Howdy folks. Another seven days has come and gone and brought with it a fresh batch of movie news, box office info, new official websites for upcoming movies and new trailers. So lets get this shindig rockin' with this week's Notables.
Well, we got our first taste of 9/11-inspired flicks this year, and both of them - United 93 and World Trade Center - didn't really do so hot. United 93 scored only $31 million and World Trade Center earned $70 million, both flicks scoring fairly minimal profits. The latter was directed by Oliver Stone who apparently wants to keep going with the 9/11 theme for his flicks in picking up this one. This one will deal with the aftermath of the attacks on the Twin Towers and the manhunt for the elusive Osama bin Laden. While he did play it fairly straight with his World Trade Center movie, Stone has a massive history of conspiracy theory laced into his work, and this one might provide some fodder for such a venture. But still, while moviegoers might not be so interested in reliving that horrific day at the theaters, they might be more interested in the efforts after it. This could be a very interesting flick. Best News of the Week Nominee.
I'm not sure what this is all about. It doesn't appear to be a remake of an older Bruce Lee flick, since I couldn't find a Rage & Fury flick on IMDB. Maybe it's a Fists of Fury remake, but who knows. If this is a biopic, then that's even weirder since the main Bruce Lee biopic, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story was directed by Senor Cohen as well. If it is a biopic, I'm not sure why he'd want to do another one, unless it's a la Oliver Stone and goes all conspiracy theory on us about his mysterious death in 1973. Either way, it's weird that Cohen, who hasn't had a great track record as of late, wants to go walking down memory lane and do another Bruce Lee flick, especially when he's been off his game. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
Sure, we've probably had too many of these "escape from the 'hood" movies, but this one sounds a bit more intriguing, if not for its premise, then definitely for its cast. The marvelous Djimon Hounsou will star here, finally getting some topline space to himself, as, of all things, a pianist living in the 'hood, as he struggles to get out. Naturally, his friends keep holding him back, and this supporting cast looks pretty damn solid too with Brian White (Tevon from "The Shield"), Boris Kodjoe (Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion) and Thomas Kretschmann (King Kong) as his friends trying to keep a pianist down. With this awesome cast, I don't care if we've seen the story a million times, especially with Hounsou toplining solo for a change. I'd watch it just for that anyway. Best News of the Week Nominee.
Well, here's a name from the past we haven't heard in awhile. Frank Darabont will be writing, directing and producing this flick based off a 1985 short story by Stephen King. It sounds kinda creepy, and kind similar to The Fog. This flick centers around a small town which starts to be enveloped by this misty cloud and people suddenly start to die in midst of the mist. The survivors shack up in a supermarket, trying to figure out how to survive. This might not sound totally original so far, but it's based off a Stephen King story, and I've heard he's good, and I'm a big fan of Frank Darabont, so yeah. This should be pretty damn good, people. Best News of the Week Nominee.
This sounds like some awesome news. I'm not terribly familiar with Winstead, since she's a relative newcomer, but casting Timothy Olyphant as Bruce Willis' nemesis is just a fabulous bit of casting. I've thoroughly enjoyed his performances in Dreamcatcher, A Man Apart and especially his marvelous turn in The Girl Next Door. He's got style and range to spare, and this is just a wonderful fit for him as a computer hacker going up against the aging John McClane. With Justin Long and Maggie Q already in place, this looks like a superb cast for this fourth installment of the great series. Best News of the Week Nominee.
Well this is certainly interesting. I thought it was a little odd when they chose 27-year-old Neill Blomkamp to direct this flick, since he was a first-timer and this was surely to be a big-budget affair. It turns out the budget might be bigger than first imagined, even though that's being denied. Still, there was always big money thrown around this flick. Alex Garland was paid $1 million to write it for Microsoft, which then creatively took that script to the studios - with messangers dressed up as Master Chief - and then sold that script for $10 million to Universal. Now, with the budget supposedly soaring, and a rookie 27-year-old director at the helm, it looks like they should've balanced the checkbook a little better. It's just too bad since this flick will surely make some crazy huge bank. The game is immensely popular, and the movie will surely revitalize the video game adaptation genre. I doubt anything will stop this flick from being made, but this is one big fat stumbling block here. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
It was quite an interesting weekend at the box office, but it took a little bit of magic to be on top. The Prestige took the top spot this weekend, with a somewhat weak $14.8 million. For some crazy reason, this flick, which scored quite nicely with the critics at Rotten Tomatoes with a solid 73%, didn't get much love from the theater count. The Christopher Nolan flick was only shown in 2,281 theaters, but still managed to take the top spot and snag a steady $6,489 per-screen average. I have to admit that I was rather surprised at the meager rollout, but I guess it didn't need that much to be on top anyway.
Surprisingly close on its heels was The Departed which came in second place with $13.4 million. The Martin Scorcese ensemble masterpiece dropped only 29.3% in its third weekend, and must be picking up some steam on the heels of some fantastic reviews (92% "Fresh" on RT) and some obvious Oscar buzz. Flags of Our Fathers came in third with a very solid $10.2 million. This Clint Eastwood flick also scored with the critics, garnering a 72% "Fresh" rating on RT, and made the most out of its paltry 1,876-theater rollout by earning a decent $5,461 per-screen average.
Flicka could only manage a 5th place finish, even despite a much greater rollout than the other newbies. It could only manage $7.7 million from a 2,877 theater count, which gives it a terrible $2,677 per-screen average. And the last newcomer came in 8th, but really didn't do all that bad. Sofia Coppolla's Marie Antoinette came in 8th place this weekend with $5.3 million. While that doesn't sound great at all, it was only shown in 859 theaters, and managed a healthy $6,241 per-screen average. After its disaterous outing at Cannes, it looks like this flick might not fare too bad after all.
But, there wasn't all rosy news at the box office this weekend. The Grudge 2 took a huge tumble this weekend, falling from first to sixth in seven days, taking in just $7.6 million in its second weekend in release. It dropped a disasterous 63.3% from its opening weekend, and they should be glad their $31 million overall gross has already earned them a profit, since it won't be making much more than that after this weekend. And here's some good news/bad news to end out the box office goodies. Superman Returns finally crossed the $200 million plateau! Congratulations. Oh yeah, the bad news. It took 117 days for it to cross that mark, 8th slowest all-time, and, oh yeah, the flick still has $70 million to go before it reaches a profit. Good luck hitting that mark, you idiots.
Oh goody. Another teaser site. All we get here is the trailer, which went up last week, and a link to register for updates. Blah. Freedom Writers opens on January 12.
We get a pretty decent site here for this hyped-up flick. The menus are at the bottom of the site. Under The Film, we get the sweet trailer, a thorough synopsis in The Story, and some background on the cast and director in The People. Production Notes and Behind the Scenes are apparently coming soon. Downloads gives us some wallpapers, AIM Icons and screensavers for your downloading pleasure, while Gallery gives us a decent photo album to peruse. The Game menu has some info on the upcoming video game and Mobile has some info on this Mobile Scavenger Hunt game along with ringtones and wallpapers to get for your celly. There's also this Experience the Adventure compass thing, but it's just a series of different backgrounds for the site. Still, this is a pretty decent site with some great style and decent content. Eragon opens on December 15.
Sorry folks. My video stuff is messed up yet again. This is getting annoying. Hopefully next week is better.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
I going with the marvelous Djimon Hounsou finally toplining something for a change for my Best News of the Week. Hounsou has been outstanding in supporting roles for some years now including turns in Gladiator, Constantine and award-nominated performances in Amistad and In America. He's quite the complete actor, and it's about damn time he's getting some lead-actor work. He'll share the top line later this year with Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond, and after that flick and this Trunk flick, lets hope the lead roles keep pouring in for this awesome actor.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
I'm going with Rob Cohen playing off Bruce Lee... again for my Worst News of the Week Nominee. This guy was all the rage in Hollywood a few years back when he made a star out of Vin Diesel and himself with The Fast and the Furious and xXx. Now, after the bomb that was Stealth, it looks like he's going back to his past with another Bruce Lee flick. He directed the decent 1993 biopic Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, and while I don't know if this is a biopic or not, it seems like he's just trying something familiar to get back on his game. Some people didn't think he had much of a game to begin with, since Fast and the Furious and xXx scored at the box office despite critical vitriol, so who knows what will become of this Rob Cohen character. Maybe he'll shave his head again, or something...
That's all for this week. Surf on by 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.