January 2010 Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

January 8, 2010

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4. The Book of Eli (January 15th)

What an odd thing it is, scheduling a post-apocalyptic special effects epic with Denzel Washington right smack in the middle of January. While Washington is no doubt a veteran of many a hit thriller, this one seems to offer some deviations from his norm, and not for the better: it's grimier and more depressing, and the premise isn't all that well established by the trailer - what is this one really about, other than chasing around another MacGuffin? Co-stars Mila Kunis and Gary Oldman (in what will no doubt be another display of raucous villainy) may breath some life into Book of Eli, but this kind of '80s-style wasteland-set actionstuff hasn't been doing well lately. So, as both a fan of Washington and a box office predictor, I have my reservations.

Opening weekend: $16 million / Total gross: $41 million


5. Leap Year (January 8th)
After the time-jumping novelty of Julie & Julia, the special effects shenanigans of Night at the Museum 2, and the musical aspirations of Enchanted, Amy Adams goes the standard romantic comedy route, and joins Katherine Heigl in the ranks of inexplicably single women looking for love at the movies. Leap Year also looks uncannily like co-star Matthew Goode's own film Chasing Liberty, released just about six years ago to the day and featuring Goode in almost exactly the same role. Taken at face value, though, Leap Year doesn't look all that bad, and could actually turn out to be pretty big - January is a fertile enough ground for this genre, and after the box office onslaught of early '09, who knows just what to expect from a potential crowd-pleaser like this?

Opening weekend: $14 million / Total gross: $39 million
(but it's actually going to open with $28 million, isn't it? - just hedging my bets)

6. The Spy Next Door (January 15th)

This is another one of those Pacifier movies where the kids hate him, and then like him, and then they all fight the clueless bad guys who conveniently show up to give the whole thing some closure. Yes, as always, there's a pig for a family pet, and Billy Ray Cyrus and George Lopez are lurking somewhere in the shadows. It's all very much in the January tradition. Jackie Chan has been stuck in this movie for at least a decade, and now looks to be running for ten more years (hey, Hollywood stardom isn't earned cheaply). At the very least, The Spy Next Door ought to make a good companion piece to The Tooth Fairy for an all-night marathon of big stars trapped in PG-rated nightmares. Now, as for my prediction, below - I know, I know, I know, that January kidstuff often makes untold hordes of money, no matter how cheesy it looks. But I am nothing if not an optimist.

Opening weekend: $12 million / Total gross: $36 million

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