Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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.

The New And The News: The End Of The World Will Involve Foxes And Pirates… Probably

November 9, 2009

It’s Monday, which means it’s time for the New and the News.  This week, we’ve got three new wide releases hitting theaters and a slew of interesting news about the world of film.  Come on inside and check it all out!

The New

2012 (Sony) – 3,000 theaters – Reviews
Roland Emmerich is one of those high-profile Hollywood directors that only produces big budget popcorn flicks like Independence Day, Godzilla, The Patriot, The Day After Tomorrow, and most recently, 10,000 BC.  With the release of 2012, Emmerich is probably hoping to erase any memories of the universally disliked 10,000 BC by hopping 12,012 years into the future.  I’m sure there is a story somewhere inside 2012, but basically, it is an epic disaster movie that will showcase a global cataclysm in the year that the Mayans famously predicted would be the end of the world.  A Summer-style action film in the middle of Winter, 2012 looks like an expensive, exciting thrill ride, and it should do very well at the box office.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (Fox) – Wide Release? – Reviews
As if Roald Dahl was not strange enough, his book is getting the big screen treatment from cinema’s resident oddball, Wes Anderson.  Fantastic Mr. Fox looks like a visual treat, as its animation style looks like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It is some sort of mixture of stop motion and traditional animation, and it looks pretty interesting. That being said, I do not think that this animation will help it out very much.  I think it will be visually exhausting to watch this unconventional visual style for almost two hours, for it seems more fit for a YouTube video, and I will be surprised if this is actually a hit.  This is a movie that appears to have been made much more for Anderson-loving critics than the public.  On another note, I’m not sure what to believe about Fox‘s release.  Yahoo! Movies states that it will be getting a wide release on Friday, though Box Office Mojo’s theater counts only have it being released into 4 theaters.  I think it actually will get a wide release, but I can’t be sure. 

Pirate Radio (Focus) – 900 theaters – Reviews
This story follows a group of 8 rogue British DJs who defied authority in the name of rock ‘n roll music in the 1960s.  Broadcasting from a boat in the North Atlantic, this “pirate radio” station had to avoid the British government to play the music they loved.  I’m not much into these movies about drugs, rock music, and liberation, and I’m not sure I can buy the studio’s provided synopsis that “the songs that they played united and defined an entire generation.”  That seems like a bit much.  Anyway, this is probably a little too off-beat to be a huge hit, but the ads have been strong and interesting, and it should be able to carve out a small slice of box office pie for itself in the coming weeks.

The News

Avatar’s New Trailer

James Cameron’s long-in-the-works, psychotically expensive science-fiction epic, Avatar, has been surrounded by huge buzz for years.  Reports of groundbreaking technology, incredible 3D sequences, and an incredible story had people very excited.  Thus, when a lackluster trailer debuted a few months ago, people were more than a little disappointed.  Thankfully, a new trailer has been cut for the film, and it’s is so much better.  It gives a strong sense of the story, and it features some pretty dazzling special effects.  It’s hard to not be excited.  Watch the new-and-improved trailer below.

Baldwin And Martin To Host Oscars

Hugh Jackman declined the offer to return as host of the Oscars this year, but the LA Times was quick to report that the Academy had contracted Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin to co-host the Oscars this year.  In an era of dwindling ratings for the Oscar telecast, you would think that the Academy might want to try to appeal to a younger crowd, but who knows how these decisions are made… The early reaction has been more than a little mixed, and many people are downright unhappy with the decision.  As a hater of the Oscars, that makes me very happy!

2012 in Theaters = 2013 on TV

If 2012 succeeds in theaters this weekend, it is appearing increasingly likely that we’ll see an ABC spinoff on screens this Fall.   Director Roland Emmerich told EW, “The plan is that it is 2013 and it’s about what happens after the disaster…”  Producer Mark Gordon claims that ABC “will have an opening in their disaster-related programming after LOST ends.”  Interesting for sure, but I’ve never seen this type of movie-into-a-TV-show stunt work.  Anyone remember My Big Fat Greek Life?

“The Tourist” Is Suddenly Very Intriguing

Tom Cruise, Sam Worthington, and Charlize Thereon are out, and THR writes that Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, and Alfonso Cuaron are in.  Suddenly, The Tourist, a remake of a 2005 French thriller, has gone from white bread to dark and edgy.  This could be a magical combination that makes for a very cool movie.

News The Caught My Eye: X4, X-Men: First Class, Paranormal Activity, Venom, And Iron Man 2

September 29, 2009

Welcome to the new Monday feature: News That Caught My Eye.  In this feature, I’ll post some of the coolest news articles I spot each week.  I might write a few of my own thoughts, but really, I’m just hoping to pass along relevant, useful information to YOU, my faithful readers!  I guess that’s enough of an introduction, so let’s go ahead and get started:

Future Of The X-Men Franchise

This is a cool write-up via SlashFilm of X-Men producer Lauren Schuler Donner on the upcoming projects within the franchise.  She talks about the status and/or possibility of features like  X4, Deadpool, and X-Men: First Class. Personally, I think X-Men: First Class should be at the top of the list. I think Deadpool would be an egregious mistake to shell out too much money on…

As well as the eventual New Class, then – whenever that might be – Shuler Donner revealed that she has been cooking up plans for several other mutant films. The two she named? An X4, reuniting the X-Men and a big screen outing for The New Mutants. X4, she said, had yet to be pitched to the studio, however.

5 Minutes on Iron Man 2’s Set

Entertainment Tonight provides us with a look at Iron Man 2 with their exclusive set visit.  Collider posted both of ET‘s videos, one of which you can see here.  The longer (though less informative) one is over at Collider.

Paranormal Activity Director Says “Thanks”

The director of Paranormal Activity, a little horror movie that is socially networking itself into getting a wide release, took a moment to thank excited fans this week.  Latino Review posted the YouTube video of the director, as well as the list of cities that Paranormal Activity is headed to next.  I definitely want to keep my eye on this movie, as it’s release strategy completely fascinates me.

Are We Getting A Venom Movie?

According to Sci-Fi Wire, Sony is going to be producing a Venom movie, despite the incredibly negative response to the character in Spider-Man 3.  Hopefully, they actually spend some time developing him this time!  The article also talks about how this will affect the production of Spider-Man 4.

Today Wernick confirmed to us that the project is still moving forward and the writing team has turned the script in to the suits at Sony. “We’ve written two drafts of Venom, and the studio has it, and they’re pushing forward in whatever ways they push forward,” Wernick told SCI FI Wire in an exclusive interview.

Wolverine Leaked Online! What Does This Mean For Its Box Office?!

April 2, 2009

As you may have heard, late on Tuesday evening, a high quality version of Fox’s hotly anticipated X-Men Origins: Wolverine leaked online. The blockbuster wasn’t slated for release until May 1, and even though Fox quickly had the file removed, copies have been popping up quickly on multiple file-sharing websites. Fox released a major damage-control statement earlier today:

Last night, a stolen, incomplete and early version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was posted illegally on websites. It was without many effects and had missing scenes and temporary sound and music. We immediately contacted the appropriate legal authorities and had it removed. We forensically mark our content so we can identify sources that make it available or download it. The source of the initial leak and any subsequent postings will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law — the courts have handed down significant criminal sentences for such acts. The FBI and MPAA are also actively investigating the crime. We are encouraged by the support of fansites condemning piracy and this illegal posting and pointing out that such theft undermines the enormous efforts of the filmmakers and actors and, above all, hurts fans of the film.

The question now is how this leak will affect Wolverine‘s box office performance. My answer is: not that much. I think there a few things at play, here. First off, as much as the TV and film industries want the public to believe that all entertainment is moving online, that’s not exactly the case. Internet viewing of movies and TV shows still represents the vast, vast minority of the viewing public. Most everyone sticks with the traditional way of watching movies in theaters, or waiting to rent them on DVD. Most people just aren’t internet-savvy enough to figure it out. (Hey, I’m pretty wired myself, and I can’t do Bittorrent!) Second, Wolverine is the kind of film people want to see on the big screen. It’s part of the fun, and I think that most people are willing to wait one more month and get the full, sensory experience instead of watching it on their computer early. Finally, there’s the fanboy factor. The only people that are clamoring to snag a downloadable copy of Wolverine are the ones who are going to see it 18 times on opening weekend anyway.

All in all, I sincerely doubt that Wolverine‘s box office will be much affected by the leak. Fox is doing a good job of controlling the multiple copies, and I really don’t think we need to worry too much. EW has put together it’s own collection of thoughts on the issue, which you should check out here. I still think Wolverine should be able to rake in $75 million in its opening weekend, no problem. What do you think? Am I being too lax? Could this leak really damage Wolverine‘s prospects at the movies? Let me know in the comments!

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?

The Recession-Proof Industry! MovieTickets Lands A Sweet Deal With Florida Theaters

March 30, 2009

This story is pretty impressive. MovieTickets just inked a deal with Muvico theaters to provide online ticketing systems, and it looks like online ticketing is really starting to replace traditional ticket buying. (Jeez, between this and the failing newpaper industry, it seems like people have some sort of vendetta against printed paper…) Maybe it’s because I almost always go to a Regal Entertainment Group theater and see Fandango ads there, but I had no idea that MovieTickets was a formidable competitor. Here’s the story from THR (emphasis added):

MovieTickets on Monday unveiled a deal to provide online movie-ticketing services for Muvico theaters in Florida.

The deal — announced on the first day of the ShoWest confab here — brings MovieTickets’ pacts with theatrical exhibitors to a total of 150 circuits. The online ticker said its Internet activity also is approaching another milestone, as it nears 100 million ticket sold.

“This is a landmark accomplishment,” MovieTickets exec vp Joel Coen said. “To reach 150 exhibitors and for us to be on pace for a record-breaking 2009 really speaks to the recession-proof nature of moviegoing and the strength of the services we provide.”

MovieTickets has added 15 exhibitors and some 1,000 screens to its service network in the past six months, Coen added. Its chief competitor Fandango has fewer circuit relationships but vastly more screens in its online-ticketing network.

What about you? Do you get your tickets online? If you do, what do you use: Fandango or MovieTickets? Let me know in the comments