10 Worst Movies Ever Released In January

Falling off a screen near you.

Paul Blart 2
20th Century Fox

The ugly truth about filmmaking is that it’s an art rather than a science and nobody knows what will or won’t work. It doesn’t matter if you received an Oscar nomination for The Sixth Sense - one day, you’re going to make The Last Airbender.

Let’s say you’ve got a film where nothing came together, not the script, not the casting and certainly not the direction. Instead of jumping off the screen, it all sort of lies there like a dead dog. What to do?

If it’s an expensive film with a built-in audience then instead of sending it straight to Netflix, it can be quietly released in the post-Christmas/pre-Oscars season, when nobody goes to the damn movies anyway. It’s like holding a premiere in Peoria – if the movie dies, who’s going to be any the wiser?

Over the years, January has played host to more dogs than the cast of 101 Dalmatians. To give you some idea of just how unloved and unsuccessful movies released during this period typically are, it wasn’t until 2009 that a January release made $100 million at the box office (more on that later).

If the following films prove anything, it’s that January is a terrific time for film fans to catch up on important stuff like re-caulking the bathtub. Just take a look at the first movie on the list….

10. Elektra

paul blart
20th Century Fox

Release Date: 14 January 2005

Why It's Bad: Elektra may not be in the Batman & Robin league of awfulness, but it’s still one of the most dispiriting superhero movies ever made, possessing zero charm, fun or personality. When even Terence Stamp can’t enliven the proceedings, you know you’re watching a turkey.

Opportunist, needless and very, very dull, Elektra proves that you can make a movie about a sexy action heroine with a blind martial arts master and turn it into the proverbial dog’s breakfast, something it accomplishes by ladling on the pop psychology. Turns out Elektra had a tough childhood, and that’s why she dresses like a Victoria’s Secret model and carries knives. Who knew?

What The Critics Said: “Just as all regular models can’t be supermodels, so all action chicks can’t be superheroines. Elektra turns out to be walled off rather than mysteriously alluring, blank rather than deep.” (Entertainment Weekly)


Ian Watson is the author of 'Midnight Movie Madness', a 600+ page guide to "bad" movies from 'Reefer Madness' to 'Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead.'