Another week has come and go and those seven days have brought us another slew of movie news, box office figures, new official websites for upcoming movies and new trailers to delve through. So let's get this party started with this week's Notables.
"Brett Ratner confirmed to direct X-Men 3" - Monday, June 6
Well, I said they needed to move fast to find a new director after Matthew Vaughn stepped down. I didn't think they'd sign someone by Friday night, after Vaughn's leave was reported on Wednesday. This is great news for a couple of reasons. One reason being that Ratner is obviously a very talented director, with hit movies in many different genres. The best reason of all, though, is Ratner's taking of this job means that the ineveitable Rush Hour 3 will be, at the very least, delayed significantly, and hopefully it's just shot down. That's what I like to call a "two-birder" or killing two birds with one stone. X-Men 3 on schedule and Rush Hour 3 off schedule. You're a wonderful man, Mr. Ratner. Just wonderful. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Pink Panther gets a new release date" - Tuesday, June 7
Hah! I didn't even to a prediction or much of a review for this flick for my huge summer movie preview, because it looked just amazingly retarded (See my exact thoughts here). While I didn't exactly get my wish of this movie just dissappearing, it is great news that this is being moved into the doldrums of February 2006. The funniest thing about this is all the posturing that Sony Pictures prez Rory Bruer is doing, saying they love the film and that it's great and all this bullcrap. Yeah, right. He says the release date shift is to give his marketing department more time to primp this "important franchise." Sure, Rob. If you "love" this movie so much, why are you giving it a release date in a month that has historically weak box office results? You can blow smoke up our asses all you want, Bob, but us real movie freaks know why you're moving this movie from a prime summertime date to a frigid Februray date: you're just not that confident that the Panther will bring home the bacon, and, guess what, Rob? Neither am I. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Halo makes studio rounds" - Tuesday, June 7
Only in Hollywood, right? I thought this was pretty funny that Microsoft sent out people dressed as Master Chief from the uber-popular vidgame Halo out to the studios with the finished script draft from Alex Garland. Apparently, these Master Chief's sat right there while the scripts were being read, with orders to leave with the script right after it was done. How's that for intimidation, eh? Hopefully these guys weren't pakcing Needler's or Plasma Rifle's while they were sitting there... Anyway, Halo is a wonderful game, with enough popularity to be probably the biggest video game adaptation of all time. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Nicolas Cage and Will Smith to star in Time Share" - Tuesday, June 7
This is a pretty cool concept here, and we all know that The Artist Formerly Known as The Fresh Prince can definitely do comedy. But Nicolas Cage? He hasn't done a straight-up comedy like this in years, and when he tries to be funny, most of the time, he just isn't. Then again, Nic has been on somewhat of a hot streak lately, with 3 solid flicks in as many years (See: Adaptation, Matchstick Men and National Treasure) and Will Smith can make just about anyone look good at his side. The premise is just too cool to pass up and I think Smith will do most of the comedic work here anyway, and Cage will vibe fairly well with Big Willie Style. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Jason Bateman joins the cast of Fast Track" - Wednesday, June 8
This sounds like a perfect follow-up for Zach Braff, coming off his phenomenal breakthrough movie Garden State. The only thing that worries me, is that he'll stray from writing and directing to focus more on acting like Ben Affleck and Matt Damon did after their Best Original Screenplay Oscar win for Good Will Hunting. But this project does sound like a winner, with Braff, Amanda Peet and the addition of the resurging Jason Bateman, who shined in a small, yet scene-stealing role in last summer's suprise hit Dodgeball. Bateman playing a manipulative office worker, set out to sabotage Braff sounds like a great fit to me, and this just sounds like an all-around great flick. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"George Lopez is The Richest Man in the World" - Thursday, June 9
OK, this just sounds utterly retarded. Are they gonna make it like The Family Man, where he just all of the sudden becomes the richest man overnight with no explanation whatsoever? They've done something like this concept many times before, showing how blue-collar dudes and white-collar dudes are vastly different. Do we really need another one of these flicks with George Lopez, of all people? Sure, your TV show is doing pretty good. But remember when Ray Romano decided to do film work? Yeah, he was dreadful in Welcome to Mooseport and I'm becoming more concerened for your future as well, George, if you start picking moronic projects like this. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
Who's going to bet against married assassins to take over the box office? Not this guy. Mr. and Mrs. Smith reigned supreme over the box office this weekend, with an estimated take of just over $51 million. The flick performed incredibly well, with a huge per-screen average of $14,909, screening in 3,424 theaters. Though it still has some work to do to manage a profit from a hefty $110 million budget, this great opening weekend definitely got the Smith's off to a great start. With the surefire blockbuster Batman Begins opening on Wednesday, the Smith's will face the toughest opposition to this marriage, and if they perform well in the coming weeks, their honeymoon may just end up in a profit.
This week marked the first time in nearly a month that one of the powerful trifecta of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith - Madagascar - The Longest Yard was not in the #1 spot, but they weren't too far behind. Madagascar took the second spot with an estimated $17.1 million, Star Wars landed in third place with an estimated $14.8 million and The Longest Yard finished in 4th place with an estimated $13.5 million. Those three movies alone have grossed over $578 million combined since their respective releases.
The weekend wasn't so good for the other newcomers, though. The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D could only muster a 5th place finish in its opening weekend, with an estimated take of $12.5 million. The Honeymooners finished in 7th place in its debut weekend with an estimated gross of $5.8 million and High Tension couldn't even make the top 10, with a 12th place finish and an estimated gross of $1.75 million. One movie about married people took the top spot, and another took the 7th spot. Hmm. I wonder if they had Cedric the Entertainer killing people in The Honeymooners, do you think it would've finished higher? I guess we'll never know.
Box Office Predictions
Well, crap. I guess I underestimated the trifecta of Revenge of the Sith/Madagascar/The Longest Yard yet again. They can't keep this up forever, can they? With Batman Begins coming out this Wednesday, I think they might finally start to slip. That's not good news for The Perfect Man, though and I doubt it will even crack the top 5, with an esimated theater count of 2,000. It should take the 6th spot with a gross of $8 million. Let's check out this week's predictions, and hopefully I can pull out of this prediction funk I've been in lately.
Predictions for 6/17-6/19
1) Batman Begins: $65 million ($85 million for 5-day gross).
2) Mr. and Mrs. Smith: $29.6 million
3) Madagascar: $10.2 million
4) Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith: $8.8 million
5) The Longest Yard: $6.7 million
Prediction Results for 6/10-6/12
1) Mr. and Mrs. Smith: $75 million - ACTUAL Rank: 1; Gross: $51 million
2) The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D: $28.5 million - ACTUAL Rank: 5; Gross: $12.5 million
3) Madagascar: $17.8 million - ACTUAL Rank: 2; Gross: $17.1 million
4) The Honeymooners: $8.1 million - ACTUAL Rank: 7; Gross: $5.8 million
5) High Tension: $6.3 million - ACTUAL Rank: 12; Gross: $1.75 million
This is a nice site with some interesting things to do here. There is some slick background music, which is apparently all based on the movie's theme, and you can select one of 5 different songs on the bottom right of the site. You can also check out the trailer and read Reactions from some of the nation's critics. Under The Film, there is a synopsis, some brief production notes, bios on the filmmakers and David's Gallery, director David LaChappele's apparently personal photo gallery is coming soon. Then you can click on either Clown or Krump, which are the competing dance cliques. All of the Clown bios aren't up, but there are bios on all but one of the Krumps. There is also a photo gallery for each group and under the Clown link there are AIM Icons, wallpapers and a screensaver to download. Under the Krump link, there is info on the soundtrack. The last thing here is Battlezone, which is pretty interesting. You choose a video clip of both a Clown and a Krump and you watch both clips and decide for yourself who the winner is. Overall, this is a really slick site, with some great music and content. Rize opens on June 24.
This is just another dull teaser site. Of course, they say at the bottom that the full site is coming soon. But until then, all they give you is 16 still photos. Move along, nothing to see here... Capote opens on September 30 in limited release.
Dark Water: (www.darkwatermovie.com)
Now this is what I'm talking about, people. These Touchstone sites are starting to become my favorites, because they're highly interactive, like the National Treasure site was last year. On this site, you have to navigate your way through the building that "contains dark secrets" and you have to roll your mouse over the building and click on various things to advance you in your journey, and they give you some video clips of the movie in between the game. It's a great little puzzle that will keep you busy for quite awhile. Also, at the bottom of the site you can view the trailer and in About the Film there is a list of the cast and a decent synopsis. This is a really cool site. Dark Water opens on July 8.
It looks like Sony is finally doing a better job at their websites. This Rent website won't set the world on fire, but it's definitely an improvement. First off, there is some really corny background music here, but thankfully you can turn it off. There is also a very odd countdown here. They have a countdown with the number of minutes until "rent is due" which is pretty stupid (It's at 216,742 minutes, in case anyone is wondering). Anyway, there are some other things to do here, thankfully. There is a brief synopsis, bios on the main members of the cast and similar bios in Filmmakers. There is also the trailer here, a link to register for updates and a link to the Rent blog, where cast members of the movie write in and fans can comment as well. This isn't too bad of a site, but there really isn't a ton to do here. Rent opens on November 11.
Dear Wendy: (www.dearwendythemovie.com)
There is certainly a lot to do here. Click anywhere on this link to open the main site, which is kind of annoying because the main page takes up the whole screen and you can't minimize it. Anyway, there is Cast, which features a small bio of the character and a video of each actor talking about the character, which I thought was pretty cool. There is also a photo gallery, synopsis and a Directors Statement that is pretty nice and also has the director, Thomas Vintenberg, doing a video statement as well. The Crew has a picture of the entire crew and you click on that for a list of the full crew, but there are bios for writer Lars Von Trier, director Thomas Vintenberg and director of photography Anthony DodMantle. There is also The Temple, which has a bunch of weird little games, a message board, info on where to watch the movie and the Downloads section, which only has some Character Cards and a map of the town to download. This is a quirky little site with a lot to do, only it isn't set up the greatest. Dear Wendy opens on September 23 in limited release.
Just when I thought Gus Van Sant couldn't get any more artsier, this comes out. This time, he's focusing his high art on a beleagured rocker, which is supposed to be loosely based on Nirvana's Kurt Cobain who took his own life. This theme of taking a real event and turning it into a flick is nothing strange to Gus, since he took the tragic school shooting at Columbine and turned it into the dreadful Elephant, which I still consider to be one of the worst award-winning movie of all time. God, I hate this guy. If he ever makes one of these artsy movies about 9-11, I swear I'll hunt him down. Stop focusing on tragedies to loosely base your stupid movies around and get an original idea, you pretentious bastard. Last Days opens on July 22 in limited release.
This looks like a pretty slick movie here from newcomer Sebatstian Cordero. One of the critics quotes on the trailer suggest to add Cordero on the list of great Latin filmmakers like Pedro Almodovar and Fernando Meirelles. That's some pretty lofty company, but from the looks of the trailer, it might just be warranted. John Leguizamo, who sometimes picks his projects poorly, scores here with what looks like a taut performance in this thriller. Cronicas opens on July 8 in limited release.
This trailer was attatched to Mr. and Mrs. Smith this weekend, which is quite an odd choice of movies to attatch this trailer too, with all the steamy action in Smith and the calmer premise of this flick. It does look pretty funny, though, with Steve Carrell starring as said virgin. Even though I'm sure Mr. Carrell has done the "dirty deed" before, honestly, doesn't he just look like the perfect guy to play this role? Add in Catherine Keener and some decent humor and it looks like this might be a late-summer winner. The 40-Year Old Virgin opens on August 19.
There has been some talk lately of these unnecesary remakes, especially of movies that were successful in their original run (See: The Longest Yard and The Manchurian Candidate). You could make the same argument for Bad News Bears, but I won't. Why, you may ask, am I in favor of this remake of such a classic movie? Three reasons: Richard Linklater is directing, the team who wrote Bad Santa is writing and Billy Bob Thornton is starring. How frickin perfect is that? And it even looks like they did a good job casting the kids, with a smart-ass blonde-haired kid showing up in the remake, like the original. This is going to be some great, foul-mouthed summer fun, kids. Bad News Bears opens on July 22.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Well, there were quite a bit of good news bits this week, but I'm just frickin ecstatic about The Pink Panther tucking it's pink tail between its legs and running out of the summer for my Best News of the Week. The flick has already shifted release dates a few times, and I'm sure that Rory Bruer dude has explanations aplenty for that. You can talk all you want about marketing or whatever, homie, but anyone who follows movies regularly knows that if a movie gets switched around a lot, that usually means the studio isn't confident in the movie. It was supposed to come out on August 5, which means they'd have to compete with Doom, The Dukes of Hazzard and Four Brothers, and all three of these flicks would've likely decimated the Panther. They could've moved it to late August, where there is much less competition, but they move it to February, where the box office results are usually as chilly as a Minnesota day in Februray. You need time for marketing, eh Rory? Just come out and say it: this is gonna suck like a Hoover. Come on, say it with me, Rory...
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
There was only one item that bugged me this week and that was George Lopez thinking he's ready for feature film, so that has to be my Worst News of the Week. Lopez seems like a funny dude, so I'm not sure why he'd want to take on such an un-funny project. This actually sounds like a remake of A Million to Juan, a 1994 Paul Rodriguez flick where he sells oranges on the street and finds a check for a million bucks that must be returned in 30 days. Yeah, I saw it...I watch Comedy Central a lot. Anyway, the plotline for this flick sounds eerily similar to that Rodriguez flick, and if memory serves me, I felt ripped off just by watching that movie on TV for free.
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.