Howdy folks. Another week has come and gone, bringing us more movie news, box office figures, new official sites for upcoming flicks and new trailers. So lets get this started with this week's Notables.
"Fox Picks up Pete Jones' Hall Pass" - Monday, September 19
I was wondering what happened to this guy. He won the first Project Greenlight contest and got to direct his own script, Stolen Summer, all while having the whole experience chronicled for a TV series. Ironically, the TV show was a smashing success, but the movie wasn't at all. But it seems that Jones is back in the Hollywood fold here with this new project. It sounds fairly interesting too, with a wife who gives her husband permission to have an affair. Jones is one hell of a writer, but his directing on Stolen Summer wasn't quite as good, so I'm not sure if Jones will both write and direct, but it looks like he's off to a good start either way with this story. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Ryan Reynolds to Star in Chaos Theory" - Monday, September 19
I'm not sure what's up with these titles this week, with Hall Pass and this Chaos Theory both sounding totally wrong for these flicks. Anyway, the good news here is one of the best comic talents working today, Ryan Reynolds, is starring here. The bad news is everything else. The story, written by Daniel Taplitz whose biggest flick was last year's dud Breakin' All the Rules, centers around a man who discovers that he's sterile and that his daughter was really fathered by his best friend. This just sounds a little too awkward for even Reynolds to try and make funny. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Rosario Dawson Signs Up for Killshot and Passion of the Clerks" - Tuesday, September 20
The role that the lovely Ms. Dawson will portray sounded a lot older in Elmore Leonard's novel, so this leads me to believe that this character will be tweaked substantially. That's very good news, folks, because she was my least favorite character in the book and I think Dawson brings a nice new look and attitude to the character. I also like the additions of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Johnny Knoxville to round out this superb cast. It's unclear what role Dawson will play in Kevin Smith's Passion of the Clerks, but her involvment only makes that better too, showing some nice selection of her projects. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Paramount Taps Bert Royal for Parents on Strike" - Wednesday, September 21
This sounds like a really cool project, folks. The story revolves around parents, whose rascal kids keep misbehaving, so they take a stand and go on strike from being parents. I haven't heard of anything like this before, which is always a good thing, and it would make for an interesting real-life experiment for fed-up parents. I'm assuming that this "strike" will deprive the brats from everything they take for granted, leaving them to fend for themselves, cooking dinner, etc. This sounds like a pretty cool project, and an especially fitting one too. You can watch Ricki Lake or one of those retarded shows every day and see parents taking their kid to some sort of boot camp. Screw that. Just let 'em take care of themselves if they don't know how to behave. That'll learn 'em! Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Harrison Ford Toplining Manhunt" - Wednesday, September 21
This sounds like some Oscar bait in the making. This period piece, set days after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, centers on Harrison Ford's character, a colnel who leads the massive manhunt for the President's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, and gives us some insight into Booth's motives as well. Ford hasn't excatly had a great track record in the past few years, but I think he's due for another hit, and this flick could surely give it to him. He sounds just perfect for this role, and this flick sounds like a sure winner. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Jim Carrey and Director Joel Schumacher Team Up for Number 23" - Thursday, September 22
Well, Mr. Carrey has tackled comedy and drama in his career, and now he's about to take on a different genre: thriller. This sounds pretty good for him, as he stars as a man who becomes immersed in a book that seems to mirror his own life, but ends with a murder. Schumacher, who worked with Carrey in 1995's Batman Forever, is coming off last year's disappointing grosses of Phantom of the Opera, could use a hit at this stage in his career. If you look at his resume (or his IMDB page) his movies have the every-other syndrome. He'll make a hit, then his next flick will flop, and over and over again. It's a vicious cycle. This flick should follow suit with the rest of his career, and it sounds like a dandy. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
A daughter missing on a plane and a wife missing a pulse continued the surprising fall results at the box office this weekend. Flightplan took the top spot this weekend, with a strong showing of an estimated $24.6 million in its first week in release. The Jodie Foster thriller posted a hefty $7,198 per-screen average, showing in 3,424 theaters. The budget figures weren't released for Flightplan, but this strong showing could lead this flick soaring to a profit.
Right on its tail was Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, which took 2nd place in its first weekend in wide release, with an estimated gross of $20.1 million. The flick jumped up from 5 theaters last weekend, to 3,204 this weekend, scoring an impressive 6,282 per-screen average. The budget wasn't released for this flick either, but after a solid second weekend, Mr. Burton and Co. are in pretty good shape as of now. The weekend's other new flick had a surprisingly effective performance as well. Roll Bounce, which was by far in the fewest theaters of the top 5 (1,625), finished in 4th place with an estimated $8 million, averaging a decent $4,923 per screen.
These results led to a fourth straight weekend of increased grosses from this time last year, with this weekend's grosses at a whopping 51% over the same weekend last year. After a sluggish summer, marred with a record slump, the fall flicks continue to reel in the moviegoers, something that almost never happens in the fall season. With the cult following of Serenity's previous incarnation, the short-lived TV show Firefly, and the Cannes favorite A History of Violence expanding this weekend, we could be seeing a 5th straight weekend of increases, and the start of an unprecedented fall movie season.
Box Office Predictions
I don't even know what to say here. I'm just going to cross my fingers, and hope for the best here...
1) Serenity: $26.7 million
2) Into the Blue: $19.3 million
3) Flightplan: $13.3 million
4) Tim Burton's Corpse Bride: $9.8 million
5) A History of Violence: $8.7 million
Prediction Results for 9/23-9/25
1) Tim Burton's Corpse Bride: $32.6 million - ACTUAL Rank: 2; Gross: $20.1 million
2) Flightplan: $19.4 million - ACTUAL Rank: 1; Gross: $24.6 million
3) Just Like Heaven: $8.1 million - ACTUAL Rank: 3; Gross: $9.8 million
4) The Exorcism of Emily Rose: $7.3 million - ACTUAL Rank: 5; Gross: $7.5 million
5) Lord of War: $5.1 million - ACTUAL Rank: 6; Gross: $4.9 million
Another teaser site here. All we get is the trailer, but don't you fret, because the full site is "coming soon," whatever that means. The Ice Harvest arrives in theaters on November 23.
The Legend of Zorro: (www.sony.com/zorro)
This site is pretty decent, with some nice content and even a game to play. The main site has a row of thumbnail photos on the bottom with the main members of the cast. For each character there is a bio of the actor, a photo gallery, downloadable wallpapers, screensavers, AIM Icons and a poster and in Weapons there is a link to the Shooting Gallery game where you can play as each character, and a video clip showing that character's weapon of choice. In the main section of the site, you get a nice synopsis under The Story, and also some Production Notes and in Bios you get the biographies of the filmmakers involved. All in all, this is a pretty cool site with a plenty to do before this flick hits theaters on October 28.
This is a pretty basic site here. There are three main menus here, The Film, The Media and The Downloads. In The Film, you get a pretty decent synopsis, Cast and Crew offers some thorough bios of the actors and filmmakers, and there are also some Production Notes and a Photo Gallery. In The Media you get the trailer, some film clips and TV spots and The Downloads section offers some AIM Icons and desktops for your downloading pleasure, with some e-cards coming soon. Not a bad site here, but there could be a little more content here. Two For the Money opens on October 7.
This site starts out with some quotes from some of the nations critics who offer up some high praise for the Pierce Brosnan flick. On the top of the site, you get the main menus. In Cast you get some great bios on the flick's 5 main actors. There is also the trailer, a collection of 15 still photos and the Downloads section is coming soon. There isn't a lot of stuff here, but the site has a cool look to it, and hopefully they add more content before it's released on November 4 in limited release.
The Family Stone: (www.thefamilystonemovie.com)
Another teaser site here, with just the trailer, a really really short synopsis, and a link to register for updates. Blah. The Family Stone opens on November 4.
This flick, which filmed in my home state of Minnesota earlier this year, looks like a sure contender come Oscar season. Of course, it doesn't help that it stars a slew of actors who have held the little gold man in the past. This movie stars 3 Oscar winners, Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand and Sissy Spacek and Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson. It was even directed by Niki Caro, who's marvelous film Whale Rider spurned a suprise nomination for star Keisha Castle-Hughes. This looks like a wonderful true-story drama, about the first successful sexual harrassment lawsuit in American history, and from the looks of it now, it surely will have some names called from this flick at Oscar time. North Country opens on October 14.
Well, the trailer surely points out that the critics are raving about this fractured family flick, but I'm not so sure about it. It just looks a little bland, which I'm sure can be twisted around to say it's "dry humor" but the cast here is pretty decent with Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney and some youngsters including Jesse Eisenberg. The movie is about a marriage that comes to an end, and how the parents move on after that. We've never seen a movie like that before, have we? With all the praise and awards this flick has attained, I'll probably give it a shot, but I'm not holding my breath here. The Squid and the Whale (these titles are getting ridiculous, by the way) opens on October 5 in limted release.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
I'm going with a new school of parenting for my Best News of the Week. These damn kids keep getting worse and worse, so I hear, and this flick offers an interesting new approach to controlling these tykes. This sounds pretty damn funny too, with the parents just sitting back and enjoying their strike while the kids have to learn how to make Macaroni and Cheese or some crap like that. I think this will be a highly entertaining flick that might even be a bug up some parenting group's behinds, and that's always funny to watch.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
By default, I'm picking a dumber parenting comedy for my Worst News of the Week. This Chaos Theory flick has a retarded title, a dull premise with a sterile dude who learns his daughter isn't really his and I have no idea why the hilarious Ryan Reynolds would sign on to a flick like this. You're a funny dude, Ryan, but there's only so much you can do with it, and I just don't think even you can save this dreadful flick. Call me a pessimist (I prefer realist), but stick to flicks where you can actually make people laugh, and not that painfully bored laughing either...
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.