Deep into the dumping ground of August, with a host of films orphaned or ignored by their studio, a minor gem may be on hand.
Weekend Forecast for August 26-28, 2016
By Reagen Sulewski
August 25, 2016
Don't Breathe, from the Evil Dead remake director Fede Alvarez, is one of the year's best reviewed horror films and comes out of seemingly nowhere. With a low watt cast that features Suburgatory's Jane Levy, former child actor Dylan Minette and It Follows' Daniel Zovatto, it's the story of three teenagers (*cough*) in a particularly run down section of Detroit who decide to rob a blind neighbor who is supposedly sitting on a giant stack of cash. This probably does not make the Top 10 list of Noblest Actions in Cinema History, but here we are.
As played by Steven Lang, it turns out that while he may be blind, he's one of those bad-ass movie blind people whose senses have all grown to superhuman levels in the absence of sight. A special forces soldier blinded on a mission, the money the teens want to rob is from his settlement, bumping this a couple spots down on the noble actions list. He's also turned his house into something of a fortress, so when they're discovered, there's no easy escape from the house. This means sneaking around looking for places to hide while remaining completely silent, and not even breathing.
It's a neat inversion of normal horror movie concepts, including making our protagonists criminals from the outset, to flipping the power balance. It's an interesting exercise in paranoia and claustrophobia, and uses its gimmick wisely, often switching to night vision and/or complete darkness to make its point. Reviews are almost uniformly positive, which can help tremendously in a case like this, giving it that aura of respectability that a horror movie often needs to break out of its ghetto. I'd look for some small breakout potential to around $14 million this weekend.
Jason Statham returns for Mechanic: Resurrection, doing Jason Statham Things. Retiring after the events of the last Mechanic movie, he's pushed back into action after The Love of His Life (Jessica Alba) is kidnapped by an evil mastermind. His task: use his special skills to kill three targets, making it look like an accident, including Tommy Lee Jones (sporting ludicrous facial hair). Deciding to not kill this last one, Jones and Statham form a unlikely partnership to settle this score Once And For All.
The usual crazy stunts and explosions ensue (including the implication of Statham blowing up a boat by exploding it – there may be some misleading editing going on here). As one of the few guys doing pure '80s-style action movies out there, he's serving a purpose, but for a dwindling number of people. The first Mechanic movie grossed $11 million opening weekend and had a solid international run (relatively speaking), but there's likely some fall off here even with a decent cast. International numbers might be boosted by the presence of Michelle Yeoh, but I'd expect a $9 million opening weekend.
Hell or High Water expands to national release after an OK limited run. A modern Western, it stars Ben Foster and Chris Pine as ranchers who hatch a plan to save their family farm by robbing banks, with Jeff Bridges playing the sheriff out to stop them. And that's about it, but it's been getting rave reviews as a tense thriller/heist film, with about $4 million earned so far. In its expansion, it should earn about $4 million this weekend.
Two other national releases include Southside With You, a Before Sunrise-ish tale of the first date between Barack and Michelle Obama. Somewhat unique from a biopic standpoint, it's a bit of a curio but likely a divisive one, and should earn about $2 million this weekend in 800 venues. A similar total awaits Hands of Stone, a biopic about Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran, notable mostly for co-starring Robert De Niro as his trainer.
Suicide Squad should relinquish its hold on top spot after three weekends, earning about $9 million and giving it a *very* slight chance at $300 million domestic. But it's still a case of lost opportunity considering how much goodwill it had going for it on release.
R-rated animated film Sausage Party should grab about $7 million in its third weekend, giving it a good shot at the $100 million milestone, which in a flip side of Suicide Squad, is a pretty great take for something that looked dead on arrival a couple of months ago.
Family film Kubo and the Two Strings should show some solid word-of-mouth with about $7 million itself this weekend, while War Dogs might survive with about $6 million. Pete's Dragon should also hum along with about $6 million this weekend, while Bad Moms might survive one more week above $5 million, a minor leggy hit.