Martin Grove’s Hollywood Report 07-23-12

“The Expendables 2,” – In theaters Aug. 17th

“The Expendables 2,” – In theaters Aug. 17th

Star of “The Bourne Legacy,” Jeremy Renner

Star of “The Bourne Legacy,” Jeremy Renner

“Total Recall,” – In theaters Aug. 3rd

“Total Recall,” – In theaters Aug. 3rd

August action: August used to be where Hollywood buried its dead – movies it didn’t think stood a chance of doing big business. But in recent years that’s all changed.

Last year, for instance, Fox launched “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” Aug. 5 to $54.8 million and saw it rise all the way to $176.8 million in domestic theatres. In 2009, Paramount opened “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” Aug. 7 to $54.7 million and it fought its way to $150.2 million domestically. Back in 2007, Universal’s “The Bourne Ultimatum” kicked off Aug. 3 to $69.3 million and ultimately grossed $227.5 million domestically.

If all goes well, this August should be no exception to the new rule that there’s lots of money to be made at the boxoffice during the dog days of summer. To begin with, many millions of dollars will be pumped through megaplexes in August thanks to Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ mega-blockbuster “The Dark Knight Rises,” which just opened to at least $160 million.

With no reporting of boxoffice grosses last weekend by Warner Bros. or other studios following the tragic murder of moviegoers seeing “Rises” at a Colorado theatre, there are no official estimates of the film’s performance as I’m writing this. Unofficially, the buzz is that “Rises” is off to a spectacular start and will be a huge factor at the August boxoffice.

In terms of new wide releases, August will dawn with the Aug. 3 opening of Columbia Pictures’ PG-13 rated sci-fi action adventure “Total Recall.”

Directed by Len Wiseman (“Live Free or Die Hard”), this remake stars Colin Farrell in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s role in the 1990 sci-fi classic directed by Paul Verhoeven (“Basic Instinct”). The remake also stars Bokeem Woodbine, Bryan Cranston, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biehl and Bill Nighy.

Farrell plays a man on the run who thinks he may be a spy after going to Rekall, which implants in clients’ minds false memories of lives they wish they’d actually lived.

The original “Total Recall” opened June 1,1990 to $25.5 million and grossed $119.4 million domestically. That was big money back then and reflects just how hot a superstar Arnold was. Twenty-two years later, the remake’s tracking best with over-25 males and second best with over-25 females.

Also opening Aug. 3 is Fox’s PG rated live action comedy “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” from Fox 2000 Pictures and Color Force. Directed by David Bowers (“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules”), it stars Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron and Devon Bostick. The low budget franchise’s first two episodes grossed nearly $117 million domestically.

In the new episode, school’s out and Greg’s (Gordon) all set for the summer. When his plans suddenly fizzle, he’s left trying to figure out what he can do now.

“Diary” is tracking best and equally well with women over and under 25 and with men under-25.

At one point, Aug. 3 was also to have seen the arrival of Universal’s “The Bourne Legacy,” which wound up moving to Aug. 10 and, thereby, avoiding head-to-head competition with “Total Recall” that would have cut into both films’ openings.

A new take on the blockbuster Bourne franchise, the PG-13 rated “Legacy” is directed by Tony Gilroy (“Michael Clayton”) and stars Jeremy Renner (“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”).

While there’s no Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) in “Legacy,” we’re still inside the high danger CIA world of Robert Ludlum novels that drove this franchise from the start.

“Legacy” is tracking best with over-25 males and second best with 25-plus females.

“The Bourne Ultimatum,” the original franchise’s last episode, opened Aug. 3, 2007 to $69.3 million and did $227.5 million domestically. The franchise’s three episodes grossed $525.4 million in domestic theatres.

Also on deck for Aug. 10 is Warner Bros.’ “The Campaign,” directed by Jay Roach (“Dinner For Schmucks”) and starring Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis and Jason Sudeikis.

The R rated comedy revolves around the battle between two rival North Carolina politicians, each of whom hopes to become president. It’s tracking best with under-25 females.

Rounding out Aug. 10’s crowded schedule is Columbia’s “Hope Springs,” directed by David Frankel (“The Devil Wears Prada”) and starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell.

The PG-13 rated comedy drama focuses on a couple who after 30 years of marriage go for an intensive week of counseling to fix their relationship. It’s tracking best with over-25 females.

Wed., Aug. 15 will see the arrival of Disney’s “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” directed by Peter Hedges (“Dan in Real Life”) and starring Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton and CJ Adams.

The PG rated fantasy comedy is about a childless couple who bury a box in their backyard filled with their wishes for a baby. Soon afterwards, an unusual child enters the picture.

Aug. 17 is opening day for Lionsgate’s action adventure sequel “The Expendables 2,” directed by Simon West (“The Mechanic”) and starring an all-star ensemble cast — Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Liam Hemsworth and Jean-Claude Van Damme with Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The franchise’s first episode, “The Expendables,” opened Aug. 13, 2010 via Lionsgate to $34.8 million and wound up doing $103 million domestically.

In the new episode, Bruce Willis as Mr. Church reunites The Expendables for a seemingly easy job that leads to one of their team being murdered. While seeking revenge, they find themselves facing an unexpected threat.

Also arriving Aug. 17 is the PG-13 rated musical drama “Sparkle” from Sony’s TriStar Pictures. Directed by Salim Akil (“Jumping the Broom”), it stars Jordin Sparks, Carmen Ejogo and Whitney Houston.

In this 1960s story, three sisters form a girl group that becomes a hit Motown act. Fame, however, poses some big challenges and their once close family starts falling apart.

Columbia and Pariah’s PG-13 rated action thriller “Premium Rush” hits theatres Aug. 24. Directed by David Koepp (“Ghost Town”), it stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon and Jamie Chung.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a bicycle messenger who risks death every time he heads into traffic. His life is more on the line than ever when his last envelope one day turns into a death chase through the streets of New York.

Warner Bros. and Dark Castle Entertainment’s PG-13 rated horror thriller “The Apparition” appears in theatres Aug. 24. Directed by first-time feature director Todd Lincoln, it stars Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan and Tom Felton.

When frightening events start occurring in their home, a young couple (Ashley Greene and Sebastian Stan) discover they’re being haunted by a presence accidentally conjured up during a parapsychology experiment. Their last hope is a supernatural expert (Tom Felton), but even with his help it may already be too late to save them from a terrifying force.

Wed., Aug. 29 will unofficially become Oogust 29th thanks to the pre-Labor Day weekend launch of the G rated live action interactive family adventure “The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure,” from Kenn Viselman Presents.

The independently released “Oogieloves” is opening via Freestyle Releasing at 3,000-plus theatres backed by a hefty marketing budget to spread the word. With its trailer having played in theatres for much of the summer, “Oogieloves” has been on family audiences' radar for many weeks.

Directed by Matthew Diamond (“So You Think You Can Dance”) and produced by Viselman (“Teletubbies,” “Thomas the Tank Engine”), “Oogieloves” stars Toni Braxton, Cloris Leachman, Christopher Lloyd, Chazz Palminteri, Cary Elwes and Jaime Pressly. Co-produced by Angela Rivet, it was executive produced by Michael A. Chirco, Scot J. Moceri and David R. Schwarcz.

“Oogieloves” is the story of Goobie, Zoozie and Toofie, three unique young friends living in Lovelyloveville, who go on an unforgettable adventure when their plans for the best surprise birthday party ever go awry. It’s the first episode in Viselman’s planned franchise of three features with “The Oogieloves in the BIG Family Adventure” and “The Oogieloves in the BIG Holiday Adventure” to follow.

Aug. 29, the Wednesday before Labor Day, is a terrific springboard to the long holiday weekend that ends the summer season. It’s good timing for “Oogieloves” because by then all the summer’s earlier family films will have already had their time in the boxoffice sun, leaving an open track for “Oogieloves.”

Also swinging into action Aug. 29 is The Weinstein Company’s R rated Western crime drama “Lawless,” directed by John Hillcoat (“The Road”) and starring Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Guy Pearce.

In “Lawless,” a Depression era gang of bootleggers runs up against local authorities in Franklin County, Virginia who want a piece of their profits.

Lionsgate and Ghost House Pictures’ PG-13 horror thriller “The Possession” will round out the month with its Aug. 31 opening. Directed by Ole Bornedal (“Deliver Us From Evil”), it stars Natasha Callis, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick.

Based on a true story, “The Possession” is the terrifying tale of a family uniting to survive the wrath of an unspeakable evil. After a young girl becomes strangely obsessed with an antique wooden box from a yard sale, her parents discover the box was built to contain a Dibbuk, a dislocated spirit that inhabits and ultimately devours its human host.

Bottom line: There’s plenty of August action in the pipeline to keep boxoffice temperatures hot for the rest of this summer.