This week:

Harry Potter debuts at Number One; Gambit is on the way; beware The Swarm; DiCaprio sets his sights on JFK; Gore Verbinski has a Magical Law; Apollo 18 blasts off with a new director; there’s a new Boston-based crime drama on the way; Disney gets ready to Hover; Kermit and company acquires some new friends and get ready for the Martyrs.

Box Office

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (read our review) gave the long-running franchise its best ever debut. The seventh Potter pic should grab an estimated $125 million over the weekend, beating out Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire’s $102 million opening. It’s pretty amazing that a franchise like this has seen so much audience love and loyalty over the years – considering that they release one every year or two. The darkening tone of the series  has helped the target audience grow with the franchise and aid in its continued success.

Megamind had to settle for the runner-up spot this weekend after grossing $16.2 million. The Will Ferrell voiced animated film has now banked a solid $110 million.

Tony Scott’s Unstoppable was third after taking in $13.1 million. The Denzel Washington film has now brought in $42 million. It’ll probably top out at around $60 million.

Due Date banked a smidgen over $9 million and upped its total to over $72 million.

Russell Crowe’s The Next Three Days found little audience love on its first weekend. The remake of Pour Elle managed a poor $6.8 million over the last three days. The Paul Haggis directed film is aimed at a more mature audience who don’t necessarily run out on the first weekend, but it will need Olympic style legs to bank well in theaters.

Morning Glory upped its total to $19 million after grossing another $5 million this weekend and Skyline tumbled over 70% for a weekend gross of $3 million. The film has now amassed just over $17 million worth of coin.

Red grossed another $2 million and brought its total to $83 million, while For Colored Girls banked $1.8 million for a $34 million total gross.

Fair Game rounded out the top ten after bringing in $1.1 million from 386 theaters.

Movie News

1. Michael Hoffman will direct the Ethan Coen-scripted remake, Gambit. The original was a crime comedy, released in 1966, which starred Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine.

According to Deadline:

“(In the original) Caine played a cat burglar who tries to rob a billionaire of his priceless statue and enlists the help of a waitress who is a dead ringer for the victim’s late wife. While the burglar has carefully planned the job in his head, the execution is complicated by his relationship with his pretty accomplice.”

No cast has yet been signed, but that should change soon as the film is set to shoot in London this coming May.

Source: Deadline

2. Hot on the heels of the Gambit remake comes news that Michael Caine’s terrible disaster film The Swarm is also set for the remake treatment.

“The original starred Michael Caine as an entomologist who learns that killer bees from South America have been coming together to form huge swarms. He sets out to stop the military from attacking and worsening the imbalance in nature, ultimately teaming up with them to prevent the deadly swarm from reaching Houston.”

It’s a good bet to assume that this will be in 3D – so bring your fly swat!

Source: The Wrap

3. Leonardo DiCaprio is set to star in and produce Legacy of Secrecy. The film is based on a book about the assassination of John F. Kennedy by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann.

According to Variety:

“The book — whose full title is Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination — asserts that Mafia godfather Carlos Marcello confessed to Jack Van Laningham to having ordered JFK’s assassination. As part of a dangerous and long-secret undercover operation, the FBI positioned Van Laningham to become confidant to Marcello, who ruled organized crime in Louisiana and most of Texas for decades.”

DiCaprio will produce the film through his Appian Way production company. The film is set up at Warner Bros. and the studio hopes to release the film in 2013 – the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death.

Source: Variety

4. Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski will re-team with one of its writers for a new television series called Magical Law. The Terry Rossio scripted show “puts a supernatural twist on the cop/legal genre.”

According to Deadline:

“It is set in a world where the existence of supernatural beings is commonplace and follows the specialized cops and lawyers who face the unique challenges of prosecuting otherworldly crimes.”

So it’s Law & Order meets The X-Files by way of Men In Black.

Source: Deadline

5. Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego will replace Trevor Cawood as director of Apollo 18.

The lost footage movie is on the fast track to production, and it deals with a covert mission to the moon which discovers alien life forms.

Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov produces the Brian Miller penned script.

Source: Deadline

6. London Boulevard director William Monahan and Animal Kingdom helmer David Michod are the front runners to call the shots on big screen adaptation of Ken Bruen’s novel Once Were Cops.

“Bruen’s novel follows an unbalanced member of Ireland’s elite police force who joins the New York Police Department as part of an exchange program. The movie will change the setting to Boston, which has a rich Irish history that is a better fit for the story.”

Monahan just made his directorial debut adapting Bruen’s London Boulevard for the screen, so he might have the upper hand, but he’s also just signed on to write and direct Becket, so that may knock him out of the running.

I imagine that producers will be getting Colin Farrell’s agent on the line.

Source: The Wrap

7. Disney is working on a “live-action techno-thriller” about a hovercar racer called… er… Hovercar.

According to The LA Times:

“A hovercar racer is tasked with escorting an informant to safety as the two come under fire from corrupt government operatives.”

Disney hopes that the 3D film which will be based on the  Matthew Reilly book series will become a  Harry Potter style franchise and a merchandising bonanza.

Source: LA Times

8. Word on the street is that George Clooney, Alan Arkin, Jack Black, Billy Crystal, Zach Galifianakis and Jean-Claude Van Damme are being courted to make cameos in the new Muppet Movie. Word-up.

Source: THR

9. Daniel Stamm has been hired to direct the English language remake of the French film Martyrs.

According to The LA Times:

“It tells of Lucie and Anna, orphans who establish a friendship, until one of them inexplicably goes on a murderous rampage to avenge what may or may not have been earlier incidents of child abuse.”

Sounds cheery.

Source: LA Times

Just For Fun: Why drinking in the movies isn’t glamorous.

That’s it for now. See you at the movies!