Howdy folks. Another seven days has come and gone, and left with it another slew of movie news, box office info, new official websites for upcoming movies and new trailers. So lets get the party started with this week's Notables.
"Terrence Howard and Craig Brewer Reuniting on Singer Charley Pride Biopic" - Tuesday, October 3:
This sounds pretty damn cool. The troubled-musician-biopic genre has been quite the popular one during the past few years, and I don't see why this one can't be just as successful. I thought Hustle and Flow was an extraordinary movie, and I'm sure Brewer and Howard can bring the same magic back with this flick. I'm not terribly familiar with Charley Pride, although the name does ring a bell, but his story certainly does sound intriguing enough for a Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Cameron Diaz and Jim Carrey Exit Production On A Little Game Without Consequence" - Tuesday, October 3:
Hmm, this is weird. This sounded like a pretty fun little flick that would've marked the reunion of megastars Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz for the first time since 1994's The Mask. It sounded like a pretty decent little flick too, that revolved Carrey and Diaz as a happily married couple who decided to spice things up by playing a trick on their friends and telling them that they've split up, even though they haven't. But they start to find out that all of their friends thought they didn't belong together in the first place. Now, this sounds pretty good, but apparently, the flick turned out being something different, and it had to be pretty damn different for both of them to just leave the set. It's just too bad because, that version anyway, sounded like it'd be a pretty good flick. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Simon West in Crazy Love" - Wednesday, October 4:
This just sounds so average it has to be terrible. The description feels like it was plucked out of a screenwriting book, and just plugged in different words. A surfer girl hooks up with a drug dealer and is convinced to smuggle tons of money into Pakistan, of all places. Then, naturally, she's caught and questioned by the cops and stuff. Wow. Groundbreaking stuff here. Leave it to the dopey Simon West to attatch himself to this drivle. Since making Con Air in 1997, his only decent movie, he's made a string of bad movies and drifted aimlessly between film and television without finding a proper home in either medium. Nonetheless, I can't say I'd be excited about this movie, even if the story wasn't as horrid as it sounds, simply because of Simon West's involvement. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"David Ayer Enters The Family With Mafia Cop" - Wednesday, October 4:
When I heard about this incredible true story being made into a film, I knew it'd be a hard-edged flick that has some marvelous promise. It seems they just got the right guy for the job now, since there aren't many writers who are more had-edged than David Ayer. Even though Ayer has brought us stories from the L.A. underbelly, he's still a masterful writer of these gritty tales and this true story about a couple of cops who did dirty deeds for the Mafia, sounds right up his darkened alley. I really hope they fast-track the crap out of this flick, because I'm really psyched to see what Ayer can bring to this story. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Ludacris Gets Angry With Vince Vaughn in Fred Claus" - Thursday, October 5:
This sounds like a very interesting move here. We haven't really seen Ludacris flex any comedic muscle in his short film career, but this could be a great move for him. He'll play an angry elf here, and, if his part is done right, he could end up stealing some scenes from some very big names here including Kevin Spacey, Paul Giamatti and Vince Vaughn, as the title character younger brother of Santa Claus who comes home to the North Pole and almost ruins Christmas. Luda should do a fine job here, and this flick, with a very original story, spectacular cast and Wedding Crashers David Dobkin directing, this should be a damn good flick to watch for. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Jack Black to Produce In College Football, Big Paydays for Humiliation" - Friday, October 6:
There are a few interesting tidbits about this article. First, the title absolutely stinks. Second, Jack Black has a new prodco, Electric Dynamite and his old company, Black and White, that he was partners in with writer/actor Mike White, has been dissolved, whatever that means. It doesn't say if White is on board with this new company, but it doesn't seem like it, which makes me wonder if there was some sort of fallout between the two. If that's the case, that's really too bad because they seemed to make a pretty damn good team, even though I really didn't care for their last offering, a href="/movies/film/43/3343/summary.php" class="film">Nacho Libre. The other weird thing about this is that it really doesn't even sound like much of a movie. It's based on a New York Times article about smaller colleges who get paid exorbatant amounts of money to serve their average football teams up against nationally-ranked teams. Perhaps this might work as a documentary, but I don't know if a feature film would work for this subject. For many reasons, this is a Worst News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
The Departed showed no signs of living up to its title as it dominated the box office this weekend. The Martin Scorcese flick took in a very solid $26.8 million in its opening weekend. The movie opened rather modestly, somewhat surprising with such a enormous ensemble cast, bowing in 3,017 theaters but taking in an impressive $8,911 per-screen average. The flick was even helped out by the nation's critics, as it scored an astounding 92% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is just incredible for a flick with 3,000-plus theater count. The flick is budgeted at $90 million, so Scorcese and Company are about a third of the way home for Profitsville. But with those amazing reviews coming in, I don't think it'll be too hard for them to make a profit.
The #2 movie of the weekend needed only this opening weekend to make a profit, even though the budget was only $16 million. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning took the silver medal this weekend with a $18.5 million take. The prequel was showing in 2,820 theaters and snagged a decent per-screen average of $6,563. It's actually a good thing that this flick already made a profit, though. The critics at Rotten Tomatoes gave this movie only a 20% "Fresh" rating on the site, so it's probably for the best that they made their profit as quickly as humanly possible.
Employee of the Month came close to that whole profit-in-a-weekend thing, but came up just a tad bit short. The Dane Cook/Jessica Simpson comedy took in $11.4 million, just short of its $12 million budget. Oh so close. They didn't get much help from the critics either, with just a 23% "Fresh" rating on RT. It didn't get nearly the theater count as the rest of the new flicks this weekend, bowing in just 2,579 theaters and nabbing a weak per-screen average of $4,423. It'll take a lot more than a silly little monthly award for this flick to do any major damage at the box office.
It doesn't happen that often, but I couldn't find an official website for an upcoming movie to go live this week. The only thing that came close was a character site for Robin Williams character Tom Dobbs in the upcoming flick Man of the Year at TomDobbs.com. There isn't much here, though, with a mixture of political links, info on the character and some downloadable swag. Nothing too great, though. I guess we'll have to wait for next week to see if some more sites pop out of the woodwork.
After the sheer glut of comic book movies to be released, it seems that they're starting to thin out, with the big dogs clutching onto sequels and the little dogs going back to the drawing board, pun intended. Now, I've never pretended to know a terrible amount about comic books, but from the comics of late that are getting development deals, I sure haven't heard of most of them. Ghost Rider might very well one of the last comic franchises, if successful. I doubt it will be the deathnail for the comic book genre if it fails, but it seems to be one of the last of a dying breed. It's a good thing this looks pretty damn awesome then. We've got a pretty sweet cast with Nicolas Cage, Jon Voight, Wes Bentley, Sam Elliot, Peter Fonda and my future wife Eva Mendes. It's also written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson, who brought us the far-underrated Daredevil. This just looks like one slick flick, folks. Ghost Rider opens on February 16, 2007.
It looks like Leonardo DiCaprio has been a busy boy, once again. Like in 2002 with Catch Me if You Can and Gangs Of New York, he has two high-caliber flicks that could easily be Oscar contenders come out in the same year. Although, back then they both came out in the same month, and this year, with The Departed and this flick, there's a little space between the Leo flicks. This flick has the edge in release date, with an Oscar-prime mid-December slot, and while he doesn't have the gigantic ensemble cast like he did with The Departed, he has one of the best actors in the biz in Djimon Honsou, and also Jennifer Connelly. It's also a gritty true story about the late 90s madness of Sierra Leone and its civil war and the conflict diamonds that surround it. We also have a wonderful director in Edward Zwick, so this could be some damn-good Oscar bait here, folks. Blood Diamond opens on December 15.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
I'm going with the street-savvy David Ayer taking to the underbelly with an Italian flare for my Best News of the Week. Ayer is just a marvelous writer and while I just can't wait to see what he can give us with his directorial debut Harsh Times, I think this is a great next step for him, even if it means switching coasts for once. When I first heard about these two cops getting arrested, and the incredibly list of charges against them, I knew this would make a marvelous movie. Now that Ayer is on board, I'd almost go as far as guarantee this will be a good movie. Fast-track the crap out of this movie, please!
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
I'm going with Jack Black's football movie and prodco deal. The prodco thing is a little weird, but White's now writing and directing on his own now with Year of the Dog, so maybe they're just parting ways amicably. This whole football movie thing, though, is another debacle. This would totally work as a documentary, or perhaps a Christopher Guest mockumentary. If they want to turn this into a feature comedy, though, I really have no idea how they'd pursue it. Already it feels a bit like a bland copy of the already bland 90s football flick Necessary Roughness with Scott Bakula and Kathy Ireland's loveliness. Aside from that, I don't know how they'd spin this comedically, or even dramatically without ripping off that one terrible flick. If you asked me, Jack Black, I'd tell you to documentarize this article you've optioned. But, surely, you won't ask me, will you...
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.