August 2006 Forecast
By Marty Doskins
August 5, 2006
Hmmmmm. Another puzzling month. I think I've nailed down the top two pretty well, but after that there are a lot of things that could happen. Small openings could move up and some potential successes could fall by the wayside. I'm sure that even some of the wide releases that I left out of my top ten could sneak their way onto the charts.
Let's move on to my top ten for August 2006.
1. World Trade Center
Nicolas Cage teams up with director Oliver Stone in this latest film about the heroes who emerged on September 11, 2001. The last film focused on the plane that was crashed in Pennsylvania. This one goes to the first site of the terrorist attacks on that day. I think the backing and experience of Stone will definitely help push this film up to the top. The commercials and trailers have been very moving and powerful, giving audiences an idea of what they can expect.
2. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
There is some major product tie-in marketing going on here. In addition to the Wonder Bread car that Will Ferrell is driving in the film there's Ricky Bobby watching himself on a Sprint phone, as well as other commercials with Ferrell as his on-screen persona. We also have the interest that will come from NASCAR fans. The power of that group is pretty impressive. The rise in popularity of stock car racing has brought larger television contracts. The studio is hoping that crosses over to the silver screen. This should prove a pretty successful film for Mr. Ferrell.
Even though this film opens just a couple days after World Trade Center, I think it will benefit from having a different audience than that movie. Tim Allen has proven himself as a solid attraction when it comes to family films. I think people sense that he is enjoying making them. Even though he's been doing these family pictures, he hasn't let himself work in only one specific type of family film. He's given us a variety of roles and people enjoy seeing him no matter who he has portrayed.
This film about a made-up college for rejects of "quality" schools has the potential to do very well. As you can guess, the usual young adult crowd will be out in force to see this film. But I think there's another factor that people may be leaving out. This doesn't look like a totally dumb college film. It appears that the studio has toned it down just a bit and this may allow the audience demographic to shift just a bit higher in age. This expansion will lead to a bit more revenue for the studio and push it up a ways in the charts.
5. Snakes on a Plane
Doesn't leave the potential viewer guessing what this film's going to be about, does it? Combine the catchy title with star Samuel L. Jackson and you've got a solid hit on your hands.
Sports films and summer go well together. This time, it's a true story about a guy who wants to play football and tries out for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League. I don't think sports films are as much about the stars as they are about the story. Of course, having good talent doesn't hurt. The marketing push for this genre has been well established and it appears that this film is following the successful formula. It should do well in this month's top ten.
Animated films do well on a consistent basis. I think this film will be no exception. The usual quality voice talent is present along with veteran animated film director Steve Oedekerk. I think the studio's marketing people have done a good job of highlighting funny parts of the film in the commercials. As usual, parents will be dragging their kids out to see this one.
8. The Descent
This creepy film has had some major intense commercials and previews. If you're already attracted to this type of movie, I think they definitely caught your attention and you'll be in the seats opening weekend. However, I don't know if they've done a good job getting "new blood" into the seats.
9. The Night Listener
Robin Williams is still a solid box office draw. Making sure not to get himself stereotyped, he stars in this psychological thriller. He does a great job picking his roles and always makes the most of them. The movie audiences recognize this and are always glad to support one of Williams' projects.
10. Material Girls
Sisters Hilary Duff and Haylie Duff co-star in this film. Just their names alone will bring in the teen and tween crowds. Most of these kids are older and don't always have to have their parents go with them to see movies. I think that since that extra money is missing, it won't do quite as well as an animated film, for example. But it will do well enough to have a studio try this sister combination again in the near future.