Buy"> 2010 Preview: January - The Numbers
Follow us on

2010 Preview: January

January 1st, 2010

2009 ended breaking lots of records, so 2010 starts both on a high note, and with a bit of trepidation. On the one hand, there are several holdovers that should continue to be major players at the box office for the next few weeks, which can only help. On the other hand, there's almost no chance 2010 will get off to as strong a start as 2009 did, since some of what happened at the box office during January of 2009 was unprecedented.

Weekend of January 1st, 2009

The first weekend of the year often has no wide releases. This was the case last year, and will be the case this year too.

Weekend of January 8th, 2009

There are three films opening wide this week, including yet another Vampire flick, which is a genre that has been beyond overloaded for a while now. Compared to last year, this year's crop of new films looks about the same in box office power. And hopefully the holdovers are still holding on, which should help keep the box office hot.

Bitch Slap

Official Site: BitchSlapMovie.com
Distributor: Freestyle Releasing
Release Date: January 8, 2010 (limited)
MPAA Rating: R for brutal violence, strong sexual content and language throughout, and brief drug use
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Action
Keywords: Exploitation, Organized Crime, Hiest, Non-Chronological, and more.
Production Budget: Unknown - Likely very low
Box Office Potential: Also likely very low

This movie is not opening wide this month and it has almost no chance of expanding wide later on. However, I came across it a couple of years ago while doing research for Grindhouse (Zoe Bell's in both movies). Interviews with the main leads of the film made it look like it was going to be a great film. Maybe not great in the traditional sense, but one hell of a fun ride. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, which seems a bit strange for a B-movie Exploitation flick, but I've seen a number of positive reviews online, as well as a few that were not as kind. Fans of the genre should get a kick out of the movie, but it lacks both the art house cred to thrive in limited release and the mainstream appeal needed to expand wide. Can't wait to grab it on DVD / Blu-ray, though.

Crazy on the Outside

Official Site: CrazyOnTheOutsideTheMovie.com
Distributor: Freestyle Releasing
Release Date: January 8, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content and language
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Life on the Outside, Dysfunctional Family, and others
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $20 million, more or less
Box Office Potential: $1 million to $2 million

This is Tim Allen's directorial debut and features a pretty good cast, which could help it at the box office. That said, there's not a lot of buzz going in and under the most ideal circumstances there's little hope it would become anything more than a mid-level hit. And these are not ideal circumstances thanks to a bad release date and limited theater count. It could still reach $1 or $2 million, with a little luck, but I think that's as high as it could go.

Daybreakers

Official Site: DaybreakersMovie.com
Trailer: Click to Play
Distributor: Lionsgate
Release Date: January 8, 2010
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence, language and brief nudity
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Thriller
Keywords: Vampire, Post-apocalypse, and more.
Production Budget: $21 million, but that's likely in Australian Dollars, which would be $19 million American
Box Office Potential: $30 million

A vampire movie with a twist. A virus has turned most of the population into vampires, but with so many vampires and so few humans, the vampires are in danger of starving to death unless they can find a way to feed. Its writing / directing team of Michael and Peter Spierig are only making their second feature-length film. Their first was Undead, which was not a real success in terms of box office or critical reception, but it does have fans who enjoyed its over-the-top gore and violence and its determination to not take itself seriously. The film does have a good cast, and great early reviews, while it is a more serious film that even has some political allegory in it and it should have more mainstream appeal. Then again, the release date suggests the studio has little faith in the movie and it is rare for a January release to be anything more than a mid-level hit. It could surprise and pull in $50 million or so, but thanks to a reasonable production budget, even if it makes half that, it should still show a profit eventually.

Leap year

Official Site: LeapYearFilm.net
Trailer: Click to Play
Distributor: Universal
Release Date: January 8, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG for sensuality and language
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Keywords: Romance
Production Budget: Unknown - Reported at $20 million, but that seems low
Box Office Potential: $60 million

A romantic comedy about a Leap Year tradition that is coming out in a non-leap year. It is also coming out too soon for Leap Day or even Valentine's Day. Additionally, the trailer gives away way too much information. This is not a very good sign. On the other hand, it stars Amy Adams, who is nearly flawless, at least in my opinion. In good movies, like Doubt, she shines. In weaker movies, like Battle of the Smithsonian, she's a bright light in an otherwise average movie. Also, if Bride Wars can make nearly $60 million, then this film should be able to do the same. At the very least, its reviews should be better, as there are few actors out there with more charm than Adams.

Youth in Revolt

Official Site: YouthInRevolt-TheMovie.com
Trailer: Click to Play
Distributor: Weinstein Co.
Release Date: January 8, 2010
MPAA Rating: R for sexual content, language and drug use
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Dysfunctional Family, Alter Egos, and more
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million

I don't have particularly high hopes for this film for a few reasons, including its poor release date and the fact that the studio is on a losing streak. In fact, except for Inglourious Basterds, Weinstein Co. hasn't had a major hit ever. The early reviews are good, but Michael Cera is playing a very similar character to ones he has played in the past, and that's what a lot of people are talking about. They are not talking about the plot, the reviews, the trailer, etc., but they are talking about him being typecast. Bad buzz can kill a good movie, especially if that movie doesn't have the studio support needed to overcome it. And with cutbacks at Weinstein, it might be hard for them to have a strong enough marketing push to overcome the weak buzz. Perhaps it could be a pleasant surprise, but even becoming a mid-level hit could be too much to ask.

Weekend of January 15th, 2009

This weekend last year was incredibly busy with four wide releases. Normally this means one or two of the new releases are squeezed out by the competition and struggle. However, last year all four opened well and three of the four eared more than $20 million during their opening weekend. This time last year was also when the first $100 million hit of the year was released, but that is unlikely to be repeated this year. That's not to say the two wide releases won't do well, but I'm not willing to predict either will be $100 million hits, or even come close to that mark.

Book of Eli

Official Site:
TheBookOfEli.WarnerBros.com
Trailer: Click to Play
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: January 15, 2010
MPAA Rating: R for some brutal violence and language
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Action
Keywords: Post Apocalypse
Production Budget: Some reports have it at $80 million, but that seems high
Box Office Potential: $60 million

This movie seems like a bit of a risk. It's directed by Albert and Allen Hughes, who haven't made a movie since From Hell, which opened nearly a decade ago. It is also written by Gary Whitta, and this marks his first movie credit, so there's not a lot of experience behind the camera. On the other hand, the film stars Denzel Washington, who is one of the most dependable movie stars out there. His films rarely reach $100 million, but they rarely bomb either. This movie has a lot more stylized violence than we usually see in his movies, at least that's how it is being sold. I think moviegoers will be interested in seeing him play a total badass, especially since he hasn't done so in a while. That said, Post Apocalyptic movies are not exactly a new genre and this film has been generating more than a few comparisons to old-school classics of the genre, like Mad Max, or to the more recent The Road, and even Six-String Samurai. Okay, truth be told, I haven't seen anyone compare this movie to Six-String Samurai, but I wasn't going to miss an opportunity to give that film a shout-out. Even on the low end, the film should be a solid performer, opening with close to $20 million and finishing its run with close to $50 million. On the high end, it could grab $75 million, maybe more.

The Lovely Bones

Distributor: Paramount
Official Site: LovelyBones.com
Trailer: Click to Play
Release Date: December 11, 2009 (Limited)
Release Date: January 15, 2010 (expansion to wide release)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material involving disturbing violent content and images, and some language
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Drama
Keywords: Heaven, Serial Killer, Dysfunctional Family, Visual Effects, and more
Production Budget: $65 million
Box Office Potential: $5 million

Just a quick update from last month. I was never really bullish about this film's chances; however, things have taken a turn for the worse. It was supposed to expand on Christmas Day, but that didn't happen. Its per theater average has also shrunk to the point where it might be hard to convince enough theater owners to book for it to expand wide. If it does, it could make twice the above box office potential during its opening weekend. But if it doesn't expand truly wide, it might never reach $1 million in total. To end on a positive note, it appears the film's production budget was not as high as earlier reports indicated.

The Spy Next Door

Official Site: TheSpyNextDoorFilm.com
Trailer: Click to Play
Distributor: Lionsgate
Release Date: January 15, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG for sequences of action violence and some mild rude humor
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Action / Comedy
Keywords: Secret Agent, Martial Arts, Undercover, Terrorism, possibly Kid Spies
Production Budget: Unknown - estimated at $30 to $50 million
Box Office Potential: $40 million

This could be a disaster. I like Jackie Chan, but it has been a while since I looked forward to one of his Hollywood movies. (His Hong Kong movies are another story entirely.) Additionally, while there is not a lot of buzz surrounding this movie, almost all of it is negative with comparisons to The Pacifier being thrown around a lot. On the other hand, while that movie was savaged by critics, it did make a lot of money at the box office. It also had a better release date. There's little chance this film will match Pacifier's $113 million; in fact, it might finish its run with less than that film's $30 million opening weekend earnings. On the other hand, it could do roughly the same as The Forbidden Kingdom, which would likely be enough to make the studio happy. It all depends on how well the studio can sell the movie to kids, because almost none of Jackie Chan's adult audience will be interested in seeing this one.

Weekend of January 22nd, 2009

This weekend last year was rather slow with only two wide releases, neither of which were major hits. (In a strange coincidence, one of them starred Brendan Fraser, who also stars in one of the movies opening wide this week.) As for the three films opening wide this week, none look all that promising. But at least all three are aimed at different target audiences, so they won't be cannibalizing each other at the box office, but don't expect huge returns either.

Extraordinary Measures

Official Site: ExtraordinaryMeasuresTheMovie.com
Trailer: Click to Play
Distributor: CBS Films
Release Date: January 22, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG for thematic material, language and a mild suggestive moment
Source: Real Life Events
Major Genre: Drama
Keywords: Medical and Hospitals
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $30 to $50 million
Box Office Potential: $40 million

A drama starring Brendan Fraser as a father who learns two of his children have a rare genetic disorder with no cure. He gives up his career to help start a biotech company with Dr. William Canfield, whom nearly everyone agrees has the best chance of finding a cure, or at least a treatment, but he doesn't work well with others and that means he's had trouble attracting investors to back his research. There's not a lot of buzz for this film and its release date is far from ideal, neither of which is a good sign. But both Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford have proven track records at the box office and the film has at least a 50/50 chance at being a mid-level hit. That assumes it earns average reviews or better and the studio is willing to spend the money on advertising. Since this is the first film released by CBS Films, I think they won't skimp when promoting it, because if it is a failure at the box office, it could hurt the studio's chances going forward. Success begets success. Failure begets failure.

Legion

Official Site: LegionMovie.com
Trailer: Click to Play
Distributor: Sony
Release Date: January 22, 2010
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence, and language
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Thriller
Keywords: Religious, End of the World, and more
Production Budget: 15 million Pounds or roughly $25 million American
Box Office Potential: $45 million
This is the third stylized action film is being released in as many weeks. Perhaps the religious apocalyptic theme of the movie will help set it apart. On the other hand, making a movie where God is seen as the bad guy could be a huge mistake. Maybe calling him the bad guy isn't the right term to use. In the movie God decides to start the Apocalypse and wipe out all of humanity with his army of angels. Meanwhile, one of his angels, Michael, decides to work against God and lead a group of strangers in a remote New Mexico diner to protect a waitress who might be pregnant with the Second Coming of Jesus. Again, this will either help set the movie apart, or offend a lot of people. The controversy might not be a bad thing, while its reasonable production budget makes it a lot more likely that it will be profitable in the long run.

The Tooth Fairy

Official Site: ToothFairy-Movie.com
Trailer: Click to Play
Distributor: Fox
Release Date: January 22, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG for mild language, some rude humor and sports action
Source: Origial Screenplay
Major Genre: Comedy
Keywords: Hockey, Fairies, and more
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $40 to $60 million
Box Office Potential: $35 million
One of those movies where you stop and ask, "Who thought this was a good idea?" Not only does the idea of Dwayne Johnson as the tooth fairy sound ridiculous, the trailer makes it looks worse. The bad news doesn't end there, as it has a poor release date in general, plus a film with a similar target audience is opening just a week earlier. There's nothing here that looks positive for this film. There aren't even enough hockey fans desperate to see a film about their favorite sport to push this one over the top.

Weekend of January 29th, 2009

The final weekend of the month and we only have two releases, none of which look particularly exciting in terms of their box office chances. On the positive side, last year there were no explosive hits released, which means 2010 could have an easier time keeping pace. Yes, Taken did debut this time last year and it is the second highest grossing January release ever, but it started out relatively slowly and managed nearly $150 million by having very long legs.

Edge of Darkness

Official Site: Edge-Of-Darkness.com
Trailer: Click to Play
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Release Date: January 29, 2010
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence and language
Source: Based on a TV Series
Major Genre: Drama / Action / Thriller... It depends.
Keywords: Secret Agent, Conspiracy Theory, etc.
Production Budget: Reported at $60 million
Box Office Potential: $75 million
This film is opening the same weekend as Taken did last year, and that's not where the similarities end. In both films the plot centers on a father who goes after the people who wronged his daughter. In Taken she was kidnapped by sex traders, here she was murdered for her involvement in a government conspiracy. The two films could have similar openings as well; however, I don't think this one will have the same legs for a number of reasons. First, Taken had legs that are virtually unheard of in the industry today, so it would be unrealistic to expect this film to match that performance. Second, Edge of Darkness was pushed back from December, a prime release date, to January, usually a terrible release date, because the studio wanted the filmmakers to add more action into the movie and make it more of a thriller than a drama. Not only is this change in release date a bad sign just based on the movement, the reasons for it suggest the studio has little faith in the film. Third, and this is more of a wildcard, this is the first starring role for Mel Gibson since... uhmmm... since his incident. In fact, it's his first starring role since Signs, but I don't know if this is a case of "Out of sight, out of mind" or "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." Odds are we won't know until the end of the month. I don't think it will become one of Gibson's biggest hits, but unless the reviews are really bad, I don't see it failing to become at least a mid-level hit, while it could become the biggest hit of the month.

When in Rome

Official Site: WhenInRome-TheMovie.com
Distributor: Disney
Release Date: January 29, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some suggestive content
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Keywords: Secret Magic, Curses, or maybe Wish Granters, depending on how you categorize the wishing fountain
Production Budget: Unknown - Estimated at $30 to $50 million
Box Office Potential: $45 million
Kristen Bell stars as Beth Harper, a workaholic who has trouble finding a guy to date, so while in Rome for her sister's wedding, she decides to steal some of the coins thrown into a wishing well with a reputation for love, hoping for some luck in that area. However, when she does this, she causes each person that threw each coin to fall instantly in love with her. She also has feelings for one of these suitors, but she doesn't know if his feelings are real, or if he's just under the same spell as the others. One the one hand, I really like Kristen Bell and thought she was awesome in Veronica Mars, but on the other hand, some of her movie choices have been less than inspired. (Pulse for example.) I want to like this movie, and she does have a lot of charm, which is key for romantic comedies. That said, this is not a genre that usually wows critics. Also, it is opening a little early for Valentine's Day, and there are three other romantic films opening in the following two weeks, so the competition is extreme. Should it earn respectable reviews (40% positive or better) then it should have a 50/50 shot at matching its estimated production budget. If it earns overall positive reviews and moviegoers take a liking to the romantic pairing of Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel, then it might last long enough to take advantage of Valentine's Day and become a solid mid-level hit.
-

Filed under: Monthly Preview, Daybreakers, The Spy Next Door, The Tooth Fairy, Edge of Darkness, Youth in Revolt, Crazy on the Outside, When in Rome, The Book of Eli, The Lovely Bones, Legion, Extraordinary Measures, Bitch Slap, Leap Year