Usually when I do these posts, I run through the movies in the order of my interest in seeing them. It’s how they got the title “What I’d Watch,” and though it was much more explicit when I first started — before I got tired of thinking of some clever way to segue into “what I’d watch” at the end of each intro — I still try to go from the meh to the hell yeah when I do these. This week, I sort of wish I could just put all three paragraphs side-by-side next to each other, because it’s all meh as far as I’m concerned. So while there’ll be a first, second and third paragraph following this intro, by no means read into that anything other than organization.
Out of the three films opening this week, Sinister II is probably the easiest to talk about. Because hey, look, it’s a low-budget horror film opening in a market that doesn’t really have a lot of horror films in it. What does that mean, kids? Yes, it’ll probably make back its budget by Saturday afternoon, and be a profit maker by next weekend. The first film grossed $77 million worldwide on a $3 million budget, and even with this one costing close to $10 million, don’t be surprised if there’s a Sinister III on its way before this time next year. They just need to be careful if they make it to a sixth installment, because Marvel might just take issue with that particular title.
Eight years feels like a long time to let pass before bringing out a sequel to a film that nobody really remembers all that well. The video game series Hitman: Agent 47 is based on is still plugging along, but it’s hardly a Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty, games that would get a nod of recognition from non-gamers. And it’s not like the cast is going to bring people running; not that they’re stiffs, but Rupert Friend, Ciaran Hinds and Zachary Quinto aren’t names that are going to put butts into seats. Besides, Rogue Nation is still out there if you’re looking for a quality action fix with people you actually recognize. So I get feeling Agent 48 is going to be waiting for a phone call that never comes.
Finally, there’s American Ultra, whose title sounds unfortunately evocative of some bland mall clothing store chain. Its cast has the biggest name recognition out of all of this week’s releases — Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and Topher Grace, for starters — and it’s got a screenplay by Chronicle‘s Max Landis. Of course, the box office hasn’t been kind recently to Chronicle alumni. The good news though is that even if this bombs, it can’t possibly bomb as big as Fantastic Four did, so Landis and the rest will likely escape relatively unscathed. “Relatively unscathed” hardly being any kind of ringing endorsement, however.
Honestly, between Rogue Nation and Straight Outta Compton, these three films are vying for third place at best. If you needed a surer sign that summer at the movies is over, it’s three new releases without a #1 threat among them. And we might as well get used to it, because there’s nothing that shouts blockbuster on the horizon until the beginning of October. Man, those are going to be some tough posts to write for the next month or so.