January through March is generally considered a dumping ground for Hollywood’s worst films. Though this is sometimes the case, the winter stretch is mostly a prime spot to release the more financially untested films of the year. Here are 15 movie stars whose films have been re-adjusted (or dumped) for release in the first quarter of 2013.
Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling
While the upcoming crime epic Gangster Squad is chock full of stars (including Josh Brolin and Sean Penn), the presence of rising superstars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone should make it nothing less than a blockbuster. So why is it being dumped in a January 11th spot? Following the 2012 shooting in Auroa, Colorado, Warner Bros. opted to move Gangster Squad out of its September 7th release date. This is in part due to a set piece involving a movie theater shootout which has been reportedly been removed, forcing the film to be recut and reshot. Thus, the bump back to January, which has less stiff competition.
What happens when action legend Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to his first leading role since 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines? Honestly, we’re not entirely sure. Clearly the same can be said for Lionsgate, who is distributing Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand in the very safe release date of January 18th. If the film performs, you can guarantee Schwarzenegger’s return to more competitive summer spots in the coming years.
Mark Wahlberg is no stranger to January releases. Last year, his crime thriller Contraband scooped up a first quarter spot and went on to a decent performance despite mixed reviews. Though he’s paired up with mega stars like Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta Jones in Broken City, the film’s conventional political conspiracy storyline matched with Wahlberg’s action hero histrionics make it solid matinee fair (and more serious counter programming to the cheesier The Last Stand, which is also released January 18th).
Photo: Brian To/WENN.com
January is always a great dumping ground for unproven horror films (see weekend take of Texas Chainsaw 3D for proof). Therefore Jessica Chastain’ ridiculously titled haunted child horror film Mama may prove to be an unlikely hit when it gets released January 18th. With Guillermo del Toro’s name attached as a producer, the film could find an audience in the same way the Daniel Radcliffe Victorian haunted house drama The Woman In Black did during its first quarter run last year. Then again, it may potentially tank like del Toro’s previous horror film production, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one—Jason Statham is a criminal who lives by a strong moral code, gets betrayed by his associates, and teams up with a beautiful woman to exact his action packed revenge. Parker is released January 25th and though it seems like more of the same from the action star, the presence of Jennifer Lopez may make elevate the Donald E. Westlake adaptation above a mere carbon copy of Statham’s previous vehicles. As another film that was moved from its original (October) spot into a January slot, the “more of the same” Statham formula should fare better with less big competition.
Photo: Brian To/WENN.com
Will Ferrell and Adam McKay have teamed up to produce the upcoming Jeremy Renner vehicle Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. We all saw the similarly titled Abraham Lincoln: Witch Hunters experience an agonizing death in the box office among the competition of summer 2012. Witch Hunters benefits from Jeremy Renner’s star power and the added bonus of co-star Gemma Arterton, giving the ridiculous concept a little bit of edge in the box office this January 25th.
Bullet To The Head teams Sylvester Stallone with legendary director Walter Hill. This alone should make it an action fan’s dream film. However, the film garnered a lot of negative press for knocking out Stallone’s tough guy contemporary Tom Jane from a co-starring role in favor of Sung Kang. Rumor has it this move was an effort to emulate Hill’s bi-racial buddy cop classic 48 Hours– the film which everything from Rush Hour to Lethal Weapon has copied to great success. Whether or not the recasting will benefit the film remains to be seen. If not, the film has a February 1st release spot reserved just to hedge its bets.
Photo: Jospeh Marzullo/WENN.com
Think of it Stand Up Guys as Grumpy Old Con-Men—Al Pacino taking the lead role as an octogenarian huckster who reunites with his mobster buddy (Christopher Walken) for one last assignment. The film was originally intended to be directed by Barry Levinson, who has proved himself a master of crime-comedies with films like Get Shorty. However, Levinson left due to creative differences, allowing Fisher Stevens to step in. The film may be a little less marketable as a result, but with a Golden Globe nomination for Best Song (from none other than Jon Bon Jovi), Stand Up Guys should garner a respectable take the weekend of February the 1st.
Photo: Brian To/WENN.com
While Jason Bateman is getting top billing for Identity Thief, anyone who steps into that theater on February 8th will be doing so for Melissa McCarthy. Following her Academy Award nominated performance in Bridesmaids, the actress has become one of Hollywood’s hottest commodities thanks to her fearless comedic style. As paired with audience’s favorite straight man, Jason Bateman, McCarthy should bring Identity Thief a solid turnout despite its familiar “road movie” plotline.
Photo: Carrie Devorah/WENN.com
Everyone knows Die Hard is a franchise that places its stakes in high profile, summertime release dates. So why in the name of Hans Gruber would anyone release A Good Day to Die Hard on Valentine’s Day? The story of John McLane (Bruce Willis) teaming up with his estranged son (Jai Courtney) to take on another group of terrorists would be perfect for a summertime release. Perhaps 20th Century Fox fears the aging action hero may not have the grit to take on a summer packed with superhero and family films? Given the father-son theme, one would imagine the sequel would fair better during a Father’s Day weekend, but Valentine’s Day? Talk about an awkward date if there ever was one…
Dwayne Johnson will be taking on drug dealers again on February 22nd in Snitch. The film has the added twist of taking Johnson undercover to nab the guys responsible for pinning a drug wrap on his son. One may wonder if that is that enough to delineate the film from Johnson’s similarly themed action films like Faster and Walking Tall? With a release date that’s dangerously close to Die Hard’s fifth entry, Snitch will put The Rock’s star-power in direct competition to that of his G.I. Joe: Retaliation co-star, Bruce Willis.
Steven Soderbergh’s latest muse is Channing Tatum, a guy whose star power will likely bring Side Effects a wider audience than expected on February 8th. The film, a paranoid thriller about a woman experimenting with psychiatric drugs, has an impressive ensemble in Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Jude Law. Despite the names behind it, the film may be hindered by its mysterious plotline and genre blurring. This makes the buzz behind Tatum a driving force behind Side Effects nationwide distribution. The film should prove a nice reminder of the actor’s dramatic chops before he segues back into action hero mode in G.I. Joe: Retaliation and White House Down later this year. The film will also serve as another stepping stone for rising star Rooney Mara, whose career has been relatively quiet since The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Photo: Travis Wade/WENN.com
You have to admit it is kind of comforting to see Marlon Wayans returning to his Scary Movie property without, you know, returning for a Scary Movie sequel. While the January 11th horror parody mines the same territory as the upcoming Scary Movie 5, audiences know the Wayans touch to be much more refined and raunchy than the lame and cleaned up Scary Movie sequels. These factors should make his latest spoof, A Haunted House, a sure bet at the box office.
Julianne Hough & Josh Duhamel
Despite the reputation of A Good Day To Die Hard, Safe Haven will likely give the Bruce Willis sequel legitimate competition this Valentine’s Day. Why? Well, it is a Nicholas Sparks adaptation, for one. It also has the very talented Lasse Halstrom directing—the man responsible for tearjerkers like The Cider House Rules and Dear John. Finally, the film has a lot of youth appeal thanks to stars Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel—two up-and-coming actors who may just have the chops to make Safe Haven the next The Notebook. Given its ties to the romantic holiday, all we’re saying is watch your back, John McClane.
Photo: Dan Jackman/WENN.com
Take Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and that terrifying abduction scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, mix them up in a blender, add Keri Russell and a February 22nd release date. This is the exact recipe for Dark Skies, a film that gives the Felicity actress her first headlining role in several years. As the mother of a family under siege by alien abductors, she will likely anchor the horror of Dark Skies into a respectable mid-winter profit.