Aaron Eckhart stars as a doctor able to enter the subconscious minds of possessed patients in this week’s Incarnate, a new take on the old exorcism story. And in this week’s 24 Frames gallery, we give our take on the best and worst exorcism horror movies by Tomatometer. Before we start, some règle de jeu: there are no comedies or non-horrors listed, and only movies with at least 20 reviews qualify. Got it? Good. God help us.
It’s not too late to hop on the train of some of fall’s hottest TV shows. We’ve taken all the new fall premieres with Fresh and Certified Fresh ratings and put your catch-up options all in one place. Here’s what you need to know about watching the critics’ faves before you get too far behind. Note: The information on where to stream these shows is accurate as of today — get started now before the freebies go away!
What it’s about: Before Batman becomes Batman, Det. Jim Gordon tries to solve the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents in Gotham, a city riddled with crime and corruption.
Airs: Mondays at 8 p.m. on Fox
Number of episodes you’ve missed: 4
(buy), Vudu (buy)
What it’s about: An assistant forensics police officer transforms into The Flash after an explosion at S.T.A.R. Labs
Airs: Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW
Number of episodes you’ve missed: 1
(buy), Hulu Plus
What it’s about: Dwayne Pride (Scott Bakula) leads a team of special investigators in the Big Easy, a colorful city with a dark criminal side.
Airs: Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CBS
Number of episodes you’ve missed: 3
Where to watch them: CBS.com
(buy), Google Play
(buy), and CBS On Demand (cable subscription).
What it’s about: Residents of a small Alabama town are followed as they film their own independent zombie movie titled Thr33 Days Dead.
Airs: Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on SyFy
Number of episodes you’ve missed: 2
Where to watch them: SyFy.com
(buy), and Vudu
What it’s about: A family in Venice, CA experiences day-to-day drama set against the world of Mixed Martial Arts.
Airs: Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on DirecTV
Number of episodes you’ve missed: 1
Where to watch them: DirecTV Everywhere (subscription) and DirecTV Channel 239 (cable subscription).
What it’s about: Anthony Anderson plays Andre Jackson, a well-off L.A. executive who’s worried his family is losing touch with their African-American identity.
Airs: Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. on ABC
Number of episodes you’ve missed: 3
Where to watch them: TV.com
(buy), Google Play
(buy) and ABC On Demand (cable subscription).
What it’s about: A pair of mismatched detectives investigate the murder of a young boy in a small Pacific Northwest town.
Airs: Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Fox
Number of episodes you’ve missed: 2
Where to watch them: Fox.com (free)
, TV.com (free)
, Hulu (buy)
, Amazon (buy)
, Vudu (buy), and Fox On Demand (cable subscription).
What it’s about: An idealistic online matchmaker falls for a no-nonsense lawyer.
Airs: Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on NBC
Number of episodes you’ve missed: 2
Where to watch them: NBC.com
(buy), and Google Play
What it’s about: A group of law students help their professor, Annalise Keating (Viola Davis), defend her clients in this crime drama by Shonda Rimes.
Airs: Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC
Number of episodes you’ve missed: 3
Where to watch them: ABC.com
(free), Hulu Plus
(buy), and ABC On Demand (cable subscription).
What it’s about: A rising NBA star grapples with fame and fortune in Atlanta, and the life he’s left behind in the Boston projects.
Airs: Saturdays at 9 p.m. on Starz
Number of episodes you’ve missed: 2
What it’s about: Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leone) is a brilliant CIA-agent-turned-college professor when the President of the United States appoints her Secretary of State.
Airs: Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBS
Number of episodes you’ve missed: 4
What it’s about: A New York City novelist strays from his marriage with a waitress in Montauk, NY.
Airs: Sundays at 10 p.m. on Showtime
Number of episodes you’ve missed: 1
Where to watch it: Rotten Tomatoes
Keep track of all the new fall shows here!
The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Day the Earth Stood Still director, Scott Derrickson, had been annouced as the director of Devil’s Knot, an adaptation of a book based on the West Memphis Three case, but circumstances have forced him to leave the project, RT has learned. Derrickson told RT that despite spending a large amount of time preparing the movie it looked like the project wouldn’t be happening with him at the helm.
The West Memphis Three are Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin who, in the early nineties, were convicted of the murders of three 8 year-old boys in the Robin Hood Hills area of West Memphis, Arkansas. Many believe that the convictions were a miscarriage of justice and that their trial was based on questionable evidence. Two feature-length documentaries, called Paradise Lost, have been released about the case with a third in production.
“I really care about that story – I think it’s an important story – and I’m sad I’m not going to get to tell it,” Derrickson told us. “I went to West Memphis, I’ve communicated with most of the surviving parents of the victims and I’ve seen the entire crime scene file. I’ve read all the court transcripts of both trials and really did my research. Looking at the actual crime scene photos is one of the most depressing experiences I’ve had. It was really, really awful.
“I absolutely believe that the West Memphis Three are innocent. I know everything about that crime and I think the fact that they’re in prison is ridiculous.”
For Derrickson, the story was an interesting counterpoint to his work on Emily Rose. “I really thought it was an extraordinary story about America, and a really interesting, microcosmic view of America,” he said. “The role that religion came to play in the judicial system and the impropriety of that – in some ways it was the flipside to Emily Rose to me. Emily Rose was asking the audience to really consider and take seriously the possibility of the demonic existing. This story was going to be, in some ways, the incredible danger of taking that stuff too seriously; if you take that stuff too seriously people get hurt.”
Another director may be chosen for the project, but Derrickson has moved on. His fascination with the darker side of religion continues, though, as — coincidentally — his next project is an adaptation of Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost, about Satan and the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. Find out more about that project here.
UPDATE: In response to an earlier version of this story, Derrickson wishes to point out that there are no rights issues preventing the project from moving ahead. The article has been corrected above.
Four new films open wide, but they may not be enough to stop the North American box office from suffering its third consecutive down weekend.
Leading the way is the Paramount sequel "Jackass: Number Two" which will enjoy the widest release by far. The rest of the films will take moviegoers back in time just as so many other recent releases have done. Focus Features unleashes Jet Li‘s martial arts epic "Fearless," MGM takes off with the World War I adventure "Flyboys," and Sony remakes the political thriller "All the King’s Men."
Four years ago, Paramount shocked the industry with the number one bow for its crude stunts flick "Jackass: The Movie" which managed to keep "The Ring" out of the top spot on the weekend right before Halloween. Its $22.8M debut and eventual $64.3M domestic take and DVD success helped to bring about a sequel, "Jackass: Number Two" which hopes to conquer the charts once again. The R-rated pic regroups the team from the hit MTV reality series including Johnny Knoxville and finds them taking part in another series of outlandish don’t-try-this-at-home antics. Males in their late teens and early twenties are the target audience here although slightly older guys who were devoted followers a half-decade ago might also be up for some nostalgia.
The first "Jackass" bowed to a muscular $9,073 average from 2,509 playdates which at today’s ticket prices would be over $10,000. "Number Two" is not likely to match that amount though. A wider launch will dilute the average a bit and the franchise has aged and is no longer at the peak of its popularity. But since Knoxville has found more mainstream success recently with films like "The Dukes of Hazzard" and "The Ringer," the studio is hoping that some new fans will give "Two" a try. Competition for males will be fierce with last weekend’s top film "Gridiron Gang" still playing to sports-loving boys and men while Jet Li’s new film "Fearless" will
steal away dudes who dig martial arts fighting, bones cracking, and necks breaking. Male dollars will be stretched to the limit this weekend and an already sluggish marketplace will mean that there will only be so much overall traffic. Busting into over 3,000 theaters, "Jackass: Number Two" will rank number one and may open with around $23M.
Mr. Knoxville and co. are back to cheat death and reason.
Also gunning for young men with R-rated fare is Focus Features with the historical martial arts actioner "Fearless" starring Jet Li. Already a hit at cinemas in Asia, Australia, and parts of Europe, the period pic tells the true story of a legendary fighter who inspired his nation in China at the start of the twentieth century. With a bigger star in the lead, "Fearless" is sure to perform better than Tony Jaa‘s Thai actioner "The Protector" which bowed to just $5M two weeks earlier. Li has a consistently loyal fan following that is likely to turn out especially since the marketing campaign is pushing the claim that this is his final martial arts film ever. This tactic gives the pic a level of urgency, although it should not mean much to those outside of his fan base. Crossover potential to mainstream action fans is not very likely, though the actor’s pull with urban males should not be underestimated.
Still, Li has posted some impressive numbers in his career. Each of his six films from this decade has launched with an opening weekend average of at least $5,500 with five having averaged more than $6,000. His last effort "Unleashed" bowed last summer to $10.9M and a solid $5,570 average while 2004’s Chinese blockbuster "Hero" conquered the North American charts for two straight weeks bowing to an impressive $18M and $8,865 average. Foreign language films pretty much never do that in the U.S. market. "Fearless" will not duplicate the success of "Hero" which used the "Quentin Tarantino Presents" tag to attract extra biz. Plus with "Jackass" taking away many young men this weekend, only the true followers will make it out. But reviews have been very positive (the best for any new
release) and advance buzz from overseas has been encouraging too. Kicking its way into roughly 1,806 theaters, "Fearless" might debut to about $9M.
World War I bi-planes are the draw in "Flyboys," a new historical action adventure being released by MGM. The PG-13 film stars James Franco as a courageous American pilot in France who devotes his life to fighting for the Allies. With a high pricetag and no proven stars that can sell in America, this is yet another risky period film packed into the slow month of September. The "inspired by a true story" description used by half of the films in the current top ten is once again in play here. With sex and bad language kept to a minimum, "Flyboys" hopes to appeal to a broad family audience so adults can bring their kids. However, the starpower and subject matter are both lacking making this a tough sell at the box office especially since the marketplace is already filled with mediocre product. Zooming into 2,033 theaters, "Flyboys" might climb to around $7M over the weekend.
After taking a beating at the Toronto International Film Festival, Sony’s remake "All the King’s Men" enters the marketplace on Friday with more subdued expectations. The PG-13 reworking of the classic 1949 political thriller stars Sean Penn as a charismatic politician from the South who gains power and flirts with corruption in the process. The all-star cast also includes Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins, Mark Ruffalo, and James Gandolfini. Distributors often utilize the Toronto fest to generate buzz for their Oscar contenders right before their fall commercial openings, but in this case, it seemed to have backfired with so many reviewers panning the pic. "Men" should play exclusively to a mature adult audience as teens will yawn at the premise. The marketplace has been flooded with period dramas in recent weeks with "The Black Dahlia," "Hollywoodland," and "The Illusionist" all going after the same audience. Competition will be a major factor.
Sony is not giving its usual saturation release to "King’s Men," but instead campaigning in just 1,514 theaters this weekend hoping some positive buzz will spread. The lack of screens will keep the gross in check and the bad reviews should sting even more. Last weekend, "Dahlia" found out the hard way how far a serious film for adults can go when the critics give a thumbs down. The film’s starpower is about its only major asset right now, but will it be enough to make moviegoers risk their dollars? With negative press, an abundance of direct competition, and only a moderate amount of theaters, "All the King’s Men" could find itself with only $7M this weekend and a rocky road ahead.
In limited release, The Weinstein Co. unleashes its horror flick "Feast" in 140 theaters with special midnight shows across the country on Friday and Saturday. The latest winner from the Project Greenlight series is directed by John Gulager and finds a group of people trapped inside a bar fighting off flesh-eating creatures. Filmmaker Michel Gondry ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind") returns to the surreal with "The Science of Sleep," a new fantasy drama starring Gael García Bernal ("The Motorcycle Diaries") as a man whose dreams collide with reality. Warner Independent is opening the film on Friday in eight major U.S. markets and will expand it across the country next weekend. Miramax platforms its futuristic sci-fi toon "Renaissance" in New York and Los Angeles. Set in Paris in the year
2054, the R-rated tale is the latest film to bring the look of a graphic novel to the big screen.
Last weekend’s top film "Gridiron Gang" is sure to lose its first place ranking. The Rock‘s films never have very good legs on the second weekend as evidenced by the sophomore declines of his recent films – 48% for 2003’s "The Rundown," 46% for 2004’s "Walking Tall," and a horrendous 73% for last fall’s "Doom." While "Gang" was not a favorite with critics, it has been getting favorable responses from moviegoers so its drop this weekend may not be too bad. Competition for young males will be a factor with the dueling R pics "Jackass" and "Fearless," but younger boys may still be up for an uplifting football tale. "Gridiron Gang" might see a decline of 45% to around $8M giving Sony a reasonable ten-day cume of $25M.
Universal’s murder mystery "The Black Dahlia" was not too powerful in its opening last weekend and both critics and moviegoers are giving negative feedback. A 50% fall would leave the Brian De Palma flick with $5M for the frame and a weak $18M after ten days.
LAST YEAR: One A-list Hollywood blonde replaced another at the top of the charts. Jodie Foster‘s kidnapping thriller "Flightplan" flew to number one opening with a strong $24.6M. The Buena Vista release went on to gross $89.7M making it the top-grossing film in the September-October corridor for 2005. In second place, Warner Bros. expanded its animated film "Corpse Bride" nationally taking in $19.1M. The Tim Burton–Johnny Depp collaboration found its way to $53.4M. Reese Witherspoon fell from first to third with her comedy "Just Like Heaven" which collected $9.6M. Opening in fourth place with moderate results was the skating drama "Roll Bounce" which bowed to $7.6M on its way to $17.4M from less than 1,700 theaters. Close behind in fifth was the hit thriller "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" with $7.5M in its third round.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Following the worst box office weekend in three years, Hollywood has nowhere to go but up. It hopes.
Four new pictures enter wide release on Friday led by the sports drama "Gridiron Gang" from Sony which is gunning for its tenth trip to the number one spot this year. Universal goes after an older crowd with the crime thriller "The Black Dahlia," Fox aims for kids with the animated film "Everyone’s Hero," and Paramount tries to court the adult date crowd with "The Last Kiss." Overall, the North American marketplace should bounce back from last weekend’s horrible showing, but only by a small margin.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson hopes to score the fifth number one opening of his career this weekend with the football saga "Gridiron Gang." The PG-13 film finds the wrestler-turned-actor playing a juvenile camp officer who assembles a pigskin squad in order to give lost kids some hope in life. Sony is targeting one of the most reliable moviegoing segments with "Gang" – urban youth. With a young and multicultural cast, plus a star in the lead role, this new film hopes to appeal to the same crowd that made hits out of other sports flicks like "Remember the Titans" and "Coach Carter." Of course, the star this time is not an Oscar-caliber actor. "Gang’s" marketing push has been strong and an ultrawide release will make the product available everywhere.
The Rock provides solid starpower, although his box office muscle in recent years has delivered openings in a very narrow range. Pics like "The Rundown," "Walking Tall," and "Doom" have all debuted within the $15-19M range. "Gridiron Gang’s" rating should open the doors to a wider audience and with the start of the NFL and college football seasons, the subject matter is very relevant at this time of year. Plus with a dead marketplace featuring choices that are exciting nobody, teens and young adults should find this one the only film worth rallying behind. Charging into 3,504 locations, "Gridiron Gang" will have no problem conquering the box office and could score around $17M this weekend.
Moviegoers opting for a trip back to the 1940s instead of a football pic can choose Brian De Palma‘s "The Black Dahlia" which Universal opens on Friday. The R-rated thriller stars Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart as Los Angeles cops investigating the mysterious death of a young woman chopped in half and disemboweled. Scarlett Johansson and two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank take the token female roles. Just as with "Hollywoodland" which bowed last weekend, "Dahlia" will play to an older adult audience interested in LA-based crime noir pics from the mid twentieth century. Unlike with the younger-skewing "Gridiron Gang," reviews will play a big part in the success or failure of "Dahlia." This one needs more support from critics than it’s getting in order to become a commercial winner. Starpower is certainly there, but the subject matter may not pique the interest of adults across all 50 states. Add in competition for the target audience plus an overall slowdown in moviegoing activity and it may be hard for the studio to break even on this one. "The Black Dahlia" enters 2,224 theaters and might collect around $9M this weekend.
Following this summer’s "Superman Returns" and last week’s George Reeves mystery "Hollywoodland," the Man of Steel spotlight now turns to the late Christopher Reeve whose final project, the animated sports tale "Everyone’s Hero," makes its way into theaters on Friday. With voices provided by Rob Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, and William H. Macy, the G-rated flick tells of a boy on a mission to retrieve Babe Ruth’s stolen bat. Reeve co-directed with Colin Brady and Dan St. Pierre. Fox will be looking to attract kids and Little League coach parents with "Hero." The film is not registering too high on the priority lists of children. But the studio does have one thing working in its favor – the current marketplace has nothing major for children. And don’t expect the other new releases to appeal to the family crowd either. Opening surprisingly wide in 2,896 theaters, "Everyone’s Hero" could score around $7M this weekend.
TV stars Zach Braff of NBC’s "Scrubs" and Rachel Bilson of Fox’s "The O.C." join forces on the big screen in "The Last Kiss" which Paramount inherited from its DreamWorks tie-up. The R-rated remake of an Italian film about a man in the early stages of a mid-life crisis also stars Casey Affleck, Blythe Danner, and Tom Wilkinson. The marketing push behind "Kiss" has been lacking so look for the romantic dramedy to become a small blip on the box office radar this weekend. Adult women will make up the primary audience making period pics "Dahlia" and "Hollywoodland" direct competitors. Consumer excitement is pretty low for "The Last Kiss" which heads into only 1,100 theaters. A weekend gross of roughly $4M could result.
The new fall season brings a flood of activity in limited-release action. Balcony Releasing got the frame started on Wednesday with its New York opening of the political doc "Al Franken: God Spoke" which adds a second Manhattan venue on Friday. The raunchy softball comedy "Artie Lange’s Beer League" opens on Friday in about 175 theaters. With Ralph Macchio in the cast, the R-rated Echo Bridge release should find itself stuck in six-digit territory. Yari Film Group unleashes the Cayman Islands-set drama "Haven," which stars Orlando Bloom and Bill Paxton, into 24 theaters across the country.
The mockumentary wedding comedy "Confetti" bows in a dozen sites from Fox Searchlight. American troops in Iraq are the focus of the Focus Features documentary "The Ground Truth" which attacks eight theaters. Lionsgate offers up its own non-fiction flick "The U.S. vs. John Lennon" in six playdates examining the Beatles icon’s rage against the establishment.
Sony’s ninth number one of the year "The Covenant" looks to get booted out of the top spot by the studio’s tenth chart-topper. A 50% drop would give the teen thriller about $4.5M for the frame and a modest ten-day cume of $15M. "Hollywoodland" lacked strength in its debut and will now face a direct hit from "Dahlia" so a 45% decline could be in order. That would give Focus around $3.5M over the weekend putting the total at a weak $11M after ten days.
LAST YEAR: Reese Witherspoon captured the number one spot with her latest comedy "Just Like Heaven" which grossed $16.4M on its way to $48.3M for DreamWorks. Sony’s surprise suspense hit "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" lost half its business and dropped to second with $14.9M in its sophomore frame. Nicolas Cage bowed in third with his new actioner "Lord of War" with $9.4M. The Lions Gate release reached $24.1M. Steve Carell enjoyed his fifth week in the top five with "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" which laughed up $6M. The horror pic "Cry Wolf" bowed poorly in fifth with only $4.4M leading to a $10M finish.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Tumbleweeds blew through North American theaters this weekend as movie fans forgot that there were films playing at their local cinemas. For the first time in three years, no film managed to generate at least $10M in weekend ticket sales. The new supernatural teen thriller "The Covenant" was able to top the charts while the murder mystery "Hollywoodland" debuted in the runnerup spot. The overall top ten crawled to its worst performance in three years as not a single wide release was able to generate at least $4,000 per theater.
Limping into first place with a not-so-impressive debut was "The Covenant" with an estimated $9M from 2,681 theaters. The Sony thriller averaged a sluggish $3,357 per playdate, but was big enough to lead the pack over such a weak frame. Budgeted at only $20M, the PG-13 pic features a group of young prep school warlocks who unleash supernatural powers when evil strikes. It was the studio’s ninth number one opening of 2006, but also the worst gross for a number one film since "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star" debuted this very weekend in 2003 with a puny $6.7M.
Most of the box office deficit when compared to last year can be blamed on the mediocre debut of "Covenant" which took in less than one-third of the $30.1M bow the studio saw in 2005 this weekend with its last post-Labor Day scarefest "The Exorcism of Emily Rose." The rest of the top ten this weekend grossed a combined $40.4M which was almost identical to the $40.6M from the corresponding films from last year.
Opening in second place was the crime thriller "Hollywoodland" with an estimated $6M from only 1,548 theaters for Focus. The R-rated tale examining the investigation behind the death of Superman actor George Reeves averaged a mild $3,881 per site. That was good enough to be the best average among all wide releases. Starring Adrien Brody, Diane Lane, and Ben Affleck, "Hollywoodland" received mixed reviews from critics, but did manage to win the best actor prize over the weekend at the Venice International Film Festival for Affleck’s portrayal of Reeves.
Bowing in fourth place was Thai action star Tony Jaa‘s "The Protector" with an estimated $5M from 1,541 sites. Averaging a lukewarm $3,265, the R-rated pic from The Weinstein Co. generated an opening weekend average similar to the $3,449 figure that Jaa’s "Ong Bak" posted last year when it opened to $1.3M from only 387 theaters.
Action star Jason Statham‘s "Crank" dropped a hefty 54% in its second weekend to an estimated $4.8M pushing its cume to $19.9M. After ten days, the Lionsgate release is running slightly ahead of the $17.2M that Statham’s 2002 film "The Transporter" made during the same time period, but behind the $30.3M of its sequel from last year. Look for "Crank" to finish up with $27-30M. Enjoying the smallest decline in the top ten was the Edward Norton-Paul Giamatti mystery "The Illusionist" which dipped just 25% to an estimated $4.6M. Yari Film Group has collected $18.1M thus far.
Following close behind with an estimated $4.4M was Fox Searchlight’s "Little Miss Sunshine" which dropped 42%. Total to date is a solid $41.6M. Nicolas Cage‘s suspense thriller "The Wicker Man" fell 57% in its second weekend to an estimated $4.1M. With only $17.5M in ten days, the Warner Bros. release looks on course to reach a disappointing $25M.
"Talladega Nights," the highest-grossing film since Johnny Depp’s "Pirates" sequel set sail, dropped 51% in its sixth lap to an estimated $3M boosting Sony’s total to $142.2M. Rounding out the top ten was Paramount’s hit toon "Barnyard," the only major kidpic in release, which grossed an estimated $2.6M. Off 47%, the PG-rated comedy has grossed a healthy $66.9M to date.
Three August releases dropped out of the top ten this weekend. Paramount’s "World Trade Center" took in an estimated $2.5M, down 46%, for a $67.1M sum. The $65M Nicolas Cage drama should end with a solid $71-74M final. Universal’s teen comedy "Accepted" collected an estimated $2.5M as well, off 45%, and upped its total to $32.3M. A $35-37M final grade is in store for the $23M production.
Buena Vista’s surprise hit dance drama "Step Up" dropped 45% in its fifth weekend to an estimated $2.5M. With $61.6M in the bank, the teen pic looks to finish with around $65M.
The top ten films grossed a puny estimate of $49.4M which was down 30% from last year when "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" debuted at number one with $30.1M; and down 16% from 2004 when "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" opened in the top spot with $23M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
After welcoming in four new wide releases per week for seven straight weekends, the North American box office slows it down a bit on Friday with only one saturation release and a pair of moderate national bows.
Sony courts the teen horror crowd with its supernatural thriller "The Covenant." Meanwhile, Focus targets mature adults with the crime thriller "Hollywoodland" and The Weinstein Co. goes after the action audience with the martial arts pic "The Protector." With a slate of Labor Day weekend pics coming off of their lukewarm holiday performances, the overall marketplace is sure to be sluggish and could slump to its lowest point of the year.
Four prep school dudes learn of their ancestral powers and stir up some evil in the new teen chiller "The Covenant." Sort of a "Lost Boys" for today’s youth, the PG-13 film will target the horror audience as well as the back-to-school date crowd. Renny Harlin, who has seen highs with "Die Hard 2" and lows with "Cutthroat Island," directs. "Covenant" should play primarily to teens and young adults and Sony has a strong track record when it comes to attracting that crowd with these kinds of films. Last fall, the studio scored a big hit with "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" which bowed this very weekend with $30.1M, but saw more modest results with "The Fog" which opened in October with $11.8M. Each one still hit the top of the charts. The marketing push on "Covenant" has not been too fierce so a debut closer to "Fog’s" is likely. Competition for teens is not very strong at the moment so many should pick this for their weekend moviegoing choice. Attacking 2,681 theaters, "The Covenant" could scare up around $11M in ticket sales this weekend.
Academy Award winner Adrien Brody plays a not-so-super sleuth in the 1950s who investigates the suicide death of Superman actor George Reeves in the new crime thriller "Hollywoodland." The R-rated Focus release also stars Diane Lane, Ben Affleck, and Bob Hoskins. After last year’s dominance at the Oscars by numerous indie flicks, "Hollywoodland" tries to get the awards season started early by getting a headstart over some of the fall’s other promising non-studio films. The casting of the "Gigli" star as the Man of Steel, however, might diminish its chances a bit as many industry voters won’t be able to help but snicker when the daredevil himself comes on screen. Mature adults will be the target audience and women might outnumber the guys by a small margin. The film’s subject matter will certainly be intriguing for film industry folks, but it will be a tougher sell to mainstream moviegoers. "Hollywoodland" will have to reach its audience in a hurry as parent company Universal will target the exact same crowd with its ensemble-driven period crime mystery "The Black Dahlia" a week later. Debuting in moderate national release in 1,548 theaters, "Hollywoodland" might capture about $8M this weekend.
The "Quentin Tarantino Presents" marketing technique is back once again with the Thai martial arts pic "The Protector" starring Tony Jaa. The R-rated film from The Weinstein Co. finds the acrobatic action star seeking revenge on those who wronged his people. Jaa’s "Ong Bak" made a moderate splash at the North American box office last year when it opened to $1.3M from 387 theaters for a mild $3,449 average on its way to a $4.6M domestic take. A year and a half later, more American action fans know of Jaa, though he’s still far from a sizable draw. Two years ago, the Weinsteins saw stellar results when using the "Pulp Fiction" director’s
name in the marketing of Jet Li‘s "Hero" which ended up topping the box office for two straight weeks on its way to a $53.6M gross. Lionsgate also used the QT tactic to drive in business for its horror pic "Hostel" last January which also bowed in the top spot. "Protector" will appeal mostly to young men who love martial arts and crossover to other groups is unlikely. The second weekend of "Crank" will draw upon many of the same folks so competition will be tough. Fighting its way into around 1,400 theaters, "The Protector" might kick up about $6M this weekend.
More independent films open in New York on Friday hoping to expand further around the country in coming weeks. Polychrome Pictures debuts the Asian American pic "Red Doors" in a pair of Manhattan locations. The dysfunctional family pic won the top prize at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Film Philos goes into one solo house with the coffee cart vendor drama "Man Push Cart" which world premiered at Sundance last winter.
"Invincible‘s" undefeated season should come to an end this weekend as the Disney sports drama enters its third outing. A 40% decline would see the Mark Wahlberg pic gross around $7M pushing the 17-day cume to $47M. After a second place bow over the weekend, the Lionsgate actioner "Crank" pumped itself up to the top spot on Tuesday with solid midweek business. Jason Statham saw his "Transporter 2" fall 55% a year ago when it came off of its Labor Day debut. "Crank" could see a slightly smaller drop. A 50% tumble would give the poison pic roughly $5M for the sophomore frame and a ten-day sum of $20M.
Nicolas Cage‘s "The Wicker Man" did not make too much of a dent at the box office last weekend. A 45% drop to around $5M seems likely giving Warner Bros. only $19M in ten days. Indie sensation "Little Miss Sunshine" should step back a bit after a strong Labor Day frame and could slide 30% to $5M as well. That would lift the cume for the year’s most recommended film to $42M making it the fifth biggest hit in company history for Fox Searchlight after "Sideways" ($71.5M), "The Full Monty" ($45.9M), "28 Days Later" ($45.1M), and "Napoleon Dynamite" ($44.5M). In another week, it will vault to number two for the Fox subsidiary.
LAST YEAR: Sony scored a huge surprise winner with the suspense thriller "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" which bowed bigger than expected with a hefty $30.1M grossing more than the next five films combined. The fright flick went on to scare up a sturdy $75.1M. Comedy sensation "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" followed in second with $7.7M in its fourth date while "Transporter 2" fell from first to third with $7.4M. The political drama "The Constant Gardener" and the airline thriller "Red Eye" rounded out the top five with $4.7M and $4.5M, respectively. Samuel L. Jackson debuted poorly in sixth with his action-comedy "The Man" which took in a weak $4.1M on its way to just $8.3M for New Line.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
I was going to try to avoid the MTV Movie Awards winners until the broadcast on June 8th, but since we at RT like to bring you the movie news while it’s still relevant … OK, here they are!
"In an evening filled with action, mystery, music and hijinks, MTV rolled out the carpet to welcome the stars and celebrities for Hollywood’s most anticipated blockbuster, the "2006 MTV Movie Awards." Hosted by the incomparable Jessica Alba, the fifteenth annual ceremony celebrated everything the movies have to offer, and honored those performances and films voted best by the MTV audience. The night also was witness to heart-stopping and eye-popping performances by Christina Aguilera, Gnarls Barkley and AFI.
The complete "2006 MTV Movie Awards" ceremony can be seen Thursday, June 8th beginning at 8:30pm ET/PT with the official MTV News pre-show, followed by the main show at 9pm ET/PT on MTV. The ceremony can also be relived and remixed for a completely customized Movie Awards experience immediately following the on-air debut by visiting "My Movie Awards" at MovieAwards.mtv.com. There fans can also visit the complete Movie Awards online hub for complete access to the show online and through wireless technology.
"Wedding Crashers" reigned supreme at the event, winning the coveted golden popcorn for "Best Movie," as well as "Best On-Screen Team" honors to Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, and "Breakthrough Performance" to newcomer Isla Fisher. Others winners of the evening included Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who won "Best Fight" for their performance in "Mr. & Mrs. Smith"; Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger who won "Best Kiss" for "Brokeback Mountain"; Steve Carell took home "Best Comedic Performance" for "The 40-Year-Old Virgin"; Hayden Christensen won the "Best Villain" award for "Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith"; and host Jessica Alba won "Sexiest Performance" for her role in "Sin City."
Jim Carrey once again created MTV Movie Awards history and one of the most memorable moments of the night as he accepted the esteemed "MTV Generation Award" presented by Will Ferrell. Recognizing him for his dynamic career and acting roles that have captured and entertained MTV audiences for years, Carrey accepted the award in true comedic fashion, with 60 angels by his side. Spike Lee was also honored at the event, receiving the "Silver Bucket Of Excellence Awards" from LL Cool J for his powerful and thought-provoking film "Do The Right Thing."
Winners for the "2006 MTV Movie Awards" are:
BEST MOVIE — Wedding Crashers (New Line Cinema)
BEST PERFORMANCE — Jake Gyllenhaal — Brokeback Mountain (Focus Features)
BEST COMEDIC PERFORMANCE — Steve Carell — The 40-Year Old Virgin (Universal Pictures)
BEST ON-SCREEN TEAM — Vince Vaughn & Owen Wilson — Wedding Crashers (New Line Cinema)
BEST VILLAIN — Hayden Christensen — Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (20th Century Fox)
BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE — Isla Fisher — Wedding Crashers (New Line Cinema)
SEXIEST PERFORMANCE — Jessica Alba — Sin City (Dimension Films)
BEST FIGHT — Angelina Jolie vs. Brad Pitt — Mr. & Mrs. Smith (20th Century Fox)
BEST KISS — Jake Gyllenhaal & Heath Ledger — Brokeback Mountain (Focus Features)
mtvU STUDENT FILMMAKER AWARD — Joshua Caldwell (Fordham University) — A Beautiful Lie
The "mtvU Student Filmmaker Award" made its debut at this year’s ceremony alongside other new categories including "Sexiest Performances" and "Best Hero." By winning the mtvU honor, Joshua Caldwell of Fordham University earned a multi-platform development deal with mtvU, MTV’s college network. Joshua filmed his Movie Awards experience, and will debut the finished product on mtvU and mtvU Uber (mtvU.com) on Monday, June 12th.
Other memorable moments throughout the evening included the laugh-at-loud film parodies of "King Kong," "The Da Vinci Code," and "Mission: Impossible III." Starring host Jessica Alba, each film featured its own special guests including Jimmy Fallon, Topher Grace, Andy Dick, Flavor Flav and Gary Cole.
This night also featured standout musical performances. Gnarls Barkley took the stage in full "Star Wars" apparel to perform their hugely popular single, "Crazy." Christina Aguilera returned to the Movie Awards stage with an electrifying and first-ever on-air performance of "Ain’t No Other Man." Finally, AFI made their mark at the show with a powerful, first-ever TV performance of their track, "Miss Murder."
The "2006 MTV Movie Awards" welcomed the biggest names in music, movie and more throughout the night. Presenters included Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Eva Mendes, Zach Braff, Rosario Dawson, Anna Faris, Borat Sagdiyev, Colin Farrell, Jessica Simpson, Kevin Spacey, Samuel L. Jackson, Amanda Bynes, Dane Cook, Kate Beckinsale, Jamie Foxx, Owen Wilson, Justin Timberlake, Matt Dillon, Will Ferrell, T.I., Kate Hudson, Ludacris, Rebecca Romijn, Kate Bosworth, Famke Janssen, John C. Reilly and Brandon Routh."
(Thanks to CS.net for the MTV press release.)
Ok, first the bad news: According to critics, the plot of "Mission: Impossible III" makes precious little sense. The good news: Who cares? The third time’s a charm for the espionage/explosion series, and the scribes say "Alias"/"Lost" creator J.J. Abrams brings a fresh, loopy energy to the proceedings. Tom Cruise is back once again to save the world, this time from Philip Seymour Hoffman. With absurd-but-exhilarating action sequences and interesting supporting players, "M:I:III" is the best reviewed film of the series, and at 78 percent on the Tomatometer, it’s Certified Fresh.
"An American Haunting"…like "Casper," only…not.
Recently, the makers of horror films have found that adding a "based on true events" handle gives their fright-fests an added jolt of heft. "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" tried it, and now comes "An American Haunting," a ghost tale set in 1820s Tennessee. The critics say the film has an atmospheric gloominess and some solid performances (particularly from Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland), but its scares are pretty rote. It currently stands at 29 percent on the Tomatometer.
Despite the deep divisions wrought by divergent political leanings in recent years, I think we can all agree on several things. It’s a bad idea to pave the wetlands in order to build a pancake house. Luke Wilson is pretty cool. And "Margaritaville" is darned catchy. Unfortunately, the scribes say "Hoot," a tale of some kids who save the habitat of the wise old owl (which features songs by Jimmy Buffett) is an innocuous, but not particularly rousing, family picture. At 30 percent on the Tomatometer, the scribes just don’t, ahem, give a hoot.
You thought the awards season ended with the Oscars? Please. MTV’s just gearing up for their movie awards, which will be broadcast worldwide on June 8th — but we have all the nominations listed just a click away. (Interesting to note that not only were Paris Hilton & Rob Schneider nominated for awards, but also that "Hustle & Flow" earned three noms — a movie produced by "MTV Films.")
More than an award show, but a film unto itself, MTV: Music Television today announced the cast, or nominees, of the “2006 MTV Movie Awards.” Up for starring roles are the “40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Wedding Crashers,” each receiving five nominations. Also vying for the spotlight are “Batman Begins,” “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” “Hustle & Flow,” “Sin City” and “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith” with three nominations each. Filming June 3rd at Sony Picture Studios in Culver City, CA, the “2006 MTV Movie Awards” will premiere to audiences nationwide on Thursday, June 8th at 9pm ET/PT on MTV.
MTV also announced it will cast for new categories of “Best Hero,” “Sexiest Performance” and the “mtvU Student Filmmaker Award” for the first time ever. And in another Movie Awards first, all of this year’s categories, including “Best Performance,” will make no distinction between male and female. Breaking the gender barrier and award show tradition, both actors and actresses will be vying for the same coveted golden popcorns.
Fans can vote for the entire nominated cast of the “2006 MTV Movie Awards” by visiting movieawards.mtv.com before May 19th . Fans can also vote from their mobile phone by texting “MOVIEAWARDS” to 91757 to receive a ballot. Voting is also available by dialing toll free to 1-877-MTV-VOTE where fans can support their favorite nominees with a different category available for voting each day.
“This year’s Movie Awards will be more than an awards show — it’s an experience completely inspired by the movies, and everything we love about them,” said Christina Norman, President, MTV. “This year’s cast of movies and stars are all deserving nominees, and there is no doubt this year’s Movie Awards will in itself, be a movie to remember.”
Starring Hollywood’s hottest actors and celebrities, the “2006 MTV Movie Awards” promises to be one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters. Sources close to the production have remained tight lipped, revealing little of the project’s storyline or script except to say mystery, adventure and mayhem prevail. MTV will announce other starring roles in the upcoming weeks including the project’s leading man and/or lady, along with featured bands and performers making up the production’s soundtrack.
The “2006 MTV Movie Awards” will be seen in 171 countries/territories via 50 music programming services, and in 23 languages in more than 479.5 million households.
Nominees for the “2006 MTV Movie Awards” are:
The 40-Year-Old Virgin (Universal Pictures)
Batman Begins (Warner Bros. Pictures)
King Kong (Universal Pictures)
Sin City (Dimension Films)
Wedding Crashers (New Line Cinema)
*BEST COMEDIC PERFORMANCE*
*BEST ON-SCREEN TEAM*
Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen & Romany Malco – The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott & Jessica Simpson – The Dukes of Hazzard
Jessica Alba, Ioan Gruffudd, Chris Evans & Michael Chiklis — Fantastic Four
Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson & Rupert Grint – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Vince Vaughn & Owen Wilson – Wedding Crashers
Cillian Murphy – Batman Begins
Hayden Christensen – Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
Ralph Fiennes – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Tilda Swinton – The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Tobin Bell – Saw II
Andre “3000” Benjamin – Four Brothers
Isla Fisher – Wedding Crashers
Nelly – The Longest Yard
Jennifer Carpenter – The Exorcism of Emily Rose
Romany Malco –The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Taraji P. Henson – Hustle & Flow
Christian Bale – Batman Begins
Jessica Alba – Fantastic Four
Daniel Radcliffe – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Kate Beckinsale – Underworld: Evolution
Ewan McGregor – Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
Kong vs. The Planes — King Kong
Stephen Chow vs. Axe Gang – Kung Fu Hustle
Angelina Jolie vs. Brad Pitt – Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Ewan McGregor vs. Hayden Christensen – Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
Jake Gyllenhaal & Heath Ledger – Brokeback Mountain
Taraji P. Henson & Terrence Howard – Hustle & Flow
Anna Faris & Chris Marquette – Just Friends
Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt – Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Rosario Dawson & Clive Owen – Sin City
*BEST FRIGHTENED PERFORMANCE*
Rachel Nichols – The Amityville Horror
Jennifer Carpenter – The Exorcism of Emily Rose
Derek Richardson – Hostel
Paris Hilton – House of Wax
Dakota Fanning – War of the Worlds
*mtvU STUDENT FILMMAKER AWARD*
Joshua Caldwell (Fordham University) – A Beautiful Lie
Sean Mullin (Columbia University) – Sadiq
Stephen Reedy (Diablo Valley College) – Undercut
Jarrett Slavin (University of Michigan) – The Spiral Project
Landon Zakheim (Emerson College) – The Fabulous Felix McCabe
*2006 MTV Movie Awards *
*Total Number of Combined Category Nominations*
The 40-Year-Old Virgin — 5
Wedding Crashers — 5
Batman Begins — 3
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire — 3
Hustle & Flow — 3
Sin City — 3
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith — 3
Brokeback Mountain — 2
The Dukes of Hazzard — 2
The Exorcism of Emily Rose — 2
Fantastic Four — 2
King Kong — 2
The Longest Yard — 2
Mr. & Mrs. Smith — 2
Walk the Line — 2
The Amityville Horror — 1
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — 1
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo — 1
Four Brothers — 1
Hostel — 1
House of Wax — 1
Just Friends — 1
Kung Fu Hustle — 1
Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion — 1
Memoirs of a Geisha — 1
The Pink Panther — 1
Red Eye — 1
Saw II — 1
Underworld: Evolution — 1
War of the Worlds — 1
* Nominees are chosen through a national poll of MTV and MTV2 viewers.
Head on over to the Ghost House Pictures website and you’ll find a new press release that’ll thrill all you ravenous "Grudge" holders. Seems the sequel just started production in Japan, and that "The Grudge 2" will be ready for ticket-buyers this October, a month that promises a whole lot of goodies for the horror geeks.
"Principal photography has begun on "The Grudge 2," it was announced today by Columbia Pictures and Ghost House Pictures. The film is the much-anticipated sequel to the 2004 hit "The Grudge," which earned $188 million in worldwide box office receipts.
"The Grudge 2" delves into the secrets behind the grudge’s wrath and introduces a seemingly unrelated host of new characters who find themselves connected by the same terrifying supernatural curse.
The movie stars Amber Tamblyn ("Stephanie Daley," "Joan Of Arcadia") with Sarah Michelle Gellar returning in her role as ‘Karen.’ Arielle Kebbel (upcoming "Aquamarine") joins the growing ensemble cast with Jennifer Beals ("The L Word") and newcomer Teresa Palmer (upcoming "December Boys") co-starring.
Japanese actress Takako Fuji reprises her role as the terrorizing ‘Kayako,’ making it the fifth time that she has played this role—three times in the Japanese "Ju-On" as well as the first installment of the English version. Ryo Ishibashi also returns briefly in a cameo as ‘Detective Nakagawa.’
Other supporting cast includes Japanese teen pop star Misako Uno of the popular group AAA in her feature film debut, Shaun Sipos ("Complete Savages"), and the well-known Chinese actor Edison Chen, who is best known for his role in "Infernal Affairs," the 2002 hit Hong Kong film which is being remade by Martin Scorsese and set to be released as "The Departed."
Producer Sam Raimi offers, “For "The Grudge 2," Ghost House has reunited our original team led by master filmmaker Takashi Shimizu. It promises to deliver gripping sequences of suspense and shocking jolts that should have the fans of "The Grudge part 1" leaping out of their seats and coming back to the theater again and again.”
Other key filmmakers returning for the second installment include Production Designer Iwao Saito who ingenuously designed the house for the first movie; Visual Effects Supervisor Hajime Matsumoto who handled the three Japanese versions of "Ju-On" as well as the English-language version; and Editor Jeff Betancourt ("When A Stranger Calls," "The Exorcism Of Emily Rose"). In addition, Cinematographer Katsumi Yanagijima who has made a name for himself in collaborating with respected Japanese writer/director Takeshi Kitano, in the recent cult classics “Zaoitchi: The Blind Swordsman” and “Dolls,” joins this talented group in his first English-language movie.
With the story still set in Tokyo, the production is shooting on location in various places around the metropolitan area as well as the famous Toho Studios, the largest sound stages in Japan. Filming began on Monday, Feb. 13, and is scheduled to wrap at the end of April. Columbia Pictures will release the movie on October 20, 2006, in the United States."
Disney’s airplane thriller "Flightplan" had little problem snagging the #1 spot at the weekend box office, but for the first time ever, two September releases managed to cross the $20 million mark in same frame. "Flightplan" hauled in an estimated $24.6 million, while Tim Burton‘s "The Corpse Bride" netted $20.1 million.
Settling in at third place was Reese Witherspoon‘s rom-com "Just Like Heaven," which made $9.8 million in its second weekend, while newcomer "Roll Bounce" pulled in $8 million from just over 1,800 theaters. (Fox promised to donate ten percent of that tally to Katrina relief.) Still hanging on in fifth place was the horror/drama "The Exorcism of Emily Rose," which added another $7.5 million to its $62 million piggy bank.
Next weekend sees the debut of three new wide releases: Joss Whedon‘s sci-fi adventure "Serenity," the young-adult underwater thriller "Into the Blue," and the Disney sports drama "The Greatest Game Ever Played."
For a closer gander at the weekend numerals, make a stop at the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office page.