Another week has come and gone, filled with a slew of movie news, box office figures, new official websites for upcoming flicks and new trailers. So let's not waste any time and get right into it with this week's Notables.
"Wal-Mart says goodbye to VHS" - Monday, June 13
VHS. Why does that sound so familiar? I just can't put a finger on those things. Oh wait, weren't those the things they used to call "tapes"? Yeah, that's it. Frugal Wal-Mart shoppers will just have to save up for a few weeks and get a DVD player for 20 bucks or something. Anyway, VHS has been slipping big time for years in both rental and sales. I believe even Blockbuster is starting to phase out their VHS selection as well. Who's the real loser in all of this though? Whoever makes those Corvette VHS rewinder's. Still, it's a fitting time for the obsolete VHS to fade away into technological oblivion. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Todd Phillips attached to direct The Dogs of Babel" - Monday, June 13
When you hear the name Todd Phillips, the word "comedy" will surely appear somewhere in that sentence. That's why I'm surprised that the director of such comic gems as Road Trip and Old School is picking a project that just doesn't sound funny at all, and I'm not even quite sure if this is even supposed to be a comedy or not. It's about a linguistics professor who tries out his language skills to get his dog to communicate with him, since he was the only one to see his wife die when she fell from a tree. OK. If we already know how she died, why the hell does he need to talk with her? If she's a supposedly grown woman, what the fugde was she doing in a frickin tree anyway? Come on, Todd. If you're trying to get all serious on us, don't you think you should start with a project other than a guy trying to talk with his dog? Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"New Line continues to prepare Elf 2" - Wednesday, June 15
Oh, how New Line does frustrate thee. Yes, we get it, guys. Your biggest success ever was the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but guess what? Not EVERY frickin movie that you've made can be made into a franchise! What the hell are you doing with Elf? He found his frickin dad, and they lived happily ever after. They even got everyone to believe in Santa again! What possible conflict can you spin off here? You're on my shitlist, New Line Cinema, and until you can get an original idea in your damn heads, on that list you'll stay. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep in talks for Disney's First Man" - Wednesday, June 15
This sounds like a great project that is just perfectly cast. The flick is about De Niro's character, a media mogul dude, who helps out on his wife's presidential campaign. When she eventually wins the race, De Niro becomes the innagural "first man." De Niro and Streep obviously have the chops to pull this off masterfully, and they just sound like a match made in heaven. It might be awhile before this project gets off the ground, since it seems like they both have a fairly busy schedule, but this sounds like a great project. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Howard Stern's Porky's Coming Soon" - Wednesday, June 15
Mother of God... Hasn't someone dethroned that moron who calls himself The King of All Media yet? O.K., I'll go for the sceptor and crown, you take the throne. Ready...break! Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Vin Diesel is Agent 47 in Hitman" - Wednesday, June 15
This sounds like a wonderful fit also, and not just because both Diesel and the vidgame 47 character are both bald tough guys. Diesel's voice is perfect for this too, and when he's given dialogue that isn't "I live my life 10 seconds at a time" he's usually pretty good. Vin got a bad rap for a while there, but I still think the guy is a solid actor, who just got too caught up in corny action movies. While this surely will be an action flick, if they follow the game closely, it should be a rather smart action flick, which is something that doesn't come along too often these days. This should rake in some decent dough too, with the popularity of the video game, with the fourth installment arriving in stores in the fall, this should be both a critical and commercial success. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Universal picks up true life 'Deep Throat' story" - Thursday, June 16
You could see this one coming a mile away. This revelation that former FBI man W. Mark Felt was the clandestine source known as Deep Throat, just solved probably one of the biggest American mysteries of all time. Now we know who this shadow source was, and this should make for a wonderful book and movie, and we'll finally get all the angles on the Watergate scandal. I can't wait to see how this develops. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Disney prepares National Treasure 2" - Friday, June 17
Well, I applaud Disney for being leery of a sequel unless a good story can be found, and since they're moving forward, perhaps they found one. Forgive be for being sketchy on this one, but how is that possible? The treasure they found at the end was supposed to be the greatest in American history. What, are they going for the second-best treasure in American history? And the writer they hired, Gregory Porrier, doesn't exactly instill confidence. He wrote and directed Tomcats, and he also wrote a bunch of porno flicks under such pseudonym's as Clinton Darke and Hugh Jordan. Yeah, great choice, Disney. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
The Dark Knight isn't dead after all. After the dreadful debacle that was Batman & Robin 8 long years ago, Batman is once again at the top. Batman Begins took the top spot at the box office this weekend, with an estimated $46.9 million over the weekend and just over $71 million for its estimated 5-day take. The flick averaged a healthy $12,165 per-screen, showing in 3,858 theaters. Batman does have a hefty $150 million budget to contend with, but they're almost halfway there with its 5-day take. This coming weekend shouldn't provide too much competition either and the Dark Knight should end next weekend on top also. If it keeps going strong it should find a profit in the Bat Cave at the end of its run.
The weekend's other new flick didn't perform nearly as well, although it really wasn't expected to do that well anyway. The Perfect Man took the 7th place this weekend with an estimated $5.8 million. It was screened in only 2,087 theaters, 2nd-fewest of the top 10 flicks, and it averaged a paltry $2,624 per screen. The man might be perfect, but the timing of this flick sure wasn't...
Box Office Predictions
I didn't do that damn bad this weekend at all, I guess. I got the top 5 flicks in all the right places, and was fairly accurate with their grosses as well. I'm not too sure how I'll do this weekend though, with 3 new flicks, two of which are in over 3,000 theaters. I'm straying from my summer prediction a bit, but let's see how I do this weekend.
Predictions for 6/24-6/26
1) Batman Begins: $26 million
2) Bewitched: $22 million
3) Mr. and Mrs. Smith: $13.4 million
4) Herbie: Fully Loaded: $11 million
5) Madagascar: $7.8 million
Prediction Results for 6/17-6/19
1) Batman Begins: $65 million -ACTUAL Rank: 1; Gross: $46.9 million
2) Mr. and Mrs. Smith: $29.6 million -ACTUAL Rank: 2; Gross: $26.03 million
3) Madagascar: $10.2 million -ACTUAL Rank: 3; Gross: $10.7 million
4) Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith: $8.8 million -ACTUAL Rank: 4; Gross: $10.03 million
5) The Longest Yard: $6.7 million -ACTUAL Rank: 5; Gross: $8.2 million
The site is improved since it went live awhile ago, but there still isn't a whole lot on here. When you enter the site, there is a slick little intro, and once you're in the main site there are a few things to do here. The site has a picture of the four brothers and in the background there is part of a map of Detroit and some inner-city sounds in the background. On the map, there are three red buttons you can click on, and these all give you some facts about Detroit, and specifically, it's crime. Above the map you can click on The Trailer, The Story or Downloads. The Story just has a brief synopsis and the Downloads just has a desktop and some AIM Icons to download. But if you scroll down in the story and dowloads section, you'll find more of the red buttons that give you some more facts about Detroit, which are fairly interesting. There could be some more content here, but there is some nice style to the site and the little facts are pretty cool too. Four Brothers opens on August 12.
This is a fairly simple little site. There is a Story section, which is just a synopsis, a photo gallery and downloads such as wallpapers and AIM Icons with screensavers coming soon. Yeah, not too much here. Dreamer opens on October 21.
The Fog: (www.sonypictures.com/movies/thefog/site)
Ugh. These Sony sites really suck. All there is here is a tiny synopsis and a preview of the comic book this is based on. Retarded. The Fog opens on October 14.
I've been waiting a long time for legendary director Terry Gilliam to come out with another flick. 7 years, to be exact, since the masterful/underrated Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and this looks like one hell of a follow-up. He's returning to the fantasy genre here, with a look at the legendary brothers of fable. I was worried about Heath Ledger awhile ago, but after his wonderful performance in Lords of Dogtown, and this trailer, it looks like he'll do just fine alongside Matt Damon. Welcome back, Mr. Gilliam! The Brothers Grimm opens on August 26.
Well, Curtis Hanson usually goes from genre to genre with each movie he takes on, so this isn't too surprising he's directing this flick. I believe this is his first "chick flick" but it doesn't look as cheesy as most of them. It looks like a decent blend of comedy and drama, with a nice cast with the lovely Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley MacLaine. This might not be too bad, but I'm sure the girls will like this one a whole lot more than most guys. In Her Shoes opens on October 7.
This flick is a coming out-coming of age comedy-drama and all hyphen's aside, it does look fairly interesting. The cast is mainly no-names, but the newcomer Michael McMillan does look to give a very good performance. This might be an interesting one to check out on September 23.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It was a fairly tough choice this week, but I'm going with Vin Diesel strapping on the Ballers as Agent 47. If you're not familiar with the game, Ballers are his guns of choice. Anyway, the game has a real dark tone to it, which should mean that it will avoid cornball dialogue and help Diesel establish his serious side that he started to show in such flicks in A Man Apart. The game has a huge fanbase too, with the three installments of the game selling over 10 million units, so there is a good chance this will be financially successful as well.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Howard Stern's Porky's, easily! This guy has been past his prime years ago, and even in his prime he was just moronic. Now he wants to remake a classic like Porky's? Why? So you can put your retarded over-the-top touch on a movie that was already over-the-top in its time anyway? How stupid are you, Howard? Stick to your XM gig, and let the true retards out there have to pay to listen to your schtick which just isn't that funny anyway, and leave the movies to people who know what they're doing.
That's it 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.