Another week has passed, and it has brought us a boatload of movie news, box office figures, new official websites for upcoming movies and new trailers. So, let's get this party started with this week's Notables.
This project has had an interesting history. It was first set up for a vehicle to re-team Training Day actor and director Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua, and then was halted after Fuqua bailed last October. Then this March, Hotel Rwanda helmer Terry George took over the project and, now, if this deal is made, George will re-team with his Hotel Rwanda star Don Cheadle. Personally, I would've rather seen Fuqua and Denzel handle this project, since their gritty style in Training Day would serve this project well, but this sounds like a really good team as well. Cheadle is finally emerging as a bonafide lead actor, and his wonderful range should serve this project well. Best News of the Week Nominee.
Don't get me wrong, Chris Rock is one hell of a talented guy, but he really doesn't pick his movies too well. He's great in supporting roles, like his work in Dogma, but, when he's basically on his own in a starring role (See: Head of State, Bad Company), he just drops the ball, and this project seems to be keeping up with that trend. The concept of a poor black family living in Beverly Hills does sound funny on paper, but realistically, how the flip is that supposed to work? Do they win the lottery like Ice Cube's relatives in Next Friday? I just can't wrap my head around this one at all. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
This sounds like a very interesting project, and the rising stock of Kerry Washington, who was last seen in the phenomenal Ray, should definitely help. I'm a very big fan of Forrest Whittaker as well, who will portray Ugandan dictator Idi Amin here, with Washington set to play his wife. This flick sounds very interesting, based off the novel that apparently is a hybrid of fact and fiction, where a British doctor gets assigned to be Amin's personal physician, and then becomes horrified at Amin's savage acts. I'm not too familiar with the writers and director here, but this project just sounds too interesting to pass up for a Best News of the Week Nominee.
It said this was similar to what happened when so-called writer George Nolfi pitched a script called Honor Among Thieves that was subsequently turned into the sequel Ocean's 12. If you're worried about this project, which is a sequel to the The Italian Job remake, don't be, the main reason being that this is David Twhoy we're talking about here, not that Nolfi scrub. I think with Twhoy handling the script to the sequel, and helmer F. Gary Gray returning, this should be a very good match. While Twhoy's more significant work lies in the sci-fi genre, I think this will be a nice change of pace for him, and he'll shine at it. Best News of the Week Nominee.
And just when I thought the mutants were getting back on track, this has to happen. Of course, they never say why these directors step down from projects, with "personal reasons" always being cited as the reason. Perhaps he felt he was getting in over his head, going to a big-budget studio flick right after making his directorial debut with last month's Layer Cake. Who knows, though, but all I do know is they better find a director for this, post-haste, before the movie turns into its own mutant: The Invisible Movie. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
Umm yeah. This wasn't even that good the first time I saw it...when it was called xXx. Fishburne is a wonderful actor, but this sounds just way too much like xXx, and the dopey Paul Walker doesn't help out matters too much for this project either. How they can even fathom Paul Walker playing a convict, I have no idea. What was his crime, stealing surfboards? At least Vin Diesel had that hard-ass look of a troublemaker, but Paul Walker looks about as hardcore as Barney. Fishburne might make this project worth seeing, but probably not. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
Well, it did turn out to be a hotly contested weekend, but the newcomers took a backseat this week, as last weekend's 1-2-3 movies went 3-2-1 this weekend. Madagascar jumped from the third spot last weekend to take the top spot this weekend, earning $28.1 million in its second weekend. The Longest Yard remanied at the #2 spot this weekend, right on Madagascar's heels with $26.07 million and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith dropped from the #1 spot last weekend to the third spot this weekend, but still close to the pack with $25.08 million in its third weekend.
The best of the newcomers this weekend was the boxing drama Cinderella Man which finished in the 4th spot with $18.3 million. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants took the 5th spot with $9.8 million and Lords of Dogtown finished in the 7th spot with $5.6 million.
While these results just shot my predictions to crap, it's very good news for the movie biz, with the top 4 flicks taking in 8-digit grosses, and the top 3 spots were only separted by a mere $3 million. Star Wars just can't seem to stop breaking records either. This weekend brought it's total take to $307.8 million, and it became the fastest movie to reach the $300 million plateau, acheiving the feat in a mere 17 days, just beating out Shrek 2's mark of 18 days. On the flip side, Lords of Dogtown's gross fell vastly short of my expectations, but I didn't think it would be released in so few theaters (1,865), so its gross is fairly accurate, when taking that into consideration and with a meager $25 million budget, they're not in too much trouble. But the weekend proved most dissapointing for Cinderella man, falling way short of expectations, even with a wonderful 83% "Fresh" rating from the nation's critics on Rotten Tomatoes. The flick now stands in trouble for earning a profit, with a hefty $88 million budget. I guess Oscar bait in the summer time just doesn't always reel them in all the time...
Box Office Predictions
Well, my most accurate prediction this week was for a movie I didn't think would even make it to the top 5, but ended up in 5th place anyway. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants took in $9.8 million and I predicted it would take 6th place with $9 million. Other than that, my picks were all over the place, with the low theater count of Lords of Dogtown just throwing my predictions into chaos. This weekend won't be nearly as close as this weekend, with a few newbies looking to dominate. Let's see if I can do better this week (Hint: I'm looking at the theater count estimates this weekend...)
Predictions for 6/10-6/12
1) Mr. and Mrs. Smith: $75 million
2) The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D: $28.5 million
3) Madagascar: $17.8 million
4) The Honeymooners: $8.1 million
5) High Tension: $6.3 million
Prediction Results for 6/3-6/5
1) Lords of Dogtown: $30 million - ACTUAL Rank: 7; Gross: $5.6 million
2) Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith: $28.9 million - ACTUAL Rank: 3; Gross: $25.08 million
3) Cinderella Man: $26 million - ACTUAL Rank: 4; Gross: $18.3
4) The Longest Yard: $22.7 million - ACTUAL Rank: 2; Gross: $26.07 million
5) Madagascar: $20.4 million - ACTUAL Rank: 1; Gross: $28.1 million
The main thing that you'll find annoying about this site, is the background music is basically some background sounds of a typical classroom....and, unlike most sites, you can't turn the sound off. Typical. The one time I want to turn the sound off, I can't. Anyway, the site is basically a journal format, that is broken down into 4 sections. The top left part of the journal is Characters, and another window opens up where you can choose from each of the main characters. For each character, you get Journal, which is really stupid and it's just some doodlings of what each character would put in his/her journal, Real Life, which is just a picture of the person and About, which is a very brief character description. On the top right of the journal is Media, which it says is a photo gallery and the trailer, but it's just a photo gallery, and, keeping in the retarded theme here, you can't get back to the main menu after selecting this option and you have to reload the site. The bottom left is The Film, which supposedly contains "cast + crew, synopsis, notes, + more" but guess what? The link is broken. Argh! The last one is Dowloads on the bottom right, but guess what? Yeah, that one doesn't work either. What a bunch of morons that made this site. The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D opens on June 10.
Lila Says: (www.lilasaysmovie.com)
The site for this foreign flick doesn't have too much. All we get here is the trailer, and interview with the director, a very small photo gallery, a list of the cast and crew, a few words of praise from some critics, a list of theaters where this will be opening and some press notes to download. Not too much here, but, on the bright side, the girl who plays Lila, Vahina Giocante, looks pretty damn hot from the picture on the front of the site.... Lila Says opens on June 24 in New York and July 1 in Los Angeles.
This site gives you a few things to do before you even enter the site. You can Join the Zombie Army, which seems like a pretty cool fan community with these challenges that you can earn bones with. You can also buy movie tickets, visit George A. Romero's official website and check out the trailer. When you get in the site, there is a cool intro that leads into the site, which has some nice head-banging metal music to listen to while you surf. On the top of the site there are the categories: The Movie, Media, Downloads and Game. Under The Movie, there is The Story, which is a brief synopsis, Photos and the Cast/Crew and Production Notes are coming soon. In Media, you get the trailer, but TV spots and clips are coming soon as well. In Downloads you can grab some AIM Icons and Wallpapers but the screensavers and e-cards are coming soon. The game, Loot and Shoot is coming soon as well. There isn't as much content as there should be, but there is some great style here, with some great background music and nice transitions between menus with different small bits of film showing when you click on a new menu. Hopefully the site gets updated soon, since the movie opens on June 24.
Julie Johnson: (www.juliejohnson-themovie.com)
This is a fairly basic site here. Under About the Film there is a brief synopsis, the Photo Gallery has a pretty decent sized album here, Cast and Crew has some nice, detailed bio's of the main players of the cast and crew, Extra Cirricular has some outside links that are related to the plot of the movie, and there are other links for the production company also. Not a whole lot of style here, but some decent content. Julie Johnson opens on July 1 in limited release.
The Barnyard: (www.barnyardmovie.com)
This is the biggest waste of web space that I have ever seen. There are no links AT ALL here, just a tiny version of the movie poster. That is IT. The movie doesn't open until January 13, 2006, so I don't know why they're even wasting time putting the site live now. Flippin' morons...
Another stupid teaser site. All we get here is the trailer, a link to register for updates and a message board. More flippin' morons... Waiting opens on September 23.
Guys, be warned. This flick will be your girlfriend's/wife's revenge flick for you taking her to blockbusters all summer long. It'll probably go something like this: "Hey, I sat through The Wedding Crashers and Stealth so you're GOING to see this with me!" The movie does have a decent cast with Keira Knightley, Judi Dench, Jena Malone, Brenda Blythen and Donald Sutherland. But Jane Austen adaptations like this one, usually aren't movies that you will see a group of guys at, so the trailer will probably be the most I see out of this movie. Pride and Prejudice opens on September 23.
Guys, good luck getting your girlfriend/wife to go with you to this one....It looks like one of the more provocative films of the year. This sexually-charged foreign flick about a temptress was based off a book that apparently caused a ton of controversy in France, of all places. I've been to France and they have nudity on regular TV, so that's a little odd. Anyway, we don't get a whole lot of info about the movie from the trailer, but if you're into flirty, gorgeous foreign chicks, this should be the flick for you. Lila Says opens on June 24 in New York and July 1 in Los Angeles.
The Talent Given Us:
This really looks...bizzarre. It looks like a documentary, but isn't listed as one, and after looking through the movie's website and reading some articles, I found out what was really going on here. The director, Andrew Wagner, took his family on a cross-country road trip, where they all play fictionalized versions of themselves. The trailer is filled with some simply amazing praise for the movie from some top critics including Roger Ebert, and this could be a very interesting flick to see. I'm still really not too sure what to make of thise, but I must say that I'm intrigued. The Talent Given Us opens on June 17 in limited release.
This looks like another great documentary coming out this summer. No, it's not Dodgeball with guns or anything, but it's wheelchair rugby, and the movie surrounds the game and the interesting lives that the players lead, on and off the court. In the new tradition of trailers for under-the-radar flicks like this, this trailer is filled with some glorious testimonials from some top critics, with one even claiming that "I wish I could buy the whole world a ticket." This looks to be a fantastic look into a very unique sport and its even more unique players. Murderball opens on July 8.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
My pick this week is going to Don Cheadle going gangster on us for my Best News of the Week. Cheadle has always been a versatile actor with great range, but was relegated mostly to supporting roles until his breakthrough in Hotel Rwanda. I'm still looking forward to his seemingly delayed directorial debut, the adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel Tishomingo Blues, which I haven't heard any news from in at least a year, but I think Don will be pretty busy for awhile after getting raves for his Rwanda performance. Anyway, this sounds like a great fit for this role and he's obviously comfortable with Terry George as well, so I'll be watching out for this one, for sure.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
I'm going with Laurence Fishburne's horrible choice of a new project for my Worst News of the Week. I'm a very big fan of Fishburne, but every now and then, he just picks a stinker to star in (Hoodlum and Fled come to mind) and this one really sounds like a stinker. Paul Walker can't act, and the story sounds like a retarded rip-off of xXx, with Fishburne's role sounding quite like Samuel L. Jackson's role in xXx. Originality, people. I know it's a novel concept and all, but people do actually want to see original movies these days, not stupid re-hashed garbage of a movie that just wasn't that flippin good in the first flippin place. Besides, even if you disagree with everything I've said about this so far, you can't honestly tell me that you buy Paul Walker as a convict now, do you? Yeah, I didn't think so.....
That's all for this week. Surf on by next week for more box office goodies, new official websites for upcoming movies, 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.