Another week has come and gone and left us another slew of movie news, box office figures, new official websites for upcoming flicks and new trailers. So lets get it started with this week's Notables.
"Jon Heder is Mama's Boy" - Monday, September 19
Napoleon's stock keeps on a rising. He's been taking on a lot of projects as of late, and can be seen in the theaters now in Just Like Heaven. This new project sounds like his best one yet, with him playing an arrogant dude who still lives with his moms. I haven't seen Just Like Heaven yet, so I can't really comment on his post-Napoleon career yet, but this sounds like a pretty decent project. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese Set For The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" - Monday, September 19
Well, Scorcese has tried for an Oscar twice so far with DiCaprio, and he's working on a third time with his new project The Departed. So, might as well try for a 4th time with this new Teddy Roosevelt flick. It will be interesting to see what kind of physical transformation DiCaprio will undergo since Roosevelt had a bit more girth that DiCaprio did. But this does sound like a very interesting story, with Roosevelt's rise through the ranks. Scorcese must want that little gold man pretty damn bad, because he's arming himself with some serious Oscar ammunition, and it all sounds great. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Mark Ruffalo Set for The Brass Wall" - Wednesday, September 13
Ruffalo did a pretty damn good job as a cop in Collateral, even though his performance was underscored by the masterful performances from Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. Ruffalo has been a very solid performer in recent years, and his patience is starting to be rewarded now with starring roles like this one. This flick sounds like a winner, with Ruffalo as a New York cop who uncovers corruption among his ranks. Doesn't sound like anything incredibly new here, but I think this is based on a true story, though they don't say for sure. Ruffalo should be a great fit for this role and will probably continue to prove that he has what it takes to be a lead actor. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Francis Lawrence to direct I Am Legend" - Wednesday, September 13
This sounds like a really cool project, although I'm not sure if this is a remake of the previous two flicks. It doesn't really sound like this though, and sounds more like a re-imagining of the book, along the lines of Tim Burton's new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Apparently, Mark Protosevich's script is or was available on the internet and has gained a lot of buzz, and although director Francis Lawrence's first flick Constantine didn't earn a profit, Lawrence displayed some great style and visual work, especially in the hell scenes. I think this under-the-radar writer/director combo can turn this into something pretty damn good. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Martin Short to Play the Villian in The Santa Clause 3" - Thursday, September 15
Why is this necessary? I know both flicks were successfull, surprisingly enough since they were 8 years apart, but now Santa Claus has a bad guy to fend off? Give me a flippin break. I don't even remember what Martin Short even looks like anymore, after his retarded Jiminy Glick escapade and I never really thought he was that damn funny in the first place. Just because the sequel made over $100 million, doesn't mean the third one will, or that there should even be a third one. Tim Allen isn't exactly a big star anymore, Martin Short never was one, and this movie should never come to be. That's what I want for Christmas, Senor Claus: for this movie never ever to happen. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Devon Sawa, Matthew Lawrence and Sanoe Lake to star in Hunter's Moon" - Friday, September 16
When Devon Sawa is the big star in the cast, you know you have problems. If you were having trouble figuring out who the other two were (yes, I had to go to IMDB as well) I'll help you out. Lawrence is the younger brother of Joey "Whoa" Lawrence from that TV show Blossom and Lake was one of the chicks besides Kate Bosworth in Blue Crush. Oh, and if you aren't familiar with Devon Sawa, he starred in Final Destination, which is fitting since this flick Hunter's Moon is basically a rip=off of that flick. Hmm, a shoddy cast and an un-original story? Sounds like a Worst News of the Week Nominee to me, folks.
"Charles McDougal to direct Below the Fold" - Friday, September 16
Journalists are writing books, both fiction and non-fiction, all the time. Mitch Albom (Tuesdays With Morrie, The 7 People You Meet in Heaven) and Mark Bowden (Black Hawk Down) are among the most noted journalist/authors. This flick Below the Fold, which is a term in the newspaper biz for news items that are on the front page, but below the crease in the paper, is about a group of journalists who ghost write a trashy romance novel and hire a lowly secretary to pose as the author when the book becomes a big hit. This sounds pretty cool, and will probably have a nice swift pace to it with all the hustle and/or bustle of their regular jobs and then coaxing another woman to play author. It'd be even funnier if it were male journalists who wrote the book just for some extra cash, and they don't want anyone to know a bunch of dudes wrote a romance novel, let alone dudes who are professional journalists. This sounds like a winner to me folks. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
It was Heaven that prevailed over the War and the Wolf this weekend. Just Like Heaven opened up the pearly gates to box office gold in its opening weekend, taking in $16.4 million in its opening weekend. This weekend's results were looking a bit more like September this weekend, after two straight weekends of surprisingly impressive box office takes. Just Like Heaven benefitted more from a beefy theater count, showing in a weekend-high 3,508 theaters, than it did from the nation's critics, with a mild 51% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It posted $4,677 per-screen average, which won't set the world on fire in any month except, perhaps, this one. Heaven may have won the battle, but winning the war might be a different story, with a $58 million budget to make back and some heavy competition next weekend.
Lord of War couldn't claim any victory this weekend, taking 3rd place, behind last weekend's winner The Exorcism of Emily Rose which dropped just over 50% from last weekend to take in $14.8 million this weekend. Lord of War couldn't even hit an 8-digit gross, finishing its opening weekend with $9.3 million. It averaged a paltry $3,336 per screen, showing in 2,814 theaters and it's almost assured of not turning a profit, with a budget of $50 million. But Lord of War's take wasn't nearly as bad as the third new flick of the weekend, Cry Wolf which took 5th place with a horrid $4.4 million.
The only big news on the box office front was the 23rd place finish of Tim Burton's Corpse Bride which took in just over $385,000. How is that big news, you may query? Because it was screened in 5 theaters. Yes, 5 theaters! That's a $77,015 per-screen average, folks, and that is just spectacular. This flick was the "big competition" I was referring to earlier, because the flick goes into wide release this weekend, and even though it certainly won't equal its per-screen average next weekend, these numbers indicate a very strong showing when it goes national.
Box Office Predictions
Last weekends predictions were just downright ugly. I have no more to say, but rebound I shall! Hopefully it's this weekend...
Predictions for 9/23-9/25
1) Tim Burton's Corpse Bride: $32.6 million
2) Flightplan: $19.4 million
3) Just Like Heaven: $8.1 million
4) The Exorcism of Emily Rose: $7.3 million
5) Lord of War: $5.1 million
Prediction Results for 9/16-9/18
1) Lord of War: $22 million - ACTUAL Rank: 3; Gross: $9.3 million
2) Just Like Heaven: $19.4 million - ACTUAL Rank: 1; Gross: $16.4 million
3) The Exorcism of Emily Rose: $17.3 million - ACTUAL Rank: 2; Gross: $14.8 million
4) The 40 Year Old Virgin: $4.5 million - ACTUAL Rank: 4; Gross: $5.9 million
5) The Transporter 2: $3.8 million - ACTUAL Rank: 6; Gross: $4.01 million
This is a pretty basic site, folks. In About the Movie there is a uber-tiny synopsis, in Cast and Crew there is a brief list and a few pictures of the key players in the cast and crew and in Watch Trailers you can, well, watch the trailers. The only interesting thing on the whole site is you can participate in the "Collaborative Subconscious Experiment" where you're shown a series of images and have to type the first word that comes to your mind. Anyway, that's the only thing going for this site, unfortunately. Stay opens on October 21.
Dirty Love: (www.dirtylovefilm.com)
This site is pretty simple too, but they have some pretty cool little quirks here... along with some images of the lovely Jenny McCarthy, which can never hurt any website, but let's get back on task. One of the cool quirks is in The Story section, where we are given a cookie-cutter synopsis that's fairly boring. But they add a cool, new twist here, because below this synopsis you can click on Get The Whole Story to see a funnier, perhaps more honest take on the flick. The Cast has some bios of the main girls and guys, Downloads has some wallpapers and AIM Icons to download and Theaters shows you where you can see this flick. This is an average site that's made above average with a little bit of style and humor. Dirty Love opens on September 23 in limited release.
Last but not least, Sony has unveiled the official website for the upcoming sequel. Actor bios, photos from the film, wallpapers, AIM icons, a screensaver and poster images are available at the new site.
As well, collect the 6 charcter-weapon icons to play in the shooting gallery. Collect 9 icons to play the bonus Zorro game.
Screen Door Jesus:
This looks like a really interesting indie dramedy. You've all heard about those people who claim to see Jesus in certain things? Well, this is a whole TOWN who believes they see Jesus in this old woman's screen door. It renews all their faith and leads to some very interesting developments in the town with national media coverage and a town torn between belief and faith. This looks pretty damn good kids. A nice indie comedy with no stars to bank on and just a neat little story to carry it through. We'll have to see how far it goes, when this flick opens September 30 in limited release.
Before the Fall:
This looks like another really good indie, but more serious in tone. This German flick centers on an elite school for young German kids during World War II...who don't realize as of yet that they are training to serve Adolf Hitler, as they come to grips with what they have become and what they will be. The trailer is filled with some incredible praise from a number of critics as well as the various awards it has received from some film festivals abroad. I think this looks like a fantastic, gripping flick, folks. Before the Fall opens on October 7 in limited release.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Lots of good news this week, but I'm going with this romance novel comedy for my Best News of the Week. I'm not picking this because I'm a big fan of Fabio and all the trashy romance novels that he "graces" the cover of, but this sounds like a really cool story about journalists who get in over their head when they covertly write a romance novel. For one, it's very logical, since journalists don't necessarily get paid a ton of bank and this is a conceivable source of income. It's also logical that any normal reporter wouldn't want his or her name on this sort of book. I can see a really high-paced comedy with plenty of sub-plots and, the best of all, it's pretty damn original. I'm hoping this will attract a great cast that will turn this into a great, witty project.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Not a whole lot in this department this week, but I'm going with a trio of no-namers toplining an un-original hack-job for my Worst News of the Week. If you haven't seen Idle Hands, Cheaters or Final Destination, you'll have no idea who Devon Sawa is, and even if you did, you might not anyway. And he's the BIG star in this moronic group. I had no idea Joey Lawrence even HAD a brother, not like I really cared, and Sanoe Lake is basically just another pretty face. Once you get past this, you have this retread of a story where someone dreams that he and his pals will be brutalized by some sort of beast, or basically a cross between Sawa's Final Destination, which wasn't really that good, and Jeepers Creepers, which was horrendous. Bad actors + bad story = straight to video, so I predict. If only I could dream that this script would burst into flames and then wake up to read about a strange fire on MovieWeb. Now, where did I put that bottle of NyQuil...
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.