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August 2010 Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

August 6, 2010

Have I introduced you to Penelope Cruz yet? And have you seen Vicky Cristina Barcelona?

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August 2010 seems ready and willing to forego blockbusters, embracing instead the kind of middle-of-the-road properties that could have come out just about any time of year. Still, it's one of the year's busiest months for wide releases (as Augusts tend to be), and a few of the genre pictures look like they might swerve off the main road and get to a place that's a little more intriguing than usual.

1. Eat Pray Love (August 13th)

We begin with the female-aimed film of the summer, at least if vampire pictures are excluded from consideration. This one's got Julia Roberts, vaguely incognito lately, and matched here with a whole rogue's gallery of potential love interests of all shapes, ages, and sizes (Billy Crudup, James Franco, Javier Bardem, and Richard Jenkins - well, maybe not that last one). The film's also nabbed itself a release date near identical to the one that made Julie & Julia a mini-behemoth last year, and as fortune would have it, it arrives after a summer that hasn't really thrown out romantic comedies at the pace that 2009 did. But that's all just window-dressing, because the math on this one wasn't hard to figure out, anyway: Eat Pray Love is based on one of the most popular recent books among its target demographic, it stars a beloved actress angling for a comeback (remember Bullock '09?), it is almost uncontrollably awash in exotic foreign locations, and it is directed by Ryan Murphy, the man behind Glee, one of the biggest success stories of the year in television (for better or worse - of course). In short, this one's going to be big, big, big, and if the opening weekend doesn't surprise your average box office forecaster, then the legs probably will. Is Eat Pray Love also the month's sole $100 million grosser? Sure seems like it.

Opening weekend: $35 million / Total gross: $114 million




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2. The Other Guys (August 6th)

Here's another collaboration from McKay-Ferrell, the director-star team that brought us (or is it you?) Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and Step Brothers (producer Judd Apatow is conspicuously absent this time around, though). The three titles listed above were organized not just by release date but also by order of declining quality, which wouldn't have seemed a good sign for this picture. But the reviews are actually coming in mostly on the plus side, and it's clear that The Other Guys is intended as the big blowout late summer comedy. As such, the star team is certainly workable: Mark Wahlberg is pulling rare comedy duty, Will Ferrell's looking less like a policeman and more like a sort of white collar serial killer (the Roanoke Strangler?), and the film has encaptured itself some name supporting actors (Samuel L. Jackson, Steve Coogan, and the so-called Dwayne Johnson). Still, Ferrell hasn't been on much of a roll as of late, and The Other Guys doesn't look like a game-changer. Methinks a certain 3D extravaganza could end up putting the moves on this one's pre-ordained #1 box office spot.

Opening weekend: $31 million / Total gross: $82 million


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