By Marty Doskins
You can definitely tell that we've officially ended summer. Kids are
going back to school, football season is starting up, and we have a
lot of leftovers at the box office. Even though we don't see the big
blockbusters this time of year, there's still a wide variety of films from which to choose. I also had a bit of trouble deciding on the order for
my top films. I just don't know what to expect from them. But let's
get right to the list.
1. Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Director Robert Rodriguez has made a
big name for himself with his films. For example, the Spy Kids series
has brought in over $300 million in receipts. That gets you a lot of
clout with the studio executives. This movie is the third in a series
that began with the film El Mariachi, which was made for $7,000, but
earned $2 million. The second film, Desperado, also did well in spite
of a small budget which was not quite as low as $7,000, but still small in Hollywood
terms. This time, the budget has grown to $30 million, but I don't
think Once Upon a Time in Mexico should have any problem making that back. Also,
Antonio Banderas returns to reprise his role as El Mariachi. The
trailers and commercials for this movie have been very exciting. I've
never seen the first two films, but the marketing got me hooked, and
that's exactly what it's supposed to do. Look for this film to open
big and have staying power. The first two films have become cult
favorites and I think this one will bring them into the mainstream.
2. Matchstick Men
One of the potential big box office winners this month, Nicolas Cage stars as a stuttering con man planning his next big job.
I think having Cage in this film is enough of a draw that we should see
good numbers for this film. The studio has also been putting in its
two cents (or couple million dollars) to help by starting early and
often with the advertising. This should all add up to a decent
opening. The only thing I can see hurting this movie is its
competition on opening weekend. That Antonio Banderas film could be
hard to beat.
Kate Beckinsale fighting vampires and werewolves.
Need I say more?
4. The Rundown
Even after the dismal box office performance of The
Scorpion King, a studio has decided to put a movie square on Dwayne
Johnson's (a.k.a. The Rock) broad shoulders. Johnson plays a bounty
hunter who has been charged with "taking out" a town's evil overlord.
I think Johnson has great potential to be one of the next big action
stars in Hollywood. I thought that Scorpion King would be the one to
put him over the top, but that didn't come to pass. However, I still
don't think this film's the right vehicle for him, either. We're
getting there, but not quite yet.
Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore star in this new homeowner
"horror" movie. They're living in a duplex with a bizarre and
destructive old lady for a neighbor. If you've seen the commercials,
you know what I'm talking about. They're trying to make the best of
the situation, but nothing goes their way. Stiller is a natural for
this film and should pull in his fans to the theaters. Plus,
Barrymore's star is shining very bright these days from Charlie's
Angels 2. And since the studio is really making a marketing push, I see
this film doing well on its opening weekend.
6. Under the Tuscan Sun
This film has "chick flick" written all over
it. It sounds a lot like a take-off on Bridget Jones's Diary; however, instead of a single woman, you have a divorcee. And instead
of England, the film's set in Italy. The main character decides that
buying a villa away from the hustle and bustle of the city is just what
she needs. She does just that and promptly falls in love. Isn't that
sweet? This kind of movie does fairly well, but doesn't seem to stay
in theaters too long unless there's something of interest to the male
audience out there. I think this one should drop off the radar sooner
rather than later.
7. Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star
There has always been a lot of
interest in the topic of "Whatever Happened to Your Favorite Child
Star?" Leave it up to David Spade to show what "really" happens to
them after their careers are over. Spade can do a fine job carrying
this type of movie on his own. Plus, I think the timing couldn't be
any better because of the interest in the California Governor recall
election. Former child star Gary Coleman is a candidate for governor.
I don't think this will help that much, but it couldn't hurt. The only
thing I'm really worried about is that it seems the amount of
commercials for this film has dropped off. It could mean lower ticket
sales if the public isn't being reminded about the film's opening.
8. The Order
The Order appears to be a fairly promising film, in my
opinion. Heath Ledger examines a world of religious practices and
death. Quite the combination, wouldn't you agree? The commercials for
this film have been pretty intense. There is attention-grabbing,
powerful music with plenty of quick edited shots - just the kind that
leave people wanting more. And I don't think we can discount Ledger's
box office draw, either. He's very popular with younger audiences and
they're the ones that spend the cash for tickets. This is one of those
films that I think will open okay and fade away quickly. Maybe
we'll have some word-of-mouth advertising that supports the numbers,
but don't count on it.
9. Cold Creek Manor
Dennis Quaid and Sharon Stone are a couple that
tries to get away from it all by moving to the country, but the
previous owner's heir isn't going to give up the house that easy. He
escapes from prison to get the job done. Psychological dramas seem to
do fairly well at the box office. People just love being frightened.
Dennis Quaid still has some box office draw. Sharon Stone does as
well, but not nearly as much as she once did. However, previews on
Entertainment Tonight really get movies out in the public eye. I don't
see this one being at either the top or the bottom of the pile, but it
should hold its own.
10. Cabin Fever
A group of friends decides to have one last big party
at a cabin in the mountains. No, a killer with a hockey mask and
chainsaw doesn't show up. Instead, it's a much smaller enemy --
flesh-eating bacteria. The group tries to get help from the local
townsfolk, but they turn on them and try to kill the group instead.
Again, this is one of those movies that appeal to the younger
horror-loving crowd. But that's where the bucks are, so the studios
will keep putting them out. However, this film has some serious
competition in its debut weekend from two other wide-release films. I think it
will suffer because of this and end up pretty far down the list.
Read John Hamann's September forecast
Read Kim Hollis's September forecast
Read David Mumpower's September forecast