August Forecast

By Reagen Sulewski

10. S1m0ne (August 23rd) $25 million

Films about Hollywood rarely succeed; despite the bevy of entertainment "news" programs out there, the general public really doesn't care about what goes on behind the scenes (this is also why films about the media rarely do well). When the initial reports have the film being nearly un-releasable, it just makes it that much worse. Andrew Niccol, the writer of both The Truman Show and Gattaca, goes to the perils-of-technology well once again, this time satirizing the digital actor, with Al Pacino playing a producer who creates the title virtual-actress when his starlet walks off the set of his latest movie. For an out-and-out comedy, though, the trailer is virtually free of laughs and unless they can synthesize up some virtual viewers, they'll be facing a lot of empty seats on opening weekend.

9. Serving Sara (August 23rd) $25 million

Matthew Perry effectively broke through his own "Friends curse" in 2000 with The Whole Nine Yards, but the thing to remember about that is that it was never the actors that brought the curse; it was the scripts they chose. Serving Sara looks like a regression back to the Three to Tango/Fools Rush In formula that was the problem in the first place. The film looks chaotic but not energetic. Aside from selling about ten extra tickets to Box Office Prophets staff for the casting of Bruce Campbell, it's going to fizzle quickly.

8. Full Frontal (August 2nd - limited) $30 million

Remember what I wrote just above about films about Hollywood? It turns out there's an exception to the rule, the Steven Soderbergh-can-do-no-wrong factor. Sure, this still seems like it's not that much money for a Julia Roberts film, but what about one that only cost $2 million to make? It will be far too inside to gain true mainstream acceptance, but the roll that Soderbergh is on surely will make it a pleasurable experience for those that do venture to see it.

7. Undisputed (August 23rd) $35 million

I'd rate this higher if I thought that there was any significant promotion at all for it, which is a shame, since they've got an interesting-looking movie here. I can understand, though, as the two leads aren't very sympathetic despite the trailer working overtime to present Wesley Snipes as the nicer of the two cons (over Ving Rhames). It's the boxing version of The Longest Yard, and for once the trailer does an excellent job of revealing plot without giving away crucial information. The fight scenes look interesting, but I'd like to see some more ads for before I'd bump it up more slots on this list.

6. The Adventures of Pluto Nash (August 16th) $40 million

Delayed so long it was nearly a documentary, Pluto Nash appears to be Eddie Murphy's attempt for a Men in Black-style sci-if/comedy franchise. It doesn't seem as though he could have missed the mark by more; the result looks like a cross between the more annoying parts of The Fifth Element and Barb Wire. I'm probably being too generous here, as it was only four years ago that Eddie Murphy's Holy Man flopped entirely, grossing only $12 million. This doesn't really look any better.

5. Blue Crush (August 16th) $75 million

Last year, Universal scored a hit by remaking Point Break, so they must have thought, "Hey, let's try it with just the surfing part!". Picked by many to be the summer sleeper hit (at what point does it cease to be a sleeper?), I agree to a certain degree. For a sleeper film, it had a horrible, laughable early trailer. Recent marketing has been much better, although the poster still looks like a Gap ad. Lead actress Kate Bosworth is indeed a cutie, but if that's all you needed to make a hit, Eliza Dushku would be the hottest actress in Hollywood. Producer Brian Grazer (he of A Beautiful Mind) has some mojo to spare, though, and this should be a respectable late summer performer.

4. Blood Work (August 9th) $85 million

Clint Eastwood can still hold an audience. Space Cowboys was a decent hit in August of 2000, taking in just under $90 million. Blood Work is a movie that appears to be in line with his past roles; it's not a Dirty Harry movie, but it could be. It could also be the unofficial sequel to In the Line of Fire, with Eastwood's age not only not ignored but also featured as a plot point. It's a serial-killer hunt, like so many other thrillers these days, but Eastwood can make this rise above the films like Murder by Numbers and The Bone Collector.

3. Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (August 9th) $110 million

A surprise hit from March of last year, Spy Kids earned over $100 million by being a unique commodity, an under-15 action comedy without compromising the action. It was a natural that director Robert Rodriguez would be back for a second round after that result. This film appears to deliver much of the same. There's really not much to say here, other than Rodriguez just has to not screw it up, and it doesn't appear that he has.

2. xXx (August 9th) $160 million

It's not your father's James Bond. Vin Diesel broke in a big way last summer after The Fast and the Furious, and this project is tailor-made to his skills. Its aping of the spy movie clich├ęs couldn't be more intentional, but it places them in an interesting context by having Diesel be an extreme sports junkie. It's been a long time since there's been someone to claim the top action star rung, and Diesel will grab it and hang on after this one.

1. Signs (August 2nd) $195 million

It's time for the third installment of America's favorite game, Guess the Ending of the M. Night Shyamalan Film. After two films with Bruce Willis, Shyamalan has brought on Mel Gibson to be his lead for what looks like his version of Close Encounters. Shyamalan seems to have a natural sense of the core of modern folk-telling; first (really second, but who's counting) the ghost story, then the superhero, now aliens (maybe?). This has all the elements to be the big winner for the end of the summer.

  • Read Tim Briody's August forecast
  • Read David Mumpower's August forecast
  • Read Stephanie Star Smith's August forecast



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