Another seven days has come and gone and brought with it another slew of movie news, box office info, new official websites for upcoming flicks and new trailers. So lets get right into it with this week's Notables.
"Jason Lee Rockin' Out With Krater" - Monday, December 11
I have no idea why a rock group would be called Krater, even if it were Jason Lee's character's last name. Still, this sounds like a pretty decent project that'll give him a chance to rock out a little more than he did with his smaller role in Almost Famous. He'll play the leader of this Krater band who has to deal with monumental success after hiring a new lead singer who apparently has a hidden yearning to star on Broadway as well. I've always been a big fan of Lee ever since he made the leap from professional skateboarder to actor overnight with Kevin Smith's Mallrats. You just cant go wrong with more Jason Lee, folks. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Intrepid Pictures Finds The Prince" - Tuesday, December 12
This sounds like a interesting take on disgruntled youth. The Prince will surround a young man who was framed for planning a high school shooting and sent to jail. When he's released from the clink, he establishes a new identity and starts swirling around his high school enemies with his new alias and then kills them off or exposes their flaws. Sounds like a pretty cool eye-for-an-eye justice sort of flick here. I bet Garrett Hedlund would do pretty damn good in this role. Anyway, this sounds like a real nice pick-up by Dimension and I hope they cast it right. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Julia Roberts Buys Happiness Sold Separately" - Wednesday, December 13
Barf. A woman finds out her hubby is cheating on her with a nutritionist from the gym. How fresh and new. She then falls into a world of heartbreak and anger. Talk about refreshing! Then, and here's the kicker, it tells the story of, I have to quote this, "when people meet the wrong person at the wrong time and have to make it right." How quait. I'd write more about this, but I'm too busy BARFING! Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Nala Digs An Open Grave" - Wednesday, December 13
So, let the Saw rip-off's commence! When you can snap off three very successful movies in three consecutive years like the Saw people have done, rip-off flicks were bound to happen. This new Nala Films flick will have a man waking up in a big ol' pit full of corpses in some dense wilderness. Of course, he can remember nary a thing and when he's rescued by some strangers, he must try to make sense of this whole ordeal and figure out who he can trust... and crap. This sounds pretty cheesy, folks, from a brotherly writing team that hasn't done jack squat as of yet. Yeah, this should be a great one, that hopefully goes straight to DVD and straight to another reviewer's house so I don't even have to bother with it. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Andy Tennant Travels Around the World in 80 Dates" - Thursday, December 14
I'm actually kind of on the fence about this one. The premise does sound fairly intruiging for a chick flick. The movie centers on a female travel writer who can't find Senor Right. She decides to send out her profile info, or whatever, all across the globe and she then travels the globe to go on, yeah, 80 dates with men in 16 different countries to try and find her soul mate. It's just this sneaking suspicion I have about this flick that will make me tag it a Worst News of the Week Nominee. See, I have a pretty good feeling that, before this woman left, there was a man-friend who was pining for her. Yeah. And when she gets back home, perhaps after a few sappy phone calls, she realizes that her soul mate was under her nose the whole time, thus wasting all that time with all those men in all those countries. Catch my drift, compadres? So, this sneaking suspicion that I have about the way this flick will end up, is why I'm tagging this with a Worst News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
The misspelled end of an American maxim, along with life and liberty, was golden at the box office, while a boy and his dragon and a girl and her talking farm fell by the wayside. The Pursuit of Happyness overcame two newcomers with bigger rollouts to take the top spot with $26.5 million. Will Smith's latest "surprise" hit (his hits won't be surprises anymore, I guarantee) only rolled out to 2,852 theaters, which actually baffles the crap out of me. There's no reason that a movie that looked that damn good from all the trailers, near Christmas-time mind you, shouldn't be in AT LEAST 3,000 theaters. It's just weird. Anyway, much like Will Smith's character Chris Gardner, his movie overcame and scored a very impressive $9,306 per-screen average. They've made just under half of the $55 million budget back, so this will make a profit in a week or two, but I don't think I can say the same thing about the other two newcomers.
Right on Happyness' tail was Eragon, which came up a few mil short against Big Willy Style. The dragon rider flick took in a solid $23.2 million in its debut weekend. It bowed in 3,020 theaters and scored a healthy per-screen average of $7,695, but it seems that's where the good news ends for this fantasy flick. While the debut was about as good as can be expected, they needed an extraoridnary debut to score a profit from their $100 million budget. While they are a quarter of the way to Profitsville, it's a long road ahead, with a bevy of flicks competing for that holiday dollar. I don't think young Ed Speleers and Rachel Weisz's voice can make up that defecit in time, and the 14% "Fresh" drubbing the flick got from the Rotten Tomatoes critics won't help matters much either. In a distant third place was Charlotte's Web with a paltry $11.4 million. This Dakota Fanning flick received the biggest rollout, by far, bowing in 3,566 theaters, but only taking in a dismal $3,212 per-screen average. With an $85 million budget and the ultra-competitive slate ahead, it's almost guaranteed that this adaptation of the kiddie classic won't be spinning a web of profit.
There was one other auspicious debut this weekend, although it was far from a wide release. Supposed Oscar favorite Dreamgirls came in 18th place this weekend with a take of $378,950. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that it showed in all of 3 theaters this weekend. No folks, that's not a typo. THREE theaters! Do the math and that's a per-screen average of $126,316 which is absolutely outstanding. It's the 8th highest per-screen average in cinematic history, and proof that this flick will hit like gangbusters when it goes wide. Watch out for them Dreamgirls, folks, because they'll be everywhere shortly.
It must have been a slow week for webmasters because I couldn't find a single new official movie website that went live this week. Sorry folks.
Ugh. So they basically took the Nancy Drew book series and turned it in to Nancy Drew meets Mean Girls. Smashing. Just what I needed, really. This will come out in about 8,200 theaters, and probably knock out a decent adult movie from my theater because everyone and their mom, well, is a mom and will take their tweener kids to see Nancy Drew diffuse bombs and learn how to talk to boys. Balls. Nancy Drew opens on June 15 2007.
Oh goody. Another flick by George Gallo, the dope who's given us horrid dreck like The Whole Ten Yards and Double Take. For one, I never really trust a movie when they don't even get Don Lafontaine a.k.a "the movie trailer voice guy" from the Geico ad and every semi-reputable movie trailer known to man. Still, it looks better than probably any of his previous works aside from Midnight Run. We get a decent cast with Colin Hanks, Meg Ryan and Antonio Banderas. Hanks is a new FBI agent and Ryan as his mom who falls for Banderas who is a thief, which leads Hanks to have to spy on his mom and her new beau. It doesn't look as awful as anything else he's done, but still, I'd be wary if I was you.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Not much to choose from this week, but I'm going with this intriguing teen revenge flick The Prince for my Best News of the Week. It just sounds like a really cool premise to me, and it's rather timely with all the school shootings sprouting up in the past few years. This David Kalstein is a relative newbie, but it sounds like he can pound out some unique ideas with this project and the short flick he did a few years ago, which you can find on his IMDB page. I'll be keeping an eye on this one for the casting (Psssst. Garrett Hedlund...) to see who they select.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It was a tough choice between three moronic news stories, but I'm going with the first Saw rip-off in Open Grave. I'm not quite sure who these Nala Films people are, but apparently they were somehow affiliated with the new Paul Haggis flick coming out, In the Valley of Elah. I guess they're not TOTAL dolts, but still this flick is treading way too closely to the Saw regime. Any movie that comes out with a stranger waking up in a strange place, and has that stranger doing strange things to survive, will end up being a Saw rip-off, no matter how far away they try to distance the flick from Saw. While this might be the first, we can just hope it's the last.
That's all for this week. Surf on by next week for more box office goodies, new official sites 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. Gallagher out.