PERRY NOT LIKELY TO "DO BAD"
Tyler Perry is expected to dominate the box office again this weekend with his I Can Do Bad All by Myself. Like Perry's previous films, this one was not screened for critics, but they and other industry forecasters don't expect it to do badly at all. Several suggest it could come close to equaling Perry's biggest success, Madea Goes to Jail, which earned $41 million last February. Focus Features' 9 is expected to come in second after an early opening on Wednesday (apparently to take advantage of the 9/9/09 date). The film, which drew mostly positive reviews, is likely to earn $15-20 million, box office forecasters predict. Summit Entertainment is adding to the glut of horror films currently in theaters, with Sorority Row (also not previewed for critics), while Warner Bros. opens the supernatural thriller Whiteout starring Kate Beckinsale.
MOVIE REVIEWS: WHITEOUT
To many critics, Whiteout is pretty much of a washout. The film, which stars Kate Beckinsale in a story that takes place at a South Pole research station, Several of them note that in the opening of the movie, Beckinsale is seen taking a shower -- probably for no other reason than the fact that she's shown in a parka throughout most of the rest of the film. A.O. Scott complains in his review in the New York Times that it lacks ... penguins! "I thought every movie about Antarctica had to have penguins," he writes. "Has someone done market research proving otherwise? Is the whole penguin thing over? Or maybe the penguins read the script and told their agents to pass. Smart birds." Kyle Smith's review in the New York Post is headed "Cold Turkey." He comments: "The severely non-thrilling thriller Whiteout moves like winter in Antarctica. Who the flake greenlit this blobby blur?" And Dan Zak concludes in the Washington Post, "Whiteout is so staggeringly bad that it achieves a kind of transcendent poetry. It's ignorant of how things are in the real world, of what makes a thriller a thriller, of why people seek out entertainment."
MOVIES HAVE STRONG YEAR IN EUROPE
Movie attendance in the big 5 European Union markets increased 3.8 percent during the first half of 2009 compared to 2008, the European Audiovisual Observatory said today (Friday). The U.K. led the way with an increase of 14.5 percent, while France reported a decrease of 4.4 percent. The decline was attributed to the enormous success of last year's comedy Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis, the most successful feature in French film history. The EAO also reported strong ticket-sales growth in other European countries, including a whopping 27-percent increase in Sweden, 16 percent in Poland, and 12 percent in the Netherlands. It particularly noted that the increases occurred "despite the difficult economic environment."
DISNEY PROMOTES UPCOMING FARE IN LONDON, ANAHEIM
The Walt Disney Co., whose executives and staff have always appeared to be Anglophiles of the first order, offered journalists a preview of its forthcoming slate Thursday -- much of it featuring British performers. A five-second clip from Toy Story 3 in which Timothy Dalton, a former James Bond, provides the voice for a hedgehog named Mr. Pricklepants, was greeted with uproarious laughter. Addressing the audience, Disney/Pixar's chief creative officer, John Lasseter, disclosed that the voices of Brits Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson and Julie Walters will be heard in Pixar's The Bear and the Bow, which Lasseter describes as Pixar's "first fairy tale." It's also Pixar's first film directed by a woman, Brenda Chapman. Lasseter also displayed initial drawings for an upcoming full-length feature version of Winnie the Pooh, noting that the lead story artist is Burny Mattinson, who worked on the first screen adaptations of the A.A. Milne character 35 years ago. A similar gathering in Anaheim, CA heard from Disney CEO Robert Iger, who unspooled excerpts from the handdrawn The Princess and the Frog to the enthusiastic crowd. "Nowhere do we shine more brightly than in classic Disney animation," Iger said.