Boy! After a big start in May with Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Fast and Furious 6, the summer box office has been slowly fading to momentary hits between the months of June and July. There have been a few dominant films like Man of Steel and Despicable Me 2, but then an awful lot of middle. Traditionally, the summer movie season stretches to August where it closes before the kids go back to school. However, August is traditionally filled with also-rans and movies not quite good enough to be primetime summer hits. Every now and then, there are a few waiting blockbusters, but this August doesn’t look too hot. Here are my bold and sure-to-go-wrong box office predictions for the month ahead.
AUGUST 2 RELEASES
2 Guns— If you put Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington together, it isn’t going to be for a romantic comedy. It’s going to be an action/crime film. They can’t fool us. This one follows a DEA agent and a NCIS officer (like the TV show) who are investigating each other for mob ties, but (of course) end up teaming up to take on the real people who set them up. Paula Patton, James Marsden, and Bill Paxton punch their tickets as well. Both Wahlberg and Washington are strong male draws. Don’t be the least bit surprised if this one tops the weekend and does some damage with no competition around. (trailer)
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $41 million EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $94 million
The Smurfs 2— Yes, they are ruining your childhood memories with a second one. This requires no description or hope. Somehow, the first film grossed $35+ million in it’s opening weekend. Even with Turbo flopping in front of it and Despicable Me being a month old, I can only predict half of that first gross this time around. (trailer)
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $17 million EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $65 million
AUGUST 9 RELEASES
Elysium— District 9 director Neill Blomkamp is back and with a bigger science fiction palette than his shoestring budgeted 2009 hit. Nearly a century and a half from now, mankind is starkly divided between the rich and affluent who have left the polluted and war-torn planet for Elysium, a decadent space habitat above Earth, and the overwhelming majority of people still living on the surface in squalor. Matt Damon is one of those ordinary men who seeks to get to Elysium at all costs, starting a mission that pits him against the security forces led by Jodie Foster. In 2013’s continuing year of daring original science fiction, this one looks to be one of the most promising. Damon is still a big star with box office draw and the marketing has done everything right. Expect a good number. (trailer)
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $44 million EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $112 million
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters— The sequel train continues. Despite only making back $36+ million against a nearly $100 million budget domestically on Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief in 2010, the movie made enough coin overseas to get an unlikely sequel. Series star Logan Lerman returns as the son of Poseidon leading his friends on a quest for the Golden Fleece. Sean Bean, Stanley Tucci, and Nathan Fillion fill the chairs of gods this time around. Like The Smurfs 2, I can’t predict more than of the first go-around. (trailer)
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $12 million EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $36 million
Planes— In a humorous spin-off of Cars, Disney sets off on its own from Pixar to take you into a concurrent world of talking and living planes. Expect the usual celebrity voices (Dane Cook, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Cedric the Entertainer) and classic underdog-makes-good story, but with a little less polish and wonder than if was done by Pixar themselves. This is like a cover band jamming after the actual hit band. Still, the Disney name and a Pixar fake one sells tickets. I don’t think it has enough to beat Elysium‘s buzz for the top spot, but it will do well. (trailer)
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $31 million EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $78 million
We’re the Millers— Once that trailer of Jennifer Aniston lap-dancing showed up, the movie-going attention span put this one on the summer map. While its drug trafficking plot of quirky losers is far from Ted-level appeal, this one should make a comedy dent at the box office in a season fairly bereft of a comedy winner. The genre is due. Watch this contend with Planes for second place. (red band trailer)
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $30 million EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $106 million
AUGUST 16 RELEASES
Kick-Ass 2— In the last gasp of fun summer entertainment possibilities, we get the outlandish version of superhero movies with Kick-Ass 2. This sequel to the 2010 hit brings back Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) dodging revenge from the Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). The part everyone is talking about is the inclusion of Jim Carrey as the wild Colonel Stars and Stripes. Check out the red band trailer to see for yourself. The first film gained a cult following via DVD and Blu-ray. I think the second movie can surpass the first.
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $28 million EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $59 million
Jobs— The “blockbuster” label might be a stretch on these next two, but the buzz around them is higher than that of the little independent films. First, we’ve been hearing the tease for months that Ashton Kutcher was going to play Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in a biopic and we finally get our chance to see it here in August. It’s trying to fly under the radar since it’s debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Once word and a trailer comes out, the Apple crowd and general curiosity will bring people out. Still, in terms of a prediction, it depends on the screen count. I think it opens small. (trailer)
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $2 million EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $24 million
Paranoia— The Hunger Games star and brother of Thor Liam Hemsworth plays a young man seduced by the big riches and caught in the middle of playing both sides of corporate espionage between two long-time rival business leaders (Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford). Buyer beware, the trailer gives the entire movie away in just over two minutes. That said, I think it gets lost in the shuffle with the rest of the players of the crowded weekend and the holders from the weekend before. 42‘s recent success for Harrison Ford brings no bump here.
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $6 million EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $22 million
Lee Daniels’ The Butler— Aiming to be this year’s The Help, Lee Daniels, the director of Precious, assembles an impressive colossal cast of historical characters (Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda, Alan Rickman, James Marsden, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrance Howard, Lenny Kravitz, Vanessa Redgrave, David Oyelowo, Liev Schrieber, Alex Pettyfer, Minka Kelly, Mariah Carey, and Robin Williams) to tell the decades-spanning story of a black butler (Forest Whitaker) at the White House who witnesses the history and social change of his era. The naming controversy has been free advertising for this early awards contender. Depending on the screen count, expect The Help-like box office figures. (trailer)
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $24 million EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $147 million
AUGUST 23 RELEASES
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones— It’s after the middle of August that the summer starts to run out of gas and it begins right here with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. It clearly wants to be a blockbuster, but the label doesn’t fit. It wants to start a Twilight franchise, but it’s a tough sell. The no-name cast and ho-hum book crowd aren’t following this anymore than Beautiful Creatures from this past winter. Expect similar low results. (trailer)
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $9 million EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $18 million
The World’s End— No, this isn’t a prequel to the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie. The World’s End is the semi-annual British import team-up of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. They lead an epic pub crawl between reunited friends (including The Hobbit‘s Martin Freeman and Hot Fuzz‘s Paddy Considine) that unfortunately takes place during a strange alien invasion. If you like Shaun of the Dead, this one’s for you. For everyone else, it could be a bad foreign version of The Watch. The question for box office potential becomes how wide it opens. Paul wasn’t a big winner for Simon Pegg and company, despite the wide debut. Let’s hope this one tracks better with the cult crowd who love director Edgar Wright and his merry bunch. (trailer)
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $15 million EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $40 million
AUGUST 30 RELEASES
One Direction: This is Us— The crotch-grabbing and dancing boy band Brits, whose poster is on your teenage daughter’s wall, get the Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, and Lizzy Maguire treatment of a live concert movie/documentary. Good luck, parents. Like all musical artist films, they will make their money and this one has an uncontested weekend. (trailer)
WEEKEND BOX OFFICE PREDICTION: $11 million EVENTUAL TOTAL GROSS: $46 million
There you have it! Those are my bold and sure-to-go-wrong box office predictions for the month of August 2013. Come back at the end of the month to see August’s box office winners and losers and my 2013 Fall Movie Preview which will examine the movie releases coming in September and October.