5. The Happytime Murders (Release Date: August 24)
Believe it or not, it looks like The Happytime Murders may finally receive a theatrical release this month. The film — directed by Brian Henson, son of the late Jim Henson — has languished in development hell for over a decade. At last, this very adult tale featuring Muppet-like characters will reveal just how far it's willing to push the envelope.
The Happytime Murders stars Melissa McCarthy as a human cop who reteams with her puppet ex-partner Phil (performed and voiced by puppeteer Bill Barretta) to solve a murder mystery tied to an old children's television show. The film's trailer divided fans and even drew a lawsuit from Sesame Street with its over-the-top crude humor, but no matter how the film turns out, we must admit we're curious to see the finished product.
4. The Spy Who Dumped Me (Release Date: August 3)
Speaking of R-rated comedies, here's another one for those of you looking for an uproariously good time at the movies. The Spy Who Dumped Me stars Mila Kunis as Audrey, whose life is in danger when her ex-boyfriend reveals he is a CIA agent. From there, Audrey and best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon) get mixed up in an international conspiracy and must fight for their lives.
The film is only the second theatrical feature directed by Susanna Fogel (after 2014 comedy Life Partners). Yet, the premise at the heart of The Spy Who Dumped Me is ripe with potential for broad comedy and solid action, much in the same way that Spy — another female-led espionage action comedy — won over audiences back in 2015.
3. BlacKkKlansman (Release Date: August 10)
Spike Lee is known for courting controversy with his films, but even by that measure, BlacKkKlansman is one of his more provocative films to date. Based on the autobiography by Ron Stallworth, the real-life tale follows an African-American police officer (John David Washington) in Colorado who infiltrates the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.
Featuring a supporting cast that includes Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace, Corey Hawkins and Alec Baldwin, the film is one of the most-talked-about films of the year. Since its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last spring, BlacKkKlansman has been gaining critical praise for its timely social commentary and performances.
2. Crazy Rich Asians (Release Date: August 15)
Based on Kevin Kwan's best-selling novel, Crazy Rich Asians is the rare case of a mainstream studio release featuring an all-Asian cast. Directed by Jon M. Chu (Now You See Me 2), the film isn't only a positive move forward for diversity in Hollywood but also looks to be a charming romantic comedy-drama in its own right.
Constance Wu stars as a Chinese-American woman named Rachel who travels to Singapore with her boyfriend Nick (Henry Golding), only to discover the truth about his family. Conflict inevitably boils to the surface, specifically between Rachel and Nick's mother, Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh). Count on this one to be among the month's biggest sleeper hits.
1. The Meg (Release Date: August 10)
Jason Statham faces off against a 70-foot prehistoric shark, the Megalodon, in this sci-fi action horror release based on the book by Steve Alten. As far as late summer blockbusters go, The Meg may be one of the season's last true exercises in spectacle, and if the trailers are any indication, moviegoers may be in for a blast when they hit theaters.
Director Jon Turteltaub has delivered crowd-pleasing adventure before with the National Treasure films, and with Statham's charisma at the forefront, The Meg — which also stars Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao, and Cliff Curtis — could make quite a splash at the box office. At the very least, it should hold giant monster fans over until Godzilla's return next year.