This year’s summer movie season has proven to be one of the most unpredictable in years, and July 2016 brought some of the biggest surprises so far. Between the rare failure of a Steven Spielberg film (The BFG) to the fact that an original property (The Secret Life of Pets) was the top money-maker amidst a sea of franchise fare, the month has made it difficult for even the most seasoned box office analysts to predict what will come next. Now that all the hubbub over Ghostbusters has (sort of) blown over, the time has come to look at the final batch of new releases coming our way this summer and the final comic book movie until November.
Here are 10 films to check out in August 2016:
Suicide Squad (Release Date: August 5)
Earlier this year, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice proved to be one of 2016’s most divisive films. However, now that key members of the Justice League have been largely introduced, the burgeoning DC Extended Universe looks to have a bit of fun with this world in writer/director David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. Given the auteur approach the filmmaker is taking with his entry in the DCEU, fans are hoping that Suicide Squad shakes up the franchise in much the same way James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy did for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Given the quirky ensemble cast of anti-heroes headlining Ayer’s film, that’s certainly a distinct possibility. At the very least, Suicide Squad gives fans its first live-action look at many beloved DC characters, most notably Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, as well as a new Joker in the form of Oscar-winner Jared Leto. If it works, the film could end up playing a pivotal role in developing the DCEU ahead of next year’s Wonder Woman and Justice League. If it doesn’t, it could easily end up being swept under the rug. Except for Harley Quinn. She’s not going anywhere.
Check out the latest trailer for Suicide Squad.
Florence Foster Jenkins (Release Date: August 12)
After decades of memorable performances and three Academy Award wins, it’s become cliché for any film featuring Meryl Streep to generate attention and some measure of awards consideration. The iconic star has already received more Oscar nominations than any actor in history, but we still can’t help but take notice of her latest project, the comedy/drama/biopic Florence Foster Jenkins.
Alongside Hugh Grant as Jenkins’ husband, Streep plays the titular real-life heiress, who was determined to build a career as an opera singer despite the fact that she truly cannot sing. Director Stephen Frears looks to present Jenkins’ story as an inspirational story of overcoming adversity as well as a humorous but loving portrait of an artist blissfully unaware of her own absence of skill in the same vein as Tim Burton’s Ed Wood.
Check out the latest trailer for Florence Foster Jenkins.
Hell or High Water (Release Date: August 12)
Taylor Sheridan may still be best known for his role as David Hale on the FX hit Sons of Anarchy, but he is quickly building a name for himself as the writer of sharp crime dramas. Last year, Sheridan was the screenwriter behind the stellar Emily Blunt/Benicio del Toro thriller Sicario, and now his latest film — Hell or High Water — brings to life the script that earned Black List recognition back in 2012.
Director David Mackenzie takes the helm on this heist film — hitting theaters this month in limited release — which centers on two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) who plan a bank robbery. Oscar winner Jeff Bridges plays the Texas ranger leading the manhunt to bring them to justice. As of this writing, Hell or High Water boasts an impressive 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. So it might be worth tracking down in your city.
Check out the latest trailer for Hell or High Water.
Pete’s Dragon (Release Date: August 12)
Even though the original animated film stands as a Disney classic, few probably expected Disney’s live-action remake of The Jungle Book to be as good as it is. That Jon Favreau film stands as one of the best-reviewed and financially successful releases of the year, and now the Mouse House aims to duplicate that success with Pete’s Dragon, a live-action take on the 1977 tale of a boy and his giant green pal.
Though its predecessor depicted the dragon Elliott using hand-drawn animation, this new version — directed by David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) — has the benefit of modern CG effects to create the creature, voiced by John Kassir of Tales from the Crypt fame. Early buzz surrounding the film has been roundly positive, and the presence of actors like Bryce Dallas Howard, Karl Urban, Robert Redford and Oona Laurence certainly bode well. Meanwhile, child actor Oakes Fegley has landed his first starring role as the Pete of the film’s title.
Check out the latest trailer for Pete’s Dragon.
Sausage Party (Release Date: August 12)
Ever since Knocked Up catapulted Seth Rogen to leading man status nearly a decade ago, the funnyman has leveraged his stardom in several respects. In addition to adding a ton of other comedy hits (Neighbors, Pineapple Express), Rogen has dabbled in frequent voice work and even some more dramatic roles (Steve Jobs, 50/50). However, in Sausage Party, fans will see the actor/writer/producer like they never before.
This bawdy animated comedy lampoons the narrative devices used by companies like Pixar in exploring the existence of sentient food products who escape the supermarket only to learn the horrible fate that awaits them. Let’s just call it The Secret Life of Food. The film recently screened at San Diego Comic-Con, earning a largely positive response from those in attendance. Just be sure to leave your little ones at home, as the film is reportedly even more crass than you can imagine.
Check out the latest trailer for Sausage Party.
Ben-Hur (Release Date: August 19)
In the age of reboots, remakes and other franchise entries, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Hollywood is launching a new version of Ben-Hur. Sure, the 1959 Charlton Heston epic has remained a cinematic landmark, but the upcoming version from director Timur Bekmambetov already marks the fourth time a big-screen version of the 1880 Lew Wallace novel has been made.
The question then remains whether Bekmambetov and his team — including a cast led by Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Rodrigo Santoro and Nazanin Boniadi — have anything new to add to the classic story. The involvement of Oscar-winning co-screenwriter John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) inspires some confidence, as does word that the new Ben-Hur will hew more closely to the source material than previous versions. We’ll find out how it stacks up soon enough.
Check out the latest trailer for Ben-Hur.
Kubo and the Two Strings (Release Date: August 19)
Laika Entertainment may not have the track record of Pixar or DreamWorks, but the animation house has consistently delivered well-received, imaginative stop-motion adventures like Coraline, ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls. So it’s fair that say that fans of Laika’s work thus far have good reason to be excited for Kubo and the Two Strings, the company’s fourth feature-length effort.
Set in ancient Japan, the story follows a young boy (voiced by Art Parkinson) whose encounter with a spirit kicks off an adventure that sends him on a quest for a magical suit of armor. With a voice cast that also includes Charlize Theron, Ralph Fiennes, Matthew McConaughey and Rooney Mara, the film could be one of this year’s best animated family films and the greatest indication yet that more moviegoers should seek out Laika’s films.
Check out the latest trailer for Kubo and the Two Strings.
War Dogs (Release Date: August 19)
Filmmaker Todd Phillips created arguably one of the funniest comedies of the last decade with The Hangover, and now War Dogs sees the director/co-writer turn his specific sensibility and penchant for bro-heavy laughs to the true story of two up-and-coming arms dealers (Jonah Hill and Miles Teller) who land a government contract to supply weapons to American allied troops in Afghanistan.
Based on Guy Lawson’s Rolling Stone article Arms and the Dudes, the film aims to blend the somber subject of war with a lighter approach from the perspective of those profiting off of the conflict. In this respect, War Dogs could end up deconstructing the recent war efforts in much the comedic way Adam McKay — another largely comedic director — treated the financial crisis in The Big Short. However, even if this isn’t the case, audiences should be able to revel in the chemistry between Hill and Teller.
Check out the latest trailer for War Dogs.
Don’t Breathe (Release Date: August 26)
Even with the absence of Bruce Campbell’s Ash, the 2013 remake/reboot of the Evil Dead franchise managed to serve as a worthy addition to the franchise and a stylish bit of horror cinema. Fast-forward to 2016, and director Fede Alvarez is finally poised to deliver his sophomore feature, another bit of buzz-worthy horror featuring Evil Dead star Jane Levy in the lead: Don’t Breathe.
An exercise in tension and visceral thrills, the film follows a teenage delinquent (Levy) and her friend (Dylan Minnette) who break into a blind man’s home in the hopes of securing enough money to leave town. However, they soon discover that they are in way over their heads. Films like The Conjuring 2, The Shallows and Lights Out have made this summer fertile ground for fans of horror films. We expect Don’t Breathe to keep that streak alive.
Check out the latest trailer for Don’t Breathe.
Mechanic: Resurrection (Release Date: August 26)
Jason Statham returns as contract killer Arthur Bishop in Mechanic: Resurrection, which sees the character forced to resume his deadly career after an enemy kidnaps someone he loves. The film — directed by German filmmaker Dennis Gansel (The Wave) — features Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee Jones and Michelle Yeoh in key supporting roles.
Of course, Statham is no stranger to action franchises, as he has participated in several dating back to his breakout role in The Transporter. Still, The Mechanic — a remake of the 1972 film which starred Charles Bronson — stands as a bit of an odd choice for the sequel treatment, seeing as the 2011 version only earned just over $60 million worldwide. Nevertheless, Statham’s onscreen charisma and action chops may make the effort worthwhile after all.
Check out the latest trailer for Mechanic: Resurrection.
From big-budget spectacle to more subdued fare, August has a lot in store for moviegoers looking to sneak in another trip or two to the movies before the season ends. Of course, Suicide Squad is the likeliest success story of the bunch, but don’t count out buzz-heavy films like Sausage Party and Don’t Breathe, as both could emerge as sleeper hits. After all, box office activity tends to cool a bit in September, leaving a bit more room for these August releases to gain an audience. We’d love to hear which of this month’s films you’re excited to check out. So be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Once again, here are the 10 films to check out in August:
August 5: Suicide Squad
August 12: Florence Foster Jenkins, Hell or High Water, Pete’s Dragon, Sausage Party
August 19: Ben-Hur, Kubo and the Two Strings, War Dogs
August 26: Don’t Breathe, Mechanic: Resurrection