Remember when we told you that some folks were turning the "Terminator" series into a weekly TV show? Well, they still are — and they hired a really attractive actress to play Sarah Connor.

From Variety: "Lena Headey has landed the plum leading role in the Fox pilot "The Sarah Connor Chronicles." Project, from Warner Bros. TV, continues the "Terminator" movie franchise storyline by focusing on Sarah and her son John, as they fight attackers from the future in present-day Los Angeles. Headey takes over the role made famous by Linda Hamilton in the first two "Terminator" films."

You’d probably recognize Ms. Headey from her roles in "Imagine Me & You," "The Cave," "The Brothers Grimm," "Ripley’s Game," and next year’s "300."

The initial "Chronicles" will come from director David Nutter and screenwriter Josh Friedman.

Another wave of new releases hits the multiplexes across North America this weekend in hopes of capturing the final dollars of the summer movie season.

Leading the charge are Disney’s football tale "Invincible" for all audiences and the raunchy Warner Bros. comedy "Beerfest" aimed at young men. Music fans will get Universal’s "Idlewild" starring the OutKast duo while the New Line comedy "How to Eat Fried Worms" will play to school kids. Indie hit "Little Miss Sunshine" advances to another round in the box office pageant doubling its theatrical run in hopes of winning over new fans in all parts of the country. Overall, the marketplace looks to remain sluggish with moviegoers not being too impressed with Hollywood’s late-summer menu.

Mark Wahlberg hopes to score a box office touchdown this weekend with the football drama "Invincible" from Disney. The Good Vibrations rapper-turned-actor plays Vince Papale, a 30-year-old bartender who earns a spot on the starting lineup of the 1976 Philadelphia Eagles. With a PG rating and the studio’s brand name behind it, "Invincible" should play to a broad audience with men connecting to the sports angle, women responding to the emotional true story, and kids coming in for the inspirational underdog tale. The studio has devised a strong marketing promotion with the NFL which has been pushing the film to football fans during the pre-season.


Greg Kinnear and Mark Wahlberg in "Invincible"

Excitement does not match what the studio saw with "Remember the Titans" or what Universal had with "Friday Night Lights." Those fall football films opened with just over $20M a piece. But, "Invincible" does offer a feel-good story that could work for the moment. And Disney can crank out these uplifting sports dramas with its eyes closed. Wahlberg is hit or miss at the box office, but here he should add some decent starpower to the picture. And Greg Kinnear, who plays Coach Dick Vermeil here and also stars in "Little Miss Sunshine," will have a great weekend at the turnstiles allowing his agents to start asking for more bucks for future projects. Charging into more than 2,400 theaters, "Invincible" could live up to its name and score a top spot debut with around $14M.

The Broken Lizard group returns in "Beerfest," a new comedy about a group of American dudes who train to take on the Germans in a secret beer drinking competition in Munich. Warner Bros. is looking to target the frat boy crowd with this R-rated gross-out comedy. With lots of belching and the most shots of bare breasts of any movie released in theaters this year, the studio should hit its mark with older teens and twentysomethings. "Wedding Crashers" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" may have been doing brisk business at this time last year, but R-rated sex comedies with no stars often end up struggling at the box office before finding gold on DVD. Films like "The Girl Next Door," "Eurotrip," "Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle," and even Broken Lizard’s "Super Troopers" all opened in the $5-7M range. The troupe’s fan base has grown thanks to cable and video so "Beerfest" should benefit. Plus the studio is giving it a relatively strong push for an end-of-August flick. But it has also been a tough year for R flicks and there is plenty of competition for young males right now. Chugging down brews in over 2,800 theaters, "Beerfest" might drink down about $11M this weekend.


The Broken Lizard troupe is back in "Beerfest"

Andre Benjamin and Antwan A. Patton of the Grammy-winning hip hop act OutKast reunite for the new music-driven film "Idlewild" which also stars Terrence Howard, Cicely Tyson, Patti Labelle, and Ving Rhames. The R-rated drama about the goings-on at a Prohibition-era nightclub will have significant appeal to hardcore fans of the popular musical act and should see much of its business come from African American adult audiences. Casual fans who only know them as the "Hey Ya" guys are not likely to spend money on tickets. Last summer, "Hustle & Flow" played to a similar audience and bowed to $8M from 1,013 theaters for a solid $7,915 average. "Idlewild" is going out in about the same number of playdates and could end up in the same neighborhood. Debuting in 973 theaters, the Universal release could capture about $7M over the frame.


Outkast’s Big Boi in "Idlewild"

New Line offers up "How to Eat Fried Worms," the big-screen adaptation of the best-selling kids book.The PG-rated film is aimed at school children and the tween set with a pic filled with immature boy pranks. Last weekend’s top five lacked any movies for kids so "Worms" should not face too much direct competition. However, excitement might not be high enough to generate a large opening. Parents and children familiar with the book might take a trip to the local cinema for this one. But the real cash will be made on DVD. Opening in about 1,800 theaters, "How to Eat Fried Worms" could bow to around $6M this weekend.


New Line Cinema’s "How To Eat Fried Worms"

In limited release, Sony Classics opens its dramatic thriller "The Quiet" which stars Elisha Cuthbert as a popular cheerleader whose life changes when her parents adopt an orphaned deaf girl into the family. Edie Falco co-stars in the R-rated film which opens in six sites in New York and Los Angeles on Friday. Reviews have been mixed.

Last weekend, "Snakes on a Plane" eked out a victory atop the box office charts with a less-than-expected $15.2M bow. About half of that business was generated on Thursday night and Friday leaving little audience left for the days and weeks ahead. A steep drop is sure to occur this weekend now that the hype is all gone. Most people interested in "Snakes" in the first place have already gone and seen it. A 60% fall would leave New Line with a $6M weekend and a ten-day tally of $26M.

Will Ferrell has been satisfying audiences with "Talladega Nights" all month long. A 35% drop could result giving the Sony hit about $9M for the frame which would push the cume to $128M. A similar decline could be in the works for Paramount’s "World Trade Center" which may grab around $7M this weekend boosting its total to $56M.

The comedy sensation "Little Miss Sunshine" will more than double its run this weekend and further infiltrate theaters across the country. Fox Searchlight’s unstoppable hit will expand from 691 to over 1,400 locations on Friday and could collect about $7M in its fifth frame. That would put "Sunshine’s" cume at $22M putting it on course to become a bigger hit than "Snakes on a Plane" will be.

LAST YEAR: The Steve Carell surprise hit "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" enjoyed a small decline and held onto the top spot with $16.3M dropping only 24% in its second frame. Miramax opened its Matt Damon adventure "The Brothers Grimm" in second with $15.1M on its way to $37.9M. The airline thriller "Red Eye" followed with $10.3M with the revenge actioner "Four Brothers" in fourth place with $7.9M. Opening poorly in fifth was "The Cave" with $6.1M leading to a disappointing $14.9M finish. The teen flop "Undiscovered" opened to an embarrassing $676,000 from 1,304 theaters for a pathetic $518 average landing in the number 20 spot. The Lions Gate release ended up with a miserable $1.1M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

One of the best horror movies I’ve seen in ten years is finally nearing its U.S. release date — and here’s the trailer to prove it. Neil Marshall‘s "The Descent" has been wowing ’em in the UK and at film festivals across the globe, and now comes the very first trailer for the U.S. release.

The story of six women who go spelunking, only to discover a horrifically unfriendly life-form, "The Descent" is the second film from "Dog Soldiers" director Neil Marshall — and it’s become a horror fan fave in record time. Suffice to say it’s not intended for the young, the squeamish, or (especially) the claustrophobic.

Lionsgate has been holding on to the flick for quite some time, initially (I believe) to avoid comparison and competition with Sony’s "The Cave" — but c’mon Gate-keepers: The stateside horror freaks have been more than patient! The studio presently has an "August" release date penciled in for "The Descent," but they haven’t chosen a specific Friday as of yet. (Might I suggest August 4th? It’ll keep the flick from competing against any specific genre titles, although Will Ferrell in a race car would be tough competition for any new release.)

A recent press release from the WWE, announcing that they’re about to begin production on their third film, doesn’t seem all that strange on the surface — unless you realize that "WWE" stands for World Wrestling Entertainment. (Yep, they make their own movies now.)

WWE press release: "World Wrestling Entertainment® (WWE) has begun pre-production on its third film, ‘The Condemned,’ which will be distributed theatrically by Lionsgate, it was announced today by Joel Simon, President, WWE Films, and Peter Block, Lionsgate’s President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions.

The film will star WWE’s Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vinnie Jones (‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,’ ‘X-Men: The Last Stand‘) and will be directed by Scott Wiper, who also wrote the screenplay from an original script by Rob and Andrew Hedden. ‘The Condemned‘ will commence principal photography on May 15, 2006, on location on the Gold Coast, Australia and at the Warner Roadshow Studios in Australia. Block will oversee the production for Lionsgate, along with Jason Constantine, Vice President, Acquisitions and John Sacchi, Vice President, Production.

The production follows WWE’s two previous feature productions, ‘See No Evil,’ the horror thriller starring WWE Superstar Kane, which will be released by Lionsgate nationwide on May 19; and ‘The Marine,’ which will be released by 20th Century Fox on September 8. ‘The Condemned‘ is produced by Simon and executive produced by Vince McMahon, Chairman, World Wrestling Entertainment and Michael Lake. Jed Blaugrund is co-executive producer and Ross Emery (‘The Cave‘) will serve as the director of photography.

"I am passionate about our WWE Films division and am thrilled to announce ‘The Condemned‘ as the third feature film on our slate," said McMahon. "Joel and his team are going into production on an action-packed, adrenaline pumping, psychological thrill ride."

"We’re delighted be filming in Australia once again," said Simon. "We always find a wealth of very talented people over there, as well as some extraordinary locations. The settings will add to the look and feel of this high-octane action thriller."

Block added, "Stone Cold Steve Austin, Vinnie Jones and the rest of the cast will blow audiences away. This film has a great story, extreme action and hard core heart. We very much look forward to working with the WWE for the second time to bring the film to moviegoers."

An adrenalin-charged action thriller, ‘The Condemned’ tells the story of Joe Conrad (Stone Cold Steve Austin), who is awaiting the death penalty in a corrupt Central American prison. He is "purchased" by a wealthy television producer and taken to a desolate island where he must fight to the death against nine other condemned killers from all corners of the world, with freedom going to the sole survivor."

Over the past few days, we’ve tried to counter the common misconception that this summer’s cinematic fare was bereft of quality. However, that doesn’t mean the season was without some stinkers, at least critically speaking.

The most rotten movie of the summer was "Supercross: The Movie," which won praise from two percent of the critics. "Undiscovered," the title of which was often used derisively in reviews, stood at four percent. Rounding out the top five were "The Perfect Man" (six percent) "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo" (10 percent), and "Honeymooners" (12 percent). The most rotten limited release of the summer was the Aussie slasher flick "Undead."

Here’s the 20 most rotten films of the summer, in ascending order:

2% — Supercross: The Movie
4% — Undiscovered
6% — The Perfect Man
10% — Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
12% — Honeymooners
13% — Stealth
14% — Rebound
14% — The Cave
17% — Monster-In-Law
17% — The Dukes of Hazzard
20% — The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D
23% — House of Wax
23% — Valiant
23% — Undead
25% — Bewitched
25% — Fantastic Four
27% — 9 Songs
28% — Mindhunters
28% — Pretty Persuasion
28% — The Baxter

Check out the rest of our coverage:
Summer Tomatometer Wrap-up: Box Office Down, Tomatometer Up
Summer Tomatometer Wrap-up #2: The Best of the Wide Releases
Summer Tomatometer Wrap-up #3: The Best of the Limited Releases

From the director of "Dog Soldiers" comes "The Descent," which has earned solid reviews and enthusiastic moviegoer feedback over in England. The subterranean chiller won the top prize at Sweden’s Fantastic Film Festival over the weekend, which makes us greedy Americans wonder when Lions Gate will finally release the flick stateside.

"The Descent," which focuses on an all-female group of cave explorers who discover something … unpleasant, opened in the UK on July 2nd, pulled in a pretty respectable $4.8 million, and earned praise from Variety, The Guardian, Empire, and just about every online horror geek with a keyboard. (The Tomatometer presently reads 100% for "The Descent" so far; only 10 reviews, but they’re all rather positive.)

Not surprisingly, the horror-friendly folks at Lions Gate snatched the flick up for North American distribution … but (probably because of a goofy little turkey called "The Cave," they haven’t graced us with a release date just yet.

Rave reviews, solid box office, and a few festival awards? Not too shabby! Let’s hope LG goes for an actual theatrical release instead of that silly little direct-to-video approach.

The official website for "The Descent" can be spelunked right here, but be sure to dim those lights before watching the trailer!

Universal’s "The 40 Year-Old Virgin" maintained its grasp on first place at the box office for a second consecutive weekend, beating out a trio of newcomers without exerting too much effort. "Virgin" pulled in $16.4 million in its second frame, which is a rather impressive 23% decline from its opening weekend. So far the 40-year-old has sold nearly $49 million worth of tickets.

Debuting in second place was Terry Gilliam‘s "The Brothers Grimm," which tallied just over $15 million from just under 3,100 theaters. Also holding over fairly well from last weekend was Wes Craven‘s "Red Eye," which added just over $10 million to its $32.6 million total.

The top five was rounded out by Paramount’s "Four Brothers" ($7.8m weekend; $55.3m total) and "Wedding Crashers," which tossed an extra $6.2 million on to its $187.7 million money-pile.

This past Friday also saw the rather inauspicious release of the subterranean chiller "The Cave," which made about $6.2 million from 2,200 theaters, and the ensemble rom-com "Undiscovered," which brought in under $700,000 from 1,300 theaters.

Next week sees four new wide (or semi-wide) releases, including Fernando Meirelles‘ "The Constant Gardener," WB’s oft-delayed "A Sound of Thunder," Fox’s genre sequel "Transporter 2," and the Miramax high-school comedy "Underclassman."

As always, you should feel free to stop by the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office page for a closer look at the cineplex moneymakers.

At the movies this week, there’s an undercurrent of collectivism in the face of adversity. “The Brothers Grimm” features two con men in the 1700s who get in over their heads. In “The Cave,” a group of attractive spelunkers find some pretty scary stuff. And in “Undiscovered,” a bunch of aspiring artists deal with the pratfalls of climbing the celebrity ladder. What will the chorus of critics have to say?

In an age where remakes and rehashes reign supreme, it’s nice that Terry Gilliam remains as wildly imaginative as ever. But there’s a distinction between imagination and discipline; while Gilliam’s best work has tiptoed the line between the two, critics say his latest, “The Brothers Grimm,” is a muddle. The film stars Matt Damon and Heath Ledger as brothers and con men who spin tall tales for fun and profit. The scribes say that Gilliam needs to contain his wild flights of fancy, as there are many great ideas but nothing to unify them. At 37 percent on the Tomatometer, this is Gilliam’s worst reviewed film yet. But it’s not wrecking his Tomatometer average, which is solidly fresh at 80 percent. It’s also Matt Damon’s worst reviewd film since 2000’s “All the Pretty Horses,” which was sent to the glue factory with a 32 percent.

“The Cave” features a group of attractive spelunkers, an unknown species of monster, lots of rock climbing, and, naturally, the portal to Hell. Believe it or not, critics say the movie, starring Cole Hauser and Morris Chestnut, is a tad on the silly side. At 36 percent on the Tomatometer, things are looking dark for this “Cave.”

“Undiscovered” tells the story of some aspiring musicians and actresses hoping to make it. It’s such a completely original, daring idea that it’s surprising that Terry Gilliam didn’t write the screenplay. Critics are saying to leave this film, starring Kip Pardue, Pell James, and Ashlee Simpson, ahem, undiscovered. So far, it’s notching a big zero on the Tomatometer.

Most Recent Terry Gilliam Movies:
——————————————-
39% — Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
87% — 12 Monkeys (1995)
86% — The Fisher King (1991)
87% — The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)
93% — Brazil (1985)

Steve Carell‘s "The 40 Year-Old Virgin" unzipped approximately $20.6 million from over 2,800 theaters during its debut weekend, making it the second R-rated comedy (after "Wedding Crashers") to make a big splash this summer.

Debuting in second place was the airborne thriller "Red Eye," which snagged $16.5 million from nearly 3,100 theaters, thereby making leading lady Rachel McAdams the new "it" girl of the summer.

Holding on in third place was last weekend’s leader, "Four Brothers," which added an estimated $13 million to its $43.6 million total. Fourth place was awarded to the still-popular "Wedding Crashers," which jammed another $8.2 million into its overstuffed pockets ($178 million all told). Rounding out the top 5 was last weekend’s "The Skeleton Key," which tallied $7.2 million for a total just over $30 million.

Two other newcomers, Disney’s "Valiant," and Fox’s "Supercross," didn’t fare so well, grossing $6 million from 2,000 theaters and $1.3 million from 1,600 theaters, respectively.

Next weekend’s wide releases include the subterranean thriller "The Cave," Terry Gilliam‘s "The Brothers Grimm," and the romantic comedy "Undiscovered."

As always, feel free to stop by the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office page for a closer look at the weekend numbers.

Neil Marshall, director of the resoundingly popular cult flick "Dog Soldiers," has struck a deal with Lions Gate to distribute his next movie in North America, says Variety. Written and directed by Mr. Marshall, "The Descent" is a horror movie that centers on "six young women on a caving adventure who are trapped underground and find themselves hunted by a race of humanoid predators."

The cast includes Shauna Macdonald ("Niceland"), Nora-Jane Noone ("The Magdalene Sisters"), Natalie Mendoza ("Code 46"), and Alex Reid ("Last Orders").

"As he did with ‘Dog Soldiers,’ Neil knows how to deliver the scares," says LG exec Peter Block. And while the movie might be pretty darn good, Lions Gate might want to hold off on that release date for a while; the similarly-themed fright flick "The Cave" is already scheduled to hit theaters at the end of the summer.

The Hollywood Reporter brings us the full cast list for the upcoming remake of Wes Craven‘s "The Hills Have Eyes." Filming begins rather soon, and director Alexandre Aja ("High Tension") finally has his cast all picked out: Aaron Stanford ("X-Men 2"), Vinessa Shaw ("40 Days and 40 Nights"), Ted Levine ("Silence of the Lambs"), and Kathleen Quinlan ("Apollo 13") are among the family members who’ll be terrorized by nefarious mountain folk.

Also on board are Emilie de Raven (the amazingly beautiful Aussie doll from TV’s "Lost"), Dan Byrd ("A Cinderella Story"), Robert Joy ("Land of the Dead"), Billy Drago (Frank Nitti from "The Untouchables"), and Tom Bower ("High Crimes"). "The Hills Have Eyes," a Fox Searchlight production that was picked up in turnaround from Dimension Films, begins shooting later this month in Morocco.