Hey party people. Another week has come and gone and left us with another batch of movie news, box office figures, new official websites for upcoming movies and new trailers. So lets get under way here with this week's Notables.
"Brian Grazer and Warner Bros. Move Forward with The People's House" - Monday, July 25
Super-producer Brian Grazer looks to have struck cinematic gold again with this high-concept comedy that sounds a bit like War of the Roses set in the White House. This sounds like a very original flick, that surrounds the President of the United States getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar...or perhaps someplace else not suitable to mention here, and is kicked out of his crib at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave by the First Lady. This sounds like a wonderful project, and this should attract some high-level talent to play the prez and his wife. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Mel Gibson's Apocalypto to be Spoken in an Obscure Mayan Dialect" - Monday, July 25
OK jackass. You're a linguist now, is that your deal Mel? You don't want the corrupt English language to taint the "pureness" of your picture, or some crap like that? Give me a break, Mel. How do you say, "You're a douchebag" in Mayan, eh? Also, how do you say "Worst News of the Week" in Mayan, because that's exactly what this is. Go visit France with Gus Van Sant so you can discuss how artsy you morons are and leave American moviegoers alone.
"Paramount Picks Up How To Survive a Robot Uprising" - Tuesday, July 26
Now, I'd normally be worried about a project like this since the writers were responsible for The Pacifier and Herbie: Fully Loaded. But I'm not worried about this project because Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant are also responsible for the hilarious TV show Reno 911. I really have no idea what possessed the duo to write those previous two flicks, but I'm assuming a decent paycheck could've been a motivation. Anyway, this flick sounds pretty cool, and probably really quirky almost like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I think this comedy writing team should be able to pull it off rather nicely, even with their past transgretions. Best News of the Week.
"Joseph Gordon-Levitt Set For The Lookout" - Tuesday, July 26
This sounds like a pretty good move here from the great writer and new director Scott Frank. Gordon-Levitt is a real solid actor, and he's in tremendously capable hands with Frank, one of the best writers in Hollywood making his directorial debut with this project. The story sounds wonderful, surrounding a high school janitor who gets tangled up in a heist, and Levitt sounds like a good fit here. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Claire Forlani Set for Uwe Boll's Dungeon Siege" - Thursday, July 28
Oh goody. Another Uwe Boll vidgame adaptation with another hot chick who can't act her way out of a paper bag. Forlani has failed to impress again and again with her acting ability, and Boll has failed to impress with a string of dreadful flicks lately. However, Boll's Bloodrayne does have the uber-gorgeous Kristanna Lokken who seems fairly talented, this Dungeon Siege will most likely fall in Alone in the Dark territory here, which, by the way, is one of the worst movies I've EVER seen. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
The three newcomers all took a back seat this weekend, as two July favorites both proved their staying power. After two weekends with the silver medal at the box office, Wedding Crashers took the top spot in its third weekend in theaters. The Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson laffer took home an estimated $20.4 million this weekend, benefitting from showing in an extra 105 theaters more over last weekend. The R-rated comedy is having an amazing run, dropping an astonishingly small 20.2% from last weekend. It only dropped 24.3% in its second weekend. It now stands at just over $116 million overall, from a meager $40 million budget, so it's rather safe to say that Wedding Crashers is surely the sleeper hit of the summer. Also showing some stellar longevity was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which took the 2nd spot this weekend with an estimated gross of $16.3 million. The Johnny Depp flick has ammassed just over $148 million so far, just a tad shy of it's $150 million budget.
The three newbies of the week took the 3rd, 4th, and 5th spots, respectively, with only about $1.5 million separating the three flicks. In the third spot was Sky High which took in an estimated gross of $14.5 million. Stealth took the 4th spot with a very dissapointing take of $13.5 million and Must Love Dogs took a surprising 5th place, with an estimated gross of $13.05 million. Sky High and Must Love Dogs actually finished rather nicely, considering it was in so fewer theaters than the rest of the top 5, but still managed per-screen averages of over $5,000 apiece. Also, the modestly budgeted flicks ($35 million for Sky High and $30 for Must Love Dogs) are both about halfway home for earning a profit. On the other hand, nothing was impressive about Stealth's opening weekend. It was the 2nd widest release of the weekend, showing in 3,495 theaters, but it averaged a paltry $3,862 per screen with it's 4th place finish. Crummy reviews didn't help matters much for Stealth either, with a terrible 11% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Stealth lived up to its name though: flying unnoticed through the nation's theaters.
Box Office Predictions
Well, dammit, you guys really like making me look bad, don't ya? While some of my grosses were fairly accurate, my rankings stunk up the joint. Let's see if I can pull myself out of this little funk, shall we?
Predictions for 8/5-8/7
1) Dukes of Hazzard: $34 million
2) Wedding Crashers: $15.8 million
3) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: $9.2 million
4) Sky High: $8.3 million
5) Stealth: $6.4 million
Prediction Results for 7/29-7/31
1) Stealth: $6.4 million
: $31 million - ACTUAL Rank: 4; Gross: $13.5 million
2) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: $16.4 million - ACTUAL Rank: 2; Gross: $16.38 million
3) Wedding Crashers: $15.9 million - ACTUAL Rank: 1; Gross: $20.4 million
4) Sky High: $13.6 million - ACTUAL Rank: 3; Gross: $14.5 million
5) The Fantastic Four: $7.5 million - ACTUAL Rank: 6, Gross: $6.8 million
This is a busy little site, with some funky gigolo-ish music in the background. On the top of the site are the menus and there is plenty to do here. Under My Life, you have a brief synopsis of the sequel, the trailer and some production photos. In Tricks of the Trade there are some games for you to play like Ho vs. Ho, Trick Out the Pimp of Da Sea and Take Deuce to the Awards Show. There are also some promotions here as well. In Novelties and Toys are all the downloads which are a wallpapper, AIM Icons, screensavers and some one-liner audio quotes. Friends feature some surprisingly in-depth production notes, four different ones to choose from, in fact. Overall, this is a pretty damn good site, with plenty to do before this flick hits theaters on August 12.
This is a plain, simple site here. All we get is a synopsis under Story, the Trailer, some production photos and Downloads with AIM Icons, a wallpaper and screensaver. Not much here, folks, but maybe they'll add more before the flick opens on October 21.
Dirty Deeds: (dirtydeedsthemovie.net)
This is another fairly simple site, with that one Bowling For Soup song about "almost" stuff playing in the background. On the bottom of the site, there is a scrolling list of the characters with their picture and if you run your mouse over then you get a brief quote from each of them. Whoop-de-doo. Anyway, all they have here is the trailer, the poster, Cast with bios of the cast members on that scrolling thing, About with some info on the production companies, a message board and Promotions coming soon. Not too much here folks. Dirty Deeds opens on August 26.
This looks pretty interesting, almost an 8 Mile-ish tale. Since 50 Cent's breakthrough debut album had the same title as the movie, I'm curious if this is a biopic or a fictional flick, loosely based on his experiences as a drug dealer before his rise to rap stardom. Either way, this looks very interesting, with some great talent supporting 50 in Terrence Dashon Howard, who delivered the best performance of the year so far in Hustle and Flow. Get Rich or Die Tryin' opens on November 11.
One of my favorite filmmakers, Andrew Niccol, is taking a completely different route here with his new flick, Lord of War. His first three flicks, Gattaca, The Truman Show and S1m0ne were all dramas with some light comedy mixed in effectively. While this flick doesn't necessarily look like a full-blown action movie, it has more action than any of his three movies combined, but it looks like a very good flick. The cast here is stellar, with Nicolas Cage, Ethan Hawke, Jared Leto and Ian Holm. The story looks rather unique, as all of his flicks are, centering on a high-class arms dealer who gets rich while others die tryin'. Cage looks to deliver a solid performance, as does Hawke, and I'm looking forward to another fabulous Niccol flick. Lord of War opens September 26.
I'm seeing a trend developing here... Another one of my favorite filmmakers is back with a much different new flick. Ben Younger's Prime is of a totally different world that he showed us in his amazing debut flick Boiler Room. Instead of stock deals, booze and drugs, Younger tones it down a notch or 10, in this story about a therapist who learns her kooky client is dating her son. It looks like a fairly decent story, with a great cast in Meryl Streep, Uma Thurman and promising newcomer Bryan Greenberg. Prime opens on October 28.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
This week I'm going with a new take on the presidential pic for my Best News of the Week. Although a president has never gotten divorced in the midst of his term, it's not too far-fetched, with the nature of our crazy society...and Bill and Hillary weren't doing too hot back in the cigar/intern days either. I think this will be a great, original flick, and with Brian Grazer producing, the stock should rise for this project even more. I hope they don't crap the bed in casting here, but Grazer's involvement will surely be a monster lure for A-list talent, so I'm not too worried about that.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
This one is close this week, but I'm taking the shocking revelation that Uwe Boll continues to work in Hollywood as my Worst News of the Week, just slightly over Mel "The Linguist" Gibson's new dialogue challenges for Apocalypto. Boll is just a hack of a director. He apparently is totally enammored with video games, and not just any regular video games, but games that haven't been heard of in years, instead of the high-concept games that are out for the XBox or PS2. Here's an idea, Uwe. Do an adaptation of Pong, why don't ya. Hey, you could go down to whereever Mel Gibson is doing his movie, and have Mayan's pushing huge brick walls around trying to bounce a ball around. Two crappy movies for the price of one! I won't even charge you for that one, Uwe. That one is free. The next one will cost you, though...
That's it for this week. Surf on by next week for more box office goodies, new 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.