Step aside Voorhees, we got another Jason killing it at the movies. After just a few years, starting with Paranormal Activity, producer Jason Blum and his Blumhouse Productions have changed the horror landscape with its brand of so-called ‘low budget, high concept’ releases, carving out a spectacular niche in a market that has seen the alleged demise of mid-budget movies and utter reliance on superhero flicks and blockbusters. Continuing this month’s focus on all things spooky, our gallery looks at 24 best and worst Blumhouse horror movies by Tomatometer (and don’t forget to read our Five Favorite Horror Films with the guy himself).

It’s a little strange to see a horror movie headline the Christmas week edition of a DVD article, but such is life. Most of you have probably already done all of your gift shopping by now, and the studios recognize that, so there’s little new worth talking about. That said, here’s a look at the few titles that are hitting video shelves this week:



Insidious: Chapter 2

39%

After beginning a wildly popular horror franchise with 2004’s Saw, James Wan finally earned a Fresh Tomatometer rating with 2011’s Insidious. Though it was overshadowed by Wan’s other 2013 film (The Conjuring), audiences got to spend another couple of hours with the Lambert family in Insidious: Chapter 2, which builds on the first film and further fleshes out the dark history of the Lamberts. This time around, we get to see what the deal is with Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson), who possessed some special abilities when he was a child and was made to forget about them. His past, of course, comes back to haunt him — quite literally — and soon his wife Renai (Rose Byrne) realizes it probably wasn’t the best idea to hang out in his childhood home. At 37% on the Tomatometer, Chapter 2 wasn’t nearly as well regarded as its predecessor; critics felt the film was short on tension and therefore far less frightening. The film certainly moves into some wild territory in its third act, but it may be sufficient for a quick horror fix, if you need one.



Last Love

31%

The idea of a world-weary old man rediscovering his zest for life through a younger muse is an all too familiar theme, but one might assume if there’s anyone who could lend some heft to such a story, it would be Michael Caine. Granted, most of the critics who did like Last Love cited Caine as one of its saving graces, but overall, this tale of a professor (Caine) living in Paris who develops a special bond with a free-spirited dancer (Clémence Poésy) failed to impress. While most conceded that the performances are good, the script lacks subtlety and any sense of momentum, resulting in a poorly paced narrative that fails to earn its big moments. At 35% on the Tomatometer, Last Love is a relatively poor example of its actors’ talents.



Caesar Must Die

92%

Depending on their topics, most documentaries tell relatively straightforward narratives, but there are always a few that choose to do things a little differently. Examples from just this year might include Stories We Tell or The Act of Killing. If you’re looking for a doc along those lines, another viable choice might be Caesar Must Die, an Italian film that follows the inmates of a Roman prison as they prepare to present a performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Audiences are taken through the entire process, from the casting decisions to rehearsals, and what emerges is a fascinating portrait of the inmates as they relate the play to their own experiences and begin utilizing the process to work through their issues. Certified Fresh at 91% on the Tomatometer, Caesar Must Die is an inventive look at prison inmates that’s a little more than just a standard documentary.

Also available this week:

  • More Than Honey (100%), a documentary about the crucial connection between bees and mankind, and how that relationship affects much larger issues.

This week’s Ketchup covers seven days in which there weren’t many (confirmed/non-rumor) “big stories,” and some of those that did break out were sort of “rotten” (like the new Jack Black, Adam Sandler and Vince Vaughn movies). On the “Fresh” side of movie development stories, we have new films for Bryan Cranston, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Michael Fassbender.


This Week’s Top Story

HORROR SPECIALISTS BLUMHOUSE GREENLIGHT INSIDIOUS 3 AND INCARNATE

This past weekend, the horror sequel Insidious: Chapter 2 opened to over $41 million in domestic box office, which broke two records. The opening Friday of Insidious 2 was the biggest horror debut of 2013 (thus far). More significantly, the opening weekend was the biggest live action September opening ever (though that may just say more about what a low attendance month September usually is). The horror-centric production company Blumhouse Productions (also home to Paranormal Activity and Sinister) specializes in these sorts of films which can be made on a smaller budget ($5 million in the case of Insidious: Chapter 2), and with audiences continuing to turn out for them, Blumhouse is not going to be stopping anytime soon. And so, Leigh Whannell, who wrote the first two Insidious movies, has signed on to write Insidious 3 as well. Director James Wan has moved on to the Fast & Furious franchise with next year’s seventh film (and has stated a desire in leaving horror for a while), so Blumhouse is most likely looking for a replacement for Wan for Insidious 3. It’s not yet known if previous actors like Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne will be returning for Insidious 3. The winning post-Paranormal Activity formula for Blumhouse films appears to be using marquee name stars that aren’t so expensive as to raise the budget too much (such as Ethan Hawke in Sinister and The Purge). The latest actor to apparently fall into that sweet spot between “affordable” and “box office draw” is Aaron Eckhart, who has signed with Blumhouse to star in the exorcism horror movie Incarnate. Director Brad Peyton will make Incarnate his third feature film after debuting with Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, and most recently directing Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Aaron Eckhart will star in Incarnate as an exorcist who excels in his profession due to his ability to “tap into the subconscious of the possessed,” but is challenged when his latest client is a 9-year-old boy who is possessed by a demon from the exorcist’s past.

Fresh Developments This Week

#1 BRYAN CRANSTON FOLLOWS BREAKING BAD WITH THE BLACKLIST BIOPIC TRUMBO

We’ve been hearing a fair amount lately about Aaron Paul’s post-Breaking Bad plans (the Need for Speed videogame movie, Joshua in the Biblical epic Exodus, and the indie drama Hellion). Bryan Cranston himself, however, has been pretty much a non-presence in the news, excluding two movies that are already long wrapped (the indie crime thriller Cold Comes the Night and the Godzilla reboot). We learned this week what Cranston’s next film role after Walter White will be, and it’s got “awards season” written all over it. Cranston has signed to play blacklisted Hollywood Ten member screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in a biopic called Trumbo (not to be confused with the 2007 documentary of the same title). Trumbo will be directed by Jay Roach, who is most famous for directing the three Austin Powers, Meet the Parents, and Meet the Fockers, but of late who has transitioned to directing more political movies like Recount, The Campaign, and Game Change. Dalton Trumbo was blacklisted for refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee, but continued to work in Hollywood under “fronts”, including two movies for which he won an Academy Award (The Brave One and Roman Holiday, awarded posthumously). Dalton Trumbo helped break the blacklist when he received credit for Exodus and Spartacus. Trumbo’s last film as screenwriter was the 1973 prison movie Papillon, starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. Filming of Trumbo is expected to start in early 2014.

#2 LEONARDO DICAPRIO TO PLAY PRESIDENT WOODROW WILSON

There are U.S. presidents who were always famous and popular, those who quickly descended into obscurity, and then other presidents whose public popularity has always vacillated. The 28th POTUS, Woodrow Wilson, is arguably in that latter group. President from 1913 to 1921, Woodrow Wilson was a leader of the Progressive movement, and an adamant anti-war advocate who eventually became convinced of the importance of the United States becoming involved in World War I. And yet, today, Wilson probably wouldn’t even make most people’s lists of the ten most important presidents (presuming they can even list ten United States Presidents, of course). Reviving the reputation of Woodrow Wilson might just be what Leonardo DiCaprio had on his mind this week when it was announced that his Appian Way production company is partnering with Warner Bros for an adaptation of the recently published biography Wilson by A. Scott Berg. In addition to producing, Leonardo DiCaprio will also star as the 28th President. It’s worth noting, however, that with neither a screenwriter nor a director announced, Wilson is probably at least a few years away from actually happening. Whichever year Warner Bros eventually picks in this decade for its release will coincide with the 100th anniversary of an important event in Wilson’s presidential career.

#3 MICHAEL FASSBENDER FINALLY GETS HIS GUN IN WESTERN SLOW WEST

Fans of Michael Fassbender may have been disappointed when the departure of director Lynne Ramsay from the western Jane Got Her Gun led to the actor also departing the project. This week, however, we learned that the movie he’s been quietly developing with short film director John Maclean will itself be a western called Slow West. There’s really no other details right now, except that Fassbender will be joined by Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom, Killing Them Softly) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road, Let Me In). Funding comes from the U.K. and New Zealand, and filming is scheduled to film in the latter location later this year.

#4 LUCAS BLACK RETURNS TO CONNECT FAST & FURIOUS 7 (AND 8 & 9) WITH TOKYO DRIFT

The movie’s been out for seven years now, so this writer presumes its safe to talk about the ending of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, but if you’re still spoiler-conscious, stop reading now. Still there? So, yes, the ending of that third released movie created something of a confusing chronology for the three Fast & Furious movies that followed it, because they all took place before we see Vin Diesel’s cameo as Dominic Toretto in the final scene. So, for people who actually spend time thinking about the intra-film continuity of the Fast & Furious franchise, the question has lingered about when and how Tokyo Drift would be tied back in. Well, we now have an idea, because Lucas Black has signed to reprise his character of Sean Boswell for not just Fast & Furious 7, but also movies #8 and #9, as part of the cast of what will become the franchise’s third de facto trilogy. This move will mean that future audiences who want to watch the franchise in chronological order will have to watch them in this order: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 3, 7, 8, 9. Fast & Furious 7 will be released by Universal Pictures on July 11, 2014.

#5 VIDEOGAME ADAPTATION DANTE’S INFERNO POSSESSED BY EVIL DEAD DIRECTOR

In late 2009 to early 2010, if you were part of EA’s target demographic, you really couldn’t escape the publicity around their video game Dante’s Inferno. And then, the game came out, the reviews were negative/mixed, the sales were “so so,” and it’s three and a half years later, and there’s still no confirmation of a sequel game. Hollywood, however, doesn’t always adapt the movies that would seem the most obvious sources (or when they should be adapted), so, why shouldn’t it work in reverse? In other words, despite all of the aforementioned, Universal Pictures is still moving ahead with plans for a feature film based on the Dante’s Inferno video game (which itself was a graphically gory action game only very loosely based on anything Dante Alighieri actually wrote). The reason we know that Universal is moving ahead with the movie is that they have started talks with director Fede Alvarez, who did a better job with the reboot of Evil Dead earlier this year than many were expecting (ie, it wasn’t a catastrophe and/or abomination of horror filmmaking). The latest screenplay draft of the Dante’s Inferno adaptation was by Jay Basu (who wrote the upcoming DTV sequel Monsters: Dark Continent), working from a first draft by Bruce McKenna (who worked on episodes of HBO’s Band of Brothers and The Pacific).

Rotten Ideas of the Week

#4 ADAM SANDLER GOES INDIE AS THE COBBLER

One of the most distracting blips in the otherwise fairly straight line that is Adam Sandler’s film career is the 2002 movie Punch-Drunk Love that he starred in for director Paul Thomas Anderson (the movie he directed in between Magnolia and There Will Be Blood). Well, it’s been over ten years since then, and now, Adam Sandler is again in talks to work with an acclaimed director on his fourth movie. That director is Tom McCarthy, whose first three movies were The Station Agent, The Visitor, and Win Win, and the movie in question is called The Cobbler. If Sandler signs on, he will play a modern day cobbler who has the “ability to metaphysically step into the lives of the people whose shoes he repairs.” Coincidentally, that premise actually sounds like it could have been one of Cartman’s movie pitches in the South Park episode “AWESOM-O.” This will be, however, a Tom McCarthy indie film, so the eventual result will surely be much different than if it was yet another Happy Madison “comedy” production. Consider The Cobbler a “borderline” movie caught somewhere in the limbo between the track records of McCarthy and Sandler.

#3 UNNECESSARY ENGLISH LANGUAGE REMAKE OF TROLLHUNTER STILL HAPPENING

Part of the allure of the 2010 monster movie Trollhunter was precisely how Norwegian it was, all of which was completely appropriate because of how inherently Scandinavian/Norwegian the myths of trolls are. It’s exactly the sort of movie that would seem to lose its raison d’etre as an English language remake (including the fact that the movie also had a sense of humor about itself). Anyway, not long after the U.S. release of Trollhunter, Chris Columbus and his 1492 Productions started development of an English language remake anyway, and this week, we found out that it’s going to be happening this winter while there’s still snow on the ground. The Trollhunter remake will be directed by Neil Marshall, who has something of a mixed record as a director (Dog Soldiers and The Descent were “Fresh”; Doomsday and Centurion were “Rotten”). You can watch the original Trollhunter online via Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” section.

#2 VINCE VAUGHN REUNITES WITH COUPLES RETREAT DIRECTOR FOR TERM LIFE

It takes an extra something special to be the worst-reviewed movie on Vince Vaughn’s RT Tomatometer, but that’s the distinction obtained by the 2009 “comedy” Couples Retreat. This week, it was confirmed that Universal Pictures has greenlit a movie called Term Life that will reunite Vince Vaughn with that movie’s director Peter Billingsley. Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, Ender’s Game) will also costar as the daughter of Vaughn’s character, who will be a criminal in trouble with the mob who takes out a life insurance policy that will only pay out if he can stay alive for 21 days. Term Life is an adaptation of an Image Comics title so treasured by the company that they allow the “official site” to be a broken mess as the big movie adaptation is announced.

#1 DOES THE IDEA OF JACK BLACK IN A “SCARY” KIDS MOVIE GIVE YOU GOOSEBUMPS?

Jack Black is now in negotiations with Sony Pictures to star in their long-planned feature film adaptation of the popular R.L. Stine “scary” children’s book series Goosebumps. As long as the existence of a Goosebumps movie project has been around, the obvious question has been how one movie would adapt a book franchise with dozens of standalone stories. We now know the answer is that Jack Black will play an R.L. Stine-esque author character “whose scary characters literally leap off the page, forcing him to hide from his own creepy creations.” So, it’s basically like a cross between A Night at the Museum and John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness. But probably with more talking ventriloquist’s dummies. Goosebumps will also mark the third time that Jack Black has worked with director Rob Letterman, who also directed Black in Gulliver’s Travels and the DreamWorks Animation movie Shark Tale. This announcement was rather uncoincidentally made on Friday the 13th (but late enough in the day to miss last week’s Ketchup cut).

For more Weekly Ketchup columns by Greg Dean Schmitz, check out the WK archive, and you can contact GDS via Facebook.

Fall moviegoers were in the mood to be scared as the horror sequel Insidious Chapter 2 dominated the North American box office with a spectacular opening that ranked among the best of all-time for its genre. FilmDistrict’s follow-up to its 2011 sleeper hit thriller bowed to a stunning $41.1M, according to estimates, averaging a sensational $13,463 from 3,049 locations.

It was the second largest opening ever during the month of September coming in a hair behind the $42.5M of last year’s animated comedy Hotel Transylvania. Chapter 2 also generated the second best horror opening of all-time during the August-to-November corridor which is the most popular time of year for that genre due in part to Halloween. The only bigger debut was the $52.6M of another supernatural thriller sequel – 2011’s Paranormal Activity 3. For scary movies, first weekend audiences don’t get much bigger than this and there was no 3D gimmick to jack up prices.

Many factors contributed to the Insidious success. The first installment was a leggy hit that created a large fan base and the cast was back for the sequel. A PG-13 rating made it commercially-friendly to younger teens who often look for something compelling to see during this back-to-school month. A Friday the 13th release date made sitting in that multiplex extra creepy and director James Wan was red hot coming off of his last film The Conjuring which was a monster hit this summer opening to a similar $41.9M in July. It enjoyed terrific legs, strong word-of-mouth, and currently sits at $136M domestic and an amazing $271M worldwide.

Bad reviews didn’t matter as Chapter 2 got the weekend started with a scorching $20.1M opening day on Friday including $1.5M from Thursday night late shows beginning at 10:00pm. Saturday tumbled by a third to $13.5M and Sunday is estimated to fall by 45% to $7.4M. Horror films that use Friday the 13th as their launch date can often make half of their weekend sales in that first day and the latest Insidious was no different. Friday accounted for 49% of its weekend gross.

Produced for a mere $5M, Chapter 2 should shoot ahead of the $54M of its predecessor and become one of the most profitable wide releases of 2013. Studio research showed that the audience was 52% male and 62% under 25 as teens made up a major component. The CinemaScore grade was a B+ which would be decent for most films, but is actually pretty good for the horror genre. The Conjuring scored a notch better with an A- while the year’s second biggest fright film, the January supernatural hit Mama, received a B-. With Insidious Chapter 2 and last spring’s Olympus Has Fallen, FilmDistrict has had a solid year beating out its peers at the box office.

The witness protection action-comedy The Family debuted in second place with respectable results grossing an estimated $14.5M from 3,091 theaters for a decent $4,691 average. Relativity’s R-rated film starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer earned lackluster reviews from critics which helped to dampen the overall potential with its target audience of mature adults. But it did deliver one of the best openings for De Niro in a lead role over the past decade. Luc Besson directed and executive producer Martin Scorsese’s name was used in advertising to make moviegoers take the film seriously. A lousy C CinemaScore grade indicates a fast fade ahead.

Last week’s number one film Riddick suffered the kind of sophomore tumble expected of a sci-fi sequel with lukewarm word-of-mouth. The Universal release fell 63% to an estimated $7M pushing the ten-day total to $31.3M. It was a bit larger than the 61% crash that its predecessor, 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick, experienced in its second weekend in June of that year. Produced for $38M, the new Riddick should finish its domestic run with a mediocre $45M.

A pair of leggy hits from August reached milestones this weekend. If estimates hold, Forest Whitaker’s The Butler will cross the $100M mark on Sunday night. The Weinstein Co. release declined by 34% to an estimated $5.6M spending its fifth frame in the top five and is now the distributor’s fifth film to break the nine-digit domestic mark. The other four all went on to earn Oscar nominations for Best Picture – Inglourious Basterds, The King’s Speech, Django Unchained, and Silver Linings Playbook. Meanwhile, the Warner Bros. sleeper hit We’re the Millers became the first live-action film of 2013 to remain in 3,000+ theaters for six weeks. That marks exceptional staying power especially given how competitive the marketplace has been over the last month. The pot smuggling comedy slipped 30% to an estimated $5.4M for $131.6M to date and will soon become Jennifer Aniston’s highest-grossing film in a lead role.

The Spanish-language hit Instructions Not Included dropped 48% to an estimated $4.3M in its third round boosting the cume for Lionsgate up to $26.6M. Disney’s animated flick Planes held up well again slipping only 26% to an estimated $3.1M for $83M to date.

Sony released a new fan cut of the boy band concert doc One Direction: This Is Us and saw the title slip by 41% to an estimated $2.4M giving the teen girl magnets $26.9M to date. Studio stablemate Elysium followed with an estimated $2.1M, down 35%, and a total of $88.4M. Rounding out the top ten was the fantasy offering Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters which slipped 25% to an estimated $1.8M putting Fox at $62M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $87.1M which was up 34% from last year when Resident Evil: Retribution debuted at number one with $21.1M; and up 5% from 2011 when The Lion King 3D opened in the top spot with $30.2M.

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This week at the movies, we’ve got a bedeviled family (Insidious: Chapter 2, starring Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne) and some witnesses who need little protection (The Family, starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer). What do the critics have to say?



Insidious: Chapter 2

39%

With Insidious and The Conjuring, director James Wan has moved away from his blood-soaked Saw roots toward a more atmospheric brand of horror. However, critics say Insidious: Chapter 2 is something of a step back; despite strong performances and a few effective scares, it’s decidedly short on the tension and surprises that made its predecessor so chilling. This time out, the Lamberts have moved to a new residence but continue to be haunted by a malevolent spirit. Could it be that it’s one of the family members, not the house, that’s possessed? The pundits say Insidious: Chapter 2 is better crafted and performed than your typical frightfest, but it’s too reliant on jump scares and backstory to fully captivate. (Read our interview with star Patrick Wilson here.)



The Family

28%

With its distinguished cast and high concept premise, The Family looks like a can’t-miss proposition on paper. Unfortunately, critics say this fish-out-of-water action/comedy suffers from jarring tonal shifts and an overabundance of gratuitous violence. Robert De Niro stars as a mob snitch who’s been placed in the witness protection program. But when he and his family relocate to a village in France, they don’t keep a particularly low profile, and soon the mob is on their trail. The pundits say The Family boasts solid performances, but the actors can only do so much with a script that favors brutal violence over satirical wit. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down De Niro’s best-reviewed movies, and be sure to watch our video interviews with the cast.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Mother Of George, starring Danai Jekesai Gurira and Isaach De Bankolé in an impressionistic drama about a recently married woman who is under pressure to have a child, is at 100 percent.
  • Sample This, a documentary that recounts the strange history of the Incredible Bongo Band’s version of “Apache,” is at 100 percent.
  • The Saudi Arabian import Wadjda, a drama about a young suburban girl who tries to scrape together the money to buy a bicycle, is at 97 percent.
  • Blue Caprice, starring Isaiah Washington in a psychological thriller from the perspective of the perpetrators of the Beltway sniper attacks, is at 96 percent.
  • Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction, a documentary portrait of the celebrated character actor, is at 93 percent.
  • Informant, a documentary about a far-left activist who became an FBI informer, is at 92 percent.
  • Mademoiselle C, , a behind-the-scenes look at fashion journalist Carine Roitfeld’s attempt to start a new magazine, is at 71 percent.
  • And While We Were Here, starring Kate Bosworth in a romantic drama about a lonely woman who meets a younger man while accompanying her husband on a trip to Naples, is at 58 percent.
  • GMO OMG, a doc that takes a skeptical view of genetically modified crops, is at 43 percent.
  • Jayne Mansfield’s Car, starring Billy Bob Thornton and Robert Duvall in a culture clash comedy about two different families that gather for a funeral, is at 35 percent (check out Thornton’s Five Favorite Films here).

Insidious: Chapter 2 opens this Friday, continuing the horrific journey of the cursed Lambert clan as last seen in the surprise commercial and critical hit Insidious. Patrick Wilson returns as papa Lambert, who has begun to exhibit erratic and violent behavior around his wife (played by Rose Byrne) and their two young sons.

Wilson spent the majority of his early acting career in theater, where he was nominated for a Tony in 2002 for his role in Oklahoma!. His film career began in earnest during the mid-2000s, portraying sleazeballs in Hard Candy and Little Children, working up to his most high-profile role as Nite Owl in 2009’s Watchmen. Rotten Tomatoes spoke with Wilson about Insidious and low-budget horror, Tomatometers, and how to dream in America.


Rotten Tomatoes: Congrats on the movie. It’s really scary. I saw a work print, though, so I could see all the boom mics and dolly tracks.

Patrick Wilson: [laughs] Oh, my god.

RT: Yeah, and there was still some missing CGI in scenes, but it still worked to the movie’s credit. In this age of CGI-saturated filmmaking, does your theater background help you train for that?

PW: You know, I gotta be honest. I have not done a lot of CGI work. I just haven’t. I mean, there were hundreds of effects in Watchmen, and I probably dealt with almost none of them, because all my stuff was very practical.

RT: That was kind of the point with Nite Owl.

PW: Kind of the point of the movie. Obviously Billy Crudup and Dr. Manhattan had a different experience. But I’ve been real fortunate, that I haven’t had to fake that kind of stuff, you know? It’s a testament to (Insidious
director) James (Wan). We like the old cowboy switch, we like all that stuff. I get a great feeling when I see a scene that works where all they’ve done is take out a string, take out a wire. That’s great.

RT: I think audiences have been wanting that. You’ve been on this crime spree of low-budget horror movies that are critically and commercially successful. This weekend The Conjuring is up to $120 million. Does that change your
expectations with Insidious: Chapter 2?

PW: It’s such a different beast. I think if anything, it shows how different James can be in the genre. The Conjuring hit something very different — and this is no disrespect to Insidious: Chapter 2.
Insidious is a much smaller movie, and it’s a much more surreal movie, and we’re swinging a bigger stick here. We’re not based in reality, and we don’t really bring up God and we don’t get into the real realism of these demons.
The Conjuring really hit a very wide audience. Unusual for a horror movie. I mean, please, even the Rotten Tomatoes score is insane.

RT: Yeah, it’s at 87%.

PW: Right?

RT: As a horror fan, I’m happy.

PW: And what do most horror movies do? Like, what do you think this will be on there, realistically?

RT: The first one is 66%. I would say it’s going to hit around the same. It deepens the story, but you can follow it if you haven’t seen the first one. So I’d keep expectations around the same.

PW: Right. I’m proud of this, but it’s a whole different beast than The Conjuring, so it’s not like if this doesn’t do $100 million I’m gonna go, “Oh, it’s a failure.” The movie was still made in 26 days for $15 million, for
nothing. I think we’ll do fine.

RT: So this is the first sequel you’ve done, the first time you’ve returned to a role. Is that any sort of achievement for you?

PW: [laughs] I’ve signed on for a few — it is kind of funny — they just never worked out. Yeah, I mean, it was kind of funny, you know? I thought it was fun to go back to the lantern and the flannel again. I mean, I’m also a guy from
the theater, so I’m used to coming back, and people kept saying, “Is this weird to you?” Are you kidding me? I’d do the same lines every night, five hundred times. This is nothing; I’m not doing anything the same. I’m wearing the same
clothes, but that’s it. [laughs] Maybe, should I hold the lantern in my right or left hand?

RT: Maybe in this scene it goes on his head.

PW: [laughs] Yeah, other than that, who cares, you know? Plus, the fact that, without giving too much away, because of the dual nature of my character here in this movie. That’s the fun. That’s why you do it.

RT: Yeah, that was a captivating turn of events in the sequel.

PW: Thanks.

RT: I’ve been following James’ career the whole time, and it’s been fun to see him go from Saw, then to Dead Silence and Death Sentence, which weren’t as well-received. Now he’s roaring back, and he’s got
Fast & Furious next. Would you be up for a role in that?

PW: We talk about it half-jokingly. Half “is there really anything in there for me.”

RT: You could be Sung Kang’s half-brother.

PW: [laughs] Yeah, I’m not sure there’s anything really in there, but it’s not for lack of trying. We always keep trying, but that’s a much bigger… It’s fine, it’s fine, it’s all good.

RT: I’ve been thinking a lot recently about achieving dreams and accomplishing goals. You’re quoted on IMDB as saying you’ve sort of achieved your dream on the theater stage, whether you should dream higher from there on. It is kind of
funny that, as you accomplish your goals, for me, I say, “What’s next?” For yourself, is there a constant reinterpretation of your own ambitions?

PW: Yeah, there is. There absolutely is. Well, I think also, don’t your goals sort of shift on the track that you’re on? You know, it’s like, you don’t know the whole career you’re going to take. Did you think you’d be working at
Rotten Tomatoes? Probably not, right? Did you?

RT: I expected interesting things out of me as a kid. So I worked hard, got the job at 22, and I was like, “Okay, what now?”

PW: And then the more you’re there, you’re gonna be like, “Okay, now where do I go from here?” I mean, I just had that pow-wow with my team. Like, “Okay, I’m 40. I’m happy, I just wrapped five movies or whatever it was this year.
Alright, so, let’s think about the next five years and what we want to do, and what kind of roles we want to find, what I don’t want to do again.” It’s very exciting, it’s always exciting. Yeah, I think it’s important to reinvest in
everything, because, like anything, my business changes all the time, like yours does. The journalism business is insane. It’s always changing, so you have to stay on top of it. You have to stay present in your own career. You can’t be
complacent.

RT: I agree. I’m approaching 30, so I guess I’m thinking about these things. It used to put me in a state of anxiety, trying to figure out what to do. I’m starting to relax a little bit more, like, this is kind of nice. It’s nice to
have the room and space to explore the things you want from your life.

PW: That’s exactly right.

RT: Last question. You’re doing Stretch with Joe Carnahan. I think The Grey is a masterpiece, so I’m excited to see what’s going to happen next with him.

PW: Yeah, that movie’s awesome.

RT: What can you tell us about Stretch and your character?

PW: I play Stretch. I play a limo driver who, when you meet him, he’s coked out, drunk, smoking, a limo driver all at the same time. [laughs] He gets in a car accident with the most beautiful woman he’s ever laid eyes on, and for some
reason, she takes a liking to him. Then you find out that she, of course, broke his heart, so he’s back in a hole, a shell of a person, driving a limo, being miserable, wanting to be an actor in L.A., and he’s in debt for a lot of money
and has to come up with six grand by the end of the night. He falls into a client that Chris Pine plays, this incredible, crazy, eccentric billionaire, who sends him on this crazy night of escapades. It’s completely insane in a sort of
excessive, R adult comedy, that fits in with After Hours and Bachelor Party and every other sort of ’80s excessive movie. Brooklyn Decker and Jessica Alba and Ed Helms. It’s insane!

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