Max Braden's August 2009 Forecast
Max Braden's August 2009 Forecast
By Max Braden
August 7, 2009

It's painful to get laser plastic surgery.

Weekend Starting August 7th

G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra

I'm a child of the 1980s, so whenever I see a movie project reviving something from the era, I'm stoked even though I know it won't be good. The Dukes of Hazzard gave me car chases, so that was fine. Transformers gave me explosive robots, good enough. What do I want to see from G.I. Joe? Ninjas. Fighting each other. Which is pretty much all I remembered thinking was cool about the TV series, which I barely watched. Instead, what I gather we'll get, based on the emphasis in the trailer, is a bunch of jumping robot-enhanced monkeys dodging missiles. (You know what would be funny? If the suits accelerated the soldiers faster than their reflexes could accommodate. G.I. Joe starring Steve Carell might have been a winner.) Even the combined forces of ninjas (Ray Park), Channing Tatum, Sienna Miller, and Rachel Nichols won't get me to pay for a ticket. Which of course means it'll be a hit! As a guide for August action box office, think xXx and S.W.A.T.

Forecast: $40 million

Julie and Julia

I'm not a big fan of Meryl Streep, and a plain steak under the broiler is good enough dinner for me, but even I have to admit that having her play Julia Child is perfect casting. Child had an interesting enough life that I'd bet a full length bio about her would work, but instead the writers for this movie diluted the story with a modern parallel. Amy Adams is a fine actress but nearly unrecognizable with the chopped hair they gave her and you know audiences are going to be clamoring for Streep every time Adams is on screen. This is the chick flick counterprogramming to G.I. Joe for the weekend.

Forecast: $15 million

Weekend Starting August 14

District 9

Based on the title alone this movie surely has zero widespread recognition. But if you saw the first trailer, you'd know it was one of the most intriguing of the year. This is where sci-fi shines, using otherworldly story elements to comment on the human condition rather than just shove money into some whiz-bang special effects (though the second trailer appears to have that too). It's reminiscent of the 1980s alien visitation tv series V crossed with Alien Nation. How did Peter Jackson manage to get this filmed without anyone reporting on it? High quality but low visibility likely means cult classic box office.

Forecast: $25 million.

The Time Traveler's Wife

At first glance, the easiest comparison I can make for this movie is The Lake House - an angsty romance between two lovers separated by time. The Lake House benefited from bigger stars Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock when it opened to only $13.6 million three years ago in June, but I could see The Time Traveler's wife doing better. I've been hearing readers begging to see the book become film for a long time (though that begs the question of release delays, and where's the advertising?). Rachel McAdams is at her most alluring since Wedding Crashers, while most audiences will be reminded of The Notebook. Eric Bana isn't any help but his character keeps disappearing anyway, so no problem there.

Forecast: $20 million.

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

It's a shame that a guy comedy like The Hangover vaults into the stratosphere of all-time box office lists while The Goods is destined to underperform. (NO THANKS TO THE LAME TITLE, PARAMOUNT. Seriously. Come on.) Not a slam against The Hangover, just a lament that Jeremy Piven is damn funny and most people will miss it. In spirit this movie about the underdog throwing a hail mary to avoid a corporate jackass fate is a lot like Dodgeball. It remains to be seen whether the federal Cars for Clunkers bailout will boost the box office for a car lot movie as well.

Forecast: $10 million.

Weekend Starting August 21st

Inglorious Basterds

This movie has three things selling it: Quentin Tarantino, Brad Pitt, and killing Nazis! Imagine if Indiana Jones had said, "You know, it would be easier to collect relics if I just killed all the Nazis first." That's a billion dollar idea for free. Killing Nazis is a natural crowd pleaser, so Tarantino fans are pretty much guaranteed to show up. What about everyone else? The more trailers I see for this, the more Brad Pitt seems to be hamming it up. The movie did win a Best Actor award at Cannes (not for Pitt) and a director nom for Tarantino, but it's a long movie.

Forecast: $25 million.

Weekend Starting August 28th

Halloween II

I don't know why some people can't read the calendar. Halloween movies are supposed to be in October! This is Rob Zombie's second turn at directing the Mike Myers series reboot. Malcolm McDowell et al return as well. The first movie (or the ninth, depending on how you count) opened at $26 million and finished at $58 million. I think this will see a drop. The Friday the 13th reboot opened strong at $40 million this year but only finished at $65 million.

Forecast: $20 millon