Another seven days has come and gone, and left us with a new slew of movie news, box office info, new official websites for upcoming movies and new trailers in its wake. By the way, I believe this column marks somewhere in the vicinity of my third year writing this little column. With that in mind, I was wondering if any of you readers had any suggestions for the column: likes, dislikes, suggestions, etc. So if you have any feedback, shoot me an email at [email protected] Anyway, lets get this party started with this week's Notables.
"Tobey Maguire Not Interested in Returning for Spider-Man 4 ?" - Monday, March 5:
Well, lets start the week off with a bit of controversy, shall we? I thought we were past all this. It's been, oh, maybe a year or so since the see-saw decision making at Sony on whether to go forth with more Spidey or keep it a trilogy. It was fine. There was peace in Spideydom. Now, Spidey himself might be on the fence and this marvelous series might just end with three movies after all. Balls! I guess I'll have to wait a few months until I watch Spidey 3 before jumping the gun on this one. Maybe it really does end properly as a trilogy. Who knows. If that's the case, so be it. But I can't see why they'd do such a thing since it's been wildly successful and popular. It's not like they're running the franchise into the ground or anything, and if they do stop at 3, I wonder what the people at Sony have against making boatloads of money. Worst News of the Week Nominee
"Walt Becker Takes Runt to Dimension" - Monday, March 5:
Becker has had a pretty good run so far, with two decent hits in National Lampoon's Van Wilder and the recent Wild Hogs, but I think he might be pushing his luck a bit here. For one, he pitched this with David Gallagher (no relation...I don't think) from 7th Heaven, who will co-write the script with Becker. Um, ok. IMDB says Gallagher has written and directed a movie called Ten Bucks, but who really cares. For two, this flick sounds mildly retarded, centering on a set of identical twins who are vastly different people. And they called this high-concept? Hardly. It's barely a full concept, let alone high-concept. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Abdul Williams Cashing in His Lottery Ticket" - Tuesday, March 6:
Now this one does sound like a high-concept flick. This comedy will revolve around an 18-year-old guy living in the projects who must keep his winning lottery ticket a secret over a three-day weekend. While this movie will be written and directed by a few newcomers in Abdul Williams and ex-music-video director Erik White, I think the concept alone should attract some great talent, and hopefully these two newcomers can pull off what could be a really decent movie. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Stuart Blumberg to Write Slapshot Remake" - Tuesday, March 6:
This sounds like some awesome news, folks. The best remakes usually come from cult classics like this one, and this seems like a great time to bring back those rowdy Chiefs and their eccentric coach Dunlop. They've chose a pretty damn good writer too in Stuart Blumberg, who gave us one of the most underrated comedies in recent years, The Girl Next Door. I'll be very interested to see who they cast for Reg Dunlop, and to see how this project comes together. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Columbia and Will Smith Get Cooked" - Tuesday, March 6:
It looks like Big Willy Style is on an inspirational kick after his success with The Pursuit of Happyness, with him picking up this story of an imprisoned drug dealer who took on the culinary arts and rose up to become the executive chef at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. It says that Smith's Overbrook Entertainment has picked this up, but it doesn't say if he'll perform here as Henderson or anyone else. It sounds like a fairly interesting story though, and if Smith can pull this off like he pulled off Pursuit, it should be a damn good project. Best News of the Week.
"M. Night Shyamalan to Write and Direct The Happening" - Wednesday, March 7:
Well, it looks like he finally sealed the deal on this one, although it took longer than any of his other projects did. They say this will be Night's first R-rated flick, revolving around a natural crisis that threatens humanity, and stuff. This is budgeted at $57 million, so it's probably up there with his biggest budgeted flicks as well. I'm just not sure about this one, Night. I'm a fan and all, but if this one doesn't fly, it might take longer than a month or so for you to sell a project. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Randy Quaid and Jay Baruchel Check on Real Time" - Friday, March 9:
Right. Randy Quaid playing a hitman? I don't think so, folks. Hell, I might even buy Baruchel as the hitter and Quaid as the compulsive gambler given an hour to live. Baruchel is kind of scrawny though, but still. There is nothing about Randy Quaid that would even hint he could possibly be a hitman. Baruchel should have a great career ahead of him, and this does have a decent premise, but Randy Quaid is not a hitman, and that glaring oversight is more than enough to garner a Worst News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
When only one movie comes out in wide release on any given weekend, there's a pretty good chance that movie will be tops at the box office. That was the case this weekend, and then some. Zach Snyder's outstanding Greek war epic 300 absolutely slayed the competition this weekend, taking the top spot with an enormous $70.8 million. That mark broke the record for highest March opening, set by Ice Age: The Meltdown's $68.03 million. That mark is also the highest opening weekend gross of 2007, and the third-highest opening for an R-rated movie ever, behind just The Matrix Reloaded's $91.7 million and The Passion of the Christ's $83.8 million. While the flick certainly wasn't hurt by the solid 62% "Fresh" rating from the critics of Rotten Tomatoes, the flick had such a huge amount of buzz going for it for quite awhile. Those positive reviews could bring in a new crowd during the week and next weekend, though, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a very minimal decrease next weekend, perhaps 30% or so.
What's even more impressive than this massive gross is the fact that it really didn't receive a terribly huge rollout. The flick bowed in 3,103 theaters, which is about average for a wide release these days, but capitalized on all of them with an remarkable $22,844 per-screen average. The movie has already earned a profit as well, making $5 million and some change from its $65 million budget.
It was a two-horse race at the box office this weekend and even though 300 was the winner by many many lengths, some hogs put up a pretty good fight as well. Wild Hogs came in second place this weekend, taking in a very distant, but respectable $27.6 million. Despite the mammoth competition, last weekend's winner only dropped an impressive 30.5% from its opening weekend, bringing it to a 10-day total of just over $77 million. Yeah, that's how impressive 300 was this weekend, falling just $7 million short of Wild Hogs' 10-day take. Damn.
Year of the Dog: (YearofftheDogMovie.com)
We start out with a little dog trivia quiz that I really stunk at, but oh well. You can skip it if you want, though. Anyway, when we get into the main site, we don't get much at all. We get a little banner thing with random dogs that keep popping up on the screen. On the top, there are all the top-billed actors in this flick, and you can click on their names. I was expecting some sort of biography to pop up from these links, but for each actor, and for writer-director Mike White, the links are to their IMDB pages. That's pretty cheap, y'all. Sure, IMDB gives you everything you need to know, but for an official website to just give you these links is pretty damn lazy, folks. That's all we get here, folks. They say at the bottom that the full site is coming soon, but they better get cracking on that since the movie opens on April 13 in limited release.
Live Free or Die Hard
No, it's not the fourth Die Hard movie, a href="/movies/film/96/1996/summary.php" class="film">Live Free or Die Hard, but it looks pretty damn funny, folks. This is a small-town crime flick with a dimwit criminal thinks he committed a murder he really didn't. We have a wonderful cast here with Aaron Stanford, Michael Rappaport, Zooey Deschanel, Kevin Dunn, Judah Friedlander and many more. It looks like a really witty comedy that doesn't take itself too seriously and should be a lot of fun to watch. Live Free or Die opens on March 30 in limited release.
For one, what the crap is going on with Cage's hair here? It looks so... weird, to put it nicely. Anyway, yeah, the movie. They don't really give us a whole lot in this trailer, only that Cage plays a man named Cris Johnson and he has this gift of seeing into the future. Of course, stuff goes bad and he sees stuff he shouldn't and the world is going to end and all sorts of neato stuff like that. The saving graces for this are that we have a solid cast with Cage, Jessica Biel, Julianne Moore and others and the other saving grace is that this is a movie adapted from a Phillip K. Dick story. Well, that might be a saving grace. Adaptations of his works either shine (See: Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report) or fail (See: Impostor, Paycheck). We're about due for a good Dick adaptation, so hopefully Cage and Co. can pull it off. Next opens on April 27.
This looks like a great summertime thriller, folks. The cast is just wonderful with Ray Liotta, LL Cool J, Mekhi Phifer, Jolene Blalock, Taye Diggs, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Bruce McGill. It looks like one of those who's-betraying-who sort of deals, with some nifty twists and turns along the way. Jolene Blalock looks to give a wonderful performance here and maybe it will solidify some more silver-screen work for her. Slow Burn opens on June 22.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It was a tough choice, but I'm going to have to pick this slick new lottery ticket flick for my Best News of the Week. Sure, the writer and director are both virtual unknowns, but this concept alone sounds money to me. With the movie set in the "hood", they can infuse some interesting dramatic elements into this comedy as well, and have it work equally on both levels. I'm really interested to see who they'll cast for this 18-year-old lead, and hope they start the ball rolling right with that casting selection.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
There were some real stinkers this week, but I'm going to have to go with Randy Quaid playing a hitman for my Worst News of the Week. Everytime I think of Randy Quaid, I either think of the drunk in Independence Day, or the drunk in Not Another Teen Movie or the drunk in all the Vacation movies. Hmm, I wonder if he's played a sober man in awhile... Maybe it's just been awhile since I've seen him in anything serious, but I just can't see him playing a hitman. That picture just refuses to develop in my mind. I love Jay Baruchel for the compulsive gambler friend, but, seriously, Randy Quaid is no hitman, folks.
That's all for this week. Surf on back next week for more box office goodies, new official sites 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. Gallagher out!