January posted incredibly solid numbers at the box office. Will February be able to maintain the momentum?

$1 Billion Month

on February 02, 2009 by Phil Contrino

Thanks to the surprisingly high level of success that the likes of Gran Torino, Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Taken were able to reach, January turned out to be an incredibly strong month at the box office.

The total box office haul from January 1 to January 31 (apparently we didn't get the memo that February 1 is now part of January) reached $1.014 billion. That's a particularly impressive haul considering that 2008 was able to gross approximately $835 million during the same period of time.


Every #1 film in the month of January seemed to wildly exceed expectations. After a slow theatrical unveiling, Gran Torino posted a nearly $40 million haul during its first weekend of wide release from January 9 to January 11. The following weekend it lost only 23% of its audience, which is incredibly healthy considering that most films lose at least 45-50%.


After Torino came Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Sony's comedy topped even the studio's biggest expectations with an opening weekend haul of $43.3 million, and it is now on its way to hitting the $100 million plateau.

This past weekend, Taken grabbed $24.7 million during its opening frame, and more than $21 million of that came on Friday, January 30 and Saturday, January 31.

Other films such as Notorious, My Bloody Valentine 3D, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans and Slumdog Millionaire have all contributed to January's healthy grosses. Luckily, out of the whole month only New in Town and Inkheart could be considered complete duds.

So now that 2009 is off to such a great start, will February be able to maintain the momentum? It's certainly a strong possibility because it won't have as much to live up to as January 2009 did. February 2008 brought in $684.3 million, and because of the leap year it did benefit from having a February 29. The extra day of the month added a respectable $20.5 million to the overall monthly haul.

Some promising new films are scheduled to open this month. The re-imaging of Friday the 13th and Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience have the potential to be very big hits thanks to the large built-in audience that they boast. He's Just Not That Into You and Confessions of a Shopaholic will appeal to the same mature female audiences that recently made Sex and the City and Baby Mama big hits. Both films are also based off of best-selling novels, which gives them a strong following right from the start. Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail should deliver solid, mid-range numbers considering that Perry has built some serious brand recognition. Not to be underestimated, The International could easily be a sleeper hit thanks to the growing box office clout of Clive Owen.

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