30 August 2011

War of the Months: August

Well folks, it's the final day in August (well, the last 15 minutes), which means it's time once again for War of the Months, your year-long look at the cinematic box office and critical trends and results for every month of the year. This is another dumping month, which by the way, why are there so many more dump months than good months? Is there really just that much crap around? August is for July hangovers. Generally there's nothing going on, school is about to start, people are on vacation, it's a time for everyone to do nothing with their Sunshine while they actually don't have obligations for a few weeks. There's a bit of greatness in that though, but it certainly shows at the movies.

August: Month of Bleh

Nothing's really going on in August. It's this Dead Zone for everyone's lives. In terms of movies, there are generally some potentially big flicks that come out and some do pretty well. It IS still Summer, after all. Early August tends to be a great time for Sleeper Comedy hits to launch as well as some Blockbusters whose Financial Predictions may fall in between March and June. Flicks just risky enough that studios would avoid an important weekend, but may still do pretty decent.

August Moola: Fitting the Bill

After July, August certainly seems lacking. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), August's greatest movie ever, opened at $69,283,690, which isn't too shabby, but certainly not the worst possible. Although this is far below the biggest March and April Opening Weekends, the Top 10 August Weekends Ever show us that there are still a lot more films that can nab $40 - 50 million than any of the Spring Months.

Relevant.
Some of the other Top 10 August Films include Rush Hour 2 (2001), Signs (2002), American Pie 2 (2001) and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006). As you can see, it tends to be a place for films that are franchises or brands but not really that great, and surprisingly good comedies. Clearly the success of our two August Risers, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) and Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) are a testament to that.

The Top August Ever was 2007. In addition to the success of The Bourne Ultimatum somehow confirming that the Bourne Series was a legitimate cultural force, even though hardly anyone seemed to see the first one, it also saw Rush Hour 3 close out the Summer of Threequels. Finally it was really helped by Superbad's slow burn that continued to generate revenue for some time after it released. The rest of the August Releases this year are atrocious. You've got things like Daddy Day Camp, The Invasion, WAR and Balls of Fury. None of these did business, but the sheer number of them added something to the Box Office Totals.

August Quality: Fucking Terrible

This can be a rough month. There really aren't a whole lot of pagestoppers here but there are some gems amidst the endless swirling sea of shit. A lot of these are small comedies that turned out to be awesome, or an underrated action flick, as well as the occasional Oscar-worthy pic somehow.

#10: Superbad - 08/17/2007
#9: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World - 08/13/2010
#8: Desperado - 08/25/1995
#7: District 9 - 8/14/2009
#6: The Fugitive - 08/06/1993
#5: Tropic Thunder - 08/13/2008
#4: Unforgiven - 08/07/1992
#3: The Iron Giant - 08/06/1999
#2: The Usual Suspects - 08/16/1995
#1: Inglourious Basterds - 08/21/2009

Use your coin!
I gave Basterds the edge because there is no reason ever to watch The Usual Suspects more than once, tho that first time is great. Good Augusts tend to come in spurts. This includes 2009, 1995, which also includes Babe, and 1999, which in addition to The Iron Giant adds under-appreciated Comedies Mystery Men and Bowfinger. It also tends to be a super-Apatow month featuring The 40-Year Old Virgin (2005), Talladega Nights, The Other Guys (2010) and Pineapple Express (2008). In addition it has tons of cult Comedies like Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), Rat Race (2001), Beerfest (2006) and Mystery Team (2009).

In terms of the few solid action flicks August produces that just missed the cut here are Natural Born Killers (1994), Blade (1998), xXx (2002) and Layer Cake (2004). Besides these bleak offerings August also gave us the Greatest Feel-Good Movie of all time, The Replacements (2000).

So that's August. A fun month for sure, there's definitely an enjoyable flick every once in a while, but more often than not this is just a terrible month to go to the movies. 2011 was especially horrible, besides the somehow okay Ascent of the World of the Monkeys. Of course if you think this is unbearable at all you all but need to wait until September rears its atrocious head.

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