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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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6. Piranha 3D (August 20th)

Piranha 3D is set during spring break, a release date this film has somehow contrived to miss. But no worry. Summer break is just as good, even in its closing days, and cheesy 3D horror still pulls its weight now and then ("then" was The Final Destination, and "now" is the sharp-toothed fish picture). Piranha's not got any real big draws, but the casting fulfills two absolute horror movie requirements: a few likeable actresses (Elisabeth Shue and Dina Meyer lead the way) mixing it up with a handful of vaguely villainous character actors (Christopher Lloyd and Richard Dreyfuss stand out in this department). Piranha is also unmistakably and unapologetically a B-movie, and that's something that's being wisely highlighted in advertising. I'd say there's just enough room here for a modest late-summer hit, and I'll be even more enthusiastic if they promise not to make a sequel (unless Piranha II is directed by James Cameron... again).

Opening weekend: $21 million / Total gross: $46 million

7. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (August 13th)

The plot of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World always sounded like the ultimate Michael Cera movie - the logical conclusion and final incarnation of Superbad, Nick & Norah, and Youth in Revolt - and so a Cera movie is exactly what they've adapted it into. It comes at a fortunate time - just a few months after the entertaining Youth in Revolt, the film that really restored my faith in Cera, though Pilgrim is a project that's perhaps even stranger and less mainstream. The cast list reads like a teenage indie film fan's wet dream, with the perky Mary Elizabeth Winstead, the perennially sarcastic Anna Kendrick, the slightly sourpussed Erik Knudsen, the long unseen Kieran Culkin, and - wowsers! - not just the outgoing Superman (Brandon Routh), but also the incoming Captain America (Chris Evans). For Cera himself, this is unquestionably the last college try at leading man territory (he's got nothing else lined up, except that imaginary Arrested Development movie), and it's not exactly a safe project: almost destined to be a cult film, and you know what the price for that bargain means for the box office. While that could seem to be the conventional wisdom, things are looking up: Scott Pilgrim is being heavily advertised, and early reviewers just love it. Let us hope that they are not wrong.

Opening weekend: $18 million / Total gross: $45 million

8. Nanny McPhee Returns (August 20th)

As far as popular literary characters go, Ms. Nanny McPhee does not quite rank up there with Bella Swan (although she is almost certainly a better conversationalist). With that in mind, this somewhat unsolicited sequel seems to be positing itself as the quaint, unexciting alternative to the general lack of children's movies this August. No strong draws in the cast, but there's a whole big batch of recognizable guest stars (Ralph Fiennes, Rhys Ifans, Maggie Smith, Ewan McGregor), curiously unhighlighted by the trailers. Anyway, while I suspect that Ms. McPhee's comeback is not quite so fiercely anticipated by the nation's young, she'll almost certainly be welcomed back, anyway. In moderation.

Opening weekend: $14 million / Total gross: $41 million

9. The Switch (August 20th)

What were the words I used to describe Going the Distance? Likeable? Conventional? Winning? Reassuring? (Doesn't) inspire long and meaningful conversations? Sounds about right for this inoffensive fellow traveler, too. No doubt, Jason Bateman has clout, and Jennifer Aniston certainly props this one up with some star power, even if the sperm donor shenanigans (unfortunately) remind one of The Back-Up Plan. On the plus side, The Switch ought to be better than Aniston's The Bounty Hunter, and it will surely outgross Bateman's Extract. I think.

Opening weekend: $12 million / Total gross: $35 million




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10. The Last Exorcism (August 27th)
It's another tale of terror presided over by master of horror (?) Eli Roth. I'm not afraid to admit that the $25 million prediction pencilled down there somewhere will probably be off by... oh, about $700 billion. After all, isn't this another one of those "found footage" horror films that break out of nowhere to gross previously untold fortunes? So, how is this one trending on Craiglist? You tell me. But whatever The Last Exorcism does, it simply should not inspire countless rip-offs: while there are more boring and annoying sub-genres in the world of horror than the exorcism picture, there are not a whole lot.

Opening weekend: $10 million / Total gross: $25 million

11. Lottery Ticket (August 20th)

Just when you thought he was out, they pull him back in: yes, it's a starring vehicle for Bow Wow, his first since the well-made Roll Bounce in 2005 (Fast and the Furious 3 doesn't really count). Lottery Ticket's peppered up with an interesting character actor or two (including the unmeasurably typecast Loretta Devine), though the story and comedy don't seem to hint at a breakout hit. Maybe with some good reviews, though?

Opening weekend: $9 million / Total gross: $22 million

12. Takers (August 27th)

Another late summer action picture, though this one long pushed back and seeming remarkably like a just slightly re-cast version of the recent Armored (and it's from the same studio, too). Armored finished off with $15 mil last December, and though the water's a bit warmer now (it is August, after all), it doesn't look like Takers will overhaul that total by all that much - even with a decent chunk of the Hollywood Squares junior league recruited to star.

Opening weekend: $7 million / Total gross: $16 million

13. Vampires Suck (August 18th)
Tell me about it.

Opening weekend: $0 million / Total gross: $0 million


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