Howdy folks. I hope everyone had a great New Years and no one got arrested. Anyway, we've got a lot to go over this week, including trailers, finally, since I got my sound card working again. So, let's get this party started with this week's Notables.
"Carla Gugino in Talks for Night at the Museum" - Wednesday, January 4
It's not really clear what role Gugino, last seen as the luscious parole officer in Sin City, but it sounds like a decent addition. The flick surrounds Ben Stiller, as a hapless museum security guard who unwittingly sets off an ancient curse, bringing the historic critters to life. I'm guessing she's either playing Stiller's boss, or girlfriend here, but either way, it seems like a fine addition, in more ways that one. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"ESPN Prepares Through the Fire" - Wednesday, January 4
I am an ESPN junkie, folks. With the exception of a few TV programs like The Shield, or when they have figure skating or tennis on, my TV is constantly tuned to the cable sports network. I have seen almost all of their made-for-TV movies, all sports-themed obviously, and they've all been done very well, and could've each garnered a theatrical release. This is their first documentary, and it's a subject that's very relevant: high-school senior basketball players forgoing a collegiate career for the NBA. This doc's subject, Sebastian Telfair, was as touted as any top prospect, and this doc focusing on his surely whirlwind senior year should give some great insight into the immense pressure brought on such a young man. I hope this does indeed expand, because I'm looking forward to this. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Warner Bros. Planning Ocean's 13" - Wednesday, January 4
I became extremely angry, all of the sudden, when this headline hit my eyes. I didn't like the second installment, Ocean's Twelve, that much at all, mainly because of the horrible job George Nolfi did with the script. I calmed down a bit, though, when I saw that Rounders writers Brian Koppelman and David Levien are writing this flick. Sure, they've had their duds (See: Knockaround Guys and the short-lived TV series Tilt), but these guys are pretty solid writers. They'll surely add some better dialogue in this installment and hopefully they'll craft a better heist story, but this still is a good direction for this series to go in. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Reno 911!: Miami Coming to the Big Screen" - Friday, January 6
I'm a pretty big fan of the Comedy Central show, and it seems like they picked a good vehicle for the show to vault to the big screen. The flick revolved around the Reno Sherrif's Department going to Miami Beach for a national police convention and then trying to save the proverbial day when there is a threat of a bioterror attack. There is a lot of dry humor in the show, and I don't know if they'll implement that same brand in the movie, but if they do, and with creators Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garrant on board they probably will, this could be something interesting. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Ron Friedman and Steve Bencich to Pen The Missing Link" - Friday, January 6
We don't get much info on the story here, but what we get sounds utterly moronic. This is supposed to be "a monkey spy adventure in the vein of The Bourne Identity." Right. Let's see, a big bushel of bananas falls on this monkey's head, and he can't remember who he is, only to be rescued by a hot chick monkey as they fly through the streets of Paris in a go-cart, fleeing police...right? Something like that? Unreal. I hate Disney. Go fist yourselves. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"John Travolta and Tim Allen are Wild Hogs" - Friday, January 6
These guys sound perfect for these roles, and they both could certainly use the boost. They've both been searching for a hit for quite some time now, and I think they'd both work very well together. Just looking at them both, you could see them as both some upper-middle class neighbors, living next door to each other for years. The movie sounds pretty interesting, with some suburbanites that buy Harley's and hit the open road, only to find a real, menacing Hells Angles clan. These two should work off each other rather nicely, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do together. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
The horror genre took over the first full weekend of the new year, but the mainstays of December posted some solid numbers as well. Hostel put up some impressive this weekend, scoring $19.5 million in its debut weekend. The Eli Roth horror flick posted a very nice $8,909 per-screen average, screening in 2,195 theaters. Lions Gate Films continues its success in the horror genre with these numbers, and they well exceeded their $4.8 million budget, so it's all profit from here on out. January is traditionally a weak movie month, so Hostel could put up some decent numbers before Valentines Day, although Glory Road next weekend and Underworld: Evolution in two weeks should provide some hefty competition.
The Chronicles of Narnia took the second spot with $15.6 million, improving to $247.7 million overall and right below it were two flicks, slowly trying to reach a profit. King Kong keeps climbing towards a profit from its $207 million budget, with third place this weekend, good for $12.6 million and $192.6 million overall, and Fun With Dick and Jane got closer to profiting from its $100 million budget as well with a 4th place finish good for $11.9 million, bringing it to jsut over $81 million. These slow climbs, with fairly small decreases each week, could mean a couple of things. For one, it could mean that people were just busy over the holidays to see a flick and are catching up this weekend, but it could also mean that moviegoers are just more busy in general, with not as much time to see a movie on opening weekend. If this trend continues, look for smaller decreases between weekends and movies staying in theaters longer to compensate for a stretched out demand.
There are some movies, though, that seem to be beyond help, and a 52-week theater run wouldn't even result in a profit. Our first example in the new year of this would be Grandma's Boy, which got off to a dismal start finishing about $1.6 million out of the top 10. The "Sandler Regulars" flick could only muster a 13th place finish in its opening weekend, with just over $3 million. To be sort of fair, the flick didn't get a huge rollout (2,015 theaters), but it wasn't a whole lot less than Hostel, so there. It only grabbed a horrible $1,493 per-screen average, and I can only hope that this terrible showing will mean the end of starring stints for the "Sandler Regulars."
Box Office Predictions - 1/13-1/15
1) Glory Road: $21.3 million
2) Last Holiday: $17.8 million
3) Tristan and Isolde: $11.4 million
4) Hostel: $10.5 million
5) The Chronicles of Narnia: $9.3 million
The site automatically loads up the flick's trailer, which is fairly interesting, and on the right side of the site you get the menu options. The Movie News menu doesn't have much "news" but they do post some behind-the-scenes images, a concept art gallery and links to other related material for this movie. The Story menu gives us a synopsis, the Gallery gives us some more photos from the set, Downloads gives you wallpapers and AIM Icons to download and Characters gives you a breakdown on each of the main characters backstory. I've never heard of this flick before this site, and it looks like a pretty interesting movie. The site doesn't have a whole lot on here, but there is a nice spy style here and hopefully they add more to the site before its August 18 release.
See No Evil: (www.seenoevilthemovie.com)
This is a very weird site. There is nothing on the site but a look at the probable one-sheet and a Forum to sign off with fans. We get a good look at what WWE Superstar Kane will look like in the starring role here, but that's about it. What's weird about the site is it's almost a cross-promotional site with another Lions Gate film, Hostel. You can watch the Hostel trailer here, there's a link to the official Hostel site at the bottom, you can buy tickets for the movie and it says the trailer for this flick will be attatched to Hostel. If you're looking for info on this film, See No Evil, I guess you're out of luck, but there's plenty on Hostel... See No Evil opens on May 19.
This looks like a pretty interesting flick. Ethan Embry hasn't been doing a lot of movie work lately, in starring roles anyway, and this looks like a good movie for him. He plays this pizza delivery guy, who should've found a higher calling by now and he develops this bond with an overweight girl much younger than him. It looks like an interesting quirky indie that could end up being a solid flick. Pizza opens on January 20, in limited release.
No, this isn't a long-form music video for Christina Aguliera. The title refers to dirty cops, and Cuba Gooding Jr. and the wonderful Clifton Collins Jr. play ex-gangbangers who became cops, but are starting to turn back to their wayward ways. I've long been a fan of Collins, who's mainly toiled in supporting roles, but seems to be getting a push lately. This could almost be seen as a Training Day remake, but it feels more like "The Shield" than Training Day. This looks like a gritty, solid flick that I'm looking forward to. Dirty opens on February 24, in limited release.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Well, there was a ton of good news this week, but I'm going with John Travolta and Tim Allen strapping on the leather chaps for my Best News of the Week. This sounds like a really cool story and Travolta and Allen fit very nicely here. This could almost parallel their own careers, in some ways, since they're flicks have been struggling at the box office in the past few years or so. There are two more suburbanites to cast here, so if they cast those parts as well as these ones, this road comedy should turn out very nicely.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
There was only one choice here this week, so I guess I'm going with a monkey spy movie for my Worst News of the Week. I just can't see any reason why this would become a feature film. Sure, these dudes wrote Chicken Little and it's supposedly pretty good, but I really don't care. I just can't fathom monkeys being spies, and I hope the sky falls on this project.
That's all for this week. Surf on by next week for more box office goodies, new official websites, new trailers and, of course, the best and worst news of the week. Take care, folks, and always remember: if it look like a good time, sounds like a good time and feels like a good time... it probably isn't free.