Lionsgate courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Lionsgate courtesy Everett Collection)

All Jason Statham Movies, Ranked By Tomatometer

Once, during a long-ago era called The ’80s, Hollywood action heroes roamed the Earth with bulging biceps and names like Sly, Arnold, and Bruce. With a limitless supply of weapons and wisecracks, they saved the world countless times, only to be exiled to the land of Direct-to-Video for their trouble, where they wandered lost throughout the ’90s and much of the aughts. But they’re fighting their way back from extinction, thanks in large part to the tenacious efforts of steely-eyed roughnecks like Jason Statham, the veteran of latter-day genre classics like Crank, The Bank Job, and recent Fast and Furious sequels and spinoffs, who rose to stardom on the strength of his appearances in Guy Ritchie‘s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. To celebrate his bravery in the face of indie dramas and romantic comedies, we’ve rounded up all of his major roles to offer a comprehensive look back at all Jason Statham movies, sorted by Tomatometer.

#40
Adjusted Score: 4326%
Critics Consensus: Featuring mostly wooden performances, laughable dialogue, and shoddy production values, In the Name of the King fulfills all expectations of an Uwe Boll film.
Synopsis: As war looms in an idyllic kingdom, a man named Farmer (Jason Statham) begins a heroic quest to find his... [More]
Directed By: Uwe Boll

#39

Turn It Up (2000)
8%

#39
Adjusted Score: 7684%
Critics Consensus: Reviewers say Turn It Up has a derivative feel, running through too many urban movie cliches.
Synopsis: In the ghetto, the only thing more dangerous than a gun is a dream. And gifted Brooklyn hip-hop artist Diamond... [More]
Directed By: Robert Adetuyi

#38

13 (2010)
8%

#38
Adjusted Score: 3920%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A desperate man (Sam Riley) takes part in an underworld game of Russian roulette in which gamblers place bets on... [More]
Directed By: Gela Babluani

#37

War (2007)
13%

#37
Adjusted Score: 14872%
Critics Consensus: Jet Li and Jason Statham find themselves on opposing sides in the immensely boring War, which is full of clichés but short on action.
Synopsis: After his partner and family are killed, FBI agent Jack Crawford (Jason Statham) becomes obsessed with revenge on an assassin... [More]
Directed By: Philip G. Atwell

#36

London (2005)
14%

#36
Adjusted Score: 13715%
Critics Consensus: Hampered by pretension and undermined by unlikable characters, London proves that the novelty of seeing actors play against type isn't enough to rescue a deeply flawed film.
Synopsis: Upon learning that his ex-lover (Jessica Biel) is leaving New York, a man (Chris Evans) named Syd crashes her going-away... [More]
Directed By: Hunter Richards

#35

The One (2001)
13%

#35
Adjusted Score: 15993%
Critics Consensus: The One plays more like a video game than a movie and borrows freely from other, better sci-fi actioners, burying Jet Li's spectacular talents under heaps of editing and special effects.
Synopsis: In a stunning dual role, international star Jet Li portrays Gabriel Yulaw, a police officer confronted with a sinister form... [More]
Directed By: James Wong

#34

Revolver (2005)
15%

#34
Adjusted Score: 16004%
Critics Consensus: In attempting to meld his successful previous formulas with philosophical musings, Guy Ritchie has produced an incoherent misfire.
Synopsis: Jake Green is a hotshot gambler, long on audacity and short on common sense. Jake served seven years in jail... [More]
Directed By: Guy Ritchie

#33
Adjusted Score: 25890%
Critics Consensus: John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars is not one of Carpenter's better movies, filled as it is with bad dialogue, bad acting, confusing flashbacks, and scenes that are more campy than scary.
Synopsis: Long inhabited by human settlers, the Red Planet has become the manifest destiny of an over-populated Earth. Nearly 640,000 people... [More]
Directed By: John Carpenter

#32

Killer Elite (2011)
28%

#32
Adjusted Score: 31471%
Critics Consensus: A rote, utterly disposable Jason Statham vehicle that just happens to have Clive Owen and Robert De Niro in it.
Synopsis: Danny Bryce (Jason Statham), one of the world's deadliest special-ops agents, returns from self-imposed exile after his mentor, Hunter (Robert... [More]
Directed By: Gary McKendry

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 32988%
Critics Consensus: With little to recommend beyond a handful of entertaining set pieces, Mechanic: Resurrection suggests this franchise should have remained in its tomb.
Synopsis: Living under cover in Brazil, master assassin Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) springs back into action after an old enemy (Sam... [More]
Directed By: Dennis Gansel

#30

Wild Card (2015)
31%

#30
Adjusted Score: 32599%
Critics Consensus: Hardcore Jason Statham fans may enjoy parts of Wild Card, but all other action aficionados need not apply.
Synopsis: A bodyguard (Jason Statham) goes after the sadistic thug who beat his friend, only to find that the object of... [More]
Directed By: Simon West

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 39220%
Critics Consensus: Like its predecessors, Expendables 3 offers a modicum of all-star thrills for old-school action thriller aficionados -- but given all the talent assembled, it should have been a lot more fun.
Synopsis: Years ago, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) co-founded the Expendables with Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson). After Stonebanks became an arms dealer,... [More]
Directed By: Patrick Hughes

#28

Mean Machine (2001)
34%

#28
Adjusted Score: 34123%
Critics Consensus: Despite some genuine wit, this crowd pleaser is filled with too many cliches.
Synopsis: In a rough-and-tumble British prison, where murderers, thieves and assorted madmen are locked away, inmate Danny Meehan (Vinnie Jones) is... [More]
Directed By: Barry Skolnick

#27

Transporter 3 (2008)
40%

#27
Adjusted Score: 44156%
Critics Consensus: This middling installment in the Transporter franchise is a few steps down from its predecessors, featuring generic stunts and a lack of energy.
Synopsis: Mob courier Frank Martin's (Jason Statham) latest assignment pairs him with Valentina (Natalya Rudakova), the cynical daughter of a Ukrainian... [More]
Directed By: Olivier Megaton

#26

Parker (2013)
40%

#26
Adjusted Score: 43881%
Critics Consensus: Jason Statham is game as usual, but Parker is a thoroughly generic and convoluted heist movie.
Synopsis: Daring, ruthless and meticulous, Parker (Jason Statham) is one of the most successful thieves in the business. But when his... [More]
Directed By: Taylor Hackford

#25

Death Race (2008)
42%

#25
Adjusted Score: 47174%
Critics Consensus: Mindless, violent, and lightning-paced, Death Race is little more than an empty action romp.
Synopsis: Framed for a murder he did not commit, three-time speedway champ Jensen Ames (Jason Statham) finds himself at Terminal Island,... [More]
Directed By: Paul W.S. Anderson

#24

The Expendables (2010)
42%

#24
Adjusted Score: 49868%
Critics Consensus: It makes good on the old-school action it promises, but given all the talent on display, The Expendables should hit harder.
Synopsis: Mercenary leader Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his loyal men take on what they think is a routine assignment: a... [More]
Directed By: Sylvester Stallone

#23

Homefront (2013)
42%

#23
Adjusted Score: 46284%
Critics Consensus: While it boasts a capable cast, the disappointingly dull Homefront hearkens back to classic action thrillers without adding anything to the genre.
Synopsis: Hoping to escape from his troubled past, former DEA agent Phil Broker (Jason Statham) moves to a seemingly quiet backwater... [More]
Directed By: Gary Fleder

#22

The Meg (2018)
46%

#22
Adjusted Score: 63726%
Critics Consensus: The Meg sets audiences up for a good old-fashioned B-movie creature feature, but lacks the genre thrills -- or the cheesy bite -- to make it worth diving in.
Synopsis: Previously thought to be extinct, a massive creature attacks a deep-sea submersible, leaving it disabled and trapping the crew at... [More]
Directed By: Jon Turteltaub

#21

Blitz (2011)
48%

#21
Adjusted Score: 48077%
Critics Consensus: A middling crime thriller largely assembled from wearyingly familiar parts, Blitz sacks a game Jason Statham's performance behind the line of genre scrimmage.
Synopsis: A tough cop (Jason Statham) goes after a serial killer who targets police officers.... [More]
Directed By: Elliott Lester

#20

Redemption (2013)
49%

#20
Adjusted Score: 50284%
Critics Consensus: While it certainly has more on its mind than the average Jason Statham action thriller, Redemption doesn't quite capitalize on its premise -- or on its star's strong, committed performance.
Synopsis: A troubled war veteran (Jason Statham) assumes a new identity and becomes a vigilante in a bid to atone for... [More]
Directed By: Steven Knight

#19

Transporter 2 (2005)
52%

#19
Adjusted Score: 56452%
Critics Consensus: A stylish and more focused sequel to The Transporter, the movie is over-the-top fun for fans of the first movie.
Synopsis: Mercenary Frank Martin (Jason Statham) has accepted a job that seems easy enough, as chauffeur and bodyguard to young Jack... [More]
Directed By: Louis Leterrier

#18

The Mechanic (2011)
53%

#18
Adjusted Score: 59194%
Critics Consensus: Jason Statham and Ben Foster turn in enjoyable performances, but this superficial remake betrays them with mind-numbing violence and action thriller cliches.
Synopsis: One of an elite group of assassins, Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) may be the best in the business. Bishop carries... [More]
Directed By: Simon West

#17

The Transporter (2002)
54%

#17
Adjusted Score: 56853%
Critics Consensus: The Transporter delivers the action at the expense of coherent storytelling.
Synopsis: Ex-Special Forces operator Frank Martin (Jason Statham) lives what seems to be a quiet life along the French Mediterranean, hiring... [More]
Directed By: Corey Yuen

#16

Gnomeo & Juliet (2011)
55%

#16
Adjusted Score: 59557%
Critics Consensus: While it has moments of inspiration, Gnomeo and Juliet is often too self-referential for its own good.
Synopsis: In Stratford-Upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare, Miss Capulet and Mr. Montague feud over whose garden is the better. Garden gnomes... [More]
Directed By: Kelly Asbury

#15

Cellular (2004)
55%

#15
Adjusted Score: 60201%
Critics Consensus: Though it's gimmicky and occasionally feels like a high-end cell phone ad, Cellular is also an energetic and twisty thriller.
Synopsis: Schoolteacher Jessica Martin (Kim Basinger) is abducted by ruthless crook Ethan (Jason Statham) and brought to a remote hideout, where... [More]
Directed By: David R. Ellis

#14

Safe (2012)
59%

#14
Adjusted Score: 62274%
Critics Consensus: While hard-hitting and violently inventive, Safe ultimately proves too formulaic to set itself apart from the action thriller pack -- including some of its star's better films.
Synopsis: Luke Wright (Jason Statham) is a two-bit cage fighter, until the day he throws a fixed match. In retaliation, the... [More]
Directed By: Boaz Yakin

#13

Crank (2006)
61%

#13
Adjusted Score: 64573%
Critics Consensus: Crank's assaultive style and gleeful depravity may turn off casual action fans, but audiences seeking a strong dose of adrenaline will be thrilled by Jason Statham's raucous race against mortality.
Synopsis: Chev Chelios (Jason Statham), a hit man wanting to go straight, lets his latest target slip away, then he awakes... [More]

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 66186%
Critics Consensus: Crank: High Voltage delivers on its promises: a fast-paced, exciting thrill ride that doesn't take itself too seriously.
Synopsis: After surviving an incredible plunge to near-certain death, Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) is abducted by Chinese mobsters. Waking up three... [More]

#11

Wrath of Man (2021)
66%

#11
Adjusted Score: 79653%
Critics Consensus: Wrestling just enough stakes out of its thin plot, Wrath of Man sees Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham reunite for a fun, action-packed ride.
Synopsis: Mysterious and wild-eyed, a new security guard for a cash truck surprises his co-workers when he unleashes precision skills during... [More]
Directed By: Guy Ritchie

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 72216%
Critics Consensus: Taut, violent, and suitably self-deprecating, The Expendables 2 gives classic action fans everything they can reasonably expect from a star-studded shoot-'em-up -- for better and for worse.
Synopsis: Mercenary leader Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) and the rest of the Expendables team reunite when Mr.... [More]
Directed By: Simon West

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 90575%
Critics Consensus: The Fate of the Furious opens a new chapter in the franchise, fueled by the same infectious cast chemistry and over-the-top action fans have come to expect.
Synopsis: With Dom and Letty married, Brian and Mia retired and the rest of the crew exonerated, the globe-trotting team has... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray

#8
Adjusted Score: 88516%
Critics Consensus: Hobbs & Shaw doesn't rev as high as the franchise's best installments, but gets decent mileage out of its well-matched stars and over-the-top action sequences.
Synopsis: Brixton Lorr is a cybernetically enhanced soldier who possesses superhuman strength, a brilliant mind and a lethal pathogen that could... [More]
Directed By: David Leitch

#7

Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
71%

#7
Adjusted Score: 78448%
Critics Consensus: With high-octane humor and terrific action scenes, Fast & Furious 6 builds upon the winning blockbuster formula that made Fast 5 a critical and commercial success.
Synopsis: Since Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian's (Paul Walker) heist in Rio left them and their crew very rich people, they've... [More]
Directed By: Justin Lin

#6

The Italian Job (2003)
73%

#6
Adjusted Score: 78186%
Critics Consensus: Despite some iffy plot elements, The Italian Job succeeds in delivering an entertaining modern take on the original 1969 heist film, thanks to a charismatic cast.
Synopsis: After a heist in Venice, Steve (Edward Norton) turns on his partners in crime, killing safecracker John Bridger (Donald Sutherland)... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray

#5

Snatch (2000)
74%

#5
Adjusted Score: 78292%
Critics Consensus: Though perhaps a case of style over substance, Guy Ritchie's second crime caper is full of snappy dialogue, dark comedy, and interesting characters.
Synopsis: Illegal boxing promoter Turkish (Jason Statham) convinces gangster Brick Top (Alan Ford) to offer bets on bare-knuckle boxer Mickey (Brad... [More]
Directed By: Guy Ritchie

#4
Adjusted Score: 77268%
Critics Consensus: Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels is a grimy, twisted, and funny twist on the Tarantino hip gangster formula.
Synopsis: Eddy (Nick Moran) convinces three friends to pool funds for a high-stakes poker game against local crime boss Hatchet Harry... [More]
Directed By: Guy Ritchie

#3

The Bank Job (2008)
80%

#3
Adjusted Score: 84681%
Critics Consensus: Well cast and crisply directed, The Bank Job is a thoroughly entertaining British heist thriller.
Synopsis: Self-reformed petty criminal Terry Leather (Jason Statham) has become a financially struggling car dealer and settled into a pedestrian London... [More]
Directed By: Roger Donaldson

#2

Furious 7 (2015)
82%

#2
Adjusted Score: 92414%
Critics Consensus: Serving up a fresh round of over-the-top thrills while adding unexpected dramatic heft, Furious 7 keeps the franchise moving in more ways than one.
Synopsis: After defeating international terrorist Owen Shaw, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) and the rest of the crew... [More]
Directed By: James Wan

#1

Spy (2015)
95%

#1
Adjusted Score: 104610%
Critics Consensus: Simultaneously broad and progressive, Spy offers further proof that Melissa McCarthy and writer-director Paul Feig bring out the best in one another -- and delivers scores of belly laughs along the way.
Synopsis: Despite having solid field training, CIA analyst Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) has spent her entire career as a desk jockey,... [More]
Directed By: Paul Feig

With thirteen new releases in the UK cinemas this weekend, let Rotten Tomatoes help you sort the tinsel from the turkeys. We have animals on the loose in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, and Samuel L Jackson on the loose as a crazed LA cop in Lakeview Terrace. Also out this week is Transporter 3 starring Britain’s favourite action export, Jason ‘The Stath’ Statham, and British winter horror flick, The Children, bringing scares aplenty to the UK screens. But what did the local critics have to say?

Despite only achieving a measly 55% on the Tomatometer, the first Madagascar film was a huge commercial success, and so paved the way for the inevitable sequel. But does the law of diminishing returns apply to the sequel, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa? Currently standing at a Fresh 62% on the Tomatometer it would seem that the film has bucked the trend, with many critics succumbing to its improved animation and more consistent humour, though most of the scribes agreed the film will please more kids than adults. But hey, this is an animation, with zoo animals as the principal characters, so what did they expect?

Lakeview Terrace tells the story of a young middle class couple who move into a seemingly normal neighbourhood, only to be terrorised by their next door neighbour, who just happens to be the sociopathic racist cop Abel Turner, played with bristling menace by Samuel L Jackson. Released in the US back in September, the film was largely passed over by the critics, resulting in a lowly 44% on the Tomatometer. The films seems to have received a better response here in the UK, with 14 of the 17 reviews collated today being positive, meaning the UK-only Tomatometer rating would have been a much Fresher 82%.

Maybe the hard-hitting portrayal of interracial tension in middle-class Los Angeles was a little too close to the bone for the US critics to take Lakeview Terrace into their hearts? The UK critics all agreed that this was Samuel L Jackson’s best role for some time with Tim Evans of Sky Movies saying, “After multiplex clinkers like Jumper and Cleaner, Lakeview Terrace does give Jackson somewhere to move that actually brings the house down.” The film currently stands at a healthier, but still not Fresh, 49% on the Tomatometer.

With Madagascar 2 outshining its predecessor, does this week’s other sequel (or rather threequel) Transporter 3 also manage to outdo Frank Martin’s previous outings? Well, with each respective Transporter receiving 53%, 50% and now 36% for 3, even Jason Statham cannot save the latest from a Rotten rating, although, critical success is probably not something the makers of this franchise care too much for, as they still seem to make a boatload of cash regardless. The UK critics do love Statham though, with most praising his high octane action sequences and deadpan delivery with Rich Cline of Shadows On The Wall website summing it up by saying:

“Besson and Kamen somehow make a film that’s even dumber than part 2, which really takes some doing. But they’ve still got the superbly watchable Statham at the centre, so the script is fairly irrelevant.”

The Children is a home-grown British horror, in which Christmas holidays turn into a nightmare as all the children become infected with a virus turning them into blood thirsty terrors. The film currently stands at a Fresh 67% on the Tomatometer, with critics praising the chilling tension, killer set-pieces and effective suspense throughout, meaning The Children is worthy addition to the genre, and marks director Tom Shankland out as a future star of the UK film industry.

Quote Of The Week

“Tragedies strike and life lessons are learnt, homespun wisdom is dispensed. It’s simplistic to the point of total idiocy.”

The Secret Life Of Bees. Wendy Ide, The Times.

British actor Jason Statham has made a career of reviving a forgotten genre – that of the ultimate “guy flick” – by blending the ultra-cool masculinity of Steve McQueen, the physicality of 1980s action stars, and a post-modern, knowing slyness that belies the otherwise B-movie nature of many of his vehicles (all of which often make him the most engaging element of his own films). This week Statham returns to one of his best-known characters in Transporter 3: Frank Martin, the black market driver with a “no questions asked” policy and a knack for kicking ass without leaving so much as a wrinkle on his tailored designer suits.

While the first Transporter film (2002) was directed by acclaimed martial arts choreographer Corey Yuen, French director Louis Letterier took the helm for its follow-up, Transporter 2 (2005). This week newcomer Olivier Megaton takes the wheel for a bigger, faster Transporter 3, with Yuen returning to choreograph a leaner (and often shirtless) Statham in the film’s impressive action sequences.

Rotten Tomatoes spoke to Statham about his favorite films of all time, which surprisingly include a few Paul Newman classics and unsurprisingly include a Bruce Lee film. As our conversation continued, we also discussed the different feel of Transporter 3, Corey Yuen’s diminished role in the film’s action scenes, and his recently announced film, The Expendables, in which he’ll star with action legends Sylvester Stallone (who will also write and direct) and Jet Li.

 

Cool Hand Luke (1967, 100% Tomatometer)



Cool Hand Luke
I saw it years ago, when my mom and dad made me watch it. And I was like, “This guy [Paul Newman] is just the coolest dude ever.” He just had such charisma. It just really spoke to me, and it’s one of those films I can watch time and time again. Paul Newman! It was like, Oh my God, look at this guy, he’s so cool! It was pretty much the first time I saw Paul Newman and I’ve been hooked on most of his movies ever since.

The Godfather (1972,
100% Tomatometer), The Godfather Part II (1974, 98%)



Godfather
It’s just quality at its best. Fantastic writing, an amazing caliber of acting; just beautiful, everything about it. The details of the clothes, the sets — just a masterpiece. Again, I can watch any of the trilogy time and time again. [RT: Even Godfather 3??] Well…(laughs) Listen, the first two are so good.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969, 90% Tomatometer)



Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Another favorite movie is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Again, I can watch that movie a hundred times and never get tired. I think the pairing of Redford and Newman is amazing. Paul Newman and Robert Redford are just so good.

The Sting (1973, 91% Tomatometer)



The Sting

The Sting. I have a lot of Paul Newman films, don’t I? But they’re so good!

 

Enter the Dragon (1973,
97% Tomatometer)



Enter the Dragon

If we want to talk about the movies that have made an impact in what I do in the action realm — Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon. I’ve watched that countless times. That is a standalone pioneer in action movies, and anyone that was inspired by Bruce Lee…I’m sure everyone that has ever done an action movie has just drooled over how full of talent Bruce Lee was, and how unique he was.

[On the first time he saw Enter the Dragon]: I was a kid; my brother had posters of Bruce Lee on the wall. My brother’s you know, punching me and he was a lot bigger than me; I was like, what? I couldn’t see the movie, I was tiny. But as soon as I was able to steal the VHS and stick it in, it was like, Gee, this guy is just…so avant-garde, he’s years above, so far ahead of his own time. So that made a massive impact in my life.

Next: Jason Statham on Transporter 3, Corey Yuen’s diminished involvement, and his plans to team up with Sly Stallone and Jet Li.

I hear you visit Rotten Tomatoes…

Jason Statham: Sometimes, yeah! You’re making all these films, and sometimes – hey, listen, it can be quite depressing or it can give you a big head for all the wrong reasons. So I don’t know whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but sometimes you spend so many hours making these films…people are going to give an opinion on them, and everyone’s entitled to an opinion. There’s always good and there’s always bad. So it’s best not to take it too seriously, but at the same time it’s nice to know people support what you’re doing, and at the same time you also get the ol’ custard pie. “That was a piece of crap!” But at the end of the day, no one tries to make a bad movie. And people really do work hard. And there are a lot of people involved. And sometimes it doesn’t end up the way it was supposed to end up. So to think that some people just say, “Well that was a piece of shit…” It’s quite harsh when you read that. But at the end of the day, it’s just us trying to do good.

And you’re just a part of the whole picture…

JS: Yeah, you’re not solely responsible for the finished product. But it is what it is; people like feedback.

The Bank Job got great reviews.

JS: I know! I was like, hey, somebody likes a movie of mine!

[rtimage]MapID=1197818&MapTypeID=2&photo=12&legacy=1[/rtimage]
You mentioned how influential Bruce Lee was to you; in many of the scenes in your movies, but especially in Transporter 3, you seem to be going for such a precise physicality that is reminiscent of Bruce Lee’s lightning-quick moves and poses.

JS: Oh, God. Bruce Lee was just so lightning-fast. People try to emulate him in whatever way they can, but to try and do what he was doing…you’re just inspired by it; you’re not trying to say, look, I can do that. No one can do what he did.

And Corey Yuen, by the way, is the one that creates all these sequences. [Yuen directed the first Transporter film, served as second unit director on Transporter 2, and choreographed the action in Transporter 3.] He’s ultimately responsible for those choreographed pieces.

Now, Corey directed the first Transporter; the second film was by Louis Leterrier (Incredible Hulk). In the third Transporter, you’ve got a new director, Olivier Megaton. How different has it been working from movie to movie with these different directors?

[rtimage]MapID=1197818&MapTypeID=2&photo=11&legacy=1[/rtimage]
JS: think it’s difficult, because this time the action sequences took on a bit of a different twist. Normally Corey Yuen gets to edit the sequences; because he creates them, he’s responsible for the snip, snip, snip, and puts them together in his own musical way. But this time, Olivier – who’s obviously the director – he wanted to give it a new twist, a fresh twist, and basically put them together in what he saw as the best way. It’s only down to individual taste, really. I don’t know whether it was better…I hope it was.

But Corey still choreographed the sequences?

JS: Yes, but usually if you choreograph it, you usually edit it, too. But you know, Olivier has a very certain style of filmmaking, and it’s very stylistic and cool; I think he’s done a great job. But it is very different to the previous two. A lot faster; doesn’t have the silky-smooth feel. A little bit of timing was lost. But at the same time, some people like that; it’s a little more contemporary. It’s all about flavor, it’s all about what you like.

Can you talk a bit about The Expendables, which was just announced?

JS: Yeah, we’re gonna team up with Sly, who’s going to write, direct and star in The Expendables movie and I’m going along for the ride. With Jet Li as well! It’ll be a powerhouse combo – get out of the way, motherf***ers! (laughs) That’s what it should be called.

Will you be fighting each other?

JS: No, we’ll be on the same squad. There’ll be some ass to be kicked. I’m looking forward to it.

Want more Five Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Robert Pattinson, Kevin Smith, Guillermo del Toro, and Judd Apatow.

Jason Statham

Jason Statham got his big screen break in Guy Ritchie‘s first two films Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, before hitting Hollywood with starring roles in kung-fu film The One with Jet Li, as Frank Martin in The Transporter and in the hugely successful remake of The Italian Job. Jason has become the go-to guy for tough action characters with charm and humour, and has recently wowed critics with starring roles in Crank and The Bank Job, as well as two sequels to The Transporter franchise, and his latest role as Jensen Ames in the retooling of Roger Corman‘s Death Race 2000, Paul W.S. Anderson‘s Death Race.

RT caught up with him to learn more about the film and grill him on upcoming turns in Crank 2, Transporter 3 and the possibility of an appearance in Nick Love‘s version of The Sweeney.

Were you a fan of the original before you signed on for Death Race?

I was aware of it, but I never actually saw it. I bought the DVD, but its still in the cellophane. I remember sitting down with Paul and I said, “I bought the original.” He said, “Don’t worry; you don’t have to watch it.” The only similarity is that it’s a race to the death and it’s got Machine Gun Joe and Frankenstein – they’re two characters from the original – the rest is more homage. We didn’t get too tied down with trying to nail ourselves to the original. I mean, it’s 30 years ago now.

So there was no chance of it having any influence on how you would play it?

Exactly. He wanted to keep it fresh and not muddy the water, so that’s one of the exact reasons I didn’t watch it.

The cars looked awesome – how were they to drive? Did you get to do much driving yourself?

Yeah we did. They juiced up a couple of the ‘hero’ cars – they’re the ones that aren’t built to such a high extreme level, but one of them was 650 horsepower, and because they’re so heavy – they’d bolted on all these exterior plates, armour plating and all the other shit like the mini-guns – they needed to give it some extra juice so you can throw that thing around. But the vision out of those things is the worst, you know, there’s a little slit in the windscreen, no rear view mirror, no side view mirror, it’s a nightmare in terms of awareness of where your fellow drivers are. There were a lot of collisions, bumps and bangs but still a lot of fun.

Death Race

We’re big fans of Crank at RT, can you tell us anything about Crank 2? How was it to film?

It was great. Six weeks of madness. Neveldine and Taylor are the nuttiest directors I’ve ever worked for, and I’d repeatedly work for them time and time again, because they’re just so out there.

It’s so offensive. Whatever the first one was, this one’s more – just completely rude, offensive and plain mad in every way. It’s great, there’s no movie like it and they’ve exceeded all expectations. To go and do that – balls to the wall – with no worries about trying to tone anything down, or to try to make it believable, you know, it’s just like a video game. There’s nothing more fun to do than to go and make something like that kind of a film, it’s pretty unique.

Where did you film it all?

It’s all in LA again. We’ve got David Carradine and he plays ‘Puon Dong,’ this really mad Asian Mafia guy, that… well I don’t to give too much of the plot away! It’s got Dwight Yoakam in it again, Amy Smart’s back and there’s a couple of other nuggets that I’m not gonna tell you about, keep those as a surprise. Chev Chelios is running around with a plastic heart. They’re farming him for his organs, because he’s the man that cannot die, so they give him an ‘Aviacore,’ a totally artificial heart, and he’s trying to find his heart. I’m giving too much away now! [laughs] Step back… step back!

Is there any truth in the rumour that you’re appearing in The Sweeney? Were you a fan of the original?

Yeah, I loved The Sweeney. I think Nick Love is a great filmmaker and the fact that Ray Winstone‘s in it – he’s one of my favourite actors and always has been – I’d crawl over broken glass to work with him. But I don’t know what’s happening with it, I don’t know whether they’ve got the script in the right spot that we want it in, so who knows?

Are you excited about Transporter 3 coming out?

Transporter 3 I’m very excited about. I know from what we’ve shot, it has potential to be the best of the three. I’m going to see it next Friday for the first time, so I’ll know a bit more then. There’s a new girl, that Luke literally found on the streets of New York, she’s the new chick. We’ve got Corey Yoen back as the action choreographer, so there’s some great fight sequences, and Frank Martins just doing the same old thing.

This week, The Forbidden Kingdom, the long-awaited pairing of Jackie Chan and Jet Li, hits theaters. These two action legends have participated in many a fight over the years, so we figured it was a good time to count down some of the greatest movie brawls of all time.

With so many noteworthy celluloid scuffles to choose from, we felt we had to lay down some ground rules: no weapons allowed, and we’re looking for relatively even matches; we’ll cover the greatest beatdowns another time. These clips are often not for the squeamish, and some contain a good deal of profanity, so we’ve tagged those as NSFW. Without further ado, here are 20 of the greatest fight scenes of all time!


20. Road House (1989) 40%

Patrick Swayze vs. Ben Gazzara’s thugs
One of the most surreal entertainments ever cast out for mainstream consumption, Road House stars Patrick Swayze plays an NYU philosophy grad (!) who becomes a nationally-recognized bouncer (!!).This delirious camp classic features several over-the-top fight scenes; in this one, Swayze is joined by Sam Elliot (who’s sort of a Scottie Pippen to Swayze’s Michael Jordan in the bouncer game), and together, they tangle with the goons of the town’s evil plutocrat (Ben Gazzara) while the late, great Jeff Healy rocks out.


19. From Russia With Love (1963) 97%

Sean Connery vs. Robert Shaw
The James Bond movies have no shortage of memorable throwdowns (like this visceral battle on a stairwell in Casino Royale). One of the finest examples of 007’s superior hand skills is on display in this gritty, down-and-dirty fight from From Russia with Love. After setting off a smokescreen, Bond lays a hurting on SPECTRE assassin Red Grant in the closed quarters of a train cabin; the result is as vicious as anything in the Connery Bond films.


18. Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) 79%

Colin Firth vs. Hugh Grant
Though it’s one of the quintessential chick flicks of the last decade, Bridget Jones’s Diary takes time out from its titular character’s battles with her own self-esteem to feature a pretty brutal fight between two of her suitors. Colin Firth and Hugh Grant each land some devastating blows and kicks to the gut before soaring through a pane of glass. In addition, it’s almost certainly the greatest fight scene to feature “It’s Raining Men” on the soundtrack.


17. 2 Days in the Valley (1996) 62%

Charlize Theron vs. Teri Hatcher
Once Pulp Fiction hit, dozens of moderately budgeted, labyrinthine-plotted thrillers filled multiplexes, doing what they could to stand out. 2 Days in the Valley sets itself apart in a number of ways, not least of which is a hotel room-destroying donnybrook between Teri Hatcher and Charlize Theron. After trading some serious disses, our heroines trade punches and kicks, breaking a lot of glass in the process.


16. The Karate Kid (1984) 89%

Ralph Macchio vs. William Zabka
Repeat after me: “You’re the best/around/ nothin’s ever gonna keep you dowwwwnn!” The climactic fight in The Karate Kid may not feature the hyperkinetic athleticism of others on this list, but it’s one of the most iconic battles of 1980s cinema, as Daniel LaRusso finally overcomes those leg-sweeping Kobra Kai baddies who’ve been tormenting him. It also features some of the best dialogue ever, most notably, “Put him in a bodybag! YEEAAAHHH!”


15. Evil Dead 2 (1987) 95%

Bruce Campbell vs. his own right hand
We’re not sure if Bruce Campbell is religious, but his character should have heeded these words from the Gospel of Matthew: “If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee.” In a scene that brings new meaning to the term mano a mano, Campbell receives a thorough thrashing from his own possessed hand; his solution to this bizarre problem results in the kind of perverse hilarity fans of the Evil Dead series have come to treasure.


14. Night and the City (1950) 79%

Gegorius the Great vs. The Strangler
When Jules Dassin‘s classic noir Night and the City was first released, venerable New York Times scribe Bosley Crowther described it thusly: “If any more cruel, repulsive picture of human brutishness than this is ever screened, this writer has no desire to see it.” He was referring to this, a savage wrestling match between an aging Greco-Roman master and a thuggish upstart. Two-bit hustler Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) hopes to make a killing in the wrestling business, but his dreams slip away when two of the fighters duke it out behind closed doors out of mutual animosity. It’s coldly, heartlessly rendered scene, so tense and bone-rattling that subsequent decades haven’t dulled its impact.


13. Happy Gilmore (1996) 61%

Adam Sandler vs. Bob Barker
Adam Sandler has spent his career playing characters consumed by volcanic rage. In Happy Gilmore, Sandler is in rare form as an ex-hockey-enforcer-turned-pro-golfer, dispensing towering drives and brutal beatdowns with equal enthusiasm. In one of the most gloriously stoopid fights in recent cinema, The Price is Right host Bob Barker goads our hero into a brawl at a celebrity pro/am tournament by talking trash about his golf game — and proceeds to lay the smack down on the hapless Happy.


12. Game of Death (1979) 46%

Bruce Lee vs. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
In Bruce Lee‘s ill-fated final film, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar demonstrated his abilities extended far beyond the sky hook. “Extend” is the operative word here; as the sunlight-averse Hakim, Abdul-Jabbar has a distinct reach advantage on the diminutive action legend. Fortunately for Lee, he’s got an arsenal of moves at his disposal. It’s an eerie, hypnotic duel, and one of the quieter entries on this noisy list.


11. Charlie's Angels (2000) 69%

The Angels vs. Crispin Glover
As George McFly in Back to the Future, Crispin Glover proved he could go toe-to-toe with almost anyone when he felled Biff with some well-placed blows to the jaw. But he’s no match for Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and Drew Barrymore, who, after dodging swords and bullets, use some innovative teamwork to merge into one mean crime-fighting machine. This hyper-stylized brawl has a kicky (pun intended), gravity-defying energy courtesy of legendary fight choreographer Yuen Woo Ping.


10. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) 92%

Bourne vs. Desh
How did Jason Bourne obtain his sick fighting skills? It’s one of the questions that torments our hero throughout the Bourne series. However, one thing’s for sure: however he got them, he sure knows how to employ them. Bourne’s hand-to-hand proclivities are perhaps best showcased in The Bourne Ultimatum, as J.B. jumps off a roof through a window to throw down with the guy sent to kill him; he then proceeds to demonstrate a new definition of “book smart” and a nifty trick with a hand towel.


9. The Transporter (2002) 54%

Jason Staham vs. everybody in the bus depot
It’s the age-old complaint of action-phobes: “Why do the bad guys just stand around while the hero wrecks shop? Why don’t they all go at him at once?” In the case of The Transporter, a score of goons try just that — and it still doesn’t work! Trapped in a bus depot, the ever-enterprising Jason Statham uses just about everything at his disposal, from barrels of oil to the bad guys themselves. He even displays how a long-sleeve shirt can be used to keep multiple attackers at bay.


8. Snatch (2000) 74%

Brad Pitt vs. Elwin “Chopper” David
Forget Fight ClubSnatch features Brad Pitt‘s onscreen pugilistic pinnacle. Pitt plays the thickly-brogued bare-knuckle brawler Mickey O’Neil, a knockout artist so skilled — and so undisciplined — that he can’t bring himself to throw a fight, even with fortunes and lives on the line. Director Guy Ritchie‘s stylistic trademarks — super slow-mo, gonzo sound effects, a thumping soundtrack — are all on display, as O’Neil absorbs a staggering amount of punishment before landing the final blow.


7. They Live (1988) 85%

“Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Keith David
In They Live, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Keith David beat the stuffing out of each other for five minutes. We’re talking suplexes, head-butts, knees to the groin; in other words, the works. Why, you ask? Well, Piper wants David to wear a pair of sunglasses that will help him understand the truth about an alien conspiracy to destroy humanity. You see, these guys are friends. I mean, if the stakes were that high, you’d resort to such extreme measures too, right? What are friends for?


6. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) 95%

Indiana Jones vs. the big, bald Nazi
Try as he might, Indiana Jones can’t seem to avoid engaging in fracases on or near moving vehicles. In The Last Crusade, he dispatched multiple villains on a careening tank, and in this imbroglio from Raiders of the Lost Ark, he has to dodge both flying fists and merciless propellers. Indy just wants to fly to safety, but he’s coaxed into battle by a much larger opponent; the result is probably the most memorable fight from the Indiana Jones series. Plus, who doesn’t love seeing some Nazis get their just desserts?


5. Fist of Legend (1994) 100%

Jet Li vs. Billy Chow
Long before Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (a project he turned down), wushu master Jet Li was making historical martial arts films that were epic in scope and dazzling in their fight choreography. While Hero and the Once Upon a Time in China series established Li as a global star, aficionados point to Fist of Legend as his finest effort. A loose remake of Bruce Lee‘s legendary Fists of Fury, Legend finds Li embarking on a mission to avenge the death of his master amidst the turbulent times of the second Sino-Japanese War. The final battle in Fist of Legend features some of the most amazing flying kicks, lightning-fast punches, and statue and bench destruction ever committed to film (heck, even Jet’s slaps are potent).


4. Drunken Master II (1994) 84%

Jackie Chan vs. Ken Lo
Combining unimpeachable martial arts technique with the slapstick comedy and death-defying stuntwork of silent clown Buster Keaton, Jackie Chan changed the face of action cinema. Chan’s filmography is rich with potent fight scenes, but the final battle in The Legend of Drunken Master may be his apex. As a master of “drunken boxing” — so named because inebriation helps loosen the body and lessen pain — Chan attempts to thwart the smuggling of priceless artifacts out of China. It all culminates in a climactic battle royale in a steel factory — a sequence of astonishing dexterity and grace that combines full tilt punches and kicks with maniacal physical comedy.


3. The Matrix (1999) 88%

Neo vs. Agent Smith
Technically influential and viscerally exhilarating, The Matrix‘s subway fight raised the bar for action cinema — and convinced a bunch of people to run out and buy DVD players. With its time-freezing camera effects and Hong Kong-derived fight choreography (courtesy of master Yuen Woo Ping), this duel between Keanu Reeves and Hugo Weaving brought the movie’s philosophical, what-is-reality musings to a full tilt climax.


2. The Protector (2005) 53%

Tony Jaa vs. everybody
As an attempt to sell Tony Jaa to American audiences, The Protector didn’t quite pan out. But it contains a scene of such crazed genius and technical mastery that it warrants the #2 spot on this list. As Jaa ascends the circular staircase of a hotel, he brings the pain to scores of opponents, twisting arms, breaking glass, and throwing people off balconies. It’s all captured in a stunning five-minute tracking shot (it’s the Russian Ark of action sequences) that seems like it’s getting winded just keeping up.


1. Rocky (1976) 91%

Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed
Here it is — the most influential and iconic bout in the history of Hollywood. Rocky’s battle with Apollo Creed has been reworked in countless ways across numerous genres; it’s evoked in virtually every scrappy-underdog tale. However, none have been quite able to match the original for spine-tingling tension. Even its over-familiarity (it plays on Jumbotrons in sports arenas virtually every night) hasn’t dulled its impact; in addition to being breathlessly exciting and dramatically potent, it doesn’t end quite the way you’d expect.

For its third chart-topper of the year, Warner Bros. is going back in time with its ancient adventure 10,000 BC which aims to revitalize a box office on the verge of extinction. Adding to the mix are Disney’s family comedy College Road Trip and the Lionsgate actioner The Bank Job. With ticket sales hitting a three-month low last weekend, the marketplace has nowhere to go but up.

Roland Emmerich follows up his past blockbusters Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow with the action adventure tale 10,000 BC which looks to dominate the box office with ease. Boasting no major stars, the PG-13 film tells the story of a group of prehistoric tribesmen (who happen to speak perfect English) on a treacherous journey to save their kidnapped friends. Warner Bros. has tossed plenty of marketing dollars behind its big-budget offering as it does every spring with an action title not big enough to beat the summer behemoths.

Given the generic story and historical inaccuracies, look for big drops in the weeks ahead. But the opening weekend should be strong for a few reasons. A solid promotional push promises audiences a huge spectacle on the big screen that is worth paying to see. Plus the marketplace has nothing else exciting, especially for teens and young adults, so that key box office demo will show up in large numbers. The studio will be thrilled if the per-theater average can match the film’s title. Attacking 3,410 locations, 10,000 BC may debut with around $32M this weekend.


The main protagonists of 10,000 B.C.

Having completed successful kidpic makeovers for Vin Diesel and The Rock, the Disney machine now turns its attention to Martin Lawrence who stars in his first G-rated flick ever – College Road Trip. The family comedy co-stars former Cosby kid Raven Symone, who also serves as a producer, playing the teenage daughter looking at prospective colleges to attend. The Mouse House has a patented formula when it comes to manufacturing and marketing family content like this. Lawrence and Symone will draw upon two different audience groups to attract sales and the Disney brand name will add extra glow. There is very little competition for this crowd right now so Trip should hit its mark. The opening may not reach the $30.6M of The Pacifier or the $23M of The Game Plan, nor will it be a top spot bow like those two, but a solid debut is assured. Driving into 2,706 theaters, College Road Trip could collect roughly $18M this weekend.


One of the many hijinks in College Road Trip.

Action fans not interested in the era Before Christ can get their kicks from Jason Statham‘s latest pic The Bank Job. The R-rated heist thriller should play exclusively to the actor’s action fans, but don’t expect this one to be among his top-grossing titles. The marketing push has not been as loud as those for his recent film War or his Transporter vehicles plus a more narrow release is planned. Crossover appeal beyond his core base is unlikely. A sack full of about $6M from 1,603 vaults seems likely for The Bank Job this weekend.


Jason Statham and Saffron Burrows in The Bank Job.

Last weekend’s top player Semi-Pro will face some direct competition for young men from the new caveman flick. Look for a 45% drop to about $8M for the New Line release giving the Will Ferrell comedy $27M in ten days.

Vantage Point posted a respectable sophomore session and could stabilize in the third outing. Sony may dip by 40% to around $7.5M for a cume of $51M after 17 days. Paramount’s The Spiderwick Chronicles will finally face off against another offering for families thanks to Disney and Martin. A 35% decline would leave the fantasy pic with $5.5M for the session and lift the total to $62M.

LAST YEAR: Shattering records left and right, the Spartan sensation 300 exploded on the scene to a colossal opening of $70.9M. Warner Bros. hauled in a mammoth $210.6M from North America and a towering $456M worldwide. Far back in second but with a solid hold was the comedy Wild Hogs with $27.6M. The dynamic duo combined for nearly $100M in ticket sales over the weekend making it a summer-like frame. Three holdovers rounded out the top five with nearly identical figures. Disney’s Bridge to Terabithia captured $6.8M, Sony’s Ghost Rider took in $6.7M, and Zodiac grossed $6.6M for Paramount.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

We all know Jason Statham is a bona fide action star — poised to add to extend his credentials with The Bank Job, Crank 2, and The Transporter 3. But how long can he swim?

In a recent interview with IESB, Statham revealed that moviegoers might have had a chance to find out the answer to that last question, if things had turned out a little differently. Asked to name any comic book characters he might like to play, he responded:

Let me think… It’s funny, I took a meeting for Sub-Mariner. I don’t know if I’d look right running around in a tight speedo with wings on my ankles, but there’s so many cool…characters.

What sort of cool characters, you ask? Well, after expressing regret over not winding up working on The Incredible Hulk with his Transporter 2 director, Louis Leterrier, Statham continued speculating:

You know, there’s talk of them redoing The Crow. That was a good movie with Brandon Lee, although that was years ago. So if that one comes my way, bang! You know, there’s so many comic book movies out there, and most of the time, there’s only a handful of people who can do them any justice. Hopefully, they’ll come my way for one of them.

Moving on to projects that are actually in the pipeline, Statham talked about Crank 2 and The Transporter 3, good-naturedly shrugging his shoulders at the prospect of doing back-to-back sequels:

Yeah, two franchises…You want to do something you want to do, and you want to do something that people want you to do. You don’t want to just do a movie to be different…Right at the time, Transporter 3 and Crank 2 made the most sense because they’re the characters people like. People like to pigeonhole you into the corner of that’s all you can do, but they’re going to do that anyway…If everyone enjoys it, then great. You can never please everyone.

Before heading into sequel territory, Statham will be seen in the based-on-true-events The Bank Job, opening March 7.

Source: IESB

If you’re making a gritty action flick and you need a hardcore bad-ass for the lead role, heck, you could do a whole lot worse than Jason Statham.

Statham, best known for his work in "Crank," "Snatch," and both "Transporter" flicks, is about to sign on to star in Paul (W.S, not Thomas) Anderson’s "Death Race," which is a (yep) remake of a 1975 Roger Corman movie called "Death Race 2000." (That one starred Sylvester Stallone, David Carradine, and Martin Kove.)

If memory serves, "DR2K" was a tongue-in-cheek, yet really violent, sci-fi adventure about a vicious road race in which drivers got bonus points for mayhem and murder. (I may have to give that flick a fresh rental.) One wonders if Anderson’s new version (he’s writing and directing) will be more of a full-bore action movie. Nothing against the guy, but flicks like "Soldier," "Resident Evil," and "Alien vs. Predator" don’t exactly scream "sense of humor."

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

With the success of "The Transporter" and "Transporter 2," completing the trilogy seems like a no brainer. Yet, there has been little confirmation about plans to move forward, until now. Producer Luc Besson suggested a start date for a third adventure of Frank Martin the Driver.

"Probably March/April," Besson said, referring to 2008, not the current month.

Besson created the character and cowrote the scripts, as well as produced the first two "Transporter" films. Expect him to remain creatively involved in part three. "It’s too much fun," he grinned like a little kid playing with his toys.

With an early 2008 start, it is conceivable that the film could be finished in time for the September slot the first two films had. However, these are still early talks and Besson is not announcing any release dates.

Moviegoers had football on their minds for the second straight weekend as Disney’s true-life NFL tale "Invincible" remained atop the North American box office over the long Labor Day holiday weekend finishing off another summer movie season. New releases "Crank" and "The Wicker Man" opened in second and third, respectively, while the critically acclaimed films "Little Miss Sunshine" and "The Illusionist" both scored strong per-theater averages in moderate release. The holiday frame marked the first weekend in six long months where no new film debuted with at least $15M. Hollywood was happy to close the books on a summer movie season that was slightly better than than last year’s.

Retaining its first-place position, Mark Wahlberg‘s "Invincible" grossed an estimated $15.2M over the four-day Friday-to-Monday holiday weekend and remained the most popular movie in North America. After 11 days of release, the feel-good drama about a 30-year-old bartender who earned a spot on the Philadelphia Eagles starting lineup has grossed a solid $37.8M and could be headed for the neighborhood of $60-70M.

It was only fitting that Disney topped the box office charts as the summer came to an end. Since the summer movie season kicked off on May 5 with "Mission: Impossible III," Buena Vista has grossed $786M at the multiplexes beating out all other studios. Disney’s success was powered by the summer’s two highest grossing hits, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest" ($414.2M) and "Cars" ($242M), but also included surprise late-summer winners like "Invincible" and "Step Up." It was a drastic turnaround from last summer when the Mouse House’s biggest film was "Herbie: Fully Loaded" with $66M.

Opening in second place was action star Jason Statham‘s new thriller "Crank" with an estimated $13M over four days from 2,515 theaters. Averaging a commendable $5,169 per site, the R-rated film features a poisoned hitman who will die if he can’t keep his adrenaline up constantly. The Lionsgate release opened better than Statham’s 2002 film "The Transporter" ($9.1M in three days) but did not reach the $20.1M bow of his action sequel "Transporter 2" which ruled the Labor Day frame a year ago. That number one hit carried a commercially friendly PG-13 rating and kicked its way into 800 more theaters. Over the Friday-to-Sunday span, "Crank" grossed $10.3M and averaged $4,095.

Nicolas Cage opened his new suspense thriller "The Wicker Man" close behind in third place with an estimated $11.7M in ticket sales over the Friday-to-Monday holiday session. The Warner Bros. remake about a cop who investigates a missing girl averaged a mediocre $4,210 from 2,784 theatrs over four days. The PG-13 film grossed $9.6M in three days for a mild average of $3,448. Cage appeared twice in the top ten as his previous film "World Trade Center" finished further down in ninth place.

Two smaller films successfully expanding into national release followed and scored the best averages among all the wide releases. Fox Searchlight’s road comedy "Little Miss Sunshine" ranked fourth for the weekend with an estimated $9.7M over four days with $7.6M over the Friday-to-Sunday portion. It was the second weekend in a row that actor Greg Kinnear had two films in the top five. He plays a supporting role in "Invincible" as well. "Sunshine" averaged a strong $6,071 from 1,602 theaters over four days pushing its total to $35.8M and counting. At its current rate, it should eventually surpass "Miami Vice" as the top-grossing R-rated film to come out of the summer.

Rookie distributor Yari Film Group did an excellent job expanding its period mystery "The Illusionist" into national release and jumped into fifth place with an estimated four-day gross of $8M. Expanding from 144 to 971 theaters, the Edward NortonPaul Giamatti drama scored the best average in the top ten with a sturdy $8,261 per venue. Cume now stands at $12.1M. The distributor scored excellent averages during its two weeks in limited release allowing positive word-of-mouth to spread for a film that was not easy to sell at a time when there were plenty of good choices for mature adults. Another 400 theaters will be added on Friday.

A trio of comedies followed. Sony’s Will Ferrell hit "Talladega Nights" grossed an estimated $7.7M over four days and lifted its cume to a stellar $138.4M making it the top-grossing comedy of the summer. Paramount’s animated pic "Barnyard" took in an estimated $6.4M pushing its total to $63.6M. The teen flick "Accepted" placed eighth and collected an estimated $5.9M giving Universal $29.4M to date.

Rounding out the top ten were the 9/11 drama "World Trade Center" with an estimated $5.8M over four days and the dance saga "Step Up" with $5.5M, according to estimates. Paramount’s Oliver Stone film has taken in a solid $63.7M thus far while Buena Vista’s surprise hit has taken in $58.4M.

Opening quietly outside of the top ten was the street basketball drama "Crossover" with an estimated $4.5M over four days from a moderate release in 1,023 theaters. Sony averaged a decent $4,399 over the long weekend on the $6M film which played mostly to a young urban audience.

Platforming to muscular numbers was the IFC Films doc "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" which grossed an estimated $42,000 from solo houses in New York and Los Angeles for a potent $20,832 average. The unrated expose that examines the ratings board of the MPAA will continue to expand throughout September.

Three films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. The raunchy comedy "Beerfest" tumbled to an estimated $4.6M over four days giving Warner Bros. only $14.8M in 11 days. A $20M final seems likely. Universal’s OutKast pic "Idlewild" took in an estimated $2.9M in its sophomore session giving the music-driven film only $9.9M in 11 days. Look for a $14M conclusion. New Line’s buzzworthy action-horror pic "Snakes on a Plane" has scared up just over $31M to date and is set to end with a final domestic gross close to its $35M production budget.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $89M over four days which was down 3% from last year when "Transporter 2" debuted at number one with $20.1M; but up 19% from 2004 when "Hero" remained in the top spot with $11.5M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

The summer movie season comes to an official end with the Labor Day holiday weekend unleashing three new releases plus the national expansion of a fourth.

Lionsgate offers the action crowd "Crank," Warner Bros. provides the suspense thriller "The Wicker Man," Sony takes a shot with the basketball drama "Crossover," and Yari Film Group goes nationwide with its period thriller "The Illusionist." Each is hoping that current champ "Invincible" will fumble the ball. The summer-ending frame is often a time when moviegoers catch up on hit films they haven’t seen yet so notable holdovers could see their four-day grosses grow beyond their three-day takes from last weekend. Overall, the marketplace remains overcrowded with too many films fighting to get a slice of the box office pie.

British action star Jason Statham attacks the U.S. for the second Labor Day weekend in a row with his latest pic "Crank." Co-starring Amy Smart, the Lionsgate release sees the actor playing a poisoned hitman who must keep his adrenaline up in order to stay alive. Unlike his PG-13 "Transporter" flicks, "Crank" carries a more restrictive R rating which could narrow its target audience. It’s been a tough summer for R-rated action films with movies like "Snakes on a Plane" and "Miami Vice" both underperforming. But if there’s any distributor who can successfully target young adult males with these types of films with intriguing concepts, it’s the "Saw" studio.


Jason Statham showing off his dramatic range

"Snakes" was the only pure action film in the top ten last weekend so competition for "Crank" may not be too fierce. Statham has seen his starpower grow in the last couple of years and that might benefit his latest pic too. Still, the marquees are jam packed with choices this weekend so it will be tough to fight off other films and convince moviegoers that their time and money should be best spent here. A year ago this weekend, "Transporter 2" opened at number one with a four-day tally of $20.1M. However, that Fox pic was a sequel, had a less restrictive rating, and bowed in 900 more theaters. Given "Crank’s" debut in about 2,400 locations, it could end up with around $13M over the long Friday-to-Monday period.

With his twin towers drama still in the top ten, Nicolas Cage hits the big screen for the second time in a month with the psychological thriller "The Wicker Man." The PG-13 film stars the Oscar-winning actor as a cop investigating a cult while looking for a missing girl. Labor Day weekend has been a good time for creepy thrillers, especially for ones that appeal to high school and college students like the "Jeepers Creepers" pics. "Wicker Man’s" rating will help its cause, but whether it can excite teens will determine how big it can become. With a half-dozen production companies, six producers, and seven executive producers all involved, it’s hard to say if this is really director Neil LaBute‘s film. Warner Bros. has given "Wicker" a decent marketing push, but it has not become a must-see thriller. A marketplace flooded with pictures will provide plenty of competition for adults and this one will have to work extra hard to stand out in the crowd. Ending a disappointing summer for the studio, "The Wicker Man" bows in over 2,500 theaters and could scare up around $12M over the four-day period.


Nicolas Cage and Ellen Burstyn in "The Wicker Man"

Sony goes after the urban youth audience with its new basketball drama "Crossover" which finds two young streetballers competing in the world of underground hoops. The PG-13 film is getting a moderate release in 1,023 theaters which will limit its potential, however a solid per-theater average could result. Compared to reigning box office champ "Invincible," this new sports drama will attract a much more ethnic audience and should play primarily to teens and young adults. "Idlewild" will provide some competition for African American moviegoers, however the OutKast pic is playing to an older audience. With Anthony Mackie, Wesley Jonathan, and Wayne Brady heading up the cast, "Crossover" does not offer up much starpower. But it could be a short-term choice for the back-to-school crowd in urban markets. Over the Friday-to-Monday holiday span, "Crossover" might shoot up about $5M.


The first rule of underground streetball is…

After two weeks of strong results in limited release, the period mystery "The Illusionist" expands wide from 144 theaters to approximately 1,000 sites across North America. One of the summer’s best-reviewed films, the Edward NortonPaul Giamatti drama opened in 51 theaters with a powerful $18,195 average and widened on its second frame scoring a still-potent $12,745 average. Glowing praise from critics and solid word-of-mouth could help sell "The Illusionist" to moviegoers who would not ordinarily buy tickets to a film with these stars. Competition will be tough, though. For only the second time all year, ten films surpassed $5M last weekend and most are looking to remain relevant over the holiday session. "The Illusionist" could capture the same amount over four days this weekend pushing its cume to about $9M.


Those illusionists get all the chicks

More new movies enter into limited release on Friday. IFC Films unveils the documentary "This Film is Not Yet Rated" in exclusive engagements in New York and Los Angeles. The unrated film (it was given an NC-17, but is going out with no official rating) explores the mystery behind the movie ratings system as determined by the Motion Picture Association of America. Writer/director Ed Burns returns to theaters as a private investigator searching for a missing woman in "Looking for Kitty." The R-rated drama is being released in one solo New York house by ThinkFilm.

Last weekend, Mark Wahlberg‘s football drama "Invincible" scored a number one opening and was the only film to attract more than $10M in ticket sales over the frame. Word of mouth has been good and the Disney release would like nothing more than to land another win over the holiday session. The four-day gross might see only a small drop from last weekend’s three-day bow. A decline to about $15M would give "Invincible" a total of $38M after 11 days.

Labor Day weekend has historically been a great time for hot late-summer indie films to reach out to broader audiences and "Little Miss Sunshine" hopes to be the latest one to capitalize on its buzz. Four-day increases over the previous three-day weekends in recent years have included 17% for "March of the Penguins" last year, 35% for "Garden State" in 2004, 80% for "Napoleon Dynamite" that same year, and a whopping 104% for "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" in 2002. That PG-rated blockbuster added about 300 theaters over the holiday frame while the R-rated "Sunshine" will only increase its current count of 1,430 by a hundred or so. The Fox Searchlight hit could charm about $9.5M from ticket buyers over the long weekend and boost its cume to $36M.

LAST YEAR Jason Statham ruled the Labor Day weekend box office with the number one opening of his action sequel "Transporter 2" which grossed $20.1M over four days. The Fox hit went on to collect $43.1M. The comedy sensation "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" slipped to second place with $16.5M over four days displaying another great hold in its third frame. Debuting in third with $11M was the thriller "The Constant Gardener" from Focus which went on to gross $33.6M and become a major awards contender. Rounding out the top five were the DreamWorks suspense flick "Red Eye" with $9.4M and Miramax’s adventure pic "The Brothers Grimm" with $9M. Two new films opened with weak results outside of the top ten. Miramax’s "Underclassman" bowed to $3.1M on its way to $5.7M while Warner Bros. took in just $1.2M for "A Sound of Thunder" leading to only a $1.9M final.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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