Box-Office Preview: Hollywood Braces for Continued August Slowdown

A trio of smaller offerings — including martial arts pic 'Birth of the Dragon' and animated 'Leap!' — open nationwide.

The dog days of August are just that at the U.S. box office.

This weekend, a trio of smaller offerings enter the fray: The Weinstein Co.'s animated Leap!, martial arts pic Birth of the Dragon and All Saints, a faith-based film from Sony's Affirm label that is only opening in 700-plus locations. Even if they do solid business in their own right, tracking shows Leap! grossing the most of the three at only $4 million-$5 million as summer revenue slips even farther behind from last year.

The Hitman's Bodyguard, Lionsgate's action comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, is tipped to stay atop the chart in its sophomore outing after debuting to $21.4 million last weekend.

The end of August is often quiet in terms of moviegoing, but this year is particularly bleak. Last weekend was the lowest-grossing frame of the year to date, and this weekend is going to be even worse. As it stands now, domestic summer revenue is down more than 13 percent.

Leap!, opening in approximately 2,575 theaters, hopes to benefit from being the only new family offering in the marketplace. The film tells the story of an 11-year-old orphan, voiced by Elle Fanning, who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer. She teams up with a young inventor named Victor, and together they pursue their passions in 19th century Paris, where the Eiffel Tower is still under construction. Along the way, they encounter such characters as a devious classmate (Maddie Ziegler) and a tough but encouraging mentor (Carly Rae Jepsen).

An homage to Bruce Lee's movies, Birth of the Dragon is from Blumhouse's microbudgeted genre label BH Tilt and will play in 1,600 theaters. The company said an opening in the $3 million range would be a win.

The film, directed by George Nolfi, is a fictionalized account of when Lee challenged kung fu master Wong Jack Man to a fight in the mid-1960s in San Francisco. Birth of the Dragon stars Hong Kong-born actor and martial artist Philip Ng, Xia Yu, Billy Magnussen, Qu Jingjing, Jin Xing and Simon Yin. BH Tilt's marketing campaign included a robust screening program in Asian-American markets.

That won't be the only fight-centric offering over the weekend. On Saturday night, a live broadcast of the showdown between world boxing champion Floyd Mayweather and UFC megastar Conor McGregor will play in 500 theaters in the U.S. via Fathom Events and Mayweather Productions.

Another special offering this weekend is James Cameron's 4K 3D conversion of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which AMC Entertainment is releasing in select AMC Theatres.

Elsewhere, director Steve Gomer's All Saints has decided to roll out slowly. The $2 million film is based on the real-life story of Michael Spurlock, a salesman-turned-pastor who, along with a group of refugees from Southeast Asia, risks everything to save his tiny church. John Corbett, Cara Buono, Myles Moore, Nelson Lee, Barry Corbin, David Keith, Angela Fox, Chonda Pierce and Greg Alan Williams star.

At the specialty box office, the critically acclaimed crime drama Good Time, starring Robert Pattinson, makes a major push after a strong showing in select theaters the past two weekends. Directed by brothers Benny and Josh Safdie, the film made its world premiere in May at the Cannes Film Festival.

TWC has even more aggressive plans for Taylor Sheridan's thriller Wind River, which expands into a total of 2,095 locations after a successful limited run.

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