There’s action and drama to be found this week, and not just with your family at Christmas dinner. And if you couldn’t make it out of town for the holidays, you’re in luck; this week’s DVDs take you to Paris (Rush Hour 3), Saudi Arabia (The Kingdom) and London (Eastern Promises).


Rush Hour 3

Tomatometer: 20%

It had been six years since we’d last seen Chris Tucker cracking jokes and Jackie Chan cracking heads on the same screen. This past summer director Brett Ratner brought them back together for the third installment of the Rush Hour franchise. Although critical reception for the series has been lukewarm at best (Rush Hour scored 57% and Rush Hour 2 scored 50% on the Tomatometer), the critics were really unhappy with this one, even in spite of appearances by the legendary Max Von Sydow and Roman Polanski.
 



The Kingdom

Tomatometer: 52%

Director Peter Berg assembled an extremely talented cast (Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper, and Jeremy Piven, Jason Bateman) for his film’s blend of action and Middle Eastern political drama. Many critics lauded the performances and the action scenses, but most agreed that the film falters under the weight of formulaic plot and muddled politics.

 


Eastern Promises

Tomatometer: 88%

After a very successful collaboration in 2005 on A History of Violence, David Cronenberg and Viggo Mortensen teamed up again for the highly acclaimed Eastern Promises. This harrowing tale of muder, deceit, and retribution among Eastern European mobsters living in London also stars Naomi Watts, and critics agreed that the film is a tightly-plotted, efficient, and compelling thriller. It was also nominated for three Golden Globes, including Best Picture and Best Actor (Mortensen).

 


The Brothers Solomon


Tomatometer: 16%

Casting Arrested Development’s Will Arnett and SNL’s Will Forte in the same film should have worked out better than this. But most critics thought the film stretched the idea of the man-child (two of them) way too far.

After struggling at the box office over the last few years, Russell Crowe scored his first number one film in more than seven years with the critically-acclaimed Western 3:10 to Yuma which bumped fellow Hollywood remake Halloween out of the top spot. The weekend’s other new releases, the action film Shoot ‘Em Up and the comedy The Brothers Solomon, both failed to make much of a dent into the typically-slow early September marketplace. The top ten slumped to its lowest point since late April while aside from Yuma, no wide release managed a per-theater average of more than $3,000.

Lionsgate scored its first top spot debut of the year with 3:10 to Yuma which shot up an estimated $14.1M in its opening frame from 2,652 theaters. Averaging a solid $5,317 per venue, the R-rated drama stars Crowe as a captured outlaw and Christian Bale as the man set to accompany him to the train that will take him to prison. Not since his career-making turn in 2000’s Oscar-winning picture Gladiator has Russell Crowe inhabited the number one spot at the box office. Last year’s dramedy flop A Good Year bowed to an embarrassing $3.7M on its way to a puny $7.5M while 2005’s well-reviewed Cinderella Man debuted below expectations with $18.3M leading to a $61.6M domestic total. Critics were very supportive of Yuma giving much praise to the two lead actors as well as to director James Mangold (Walk the Line).

After a record Labor Day weekend launch, the horror entry Halloween plunged 62% and dropped a notch to second place with an estimated $10M in ticket sales. The Rob Zombie-directed film pushed its ten-day cume up to a rosy $44.2M which already makes it the top-grossing R-rated fright flick of the year. Halloween seems on track to finish with roughly $60M for MGM.

Sony’s teen hit Superbad became the 20th film of 2007 to cross the $100M mark over the weekend. The raunchy sex romp collected an estimated $8M, dropping only 36%, and pushed its total gross to a stellar $103.7M. A final gross in the neighborhood of $125M seems likely for the inexpensive $18M production.

Rival comedy Balls of Fury lost half of its opening weekend audience and placed fourth for the frame with an estimated $5.7M pushing the 12-day tally to a respectable $24.3M. The Focus release should end up with $35-38M.

Matt Damon‘s third blockbuster in less than a year, The Bourne Ultimatum, followed in fifth with an estimated $5.5M, off 47%, lifting the cume to $210.1M from North America. The assassin pic joins Shia LaBeouf‘s Disturbia as the only 2007 films to spend six weeks in the Top Five. Worldwide, Ultimatum climbed past $300M making it the top-grossing film in the Bourne series globally with many international markets still to come.

The new Clive OwenPaul Giamatti action pic Shoot ‘Em Up debuted in sixth place with a disappointing $5.5M gross, according to estimates. Making its way into 2,108 theaters, the R-rated film averaged a weak $2,585 per site for New Line. Reviews were mixed.

New Line’s action sequel Rush Hour 3 followed in seventh with an estimated $5.3M, down 37%, boosting the cume to $129.3M. Fellow funny franchise flick Mr Bean’s Holiday dropped 43% to an estimated $3.4M giving Universal a domestic total of $25.1M. The global gross has now risen to a stunning $215M.

A pair of female-skewing pics rounded out the top ten. The Nanny Diaries grossed an estimated $3.3M in its third weekend, off 35%, giving MGM $21M to date. Leggy musical smash Hairspray dipped only 28% which was good enough to allow the John Travolta hit to climb back into the top ten with an estimated $2M. Cume stands at $114.9M for New Line.

Opening terribly in wide release outside of the top ten was the R-rated comedy The Brothers Solomon which bowed to an estimated $525,000 from 700 theaters for a dismal $750 average. The $10M production failed to even make the Top 20.

A pair of films enjoyed encouraging and almost identical launches in arthouses over the weekend. The lunar mission documentary In the Shadow of the Moon bowed to an estimated $41,200 from four sites for a solid $10,300 average. The ThinkFilm release was “presented” by Ron Howard and will add more theaters within New York and Los Angeles and expand to Chicago, Boston, and Washington D.C. on Friday. MGM’s Richard Gere war drama The Hunting Party debuted in four venues as well and grossed an estimated $40,000 for a strong average of $10,000 per theater.

Two competing late-August action titles were tossed out of the top ten. Fox’s Kevin Bacon revenge pic Death Sentence tumbled 62% to an estimated $1.6M in its sophomore frame for a ten-day sum of only $7.9M. Look for a $10M final. The Jet LiJason Statham actioner War has done somewhat better and took in an estimated $1.4M in its third session. Crashing 68%, the Lionsgate release has taken in $20.5M thus far and should conclude with around $23M.

Among summer megahits still climbing the list of all-time domestic blockbusters, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix rose to $288.2M after its ninth weekend while Transformers inched up to $311.4M after its tenth attack. The July releases now sit at 31 and 21, respectively, on the all-time list.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $62.7M which was up a healthy 28% from last year when The Covenant debuted in first place with $8.9M; but down 11% from 2005 when The Exorcism of Emily Rose opened in the top spot with $30.1M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Batman takes on Cinderella Man at the box office as the Russell CroweChristian Bale Western remake 3:10 to Yuma heads into the multiplexes over what is traditionally a tumbleweed weekend in the marketplace. More action comes in the form of Shoot ‘Em Up which pits Clive Owen against Paul Giamatti while those craving comedy get the new laugher The Brothers Solomon. With summer gone and most students back in school, Hollywood has decided to roll out nothing but R-rated films this weekend.

Hoping to bounce back from last year’s critical and commercial disaster A Good Year, Oscar winner Russell Crowe leads the charge and aims for his first trip to the number one spot in nearly four years with 3:10 to Yuma. Directed by James Mangold (Walk the Line), the update on the 1957 semi-classic finds Bale playing a down-on-his-luck family man who takes the job of delivering a captured outlaw (Crowe) to the authorities. Having two strong actors face each other on screen is
usually a good thing and here the starpower should help bring in audiences. Reviews have been solid and since this genre plays to a more mature adult audience, the opinions of critics will make a big difference. The marketing push from Lionsgate has been commendable and with few other interesting new choices out there, Yuma should carve out its own space. Heading into 2,652 theaters, 3:10 to Yuma could open with roughly $14M over the Friday-to-Sunday period.


Russell Crowe and Peter Fonda in 3:10 to Yuma.

For cinemagoers who want even more bullets flying across their screens, New Line is offering up the modern-day crime thriller Shoot ‘Em Up. The R-rated film stars Clive Owen as the good guy on the run, Paul Giamatti as the bad guy with a gun, and Monica Bellucci as a hooker out for fun. Just as with Yuma, the film will skew more male but will probably play a bit younger. Competition will be a big factor since the pic has some big guns it’s going up against. Starpower is also lacking as the actors, though well-respected creatively, are not big ticket sellers as leads. Opening nationally, Shoot ‘Em Up might debut to about $8M this weekend.


Paul Giamatti, in a strict departure from his Lady in the Water character.

Will Forte and Will Arnett, two funnymen with little pull at the box office, team up for the new comedy The Brothers Solomon from Sony. The R-rated pic from director Bob Odenkirk (Let’s Go To Prison) finds the two playing siblings on a wacky quest to fulfill their dying father’s wish of having a grandson. With little starpower, the film is not likely to score much business over the weekend as most interested fans will wait for the DVD. Opening in about 650 locations, The Brothers Solomon could bow to less than $2M.


The Wills (Forte and Arnett) in The Brothers Solomon.

After its record-breaking opening weekend, Halloween should fall sharply in the sophomore session since intense fan interest brought out everyone upfront. The three-day gross could drop by 60% to about $11M giving MGM and The Weinstein Company $45M after ten days. With the new action titles likely to skew older, Superbad could be in for another solid frame. A 45% dip to around $7M may be in order giving McLovin and gang a cume of $102M.

LAST YEAR: The worst box office weekend of 2006 was led by the modest opening of the thriller The Covenant which debuted with only $8.9M which was enough to capture the crown. The Sony pic went on to gross $23.3M overall. Opening with weak results in second was the Ben Affleck starrer Hollywoodland with only $5.9M on its way to $14.4M for Focus. Following two weeks at number one, the football drama Invincible dropped to third with $5.6M for Buena Vista. The Weinstein Company’s Thai actioner The Protector premiered in fourth with $5M leading to only $12M. The Jason Statham action pic Crank ranked fifth with $4.9M for Lionsgate.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week at the movies, we’ve got shootouts (3:10 to Yuma, Starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale); shoot-em-ups (Shoot ‘Em Up, starring Clive Owen); and last shots (The Brothers Solomon, starring Will Forte and Will Arnett). What do the critics have to say?

Ah, the Western… Every time the genre is pronounced dead, it seems as though a movie like 3:10 to Yuma comes along to revive it. Christian Bale stars as a financially-strapped rancher who joins a group to escort a train robber (Russell Crowe) to federal court; mind games and quick-draw action ensue. Critics say the film is one of the best Westerns in years, featuring outstanding performances from Crowe, Bale, and Ben Foster, and simultaneously utilizing old-fashioned storytelling while deepening the psychological complexity. And while it might fall a little short of the original (93 percent), at 81 percent, Yuma is Certified Fresh all the same. (Check out our interview with Yuma director James Mangold and star Peter Fonda here.)


“Sorry kid. I don’t think there’s gonna be a Robin in the next one.”

There appear two be two critical schools of thought on Shoot ‘Em Up. The first: It’s one of the most preposterous, over-the-top action movies ever. The second: What’s wrong with that? Clive Owen stars as a lone gunman who joins forces with Monica Bellucci to protect a baby from a vicious criminal (Paul Giamatti). Critics say Shoot is patently ridiculous, but features outrageously visceral action sequences and an undercurrent of dark humor. At 69 percent on the Tomatometer, Shoot may be worth a shot.


The argument over which stunk more between Lady in the Water and Derailed is about to be settled.


There’s a raunchy new comedy about romantically challenged young men learning a thing or two about responsibility with the impending birth of a child. No, not Knocked Up — we’re talking about The Brothers Solomon. Will Forte and Will Arnett star as a pair of socially awkward siblings who attempt to fulfill their dying father’s wish for a grandchild — a plan that goes hopelessly awry. Unfortunately, critics say Solomon is stupid rather than funny, featuring talented people in situations that fall flat. At zero percent on the Tomatometer, Solomon is ill-concieved.


Not even Science Now thought favorably of The Brothers Solomon.


Also opening this week in limited release: In the Shadow of the Moon, a documentary about the astronauts who set foot on the earth’s satellite, is at 100 percent on the Tomatometer; Salvador Allende, a doc about the controversial Chilean president is at 90 percent; Hatchet, a tongue-in-cheek tribute to slasher films, is at 80 percent; I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With, directed by and starring Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Jeff Garlin as a man looking for love, is at 71 percent; The Hunting Party, a dramedy set during the Bosnian conflict starring Richard Gere and Terrence Howard, is at 45 percent; Fierce People, a drama about class conflict starring Diane Lane and Anton Yelchin, is at 40 percent; and Romance and Cigarettes, John Turturro‘s blue-collar musical starring Kate Winslet, James Gandolfini, and Susan Sarandon, is at 33 percent.


Aren’t we all looking for someone to eat cheese with?

Finally, props to Bruce Campbell (is it really you?) for coming closest to guessing Halloween‘s 21 percent Tomatometer. Loved Army of Darkness.

Recent Russell Crowe Movies:
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26% — A Good Year (2006)
80% — Cinderella Man (2005)
84% — Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
76% — A Beautiful Mind (2001)
40% — Proof of Life (2000)

Recent Clive Owen Movies:
———————————-
91% — Children of Men (2006)
87% — Inside Man (2006)
20% — Derailed (2005)
78% — Sin City (2005)
69% — Closer (2004)