Thursday, January 2, 2014

Movie Preview: January 2014

I'm currently in the process of catching up some final movies from 2013 so that I can create my best and worst movie lists from this past year. After that, I will look forward to the movies of 2014. In the meantime, though, a new year means that a new month has begun, so let's quickly take a look at the movies coming out in January of 2014. January is typically a dumping ground month for movies and this January looks like it's no different. However, there still is a chance that a movie or two could end up entertaining audiences, so let's begin!

January 3rd - 5th - 

The Christmas holiday was a very crowded one, and with this first weekend of January being the final weekend for everyone's holiday break, it's likely that the holdover movies, like Frozen and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will be the movies dominating this weekend. However, there is one movie that will be joining the crowd, and that is Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. The first Paranormal Activity was quite the breakthrough. Not only did it make the found footage genre even more popular, but it was a horror movie that only took $15,000 to make, yet it earned $193 million worldwide. What happens when you have a horror movie that had a profit of nearly $200 million? You get a whole ton of sequels. Being that the three sequels have combined to earn over $500 million on a combined budget of $13 million, these movies aren't going to slow down anytime soon. After missing out on 2014, the franchise plans on making up for by throwing out two of them this year. While Paranormal Activity 5 hits theaters in October, The Marked Ones will try the franchise's luck in January. It's also not a direct sequel to the others, but rather it's just a spin-off. It's final total probably won't come near the others, but that doesn't matter. Given how little it takes to make these movies, earning a profit will happen rather easily. Also, horror movies in January have had good luck recently, so it could challenge for the top spot.

January 10th - 12th - 

For some reason, Hollywood has decided to go on a Hercules kick in 2014. Most people are aware of the Dwayne Johnson version coming out later in the year, but not many are aware of this January version of Hercules, entitled The Legend of Hercules. While Dwayne Johnson gets his shot later this year to portray the character, Kellan Lutz gets the first opportunity of the year. Who? Yeah, he is best known for his role as Emmet Cullen in Twilight. Most people know the Disney version of Hercules. This version will be quite a bit different than that, though. However, it's worth noting that Disney usually takes a story and twists it up quite a bit for their movies, so this version of Hercules will probably be a lot more accurate than the Disney version in terms of the actual story of Hercules, so don't let yourself be too confused when you watch this movie and it turns out to be nothing like the Hercules you think you know.

January 17th - 19th - 

After a total of only two new wide releases in the first two wide releases, allowing plenty of time for Christmas holdovers to die off a bit more, January finally picks up pace with four new wide releases this weekend. Adding to the mix will be the fact that Oscar nominations will have been just announced, so those movies will also play into the picture, making this even more busy. The first new wide release is Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. This movie will be dedicated to the recently passed on Tom Clancy, who is the author of the Jack Ryan book series. If you aren't familiar with Jack Ryan, it is a series of nine books, four of which have been turned into movies. Those four movies are The Hunt For Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and The Sum of All Fears. Playing the character of Jack Ryan has been Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck. Shadow Recruit is an attempt to reboot the series with Star Trek star Chris Pine filling the big shoes of Jack Ryan. This is the first Jack Ryan movie that's not actually based on a specific, which is an odd choice. Adjusted for ticket price inflation, all four previous movies have earned over $150 million in the box office. This means that unless Shadow Recruit pulls of some serious January magic (only two January movies have ever made it above $150 million), this will probably be the lowest attended Jack Ryan movie yet.

Rivaling Jack Ryan for the top spot will be the year's first comedy in Ride Along. This is a buddy comedy starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube. While Ice Cube has managed to keep showing up in various things, the big draw for this movie is comedian Kevin Hart. Last year, the stand-up comedy concert movie Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain became one of the highest grossing stand-up comedy concert movies ever, which shows the rising popularity of the comedian. Last year, Identity Thief became a huge hit early in the year, so there is hope for Ride Along.

January always seems to include at least one or two horror movies. This year there is two, with Devil's Due being the second after Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. Recently January has actually been very good to horror movies. Last year Mama opened in January and ended its run with $70 million. In 2012, The Devil Inside opened up on the first weekend of January with the third highest opening weekend ever for the month of January. That is positive news for Devil's Due, although horror movies are always hit and miss. Some randomly open huge while others get completely ignored, and there's almost no pattern to predict which will happen. Devil's Due hopes to follow recent January trends, but initial predictions aren't very hopeful.

Finally, the fourth wide release is animated movie The Nut Job. The voice casting in this movie is huge as it includes Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl, and Gabriel Iglesias. The other advantage is that family audiences have really had no new options since Frozen. The problem is that this isn't made by one of the huge animation brands like Dreamworks, Pixar, or even Blue Sky and Illumination. It's more of an independently made animation. Distributor Open Roads also isn't known for huge releases and their biggest hit was 2012's The Grey, which earned a total $51 million. With The Lego Movie coming around the corner, family audiences will probably be patient and wait for that one while ignoring The Nut Job.

January 24th - 26th - 

After loading up on movies the previous week, January slows down with only one release in I, Frankenstein. It's been quite the journey for this movie as it was initially scheduled for last February before being pushed back twice. All that has resulted in confusing audiences when the trailer came out. Although Frankenstein is in the title of the movie and is the title character, played by Aaron Eckhart, this is more of a Frankenstein meets Underworld type. Being that the movie is from the producers of Underworld, that makes a lot of sense. It's also based on a graphic novel of the same title, so it's not something the makers are pulling out of nowhere. The previous three Underworld movies all came out in the end of January, opened in the $20 million range, and ended around $50 - $60 million. Look for I, Frankenstein to pull in that same type of crowd.

January 31st - February 2nd - 

The last weekend of January has more days in February than January, but as you know, I always include these types of weekends with the month that has the first day of the weekend. So this is in January. And before the month of February lights up the box office, this weekend gives us two releases that will probably be mostly forgotten about a few weeks after their release. The first of those two is Labor Day. Labor Day comes from director Jason Reitman, director of Juno and Up in the Air. It's also based on the book by Joyce Maynard. Starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, the movie is about a messed up mother and her son who's lives get more complicated when they give a ride to an escaped convict.

The final movie of the month is the year's first raunchy comedy in That Awkward Moment. The main players in this movie are Zac Efron, Michael B Jordan, and Miles Teller. They play three best friends all in the same "awkward" situation. What is this awkward situation? It's that awkward moment in every relationship when you have to decide where the relationship. Yes, this is a raunchy dating/romance comedy. I'm sure there will be some that will be interested in checking this movie out, but not much compared to other raunchy comedies.

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