“The Dark Knight” breaks movie records

July 20th, 2008

dark_knight.jpgThe latest Batman movie has shattered box office records in its opening weekend. “The Dark Knight” emerged as not just the new number one movie at movie theaters but also became the top grossing movie for its opening weekend, taking in an estimated $155 million dollars and eclipsing the previous record established last year by “Spider-Man 3” by $4 million. On “The Dark Knight”’s opening day alone the movie grossed $66 million, setting another benchmark record for ticket sales for an opening day. By comparison the previous adventure, “Batman Begins”, opened to a moderate $44 million dollar opening weekend before finally coming to a full stop with a little over $200 million in ticket sales. At the pace “The Dark Knight” is traveling it will surpass the total ticket sales of “Batman Begins” sometime in the middle of this week.

“Mamma Mia”, another new movie out this weekend, didn’t reach the same high watermark as Batman but it nevertheless did alright by grossing $27 million. Will Smith and his superhero tale “Hancock” dropped to third place with $14 million in ticket sales, bringing that film’s total gross to $191 million.

Will Smith opens big again with “Hancock”

July 6th, 2008

hancock_poster.jpgIt was another Big Willie Weekend as Will Smith’s action superhero movie “Hancock” took in an impressive $66 million dollars over the American holiday weekend. Sony Pictures had opened the $170 million budgeted event movie on Wednesday but also held Tuesday evening showings to beef up their ticket sales. That plan of attack worked well and the combined five day tally for “Hancock” elevated its total gross to $107 million. “Hancock” is the second-highest movie to open for Smith after last December’s “I Am Legend”.

The “Ali” and “Men in Black” star plays an alcoholic, homeless superhero in “Hancock” who doesn’t give a care as to how his image is looked upon by the public. Audiences may have gone out to take in Will’s new movie but critics haven’t been as favorable to the picture with negative reviews popping up in “Entertainment Weekly”, “The Washington Post”, “Newsweek”, “The Wall Street Journal” and more outlets. “’Hancock’ is a hodgepodge of intriguing ideas that, if developed further or presented as more than throw-ins to a confused production, might have made for a unique superhero film,” wrote James Berardinelli in his review of the movie.

Sienna Miller playing maid service in “Nottingham”

June 20th, 2008

sienna_miller.jpgLovely Sienna Miller is very close to snatching the role of Maid Marion in Ridley Scott’s “Nottingham”. The fair-haired “Factory Girl” actress would play the part of the apple of Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham’s eyes but in this twist on the classic adventure tale, it’s the Sheriff that is the hero while Robin is a dastardly outlaw and ruffian. Russell Crowe will play the role of the Sheriff making “Nottingham” the fourth time that he has worked with Ridley Scott. Meanwhile Miller is working hard playing the role of comic book villianness in the live action “G.I. Joe” picture.

Barring a possible strike by the actors guild which could happen as early as next month “Nottingham” is scheduled to begin filming in the late summer. The movie is scheduled for release in November 2009.

Edward Norton has a “Hulk”-out over creative differences

June 13th, 2008

the-incredible-hulk-norton.jpgDid Edward Norton get angry when he made “The Incredible Hulk”? According to gossip Norton (who allegedly also helped write the superhero’s movie script) was displeased with the editing of the picture, so much that he swore off doing any promotion for the film. Norton had been notably absent from most of the promo work for “Hulk” leading up to the movie’s June 13 release until this week when he made appearances on MTV and “Jimmy Kimmel Live”. Early reviews have painted a favorable picture of the film which has also helped turn around the bad buzz that the earlier rumors had.

While “Iron Man” has proven to be a huge box office hit for Marvel Studios the $150 million dollar “Incredible Hulk” is a gamble. It’s a reboot of the concept of scientist Bruce Banner who, after being bombarded with gamma radiation, turns into a hulking green brute when he loses control over his emotions. Maybe Marvel sensed that Norton’s anger could act against the amount of money “Hulk” would make with audiences and decided to sooth the savage beast with more creative control.

Keira Knightly set to become “My Fair Lady”

June 6th, 2008

keiraknightley.jpg“Pirates of the Caribbean” star Keira Knightly is in negotiations to star in a new movie version of “My Fair Lady”. The British superstar will play the part of Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle, a commoner whose manners and speech are transformed into an upper crust lady by the teachings of Professor Henry Higgins. The film will be a partnership between Columbia Pictures and CBS Films. Duncan Kenwothy, a producer on such British hits as “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Love Actually”, will serve as a producer on the picture.

The movie will use the original songs of the Broadway stage play and not make any major changes to the 1912 setting. The film’s producers would like to film as much as is possible at the original London locations used in the story such as Tottenham Court Road, Covent Garden, Wimple Street and the Ascot racecourse. The story will also use material from the original George Bernard Shaw play “Pygmalion” which served as the basis for the Broadway musical.

“Sex and the City” creates new box office record

June 1st, 2008

sexandthecity.jpgIt may have been off the air for four years but it seems that absense does indeed make the heart grow fonder. Fans of the racy cable comedy-drama “Sex in the City” flocked to theaters this weekend to watch the big screen version of the show which stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis. The “Sex” movie took in an estimated $55.7 million dollars in its first three days of release making it the biggest opening ever for an R-rated comedy. “American Pie” had previously held the record with $45.1 million dollars back in 1999. “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” fell to second place with a gross of $46 million dollars, bringing its accumulated total to $216.8 million dollars so far.

Talk of a “Sex in the City 2” has already begun. Shortly before the movie’s release gossip had been floating around that the movie’s producers had signed all of the film’s stars to sequel options in their contracts. One insider told a British newspaper that “They want it to be a franchise and think they can stretch it over at least a trilogy.”

“Indiana Jones 4″ is a hit

May 26th, 2008

indianajones4.jpgNineteen years may separate the release of the latest “Indiana Jones” film and its predecessor “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” but audiences haven’t forgotten the Hollywood action hero. “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” debuted last Thursday and raked in $126 million dollars from American audiences in its first four days of release. International audiences have also gone Indy crazy, adding an additional $143 million worth of ticket sales. That brings the total worldwide gross for “Indy 4” to $269 million dollars in less than one week of release.

Director Steven Spielberg has told fans that he would think about making another Indiana Jones adventure if “Crystal Skull” attracted audiences. Perhaps it’s time to hire a writer?

A New Prescription for “Doctor Who”

May 21st, 2008

dr_who_tennant.jpgWhen the time-travelling Time Lord returns to the airwaves in 2010 he will be guided by a new creative thinker working behind the scenes. Steven Moffat is taking over head writer and showrunner duties on the BBC’s popular “Doctor Who” television series when it returns for its sixth season in two years. Moffat has been writing episodes for the new “Who” since its return to broadcast four years ago and had been rumored to replace exiting showrunner Russell T. Davies if the latter were to depart the sci-fi show.

Davies will remain as producer on “Doctor Who” for the remainder of the current fourth series and for three specials that will be broadcast in 2009. There is speculation that actor David Tennant, who currently plays the Doctor, may also wish to make an exit when Davies departs the show. If that is the case a new face will be found to play the alien Doctor and one potential candidate may be James Nesbitt. Nesbitt played the lead in “Jekyll”, a recent mini-series that Moffat penned.

Angelina Jolie confirms she is pregnant to TV reporter

May 15th, 2008

kung_fu_panda.jpgCall it a case of Jack Black putting his foot in his mouth but when the funnyman spoke to the assembled press at the Cannes Film Festival to talk about his animated movie “Kung Fu Panda” he let slip Hollywood’s worst kept secret. While being interviewed for the “Today” show Black pointed at co-star Angelina Jolie’s expanding torso and said “You’re gonna have as many as the Brady Bunch when you have these.” While Jolie looks very much pregnant the high-profile actress has decided to not confirm speculation that she is pregnant with twins. “Today” host Natalie Morales took Jack’s quip as an invitation to ask about Angelina’s pregnancy status and the “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” star confirmed that she is in fact carrying twins. This will be the second and third naturally born children for Jolie and her partner Brad Pitt; they are also the adopted parents of three children. Shiloh, Brad and Angelina’s baby girl, is turning two-years-old this month.

“Pirates” movie director heading underwater with “Bioshock”

May 12th, 2008

gore_verbinski.jpg“Pirates of the Caribbean” director Gore Verbinski is the latest filmmaker turning his attention towards videogames. The highly successful director has signed on to turn Take-Two Interactive’s critically-hailed “Bioshock” into a live-action movie for Universal Pictures. Set in an underwater, art deco city that is falling apart due to human avarice, the “Bioshock” game had a cinematic quality to it that attracted Verbinski. “I think the whole utopia-gone-wrong story that’s cleverly unveiled to players is just brimming with cinematic potential,” Verbinski said. “Of all the games I’ve played, this is one that I felt has a really strong narrative.”

Screenwriter John Logan is in talks to adapt the game into a film. Logan’s past works include “The Time Machine” and “Gladiator”.

A sequel to the videogame is in development and is slated for release sometime in 2009. It will be out before the movie can be finished.