The Bump-and-Dump

By John Hamann

After basking in Oscar glory throughout November and December, we're back to reality for January. It's the annual "bump-and-dump", the month where studios dump films they have bumped off their schedules in 2003. Every year it leads to a painful array of bad movies; last year's bump-and-dump brought classics like A Guy Thing and Darkness Falls. Will January 2004 be better or worse? Bet on the latter.

Top ten, by opening weekend gross:

1. The Butterfly Effect - New Line

Originally Scheduled For: September 2003

It's one of those months where the cream doesn't exactly rise to the top. The Butterfly Effect seems to be Ashton Kutcher's departure from somewhat funny idiot comedy, but I should probably hold my vote until the film is released, as sometimes these teen horror flicks play better as idiot comedies (Darkness Falls anyone?). A big reason this is at the top of my top ten for January is the positioning of the trailer in front of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, also a New Line film. That many eyeballs on a trailer over such a short period of time can only mean good things for this pic, as awareness should be quite high by its release date on January 23rd. Horror also works to a degree in January, as last year Final Destination 2 and Darkness Falls were both able to open to more than $10 million. If Kutcher can open Just Married to $17.5 million, there's no reason why The Butterfly Effect can't do the same or better.

Open: $18 million

2. Along Came Polly - Universal

Originally Scheduled For: October 2003

After breaking a string of hits with Duplex last October, Ben Stiller is back to romantic comedy again this winter with Along Came Polly, which is being sold like another Stiller film, There's Something About Mary. Early reviews indicate that there isn't something about Polly, but that won't kill Universal's only project before March's Dawn of the Dead remake. Romantic comedies seem to survive in any weather, so I'm expecting Polly to drum up more TSAM numbers or better. Universal's slick ad campaign should help, as they've been pounding away at it since Christmas.

Open: $17 million

3. Win A Date With Tad Hamilton! - DreamWorks

Originally Scheduled For: March 2004 (the only film in January to be moved forward on the schedule)

Topher Grace and Kate Bosworth join Josh Duhamel, former All My Children regular, in a movie that may just prove to be a She's All That kind of surprise. DreamWorks is obviously high on the project, as preview screenings have been set up for January 16. They're selling the heck out of it, DreamWorks style, so expect a decent debut.

Open: $14.5 million

4. The Perfect Score - Paramount/MTV Films

Originally Scheduled For: September 2003

MTV and Paramount Pictures are at it again, cooking up another Orange County-type film. You can't blame them. With a $15 million production budget and $40 million production budget for OC, and the recent success of Jack Black's School of Rock, it makes sense to keep the formula working. The Perfect Score stars a bevy of young up-and-comers in a movie that looks like a cross between St. Elmo's Fire and American Pie, a perfect mix for teen set in January. The only problem the film may have is that its audience may be tied up trying to win a date with Tad Hamilton.

Open: $13 million

5. The Big Bounce - Warner Bros.

Originally Scheduled For: September 2003

Owen Wilson, Owen Wilson. We at BOP miss you, and hope you are making smarter career choices than I Spy. The Big Bounce is based on a Elmore Leonard novel, the writer behind such great movie projects as Get Shorty, Out of Sight and Jackie Brown. While they were fantastic movies, big opening weekends aren't what they're known for. In fact, these types of films are tough to sell, but with names like Owen Wilson, Morgan Freeman, and Charlie Sheen, the marketing campaign (which started early) may be able to build some awareness for the film.

Open: $10 million

6. Mindhunters - Dimension/Miramax

Originally Scheduled For: April 2003

The bump-and-dump squad were working overtime on Renny Harlin's latest opus. It was set to debut in the hot box office month of April, then moved to a favorite dumping ground called August, then pushed into a deeper hole called January; at least it doesn't have Torque's year-long shelf life. Starring box office poison Val Kilmer and Christian Slater, this one should be on video shelves by April.

Open: $9 million

7. Torque - Warner Bros.

Originally Scheduled For: January 2003

It's hard to believe Biker Boyz was able to open to more than $10 million last January for DreamWorks, despite starring Matrix great Laurence Fishburne. This time Ice Cube gets a shot at the urban motorcycle movie, hoping to hone in on some of the success that The Fast and The Furious and its sequel were able to find. Torque was punted from WB's January 2003 schedule and rises again a year later to hopefully entertain an audience tired of Oscar bait.

Open: $7 million

8. Teacher's Pet - Walt Disney Pictures

Originally Scheduled For: January 16, 2004

The TV show won Emmy Awards, but most still haven't heard of it, so it will probably go the way of Doug's 1st (and Last) Movie.

Open: $5 million

9. Chasing Liberty - Warner Bros.

Originally Scheduled For: January 9, 2004

Congrats to Warner Bros. on being the second studio to actually schedule a film in January. Too bad it's going to be roadkill.

Open: $5 million

10. My Baby's Daddy

Originally Scheduled For: April 2003

I watched Daddy Day Care while traveling on a packed Greyhound bus during the holidays. I will not do it again.

Open: $4 million

Marty Doskins's January Forecast



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Wednesday, August 21, 2019
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