August, for all the ups and downs, tossed the Dow Jones up and down with weekly gains and drops of over 4% for two of the weeks in this usually hazy, lazy month. The Dow ended down about a thousand points from where it started. As for the Box Office, August shared the top spot with only two movies: Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Help. Both movies had class warfare as the central theme, one set in the future and the other in the past. However, both spoke to audiences about their concerns for the present state of our society and our leadership.
Do we really care about those less fortunate than ourselves? Is our economy geared to reward the few at the expense of the many? Is this the greatest success of capitalism? There may be a theme resonating with audiences now, as we move from super heroes and wizards to the fall dramas ramping-up to Oscar nominations. What will audiences respond to now?
Next week’s box office champ will probably be Contagion about a world-wide airborne epidemic. Is this our financial system making everyone sick? The next week marks the release of the Straw Dogs remake, another fable about the housing market under assault. Then we have Abduction on September 23rd, about a kid who finds out his whole life has been a lie – hell, the metaphors just keep coming and coming…Hard to imagine September being a strong month for audiences changing their mood and feeling better about their future. Stay tuned to a theater near you.