August 2015 Box Office Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
August 5, 2015
3. Sinister 2 (August 21st)
The winner of August's third weekend seems to be this follow-up to the 2012 Ethan Hawke film, which contained a litany of memorably sadistic moments. The Sinister series' main plot hook - which would probably be a spoiler if revealed - is pretty ingenious in a particularly ghastly way, and it does seem like the first film has become modestly popular in terms of repeat views in the three years since its release. Still, with some notable exceptions, horror sequels almost always take in less than their predecessors - yes, surprisingly, even first-time sequels - and it's unlikely that Sinister has expanded its base the way Saw or Insidious did in preparing for their higher-grossing part 2s. So Sinister 2 ought to bring in solid if unrave-worthy numbers, perhaps in the Insidious 3 tradition, though the absence of Ethan Hawke, or of a star of his caliber, should not be ignored while forecasting.
Opening weekend: $22 million / Total gross: $51 million
4. The Gift (August 7th)
To complete the something-for-everyone batch of releases on August 7th, there's this distinctly creepy-looking horror(?)-thriller. At first, The Gift may seem cut from the same cloth as those neighbor/nanny/mistress/hamster-from-hell films that were so popular about 23 years ago. But at deeper examination, the film appears to be a more complex three-character psychological thriller, and one that has thus far received unhesitatingly positive reviews, with Joel Edgerton, making his directorial debut, receiving particular praise for his helming. Lead Jason Bateman isn't known for starring in dramas, and co-star Rebecca Hall has teetered on the edge of fame, but the cards seem aligned just right here for a decent open and a leggy late-August run, perhaps along the lines of the aforementioned Insidious. If reviews are to be trusted, word-of-mouth should be spectacular.
Opening weekend: $12 million / Total gross: $48 million
5. Ricki and the Flash (August 7th)
A musical-based tale with a quite different temperament than Straight Outta Compton (or at least I assume so), Ricki and the Flash is another film testing the box office appeal of Meryl Streep, who in the last decade has been fully transformed from a merely legendary and brilliant actress into a blockbuster-headlining juggernaut and one of the biggest box office draws around. While her more serious films (Doubt or The Iron Lady) don't really make all that much money, more light-hearted Streep escapades often go beyond best-case scenarios at the box office. But while Ricki recalls the spirit of some of her big hits, like Mamma Mia!, Julie & Julia, and It's Complicated, it's difficult to say how appealing the story is (rocker mom reconnects with her sourpuss family), or how well the film will do without additional gimmicks or other big-draw actors. A surprisingly accurate comparison might be to The Hundred-Foot Journey, the Helen Mirren film from last August, which was carried by good reviews to a respectable $54 million total. Ricki seems easier for an audience to digest than Mirren's French chef fable, but the critical reception may not be as strong, even if a Golden Globe nomination for Streep seems all but assured.
Opening weekend: $11 million / Total gross: $47 million
6. Shaun the Sheep Movie (August 5th)
The somewhat inelegantly titled Shaun the Sheep Movie is a motion picture that seems to contain no dialogue in the English language, or in any other, and that was assigned a Wednesday opening for no discernible reason. Those are negative characteristics, but there's also good news: Shaun comes from Aardman Animation, a studio whose box office clout should not be undervalued (Chicken Run, Arthur Christmas, and a few of their other films were clearly successes). I'm not sure how much of a hunger there is for children's entertainment right now, after a summer that's been dominated by CGI extravaganzas like Inside Out and Minions, not to mention by the heavily younger audience-driven Jurassic World. But a lot of kids movies have done well picking up the slack in the late days of August, and Paddington, a film released this year with no connection to this one other than its British nationality and fur-covered leading character, did quite well. So Shaun the Sheep should get a fairly positive reception, especially from children who don't insist on rapid-fire comic dialogue (or on any other kind).
Opening weekend: $15 million (5 day) / Total gross: $43 million