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August 2017 Box Office Forecast

By Michael Lynderey

August 3, 2017

Did he get a demotion from Storm Trooper?

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8. Wind River (limited August 4th; wide August 11th)
In the tradition of Val Kilmer in Thunderheart, Wind River casts Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen as investigators who descend on a Native American reservation to solve a local crime - there, as in films such as these, they confront cultural differences, the indifferent weather, and, for act three, the killer (for one night only!). Taylor Sheridan, who wrote Hell or High Water and made his directorial debut with a little-seen horror film, Vile (2011), chose this as his second film, and once again provides the script. The scheduling is intentional, I assume: Hell + High Water was an August release that turned a platform opening into spectacular word-of-mouth, reasonable box office ($27 million total), and Academy Award nominations for Jeff Bridges and Sheridan. Wind River, which premiered at Sundance, also clocks in well on the critical side, at 86%, and the pattern is ready to be replicated.

Speaking from a purely aesthetic point of view, the film looks like a chilly crime picture, with a bleak pounding rain, big hats, parkas, and gloves atop frosted fingers, the kind of atmosphere that visually fits more in the fall (Hell or High Water, with its scalding sun-drenched fields and endless summer landscape, looked more like August). Still, reviews should give it a couple of reasonable weekends, as Wind River is championed by older audiences; aware that the season for genre excess is ending, they'll begin heading back to the cinemas. The coast is clear, ladies and gentlemen.

Opening weekend: $8 million / Total gross: $24 million

9. The Glass Castle (August 11th)
Not to be confused with The Glass House, the Leelee Sobieski thriller that I remember mostly for having an unholy-long 30 minute climax that went on, and on, and on, as Leelee took an awfully long time to finish off her oppressor.

No matter. The bad man is gone, and this time out Brie Larson stars in a biopic of journalist Jeannette Walls, based on her own book, which depicts her life as part of a vagabond clan and through a marriage or two (expect lots of age-changing makeup). Woody Harrelson, fresh off a role as a crazed militia leader in Planet of the Apes and a kindly father figure in The Edge of Seventeen, perhaps combines the two here as Walls' dad. He is joined in parenting duties by Naomi Watts, who I've seen in at least five new films over the last year or so, which must mean she's been flying from film set directly to film set on a loop that refuses to let her go home.

Brie Larson has quickly attained status as a solid dramatic actress in the Jennifer Lawrence tradition, and here she is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, who helmed her in the well-made indie film Short Term 12. As a late-summer drama, The Glass Castle should play well relative to modest expectations, and the book has its fans.

Opening weekend: $8 million / Total gross: $24 million



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10. Leap! (August 25th)
Also known as Ballerina, a title that strikes me as nowhere near enthusiastic. This is a film from France (and Canada), about France, as a girl who dreams of a career in proper dancing and her inventor friend partake in the wonder of Paris of the 1880s, among other 19th century adventures. Gustave Eiffel will appear, Baguettes will be served, and eaten, and inauthentic French accents may be heard.

The film has been bouncing around release dates and foreign countries for a while now, and has collected some $57 million and change along the way (hey, wait, that's actually really impressive!). It is finally slated to land here at the end of August. The original voice lead, the one heard by European ears, was the infallible Dane DeHaan (whose film, Tulip Fever, is receiving a limited release by the same studio, apparently on the same day). For Ballerina's American version, however, he has been replaced by Nat Wolff, presumably because DeHaan's Pennsylvania accent is too thick for most Americans. Elle Fanning retains the voice of the female lead, though, and a gallery of CGI character actors is present, led by Mel Brooks and Kate McKinnon, with Carly Rae Jepsen contributing a line here or a musical number there.

It's a well-reviewed film - 79% - but it may end up as one of those CGI mainstays like Valiant, rolled out in August to fill a release schedule that often feeds on four titles per weekend. August 25th seems to have almost no other major film, so you can see that Ballerina is sorely needed.

Opening weekend: $4 million / Total gross: $9 million


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