August 2009 Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

August 7, 2009

The Doctor doesn't seem very nice.

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7. District 9 (August 14th)

District 9 is fast shaping up to be the most over-predicted movie of the month. No doubt that the initial trailer was sort of clever in setting up one thing and delivering another. But that's all the trailer gives you - just that one joke - and once that's been established, no particular reason to see the film. Is it going to be a sci-fi action adventure? A thriller? A horror film? Some kind of tortured social parable, maybe along the lines of Children of Men? All of the above? More importantly, what's it really about? Trailer doesn't say, but not in a way that makes you want to watch District 9 to find out. The new trailer, on the other hand, makes this seem like a fairly routine sci-fi shoot-'em-up. Basically, even with Peter Jackson's name adorning the posters, I think it's just too late in the summer to set up another big sci-fi hit.

Opening weekend: $14 million / Total gross: $33 million

8. The Goods: Live Hard * Sell Hard. (August 14th)

Speaking of trailers, this one's starts out with a particularly cloying scene that was no doubt intended as a selling point for the film. Car salesman movies - which this is - seem to do well occasionally, and the producing team of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay has delivered some hits in the past. But Jeremy Piven is not really an established comedy star (at least not yet), and the supporting turns from Hangover veterans like Ed Helms, Ken Jeong, and Rob Riggle are only going to help so much (although it is nice to see the somewhat villainous-looking James Brolin get work again). What's really going to make or break this film are the reviews, but even then I don't see a breakout hit here.

Opening weekend: $11 million / Total gross: $28 million


9. The Time Traveler's Wife (August 14th)

This vaguely sci-fi-tinged romantic drama is definitely a cinematic odd-duck. Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams are good choices for the leads, but there's really so little buzz for this title that I have a hard time seeing it reach the level of even something like Nights in Rodanthe (which grossed $41 million last fall). The frequent release date pushbacks aren't going to help, either; they just make this seem like your typical August dumping. And between this and Star Trek, has Bana become typecast as a time traveler?

Opening weekend: $10 million / Total gross: $26 million

10. Bandslam (August 14th)

Vanessa Hudgens is the third High School Musical star to try and make it on her own this year, after Zac Efron (17 Again) and Ashley Tisdale (Aliens in the Attic). Her solo effort is the most similar of the bunch to HSM, and in telling the story of some teens experimenting with their musical abilities, it also resembles the upcoming remake of Fame. Hudgens hasn't really proven herself as a solo draw, and even the addition of retired teen idoless Aly Michalka probably won't much up the ante here. I don't think the producers of Fame should be worried. But then again, I would have said the same thing to the producers of that second mall cop movie.

Opening weekend: $10 million / Total gross: $23 million

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