Another week has past and it brought us a new batch of news bits, box office figures, new official websites for upcoming movies and new trailers. So let's get right into the mix with this week's Notables.
"Brendan Fraser confirms work on The Mummy 3" - Monday, June 20
Oh, we're just off to a wonderful start this week, aren't we? Yes, that was sarcastic... Anyway, while it's true that the first two flicks did bring in some decent scratch, I can't fathom the need for another Mummy flick. The stories behind them just weren't that good, and I think they made as much money as they did because the CGI technology that drove those two movies behind tech-freak director Stephen Sommers were still fairly new to moviegoers, but now it seems that such a high level of CGI might have worn out its welcome, as his last offering Van Helsing failed to meet expectations, as well as profit from it's massive budget. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Laurence Fishburne and Phillip Seymour Hoffman join Mission: Impossible 3" - Monday, June 20
These are two great additions to an already solid cast, with Kenneth Branaugh, Scarlett Johansson and Carrie-Anne Moss already joining M:I veterans Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames. It's interesting that Hoffman will play the villain here, because he normally plays dopey guys. But Hoffman does have some wonderful range and it'll be a nice change of pace for him, which I'm sure that he'll be able to pull off. Fishburne should fit in well also, playing Cruise's "mentor" a role that has changed in each movie, with Jon Voight and Anthony Hopkins previously taking on the role. Still, this cast looks as solid as ever and hopefully this will finally get off the ground very soon. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Marvel and Fox sue Sony over X-Men like comedy" - Tuesday, June 21
Wow. Isn't it a tad hard to sue for this sort of thing when this Zoom flick is already based off a different graphic novel? I'm no legal expert, but I'd assume it would be. Why not go after Sky High too, since it's about a high school for superheros? Lawsuits like this never go anywhere because it's so hard to prove that material has indeed been stolen, especially if it's based on something totally different. Sure, there are similarities in both movies, but this is like the makers of The Fast and the Furious sueing the makers of Biker Boyz because they're both about morons racing things... Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Sarah Michelle Gellar to star in Alice" - Tuesday, June 21
This sounds like another great video game adaptation. OK, well so far there haven't been any "great" ones yet, but there are some in development with Halo and Hitman: Agent 47 now getting started. The game was mildly popular for a short while, with an interesting take on the Alice in Wonderland story darkened up a lot. Gellar sounds like a pretty good choice for this role, and she hasn't had a darker role in awhile so it looks like she's due. While Nispel's Texas Chainsaw Massacre was flawed, I thought he did rather well at the helm and he should do a find job directing this adaptation as well. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Walden Media picks up Sherlock's Secretary" - Wednesday, June 22
This sounds like a really cool project, loosely based off a bizarre true story. But if they're going to make this into a man that answers these letters, shouldn't it be entitled Sherlock's Administrative Assistant? Oh well, we can't all be P.C. can we... Anyway this sounds like a fresh, very original project, which is something we don't always get these days. Hopefully this flick will put an end to the letters sent to the bank and that poor secretary won't have to pretend to be Sherlock anymore. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Virginia Madsen and L.Q. Jones set for A Prairie Home Compnaion" - Friday, June 24
I'm not familiar with L.Q. Jones, but I think Madsen is a wonderful addition to this all-star cast. And all of those big-time actors and actresses will be up in my old stomping grounds of St. Paul Minnesota. This cast just keeps getting better and better with Madsen coming off her wonderful turn in Sideways and this should be a project to keep an eye on. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
Not even an enchanted Beetle or an enchanted Nicole Kidman could stop the Dark Knight from reigning supreme over the box office again. Batman Begins took the number 1 spot two weeks in a row, taking in an estimated $26.7 million in its second weekend of release. It only dropped a respectable 45.1% from its opening weekend, averaging a healthy $6,938 per screen. Batman now stands at $121.6 million overall and is in very good shape to earn a profit from its beefy $150 million budget. But with War of the Worlds coming out on Wednesday, it's pretty safe to say that Mr. Bale and company won't be sitting atop the box office heap this coming weekend.
The weekend's newcomers fared rather well though, with the top 5 flicks all scoring 8-figure grosses. Bewitched came in a fairly close second place in its opening weekend, grabbing an estimated $20.2 million in its opening weekend. It averaged $6,364 per screen, showing in 3,174 theaters. The Nicole Kidman-Will Ferrell flick does have some work to do, though, with an $85 million budget to make back, and some stiff competition arriving in the coming weeks. Herbie: Fully Loaded found itself parked in the 4th spot, earning an estimated $12.7 million in its debut weekend. George A. Romero's Land of the Dead took the 5th spot with $10.2 million and might have been the big winner of the whole weekend. For one, it has a paltry, in summer terms, budget of $15 million and its well on its way to score a profit. It also was screened in about 1,000 theaters less than the rest of the top 5 and it still held its own quite nicely, with a per-screen average of $4,550, proving that the un-dead are still alive indeed, at least at the box office.
Box Office Predictions
I hate to toot my own horn, but damn I was good this week. I only wish I hadn't underestimated the zombies of Land of the Dead, otherwise I would've had a perfect weekend. Can I keep this momentum going into this weekend? We'll find out in 7 short days.
Predictions for 7/1-7/3
1) War of the Worlds: $63 million
2) Batman Begins: $14.3 million
3) Bewitched: $11.7 million
4) Mr. and Mrs. Smith: $9.8 million
5) Herbie: Fully Loaded: $5.9 million
Prediction Results for 6/24-6/26
1) Batman Begins: $26 million - ACTUAL Rank: 1; Gross: $26.7 million
2) Bewitched: $22 million - ACTUAL Rank: 2; Gross: $20.2 million
3) Mr. and Mrs. Smith: $13.4 million - ACTUAL Rank: 3; Gross: $16.8 million
4) Herbie: Fully Loaded: $11 million - ACTUAL Rank: 4; Gross: $12.7 million
5) Madagascar: $7.8 million - ACTUAL Rank: 6; Gross: $7.4 million
This site starts out with a goofy little feature where you can make Chicken Little do a little dance, four of them even. The best part of that is you can click Stop Chicken at the bottom and "the sky" literally falls on him, which is good for a chuckle. Anyway, on the left side of the site click on Enter the Oakey-Oaks for the main site. Here there's a little town where you can explore by buttons on the left and right and you click on the buildings to get to each menu of the site. It's almost unnecessary though that they have each menu on the top of this whole thing. Under Characters there is only one character, Chicken Little and you get a little background on him. Trailers and Video has three different trailers to view, Downloads has wallpapers and AIM Icons to download, with e-cards and screensavers coming soon. In About the Film you get a synopsis and cast and crew, with production notes coming soon, you get some photos in Gallery and Games has a memory game where you have to match up photos of the characters. On the main site you can also go to another site called The Sky is Falling where there is a bunch of stuff about the sky actually falling or something. The sites are put together fairly well with some nice style and decent content that should be good for kids to play with. Chicken Little opens on November 4.
This looks like another slick Disney site, with a bunch to do here. When the site opens up, on the right side there is a Messanger, and though it's not active yet, it will feature games and contests that you can perform to be an "actual" graduate of Sky High. Anyway, the site opens up to the News portion of the site, which reads like a normal high school newsletter. You can click on the photos of all the kids to learn more about them as well. On the left side there is a column of lockers and you click on each one for the menu. In About Our School, you can see the trailer, look at a photo gallery and read a brief history of the school. The Classes, Athletics and Virtual Yearbook sections are "restricted" and are only for "registered students" a feature which is coming soon, and the only other thing you can view here is Students and Alumni where you get background on all the kids here. This should be a much better site when you can "register for classes" but it's not too bad right now, with some nice style to the site. Sky High opens on July 29.
I was a bit worried about this site being another lame teaser site, but they're pretty crafty with this site. On the left side of the site there is an array of TV screens, and if you run your mouse over the screens, some of them reveal the menus. In About the Film you get a brief synopsis, in Photos there is a tiny photo gallery, in Newsletter you can sign up for updates, in About the Cast you get a full bio on star John Leguizamo and a brief bio on co-star Damian Alcazar. There is also the trailer, downloads with an AIM Icon and wallpaper and Links, which has several different links ranging from links about serial killers, the media, Leguizamo and other Latin filmmakers. Overall, this is a pretty slick site with some nice style and decent content. Cronicas opens on July 8 in limited release and July 22 nationwide.
This is just a teaser site here, with only the trailer and a praising quote from a critic. Of course, the official site is coming soon. Likely story. Asylum opens on August 12 in limited release.
OK, I don't know what's going on, but Webmaster Balchack must be doing an overhaul of the site or something, because every movie I tried to click on came up to a generic Movie Vault page, with today's date. It sucks too, because there are a few trailers I've been looking forward to. Anyway, I can't review any trailers this week, because I just simply can't get to them. But there are a few new trailers up, so try back in the coming days to this link to check out the trailers. Sorry kids.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
There was a nice mix of good and bad news this week to choose from, but I'm going with the highly original Sherlock's Secretary as my Best News of the Week. I never realized that there are people out there who thought Sherlock Holmes was, you know, a real dude, but it takes all kinds, I guess. This just sounds like a really cool project, and since there hasn't been a Sherlock Holmes-type tale in quite awhile, I think this comes along at the perfect time. It'd be nice if the big studios would pick up on original stories like this, and not relatively small-timers like Walden Media, but it's a start. I'll definitely be keeping a close eye fixed on this project.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
I'm going with Marvel and Fox's legal retardation for my Worst News of the Week. I really don't think they have much of a case here. I obviously haven't seen this Zoom flick as it isn't released yet, and sure it does seem similar to the X-Men franchise in some aspects. But similar is all they have. Hell, when you hear of a new movie coming out, it's often described as "a cross between Movie 1 and Movie 2" and you don't see lawsuits coming out because of that. There is already different source material that Zoom is based off of, and it's a graphic novel i.e. long comic book, which leads me to wonder why Marvel didn't act when the graphic novel came out, if they were so serious about these allegations. Perhaps the movie version has stolen some things from the mutant franchise, but so friggin what? You can throw a dart inside a Blockbuster and it will hit a movie that has stolen something from another movie. It happens. Get over it. Marvel and Fox should just be focusing on X-Men 3, and if recent history keeps repeating itself, they'll be looking for another director in a few weeks or so...
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 kids, 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.