The biggest February movie dumps ever

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    The biggest February movie dumps ever

    “The Monuments Men” (2014)

    This George Clooney-directed film reportedly wasn’t completed in time to be released into the competitive fourth quarter of 2013 -- had it been, the thought was, it’d be competing for Oscars alongside “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave.” But by all accounts, this film is… not nearly that good, the latest iteration of Clooney’s historical fetishism with not too much to say besides “art is important.” We know, George! But though it wouldn’t have been good enough for December, it’s all right for February.

    The biggest February movie dumps ever

    “The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia” (2013)

    One thing you can generally count on early in the year: shlocky horror, which blooms when there are few bigger tentpoles to steal moviegoers’ dollars. The action here took a commuter flight from the Hartford, Conn., airport down to Atlanta -- the only thing in common with the original is the fact that there is a haunting in an eastern seaboard state, and there’s a vaguely recognizable title to cash in on.

    The biggest February movie dumps ever

    “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” (2012)

    Another instance of playing out the string of a sort-of-familiar franchise in the safest possible month for release, this Dwayne Johnson/Michael Caine vehicle (sure!) made money, playing as it did to an underserved family audience with a story very, very loosely based on the works of Jules Verne.

    The biggest February movie dumps ever

    “Drive Angry 3D” (2011)

    Both of Nicolas Cage’s “Ghost Rider” superhero flicks were released in February, but this movie, also about a dead person who knows how to drive, was less successful, because or in spite of the fact it was even more preposterous -- it’s all about a dead man who drives out of hell and helps to save a beautiful waitress. Somehow, it wasn’t a hit.

    The biggest February movie dumps ever

    “The Wolfman” (2010)

    Now this was a classic February dump; the film went through a challenging production and its release date was postponed several times, with the final product looking like the result of years of studio meddling. Back when this had pioneering music-video director Mark Romanek attached, before he left due to creative differences and the whole thing went awry, this film had been scheduled for an autumn 2008 release. Now that would have been a movie worth seeking out even in a crowded autumn!

    The biggest February movie dumps ever

    “Confessions of a Shopaholic” (2009)

    The winter after the 2008 stock-market crash was probably the least opportune time to release this broad comedy about a lady who just loves spending money -- but either way, this was never going to connect in the way the best romantic comedies do. From the cast to the premise, the whole thing seemed like the perfect February movie: just good enough.

    The biggest February movie dumps ever

    “Over Her Dead Body” (2008)

    Back before Paul Rudd was precisely as well-regarded as he is today, and at the peak of Eva Longoria’s “Desperate Housewives” fame, the pair teamed up for a romantic comedy about a ghost who tries to sabotage the love life of the man she dated when she was alive in order to pass the time while in Purgatory. Weird this didn’t connect with a wider audience!

    The biggest February movie dumps ever

    “Norbit” (2007)

    Had this movie been released any other year, history might have been different: The ad campaign, featuring Eddie Murphy in drag as an obese woman, is widely credited with tanking his perceived front-runner status in that year’s best supporting actor race and putting an Oscar in Alan Arkin’s hands. But when else, precisely, would a movie featuring a fading box-office draw doing the same drag he’s done many times before get released?

    The biggest February movie dumps ever

    “Date Movie” (2006)

    Just gross: This movie features Alyson Hannigan in a fat suit and broad ethnic stereotypes of just about every race under the sun, as well as toothless satire of the likes of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” When you’re ripping off the “Scary Movie” franchise -- itself a series of rip-offs from popular culture -- nothing good will come of it.

    The biggest February movie dumps ever

    “Son of the Mask” (2005)

    Once again, a familiar brand got dredged up in the year’s earliest months, in a gambit that could only work in a season when no one’s really paying attention to quality. Still, this Jamie Kennedy/Alan Cumming vehicle didn’t capture that Jim Carrey magic from the 11-year-old precursor.

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Daniel D'Addario is a staff reporter for Salon's entertainment section. Follow him on Twitter @DPD_

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