Posted by · 4:37 pm · August 13th, 2010

*All historical figures cited are adjusted to today’s dollars.

If you are a nerd, this is the weekend for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re an action movie nerd, video game nerd or self-help nerd, Hollywood has you covered. All in all, it’s an abnormally stacked August weekend with three films that all have breakout potential and is especially baffling when you look at the shitshow of titles nobody cares about just seven days away.

Of the three openers, Lionsgate is going the widest with “The Expendables.” First off, no matter what happens, this will be profitable for the studio since they just bought the distribution rights from Millennium Films, who actually financed the thing. Lionsgate pulled a similar move with “Rambo” and saw that film open with $20.1 million and tap out at $47.3 million. For an ultra-violent sequel to a franchise dead longer than most of our readers have been alive, all were pretty satisfied.

Expectations are amped up for “The Expendables,” since a bunch of other old guys with muscles are in it. Count me among those not buying the hype that Steve Austin, Terry Crews and Dolph Lundgren add significant interest among any crowd of patrons. Cameos from Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis have been shamefully advertised and that will dupe a few old timers into thinking there’s something special here, but that trio didn’t really help Planet Hollywood from epic failing. I think a strong Friday will lead to a $32 million weekend and it free falls from there.

Julia Roberts attempts to reclaim her title of “America’s Sweetheart” with Sony’s “Eat Pray Love.” The book is incredibly popular among women in this country and Sony quickly plopped it down on the same release date that worked so well for “Julie & Julia.” Single women will show up in droves (after a quick stop at Pinkberry), but the couples are another matter. Between this and “The Expendables,” somebody is going to prove they wear the pants in the relationship and somebody is going to be an unhappy camper. Give the edge to the ladies because they have a secret weapon to always get what they want (hint: sex).

Potential spoiler- something tells me Roberts doesn’t get very far with eating or praying and the latter half of the movie will focus solely on love. After all, nobody wants to see a movie about a fat bitch who’s suddenly super into God. This one should be good for $26 million and a healthy shelf life. Welcome back, Mrs. Lovett.

“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” is the only new release targeting the most important demographic in summer movies. Teenage males, particularly ones brought up on video games or comics will practically have orgasms in their seat for 90 minutes straight thanks to Edgar Wright and Michael Cera. Internet hype would have you believe that the film is a surefire smash, but Wright is a cult figure at best and the trailers are so stylized that it’s practically begging for general audiences to stay away.

With Stallone stealing a bit of the fanboy thunder and the fact that the two films Cera has headlined on his own opened to $12 million and $7 million, you have to call this one bringing up the rear this weekend. I see an $11 million start, a modest finish and cult status forever more.

“The Other Guys” had a strong debut last week, but even with positive word of mouth there will be just too much competition to hold strong. A 50% dip to $17.8 million should be good for third place and hopefully warrant a presenter pairing of Ferrell and Wahlberg at the Oscars. (McKay has mentioned that the idea to pair the two came after this number at the ’07 ceremony)

“Step Up 3D” could fall 55% from an already tepid debut. Where are my fellow 3D haters at, it’s high five time!

Speaking of high fives, “Salt” will pass $100 million and “Toy Story 3” will become the fifth animated film since 1980 to cross $400 million. I really don’t see anything passing this as the 2010 box office champion at this point. And on the subject of animation, keep your eyes peeled for “Tales From Earthsea” as it opens limited this week. Disney doesn’t seem to have much faith in it, but it could be a dark horse Animated Feature contender.

What are you guys seeing this week?

[Photo: Lionsgate]

→ 17 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Box Office · Friday Forecast

17 responses so far

  • 1 8-13-2010 at 4:57 pm

    Hans said...

    Not gonna lie, the Scott Pilgrim trailer gets me every time, and it seems to be getting decent reviews, so if the friends are up for it, I might check it out.

  • 2 8-13-2010 at 5:00 pm

    Estefan said...

    Considering how poorly-received Earthsea has been both by folks in Japan and by critics in the rest of the world, I don’t see it getting nominated. How to Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3 have already clinched spots and Despicable Me, Tangled, The Illusionist and (maybe) MegaMind will be fighting for the rest of the spots, I think.

    Anyway, saw Scott Pilgrim today and I thought it was terrific, but then again, I’m a big fan of old-school games so it was practically made for me. It’s definitely made for a niche audience.

  • 3 8-13-2010 at 5:01 pm

    Bryan said...

    Finally getting around to Get Low before I catch Pilgrim early next week (Avoiding the fanboy rush)

  • 4 8-13-2010 at 5:36 pm

    Glenn said...

    Saw “Step Up 3D” last night (Friday here in Australia) and it’s actually much better than your comment gives it credit for. Yes, the acting is average at best and the writing is non-existence but it is energetic and funky, has spectacular dance sequences (SPECTACULAR) and the 3D is far better than most (it was actually filmed in 3D, thankfully). Crucially, however, it actually treats its culture with respect. These characters dance because its their life. The characters in “Scott Pilgrim” play video games because they’re horrible, vacant, empty, pathetic beings with no motivation and no reason to even exist let alone have a legion of devoted fans. It reminded me of “Beat Street” or “Wild Style” from the ’80s actually (just with obvious Hollywood gloss and worse writing) in the way it aimed to say something about the way artists come together.

    But, of course, it’s not aimed at boys who play computer games so most people online won’t even notice and will just chide it despite never seeing it as they make their way to “Scott Pilgrim vs The World”, which is a movie I find myself getting angrier about as the days go by (saw it last Monday). It is technically dazzing, but it has so many problems (some of which surely stem from the comic, but I’m judging the movie not the comic). The only character that seems to have a regular, paying is roundly mocked and ridiculed for no reason at all. These characters are aimless and vacant. Nothing there. SPOILER the one female villain? brought down by a fuckin’ erogenous zone! SPOILER so make it sexist, too. Too long and the end act (particularly the battle with the twins who we learn absolutely NOTHING about whatsoever) is poorly edited.

    But, I doubt the fans will acknowledge any of this.

  • 5 8-13-2010 at 6:08 pm

    Jacob S. said...

    Saw Scott Pilgrim and loved it. It’s stylish as hell and, yes, will keep most people away. It’ll probably pull in the same crowd as Kick-Ass did, but maybe also some teens since this movie is PG-13.

  • 6 8-13-2010 at 6:17 pm

    Loyal said...

    Watched Scott Pilgrim a few weeks back, incredible film. Absolutely loved it.

    Also watched Eat Pray Love today


    “Potential spoiler- something tells me Roberts doesn’t get very far with eating or praying and the latter half of the movie will focus solely on love.”

    The film with its bloated running time actually spends much of it in NY, Italy, and India.

    Indonesia, one of the few bright spots in the film was somewhat shortchanged. The movie is so morose and slow, completely opposite of what I expected in a journey of self-discovery across the world. Lots of odd creative decisions were made by the filmmaking team as well. Whose idea was it to shot James Franco all hazy like one of the gods from Clash of the Titans? And the crazy camera movements?

    Regardless, the women in the theatre minus my girlfriend seemed to enjoy it. I suspect Eat Pray Love do quite well financially and Julia Roberts will get at least a Globe nom. She does an awful lot of crying in the film.

  • 7 8-13-2010 at 7:14 pm

    Nick Davis said...

    Fat bitches? Women using sex to get what they want? I generally find your columns pretty hilarious, but I’ll admit I was a bit startled by this one. At the very least, you’re really gunking up your chances at nabbing that lucrative guest column in Ms. or Bust that I’m sure you’ve been coveting.

  • 8 8-13-2010 at 7:49 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    doubt anything can pass toy story 3 either chad, but if i had to put my money on any title it would be harry potter or most of all Tron; because who the hell knows

  • 9 8-13-2010 at 7:50 pm

    JJ said...

    One thing I’ve learned from coming on Oscar sites: I must have a high tolerance for movies.

    I love movies. I love great ones, good ones, ok ones, bad ones, awful ones, atrocious ones …. ok, maybe not the last few I wrote.

    BUT, 37% on RT or not, I enjoyed ‘Eat Pray Love’. Was it somewhat disjointed and choppy? Yes, at times; for sure.

    Did I feel Liz Gilbert’s emotional pains? Not really. I saw them, didn’t feel all of them.

    But what can I say? I’m a JRob fan, and she’s solid here. Rich Jenkins & Javier Bardem are great. I got lost in the visuals. I enjoyed the 2+ hours, and forgot all about my real life issues for the duration. 7/10

  • 10 8-13-2010 at 7:55 pm

    j said...

    AD forums have pointed out how chick flicks don’t have a great track record with August OW which makes me feel better about EPL.

    Yes I’m rooting for it, at least partially because I want it to be clear that other women besides SaBu can headline smashes in our time…Julia’s time last being probably 10 years ago.

  • 11 8-13-2010 at 8:16 pm

    Speaking English said...

    I agree with Nick Davis.

    And “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” is 112 minutes long, not 90.

  • 12 8-14-2010 at 2:25 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    I’m afraid I’m with Nick and English on this one: I’m one of your biggest fans, Chad, but the tone is slightly off here. I like to imagine some women read this site, after all.

  • 13 8-14-2010 at 4:18 am

    Lara said...

    I’m glad some of the guys above mentioned it. I’m a woman, have never read Eat Pray Love, have no intention of seeing the movie, read this site occasionally and while it’s very male-oriented I don’t remember reading such sexist drivel on here like your assessment of EPL’s box office chances.

  • 14 8-14-2010 at 6:56 am

    JJ said...

    Not a fan this week, Chad.

  • 15 8-14-2010 at 7:35 am

    Meli said...

    TMI….about what have apparently been the writer’s unfortunate relations with the opposite sex.

    Since I’m no fan of Julia Roberts – or shallow film storylines – we are seeing The Kids are All Right, that other “chick flick” still screening this weekend. No blow job necessary.

  • 16 8-14-2010 at 9:53 am

    MovieMan said...

    “Cairo Time” is the film to see this weekend, people. Not a false note in its 90 minutes. It’s a nice companion piece to “Lost in Translation,” even if it’s slightly lesser. Patricia Clarkson is a revelation.

    “Eat Pray Love” is a terrific summer blockbuster for women, and Chad’s throwaway comments are unwarranted. Of course, I also loved “Sex and the City 2,” so maybe I shouldn’t talk. But both films are worth the price of admission for their target audiences.

    I’ve given my thoughts on “The Expendables” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” on their respective threads, so go there for them. But the short of it is: I hated the former and adored the latter.

  • 17 8-15-2010 at 11:14 am

    Amanda said...

    Apparently Chad and Nikki both took their ass hole pills this weekend. Well done.