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New in Theaters August 12: Pete's Dragon, Sausage Party, Florence Foster Jenkins

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By Chris Kavan - 08/11/16 at 06:37 AM CT

With Suicide Squad having conquered the August box office opening record, the big question is whether it is going to crash and burn in its second weekend following withering reviews or if it can weather the storm and continue its run. Now, Star Trek Beyond and Jason Bourne has both proven to be second-week losers so the deck is stacked against Suicide Squad. Luckily, most of the movies this week don't encroach on its target audience. You have one family-friendly reboot and you have a comedic drama featuring Meryl Streep. The only film that might eat into its audience a bit is the R-rated animated film, but I have a feeling that audience is going to be pretty limited.

PETE'S DRAGON Reboots are always a risky prospect and doubly so when you're taking on a family classic. Now, I never considered the original Pete's Dragon to be a pinnacle of the Disney catalog, but the mix of live action and animation has a certain charm and it certainly has its fans. This remake stars Oakes Fegley as the titular Pete with Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban and Oona Laurence rounding out the cast. I mean, it looks serviceable and should bring in the family crowd. It's been awhile with Secret Life of Pets having been out five weeks while the live-action Nine Lives failed to connect. If it can capture that family audience, Pete's Dragon should have a pretty good weekend. I don't know if it will be enough to compete with Suicide Squad, but it should be decent.

SAUSAGE PARTY Coming in the polar opposite end of Pete's Dragon, we have Jonah Hill, Salma Hayek, Danny McBride, Seth Rogen, Michael Cera, Craig Robinson, Kristen Wiig, Paul Rudd, Edward Norton, Nick Kroll, Bill Hader, James Franco and Sugar Lyn Beard (among many others) bringing their considerable comedic talent to the R-rated Sausage Party. The movie looks in turn hilarious and so very stupid. Essentially is posits that the food we eat is sentient and when we peel, cook and otherwise eat them - well, they feel the pain and horror of that moment. Also, there is a lot of crude sexual humor and such because R rating. The last R-rated animated film I saw was the excruciatingly terrible Hell and Back. Luckily, Sausage Party looks a lot better than that (and has a lot more talent on board) but I'm not convinced they can sell this to a general audience. It has the best chance at taking a bite out of the Suicide Squad audience, but I don't see this making a huge impact at the box office as such.

FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS Finally, we have something for the adults in the crowd. I mean, just the name Meryl Streep brings images of Oscar gold and she elevates everything she takes a part in. Such, I think, will the case with Florence Foster Jenkins. Based on the true story of the New York socialite who loved the opera and was determined to make a name for herself despite the small fact that, you know, she couldn't sing. That didn't deter her and while those around her mostly humored her, but don't think this is a straight comedy - there are plenty of melancholic tones here too. Hugh Grant was essentially pulled out of acting retirement to play the co-lead (as he said - only because Streep was involved did it intrigue him) and also stars Simon Helberg, Rebecca Ferguson, Nina Arianda and Christian McKay among others. This is the type of film that Oscar voters love - period piece, popular actress, humor and drama - we'll see how the reviews go, but it could be a dark horse in the race (an August release date is a bit concerning). This isn't the type of film that will draw a huge crowd, but adult-leaning dramas often have long legs as that audience tends to continue to support it down the line meaning the film could have months of rewards down the line, providing it isn't a complete turkey.

We'll see how Suicide Squad stands up to a trio of new entries. There's a good chance it's going to come out on top once again, but it will be interesting to see how far it falls and if any of the new films can give it a run at the top spot.


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