Howdy folks. Another week has come and has left us another slew of movie news, box office figures, new official websites for upcoming movies and new trailers. So let's get this party started with this week's Notables.

NOTABLES

"Paramount picks up John Pogue's Malefique" - Monday, July 11

I'm not too psyched for this one, not for the story, but for the guy who is developing it, John Pogue. While I enjoyed his first two efforts, U.S. Marshals and The Skulls, his last two flicks were just terrible: Rollerball and Ghost Ship. So now he's remaking a French horror flick that no one has ever heard of. Right. And that remake of Rollerball really instills confidence, doesn't it...not so much. Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Kate Hudson joins the cast of You, Me and Dupree" - Monday, July 11

This sounds like a really good fit, although they still have to cast Hudson's hubby for the pic yet. The story revolves around Owen Wilson's Dupree character moving in with their newleywed friends. Hudson has some amazing range and I think is fairly underrated as an actress, and she should riff rather well with Wilson. Hopefully they don't drop the ball in casting the other part here, but it looks like they're 2 for 2 so far, so I'm not too worried. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"WB Picks up One of a Kind" - Tuesday, July 12

Umm OK. This is an odd move since there is already a movie JUST LIKE THIS called High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story that came out on DVD earlier this year. While the movie wasn't perfect by any means, that doesn't necessarily mean that we need a big studio version of the same story. Ungar, who is the only man to win the World Series of Poker main event 3 times and died in 1998 of a drug overdoes, definitely has a story worth telling, with his epic rise through the poker world and the personal demons that lead to his demise. I'm sure they'll take a different route with this story, which is a good thing, but there are already a bunch of poker projects in the making, and with this story already readily available, I'm not sure this is needed. Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Paramount Plans to Remake Summer School" - Tuesday, July 12

Oh goody. Another remake of an 80s classic. It looks like their changing it up a bit, turning it from a tale of a slacker teacher forced into teaching summer school and ends up turning a bunch of misfits into slightly decent students, to a teacher striving to become principal and a student trying to stop him. Right. Originality is as dead as Dillinger if they're remaking flippin' Summer School. Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Uma Thurman and Luke Wilson set for Super Ex" - Wednesday, July 13

This sounds like a very interesting project. It is about Uma Thurman playing a superhero who dates an average Joe, played by Luke Wilson. He's cool with her superness, but eventually dumps her, causing her to use her powers to make his life miserable. This sounds like really cool and original project, especially since superhero tales are pretty big right now. This is a fresh new twist on the superhero movie and Thurman and Wilson sound just perfect for their roles. Finally, some originality! Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Oliver Hirschbiegel Set to Direct Invasion of the Body Snatchers" - Friday, July 15

It's been eons since I've seen the original flick, and I can't remember if these are zombies or not, but that genre is certainly hot these days, so this seems to make sense. Hirschbiegel is in fairly new territory here, as far as his past work is concerned, but I think he'll do a stellar job. His first flickDas Experiment, was simply wonderful, and I haven't seen his follow-up, Downfall, but I've heard wonderful things about that as well. He should bring a different style to this flick, but I'm confident it'll work. Best News of the Week Nominee.

BOX OFFICE CORNER

After the box office "slump" finally came to an end last weekend, it seems that moviegoers had a very big sweet tooth this weekend. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory took the #1 spot at the box office this weekend, earning $56.1 million in its opening weekend, practically identical to Fantastic Four's take last weekend when it was the box office champ. The Johnny Depp remake scored a sizeable $14,901 per-screen average, showing in a massive 3,770 theaters. While this take is a nice one, especially for this summer, the Chocolate Factory still has a lot of overtime to put in if they want to make back it's massive $150 million budget. However, with this high theater count, and with the rest of the summer primarilly filled with action flicks, it might come close to a profit, although I'd be rather surprised if they actually make it all back.

The weekend's other new flick, Wedding Crashers, took 2nd place this weekend, with a very solid $33.9 million in its debut weekend. This take is especially impressive since it was shown in 845 fewer theaters than Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, proving the potential for the R-rated comedy that in recent years has long been considered a dead genre in the age of PG-13. The big kids came out in full force for this one, with an impressive $11,589 per-screen average, showing in 2,925 theaters. This is some great news for New Line Cinema, who may finally have found its hit, post Lord of the Rings, since it will easily make a profit here, with a modest $40 million budget. The only group that this flick will be bad news for, is those bridesmaids in late-July and August weddings...

Box Office Predictions

Well, it seems I overestimated the Fantastic Four and underestimated the Wedding Crashers, but overall, it wasn't too bad of a week for me. Let's see how I do for this week. I'm going to do a flip-flop from my Summer Movie Predictions because the estimated theater counts weren't quite as I imagined, but we'll have to wait another week to see how it turns out.

Predictions for 7/22-7/24

1) Bad News Bears: $44 million

2) The Island: $38 million

3) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: $28.6 million

4) Wedding Crashers: $22.1 million

5) Fantastic Four: $10.2 million

Prediction Results from 7/15-7/17

1) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: $45 million - ACTUAL Rank: 1; Gross: $56.1 million

2) Fantastic Four: $41 million - ACTUAL Rank: 3; Gross: $22.7 million

3) Wedding Crashers: $25 million - ACTUAL Rank: 2; Gross: $33.9 million

4) War of the Worlds: $17.8 million - ACTUAL Rank: 4; Gross: $15.2 million

5) Batman Begins: $7.5 million - ACTUAL Rank: 5; Gross: $6.03 million

GOING LIVE

Just Like Heaven: (justlikeheaven-themovie.com)

Argh! Another stupid teaser site. All there is here is a look at the probable one-sheet, the trailer and a link to register for updates. Nothing to see here folks, but there might be more before this flick opens on September 16.

Underworld: Evolution: (entertheunderworld.com)

Damn these teaser sites! There were only these two websites that went live this week, and they were both teasers. What a waste. We get a slick little intro here, apparently Kate Beckinsale's character's journal entry or something, giving us some background on the sequel. But when we get to the main site, we get nothing, just a link to register for updates. What a load of crap. Underworld: Evolution opens on January 20, 2006.

TRAILER PARK

Saw 2:

Just a teaser trailer here, and tease us it does. I am a HUGE fan of the first flick, and I can't wait to see what the writers of the original flick, James Wan and Leigh Whannel and new director (and friend of the creators) Darren Lynn Bousman can conjur up for the sequel. Bring on the Jigsaw baby! Saw 2 opens on October 28.

Shopgirl:

This looks like a very interesting flick, probably a chick flick, but there looks to be a lot more to it than just that. It's based off the movie's star, Steve Martin's novella which he also adapted into the screenplay, and I really didn't know that he was a writer, but that's very cool. The flick surrounds Claire Danes as said shopgirl, meaning she works at a clothing shop where she meets Martin's character, an affluent older man, but also meets Jason Schwartzman's character, who doesn't have a pot to piss in, but also catches her interest. Hence, she must make a choice between the two suitors. This looks like a pretty good movie, and a different sort of role for Martin. Shopgirl opens on October 21.

Proof:

This looks very good as well. It looks like a different spin on an A Beautiful Mind-type story, with Gwyneth Paltrow as the daughter of a math genius (Anthony Hopkins) who has passed away and one his his former students (Jake Gyllenhall) who thinks he might have found a breakthrough in his father's work that no one has seen. Of course, they're throwing in the love angle with Paltrow and Gyllenhall, and Hope Davis looks do to a fine job in a supporting role here, as Paltrow's sister. This looks like a fine drama, although I'm not sure why there isn't much apparent confidence in this flick, since it's opening in the movie dumping grounds of September. Still, this could surprise some folks and do pretty well. Proof opens on September 16.

Just Like Heaven:

This could be interesting, with some good talent in front of the camera in Reese Witherspoon, Mark Ruffalo and Jon Heder a.k.a Napoleon Dynamite, in what looks to be a nice follow-up for him, playing what looks like a stoner instead of the coolest nerd in recent movie history. The problem here appears to be the story. It's a bit, well, out there. Witherspoon plays a doctor who dies, and then Ruffalo takes her apartment after the death. But then she comes back all ghost-like, not knowing she's dead and insisting she lives there. After she comes to grips with her demise, they both help figure out who she really was, since he's the only one that can see her, of course. I'll probably see it just to see Heder as something different, but I'm not sure if I'll like the whole thing or not. Just Like Heaven opens on September 16.

BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK

This week it was a pretty close call, but I'm going with Uma getting "Super", just over Oliver Hirschbiegel's new project for my Best News of the Week. Sorry, Oliver, but this project just sounds awesome, a new twist on all these superhero movies we'll be seeing a lot of in the future. The casting here is perfect, as the utterly gorgeous Thurman as a superhero and Luke Wilson as just a regular guy. Uma fits the superhero role to a T, and there aren't many guys that can play the average Joe as good as Luke Wilson. The story sounds right on as well, and it'll be interesting to see how Wilson and Thurman connect on the silver screen. Everything is in place here for this to be a winner.

WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK

I'm going with Paramount going back to Summer School for my Worst News of the Week. They should be sent to detention for moving forward with this. Sure, they're spicing up the story a bit, but come on. This is the only good starring role I can remember Mark Harmon for, and now you're ruining it by doing a remake. And the way they're tweaking the story doesn't make too much sense. If this teacher is such a strong candidate for principal, why the hell is he teaching summer school then? I just don't know. Someone should get expelled at Paramount for this retarded idea.

That's all for this week. Surf on by next week for more box office goodies, new official websites for new movies, new trailers, and, of course, the best and worst news of the week. Take care, folks, and always remember: if it looks like a good time, sounds like a good time and feels like a good time... it probably isn't free.