This Weekend features the best movie of 2009, the 20th anniversary of a cult smash hit, a Marvel trailblazer, comedy Girl Power, a pop sequel to a successful horror franchise, a surprise cult bomb, and 5 cult classics.
Every weekend, this series spotlights some of the best movies amongst the Top 200 opening weekends since 1980 in This August from History.
Each selection is accompanied by a quick nerdy blurb.
I hope you enjoy this one, guys and gals. If you really dig it, make sure to check the companion article, Box Office Rewind, over at A TALE OF TWO DANS. There are so many movies to highlight each weekend. If your favourite blockbuster or cult classic isn’t on this list, maybe you’ll find it at 2D.
UPDATE: There’s a new entry into the Top 200 for August… STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON ! This amazing biopic got the box office recognition it deserved opening with $60 million, good enough for #6 overall this Month in History.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, THE MAN FROM UNCLE tanked big time. It opened with $13 million from a $75 million budget. It made half of what FANTASTIC FOUR did in its opening weekend.
- note: box office figure are domestic and are not adjusted for inflation
- note: August has 5 viewing weekends (technically) this year. The Final Part will make accommodations for that.
INGLORIOUS BASTERDS – August 21, 2009
OPENING WEEKEND: $38 million // BOX OFFICE TOTAL: $121 million
Quentin Tarantino’s sixth movie rewinds back into history, tackling the subject matter of World War II. Sure, QT takes some liberties with history, but only to satisfy the audience. Tarantino mixes and melds a flavourful blend of genres to great effect. Combine his writing and directing with amazing performances from a stellar cast and you get my pick for the best movie of 2009.
BASTERDS has the #1 slot for best opening This Weekend since 1980. Overall, it’s #15 for the month of August.
MORTAL KOMBAT – August 18, 1995
OPENING: $23 million // TOTAL: $70 million
Happy 20th Anniversary, MORTAL KOMBAT! This is one of the best video game movies ever made. It’s not an Oscar calibre genre flick or anything. It’s b-movie greatness. This shlocky plot follows fighters in an extreme mystical martial arts tournament. Warp back to the 90s with this one, and turn up the techno music.
This is a true guilty pleasure that made a big dent in the box office for the time, especially considering its video game origins. $70 million was a whole lot more impressive 20 years ago. And once again New Line knows its audience, releasing cult classics every August (like ALIENS VS PREDATOR, and their horror franchises).
BLADE – August 21, 1998
OPENING: $17 million // TOTAL: $70 million
This Marvel trailblazer introduced kung fu wirework and slo-mo bullet time before THE MATRIX hit the silver screen. Wesley Snipes stars as a Daywalking Vampire hunting down other vampires. Blade was also the first big time dark action hero (go figure, released by New Line as well). Stylish directing, impressive effects, and insane action make this R-rated comic book movie tons of fun.
Do not let this dark action flick slip/through the cracks.
THE HOUSE BUNNY – August 22, 2008
OPENING: $15 million // TOTAL: $48 million
This surprise Girl Power comedy starred Anna Farris, from the SCARY MOVIE series. The simple premise of a Playboy Bunny turned Sorority House leader provided tons of laughs and a John Hughes sort of vibe.
One of the real highlights is an early role from Emma Stone. This was before she made a starring turn in EASY A, hinting that she could be the next Tom Hanks – starting off in comedy and turning to drama, handling both genres with ease.
Turn this on when you’re in the mood to blow of some steam and laugh your @ss off.
NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET IV: THE DREAM MASTER – August 19, 1988
OPENING: $13 million // TOTAL: $48 million
Freddy’s franchise was still performing really well in the 80s. Check out those numbers! Remember, that’s way more impressive nearly 30 years ago. Part 3 was probably the best sequel, so horror fans came to support this one in droves for part 4. The amazing practical FX are a real highlight, as is the dark humour of Freddy Krueger. This entry in the NEW LINE franchise started to push the supernatural angles even further, perhaps leading towards the series’ descent.
SNAKES ON A PLANE – August 18, 2006
OPENING: $14 million // TOTAL: $34 million
The Internet exploded when news of this one hit. The title alone was enough to sell a million tickets. Or so the Internet said. Everyone talked about this R-rated b-movie before it was released. Hype built and built. Unfortunately, a fraction of the hypers showed up at the box office. It was still a hit for the genre, but landed way below studio expectations (*cough* New Line… again) and media predictions. Samuel L Jackson swearing at snakes wasn’t as big a deal as we all thought it would be in this surprise box office bomb.
MIMIC – August 22, 1997
OPENING: $8 million // TOTAL: $25 million
Guillermo del Toro hit the Hollywood screens with this creature feature debut. Mira Sorvino, who was a rising star at the time, starred in this horror thriller about insect-like creatures as tall as a man. The twist here is they blend into the city nightlife and go unrecognized. Del Toro fans will really appreciate the style, designs, and thick atmosphere. This is a b-movie done right.
THE ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY – August 18, 2000
OPENING: $11 million // TOTAL: $38 million
Spike Lee directs this stand-up comedy concert feature starring some of the best comedians of the time: Bernie Mac, Cedric the Entertainer, DL Hughley, and Steve Harvey. The film made an impressive amount of money for its genre. Each comedian’s set appears one at a time with behind-the-scenes interludes. I laughed the whole way through this one. Every comic has their own style too. Totally hilarious! You’ll be quoting it to your friends afterwards.
PIRANHA 3D – August 20, 2010
OPENING: $10 million // TOTAL: $25 million
I watch Marvel movies from a young boy’s point of view, some call it the inner child. With horror movies like this one I watch it from a teenage point of view. This b-movie delivers on what it promises. Boobs, blood, and beasts. The campy tone helps ensure this horror flick is tons of fun, even when the screen is covered in gore. The film also takes full advantage of its 3D presentation. I saw this in the theatre (‘natch) and I have to say the director totally delivered in more than one sequence.
There was a glorious underwater skinny dipping sequence with two stunning women gracefully swirling around in slow-motion as an angelic choir sings— Or was that just me, watching the film from my teenage point of view.
Come on, the sequel is called PIRANHA 3DD (double-D). That gives you an idea of the tone. Sophomoric and dumb, but oddly so enjoyable… Now, I feel guilty. 😉
HARD TARGET – August 20, 1993
OPENING: $10 million // TOTAL: $33 million
John Woo, legendary Hong Kong action auteur extraordinaire, took a stab at Hollywood for the first time with this Jean-Claude Van Damme movie. Let’s just say it would take another attempt before he got praise (FACE/OFF), and before he got hatred (M:I-2). My fav Woo film is THE KILLER with Chow Yun-Fat. Mentioning this Van Damme film is an excuse for me to say: Watch THE KILLER!
But really, this is a stylish b-movie with tons of over-the-top action. Bonus 90s vibe with the Van Damme mullet. Watch this is if you’re a fan of 90s action cheese.
THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU – August 23, 1996
OPENING: $9 million // TOTAL: $28 million
Considered one of the worst box office bombs ever, MOREAU has some charm for how bad it is. It’s a great flick to watch with some buddies and just crack jokes at. This adaption of the HG Wells novel has quite the troubled production history (the subject of its own documentary, LOST SOULS, on Netflix now). Marlon Brando stars in this one, delivering an insanely over-the-top character. Val Kilmer barely co-stars, phoning this one in, at a time when he was still a box office draw in Hollywood. Watch it… if you dare. The best part is the creature make-up FX (for the 90s) and the lush (live) scenery.
Stay tuned for next weekend AND for updates, should a film crack the Top 100 this weekend.
Fingers crossed it’s STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON.
What do you think?
Leave a comment.
Check out the 2D companion article for different movies, same weekend in history.