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Mack Chico


2009/05/17 at 12:00am

Angels & Demons is #1 at the box office!

05.17.2009 | By |

Angels & Demons is #1 at the box office!

“Angels and Demons” — sequel to the hit 2006 thriller “The Da Vinci Code” — topped weekend box office sales across North America, edging out last week’s winner ‘Star Trek,’ according to industry projections on Sunday.

Directed by Ron Howard and with Tom Hanks reprising his starring turn, the thriller took in some 48 million dollars, five million more than number two “Star Trek,” at 43 million dollars, box office tracker Exhibitor Relations said.

Superhero spinoff “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” which claimed the best debut of the year two weekends earlier with 87 million dollars, this weekend netted just 14.8 million for a distant third place finish.

In fourth place was romantic comedy “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner, earning 6.8 million dollars in its third week.

Superstar singer Beyonce’s taut thriller “Obsessed” slipped one spot to fifth with 4.6 million dollars, while youthful fantasy “17 Again,” starring US teen idol Zac Efron, also fell one place to sixth, with a 3.4 million dollar take.

“Monsters vs Aliens,” an animated tale of a rag-tag group of monsters who save the world from destruction came in seventh with three million dollars in receipts.

In the eighth spot was “The Soloist,” an inspirational musical tale based on a true story and starring Robert Downey Jr and Jamie Foxx, which scored 2.4 million dollars in ticket sales in its fourth weekend.

Comic caper “Next Day Air,” about a bungled cocaine delivery and the efforts to retrieve it, was ninth with 2.3 million dollars in receipts, while Disney’s “Earth” documentary claimed 10th place with 1.7 million dollars.

Mack Chico


2009/02/26 at 12:00am

‘NeverEnding Story’ will have a remake too!?

02.26.2009 | By |

'NeverEnding Story' will have a remake too!?

“The NeverEnding Story” might keep going.

Warner Bros. and a pair of top-tier production companies are in the early stages of a reboot of the 1984 children’s fantasy classic.


The Kennedy/Marshall Co., whose credits include “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” and Leonard DiCaprio’s Appian Way are in discussions with Warners about reviving the 25-year-old franchise. The studio recently acquired rights to the property, clearing the way for a potential remake.


Based on a German-language novel by Michael Ende, the film centers on a boy named Bastian Balthazar Bux who discovers a parallel world in a book titled “The NeverEnding Story.” As the boy, a loner, delves deeper into the book, he increasingly finds his life intertwined with the plot of the novel, in which a hero in the land of Fantasia must save the universe on behalf of an empress.


The new movie will put a modern spin on the material by examining the more nuanced details of the book that were glossed over in the first feature.


Wolfgang Petersen directed the 1984 film, which earned a respectable $20 million for Warners. The film has had a long life on home video and an even larger influence on popular culture, prefiguring the Harry Potter stories and other children’s fantasies.


A sequel directed by George Miller came out in 1990 and earned $17 million; a third movie followed in the U.S. in 1996 but quickly went to video.

Those familiar with the project emphasize that it is in its early stages and that writers have not been hired.

Still, the interest highlights the frenzy among big entertainment players to develop revivals or sequels of dormant ’80s and ’90s franchises, which has reached fever pitch with the success of reboots like “Friday the 13th,” the fast-track development of a new version of “RoboCop” and plans to update “Total Recall.”


“NeverEnding” came out long before the fantasy genre was seen as a springboard for a Hollywood blockbuster, and Warners is said to see a new opportunity in the first-generation children’s fantasy. The studio has had success producing and releasing the Harry Potter series, whose first five pictures have earned more than $4.5 billion worldwide.

Mack Chico


2008/12/21 at 12:00am

Box office says yes to ‘Yes Man’

12.21.2008 | By |

Box office says yes to 'Yes Man'

Jim Carrey’s new comedy “Yes Man” got the nod from moviegoers across North America, but brutal weather in key markets combined with holiday shopping distractions to hit overall ticket sales.

According to studio estimates issued on Sunday, “Yes Man” earned $18.2 million during its first three days, winning a closely watched duel with the Will Smith drama “Seven Pounds.” The decidedly downbeat film opened to a lightweight $16 million, Smith’s worst performance in seven years.

A third new entry, the mouse cartoon “The Tale of Despereaux,” followed at No. 3 with $10.5 million. Last weekend’s champion, the sci-fi remake “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” fell to No. 4 with $10.2 million.

Ticket sales on the East Coast, Pacific Northwest and parts of the Midwest fell victim to a winter deluge of snow and ice. Boston, for example, is a top-10 market, but it plunged to the lower reaches of the top 25 on Friday, studio executives said.

The top 12 films grossed $83 million, essentially flat with last weekend but down 44 percent from the year-ago period, according to tracking firm Media By Numbers.

Warner Bros Pictures, which released “Yes Man,” said the bad weather knocked about $2.5 million off the film’s total. But the Time Warner Inc (TWX.N)-owned studio hoped to make the money back in subsequent weeks.

Carrey plays a bank officer stuck in a personal and professional rut. After he attends a self-help seminar, he must say “yes” to all ideas and requests, leading to both comic and dramatic pitfalls. It cost in the $70 million range to make, said Dan Fellman, the studio’s president of distribution.

Mack Chico


2008/12/15 at 12:00am

The Day the Earth Stood Still is #1 at the box office!

12.15.2008 | By |

The Day the Earth Stood Still is #1 at the box office!

Keanu Reeves, an actor known for his offbeat movie choices, added another unlikely box office hit to his collection on Sunday with “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” a chart-topping remake of a 1951 sci-fi movie.

The film, largely ridiculed by critics, sold an estimated $31 million worth of tickets in the United States and Canada since opening on Friday, distributor 20th Century Fox said.

It was also the top pick internationally, raking in $39 million from 90 markets. Fox, a unit of News Corp, said the film was No. 1 in 53 of those markets, with Russia ($5.6 million) and Britain ($4.1 million) leading the way.

The film cost about $80 million to make, said Fox.

The North American tally was in line with expectations. It marks Reeves’ biggest opening since 2003’s “The Matrix Revolutions,” the third film in the blockbuster “Matrix” franchise, kicked off with $48 million on its way to $139 million. Since then, he has starred in a series of art-house pictures (2005’s “Thumbsucker”) and middling studio pictures (2006’s “The Lake House”).

Reeves, 44, plays the alien Klaatu, who comes to save Earth from itself. The film co-stars Jennifer Connelly. Scott Derrickson (“The Exorcism of Emily Rose”) directed.

“It’s an environmental as well as a political statement,” said Chris Aronson, Fox’s senior vice president of domestic distribution.

Critics were less impressed. The Wall Street Journal said the movie was “insufferably full of itself,” while the Houston Chronicle described it as “a stunningly misconceived folly.” On the other hand, the Los Angeles Times said the film was “enjoyable.”

After two weeks at No. 1 in North America, the holiday comedy “Four Christmases” slipped to No. 2 with $13.3 million, taking its total to $88 million. The film, starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon, was released by Warner Bros. Pictures, a unit of Time Warner Inc.

The only other new entry in the top 10 was also a Christmas tale. The Latin-themed ensemble piece “Nothing Like the Holidays” opened at No. 7 with $3.5 million. Industry analysts had expected an opening in the $5 million-$6 million range. It was released by Overture Films, a unit of Liberty Media Corp.

Rounding out the top five were the vampire romance “Twilight” at No. 3 with $8.0 million (total: $150 million); the canine cartoon “Bolt” at No. 4 with $7.5 million (total: $89 million); and the period drama “Australia” with $4.3 million (total: $38 million).

“Twilight” was released by Summit Entertainment LLC, which is privately held. “Bolt” was released by Walt Disney Pictures, a unit of Walt Disney Co. “Australia” was also released by Fox.

Mack Chico


2008/12/01 at 12:00am

"Slumdog" and "Hunger" sweep at the BIFA

12.1.2008 | By |

"Slumdog" and "Hunger" sweep at the BIFA

You could be seeing these two films at the upcoming Oscar awards in 2009.

Director Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire,” about a poor Indian boy who gets a shot at winning millions in a television game show, swept the British Independent Film Awards on Sunday with three prizes.

“Hunger,” artist Steve McQueen‘s widely acclaimed directorial debut, also picked up three awards, followed by Mike Leigh‘s uncharacteristically upbeat “Happy-Go-Lucky,” which took both the best supporting actor and actress prizes.

Slumdog Millionaire won the best British independent film, best director and most promising newcomer categories, the latter going to young actor Dev Patel who played the lead role of Jamal.

The movie has already won rave reviews at film festivals and generated early Oscars buzz.

Also with three awards was Hunger, a hard-hitting film about the final days of IRA prisoner and hunger striker Bobby Sands in 1981.

Sands was played by Michael Fassbender, who won the best actor category, while McQueen was awarded the Douglas Hickox prize for best debut director and cinematographer Sean Bobbitt was honoured for best technical achievement.

Best actress went to Vera Farmiga in “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas,” and the best screenplay award was won by Martin McDonagh for “In Bruges.”

Alexis Zegerman was named best supporting actress for Happy-Go-Lucky, and Eddie Marsan won the best supporting actor prize for the same film.

The Escapist” won the best achievement in production award, “Man on Wire” won best documentary, “Soft” won best British short film, and best foreign film went to “Waltz With Bashir,” Ari Folman’s haunting Middle East war animation.

Actor David Thewlis was honoured with the Richard Harris award for outstanding contribution to British film, and Michael Sheen won the Variety award.

Mack Chico


2008/11/24 at 12:00am

George Lopez to team up with Chan in "Spy"

11.24.2008 | By |

George Lopez to team up with Chan in "Spy"

George Lopez and Billy Ray Cyrus have joined Jackie Chan in “The Spy Next Door,” a comedy shooting in Albuquerque, N.M.

Chan’s character is asked to baby-sit his neighbor’s children and winds up having to protect them from secret agents after one of the kids accidentally downloads a code.

Lopez is a CIA agent who might not be all that he appears; Cyrus is another agent. Amber Valletta is the kids’ mom, while Katherine Boecher plays a Russian underworld operative. Brian Levant is directing for indie financier Relativity.

Lopez most recently had a voice role in “Beverly Hills Chihuahua.” Cyrus next stars alongside his daughter, Miley, in “Hannah Montana: The Movie.”

Valletta has appeared in “Hitch,” and “Transporter 2,” while Boecher appeared in episodes of AMC’s “Mad Men” and TNT’s “The Closer.”

Mack Chico


2008/11/03 at 12:00am

Tom Ford as a film director?

11.3.2008 | By |

Tom Ford as a film director?

Fashion designer Tom Ford is getting the cast in place for his long-awaited move into movies.

Colin Firth, Julianne Moore and Matthew Goode are set to star in “A Single Man,” Ford’s adaptation of a Christopher Isherwood novel.

Published in 1964, the novel centers on a gay man who, after the sudden death of his partner, is determined to persist in his usual routine, which is seen in the span of a single, ordinary day in southern California.

Firth is the gay man, an Englishman and professor who feels like an outsider in Los Angeles. Goode is the boyfriend who dies in a car accident and appears in flashbacks. Moore plays a friend of the professor.

Ford, who was recently ranked 12th in a list of the 49 men who most influenced the way other men thought, behaved and shopped, adapted the screenplay for the independently financed project with David Scearce.

Ford rose to the top of the fashion world with a 10-year run at Gucci, a period that turned around the fortunes of the Italian fashion house owned by France’s PPR (PRTP.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

He stepped down in 2004 following a failure to agree contract terms and in 2005 set up his own design line with up-market stores now in New York and Milan and planned for over a dozen locations including London, Los Angeles, and Dubai.

One of Ford’s well-advertised customer is Daniel Craig who wears Tom Ford outfits in the new James Bond movie “Quantum of Solace.”

After leaving Gucci, Ford also signed on with Creative Artists Agency with the aim to slide into the director’s chair.

Firth was last seen in “Mamma Mia!” and Moore in “Blindness.” Goode plays Ozymandias in next year’s “Watchmen.”

Mack Chico


2008/10/31 at 12:00am

"Spidey 4" has a new screenwriter

10.31.2008 | By |

"Spidey 4" has a new screenwriter

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire got out of a rabbit hole, only to be ensnared by a spider’s web.

Lindsay-Abaire, who won a Pulitzer in 2007 for his drama “Rabbit Hole,” is in final negotiations to write “Spider-Man 4” for Columbia.

Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire are back as director and star, respectively. Kirsten Dunst also is expected to return for the latest movie featuring the Marvel Comics character.

Plot details are under lock and key. Producer Laura Ziskin had said she would like to aim for a May 2011 release for “Spider-Man 4,” nine years after the original movie’s debut.

Columbia always has gone off the beaten path during the development process when hiring writers for the “Spider-Man” movies. Alvin Sargent, a veteran scribe best known for 1973’s “Paper Moon” and 1980’s “Ordinary People,” served as a writer on the second and third films. Michael Chabon, another Pulitzer winner, also worked on “Spider-Man 2.”

James Vanderbilt previously wrote a draft of “Spider-Man 4.”

Lindsay-Abaire’s “Rabbit Hole,” which starred Cynthia Nixon and Tyne Daly, hit the Broadway stage in 2006 and won four Tonys, including best play. The writer also is known for the play “Fuddy Meers.”

Lindsay-Abaire has said in interviews that his plays tend to be “peopled with outsiders in search of clarity,” which would put his work on sympathetic terms with Peter Parker, who in his classic incarnation is the perpetual outsider.

The choice of scribe also signals that that filmmakers are intent to focus on character, something that critics said got lost in the third installment.

Lindsay-Abaire, now writing the book and lyrics for the Broadway musical adaptation of “Shrek,” has dipped his toe in Tinseltown before, with his adaptation of “Inkheart” due in January. He is also adapting “Rabbit” for 20th Century Fox and Nicole Kidman.

Mack Chico


2008/10/12 at 12:00am

"Beverly Hills Chihuahua" barks up a second win!

10.12.2008 | By |

"Beverly Hills Chihuahua" barks up a second win!

This is how far movie stars have fallen in their ability to pull audiences into theaters, at least when the story revolves around Iraq and the messiness of the Middle East: A picture about talking dogs, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” trampled Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe at the weekend box office.

“Body of Lies,” a terrorism thriller starring Mr. DiCaprio and Mr. Crowe, sold an anemic $13.1 million in tickets at North American theaters, according to the theater tracking company Box Office Mojo. The movie’s stars are considered two of the biggest draws in the business. And the film was directed by Ridley Scott (“Blade Runner,” “American Gangster”), one of the few filmmakers who are household names.

Warner Brothers, the studio behind this serious, expensive movie, blamed the bad timing of an economic crisis. “The result is directly related to the dire mood of Americans,” Dan Fellman, president for domestic theatrical distribution at Warner Brothers, who flatly rejected the industry belief that the film’s megawatt stars should have garnered higher sales regardless.

Still, Warner Brothers had turned “Body of Lies” into a referendum on star power by choosing to market the film squarely on the backs of Mr. DiCaprio and Mr. Crowe, delivering scant information about the plotline in the process. And the marketing was considerable, beginning in force during the Beijing Olympics and continuing with a major billboard and television campaign. (“Body of Lies” cost an estimated $70 million to produce; the average studio film costs an average of nearly $36 million to market.)

The studio worried that selling “Body of Lies” based on its plot would be difficult. Adapted from the best-selling novel by David Ignatius, the movie centers on a C.I.A. operative who is tracking a terrorist leader, and bounces from Iraq to Turkey to the United States to Jordan. In the past few years movies focusing on the Iraq war and the fallout from 9/11 (“Rendition” and “Lions for Lambs,” for example) have generally performed terribly, even with big-name stars like Tom Cruise and Reese Witherspoon.

Escapism definitely ruled the weekend — something that should ring alarm bells for almost all the Hollywood studios as they prepare to flood the market with somber awards-driven pictures. Films like “Changeling,” starring Angelina Jolie as a mother in search of her kidnapped son, and “The Soloist,” featuring Jamie Foxx as a homeless musician, may have an extra hurdle to cross.

“Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” a Walt Disney Pictures release, sold an estimated $17.5 million in tickets over the weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. That was enough for the No. 1 slot for the second week in a row, bringing its cumulative gross to $52.5 million. Second place went to another escapist entry, this time in the horror genre: “Quarantine,” released by Sony/Screen Gems, sold about $14.2 million in tickets, drawing heavily on younger moviegoers.

“Body of Lies” was third. Fourth place went to “Eagle Eye” with $11 million (for a new total of $70.6 million). And “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” was fifth with $6.5 million ($20.8 million).

Mack Chico


2008/09/08 at 12:00am

‘Bangkok Dangerous’ bombs at the box office

09.8.2008 | By |

'Bangkok Dangerous' bombs at the box office

Less than a year after starring in the biggest movie of his volatile career, Nicolas Cage led the North American box office to its worst weekend in five years on Sunday with one of his weakest.

Bangkok Dangerous,” a thriller in which the 44-year-old actor plays a jaded assassin, opened at No. 1 with estimated three-day earnings of just $7.8 million, distributor Lionsgate said. While no one was expecting it to be a hit, industry observers had predicted it would earn more than $10 million.

The last box office champ to open lower was the David Spade comedy “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star,” which kicked off with $6.7 million during the weekend of September 5-7, 2003.

Overall ticket sales also fell to their lowest level since then, said tracking firm Media By Numbers. The top 12 films earned $51.6 million, up from $50.5 million that weekend.

Early September is traditionally a quiet time at the box office since the summer blockbuster season is over. The studios spend the early fall quietly dumping their underperforming movies on the market. “Bangkok Dangerous” was the only new wide release this weekend.

Lionsgate, a unit of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp, said it was happy with the film’s opening and expected it to be profitable. Although the movie reportedly cost $45 million to make, Lionsgate acquired U.S. and Canadian rights for a modest sum from “The Departed” producer Graham King’s Initial Entertainment Group.

The film is a remake of the 1999 Thai film of the same name, with both being directed by Hong Kong-born twin brothers Danny and Oxide Pang. The remake was not screened in advance for critics, which is rarely a good sign.

Cage has actually done a lot worse at the box office: His terrorism thriller “Next” opened to $7.1 million in April 2007 and the family drama “The Weather Man” to $4.2 million in 2005. But he was last in theaters with the biggest movie of his career, “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” The action sequel opened to $45 million in December on its way to $220 million.

After three weeks at No. 1, DreamWorks/Paramount’s Hollywood satire “Tropic Thunder” slipped to No. 2 with $7.5 million, while Columbia Pictures’ comedy “The House Bunny” rose one to No. 3 with $5.9 million in its third week. Their respective tallies stand at $97 million and $37 million.

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