Following a historically dismal month at the box office (last weekend’s totals marked the worst August in 16 years for movie attendance), it’s looking like there’s nowhere to go but up.
While no major releases are scheduled for Labor Day weekend, the coming weeks will see a handful of heavily-marketed Hollywood films hit the big screen accompanied by a few dramatic features hoping to draw people away from their TV sets.
If nothing else, horror fans looking to get a jump on the upcoming season will find plenty to get excited about, and the first major kiddie flick in months appears set to pull at least one studio out of the red.
Here’s what to expect in Athens theaters in September:
Based on the award-winning stage play “Elevator” by Patrick Carson, this controversial indie drama stars Charlie Sheen (“Wall Street”) as one of five passengers who become trapped together in an elevator inside the World Trade Center the morning of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Luis Guzmán, Whoopi Goldberg, Gina Gershon and Jacqueline Bisset co-star.
“Home Again” (9/8)
Former child actor Hallie Meyers-Shyer (“Father of the Bride II”) makes her debut as screenwriter and director with this romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon (“Sweet Home Alabama”) as a newly single mother who agrees to let a trio of young filmmakers (Nat Wolff, Pico Alexander, and Jon Rudnitsky) live with her. Co-starring Candice Bergen and Michael Sheen.
Originally adapted as a TV miniseries in 1990, this “Stranger Things”-inspired take on Stephen King’s terrifying 1986 novel concerns a group of pre-teen outcasts who discover that supernatural villain Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard, “Allegiant”) is responsible for the disappearance of several children in their small New England town. Unlike the TV version, this update only covers half of the book.
“American Assassin” (9/15)
In this action thriller based on the 2010 novel by Vince Flynn, Dylan O’Brien (“The Maze Runner”) stars as CIA black ops recruit whose fiancée was killed in a terrorist attack. Michael Keaton (“Spotlight”) co-stars as his hard-nosed trainer as they team up with Turkish agents to stop a new threat in the Middle East. Supporting cast includes Sanaa Lathan, Shiva Negar, and Taylor Kitsch.
Writer-director Darren Aronofsky (“The Wrestler”) returns to the psychological horror genre for the first time since his 2010 Oscar winner “Black Swan” with a powerhouse cast lead by Jennifer Lawrence (“The Hunger Games”) as a housewife whose life is disrupted by the arrival of a mysterious couple (Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer). Javier Bardem (“No Country For Old Men”) co-stars.
“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” (9/22)
This sequel to the hit 2014 comic book-based spy comedy reteams director Matthew Vaughn (“X-Men: First Class”) with returning cast members Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Sophie Cookson and Mark Strong as they team up with their American counterparts including Halle Berry, Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges. Featuring Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”) and a cameo by Elton John.
“The Lego Ninjago Movie” (9/22)
The second spin-off of 2014’s wildly successful “Lego Movie” to be released this year (“Lego Batman” came out back in February), this PG-rated animated adventure comedy concerns teenage ninja hero Lloyd (Dave Franco) whose heroic team must do battle with his evil warlord father Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux). The voice cast includes Jackie Chan, Michael Peña, Kumail Nanjiani and Olivia Munn.
“American Made” (9/29)
Tom Cruise stars as real-life TWA airline pilot turned drug smuggler Barry Seal in this biographical crime drama from director Doug Liman (“The Bourne Identity”). Seal flew for the Medellín Cartel in the ‘80s and became an undercover DEA informant to avoid jail time before being killed by Colombian assassins. Sarah Wright (“Marry Me”) and Domhnall Gleeson (“Ex Machina”) co-star.
Despite not having a number attached to the title, this sci-fi thriller from original Swedish-language “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” director Niels Arden Oplev is a sequel to the identically-titled Joel Schumacher film from 1990. Ellen Page (“Juno”) leads a new group of death-obsessed medical students and Kiefer Sutherland (“24”) reprises his role from the first movie.
“Til Death Do Us Part” (9/29)
Director Chris Stokes usually splits his time between dance battle movies and horror movies (he’s responsible for “You Got Served” and the “Somebody Help Me” series), and his latest falls in the psycho-thriller category. Annie Ilzoneh (“All Eyez On Me”) stars as as the survivor of an abusive marriage who meets a new love (Taye Diggs) only to have her dangerous ex (Stephen Bishop) return to threaten her.