The 35th annual People’s Choice Awards were handed out on January 7, 2009. A complete list of film nominees, with winners in bold, follows below.

Favorite Movie:
The Dark Knight

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Iron Man

Favorite Comedy Movie:
27 Dresses

Get Smart
Mamma Mia!

Favorite Movie Drama:
The Secret Life of Bees

21
Eagle Eye

Favorite Family Movie:
Wall-E
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Kung Fu Panda

Favorite Independent Movie:
The Secret Life of Bees

The Duchess
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Favorite Action Movie:
The Dark Knight

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Iron Man

Favorite Cast:
The Dark Knight

Mamma Mia!
Sex and the City

Favorite On-Screen Matchup:
Christian Bale & Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Shia LaBeouf & Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull)
Tina Fey & Amy Poehler (Baby Mama)

Favorite Male Movie Star:
Will Smith

Harrison Ford
Robert Downey, Jr.

Favorite Female Movie Star:
Reese Witherspoon

Angelina Jolie
Keira Knightley

Favorite Male Action Star:
Will Smith

Christian Bale
Robert Downey, Jr.

Favorite Female Action Star:
Angelina Jolie

Anne Hathaway
Cate Blanchett

Favorite Leading Man:
Brad Pitt

Christian Bale
Mark Wahlberg

Favorite Leading Lady:
Kate Hudson

Anne Hathaway
Queen Latifah

Favorite Superhero:
Christian Bale (The Dark Knight)
Robert Downey, Jr. (Tropic Thunder)
Will Smith (Hancock)

Source: People’s Choice Awards

This week we’re going in-depth with a look at this week’s highly anticipated cult television series, Spaced. If you like Brit comedies Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, then you’ll love the show that started it all for comic wonder boys Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright.

The director-actor team of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg broke through in 2004 with the horror-comedy Shaun of the Dead, a Certified Fresh parody of the zombie classics popularized by the films of George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead). That brand of referential comedy popped up again in their 2007 follow-up, Hot Fuzz, which spoofed the buddy cop genre with nods to the likes of Point Break, Lethal Weapon, and all things Michael Bay. The duo, along with regular co-star Nick Frost, plan on completing their “Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy” with a third film, The World’s End, planned for 2010; both, however, have piled their plates high with other unrelated projects (Wright directing Ant Man and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Pegg nabbing the role of Scotty in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek).

In the meantime, North American fans finally get their chance to see Wright and Pegg’s earlier collaboration: Spaced, the quirky British show that aired for two seasons in 1999 and 2001 in the U.K. and is available for the first time on DVD in North America this week!

Spaced follows the manic exploits of Tim (Pegg) and Daisy (co-creator Jessica Hynes, nee Stevenson), two dysfunctional singles posing as a couple to rent a flat for cheap in London. The twentysomething slacker pair (he’s a graphic artist; she’s a writer) are as directionless as they are obsessed with pop culture — and entirely relatable to a generation of like-minded Star Wars babies. Think of it as Friends, only smart and British and directed with a flair for Return of the Jedi references and surrealist homage.

Speaking of homage, well, there’s a lot of it here. Watch all 14 episodes in the series and catch references to not only George Lucas‘ space saga (including a storyline where Tim gets fired from a comic shop for his all-consuming hatred of The Phantom Menace) but also nods to cult films, video games, and comic books. As a treat for our readers, we’ve got a Rotten Tomatoes exclusive clip from “Chaos” (Season 1, Episode 5), in which Tim, Daisy, the military-obsessed friend Mike (Nick Frost), socially awkward housemate Brian, and superficial fashionista Twist prepare to break-into an animal testing lab under the cover of night using Star Wars codenames and the Imperial March.

Spaced: The Complete Series will be released Tuesday in a three-disc collection that includes all 14 episodes, a feature-length documentary, commentaries from the original UK release, deleted scenes, outtakes and more. Which graphic artist is Tim Bisley named for? Find out by turning on the optional Homage-O-Meter to keep track of the fast and furious references in both seasons. Which episode of The X-Files inspired a storyline involving Daisy’s missing dog? Find out in the all-new commentary track featuring Wright, Pegg, Hynes, and a revolving cast of their best celebrity friends and fans (Kevin Smith, Diablo Cody, Patton Oswalt, Matt Stone, Quentin Tarantino, and Bill Hader).

“Watching Spaced is kinda like watching a Kevin Smith film if Kevin Smith had any real talent.”- Kevin Smith

“I laughed hard and I hate comedy.”- Judd Apatow

“The wonderfully funny, outrageous and unique British television comedy series that manages to be both insane and sweet at the same time! A very influential show from the guys who gave us Shaun of the Dead.“- John Landis

The one, the onlySpaced. Accept no substitute” – Quentin Tarantino

Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Jessica Hynes are taking Spaced on the road for screenings in select cities. Click for Wright’s MySpace blog and head over to the official Spaced Invasion website for event info.

Click for this week’s new releases.

21

Tomatometer: 35%

In 1993 a team of card counting M.I.T. students raked in casino dough with the power of math; in 2003, their experiences became a New York Times bestseller. This year, Hollywood added more sex, intrigue, and Kevin Spacey to the story — courting controversy by changing real-life Asian American team members into Caucasians — and a commercial, if not critical, hit was born.

Bonus Features:

Hold off on the 2-disc edition unless you really want the only extra feature: a digital copy of the film. Otherwise, check out the single-disc release for a commentary by director Robert Luketic and his producers, plus three featurettes on the film’s production, its Las Vegas setting, and a lesson in card-counting by the cast.

Spaced: The Complete Series

Tomatometer: N/A

Before Shaun of the Dead, before Hot Fuzz and the Grind House trailer Don’t, there was Spaced. The BBC launching pad for Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost ran for 14 episodes, all directed by Wright and co-written by Pegg and co-creator Jessica Hynes (nee Stephenson). (See previous page)

Bonus Features:

Fun extras like the Homage-O-Meter and the feature-length “Skip to the End Documentary” are great, but Wright and co. want to give you more than the average DVD. They’ve pulled in their closest celebrity friends to offer commentary tracks, including Quentin Tarantino, Patton Oswalt, Kevin Smith, Diablo Cody, Matt Stone, and Bill Hader. This is a must-own for any respectable pop culture junkie!

Robot Chicken: Star Wars

Tomatometer: N/A

Robot Chicken creators Seth Green and Matthew Senreich put their stop-motion spoofing skills to work on the biggest pop culture property in the galaxy in this very special episode. Learn things you never knew about the Star Wars mythology in this nerd-friendly collection of sketches (which include a commercial for Admiral Ackbar cereal and a Yo Momma fight between Luke Skywalker and Emperor Palpatine), made with the blessing of and a cameo by George Lucas himself.

Bonus Features:

With the entire Robot Chicken: Star Wars episode available to watch online, why would you buy the DVD? Well, for starters there’s over an hour of extras, including commentary, deleted scenes, the Adult Swim TV promos, behind the scenes at animation meetings, and more. Plus, do you know how much nerd cred you get for having this on your DVD shelf?

Turn the River

Tomatometer: 75%

You know her best as a Thighmaster-owning Bond girl and a powerful member of the X-Men, but Famke Janssen is ready to show you her serious side. She stars in this indie drama as a hardened (but gorgeous) pool hustler scrambling to pull her life together and reclaim the son she gave up years ago.

Bonus Features:

A single featurette and commentary by actor-director Chris Eigeman (The Last Days of Disco, Gilmore Girls) accompany the film.

Masters of Horror Season Two

Tomatometer: N/A

While the individual films that comprise Masters of Horror: Season Two have been available individually, Anchor Bay is releasing the full 13-episode season in a limited edition set. A set shaped like a human skull! Whether or not the skull box will actually fit on your DVD shelf, this set, with films by the likes of Dario Argento, John Carpenter, Joe Dante, John Landis, and Tobe Hooper, is a must-have for fans of modern horror.

Bonus Features:

Each disc has its own set of commentaries, featurettes, galleries, and more.

‘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.

This week's UK Box Office Top EightThe failure of Daniel Craig‘s Flashbacks of a Fool is the big box office story of the week, with the film flopping so spectacularly it didn’t even make the top ten.

The film revolves around Daniel Craig’s fading Hollywood star Joe Scott, who returns home for a friends funeral and looks back over his life – cue self-obsessed naval gazing from a narcissistic Craig.

Critics were decidedly unsure about the film; many praised the performances and technical aspects, but slammed the general premise, with Little White Lies’ Danny Bangs labelling the film “a two-hour whining session” and Empire’s Sam Toy describing the screenplay as ‘malformed’.

However, maybe marketing was a bigger problem than bad reviews for the film — a silly title, an oblique, talky plot where little actually happens, and having the current James Bond in a role that isn’t James Bond must surely have confused the public to such an extent that they gave the film the widest of berths. And good luck to them.

To manufacture a laboured segue, another film with fool in the title made a much bigger splash in cinemas. Fool’s Gold — a daft rom-com with genre experts Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson playing estranged lovers bought together by a treasure hunt (genius!) obviously tickled audiences’ fancies, despite an almost insultingly ridiculous plot and slapdash direction from Andy Tennant (thought of by many as the worst director in Hollywood).

Nonetheless, with the rain pouring down and the threat of a looming recession, it seems our nation’s cinemagoers would love nothing more than some perky, sun-drenched, escapist nonsense to get them through these oh-so-troubling times.

That’s maybe the reason for another of these weeks’ theatrical success stories – Mike Leigh‘s Happy-Go-Lucky – which came in at number nine in the chart but took by far the highest amount of dough-per-screen. Leigh’s optimistic and cynicism-free tale of a school teacher from North London won of the hearts and minds of both jaded critics and audiences – a fact that makes the usually grumpy RT feel warm inside.

After four straight weeks of the box office falling significantly behind last year’s pace, the marketplace is finally set to post a win thanks to a trio of new releases targeting different audience segments. In what could be a close battle for the number one spot, the Jackie ChanJet Li actioner The Forbidden Kingdom squares off against the raunchy relationship comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Each has a shot at the top slot. Also opening is the Al Pacino crime drama 88 Minutes which should play to an older audience. Overall, the box office will experience a healthy double digit gain over the same weekend in 2007.

The much-hyped first pairing of martial arts kings Chan and Li is the main selling point behind Lionsgate’s fantasy adventure The Forbidden Kingdom. The PG-13 film tells of an American teen who travels back in time to ancient China where he joins a quest to free the famed Monkey King. Kingdom is practically a must-see for fans of the action stars and of the genre so young males will lead the way. The film comes as a step up for Chan who lately has seen many of his films go directly to DVD. Li on the other hand remains a reliable box office star with most of his pics debuting to averages north of $5,000. However his last film War, a pairing with Jason Statham, debuted to $9.8M and a weaker-than-usual $4,313 average.

The two stars here have tremendous overlap in their fan bases so it may be hard to broaden the audience. However the younger-skewing story should help it pull in more kids and younger teens than past films from the stars. Reviews have been mixed and direct competition should not be too fierce. Kingdom boasts more starpower and screens than Sarah which could allow it to earn a slim victory this weekend. Invading 3,151 theaters, The Forbidden Kingdom may debut with about $17M.


Jet Li and Jackie Chan, at last.

Playing to an older and more female audience will be the R-rated comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall from producer Judd Apatow. The Universal release finds a man jetting off to Hawaii for a break after his celebrity girlfriend dumps him, only to find her and her new rock star boyfriend staying at the same resort. The studio has been bold in its marketing campaign knowing that it has almost no starpower to promote. Instead, it brilliantly churned out simple text posters with nothing more than attention-getting phrases like ‘I’m So Over You Sarah Marshall’ and ‘You Suck Sarah Marshall.’

Buzz has been strong on the comedy and reviews have been pretty good too. Plus with the weekend’s other new films offering male-oriented action, Sarah becomes the primary option for young adult women and couples. The spring date crowd won’t be lining up for a kung fu flick. Male appeal is solid so the break-up saga won’t fall into the chick flick category. Landing in 2,798 locations, Forgetting Sarah Marshall could take in about $16M this weekend.


The cast of Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Sony targets older adults and men in particular with its crime thriller 88 Minutes which features Al Pacino playing a forensic scientist being stalked by a killer. The R-rated film should play mostly to fans of the Oscar winner and will have a hard time branching out wider. Already released theatrically and on DVD in numerous countries around the world, 88 Minutes has a different criminal element to deal with – pirated copies that have circulated throughout the U.S. This has taken some moviegoers out of the picture in terms of sales.

88 should play to the same audience that came out for two other law enforcement roles Pacino took on this decade. 2003’s The Recruit bowed at number one with $16.3M while the previous year’s Insomnia debuted to $20.9M. Both had the help of extra starpower from Colin Farrell and Robin Williams, respectively. Pacino anchors 88 on his own so the grosses will be lower. Negative reviews will also help keep customers away. Opening in 2,168 theaters, 88 Minutes has a lot working against it and could debut to around $8M.


Al Pacino in 88 Minutes

Prom Night hacked up a strong number one bow last weekend but should see heavy erosion this time around thanks to the horror genre’s tendency to see front-loaded grosses. The Sony hit might lose half of its business and take in about $10M for a ten-day cume of $33M.

The Keanu Reeves dirty cop thriller Street Kings opened in second last weekend but has been the top grosser every day since. Fox Searchlight may see a 45% drop to roughly $7M and raise the sum to $23M after ten days. 21, the durable spring hit winning over audiences each week, may slide by 35% to about $6.5M. That would push the cume to a commendable $71M for Sony.

LAST YEAR: A sluggish late-April frame was ruled by the sophomore weekend of Paramount’s hit teen thriller Disturbia which grossed $13M. New Line’s crime thriller Fracture bowed in second with $11M on its way to a respectable $39M for New Line. Paramount claimed third with the Will Ferrell hit Blades of Glory with $7.7M and was followed closely by the $7.6M debut of the Sony thriller Vacancy. A $19.4M final resulted. Disney’s Meet the Robinsons followed with $7M. Focus landed in sixth with a solid opening for the cop comedy Hot Fuzz which took in $5.8M and a $7,089 average. It was the best per-theater score in the Top 20 and the final tally reached $23.6M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week's UK Box Office Top EightSony certainly took a gamble (arf!) when they decided to adapt the true story of a group of MIT students who took on the Las Vegas casinos and won a shed-load of cash. 21‘s only star was Kevin Spacey in a supporting part, with virtual unknowns filling out he main roles.

But in hindsight the studios have played a great hand (boom boom!) and seem to have struck the jackpot (honk!) (That’s enough… -Ed), with the film romping to first place in the UK box office.

The movie, rather accurately described by Empire’s Olly Richards as “Ocean’s 11: The College Years”, took more than double the cash of its nearest rival – Son of Rambow – with the haul rather decent for the pre-summer period. Still, it’s good to see Rambow‘s continued presence amongst the box office big hitters, a fact almost as comforting and heart-warming as watching a fluffy dog tuck into a plate of warm, doughy cookies.

The independent brit-flick almost maintained the form that took it to the top of the pile last week, with ticket sales only declining by 16% from its opening weekend — which, believe us, is pretty impressive.

Something that certainly was the opposite of impressive — unimpressive you might say — was the performance of George Clooney‘s 1920s-set American football comedy Leatherheads, which slunk in, tale-between-its-legs, at number six. Maybe it was the focus on a sport most Brits find baffling, perhaps it was the general indifference to the 1940s screwball comedies the film pastiched, or ultimately just the fact that Renee Zellwegger is just bloody annoying that persuaded Joe Public to steer wall clear from this lightweight effort.

Making a slightly more spirited showing was Martin Scorsese‘s glossy Rolling Stones’ film Shine a Light. The general feeling about the flick was that it was a competent concert movie, but not of the same calibre as Marty’s music masterpiece The Last Waltz. Still, fans of the freakish wrinkly rockers pulled together — as they did during the blitz – and showed up in large enough numbers to make this limited release number nine in the chart.

Multiplexes gear up for another weekend of empty seats as Hollywood supplies three new films that are unlikely to energize the North American box office. The queen at the head of the class is the horror flick Prom Night which should scare up the most business and play to teens and young adults. The cop actioner Street Kings will target older males while adult women will be enticed by Smart People. The top ten could once again fall 25% below last year’s levels making this a spring season to forget.

If there’s one thing the geniuses at Sony’s Screen Gems unit know how to do it’s market fright films to teenagers. They get their latest shot with Prom Night, a loose remake of the classic 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis chiller about high schoolers stalked by a killer on their big celebratory night. Brittany Snow stars and the R rating of the old film has been replaced by a PG-13 which will be key to getting in the kind of kids who watch My Super Sweet 16. Horror film openings have gotten smaller and smaller this year as some fatigue has kicked in with consumers. But Prom Night has an appealing premise, a recognizable title, and a terrific marketing push behind it that is exciting the core crowd.

Sony hasn’t released a terror pic since last October so it’s had plenty of time to concentrate on getting this campaign right. And with trailers in front of its chart-topping studio stablemate 21, awareness is high with teens. Prom Night should perform better than this year’s other horror flicks and could post the best bow for the genre since Saw IV from last Halloween. The running time matches the amount of time Al Pacino has left to live and multiplexes are double-screening the pic so there will be plenty of showtimes to meet the expected demand. The one downside is the weak marketplace which has made overall moviegoing sluggish. Opening in around 2,400 theaters, Prom Night might debut with about $15M.


Nice to see Thing from The Addams Family getting work these days

Former high school slacker Ted, AKA Keanu Reeves, leads the macho cast of Street Kings, a new dirty cop thriller set in Los Angeles. The R-rated pic also features Forest Whitaker, Hugh Laurie, Jay Mohr, and Cedric the Entertainer. Adult men will be the primary audience here looking for a hard-boiled polce thriller so numbers should be in the same vicinity as the debuts for similar spring flicks like 16 Blocks ($11.9M) and Shooter ($14.5M). Fox Searchlight will be hoping to bring in many of those who saw Training Day, however Denzel Washington‘s starpower in that role overshadows all those in this pic. Competition isn’t too fierce which gives it a shot at connecting with the core demo. But overall demand is not too high. Street Kings lands in over 2,500 locations on Friday and could shoot up about $10M over the weekend.


“Turn in your badge and your gun!”

Miramax is making a play for adult audiences with its new dramedy Smart People starring Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Thomas Haden Church, and Ellen Page. The R-rated film about a professor having a mid-life crisis should skew female and have no appeal to younger adults despite the presence of the Juno star. Mixed reviews will make many in the target audience toss it onto their Netflix queues instead of seeing it on the big screen. The promotional push has not been very strong and overall buzz is lukewarm. The cast includes some likeable folks, but not the kind of stars that make people rush out to the multiplexes and pay top dollar. Rolling into roughly 1,150 theaters, Smart People might take in about $3M this weekend.


“Come on, we both know you’re not the world’s unsexiest woman.”

After two weeks as the champ, the blackjack drama 21 will have to settle for a lower position on the charts. The Sony hit has been holding up well so a 35% decline would yield a $10M frame and boost the 17-day total to a solid $61M.

Fox’s Nim’s Island got off to a mediocre start last weekend posting a $3,760 average. But with no new films targeting families, competition will be light so a 35% drop may result. That would give the Abigail Breslin flick about $8.5M and a ten-day cume of $25M.

George Clooney attracted less-than-spectacular opening weekend sales for his football film Leatherheads and buzz has been mostly bad. A larger drop of 45% could be in order giving Universal a $7M take. The score would climb to just $22M after ten days.

LAST YEAR: Paramount replaced itself at the top of the charts with the teen thriller Disturbia which surprised the industry with a potent $22.2M bow at number one. The Shia LaBeouf starrer went on to bank an impressive $80.2M. The studio’s Will Ferrell comedy Blades of Glory slipped to second after two weeks on top and grossed $13.8M. Both were supplied by DreamWorks. Disney’s Meet the Robinsons followed with $12.5M, also in its third round. Sony’s adult thriller Perfect Stranger underperformed with its fourth-place debut of $11.2M. A $24M final resulted. The studio’s Ice Cube sequel Are We Done Yet? rounded out the top five with $9M. Fox’s adventure film Pathfinder quietly opened in sixth with $5M on its way to just $10.2M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

George Clooney, the Mayor McCheese of Hollywood, leaves behind Oscar season and returns to the big screen with lighter fare with the period sports comedy Leatherheads. The PG-13 pic also stars Renee Zellweger and John Krasinski while the former Caped Crusader directs. Given the story of the origins of football in the 1920’s, turnout should come mostly from older adults although The Office star is being counted on to pull in some younger moviegoers. In Los Angeles, Clooney is a God. But the other 99% of the U.S. population doesn’t necessarily bow down to him (unless pals Brad and Matt are along for the ride). Michael Clayton, which creatively was one of the actor’s best films, only managed $10.4M in ticket sales during its first wide weekend. And it was backed by plenty of Oscar buzz and glowing reviews.

Reviews for Leatherheads have been lukewarm at best which spells bad news since the target audience will be reading up on the opinions of critics and taking their warnings. Plus Zellweger is no A-lister when it comes to drawing in paying audiences. Add in a period setting that will turn many off and you’ve got a spring film that will have to work hard for the money. To its credit, Universal has backed the title with a solid marketing push doing what it can to generate excitement and the current top five will not provide too much direct competition. But a lack of momentum in the current marketplace will also have a negative effect on all films. Rushing into 2,778 theaters, Leatherheads may take in around $15M this weekend.


John Krasinski in Leatherheads

A young girl’s imagination is at the heart of Nim’s Island, the new kid adventure from Fox Walden. Abigail Breslin stars as the title character in the PG-rated tale while Jodie Foster and 300‘s Gerard Butler co-star. The family audience is the target here with sales likely to skew more towards girls than boys. The lack of male appeal could turn out to be a major liability. Foster usually brings plenty of starpower with her, but this is not the type of role her core fans will be all that excited about. This isn’t a single-woman-fighting-male-oppressors movie. Competition will come from Fox’s own Horton Hears A Who, but Nim‘s trailers in front of the Seuss toon over the last three weeks have also raised awareness with the same crowd. So consider that a wash. Overall buzz is not too high so despite the very wide launch, potent numbers are not likely. Opening in 3,511 sites, Nim’s Island could debut to about $14M.


Abigail Breslin in Nim’s Island

Paramount gives horror fans a new offering with The Ruins which finds a group of young Americans in Cancun discovering terror. The year’s first fright flick to not be a remake of an Asian horror hit carries an R rating which will hurt its chances with younger teens. Overall interest is not very high and a lack of starpower won’t help its cause much. The film should appeal to the same folks who bought tickets to The Descent and Turistas. Both lacked star names and underperformed with openings of $8.9M and $3.6M respectively. The Ruins opens in over 2,500 theaters and should fall into the same range. Look for a $8M debut.


The Ruins

The Rolling Stones and Martin Scorsese join forces for the year’s third major concert film with Shine A Light. The PG-13 pic covers an intimate New York concert given by the supergroup with the Oscar-winning director orchestrating a team of A-list cinematographers to capture all the magic. Paramount Classics is rolling out the film in limited release with about 270 total theaters including 93 Imax sites making it the widest launch ever for the large-screen format. Marketing materials have been highlighting the starpower of all the popular senior citizens involved here in a effort to tap into older adults and rock music fans. Hannah Montana and U2 found success earlier this year with their concert pics and the higher-priced Imax tickets will help to beef up the averages. Shine A Light could rock to around $2M this weekend.


Scorsese and The Stones in Shine a Light

Only two holdovers will be able to post double-digit millions this weekend. 21 got off to a great start last week and will not see too much of its teen and young adult audience taken away since Leatherheads will skew older and Nim will play younger. Still a moderate 45% drop is in order which would put the blackjack drama at about $13M for a ten-day tally of $45M.

Fox’s animated blockbuster Horton Hears A Who will find its competition coming from the studio’s own new Jodie Foster adventure. But the Dr. Seuss comedy has been holding up well so a 30% fall to $12.5M could result. That would up the cume to a robust $134M.

Superhero Movie stumbled out of the gate last weekend and is not likely to have legs. A 45% drop would give The Weinstein Company roughly $5M and a sum of $17M after ten days.

LAST YEAR: With Easter falling on the first weekend of April, the box office was vibrant thanks to a pair of solid sophomores and a slate of new releases. Will Ferrell‘s skating comedy Blades of Glory spent a second frame on top with $22.5M while the Disney toon Meet the Robinsons held onto second with $16.7M. Leading the newcomers was the Ice Cube sequel Are We Done Yet? with $14.3M on its way to $49.7M for Sony. Opening in fourth was the two-for-one special Grindhouse with $11.6M followed by the new supernatural thriller The Reaping which bowed to $10M. Final grosses reached $25M and $25.1M, respectively. Failing to excite family audiences was Firehouse Dog which debuted in tenth with just $3.8M leading to a weak $13.9M final.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

If and when Warner Bros. gets around to making a sequel to Superman Returns, Kevin Spacey will be happy to return as Lex Luthor.

Out promoting 21, the fictionalized account of the MIT Blackjack Team’s early ’90s Vegas exploits he’s currently starring in, Spacey was asked by Monsters and Critics about his interest in another go-round as the shiny-pated villain, and replied:

I believe they’re in talks at the moment. I’ve actually already signed up to do it, so if they decide to go ahead with it and they still want me, then I will definitely be in it.

A Superman Returns sequel has been the subject of intense speculation for months, and now that a federal judge has ruled that Time Warner must share the Superman copyright with the heirs of the character’s co-creator, Jerry Siegel, that speculation seems likely to continue indefinitely. Spacey didn’t get into any of that — but he did show Returns director Bryan Singer some love, saying:

One of the reasons I signed up to do it was because I wanted to work with Bryan Singer again, who I worked with on ‘The Usual Suspects‘ in 1995, because I think he is an absolute genius.

Source: Monsters and Critics

Despite the launches of three new wide releases, the blackjack drama 21 held onto the number one spot at the North American box office during a sluggish session that saw some of the worst grosses of the year. Universal’s George Clooney-Renee Zellweger football comedy Leatherheads and Fox’s Abigail Breslin-Jodie Foster family adventure Nim’s Island fought fiercely over the number two spot with each studio claiming its new release would edge out the other. The race was essentially too close to call and final numbers to be released on Monday will determine which will win bragging rights over the silver medal position. Regardless of the final rankings, the marketplace slumped to its second worst performance of the year as a lack of exciting films forced people to look elsewhere for their weekend entertainment.

Sony enjoyed a very good hold for its Kevin Spacey gambling flick 21 which dropped only 37% from its opening to an estimated $15.1M. After ten days, the PG-13 film has won $46.5M and looks on its way to cash out with $80-85M. The story of MIT math wizards who spend their weekends winning big money in Las Vegas was helped by the fact that most of the new openers had little appeal to its core audience of teens and young adults. However if the estimate holds, 21 will tie Will Ferrell’s basketball flop Semi-Pro for having the smallest gross for a number one film this year.

Expected by many in the industry to open at the top in the mid to high teens, George Clooney’s starring and directing vehicle Leatherheads collected an estimated $13.5M during its kickoff frame. The PG-13 film about a love triangle between a reporter and two football players in the 1920s landed in 2,769 theaters and averaged a decent $4,870 but fell short of expectations. Renee Zellweger and John Krasinski also star. Carrying a $58M pricetag, the Universal release proved to be a disappointment for the studio and loudly told Hollywood something that the rest of America has known for years – that Clooney and Zellweger are not A-list stars. Moviegoers don’t rush out and pay top dollar to see their films.

Leatherheads was one of the oldest-skewing films of the year. Studio research showed that a remarkably high 75% of the audience was over the age of 30 and that more than half were over the age of 40. Females made up 54% of the crowd. A lack of starpower, uninteresting subject matter, and a wave of bad reviews all contributed to the lackluster debut. With the exception of the Ocean’s films which boast tons of stars, most movies starring Clooney have not opened well. Universal estimated a rather low 29% Saturday-to-Sunday decline for Leatherheads. Fox expects Nim’s Island to drop by 35% on Sunday.

Fox estimated an opening weekend gross of $13.3M for its adventure tale Nim’s Island starring Abigail Breslin, Jodie Foster, and Gerard Butler. The PG-rated family film launched ultrawide in 3,513 locations and averaged a lukewarm $3,786 per site. The audience was 60% female and split evenly between those over and under 25. Budgeted at $37M, Nim’s connected with its core audience of young girls and their moms, but lacked the muscle to make it a strong box office performer.

2008’s most popular film Horton Hears A Who dropped down to fourth place in its fourth weekend with an estimated $9.1M. Down 49%, the PG-rated comedy lifted its total to a robust $131.1M after 24 days. Compared to Fox’s previous March toons, Horton is running 7% behind the pace of 2002’s Ice Age but 26% ahead of 2005’s Robots.

The DreamWorks horror entry The Ruins debuted in fifth place with only mild results. Distributed by Paramount, the R-rated film grossed an estimated $7.8M from 2,812 locations for a weak $2,788 average. The frightfest about a group of Americans finding ancient terror in Cancun continued the diminishing returns seen by this year’s crop of horror titles. January’s One Missed Call bowed to $12.5M, February’s The Eye opened to $12.4M, while last month’s Shutter launched with $10.4M. All of those were remakes of Asian chillers and were rated PG-13.

The spoof comedy Superhero Movie had a moderate sophomore hold dropping 43% to an estimated $5.4M. The MGM/Weinstein Co. film has grossed $16.9M in ten days and should finish with $25-30M.

Two films tied for seventh. Lionsgate’s latest Tyler Perry offering Meet the Browns dropped 53% to an estimated $3.5M upping the total to $37.8M. The Owen Wilson bodyguard comedy Drillbit Taylor grossed an estimated $3.5M as well, off 39%, for a cume of $25.6M thus far for Paramount.

Fox’s horror flick Shutter, the studio’s third entry in the top ten, fell 45% to an estimated $2.9M putting the remake at $23.2M. Rounding out the top ten was 2008’s top-grossing global blockbuster 10,000 BC with an estimated $2.8M, off 44%, which put Warner Bros. at $89.3M from North America. Overseas the tally rose to $153.4M for a stellar worldwide haul of $243M.

Martin Scorsese and The Rolling Stones joined forces for the concert film Shine A Light which opened in limited release with respectable, but not spectacular numbers. The PG-13 pic collected an estimated $1.5M from only 276 halls for a moderate $5,475 average. One-third of those venues were Imax theaters which charged higher ticket prices. Paramount Classics distributed the rock pic.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $76.9M which was down a steep 27% from last year when Blades of Glory remained at number one with $22.5M; and down 22% from 2006 when Ice Age: The Meltdown stayed in the top spot with $33.8M.

Ahoy there! We here at RT have decided to get with the times to bring you a new weekly feature: a video round-up of the week’s opening wide releases, just in time for that very special Friday night movie date. Tune in to our RT Review Revue each week to hear what’s new in theaters, see what the critics are saying, and decide which opening film is worth your box office dollars.

This week’s topics range from the MTV-generation stylings of the Ryan Phillippe Iraq drama, Stop-Loss, to the zeitgeist-skewering antics of the latest spoof comedy, Superhero Movie. (Apologies in advance to Dr. Stephen Hawking; Channing Tatum has nothing on you.)

Also catch up on the book-to-screen blackjack thriller 21, which reunites Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey for the third time (and in a more age-appropriate pairing than Beyond the Sea) and see what David Schwimmer‘s directorial debut, the Simon Pegg comedy Run, Fat Boy, Run, is all about.

In the hot seats for this week’s RT Review Revue:

Matt Atchity Rotten Tomatoes

Jen Yamato Rotten Tomatoes

David Chung Rotten Tomatoes

Editor-in-Chief Matt Atchity, Senior Editor Jen Yamato, and Resident Carrie Underwood Fan, David Chung (he’s the one on the right)

The best part: you’ll get it all in a three-minute video! What are you waiting for? Click here to watch.

Moviegoers partied in Las Vegas as the blackjack drama 21
scored a stronger-than-expected number one debut to lead the North American box
office with ease. Two-time chart champ
Horton Hears A Who
was bumped down to the runner-up spot while the frame’s other new wide releases
posted forgettable opening weekend grosses. Overall the marketplace remained
sluggish with moviegoers finding most films not all that appealing.

Kevin Spacey
topped the box office this weekend starring and producing 21
which collected an estimated $23.7M over the Friday-to-Sunday period. Based on a
true story of a group of M.I.T. math wizards who devise a scheme to win big in
casinos, the Sony release averaged a potent $8,950 from 2,648 theaters. The
industry was looking for a somewhat smaller bow so the figure beat out
expectations. According to studio research, the PG-13 film played to a broad
range of gamblers. Males made up 53% of the audience while those under the age
of 25 made up 53%. Reviews were not very good but moviegoers responded to the
slick marketing and the story.




After two weeks at number one, the Dr. Seuss animated blockbuster
Horton Hears A Who

dropped down to second place but still posted healthy numbers. The Fox toon
slipped only 29% from Easter weekend and collected an estimated $17.4M raising
the cume to $117.3M after 17 days. Horton became the first film of 2008
to crack the century mark on Friday, its 15th day of release. A trajectory
towards the $150M barrier still looks likely.

MGM distributed The Weinstein Company’s spoof comedy
Superhero Movie

and was met with a lukewarm reception in third place. The PG-13 film about a
young man who gains super powers from a dragonfly grossed an estimated $9.5M
from 2,960 locations for a mild $3,213 average. It was the widest release among
the four new offerings. The performance came in between the solid $18.5M of
January’s Meet the Spartans
and the dismal $5.6M of last October’s The Comebacks. Both were spoof
comedies which have become all too common in today’s marketplace.

Tyler Perry‘s
latest tale Meet the Browns
suffered a steep fall in its second weekend dropping 61% to an estimated $7.8M.
With $32.8M collected in the first ten days, the Lionsgate title should find its
way to about $45-50M making it the second lowest-grossing picture of the
director’s string of five films.

The Paramount comedy Drillbit Taylor
held up moderately well in its sophomore session falling 44% to an estimated
$5.8M for a $20.6M cume. Look for a $35M finish to the domestic run of the
Owen Wilson
starrer. The horror pic Shutter
followed with an estimated $5.3M, down 49%, for a ten-day total of $19.1M. A
$30M final should result. Warner Bros. saw its prehistoric actioner 10,000 BC
capture an estimated $4.9M for seventh place, down 45%, lifting the overall take
to $84.9M.



Debuting in eighth place with little strength was the soldier drama
Stop-Loss
which
took in an estimated $4.5M from 1,291 sites. Averaging only $3,505, the
Paramount release stars Ryan
Phillippe
as a war veteran who returns to his hometown after serving his
country. The PG-13 film also features Channing Tatum and
Abbie Cornish
and targeted the teen and young adult crowd. Like most recent films with themes
connected to war, paying customers were hard to find. Reviews were the best
among the weekend’s new titles, but not spectacular.

Martin Lawrence and Raven-Symone enjoyed a great hold for their comedy College Road Trip
which eased just 25% to an estimated $3.5M pushing Disney’s cume to $38.4M.
Rounding out this weekend’s unremarkable top ten was the heist thriller The Bank Job
which fell 33% in its fourth round to an estimated $2.8M. Cume sits at $24.1M.
The Jason Statham hit has been that rare action film to show durable legs.

Debuting outside of the top ten was the
Simon Pegg
comedy Run, Fat Boy, Run
which bowed to an estimated $2.4M from a not-so-wide 1,133 locations. Averaging
a disappointing $2,109 per venue, the Picturehouse release generated little
excitement with ticket buyers.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $85.2M which was down a troubling 25%
from last year when
Blades of Glory

opened at number one with $33M; and down a disturbing 33% from 2006 when
Ice Age: The Meltdown

debuted in the top spot with $68M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, Box Office Guru

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