It’s the first streaming column of the month, and you know what that means: subscription services have rolled out a ton of new selections. With that in mind, as usual, we’ve pared the list down to just the Certified Fresh options. Read on for the full list.


New on Netflix

 

Marguerite (2015) 95%

This French period drama follows a well-to-do woman with ambitions of becoming a famous singer despite a near-total lack of musical talent.

Available now on: Netflix


Once Upon a Time in the West (1969) 95%

Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, and Jason Robards headline an ensemble cast in Sergio Leone’s epic western about a pair of outcasts who help defend a recent widow from a greedy railroad baron and his sadistic thugs.

Available now on: Netflix


Patton (1970) 94%

George C. Scott delivers an iconic Oscar-winning performance as the titular general, who goes toe-to-toe with a British field marshal while working together to thwart German forces in World War II.

Available now on: Netflix


Quiz Show (1994) 96%

Based on true events, this Robert Redford drama set in the late 1950s centers on the scandals that emerged when it was discovered that a popular television quiz show had rigged its results.

Available now on: Netflix


Unforgiven (1992) 96%

In this Best Picture-winning western, Clint Eastwood stars as an aging gunslinger whose soul has been irrevocably stained by the violence of his past; Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman lend sturdy support.

Available now on: Netflix


Dazed and Confused (1993) 92%

Richard Linklater’s affectionately nostalgic look at the 1970s centers on a group of high school friends in Texas as they celebrate the last days of the school year.

Available now on: Netflix


Three Kings (1999) 94%

George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube star in David O. Russell’s Certified Fresh war satire about a trio of Gulf War soldiers who embark on a gold heist and end up witnessing the repercussions of the war firsthand.

Available now on: Netflix


Grizzly Man (2005) 92%

Werner Herzog’s engrossing documentary tells the strange, fascinating, and ultimately ill-fated story of adventurer and amateur bear expert Timothy Treadwell.

Available now on: Netflix


Barton Fink (1991) 90%

John Turturro and John Goodman star in the Coen brothers’ dark comedy about a playwright with writer’s block who moves into a Los Angeles hotel that may not be all it seems.

Available now on: Netflix


The Imitation Game (2014) 89%

Benedict Cumberbatch stars in this Oscar-winning drama about pioneering scientist Alan Turing, who is recruited by the British government to help break a Nazi code during World War II.

Available now on: Netflix


Dheepan (2015) 87%

This Palme d’Or-winning drama follows a Sri Lankan refugee who experiences difficulty acclimating to Paris.

Available now on: Netflix


Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) 89%

Arguably the most celebrated — surely the most widely recognized — Audrey Hepburn film. We just prefer to pretend all the Mickey Rooney stuff doesn’t exist.

Available now on: Netflix


The Commitments (1991) 89%

This musical comedy based on the novel of the same name tells the story of a group of working-class musicians in Ireland who decide to form a soul band.

Available now on: Netflix


Titanic (1997) 89%

In James Cameron’s multiple Oscar-winning romance, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet play star-crossed lovers who meet aboard the ill-fated ocean liner. He teaches her how to spit.

Available now on: Netflix


Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (2010) 88%

This Certified Fresh documentary from Werner Herzog depicts everyday life in a village in Siberia.

Available now on: Netflix


Ghost Town (2008) 85%

Ricky Gervais and Greg Kinnear star in this comedy about a man who wakes up from a near-death experience and discovers he can see ghosts… all of whom want a favor from him.

Available now on: Netflix


Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) 81%

Matthew Broderick stars in John Hughes’ 1980s classic about a teenage iconoclast who takes his best pal on a wild tour of Chicago in an effort to cheer him up.

Available now on: Netflix


Viva (2015) 80%

This drama centers on a Cuban drag performer who clashes with his estranged boxer father when he returns from a 15-year absence.

Available now on: Netflix


New on Amazon Prime

 

Chinatown (1974) 99%

Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway star in this classic Roman Polanski noir about a private detective who stumbles into a vast conspiracy involving the privatization of water rights in California.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


The Last Waltz (1978) 98%

Martin Scorsese’s music documentary focuses on the 1976 farewell concert for The Band, where artists like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell all performed.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Let the Right One In (2008) 98%

This 2008 thriller from Sweden gave the seemingly tired vampire genre a much needed shot in the arm by effectively mixing scares with intelligent storytelling.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Bowling for Columbine (2002) 95%

Michael Moore’s provocative documentary is a pointed examination of America’s rocky relationship with firearms.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Before Sunset (2004) 94%

The second entry in Richard Linklater’s painfully romantic Before trilogy, Sunset catches up with Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) nine years after the two first met and spent a night together in Vienna.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


The Host (2006) 93%

A breakout film for South Korean director Bong Joon-ho, this sci-fi monster flick that combines scares, laughs, and satire in service of a popcorn flick as entertaining as it is intellectually satisfying.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Timecrimes (2007) 89%

This sci-fi thriller centers on a man who finds himself in a time loop when he inadvertently witnesses the death of a woman outside his new country home.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Roger Dodger (2002) 88%

Campbell Scott and Jesse Eisenberg star in this dramedy about a proud womanizer who takes his teenage nephew under his wing, only to discover they are nothing alike.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Pride & Prejudice (2005) 86%

Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFayden star in this adaptation of the Jane Austen novel about a woman struggling to choose between a number of suitors.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Lethal Weapon (1987) 80%

Mel Gibson and Danny Glover star as mismatched partners in this comedy about a pair of cops trying to take down a dangerous drug dealer.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Trollhunter (2010) 82%

This Norwegian found footage horror comedy follows a group of college students in pursuit of a suspected bear poacher who instead stumble upon an unexpected discovery.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


I Saw the Devil (2010) 81%

This dark thriller from South Korean director Kim Jee-woon centers on a desperate man on the hunt for his daughter’s murderer.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


New on Hulu

 

Carrie (1976) 93%

Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, and John Travolta star in Brian DePalma’s horror classic, the tale of a lonely teenager with telekinetic powers.

Available now on: Hulu


The Blair Witch Project (1999) 86%

Full of creepy campfire scares, this mock-doc keeps audiences in the dark about its titular villain — thus proving that imagination can be as scary as anything onscreen.

Available now on: Hulu


Available to Purchase

 

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) 97%

Sam Neill and Julian Dennison star in Taika Waititi’s dramedy about a 13-year-old and his curmudgeonly uncle who are forced to flee the authorities and hide out in the woods.

Available now on: Amazon, FandangoNOW, iTunes

There isn’t much middle ground on Michael Moore; his bromide-laden documentaries have earned him both an enthusiastic following from many on the left and unvarnished vitriol from much of the right. But as divisive as Moore’s films can be, they’ve also been remarkable successful with audiences and critics.

"Fahrenheit 9/11" is the highest-grossing doc of all time, and "Bowling for Columbine" won Moore an Oscar for best documentary. With "Sicko" (which opened Friday in New York, and made a remarkable $70,000 on one screen), Moore turns his sights on the American health care system; specifically, he posits that universal health care in Canada, France, and the U.K. offers both a greater level of service, general satisfaction, and fewer serious, potentially grievous problems than does America’s privatized model.

"Sicko" generated its share of controversy because of its last segment, during which Moore took a group of afflicted 9/11 workers to Cuba for health care; some have accused Moore of whitewashing Fidel Castro‘s human rights violations, and the U.S. Treasury department has investigated the trip to determine if it violated the U.S. embargo with Cuba. But Moore defended his stop in Havana, saying the U.S. should be doing more to help the ailing, especially those it considers its heroes.

Moore spoke with journalists at a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival shortly after the film’s premiere; he discussed balancing facts with entertainment and reforming the American system — and Americans’ thinking when it comes to universal health care.

Q: You oversimplify some things, sometimes for entertainment purposes. That does make you open to more mainstream critics who see you as telling incomplete truths. You know that will happen so why do you choose to make your films this way?

Michael Moore: I’m making a movie. I have a 90 to 120 minute time-frame. What you call oversimplification I call a rocking good way to tell a story that leaves no one bored and wanting more at the end of the movie. That’s my goal

Q: Do you have any immediate and realistic solutions for the United States problems that could be implemented immediately?

Moore: One thing we really need to do is get the money out of politics and reform so that these pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies can’t buy our congress. If we took the money out we’d have a better chance of getting the bills passed and begin a pre-universal, not-for-profit healthcare. I have a list of sites on my web site. I have a list of organizations I encourage people to hook up with and bills for congress. I hope people will become active participants and do something about this. Sometimes I feel I’m in a position and I should try to initiate some engagement. I don’t really think that’s my role to do that and something gets lost in this whole discussion about the film and the festival. I’m a filmmaker and I seldom get to talk about being a filmmaker, making films or what I think about films. Instead I’m asked political questions and I’m only equipped to answer the questions so far. I try to put into my films some thing I feel but I wasn’t kidding when I said I wasn’t writing a book. I’m very careful about the facts in my film — I’m careful they’re accurate and correct. If I say, "There’s nearly 50 million people without health care," that’s a fact. You have to trust that’s a fact. But if I say, "I think part of health insurance should be eliminated," that’s a conclusion I’ve reached through the facts I’ve found. If I said things that were wrong, trust me, people could come at me from all direction but they don’t because things I state as truth are true and things I state as opinions are mine. So the only way these critics can come at me is for the opinions I express or by confusing the opinions for facts.

Click here for the full interview!

Michael Moore‘s latest doc, "Sicko," has stirred up more controversy for the Michigan muckraker. Is he onto something with his evisceration of the US healthcare system? Plus, "The 11th Hour," a climate change doc featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, and "Boarding Gate," an unconvincing, sleazy thriller starring Asia Argento and Michael Madsen — all here at Cannes!

"Sicko," Michael Moore‘s latest polemic, contains many of the same problems as his previous works: it’s a manipulative oversimplification of a complex issue. And like Moore’s other films, it also contains more than a kernel of truth and not a little entertainment as well. Screening out of competition at Cannes, "Sicko" is a screed against health care insurers in the United States. Utilizing the same style as his previous docs (onscreen interviews, stock footage, a bemused voiceover), Moore contends that the health of Americans has been compromised because of the greed and insensitivity of an industry focused on profit. This argument has plenty of weight when he points out that Americans put themselves in the hands of the government for such services as schools and police; what’s wrong with health care? And Moore dredges up a number of horror stories, including poor people ejected from hospitals because they were unable to pay, to others denied lifesaving procedures while being mired in bureaucratic red tape.

Moore is on shakier ground when he travels to Canada, Great Britain, and France, each of which provides universal health care to its citizens. He posits that citizens in these nations are perfectly satisfied with their level of care. Unfortunately, some of Moore’s utopian extrapolations in this regard don’t hold water; it was reported that at a press conference after the screening, some Canadian journalists challenged Moore’s rosy assumptions, and Moore admitted that national health care in Canada, while free, is still under-funded.


Michael Moore has a point to make about healthcare in his latest, "Sicko."

"Sicko"’s biggest (and most controversial) stunt involves bringing a group of 9/11 rescue workers, who contracted various unrelenting ailments while working at Ground Zero, to Guantanamo, where the U.S. government claims detainees are receiving health care that’s equivalent to or better than the average American. After being ignored, Moore heads for Cuba, where the relief workers are able to purchase the drugs for which they’ve been paying hundreds of dollars for pennies. This segment is troubling on several levels. Regardless of one’s thoughts on the U.S. embargo on Cuba, Moore cannot seriously believe its healthcare system is ideal. On the other hand, what does it say about the U.S. that it cannot care for its heroes?

For those who have tired of Moore’s confrontational onscreen persona, he’s largely in the background in "Sicko." This may be Moore’s most quietly angry film to date. I won’t deny I was entertained while watching "Sicko," and I don’t disagree with Moore’s central premise. However, as with "Roger & Me" and "Bowling for Columbine," Moore may get the forest right, but the trees are a bit out of place.

Moore remains a darling of Cannes (he won the Palme d’Or for "Fahrenheit 9/11" in 2004), and "Sicko" received a long ovation at the screening I attended. It’s also received fresh reviews in Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, and Salon.


Leonardo DiCaprio talks global warming in "11th Hour."

"The 11th Hour" is the latest in the growing sub-genre of global warming documentaries. Narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, the film features a number of talking heads, including Stephen Hawking, Mikhail Gorbachev, Andrew Weil, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai. Each makes a similar argument in different ways: The temperature of earth is increasing because of human behavior, and we don’t have much time to rectify the situation. But the film leavens its doomsday prophesies with optimism, advancing the notion that green-friendly business could maintain economic growth while diminishing the impact to the environment. "The 11th Hour" is reasonably well done, but it often feels like a film more suited to a science class than the big screen. It also lacks the focus and wit of "An Inconvenient Truth"; that film greatly benefited from Al Gore‘s straight-ahead argument, whereas "The 11th Hour" seems a bit disjointed by comparison. Still, even if this isn’t the most cinematically compelling take on the subject of global warming, "The 11th Hour" makes a timely and important argument that should be heeded.


There’s a lot going on here at Cannes; check out our blog here.

A necessary element of a successful thriller is the ability to empathize with characters in peril; on this, and many other levels, "Boarding Gate" fails. This exercise in sleazy globetrotting stars Asia Argento as ex-hooker Sandra and Michael Madsen as Miles, her washed-up businessman ex. The pair has a twisted relationship, which involves a lot of verbal challenges and lurid mind games. Sandra is also involved with Lester (Carl Ng), with whom she conspires to take down Miles. After completing her task, Sandra goes on the run, ending up in Hong Kong where she’s pursued by… well, somebody. Do we care about her? Not really. Argento and Madsen, who have been compelling elsewhere, are so fundamentally unlikable here that it’s hard to shake the feeling that these two deserve each other; though Sandra’s nominally the protagonist, she seems as amoral as Miles. "Boarding Gate" isn’t without visual interest, but it’s also confusing and lacks any real human element. "Boarding Gate" prompted more than a few walkouts and incredulous laughs at the press screening I attended, and it also received outright pans in the Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

In addition, here are some other notable films that have screened at Cannes in the past few days: "L’Avocat de la Terreur," Barbet Schroeder‘s doc about a French attorney famous for representing accused war criminals and terrorists, has received strong reviews from Variety and the Hollywood Reporter; on the other hand, "Les Chansons d’Amour," Christophe Honore‘s musical, has gotten mixed notices.


Screening tomorrow: "Death Proof!"

Tomorrow, we’ll be catching screenings of Quentin Tarantino‘s "Death Proof," "A Mighty Heart," starring Angelina Jolie, and Gus Van Sant‘s "Paranoid Park." Check back for more of RT’s coverage of the Cannes Film Festival.

Despite a pair of newcomers close behind in its rearview mirror, Will Ferrell‘s hit comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby finished in first place for the second consecutive weekend to retain its North American box office trophy.

The frame’s biggest shocker came in second place with the stellar debut of the teen dance drama Step Up which flew past expectations to edge out Oliver Stone‘s high-profile 9/11 film World Trade Center which opened with solid results in third place. The new horror film Pulse launched in fifth place with mediocre results while Tim Allen‘s family film Zoom imploded with a disastrous bow in seventh place.

Talladega Nights held onto the number one spot with an estimated $23M in its second weekend of release dropping an understandable 51%. The $73M Sony hit raced to a total of $91.2M after ten days of release and could find its way to the $140M mark.

Getting high marks in the runnerup spot was Buena Vista’s Step Up which surprised the industry with a sizzling $21.1M opening weekend, according to estimates, from 2,467 theaters. The PG-13 pic about a trained ballerina who joins forces with a tough street dancer averaged a sturdy $8,539 per location and was powered primarily by teenage girls and young women. The surprise muscle of Step Up played out much like the bow of another late-summer film targeting teen girls – 2000’s Bring It On. That pic debuted at number one with $17.4M, spent two weeks at the top, and found its way to $68.4M followed by a pair of non-theatrical sequels keeping the franchise alive to this day.

Oliver Stone’s 9/11 drama World Trade Center finished in third place grossing an estimated $19M over the weekend and $26.8M since debuting on Wednesday. Averaging a solid $6,431 from 2,957 theaters over the Friday-to-Sunday portion, the Paramount release stars Nicolas Cage and Michael Pena as cops buried underneath the rubble of the collapsed Twin Towers. Reviews were mostly positive for the $65M film and word-of-mouth so far seems positive. Studio research showed that 91% of those polled called the disaster drama "excellent" or "very good".

While young moviegoers were lining up for Step Up, World Trade Center skewed mostly to a mature adult audience with 65% of the crowd being over the age of 25. Females made up 55% of the audience. With good reviews, positive buzz, and almost no interesting films for adults opening in the coming weeks, World Trade Center could hold up well in the weeks ahead.

Paramount’s animated comedy Barnyard dropped only 36% in its second weekend to an estimated $10.1M for fourth place. With $34.1M in the bank after ten days, the toon could find its way to about $60M. The PG-rated film’s budget was under $50M.

The suspense thriller Pulse debuted in fifth with an estimated $8.5M from a launch in 2,323 sites. Averaging a mild $3,640 per location for The Weinstein Co., the PG-13 film made only a small dent in the overall box office.

Disney took in an estimated $7.2M with its summer tentpole Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest lifting its incredible total to a towering $392.4M. The Johnny Depp smash fell just 35% and now sits at number seven on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters just behind Spider-Man which hauled in $403.7M in 2002. Overseas, there’s still no stopping Pirates which vaulted its international total to $463M pushing the global gross to a stunning $855M.

Sony’s Tim Allen family pic Zoom crashed and burned in its debut grossing a measly $4.6M in its opening weekend. Playing in 2,501 theaters, the PG-rated film about an old super hero recruited to train a bunch of kids averaged an embarrassing $1,839 per venue.

The horror flick The Descent dropped 48% in its second weekend to an estimated $4.6M and pushed its ten-day tally to a decent $17.5M. The Lionsgate release should dig up $25-27M by the end of its run. Universal’s action remake Miami Vice suffered another steep drop falling 56% to an estimated $4.5M for a $55.1M total. The animated pic Monster House rounded out the top ten with an estimated $3.3M, off 46%, giving Sony $63.7M to date.

Four more films were tossed right out of the top ten this weekend. Fox’s high school comedy John Tucker Must Die fell 52% to an estimated $3M in its third frame. With a solid $35.7M, the low-budget teen hit should finish with around $40M. Fellow comedy You, Me and Dupree grossed an estimated $1.9M, down 48%, and has collected $70.8M to date. Universal’s $54M pic is set to reach an impressive $74M.

Not-so-impressive results came from The Ant Bully with an estimated $1.8M and The Night Listener with an estimated $1.4M. Tumbling 55%, the Warner Bros. toon has taken in just $22.4M and will stumble to about $25M. Miramax’s Robin Williams thriller has grossed a puny $6.3M for Miramax and could end up with only $8M.

With Hollywood’s summer season of blockbusters coming to an end, plenty of activity was brewing over the weekend with limited release titles. ThinkFilm opened its critically-acclaimed indie Half Nelson in just two New York theaters but grossed a stellar $55,000, according to estimates. The R-rated drama about an inner city teacher with an addiction to crack averaged a potent $27,475 and expands to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. on August 25.

Sony Classics premiered the Brazilian drama The House of Sand in five locations in New York and Los Angeles and grossed an estimated $33,000 for a moderate $6,600 average. The distributor’s teen pregnancy drama Quinceanera widened from eight to 27 theaters in its second weekend and grossed an estimated $138,000 giving the Sundance award winner a mild $5,111 average. Total to date stands at $278,000.

Indie darling Little Miss Sunshine witnessed another powerful expansion widening from 58 to 153 locations for a weekend estimate of $2.6M and a sizzling average of $16,993. Fox Searchlight reported that audiences in the new cities are responding to the stellar word-of-mouth while theaters in existing markets are holding up remarkably well. The weekend decline among holdover theaters was only 17%. With $5.6M in the bank, look for Little Miss Sunshine to pop into the top ten next weekend when it expands into 600 playdates nationwide and remain there with a wider push into 1,500 locations the following frame. So far, the dysfunctional family comedy has performed even better than the distributor’s spring indie hit Thank You for Smoking as well as its 2004 hit Garden State which was released at this same time and in similar fashion. Those films went on to gross $24.7M and $26.8M, respectively.

Paramount Vantage’s global warming film An Inconvenient Truth became the third biggest documentary of all time over the weekend. Al Gore‘s success story took in an estimated $367,000 in its 12th weekend and lifted its cume to $21.9M surpassing the $21.6M of 2002’s Oscar-winning doc Bowling for Columbine.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $105.9M which was up 6% from last year when Four Brothers debuted at number one with $21.2M; but down 12% from 2004 when Alien vs. Predator opened in the top spot with a robust $38.3M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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

I know, I know: You hear the phrase "Birds remake" and you start getting all fidgety and mad. That’s a good reaction to have. But producer Brad Fuller wants to make one thing perfectly clear: The new-fangled version of "The Birds" is a new re-telling of the original short story, period. Those expecting stuff found in the Hitchcock flick will probably be disappointed.

From our pals at IGN FilmForce: "We’re not remaking Hitchcock’s movie. That movie stands on its own and it is a wonderful piece of filmmaking. It’s a very difficult thing to say, ‘We’re remaking a Hitchcock film,’" Fuller said. "What was interesting to us was that the short story [by Daphne Du Maurier] the Hitchcock film was based on was chock full of stuff that Hitchcock didn’t use in his film. And so we went to those things and that’s the basis of our film. It’s the same title because it’s based on the same short story but we don’t have characters like what they have. The concept of birds, certainly, that’s the core of the movie but the situations and the plot come from the short story not from the Hitchcock film."

IGN learned that "The Birds" will be scripted by the writing team of Stiles White and Juliet Snowden ("Boogeyman")."

Hell, still a remake, tho. Right?

The Los Angeles Times has an article on how Michael Moore, the controversial director of "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Bowling for Columbine," is spending his time after the November election – chopping logs and catching up on sleep. He’s still bummed that Bush has won the election, but offers a way for the Democrats to win the next election. "The way to win is to run someone people are familiar with, and trust: Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Martin Sheen," the Times quoted. Even though he’s laying low for now, it won’t be long before we hear from him again.

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