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

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

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


The main protagonists of 10,000 B.C.

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


One of the many hijinks in College Road Trip.

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


Jason Statham and Saffron Burrows in The Bank Job.

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

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

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

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

After two weeks of rule by Jodie and Milla, the boys come charging back in what could be a fierce fight for the number one spot. Jamie Foxx heads up the Middle East political thriller The Kingdom while The Rock targets a kinder and gentler audience with his family comedy The Game Plan. With little to no overlap in customers, both films should have room to breathe. Also debuting but in a moderate national release is the Morgan Freeman pic Feast of Love.

After scoring four consecutive $100M grossers this summer, Universal aims for another trip to the number one spot with its new military drama The Kingdom. Oscar winner Jamie Foxx leads the cast playing an agent with the FBI that assembles a talented team of experts to go to Saudi Arabia against government orders to investigate a suicide bomber’s attack against Americans. Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper, Jason Bateman, and Jeremy Piven co-star in the R-rated pic. The studio is hoping to reconnect with the same audience that powered its 2005 Iraq War drama Jarhead to a strong $27.7M bow. It’s even used Kanye West‘s music in its advertising just as it did two years ago.

The Kingdom is part of a handful of fall flicks to deal with political issues in the Middle East. As one of the first ones out of the gate, it may not suffer from the backlash against this genre that may eventually be created. Marketed as a revenge picture featuring Americans fighting back against those who wronged us, the Peter Berg-directed film should tap into a certain segment of the audience that will find comfort in this type of fare. But competition for adults will be a factor especially considering how seven of the top eight films last weekend were rated R. Reviews have been mixed, however starpower is ample which should compensate. Infiltrating more than 2,700 theaters, The Kingdom might open with approximately $19M this weekend.


Jamie Foxx and co. in The Kingdom.

A superstar quarterback’s life is thrown into disarray when he meets the daughter he never knew he had in Disney’s The Game Plan starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The PG-rated entry enters multiplexes in the early weeks of the football season and at a time when there are zero options for families meaning the timing could not be better. The concept should sell to moms, dads, and kids alike. Plus, the studio found great success with this format two years ago when it put muscular action star Vin Diesel into the family comedy The Pacifier and drove $30.6M worth of business into theaters on opening weekend.

Of course Diesel, Ice Cube, and other macho men have been showing their softer side in kidpics lately so the idea is not totally new. The studio’s sneak previews last weekend helped to get more buzz out there with the target demo and with the lack of direct competition, Game Plan should have smooth sailing with parents and children. The marketing push has been effective as Disney has proven with films like Wild Hogs that it can sell just about any type of star-driven comedy to the public. Charging into about 2,800 locations, The Game Plan could grab around $17M this weekend.


The Rock stars in The Game Plan.

Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear, and Selma Blair star in the new drama Feast of Love which quietly enters the marketplace on Friday as the frame’s third new wide opener. Directed by Robert Benton, the R-rated collection of intertwining stories set in Oregon will play exclusively to a mature adult audience. MGM has not been pushing the film too much and the release is not very wide so the film’s potential is limited. Women should outnumber men by a small margin. Landing in about 1,200 sites, a $2M debut could result.


Morgan Freeman and Greg Kinnear in Feast of Love.

The Tommy Lee Jones drama In the Valley of Elah will expand to roughly 700 theaters nationwide on Friday as it enters its third weekend of release and will try to pop into the top ten. The Paul Haggis-directed pic got off to a solid start by platforming in nine theaters to a $14,840 average. However, things slowed down considerably last weekend during its expansion to 317 playdates which eroded its average down to $3,996. The Warner Independent title struggled as it moved into more major markets and this weekend should see its average get diluted further. A weekend tally of about $2M seems likely.


Tommy Lee Jones in Elah.

A mighty tumble awaits current box office champ Resident Evil: Extinction which is coming off of the biggest bow in the series. The first two Evil pics each suffered a steep 62% drop in the second weekend. A similar drop should result for this third chapter giving Extinction about $9.5M for the frame and $38M in ten days.

The Dane CookJessica Alba comedy Good Luck Chuck is also following up on a solid debut. Most of the fans of the actors probably came out upfront so a 50% fall to around $7M seems likely. That would give Lionsgate a ten-day cume of $24M.

LAST YEAR Sony topped the charts with its animated offering Open Season which debuted to an impressive $23.6M on its way to $85.1M. Ashton Kutcher voiced the number one film and starred on-screen opposite Kevin Costner in the second place pic The Guardian which opened to $18M. the Buena Vista release went on to collect $55M. Jackass: Number Two fell two spots to third with $14.6M losing half of it audience. Launching in fourth was the Billy Bob Thornton comedy School for Scoundrels with $8.6M for MGM on its way to $17.8M. Jet Li‘s Fearless rounded out the top five with $5M for Focus.

After generating middling box office returns on movies like
Doom
and
Walking Tall
,
Dwayne "The
Rock" Johnson
takes a career adjustment into comedy with
The Game Plan
,
opening this Friday.  He portrays a quarterback whose bachelor lifestyle is
interrupted after suddenly being confronted with a daughter from an earlier
relationship. This week, we’ll look at other action stars who have opened up
their Lunchables and shared the limelight.

It was probably easier to make a movie like
The Game Plan
in
the early 1990s than it is today.  Back then, action cinema ran solely on
brawn.
Arnold Schwarzenegger
,
Sylvester
Stallone
,
Jean-Claude Van Damme,
Steven Seagal,
Chuck Norris:
they molded themselves into one man armies on the big screen, and seeing them
break their image in broad comedies like 1990’s
Kindergarten Cop
(50 percent on the Tomatometer) was something too outlandish for a
studio exec not to green light. But the age of the NES has passed and now we
want our heroes complex and infallible.  We want
Jason Bourne, we
want a moody James Bond.
In other words, we want actors who aren’t known for their action movies.

Yet, Hollywood’s a big place. Room is being cleared for the
jocks to take over again: 300
(60 percent) was one of the biggest movies of the year, wrestlers are striking
up movie contracts, and even
Ice Cube, once
self-proclaimed to be America’s most wanted man, is doing
poop jokes with
prepubescents
. It goes to show you’re never a reputable action star until
you have the clout to risk it all away on a kids movie.


Kindergarten
Cop
: the undisputed king of the meathead-out-of-his-element
pictures. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as John Kimble, a reckless detective who
takes an undercover job as a kindergarten teacher. An at-large drug trafficker’s son is in
his class and Schwarzenegger must root him out as only a 6’2” Austrian loose
cannon can. Admittedly, Kindergarten Cop is tonally inconsistent; the
violence, comedy, and mushy love subplot never gel convincingly, a surprise
considering this comes from
Ivan Reitman,
the great genre-masher behind
Ghostbusters
(93
percent). Regardless, film culture has already immortalized Kindergarten Cop,
mostly for Schwarzenegger’s impeccably blunt line delivery ("Who is your
daddy
and what does he do?"; "It is not a toomur!", etc).

Of the action stars that emerged in the 1980s,
Schwarzenegger was the first to display a sense of a humor. After his first two
concerted efforts to poke holes in his tough guy image — 1988’s
Twins
(30
percent) and Kindergarten Cop — resulted in $100 million blockbusters, the way
was paved for similar fare like Sylvester Stallone’s
Stop! Or My
Mom Will Shoot
(6 percent) and Chuck Norris’s
Top Dog
(0
percent). Schwarzenegger clearly showed early leadership aptitude in choosing
Kindergarten Cop
, qualifying him to be current mastermind of the sixth
largest economy on Earth.


Once Schwarzenegger established himself as a cinematic force — part of an awesome
decade-long run starting with
The Terminator

(100 percent) and ending with
True Lies
(68
percent) — few looked capable in matching his influence and popularity.  Enter

Terry "Hulk" Hogan
. Hogan wisely tried establishing himself as
counterprogramming to R-rated action heroes, a family-friendly entity accessible
to mass consumers who knew of him from from TV. Hogan starred in 1993’s
Mr. Nanny
(7
percent) as Sean Armstrong, a former pro wrestler hired to bodyguard an inventor
and become ad hoc sitter to his bratty kids with penchants for sub-Home
Alone
booby traps.  Even for a movie starring Hulk Hogan, there’s a
surprising amount of slapstick violence: it’s guaranteed that very few
minutes will pass before somebody trips on something or a guy takes a fist to
the face. Even
Sherman
Hemsley
, as Hogan’s along-for-the-ride former trainer, gets flipped over a
couch during a fight.

As if to challenge Schwarzenegger’s supremacy directly, in
Mr. Nanny Hogan frequently matches brawn with Wolfgang, a brute obviously
modeled in speech and manner after Schwarzenegger.  Wolfgang, in fact, is played
by Peter Kent,
Schwarzenegger’s longtime stunt double, and Kent even prophetically calls Hogan
a "girlie man," a term Schwarzenegger got

rather familiar with in 2004
.

As the economic viability of the action stars eroded, a
new, different icon needed to take over. For a while it looked like
Vin Diesel was
willing to bear the brunt. After making
The Fast
and the Furious
and
xXx
, Diesel loosens his image for 2005’s
The Pacifier
(21
percent), starring as a no-nonsense Navy S.E.A.L. taking care of a recently
assassinated scientist’s kids. Diaper jokes and drill exercises ensues.

The Pacifier
was directed by
Adam Shankman
who, in
a recent RT
interview
, was quick to admit that it was something he used to "loathe
hearing" about. As Shankman puts it: "I took jobs like a dancer takes jobs; if something’s offered to you, you take
it. And I felt just privileged that somebody wanted me to work, and wanted
whatever it was that I did, even if it was just to get it done, and get it done
cleanly."

This past summer, Shankman scored a Certified Fresh box office hit with a
remake of
John Waters
‘ camp classic,
Hairspray
(93 percent).  Shankman’s career parallels somewhat with Game Plan
director Andy
Fickman
‘s: both have given
Amanda Bynes‘s
career a boost (She’s the Man), both have soft spots for musicals, and both are well-taught of
the ins and outs of making unassuming, crowd-pleasing Hollywood entertainment. So, ought we be expecting a summer remake of
Pink Flamingos

from Andy Fickman soon? He might not be far off; he’s already listed as attached
to a remake of Fame.

With straight-up action stars slowly eking their way back, can we expect this comedy subgenre to also make a resurgence in the new Hollywood? I’m expecting “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Dakota Fanning to pool their acting talents soon for The Condemned 2: The Reckoning.

It made a billion dollars and I can’t remember talking to ONE person who actually liked it. But you knew it was coming. The ball is rolling on another Night at the Museum.

And I’d be willing to bet that’s what they call it, too: "Another Night at the Museum." Because that’s what passes for clever these days.

OK, I’ll put the sarcasm away. According to Dark Horizons, screenwriters Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon (who have Balls of Fury on the way) have confessed: Yes, they’ve started in on the sequel’s screenplay. Then again, Night at the Museum was a pretty big step up from their other screenplays. Shield your eyeballs and then scan those credits. Yep, the same guys who co-created the hilarious Reno 911! and The State — also co-wrote Taxi, The Pacifier, Herbie: Fully Loaded, and Let’s Go to Prison. I’m not sure if Ben Stiller is signed yet, but that shouldn’t be a problem. That guy will do just about any flick for a paycheck. (And how the heck did the Reno 911! movie turn out so rotten?)

Having said all that, the Balls of Fury trailer did make me chuckle a few times — about five months ago. But back to the main issue: Another Night at the Museum? Who’s up for that? Be honest. The first flick didn’t gross $250 million by itself.

Source: Dark Horizons

Hey, remember action star Vin Diesel? Well, he’s back.

Aside from "The Pacifier," "Find Me Guilty," and a really goofy cameo in "Tokyo Drift," we haven’t seen a whole lot from Vin Diesel lately — especially in the action genre. Looks like all that’s about to change with the arrival of Mathieu Kassovitz‘s "Babylon A.D." And if this behind-the-scenes teaser trailer is any indication, it’s going to be a pretty chaotic affair.

Click here to see the teaser at Vin’s official site, and then pop back here to let us know if the promo clip has you pumped to see "Babylon A.D." The IMDb describes the plot like this: "Veteran-turned-mercenary Thoorop (Diesel) takes the high-risk job of escorting a woman from Russia to China. Little does he know that she is host to an organism that a cult wants to harvest in order to produce a genetically modified Messiah."

So it’s "Children of Men" meets "Cherry 2000." And I really ought to offer a bonus prize to anyone who actually remembers "Cherry 2000."

Scheduled for release next February, "Babylon" is the second English-language feature from the French filmmaker. His first was … "Gothika." But "Gothika" didn’t have tigers, strippers, fistfights, explosions, and Michelle Yeoh.

Source: One Race Films

Moviegoers rallied behind the star-driven comedy "Wild Hogs," which raced to number one at the North American box office, zooming past all expectations from Disney. Meanwhile, Viacom saw less-than-stellar debuts from its serial killer drama "Zodiac" from Paramount Pictures and the southern fried saga "Black Snake Moan" from arthouse unit Paramount Vantage. Overall, the box office remained healthy and surged well ahead of last year’s performance.

Buena Vista powered its way to an estimated $38M in opening weekend sales for its road comedy "Wild Hogs," delivering the largest March debut in history for a live-action film. The PG-13 pic starring Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy as four middle-aged men on a motorcycle adventure averaged a stellar $11,561 from 3,287 theaters. It was the year’s second biggest opening after "Ghost Rider‘s" $45.4M bow two weeks ago. According to studio research, 54% of the audience was actually female. Travolta’s everlasting sex appeal, Allen’s pull with moms thanks to his many Disney flicks, and the cast’s appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" last week probably contributed to the solid turnout by women. The stars also allowed the film to tap into different audience segments.

"Wild Hogs" posted the best opening ever in March for a non-animated film and the third biggest overall. The only movies to debut better in this month were the "Ice Age" flicks of 2002 and 2006. It also gave Travolta the biggest opening by far of his career, beating the $23.5M of 2005’s "Be Cool," and the second best bow for Allen after the $57.4M bow of 1999’s "Toy Story 2." As expected, "Hogs" was slammed by critics but reviews are practically irrelevant for a star-driven comedy like this. This is a crowdpleaser, not a criticpleaser. Audiences make their decisions based on if they think they will get a good laugh or not and Buena Vista’s marketing push was indeed solid. Though the overall weekend gross was strong, what was even more encouraging was the significant Friday-to-Saturday boost of 49% which is rare for any new release. A journey into nine-digit territory seems likely.

Debuting far back in second place was the serial killer pic "Zodiac," with an estimated $13.1M from 2,362 sites. Averaging a respectable $5,546 per theater, the R-rated film from director David Fincher played to an older audience as two-thirds of the crowd was over the age of 25, according to studio research from Paramount. Males and females were evenly represented. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., and Mark Ruffalo, "Zodiac" follows the investigation behind one of California’s most notorious murderers from the 1960s and 70s. The $65M film fared better than last fall’s murder mysteries set in the Golden State, "The Black Dahlia" and "Hollywoodland," which debuted to $10M and $5.9M respectively.

Reviews were overwhelmingly positive for "Zodiac," but its 160-minute length may have cut into its grossing potential. Plus when factoring in ticket prices increases over the years, it can be estimated that "Zodiac" sold the fewest opening weekend tickets of any of Fincher’s films. Admissions were roughly the same as for "Fight Club," which bowed to $11M in 1999. The studio is hoping that good word-of-mouth can carry the film in the weeks ahead.

After leading the pack for two full weeks, the Johnny Blaze flick "Ghost Rider" fell to third but only dropped 43% for an estimated $11.5M gross. Sony’s Nicolas Cage starrer has taken in $94.8M in 17 days and should become the first new release of 2007 to break the $100M barrier. Disney’s "Bridge to Terabithia" also held up well dipping 39% in its third adventure to an estimated $8.6M. Cume stands at $57.9M.

Jim Carrey‘s thriller "The Number 23" fell from second to fifth place in its sophomore scare and collected an estimated $7.1M. Down an understandable 52%, the New Line title has taken in a semi-decent $24.7M in ten days and looks headed for a $35-38M finish.

Eddie Murphy‘s latest comedy "Norbit" enjoyed the smallest decline in the top ten and dipped 34% to an estimated $6.4M for a $83M sum. Fellow laugher "Music and Lyrics" dropped just 36% to an estimated $4.9M giving the Hugh GrantDrew Barrymore pic $38.7M to date.

Paramount Vantage bowed its Samuel L. JacksonChristina Ricci drama "Black Snake Moan" and collected an estimated $4M from 1,252 theaters. Averaging a mild $3,208, the debut was half the size of writer/director Craig Brewer‘s last film "Hustle & Flow," which opened in July 2005 to $8M from 1,013 theaters on its way to $22.2M and an Oscar. Jackson has witnessed many of his headlining vehicles struggle at the box office including "Freedomland," "The Man," and even "Snakes on a Plane," which despite hitting the top spot, grossed much less than expected given its media hype last summer.

The Fox comedy "Reno 911!: Miami" tumbled 64% in its second weekend to an estimated $3.8M for a ninth place finish. The R-rated pic has grossed $16.4M in ten days and should conclude with roughly $20M. Rounding out the top ten was the FBI thriller "Breach" with an estimated $3.5M, off 42%, for a $25.4M total.

Three smaller films dropped out of the top ten over the weekend. The slave trade drama "Amazing Grace" dipped only 26% in its second weekend to an estimated $3M. With $8.2M in ten days, the Samuel Goldwyn/Roadside Attractions period pic may find its way to $15-18M. The Billy Bob Thornton flop "The Astronaut Farmer" grossed an estimated $2.2M, down 52%, and put its sum at an embarrassing $7.7M. Look for a $11M final.

Lionsgate’s Tyler Perry comedy "Daddy’s Little Girls" fell 53% to an estimated $2.3M in its third frame and upped its cume to $28.4M. By comparison, the distributor saw stronger 17-day grosses of $44M and $55.7M respectively for the director’s last two films, "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" and "Madea’s Family Reunion." "Daddy’s" should end its run with $30-33M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $100.8M which was up a stunning 30% from last year when "Madea" stayed at number one with just $12.6M; but off 4% from 2005 when "The Pacifier" debuted on top with $30.6M.

Source: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Variety reports that the "Reno 911!" fellas have cooked up a new comedy feature, and it’ll be a ping pong flick called "Balls of Fury." And here’s the sweet spot: Christopher Walken is in talks to star.

"Christopher Walken is set to star alongside Dan Fogler in "Balls of Fury," the pingpong comedy written by "Reno 911" creators Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant.

Walken plays Fang, an evil crime lord who is also a pingpong enthusiast. Fogler, the Tony-winning star of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," plays a disgraced player enlisted by the CIA to join a tournament held in Fang’s lair. Lennon plays the comeback kid’s East German nemesis."

In addition to "Reno," Lennon & Garant collaborated on the screenplays for "Taxi," "The Pacifier," and "Herbie: Fully Loaded." Despite those credits, I’m pretty psyched for "Balls of Fury" and the impending "Reno 911!: Miami."

John Travolta and Queen Latifah have signed on to star in New Line Cinema’s upcoming feature film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical "Hairspray," it was announced today by Toby Emmerich, New Line’s President of Production.

Travolta will play Edna Turnblad and Queen Latifah will play Motormouth Maybelle in the film, which is being directed by Adam Shankman ("The Pacifier," "Bringing Down the House") and produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, for their Zadan/Meron Productions, who previously executive produced the Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning Best Picture "Chicago." A nationwide casting search is currently under way to find a newcomer to play the lead role of Tracy Turnblad in the film, with production on Hairspray scheduled to begin this Fall for a potential Summer 2007 release.

“From cult classic film to hit Broadway musical to major motion picture, Hairspray is a true New Line franchise,” commented Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, New Line Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs. “John and Queen Latifah will bring new sensibilities to the characters of Edna Turnblad and Motormouth Maybelle, and introduce this innovative musical comedy to new audiences.”

Zadan and Meron said: "It’s long been a desire of ours to work with John Travolta and to have the opportunity to produce his return to movie musicals after three decades…it’s a dream come true. And having worked so successfully with Queen Latifah on Chicago, we were looking for the perfect vehicle to re-team…Hairspray presented us with a wonderful opportunity to collaborate once again with our multi-talented friend."

"Hairspray" is originally based on the 1988 John Waters comedy about star-struck teenagers on a local Baltimore dance show. The new version of the film will be based on New Line’s hit Broadway adaptation of the film which debuted in 2002, and went on to win eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book and Best Director.

Marc Shaiman ("Sleepless in Seattle") and Scott Wittman will contribute new songs to their existing Tony Award winning score. Shaiman will also serve as the film’s music supervisor and will compose the music score for the film as well as produce its songs. Wittman and Shaiman will also serve as executive producers on the film. The new screenplay for "Hairspray" is written by Leslie Dixon ("Freaky Friday," "Outrageous Fortune").

Emmerich is overseeing the project along with New Line’s Executive VP of Production Mark Kaufman, and Creative Executives Michael Disco and Daryl Freimark.

Travolta burst into the dance musical world thirty years ago with "Saturday Night Fever" and packed a one-two punch the following year with the release of "Grease," the most successful movie musical of all time. Travolta was nominated for Oscars for "Fever" and "Pulp Fiction." He is represented by the William Morris Agency and attorneys Mike Ossi and Howard Butler.

Hairspray reunites Latifah with producers Zadan and Meron (she earned an Oscar and Golden Globe nomination for her work in "Chicago") and director Shankman (she starred in his blockbuster "Bringing Down The House"). Latifah is also represented by the William Morris Agency.

The Hollywood Reporter brings news that the cult comedy series "Reno 911!" will soon be making its way into the movie-houses, which should please the cast members, the fans, and Comedy Central a whole heck of a lot.

"The creators of Comedy Central’s "Reno 911!" are taking their cop spoof to the big screen. 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures will co-produce "Reno 911!: Miami," which will be helmed by the TV series’ co-creator, Robert Ben Garant. The film is described as an improvisational-based project that will follow a script written by Garant and fellow series co-creators Thomas Lennon and Kerri Kenney. "Reno 911!: Miami," which starts shooting Jan. 23 in Miami and Los Angeles, finds the officers visiting a national police convention in Miami Beach at the height of spring break. When the convention center is bio-attacked, it’s up to Reno’s "finest" to save the day."

This is particularly good news for Mr. Garant and collaborator Thomas Lennon; the pair have, in recent months, penned the screenplays for "The Pacifier," "Taxi," and "Herbie: Fully Loaded."

(Anyone else remember when these guys did "The State" on MTV? Where’s that DVD release already?)

What’s a dance choreographer to do after he graduates to the realm of Profitable Director? Why, he goes back to choreography again, which is precisely what Adam Shankman will be doing for New Line’s "Hairspray."

Mr. Shankman, the auteur behind such seminal classics as "The Wedding Planner," "Bringing Down the House," "The Pacifier," and the impending "Cheaper By the Dozen 2," has been tapped to direct (AND choreograph) "Hairspray," which is based on a Broadway show that was based on John Waters‘ flick from 1988.

According to Variety, "Shankman…will begin working immediately with screenwriter Leslie Dixon and lyricist-composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the Tony-winning team that wrote the "Hairspray" score. Production will begin early next year in Baltimore, for a summer 2007 release.

Casting will now begin in earnest. John Travolta is expected to play Edna Turnblad, the role Harvey Fierstein originated onstage. The involvement of Shankman, who directed "Bringing Down the House," makes Queen Latifah an instant front-runner for the role of Motormouth Maybelle.

Shankman fills a vacancy created when original choreographer Jerry Mitchell and stage director Jack O’Brien bowed out as the pic’s co-directors."

Larry Carroll of Movies on MTV had a sit-down with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson on the set of his new movie "Gridiron Gang," and discussion regarding "The Pacifier" led to a not-too-startling revelation: The Rock’s going to do his own kiddie comedy!

"Daddy’s Girl" seems to have Mr. Johnson pretty excited: "I play basically Terrell Owens of the NFL, only more obnoxious, if you can imagine. I talk more trash, and I’m better, and I’m everything that I am … All of a sudden, there’s a knock on my door, and there’s somebody at my door whom I have to take care of for the rest of my life. And that somebody happens to be a little 5-year-old girl. It’s all about how I deal with that."

The project is set up at Disney, obviously, and will be overseen by producers Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray, the gentlemen behind "The Rookie" and "Miracle."

For even more of The Rock’s gentler side, head on over to MTV Movies for the full interview.

Action star and popular "Pacifier" Vin Diesel will star in Fox’s big-screen adaptation of the Eidos Interactive video game "Hitman," says Variety. No word yet on who’ll be writing and/or directing the new video game flick, but Fox is really enjoying the video-game-movie renaissance: they recently signed a deal to help bring a "Halo" movie to the big screen, as well.

The story of "Hitman" focuses on an "international assassin known as Agent 47 who works for a mysterious org dubbed the Agency." The first three entries in the "Hitman" game series have sold over 10 million units worldwide, and a fourth chapter, entitled "Hitman: Blood Money," is scheduled for release later this year.

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