2013 provided everything you’d expect from the box office, with massive blockbusters, unexpected sleeper hits and total duds. All in all, it was a very good year and 2014 will probably have a hard time matching it. 2015 looks like an insanely good year, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There are still plenty of good things to come in 2014, but as is usually the case, January will mostly showcase garbage that studios dump in this month because they want to save better things for more lucrative months. That said, let’s take a look at this January’s releases.
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
My Thoughts: For whatever reason, I actually like the Paranormal Activity movies. Even the fourth one, which was terrible, was still intriguing and enjoyable. I do fear they’ll soon get to a point where they just get too ridiculous and they cease to be enjoyable. At first glance, this spin-off seems to be a real Nuke the Fridge moment for the franchise, but it actually doesn’t look too bad. Taking the series out of the familiar confines of the haunted house trope could be a breath of fresh air and holy hell, how creepy is that image of Katy and Kristi? Even still, I think the box office won’t be great on this one, but if it’s a step up in quality from PA4, it could bode well for PA5 later in the year.
Opening Weekend: $15 million
Total Gross: $36 million
The Legend of Hercules
My Thoughts: Well, this seems pretty generic all in all, but it’s kinda hard to go wrong with a period piece featuring cool action. At least, if you like that sort of thing. I do, even as I admit such movies are usually awful. But, hey, as long as I’m entertained, I usually don’t mind. But anyway, I don’t see any reason for this to break out; it should do pretty standard January numbers.
Opening Weekend: $11 million
Total Gross: $35 million
My Thoughts: Well, here comes our second found footage horror movie of January 2014. Coming so soon after PA:TMO won’t be good, as the found footage concept is kinda worn out as it is, especially regarding horror movies. However…this does actually look pretty creepy, but then again, even the atrocious The Devil Inside looked scary in the trailers. In short, I don’t expect much from Devil’s Due.
Opening Weekend: $9 million
Total Gross: $23 million
The Nut Job
My Thoughts: I’m reminded somewhat of Free Birds here. A fairly generic kiddie flick with some bright colors and a few funny characters. The premise doesn’t reveal a lot of disturbing implications like Free Birds, though, or maybe I just haven’t dug deep enough. Anyway, it’s possible that Frozen will still be doing halfway decent business this weekend and steal some business from The Nut Job, which should do only lower-level animated children’s film numbers.
Opening Weekend: $16 million
Total Gross: $55 million
My Thoughts: Kevin Hart is a very funny guy, but given his explosion in popularity over the past few years, I worry that he’s going to get over-exposed and that his shtick will get old after a while. For now, though, he’s riding high and this project looks perfect for him, and he has great interplay with Ice Cube in the trailers. This film should appeal to both black and white audiences and prove to be a pretty successful January release.
Opening Weekend: $19 million
Total Gross: $50 million
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
My Thoughts: I quite like Chris Pine. He has yet to truly prove he has strong acting chops, but for now, he does very well in these action flicks. He’s rather charismatic and now he gets his shot at portraying an iconic character. This flick was pushed back from a Christmas release, which I think was actually a good move, because Christmas weekend was way too crowded. The January release should give this very solid looking picture room to breathe and I think it should end up as the highest grossing January release.
Opening Weekend: $22 million
Total Gross: $70 million
My Thoughts: Well, let’s go right and address the elephant in the room. This film looks absolutely ridiculous. So Hollywood has now taken even Frankenstein’s monster and made him a sexy action star. Who’s next? Are there any mythical creatures who haven’t been made sexy? Zombies? No, no, we had Warm Bodies already. Vampires and werewolves are well-covered. Hmmmm. Have we had a sexy mummy yet? What about a sexy…..why am I talking about this? Anyways, I, Frankenstein probably won’t do anything special at the box office.
Opening Weekend: $14 million
Total Gross: $40 million
My Thoughts: I gotta say, given the title, releasing this film in early September would make more sense, but anyways….I like Josh Brolin, who is this film plays an escaped convict who bonds with a single mother. Interesting enough concept. Not exactly the type of film I’d like to see in theatres. This strikes me more as a “oh, it’s a Saturday night and I have nothing to do; I’ll watch Labor Day” kinda flick. That said, I get the feeling this won’t be released in that many theatres, at least at first, but it could have a fairly leggy run.
Opening Weekend: $6 million
Total Gross: $38 million
That Awkward Moment
My Predictions: Say what you will about me, I like Zac Efron. I think he’s charismatic, and he’s a better actor than people give him credit for. Still not saying he’s a really good actor, necessarily, but he’s not bad. Anyway, this flick looks halfway decent and appeals to teens and young 20 somethings of our era, but it feels like it’s almost trying too hard to fit the era. So, I think this should do all right, but not great.
Opening Weekend: $14 million
Total Gross: $41 million
As you can see, January is never really a good month for films and 2014 will prove no exception. There will probably be expansions of Oscar hopefuls as well, so that’s something to look for as their runs pan out. As always, you never know if any of these films are going to break out. So, that wraps up my January 2014 preview. I hope everyone had a nice holiday season. Until we meet again.