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  • Resident Evil: Afterlife Resides At No. 1

    Aided by 3D surcharges and the fact that it was the only film opening in wide release this weekend, Resident Evil: Afterlifeopened at No. 1 at the box office with $27.7 million, according to studio estimates. The film surpassed analysts’ expectations and eclipsed the $23.1 million hauled in by the third installment of the franchise, 2007?s Resident Evil: Apocalypse, when it also opened on the weekend after Labor Day, usually one of the slowest periods of the year at the box office. This weekend was no exception. The remaining nine films on the box-office top ten took in just $36.3 million, and each of their estimated totals were so close that it was likely that there would be a wholesale rearrangement of the standings when final results are disclosed on Monday.

    The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo:

    1. Resident Evil: Afterlife, $27.7 million; 2. Takers, $6.1 million; 3. The American, $5.9 million; 4. Machete, $4.2 million; 5. Going the Distance, $3.8 million; 6. The Other Guys, $3.6 million; 7. The Last Exorcism, $3.5 million; 8. The Expendables, $3.3 million, 9. Inception, $3 million; 10. Eat Pray Love, $2.9 million.

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  • 'Harry Potter' trio talks 'war film' final installment.


    deathly-hollows-part-1Image Credit: Jaap BuitendijkGranted, I’m sleep-deprived, which brings emotions to the surface easier, but I was just reading Empire‘s excellent cover story on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and teared up.Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grintalmost got me talking about the battle of Hogwarts, which is essentially the second half of the last film: “In the courtyard there’s this huge pile of rubble; you almost want Panzer tanks coming over it,” Radcliffe says. Adds Grint later in the piece, “It turns into a bit of a war film. The castle is on fire with rubble and bodies littered everywhere — and they’re all kids as well! It’s quite moving.” Radcliffe nearly got me talking about Harry’s showdown with Voldemort: “I mean, Voldemort does absolutely kick six bells out of me, and that’s what makes it effective, the fact that Harry’s a kid having the crap beaten out of him. If it’s Voldemort killing an adult — well he does that loads in the films. To see him brutalising and desperately trying to kill a 17-year-old boy is hopefully going to shake some people up.” (Read full post)
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  • Weekend Box Office: Euro-thriller The American Trounces Mexi-Western Machete

    George Clooney's Euro-thriller The American may not be a mainstream studio entertainment, but it's a sign of his stardom that the movie still opened at Number One over the Labor Day weekend, trouncing holdover Takers, which was ahead of Robert Rodriguez's Machete through Sunday. Upbeat word-of-mouth pulled the Mexican western ahead by Monday. Anthony D'Alessandro reports: Focus Features’ George Clooney somber thriller The American took out its Labor Day weekend competition, grabbing the top four-day box office spot with $16.4 million at 2,823 theaters.  The opening comes as a boon for Clooney, who tends to topline platformed Oscar-potential R-rated fare such as Michael Clayton and Up in the Air.  Outside the actor’s ensemble features, i.e. the Ocean’s Eleven movies, The American stands as one of Clooney’s »

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  • Dustin Hoffman Back In Little Fockers

    Dustin Hoffman Back In Little Fockers

    A couple of weeks ago there were reports that the second sequel to Meet the Parents was back in the studio for significant re-shoots, and that a missing star from part two was being wooed to return. It's now confirmed that Dustin Hoffman has agreed to shoot some scenes forLittle Fockers.

    Six new scenes will be filmed next month, and four will feature Bernie Focker, who was initially written out of the script when the production couldn't reach a deal with Hoffman. The film wrapped a while ago significantly under budget (although incredibly, we're still talking about $100m) so clearly Universal feels comfortable putting that spare change to use.

    Deadline's insider tells them the role is not dissimilar to the one offered to Hoffman in the first place. The "pivotal" scenes will see him play opposite Barbra Streisand once again, and he'll also be part of a big scene at the end of the film that involves everyone. 

    The spin from the studio is still that the movie was fine as it was (actually born out by test screening scores of "54% excellent, 85% total favorable, 73% definitely recommend"). But, says Mr Insider, "We want to make it better; it's an investment for the future of the franchise".

    Aside from Hoffman and Streisand, Little Fockers stars series regulars Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner and Owen Wilson, plus newbies Jessica Alba, Laura Dern and Harvey Keitel. Paul Weitz is directing John Hamburg's script, and Jay Roach is producing. It's out in the series' traditional Christmas slot on December 22.

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  • Ryan Reynolds Entering Safe House?

    Ryan Reynolds Entering Safe House?

    Okay, this is getting more than a little ridiculous. We realise that when an actor or actress gets tagged with the “hot” sticker and is approached for every role out there, they take a load of meetings even if they wouldn’t have the time to do all the movies. But Ryan Reynolds’ phantom schedule is beginning to look more crowded than the Twilight lines at Comic-Con. The latest project that he’s being considered for? Thriller Safe House, with Denzel Washington.

    The film has had something of a storied history so far – bought up by Universal as a spec script from Us Weekly editor David Guggenheim back in February, it has attracted Washington and sought-after Snabba Cash director Daniel Espinosa.

    Part of the appeal might be a compelling high-concept plot, which sees the only survivor of an assault on a CIA safe house (Reynolds) trying to get a dangerous criminal (Washington) to another secure location before even more violent forces kill them both.

    But Reynolds’ film future has already been filling up, with the likes of a possible Green Lantern sequel, merc-with-a-mouth Marvel outingDeadpool, fellow comic book pic R.I.P.D. and comedy The Change-Up all vying for his attention.

    Should he pass on the film, though, there are lots of other possible candidates lining up to take his place, as most of Known Young Male Hollywood has had a meeting about the part. That list, according to the Heat Vision blog, includes Chris Pine (who just worked wth the Denz onUnstoppable), Taylor Kitsch, Tom Hardy, Sam Worthington (natch!), Shia LaBeouf, James McAvoy and Zac Efron.

    Surely the only way to decide this is to make them all battle it out for the role with giant padded sticks on raised platforms, Gladiators-style…

    James White
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  • Ben Affleck Replaces Christian Bale in Terrence Malick’s Next Movie

    While Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life continues to look for a release date and/or a festival at which to premiere, the director is currently casting his next project.  In February, we reported that Malick had cast Christian Bale, Javier Bardem, Rachel McAdams, and Olga Kurylenko in the untitled movie.  Today, TheWrap reports that Ben Affleck has replaced Christian Bale and that Rachel Weisz will also join the cast.

    TheWrap’s story follows a report from TulsaWorld.com [via AICN] that Ben Affleck and wife Jennifer Garner were spotted at a local store buying fishing supplies, and that Affleck had told a store employee that he was playing a fisherman in a movie that was shooting in Bartlesville.  Production is slated to begin the first week in October in Oklahoma, but TheWrap also reports that “The head of Oklahoma’s Film & Music office would not confirm that Malick would be shooting a movie in the state.”  As for the movie itself, not much is known other than it’s a love story.

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  • Disney's The Lion King and Alice in Wonderland come home on Blu-ray in 2011

    In keeping with plans to re-release two of its 14 classics each year, trailers on the Blu-ray edition of James & the Giant Peach reveal The Lion King (Diamond Edition) and Alice in Wonderland (Special 60th Anniversary Edition) will arrive in high definition next year. No real word on specs yet, but we'd expect to see the same care taken in remastering and restoring the audio and video to its highest quality that's been seen on previous releases. HighDefDiscNews has plenty of screengrabs and the two trailers (embedded after the break) so now with plenty of advance warning you can get the kids ready (or have them, if necessary) in preparation for 2011's obligatory combo pack purchase.

    Update: The video's are gone, forced down by Disney's legal hounds no doubt, but trust us, they were real and they were spectacular.  Read more »
  • Green Lantern Character Posters Up (Images leaked)

    The Green Lantern footage might not have quite hit the spot for every attendee in Hall H at Comic-Con this year, but Warner Bros. will no doubt be pleased with how the panel itself went over, especially with Ryan Reynolds bringing his real superpower (charm) to wow the crowd and particularly a young fan who watched, slack-jawed as he recited the Lantern oath. And now the first teaser posters have arrived (via Collider), which offer a look at the leads, including, for the first time outside of Hall H, Mark Strong’s Sinestro.Yes, the Floating Head Of Mark Strong is now the In Shadow Head Of Mark Strong As The Bad Guy In Green Lantern. And he’s not alone – Reynolds’ Hal Jordan, Blake Lively’s Carol Ferris and Peter Saaaaaarsgaaaaaard’s Hector Hammond also get their own image.The film follows one of the many Lantern origin stories, »

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  • Venice Announces International Jury, Led by Tarantino

    We already knew that Quentin Tarantino was chairing the international jury at the 67th Venice International Film Festival. Now the Fest announces that he will be joined byGuillermo Arriaga, Arnaud Desplechin, Danny Elfman, Luca Guadagnino, and Gabriele Salvatores. The jury awards the official prizes of director Marco Mueller's Venice Fest which takes place on the Lido from September 1 through 11 and is organized by la Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta. They announce the prizes on closing night: the Golden Lion (best film), Silver Lion (best director), Special Jury Prize, two Coppa Volpis (best actor and best actress), the Premio Marcello Mastroianni (best new young actor or actress) and two Osellas, for best technical contribution and screenplay. Bio details on the jurors »

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  • Movie Review: Jonah Hex

    In Jonah Hex, Josh Brolin stars as the title’s anti-hero, a Confederate soldier-turned-bounty hunter who, after being convinced by the United States government, looks to stop a madman (John Malkovich) with a weapon capable of destroying the country. Oh, and Megan Fox stars as a prostitute with absolutely no backstory whatsoever.

    In another world, Jonah Hex would be an R-rated action extravaganza chock full of hardcore violence that a story such as this deserves. Instead, in this reality, Josh Brolin somehow finds himself in a disjointed 77-minute borefest that is far more laughable than exciting or just plain watchable. To say that this movie is bad is an understatement, but what do you expect with a movie so short? There’s a reason that movies usually clock in at around 90 minutes or more. It is extremely difficult to craft a story – or a good one at least – within such a tight time frame.

    The most infuriating part about the length of the movie is the fact that there was plenty of material that was simply brushed over. If you’ve never read the comics (which I haven’t), good luck figuring out what is going on during the cheesy comic book-esque prologue, or the first fifteen minutes in general. Instead of skimming over these fine details – including a very important one that sort of attempts to explain Jonah Hex’s ability to communicate with the dead – how about just showing them?

    Length wasn’t the only problem with Jonah Hex, but it certainly starts that slippery slope that leads to a terrible movie. The writing is rushed, with lame one-liners capping off pedestrian fight scenes. I would attempt to joke about Megan Fox’s performance, but her role suffers the most in all of this. Before the final showdown of the movie, she appears in about three scenes, and barely does anything in those. Now, her performance could have been so bad that parts of it had to be cut, which is entirely possible, but she is literally just a prostitute who loves Jonah Hex. There is no explanation as to how the two know each other or why she loves him so much.

    It really is too bad that Jonah Hex turned out the way that it did; there were hints that it could have been so much better. With such a good cast, despite whatever reservations you might have towards Megan Fox, it’s amazing that it ended up being so…boring. But with the overall disappointment this entire flock of summer movies have brought on moviegoers, maybe we should have expected thi

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  • Toy Story 3 Dominates the box office

    To infinity and beyond may not be a stretch for Pixar’s â€œToy Story 3,”which sold $109 million in ticket sales in North America over the weekend and is on track to deliver a total domestic gross of over $400 million, analysts said.

    “Toy Story 3” entered the marketplace as a strong No. 1 — the 11th Pixar title in a row to achieve that feat. The result was Pixar’s best opening ever, even when adjusting for inflation.

    Sales were big enough almost to wipe out an early-summer slump at the multiplex. Total domestic box office revenue since early May is now only down by less than 1 percent from the same period last year, according to Hollywood.com, which complies ticketing statistics. In recent weeks revenue had dipped by over 6 percent, leading to hand wringing in Hollywood.

    If history is any guide, “Toy Story 3” will continue to dominate in the weeks ahead. On average just 23 percent of the total domestic gross for a Pixar film comes from opening weekend, according to Hollywood.com.

    “The audience was much broader than normal,” said Chuck Viane, the president for distribution at Walt Disney Studios, whose parent company owns Pixar. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie with such unbelievably positive word of mouth.” In limited release overseas “Toy Story 3” sold about $45 million.

    Blissful reviews for the latest installment of the beloved â€œToy Story” franchise may have helped persuade audiences to pay extra to see the film in 3-D. An outsize portion of sales, for example, came from the 180 Imax theaters playing the movie. Though only 2 percent of the cinemas showing the film were Imax, they still delivered 8 percent of the weekend gross.

    Young adults, typically not a big audience for animated films, also played an important role. Disney said “Toy Story 3” drew 40 percent of its nonfamily audience from people ages 17 to 24: the group that grew up with Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the other characters from the franchise.

    “Toy Story 3,” directed by Lee Unkrich, becomes the third movie to open to more than $100 million at the domestic box office so far this year. All three have been movies made under the Disney umbrella. The other two are â€œAlice in Wonderland,” which sold over $116 million in its opening weekend, and â€œIron Man 2,” which opened to over $128 million.

    The challenge for Disney, which bought Pixar in 2006, is to avoid flops in between blockbusters that diminish the financial impact of its megahits. After “Iron Man 2” came“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” which should go down as one of the biggest failures of the year. The seesawing could continue: next up on Disney’s release slate is â€œThe Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” a live-action fantasy starring Nicolas Cage that strikes many veteran movie marketers as a tough sell.

    For the weekend â€œThe Karate Kid” from Sony Pictures Entertainment continued to prove itself an audience favorite, selling about $29 million for second place and a new total of $106.2 million, according to Hollywood.com

    “The A-Team” from 20th Century Fox was third with about $13.8 million and a new total of $49.8 million, while the comedy â€œGet Him to the Greek” from Universal Pictures was fourth with $6.1 million ($47.9 million total).

    “Shrek Forever After” (a DreamWorks Animation title distributed by Paramount Pictures) was fifth with $5.5 million, bringing its total to $223 million.

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