Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Auld Lang Syne

As we bid goodbye to 2008--I would like to take this time to thank all of my readers out there for their continued support. It is much appreciated!

Here's to a happy healthy and prosperous new year for us all....

Thanks also to the many sources that act as a springboard for me every time I post. Kudos gang!

2009 should prove lots of fun...

It's time now to bid a final farewell to those industry folks we lost--Some I have already paid tribute to here others I did not...

In Memoriam Via Variety:

Part One and Part Two....


Thomas Jane is ready to sit in the big chair... again.

The former Punisher star will direct and act in a 3D feature "Devil's Commandos" reports ShockTillYouDrop.

The story follows a World War II commando unit sent on a rescue mission, unfortunately hell opens up and they have to fight Satan's army.

Todd Farmer (the upcoming "My Bloody Valentine 3D") will adapt the story by "Punisher" comics writer Timothy Bradstreet.

As a fan of Jane's I am of course pulling for him to do well--but the premise sounds a bit Hellboy 2-ish...

High Drama

On rhe final day of 2008 2 releases come in under the radar--starting limited runs only to go wide in January...

Defiance (reviews) and Good (reviews)

Pamela McClintock of Variety:

Coming in under the wire for awards consideration, the two final releases of 2008 are Paramount Vantage's "Defiance," directed by Ed Zwick, and IFC's Viggo Mortensen starrer "Good."

The two films -- both Holocaust dramas -- will open in limited runs on Wednesday.

"Defiance," whose release was pushed back from early fall, toplines Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber. Film is based on the true story of four brothers in Eastern Europe who escaped with scores of Jews, built a city and fought the Nazis.

"Good," directed by Vicente Amorim, tells the story of a German professor who unwittingly becomes a member of the SS.

"Defiance" and "Good" will have plenty of competition, considering the bevy of specialty titles already in the market. In terms of tone, there is also direct competition: Tom Cruise starrer "Valkyrie," which opened Christmas Day ...

Whuch X-mas holdover wins come Monday?

Will Marley & Me repeat at #1?

Next Week: 2009 kicks into high gear as Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway battle each other for wedded bliss in Bride Wars; While David S. Goyer tries to spook us with The Unborn

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Under Developed

Arrested Development creator Mitchell Hurwitz told Fancast this week that at least one cast member of the show is holding out on the idea of taking the TV series to the big screen..

OK so is it Will Arnett or Michael Cera?--Both of whom are popular movie stars now.

He says "I don’t want to talk about who is holding out right now because we might still work that out and I don’t want to pressure anyone through the press...Although I will say that Will Arnett is gung-ho, so there’s a big clue."

He also thinks the budget for rhe flick will be quite limited - "The fans have been so sincere in their fondness for it. That’s really the big motivation to make the film. It’s not like it’s going to pay very much! It’s a really low budget film."

Which most likely means that Cera wants more dough than the suits are willing to pony up...Let's face it Cera built up quite film resume since the series ended... And is clearly the more in demand cast member.

Battle Ready

USA Today has a new article spotlighting "Transfomers : Revenge of the Fallen":

The plot:

Decepticons are still chasing Sam (Shia LaBeouf) and Mikaela (Megan Fox) to retrieve information he has about the origins of the Transformers and their ancient history.

Humans are dealing with the aftermath of the first film and tries to figure out which of the bots to trust and an international coalition has allied itself with the Autobots.

The $200 million production will feature 40 robots and got Pentagon approval to shoot around a New Mexico missile range. The sequel is the "biggest joint military operation movie ever made" according to the film's Army liaison.

Among the highlights:

Filmmakers scored first time access for a film crew to shoot not just around but on the 5,000 year old Pyramids at Giza which features in the film's climactic battle. Naval aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis was also used for filming.

Meantime: Empire Magazine published the first photos from the production yesterday.

The film opens June 26th 2oo9.

On A Timer

An update on the legal mess over Watchmen:

Fox is moving forward with plans to seek a court order to delay the March 6th release of the film according to The Associated Press.

District Court Judge Gary Feess last week ruled in favor of Fox which claimed Warner Bros. had infringed its copyright by developing and shooting the film.

Feess said Monday he plans to hold a trial January 20 to decide remaining issues. A Warner Bros.' attorney said that he didn't know if an appeal was coming, but thinks a trial is necessary and a settlement unlikely.

The Gaurdian 's Phil Hoad reminds me just how shaky Fox's '09 slate actually is--which sheds light on their possible motives moving ahead...

Again This SUCKS!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

"Detailed Rationale"

As reported by Variety, the American Film Institute has listed their top 10 of 2008 for both film and TV...

Org’s top 10 of the year, in alphabetical order, are The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight Frost/Nixon Frozen River, Gran Torino, Iron Man Milk WALL-E , Wendy and Lucy and The Wrestler.”

The award winners are “selected by a 13-person jury process where members discuss and debate the merits of titles and provide detailed rationale for each selection. The jury’s composed of ‘scholars, film artists, critics and AFI trustees.’

As with any list like's still so subjective... Critical darling Slumdog Millionaire gets pushed off the list by WALL-E?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Little Trip To The Movies

This is quite disturbing...

From Philly.Com:

During a screening of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" at the Riverview Theater over the holiday weekend. 29-year-old South Philadelphia resident James Joseph Cialella Jr., angry because a father and son were talking during the movie pulled out a .380-caliber gun and shot the father in the arm .

Cialella Jr. allegedly told the victim's family to be quiet and threw popcorn at his son. Cialella allegedly got out of his seat to confront the family when the father got up to protect them. That's when the victim was shot once in the left arm, sending others in the theatre running to safety.Cialella then sat down to watch the movie.

Police arrived a short time later and arrested Cialella who has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, and weapons violations.

We've all been bothered by yakers at the movies....But for crying out loud--Get the manager-have the offenders thrown out. You don't shoot them...

What's next? Metal detectors at the concession stand?...

Is SAG About To Blink?

It certainly seems that way...

From Variety:

Emergency meeting scheduled for Jan. 12-13

Since divisions within the Guild over a strike vote run as deep as do--their hand is only further weakened...I doubt waiting 2 weeks is going to solve anything...

Stay Tuned...

Marvelous Marley

Among 5 new wide releases over the long holiday weekend--Marley & Me comes out on top...

Pamela McClintock of Variety:

Led by 20th Century Fox sleeper hit “Marley & Me,” the crowded Christmas box office prospered in a fitting finale to a year that has been full of surprises.

“Marley,” starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson, grossed an estimated $51.7 million from 3,480 screens for the four-day holiday weekend after breaking the record for best Christmas Day opener. Three day total (Friday-Saturday) was an estimated $37 million, according to Rentrak.

Those are some of the best numbers ever for a Christmas release, outside of tentpoles such as the “Lord of the Rings.”

But “Marley” wasn’t the only title fetching golden coin at the B.O.

Paramount’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and Disney’s Adam Sandler comedy “Bedtime Stories” found themselves in a relatively close race.

“Benjamin Button,” toplining Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, exceeded expectations in grossing an estimated $39 million from 2,988 screens to come in No. 2 for the four days.

For the three days, “Button” was beat by “Bedtime Stories,” which grossed an estimated $28.1 million to “Button’s” $27.2 million. “Bedtime’s” four day total was an estimated $38.6 million.

And in a victory for United Artists and MGM, Bryan Singer’s Tom Cruise starrer “Valkyrie” grossed an estimated $30 million from 2,711 screens for the four days, and $21.5 million for the three days. Pic placed No. 4.

The only soft debut of the sesh was Lionsgate’s “The Spirit,” which grossed an estimated $10.4 million from 2,509 runs for the four days and $6.5 million for the three. Film came in No. 9.

Film business touted the strength and depth of the box office, particularly the record turnout on Christmas Day as five wide releases entered the marketplace. That’s on top of holdover holiday releases “Yes Man,” from Warner Bros., and Sony’s Will Smith drama “Seven Pounds,” both of which opened Dec. 19

“Yes Man” placed No. 5 for the long holiday weekend, grossing an estimated $22.4 million for the four days, bringing the comedy’s cume of $49.6 million [I saw "Yes Man" over the weekend...And didn't think it was all that great-T].

Coming in No. 6, “Seven Pounds” grossed an estimated $13.4 million for the four days for a total of $39 million. Pic has fallen short of the record success Smith has enjoyed at the box office.

On the specialty side, DreamWorks/Paramount Vantage’s “Revolutionary Road” boasted a boffo per screen average of $62,000 as it opened Friday in three theaters, grossing an estimated $192,000. Film reunites Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio for the first time since “Titanic.”

There was plenty of action on the specialty side, with Miramax’s “Doubt” and Fox Searchlight’s “Slumdog Millionaire” continuing to build strength.

“Doubt” came in No. 10 for the three day weekend as it expanded to 1,267 screens in its third weekend, grossing an estimated $7 million. Cume is $8.9 million.

“Slumdog” grew its cume to an impressive $19.7 million in its seventh sesh, grossing an estimated $5.8 million over the four-day holiday weekend.

Warner’s “Gran Torino” also continued to prosper, grossing an estimated $3.2 million from 84 locations for a cume of $4.3 million in its third weekend. Per screen average for the three days was an impressive $29,048, the best of the sesh after “Revolutionary Road.”...

Steve Korn of EW:

Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson, four-legged pal take No. 1 over ''Button,'' ''Bedtime Stories,'' ''Valkyrie''


News bits filled with testosterone...

*Valkyrie screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie is working on no less than three projects that are being tailored for Tom Cruise reports Variety.

*Fellow screenwriter Hossein Amini meanwhile, has been hired to pen the new Jack Ryan flick says The Hollywood Reporter.

Amini's Ryan story is planned as an origin tale not one from Tom Clancy's novels and will feature a new, younger star in the tile role.

I guess Harrison Ford will not be coming back to play Ryan?

I vote for either this guy or this guy--since both of them have been rumored anyway.

*Director Ari Folman("Waltz with Bashir") has acquired rights to sci-fi writer Stanislaw Lem's short story "The Futurological Congress " says The Hollywood Reporter.

"Congress" is set in a futuristic world in which everything appears to glisten -- there is an abundance of money and good feeling -- but it all turns out to be dark and drug-induced.

*Writer-director Billy Ray is attached to adapt and direct a film version of the horror fantasy novel "Conjure Wife" says Variety.

The debut novel by fantasy and science fiction writer Fritz Leiber Jr."Conjure" is a supernatural thriller about a New England college professor who discovers that his good fortune is the result of his wife's secret, magical interference.

*Barry Sonnenfeld is attached to direct and produce " The How-to Guide For Saving The World" according to Variety.

BenDavid Grabinski's action comedy script tells the story of a loser who discovers a book on how to prevent an alien invasion and then has to put that knowledge to use when one actually occurs...

-As the regular season draws to a close...The Chicago Bears could still make it to the post-season with a win over the Houston Texans and a little help...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pass The Buck

Frank Miller is looking to team up again with Odd Lot Entertainment on a new incarnation of "Buck Rogers" according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Miller will write and direct his own big-screen take on the comic serial, it's expected to be a darker story using Miller's signature visual style and themes, such as corruption and redemption.

The story of Buck Rogers began life as a comic serial in the late 1920's and early '30's and has been seen on film before with Buster Crabbe--but the character is best known for the 1979 TV series-starring Gil Gerard

A $40 million dollar feature film spoof written by Flint Dille was considered.

The new film will likely to be a priority project for Miller, putting Sin City 2 on hold again!!

Buck may be a harder sell for Miller since reviews the for The Spirit are pretty awful.

Why not just finish SC2 first...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Stop Watch

The legal battle between Warner Bros. and Fox over the rights to the already finished Watchmen film was supposed to get underway after the New Year, but Los Angeles Federal judge Gary Allen Feess decided to instead quickly settle the whole thing on Wednesday by handing the rights to the movie over to Fox.

The Fox's lawyers claimed back in August that their only goal was to keep the film from being released. and that the studio is not in it for the money, only to keep you from seeing Watchmen. It looks like they've succeeded.

The NY Times reports the court’s ruling says, “Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the ‘Watchmen’ motion picture.”

I would think that also gives them the right not to distribute it.

The Times story leaves wiggle room for Fox to end up as a profit participant and the judge did suggest that both parties look for a settlement resolution. There’s also room here for an appeal by Warner Bros.

Some sort of agreement would be nice...But if it does happen it is gonna be nasty getting there...Surely the March '09 release will be delayed ...

So much for peace and harmony during the holidays... This Really SUCKS!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Return Of...

Popular 80's actor Steve Guttenberg told The Sun last month that sequels are in the works for two of his most popular flicks-"Police Academy" and "3 Men and a Baby".

All of the surviving original cast from the 'Academy' movies has been contacted:

"So far it is really great, everyone from the original movies who is still around will return..."

As for the 'Baby' franchise:

"Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and I are looking to make another Three Men And A Baby movie. It’s called Three Men and A Bride. The script is pretty much written and we are really keen to get that made. We’re very hopeful."

At least they are not going the remake route...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The X-List

It's one crowded Christmas at the cineplex...

But from which to choose?, With Bedtime Stories (reviews) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' (reviews) Marley & Me,(reviews)' Valkyrie (reviews) and The Spirit (reviews) all set to open wide on tomorrow.

It's Jennifer Aniston VS ex hubby Brad Pitt...

Tom Cruise playing a war hero VS a superhero...with Adam Sandler somewhere in the middle...

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet reunite for Revolutionary Road (reviews) as a limited run begins on the 26th...

Which film will come out on top? Conventional wisdom puts Bedtime Stories there...Then again this is hardly a conventional weekend at the movies...

Happy Holidays 2008 To One And All....!! Thank You To All Of Our U.S. Troops Serving Around The Globe!!

Sit Right Back....

Another TV classic may get the big screen treatment:

"Gilligan's Island" creator Sherwood Schwartz and his son Lloyd are moving ahead with their movie plans according to TV Guide.

The pair are hoping that Michael Cera will play Gilligan, and Beyonce will slink around as sexy movie star Ginger.

Sherwood says the deal "Just happened in the last 48 hours. I can't take this much excitement at my age."

Why not? It could be as much fun as The Brady Bunch Movie...Cera is an inspired casting preference...

No other production details have been announced.

Box Back 2 TRON!

Actor Bruce Boxleitner is returning for the upcoming TRON sequel according to Coming Soon.

In the original cult classic, hacker/arcade owner Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is digitally broken down into a data stream by a villainous software pirate known as the Master Control Program or MCP.

Flynn is then reconstituted into the internal, 3-D graphical world of computers. In this world of cyberspace, he joins forces with Tron (Boxleitner) to outmaneuver the MCP that holds them captive in the equivalent of a gigantic, infinitely challenging computer game.

The site says Boxleitner is currently filming his role for TRON 2.0--joining these already cast lovely ladies.

Surely Bridges can not be far behind?

Mickey: No To Narnia

Disney and Walden Media confirmed yesterday that the Mouse House will not be exercising its option to co-produce and co-finance the next Narnia film with Walden. The reason given concerned "budgetary and logistical" matters according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" was prep with a spring shoot planned --on track for release in May 2010.

Michael Apted was due to direct a script by Steven Knight, and cast members from the first two films were set to return .

Walden is expected to shop "Treader" around in hopes of finding a new partner with Fox looking the most likely contender.

The previous film Prince Caspian cost $200 million and notably underperformed, may cause the entire franchise to be scuttled. The failure of other recent non-Potter/Rings fantasy features like "The Golden Compass" have made the kid-friendly fantasy features a very risky and expensive proposition.

If the Narnia francise goes bust in mid-stream than surely some others only in the pipeline will be scrapped altogether--Given the times in which we live...

Kato Bailin?

Last week news that Stephen Chow would no longer direct the The Green Hornet flick,

Now comes word he may no longer act in it either.

Chow would have played Hornet's sidekick Kato.

"If I direct 'The Green Hornet,' the superhero comedy will have to be delayed for two years. The timing might not be right for a superhero comedy in two years. And I want to make a movie based on an original idea" Chow told The Associated Press.

Chow adds that he may not have time to star as Kato, wanting to free up time to work with Jack Black on a comedy about a different superhero. Whether he will stay involved with TGH depends on his schedule.

I can't say I'm surprised by this possibility-Chow seems like an all in kinda filmmaker--and if he wants to move on he most likely will.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

False Labor

Those plans to remake Roman Polanski's 1968 classic "Rosemary's Baby" have apparently been scrapped so says Collider.

Platinum Dunes' Bradley Fuller:

"We went down that road and we even talked to the best writers in town and it feels like it might not be do-able. We couldn’t’ come up with something where it felt like it was relevant and we could add something to it other than what it was so we’re now not going to be doing that film."

What Fuller probably means is the writers couldn't come up with as clever and different enough of an ending to make it seem fresh and new--and worth spending all that dough.

This marks the 2nd film this month that the company decided not to remake a movie . An updated version of"Near Dark" was done in by the success of Twilight ".

Fear not. The company made its name remaking horror classics is still moving forward with plans for their "A Nightmare on Elm Street" retread, while their redo of "Friday the 13th " opens in February.

International Man Of Mystery

Clive Owen will headline the thriller "Cartagena" according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The film will center on an undercover agent who gets caught in a tangled web and must elude drug dealers and international agents if he hopes to survive.

Cartagena, Colombia has colorful history featuring wars, robust economic activity and tourist development.

Michael Ross will write the screenplay.

Owen must love doing international thrillers with a pic called The International and he also plays a former government agent in Duplicity.

He's playing James Bond without playing him.

Mission Complete

As you may recall, the Star Trek reboot was originally scheduled for a Christmas '08 release before being pushed back to May of '09...

J.J. Abrams has been working on the film as though the date had not changed...

Posting on Facebook the helmer says the film should be locked or fully completed by next week:

"We're just making final tweaks to the movie -- we should be totally locked next week. Then we're going to flash-freeze it so it's totally fresh for you in May.

I can't wait for you to see the movie. The cast is awesome. The action and effects pushed the stunt team and ILM beyond their limits. I'm so grateful to this cast and crew -- and to all of you for your interest and patience."

Completion this far ahead of schedule means leaks are almost assured at some point But positive word of mouth will only build anticipation even higher.

The film is due for release on May 8th...

RIP Robert Mulligan (1925-2008)

Robert Mulligan has died. The Oscar nominated director lost his battle with Heart Disease on December 20th at the age of 83.

The older brother of late actor Richard Mulligan, helmed some great work---"The Great Impostor ," "Love with the Proper Stranger ," "Baby the Rain Must Fall," "Inside Daisy Clover ," Up the Down Staircase" the under appreciated Same Time, Next Year and "The Other." He also narrated "Summer of '42

His more recent films include Clara's Heart starring Whoopi Goldberg and a young Neil Patrick Harris 2o years ago ...1991's The Man in the Moon brought Reese Witherspoon to the screen.

But it is the film To Kill a Mockingbird for which I (and in fact most of us) will remember Mulligan most. An adaptation of the award winning novel --the movie is perfect in every way...If you have never seen Mockingbird do yourself a favor and watch it...

Variety has more...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Forbidden Fruit

James Cameron is apparently considering adding the Forbidden Planet update as one of his upcoming projects according to IESB.

This is the second time he's circled "planet"--after Titanic-he was attached to the project which never got off the ground. He went on to other things.

Now that writer J. Michael Straczynski's take on the classic 50's feature has the attention of the studio suits...

They want Cameron to call the shots. A 2010 release date has been loosely targeted.

The site also says Straczynski's premise is not a remake so much as it is a prequel.

Straczynski told MTV a few weeks ago:

"It’s not a remake. It’s not a reimagining. It’s not exactly a prequel. You’ll have to see it. It’s something that no one has thought of when it comes to this storyline"

He got producer Joel Silver jazzed saying "this is how you do ‘Forbidden Planet’ without pissing on the original that no one has ever thought of. When I told [the idea] to him, his eyes lit up."

"People that went to see that film saw things they had never seen before. What we have to do now is have this one be as innovative now as the original was then..The goal is to put things in there you’ve never seen before."

As my regular visitors know remakes usually make me shudder but if Cameron comes aboard--The possibilities...

-Tonight The Chicago Bears try to keep their playoff hopes alive with a win over division rivals Green Bay Packers.... and after getting playoff help--the boys just may see the post season.

From Morsels To Metal

Director David Fincher is getting ready to work with Keanu Reeves on a film--he calls "a celibate sex comedy".

Talking exclusively to MTV News:

"It's really about the creative process. It's truly an aromatic art-form, making food. I love that idea. And I love Keanu's passion for that world."

Reeves will play a chef who tries to make a comeback from major personal issues. He gathers his old friends together as his 'dream team' and ends up falling in love with the newest member of the group.

Sounds a bit like No Reservations Got the perfect name for the movie- The Day The Kithen Stood Still

He also talked about his involvement in the "Heavy Metal " anthology film:

"[I'll do] whatever story no one else wants to do."

"We have like twenty-four stories and artwork for it. I have time to do one or two and I have dibs on eight or nine, so somewhere in there we’ll figure it out if we can ever get the money together"

Where Others Fear To Dredd

DNA Films, Rebellion Films and 2000 A D are set to bring a new Judge Dredd film to the big screen. says Cinema Blend

2000 AD's chief suit Jason Kingsley,"We can't give away too many details at this point, but we're looking forward to working with DNA Films to bring Judge Dredd back to the big screen."

The character was adapted as a big-budget actioner in 1995 starring Sylvester Stallone which had to be one of the worst films ever made.

Given that--There's no place for this project to go but up...

The new Dredd is set to go into production in 2009.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mad Moriarty?

The ex-Mr Madonna Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes" is now in production...

But along the way, it's has been the victim of some bizarre accidents according to the The Sun.

A few weeks ago star Robert Downey Jr.. was knocked out accidentally by seven-foot British actor Robert Maillet after taking one on the chin.

Downey "went flying and was out cold...he didn't want to go to hospital and kept trying to get up" says a source on the set. Revived by medics, Downey needed stitches inside his mouth.

Marvel suits were probably hyperventilating from this report--Since their future Iron Man franchise rests with RDJ...

There's also reports that the Sherlock set was closed for two hours when a tanker making a delivery to the set burst into flames.

Heroes On Call

Warner Bros.. chief suit Alan F. Horn spoke to Collider at the premiere of "Yes Man" offering status updates for the studio's various DC Universe flick adaptations.

Of the next Batman:

Horn says "We've been talking to Chris Nolan and what we have to do is get him in the right place and have him tell us what he thinks the notion might be for a great story, but Chris did a great job and we'd love to have him come back and do another one."

Horn adds "The story is everything and we are very respectful of Chris. We have a wonderful relationship with him and we are going to be respectful of his timing and we want to get it right. Also, I think the fans expect that - they want us to make a terrific movie - we have to give them another great movie."

The in limbo Superman: Man of Steel:

"Probably in the next couple of years. We're very anxious to bring Superman back also."

As reported last week in the Aussie press the Green Lantern movie is apparently considering studio space:

"I think Green Lantern is probably the best guess but I can't promise it at this moment." He adds that it is "On the runway. Hasn't taken off yet, but we're close."

Finally-the long-troubled "Justice League: Mortal:

He says "Not yet."

Of course Bats is getting lots of cinema care after the success of The Dark Knight--Again though, I wish someone would make a decision on Supes no rush guys but at least get the ball moving again...

Weather Man Bests "Yes"

Jim Carrey's Yes Man was almost a shoe-in for the top spot--But thanks to Old Man Winter--The win was not as big as it could have been...

Pamela McClintock of Vaeiety:

The weekend box office got iced by terrible weather in the Northeast in anything but a merry start for Jim Carrey laffer “Yes Man” and Will Smith drama “Seven Pounds,” which brought the lowest opening for a Smith pic since the early part of this decade.

Warner Bros.' “Yes Man” grossed $18.2 million from 3,434 runs to win the weekend crown—as expected, being a comedy—while Sony's “Seven Pounds” grossed $16 million from 2,758 playdates, according to Rentrak.

Universal toon “The Tale of Despereaux,” the frame’s other new entry, grossed an estimated $10.5 million from 3,104 runs on the strength of young tots and their parents.

A crippling storm in the Northeast on Friday dragged down weekend B.O. grosses dramatically, and across the board.

Heading into the weekend, no one could have predicted that “Yes Man” and “Seven Pounds” wouldn’t even hit the $20 million mark. Two pics came in as much as $5 million below expectations.

Also, Smith may be the world’s biggest box office story, but “Seven Pound’s” downer storyline was considered a big test for Smith heading into the weekend.

In December 2001, Smith topliner “Ali” opened to $14.7 million, while “Legend of Bagger Vance” opened to $11.5 million the year before. “Seven Pounds” only narrowly beat the $15.5 million debut of the 1995 “Bad Boys.”

Both Sony and Warners expect their respective films to rebound over the Christmas holiday, but the playing field becomes fiercely competitive on Christmas day, when five new titles enter the market.

“Yes Man” did best the $14.4 million debut of 2005 Christmas comedy “Fun with Dick and Jane” which went on to cume $110.3 million domestically.

The specialty side wasn’t as impacted by bad weather, since moviegoers can walk to theaters in Gotham during snowstorms. A raft of award nominations fueled interest in a number of titles.

Fox Searchlight’s posted boffo results for both its films, frosh entry “The Wrestler” and holdover “Slumdog Millionaire.”

Darren Aronofsky’s “Wrestler,” toplining Mickey Rourke, posted an impressive screen average of $52,369 in its debut in four theaters in New York and L.A., grossing an estimated $209,474. Film’s cume is $294,980 (it opened Wednesday).

“Slumdog” climbed up the top 10 box office chart to place No. 8 in its sixth week, grossing an estimated $3.2 million as it expanded to 589 screens for a per screen average of $5,348 and a cume of $12.1 million. Pic was up 45%.

Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino” posted the next highest per screen average of the weekend after “Slumdog,” or $24,623 as it expanded into a total of 19 runs. Pic, up72% in its second sesh, grossing an estimated $468,000 a cume of $859,000.

Miramax’s “Doubt” also saw strong returns as it successfully expanded, grossing an estimated $729,000 from 39 playdates in its second weekend for a location average of $18,692 and a cume of $1.4 million. Pic was up 44% .

The Weinstein Co.’s Kate Winslet drama “The Reader” posted a screen average of $12,519 in grossing an estimated $101,150 from eight locations in its second weekend for a cume of $3.6 million. Pic declined 44%.

Universal’s “Frost/Nixon” dipped 42% in its third weekend, grossing an estimated $365,000 from 39 locations for an average of $9355 and cume of $1.5 million...

Marc Bernardin of EW:

With winter weather keeping moviegoers home, Jim Carrey ices Will Smith to finish as weekend's No 1...

I'm sure holiday hooplah/final shopping push also kepr some ticket buyers away...

Taking Direction

A helmer Three-fer:

*Stephen Chow is no longer set to direct the film adaptation of The Green Hornet reports Variety.

Chow signed in September to direct the film and play the role of sidekick Kato. Though he's left the director's chair due to the standard creative differences, he will still play Kato in the film.

*Appearing on the Howard Stern radio show, writer/director Darren Aronofsky told the gang the RoboCop remake is still a while off and he may not be directing it after all:

"I don’t know. We’ll see. We’re working on a screenplay. So we’re developing it but we don’t have a screenplay yet. We’re working hard on it"..." (Via Slash Film)

*According to The Hollywood Reporter, Baz Luhrmann has officially acquired rights to F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic, The Great Gatsby, considered to be one of the greatest American novels of all time....

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fluff Another?

Out and about promoting Che director Steven Soderbergh told MTV News that there's no plans to continue the Ocean’s films.

Soderbergh directed all three films in the series, says

"With Bernie Mac being gone, I don’t think any of us would want to return to that...I was done [anyway]."

He misses hanging around with George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon - "It’s sad because that was a fun group of people to hang out with"

While I surely agree it would be hard for anyone to fill Mac's shoes Dare I also say that Ocean's Eleven was the only worthwhile flick in the series--Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen were mere excuses for everyone to hang out...Al Pacino couldn't even save 13.

Even mindless fun has its structural needs and yes-limits