Archive for the ‘New And News’ Category

New And News: Percy Jackson Arrives In Time For The Olympics; Valentines Day for Valentine’s Day; Wolfman For… A New Moon?

February 8, 2010

After weeks of sub-par offerings at the box office, it looks like 2010 is finally getting its act together.  Three high-profile releases are entering theaters this Friday, and they should each find varying degrees of success.  Valentine’s Day will be huge.  Percy Jackson And The Olympians: The Lightning Thief will probably perform solidly.  The Wolfman might not do so well.  All told, the new movies should inject some much needed life into the film industry, which has been living off of 2009’s leftovers for the last few weeks.  Click on inside for a quick preview of those films, as well as a whole lot of news about potential sequels for Fast And Furious, Kill Bill, and Enchanted, a Daredevil reboot, and a great documentary about The Princess And The Frog. This is Monday, and this is New And News.

New:

Percy Jackson And The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Fox) – 3,300 theaters – Reviews

I had never heard of the Percy Jackson novels until my most recent summer as a camp counselor.  A few of my campers were reading the final installment (which had just hit shelves) in the apparently super-popular series, and they were enthralled.  They told me all about the young Percy Jackson, and his adventures with the mythic Greek gods of Mount Olympus in the middle of New York City.  They told me how he discovers his status as a demi-god and finds himself in the center of a battle between the gods.  They told me they loved the books and couldn’t wait for the movies.  Fox is hoping to capture some of that magic in The Lightning Thief, which could launch a major franchise if it succeeds.  Unfortunately, I don’t know that it will be able to do so.  To me, Percy Jackson falls into the same category as movies like Eragon and The Spiderwick Chronicles: potential fantasy franchises that rely too much upon a built-in audience of readers to support the film.  Advertising hasn’t been especially strong, and though early reviews are positive, Fox hasn’t showcased this film as an event enough.  Personally, I’d love to see this inventive story succeed, because, believe it or not, we’re just one year away from living in a post-Potter world.

Valentine’s Day (Warner Bros) – 3,600 theaters – Reviews

Last year, He’s Just Not That Into You earned $94 million after a February release.  The romantic comedy featured about half of Hollywood’s A-list in a dozen miniature story lines about falling in love.  It was a strategy popularized by sleeper-hit-turned-into-everyone’s-favorite-holiday-movie Love, Actually, and Valentine’s Day has made its resemblance to that movie very clear.  With a star studded cast featuring Jennifer Garner, Jamie Foxx, Julia Roberts, Ashton Kutcher, Queen Latifah, and Jessica Alba (and that’s seriously only naming a few), you can expect this to be the number one choice this Valentine’s Day weekend.  I think this is going to be huge- I’ve honestly heard just as many guys talking about this as girls, and the widely appealing premise will lead to major success.  Plus, Taylor Lautner will draw in the legion of Twi-hards and Taylor Swift will pull in everyone else.

The Wolfman (Universal) – 3,100 theaters – Reviews

A remake of the classic 1941 film that launched the werewolf genre in the film industry, 2010’s The Wolfman looks like a dark take on the shape shifting story, and it features a rockin’ cast with Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving, and Emily Blunt.  With a hefty $85 million price tag, The Wolfman will have to work very hard to earn back its negative cost, and Universal’s advertising hasn’t done much to draw in the casual moviegoer.  With dark (literally, not in tone), confusing commercials, and no real box office draws,  I don’t see many people choosing The Wolfman over the breezier offerings this weekend.  Maybe it should have waited until a full moon to debut- Valentine’s Day is a New Moon!

News:

Sequels, Sequels, And More Sequels…

Looks like we’re getting a Fast And Furious sequel called Fast Five, another installment of Disney’s Enchanted franchise, and possibly a final Kill Bill film.  You know what?  I honestly wouldn’t mind any of those!

Daredevil Is Getting Rebooted

ow can you tell that studio’s are scared to risk too much money during the recession? They’re determined to produce sequels and reboots of existing franchises before investing a penny in any new idea.  In step with the current trend of rebooting unsuccessful superhero movies (see Hulk, Spider-Man, Batman), Fox is looking to bring Daredevil back to the silver screen after the critically and financially disappointing 2003 treatment.

The Return Of Disney’s 2D Animation Department

/Film is doing an absolutely fantastic series about the revival of Disney’s classic 2D animation.  The video series chronicles the elaborate process of creating The Princess And The Frog, as well as the larger scope of animation at the Walt Disney Company.  The series is absolutely fascinating and chalk full of insightful interviews with passionate animators.  Part one is right here, but be sure to check out the rest of the Frogumentary on /Film.

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New And News: The Beginning And End Of A Great Love Letter

February 1, 2010

Here at TBOJ, I like to start each week with a little column called New And News, in which I take a quick look at the new movies entering theaters this week,and then share some of my favorite recent news stories that have caught my eye.  This week, we’ve got a pair of new movies whose titles seem like they were meant to go together: Dear John and From Paris With Love.  Couldn’t that be the opening and closing of a romantic letter from a girl named Paris?  I think so.  Anyway, the two movies couldn’t be more different thematically, and each is hoping to find an audience that could take down Avatar this weekend, though that’s probably not going to happen.  Click inside for a preview of each film, as well as some news about Redbox stations, Paranormal Activity 2 controversy, and the continued bastardization of the Spider-Man franchise.

New:

Dear John (Sony) – 2,500 theaters – Reviews

This movie has framed itself as a pure romance, which is a genre we rarely see at the box office- especially with young stars like Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried.  None of the cutesy-fun humor of a romantic comedy seems to be present in Dear John, which tells the somber story of a college girl separated from her soldier boyfriend.  As the title implies, the lovers write passionate letters back and forth to one another, and somehow, I’m sure they’ll be reunited in the end.  Advertising has been very strong, and the song in the trailer is genuinely enthralling.  I don’t know if there’s been better music in a trailer since “Jesus Walks” in the trailer for Jarhead.  It’ll be interesting to see how Dear John does this weekend, but it could be a surprise box office hit.

From Paris With Love (Lionsgate) – 2,600 theaters – Reviews

Fresh off Edge Of Darkness‘ debut, we have yet another action movie with an older male actor in need of career boost.  This time, a bald, goateed John Travolta is the man toting the gun, as he plays an American agent hoping to prevent a terrorist attack in France.  With a similar film having just debuted and a pretty generic story, I wouldn’t expect From Paris With Love to do much better than Edge Of Darkness did last weekend.

News:

Wal-Mart And Target Won’t Sell Something?!?!

Redbox kiosks and Netflix, with their gigantic collections of DVDs, have been making rather handy work of killing the DVD retail industry.  Other retailers have refused to sell DVDs to Redbox employees, which allows people to rent films for just $1, but until now, Wal-Mart and Target have done so.  Well, the two retail giants are finally taking sides, and according to Variety, they are now instituting a purchasing limit of 5 DVDs per customer, in an effort to combat Redbox collections being built so quickly.  Interesting.

Saw 3D And Paranormal Activity 2: This Is War

First they chose the same release date on October 22nd.  Then, they chose the same director.  Paramount wants Kevin Greutert to direct Paranormal Activity 2, but Lionsgate has also offered him Saw 3D.  Right now, things are incredibly tense between the two studios, but someone’s going to win, someone’s going to lose, and either way, it’s going to get bloody. Deadline broke the news.

Zac-Efron May Be The New Spider-Man

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. NO!

New And News: Will Edge Of Darkness Finally Topple Avatar?

January 25, 2010

Every week, Monday means it’s time for New And News, where I summarize the week’s upcoming wide releases and share some of my favorite movie news articles from the past seven days.  Two new films are entering theaters this frame, and with When In Rome being one of the movies debuting, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate week for the other wide release to be called Edge Of Darkness, since When In Rome looks like it came from the bottom of the crappy romantic comedy barrel.  Still, it’s not just the new releases that are “dark” this week- so is the news!  Inside, you’ll find some great stories about Disney’s Sleeping Beauty spinoff, the Spider-Man reboot, and New Line’s The Hobbit!

New:

Edge Of Darkness (Warner Bros) – 3,000 theaters – Reviews

On January 30, 2009 Taken debuted and took the box office by storm.  The story followed a man (Liam Neeson) avenging his daughter’s kidnapping, killing every adversary that got in his way.  Exactly one year later, we have Edge Of Darkness, which is essentially the same film.  Just replace Neeson with Mel Gibson and kidnapping with murder.  Advertising has been strong, and Warner Brothers is clearly trying to tap into the same audience that pushed Taken to a $145 million total.  Mel Gibson, who directed The Passion Of The Christ, has been a massively polarizing figure since his DUI arrest in 2006, where he was accused of anti-semitism, sexism, homophobia, and pretty much every other un-politically correct thing someone can be accused of. Personally, I like Mel Gibson. I think the man has film making in his bones (Apocalypto haters, back off), and though this hardly looks groundbreaking, I’m excited to see him back on the big screen.  This film has the best shot to take down Avatar this weekend, though I’m guessing that both films will finish somewhere in the $27-30 million range.

When In Rome (Disney) – 2,200 theaters – Reviews

Maybe Disney is trying to get an early start on Valentine’s Day with this romantic comedy, but it’s been pretty clear from the advertisements that Rome is not a very appealing destination.  In the movie, Kristen Bell plays an American tourist who takes three coins from the Fountain of Love, which is apparently a big mistake.  By removing the coins, Bell magically turned the three men (Dax Shepherd, Jon Heder, Will Arnett) who cast them into the fountain wildly in love with her.  Still, Josh Duhamel plays a nice-guy reporter who seems to have genuine feelings for her.  Hmm. I wonder who she’ll end up with?  One of the three average-looking guys that are under a spell to love her, or the handsome man that really does love her? It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.  Reviews for the predictable rom-com should on par with other recent January releases, and I wouldn’t look for this to break out the way that Dear John and Valentine’s Day will in the coming weeks.

News:

Maleficent May Get The Tim Burton Treatment

According to AICN, Disney, who’s gearing up for the release of Alice In Wonderland is looking to team up with Tim Burton for yet another live-action film.  This time, the movie would be a spin-off of the classic Sleeping Beauty, only this time, it would be told from the evil Queen Maleficent’s point of view à la Wicked.  Can we assume that Burton’s wife and muse, Helena Bonham Carter, will be playing the titular character? Probably, but I totally think Angelina Jolie could rock this part.  Either way, Maleficent sounds pretty cool to me!

We Scrapped The Old Franchise For Angsty Teen Spider-Man? Ugh.

Last week, Sony announced that they were scrapping production of the current Spider-Man franchise, instead opting to reboot the entire series with Marc Webb ((500) Days Of Summer) in the director’s chair.  Now, THR reports a few more details about the reboot.  First off, the new Spidey movie will focus on The Ultimate Spider-Man comic books, which take place in high school and focus more on angsty teen drama than the action.  Second, Sony has budgeted $80 million for the film, and while I applaud a major studio for trying to be frugal, that is simply not enough money to make an exciting superhero movie!  Ugh. I’m still bitter about Spider-Man 4 getting canned.

New Hobbit Film Likely Appearing In Late 2012

Maybe I’m just interested in this news because I’m reading The Lord Of The Rings for the first time and loving every second of it, but I think you all would care to know as well! Via Variety, the first part of the hotly anticipated Guillermo Del Toro picture, The Hobbit, will likely reach theaters in late 2012.  Delays up until now have been due to New Line’s restructuring.  Even though I’m still not on board with the idea of splitting The Hobbit into two parts, I can’t wait!

New And News: The Rock Will Go To Extraordinary Measures To Bring Legions Of Fans To Theaters. Plus, My Golden Globes Recap!

January 18, 2010

It’s Monday, and that means it’s time for New And News!  This week, we’ve got three new releases, and true-to-January form, none of them look very good!  Tooth Fairy looks likea film that knows its bad, but doesn’t care because it can make a lot of money.  Legion looks like a film that’s bad because all horror movies look bad.  Extraordinary Measures looks like a film that’s bad, but it’s okay because it was sincerely trying to be good.  After a quick summary of those films, I’m going to do something a little bit different with the News section of this column.  Instead of linking to articles across the web, I’m going to do a quick recap of the Golden Globes, the last half of which I actually managed to sit through last night, despite my extreme distaste for awards shows!

New:

Tooth Fairy (Fox) – 3,000 theaters – Reviews
 A cocky man that is skeptical of unbelievable fantasy characters like the tooth fairy is punished by actually having to become a tooth fairy.  He mustn’t tell anyone who he is, and he cannot expose himself.  He must make the world believe in the tooth- Wait, wait, wait!  Haven’t I heard this plot before?  Oh yea, it’s the exact same thing as Toothless, starring Kirstie Alley.  This time around, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars as the tutu-wearing fairy, and his star power should carry this fish-out-of-water story effectively.  Just like last week’s The Spy Next Door, this film reminds me very much of 2003’s The Pacifier, as each film stars an action star attempting to appeal to a family audience.  Tooth Fairy has been advertised well, and it’s family-friendly nature should equal some pretty good business.

Legion (Sony) – 2,400 theaters – Reviews

This movie claims to tell the story of God sending his angels down into a diner to begin the Apocalypse and end mankind, but judging from the commercials, you’d think the whole movie was about a creepy grandma that turns into demon and crawls up the wall.  With Dennis Quaid, Paul Bettany, Tyrese Gibson, Lucas Black, and Kate Walsh, the films has some stars, but no real box office draws.  Just like The Book Of Eli, Legion hasn’t emphasized its overtly religious themes too much, instead framing itself as a conventional January horror release.  I’m not expecting huge things from it, but I’m not expecting an outright flop either.  Like most most January horror films, Legion should see some alright box office results before debuting on DVD a few months later and then debuting on the $5.99 DVD rack at Wal-Mart a few months later.

Extraordinary Measures (CBS Films) – 2,450 theaters – Reviews

It seems appropriate that this film was produced by CBS Films because it looks like a made-for-TV movie.  “Inspired by a true story,” Extraordinary Measures follows the story of a loving couple (Brendan Fraser and Keri Russell) who find that two of their children have a rare and fatal disease.  Determined to save his children, the father teams up an unappreciated scientist (Harrison Ford) to research and develop a drug that will cure his kids.  The two men take on the whole medical world, fighting an unsympathetic system in order to provide a solution to the awful crisis.  Cheesy but goodhearted, this film seems pretty hard to dislike, and I actually am a big fan of both Brendan Fraser and Keri Russell.  I’m not sure why, but I just love them!  Even though it won’t, I’m hoping Extraordinary Measures does well!

News:

The Golden Globes weren’t nearly as unbearable as the Oscars, and the show actually ran pretty quickly.  Maybe it was because the awards cover both film and TV, but I thought the show was fairly efficient.  Don’t get me wrong- they were still ridiculously douchey and self-important, but I actually didn’t tune away, and that says something.  You can see a full list of winners here, but first, here are some general impressions:

-Ricky Gervais was an awful host.

-Only 90 people vote for these awards?! Why the heck do they matter do much?

-Mo’nique is pretty tough to dislike.  The Precious star has a fire in her eyes and passion in her words, which is a welcome change on a night when you could probably narrate most speeches with the TV on mute.

-Beards are back!  Jon Hamm, George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Christoph Waltz, and William Hurt were all sporting facial hair.  Take that, No-Shave-November-disliking-grandparents!

-James Cameron may make some incredibly successful movies, but man, is he unlikable!  The director came across as cocky (“I used the restroom, so I’m going to take my time, so if the music comes on, we’re going to have a problem…”), which was obnoxious enough, but when he used his own Na’vi language from Avatar while talking about himself, it was too much.  James, if you want to be cocky and endearing, please take lessons from Robert Downey Jr..

-Jason Reitman, writer and director of Up In The Air, looks like a cross between Andrew WK and Dave Grohl.

-Hopefully, Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler exhibit more chemistry in The Bounty Hunter than they did while presenting an award.  I know that the teleprompter-induced banter is always awkward, but not saying anything is even more awkward!

-Originally, the only reason I tuned in was to see if Neil Patrick Harris or Lost would win.  I was disappointed to learn that I had missed NPH’s category altogether, even more disappointed to learn that he lost, and hugely disappointed to learn that Lost wasn’t even nominated!

-Sandra Bullock won Best Actress for her work in The Blind Side.  This is a problem.  Sandra must not win the Oscar.  The Best Actress Oscar transforms women into box office poison, and Bullock was just named the biggest box office draw of 2009.  I’ll talk about it more in the Thursday column.

New And News: Denzel And Jackie Star In One Very Confusing Movie, And One Very Obvious One

January 11, 2010

Alright, now this is more like the January I’ve come to know and love.  As opposed to the relatively well-reviewed releases of last week, two sorta crappy-looking movies are hitting theaters this Friday.  These are the sorts of films that usually debut in January.  Movies have typically opened poorly in January, as it’s somewhat of a box office dead zone after the huge numbers of November and December.  Because box office results are often bad, studios release some of their worst movies in January, and because movie quality is bad, the box office stays in the toilet.  Do you see how that cycle perpetuates itself?  Well, with a confusing apocalyptic thriller and a fish-out-of-water family comedy that, despite some solid star power, each look pretty poor, the third weekend of January should continue the tradition sub-par quality.  Poor box office, however? That’s another story, as both of these new releases have a shot at some moderate success.  Keep on reading for an over view of this week’s new releases, as well as some news about Star Trek 2, Green Lantern, a sequel to Twister, and James Cameron’s latest move.

New:

The Book Of Eli (Warner Bros) – 3,000 theaters – Reviews

This movie looks downright confusing.  Somehow, Denzel Washington is a super-violent, Bible-thumping, warrior in a post-apocalyptic world.  Maybe it’s a sequel to 2012?  Maybe to The Road?  Denzel is supposed to be a sort of righteous fighter, with Mila Kunis as his apprentice, and as they journey over a barren landscape, they kill a lot of people.  This movie’s advertising seems to be avoiding associating itself too much with the Bible, though it seems like a key plot point.  Thus, the ads have left me scratching my head, and when audiences don’t have any clue what movie is about, it’s never good for business.  Denzel will bring in audiences for sure, but I don’t see this taking down Avatar.

The Spy Next Door (Lionsgate) – 2,800 theaters – Reviews

This looks almost exactly the same as Disney’s 2003 Vin Diesel vehcile, The Pacifier.  Jackie Chan plays a former spy ready who’s asked to babysit a neighbor’s three children, who find themselves in a heap of trouble when one of them downloads an top secret code.  Keeping these kids in line and winning their approval proves to be harder than he would have thought, and hijinks ensue.  Blah.  How can I tell this movie is a stinker.  First off, it’s an uncreative premise.  Second, it’s debuting in January.  Third, it’s starring Billy Ray Cyrus. 

News:

Star Trek Sequel’s Release Date Set:

I mentioned it last week that Star Trek 2 (I’m sure the title will be something more along the lines of Star Trek: The Rise Of The Blah-Blah-Blah) would begin shooting in Late 2010. Now, BoxOfficeMojo reports that the Paramount sci-fi film will release on June 29th, 2012.  That means we’ve got 2 years, 5 months, and 18 days to buzz anxiously about it!

James Cameron Options Japanese War Film

The Avatar director has optioned yet another film that he may possibly make.  Instead of a sci-fi epic like Battle Angel or The Fantastic Voyage, though, this one would be an adaptation of the upcoming book, The Last Train To Hiroshima, which chronicles the eyewitness accounts of Japanese civilians and American pilots who watched the atomic bombs go off.  Is this really the right movie for Cameron to direct? I know he loves big special effects, but we don’t really want to turn Hiroshima and Nagasaki into entertaining spectacle, do we?

What Goes Around Comes Around

Who needs new ideas when we’ve got so many old ones?  Despite the fact that Twister, which earned $241 million at the box office, is now a whopping fourteen years old, Bill Paxton is hoping to move forward with production on a sequel.  At least he’s honest about why he’s doing it, though: “The only reason I’d like to revisit that ground is because I realize we’re living in a time where big movies cost so much to make that the town is looking for built-in audiences…”  The bad news about this: they want to shoot it in 3D.  Ugh.

Blake Lively Cast In Green Lantern

Female castings in superhero movies are always some of the most buzzed about movie news on the web, and that’s certainly been the case with Blake Lively’s recent casting as Ryan Reynolds’ love interest in The Green Lantern.  I think she’s a great actress, and she’ll probably do a good job, but to me, her voice is a bit too deep to be a screaming damsel in distress!  Is that too judgmental?

New And News: Maybe Sherlock Can Figure It Out- Why Do People Like Alvin And The Chipmunks?

December 21, 2009

It’s Monday, which means it’s time for New And News, where I preview this week’s new releases and highlight some of my favorite news stories over the past week.  Since it is the week of Christmas, Hollywood has decided to give American theaters a whole bunch of presents: three new wide releases debut on Christmas Day, and two other films will see major wide release expansions.  We’ve got grandiose musicals, detective superheroes, animated chipmunks, elderly affairs, and a whole lot of frequent flyer miles to talk about.  And that’s just the New!  Let’s get started…

New:

Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (Fox) – 3,700 theaters – Reviews

The fact that the original Alvin And The Chipmunks earned $244 million in 2007 is so unbelievable to me, that I almost don’t want to talk about it.  I’m usually all about the middle-American, widely appealing movies, but I just can’t get behind these one-joke, gimmicky, poorly animated films.  The trailer for this one features more high-pitched chipmunk voices, dancing girl chipmunks, and utterly inconsequential plot lines.  I try to be impartial, but I’m truly hoping this will under-perform.  Bah humbug!

Sherlock Holmes (Warner Bros) – 3,600 theaters – Reviews

Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, and Rachel McAdams star in this Guy Ritchie new adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic detective.  Warner Brothers is clearly hoping to launch a major franchise here, as they’ve re-imagined Sherlock as an action hero.  A hefty $80 million was spent on the film, and despite buzz amongst movie buffs, I get the feeling Sherlock Holmes probably won’t break out the way the studio is hoping.  (It looks a little bit too much like Van Helsing…)  Reviews are solid, though, and I would love to see this take down the chipmunks.

It’s Complicated (Universal) – 2,800 theaters – Reviews

Any time an actress above the age of 50 gets a role, I’m happy.  It’s simply not fair that older women aren’t represented at the box office.  Unfortunately for most older actresses, though, Meryl Streep takes 98% of these roles.  It’s Complicated follows Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep, a bitterly divorced couple.  Over time, Baldwin marries a much younger woman, and Streep begins dating Steve Martin.  The comedy in this movie comes when Streep, in a drunken state, ends up sleeping with her ex-husband, which begins an extended affair with him!  The concept is absolutely fantastic, so I wish the reviews were a bit better, but on the heels of Did You Hear About The Morgans?‘s poor performance, It’s Complicated should provide a better choice romantic comedy fans.

Up In The Air (Paramount) – 1,800 theaters – Reviews

George Clooney stars as a jet-setting business man who spends most of his life in the air, but his life changes when he finds himself suddenly smitten with a fellow traveler, Vera Farmiga.  Riding the wave of awards buzz, this has done very well in limited release thus far, having already earned almost $9 million in limited release.  With a major expansion on Friday, I’d expect Up In The Air to about double its total this weekend.

Nine (Weinstein) – 1,500 theaters – Reviews

Rob Marshall, director of Chicago and Dreamgirls, brings Nine, yet another musical, to the screen.  With a cast that is adored by Hollywood, featuring Daniel Day Lewis, Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman, and Fergie, the movie world is extremely excited about Nine.  However, reviews are below average, and the ads have given absolutely no sense of the story.  Like so much of Marshall’s work, this looks more about style than substance.  I’m not thinking this will be be a major box office success.

News:

Bryan Singer Returning for X-Men: First Class

I was crushed when the director of X-Men and X2: X-Men United decided not to direct X-Men: The Last Stand… we were so close to having a great trilogy! Thankfully, though, Bryan Singer has decided to direct the latest Marvel spinoff, X-Men: First Class.  I can’t wait!

Clash Of The Titans Reshooting… Possibly In 3D?!

Reshoots usually mean a movie is not good.  Adding 3D effects is often nothing more than a desperate attempt to make more money.  Therefore, when news comes out that Warner Brothers’ Clash Of The Titans is reshooting and attempting to add 3D to a movie just six months before its release, it tells me that this movie is destined to be a disaster. 

The Hangover 2 To Be Set In Thailand

After coming out of nowhere and earning an amazing $277 million this Summer, The Hangover was all but guaranteed to have a sequel.  CHUD reports that the next film will probably take place in Thailand, taking up a storyline that wasn’t used in Old School 2, which never saw the light of day.

New And News: This Week Brings Disney’s First Black Princess And Nelson Mandela; Coincidence?

December 7, 2009

Welcome to the Monday column, New And News, where I go over this week’s new releases, as well as some of the best news articles from the past week.  Opening in theaters this week we have two movies that deal interestingly with race.  The oft-criticized black-princess-showcasing Disney release, The Princess And The Frog, and the racially themed Nelson Mandela biopic, Invictus.  After summarizing those two films, keep on reading for news about sequels in the Harry Potter, Twilight, and Bourne franchises.

New:

The Princess And The Frog (Disney) – 3,300 theaters – Reviews

The Disney we all know and love is back to doing what it does best: telling romanticized fairy tales with beautiful music and traditional animation.  Five years after Disney’s rather foolish statement that it would no longer produce traditional 2D animation, the studio is back with another sure-to-be-a-classic princess tale, The Princess And The Frog.  Equipped with jazzy New Orleans music, iconic Louisiana bayou scenery, a voodoo witch-doctor villain, cute animated animals, and the first black Disney princess, this film has a lot of buzz around it, and it’s sure to get nostalgia points from audiences of all ages.  I mean, who wasn’t excited by the first five animated minutes of Enchanted back in 2007?  As a college student, I know that tons of my friends are ready to go see this, and parents and kids alike are sure to be drawn to the theaters.  I know I’ll be taking my little sister once I come home for Christmas!  The Princess And The Frog has done extremely well in its limited release of just two theaters, and it will play very well over the holidays.  My very early estimate for this has it earning somewhere between $150-$200 million, with a $50 million opening.  That will probably change over the course of the week as I do some more research, but for now, that’s what I’ve got.

Invictus (Warner Brothers) – 2,150 theaters – Reviews

Morgan Freeman portrays South African President Nelson Mandela in this presitigious Oscar-bait.  Freeman is beloved by audiences, though he rarely has a major leading role, so there’s a considerable amount of excitement around this feature.  Matt Damon also stars as famous rugby player Francois Pienaar, and between star power, good reviews, strong advertising, Clint Eastwood (who the academy loves… see Million Dollar Baby‘s win for Best Picture in 2004), and racial drama (which the Academy loves…. see Crash‘s win for Best Picture in 2005), this should be a considerable hit for Warner Brothers.  If it does well in the beginning of its run, strong word-of-mouth and awards nominations will carry Invictus to becoming a major financial victory.

News:

Final Twilight To Be Split Into Two Movies

Following in the footsteps of The Hobbit and the final Harry Potter (more on that below), Summit has decided that it will split the final Twilight film, Breaking Dawn, into two films.  Unfortunately, whereas the book versions of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows and The Hobbit have extremely dense and complex plotsthat merit such a split, it appears that Breaking Dawn will simply be an even more drawn out affair, in which Bella and Jacob stare meaninglessly out into the drab, rainy forest.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Teaser

Warner Brothers has attached a new teaser for the first part of their final Harry Potter installment.  It’s getting me pretty excited!  A little less than a year away, Deathly Hallows is coming out next Winter.

Greengrass Backs Out Of Fourth Bourne Movie

This news broke out on The Playlist blog, and far too many people on the internet have scooped it up, claimed it as their own, and failed to give credit where credit is due.  Paul Greengrass, director of all three films in the Bourne franchise, has backed out of directing a fourth edition.  Where this puts the state of the franchise and Matt Damon’s involvement is unknown at this point.  Personally, I’m cool with this.  The Bourne Ultimatum was a tremendous ending to the stellar action franchise.  I say, why not end on a high note?!

New And News: If Your Family Depresses You At Thanksgiving, These Movies Won’t Cheer You Up

November 24, 2009

It’s Monday, and that means it’s time for The New And The News, the weekly column where I go over each of the new wide releases coming out this weekend, as well as post the news stories that really caught my eye.  This week, I’d like to not only summarize each of the new releases, but also propose a reason why you should see each of these films over your Thanksgiving Weekend.  Let’s get going.

The New

The Road (Weinstein) – Releasing In 31 Markets – Reviews

This is a grim movie based on Cormac McCarthy’s similarly grim novel of the same name.  The Road‘s story follows a father and son as they struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.  Doesn’t it sound uplifting?
Why you would see this on Thanksgiving Weekend: This is a good choice for those families that are wealthy, happy, well-educated, and like to feel pseudo-intellectual by seeing artistic films like this one.  I imagine they would live in New England and probably eat tofurkey instead of an actual bird… For everyone else, this is just depressing.

Old Dogs (Disney) – 3,300 theaters – Reviews

Wonderful, John Travolta and Robin Williams starring in a Disney comedy about men having to take care of children.  It’s like RV or Daddy Day Care, only it’s even less original!  Expect many, many obvious jokes…
Why you would see this on Thanksgiving Weekend: Because you’re a normal, American family, and even though you know this doesn’t look good, you think it looks good enough, and you trust that Disney will keep it appropriate. You’re happy to find a diversion for the kids, and you’re willing to settle for mediocrity.

Ninja Assassin (Warner Brothers) – 2,500 theaters – Reviews

A hyper-stylized martial arts movie with a very complicated plot that involves government conspiracies, CG-embellished fight scenes, and ninja stars galore.  It actually looks kind of cool.
Why you would see this on Thanksgiving Weekend: You’re aunt keeps judgmentally whispering about you, your grandfather won’t stop asking what you’re doing with your life, and no one is even touching the sweet potatoes you made.  You’ve got some built up aggression that you need to let out.

The News

Avatar’s Running Time Set At 2.5 Hours

The Hollywood Reporter let us know that James Cameron had officially cut Avatar at 156 minutes, the last 6 minutes of which are credits.  This is very good news to me, as I don’t like sitting around for too long, and I know that this will help its benefit its box office tremendously.  When audiences hear that a film is 3 hours long, they stay away.  Ask King Kong about it if you don’t believe me.  Also, a shorter running time means that Avatar can play more times in each theater every night, which will help its box office.

The Top 10 Most Overpaid Actors

Forbes released this interesting list of the actors who demand ridiculously high salaries, yet don’t provide solid box office results.  It’s a fun read.  Will Ferrell takes the number one spot.

Spider-Man 4 And Its Slew Of Potential Female Stars
There have been tons of rumors floating around the internet for a few weeks now about Spider-Man 4‘s casting decisions.  Lately, the focus has been on actresses that are being contacted to play Black Cat.  On the short list are Rachel McAdams, Julia Stiles, and Anne Hathaway, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out what kind of character the producers might want Black Cat to be if those are the top three choices.  Basically, there’s been a lot written about this, but I think CinemaSpy explained things pretty clearly.