With the pumpkin holiday approaching, Sony unleashes the terror with its frightfest "The Grudge 2" which aims to dominate the marketplace this weekend.

Giving ticket buyers some not-so-scary alternatives are the political comedy "Man of the Year," the action flick "The Marine," and the historical epic "One Night with the King." After a September slump, the North American box office should continue its October rebound.

Two years after shocking the film industry with one of the biggest openings ever for a horror film, Sony returns to the scene of the crime with its new supernatural thriller "The Grudge 2." Director Takashi Shimizu is once again at the helm, but the PG-13 pic this time tells the story of a young woman who investigates the curse that previously afflicted her sister in Tokyo. Amber Tamblyn ("Joan of Arcadia") and Jennifer Beals ("Flashdance") star in this new installment. "The Grudge 2" has one of the best release dates a studio with a horror film could ever ask for – a Friday the 13th in the middle of the Halloween month of October. But with Sarah Michelle Gellar having only little face time this time around, the sequel has lost significant starpower. The former "Buffy" star was integral in getting teens, young adults, and genre fans out on opening weekend last time. With the story now shifting to her character’s sister, many of those who turned up on opening weekend for the first, will decide to skip the second installment in theaters.


Amber Tamblyn, no longer talking to God in "The Grudge 2."

Sony has been giving "Grudge 2" a healthy marketing push hoping to reach young females once again. As a fright flick, guys will automatically be there. The sequel should give the underserved audience of teenage girls an exciting option and the rating opens the door to plenty of business. Even the teen date crowd could contribute a nice chunk of change. However, the competing horror pic "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" is coming off of a strong bow and will take dollars from some older teens away. Numbers should not come close to Gellar’s first "Grudge" which had the whole horror crowd to itself two Octobers ago with a potent $39.1M launch on its way to a $110.2M domestic final. Still, between the relatively low costs and the solid sales in theaters and on DVD, these types of scary sequels tend to become very profitable, very fast. "The Grudge 2" will spook audiences in 3,211 locations and could gross about $27M this weekend easily giving it the number one spot.

Fresh off of his hit family picture "RV" from last spring, Robin Williams tries to get his career back in order with the new political satire "Man of the Year." Written and directed by Barry Levinson ("Rain Man," "Wag the Dog"), the PG-13 film finds the former Mork playing a popular talk show host who decides to run for U.S. President adding lunacy to an otherwise dull election. Christopher Walken, Laura Linney, Jeff Goldblum, and Lewis Black round out the cast. After struggling for hits after 1998’s "Patch Adams," Williams rebounded at the box office by appealing to kids. He lent a voice to last year’s animated Fox pic "Robots" and enjoyed great legs with "RV" which went on to gross $71.4M after spending seven weeks in the top ten.


Robin Williams and Laura Linney in "Man of the Year."

Now the Oscar winner goes after adults with "Man" which is not likely to pull in many votes from teens and young adults. The subject matter will appeal most to the 30+ crowd making last weekend’s well-liked champ "The Departed" a serious competitor. Universal’s mid-October release makes sense as the studio is placing the pic in the marketplace just weeks before the country’s mid-term elections when politics are on the minds of many citizens. But the story will not be too big of a factor in pulling in audiences which means Williams will see his starpower put to the test once again. Luckily he is back with a comedy which is his comfort zone when it comes to commercial success. Casting votes in 2,515 theaters, "Man of the Year" might debut with about $11M.

Wrestling superstar John Cena anchors his first Hollywood film in "The Marine" playing, well, a marine discharged from duty in Iraq that must fight to save his kidnapped wife. The PG-13 actioner will play mostly to young males who follow the antics of the champ in the squared circle. Crossover potential is limited as those not familiar with who he is will probably take a pass. Fox won’t see many good reviews and a bigger audience should find it on DVD early next year. Marching into 2,546 locations, "The Marine" could open with roughly $8M this weekend and find itself dismissed soon after.


John Cena means business in "The Marine."

Babylon is the setting for the epic historical adventure "One Night With the King" which stars Tiffany Dupont, Omar Sharif, John Rhys-Davies, and Peter O’Toole. The PG-rated tale following the rise of the Queen of Persia is using church-based marketing to reach Christian audience members looking for entertainment that the whole family can enjoy together. These types of grassroots efforts have worked magic at the box office in the past, but not every time. Distributor 8X generated a respectable $5,011 opening weekend average with 2001’s "Megiddo: Omega Code 2" but struggled with a $3,315 average for "Carman: The Champion" earlier that year. While those films never made it past 400 theaters, "King" will enter about 900 sites and is getting a more mainstream promotional push so the potential could be more. A $4M bow may result.

Last weekend’s top choice "The Departed" plans to stick around and still be a popular film in its second weekend. Strong reviews and word-of-mouth will help the Warner Bros. crime thriller hold up well in the sophomore frame. Plus there is little competition for adult audiences as "Grudge" and "Marine" should skew younger while the comedy of Robin Williams may play to a different segment of the mature crowd. "The Departed" might fall by 35% this weekend which would give the DiCaprioDamon hit around $17M and an impressive ten-day cume of $55M.

On the other hand, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" will face a direct threat from the "Grudge" sequel beginning on Friday. Horror franchise flicks typically drop hard anyway so a 55% tumble would give the New Line prequel about $9M and a respectable $32M after ten days.

LAST YEAR: The horror remake "The Fog" topped the charts with the worst gross of the year for a number one film bowing to $11.8M to lead the weak box office. Sony’s fright offering stumbled to just $29.5M. Close behind in second place was the DreamWorks toon "Wallace and Gromit" with $11.5M in its second weekend. Paramount’s Orlando BloomKirsten Dunst pic "Elizabethtown" opened in third place with $10.6M on its way to a mild $26.9M. Rounding out the top ten were Hollywood blondes Jodie Foster with $6.5M for "Flightplan" and Cameron Diaz with $6.1M for "In Her Shoes." Bloom’s Caribbean queen Keira Knightley fared even worse with her action flop "Domino" which debuted to just $4.7M. New Line eked its way to just $10.2M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

James McAvoy, last seen in Narnia, and Keira Knightley, last seen as Domino, will co-star in the potentially controversial British thriller Atonement, an "accused rapist" tale that’s based on the novel by Ian McEwan. The film is being directed by sophomore helmer Joe Wright, who made a pretty big splash last year with his Pride & Prejudice rendition.

From The Hollywood Reporter: "Rising Scottish star James McAvoy has joined the cast of Joe Wright’s Atonement, the filmmakers said Monday. McAvoy has signed to play Robbie Turner, a man accused of rape by a 16-year old, in the movie adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel of the same name. The Scot will star opposite Keira Knightley in the Working Title production, which is due to begin production in May this year. McAvoy has recently been seen as Mr. Tumnus in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and is filming Becoming Jane opposite Anne Hathaway. Atonement is billed as a love story between Knightley and McAvoy’s characters, but also covers the struggles of class, war and emotional truth."

OK, so it’s only a little piece of news about a simple little poster, but for some reason I’m feeling pretty psyched about the upcoming remake of "The Hills Have Eyes," hence my geekery regarding the brand-new one-sheet posted over at the Fangoria website.

Remake of the (rather brilliant, IMO) horror flick from Wes Craven, the new "Hills" is being directed by the crazy Frenchman behind the wonderfully nasty "High Tension." The flick’s about a family of average Joe & Jane suburbanites who find themselves hopelessly lost in the desert … and wind up on the receiving end of some truly horrific antics once a family of mutated inbreds converge upon their broken-down camper.

Starring in the "hard-R" horror story are Kathleen Quinlan, Ted Levine, Aaron Stanford, Vinessa Shaw, and Emilie de Ravin, aka "the amazingly gorgeous Aussie babe from "Lost."

Check out Eyes on the Hills for movie updates. "The Hills Have Eyes" hits theaters, courtesy of Fox Searchlight, on March 10th.

The third horror remake to hit the screens this year, Rupert Wainwright‘s "The Fog," beat down a pair of other newcomers to grab the top spot in a rather flimsy box office weekend. Remake of a well-remembered John Carpenter flick of the same name, "The Fog" grossed $12.2 in its opening frame, handily overtaking new movies by Cameron Crowe and Tony Scott.

Holding on in second place was DreamWorks’ "Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit," which snagged $11.7 million, while Mr. Crowe’s romantic comedy "Elizabethtown" netted about $11 million.

Fourth place went to the hangin’ around airplane thriller "Flightplan," which added another $6.5 to its total tally, and Curtis Hanson‘s "In Her Shoes" rounded out the top 5 with a haul of $6.1 million.

The Tony Scott / Keira Knightley collaboration "Domino" debuted in 6th place by pulling in only $4.7 million.

Next week sees the release of four new movies: the videogame adaptation of "Doom," the family-friendly horse flick "Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story," the sexual harrassment drama "North Country," and the Ewan McGregor psycho-thriller "Stay."

As always, you’re invited to stop by the Rotten Tomatoes Box Office page for a closer look at the numbers.

This week, the wide releases regale us with tales of beautiful bounty hunters ("Domino"), existential romance ("Elizabethtown"), and masses of deadly condensed water vapor ("The Fog"). Which films will connect with the critics?

The life of the late Domino Harvey would seem custom-made for a film. She was the daughter of a legendary actor (Laurence Harvey), she was supermodel-beautiful, and she worked as a bounty hunter. A story like that would make for a good movie, right? Well, according to the critics, that’s half correct: Tony Scott‘s "Domino," starring Keira Knightley, is certainly more a movie than a biography, but it’s also not terribly good. The scribes say it’s simply a slam-bang, senses-assaulting action flick that gives off little indication that its heroine was a real person. At 18 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Domino" is getting knocked over. It’s also the worst-reviewed film of Scott’s career.

When "Elizabethtown" was screened at the Toronto Film Festival, it didn’t get very good reviews. Director Cameron Crowe told audiences and critics that it was still a work in progress, that more cuts would be made. Well, the new version is now in theaters, and it isn’t faring much better, either. Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst star in this you-can-go-home-again romantic comedy about a man returning to his hometown in Kentucky for his father’s funeral. The critics say Crowe never establishes a coherent tone, and despite the cuts, it’s still overlong. At 29 percent on the Tomatometer, "Elizabethtown" may not be worth a visit.

In a development more ominous than dark clouds on the horizon, "The Fog," a remake of the John Carpenter classic starring Tom Welling, Maggie Grace, and Selma Blair, has not been screened for critics.

Recent Cameron Crowe Movies:
—————————————
39% — Vanilla Sky (2001)
89% — Almost Famous (2000)
85% — Jerry Maguire (1996)
77% — Singles (1992)
100% — Say Anything (1989)

Recent Tony Scott Movies:
——————————–
39% — Man on Fire (2004)
67% — Spy Game (2001)
71% — Enemy of the State (1998)
39% — The Fan (1996)
89% — Crimson Tide (1995)

MyMovies.net had a recent sit-down with director Tony Scott ("Domino," "Man on Fire") and the always-busy filmmaker had a few rather interesting things to say about his upcoming remake of "The Warriors" and the original film, as directed by Walter Hill.

"I see it as "Kingdom of Heaven" meets "The Warriors" because with these gangs, instead of having twenty or thirty guys, I‘m going to have three thousand, five thousand guys in the LA river beds and it‘s going to look like LA during the riots," Tony told us explaining "I love the original movie, that‘s why I‘m in doing this but I‘m not going to copy the original".

The remake is a Paramount / MTV Films production, and it’s expected to get underway some time in 2006.

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.

Next weekend sees the release of the semi-biopic "Domino," in which the lovely Keira Knightley plays a model-turned-bounty hunter — and we’re here to report that ComingSoon.net has one rump-shakin’ exclusive clip!

Click right here to enjoy CS.net‘s footage of Keira committing to a sultry lap-dance in an effort to make off with a crucial bit of evidence.

Some might say that New Line’s going a little lowbrow in their efforts to hype the "Domino" release … while most other marketing departments are probably taking notes.

Anyway, Keira’s a cute, "Domino" hits next week, Tony Scott‘s the director, have a ball.

The release date’s been bounced around quite a bit, but it seems like New Line has finally settled on October 14th for the release of "Domino," and you can see the all-new trailer for the rather bizarre-looking flick right here.

Directed by Tony Scott ("True Romance"), written by Richard Kelly ("Donnie Darko"), and inspired the the true-life antics of runway-model turned bounty-hunter Domino Harvey, "Domino" certainly looks … different.

Keira Knightley plays the title role, and she’s flanked by colorful folks like Mickey Rourke, Christopher Walken, Mena Suvari, Lucy Liu, and Edgar Ramirez.

Domino Harvey, daughter of actor Laurence Harvey, model-turned-bounty hunter, and subject of the upcoming Tony Scott thriller "Domino," has died at the age of 35, says The Hollywood Reporter.

British newspapers state that Ms. Harvey was found in her bathtub and later pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Hospital just after 11pm on 6/28. Los Angeles police state that Ms. Harvey’s cause of death will be withheld, pending an investigation.

New Line’s "Domino," which stars Keira Knightley ("King Arthur") as the title character, is presently scheduled for release on August 19th. Co-starring alongside Ms. Knightley are Christopher Walken ("True Romance"), Mickey Rourke ("Sin City"), and Mena Suvari ("American Beauty"). Richard Kelly ("Donnie Darko") contributed the screenplay.

Update, courtesy of Variety: New Line indicates that the release date for "Domino" will remain as is — and also that no changes will be made to the film.

Real-life model-turned-bounty hunter Domino Harvey, whose rejection of the privileged life for the grit and guns of hunting fugitives will be immortalized on film this fall in Tony Scott’s "Domino," died Monday night from undisclosed causes. The former Ford model, daughter of actor Laurence Harvey and Vogue model Pauline Stone, was found in her West Hollywood apartment and later pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Despite disagreeing with the film’s omission of her homosexuality, Harvey had visited the set of her quasi-biopic and collaborated on the soundtrack with producers, and will be played by fellow Brit Keira Knightley. "Domino" is scheduled for a November 4 release.

Nine years after telling the world how she got her groove back, author Terry McMillan has filed for divorce from her husband, Jonathan Plummer. Plummer, who met McMillan ten years ago at a Jamaican resort (he was 20, she was 40-something), was the inspiration for McMillan’s May-December bestseller-turned-feature film "How Stella Got Her Groove Back;" the couple married six years ago and until now shared a six-bedroom Bay Area home. What spoiled the cinematically sweet story? According to McMillan, it was Plummer’s recent admission that he’s gay; the devastated writer argues that Plummer only married her to gain U.S. citizenship. In his defense, Plummer claims that since coming out, McMillan has treated him with homophobic contempt — and is asking the courts to waive a prenuptial agreement and grant him spousal support.

And finally, challenging the popular belief that she’s as ditzy as her screen roles, "Seed of Chucky" star Jennifer Tilly has done what legions of celebs and plebes alike only dream of — she’s won a coveted World Series of Poker bracelet. Tilly, who is dating professional poker man Phil "Unibomber" Laak, won the two-day Ladies’ World Poker Championship in the No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em event, conquering a pool of 600 entrants by playing strong as the chip leader throughout the final table. Other celebrities that entered this year’s contest include frequent players Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Ed Norton; before the recent television-induced poker boom, even Telly Savalas and Gabe Kaplan were known as avid card-slinging contenders. Tilly’s prize, in addition to the $158,335 cash award, was the diamond and gold bracelet that the once-nominated actress pronounced was ‘better than winning an Oscar.’

How do you feel about Keira Knightley ("Pirates of the Caribbean," "King Arthur")? How about director Tony Scott ("Enemy of the State," "True Romance") and screenwriter Richard Kelly ("Donnie Darko")? Could you say no to an ensemble cast that includes Christopher Walken, Lucy Liu, Delroy Lindo, Jacqueline Bisset AND Mickey Rourke? Well then, check out the first trailer for "Domino" right here at Yahoo! Movies."Domino" is the (kinda) true-life tale of model-turned-bounty hunter Domino Harvey and her rather dangerous adventures.

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