Charlize’s hair apparent to her Furiosa character in Mad Max: Fury Road is Atomic Blonde, as she inhabits a new badass creation with a license to break bones and drub clowns across ’80s Germany. We could go Theron and on but let’s cut to the chase: Here’s 24 more female action movies, ranked by Tomatometer!

Since we’re all still recovering from Comic-Con 2008, and tons of new home video details dropped at the Largest Nerd Gathering in the World, it’s time for RT on DVD: Geek Edition! Read on for more about Ghostbusters, Rambo, and Hulk vs. Wolverine news and get ready for a week packed with new releases like Doomsday, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, and the long-awaited Dark City Director’s Cut!

The Real Ghostbusters DVD set is coming



Children of the ’80s, start saving your pennies — The Real Ghostbusters animated series is coming to DVD for the first time in its entirety, after the scattered releases of select episodes in the past few years. The 25-disc set will be available November 1 and will include all 147 re-mastered episodes, 12 hours of bonus material, the complete spin-off series Slimer! And the Real Ghostbusters, a never-before seen pilot episode, commentary tracks, and more bits of trivia than you could fit in the Ecto-1. Click here for more information.

Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo Director’s Cut confirmed

It was a bit surprising when Rambo actor-writer-director Sylvester Stallone announced his desire to make a director’s cut of his 2008 sequel (also known as John Rambo) while promoting the film’s DVD release last May. (We will admit, we hardly saw the need for it, other than to allay those pesky rotten reviews.) Now it seems that director’s cut is indeed in the works, as producer Cliff Stephenson confirmed at a Comic-Con producer’s panel. “There’s a slightly different, slightly longer version of Rambo coming out next year,” said Stephenson. “It’s definitely more emotional, more effective and it’s Stallone’s favorite cut of the film.” To which we ask: will the Rambo Director’s Cut up the ante and increase the number of on-screen deaths per minute (tallied at 2.59 bodies per 60 seconds by the LA Times‘ John Mueller)?

(Also from the producer’s panel: expect Battlestar Galactica on Blu-Ray!)

Hulk Smash, Wolverine Slash…Hulk vs. Wolverine DVD previewed

It’s one of the ultimate geeky hypothetical what-ifs: who would win in a fight between Wolverine and The Hulk? (Yes, we know Wolverine was first introduced in a Hulk comic.) Fans saw the pair duke it out onscreen last weekend when Lionsgate and Marvel joined forces to present a preview of their 2009 DVD film, Hulk vs. Wolverine, a 40-minute animated release pitting the two Marvel Universe characters against each other. (Another Hulk vs. film will see him fighting Thor.) According to IGN DVD editor Christopher Monfette, well-staged fight action and cameos by familiar faces will please fans…peep some of said action in Marvel’s teaser trailer below.


Click for this week’s new releases!

Doomsday

Tomatometer: 48%

Writer-director Neil Marshall goes all Mad Max on Hollywood with his third feature film (after the well-received horror flicks Dog Soldiers and The Descent), in which a team of specialists infiltrate a Scotland that’s been quarantined off for 30 years, where inside survivors have devolved into a race of lawless, tribal cannibals. Marshall based Rhona Mitra‘s tough chick agent Eden Sinclair on such bad-ass heroes as Snake Plisskin, but does his reverent homage to sci-fi action flicks rival the classics from whence Doomsday was borne?

Bonus Features:

While the movie itself may be distractingly derivative, it’s the high-octane, post-apocalyptic action that we’re after. Especially if you watch Doomsday on Blu-Ray. It’s Universal’s very first release in the HD format after joining the Blu-ray camp, and though the Picture-in-Picture Blu-ray feature allows for learning fun tidbits while watching the film, there are only a handful of mildly entertaining bonus features.

Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay

Tomatometer: 54%

When Tomatometer ratings are high, a movie is most likely good; when they’re in the teens, it’s most likely Razzie-worthy. But in some cases, a Tomatometer in the 50s denotes a film that split critics. Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is such a film. You probably already know if you’ll like this sequel about stoner BFFs Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn); the bigger question to ask yourself about renting this on DVD is, “What Would NPH Do?”

Bonus Features:

Where Harold and Kumar are concerned, one must go Unrated. The H & K faithful should definitely pick up the Unrated 2-Disc release, which includes the Choose Your Own Adventure-like “Dude, Change the Movie!” feature; choose alternate plotlines for the boys and see a whole new movie unveil at your fingertips, using specially shot extra footage. What if Kumar didn’t bring a bong onto the plane? Forget bottomless parties — go with a topless party instead! The pot-ibilities are endless.

Never Back Down

Tomatometer: 25%

Like a Kickboxer for the Facebook generation, Never Back Down tackles an up-and-coming sport phenomenon: Mixed Martial Arts. Unfortunately, star Sean Faris is no Jean-Claude Van Damme (but then, who is?) and director Jeff Wadlow’s “underground high school fight club” flick comes off as a cheesy, aggressive version of The Karate Kid, with Djimon Honsou as Faris’ Mr. Miyagi. Wax off, readers.

Bonus Features:

Summit Entertainment is releasing a 2-Disc Unrated and Extended “Beat Down” edition, and considering Never Back Down‘s triumphant “Best Fight” win at the MTV Movie Awards, perhaps that’s what some of you want. Others should just rent the single-disc DVD.

Lost Boys: The Tribe

Tomatometer: N/A

The Coreys are back! Both Corey Feldman and Corey Haim make appearances (though Haim’s part was reportedly cut out of the final edit) in the long-awaited, but not necessarily asked-for, sequel to 1987’s cult vampire flick. Feldman reprises his role as Edgar Frog, now a seasoned vampire hunter who comes to the aid of a teenager and his bloodsucker sister in this direct-to-video release. (And in a bizarre MPAA ruling, Lost Boys: The Tribe is rated R for “strong vampire violence.”)

We’re bringing you two exclusive clips from Lost Boys: The Tribe…click here to watch the sinister beach bum vamps and Edgar Frog’s triumphant return to the screen!

Bonus Features:

Lost Boys: The Tribe comes in three versions: Standard, Uncut, and Blu-ray Uncut. Each version also has the same Corey-tastic extras, including Alternate Endings with the Frog Brothers, Edgar Frog’s Guide to Coming Back Alive, a behind-the-scenes featurette and music videos.

Wargames: The Dead Code

Tomatometer: N/A

While we’re on the subject of direct-to-DVD resuscitations of 80’s franchises we all thought were long gone, there’s a new WarGames flick out — and before you ask, no, Matthew Broderick is not pulling a Corey Feldman and won’t appear in this sequel. Hunky Matt Lanter stars as a computer whiz kid who accidentally hacks into a government defense computer and…well, you pretty much know the story already. Fun throwback trivia: Director Stuart Gillard started out as a writer for The Sonny and Cher Show, helmed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III and one of the best episodes of The Road to Avonlea (“How Kissing Was Discovered”).

Bonus Features:

A retrospective look at the original WarGames film might have made an interesting feature, but the sequel’s creators keep it short and simple with only a photo gallery, a making-of featurette, and commentary with star Lanter and director Gillard.

Shine a Light

Tomatometer: 86%

Between 2006’s Oscar-winning The Departed and his upcoming fall thriller Shutter Island, Martin Scorsese found time to make a critically-acclaimed rock documentary about go-to soundtrack contributors The Rolling Stones. (Believe it or not, you won’t hear “Gimme Shelter” in this Scorsese flick.) Incredibly, Scorsese got a slate of filmmaking rock stars of his own to help out behind the camera, nabbing Oscar-winning cinematographers Robert Richardson (The Aviator), Robert Elswit (There Will Be Blood), Andrew Lesnie (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), and John Toll (Legends of the Fall), Oscar-nominee Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men), and other award-winning lensers to capture footage for the film.

Bonus Features:

Look for special appearances by Christina Aguilera, Jack White, Buddy Guy, former President Bill Clinton and former Presidential Democratic party primary candidate Hillary Clinton, documented further in a making-of documentary. Four additional songs accompany the release.

The Band’s Visit

Tomatometer: 98%

Eran Kolirin’s fish-out-of-water tale garnered incredible reviews and was a front-runner for Best Foreign Oscar last year when a controversial Academy ruling declared it ineligible; now’s your chance to see what the fuss was all about, as it makes its way to DVD.

Bonus Features:

There’s unfortunately not much in the way of extras beyond a photo gallery and making-of featurette. Still, cinephiles and Oscar-hounds should find it an interesting watch, if only to decide once if it could have been a contender.

Dark City: Director’s Cut

Tomatometer: N/A

With shades of noir, Metropolis, Blade Runner and the later-released Matrix series, Alex Proyas’ Dark City has earned cult status among the most popular science fiction films in recent memory. Ten years after its initial theatrical release, Dark City is finally getting the treatment it deserves — in a multilayered, extra-packed Director’s Cut that eliminates the film’s opening narration and adds never-before-seen footage.

Bonus Features:

At 15 minutes longer than the original version, Dark City The Director’s Cut is presented how writer-director Proyas intended and with enhanced picture and sound. Three new commentary tracks feature Proyas with a host of guests, including writers Lem Dobbs and David S. Goyer and film critic Roger Ebert, recorded years ago in addition to his commentary on the theatrical DVD release. You’ll also find making-of documentaries introduced by Proyas, essays and Neil Gaiman’s review of Dark City. **Only the Blu-Ray release features both the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut.**

Inglorious Bastards

Tomatometer: N/A

And finally, one more piece of revived cult cinema: Inglorious Bastards, the 1978 World War II cult movie about American soldiers on a suicide mission, is now available in a three-disc release presented by none other than Quentin Tarantino. QT, of course, is currently updating Enzo G. Castellari’s flick, with Brad Pitt and Leonardo di Caprio rumored to play the leads. Here he takes on the familiar role of curator, introducing a new generation of movie lovers to the rock ’em, sock’em, shoot ’em up war movie starring ’70s icons Bo Svenson and Fred Williamson.

Bonus Features:

Severin Films has put together a three-disc celebration of Inglorious Bastards that includes a a remastered cut, a retrospective reunion with Castellari, Williamson, Svenson, and more cast and crew members, Tarantino and Castellari in conversation, a tour of the shooting locations, trailers, audio commentary by Castellari, and a previously unreleased bonus soundtrack CD.

‘Til next week, happy viewing!

Cripes! The bloodthirsty summer movie season has its first big-budget flop of the summer, and we’re only two weeks in. The disappointment, no scrap that, disaster in question is the Wachowski brother latest effort Speed Racer, which had designs on taking Iron Man‘s top spot, but instead, only came in a lowly fourth…

Getting piped to the post by Jon Favreau’s comic adaptation, which has found a huge audience thanks to a combination of a charismatic, likeable leading man and a fizzy, funny tone, is not unexpected. But limping in behind the likes of What Happens in Vegas… and Forgetting Sarah Marshall (which has been on release for three weeks) represents a shocking return for the iconoclastic directorial siblings and uber-producer Joel Silver. In fact, the film made less than a £800per screen – pretty shocking compared to the £3500+ raked in by Iron Man.

So what went wrong? Well, the mixed reviews certainly didn’t help; whilst many admired the delirious, barmy visual stylings of the film, many more were annoyed by the less-than-complex plot and characterisation and general cartoony tone (with some hacks obviously forgetting it was based on a Japanese anime and was made for kids…).

We think however it may have been Warner Brother’s marketing strategy for the movie, with the studio targeting too broad a base and ultimately capturing no-ones imagination. Traditional fans of the Wachowski’s previous effort The Matrix trilogy were almost certainly put off by the Speed Racers more childish moments (forum monkeys have been ‘flaming’ the film and giving it ‘bad buzz’ for months), while maybe not enough was done to woo the film’s natural audience — families with pre-teen kids. Indeed a summer or Easter holiday release would have perhaps been a better bet for the film’s chances… too late now of course.

Elsewhere another similarly-hard-to-market film also made a disappointing run at the British public, with Neil Marshall‘s Doomsday also failing to garner much interest from Joe Public. The director of top horror flicks the Descent and Dog Soldiers was given more money for his latest effort, but many thought he wasted it on a collection of flashy set pieces with out much interlinking plot in between. This post-apocalyptic tale, which borrowed liberally from Mad Max, Escape from New York and many more, only made it to sixth place in the charts.

Neil Marshall

Just a few scenes into Doomsday and we know we’re watching the work of someone who adores post-apocalyptic films, with every scene littered with references to end-of-the-world classics from the 70s and 80s. And writer-director Neil Marshall readily admits that’s exactly what he was going for.

“Right from the start, I wanted my film to be an homage to these sorts of movies, and deliberately so,” he says. “I wanted to make a movie for a new generation of audience that hadn’t seen those movies in the cinema – hadn’t seen them at all maybe – and to give them the same thrill that I got from watching them. But kind of contemporise it, pump up the action and the blood and guts.”

This is a rather surprising shift for the filmmaker behind Dog Soldiers and The Descent, two claustrophobic thrillers that got deep into their characters’ heads. But Doomsday is a big, loud action movie, and Marshall reveals to RT readers the films that inspired him most…


The Road Warrior (1981)

The Road WarriorThe three Mad Max movies set the bar for this kind of movie, but for me personally it’s the second one. I do love the third one, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985); there are elements in it that are rubbish, but most of it’s pretty good. The first one, Mad Max (1979), has a great car chase at the start – a real jaw-dropper – and a pretty good one at the end, but the rest of it is quite slow. But with The Road Warrior, once the bondage gear comes out – the Mohawks and all that kind of stuff – it was like, “Wow, OK, we haven’t seen this before.” My thinking is that if you’re in the apocalypse and you survive, you’re going to choose to wear a leather jacket instead of a tweed suit. People are going to look like punks, because it looks cool!

The Road Warrior is so concise, beautifully written and beautifully directed. I love the use of cars and locations. And Mel Gibson is just so perfect in that role. He hardly says a word, but when he does speak, it counts. Like him, Rhona Mitra‘s character in my film, Eden Sinclair, is a police officer who has a history. So there’s another connection.


Doomsday


Escape from New York (1981)

The Road WarriorWhat a fantastic vision and idea, and certainly my film is a huge homage to this film, what with the concept of something being walled off and all the gang warfare. The anarchic spirit of that movie is definitely something I was going for. And of course Eden Sinclair has an obvious connection with Snake Plisken. It’s no accident that she wears an eyepatch in the film. But I said right from the start that if I was going to have her wear an eyepatch, I’d have a bloody good reason for that. So the eyepatch became a plot point, with the fake eye and the camera. And that also enabled us to have her not wear the eyepatch all the time. So that was fun.


Excalibur (1981)

ExcaliburThis isn’t a post-apocalyptic film, but it had that same ethos, and it’s one of the films that deeply inspired me when I first saw it. I think John Boorman did a wonderful job with the whole genre; no one has ever touched the artistry of it. I mean, compare it to King Arthur! Excalibur has that beautiful look about it – it’s so rich, and I wanted to tap into that a little bit. There’s just a kind of logic in that they’re living in this castle, and they’ve gone to a feudal society and have divided into tribes at war with each other. Scotland is full of these amazing fortresses, so what better place to hide out? They’re all museums as well, so they’re all going to be full of suits of armour and swords and stuff. Maybe go that way – you don’t need to find ammunition when you’ve got bows and arrows and other useful kit.

Doomsday


The Warriors (1979)

The WarriorsOne of my biggest inspirations is Walter Hill. He made these very tough, very violent adult action movies during that period. And The Warriors is just a classic example. It’s completely nuts – just the visual style of the gang warfare. When I first saw it I took it as being pretty literal, like this kind of stuff was going on in New York. And now of course he’s explained that it was very much an exaggeration and he sees it as a comic book movie. And I don’t see it that way at all. I love the idea of these crazy gangs roaming around New York – it’s scary but fun. But its world is New York at night, and it’s a brilliant depiction. And he did a similar kind of thing with Streets of Fire, another great movie. It’s not post-apocalyptic, but it’s certainly set in a nonspecific future world.


No Blade of Grass (1970)

It’s about a virus that wipes out all the crops in the UK, and there’s bikers roaming the countryside, somebody trying to make their way up north, and they end up hiding in a country house full of soldiers – just like in 28 Days Later. And it was made more than 10 years before Mad Max. I think 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later are great movies, but they’re very straight-faced, and I wanted to make mine a lot of fun. It’s not to be taken seriously, really.

Doomsday


The Omega Man (1971)

My generation’s version of the whole empty city thing. It’s a subgenre that I really like. This generation has had 28 Days Later and I Am Legend. But I prefer the gritty, darker side of it.

Doomsday


A Boy and His Dog (1975)

I like the world of it, and that sort of sun-scorched look. And I just loved the relationship between Don Johnson and his dog, and then at the end when they eat the girl – one of the best endings ever. I think that’s kind of where the whole Sean Pertwee sequence in my film comes from – the cannibalism idea.


Waterworld (1995)

I just love that gritty thing, with everyone just scavenging to survive, and how they’ve adapted to the future world. Although some of those things don’t really go there enough.

Doomsday


Gladiator (2000)

I think Ridley Scott gave us the most amazing spectacle put on screen in years. It’s brutal and giant. And it’s what my film is about – trial by combat. I wanted to put Eden Sinclair through that, and she’s not supposed to survive it. And I just liked the idea of this little woman facing off against this seven-foot knight in armour and managing to outwit him. She’s not stronger than him, but she outsmarts him, and I thought that was a lot of fun.

Doomsday


Children of Men (2006)

An excellent movie. But it was kind of frustrating that it came out during the course of making this film. Oh great, let’s do a version of post-apocalyptic London after they do it, and they had something like a $130m budget. So we knew we were going to have to make ours more bloody and more fun.

 

North American film fans heard the call of the elephant and stampeded to the box office to see the animated Dr. Seuss pic Horton Hears a Who, which enjoyed the largest opening weekend of the year so far. The testosterone flick Never Back Down launched to decent numbers; however, the virus thriller Doomsday was dead on arrival in its debut. But ‘toon power was able to revitalize the marketplace, sending the top 10 above the $100M mark and ahead of year-ago levels for the first time in a month.

Jim Carrey and Steve Carell lent their voices to Horton and ticket buyers responded, spending an estimated $45.1M on the Fox hit for a strong number one premiere. The G-rated tale bowed ultrawide in 3,954 locations and averaged a sturdy $11,406 per theater. The Whoville story generated the fourth best March opening ever, behind 300 ($70.9M), Ice Age: The Meltdown ($68M), and the original Ice Age ($46.3M) and also landed the fifth largest opening in history for a G-rated film.

Horton took advantage of star power, the popularity of the Seuss brand, and an open marketplace with few options for families to help it post the year’s best debut. But the film went beyond just parents and kids — the studio reports that 47 percent of the audience was non-family, with teens kicking in a significant contribution. Budgeted at $85M, the animated feature also garnered glowing reviews from most critics. Horton also bowed in 29 international markets this weekend, and captured an estimated $14.2M tally.

Animated films opening in March usually enjoy strong legs thanks to the Easter holiday and school vacations. Ice Age‘s opening weekend represented only 26 percent of its eventual $176.4M domestic final. Fox’s 2005 film Robots witnessed a 28 percent share, Meltdown played like a sequel and saw 35 percent, and last year’s Disney offering Meet the Robinsons grabbed 26 percent. Horton should follow in the same footsteps, as direct competition in the coing weeks is not too fierce, leading to possibly $150-175M from North America alone.

Trailing the animated elephant were the woolly mammoths of 10,000 BC. The not-so-accurate account of prehistoric times fell 54 percent in its second outing to an estimated $16.4M and pushed the total to $61.2M after 10 days. Given the bad reviews, negative word-of-mouth and the genre, the sharp decline was expected. The Warner Bros. title is playing almost exactly like another spring historical actioner, 2002’s The Scorpion King. The Rock starrer generated similar numbers with a $36.1M debut and $61.3M 10-day take before concluding with $90.5M. 10,000 BC should find its way to the same vicinity domestically. Overseas, the prehistoric pic collected a mighty $38M this weekend as it saw top spot debuts in the United Kingdom, Korea, and Russia and second place launches in France and Italy. The international cume has risen to $73M putting the global gross at an impressive $134M.

So far this year, moviegoers have been showing up in the same numbers, but have spread their dollars across a wider selection of movies than in 2007. Overall domestic box office is up 4 percent compared to the same period last year, and when factoring in the annual increase in ticket prices, total admissions are up only a slight amount. But at this point in 2007, six films had crossed the $50M mark, including three that broke the $100M barrier; this year, none have reached nine digits yet, but a whopping 10 have vaulted ahead of $50M (not including Horton, which is just days away from surpassing that mark).

The Mixed Martial Arts drama Never Back Down debuted to mediocre results and landed in third place with an estimated $8.6M from a wide 2,729 theaters. Averaging a mild $3,155, the PG-13 high school tale is the first in-house production from new distributor Summit and played to an audience of young males. Research showed that 59 percent of the audience was male and 60 percent were under 21. Never was budgeted at $20M.

Martin Lawrence’s second comedy of the year, College Road Trip, dropped a moderate 42 percent in its second weekend,, grossing an estimated $7.9M. With $24.3M collected in 10 days, the G-rated family flick should end up in the neighborhood of $45M.

Sony’s action thriller Vantage Point has been enjoying surprisingly strong legs, and slipped only 27 percent this week, to an estimated $5.4M for a solid cume of $59.2M. Rival actioner The Bank Job posted an even greater hold, sliding only 17 percent in its sophomore frame to an estimated $4.9M, giving Lionsgate $13.1M in 10 days. The high-octane pics should reach about $75M and $27M, respectively.

Universal suffered a dismal opening for its futuristic virus thriller Doomsday, which bowed to just $4.7M, according to estimates, from 1,936 theaters. The R-rated pic averaged a miserable $2,450 and should find its real audience on DVD this summer.

Will Ferrell‘s basketball comedy Semi-Pro fell 49 percent to eighth with an estimated $3M, pushing the total for New Line to $29.8M. Look for a final of roughly $35M, making it the comedian’s lowest-grossing lead performance in a wide release since 1998’s Night at the Roxbury.

Sony’s The Other Boleyn Girl dipped only 28 percent to an estimated $2.9M for a cume of $19.2M. The kidpic The Spiderwick Chronicles rounded out the top 10 with an estimated $2.4M, off 49 percent, for a $65.4M sum. Final grosses should reach $26M and $70M, respectively.

Warner Independent had a mixed weekend with its pair of limited release titles. The Naomi Watts thriller Funny Games opened in 289 theaters and grossed an estimated $520,000 for a dull $1,800 average. But its promising platform release Snow Angels added one Los Angeles site and took in an estimated $26,000 from three sites for a potent $8,667 average. The Kate Beckinsale starrer expands to the top 10 on Friday during its third session.

Three solid box office performers fell from the top 10 this weekend. Fox’s sci-fi flick Jumper dropped 42 percent to an estimated $2.1M, lifting the total to $75.8M. The $85M Hayden ChristensenSamuel L. Jackson actioner should conclude with about $80M. It’s already banked $100M overseas and counting.

The $70M adventure comedy Fool’s Gold collected an estimated $1.7M, off 38 percent, for a $65.4M sum. Warner Bros. looks to end with just under $70M. Step Up 2 the Streets, the latest teen dance drama to score with audiences, took in an estimated $1.5M, down 51 percent. With $55.4M taken in thus far, the Buena Vista release will reach close to $60M, putting it within striking distance of the $65.3M gross of 2006’s surprise smash Step Up.

The top 10 films grossed an estimated $101.3M, which was up less than 1 percent from last year — when 300 remained at number one in its second weekend with $32.9M — and up 13 percent from 2006, when V for Vendetta debuted in the top spot with $25.6M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week
at the movies, we’ve Seussian silliness (Dr.
Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!
, starring
Jim
Carrey
and Steve Carrell), mixed martial arts madness (Never Back Down,
starring Sean Faris and
Djimon Hounsou), and apocalyptic action (Doomsday,
starring
Rhona Mitra). What do the critics have to
say?

Virtually no one denies the
genius of Dr. Seuss’ books, but it’s been an open question whether their
compact, staccato whimsy could be translated into feature-length films; the
results thus far have been middling (How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 52
percent on the Tomatometer) to poor (The Cat in the Hat, 12 percent).
However, critics say the CG Horton Hears a Who is easily the most
Seussian Seuss feature, and therefore the best. Horton (Jim
Carrey
) is an
elephant who stumbles across the microscopic Who-ville; he promises to protect
the tiny inhabitants, despite ridicule from his fellow pachyderms. The pundits
say Horton is filled with deft animation, solid voice work, valuable life
lessons, and good cheer — and if the runtime is a little padded, the movie
still maintains the enchanting, thoughtful spirit of Seuss’ books. At 74 percent
on the Tomatometer, Horton may be a cut below the animated
How the
Grinch Stole Christmas
(100 percent), but it’s still cause for Who-bilation.
(Check out co-director Jimmy
Hayward’s favorite animated films
here.)




“…And this is our lolcat wing.”


Never Back Down

is yet
another film in which a wayward teen learns about martial arts — and life —
from a stern-but-caring teacher. Wasn’t Ralph Macchio in a movie like this a few
years back? Perhaps, but critics say NBD is still a reasonably involving
take on old material. The movie stars
Sean Faris as an unmoored, ill-tempered
youngster who, after being humiliated in a fight with a classmate, learns mixed
martial arts under the tutelage of
Djimon Hounsou
and, in the process, how to better focus his bluster. Pundits say Never Back
Down
‘s premise may be old as the hills, but pundits say it’s made with more
skill and panache than the material would indicate. At 36 percent on the
Tomatometer, the critical reception to Never Back Down puts the “mixed”
into mixed martial arts. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, where we take a
fond look at movies in which people get punched in the face.)




“Kick! Punch! It’s all in the mind.”

The folks behind
Doomsday
must have feared a critical apocalypse. Why else wouldn’t they screen their film
for the scribes before its release? Directed by
Neil Marshall, the film tells
the story of a group of scientists who’ve been dispatched to a country where a
deadly virus has broken out. A note of interest: Marshall’s previous movie was
modern horror masterpiece The Descent,
likely marking the first time a
director has gone from Certified Fresh on one movie to not-screened on the
next. Kids, climb out of that fallout shelter in your backyard and guess that
Tomatometer.




Party dudettes looking for Morpheus’s sweaty cave rave.

Also opening this week in
limited release:




“We were wondering if we could borrow some brown sugar…?”

Recent
Jim Carrey Movies:
———————————-
8% — The Number 23 (2007)
28% — Fun With Dick and Jane (2005)
70% — Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
94% —
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
(2004)
49% — Bruce Almighty (2003)

Three new releases roll into multiplexes across North America – one the size of an elephant, the others like specks of dust. Fox aims to deliver the largest opening weekend of the year so far with its animated family event film Horton Hears A Who which could very well triple the gross of its nearest competitor. Summit counters with its action title Never Back Down while Universal also targets young men with its horror flick Doomsday. Overall, the marketplace looks to bounce back and even stands a chance of beating year-ago figures for the first time in a month.

Almighty pals Jim Carrey and Steve Carell play nice this time in the first-ever animated feature version of a Dr. Seuss tale in Horton Hears A Who which goes into
saturation release on Friday. The G-rated pic tells of a playful elephant that discovers an entire city living on a tiny speck on a flower, but can’t convince others of its
existence. Fox has a mighty big hit on its hands for a number of reasons. The property is from an author that all generations are familiar with so parents and kids
alike can relate. The marketplace has very few viable options for children at the moment. Plus starpower from the two leads makes this a comedy juggernaut that
will allow the film to go beyond its core family audience and tap into business from teens and young adults too.

With one of the sharpest marketing departments around, Fox has the means to mine riches from this surefire spring blockbuster. Who else could propel lame
kidpics like Night at the Museum and Alvin and the Chipmunks to $200M+ megahit status over consecutive holiday seasons? The studio has used March as a
launching pad for its animated offerings from Blue Sky Studios allowing the films to steer clear of summer and holiday hits from Pixar and DreamWorks. In 2002,
Ice Age surprised everyone with its $46.3M debut. Three years later its Robots opened to $36M while the 2006 sequel Ice Age: The Meltdown bowed to a
mammoth $68M. Forgotten are the days of Titan A.E. Horton Hears A Who is destined to join its March brothers on the hit list.

The key to grosses skyrocketing lies in the interest of teens. Will they look at this as a Carrey-Carell dream team laugh-a-thon and line up? Chances are many will,
especially with no other major comedies doing substantial business. Appeal is broad with males and females of all ages opening their wallets. Sure it’s not as funny
as you’d hope given the two big C’s involved, but moviegoers will eat it up nonetheless. Plus with Good Friday and Easter helping the second weekend, long-term
prospects seem rosy too. Debuting ultrawide in over 3,900 theaters, Horton Hears A Who could collect about $50M over the Friday-to-Sunday period.


Seth Rogen and Jim Carrey (voices, that is) in Horton Hears a Who

Rookie distrib Summit Entertainment kicks into high gear with its fighting extravaganza Never Back Down which hopes to connect with the Mountain Dew crowd
looking for extreme action. The PG-13 flick stars relative unknowns Sean Faris and Amber Heard with Djimon Hounsou cast as the only star name. Action comes
from a high schooler’s discovery of the world of Mixed Martial Arts with the film playing as a hybrid of Fight Club and The Karate Kid. With little starpower and
a generic premise, Never will struggle to post strong box office numbers on opening weekend. Plus Doomsday will be stealing away some of the target audience
of young males. The two films really should not be opening head to head since neither is strong enough to stand on its own two feet in the first place. Summit gets
credit for at least trying with a marketing push that goes beyond what a pic with such little star wattage deserves. Never Back Down punches its way into 2,729
locations on Friday and could bag around $6M over three days.


Sean Faris in Never Back Down

Another killer virus film attacks the multiplexes, this time the British thriller Doomsday from Universal. The R-rated fright flick marks one of the studio’s few films to
not be screened for the press ahead of time and instead will rely on marketing to find its audience. Young men and genre aficionados should make up the primary
crowd here and they won’t be easy to reach. Besides the debut of Never Back Down, 10,000 BC is also in the marketplace playing to a good chunk of this
audience. Overall, the promotional push has not been too strong and awareness levels are not high, especially outside of the target demo. Infecting 1,935 theaters,
Doomsday looks to debut with about $5M this weekend before making a swift jump to that shiny disc.


The riotous revelry of Doomsday

After a sturdy debut, the prehistoric adventure 10,000 BC should suffer a sizable drop thanks to negative word-of-mouth. Direct competition from new releases
won’t be too much of a factor, but bad buzz will scare away prospective second weekend patrons. Look for a 55% decline which would give Warner Bros. about
$16M for the frame and $61M in ten days. The caveman pic will continue to dominate the overseas box office thanks to debuts this weekend in lucrative markets
like France, Italy, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

Disney’s College Road Trip will take a direct hit from Horton this weekend as the family crowd will have a much bigger film to rally behind. A 40% drop would
put the Martin LawrenceRaven-Symone comedy at $8M for a ten-day cume of $25M.

Audiences have been receptive to the presidential assassination storyline of Vantage Point which could drop another 40% to $4.5M this weekend for a cume of
$58M for Sony. Lionsgate’s The Bank Job probably saw the bulk of Jason Statham fans rush out on opening weekend so a 45% fall would give the heist thriller
$3M and $11M in ten days.

LAST YEAR: New releases were no match for the top two films in North America which remained on top of the charts. The mammoth Spartan smash 300 tumbled 54% in its second weekend but still posted a hefty $32.9M sophomore tally. The Disney comedy Wild Hogs showed good legs dipping 31% and ranked second with $19.1M in its third lap. Faring best among the freshmen, Sandra Bullock‘s supernatural thriller Premonition opened in third with $17.6M for Sony on its way to a solid $47.9M. Rounding out the top five were fellow newcomers Dead Silence with a moderate $7.8M and Chris Rock‘s I Think I Love My Wife with a disappointing $5.7M. Final grosses reached $16.8M for the Universal pic and $12.6M for the Fox Searchlight laugher.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

In this week’s Ketchup, we snuck a peek at the "Spider-Man 3" trailer, Keira Knightley may jump ship before the "Pirates" franchise walks the plank, and MGM seems to be putting all its eggs in a few baskets.

Also, "The Simpsons Movie" trailer made it’s first official appearance, and at least two people want a "Daredevil" sequel. Read on.

This Week’s Most Popular News:

Unfinished "Spider-Man 3" Trailer — Now with Venom!

It might not survive on the internet for too long, so if you want to see what Venom is going to look like in "Spider-Man 3," and you don’t mind suffering through some obviously incomplete special effects, then you better click the goods right now — before they’re gone!

Ms. Swann Leaving the "Pirates" Nest?

With "Pirates of the Carbbean: At Worlds End" being primed for its summertime release, the actors are now sharing their thoughts on the future of the series. And as far as Keira Knightley is concerned, she seems fine with moving on when the trilogy ends.

MGM Promises More Panther, Bond, Crown, Rocky & Hobbit

It looks like the cash-strapped MGM is about to seriously scale back on its productions, but they still have five strapping franchises on which they’ll bet the ranch…

Trailer Bulletin: "The Simpsons Movie"

Just in case you missed it last night during (a rather amusing episode of) "The Simpsons," here’s the brand-new trailer for "The Simpsons Movie" — but don’t go in expecting anything in the way of spoilers or plot breakdowns.

"Daredevil" Director (and Villain) Want to Do a Sequel

Director Mark Steven Johnson recently opined that, yeah, he’d like to do a "Daredevil" sequel, provided anyone at Sony actually wanted to. And then big ol’ Michael Clarke Duncan spoke up and said "Me too! I’d do a sequel!"


Who wants some more of this?


In Other News:

  • Tim Firth will adapt Ahmet Zappa‘s kids’ book "The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless" for Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Walt Disney Pictures.
  • Rhona Mitra will star in the lead female role for writer/director Neil Marshall in Rogue Pictures’ futuristic action thriller "Doomsday," which is slated to begin production in early 2007.
  • Beach Boy Brian Wilson has made a deal with producer Mark Gordon to tell his life story in a feature film. The deal also provides access to Wilson’s vast catalogue of music for use in the film.
  • New Line Cinema has launched development of a feature based on the life of Daphne Sheldrick, a pioneer in efforts to save orphaned baby elephants.
  • Paramount Vantage has scooped up film rights to Frank Portman’s debut novel, "King Dork," for Will Ferrell and Adam McKay‘s Gary Sanchez Productions to produce.
  • National Lampoon Inc. is partnering with the Farrelly Brothers through their Conundrum Entertainment on National Lampoon’s "Bag Boy," centered on an underdog teen who discovers he’s got the talent to excel in the world of competitive grocery bagging.
  • Universal Pictures has picked up "Walk of Shame," a pitch by Jessi Klein for Stuber/Parent to produce.The film is a romantic comedy about the lives of a group of young singles living in New York.
  • Former 007 Pierce Brosnan is going back to the spy world, signing on to star in the comedy "Spy vs. Stu."
  • DreamWorks has acquired film rights to actress Gina Gershon‘s children’s book "Camp Creepy Time," which she co-wrote with her brother, Dann Gershon.
  • Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to "Funny Fat Guy," from the "Broken Lizard" comedy troupe members Kevin Heffernan and Steve Lemme.

Can’t leave the espionage alone.

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