It was another week full of some interesting news from Hollywood. It looks like Quentin Tarantino is planning on adding another volume to his Kill Bill saga. Owen Wilson lights up for his new project. And the screenwriter of The Big Hit is looking for another big hit. But a whole lot more went down in the City of Angels this week. Let’s take a look, but first, let’s check out the numbers from the box office this weekend.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
It was an American fever of epic proportions at the box office this weekend, with the temperature rising at theaters all across the country. Farenheit 9/11 became the first documentary to ever grab the #1 spot at the box office this weekend. The Michael Moore film grossed an estimated $21.8 million in its opening weekend. It beat out White Chicks, in the #2 spot with $19.6 million in its debut weekend. But Farenheit 9/11 was in a meager 868 theaters, with White Chicks in 2,726 theaters. Farenheit 9/11 averaged a whopping $25,115 per screen, and in only one weekend, became the highest grossing documentary ever, beating out Moore’s Bowling For Columbine. With this massive opening weekend, it looks like the temperature will continue to rise all the way up to Election Day.
White Chicks had a somewhat decent opening weekend, taking the silver medal, but the weekend didn’t fare so well for the other 2 new releases this weekend. The Notebook took the 5th spot, grossing an estimated $13 million in its first weekend, barely losing the 4th spot to The Terminal at $13.9 million. The good news for The Terminal is that the flick only dropped 27 percent in its second weekend. It’s now at a total of $41.8 million and there’s an outside chance it might earn back its $60 million budget. But I’m not so optimistic about The Notebook, made on a $29 million budget, and its chances for a profit, especially with the likely mega-hit Spider-Man 2 coming out on Wednesday.
But Two Brothers, the live-action/animated flick could only muster a 9th place finish, with a paltry $6.2 million on its opening weekend. None of the grosses were really spectacular, except for Farenheit 9/11, but it looks like the box office pot was split rather equally, with 7 of the top 10 movies in 8-digit figures. It will interesting to see next weekend’s numbers, because I wouldn’t be surprised if Spider-Man 2 out-grosses the entire top 10 for this week by itself.
Garden State: (www2.foxsearchlight.com/gardenstate) This indie flick’s site is up first, and there really isn’t much here. We get some eerie background music, a look at the probable one-sheet, and the teaser and regular trailers. This site does have something unique though for these sites in a Message Board, which is just a link to the Fox Searchlight message boards. I thought it would be a board exclusively about this movie, but it’s not. The movie opens in limited release on July 30.
The Longest Yard: (www.longestyardmovie.com) This site is up next, and there isn’t a whole lot here either, but it visually looks pretty cool though. All we get here is a very brief synopsis of the story, a link to sign up for the newsletter, and a desktop wallpaper and a couple of AOL Instant Messenger icons to download. The movie is almost a year away, Memorial Day 2005, so I was a little surprised to see this site up now. It’s a very good start to the site, and hopefully there is more to the site before Memorial Day of next year.
Code 46: (mgm.com/ua/code46) This is a pretty busy site with some nice surfing material to browse through. We get a nice Flash intro on the main page, we get a series of questions that definitely got me interested in the movie. If you click on the questions, we get a little background on the story, in the form of more questions. There are also links to the trailer, a bunch of info on the film (synopsis, detailed cast and crew bio’s, production notes and photos) and a separate bio on director Michael Winterbottom. There is also a section for the reviews of the film, but that’s “coming soon.” But this is a very complete site that will at the very least have you curious about this movie. Code 46 opens in limited release on August 6.
The Grudge: (sonypictures.com/movies/thegrudge) This site is up last, and rightfully so. If you have a slow computer, don’t even bother with this site. You’ll just wait for this thing to load up, hoping there will be some cool links to click on, but all we get is this weird picture of a cut-out newspaper, and a link to register for updates. Yeah, that’s it. Wait until we are closer to October 29, when the flick is released, and maybe there will be more, but who knows.
September Tapes: This looks like a movie in the same vein of The Blair Witch Project – it’s a fictional movie (possibly about a true story though) that’s made to look like a documentary. But instead of getting lost in the woods, this is about a film crew trying to hunt down Osama Bin Laden in hostile Afghanistan. It looks very intriguing, and it opens sometime in August this year.Code 46: This movie has a great official website and a great trailer! This looks like a wonderful movie, with a great cast (Tim Robbins, Samantha Morton) and an intriguing story about a modern world where every aspect of life is pre-determined. This looks like a very slick dark drama/thriller vehicle, and, going up against Michael Mann’s Collateral on August 6, it will be interesting to see which one of these should-be hits comes out on top.
Suspect Zero: Even though this movie has a bad release date (August 27) this looks like it could be a winner. It almost looks like a spin-off of sorts on the wonderful indie hit Frailty. With some good writers (Zak Penn of X2 and Billy Ray of Hart’s War and Shattered Glass) and a decent cast (Aaron Eckhart, Ben Kingsley, Carrie-Anne Moss), this could win over this normally dull movie weekend. After all, it’s competing with the sequel to Anaconda…
Taxi: This “comedy” looks like a weird mix of the “buddy” element of the dreadful National Security and the female robber element of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. It could be funny, with Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon, and there will probably be a few cool car chases here and there. But the story, about a horrible driver cop (Fallon) who loses his drivers license and teams up with a cabbie and her souped-up taxi. Tim Story (Barbershop) at the helm could be a good sign too, but I’m not holding my breath. Taxi opens on October 8.
Exorcist: The Beginning: This looks like a pretty creepy prequel, but I don’t know if it will be able to match its predecessor. Stellan Skarsgard does look like he will have a pretty good performance here in Max von Sydow’s shoes, but we’ll have to wait until August 20 to find out for sure. I’m sure fans of the original film will flock to this flick, and I’m sure it will be somewhat decent. I just don’t think it can compare to The Exorcist.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: Well, one thing is for sure: this movie is in the running for the longest title of the year. Other than that, I’m not so sure. This looks a lot like Starship Troopers, but much dumber. Everything just sounds forced, and poorly acted, especially from Gwyneth Paltrow, in a rare role in a blockbuster. I do like Giovanni Ribisi and Jude Law, though, so there might be some redeeming qualities here after all. But this just looks like it will be a colossal flop. The flick comes out September 17.
Kinsey: This is only a teaser trailer, but it does give us an interesting glimpse of what could be a fine movie. The movie is a biopic on Alfred Kinsey, who wrote the famous book “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.” We have a wonderfully diverse cast here (Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Chris O'Donnell, Peter Sarsgaard, Timothy Hutton, John Lithgow, Oliver Platt, Tim Curry) and Bill Condon (Chicago, Gods and Monsters) writing and directing. This could easily be a favorite for a few Oscars this year and I’m definitely looking forward to its November 12 release.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It was a hard pick for Best News of the Week, mainly because there just wasn’t much good news this week. So I decided to stick with, basically, a previous winner: Michael Chiklis playing The Thing in the Fantastic Four movie. Apparently, now he is almost a sure lock to get the role. It will be very interesting to see his immense talent transfer over to film from TV, and true, he will be in a monstrosity of a costume but I still think he’s the perfect choice for the role. Hopefully they will confirm him in this role, as well as the other Fantastic 3 very soon.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
There was plenty to choose from here, though, this week, and it was a tough decision. But my pick for Worst News of the Week is Cheech Marin directing Senor Dracula. I’m amazed at how stupid this movie sounds. Wow. A Hispanic Dracula. He hasn’t directed anything since Born in East L.A. and that was in 1987. Sure we loved him in Tin Cup, Desperado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico…hmm, wait a minute. Why doesn’t Robert Rodriguez cast him in Sin City? Then maybe this prospect would disappear! Eureka! Robert, I’ve never asked you for anything before, but please! Cast him! I mean, you have half of Hollywood on this project anyway, you can find a role for him, can’t you? You’d be doing Hollywood and even America a great service here by making a horrendous movie, or at least a horrendous concept fade away. Or at least re-write it for him and maybe it could accidentally slip into your paper shredder...