Mr. Pink is the director of "Accepted" and the co-writer of "High Fidelity" and "Grosse Pointe Blank." Joshua Jackson is probably best known for his "Dawson’s Creek" series, but he was also in movies like "Cruel Intentions," "The Skulls," and "Cursed."
You may have read this report last week, but our source seems intent on confirming it.
In what must be a first at the box office, an aerobics queen takes on killer zombies in a vicious battle for the silver medal during what no doubt will be another mammoth weekend for "Spider-Man 3."
Fox unleashes its horror sequel "28 Weeks Later," Universal counters with its femme-driven star vehicle "Georgia Rule," Lionsgate tosses in the comedy "Delta Farce," and MGM releases yet another laugher with "The Ex." Meanwhile, back in New York City, the webslinger will attempt to swing to a massive quarter-billion-dollar cume by the end of its second weekend.
As the second of ten sequels hitting theaters over the May-June corridor, "28 Weeks Later" is the follow-up to the cult hit zombie chiller "28 Days Later" which lit up theaters four years ago. Danny Boyle shifts from the director’s chair to the executive producer’s office as Juan Carlos Fresnadillo takes the helm. "Days" was very well-received which explains why a sequel was greenlit. In the new installment, the killer virus infects people once again as London tries to repopulate and madness ensues. The built-in audience will help the R-rated "Weeks" right out of the gate.
Its predecessor bowed to $10.1M from only 1,260 theaters for a potent $7,986 average on its way to a solid $45.1M final. Through video and cable, it found an even larger fan base and many will give "Weeks" a try. However working against it is of course competition from "Spider-Man 3" which has a hold on fans of comics and sci-fi. Plus 2007 has seen 1,001 horror films flood theaters causing recent fright fatigue. Casual fans of scary movies may pass on "Weeks" if they’re trying to stay away from blood and gore. Fox’s marketing has been clever and effective and the target audience is excited. Plus reviews have been very positive which will help a bit too since most horror films nowadays are either not screened for critics in advance or earn poor marks. Attacking over 2,000 theaters, "28 Weeks Later" might scare up around $13M this weekend.
"28 Weeks Later"
For those looking to avoid zombies and super heroes in their weekend entertainment, Universal offers the dramedy "Georgia Rule" starring Jane Fonda, Lindsay Lohan, and Felicity Huffman. The R-rated story tells of a teenage girl dumped at her grandmother’s house for the summer by her alcoholic mother which leads to the uncovering of family secrets. Just in time for Mother’s Day weekend, "Georgia" will play almost exclusively to women as men will have to be dragged against their will. However, moviegoers from a broad age group should turn out since the cast boasts stars of different generations. The one troublespot could be the rating though. Lohan arguably still has pull with teenage girls who may be left out because of the MPAA’s tag. But the film’s two uses of the F word are essential to the story as are the adult themes so the R was unavoidable.
"Georgia Rule" should play to the same audience that the studio saw for previous chick flicks like Diane Keaton‘s "Because I Said So" ($13.1M opening, $5,195 average), Meryl Streep‘s "Prime" ($6.2M, $3,405), and Debra Messing‘s "The Wedding Date" ($11.1M, $6,566). Reaching the $23.1M debut of Fonda’s last film "Monster-in-Law" is not likely however since it won’t crossover into other demographic groups like the J. Lo pic did. The weekend’s new releases will not provide too much competition which means that the universal appeal of the webslinger sequel will be the main enemy. Bad reviews will eat into sales from mature adults, but many from the "Desperate Housewives" crowd will still make a trip out to this chick flick. "Georgia Rule" enters 2,523 theaters on Friday and could walk away with about $13M.
Larry the Cable Guy stars in the new military comedy "Delta Farce" which also hits theaters on Friday. The PG-13 film from Lionsgate finds three hapless men being mistaken for Army recruits who are sent to Iraq but mistakenly dropped in Mexico. Not since "Best Defense" has a film of this type been such an unwelcome entry in the marketplace. Young males are the only group likely to show interest and with Spidey in only his second swing, few will find this new comedy worth paying top dollar for. Plus starpower is lacking and none of the cast members are known for anchoring box office hits. Larry’s self-titled film last spring bowed to just $6.9M and this one will probably slump even lower. Opening in about 1,800 locations, "Delta Farce" will probably shoot up around $4M.
Zach Braff and Amanda Peet play a thirtysomething New York couple with a new baby in the new romantic comedy "The Ex" marketed by The Weinstein Company and distributed by MGM. In the PG-13 pic, the likable duo moves to Ohio where Braff’s character gets a job at her father’s ad agency where he butts heads with his wife’s former fling from high school. Jason Bateman, Charles Grodin, and Donal Logue co-star. "The Ex" will be targeting the date crowd and young women, but will have rough sailing. "Georgia Rule" will already be tapping into the female moviegoing base and Spidey is attracting his share of women and young adults too. The promotional push has not been too forceful either so the film may end up with just the die-hard "Scrubs" fans. Mixed reviews won’t help either. Also, Braff and Peet are not box office anchors who sell lots of tickets. Sure "Garden State" was an indie hit with $26.8M in 2004, but that was a word-of-mouth platform release that made its money over time and not a commercial Hollywood comedy. Debuting in 1,009 theaters, "The Ex" might gross roughly $3M this weekend.
None of these new films will come close to defeating the mighty "Spider-Man 3" which will enjoy its second comfortable box office win in a row. But a steep fall is likely. The first webslinger flick opened at the beginning of May five years ago and dropped by only 38% on the second weekend which was phenomenal. But like most sequels, especialy third-parters, "Spider-Man 3" attracted so much of its total audience upfront that rapid erosion is assured. The previous record-holder for the biggest opening weekend, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest," fell by 54% in its second adventure last July while its summer counterpart "X-Men: The Last Stand" tumbled by a troubling 67% in its sophomore frame. Of course that was coming off of a Memorial Day holiday opening so the decline was larger than normal.
"Spider-Man 3" has already been taking a hit during the week dropping to $10.3M on Monday and $8M on Tuesday. Those numbers come close to what "The Matrix Reloaded" took in on the same days after its colossal opening weekend in mid-May 2003. That sci-fi pic crashed 60% in its second weekend despite its sophomore frame being helped by a holiday. Luckily for the Sandman flick the competition this weekend will not be too menacing. "Spider-Man 3" could still fall by more than 55% to about $65M this weekend which would boost the domestic haul to a mammoth $247M in only ten days.
LAST YEAR: Tom Cruise topped the charts with "Mission Impossible: III" which dropped 48% in its second weekend to $25M. Opening in second place was the pricey disaster film "Poseidon" which debuted to $22.2M for Warner Bros. on its way to a disappointing $60.7M domestically. Worldwide, the Kurt Russell starrer grossed $182M. Robin Williams placed third with "RV" which eased by less than 10% to $10M in its third weekend. Lindsay Lohan stumbled into fourth with her new comedy "Just My Luck" which opened to a weak $5.7M on its way to $17.3M for Fox. Rounding out the top five was the horror flick "An American Haunting" with $3.6M.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
"Scrubs" creator and producer Bill Lawrence is planning to shoot his first feature film, "Fletch Won," during his hiatus this spring. He hopes to enlist Zach Braff to play the title role, but already the task of writing and directing is a scary prospect for the TV mogul.
"I have been so comfortable in the TV business for so long, I’ve not operated without a net," said Lawrence. "So I am so scared about doing ‘Fletch’ because I just have nightmares about f***ing it up. Not only would it bum me out personally, but I’m such a fan, it’s the first time I’ve ever done anything that all my closest friends that I grew up with have each taken the time to call me and said, ‘If you mess this up, we’re going to kill you.’"
Based on Gregory McDonald’s prequel novel, "Fletch Won" is the story of ace investigative journalist Irwin Fletcher’s first story. Set before the 1985 Chevy Chase movie and originally written in early ’80s, the film will take place in present day.
"I modernized it. I think it’s more tonally close to the book than anything else because the first one was Chevy Chase in his kind of sketch arena. It’s not as sketchy [but] it’s not that close to the book. I used definitely a lot of the plot elements but tonally, it’s a lot closer to the book and the books than the first ‘Fletch‘ movie was. I’m a huge Greg McDonald fan. I read all the novels before I even saw the movie. The dialogue just pops. You can basically cut out pages and just shoot them, the guy writes such good dialogue."
Of course, that’s not how Lawrence wrote the script. "I probably should have. He’s a better writer than I am."
Following the worst box office weekend in three years, Hollywood has nowhere to go but up. It hopes.
Four new pictures enter wide release on Friday led by the sports drama "Gridiron Gang" from Sony which is gunning for its tenth trip to the number one spot this year. Universal goes after an older crowd with the crime thriller "The Black Dahlia," Fox aims for kids with the animated film "Everyone’s Hero," and Paramount tries to court the adult date crowd with "The Last Kiss." Overall, the North American marketplace should bounce back from last weekend’s horrible showing, but only by a small margin.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson hopes to score the fifth number one opening of his career this weekend with the football saga "Gridiron Gang." The PG-13 film finds the wrestler-turned-actor playing a juvenile camp officer who assembles a pigskin squad in order to give lost kids some hope in life. Sony is targeting one of the most reliable moviegoing segments with "Gang" – urban youth. With a young and multicultural cast, plus a star in the lead role, this new film hopes to appeal to the same crowd that made hits out of other sports flicks like "Remember the Titans" and "Coach Carter." Of course, the star this time is not an Oscar-caliber actor. "Gang’s" marketing push has been strong and an ultrawide release will make the product available everywhere.
The Rock provides solid starpower, although his box office muscle in recent years has delivered openings in a very narrow range. Pics like "The Rundown," "Walking Tall," and "Doom" have all debuted within the $15-19M range. "Gridiron Gang’s" rating should open the doors to a wider audience and with the start of the NFL and college football seasons, the subject matter is very relevant at this time of year. Plus with a dead marketplace featuring choices that are exciting nobody, teens and young adults should find this one the only film worth rallying behind. Charging into 3,504 locations, "Gridiron Gang" will have no problem conquering the box office and could score around $17M this weekend.
Moviegoers opting for a trip back to the 1940s instead of a football pic can choose Brian De Palma‘s "The Black Dahlia" which Universal opens on Friday. The R-rated thriller stars Josh Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart as Los Angeles cops investigating the mysterious death of a young woman chopped in half and disemboweled. Scarlett Johansson and two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank take the token female roles. Just as with "Hollywoodland" which bowed last weekend, "Dahlia" will play to an older adult audience interested in LA-based crime noir pics from the mid twentieth century. Unlike with the younger-skewing "Gridiron Gang," reviews will play a big part in the success or failure of "Dahlia." This one needs more support from critics than it’s getting in order to become a commercial winner. Starpower is certainly there, but the subject matter may not pique the interest of adults across all 50 states. Add in competition for the target audience plus an overall slowdown in moviegoing activity and it may be hard for the studio to break even on this one. "The Black Dahlia" enters 2,224 theaters and might collect around $9M this weekend.
Following this summer’s "Superman Returns" and last week’s George Reeves mystery "Hollywoodland," the Man of Steel spotlight now turns to the late Christopher Reeve whose final project, the animated sports tale "Everyone’s Hero," makes its way into theaters on Friday. With voices provided by Rob Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, and William H. Macy, the G-rated flick tells of a boy on a mission to retrieve Babe Ruth’s stolen bat. Reeve co-directed with Colin Brady and Dan St. Pierre. Fox will be looking to attract kids and Little League coach parents with "Hero." The film is not registering too high on the priority lists of children. But the studio does have one thing working in its favor – the current marketplace has nothing major for children. And don’t expect the other new releases to appeal to the family crowd either. Opening surprisingly wide in 2,896 theaters, "Everyone’s Hero" could score around $7M this weekend.
TV stars Zach Braff of NBC’s "Scrubs" and Rachel Bilson of Fox’s "The O.C." join forces on the big screen in "The Last Kiss" which Paramount inherited from its DreamWorks tie-up. The R-rated remake of an Italian film about a man in the early stages of a mid-life crisis also stars Casey Affleck, Blythe Danner, and Tom Wilkinson. The marketing push behind "Kiss" has been lacking so look for the romantic dramedy to become a small blip on the box office radar this weekend. Adult women will make up the primary audience making period pics "Dahlia" and "Hollywoodland" direct competitors. Consumer excitement is pretty low for "The Last Kiss" which heads into only 1,100 theaters. A weekend gross of roughly $4M could result.
The new fall season brings a flood of activity in limited-release action. Balcony Releasing got the frame started on Wednesday with its New York opening of the political doc "Al Franken: God Spoke" which adds a second Manhattan venue on Friday. The raunchy softball comedy "Artie Lange’s Beer League" opens on Friday in about 175 theaters. With Ralph Macchio in the cast, the R-rated Echo Bridge release should find itself stuck in six-digit territory. Yari Film Group unleashes the Cayman Islands-set drama "Haven," which stars Orlando Bloom and Bill Paxton, into 24 theaters across the country.
The mockumentary wedding comedy "Confetti" bows in a dozen sites from Fox Searchlight. American troops in Iraq are the focus of the Focus Features documentary "The Ground Truth" which attacks eight theaters. Lionsgate offers up its own non-fiction flick "The U.S. vs. John Lennon" in six playdates examining the Beatles icon’s rage against the establishment.
Sony’s ninth number one of the year "The Covenant" looks to get booted out of the top spot by the studio’s tenth chart-topper. A 50% drop would give the teen thriller about $4.5M for the frame and a modest ten-day cume of $15M. "Hollywoodland" lacked strength in its debut and will now face a direct hit from "Dahlia" so a 45% decline could be in order. That would give Focus around $3.5M over the weekend putting the total at a weak $11M after ten days.
LAST YEAR: Reese Witherspoon captured the number one spot with her latest comedy "Just Like Heaven" which grossed $16.4M on its way to $48.3M for DreamWorks. Sony’s surprise suspense hit "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" lost half its business and dropped to second with $14.9M in its sophomore frame. Nicolas Cage bowed in third with his new actioner "Lord of War" with $9.4M. The Lions Gate release reached $24.1M. Steve Carell enjoyed his fifth week in the top five with "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" which laughed up $6M. The horror pic "Cry Wolf" bowed poorly in fifth with only $4.4M leading to a $10M finish.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Comedic actor Zach Braff has quite a few gigs on his plate: His newest movie ("The Last Kiss") is set to open next week, he’s about to get started on the sixth (and probably final) season of "Scrubs," and he’s got that all-new rendition of "Fletch" to look forward to…
From an interview with ComingSoon.net: "Bill Lawrence is definitely writing and directing ‘Fletch,’ and there’s a good chance I’ll do it. I’ve just got to talk to Uncle Harvey…I was the one who told Harvey he should hire Bill. Bill’s a huge Fletch fan. The books aren’t as wacky and silly as the Chevy Chase movies were, so there was talk for awhile of going back to the books and not having that level of comedy in them, and Bill and I both disagreed.
"That’s what made the movie so great. It’s one of the most quoted movies ever, especially by guys. Why would you not tap back into what’s funny about that? Definitely go back to the books ’cause the books are brilliant, but we want to still make it a comedy. Bill uses the great analogy of ‘Beverly Hills Cop.’ He’s like, ‘If you look at ‘Beverly Hills Cop,’ some people think it’s one of the funniest comedies ever, but it’s an action movie with great adventure and real stakes,’ and he wants to do that with ‘Fletch.’ The books have real stakes and real action in them, but they also have some of the funniest, witty dialogue ever written."
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For a while there it actually looked like a new "Fletch" flick would come via Kevin Smith and Jason Lee, but unfortunately it never came to pass — and now comes word that "Scrubs" creator Bill Lawrence has been signed by the Weinstein House to kick-start the "Fletch" series.
ComingSoon.net actually scooped the big boys on this news: "(CS.net) has confirmed that "Spin City" co-creator and "Scrubs" creator Bill Lawrence will write and direct the next two "Fletch" films for The Weinstein Company, of which the first remains "Fletch Won" … Now that Lawrence is indeed on board, (Zach) Braff definitely has an edge over other actors."
Then The Hollywood Reporter chimed in with some extra clarification: ""Scrubs" creator Bill Lawrence is writing and directing a prequel to the ’80s franchise "Fletch," and if he has his way, Zach Braff will star in the title role. The Weinstein Co. has signed Lawrence to helm and adapt Gregory Mcdonald’s 1985 comic-mystery novel "Fletch Won," which follows the irreverent detective from his early days as a ne’er-do-well junior newspaper reporter to his partnership with a crime reporter to solve a murder."
Good news for all, but let’s hope this doesn’t mean the end of "Scrubs."
Says Variety: "Zach Braff has set up his next helming gig, a remake of Danish pic "Open Hearts" for Paramount Pictures.
Braff will direct and produce and is likely to take a small role in the redo, which is scheduled to shoot in New Jersey in June when Braff is on hiatus from his hit NBC sitcom "Scrubs."
Susanne Bier directed "Open Hearts," which received a domestic theatrical release via Newmarket Films in February 2003. Mads Mikkelsen, Sonja Richter, Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Paprika Steen star in the pic, described as a Dogma 95 film about a woman who is devastated when her fiance is paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident. To complicate the situation, she enters into an affair with her fiance’s doctor, whose wife is the driver who caused the accident.
Braff has yet to decide on a final cast for his pic."
The consistently amusing Donald Faison ("Clueless," TV’s "Scrubs") has signed on for the lead role in "Homie Spumoni," says Variety. Mike Cerrone (co-writer of "Me, Myself & Irene") will direct the indie comedy, which is described like so: "The story centers on Renato, a black man raised as an Italian-American goombah and unaware that he is black. When his birth parents show up, he spurns his Italian family as well as his Jewish American Princess girlfriend and goes to his birth family’s home. There, he realizes he must learn to be comfortable in his own skin."
No word yet on whether or not the film’s title will come attached to a banner that reads "National Lampoon Presents."