January 2010 Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

January 8, 2010

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It's the first month of the 2010s - even if the movies don't really look quite so different yet (the new decade takes time to settle, I think). January '10's got a lot more star vehicles than the norm for this time of year - and a lot of 1990s stars, of all people, trying to get back in the fray after a decade of hits-and-misses (Harrison Ford, Jackie Chan) or on-screen inactivity (Mel Gibson).

1. When in Rome (January 29th)

This one didn't look like much to me in its previous August '09 slot, but I have since come to see just what a perfect star vehicle it really is. Indeed, after a year of Proposals, Hangovers, and Blarts, should we expect When in Rome to do anything but lord over a weak month like January? After all, this one's a slick, well-broiled romantic comedy package: it's got a high-concept premise, an alluring foreign location (Rome), recognizable romantic leads (Kristen Bell, Josh Duhamel), a comically diverse mix of support (Will Arnett, Dax Shepard, and Danny DeVito), and trailers that do their job well - and have been doing it for a long enough time to stick in the memory. Ought to do for Kristen Bell what 27 Dresses did for Katherine Heigl.

Opening weekend: $27 million / Total gross: $76 million


2. Tooth Fairy (January 22nd)

A big guy with a lot of muscles gets recruited to serve as a tooth fairy, in what could only be a Mad Magazine parody of The Santa Clause. Seriously, though, what unacknowledged genius came up with the idea for this one? It's the kind of premise that frankly rises below absurdity (to paraphrase Mel Brooks). The movie's star, The Rock, now seems thoroughly committed to entertaining kids rather than bloodthirsty action movie fans (we miss you, Rock), and it's nice also to see Ashley Judd back in town, even if she's apparently been demoted to repeatedly playing somebody's wife (Billy Crystal's hanging around in this one, too). The Tooth Fairy was pushed back from a plump summer '09 slot, but only because January has been so kind to this type of kids' movie before (and we'll remember every offense, January). Indeed, if Are We There Yet? can make $82 million in January, just how high will the Tooth Fairy soar? I won't predict $100 million, but, gee, you know, it can kind of actually make it there, can't it?

Opening weekend: $25 million / Total gross: $70 million

3. Edge of Darkness> (January 29th)

Guess who's back, back again? Following a decade of controversy, Edge of Darkness signals the return of Mel Gibson to cinematic starring roles - being his first since 2002's double-bill of We Were Soldiers and Signs. Aside from that mild cinematic novelty, the film itself looks about all right, with some excellent talent behind and in front of the screen (it's also based on a British mini-series, as some movies tend to be these days). The plot - Gibson avenging his daughter - is clearly being played up here, in a bid to align this right alongside Taken in the revenge genre; it's an angle that will probably pay off, and may give Gibson a fair head start on rebuilding his on-screen image. We shall see.

Opening weekend: $18 million / Total gross: $46 million

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