October 2017 Forecast
By Michael Lynderey
October 5, 2017
9. The Foreigner (October 13th)
Jackie Chan stars in this action thriller, a film that I believe is heading into wide release next week, and that's not necessarily surprising. While Chan hasn't played the lead in a North American national release for some time - and has almost never starred in any without at least some semblance of comedy - The Foreigner seems to tack after a well-established formula closely enough, following a distraught father with expertise in violence, his murdered child, and the army of henchmen and terrorists responsible for the situation who must be sent off to meet their maker. The film adds a functionary played by Pierce Brosnan as a kind of friend or foe (to be determined), while Martin Campbell, previously of a James Bond and Zorro film or two, directs.
Back in the day, writers and critics declared Liam Neeson's Takens as films about an "aging action hero" as if that was unusual, but Charles Bronson was about 53 when he began Death Wish days, Harrison Ford was only Jack Ryan in middle age, and John Wayne kept on cowboy garb for two decades after turning 50 in 1957. So, the works of Neeson and now Chan are not unusual, and I suspect the actor has a small army-sized cadre of fans who may wish to see him on the big screen, on these shores, again.
Opening weekend: $11 million / Total gross: $29 million
10. + 11. Only the Brave (October 20th) and Thank You For Your Service (October 27th)
Miles Teller stars in a pair of dramas that should keep him on the talk show circuit for most of late October. In the first, he's one of a crew of firefighters in the Granite Mountains (the film's original title), with Josh Brolin and Taylor Kitsch fighting the flames by his side, Jeff Bridges as the mentor figure, and Jennifer Connelly as a spouse worried at home. The second is a war drama about soldiers back from Iraq, with Beulah Koale and Joe Cole as other veterans, and Haley Bennett and Amy Schumer in the Connelly role.
From his debut as Nicole Kidman's unexpected confidant in Rabbit Hole (2010), and as he enters his thirties, Teller has established himself as a solid dramatic actor with a flair for comedy (War Dogs). Much of his best work has been well-reviewed but little-seen, and I forecast the combination to continue throughout the month. His performances will, I expect, be critically hailed, but will be found in subjects too heavy for an audience that rarely opens straight-forward dramas to strong numbers in October, a month still populated by genre hallmarks (Blade Runner, Saw, Madea), and located solidly outside of peak awards season (for example, the well-received Battle of the Sexes, with solid work by Emma Stone and Steve Carell, got little box office traction last weekend).
Opening weekends: $6 million / Total grosses: $20 million (each, each!)
12. All I See Is You (October 27th)
Marc Forster directs Blake Lively in the sort movie star role she has quietly been triumphing at, having just carried the unusual drama The Age of Adaline (2015) and the shark-bait thriller The Shallows (2016) pretty much all by herself. Here, she's a blind woman who regains her sight, much to the detriment of her husband (Jason Clarke), who has presumably spent the time of her blindness engineering things that she may not want to see. Thriller elements follow. The director has a positive record, the idea is interesting, but reviewers are not thrilled (at least so far), and the late October release date tends to stifle much of anything that doesn't have "Saw" somewhere in its name. Still, one more genre film never hurt anybody, and as always, I'm on the lookout for great and memorable plot twists. Don't disappoint me.
Opening weekend: $5 million / Total gross: $14 million
Elsewhere, films are entering the calendar in various shapes and sizes of a wide release, many with awards aspirations, and a few, I assume, simply aiming to entertain. Most or all of these releases should be within cinema seeing distance by the time the clock strikes midnight on Hallowe'en night, and just about all of them should tally up box office roughly between 10 and 20 million dollars. On the 13th, there's Marshall, with Chadwick Boseman as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, though just a local attorney at the time of film's setting; Goodbye Christopher Robin, with Domhnall Gleeson as Winnie the Pooh creator A. A Milne (Margot Robbie's in that one, too, as Mrs. Milne, which should give it points); and Professor Marston and the Women, with Luke Evans as the good prof., who with his wife (Rebecca Hall) and their mutual mistress (Bella Heathcote) entered into various... triangulations and journeys into the world of bondage, before creating Wonder Woman (from clay) in the early 1940s. Later in the month, Renée Zellweger teams with Jon Voight and Djimon Hounsou for the inspirational Same Kind of Different Than Me, George Clooney' Suburbicon is about blood-letting hitting the shocked burbs all over the 1950s, and Todd Haynes' Wonderstruck is a time-travel experience of a different kind.
Oh, and Amityville: The Awakening, the 18th film in the series, about which I droned on and on when it was slotted for June, arrives not a moment too soon, and will be crawling out of the studio lot and into your heart at some point this month; whether on VOD, streaming, or theatrical, is irrelevant, as long as Amityville 18 is at last projected somewhere out there on the hallowed screens of America. You may think a house can't go very far, but find the film, before it finds you.