January 2010 Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
January 8, 2010
7. Daybreakers (January 8th)
Every year since 2005 has started off with a horror film, and here comes Daybreakers to keep the tradition going. The story, set in 2019, is intriguing, even if it doesn't exactly inspire me to run around raving about it. The cast is strong (Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill, Ethan Hawke), and the reviews are coming in with a modest stamp of critical approval. But I don't know, after ten years of Resident Evils, Underworlds, and all the 28 Days and Weeks Later, shouldn't we move on just a little past the futuristic action-horror thing? (See #8 for more of this subgenre).
Opening weekend: $14 million / Total gross: $35 million
8. Legion (January 22nd)
This one's a tale of Biblical-based horror, and looks uncannily like one of those Satanic end-of-the-world movies that were all the rage just about ten years ago - albeit with an admittedly higher dose of action, this time around. As is often the case with these films, the fate of humanity is settled in a diner - a fact that also makes Legion a member of the strangers-trapped-together-and-in-jeopardy subgenre. The cast is an interestingly assembled batch - Tyrese Gibson, Dennis Quaid (currently looking to become a long-time resident of the B-movie universe), and Paul Bettany, who's going to be around a lot in 2010, at least if you know where to look. I don't know, though - while I may sound somewhat condescending towards the material, Legion has the potential for entertainment. Indeed, well-reviewed genre action has been doing pretty well lately, and so I'll leave it to movie critics to give this one the go-ahead to succeed, or the vice versa.
Opening weekend: $14 million / Total gross: $34 million
9. Youth in Revolt (January 8th)
Michael Cera's back in town, partaking in yet another trek into the vast universe of teenage sexual frustration. Full disclosure: I saw this one and was pleasantly surprised; Youth In Revolt is now just about my favorite Michael Cera movie, bolstered by a well-chosen smorgasbord of a supporting cast (Zach Galifianakis, Steve Buscemi, and especially Fred Willard), with Cera himself very effective as his own somewhat inexplicably mustached, villainous alter-ego. Critics seem to like this one too, so it may grow a leg or two after a mild open, and give Cera some shelf life yet.
Opening weekend: $9 million / Total gross: $30 million
10. Extraordinary Measures (January 22nd)
Here's a good-natured story with uncertain commercial appeal, an earnest-looking film that will probably play out like an old-school, straightforward, feel-good medical melodrama. The cast is presentable: it's nice to see Harrison Ford dabbling in starring roles again (and back in his entertainingly grumpy mood, I see); Keri Russell is of course always a welcome presence; and Brendan Fraser is probably just happy to be away from all that blue screen (chroma key compositing can be a cruel mistress). As far as these things go, though, this one seems to me more like My Sister's Keeper than The Blind Side, and in a January without any real box office losers, Extraordinary Measures is probably going to have to settle for being #10.
Opening weekend: $10 million / Total gross: $25 million