Sunday, November 30, 2008

4xX To The Power Of 1

Despite dismal reviews Four Christmases proved that audiences were ready for a holiday themed flick...Twilight sunk its vamp teeth into 2nd place...

Pamela McClintock of Variety:

Holiday theater traffic stayed strong over the long Thanksgiving sesh as moviegoers tasted dishes up and down the crowded buffet of titles.

The biggest victory went to Warner Bros/New Line’s Vince Vaughn-Reese Witherspoon comedy “Four Christmases.”

“Four Xmases”--opening Wednesday and far surpassing expectations--grossed an estimated $46.7 million from 3,310 runs for the five-day frame, and $31.7 million for the three-day weekend, according to Rentrak.

The most anticipated film of the holiday was 20th Century Fox’s epic “Australia,” from director Baz Luhrmann. Pic picked up the pace dramatically as adults were sprung from holiday duties.

Toplining Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, “Australia” grossed an estimated $20 million from 2,642 runs for the five days, and $14.8 million for the three-day weekend. “Australia,” exceeding Fox’s expectations, placed No. 5 overall.

Adults also turned out in droves for specialty pic “Milk,” from Gus Van Sant and toplining Sean Penn. “Milk” cracked the top 10 box office chart in its first outing, grossing an estimated $1.9 million for the five days--a stunning per location average of $52,627--and $1.4 million for the weekend.

Lionsgate’s male-actioner “Transporter 3,” the third new wide release of the holiday, grossed an estimated $18.5 million from 2,626 for the five days, and $12.3 million for the weekend, putting it at No. 7.

There was plenty of room left on the plate for holdovers, driving the domestic box office up 2% to 3% over last Thanskgiving.

“Twilight” and 3-D toon “Bolt” came in No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, in their second frames.

“Twilight” grossed an estimated $39.5 million from 3,425 for the five-day sesh, and $26.4 million for the weekend, bringing the film’s cume to $119.7 million in its 10th day in release. Pic declined 62% weekend over weekend.

Disney’s “Bolt,” playing in 3,654 runs, pulled off a stunning coup in showing a 1.4% increase over last weekend. Family film grossed an estimated $36 million for five days, and $26.6 million for the weekend, for a cume of $66.9 million in its 10th day.

Sony/MGM’s “Quantum” came in an impressive No. 4 over the holiday frame, grossing an estimated $28.1 for the five days, and $19.5 million for the weekend, for a cume of $142 million. Pic dipped a mere 27% weekend over weekend.

DreamWorks Animation/Paramount’s “Madagascar: Escape 2 African” also generated strong biz, coming in No. 6. In its fourth sesh, toon grossed an estimated $19.6 million for the five days, and $14.5 million for the weekend, for a cume of $160 million....

Meanwhile: Quantum Of Solace still rules foreign box office

Joshua Rich of EW:

Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn's comedy took the Thanksgiving weekend box office with ease

Team Work

*Dolph Lundgren and Sylvester Stallone.together again...

Sly told the folks at Review Nation that he was close to signing Lundgren for his new action flick "The Expendables."

Production begins in in February.

*Writer/director duo Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor have dropped out of the film adaptation of the comic Jonah Hex says Variety.

Neveldine and Taylor wrote the script, but their exit as directors was attributed to the industry standby "creative differences."

*Smallville masterminds Alfred Gough and Miles Millar are are going to be hard ar work on a new draft of the film version of the 1980s anime carton Robotech says The Hollywood Reporter.

*James Cox will direct the psychological horror feature "The Summoner" says The Hollywood Reporter.

Matthew Sand wrote the script, Filming starts in January.

*Pamela Pettler will pen the screenplay for a feature film based on the popular board game Monopoly says The Hollywood Reporter.

Ridley Scott will direct the project and plans on giving it a futuristic setting ala his 1982 classic Blade Runner--and yes--this idea has been around for awhile...

--In a prime-time match up the Chicago Bears take on the Minnesota Vikings...Both teams stand at Bears put CB Nathan Vasher on IR

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sex Lives

The Sex and the City sequel could be before the cameras as early as next summer...

Sarah Jessica Parker tells MTV that not only is a potential storyline almost in place, but so is a probable start date for a May 2010 release.

"I think it's a realistic timetable. That's when we'd start shooting to be out in 2010. But that means we need to figure this out in the next couple of months."

Parker states that she and writer/director Michael Patrick King have discussed many potential stories but have agreed on one in particular.

"We're at the place where…we think we have this story and how do we put this together and are we completely sure that it's the right thing to do?."

Fans expecting a bundle of joy to be part of the mix better not hold their collective breaths

"[Motherhood] doesn't seem as if that's going to be a choice [Carrie will] make. It feels a little bit manipulative to toss that into the mix because she seems so pointed in a different direction."

Despite the momentum Parker is still protective of the franchise - "I would do these forever but is it right for the audience? Is this the story that we can tell well? These are the questions I have to ask myself or I'm not being fair to the franchise. That's where we are."

This is one of those phenoms I just do not understand the appeal--even despite my thing for co-star Kim Cattrall going back since the film Masquerade 20 some years ago ...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Getting It Right

Iron Man 2 scripter Justin Theroux tells MTV that the recent EW report about the Terrence Howard/Don Cheadle casting switch contained a few errors.

That article claimed that the over-sized paycheck and disputes with actor Howard over his role of Jim Rhodes in the first film, led to the notion that the character's role would be reduced and then ultimately recast.

Theroux says that "I can only tell you what I know which is that from a writing standpoint we didn’t do anything differently [with the character]. It’s not like we were sitting there going, we need less of this or that. We just approached the characters and the story on their own terms...Rhodes is completely present in a very strong and big way…He’s COMPLETELY present."

Will we ever know what really happened there?

Production on the sequel begins in April.

Meanwhile-Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr..tells MTV that the filmmakers are already working hard to make sure the 2011 Avengers flick doesn't stink.

"If we don’t get it right it’s really, really going to suck. It has to be the crowning blow of Marvel's best and brightest because it’s the hardest thing to get right. It’s tough to spin all the plates for one of these characters".

A superhero team film is tough on 2 fronts--servicing lots of characters and the bending of those character backgrounds together for a 2 hour move. That stuff works fine in the pages of a monthly book...but..Downey understands the challenges:

"I think its important that I do what I’m supposed to do which is keep my side of the street clean. The danger you run with colliding all these worlds is [director Jon Favreau] was very certain that ‘Iron Man’ should be set in a very realistic world. Nothing that happened in ‘Iron Man’ is really outside the realm of possibility. Once you start talking about Valhalla and supersized super soldiers and jolly green giants it warrants much further discussion."

Thanks But No Thanks

Back in February--it was rumored that Josh Brolin was offered a plum acting gig in "Terminator Salvation"...

Chatting it up with MTV News Brolin says it was more than just a rumor:

"Yeah. I talked to Christian [Bale] for a couple hours. I really liked the script though I hear that's not what they filmed. The one I read was very interesting and dark. Ultimately though I didn't think it felt right"

Director McG admitted he wanted Brolin for the role. In the end though Sam Worthington got the part.

Any regrets?

"I saw [Bale] recently and I asked him how it was and he said, ‘it's aalright'" laughs Brolin.

While it may have been interesting to see Brolin opposite Bale--I think he made the right decision--this time You don't want someone who's pretty wishy-washy about franchise flicks to be there second guessing the move.

Meantime check out the very cool motion poster for T4 here

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Deals Over Dinner

Some small bytes to chew on this Thanksgiving...

**Twilight's Edward Robert Pattinson and Bella Kristen Stewart are getting a raise:

The "It" duo will $12 million dollars each for the just-announced film version of "New Moon" --the 2nd book in the series--reports The Chicago Sun-Times.

To give you some perspective, the pair were each paid just $2 million for the first film which came in at a total budget of just $37 million!

The story of 'New Moon' is presented on a much much larger canvas which includes trips outside of the first book's locale and introduces werewolves into the story.

**Coming Soon says the first trailer for X-Men Origins: Wolverine will be attached to with the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still on December 12. It will not debut online or on TV until some time after that. I will post the footage here as soon as I can.

**A film version of Gerald Kelly's book "Honor for Sale" is in works says Variety.

The true life story revolves around a group of NYPD narcotics detectives who ran the largest drug distribution ring in the '70s.

The book helped inspire the two "The French Connection " films from the '70s as well as the recent "American Gangster"

The late John Bishop wrote the script adaptation.

**Universal Pictures is in final negotiations to buy Richard Rapoza's rowdy wedding comedy script "Best Man-A-Thon" says The Hollywood Reporter.

The story sees its lead character in a real pickle: His childhood best friend and college best friend hate each other, and after each makes him their best man, both expect the same job at his wedding. The pair reject his offer to share the role and decide to compete for the spot in wedding-related contests.

**U Pics has also closed a deal with author Robert Ludlum's estate that gives them exclusive rights to the Jason Bourne character and first look at other Ludlum novels reports Variety.

Though originally planned as a trilogy, the franchise has proven a huge success and become one of the studio's biggest franchises.

The deal locks in their right to move ahead with a fourth 'Bourne' film which star Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass have signed on for and are readying for a Summer 2010 release...

Happy Thanksgiving 2008!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


For those of us wondering where Leonard Nimoy was...playing the elder Spock--in the new Star Trek trailer...

An Internet only version takes care of that. It’s the same trailer you’ve seen already, with one brief addition--Courtesy Cinema Blend:


Holiday Travel

The Holiday Movie Season officially kicks off today with 3 new wide releases:

Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon spend Four Christmases (reviews) together; Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman visit the land down under of yesteryear in Baz Luhrmann's Australia (reviews); Jason Statham takes to the road as Frank Martin again in Transporter 3 (reviews)...

Pamela McClintock of Variety:

Openers will face tough competition from holdover Twilight.

...Opening nationwide are 20th Century Fox's Nicole Kidman-Hugh Jackman epic "Australia," New Line/Warner Bros.' Reese Witherspoon-Vince Vaughn holiday comedy "Four Christmases" and Lionsgate's Jason Statham actioner "Transporter 3."

Trio of new entries could face some tough competition from Summit Entertainment holdover "Twilight," which debuted to a boffo $69.6 million over the weekend on the strength of girls and women. Tween and teenage girls are generally repeat viewers, giving "Twilight" ongoing strength.

Disney 3-D family toon "Bolt," which debuted over the weekend to $26.2 million, and Sony/MGM's "Quantum of Solace" also should see good Thanksgiving biz. "Quantum's" gross through Sunday -- its 10th day in release -- was $108.8 million.

Despite the economic crisis, the box office has been up substantially the past two weeks. Hollywood hopes that trend continues through the holidays. None of the Thanksgiving bows are expected to score mega-openings, as "Twilight" and "Quantum" did, but rather do solid business.

"Australia," directed by Baz Luhrmann, is appealing primarily to older women, according to tracking. Sweeping epic could put Fox back in the awards game.

Both "Australia" and Paramount's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," which opens Christmas Day, are big studio pics with Oscar aspirations. In recent years, it's generally specialty pics that hog the kudos limelight."Australia" isn't expected to score a big opening. For the five days, box office observers expect "Australia" to gross in the mid to high teens.

Fox insiders say Luhrmann's films have strong legs. "Romeo and Juliet" opened to $11.1 million on its way to grossing $46.4 million. "Moulin Rouge," which began as a limited release, grossed $57.4 million at the domestic box office.

"Australia" cost $130 million to produce, but the studio says its investment is $78 million after tax rebates offered by Oz, where the pic lensed.

In terms of the Thanksgiving releases, "Four Christmases" is the broadest offering and should lead the pack. Directed by Seth Gordon, film was made at New Line before the company became a label within the Warner fold.

"Four Christmases" is appealing to both younger and older women, according to tracking.

Last November, Vaughn holiday starrer "Fred Claus" debuted to $18.5 million when it debuted over the Nov. 5-7 weekend.

"Four Christmases" marks Witherspoon's return to romantic comedy for the first time since "Just Like Heaven," which opened to $16.4 million in September 2005.

"Transporter 3" has an advantage as the only new title appealing directly to men, and it is tracking strongly among that demo.

Franchise has been a lucrative one for Lionsgate. "Transporter" debuted to $9.1 million on its way to grossing $25.3 million; "Transporter 2" opened to $16.5 million on its way to $43 million domestically...

Joshua Rich of EW:

Three new wide releases serve up a challenge to reigning champ

Based strictly on reviews for the new trio--Twilight should repeat as the topper for Turkey Day weekend.

The biopic Milk begins a limited run opening wider next week--along with Punisher: War Zone and Frost/Nixon

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bridging The Generation Gap

IDW Publishing has joined with Paramount Pictures and ,J.J. Abrams' production company Bad Robot, are joining forces to publish a four-issue limited comic book series tied to next summer's Star Trek reboot released on May 8, 2009.

The first comic in the series called, "Star Trek: Countdown" will be released in January 2009 to the comic book direct market. The story is presented by Abrams and plotted by screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. It is written by Mike Johnson and Tim Jones and art by David Messina

Messina also provides covers for the series.

Series editor Andy Schmidt"There was a lot of back and forth about doing this project, how to do it, what it would be about, but what all parties agreed on was that we needed the right story and that it needed to matter. It had to count both on its own merits and when read in conjunction with the new movie . I couldn't be happier with the project and what it means to the overall Star Trek franchise!"

"'Star Trek: Countdown' lays the groundwork for what happens in the movie," said Orci. "It's our way of passing the baton from the The Next Generation characters and their movies to the new film.

A similar series of prequels were published to coincide with the release of Superman Returns in '06...One more marketing tool to keep fanboys (like me) happy till the film beams into theaters

Meantime--FirstShowing has news that the movie will be converted for IMAX theaters when it is released. However the film will be a conversion only, no 3D elements or specific IMAX-filmed sequences ala "The Dark Knight"

Social Scene

Daphne Zuniga is set to star in and produce "The Scene" according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The film is a satire of the Manhattan party circuit and entertainment industry in which Zuniga will play a cynical TV talk show producer who encounters a chameleon-like social climber (Heather Gordon)

Theresa Rebeck adapted the script from her play.

Amy Glazer is directing and co- producing. Filming will take place in San Francisco.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Object Lesson

Pascal Laugier will direct the horror thriller "Details" reports Variety.

Based on a short story by China Miéville-the plot surrounds a daughter who disappears after awakening supernatural forces that inhabit the random patterns of everyday objects.

Daniel Kay wrote the original adaptation that Laugier polished.

Laugier's Martyrs made some noise--I'll be interested to see if this film puts his career in orbit.

Tucked In

Anand Tucker will direct the romantic comedy Leap Year says Variety.

Amy Adams stars as a woman traveling to Dublin to propose to her boyfriend on leap day, Feb. 29, as part of an Irish tradition in which a man receiving a marriage proposal on that day has to say yes.

Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan wrote rhe script.

The film is Tucker's first foray into the rom-com genre--If the script stays true to the blueprint he should be fine

Shooting is set to start in March in Ireland.

Neighborhood Watch

George Lopez (pictured) Billy Ray Cyrus, Amber Valletta (pictured) and Katherine Boecher join the comedy The Spy Next Door according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The movie centers on a man (Jackie Chan) asked to baby-sit his neighbor's children who then must protect them from secret agents after one of the kids accidentally downloads a code.

Lopez is a CIA agent; Cyrus is another agent. Valletta is the kids' mom, while Boecher plays a Russian underworld operative.

You have got to br kidding--Billy Ray Cyrus--Really?

Brian Levant is directing.


Vera Farmiga has been cast in "Up in the Air" reports Variety.

The story centers on a human resources executive whose only joy in life comes from the prospect of notching his millionth frequent-flyer mile, a goal he pursues with zeal as the rest of his life falls apart because he is constantly on the road.

Farmiga will play a businesswoman who develops a romantic relationship with George Clooney's character through meetings in airports and hotels around the country.

Jason Reitman adapted the screenplay from Walter Kirn's novel of the same name and will also call action.

Hopfully-Farmiga will have better chenistry with Clooney than she did with the "studs" of The Departed.

Shooting starts in late February.

Writers Wanted

Two high profile adaptations are looking for adaptors...

A few weeks ago news broke that Steven Spielberg and Will Smith were going to work together on a remake of the popular Korean film "Oldboy.

Smith tells the Film School Rejects that rather than an American version of the 2003 film, the project will be an adaptation of the original manga saga by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi.

"We're looking at that right now. Not the film though, it's the original source material. There's the original comics of 'Oldboy' that they made the first film from. And that's what we're working from, not an adaptation of the film".

Though similar, there are key differences between the graphic novel and the 2003 film with its darker elements like eating live octopi and brother-sister incest.

The search for a writer is on for the project.


Blizzard Entertainment's Frank Pearce announced last week in New York that writers are also being sought for the long-gestating "Warcraft" flick

From MTV:

"Legendary Pictures is currently trying to assign some names to write the screenplay and find someone to direct it, so it's still really early in production. They want to make sure they get the right talent for those different parts, especially the screenwriting because that's the foundation for the movie"

Is the film going to be live-action or CG animated like the games?

"[That] has come up in discussions but it's not something we've really considered because it takes so long to generate just the brief amount of footage that we create for the game. It would definitely be really cool. There's no question about that, it's just that the quantity of work that it would take is more than we're willing to take on at this point."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ready To Walk The Line...Again?

It's been quite some time since any news has bubbled up about the Screen Actors Guild strike...

Believe it or not....

SAG to seek strike authorization as latest round of talks collapse between guild, AMPTP...

To make maters worse...Catch this from last Wednesday...WGA: AMPTP failed to comply with contract....

Yikes all this turmoil can't be good....

Stay Tuned...

Bloody Good Show

Thanks to legions of fangals Twilight took on a 3-D CGI animated dog, 007 and crushed them both at the box office....

Pamela McClintock of Variety:

...Summit Entertainment's teen vampire romance "Twilight" opened to an estimated $70.6 million from 3,419 screens at the domestic box office.

"Twilight" took a big bite out of Disney's 3-D toon "Bolt," which opened to an estimated $27 million from 3,651 playdates, of which more than 900 runs were 3-D. "Bolt" virtually tied for No. 2 with James Bond holdover "Quantum of Solace," which grossed an estimated $27.4 million for a cume of $109.5 million in its first 10 days, according to Rentrak.

Usually, an opening as strong "Twilight" is reserved for kid-friendly franchises or male-driven superhero pics. A full 75% of "Twilight's" aud were females, reflecting the enormous popularity of Stephenie Meyer's bestselling books among tween girls and teenage girls, according to exit polling released by Summit. One of the biggest surprises of the weekend came in that 45% of the audience were over the age of 25, indicating that "Twilight" crossed.

Helmed by Catherine Hardwicke, "Twilight" marks the best opening ever for a female filmmaker.

"Twilight" is an enormous victory for Summit, which announced Saturday that it is already planning sequel "New Moon."

It wasn't just "Bolt" that got dinged by "Twilight."

"Quantum" declined a steep 59% in its second frame, while previous Bond installment Casino Royale" dropped far less in its second outing...

Joshua Rich of EW:

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart's film banked $70.6 mil to win the weekend by a wide margin ...

With the film's big win --not a surprise--Summit announces 'Twilight' sequel...

But Quantum Of Solace is still No. 1 overseas.

Silver Lining

Fangoria Online reports that another high profile film is having its release date pushed back.

Next spring's The Wolf Man is on the move.

The remake of the 1941 horror movie stars Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins, now has an as yet undetermined release date in fall of 2009.

No reason was given as to what caused the move...Joe Johnston directs..

As I have said before this doesn't usually bode well-especially when no reason is given.

-After last week's loss-The Chicago Bears are fighting to avoid another meltdown as they take on The St. Louis Rams later today.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

From Small To BIG

A three-fer with TV ties

*"Gossip Girl guru Josh Schwartz (pictured) is negotiating to write an X-Men spin-off for the younger demo called X-Men: First Class says Variety.

"First Class" will focus on a younger set of super-powered mutant students attending the school for the gifted as introduced in the trilogy.

It could serve as a prequel - focusing on teen versions of the current film characters--though that option seems remote

Marvel published a short-lived comic book using the same name a few years ago.

Producer Lauren Shuler Donner and "X-Men: The Last Stand" co-writer Simon Kinberg are involved. as well.

Schwartz also has the option to direct but has yet to sign on for double duty

Given Schwartz penchant sudsy melodrama--he makes um urm an interesting choice to oversee the project--Sexed up super-teens?

*Mitchell Hurwitz and Ron Howard have seemingly closed a deal for the long-rumored film version of their sitcom Arrested Development reports Reuters.

Cast members of the show have been quoted in interviews since the show's end that a feature flick was in the works,. Now things have moved beyond wishful thinking and into concrete talk.

Hurwitz is on board to write and call action.

*Meanwhile Howard's pal producer Brian Grazer dismissed talk that Matthew McConaughey was offered the title role in the Magnum, PI film currently in development.

Telling MTV "No. I think the idea for 'Magnum P.I.' is to find a counterpoint. To not try and find the new Tom Selleck but to find someone that is just so different that you go, oh my God! That guy is Magnum?!"

Rawson Marshall Thurber wrote the script-- but casting is key and Grazer knows it- "You have to find the actor that adds through his own personality something to the title."

While I agree that McConaughey is not a perfect fit--it also depends on the tone of the script--Is it played as a parody or serious? to the extent that it can be...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Air Conditioning

Coming off of her box office record breaking flick Twilight Anna Kendrick has landed the coveted female lead role opposite George Clooney in "Up in the Air " says The Hollywood Reporter.

Kendrick beat out bigger names like Ellen Page (who worked with "Air" director Jason Reitman on Juno) and Emily Blunt

Kendrick will play a young woman who finds herself pulled into the orbit of a "career transition counselor" (i.e. professional firer) in the airless world of business travel.

Reitman also adapted the script based on of Walter Kirn's 2001 novel

So much for always being stuck in Twilight's glow...

Crazy Talk

Timothy Olyphant will lead the remake of the 1973 George A. Romero horror flick "The Crazies" says The Hollywood Reporter.

The story has the inhabitants of a small Kansas town finding themselves surrounded by death and insanity after a plane crash lets loose a secret biological weapon into the water supply.

Olyphant is playing the town's sheriff.

Scott Kosar and Ray Wright wrote the updated screenplay, Breck Eisner is directing.

Olyphant is a solid actor but remaking Romero is tough...I hope Eisner gets some tips from Dawn of the Dead (2004) helmer Zack Snyder on how to do it right.

Got Mila

Mila Kunis has joined the cast of action thriller "The Book of Eli" according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In the post-apocalyptic pic Kunis plays a woman named Solara, at first enlisted to betray Eli, (Denzel Washington) she ultimately joins him in his quest to save humanity.

Anthony Peckham has done a rewrite of Gary Whitta 's script.

Albert Hughes and Allen Hughes are directing.

As a Kunis fan--I hope that with the talent involved--the film allows her post sitcom career a little more success...beyond Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Shooting in February in New Mexico.

Segal Says "Shazam"!

Get Smart director Peter Segal and producer Michael Ewing have been signed to a three-year first-look contract with Warner Bros.reports Variety.

The deal includes among other things the John August-scripted comic book film adaptation of "Captain Marvel" called Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam .

The film follows teen Billy Batson, who transforms into the superhero when he says the word "Shazam!"

At first glance--Segal is not the obvious choice for Captain Marvel...With fingers slightly crossed. a solid scripter, and some casting luck--it could be great--or at least very good or cool.

Segal is also doing a Smart sequel by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember that is expected to shoot next year.

Under The Vampire Crush

The Vamps of super-hyped Twilight (reviews) take on the CG animated Bolt (reviews) this weekend...

Dave McNary and Pamela McClintock of Variety:

Amid all the hoopla over Summit Entertainment’s “Twilight,” don’t forget about Disney animated 3-D toon “Bolt.”

Both films open today in what’s expected to be another strong sesh for the domestic box office, which so far been resilient in the face of the economic crisis.

“Twilight” should have no trouble grabbing the weekend.

Final tracking was so strong for “Twilight” Thursday morning that competing studio predicted an opening gross of $50 million to $60 million, and perhaps higher. That’s because it’s not only girls who are expected to show up at theaters; interest has picked up among teen boys, while older women are amassing as well.

Last weekend, B.O. revs were up roughly 45% from the same frame last year on the strength of James Bond installment “Quantum of Solace.” This weekend could also see a dramatic gain over last year between “Twilight,” “Bolt” and “Quantum.”

“Bolt,” going out in 3,651 theaters, is the first toon produced by Disney proper since John Lasseter was installed to run all of animation for both Pixar and Disney. The last Disney animation title was “Meet the Robinsons,” which debuted to $25.1 million in March 2007. Tracking suggests that “Bolt” will beat that number, although there’s still another toon in the marketplace, DreamWorks Animation Paramount’s “Madagascar: Return 2 Africa.”

Depending on how well it holds, “Quantum” could give “Bolt” a run for its money in terms of which movie lands at No. 2 spot. Bond pic opened to $67.5 million.

“Bolt” marks a milestone in that it will play in approximately 982 digital 3-D screens, the most to date for a 3-D pic. “Journey to the Center of the Earth” opened in roughly 800 theaters this summer. The additional screens are part of the furious race to convert hundreds of conventional screens to digital 3-D, although the economy is hampering that effort.

“Bolt’s” opening gross will benefit mightily from the additional cost of a 3-D ticket.

Disney isn’t necessarily looking for a big opening, but rather, a strong run through Thanksgiving week and weekend.

Whatever the case, “Bolt” will have to cede the spotlight to “Twilight” in terms of headlines and attention. The teen romance vampire pic, opening in 3,419 has become the event title of the season, even though its core audience is tween and teen girls. “Twilight,” directed by Catherine Hardwicke and based on the bestselling book series by Stephenie Meyer, cost $37 million to produce.

Film arrived at Summit a ready-made franchise, since there are four books in the series...

Joshua Rich of EW:

Stephenie Meyer's story's spell on young women, ticket presales, and the zeitgeist add up to a blockbuster weekend ...

Next Week: Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman go to Australia courtesy of Baz Luhrmann; While Jason Statham is back to kick butt in the franchise that made him famous...yes it's Transporter 3...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Steel Warrior

Josh Horowitz of MTV talked to director Bryan Singer about his troubled flick Valkyrie saying of the December 26th opener:

'It's a film that people need to see before they judge".

But the most interesting part of the chat had to do with Superman: Man of Steel...

MTV: There's a lot of confusion about whether you will be directing another Superman film. Can you set the record straight?

Singer: At the moment, I can't really talk about that. I wish I could. From my perspective, I'm going to take a brief pause. This movie has taken a long time, so I'm going to take a pause. A movie like that takes some time to do right. That's all I can say about that.

Assuming that Singer knows about this idea being proposed by Mark Millar I wonder what Singer thinks of it--And is that why we haven't heard anything official about the next flick in quite a while?

And then of course there's also the Supes Jerome "Jerry" Siegel Joseph "Joe" Shuster lawsuit settlement...

The Running Rapper

Curtis Jackson better known as rapper 50 Cent has joined the cast of Alex De Rakoff's indie "Dead Man Running says The Hollywood Reporter.

Set in London, de Rakoff's script centers on an ex-con (Tamer Hassan) trying to make good-he's given 24 hours to raise $150,000 to pay off a loan shark (Jackson) or become a "dead man running."

The mission takes him from the dog tracks of East London to the underground drug scene of rural Manchester as they try every trick and scam in the book to get the cash before it's too late.

De Rakoff is basing his film on a story by John Luton

Shooting began yesterday.

Coloring Booked

Rosie Perez, Arsenio Hall and Craig Ferguson will lend their voices for characters in crayon cartoon tale "The Hero of Color City" according to THR .

Becky Bristow calls action in the recording booth on an animated fable centering on a group of crayons that band together to stop a tyrant from robbing their world of color.

Christina Ricci has already signed to play the lead.

The film will be released in 2010.

Salvation Showcase

First there was a screening of footage presentations for "Watchmen" and then Star Trek "...

Now it's Terminator Salvation's turn.

Director McG took around seven minutes of footage from the film along with him to London- an interview session was part of the presentation.

McG told Time Out Magazine that the plan was to take the franchise back to basics--to "strip away any sense of glitz or irony and focus on character, drama and gritty, intense action".

Convincing Christian Bale about taking the role of John Connor was not an easy sell..

"[Bale] told me to f*** right off, he didn’t want to do it."

Then Bale said, 'Write it so that it could be read cold on stage and I’ll think about doing it.'"

McG staged a ‘cold table reading’ of the script to prove that it could work as a serious drama without the benefit of special effects and stunts obviously the plan worked.

The film will trace Connor's journey from "unloved wanderer in the wilderness to humanity’s saviour, as he uncovers the machines’ plan to harvest human DNA and develop the android ‘T-800’ model".

McG confirms both Bale and co-writer Jonathan Nolan have signed on for two more films.

McG also said:

" I did go to see James Cameron. He didn’t give us his blessing, but he didn’t s*** all over our movie. When Jim was making Aliens, he was following the great Ridley Scott, so he knows how we feel."

Will Arnold Schwarzenegger show up?

"We’re trying to synthesise a human character with a CGI character and that may or may not have something to do with the T800...At the moment it’s not good enough and we’re running out of time."

Finally he dismissed the ending of the film that leaked online which had a 'good Terminator' becoming John Connor - "That is not the ending. John Connor is not the machine. We did discuss that idea, but that is not the ending, I can say that right now."

Expect footage from the 7 minute reel to end up in a trailer at some point.

The film opens May 22nd, 2009.

Before Dawn

If anyone out there doubts that Twilight will open BIG....

Garth Franklin of Dark Horizons:

As of 12 noon Wednesday in the US, nearly 600 of the Thursday midnight show sessions of tween vampire romance adaptation "Twilight" have sold out and around 2,000 screenings on the first weekend have already been fully sold.

In the eight-year history of online ticket seller
Fandango, the film has become the seventh highest 'advance ticket seller' in the company's history. With more early ticket sales than any film since "The Dark Knight", many have begun to speculate about the opening weekend figure - and of course the drop-off.

With a largely female teenage fan base, and older women coming in a close second, there's talk the film could see a pattern of success similar to the "
Sex and the City" movie earlier this year which had an enormous opening day, stellar opening weekend, and then plummeted in subsequent weeks but still managed to be one of the biggest earners of the season.

Reviews are officially embargoed til later tonight but already some have slipped through with their opinions. Various notable critics
(TIME says Swooningly True to the Book--While the Seattle Post Intelligencer thinks 'Twilight' adaptation lacks bite-T) have panned the film, but in almost every case the critics have admitted that for the target audience that sat in on the screenings with them - the film hit its mark.

Stay Tuned...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Getting Into Gear

Dennis Hopeless and Kevin Mellon graphic novel "Gearhead" is headed to the big screen says Variety.

The story sees a young woman who leaves the drag strip to team up with a group of rebels to fight the corrupt superheroes who control the US

Gale Anne Hurd will produce.

Sounds like a lot of fun--if done right...

Beast Gets Bigger/Mulan Goes Live

Another 2 for 1 post...

-The 1991 animated classic "Beauty and the Beast is coming back to theaters...

Producer Don Hahn and directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale are giving the film a Digital 3D upgrade says Variety.

The endeavor marks Disney's 11th 3-D feature and will use the film's original computer files to create a new version of the film.

Re-rendering the film is expected to take 10 months.

A 2010 release is expected.

-A $30 million live-action feature based on the life of Hua Mulan says The Hollywood Reporter.

The legend of the heroic Chinese girl-warrior was made famous in a 1998 animated movie of the same name.

Production is set to begin in China in the spring.

Hosting Duties

Universal Pictures is set to remake the 2006 South Korean thriller "The Host" reports Variety.

The original followed a city terrorized by a giant mutant squid like creature hatched by toxins that flow into a nearby river from a military base.When the creature grabs a little girl, her dysfunctional family must band together to rescue her.

TV ad director Fredrik Bond makes his feature helming debut on the project and Mark Poirier is adapting the script.

The original is pretty intense...

Hit Of The Class

Matt Bush Camille Mana (pictured)i and Julia Ling have lined up to join the cast of High School says Variety.

Bush will star as a high school valedictorian whose first hit of pot coincides with the school's random drug test the next day. Mana and Ling will play students.

The film boasts a very cool ecclectic cast has been assembled for this

Stephen Susco wrote the screenplay while John Stalberg directs.

Captains Of Industry

Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are in negotiations to write the comic book flick"The First Avenger: Captain America" reports Variety.

Created in 1941, the comic followed rejected army candidate Steve Rogers who undergoes an experiment that makes him the perfect soldier.

The film will be set during be a World War II- and then the character will appear in the modern day-set "The Avengers." movie shortly thereafter

The writing pair adapted the popular Chronicles of Narnia film series--which I did not see and thus can not comment on the choice. Fingers Crossed

Joe Johnston calls action from the big chair

The film is scheduled for release May 6, 2011.