Archive for the ‘J.J. Abrams’ Category

News That Caught My Eye: Moses Meets 300? Toy Story 3, Star Trek, And X-Men

October 19, 2009

It’s Monday, and that means it’s time for News That Caught My Eye, where I round up some of my favorite news articles about the movie world from the past week.  In this edition, we have have news about some sequels, a brand new trailer for a hotly anticipated Summer 2010 release, and the most delightfully strange idea ever!

Star Trek Sequel in 2012?

Lots of great information in this one from TrekMovie about the future of the Star Trek franchise.  J.J. Abrams will definitely be back as a producer, but it’s not clear if he’ll produce.  A Summer 2012 release seems likely.

Toy Story 3 Trailer Released

Alright, so this really isn’t a news article, but the blogosphere was all in a tizzy when Disney released the trailer for the latest Disney-Pixar masterpiece.  Toy Story 3 comes out this Summer, and I can’t wait!

The Ten Commandments, 300 Style?

Variety reports that Peter Chernin, over at Twentieth Century Fox, has purchased a treatment of the story of Moses to be told in the style of Zak Snyder’s 300?  This could be amazing, but it may also have “fail” written all over it.  Either way, I’m intrigued!

Bryan Singer To Return To X-Men?

You realize you want to come back to the franchise, now?  Couldn’t you have come to this conclusion before X-Men: The Last Stand?!  Oh, well.  Better late than never, I guess. Via THR.

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J.J. Abrams On Star Trek Sequel

June 26, 2009

Steve Weintrub at Collider.com got the chance to ask J.J. Abrams, director of the recent smash Star Trek (among many other successes) about the prospect of a follow-up. You can (and should) watch the video and read his article at the link above. The highlight question, at least for me, was this:

Q: Everyone wants to know, what are the chances of you getting back in the director’s chair?

Abrams: We just started talking about ideas… we’ve just begun this process so it’s so early that it’s insane to, you know – I have no idea; but I would say that it’s that kind of feeling that as we’re talking about stories you start to salivate, like ‘oh my God I can’t wait to do that!’ and so that feels good and my guess is that as we continue it will become clearer how we will plan out what will happen. But it’s been really fun – even the cursory discussions we’ve had so far

So I’m no detective, but it sounds to me like he’s excited to do another one. Which bodes well for Trekkies (both of the original and the ‘Abrams’ variety) everywhere.

Week Late Review: Star Trek

May 17, 2009


A while ago, I wrote the “This Week In Blockbusters” for Star Trek and indicated my excitement, despite knowing hardly anything about the basic series. Four exams and two beaches later, I finally got to watch it, and it matched and exceed my expectations. Star Trek is one of the best science fiction movies I’ve ever seen. When the biggest problem I have with it is the way Zachary Quinto stands as Spock (I tried to find a picture. It seems like his chest is stuck out and his arms are bent and pulled back), I know I have a great movie.

Star Trek opens strongly, with an intense action sequence as a gigantic Romulan ship attacks the U.S.S. Kelvin in deep space. Once the captain boards the ship, per their leader Nero’s (Eric Bana) request, he puts a young man named George Kirk in charge. Once all hell breaks loose, Kirk, as the new captain, orders the people on the Kelvin to be evacuated, including his very pregnant wife (played by the lovely Jennifer Morrison) who has just gone into labor. Once Kirk is the last one left, he realizes that he must remain on the ship to divert the Romulans long enough for the evacuees to survive. In his final minutes, as he shoots down missiles pursuing the small escape crafts, he talks to his wife one last time and helps name his son, James.

I did not expect to get chills watching Star Trek. I certainly did not expect the opening scene to pack such an emotional punch. I thought we’d have a space battle, sure, but not a story of such sacrifice and emotional weight. It’s a mythic origin, very much akin to the beginnings of various heroes throughout time (including, I have to say it because I noticed so many similarities, Superman). As I watched this scene, with its pristine special effects and its heroic message, I knew it was going to be great.

We then see the origins of a young Spock, trained in the methods of logical thinking and emotion suppression on the planet Vulcan. This might be more difficult for him than for his peers, since Spock is only half Vulcan; his mother is human (played surprisingly well by Winona Ryder). He is ridiculed by those his age and the leaders constantly underestimate his talents. He is told, “Control your emotions, so that they don’t control you,” and he learns to suppress his humanity, though it sometimes eeks out. When offered the opportunity to attend a school for higher learning “Despite his disadvantage” (aka his human mother), he refuses. He is the first person/Vulcan/living being to ever decline admission.

It’s these two early events that indicated I would love this movie. I knew it would have brains, and I knew it would have great action and special effects, but it also has heart, and I was not expecting that.

As the plot develops, we find out (what most people already know) that Nero has come from the future from the original ‘Trekverse,’ thus creating a tangent and alternate universe (the movie goes into perhaps too-much detail, making it abundantly clear that in this Trekverse, ANYTHING can happen). We also learn why he blows up Federation ships, and why he creates black holes at the core of planets. It works for the story, but the character is very one-dimensional. He’s out for vengeance, and is an evil Romulan. Got it? Good. It’s simple, but Bana plays it capably, since all he has to do is sneer and be evil, and cringe every time he hears the name “Spock.”

And about Spock. Even I got chills seeing Leonard Nimoy reprise his role (that being, future Spock, or as he’s listed “Spock Prime”). It’s great seeing him interact with young Kirk as if they’re old friends (I suppose they are, for one of them), and then later with New Spock. It works well, and serves as a nice tie-in.

Chris Pine plays James Tiberius Kirk very well. I don’t know much about Shatner’s Kirk (except, of course, for…his… stunted… speech), so I can’t compare, but this Kirk is strong, confident, often humorous, but also rebellious and risk taking (something his father was as well, and a quality he is told will work for his benefit). It’s great to see his transformation from a drunkard in a bar to the leader of the newest ship in the fleet (despite it’s slight contrivance). Overall he was very entertaining to watch, and I hope this helps push his career forward, as I’m sure it will.

The movie also made me wish I knew more about Star Trek lore, which I didn’t really think I’d care about. But even I picked up on some of the throwbacks. There’s a, “Damn it man, I’m a doctor not a physicist,” and a “I’m givin’ her all she’s got.” I did some research after seeing it, there are other little fun factoids for Trekkie fans. For instance, there’s a scene where three people sky dive and they’re each wearing different colored shirts. Those familiar with the show will realize one of them isn’t going to survive very long, based solely on his attire.

The movie is also surprisingly funny. There’s a lengthy sequence where Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban) continuously injects Kirk with various medicines and antidotes in order to get him onto the Enterprise, all the while Kirk is trying to get to the deck to warn Captain Pike of an impending ambush. Okay, so writing it doesn’t sound that humorous, but it’s worth a few laughs, another thing I didn’t expect from Star Trek.

As I said, this movie exceeded my high expectations, something few movies do. It deserves all the praise it’s getting, especially for making a Star Trek movie that is entertaining and accessible to the general public whether they be Trekkies or those that are dragged there by their boyfriends and think that they hate sci-fi movies. It’s sci-fi at its best, reminiscent of the old Star Wars and a reminder of what the new Star Wars (particular I and II) could have been. J.J. Abrams has directed a fantastic space epic and once again shows his clout in movie-making. Sure the time travel story is a little contrived, and Winona Ryder plays an old lady, but they make it work for a thoroughly entertaining summer blockbuster, and somehow make Star Trek cool.

Score: 8.7/10

UPDATE: Sequel Rumors: Slashfilm has posted an article discussing the guaranteed sequel. Abrams says both William Shatner and Kahn are candidates for characters, though it’s pure speculation at this point.

Weekend Fix: Star Trek Prospers With $76.5 Million On Opening Weekend! Will It Live Long?

May 10, 2009

UPDATE #3: WHAT?! This post has 22 comments?! That’s AWESOME! Keep ’em coming! I finally got the Weekend Fix posted, so I hope you enjoy!
UPDATE #3.5:
Okay, Weekend Actuals just came in, and Star Trek exceeded expectations even more! Craziness! – Grady

Weekend figures just arrived, and Star Trek’s weekend gross is a sweet $75.2 million! ($79.2 million including Thursday!) On Saturday, Star Trek pulled in another $27.2 million, a 1% increase from Friday. Clearly, this film is reaching a much larger audience than just the old Trekkies. Otherwise, we would have seen a fanboy-style dip on Saturday. The Sunday drop to $21 million was quite good, as well, and it shows that good Friday and Saturday word-of-mouth prevented any dip due to Mother’s Day. It appears that Paramount’s advertising got its job done, and audiences are connecting with the raved-about reboot. Also, you should know that in the confusing shuffle of whether or not to count the Thursday showings in the weekend gross of Star Trek, it looks like the accepted figure is that Star Trek made $4 million during Thursday showings. I suppose that the other $3 million earned on Thursday were from showimtes close enough to midnight that they’re just being counted as Friday shows. This is how the weekend looked:

Thursday: $4 million
Friday: $26.9 million
Saturday: $27.2 million (+1.3%)
Sunday: $21.1 million (-22%)
TOTAL: $79.2 million

Bravo, J.J. Abrams! You’ve successfully brought the franchise back to life! Indeed, with a sizzling $21,190 venue average over the three day weekend, 95% positive reviews, and an amazing $79.2 million over three and a half days, look for Star Trek to stick around for weeks to come. Batman Begins, a reboot that compares to Star Trek well, opened to $48 million on the way to $205 million. That’s a 4.27 multiplier. If Star Trek could manage that kind of a multiplier, we’re looking at a $300 million hit. Due to the sci-fi nature of the story, I don’t know how likely that is, but as good word spreads and Trekkies line up again and again to see this, I’m willing to go on record saying that I think $250 million is a likely achievement for Star Trek. It could surpass that, but I certainly think it will make it there. We’ll have to wait and see!

Next, we have X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Isn’t it weird to think that last week, this film is all anyone could talk about? With the Enterprise now clearly in its way, though, Wolverine feels like a distant memory, and its harsh second weekend drop isn’t helping out. This weekend, Wolverine fell a massive 69% to $26.4 million (exactly what I predicted!), for a ten day total of $129 million. To be clear: this is not good. The Fox film cost $150 million to make, and that’s not including the HUGE costs of advertising and reshoots. Following its current trajectory, $170 million seems like a likely finish for Wolverine. So are you satisfied with its gross? You do the math. Perhaps Fox should’ve taken a page out of Paramount’s book and spent a longer time crafting a great movie, because even though Trek didn’t open as big as Wolverine, it’ll be sticking around a lot longer!

Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past performed like a champ this weekend. After last week’s slightly underwhelming $15.2 million debut, the Matthew McConaughey romantic comedy, fell just 33% to $10.3 million this week. Ghosts currently sits with $30.1 million, but with a few more drops like this over the next few weeks, Warner Brothers could have a nice $50-55 million little hit on their hands.

Meanwhile, Obsessed has already exceeded that! With a 46% drop to $6.6 million, the Beyonce/Ali Larter catfight film is once again validating my theory about the Era of Easy Entertainment, and after seventeeen days, Obsessed grossed $56.2 million. (That’s about one dollar for every hair that got ripped out of Beyonce’s weave during the making of this film!) The cheap thriller will be remembered as a solid Spring success.

The only other new opener this weekend was Next Day Air, an urban drug comedy starring Donald Faison. The Summit film failed to catch on with audiences or critics, and it only managed to pull in $4.1 million during its opening frame.

Finally, I just want to give a shout out to Monsters Vs. Aliens. The Dreamworks film from way back in March has performed admirably after its $58 million debut. Currently Monsters has multiplied its opening by about 3.2, giving it a $186 million total. Big international sales as well as DVD revenue will push this film, budgeted at $175 million, into the black.

Top 12 Actuals For May 8-10
# Movie Title 3-Day Gross % Change AVG. Total
1 Star Trek $75,204,289 New $21,190 $79,204,289
2 X-Men Origins: Wolverine $26,408,288 -69% $6,438 $129,032,435
3 Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past $10,258,141 -33% $3,231 $30,054,386
4 Obsessed $6,560,266 -46% $2,521 $56,207,576
5 17 Again $4,232,422 -33% $1,458 $53,994,515
6 Next Day Air $4,111,043 New $3,613 $4,111,043
7 The Soloist $3,949,430 -30% $1,890 $23,845,177
8 Monsters Vs. Aliens $3,260,440 -44% $1,492 $186,774,042
9 Earth $2,666,219 -39% $1,486 $26,264,242
10 Hannah Montana The Movie $2,193,043 -47% $953 $73,861,795
11 Fighting $2,010,075 -50% $1,040 $20,453,095
12 State Of Play $1,918,295 -48% $1,245 $33,986,760
All Numbers Provided By Exhibitor Relations Co.

This weekend, the Top 12 films grossed a fantastic $142.7 million, a 21.3% increase over the same weekend last year! Year-to-date, box office revenue is up 14% and attendance is up by 12%!

Friday Estimates: Star Trek Captures $24 Million On Friday For $31 Million Overall!

May 9, 2009

Wow, this news just came in! UPDATE: Saturday Estimates HERE

Alright, so the very early estimate for Star Trek is that it earned a great $24 million on Friday. Adding that to the estimated $7 million that the intergalactic flick found on Thursday night, Star Trek has an early total of $31 million. Here’s the trajectory I’m seeing for this weekend:

Thursday: $7 million
Friday: $24 million
Saturday: $23 million
Sunday: $16 million
TOTAL: $70 million

This exceeds my $67 million prediction, and Paramount has got to be excited by this result. This is, without a doubt, the hugest opening any Star Trek film has ever had. The advertising campaign has paid off, and new audiences were clearly engaged by the reboot. From here, amazing reviews and word-of-mouth will carry Star Trek to success, and this is a major victory for everyone involved!

UPDATE: As expected, Wolverine plummeted in its second weekend, and it’s $8.5 million Friday represents a 76% drop from last Friday. It should stabilize a bit over Saturday and Sunday, but still fall about 65-70%, so a $28 million weekend seems likely. The only other debut, Next Day Air, couldn’t get off the runway, with a very poor first day of $1.4 million. Give the urban comedy $4 million overall. Here are the Friday Estimates:

Friday Estimates for May 8, 2009
1. Star Trek – $24 million
2. X-Men Origins: Wolverine – $8.5 million
3. Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past – $3.1 million
4. Obsessed – $2 million
5. Next Day Air – $1.4 million
6. 17 Again – $1.3 million
7. The Soloist – $980,000 million
8. Fighting – $686,000
9. Monsters Vs. Aliens – $675,000
10. Earth – $670,000
11. Hannah Montana The Movie – $575,000
12. State Of Play – $516,000

Let’s here some reactions in the comments! And if you want more up-to-the-minute box office updates and my other film musings, follow me on Twitter!

Weekend Preview: Star Trek Will Definitely Take Off, But Will It Be At Warp-Speed?

May 8, 2009

Trekkies, the time for redemption has finally come. Gone are the days when people have no conception of who Captain Kirk or Uhura are. No longer will people scoff at you when you criticize the atrocity of a show that was Star Trek: Enterprise. No longer will you be the only ones at the office that understand the time-space bending properties of black holes. No longer will you be the only ones in the town with Vulcan haircuts. Okay, so maybe that last one isn’t true, but you get my point: Star Trek is cool again! Paramount has worked its tail off over the last few months to wash away the negative, nerdy, frankly lame connotations that the Star Trek franchise has developed over the last few year, and if there’s a film that’s going to succeed in doing so, it is this one. J.J. Abrams’ reimagined Star Trek is so beautifully produced and so lovingly handled. You can tell that everyone involved was really trying to make the best movie they could, and I think that decision will pay off big time. I saw it tonight, and it’s just awesome- the review will come soon. Paramount’s clearly confident about Star Trek, as they’ve advertised the heck out of it and already have a sequel greenlit, and its headed for the easy weekend win.

Comparing Star Trek to X-Men Origins: Wolverine is tricky. To be clear, I do not think that Star Trek is going to open as big as Wolverine did last weekend. Audiences are sure to be skeptical of the outer space franchise after 2002’s disastrous entry Star Trek: Nemesis (which earned a very sad $43 million) and the failed 2003 TV series, and many recession-affected adults are going to hold out to see this one is worth the $10 ticket. The debut of Star Trek actually reminds me a lot of 2005’s Batman Begins. After 1997’s embarrassingly bad Batman And Robin, audiences approached the reboot of the superhero franchise cautiously. Begins started with a humble $48 million during opening weekend on its way to $205 million overall. Star Trek, between its built-in audience and Paramount’s advertising, should be able to top Batman Begins‘ opening weekend, but it won’t hit Wolverine‘s level. That’s not to say that it won’t outgross the quickly falling Wolverine, because (mark my words) it will. Star Trek‘s word-of-mouth is going to be great, and the stellar reviews will convince adults to see the film. Star Trek is beaming into a very wide 3,849 theaters, and including the Thursday night showings, I’m predicting a $67 million weekend and a possible $230 million total, and even though it’s probably way too early to be wondering how big the sequel’s opening will be, I’m a box office analyst, and that’s just what I do! I’m already seeing numbers closer to $100 million…

You’ll have to excuse my extremely biased predictions for Star Trek. I’m still glowing after having watched the movie a few hours ago, and I’d be lying if I said that didn’t affect my judgment. I really do believe $230 million is possible, though! But getting back to reality, there’s only one other new release this weekend: Summit Entertainment’s Next Day Air. The poorly reviewed urban drug comedy is clearly targeting an African American audience, a group all too often underestimated by analysts. Next Day Air is only flying into 1,138 theaters, but I’m predicting a pretty solid cume of $7 million.

On Monday, X-Men Origins: Wolverine earned $5.4 million. On Tuesday, it fell 15% to $4.6 million. On Wednesday it fell another 13% to $4 million. What do these statistics tell us? That Wolverine is fading fast. The superhero flick that kicked off the summer is looking more and more like a flash-in-the-pan success than an actual financial win for Fox. With lackluster word-of-mouth, the fanboy effect, and the direct competition of Star Trek, I think Wolverine will fall by a big 68% to $27.2 million in its second weekend. That would put the actionfest around $130 million for ten days, but it’s got no shot at breaking $200 million anymore.

Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past, last weekend’s romantic comedy counter programming, should enjoy a solid hold this weekend. The Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner film was never going to be huge, but I don’t think Warner Brothers expected it to. A 40% drop would give Ghosts a $9.2 million weekend and $29 million overall. Here are my predictions for the Top 12:

Predicted Top 12 for May 8-10, 2009
1. Star Trek – $67 million
2. X-Men Origins: Wolverine – $27.2 million
3. Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past – $9.2 million
4. Next Day Air – $7 million
5. Obsessed – $6 million
6. Monsters Vs. Aliens – $4.1 million
7. 17 Again – $3.9 million
8. The Soloist – $3.6 million
9. Hannah Montana The Movie – $2.8 million
10. Earth – $2.5 million
11. State Of Play – $1.9 million
12. Fighting – $1.8 million

How much do you think Star Trek will earn this weekend? Let me hear your predictions in the comments! (For real people, commenting is so easy! If you just click here, you’ll instantly be ready to type in your answer!)

8 Faces From "Star Trek" That Every Sci-Fi Fan Knows And Loves

May 7, 2009

The reboot of the biggest science fiction franchise of our time is coming out in 24 short hours. That’s right, Star Trek, the eleventh installment of the ultimate outer space tale is getting a highly publicized, very well reviewed release. To say that the Trekkies are excited is an understatement. I have to imagine that casting a film like this is a difficult process. Not only do you have to find actors that are relatively known and marketable, but you must be able to please the core sci-fi fanbase with your choices, because there’s nothing worse than a gang of pissed off fanboys threatening to shoot you with their quasar guns. You see, sci-fi fans are intensely loyal, and it’s important to them that the talent in any sci-fi/space/monster/fantasy/advenutre film has an appreciation for their beloved genre. It looks like the creators of Star Trek have clearly taken this into account, and a cast has been assembled that any true sci-fi fan is sure to approve of. Take a look at eight people involved in Star Trek that have paid their dues in the science fiction world and surely have the fanboys on their side:

8. Chris Pine (Captain James T. Kirk)
He’s not quite a sci-fi fixture…. YET, but with the release of Star Trek on Friday, the upcoming Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey, and rumors of him taking the title role in the super-buzzy superhero film, The Green Lantern, Pine may just be a sci-fi phenomenon waiting to happen.

7. Anton Yelchin (Pavel Chekov)
Though he’s far from a houseold name, Yelchin’s fanbase is sure to grow exponentially in the next two weeks as he’s a main character in both Star Trek and Terminator Salvation. Like Chris Pine, Anton Yelchin has potential to be a majr attraction in the sci-fi world. The only reason he’s up a bit higher on the list is because he had a brief stint in Stephen Spielberg’s Taken miniseries.

6. Zoe Saldana (Nyota Uhura)
The lone girl on the list, Zoe Saldana has a cult following that’s as fervent as they come. I’m not really sure when she won over so many fans. Maybe it was her appearance in the first Pirates of the Caribbean, maybe it was her role on J.J. Abrams short-lived series, Six Degrees, or maybe I’m just being too much of an idealist, and it’s because she’s flipping beautiful. Either way, she has somehow won the allegiance of fanboys everywhere, and people are genuinely excited to see her in Star Trek and James Cameron’s sure-to-be-epic Avatar later this year.

5. Karl Urban (Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy)
Here is a true-blue, hardworking science fiction actor. (And that’s not a cut- the guy is a legitmate actor- he just does a lot of sci-fi) Karl Urban has had roles in pretty much everything. After stints on television as Julius Caesar in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, he’s appeared in films such as Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Riddick, Doom, and Pathfinder.

4. Alex Kurtzman (Writer)
Here’s a behind-the-scenes guy that has contributed so much to the sci-fi genre. Kurtzman not only wrote a good number of the episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (Kevin Sorbo, come back to us!), but he’s a close friend of J.J. Abrams, and he served as executive producer Alias. On top of that, he’s one of the creators of current sci-fi mystery hit, Fringe. He proved his writing schops with the surprisingly effective Mission: Impossible 3, so Trekkies have got to be feeling good about his Star Trek script.

3. Zachary Quinto (Spock)
I gave up on the trainwreck of a TV show that is Heroes a while ago, but Zachary Quinto’s performance as uber-villain Sylar is one of the few bright spots in the otherwise messy program. Fans absolutely love him, and everyone seems to be excited to see him as Spock.

2. J.J. Abrams (Director)

Where do I even begin? He created and directed the popular television sci-fi programs: Alias, Lost, and Fringe! As if that wasn’t enough (it was), he seamlessly transitioned into the film world with his directorial debut as Mission: Impossible 3, which was easily the best in the franchise. With commercial viability and super-geek credibility, Abrams was the perfect choice to helm Star Trek.

1. Leonard Nimoy (Spock Prime)
The freakin’ original Spock! Need I say more?

So do you agree with my list? For my sake, I hope I haven’t offended any of you fanboys, but whatever you’re feeling, let me know in the comments!

This Week in Blockbusters: Star Trek

May 4, 2009

I always love Summer. Less work, less stress, less responsibility, more movies. It’s the only time of the year I can keep up with new movies and catch up on the ones I missed. Studios love it too, releasing big movie after big movie that bring audiences to the theaters in droves. Many of the movies are mindless entertainment (not a bad thing, they’re often a lot of fun), but every few weeks one of the big ones will deliver intelligence as well as entertainment, and it’s always fun to be surprised.

Though this summer is laden with the sequels, remakes, and re-adaptions, that permeate movies today, there is a surprising amount of original material to look forward to as well. So each week I will write up the big release coming that week and give a little synopsis and my expectations of what it could be. There will be some sequels (Harry Potter, Angels and Demons), some sequels with robots (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Terminator Salvation), as well as some brand new originals (Funny People, Up). Most of these, I imagine, will make a lot of money in the recession-proof industry. Some will be good, some will disappoint, but I’ll be happy, because hey, it’s summer.

This week, Star Trek hits theaters nationwide, and geeks everywhere are camping out with Vulcan Ears and Romulan face paint. Now I am a geek, but I am not a Trekkie. I know very little about the Star Trek series, except that William Shatner played Captain Kirk and the ship is called the Enterprise. Having said that, I love good science fiction. I grew up on Star Wars, but for some reason missed the Star Trek bus. I think, perhaps, I was a generation late (even for The Next Generation).

This movie, however, looks like a great way to get into it. It’s a reboot that is faithful to the original. It was created for die-hard fans and casual viewers alike, which I think is important for movies such as this. This allows for it to please everybody, rather than being too unfaithful for the fans or too knee-deep in Klingon terminology for those just finding their inner Trek fan. It looks like an awesome, epic sci-fi tale with action, special effects, and solid characters to boot. Early reviews are great (currently 17 for 17 on Rotten Tomatoes), and I can’t imagine every person who has seen it is a devout follower.

It seems like a truly solid origin story. I trust J.J. Abrams to deliver, seeing as how he produces one of the most interesting and engaging shows on television, which I purposely don’t watch to avoid addiction. Apparently, they’re doing something interesting here: they’re tying it into the ‘old’ universe. I don’t understand it fully, but I know there is time travel involved. Apparently, a villain from current Star Trek continuity (Eric Bana) travels in time to kill a young pre-captain James Kirk (Chris Pine). Much like Back to the Future, this alters time irrevocably and sets the characters on a different course than the one we (by we I mean those that have actually followed the thirty plus years of continuity) have already seen. It’s actually a neat way to handle the reboot, which is always a delicate situation. How do you restart something so beloved without nullifying what has already happened? Do you just make it so it never existed? This strikes a nice balance: both stories are true in different timelines, one feeds right off the other. Fans understand its significance, and newcomers can start from a seemed beginning.

In another awesome way to tie this film into the old series, Trekkie fans are bound to be excited that Leonard Nimoy reprises his role as Spock. In this movie, he’s ‘Old Spock’ come from the future to help ‘New Spock,’ played by Heroes villain Zachary Quinto. Apparently, Spock and Kirk (known to be best friends) don’t get along so well when they first meet. Something tells me this will change as they go through the hardships of space battles together. (it’ll be like a buddy cop movie, with lasers). Even a non-trekkie like myself has heard William Shatner’s broken-hearted “Kaaaaaaahhnnn!” scream as he held his dying friend.

This could be a strong way to start off the Summer blockbuster season, following Wolverine’s wake. Star Trek is getting away with saying it will be released this Friday, May 8th, but it actually comes out Thursday at 7:00 P.M. in many theaters nationwide. Apparently, they thought the Trekkie crowd was too old for a midnight showing. How this counts as a Friday release is beyond me, apparently they can claim it’s Friday in Britain.

Excitement buzz: 8/10.

Paramount’s Feeling Confident About Star Trek; A Sequel Already In The Works!

April 1, 2009

The official reboot of Star Trek doesn’t come out until May 8th, but Paramount is clearly feeling very good about their product, seeing as they just hired three scribes to pen a screenplay for its sequel. Variety reports:

As Paramount Pictures readies the May 8 release of its “Star Trek” franchise relaunch, the studio is moving forward with a sequel, and has hired Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof to pen the screenplay.

J.J. Abrams, who directed and produced the latest chapter, is onboard to produce the follow-up alongside his Bad Robot partner Bryan Burk. No decision has been made yet on whether Abrams will return behind the camera for the sequel.

If you’re a fan of Lost, you know Damon Lindelof and J.J. Abrams, so having those names kept in the mix is definitely a good thing for sci-fi fans. Otherwise, I’m just glad to see that Paramount is exercising such support for its major tentpole release. It bodes well for the qulity of the sequel. Advertising has been strong, the story looks absolutely great, and, as someone who has never seen anything Star Trek related in his life, I’m getting very excited! Star Trek seems like a great way to kick off the summer. I’ll give it an early box office prediction of $225 million. Are you all feeling the same anticipation?

Three-Day Estimates: Cloverfield Stomps All Over Competition

January 20, 2008

     One of the most important things for a box office analyst to be able to do is recognize when the movie business is changing.  Sometimes, films just don’t behave the way you think they’re going to, and you must realize that the traditional box office behavior of yesteryear may no longer apply.  This seems to be the case with January.  With fantastic performances from Cloverfield, 27 Dresses, and The Bucket List (one of the films which I egregiously underestimated this weekend), January has become a totally viable month for studios to release big titles, leaving poor September as the worst month of the year.  This weekend proves that with solid marketing and a catchy concept, a movie can open well at any time of the year.  Fueled primarily by Cloverfield‘s record breaking opening (highest ever in January!), this year’s three-day weekend was huge, blowing past 2007’s grosses.  Check back in tomorrow for the four-day weekend analysis.

Three-Day Estimates for January 18-20
1. Cloverfield – $41 million
2. 27 Dresses – $22.4 million
3. The Bucket List – $15.2 million
4. Juno – $10.3 million
5. National Treasure: Book of Secrets – $8.1 million
6. First Sunday – $7.8 million
7. Mad Money – $7.7 million
8. Alvin and the Chipmunks – $7 million
9. I Am Legend – $5.1 million
10. Atonement – $4.8 million
11. There Will Be Blood – $3.1 million
12. One Missed Call – $2.8 million
All numbers courtesy of Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.