Hola folks. Another week has come and gone and left us a new slew of movie news, box office figures, new official websites for upcoming movies and trailers in its wake. So lets kick it all off with this week's Notables.

NOTABLES

"Ben Foster joins X-Men 3" - Monday, July 18

OK, well I had to confer with my cadre of comic book chums to confirm this didn't sound like a good idea, and they agreed. Apparently this Archangel cat is much bigger, and Foster would probably be the scrawniest X-Man in all of the flicks. Foster hasn't had that many big roles, the most notable being the overly-pierced wimp in last year's The Punisher. I don't think this will be a pivotal character by any means, but, especially with the great cast already in place, I'm surprised they couldn't find better than this kid. Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Brett Ratner directs Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock in untitled heist drama" - Monday, July 18

Hey Brett, I'm not sure if anyone told you, but you don't have to do EVERY project dangled in front of you. He's got several projects on the back burner and it seems like he just doesn't like to say no, constantly shifting his "next film" priorities. I've never really had a problem with that before because all of his projects sound pretty damn good...except for this one. Another heist flick with Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock? They'll be too busy trying to go over the top of each other so much, it'll be such a convoluted mess that we'll forget what the damn pic will be about while we're watching it. Rock is very talented in almost every aspect besides picking his movies. His supporting work is just fine, but when he has the top line, it's not so good. I don't think teaming up with ultimate has-been Eddie Murphy, who most of the younger generation will remember solely for voicing a donkey, will help out Rock's resume. Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Paramount/MTV pick up Born to Rock" - Wednesday, July 20

This sounds fairly interesting, almost a weird mix between Almost Famous, Laurel Canyon and Orange County. Gavin O'Connor, who directed last year's wonderful hockey flick Miracle sounds like a pretty good choice to helm here as well, although casting still remains to be seen. Still, this sounds like a fairly solid project. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Antoine Fuqua in talks for Notorious B.I.G. biopic" - Wednesday, July 20

This story has everything it takes for a successful movie. We have Biggy's rough start in life as a drug dealer then his amazing rise to the top of the rap world, followed by his tragic, fatal demise. Antoine Fuqua is a wonderful choice here, as he'll bring his gritty, intense style to a story infused with both traits already. Casting will be very curious, to say the least, just because of his notoriouisly BIG stature, and I don't think Denzel is willing to put on that much weight for a role. Still, this will definitely be a project to keep on the lookout for. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Blade TV series in the works" - Thursday, July 21

No, no, no. This, we do not need, regardless of Blade's cult-ish following. Goyer wowed us with his wonderful Batman Begins script with Christopher Nolan, but, sorry to say David, the key to Blade's success was not your stories. It was Wesley Snipes portrayal as the Daywalker. Now you're hiring some different scrub to play Blade and continue on the story? This isn't going to translate into M.A.S.H.-like movie-to-TV success. I'd go with Clueless' same path for this project... Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Tom Hanks joins Charlie Wilson's War" - Thursday, July 21

Now that Aaron Sorkin is done playing White House, it appears he still wants to stay in politics somewhat with this new feature project. He's been stuck in TV world for the past 10 years or so, but this guy is one hell of a writer, with a unique flair for dialogue and a penchant for mixing humor and drama like no other writer working in the biz today. This true-story project sounds right up his alley too, about a Kennedy-ish congressman with vices aplenty that gets into and emerges from scandal. Tom Hanks is just perfect here, since he has the range and talent to play anyone, and this is yet another different type of character that he hasn't yet tackled. Sorkin and Hanks should be a match made in moviemaking and moviewatching heaven. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Matt Dillon to join You, Me and Durpee" - Friday, July 22

Dillon's addition here rounds out a very nice cast, along with Owen Wilson as the unemployed loser friend of newlyweds Dillon and Kate Hudson. Dillon was marvelous in the indie darling Crash and I'm sure he still has his comic chops intact from There's Something About Mary. Everything sounds like it's in place for this flick to be a solid comedy. Best News of the Week Nominee.

BOX OFFICE CORNER

It looks like movie audiences didn't see the dentist this past weekend, because the sweet tooth is still reigning at the box office. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory held on to the top spot for the 2nd week in a row, earning an estimated $28.3 million in its 2nd week of release. It dropped 49.6% from last weekend, but its 3,790 theaters was still the most of all contenders. It had a solid $7,467 per-screen average, and it's overall take is now at a healthy $114.1 million for 10 days. If it still keeps performing strong during the weekday shows, it just might end up turning a profit from it's massive $150 million budget. With competition looking fairly slim for the rest of the summer, I'm sure Mr. Depp and Co. can pull it off.

Wedding Crashers, despite finishing in 2nd place for the 2nd straight week, probably was the biggest winner of the whole weekend. It took in an estimated $26.2 million, only dropping an astounding 22.7% from its opening weekend. It's incredible staying power was magnified by it's very impressive $8,957 per-screen average. It now stands at $80.9 million overall, and $100 million should be fairly easy to reach now. The Fantastic Four kept its 3rd spot this weekend, rounding out the top 3 from last weekend all staying in their same spots this weekend. It took in an estimated $12.2 million in its 3rd weekend, now standing at $122.5 million overall. But the biggest shock of the weekend is how poorly the newbies performed.

The Island took a very dissapointing 4th place, only mustering up $12.1 million in its opening weekend. It averaged a paltry $3,875 per screen, and is virtually guaranteed not to make a profit from it's massive $122 million budget. This is the worst opening weekend ever for action/summer guru Michael Bay, with even his first flick, Bad Boys, grossing over $3 million more in its opening weekend...10 years ago! While the flick featured an absolutely insane amount of explosions and such, even more than we're used to seeing from him, the more serious, dramatic tone of the flick could have turned moviegoers off, who are used to Bay delivering a sexier, hipper product.

Right on its tail was Bad News Bears in 5th place with an estimated $11.5 million. Since the gap between the 3rd-5th box office finishers was so close, they might have a few places switched when the actual figures are released Monday afternoon. This news isn't so bad for the Bears, since they only had a $35 million budget to make back, and that should be attainable in the coming weeks. But with the summer coming to a close, these results have to have Hollywood execs wiping the sweat from their brows. After all, if the summer maestro himself, Michael Bay, can't scare up more than $12.1 million for a July opening weekend, the movie biz might be in a spot of trouble after all.

It looks like movie audiences didn't see the dentist this past weekend, because the sweet tooth is still reigning at the box office. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory held on to the top spot for the 2nd week in a row, earning an estimated $28.3 million in its 2nd week of release. It dropped 49.6% from last weekend, but its 3,790 theaters was still the most of all contenders. It had a solid $7,467 per-screen average, and it's overall take is now at a healthy $114.1 million for 10 days. If it still keeps performing strong during the weekday shows, it just might end up turning a profit from it's massive $150 million budget. With competition looking fairly slim for the rest of the summer, I'm sure Mr. Depp and Co. can pull it off.

Wedding Crashers, despite finishing in 2nd place for the 2nd straight week, probably was the biggest winner of the whole weekend. It took in an estimated $26.2 million, only dropping an astounding 22.7% from its opening weekend. It's incredible staying power was magnified by it's very impressive $8,957 per-screen average. It now stands at $80.9 million overall, and $100 million should be fairly easy to reach now. The Fantastic Four kept its 3rd spot this weekend, rounding out the top 3 from last weekend all staying in their same spots this weekend. It took in an estimated $12.2 million in its 3rd weekend, now standing at $122.5 million overall. But the biggest shock of the weekend is how poorly the newbies performed.

The Island took a very dissapointing 4th place, only mustering up $12.1 million in its opening weekend. It averaged a paltry $3,875 per screen, and is virtually guaranteed not to make a profit from it's massive $122 million budget. This is the worst opening weekend ever for action/summer guru Michael Bay, with even his first flick, Bad Boys, grossing over $3 million more in its opening weekend...10 years ago! While the flick featured an absolutely insane amount of explosions and such, even more than we're used to seeing from him, the more serious, dramatic tone of the flick could have turned moviegoers off, who are used to Bay delivering a sexier, hipper product.

Right on its tail was Bad News Bears in 5th place with an estimated $11.5 million. Since the gap between the 3rd-5th box office finishers was so close, they might have a few places switched when the actual figures are released Monday afternoon. This news isn't so bad for the Bears, since they only had a $35 million budget to make back, and that should be attainable in the coming weeks. But with the summer coming to a close, these results have to have Hollywood execs wiping the sweat from their brows. After all, if the summer maestro himself, Michael Bay, can't scare up more than $12.1 million for a July opening weekend, the movie biz might be in a spot of trouble after all.

Box Office Predictions

Well, you all just had to shoot my predictions out of the sky with a cannon, didn't you? That has to be my worst week yet, as far as the new releases were concerned, even though I was almost dead on with the grosses with the other 3 flicks. Let's see how I fare this week. Only 7 short days until we find out.

Predictions for 7/29-7/31

1) Stealth: $31 million

2) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: $16.4 million

3) Wedding Crashers: $15.9 million

4) Sky High: $13.6 million

5) The Fantastic Four: $7.5 million

Prediction Results for 7/22-7/24

1) Bad News Bears: $44 million - ACTUAL Rank: 5; Gross: $11.5 million

2) The Island: $38 million - ACTUAL Rank: 4; Gross: $12.1 million

3) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: $28.3 million - ACTUAL Rank: 1; Gross: $28.3 million

4) Wedding Crashers: $22.1 million - ACTUAL Rank: 2; Gross: $26.2 million

5) The Fantastic Four: $10.2 million - ACTUAL Rank: 3; Gross: $12.2 million

GOING LIVE

Monster House: (monsterhouse-movie.com)

Why do I always have to start off this part of the column with a retarded teaser site? There is nothing here, but they add a little twist here. If you register for updates, they give you a free screensaver, because it would obviously be hard just to put it on the damn site anyway. Move along... Monster House opens on July 21, 2006.

Two For the Money: (twoforthemoney.net)

This is a baby step up from a teaser site. All we get here is a brief synopsis, a few pictures and the trailer. Well, at least they tried... Two For the Money opens on October 7.

Oliver Twist: (sonypictures.com/movies/olivertwist)

For a Sony site, this isn't half bad, even though it is a little disorganized. When you enter the site, there are three menus right away, Synopsis, Photo Gallery and Downloads. It's just weird because they have the same links in different places on the site as well, like Downloads is at the bottom. Anyway, on the top there are the menus The Film, The Story and the last two categories, Characters and 19th Century England are both coming soon. Under The Film, there is only the Photo Gallery, which is fairly large, but the other two sub-categories, Cast and Crew and The Production are coming soon. In The Story, there is a brief synopsis, but Manuscript to Screen is, yeah, coming soon. The Downloads section at the bottom have AIM Icons, wallpapers and screensavers to download as well. This is a OK site for now, but should be better when everything is added. Oliver Twist opens on September 30.

TRAILER PARK

Walk the Line:

Boy, is this flick lucky that Ray did so well last year. It will use that momentum to hopefully make a winner out of Walk the Line, a biopic of the man in black, Johnny Cash. This looks like the role of a lifetime for Joaquin Phoenix, who has long been a wonderful actor yet without a solo toplining role. From the looks of the trailer, this should change all that. This looks like a great flick, with marvelous acting and singing (Jamie Foxx played the piano himself, but did none of the singing for Ray, by the way) from Phoenix, and some very nice supporting work from Reese Witherspoon. I don't think it'll get as much Oscar buzz as Ray did last year, but it could be a dark horse if it does well with audiences and critics. Walk the Line opens on November 18.

An Unfinished Life:

I've never seen a movie with such a big cast get such a horrid release date like this flick's September 9 release. Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, Josh Lucas, Jennifer Lopez...ok, 3 out of 4 ain't bad. Besides J-Lo on board, the main reason this has been cast into the movie shadows of September because of the story we've heard a trillion times before. It looks like Secondhand Lions, but subbing in J-Lo for Haley Joel Osment and Morgan Freeman and Robert Redford for Michael Caine and Robert Duvall. It looks fairly interesting, I suppose, but I'm sure the main reason I'll see this is because there will be nothing else to see on this crappy release date.

Sorry folks, but the other trailers just aren't working for me today. Stupid computers. Anyway, I'm going to do some tweaking on the comp so hopefully next week I can get to the trailers for V for Vendetta,Rumor Has It and others.

BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK

It was a close call this week, but I'm going with

Tom Hanks teaming up with brilliant writer Aaron Sorkin for my Best News of the Week. I've long been a huge fan of Sorkin's work, especially the absolutely brilliant show Sports Night which was sadly cancelled after only 2 seasons in 2000. This true-story adaptations sounds just great for Sorkin to break back into moviemaking, and who better to have on your side than one of the best actors in the biz, Tom Hanks. He continues to surprise me with just how damn good he is, and how willing he is to keep exploring a totally different character with every movie he takes on. It'll be very interesting to see how Hanks handles Sorkin's writing, which normally has massive amounts of snappy, quick-paced dialogue. But Mr. Hanks seems that he always loves a challenge, and I'm sure he's up for this one, and then some.

WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK

I'm going with Blade hitting the small screen for my Worst News of the Week. Apparently this is the new trend, with TV versions of the Barbershop series and one of the best movies of this year, Crash getting the TV treatment too. OK, here's what you guys need to understand. You can't make a successful movie, or movie series into a TV show, it has to be a more obscure flick to be a hit. Remember Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie? Kristy Swanson, perhaps? Didn't think so. The successful movies don't work as TV shows because, well, TV doesn't attract as big of stars as the movie does, and no one wants to see a rehashed version of their favorite movies with actors and actresses no one has ever heard of. On the other hand, the Star Wars TV series should work, because it's focusing on smaller characters, and not the main ones we've seen on the silver screen. But when you take the exact same character and put a different, unknown face on it, the remote controls start a clickin.

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