January 2005 Forecast
By Marty Doskins
January 6, 2005

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that 2005 is a happy, healthy, and prosperous year for all of you.

January is usually a slow month for new releases and that's definitely the case this month with only eight movies seeing wide distribution. This is also the month that studios typically dump the films they know are stinkers. However, there seem to be a few exceptions to the rule this time out. At least more than usual.

And now, on to my Top 10 for January.

1. Elektra

Fox realized fairly quickly that they weren't going to make a Daredevil sequel. The film made $102.5 million during its initial run, but it dropped off the charts quickly with a low 2.03 four-week multiplier and a dismal 2.28 total multiplier. However, there was a lot of positive feedback about a character that made a small appearance in the film, Elektra. The studio decided to run with that idea. The character was played by a hot up-and-coming actress, Jennifer Garner, who had seen her popularity soar from her role on TV's Alias. This had to work. I think the studio made a wise decision and it will pay off big. I'm kind of surprised they didn't make this a summer tentpole picture, but it'll do just fine because Alias is coming back with all new episodes on ABC.

2. White Noise

Can people really talk to us from beyond the grave? That's what quite a few people, including Universal Pictures, want us to believe. Michael Keaton finally comes back to the big screen with a picture that has a lot of potential for box office success. The airwaves have been saturated with pretty intense commercials directing viewers to find out about this real-life phenomenon. I think the public's showing some curiosity and will come to find out for themselves during the weekend of January 7th.

3. Racing Stripes

While this film may look like one of the dumped films, I think it's going to be a pretty big hit. The story is about a zebra that is a fast runner and wants to be a racehorse. That's where you get the title of the film. While it looks pretty corny to most adults, the kids want to see it. I have to admit, the trailer had me chuckling a few times as well. There's been enough publicity that this movie should have a solid opening. Not spectacular, but definitely enough to create a straight-to-video sequel in the near future.

4. Assault on Precinct 13

From the title, I though this was going to be a horror film of some kind. However, it's a regular film about corruption within a police force. Laurence Fishburne stars as the head of the group that has infiltrated the ranks of the police department. I'm not so sure about teaming him up with Ethan Hawke, but I think Fishburne's star power is enough to push this film up to the number four spot this month.

5. Are We There Yet?

And speaking of stinker films. Yes, this is one of those ones that the studio wanted to get rid of, I believe. It looks like Boyz 'n the Hood meets National Lampoon's Vacation. Has Ice Cube spent all of his money that he has to take this kind of role? Or is he just trying to keep himself from being typecast? Either way, I don't think this was the way to go for his career. That being said, after parents take kids to see Racing Stripes, they'll be dragged out again the next week for this one.

6. Coach Carter

Here's another film that doesn't seem to be a "dump" from the studio. This film is based on a real-life story about a coach who actually wanted his high school basketball players to make it to college, rather than just do what's best for the athletic program. Too bad more coaches don't have this attitude. The real Coach Carter has been making the rounds of talk shows, including NBC's Today Show. This positive publicity will definitely help this film to a solid sixth spot.

7. Alone in the Dark

Let's see if Tara Reid's "wardrobe malfunction" will help this film any. I doubt it.

8. Hide and Seek

Dakota Fanning is looking once again to steal the spotlight away from an adult film actor. This time it's Robert De Niro. There hasn't been too much advertising for this one and I think that combined with the slow January, I think it's going to get ignored by the public.

9. Aliens of the Deep

James Cameron takes us on a ride to some of the deepest ocean waters on Earth. As with his last effort, this will also be in the IMAX format with 3-D effects. This IMAX limitation is the one thing that will keep this from being a big success in terms of dollars. However, when you're as powerful and successful as Cameron, you can make any kind of film you want.

10. Fascination

A tale of twists and turns follows the young actors in this film as they try to figure out if a death was murder or an accident. The plot synopsis sounds good, but I'm guessing that this was a studio "dump". I think it's not going to get a push from any advertising dollars and the return at the box office is going to show.

John Seal's January Forecast