In this week’s Ketchup, cinema appears to not be a profitable business, we get a first look at the new Spock, and Michael Bay prepares to fake out the Transformers fanboys. Also, Toy Story 3 and other Pixar projects are confirmed, and Dragon Ball has its leads.

This Week’s Most Popular News:

This Just In: Movies Don’t Make Money

In marked contrast to the music business, which has spent the last seven years dealing with declining profits and assorted bad news, the 21st century has seen the film industry repeatedly setting new records for ticket receipts. The movie biz is healthy, right?

First Pictures of Zachary Quinto as Young Spock!
Say, none of you Star Trek fans would be interested in getting an early look at Zachary Quinto as Spock, would you?

Bay Prepares to Fake Out Transformers Fanboys

Michael Bay went through the wringer with the fanboys on Transformers. He addressed every concern — early designs, scripts, remaining faithful to the source material — and delivered a movie that won over most audiences, grossing nearly $320 million in America alone. But with Transformers 2 in development, Bay isn’t taking any more lip service.

Lasseter Confirms Toy Story 3 and Upcoming Pixar Projects

John Lasseter usually doesn’t reveal anything about upcoming Pixar projects. Even though Toy Story 3 has been a known project ever since Disney threatened to make it without Pixar, Lasseter always dodges it. Finally, Lasseter has once-and-for-all confirmed it and discussed turning over the original Pixar property to a new(ish) director.

Live-Action Dragon Ball Finds Its Leads
Brace yourselves, Dragon Ball fans. Twentieth Century Fox’s live-action adaptation of your beloved manga has cast its leads, and some of you are about to start screaming bloody murder.


Get ready for some exciting new clues… or not.

In Other News:

  • Kevin Dillon is set to star alongside Emma Roberts, Don Cheadle and Lisa Kudrow in DreamWorks’ live-action film Hotel for Dogs.
  • Robert Duvall has joined Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon in the cast of the holiday comedy Four Christmases.
  • Matt Gerald has been cast as the lead villain in James Cameron‘s sci-fi action-adventure Avatar, set to begin filming this month.
  • New Line has hired Neil LaBute to write and Taylor Hackford to direct The Woman Next Door, a remake of the 1981 François Truffaut film La Femme D’A Côté.
  • Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Zoe Bell have joined the cast of Lionsgate’s untitled sci-fi action-thriller from Crank writers/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor.
  • Summit Entertainment is planning a remake of the Korean thriller Seven Days, with the Korean film’s production team to contribute to the remake.
  • Alden Ehrenreich will star with Maribel Verdu in Francis Ford Coppola‘s family drama Tetro.
  • Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Bartha are set to star as drug-dealing Hasidic Jews in Kevin Asch’s comic drama Holy Rollers.
  • John C. Reilly will play the lead vampire role in Cirque du Freak for director Paul Weitz, based on the bestselling children’s series by Darren Shan.
  • Shawn Levy will to direct and produce the dramedy Father Figure at Fox 2000, based on a screenplay by Mark Friedman.
  • Kathryn Hahn has been cast opposite Jeremy Piven in Paramount Vantage’s The Goods: The Don Ready Story for director Neal Brennan.
  • Kristen Stewart has signed on to star in Summit Entertainment’s thriller-romance Twilight, based on Stephenie Meyer’s young-adult novel.
  • Katherine Heigl will star in the battle-of-the-sexes romantic comedy The Ugly Truth with Robert Luketic directing for Lakeshore Entertainment.

  • After Walking Hard, he’ll bite.

    The final weekend of 2006 will see moviegoers catch up on a jam-packed slate of holiday leftovers as no new films open on Friday.

    Look for the top ten to be filled with all the same movies as last weekend, although the award-winning musical "Dreamgirls" which opened nationally on Monday should climb higher on the charts in its first full weekend of wide release. With Christmas activites finished and New Year’s Eve celebrations only affecting late shows on Sunday night, ticket sales should be robust with most films seeing either small declines, or modest boosts in their four-day grosses.

    Paramount and DreamWorks are enjoying their ride to the $100M mark with the critically acclaimed "Dreamgirls" which has just entered its second stage of release. The PG-13 musical began its run with an exclusive ten-day engagement in three theaters with $25 tickets that resulted in a lucrative $852,000. Then on Monday, the Jamie FoxxBeyonce Knowles pic expanded into 852 locations across North America for the Christmas holiday. Moviegoers rushed out and spent $8.7M for a stunning one-day average of $10,242 per theater. Tuesday saw sales drop 34% to $5.8M which still led to a remarkable two-day start of $14.5M and $17,051 average.

    Thanks to strong reviews, solid starpower, Oscar buzz, and five Golden Globe nominations, "Dreamgirls" looks ready to make an even bigger splash this weekend with the long four-day holiday weekend. With the 1960s storyline bringing in older adults and young stars like Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson attracting teens and younger adults, the Bill Condon-directed film is bringing in business from all sectors. Competition for the African-American crowd will continue to come from Will Smith‘s "The Pursuit of Happyness," but the extended holiday period is giving fans the time to eventually see both. Long-term strength looks promising too as Paramount will expand the pic on January 12 into more than 2,000 theaters for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday frame. The expansion will also make the film easily accessible in all markets when Golden Globes are awarded on January 15. For the final weekend of the year, "Dreamgirls" may sing to the tune of about $22M and propel its cume to $47M with much more to come.


    Foxx and friends in "Dreamgirls."

    For those who are naughty and not nice, MGM offered up the horror remake "Black Christmas" on Monday. The R-rated pic about a killer who preys on a sorority house during the holidays bowed to a respectable $3.3M on Christmas Day and followed that up with a 46% drop on Tuesday to $1.8M for a two-day start of $5.1M from 1,258 theaters. Fright flicks usually do not do well at this time of year, but Wes Craven‘s "Scream" hits a decade ago made many studios wonder if they could also tap into riches when the target audience is on vacation and horror competition is low. "Black Christmas" should burn through much of its audience of high school and college kids during the week and have one last weekend of decent biz before fizzling away. A four-day tally of $7M could await giving the slasher flick $15M in eight days.


    Four soon-to-be traumatized young ladies in "Black Christmas."

    After directing the third "Harry Potter" extravaganza, Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron returns to the screen with a much more mature film in "Children of Men." The futuristic drama takes place in London in 2029, eighteen years after the human race lost its ability to reproduce, and tells of a man who protects the only pregnant woman in existence. The R-rated drama starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, and Michael Caine opened on Christmas Day with a powerful $180,000 from 16 theaters for a sensational $11,250 one-day average. Reviews have been strong for the Universal release which will add some more dates on Friday. "Children" has already grossed $32M overseas since its top spot debut in the U.K. in September and subsequent openings in Mexico, Europe, and other parts of the the world.


    Michael Caine and Clive Owen in "Children of Men."

    Also in limited release, Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, and Emily Watson star in "Miss Potter," a new biopic on the author of children’s book author Beatrix Potter. MGM is releasing this PG-rated film from Chris Noonan who has not directed a film since 1995’s "Babe." Zellweger nabbed a Globe nod in the Best Actress – Drama category.


    Ewan McGregor and Renee Zellweger as Beatrix Potter in "Miss Potter."

    Acclaimed actresses Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett both earned Golden Globe nods for their performances in "Notes on a Scandal" which Fox Searchlight platformed on Wednesday. Also opening is the R-rated fairy tale "Pan’s Labyrinth" from Spain which is a Globe nominee in the foreign language category. Directed by Guillermo del Toro ("Hellboy," "Blade II"), the Picturehouse release bows on Friday and has already won other foreign lingo awards from various critics groups.


    Judi Dench doesn’t take no mess from Cate Blanchett in "Notes on a Scandal."

    The wide releases are the ones that hope to give the holiday season a boost over last year. The top five films from the crucial November-December corridor, as of the end of Christmas weekend, have grossed a combined $574M which is a considerable 25% drop from the corresponding films of 2005 which had tallied $766M at this point.

    The limited release newcomers won’t be making much of a dent on the national scene. Among wide releases, last week’s champ "Night at the Museum" should remain in the number one spot for a second weekend in a row with Ben Stiller welcoming in 2007. The Fox comedy’s powerful $42.2M four-day debut was better than expected and pulled in significant business from the non-family crowd. With fantastic midweek grosses and "Dreamgirls" being the only new element of competition this coming weekend, "Museum" should easily continue as the most popular attraction. The PG-rated comedy followed up its stellar Xmas frame with a hefty $13.5M haul on Tuesday and hopes to get close to the $80M mark by the end of its first full week in theaters. The four-day New Year’s weekend could bring a gross of around $40M which would give the effects-driven pic a towering $120M after only 11 days.

    Will Smith will try to hold onto the number two spot and fend off what should be a strong challenge from "Dreamgirls." "The Pursuit of Happyness" was bumped down to number three on Christmas Day thanks to the national opening of the acclaimed musical, but rose back up to the runnerup spot on Tuesday with $7.1M beating the $5.8M of "Dreamgirls." "Pursuit" raked in $68M in its first dozen days and will try to smash the century mark by the end of the holiday frame. Jamie Foxx and company will, however, provide some direct competition for African-American patrons. Feel-good movies should still be in demand so Smith could find himself with about $25M this weekend for "The Pursuit of Happyness" which would boost the cume to $106M.

    In its first full week of release, Sylvester Stallone‘s underdog hit "Rocky Balboa" has punched up a solid $31.2M for MGM defying all odds. The PG-rated drama saw its biggest gross on its opening day last Wednesday as the built-in fan base came out early, but it still has been posting solid daily numbers of around $4-5M ever since. This weekend, "Rocky Balboa" might score another $16M over four days and see its winnings climb to $55M.

    Universal has counterprogrammed all the feel-good family-friendly films with its espionage thriller "The Good Shepherd" and has been banking some respectable numbers. With $18.3M in its first five days from just over 2,200 theaters, the Matt DamonAngelina Jolie drama has been holding its own as the adult alternative for serious moviegoers. A $13M gross over four days could await "The Good Shepherd" which would raise its sum to a decent but not spectacular $38M after 11 days.

    LAST YEAR: The New Year’s frame looked suspiciously like the Christmas one with the notable musical chairs played by the top two pics. Disney’s "The Chronicles of Narnia" reclaimed the number one spot in its fourth weekend grossing $33.7M over four days inching up 6% from the prior session. After two weeks on top, Universal’s "King Kong" settled for second place and took in a four-day tally of $31.8M which was off 4% from the Santa frame. The combined cumes by the end of the weekend totaled a mammoth $401M. The two comedies that opened in third and fourth remained in their respective spots. Jim Carrey‘s "Fun With Dick and Jane" slipped 2% to $21M while Steve Martin‘s kidpic sequel "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" climbed 23% to $18.9M. Rounding out the top five was Jennifer Aniston‘s "Rumor Has It" which collected $11.8M over four days in its first full weekend of release. It bowed on Christmas Day which fell on the previous Sunday. Moviegoers spent a staggering $188.8M on the Top 20 over four days to close out the 2005 movie year.

    Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

    Moviegoers will have plenty to choose from over the long Christmas holiday weekend as four new star-driven wide releases hit the marketplace adding to an already crowded marquee.

    The Ben Stiller fantasy pic "Night at the Museum" leads the way as the frame’s only new comedy while the Matthew McConaughey football drama "We Are Marshall" offers an inspirational story based on true events. Meanwhile, a pair of Italian Stallions hop into the director’s chair as Sylvester Stallone‘s boxing drama "Rocky Balboa" and Robert De Niro‘s espionage thriller "The Good Shepherd" offer even more choices to holiday moviegoers. As is typical of this time of year, Christmas Eve will hurt the box office on Sunday as last-minute shopping and early theater closings will take their toll. But the Monday holiday will see a major recovery since Christmas Day brings forth a surge in traffic to the multiplexes.

    Blasting into nearly 3,700 theaters including 72 Imax venues is the comedy "Night at the Museum" which finds Ben Stiller playing the new night watchman at New York’s Museum of Natural History where all the artifacts and statues come to life each night. Director Shawn Levy ("Cheaper by the Dozen," "The Pink Panther") leaves behind Steve Martin to work with a younger funnyman and more special effects. The PG-rated film is aiming for broad audiences hoping to bring in entire families looking for a fun time this holiday season. "Museum" also plans to score with teens and young adults as the only major comedy option for them. With "The Holiday" being the only other laugher in the top ten to register with that lucrative group, look for a solid response.

    Stiller brings considerable starpower to the film but he also gets backup from comedians like Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais, and Dick Van Dyke. Plus with the prestigious ‘and’ credit already claimed by Williams, Owen Wilson takes a sizable supporting role but is so cool that he is nowhere to be found in the credits at all. Audiences want happy and funny films during the Christmas holidays and "Night at the Museum" should post muscular numbers thanks to its starpower, lack of comedy competition, mild rating, and formidable marketing and distribution push. Fox looks to close up the books on 2006 by taking over the number one spot this weekend. Attacking 3,688 locations, "Night at the Museum" could debut to about $34M over the four-day Friday-to-Monday holiday period.

    Ben Stiller in "Night at the Museum."

    Sylvester Stallone brings the eye of the tiger back to the multiplexes one last time in "Rocky Balboa" which got a jumpstart on the holiday weekend with its Wednesday launch. The MGM release brings the iconic boxer back to the screen in what is supposedly the end of the franchise with Stallone back in the saddle as writer and director. In this tale, Rocky is brought back into the ring when media hype prompts fans to wonder who the best boxer is of all time. The underdog story on screen mirrored the one within industry circles. How could a franchise that died 16 years ago with the poorly-received "Rocky V" find its way back into the hearts of today’s moviegoers. MGM and the "Judge Dredd" star moved forward. Today, they proudly claim one of the best reviewed films of the Christmas season and the Wednesday bow is being counted on to get die-hard fans out early so they can spread positive buzz at work and in school going into the lucrative yet overcrowded weekend period.

    With so many other films in the marketplace, and plenty with PG or G ratings aimed at luring in full families, "Rocky Balboa" will have to take its time at the box office as many moviegoers may need some convincing before spending money on the followup to the Tommy Gunn flick. Older adults are the ones who remember the excitement of the franchise, but the studio is hoping they could bring their kids with them for an uplifting tale that makes you feel good inside. "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "We Are Marshall" will be direct competitors in the feel-good genre and the latter will steal away many sports fans too. "Balboa" will have to rely on nostalgia and good word-of-mouth to carry it through round after round. Already playing in 2,752 theaters and adding more locations on Friday, "Rocky Balboa" may gross about $16M over four days and around $21M over six days.


    Stallone is back for one more round in "Rocky Balboa."

    For football fans this holiday weekend, Warner Bros. trots out another pigskin drama with "We Are Marshall" starring Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, and David Strathairn. The PG-rated film tells the true story of the football program at Marshall University in West Virginia which had to be rebuilt from scratch after a plane crash killed most of the players and coaches. Hollywood seems to have an endless line-up of sports dramas these days and since most of them become commercial successes, it’s no wonder that they keep getting churned out. Just a few months ago, moviegoers powered the football flicks "Invincible" and "Gridiron Gang" to the number one spot with bows of $17M and $14.4M, respectively. "Marshall" should play to much of the same audience and with its underdog feel-good story, the time of year will help since people are in the mood for that type of emotion.

    Reviews have not been too good, but that should not matter much. "We Are Marshall" is meant for sports fans and those who love stories about overcoming adversity, regardless of how predictable they may be. Sales from the heartland should be solid and with the tame rating, entire families can come out together. Plus McConaughey is a reliable draw at the box office and is believable as a quirky football coach. Still, competition will be strong and coming from all directions so a blowout will not be possible. Opening in 2,606 theaters, "We Are Marshall" could score about $14M over the Friday-to-Monday frame.


    They are Marshall.

    Countering the parade of PG flicks is the R-rated CIA thriller "The Good Shepherd" directed by Robert De Niro. The Universal release stars Matt Damon as Edward Wilson, a loyal government agent who helped to create the agency during the Cold War. Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, William Hurt, John Turturro, and De Niro also star. "Shepherd" boasts solid starpower which could help the film have broad appeal. The subject matter appeals to the 30+ crowd, but Damon and Jolie should help to pull in twentysomethings. Teens and ethnic audiences will have minimal interest. Critics have been mixed on the film which could impact the overall turnout.

    The last few months have not been kind to star-driven period dramas aimed at adult audiences. Pictures like "Hollywoodland," "All the King’s Men," and "Bobby" have all struggled to find paying audiences with none reaching the $15M mark in total sales. "Shepherd’s" cast is what will allow it to rise above those failures. But the fight for the attention and time of mature adults will be fierce and a running time of nearly three hours will allow for one less showtime per day on every screen further cutting into its commercial potential. Infiltrating 2,217 locations, "The Good Shepherd" might capture around $13M over four days.


    Matt Damon and Alec Baldwin in "The Good Shepherd."

    With the calendar year coming to a close, things continue to get crowded in the specialty arena this weekend. Clint Eastwood‘s award-winning war drama "Letters From Iwo Jima" debuted on Wednesday in limited release ahead of a January expansion similar to what Warner Bros. did two years ago with the director’s "Million Dollar Baby" which went on to reign at the Oscars. Edward Norton and Naomi Watts star in the period romance "The Painted Veil" from Warner Independent which also platformed on Wednesday in New York and Los Angeles. Thursday brings the limited launches of Miramax’s "Venus" starring Golden Globe nominee Peter O’Toole and the Chinese period drama "Curse of the Golden Flower" from Sony Classics which stars Gong Li and Chow Yun-Fat.


    Zhang Yimou’s "Curse of the Golden Flower."

    Last weekend, Will Smith scored a number one hit with "The Pursuit of Happyness" which continues to please audiences. Overall moviegoing should increase over the holiday weekend, but more choices for adult audiences will give Sony some competition. "Pursuit’s" four-day take could drop 25% from its three-day debut gross giving the film about $20M and a cume of $58M after 11 days.

    As a sci-fi actioner, Fox’s "Eragon" is likely to see one of the largest drops in the top ten. The dragon adventure might fall by 35% to around $15M over the four-day session leaving the studio with $46M.

    Kidpics score big points over Christmas so "Charlotte’s Web" might see many of those fans who skipped out last weekend actually show up this time. The Paramount release’s four-day tally may slip 10% from its three-day bow and bring in roughly $10M. That would give the family film a total of $27M after 11 days.

    LAST YEAR: With Christmas falling on a Sunday, the observed holiday on Monday gave the box office an expanded four-day holiday frame allowing the mega holdovers to repeat atop the charts. "King Kong" spent its second weekend at number one and grossed $33.3M over four days and was closely followed by "The Chronicles of Narnia" with $31.7M in its third adventure. The combined haul for the pair soared to $285M with much more still to come. Newcomers rounded out the top five with Jim Carrey defeating Steve Martin in the battle of the comedies. Sony’s "Fun With Dick and Jane" opened in third with $21.5M over four days while Fox’s sequel "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" settled for fourth with $15.3M. Final tallies reached $110.3M and $82.6M, respectively. Sony also claimed fifth with "Memoirs of a Geisha" which expanded nationally and took in $10.2M over the long weekend. Also opening were Fox Searchlight’s Johnny Knoxville comedy "The Ringer" with $7.7M over four days, the Jennifer Aniston pic "Rumor Has It" with $7.5M in two days for Warner Bros., and Universal’s "Munich" with $6M in four days. The films went on to reach $35.4M, $43M, and $47.4M respectively. The debuting horror pic "Wolf Creek" opened outside the top ten with $4.9M in two days on its way to $16.2M.

    Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

    This week at the movies, we’ve got jive talking woodland creatures ("Open Season," with Martin Lawrence and Ashton Kutcher). We’ve got a school for Coast Guard rescue swimmers ("The Guardian," starring Kevin Coster and Kutcher again). And we’ve got a school…for scoundrels ("School for Scoundrels," starring Billy Bob Thornton and Jon Heder). Which of these flicks will get a passing grade from critics?

    "Open Season," Sony Pictures Animation’s first picture, features the voices of Martin Lawrence and Ashton Kutcher as a grizzly bear and a deer, respectively, who must team up after getting stranded in the woods at the start of hunting season. Critics say that despite some impressive visuals and funny sequences, "Open Season" does little to distinguish itself from the recent glut of CG kiddie films. At 43 percent on the Tomatometer, you should turn, turn, turn away from this middling "Season."


    Martin Bear: "Say it, Ashton. Say I was funny on Martin!"
    Ashton Deer: "I’m Ashton Kutcher! I was on That 70’s Show!"

    Kevin Costner makes a hopeful return to the action genre in "The Guardian," in which he plays a veteran U.S. Coast Guard officer who must mentor a cocky young upstart played by Ashton Kutcher. The film features intense training sequences, dramatic rescue scenes, and the requisite love story. Sound familiar? Critics seem to think so, calling it a cliched mix of "An Officer and a Gentleman" and "Top Gun," with a predictable storyline. At 40 percent on the Tomatometer, "The Guardian" needs rescuing.


    "Oh, man… Finally, a funny ‘Waterworld‘ joke!"

    Director Todd Phillips brings us his latest comedy "School for Scoundrels," about a nerdy meter maid (Jon Heder) who takes confidence building classes from a smarmy instructor (Billy Bob Thornton). When the student gains the confidence to ask out his longtime crush, he discovers he must compete with the teacher for her affections. Most critics are in agreement that the real scoundrels are the screenwriters who couldn’t devise a script worthy of the considerable acting talent involved. At 21 percent on the Tomatometer, "School for Scoundrels" receives a failing grade.


    Jon Heder’s got to worry about more than just talons these days.

    Also opening this week in limited release: "The Queen," a speculative drama about the reaction of Britain’s royal family after the death of Princess Di starring Helen Mirren, is at 95 percent on the Tomatometer; "The Last King of Scotland," which features an electrifying performance from Forrest Whitaker as the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, is at 86 percent; "Be With Me," a three part meditation on love, hope, and destiny, is at 80 percent; "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints," a coming-of-age story starring Robert Downey Jr., is at 77 percent; and "loudQUIETloud: A Film About the Pixies," which chronicles the triumphant reunion tour of the influential cult band, is at 60 percent.

    Recent Ashton Kutcher Movies:
    —————————————-
    80% — Bobby (2006)
    39% — A Lot Like Love (2005)
    44% — Guess Who (2005)
    33% — The Butterfly Effect (2004)
    19% — Just Married (2003)

    Recent Billy Bob Thornton Movies:
    ——————————————
    46% — The Ice Harvest (2005)
    46% — The Bad News Bears (2005)
    79% — Chrystal (2004)
    82% — Friday Night Lights (2004)
    30% — The Alamo (2004)

    Recent Kevin Costner Movies:
    ————————————–
    18% — Rumor Has It… (2005)
    73% — The Upside of Anger (2004)
    79% — Open Range (2003)
    8% — Dragonfly (2002)
    13% — 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001)

    Recent Jon Heder Movies:
    ———————————-
    73% — Monster House (2006)
    11% — The Benchwarmers (2006)
    56% — Just Like Heaven (2005)
    71% — Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

    This week at the movies brings us "The Break-Up," a hotly-anticipated dark comedy featuring two actors whose faces are criminally under-documented by the paparazzi. What do the critics say?


    "The Break-Up:" This wouldn’t have happened if she just had a couple more pieces of flair.

    Critical Consensus has had a couple bad breakups in the past. Fortunately, CC has some really good friends who are always available to provide pep talks. They have said, "Move on! Get over it! It’s all good!" Unfortunately for "The Break-Up," starring Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston, the critics just can’t move on. They can’t get over it. The film, billed as an "anti-romantic comedy," tells the story of a couple in the final death spiral of a relationship, the inverse of typical Hollywood rom-com fare. It’s an intriguing idea (kinda like a Frat-Pack version of Bergman‘s "Scenes from a Marriage"), but the critics say that two of contemporary cinema’s most likeable actors stranded in a tonally schizophrenic plot with unfunny bickering that is simply hard to watch. At 22 percent on the Tomatometer, this one can’t catch a "Break."


    "District B13:" Seriously kids, do not try this at home.

    In limited release this week, French martial arts thriller "District B13" currently stands at 88 percent on the Tomatometer; the Iraq documentary "The War Tapes" is at 92 percent; indie comedy "The Puffy Chair" is at 75 percent; "Favela Rising," a doc about Brazilian political unrest, is at 60 percent; the Floridian noir "Coastlines" is at 50 percent; "Peaceful Warrior," starring a philosophical Nick Nolte, is at 40 percent; and the South Korean action thriller "Typhoon" is at 17 percent.

    Recent Jennifer Aniston Movies:
    —————————————-
    68% — Friends with Money (2006)
    21% — Derailed (2005)
    18% — Rumor Has It (2005)
    26% — Along Came Polly (2004)
    51% — Bruce Almighty (2003)

    Recent Vince Vaughn Movies:
    ————————————
    69% — Thumbsucker (2005)
    74% — Wedding Crashers (2005)
    29% — Be Cool (2005)
    70% — Dodgeball (2004)
    63% — Starsky & Hutch (2004)

    The four-day estimates for New Year’s Weekend (12/30 to 1/2) are in, and it seems that Disney’s "The Chronicles of Narnia" has snatched the #1 spot back from "King Kong," if only by the slimmest of margins.

    The "Chronicles" pulled in an estimated $32.8 million over the four-day frame, giving it a pretty impressive grand total of $224.8 million. Close in the Narinaical footsteps was the massive primate known as "King Kong," which made about $31.5 million in the same time-frame, giving Peter Jackson‘s epic adventure tale a total of $174.3 million to date.

    Third, fourth, and fifth place went to a trio of late-season comedies: Jim Carrey‘s "Fun with Dick and Jane" made about $21 miliion ($64.5m total), Steve Martin‘s "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" did $19.3 million ($55.1m total), and Jennifer Aniston‘s "Rumor Has It…" settled for $11.6 million ($26.7m total).

    The first weekend of 2006 sees the release of some wildly varying little flicks. Uwe Boll‘s "BloodRayne," Eli Roth‘s "Hostel," and the stoner comedy "Grandma’s Boy" will battle for a piece of the early-January box office pie.

    As always, you can check out some more numbers at the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office Page. (And Happy New Year to all!)

    OK, so "King Kong" didn’t exactly storm out of the gates following its release last Wednesday, but the lovestruck gorilla enjoyed a rather impressive 3-day weekend all the same. The monkey’s mega-movie grabbed just over $50 million over the weekend, giving it a total tally of $66.2 million from over 3,500 screens.

    Variety‘s Ben Fritz sums up the Kong-quest rather nicely: "The big ape is already catching a second wind.

    Swinging to a respectable weekend after a weaker-than-expected start on Wednesday, "King Kong" grossed $50.1 million Friday-Sunday; five-day cume was $66.2 million. "King Kong" averaged $14,055 per play at 3,568 locations.

    Universal is pinning its hopes on "Kong’s" strongest stat: a 40% jump from Friday to Saturday. That’s significantly better than any of the "Lord of the Rings" pics, all of which also opened Wednesday a week before Christmas.

    "This movie is setting its own pattern," asserted Marc Shmuger, U vice chairman in charge of worldwide marketing and distribution. "It’s a new one for those of us in the business and who study it. Who knows where it could go?""

    Pulling in at second place, with a pretty impressive $31.1m second weekend, is Disney’s "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," which has now earned $112.5m from the moviegoers. Third place went to the newly-arrived ensemble comedy "The Family Stone," which netted $12.7m from 2,400 theaters.

    Fourth and fifth place went to a pair of old pals: "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" ($5.9m, $252.5m total) and "Syriana" ($5.4m, $22.3m total).

    Next week sees the arrival of five new wide releases: "Fun with Dick and Jane" and "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" on Wednesday, "The Ringer" on Friday, and "Rumor Has It" and "Wolf Creek" on Sunday … which means there will be a little for something for everyone at the multiplexes.

    As always, you can check out a closer look at the weekend numbers by visiting the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office Page.

    Jennifer Aniston‘s new comedy is Rob Reiner‘s "Rumor Has It," and you can check out the all-new trailer for the film over at Yahoo! Movies.

    Co-starring Mark Ruffalo, Mena Suvari, Kevin Costner, and Shirley MacLaine, this "Rumor" is about "A young woman (who) returns home to Pasadena, determined to unravel a family secret before she gets married. She learns "The Graduate" might have been based on her kin, and that her grandmother was the inspiration for Mrs. Robinson. Then she finds herself embroiled in an affair with an older man as history repeats itself."

    "Rumor Has It" opens wide on December 25th.