As expected, Marvel's latest release, Ant-Man, managed to top the box office last month. However, Scott Lang's (Paul Rudd) origin story was no match for the Minions, who managed to rein in $269 million domestically thus far. Meanwhile, July brought a pair of high-profile box office disappointments (and critical flops) in Terminator Genisys and Pixels.
August may have a similar balance of hits and misses, as several of the year's riskiest productions are slated to hit theaters. While they may be anticipated by some, there's a real chance more than one of these films will struggle to find an audience, as we'll soon find out.
Regardless, here are the 9 films to check out in August 2015:
9 Fantastic Four (Release Date: August 7)
It's almost here: the comic book adaptation that has kept fans talking since it was first announced. Josh Trank's Fantastic Four aims to reboot Marvel's First Family, following a pair of profitable but disappointing films back in the mid-2000s. Miles Teller (Whiplash), Kate Mara (House of Cards) and Michael B. Jordan (who starred in Trank's Chronicle) star as three-fourths of the team, while Jamie Bell (Snowpiercer) brings The Thing to life.
The new film has even more at stake than its predecessors, especially considering all the controversy surrounding various elements of the production, from its casting to its depiction of Marvel supervillain Dr. Doom. Moreover, a crossover between this version of the Fantastic Four and Fox's X-Men franchise is reportedly in the cards, though that will depend largely on how well this film is received by fans and casual moviegoers alike.
Check out the latest trailer for Fantastic Four.
8 Ricki and the Flash (Release Date: August 7)
Whenever three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep is involved, people tend to take notice of a film. Case in point, Ricki and the Flash sees Streep star as an aging musician looking to make things right with her family. Kevin Kline, Sebastian Stan, and Streep's real-life daughter Mamie Gummer lend their support to the comedy/drama.
Ricki and the Flash is also the latest effort from writer Diablo Cody (Juno, Young Adult) and director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs), meaning that the film could be one of the month's sleeper hits. Plus, let's keep it real: whenever Streep is involved, there's always the chance that awards talk will heat up.
Check out the latest trailer for Ricki and the Flash.
7 The Gift (Release Date: August 7)
Joel Edgerton is best known for his work in front of the camera in films like Warrior and The Great Gatsby. However, the actor also serves as writer and director of new thriller The Gift. In the film, Edgerton stars as a mysterious man whose chance encounter with an old classmate (Jason Bateman) and his wife (Rebecca Hall) ends up unearthing a decades-old secret that threatens to tear their lives apart.
The film's marketing campaign has centered on Edgerton's chilling performance, the strong dramatic work from the usual-comedic Bateman, and, of course, the secret at its center. There's a chance that The Gift may ultimately disappoint once that inevitable plot twist is revealed, but right now, the film is filled with potential for all those involved, especially its star/writer/director.
Check out the latest trailer for The Gift.
6 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (Release Date: August 14)
Taking a page from the Mission: Impossible playbook, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. looks to turn a 1960s TV series into a hit action film franchise. Set during the Cold War, Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) and Armie Hammer (The Social Network) star as CIA Agent Napoleon Solo and KGB agent Illya Kuryakin, respectively. The two men are forced to work together to prevent a shadowy criminal organization from unleashing nuclear weapons on the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
Considering how dicey TV-to-film adaptations are with their success rate (see Hammer's own The Lone Ranger), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. may run into stiff competition from holdover releases. Plus, it remains to be seen whether the premise is enough to win over moviegoers too young to remember the source material.
Check out the latest trailer for The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
5 Straight Outta Compton (Release Date: August 14)
When done right, biopics shed new light on notable people, adding fresh layers of story even to individuals familiar with their subject. In Straight Outta Compton, the subject in question is trail-blazing rap group N.W.A. and its members, including Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), Ice Cube (O'Shea Jackson Jr.), Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell), DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.) and MC Ren (Aldis Hodge).
Their music, of course, had a tremendous impact on the hip hop community, and director F. Gary Gray (Friday, The Negotiator) looks to be lending his skill behind the camera to the film. The similarly themed 2009 film Notorious - which examined the life of the Notorious B.I.G. - earned mixed reactions from fans and critics, but with real-life members of N.W.A. heavily involved in the production, Straight Outta Compton could prove to be a winner when it hits theaters this month.
Check out the latest trailer for Straight Outta Compton.
4 Sinister 2 (Release Date: August 21)
Sinister emerged as one of the stronger horror hits of 2012. So no one blinked an eye when Sinister 2 was officially announced. After all, Blumhouse Productions has already turned The Purge, Insidious, and Paranormal Activity into successful franchises. The new film focuses on a single mother (Shannyn Sossamon) who moves her twin sons to a new house only to discover strange events at every turn.
The first film was a standout because of its intriguing premise and bleak atmosphere. Its sequel might turn out to be a studio cash-in, but it does promise to push the overall mythology a bit further than its predecessor. Mr. Boogie's future as the next big horror icon hinges on whether Sinister 2 manages to deliver with genre fans.
Check out the latest trailer for Sinister 2.
3 American Ultra (Release Date: August 21)
Before he begins declaring that "the red capes are coming," Jesse Eisenberg will star as Mike Howell, a stoner/government agent marked for termination in director Nima Nourizadeh's American Ultra. Nourizadeh's last film, Project X, proved to be a polarizing release for many (including our own Screen Rant Underground team), but his follow-up's balance of action and irreverent humor could give its stars a chance to do something new.
Both Eisenberg and co-star Kristen Stewart have faced criticism for essentially playing up the same character quirks in each performance. However, the Adventureland stars appear to be at a turning point, career-wise. American Ultra will likely capitalize on that trajectory and (hopefully) could give both actors a chance to prove their critics wrong.
Check out the latest trailer for American Ultra.
2 Hitman: Agent 47 (Release Date: August 21)
When Hitman arrived in theaters back in 2007, it was at a time when video game franchises were all the rage. However, the film - which saw Timothy Olyphant take on the lead role of Agent 47 - was a critical disaster, and plans for a sequel were cancelled. Now, eight years later, Hitman: Agent 47 sees Homeland star Rupert Friend (replacing the late Paul Walker) as the bald-headed, red-tied, dual-wielding badass assassin of the title.
The fact that screenwriter Skip Woods also wrote X-Men Origins: Wolverine and A Good Day to Die Hard doesn't help quell skeptics but we have been speculating for a while that video game films will be the next big thing. Hitman: Agent 47 may be another step in helping turn the tide, and if it does turn out to be a fun film, it could change public perception of video games as source material for films.
Check out the latest trailer for Hitman: Agent 47.
1 Regression (Release Date: August 28)
Emma Watson ventures even further away from Hermione Granger with her role in director Alejandro Amenábar's Regression. The psychological thriller stars Watson as Angela Gray, a sexual abuse victim who plays a pivotal role in helping a detective's (Ethan Hawke) investigation of the crime.
Amenábar is perhaps best known for his 2001 horror film The Others, but his filmography also includes Oscar-winning drama The Sea Inside and Open Your Eyes, the Spanish film that was later remade as Vanilla Sky. So, his skill building big-screen suspense could translate into a compelling film filled with twists and haunting performances by Watson and Hawke.
Check out the latest trailer for Regression.
From music-centric dramas to popcorn flicks and taut thrillers, August looks like it will wrap up with something for everyone. Most notably, we're interested to see if Fantastic Four and Hitman: Agent 47 manage to reinvigorate their respective brands, and whether Straight Outta Compton will deliver a film worthy of the rap group that once had some very harsh words for the police.
Once again, here are the 12 films to check out in August:
August 7: Fantastic Four, Ricki and the Flash, The Gift
August 14: The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Straight Outta Compton
August 21: Sinister 2, American Ultra, Hitman: Agent 47
August 28: Regression