August 2007 Forecast

By Michael Bentley

August 3, 2007

Wait, you're the *real* McLovin?

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5) Underdog

Success has apparently gotten to Jason Lee's head. Since his television show My Name is Earl has become a hit, he has proceeded to take roles in two films with audiences that are obviously quite different from that of Earl. Later this year he will be the human amongst a trio of singing CGI chipmunks in Alvin and the Chipmunks, and this month he is the voice of a superhero dog in Underdog. Is it just a coincidence? I don't know, but Lee is certainly a very capable and likeable screen presence so I sure wouldn't mind seeing him take on more adult fare. But for now we can't do anything about that, so we'll just concentrate on the task at hand.

When you first read the plot of Underdog, you'll be tempted to snicker and laugh and - if you have kids - hope that they don't want to see it. The premise is so silly: a lab accident (a la Spider-Man) gives a regular old hound dog some very strong superpowers. But I'll be damned if this doesn't look at least a little bit fun. And you can bet that means a number of kids will think that as well. But how well? One notable comparison is Inspector Gadget. Nearly nine years ago, that over-the-top children's flick managed nearly $22 million its first weekend. The competition seems a little stronger right now, but don't be surprised if this matches that total. And be prepared to see this on the DVD sales charts for quite some time, later this year.

Opening weekend: $18 million.

6) Halloween

Another Halloween movie?!? You betcha. This time, it is not actually an official sequel to the long-running horror series, but actually a remake of the original from director Rob Zombie. After such a glut of horror movies over the past couple years, the wide-release horror movie is no longer a guarantee for a $20 million opening. But with almost 30 years of fans of the original, certainly many of them will be tempted to see this, if only out of curiosity. That said, it's more than a little ominous that this isn't being released in the more logical time frame of October.


Opening weekend: $18 million.

7) The Nanny Diaries

Scarlett Johansson stars in The Nanny Diaries, a romantic comedy about a young woman who takes a nanny job for a wealthy Manhattan family. She must figure out how to balance the demands of watching the spoiled kid, dealing with the annoying and demanding family, as well as her outside life which includes a budding relationship (played by Chris Evans of Fantastic Four). The cast is rounded out by the talents of Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti as the parents. Should make for a nice getaway for couples looking for a good date movie, though with its PG-13 rating, it might not be the best family outing that some might expect.

Opening weekend: $15 million.

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