August 2009 Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
August 7, 2009
4. The Final Destination (August 28th)
Whose idea was it to take a perfectly good sequel and give it a reboot-esque title? Adding "The" to "Final Destination" appears to be a reverse on the rather brilliant decision to chop off two counts of "The" from "Fast & Furious". This rampant trading around of "The" may in fact be the new trend with sequels, and indeed the secret that's being carefully hidden away here is that this is the fourth film in the Final Destination series. The previous three were modest hits, all finishing around $50 million, and this one should be no different, especially because it's in 3-D. The Final Destination is opening on exactly the same day as the so-called Halloween II, a scheduling decision one of the two films is probably going to regret. I don't think it will be this one. The real question is: will the Final Destination series make its way into the 2010s, and if so, what on earth is the next one going to be called? It's not going to be... The Final Destination 2, right? Right?
Opening weekend: $21 million / Total gross: $49 million
5. Shorts (August 21st)
If you liked 2007's Grindhouse and clamored for a sequel, here's an idea: just go down to your local multiplex on August 21st, see Inglourious Basterds, then stick around for Shorts, and you've got yourself that long-awaited second Tarantino-Rodriguez double bill. Yes, this is an entry in Robert Rodriguez' family film oeuvre, another brightly colored, vaguely sci-fi-ish adventure with a cast of unknown child actors matching wits with some choice guest stars (Leslie Mann, James Spader, and the underused William H. Macy, among others). This was originally scheduled for August 7th, which would have made it the fourth kids' movie in as many weeks, so the move to the 21st should be commended for non-Grindhouse 2 reasons as well. Anyway, Shorts ought to perform more-or-less like Rodriguez' 2005 film, the Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D, even if it doesn't have quite as extravagant a title.
Opening weekend: $13 million / Total gross: $37 million
6. Halloween II (October 30th)
John Carpenter's Halloween opened three years ago, on an unsuspecting October day in 1978, and then crept up to some terrific legs through the winter and early spring of 1979 (despite the obvious seasonal mis-match). We can probably thank Halloween for inspiring those somewhat excessive slasher rip-offs we got in 1980 and this year, although I did kind of like a few them, like the one where Jamie Lee Curtis had to fight off that psycho (I think it was on a train? Or at some kind of school dance? A fog-bound coastal California town, perhaps?). Jamie Lee has to fight off a psycho again in this one, although director John Carpenter isn't around anymore, which might mean this sequel isn't going to be as good as the first one. But Donald Pleasence is back and I'm glad, because, oh boy, can he ever chew the scenery. Anyway, it's precisely because of those rip-offs that Halloween II should come in under the $47 million tally of the first one; earlier this year, the somewhat underwhelming performance of Friday the 13th Part 2 already showed that the slasher genre doesn't have that same box office luster it had only a year or so ago (too bad that Part 2's mediocre haul means we probably won't see any more of those Friday the 13th films; I was just getting to like them). Halloween II should also probably be moved up to October 23rd from its current October 30th date, because then it can get two good weekends instead of just one (or two-thirds of one). The other studios didn't even bother to put up any competition this month (except for that dumb-looking Burt Reynolds movie!), although I see Hell Night is still at the local drive-in. I might just check that one out; after all, who wouldn't want to see Linda Blair running around screaming in a big empty house?
Opening weekend: $7 million / Total gross: $25 million