This year’s summer season closes out with a veritable menagerie of movie animals, from violent sharks to profane talking dogs to martial artist turtles. Newcomers will have to compete with late July releases Barbie and Oppenheimer, both poised to continue drawing in moviegoers as summer comes to a close. Of course, there’s always potential for a surprise breakout hit; Boxoffice PRO‘s July movies preview didn’t even mention Angel Studios’ faith-based Sound of Freedom, an unexpected hit that became the #3 biggest movie of the month.
Here are the biggest movies opening in cinemas in August, listed chronologically in order of release date.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
Wednesday, August 2
Premise: Paramount’s fantasy action comedy, co-written by Seth Rogen, brings a Spider-Verse-esque art style and new twist to the beloved ’80s-’90s franchise. This time, actual teenagers voice ninja turtles Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, and Donatello. The non-turtle voice cast includes Rogen, Jackie Chan, John Cena, Paul Rudd, Ice Cube, Rose Byrne, and Post Malone.
Box office: This marks the franchise’s third appearance in theaters in the past decade and a half. 2007’s all-CGI TMNT earned a disappointing $54.1M. 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, featuring animated turtles alongside live action actors, performed far better with $191.2M. Then 2016’s sequel Out of the Shadows earned less than half its predecessor with $82.0M.
Meg 2: The Trench
Friday, August 4
Premise: Jason Statham returns as a shark hunter in Warner Bros.’ action sequel, named after the fearsome prehistoric predator, the Megalodon. Ben Wheatley takes over directorial duties from Jon Turteltaub.
Box office: 2018’s original The Meg opened in the same early-August corridor and chomped off $145.4M. That’s about triple what other shark movies of recent years have made, including 2016’s The Shallows with $55.1M and 2017’s 47 Meters Down with $44.3M.
The Last Voyage of the Demeter
Friday, August 11
Premise: Universal’s historical horror fantasy is adapted not from Bram Stoker’s entire Dracula, but from a single chapter, about a ship’s crew haunted by the legendary vampire en route to London. André Øvredal, who helmed 2019’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, directs.
Box office: The film is poised to earn in the same range as other “vampire” movies like 2022’s The Invitation with $25.1M and February’s horror comedy Renfield with $17.1M.
Friday, August 18
Premise: Warner Bros.’ latest superhero installment has been described as DC Comics’ answer to Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man: a city-dwelling teenager who gains the superpowers of an insect. Relative newcomer Xolo Maridueña stars as Jaime Reyes, the Peter Parker equivalent. Angel Manuel Soto directs.
Box office: The financial news from DC Comics film adaptations has been nothing but bad recently. Six weeks into release, June’s The Flash has earned only $107.8M, below many of the most pessimistic pre-release projections. March’s Shazam!: Fury of the Gods finished with $57.6M, less than half of 2019’s original Shazam! Yet it’s possible that Beetle could earn less than all of those.
Friday, August 18
Premise: Universal’s R-rated comedy follows a group of talking dogs, including the voices of Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx, seeking revenge on their abusive and negligent former owner. Josh Greenbaum, who helmed 2021’s Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar, directs.
Box office: It’s been a rough year for R-rated comedies at the box office., with February’s Magic Mike’s Last Dance ($26.0M), July’s Joy Ride ($12.8M), and January’s House Party ($9.0M) all dramatically underperforming. The bright spot so far has been June’s No Hard Feelings, which earned a hair over over $50M.
Strays opens in the same late-August corridor as 2018’s R-rated comedy The Happytime Murders, which only earned $20.7M.
Friday, August 25
Premise: Sony Pictures’ film stars relative newcomer Archie Madekwe in the real-life story of a gamer, an expert at the driving simulator Gran Turismo, who is given a chance to race cars for real, even at risk to his own life. David Harbour and Orlando Bloom costar, with Neill Blomkamp of 2009’s District 9 directing.
Box office: The goal is a gross like 2019’s hit Ford v. Ferrari ($117.6M), but more likely is a total closer to mid-tier racing films like 2019’s The Art of Racing in the Rain ($26.4M), 2017’s Logan Lucky ($27.7M), or 2013’s Rush ($26.9M).
Friday, August 25
Premise: Liam Neeson stars in Roadside Attractions’ thriller, in which a terrorist places a bomb under the protagonist’s car seat while his children are helpless passengers in the back. Nimrod Antal, of 2010’s Predators, directs.
Box office: Neeson has become known in recent years for this type of mid-tier “man on a mission” thriller, though they’ve posted diminishing financial returns recently. Box office for his last three went steadily downward: 2021’s The Marksman with $15.5M, then 2022’s Blacklight with $9.5M, then 2022’s Memory with $7.3M.