January 2004 Forecast

By Marty Doskins

As you are probably well aware, January is usually the dumping ground for the movie studios. Itís usually things they couldnít fit into their schedule or, to be honest, the junk thatís left over. While this seems to be the case for January 2004, there are still a few films that I think have a chance to have some decent numbers at the box office. In my opinion, this is mostly from appealing to teenage moviegoers. There are several films with young casts that will appeal to those viewers and get them to spend their money. Here are my Top 10 predictions for the month.

1. Along Came Polly

I think this film is definitely one that has a chance to make it big. The two stars of the film, Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston, are both very popular and each has quite a following. The chemistry they have shown during interviews and in the commercials for this movie is exciting to see. I think moviegoers will be drawn into theaters for this one.

2. Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!

Nathan Laneís line from the commercials cracks me up. But one line from a script isnít enough to carry this film to box office success. However, the rest of the story seems attractive as well. Thereís also a great young cast, which will bring in the teenage dollar, which is very desirable for studios. That ďnew moneyĒ should help this film out a great deal.

3. The Perfect Score

Hereís another film with a young cast. A group of high school students wants to steal their recently submitted SAT tests so they can adjust the scores. These new better scores will allow each one of them to get what they desire in life. Like I said, the key to this one is the cast of promising actors and actresses. Teens will be using their extra cash to boost theater revenues to see this movie.

4. The Butterfly Effect

Ashton Kutcher makes a drastic departure from most of his previous roles. Heís usually the goofy guy or the clueless one. However, this film is much darker in tone. Kutcherís character has a history of blackouts and when he comes back to awareness, he has apparently done some scary things. He wakes up holding a bloody knife. He wakes up after apparently pleading in writing to be killed. Now he has found he can change the past through his strange dreams. While this represents a change for Kutcher, I still think his fans will be persuaded to follow him into this new phase in his movie career.

5. The Big Bounce

Elmore Leonard films have always been popular with movie audiences and this one should be no exception. Having Owen Wilson in the starring role backs up Leonardís popularity. I think this will prove to be a decent combination for attracting viewers when this opens at the end of the month.

6. Mindhunters

This movieís got some big names in the cast, including Val Kilmer and Christian Slater. Itís also got a strong psychological thriller feel to it. But I donít think thereís been enough of a marketing push on this one and it should end up with a third place finish on the January 23rd weekend.

7. Teacherís Pet: The Movie

Disney brings another one of its hit animated television series to the big screen. While this genre usually does fairly well at the box office, I think this oneís going to lose out due to poor scheduling. Children have gone back to school after the holiday season and I donít think theyíre looking for an excuse to go out of the house. They still have Christmas toys to play with which haven't lost their luster just yet.

8. Torque

Ice Cube takes on a Fast and the Furious-type role, but on motorcycles. The speed and action scenes for this one should be great. Fans of this genre should come out to theaters, but hereís another one that hasnít been given as much exposure as it could have. I think this one couldíve been a lot higher in my Top 10 if we had seen more commercials and stories on entertainment news shows, but this one is going to be a missed golden opportunity.

9. Chasing Liberty

I think the January 9th weekend is going to be very weak in terms of new releases. There are still big movies holding over from 2003 that are in the upper portion of the daily and weekly numbers. Also, studios have been pushing their Oscar-worthy films that were released at Christmas time and viewers are still seeing those as well. While this one is geared toward younger audiences, I think their parents will be too busy seeing those 2003 films to take their children out.

10. My Babyís Daddy

This is the other January 9th release. I donít know who this one was supposed to appeal to and I donít think viewers will either.

John Hamann's January Forecast