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Meryl Streep landed her first Oscar nomination for just her second on-screen role: 1978’s The Deer Hunter, opposite John Cazale. A few more performances after that and she’d find herself standing before Hollywood’s elite, accepting the gold trophy for her complex “villain” role in 1980’s Kramer vs. Kramer. Stardom came within that decade, as she made her mark across disparate films and genres, becoming versatility personified in the acting game, as featured in a Best Picture winner (Out of Africa), rom-coms (Heartburn), political social thrillers (Silkwood), dramas (Sophie’s Choice), and period pieces (Ironweed).
This canny ability to wedge and dissolve into roles that sparked her attention has been rewarded with a record 21 Oscar nominations over decades, winning three for Kramer, Sophie’s Choice, and The Iron Lady. Yes, there were noms for so-called Oscar bait like Doubt, The Post, and the actually-Rotten Iron Lady, but Streep pulled nominations out of more unique genres, like musicals (Into the Woods), broad comedies (The Devil Wears Prada, Florence Foster Jenkins), and wherever you want to categorize Adaptation.
Streep’s most recent films have been Greta Gerwig’s Little Women adaptation, and the mostly-ignored The Laundromat. She must’ve enjoyed the Steven Soderbergh experience on Laundromat, because she’s teaming up with him again for comedy Let Them All Talk next. Additionally, she’s got another musical (along with the Mamma Mia! movies, they’ve been a late-career boon) in the works in The Prom, from Ryan Murphy. And now, we’re celebrating with all Meryl Streep movies, ranked by Tomatometer!
Judd Apatow fans, get thee to a video store! Knocked Up, starring Seth Rogen, is out on DVD today and features an entire disc of bonus materials that make it well worth your home video bucks. Otherwise, if you’re in the mood for some salacious WWII-era thrills (Black Book), or have 90 minutes to spend watching a behind-the-scenes featurette (Babel), you have plenty of new releases to choose from.
Judd Apatow‘s comic treatment of an accidental pregnancy is the best-reviewed comedy of the year so far (and one of our favorites here in the RT office); we already knew we had to have it, if only to re-watch the awesome “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” opening sequence! And then we took a look at the bonus features — with a whopping three hours of extras, there’s really no reason not to run to the store right now. In addition to special features like Apatow’s behind the scenes video diaries, an extended version of the psychotic OB-GYN Dr. Kuni’s verbal rampage, and a hilarious, cameo-filled Finding Ben Stone “casting” video (remember that Michael Cera on-set breakdown clip?), there are tons of improv-filled deleted and extended scenes. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You’ve got no excuses! Go get it now.
Paul Verhoeven is known for his over-the-top, effects-filled Hollywood films (see RoboCop, Starship Troopers, Total Recall) and also for pushing the envelope where good taste is concerned (see Basic Instinct, Showgirls). His latest, the WWII espionage thriller Black Book, bears both of those trademark stamps. The beautifully-lensed Dutch-language pic concerns a Dutch Resistance fighter (Carice van Houten) who encounters danger and intrigue while seducing a Nazi officer. But don’t expect sensitivity or quiet reflection on the grave historical subject matter — this is pure melodrama, with plenty of crass and ridiculous plot points to keep a Verhoeven fanatic enthralled. A director commentary and behind-the-scenes featurette comprise the extras.
Jake Kasdan wrote and directed this insider comedy about the cutthroat world of television, which should entertain those who love showbiz fiction. David Duchovny stars as a writer who sells a script to a cutthroat network, only to watch it devolve into a shadow of what it was meant to be…cautionary viewing for you aspiring Hollywood types out there?
Rolf de Heer‘s pre-contact Aborigine tale is notable for a few reasons: it’s the first feature-length film to be entirely shot using the languages of native Australians, and it’s been overwhelmingly approved by critics. The film, about a group of Aborigine men telling stories through their own oral history traditions, is accompanied on the DVD by a making-of featurette, interviews with de Heer and co-director Peter Djigirr, a gallery of historical anthropological area photos, and a CD-ROM study guide.
More Releases Worth Your While
A quirky documentary with an equally quirky subject, this critically-lauded film follows the iconoclast proprietor of the Greenwich Village eatery Shopsins.
This improvised mockumentary about high school teachers was written by former educators Mike Akel and Chris Mass based on their own experiences working in public schools, which if you went to public school, you know is a comic goldmine (I’m looking at you, Ms. Monares’ senior year Spanish class).
Directed by U.S.-born Japanese transplant Michael Arias, this anime flick follows rival orphan gangs on the streets of Japan.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Oscar-nominated Babel is out again in a two-disc Special Collector’s Edition. Those truly moved by the multi-story drama might be interested in the release’s only special feature — a 90-minute making-of documentary shot by the director himself.
Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You…
Nicolas Cage stars in this adaptation of a Philip K. Dick tale as a man who can see into the future — two minutes at a time. How useful can that be?
Despite an extraordinary cast that includes Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Toni Collette, and Claire Danes, this multi-generational tale of a dying woman’s true love turned out to be a snoozer. That is, unless you’re a native Rhode Islander who likes to play spot-the-location.
A poorly executed, cliché-ridden teen comedy about a liar (Ryan Pinkston, who used to innocently ask celebs inappropriate questions on Punk’d) whose fibs become true, this flick didn’t come close to winning over critics.
Until next week, happy renting!
Optimus Prime and his robot heroes seized the number one spot at the North American box office with an explosive opening for "Transformers" over the extended Independence Day holiday frame. The Paramount/DreamWorks co-production grossed an estimated $67.6M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and an amazing $152.5M since its early opening last Monday with 8pm preview shows.
Internationally, the Michael Bay-directed actioner has grossed a stellar $93.6M to date from 29 markets putting the global haul at $246.1M and counting. Shia LaBeouf, Tyrese Gibson, Jon Voight, Anthony Anderson, and newcomer Megan Fox led the cast while executive producer Steven Spielberg’s name played prominently in the film’s marketing campaign.
"Transformers" played in an ultrawide 4,011 theaters in North America and averaged a scorching $16,854 for the weekend and a stunning $38,021 over the 6.5-day opening week. The PG-13 film began its explosive run on Monday night with $8.8M in ticket sales and followed that with $27.9M on Tuesday, $29.1M on the Wednesday holiday, $19.2M on Thursday, $22.5M on Friday, $25.9M on Saturday, and an estimated $19.2M on Sunday. The Sunday estimate could be conservative as other studios estimate the weekend gross to be closer to $68M or even $69M meaning final numbers could inch up slightly on Monday.
With a production budget of $145M, "Transformers" is one of the least expensive summer tentpoles this year. "Spider-Man 3" and the third "Pirates" saga reportedly cost $250-300M each to produce and next weekend’s "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" also carries a mighty high pricetag. By comparison, the Autobots flick seems rather inexpensive. The pressure certainly was on Bay after his last film "The Island" cost $125M and grossed a puny $35.8M for DreamWorks two years ago. This time, the studio will be rewarded as "Transformers" not only started off with a bang, but is pleasing audiences too and could enjoy more solid weeks ahead. Its main foe will come from "Potter" which invades multiplexes this Wednesday to get a headstart on what surely will be a gargantuan five-day debut.
Paramount set a new record for the biggest opening week for a non-sequel as its 6.5-day tally edged out the $151.6M that "Spider-Man" grossed in May 2002. The webslinger’s figure would be roughly $170M at today’s prices, though. Still for Paramount and DreamWorks, "Transformers" marks the biggest live-action opening in company history and their third largest overall debut after the third and second "Shrek" installments.
Adjusting for eleven years of ticket price increases, "Transformers" sold about as many tickets as "Independence Day" did during its extended debut over the same Fourth of July holiday week. Both were effects-driven non-sequel summer action films with ensemble casts about alien forces threatening the safety of Earth. "Independence Day" began its run with 6pm shows on Tuesday night and grossed $96.1M from 2,882 theaters over 5.5 days which at today’s prices would be about $125M. "Transformers" collected a slightly better $133.3M in its first 5.5 days. Of course, the comparisons are not exact since ID4 had an earlier start with its Tuesday previews and "Transformers" played in 1,129 more theaters, but the fighting robots did generate the same early July excitement that the alien blockbuster did over a decade ago.
Shia LaBeouf must be hoping that his career will take off the way Will Smith’s did back then. The young actor will star opposite Harrison Ford next Memorial Day weekend with Paramount’s fourth "Indiana Jones" film which certainly makes his stock climb, and will be looking for a much fatter paycheck when "Transformers 2" negotiations begin.
Moviegoers who preferred rats over robots spent an estimated $29M on the Disney/Pixar hit "Ratatouille" which dropped to second place after losing only 38% of its opening weekend sales. After a stellar midweek holiday period that saw the G-rated toon grossing $33.5M from Monday-to-Thursday, the ten-day cume soared to $109.5M. "Ratatouille" is now catching up to Pixar’s "Cars" from last summer which dropped 44% to $33.7M in its second weekend for a ten-day tally of $117.1M. The rodent pic trailed "Cars" by 22% after the first three days, but has now cut the gap to only 6%. "Ratatouille" could find its way to the vicinity of $225M.
Despite direct competition from "Transformers," "Live Free or Die Hard" performed well shooting up an estmated $17.4M for third place this weekend. Down 48%, the PG-13 action sequel upped its cume to $84.2M after 12 days. A final domestic tally of $130-140M could result.
Robin Williams saw only mild results for his latest comedy "License to Wed" which grossed an estimated $10.4M over the weekend and opened to $17.8M over its extended six-day launch period. Playing in 2,604 theaters, the PG-13 pic averaged a mediocre $3,998 over the Friday-to-Sunday period. Critics trashed the Warner Bros. release which tried to position itself as counterprogramming to the testosterone antics of the fighting robots over the holiday week.
Dropping 46% to fifth place was the pricey comedy "Evan Almighty" with an estimated $8.1M in its third weekend giving Universal $78.1M to date. 2003’s "Bruce Almighty" grossed a much mightier $171.4M in its first 17 days and cost half as much as "Evan" to produce.
MGM’s hit thriller "1408" followed with an estimated $7.1M, down only 33%, for a solid cume of $53.8M. Universal’s comedy "Knocked Up" also held up well dipping 29% to an estimated $5.2M. The impressive total stands at $132M which is already 21% better than the final gross of director Judd Apatow’s last film "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" which laughed up $109.3M in 2005.
Fox’s comic book sequel "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" suffered the worst drop in the top ten falling 55% to an estimated $4.2M for a $123.8M total (9% behind its predecessor). Lionsgate expanded its Michael Moore documentary "Sicko" from 441 to 702 theaters and grossed an estimated $3.7M, off just 19%, pushing the cume to $11.5M. George Clooney and pals rounded out the top ten by looting an estimated $3.5M with "Ocean’s Thirteen," down 42%, and raised the sum to $109.1M (5% behind "Ocean’s Twelve").
Three new films debuted well in limited release over the weekend. MGM’s Vietnam war drama "Rescue Dawn" opened in six theaters with an estimated $104,000 for a potent $17,375 average. With $161,000 over five days, the Christian Bale film played to an older male audience and expands to the top ten markets this Friday. Fox Searchlight’s thriller "Joshua" bowed in six sites as well and grossed an estimated $51,086 for an average of $8,514. The distributor will widen the run into about 140 locations this coming weekend. Warner Independent opened its comedy "Introducing the Dwights" in four playdates and collected an estimated $31,000 for a three-day average of $7,750. Five-day total was $46,000. On Friday, the R-rated pic will expand to about 40 theaters.
Two films fell from the top ten over the weekend. The megahit "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" became the 25th film in history to sail past the $300M mark with its estimated $3M take in its seventh frame. Down 39%, the Johnny Depp adventure upped its total to $301.7M from North America keeping it at number 25 on list of all-time domestic blockbusters. A final gross of $305-310M seems likely domestically. Overseas ticket sales have surpassed $614M putting the global gross at a colossal $916M and counting.
Focus enjoyed a good hold with its star-driven drama "Evening" which took in an estimated $2.3M, off 33% in its sophomore frame. But the ten-day cume is still only at $8.3M meaning a not-so-impressive $15M final seems likely.
Among the summer’s biggest hits, "Shrek the Third" grossed an estimated $1.4M, down 48%, while "Spider-Man 3" dipped 42% to an estimated $350,000. Total domestic grosses stand at $316.6M and $334.4M, respectively, and both films have now joined the Top 20 on the all-time domestic blockbusters list.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $156.2M which was down 25% from last year when "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest" shattered the opening weekend box office record with $135.6M; but up 15% from 2005 when "Fantastic Four" debuted on top with $56.1M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Pixar scored its eighth consecutive number one opening with the animated feature "Ratatouille" which easily topped the North American box office chart this weekend. Bruce Willis got the action going in second place with the debut of his new shoot-em-up sequel "Live Free or Die Hard."
The Michael Moore documentary "Sicko" and the femme-driven drama "Evening" saw much smaller grosses in their national openings but still landed in the top ten. The overall box office was slightly better than last year’s as the the first half of 2007 came to a close.
"Ratatouille" cooked up an estimated $47.2M in its premiere frame hitting the top spot, but the G-rated toon delivered the smallest opening for Pixar since 1998’s "A Bug’s Life" which bowed nationwide over the Thanksgiving session to $33.3M over three days (roughly $40M at today’s ticket prices). The new entry about a rodent that secretly cooks up delicious meals in a Paris restaurant fell short of the debut numbers posted by recent Pixar offerings like last summer’s "Cars" ($60.1M), 2004’s "The Incredibles" ($70.5M), and 2003’s "Finding Nemo" ($70.3M). With every company in Hollywood now producing computer-animated films for kids, and "Cars" driving into theaters just one year ago, "Ratatouille" lacked the event status that most Pixar pics carried with them.
Still, reviews were sensational and while the film may have been a bit of a tough sell upfront, strong word-of-mouth could give the rat pic solid legs in the weeks ahead, especially with the Independence Day holiday week coming up. Pixar films often go on to reach four or fives times their opening weekend numbers domestically so joining the $200M club is still possible. The French setting could also boost overseas sales. Most recent Pixar films earned more internationally than domestically except for "Cars" which boasted a very American NASCAR-type storyline.
Opening at number two with a similar gross, but spread out over five days, was the Bruce Willis action sequel "Live Free or Die" Hard which collected an estimated $33.2M over the Friday-to-Sunday period and $48.2M since its Wednesday launch. Playing in 3,408 theaters, the Fox release averaged a healthy $9,727 over three days. Studio research showed that the PG-13 film skewed a bit older and a bit more male, as expected. With the franchise being dormant for twelve years, it was a challenge to make this new "Die Hard" picture relevant to today’s young summer moviegoers. "Live Free" earned strong reviews from critics and overseas, where its title is "Die Hard 4.0," grosses are expected to be significantly stronger as evidenced by 1995’s "Die Hard With A Vengeance" which collected a whopping 72% of its $361M worldwide total from outside of North America.
Steve Carell’s comedy "Evan Almighty" dropped 52% in its second weekend to an estimated $15.1M and fell two spots to third place. Universal has collected $60.6M in ten days and seems headed for the $100M mark by the end of the run. That makes "Evan" the summer’s biggest underachiever given its reported $175M production cost and the fact that it has grossed less than half as much as "Bruce Almighty" did in its first ten days four years ago.
The hotel room thriller "1408" declined by 49% in its sophomore frame and collected an estimated $10.6M. John Cusack’s latest film has scared up a solid $40.4M after ten days and could finish with an impressive $70M for MGM making it the year’s second biggest horror film after "Disturbia."
Falling 55% to an estimated $9M was "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" which has banked $114.8M to date. The PG-rated Fox sequel is off 7% from the 17-day cume of its PG-13 predecessor from 2005.
Universal’s comedy "Knocked Up" placed sixth with an estimated $7.4M, down only 32%, for a cume of $122.4M. "Ocean’s Thirteen" followed falling 47% to an estimated $6.1M giving Warner Bros. $102.1M domestically. The international tally climbed to $124.1M boosting the worldwide total to $226M and counting.
Disney’s Captain Jack saga "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" ranked eighth with an estimated $5M dipping only 30% in its sixth voyage. The North American cume stands at $295.8M putting it at number 25 the all-time domestic blockbusters list just behind 2003’s first "Pirates" adventure which grossed $305.4M. Overseas, the third Pirates film surged to $608.9M raising the global gross to an astounding $904.7M allowing it to surpass "Spider-Man 3" to become the top-grossing film worldwide in 2007. At World’s End has also become the sixth biggest blockbuster of all-time overseas and only the ninth movie ever to break the $900M mark globally.
Michael Moore’s new documentary "Sicko" opened nationwide over the weekend and placed ninth with an estimated $4.5M from only 441 theaters for a solid $10,204 average. Though it was an impressive debut, it was nowhere near the $23.9M opening and $27,558 average of the filmmaker’s last release "Fahrenheit 9/11" from June 2004. That controversial film went on to become the top-grossing doc ever with $119.2M. "Sicko," a criticism of America’s health care problems, failed to attract the same amount of controversy and has gotten off to a slower start for Lionsgate. Cume is $4.6M including an exclusive one-week run in New York City.
The dying-mother drama "Evening" bowed with weak results in tenth place with an estimated $3.5M from 977 sites for a mild $3,596 average. Focus saw poor reviews for its femme-driven drama.
At 2007’s halfway point, the top five summer films (led by "Spider-Man 3"’s $333.7M) have collectively grossed $1.18 billion, up 31% from last year. The top five blockbusters of the overall year have combined for a $1.32 billion, up an encouraging 37% from this point in 2006, so the marketplace has certainly been healthy with some big hits, even if some have not met the industry’s high expectations.
Four films tumbled out of the top ten over the weekend. Paramount’s "Shrek the Third" fell 51% to an estimated $2.7M giving the DreamWorks toon $313.8M to date. That allowed the $170M-budgeted ogre tale to crack the Top 20 on the all-time domestic list at number 20 right behind "The Fellowship of the Ring" which took in $314.2M. Look for a final of about $320M which would be substantially behind the $436.7M of "Shrek 2" which currently ranks number three all-time. Worldwide, "Shrek the Third" has grossed over $500M with many major markets yet to open.
Rival toon "Surf’s Up" grossed an estimated $2.4M, off a steep 64%, giving Sony $53.7M thus far. A mediocre $60M final could result. The teen girl pic "Nancy Drew" fell 56% to an estimated $1.9M for a $21.3M sum. Warner Bros. should end its run with only $25M or so. Paramount Vantage’s "A Mighty Heart" dropped 61% to an estimated $1.6M giving the Angelina Jolie pic just $7M in ten days. A $10M final seems likely.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $141.6M which was up a scant 2% from last year when "Superman Returns" opened at number one with $52.5M; and up 9% from 2005 when "War of the Worlds" debuted on top with $64.9M over three days.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Disney and Pixar aim for their eighth straight number one hit together with the latest computer animated film from the industry experts, "Ratatouille."
For those looking for a higher body count in their weekend entertainment, Fox offers the actioner "Live Free or Die Hard" which stands as the ninth sequel in nine weeks this summer. In more limited national release, Lionsgate expands its Michael Moore documentary "Sicko" while Focus opens its anti-"Die Hard" pic "Evening." This weekend’s box office champ will only have a short-lived stay at number one since "Transformers" will begin its assault on the multiplexes on Monday night attacking at 8pm.
Scurrying into its usual position atop the charts, Pixar returns to capture the family audience with "Ratatouille" hoping for what could be a long run at the summer box office. The G-rated pic tells of a lovable rat with a gift for cooking that finds itself working secretly in a famous Paris restaurant with a clumsy human boy. Brad Bird ("The Incredibles," "The Iron Giant") directs and the voice cast includes Patton Oswalt, Peter O’Toole, Brian Dennehy, and Janeane Garofalo. Not the biggest names in the biz, but this one will not be sold on the starpower of actors. It is the Pixar brand name, and to an extent the Disney logo, that will bring in paying customers. Parents and children know they are guaranteed a great time so the brand will sell itself. Reviews have also been glowing across the board which will help too.
Last summer, the Disney/Pixar team saw its "Cars" drive off with $60.1M on opening weekend on its way to a $244.1M final which by the end of the year made it the second biggest blockbuster of 2006 after "Dead Man’s Chest." "Night at the Museum"’s prolonged run into 2007 allowed it to eventually surpass "Cars." Pixar’s previous toons "The Incredibles" and "Finding Nemo" both bowed at the $70M mark however. "Ratatouille" will cater to the same audience, but direct competition for families will be tougher than it was with the prior pics. Though fading fast, "Evan Almighty" and the "Fantastic Four" sequel are both PG films specifically designed to appeal to kids and should steal away close to $25M combined. But the rat film should enjoy an extended stay in North American multiplexes as word-of-mouth will be very positive and moviegoers will enjoy having a new story with new characters instead of the same old sequels all the time. Launching in over 3,500 theaters, "Ratatouille" could gross about $57M this weekend.
Bruce Willis returns to his signature franchise after a dozen-year gap with "Live Free or Die Hard," Fox’s next big entry into the summer movie sweepstakes. Keeping with the new fad of tamer ratings, the fourth installment of the series keeps the action high but cuts back on extended shots of blood and foul language in order to secure the PG-13. The previous "Die Hards" were all R-rated with the last two being number one openers. Directed by Len Wiseman, who helmed both "Underworld" pics, "Live Free" co-stars Justin Long and finds Bruce’s John McClane character assigned to protect a computer hacker who holds the key to stopping a virtual terrorist from taking control of the country electronically.
Since today’s teenagers never felt the excitement of rushing out to the theaters to see a new "Die Hard" flick, the studio has worked hard to make it relevant to the most sought after demographic so they don’t think of this as their father’s action movie. The new rating, the high-tech plot, and the Mac-friendly Long could certainly help. Plus in a summer filled with super heroes and pirates, "Die Hard" gets retro with action not driven by effects, but by stunts. The audience should skew male and older. Plus there are die hard "Die Hard" fans that have been waiting patiently for twelve years that will be out upfront to see their hero return. Reviews have been good and the film actually delivers solid entertainment without being the type of creative disappointment that audiences have unfortunately become used to this summer. Opening Wednesday in 3,172 theaters, "Live Free or Die Hard" could generate about $31M over the three-day weekend and around $48M over the five-day debut period.
Oscar winner Michael Moore turns his wrath on the health care system in his latest documentary "Sicko." The PG-13 entry comes with the filmmaker’s usual desperate need to generate controversy in order to sell tickets. The new film does not carry with it the monstrous buzz that propelled "Fahrenheit 9/11" to a surprise number one opening three years ago. Given the subject matter, "Sicko" should skew older. Lionsgate is rolling the film out slowly instead of opening nationwide on the first weekend as it should take a little longer to get people interested in buying a ticket. The distributor is hoping that last weekend’s solo New York debut, last Saturday’s sneak previews in Moore-friendly markets, and this frame’s limited expansion to a few hundred sites will get people talking as the country heads into the Fourth of July holiday week ahead. Holiday buzz would then justify a wider rollout. Expanding to 441 theaters on Friday, "Sicko" could collect about $7M and generate a sizzling per-theater average.
In the weekend’s toughest sell, acclaimed Hollywood actresses band together to define the term "chick flick" with the dying-mother drama "Evening." Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Claire Danes, and Toni Collette star in the Focus release which should see most of its business come from white adult women. The PG-13 film is trying to offer summer ticket buyers an alternative to the endless string of testosterone-fueled action sequels, but it comes up short when it comes to commercial bells and whistles. Sure there is some well-respected starpower, but comedy always sells better than drama with female-skewing pictures. And look for mothers to join their kids for "Ratatouille" which take many in the target audience out of the picture. Opening nationally in 978 theaters, "Evening" might gross about $3M this weekend.
Last weekend’s top earner "Evan Almighty" wasn’t exactly explosive out of the gate. This weekend will be a tough one as well since Pixar will steal away the family audience and John McClane will take away his share of summer moviegoers too. A 50% drop to about $15M would leave Universal with $60M after ten days.
"1408" scared up some strong sales last weekend in its debut. But fright flicks fall hard on the second weekend so a 55% decline would give the John Cusack thriller around $9.5M for the frame and a ten-day cume of $39M.
A similar fate could await "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" which tumbled by 66% in its sophomore session. Fox might drop down to roughly $9M boosting the 17-day total to $115M.
LAST YEAR: Warner Bros. flew into the top spot with the ultraexpensive comic flick "Superman Returns" which bowed to a not-so-muscular $52.5M over three days and $84.6M in its first five days. The Man of Steel made its way to $200.1M domestically and $390M worldwide which fell below industry expectations. Exceeding pre-release expectations was Meryl Streep‘s "The Devil Wears Prada" which bowed to $27.5M for Fox. The sleeper hit went on to gross a surprisingly strong $124.7M in North America and did exceptionally well overseas too with a global tally of $325M. Rounding out the top five were Adam Sandler‘s "Click" with $19.9M, the Disney/Pixar hit "Cars" with $14.6M, and Jack Black‘s "Nacho Libre" with $6.6M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
This week at the movies we have hungry, hungry rats ("Ratatouille," starring Patton Oswalt and Brad Garrett), a world-weary hero (Bruce Willis in "Live Free or Die Hard"), a provocateur extraordinaire ("Sicko," the new doc from Michael Moore), and a rare midsummer tearjerker ("Evening," starring Meryl Streep and Claire Danes). What do the critics have to say?
After a slight stumble with "Cars," "Ratatouille" marks a semi-return to form for Pixar. This animated flick stars Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt), a rat whose aspirations to become a chef land him in a struggling restaurant’s kitchen, where he befriends a hapless garbage boy (Lou Romano). While critics are floored by the stunning leap in animation quality that Pixar seems to make with each movie, they’re equally impressed by "Ratatouille"’s fast pacing, memorable characters, and overall good humor. And like director Brad Bird‘s previous film, "The Incredibles," "Ratatouille" juggles themes of identity and individualism without being heavy-handed. "At 90 percent Tomatometer, the Certified Fresh "Ratatouille" is a movie to savor. (Check out RT’s interview with Patton Oswalt.)
Despite the title, the setting for the latest "Die Hard" isn’t New Hampshire; it’s Washington, D.C., where a group of super-hackers (led by Timothy Olyphant) are plotting to attack America’s computer infrastructure and bring the nation to its knees. McClane teams with a cyber geek to stop them; rousing pyrotechnics ensue. Critics say that while the plot is beyond preposterous, it’s of little matter with stunts and action this exhilarating and intense. And they also note that Bruno settles nicely into his iconic role. At 77 percent on the Tomatometer, "Live Free" is not only Certified Fresh, it’s the second-best-reviewed "Die Hard" after the original. (Check out RT’s interview with Bruce Willis here.)
Wherever Michael Moore goes, cameras, and controversy, follow. That’s certainly the case for "Sicko"; Moore’s latest doc, which compares and contrasts our privatized health care with other health care systems abroad, has gotten him in hot water with the Bush administration over a potentially embargo-violating Cuban medical trip. But Moore is finding much love among critics, who call it a mature, humanistic film. They praise Moore’s decision to spend much of the time off-screen, allowing the events to convince and anger on their own merits. At 89 percent Tomatometer, "Sicko" is Certified Fresh and just what the doctor ordered. (Check out RT’s interview with Michael Moore.)
Like so many other ambitious, richly layered novels adapted into films, "Evening" is what some critics call impossible to translate faithfully to the big screen. Assembling a dazzling cast, "Evening" stars Vanessa Redgrave as terminally ill mother who recounts to her children an affair she had as a young woman (played by Claire Danes). Critics call it a melodramatic artsy film, one that tries to go for emotional uplift, but with plot devices and character arcs that are too obvious to be genuinely affecting. At 32 percent Tomatometer, "Evening" falls and tumbles.
Also opening this week in limited release: "Ghosts of Cité Soleil," a harrowing portrait of the titular Haitian slum, is at 81 percent; "Over the GW," an autobiographical look into rehab, is at 80 percent; "In Between Days," a coming of age story with a Korean twist, is at 77 percent; and "Vitus," a drama about a young musical prodigy, is at 69 percent.
While discussing his latest film ("Evening") with ComingSoon.net, Mr. Wilson was asked about his possible involvement in Zack Snyder‘s "Watchmen" adaptation. And while the actor didn’t exactly confirm that news, well, he also kinda did:
I would blab my mouth ’cause I certainly haven’t been told to keep quiet. It’s just out of respect for them trying to get everybody else on board before I go ahead and blab my mouth, but it’s pretty cool. It’s exciting stuff.
I don’t know much about the "Nite Owl" character that Wilson seems slated to play, but the guy’s a darn good actor, so I say it’s a good pick.