August is here, which for movies means we should be able to look forward to a few more weeks of solid, if not particularly awe-inspiring, flicks that couldn’t find a good home in the prime spots of the summer. Key word there: should. August can be a bit of a hit-or-miss month. It can have strong films like last year (Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Help) and 2009 (Inglourious Basterds and District 9), or it can merely serve as the garbage disposal for all of the cinematic scraps left from the summer, as we had in 2010 (The Expendables and other mostly forgettable fare) and 2008 (outside of the hilarious Tropic Thunder, it was full of junk).
So far, signs point to this following the above pattern, meaning it may not be much of a month in the theaters. The Watch brought a bad end to July, and the reviews are not good so far for this weekend’s headliner, Total Recall, an unnecessary remake of the classic Schwarzenegger movie. The one hope is that next weekend, with a reboot of the Bourne series (minus Matt Damon) and Will Farrell’s attempt at political humor leading the way, will jump-start an otherwise underwhelming list of upcoming releases.
For now, let’s look at this weekend’s newcomers. As mentioned, Total Recall is coming out, 22 years after the first one was released. Initially, forecasts had it making in the $100-$125 million range, but expectations have been slowly souring, picking up steam this week as the critical response has not been kind to the film. At this point, if it pulls in over $80 million, especially considering it’s going against two other action flicks in TDKR and Bourne Legacy, that will be a success. It could be close, but this writer thinks TDKR will just barely outperform Total Recall this weekend for the top spot. The other release is the third Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The first one made $64 million, the second $52, which means this one is probably headed for $40 mil.