Thursday, March 31, 2011
All information contained herein courtesy of Billboard Magazine and Billboard.com:
BIG CHART NEWS
Katy Perry has added her name to a distinct group of artists who have landed four consecutive #1 singles from an album, as her collaboration with Kanye West, "E.T.", ends Lady Gaga's impressive 6-week stay at #1 with "Born This Way" on the Billboard Hot 100.
With his eagerly anticipated debut album, "Rolling Papers", arriving this past Tuesday, on-the-rise rap star Wiz Khalifa follows his recent #1 hit, "Black And Yellow", with "Roll Up" and "No Sleep". "Roll Up" jumps 45-29 and is the official 2nd single from the album. To try and minimize leaks, Atlantic Records rush-released "No Sleep" to iTunes and digital retailers. A huge first week in sales lands "No Sleep" at #6. Although he may lose the top spot on next week's Billboard 200 album chart to Britney Spears, Khalifa is clearly becoming the rapper of the moment. Word also hit this week that he and iconic rapper Snoop Dogg would be starring in a stoner/comedy film, penciled in for a 2012 release.
Despite another controversial week, Chris Brown scores on the Billboard pop charts as "F.A.M.E. (Forgiving All My Enemies)" lands the R&B singer his first ever #1 album. An album cut featuring Justin Bieber, "Next 2 You" debuted at #26 while Brown's latest single, "Look At Me Now" featuring Busta Rhymes & Lil' Wayne pushed ahead 8-7. All in all, Brown proves that any publicity is good publicity and I'll leave my personal comments regarding his curious album title choice to myself.
More analysis after the cut!
The thing about Hollywood suits is that, though they often have no idea how to make a good movie, they’re very good at making profitable ones. Given the escalating production budgets on blockbuster films, you’d think that the studios would be seeing a lot of red. Not true. In fact, of the 50 Most Expensive Movies of All Time, only one failed to recoup its production budget after worldwide grosses were accounted for, the 2007 Evan Almighty, which only lost $2 million (and no, marketing budgets are not included, but let’s assume for the sake of this list, that the marketing budget was recouped in DVD and digital sales). Indeed, of the 50 Most Expensive Films of All Time, only 7 films (including Evan Almighty) failed to make at least $100 million more than their production budgets: Rush Hour, Wild Wild West, Waterworld, Poseidon, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and Alexander. Yes, even Van Helsing made back more than $100 million Clearly, studio focus-testing works, even if the product ends up a diluted, inartful mess of explosions and celebrity voice-overs. It also proves that, if you throw a lot of money at a movie, audiences will throw it all back and then some.
Warner Bros. has greenlit "Gangster Squad" with "Zombieland" director Ruben Fleischer helming.
Warner issued the official greenlight on Wednesday. Studio brass and producers are interested in offering the leading parts to Sean Penn and Ryan Gosling but has not confirmed whether offers have been made yet.
Warner acquired the rights two years ago to the L.A. Times' seven-part series "Tales From the Gangster Squad." Dan Lin and Kevin McCormick -- both former studio execs with Warner term deals -- are producing the feature adaptation through their Lin Pictures and Langley Park banners. Jon Silk, of Lin Pictures, will co-produce.
The newspaper series, penned by Paul Lieberman, chronicled efforts by the LAPD to deal with a chaotic and corrupt Los Angeles by forming what was dubbed the Gangster Squad to keep the East Coast Mafia out of the city.
Feature script was penned by former LAPD officer Will Beall.-Joey's Two Cents: This was a high priority project that was out to some big time directors (Ben Affleck and Darren Aronofsky were two that were circling it at one point), so I'm hopeful this is a flick with major potential...thoughts?
John Travolta is set to play John Gotti Sr., the mobster known as the Dapper Don, in the indie pic Gotti: Three Generations.
Nick Cassavetes will direct the screenplay by Leo Rossi, which focuses on the relationship between John Gotti Sr., the head of the Gambino crime family who died in prison in 2002, and his son John Gotti Jr., who took over the family business for his father, served time in prison, but then successfully escaped conviction in four subsequent racketeering trials.
Marc Fiore is producing for his Fiore Films. Marty Ingels, the former comic turned talent broker, has come on board the project as executive producer.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Our spies tell us that it’s official: Bill Murray has agreed to star as FDR in an adaptation of the British radio play Hyde Park On the Hudson to be directed by Morning Glory's Roger Michell. The project, set up at Focus Features and the UK's Film4, recounts the quasi-incestuous love affair between the president and his distant cousin, Margaret Stuckley, and takes place on the June 1939 weekend that the British King and Queen visited Roosevelt at his upstate New York cottage, in the first-ever visit to America by a member of the United Kingdom monarchy.
The movie will start shooting in July, with a script by Richard Nelson; he adapted his own 2009 BBC radio play, which aired in the U.K. on the 70th anniversary of the royal's famous trip. The film will be produced by In the Loop's Kevin Loader.
Christopher Nolan has publicly stated that The Dark Knight Rises will be his final Batman film, and Warner Bros. is already looking ahead to the future of the franchise. As we reported last night, the studio is currently planning a Justice League movie for 2013 and Warner Bros. president Jeff Robinov tells Hero Complex that scripts are being written for Flash and Wonder Woman (the Wonder Woman project would exist separately from the upcoming NBC show). But most intriguing is what the studio plans to do with its marquee superhero, Batman:
“We have the third Batman, but then we’ll have to reinvent Batman…” says Robinov. “Chris Nolan and [producing partner and wife] Emma Thomas will be producing it, so it will be a conversation with them about what the next phase is.”
-Joey's Two Cents: This is pretty much what we all had to expect, so here's hoping the next incarnation of the caped crusader will be a worthwhile endeavor too...thoughts?
The sequel to Disney/Pixar's Monsters Inc. has a title: Monsters University.
Disney revealed the moniker at its presentation at CinemaCon Tuesday.
Monsters Inc. was one or Pixar's early hits, released in 2001 as the company's fourth movie. Pete Docter and David Silverman co-directed the pic, which featured voicework from John Goodman and Billy Crystal as fright engineers Sully and Mike Wazowski. The movie scared up $525 million worldwide.
Sully/Goodman and Wazowski/Crystal are expected to be back as will monster bad guy Randall Boggs (voices by Steve Buscemi). Disney has scheduled the sequel for a 2012 release.
The premise for the new movie is under lock and key although Disney said it will be a prequel.-Joey's Two Cents: Looks like we're getting this and Brave in the same year, which is good news to me...thoughts?
It was announced today at CinemaCon, by Bob Berney, President, Theatrical Distribution that FilmDistrict will release “The Rum Diary,” based on the early Hunter S. Thompson novel that was ultimately published in 1998. It stars Johnny Depp and will be released on October 28, 2011. The film is directed by Bruce Robinson (“Withnail and I”) from his own screenplay and also stars Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard, Michael Rispoli, Richard Jenkins and Giovanni Ribisi. “The Rum Diary” is produced by Infinitum Nihil, the production company headed by Depp and Christi Dembrowski, along with Graham King and Tim Headington. Anthony Rhulen and Robert Kravis also produce. “The Rum Diary” tells the increasingly unhinged story of itinerant journalist Paul Kemp (Depp). Tired of the noise and madness of New York and the crushing conventions of late Eisenhower-era America, Kemp travels to the pristine island of Puerto Rico to write for a local San Juan newspaper run by the downtrodden editor Lotterman (Jenkins). Adopting the rum-soaked lifestyle of the late ‘50s version of Hemingway’s “The Lost Generation,” Paul soon becomes entangled with a very attractive American woman, Chenault (Heard) and her fiancée Sanderson (Eckhart), a businessman involved in shady property development deals. It is within this world that Kemp ultimately discovers his true voice as a writer and integrity as a man.
True Grit star Hailee Steinfeld is attached to Sleeping Beauty, a spec package that is going out to buyers as we speak. Screenwriter Lindsay Devlin has written a revisionist take on the fairy tale that will give Steinfeld a lot more to do than nap while waiting for a charming prince's peck to awaken her from a witch's curse. The new version is told from her point of view as she enters the dream world and has to find her way out.
Hollywood has been absolutely smitten with fairy tales since the billion dollar grosser Alice in Wonderland. There is already a version of Sleeping Beauty at Disney called Maleficent, which is being scripted by Linda Woolverton, with Tim Burton attached and rumors that Angelina Jolie coveted for the title role of the witch. There is also Snow White and the Hunstman at Universal with Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron, and The Brothers Grimm: Snow White at Relativity with Julia Roberts and Armie Hammer; Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters at Paramount with Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton; a revisionist take on Peter Pan with Channing Tatum at Sony Pictures; and Disney's Oz: The Great and Powerful, the Sam Raimi-directed film that will star James Franco.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Darren Aronofsky created another borderline masterpiece with this ballerina thriller that's much more than it appears. It's got noir elements, body horror elements, and just an incredible sense of atmosphere. A great mind fuck and a great companion piece to his last film The Wrestler, Aronofsky again gets a brilliant lead performance, this time from Natalie Portman, who took home the Best Actress Oscar. The entire cast is tremendous, especially Mila Kunis, and the film was among the best in terms of cinematography and score. There really was no weak point to the flick, and it was a completely immersive experience. Definitely pick this one up, as it's one of the best releases we've had on DVD in a long time.
-Also out getting a recommendation from me is Fair Game and Tangled. The former is the retelling of the Valerie Plame scandal. Sean Penn and Naomi Watts do strong work here, and Doug Liman shows great maturity as a filmmaker. It wasn't an amazing film, but it's a very strong drama and well worth checking out if you haven't already. The latter is an animated retelling of Rapunzel. It's not Disney's best work, but it's a step up from what they've been doing in the last few years (though obviously not on Pixar's level). If it's your type of thing, pick it up and enjoy, as it's definitely a pleasing movie.
Monday, March 28, 2011
-Joey's Two Cents: I always am there for a Woody Allen flick, and whenever he films in a new location he seems to up his game a little, so here's hoping that's again the case here...thoughts?
Via Box Office Mojo, The Numbers, and other sources:
With actual receipts tabulated, it appears that the sequel "Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules" did take the weekend with a slightly underestimated $23.8 million haul. Besting the first film's $22.1 opening weekend, "...Rodrick Rules" has already turned a profit for 20th Century Fox. Undoubtedly the studio will be optioning another edition of Jeff Kinney's popular series, as this appears to be an appealing and growing film franchise.
"Sucker Punch" saw a minuscule uptick in actuals to $19.1 million for its opening frame. At best, the film looks to finish in the mid-$50 million range when all is said and done. Although comparisons can be made to 2010's "Kick-Ass", which opened with slightly more money but ended up short of $50 million, "Sucker Punch" appears to be all hype and no payoff for Warner Bros., who aggressively marketed the film as THE first must-see movie of the Spring. This is a major disappointment for Warner Bros. and director Zack Snyder, who seemingly could not withstand the vitriolic critical response and increasingly bad word-of-mouth which grew and grew through the weekend.
THE WEEKEND BREAKDOWN
#1 Film - "Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules:, earned $23.8 million
Last Year's #1 Film at this time: "How To Train Your Dragon", earned $43.7 million
Biggest Per Screen Average: "Win Win", $20,192 at 23 locations ($464,420)
Worst Per Screen Average (50+ Sites): "Drive Angry", $383 at 72 locations $27,549,
Largest Increase (50+ Sites): "From Prada To Nada", +412.3%
Steepest Decline (50+ Sites): "Take Me Home Tonight", -68.4%
Films Earning More Than $1m for the weekend: 15
Films Which Surpassed $100m: Rango, Just Go With It
Films Which Surpassed Reported Budget This Weekend: Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick
Rules, Limitless, Battle: Los Angeles, The Adjustment Bureau.
The Top 40, with other notables, after the cut!
Bold signifies new openings or gains in audience from previous week:
Responding to claims that "Black Swan" star Natalie Portman didn’t do the majority of her on-screen dancing in her Oscar-winning role, director Darren Aronofsky released the following statement through studio Fox Searchlight:
“Here is the reality. I had my editor count shots. There are 139 dance shots in the film. 111 are Natalie Portman untouched. 28 are her dance double Sarah Lane. If you do the math that’s 80% Natalie Portman. What about duration? The shots that feature the double are wide shots and rarely play for longer than one second. There are two complicated longer dance sequences that we used face replacement. Even so, if we were judging by time over 90% would be Natalie Portman...
More from Aronofsky after the cut...
I’m already looking past Cars 2 and on to Pixar’s next film Brave. That’s partially because Brave will feature the studio’s first female protagonist. It was also going to be the studio’s first film with a female director (Brenda Chapman), but there was a bit of controversy last October when Chapman was replaced by Mark Andrews, who previously directed the Pixar short One Man Band.
Behind-the-scenes drama aside, Brave looks like it could be a great film. The film is set in Scotland and centers on a tomboyish princess who accidentally unleashes evil on her kingdom and must save the day. The princess was to be voiced by Reese Witherspoon but scheduling conflicts forced her to drop out. She’ll be replaced by the actually scottish Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire). Hit the jump for more details on the film plus a first look at the concept art. Brave is set to hit theaters in 3D on June 22, 2012.
With his sophomore effort “Source Code” set to open Friday, director Duncan Jones is in the midst of some serious press promotion rounds. The filmmaker is currently traveling around the country to introduce advanced screenings of the sci-fi actioneer everywhere from SXSW (where we first caught the film) to last Friday at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens. After the screening, Jones was asked about the status of his long gestating film “Mute,” which was recently announced to be made into a graphic novel. Jones gave a variation on the same answer he’s been giving recently, but explained exactly why his future noir is a very difficult film to find financing for, even getting into a few minor spoilers, but as our subhead suggests, the title of the film—and the semi-known logline—does tend to give things away a bit.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
The director revealed the news in an interview with a Los Angeles Times blog today from Paris where he was publicizing Sucker Punch. Zach Snyder phoned the 36-year-old three-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams with the news today. “There was a big, giant search for Lois,” Snyder said. “For us it was a big thing and obviously a really important role. We did a lot of auditioning but we had this meeting with Amy Adams and after that I just felt she was perfect for it.”
In a second straight surprise at the box office, kids sequel, "Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules" won the race to #1, outlasting and defeating the much buzzed-about "Sucker Punch".
After the surprising $64 million take of the first "...Wimpy Kid" film in March 2010, widely divergent opinions existed regarding the potential haul of this sequel. Critics were split almost 50/50 on the first offering and previews seemed to indicate the film as a bit of a "Wash-Rinse-Repeat" of the tone and feel of its predecessor. This now seems to have been a much more anticipated film than expected as its opening, at an estimated $24.4 million, bests the first film's $22 million opening. With "Hop" arriving next weekend, the film may plummet in its second weekend, but this opening undoubtedly signifies a third entry in the franchise will be given the greenlight, if 20th Century Fox has not done so already.
"Sucker Punch" analysis and more after the cut!
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Columbia isn’t even done shooting The Amazing Spider-Man, its Spider-Man reboot, but it has already begun working on a sequel.
James Vanderbilt, who penned Amazing, will be back behind the keyboard for the continuation of the new movie franchise.
Vanderbilt had a meeting with the Spider-Man filmmakers and studio execs yesterday outlining his take, getting a thumbs up, and will now begin writing.
Vanderbilt has become part of the Spider-Man family at Columbia, which has enjoyed great success with a tightknit group of creative people. Vanderbilt first worked on Spider-Man 4 for the studio, back when Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire were planning to continue the series. At the time, he was chosen for his character-driven approach to the story rather than a focus on special effects and worked on an outline for a trio of films.
When the project was reconfigured into a reboot, Vanderbilt was brought over to pen the new, character-focused version. (Alvin Sargent, also a member of the Columbia’s Spider-Man family, worked on the new script.)
Amazing, which is scheduled to wrap its Los Angeles portion by mid-April, stars Andrew Garfield as the titular hero and is being directed by Marc Webb. Columbia has scheduled a July 3, 2012 release for the 3D movie.
The Social Network actor Armie Hammer will play a prince in Relativity's Snow White feature.
Hammer joins previously announced cast member Julia Roberts -- in the role of an evil queen -- on the production, which has a June 2012 release and will be directed by Tarsem Singh.
The role of Snow White has yet to be cast.
Ryan Kavanaugh, Bernie Goldman and Brett Ratner are producing. Melissa Wallack and Jason Keller penned the take on the Brothers Grimm tale in which Snow White bands together with seven dwarfs to reclaim her kingdom.
Hammer is currently filming Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar. Production on Snow White is scheduled to begin in May.
Hammer is repped by WME and attorney Harris Hartman.-Joey's Two Cents: He's an actor to follow, so I'm interested to see his take on the role...thoughts?
Friday, March 25, 2011
Looks like Universal Pictures has won the battle for the next film to be directed by Oscar-winning The King’s Speech helmer Tom Hooper. The dealmaking has started for Hooper to direct Les Miserables, a full-blown musical adaptation of the Cameron Mackintosh-produced perennial stage hit. This is the first film he's begun negotiations on since winning the Oscar, but insiders in Hooper's camp stopped short of saying it would definitively be his next film. I hear that's how it will work out.
Mackintosh is producing with Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, and Bill Nicholson has written the script. The intention is to begin production before year’s end, somewhere in Europe. After the success of The King’s Speech -- a $13 million budget film that could reach $450 million worldwide gross when it’s through -- Hooper had been widely courted for his next slot. The Weinstein Company tempted him with Tulip Fever, and I’m told there was talk of an adaptation of Macbeth, among others. Hooper was tempted instead to film the musical adaptation of the 1862 Victor Hugo novel, the struggle by ex-con Jean Valjean to outrun his past and his relentless pursuer Javert. The musical, which opened in London in 1985, features such songs as I Dreamed A Dream, On My Own, and Bring Him Home.
The other two (including one possible Oscar play) after the cut...
Paul Giamatti is circling Rock of Ages, New Line’s all-star adaptation of the Broadway musical.
New Line is in talks with the actor even as the studio meets Thursday with Amy Adams for another key part.
Adam Shankman is directing the pic, which already has Tom Cruise, Mary J. Blige and Julianne Hough warming up their pipes.
Ages tells the story, replete with hair-band music, of a small town girl (Hough) who comes to Hollywood for the 1980s music scene and is nearly destroyed by it. She catches the eye of Stacee Jaxx (Cruise), playing an arrogant rocker at the height of his career, ends up as a stripper in a club run by Blige but also finds true love at the end.
(The studio is conducting an open casting call to find an actor to play the girl’s love.)
Giamatti would play Paul Gill, a music exec brimming with L.A. charm. Adams could end up playing Constance Sack, a reporter from a magazine who intends to interview Jaxx.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Ed Harris is set to play John McCain in HBO's original movie "Game Change," the story of the Arizona senator's run for president in the 2008 election.
Julianne Moore was previously cast in the role of vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin (Daily Variety, March 10).
Telepic, from Playtone and Everyman Pictures, is based on the book of the same name by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. Jay Roach is attached to direct a script from Danny Strong, who previously penned HBO's Roach-helmed "Recount," the story behind the 2000 controversial election of George W. Bush over Al Gore.
Roach and Strong exec produce with Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman.
Harris last worked with HBO in 2005 in the miniseries "Empire Falls," for which he was Emmy nommed. On the bigscreen, he recently appeared in Peter Weir's "The Way Back."-Joey's Two Cents: This works for me...thoughts?
As part of a new feature at Awards Circuit, found every Thursday on the Blog, we will summarize and take a look at the Billboard Hot 100, Billboard 200 album chart and any other facts or anecdotes we can glean from the week in charted contemporary music...
Two rising stars of the independent film scene are getting together for a movie project.
Josh Radnor, the How I Met Your Mother star who made his directorial debut with the 2010 Sundance hit HappyThankYouMorePlease, is getting behind the camera again for an indie love story that he will star in with Elizabeth Olsen, who made a splash at Sundance this year with Martha Marcy May Marlene.
Radnor will direct Liberal Arts from script he wrote, prepping a shoot this spring, while he is on hiatus from his hit show, which is now in its sixth season.
Tom Sawyer Entertainment, which was behind HappyThankYouMorePlease, and BCDF Pictures are producing. BCDF is also financing.
The film centers on a 35 year-old (Radnor), still yearning for the life of a college student, who must come to terms with his age and responsibilities.
Olsen plays a 19-year-old college student who falls for Radnor’s character over a shared love of music and literature. She wants to make it work with the man but her immaturity makes it impossible for her to see the obvious obstacles.
-Joey's Two Cents: It looks better than I expected, though I'm still not 100% sold on it not ending up being a mixed bag...thoughts?
A full year after it was initially floated as a hot fest prospect, Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" is set to make its world premiere in May at the Cannes Film Festival.
It's still unclear whether the Fox Searchlight drama starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn will play in or out of competition, a decision that likely will not be made until closer to April 14, when fest topper Thierry Fremaux announces the full official selection lineup. But it's sure to be included in what's shaping up to be a vintage year for Cannes, with new works by Palme winners Gus Van Sant, the Dardenne brothers, Lars von Trier and Nanni Moretti hotly tipped for competition berths, though Fremaux and his selection committee still have many titles to screen before the April deadline.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
A similar film, according to Deadline:
After winning the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for The King's Speech, David Seidler has committed to another WWII-era inspirational story. He will team with Italian writer Luca Manzi to script Games of 1940 for producers Kennedy/Marshall Company and RT Features.
The drama is based on the true tale of a group of multinational POWs in a Nazi prison camp who decide to compete against each other in their own version of the Olympics after the 1940 games were canceled due to the escalating war. They risked their lives to stage the games under the noses of the guards. Seidler and Manzi have collaborated in the past, and they came across the event while touring a Polish sports museum.
World War Z, Brad Pitt’s movie about a global undead apocalypse, may be dying (or is it re-dying?) unless Paramount can find a co-financier. The film currently has a price tag of more than $125 million, and the studio is fervently searching for a partner to share the risk. Our sources tell us that if they can't find one, it's likely that Paramount will pull the plug on the adaptation of the Max Brooks book, which was to be directed by Quantum of Solace's Marc Forster and star Pitt, who would also produce.
Insiders say an eleventh-hour effort is being made to court frequent Paramount co-financier David Ellison (Mission: Impossible IV, Top Gun II) as well as another, unspecified investor. Paramount Film Group president Adam Goodman insists to Vulture, "We're really committed to making a big, kick-ass giant movie with Marc Forster and Brad Pitt." Pressed on whether the studio would move forward without a financial partner, Goodman declined to elaborate, saying it was too early to tell. Absent such a financial partner, it's highly unlikely that Paramount would go forward; in today's economic climate, few studios are shouldering such budgets alone. Just two weeks ago, Universal shut down Guillermo del Toro's similarly costly and graphic adaptation of the H.P Lovecraft novel At the Mountains of Madness. But, to be fair, Del Toro was intent on an R rating, while Goodman says that Paramount signed a deal with Forster assuring them of a PG-13 cut.-Joey's Two Cents: I enjoyed the book a great deal, and am very interested in seeing this type of film get made, so I suppose I'll just cross my fingers and hope for the best...thoughts?
Best Movie - WINTER’S BONE
Buried Treasure – DOGTOOTH
Best Documentary – MARWENCOL
Best Director - Debra Granik for WINTER’S BONE
Best Actress – Hye-ja Kim for MOTHER
Best Actor – (TIE) Ryan Gosling for BLUE VALENTINE and Philip Seymour Hoffman for JACK GOES BOATING
Best Supporting Actress – Jacki Weaver for ANIMAL KINGDOM
Best Supporting Actor – Geoffrey Rush for THE KING’S SPEECH
Best Original Screenplay – MOTHER, screenplay by Eun-kyo Park and Joon-ho Bong
Best Adapted Screenplay – WINTER’S BONE, screenplay by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini
Best Cinematography – Michael McDonough for WINTER’S BONE
Best Production Design – I AM LOVE
Best Performance by an Ensemble Cast – THE KID’S ARE ALL RIGHT
-Joey's Two Cents: Seeing Ryan Gosling take one of the last honors of the 2010 cycle makes me happy...thoughts?
Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor, who went from child star to screen siren, died Wednesday in Los Angeles from congestive heart failure. She was 79. Her children were at her side when she died.
"My Mother was an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest, with great passion, humor, and love," said her son, Michael Wilding, in a statement. "Though her loss is devastating to those of us who held her so close and so dear, we will always be inspired by her enduring contribution to our world. Her remarkable body of work in film, her ongoing success as a businesswoman, and her brave and relentless advocacy in the fight against HIV/AIDS, all make us all incredibly proud of what she accomplished. We know, quite simply, that the world is a better place for Mom having lived in it. Her legacy will never fade, her spirit will always be with us, and her love will live forever in our hearts."-Rest in peace...
The box office again found itself in a lull this weekend, dropping 9% from the comparable weekend last year despite a diverse group of new releases. It provided the latest sign that we may be in for a long-term slump instead of just a cyclical dip. This was, after all, the fourth straight weekend that box-office receipts dropped compared with the previous year. And things weren't much better before that: Through Presidents Weekend, box-office dollars were down 24% compared with 2010.
It would seem like a sharp wake-up call after the outsized success of movies such as "The King's Speech," "Black Swan" and "The Fighter" at the end of last year. But for all the successes, film attendance in 2010 endured its largest drop since 2005. The declines in moviegoing, apparently, won't be reversed by a surge in quality.
On Twitter, the suggestions have been flying for some time on what, in fact, will reverse it: more in-theater amenities, more 3-D releases, fewer 3-D releases, across-the-board price reductions (unlikely to happen), assorted other recommendations. But the sales slump also calls to mind another idea that has been alternately floated and dismissed over the years: variable pricing.
A jargony term for a straightforward concept, variable pricing basically means that ticket prices will rise or falling depending on a slew of factors, most notably how much people want those tickets in the first place.
Deadline has the exclusive:
Paramount has turned loose the giant worm, and everything else that was part of the seminal Frank Herbert science fiction novel series Dune. The studio’s four-year attempt to make a movie out of the franchise has fallen by the wayside. Paramount and the rights holders came to a parting of the ways as the rights lapsed. “Paramount’s option has expired and we couldn’t reach an agreement,” said Richard P. Rubinstein, who controls the rights to what is considered the biggest-selling science fiction book ever. “I’m going to look at my options, and whether I wind up taking the script we developed in turnaround, or start over, I’m not sure yet.”
Dune tells the story of an interplanetary battle for control of the desert planet Arrakis and its supply of Melange, a spice that can be ingested. Those who take it live longer and have a prescient sense of awareness. The substance is necessary for space travel. The book was turned into a 1984 flop by David Lynch, but a miniseries that came later fared better.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
For those who like to plan in far in advance, we have some release date news for you this morning. First up, Fox Searchlight has set Alexander Payne’s The Descendants for December 16th. The film stars George Clooney as a wealthy landowner who tries to re-connect with his daughters. While the release date puts it in prime position for awards season, it will have to contend with three blockbusters getting released the same day: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Presumably, Searchlight is going to start out with a limited release and then expand the film since releasing it wide as counter-programming would be incredibly risky. I’m also going to assume that The Descendants will make the rounds at various fall film festivals because if you make a modestly-budgeted film starring George Clooney, federal law requires that you show it at Toronto and/or Telluride.
-Joey's Two Cents: I have high hopes for this as an Oscar player, so it's good to see that it's an official 2011 release...thoughts?
According to Deadline, yes:
The script for the Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures live action adaptation of anime artist Katsuhiro Otomo’s 6-volume graphic novel Akira has been sent to a short list of actors.
The picture is finally taking shape for an August start, following the delivery of a rewrite by Steve Kloves that has director Albert Hughes and the studio brass excited. The story takes place in the rebuilt New Manhattan where a leader of a biker gang saves his friend from a medical experiment.
How Do You Know
Very much a lesser James L. Brooks flick, this romantic comedy still has charm to spare and features a very good performance by Paul Rudd. Reese Witherspoon and Owen Wilson do fine jobs as well, and Jack Nicholson is, well...Jack (only toned down a tad). The plot was way too complicated for its own good and a real letdown in that regard, but you can still do worse than a Brooks rom-com when you're looking for a date night type movie. The film was a huge flop last year in theaters, but mainly because it inexplicably cost well over $100 million to produce. Removed from any real expectations, it's a fine piece of entertainment to watch in the comfort of your own home. It's nothing special, but it's good enough, so it gets my recommendation.
-The rest of the releases this week...well, they leave a lot to be desired. The best of the bunch would be Yogi Bear, only because I fully expected it to be stupid and bland, and it lived up to expectations. Next down on the list is the improbably boring action flick The Tourist, which was a real disappointment. Finally, the huge sci-fi turd known as Skyline is out. The baby brother to Battle: Los Angeles (and the inferior baby brother, to boot), it's a ridiculously bad alien invasion film. The movie is almost laughably bad. None of these are worth your time, but that's not my decision to make...I just make the recommendations.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, long-rumored to be joining his Inception brethren in The Dark Knight Rises, will appear in director Christopher Nolan’s third Batman film. But a source close to the situation says that recent reports that Gordon-Levitt will play Alberto Falcone (a.k.a. the Holiday Killer) — the son of former mob kingpin, Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson) — are incorrect. So, Batman fans: Begin the re-speculation now!
-Joey's Two Cents: Perhaps this is Nolan spinning the news again, but perhaps not...thoughts?
Via Box Office Mojo, The Numbers, and other sources:
With the actual box office numbers now official, "Limitless" dipped just below the estimated $19.0 million weekend, finishing at $18.9 in total receipts.
Thanks to Awards Circuit Sr. Staff Writer Joey Magidson, an interesting look at Lionsgate's "The Lincoln Lawyer" and its box office numbers can be found here. "Paul" edged in just behind "Lincoln", missing the #4 spot by approximately $160,000.
THE WEEKEND BREAKDOWN:
- #1 Film - "Limitless", earned $18.9 million
- Last Year's #1 Film at this time: "Alice In Wonderland", earned $34.2 millon
- Biggest Per Screen Average (Platform) - "Win Win", $30,072 at 5 locations ($150,362)
- Worst Per Screen Average (Multiple Sites) - "From Prada To Nada", $300 at 27 locations ($8,100, $3.0 cumulative)
- Largest Increase (All Releases) - "Jane Eyre", +155.03%
- Steepest Decline (Non-Platform) - "Take Me Home Tonight", -89.2%
- Films Earning More Than $1m for the weekend: 15
- Films Which Surpassed Reported Budget This Weekend: N/A
The Top 40, with other new notables, after the cut!
Bold signifies new openings or gains from previous week...
Last week’s 48-hour Groupon/Fandango deal for Lionsgate Films’ “The Lincoln Lawyer” put Hollywood through a blitzkrieg grief cycle: Denial (Discounts on opening weekend?!), Anger (Lionsgate’s trying to buy the box office!), Bargaining (Maybe it’s really not that big a deal), Depression (“The Lincoln Lawyer” came in at no. 4, even with discount tickets) and now, Acceptance.
Meaning: Lionsgate may have been the first canary in the coalmine, but it’s far from the last. “Scores of movies will be tested over the next six months,” says Groupon president Rob Solomon. “I think we become a de facto form of distribution.”
Liam Neeson and Luc Besson have come to a meeting of the minds and they have worked out the scheduling snafu that made him iffy for Taken 2. Neeson's reps at CAA are now closing the deal for Neeson to reprise what has become a signature role. Production is now being eyed for year end or beginning of 2012. Neeson will stick to his plan to take the rest of the year off, after completing the Clash of the Titans sequel he's shooting in London. He has been working almost nonstop, wrapping The Grey for Joe Carnahan and Battleship for Peter Berg.
EARLIER: A fascinating drama has been playing out over the past few weeks on Taken 2, the sequel to the surprise global hit film hatched by Luc Besson that reinvigorated Liam Neeson. I'm told Besson has teamed on a script with Robert Mark Kamen, and that he's in talks with his Transporter 3 director Olivier Megaton to direct the sequel. But he has been dealing with a huge problem: Neeson has all but withdrawn from reprising his role as Bryan Mills, the retired government operative who in the 2008 original decimated the Paris underworld to free his kidnapped daughter. The reason isn't money, but rather scheduling: Besson wants to shoot it this year and Neeson wants to take time off. Continuing without Neeson is hard to imagine, but I've heard Besson has gone as far as assembling a list of actors to take his place. That list includes Mickey Rourke, Ralph Fiennes, Ray Winstone, Sean Bean and Jason Isaacs.
Bourne Identity director Doug Liman and producers Rob Reiner and Alan Greisman are joining forces with Beijing Galloping Horse Film & TV Production for a 1920s drama about Two-Gun Cohen, the British bodyguard to Sun Yat-sen, leader of the overthrow of China’s last imperial dynasty.
Liman, who’ll work from a script by newcomer Matt Brown, told The Hollywood Reporter his recent trips to East Asia had opened his eyes to making movies in the region.
“I’m jumping in in a big way,” said Liman, a New Yorker who, before last year, had never been to the world’s fastest-growing movie market.
Drawn to anti-heroes, Liman said he wants to embrace that aspect of the story of Morris Abraham "Two Gun" Cohen (1887–1970), a London-born WWI veteran who moved to China in 1922 and took a job training Sun Yat-sen’s army in boxing and shooting, despite his inability to speak Chinese.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Via Box Office Mojo, The Numbers, and other sources:
"Limitless" surprised many experts by taking a comfortable win at the weekend box office, outlasting the persistent "Rango", and leading a slate of tepid and underwhelming offerings.
"Limitless", a suspense/thriller for Relativity Media and Rogue Pictures, featuring Bradley Cooper as a depressed writer who finds a wonder drug that changes his life's fortunes, earned an estimated $19.0 million from 2,756 sites. Neil Burger's first wide release since 2006's "The Illusionist", "Limitless" was modestly budgeted at $27 million and should turn profitable within the week. While one can point to "The Hangover" and "The A-Team" as being Cooper-featured films, "Limitless" is arguably the first film Cooper has "opened" with his name above-the-title.
Universal and Judd Apatow are going to stick it to those selfless celebrities with pet causes.
The studio is in negotiations to pick up Do Gooders, a pitch from Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck, who will write the script. Apatow will produce via his Apatow Productions.
The plot details of the comedy project, which is not intended as a directorial vehicle for Apatow, are being kept under wraps although the script is known to center on actors with caring hearts keen to help those in need.
...a role in "The Dark Knight Rises."
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Get ready for some arsenic flavored Christmas cheer.
Billy Bob Thornton is in negotiations to reprise his foul-mouthed role in a sequel to 2003's "Bad Santa," TheWrap has learned.
"We feel that it’s a Christmas perennial for the R-rated crowd," a Weinstein Company spokesperson confirmed to TheWrap. "Everyone loves the character and Billy Bob’s excited to be in talks with us."
Thornton let the cat out of the bag during a panel at this year's SXSW festival where he was promoting his Willie Nelson documentary "The King of Luck." The actor has made no secret of his desire to play the alcoholic, safe-cracking department store Claus again, but it seems that a deal will now happen sooner rather than later.
In December, Miramax announced that it would partner with the Weinstein Company on a follow up to "Bad Santa," as well as sequels to "Swingers" and "Rounders."
After weeks of quiet negotiations, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is set to re-team with his "Inception" director Christopher Nolan on "The Dark Knight Rises."
Additionally, indie sensation Juno Temple is being eyed for a supporting role as a street-smart Gotham Girl. Warner Bros. and reps for both thesps declined to comment.
Speculation has run rampant regarding what character Gordon-Levitt will play, though the part is being kept under wraps. Blogs have pegged the part as The Riddler, or more likely, Deadshot, a member of the villainous League of Shadows, but Nolan has elected to keep fans in the dark ... for now.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Billy Crystal wouldn't mind hosting the Oscars for the ninth time.
The actor tells the Associated Press he was moved by the warm reception he received during his brief appearance on February's ceremony and "it might be fun" to emcee again.
"I think the show needs to change," he added. "There's too many awards and it has to sort of freshen itself up, and if I can be a part of that, that would be great."
Anne Hathaway and James Franco were widely panned as hosts of the show. Hollywood Reporter critic Tim Goodman wrote, "This year, the Oscars hit a new low. Like it fell into a hole."
Crystal offered advice to Franco and Hathaway in an interview with THR before the show: "Look like you really want to be there, and hope that something happens you can capitalize on."
-Joey's Two Cents: I'm sure he'll get asked for next year...the question is, will he accept?
I don't know about you, but I was smiling throughout this whole trailer. No Strings Attached my have been released in the beginning of the year, but I have a feeling this movie will have what No Strings Attached didn't; chemistry. But that's just me.
ox Searchlight is negotiating to acquire a pitch package for The Fighter helmer David O. Russell to direct a feature about Russ Meyer, the maker of exploitation B-movies like Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Super Vixens. The script will be written by Merritt Johnson. Formerly Russell's assistant on Three Kings, Johnson co-wrote the celebrated HBO telepic Temple Grandin and scripted Lovelace, the pic about Deep Throat star Linda Lovelace and her manipulative husband Chuck Traynor. That film has James Franco and Kate Hudson circling the leads and Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman directing.
The deal to tell the Meyer story is being hashed out, and part of it involves getting rights to the Jimmy McDonough book Big Bosoms And Square Jaws: The Biography Of Russ Meyer, King Of The Sex Film. Meyer began plying his trade in exploitation fare in the early 1960s, as the country was loosening up and the sexual revolution was getting under way. His trademark: placing buxom actresses in grindhouse fare that he wrote, directed, produced and even distributed. To say his casts were well rounded would be an understatement. He owned almost all of his films and as a result died wealthy at age 82 in 2004. CAA is repping the package.
-Joey's Two Cents: I think this could potentially be a very interesting project, but it's still very early on...thoughts?