The Biggest Movies Coming to Theaters in August 2021

As the joke goes: on the first day of school, what did the teacher say her three favorite words were? June, July and August.

The end of the summer makes people want to cram in all that fun and entertainment at the last minute, and cinemas are obliging with a packed schedule of films to close out the season. Here’s your guide to the titles playing wide on the big screen in August 2021.

The Suicide Squad

Friday, August 6

Premise: Margot Robbie returns as Harley Quinn in this R-rated action comedy sequel about a team of offbeat and inappropriate superheroes, which now add John Cena’s Peacemaker, Idris Elba’s Bloodsport, and Pete Davidson’s Blackguard. Guardians of the Galaxy screenwriter and director James Gunn helms. 

Box office comparisons: 2016’s prior installment remains the biggest August opening weekend of all time by a large margin with $133.6M, ending with a $325.1M domestic total. However, the franchise appeared to quickly lose steam, as the Quinn-centered spinoff Birds of Prey failed to fly with a $33.0M start / $84.1M total.

Don’t Breathe 2

Friday, August 13

Premise: Stephen Lang returns as Norman Nordstrom, a blind man fighting home intruders, in this R-rated horror thriller sequel.

Box office comparisons: August 2016’s original installment breathed easy with a better-than-expected $26.4M opening / $89.2M domestic total.

Free Guy

Friday, August 13

Premise: Ryan Reynolds stars as the titular Guy, a video game background character on a mission to save his entire — albeit digital — world before the game’s developers shut it down. Shawn Levy (Night at the MuseumCheaper by the Dozen) directs.

Box office comparisons: In terms of “video games come to life” movies, 2015’s Pixels starring Adam Sandler leveled up with a $24.0M opening / $78.7M domestic total. And while this R-rated title is hardly a perfect comparison, Reynolds’ fellow summer 2021 action comedy The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard shot up a $11.3M opening / $37.4M domestic total to date.


Friday, August 13

Premise: Jennifer Hudson stars as iconic soul singer Aretha Franklin in this biopic, named for her signature 1965 chart-topping song. Liesl Tommy makes her feature film directorial debut, after earning a Tony Award nomination for directing Lupita Nyong’o in Broadway’s Eclipsed.

Box office comparisons: Among other 1960s soul musician biopics, see the opening weekends and domestic totals of 2014’s James Brown biopic Get on Up ($13.5M / $30.5M) and 2004’s Ray Charles biopic Ray ($20.0M / $75.3M).

PAW Patrol: The Movie

Friday, August 20

Premise: Based on the hit Nickelodeon show aimed at toddlers, airing since 2013, the movie follows a group of talking dogs assigned to protect the town of Adventure Bay. An eclectic voice cast includes Kim Kardashian, Tyler Perry, and Jimmy Kimmel.

Box office comparisons: Among animated television show film adaptations, look to the opening weekends and domestic totals of this summer’s Spirit Untamed ($6.1M / $17.5M) and 2017’s My Little Pony: The Movie ($8.8M / $21.8M).

The Protégé

Friday, August 20

Premise: Maggie Q stars as the titular Anna Dutton, an assassin out to avenge the murder of her mentor, played by Samuel L. Jackson, in this R-rated action thriller. Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, GoldenEye) directs. 

Box office comparisons: Among other recent R-rated female-led action thriller, look to the openings and domestic totals of 2017’s Kidnap starring Halle Berry ($10.0M / $30.7M), 2018’s Peppermint starring Jennifer Garner ($13.4M / $35.4M), and 2017’s Atomic Blonde starring Charlize Theron ($18.2M / $51.5M).


Friday, August 20

Premise: Hugh Jackman stars in this sci-fi title as Nick Bannister, a man who helps clients relive their past memories, until one of them has memories implicating Bannister’s love interest in a series of crimes.

Box office comparisons: Among mid-budget cerebral sci-fi thrillers, look to the opening weekends and domestic totals of Self/Less starring Ryan Reynolds ($5.4M / $12.2M), Transcendence starring Johnny Depp ($10.8M / $23.0M), In Time starring Justin Timberlake ($12.0M / $37.5M), or Flatliners ($6.5M / $16.8M). 


Friday, August 27

Premise: Jordan Peele (Get OutUs) cowrote this horror sequel about a supernatural murderer in a Chicago public housing project who appears whenever the the word “Candyman” is said five times into a mirror.

Box office comparisons: 1992’s original Candyman opened to $5.4M (or $11.9M if adjusting for ticket price inflation) and scared up a $25.5M domestic total (or $56.4M adjusted).

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