All M. Night Shyamalan Movies Ranked

M. Night Shyamalan broke through into the mainstream with his second-feature, the late ’90s horror phenomenon The Sixth Sense. The two similarly successful films that followed (Unbreakable, Signs) was building up Shyamalan as a director of possible Speilbergian talent, though in danger of having his third-act screenplay twists overwhelm his brand. That bore Rotten fruit with The Village and The Happening, which set off a bum streak with big-budget sci-fi and would-be blockbusters: The Happening, The Last Airbender, and After Earth.

The Visit in 2015 would be a back-to-basics, comeback horror effort. Its box office and relative critical success set the stage for the Certified Fresh Split, which brought back the dark superhero world of Unbreakable. Shyamalan closed the trilogy with Glass.

Shyamalan’s latest is Old. See where it places as we rank all M. Night Shyamalan movies by Tomatometer!

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 12192%
Critics Consensus: The Last Airbender squanders its popular source material with incomprehensible plotting, horrible acting, and detached joyless direction.
Synopsis: The four nations of Air, Water, Earth and Fire lived in harmony until the Fire Nation declared war. A century... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#12

After Earth (2013)
11%

#12
Adjusted Score: 19471%
Critics Consensus: After Earth is a dull, ploddingly paced exercise in sentimental sci-fi -- and the latest setback for director M. Night Shyamalan's once-promising career.
Synopsis: People were forced to leave Earth a millennium ago to establish a new home on Nova Prime. Now, Gen. Cypher... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#11

The Happening (2008)
18%

#11
Adjusted Score: 25604%
Critics Consensus: The Happening begins with promise, but unfortunately descends into an incoherent and unconvincing trifle.
Synopsis: An apocalyptic threat to humanity arrives out of the clear blue sky with a series of violent, inexplicable deaths spreading... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 34102%
Critics Consensus: A far-fetched story with little suspense and unconvincing scenarios, Lady In The Water feels contrived, pretentious, and rather silly.
Synopsis: When Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti) rescues an enigmatic young woman (Bryce Dallas Howard) from danger, little does he know that... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#9

Glass (2019)
36%

#9
Adjusted Score: 61504%
Critics Consensus: Glass displays a few glimmers of M. Night Shyamalan at his twisty world-building best, but ultimately disappoints as the conclusion to the writer-director's long-gestating trilogy.
Synopsis: David Dunn tries to stay one step ahead of the law while delivering vigilante justice on the streets of Philadelphia.... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#8

The Village (2004)
43%

#8
Adjusted Score: 51053%
Critics Consensus: The Village is appropriately creepy, but Shyamalan's signature twist ending disappoints.
Synopsis: Members (Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody) of a 19th-century community fear the strange creatures that inhabit the surrounding... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#7

Wide Awake (1998)
45%

#7
Adjusted Score: 46134%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Struggling to adjust to his beloved grandfather's death, a boy (Joseph Cross) seeks understanding of God, life and injustice.... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#6

Old (2021)
50%

#6
Adjusted Score: 67038%
Critics Consensus: Old has no shortage of interesting ideas -- and writer-director M. Night Shyamalan's uneven execution will intrigue or annoy viewers, with little middle ground between.
Synopsis: A tropical holiday turns into a horrific nightmare when a family visits a secluded beach that's somehow causing them to... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#5

The Visit (2015)
68%

#5
Adjusted Score: 76308%
Critics Consensus: The Visit provides horror fans with a satisfying blend of thrills and laughs -- and also signals a welcome return to form for writer-director M. Night Shyamalan.
Synopsis: Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and younger brother Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) say goodbye to their mother as they board a train and... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#4

Unbreakable (2000)
70%

#4
Adjusted Score: 76687%
Critics Consensus: With a weaker ending, Unbreakable is not as a good as The Sixth Sense. However, it is a quietly suspenseful film that intrigues and engages, taking the audience through unpredictable twists and turns along the way.
Synopsis: David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is the sole survivor of a devastating train wreck. Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) is a... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#3

Signs (2002)
74%

#3
Adjusted Score: 80947%
Critics Consensus: With Signs, Shyamalan proves once again an expert at building suspense and giving audiences the chills.
Synopsis: Everything that farmer Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) assumed about the world is changed when he discovers a message - an... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#2

Split (2016)
77%

#2
Adjusted Score: 100255%
Critics Consensus: Split serves as a dramatic tour de force for James McAvoy in multiple roles -- and finds writer-director M. Night Shyamalan returning resoundingly to thrilling form.
Synopsis: Though Kevin (James McAvoy) has evidenced 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), there remains one still... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#1

The Sixth Sense (1999)
86%

#1
Adjusted Score: 93887%
Critics Consensus: M Night Shayamalan's The Sixth Sense is a twisty ghost story with all the style of a classical Hollywood picture, but all the chills of a modern horror flick.
Synopsis: Young Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) is haunted by a dark secret: he is visited by ghosts. Cole is frightened... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection)

All Joaquin Phoenix Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

After making three movies in the ’80s credited as Leaf and then disappearing, Phoenix returned to the public eye, this time under his birth name Joaquin, for 1995’s To Die For. In that Gus Van Sant erotic thriller, Phoenix plays a high schooler seduced by Nicole Kidman to murder, thus beginning the actor’s penchant for performing disturbed, frequently mordant characters, carried further through the ’90s in movies like Clay Pigeons, 8MM, and U-Turn.

Phoenix became a near-household name after playing sword-and-sandal scumbag Commodus in Best Picture-winner Gladiator, in which he got his first of three Oscar acting nominations. But for several years after, Phoenix remained in character actor mode, taking supporting roles if he found the movie compelling (Quills, Hotel Rwanda, Signs), in between lead star parts such as in Buffalo Soldiers and The Village.

In 2005, Phoenix broke into that echelon of truly transformative actors, owning the Johnny Cash role in Walk the Line, which walked him right into a second Oscar nomination. A long period of reunion collaborations has followed, working frequently with clearly favored directors: To Die For‘s Gus Van Sant (Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot), James Gray (Two Lovers, We Own the Night), Rwanda‘s Terry George (Reservation Road), and P.T. Anderson for Inherent Vice and The Master, the latter marking the most recent time he became an Oscar nominee.

His last film, Joker, rampaged into theaters riding a wave of controversy and buzz, all the way to become the biggest-grossing R-rated movie ever. So put on that smile as we rank all of Joaquin Phoenix’s movies by Tomatometer!

#34

Russkies (1987)
14%

#34
Adjusted Score: 9407%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Three patriotic adolescents confront their worst fear when they find a shipwrecked Russian sailor on a Florida beach.... [More]
Directed By: Rick Rosenthal

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 19217%
Critics Consensus: It's All About Love has ambitious ideas and an impressive cast, none of which are put to compelling use in this dramatically inert and narratively incoherent sci-fi drama.
Synopsis: The planet has cooled down to the extent that it snows even in July and people are dying of mysterious... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Vinterberg

#32

8MM (1999)
23%

#32
Adjusted Score: 25666%
Critics Consensus: Its sadistic violence is unappealing and is lacking in suspense and mystery.
Synopsis: Private detective Tom Welles (Nicolas Cage) lives a normal life with his wife (Catherine Keener) and young daughter, until he... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 30930%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In the 1950s, brothers Jacey (Billy Crudup) and Doug Holt (Joaquin Phoenix), who come from the poorer side of their... [More]
Directed By: Pat O'Connor

#30

Brother Bear (2003)
37%

#30
Adjusted Score: 41346%
Critics Consensus: Brother Bear is gentle and pleasant if unremarkable Disney fare, with so-so animation and generic plotting.
Synopsis: Kenai (Joaquin Phoenix) is a young Indian brave with a particular distaste for bears. When his brother Sitka (D.B. Sweeney)... [More]

#29

Reservation Road (2007)
38%

#29
Adjusted Score: 42804%
Critics Consensus: While the performances are fine, Reservation Road quickly adopts an excessively maudlin tone along with highly improbable plot turns.
Synopsis: The fates of two men and their families converge following a tragic accident. Ethan Lerner (Joaquin Phoenix) and his family... [More]
Directed By: Terry George

#28

Ladder 49 (2004)
41%

#28
Adjusted Score: 48057%
Critics Consensus: Instead of humanizing the firemen, the movie idolizes them, and thus renders them into cardboard characters.
Synopsis: After saving the life of one of the civilians inside, firefighter Jack Morrison (Joaquin Phoenix) finds himself trapped in a... [More]
Directed By: Jay Russell

#27

SpaceCamp (1986)
46%

#27
Adjusted Score: 46410%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Andie Bergstrom (Kate Capshaw), an astronaut eagerly awaiting her first trip to space, runs a summer camp for teenagers with... [More]
Directed By: Harry Winer

#26

The Village (2004)
43%

#26
Adjusted Score: 51053%
Critics Consensus: The Village is appropriately creepy, but Shyamalan's signature twist ending disappoints.
Synopsis: Members (Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody) of a 19th-century community fear the strange creatures that inhabit the surrounding... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#25

Mary Magdalene (2018)
44%

#25
Adjusted Score: 50409%
Critics Consensus: Mary Magdalene has obvious reverence for its subject; unfortunately, it lacks enough momentum or depth of character to make her story interesting.
Synopsis: In the first century, free-spirited Mary Magdalene flees the marriage her family has arranged for her, finding refuge and a... [More]
Directed By: Garth Davis

#24

Irrational Man (2015)
47%

#24
Adjusted Score: 58564%
Critics Consensus: Irrational Man may prove rewarding for the most ardent Joaquin Phoenix fans or Woody Allen apologists, but all others most likely need not apply.
Synopsis: A tormented philosophy professor (Joaquin Phoenix) considers murdering a corrupt judge to find meaning in his life.... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#23

I'm Still Here (2010)
53%

#23
Adjusted Score: 58230%
Critics Consensus: As unkempt and inscrutable as Joaquin Phoenix himself, I'm Still Here raises some interesting questions about its subject, as well as the nature of celebrity, but it fails to answer many of them convincingly.
Synopsis: Director Casey Affleck follows Joaquin Phoenix as he carries out a plan to retire from acting and concentrate on a... [More]
Directed By: Casey Affleck

#22

We Own the Night (2007)
57%

#22
Adjusted Score: 63991%
Critics Consensus: Bland characters, clichéd dialogue and rickety plotting ensure We Own The Night never lives up to its potential.
Synopsis: In 1988, New York's police wage an all-out war on drugs, and guilty and innocent alike become casualties. Bobby Green... [More]
Directed By: James Gray

#21

U-Turn (1997)
61%

#21
Adjusted Score: 62813%
Critics Consensus: U-Turn is a lurid, stylish lark that boasts striking moments but lacks the focus and weight of Oliver Stone best work.
Synopsis: A two-bit criminal (Sean Penn) meets an attractive woman (Jennifer Lopez) and her spouse (Nick Nolte), each of whom wants... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Stone

#20

Clay Pigeons (1998)
61%

#20
Adjusted Score: 63557%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In a small Montana town, Clay Bidwell (Joaquin Phoenix) finds himself increasingly surrounded by dead bodies, making him the chief... [More]
Directed By: David Dobkin

#19

The Yards (2000)
64%

#19
Adjusted Score: 67905%
Critics Consensus: Featuring strong performances and direction, The Yards is a richly textured crime thriller with an authentic feel.
Synopsis: After serving time in prison for taking the fall for a group of his friends, Leo just wants to get... [More]
Directed By: James Gray

#18

Joker (2019)
68%

#18
Adjusted Score: 105562%
Critics Consensus: Joker gives its infamous central character a chillingly plausible origin story that serves as a brilliant showcase for its star -- and a dark evolution for comics-inspired cinema.
Synopsis: Forever alone in a crowd, failed comedian Arthur Fleck seeks connection as he walks the streets of Gotham City. Arthur... [More]
Directed By: Todd Phillips

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 72910%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Lewis (Joaquin Phoenix), Sheriff (Vince Vaughn) and Tony (David Conrad) are three friends vacationing in Malaysia. Sheriff and Tony eventually... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Ruben

#16

Buffalo Soldiers (2001)
73%

#16
Adjusted Score: 76517%
Critics Consensus: Overall, this caustic comedy hits more of its targets than it misses.
Synopsis: Set on an American Army base in 1989, as the Berlin Wall is about to fall, "Buffalo Soldiers" takes a... [More]
Directed By: Gregor Jordan

#15

Inherent Vice (2014)
73%

#15
Adjusted Score: 83386%
Critics Consensus: Inherent Vice may prove frustrating for viewers who demand absolute coherence, but it does justice to its acclaimed source material -- and should satisfy fans of director P.T. Anderson.
Synopsis: In a California beach community, private detective Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) tends to work his cases through a smoky... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#14

Signs (2002)
74%

#14
Adjusted Score: 80947%
Critics Consensus: With Signs, Shyamalan proves once again an expert at building suspense and giving audiences the chills.
Synopsis: Everything that farmer Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) assumed about the world is changed when he discovers a message - an... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#13

Quills (2000)
75%

#13
Adjusted Score: 79548%
Critics Consensus: Though hard to watch, this film's disturbing exploration of freedom of expression is both seductive and thought-provoking.
Synopsis: A fictional work that reconstructs the unknown fate of the Marquis de Sade, the writer and sexual deviant who was... [More]
Directed By: Philip Kaufman

#12
Adjusted Score: 87199%
Critics Consensus: Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot avoids inspirational biopic clichés thanks to sensitive work from writer-director Gus Van Sant and the admirable efforts of a well-chosen cast.
Synopsis: After nearly dying in a car accident, the last thing Oregon slacker John Callahan intends to do is give up... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#11

Gladiator (2000)
77%

#11
Adjusted Score: 85748%
Critics Consensus: Ridley Scott and an excellent cast successfully convey the intensity of Roman gladitorial combat as well as the political intrigue brewing beneath.
Synopsis: Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) takes power and strips rank from Maximus (Russell Crowe), one of the favored generals of his predecessor... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#10

Two Lovers (2008)
82%

#10
Adjusted Score: 88646%
Critics Consensus: Two Lovers is a complex, intriguing, richly-acted romantic drama
Synopsis: Following a broken engagement, sometime photographer Leonard Kraditor (Joaquin Phoenix) moves in with his parents in Brighton Beach. He soon... [More]
Directed By: James Gray

#9

Walk the Line (2005)
82%

#9
Adjusted Score: 90385%
Critics Consensus: Superior acting and authentic crooning capture the emotional subtleties of the legend of Johnny Cash with a freshness that is a pleasure to watch.
Synopsis: The rise of country music legend Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) begins with his days as a boy growing up on... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#8

The Master (2012)
84%

#8
Adjusted Score: 95453%
Critics Consensus: Smart and solidly engrossing, The Master extends Paul Thomas Anderson's winning streak of challenging films for serious audiences.
Synopsis: Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) is a troubled, boozy drifter struggling with the trauma of World War II and whatever inner... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#7

The Immigrant (2013)
85%

#7
Adjusted Score: 88340%
Critics Consensus: Beautiful visuals, James Gray's confident direction, and a powerful performance from Marion Cotillard combine to make The Immigrant a richly rewarding period drama.
Synopsis: After her sister is quarantined at Ellis Island, a Polish nurse (Marion Cotillard) is forced into prostitution by a theater... [More]
Directed By: James Gray

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 98428%
Critics Consensus: The Sisters Brothers rides familiar genre trails in occasionally unexpected ways - a satisfying journey further elevated by its well-matched leading men.
Synopsis: It's 1851, and Charlie and Eli Sisters are both brothers and assassins, boys grown to men in a savage and... [More]
Directed By: Jacques Audiard

#5

To Die For (1995)
88%

#5
Adjusted Score: 90427%
Critics Consensus: Smart, funny, and thoroughly well-cast, To Die For takes a sharp - and sadly prescient - stab at dissecting America's obsession with celebrity.
Synopsis: Suzanne Stone (Nicole Kidman) is a weather reporter at her small-town cable station, but she dreams of being a big-time... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#4
Adjusted Score: 106362%
Critics Consensus: Bracingly elevated by a typically committed lead performance from Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here confirms writer-director Lynne Ramsay as one of modern cinema's most unique -- and uncompromising -- voices.
Synopsis: A contract killer uncovers a conspiracy while trying to save a kidnapped teen from a life of prostitution.... [More]
Directed By: Lynne Ramsay

#3

Parenthood (1989)
91%

#3
Adjusted Score: 95624%
Critics Consensus: Bolstered by a delightful cast, Parenthood is a funny and thoughtfully crafted look at the best and worst moments of family life that resonates broadly.
Synopsis: Perfectionist Gil Buckman (Steve Martin) struggles with the deficiencies of his children, thinking they reflect poorly on his parenting --... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#2

Hotel Rwanda (2004)
91%

#2
Adjusted Score: 98260%
Critics Consensus: A sobering and heartfelt tale about massacre that took place in Rwanda while most of the world looked away.
Synopsis: Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle), a Hutu, manages the Hôtel des Mille Collines and lives a happy life with his Tutsi... [More]
Directed By: Terry George

#1

Her (2013)
94%

#1
Adjusted Score: 105281%
Critics Consensus: Sweet, soulful, and smart, Spike Jonze's Her uses its just-barely-sci-fi scenario to impart wryly funny wisdom about the state of modern human relationships.
Synopsis: A sensitive and soulful man earns a living by writing personal letters for other people. Left heartbroken after his marriage... [More]
Directed By: Spike Jonze

This week’s Ketchup recaps ten stories from seven days in the life of Hollywood, as represented by film development news.  Included in the mix this time around are xXx 3, the videogame adaptation Borderlands, and new roles for Bryan Cranston, Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lawrence, Joaquin Phoenix, and John C. Reilly.


This Week’s Top Story

NEW BESTIES J-LAW AND A-SCHU WRITING COMEDY TOGETHER

LawrenceSchumer

Social media feeds and the sites that “feed” them have been all aflutter this summer with coverage of the new friendship that has formed between Hollywood’s highest paid actress (Jennifer Lawrence) and the star of Trainwreck (Amy Schumer). There was that time when they formed a human pyramid on a yacht, and they danced on Billy Joel’s piano together. This week, we learned that the summer of 2015 hasn’t been all fun, games, and big-knee-shaped-bruises-on-your-back, as the two stars have also been working (“Stars, they’re just like us!”, as US Weekly might put it).  Amy Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence are now reportedly about 100 pages into writing a comedy movie that they will star in together (the average Hollywood screenplay runs about 120 pages).  Nothing much is known about this particular script, except that Lawrence and Schumer will play sisters.  Meanwhile, Amy Schumer has also written a separate comedy script for 20th Century Fox with her actual real sister, Kim Caramele, which will be a mother-daughter comedy.


Fresh Developments This Week

1. CHRISTOPHER GUEST’S GANG TO REUNITE FOR NETFLIX MOVIE MASCOTS

WaitingForGuffman

Netflix is increasingly stepping up its production slate to include original feature films (some of which will get theatrical releases) as well original series. One of the latest filmmakers to sign on with Netflix is Christopher Guest, best known for mockumentaries like Best in Show and A Mighty Wind, which he has made with mostly the same ensemble cast. This week, we learned that many of those actors and comedians will indeed be returning in Mascots. This new comedy will be set in the world of sports mascots, those people in the oversized foam outfits who entertain crowds between plays. Joining Guest for sure in Mascots will be Jane Lynch, Bob Balaban, Jennifer Coolidge, John Michael Higgins, and Parker Posey. It’s not yet known if some of Guest’s other regular players, like Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, will also have roles in Mascots.


2. JOHN C. REILLY TO STAR IN WESTERN THE SISTERS BROTHERS

JohnCReillyHours

Although his roles in Will Ferrell movies like Step Brothers and Talladega Nights might inspire one to think of John C. Reilly as “just” a comedian, the actor has also worked with several “serious” directors, such as Martin Scorsese (Gangs of New York, The Aviator), Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia), Robert Altman (A Prairie Home Companion), and Roman Polanski (Carnage). This week, we learned that Reilly will add another acclaimed director to that list, in the form of French filmmaker Jacques Audiard (A Prophet, Rust & Bone), in what will be the director’s English-language debut. Reilly and Audiard will be teaming up on an adaptation of the comic Western novel The Sisters Brothers, by author Patrick DeWitt. John C. Reilly will play one of the title characters, sibling hired guns who travel to San Francisco during the California Gold Rush to murder a prosecutor.


3. BRYAN CRANSTON JOINS JAMES FRANCO IN COMEDY WHY HIM

BryanCranstonBreakingBad

This year will mark the 15th anniversary of Meet the Parents, in which Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro came into conflict as potential son and father-in-law. It’s indeed a decades-old set up for comedy, and one that keeps on ticking, because this week, another such comedy made the news. Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and James Franco (Freaks and Geeks, to keep up the TV references) will star in a 20th Century Fox comedy called Why Him. Cranston will play a “Midwestern dad” who travels with his family to see his daughter at college to find that she is is dating a “brash tech billionaire” (Franco).  John Hamburg (Along Came Polly; I Love You, Man) will be directing from a screenplay he cowrote when filming starts in Los Angeles in February.


4. ANNE HATHAWAY TO ATTEND SCI-FI COMEDY THE SHOWER

AnneHathawayOneDAy

It’s something of an old Hollywood cliche that pitch meetings involve “X meets Y” analogies. For example, you could say that Ant-Man was “Ocean’s Eleven meets Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.” This week, Anne Hathaway became attached to star in a science fiction comedy called The Shower, and the synopsis totally read as something like “Bridesmaids meets This is the End (or if it had been more successful, The World’s End).”  The Shower of the title has a double meaning, as the guests at a baby shower are threatened when a meteor shower turn nearby men into “blood-hungry aliens.” The Shower might also end up resembling next year’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, another case of women banding together against monsters, within the constraints of social niceties. Hathaway was newly available for The Shower after another of her projects, the giant monster movie Colossal, was recently put on hold.


5. THIS WEEK IN MARVEL CASTING NEWS: DOCTOR STRANGE VILLAIN, GAMBIT ROMANTIC LEAD

MadsMikkelsenHannibal

With Marvel Studios (and their counterparts at Fox, adapting Marvel titles) having so many projects in development, it’s almost requisite for this column to devote at least one spot each week to their films. This week, the obligatory Marvel headline goes to casting news for both Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange (11/4/16), and 20th Century Fox’s solo movie for Gambit (10/7/16). There have already been a few roles cast for Doctor Strange, including the title role (Benedict Cumberbatch), the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), Baron Mordo (Chewitel Ejiofor), and a rumored role for Rachel McAdams. This week, we learned that Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen (Casino RoyaleThe Hunt, TV’s Hannibal) is in early talks to costar as one of Doctor Strange’s adversaries; what was left unsaid is which of Strange’s enemies he might be playing. Two strong possibilities are Dormammu, who many consider to be Strange’s main nemesis (and who’s head is covered in flames, so anyone could play him), and Nightmare, who was actually Doctor Strange’s very first enemy.  (This writer also thinks that Mads Mikkelsen sort of resembles the way Nightmare is usually depicted in the comics.) Meanwhile, over at 20th Century Fox, French actress Lea Seydoux (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the upcoming James Bond film Spectre) is now in talks to play the romantic lead Bella (AKA Belladonna) in the solo Gambit movie, starring Channing Tatum. Another Mission: Impossible costar, Rebecca Ferguson, had also been in the running for the role, but she recently took one of the lead roles in the upcoming novel adaptation The Girl on the Train.


6. JULIUS CAESAR TO RECEIVE HIS OWN FRANCHISE CALLED EMPEROR

EmperorGatesOfRome

With The Hunger Games ending this year, Lionsgate will have very few franchises left, outside of the remaining Divergent movies. That might be why the studio has started development on adapting the five books in author Conn Iggulden’s Emperor series, about the life of Rome’s Julius Caesar.  The first movie, which will also be called Emperor, will be based upon the first two books in the series, The Gates of Rome and The Field of Swords, which establish the friendship between Julius Caesar and Marcus Brutus, who eventually betrays his friend (in the fifth book of the series). Emperor appears as though it’s being adapted by committee, with four different screenwriters working the first two books into one script. Those writers are William Broyles Jr (Cast Away, Apollo 13), Stephen Harrigan (Hallmark’s Cleopatra mini-series), Ian Mackenzie-Jeffers (The Grey, Death Sentence), and Burr Steers (17 Again, next year’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies).


ROTTEN IDEAs OF THE WEEK

3. JOAQUIN PHOENIX TO REUNITE WITH M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN

JoaquinPhoenixVillage

Both movies are now over 10 years old, and his career has gone completely different places since, but Joaquin Phoenix actually costarred in Signs (2002) and The Village (2004) for director M. Night Shyamalan. It’s also been over 10 years since one of M. Night Shyamalan’s films as director received a Tomatometer score over 25 percent.  Joaquin Phoenix’s career, on the other hand, has benefitted from an opposite, more positive swing, with three Certified Fresh films (The Master, Her, and The Immigrant), and only one Rotten score (Irrational Man). So, this week’s news that Phoenix is in talks to reunite with Shyamalan on the director’s next film has us divided on precisely where this story should land. There are no plot details for this next film as of yet, except that it’s expected to be a lower-budget film, and filming is scheduled to start in Philadelphia in November.


2. VIN DIESEL’S INSTAGRAM ANNOUNCES XXX 3 FILMING

VinDieselXXX

When it came time for the 2002 action movie xXx to get a sequel in 2005, Vin Diesel chose not to return as extreme-sports-enthusiast-turned-spy Xander Cage. So, Ice Cube starred as a new character in xXx: State of the Union instead. Ten years later, Vin Diesel now seems quite excited to indeed return to the world of xXx. We got that news this week from Vin Diesel’s Instagram account, where he posted, “While I was filming xXx, guys on set called me Air Diesel… The time to return has come. Filming starts December in the Philippines. #ILiveForThisS***.”  If filming is indeed starting in an exotic land in just four months, there’s still a few questions left to be answered. We don’t know the screenwriter or the director, and it’s even unclear what studio would be behind a xXx sequel (Joe Roth’s Revolution Studios last produced a feature film in 2007). xXx received a Rotten Tomatometer score of 48 percent, and the sequel xXx: State of the Union did even worse with a score of just 16 percent. Vin Diesel also confirmed this week that he will indeed be returning to voice Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy 2.


1. THE POST-FURY ROAD, POST-APOCALYPTIC BANDWAGON CONTINUES WITH BORDERLANDS  

Borderlands

This year’s critical and box office hit Mad Max: Fury Road obviously did not create the post-apocalyptic genre (though an argument could be made that The Road Warrior played a big part in popularizing it). The movie’s success did, however, demonstrate to Hollywood that it is possible for a movie in the mid-2010s to be a post-apocalyptic success without being a girl-friendly YA adaptation (like The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.). And so, development executives are re-examining what pre-existing properties like Mad Max are out there, and very popular. From the world of video games, the #1 franchise like this is probably Fallout (the legal rights to which have been debated in court in recent years).  But (especially if you expand the definitions of “post-apocalyptic”), the #2 franchise is probably Borderlands.  So, that’s probably part of why Lionsgate has started development of a  Borderlands movie.  There have been three first-person-shooter Borderlands games to date, and two of them are set on a world called Pandora (yes, just like Avatar, except this one’s a desert), a colony world abandoned by corporate interests before the game’s start. The Borderlands games are popular, and have a quirky, appealing humor. However, we’re calling this story the Rotten Idea of the Week, because following the failure of this summer’s Pixels, video game adaptations still most often receive Rotten Tomatometer scores.

Detectives Crockett and Tubbs shot their way to number one in North America with the cop thriller Miami Vice which finally managed to knock the megablockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest out of the top spot.

The new teen comedy John Tucker Must Die debuted well but the animated entry The Ant Bully got squashed in its opening weekend. Overall, the box office saw a summer slowdown as the top ten films attracted the weakest sales since early May.

Universal hit the top of the charts with its big-budget actioner Miami Vice which opened with an estimated $25.2M. Starring Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell as the famous South Florida cops from the hit 1980s television series, the R-rated film averaged a strong $8,340 from 3,021 theaters. The debut was in line with the opening of director Michael Mann‘s last film Collateral which was also an R-rated actioner and bowed to $24.7M in August 2004. That film, which starred Tom Cruise and Foxx, eventually squeaked past the $100M mark domestically. The studio reported that the audience for Miami Vice was older, multicultural, and evenly split between men and women. Studio research showed that a high 62% of the crowd was age 30 and older, 51% was male, and 52% was non-white. Reviews were mixed for the $135M production.

After three weeks of ruling the box office, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest dropped to second place but still posted strong results grossing an estimated $20.5M. The Disney smash dropped only 42% and propelled its cume to a staggering $358.4M after just 24 days. More records were looted by Captain Jack Sparrow. Chest became the fastest film in history to sail past the $350M mark doing so on Saturday in only 23 days. Shrek 2 held the record previously with 26 days in 2004. The Pirates sequel also stands as the top-grossing movie ever for its studio surpassing the $339.7M of 2003’s Finding Nemo.

The middle film in the swashbuckling adventure trilogy vaulted to number 11 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters right behind the $370.3M of 2004’s The Passion of the Christ. Pirates has also put an end to the industry’s seven-year streak of the top-grossing summer film coming out of the month of May. Johnny Depp and friends have completely dominated the moviegoing world this month as no other film since has opened north of $30M. The last time the month of July saw only one $30M+ opener was ten years ago when Independence Day ruled the mid-summer box office in 1996. Dead Man’s Chest looks to smash the $400M mark in the weeks ahead.

Teenagers pushed the high school comedy John Tucker Must Die into the number three spot with an estimated opening of $14.1M. Bowing in 2,560 theaters, the PG-13 film about a group of young women who get revenge on the guy secretly dating all of them averaged a solid $5,498 per site. However, sales plunged a disturbing 24% on Saturday from a strong Friday turnout indicating there could be trouble ahead. Still, with no pricey stars, Tucker should become a nice little hit for Fox. The studio’s divide-and-conquer marketing approach seems to have worked. Television spots aimed at females focused on the revenge-on-a-cheating-boy angle while those targeting males showed off the title character’s ability to juggle three chicks.

Sony’s digital toon Monster House dropped 48% in its second weekend to an estimated $11.5M and raised its total to $43.9M after ten days. The $75M film looks to find its way to a relatively good $65-70M.

Warner Bros. stumbled with the opening of its rival kid toon The Ant Bully which finished the weekend in fifth place with an estimated $8.1M. Playing in 3,050 locations, the PG-rated adventure about a boy who enters the world of insects averaged a weak $2,670 per location. Big-time Hollywood stars Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, and Nicolas Cage provided the voices, but audiences were not swayed. Bully’s opening weekend couldn’t even beat the second weekend of Monster House. The kidpic market will get even more crowded on Friday when Paramount launches its own animated film Barnyard targeting the exact same family audience once again.

Sixth place was too close to call with a pair of films claiming an estimated $7M in ticket stubs this weekend. Universal’s comedy You, Me and Dupree fell 45% in its third weekend and boosted its 17-day cume to a solid $59M.

However, M. Night Shyamalan‘s bedtime story Lady in the Water followed its weak opening weekend with a steep 61% crash and gave Warner Bros. a feeble $32.1M in ten days. By comparison, ten-day totals for the filmmaker’s last films have been $85.6M for 2004’s The Village and $117.7M for 2002’s Signs. Lady, which is not even in the same ballpark, has not excited audiences and it could stumble to a final tally of about $45M making its entire total smaller than the opening weekend of his last film.

It’s been a difficult summer for Warners. First, its costly ocean liner actioner Poseidon flopped grossing $100M less than its production budget. Then Superman Returns, the most expensive movie ever, did not live up to expectations. Now the studio is suffering a double blow with Lady and Ant Bully both being ignored by moviegoers. Of course, overseas box office and worldwide home video will add more revenue, but expensive marketing campaigns will make it hard for these films to become moneymaking ventures. The studio’s other summer film The Lake House has enjoyed a respectable run though, grossing $51M.

Sony’s Wayans brothers comedy Little Man placed eighth with an estimated $5.1M, down 54%, and raised its sum to a decent $50.2M. Meryl Streep followed with the sleeper hit of the summer, The Devil Wears Prada, which grossed an estimated $4.8M. Off only 35%, the Fox hit pushed its total to $106.7M.

Crumbling 61% to an estimated $3.9M in its sophomore session, Kevin Smith‘s Clerks II rounded out the top ten and put its ten-day cume at $18.5M. The inexpensive $5M production should continue to fade fast, but looks to end with around $25M making it a nice little moneymaker for MGM and The Weinstein Company. Smith’s last summer film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back dropped a hefty 53% in its second weekend in 2001 although the Labor Day holiday frame helped to cushion the blow.

Opening in platform release to sensational results was Fox Searchlight’s indie comedy Little Miss Sunshine which bowed to an estimated $357,000 from only seven theaters for an eye-popping $50,980 average. Since its Wednesday launch in New York and Los Angeles, the R-rated comedy starring Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, and Alan Arkin has grossed $449,000. Sunshine was the hottest film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and the distrib is now looking to turn it into a strong word-of-mouth hit for moviegoers numbed by all the mindless popcorn films of the summer. Reviews were outstanding and the road comedy will continue to expand in the weeks ahead. The distributor plans to widen to ten cities and about 60 theaters this Friday, 175 playdates the following weekend, and a full national release in over 600 sites on August 18.

Also debuting this weekend was Woody Allen’s latest film Scoop with an estimated $3M from 538 locations for a good $5,582 average. The Focus release stars Scarlett Johannson and Hugh Jackman and earned mixed reviews from critics.

Three films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. Superman Returns fell 49% to an estimated $3.8M in its fifth mission and reached a cume of $185.8M. After 33 days of release last summer, Warner Bros. collected a similar $183.1M with its other super hero revival Batman Begins. However, the Caped Crusader posted a stronger $6M frame, ranked higher with a fifth place finish, and was enjoying smaller weekly declines on its way to $205.3M. With a reported production budget north of $240M, Superman Returns is on a course to end its domestic run with roughly $195M and will need some sort of special re-release in order to cross the double-century mark.

Fox also grabbed an estimated $3.8M with its super hero comedy My Super Ex-Girlfriend which tumbled 56% in its second weekend. With a weak $16.4M in ten days, the Uma ThurmanLuke Wilson comedy should find its way to only $25M.

Disney watched Pixar’s durable toon hit Cars become the second highest-grossing film of the year this weekend. The G-rated smash fell 50% to an estimated $2.5M boosting its cume to $234.6M surpassing the third X-Men flick. Add in the recent Pirates sequel and the Mouse House can now claim the two biggest box office hits of 2006 with no other films in the near future looking to get in their way.

Al Gore‘s global warming hit An Inconvenient Truth became only the fourth documentary in box office history to cross the $20M mark this weekend. The Paramount Vantage title took in an estimated $773,000 in its tenth frame, off 23%, to lift its cume to $20.2M. The only docs to score better have been Fahrenheit 9/11 ($119.2M), March of the Penguins ($77.4M), and Bowling for Columbine ($21.6M).

The top ten films grossed an estimated $107.3M which was up a scant 2% from last year when Wedding Crashers climbed to number one in its third weekend with $20M; but down 22% from 2004 when The Village opened in the top spot with $50.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

With cops, drug dealers, and lots of bullets flying, the action film Miami Vice hits theaters across North America this weekend with its aim squarely on the number one spot. Young kids, meanwhile, will be offered another animated film in the form of The Ant Bully while teens get a new high school comedy in John Tucker Must Die. The overall box office should continue to be much healthier than last year as the Jack Sparrow-dominated month of July comes to a close.

Universal can smell a number-one opening in the air tonight. The studio hopes to claim bragging rights to the film that finally knocks Pirates out of the top spot with its action thriller Miami Vice. Directed by Michael Mann, the R-rated pic stars Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell in a loose update of the hit NBC cop show from the 1980s. Gong Li co-stars in this story of an undercover operation into the workings of a South American drug lord. In a summer full of Kryptonian heroes, pirates, and mutant villains, moviegoers are ready for a standard action film, set in modern times, with big stars playing the bad-ass good guys. With the tame PG-13 actioners behind us, Miami Vice ups the volume on violence and doesn’t hold back when it comes to gun battles and the offing of bad guys.

Vice has racked up some of the best reviews of any summer action film this year which should help in selling the pic to older adults. Though Mann stumbled with 2001’s Ali, the director has been pretty solid with the films he’s delivered over the past decade with Collateral, The Insider, and Heat. This new film’s leads will be the driving force at the box office. Both are hip and cool enough to appeal to teens as well as adults. The men exude plenty of sex appeal which will aid in drawing in women, plus Foxx has tremendous pull with African-American moviegoers who should be out in large numbers. Universal’s marketing has been as slick and cool as can be and makes the film seem like a necessary investment for action movie fans.

Miami Vice looks to appeal to the same audiences as a pair of action titles from the summer of 2003. Bad Boys II was another R-rated, star-driven, cop buddy picture set in Miami and bowed to $46.5M with a $14,602 average that July. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence made for a more potent commercial combo at the cash registers plus the sequel boasted plenty of comedy and already had a large built-in fan following. The next month, Farrell scored his fourth number-one opening of that year starring in another remake of an old cop show by teaming up with Samuel L. Jackson for S.W.A.T. The PG-13 film debuted on top with $37.1M and a $11,575 average.

Detectives Crockett and Tubbs will bring a breath of fresh air to a marketplace that is ready to move on from the record-breaking pirate shenanigans. Older teens and adult moviegoers are ready to see something else, and for now, this is it. Busting into 3,020 theaters, Miami Vice could debut with about $38M this weekend.

A ten-year-old boy gets miniaturized and becomes one with an insect colony in The Ant Bully, a new toon from Warner Bros. Young kids and their parents are the target audience here as the studio is aiming for the summer vacation crowd with this PG-rated adventure. An impressive voice cast that includes Julia Roberts, Nicolas Cage, and Meryl Streep might attract some biz and throwing in the name of producer Tom Hanks won’t hurt either. But Bully is going after the exact same audience as last week’s rival toon Monster House so the pie will get split. Neither is being treated as a must-see from a well-known franchise. Like Sony’s kidpic, Bully also will be playing in select 3D theaters as Imax is on board with a special run in their locations. The added value will certainly intrigue some families. Reviews are weak, but these films really rely on the ratio of nagging from kids to the willingness to give in by parents. Invading 3,050 sites, The Ant Bully might debut to around $15M.

High school hijinks are at the core of the new comedy John Tucker Must Die which finds Jesse Metcalfe playing the title character, a teen romeo that juggles three girlfriends who learn of the infidelity and plot their revenge. The PG-13 pic comes from director Betty Thomas (Dr. Dolittle, Private Parts) and co-stars Ashanti, Brittany Snow, and Jenny McCarthy. Teenage girls will make up the target audience but with limited starpower, Tucker’s potential should be limited as well. The Fox film will be going up against a handful of comedies currently clogging up screens in multiplexes. Young females not of age to buy a Vice ticket, or just uninterested in that shoot-em-up cop pic, will take interest in the female revenge story of Tucker. Some interest from teen guys could be there too, but the post-college crowd is not likely to donate many bills. The marketing push has been decent and a bold title will get some attention. Opening in 2,561 locations, John Tucker Must Die might take in about $9M this weekend.

Woody Allen seems to have loved working with Scarlett Johansson in London so much with the Oscar-nominated Match Point that he went for round two in his latest film Scoop which opens in moderate national release on Friday. The Focus title features the young starlet playing an American journalism student who gets the inside track on uncovering the identity of a serial killer from the spirit of a deceased reporter. Hugh Jackman, Ian McShane, and Allen himself co-star in the PG-13 flick. Critics have not been kind as reviews so far have been weak which will impact the box office significantly. Die-hard Woody fans won’t be swayed, but other upscale moviegoers will be affected. Scoop enters 537 theaters this weekend and might collect about $2M.

Fox Searchlight platformed its Sundance darling Little Miss Sunshine on Wednesday ahead of a gradual national roll-out that will continue into late August. The R-rated film about a dysfunctional family that takes a road trip to enter their young daughter in a beauty contest stars Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, and Alan Arkin. Sunshine wowed audiences in Park City and won a reported $10M distribution deal from the Fox subsidiary. Armed with glowing reviews across the board, the comedy from the husband-wife directing team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris should score a sizzling average from its seven theaters in New York and Los Angeles. Long-term prospects also seem bright as Sunshine should play out as the indie alternative to a summer of mindless popcorn flick.

Kings lose crowns and this weekend Johnny Depp looks to give up his title as three-time ruler of the box office. Still, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest has been holding up well during the week and Miami Vice is the only new film to make a serious dent in its treasure chest. Another drop of 45% would give Disney about $19M for the session boosting the overall domestic haul to a mammoth $357M.

Sony’s animated adventure Monster House got off to a strong start last weekend with a $22.2M bow, but will face head-to-head competition from Ant Bully this weekend which will be looking to kick some sand in its face. A 40% fall would leave House with around $13M and a ten-day total of $45M.

M. Night Shyamalan‘s latest thriller Lady in the Water debuted below expectations last week and will be entering its all-important sophomore frame. If history is any indicator, the grosses should see a steep drop. Second weekend declines for the director’s last three films have been 68% for 2004’s The Village, 51% for 2002’s Signs, and 52% for 2000’s Unbreakable. Lady may not sink the way Village did as it seems to be generating both love-it and hate-it camps. Still, with such a low starting point, and Crockett and Tubbs stealing away adults, a fall of at least 50% could be in order. That would give the bedtime story roughly $9M and a cume of $34M in ten days.

LAST YEAR: After two weeks at number one and two respectively, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Wedding Crashers swapped places with the Owen WilsonVince Vaughn comedy taking over at the top with $20M, slipping a mere 22%. The Johnny Depp kidpic followed with $16.4M in its third frame. Newcomers filled up the rest of the top five. Leading the way was Disney’s super hero family film Sky High with $14.6M on its way to a solid $63.9M. Close behind were Sony’s action flop Stealth with $13.3M and the Warner Bros. romantic comedy Must Love Dogs wth $12.9M. Final grosses reached $31.7M and $43.9M, respectively.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Johnny Depp made this weekend’s four new releases walk the plank as his megablockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest became the first film of the year to spend three consecutive frames at number one and zoomed past the $300M mark in record time.

Among the new offerings debuting in theaters, Sony’s animated film Monster House posted the best results opening in second place while M. Night Shyamalan‘s latest supernatural thriller Lady in the Water stumbled in its first weekend settling for third place. The comedies Clerks II from Kevin Smith and My Super Ex-Girlfriend from Ivan Reitman debuted with more modest single-digit results outside the top five. Overall ticket sales were a healthy amount ahead of last year’s.

Sailing past more box office records with ease, Pirates grossed an estimated $35M in its third weekend to remain the top choice among summer moviegoers across North America. Off a moderate 44%, the Disney smash became the fastest film to break the $300M mark when it surpassed the milestone on Saturday, its 16th day of release. Star Wars Episode III previously held the record doing the deed in 17 days last summer. Pirates now stands at $321.7M after a mere 17 days and has soared up to number 16 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters ahead of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone which grossed $317.6M in 2001.

Dead Man’s Chest also entered a very exclusive club of films that reached the triple-century mark while still at number one. It joins only 1982’s E.T., 1997’s Titanic, and 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. The third weekend hold for Pirates was commendable showing that the high seas adventure is not falling apart like many action sequels and instead still pleasing audiences. It now looks to be on course to reach $400M in box office treasure.

Sony generated a solid debut for the animated film Monster House which opened in second place with an estimated $23M from 3,553 locations. The PG-rated tale about three kids who discover an evil home averaged an impressive $6,473 per theater. Oscar-winning directors Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis served as executive producers and had their names used prominently in the marketing. As the first toon for kids in over a month, Monster scored with children and parents who made up the bulk of the audience. The studio released the $75M production in 163 3-D theaters which collected $2.6M of the overall gross for a sizzling $16,012 average. Reviews were mostly positive.

Suffering his worst opening since becoming an A-list director, M. Night Shyamalan saw his latest thriller Lady in the Water struggle in its debut grossing an estimated $18.2M from 3,235 theaters. The PG-13 film about a mysterious creature from the water who must return to her world averaged $5,629 per site. The opening was less than half the size of the $50.7M bow of Shyamalan’s last film The Village and less than one-third of the $60.1M that his previous film Signs took in when it opened in 2002. Critics panned Lady which was promoted as being a "bedtime story" as the Oscar-nominated filmmaker earned the worst reviews of his career.

Shyamalan’s last four thrillers were all released by Disney but after The Village, the studio passed on the opportunity to make Lady. The project found itself over at Warner Bros. Village opened impressively based on the brand name of Shyamalan, however negative word-of-mouth led to it crashing 68% on the second weekend and quickly disappearing soon after. In fact, its final domestic tally of $114.2M remains the lowest gross ever for any film opening north of $50M. Many former fans may have decided to pass on his follow-up which was Lady. It could be rough seas ahead for Water as well since its Saturday sales were flat compared to Friday’s. Plus, it has scored a weak B- average grade from over 3,000 users of Yahoo Movies which means ticket buyers have not been very thrilled.

Universal’s hit comedy You, Me, and Dupree dropped a moderate 41% in its second weekend and placed fourth with an estimated $12.8M. With a solid $45.3M in ten days, the $54M picture should find its way to a sturdy $70-75M. Fellow sophomore comedy Little Man saw a larger drop and fell 49% to an estimated $11M for a total of $40.6M in ten days. Sony’s $64M Wayans brothers film looks to find its way to $60-65M.

Fans showed support for Kevin Smith whose comedy sequel Clerks II debuted in sixth place with an estimated $9.6M from 2,150 theaters. Averaging a good $4,477 per site, the R-rated story of a pair of slackers still doing little with their lives in their thirties opened a bit weaker than Smith’s 2001 late-summer pic Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back which bowed to $11M on its way to $30.1M. Ticket sales for Clerks II fell a sharp 18% on Saturday from Friday indicating that Smith’s loyal fans rushed out on opening day and that there may not be much of an audience left for future weeks. The film earned favorable reviews and was released by MGM and The Weinstein Company.

Fox saw a disappointing opening for its romantic comedy My Super Ex-Girlfriend which debuted to an estimated $8.7M from 2,702 theaters for a mild $3,220 average. The PG-13 film stars Uma Thurman as a woman who is secretly a super hero that exacts revenge on her ex-boyfriend (Luke Wilson) for dumping her. Reviews were mixed for the Ivan Reitman-directed pic. Studio research showed that the audience was split evenly between men and women with those age 25 and older making up 59% of the crowd. With so many other comedies in the marketplace from Owen Wilson, the Wayans brothers, Kevin Smith, Meryl Streep, and Adam Sandler, plus Pirates still raking it in, audiences found no special reason to spend money on Ex-Girlfriend.

Superman Returns dipped 39% in its fourth flight to an estimated $7.5M and pushed its cume to $178.4M. The pricey Warner Bros. film is still ahead of the $171.9M that its last super hero film Batman Begins collected after the same amount of time. The Caped Crusader pic, however, held up better grossing $10M in its fourth frame. The $200M domestic mark still seems reachable for Superman. Overseas, the international cume climbed to $110M.

Meryl Streep’s hit comedy The Devil Wears Prada enjoyed another solid hold suffering the smallest decline in the top ten. The Fox release took in an estimated $7.4M, off only 29%, to lift its sum to $97.6M. Devil opened on the same weekend as Superman Returns with a much smaller gross, but is now doing nearly identical weekend business.

Disney bookended the top ten with its Pixar smash Cars which dropped 37% to an estimated $4.9M in its seventh lap. The animated hit has now grossed $229.4M putting it at number 49 on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters after X-Men: The Last Stand which opened two weeks earlier and has taken in $232.8M to date.

The weekend’s four new releases tossed a quartet of summer pictures out of the top ten. Adam Sandler’s latest winner Click grossed an estimated $4M in its fifth frame, off 45%, for a total of $128.2M. The $83M Sony title should finish with $135-140M. Fellow comedy Nacho Libre with Jack Black tumbled 69% to an estimated $505,000 for a cume of $78.7M to date. Paramount looks to end its run with just under $80M.

Keanu Reeves grossed an estimated $661,000 for his sci-fi toon A Scanner Darkly and an estimated $625,000 for his sci-fi romance The Lake House this weekend. Warner Independent Pictures has taken in $3.2M with Scanner and is shooting for the $5M mark. Parent company Warner Bros. has grossed $50.7M with its Sandra Bullock tale and is heading for $52M.

The global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth remains a popular summer flick slipping just 14% to an estimated $1M in its ninth weekend. Paramount Vantage has collected $18.8M to date and is enjoying remarkable momentum.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $138.2M which was up 12% from last year when Johnny Depp’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory remained at number one for the second time with $28.3M; and up 2% from 2004 when Matt Damon‘s The Bourne Supremacy opened in the top spot with $52.5M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Directors take center stage this weekend providing starpower to four new films opening in North American theaters all hoping to take down reigning box office king Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.

M. Night Shyamalan leads the way with his latest creepy tale Lady in the Water while fellow east coast helmer Kevin Smith lets the expletives fly in the comedy Clerks II. Oscar winners Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis serve as producers on the animated film Monster House which is aiming for kids, and Ivan Reitman provides a different type of super hero film in My Super Ex-Girlfriend. With four interesting new films and Johnny Depp still firing off his cannons, the overall marketplace should expand as it moves into the late July period.

Writer/director M. Night Shyamalan returns to theaters with his fantasy chiller Lady in the Water which marks his departure from the Disney family. The Warner Bros. release tells the story of a superintendent who discovers a mysterious creature in his building’s pool that must be sent back to her world. Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeffrey Wright, and Bob Balaban star in the PG-13 pic. Known for his small cameos in previous pics, Shyamalan the actor has been promoted this time around and gets a meaningful supporting role. As they say, it pays to know the director. Could he be preparing himself for playing the lead role in a future film? Only time will tell.

The Philadelphia-based director has been seeing diminishing returns at the box office over the last few years. In 2002, his alien drama Signs with Mel Gibson opened to a sturdy $60.1M on its way to a robust $228M. Two years later, The Village tested Shyamalan’s brand name since it lacked any A-listers and the opening was still strong with $50.7M. But poor word-of-mouth quickly set in with the film plunging 68% in its second frame on its way to $114.2M overall. This time around, the director is once again the biggest name attached to the project. Giamatti won plenty of acclaim with Sideways, but he’s still not a star who drives in audiences on opening weekend. Shyamalan’s starpower will be put to the test once again, and some who left The Village with a bad taste might just pass on Lady. The new film should also open weaker than Village because it will debut in 500 fewer theaters.

Many elements to the film and its marketing are new this time around. With a different studio in charge, a notable difference is the female voiceover on the television commercials where a little girl whispers to viewers in a creepy way. This reinforces the new angle where the picture is being sold as a bedtime story. Shyamalan also became very visible this year with his American Express commercial. Instead of relying again on a twist, Lady instead plays out like a fantasy arthouse film that offers more comedy than all of Shyamalan’s past films combined. Audiences may end up once again dividing themselves into the love and hate camps after coming out of theaters. But in a world where people complain about the lack of originality coming out of Hollywood, the filmmaker does deserve credit for offering moviegoers something new and different.

The summer has not seen too many scary movies yet so Lady in the Water will stand out to audiences who like a good fright. With a story that is really out there, the film may find more fans with the fantasy and sci-fi crowds than with mainstream moviegoers. That will hurt ticket sales in the long term. Still, like with other Shyamalan movies, there is a mystery to them which draws in fans. That magic will work its charm again as the film will try to attract enough moviegoers to knock the popular Pirates out of first place. Emerging in 3,235 locations, Lady in the Water might find itself with around $33M this weekend.

The late-summer cartoon wars begin with Sony launching the first attack with its computer-animated entry Monster House. The PG-rated film tells the story of some teenage kids who believe that a neighborhood house is actually a ferocious beast. Although directing duties fell on newcomer Gil Kenan, it’s executive producers Spielberg and Zemeckis whose names are used most prominently in the marketing materials. Many families are sure to be fooled into thinking these brilliant filmmakers were behind the camera. The studio reported encouraging results for the sneak previews it offered last weekend to help spread advance buzz.

And advance buzz will be essential to box office success since rival studios will be unleashing their big toons in each of the next two weekends with Warner Bros. opening The Ant Bully on July 28 and Paramount tossing in Barnyard on August 4. There might not be room for all three to thrive so Sony’s early jump on the competition gives it a major leg up. The Disney/Pixar hit Cars has raced past the $220M mark, but is aging so young kids will be looking for something new to rally behind. Direct competition should not be too fierce for Monster this weekend since even the PG-13 Pirates is a bit too scary for smaller children. Sony is going all out with their push of Monster House which debuts in 3,553 sites on Friday. An opening of about $25M could result.

Mixing the date movie formula of The Break-Up with the comic book antics of X-Men, Fox unleashes its new comedy My Super Ex-Girlfriend. The PG-13 film stars Luke Wilson as a man who dumps his squeeze only to learn that she is secretly a famous super hero who now will use her powers to exact revenge. The plot has ample appeal to both men and women so interest from the date crowd will be solid. But the marketplace has been flooded with comedies over the last several weeks so those looking for a laugh can easily go elsewhere. The concept does, however, offer a unique what-if scenario that is sure to attract business. A slight female skew is likely.

Starpower is also an important component here. Uma Thurman has had many hits and though Wilson is not much of a leading man, he does offer value when playing second fiddle to a bigger star, like in this case. Trailers in front of the studio’s recent mutant sequel have raised awareness with the comic book crowd. But Wilson’s brother Owen, coming off of a $21.5M bow for You, Me and Dupree, won’t help any and Super probably has the most direct competition in its way among the weekend’s four freshmen. Flying into 2,702 theaters, My Super Ex-Girlfriend could take off with around $13M this weekend.

Kevin Smith leaves the Jersey girls behind and revisits the boys in Clerks II, a sequel to the 1994 indie hit that launched his career. The R-rated film finds his Garden State slackers in their thirties and working at a fast-food restaurant where colorful customers make their way in and out each day. Released by The Weinstein Company and MGM, Clerks II has a very specific audience of Smith fans it will appeal to. Others will be hard to reach as there is little starpower on the screen. The director’s 2001 summer comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back opened to $11M from 2,765 theaters for a $3,985 average while 1999’s Dogma starring Matt Damon and a pre-J. Lo Ben Affleck bowed to $8.7M from 1,269 theaters for a $6,832 average.

Clerks II will debut in a level of theaters that is in between those two pics. Males in their twenties and thirties will make up the core crowd and there will be other options competing for their attention like Pirates and Lady. The marketing push has been good, but multiplexes will be crowded this weekend so getting in the undecided vote will be difficult. Opening in over 2,100 sites, Clerks II might bow to roughly $12M this weekend.

After two weeks of sailing ahead of the rest of the box office fleet, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest will face a serious challenge for its number one position this weekend. The Johnny Depp megahit dropped 54% in its second frame, but should suffer a smaller decline this time around. A number of new enemies will invade its waters so audiences will be scattered and competition should be formidable. Pirates may fall by 45% this weekend giving Disney about $34M for the frame. That would push the adventure sequel past the triple-century mark in a record 16 days and up to a staggering $321M by the end of the weekend.

Last weekend, the competing comedies Little Man and You, Me and Dupree battled it out for the distinction of being the biggest non-pirate movie in the country. Man inched ahead of Dupree by less than $100,000, but this weekend, the Wayans Brothers could see the larger decline losing about half of its business. That would give Sony around $11M for the frame and a ten-day cume of $40M. Dupree won’t have it easy though. My Super Ex-Girlfriend will offer direct competition for its core audience. A 45% drop could occur leaving Universal with roughly $12M for the frame and a stronger $44M after ten days.

Superman Returns
has been chugging away trying to get itself to the $200M mark. But the Man of Steel’s third weekend gross of $12.3M was weaker than the corresponding takes of some of last summer’s big action offerings like Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Batman Begins, War of the Worlds, and even Fantastic Four. Pirates has been taking its toll on Superman and this weekend, the Clark Kent flick will no longer be in a massive 3,700+ theaters. Warner Bros could see a 45% decline to about $6.5M which would push the cume to $178M.

LAST YEAR: Johnny Depp spent his second weekend atop the charts with his cooky comedy Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which fell 50% to $28.3M fending off competition from a quartet of new releases plus some solid holdovers. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn spent another week in the runnerup spot with Wedding Crashers which held up remarkably well in its sophomore date slipping only 24% to $25.7M. The super hero flick Fantastic Four remained in third with $12.6M in its third mission. Among new movies, the highest gross came from the action thriller The Island which bowed to $12.4M. Given its enormous budget, it was a big disappointment for DreamWorks which found its way to just $35.8M. Paramount did not fare much better with the remake Bad News Bears which debuted in fifth with $11.4M. The Billy Bob Thornton pic scored just $32.9M overall, but at least it didn’t have a huge production cost. Opening in fewer theaters, but with an impressive average, was the pimp drama Hustle and Flow which bowed to $8M and a $7,915 average. The horror film The Devil’s Rejects followed with a $7.1M opening. Final tallies reached $22.2M for the Paramount Classics hip hop pic and $17M for the Lionsgate gorefest.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week we’ve got some magic in ordinary dwellings (M. Night Shyamalan‘s "Lady in the Water" and "Monster House") and some funny couples ("My Super Ex-Girlfriend," with Uma Thurman and Luke Wilson, and Kevin Smith‘s "Clerks II," featuring Jay and Silent Bob). What do the critics have to say?

For a moment, it appeared that M. Night Shyamalan would join the top tier of contemporary directors. "The Sixth Sense" and "Signs" were commercial and critical hits, establishing a winning combination of spooky, twisty plots and spiritual quests. But now, after the lukewarm critical reaction to "The Village," and the absolute drubbing that his latest, "Lady in the Water," is taking, it’s looking like Shyamalan may be adrift. (The fact that "Water" star Bryce Dallas Howard‘s dad was piloting the craft when Fonzie jumped the shark is purely coincidental.) The film tells the story of a super (Paul Giamatti) at a drab apartment complex who discovers a mythical creature (Howard) living beneath the swimming pool. Though its description makes "Lady" sound like a simple fairy tale, critics say the film is needlessly complex, ponderous, and pretentious. At 22 percent on the Tomatometer, "Lady in the Water" is out to sea.


Ignoring the sound advice of his co-stars, Paul Giamatti’s characters continue to drink and dial.

On every street, there’s one house that’s just a little creepy, a place that inspires trepidation and even fear among the neighborhood kids. In "Monster House," there’s a residence that actually attacks people. The critics say this CG film, featuring the voices of Maggie Gyllenhaal, Nick Cannon, and Steve Buscemi, is technically excellent and effective as a funny, scary funhouse ride of a movie. But perhaps it’s a little too effective; more than a few of the scribes say the movie may be way too scary for younger viewers. Still, at 66 percent on the Tomatometer, this "House" may be a prime piece of real estate.


Yes, children…. mortgage payments are scary.

"My Super Ex-Girlfriend" has a pretty amusing premise: A guy is on the outs with his girlfriend, but she’s a superhero, and uses her powers to thwart his budding romance with a coworker. Plus, director Ivan Reitman and stars Uma Thurman and Luke Wilson are pretty adept at light comedy. So what’s the problem? Well, the critics say the movie never quite transcends its premise. While the scribes say the leads are solid and the script does a decent job of poking fun at the superhero genre, the execution is ultimately too flat to make this material soar. "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" is at 45 percent on the Tomatometer.


It appears Uma has seen "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" one too many times.

If it wasn’t for Bruce Springsteen, Kevin Smith would likely be the voice of New Jersey. His "Clerks" changed the landscape of indie cinema in the 1990s; its DIY aesthetic inspired hundreds of other kids in the suburbs with demented minds and big dreams to pick up a camera and document their existential crises. In "Clerks II," he revisits Dante and Randal, those lovable, potty-mouthed slackers, who’ve barely changed a lick in a decade (aside from the release of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and the presence of Rosario Dawson, which at least gives them something new to talk about). The critics say that while "Clerks II" will not break any new ground, it will please the legions of Kevin Smith acolytes with its witty, ribald humor. At 70 percent on the Tomatometer, "Clerks II" may be worth a stop, though it’s still a cut below the original, at 85 percent.


Buncha savages in this town.

Also in theaters this week in limited release: Ryuhei Kitamura‘s "Azumi" is at 57 percent on the Tomatometer; "Shadowboxer," starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Helen Mirren, is at 44 percent; and the bloody indie "Mad Cowgirl" is at 17 percent.

Recent M. Night Shyamalan Movies:
———————————————
43% — The Village (2004)
75% — Signs (2002)
67% — Unbreakable (2000)
83% — The Sixth Sense (1999)
38% — Wide Awake (1998)

Recent Kevin Smith Movies:
————————————
41% — Jersey Girl (2004)
51% — Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
68% — Dogma (1999)
93% — Chasing Amy (1997)
49% — Mallrats (1996)

M. Night Shyamalan‘s newest feature, "Lady in the Water," opens in a few weeks, but Mike Sampson over at JoBlo’s was able to sit in on an early screening, and even penned an early review.

As usual, I won’t read the piece, but Mike starts out by saying "I was one of the lucky few invited to see an early screening…," which tells me he probably liked the flick. Cool. I’ve yet to make heads or tails of the trailers and such, but as a big fan of "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable," I’m always curious to see what M. Night is cooking up next. ("The Village" notwithstanding.)

Starring Paul Giamatti and Bryce Dallas Howard, "Lady in the Water" opens on July 21st.

With an all-new trailer last week and this brand-new one-sheet housed over at JoBlo’s, it seems that Warner Bros. is just getting ramped up on their "Lady in the Water" marketing. Normally a "poster report" wouldn’t be all that exciting, but this is actually a pretty cool poster. (Sue me, I’m a Shayamalanafan … "The Village" notwithstanding, of course.)

"A modest building manager named Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti) rescues a mysterious young woman (Bryce Dallas Howard) from danger and discovers she is actually a narf, a character from a bedtime story who is trying to make the treacherous journey from our world back to hers. Cleveland and his fellow tenants start to realize that they are also characters in this bedtime story. As Cleveland falls deeper and deeper in love with the woman, he works together with the tenants to protect his new fragile friend from the deadly creatures that reside in this fable and are determined to prevent her from returning home."

Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan ("Unbreakable") and co-starring Bob Balaban, Sarita Choudhury, Jeffrey Wright, Freddy Rodriguez, and Mary Beth Hurt, "Lady" swims into the theaters on July 21st.

The director of "The Sixth Sense," "Unbreakable," "Signs," and (yes) "The Village" is back, and this time he’s got a soaking-wet mystery woman who haunts Paul Giamatti. The movie is "Lady in the Water" and here’s the all-new trailer.

"A modest building manager named Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti) rescues a mysterious young woman (Bryce Dallas Howard) from danger and discovers she is actually a narf, a character from a bedtime story who is trying to make the treacherous journey from our world back to hers. Cleveland and his fellow tenants start to realize that they are also characters in this bedtime story. As Cleveland falls deeper and deeper in love with the woman, he works together with the tenants to protect his new fragile friend from the deadly creatures that reside in this fable and are determined to prevent her from returning home."

WB’s "Lady in the Water" opens on July 21st.

A few weekends ago RT got the inside scoop on "Scary Movie 4" from its director, legendary comic trailblazer David Zucker ("Airplane!," "The Naked Gun"), and castmembers Anna Faris, Regina Hall and Craig Bierko. Read on for the first installment of our "Scary Movie 4" interview series, in which a candid Zucker talks comedy, "Brokeback," and the art of spoofing.

David Zucker is a veritable comedy legend whose career began with co-writing 1977’s "The Kentucky Fried Movie," took off with the 1980 classic, "Airplane!" and continued with even more comedies: "Top Secret!," "The Naked Gun" series, "Ruthless People," and more. After reviving the "Scary Movie" franchise with 2003’s "Scary Movie 3," (which made $109 million at the box office), Zucker is back this week with another "Scary" parody (written by Craig Mazin and frequent Zucker collaborator Jim Abrahams) — and this time, he’s set his sights on "War of the Worlds," "The Grudge," "Brokeback Mountain," Tom Cruise, and more entertainment phenomena from the past few years.

Q: Which was better for you to make, "Scary 3" or "Scary 4?"

David Zucker: ["Scary Movie 4"] was harder, because we only had nine months to do it, from conception to release. We worked weekends, and nights, mainly because one of the main requirements was to have the two main movies — for "Scary 3," there was "Signs" and "The Ring" — for this one we were all set to do "The Ring 2," but "Ring 2" was not accepted by the audience. It was quickly forgotten. In part maybe because of "Scary Movie 3!"

So we had to wait for "War of the Worlds." But our release date was already set, April 14, so we all agreed that we were just gonna do it. So for this one it’s "War of the Worlds," "The Grudge," and a bunch of other movies like "Saw."

Q: Did you spoof all the movies you wanted to in "Scary Movie 4?

Zucker: Yes, every possible one. In the past few years, the pickings were a bit thinner than they were for "3," so we had to really make the best of the movies that were in the popular mind. "Million Dollar Baby," "The Grudge," "War of the Worlds," and "Saw" were big. "The Village" wasn’t as successful as other M. Night [Shyamalan] movies but it was a very striking, original movie.

Q: What makes Anna Faris so convincing in the role of Cindy?

Zucker: Horror movies are scarier if it’s a woman, and we learned that the scarier it is, the funnier it is. [Faris] is a really good actress; she’s so convincing, and she can convey the sincerity. The more the audience can be involved in the plot and believability of the characters, the funnier the jokes will be.

I don’t tell the actors to try to be funny. My biggest direction is to let the lines do the work — let the script be funny, you just do the dramatic acting.

Q: In "Scary Movie 4," a lot of jokes revolve around women and children getting punched in the face…

Zucker: Anna Faris gets it all the time, with all the physical comedy. The best horror movies have women in the lead because it’s just scarier, they seem more vulnerable, but [in "Scary 4"] the lead characters always have to get bonked around. That’s been comedy since vaudeville, Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers.

There’s always children in horror movies, and they’re always treated with great reverence in current cinema. That’s something we dive into; we say, we’re not gonna hold these kids sacred, they’re movie actors, and we’re gonna knock them around the same way.

It’s just like my mom loved "Airplane!" but she hated that scene of Peter Graves talking to the child…I could never convince her that it wasn’t just a joke on pedophilia, we were really doing a joke on the image in American cinema of the squeaky clean, all-American airline captain. And this was the one thing that really undercut that image, and that’s what made people laugh. Personally, I don’t think pedophilia is very funny at all. I have no qualms about using that, or child abuse — who thinks that’s funny? — but I think people can take all these jokes in the context of, we’re doing a spoof, we’re satirizing movies, this is not real-life comedy. We think we’re following rules that are different from other comedies.

Q: Were any of the jokes added at the last minute?

Zucker: "Brokeback Mountain" was definitely not in the movie as written, that was added later. While we were shooting, the whole "Brokeback" story broke, and that became so talked about, such a cultural phenomenon, that we wrote the scene. We didn’t know how that would play – we were all set for people not to laugh at all. We were always thinking in the back of our minds, a lot of jokes have been made in print, on Letterman and Leno; how many more laughs can we get out of this movie? But it worked.

Another big surprise was that just the mere mention of Myspace…we just thought, it’s a clever thing and it’s almost like an ad lib, we threw that in a couple days before but we get such a reaction.

[Possible spoiler ahead]

Zucker [On Leslie Nielson‘s nude scene]: There was a body double, when you see him from behind…that’s part of my weird job. I have to look at asses.

"Prison Break’s" Dominic Purcell has been tapped to star in a new monster movie called "Primeval." It’s a giant-croc chiller from a first-time feature director and the scribes who gave you "Terminator 3."

Says The Hollywood Reporter: "Dominic Purcell is set to star in "Primeval," a killer-crocodile thriller that would serve as the feature debut of veteran television director Michael Katleman for Touchstone Pictures. Orlando Jones also has signed on to the movie, which is being produced by Gavin Polone and his Pariah shingle. The high-stakes adventure follows a news producer, reporter and cameraman who are dispatched to South Africa to track down and bring home alive a legendary 25-foot crocodile known as Gustave. However, their quarry proves far more elusive and deadly than they anticipated, and their situation turns even more perilous when a feared warlord targets them for death. Purcell plays the producer, while Jones portrays the cameraman. Scribe duo John Brancato and Michael Ferris ("The Game," "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines") wrote the screenplay, which is inspired by a man-eating crocodile in Africa."

This project is not to be confused with "Rogue," which is another flick about a big, hungry reptile coming from "Wolf Creek" director Greg McLean. That one stars Michael Vartan & Radha Mitchell, and is presently penciled in for a Dec ’06 release date.

Think there’s still some juice to be squeezed out of the "Scary Movie" concept? Those Weinstein brothers sure do, which is why we’ll see more of Anna Faris bopping through numerous flick parodieson her way to a solid opening weekend and a slow fade-out from the multiplexes. Anyway, check out the trailer right here.

"The Scary Movie gang is back with send-ups of "War of the Worlds," "The Grudge," "The Village," "Saw" and "Saw II," "Million Dollar Baby" and much more. Legendary comedy director David Zucker ("Airplane!," the "Naked Gun" franchise, "Scary Movie 3," and "Ruthless People") and producer Bob Weiss reunite to take aim at some of the best fright films, the latest box office hits, music, current events, pop culture, and your favorite celebrities. Anna Faris and Regina Hall are back as the loveable, dim-witted Cindy Campbell and her self-serving, sex-crazed pal, Brenda, respectively – joined this time around by Craig Bierko ("Cinderella Man"), as the cute-but-utterly clueless Tom Ryan. Together, they battle to save the world from a ruthless alien invasion. And the outrageous celebrity cameos include: Carmen Electra, Shaquille O’Neal, Dr. Phil, Bill Pullman, Chris Elliott, Molly Shannon, Michael Madsen, rappers Chingy and Lil’ John, Leslie Nielsen returning as our fearless Commander in Chief, plus many, many more surprises."

"Scary Movie 4" opens on April 14th.

The Hollywood Reporter brings us some all-new "Spider-Man 3" news; seems that Ms. Bryce Dallas Howard, best known for her work in "The Village" and for being the daughter of the "Arrested Development" narrator, has been cast to play Gwen Stacy, the new girlfriend of everyone’s favorite webhead.

"Bryce Dallas Howard is in negotiations to play Peter Parker’s love interest Gwen Stacy in Columbia Pictures’ "Spider-Man 3." Sam Raimi is directing the movie, which is scheduled to roll this month.

Gwen is pivotal in Spider-Man lore as Peter’s high school crush, his first girlfriend and his first love. She ended up being kidnapped by the Green Goblin and died during a bridgetop battle in "Amazing Spider-Man" issue 121.

In "Spider-Man," Columbia put Mary Jane Watson, a later love interest of Peter’s who was a model, in the Gwen role, casting Kirsten Dunst as the high school crush. The movie featured the famous battle on the bridge with the Green Goblin, though a Hollywood ending was added, and the character survived.

Columbia is keeping a tight lid on the third movie’s story line, though it is known that Gwen is the third part of a love triangle and that the character does survive."

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