Summer preview: August

Wide releases skedded as of March 10

LAST YEAR: Aug. 6
Top Titles (weeks in release)
1. “Collateral” (1) $25 million
2. “The Village” (2) $17 million
3. “The Bourne Supremacy” (3)
$14 million
Weekend total: $113 million

AUG. 5

Doom (Universal) Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson stars in this adaptation of the shoot-’em-up videogame.

Untitled Mike Judge Project (Fox) The first film directed by “King of the Hill” creator Judge since 1999’s “Office Space” tells the tale of a man (Luke Wilson) who sleeps for 1,000 years, then awakens to discover that the world has become so dumbed-down he’s now the smartest man on Earth.

Red Eye (DreamWorks) Wes Craven directs this plane thriller about an assassin who attempts to force the woman sitting next to him to kill a businessman onboard.

Must Love Dogs (Warner Bros.) Diane Lane and John Cusack co-star in a romantic comedy about a woman who has all but given up dating when she decides to give online personals one last chance.

Box office slows considerably in August, And the deeper into the month, the slower things seem to become. Distribs, though, say it’s a chicken-and-egg problem: Does business slow because studios are releasing subprime product, or is subprime product being released because the biz is inherently slow? Several studios are betting on the former this August, with high-profile releases like U’s “Doom” and the still untitled Mike Judge laffer.

LAST YEAR: Aug. 13
Title (weeks in release)
1. “Alien vs. Predator” (1) $38 million
2. “The Princess Diaries 2” (1) $23 million
3. “Collateral” (2) $16 million
Weekend total: $137 million

AUG. 12

Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (Sony) Rob Schneider reprises his role as a male prostitute, this time in Amsterdam.

Skeleton Key (Universal) Kate Hudson stars in a horror tale about a young nurse, an old couple, a spooky mansion and some evil spirits.

Dark Water (Walt Disney) Jennifer Connelly stars in a remake of a Japanese horror pic about a mother and daughter and the ghost haunting their apartment.

Four Brothers (Paramount) At their mother’s funeral, four sons begin to suspect she was murdered. Loosely based on the 1965 John Wayne pic “The Sons of Katie Elder,” the new version is helmed by John Singleton and stars Mark Wahlberg.

Domino (New Line) Keira Knightley toplines the biopic of Domino Harvey, a fashion model-turned-bounty hunter.

The second week of August has become home to a host of big openings. Last year, “Alien vs. Predator” bowed with $38.3 million while “The Princess Diaries 2” earned $37.1 million over five days. In 2002, “XXX” opened here with $44.5 million and “American Pie 2” bowed with $45.1 million in 2001. Late scheduling adjustments have pitted two horror films against one another here, although that will likely change.

LAST YEAR: Aug. 13
Title (weeks in release)
1. “Exorcist: The Beginning” (1)
$18 million
2. “Without a Paddle” (1) $14 million
3. “The Princess Diaries 2” (2)
$13 million
Weekend total: $118 million

AUG. 20

The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Universal) Judd Apatow directs with Steve Carrell starring as, well, a 40-year-old man who has yet to sleep with a woman.

The Cave (Sony) While exploring a cave deep under the ocean, a group of divers mutates.

The biggest films ever to open on the third week of August are New Line’s “Mortal Kombat,” with $23.3 million in 1995, and “Exorcist: The Beginning,” at $18.1 million in 2004.

AUG. 26/SEPT. 2

No wide releases planned for either the last weekend of August or Labor Day weekend, traditionally down times for the majors.

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