Monday, May 29, 2006

X-Men Stands on Top on Memorial Day


After having the second-highest grossing opening day ever, the Brett Ratner-directed X-Men: The Last Stand officially took the Memorial Day holiday weekend record with an estimated $120.1 million in its first four days. It already surpassed the M-Day grosses of Steven Spielberg's The Lost World: Jurassic Park and DreamWorks' Shrek 2 as of Sunday, when it was estimated to have grossed $103 million, which also made it the fourth-highest opening movie of all time. Without very much competition over the next few weeks, it should be able to make $250 million by summer's end.

Ron Howard's adaptation of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, starring Tom Hanks, took a tumble in its second weekend, but held a strong second place with $43 million, bringing its total to $145.4 million. According to various sources, it held up better in international waters, even besting "X-Men" in some markets.

DreamWorks' latest animated comedy Over the Hedge held up better, closing the gap with $35.3 million in the four days, a minimal 8% drop-off from its opening weekend. Its total gross is roughly $84.4 million.

Tom Cruise's action threequel Mission: Impossible III and Wolfgang Peterson's underwater remake Poseidon had their smallest week-to-week drops thanks to the Memorial Day weekend. In fourth and fifth place respectively, they earned $8.6 and $7 million. To date, the former has grossed $115 million while the latter has earned $46.6 million; of course, the irony is that Poseidon cost more money to make than M:i:III.

Dropping to sixth place, Robin Williams' road comedy RV actually did more business in the extended weekend, earning another $5.3 million, bringing its grand total to $57 million.

The Lionsgate/WWE Films horror film See No Evil, starring wrestling superstar Kane, added another $3.2 million over the holiday weekend to bring its total to $9.2 million.

Lindsay Lohan's romantic comedy Just My Luck added $2.3 million for a gross of $13.9 million.

The only movie in the Top 10 to not lose a place, Paul Greengrass' 9/11 drama United 93 grossed roughly a million, bringing its total to nearly double its $15 million production budget.

The 19th Century ghost thriller An American Haunting dropped down to 10th place, making less than a million in its fourth weekend, while the Lionsgate drama Akeelah and the Bee rounded out the Top 12 with $830 thousand in its remaining 487 theatres. It has made just over $17 million.

Opening on Wednesday in New York and Los Angeles, the global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth, starring former Vice President Al Gore, grossed $489,000 in 4 theatres, an impressive per-theatre average of $91.5 thousand over the last four days.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

X-Men Makes $44.5 million in One Day!


According to early Friday estimates from ShowbizData, X-Men: The Last Stand, the third chapter in the Marvel superhero franchise, has grossed $44.5 million in its first 24 hours, including midnight showings on Thursday night. It opened in over 3,688 North American theatres, which is fairly small by today's standards, although it averaged roughly $12,000 per theatre, as fans of the previous movies flocked to see the movie as soon as possible.

Although it didn't break the opening day record or one-day record held by Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith which grossed over $50 million on its opening Thursday last year, the Brett Ratner directed action flick has made more on its first Friday than any other movie. Previously, the biggest Friday opening was held by Spider-Man, which opened in May 2002, though last November's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire came very close to beating it.

X-Men: The Last Stand is certainly going to make a valiant effort to destroy the current three-day weekend record held by 2002's Spider-Man with the added advantage of being a holiday weekend with most people out of work and school on Monday.

Last week's new movies, Sony's The Da Vinci Code starring Tom Hanks, and DreamWorks' Over the Hedge took significant plunges to make room for the mutant threequel with the Dan Brown adaptation grossing an estimated $10.2 million yesterday, barely a third of its opening day last week. Over the Hedge made roughly $7.6 million yesterday.

Friday, May 26, 2006

One-Sheet for Superman Returns in IMAX

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Teaser Trailer for Ghost Rider Online

Check out the teaser trailer for the new superhero picture, Ghost Rider, starring Nicholas Cage.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sony Eyeing Da Vinci Code Follow-Up


With Sony Pictures' The Da Vinci Code earning a massive $224 million worldwide its first weekend, Times Online is reporting that the studio is already looking towards a possible follow-up.

According to Jeff Blake, vice chairman of Sony Pictures, the studio is hoping to bring another novel by Dan Brown, Angels and Demons, to the big screen:

Tom Hanks could return to star as the Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, who appeared in the book and will be the hero of Brown's next novel. Mr Blake said: "We are very interested in filming Angels and Demons. We hope that the relationship with Dan Brown will be a long one. That could be the next project."

Angels and Demons was the reclusive author's third novel after he gave up his job as an English teacher. It tells the story of Langdon's brush with a shadowy secret society, the Illuminati, and his frantic quest for the world's most powerful energy source, in the company of a beautiful Italian physicist whose father, a brilliant physicist, has been murdered."

The Da Vinci Code" was Brown's fourth book.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

One-Sheet for Gridiron Gang

New Trailer for Superman Returns Online

Check out the brand-new full-length trailer for Superman Returns!

Da Vinci Code Deciphers the Box Office


After a disappointing weekend at the box office, things picked up with the release of Ron Howard's adaptation of Dan Brown's worldwide bestseller The Da Vinci Code, starring Tom Hanks as Professor Robert Langdon. After selling nearly 60 million copies worldwide, the movie grossed nearly $30 million its opening day, leading to an opening weekend of roughly $77 million, averaging over $20 thousand in 3,735 theatres. The religious thriller made almost twice that amount outside the States to wind up with a three-day worldwide gross of $224 million, the second-biggest debut ever at the global box office behind only Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith ($253 million). Da Vinci Code ranks as the 13th biggest opening weekend domestically ever.

Opening in over 4,00 theatres across the nation, DreamWorks' latest animated film, Over the Hedge, featuring the voices of Bruce Willis and Steve Carrell, didn't do nearly as well as their other movies facing such a huge blockbuster, but it was able to gross an estimated $37.2 million in its first three days.

The Paramount Pictures action threequel Mission: Impossible III with Tom Cruise had another significant drop in its third weekend, grossing an estimated $11 million. It also crossed the $100 million mark, making it only the second movie of '06 to reach that landmark.

Wolfgang Peterson's underwater remake Poseidon took an expected plunge of 59% for a second week take of $9.2 million, bringing its running total to $36.8 million.

Dropping down to fifth place, the Robin Williams comedy RV added another $5.1 million to bring its total across the $50 million mark.

WWE Films and Lionsgate tag-teamed for the horror-thriller See No Evil, starring Glen Jacobs AKA Kane, which scored $4.35 million in 1,257 theatres, enough to open in the #6 spot.

Lindsay Lohan's romantic comedy Just My Luck had the smallest drop-off for any movie in the Top 10, grossing approximately $3.4 million for a total just under $10.5 million.

Two adult-oriented thrillers lost a bit of business to "Da Vinci Code," as both the horror film An American Haunting and Paul Greengrass' 9/11 drama United 93 made around $1.5 million in their remaining 1,300 theatres.

One of the big surprises of spring might be Lionsgate's Akeelah and the Bee, which opened weakly at #8 four weeks ago, but has been able to stay in the bottom of the Top 10 since then. It added another $1 million this weekend to bring its total to $15.7 million.

Touchstone's gymnastics comedy Stick It had a massive 71% drop, as did 20th Century Fox's hit animated sequel, Ice Age: The Meltdown, knocking both of them out of the top 10.

Based on estimates, the combined gross for the Top 10 is slightly down from last year when Star Wars: Episode III - The Revenge of the Sith grossed over $108 million on its own.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Trailer for World Trade Center Online

It doesn’t feel like a trailer for an Oliver Stone picture but trust me it is. Hopefully the pinko director will not inserting his own interpretation of history, as he has done so often throughout his career (JFK, Alexander, etc.), or his opinion of the terrorist masterminds behind the attacks (referred to them once as Einsteins) but we will have to wait and see. In the meantime, check out the trailer for director Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center (what an original title) which opens this August.

Trailer for The Santa Clause 3 Online

The trailer for The Santa Clause 3, the third installment in the highly popular holiday franchise, starring Tim Allen, Elizabeth Mitchell, Martin Short, and Spencer Breslin has premiered online.

Trailer for Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties Online

The trailer for the absolutely unnecessary Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties has premiered online.

Da Vinci Code Opens to Over $30 Million!


Despite the less than spectacular reception by critics and Catholics, the movie version of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou, has grossed an estimated $30.17 million its opening day in 3,735 theatres according to ShowBIZ Data. If that number sticks, it will enter the Top 10 for opening day grosses just ahead of Star Wars: Episode II, which opened on a Thursday roughly four years ago. Depending on how well it sticks up to that opening day number, The Da Vinci Code could end up grossing between $84 and 88 million over the weekend.

Opening in almost 300 more theatres, DreamWorks Animation's latest comedy Over the Hedge grossed an estimated $11 million in its first day, and should bring in enough business over the weekend to end up somewhere between $41 and 45 million for the weekend.

The potential for the top 2 movies to gross over $120 million means that the box office could exceed the same weekend last year when Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith opened to over $108 million. Check back tomorrow for an update on how Da Vinci fared in international markets, as well as the estimated grosses for the other movies in theatres.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

One-Sheet for Superman Returns

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

One-Sheet for Invincible

Fall 2006 Prime Time Schedules

ABC and NBC have announced their Fall 2006 Prime Time schedules.

One-Sheet for Flushed Away

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Swinton Attacks Hollywood Studios' Right-Wing Politics

Here’s another brilliant example, thanks to Michelle Malkin, of celebrities pretending to be politicians with little, if any, success. Tilda Swinton who portrayed the archangel Gabriel in Constantine and the White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, both highly Christian-themed films, last year, lashed out at Hollywood’s ‘right-wing politics’. Are we talking about the same Hollywood who nominated four films for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony with left-wing political messages?

Here are some of her comments:

“I love the idea of goose-stepping old Walt D making over $700m with the help of a Red Witch. He is more than welcome”
Oh, she better be glad her character was killed off in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe or else not only would she have the Disney lawyers so far up her ass she’d have them coming out of her nose but she’d be out of a lucrative job as well. And what’s with the ‘Red Witch’ comment? Well, according to Malkin, she’s still a British Communist at heart. Ah, isn’t that sweet?! She forgets though that she’s making money off the back of a capitalist system she despises. Hypocrisy anyone?! Sounds vaguely like Michael Moore, doesn’t it?

And here's a real gem ...

“At least we made her whiter than white, the ultimate white supremacist, and we managed to railroad the knee-jerk attempt to make her look like an Arab”
But she’s not racist, Heavens no!

C-BS Lets Dixie Chicks Rant About 2003 Threat

Not that it is right for even the Dixie Chicks to receive death threats, but did they really expect not to receive any criticism or controversy at all for their remarks in 2003? And it was two years ago! Why is ‘60 Minutes’ focusing on it now? Conservatives have received death threats as well but you don’t see ‘60 Minutes’ jumping on those stories. Plus I love the comment Maines makes about not ‘playing nice’ with the country music radio stations that refused to play their songs after fans became upset over her comments made in London, England. It speaks volumes about politically activity celebrities:

“We don't make decisions based on that. We don't go, 'OK, our fans are in the red states, so I'm going play a red, white and blue guitar and put on my I Love Bush T-shirt. We're not like that because we're not politicians. We're musicians"

Translation – we’re not political enough to apologize but just political enough to make those comments in the first place. Tell me if that makes sense.

May 2006 Box Office Predictions

Mission: Impossible III

Sure, Mission: Impossible III didn’t do quite as well as the box office in its opening weekend as every had anticipated but this isn’t Spider-Man, alright. Comparing the opening weekends of the first two films in the franchise to this one is ridiculous given that those two films opened on Memorial Day weekend, as opposed to the third feature which opened the first weekend of the summer. And need I remind everyone of Batman Begins which, like MI3, had a rather ‘disappointing’ opening weekend but went on to make nearly $200 million domestically. Give Abrams’s debut project some time. It is intelligent enough it should hold well in its second weekend.

Domestic Box Office - $180 million


Imagine the last hour of Titanic stretched over ninety minutes under the direction of a vastly inferior filmmaker. Disaster are decent moneymakers every now and then but eventually audiences will catch on and realize they can save themselves a few extra bucks by driving to the local Blockbuster and picking something off the shelf rather then waste time in line for practically the same thing. With less advertising then MI3 and no big-name stars to draw in the crowds, Poseidon should make less then $45 million its weekend or else I’ll eat my hat.

Opening Weekend - $39 million
Domestic Box Office - $150 million

Just My Luck

Not even Lindsay Lohan’s excessive partying and self-induced vomiting could make this romantic-comedy a disaster. True, it won’t break any box office records but who expected that? It should do decent business then be quickly forgotten. Like I said, a typical romantic-comedy.

Opening Weekend - $15 million
Domestic Box Office - $60 million

The Da Vinci Code

This one’s easy – Bomb! Just kidding. Though Cinderella Man was a vastly superior project then this feature film adaptation (it’s a decent story and all, though I have heard Angels and Demons was better, but being a history major and having grown up Roman Catholic the tremendous ‘leaps of faith’ it makes in terms of interpreting history, particularly in regards to the Catholic Church, bugs me), this should put Ron Howard back on track. The question remains whether it will be the biggest film of the summer like everyone is anticipating but it will at least gain its budget back.

Opening Weekend - $70 million
Domestic Box Office - $210 million

Over the Hedge

In a brilliant counter marketing move, Dreamworks intends on pumping enough money out of families with younger children before Disney and Pixar’s Cars opens up in mid-June. Like Madagascar last summer, the story will be rather flat and will likely be long forgotten by the end of the year, but it keeps the children distracted while their parents check out the more adult-oriented Da Vinci Code.

Opening Weekend - $40 million
Domestic Box Office - $180 million

An Inconvenient Truth

“Maybe I'll make a movie. A movie starring me. Then people will take me super serial”

Nah, I’m not going to make a prediction for this one. I just wanted to mock Al Gore.

X-Men: The Last Stand

I am disappointed this film has not been marketed nearly as much as the last one was, but that is not what I am really concerned about. The Phoenix Chronicles where Jean Grey becomes the Phoenix is a critical chapter in the X-Men mythology and having it placed in the hands of Brett Ratner has me on edge. Sure, he’s not the worst person they could have placed at the helm of this project (I can think of a whole lot worse – McG being on the top of the list) but I’d be more relieved if it were in more competent and consistent hands. Regardless, it should do good business, though its opening weekend won’t be nearly as successful as the last one.

Opening Weekend - $65 million
Domestic Box Office - $210 million

One-Sheet for Lady in the Water

Thursday, May 11, 2006

ABC Gives Green Light to J.J. Abrams Drama


ABC handed out greenlights Wednesday to six projects, including a new drama from J.J. Abrams (Mission: Impossible III, Lost, Alias) and a comedy starring Ted Danson, reports Variety.

Abrams-produced Six Degrees, from Touchstone, is an ensemble drama about a group of New York strangers whose lives become intertwined. Stu Zicherman, Raven Metzner, Thom Sherman, Bryan Burk, Jim Parriot and Abrams are executive producers.

Toy Story 3 is in Production


The Walt Disney Company reported its second quarter and six months results on Tuesday and Chief Executive Robert Iger also gave an update on Toy Story 3 in a conference call.

Iger revealed that Walt Disney Pictures has started production on Toy Story 3, but no release date has been set for the third installment. The studio may also do other sequels of Pixar films.

After Disney acquired Pixar, Pixar took over production of Toy Story 3, which Disney's in-house animators had been working on.

Character Posters for Miami Vice

One-Sheet for As You Like It

Second Trailer for Click Online

Check out the second full-length trailer for Adam Sandler’s Click which opens this June in theatres nation-wide.

Oh, and congratulations to him and his wife on the birth of their first child.

Second Trailer for Cars Online

Check out the second full-length trailer for the latest Disney/Pixar collaboration, Cars, starring the voices of Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Paul Newman, and Larry the Cable Guy.

Lady in the Water Trailer Online

Check out the brand new full-length trailer for director M. Night Shyamalan’s latest, Lady in the Water, starring Bryce Dallas Howard (daughter of director Ron Howard) and Paul Giamatti. I was really distressed with his last venture, The Village, which felt like an insult given the obviousness of the plot twist, but even Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg had their bad days so I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt just because I enjoyed Signs, Unbreakable and, to a lesser extent, The Sixth Sense so much.

One-Sheet for The Ant Bully

Monday, May 08, 2006

Film Review - Mission: Impossible III

Nearly one year ago, Tom Cruise caused a media firestorm with his very public relationship with his then-girlfriend Katie Holmes (the two have since had a baby and plan to marry soon) and his ardent defense of the Church of Scientology. The neurotic actor and his affiliation with the controversial religious movement have once again grabbed media attention. This whole situation began with an episode of the critically, as well as publicly, acclaimed animated television series South Park entitled ‘Trapped in the Closet’. In the episode series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone openly mock scientologists Tom Cruise and John Travolta as well as Scientology in general. Isaac Hayes who voices the character of Chef on the Comedy Central program reportedly left the show claiming ‘religious intolerance’. Although in his press statement Hayes does not mention Scientology, the ‘religion’ he belongs to, Matt Stone responded by saying, “This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology... He has no problem — and he's cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians...He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and, to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin”. Comedy Central, a subsidiary of Viacom which also owns Paramount Pictures, then pulled a repeat episode of ‘Trapped in the Closet’ on March 22nd, 2006, after Tom Cruise supposedly threatened not to promote his new film, Mission: Impossible III, if the episode aired again. Thus far the backlash has been minimal with a small group of South Park fans threatening to boycott the potential summer blockbuster. However, unlike last year when Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of War of the Worlds seemed to have benefited in its opening weekend from the whole Cruise-Scientology controversy, audiences may have just had their fill of Tom Cruise and a debut-director at the helm the draw for the film may be significantly less then expected.

The ingenious story behind Mission: Impossible III is the product of Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the creative writing duo behind last year’s intelligent yet vastly underappreciated Michael Bay drama, The Island, and the ABC television series Alias created by J.J. Abrams who also contributed to the screenplay. Like the acclaimed Jennifer Garner series, the film opens in the middle of the story and ends with a cliffhanger before the title sequence appears. From there it transitions back to the beginning before returning to where it started off and then picking up from the moment of the cliffhanger. The three writers make expedient use of another plot element borrowed from Alias called the MacGuffin, a plot device that ‘motivates the characters and advances the story, but has little other relevance to the story itself’. Its sole purpose is to elevate the action of the first act and set the gears in motion for the rest of the picture. It declines in significance as the film winds down until it is practically meaningless. For Mission: Impossible III the ‘Rabbit’s foot’ serves as its MacGuffin. We are never told what the ‘Rabbit’s foot’ is exactly, only that Davian and his clients are willing to pay large sums of money for it and, when used in conjunction with the ‘Anti-God’, it conjures up images of unimaginable destruction and is therefore of critical significance to the audience. Once Julia is found alive and safe and Davian is killed, what the ‘Rabbit’s foot’ specifically is no longer matters to the audience. Fishburne’s character cleverly taunts Hunt (and the audience) by saying he would be willing to reveal the identity of the ‘Rabbit’s foot’ if Hunt comes out of retirement.

Tom Cruise is Tom Cruise. He is who he is. Either you accept him as Ethan Hunt or you reject on the basis that he is the psychotic couch-jumping cultist the public has come to know him as today. Unless you had difficulty distinguishing Tom Cruise the actor from Tom Cruise the real world scientologist during Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of War of the Worlds, you should have no problems with him in Mission: Impossible III.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, fresh off an Academy Award-winning performance as author Truman Capote, though we can all agree he deserved an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his priceless performance in the action-thriller, Twister, is enjoyably sinister as Owen Davian, the villain of the picture. What does Davian do exactly? He’s a middle man for terrorists and totalitarian dictatorships seeking weapons of mass destruction. True, the description is vague but to borrow a page from Alfred Hitchcock imagine him simply as an ‘exporter/importer’ of secrets. As Davian himself says, “What I'm selling and who I'm selling it to should be the least of your worries... Ethan”.

Laurence Fishburne does not have an all-encompassing role as we might expect from the actor in this film but what he does contribute in the form of dry wit and artifice is memorable enough. From the very beginning the audience senses something not quite right with his character John Brassel. Maybe it is his cynical retort toward Musgrave who interrupts him, “Please don't interrupt me when I'm asking rhetorical questions” or the ‘head up his ass’ attitude he resonates on Hunt and his fellow IMF members. What either it is it is enough to lead us to suspect foul play. Rather then national pride we, the audience, feel anger toward him as he says to Hunt after he is captured, “You can look at me with those judgmental eyes all you want - I would bleed on the American flag to keep those stripes red”.

Don’t get too excited about Keri Russell’s appearance in this film though. This is not to say that she does a bad job, far from it, but you don’t want to give your hopes up for what is essentially a walk-on cameo. For those who don’t remember, Russell was the star of the hit drama series Felicity on the WB television network which was created (and occasionally directed and written) by J.J. Abrams. She doesn’t have a lot of screen time but her character’s relationship with Ethan Hunt is a motivating factor in the actions that follow. At first, like Luther, we, the audience, suspect Hunt and Ferris shared a romantic relationship but Abrams in a fit of brilliance positions a flashback sequence which returns our focus on the sexual chemistry between Ethan Hunt and Julia. While their relationship certainly could have crossed over into something sexual, it doesn’t and was kept strictly professional. Perhaps this is reading a little too much into but rather then have the audience speculate about where Ethan’s heart lies, Abrams ends the debate abruptly without doing damage to the story’s pace.

Another clever little cameo is made by Greg Grunberg early on in the film. Grunberg’s quick appearance in Mission: Impossible III is a little inside joke for J.J. Abrams’s fans, so unless you’ve paid attention to his work you won’t necessarily get it. For those who don’t know, Grunberg has made an appearance in all three television series Abrams has created – Felicity, Alias, and a small part in the pilot episode for Lost.

In fact if you were to examine the list of supporting and background characters of Mission: Impossible III, you would find a lot them appeared either in Felicity, Alias, Lost, or some combination of the three. For example, Jeff Chase who plays Davian’s bodyguard made several appearances in bit parts, usually as some big brute, in Alias. Robert Alonzo was a utility stunt performer in Alias, Tony Guma appeared in both Felicity and Alias in one episode of each respectively, and Jonathan Dixon who plays a guy working at the 7-11 was a bit character on both Alias and Lost.

True, British actor Simon Pegg, best remembered by American audiences for his 2004 zombie-parody Shaun of the Dead, is only a bit player in this film but once again Abrams uses a seemingly insignificant character to provide a crucial plot motivator. Benji, an analyst inside the office of Impossible Mission Force, goes through this whole spiel with Ethan and Luther about how he had this college professor who warned of a man-made compound referred to as ‘The Anti-God’ which would devastate all life on Earth. Think ‘end of the world’ type scenario. He makes this statement shortly after introducing the ‘MacGuffin’ of the picture, the ‘Rabbit’s Foot’, the identity of which is forever unknown to us, the audience.

And Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Match Point, Alexander, Elvis), Michelle Monaghan (The Bourne Supremacy, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), Ving Rhames (Kojak, Dawn of the Dead, Lilo & Stitch), and the ravishing model-turned-actress Maggie Q round out the supporting cast with nothing of notable exception.

Overall, Mission: Impossible III delivers what it promises, a non-stop wall-to-wall action-packed adventure ride, and then some to kick off this year’s summer season off right. There is no need whatsoever to delve into either the first two films in the franchise (Abrams appropriately designs the script for easy viewing for first timers) or the Alias television series, although viewing the latter will help you enjoy the inside jokes, cameos, and story elements borrowed from the television drama a bit more. Both Mission: Impossible and Alias fans will leave the theatre happy to be sure. In addition to being a gripping spy-thriller, Abrams throws in enough dashes of romance, humor, and mystery to keep everyone happy. There are at least three major action sequences of particular note. The first is a rescue mission in Germany. Simply put, Kerri Russell can kick some serious butt and could even give Jennifer Garner a run for her money. Second, an infiltration of the Vatican to kidnap Owen Davian, while it may perturb die-hard Catholics (then again, why would they being watching a movie starring a ‘devote’ Scientologist) is well done. And the third is a battle on a bridge and raises the intensity level of the picture up a few notches to be sure. And, sure, while a lot of these scenes were shot in these exotic locations just because they could be shot there, what else do you expect from an action thriller? It’s a bit more intelligent then the usually mindless action fare but coming from director J.J. Abrams who created Alias and Lost, you shouldn’t expect anything less. Critics like Roger Ebert need to lighten up every once in awhile and accept genre films like Spider-Man and Mission: Impossible III for what they are, pure entertainment.

My Rating: **** ½ out of 5 (Grade: A-)

Cruise's Mission Proves Less Possible


The third installment in the Tom Cruise action-espionage franchise, Mission: Impossible III, failed to meet expectations as it opened the summer movie season with $48 million in 4,054 theatres, the fourth widest release ever. After earning an estimated $17 million on Friday, it looked like "M:i:III" could at least make $50 million this weekend, but that wasn't the case. It opened significantly lower than the previous movie's $57.8 million opening over Memorial Day in 2000, but higher than the original movie's opening four years prior. Its international opening in 9,500 theatres adds another $70 million onto its opening weekend.

Dropping to second place, the Sony road comedy RV, starring Robin Williams, held up well in its second weekend with $11.1 million, a miniscule 32% drop which brought its total to $31 million.

The independently produced and distributed horror film An American Haunting, starring Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland, fared decently against the higher-profile blockbuster, grossing $6.4 million in 1,668 theatres, for third place.

The rest of the returning movies took significant drops with the Touchstone Pictures gymnastic comedy Stick It surpassing Paul Greengrass' 9/11 drama United 93 in their second weekends. The former earned $5.5 million, bringing its total to $17 million, while the latter brought in $5.2 million for a total of $20 million.

Moving up a notch to sixth place, the Fox animated comedy Ice Age: The Meltdown continues to do decent business, adding another $4 million to bring its box office total to $183.2 million. It has already surpassed the box office gross of the previous movie, which capped out at $176 million in 2002.

The video game adaptation Silent Hill and the horror movie spoof Scary Movie 4 both took hefty drops from last week, each earning less than $4 million. By comparison, "Hill" has grossed $40 million to Scary Movie"'s $83.7 million.

Opening in over 3,000 theatres, New Line and Walden Media's family drama Hoot, barely made it into the Top 10 with its $3.4 million opening weekend, giving it one of the worst per-theatre averages for a wide release this year. It tied for 9th place with Akeelah and the Bee, a joint venture between Lionsgate and Starbucks, which dropped 43% from its opening weekend.

The Fox thriller The Sentinel took the biggest hit due to the release of "M:i:III," dropping 61% and falling out of the Top 10, with a weekend take of roughly $3 million. It has earned $30.8 million to date.

Meanwhile, in limited release, the latest movie from Ghost World's Terry Zwigoff and Daniel Clowes, Art School Confidential grossed $142 thousand in 12 theatres in select cities, an average of $11.8 thousand per theatre. According to plans, distributor Sony Classics intends on expanding the film fairly wide next weekend.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Final One-Sheet for The Da Vinci Code

Top Ten Most Anticipated Films of Summer 2006

  1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
  2. The Da Vinci Code
  3. Lady in the Water
  4. Superman Returns
  5. Cars
  6. X-Men: The Last Stand
  7. Mission: Impossible III
  8. World Trade Center
  9. Miami Vice
  10. The Omen

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

One-Sheet Teaser Poster for Snakes on a Plane

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Superman Returns Trailer

Along with the trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean 2 comes the full-blown trailer for Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. I was stoked about this film from the beginning but my eagerness is waning. The trailer just didn’t do it for me like the Pirates of the Caribbean trailer did. Kevin Spacey appears to be having a ball (no bald pun intended) with this project. It should be fun though.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Trailer Online

The trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is now online, though Disney has yet to officially release on the movie’s website.

Journey to the Disney Vault

Sure, Journey to the Disney Vault, a Saturday Night Live! TV Funhouse parody of the Walt Disney Company, has touched a nerve among hardcore Disney fans but quite frankly I thought it was rather amusing, particularly the part about Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog tied to a chair inside the Disney Vault.

Children: “Jim Hension!”

Mickey Mouse: “He wouldn’t sell! He wouldn’t seeellll!”

Click either the link above or the picture in the left-hand corner of this post to watch the cartoon and judge for yourself.