(Photo by Paramount Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)
There’s a lot to be said for consistency, and for film fans, the ability to count on reliably great performances from an actor can be the difference between pre-ordering tickets weeks in advance or waiting until a movie comes out on home video. On the other hand, there’s also an undeniable excitement that comes with unpredictability, and Nicolas Cage‘s filmography is a perfect case in point. From toking up with Sean Penn’s Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High to waging chainsaw vengeance against the cultists that murdered his wife in Mandy — and beyond — Cage has racked up more than 100 film credits over the last several decades, delivering performances that range from Oscar-winning (Leaving Las Vegas) to wildly over the top (Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans) and starring in blockbuster fare (The Rock, National Treasure) as well as acclaimed indies (Raising Arizona, Joe), and we wouldn’t want him any other way.
Most recently, he’s gotten career-best accolades for the drama Pig. Nobody captures the camera’s attention quite like Nicolas Cage, and to honor all those years of singularly entertaining achievement, we’ve rounded up all of his major film roles, sorted by Tomatometer. Read on to see where your favorites rank, and remember: Not the bees!
The Curse of La Llorona hits theaters this week, giving us our first major studio adaptation of the eponymous Mexican folktale also known as “the weeping woman.” Horror master Guillermo del Toro borrowed heavily from the Mexican legend for his 2013 film Mama, but this James Wan-produced scare-fest centers solely on the spirit who, it is said, tragically killed her children, committed suicide, and vowed to terrorize mothers as her eternal retribution.
The movie joins a long list of horror films based on legends (among them, one literally called Urban Legends… don’t pretend you don’t remember it). If you like your horror based on a kinda-maybe-sort-coulda-been true story – or at least the story your buddies and grandma used to scare you with – look no further than these wicked legend-based horror movies that came before La Llorona.
Origin: Pagan Mythology
Which Wicker Man should you watch? The original 1973 film starring the late Christopher Lee – that treasure trove of haunting imagery with its dagger-to-your-heart ending? Or the Nicolas Cage “not the bees!” version? Either or, depending on whether you’ve got a hunger for shivers or… for munchies. Both films relied heavily on the Druid (Celtic Pagan) practice of burning a Wicker statue in effigy – which might not have actually been a practice at all. The idea of making a sacrifice by burning a giant effigy was first documented in a single sentence by Julius Caesar circa 50 BC, but modern scholars have become increasingly skeptical. Still, the image remains scary AF.
Origin: Irish Folklore
Memorable Adaptations: The Leprechaun Franchise
The 20th-century leprechaun, as seen on a box of Lucky Charms, is a far cry from the devilish and sometimes benevolent creature you will find in Irish folklore. Tricksters and hoarders of jewels, leprechauns are the supposed offspring of demon (evil spirit) and fairy (angelic spirit) couplings. Because of their equal capacity for good and evil, Celtic mythology is littered with examples of both just and wicked deeds committed by the magical creatures. Warwick Davis originated the role in the legendary B-movie Leprechaun series and continued with it until the franchise rebooted in 2014. According to Davis, the In the Hood installments were the most successful of the direct-to-video efforts. If you’ve witnessed Davis rapping in the finale of Leprechaun in the Hood, you will understand why.
Origin: Mexican Folklore
At some point in every mythology, there’s a tale of female, particularly maternal, vengeance — think Dionysus or Medea (the Greek myth, not the Tyler Perry version). Even the original Friday the 13th can be traced back to a mother scorned. In The Curse of La Llorona, a mother drowns her children in a jealous rage to seek revenge on her cheating husband. Reckoning with what she did, she commits suicide, only to be denied entry to the afterlife, cursed to roam the earth weeping, drowning children, and tormenting mothers for all her days. It’s a true word-of-mouth legend, unable to be traced back to any known story or event, and director Michael Chaves told us, “It can be difficult to manage the nuances of it being an oral tradition. It’s hard to pin down what is the right version. So you [go] through all of it to find [the] core experience that so many people grew up on, [what was] told to them as kids. That’s what we wanted to bring on screen.”
Origin: Southern American Folklore
As the legend goes, the Bell family was visited by a spirit in early 1817, bringing reports of spooky black dogs and shadowy figures. If the strangeness stopped there, we might not have included it on our list, but after the first Bell Witch hauntings, there have been countless reported reappearances with similar details often coming from unrelated parties miles apart. What to do with such a creepy story? Make a movie, of course – and cheaply. The makers of The Blair Witch Project used the spooky lore, low-budget scares, and perhaps the savviest early internet marketing campaign to create one of the most lucrative movies ever.
Origin: American folklore
Memorable Adaptations: The Amityville Horror Franchise
Amityville lies somewhere between folklore and urban legend, but the inexplicable twists and turns surrounding the early ’70s supernatural events that inspired the Amityville movies have cemented them as the granddaddy of lore-based horror cinema. Spanning 23 films over 40 years, The Amityville Horror series chronicles the 1974 haunting first investigated by famed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, though many debate the accuracy of the Warrens’ story. As the original story goes, Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot and killed six members of his family at home in Amityville, New York, and since then, strange occurrences – mostly focused around the Lutz family that hired the Warrens – have plagued the house where it all went down.
Origin: Creepy-pasta/American folklore
This one might be a stretch (forgive us), but Slender Man has morphed into modern-day folklore. The Slender Man is a work of pure fiction about a tall and, well, slender spirit that calls others to murder in his name. One of the first documented instances of digital folklore, originating in online message boards, the Slender Man was blamed for directing teenagers to commit suicide, murder, and commit assault on each other indiscriminately. The most notorious incident was the Waukesha, Wisconsin stabbing, in which a pair of 12-year-olds meticulously planned the murder of a friend by stabbing; the victim did thankfully survive, but the incident made national headlines. Of all the tales on our list, the legend of Slender Man is the only one accused in court of turning pre-teens into murderers.
The Curse of La Llorona is in theaters April 22.
For those on the ground, Comic-Con is all about out-cosplaying each other and getting up close, personal, and maybe a little sweaty, with their favorite artists, writers, actors, showrunners, toymakers, and more. For those outside of the San Diego bubble, it’s all about first-look clips and fresh-out-of-the-edit-suite new trailers.
This year, Comic-Con watchers can expect to see the first trailer for M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass, which reunites Unbreakable’s Samuel L. Jackson’s Mr. Glass and Bruce Willis’s David Dunn, and expands the Shyamalan-iverse with the inclusion of James McAvoy’s multiple personalities from Split – it should drop on Friday. And there’s James Wan’s Aquaman trailer, which we already know he’s putting the finishing touches on; it will go live on Saturday. Across the four days of the Convention, you can also expect new footage from Doctor Who, giving us our fullest look yet at Jodie Whittaker’s first female doctor, as well as trailers and clips for a slew of other anticipated TV and movie titles. We’ll have them right here as they drop, with the newest trailers at the top.
Movies | TV
Comic-Con isn’t only about big studio movies. RZA released the trailer for Cut Throat City, the third movie he’s directed after The Man with the Iron Fists and Love Beats Rhymes (and an episode of Iron Fist). This drama tells the story of a group of 9th Ward residents in post Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, and has a mega ensemble cast including Shameik Moore, Wesley Snipes, T.I., Terrence Howard, Demetrius Shipp Jr., Denzel Whitaker, Keean Johnson, and Kat Graham.
In theaters in 2019.
The full trailer to James Wan‘s Aquaman movie already shows more of Atlantis than Aquaman (Jason Momoa)’s scenes in Justice League. Full of sea creatures and epic battles between undersea armies, Aquaman is set to be the action event of the Christmas season (and maybe another Fresh addition to the DCEU?!). There’s plenty of focus on Arthur’s childhood training, and Mera (Amber Heard) gets the most badass moments of the trailer. Check out our full breakdown of the Aquaman trailer.
In theaters December 21.
The trailer for Shazam! focuses on the kids, which makes it even better when Billy Batson (Asher Angel) turns into Shazam (Zachary Levi). Levi nails the childlike discovering of super powers. We also glimpse that Superman and Batman exist in this world.
In theaters April, 2019.
The full trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters gives us a look at all those other creatures over which Godzilla reigns. But are the real monsters the humans? Vera Farmiga has a plan to unleash the monsters to combat the apocalyptic scenarios also glimpsed in this trailer. Millie Bobbie Brown, Kyle Chandler, Charles Dance and Thomas Middleditch also get screen time.
In theaters May 2019.
Johnny Depp‘s blonde mohawk wins the trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald. Also see Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) get his Riddikulus spell on and get closer with Dumbledore (Jude Law).
In theaters November 16.
Ever since 2000’s Unbreakable, M. Night Shyamalan fans have been asking him when he’s going to make a sequel. They got their answer at the very end of his 2017 film Split. Now, we finally get to see Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson and James McAvoy in the same room for the culmination of what’s become a trilogy, and Sarah Paulson is the doctor trying to disprove their powers (good luck, Doc).
In theaters January, 2019
See Millie Bobby Brown attempt to reach “Monarch” (no relation to Dr. Venture) over the radio with some unpleasant results in the sneak peek for Godzilla: King of the Monsters. At the 36-second mark, you can see a camera and operator behind Brown; perplexing error or secret hidden viral puzzle for perceptive viewers to solve? You be the judge. A full trailer is expected to drop next week, and maybe there we’ll get a look of the incredible scaly hulk and the kaiju battle royale Warner Bros. is promising.
In theaters May 31, 2019
The trailer for Sam Levinson’s bonkers Sundance smash was expected to be revealed at the movie’s Thursday panel, which will feature the Russo Brothers, who acquired the movie after it played in Park City. In the anarchic spirit of the movie itself, though, the distributors defied expectations and released it a few days prior to the start of Comic-Con.
In theaters September 21, 2018
Movies | TV
It’s going to be so hard to say goodbye to Adventure Time. At least the fans at Comic-Con got to say it in person to the creators and voices of the show. In return, Cartoon Network showed them a scene from the series finale.
Series finale September 3 on Cartoon Network.
Are you already having Steven Universe withdrawal after season five ended July 6? well, hold out a little longer because you’re getting a whole Steven Universe movie. See the teaser, premiered at Comic-Con, above.
Coming soon to Cartoon Network.
Supernatural has got to be the longest running live-action series presenting at Comic-Con. Only the animated Simpsons and Family Guy can top it. So Supernatural has released a four minute recap of the first 13 seasons to tease the upcoming 14th this fall on The CW.
Season 14 returns October 11 on The CW.
Be sure to wait ’til the end of this Riverdale season 2 recap for a sneak peak of what’s to come in season 3. They keep it appropriately mysterious, but you see the gang get to frolic a little in the lake and ride in Archie (KJ Apa)’s hot rod before Betty (Lili Reinhart) discovers an ominous ceremony for infant twins.
Season 3 returns October 10 on The CW.
The first trailer for Roswell, New Mexico gives fans of the original Roswell a look at the new Max (Nathan Parsons) and Liz (Jeanine Mason), the roles originally played by Jason Behr and Shiri Appleby. Also get a peek at the alien cocoons and the famous moment when Max uses his alien powers to save Liz’s life.
Coming to The CW in 2019.
If you stayed for the credits in The First Purge this summer, you got to see the first teaser for The Purge TV series. Now the first trailer with footage from the show reveals all the different activities you may see on purge night. Of course there is the expected violence, but some other groups have different ideas on how to practice the purge.
Coming to USA September 4.
Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) get a visit from their future daughter Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) in the season 5 trailer for The Flash. Time travel paradoxes abound and Barry refers to the classic one caused by Marty McFly in Back to the Future. In the panel, the show also announced Chris Klein joining the fifth season as the villain Cicada.
Season 5 returns on The CW October 9.
A brief minute of season 3 footage for The Man in the High Castle really leans into the multiple worlds, and some of our favorite characters are only alive in one of them. Can they come together without letting the Reich loose on both worlds?
Season 3 returns to Amazon Prime October 5.
The Simpsons creator Matt Groening brings his overbite aesthetic to the medieval princess genre in Disenchantment. If you couldn’t tell by his irreverent take on the headstrong, independent princess riff with the sassy voice of Abbi Jacobson, the trailer is set to a Renaissance faire cover of “Rebel Rebel.”
Premieres on Netflix August 17.
Season 4 of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow finds the Legends enjoying a brief moment of victory before John Constantine (Matt Ryan) returns with more bad news. A unicorn at Woodstock, Paul Revere and more time travel and fantastic creatures are in the above trailer. Also look for Back to the Future‘s Tom Wilson as Nate (Nick Zano)’s father Nick and Ramona Young joining the cast.
Season 4 returns on The CW October 22.
The season 4 trailer for Supergirl reveals Agent Liberty (Sam Witwer) leveling some very harsh (and sadly familiar) accusations against our visitors from outer space. Fortunately, Kara (Melissa Benoist) is ready to fight for her and their place on Earth, and looks like she’ll have a new costume to help. At the Supergirl panel, the show also announced TV’s first trans superhero. Nicole Maines will play Nia Nal, aka Dreamer.
Season 4 returns on The CW on its new night Sunday, October 14.
The trailer for season 7 of Arrow begins with Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) in prison, but that doesn’t stop him from working out like a beast. With no vigilantes in Star City for five months, who’s going to stop The Longbow Hunters, led by Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) from exacting revenge on Oliver and his team?
Season 7 returns on The CW on October 15.
Well, The Magicians didn’t have any season 4 footage to show Comic-Con just yet, but they made a fun behind the scenes video. You won’t learn much about the next season, but you’ll see the cast goof off include Hale Appleman acting weird and Olivia Taylor Dudley in a panic.
Season 4 returns to Syfy in 2019.
Looks like Joe and Anthony Russo still found time between directing Marvel movies to produce the new TV show Deadly Class for Syfy. Based on the Image graphic novel, Deadly Class is about a group of students in 1987 San Francisco learning martial arts. Take a look at their killer moves in the trailer above.
Coming to Syfy in 2019
The season 2 trailer shows some all new missions for the crew of The Orville. New planets, new aliens including a first contact or two, Captain Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) in trouble, Grayson (Adrianne Palicki) trying to get Bortus (Peter Macon) to have some fun and Alara (Halston Sage) visiting home.
Season 2 premieres on Fox December 30.
There’s a lot of science fiction at Comic-Con. How about a little actual science? Neil deGrasse Tyson is back for a new round of the documentary phenomenon Cosmos.
Coming to Fox in 2019.
Comic-Con fans got their first look at the next generation of vampires, werewolves and witches in The CW’s Vampire Diaries spinoff Legacies. Now you can see them in the first Legacies trailer too. Hope Mikaelson (Danielle Rose Russell) leads a class of descendants from monsters struggling to be good, and she outlines the rules they follow to do so. See all the new Legacies faces, plus one familiar one in Alaric Saltzman (Matthew Davis) in the trailer.
Premieres on The CW October 25.
The trailer for season 2 of The Gifted shows us Reeva Payge (Grace Byers) and introduces her plans for the Age of Mutants. She’s got Polaris (Emma Dumont), who is now nine months pregnant, and shown giving birth near the end of the trailer. Meanwhile the Struckers and the Mutant Underground seem more torn apart than ever.
Season 2 returns on Fox September 25.
Wait for the end of this CW DC Arrowverse Heroes and Villains trailer for a preview of the 2018 crossover. Batwoman is coming to television and it looks like Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) in particular isn’t so sure she can be trusted. The CW shows pulled off “Crisis on Earth X” so we can’t wait to see how all four shows (including The Flash, Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow) handle Batwoman.
The Batwoman crossover comes to the CW in December.
Family Guy showed four minutes of new footage from its upcoming 17th season. Always skewering pop culture both new and old, the Griffin family made digs on Stranger Things, Basic Instinct, Oksana Baiul and even Seth MacFarlane‘s own live-action show The Orville. Plus a musical number by an evil grape trying to choke Stewie to death.
Season 17 premieres on Fox September 30.
Netflix gave Comic-Con fans a peek at the new world from the team behind Avatar: The Last Airbender. Avatar writers Aaron Ehasz and Giancarlo Volpe, along with Justin Richmond of the Uncharted games, present a brand new world of knights, creatures and magic.
Coming to Netflix September 14.
Season 3 of Stan Against Evil promises more evil. In this 90 second trailer, that evil comes in the forms of vampires, devils, demons, twins, giant monsters and… puppets?
Season 3 premieres Wednesday, October 31.
The trailer for season 3 of Adult Swim’s hit anime series FLCL: Progressive captures all the teen angst of being a 17-year-old girl, along with all the action and kaiju of anime.
Season 3 premieres on Adult Swim September 8.
The Venture Bros. season 7 is almost here and now you can get a peak of nearly a minute and a half of the new season. The trailer starts all serious, until Monarch and Gary show up. Then it’s the Venture Bros. you know and love.
Season 7 premiers on Adult Swim August 5.
Highlights from season 1 of Krypton got fans excited about season 2. When you’ve already got Braniac, Doomsday, and General Zod, season 2 promises to be even more exciting Kryptonian history. The Krypton panel announced Lobo would appear in the second season.
Season 2 returns on Syfy in 2019.
The Simpsons‘ “Treehouse of Horror “Halloween episodes have been an annual tradition, even when they air after October 31. At Comic-Con, Fox released a preview of this season’s horror spoof “Intrusion of the Pod-y Switchers.” Fan-favorite supporting characters get turned into Invasion of the Body Snatchers pod people, including Lenny, Carl, a background Disco Stu, and Comic Book Guy complaining right up to the end.
“Treehouse of Horror XXIX” airs September 30 on Fox.
Get ready for season 2 of Black Lightning with this five-minute recap of the first season’s highlights. Then, get extra excited by watching the Black Lightning cast surprise fans at Rotten Tomatoes’ event, Your Opinion Sucks.
Season 2 returns on The CW October 9.
The trailer for the second half of Preacher‘s third season was as bizarre and tantalizing as anyone who knows the show would predict, and included a look at Australian actor Noah Taylor as a fast-food–working Hitler. The fast food chain is the series’ take on Subway, as the sandwich giant had refused to give the show’s creators permission to user their name. That decision prompted Executive Producer Seth Rogen to note some of the brand’s previous spokespeople and ask, “Where do you draw the line, Subway?”
Preacher is currently airing on AMC on Sundays at 10pm/9pm Central.
The Tick stars Peter Serafinowicz and Griffin Newman gave fans a tour of the set full of goofy Tick-style humor, including Serafinowicz showing off his new Tick costume and Newman previewing a new season 2 character.
Season 2 returns to Amazon Prime in 2019.
When Syfy cancelled The Expanse after its third season, the fans rallied and Amazon decided to pick up the show for a fourth season. The cast and creators of The Expanse took the opportunity to thank their fans in a video as they get to work making perhaps their biggest season yet.
The Expanse comes to Amazon Prime in 2019.
Our first look at Amazon’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s book shows Gaiman at work on the set, with actors Jon Hamm, Michael Sheen and David Tennant. But at the panel they found the voice of God. Who could sound more almighty than Oscar-winner Frances McDormand?
Coming to Amazon Prime in 2019.
Amazon’s docudrama Lore tells the true stories behind the scariest myths and monsters. They’ve got more stories for season 2, some from the podcast that inspired the show and other subjects the show is tackling for the first time.
Season 2 returns to Amazon Prime October 19.
Julia Roberts is coming to television. This minute long teaser simply introduces her, but Homecoming stars Roberts as a caseworker for veterans transitioning back to civilian life. She’s trying to start over but the Department of Defense starts asking questions. With Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail directing, you can bet there’s more beneath the surface of this psychological thriller.
Premieres on Amazon Prime November 2.
Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery promises more Trek lore introduced into the prequel series. The series’ tragic Captain Pike (Anson Mount) appears on the bridge, and Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) makes a discovery about Mr. Spock. Plus listen to Tig Notaro’s first comic relief one-liner at the end of this trailer.
Season 2 returns on CBS All Access in 2019.
Netflix’s hit reboot of the ’80s classic Voltron gave fans a first look at the Legendary Defenders’ attempts to return to Earth. But is it the same Earth they remember? Set to the haunting tune of Dexter French & Darius Behdad & Huckley Ware’s “Far Beyond,” the 90 second spot shows there’s no shortage of action in and out of the lions.
Season 7 returns August 10 on Netflix.
The team behind Vikings dropped a trailer for the return of the battle-happy epic series, and if the crowd reaction was anything to go by it’s going to please fans. It was also revealed that the show would be returning for the second half of its fifth seson this November on History.
Season 5 returns November 28 on History
The most watched series on TV released its season 9 trailer at Comic-Con on Friday. Get some time in with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) before his final season.
Season 9 premieres October 7 on AMC
Young Justice: Outsiders picks up after season 2 of Young Justice, with a mission to take down a metahuman trafficking ring. The Comic-Con trailer released Friday shows highlights from the original series before introducing the new show.
Premiering on DC Universe in 2018.
The zombie apocalypse continues, naturally, as season 4’s strange bedfellows learn more about each other. Catch up with Lennie James, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Colman Domingo, Danay Garcia, Garret Dillahunt, Maggie Grace, and Jenna Elfman before the return of Fear the Walking Dead with the series’ new Comic-Con trailer, which was released on Friday.
Season 4 returns August 12 on AMC
Netflix gave fans a first short look at the second season of Iron Fist at Comic-Con on Thursday, and revealed that the series will return to the streaming service on September 7. The teaser does not show much beyond some gritty-looking close-quarters combat, but some promising revelations were made at the panel, including that Alice Eve will join the show as villain Typhoid Mary. The series will also introduce the vigilante group Daughters of the Dragon, which was founded by Colleen Wing and Misty Knight, and which first appeared in Marvel comics in the late 1970s.
Season 2 premieres September 7 on Netflix
National Geographic returns to Mars in a season 2 trailer released Thursday. The series imagines a human attempt to colonize the Red Planet, including physical hardships and political mechanizations that threaten the effort. Commentary from real space experts — including Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, and Elon Musk — illuminates the fictional account.
Season 2 premieres November 12 on National Geographic
Brothers Raph, Leo, Donnie, and Mikey emerge from the sewers and tap into undiscovered ninja powers in fall animated series Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The new voice cast includes Omar Miller, Ben Schwartz, Josh Brener, Brandon Mychal Smith, Kat Graham, and Eric Bauza.
Season 1 premieres September 17 on Nickelodeon
Draco Malfoy reunites with Nymphadora Tonks for a YouTube Original series coming this fall. Harry Potter film franchise veterans Tom Felton and Natalia Tena star in a sci-fi thriller that sees a group of space travelers abandoned and fighting for survival. The 10-episode series is from director Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evils) and the producers of The Crown and Outlander.
Series premieres this fall on YouTube Premium
Leave it to Star Wars to break the Internet on the first official day of Comic-Con. During a 10th anniversary celebration of The Clone Wars, Dave Filoni announced that it would be returning with 12 new episodes on Disney’s own streaming service. The show originally ran for five seasons after its 2008 broadcast, and while there have been one-off episodes in the years since, many plot threads remain unfinished. Until now.
More details at starwars.com
“All of this is new to me,” says Jodie Whittaker’s 13th Doctor early in the teaser trailer for the new series, which dropped during the Doctor Who panel at Comic-Con on Thursday. She continues: “New faces, new worlds, new times…” The trailer is light on any big plot details, but does convey an epic tone, gives fans a good glimpse at new characters, and ends with some trademark Doc humor.
Series premieres later in the year on BBC America
There are precious few Walkers in this trailer for the upcoming season, which will be Andrew Lincoln’s last as Rick Grimes. Instead, this early look at the ninth season of AMC’s unstoppable zombie show focuses on the human drama. Rules are about to be made and, we suspect, about to be broken.
Season 9 premieres August 20 on AMC
This very short teaser is light on detail, but heavy on menace. Enough menace we suspect to keep fans tied over until the mid-season return in August.
Season 4 returns August 12 on AMC
Mayans MC, from Kurt Sutter and Elgin James, is the next chapter in the Sons of Anarchy saga. In a post–Jax Teller world, prospect EZ Reyes (JD Pardo) is fresh out of prison and a prospect in the Mayans M.C. charter on the Cali/Mexi border. Now, EZ must carve out his new identity in a town where he was once the golden boy with the American Dream in his grasp. The series also stars Clayton Cardenas, Edward James Olmos, Sarah Bolger, Michael Irby, Carla Baratta, Antonio Jaramillo, Raoul Max Trujillo, Richard Cabral and Danny Pino. Recurring stars include Emilio Rivera, Frankie Loyal, Joseph Lucero, Vincent Rocco Vargas, Maurice Compte, Gino Vento, Tony Plana and Ada Maris.
Series premieres September 4 on FX
Bob Odenkirk returns for season 4 of Better Call Saul on AMC. Jimmy McGill is on a job hunt in season 4, having had his license to practice law suspended. Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, and Giancarlo Esposito co-star.
Season 4 premieres August 6 on AMC
DC Universe fired up Con-goers with a rich activation in support of the opening of pre-orders for the subscription streaming service ($74.99/year or, at launch, $7.99/month). The highlight of its presentation, however, is the new trailer for Titans, a gritty take on the Teen Titans franchise that stars Brenton Thwaites as Dick Grayson (aka Robin) and Teagan Croft as Rachel Roth (aka Raven), a girl possessed of a strange darkness. The two get embroiled in a conspiracy that could unleash hell on Earth.
Series premieres on DC Universe in fall 2018
Want to let people know what you thought of the newest trailers at Comic-Con? Want to see what others thought? Be sure to check out Rotten Tomatoes’ own live event during Comic-Con, Your Opinion Sucks. It’s the ultimate fans vs. critics face off – they’ll take sides on new trailers, as well as movies and TV we love, and love to hate – and you can watch it live in San Diego or on video at Rotten Tomatoes.
Movie remakes tend to get an automatic bad rap, but this time we’re putting some numbers behind it. Take the original’s Tomatometer rating, subtract by the remake’s number, and voila: the 24 worst movie remakes by Tomatometer!
Look out! The fifth film in Syfy’s shark-infested franchise is coming: Sharknado: Global Swarming reunites Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) and April Wexler (Tara Reid) in a globe-trotting, chainsaw-swinging shark-tornado adventure.
Can’t get enough ridiculous animal attacks? Check out this gallery of silly and savage cinematic offerings — many, like Sharknado, have lots of sequels if you need more mutant spiders or nightmare hybrid beasties.
Sharknado: Global Swarming premieres August 6 at 8/7C on Syfy.
The 2010 Best Foreign Language Film winner The Secret in Their Eyes is being remade…as Secret in Their Eyes, a murder mystery starring Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. As Americans, we don’t need definite articles in our movie titles, but we do occasionally need help thinking up stories to shoot, prompting this week’s 24 Frames gallery of foreign thrillers versus their Hollywood counterparts.
There have been so many horror remakes that there’s no way we could cover them all at once. We did, however, decide to collect a sampling list, making room for some of the best, worst, and most puzzlingly misguided examples from the genre. Let’s get started, shall we?
Like many of the movies on this week’s list, the latter-day Amityville Horror was produced by Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes — and like more than a few of them, it suffered in comparison to the original. Which is a shame, because Amityville‘s central story — about a young family moving into a horrifically haunted house — is both devilishly simple and allegedly fact-based, which has helped the franchise retain its aura even through a series of sometimes-silly sequels and spinoffs. Unfortunately, despite a talented cast that included Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, and a young(er) Chloe Grace Moretz, this Horror was mainly scary for the studio execs who had to account for its $64 million domestic gross, which sentenced the franchise to years of direct-to-DVD purgatory.
Inspired by the way David Cronenberg used modern special effects and less-campy storytelling to amp up the horror in The Fly, Hollywood spent a portion of the late 1980s rushing to the vaults and searching for other long-dormant properties that might benefit from the remake treatment. Hence 1988’s The Blob, in which an alien goo plops down in a small town and starts gorging on its unsuspecting residents. It was just as fantastically cheesy a premise as it had been in 1958, when Steve McQueen starred in the original — but thanks to a solid screenplay from future Shawshank Redemption director/adapter Frank Darabont, as well as a (slightly) more believable Blob, it managed to just about reach the rather low bar set by its predecessor, which is about all one can hope for when making a film about hungry interstellar plasma.
The original Cat People, produced on the cheap by Val Lewton in 1942, emphasized suggestion over explicit horror; four decades later, director Paul Schrader used the movie’s central idea — about people whose sexual desires trigger a sometimes-deadly feline transformation — as the basis for a steamy softcore flick that made up for its lack of genuine scares with an abundance of Natassja Kinski and a cool soundtrack featuring David Bowie and Giorgio Moroder. While it may not be the most terrifying movie on this list, it’s probably one of the hardest to turn away from if you happen across it on the cable dial during a bout of late-night viewing.
“WHY ARE THE GOOD PEOPLE DYING?” screamed the poster for George A. Romero’s paranoid The Crazies about the side effects of a military accident that resulted in a small American town being poisoned with a biological weapon that turns people into violent lunatics. Sadly, the tagline for Romero’s 1973 effort might as well have been “WHY WON’T MOST THEATERS SHOW THE CRAZIES?,” because the picture died with a whimper at the box office — but a good idea always turns up again in the horror genre, and in 2010, director Breck Eisner repurposed Romero’s original to create a sleek, gleefully nasty update that managed a surprisingly robust 71 percent on the Tomatometer. Alas, while Eisner’s Crazies at least made it to wide release, they didn’t fare a whole lot better at the box office, managing to slash together ony $54 million worldwide. The result of a military-industrial conspiracy, perhaps?
Did George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead really need a remake? Perhaps not. But if we were going to get one, it might as well have been one that blended the the visual wizardry of director Zack Snyder with a screenplay from future Guardians of the Galaxy mastermind James Gunn, and that’s just what we got with this 2004 “re-envisioning” of the zombie classic. Using the original’s basic framework as an effective delivery mechanism for a fresh round of gruesome gore and heart-pumping action, the new Dawn proved surprisingly bright for most critics, including Aisle Seat’s Mike McGranaghan, who wrote, “Dawn of the Dead is ultra-violent, excessively bloody, and extremely gory — all in a good way. I left the theater feeling pumped full of adrenaline.”
It might seem a little odd to base a horror remake on a TV movie from the 1970s, but the original Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark — starring Kim Darby as a housewife whose new home comes with some nasty little tenants lurking in the basement — is a cult classic for aficionados of the genre, so a theatrical version was probably inevitable. Given that the 2011 edition was co-written and produced by Guillermo del Toro, fans had reason to be hopeful that the remade Dark would be even scarier than the first; alas, after being trapped in studio limbo for months due to Miramax’s shuttering, director Troy Nixey’s update on the story — which focused on an eight-year-old (Bailee Madison) and her father’s girlfriend (Katie Holmes) — was greeted with lukewarm indifference by audiences and critics alike. Perhaps some things are just more frightening on the boob tube.
How in the world do you put together a remake of one of the most beloved horror-comedy cult classics of the last 40 years? If you’re director Fede Alvarez, you film a new version of Evil Dead with production input from creator Sam Raimi and original star Bruce Campbell, a much bigger budget, and a far more serious take on the story of young campers who unwittingly unleash a demon plague while goofing around with the Book of the Dead. The amped-up gore in Alvarez’s Evil Dead certainly wasn’t for everyone, but it arguably made more sense, given the film’s narrative outline — and the resultant uptick in attention to the franchise helped lead to the subsequent TV series Ash vs. Evil Dead.
The original version of The Fly, released in 1958, was a Vincent Price classic that didn’t really need to be remade, but that didn’t stop producer Stuart Cornfield (working with an uncredited Mel Brooks) from getting the ball rolling on a new version. After several years in development, plenty of studio struggle, and some turnover at the screenwriter and director positions, Cornfield had his movie: David Cronenberg’s gorier, more suspenseful take on The Fly, which went back to George Langelaan’s 1957 short story and emerged with one of the more delightfully suspenseful horror/sci-fi movies of the 1980s. Unfortunately, Cronenberg’s Fly — starring Jeff Goldblum as the ill-fated scientist whose experiments leave his DNA accidentally intertwined with the titular pest, and Geena Davis as the woman who loves him — was too successful to prevent a sequel: 1989’s rather uninspired The Fly II. Rumors of another remake (and a quasi-sequel penned by Cronenberg) have popped up over the years, but it’s all been for naught. So far, anyway.
Featuring a “star” hidden behind a hockey mask and a brilliantly low-budget conceit that needed nothing more than anonymous young actors capable of screaming in various states of undress, the Friday the 13th series was one of the most reliably profitable horror franchises of the 1980s — and ripe for the reboot treatment in the 21st century. Platinum Dunes did the honors in 2009, reimagining the murderous Jason Voorhees as more of a lethal maniac and less of a lumbering dolt, with cooler special effects and plenty of T&A; once again, the formula worked, producing plenty of pure profit for the studio and signaling that perhaps a new slew of sequels was on the horizon. Alas, Jason slumbered for the next several years, although he’s currently set to terrorize a fresh batch of Crystal Lake campers on May 13, 2016.
If director Craig Gillespie had polled horror fans in 2011 and asked them if he really needed to remake 1985’s Fright Night, the answer probably would have been a resounding “no”; after all, the original was not only a surprise hit, it had matured into a solid favorite among scary movie lovers, and little seemed to be gained by updating the story of a horror-loving teen (William Ragsdale) who makes the awful discovery that his new neighbor (Chris Sarandon) is secretly a vampire. While it may not have been strictly necessary, the new Fright Night — starring Anton Yelchin as young Charley Brewster and Colin Farrell as the undead addition to the neighborhood — proved surprisingly potent, with Farrell’s charismatic performance matching Gillespie’s confident lens. While box office returns were fairly weak, the remake brought the Fright Night franchise back to life, with a direct-to-video sequel arriving in 2013.
By the 2000s, producer Moustapha Akkad’s once-proud Halloween franchise had fallen on hard times, with deathless serial killer Michael Myers resurfacing in a series of low-budget sequels that bore little resemblance to John Carpenter’s classic 1978 original. All that was left was to start over from the beginning — and that’s what director Rob Zombie did with 2007’s Halloween, which retold Myers’ gruesome origin story and returned him to poor, unfortunate Haddonfield, Illinois for a gorier version of his first grown-up killing spree. While Zombie had previously flirted with critical respectability with 2005’s The Devil’s Rejects, his Halloween mustered a mere 25 percent on the Tomatometer — not as high as 1982’s much-maligned Halloween III: Season of the Witch, but still better than the sixth installment in the series, 1995’s The Curse of Michael Myers, and good enough to greenlight a sequel (dubbed H2) in 2009. A planned 3D follow-up eventually fell off the schedule, but the next sequel, reportedly titled Halloween Returns, is currently in development.
If Gus Van Sant’s Psycho serves as an argument against remakes, then the 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers offers an equally persuasive rebuttal. While the 1956 original is one of the most highly regarded sci-fi/horror movies of its era, director Philip Kaufman’s update matched it with a thrillingly gritty, ensemble-driven look at what might happen if alien spores landed on Earth and started sprouting eerily emotionless replicas of our friends and loved ones. Sharpening up the special effects without overly relying on them, the new-look Body Snatchers featured solid performances from a stellar cast that included Donald Sutherland, Leonard Nimoy, and Jeff Goldblum — and although it definitely made its share of money at the box office in 1978, if anything it’s even more highly regarded today. Here’s hoping Kaufman’s Snatchers continues to stand as the most recent version of the movie for many more years to come.
If you’re looking for fright value, bad guys don’t come much more elegantly brutal than a bloodthirsty lunatic with a pickaxe, which might be why the low-budget 1981 Canadian slasher flick My Bloody Valentine — about a miner who survives a collapse by dining on his fellow crew members, goes crazy before being rescued, and wages murderous revenge — proved even more potent when its 3D remake surfaced in 2009. And although it may not have generated blockbuster numbers at the box office, it fared surprisingly well with critics; it can’t be long before we’re treated to yet another Bloody Valentine.
Given how much money the Nightmare on Elm Street movies made for New Line during the 1980s and early 1990s, remakes and/or reboots were probably always a matter of course; problem was, the series was just as memorable for Robert Englund’s outstanding performance in the role of series killer Freddy Krueger as it was for its scores of inventive on-screen murders. Faced with the unsolvable problem of replacing Englund, the folks at Platinum Dunes hired Jackie Earle Haley to take over the part for their 2010 reboot — and although Haley is certainly a talented actor, and more than capable of exuding a sinister aura, he isn’t as physically imposing as Englund. Add that to a story that hit many of the same beats as the original, and the end result was a movie that, while certainly profitable, failed to land with as much impact as it had the first (eight) time(s) around.
Werner Herzog’s filmography offers more than a few case studies in audaciousness, not the least of which is 1979’s Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht. Occasionally referred to by its less cool English title, Nosferatu the Vampyre, this remake of F.W. Murnau’s classic 1922 silent film finds Klaus Kinski stepping into the bloodsucking role so memorably inhabited by Max Schreck, with all parties involved acquitting themselves admirably. No less a cinematic authority than Roger Ebert agreed, writing that “To say of someone that they were born to play a vampire is a strange compliment, but if you will compare the two versions of Nosferatu you might agree with me that only Kinski could have equaled or rivaled Max Schreck’s performance.”
Of all the remakes on our list, Gus Van Sant’s Psycho embraces the concept more eagerly than most, delivering a somewhat bafflingly precise update on the 1960 Hitchcock classic with a shot-for-shot replication that, while assembled and acted by talented creative types, exhibited no real creativity of its own. But while Van Sant’s Psycho wound up bottoming out at a rather miserable 37 percent on the Tomatometer, he dodged a few bullets in at least one sense — unlike a lot of remakes of classic films, his attempt to re-Hitchcock Hitchcock inspired more critical bafflement than anger or derision. Ultimately, the 1998 Psycho serves as a perfectly persuasive (albeit most likely unintentional) argument against remakes in general.
A man, a plan, a chainsaw. Oh, and a facemask made out of human skin. It may not sound like much, but from the moment 1974’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre terrified its first audiences, it’s served as the basis for one of the horror genre’s more surprisingly durable franchises — in spite of the mostly miserable track record suffered by its spate of periodic prequels, sequels, and spinoffs. The horror remake enthusiasts at Platinum Dunes tried to take things back to the beginning (again) with their 2003 Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and although most critics claimed time had dulled Leatherface’s blade, audiences still turned out to the tune of more than $100 million in box office grosses. Yet another prequel followed in 2006, followed by a 3D sequel to the original in 2013, and the origin story Leatherface is currently scheduled for 2016. Confused? Don’t think too hard; in the end, it all goes back to those first simple ingredients.
There are worse (and far, far better) horror remakes than Neil LaBute’s update on The Wicker Man, but we absolutely had to include it here, because no other film provides its particular brand of sheer, cackling lunacy. While it’s misguided on just about every level, the 2006 Wicker is chiefly noteworthy thanks to Nicolas Cage’s presence as police detective Edward Malus, whose journey to a secluded island in search of his abducted daughter ends very badly for all concerned — including any audience members not prepared for the unforgettable sight of Cage punching a woman in the face while wearing a bear suit, or the equally memorable sound of Cage screaming “Oh God! Not the bees!” Avoid it if you’re looking for truly scary viewing, but it still needs to be seen in order to be believed.
En español: Read this article in Spanish at Tomatazos.com.
Nicolas Cage may have the most unclassifiable body of work of any actor in movies today. He began his career with teen roles in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Valley Girl and uncle Francis Coppola’s Rumble Fish, went off the wall for Raising Arizona, Wild At Heart and Vampire’s Kiss, won a Best Actor Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas and then somehow became a big-budget action star in films like The Rock, Con Air and Face/Off. The odd trajectory defines the actor to this day, but behind all of Cage’s (seemingly puzzling) film choices there’s been one constant: his fierce dedication to each and every role, whether he’s crafting performances for Spike Jonze, Ridley Scott and Werner Herzog or headlining Disney tent-poles and comic-book capers. This week, Cage nurtures his fantasy fetish as a 14th-century knight in Dominic Sena’s supernatural actioner Season of the Witch, while he continues filming on the Ghost Rider sequel with Crank directors Brian Taylor and Mark Neveldine.
We got the chance to speak with Cage recently, where we asked him to name his all-time five favorite films. “It’s a shame because there are so many more,” he says, considering his choices, “but if I had to go with the five, I’d pick the ones that changed my life.”
Read on for his thoughts on Season of the Witch, the Ghost Rider sequel, and why, he says, he’s going through his horror movie period.
The first two, I’m gonna go with Elia Kazan, ’cause they’re really the reason why I became an actor in movies. East of Eden, with James Dean, and A Streetcar Named Desire, with Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando. The performance by James Dean — the scene specifically where he tries to give his father, played by Raymond Massey, the money from selling the beans on his birthday, and he’s rejected — it broke my heart; it was not like anything I’d experienced before, in terms of art, and I’d seen a lot of movies at that point. I was 15, and I’d seen Bergman’s Seventh Seal and Fellini’s Juliet of the Spirits and Welles’ Citizen Kane — great films, but when I saw Dean in that, it really put the hook in me because I felt like him and I knew then the power of film acting, and I knew then what I wanted to be, what I wanted to do to try to move people with motion pictures. So that’s why I have to put that on the list.
Yes, I admired Marlon Brando and I know that he influenced James Dean and he really kind of changed the world of film acting with his naturalistic style, but it was because of Vivien Leigh’s performance as Blanche DuBois that I would put that as one of my favorite movies; because of her dialog, the Tennessee Williams dialog, the music, Kazan’s direction, and Vivien Leigh’s delivery of lines like — I’m paraphrasing — but when she says, “the human heart, how can that be straight?”, you know. It was such a powerfully vulnerable, tragic performance that I have to put that on the top five, because that movie held that performance.
Then I’m gonna go into Kubrick. 2001, because it is so enigmatic, it is so poetic, and it remains a mystery to me, even today where I can view it annually, three times a year, and still find something new in it. I’m still mystified by it. It achieved this status of being eternal in a way that didn’t rely heavily on performance; it was the special effects, the music. The fact that it was a success, that it was a commercial success, and it challenged every critic — many critics didn’t get it — so it was really ahead of its time. Nothing’s been ever quite like it again.
Because of Malcolm McDowell I’m gonna go into A Clockwork Orange, because that was the other great teenage performance, along with James Dean in East of Eden. Stanley Kubrick’s treatment of the subject of violence and the mystery of nature and to go against out natures and what is or isn’t necessary, and what is the true evil, and all of these questions that came out of the absurdist and evocative film that is Clockwork Orange, again, is everlasting. And also his lighting: even today when you look at some of the stills from the movie, when they’re in the Milk Bar, it looks like virtual reality and I don’t know how he did it — he was really a master of light.
Finally I’m gonna say The Wizard of Oz, because that movie, again, is not like any other film — it’s a completely original experience and it has stood up against the test of time. Children are still enchanted by it, adults are still enchanted by it, and nobody has ever been able to capture that feeling since; and it’s a musical. Plus, that first introduction to color film, that doorway sequence and going in to Munchkin land — it’s just mind-blowingly beautiful. And her performance, her voice, Judy Garland — you know, they don’t make ’em like that anymore. So, I would say those would be the top five.
Next, Nicolas Cage on his supernatural phase, the absurdity of The Wicker Man, and returning to Ghost Rider.
RT: Did you enjoy making Season of the Witch?
Oh yeah, this was a real adventure for me. I’d wanted to play a knight for quite some time because it was a childhood fantasy of mine, and here I was finally getting to do that — and dealing with supernatural forces that are becoming increasingly interesting to me, because I want to celebrate the movies of people like Christopher Lee and Vincent Price. I’m really trying to build a body of work that does that now. I don’t want to do one kind of film only; I am eclectic and that’s how I stay interested. So right now I’m in that phase, of movies that go into horror and mystery and the unknown.
Christopher Lee’s in the film — did you two talk about The Wicker Man and what it was like remaking his film?
Yeah, we did talk about that. First of all, I’m a huge fan of the original movie and his performance in it is outstanding, and I had to share that with him. We talked a little bit about the remake and he wanted to know what happened and I just said well, look, the movie was true to Neil LaBute’s kind of intentionally absurdist black comedy view of relationships between men and women — and we went for it. Let me put it to you this way: you don’t get dressed up in a bear suit and do those kinds of things to women and not know it’s ridiculous [laughs]. The problem is people didn’t know that we knew that it was what it was; hopefully now they will. I mean, I don’t know how they couldn’t know that, but that’s okay.
The film’s sort of become a cult item over time as people realize how absurd it is.
[laughs] I think so too and I think some things take time to mature, and with hindsight become a lot more understood.
You’re working with Dominic Sena again on Season; had you been looking to do something together after Gone in 60 Seconds?
Well I really enjoyed working with Dominic on that movie. He makes you feel comfortable and you feel relaxed and that you can be creative. In this case he really had a chance to show his visual style. Gone in 60 Seconds was much more of a straight-up urban action film whereas Season of the Witch goes into far more imaginative places and more expressionistic places and Dom’s really great at that in terms of lighting and landscape. I’m glad he had a chance to do that because I don’t know how many people are aware of his ability in that department, but it’s pretty immense.
The year ahead is looking typically busy for you. Have you wrapped the Ghost Rider sequel?
Not yet. I’m about a third of the way through. It’s going very well.
How different is it from the original?
It’s very different. I’m a fan of the first one but that one was more of a fairy tale where as this one is a completely different kind of animal, and that’s what the directors wanted. But I have to say that I’ve never worked with anybody quite like Neveldine and Taylor before. It’s a brand new experience. Mark Neveldine is doing things with the camera that are just mind-blowing. He’s a combination stuntman/camera operator/director and I’ve never seen anything like it. He’s on rollerblades hanging off the bike, hanging from wires that are 300 feet up in the air, I mean he’s getting these shots and virtually risking his life. There’s nobody else that really does any of that. And Brian Taylor is just so knowledgeable about filmmaking: in the same sentence you can talk about Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom and then go into Ishirô Honda’s War of the Gargantuas — he just knows movies. And he’s totally been encouraging about me playing the Ghost Rider as well as John Blaze and this has opened up all sorts of new doors. It was because of him and his passion that we were able to go into areas that I think will really mess with people’s minds; some really abstract, kind of wild supernatural stuff that’s a lot of fun.
Season of the Witch is in theaters this week.
Focus Features has arranged for Nicolas Cage to join the ranks of The Vanished.
Don’t get excited, Cage-haters — this isn’t an allusion to some sort of forced exile for the actor’s performances in The Wicker Man, Snake Eyes, or Gone in 60 Seconds; rather, it’s the title of his next starring vehicle. Variety reports that Cage has signed on for the Hany Abu-Assad-directed feature, which the article summarizes as follows:
Thriller, penned by Larysa Kondracki and Eilis Kirwan, concerns a father who goes in search of his college-aged American-born Muslim son, who’s missing overseas.
Before starting The Vanished in April, Cage will star in The Wrestler, which we discussed last week (and is apparently being directed by Darren Aronofsky). He’ll next be seen in National Treasure: Book of Secrets, opening December 21.
Add another name to the list of actors rumored to be up for the title role in Universal’s long-threatened Magnum P.I. adaptation.
IGN Movies reports on the widespread rumors that Nicolas Cage is mulling a star turn as the Hawaii-based, mustached ’80s hero, played to iconic perfection by mustached ’80s Tom Selleck during the series’ 1980-88 run on CBS. Everyone from George Clooney to Matthew McConaughey has supposedly been offered the part, and nothing has come of it yet, but as IGN notes:
According to The Daily Express, “Nicolas likes the mix of comedy and crime-solving in the script.” The paper also claims that the project fell apart 18 months ago when Ricky Gervais rejected the notion of playing Higgins to George Clooney’s Magnum.
As many of you will recall, the last time Cage played a character in a tropical setting, he strapped on a bear suit and ran around in the jungle for last year’s Wicker Man remake. We could only hope for similarly fantastic results out of a Cage-led Magnum P.I. adaptation. Cross your fingers.
Source: IGN Movies
The four-billion-dollar-plus summer comes to a close over the long Labor Day holiday weekend with three new wide releases all targeting male moviegoers. Slasher fans get to relive old days with the latest incarnation of Halloween, teens looking for a laugh get the ping pong comedy Balls of Fury, and adults interested in Kevin Bacon‘s brand of revenge have the action thriller Death Sentence. With target audiences for the new pics having lots of overlap, and the existing holdovers also catering to similar crowds, the marketplace will have to work hard to expand as many of these titles will eat into each other.
Setting a new industry record for the widest opening ever over Labor Day weekend, rock-star-turned-director Rob Zombie‘s Halloween attacks theaters aiming to connect with horror movie fans. The R-rated entry marks the first new installment in five years for a franchise about to hit the three-decade mark. 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection bowed to $12.3M and a solid $6,291 average in mid-July of that summer proving that Michael Myers still had the muscle to draw in his fans. The arrival of a new Halloween flick coupled with the selection of a buzzworthy director makes for an interesting combo that will spark interest with genre fans.
To say that horror has hit some bad luck at the box office this year is putting it lightly. R-rated fright flicks in 2007 have struggled but Halloween will try to change that. Excitement among fans is considerable and with no other gorefests out there, competition will come mainly from the many action films or teen comedies. The Jeepers Creepers films proved how successful Labor Day weekend could be for a horror pic and now MGM and The Weinstein Company hope demand will still be there for their newest entry. Attacking 3,472 theaters, Halloween might collect about $20M over the Friday-to-Monday holiday weekend.
Since Labor Day weekend tends to be a catch-up time when people see popular flicks they’ve missed out on, another strong performance is likely to greet The Bourne Ultimatum which has easily been the top-grossing film of the past month. The new films will cause a distraction with younger moviegoers, but mature adults who may not have had time for Jason Bourne’s identity-revealing saga are sure to line up. Look for the four-day gross to dip by only 10% from last weekend giving the Universal blockbuster about $11M for the long weekend which would allow the assassin pic to cross the $200M mark on Monday.
Fellow threequel Rush Hour 3 should experience a larger drop and could fall by 25% to about $9M. That would put the total at $121M for New Line.
LAST YEAR: Mark Wahlberg scored back-to-back box office touchdowns with his sports drama Invincible which remained at number one for the second straight time with $15.4M over the four-day holiday weekend. Opening in the runnerup spot was Jason Statham‘s action pic Crank with $12.9M over the long weekend which edged out the debuting Nicolas Cage drama The Wicker Man which took in $11.7M. Final grosses reached $27.8M for the Lionsgate film and $23.6M for the Paramount pic. Rounding out the top five were Little Miss Sunshine with $9.6M and The Illusionist with $8.1M over four days.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
The Golden Raspberry Award Foundation has issued its annual press release announcing the latest batch of Razzie nominees. In an ever-more-crowded field of bad scripts, bad acting, and all-around bad films, the Foundation has somehow managed to narrow its nominations down to a select few.
Tim Allen — "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause," "The Shaggy Dog" and "Zoom"
Nicolas Cage — "Wicker Man"
Larry The Cable Guy (Dan Whitney) — "Larry The Cable Guy: Health Inspector"
Rob Schneider — "The Benchwarmers" and "Little Man"
Marlon Wayans & Shawn Wayans — "Little Man"
Worst Supporting Actor:
Danny DeVito — "Deck The Halls"
Ben Kingsley — "Bloodrayne"
M. Night Shyamalan — "Lady In The Water"
Martin Short — "Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause"
David Thewlis — "Basic Instinct 2" and "The Omen"
Worst Supporting Actress:
Kate Bosworth — "Superman Returns"
Kristin Chenoweth — "Deck The Halls," "Pink Panther" and "RV"
Carmen Electra — "Date Movie" and "Scary Movie 4"
Jenny McCarthy — "John Tucker Must Die"
Michelle Rodriguez — "Bloodrayne"
Worst Screen Couple:
Tim Allen & Martin Short — "Santa Clause 3"
Nicolas Cage & His Bear Suit — "Wicker Man"
Hilary & Haylie Duff — "Material Girls"
Sharon Stone’s Lop-Sided Breasts — "Basic Instinct 2"
Shawn Wayans & EITHER Kerry Washington OR Marlon Wayans — "Little Man"
So enough with all the Oscar talk already — what’s more important is who’s taking home the most Razzies this year (and who’ll actually show up to collect). Anybody want to start laying odds on the appearance of an enraged Uwe Boll, threatening to fight everyone in the parking lot?
Wrestler-turned-actor The Rock suffered the worst opening of his career with the football drama Gridiron Gang, but thanks to weak competition, it was still enough to capture the number one position at the North American box office.
The new murder mystery The Black Dahlia bowed in second place with moderate results, but fellow freshmen Everyone’s Hero and The Last Kiss both failed to excite moviegoers. For the first time in over a year, only three movies were able to gross more than $5M during the frame. Overall ticket sales rose slightly from last weekend’s dismal showing, but still managed to post the second worst performance of 2006 giving the fall season a worrisome start.
For the third time in the last four weekends, football ruled the box office as Gridiron Gang topped the charts with an estimated $15M kickoff. Playing extremely wide in 3,504 theaters, the PG-13 drama averaged a decent $4,281 per site and gave The Rock the fifth number one opener of his career, but also his smallest debut ever. The action star continued to see diminishing returns on opening weekend with Gang which followed last fall’s Doom ($15.5M), 2004’s remake of Walking Tall ($15.5M), The Rundown ($18.5M) in 2003, and 2002’s The Scorpion King ($36.1M). The Rock also saw a $23.5M bow for 2005’s John Travolta flick Be Cool, but his comedic turn was only a supporting role.
In Gridiron Gang, the charismatic actor plays a juvenile detention camp counselor who inspires delinquent kids by coaching them in football. Budgeted at about $30M, the pic played to a younger and more male audience, as expected. Studio research showed that 52% of the crowd consisted of guys and 55% was under the age of 25. Reviews were not very good.
For Sony, Gang’s top spot bow marked the tenth number one opening of the year for the studio setting a new industry record. Having already banked over $1 billion in box office this year, Sony aims to extend its record performance with promising sequels like The Grudge 2 and Casino Royale which debut in October and November, respectively. The studio has opened a whopping 18 films so far in 2006, the most of any distributor. It has placed films in the top ten in all but two weekends this year.
September is often the worst month of the year at the box office as people shift their attention to other distractions like a new school year, a new television season, and the return of NFL football. But this year, the late summer and early fall have been especially slow at theaters. Over the past two months, only one film (Talladega Nights) has managed to open north of $30M. Four films did the deed during the same period in each of the last two years while five surpassed that mark in 2003.
Universal debuted its new crime thriller The Black Dahlia in second place with an estimated $10.4M. Playing in about 1,300 fewer theaters than Gridiron Gang, the Brian De Palma-directed pic averaged a moderate $4,655 per location giving it the best average among all the weekend’s wide releases. Starring Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, Aaron Eckhart, and Hilary Swank, Dahlia played to a mature adult audience with its tale of the investigation behind the brutal murder of a Hollywood starlet in the 1940s. The $60M film needed strong reviews to score with its target audience, but was met with little support from critics. In fact, the film scored only a 30% rating on RottenTomatoes.com’s critic scale which was even lower than Gridiron Gang’s 43%.
The weekend’s two other new national releases were mostly ignored by moviegoers. Fox opened its animated baseball kidpic Everyone’s Hero to an estimated $6.2M from a very wide 2,896 theaters. Co-directed by the late Christopher Reeve, the G-rated film averaged a soft $2,124 per site. 2006 has seen nearly a dozen toons invade the multiplexes. Hero’s opening ranks as the second worst of the year for an animated pic trailing only Doogal‘s $3.6M launch in February.
Paramount quietly opened its DreamWorks romantic comedy The Last Kiss in fourth place with only $4.7M, according to estimates. Landing in a mere 1,357 theaters, the R-rated film starring Zach Braff as a soon-to-be-dad with jitters averaged a mild $3,465 per location. Reviews were mixed.
Falling from first place was the supernatural teen thriller The Covenant which grossed an estimated $4.7M as well, off 47% from its debut. With $15.7M collected in ten days, Sony’s $20M pic could end its run with $24-26M. Another former number one, Buena Vista’s football drama Invincible, placed sixth with an estimated $3.9M, down only 31%, lifting the total to $50.9M.
A pair of solid word-of-mouth hits from smaller distributors followed. Yari Film Group’s period mystery The Illusionist slipped just 17% to an estimated $3.8M in its third weekend of wide release and upped its cume to $23.3M. Fox Searchlight’s indie hit Little Miss Sunshine became the company’s second-biggest grosser of all-time this weekend taking in an estimated $3.4M, down just 22%, raising the sum to $46.4M. The distributor’s only bigger hit has been 2004’s Sideways with $71.5M thanks to a prolonged Oscar run.
The George Reeves murder mystery Hollywoodland fell sharply in its second weekend tumbling 54% to an estimated $2.7M. Suffering the worst decline in the top ten, the Focus release has taken in a disappointing $10.5M in ten days and looks headed for a quick finish with only $15-17M. Rounding out the top ten was the Jason Statham actioner Crank with an estimated $2.7M as well, down 45%, giving Lionsgate $24.4M to date.
Buena Vista offered sneak previews in 800 theaters on Saturday for its upcoming marine adventure The Guardian and drew a well-balanced audience with males slightly edging out the women with 51% of the crowd. The Ashton Kutcher–Kevin Costner pic played to 70% capacity and will officially open on September 29 opposite Sony’s animal toon Open Season and MGM’s comedy School for Scoundrels.
Arthouses were flooded with new product this weekend as a number of films platformed in hopes of generating strong indie buzz. Lionsgate got off to a good start with its documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon which debuted in only six theaters and grossed an estimated $72,000 for a solid $12,000 average. The film expands on September 29 into more than ten additional markets.
Proving once again that he is not much of a box office draw without pirates or Hobbits around, Orlando Bloom‘s new revenge thriller Haven flopped in its debut grossing an estimated $38,000 from 24 sites for a dismal $1,588 average for Yari Film Group. Fox Searchlight also struggled with its new wedding mockumentary Confetti which debuted to an estimated $20,000 from a dozen sites for a poor $1,701 average. Both films still plan to expand this Friday with Haven widening to about 75 theaters and Confetti falling into over 130 playdates.
Four films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. The Thai action pic The Protector grossed an estimated $2.5M in its sophomore frame falling 51% from its opening. The Weinstein Co. has kicked up $9M in ten days and should end up with only $13-15M. Nicolas Cage‘s suspense thriller The Wicker Man dropped 48% to an estimated $2.1M pushing the cume to a lukewarm $20.7M. The Warner Bros. title looks to complete its run with around $25M.
The summer’s top-grossing comedy, Tallageda Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, slipped 34% to an estimated $2M in its seventh lap and boosted its stellar total to $145M. Sony’s Will Ferrell smash could cross the $150M line before calling it quits. Paramount’s Barnyard, another late-summer hit, grossed an estimated $1.6M while also in its seventh weekend. Down 40%, the animated entry has laughed up $69.1M thus far and is headed for $72-74M.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $57.4M which was down 14% from last year when Just Like Heaven debuted at number one with $16.4M; and down 4% from 2004 when Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow opened in the top spot with $15.6M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com