There are two times a year that can be considered box office slumps. Right after Oscar season and deep into winter in parts of the United States, there sits a place where it seems films go to die. A close second is the time just after the blockbusters and right before the lead up to the Oscars. Many times this is where you find some movies slip when studios just don’t feel they hold up to their summer superstars.
The box office finds itself in this very place. The last real big budget action movie limped out two weeks ago, Suicide Squad. Despite winning in its second week, it fell further than most people expected (67.3 percent according to Box Office Mojo). With television premieres still a month to two months away, it is time to take a look at the films, if any, that can keep the box office propped up until November.
The most interesting scenario in these next two months is not necessarily a movie, but a date. The weekend of September 16 is the only real weekend in this time period that can see real competition at the ticket counters. Three movies have a potential to win, and surprisingly enough, they are all rated R.
Bridget Jones’s Baby is the early favorite. Reprising her role as title character Bridget Jones is Renee Zellweger. Jones is now in her forties. She has moved on from her past relationships and now finds herself focusing on her job as a news producer. With Darcy out of the picture, she meets a handsome American Jack played by Patrick Dempsey. Things take a turn for her when she finds herself pregnant, but she doesn’t know who is the real father.
The Bridget Jones series of movies have grossed over $500 million at the box office. While that is a significant number, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason debuted in 2004. It will be interesting to see if the character still has that kind of drawing power. As with the first two, Bridget Jones’s Baby may need to rely on the foreign market to win out.
Oliver Stone’s film Snowden also debuts on September 16. This film was supposed to contend for this past year’s Oscar. The fact that it was moved to May and now September has some worried. The question to ask is whether or not Stone moved the movie to give it a chance for this year’s Oscar, or is it dead in the water?
Stone has had a difficult time finding the same magic with critics that he had in the 80’s and 90’s. As Collider reported, Snowden is not lacking in star power Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the title character. His girlfriend is played by Shailene Woodley. The film also stars Nicolas Cage, Timothy Olyphant, and Scott Eastwood to name a few.
The final movie in wide release that day is Blair With. No, this is not a re-release of the 1999 film that grossed an incredible $248 million on a $60,000 budget.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A group of college students set out to find the truth of what happened to one the group’s sisters who disappeared in the thought-to-be haunted woods years before. Weird things happen. People disappear.
As much as we have heard this story before, Blair Witch makes this list because horror movies do surprisingly well no matter what budget.
The Magnificent Seven (September 23)
Denzel Washington leads a star-studded cast including Ethan Hawke, Chris Pratt, and Vincent D’Onofrio in this remake of a remake. The original with Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, and Charles Bronson is considered by some as one of the greatest westerns of all time. It was a remake of Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa which some feel could be the greatest movie of all time.
No doubt. MGM must have a lot of confidence in this film. Directed by Antoine Fuqua (The Equalizer), Seven certainly isn’t lacking for talent.
A good deal of other films are slated that could make some noise. Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (September 30) adapts a young adult novel that seems to have been written for him to specifically direct. We also get another Madea movie (October 21), Jack Reacher (October 21), Robert Langdon of Da Vinci Code fame (Inferno, October 30), and horror film Rings (October 30).
Looking at the numbers provided by Box Office Mojo, 2016 is slightly ahead of 2015 year-to-date. However, with still a good number of big films left in 2015 at this point, will this box office slump be able to at least keep pace until the Oscar season hits in November.
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