‘Elysium,’ ‘Planes,’ ‘We’re the Millers’ & ‘Percy Jackson’ Compete In August Box Office

August… the very mention of the month in reference to the box office traditionally elicits thoughts of a non-blockbuster creating, “dog days” inspiring, less than stellar timeframe for movies. A closer look reveals quite the opposite.
Matt Damon strugglesWe argue that August is one of the best months to be a moviegoer because you get edgier films like this weekend’s R-rated sci-fi action film Elysium from Sony (studio says mid-$30 millions this weekend) and Warner Bros. R-rated comedy We’re the Millers (expect low $20 millions for Fri. through Sun. after a Wed. debut of $6.77 million) along with family fare such as Disney’s Planes (likely $28 million through Sunday) and Fox’s Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (expect just under $20 million for the weekend after a Wed. debut of $5.45 million). It is certainly a somewhat schizophrenic month when it comes to content…and that’s why we love it!

In our opinion, 2009 was a great year for August releases and really showed that it was no longer was a second class month worthy of scorn and derision (and in fact has evolved arguably into one of the best months of the summer in terms of content) when both Inglourious Basterds and District 9 were released within a week of each other. Both films earned rave reviews and solid revenues while breaking out of the typical cookie-cutter mold of traditional summer fare. Universal’s 2 Guns has already kicked off August in similar R-rated fashion and Kick Ass 2 will capitalize further on this next week.  

R-rated comedies also do well in August when “Blockbuster Fatigue” has set in and audiences are looking for something a little different and a bit more challenging.  In 2005, the R-rated hit The 40 Year Old Virgin was a notable example. 
The Miller Family

Say what you will about these Top 25 August performers, but at least some of them tried to push the envelope:

THE SIXTH SENSE    $293,506,292    Fri, 8/6/99
SIGNS    $227,965,690    Fri, 8/2/02
RUSH HOUR 2    $226,164,286    Fri, 8/3/01
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM    $221,471,070    Fri, 8/3/07
THE FUGITIVE    $183,875,760    Fri, 8/6/93
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES    $176,760,185    Fri, 8/5/11
THE HELP    $169,705,587    Wed, 8/10/11
G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA    $150,201,498    Fri, 8/7/09
TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY    $148,213,377    Fri, 8/4/06
AMERICAN PIE 2    $145,096,820    Fri, 8/10/01
XXX    $141,204,016    Fri, 8/9/02
RUSH HOUR 3    $140,080,850    Fri, 8/10/07
CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER     $122,012,656    Wed, 8/3/94
SUPERBAD    $121,463,226    Fri, 8/17/07
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS    $120,523,073    Fri, 8/21/09
THE OTHER GUYS    $119,219,978    Fri, 8/6/10
S.W.A.T.    $116,643,346    Fri, 8/8/03
DISTRICT 9    $115,646,235    Fri, 8/14/09
THE BOURNE LEGACY    $113,203,870    Fri, 8/10/12
TROPIC THUNDER    $110,461,307    Wed, 8/13/08
FREAKY FRIDAY    $110,222,438    Fri, 8/8/03
THE 40-YEAR OLD VIRGIN    $109,449,237    Fri, 8/19/05
THE PRINCESS DIARIES    $108,244,774    Fri, 8/3/01
AMERICAN WEDDING    $104,440,899    Fri, 8/1/03
THE EXPENDABLES    $102,981,571    Fri, 8/13/10