It was another wild week in Hollywood for movie news, so lets delve right into the good and bad of the week, with Notables.
“Production begins November 3rd on Carlito’s Way: The Beginning” – Monday, October 18
It’s bad enough that Universal cancelled it’s American Gangster flick, which had so many great things going for it, but they’re trying to re-coup their losses with this flick? Sure, the budget has already been secured, but is there really going to be a market for this flick? It’s not like Carlito’s Way was a phenomenal success ($36.9 million gross in 1993) and I just don’t see too many people clamoring for this prequel. Universal sure has interesting loss-retrieval methods…Worst News of the Week Nominee.
“Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman in negotiations for Lucky Slevin” – Tuesday, October 19
These are two great actors here, but lets face facts. Both of them haven’t had a hit in a few years, and this odd-sounding project doesn’t really sound like something that would bring them out of their slump. A flick surrounding black and Jewish gangsters? There are Jewish gangsters? Is Adam Goldberg going to star as the Hebrew Hammer? There isn’t a lot listed about the story here, but what is listed sounds rather dreadful. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
“Jamie Foxx to start in The Executioner’s Game” – Tuesday, October 19
This Gary Hardwick guy really must love to write. He’s written for TV shows and has written a couple of lackluster feature films and now he seems to be getting serious with a novel coming out. His resume primarily consists of lighter fare, but this could possibly be a winner. Oh, and Jamie Foxx to star in the film adaptation is some pretty damn good news as well. Best News of the Week Nominee.
“When and where to see the Revenge of the Sith trailer” – Tuesday, October 19
This is probably the first time in years there is actually a viable reason to watch Access Hollywood…I don’t care if they run it on PBS during Sesame Street, bring on the trailer, baby! 10 days until it’s on TV, 11 days until you can see it on the big screen, attached to The Incredibles. Best News of the Week Nominee.
“Judd Apatow and Steve Carrell join The 40 Year-Old Virgin” – Wednesday, October 20
Apatow was saying how “constantly amazed” he was of Carrell’s hilarious show-stealing performance in Anchorman (he was pretty much the only thing good about that flick), and he wanted Carrell to finally take the lead. I completely agree with Apatow, and while there are no real details of the plot, although we can surmise a lot from the title, it will be interesting to see how Carrell fares in the spotlight. He is immensely funny, though, and I’m sure he’ll score, in more ways than one, with this project. Best News of the Week Nominee.
“Brandon Routh confirmed as the next Superman!” – Wednesday, October 20
When this project first surfaced, in what seems like many many years ago, they had mammoth franchise projections for this, with a commitment that was believed to be for about a decade or so. It’s not surprising, then, to see a young newcomer taking on this role. Routh is only 25 years old, and from the picture posted on MovieWeb this week of him in his own Superman costume, it appears he has the Superman look down to a T. His acting ability, however, has been unproven, and we’ll have to see how that pans out. On the other hand, if a talented director like Singer is willing to put this much faith in him, he must be worth the gamble. Best News of the Week Nominee.
“Keith Richards to join Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3” – Thursday, October 21
Johnny Depp, you’ve done it again! After revealing last year that Rolling Stones guitarist Richards was the inspiration for his most memorable character, Captain Jack Sparrow, the inspiration himself is now going to play Sparrow’s father in the back-to-back sequels. This just rocks, folks. I’ve got nothing else to say, except Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
Apparently, holding grudges does pay off. Sony’s The Grudge, a remake of the Japanese horror classic Ju-On: The Grudge, became the 2nd movie this month to open over $40 million…although it was estimated at exactly $40 million. It was more than enough to take the top spot this weekend, and nab the 3rd highest October opening, behind Shark Tale and Scary Movie 3. The 3rd highest October opening will likely still stick when the actuals are released, but it might end up at just under $40 million when those figures are released. Still, this is a wonderful opening for The Grudge, with its tiny $10 million budget. Unless the wheels totally fall off of this movie, it should easily make $100 million, and probably be one of the most profitable movies of the year.
Shark Tale took the 2nd spot, its first foray out of the #1 spot in its 4-week run. But still, it only dropped 35% from last weekend, grossing an estimated $14.3 million. Its overall run stands at $136.9 million, and although it does have some work to do, to achieve the $200 million milestone, if it keeps having modest drops like this every weekend, it just might be able to get to $200 million.
The only other new flick this week, Surviving Christmas, has an ironic title, because it will need a Christmas-style miracle if this flick is to literally survive at the theaters until Christmas. The Ben Affleck comedy could only muster a 7th place finish in its opening weekend, with an estimated gross of $4.5 million. It averaged a miniscule $1,636 per screen, showing in 2,750 theaters. Still, I’m surprised the grosses aren’t higher. I mean, how many other movies can you go to where Ben Affleck gets hit in the head with a shovel? If that’s not entertainment, I don’t know what is...
This site is rather deceiving, because it has this Flash intro, which usually is a sign that there is some decent content on the site. After all, why waste time on a big intro if you have nothing else on the site? Well, the people behind The Devil Rejects website are apparently cool with wasting time, because after the intro, there’s really nothing here. It says the trailer is “Coming soon” and the only other thing on the site, besides the obligatory “Register for Updates” link is a message from writer-director-rocker Rob Zombie. His message, though, does get you interested in how the site will eventually pan out, so this one might be worth checking back for, because, if Zombie stays true to his word, this should be a great site. The Devil Rejects is still looking for a release date, sometime next year.
The Merchant of Venice: (www.sonypictures.com/classics/merchantofvenice)
There’s not much on this site either, with a look at the possible one-sheet, a photo gallery and a press kit, which are always cool to read because they’re pretty in depth (this one is 29 pages long). But still, there is nothing else here yet, so check back before it opens on December 29 and there might be more there.
These music/concert documentary things are pretty popular these days, and this one looks just as good as any. Jay-Z has been one of the best rappers in the history of the genre, and for this historic show, he brought out some of the other greats in rap to tear down Madison Square Garden for one night last year.
There’s a part in the trailer where it says that “they’re all back” meaning the 11 criminals that made up Ocean’s 11. The one guy who isn’t back, however, screenwriter Ted Griffin, could be the biggest problem here. Just from the trailer, the dialogue from George Nolfi doesn’t sound nearly as sharp as Griffin’s. However, there is some wonderful chemistry between the whole team of bandits and I’m sure that this will be well worth watching. Oh, and the rumor is the 12th member of the troupe remains a surprise until the very end, so that should be intriguing. Ocean’s 12 opens on December 10.
This looks like an interesting flick, if not a pseudo-Gothika rip-off. The cast is mainly unknowns and it looks like they do all right, but it’s just the story that I’m wondering about. There doesn’t look like too much originality here, and I’m sure they’ll pull this big twist-a-roo ending thing as well. I just don’t know about this one, but at least we have some time to wait for this, since it's still looking for a release date.
I’m surprised this movie is opening in January, a time of month reserved for flicks that probably won’t do too well at the box office. This has a very solid cast, with Robert DeNiro, the amazingly talented Dakota Fanning, the amazingly hot Famke Janssen and Elizabeth Shue, who I found it to be amazing she was still alive…Anyway, this looks like a very creepy thriller, with DeNiro a bit more subdued that usual, which should be very interesting. I think this will be a very good flick, but I guess I’ll have to wait until January 28 to find out.
This looks like a very interesting movie. For one, veteran actor Chazz Palminteri directs this movie about odd connections made by strangers over the holidays. The story also sounds kind of like Magnolia, but on a different sort of level. I’m just very intrigued by this movie and I hope it gets released wide, because for now it’s only slated to open in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Miami on November 12. This will surely be one to keep an eye on.
If you were one of the many to see The Grudge this weekend, you likely saw this trailer for the remake of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. This time around, Bernie Mac plays the doubting father and Ashton Kutcher plays the husband-in-law to-be. It looks like Mac and Kutcher have some pretty decent chemistry here, but that looks like probably the only thing that will be worth watching here, because nothing else really seems to work here. The flick is slated for release sometime next year.
You also probably saw this retarded trailer if you saw The Grudge this weekend, and it’s funny because we probably didn’t need to see this trailer anyway. It was announced just recently that this movie was going direct-to-video, but they probably already had the trailers attached to the prints, so they just let it slide. They really shouldn’t have, because that’s a couple of minutes of my life that I’ll never get back…Look for Boogeyman on the video/DVD shelves February 4.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
This week’s pick for Best News of the Week has to go to Keith Richards playing Johnny Depp’s father in the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels. I was never really that big of a Rolling Stones fan, so I was never that familiar with Richards. I was surprised when Depp said Richards was his inspiration for the role, because a lot of Sparrow seemed to stem from my favorite role of Depp’s, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson in the vastly underrated Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. But, I guess I can see how he used Richards for Sparrow, and now that they will be on screen together, it will be very entertaining to see how they vibe off each other as father and son buccaneers. It doesn’t say how big of a role Richards has, but I’m sure that however big of a role he gets, it’ll be some good cinema to watch.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
There wasn’t a whole lot of bad news this week, but I’m going to have to pick Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman in a movie about black and Jewish gangsters. I know they’ve both been struggling as of late, with Freeman’s The Big Bounce and Willis’ The Whole Ten Yards both tanking miserably at the box office this year. But Freeman and Willis as black and Jewish gangsters? Is Willis even Jewish? Isn’t Freeman like 124 years old? Why don’t they both just drop this and both take on Die Hard 4? Freeman could play his new police chief or something and Willis could smoke a lot of cigarettes and spout off corny lines while fighting terrorists. As unappealing as that sounds, it’s a hell of a lot better than a movie surrounding black and Jewish gangsters...