September Forecast

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.

3. Underworld

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.

5. Duplex

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