THIS WEEKEND IN BOX OFFICE HISTORY – January: Part 3

This series highlights the best opening weekends since 1980… with 10 movies we don’t want to slip/through the cracks.

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This Weekend in History features a hilarious action buddy cop movie, a serious horror flick accepted by the masses, an 80s action gem, a George Lucas bomb, an exciting true war story, and 5 Cult Classics.

Typically a dumping ground for Hollywood movies, January still has a few gems worth highlighting over the decades. If you would like a different menu of tasty picks hop on over to TALE OF TWO DANS for the companion piece.

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While you’re there, make sure to check out the UNITY MOVIE AWARDS. You can vote for the best movies of 2015, in fun categories like “Coolest Action Scene,” “Best Newcomer,” and “So Dumb, It’s Fun.”

Or hop on over to our new 2D YouTube Channel and check out some nerdy commentary on the Nominees.

  • note: box office figures are domestic and are not adjusted for inflation

RIDE ALONG – 2014

OPENING WEEKEND: $42 MILLION   //   BOX OFFICE TOTAL: $135 MILLION

  • The Number 2 opening for January, since 1980.
  • Action buddy comedy done right.
  • Kevin Hart goes from the stand-up comedy stage to a starring role, with great success.
  • Hart plays a FPS gamer who has to ride along with his fiance’s police officer brother (Ice Cube), to prove his worth in the face of real danger.
  • Tons of laughs – from slapstick, to racial commentary, to absurdity.
  • Cube plays “the straight man” rather well, with a few solid laughs as well.
  • Delivered so well on fan expectations that the sequel comes out This Weekend.

MAMA – 2013

OPENING: $28 MILLION  //   TOTAL: $72 MILLION

  • Jessica Chastain disappears behind Goth make-up in the starring role.
  • Creepy Children Warning 2000.
  • Stylish. Beautiful cinematography for the horror genre.
  • Actors take the story seriously, making the dramatic elements work well.
  • Silly look of “monster” deflates an impressive overall feature.

IRON EAGLE – 1986

OPENING: $6 MILLION  //   TOTAL: $24 MILLION

  • Totally 80s action flick.
  • A TOP GUN rip-off.
  • Fighter jet scenes are lots of fun.
  • Lou Gossett, Jr. plays an important role, delivering a performance that “grounds” the picture in reality.
  • Enjoy the cheese.

STRANGE MAGIC – 2015

OPENING: $6 MILLION  //   TOTAL: $12 MILLION

  • A massive bomb from last year.
  • George Lucas produced this extravagantly designed fairy world.
  • Contemporary songs get mashed up in this musical.
  • Familiar fairy tale tropes don’t help elevate story and characters.
  • Bland, despite it’s amazing graphics.
  • Worth watching only for fantasy fans who really love design work.

BLACK HAWK DOWN – 2002

OPENING: $29 MILLION  //   TOTAL: $109 MILLION

  • Ridley Scott directs a super-intense true story.
  • A military helicopter crashes in Mogadishu, Somalia.
  • Soldiers fight their way through masses of armed warlords and angered citizens.
  • Several noteworthy actors have roles – including Tom Hardy, Ewan McGregor, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, and Josh Hartnett.
  • One of the best war films of the decade.

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TOOTH FAIRY – 2010

OPENING: $14 MILLION  //   TOTAL: $60 MILLION

  • The Rock followed in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s footsteps and turned his action hero status into family comedy with this silly movie.
  • This crossover role helped Dwayne Johnson seem more approachable, and demonstrated his comedic chops.
  • A paint by numbers story won’t do anything for parents, but children should enjoy this one.

NATIONAL SECURITY – 2003

OPENING: $14 MILLION  //   TOTAL: $36 MILLION

  • Martin Lawrence stars in this comedy, although it was a sign of his decline at the box office.
  • Steve Zahn co-stars, and has a few laughs himself.
  • This is another buddy action flick in the vein of Eddie Murphy’s 48 HOURS back in the 80s.
  • It’s worth tracking down, especially (a.k.a. only) for fans of the genre.

HAYWIRE – 2012

OPENING: $8 MILLION  //   TOTAL: $19 MILLION

  • This spy thriller focuses on the action.
  • Gina Cirano is a real life MMA fighter. She definitely kicks some ass, and is utterly convincing at it.
  • Steven Soderbergh directs an impressive cast that includes Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, and Ewan McGregor.
  • The stunts and fight scenes are the real highlight.
  • While our hero isn’t the best actress, she has some really amazing action scenes.
  • Super underrated action flick!

MR. HOLLAND’S OPUS – 1996

OPENING: $9 MILLION  //   TOTAL: $83 MILLION

  • Richard Dreyfuss stars in this inspirational drama about a composer turned high school teacher.
  • Check out that box office?! This was a real word-of-mouth smash hit – especially when you consider inflation.
  • Solid performances make the emotions ring true.
  • Avoids melodrama.
  • A rare January drama that critics got behind.
  • Golden Globe nominated screenplay.
  • Dreyfuss was nominated for an Oscar.
  • We need more Dreyfuss!

THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT – 2004

OPENING: $17 MILLION  //   TOTAL: $58 MILLION

  • Super compelling time travelling sci-fi about the effects of our choices and their ramifications on others.
  • Complicated timelines and second chances.
  • Ashton Kutcher showed he could actually act with this role.
  • The story takes itself seriously despite the fun genre.
  • Good effects.
  • Frightening twists and turns like a good TWILIGHT ZONE episode.
  • A “b-movie” done right.

2005 Honourable Mention: ARE WE THERE YET? – Total: $83 million

What do you think?

2007 Cult Classic: THE HITCHER – Total: $16 million

Leave a comment.

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Check out the 2D Companion Piece for more.

Stay Rad. Vote for the UNITY MOVIE AWARDS. Check out the video to see what’s in store.

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2001 Hidden Gem: Sean Penn’s THE PLEDGE – Total: $20 million

8 thoughts on “THIS WEEKEND IN BOX OFFICE HISTORY – January: Part 3

  1. Another great list Dan. Your opinion of Black Hawk Down is spot on and Iron Eagle is pure 80s cheesetastic. I was surprised to find out The Hitcher was a terribly deep and well made moody piece. Who doesn’t love Mr Holland’s Opus.

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  2. I watched only 2 of the movies (not so bad, eh!!). I liked Mr. Holland’s Opus even though, I don’t remember much of it. And The Butterfly Effect, I don’t think I liked it, I can’t remember anything of it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a good ratio 😉 I barely remember Opus too, but I remember enjoying it. I like those inspirational teacher movies, like Stand & Deliver with Edward James Olmos. As for Butterfly Effect, I think you remember right 😉 Not a lot of people liked that one… except for me and a few other nerdy time travel fanboys.

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  3. Iron Eagle!!!! Lol. I’m so old… 😉 The Butterfly Effect was pretty good – I’m so glad I first saw the less-weird ending (think it was the director’s cut I didn’t like). And I was just thinking about Mr Holland’s Opus the other day (the death of Lennon bit after the death of Bowie, which I’m still not over). 😦 Good film.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know eh. The loss of Bowie was a sad day. And Opus is one of those forgotten gems eh.

      Whenever I go through the Top 200 list and see a flick I enjoyed as a kid, like Iron Eagle, I’m reminded just how long ago that was too. I feel your pain 😉 Especially, in the lower back hehhee.

      As Butterfly Effect, I think I remember that weird ending you’re talking about. I don’t wanna spoil it, but that was too far (even if kinda poetic).

      Liked by 2 people

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