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2004 Summer Preview - Part 5: August

August 1st, 2004

August is a weird month. While summer lasts till September 21st for normal people, in Hollywood summer just sort of ends halfway through. There aren't enough of the holidays left for films that open in late August to take advantage of. So a lot of also-rans get dumped at this time of year. However, earlier in the month there's still a few potential $100 million movies, plus one of the later movies might surprise us as well.

Name: Alien Vs. Predator
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Official Site: AvP-Movie.com
Release Date: August 13th
Source: Spin-Off
Major Genre: Horror
Genres: Crossover
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $70 million
Box Office Potential: $90 million
Notes: Opening roughly the same time as Freddy vs. Jason did last year and it should earn about the same amount. If it manages to top $100 million look for a sequel. If it breaks $150, which isn't out of the question, look for Robocop vs. Johnny 5. Or maybe Ella vs. Mia. The makers do seem to be genuine fans of both the Alien and Predator franchises, but that doesn't mean it will translate into a quality movie. But I'm hopeful.

Name: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Black Orchid
Studio: Sony
Official Site: SonyPictures.com
Release Date: August 27th
Source: Sequel
Major Genre: Horror
Genres: Animals Gone Bad
Production Budget: $25 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million
Notes: The parade of train wrecks begins, at least alphabetically, with this movie. Where to begin. First of all, it's being dumped at the end of August, which is never a good sign. Secondly, there were several name changes, including at one time dropping Anaconda from the name. There's really no way that's a good sign either. In fact, there's very little to connect this movie with the original and it is likely to only earn a fraction of the original's box office and it might not even match its opening during its total run.

Name: Collateral
Studio: Dreamworks SKG
Official Site: Collateral-TheMovie.com
Release Date: August 6th
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Action/Adventure
Genres: Hitmen
Production Budget: $60 million
Box Office Potential: $100 million
Notes: Teaming up Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx seems like a strange idea. So did the pairing in Rush Hour, for that matter, and look how well those films have done. Of course, this film is a serious movie and that one was a buddy cop comedy. Tom Cruise is no longer the unstoppable juggernaut at the box office like he once was, but he's still a huge movie star and his name should fill at least a few seats. But I'm getting the feeling that this movie will only be good and not great.

Name: Exorcist: The Beginning
Studio: Warner Bros.
Official Site: ExorcistTheBeginning.WarnerBros.com
Release Date: August 20th
Source: Sequel
Major Genre: Horror
Genres: Possessions
Production Budget: $48 million
Box Office Potential: $30 million
Notes: This movie has issues. It's been through 3 directors, including one that was hired after the film was finished. Add in a couple of names, more than a few date changes, 90% reshoots, script rewrites, post-production cast changes, etc. and you're looking at a train wreck of a film. The DVD release looks interesting as both versions of the movie will be released as one package, at least that's the rumor.

Name: Little Black Book
Studio: Sony
Official Site: SonyPictures.com
Release Date: August 6th
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Genres: Relationship Advice
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $30 million
Box Office Potential: $40 million
Notes: Brittany Murphy is in serious danger of being typecast, or perhaps she's not really acting and merely playing variations of herself. The latter is probably the more likely option. These types of roles she's done have led to a consistent but unspectacular performances and each additional movie can either bring her closer to stardom, or it could be the movie that results in overexposure.

Name: Princess Diaries 2
Studio: Disney
Official Site: PrincessDiaries2.com
Release Date: August 11th
Source: Sequel
Major Genre: Romantic Comedy
Genres: Prince/Princess
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $45 million.
Box Office Potential: $85 million
Notes: This movie doesn't quite have the potential of the first movie mainly due to the plethora of Princess movies that came out this year, and partially due to the slump Disney is in this year. But $100 million isn't out of the question. On a side note, this is Anne Hathaway's third wide release, and so far all three have been Princess movies.

Name: Super Babies: Baby Genius 2
Studio: Sony
Official Site: Super Babies: Baby Geniuses 2
Release Date: August 27th
Source: Sequel
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Kid Spies
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $10 million
Notes: You have got to be kidding me. The original was one of the worst reviewed films of 1999, so why are they making a sequel? Arrrghh! There are so many good movies languishing in development hell, yet this film gets a theatrical release! I had this long rant planned on why this movie won't do well, but it's just not worth the time.

Name: Suspect Zero
Studio: Paramount
Official Site: SuspectZero.com
Release Date: August 27th
Source: Original Screenplay
Major Genre: Suspense
Genres: Serial Killer
Production Budget: $27 million
Box Office Potential: $30 million
Notes: Another movie being dumped in a very bad time of year, which is a shame, because Ben Kingsley is an amazing actor. This film, which also has an intriguing story, could turn into a sleeper hit, but I wouldn't bet on it. It's more likely a case of good potential wasted by bad execution.

Name: Without a Paddle
Studio: Paramount
Official Site: WithoutaPaddleMovie.com
Release Date: August 18th
Source: Based on a Book
Major Genre: Comedy
Genres: Treasure Hunters
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $30 million
Box Office Potential: $20 million
Notes: This is one of those wild card movies, it could be very funny or massively stupid. It has had three release dates: late April, early fall and late August. None of those are prime movie release dates, so I think the studio thinks they've got a stinker on their hands. This is not surprising, as the two main leads are not known for making quality pictures. No offense to Seth Green, who was great in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and hilarious in Greg The Bunny, but he really needs to pick his roles better in the future.

Name: Yu-Gi-Oh!
Studio: Warner Bros.
Official Site: YuGiOh.WarnerBros.com
Release Date: August 13th
Source: Based on a TV Series
Major Genre: Animated
Genres: Based on a Toy
Production Budget: Unknown, estimated at $20 million
Box Office Potential: $30 million
Notes: Two words sum up this movie's potential, "Free cards." Theatres will be giving away free Yu-Gi-Oh cards to anyone who buys a ticket, (while supplies last.) I think that will be enough to get a more than a few kids into the theatres and they will drag their unfortunate parents along. Beyond that, there's not much draw for the wide market.


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Filed under: Monthly Preview, Collateral, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, AVP: Alien Vs. Predator, Without a Paddle, Exorcist: The Beginning, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, Little Black Book, Yu-Gi-Oh, Suspect Zero