Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

In just a few short hours 2011 will be history--I offer the following links as an end of the year special looking back at the film industry over the past 12 months........

-20 Top Grossing Movies of 2011

-Box Office: Movie Attendance Falls to Lowest Level in 16 Years in the US--But Major Hollywood Studios Set Foreign Box Office Record in 2011

-Heat Vision's Top 10 Movies of 2011

-THR Awards Expert Scott Feinberg's Top 10 Films of 2011

-15 Biggest Box Office Flops of 2011: THR Year In Review

-2011's Worst Movie Performances

-Redbox's Top 10 Most-Rented Movies of 2011

-'Fast Five,' 'Hangover II,' 'Thor' Top List of Year's Most Pirated Movies

- Saying Goodbye Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2011

I hope the readers of TLR have a happy healthy and safe 2012! I really appreciate your support and want you to know that it means a lot...All the best...

A Look Ahead To 2012 Most Anticipated Movies

Moviefone has created photo galleries highlighting top upcoming films in several categories.

Movies From Big Directors

The Blockbusters

The Comedies

The Family Films

The Romances

The Action Films

The Horror Films

The Avengers: 2nd Villain Revealed [SPOILER]?

Did a toy company provide a MAJOR SPOILER regarding Marvel's superhero team up flick The Avengers?

NECA will release toy tie-ins and a product description sent to retailers seemingly gives away the identity of the film's top secret villain. If we are to believe this toy description, Captain America: The First Avenger baddie Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) will be the one helping Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to bring down the team of superheroes as pointed out by MovieWeb

The release reads as follows: "Charging straight out of theaters and onto your tabletop, Marvel's the Avengers Movie HeroClix set features heroes like Captain America and Thor as they battle the villainy of the Red Skull and Loki! Each Counter-Top display includes standard one-figure boosters as well as new three-figure 'Team Packs!' Team Packs are designed with strong thematic undertones - play a Hydra force or defend freedom with a S.H.I.E.L.D. team pack."
The flick has been rumored to have another villain since production started, but it's thus far been kept a secret.

NECA could just be bundling related Marvel characters together, but the end of Captain America certainly didn't rule out future encounters with Weaving's Red Skull.

Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans Chris Hemsworth Scarlett Johansson Samuel L. Jackson Jeremy Renner Mark Ruffalo, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård, and Amanda Righetti and Paul Bettany star in the May 4, 2012 release for writer/director Joss Whedon.

Friday, December 30, 2011

To See Or Not To See?-Vol. III

The week between Christmas and the dawn of 2012 has afforded the opportunity to catch up on my movie watching something-- that surprisingly for a guy who operates a film blog- I wish I had more time to do.

What follows are my no frills, condensed thoughts on 5 films of 2011 that have recently hit the home video market...

Warrior is as much a family tale as it is film highlighting the world of MMA. Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte and Joel Edgerton make a great trio as a father and 2 sons--Each one looking for their own redemption.

Some of director Gavin O'Connor's work here can seem a bit contrived but that is easy to overlook thanks to the performances of the three leads which pack quite an emotional wallop. The MMA scenes were exciting to watch and thanks to some fine work by DP Masanobu Takayanagi and the sound team puts you right at the center of it all. 

Rating 8 of 10

Fright Night-A remake of a 1985 cult classic had its moments--but given that I was really rooting for writer Marti Noxon to take Tom Holland's original premise--riding the current Vampire wave--and give it a little extra sparkle. Save for Colin Farrell as Charley Brewster's (Anton Yelchin) Vampy neighbor Jerry and Christopher Mintz-Plasse as his pal Ed--Everyone else was OK here. David Tennant's Peter Vincent should have stole the show...but did not.

Director Craig Gillespie showed off moments of real fun in the film but they were few and far between for my liking.

Rating 6 of 10

The reboot of the franchise Rise of the Planet of the Apes is better than expected--with stunning effects and a story from writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver that pays respect to what's come before by laying the foundation for it.

Director Rupert Wyatt has created an engaging and exciting film that delivers much more than the 2001 remake did of the 1968 original. As human lead Will James Franco is effective particulary opposite Andy Serkis as CGI enhanced chimp Ceaser who leads the start of the apes' revolt I look forward to what comes next...and more Freida Pinto please.

Rating 8 of 10

Death stalks another group of victims in Final Destination 5 as the film series continues to be one of my favorite guilty pleasures...This installment has more clever kills, a spectacular bridge sequence and the very welcome return of Tony Todd as Bludworth the Coroner.

Director Steven Quale and writer Eric Heisserer take Jeffrey Reddick's premise and make another winner by rewarding the faithful in ways I didn't expect...Avoid watching the extras on Blu-ray before you see the film as not to spoil those. The series is just fun and yes the cynic in me knows I have no business supporting these films but I do...If you like the rest of them you should have a good time here.

Rating 7 of 10

Straw Dogs is another remake--this time of a film from 1971 and while not as good as I was hoping it would be given who was involved--it's still worth a look.

Solid chemistry from leads James Marsden, Kate Bosworth and Alexander Skarsgård keep this one going as Rod Lurie stays within the structure of the original changing setting and adding modern sensibilities along the way. The climax holds little shock.The 71 pic is better.

Rating 7 of 10

"Sands" Turns To "Sunday" For Arnie

It's been reported that Arnold Schwarzenegger's first post-The Expendables 2 would be a stripped down action thriller called "Black Sands".

New info reveals that the actioner won't be  stripped down now

The film has Arnie playing a loner who wages war against a ruthless weapons manufacturer and his private army in the American Southwest.

Now called "Black Sunday", the film is being described as a cross between "Commando and Constantine". Schwarzenegger tells The Arnold Fans that "I’m a kind of angel. I cannot currently say more about this film.

Scott Waugh and Mike McCoy ("Act Of Valor") are directing from a script by Sergio Altieri and Kevin Elders which Skip Woods ("A Good Day To Die Hard") polished.

Albert S. Ruddy and Paul Hanson will produce the pic

Filming begins in April.

Hear The Avengers Speak Russian, See New Footage!

The Russian theatrical teaser trailer for Marvel's superhero team up The Avengers is noteworthy as it includes some never before seen footage.

Fresh footage of various team members can be seen throughout the two-minute promo, including a conversation Dr Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and a meeting between Loki (Tom Hiddleston,) and Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr,) are all seen in the new trailer.

Chris Evans Chris Hemsworth Samuel L. Jackson Jeremy Renner Mark Ruffalo, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård, Paul Bettany Amanda Righetti star in the May 4, 2012 release for writer/director Joss Whedon.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

TDKR: Chatty Catwoman

The Jan. 1 issue of The Los Angeles Times has an interview with Anne Hathaway about her role as Catwoman in Christopher Nolan's sequel The Dark Knight Rises in which she reveals her classic Hollywood inspiration for taking on the character

The article also details a scene in the film the public has not yet seen.

"Gotham City is a war zone," the paper says. "A ruthless madman named Bane (Tom Hardy) has ripped away any sense of security and the citizens, haggard and clutching suitcases with refugee anxiety, sit behind barbed wire waiting to see what will blow up next. A hooded prisoner is dragged - it's Bruce Wayne, one of Gotham¹s most famous faces ­but the eyes of the crowd go instead to the woman in black standing at the top of the staircase."

It is Hathaway's Selina Kyle, decked out Catwoman's serrated stiletto heels and feline-esque goggles.

Sorry to spoil things, boys, but Bane needs these guys himself."

For an idea of just how Hathaway might sound as Catwoman, just watch any films with Hollywood 30's sex sirens Hedy Lamarr and Jean Harlow from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's golden age. The Austrian born Lamarr was indeed Batman creator Bob Kane's original inspiration for the character, and Hathaway studied her work to prep the part.

"I know this sounds odd, but her breathing is extraordinary," Hathaway says. "She takes these long, deep, languid breaths and exhales slowly. There's a shot of her in [the 1933 film] 'Ecstasy' exhaling a cigarette and I took probably five breaths during her one exhale. So I started working on my breathing a lot."

Director, Nolan added that any inspiration Hathaway drew from Lamarr does not take away from the unique qualities she brings to the role.

She had something very important we needed for this character. She’s an incredibly talented but naturalistic actress, which makes her great in film. She also has terrific theatrical skill so she can project a persona and there’s a big aspect of the character that is a persona. She’s a multi-layered character and we needed a great actress that could rise to that challenge.

Christian Bale Joseph Gordon-Levitt Marion Cotillard Josh Pence, Alon Aboutboul and Nestor Carbonell star along with return of the trilogy's ensemble cast such as Morgan Freeman Gary Oldman and Michael Caine Cillian Murphy might be making a cameo

Matthew Modine Tom Conti Joey King Daniel Sunjata Diego Klattenhoff Christopher Judge "CSI: Miami" co-star Adam Rodriguez and Burn Gorman take on secondary roles. Rob Brown and Italian actor Massi Furlan have small roles in the film as well

Nolan called action on the DKR from a screenplay he wrote with bro Jonathan Nolan, from a story by Nolan and David S. Goyer.

The sequel is set to hit theaters on July 20th, 2012

Primal Rage

Indie filmmaker Chris Witherspoon reached out to me a few days ago about his horror thriller Rage...and boy I am sure glad he did...I was so impressed with some of the promotional stuff I saw that I told him that would like to interview him soon after we ring in 2012. He will also be sending me a screener of the film so that I can review the film on TLR! Very cool!!

Inspired by Steven Spielberg’s classic TV movie Duel and films such as John Carpenter’s Halloween, the film tells the story of Dennis Twist (Rick Crawford) who encounters a mysterious motorcyclist and sets in motion a day-long battle that grows more and more sinister by the moment.

The film has earned high praise on the independent film festival circuit. It's also has garnered high marks from the likes of FANGORIA®--who described the film as “really, really good… a tight, taut indie thriller with enough action, suspense and intrigue to fill three movies.”, and others

Until my interview and review are posted--Check out the film's effective teaser trailer below.

Be sure to check out the film's official website and Twitter feed for updates.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Where You Can Find Hints About The Trek Sequel

As we inch closer to the mid-January start for filming on the as yet Untitled Star Trek Sequel and ultimately its May 17th 2013 release--The long wait has been made a bit easier since the debut of IDW's new ongoing series of comic books about the Enterprise crew set after the events of the 2009 reboot

Co-screenwriter Roberto Orci has been giving notes to the comics writers with a few details about the upcoming sequel, which are then used to lay some of the ground work for the next film.

"It’s fantastic to have Bob’s input, because he can steer us clear of story elements that might conflict with what’s coming up in the next movie, and we can lay in subtle clues to what’s coming up so that once you see the new movie you can go back and see how it evolved in the comics….Bob and I have discussed the major beats of the next movie, which is a great help in laying clues in the comic. We have very few secrets, that I know of anyway" said comics scribe Mike Johnson in an interview with Star when issue #1 hit in September.

Then, "as we get closer to the next movie, the stories will begin to foreshadow the events of the movie, such as possibly introducing new characters we will see onscreen."

The first few issues were adaptations of episodes from the original 60's TV series with the crew facing the same threats, but with differences reflecting the alternate timeline established in the first movie.

The first issue dealt with the original pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before", while "The Galileo Seven" was also adapted. Original stories are part of the mix too.

Similar tactics were used in the 80's as the classic cast were making their films.

At the dawn of issue #4 hitting shelves Johnson also told TrekMovie

"One of the great things about working with Bob [Orci]  is that we are able to use the ongoing series to very subtly lay in clues to the next movie. There might even be a tiny hint of a subplot in the first issue."

A prequel comic ala Star Trek: Countdown, Star Trek: Nero and Star Trek: Spock - Reflections is planned for Trek 2 as is an adaption of the film.

Sex Friends Forever

Now that rom-coms No Strings Attached and Friends with Benefits --Which basically asks the same question--Can two friends maintain a sexual relationship--and remain detached? are both available to watch at home I thought it might fun to examine both films...

No Strings Attached

Director: Ivan Reitman Writers: Elizabeth Meriwether (screenplay), Michael Samonek and Meriwether (story)

Adam (Ashton Kutcher) and Emma (Natalie Portman)  met each other once at a school summer camp but never committed. Several years later and they meet again. Adam is now a writer and an assistant on a TV show and she's a nurse. When Adam discovers that his father Alvin (Kevin Kline), a washed-up actor, is having a relationship with his ex-girlfriend, he goes on an all-night bender. Waking up in Emma's house, he finds comfort in her and they have spontaneous sex too. They decide that they should limit their relationship keeping it on this level since she isn't comfortable with dating. She decides to keep it a secret from her roommates.  Adam soon tries to develop the relationship into something more with the help of his friends

Friends With Benefits

Director: Will Gluck Writers Keith Merryman & David A. Newman and Gluck (Story) Harley Peyton Newman & Merryman

Jamie (Mila Kunis) is a New York head-hunter trying to sign Los Angeles-based Dylan (Justin Timberlake) for her client. When he takes the job and makes the move, they quickly become friends. Their friendship turns into a friendship with benefits, but with Jamie's emotionally damaged past and Dylan's history of being emotionally unavailable, they have to try to not fall for each other.

Let's stipulate that both films have their fair share of genre contrivances, gushiness and conventions--And that both lead couples are made up of very attractive people.

Rather than the typical review--instead I will use a few categories to compare the films--giving you an overview. By the end you will have enough to go on and a "winner" will be declared.

Chemisty: Dylan & Jamie have the edge here. JT and Mila seem more natural both as friends and as a "Couple". Ashton and Natalie have that too yes, but unfortunately it can seem stiff at times. Nat seemed to have more fun with Chris Hemsworth and her co-stars in "Thor"

Laughs/Script: FWB had more funny and fun moments than NSA By way of example Both films offer up a "Having Sex" Montage for the couples and the one in FWB made me laugh more.

Supporting Cast: Each cast has solid support but once again FWB wins out thanks to the likes of Emma Stone, (In a great cameo) Woody Harrelson and Patricia Clarkson, providing laughs and sage advice to the couple. While Richard Jenkins, and Jenna Elfman take on a serious-ish sub-plot for the leads to grapple with. NSA has Greta Gerwig, Ophelia Lovibond, Ben Lawson, Olivia Thirlby, Jake M. Johnson, Ludacris  Lake Bell  and Cary Elwes with Kline the only one really shining through...I just wish he had more screen time.

Director: Both Gluck and Reitman are good at what they do and It would be interesting to see what would have happened if they swapped pics.

Verdict: In my opinion, you will have a better time watching FWB over NSA with JT & MK sparkling on screen...While Ashton and Nat have their moments it's not sustained.--Neither are the laughs

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Hobbit: The Last Shot Of 2011 In The Can

Here's the latest vlog post about the production of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey/The Hobbit: There and Back Again....Released on Christmas Eve

The cast and crew take things on road for location shooting...The first shot of the video is priceless--Ah the rigors of filming outdoors!

The prequel sees Bilbo (Martin Freeman) travel on his journey with dwarves Thorin Oakshield (Richard Armitage) Bofur (Stephen Hunter), Bombur (James Nesbitt), and Bifur (William Kircher). Oin and Gloin (John Callen and Peter Hambleton) Jed Brophy as Nori, Adam Brown as Ori Mark Hadlow as Dori Balin (Ken Stott) and Dwalin (Graham McTavish)

Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage Benedict Cumberbatch Luke Evans Conan Stevens Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving Dean O'Gorman, Elijah Wood, Ian Holm, David Tennant, Barry Humphries., Lee Pace Bret McKenzie Orlando Bloom Evangeline Lilly Ian McKellen, and Christopher Lee also star in the Hobbit 2-fer...

Hearing Wood reflect on his journey as a Frodo is particularly fascinating...

Journey will bow on December 14th 2012 while Again reaches cinemas on December 13th 2013

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Box Office Miracle....

The final big box office weekend of the year made up some lost ground for the industry....

Pamela McClintock of THR:

Paramount's Tom Cruise starrer Mission: Impossible--Ghost Protocol ruled the Christmas box office with a four-day holiday gross of $46.2 million, bringing it's worldwide total to a stellar $218.6 million in just over a week in release.

The film, the fourth in the espionage franchise, has now taken in $78.6 million domestically and $140 million overseas. At those levels, Ghost Protocol has a shot at earning $200 million in North America and $400 million overseas -- easily a franchise best and eclipsing the $546.4 million earned by Mission: Impossible II.

Co-financed by Skydance Productions, Ghost Protocol cost $145 million to produce and was directed by Brad Bird in his first live-action pic (he's previously only done animation). The film received an A- CinemaScore, with 65 percent of the audience over the age of 25. Males made up 61 percent of those buying tickets.

Ghost Protocol's success is a boost for Cruise, whose star status had been tarnished in North America.

The big headline on Christmas day itself was Steven Spielberg's War Horse, which debuted to a stellar $7.5 million to come in No. 3 on Sunday behind Ghost Protocol and Warner Bros.' Sherlock Holmes--A Game of Shadows.

Disney, which is distributing the DreamWorks film, estimates that War Horse will gross another $7.5 million on Monday--a national holiday--for a two-day cume of $15 million.

We're ecstatic. We expect to be the family film of choice going forward," said Disney senior vice president of distribution Dave Hollis, noting that War Horse received an A- CinemaScore.

Warner Bros.' awards contender and limited release Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close also debuted on Christmas day in six theaters, grossing a projected $136,000 on Sunday and Monday for a strong location average of $22,667.

Also at the specialty box office, awards darling The Artist expanded nicely, grossing $1.4 milion from 167 locations for a theater average of $8,395 and cume of $2.9 million.

With 2012 fast approaching, Hollywood is now resigned to the fact that it probably won't be able to close the gap in domestic box office revenues, even as international grosses surge. One veteran studio executive believes domestic revenues will come in at $10.1 billion, a 3 percent dip from 2010.

However, Christmas weekend brought much-needed relief, with domestic revenues up 8 percent for the four-day weekend (Friday through Monday). Across the board, films saw enormous jumps from Christmas Eve to Christmas day as moviegoers flocked to the multiplex after opening presents, giving studios hope that the week ahead will be prosperous, with kids out of school and many people off of work.

You essentially are looking at eight days now of consecutive holidays. It's the busiest week of the year," Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore said.

Paramount is virtually assured of ending 2011 No. 1 in marketshare, both domestically and internationally. Overseas, the studio's films will have collected north of $3 billion in ticket sales. It's the first time any studio has jumped the $3 billion mark.

One film struggling over Christmas weekend was Cameron Crowe's We Bought a Zoo, which opened on Friday. Starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, the film came in No. 6 for the four-day weekend with a tepid cume of $15.6 million. Fox is hopeful that the all-audience movie will pick up the pace on Monday and through next week, when moviegoing should spike.

We Bought a Zoo, which received a glowing A CinemaScore, saw better numbers on Christmas Day, and was up a whopping 139 percent from Christmas Eve, the second best of any film after Game of Shadows (141 percent)

Fox executive vice president of distribution Chris Aronson said Crowe's film should have a great week, since the Christmas-New Year's stretch is especially good to family friendly titles, particularly once Christmas day is over.

Rumors of the demise of the North American box office have been exaggerated," Aronson said.

Holding at No. 2 over the four-day weekend was Game of Shadows, grossing $31.8 million for an 11-day domestic cume of $90.6 million. The sequel -- re-teaming filmmaker Guy Ritchie with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law --continues to lag behind the original pic but is gaining momentum.

Game of Shadows grossed $22.3 million from 25 markets at the foreign box office over the weekend, bringing its international total to $46.1 million and worldwide haul of $136.7 million.

Fox's Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked continued to pick up steam as well, coming in No. 3 for the four-day weekend in grossing $20 million for a domestic cume of $56.9 million. As with Game of Shadows, Chipwrecked opened well below expectations last weekend. Overseas, the 3D family film earned $20.1 million from 52 markets over the weekend for an international total of $42.1 million and worldwide total of $99 million.

Sony's adult drama-thriller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo came in No. 4, grossing $19.4 million for a six-day domestic cume of $27.7 million, slightly less than expected but nonetheless a solid start for the R-rated adult drama. Directed by David Fincher, the English-language adaptation of the blockbuster Swedish novel stars Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and Christopher Plummer.

Dragon Tattoo, based on the blockbuster Swedish novel, opened in five Scandavian countries over the weekend, collecting $1.6 million.

This a good start for a really great movie," Sony president of worldwide domestic distributon Rory Bruer said. "Rooney Mara's character is a role that doesnt't come around that often, and she just killed it. Daniel Craig is great, too."

Steven Spielberg's 3D family film The Adventures of Tintin placed No. 5, grossing $16.1 million over the long weekend for a six-day cume of $24.1 million.

Paramount and Sony, who partnered on Tintin, knew the movie would be a challenge in the U.S., where the cartoon character -- created by Belgian artist Herge -- isn't as well known. Tintin is already an international hit, having grossed nearly $250 million through Monday.

Tintin is on course to gross $100 million domestically and $300 million internationally.

Coming in No. 8 over Christmas weekend was Summit's sci-fi action-thriller The Darkest Hour, which opened to a paltry $3 million on Christmas Day. The pic is predicted to gross $2.5 million on Monday for a two-day cume of $5.5 million. Summit and New Regency partnered on the $30 million film.

Domestic Box Office Top 10 From Dec. 23-Dec. 26

1. Mission: Impossible--Ghost Protocol (2), Paramount/3,448, $46.2 million, $78.6 million

2. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2), Warner Bros./3,703, $31.8 million, $90.6 million

3. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2), 20th Century Fox/3,683, $20 million, $56.9 million

4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (1), Sony/2,914, $19.4 million, $27.7 million (opened 12/20)

5. The Adventures of Tintin (1), Paramount, Sony/3,087, $16.1 million, $24.1 million (opened 12/21)

6. We Bought a Zoo (1), Fox/3,117, $15.6 million (opened 12/23)

7. War Horse (1), DreamWorks/Disney/2,376, $15 million (opened 12/25)

8. The Darkest Hour (1), Summit/2,324, $5.5 million (opened 12/25)

9. New Year's Eve (3), Warner Bros./New Line/2,225, $4.9million, $32.7 million

10. Hugo (5), Paramount/951, $3.3 million, $44.9 million

There are no wide releses next week as 2011 crosses into 2012

More Missions & Top Gun 2 For Cruise

With Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol's great reviews and strong box office numbers talk of a fifth film has started says Moviehole.

The site's Clint reportedly spoke to someone in production at Paramount Pictures who said they’re “extremely happy” with how well the film was doing and that they’ve heard Skydance Productions definitely wants to get moving on not only the next 'Mission' but the proposed "Top Gun 2 as well

Skydance suit David Ellison, who financed 'Ghost Protocol', will also be handing over the cash to make the two pics- making it easier for them to get made

At last report "X-Men: First Class" scribes Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz were in talks to write a script-following noise that "The Usual Suspects" scribe Christopher McQuarrie was previously attched to the film.

Production on either sequel is at least a year off with star Tom Cruise committed to doing both "Horizons" and "We Mortals Are" first.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Mission Cruise's To #1 At The Cineplex

Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol takes the top spot on X-Mas day giving Tom Cruise his box office clout back while The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is off to a good start...leaving the industry something to smile about as the lackluster year comes to a close

Pamela McCintock of THR:

Paramount's Mission: Impossible--Ghost Protocol is on course to become Tom Cruise's top grossing film at the domestic box office in years, potentially improving his star status.

Directed by Brad Bird, Ghost Protocol is easily winning the crowded holiday race, grossing $26.5 million over the three-day Christmas weekend for a cume of $59 million. The well-reviewed pic opened on Dec. 16 in limited IMAX sneaks before expanding nationwide last Tuesday evening.

Paramount estimates that Ghost Protocol, co-financed by Skydance Productions, will earn another $13.7 million on Monday--a national holiday--for a domestic total of $72.7 million, not far behind the $76.4 million earned by Knight and Day in its entire earned $76.4 domestic run, or the $83.1 million grossed by Valkyrie in 2008.

Cruise has remained a top star overseas, even as his status was eroded in the U.S. after several controversial comments and his couch-jumping incident on Oprah (his production company also got booted off the Paramount lot by Sumner Redstone, but he and the studio eventually patched things up).

Ghost Protocol has already jumped the $100 million at the international box office, although figures for Christmas weekend won't be announced until Monday (many theaters in Europe and Latin America closed for Christmas eve and Christmas day). Paramount is now predicting that the film will cross the $200 million mark internationally by Dec. 31.

The other big headline of Christmas weekend was the tepid debut of Cameron Crowe's We Bought a Zoo, which opened Friday. Starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, the film's cume through Sunday was only $7.8 million, putting it at No. 6. Fox is hopeful that the all-audience movie will pick up the pace on Monday and through next week, when moviegoing should spike.

We Bought a Zoo, the latest in a string of disappointing studio openings, received an A CinemaScore, a promising sign.

With 2012 fast approaching, Hollywood is now resigned to the fact that it probably won't be able to close the gap in domestic box office revenues, even as international grosses surge. One veteran studio executive believes domestic revenues will come in at $10.1 billion, a 3 percent dip from 2010.

The year-end holidays have brought some relief--heading into the final two weeks of 2011, the gap was more than 4 percent. And the four-day Christmas weekend should end up 3 percent over last year.

Paramount is virtually assured of ending 2011 No. 1 in marketshare, both domestically and internationally. Overseas, the studio's films will have collected north of $3 billion in ticket sales. It's the first time any studio has jumped the $3 billion mark.

Holding at No. 2 over the weekend was Warner Bros.' Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, grossing $17.8 million for a 10-day domestic cume of $76.6 million. The sequel -- reteaming filmmaker Guy Ritchie with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law -- continues to lag behind the original pic but has gained momentum.

Game of Shadows grossed $22.3 million from 25 markets at the foreign box office over the weekend, bringing its international total to $46.1 million and worldwide cume to $122.7 million.

Fox's Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked continued to pick up steam as well, grossing $13.3 million over the weekend for a 10-day domestic total of $50.3 million. As with Game of Shadows, Chipwrecked opened well below expectations last weekend. Overseas, the 3D family film earned $20.1 million from 52 markets over the weekend for an international total of $42.1 million and worldwide total of $92.4 million.

Sony's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo came in No. 4, grossing $13 million over Christmas weekend for a five-day domestic cume of $21.4 million. Directed by David Fincher, the English-language adaptation of the blockbuster Swedish novel stars Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and Christopher Plummer.

Dragon Tattoo opened in five Scandavian countries over the weekend, collecting $1.6 million.

Steven Spielberg's 3D family film The Adventures of Tintin grossed $9 million over Christmas weekend for a five-day domestic cume of $17.1 million.

Paramount and Sony, who partnered on Tintin, knew the movie would be a challenge in the U.S., where the cartoon character -- created by Belgian artist Herge -- isn't as well known. Tintin is already an international hit, having grossed north of $240 million.

Final numbers Will be announced tomorrow

"Pick The Cute Brunette Up!"

is back with a new music video to herald the release of Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol--putting lyrics to composer Lalo Schifrin's classic (and still catchy) theme for the TV Series on which the film series is based...

Kennedy And Lincoln

Out and about earlier this month promoting her 2 holiday films War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin producer Kathleen Kennedy commented on that photo from Steven Spielberg's Lincoln biopic with star Daniel Day-Lewis

Kennedy told The Playlist

"That's not actually his Lincoln beard, that's just what he looks like right now. He wasn't in hair, makeup, wardrobe, or anything when that picture was taken. He had just gone out that evening, he was just having dinner, and someone snapped a photo of him. But doesn't he look like Lincoln in blue jeans? I had friends who called me going, 'Oh my God, oh my God, it looks like Lincoln!' It's pretty remarkable when you look at that photo, and you say, 'Oh my God, he really embodies Lincoln,' because he does"

Kennedy confirmed that with the film focusing on the last few months of Lincoln's life and the pushing of the Thirteenth Amendment.through Congress, there will be "no war scenes, we're not doing the Civil War."

Based on the best-selling book, Team of Rivals: by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, the screenplay was penned by award winning writer Tony Kushner.

Day-Lewis will play Abraham Lincoln, While Academy Award winner Sally Field will star as Mary Todd Lincoln, wife to the 16th President of the United States.

The great cast for this epic biopic also includes Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Hal Holbrook, James Spader, David StrathairnJohn Hawkes, Tim Blake Nelson Bruce McGill Joseph Cross David Costabile, Byron Jennings, Dakin Matthews, Boris McGiver, Gloria Reuben, Jeremy Strong, Walton Goggins Lee Pace Jackie Earle Haley David Oyelowo  Jared Harris and David Warshofsky

The film hits theaters after next year's election in the US

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Luhrmann Injured On Gatsby Set

Director Baz Luhrmann has suffered a mild head injury on the set of his adaptation of The Great Gatsby says The Sydney Morning Herald.

Producer Anton Monsted says "We were on quite a cramped set and he was ducking under the crane. He struck his head on the weights on the end of the camera crane. He split open his head and we had to get the doctor."

Luhrmann needed three stitches but is otherwise fine.

The minor accident meant the cast and crew went home a day earlier than planned for the Christmas holiday.  Everyone will return early in 2012 to resume filming having been underway already for almost three months.

Based on the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel the pic Leo DiCaprio stars as the wealthy and mysterious Jay Gatsby who still pines for his former flame Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan).

Nick Carraway is being played by Tobey Maguire Newcomer Elizabeth Debicki is Jordan Baker and Joel Edgerton is Tom Buchanan Jason Clarke will play the once coveted role of George Wilson Isla Fisher is Wilson's wife Myrtle. "I Am Number Four"'s Callan McAuliffe has been cast to play the younger version of Jay Gatsby

Jack Thompson and Gemma Ward also star

Luhrmann adapted the Gatsby script with Craig Pearce.

The project is scheduled to open next December.

Thor 2 Gets A Director...Again

Alan Taylor has been chosen to direct Thor 2 following the sudden departure of Monster director Patty Jenkins a few weeks ago says THR.

Taylor beat out felow eps helmer of the hit cable TV series Game of Thrones

Marvel's original plan was to have Thrones Brian Kirk call the shots before he passed and Jenkins came in.

The first film's leading lady Natalie Portman was "deeply upset by the decision" of Jenkins exit according to The Hollywood Reporter. Portman had strongly urged Marvel to hire the "Monster" director and when it happened the actress was re-engaged in the project. Contractractually bound to do the film the suits made sure she would be happy with the final decision.

At last report  the studio was “in the middle of hiring a writer when the Jenkins exit occurred". Don Payne had written a draft and Sheldon Turner was among those being discussed to work on the script--but othe possible writers included, John Collee (Master and Commander: The Far Side Of The World), Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan) and Pulp Fiction's Roger Avary. No word yet on that side of things

The sequel is expected to be on a larger scale than the first Thor film with double the amount of Asgardian characters and the inclusion of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) battling more mythical Norse creatures.

Thor 2 hits theaters in the on November 15, 2013.

Random Holiday Greetings

ItsJustSomeRandomGuy celebrates the season with a little help from from his pals from the Marvel/DC comic book universes...

My Personal Faves Of The Bunch...

And Finally...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gosling Is Golden Boy?

Ryan Gosling is up for the male lead in the real life drama  The Golden Suicides according to The Playlist.

Based on a Vanity Fair article, the story follows the incidents leading up to the double suicide of popular digital artists Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake.

The couple descended into a paranoid spiral when the artists developed a consuming notion that according to friends-- “they were being stalked and harassed by followers of Scientology. who were conspiring against them". She killed herself in 2007. Blake found her body on the floor of their bedroom, and walked into the Atlantic Ocean one week later, ending his life. His wallet and suicide note found on the beach.

Noted author Bret Easton Ellis teamed up with director Gus Van Sant to write the screenplay for the pic from which Argentine director Gaspar Noé (Irréversible, Enter the Void) is linked to call action

Aykroyd Catches Dog Fight

Dan Aykroyd has joined the cast of the  political comedy "Dog Fight" says

The film centers on competing presidential candidates played by Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis

Aykroyd's character is unknown but he should have no problem fitting in

Jason Sudeikis, John Lithgow Dylan McDermott Brian Cox Sarah Baker and Katherine Lanasa also star.

Chris Henchy and Shawn Harwell wrote the screenplay for director Jay Roach

Adam McKay will co-produce the film with Will, Zach and Roach

Production is happening in New Orleans with a release date scheduled for August 10, 2012 just in time for the next US Presidential election.

Rogen Is A Team Player

Seth Rogen will produce and possibly star in the spy comedy "The B Team" says The Press Association

The story follows a top spy being kidnapped which leaves his support team stuck with the task of rescuing him.

The 3-year long gestating pitch was written by Derek Guiley and David Schneiderman.

Ugh! it's “The Other Guys” swaping cops for a second string spy unit....Uff!

Hendricks Is A Real "Bomb"-shell

Christina Hendricks is in negotiations to co star in Sally Potter's ("Rage") new film, "Bomb," says The Daily Mail.

The story follows two teen girls in 60's London - one (Elle Fanning) wants to get involved in antinuclear protests, the other (Alice Englert) is more interested in boys. Things get complicated when the father of one (Alessandro Nivola) sleeps with her best friend.

Annette Bening is cicling a part in the film as well

The pic begins shooting in February in London and on the South-East coast.

Buffy Film Reboot Staked!

The misbegotten film reboot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer has hit a snag and I for one couldn't be happier than Spike on feeding day....

Hero Complex reports that "the script submitted this past summer by writer  Whit Anderson fell far short of expectations and, in the end, was rejected completely."

According to one source who spoke to the trade Anderson brought “some great ideas” and “reinvented some of the lore,” there “just wasn’t enough on the page.” That comment doesn’t make a whole lot of sense without some context of the premise but it in any case it makes me smile

Anderson's hiring back in November of 2010 was heralded with with a big thud if only because no one had really ever heard of her before.

For those of you behind this idiotic notion the hunt for a new writer is on but "the entire endeavor may have lost some steam. There also might be some healthy fear among the producers who witnessed a spasm of fan criticism when the project was first publicized."

Those producers would be Charles Roven Steve Alexander Doug Davison and Roy Lee

Of course I'm smart enough to know they'll probably reboot it eventually but for now I am THRILLED that the pic is stalled.

Holiday Rush

As it is for most folks The month of December has been a very busy time for me especially away from the blog...Causing me to shout....

Oh Fudge

Therefore a fresh batch of Cinema Stew is in order...

I plan on scaling back from any major posting between now and Tuesday Jan 3rd 2012--That said I will be monitoring the biz using Twitter via TheLastReel--you can check there. I will also be clearing out my Drafts and posting them during this time as well...

Updates may still occur daily just not as many per se--I have been watching a lot of films lately at home and am planning a special post about those as well.

On To The Stew!

-Warner Bros. Pictures has acquired the film rights to Erik Larson's non-fiction book "The Devil in the White City" reports Deadline.

-Mandate Pictures has optioned Leah Rachel's coming-of-age comedy script "The Young, The Hot, And The Bothered". The story deals with the delusion, desperation, and absolute euphoria of first loves. Dan Jinks will produce.

-Mark Bomback ("Live Free or Die Hard," "Unstoppable") is set to pen the big-screen adaptation Garth Stein's 2008 novel "The Art of Racing in the Rain" says The Hollywood Reporter Patrick Dempsey is attached to star in the adaptation which centers on a family dog named Enzo who evaluates his life through the lessons learned by his human owner, a race-car driver. Dempsey and Neal Moritz will produce.

Jay Baruchel is set to star in writer/director Reg Harkema's "The Rebel Kind," says Variety The film based on the memoir of John 'Buck Cherry' Armstrong - frontman of 80's Vancouver-based band The Modernettes.The story chronicles the emergence of the city's punk-rock scene via a successful band that throws in the towel, realizing the deep cost of pursuing superstardom. Shooting on the $5 million project kicks off next Fall.

-Jessica Chastain is reportedly set to join “Incendies” director Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of the Russell Banks novel “The Darling" reports The Playlist Chastain would play a political extremist who operates as a member of the Weather Underground in the late 70's. She’s forced to flee America for West Africa, where along with her Liberian husband she befriends a warlord who eventually puts her family and life in peril.

-"Burn Notice" co-executive producer Craig O’Neill will rewrite "Cristo", the latest adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' "The Count of Monte Cristo" says Ian Shorr penned the first draft of the script which is described as “a futuristic re-imagining” of the story.

-Paramount Pictures has acquired the film rights to Colleen Houck's novel "Tiger’s Curse" for says Deadline.

-Screen Gems has picked up the feature remake rights to Tim Shechmeister's student film short "Viral" reports Heat Vision.

-Prospect Park and Violet House Prods. have acquired feature film rights to "Wither", the first book in Lauren DeStefano's planned 'Chemical Garden' young adult novel trilogy says Variety.

-Bryan Edward Hill will perform a rewrite of "Just Cause: Scorpion Rising", the film adaptation of the hit video game series from "Tomb Raider" and "Hitman" game producers Square Enix says Heat Vision.

-Sacha Gervasi ("The Terminal," "Henry’s Crime") will adapt the English language film version of Norwegian author Jo Nesbø's best-selling crime thriller "Headhunters" reports Deadline.

-Sony Animation artists Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn have been set to direct "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2" reports Variety.

-Actor Keanu Reeves has obtained funding for "Man Of Tai Chi", the bilingual martial arts feature which marks his directorial debut reports Reuters.

-Actress Drew Barrymore has signed on to direct the coming-of-age suburban murder mystery "When the Street Lights Go On" reports News In Film.

-"Holly Rollers" star Jason Fuchs is penning "The Clock Without A Face" script says Deadline.

-1492 Pictures and CJ Entertainment have acquired the film rights to Anne Rice's book "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt" reports Variety.

-Kat Coiro ("Life Happens," "While We Were Here") is set to direct "Here Lies Bridget", an adaptation of the Paige Harbison novel says Deadline.

-Stephen Frears ("The Queen," "Tamara Drewe") is reportedly developing an American remake of his almost thirty year old British black comedy gangster cult feature "The Hit" says Variety.

-Why O Why? Commercials and music video helmer Noble Jones, who served as second unit director for the Boston-shot scenes of "The Social Network", will now helm a totally un-needed low-budget re-imagining of "American Psycho" reports Variety. Can U say $$ Grab?

- Aussie helmer Bruce Beresford ("Driving Miss Daisy," "Mao's Last Dancer") has signed on to direct "Taliesin", a biopic about fabled American architect Frank Lloyd Wright says The Hollywood Reporter.

-Bleeding Cool reports that Martin Scorsese's long-gestating adaptation of "Silence", from Shusako Endo’s mid-1960's novel about Jesuit missionaries in 17th Century Japan, will be his first post Hugo Pic

-Tony Kaye ("American History X," "Black Water Transit") is in talks to direct the indie thriller "Attachment" says Variety.

-Katherine Heigl is in talks to star in and produce "The Follower" says Variety. Tony Giglio's script is described as a thriller but no plot details were disclosed. Kathy's mom Nancy Heigl will also produce.

-Rachel McAdams is in talks to star in Brian De Palma's low cost thriller "Passion" reports Thompson on Hollywood.

-Saoirse Ronan ("Hanna," "Atonement") is set to headline Kevin Macdonald's indie drama "How I Live Now" says Variety.

-Liongate 's horror franchise Saw will be back some day, says Bloody Disgusting.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Meh! The Bel Ami Trailer

The International trailer for the romance drama Bel Ami has arrived--and while the movie has been completed for some time--It still does not have a US release date --however the pic is slated to open in the U.K. March 2, 2012.

Fans of the The Twilight Saga film series will see their favorite sparkly vamp bed a lot of ladies in this picture....Will that be enough to boost the box office of this period piece?

Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod directed this adaptation of Guy de Maupassant's story of Georges Duroy (Robert Pattinson), who travels through 1890s Paris, from cockroach ridden garrets to opulent salons, using his wits and powers of seduction to rise from poverty to wealth, from a prostitute’s embrace to passionate trysts with wealthy beauties, in a world where politics and media jostle for influence, where sex is power and celebrity an obsession.

Rachel Bennette adapted the novel into script form.

Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Holly Grainger, Philip Glenister Christina Ricci and Colm Meaney co star