Ah yes, we’re finally done with sequels, superheroes and movie mayhem, at least for a little while. Fall is the time for more serious fare as we head towards the holidays and the annual 46 months of awards season. In today’s part one we look at September and October, once a cinematic Land of Misfit Toys for films that couldn’t compete anywhere else during the year but that has changed recently in the studios’ quest for 12 month a year programming and the addition of several mini-majors.
Who’s in it: Ashley Judd, Ray Liotta
What it is: (Fill in the blanks) Elvis movie meets (Fill in the blanks) faith based title
What it’ll do: Christian films are always so hard to predict. Is it “God’s Not Dead” (also a Freestyle Release) or is it “Mom’s Night Out”? $25-30 million
NO GOOD DEED—SONY
Who’s in it: Idris Elba, Taraji P. Henson
What it is: “Labor Day” meets “Enough”
What it’ll do: Nothing says lighthearted entertainment like home invasion movies. $25-30 million
DOLPHIN TALE 2—WARNER BROTHERS
Who’s in it: Ashley Judd (yes the 2nd Ashley Judd movie in two weeks!), Morgan Freeman
What it is: Uhhh, it’s like “Dolphin Tale 1”
What it’ll do: The original did $72 million. Yes we’re serious. We’re half as excited this time around so $36 million
THE DROP—FOX SEARCHLIGHT
Who’s in it: Tom Hardy and the final on screen performance by James Gandolfini
What it is: “Little Odessa” meets “The Sopranos”
What it’ll do: Mid-range indie hit, largely due to the Gandolfini factor
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY–WEINSTEIN
Who’s in it: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy
What it is: “He Said, She Said” with really good actors
What it’ll do: With expected Oscar buzz, this could run for a while in more sophisticated markets
MY OLD LADY–COHEN MEDIA GROUP
Who’s in it: Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline
What it is: “Goodbye Girl” for the “Downton Abbey” set
What it’ll do: Has a future on VOD unless the Dowager Countess gets awards season buzz
THE SKELETON TWINS–ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS
Who’s in it: SNL alums Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig
What it is: The first 3/4 of “It’s A Wonderful Life”
What it’ll do: VOD business
THE MAZE RUNNER—FOX
Who’s in it: Dylan O’Brien, Will Poulter
What it is: “Hunger Games” meets “Lord of the Flies” in Geometry class
What it’ll do: Early online social media buzz is strong. $80-90 mil
A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES–UNIVERSAL
Who’s in it: Liam Neeson. Do you really need anyone more than that?
What it is: “Chinatown” meets “Scarface” with a side order of “Taken” thrown in
What it’ll do: More “Non-Stop” than “Taken”. $55-65 mil
THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU–WARNER BROTHERS
Who’s in it: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver
What it is: 1/3 “Death at a Funeral”, 1/3 “Arrested Development”, 1/3 “August: Osage County”
What it’ll do: This could surprise. And pencil in a Best Supporting Actress nod for Jane. $40-50 mil
Who’s in it: Fleetwood Mac, the USC Marching Band. No wait, that’s not right. Justin Long, Kevin Smith (director)
What it is: If Jay and Silent Bob made “Hostel”
What it’ll do: 95% of its business from drunken 11pm VOD selections
Who’s in it: Mia Wasikowska, four camels, one dog
What it is: “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” meets “Babe”
What it’ll do: Hopefully it becomes an art house hit, we hear it’s good
HECTOR AND THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS—RELATIVITY
Who’s in it: Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Christopher Plummer, Toni Collette
What it is: “Eat, Pray, Love” with testosterone
What it’ll do: If it can navigate through a cluttered indie film sea it could catch on. We’ve seen it and it’s a wonderful little movie.
Who’s in it: Imelda Staunton, Paddy Considine, Bill Nighy
What it is: “Brassed Off” without the sax and violins
What it’ll do: Maybe a little bit of business if it catches on with a Gay/Lesbian audience
Who’s in it: Christoph Waltz, Terry Gilliam (director)
What it is: Harpo Marx starring in “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus”
What it’ll do: Zero, as it’s already on VOD
Who’s in it: Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz
What it is: The 1980’s TV show. Or, if you never saw that, it’s “Training Day” meets “Employee of the Month”
What it’ll do: BIG! It has the potential to be the first $100 million film of the fall. The script was outstanding and the old TV show was an absolute classic. $95-105 mil.
Who’s in it: Little animated people and the voices of Ben Kingsley, Simon Pegg (yes again) and Toni Collette (yes again)
What it is: The third animated feature from Laika Studios (“Coraline”, “ParaNorman”)
What it’ll do: “Coraline” grossed $75 million and “ParaNorman” topped out at $56 million. We’ll take the under and say $50-55 mil
THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY—MAGNOLIA
Who’s in it: Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Isaac
What it is: A Hellenic “Talented Mr. Ripley”
What it’ll do: As it’s from Magnolia we’re guessing this is mostly a VOD release
Who’s in it: Alan Powell, Ali Faulkner
What it is: Hallmark Hall of Fame version of “Walk Hard”
What it’ll do: We’ll say it again, faith based films are difficult to assess and predict. $10 mil?
JIMI: ALL IS BY MY SIDE—OPEN ROAD
Who’s in it: Andre Benjamin, Imogen Poots
What it is: Uh, ever heard of Jimi Hendrix?
What it’ll do: We’ve already had two people who haven’t gone to the movies since the Carter Administration tell us they can’t wait for this. That’s a good sign. We think.
DAYS AND NIGHTS—IFC
Who’s in it: Katie Holmes, Ben Whishaw, William Hurt
What it is: If Chekhov wrote “Closer”
What it’ll do: Depends on IFC’s theatrical release pattern
Who’s in it: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris
What it is: Every series on Investigative Discovery network…if directed by David Fincher
What it’ll do: $100 mil, possibly more
Who’s in it: Annabelle Wallis (what are the odds?) and the doll from “The Conjuring”
What it is: “The Bride of Chucky”
What it’ll do: “The Conjuring” grossed $137 million. Figure $50-60 mil.
Who’s in it: Nicolas Cage
What it is: Remake of the 2001 Rapture drama that starred Kirk Cameron
What it’ll do: See the comments regarding the other faith based films. Cage’s presence could lift this into a mid range hit. $25 mil?
MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN—PARAMOUNT
Who’s in it: Adam Sandler, Ansel Elgort, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Jason Reitman (director)
What it is: A family counseling session done via Skype
What it’ll do: We’ll have to wait until Toronto to see if it’s as good as we hear. If so…..
THE GOOD LIE—WARNER BROTHERS
Who’s in it: Reese Witherspoon
What it is: Sudanese refugee drama
What it’ll do: Maybe $20-25 mil if reviews are good.
THE JUDGE—WARNER BROTHERS
Who’s in it: Robert Downey, Jr, Robert Duvall
What it is: Hotshot New York lawyer defends his Grumpy-Old-Man father
What it’ll do: Go down the list of grosses from Robert Downey Jr’s last several films and let me know when you get to one that didn’t work. Waiting. Still waiting. $60-70 mil.
ALEXANDER AND THE…—BUENA VISTA
Who’s in it: Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Dick Van Dyke
What it is: Filmed version of Kidz Bop singing The Boomtown Rats’ “I Don’t Like Mondays”
What it’ll do: Lots of kids being cute and lots of adults falling down. That all adds up to $65-70 mil
Who’s in it: Boris Kodjoe, Sharon Leal, Kat Graham
What it is: “Fatal Attraction” meets “Thanks For Sharing”
What it’ll do: Could catch on with urban audiences. $25-30 mil
KILL THE MESSENGER–FOCUS
Who’s in it: Jeremy Renner, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
What it is: “All The Presidents Men” starring Oliver North
What it’ll do: Renner is getting early Oscar buzz. Reviews will need to be outstanding.
Who’s in it: James Corden, Julie Walters
What it is: True story of “Britain’s Got Talent” winner
What it’ll do: After being moved back over a year and debuting on VOD ten days early? Not much.
Who’s in it: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons
What it is: “Black Swan” starring Buddy Rich
What it’ll do: Mid-range art house hit, pending strong reviews
Who’s in it: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, David Ayer (director)
What it is: “Saving Private Ryan” with tanks
What it’ll do: Ready for us to put 20+ years in the film business to work? Here goes…..this film will do more than “Monuments Men”. Thank you, thank you, we’re here all week. Try the veal. Tip your waitress, Mandy. $100-110 mil
Who’s in it: Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper
What it is: Dracula, The Early Years
What it’ll do: Tough sledding opening up against “Fury”. $30-35 mil.
BOOK OF LIFE—FOX
Who’s in it: Voices of Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, Diego Luna
What it is: South-of-the-Border animated love story
What it’ll do: $65-70 mil here. 13,459,576,744 pesos in Juarez
THE BEST OF ME—RELATIVITY
Who’s in it: James Marsden, Michelle Monaghan
What it is: If “The Notebook” was written by Nicholas Sparks. Oh wait, it was
What it’ll do: Well, not “The Notebook”, but $40-50 mil is possible.
Who’s in it: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton
What it is: “Batman On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown”
What it’ll do: For one thing it’ll be on everyone’s Top 10 lists by year’s end. Everyone loves Keaton so this has a huge upside.
DEAR WHITE PEOPLE—ROADSIDE
Who’s in it: Kyle Gallner, Dennis Haysbert, Justin Simien (director)
What it is: African-American students shake up Ivy League college
What it’ll do: RSA will undoubtedly take it out primarily on VOD
Who’s in it: Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto
What it is: 70’s board game produced by Michael Bay and Jason Blum
What it’ll do: More than “Clue”, if that’s saying anything. $40-45 mil
Who’s in it: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy
What it is: “Grumpy Old Men” meets “Adventures in Babysitting”
What it’ll do: Another film with great pre-release buzz. Could be one of the surprises of the fall
Who’s in it: Keira Knightley, Chloe Grace Moretz
What it is: Keira & Chloe hang for two hours
What it’ll do: Hmmm, with that concept I’m guessing not much.
Who’s in it: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton
What it is: Film Noir, circa 2014
What it’ll do: Gyllenhaal is apparently awesome in the film. Here’s thinking this works, especially with this wide open release date. $30-35 mil.
BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP–CLARIUS
Who’s in it: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth
What it is: “50 First Deaths”
What it’ll do: I had a number in mind but for some reason I forgot it.
Who’s in it: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple
What it is: “Gone Girl” meets “Mutual Of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom”
What it’ll do: Seriously?