It looks like Katherine Heigl just got Nic Caged. Her upcoming murder-mystery comedy “One For The Money” was previously set for a summer debut of July 8th. It was then moved to June 3rd where it would have squared off against “X-Men: First Class,” but Lionsgate then wisely decided that trying to go toe-to-toe with the tentpole behemoth was a bad idea and finally pulled the film off the calendar altogether. Well, it now has a new date, and it’s in the wasteland of early winter programming.
THR reports that “One For The Money” will now arrive on January 27, 2012 which speaks volumes. Heigl’s last two films — “Life As We Know It” and “Killers” — wound up doing okay business worldwide, but were not the “27 Dresses” or “The Ugly Truth-” sized hits execs were hoping. But the move to early winter, which might be perceived as a dumping ground, is actually a pretty smart move.
The biggest hit of Heigl’s career — “27 Dresses” — had a January bow. Moreover, this year saw Paramount do very well with a female led rom-com, Natalie Portman‘s “No Strings Attached,” which surprised everyone by snagging $70 million domestically and earning over $120 million worldwide. Instead of taking a chance on counter-programming, Lionsgate are taking the safer bet that the dearth of competition in January — which tends to be the leanest of release months — will spell financial success. And the strategy has worked before. Last year, the studio yanked Nic Cage‘s “Season Of The Witch” from its March date and re-scheduled it for the first weekend in January this year. The result? $79 million worldwide. Certainly a much better take than if it had tried to square off in a much more crowded spring frame.
And oh yeah, in case you forgot, “One For The Money” is based on the Janet Evanovich book about a newly-divorced, recently laid-off 30-year-old (Heigl) in New Jersey who becomes a bounty hunter. When life you hands you lemons…you become a bounty hunter.