Beware the ides of August!

‘Medallion’ Set to Shine at Lackluster Box Office
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Statistically speaking, the summer box office season doesn’t end until the end of Labor Day weekend, but summer is effectively over.
The studios are readying themselves for the fall with a massive housecleaning that will give moviegoers a sampling of overstocked merchandise. Three studios will release pictures this weekend, with only one looking like it will do any significant business.
Sony Pictures enters the fray with the best odds. The studio’s “The Medallion” stars America’s favorite Asian action hero, Jackie Chan, in yet another crime caper with a twist: he plays a Chinese immigration officer who returns from the dead with supernatural powers. The PG-13 film, directed by Gordon Chan, co-stars Claire Forlani as the beautiful sidekick, but it is unlikely to generate sales comparable to Chan’s previous action caper co-starring a young woman, DreamWorks’ “The Tuxedo,” which opened to $15 million last year. Most industry insiders don’t expect “Medallion” to cross the $10 million mark this weekend.
Consequently, the No. 1 movie is likely to be last week’s champ, “Freddy vs. Jason” from New Line Cinema. A 60% drop during “Freddy’s” sophomore session would put the film in the $15 million range, but with horror movies’ tendency to fall fast after opening weekend, a 70% drop might be more likely. Duking it out for the remaining spots in the top five will be other well-performing holdovers, including Sony’s “S.W.A.T.” and Disney’s “Freaky Friday” and “Open Range.”
The two other new films of the session, Paramount Pictures’ “Marci X” and Dimension Films’ “My Boss’s Daughter,” will likely fall into the bottom half of the top 10.
“Marci X,” starring Lisa Kudrow as a spoiled girl forced to take control of her father’s hard-core rap label and its controversial star (Damon Wayans), is luring the same audience — males under 25 — as “Medallion” but with a lot less interest. Subsequently, the Richard Benjamin-directed R-rated movie, which has shifted release dates several times, is unlikely to cross the $5 million mark and may land in the $2 million-$3 million range.
The PG-13 “Daughter,” starring Ashton Kutcher and Tara Reid and directed by David Zucker, also is likely to bow with less than $5 million. Even the rising star power of Kutcher, who usually attracts the under-25 female audience in droves — his “Just Married” opened to $17.5 million in January — will not be enough to power this comedy’s opening frame.
The limited-release front looks a lot more playable, with both Miramax and Fox Searchlight opening films that have received a significant amount of buzz in recent months. For Miramax, “The Battle of Shaker Heights” could play as the final installment of HBO’s documentary series “Project Greenlight.” After watching weeks of footage documenting two first-time directors, Kyle Rankin and Efram Potelle, putting together a movie from first-time screenwriter Erica Beeney, curious audiences should propel the specialized release to decent numbers.
The film, which will open in New York and Los Angeles on five screens, could surpass “Greenlight’s” first film, “Stolen Summer,” which opened to $61,613 on 13 screens in March 2002. “Shaker Heights” will expand Aug. 29 to eight other markets. Rated PG-13, the film stars Shia LaBeouf, Elden Henson, Kathleen Quinlan and Amy Smart in a coming-of-age story about a teenage boy from a troubled home.
Fox Searchlight released the much-talked-about “Thirteen” on Wednesday on two screens in New York. The R-rated film was co-written by 13-year-old Nikki Reed, who also stars in the film. Director-writer Catherine Hardwick captures the life of a straight-A student seduced by the world of sex, drugs and self-mutilation. The low-budget film looks directly at some serious family issues and received acclaim at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Also being released this weekend is First Look’s R-rated Spanish film “Don’t Tempt Me,” starring Penelope Cruz and Gael Garcia Bernal. In New York, First Run will bow “Venus Boyz,” an unrated documentary about people who create intermediate sexual identities.