NO NEW TREATS AT HALLOWEEN BOX OFFICE
Halloween weekend usually marks a bleak time at the box office, and, except for Michael Jackson's This Is It! concert documentary, which actually debuted on Wednesday (or, in many markets on Tuesday night), no new film is opening wide this weekend. The closest thing to a wide opening is Troy Duffy's Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, which is being let loose in fewer than 70 theaters -- a film in the Quentin Tarantino mold of cartoonish violence. Kyle Smith in the New York Post says that the movie can not be regarded as "a taut thriller. More like a fleshy, messy, jangled frenzy of shootouts and much discussion about the mechanics of romantic entanglements that bloom between prison inmates." Robert Abele in the Los Angeles Times observes that the ten years since the original Boondock Saints haven't made Duffy, a former bartender, "a better Tarantino knockoff." But Ty Burr in the Boston Globe disagrees, saying that at least Duffy has learned "how to structure a scene for baseline coherence. The result isn't art, but it is an improvement." Compared with the original, Burr says, the new movie "doesn't make you want to claw your eyes out. How's that for praise?"
25 MILLION VIEW TRAILER FOR TWILIGHT SEQUEL
Maybe you can't judge a book by its cover, but it's certainly possible to judge a movie's potential box-office performance by the number of people viewing its trailer. And by that measure, it looks like Summit Entertainment's Twilight Saga: New Moon should become one of the biggest hits of the year when it is released in three weeks. Last week, according to Visible Measures, the New Moon trailer recorded 25 million views, the most since it was first posted online eight weeks ago. But it has also posted similar numbers during that nearly two-month period. By contrast, the No. 2 movie trailer on the list last week previewed Michael Jackson's This Is It! concert documentary. It drew 2.3 million views. Meanwhile, Summit said Thursday that it will re-release the original Twilight movie theatrically on November 19 (it's already out on DVD), hours before the midnight debut of New Moon. While the two films will not play as a single-ticket double feature, the Los Angeles Times reported that tickets for the original movie are likely to be discounted.
SONY THINKS THIS IS IT! DESERVES A BEST-PICTURE OSCAR
Sony said Thursday that it plans to promote Michael Jackson's This Is It! concert documentary for a best-picture Oscar. The film, which received mostly solid reviews from critics when it was released on Wednesday, is not eligible in the documentary category since the deadline for submissions was August 31, but once it completes a seven-day run in theaters it automatically becomes eligible for consideration in the best-film category (and also in the sound and editing categories, too, where it will likely be a strong contender). Meanwhile, Sony, which is distributing the movie in the U.S., said that This Is It! grossed $20.1 million worldwide on Wednesday, including $7.4 million in North America. And the Los Angeles Times reported that the studio's plan to release the movie on DVD in time for the holidays was nixed by theater owners, who have made it clear that they will fight any studio that tries to release a film on DVD less than three months after its theatrical run.
NEW ON-DEMAND MOVIE CHANNEL DEBUTS TONIGHT
Epix, the high-definition on-demand TV channel and Internet service is scheduled to debut on Verizon's FiOS network tonight (Friday), and, while the service requires a subscription (at $9.99 per month), Epix said that those interested in checking it out can receive a 72-hour pass by accessing the epixhd.com website. At least one website, arstechnica.com, is also handing out one-month passes to a limited number of users. Epix is expected to set itself apart from similar on-demand services by offering many movies before they are released on DVD as well as live concerts. It offers 720p resolution, a step down from the 1080p of most home-theater setups, but the difference is said to be virtually unnoticeable except in the case of objects moving about rapidly onscreen.
LANG'S METROPOLIS TO BE FEATURED AT BERLINALE
Fritz Lang's Metropolis, arguably Germany's most famous production during the silent-movie era, has been painstakingly restored and will be shown -- all two hours and 23 minutes of it -- at the the Berlin Film Festival -- the Berlinale -- on February 12, festival officials said Thursday. According to a press release, this will mark the first time that the film has been seen in its entirety since it was released in 1927. A 2001 restoration ran some 30 minutes shorter. The new one was constructed from a 16mm negative discovered at the Museo del Cine Pablo in Buenos Aires last year, believed to be the only one in existence. The festival screening will be accompanied by the Berlin Runfunk Symphony Orchestra conducted by Frank Strobel, which will be performing the original score written for the movie by Gottfried Huppertz.