Thursday, July 31, 2014

Movie Preview: August 2014

The Summer of 2014 has come whimpering to a close. While there have been plenty of crowd-pleasers such as X-Men: Days of Future Past and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (both those titles currently are 90%+ on rottentomatoes and hold a spot on IMDb's Top 250), no movie this summer has even crossed $250 million domestically (Captain America: The Winter Soldier has, but that was an April release). In comparison, every summer since 2002 has produced at least one movie that ended up crossing $300 million. The last time a summer didn't produce a $250 million movie was back in 2000. Looking strictly at July of 2014, the box office turned out to be especially weak as this was the lowest grossing July in over ten years. Now August is typically the lowest grossing movie month of the Summer as studios usually release their bigger titles earlier. But this August could actually be different. With how weak July was this year and an August schedule that includes titles such as Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy and Michael Bay's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, there's a chance that this August could actually top this July. At the very least, these titles, along with a handful of wild cards, should be able to challenge the August record set last year. So let's dive in and see what the final summer month of 2014 has in store.

August 1st - 3rd- 

Starting off the month of August with a huge bang is the tenth movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and that of course is Guardians of the Galaxy. Usually Marvel waits till the big months to release their movies, but for whatever reason, this year was their experimental year as Captain America: The Winter Soldier was released in April while Guardians of the Galaxy is being released in August. Although Marvel is done experimenting with dates for a while (all their movies from 2015-2019 are in either May, July or November), this shows that release date isn't everything. Ever since it was announced, Guardians of the Galaxy has been seen as Marvel's riskiest movie yet. First off, very few people actually know about the Guardians of the Galaxy comics. Second, the tone of this one is completely different from any other Marvel movie. This could mean epic disaster for Marvel. However, the marketing for the movie has been genius and add that to the excellent reviews and it looks like that Marvel is once again going to score a home run. Disney is expecting $65 million for the weekend, which is exactly what Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger got. It looks like Guardians will top both of those, though, as Fandango is reporting that it is outselling both of them. Fandango also reports that it is becoming their best August pre-seller in company history, so it will likely top the August opening weekend record which belongs to The Bourne Ultimatum at $69 million.

Providing some counter programming to Guardians will be the James Brown biopic Get on Up. Oscar season doesn't get into full swing until around October, but August is the month where we usually start to see early contenders and Get on Up has been thought of as the movie that will be this year's contender from August. If you haven't heard the name Chadwick Boseman, now would be the time to start paying attention. Last year he starred as Jackie Robinson in the movie 42, so he's pretty good at these biopic roles. The very early word is that Boseman will at least be in the conversation when it comes to the best actor nominations from this year. Back in 2011, The Help took advantage of an August release date to get both critical and financial success that led to four Oscar nominations and one win. Get on Up is from the same director as The Help, so it will look to follow in its shoes.

Finally, the movie A Most Wanted Man opened up the weekend before, but will be getting a nationwide expansion this week. A Most Wanted Man is based off the book of the same title and is about a Chechen Muslim immigrant to Hamburg who gets caught up in the war on terror. The huge draw here is that this movie stars the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman. No this isn't his last movie as he still has the last two Hunger Games movies that he'll be in, but fans of the actor are bound to eventually show up to this to watch him in his last movie as a lead actor.

August 8th - 10th-

The second weekend of August brings us one of the more controversial films of the year in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Michael Bay is technically not the director here, but he is the producer and has his name written all over this project, which is precisely the point of controversy. Fans of TMNT have been nervous about what Michael Bay has planned for their beloved franchise in this modern live-action reboot of the turtles. Megan Fox being cast as April O'Neil didn't and neither did the arrival of the trailers as the movie looked nothing more than a Transformers movie with Ninja Turtles. However, regardless of the response to the film, the financial outlook of the movie looks good, especially since controversy sparks curiosity. Also, Bay does have a big following that makes his movies critic-proof. Looking at Transforms: Age of Extinction as an example, that movie seemed to be collectively hated by critics and audiences (17% on Rotten Tomatoes and 6.3 on IMDb), but yet has already hit $1 billion world wide, led mainly by a huge charge in China where the movie has become the highest grossing film of all time there, earning nearly $100 million more than it has in the United States.

We've already had a couple food-related movies this year with The Lunchbox and Chef, but we will be getting a third this weekend via The Hundred-Foot Journey. This movie is about an Indian family who moves to France and sets up a restaurant right across the street from another popular French restaurant owned by Madame Mallory, who is played by Helen Mirren. Very early word is that Helen Mirren could be a potential Oscar nominee for her role in this movie, but it's obviously too early to tell. Considering the neglect towards the family audience this summer, the PG rating for this movie could pique the interest families. Also going for the movie is the fact that it's produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, among others.

Next up is disaster movie Into the Storm. Advertising for this movie has sold this as a movie that tries to show audiences what it is like to get caught in a tornado. Immediately what comes to mind is the 1996 movie Twister  and thus it remains to be seen if audiences will be interested in what may seem like a rehashing of that movie. In order to separate itself, filmmakers have done this movie in found-footage style, which may not turn out for the better. Found-footage movies have done very well in the past, but it seems like the genre has worn off on audiences. One evidence of this is last month's Earth to Echo which was able to gain pretty no traction. In a crowded month, Into the Storm could be looked over by audiences.

Last off for this weekend is Step Up All In. This is the fifth installment in the Step Up franchise, each coming out in two year increments since 2006. Step Up All In brings in several dancers from the previous movies for one big dance-off movie. The first Step Up did good business financially and while the sequels haven't done poorly, each one has declined in in grosses, so it's not likely that this one is anything special, although Step Up fans are still bound to show up.

August 15th - 17th-

Speaking of controversy, The Expendables 3 has gained quite a bit of it recently following the news that this third installment will be getting a PG-13 rating instead of the typical R rating that the previous two have received. This could do one of two things. First option is that fans of the franchise get angry and skip this movie after accusing it of being watered down, thus leading this one to be the lowest-grossing of the three. Second option is that the PG-13 rating expands the audience to those who usually don't care for R-rated action films, but will show up for PG-13 action films. It's unknown which of these will happen at this point, but as far as the movie goes, much of the same should be expected. The ever growing cast of action stars in this franchise adds Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson to this third installment while keeping much of the same cast from the first two films.

Also coming to theaters this weekend is the movie adaption of the popular Lois Lowry novel The Giver. Ever since this was announced, fans of the book became excited because this seems like a novel that would work very well as a movie. However, excitement was diminished significantly at the reveal of the first trailer. Fans became upset that it seemed their book wouldn't be done right on the big screen. The next trailer healed some wounds, but not all. Now The Giver is stuck in a tough spot. It's trying to be the next big dystopian movie and thus hopes to gain some leftover summer movie excitement. At the same time, it's hoping that it can get some awards recognition by being released near Oscar season and heavily advertising the fact that it includes Oscar-winners Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges. Unfortunately it may have shot itself in the foot with the marketing and thus it may end up getting lost in August and become the next failed dystopian movie.

Next up is the buddy comedy movie Let's Be Cops. So far this year was very good to both of the other buddy comedies that came out, that being Ride Along and 22 Jump Street. Also, in the last several years the summer season has been very good to R-rated comedies and this summer has been no different, minus a few exceptions. Last August saw We're the Millers break out and wind up as the biggest movie of the month. With the loaded August schedule, that definitely won't be the case here, but there is a good chance this does fairly well and supports what should be a fairly strong month. Advertisements has promised plenty of laughs for audiences, which is of course is the key for success.

August 22nd - 24th-

It's been almost ten years since since Frank Miller's Sin City came to theaters. A sequel has been in the works for a while now and finally in this weekend of August, fans of Sin City will be graced by Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Sin City of course was based the Sin City neo-noir comics (later turned graphic novels), which were written and drawn by none other than Frank Miller himself. The Sin City movie did decent business back in April 2005, but was extremely well-liked as it owns a place in the IMDb Top 250. This sequel is primarily based on Frank Miller's first comic in the series, also entitled A Dame to Kill For. Returning for the sequel will be Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, and Bruce Willis, while Josh Brolin and Joseph Gordon-Levitt will among the new cast members.

Joining A Dame to Kill For will be the film adaption of If I Stay. This is based off the popular young-adult novel written by Gayle Forman. In this story, 17-year-old Mia Hall gets in a car crash with her family, putting her in a coma. Mia has an out-of-body experience where she watches the doctors treat her and she is thus left with a big decision: does she decide to wake up and live a life that would be much harder than before or does she slip away and die? This isn't a Christian drama, but it was advertised in front all the big Christian movies that came out earlier this year and the life or death premise of the movie could be one that these audiences could buy into. The movie stars 17-year-old Chloe Grace Moretz as the title character of Mia, who has certainly had quite the career already for a 17-year-old as she has starred in movies such as the Kick-A-- movies as well as others like Let Me In, Hugo, and the Carrie remake. 

The final movie for this weekend is the sports drama When the Game Stands Tall. This movie is based on the true story of a high school football team that owned a record 151 game winning streak. The drama in the movie centers on what happens to the team and the overall city when the winning streak is finally broken. Thus everyone has to learn how to pick themselves back up and move forward. Sports movies usually have a limited ceiling financially and the fact that this is being released in the dead zone that starts in late August isn't a good sign. Also, this year hasn't been good to the two sports movies that have already came out as Draft Day and Million Dollar Arm both opened to around $10 million. However, if it ends up with good reviews, break-out sports movies do happen and the fact that this summer has been extremely lacking in family-friendly movies could play out in its favor. Jim Cavaziel, who played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ is the big name in this one as he plays legendary head coach Bob Ladouceur.

August 29th - September 1st- 

Rounding out the month of August will be the infamous Labor Day weekend. Historically speaking, this is not the place you want to be if you want to make money as there have only been three movies in history that have opened up above $20 million for the four-day weekend. It doesn't look like this year will be any different, but there will be two movies that will try. The first of these two is The November Man, which is an action thriller starring Pierce Brosnan and Luke Bracey (G.I. Joe: Retaliation). Brosnan has had an excellent career, but this probably won't be one that he James Bond star will be bragging about as this looks like a fairly generic action movie coming out on a very poisonous weekend. This does open up on Wednesday the 27th in an attempt to get a head start on the weekend, which may or may not work out.

Also most likely set to fail on this weekend is As Above/So Below. This movie is a horror thriller set around two archaeologists searching for a lost treasure in the catacombs of Paris. This movie is directed by John Erik Dowdle, whose only other work is Devil and Quarantine, both of which opened in the low teen millions and ended around $30 million. That seems like a fair price tag to put on this one as well. No reason to believe it will be any higher.

No comments:

Post a Comment