It remains to be seen whether this weekend’s Furious 7 will really be “one last ride” for the franchise, but just in case, we’ve decided to pay tribute to our favorite cinematic rubber-burners by taking a look at the best and worst entries from each cast member’s filmography. This is going to be a bumpy ride, so buckle up – it’s time for Total Recall!


Vin Diesel

97%  The Iron Giant

Long before Diesel made audiences laugh, cheer, and shed a tear as the monosyllabic Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy, he proved his unique worth as an animated galoot in The Iron Giant, suffusing director Brad Bird’s future cult classic with immense poignancy simply by speaking a handful of lines. We still can’t hear the word “Superman” without choking up.

6%  Babylon A.D.

Diesel has more than proven his ability to play gun-toting strong, silent types, as well as his comfort with acting to green-screened futuristic landscapes; Babylon A.D., which pitted his grizzled mercenary character against a psychotic Russian mobster played by Gerard Depardieu, should by all rights have been a lot of fun. Alas, if it’s dystopian Diesel you’re after, you should definitely stick with the Chronicles of Riddick movies.

Paul Walker

85%  Pleasantville

While Walker ultimately became best known for his action roles, his wholesome good looks might have made him a terrific rom-com leading man – and as he demonstrated as all-around swell guy Skip Martin in Pleasantville, he also had more than enough charm and sincerity to pull it off. Being able to say “you’re the keenest girl in school” with a straight face? That’s a gift, people.

4%  Meet the Deedles

Arguably the most violent act perpetrated against Hawaiian culture since Pearl Harbor, Meet the Deedles starred Walker as one-half of a sibling surfer duo whose idiot antics convince their father (soap legend Eric Braeden) to ship them off to Yellowstone, where they bumble into a plot cooked up by a renegade ranger (Dennis Hopper) who plans to divert Old Faithful. Possibly worth watching if you are related to one of the former members of Oingo Boingo who make a cameo appearance.

Michelle Rodriguez

87%  Girlfight

Rodriguez set a fairly high bar for herself with her breakout performance in this highly regarded indie drama about a troubled teenager who learns to channel her aggression in the ring, which also launched the career of writer-director Karyn Kusama – who wrote the screenplay inspired by her own boxing lessons. Not only was Rodriguez not a boxer before winning the role, she’d never even landed a speaking part in a film. The rest is history.

4%  BloodRayne

Directed by Uwe Boll. We could say more, but what would be the point, really?

Dwayne Johnson

79%  The Other Guys

Plenty of action stars have subverted their tough-guy personas, but few do it as effortlessly as Johnson, whose blinding charisma is so powerful he managed to emerge from The Tooth Fairy unscathed. (More on that in a minute.) His brief appearance in The Other Guys is a terrific example: Alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Johnson played a meathead star cop with an arrest record as sparkly as his toothy grin – and an unfortunate inability to comprehend or overcome the law of gravity.

18%  The Tooth Fairy

Dwayne Johnson as a brutally violent hockey player who’s cowed into deputy tooth fairy duty by an enraged Julie Andrews (and supplied with fairy magic by Billy Crystal)? It seems like the stuff that legendary comedies are made of, but unfortunately, Tooth Fairy lacked a certain (ahem) biting wit. On the bright side, it’s still more fun than the direct-to-video sequel starring Larry the Cable Guy and a pig.

Ludacris

82%  Hustle & Flow

Admittedly, playing a multiplatinum rapper wasn’t exactly a dramatic stretch for Ludacris, but his appearance as Skinny Black helped personify the level of success that Hustle & Flow protagonist DJay (Terrence Howard) was trying to attain – as well as the barriers he had to struggle against in pursuit of his dream. It is, as they say, hard out here for a pimp.

8%  The Wash

There’s a certain amount of mildly anarchic potential inherent in the idea of a car wash-centered comedy starring some of hip-hop’s biggest stars – but for a movie like The Wash to really work, it should ideally be managed by someone with more filmmaking experience than writer-producer-director DJ Pooh, whose nickname summed up the critical and commercial reaction to the project. Fortunately for Ludacris, his involvement was limited; while headlining stars Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg loomed large over the credits, he was content to serve walk-on duty as an irate character credited only as “Customer”.

Tyrese Gibson

85%  The Take

Gibson hasn’t had an overabundance of opportunities to shine outside the Fast and Furious franchise, but he did enjoy a piece of the critical spotlight for The Take, a relatively little-seen 2007 thriller about an armored car driver (John Leguizamo) gunning for vengeance against the criminal (Gibson) who masterminded a robbery that left him disgraced and close to death.

10%  Annapolis

Plenty of worthwhile stories have been spun out of the conflict between young military officers and their hard-driving superiors, but Annapolis – starring James Franco whose hostile relationship with his commander (Gibson) spills over into the boxing ring – is emphatically not one of them. On the bright side, it introduced Gibson to Annapolis director Justin Lin, who he’d later work with on Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6.

Lucas Black

96%  Sling Blade

After picking up his first film role in the 1994 Kevin Costner/Elijah Wood drama The War, Black made his breakout with Sling Blade, starring opposite Billy Bob Thornton as a young boy who develops an unlikely friendship with a developmentally disabled killer. Thornton won an Oscar for his screenplay, while Black picked up a few accolades of his own, including a Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor.

14%  Seven Days in Utopia

As an actor, lining yourself up opposite Robert Duvall is basically winning half the battle; sadly for Lucas Black in Seven Days in Utopia, the outcome of the other half depends on stuff like a solid direction and a great screenplay. As far as most critics were concerned, neither of those crucial components were in evidence in this faith-based drama, about a young golfer (Black) whose career crisis is defused by the sage advice of an older, wiser friend (Duvall) ? but fortunately, Utopia proved little more than a blip for either actor, both of whom quickly went on to greener cinematic pastures.

Jason Statham

79%  The Bank Job

Like any action star, Statham has plenty of shoot-’em-up duds on his résumé, but as his steely work on The Bank Job illustrates, he’s a terrific tough guy if he hasn’t been left holding the bag for a shoddy script. Based in part on real events, Job boasts a tightwire-taut narrative and witty dialogue to go along with its action sequences; years later, we’re still waiting for someone to hand this guy the keys to a truly transcendent franchise.

4%  In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

We repeat: Directed by Uwe Boll. We like to think Statham and Rodriguez may have shared a knowing smile or two on the Fast and Furious set.

Kurt Russell

92%  Swing Shift

Given all the hits he’s had during his distinguished career, it comes as something of a surprise to learn that Kurt Russell’s best-reviewed movie is a period dramedy about a war bride (Goldie Hawn) who falls into the arms of a musician (Russell) while working at a factory during her husband’s overseas service. But even if it doesn’t have the kind of cult following enjoyed by Escape from New York or Big Trouble in Little China, Swing Shift is still a pretty excellent film – and if nothing else, it helped kindle his decades-long love affair with Hawn.

10%  Soldier

Most viewers have relatively relaxed standards when it comes to the action sci-fi genre, but even in that context, 1998’s Soldier – starring Russell as a monosyllabic space warrior known as Sergeant Todd 3465 – scrapes the bottom of the barrel in terms of interesting dialogue, character development, or exciting set pieces. Viewed by its screenwriter, Blade Runner co-writer David Peoples, as a “sidequel” to that Philip K. Dick-derived classic, it’s exactly the kind of movie that used to collect dust on the shelf of your local video store…and has rarely been thought of since.

  • Read more Total Recall
  • Furious 7 reviews
  • Remember the news that director Doug Liman and screenwriter Simon Kinberg were planning to bring their "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" to television? OK, well, it seems like they have their Mrs. Smith locked up.

    According to Moviehole.net, none other than Ms. Jordana Brewster will be stepping into the role made famous by Angelina Jolie. Jordana is certainly not a stranger to genre fans; she can be found in flicks like "The Faculty," "The Fast and the Furious," "D.E.B.S.," and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning." Oh, and she was also in "Annapolis," but we forgive her for that.

    Filming will begin in a few months, and ABC is looking at a Fall 2007 slot for the series. Apparently the pilot episode of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" will pick up six months after the movie left off. No word yet on who’ll be snagging the Brad Pitt role. I’m guessing it will be someone attractive.

    A quartet of poorly-titled films will hit the multiplexes on Friday hoping to grab some business opposite a string of acclaimed releases fresh from earning their Oscar nominations.

    Leading the newcomers with the most theaters is the spoof comedy "Epic Movie" which goes head to head against the crime drama "Smokin’ Aces." Horror fans get the werewolf pic "Blood and Chocolate" while those who prefer non-violence get the Jennifer Garner drama "Catch and Release."

    Fox tries to tap into the immature crowd with its new comedy "Epic Movie" which spoofs many of the big-budget action and fantasy blockbusters of recent years. The "Scary Movie" series has ushered in more spoof flicks and Fox even saw solid results a year ago with its "Date Movie" which lampooned popular romantic comedies. That film bowed to $19.1M and found its way to $48.5M. Fans may be getting a little sick of the same template over and over again so the opening may not be as big, but the genre still works especially with young teens looking for mindless entertainment after a long week of classes. Commercials and trailers do not look that funny, but given the weak marketplace and the success rate of comedies with specific concepts, "Epic" may take in all the cash it needs to hit the number one spot. Holdovers do not seem like they will break into double digit millions this weekend. With a wide release in 2,801 playdates, the PG-13 pic could amass around $14M.


    Lampooning Harry Potter in "Epic Movie."

    The weekend’s solo R pic comes in the form of the mob thriller "Smokin’ Aces" from Universal. Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck, Andy Garcia, and Alicia Keys star in this ensemble piece about a witness in protective custody being hunted down by a crime boss before he can testify. Young men are the target audience here in this Vegas-set flick that tries too hard to be cool. The NFL’s weekend off should make guys more available for ticketbuying which will help. The studio saw an underwhelming $6.4M three-day debut for another R-rated crime saga earlier this month – "Alpha Dog" – and will probably see many of the same customers this time around. An extra 1,000 theaters will ensure a bigger opening, but there is no A-list star or director in the film to truly attract a large crowd. A quick in and out of theaters should result. Opening in 2,204 locations, "Smokin’ Aces" might collect roughly $8M in its first hand.


    Alicia Keys in "Smokin’ Aces."

    Jennifer Garner plays a woman trying to rebuild her life after the death of her husband in the new drama "Catch and Release." Sony proudly offers the only major new pic for female moviegoers and hopes to stand out from the crowd by going after an audience few others are targeting. The PG-13 film will test the starpower of the former "Alias" star who last hit screens two years ago with the big-budget bomb "Elektra." Her comedy "13 Going on 30" which she anchored solo performed well with a $21.1M bow, but "Catch" lacks the same fun factor and will probably draw fewer males too. Plus the studio is going into the marketplace with less than half the theaters they gave to "13." A supporting role by Kevin Smith is not likely to help bring in many dudes. But with so few films playing specifically to young women, a decent average is likely. "Catch and Release" hits 1,622 theaters on Friday and could take in about $7M.


    Jennifer Garner, Kevin Smith, and some other dude in "Catch and Release."

    Werewolf terror hits the multiplexes in the form of "Blood and Chocolate," a new supernatural fright flick aiming for teens and young adults. The MGM release carries a PG-13 rating which could work well in getting in younger teens, but the film lacks the zing or interesting concept that fans need in order to pay top dollar at the local theater. Every recent horror film has underperformed at the box office and this one does not seem like the savior that can turn things around. Plus other new releases will be distracting the target audience too. Opening in roughly 1,500 theaters, "Blood and Chocolate" could debut to around $4M.


    "Blood and Chocolate."

    After racking up over $200M through its five-week stay in the top two slots, "Night at the Museum" should get bumped down a bit. The Ben Stiller film once again faces no new competition for the family audience so a slim decline should result. A 30% fall would give Fox about $8M for the weekend and a towering cume of $215M. Sony’s "Stomp the Yard" looks to fall harder so a 40% drop to around $7M could occur pushing the cume to $50M.

    After scoring the most Oscar nominations of any film with eight, the big-budget musical "Dreamgirls" shot up to the number one spot on Tuesday after finishing in third last weekend and on Monday. Although it missed out on the top prize of a Best Picture nomination, the Jamie FoxxBeyonce Knowles film is still getting media attention which is fueling the buzz and the studio has wasted no time in advertising the fact that no other film has more Academy Award nods. Still, the film is aging and many other awards contenders are expanding and trying to attract upscale moviegoers too. A small 20% slide to around $6M may occur giving "Dreamgirls" a solid $85M total.

    LAST YEAR: Martin Lawrence topped the box office with his hit comedy sequel "Big Momma’s House 2" which bowed to a plump $27.7M. The Fox release went on to gross $70.2M. Debuting in second was the family film "Nanny McPhee" with $14.5M for Universal on its way to $47.1M. Sony’s "Underworld: Evolution" tumbled by 58% in its second weekend and placed third with $11.4M. The military drama "Annapolis" opened in fourth with a modest $7.7M before finishing with $17.1M for Buena Vista. The animated hit "Hoodwinked" rounded out the top five with $7.5M in its third caper.

    Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

    Movie studios are offering something for every age group over the Columbus Day holiday weekend. Mature adults will go undercover with Martin Scorsese‘s cop thriller "The Departed," twentysomethings looking for a scare get the horror prequel "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning," while teenagers have a chance to laugh with the new comedy "Employee of the Month."

    Meanwhile, last weekend’s number one film – the animated comedy "Open Season" – will continue to play to young children during a frame when a large percentage of students will have no class on Monday. The top ten will try to crack the $100M mark for the first time in nearly two months thanks to the variety of good product.

    Ranking dead last among Hollywood’s big six studios in year-to-date market share, Warner Bros. has a lot of catching up to do in the fourth quarter if it wants to prevent snapping its five-year streak of billion-dollar-plus box office years. So this weekend, it hands the ball off to Scorsese who delivers what critics are calling one of his best films ever with "The Departed." The R-rated picture stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, and Martin Sheen. Overflowing with starpower, the Boston-set film is an American remake of the award-winning Hong Kong blockbuster "Infernal Affairs" which finds an Irish cop going undercover into the underworld and a mob mole infiltrating the police department.

    After rejecting a seemingly endless line of period dramas including "Hollywoodland," "The Black Dahlia," "Flyboys," and "All the King’s Men," adult audiences should be ready to throw its support behind a modern-day action thriller juiced up with major stars worth paying top dollar for. If the cast isn’t enough to seal the deal, glowing reviews from critics across the board should have a big impact on driving in traffic. In fact, reviews are among the best of any wide release hitting theaters this year. DiCaprio and Damon appeal to a wide age group so expect strong numbers from young adults. And Jack is that rare star who can flirt with age 70 but still be relevant to the iPod generation. With $100M blockbusters in each of the last four decades, the Oscar-winner is a perennial favorite and his films are
    events.

    Warner Bros. has backed "The Departed" with a solid marketing campaign which is effectively exciting ticket buyers. No R-rated film has hit the $30M mark on opening weekend in nearly a year so that could once again be the ceiling on this film’s short-term potential. Appeal to both men and women is substantial, although as is typical at this time of year, business from males may be affected by football and the baseball playoffs. But word-of-mouth is likely to be very positive so look for the pic to remain a contender for weeks to come. With a colossal amount of starpower, sensational reviews, and a Monday holiday helping Sunday night sales,
    the Leo vs. Matt flick should be able to generate plenty of excitement with audiences this weekend. "The Departed" opens in 3,017 theaters on Friday and could gross about $27M over the frame.

    Leo DiCaprio, ‘lending a hand’ in Martin Scorsese’s "The Departed."

    Moviegoers that don’t get starstruck, but instead want some gore and violence in their weekend entertainment, can opt for "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning." The prequel to the 2003 remake of the 1974 horror classic is an R-rated tale with Jordana Brewster ("The Fast and the Furious", "Annapolis") as its only star. Horror remakes usually do not rely on stars anyway, but on the brand name of a popular terrorfest. Budgets are relatively low with most of the money going towards production values rather than talent. Three years ago, the previous "Massacre" posted powerful numbers bowing to $28.1M in mid-October on its way to a brutal $80.1M. It opened the door to many other moneymaking remake hits like "Dawn of the Dead," "The Amityville Horror," and "The Omen" which each went on to gross over $50M.

    "Beginning" will play to hardcore genre fans that are older teens and young adults. But look for some older horror aficionados to take a curious peek too. The marketplace is primed and ready for its arrival as there has not been a major horror hit since June’s "Omen" pic hit cinemas. Add in the fact that Halloween is around the corner prompting audience demand for the genre to rise and a large turnout should be expected. Excitement does not seem to be reaching the same height that this installment’s predecessor had, so an opening in the high 20s may not result. Plus Leo, Matt, and even bad boy Jack will be drawing away many twentysomethings this weekend. Buzzing through victims in over 2,800 theaters, "The Texas Chainsaw Massace: The Beginning" could scare up around $19M this weekend.

    More teens in trouble in the latest "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" film.

    The classic love triangle storyline is set in a Walmart-like super store in the new Lionsgate comedy "Employee of the Month." The PG-13 pic stars Dane Cook and Dax Shepard as co-workers competing for the attention of the hot new sales clerk, played by Jessica Simpson, who only dates those who win the coveted employee prize. The comedy should play to a teen and young adult audience and with the weekend’s other new films being R flicks, Month could score some points with the under-17 crowd. Teenage girls have especially been neglected this fall. Why would they care about 1940s murder mysteries, moronic stunt films, or Sean Penn as a flamboyant politician? Two hunky young dudes fighting over the former Daisy Duke could make for the most interesting film to grab their attention since "Step Up."

    Still, "Employee of the Month" will have its work cut out for it. Many older teens and young adults will be drawn away by "Departed" and "Chainsaw" and Ashton Kutcher fans are still checking out "The Guardian." Starpower is not too high, but teenagers in need of a laugh will not have many other options. Opening in 2,579 theaters, "Employee of the Month" could debut with around $10M.

    Dane Cook, in his first leading role in "Employee of the Month."

    Sony’s animated comedy "Open Season" enjoyed a healthy start to its run last weekend and will face no new competition during the sophomore frame. Plus with the Columbus Day school holiday, the Martin Lawrence – Ashton Kutcher toon should remain a popular (and only) option for young children. A 30% drop would give "Season" about $16M over the weekend and a sturdy ten-day cume of $46M.

    Buena Vista’s Coast Guard adventure "The Guardian" did moderately well in its debut last weekend, but adult audiences will be pulled away by the starpower of "The Departed" this weekend. The studio has been reporting strong exit polls so word-of-mouth could prevent a large falloff. A 40% decline would give "Guardian" about $11M for the weekend and $34M in ten days.

    "Jackass: Number Two" will face some stiff competition from the weekend’s two new R-rated films so a 45% drop could be in order. That would leave the Paramount hit with $8M and an impressive 17-day total of $64M allowing the comedy sequel to surpass the gross of the 2002 original in under three weeks.

    LAST YEAR: New films invaded the box office over the Columbus Day frame taking four of the top five slots. Leading the way was the acclaimed claymation pic "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" with a $16M debut. The DreamWorks film enjoyed good legs and ended up with $56.1M domestically plus the Oscar for Best Animated Film. Jodie Foster‘s two-time chart-topper "Flightplan" held up well in its third weekend grossing $10.8M for Buena Vista. Cameron Diaz opened her new comedy "In Her Shoes" in third place with $10M on its way to $32.9M for Fox. Universal followed with the sports betting film "Two For the Money" with a $8.7M bow and Sony opened its drama "The Gospel" in fifth with $7.5M. Final grosses reached $22.9M and $15.8M, respectively. Lions Gate saw its new comedy "Waiting" launch in seventh place with just $6M leading to a $16.1M final. Opening with strong results in limited release were the acclaimed dramas "Good Night, and Good Luck" and "The Squid and the Whale" which both earned rave reviews and kudos during awards season. Their domestic grosses reached $31.6M and $7.4M, respectively.

    Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

    So you come in to work at Disney on Monday morning, expecting everyone to be all smiles and excited about the "pirate booty" that was made over the weekend. Or maybe you’re happy to notice that "Cars" crossed the $200 million mark over the same weekend. And the comes a memo from the boss that says "You’re fired."

    From Variety by way of ComingSoon.net: "While "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest" set another record on Monday, grossing $18.1 million to beat the previous nonholiday Monday benchmark of $14.4 million set by "Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith," Disney is tightening its belt.

    According to Variety, Walt Disney Pictures will announce within the next 10 days that it’s cutting back on the number of films it makes to around eight per year — it currently releases around 18 — and will substantially reduce its workforce. All movies will be Disney-branded, meaning companies like Touchstone could be vastly diminished. The cutbacks will be far greater than many anticipated, as studio chairman Dick Cook looks to reinvent the architecture of his studio. The move reflects an effort to improve the studio’s return on investment and get infrastructure back into line.

    While Disney’s having a grand summer with "Pirates" and with Pixar’s "Cars," this year has seen some major misfires: "Stick It," "Annapolis," "Stay Alive" and especially "The Wild."

    A pair of upcoming movies have new trailers on the net. One’s a family comedy about superheroic kids, and the other’s about an aging Coast Guard trainer who has to deal with Ashton Kutcher. Neither look all that good.

    First up is "Zoom," which is based on the comic book by Jason Lethcoe. It’s about a team of superheroic youths who are enlisted (by Tim Allen, Chevy Chase, and Rip Torn) to save the world. Trailer right here. Release date August 11th.

    Next up is Andrew Davis‘ "The Guardian," which stars Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher. (Picture "Annapolis" mixed with "The Perfect Storm.") This one opens on September 22nd. Here’s the trailer.

    This week at the movies, we’ve got a magical remote control ("Click") and a father who’s trying to rescue his son ("Waist Deep"). Will the critics dig "Deep?" Will they pick "Click?"

    Adam Sandler‘s latest, "Click," traffics in a premise that most of us have probably considered at one point or another: Wouldn’t it be cool if we could control everything around us with the push of a button? And would that necessarily be a good thing? But lemme tell you something about Hollywood, kids: good ideas are a dime a dozen. And the critics say "Click," like an aimless round of channel surfing, is pretty inconsistent, veering from yuks early on to goopy sentiment toward the end. It’s at 22 percent on the Tomatometer, but we know that Adam Sandler is pretty critic-proof; his average Tomatometer is 29 percent, and we love him anyway.


    Adam Sandler "Clicks" with the Fonz! Heyyyy!

    "Waist Deep" is an attempt to cross gritty urban action with a story of redemption; unfortunately, according to critics, it’s not terribly successful. The plot involves an ex-con, played by Tyrese Gibson, who must venture outside the law in order to recover his kidnapped son. While a number of critics say the film is well-made and well-meaning, others say it’s too violent and far-fetched to be truly compelling. At 44 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Waist" is only sporadically worth watching.


    "Wassup Rockers:" Skateboarding is not a crime.

    Also opening this week, albeit in limited release: "The Road to Guantanamo," a searing mix of documentary and fiction, is at 92 percent; "The Hidden Blade," a subdued samurai tale, is at 85 percent; "Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man" is at 75 percent, which will perhaps prompt the fans of the cult figure to exclaim, "Hallelujah!"; and "Wassup Rockers," Larry Clark‘s film about a wild day in the life of a posse of teenage skaters, is at 38 percent.

    Recent Adam Sandler Movies:
    ——————————————
    29% — The Longest Yard (2005)
    52% — Spanglish (2004)
    43% — 50 First Dates (2004)
    42% — Anger Management (2003)
    81% — Punch Drunk Love (2002)

    Recent Tyrese Gibson Movies:
    —————————————-
    11% — Annapolis (2006)
    52% — Four Brothers (2005)
    28% — Flight of the Phoenix (2004)
    38% — 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
    67% — Baby Boy (2001)

    Proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that there’s nothing in the universe funnier than a desperate comedian in drag (preferably fat drag), "Big Momma’s House 2" snagged the #1 spot at the weekend box office by tallying an estimated $28 million from 3,200 theaters. And yet everyone will complain when Fox announces the inevitable "Big Momma’s House 3."

    Clocking in at second place, with a surprisingly strong $14 million haul from 2,000 theaters, was the British family comedy "Nanny McPhee," starring Emma Thompson. Third place went to last week’s #1 winner, the vampire vs. werwolf thriller "Underworld: Evolution," which added an additional $11 million to its $44 million coffin.

    Another new arrival, the Disney military boxing drama romance amalgam "Annapolis," debuted in 1,600 theaters with a haul of $7.7 million, while the top five was rounded out by "Hoodwinked," the animated comedy that added another $7.3 million to its $37 million goodie basket.

    Next Friday sees the release of two new studio flicks: Focus Features’ rom-com "Something New" (1,100 theaters) and Screen Gems’ horror remake "When a Stranger Calls" (2,600 theaters).

    For a closer look at the weekend numbers, stop by the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office page.

    Annapolis, the renowned naval military school, is an institution steeped in history; unfortunately, the movie can lay claim to that as well. Starring James Franco as a new recruit who needs to set his priorities straight, the movie’s shopworn story and clich�s will remind viewers of "Rocky," "Top Gun," and "An Officer and a Gentleman," movies "Annapolis" can’t favorably stand against. Currently at 10% on the Tomatometer, the best encouragement we can give "Annapolis" is better luck tomorrow.

    Obviously, of all the movies needing a sequel, the most pressing one has to be Martin Lawrence’s "Big Momma’s House." How else can we explain "Big Momma’s House 2," a comedy called painfully unfunny and unnecessary by the critics? Lawrence is back in a fat suit and incognito as Big Momma. There’s a story about him going undercover to avert a national disaster, but that’s only an excuse to string together the fat jokes. At 29% on the Tomatometer, "Big Momma’s House 2" is at least an improvement over Lawrence’s last effort, "Rebound."

    Nanny McPhee is no Mary Poppins, but there isn’t a rowdy kid she can’t handle. Starring Emma Thompson as the title character, she finds that her latest charges will need all the help they can get to keep their family together. Hovering at 72% on the Tomatometer, "Nanny McPhee" is a fine film to take the kids, critics say.

    Recent James Franco Movies:
    34% — Tristan & Isolde (2006)
    35% — The Great Raid (2005)
    93% — Spider-Man 2 (2004)
    69% — The Company (2003)
    90% — Spider-Man (2002)

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