The box office is booming this January.  It looks like the studios are finally figuring out that the month doesn’t have to be a movie wasteland.  Either that, or they’ve gotten extraordinarily lucky.  Underworld: Awakening managed $25 million last weekend, but helping the box office tremendously were the surprise returns of Red Tails at $19 million.  So far, the views for the online movie trailers have been a decent gauge for the weekend haul, but this weekend presents some challenges.  This weekend is led by The Grey, followed by familiar Katherine Heigl picture One for the Money, and the negotiation thriller Man on a Ledge.

The Grey Brings Liam Neeson Back To Action, Kicking Ass, Pwning Wilderness

Liam Neeson is to mid-Winter what Will Smith used to be to July 4: a mass-appeal, nearly-annual action picture for the masses.  It began back in 2009 with Taken and continued last year with UnknownThe Grey looks like Alive crossed with Cliffhanger, and The Edge.  When Liam Neeson’s plane crashes, you better believe he’ll survive it (this almost sounds like a precursor to Chuck Norris jokes).  He and a few other survivors now must battle wolves, death-defying cliffs, and nature.

Here’s the official trailer:

Now, it could be due to the fact that this trailer and this movie have been everywhere recently, but the official trailer has pulled in a little over a million views, which is on the low end of what we’ve seen from most of the movies this month.  We’ve seen #1’s The Devil Inside, Contraband, and Underworld 4 all eclipse 3 million or more.  Even when you combine duplicates, it barely gets over 2 million, which is odd, because I feel this movie going to do similar business to those previous movies.

The Grey has a great interactive, choose-your-own-adventure trailer, starting with the plane crash:

There’s a gripping promotional trailer featuring director Joe Carnahan and the cast talking about the challenges faced in making the movie:

This TV spot, called “Survival,” has over 200,000 views:

And the reviews have been phenomenal for the movie so far, as highlighted by this trailer:

I’ve seen this movie get overwhelming support, so I don’t think the online views matter because promos, TV spots, and trailers have been everywhere.  Look for this to be solidly #1 this weekend and big hit for Open Road.

Katherine Heigl And One For The Money: Perhaps Too Familiar For Too Many Reasons

First off, One for the Money sounds too much like the Matthew McConaughey-Al Pacino stinker Two for the Money.  Second, the movie’s plot sounds too much like the Jennifer Aniston-Gerard Butler stinker The Bounty Hunter.  And Katherine Heigl in a romantic comedy, even with an action-bent, sounds too much like all the other Katherine Heigl movies.

Here’s the trailer, and the best view-count I can find for one is a little over 100,000 views, which does not bode well:

Here’s a clip where Debbie Reynolds shoots a turkey:

And a TV spot:

It’s based on a popular novel by Janet Evanovich, but this won’t translate into a big return for Lionsgate.

Man On A Ledge Features Name Actors And A High-Concept Diamond Heist

Man on a Ledge has a combined Phone Booth and The Negotiator feel.  It stars Sam Worthington as the title character, who has gotten himself on a ledge because he’s an ex-con who needs to prove his innocence in a diamond heist.  Meanwhile, he’s directing some sort of other shenanigans atop the ledge that the trailer leaves vague.  One thing for sure, there will be action and twists.

The official trailer is close to 2 million views, which is more than both of the other movies competing against it this weekend:

The TV spot, “Perfect Heist,” makes things a little clearer:

And a clip that focuses on a troublesome heat sensor, and dialogue with double meaning:

This looks like a pretty good movie.  I don’t think it will be a huge hit but it should perform decently for Summit, still swimming in all that Twilight money.

The Take For The Weekend

This will be all The Grey this weekend.  Despite the lower view counts for the trailer, I really do think it’s because trailers have been everywhere you look.  It should perform close to what the last couple of #1’s have done, if not more, since there’s not any meaningful football this weekend.