Howdy folks. It was another week filled to the brim with movie news, box office figures, new official websites to upcoming flicks and new trailers. So lets get this party started with this week's Notables.
news/news.php?id=9430|"Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman Set for The Prestige" - Monday, October 3
This sounds like a very high-powered project that's starting up here. We have some top quality names on the topline here with Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman and some bona fide talent at the helm with Christopher Nolan, whose work just keeps improving. The only possible X-factor here is Nolan's brother, Jonathan, who is handling the screenwriting duties. He has another script in the works, The Exec, to also be directed by his brother Christopher, but we haven't seen anything on the silver screen by him yet, even though he did write the short story that Christopher's Memento was based on, and that is one of my favorite flicks of the 21st century. Still, with top-notch talent in front of and behind the camera, this should be one to surely keep an eye on. Best News of the Week Nominee.
news/news.php?id=9443|"Vincent Perez Set for The Last Warrior" - Monday, October 3
This sounds pretty dull, folks. Another futuristic flick where some rookie cop has to save his main squeeze from this cyborg-ish warrior, to be played by Perez. Apparently, this warrior is scheduled for termination, and I have no idea how they tie in this girl to a warrior scheduled for extermination. I'm not familiar at all with Perez, with his only credit that I have actually seen being Queen of the Damned. But that's more than I can say for director John Eyres, so this one could end up being coming to a Blockbuster near you, instead of a theater near you. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
news/news.php?id=9448|"Vanguard brings Gnomes! to Life" - Tuesday, October 4
OK, this sounded pretty cool when I read the first line of the description: "The story centers on a boy who discovers that the garden gnomes in his backyard actually are alive." Sounds fairly interesting, right? Well, then they have to go ahead and ruin it with this: "When he starts to suspect that his mom's new suitor is a gnome-eating troll, the boy enlists the gnomes' help." Right. I can't deny the humorous possibilities of the suitor being someone that people already despise, like Howard Stern, and throw the gnome-eating on top of that, but this still sounds dreadful. With this retarded sub-plot, I can't see this being any good at all. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
news/news.php?id=9450|"Paramount Grabs Get 'Em Wet" - Tuesday, October 4
While this title could allude to several possibilities, it's far more docile then you might think... but it definitely isn't smarter than you'd think. This flick revolves around a couple of hot tub salesmen (Dax Sheppard and Will Arnett) that decide to globalize and hit up the Japanese market, only to look like knobs, forcing them to embrace Japanese culture. Oh goody. So we get to see the dude from Arrested Development and one of the dopes from Punk'd acting like American jackasses in Japan. Oh how our cup of stupidity runneth over... Worst News of the Week Nominee.
news/news.php?id=9462|"Sharon Stone, Elijah Wood, Nick Cannon and Freddy Rodriguez Join Emilio Estevez's Bobby" - Wednesday, October 5
I've heard of this project for awhile, but I haven't really gotten a good feel for what the flick will be like until now, and this sounds pretty damn good, folks. This fact/fiction hybrid revolves around a variety of characters and what they all go through in the hours before Bobby Kennedy is assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in L.A. These new additions to the cast sound right on, as well, as I can see each actor fitting into their role perfectly. This has been described as first-time director Emilio Estevez's passion project for years, and it sounds like he has a damn good supporting cast to help him envision this project. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
After a fairly calm week to end out a wacky September, the unpredictability continues, much to my dismay. The kiddie flick Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit had the biggest title and made the most bank at the box office this weekend, taking in an estimated $16.1 million in its opening weekend. It had a monsterous theater count (3,645) which definitely helped boost it's per-screen average to $4,417. What is perhaps even more surprising is the enormous support this movie received from the nation's critics. The Nick Park flick scored an astronomical 95% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, or 100 positive reviews out of 105. Those kind of numbers are just staggering, and this is easily the best reviewed movie of the year, so far, for a wide release anyway. I guess that inner child in me must be on a very long nap, because this didn't look like anything that would interest me too much, but apparently almost all of the major critics felt otherwise.
The surprises didn't stop there this weekend, as Flightplan showed no signs of making its final descent, taking the 2nd spot this weekend with $10.7 million, only dropping 27.1% from last weekend's second straight #1 finish. Right behind Flightplan were some of the newcomers this weekend, with In Her Shoes taking the 3rd spot with just over $10 million and Two For the Money took the 4th spot with $8.3 million and Waiting... took a disappointing 7th place with $5.7 million, although it made it's tiny $3 million budget back in 3 days. The biggest surprise of the weekend, though, was a flick I had honestly not heard of until I checked the grosses yesterday.
The Gospel shot out of obscurity to take the 5th spot at the box office this weekend, with an estimated take of $8 million. The Screen Gems church drama easily scored the best per-screen average of the top 10, with a hefty $8,255 average coming from just 969 theaters. This is just a remarkable box office performance here, and, like Waiting, it had the luxury (or lack of) a big budget at just $5 million so it's all profit, all the way. With this surprising performance, I wouldn't at all be surprised to see a big leap in the theater count for The Gospel this coming weekend, so another top 5 finish might not be out of the question. Regardless, this is probably the biggest box office surprise of the year so far.
Box Office Predictions
Wow, this just hurts to do these days, but being a glutton for punishment...
Predictions for 10/14-10-16
1) The Fog: $14.3 million
2) Elizabethtown: $13.5 million
3) Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit: $11.7 million
4) Domino: $9.3 million
5) The Gospel: $8.5 million
Prediction Results for 10/7-10/9
You know, it just really hurts to type these in again, so here's what I'll do, if you feel like laughing at me. news/news.php?id=9446|CLICK HERE to see my exact predictions for last week, and laugh as much as you will. It ain't easy these days, kids. It ain't easy...
After some slick intros, this is a fairly basic site, but with a decent amount of content here. Once you get past all the intros, you come to the Main Lobby and all the menus are on the top. For each menu, you're brought to a different room where you click on items around the room, or you can just click on them on the menu at the top. Under Movie there is Story, which is a decent synopsis, Photos which is a small photo gallery and Cast and Crew and Production Notes are coming soon. In Media you get Trailers and Clips/Behind the Scenes is supposed to be active, but it's the same two trailers as the Trailers section. Interviews and TV Clips are, of course, coming soon. Under Downloads you can snag some AIM Icons, e-cards, wallpapers and screensavers. The entire Special Features section is coming soon as well. There is some cool style here and some decent content, although there is more inactive content than there is active, but it's still a decent site. Doom opens on October 21.
Ahh Sony. You were doing so well for awhile there, and now you had to revert back to your prior official website stupidity. This is a Sony site of old: a bland teaser site with nothing but a list of the cast, impressive as it may be it's still a list, a picture of what might be the one-sheet and, of course, the link to register for updates. Move along, nothing to see here... All the King's Men opens on December 16 in limited release.
Ice Age 2: The Meltdown: (www.iceage2.com)
Another stupid teaser site here, folks, but with an added twist. After a brief intro, all we get here is an even briefer synopsis, the trailer, a link to register for updates and the twist: you can visit the website of the original Ice Age flick! Way to stretch for content, Disney. Ice Age 2: The Meltdown is still looking for a release date for 2006.
The week of the teaser site continues. All we get here is the trailer. Next site, please. Derailed opens on November 11.
Might as well end this week's Going Live with, yes, ANOTHER TEASER SITE. Damn these are getting old. All we get here is a semi-decent synopsis and a photo gallery filled with a whopping 4 flippin pictures. Argh. The Producers opens on December 16 in limited release.
This looks like some more Oscar bait for director Sam Mendes, who has already made a big name for himself even though Jarhead will be only his third film. Of course, it helps that Best Picture Winner American Beauty was his first film and the highly lauded Road to Perdition was his second. Mendes will surely get the hat trick with Jarhead, with a knockout cast of Jake Gyllenhall, Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper and Peter Sarsgaard and a writer who knows how to churn out hits in damn near every genre, William Broyles Jr. (See: Apollo 13, Entrapment, Planet of the ApesThe Polar Express). With some timely subject matter and a smashing cast and talent behind the camera, this could definitely snag some little gold men. Jarhead opens on November 4.
The Oscar bait trend continues at the Trailer Park this week, with the very intriguing Syriana. This flick is based on a CIA operative's memoir of dealing with Middle Eastern oil magnates and the volatile nature that surrounds it. Clooney plays the op, Robert Baer and he has a marvelous surrounding cast of Matt Damon, Jeffery Wright, Chris Cooper, William Hurt, Tim Blake Nelson, Amanda Peet and Christopher Plummer. Behind the camera is more Oscar-proven talent in Steven Gaghan, who won an Oscar for writing the critically acclaimed Traffic, who writes and directs here. Like Jarhead, this is also very timely subject matter here, with a complex story and some great actors on the topline. This should be another one to watch for come Oscar time. Syriana opens on November 23 in limited release.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It was a close call this week, but I'm going with news/news.php?id=9430|two of the best leading men out there taking up Prestige for my Best News of the Week. True, Jackman is coming off a disappointing turn in Van Helsing, but he's one of the most talented leading men working in the biz right now. And who better to compliment him then one of the hottest leading men working today in Christian Bale. Obviously, Bale has Batman under his wing, but gained much popularity, even post-American Psycho due to his roles in indies like Laurel Canyon, his haunting performance and immense physical transformation in The Machinist and his cult fame for starring in one of my favorite movies of all time (honestly) Equilibrium. This should be a great project for both, and I can't wait to see how these two great actors play off each other as competing magicians.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It was a close call here too this week, but I'm going with news/news.php?id=9448|garden gnomes with a pulse for my Worst News of the Week. It's sad, though, because they just need to change one thing around for this to be semi-interesting. I'm digging on the fact that this kid finds out that his garden gnomes are actually alive. I'm fine with that. But the fact that they bring in a guy the kid's mom is dating as a gnome-eating monster-ish dude? Come on. There's only so high a level that we'll be willing to go, as far as an audience's willingness to believe, or at least try to comprehend. I think that having living lawn gnomes goes about as far as they can go. Just keep it at that. Have the kid playing baseball outside or something and he sees a gnome move, and they take him to their underground lair underneath the lettuce patch or something. We'll be willing to go that far, I believe. But to have a guy come in, who's dating the kid's mom no less, as a gnome-eater, forcing the kid to side with the gnomes instead of his mother... that's a touch to much, kids.
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.