No awards season would be complete without the Golden Raspberry Awards (AKA The Razzies), awarded each year to the very worst movies to hit Hollywood. This year’s winners will be announced on Oscar weekend; could multiple-nominee The Love Guru take home top honors? See the full list of nominees below.

This year, a few standout films and filmmakers nabbed multiple nominations, making for really good odds come February 21, when the Golden Raspberry winners will be announced. Leading the pack is Disaster Movie (2 percent on the Tomatometer), which managed to earn six nominations; The Hottie & the Nottie (5 percent), up for honors in five categories; and Uwe Boll’s In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, which also earned the Teutonic Terror a Worst Career Achievement Razzie.

The complete list of nominees:

Worst Picture Nominations

Disaster Movie & Meet the Spartans (double nominee from the same writer-directors)

The Happening

The Hottie & The Nottie

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

The Love Guru

Worst Actor Nominations

Larry the Cable Guy, Witless Protection

Eddie Murphy, Meet Dave

Mike Myers, The Love Guru

Al Pacino, 88 Minutes & Righteous Kill

Mark Wahlberg, The Happening & Max Payne

Worst Actress Nominations

Jessica Alba, The Eye & The Love Guru

The cast of The Women (Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Meg Ryan)

Cameron Diaz, What Happens in Vegas

Paris Hilton, The Hottie & The Nottie

Kate Hudson, Fool’s Gold & My Best Friend’s Girl

Worst Supporting Actor Nominations

Uwe Boll (as himself), Uwe Boll’s Postal

Pierce Brosnan, Mamma Mia!

Ben Kingsley, The Love Guru & War, Inc. & The Wackness

Burt Reynolds, Deal & In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

Verne Troyer, The Love Guru & Uwe Boll’s Postal

Worst Supporting Actress Nominations

Carmen Electra, Disaster Movie & Meet the Spartans

Paris Hilton, Repo! The Genetic Opera

Kim Kardashian, Disaster Movie

Jenny McCarthy, Witless Protection

Leelee Sobieski, 88 Minutes & In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

Worst Screen Couple Nominations

Uwe Boll and any Actor, Camera, or Screenplay

Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher, What Happens in Vegas

Paris Hilton and either Christine Lakin or Joel David Moore, The Hottie and the Nottie

Larry the Cable Guy and Jenny McCarthy, Witless Protection

Eddie Murphy and Eddie Murphy, Meet Dave

Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off, or Sequel Nominations

The Day the Earth Blowed Up Real Good

Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Speed Racer

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Worst Director Nominations

Uwe Boll, 1968: Tunnel Rats, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale and Uwe Boll’s Postal

Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans

Tom Putnam, The Hottie & the Nottie

Marco Schnabel, The Love Guru

M. Night Shyamalan, The Happening

Worst Screenplay Nominations

Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans

The Happening

The Hottie and the Nottie

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

The Love Guru

Worst Career Achievement

Uwe Boll

Look out! Starship Troopers and Transformers are about to assault your senses in HD, and soon you can choose Harold and Kumar’s adventures. This week’s new releases are mostly stinkers (The Eye, Semi-Pro), but Dirty Harry’s got your back with a fantastic new box set. Are you feeling lucky, punk?


Make it a Blockbuster…download…night?

Are video stores headed the way of the dinosaur? Not if Blockbuster can help it. The rental chain has begun testing new in-store download kiosks where customers can zip in, ATM-style, and download movies right onto their digital media players. The goal is to have you in and loaded in 30 seconds — that is, only if you have the Archos media player, which you can buy in a Blockbuster store, which you can use portably or plug into a TV set…which sounds all too troublesome to us lazybones DVD buyers.

Choose Your Own Harold and Kumar Adventure!

Those folks over at New Line must be smoking the good stuff, because making the release of Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay a Choose Your Own Adventure-style DVD is inspired, to say the least. In addition to switching between new and alternate scenes, you can get up close and personal with the real Harold Lee and “the guy who plays George W. Bush.” Look for it July 25.

An HD Transformers extravaganza!

The web is abuzz with the official news that a Transformers Blu-Ray release will hit stores September 2, supervised by director/spectacle aficionado Michael Bay himself. The 2-Disc Special Edition is expected to boast no less than 30 extras, featurettes, trailers and Easter eggs — all in glorious, ear-shattering, eye-popping HD.

Another Starship Troopers sequel is coming…

Casper Van Dien is back as Johnny Rico, Roughneck soldier and extinguisher of space bugs, in the third installment of the saga that began with Paul Verhoeven‘s 1997 boob-, bomb-, and bug-filled satire. Ed Neumier makes his directorial debut with Starship Troopers: Marauder, which comes to DVD and Blu-Ray August 5; if you’re really Starship crazy, you can buy the entire trilogy the same day.

Disney To Make Movies for Fairies

After you’re done fueling your testosterone levels with Starship Troopers, get in touch with your softer side with the first of four all-new direct-to-DVD Disney films…about fairies! Disney’s had enough of the lame super sequels — Ariel’s racked up a lot of mileage over the years — so they’re turning their attentions to Peter Pan sprite Tinkerbell, who will appear along with her fairy BFFs and talk for the first time in Disney history — unless you count Julia Roberts in Hook, which we admittedly don’t count either.

Click for this week’s new releases!

The Eye


Tomatometer: 21%

One thing might appeal to you about this poor American rehashing of a decent Asian horror film, and that is its star: Jessica Alba. Thankfully, there’s plenty of her to be seen — and a perverse enjoyment to be had from watching her blind “concert violinist” emote around a darkened condo.

Bonus Features:

It’s a 2-disc release with precious little content to warrant the splurge. A digital copy of the film accompanies the DVD — but why, oh, why, would you want to watch it more than once?

Semi-Pro



Tomatometer: 20%

Will Ferrell is up to his usual tricks as Jackie Moon, a 1970s R&B singer (“Love Me Sexy”) turned hoops team owner/player/coach faced trying to lead his ragtag team to league victory; zaniness ensues. The comic’s faithful can forgive the film’s intermittent laughs just for the sight of Ferrell in short shorts, but what about everyone else?

Bonus Features:

You’ll get a digital copy and unrated version of the film in the 2-disc “Let’s Get Sweaty” Edition, plus extended and deleted scenes…but if you hate the film, these extras will just pour more Will Ferrell-flavored salt into the wound. Decide if you’re enough of a Ferrell fan first.



Meet the Spartans


Tomatometer: 02%

The guys behind the “Fill-In-the-Blank” Movies are back again, skewering all things 300. If you revel in gay Spartan jokes, and snort at yet another Britney Spears jab, then you and this movie deserve each other.

Bonus Features:

Pop-up trivia and a cast and crew commentary accompany this…who are we kidding. No amount of extra features could make this DVD worth your while.

Control

Tomatometer: 88%

Thank goodness for good movies! Anton Corbijn‘s stirring, excellent biopic of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis is finally here — a hauntingly intimate, jolting, and lyrical look at the tragic life and death of the pre-fame legend, cut short right as the band was on the brink of post-punk stardom.

Bonus Features:

Immerse yourself in an interview and commentary track with Corbijn, and then marvel at lead Sam Riley and fellow actors (who performed their own songs, filmed live for the movie) in extended concert scenes. Corbijn’s music videos for Joy Division and The Killers also appear on the release.


Boarding Gate

Tomatometer: 26%

The poster says it all: Asia Argento in her underwear and stilettos, pistol in hand. But, buyer be warned: there may be little else to redeem Olivier Assayas‘ stylized neo-thriller, which also features Michael Madsen and a strange turn by Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon.

Bonus Features:

A single making-of featurette makes this a skimpy DVD title; rent it, unless you’ve got to bolster your private Asia Argento home video collection.


Dirty Harry Ultimate Collector’s Edition

Tomatometer: N/A

Ask yourself one question: Do you feel lucky? You should, considering this “ultimate” set of all five Dirty Harry films comes with a passel of uber cool collector’s items, plus a feature-length documentary on the man himself, Clint Eastwood, and all-new commentaries by Eastwood, John Milius, James Fargo, and film critic Richard Schickel.

Bonus Features:

Here’s the loot: five reproduced lobby cards, a poster-sized map of San Francisco detailing Harry’s hunt for the Scorpio killer, never before seen production correspondence, a 40 page hardcover book, and — best of all — a replica Dirty Harry wallet with metal badge and I.D. card.


The Onion Movie

Tomatometer: N/A

America’s finest news source (and employer of hilarious headline writers) The Onion gets its own feature-length movie this week, skewering the news and entertainment industry with signature snark. With a nod to the Kentucky Fried Movie — though leagues below that mark in terms of, well, jokes that work — The Onion Movie won’t be the best new release of the week, but it will probably be more worth your while than Meet the Spartans.

Bonus Features:

Justly deleted scenes and outtakes aren’t funny if the material isn’t funny. But there is some hope, in the form of Mr. Steven Seagal (at the 1:00 mark):

‘Til next week, happy viewing!

This week's UK Box Office Top EightSummer box office season began with a bang last Friday, with Iron Man the first of the pumped-up, big-budget teen-friendly blockbusters to emerge from the bowels of the Hollywood studios this week.

This zesty tale of billionaire weapons magnate Tony Stark (played by a rakish Robert Downey Jr.) – who decides to change his ways and don metallic apparel after seeing the devastation caused by his company’s weapons – has won almost uniformly positive (if not ecstatic) notices from critics and made it the freshest big film of the year so far on Rotten Tomatoes.

The zippy pace, lack of existential naval-gazing and sly sense of humour provided by the talented ensemble cast were all praised, with James Christopher of The Times summing up the critical consensus by dubbing it a “roaring fairground ride.”

More pleasing to the bean-counters at Paramount and Marvel, however, will be the film’s takings. The movie took over £5million in its first three days, which, added to the film’s gargantuan $100 million-plus in the States, already makes the movie a monster smash-hit.

In the wake of Iron Man‘s domination, this week’s other contenders were left fighting for scraps. Nim’s Island , the kiddie-tastic adventure story starring Gerard Butler, Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (the smiley-faced cherub from Little Miss Sunshine) was the second highest new entry — coming in at third place but taking a paltry £850,000. Made of Honor meanwhile, the latest forget-it-as-soon-as-you’ve-seen-it rom-com with Patrick Dempsey in the lead role fared even worse, scraping by into fourth.

Indeed, this year more than ever, it looks like the little guys are going to have to take a back seat as sequels and superheroes boss our cinema screens. In fact, what with the Wachowski brothers’ (The Matrix) latest effort — the family-friendly anime adaptation Speed Racer – out this Friday, and Steven Spielberg‘s long-anticipated/feared fourth instalment in the Indiana Jones series following a couple of weeks after on the 22nd, May could even be a potentially the most lucrative month of the year for the studios.

March Madness hits the North American box office as three new releases hit the multiplexes hoping to take down the reigning Dr. Suess toon. Tyler Perry returns with his latest comedic drama Meet the Browns, Owen Wilson makes a return of his own in the comedy Drillbit Taylor, and Joshua Jackson jets off to Japan for his horror flick Shutter. The Good Friday holiday will help boost weekend numbers since the majority of students and many adults have the day off. But the start of the NCAA college basketball tournament will keep many male moviegoers and sports fans glued to their flat-screens watching the endless string of games all day everyday over the weekend. Fox meanwhile will try to repeat at number one with its animated hit Horton Hears A Who which could become the top-grossing film of 2008 after only ten days.

Shooting for his fourth $20M+ opener, filmmaker Tyler Perry goes hunting for elephants at the box office with his latest work Meet the Browns. The PG-13 pic stars Angela Bassett as a Chicago single mother down on her luck who travels down to Georgia after the death of her father to meet the family she never knew. Starpower will come primarily from Bassett and from Perry himself who in addition to writing and directing brings the wildly popular Madea character back to the big screen after a two-year absence. The role is small but the marketing has made it known that the outlandish law-breaking matriarch is back for some laughs. Former basketball star Rick Fox also has a major role and could be useful in drawing hoops fans.

Perry has been a dependable box office sensation for over three years now drawing in sizable African American moviegoers with stories that skew a bit female. There’s no reason to believe that Browns will fail to reach the heights of his last film Why Did I Get Married? which opened to $21.4M in October. Good Friday and Easter should help boost the numbers too. Hollywood routinely underestimates Perry’s power so expect a sizzling average here. Hitting his top debut, $30M for Madea’s Family Reunion, may not be in the works, but a strong second place showing is a virtual guarantee. Lionsgate will open Meet the Browns in 2,006 theaters and may find itself with around $23M this weekend.


Rick Fox and Angela Bassett in Meet the Browns

Owen Wilson takes up the title role of Paramount’s new high school comedy Drillbit Taylor playing a homeless soldier of fortune who takes an assignment to protect a trio of teenage nerds. The actor’s biggest commercial hits have come from pairings with other big-name actors like Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller. Here he flies solo as the only star and historically that that has led to small grosses. Younger teens will make up the primary crowd so the PG-13 rating may give pause to parents of kids in the high single digits. A slight male skew is also likely. There’s ample competition so a large debut is not likely, plus Wilson’s main draw comes with adults not twelve-year-olds. The Friday holiday will get things started well, but word-of-mouth will have to take it the rest of the way. Reviews have not been too bright and March Madness will take many boys out of the picture this weekend. Debuting in about 2,700 theaters, Drillbit Taylor could punch up about $12M this weekend.


Owen Wilson in Drillbit Taylor

Another spooky Asian fright film gets the photocopy treatment by the idea-starved American horror industry in Fox’s Shutter. The PG-13 chiller stars Joshua Jackson as a photographer who discovers creepy images of a dead woman in his snapshots. The insatiable horror audience is the target here and the rating will make sure that younger teens up for a scare will be able to buy a ticket. Jackson is far removed from his Dawson’s Creek days and lacks the drawing power he once had. Plus the studio’s marketing push has not been very forceful so awareness is low. Don’t look for this one to open like The Eye or One Missed Call which both bowed in the $12-13M range. The only factors working for it are the 85 minute running time and the fact that there have been no horror films released since the Jessica Alba‘s thriller from the first weekend of February. Snapping into around 2,700 locations, Shutter could gross about $8M this weekend.


Shutter

Fox has no intentions of giving up its hold on the number one spot. The studio’s Seuss hit Horton Hears A Who looks unlikely to be defeated by the newcomers and should take advantage of the Good Friday school holiday to post a better-than-usual sophomore hold. Ice Age dropped by 35% in its second frame in 2002 while its Fox sibling Robots fell by 42% in 2005. Both were March openers but neither had the Easter holiday helping the sophomore session. The well-liked Horton might drop by 30% to about $31M and boost its ten-day total to a robust $91M.

10,000 BC should stabilize after its 53% plunge last weekend. A fall of 45% seems likely giving Warner Bros. $9M for the weekend and $76M after 17 days. A similar decline could await Never Back Down putting it at $4.5M for a ten-day sum of $16M for Summit. Martin Lawrence hasn’t exactly been setting the box office on fire with his latest comedy College Road Trip. The Disney title might drop by 30% to roughly $5.5M and lift its cume to $33M.

LAST YEAR: A six-pack of new releases cleaned house in the top ten led by the animated actioner TMNT which still had turtle power with a $24.3M debut. Warner Bros. went on to bank $54.1M with the toon which had weak legs. The studio followed in second with its Spartan blockbuster 300 which collected $19.9M in its third fight. Modern-day action was at the center of Mark Wahlberg‘s Shooter which opened in third with $14.5M on its way to a solid $47M for Paramount. Disney’s Wild Hogs followed with $13.9M. New Line’s The Last Mimzy bowed in fifth with $10M while the horror sequel The Hills Have Eyes 2 debuted close behind with $9.7M. Final grosses reached $21.5M and $20.8M, respectively. Adam Sandler‘s dramatic turn in Reign Over Me led to a $7.5M launch before a $19.7M finish. Lionsgate suffered the worst opening among the new titles with just $3.5M for the swimming drama Pride which ended with a $7.1M take.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Hollywood plays the race card this weekend opening a pair of star-driven comedies, one for white moviegoers and the other for black audiences. Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson get the wider release with the romantic adventure comedy Fool’s Gold while debuting in 741 fewer theaters is Martin Lawrence‘s family reunion laughfest Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins. Adding to the mix is the standup comedy concert pic Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show which will also try to tickle funnybones from coast to coast. Not all three films will get to laugh all the way to the bank.

Five years and one day after their date flick How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days became a number one hit, McConaughey and Hudson reteam for Fool’s Gold. Directed by Andy Tennant (Hitch, Sweet Home Alabama), the PG-13 picture tells of an ex-couple that must band together to find sunken treasure. The Warner Bros. release looks like a winner on paper. Take two stars with a proven track record, put them in a film that combines romantic comedy with action adventure, and hefty grosses from both genders should come rolling in. The marketing has certainly been pushing all the right aspects trying to sell this as a Romancing the Stone for today’s twentysomethings and thirtysomethings.

But the film’s poor execution will be a major liability in the long run. Reviews have been among the worst of any film in this new year. Since Fool’s Gold will play to an over-25 crowd, the thumbs down from critics could have an impact. Bad word-of-mouth will certainly kick in after this weekend and hurt future weeks. Then again, critically-panned comedies packed with big stars usually sell pretty well with the paying public. Gold will play to the same crowd that powered 10 Days to a $23.8M bow and McConaughey’s 2006 rom-com Failure to Launch to $24.4M. Both skewed female and heavily white. The actor’s latest offering could open in the same neighborhood but should suffer weaker legs. Opening in 3,125 theaters, Fool’s Gold may bow to about $23M.


Hudson and McConaughey in Fool’s Gold

Moviegoers not up for Matt and Kate’s excellent adventure can spend the weekend with Martin Lawrence and his lively family in the Universal comedy Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins. Directed by Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man, Undercover Brother), the PG-13 film packs ample starpower into one film with co-stars Cedric the Entertainer, James Earl Jones, Michael Clarke Duncan, Mike Epps, and Mo’Nique. Four of the stars come from a standup comedy background which only raises the volume in the laughter department. The film finds Lawrence playing a self-help guru and talk show host in Hollywood who returns to his Georgia home to reunite with the family he left behind.

Roscoe Jenkins will pull in most of its business from the African American audience. Turnout should be robust given the starpower. Sure the family reunion story has been done a hundred times, but moviegoers will want to see all the big names under one roof giving them two hours of laughs. In the right film, and when surrounded by other marquee stars, Martin Lawrence is still a big draw at the box office. His comedy sequel Big Momma’s House 2 opened to $27.7M around this time of year in 2006.

Plus with this weekend’s Top 20 set to offer no other films led by black casts, direct competition will be minimal. The Ice Cube comedy First Sunday debuted to $17.7M a month ago and Martin and gang could do better. Reviews will not be very good, but that should not matter much. The only limiting factor will be the theater count. Debuting in 2,384 locations, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins could collect around $20M this weekend.


Martin Lawrence in Roscoe Jenkins.

For those who like their laughs purely from standup comedians on stage, Picturehouse releases Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show. The R-rated pic follows the Hollywood star and a group of comics on the road during their 2005 tour. Hannah Montana and U2 have had great success with their concert films over the last two weeks. But Wild West lacks the music and the 3D element that helped to make those two score at the box office. Most of the successful standup comedy hits at the box office have been from African American funnymen so Vaughn’s experiment does not have a proven formula to follow. Plus none of the comedians are big stars which is why Santa’s brother had to include his name in the title in order to grab the attention of potential ticket buyers. Most will probably wait for the DVD which is sure to have some unrated bonus material. Rolling into about 800 theaters, Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show could take in roughly $3M this weekend.


The marquee says it all.

Miley Cyrus rocked her way to the top of the charts last weekend with her Hannah Montana concert pic which opened to a scorching $31.1M with $15 tickets resulting in more than two millions admissions. The fan fever has spilled over into the midweek period as Monday and Tuesday grosses remained red hot with takes of $3.3M and $2.9M, respectively. A full-week tally of about $42M seems likely and with Disney extending the run of the film, more wheelbarrows will be needed to haul away the green. Still, most fans planned ahead of time to see Best of Both Worlds during the first week since it was promoted aggressively as a one-week-only run. Parents may hesitate to shell out more of the pumped up ticket prices for a second helping. Sales could fall by 45% to about $17M which would push the ten-day cume to an amazing $59M.

The Eye settled for a decent second place finish over the Super Bowl frame and like most fright flicks, should not enjoy a good hold on the second weekend. The new menu of comedies won’t provide too much competition so a decline of 50% would leave Lionsgate with about $6M lifting the total to $21M after ten days.

Fox’s female-skewing comedy 27 Dresses will take a direct hit from Matt and Kate’s reunion. Look for the Katherine Heigl film to fall by 40% to $5M for a 24-day score of $64M. Playing to a slightly different audience, Rambo took a sizable blow over the Super Bowl frame and should see its drop stabilize to 50%. That would leave the ultraviolent Lionsgate sequel with $3.5M putting the overall cume at $36M.

LAST YEAR: Following soon after his first-ever Oscar nomination for Dreamgirls, Eddie Murphy rocketed to number one at the box office with the powerful $34.2M debut for the comedy Norbit. The Paramount release went on to gobble up $95.7M domestically and about $160M worldwide. Opening in second with a respectable $13.1M was the thriller Hannibal Rising which went on to gross $27.7M for The Weinstein Company. The previous weekend’s top two films followed, but switched their order. Universal’s Diane Keaton comedy Because I Said So held up well and grossed $9.2M while the horror pic The Messengers fell harder and took in $7.2M for Sony. Rounding out the top five was the unstoppable holiday hit Night at the Museum with $5.8M in its eighth frame.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Tween girls sacked the competition over Super Bowl weekend as the music pic Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert
shattered records and opened at number one at the North American box office.
Debuting in second with solid results of its own was the Jessica Alba
creepfest The Eye,
but the comedies Over Her Dead Body
and Strange Wilderness
debuted outside of the top ten with more modest results. Overall, the
marketplace stayed strong with the top ten beating year-ago levels by more than
30% for the third consecutive weekend.

Shooting higher than the loftiest of expectations, Disney’s
Hannah Montana
film commanded an estimated $29M in ticket sales this
weekend from only 683 theaters for an eye-popping $42,460 average setting a new
record for the Super Bowl frame. Presented in digital 3D cinemas, with 96% of
the sites featuring RealD technology, the grosses were boosted by most
exhibitors charging $15 per ticket instead of the usual admission charges.
Still, the G-rated film more than doubled its nearest competitor and sold out
over a thousand showtimes during the weekend. The release was not as wide as
other films since Disney was limited to only those auditoriums equipped with the
necessary facilities to project in digital 3D.

Hannah Montana set a number of new box office milestones although
asterisks will need to be added to the record books since it had the advantage
of the higher-priced tickets. It was the largest opening ever over Super Bowl
weekend beating the $21.6M of 2006’s horror entry
When a Stranger
Calls
, and the largest overall weekend gross over this frame surpassing
Titanic
which banked $25.2M in 1998 in its sixth weekend. The gross for the iceberg
romance would be over $36M at today’s regular prices. Hannah also set the
record for the smallest amount of theaters for a film debuting at number one.

Best of Both Worlds offered fans many reasons to rush out and grab a
seat. Given the star’s 69-city sold-out concert tour, the film allowed Hannah
lovers an easier way to see their favorite singer locally without having to get
parents to buy scalped tickets. Add in the digital 3D presentation and the
promotion of an exclusive one-week-only run and ticket buyers wasted no time in
making sure they got their stubs and showed up. An event film was born. Due to
the incredible demand, the studio has now announced that the film will be
open-ended and will play beyond the initial seven-day run.

Sales were exceptional right out of the gate with Friday delivering a stunning
$8.6M in business. Saturday saw incredible strength with matinee business from
kids going on their parents’ first day off from work with sales surging an
amazing 52% to $13.1M. The studio has estimated that Sunday’s grosses will drop
by 45% to $7.3M. Most studios are estimating larger-than-normal declines of
60-65% on Sunday for their films because of the Super Bowl, however Hannah
Montana
‘s young female audience is least likely to care about the big game
so its drop should be lighter.

Studio research indicated few surprises in the audience turnout. Females made up
a whopping 84% of the crowd and those under the age of 25 accounted for 70%.
Reviews were generally upbeat for the trim 74-minute concert film which allowed
theaters to schedule plenty of showtimes over the weekend to absorb demand.

Hollywood’s annual Super Bowl weekend horror offering had to settle for the
runnerup prize. The Eye,
a remake of a Hong Kong horror hit with Jessica Alba
anchoring the U.S. version, bowed to an estimated $13M from 2,436 locations for
a solid $5,357 average. The PG-13 pic about a blind violinist who gains
supernatural visions of death after an eye transplant played slightly more to
young women as the audience was 56% female, according to studio research.
Lionsgate grossed $4.9M on Friday, edged up 16% to $5.7M on Saturday, and
estimated a 58% drop on Sunday to $2.4M. The Eye debuted with more than
twice as much as Alba’s last thriller
Awake ($5.9M) and was in
line with the $13.7M launch of her recent romantic comedy
Good Luck Chuck
.


 

Fox’s 27 Dresses
held steady in third place and played as a great non-football alternative for
women by grossing an estimated $8.4M in its third weekend. Katherine Heigl‘s
hit comedy dipped by just 37%. Cume for Dresses now sits at $57.1M.
Another funny gal from the Fox stable, Oscar nominee and Entertainment Weekly
covergirl Ellen Page, rose three notches to fourth with Juno
which collected an estimated $7.5M, off only 27%, for a robust $110.3M total.


The studio’s spoof comedy Meet the Spartans
tumbled by 62% in its second session and placed fifth with an estimated $7.1M.
Budgeted at $18M, the PG-13 laugher has taken in $28.3M in ten days and should
conclude with $40-45M putting it in the same neighborhood as the creative team’s Epic Movie
which grossed $39.7M at this same exact time last year. Close behind was
Sylvester Stallone‘s
action pic Rambo
with an estimated $7M falling an identical 62% from its debut. Lionsgate has
taken in $29.8M in ten days and may finish with close to $45M.


 

Taking in an estimated $6.9M was the  Jack Nicholson
and Morgan Freeman
joint venture The Bucket List
which slipped 35% pushing the cume to $67.7M for Warner Bros.
Diane Lane‘s
crime thriller Untraceable
suffered a sizable sophomore slump falling 52% to an estimated $5.4M for a sum
of $19.5M after ten days. Produced for over $30M, the R-rated pic is set to end
with a mediocre $30-35M.


 

Cloverfield
crumbled another 62% in its third weekend to an estimated $4.9M. Paramount
has made $72M to date. The studio’s specialty division Paramount Vantage
expanded its Academy Award contender
There Will Be
Blood
from 885 to 1,507 theaters and rounded out the top ten with an
estimated $4.8M. Off a scant 2%, the
Daniel
Day-Lewis
drama upped its total to $21.1M.




 

A pair of new comedies opened to disappointing results outside of the top
ten.
Eva Longoria Parker
headlined the pic Over Her Dead Body
and bowed to an estimated $3.6M from 1,977 sites for a weak $1,821 average. The
New Line release about a ghost who haunts her fiance’s new squeeze marked the
first headlining role in a feature film for the Desperate Housewives
star. Paramount Classics countered with the nature flick Strange Wilderness
starring Steve Zahn
which debuted to just $3.1M, according to estimates. The R-rated title averaged
only $2,525 from 1,208 locations. Both films were trashed by critics, to
nobody’s surprise.


 

Two other films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. The
Nicolas Cage
blockbuster sequel National Treasure: Book of Secrets
took in an estimated $3.1M, off 38%, for a $209.9M cume after its seventh
session. The adventure saga ranks as the ninth biggest hit released in 2007 and
will surpass 300’s $210.6M by the end of the week to climb one more spot. Look
for Book of Secrets to conclude with $215-218M domestically representing
a 25% increase over the first
National Treasure
‘s
$173M from 2004. Worldwide, Secrets has already hauled in over $375M to
date.




 

Not collecting as much treasure was the heist comedy Mad Money
which fell 56% to an estimated $2M in its third weekend. With $18.6M in 17 days,
the Overture Films release should finish with roughly $22M.



 

The top ten films grossed an estimated $93.9M which was up a sensational 42%
from last year when
The Messengers

opened at number one with $14.7M; and up 23% from 2006 when
When a Stranger
Calls
debuted in the top spot with $21.6M.

This week at the movies, we’ve got creepy visions (The Eye, starring
Jessica Alba), haunted romances (Over Her Dead Body, starring
Paul Rudd
and Eva Longoria Parker), woodland misadventures (Strange Wilderness,
starring Steve Zahn and
Allen Covert), and teen idols (Hannah Montana & Miley
Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert
). What do the critics have to say?

In the world of romantic comedies featuring specters interfering in earthly
affairs, pundits say
Over Her Dead Body
is DOA. When his fiancée (Eva
Longoria Parker) dies on their wedding day, Henry (Paul Rudd) consults a psychic
with whom he falls head over heels in love; little does he know the spirit of
his dead flame is watching this new romance develop, and is none too pleased.
Critics say Dead is several notches below
Blithe Spirit
and
Heaven
Can Wait
in the supernatural romance sweepstakes, featuring uninspired
performances and a script that lacks the energy and light touch to generate
laughs. At 25 percent on the Tomatometer, the critics are over Her Dead
Body
. (Check out our interview with star Jason Biggs
here.)



"From this point on, you’re dead to me!"


Hannah Montana & Miley
Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert
is pretty long
way from
Stop Making Sense
or
Gimme Shelter
. However, if you’re a
tween girl, you’ll probably find that it’s right up your alley. In Concert,
the squeaky-clean star of the Disney Channel performs her hits, and the movie
offers some backstage footage as well. Critics say Best of Both Worlds is
reasonably involving; it’s well-crafted, and Cyrus comes off as hard-working and
likeable. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper — and offers more perspectives — than
Cyrus’ live show. At 80 percent on the Tomatometer, Best of Both Worlds
should please its target demographic — and perhaps surprise some parents.

Reviews for The Eye were embargoed until the day of release, and
Strange Wilderness wasn’t screened at all. The Eye is the story of a blind
woman (Jessica Alba) who, after surgery, sees terrifying visions. Strange
Wilderness
follows a group of nature TV show hosts who hatch a plan to find
Bigfoot to boost ratings. Kids, you should know the drill by now: Guess those Tomatometers! (And read RT’s interview with Alba
here, and check out
our Total
Recall
with a roundup of memorable movie moments involving eyes.)



"ZUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUL!"

Also opening this week in limited release:


  • The Silence Before Bach
    ,
    a meditative, metaphorical documentary about the great composer, is at 100
    percent.


  • The Witnesses
    ,
    a tale of five young Parisians coping with AIDS in the 1984, is at 88 percent on
    the Tomatometer.

  • The Lebanese import Caramel,
    a comedy about a discussion of life and love between five women, is at 88
    percent.


  • Live and Become
    ,
    about a Jewish Ethiopian boy’s life in Israel, is at 81 percent.

  • And Praying with Lior, the story of a deeply religious boy with Down
    syndrome, is at 71 percent.



"I’ve always considered Mendelssohn to be Snoop to my Dre."
 

And finally, props to
Mr. Bowler,
Comment,
Whiskeyriver,
Grover141, and
Punktuate for correctly guessing
Meet the Spartans
‘ three percent
Tomatometer. Remember this day, folks, for it will be yours for all time.

Recent Asian Horror Remakes:
——————————–
0% — One Missed Call (2008)
10% — The Grudge 2 (2006)
12% — Pulse (2006)
45% — Dark Water (2005)
40% — The Grudge (2004)

While Brady and Manning duke it out in Phoenix, the $15 movie ticket aims to conquer the multiplexes over Super Bowl weekend. That’s the admission price that theaters are charging moviegoers that line up for Disney’s Hannah Montana concert film which opens Friday on a wave of fan frenzy that has given the hot pic event-film status with young girls everywhere. But other ladies that got their big break from a television series will enter the weekend race at the North American box office too. Jessica Alba stars in the supernatural thriller The Eye while Eva Longoria Parker headlines the comedy Over Her Dead Body. Guys will be tossed their own entry in the form of the nature comedy Strange Wilderness. Disney and Lionsgate will be the studios competing for the box office trophy as Sony’s seven-year streak of ruling Super Bowl weekend will come to an end.

Tween girls who couldn’t get their parents to shell out a grand for a scalped ticket for Hannah Montana’s live concerts can now cough up a Hamilton and a Lincoln and see the big show at their local multiplex. Disney goes 3D for its special one-week-only engagement of Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert which aims to capitalize on the immense fan base for the Disney Channel superstar. The G-rated musicfest will play mostly to girls but should lure in nearly 100% of its target demographic with what has become a major event film for lovers of all things Hannah. With a trim 74-minute running time, theaters will be able to squeeze in six showtimes per day to maximize their revenue. School teachers nationwide may have to brace for record high absenteeism on Friday.

The Hannah Montana phenomenon has become a cash cow for the studio. Thanks to last year’s live concerts which sold out within minutes, fans have wasted no time in pre-buying their movie tickets for Best which has been a top seller all through December and January. Fandango.com reported on Wednesday that the film accounted for a whopping 91% of all tickets purchased with over 1,000 showtimes already sold out coast to coast. Rival MovieTickets.com stated that Best has already joined its all-time top ten list of pre-sales ranking alongside tentpole sequels from franchises such as Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. Helping Montana-mania at the box office will be those increased $15 ticket prices which will allow the overall grosses to swell.

Best of Both Worlds could very well be one of those box office surprises that exceeds all expectations thanks to intense demand plus brilliant marketing and distribution. This could be a Borat-type weekend when the film with the fewest theaters actually beats out all of its competitors for the top spot. In fact the numbers could climb really high if parents join their daughters for the show, or if repeat business kicks in with fans seeing the film multiple times since it will only be on the big screen for seven days. The Super Bowl should not be much of a distraction since young females are typically the quadrant least interested in the big game. Hitting the stage in 683 movie theaters with digital 3D facilities, Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert could open to about $17M this weekend.


That Hannah Montana movie.

Jessica Alba won’t be singing on any stage but the pregnant actress will hit the big screen for the fourth time in eight months with Lionsgate’s new supernatural thriller The Eye. A Hollywood remake of the hit Hong Kong horror flick about a blind woman who sees frightening visions after an eye transplant, the PG-13 film should play to genre fans everywhere over a weekend that welcomes scary movies. Openings for recent fright flicks over Super Bowl weekend include $14.7M for last year’s The Messengers, $21.6M for 2006’s When A Stranger Calls, and $19M for Boogeyman in 2005. All were Sony releases. All opened at number one. That studio’s Screen Gems unit and Lionsgate are the two industry leaders when it comes to mining riches from horror films.

Although there are no other major horror flicks out there, The Eye will still face formidable competition. Hannah Montana is a very different type of film, but it will take some teen girls out of the picture. Young males also have plenty of other choices out there. But Alba is a decent box office draw despite the weak launch of her last thriller Awake which debuted to only $5.9M. The Eye is in a much better position to find success, though. A scary trailer, a creepy one-sheet, a commercially-friendly rating, and a popular star in the lead all will contribute to a solid debut. The Eye opens in 2,436 locations on Friday and could scare up roughly $14M over three days.


Jessica Alba and friend in The Eye.

Eva Longoria Parker headlines her first feature film with Over Her Dead Body which will target women too old to enjoy a Miley Cyrus concert. The PG-13 pic finds the Desperate Housewives actress playing a ghost who haunts a psychic that is falling for her ex-fiance. Paul Rudd and Jason Biggs co-star in the New Line release. Body should skew heavily female and Parker has the potential to one day become a box office draw. But this may not be the vehicle to spark that change. The concept is not very intriguing and mixed reviews will probably keep it from finding a large paying audience. Plus fellow ABC heavyweight Katherine Heigl already has a lock on women with 27 Dresses which has been well received. Opening in 1,977 theaters, Over Her Dead Body could debut to around $6M.


Eva Longoria Parker, Paul Rudd and Lake Bell in Over Her Dead Body.

Paramount targets young men with its new comedy Strange Wilderness which stars Steve Zahn, Justin Long, and Superbad‘s Jonah Hill. The R-rated film will face many tough challenges in the marketplace such as competition from the Super Bowl and the restrictive rating that will affect much of the core audience’s ability to buy tickets. Zahn is no marquee name and is not a reliable anchor for a mainstream comedy. And despite hefty declines, films like Meet the Spartans, Rambo, and Cloverfield will steal away over $20M in combined business from the exact audience Wilderness is trying to reach. Overall interest is not very high so a launch in 1,208 theaters should lead to an opening weekend of around $3M for Strange Wilderness.


Steve Zahn and friend in Strange Wilderness.

Last weekend’s front-loaded boy flicks will get shoved aside this time by the girls. After opening at number one, the spoof comedy Meet the Spartans should see a hefty drop thanks to football fever, competition from new releases, and an upfront bow that attracted most fans last weekend. A year ago, Epic Movie fell by 55% in its sophomore session and a similar decline is in store for Spartans. Look for a $8M frame and a ten-day cume of $29M for Fox.

Sylvester Stallone settled for the vice president’s job on last weekend’s chart with Rambo and with most fans charging theaters in the beginning, not much of an audience will be left. Plus the Lionsgate film lacks the positive vibe that the actor/filmmaker saw with Rocky Balboa last winter. A 55% fall would give Rambo roughly $8M and a sum of $31M after ten days.

Fox could enjoy a solid third frame with its chick flick 27 Dresses which has been holding up well since its strong opening. A 40% decline to $8.5M would give the Heigl hit $57M after 17 days. Diane Lane also could see a reasonably good hold for her crime thriller Untraceable which may drop 40% to $7M for a ten-day tally of $20M. The monster flick Cloverfield fell hard in its second weekend and another sizable drop of 55% could give Paramount $5.5M and a 17-day total of $73M.

LAST YEAR: Super Bowl weekend saw teen girls edge past their moms at the box office as the thriller The Messengers bowed at number one with $14.7M beating out the $13.1M debut of the Diane Keaton pic Because I Said So. Final grosses reached $35.4M for the Sony spookfest and $42.7M for Universal’s star-driven comedy. Holdovers rounded out the top five. Epic Movie dropped from the top spot to third with $8.4M, the hit comedy Night at the Museum followed in fourth with $6.4M, and Smokin’ Aces placed fifth with $6.1M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week,
Jessica
Alba
stars in The
Eye
, a spooky tale of a blind woman who gets surgery to restore her
sight — and ends up seeing lots of creepy stuff. Thus, we at Rotten Tomatoes
thought it would be a great time to peep some classic movies and scenes devoted
to the ol peepers.

The eyes are the first physical feature people notice on
each other, but in the movies, they’re probably the last. Unless you’re
Kubrick
and partly base your artistic legacy on visual motifs of the organ, the eyes
get lost in a medium that relies on dialogue and an actor’s mannerisms and tics
to tell the story. With this list, we set out to catalogue the movies that make
the most of these windows into our souls, which spiraled into a compendium of
eye-gouging. Enjoy! (And if you’re having a snack, consider finishing up right
now.)


Minority Report
(91
percent on the Tomatometer)

Being a fugitive is hard in 2054, especially when your eyes
are being scanned at every corner. In a deliciously creepy scene, Officer John
Anderton (Tom Cruise) finds a black market surgeon (played by a very shady
Peter Stormare) willing to perform an eye transplant. There is a lovely
Clockwork Orange-esque eye clamp to make viewers squirm.
After the procedure, some seriously scary robot spiders crawl into the
apartment, and force Anderton to open his new eyes before they’ve had a chance
to heal. He wants to keep his old eyes, and later drops them and clumsily
chases after them as they roll towards the sewer, catching director
Steven
Spielberg
in a rare moment of mordant humor.


Un Chien Andalou
(100
percent)

Perhaps it was the Pixies who best described the essential
appeal of Un Chien Andalou in "Debaser":

"Got me a movie!
I want you to know!
Slicin’ up eyeballs!
I want you to know!"

Luis Bunuel and
Salvador Dali‘s 1929 surrealist masterpiece
is much more than that of course; Un Chien Andalou is
probably the most famous and influential avant-garde film, a full-bore assault
on reason and convention. However, one of the primary reasons for its lasting
influence is its shocking, notorious opening scene, in which a man takes a
razorblade to a woman’s eye. (If it makes you feel any better, a cow’s eye was
used for the scene. And yes, the cow was dead.)


Kill Bill: Volume Two
(85
percent)

The two volumes of Kill Bill demonstrate
the many ways that the human body can be beaten, sliced, diced, and skewered —
not to mention buried alive. However, eyesight damage is also a significant
risk in Quentin Tarantino‘s epic. Case in point: as Elle Driver,
Daryl Hannah
suffers not one, but two debilitating retinal injuries. The first is at the
hands of martial arts master Pai Mei (who Driver later poisons) leaving her
with a pretty awesome looking eye patch. And the second? We won’t ruin it for you;
just watch the clip below (unless you’re squeamish, of course).


Zombi 2
(33 percent)

Aside from that sublime scene of a zombie boxing a shark at
the bottom of the ocean,
Lucio Fulci‘s Zombi 2 is largely
remembered for one scene, occurring after the undead outbreak is in full swing.
An unlucky lady gets zombie ambushed and her head is grabbed and guided
sl-o-o-o-wly towards a protruding pointy stick. Rather graphic, profoundly campy,
and about as gut-wrenching as when
the evil security guard gets steamrolled in
Austin Powers
.



Thriller: A
Cruel Picture

To get banned in the progressive stronghold of Sweden, it
takes only a movie of rampant misogyny, misanthropy, violence, vengeance
killings, hardcore sex, and cadaver misappropriation. Its clear influence on
Kill Bill spurred renewed interest in the movie, and
Thriller: A Cruel Picture (aka They Call Her One
Eye
) has emerged as a hallmark of exploitation cinema, not only for
its extreme content but also director
Bo Arne
Vibenus
‘s commitment to produce
compelling angles and shots amidst the carnage. An actual recently deceased
young woman was used for the film’s literally eye-popping scene.


Pan’s Labyrinth
(96
percent)

This Spanish fairy tale explores how a child’s imagination
can be a creative escape during war. A more memorable scene in Pan’s
Labyrinth
features one of the most repulsive and frightening monsters
in recent movie history. Our hero, Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), is required to
complete a task in a dining room filled with delicious food. At the head of the
dining room table sits an extremely pale and skeletal creature missing both his
eyes. Conveniently, his sticky bloody eyes sit on a plate in front of him.
Ofelia is about to complete her task, when she disobeys the strict orders not
to eat any of the food in room. Suddenly, the creature inserts his eyes into
his hands (literally, in the center of his palms) and begins to chase Ofelia.


Eyes Without a Face
(97
percent)

A mad scientist, guilt-racked over his daughter’s facial
disfigurement that has led her to permanently wear an ivory mask, kidnaps young
women and cuts off their faces to graft onto his daughter. Grotesque but
weirdly lyrical, Eyes Without a Face is part of the school
of elegant horror that these days only the Spanish seem capable of re-creating.
The camera’s steady, unflinching gaze (clearly coming from director
Georges Franju‘s documentarian background) ratchets the story to rather uncomfortable
levels, with the film’s infamous surgery scene causing audiences to faint
during its 1960 premiere.


Mansion of the Doomed

While Eyes Without a Face aimed to
elevate horror into misshapen art, 1976’s Mansion of the
Doomed
gets down and dirty in the B-movie trenches.
Mansion takes the plot of the former (insane scientist
father, car accident, disfigured daughter), but with a small twist: instead of
face skin, people are being abducted for their eyes. Upstairs in the mansion,
it’s all polyester sweater vests and station wagons, but downstairs its hush-hush
surgery (shot in the same clinical manner of Franju’s) and medieval cages of
blinded prisoners screaming and groping around. Appearances always have been
deceiving.



Sylvester Stallone
,
Gary Busey,
Marjane
Satarapi

What do the Italian Stallion, a beloved Hollywood
kook, and an Iranian comic artist-cum-filmmaker have in common? Eye of the
tiger, baby. Eye of the tiger. Survivor was commissioned to write the hard rock
anthem for one of Rocky
III
‘s
many splendored montages, and the song was later appropriated in
1986 for Busey’s motorcyclists-on-a-rampage movie,
Eye of the Tiger. Countless movies have employed it since,
but the best usage in recent memory is
Persepolis
.
Marjane, depressed and ill, retakes the reigns of her life to this tune, which
Chiara Mastroianni charmingly warbles off-key.


The

Lord of the Rings
trilogy
(94
percent)

Fewer things are creepier than Orcs, but Sauron’s
"probing" eye gives most irksome villainy a run for their money.
Decidedly more macho than other omniscient phantoms of any of the other worlds
(e.g. Macbeth’s Witches, Satan, Mary Alice on Desperate
Housewives
), Sauron’s disembodied eye is a beacon of evil, darkly
lording over colonies of shadowy, evildoing loyalists. J.R.R. Tolkien was hot
on the trail of effective imagery when he conceived of this eye. Really, what’s
more threatening than evil that seeks you out and sends his minions to wherever
it is you lie?


Authors: Tim Ryan, Rachel Sandor, Sara Schieron, and Alex Vo

Jessica Alba - Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.com

It’s hard to believe it’s been only six years since Jessica Alba captured fan boy hearts the world over as Max, the genetically-engineered, super-sexy super-soldier star of James Cameron’s Dark Angel series. Fast forward to 2008 and the 26-year-old has the Hollywood game down pat, top lining films like Good Luck Chuck, two Fantastic Four films, and this week’s horror film, The Eye.

But while the remake of the Pang brothers’ original film is indeed Alba’s first foray into the world of horror, she’s been careful to avoid the trappings of exploitation cinema that the genre has trended toward in recent years. Instead of torture victims, Alba’s character Sydney Wells encounters tortured souls — souls who she can see, a la The Sixth Sense, after inheriting a pair of corneas from a supernaturally-gifted donor. Adding more texture is the fact that Alba’s character is a blind violinist, two additional challenges to the actress, who learned to live without sight and perform like a concert soloist for the role.

We spoke with AskMen’s No. 1 Most Desirable Woman about her role and how she chose The Eye as her first psychological thriller, about her violin skills and the humbling experience of researching her role with real-life corneal transplant patients. And while the expectant mother admitted she had “pregnancy brain” talking to the press, she let us know that she is, and always has been, a die hard science nerd. We see a Scientific American’s Most Sexiest Woman Alive Award on the horizon.

Can you describe your character for people who haven’t seen the movie?

Jessica Alba: I play Sydney Wells; she’s a blind classical violinist, she’s a soloist, and she has a corneal transplant and gains her sight, and when she gains her sight she also takes on the memories and abilities of the woman whose eyes she got. So she ends up seeing people who are dead, and also she’s psychic and can kind of see the future — more tragic things, not really positive, great things. So she’s sort of plagued with this ability, or horrible thing, and she feels like she’s losing her mind because she can’t really touch base with what’s real and what’s not. And also, she’s seeing for the first time so it’s hard for her to get a grip on it.

What attracted you to the project?

JA: The fact that I got to play somebody who was blind, and a violin player — it was pretty complex, for a horror movie. I liked the fact that it was a psychological thriller, and not necessarily a gore-fest. It wasn’t really about someone being tortured, it was about someone losing their sanity and trying to get it back. I thought the story was pretty interesting, and layered, and the relationships that she had with her sister, and her doctor, Alessandro [Nivola]‘s character, were pretty unconventional.

Jessica Alba

Did you actually spend time with blind people, to research the character?

JA: It was pretty intense. I spent time at two blind orientation centers, one in L.A. and one in New Mexico. The one in New Mexico I was with about twelve other students that were fairly young, late teens early twenties, some of them were parents, some of them were just kids, who either had immediately become blind from an accident, and others were slowly becoming blind. They were all trying to learn how to deal with the blindness; I was an actress coming in, they had no idea who I was, they just thought I was another student. You know, I can take my mask off and walk away, and they couldn’t…so that was kind of difficult to deal with, and quite humbling. But I learned how to read Braille, I learned how to walk with a cane, I learned how to get around, label my clothes, label things in the house from the stove to the microwave to the sink, hot cold, you label absolutely everything in the house.

Did you meet with anyone who regained their eyesight and explained what it was like for them to take in the world for the first time?

JA: I did meet a few people who had had corneal transplants; one who’d gained his eyesight and then lost it again, and someone else who had a degenerative disease, and was losing [her eyesight] and had a corneal transplant and got it completely. The guy who wrote the script — it’s pretty true how disorienting and difficult it is to take in everything at once, everything brand new. It really plays tricks on your mind and your perception of things is…so altered, when you bring in this element that you just aren’t used to.

Had you seen the original movie?

JA: Yes, of course. I enjoyed the original, and I really enjoyed the main character’s stoic performance. I thought it was very subtle and quiet, and quite elegant. In Eastern culture, ghosts and mysticism and spirits are part of culture and more accepted, and in Western culture it’s just not. People think you’re insane if you believe in ghosts, and it’s just completely unacceptable to say that you’re seeing stuff. And so we took a more Western approach because, obviously, we’re doing a Western version of it.

What was your biggest challenge in playing someone who’s blind?

JA: Becoming sighted, and playing the violin blind was tough. Because I did so much training on that violin, and not being able to look at the notes while I was playing them and having to just know them by feeling…ah, that was impossible!

Jessica Alba

Did you really play it?

JA: Yeah, I did. I mean I had to; they said in post they just had someone come in and play all the notes that I was playing to make it sound nicer, because [I sounded] really bad. Like, very screechy and very high pitched and bizarre. But the notes were there. I played the notes and I played the rhythm, it just sounded…really bad.

How long did you have to train, with the violin and the Braille?

JA: About four and a half months, but I was shooting another movie. So I had Fantastic Four, and then I had Christmas break, and over Christmas break I kind of really got into it.

Had you seen the directors’ [David Moreau and Xavier Palud] horror film, Ils?

JA: Yeah. That was why we hired them; the fact that they did a whole movie with virtually no dialogue that was very scary, and thrilling. You’re going on this journey with these two people who are being chased in a house. It was so inexpensive, and they made it really entertaining. We wanted them to bring that element to this movie; we had the complicated character, we had the plot twists, and we really needed them to infuse the scary into the film.

What are some of your favorite scary movies?

JA: Well I do like Nightmare on Elm Street, the first one. I like Psycho, Poltergeist, The Birds, It, Rosemary’s Baby…kind of more like ghosts and demons, and stuff like that, less like a psychopath coming to rip your body apart.

Jessica Alba

You went from playing a superheroine in Fantastic Four to playing this girl that sort of gets super powers. Do you see Sydney as a kind of superhero?

JA: I don’t know if they’re superpowers; they’re more like horrible powers! But no, I don’t really think of her as a superhero. It is kind of empowering, to play somebody who is strong, and cool, and kick ass, because usually it’s the guys that play those roles. So yeah, it’s nice.

Have you been approached for other superhero roles, and would you do them?

JA: A few. I love doing Sue Storm, so I don’t know if I really want to repeat and do something else.

You’re coming back for the new Sin City, right?

JA: Whenever that happens. I haven’t seen a script, and they haven’t given me a date or anything.

This is a PG-13 film, and a lot of young girls will be going to see you in this movie. Is there some sort of message you’d want young women who look up to you to take away from this film?

JA: I think there’s something quite empowering about just watching a fairly young person starring in a movie, and in a horror movie that isn’t exploitative. It’s very entertaining, and my character’s quite strong and independent. She’s seeking a truth, that everyone thinks she’s nuts and that she’s losing her mind but she’s true to herself in finding her sanity. And I think you can look into it, or not look into it, but in the most broad terms I think just seeing a young person starring in a movie that isn’t exploitative is pretty different, and cool.

Jessica Alba

This isn’t a gory horror movie, like a lot of horror movies these days are. Was that something you really wanted to avoid?

JA: I didn’t really feel like playing someone who was tortured, or mutilated, or anything. I think there’s enough of that. To me it’s much more interesting to watch what’s going on in someone’s head, and is it real or is it not? The psychological aspect is much more intriguing to me.

At this point in your career, are you at a place where you can pick very specifically what you do and do not want to do in movies?

JA: Yeah. Totally.

Are you a believer in the supernatural?

JA: I’m not closed off to it. I think nothing’s happened in this world, and certainly to people in my life that I know, that are unexplained things. I don’t know – I can’t really be totally shut off to it.

Have you seen The Eye with an audience yet?

JA: I haven’t. I haven’t seen the complete cut, so the premiere will be the first time. I hope it’s scary!

Jessica Alba

Latin American countries are known for being very superstitious, spiritual. Did you grow up with anything like that?

JA: My grandmother definitely believes in a lot of mystical things, good luck things. We had a woman who was sort of the family psychic, more of like a spiritual guide, and she would come in and read our palms. I wouldn’t understand what she was saying, so my grandmother would tell us and interpret it. It was always really emotional; she wasn’t somebody who did it for money, it was just her gift.

There’s a line in the film suggesting your character’s procedure is tied to stem cell research. Do you see The Eye as a pro stem cell research movie, or was that just a throwaway line?

JA: I don’t know if it’s a pro stem cell research movie, although I did read recently that they can take stem cells from embryos without killing the embryo. They just learned how to do it and they’re trying to get the government to pass it, I think I read about it last week.

[As far as the movie] it wasn’t discussed, but I’m kind of into it. I think it’s amazing if we can somehow do it without having to damage the embryo. It would be a dream come true, and science has been able to do that.

Have you recently become more interested in reading about science because of your pregnancy?

JA: No, I’ve always been into it. That was kind of my favorite subject in school. Nanotechnology is really interesting to me. Stuff to sort of make our world a better place, and a cleaner place, through science. And it also explains things that are happening. I’ve always been into it.

That will make a lot of science nerds happy to hear.

JA: Yeah. I like science!

Congratulations on the pregnancy – how have things changed for you?

JA: I can’t really push myself as hard at the gym, but I do work out, because I read in all the books it’s good to work out. You’re basically preparing for a marathon, going through childbirth. So you have to keep your body prepped for that. I’m trying to eat right, knowing that everything I put into my body affects my baby. It’s really exciting!

The Eye hits theaters this Friday.

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