September 2010 Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
September 1, 2010
4. Alpha and Omega (September 17th)
Here's another one of those talking critter pictures, once more unleashed in full-fledged, 3D-infused, CGI. While I am not sure, I suspect the film is about a young and quirky pup who meets an ambivalent-to-hostile pupess; her icy animal heart melts right towards the end, but not before she is placed in an easily escapable though potentially threatening situation, thus giving her newly-beloved a chance to demonstrate his affections by rescuing her from certain death. Is that a run-on sentence? Just think how the movie feels. And how did I deduce all this information? One look at the poster is enough. That release date has undeniable echoes of last year's Cloudy with a Chance of a Hundred Million Dollars, but whatever dollops of box office good fortune rained down upon that film won't likely be revisiting this year. Conventional CGI numbers are what we'll have to deal with here, even if Alpha and Omega does happen to be Dennis Hopper's cinematic swan song.
Opening weekend: $18 million / Total gross: $53 million
5. Never Let Me Go (limited on September 15th; wide by Hallowe'en night)
The first big Oscar movie of the fall, and just look at the cast assembled to reap those trophies: Keira Knightley, who has seemingly traded Hollywood blockbusters for the simpler life of moody British drama; Carey Mulligan, the newly anointed English awards queen; and Andrew Garfield, who's going to have a real coronation this fall, now that his secret identity's been revealed. To be fair, the premise here is frankly bizarre, at least on paper (and the trailer doesn't really give away the film's more fantastical elements), but I've heard rumblings about the source novel being something like the decade's single greatest piece of literature (which, for me, is still not a searing enough recommendation, especially now that the decade's over). Never Let Me Go gives off the same solemn tone as Atonement (in the movies, the English countryside seemingly offers little else), and, unless something goes horribly wrong, it'll likely pull in numbers at just about the same ballpark.
Total gross: $42 million
6. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (September 24th)
I'm admittedly taking a wild guess here, but it seems to me like the plot of the Owls of Ga'Hoole may just involve a young and quirky owl who meets an ambivalent-to-hostile oweless, but melts her icy strigiformic heart right at... Maybe a better way to put it is: there's a bunch of owls, see, and only they can save the world - a world in which humans have apparently gone extinct, anyway, so what do any of us really care? This one's a frankly off-the-beaten-path project from director Zack Snyder, responsible for the visual extravaganzas in 300 and the brilliant opening moments of Watchmen. But Ga'Hoole is just so tough to pin down - is it for kids? Grown-ups? It should do great business in the north- and south-west, as well as in other places where large owl colonies reside. In the more human-dominated parts of the country, though, fuggedaboutit.
Opening weekend: $14 million / Total gross: $41 million