Howdy folks. It's been a crazy couple of weeks, chocked full of Internet difficulties, my latest Open Letter installment and good ol' April Fools Day. But now it's time to get back to business with The Week in Review, so let's get this party started with this week's Notables.
We all knew this was coming, but we never knew when. Fox and series creator Matt Groening have been teasing us here and there about this movie for years, and now it seems we FINALLY have a date set in stone for what surely will be the most anicipated movie of all time. Due to the show's massive following, that spans all ages, races and creeds, this should easily be the widest-released movie ever, and, if The Da Vinci Code doesn't break Spider-Man seemingly unbreakable opening weekend gross record, this will surely shatter it. This is gonna be one huge movie event, folks, and even though it seems quite far away, at least we know when it will be now. Best News of the Week Nominee.
I was all set to make this a Worst News of the Week Nominee, until I read the last sentence of this article, where it says that Doug Liman will be directing here. Liman is a great director, who is slowly developing into a new David Fincher-type of director, who crosses genres with ease and still makes great movies that audiences and critics respond to alike. Then I checked it out on IMDB and saw that this has some great writers as well in David S. Goyer (Blade series), Simon Kinberg (Mr. and Mrs. Smith, X-Men: The Last Stand) and Jim Uhls (Fight Club). Sure, this does sound a little weird, almost a rip-off of Alan Cumming's Nightcrawler character, but with this great assortment of writers and Liman at the helm, I'll be willing to give it a shot. Best News of the Week Nominee.
It appears that someone has been listening to The Devil Went Down to Georgia by the Charlie Daniels Band. It's a little odd that they don't list any producers, writers or directors in this article, and an IMDB search for this came up empty, so who frickin knows. All I do know is this flick, about a 12-year old who wagers his sould agaisnt the devil by staging a game with him and his townsfolk against the devil and his mideons. Unreal, folks. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
These true-story boxing flicks are usually pretty good fodder for good flicks, and this sounds pretty interesting too. This one takes place in Louisiana, with Billy The Kid Roth, a guy who mentored and trained inmates at state prisons for more than four decades. In this fictionalized version, Roth, played by Cage, finds a lifer inmate (50 Cent) who he thinks has real boxing potential. The story sounds pretty good, and 50 Cent is a great choice as the up-and-comer, but I really don't get Cage in this role. There are a vast amount of characters he can play, but, for one, Cage isn't nearly old enough for this character and even if he was, there's just something about him that doesn't seem right for this role. This will certainly be something new for Cage, though, and he does seem to thrive on roles he hasn't played before, so maybe this just might work after all. At any rate, this sounds cool enough to garner a Best News of the Week Nominee.
I think that whole "the sum is greater than its parts" saying is rather relevant here. Tim Allen hasn't been real hot lately, and Lopez doesn't have a lot of success on the big screen, but, together, I think they'll be a pretty good pair. They both have the kind of humor that should mesh together quite nicely and this story, about an odd pairing of in-laws who, for some reason, agree to raise their grandson together, sounds kind of interesting. This could be a pretty big boost to both their movie careers, and God knows they need it. Best News of the Week Nominee.
If you saw Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines, and the wonderful way they ended that flick, you'll know that they really don't need him anymore, and I'm almost positive that I know what this "very interesting role" for Arnold will entail. Still, I'm a little surprised at Andy Vajna's arrogance here. Arnold received the highest salary in movie history ($30 million) for T3, and now he wants him to come in and do a cameo? If that's not an insult, I don't know what is. Still, with the Governator's political career, this shouldn't be much of a shock. I hope they keep on the same path they were going when they ended T3, and if they do, this should be a solid flick and, no offense Arnold, but they don't need you anymore. Best News of the Week Nominee.
They stylized Monsieur Aja seems to be a hot new commodity in the horror world. Fresh off his edgy remake of The Hills Have Eyes he's now taking on a Japanese horror flick (big shocker, eh?) with Into The Mirror. This sounds right up his alley too, about a department store security guard who keeps finding people dead in front of the store's mirrors. Jim Uhls, who is starting to pick up steam again after basically dissappearing after writing Fight Club, is handling a different genre here, but he should do a fine job. This should be a very unique writer-director pairing and I can't wait to see the result. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
The second weekend for the second Ice Age flick proved to be no meltdown indeed, as the hot sequel kept its spot at the top. Ice Age: The Meltdown remained firmly in the #1 spot for the 2nd straight week, taking in $33.8 million this weekend. It dropped a normal 50.3%, and still held on to a solid per-screen average with $8,522, and showing in a hefty 3,969 theaters. It broke the $100 million mark this weekend, now at $115.7 million overall, and seeing nothing but profit from here on out, already eclipsing its $80 million budget. With a lot more adult fare coming in the next few weeks, and the summer season approaching, it should coast to $200 million before the summer flicks come out in early May.
A couple of newcomers came in far under Ice Age 2, but still ended up with decent showings. The Benchwarmers took 2nd place this weekend with an impressive $19.6 million showing. It's impressive mainly because of the drubbing this movie received from the critics, with this Rob Schnieder flick earning a mere 11% "Fresh" rating from the critics on Rotten Tomatoes. It averaged a healthy $6,003 per-screen average, showing in a decent 3,274 theaters and it's in fairly good shape to profit from a smallish $33 milllion budget. Take the Lead was right behind the ballplayers, taking the bronze this weekend with just over $12 million. Budget figures weren't released, but with a below-average per-screen average of $4,005, this should drop of the radar big time next weekend, but, at least they did much better than the other new flick this week.
Lucky Number Slevin could only muster a 5th place finish in its opening weekend, with an opening weekend gross of just over $7 million. The Josh Hartnett flick didn't get off to a good start, showing in a meager 1,944 theaters and posting a pretty bad $3,544 per-screen average. Of course, there was not budget figures released for this flick, because that would probably only make matters worse for this flick, if that's at all possible.
This certainly is a busy little site that most kids should find entertaining... when it's all finished. The site starts off with a map of "suburbia" and there are 4 different places you can go: Trail Guide Gals, RJ's Headquarters, The Verminator and El Rancho Camelot Estates. In each one is a bunch of little games, but all are "coming soon" except the one in Trail Guide Gals, which is basically a matching game, and if you complete all three levels, you get a bonus wallpaper to download. There is an ongoing game in all of these things, where you can find "hidden" items of food and if you gather them all, you get another "prize." But, there are only 4 on there now, and I'm assuming the rest will be filled in when the site is completed, so yeah. But the real content of the site is at the top. In Characters, you get a brief little introspect on each character's personality, Downloads offers a slew of stuff to grab like AIM Buddy Icons, desktops, IPod tattoo stickers and even animated emails. The Video menu has a bunch of IPod or RSS feeds for your viewing pleasure, Games and Activities has the one game you can play, plus a few download-and-print activities for kids and the Awesome Partner Promotions are coming soon. All in all, this is a pretty cool little site, with plenty to keep you busy, and even more to keep you busy, assumably, in the future. Over the Hedge opens on May 19.
Spider-Man 3: (www.sonypictures.com/movies/spiderman3/site/)
Damn you Sony and your blasted teaser sites! We get a gloomy image of Spidey, sulking in the rain... and you expect more, but there's not. All we get here are links to the regular Spider-Man site from Sony, with comic book bits and DVD stuff, and then there's a screensaver and wallpaper to download. Damn teaser sites getting my hopes up! Spider-Man 3 opens on May 4, 2007.
It looks like Victor Salva is done creeping around with The Creeper, thankfully, and is ready to make competent movies again, because this surely looks like a step in the right direction. This looks like a marvelous, inspirational tale about a college kid with a seemingly perfect life that gets shattered, along with his body, an a horrifying accident, and who looks to an old "peaceful warrior" to rebuild his life. I thought Scott Mechlowitz was just marvelous in the astounding indie darling Mean Creek, and this looks like a great follow-up. Nick Nolte looks to return to form as well here as his mentor, and this very well could be the indie darling of this summer. Peaceful Warrior opens on June 2 in limited release.
They're handling this flick rather smartly, actually. This is a blatant chick flick, about 3 girls who all discover they're dating the same guy and when they find out, all vow to take him down, manipulating the new hottie at school to help them out. Chicks will want to see this in droves, bonding together so they can all see this and then fantasize about taking down their exes, and dudes will see this because he's the kind of guy we all wanted to be in high school, and to see the manipulative powers of women. And, I'm sure, this flick will show us all the errors of our ways at the end, shaming us into rooting for such an elaborate scheme to get back at a guy, or for rooting for a blatant womanzier. And it just looks like a plain old good time for all involved. Smart indeed. Very smart. John Tucker Must Die opens on July 28.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
A lot of good stuff this week, but I'm going with my new favorite horror-meister getting another gig for my Best News of the Week. I was just blown away by Alexandre Aja's phenomenal High Tension, and his recent remake of The Hills Have Eyes was a great follow-up as well. This flick is a perfect match for Aja, a creepy tale about people dying in front of mirrors in a department store, and I'm really interested to see how Jim Uhls handles his first horror script. Casting remains to be seen, but this sounds like it has all the makings of another great Aja horror movie.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Only one choice here, with this stupid baseball-saving-souls flick as my Worst News of the Week. Does anyone else think it's just a tad ironic that baseball, a sport rocked by steroid scandal, has been chosen as the sport to save someone's soul? Why not hockey? Besides, it's on ice, and it'd be a nice contrast to that whole devil thing, and we'd get to see people cross-check and fistfight the devil. What more could you ask for? But, alas, they're going with baseball here, but that's not even the biggest problem about this. The biggest problem is that it's basically a movie version of The Devil Went Down to Georgia. The only thing that could save this flick is if the runtime was only as long as the song...
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 remember: if it looks like a good time, sounds like a good time and feels like a good time... it probably isn't free.