Summer Loser: The Month of August

Samuel L Jackson "Darius Kincaid" and Ryan Reynolds as "Michael Bryce" in THE HITMAN'S BODYGUARD. Photo by Jack English.

The next summer loser was the entire month of August.  In a month packed with so many independent films fighting for an audience, it was the studios that failed to offer a film that could appeal to the entire family or at least a few of the movie-going quadrants.

The month started off with the release of The Dark Tower from Sony Pictures and Aviron’s Kidnap starring Halle Berry.  Nevermind the fact that Sony had the press under embargo until the Thursday before release, what ruined this movie was that it was a sequel to the seventh book in the Stephen King series.  Like so many, I came into the film without having read any of the source material.  If you’re trying to build a franchise, this wasn’t the best way to do so.  The Dark Tower won the weekend but it hasn’t been able to become the hit that Sony expected.  In nearly a month, it’s only made just shy of $50 million with another $53.6 million in foreign money.  The film was produced on a $60 million budget and is expected to launch a television series to bridge the gap between the next installment.

The second week of August saw the releases of Annabelle: Creation, The Nut Job 2, and the mixed-reviewed film from Lionsgate, The Glass Castle.  Wind River expanded into more locations.  Horror film, children’s comedy, and a drama that was presented in a way that turned off so many potential viewers.

The third week of August saw the wide releases of The Hitman’s Bodyguard and Logan Lucky.  Logan Lucky was the far superior of the two movies as Stephen Soderbergh gamed the studio system and released his own film through Fingerprint Releasing and co-distributor Bleecker Street.  Produced on a $29 million budget, the film has struggled to make the money back.  With no major releases for the final weekend of August or Labor Day weekend, The Hitman’s Bodyguard has won three weeks in a row.  The film, starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, offers nothing new for the action comedy genre but has nearly doubled its production budget.

Smaller indie films such as The Only Living Boy in New York, Good Time, Ingrid Goes West, Patti Cake$, Brigsby Bear, Menashe, Columbus, and An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power all opened or expanded in August.  Late August releases like Crown Heights and Beach Rats opened in too few theaters to really consider their August grosses.  An Inconvenient Sequel couldn’t do anywhere near what An Inconvenient Truth did in 2006.  It’s just shy of $3.5 million through Labor Day weekend.

The Fox Searchlight documentary, Step, is just over $1 million after a month of release.  It saw a week playing in 306 theaters but that was on August 18th.

For all of Robert Pattinson’s fans from Twilight, Good Time just isn’t bringing in the money that you think it would.  The A24 crime thriller from Josh and Benny Safdie.  The film went wide on August 25th with 721 theaters before dropping to 635 theaters over Labor Day weekend.

The Only Living Boy in New York is an indie that was hurt bad bad reviews in as much as a release that’s as wide as 289 screens.  Through Labor Day, the film has brought in just over $500,000 at the box office.

Of the Sundance films to get a wide release this year, Ingrid Goes West is one of the better-performing films with over $2 million.  Of the films that opened in August or expanded in August following a NY/LA opening at the end of July, it’s earned the most so far.  Menashe is just over $1.2 million while playing in 126 theaters at its widest.

Brigsby Bear has performed so poorly since being released that it’s inexcusable.  I can’t help but think that Netflix would have been a better home for the film.  Box Office Mojo doesn’t even have daily numbers, only weekend.

I don’t know what to make of Patti Cake$.  The film opened on August 18th but it stopped playing at the major Chicago locations over Labor Day weekend as it expanded from 59 to 303 screens this past week.  Unfortunately, a medical emergency prevented me from seeing a press screening and by the time that I was all caught up and had the time to see it, it was gone from theaters.  The nearest location is in the suburbs so it’s very unlikely I see the film at this point.

An awards campaign is being planned for Lois Smith’s performance in Marjorie Prime.  The film isn’t going to see a wide release and I imagine very few people are going to see it outside of voters.  It’s brought in less than $100,000 since opening on August 18th.

Dave Made A Maze may see a future life as a cult comedy classic.  For now, it’s not going to bring in much at the box office despite being one of the best comedies released this summer.

We’ll see what next August offers.  Stay tuned for this summer’s winners coming up tomorrow.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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