If Hollywood and theater owners are depressed about the summer box office, they might be even more worried about what's coming this Fall. September is always a mixed bag, but at this point it looks like there won't be any blockbuster like "Gravity" to get people excited this October. In fact, it will be shocking if any film in September or October debuts to over $40 million.
Just a few months ago there was some reason for some optimism. Late September player "The Equalizer" with Denzel Washington should easily play for a few strong weeks, Robert Downey, Jr. is returning with a potential awards player in "The Judge," Seth Rogen and James Franco are reuniting for R-rated comedy "The Interview" and footage from Matthew Vaughn's "Kingsman: The Secret Service" turned heads from CinemaCon to Comic-Con. Unfortunately, and both due to production reasons, the latter two films have pushed to Christmas and February 2015 respectively. That means a dearth of compelling wide releases to get moviegoers excited about heading back to their local multiplex on a regular basis.*
*That being said, there are a ton of limited releases that have a chance to shine including "The Good Lie," "Kill the Messenger," "Whiplash," "Birdman," "Camp X-Ray" and "Horns." Most, however, won't go wide until November or even December.
With "Kingsman" and "The Interview" off the books for now, let's look over that scary October release calendar shall we?
"The Conjuring" spinoff is one of only two major horror releases this month. If WB gets a $20 million opening without Vera Farminga and Patrick Wilson they'll be ecstatic.
One of two films this month that could open higher than $30 million. Really.
Can Lionsgate open this African-American targeted melodrama to major numbers without the Tyler Perry endorsement?
"Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day"
Walt Disney studios is hoping to find a family audience in-between "Boxtrolls" and "Book of Life." Our hunch is it plays more like "The Odd Life of Timothy Green."
If this performs close to "Due Date" (released in Oct. 2010) WB will have October's other "big" debut. The movie is opening the Toronto Film Festival at the beginning of September so the studio clearly feels they have something special on their hands if they are going to screen it for critics that early.
"The Best of Me"
Yet another adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel (can anyone tell them apart anymore?). If Relativity can match the $21 million weekend they got with "Safe Haven" here they'll be thrilled.
"Book of Life"
Total wildcard. Will Hispanic audiences pump up the grosses? Will it play broader to families than "Boxtrolls" (or less)? Your guess is as good as mine.
The only movie with any real genre spectacle this Fall before "Interstellar." We're guessing it performs like an "Underworld" flick which means a $25 million plus debut. Uni and Legendary will spend for more.
Open Road Films is going wide with this drama featuring Jake Gyllenhaal which will have screened over a month befhorehand for critics at Toronto. If it's buzz worthy the mini-major will hope to crack the $20 million mark Gyllenhaal got (with a Hugh Jackman assist) for "Prisoners." An opening closer to "End of Watch's" $13 million is more likely.
This romantic dramedy with Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell and Chloe Grace Moretz debuted way back in January at Sundance. It's pretty good and definitely the most commercial flick A24 has released to date. Can it get past its somewhat confusing title and post a $10 million opening?
Do kiddies even know what a ouija board is anymore? This is the other horror flick attempting to rake in Halloween-themed dollars. The trailer is pretty good, but is it a breakout?
Word is this dramedy features a stellar turn by Bill Murray. The preview is fantastic. Question is can The Weinstein Company make it a surprise comedy hit?
Anything got you excited beyond "The Judge" or "Gone Girl"? Going once, going twice...