Now let me get a few things out of the way before we start with the list. We are counting any movie that made money in August, it doesn’t matter if it came out in June or July, as long as it generated enough green between 1st and 31st of August, it’s in. Unlike what we do for actors or a specific genre, this time we’ll count from top to bottom so without further ado, here are the top 10 highest grossing movies of August.
1. We’re the Millers – $104.6 million ($113.2 M)
While they maybe weren’t as successful with money in the movie, the Millers got away with a lot of benjamins (over a million actually) in theaters. Yes, the R-rated comedy starring Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Ed Helms and Emma Roberts, among others, was the clear winner. It achieved this thanks to a great marketing effort by Warner Bros., the hilarious premise and most importantly, a comedy that lived up to people’s expectations.
2. Elysium – $76 million ($80.5 M)
A $115 million heavy-handed allegory on immigration is not exactly an easy sell. Hide it into a sci-fi starring Matt Damon and Judie Foster and we might start to get somewhere. Yes, Elysium is not as popular as Neill Blomkamp’s previous title, District 9 ($115.6 million). But then District 9 maybe didn’t hit as close to home as Elysium did in North America. All of that being said, this movie did not live up to expectations (although many were indeed unrealistic).
3. Lee Daniels’ The Butler -$68.4 million ($79.4 M)
Now here’s the movie I think is the biggest surprise of the month and even one of the biggest of the summer. Some might argue that since We’re The Millers made more, that should hold said title for August. Yes, Millers was a surprise hit but unlike The Butler, everybody was expecting a decent amount of money out of it. Lee Daniels’ The Butler will finish its run way north of $100 million and Oprah or not, that will make it at least the 5th highest grosser of all time for The Weinstein Company.
4. 2 Guns – $68.3 million ($70 M)
The Butler snuck past 2 Guns at the last second to take 3nd place. It wasn’t until Tuesday that I found out who was where between the two. Anyway, 2 Guns is an action comedy starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg so at least on paper this was a sure-fire hit. So was it in the end? Well for Marky Mark it’s only his 10th biggest earner in North America, unadjusted for inflation. Could go as high as 9th but that’s about it. Now Denzel has 2 Guns in 14th, so an even bigger ouch. Bottom line, this one right here should have made more.
5. Planes – $67.8 million ($73.9 M)
Not bad for a Cars spin-off that was initially supposed to go straight to video. Planes did more than enough with what it had.
6. The Smurfs 2 – $60.1 million ($66.9 M)
This is technically a July film (opened on the 31st) although it made 90% of its money in August. Now as a sequel to The Smurfs (142.6 million), it pulled extremely disappointing box office numbers.
7. The Wolverine – $58.1 million ($128.3 M)
The 6th time Hugh Jackman played Wolverine made for what was unfortunately the least attended X-Men entry. Yes, The Wolverine was still successful enough and internationally it is the highest grosser of the series, but I can’t not feel disappointed about its North American gross, at least a bit.
8. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters – $53.2 million ($56.7 M)
Here’s where I’m split. On one hand nobody was expecting a sequel to make more then the already modest original, but less than $60 million is sort of pushing it. Ultimately Sea of Monsters falls into the disappointments category at the box office.
9. The Conjuring – $41 million ($134.1 M)
Another big surprise, this horror beat even the most ludicrous expectations when it comes to money earned in theaters.
10. Despicable Me 2 – $39.6 million ($355.7 M)
Despite opening at the beginning of July, Illumination’s latest still managed to round out the chart with a solid number.
Notable absences from the above top 10 are Kick-Ass 2 ($25.7 million) and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones ($20.9 million), both underperforming big time.
So which film do you think will claim September? I would say easily Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 but that opens on the 27th, so it really doesn’t have enough time to make a whole lot of money, so I’m going with Riddick while expecting to most likely be wrong.