That sound you heard were the squealing tires right before "Speed Racer" crashed right into the wall on Turn 1 (week 1), becoming the first, and possibly the biggest Bomb of 2008. Now some are calling it a "flop", but that's just not a strong enough word. Stories are out that it will end up costing the studios between $250 - 300 million to make and promote this mess, and it ended up only taking in $18 million at the box office last week.
In fact, the studio even did a little creative accounting on Sunday to make things look better. The first weekend numbers that come out have the actuals from Friday and Saturday, and the estimates from Sunday. So the execs fudged a bit on the estimates, making it so that Speed made $20.2 million, ending up in 2nd for the weekend. When the truth came out, it was third behind the insipid "What Happens In Vegas", and it's looking like this will be a disaster in the same line as "Kingdom of Heaven" and "Poseidon"
What Happens In Hollywood is that some heads are going to roll over this mess. Don't expect the Wachowski Brothers to be given the keys to any big budget films in the near future.
News and Rumors
~ Several weeks ago, I wrote of Rob Marshall's new musical film "Nine", based upon the works that inspired Fillini's "8 ½". Javier Bardem was to star in it, but he dropped out, citing exhaustion. So replacing him will be none other than Daniel Day-Lewis, to play the character of a famous director trying to balance his work and all the women in his life. Still on board are Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Sophia Loren, and Dame Judi Dench.
~ George Clooney, still somewhat smarting after the flop of his latest film "Leatherheads", is set to step in front of the cameras again in "Stare at Goats", and adaptation of a true story regarding a U.S. Army battalion charged with using paranormal powers, starting in 1979. See kids, this is why all that drug use in the 70s was a bad thing.
~ I guess the flops (bombs) that we've seen recently from television shows being adapted to the big screen doesn't seem to phase those in la la land. Next up? "21 Jump Street: The Movie". Don't expect Johnny Depp to have any involvement in this.
~ "Point Break 2". In this case, the news that the sequel to the 1991 film is being written by the same guy that wrote the original isn't exactly inspiring me.
~ We knew after "Juno" that young directory Jason Reitman was about to get some very serious projects thrown his way. Next up for him will be "Up in the Air", a story following a constantly traveling human resources exec whose life is falling apart...so he responds by being totally obsessed with notching his millionth frequent flyer mile. He's also working again with "Juno" writer Diablo Cody in the cheerleader comedy-thriller "Jennifer's Body", starring Megan Fox ("Transformers" hottie).
~ Nicolas Cage is set to star in an updated version of the 1992 film "Bad Lieutenant", which starred Harvey Keitel as a drug-addled, lowlife cop in NYC. There are so many lines I could write here...but some setups are just too easy to take advantage of.
~ I've also written before about Steven Spielberg directing the movie "Lincoln", starring Liam Neeson as the iconic president. It's now been reported that filming will begin next year, with an anticipated release in late 2010. The screenplay will be from Tony Kushner, who did such a magnificent job with the screenplay for another Spielberg masterpiece: "Munich".
This week's new movie releases:
Only one film being released this week, and it will have a first week take to rival "Iron Man".
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
Starring: Ben Barnes, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley
Plot: The Pevensie children return to Narnia one year after their first adventure to find that 1,300 years have passed there, and all is not well since an evil king ascended to the throne.
The BeerBuzz: Liam Neeson is also back as the voice of Aslan, but no sign of Tilda Swinton in this one, so it looks like the White Witch will be just CGI when she appears, and it will be voiced by an impersonator. In any case, there is very positive buzz on this one. The film is said by many to be better than the first, which surprised me with it's quality when I finally saw it on DVD. Darker and more fore brooding than the first, it is still able to strike a good balance by being entertaining for adults, but not too intense for kids (although some are warning that the battle scenes may be too intense for the under 8 set). I'll let you know.
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New DVD Releases for Tuesday, May 20th
National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets - Nicolas Cage in "Sell Out, Part 2"! OK...I saw it at the theater, but chose not to review it since my wife liked it so much...and she hates it when she likes a campy movie and then I trash it in a review. This one? Stupid (like the first), but entertaining (like the first). Overall, it's worth watching, especially if you found the first one amusing, as it's not much different, but not a re-hash either.
Strange Wilderness - Speaking of stupid...that would be this idiotic film about a bunch of Crocodile Hunter wannabees. When Steve Zahn headlines a film, you know you are in trouble.
George Romero's Diary of the Dead - More flesh eating Zombies from the Zombie King himself! I think I'll just see if I can catch a repeat of "Shaun of the Dead".
Next week; Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (starts on Thursday, May 22nd)
Upcoming Biggies (click on the hyperlink to view the available trailers).
Sex and the City - May 30th - The movie version of the HBO series hits the big screen. Can we guys get our share of this pie and have a movie version of "Deadwood"?
You Don't Mess with the Zohan - June 6th - Adam Sandler as a former Mossad agent setting up shop as a hairdresser in New York City.
Kung Fu Panda - June 6th - Jack Black as the voice of a reluctant panda bear recruited by a team of Kung Fu masters.
The Incredible Hulk - June 13th - Looks to be much, much better than the Ang Lee stink-fest, with Edward Norton taking on the role of Bruce Banner.
The Happening - June 13th - Latest M. Night Shyamalan thriller, staring Mark Wahlberg in a tale about a family on the run after natural disasters threaten the entire planet.
Get Smart - June 20th - Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, and Alan Arkin take on the roles of Maxwell Smart, Agent 99 and The Chief. As much as I hate movie adaptations of television shows, this one has potential.
The Love Guru - June 20th - Mike Myers already catching as much hell from India as Sacha Baron Cohen did from Kazakhstan for making fun of cultures that don't seem to have a sense of humor.
Wall-E - June 27th - Pixar's next masterpiece, about a garbage cleaning robot who dreams of the stars.
Wanted - June 27th - Look for this to make a box office star out of James McAvoy ("The Last King of Scotland", "Atonement") as he plays a young man brought into a secret society of assassins by a hot, hot looking Angelina Jolie. Morgan Freeman plays their boss.
Hancock - July 4th - Will Smith as a hard-living superhero needing the use of a public relations professional (Jason Bateman) to repair his image.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army - July 11th - The big red cigar chomping demon with a bad attitude is back for more butt kicking.
The Dark Knight - July 19th - Batman is back, and this time he's tracking the Joker, played by Heath Ledger. Most likely the box office champion of 2008.
Mamma Mia! - July 19th - Something for the ladies to attend while the guys are busy watching Batman kick the Joker's ass. A musical featuring the songs of ABBA. And my wife wants us to go see it. Sigh.
X-Files 2 - July 25th - Little is known yet about these further adventures of Scully and Fox...not even the title.
Tropic Thunder - August 15th - A group of actors shooting a big budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying in the film. Stars Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr, playing a white actor donning black make-up to "fit the part".
The International - August 15th - Clive Owen and Naomi Watts in a thriller about an Interpol agent's attempts to break up an international arms dealing ring financed by a high profile bank. (What can Wachovia do for you?)
Righteous Kill - September 12th - Robert De Niro and Al Pacino together again as NY detectives working on a case that may be related to both a serial killer and a man they might have wrongly imprisoned years before.
Eagle Eye - September 26th - Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monoghan as a mother and son who become unwitting members of a terrorist cell plotting a political assassination.
Body of Lies - October 10th - Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio in Ridley Scott's spy tale of intrigue in the Middle East.
RocknRolla - October 31st - Guy Ritchie hopefully back in form for another tale of London gangsters. Gerard Butler, Thandie Newton, Tom Wilkenson, and Jeremy Frackin' Piven star.
Quantum of Solace - November 13th - The next James Bond film, picking up shortly after the events ending "Casino Royale"
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - November 21st - The sixth of J.K. Rowling's seven books, setting the stage for the two part conclusion in 2010 and 2011.
Defiance - December 19th - Daniel Craig and Live Schreiber as Jewish brothers in WWII Russian, leading a band of refuges in striking back at the Germans. A major early Oscar contender
Blockbusters on the Distant Horizon (movies that would seem to be big hits...as soon as they get made).
X-Men Origins: Wolverine - May 1st, 2009 - Hugh Jackman goes it alone as the adamentium enhanced anti-hero. With Live Schreiber as Sabertooth, and Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool.
Star Trek - May 8th, 2009 - J.J. Abrams and a young cast reboot the franchise, going back to Kirk and Spock's days at Starfleet Academy.
Angels and Demons - May 15th, 2009 - Tom Hanks and Ron Howard follow-up to "The DaVinci Code"
Terminator 4 - May 22nd, 2009 - Christian Bale as John Conner as the franchise moves into the apocalyptic future.
Transformers 2 - June 26th, 2009 - The next chapter of Robots In Disguise!
Public Enemy - July 1st, 2009 - Johnny Depp as John Dillinger. Co-staring Christian Bale, and directed by Michael Mann
The Taking of Pelham 123- August 7th, 2009 - Denzel Washington, John Travolta, and James Gandolfini in a remake of the classic 1974 film about a hijacked subway car.
Shutter Island - October, 2009 - Martin Scorsese working once again with Leonardo DiCaprio in this mystery set in 1954.
Nottingham - November, 2009 - Ridley Scot and Russell Crowe together again in a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, this time through the eyes of the Sheriff of Nottingham (Crowe).
Avatar - December 18th, 2009 - James Cameron's sci-fi/CGI extravaganza.
Iron Man 2 - May, 2010 - Right on the heels of the success of the first one, Marvel is quick to get Robert Downey Jr. back into his titanium suit.
Thor - June 2010 - Another Marvel superhero...but the Nordic God is about as bland personality-wise as Superman, so we'll see how it goes.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I - 2010 - The start of the End for the boy wizard and his battle against He-Who-Shall-not-Be-Named
Lincoln - 2010 - Steven Spielberg directs the biographical film of the 16th President (Liam Neeson)
The Hobbit - 2010 - Guillermo del Toro directs and Peter Jackson will produce the prequel to "Lord of the Rings". Ian McKellen will return as Gandalf
Fantastic Voyage - 2010 - Roland Emmerich ("The Day After Tomorrow", "10,000 B.C.") remakes the classic 1967 movie about a miniaturized sub and crew operating on a scientist from inside his brain.
The Avengers - 2011 - Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America open up a can of whoopass on bad guys everywhere.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II - 2011 - The end of the line for what will be beyond doubt the most profitable series in the history of film making.
The Hobbit 2 - 2011 - del Toro and Jackson again, this time covering the time between the end of Tolkien's book, "The Hobbit" and the start of LOTR.
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