Hey there kids. Another week has come and gone, and has left us with another bunch of movie news, box office figures, new official websites for upcoming movies and new trailers. So lets get on with it with this week's Notables.
"John Landis Set to Direct Show Dogs" - Monday, August 1
Wow. How many different takes on Pygmailion is Hollywood going to take a stab at? So, let me get this straight. This is one of those "fish-out-of-water" stories...about a dog? This is just getting weird, folks. This story is about a homeless dog...yeah, seriously, who must end up barking at the right person and ends up in competitive dog shows. This just sounds horrid. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Brittany Murphy Confirmed for Sin City 2" - Monday, August 1
I don't often find myself agreeing with Brittany Murphy, but I must admit, I'm absolutely thrilled too! Sin City was an astonishing flick that stood out in a pack of dull winter and spring flicks that helped account for Hollywood's record box office "slump" earlier this year. While many sequels fail to live up to their original, Sin auteur Robert Rodriguez has the sequel down to a science, with 2 successful trilogies (El Mariachi-Desperado-Once Upon a Time in Mexico and the Spy Kids series) under his belt. Since these flicks are based off Frank Miller's graphic novels, this could develop into a huge franchise, and I simply can't wait. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"DeBrino Jose Canseco's Juiced Rights" - Tuesday, August 2
This could turn into a very interesting project, since the book is still stirring controversy after slugger Rafael Palmeiro tested positive for, apparently, the same substance that Canseco said he injected him with in the early 90s, as told in the book. I haven't read the book yet, but there are several ways they could approach this project. They could do it, no pun intended, by the book and do a straight adaptation of the material in the book. Or they could also focus on the writer Canseco himself, and all the heat he caught off this book from former ballplayers, especially at the Congressional hearings, and how he's coming through it now that it appears that there probably is some truth to the book. This could make some more waves, if they do it right. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Ryan Reynolds and The Rock Picked Up for Blowback" - Wednesday, August 3
The Rock has done well in these action/comedy hybrids alongside funnyman Seann William Scott in The Rundown and this sounds like another great pairing. Reynolds is probably the best comic talent around Hollywood these days, with just perfect timing and delivery, and I think he'll do great with The Rock in this flick where they're both San Francisco cops. If they want to take a stab at the Lethal Weapon-type comedy again, I can't think of two better people to kickstart it with than Reynolds and The Rock. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Billy Bob to Teach School for Scoundrels" - Wednesday, August 3
I'm not quite sure if the title is right here, because it doesn't really sound like people taking a confidence-building class would be considered "scoundrels," but everything else about this project sounds pretty damn good. Jon Heder, who played the coolest movie nerd of all time, Napoleon Dynamite, plays a downtrodden dude who takes this class to help him win over a woman, only to find the teacher of this class (Thornton) is enamored with the same dame. If they get Rachel McAdams as said dame, I can damn near guarantee $100 million for this flick, but still, this sounds like an awesome project, and another stellar post-Napoleon flick for Heder. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Vin Diesel Set to Star in The Retriever" - Friday, August 5
Hmm. See if this story sounds just maybe a tad familiar: an "apocalyptic weapon", rebel forces...hmmm Vin's name wouldn't happen to be Skywalker, would it? Sure, the rebels sound like the bad guys here, as opposed to the Star Wars series, but this just sounds like another thin retread of Star Wars, with the big, bad, bald Diesel out to save the day. Hoo rah. Stick to Riddick, buddy, because that's all you've been good at lately. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Sreep, Paltrow and Benning Up to Dirty Tricks" - Sunday, August 7
This sounds like some Oscar bait from the get go, with this high-concept story and its already phenomenal cast, written and directed by Ryan Murphy, creator of the Nip/Tuck TV show, which is a already a big success. The timing is great here too, with the Nixon/Watergate scandal back in the limelight after the recent revelation that FBI man W. Mark Felt was the man known as "Deep Throat." This is a wonderfully original take on the scandal, focusing on the women behind the men behind the scandal, and this top-notch cast will certainly serve the story justice, and then some. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
Those good ol' boys from Hazzard did plenty of harm at the box office this weekend. Dukes of Hazzard took the top spot at the box office this weekend, taking in $30.6 million in its opening weekend. The feature adaptation of the popular 80s TV show was the only new flick in wide release this weekend, and had no problem taking the top spot, finishing with almost double the earning of the second place Wedding Crashers, which finished with just over $16 million. The Dukes flick posted an impressive $8,104 per-screen average, showing in a hefty 3,785 theaters. With the Dukes fairly modest $50 million budget, it's a surefire lock to make a profit, perhaps by next weekend if it fares well during the week.
There were two other winners this week at the box office, and they were Wedding Crashers and the surprising documentary March of the Penguins. There is only one word for the Wedding Crashers' 4-week run: astonishing. It keeps decreasing by less and less a margin each week, with minimal declines of 24.3%, 22% and 19.9% so far. Each one of those figures is amazing on its own, but the fact that it is decreasing less and less each week, is something that we rarely ever see these days. True, it was picked up in 105 more theaters two weeks ago and 76 more this past weekend, and it's per-screen average is declining every week, but it's clear that the demand for this flick is truly high. It's now at $143.6 million, and coming from a paltry $40 million budget, it's fairly safe to say that this flick is one of the biggest summer winners, and that it certainly proves this point: audiences want more of the R-rated comedy.
March of the Penguins doesn't have quite as high of a box office gross, currently at $26.4 million overall. But it is now the highest grossing non-Michael Moore documentary of all-time, which is astonishing on its own since there is pratically NO advertising out there for this doc. This movie is successful the hard way: word of mouth. The theater count has expanded minimally each week of its 7-week run, and its grosses have increased significantly each week, except for two weeks ago where it posted the only decline in it's run... which was only 8 percent. This weekend, the mainstream theaters caught on to the hype, as Penguins expaded 1,089 theaters for a total of a respectable 1,867 theaters. It vaulted up the charts, going from 10th place last weekend to 6th this weekend with its best gross to date of $7.1 million, just $200,000 or so below 5th place finisher Must Love Dogs. Documentaries are back en vogue these days, but I think it's safe to say that no one saw a movie about a bunch of penguins not affiliated with Batman in any way, doing so well. Kudos you silly penguins!
Box Office Predictions
Hah! You didn't make me look bad this weekend guys. I underestimated the chick flick, and overestimated the action flick, but other than that, I did pretty damn good. This should be a very tricky week, and I'm basically throwing my predictions from my Summer Movie Preview right out the window this weekend, so let's see if I can keep it going as the summer comes to a close.
Predictions for 8/12-8/14
1) Four Brothers: $23.6 million
2) Dukes of Hazzard: $16.5 million
3) The Skeleton Key: $14.2 million
4) Wedding Crashers: $11.6 million
5) Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo: $9.7 million.
Prediction Results for 8/5-8/7
1) Dukes of Hazzard: $34 million - ACTUAL Rank: 1; Gross: $30.6 million
2) Wedding Crashers: $15.8 million - ACTUAL Rank: 2; Gross: $16.03 million
3) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: $9.2 million - ACTUAL Rank: 3; Gross: $10.9 million
4) Sky High: $8.3 million - ACTUAL Rank: 4; Gross: $9 million
5) Stealth: $6.4 million - ACTUAL Rank: 7; Gross: $5.9 million
Allrighty then. This is the weirdest/dumbest site I've ever seen. All we get here is some really weird music and this red and orange blob of stuff that looks to be morphing into other weird stuff, but never really does. I waited for about 5 minutes for something to happen here, and nothing did. All you can do here is download a screensaver, and it's a tiny little link at the bottom center of the page, so I barely noticed even that. There's just nothing to do here, folks, and there is no release date announced for this flick yet, so maybe more will be added here fairly soon.
This is a very interesting site, with a pretty cool format. It looks like a pretty basic site, then, as seemingly a joke to pop-up ads, a bunch of other things start popping up on the screen. You can "flip the coin" to watch the trailer, click on Stratosphere for a link to this Vegas hotel that apparently was filmed in the movie, and there is also a link to the apparently real publication Bounty Hunters Quarterly, which is filled with some interesting tidbits. Also playing on the pop-up ad thing is an image gallery where there is "no credit card needed" with a bunch of thumbnails to view, and if you click on the Members Only section, there are a few desktops to download. You can also "Bless a Friend" too, by sending some message. On the left side of the site is a small menu of other things to check out. Email is just a link to register for updates, Downloads are the same two desktops from before, plus a few AIM Icons to download and the Domino Harvey link is a a Los Angeles Times article written about her life, shortly after her death a few months ago at the age of 35. This is a pretty cool site, with plenty to do, and some nice info on the real-life subject of the flick. Domino opens on October 14.
OK, I get it. Cheaper By the Dozen was a successful movie. Why do we need a bigger/dumber version of it, that really is a bigger/dumber version of that old TV show Step by Step with Patrick Duffy and Suzzanne Sommers. Why I have that show imbedded in my memory bank, I have no idea, but still. They're really just trying to play off of Cheaper By the Dozen's success and even Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo, who I normally think are decent, can save this dreadful flick. It might be good for a laugh or two, but that will probably be at Quaid and Russo's expense, in more ways than one. Yours, Mine and Ours opens on November 23.
This looks like a very interesting flick. It stars a couple of kids and a couple of adults, but it seems like this is aimed at adults, giving a childs view of love and all that jazz. I've never seen the kids in anything before, but they paired the adults together well, with Bradley Whitford and Cynthia Nixon as a divorced couple with a son who is discovering love for the first time. It's very original, I'll give it that, and I'm sure it'll be the date movie of the year, but I'm not quite sure if this will find a niche or not. Little Manhattan is still looking for a release date.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It was a very tough choice this week, but I'm picking this new Watergate flick with a twist of estrogen for my Best News of the Week. The cast here is just remarkable, headlined by Meryl Streep, Annette Benning and Gwenyth Paltrow. They're all amazingly diverse actresses with the talent to pull off any type of role thrown their way. The timing couldn't be better here for this project and with this kind of cast and story, I wouldn't be surprised if they fasttracked it. This should be one hell of a movie, folks.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Not much to choose from this week, but I'm taking this retarded doggy rags to riches tale. I just can't believe someone like John Landis, who has some wonderful flicks under his belt, would take on a project that sounds so unbelieveably stupid. This can't, and won't work, because who is actually going to throw down hard earned money to watch a scraggly dog turn into a show dog? Last I checked, dog shows aren't exactly the most popular spectator event, outside of the cultish freakshow's that treat their dogs like royalty like on that Bravo show. Boy, John, those Animal House days sure are far behind you, aren't they? Show dogs? You're stretching, buddy. Really stretching...
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 or feels like a good time... it probably isn't free.