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Here's a look at all the new movies releasing this week in theaters along with their trailers!

Los Angeles Times Archives -

Los Angeles Times Archives -

Mack Chico


2009/01/09 at 12:00am

Obama and Spidey campaigning together for ’09?

Obama and Spidey campaigning together for '09?

Marvel Comics just announced that issue No. 583 of “The Amazing Spider-Man” will hit the stands on Jan. 14 with two different covers, one of them a special Inauguration Day edition that shows the wallcrawler with the president-elect.

It’s been quite the fanboy election. There was talk that Obama is a devotee of “Conan the Barbarian” and other Marvel Comics, and then he was also the star of a graphic-novel biography that was surprisingly poignant and well-executed. There’s also that memorable portrait of him by comic superstar Alex Ross that you can see below.

Marvel Comics executives said it was a natural to put the 44th president in a heroic context.

“When we heard that President-Elect Obama is a collector of Spider-Man comics, we knew that these two historic figures had to meet in our comics’ Marvel Universe,” says Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada.  “Historic moments such as this one can be reflected in our comics because the Marvel Universe is set in the real world.  A Spider-Man fan moving into the Oval Office is an event that must be commemorated in the pages of ‘Amazing Spider-Man.’”

There’s plenty of presidential history in the comics, such as the time that JFK appeared in the pages of Superman (the issue was written and drawn before Kennedy’s 1963 assassination but actually hit stands after that dark day in Dallas) and Richard Nixon’s 1972 cameos in “The Fantastic Four” and in “The Incredible Hulk.” 

Obama and Spidey

Mack Chico


2009/01/08 at 12:00am

‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ nominated by the WGA

'Vicky Cristina Barcelona' nominated by the WGA

Woody Allen received his 19th screenplay nomination from the Writers Guild of America on Wednesday, when he was named for his romantic comedy “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” Allen, 73, has previously won the WGA award for original screenplay for “Annie Hall,” “Broadway Danny Rose,” “Hannah and Her Sisters” and “Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Joining Allen in the original screenplay category are Joel and Ethan Coen for “Burn After Reading” — the brothers won the guild’s award for adapted screenplay last year for “No Country for Old Men” — Dustin Lance Black for “Milk,” Tom McCarthy for “The Visitor” and Robert Siegel for “The Wrestler.”

Nominated for best adapted screenplay are “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” screenplay by Eric Roth, screen story by Roth and Robin Swicord, based on the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald; “The Dark Knight,” screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, based on the characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, Batman created by Bob Kane; “Doubt,” screenplay by John Patrick Shanley based on his stage play; “Frost/Nixon,” screenplay by Peter Morgan based on his stage play; and “Slumdog Millionaire,” screenplay by Simon Beaufoy based on the novel “Q&A” by Vikas Swarup.

Although “Dark Knight” didn’t perform well with many critics’ groups or with the Golden Globe nominations — save for Heath Ledger’s supporting actor turn as the Joker — the box-office blockbuster is still shaping up to be a force to be reckoned with this award season, having earned nominations this week from the Producers Guild of America, the American Society of Cinematographers and now the WGA.

Competing in the documentary screenplay categories are “Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story,” written by Stefan Forbes and Noland Walker; “Chicago 10,” written by Brett Morgen; “Fuel,” written by Johnny O’Hara; “Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson,” screenplay by Alex Gibney from the words of Hunter S. Thompson; and “Waltz With Bashir,” written by Ari Folman.

Though the WGA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences haven’t always seen eye to eye on screenplay picks over the decades, the academy was in agreement with last year’s WGA winners: “No Country for Old Men” and Diablo Cody’s original screenplay for “Juno.”

The 2009 Writers Guild Awards will be held simultaneously Feb. 7 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles and the Hudson Theatre in New York.

Mack Chico


2008/08/11 at 12:00am

‘The Dark Knight’ – fourth times a charm at the box office

'The Dark Knight' - fourth times a charm at the box office
Stoner movie “Pineapple Express” fell a few hits short of knocking “The Dark Knight” out of his Batmobile as the Caped Crusader powered to his fourth straight weekend as the box-office leader.

Sony Pictures’ R-rated comedy about a pothead and his small-time dealer on the lam from the law and a ruthless drug lord after witnessing a murder scored $22.4 million for the weekend, for a total of $40.4 million since opening Wednesday.

Strong numbers for a movie that cost about $27 million to produce, but not enough to overtake Warner Bros.’ Batman blockbuster, which pulled in $26 million for the weekend and boosted its domestic total to $441.5 million.

That moved “The Dark Knight” ahead of “Shrek 2” on the all-time list, behind “Titanic” and “Star Wars,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media by Numbers, a box-office tracking service.

“The staying power of this film is somewhat unprecedented,” he said, noting that the last movie to enjoy a four-week run at the top was “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” which opened in December 2003.

“What makes it even more impressive is the fact that it’s a summer film and it’s taking on all competitors and prevailing in such a profound way,” he said.

Dan Fellman, Warner’s head of domestic distribution, cited several factors for the movie’s hold on the top spot, including repeat business, popularity among older and infrequent moviegoers, and a continued strong showing on Imax screens, which rang up $3.2 million this weekend.

He predicted that “The Dark Knight,” which stars Christian Bale as Batman and the late Heath Ledger as his nemesis, the Joker, would soon bump up a notch and eventually gross about $520 million.

“By next weekend, we’ll be in No. 2, ahead of ‘Star Wars,’ ” he said. That 1977 hit brought in $461 million; “Titanic” topped $600 million.

Though “Pineapple Express” didn’t manage to grab the top spot, Sony executives weren’t exactly crying in their bong water over the box-office performance of the raunchy comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.

Produced by Judd Apatow, who earlier brought to life such hits as “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up,” the movie opened Wednesday at $12 million and sales more than tripled by the weekend.

“The $40 million for us was just like, wow, we couldn’t be happier,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s president of domestic distribution.

“Everything about this movie has just played out really well.”

Brandon Gray, president of box-office tracker Box Office Mojo, said “Pineapple Express” was doing better than might be expected, given that its subject matter had a narrower appeal than some of Apatow’s earlier offerings.

“For a stoner action comedy, it’s doing very well,” he said.

In other results this weekend, Universal’s “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” slipped to third from second with $16.1 million in ticket sales and nearly $71 million total.

“The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2,” a Warner Bros. movie that also premiered Wednesday, finished fourth with $10.7 million for the weekend and $19.7 million in all.

Universal’s “Mamma Mia!” dropped two spots to sixth but still took in $8 million, enough to push it across the $100-million mark in domestic ticket sales.

Despite some strong showings, this marked the third weekend in a row that box-office receipts were lower than comparable weekends last summer, Dergarabedian said. This weekend’s total was about $120 million, compared with $154 million for the same one last year, his data show.

His numbers also show that box-office revenue for the year is $6.14 billion, down from $6.17 billion for the same period last year. Attendance is off by 4.3%.

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