After something as monumental as July’s ‘Barbenheimer‘ event, any impending films in the year are bound to appear less enticing. However the month of August isn’t without its highlights, with Bollywood serving two highly-anticipated sequels — OMG 2 and Gadar 2. The former sees Akshay Kumar returning as a godlike figure – this time as Lord Shiva – to partake in an amusing courtroom drama at the request of an unhappy civilian. OMG 2 is out August 11 in theatres. On the same day, Sunny Deol’s Tara Singh once again embarks on a trip to Lahore, Pakistan, to bring his now fully-grown son back to India, amidst the roars of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Gadar 2 also sees most of the original cast reprise their roles.
Jason Statham leads the charge on the Hollywood end, taking his research team to the depths of the Mariana Trench, only to be thrust into a battle for survival as they face a group of bigger, hungrier prehistoric megalodons, who are slowly making their way to the populated beach surface. Meg 2: The Trench promises some campy yet unbridled mayhem during these humid months, and releases August 4 in theatres worldwide. While The Flash might have failed to hit its box office goals, the DC Universe is showing no signs of stoppage, as they prepare to introduce Blue Beetle to the general audience — poised to break new ground in the franchise by featuring a Latino actor in the lead. Serving as an origin story, it follows a high school student stumbling upon a mysterious blue scarab that grafts to his spine and grants alien powers. Blue Beetle drops August 18 in cinemas.
Other notable releases this month include Sony Pictures’ film adaptation of Gran Turismo — out August 25 — which sees Stranger Things fame David Harbour reprising somewhat of a mentor and father-figure role to aspiring racecar driver Jann Mardenborough, played by Archie Madekwe. Also, don’t expect too many major Bollywood releases during these monsoon months, as people aren’t generally too keen on leaving their houses. For your convenience, we have curated the biggest August 2023 releases coming to theatres and Netflix, which you can check out below. Also, feel free to browse our Entertainment hub to keep track of any other releases that might interest you.
Meg 2: The Trench
When: August 4
The past always comes back to bite you, and in rescue diver Jonas Taylor’s (Statham) case, quite literally. When a group of aquatic researchers led by James Mackreides (Cliff Curtis) detect increased activity 25,000 feet deep in the trench, our hero is summoned back in to help with a mining operation, while trying to thwart any odd beasts lurking beneath. As three massive megs escape the breach and head toward the beach shoreline, Jonas and the group are forced to divert their mission, hoping to alert and protect clueless civilians from danger. As the sharks start chomping down boardwalks, the action spikes into chaos, with Taylor trying to harpoon a meg to tentacular creatures pulling down any airborne choppers.
Drawing from Steve Alten’s 1999 novel ‘The Trench,’ Meg 2 establishes an epic battle between human plunderers and aggressive prehistoric beings, raising the stakes for Statham’s comeback. The group was attacked by giant squids in the first film, so could they be returning in a much bolder form? Ben Wheatley — best known for High-Rise — directs the sequel, which also stars Sienna Guillory (Clifford the Big Red Dog), Chinese Martial artist Wu Jing (Fatal Contact), and returning star Shuya Sophia Cai as Meiying Zhang.
Heart of Stone
When: August 11
After partaking in a sleek heist in Netflix’s Red Notice, Gal Gadot is returning as a secret agent for an elusive group of spies — with no political leanings — called the Charter, who work together to maintain peace. To achieve their goals, the team relies on a mysterious asset called The Heart, best described as the world’s most powerful AI, used to keep track of anyone’s digital footprint to predict their acts in the future — specifically, ones that threaten global stability. That seems to be the target for hacker Keya Dhawan (Alia Bhatt), who upon obtaining The Heart causes an all-out blackout in the Charter’s headquarters, essentially stealing the latter’s database.
Despite being compromised, Gadot’s Rachel Stone heads out on a globe-trotting mission to bring The Heart back, partaking in gunfire-lit chase sequences, parachuting off snowy cliffs, and skydiving onto a running aircraft. Adding some more fuel to this high-tech espionage thriller is Jamie Dornan as an MI6 agent Parker, who initially finds Stone to be quite unprepared for her repertoire. Heart of Stone also stars Matthias Schweighöfer (Army of the Dead) as the Charter’s tech specialist Jack of Hearts, Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda) as the Charter’s leader Nomad, and Jing Lusi as the MI6’s sharpshooter Theresa Yang.
When: August 11
Akshay Kumar is returning to play a Hindu deity once again in OMG 2, assuming the role of Lord Shiva, who pays a visit to the human realm to help those in need. This time, it’s Kanti Sharan Mudgal (Pankaj Tripathi), a concerned citizen and strong devotee of the three-eyed god, who requests the court to mandate sex education in schools across the region, kickstarting an amusing courtroom drama in the vein of the original 2012 film. Much of the marketing material for OMG 2 is still reportedly awaiting a go-ahead from the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) due to its subject of sex education, which could be deemed controversial – particularly in India.
Brief glimpses in the teaser and a music video reveal a tragedy in Kranti’s family, pointing towards his son’s suicide, which fails to disrupt his faith in god and his sense of community, as he sweeps the floors of the courtroom. Yami Gautam (Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga) plays the lawyer Kamini Maheshwari, while Govind Namdev reprises his role as the sadhu Siddheshwar Maharaj in OMG 2.
When: August 11
Twenty two years after the Partition of India, Tara Singh (Sunny Deol) returns to Lahore, Pakistan, to bring his son Charanjeet (Utkarsh Sharma) back to India, amidst the ‘Crush India’ campaign that emerged in the neighbouring country during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war. Heading into direct competition with Akshay Kumar’s OMG 2, it mirrors a similar situation from 2001, where the first film Gadar: Ek Prem Katha clashed with Aamir Khan’s Lagaan, leading to a tough box office battle and iconic status for both films. It’s no secret that Gadar 2 will also be heavy on nationalistic themes touching on the spoils of war, as the teaser shows Tara Singh kneeling at a burial ground with tears in his eyes.
Ameesha Patel reprises her role as Tara’s wife Sakeena Ali Singh, with whom he previously formed a relationship against the wishes of her father. An interesting thing to note here is that the child actor who played Charanjeet in the original film is the same person who plays the adult version in the upcoming sequel, despite over two decades having passed since the first film. He also happens to be the returning director Anil Sharma’s son.
The Monkey King
When: August 18
‘Journey to the West’ is a classic piece of Chinese literature that’s been retold countless times, even inspiring pop culture figures like Goku from the Dragon Ball manga. Now, Netflix is putting a spin on the legend of The Monkey King, transporting us back to 600 A.D., a time when ancient gods and demons roamed among us. Amidst the seemingly eternal turmoil, a hero is born from a mystical rock, a Monkey (Jimmy O. Yang) imbued with magical powers and a staff that can expand and retract as he wills. Cast out from his tribe for being different, he embarks on a quest to defeat 100 demons in the land and cement his place among the Immortal Ones, the deities. But before he can prove himself as the ultimate hero, he needs to battle against his greatest enemy — his massive ego.
His journey is filled with perilously vibrant adventures, to say the least, inspiring a humble peasant named Lin (Jolie Hoang-Rappaport), who joins the party as an assistant. It’s a fabled partnership that soon grabs the attention and the wrath of the mighty Dragon King, Ruler of the Eastern Sea (Bowen Yang), unleashing his wrath onto the world. As doubts about his heroism start creeping in, The Monkey King must learn to prioritise the idea of helping people over stacking up his kill count. The animated movie also features the voices of Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once) and BD Wong (Mr. Robot).
When: August 18
Recent college graduate Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña) is desperately seeking a job for himself and his family, while struggling to find his true purpose in this world. That is, until he unexpectedly comes in possession of a piece of ancient biotechnology, a mysterious blue scarab that latches itself onto his body, choosing Jaime as its symbiotic host. It’s not all bad though, as the pairing bestows the teenager with a slick suit of armour that can shapeshift into whatever the host wants, be it high-tech firearms or wing shields that can cut through vehicles. The military tech’s flashiness is good enough to create a buzz, sparking interest from the government, who send out forces to hunt Blue Beetle down.
It’s unclear how the villainous businesswoman Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon) plans to change the world with the Scarab’s power, but is desperate enough to dispatch the heavily armoured Conrad Carapax (Raoul Trujillo) to claim the relic — turning it into something of a mech battle, as he trades bullets and sword clangs with an emotional Blue Beetle. Caught in the gunfire is Jaime’s innocent family, who might have a few tricks up their sleeve, having created a Batcave-like armoury of their own. Director Angel Manuel Soto makes his debut in the superhero realm with Blue Beetle, which he claims still will be part of James Gunn’s forthcoming DC Universe, albeit not tied to the DCEU’s past, which sort of ended with The Flash.
As mentioned before, Blue Beetle marks the first time a Hispanic superhero leads a major studio film, which also happens to be lead actor Maridueña’s first movie credit. Prior to this, he’s only been in TV shows, gaining mass recognition in Netflix’s Cobra Kai. Blue Beetle features an ensemble cast namely Adriana Barraza (Babel) as Jaime’s grandmother, Damián Alcázar (Narcos) as Jaime’s father Alberto Reyes, George Lopez as Uncle Rudy, and Bruna Marquezine as Jaime’s love interest Jenny, making her Hollywood debut.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
When: August 25
The Spider-Verse movies were definitely a blessing to big-budget animation studios, opening the floodgates for more creative and wacky presentations. Seth Rogen’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem attempts to reinvent the formula, promising a new origin story for our pizza-loving heroes via a doodle-sketch art style that throws vibrant chaos onto the screen, often playing around with the framerate. In it, the Turtles — the wise Donatello (Micah Abbey), the charismatic Michelangelo (Shamon Brown Jr.), the always-angry Raphael (Brady Noon), and the leader Leonardo (Nicolas Cantu) — set out to win the hearts of the New Yorkers, hoping to no longer be shunned by the society through their heroic acts. It’s a tale of acceptance, where the mutant group just wants to live a normal life, juggling between school and girlfriends.
During one of their crime-fighting nights, they make a new friend April O’Neil (Ayo Edebiri), with whom they decide to hunt down a notorious crime syndicate led by Superfly (Ice Cube). As the legend goes, nobody’s ever seen his face, and the ones who have are killed by him. It all boils down to the fact that Superfly’s group is composed of similar mutants who were wronged by the human race. So now, they’re planning all-out revenge, which involves genetically creating an army of their kind and unleashing it out into the world, with the goal of eventually ruling it. Faced with a choice to join Superfly’s cause or to save humankind, the Turtles must put their emotions aside and engage in an absurdly punkish and colourful battle to return things back to normal.
I also think it’s super refreshing that for once, not only did Hollywood actually cast real teenage boys to voice the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but also presented the characters as teenagers. Looking back at the Megan Fox-led live-action films, the Turtles’ vocals and builds resembled that of young adults, in addition to them acting very responsibly — all of which go against the core definition of TMNT. You might also recognise a ton of voices in the upcoming Mutant Mayhem, ranging from Jackie Chan as Master Splinter, Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) as scientist Baxter Stockman, John Cena as a mutant rhinoceros Rocksteady, Rose Byrne as a mutant alligator Leatherhead, and more.
When: August 25
After the $400 million financial success that was the Tom Holland-led Uncharted movie, Sony Pictures and PlayStation Productions are reuniting for a Gran Turismo film adaptation, which draws from the real-life story of British racecar driver Jann Mardenborough. It’s being fashioned as a coming-of-age tale of underdogs, primarily centring around a young gamer Mardenborough (Archie Madekwe), who pivoted into a professional racing career through the GT Academy training programme, establishing himself as the prime candidate to represent Team Nissan. Joining him on this inspiring mission is a retired racecar driver Jack Salter (David Harbour), who at first has zero faith in his student, constantly drilling the concept of death into the kid’s brain as a reminder that, unlike the video games, he can’t hit restart if things go awry.
Together, with a little support from the optimistic motorsport executive Danny Moore (Orlando Bloom), they risk it all to create history in one of the most elite sports in the world, brushing the dust off from minor setbacks and injuries. Of course, all inspiring stories as such, require a worthy rival — here, Nicholas Capa (Josha Stradowski), an established athlete who is threatened by Mardenborough, tries taking him out of the competition in heinous ways, as a reminder that sticking to a joystick might’ve been easier. District 9 fame Neill Blomkamp directs the Gran Turismo movie, which also lists Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) as Jann’s father and Spice Girls member Geri Halliwell as Jann’s mother among the main cast lineup.
Dream Girl 2
When: August 25
Ayushmann Khurrana seems to be taking his portrayal as the female call centre operator Pooja to the next level, possibly putting on enough makeup to completely transform into a woman in the sequel to Dream Girl. Plot details are scarce, but for those of you who need a refresher, he’ll be reprising the role of Karamveer Singh, a call centre operator who is oddly good at mimicking a woman’s voice, which leads him to trouble when a bunch of desperate and lonely men fall in love with his sensuous alias. While Nushrratt Bharuccha played the female lead in the 2019 film, serving as Karamveer’s lover-turned-wife, she has now been replaced by Ananya Panday (Liger). The original director Raaj Shaandilyaa also returns to helm Dream Girl 2.