Jigsaw is back in theaters this Friday, bringing back memories of the bygone era between 2004 and 2010 (the release years of the first and last Saw movies) when every horror movie released seemed to fall under the guise of ‘torture porn.’ They involved inflicting the most amount of pain in the slowest way possible, where dark fates could lead to death, or something worse: living on, literally broken in body and mind. Relive the pain with 24 best and worst (mostly worst) torture porn movies pieced and sorted by Tomatometer!

Check out some of the scariest and sexy-scariest horror posters ever unleashed by the true terrors of filmmaking: the marketing department.


No awards season — even a strike-tainted one — would be complete without the Razzies, right? Of course not. And that’s why we’ve thoughtfully assembled all of this year’s nominees in one convenient location.

The Razzies, now entering their 28th year, have been celebrating the worst in film since 1980, when John Wilson took a raspberry trophy, spray-painted it gold, and stuck it to Can’t Stop the Music. This year’s nominees are suitably distinguished, and they all follow below (with Tomatometers in parentheses). ‘Fess up, Vineketeers — how many of these have you seen? And enjoyed?

Worst Picture:
Bratz (7 percent)
Daddy Day Camp (1 percent)

I Know Who Killed Me (8 percent)
I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (14 percent)
Norbit (9 percent)

Worst Actor:
Nicolas Cage, for Ghost Rider (27 percent), National Treasure: Book of Secrets (32 percent), and Next (30 percent)
Jim Carrey, for The Number 23 (8 percent)
Cuba Gooding, Jr., for Daddy Day Camp and Norbit
Eddie Murphy, for Norbit
Adam Sandler, for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry

Worst Actress:
Jessica Alba, for Awake (21 percent), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (35 percent), and Good Luck Chuck (3 percent)
Logan Browning, Janel Parrish, Nathalia Ramos & Skyler Shaye, for Bratz
Elisha Cuthbert, for Captivity (7 percent)
Diane Keaton, for Because I Said So (5 percent)
Lindsay Lohan (as Aubrey), for I Know Who Killed Me
Lindsay Lohan (as Dakota), for I Know Who Killed Me

Worst Supporting Actor:
Orlando Bloom, for Pirates of the Carribbean: At World’s End (45 percent)
Kevin James, for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
Eddie Murphy, for Norbit
Rob Schneider, for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
Jon Voight, for Bratz, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, September Dawn (13 percent), and Transformers (57 percent)

Worst Supporting Actress:
Jessica Biel, for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry and Next
Carmen Electra, for Epic Movie (2 percent)
Eddie Murphy, for Norbit
Julia Ormond, for I Know Who Killed Me
Nicolette Sheridan, for Code Name: The Cleaner (4 percent)

Worst Screen Couple:
Jessica Alba with Dane Cook (for Good Luck Chuck), Hayden Christensen (for Awake), and Ioan Gruffudd (for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer)
Any combination of two totally air-headed characters in Bratz
Lindsay Lohan and Lindsay Lohan, for I Know Who Killed Me

Worst Remake or Ripoff:
Are We Done Yet? (8 percent, remake/ripoff of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House)
Bratz (a ripoff if ever there was one)
Epic Movie (ripoff of every movie it rips off)
I Know Who Killed Me (ripoff of Hostel, Saw, and The Patty Duke Show)
Who’s Your Caddy? (7 percent, ripoff of Caddyshack)

Worst Prequel or Sequel:
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (16 percent)
Daddy Day Camp
Evan Almighty (24 percent)
Hannibal Rising, (15 percent)
Hostel: Part II (44 percent)

Worst Director:
Dennis Dugan, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
Roland Joffe, Captivity
Brian Robbins, Norbit
Fred Savage, Daddy Day Camp
Chris Sivertson, I Know Who Killed Me

Worst Screenplay:
Geoff Rodkey and David J. Stem & David N. Weiss, Daddy Day Camp

Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer, Epic Movie
Jeffrey Hammond, I Know Who Killed Me
Barry Fanaro and Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
Eddie Murphy & Charles Murphy, Jay Sherick & David Ronn, Norbit

Worst Excuse for a Horror Movie:
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem
Captivity
Hannibal Rising

Hostel: Part II
I Know Who Killed Me

Source: Razzies

The poster submitted by ThinkFilm for Taxi to the Dark Side — the Alex Gibney documentary opening January 18 — has been rejected by the MPAA.

The MPAA rejects posters on a semi-regular basis — it happened this year with the original one-sheets for Hostel Part II and Captivity — so Taxi‘s rejection, in and of itself, isn’t surprising. Not surprising, that is, until you look at the poster, which depicts two soldiers walking a hooded prisoner away from the camera. That’s it — no gore, no dismembered flesh, no bloody dental instruments. Just a guy in a hood.

It’s the hood, as you might have already guessed, that the MPAA has problems with; last year, the Association rejected the artwork for The Road to Guantanamo, which depicted a hooded prisoner hanging by his wrists. According to Variety, Roadside Attractions’ co-president, Howard Cohen, said the studio was told “the burlap bag over the prisoner’s head depicted torture, which was not appropriate for children to see.” This is reinforced by the MPAA’s statement regarding Taxi to the Dark Side, which follows:

“We treat all films the same. Ads will be seen by all audiences, including children. If the advertising is not suitable for all audiences it will not be approved by the advertising administration.”

Gibney is predictably peeved:

“Not permitting us to use an image of a hooded man that comes from a documentary photograph is censorship, pure and simple. Intentional or not, the MPAA’s disapproval of the poster is a political act, undermining legitimate criticism of the Bush administration. I agree that the image is offensive; it’s also real.”

The image in the poster is real — sort of. It’s actually a combination of two photos; one, taken by Corbis’ Shaun Schwarz, depicted the prisoner with one soldier, while the second soldier was added in later. The Schwarz photo has its own interesting story, also involving censorship. From Variety:

Ironically, the original Schwarz photo was censored by the military, which erased his camera’s memory. The photographer eventually retrieved the image from his hard drive.

ThinkFilm has announced plans to appeal the MPAA’s ruling, although the studio’s distribution president, Mark Urman, says the company “doesn’t know what that entails.”

Source: Variety

In an age of fast-rising Hollywood production costs, the young actresses who strive to keep movie budgets down — specifically in the wardrobe department — deserve to be saluted.

To that end, noted film critic Mr. Skin has unveiled his Top 20 Nude Scenes of 2007. Calling the last twelve months “A surprisingly strong year for big-screen nudity…among this decade’s very breast,” the renowned nakedologist has compiled the following list:

1. Marisa TomeiBefore the Devil Knows You’re Dead
2. Keeley Hazell – Cashback
3. Natalie Portman – Hotel Chevalier
4. Christina RicciBlack Snake Moan
5. Sienna MillerFactory Girl
6. Roselyn SanchezYellow
7. Malin AkermanThe Heartbreak Kid
8. Eva MendesWe Own the Night
9. Lena Headey300
10. Stormy Daniels and Nautica Thorne – Knocked Up
11. Alexa DavalosFeast of Love
12. Chelan SimmonsGood Luck Chuck
13. Wei TangLust, Caution
14. Ashley JuddBug
15. Olivia WildeAlpha Dog
16. Ana Claudia TalanconAlone With Her
17. Danielle HarrisHalloween
18. Heather MatarazzoHostel: Part II
19. Amber VallettaThe Last Time
20. Lucy LiuBlood Hunter

Adjust your Netflix queues accordingly.

Source: PR Newswire

Eli Roth Presents the Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen

“These movies are so awesome and they’re completely overlooked by both critics and fans for no reason. They should be rediscovered and brought back to life. They’ve all had some effect on me and these are all films that you can actually find on DVD.” — Eli Roth

Torso

TorsoThis was made before Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There’s a whole wave of early-seventies Italian giallo films that aren’t Dario Argento movies – everyone’s seen the Argento giallos – which are lesser-known B-movies that have been overlooked by the fans. They’re fantastic movies and Torso is a prime example.

Luc Merenda is in it, who plays the police inspector in the beginning of Hostel II questioning Jay Hernandez. Luc came out of fifteen years of retirement – he’s now an antique dealer in Paris – to come and do this part for me. He was in a lot of these giallo films and he’s a superb actor.

As Quentin says, the first 45 minutes to an hour of the movie almost dares you to keep watching it. It’s so incomprehensible but it’s actually an amazing film and I think it’s a masterpiece.

The first ten minutes are confusing but the last thirty minutes are set at this house and once they get to this house it’s amongst the best examples of the genre I’ve seen. It suddenly elevates to the level of Alfred Hitchcock in terms of filmmaking. It’s so fucking scary and tense.

Torso is probably the most sexually-charged giallo film out of any of them. It starts off, during the opening credits, with a lesbian scene and there’s an amazing lesbian subplot in the movie. There’s tonnes of nudity, hippy orgies and stuff and the girls are so hot in it. But it’s completely underrated.

Sergio Martino made Torso and then he made a film called Suspected Death of a Minor. He was one of these guys who just churned out a bunch of movies. He also made this movie called The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, but really Torso is his masterpiece.

Who Can Kill a Child

Who Can Kill A Child?Who Can Kill a Child? was just re-released on DVD and I was actually going to make a film that was pretty-much the exact same premise but now I don’t know if I will because he did it so perfectly.

It’s a great evil kid movie, but it’s one of those things where the kids are running amok and you’ve got to kill them, and how could you kill a bunch of kids? That idea is fucking awesome.

And again what’s so great about it is it’s a slow burn. This and Torso were very influential on Hostel because these seventies Italian giallos start off with a group of students that are in Rome, lots of scenes in piazzas with telephoto lenses, and you get the feeling they’re being watched. There’s this real ominous creepy feeling.

The girls are always going on some trip somewhere and they’re all very smart. They all make decisions the audience would make.

Eli Roth Presents the Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen

Night Train Murders

Night Train MurdersAldo Lado did Short Night of the Glass Dolls, and he’s a superb director.

This film is a rip-off of Last House on the Left, but set on the train. And it’s really fucking creepy. It’s got a problem where you can tell the train cars are on a set, but it’s really, really scary.

The guys are these really creepy Italian guys and one of them has this whistling theme that was done by Morricone that when you hear it, it really gives you chills.

A lot of the girls on the train and the creepiness in Hostel II is very-much influenced by Night Train Murders.

Beatrice Cenci

One on Top of AnotherLucio Fulci is such a massively underrated director. Everyone knows him as the Godfather of Gore. He did these three fantastic films in a row.

One of them was called One On Top Of Another (pictured), which was also released as Perversion Story. Distributors would always confuse people with the titles of movies. One On Top Of Another is a really good giallo.

Then he made this film Lizard in a Woman’s Skin. It’s a terrific, terrific movie. It’s really got this great, trippy dreamlike imagery in it.

But in between he made this drama called Beatrice Cenci based on a true story about this woman whose father was a wealthy landowner in the 16th century who locked her up in a dungeon in the basement. He was raping her and the family plotted and killed him and they were all executed. There was a huge public outcry about it.

Beatrice Cenci was an amazing film. If it were released today it’d win Best Picture. It’s so well done, it’s so contemporary, and the filmmaking is so smart.

It’s never been released in the US. I know there’s one French DVD of it, I don’t know if it’s on DVD in England. It’s the best film Lucio Fulci’s ever done. It’s so fucking good. It starts off right away and you’re in it; it doesn’t feel like a period movie at all.

Eli Roth Presents the Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen

Nightmare City

Nightmare CityUmberto Lenzi made this movie, which is kind-of like Planet Terror meets 28 Days Later. It’s basically a zombie movie; this plane lands and all these infected people come out. It is awesome.

And it’s got this thing where every time the infected people kill a girl they rip her shirt off first. There’s a scene at a hospital where the infected are being brought in and treated – like Planet Terror – and they run up to a girl and they just rip open her shirt and then rip her tits off. You can’t believe it. You’d think he’d maybe do it once, but Umberto Lenzi just keeps doing it over and over again. It’s pretty hilarious.

There’s also a whole scene set in a TV studio where someone’s doing an aerobics class and all the infected zombies tear in and start ripping up and infecting this aerobics class. Nightmare City is fantastic.

Avere vent'anni

Avere vent'anniThe film that was the single most influential film on Hostel II was Fernando Di Leo‘s Avere vent’anni which translates as To Be Twenty. Fernando Di Leo is the fucking man, he made a whole bunch of fantastic films. There’s a double-disc that Nocturno put out in England and Italy.

This movie, starring Gloria Guida and Lilli Carati, is kind-of about the different generational attitudes towards sex. The young generation that doesn’t give a fuck about sex and the older generation who wants to punish them.

These girls go around Rome just fucking guys and fucking girls and their whole motto is like, “We’re young, beautiful and pissed off.” They don’t care about anything, they just don’t give a fuck, and it’s plays like a light sex comedy which Gloria Guida is renowned for in Italy.

But they tease the wrong guys. At the end they go into this diner and there are these really fucking scary guys. So they’re teasing them and fucking with them and these guys follow the girls into the woods and the ending is the most shocking, horrifying ending I’ve ever seen in a film. It’s really hard to watch and really upsetting and then it just ends and the credits roll.

When this movie was released there was an outcry, an uproar, and they pulled every single print out of the cinemas and destroyed them or recut them. They re-released it completely changing the ending and made it end as a fun, happy sex comedy. So a recent release restored Fernando Di Leo’s cut and he got a lot of shit for it.

It was really interesting, while I was making Hostel II I said I wanted to make a movie like To Be Twenty and the kind of reaction I got from Hostel II and the outrage, and the censorship, I said to my brother, “I think we did it, I think we actually made a Fernando Di Leo film.”

Critically that guy never got his due and he died, but this movie is his fucking masterpiece. It’s so smart but the ending is so violent and shocking that it’s the only thing people can take away from the film. It’s a comedy and a drama with a really, really upsetting, genuinely horrific close.

I had everyone watch it on Hostel II. The KNB guys, who did the make-up effects, were like, “That was the most disturbing film I’ve ever seen.”

Eli Roth Presents the Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen

Toby Dammit

Toby DammitThe best film that I saw which I’d never seen before is a Fellini short film called Toby Dammit. It was part of a European film called Spirits of the Dead that was made in 1968 that featured segments from Louis Malle, Roger Vadim and Fellini, each adapting an Edgar Allan Poe short story.

The Fellini one, Toby Dammit, has the single greatest performance by an actor I’ve ever seen; it’s Terence Stamp. It’s on the level of Malcolm McDowell in Clockwork Orange or Jack Nicholson in The Shining. He plays this drugged-out actor called Toby Dammit who’s flown to Rome to make a movie and it’s shot almost like a live-action, surreal drug trip.

He was going to have Peter O’Toole do it, but he backed out, so Fellini put out a casting call for the most decadent actors in London and he got Terrence Stamp.

I’ve shown this movie to so many people who said, from the first shot, that this is the coolest movie they’ve ever seen. People that were never into Fellini, or who found Fellini films boring or pretentious, were like, “I get it. This is unbelieveable.”

Terence Stamp is haunted by this little girl with a white ball that he thinks is the devil. You see where the bouncing ball in The Changeling came from, and creepy little kids that were in the likes of Ju-On. Fellini did it forty years ago in Toby Dammit.

But it’s so fucking out-there. There’s a scene where he’s completely fucked on drugs and gets taken to the Italian Oscars but it’s some crazy ceremony. They’re giving out the Golden She-Wolf Awards and there’s a fucked-up fashion parade. It’s Fellini’s imagination gone completely wild. And the ending is really fucking creepy. It’s got a very, very creepy haunting quality to it.

It’s a fucking masterpiece and no-one’s seen it!

And Finally – On His Upcoming Projects

I’m doing three different things at the same time and everything needs my full attention. It’s like I have this garden, and I’ve got to take care of this garden, that garden and another one. Cell is still happening but the script is still being written. The thing about Cell is I didn’t want to go back-to-back into another film after Hostel II, I wanted to switch it up creatively, so my Heroes episode will be scary but more Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents scary. I wanted do it psychological scary.

And then I’m going to do Trailer Trash, my movie of fake trailers like my Grindhouse trailer. It’ll be full-on Monty Python silliness.

I know the Thanksgiving trailer isn’t attached to either movie outside the US, but Grindhouse underperformed in the US and I think it’s one of the greatest cinema experiences of all time. So however those guys need to make their money back, they should. I think they spent seventy million making, basically, the ultimate geek film. So I think that it’s such a great film that people will deal with eventually seeing it on DVD but right now going to YouTube.

That said, the Thanksgiving trailer looks amazing on the big screen; I was so happy. It looks like a print that you found in the back of a pickup truck in the 1980s. Even the one on the internet is a little washed-out; when you see it for real it’s rich and black and it’s got all those great yellow scratches and dirt on it.

It’s a bit of a slow week for home video releases, led by Eli Roth’s torture-for-hire gore fest (Hostel II) and Disney’s latest kid pic (Meet the Robinsons). Thankfully, those wonderful folks at Criterion have another wave of beautifully restored classics for us (Breathless, Days of Heaven, and Under the Volcano), all chock full of extra features!



Hostel Part II


Tomatometer: 45%

Writer-director Eli Roth has earned a bad rap for his gore-filled flicks, but we love a filmmaker who employs subversive themes and sly cinematic references in his works. (What up, Ruggero Deodato!) In this sequel to the 2005 hit, a trio of young coeds find that their European spa getaway is really pricey. As in, it’ll cost them their lives. Gruesome torture ensues, of course, but you might also like the commentary with Roth, his producer brother Gabe Roth, and Quentin Tarantino, four featurettes, a “Blood and Guts” montage, deleted scenes, and more.

 


Meet the Robinsons


Tomatometer: 64%

A charming CG-animated pic about a boy inventor seeking his birth mother with the help of a futuristic friend, Disney’s Meet the Robinsons is this week’s best new family-friendly release. The frenetic tale boasts the vocal talents of Angela Bassett, Tom Selleck and Adam West, with a features menu that includes a director commentary, deleted scenes, music videos and a kid’s character matching game.

 


Fido


Tomatometer: 65%
Andrew Currie. When the Robinson family buys a new household pet — a domesticated zombie named Fido — both young Timmy (K’Sun Ray) and his mother (Carrie-Ann Moss) develop a bond with their undead help. The DVD includes deleted scenes, a blooper reel, and commentary track.

 



Into Great Silence


Tomatometer: 86%

Director Philip Groening lived with and filmed the monks of the Roman Catholic Grand Chartreuse monastery in the French Alps for four months shooting this meditative documentary about daily life in the slow-moving religious order, where members live with their vows of silence. Look for extras like a making-of feature, scenes showing the monastery’s famous Chartreuse liquor distillation, and a guide to the silent lives of the Carthusian monks.

 




The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, Volume One


Tomatometer: N/A

If you’re like us, you’ve been waiting over a decade for the George Lucas-produced Young Indiana Jones Chronicles to hit the home video circuit; if you’re really like us, the news of the series coming to DVD this week even brought a tear to your eye, out of sheer gratitude. Starring a dashing then-27-year-old Sean Patrick Flanery (playing a full decade-younger teen Indy), Chronicles showcased the early exploits of Indiana Jones as he traipsed the globe and encountered various historical figures in 44 hour-long episodes, written and directed by filmmakers like Lucas, Frank Darabont, Mike Newell, and Jonathan Hensleigh. In this first of three volumes, you’ll get 12 discs with episodes, historical documentaries, and a primer on being a real-life archaeologist.


Criterion Corner — Salivate, Cinephiles!

Breathless
Tomatometer: 96%

I know what you’re thinking: how have the folks at Criterion not yet released Breathless, Jean-Luc Godard‘s utterly groundbreaking noir homage about a wanted Parisian thug and his American girlfriend? Well, we say better late than never, because this two-disc release of the seminal French New Wave classic is predictably stuffed with all the Breathless goodies your heart could desire: archival interviews with Godard, his actors Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, and Godard mentor Jean-Pierre Melville (who appeared as a pompous author); a detailed roadmap explaining the pop culture references sprinkled throughout the film; and a 1959 short film by Godard, starring Breathless leading man Belmondo. Add to that a retrospective documentary about the making of Breathless, new crew interviews, the French theatrical trailer, an 80-page booklet, and more — not to mention a beautifully crisp new digital transfer — and this is a definite must-have for any cinephile.

Days of Heaven
Tomatometer: 91%

Thought by many to be one of the most beautiful films ever made, Terrence Malick‘s turn-of-the-century tragic tale has been newly restored under the supervision of the director himself. The 1978 film was only his second after making his debut with Badlands, and Malick took an infamous two decade break from filmmaking shortly thereafter, but his transcendental, poetic style affected here (and again in his later The New World) marked the hand of a visionary auteur. Pick up the Criterion edition for the new restoration print, a crew commentary track, and an interview featuring notoriously Oscar-snubbed cinematographer Haskell Wexler.




Under the Volcano

Tomatometer: 71%

John Huston‘s faithful adaptation of Malcolm Lowry’s 1947 novel covers a day in the life of Geoffrey Fermin (Albert Finney), a British ambassador in a small Mexican town who finds himself booze-soaked and self-destructing on the Day of the Dead. The film earned two Oscar nominations for Best Actor (Finney) and Original Score, and would be the great director’s antepenultimate film before his death three years later. Criterion’s gone and given the 1984 pic a new shine, and offer a 1984 audio interview with Huston, new interviews with star Jacqueline Bisset and screenwriter Guy Gallo, a 1984 on-set documentary, and more.

Knowing is Half the Battle




Mr. Brooks

Tomatometer: 55%

Kevin Costner stars in this split personality thriller about a family man and upstanding citizen who also happens to be a serial killer. While some critics thoroughly enjoyed Costner’s murderous star turn, others found the plot too full of twists. You be the judge!


Home of the Brave
Tomatometer: 24%

Four members of an army unit return from Iraq to deal with the repercussions of war in Irwin Winkler‘s film. While critics found its performances moving — including contributions from the likes of Samuel Jackson, Jessica Biel, and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson — overly hammy direction and an almost old-fashioned sensibility made this first mainstream film about the Iraq war an unfortunate misfire.


The Tripper
Tomatometer: 24%

From Hollywood’s wackiest real-life pairing — married couple David Arquette and Courteney Cox — comes this comic slasher flick about a bunch of hippies being stalked in the woods of Northern California by a staunchly anti-drug crusading Ronald Reagan-lookalike killer. Press notes call it the “perfect 4:20 AM cult horror-druggie-comedy film”; critics insisted otherwise.

Until next week, happy renting!

Competition, or a lack of it, will be the deciding factor at the North American box office this weekend for the half-dozen new releases that studios are packing into already overcrowded multiplexes. Leading the way is the horror film 30 Days of Night followed by the sports comedy The Comebacks which both will be targeting the teens and young adults that Hollywood has been ignoring in recent weeks. Mature adults who already have a wide selection of serious dramas to choose from will be served up three more – Reese Witherspoon‘s Rendition, Ben Affleck‘s Gone Baby Gone, and Halle Berry‘s Things We Lost in the Fire. With far too many films aiming for the same finite audience segment, some are sure to eat into the potential of others.

Sony will monopolize the horror crowd looking for a scare before Halloween with its gorefest 30 Days of Night which tells of vampires that attack a small town in northern Alaska during its annual sunless period. The R-rated film prominently informs moviegoers in its marketing that it is based on a graphic novel hoping to tap into a little bit of the excitement generated by 300 last spring. The first eight months of this year were brutal to R-rated horror films with none reaching number one and high-profile franchise flicks like Hostel II, 28 Weeks Later, and The Hills Have Eyes 2 all failing to reach $10M on opening weekend. But the Halloween remake over Labor Day weekend changed all that and was followed three weeks later by another top spot debut from horror-action hybrid Resident Evil: Extinction. But those have died out so 30 Days stands as the only creepfest at a time when scary movies are in demand. Attacking 2,700 theaters, 30 Days of Night should easily top the charts and could bite into around $19M over the weekend.


30 Days of Night

Fox spoofs the world of sports films with its new comedy The Comebacks which will target adolescents either too young for 30 Days or uninterested in scary movies. With so many mature stories hogging up screens, the market can certainly use a dose of immature humor right about now. The Comebacks is the first viable PG-13 comedy aimed at teens since fellow sports comedy Balls of Fury launched at the end of August. After a mid-week debut, that pic bowed to $11.4M over three days and Comebacks will play to many of the same folks. And with seventeen R-rated films opening wide over the last eight weeks, there has been little to celebrate for the under-17 crowd. Sure The Comebacks looks dumb, but dumb can sell. Add in a trim running time of under 90 minutes and commercial prospects are not bad. This is disposable entertainment for 14-year-olds. It will draw attention upfront, and be forgotten two weeks from now. Thanks to a lack of direct competition, The Comebacks could debut with about $11M from 2,800 sites.


The Comebacks

Leading the charge for the 30-plus crowd this weekend is Reese Witherspoon who headlines the political thriller Rendition from New Line. The R-rated drama finds the Oscar winner playing a woman whose Egyptian-born husband is captured by the CIA after being suspected of being a terrorist. Jake Gyllenhaal and Meryl Streep add to the cast. Rendition follows The Kingdom and In the Valley of Elah as military-themed films this fall with connections to the Middle East. Audiences will want only so much of this content. Witherspoon will have her starpower put to the test since she is the only major commercial star here and she is outside of her safety zone of romantic comedies. The film will play to mature adults and will have to compete not only with this weekend’s other new dramas, but also with an assortment of holdovers already playing to the same audience. Reviews have been mixed which will also make things difficult. Debuting in roughly 2,200 locations, Rendition may capture about $9M over the Friday-to-Sunday period.


Reese Witherspoon and Peter Sarsgaard in Rendition

Ben Affleck makes his directorial debut with the crime thriller Gone Baby Gone which stars his brother Casey in the lead role. The Miramax release also stars Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Michelle Monaghan and carries a R rating. Reviews have been good which will come as a shocker to those that look at this movie as nothing more than Daredevil getting to hop into the director’s chair. Reese, Joaquin, George, Cate, and Halle will all be cutting into the adult pie which can only expand by a certain amount. The marketing push has been highlighting the film as being from the author of Mystic River in hopes of finding those who loved that other Boston-set fall crime drama. An invite to the top five may not arrive for Ben. Opening in approximately 1,500 theaters, Gone Baby Gone could collect about $6M this weekend.


Freeman, Affleck and Monaghan in Gone Baby Gone
Yet another new option for adults looking for serious fare is the Halle BerryBenicio Del Toro starrer Things We Lost in the Fire. The Paramount release about a widow who seeks comfort from her dead husband’s drug-addicted friend will play to a mature audience and skew more female. The R-rated film has generated some good early reviews and both leads have Oscars on their shelves, but it will not be enough to compete with the other films targeting the same crowd. Berry showed in April that she can only open a picture so much when her thriller Perfect Stranger bowed to a $4,211 average even though A-lister Bruce Willis co-starred. With a not-so-wide release in about 1,000 theaters this weekend, Things We Lost in the Fire might debut with around $3M.


Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro in Things We Lost in the Fire

Freestyle Releasing has booked the few remaining empty screens out there for its teen thriller Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour. As one of the only PG-rated suspense pics ever made, the film will try to attract younger teenagers not interested in sports-themed comedies. With only 1,100 theaters, a quiet marketing campaign, no stars, and zero buzz, a weak debut of about $1M could result.


Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour

After a potent number one debut, Tyler Perry‘s hit comedy Why Did I Get Married? should suffer a big fall in its second weekend if history is any indicator. Sophomore drops for the filmmaker’s previous offerings include 50% for Diary of a Mad Black Woman, 58% for Madea’s Family Reunion, and 57% for Daddy’s Little Girls. Lionsgate should see a 50% fall to about $10M this weekend giving the ensemble relationship tale $37M in ten days.

Disney’s The Game Plan once again has no new competition for the kiddie audience. Why studios have programmed so many serious adult dramas into this month and no other good family films is anyone’s guess. A 35% dip would leave The Rock with $7M and an impressive cume of $68M after 24 days.

Both Sony’s We Own the Night and the Warner Bros. thriller Michael Clayton will have to fight extra hard in order to compete with the new releases gunning for their customers. Night looks to slide more and fall by 45% while the strongly reviewed Clayton could ease by 40% with both films grossing roughly $6M over the weekend. That would lead to ten-day totals of $20M and $21M, respectively.

LAST YEAR: Just two months after the release of the similarly-themed magician pic The Illusionist, Buena Vista still managed to score a number one bow for The Prestige which opened with $14.8M on its way to $53.1M. Martin Scorsese‘s The Departed enjoyed a strong hold and ranked second with $13.5M in its third frame. Debuting in third was Clint Eastwood‘s war saga Flags of Our Fathers with $10.2M leading to a disappointing $33.6M final for Paramount. Sony’s animated hit Open Season ranked fourth with $8.2M. Rounding out the top five was rival family film Flicka with $7.7M for Fox on its way to only $21M. Also premiering in the top ten was Sony’s Marie Antoinette with $5.4M which led to a final tally of just $16M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

You might think that with the recent demises of "Grindhouse" and "Hostel Part 2" that hardcore horror is on the way out. Not if Rob Zombie has anything to say about it…

According to Bloody-Disgusting.com, director Rob Zombie and much of his cast just spent a full week doing reshoots on his "Halloween" remake. Apparently they added about a half-dozen new death scenes AND a much nastier new ending … because we all know what makes a bad horror movie better, and that’s six new kills and a gorier finale, right?

Still scheduled for release on August 31st, the flick must have gone through some fairly unpleasant test screenings if a full week of reshoots were required. Then again, was anyone really expecting this experiment to be a success? Still skeptical … yet interested. That’s me.

Source: Bloody-Disgusting.com