-out comedy like a little cancer subplot, right? Fanboys has been on the shelf for such a long time its dust has collected dust. The film finally sees the light of day this weekend, packed with enough Star Wars references and wacky guest stars to make Kevin Smith proud. Put it this way: If you ever wanted to see Ain’t It Cool News proprietor Harry Knowles in a movie, here’s your chance.

Who should see it: Liz Lemon. Opening this Weekend: The Date Movie to End All Date Movies! Plus, Dakota Fanning Times Two and Steve Martin Goes French