Another 7 days has come and gone, and left with us another slew of movie news, box office figures, new official websites for upcoming flicks and new trailers. So let's get this party started with this week's Notables.
"The Five Ancestors Being Adapted for the Big Screeen" - Monday, January 9
This sounds like an interesting flick, that should be good for Nickelodeon. I think they've finally realized that movie versions of their animated shows isn't proving to be too profitable, so they're starting to branch out a bit more. While this will be mainly aimed at children, it's one of those flicks that the parents might not mind being dragged along to. This flick centers on five young monks in ancient China, each a specialist in a differenty style of kung fu, who must band together when a rebel monk attacks their temple and have to rely on their skills to survive. The addition of producer Lawrence Bender, best known for his work on Quentin Tarantino's movies, should bring a unique style to this picture and it looks like something to keep an eye on. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Sam Raimi to Direct The Wee Free Men" - Tuesday, January 10
This sounds a bit too much like The Chronicles of Narnia to me. This flick, based off a book by Terry Pratchett, revolves around a 9 year old farm girl who sets off to another world to rescue her brother who has been nabbed by a wicked queen. But, instead of a pan-like character helping her, she enlists the help of these rowdy 6-inch creatures. I'm not sure how much help a 6-inch, blue-faced little thing could bring to the table, but then again, this mystical place is also called Fairyland. Sounds like a land I won't be visiting anytime soon, and I'm not quite sure why Raimi would either. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Mike Nichols In Talks to Direct Charlie Wilson's War" - Wednesday, January 11
This project already sounded like a winner with the timely story and, of course, Tom Hanks' involvement, but now it's picked up even more steam. While Nichols has a tendency to be too artsy at times, this should be a damn good project for him. This true-story flick is about a Wilson, a Texas congressman who, with a CIA spy, manipulates the government into helping Afghanistan rebels in their fight with the Russians in the early 1980s. Of course, those same men they helped out ended up in the Taliban with Osama bin Laden. With a script from the wonderful scribe Aaron Sorkin (TV's The West Wing, Sports Night, A Few Good Men), Nichols at the helm and Hanks playing Wilson, this should be one hot movie to keep an eye on. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Emmett Till Drama Headed For the Big Screen" - Wednesday, January 11
I haven't seen Beuachamp's documentary about Till that led to the reopening of Till's murder case, but this certainly seems like fodder for a big-screen drama. Till was slain in 1955 for whistling at a white woman, and his story has become legendary. With Beauchamp on board, it's clear they want this to be more historical than Hollywood-dramatic, and with his background on the subject, this could turn into a very powerfull movie. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Daniel Waters Prepares Sex and Death 101" - Wednesday, January 11
I'm not really sure where the death part comes in here, but this surely sounds rather interesting. This flick, about a dude who gets a mysterious email containing the names of every woman he's had sex with... and every woman he will have sex with as well. While Waters has a somewhat spotty resume (See: Hudson Hawk, Demolition Man), this story sounds like it could turn into something decent. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Joaquin Phoenix Set for We Own the Night" - Wednesday, January 11
With the success of August's Four Brothers, it seems that the old-school vigilante style seems to be wearing off. This flick, which has a great title by the way, sounds like it's cut from the same cloth. Phoenix stars as a night club owner in the 80s, who finds out that the Russian mob has a hit list of NYPD officers and that his brother and father are next on the list and tries to stop their murders. This sounds like a smashing follow-up for Phoenix's amazing Walk the Line, and I'm pumped to find out who else will get cast in this movie. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Matt Nix's Boss Go Home Comes to WB" - Thursday, January 12
There are just those movies that don't seem right when you first hear of them. This is surely one of them. This flick is about a junior exec at some company whose life is thrown asunder when his boss moves in with him, suffering from a weird midlife crisis. OK, my first question here is: why? Why would a top-level executive move in with one of his underlings. These boss types usually have a decent nest egg, and I'm assuming he would have the scratch to find his own digs. This just isn't feasible at all, and I don't think this will pan out in the theaters. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"David Fincher Directing Torso" - Thursday, January 12
Anytime David Fincher's name gets mentioned on the site, my eyes are peeled. He is an immensely talented director, one of the best working in the biz today, and I actually think he should work more, since he hasn't made a picture since 2002's Panic Room. One of the reasons he's such a great director is because he picks great stories to work with, and this one sounds like another winner. This true story of post-Capone Elliot Ness, that was adpated into a graphic novel, has Ness in Cleveland in a less-glamourous post as the city's public safety officer, when torso's begin floating in the river, and Ness receives a series of notes, haunting/daring Ness to stop the killer. Fincher is being teamed with one of the best writers in the biz as well, in Ehren Kruger, so now that we have an amazing writer and director intact, hopefully they'll keep the ball rolling in casting because I'll certainly be keeping a fixed eye on this picture. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
It was a weekend of trickery at the box office this weekend. Hoodwinked took the top spot over the 4-day holiday weekend, with an estimated gross of $16.6 million (no prediction... oops). But those numbers might not stand when the full grosses come out later, because the two new movies in 2nd and 3rd, Glory Road and Last Holiday were both separated from Hoodwinked by less than $1 million. Still, Hoodwinked put up solid box office numbers in its first weekend in wide release. It scored a $6,942 per-screen average, showing in 2,394 theaters. Budget figures weren't released, so I'm not quite sure how primed this flick is to earn a profit, but for an early January release, this flick didn't do too bad.
Glory Road came in a close 2nd place this weekend, taking in an estimated $16.4 million ($21.3 million prediction). The Josh Lucas flick performed rather well, posting a solid $7,424 per-screen average, showing in 2,222 theaters. Budget figures for this flick weren't released as well, but this should have a better shot of profiting than does the animated Hoodwinked. In a just-as-close third place was Last Holiday, which took in an estimated $15.7 million. It nabeed a pretty good per-screen average of $6,245, showing in 2,514 theaters and has a decent shot at a profit from it's $45 million budget.
It was a pretty good weekend overall at the box office, with the top 6 movies taking in 8-digit grosses, and, two flicks inching closer to a profit. Fun With Dick and Jane, which dropped only 13.6% from last weekend, took 6th place with an estimated $10.3 million to reach $94.2 million overall ($100 million budget) and King Kong took 7th place with $9.2 million to crawl past the $200 million mark with $204.6 million overall ($207 million budget). Seemingly the only movie this weekend wasn't good to was the newcomer Tristan & Isolde which came in 8th place with $7.8 million ($11.4 million prediction).
Box Office Predictions 1/20-1/22
1) Underworld: Evolution: $24.5 million
2) Glory Road: $10.3 million
3) Hoodwinked: $8.6 million
4) Last Holiday: $7.3 million
5) The Chronicles of Narnia: $7.0 million
CLICK HERE to check out the rest of my predictions from last week.
Another stupid teaser site with nothing but the trailer. People just love wasting my time, don't they? ATL opens on March 26.
Final Destination 3: (www.fd3movie.com)
This sits starts out kind of weird. They first ask if you're "old enough" to ride this ride and make you enter in your birthday, and then they ask you for your name, "in case something happens." After this, you move on to the main site, and the interface here is a little weird also. The main site is this roller coaster going out of control over and over again, and you keep passing little landmarks that bring you to the four menus: The Legend, The Victims, The Evidence and The Consequences. The Legend just has the trailers and synopsis' for all three movies, and a link to buy the two-pack of the first DVD's. The Victims menu is pretty stupid, with just some "yearbook snapshots" of the actors and what they were voted among their class. You understand here why they ask for your name, as the last of the "snapshots" is of you, dead, with a toe tag reading your name and saying that you died under mysterious circumstances. Ooooh, scary. The Evidence is really a downloads section, with desktops, AIM Icons, a poster, screensaver and "screamtones" to download. Lastly, The Consequences is just this "terror-gram" you can send to a friend and a sweepstakes you can enter. The style of this site is rather nice, but there just isn't enough content here. Final Destination 3 opens on February 10.
This is a pretty basic site with some good info here. The menu items appear at the top of the site. Synopsis offers a very detailed synopsis and the Gallery features a fairly large slideshow. The Cast and Crew menus offer some nice bios and filmographies and in The Director, you get an interview with him, Wim Wenders. The Reviews link is coming soon, and the Links section has IMDB pages, fansites and other links for cast and crew members. This is a very simple but effective site. Don't Come Knocking opens on March 17 in limited release.
This is another fairly basic site. All we get is a decent synopsis, the trailer, a photo gallery with all of 4 photos and a downloads section with wallpapers and AIM Icons to download. There's some decent style here, but nothing to write home about. Slither opens on March 31.
This looks like a very powerful and provocative movie, which is basically old hat for the folks at Lions Gate Films. This flick, which hit the festival circuit last year, deals with a 30something guy who picks up a teenage girl on the Internet and goes to meet her, but when they get to his place, things start to unfold and go horribly wrong... for him. I'm not familiar with Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page, but they look to deliver some great performances here and this movie could be one of the most controversial flicks of 2006. Hard Candy opens on April 14 in limited release.
This looks like a Boyz N the Hood transplanted to Georgia, but it does look pretty solid. The story doesn't seem as hardcore as Boyz, but it has a lot of the same elements, in getting out of the hood, trying to reach your potential, etc. It looks like a pretty solid flick, that will surely give us a new look at Atlanta. ATL opens on March 31.
I thought this flick sounded pretty stupid when it was first announced awhile ago, but from how it looks like it developed now, it looks like a solid picture. Bruce Willis plays an aging cop (big stretch there, eh?) who takes a crappy, but simple assignment. He has to transport a criminal, played by a favorite of mine, Mos Def, 16 blocks in 118 minutes to the courthouse. What Willis doesn't know is that Def's testimony will hurt a bunch of dirty cops, and those cops are coming out in force to make those 16 blocks last a lifetime. While Richard Donner hasn't had the best track record of late (remember the ghastly Timeline?) it looks like this flick might put his career back on track, as well as Willis' and hopefully give the fabulous Mos Def a bigger push into the mainstream. 16 Blocks opens on March 3.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
There were a lot of great news bits this week, but I'm going with Joaquin Phoenix owning the night for my Best News of the Week. I'm really excited that studios are starting to make more of these smash-mouth adult-themed flicks, and this one sounds pretty damn good, with Joaquin Phoenix as a nightclub manager trying to stop the Russian mob from offing his cop brother and father. This vigilante story sounds great, and Phoenix has range to spare, even though he normally doesn't play a shady type of character like this. Still, I'm looking forward to this, and I hope they round out the cast appropriately.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
I'm going with this stupid corporate buddy flick for my Worst News of the Week. I have no idea who this Matt Nix cat is, but this story is just ludicrous. There is no way in Hades that a corporate executive would move into an underling's crib, in this day and age. The only way I could see that happening is if it's an Enron sort of thing, and they freeze all his assets or something, but then the junior exec would probably be just as screwed as the boss, so that doesn't work either. They should change the title to Audiences Go Home or Audiences Stay Home, because, if this doesn't undergo some drastic changes, they surely will.
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.