Another week has come and go, and that means that we're seven days closer to the new Star Wars flick! Sorry, I couldn't resist. Anyway, since a week has past, delve through it I must, so lets start with this week's Notables.
"Peter Hewitt to direct Chuckle Bears" - Monday, May 9
OK, I liked Nickelodeon Movies signing up Jack Black, Mike White and Napoleon Dynamite writer-director Jared Hess for an untitled flick about a Mexican priest who moonlights as a pro wrestler. But this pick just sounds stupid. It's about a couple of aliens disguised as teddy bears who journey to earth to rid the planet of sadness. Yeah. Peter Hewitt directing doesn't sound too hot either, and this will probably be just another dopey G-rated flick that most people over 7 will avoid. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Elisha Cuthbert joins Captivity" - Monday, May 9
I still haven't gone out to see the lovely Ms. Cuthbert's House of Wax, but with this new project, it really seems that she should be picking her projects a little better. The plot description sounded good at first, with Cuthbert playing a fashion model who with her chauffer gets kidnapped and terrorized. Sounds a little like Saw, but sure, it doesn't sound too bad. Then they bust out on us that they fall in love through the ordeal, and that's where they lost me. Larry Cohen is a pretty decent thriller writer, although it seems like his work is getting worse, since I really liked Phone Booth, didn't really like Cellular, and this one just sounds rather dreadful. Come on Elisha, I know you're better than this... Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"George Clooney is Michael Clayton" - Tuesday, May 10
This sounds like a rather interesting project. Clooney has been golden for years now, and the story sounds pretty cool. Clooney plays the title character who is a "fixer" for a law firm, or the guy who makes problems of clients just go away. And if you think Clooney can't really play the shady type, just check out his turn in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, which he also directed. Tony Gilroy is a pretty slick writer as well, and we'll see how he does as a director. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Warner Bros. picks up The Dionaea House" - Wednesday, May 11
Hmm this writer used a website to sell a screenplay. You don't say... I wonder if Monsieur Balchack would put some of my scripts up on here... Anyway, this sounds like a pretty interesting story here, that sounds like it has kind of a Sleepers vibe to it, with a darker tone. Sounds pretty good to me. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Lions Gate set to make Danny Basavich biopic" - Wednesday, May 11
Besides the absolutely luscious Jeannette "The Black Widow" Lee, the sport of billiards isn't too big of a draw. Then again, a few years ago poker wasn't that big either... I've never heard of this Basavich guy before, because whenever I watch pool it's for Lee, but that's neither here nor there. This project has the kind of underdog story that audiences usually go for, with Basavich rising from a lowly pool hustler to the top pro in the country. Casting will be key here, so we'll have to wait on that one. But this story seems pretty good to me, especially with Lions Gate handling the pic. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Viggo Mortensen, Diane Lane, Mickey Rourke and Justin Timberlake rumored for Killshot" - Thursday, May 12
Although Leonard's last two adaptations didn't exactly set the world on fire (The Big Bounce, Be Cool), this one, like all of his work, sounds pretty cool. If this turns out to be the actual cast, that's even better news...well, except for Timberlake. Honestly, aren't you popular enough, dude? Anyway, this cast and a Leonard story definitely sounds like a good mix to me. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"The Napoleon Dynamite teams brings you The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang" - Thursday, May 12
Yeah, it's the team behind last year's cult hit...but it's more like the JV team. We don't have Napoleon's writer-director Jared Hess here, or even the star, Jon Heder. The writer-director here was the First Assistant Director on Napoleon, so don't get too excited. The story sounds rather dull, and too kids-y for my taste, so I'm not expecting much here. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
Maybe my calendar needs to be updated or something, but I could've swore that May was when the summer movie season started, because it sure doesn't look like it. Monster-in-Law somehow found itself at the top this weekend, claiming just over $24 million for its first weekend in release. The flick did better than most, including me, expected, beating out the weekend's other wide release, Kicking and Screaming, which took the silver medal with an estimated $20.8 million. Still, while Monster was the winner for the weekend, it marked another lackluster weekend at the box office, with the receipts looking more like they're from March than in May.
Monster took in a decent $7,016 per-screen average, appearing in a healthy 3,424 theaters. I wouldn't break out the champagne quite yet for Monster, though, because with its $43 million budget, and that one Jedi flick coming out in a few days, I'd expect a massive slide next weekend, probably 60 percent or so. It's horrid 17% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes can't help matters much either...
While Monster exceeded expectations, Will Ferrell's Kicking and Screaming fell well short with it's $20.8 million take. It was 31 more theaters than Monster, still falling short with a $6,035 per-screen average. These numbers won't bode well for this flick, with a $45 million budget and some gigantic competition arriving on Thursday. The critics didn't take to this comedy very well either, with a 43% "Fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes critics.
The weekend had two other new releases, both in far less theaters and both with "R" ratings. Unleashed posted a solid 3rd place finish, with an estimated gross of $10.5 million in only 1,957 theaters and the oft-delayed Mindhunters took the 10th spot with an estimated gross of just over $2 million, screening in a paltry 1,040 theaters. The movie industry better hope and pray that the new Star Wars flick lures people back to the theaters, otherwise this could be a very slow summer indeed...
BOX OFFICE PREDICTIONS
Well, I'm just sucking royally at this thing, eh? I got every single place in the top 5 wrong, and my grosses were just grossly innaccurate. Let's hope three times is indeed the charm, eh?
Predictions for 5/19-5/22
1) Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith - $122 million
2) Monster-in-Law - $9.7 million
3) Kicking and Screaming - $9.1 million
4) Unleashed - $6.4 million
5) Kingdom of Heaven - $4.2 million
Prediction Results for 5/13-5-15
1) Kicking and Screaming $50 million - ACTUAL Rank - 2; Gross - $20.4 million
2) Unleashed - $20.4 million - ACTUAL Rank - 3; Gross - $10.5 million
3) Monster-in-Law - $16.7 million - ACTUAL Rank - 1; Gross - $24 million
4) Mindhunters - $9.8 million - ACTUAL Rank - 10; Gross - $2 million
5) Kingdom of Heaven - $8.7 million - ACTUAL - Rank - 4; Gross - $9.6 million
This is a pretty simple site, and I was worried that it was just a teaser site at first. But you click on the title at the top of the page and you do get some goodies here by clicking on various items. Click on some pictures for The Crew, where you can see a bunch of bio's and other info on the filmmakers. Click on a magazine for The Cast, which has similar bio's of the actors. Click on News and Extras for, umm, news and extra stuff like video clips and press info. Click on a travel brochure for Locations, which is pretty cool and has director Wim Wenders talking about the various locations the film was shot. The Calendar is pretty cool too, where you can read diary entries from the set and watch behind-the-scenes video. Lastly, you can click on a film can for a synopsis, trailer, photos and even an excerpt from the script, which I have never seen a website provide. This is a really cool site, with some content I've never seen before on a website and some nice style. This is one of the best websites I've seen this year so far. Don't Come Knocking opens on October 13 in limited release.
This is a really cool site, with tons of style. The site opens up saying YOU HAVE BEEN CHOSEN to be on the island and has a testimonial from a giddy Michael Clarke Duncan in character. Once you get to the main site, you can "Explore Merrick Biotech" which is a video explaining the advances in cloning that Merrick has achieved. Click on the Images menu on the left for a slideshow of production photos. The only thing that sucks about this, is that you can't get back to the main site from here. Anyway, on the right, click on Navigation and that brings up more goodies. There is the domestic and international trailer, a synopsis and image gallery, some behind the scenes stuff and desktops, screensavers and AIM Icons to download. It is annoying, though, that none of these menus has a way to get back to the main menu, so you have to close out the window and re-open the site. Anyway, the site does have plenty of goodies, even though it isn't that easy to navigate. The Island opens on July 22.
The last site of the week definitely deserves to be so. This is just another stupid Sony teaser site, although they do have a new feature here in a Blog. I thought it would be for fans to come on and spout off about the movie, but it is actually a blog for the cast and others involved with the flick, and the fans can comment on the posts as well, which is pretty cool. If you're a fan of the long-running musical, the blog should be worth checking out. If not, well, it did say that the full site is coming soon... Rent opens on November 11.
OK, I don't know what the crap is going on today, but for some reason, I couldn't view any trailers. There aren't that many new ones, but if your computer doesn't suck like mine apparently does, you can check out the new ones right here. Sorry, y'all.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It was a pretty tough choice this week, but I'm going with Clooney's new project for my Best News of the Week. The story sounds really interesting here, and Clooney doesn't do darker roles too often, so it should be a nice change of pace. I've really enjoyed Gilroy's writing on The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy, so he definitely has the writing chops down. He's making his directorial debut here, so we'll have to see on that, but with this kind of story, and Clooney behind him, this should be a winner.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
I'm going with the retarded Chuckle Bears for my Worst News of the Week. First, kids movies don't make any money these days unless it has the Pixar name on it, and those movies cater just as much to adults as they do children, if not more so. I don't know why on earth anyone would want to do a straight-up kids movie anymore, because the kid/adult hybrid flick really seems to be where it's at these days. This sounds like something that was cooked up during a bad acid trip... aliens disguised as teddy bears...yeah. I'd like to chuckle this idea off a cliff, along with anyone involved in its inception.
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.