Ashton Kutcher fans get two chances to see (or hear) their favorite star this weekend as the Hollywood prankster takes on reigning box office champ "Jackass: Number Two" by voicing a mule deer in the animated comedy "Open Season" and going up against Kevin Costner in the action drama "The Guardian."
Hollywood’s umpteenth computer-animated feature film of the year hits multiplexes on Friday in the form of "Open Season." The PG-rated pic features the voices of Martin Lawrence and Kutcher and finds a domesticated grizzly bear being dropped into the wilderness right before the start of hunting season. Young kids usually eat up these fish-out-of-water comedy toons and this Sony release should play to the same family audience. The target demographic has had an endless line of movies this year featuring talking animals getting into wacky situations, but since the current marketplace is lacking any major offering for children, "Open Season" should score as the first animated hit of the new school year. The studio is saturating the market with screens giving the film the fourth widest bow ever for a non-DreamWorks toon, and the second widest in Sony history for any film after 2004’s webslinger sequel. With no competition and solid funnyman starpower behind the mics, a strong number one bow could result. "Open Season" makes its way into 3,833 theaters and may debut with around $24M this weekend.
For those who would rather see the "Punk’d" star’s face, Buena Vista sets sail with its Coast Guard thriller "The Guardian" which finds Kutcher playing a young and cocky swimming champ who butts heads with his unorthodox teacher played by Kevin Costner. Directed by Andrew Davis ("The Fugitive," "Collateral Damage"), the PG-13 film has broad appeal with each star pulling in his respective generation. Cross-gender appeal is also present with the military-like storyline doing the job for males and the hunky actors attracting the ladies. Disney offered successful sneak previews two weeks ago to get some word-of-mouth spreading before the official debut. The studio will try to lure in the same audience that spent a solid $22.1M on the John Travolta–Joaquin Phoenix firefighter drama "Ladder 49" two autumns ago. Launching in over 3,000 theaters, "The Guardian" might debut with about $18M.
Following his commercial success with the male-driven comedy hits "Road Trip," "Old School," and "Starsky & Hutch," Todd Phillips returns to theaters with "School for Scoundrels" which finds Billy Bob Thornton squaring off against "Napoleon Dynamite"’s Jon Heder for the affection of a young gal. MGM’s PG-13 film about an awkward young misfit who enlists the help of an expert on getting the ladies should aim for an audience of teens and young adults, plus fans of the "Bad Santa" star’s rogue ways. Starpower is not very high here. Films anchored by the former Mr. Jolie usually don’t explode on opening weekend as evidenced by the recent debuts of "The Bad News Bears" ($11.4M), "The Ice Harvest" ($3.7M), and "The Alamo" ($9.1M). Competition for young males will be tough, but if "School" can connect with teen girls as a funny romantic comedy, then it has a chance of doing some respectable numbers. Opening in over 3,000 theaters, "School for Scoundrels" might debut with about $12M.
Some high profile indies pop into limited release this weekend. Fox Searchlight launched its Idi Amin pic "The Last King of Scotland" in four theaters on Wednesday in New York and Los Angeles and has already been receiving early Oscar buzz for Forest Whitaker‘s portrayal of the Ugandan dictator. Coincidentally, a year ago this same weekend, "Capote" debuted and fueled its own Best Actor buzz which sustained itself throughout awards season leading to a trophy for Philip Seymour Hoffman. Reviews for "Scotland" have been good and for Whitaker, have been electric.
Miramax gets its Oscar campaign going, but for the Best Actress prize, with its Helen Mirren film "The Queen" which opens in New York City on Saturday after it officially opens the New York Film Festival on Friday evening. Mirren has already taken home the top actress prize at the Venice Film Festival for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in the dark days after the death of Princess Diana. The PG-13 film is directed by Stephen Frears ("Mrs. Henderson Presents," "Dangerous Liaisons") and has ranked number two at the U.K. box office for the last two weeks.
First Look Studios takes audiences back to Queens in 1986 with its coming-of-age drama "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" which stars Robert Downey Jr., Chazz Palminteri, Shia LaBeouf, Dianne Wiest, Channing Tatum, and Rosario Dawson. The R-rated film won awards for Best Director and Best Ensemble at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and bows in New York and Los Angeles on Friday.
Last weekend, "Jackass: Number Two" flexed its muscles at the box office with a better-than-expected $29M launch. The Paramount film’s predecessor dropped 44% in its second weekend in the fall of 2002, but the sequel may drop harder. A 50% decline would still give the Johnny Knoxville flick about $15M for the weekend and a strong ten-day cume of $51M.
Jet Li‘s "Fearless" also drew upon a built-in audience of young men last weekend setting itself up for a sizable sophomore drop. The Focus title might also lose half of its business and take in roughly $5M. That would give the martial arts saga $18M after ten days. Sony’s "Gridiron Gang" held up well last weekend despite tough competition. Another 35% fall could be in order giving The Rock a $6M frame and a $34M total after 17 days.
LAST YEAR: For the second straight weekend, Jodie Foster‘s airline thriller "Flightplan" topped the box office with $14.8M dropping only 40% from its bow. Opening in second place was the sci-fi actioner "Serenity" which grossed $10.1M on its way to $25.4M for Universal. Warner Bros. followed close behind with $10M for its animated comedy "Corpse Bride." The revenge thriller "A History of Violence" expanded nationally and placed fourth with $8.1M and a solid $6,047 average which was the best in the whole Top 20. Opening in fifth was the Jessica-Alba-in-a-bikini pic "Into the Blue" with only $7.1M leading to a weak $18.5M final for Sony. Disney debuted its historical golf drama "The Greatest Game Ever Played" to the tune of $3.7M. A $15.3M final gross resulted.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
A low-level hood searches desperately for a hot gun ("Running Scared"). A cute pooch battles the forces of evil ("Doogal"). The irrepressible Madea holds a family reunion ("Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion"). It can only mean one thing — this week’s wide releases!
Paul Walker has spent 2006 getting out of tight spots. In "Eight Below," he and a pack of sled dogs had to escape the cold of Antarctica, and now in "Running Scared," he has to find a lost firearm used in a hit or face the consequences from his Mafioso bosses and the cops. It’s a pretty cool setup; heck, it made for a tense, involving picture when Kurosawa tried it in "Stray Dog." But critics say director Wayne Kramer, who debuted with the kinetic "The Cooler," is on shakier ground with this one; they say it’s got a weak twist and far too brutal violence. "Running Scared" currently stands at 37 percent on the Tomatometer.
Speaking of running scared, apparently the people responsible for both "Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion" and "Doogal" are terrified that critics will poison the coveted opening weekend box office with bad reviews. These two films weren’t screened for critics, joining an infamous list that includes last week’s "Date Movie." So without further ado, Critical Consensus would like to give mad props to Roadhg67, who correctly guessed that "Date Movie" would have a Tomatometer of 10 percent. Roadhg67, you are a genius. Let’s see if the rest of you are as smart as Mr. or Ms. Hg67: Guess the Tomatometer for "Madea" and "Doogal."
Courtesy of their official site come the annual Razzie Awards Nominations … or as I like to call them: The Amazingly Obvious Fish in a Barrel Nominations in Which We Savage People We Don’t Like, Regardless of the Quality of Their Work. Oh, and it seems the Razzers have decided to branch out an include a "Most Tiresome" category, which I happen to find pretty ironic.
26th Annual Golden Raspberry (RAZZIE®) Award Nominations
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
The Dukes of Hazzard
House of Wax
Son of the Mask
Tom Cruise / War of the Worlds
Will Ferrell / Bewitched and Kicking & Screaming
Jamie Kennedy / Son of the Mask
The Rock / Doom
Rob Schneider / Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
Jessica Alba / Fantastic Four and Into the Blue
Hilary Duff / Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and The Perfect Man
Jennifer Lopez / Monster in Law
Jenny McCarthy / Dirty Love
Tara Reid / Alone in the Dark
MOST TIRESOME TABLOID TARGETS
(New Category, Saluting the Celebs We’re ALL Sick & Tired Of!)
Tom Cruise & His Anti-Psychiatry Rant
Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Oprah Winfrey‘s Couch, The Eiffel Tower & “Tom’s Baby”
Paris Hilton and…Who-EVER!
Mr. & Mrs. Britney, Their Baby & Their Camcorder
The Simpsons: Ashlee, Jessica & Nick
WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Hayden Christensen / Star Wars III: No Sith, He’s Supposed to Be Darth Vader?!?!
Alan Cumming / Son of the Mask
Bob Hoskins / Son of the Mask
Eugene Levy / Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and The Man
Burt Reynolds / The Dukes of Hazzard and The Longest Yard
WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Carmen Electra / Dirty Love
Paris Hilton / House of Wax
Katie Holmes / Batman Begins
Ashlee Simpson / Undiscovered
Jessica Simpson / The Dukes of Hazzard
WORST SCREEN COUPLE
Will Ferrell & Nicole Kidman / Bewitched
Jamie Kennedy & ANYBODY Stuck Sharing the Screen with Him / Son of the Mask
Jenny McCarthy & ANYONE Dumb Enough to Befriend or Date Her / Dirty Love
Rob Schneider & His Diapers / Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
Jessica Simpson & Her “Daisy Dukes” / The Dukes of Hazzard
WORST REMAKE OR SEQUEL
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
The Dukes of Hazzard
House of Wax
Son of the Mask
John Asher / Dirty Love
Uwe Boll / Alone in the Dark
Jay Chandrasekhar / The Dukes of Hazzard
Nora Ephron / Bewitched
Lawrence Guterman / Son of the Mask
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
The Dukes of Hazzard Written
Son of the Mask
My apologies to the Razz Crew, but I think they could put a lot more effort into their nominations. And maybe learn to tell the difference between "bad performances" and "stuff we just feel like ranting about." (And perhaps stop nominating one person for multiple performances, because then it just becomes obvious that you’re gunning for someone. Example: They hated Ferrell in the witch comedy and the soccer flick, but they loved his work in "The Producers?" Phooey.)
Am I too harsh? Are the Razzies really cool and I’m just a crotchety old whiner? Quite possible.
The Newsday column gets to take a few days off during the big holidays, but I couldn’t let today go by without offering our friends a handful of Turkey-day treats. If you’re looking for a holiday-appropriate movie to watch with the family while all your turkey and stuffing is digesting, feel free to pick one (or more) of these Thanksgiving-centric flicks.
Home for the Holidays — Written by "Buckaroo Banzai" scribe WD Richter and directed by the multi-talented Jodie Foster, "Home for the Holidays" is absolutely stuffed with great actors. Sort of a less slapsticky and more realistic version of "Christmas Vacation," it’s about a stressed-out woman (Holly Hunter) who returns to the roost to enjoy(?) a manic Thanksgiving dinner with her entire extended family. Even if the movie stunk (which it so absolutely does not) it would be worth seeing for a cast that includes Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, Robert Downey Jr., Dylan McDermott, Steve Guttenberg, Claire Danes, Austin Pendleton, David Strathairn, Cynthia Stevenson, and Amy Yasbeck. (Tell me that wouldn’t be a fun crew to eat turkey with.)
Pieces of April — This endearing 2003 indie from Peter Hedges ("About a Boy") stars Katie Holmes as an estranged daughter who invites her skeptical family for a Thanksgiving feast at her tiny little apartment. One half of the film sees April’s family struggling to make it in time for dinner, and the other half deals with poor frazzled April as she desperately tries to build an edible turkey dinner. In addition to some of Ms. Holmes’ very best work, "April" also features fantastic performances from Oliver Platt, Patricia Clarkson, Derek Luke, and Sean Hayes.
What’s Cooking? — From director Gurinder Chadha ("Bend It Like Beckham") comes this tale of four separate families, and the various preparations they make to have a solid Thanksgiving affair. Jewish, African-American, Vietnamese, and Latino families populate this holiday charmer, and the cast is another stellar ensemble: Dennis Haysbert, Alfre Woodard, Joan Chen, Mercedes Ruehl, Lainie Kazan, Maury Chaykin, Kyra Sedgwick, and Julianna Margulies keep the guest list colorful, and there’s plenty of wit, wisdom, and warmth (and even a few surprises) in this holiday treat.
Hannah and Her Sisters — Opening and closing with a pair of Thanksgiving dinners, the heavily-ensembled Woody Allen comedy is still considered one of the director’s very best films. Winner of three Oscars (for screenplay and the performances by Michael Caine and Dianne Wiest) and a nominee for four more, "Hannah and Her Sisters" is a razor-sharp and hilariously insightful story about one extended family and the non-stop stress the relatives cause one another. Also on board are Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey, Carrie Fisher, Max von Sydow, Julie Kavner, Daniel Stern, Maureen O’Sullivan, Joanna Gleason, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Even the hardcore Woody-philes consider this one of his finest screenplays.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles — If it’s me you’re asking, PT&A is the #1 finest Thanksgiving movie ever made, mainly because it’s "about" nothing more than finding a way to make it home for the holidays. Steve Martin and the late, great John Candy star as a pair of astonishingly mismatched traveling partners who’ll stop at nothing to make it home in time for some turkey. (For my money, this is John Hughes‘ finest film, just barely ahead of the teenage trifecta of "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club," and "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.") Featuring tons of laughs, lots of great sights along the way, and a sweet-natured finale that always makes my eyeballs a little moist, "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" is a comedy classic for any season … but it really does work best in November. (If you’re watching this one with the family, please be sure to cover the kiddies’ ears when Mr. Martin arrives, unhappily, at a car rental kiosk. Trust me.) Also keep eyes peeled for hilarious little cameos by Kevin Bacon, Martin Ferrero, Dylan Baker, Michael McKean, Edie McClurg, and Ben Stein.
So there’s my Turkey Day quintet. Sorry for leaving "Son in Law" off the list, but I was doing "best Thanksgiving" movies and not "least awful Pauly Shore movies." (Maybe we can do that one on Pauly’s birthday.) Anyway, on behalf of everyone here at Rotten Tomatoes, I’d like to wish all our readers, and their friends & relatives & acquaintances & pets & non-annoying co-workers, a very safe & happy holiday. And if I left out any of your favorite Thanksgiving movies (there really aren’t all that many!), feel free to leave ’em in the comments section. We’ll need five more for next year!
For the second weekend in a row, Jodie Foster‘s air-thriller "Flightplan" was #1 at the North American box office. The Disney flick made an estimated $15 million in its sophomore session, and its grand total now stands at $46.1 million. Debuting in second place, with a not-awful but coulda-(shoulda)-been-better tally of $10.1 was Joss Whedon‘s "Serenity."
The sci-fi western swooped into 2,200 screens, thrilled the "Firefly" fans … and caught the eye of practically nobody else. With strong reviews and positive water-cooler banter, the flick could see an improvement, but hey … the thing cost $40 million and it made a quarter of that in three days, so you Whedonites can take your heads out of the oven.
Tim Burton‘s "Corpse Bride" dropped to third place with a haul of $9.7 million, which boosts the film’s total to just under $33 million. Expanding from 14 theaters to 1,340 (and reaping some solid rewards for it) was David Cronenberg‘s "A History of Violence," which made 4th place with a total of $8.2 million, while the top 5 was rounded out by the feature-length Noxzema commercial known as "Into the Blue," which made only $7 million from just under 2,800 screens.
Next week sees the release of a rather eclectic collection of new releases: Nick Park‘s eagerly anticipated "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" opens on Wednesday in NY & LA, before hitting wide on Friday, and the clay-mated kooks will have some competition from Curtis Hanson‘s lady-centric "In Her Shoes," the Al Pacino sports-book drama "Two for the Money," and Lions Gate’s raunchy restaurant romp "Waiting."
For a closer look at the weekend estimates, feel free to get comfy at the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office page.
ComingSoon.net recently sat down with the fine figure known as Jessica Alba, and the curvaceous young actress shared some tidbits on the status of "Sin City 2," the "Fantastic Four" reviews, the possibilities of an "I Dream of Jeannie" flick, and (of course) this weekend’s "Into the Blue."
On "SC2": ""I talked to Robert (Rodriguez), and he’s doing some movie with Quentin (Grind House), where they’re each writing half of a movie and then they use the same twelve people," she said. "He’s doing that now and then I know he wants to do ‘Sin City’ after that, but Frank (Miller) is like a big Hollywood star now. He’s being offered all these things to direct and write. I had dinner with him, and he has some pretty damn cool ideas about Nancy, and I think he’s going to write something for me. I mean, he said he was. Who knows until I see the script. He might do it as a graphic novel first and then release it simultaneously? I don’t know.""
On the potential adaptation of "I Dream of Jeannie": ""I’ve definitely met a couple times with Sony and we’ve talked about it. The script is just not in the shape that I would want it to be in if I was going to do it. I want to do the show and I want the charm of the show. I don’t want to do a version of the modern thing. No. People want to see Jeannie, and so that’s all the conversations have been about.""
On random future projects: ""There are two action movies I’m attached to as a producer, and they’ve been in development for a year. One’s called ‘Sonic’ and the other’s called ‘Beautiful Killer,’ (also based on a comic book) and I would do one or the other if they ever got made. Then there’s a romantic comedy that I’m attached to, an adaptation of a Korean movie that’s in development, and then I’m developing a video game, which is a non-violent video game that can relate to people all over the world. There are seven or eight characters that you can customize. They’re from different countries with different music and clothing styles. It’s kind of a lifestyle video game and it’s really cool, but it’s still in prototype mode.""
For a whole lot more Albatastic goodness, click on over to ComingSoon.net for the full article.
This week at the movies, we have sexy divers ("Into the Blue"), secretive family men ("A History of Violence"), space renegades ("Serenity"), streetwise scamps ("Oliver Twist") and sandtraps ("The Greatest Game Ever Played"). Who will survive the scrutiny of the scribes?
Is "Into the Blue" an action-packed thriller, or an excuse for Jessica Alba and Paul Walker to wear as little clothing as possible? More to the point, is this tale of attractive snorkelers who happen upon some dangerous treasure seaworthy? In a word, no, say the critics. Despite an attractive cast, the critics say this one is submarined by camp and unintentional laughs. At 23 percent on the Tomatometer, the scribes are definitely not "Into" this one.
Why do millions of people pay good money to see violent images on the screen week after week? What evil lurks in the hearts of men? Is it possible that perpetual outsider David Cronenberg has made — gasp! – a mainstream movie? These are some of the questions raised by "A History of Violence," the story of a small-town restaurant owner (Viggo Mortensen) with a secret or two. The critics are raising another question: Is this the best movie of the year so far? At 87 percent on the Tomatometer, it’s one of the best reviewed.
Fangirls and fanboys of the world, rejoice! Your beloved, swiftly cancelled TV series, "Firefly" is on the big screen, and it’s getting really good reviews! A tale of a ragtag bunch of space fugitives, "Serenity" is winning praise for its great ensemble chemistry, genre jumping audacity, and punchy dialogue. At 80 percent on the Tomatometer, Joss Whedon’s space opera will leave its cult following with a feeling of "Serenity."
Roman Polanski is one of those directors whose work is filled with touches so personal that every film is a window to his soul. Polanski has adapted classics before ("Tess," "Macbeth") and brought a heavy dose of autobiography to the table. While the critics aren’t completely opposed to his take on Dickens’ "Oliver Twist," they have collectively questioned why Polanski made such a faithful, surprisingly bloodless version of a story that’s been pretty well covered in cinematic history. At 53 percent on the Tomatometer, the critics are saying let’s not "Twist" again.
Feel-good sports stories never get old. Ever. That’s why so many of them get made. "The Greatest Game Ever Played," Bill Paxton‘s second film in the director’s chair, tells the story of blue collar Francis Ouimet, an amateur golfer who shocked the sports world by defeating British champion Harry Vardon at the 1913 U.S. Open. The critics say the movie is as predictable as they come, but it’s also heartfelt and absorbing. At 65 percent on the Tomatometer, this one’s got "Game."
Notable TV Series to Film Adaptations with Principle Cast Members:
70% — X-Files: Fight the Future (1998)
74% — Mystery Science 3000: The Movie (1996)
58% — Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)
92% — The Naked Gun – From the Files of Police Squad (1988)
53% — Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1980)
Disney’s airplane thriller "Flightplan" had little problem snagging the #1 spot at the weekend box office, but for the first time ever, two September releases managed to cross the $20 million mark in same frame. "Flightplan" hauled in an estimated $24.6 million, while Tim Burton‘s "The Corpse Bride" netted $20.1 million.
Settling in at third place was Reese Witherspoon‘s rom-com "Just Like Heaven," which made $9.8 million in its second weekend, while newcomer "Roll Bounce" pulled in $8 million from just over 1,800 theaters. (Fox promised to donate ten percent of that tally to Katrina relief.) Still hanging on in fifth place was the horror/drama "The Exorcism of Emily Rose," which added another $7.5 million to its $62 million piggy bank.
Next weekend sees the debut of three new wide releases: Joss Whedon‘s sci-fi adventure "Serenity," the young-adult underwater thriller "Into the Blue," and the Disney sports drama "The Greatest Game Ever Played."
For a closer gander at the weekend numerals, make a stop at the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office page.
Stop by Yahoo! Movies for your first look at the trailer to John Stockwell‘s "Into the Blue." It’s a tale of buried treasure, loyal pals, evil thieves, narrow escapes … and lots and lots of bikinis. "Set in the deep, shark-infested waters of the Bahamas, four young divers discover a legendary shipwreck rumored to contain millions in gold at the bottom of the sea. But nearby on the ocean floor, a sunken plane full of illegal cargo threatens their find."
"The friends make a pact to keep quiet about both discoveries so they can excavate the shipwreck before a rival treasure hunter uncovers their secret and beats them to the gold. But their plan goes awry when they realize dangerous smugglers are already closing in on the missing plane, and one of the friends makes a fatal decision that quickly turns the treasure hunters into the hunted."
Directed by John Stockwell ("Blue Crush") and written by Matt Johnson ("Torque"), the movie stars Paul Walker ("Timeline"), Jessica Alba ("Fantastic Four"), Scott Caan ("Ocean’s Eleven"), Ashley Scott ("Walking Tall"), and Josh Brolin ("Hollow Man").
"Into the Blue" washes into theaters on September 30th.
Paul walker is negotiating for the lead role in "Antarctica," Variety reports. Frank Marshall is directing this Disney rescue film, about two men who travel to Antarctica in search of a meteor but are forced to turn back. Walker has recently completed two other films, "Into the Blue" and "Running Scared."