Box Office Flashback: January – Corrupt Cops, A Classic Cartoon, And An Important Book

- Advertisement -

One-hundred-plus years of film-making provides a long, rich, and deep history to look back on. Retro reviews and analysis of old films are practically necessary full-time specialties. Month after month, films release, vying to grab as much attention as possible en route to great financial success. Some rise, some fall, but regardless of box office numbers, some films transcend and rake in pop culture currency for decades.

Let’s take a look back ten, twenty, and thirty years at the biggest movies released in January.

1990 • Internal Affairs27.7 Million

internal affairs-film-1990

Superheroes dominate the box office today, but in the early 90s, thrillers captured many of the dollars at movie theaters. We had Basic Instinct, Cape Fear, and Single White Female between 1991 and 1992 alone. A year earlier was Internal Affairs, which featured Richard Gere playing a corrupt cop and Andy Garcia playing the officer investigating Gere. Not sure how many even remember this movie, but it took the box office win for the month over a beloved film that’s spawned six sequels and a TV spinoff — Tremors. The action flick starring Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward took only 16.6 million at the box office but went on to super-cult status that’s likely not going to end any time soon. Cut Tremors’ box office take in half, and you get third place, a comedy film called Ski Patrol.

- Advertisement -

Of note is the fourth place release this month, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. Horror sequels never die!

2000Fantasia 200059.8 Million


Ah, 2000, a time before Disney owned Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and 80 percent of the box office. At this time, Disney was cranking out mostly mediocre films while re-purposing older, much more successful animated films for a modest profit. Remember Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas? Not many do. But that was Disney at this time (and arguably still?), and in January of 2000, they took the box office crown with an update to their acclaimed classic film Fantasia. The sequel, aptly titled, Fantasia 2000, got a digital makeover and added a few new parts. It just barely won the box office title over Next Friday, the sequel to the gangsta comedy Friday, which took in 57.3 million.

After that, though, things go off the deep end. In third place for the month was My Dog Skip at 34.1 million, followed by Down To You in fourth place at 20 million. That’s January for you.

2010 • Book of Eli94.8 Million

book of eli-denzel washington-2010

Just ten Januaries ago, we were still only one Marvel movie in, and the month was its usual peculiar self for movie releases. Book of Eli starred Denzel Washington and Mila Kunis in a post-apocalyptic quandary to save the Bible. Directed by the Hughes Brothers, the film didn’t receive critical success but does linger on in the memory of pop culture movie fans.

Taking a look at the rest of the month, you’ll notice that Book of Eli had some interesting competition. Trailing by 30+ million is Tooth Fairy, a film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, as the titular character. It was a strange time, indeed. Mel Gibson returned to a leading role during this month with Edge of Darkness, which took in 43.3 domestically and 81 million worldwide against a budget of 80 million. No bueno.

Two more cult favorites came out this month though. The first was Legion, the film starring Paul Bethany as an angel fighting the wrath of God and all his other angels. Also, Daybreakers, the future-noir vampire story featuring Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe.

January 2020

The Grudge is already out and not getting the best reviews. But January is undoubtedly the month where anything goes. The horror franchise is popular, and it could eke out a victory over Dolittle starring Tony Stark’s alter-ego Robert Downey, Jr. But this month is surprisingly loaded with possible winners. Underwater is the deep-sea horror flick starring Kristin Stewart. Who knows, right? On January 17, Bad Boys 4 Life goes head-to-head with Dolittle. A week later, The Turning, another horror film starring Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things, crawls into theaters.

My prediction …

It’s tough to call. Bad Boys seems tacked on here which might mean the studio has little faith in the film. But that doesn’t mean it might not be a hit. Robert Downey is testing the power of his celebrity. He might turn out to be the winner here with Dolittle though family movies don’t tend to do as well in January since the kids are back at school and parents back at work. The Turning could turn out to be the sleeper success here.

What do you think will be the biggest money-maker released in January?

- Advertisement -


Inside the World of Outlander | Episode 6 | Season 5

Showrunner Matthew B. Roberts and Executive Producer Maril Davis reveal more about Episode 506: "Better To Marry Than Burn." These behind-the-scenes glimpses contain SPOILERS. Catch up on Outlander anytime on the STARZ App. #Outlander #STARZ Watch Outlander now on the STARZ App: Subscribe now for more Outlander content: Like Outlander on Facebook: Follow…

Stargirl | Leap of Faith | Premiere Trailer | The CW

Stargirl premieres Tuesday, May 19. Stream free next day only on The CW! SUBSCRIBE: About The CW: Official YouTube Channel for The CW Network featuring the hit series Riverdale, as well as Black Lightning, The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Supernatural, The 100, Dynasty, In the Dark, and Roswell, New Mexico. Connect…

Best of Jamal | On My Block | Netflix

Jamal is a detective, football star and worst secret keeper EVER! Enjoy all of his best moments here. Watch On My Block, Only on Netflix: SUBSCRIBE: About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 167 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films…

Ezekiel Says Goodbye | The Walking Dead Sneak Peek: Season 10, Episode 14

Ezekiel and Jerry lay their cards on the table. Don’t miss the next episode of The Walking Dead, Sunday, March 29 at 9/8c. Watch from The Walking Dead: Subscribe to The Walking Dead on YouTube: #WalkingDead #TheWalkingDead THE WALKING DEAD: Like The Walking Dead on Facebook: Follow The Walking Dead on Twitter:…

Outlander | Ep. 6 Clip ‘I Love You, Jocasta’ | Season 5

Jocasta makes a hard choice in this clip from Outlander Season 5, Episode 6. Watch new episodes of Outlander Sundays only on STARZ. #Outlander #STARZ Watch Outlander now on the STARZ App: Subscribe now for more Outlander content: Like Outlander on Facebook: Follow Outlander on Twitter: Follow Outlander on Instagram: Outlander…

The Plot Against America: Season 1 Episode 4 Promo | HBO

Episode 4 sneak peek. From creators David Simon and Ed Burns comes The Plot Against America, an alternate American history story of the country’s turn to fascism told through the eyes of a working-class Jewish family in New Jersey. Starring Zoe Kazan, Morgan Spector, Winona Ryder, and John Turturro, the 6-part limited series airs Mondays…

Strong Black Legends: Bill Bellamy | Strong Black Lead | Netflix

This week, Tracy sits down with comedic and acting legend Bill Bellamy! They get into everything from “Def Comedy Jam,” to “Love Jones,” to Bill coining the phrase “Booty Call.” We also got some insight on Bill’s upcoming role in Netflix’s Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker. Watch Self Made: Inspired…

#blackAF | Official Trailer | Netflix

Unapologetically Black. From the creator of "black-ish" comes a brand new comedy. Kenya Barris and Rashida Jones star in "#blackAF", arriving on Netflix April 17, 2020. Connect with #blackAF Online: #blackAF Netflix link: [] Follow #blackAF on INSTAGRAM: SUBSCRIBE: About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 167 million…
Ruben Diaz
Writer, film-fanatic, geek, gamer, info junkie & consummate Devil's advocate who has been fascinated by Earth since 1976. Classically trained in the ways of the future.


  1. Um, “My Dog Skip” cost $5M to make. $34 million is like $70 million at today’s ticket prices. Dollar for dollar, it was one of the most profitable movies of that year. Wouldn’t say that’s going off the deep end.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here