Seven Movies to Keep an Eye on This Fall

After a major summer slump by the box office, these noteworthy flicks may end up as big winners

The summer box office has been a disaster for Hollywood studios. Despite a few strong crowd pleasers such as “Wonder Woman,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Spiderman: Homecoming,” and this month’s critically acclaimed sleeper hit, “Wind River,” this movie season will end with the biggest year-to-year earnings drop in modern history.

With the fall movie season now upon us, there is a chance Hollywood’s box-office slump could end. The summer months were filled with many franchise attempts that left audiences cold, including “The Mummy” and “The Dark Tower.” But the fall brings a few Oscar contenders and some great-looking original flicks that could become major attention grabbers.

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Here’s a look at seven films to check out this fall.

1.) “It” (September 8). Many box-office analysts predict the newest adaptation of Stephen King’s “It” novel will break Hollywood’s now historic box-office slump. Some have projected it will open north of $60 million, which would be quite the feat for a horror film.

Trailers and sneak peeks of the movie have thus far mostly impressed critics and audiences.

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Bill Skarsgård takes over the role of Pennywise the Clown from original actor Tim Curry in the 1990 miniseries, and he looks far more intense and brutal as the devilish clown who haunts a group of kids in the fictional town of Derry, Maine.

The movie already has one person’s approval: original author Stephen King.

“I had hoped, but I was not prepared for, how good it really was.”

The writer said in a promotional video for the film, “I had hoped, but I was not prepared for, how good it really was.” If the movie proves successful, director Andy Muschietti has already said a sequel will be made to cover the second half of King’s 1,000-plus page novel. 

Related: The Four Best Stephen King Adaptations

2.) “American Assassin” (September 15). The late thriller writer Vince Flynn created one of the most popular literary heroes during his lifetime with counterterrorism agent Mitch Rapp. After years of best-selling books, the character is finally getting a chance at the big screen with “American Assassin.”

Dylan O’Brien (pictured above on the right) is an actor with the opportunity to present the unstoppable force to the world — and he may very well pull it off based on the intense trailers so far out.

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Co-starring a grizzled Michael Keaton, “American Assassin” appears to be the cinematic origin story Flynn’s character deserves — as well as an action romp with fight scenes that will likely match recent high water marks for the genre, such as “John Wick” and “Atomic Blonde.”

Related: Five Conservative Books That Deserve Movie Adaptations

3.) “Blade Runner: 2049” (October 6). It was 1982 when the world was first introduced to “Blade Runner,” a science fiction classic starring Harrison Ford and directed by Ridley Scott (“Alien,” “Gladiator”).

While it didn’t make much of a splash when first released, the film went on to gain a cult following, with five various and widely seen cuts all receiving highly publicized releases.

Ford played Rick Deckard, a blade runner in the original movie — an assassin of sorts — whose job it is to decommission replicants, androids who appear human in almost every way.

The sequel follows a new blade runner (Ryan Gosling) who discovers a conspiracy theory that leads him to a now older and far more experienced Deckard (Ford).

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While most people were shocked when a sequel was announced decades after the first film arrived, anticipation is high for this film. Not only is Ford returning to his original role (pictured above on the left), but director Scott is a producer, too.

The trailers have been visually stunning, and with director Denis Villeneuve (“Prisoners,” “Sicario”) behind the camera, “Blade Runner: 2049” has the potential to be as original and groundbreaking as the science fiction classic Scott unleashed 35 years ago.

4.) “Brawl in Cell Block 99” (October 6). Vince Vaughn is in the middle of an interesting career renaissance. After gaining fame and box office clout through such comedy hits as “Wedding Crashers” and “The Break-Up,” Vaughn has now turned to drama.

He was already in the second season of HBO’s “True Detective” and gave a critically acclaimed performance in Mel Gibson’s World War II drama from last year, “Hacksaw Ridge.” What really may change perceptions of him is his work in “Brawl in Cell Block 99,” as suggested by the trailer. 

Vaughn plays a former boxer who lands himself in prison after being forced into the drug world out of desperation. He’s then forced to commit violent acts at the madhouse he must call home.

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Vaughn signed up for the project because of the multitalented director, S. Craig Zahler, someone with whom he’ll also team up again on “Dragged Across Concrete” — a movie in which Vaughn and Mel Gibson will play cops kicked off the force for their over-the-line tactics.

“This director is so unique and so talented and such an interesting guy in that he’s very strong in a lot of different professions that complement each other,” Vaughn told Deadline about Zahler. The latter made his film debut on 2015’s “Bone Tomahawk,” an independent western starring Kurt Russell that got serious critical attention for its genre-mashing. Vaughn called the film “unpredictable and very entertaining.”

“This director is so unique and so talented and such an interesting guy.”

Zahler’s multiple talents include animation, music and cinematography. He even wrote original songs for his new film.

Related: After Hollywood Elites Rejected Mel Gibson — He’s Back

5.) “Only the Brave” (October 20). There aren’t many films made about firefighters. “Backdraft” was a hit in the ‘90s and a few others followed, such as the 2004 drama “Ladder 49” — but it’s not a profession that gets much attention.  

October’s “Only the Brave” may change things by shining a light on the elite firemen in Prescott, Arizona, who fought a wildfire in 2013 that threatened their town and took 19 of their members’ lives.

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The trailer shows actors such as Josh Brolin and Miles Teller disappearing into their roles. It looks as intense as any recent military drama, and it has a worthy story to tell.

6.) “Thank You for Your Service” (October 27). The main reason to be excited for “Thank You for Serving” is the man behind the camera: writer/director Jason Hall. He penned the brilliant and thoughtful biopic of late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, “American Sniper,” which was directed by Clint Eastwood.

The film was a masterful deconstruction of war pictures, and it was one of the most honest portrayals of wars in the Middle East made up until that point. It set box-office records and angered many mainstream media outlets — so we know it was good.

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Hall is now tackling another military-themed movie. “Thank You for Your Service” follows three veterans as they return home from the war in Iraq. All deal with their own struggles to reintegrate into civilian life. The trailer suggests a mature, thoughtful, and respectful picture about our often forgotten veterans. This is one to watch for closely.

Related: ‘American Sniper’s’ Wife Defends Melania Trump

7.) “Last Flag Flying” (November 3). This is actually a spiritual sequel of sorts to Hal Ashby’s 1973 film “The Last Detail,” starring Jack Nicholson. “Detail” followed two military men assigned the detail of delivering a young man (a sailor played by Randy Quaid) to a naval prison for an eight-year sentence. The three men bond on the trip, and the two escorts decide to show the sailor a good night on the town before sealing his fate.

The new film is follows three now older veterans played by Laurence Fishburne, Bryan Cranston, and Steve Carrell — they all presumably have the experience of “The Last Detail” in their past to connect them.

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Carrell is a father whose son has perished in the Middle East wars. He wants to return his body to their hometown and recruits two old military buddies (Cranston and Fishburne) to help.

Written and directed by Richard Linklater (“Boyhood,” “Dazed and Confused”), “Last Flag Flying” looks to be a movie that dives into the human cost of war and service — without becoming the usual blatant political platform from Hollywood in regard to Middle East conflicts. Done right, this could be the big sleeper hit of the fall.

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