October is a great month hands down. It's my birthday, football is in full force, the weather is perfect (at least where I am), Halloween (or Halloweek if you're in college), basketball begins, it's National Pizza Month, it's my birthday, and many other reasons. October isn't one of the stronger movie months, usually finishing in the bottom 3rd, but that doesn't mean October can't deliver. This year, October does look like it will deliver. And no I'm not saying that because it's National Pizza Month.
Gravity, Runner Runner, Carrie, Captain Phillips, Machete Kills, 12 Years A Slave, The Fifth Estate, The Counselor, Escape Plan, Jackass: Bad Grandpa, and Romeo and Juliet are the wide releases, and Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 will be in its second week. On paper, it looks like the only thing these movies have going for them is their cool names, but this year is a special bunch.
For the first time in a long time, Carrie (10/18) is the only major horror of the month, which is very odd for October. We should be on Saw 10 by now. It's also the first time in what feels like forever that a Paranormal Activity movie isn't opening, though don't worry, we'll get two PA's next year. Yay. With Carrie the only option to scare the masses, the masses should show up. Usually remakes like this don't blow the box office away, but Carrie should benefit of being the lone scarer of the fall and do at least above average. Also benefiting from the absence of its genre is Cloudy 2 (9/27). Though technically a September movie, it will play like an October one. Though this is nothing new for the month of October, Cloudy 2 will be the only family friendly affair, so it should have an easy time sticking around for a while.
This October is also looking insanely strong to make some noise in awards season. The only major awards contender last year was Argo, but this year Gravity, 12 Years, Counselor, and Captain Phillips are looking like major candidates. Gravity (10/4) is being called by some critics "the best movie of the decade". That's not too farfetched considering it's only been this decade for 3 years, and again it's critics saying this, not Warner Bros' marketing team. Gravity undoubtedly will earn a Best Effects nom, and Best Picture, Director, Cinematography, and Actor/Actress are still possible. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are the only two actors in the entire movie so all eyes will be on their performances. Just watch the trailer and you'll see why this should end up an awards juggernaut. The movie is also being called a "thrill ride" and hey audiences love rides, right? This has a strong chance of becoming October's #1 movie, especially if awards season is good to it.
The concept of Captain Phillips (10/11) is a little more relatable, but that won't matter when it comes to awards; good thing Captain Phillips is already getting raves as well. The general consensus so far is "Tom Hanks is back and it's a thrill ride." The noms that Phillips could receive other than Best Director and maybe Cinematography aren't clear, but it's still looking to be a strong general contender and perfect fall thrill for audiences. These types of roles and voicing toys is what Hanks was born for, so if a Best Actor nom slips his way, you better cheer him on. I personally don't believe awards winners can be called so far in advance, but apparently 12 Years A Slave (10/18) is already the frontrunner to win Best Picture. 12 Years has been screened at film festivals and it's apparently left people in awe. "Strong", "brutal", "eye opening", "intense", and "almost too much to sit through" are words describing it. 12 Years doesn't have the more mainstream elements that Django did so how audiences handle it is yet to be seen, because apparently it's raw, but again this won't matter with awards. Whether 12 Years makes $100 million or $10 million, it's looking to create major noise this year. We'll have to wait until March to see if it really does win, but judging by reactions so far, don't be too surprised if it does.
Counselor (10/25) is an awards dark horse. Coming from famed director Ridley Scott, Counselor contains an all star cast, though that also doesn't matter with awards. Based on the subject matter, it'll take a little push to get general audiences on board, but this gritty, rough, stylish action and acting is what awards voters love. This is likely to win Best Makeup more than anything else, but hey a win is a win. We'll see in a month though what that RT score is looking like. Machete Kills (10/11), Escape Plan (10/18), and Bad Grandpa (10/25) won't be around for long, but they should provide the nonsense B-movie fun that we all know and love. They will pretty much be must sees once they appear in your Netflix queue. Runner Runner (10/4), though starring the talented Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake, may be a Redbox must see, but maybe it's just me. Audiences will either love it or hate it, but hopefully it will provide some respectable grosses to the October total. Fifth Estate (10/18) early on looked to be an awards contender, but after the TIFF, that's pretty much a deep sleep dream. Considering the subject matter, this may also be a toughie to get general audiences on board. If you've wanted to see Benedict Cumberbatch with blonde hair though, this is the movie of the fall for you. Not much can be said about Romeo and Juliet (10/11). If you miss it though, don't worry, it should make its cable debut on the CW in two years.
People usually sleep through October to get ready for the winter season, but this October is one to actually stay awake for. With a respectable slate of movies and my birthday (the 5th), keep every Friday (and the first Saturday) in October circled on your calendars.