It was a short week due to all the turkey festivities and there wasn’t a whole lot of news towards the end of the week. But there were some interesting news bits before Turkey Day, so lets get right into it with Notables.
"Dustin Hoffman and Dax Shepard join Car Wars" - Monday, November 22
This sounds like a pretty good mismatch here. No one would possibly imagine the prankster Shepard (Punk'd) teaming with screen legend Hoffman. I think this could work though. OK, Shepard isn't a very talented actor, at least when compared to Hoffman, but I think that, with the type of character he'll play here, he could vibe very well with Hoffman. I can see them squaring off on the street, like Stiller and DeNiro in Meet the Parents, with Hoffman in one of his Benz's and Shepard in some tricked out classic car. As Larry the Cable Guy would say, "That's funny right thar." Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Paul Greengrass set to helm The Watchmen" - Monday, November 22
This is some very good news for a few reasons. 1) Greengrass handled The Bourne Supremacy very well, and this sounds like a wonderful follow up project for him. 2) These comic book movies need some sort of a new edge to them, and I think this project could give the genre said edge. The stories for these comic book adaptations, primarily the Marvel books, have a lot of the same elements and it's basically the same type of story with a different protagonist. This comic sounds like an original take on the genre and should give it some pizzazz that I think it definitely needs. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Robert Downey Jr. set to star in The Shaggy Dog" - Wednesday, November 24
Wow. The Shaggy frickin Dog remake. Unbelievable. Sure, I thought Downey was great in Wonder Boys 4 years ago, but an entrepreneur experimenting with doggy drugs? Retarded. Utterly retarded. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"A Very Long Engagement ruled 'not French" - Friday, November 26
This is probably the first time someone is angered by being deemed not French...Apparently, there is some benefit for a film to be considered French, but who really gives a s*$t? The movie is already out in limited release so I highly doubt their marketing scheme will be messed up, so this is just stupid. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE MOJO
It was quite an extended weekend at the box office, and there was plenty of box office treasure to be taken. Surprisingly, the most treasure was taken by Nicolas Cage and Jerry Bruckheimer for the 2nd straight weekend. National Treasure was the #1 movie at the box office for the 2nd weekend in a row, which is quite shocking seeing as many analysts thought that The Spongebob Squarepants Movie would soak it up last weekend. But the Cage/Bruckheimer actioner proved last weekend was no fluke, taking in an estimated $33.06 million for the 3-day weekend. It took in a massive $46.2 million over the 5-day weekend. What's even more shocking than "Treasure" taking the top spot 2 weekends in a row is that it barely declined any from last weekend. For the 3-day weekend, it dropped only an astounding 5.9% from last weekend's haul, and for the 5-day weekend, it actually increased 31.6%, bringing it's total haul to $87.9 million. I've never seen a movie decline so little from the previous weekend. I couldn't dig up any numbers to see if this is a record or not, but I think it probably has to be. With this amazing lack of decline and a hefty $10,195 per-screen average, National Treasure has probably the most impressive 2-week run in recent box office history, bar none. If it has a My Big Fat Greek Wedding-like lengthy box office run remains unlikely, but what it has acheived so far is simply incredible.
Speaking of incredible, The Incredibles had a very nice run this weekend as well, sewing up the 2nd spot with an estimated $24.08 million. This flick also increased from last weekend, posting a just-as-amazing 9.2% jump in its 4th weekend. What's also amazing is while National Treasure added 226 theaters (which is fairly common and doesn't take anything away from its awesome run), The Incredibles dropped 230 theaters, and it posted an even bigger increase than National Treasure. Unbelievable! The Pixar flick now stands at $214.7 million and could possibly contend for Shrek 2's box office crown for the year, if it keeps these sort of numbers up.
Christmas With the Kranks took the 3rd spot in its opening weekend, taking in $22.7 million for the 3-day weekend, and $32 million for it's 5-day opening haul. If it has 2nd-weekend numbers like National Treasure, it's a pretty safe bet that the Tim Allen-Jamie Lee Curtis holidy flick makes its $60 million budget back before the new year. If it was any other weekend, in possibly any other year, these numbers would be fairly solid, but not with this sort of competition.
In what could set the stage for the biggest box office bust of the year, Alexander proved to be not so great indeed. The Oliver Stone epic Alexander could only muster a 6th place finish on its opening weekend. The Colin Farrell flick took in $13.4 million in the 3-day weekend and $21.6 million over the 5-day weekend. This has to be disappointing for Stone, and especially for the WB, who forked over the $155 million budget. They're probably going to have to lobby every theater to only play Alexander for the rest of the year to make this massive budget back, but even if that did happen, they'd probably still lose money...
This site is just stupid. It's a teaser site, and there is nothing on here besides a "Register for Updates" link, but that's not even the worst of it. It says that the movie stars Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell, but the picture they put up on the site hardly proves it. The picture is supposdedly of Kidman and Ferrell, but they show it from the shoulders on down, of both of them sitting on a broomstick. I don't know why they want to hide the identities of their two toplining stars, but it just doesn't work for me. Bewitched opens July 8, 2005 and hopefully you get to see the whole actors in the movie...
Ugh. Another teaser site...At least this one has the trailer attatched, but that would fall under Trailer Park, and since this is Going Live, that makes this a very dull site. Darkness will come to theaters on Christmas Day.
I guess it was the week of the teaser site, with this site rounding out the week of official websites. This Oliver Twist site, does have a little more to offer than the other sites. The site's main page is a brief synopsis of the film and you can read a little bit about the film's inception in About the Film, register for updates, and a unique feature, Classroom Resource Guide. This guide, apparently in coalition with the film's release next September, can be found in a separate link in this window and is apparently a guide to all of Charles Dickens' work for secondary education students. For those who are more interested in the film, you can catch Oliver Twist in theaters on September 30.
This looks like an weird little project that could end up being a winner. They're obviously banking on Travolta's past success and Johannsen's recent success to pull this little indie through, but it just might do the trick. It's a little confusing in the trailer as to who this Bobby Long actually is, but this still could be a hit. They have it postured for a release in Oscar-friendly late December, but we'll have to wait and see if it can snag any nominations here. A Love Song for Bobby Long opens December 29 in limited release.
The Assassination of Richard Nixon
This seems like an incredibly taut drama that re-teams the 21 Grams pairing of the remarkable Sean Penn and the wonderful Naomi Watts, with the great Don Cheadle thrown in to boot. Just this cast alone will warrant an admission, from me at least, but this true story looks astounding. Penn plays a man who believes president Richard Nixon is to blame for his failed achieval of the American Dream. This could be some more Oscar bait for both Penn, Watts and maybe even Cheadle, but he's been touted for his Hotel Rwanda, so maybe he can pull off two nominations for two different films like his co-star Penn did last year with 21 Grams and Mystic River. Nomination predictions aside, this looks to be a wonderful movie that should hold its own during the Oscar season. The Assasination of Richard Nixon opens December 29 in limited release.
It's just a Sean Penn type of week I guess, and that can't be a bad thing at all. Penn takes a supporting role this time in The Interpreter, yielding the top line to Nicole Kidman, but Penn is smashing in practically everything he does, so who really cares. This one looks great too, marking the first directorial effort in 6 years for Sydney Pollack. This should be a wonderful thriller, with a superb cast including Kidman, Penn and the wonderful Catherine Keener. The story looks to be in good hands as well, with A-list writers Scott Frank and Steve Zallian handling the script. Oh, and that Oscar winner Pollack is behind the helm too. This looks practically perfect from almost every aspect, but we're going to have to wait until April 22 to find out.
This is definitely an homage to the old-school silent films, and I haven't seen a modern film quite like this one. If the film is tailored like the trailer, which I'm pretty sure is the case, it is a totally silent film, with dialogue cards springing up to tell us what they're saying. This looks like a very interesting film that should drum up some nostalgia for the older crowd and give the younger crowd a small piece of the past. After Midnight opens December 3 in New York City.
When Clint Eastwood came out with Blood Work, as well as directing it, he looked so worn out and out of shape, that I hoped he wouldn't be taking on much more acting, because it just wasn't that pretty to watch. While he shined in the directors chair in Mystic River last year, he directs and stars here with Morgan Freeman and Hillary Swank. At least he's acting his age here, literally, but it looks like he does a fine job as an ex-fighter-turned boxing trainer. Freeman is always good, and Swank is usually solid and they both look pretty good here in this boxing flick. This is also positioned in Oscar season, and with some heavy competition this year, I'm not quite sure if it will garner any awards, but it should be a very good flick, even though the title sounds rather silly. Million Dollar Baby opens December 17 in limited release.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
There wasn't much to choose from, in either category, but nonetheless, I'm going to have to pick Paul Greengrass taking on The Watchmen as Best News of the Week. Greengrass has proven to be a very solid action director with his work in The Bourne Supremacy and, with many duds in the comic book genre in recent years (See: The Hulk, The Punisher, etc), this project could give the genre the makeover it desperately needs. It gives us a fresh take on the genre and it will be refreshing to see superheroes and villains portrayed in a different light.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Like I said, there's not much to choose from here, but I'm going to have to go with Robert Downey Jr.'s Shaggy Dog role as the Worst News of the Week winner. Right when I read this I, for some reason, pictured Steve Martin's "evil" character in Looney Tunes: Back in Action, because Downey's role sounds just as retarded as Martin was as a villain. I'm not quite sure if Downey is actually a villain or not, but the whole project is just villainous to begin with. Tim Allen is the star, I guess, and seeing him turn into a dog will be about as mind-numbing as Downey's role. I thiknk Downey should drag Allen to the indie scene, where he usually shines, because Allen hasn't been picking the best parts as of late either, and his schtick won't last forever. If there was a Career Makeover reality show, these two would be among the first in the chair, in my humble opinion...