If you watched the Toy Story movies and thought “Nah, not dark enough,” then boy, does New Line have something exciting for you.
Variety reports that the studio has optioned The Plucker, the first illustrated novel from the artist known only as Brom. A synopsis, from the Variety article:
Published in 2005 by Harry Abrams, “The Plucker” revolves around a toy jack-in-the-box that awakens beneath its owner’s bed and realizes it has been relegated to a place where undesired playthings go to die. There, he discovers the Plucker, a malevolent spirit from a mysterious new toy that has evil designs on the young owner of the toys.
Even if you think you’re unfamiliar with Brom’s work, chances are that you’ve seen it without realizing it; he’s contributed conceptual artwork to a number of games and films, including Doom II, Diablo II, Van Helsing, Sleepy Hollow, and, um, Scooby-Doo. No director has been chosen for the movie, but the article does deliver the completely unexpected news that the producers “were introduced to the book by actor Channing Tatum, who’ll likely take some producing credit.”
We’ve been hearing all sorts of rumors about Warner Bros. unleashing a direct-to-video sequel to "The Lost Boys," and that particular project does seem to be moving forward … but those nutty folks over at the newly-formed "Warner Premiere" simply MUST have grown up in the 1980s.
According to Moviehole.net, Warner Premiere is not only planning a "Lost Boys 2," but (allegedly) a "Goonies 2," a "New Jack City 2," a "Scooby-Doo 3," and a … "Gremlins 3"? Really??
Now, before you get all excited, let me remind you that Warner Premiere is WB’s new direct-to-video division — so even if any of the aforementioned sequels get made, we’re talking first-time directors and seriously low budgets. Maybe the Premiere folks should stay away from the big FX movies while they’re just getting started. Surely a "Spies Like Us" or "Wildcats" sequel would be a smarter investment.
Reunion fever hits the multiplexes this weekend as four new releases debut bringing together a lot of familiar faces.
Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock reunite in the romantic drama The Lake House which will play to adult women, while Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties reassembles the cast of the first film in a new British adventure aimed at families. Another sequel taking a successful formula and transplanting it into another country is the action pic The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift which hopes to entice young guys. But the one new film which could flex the most muscle is Jack Black‘s wrestling comedy Nacho Libre which also will be attacking younger boys. With six films reaching double-digit millions last weekend, and four new potent entries opening on Friday, the marketplace will certainly be crowded.
Fresh from his battle with the eighth wonder of the world, Jack Black returns to his bread and butter with the new Paramount comedy Nacho Libre. The PG-rated film is directed by Jared Hess, who helmed the 2004 sleeper hit Napoleon Dynamite, and sees Black playing a cook who moonlights as a masked grappler south of the border. Shooting directly for immature adolescents, Nacho is purely a marketing-driven film for summer kids. Rather than spend its time and money opening the door for hundreds of critics to pan the pic early on, Paramount has instead chosen to put all its force behind its advertising campaign and is so confident in the excitement it has been building, it is launching the film early on Thursday night with 10pm showtimes at select theaters across the country. Since the movie skews younger, the earlier time should make it more accessible than the standard midnight shows.
Black certainly can shine in the comedy genre as evidenced by his 2003 hit School of Rock which opened at number one with $19.6M on its way to a robust $81.3M. Plus with Viacom sibling Nickelodeon adding its promotional muscle, and school children starting their summer vacations and looking for mindless entertainment to rot their brains, Nacho could be the hot item on the menu. Older boys may be distracted by the Fast and the Furious sequel this weekend which could put a limit on how high Nacho can fly. Plus the Disney/Pixar hit Cars is only in its second weekend so competition for kids will be fierce. Body slamming its foes in over 2,800 theaters, Nacho Libre might pin down about $24M over the weekend.
Universal kicks in the nitrous oxide for a third time in its street racing actioner The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Ditching all the major stars of the first two installments (sort of), this PG-13 entry takes the tough-guy-likes-to-race-and-be-cool formula and moves the setting to Japan where an American must learn the local style of racing in order to score some street cred. Paul Walker who starred in the original 2001 surprise blockbuster and the very successful 2003 follow-up 2 Fast 2 Furious is nowhere to be found. Instead, the lead role is taken by Lucas Black (Friday Night Lights, Jarhead) while the rapper-turned-actor slot filled previously by Ja Rule and Ludacris now gets passed on to Bow Wow (Like Mike, Roll Bounce). With little starpower, concept will have to sell here.
Since Drift is the third dip into the same well, and with the recognizable stars from before not starring again, some fans of the previous films will wait for this one on a "tricked out" DVD. Young guys are the core audience here and with schools letting out for the summer, many will give Drift a chance hoping it will be a summer thrill ride. Acting and writing score pretty low in this one, but the target audience is not likely to care too much since there is an abundance of hot cars and hot babes. But Nacho Libre could put a dent in the grosses since it will be stealing away many of the same young males this weekend. Tokyo Drift is not likely to reach the openings of the first two Furious pics which bowed to $40.1M and $50.5M, respectively. Speeding into 3,027 locations, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift may cross the finish line with around $21M.
Twelve years and one week after they crashed into theaters in Speed, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock reteam but this time in a romantic drama starring in The Lake House. A remake of the Korean film Il Mare, the PG-rated film tells the story of a man and woman, two years apart in time, who communicate with each other through the mailbox of a lake house and fall in love. Sci-fi and romance don’t snuggle up too often, so this Warner Bros. release prides itself on a story that has a unique twist to it. But it’s really the starpower that will drive sales for The Lake House. These actors look good together and mature adults will be sold. In some ways, Lake House resembles the Al Pacino-Robert De Niro actioner Heat in that moviegoers will be drawn in by two leads who hardly share any actual screen time together. But that shouldn’t matter to Speed freaks everywhere who would love to see Reeves and Bullock back together again without a looney Dennis Hopper trying to blow them up.
Adult women will overwhelmingly make up the audience here. Lake House should play to the same crowd that came out for two other star-driven films aimed at older women in the first half of the summer of 2002. The Richard Gere–Diane Lane drama Unfaithful opened to $14.1M and a $5,383 average in May while Bullock’s Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood debuted to $16.2M and a $6,449 average a month later. Many of the same folks will hit theaters this weekend. Competition will come from The Break-Up which also has been skewing heavily female although Cars will be a factor as well since it has been pulling in moms with small children. Given the ages of the stars, Lake House should also do well with twentysomething single women too. Opening in 2,645 theaters, The Lake House could open with about $17M this weekend.
Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and the vocal chords of Bill Murray reunite for the family comedy Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties. The PG-rated film is the sequel to Fox’s Garfield: The Movie which was a solid hit two years ago when it opened to $21.7M on its way to $75.4M domestically and nearly $200M worldwide. With strong international sales, and further success on video and television, the studio decided that a sequel could bring in more profits. This new tale finds everyone’s favorite fat cat going to England where he is mistaken for a local feline who is royalty. The studio has had a tough problem finding the right release date. Garfield was originally scheduled to open next Friday, one week ahead of Superman Returns, but was moved up one week and now must face the sophomore frame of Cars which is already doing brisk biz with the exact same audience.
While the first film was successful, it did not become the type of pop culture smash that had fans demanding more. Fox’s best bet might be with families that already came out to see the Pixar toon. Long-term success may also be tough since kids of all ages will have interest in seeing the Man of Steel. The studio’s marketing push has been commendable and there is somewhat of a built-in fan base the film will tap into. But it may find itself on the same path as the Scooby Doo sequel which went on to gross 45% less than its predecessor. Opening in over 2,900 theaters, Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties might debut with around $14M this weekend.
Opening in a pair of New York sites is the IFC Films release Wordplay, a documentary that looks at The New York Times crossword puzzles and the celebs that just can’t get enough of them. The PG-rated film played at the Sundance and Tribeca film festivals earlier this year and features commentary from such crossword fans as Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, and Jon Stewart. The former commander-in-chief even snagged the coveted "and" credit.
With all the new drivers on the highway, Cars will try to stay ahead of the pack and hold onto pole position in its second lap. The Disney/Pixar film’s $60.1M bow was slightly below what the industry was expecting given the track record of the pair’s previous computer animated movies. However, their digital toons usually have good legs and with more kids getting out of school this week, a solid sophomore performance should result. The Incredibles dropped only 29% in its second weekend in November 2004 while Finding Nemo slipped 34% in June 2003.
Cars has been holding up well mid-week as its target audience has become more available. Although it opened behind the $68M launch of Ice Age: The Meltdown this past spring, the stronger weekday business should allow Cars to match or exceed the $81.9M gross that the prehistoric sequel collected in its first seven days. Garfield will take away some of the family audience and Nacho Libre should distract many young boys so competition will be fierce. A 45% drop for Cars would give the toon about $33M for the frame keeping it in the number one spot. That would give Disney a robust $115M in ten days.
Keanu and Sandra will steal away the attention of women from Vince and Jennifer this weekend. The Break-Up will face direct competition from The Lake House for its core audience of adult females so another sizable drop could be in the works. A 40% fall would give Universal a weekend tally of around $12M pushing the 17-day cume to a still-impressive $94M.
Fox grabbed $16M and change last weekend with each of its films X-Men: The Last Stand and The Omen. The mutant saga could see sales get sliced in half while the horror remake, because of its mid-week launch, might suffer a slightly smaller decline. This weekend could find Omen taking in roughly $9M for a $50M total and X-Men grossing about $8M boosting its cume to $216M making it the top-grossing installment of the franchise.
LAST YEAR: Super hero power hit the box office with the top spot debut of Batman Begins which relaunched a profitable franchise for Warner Bros. with its $48.7M opening weekend. Bowing on Wednesday, the Caped Crusader grossed a solid $72.9M over five days and went on to display good legs reaching $205.3M domestically and over $370M worldwide. The rest of the top films all got bumped down a notch by the Dark Knight. Fox’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith placed second with $26M in its sophomore frame while DreamWorks followed with Madagascar which took in $10.7M in its fourth adventure. Fox reappeared in the number four slot with $10M for Star Wars Episode III and Paramount rounded out the top five with The Longest Yard which scored $8.2M. The only other new wide release to challenge Batman was the chick flick The Perfect Man starring Hilary Duff and Heather Locklear. The Universal title opened to just $5.3M on its way to $16.5M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Bay Area RTers, get yourselves to San Francisco this weekend for the annual SF International Film Festival for your chance to see flicks like "Factotum," "Art School Confidential," and John Turturro‘s "Romance & Cigarettes" (if you missed their earlier festival runs).
SFIFF boasts a mixture of international and American films, including sneak peeks at a handful of flicks slated for release in the coming months and films from Terry Zwigoff, Bent Hamer, Robert Altman, Anders Thomas Jensen, Seijun Suzuki, Hsiao-hsien Hou and more. Read on for a rundown of the festival highlights.
Fans of John Turturro will be glad to see his third directorial effort, "Romance & Cigarettes," on the slate for SFIFF, especially since the all-star project doesn’t yet have an American release scheduled. The "down-and-dirty" musical stars James Gandolfini as a working class man torn between his wife (Susan Sarandon) and his sultry mistress (Kate Winslet), and also features Steve Buscemi, Mandy Moore, Mary-Louise Parker, Aida Turturro, and Christopher Walken. Turturro buds Joel and Ethan Coen are also in as executive producers.
Bent Hamer‘s "Factotum" has enjoyed critical praise since last year’s Cannes, but was notoriously dropped by distributor Picturehouse and went back on market at Sundance. Luckily for us, IFC Films snapped it up and set an August 2006 U.S. release; with 12 reviews in, this Bukowski semi-biographical adaptation is sitting pretty at 100% on the Tomatometer.
Also making an appearance at SFIFF is Neil Marshall‘s all-girl horror flick, "The Descent." With a story that follows a group of women on a caving expedition that, of course, goes horribly wrong, this flick is earning high praise among horror fans — and also boasts an early Tomatometer of 100%, with 10 reviews.
Honorary Oscar-winner Robert Altman‘s latest star-studded pic, "A Prairie Home Companion," will hit theaters this June — but why wait? With only 5 reviews in, it’s hard to tell if "Prairie"’s 100% Tomatometer will stay, but the trades loved it. Altman’s cast includes Lily Tomlin, Meryl Streep, Lindsay Lohan, Kevin Kline, Woody Harrelson, and John C. Reilly.
"Art School Confidential" will open in limited release May 5, but you can catch an early peek during the fest. It currently sits at 38% on the Tomatometer with 8 reviews from the Sundance crowd, who rest divided on the latest Terry Zwigoff–Dan Clowes collaboration.
"Half Nelson," the newest pic from filmmaking team Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, is one for the Ryan Gosling-loving crowd. The August release stars Gosling as an inner-city teacher who strikes up a friendship with one of his students, and currently has a Tomatometer of 83%.
Also slated is a panel with Tommy Pallota, producer of Richard Linklater‘s hyper-visual excursions "A Scanner Darkly" and "Waking Life." If you didn’t catch the secret SXSW screening of "Scanner," show up to see a 20-minute preview clip presented by Pallota.
Since this is an international festival, a slew of Asian and European films flesh out the rest of the festival. Tonight’s opening night film will be Peter Chan‘s pan-Asian backstage musical, "Perhaps Love," starring pop sensation Jacky Cheung and Takeshi Kaneshiro. With lensmen Chris Doyle and Peter Pau (the respective cinematographers of "2046" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") both contributing, and Bollywood choreographer Farah Khan on board for the musical-within-a-musical, this inter-era story is being called a lavish, moving tribute to the magic of cinema and of love.
More treats for Asian cinephiles include Seijun Suzuki‘s "Princess Raccoon," a Japanese folktale-esque pop opera starring Zhang Ziyi as a mystical raccoon-like creature (in beautiful woman form) who falls in love with a prince; and Hsiaio-hsien Hou‘s "Three Times," a love story set in three different eras.
Representing the European contingent are filmmakers like Denmark’s Anders Thomas Jensen (with his neo-Nazi comic character study, "Adam’s Apples"), dance filmmaker Carlos Saura (chronicling Spanish gypsy dances in "Iberia"), and Phillippe Garrel (whose "Regular Lovers" stars son Louis Garrel as a poet in 1968 Paris — raise your hand if you liked "The Dreamers!").
For more films and a schedule of the SFFIF, head over to their official site.
It’s been a while since we’ve been able to enjoy a good, gross creature feature — like, perhaps, "Tremors" or even "Gremlins" — and that’s what it looks like we’re in for with "Slither," from James Gunn, the writer of 2004’s "Dawn of the Dead."
Gunn also wrote and acted in "The Specials," wrote "Tromeo and Juliet" for Troma Studios, and is responsible for the live-action "Scooby-Doo" movies. This time around, he directs from his own script, with a cast that includes fanboy favorite Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Gregg Henry, and his own wife, Jenna Fischer (better known as Pam from "The Office"). Gunn’s also nabbed appearances by Rob Zombie and cult figure Lloyd Kaufman, but sadly, no cameo by his brother, Sean Gunn ("Gilmore Girls"’ Kirk).
"Slither" crawls into theaters March 31.
"Slither" marks Mr. Gunn’s directorial debut, although he’s certainly no stranger to the genre fare. As a screenwriter, he has his name on both "Scooby-Doo" flicks, as well as the well-received "Dawn of the Dead" remake, and a rather funny (and sadly overlooked) comedy called "The Specials."
Basically, "Slither" is about an alien infestation that causes massive human mutation, several inevitably icky demises, and a whole lot of gooey chaos in general. "Serenity" star Nathan Fillion heads a cast that also includes the lovely Elizabeth Banks, the oily Gregg Henry, and the always hissable Michael Rooker.
Annoyingly enough, Universal recently moved "Slither" from a late January release date to one in late March, but hey, it’s always cool to have an impending monster movie on the horizon. Check out the trailer and see what you think. (Asture horror geeks might notice a few shots that pay homage to the no-budget classic "Night of the Creeps.")
P.S. Hardcore horror fans cheer: "Slither" has been rated R for "strong horror violence and gore, and language."
FilmJerk.com’s Early Report delivers an all-new handful of MPAA decisions, release date alterations, and screen count updates … and it looks like those of you dying to see that Project: Greenlight horror flick may have to wait a little longer.
"The Producers: The Movie Musical" (Universal Pictures): The big screen adaptation of Mel Brooks‘ Tony Award winning musical adaptation of his 1968 comedy film will now open in limited release on December 16 before expanding nationwide on January 13
"Munich" (Universal Pictures): Steven Spielberg‘s drama about a Mossad agent who hunts down those responsible for the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre will now open in 500 theatres on December 13 before expanding into 1800 theatres nationwide on January 6
"Slither" (Universal Pictures): James Gunn, the screenwriter who brought us "Tromeo and Juliet," the "Dawn of the Dead" remake and the "Scooby Doo" movies, makes his directorial debut with this horror film, now set to open in theatres March 31
"Feast" (Dimension Films/The Weinstein Company): The latest Project Greenlight film, a horror film directed by the son of B-movie icon Clu Gulager, has been delayed from its January 20 release. No new release date has been set"
To keep up-to-date on all the newest changes, be sure to check out FJ’s Early Report at the start of the week!
Starring Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Rooker, and Gregg Henry, "Slither" is about an alien plague that turns the citizens of a small town into a gang of gore-covered super-beasties. And forgive me for editorializing, but the 15-year-old horror freak in me says this movie looks pretty damn cool.
Mr. Gunn, an old-school Troma veteran, makes his directorial debut on "Slither," but you all know his screenwriting prowess from titles like "The Specials," "Dawn of the Dead," and both "Scooby-Doo" flicks.
Check out the (rather clever) teaser trailer over at CHUD.com.
Based on the 1968 comedy of the same name (which itself was based on an autobiographical book by Helen Beardsley), this remake is about nothing more than 2 middle-aged newlyweds, their ten kids, and a whole lot of chaos. Call it "The Brady Bunch +4" or call it "Cheaper by the Near-Dozen" — but don’t call me when you need a babysitter.
Chalk it up to a relatively slow news week, but the crew over at CHUD.com just got an exclusive peek at this crazy gory freaked-out monster from an upcoming horror flick called "Slither" — and I just knew it deserved an RT Newsday mention.
Written and directed by James Gunn (screenwriter of "The Specials," "Dawn of the Dead," and "Scooby-Doo"), "Slither" is about (get this) "a small town that’s taken over by an alien plague, turning residents into zombies and all forms of mutant monsters." And if you’ve already checked out the pic, then you can plainly see what the term "mutant monster" means. (By the way, that’s the excellent character actor Michael Rooker hidden beneth all the green gore.)
The Universal release "Slithers" (ha) into theaters on January 6th of next year … and I’ll bet you a tub of popcorn it’ll be rated R.
A gaggle of actors have signed on for "National Lampoon Clubhouse Trick or Treat," says The Hollywood Reporter. And it’s a pretty crazy cast of characters indeed.
The plot is described like so: "A 15-year-old boy is grounded on Halloween and stays home to baby-sit his brother and sister. They soon find that their old house is haunted, complete with a secret passage that leads them on a wild "Scooby Doo" and "Beetlejuice" – type adventure."
The cast will include Vanessa Angel ("Kingpin"), Robert Carradine ("Revenge of the Nerds"), Taylor Dooley ("Lava Girl" herself), Jake Thomas ("A.I. Artificial Intelligence"), Matthew Lawrence ("The Hot Chick"), and Nikki Griffin ("Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough").
We’ll bring you the direct-to-video release date as soon as it’s made available.
The Hollywood Reporter confirms what the horror fans already knew: "The Grudge 2" is coming (relatively) soon. Sony Pictures has signed a 2-picture deal with Sam Raimi’s Ghost House label, guaranteeing that both a "Grudge 2" and an as-yet-untitled, English-language Pang Brothers horror flick will soon see the light of day. Director of the first (American) "Grudge," Takashi Shimuzu, is back on board, as is screenwriter Stephen Susco.No word yet on whether or not Sarah Michelle Gellar ("Scooby-Doo") will reprise her role. Sony is shooting for a late 2006 release date for "The Grudge 2."