Friday, August 2, 2013

Movie Preview: August 2013

Summer 2013 has been on fire. Both May and June set monthly records and July almost set a monthly record thanks to a massive total from Despicable Me 2 and several more movies that got decent totals. July also had five action movies (The Lone Ranger, Pacific Rim, Red 2, R.I.P.D., and The Wolverine) that all under-performed and had one or two more of those done better than July would've had the record. August is always the summer month where business dies down, but this month does have a lot of movies on the slate that have potential. This should make for a decent month and good ending to the summer, but there is nothing spectacular on the schedule which means when all is said and done lots of flopping could happen and the 2007 August record should remain in tact.

August 2nd - 4th - 

This first weekend of August will probably be owner of the two biggest movies of the month. The first of which is 2 Guns. 2 Guns is an R-rated action comedy starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. Practically the entire plot is shown in the trailer, which is a bummer. Also, action movies haven't had a great track record over this past month. In addition to that there was a slew of R-rated action movies in the beginning of the year all having big names that all fell flat. Having Mark Wahlberg is a good draw, but him alone does not make this a guaranteed hit. What almost does is the presence of Denzel Washington. Denzel has a great track record and him combined with Wahlberg in what looks like a fun movie for action movie fans should make this a hit similar to that of Flight ($24 million / $93 million) or Safe House ($40 million/$126 million), which were decent hits that Denzel had last year.

The other movie this weekend that actually opened up on Wednesday, the last day of July, is yet another animated movie in The Smurfs 2. Earlier in the year there was a dearth of animated movies, but recently there have been several. Monsters University did great business in June and so did Despicable Me 2 in July. Turbo also came out in July and got swallowed up and with family audiences having had all these options, it makes chances for The Smurfs 2 a little dim. The other factor is that despite The Smurfs being a surprise hit two summers ago, it is generally seen as a kids only movie that adults won't appreciate and The Smurfs 2 is much of the same which means parents might wait before rushing out to take their kids to this one. That being said, it should open to Turbo numbers at least and should do huge numbers overseas where the first movie made over $400 million. The Smurfs 3 is already scheduled for 2015.

August 9th - 11th - 

This second weekend is where things start getting chaotic this month. There are 15 new releases in the last four weekends of August. This means that there are going to be several that get lost. Those that do break out are going to have to be special. This second weekend has four new releases. The one that is most likely to break out is Elysium. Before it's rating came out this past week, I assumed that this was going to be a PG-13 post apocalyptic sci-fi movie like Oblivion and After Earth earlier this year. Oblivion opened to nearly $40 million and would up just under $90 million. After Earth dropped down from that with just under $30 million and $60 million overall. Both movies did solid business overseas and thus became successes. A third movie that is very similar to two previous movies in the same year might mean audiences will be burned out and thus will need solid reviews to do good business. However, being that the movie ended up rated R instead of PG-13, we have to instead switch gears and look at director Neill Blomkamp's other movie District 9, which was an R-rated alien invasion movie that was a surprise hit back in August of 2009. District 9 pulled this off by getting very strong word of mouth. It currently owns a spot on IMDb's top 250 list with an 8.0 rating and has a 90% rating on Rottentomatoes. This led to four Oscar nominations that year. To pull of similar success ($40 million / $115 million), Elysium will need similar reviews. If the reviews end up being poor or mediocre, the limited audience with the R rated combined with several more R-rated movies in August will certainly cause Elysium to get completely lost.

Speaking of R-rated movies this weekend that have a chance of breaking out, raunchy comedy We're the Millers hits theaters this second weekend, getting a boost by opening up on Wednesday. Raunchy comedies are always hit or miss. We're the Millers does star Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis, who did team up two years ago for another raunchy comedy Horrible Bosses, which wound up above $100 million. If this one ends up being liked, it has a pretty wide open playing field in August. It's about a fake family formed in order to move a huge shipment of weed into the US from Mexico. It advertises heavily that Jennifer Aniston is the stripper in order to suck in audiences and that is certain to work with some males at least.

Also opening up on Wednesday is the not highly anticipated Percy Jackson sequel, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. The first Percy Jackson movie was highly anticipated as in early 2010 it tried to duplicate the success of Harry Potter by bringing the popular Percy Jackson books to the big screen. Its major problem was that most fans of the books walked out of the movie absolutely abhorred by what they saw, some calling it the worst book to movie adaption ever. Despite the poor reviews, they decided to go forward with the sequel anyways, three and a half years later. Sequels to poorly reviewed movies tend to fail, no matter how good they are. Being that the first Percy Jackson only made around $80 million, the outlook isn't good for Sea of Monsters.

Finally this week comes Disney's animated spin-off of Cars, called Planes. As noted above with The Smurfs 2, family audiences have been plenty busy already this summer and if they do end up showing up in large masses to Smurfs 2, just like they did Monsters University and Despicable Me 2, this is the movie they will probably skip, especially since Percy Jackson is also family oriented and opens on the same weekend. The idea Disney had with this seems obvious. Cars made tons of money off of toy sales, so why not try doing a spin-off and make more money off of toy sales with Planes? And in case some get confused, despite being a Cars spin-off, Pixar has nothing to do with this. It is purely Disney's idea. They also seem pretty adamant on its success as a sequel to Planes is already scheduled for next Summer.

August 16th - 18th - 

Finished looking at one busy week and onto looking at a second busy week. The third weekend of August also has four new movies. None of these four movies look too strong and so it will be a complete grab bag as to who ends up at top. The movie that seems like it has the most potential is Lee Daniels' The Butler. Yes, that is the full title. If you haven't been aware of this movie, it was previously titled The Butler, but got into some legal troubles with that title name, so the comprise was to throw Lee Daniels' name at the beginning. This movie is a historical drama about a butler that served under several presidents in the white house and has quite the loaded cast. Included in this cast is Liev Schreiber, Robin Williams, James Marsden, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Terrance Howard, Forest Whitaker, Jane Fonda, Lenny Kravitz, Cuba Gooding Jr., Mariah Carey, and Oprah Winfrey. And that is only the most recognizable names. There is pretty much an actor in there for everyone.

Movie number two of the week also has a loaded cast and that is Paranoia. The cast doesn't have as many names as Lee Daniels' The Butler, but it does have Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford leading the way with Liam Hemsworth, Amber Heard, Josh Holloway (from Lost), and Richard Dreyfuss on board. The movie is a thriller with Liam Hemsworth's character being caught up in becoming a pawn stuck in between two kings as the advertising puts it. It's only PG-13, which broadens the audience, but whether it can attract crowds is another story.

Up next is another sequel in Kick-A-- 2. Yes, that is edited. I don't like swearing, even if it is the title of the movie. The first movie in this opened up in another dead month, that being April 2010. It opened up to $19 million and finished just under $50 million. The movie has a pretty good following after getting good reviews and that could help the sequel out, but this sequel will probably end up around the first one, if not slightly below. The drama around this movie comes from new addition Jim Carrey. After doing the movie, Carrey made a statement in which he said he doesn't condone the type of violence that goes on in the movie, which is peculiar because he knew what he was getting into and bashing it after the fact seems odd. He says that the shooting at the Elementary School recently is what caused this change towards the movie, which is understandable. It will be interesting to see what effect, if any, this has on the movie.

Last... and probably least is the biopic Jobs. This is a biopic of recently passed Steve Jobs. The movie was originally scheduled for April, but it was put on hold for one reason or another. The prospects on this movie don't look good for a few different reasons. First off, when a clip of the movie was first released, one of the real life figures stated that that wasn't how things happened. Added to that is it's initial showing at Sundance was taken very well. It stars Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs and that is an odd choice. Although Kutcher looks the part in the movie, it is far from what he normally does and one might think that they could've picked someone better suited to play Steve Jobs. All that adds to a scenario where this movie most likely gets quite lost in this August clutter.

August 23rd - 25th - 

The fourth and not quite final weekend of August only has three new releases. Only... The first of which is Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. This is yet another attempt to create a lucrative movie franchise from a book series following the major success of Twilight and The Hunger Games. There is three different routes this movie could end up taking. The first route is the Hunger Games route. The Hunger Games was a huge hit back in March of 2012 that ended up with a final tally of over $400 million. While this is obviously the goal, the likelihood of that is very slim. It is more likely to take either the I Am Number Four route or the Beautiful Creatures route. I Am Number four took in $20 million in it's opening weekend and ended up with $55 million total back in February of 2011. Beautiful Creatures on the other hand opened up earlier this year to only $7 million and wound up with only $20 million. Personally I feel that it will take the I Am Number Four route and even get a bit higher, but we will see.

Second up is The World's End. This is the second end of the world comedy to come out this summer. This is the End opened up in June and became a surprise hit and is currently at just under $100 million. The World's End has already opened up in England with great reviews over there, but that is largely due to the fact that is stars English actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The chances of it being a hit in the US is pretty slim. The last two times Pegg and Frost teamed up with director Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) the result was less than $30 million in the US, so that should probably be expected in this case, too.

Third and final movie of the week is horror film You're Next. Normally I would say to not expect too much out of a horror film because they are a dime a dozen and all are pretty similar, but right now I am going to go against that logic because it's been one of the best years summers for horror movies. Back in June, The Purge surprised by opening north of $30 million. That was followed by The Conjuring this past month which one-upped that by opening north of $40 million. The Purge tanked like normal horror movies and ended up with only $60 million, but The Conjuring in just two weeks of play is already above $90 million. Based on those two movies, I will say that it is very possible that You're Next ends up taking the weekend over Mortal Instruments and The World's End. In fact, that might end up being a simple task.

August 30th - September 2nd-

The final weekend of August is the 4-day Labor Day weekend. Judging by history, I will say that this will be the weakest weekend of the month. Labor Day is not known as a movie day as the highest grossing movie ever on the 4-day weekend was only $30 million and that belongs to the 2007 Halloween remake. The only movie that has a chance at coming close to that is One Direction: This is Us. Back in 2011, Justin Bieber had his concert movie come to the big screen and that turned out to be a pretty decent hit, earning $29 million in opening weekend with a final tally of $73 million. Since then Glee and Katy Perry both tried concert movies of their own and both failed. Glee's concert movie ended up with only $12 million while Katy Perry's concert movie last summer ended up with $25 million. Given the extreme popularity of One Direction, it's likely that their concert movie ends up closer to Justin Bieber's than Glee's or Katy Perry's. One Direction recently released a new singled entitled Best Song Ever in anticipation if their movie and that rounded up 20 million viewers in just two days, so you can bet that teenage girls all over the country will swarm out to watch their band on the big screen.

Outside One Direction storming theaters, the other two movies are both crime dramas. The first of these is Getaway. Getaway is only PG-13 and so it has the slight edge over the other that I will get to in a second, but it's still likely to follow the Labor Day trend of low grossing movies. Getaway is about a man who's wife gets kidnapped and he has to follow orders from a mysterious man to keep her alive. Ethan Hawke stars in this one and along with him is Selena Gomez as a girl that gets caught up in the mess.

The other crime drama this weekend is Closed Circuit. As I just mentioned, Closed Circuit is rated R and thus might have the slight disadvantage, but yet it will be a close race between the two crime dramas. Closed Circuit stars Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall as two former lovers who both end up as defense attorneys in an international terrorist trial. What they learn in the acting at these positions puts them in a very bad situation.

The final movie I will mention is a movie that thinks it's coming out this weekend and that is Satanic. I say that because there is almost no information on this movie. It doesn't have a poster or a trailer yet, but Weinstein has still kept it on the schedule, so what actually happens with this is a mystery right now.

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