"I think most people are coming back at least for cameos," Milonakis said of actors like Long (now in "Live Free or Die Hard"), Anna Faris ("My Super Ex-Girlfriend") and Dane Cook ("Mr. Brooks"). Skyler Stone, who played a cook in the original flick and reteamed with Ubach for the Best Movie Spoof nominee "Quentin Tarantino’s Little Miss Squirtgun," added that he also plans to return for the sequel.
Alas, it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that Ryan Reynolds will NOT be stopping back, but I suppose they’ll just give the lead to Justin Long.
Movie studios are offering something for every age group over the Columbus Day holiday weekend. Mature adults will go undercover with Martin Scorsese‘s cop thriller "The Departed," twentysomethings looking for a scare get the horror prequel "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning," while teenagers have a chance to laugh with the new comedy "Employee of the Month."
Meanwhile, last weekend’s number one film – the animated comedy "Open Season" – will continue to play to young children during a frame when a large percentage of students will have no class on Monday. The top ten will try to crack the $100M mark for the first time in nearly two months thanks to the variety of good product.
Ranking dead last among Hollywood’s big six studios in year-to-date market share, Warner Bros. has a lot of catching up to do in the fourth quarter if it wants to prevent snapping its five-year streak of billion-dollar-plus box office years. So this weekend, it hands the ball off to Scorsese who delivers what critics are calling one of his best films ever with "The Departed." The R-rated picture stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, and Martin Sheen. Overflowing with starpower, the Boston-set film is an American remake of the award-winning Hong Kong blockbuster "Infernal Affairs" which finds an Irish cop going undercover into the underworld and a mob mole infiltrating the police department.
After rejecting a seemingly endless line of period dramas including "Hollywoodland," "The Black Dahlia," "Flyboys," and "All the King’s Men," adult audiences should be ready to throw its support behind a modern-day action thriller juiced up with major stars worth paying top dollar for. If the cast isn’t enough to seal the deal, glowing reviews from critics across the board should have a big impact on driving in traffic. In fact, reviews are among the best of any wide release hitting theaters this year. DiCaprio and Damon appeal to a wide age group so expect strong numbers from young adults. And Jack is that rare star who can flirt with age 70 but still be relevant to the iPod generation. With $100M blockbusters in each of the last four decades, the Oscar-winner is a perennial favorite and his films are
Warner Bros. has backed "The Departed" with a solid marketing campaign which is effectively exciting ticket buyers. No R-rated film has hit the $30M mark on opening weekend in nearly a year so that could once again be the ceiling on this film’s short-term potential. Appeal to both men and women is substantial, although as is typical at this time of year, business from males may be affected by football and the baseball playoffs. But word-of-mouth is likely to be very positive so look for the pic to remain a contender for weeks to come. With a colossal amount of starpower, sensational reviews, and a Monday holiday helping Sunday night sales,
the Leo vs. Matt flick should be able to generate plenty of excitement with audiences this weekend. "The Departed" opens in 3,017 theaters on Friday and could gross about $27M over the frame.
Moviegoers that don’t get starstruck, but instead want some gore and violence in their weekend entertainment, can opt for "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning." The prequel to the 2003 remake of the 1974 horror classic is an R-rated tale with Jordana Brewster ("The Fast and the Furious", "Annapolis") as its only star. Horror remakes usually do not rely on stars anyway, but on the brand name of a popular terrorfest. Budgets are relatively low with most of the money going towards production values rather than talent. Three years ago, the previous "Massacre" posted powerful numbers bowing to $28.1M in mid-October on its way to a brutal $80.1M. It opened the door to many other moneymaking remake hits like "Dawn of the Dead," "The Amityville Horror," and "The Omen" which each went on to gross over $50M.
"Beginning" will play to hardcore genre fans that are older teens and young adults. But look for some older horror aficionados to take a curious peek too. The marketplace is primed and ready for its arrival as there has not been a major horror hit since June’s "Omen" pic hit cinemas. Add in the fact that Halloween is around the corner prompting audience demand for the genre to rise and a large turnout should be expected. Excitement does not seem to be reaching the same height that this installment’s predecessor had, so an opening in the high 20s may not result. Plus Leo, Matt, and even bad boy Jack will be drawing away many twentysomethings this weekend. Buzzing through victims in over 2,800 theaters, "The Texas Chainsaw Massace: The Beginning" could scare up around $19M this weekend.
The classic love triangle storyline is set in a Walmart-like super store in the new Lionsgate comedy "Employee of the Month." The PG-13 pic stars Dane Cook and Dax Shepard as co-workers competing for the attention of the hot new sales clerk, played by Jessica Simpson, who only dates those who win the coveted employee prize. The comedy should play to a teen and young adult audience and with the weekend’s other new films being R flicks, Month could score some points with the under-17 crowd. Teenage girls have especially been neglected this fall. Why would they care about 1940s murder mysteries, moronic stunt films, or Sean Penn as a flamboyant politician? Two hunky young dudes fighting over the former Daisy Duke could make for the most interesting film to grab their attention since "Step Up."
Still, "Employee of the Month" will have its work cut out for it. Many older teens and young adults will be drawn away by "Departed" and "Chainsaw" and Ashton Kutcher fans are still checking out "The Guardian." Starpower is not too high, but teenagers in need of a laugh will not have many other options. Opening in 2,579 theaters, "Employee of the Month" could debut with around $10M.
Sony’s animated comedy "Open Season" enjoyed a healthy start to its run last weekend and will face no new competition during the sophomore frame. Plus with the Columbus Day school holiday, the Martin Lawrence – Ashton Kutcher toon should remain a popular (and only) option for young children. A 30% drop would give "Season" about $16M over the weekend and a sturdy ten-day cume of $46M.
Buena Vista’s Coast Guard adventure "The Guardian" did moderately well in its debut last weekend, but adult audiences will be pulled away by the starpower of "The Departed" this weekend. The studio has been reporting strong exit polls so word-of-mouth could prevent a large falloff. A 40% decline would give "Guardian" about $11M for the weekend and $34M in ten days.
"Jackass: Number Two" will face some stiff competition from the weekend’s two new R-rated films so a 45% drop could be in order. That would leave the Paramount hit with $8M and an impressive 17-day total of $64M allowing the comedy sequel to surpass the gross of the 2002 original in under three weeks.
LAST YEAR: New films invaded the box office over the Columbus Day frame taking four of the top five slots. Leading the way was the acclaimed claymation pic "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" with a $16M debut. The DreamWorks film enjoyed good legs and ended up with $56.1M domestically plus the Oscar for Best Animated Film. Jodie Foster‘s two-time chart-topper "Flightplan" held up well in its third weekend grossing $10.8M for Buena Vista. Cameron Diaz opened her new comedy "In Her Shoes" in third place with $10M on its way to $32.9M for Fox. Universal followed with the sports betting film "Two For the Money" with a $8.7M bow and Sony opened its drama "The Gospel" in fifth with $7.5M. Final grosses reached $22.9M and $15.8M, respectively. Lions Gate saw its new comedy "Waiting" launch in seventh place with just $6M leading to a $16.1M final. Opening with strong results in limited release were the acclaimed dramas "Good Night, and Good Luck" and "The Squid and the Whale" which both earned rave reviews and kudos during awards season. Their domestic grosses reached $31.6M and $7.4M, respectively.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Anna Faris can thank 2000’s "Scary Movie" for launching her film career; she’s starred as the sweet, clueless Cindy Campbell in every subsequent sequel, and made numerous comic appearances in films like "Lost in Translation," "Waiting…" and "Just Friends." Find out what Anna shared about doing comedy, starring in a franchise, and working with David Zucker.
Q: You’ve been in "Scary Movie" 1, 2, 3, and now 4; how has shooting this film been different than making the other three?
Anna Faris: With this one it was a little bit different because we came to it with a little more of the script intact, more of a finished product. With the third one, they were writing as we went along, there was a lot of additional photography, and we had to change some of the plot all around — a lot of changing every day.
Q: Can the "Scary Movie" franchise keep going after this fourth film?
Faris: You know, I wouldn’t put it past those guys. I think because we’re a series, we can continue to reinvent ourselves. It’s almost a new task every time; there are no storylines that we need to follow, there aren’t any rules in terms of plot structures. There’s nothing that we need to stick to…so I think that as long as we continue to make money, we’re gonna keep on going.
I like to say that I like to do fun, silly movies like "Brokeback Mountain," so…I’m surprised that they kept me around, I’m flattered. I think if you had told me back when I was doing the first "Scary Movie" that I would be doing the fourth one, I don’t know if I’d be happy or depressed!
Honestly, if I’m in "Scary Movie 10" I think I’ll be pretty happy. I never really imagined that I’d be able to make a living doing this, in any way, so I’m really grateful.
Faris: I’m always pretty game, especially because I think Cindy’s so sweet, and it gets a little bit annoying so it’s fun to take me down every now and then. There was that one shot where I get hit in the face with an airplane food cart…that, I didn’t want to do more than twice. That hurt pretty bad, and they saved that for my last shot.
Q: Do you watch the films you parody so you can mimic the performances?
Faris: I would see them anyway, for "Scary Movie," but not necessarily because my character imitates anybody anymore. I don’t really think I’m doing an impersonation of anybody, but I think it’s important to understand the feel and mood of a particular movie.
[On channeling Sarah Michelle Gellar in the "Grudge" scene] I do think it’s a little bit unconscious of a performance, because a lot of my lines are very similar to what she’s saying. But I wouldn’t say that I’m trying to do an imitation. Cindy’s now sort of evolved from…she’s not so bright…she’s a nurse — I’m scared. And she has to save humanity!
Q: Can you tell us more about Zucker’s direction to use "The Landry" look?
Faris: He sent me a picture of Tom Landry doing that [makes squishy face], so he calls that "The Landry." He has a few more expressions like, "Who Farted?" and he has "Downward Chomping," so it’s a really great acting process, working on these movies…everything’s broken down into a series of four basic expressions…
Q: Do you watch the box office numbers, like Regina does?
Faris: The first couple of years I was here, I had no idea what anything meant. I didn’t realize that when "Scary Movie" opened at like $43 million or whatever, I had no idea if that was good or bad. I had never looked at box office numbers before — I grew up in Seattle, there was no reason to. But now, of course, I’m a little bit more savvy.
Q: You’ve played a lot of comedic characters during your career…
Faris: I grew up doing really dramatic work; I’d never done comedy before so I don’t really think that I’m the funny girl, I never really thought I could be…I think I took myself really seriously for a really long time.
It’s true that I think I’m still working on breaking the idea of being typecast. I was really surprised when I moved out here and started out in "Scary Movie," that this industry thought of people as either comedic or dramatic actresses. I didn’t think that there were two different categories, necessarily.
For a while it was really hard for me get auditions for dramatic work. Now that doors are opening up a lot more for me, I think I’ll just chip away and try to just do good work. And if I do comedy for the rest of my life, I’ll be really happy.
Craig Bierko joins the cast of "Scary Movie 4" with a resume that dates back to 1987 and includes stints on television, in theater, and in movies like "Cinderella Man." "Scary Movie 4" allows him to flex his (very hilarious) comedic chops as working class, single father/Tom Cruise-ish hero, Tom Ryan. Read on to hear Craig’s humorous takes on parodying Tom Cruise, transitioning between the stage and screen, and being recognized, sorta, on the street.
Q: How did you approach your character of Tom Ryan, especially as a parody of Tom Cruise?
Craig Bierko: As far as that stuff’s concerned, I saw the Oprah scene at the end and my one hesitation was that I wanted to make sure we weren’t going to be parodying anyone’s beliefs or personal life, or doing any nasty speculations or anything like that. As long as it was making fun of something that happened in a public forum, I was fine with that.
There’s nobody in the world who looks less like Tom Cruise than me, so I didn’t think they hired me to "do" Tom Cruise. It’s basically a "movie hero guy" who’s in that situation, but I didn’t have any interest, nor did [the filmmakers], in doing an imitation of Tom Cruise.
Q: What was your favorite scene in "Scary Movie 4?"
Bierko: The "Brokeback" stuff really made me laugh, and that was funny because I thought, this is something that is parodied so much, but it’s uniquely "Scary Movie," just the idea of having those two guys [Anthony Anderson and Kevin Hart] is funny.
The bigger laughs are always funny, but I love the little stuff — like the locks, the guy trying to get in and not being able to time the locks — just because that always happens! And that alone is funny but the fact that there are spaceships — it’s so annoying, but it’s more annoying than the spaceships outside — that, I love.
Q: We heard from Zucker that you improvised a lot of that scene…
Bierko: I think we had a few hours to shoot that scene, and David [Zucker] just said, we’re taking the day. We took the day because it was just so enjoyable. We came up with so much of how they [Tom and Marvin] were getting it wrong.
I read the script and it was laugh-out-loud funny; these guys know what they’re doing. You read the script and it actually reads the way the movie looks, with all the sound effects and everything. There wasn’t anything to improve upon, even the improvised stuff was just because there were mostly actions, and [Zucker] said "try something here" or "go crazy with this, we’ll just keep the camera running."
Q: How familiar were you with the movies you were parodying?
I had no idea "Scary Movie 4" would be coming out; I wouldn’t have guessed that ["WOW"] would have been a movie they were parodying, because it didn’t strike me as a horror movie, but I guess it had elements of it — the blood and stuff. But they really were giant vampire machines, so I guess it was a horror movie. But I loved it when I read [the script], I thought this was just the right take on it.
Q: Coming off of "Cinderella Man," did you give Anna Faris any advice on her boxing?
Bierko: That would have been a great way to start. "I’m Craig Bierko; listen, some notes." No, I wasn’t around, but actually the guy who trained her is a kickboxer with the fastest recorded knock-out in boxing history, something like 2 seconds. I wanted to train with him, but I didn’t have the time.
Q: What was the hardest part about shooting "Scary Movie 4?"
Bierko: The one difficult thing about doing this movie is that when I hear David Zucker laugh, it makes me laugh. But the only time you move on to the next sequence is when he laughs, because when he laughs it’s funny. That’s really the barometer.
Q: How different is it acting on stage and acting in the movies?
Bierko: I discovered I don’t have to talk nearly as loud, because I have a microphone right there. They’re both ridiculous situations; in one, you’re standing on an elevated platform, while 1300 people are staring at you during an intimate pretend moment, and in the other there’s a camera right here while you’re trying to have a personal conversation and ignore the fact that there’s a giant machine on your head. They’re both ridiculous, and I think that’s the only thing they really have in common.
Q: Is there a role you’ve done that gets you recognized on the street?
Bierko: I’m that level of fame where they go, it’s either "weren’t you at the wedding of Joyce and…" and the other one is, "what did I just see you in?" and I’m like, I don’t know. "Well, list the things that you have been in." And I’m just like, no, why should this be an exercise in humiliation? So I go, "Sex and the City?" "No, I don’t watch television." "Scary Movie 4?" "No, I don’t go to see scary movies."
There was one time I almost said, but I didn’t, because it would have been just too mean, but it is kind of humiliating — "Do a little chicken dance for me, so I can figure out where I’ve seen you before" — and I almost said to this woman who was with her husband, "I’ll do that, but you have to mention every time you had sex with somebody before you got married to see what that feels like."
It was news-gossiped about just a few days ago, but Empire Online was able to get the word straight from Guillermo del Toro‘s mouth: He has been in talks to direct the movie version of "Halo," but it seems that his "Hellboy 2" might manage to cause some scheduling problems.
"On the one hand, he is raring to go on "Hellboy 2," the sequel to last year’s cracking comic book adaptation, starring Ron Perlman as the red-skinned, demonic, wisecracking paranormal investigator.
The original made just under $100 million worldwide, but has done very well on DVD, prompting Sony Revolution to allow him and producers Lloyd Levin and Larry Gordon to develop a sequel. “It’s going really good,” says del Toro, who’s completed a script. “It’s about the fairy world and the mythical creatures all rebelling against humanity and saying it’s the end of mankind and it’s the season for the sons of the Earth. And basically Hellboy has to try to repress or suppress that rebellion.”
Sounds good. Perlman and the rest of the original cast – including Selma Blair, Doug Jones, David Hyde-Pierce and Rupert Evans – are all coming back, while Hellboy creator Mike Mignola is also on board. “He should be reading the screenplay right now,” laughed Guillermo.
But – and it’s a big but – Hellboy 2 is still awaiting the big greenlight, before filming can take place (partially in the UK, fact fans). “We’re budgeting,” said del Toro. “I’m very much looking forward to it. I wanna do it. It’s still on the front burner, but it’s all about budget.”
On the back burner, but very much in Guillermo’s thinking, is Halo, a game that, with its fully realised alien worlds and bizarre creatures, is after del Toro’s own heart.
“Well, Halo is very much an interesting project because it’s so full of monsters,” he said. “It’s a big temptation. I’m in talks with them [Universal and Bungie Films] and (producer) Peter (Jackson), but it’s not true that it’s on and Hellboy’s off. Hellboy’s on. If everything goes as planned, Hellboy will go.”
An avid gamer, del Toro has been a big fan of Halo for some time. “Most of the time games don’t have an universe or creatures that interest me enough. And this one does. Master Chief [Halo’s mysterious hero] is such an iconic character and it’s very much a sort of a good version of [Hellboy villain] Kroenen.”"
For more of Mr. del Toro’s thoughts on "Halo" and "Hellboy 2," check out the interview over at Empire Online.
DreamWorks’ clay-mated "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" snagged the #1 spot at the weekend box office with a decent haul of $16.1 million from over 3,600 theaters, handily bumping Jodie Foster‘s "Flightplan" (and its third weekend tally of $10.8 million) into second place.
Curtis Hanson‘s female-oriented "In Her Shoes" debuted on over 3,500 screens and pulled in an estimated $10 million. The rest of the top 5 was populated by a pair of newcomers: The Al Pacino / Matthew McConaughey gambling drama "Two for the Money" made $8.4 million from just under 2,400 theaters, while Screen Gems’ "The Gospel" proved more popular than expected. That film did about $8 million from only 970 theaters.
Also debuting last Friday was Lions Gate’s restaurant comedy "Waiting," which grossed about $5.7 million from just under 1,700 theaters.
"Browncoats" who were hoping for a resurgent second weekend from Joss Whedon‘s "Serenity" may end up feeling a little disappointed. The well-reviewed sci-fi flick dropped 51% from its first weekend, and made about $4.9 million in its sophomore frame. "Serenity" has a total tally of $17.6 so far.
Next week sees the release of Cameron Crowe‘s romantic / dramatic comedy "Elizabethtown," Columbia’s remake of John Carpenter‘s "The Fog," and Keira Knightley as a model turned bounty hunter in "Domino."
For a closer look at the weekend numbers, take a stop by the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office page.
This week at the movies brings us stories of camaraderie. We have a man and his dog ("Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit"), sisters ("In Her Shoes"), disgruntled restaurant employees ("Waiting…"), and men who bond over gambling ("Two for the Money"). Which of these films will get some love from the critics?
Is Wallace and Gromit the funniest duo in animation history? The critics say their feature film debut, "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit," is powerful evidence for that claim. The quirky, cheese-loving inventor and his remarkably sentient and competent canine companion became popular in their Oscar-winning shorts, but critics say this film is something else altogether: funny, wild, eccentric, but also touching. At 95 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Curse" is a blessing. Or, more to the point, it’s the best-reviewed wide release of the year so far. Director Nick Park is batting a thousand; his first feature, "Chicken Run," was another runaway critical success, scoring 97 percent on the Tomatometer.
Sometimes you look at siblings and wonder how they could possibly be related. "In Her Shoes" tells the story of two sisters who are polar opposites except for their shoe size; it also describes Curtis Hanson‘s involvement in the film, as his last was "8 Mile." But the critics say it’s a good fit. The performances by Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette, and (especially) Shirley MacLaine help elevate what could seem clichéd into a warm and involving drama. At 69 percent on the Tomatometer, "In Her Shoes" is a good fit.
Gross-out comedy is tricky business. If you cross the line, a movie can just end up being disgusting. The critics say that’s just one of the problems with "Waiting…," a film that covers similar ground as "Office Space" and "Clerks," but with a greater focus on gags than people. Ryan Reynolds stars as a deeply jaded chain restaurant employee dedicated to high jinks, not customer service. Many of the pranks can’t be described in family newspapers, and the scribes say that’s the problem, they’re too over-the-top to be funny. At 25 percent on the Tomatometer, critics say you’ll be "Waiting" for laughs.
Al Pacino stars as the head of a sports betting agency, with Matthew McConaughey as a once-promising quarterback with an almost preternatural ability to pick winners in "Two for the Money." While the scribes say Pacino is his usual high-strung, compelling self, the rest of the movie is something of a fumble. Like a prima donna wide receiver who never makes the big play, this one’s a bit more flash than substance. At 15 percent on the Tomatometer, the critics say "Two for the Money" is a losing bet. But Pacino should be fine; his combined Tomatometer is at 71 percent.
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.