August 2009 Forecast
By Tim Briody
1. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Pretty much the winner of the month by default. So shiny, explosive and noisy it should have been a July release. I remember seeing the trailer before Star Trek and my parents (hey, my dad is a big Trekkie), just looked at me like I was responsible for this sort of thing or something. I can't figure it out, either. Anyway, maybe we weren't the target audience for it but I expect a pretty darn huge opening night before word-of-mouth (which is a phrase that really should be changed to "word of Twitter" or something like that) kills it dead before the weekend is up. But with nothing much left in the way of noise and explosions, it's the last hurrah for what's been a disappointing summer.
2. Julie and Julia
The first movie that spawned from a blog. No, really. Why do you think everyone and their grandmother has a blog now? Since a blog probably isn't enough to base an entire movie around, it's been wrapped in a Julia Child biopic and baked for two hours at 400 degrees. (See what I did there?) Meryl Streep is Julia Child and Amy Adams is the woman who started the blog to cook every recipe in one of Child's cookbooks over the course of a year. Did you know that, not adjusting for inflation, Streep's biggest box office hit was last summer's Mamma Mia!? Still, she's had a fair amount of box office success over her career, though not to the degree of her awards pedigree. This is not likely to win her any more Oscar nominations, but it shouldn't be a box office disappointment either and will be another feather in the cap of Amy Adams.
3. The Time Traveler's Wife
The sure-fire five-hanky weeper of the month, the best-selling novel The Time Traveler's Wife becomes a movie. Rachel McAdams goes back to her Notebook days and Eric Bana, having quite the successful 2009, is the male lead. If My Sister's Keeper can earn nearly $50 million, The Time Traveler's Wife is likely to earn more than that and has a good chance of being the leggiest release of the month as a bunch of poor
basterds men are dragged to it.
4. Inglourious Basterds
Much has been made of the true return of Quentin Tarantino to theaters five years after Kill Bill: Vol. 2 was released. People seem to forget that he's never been a big box office factor. The Kill Bill films made a combined $136 million, but considering their nearly equal grosses, we now have the idea of the top end of his box office appeal. While Brad Pitt is easily worth a few bucks here, they'll mostly come opening weekend and then I expect Inglourious Basterds (could the title be more pretentious?) to tail off rather quickly from there.
5. Halloween II and 6. The Final Destination
What we have on the weekend of August 28th is one of the most fascinating box office weekends ever and easily the most fascinating to ever occur on the last weekend of August. Two notable horror franchises will take over theaters and battle it out. The Halloween franchise was rebooted by Rob Zombie in 2007 and rewarded with a record setting Labor Day weekend, earning $30.5 million in four days. Of course, it finished with $58 million total but that's the nature of the beast.
The Final Destination franchise was last seen in February 2006, opening to $19 million (the highest of the three films) and finishing with $54 million (just ahead of the original release in 2000(!), before adjusting for inflation).
So now we have a matchup of Classic Franchise Updated By Gorno Master vs. Most Creative Death Scenes Ever Franchise. While The Final Destination would have gotten a few bonus points if they went ahead and named it "The Final Final Destination," I have to give the edge to Halloween here. It brings all the characters (who didn't die) back from the reboot, it's been more recent and that original opening weekend is really hard to beat. It's going to be quite a weekend at the box office, though.