That typical late August feeling has arrived, when dodgy franchises, low budget horror and exceedingly niche films make up our new releases, in a bit of a present for those of you out there trying to do a late summer catch-up play. That is, if you really did find anything out there this summer to be unmissable...
Weekend Forecast for August 23-25, 2019
By Reagen Sulewski
August 22, 2019
First bit of business is a Wednesday opener, Ready or Not. While not a Blumhouse production, it absolutely has that feel to it, with its quirky and violent premise. Samara Weaving plays a young woman who marries into a ridiculously rich family that runs a board game empire, which has a tradition of a "game night" at each wedding. Parcheesi is off the menu, and in fact she is the subject of The Most Dangerous Game, let loose amidst their cavernous mansion and hunted for blood. If she's not found a murdered in a ritual sacrifice before morning, something unspecified and terrible will happen to the family.
Of course, as a bunch of rich useless business people, most are entirely incompetent at the task, and their fumbling about with weapons leads to plenty of gruesome mishaps. A comedy-gore mashup, it's headed right for Midnight Madness status, which is just another term for "failed horror film". Also starring Henry Czerny, Adam Brody, Andie MacDowell and Melanie Scrofano, it also has the bum luck of being one of the last Fox Searchlight holdovers before the takeover by Disney. The studio politics being what they are, with many of these films being large disappointments at the box office, the impetus to support them has evaporated quite quickly. Ready or Not's difficult genre doesn't help things, and a Wednesday opening of $1.8 million is not particularly proving that wrong. Strong reviews ultimately could help but the writing is effectively on the wall (in blood splatter) here, and a weekend total of $8 million seems likely.
The highest profile Friday release is (purportedly) the last in the Fallen series, titled Angel has Fallen. Following Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen, the Gerard Butler action series has acted a bit like an accelerated version of the Taken series - starting off strong, and then limping home with little purpose. Where the first two film had large scale and ridiculous premises - terrorist attacks on the White House and the entirety of London, respectively, this film goes a little smaller in scope with Butler's character framed for an assassination attempt on the president (Morgan Freeman - having moved up from Speaker of the House through VP to the top job). On the run from every law enforcement in the country, Butler tries to expose the real threat, another terrorist conspiracy, though this appears to be internal this time (what a twist!).
A pair of ugly, cynical films, Olympus and London were both modest performers, with just under $100 million and $60 million respectively. International box office is probably the reason we have this third film after that drop between the two previous, but it's a curious move to go hyper-American on the setting of this one. It's a tired franchise that didn't have a lot to show for itself in the first place, and this August release points towards a big dump operation. I'd look for an opening weekend of just $13 million to close this out.
Religious film Overcomer (I suppose that's a word) rounds out our wide releases. From the Kendrick brothers, who started a lot of this "inspirational movie" trend a decade or so ago, it's sports movie with similar themes to, well, all of their films, but especially Facing the Giants. A small town's high school basketball team is facing hard times after the local employer closes up shop and residents start moving away. A young cross-country runner (African-American! They're learning at least) shows up with an inspirational story, and then cut to the happy ending.
These aren't particularly complex movies but have a dedicated audience, albeit a diminishing one, with their novelty wearing off and the market being flooded with them. Opening in 1,700 venues, this should come in with about $7 million this weekend.
Swerving about as far away from that as possible, last weekend was won by Good Boys, the R-rated raunch comedy about a trio of pre-teens on the way to a party. Getting mixed with drugs, older girls and all sorts of internet discoveries, it was a solid performer at $21 million opening weekend. There's some chance at legs with a soft slate of new films this week, but it should probably get the standard drop to $12 million.
Hobbs & Shaw has not become the mega-level success that people have come to expect out of the noveau Fast & Furious films, showing that any spinoffs aren't entitled to that business just because of the connection. Likely to finish at around $175 million domestic and who knows, make up a number (Universal will), $600 million? internationally, it represents a step back in the series and a further data point for this year's troubling failure of franchises. Give it around $8 million this weekend.
The Lion King remake passed $500 million midweek and will move past the Beauty and the Beast remake this weekend to become the highest grossing of these new wave "live action" films. The top 10 is well out of reach but it does make it 11 out of the top 15 all time belonging to The Mouse House. I'd expect another $8 million for it this frame.
Angry Birds 2 was thankfully, mercifully a flop, coming nearly a decade after the era of the game, which is basically eternity in internet years. As craven cash-ins go, this was one of the most blatant, and it was rightfully punished. Opening at $10 million, it's likely to end up with less than $25 million domestic. Look for around $5 million this frame. There's a similar number in store for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, though its final total is looking to be more in the $55 million range.