The 10 Most Popular End-of-Summer Movie Trailers

We’re entering a time of the year when big hit movies taper off and a drought descends until the holidays commence. That’s reflected in the late summer trailer releases ranked here. Unlike recent months, no big franchises make appearances (if you exclude reboots and spin-offs).

Instead, we have a lot of original properties, many of which seem to be positioning for Oscar consideration. Here are the top 10 most popular late summer movie trailers.

10. Men, Women & Children

If this trailer proves indicative of the final film, it looks like an experiment in visual storytelling. Focused on the digitalization of personal relationships, Men, Women & Children appears to be essentially silent and subtitled. It will be interesting to see if it contains any spoken dialog at all.

Adam Sandler returns to a dramatic role, something he has demonstrated proficiency in before. He earned critical acclaim for 2002’s Punch-Drunk Love and played a character not unlike himself in 2009’s Funny People.

9. White Bird in a Blizzard

Believe it or not, it’s been ten years since Casino Royale catapulted Eva Green to stardom. She was twenty-six then, thirty-six now. She remains as gorgeous as ever. However, the clock is ticking for her to advance her career to a higher level. White Bird in a Blizzard may be her shot at Oscar contention.

Co-star Shailene Woodley proceeds under similar pressure, due more to competition than age. Jennifer Lawrence, star of The Hunger Games franchise which parallel’s Woodley’s Divergent, has already earned an Oscar for her work in
Silver Linings Playbook.

8. The Theory of Everything

Who’d have thought that the life of Stephen Hawking would make a compelling movie? Someone did, because it’s happening. So far, it doesn’t look half bad.

Eddie Redmayne takes on the leading role, a challenging physical portrayal depicting the agonizing progression of Hawking’s motor neuron disease. Felicity Jones plays his wife, Jane, a role poised to elevate her name recognition significantly.

Another actor whose talent long deserves a showcase is David Thewlis. Since his villainous portrayal in 1996’s Dragonheart, Thewlis has managed a prolific career which has nonetheless failed to elevate him beyond “that guy from that thing” status.

7. Left Behind

The good news regarding this reboot of the Left Behind franchise, aside from the Gospel message which will no doubt prove integral, is that it appears to boast vastly superior production values compared to the previous iteration. There are a lot of things which tend to go wrong with Christian films, all conspiring to rob them of entertainment value. Many of those pitfalls appear to be avoided here, if the trailer proves indicative of the final cut.

The bad news is that the film’s star power comes from Nicolas Cage. Whether that’s a step up or down from Kirk Cameron is yet to be seen. Cage has done well in certain roles, but makes a lot of questionable professional choices.

6. The Best of Me

A common complaint of movie trailers is that they show too much of the story and essentially spoil the experience. While that certainly happens more than it should, good films will not necessarily be spoiled by even the most revealing trailer. The value of the experience in a good film is the telling of the story, not its plot details.

Watching this trailer for The Best of Me, we can easily chart out the film’s plot. We probably don’t need to see the final cut to know roughly how it will end or what its message will be. However, this peak into the performances and film craft suggest that the telling of that predictable story will be worth our time.

5. Mortdecai

Then there’s Mortdecai, which stands as an example of the opposite extreme. I’m not sure what Mortdecai is, where it will go, or how it will end. This trailer conveys the only fact the studio seems intent to impress. Johnny Depp plays an eccentric weirdo, something we know he can do well. So, come see it.

Will that be enough to get you into the theater? It didn’t quite work out for The Lone Ranger.

4. The Penguins of Madagascar

There’s isn’t much to say about this one. The kids will love it. If you’re lucky, you may laugh occasionally.

It will be interesting to see whether these supporting characters from the world of
Madagascar will be able to carry their own film. It can be a mistake to assume that popular supporting characters will translate to effective starring ones. Sometimes, the shtick gets old quick without a straight man to anchor it.

3. Rudderless

There’s something about Selena Gomez. I don’t know what it is. But it’s definitely there. That’s the only explanation for the popularity of any project she happens to grace.

There’s always the possibility that Billy Crudup and Anton Yelchin are the reason folks are watching this trailer. But I doubt it.

That said, the film looks like a great showcase for both Crudup and Yelchin, actors at different stages of their careers who each aim to advance here.

2. Camp X-Ray

There’s little question whether this movie has an agenda. The question remains whether it will prove so heavy-handed that it fails to entertain.

The issues surrounding Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay transcend typical partisan divides, provoking both the “social justice” instincts of the political left and the civil libertarian wing of the political right. If this film plays its cards right, it could resonate with a significant audience.

It could also represent a turning point in the career of star Kristen Stewart. With the Twilight
franchise now wholly behind her, she needs to define the next stage of her journey. Does she have the chops to carry a film like this?

1. Two Night Stand

Like The Best of Me, this trailer serves up all the major plot points we need to construct the whole story. Then again, the romantic comedy formula stands fairly tried and true. The payoff comes in the telling.

Miles Teller is apparently a thing with the kids. His profile will raise dramatically next year when he stars as Reed Richards in the controversial reboot of The Fantastic Four. Analeigh Tipton harbors a star quality which hasn’t been given a platform like this before. It will be interesting to see where her career goes from here.