Usually the month of August is seen as a dumping ground. Yet thanks to films such as Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express, 2008 may help reverse that.

Anticipating August

on June 26, 2008 by Adam Clement
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As the summer sun begins to set in August, the quality of movies often fades with it.

Yet this August seems a little more promising, and it may be the continuation of a larger trend.

Despite the reputation August has as the dumping ground for less-than-stellar fare, recent years have begun to exhibit a movement in a different direction. Breaking the month’s mold, last August saw the critical and commercial success of both Superbad and The Bourne Ultimatum. Though for every one of those hits there are often two or more misses. In August 2007, War, Balls of Fury and The Invasion all lived up the mediocre expectations bestowed upon the eighth month of year.

It seems that August is also having trouble shaking its reputation as a time when studios haphazardly release films that they are less than confident about. 2006’s too-soon or too-exploitative World Trade Center and Internet sensation Snakes on a Plane are examples of movies that fell short of wider success partly because they were released with mediocre support.

The month of August may need to perform consistently over the course of a couple more years to shake this stigma. Yet George Rouman, acting member and co-chairman of the Geneva Convention and proprietor of The Rouman Amusement Company based out of Rhinelander, WI, sees great potential with this year’s releases.

“This August could be a really good August. There’s everything in there; from the new Mummy, Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder … It’s a nice assortment of films there to reach out to a broad range of demographics,” said Rouman.

Some smaller-scale pictures also lurk behind the scenes such as the Kevin Costner-starring Swing Vote, which could benefit from the current political fervor, or College, which hits theatres just as the halls of higher learning and debauchery become populated once again.

Yet there are some potential clunkers as well. After Superhero Movie proved earlier this year that the spoof genre is losing steam, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer’s Disaster Movie may spell just that.

There is also another concern for those in the film industry come August: the 2008 Summer Olympics.

“Four years ago, there was all kinds of stuff in the media about how, during Olympic years, the studios shy away from releasing a large amount of product ... [because] people just kind of sit at home and watch the Olympics,” Rouman pointed out. “But this year, there’s a good amount of product there.”

Yet studios don’t seem to be afraid of scheduling content against the international sporting event this year. In fact, it almost seems as if they are behaving the opposite way.

“I think this particular year might be an overcrowding situation. There’s such an excess of product, it seems,” Rouman explained.

If more studios wait until the last month of the summer, there will be a broader selection of content that may entice larger audiences as a whole.

“I like to see strong movies in there for all demographics. Don’t underestimate The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. It’s one of those movies where you put the posters up, and that demographic just crowds theaters up,” Rouman said.

August used to be summer’s last stand. Yet with the features set to premiere, it looks as though this August has the legs to make that stand worthwhile.

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