It’s Tuesday, and you know what that means. New DVD releases! This week we have 2007’s Best Foreign Oscar winner The Lives of Others, a Serenity Collector’s Edition, and other good bets. Read on to see what’s hot (and what’s not) this week in stores.
The Lives of Others (Sony)
If you’re in the mood for a smart, tense drama, you could do much worse than 2007’s best Foreign Oscar winner, The Lives of Others. Yeah, it’s in German, but reading subtitles is a small price to pay for good entertainment these days. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck‘s tale of an East German surveillance operator and the playwright he’s charged to monitor earned an impressive 95 percent on the Tomatometer, making it this week’s best-reviewed new release.
Have you been anxiously awaiting the latest installment of R. Kelly‘s infamous hip-hopera as much as we have? Well, wait no longer — Chapters 13 to 22 of the genre-defying Trapped in the Closet serial are now yours for the taking. Kelly’s bizarre music video saga defies description, so suffice to say that Chapters 1 through 12 involved a host of interconnected characters (many of which are played by Kelly himself), lots of extramarital intrigue, guns, cherry pies, and a midget (“…midget…midget…”), all produced and co-directed by (guess who?) Kelly. Did I mention he was Grammy-nominated for the first five chapters? We can’t wait to see what melodramatic delights are in store for us next.
House of Games (Criterion)
Fans of writer David Mamet‘s critically-acclaimed directing debut, rejoice! House of Games is getting the Criterion treatment. The 1987 psychological thriller stars Lindsay Crouse as an ice-cold shrink and Joe Mantegna as a devious con man, between whom a dangerous cat-and-mouse game unfolds. The folks over at Criterion have a host of special features, including interviews with Crouse and Mantegna, audio commentary with Mamet and co-star (and card magician extraordinaire) Ricky Jay, and a behind the scenes doc filmed during the original production.
Add this one to the Must-Have list. This version of what’s arguably one of director Paul Verhoeven‘s best efforts boasts two discs full of extended cuts and special features, all in an impenetrable steel case. Well, maybe it’s not impenetrable, but it’ll look awesome on your DVD shelf! Bonus features include a commentary track by Verhoeven, writer Ed Neumeier and exec producer Jon Davison; four deleted scenes; cast, crew, behind-the-scenes, and design photo galleries; storyboard commentary by special effects whiz Phil Tippett; the extended widescreen cut of the film; and loads more featurettes. Grab this unrated collector’s edition and have yourself a RoboParty.
Serenity Collector’s Edition (Universal Studios)
Firefly fans waited with bated breath for the feature-length Serenity to come out in 2005, and bought the first DVD edition in droves. So why give this new Collector’s Edition a look, when many of the special features were available on the first? Two discs, new bonus features, and gorgeous layered packaging, that’s why! Hardcore browncoats and sci-fi fantasy enthusiasts should enjoy features like the “Take A Walk on Serenity” set tour, the “Sci-Fi Inside: Serenity” retrospective, and Joss Whedon‘s account of adapting Firefly from TV-to-film in “A Filmmaker’s Journey,” but they’ll really love the “Session 416” internet episodes and an all-new commentary track by Whedon, and his stars Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, and Ron Glass.
Other Safe Bets This Week
The foul-mouthed little boys of South Park invade home theaters with Season 10, taking cracks at the Nintendo Wii, World of Warcraft, and Family Guy.
ABC’s award-winning serio-comedy about the world’s mousiest personal assistant (America Ferrera) and the cutthroat “beautiful” people at the fashion magazine she works at is now out on DVD.
This collection gathers four films from the Austrian director’s career — The Seventh Continent, Benny’s Video, 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance, and Funny Games — for an alternative to the usual Hollywood offerings.
It’s a 1960s science fiction spectacular! Japan’s Toho Studios bring you not one, not two, but three creature features from the golden age of monster movies and the land of Godzilla: Varan the Unbelievable, The Mysterians, and Matango: The Curse of the Mushroom People!
Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You…
This independently financed actioner cost a reported $26 million to make, smashed countless priceless sports cars during production (including the Enzo Ferrari crashed by star Eddie Griffin during a promotional event) and bombed at the box office. Of the 23 critics who reviewed it, guess how many recommend Redline? That’s right. Zero.
Faring ever so slightly better than Redline, this Bruce Willis–Halle Berry stinker was too chock full of inane twists and turns for most critics. If the allure of watching the “Virtual Lives: The Making of Perfect Stranger” special feature appeals to you, then good; it’s pretty much the only bonus feature on the disc.
Separately, Zach Braff, Amanda Peet, and Jason Bateman are all arguably funny performers; thrown together in this third-wheel rom-com, critics found them not only unfunny but largely unlikeable. But hey, that’s why we have the term “wait until DVD.”
This most recent offering from Christian shingle Fox Faith follows a spoiled young man (Drew Fuller) who has to perform a series of spiritual character-building tests in order to receive his inheritance. Cute little pipsqueak Abigail Breslin co-stars. This might be a bit saccharine, but it’s family friendly.
Until next week, happy renting!
While sitting on a Comic Con panel, Frank Miller was asked about the hold-up on Sin City 2. (Numerous times, probably.) And it looks like the celebrated author / artist / filmmaker is laying the blame solely at the feet of the Weinstein brothers.
Could it be that Grindhouse threw a monkey wrench into future Weinstein production plans? Sheer speculation on my part, but I’d have thought a Sin City sequel would be a no-brainer by this point. Then again, both Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez are presently hard at work on other projects — to say nothing of the large number of busy actors who’d be needed. So there’s probably enough "blame" to go around, really.
According to Dark Horizons, Mr. Miller "confirmed that he and Robert Rodriguez have a script ready – an adaptation of A Dame to Kill and some of the book’s other short stories — but left the cryptic hint that the Weinstein’s themselves are part of the hold up — likely tying into the fledgling distributor’s lack of success so far at the box-office."
OK, so the Weinsteins didn’t exactly set the world on fire with Grindhouse, Miss Potter, Bobby, The Matador, Derailed, Pulse, Breaking and Entering, Harsh Times, DOA: Dead or Alive, The Gathering, Unknown, The Ex, Nomad, School for Scoundrels, Black Christmas, Arthur and the Invisibles, or Factory Girl — but they’re doing OK with 1408 and Sicko. Plus they’ve got some treats in store (Grace Is Gone is excellent, The Mist sounds great so far) for later this year. And maybe someday they’ll actually release Killshot, Teeth and Rogue and make a few dollars off of ’em. Still it’s tough to feel bad for the guys who put money behind Who’s Your Caddy? and Hannibal Rising. Then again, Clerks 2 was pretty darn funny.
Anyway, yeah: Sin City 2. As the highway signs sometimes say: Expect delays.
Source: Dark Horizons
Peter Parker suffered a massive sophomore slide, but "Spider-Man 3" still dominated the box office around the globe spending a second weekend at number one with no other film coming anywhere near its stellar numbers.
Among the frame’s four new releases, the zombie thriller "28 Weeks Later" fared best with a decent bow in the runnerup spot while the Jane Fonda–Lindsay Lohan pic "Georgia Rule" was mostly ignored and opened with disastrous results. Two other new comedies "Delta Farce" and "The Ex" barely registered a blip on the radar.
Sony was still crushing its competitors this weekend with "Spider-Man 3" which tumbled 60% to an estimated $60M in its second try in theaters. After ten days, the PG-13 hit has amassed a stunning $242.1M from North America and is still running ahead of its two predecessors. Ten-day cumes for 2002’s "Spider-Man" and 2004’s "Spider-Man 2" were $223M and $225M, respectively. However the new Venom installment is eroding faster as is often the case with the third part of a franchise. After the first three days, "Spider-Man 3" was an impressive 32% ahead of the first webslinger pic which opened on the exact same weekend in 2002. After seven days the lead was cut to 20% and now after ten days the gap has been reduced to 9%.
For the weekend, "Spider-Man 3" accounted for a stellar 64% of the box office for the top ten and grossed $17.1M on Friday (down 72% from its record-shattering opening day last week), $25M on Saturday (down 51% from last Saturday), and is projected to gross $18M on Sunday (down 55% from a week ago). The 60% second weekend drop is not uncommon for high-profile tentpole sequels with mammoth debuts. Some other sophomore drops include 53% for "X2: X-Men United," 54% for "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest," 63% for "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," and 67% for "X-Men: The Last Stand."
Where is part 3 headed in the long run? It would make sense to look at other action films that kicked off the summer movie season on the first weekend of May. The shares of the total cume collected in the first ten days were 64% for last year’s "Mission: Impossible III," 69% for 2003’s "X2," and 71% for 2004’s "Van Helsing." Based on its trajectory and the competitive road ahead, "Spider-Man 3" could be headed for a finish of about $340-360M domestically. That would make it the lowest-grossing Spidey film in North America, however the overseas markets are a different story.
"Spider-Man 3" grossed an estimated $85.4M internationally this weekend to boost its overseas haul up to a mammoth $379.6M for a colossal global gross of $622M. Next weekend, the Sandman entry will surpass the international takes of $418M and $410M for the first two Spider-Man flicks to become the top performer of the franchise outside of North America. With the "Spider-Man" fan base already maxed out domestically, Sony made a strategic move to grow the brand around the world by hosting several star-studded international red carpet premieres and opening the film in most countries days ahead of the United States leading to a substantial increase in moviegoer excitement in all markets. "Spider-Man 3" still stands a very good chance of becoming the biggest grossing film of the trilogy on a global scale with the North American shortfall being overshadowed by gains overseas. With a reported production budget of $258M, the super hero film should surpass the $900M mark worldwide this summer.
Flesh-eating zombies took control of second place this weekend as the horror sequel "28 Weeks Later" opened with an estimated $10M representing a solid, but somewhat weaker-than-expected debut. The R-rated gorefest averaged a decent $4,342 from 2,303 playdates and delivered a gross almost equal to the $10.1M that "28 Days Later" achieved in its opening frame in June 2003. That sleeper hit bowed in a thousand fewer locations with 1,260 theaters and scored a more potent $7,986 average. Adjust for four years of ticket price increases and "Weeks" generated an opening weekend average half that of "Days." The new chapter earned very high praise from most critics, but being the fourteenth horror film of 2007 probably hurt its cause as many genre fans have overdosed on frightfests. If the estimate holds (Fox estimated a rather slim 26% Saturday-to-Sunday drop), "Weeks" will become the first non-Spidey film to reach double digits on opening weekend since "Fracture" from mid-April.
The star-driven chick flick "Georgia Rule" was dead on arrival at the box office debuting to an estimated $5.9M from 2,523 theaters for a flimsy $2,330 average. The R-rated film stars Lindsay Lohan as a rebellious teen left with her no-nonsense grandmother (Jane Fonda) for the summer. Felicity Huffman plays the alcoholic middle mom in the family. "Georgia" played more to the Fonda crowd than to the Lohan audience. Studio research from Universal showed that a whopping 81% of the turnout was female, 79% was white, and 70% was over the age of 30.
"Georgia Rule" imploded at the box office since it repelled its two main consumer groups. Older women pay attention to reviews and critics were brutal in reviewing the dramedy. And younger teen girls who track Lohan obsessively couldn’t get in thanks to the harsh R rating. The opening was less than half the amount that the studio saw earlier this year when it targeted the same audience with the same number of theaters with the Diane Keaton–Mandy Moore pic "Becasue I Said So" which bowed to $13.1M over Super Bowl weekend. The Fonda flick was released over the Mother’s Day frame, but most daughters chose to give their moms the gift of not seeing "Georgia Rule."
Paramount’s hit teen thriller "Disturbia" enjoyed the best legs in the top ten dipping only 18% to an estimated $4.8M. Although in its fifth weekend, the Shia LaBeouf hit has the second largest theater count of any film and is playing in 3,106 locations that are still holding onto the durable thriller. Cume to date is $66.3M.
The military comedy "Delta Farce" bombed in its opening weekend grossing only $3.5M, according to estimates, landing in fifth place. The PG-13 pic averaged a dismal $1,813 from 1,931 locations for Lionsgate. Reviews were understandably pitiful.
New Line’s Anthony Hopkins–Ryan Gosling drama "Fracture" dipped only 22% to an estimated $2.9M in its fourth frame and upped its cume to $31M. The horror flick "The Invisible" dropped to seventh with an estimated $2.2M, down 33%, for a $15.5M total.
Sliding only 25% in its third round was the action-comedy "Hot Fuzz" with an estimated $1.7M for Focus putting the sum at $18.9M. Nicolas Cage followed with his sci-fi flop "Next" which took in an estimated $1.6M, down 45%, for a total of $14.6M. Rounding out the top ten with an estimated $1.6M as well was the Disney animated hit "Meet the Robinsons" which fell 39% for a sturdy $94.1M cume. The 3D comedy will enjoy its status as the year’s top-grossing toon for just one more week since "Shrek the Third," which opens on Friday, could march past it after only one weekend in theaters.
Debuting with miserable results outside of the top ten was the Zach Braff–Amanda Peet comedy "The Ex" which opened to an estimated $1.3M from 1,009 locations for a pathetic $1,288 average. The PG-13 date flick was released by MGM and earned poor reviews. With "The Ex," Hollywood has now seen a disturbing twelve wide releases over the last eight weeks fail to open to at least $5M. Numerous movies with little to offer paying moviegoers are being slaughtered in an overcrowded marketplace.
Three star-driven vehicles dropped out of the top ten this weekend. Will Ferrell’s blockbuster comedy "Blades of Glory" grossed an estimated $1.4M in its seventh lap and boosted its cume to $113.8M. Off 41%, the $60M-plus DreamWorks/Paramount pic looks to skate to a $116-118M finish. Ice Cube’s comedy sequel "Are We Done Yet?" fell 46% to an estimated $950,000 giving Sony $47.4M to date. The family film looks to end with just under $50M putting it 40% behind its predecessor "Are We There Yet?" which pulled in $82.3M two years ago. Warner Bros. has collected a measly $5M in ten days for its Eric Bana–Drew Barrymore poker pic "Lucky You" and will probably fold with an embarrassing $7M.
Arthouse darling "Waitress" starring Keri Russell expanded successfully in its second weekend serving up an estimated $636,000 from 65 sites for a solid $9,788 average. Fox Searchlight widened the acclaimed film from just four locations last weekend and pushed its cume to $788,000. A special Mother’s Day gift bag promotion across the country is expected to strengthen Sunday sales. This Friday, the comedy expands in its existing markets adding 57 theaters and on May 25 it will widen to 400-500 total theaters nationwide for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $94.1M which was up 16% from last year when "Mission: Impossible III" stayed at number one with $25M; and up a scant 3% from 2005 when "Monster-in-Law" debuted on top with just $23.1M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
In what must be a first at the box office, an aerobics queen takes on killer zombies in a vicious battle for the silver medal during what no doubt will be another mammoth weekend for "Spider-Man 3."
Fox unleashes its horror sequel "28 Weeks Later," Universal counters with its femme-driven star vehicle "Georgia Rule," Lionsgate tosses in the comedy "Delta Farce," and MGM releases yet another laugher with "The Ex." Meanwhile, back in New York City, the webslinger will attempt to swing to a massive quarter-billion-dollar cume by the end of its second weekend.
As the second of ten sequels hitting theaters over the May-June corridor, "28 Weeks Later" is the follow-up to the cult hit zombie chiller "28 Days Later" which lit up theaters four years ago. Danny Boyle shifts from the director’s chair to the executive producer’s office as Juan Carlos Fresnadillo takes the helm. "Days" was very well-received which explains why a sequel was greenlit. In the new installment, the killer virus infects people once again as London tries to repopulate and madness ensues. The built-in audience will help the R-rated "Weeks" right out of the gate.
Its predecessor bowed to $10.1M from only 1,260 theaters for a potent $7,986 average on its way to a solid $45.1M final. Through video and cable, it found an even larger fan base and many will give "Weeks" a try. However working against it is of course competition from "Spider-Man 3" which has a hold on fans of comics and sci-fi. Plus 2007 has seen 1,001 horror films flood theaters causing recent fright fatigue. Casual fans of scary movies may pass on "Weeks" if they’re trying to stay away from blood and gore. Fox’s marketing has been clever and effective and the target audience is excited. Plus reviews have been very positive which will help a bit too since most horror films nowadays are either not screened for critics in advance or earn poor marks. Attacking over 2,000 theaters, "28 Weeks Later" might scare up around $13M this weekend.
"28 Weeks Later"
For those looking to avoid zombies and super heroes in their weekend entertainment, Universal offers the dramedy "Georgia Rule" starring Jane Fonda, Lindsay Lohan, and Felicity Huffman. The R-rated story tells of a teenage girl dumped at her grandmother’s house for the summer by her alcoholic mother which leads to the uncovering of family secrets. Just in time for Mother’s Day weekend, "Georgia" will play almost exclusively to women as men will have to be dragged against their will. However, moviegoers from a broad age group should turn out since the cast boasts stars of different generations. The one troublespot could be the rating though. Lohan arguably still has pull with teenage girls who may be left out because of the MPAA’s tag. But the film’s two uses of the F word are essential to the story as are the adult themes so the R was unavoidable.
"Georgia Rule" should play to the same audience that the studio saw for previous chick flicks like Diane Keaton‘s "Because I Said So" ($13.1M opening, $5,195 average), Meryl Streep‘s "Prime" ($6.2M, $3,405), and Debra Messing‘s "The Wedding Date" ($11.1M, $6,566). Reaching the $23.1M debut of Fonda’s last film "Monster-in-Law" is not likely however since it won’t crossover into other demographic groups like the J. Lo pic did. The weekend’s new releases will not provide too much competition which means that the universal appeal of the webslinger sequel will be the main enemy. Bad reviews will eat into sales from mature adults, but many from the "Desperate Housewives" crowd will still make a trip out to this chick flick. "Georgia Rule" enters 2,523 theaters on Friday and could walk away with about $13M.
Larry the Cable Guy stars in the new military comedy "Delta Farce" which also hits theaters on Friday. The PG-13 film from Lionsgate finds three hapless men being mistaken for Army recruits who are sent to Iraq but mistakenly dropped in Mexico. Not since "Best Defense" has a film of this type been such an unwelcome entry in the marketplace. Young males are the only group likely to show interest and with Spidey in only his second swing, few will find this new comedy worth paying top dollar for. Plus starpower is lacking and none of the cast members are known for anchoring box office hits. Larry’s self-titled film last spring bowed to just $6.9M and this one will probably slump even lower. Opening in about 1,800 locations, "Delta Farce" will probably shoot up around $4M.
Zach Braff and Amanda Peet play a thirtysomething New York couple with a new baby in the new romantic comedy "The Ex" marketed by The Weinstein Company and distributed by MGM. In the PG-13 pic, the likable duo moves to Ohio where Braff’s character gets a job at her father’s ad agency where he butts heads with his wife’s former fling from high school. Jason Bateman, Charles Grodin, and Donal Logue co-star. "The Ex" will be targeting the date crowd and young women, but will have rough sailing. "Georgia Rule" will already be tapping into the female moviegoing base and Spidey is attracting his share of women and young adults too. The promotional push has not been too forceful either so the film may end up with just the die-hard "Scrubs" fans. Mixed reviews won’t help either. Also, Braff and Peet are not box office anchors who sell lots of tickets. Sure "Garden State" was an indie hit with $26.8M in 2004, but that was a word-of-mouth platform release that made its money over time and not a commercial Hollywood comedy. Debuting in 1,009 theaters, "The Ex" might gross roughly $3M this weekend.
None of these new films will come close to defeating the mighty "Spider-Man 3" which will enjoy its second comfortable box office win in a row. But a steep fall is likely. The first webslinger flick opened at the beginning of May five years ago and dropped by only 38% on the second weekend which was phenomenal. But like most sequels, especialy third-parters, "Spider-Man 3" attracted so much of its total audience upfront that rapid erosion is assured. The previous record-holder for the biggest opening weekend, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest," fell by 54% in its second adventure last July while its summer counterpart "X-Men: The Last Stand" tumbled by a troubling 67% in its sophomore frame. Of course that was coming off of a Memorial Day holiday opening so the decline was larger than normal.
"Spider-Man 3" has already been taking a hit during the week dropping to $10.3M on Monday and $8M on Tuesday. Those numbers come close to what "The Matrix Reloaded" took in on the same days after its colossal opening weekend in mid-May 2003. That sci-fi pic crashed 60% in its second weekend despite its sophomore frame being helped by a holiday. Luckily for the Sandman flick the competition this weekend will not be too menacing. "Spider-Man 3" could still fall by more than 55% to about $65M this weekend which would boost the domestic haul to a mammoth $247M in only ten days.
LAST YEAR: Tom Cruise topped the charts with "Mission Impossible: III" which dropped 48% in its second weekend to $25M. Opening in second place was the pricey disaster film "Poseidon" which debuted to $22.2M for Warner Bros. on its way to a disappointing $60.7M domestically. Worldwide, the Kurt Russell starrer grossed $182M. Robin Williams placed third with "RV" which eased by less than 10% to $10M in its third weekend. Lindsay Lohan stumbled into fourth with her new comedy "Just My Luck" which opened to a weak $5.7M on its way to $17.3M for Fox. Rounding out the top five was the horror flick "An American Haunting" with $3.6M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
This week at the movies we have zombies ("28 Weeks Later," starring Robert Carlyle), family conflict ("Georgia Rule," with Lindsay Lohan and Jane Fonda), office hijinks ("The Ex," starring Zach Braff and Amanda Peet), and military mishaps ("Delta Farce," starring Larry the Cable Guy). What do the critics have to say?
Taking place six months after the original, "28 Weeks Later" opens with American troops cleaning up England, positive all the zombies are dead and the rage virus is no more. Or is it…?! Though it lacks the humanism that made "28 Days Later" a classic, the scribes are giving high marks for "28 Weeks"’ fantastic atmosphere and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s punchy direction. At 69 percent Tomatometer (and a surprising 83 percent from the Cream of the Crop), horror buffs may want to make "Weeks" their weekend destination.
Art imitates life once again: Lindsay Lohan stars in "Georgia Rule" as a rebellious teen heading towards trouble. But rehab and paparazzi are replaced with bucolic farmlands and Jane Fonda, who plays the tough grandmother who takes Lohan under her wing for some attitude readjustment. Critics concede Lohan does a fine job, but none of the characters emerge beyond stereotypes and the direction is pedestrian. With its uninviting 20 percent Tomatometer, stay out of "Georgia."
Zach Braff stars in "The Ex" as a slacker relocating from New York to Ohio for a new job who’s then at the mercy of a sadistic boss (Jason Bateman) — who happens to be one of his wife’s old flames (Amanda Peet). The critics argue that the film is unbalanced, with not enough laughs to compensate for the dark elements. And Braff and his co-stars come off as either unsympathetic or plain unpleasant. At 24 percent Tomatometer, "Ex" does not mark the spot.
With no press screenings, critics were denied the graceful presence of Larry the Cable Guy and his new film, "Delta Farce." Mr. Cable Guy plays a military recruit who, with two other bumbling soldiers, is mistakenly cast off in Mexico en route to Fallujah, Iraq. Git-r-done and guess That Tomatometer.
Larry the Cable Guy, with hat on fire.
Also opening in limited release: "Brand Upon the Brain!," a bizarre autobiographical horror movie from Guy Maddin, is at 92 percent; "I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone," a neorealistic drama from Malaysia, is at 91 percent; "Day Night Day Night," "ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway," a chronicle of the 2003-2004 Broadway season, is at 86 percent; a minimalist film about suicide bombers, is at 71 percent; "The Hip Hop Project," a documentary about a teens using hip-hop for social progress, is at 64 percent; "Allegro," an ambitious Danish sci-fi flick, is at 62 percent; "Provoked," the recent true story of a woman’s fight for civil rights, is at 50 percent, "The Salon," the oft-delayed comedy from "Barbershop" creator Mark Brown, is at 20 percent.