September 2009 Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
September 4, 2009
Not too shabby. Not at all. As for the film itself, I supposed it'll have that usual $30 million-ish gross that's begrudgingly handed out to most mid-level awards contenders (think Doubt, the Reader, Milk, and so on). The somewhat similar, if slightly more kooky, Burn after Reading did break out this time last year, but that film had The Informant! beat by at least three or four big movie stars.
Opening weekend: $8 million / Total gross: $30 million
10) All About Steve (September 4th)
The Proposal 2 this is not. Sandra Bullock is in the unfortunate position of having this film released after her $150 million-grossing turn in the Proposal generated her a lot of goodwill with both the public and the Hollywood higher-ups. All About Steve was originally scheduled for March 6th, up against nothing but Watchmen, and that's exactly where I would have kept it. Now, it looks like an afterthought, and will probably be lost in the September shuffle. Too bad - Bullock's co-star, Thomas Haden Church, was so good in Sideways that he deserves to be in another hit. And what is up with that cockamamie poster?
Opening weekend: $11 million / Total gross: $28 million
11) Extract (September 4th)
This workplace comedy was written and directed by Mike Judge, so there's a more than decent possibility that it will be genuinely funny. But outside of the animated Beavis and Butt-Head film, Judge's movies don't usually make a lot of money, and this one will probably have to settle for just being a cult classic. Interesting to see Ben Affleck make a full return to acting, now as a character actor, and J.K. Simmons is always a welcome presence. Maybe I'm underestimating the appeal here - the trailer does usually get pretty good reactions. But Mike Judge... Labor Day release date... the signs can not be ignored.
Opening weekend: $10 million / Total gross: $27 million
12) 9 (September 9th)
Here's one of only two movies this year to be named "9" (the other one's actually "Nine", but then you've also got "District 9"). This CGI fantasy is based on a short film from a few years ago. While the animation looks intriguingly quirky, 9 is rated PG-13, which is about the box office kiss of death for animation (By the way, can anyone think of an R-rated CGI film?). There's no doubt that Tim Burton's involvement, as producer, is going to immediately associate this with Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride. But when faced between the dark, odd, and post-apocalyptic 9, and the bright, family-friendly Meatball onslaught, I don't know that many family audiences will choose the single digit picture. They may well sentence 9 to be this year's Igor.
Opening weekend: $8 million / Total gross: $20 million
13) Capitalism: A Love Story (September 23rd)
Those poor corporate high-ups. As if the economic meltdown wasn't enough, now they've got Michael Moore knocking at their door. Moore's Sicko grossed a decent $24 million two years ago, but he's fallen far from his $100 million days. Another box office dip would seem to be in store. Also, follow me on this: Moore has starred in four films that were hits to varying degrees - Roger & Me, Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11 and Sicko. All were released during Republican administrations. However, Moore's one major box office underperformer, the Big One, was released in 1997, when a Democrat was in the White House. There might be some faulty logic there, but I don't know; releasing a Michael Moore film during a Democratic presidency may be the cinematic equivalent of Marlon Brando's reply to the question "What are you rebelling against?"
Opening weekend: $3 million / Total gross: $9 million
14) Horror movie about weird sci-fi things that want to kill you (and Kate Beckinsale)
Well, you have your pick here. If you want to see a horror movie about a weird sci-fi creation that wants to kill you, you can choose between Carriers (September 4th; killer virus), Pandorum (September 25th; killer spaceship monster), or, if you like living dangerously, the limited release Splice (September 18th; killer DNA whatsit). Although there doesn't appear to be a sci-fi element, there's also Whiteout (September 11th), where it looks like someone or something is trying to kill Kate Beckinsale (that happens a lot). I don't think anybody is really going to see these films. But I don't know. Some of them may even be good. Anything is possible.