On the fourth weekend of August, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones faces The World's End and You're Next.
Young-adult adaptation The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, opening on Wednesday, is the third attempt so far this year at getting another Twilight/Hunger Games off the ground. The first two, Beautiful Creatures and The Host, both bombed with $19.4 million and $26.6 million, respectively; while the young female audience is very desirable, it's clearly hard to gauge just how interested they are in these mid-range book franchises. Based on middling previews and a tough release date, there's nothing to indicate that Mortal Instruments will do much better than Beautiful Creatures and The Host. Still, Sony is currently bullish enough on the movie's prospects that they're already working on casting a sequel. The World's End is the latest collaboration between Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who previously worked together on Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Neither movie did a ton of domestic business—Hot Fuzz was tops with $23.6 million—though they've acquired a strong following in the last few years. Still, general audiences have already turned out for an apocalyptic comedy this Summer (This is the End), and it's unlikely that The World's End reaches beyond the Wright faithful. A good comparison is 2011 sci-fi comedy Paul, which starred Pegg and Frost and grossed a fine $37.4 million.
Horror movie You're Next has been sitting on the shelf at Lionsgate for a few years, though they are finally dusting it off for release this August. The movie doesn't have any stars, nor does it have a clear hook akin to The Purge. Still, Lionsgate has proven again and again that they know how to sell horror, and the strong word-of-mouth on the movie should also help. If You're Next does good business, this will go down as one of the best summers in a long time for the horror genre. August 30
Labor Day weekend has three new nationwide releases—four if you count Satanic, which The Weinstein Company still has on the release schedule despite the fact that the movie doesn't have a poster or a trailer yet.
The biggest of these three will almost certainly be concert documentary One Direction: This is Us, which is a behind-the-scenes look at the British pop phenomenon. The movie is clearly modeled after Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, which earned $73 million in early 2011. Replicating that success is unlikely, though One Direction will probably wind up closer to Bieber than to Katy Perry: Part of Me, which disappointed with $25.3 million last year. One thing that could negatively affect the movie is the odd release date: it's almost unheard of that a movie targeted at school-aged audiences would open during the back-to-school window. Closed Circuit is the latest international thriller to get a Labor Day release from Focus Features. The first three (The Constant Gardener, The American and The Debt) all wound up with between $31 and $36 million at the domestic box office. Closed Circuit actually looks like a more modest outing than those movies, though, and might be on track for grosses closer to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy ($24.1 million).
Finally, Warner Bros. will release hostage thriller Getaway this weekend. The movie stars Ethan Hawke as a wheelman, and the car-related action calls to mind the original Transporter movie. That wound up with $25.3 million, which is a safe bet for Getaway as well.