January Movie Releases That Didn’t Suck

Great Expectations

10. Great Expectations – January 30, 1998

One of many (and still counting) retellings of the Charles Dickens’ story, the star-studded version of Great Expectations was a moderate success. Starring Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert De Niro, the film grossed only $26 million domestically, but more than that internationally for a grand total of $55 million. Worth nothing though, while it’s technically a January release, the late release date was probably more aimed at Valentine’s Day.

Oh, and did you forget this version of Great Expectations was directed by none other than Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuaron? It’s not a movie that particularly screams “Cuaron” but it has its moments, and decent performances, resulting in a pretty solid take on the material.


9. Cloverfield – January 18, 2008

Arguably the most-hyped January release of all time thanks to its groundbreaking, mysterious marketing, this J.J. Abrams-produced, Matt Reeves-directed found footage monster movie had a huge $40 million opening weekend on the way to $80 million domestic and $170 worldwide. The opening was the biggest in January history until 2014 when Ride Along squeaked by it.

Cloverfield kind of helped reinvigorate the found footage genre, turning it on its head and showing that the films didn’t all have to be horror movies. The movie doesn’t hold up particularly well, but when it came out it was a kick-ass roller coaster ride. We’re still waiting on that sequel.

Dont Be A Menace

8. Don’t Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood – January, 12 1996

Here’s an interesting fact about this highly-underrated parody by the Wayans Brothers. Its box office numbers, an $8 million opening and $20 million total gross, are almost identical to one of the films it was parodying, Juice, which opened in the same month four years earlier. Like that movie, this one is not considered a big hit.

In fact, not only is this movie not a hit, I feel like it’s probably hated by most people. But I put it this high on the list because when I saw it, it was one of the funniest films I’d ever seen. I still laugh when I think about the outrageous crap that’s in this movie. So you know what? It’s the #8 January release of the past 35 years.


7. Scanners – January 14, 1981

The oldest film on this list is definitely one of the most classic. David Cronenberg’s thriller about mind control only grossed about $14 million when it was released, but thanks to its quality and effects, still endures as a beloved sci-fi horror film. Several lesser sequels were later made once the film caught the imagination of audiences on the home market.

David Cronenberg’s movies almost seem tailor-made for January, because they’re good, but usually so weird that Hollywood would never know what to do with them. Scanners is definitely that, a good film that has pretty much been relegated to being known by the masses for one head-exploding scene.

Alive movie

6. Alive – January 15, 1993

It’s kind of amazing that Alive got made at all, let alone grossed almost $37 million. Directed by Frank Marshall, the true story drama about a group of men forced to eat each other after their plane crashes in the mountains is pretty memorable. But the January release date definitely suggests it was a movie the its studio was scared of.

As a kid, I was scared of it, too. I remember watching it and being grossed out but also riveted. Alive is a wonderful movie that, like Scanners, kind of gets pigeonholed for one single thing. In this case, cannibalism.

Continue Reading The 15 Best January Movie Releaseds of the Past 35 Years

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