Comedies are hard to make and comedy sequels are even harder, when audiences have wised up to your jokes and expect bigger and better. Ben Stiller’s Zoolander 2, coming 15 years after the original, hopes to buck the trend this Friday. And it’s this latest romp down the catwalk inspires this week’s 24 Frames gallery: the best and worst comedy part twos by Tomatometer!

 

From the "strange but (possibly) true" department. Director Peter Segal looks like he’ll be directing the "Shazam" movie … and will he be casting Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in the lead role?

According to one source, Mr. Rock (who recently got done working with Peter Segal on "Get Smart") has discussed the idea of playing Captain Marvel: "Listen, John August is writing the script and he’s a tremendous writer, and I’ll just wait for the script to come in. But I’d love to work with Pete again, and certainly would want to work with John August. So there’s a strong possibility."

The DC comic is about a kid who morphs into a mega-powerful super-hero after uttering a magic word. Segal’s previous films include "The Longest Yard," "The Klumps," and "Tommy Boy." John August you’ll no doubt remember from "Big Fish," "Corpse Bride," and "Charlie’s Angels."

Source: ComingSoon.net

Moviegoers get to choose between a master comic taking on three roles or a diabolical screen villain in his early years when they walk into their local multiplex this weekend.

Eddie Murphy stars in the outrageous comedy "Norbit" which is looking to rule the frame by pulling in teens while the dark thriller "Hannibal Rising" will play to an older adult audience interested in gruesome brutality. There should be little overlap between the audiences of the two films so each will have room to breathe and reach its potential. With the Super Bowl now history, Hollywood is looking for the marketplace to bounce back and score its biggest opening yet this year.

Movie fans adore films about loveable losers and the latest to add its name to the hit list is "Norbit." The PG-13 film stars Eddie Murphy as both a shy nerdy man and his vivacious wife who is large and in charge. The comic legend also plays a Chinese man who raised the title character when he was a child. Acting jobs were actually given to others too including Thandie Newton, Eddie Griffin, and Cuba Gooding Jr. The Paramount release seamlessly integrates the two Murphys on screen and the crude envelope-pushing humor will guarantee that every 15-year-old shows up on opening weekend. The marketing push has been solid too. "Night at the Museum"’s stellar box office run is proof of the hunger for big star-driven comedies and "Norbit" is finally the next biggie that will generate some major cash.

Timing for "Norbit" is pitch perfect. Murphy’s Golden Globe win and Oscar nomination for "Dreamgirls" has given him plenty of heat and media exposure over the last several weeks. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, the date crowd certainly could be looking for something fun to go out and see this weekend. Plus, Black History Month adds an extra spotlight to African American stars and the former Axel Foley is among the most reliable draws of any black actor working today with immensely broad appeal. And the box office needs a big hit to kick things in gear as for three consecutive weekends, no film has managed to sell at least $20M worth of tickets.

Murphy has spent much of the last decade doing family-friendly films and hasn’t had an all-out comedy smash since 2000’s "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps" which opened in July of that year to $42.5M on its way to $123.3M. Fans turned out in droves to see the funnyman put on fat suits and play multiple characters that were rude and crude and led the sequel to a gross that nearly matched the original’s $128.8M from the summer of 1996. After all these years, moviegoers will certainly want another helping. Crashing into around 3,000 theaters, "Norbit" might see itself grossing $31M this weekend.


Eddie Murphy and, uh, Eddie Murphy in "Norbit."

Now that movie buffs know the whole story of Darth Vader’s teen years, another popular screen villain gets his puberty tale told in "Hannibal Rising." The R-rated revenge flick tells the story of a young Mr. Lecter who seeks vengeance on those who killed his young sister. Along the way, we see how his love of eating flesh and human butchery came about. MGM and The Weinstein Company are hoping to lure in fans of the previous installments of the saga. Certainly 2001’s "Hannibal" and 2002’s "Red Dragon" proved that money could still be made despite the losses of director Jonathan Demme and actress Jodie Foster, both of whom won Oscars for 1991’s "Silence of the Lambs." Now, the real test for the franchise will come as Anthony Hopkins is no longer in the cast. However, part of his image is used in a clever way in the television spots that could fool some folks.

Many of the adult fans of the first films will definitely take a pass on "Hannibal Rising" since leads Gaspard Ulliel and Gong Li just don’t sell tickets. But curiosity and the brand name will attract some in the first week, especially those who crave brutality and a little cannibalism in their weekend fun. Long-term prospects look weak. The new chapter is not likely to approach the $36.5M opening of "Red Dragon" and will only see a fraction of the $58M bow of "Hannibal" which shattered the February opening weekend record six years ago when it opened on the exact same day. Bad reviews will not help much either. While its three predecessors all debuted in the top spot, this latest tale should find itself eating into the runnerup spot. "Hannibal Rising" opens in about 2,900 theaters on Friday and could gross roughly $15M for the weekend.


Gaspard Ulliel in "Hannibal Rising."

Last weekend, the spooky thriller "The Messengers" beat out the Diane Keaton comedy "Because I Said So" for the top spot, but the chick flick has been winning the weekdays ranking first on Monday and Tuesday. The Sony horror flick should see the steeper drop especially with Eddie stealing the teen vote and fall 55% to about $7M for a ten-day total of $24M. "Said So" may decline by 45% and rake in a similar $7M for a cume of $23M after ten days for Universal.

LAST YEAR: New releases flooded into the marketplace swiping the top four spots for the frame. Leading the way was the much-delayed Steve Martin comedy remake "The Pink Panther" which bowed to $20.2M on its way to $82.2M for Sony. Close behind was the horror sequel "Final Destination 3" with $19.2M leading to a $54.1M final for New Line. Bowing in third was the animated kidpic "Curious George" with $14.7M while Harrison Ford slumped into fourth with his action pic "Firewall" which opened to $13.6M. Final grosses reached $58.4M for the Universal toon and $48.8M for the techno thriller from Warner Bros. The fright flick "When a Stranger Calls" dropped 58% from first to fifth and collected $9.1M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

In this week’s Ketchup, Beyonce’s detractors and defenders converge in perfect harmony in the RT forums, and Sam Raimi makes up for the lack of a new "Transformers" trailer by giving some spicy info about both "Spider-Man 3" and "Spider-Man 4."

Also, Rob Zombie uses an expletive to describe his excitement about the new "Halloween," and James Cameron’s filmmaking hiatus will end soon with the release of "Avatar." Read on.

This Week’s Most Popular News:

Beyonce’s Getting Snubbed All Over the Place
Not only is Beyonc Knowles being (resoundingly) overshadowed by her "Dreamgirls" co-star Jennifer Hudson in the various award races, but now comes word that she wouldn’t even be a nominee on a song she helped write!

Sam Raimi Dishes Some Dirt on Venom and Sandman!
Getting new info on a "Spider-Man" sequel is sometimes a pretty tough job. Heck, we’re so pumped for this series that we’ll get talking about any old thing … like whenever Kirsten Dunst opens her mouth. But director Sam Raimi recently shared a few thoughts with WizardUniverse.com, both of which focus on the newest "Spider-Man 3" villains.

Sam Raimi Drops a Little Hint on "Spider-Man 4"
"Spider-Man 3" is still over four months away, but that hasn’t prevented the fans and filmmakers from discussing the possibility of a fourth wall-climbing adventure…

Rob Zombie Profanely Happy About New Michael Myers Look
Now here’s a small, weird, but potentially interesting piece of horror movie news: Director Rob Zombie (who’s presently hard at work on his "Halloween" remake) just got his first look at the new Michael Myers mask — and he was so excited he had to use the f-bomb to describe it.

James Cameron’s "Avatar" On Its Way!
We’ve been hearing about "James Cameron’s next movie" for what seems like twelve years, but according to a recent New York Times story, the "Titanic" director’s "Avatar" is not only the next project on his plate — it’s already in production!


Buck up, Spidey: there might be a fourth flick!

In Other News:

  • Warner Bros. has acquired film rights to a book about the mysterious death of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, for Johnny Depp‘s production company to develop, with the possibility of it being a starring vehicle for Depp.
  • Veteran comedy screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel are working on a rewrite of the "Pink Panther" sequel. Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber co-wrote the first draft, which was rejected by the studio.
  • "Another Bullsh*t Night in Suck City," the adaptation of Nick Flynn’s award-winning memoir, has been acquired by Fox 2000 with Paul Weitz
  • Kurt Wimmer’s spy-thriller "Edwin A. Salt" has been acquired by Columbia Pictures for producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura
  • Forest Whitaker is in talks to make his next film "Afterwards" (based on the novel "Et après…," by Guillaume Musso), with French filmmaker Gilles Bourdosserving as writer and director.
  • Sandra Bullock will produce and possibly star in a film version of Marina Palmer’s memoir "Kiss & Tango" for Fox 2000 Pictures.
  • Crime novelist Michael Connelly ("Blood Work") and Terrill Lee Lankford will write the screenplay for "The Equalizer," the big-screen remake of the popular 80s TV series for the Weinstein Company.
  • Writer/director Martin McDonagh’s suspense thriller "In Bruges" will begin filming in February, with Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson headlining, and Clémence Poésy, Jérémie Renier, and Ralph Fiennes in the supporting cast.
  • Lionsgate has acquired the rights to "The Bass Master," a competitive bass fishing comedy from writers Tab Murphy and Devin Maurer.
  • Paula Abdul will serve as executive producer on "Bratz: The Movie," based on the popular toy fashion dolls, with Sean McNamara directing.

Finally, we at RT would like to remember "Scooby-Doo" creator Iwao Takamoto and Yvonne De Carlo of "The Munsters" fame. Both passed away on Monday, January 8.


"Ress in reace…"

It’s been a long time coming, but it seems like New Line is about to mount a big-screen adaptation of DC Comics’ Shazam character … and they seem to be starting off in a decidedly comedic direction: The helmer will be Peter Segal, whose films I will list if you click the "more" button…

From The Hollywood Reporter: "Peter Segal has come aboard to direct "Shazam!" — an adaptation of a DC Comics’ comic book series featuring Captain Marvel — for New Line Cinema. Segal also will produce along with Michael Ewing via their Callahan Filmworks banner. The comic series focused on young Billy Batson, who becomes the superhero known as Captain Marvel when he utters the magic word "Shazam!" The name is an acronym for six gods and heroes of the ancient world as well as their attributes: the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Aries, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury. Writers on the long-gestating project include William Goldman and Bryan Goluboff."

As promised, here is Peter Segal’s filmography: Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994), Tommy Boy (1995), My Fellow Americans (1996), Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps (2000), Anger Management (2003), 50 First Dates (2004), and The Longest Yard (2005). (I can see it now: Adam Sandler as Shazam!)

Successful comedy director Peter Segal has been tapped by New Line to helm sports comedy "The Refs," which is about a trio of shady referees who aim to rig the big game.

From Variety: "New Line’s looking to score with "The Refs," setting up the football comedy with veteran comedy helmer Peter Segal and Michael Ewing through their Callahan Filmworks banner.

Segal is developing "The Refs" with an eye to directing the project, which New Line bought as a pitch from scribes Michael Barker, Matthew Weitzman and Chris McKenna.

The trio’s penning the "Refs" script, which centers on a group of underappreciated NFL referees who seek what’s owed them by manipulating the outcome of the Super Bowl."

Peter Segal’s movies include "Tommy Boy," "Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps," "Anger Management," and "The Longest Yard."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the big-screen adaptation of "Get Smart," which stars Steve Carrell as a hapless secret agent, will be directed by Peter Segal, the guy who brought you "The Longest Yard," "50 First Dates," "Anger Management," "Nutty Professor 2," and "Tommy Boy."

"Peter Segal has signed on to direct "Get Smart," the big-screen adaptation of the classic TV series for Warner Bros. Pictures. Steve Carell is attached to star as hapless secret agent Maxwell Smart, who was played by the late Don Adams on the small screen. Created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, the series saw Adams act as Agent 86, a spy for CONTROL, fighting the evil forces of KAOS. The big-screen version, which has just undergone a rewrite by Tom Astle and Matt Ember, will contemporize the setting, with CONTROL falling on hard times and not getting the big government funding other spy agencies, like the CIA, do."

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