The Biggest Movies Coming to Theaters in January 2024

Images courtesy: Paramount, Universal, MGM

New year, new movies. January’s new films span the gamut from sci-fi action thrillers to high school comedy musicals.

As occurs every year, several December limited releases will expand and likely reach their widest screen counts at some point in January. These include:

  • Searchlight Pictures’ Poor Things
  • MGM’s American Fiction
  • Searchlight Pictures’ All of Us Strangers
  • A24’s The Zone of Interest

Here are the biggest movies coming out in January 2024, listed chronologically by wide release date.

Night Swim

Friday, January 5

Premise: The Universal / Blumhouse horror follows a family whose backyard swimming pool is haunted by a violent supernatural creature. Bryce McGuire makes his feature directorial debut.

Box office: It’s likely too much to expect that Universal and Blumhouse will replicate the success of their last release, October 2023’s Five Nights at Freddy’s with $137.2M. Instead, Night Swim will aim to match January 2023’s M3GAN with $95.0M or 2022’s The Black Phone with $90.1M.

Mean Girls

Friday, January 12

Premise: Paramount’s musical reboot coincides with the 20th anniversary of 2004’s teen comedy classic, with Angourie Rice stepping into Lindsay Lohan’s shoes as protagonist Cady Heron. This take on Mean Girls, also written by Tina Fey, is adapted from the Broadway musical, which ran from 2018 until the Covid pandemic shut it down in 2020.

Box office: Not one but two theatrical musicals were released last month, both based on preexisting IP. Wonka and The Color Purple both appear poised to earn somewhere around $150M, give or take.

However, both titles may have wider appeal than Mean Girls, considering 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and 1985’s original Purple both earned more than 2004’s original Mean Girls with $86.0M.

The Beekeeper

Friday, January 12

Premise: To bee or not to bee, that is the question. MGM’s R-rated action thriller stars Jason Statham doing what he always does: fighting a criminal syndicate of bad guys single-handedly. David Ayer (Suicide Squad, Fury, End of WatchBright) directs.

Box office: Several of Statham’s movies have earned in a similar range, including 2021’s Wrath of Man with $27.4M and 2016’s Mechanic: Resurrection with $21.2M. In terms of January R-rated action movies, 2023’s Plane starring Gerard Butler flew to $32.1M.

A worst-case scenario would be replicating Statham’s 2023 Operation Fortune with only $6.2M.

The Book of Clarence

Friday, January 12

Premise: Sony Pictures’ alternate-history historical comedy stars LaKeith Stanfield (Judas and the Black Messiah) as a black man in Biblical-era Jerusalem who sees Jesus’ success and pretends to be a prophet and miracle worker himself as a way to make money.

Writer-director Jeymes Samuel (Netflix’s 2021 The Harder They Fall) makes his theatrical directorial debut, with Jay-Z producing.

Box office: There are few to no true comparisons here. Arguably the last big “biblical-era comedy” was 2009’s Year One from a solid decade and a half ago; that film, which had a very different style than Clarence, earned $43.3M.

Soul [re-release]

Friday, January 12

Premise: Disney is coming off a disappointing 2023 at the box office and facing an even barer 2024 slate, with zero Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) titles, Star Wars entries, or live-action remakes of its animated classics. In December, they announced the theatrical re-release of three Pixar titles which had originally debuted streaming on Disney+.

2020’s Soul follows a jazz musician, voiced by Jamie Foxx, embarking on an ethereal fantasy journey, accompanied by a talking cat voiced by Tina Fey. 2021’s Turning Red will get the theatrical treatment on February 9, followed by 2021’s Luca on March 22.

Box office: This is uncharted territory. While several films are re-released theatrically each year, they were also theatrical in their original incarnations; a wide theatrical release for an originally streaming-only title is basically unprecedented.

For what it’s worth, some of 2023’s theatrical re-releases of various eras and genres included:

  • 1997’s Titanic = $15.0M
  • 1994’s Jurassic Park = $12.8M
  • 1993’s The Nightmare Before Christmas = $10.2M
  • 1983’s Return of the Jedi = $7.3M
  • 1993’s Hocus Pocus = $4.9M
  • 1988’s Die Hard = $4.2M


Friday, January 19

Premise: Escape the news headlines about war with Russia by seeing… a movie about war with Russia? Ariana DeBose (Wish and Steven Spielberg’s 2021 West Side Story) stars in Bleecker Street’s outer space thriller as an astronaut forced to confront her Russian cosmonaut colleagues aboard the International Space Station after nuclear war breaks out between the U.S. and Moscow down on earth.

Gabriela Cowperthwaite (Megan Leavey and 2013’s documentary Blackfish) directs.

Box office: The distributor Bleecker Street usually specializes in smaller-budget releases, with 2017’s Logan Lucky still their top-grossing movie ever with $27.7M. 2022’s outer space action thriller Moonfall from Lionsgate only earned $19.0M.

Miller’s Girl

Friday, January 26

Premise: Lionsgate’s psychological thriller stars Jenna Ortega (Netflix’s “Wednesday”) as a college student whose relationship with her professor, played by Martin Freeman (The Hobbit trilogy), takes a complicated and perhaps sinister turn. Writer-director Jade Halley Bartlett makes her feature film debut.

Box office: Plot similarities bare a resemblance to Woody Allen’s 2015 Irrational Man, starring Emma Stone as a college student who gets involved with her professor, played by Joaquin Phoenix; the film only earned $4.0M.

Images courtesy: Paramount, Universal, MGM

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