Another week is in the books and has brought us a new slate of movie news, box office figures, new official websites for upcoming flicks and new trailers. So lets get this sucker started with this week's Notables.
"Gaspard Ulliel to play the next Hannibal?" - Monday, September 5
Anthony Hopkins fans, simmer down. This is a prequel that shows some of the events in Lecter's youth that paved the way for the demented events of his adulthood. Ulliel doesn't have much of a name here in the States, and I haven't seen his A Very Long Engagement, but I did see him in Brotherhood of the Wolf and he did a fine job there. I'm not quite sure he has the dark edge of a Hannibal Lecter in him, but this sounds like a fairly good choice to me. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Broken Lizard Moves Forward With Greek Road" - Tuesday, September 6
When I first read this headline, I was 99% sure that this would be some sort of fraternity goofball comedy, seeing that this is a Broken Lizard flick, the troupe who brought us Super Troopers and Club Dread. Thankfully, this isn't the case, as this is a comedy about the first Greeks: the ancient ones, centering around Plato and his mentor. While it's true that Club Dread was basically dreadful and they didn't do any of the writing on the Dukes of Hazzard flick that one of them directed and they all appeared in, I think this will bring them back into the comedy they're used to. It seemed that in Club Dread they were trying to be more scary than funny (which they were neither of) I think this project will focus solely on their comedy, and that's something they can definitely do. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Marvel Entertainment Bringing More Comic Book Characters to the Big Screen" - Tuesday, September 6
I'm not quite sure the timing is right here. Sure, comic book movies have been some of the biggest grossing movies of the past few years, it seems like they're starting to scrape the bottom of the barrell now. Captain America is the only recognizeable title here, assuming that the Cloak and Dagger and The Avengers are different than the previous flicks (IMDB didn't list any comic book connections). Nick Fury rings a bell, but I'm not sure why. Let's face it. All the big name comic books have been adapted to the silver screen, and many have been very successful. Depending on the casting and screenwriting, I'm not quite sure that the comic book + movie = truckloads of bank equation will hold up with all of these comic book scrubs. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Charlie Hunnam in Talks for Alfonso Cuaron's The Children of Men" - Wednesday, September 7
Hunnam hasn't been in much in his young career, but this kid is a fine actor. His fabulously dark performance stole the show in Abandon and he did a great job in Cold Mountain as well. This flick should put him on the map, though, in this Cuaron flick about a future where we've lost our ability to reproduce, and the world's youngest person has just died at 18. I'm assuming Hunnam is playing the next youngest person on Earth, and this is a huge role for a very talented actor that deserves a push. This one is a winner, folks. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Garner Sets Up Henchman vs. Sidekick" - Thursday, September 8
Originality isn't dead after all, folks. While the writers here don't have necessarily great track records, this sounds like a wonderful new project with a new twist on the superhero genre tale. A superhero and supervillain have both been killed, leaving it up to both their right-hand men to continue the battle for good and evil. This has a lot of potential, with some possible satire aimed at this genre. I personally think it'd be funny if both the superhero and supervillain both die under extremely ordinary circumstances, like the superhero gets whacked in a drive-by shooting and the supervillain gets hit by a bus or something. Anyway, this is a highly original take on a usually formulaic genre, and I'm expecting good things here. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Claire Danes Part of The Flock" - Thursday, September 8
Oh goody. Another Se7en ripoff. An old lawman teaching a youngster the ropes and then they get embroilled in a mystery. Big flippin deal. Richard Gere and Claire Danes might be decent picks here, but I'm just not buying this story. I can't see much originality coming out of this one. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Ewan McGregor is The Great Pretender" - Friday, September 9
So, Obe-Wan wants to go all Eddie Murphy on us and play 4 different roles in the same flick? Lovely. Sure, McGregor is talented all right, but this just sounds stupid, folks. He plays an actor who signed on to a big part, but then disappears and they pick an extra with a striking likeness to the star to fill in. Goody flippin gumdrops. This sounds horrible. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
I'm not possessed by a demon or anything, but my head was spinning when I saw these numbers. The Exorcism of Emily Rose absolutely blew the field away taking the #1 spot with an estimated take of $30.2 million in its opening weekend. This opening weekend ranked 3rd best all-time for the month of September, as this month continues to be full of surprises. It was the highest opening weekend since Dukes of Hazzard bowed at $30.6 million in the first weekend of August. Ms. Rose and her demon scared up a highly impressive $10,130 per-screen average, showing in 2,981 theaters. This $19 million flick has already profited in just a weekend and it's in good shape to make even more bank. With this outstanding showing, and last weekend's surprising performance of The Transporter 2, which came in 3rd place this weekend with $7.2 million, it's becoming clear that Hollywood studios don't have their finger on the pulse of the American moviegoer. September is traditionally a dumping ground for flicks that studios aren't too sure of, and it's traditionally a month of very low grosses. With two straight weekends of exceeded expectations, the studios might have to start going back to the drawing board.
The other new flick this weekend did hold up to expectations...for September expectations anyway. The Man finished in 6th place with an estimated gross of just over $4 million. All the numbers here were very low for The Man. It was only in 2,040 theaters and posted a horrid $1,973 per-screen average. The budget wasn't released for this flick, but with Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy toplining, I'd probably guesstimate the budget at around $30 million or so. Hell, it could be a $10 million movie and this flick still probably wouldn't earn a profit. How sad is that? With two great performers like these, it's very sad, and even more proof that big stars don't always equal big bank and more emphasis needs to be put on writing and storytelling. And if that isn't proof enough, check out a flick starring a flock of penguins that's made $66.8 million so far...
Box Office Predictions
With these past two weekends, I'm a tad scared to even try this part of my column, but we'll give it a shot anyway...
1) Lord of War: $22 million
2) Just Like Heaven: $19.4 million
3) The Exorcism of Emily Rose: $17.3 million
4) The 40 Year Old Virgin: $4.5 million
5) The Transporter 2: $3.8 million
This site starts out with a slick little Flash intro, but when we get to the site, it's fairly basic. There's this big "E" logo in the middle of the site, that supposedly you can click on and something will happen...but nay. Anyway, at the bottom there are some options for you. The Land and The Spine Online are both coming soon, but The Legend is basically a synopsis and The Lexicon is basically a glossary of terms for this world, and they even have the phonetic ennunciations. How quaint. Below those menus is a downloads section with a wallpaper and AIM Icons to download, a link to the book's site and a link for updates. The site isn't horrible or wonderful. Just average. Eragon is slated for release on June 16, 2006.
Walk the Line: (www.walkthelinethemovie.com)
This is a very basic site, but they have a few new items I haven't seen on a website before. There is a small intro with lyrics from the flick's subject, Johnny Cash, but on the site, there isn't too much. There is the trailer, and obligatory link for updates, but there is the download section that has a few new goodies. There are the desktop, AIM Icon and poster to download, but they also have a stencil and stickers to download. I guess you have to buy special printer paper for the stickers or something, but at least it's something new. That's all there is here, though, and I wish they had more, like info on The Man in Black. Walk the Line opens on November 18.
This looks pretty good, folks. We've got a great cast here with the hilarious Ryan Reynolds along with Amy Smart, Chris Klein and the barely recognizable Anna Faris i.e. the chick from all the Scary Movie flicks. The story here is pretty cool too, although a tad unoriginal, surrounding Reynolds as a successful music exec who used to be fat and unpopular in high school. He comes home for the holidays, with a huge pop star in tow (Faris) and he reunites with the one that got away (Smart) who, of course, was his friend. So, of course, he tries to get her back, but Senor Klein stands in his way. Should be some good holiday fun here folks. Just Friends opens on November 23.
When I was watching this trailer, I couldn't help but think of that episode of South Park where Cartman says that all independant films are about gay cowboys eating pudding. Well, that's not necessarily the case here, but... it's not too far off. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall star as two sheepherders who form a bond over some period of time that turns into a different kind of bond. Time passes and one moves on and gets married, when they reunite and try to sort out the past with the present. All kidding aside, this looks like an interesting movie, that should up the rising stock of Ledger and Gyllenhall even more. Ang Lee at the helm should be interesting also, since he's treading into American drama here for the first time. This could be some Oscar bait, as the release date of December 9 would indicate, but time will tell.
The horror continues, folks, and I can't frickin wait! It looks like they're going the "if it ain't broke don't fix it route" and since I thought the first Saw was one of the scariest, utterly jaw-dropping horror flick ever, I don't see that much fixing needs to be done here. They're upping the ante though, with 8 strangers locked in a room instead of 2 and a new cop (Donnie Wahlberg) on Jigsaw's trail. The first flick was shot in just 18 days, and they must have kept to the same sort of schedule to get this flick out a year after the original. Bring on the Jigsaw, baby! Saw II opens on October 29.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It was a close call this week, but I'm picking the wingmen fighting at it for my Best News of the Week. I know that the writers are fairly unproven and the producer Todd Garner has a fairly shaky record himself with many ups and downs, but I just love this story, folks. We've seen stories for years where the sidekicks and henchmen drop like flies and, in the end, the superhero defeats the supervillain in the big climactic battle. Here we get to see the guys who do the dirty work get the glory for once. I'm really intrigued as to how the superhero and supervillain will die, but you have so many awesome possibilities for that, not to mention the two guys who are always in the shadows of their mentors that get their chance to shine. There are so many sub-plots you can go through here (inadequacy, fear, etc.) that this will be a lot of fun to watch, and I can't wait, folks.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
This one was close too, but I'm picking Marvel's new lineup for my Worst News of the Week. This is just weird. Sure they have tons of money from all these successful comic book flicks, but they're starting a new company with THESE books to get them started? That's like saying I'm going to start a pro football team with the high school JV team. The big comic books usually do pretty good, but the books with smaller followings haven't done so good in recent years (See: The Punisher, Elektra). The only one out of that whole line-up that I can see doing well is Captain America. They better start out with that one, and swing for the fences early, because the rest of that line-up will more than likely strike out.
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.