New Releases: 'The Grey,' 'Man On A Ledge,' 'One For The Money'
And like that, we've reached the last weekend in January. What a fun month! There was that terrible horror movie you hated, that fourth "Underworld" movie you saw out of habit, and "Red Tails" -- which you seemed to like in spite of the critical tongue-lashing it received. What does January's final push have in store? Let's find out!
What's the story: A group of Alaskan pipeline workers survive a terrible plane crash in the Arctic, only to find themselves stalked by a bunch of blood-thirsty wolves. Liam Neeson and his broken-bottle knuckles star in the latest from manly man director Joe Carnahan ("The A-Team").
Box office prediction: On this weekend in 2009, Liam Neeson led "Taken" to a surprise $24 million opening, something that cemented him as the action star of the moment. Since "Taken," every action film with Neeson in a lead role -- "Clash of the Titans," "The A-Team," and even last winter's "Unknown" -- has opened to over $20 million. Will "The Grey" continue that streak? Probably not -- fighting wolves might not have the same cache as explosions -- but don't be shocked when the Caranhan thriller exceeds expert expectations. $18.7 million
What's the story: From the files of literal titles comes "Man on a Ledge," about an ex-con named Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) threatens to jump off a Manhattan skyscraper while his brother (Jamie Bell) attempts to pull off a heist that would clear Nick's name and get revenge on the man who put him in jail. Elizabeth Banks, Anthony Mackie, Edward Burns and Ed Harris co-star.
Box office projection: What to make of this one? Outside of "Avatar" and "Clash of the Titans," Worthington isn't a box office guarantee, and neither are his talented co-stars. That said: Worthington led "The Debt" to surprise grosses over last Labor Day weekend and could turn a similar trick here. $13.5 million
What's the story: Based on the best-selling Janet Evanovich book series about Stephanie Plum (Katherine Heigl), a female bounty hunter tasked with finding an on-the-run ex-cop from her romantic past.
Box office projection: Hey, remember Katherine Heigl? She used to be something! Now she's not, really -- to the point where she's even talking about wanting to return to "Grey's Anatomy." Still! "One for the Money" has had a great deal of marketing push behind it, and the Plum source books are beloved and popular. That doesn't account for much guaranteed box office success -- see the early returns from "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" for proof -- but it should be enough to keep this one from being a total washout. $11 million
LIMITED AND EXPANDING RELEASES
In honor of its Best Picture nomination, Fox Searchlight is expanding the George Clooney-led "The Descendants" to over 1,900 screens. It has earned $51 million so far and could easily finish in the top-five this weekend. Also expanding: "Albert Nobbs," with Oscar nominees Glenn Close and Janet McTeer.