Labor Day weekend is the dregs for box office tracking, meaning boy band One Direciton may well find themselves at the top of a lackluster box office with The Butler a close second. Getaway hasn't gotten much marketing, so I don't expect it to do well while Closed Circuit has had virtually none and is opening on fewer than 1,000 screens, which means a finish outside the Top Ten is likely.
Wesley Lovell: The worst weekend of the year is almost always Labor Day where most studios dump the worst of their Summer worst. Passion is the only film opening this weekend that promises to be of higher calibre than your standard Summer fare, though I Declare War might just be interesting enough to come in second.
Peter J. Patrick: The Summer doldrums continue.
Tripp Burton: I see we have entered that part of August where the movie theatres become the studio's dumping grounds.
Lee Daniels' The Butler has a pretty good shot of remaining at #1 for a second week with three seemingly unimpressive titles on the way into the marketplace. You're Next may have the best shot at beating The Butler simply because horror often has a strong opening. However, the film hasn't quite gotten the advertising it should need to be tops. The other two films are likely to do well, but not that well with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones a big question, especially considering the year's two other tween-targeted supernatural romance films have flopped.
Wesley Lovell: I can't say I'm really looking forward to any of these this week.
Peter J. Patrick: Looks like a so-so week at the Cineplex.
Tripp Burton: Nothing is tickling my fancy this weekend, but if you happen to like some of these genres then by all means check one out.
Typically, August is a dumping group for films studios originally thought would do boffo box office, but ultimately turned out to be unlikely to do so. They hope that they can claw their way to a decent total to help pay back some of the money they cost. This weekend's list has one film that doesn't quite fit that stereotype, while the others do. And that film, Lee Daniels' The Butler is likely to be the weekend's top box office performance topping Kick-Ass 2, which might not do terribly well, but will be that film's strongest competition.
Wesley Lovell: I want to be excited for Lee Daniels' The Butler, but I'm struggling to build up enthusiasm. The indie set isn't much better.
Peter J. Patrick: A mixed bag week with two promising debuts and lots of junk.
Tripp Burton: We are entering the beginning of Oscar season, but this year it is bringing in a lot of films with awards friendly premises that look like complete disasters.
With family audiences less-than-excited about their available prospects Disney's latest won't be one of its best openings and is likely to land second to the week's big sci-fi action spectacle from District 9 director Neill Blomkamp. Elysium has been hammering the advertising hard and their anti-greed screed should play well with middle America.
Wesley Lovell: After a general wasteland of miserable options, finally a weekend with a large number of potential recommendations.
Peter J. Patrick: Looks like another weekend to spend doing something other than going out to a new movie.
Tripp Burton: And we have entered that worst period of the year, between exciting Summer films and Oscar season, when nothing too interesting gets released. Have a barbeque instead!
It was so popular when it released in 2011 that they brought The Smurfs back for a sequel. They had so little confidence in the film in its predecessor's winter berth that they've pushed it into the lackluster month of August. We'll see how that works out for them.
Wesley Lovell: It's rare for there to be a weekend there isn't a single film I want to see. So, I guess I'm going to catch up on what I've missed.
Peter J. Patrick: This mostly brain dead year for movies continues with yet more wide releases I have no desire to see.
Tripp Burton: A lot of pretty dire films are coming out this week, so rent something classic and enjoy an evening in!
There's only one new release this weekend and after all the major releases last weekend that ultimately flopped, The Wolverine promises to be a nice jolt in the arm. The franchise has been popular even if the films have not and Hugh Jackman's antihero draws people in. And with The Conjuring facing the standard 55%+ second-week drop all horror films suffer, Wolverine has no competition even if a slight dud.
Wesley Lovell: As much as I like the character Wolverine, the new film doesn't look as must-see as it might have been a few years ago. Still, other than Blue Jasmine, there isn't a lot else to watch at the theater.
Peter J. Patrick: Things are beginning to look up in new releases.
Tripp Burton: It may look like a slow week to some, but a new Woody Allen film should always be a weekend to celebrate!
When you pit two genre-similar films targeting young male audiences with a horror film (which partly goes after the same demographic) and a family animated film from DreamWorks. Always bet on the most uniquely different product and that's Turbo.
Wesley Lovell: I enjoyed the original RED, so its sequel is the top of my list from this set. I'm not particularly interested in the other titles, though. On the limited release side, though, there are a number of films that look like they could be interesting.
Peter J. Patrick: What a dumbfounding numbing year this has been thus far. Makes me want to sing "Where Have all the Movies Gone?" to the tune of "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?"
Tripp Burton: Oh Summer, you always bring us such brainless entertainment...
Adam Sandler versus giant robots? Sandler may have once been a dominant force at the box office, but after a series of missteps, his prospects look bleak. This is doubly obvious with the lame sequel to his popular comedy team-up Grown Ups. And putting a male-centric comedy up against a male-centric film about giant robots attacking giant monsters and you have a no-win situation for Sandler and company.
Wesley Lovell: The wide releases this week aren't very interesting, but both Fruitvale Station and The Hunt look like strong films to catch at the independent cinema.
Peter J. Patrick: Head thee to the Art-house not the Cineplex once again this week.
Tripp Burton: This week sees several highly anticipated new releases with some exciting buzz behind them, and Grown Ups 2.
Will Johnny Depp defeat Gru? That's the question everyone will be asking as the July 4 holiday competition heats up. Building on the huge popularity of the popular Gru character from the original Despicable Me, the sequel promises to appeal to the same crowd again and will only face one film as competition, the third weekend of Monsters University. Depp on the other hand stars in the new adaptation of The Lone Ranger which looks a lot like its director's Pirates of the Caribbean films, which should give it a solid leg-up. Which film will top? Families may be more interested in Despicable Me 2 than teen boys will be interesed in The Lone Ranger, so I give Gru and company the edge right now.
Wesley Lovell: Despicable Me was a nice surprise and in spite of Armie Hammer's presence in The Lone Ranger, the film doesn't look terribly originally. On the limited release front, there are a small number of films that could be worth catching as well.
Peter J. Patrick: The Lone Ranger rides again, only this time Tonto takes charge. Sometimes a little historical revision is a good thing. We'll see if this is one of them.
Tripp Burton: Hollywood celebrates Fourth of July this year by giving us a pretty mediocre line-up of films, so I'll be enjoying my time at the beach instead.
While normally I would bank on Roland Emmerich to storm the box office, funny ladies Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock have reputable names and should have little trouble trouncing White House Down.
Wesley Lovell: The Heat looks mildly entertaining and I tend to enjoy Emmerich films more than I probably should. On top of that, there are several limited releases I wouldn't mind catching.
Peter J. Patrick: Avoid the Cineplex and get thee to an Arthouse this week.
Tripp Burton: Some mediocre looking summer fare trickling out, but we also get the newest films from Neil Jordan and Pedro Almodovar, two of our greatest living directors, so things can't be all bad!
In the eternal battle of monsters and zombies, history shows that monsters are frequently more favored...at least when it's Pixar behind the monsters and Brad Pitt behind the zombies. Monsters University should have little trouble marking another #1 debut for Pixar while World War Z could easily end up in second place or third behind the second week of Man of Steel.
Wesley Lovell: I easily favor Pixar over anything else, but I'm beginning to smell a Cars 2-level stinker. On the limited side, I'm intrigued by a few of the possibilities, but The Attack would get my vote.
Peter J. Patrick: Another not terribly interesting movie week.
Tripp Burton: For the first time in a while, we get a myriad of interesting looking films of all genres, both wide and limited release.
There's no question Man of Steel will top the weekend box office. The question is by how much. Its predecessor opened to a strong $52 million seven years ago. Buzz seems much stronger this time and if it's better than its predecessor, totals should easily increase. In 2013 dollars, the opening was only around $63 million, which would fall in line with titles like Thor and Captain America. Yet, I think it will end up even higher based on buzz and the fact that it's a standalone feature that represents one of the oldest superhero franchises in history.
Wesley Lovell: A stunning week for new releases with plenty of intriguing possibilities. Even the wide releases don't seem to be dismal prospects. Man of Steel is a given in terms of a recommendation, but I'm more fascinated by the prospects of Berberian Sound Studio than anything.
Peter J. Patrick: Superman to the rescue in what appears to be otherwise another bleak release week.
Tripp Burton: We get a lot of big releases this week, both in the studio releases and the independent front.
Horror's doing pretty well this year while a number of perceived hits have gone down to lesser films. This time, though I think The Internship will have the smell of originality that the stale The Hangover, Part III didn't possess and will barely eke out a victory. However, watch out for The Purge which also has a feeling of originality and sometimes that can mean a great deal to horror audiences.
Wesley Lovell: I'm curious how The Purge can handle its inventive storyline, but both Much Ado About Nothing and Violet & Daisy hold better prospects of being great.
Peter J. Patrick: Can Much Ado About Nothing be much ado about something? Once again films in limited release seem much more interesting than those in mass release.
Tripp Burton: And a ho-hum year continues with nothing too interesting coming out of Hollywood this weekend.
In spite of the film being directed by box office pariah M. Night Shyamalan, the studio's failure to highlight his name in the advertising combined with Will Smith's legions of fans should provide a hefty opening weekend for the sci-fi spectacle. I'd like to see Now You See Me trounce Smith and Shyamalan, but I just don't think it will have what it takes to build a strong opening weekend. Continued success is where it will make most of its money.
Wesley Lovell: Now You See Me will probably disappoint me in many ways, but I'd rather watch that than a new M. Night Shyamalan film. As for the limited releases, I think The East looks the most interesting.
Peter J. Patrick: Typical summer fare at the Cineplex but some intriguing fare at the local art-house.
Tripp Burton: Nothing really gripping me this week, so use the time to catch up on some older releases.
It's going to be a contentious weekend at the box office with the animated film surprisingly not in contention for first place. Two storied franchises will duke it out for number one this Memorial Day weekend. On the one hand, you have the sixth entry and the Fast & Furious franchise and on the other, you have the third and final chapter of The Hangover series. While Fast & Furious 5 did very well opening by itself, I don't think Fast & Furious 6 will have what it takes to topple The Hangover, Part III. However, it could most certainly be close.
Wesley Lovell: None of the wide releases look that interesting, but I'd give Before Midnight a chance (once I watch the predecessors).
Peter J. Patrick: Another week, another cartoon and another sequel or 2 or 3.
Tripp Burton: A lot of really unnecessary studio films are coming out this year, but Before Midnight may be my most anticipated film of the year. I think you can figure out where I'll be