September 2015 Box Office Preview

Startlingly enough, September of 2015 is going to start very slow over Labor Day but bounce back with some big titles like Black MassHotel Transylvania 2 and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (picture above). There’s also some niche titles with the chance to break out such as SicarioThe Visit and more. Let’s take a more detailed look at the ninth month of this record breaking year.

  1. The Transporter Refueled – September 4

The long running Transporter series makes it’s triumphant (?) return in the form of The Transporter Refueled, this time swapping out fan favorite Jason Statham for Game of Thrones’ Ed Skrein, a move that seems to be a bit of a head scratcher. Statham has grown immensely in popularity after Spy and Furious 7. This cash-in reboot just seems highly unnecessary, and given its first weekend of September release date, its distributors think so too. That’s actually the same spot that Riddick took in 2013, which did a decent $19M in its opening. This is somewhat similar to that, with it being a reboot of a very old and not extremely popular action franchise being dumped into theaters uncerimoniously. However, Riddick was basically saved by Vin Diesel, the original star. Without that, Transporter will likely be DOA.

2. The Visit – September 11

This has certainly gotten a decent bit of attention for its risky yet interesting choice of flat out marketing it as being made by controversial director M. Night Shyamalan. His last few films have been, well, polarizing to say the least. Notorious 2013 trainwreck After Earth didn’t have his name anywhere in the marketing as they knew it was box office poison. However, that was a $130M summer scifi blockbuster whereas this is a $5M September horror film, so they probably gave him pretty much unlimited control over what he wanted to do. It’s an interesting experiment, as Shyamalan certainly does have a fanbase (despite how many of them are just there to mock it) if he hasn’t lost all hope after his last few misfires.

3. Black Mass – September 18

Probably the only wide release grabbing any attention from the festival scene is Black Mass, the new true crime drama from Scott Cooper, director of Crazy Heart and Out of the Furnace. It stars Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulgar, an intense mob boss who supposedely inspired many of the gangster stories we now see in film. Marketing has done an excellent job of raising awareness and interest, and it seems as though this could be 2015’s Gone Girl, an actual quality film marketed towards adult audiences. Box office results likely won’t come close to Gone Girl due to the lack of a built in fanbase, but it could easily be a strong word of mouth hit.

4. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials – September 18

The sequel to the suprise hit The Maze Runner hits theaters exactly one year after the previous installment. This sequel seems to be doing its job well enough – continuing the story while expanding in a new direction. The first one was able to translate its very simple yet intriguing premise into solid success, though Scorch Trials seems a bit more vague. What exactly is happening in the commercials? All we really see is some action set pieces in a desert environment. Regardless, the first film cost a miniscule $34M to produce (less than half of The Hunger Games and Divergent) and it’s hard to imagine that this second installment tops the $50M mark. Not to mention, its predecessor made more than ten times its budget, so this one should have no problem turning a solid profit with strong overseas grosses.

5. The Green Inferno – September 25

After being delayed more than a year, Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno finally hits theaters and is surprisingly enough getting a wide release. The cannibal theme is much less easily marketable than the paranormal genre that has dominated the low budget horror genre in recent memory, and its hard to imagine this clicking with anyone outside the hardcore horror geeks. With a budget of $6M, The Green Inferno will likely be able to just barely triple that worldwide.

6. Hotel Transylvania 2 – September 25

Arriving a whopping three years after its predecessor (above average for a family film), Hotel Transylvania 2 hits theaters on the last weekend of September. The closest near comparison would be Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, which opened four years after its predecessor and took in around $34M on its opening, but ultimately fell slightly below its predecessors total. These can’t be put in the same category as Pixar or Dreamworks films, as they are much cheaper and avoid the typical popular release dates, instead going for an easier late September route. Transylvania will likely open in the mid $30M range, which wouldn’t be an awful result given how the first one isn’t particularly beloved.

7. The Intern – September 25

The final nationwide release is The Intern, a $35M dramedy starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro. The fact that I knew literally nothing about this or had even heard of it until looking at the release schedule gives a decent idea of how much marketing it has received. After viewing the trailer, it’s obvious that this is set for a poor debut. There’s really not much to say about this one other than it has practically zero chance of being profitable with a $35M budget. Opening over $10M would be very surprising.

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