This week:

It’s a stand-off at the box office as Cowboys & Aliens has a showdown with The Smurfs– but the Cowboys win; Simon Pegg has A Fantastic Fear of Everything; Miles Teller, Justin Chon, Skylar Astin and Sarah Wright are 21 and Over; Val Kilmer and Francis Ford Coppola’s Twixt gets interactive; John Cusack and Nic Cage re-team for The Frozen Ground and Antoine Fuqua gets ready to Storm Las Vegas.

Box Office

A fierce battle was fought at the box office over the weekend, as Cowboys & Aliens faced off against The Smurfs (read our review). Cowboys won the weekend taking $36.4 million, while The Smurfs had to settle for second place with $35.6 million. This is good news for The Smurfs, but bad news for Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford. The pricey sci-fi/western combo was expected to bank in the region of $40 million on its debut, but reviews have been disappointing (read ours Cowboys & Aliens review) so it will need strong legs if it wants to turn a profit. Everyone knew that it was a tricky concept to pull-off, but the star wattage between Bond‘s Craig, coupled with Ford, was expected to help matters. International should be strong and it could be that the older fans of Ford and Craig might turn up at multiplexes in the future. Hopefully.

Captain America: The First Avenger dropped to three from last week’s number one position with a weekend take of just under $25 million. The Chris Evans starring comic book adaptation has now scored $110 million in one week – about five million less than Green Lantern has in its entire run!

Harry Potter’s swansong The Deathly Hallows Part 2 scored another $22 million and upped its impressive take to $318 million. The film is now closing in on the magic billion dollar figure at the worldwide box office.

Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling’s Crazy, Stupid, Love banked a little over $19.3 million on its debut. The comedy should hold well in the future and be a decent hit. Meanwhile, Friends With Benefits dropped down to six after scoring another $9.3 million. The Mila Kunis/ Justin Timberlake pairing has now grossed a smidgen over $38 million.

Another $7 million in the kitty saw Horrible Bosses inch closer to $100 million with a $96 million total take, while Transformers: Dark of the Moon upped its gross to $338 million – after banking just over $6 million.

Zookeeper laughed up another $4 million for a $68 million total, while Cars 2 rounded out the top ten with an estimated $2.3 million. The animated adventure has now grossed $182 million.

Movie News

1. Simon Pegg is currently filming A Fantastic Fear of Everything. The low-budget “psycho-comedy” is currently shooting at Shepperton Studios, England.

According to Variety:

“Pegg plays a crime novelist, whose research into Victorian serial killers has turned him into a paranoid wreck, in fear of being murdered.”

A Fantastic Fear of Everything is the first film to receive funding from Pinewood Shepperton Studios’ indie finance initiative, Pinewood Films. The initiative will invest up to 20% equity in as many as four films every year – with budgets set in the $3 million range.

Source: Variety

2. Miles Teller, Justin Chon, Skylar Astin and Sarah Wright will star in 21 and Over, a new comedy that will be directed by The Hangover writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore.

“What is it about?” I hear you ask, well:

“Two childhood friends drag their straight-arrow buddy out to celebrate his twenty-first birthday the night before an all-important medical school interview. But when one beer leads to another, the evening spirals into a wild epic misadventure of debauchery and mayhem that none of them will ever forget.”

Shooting begins in August for a 2012 release.

Source: Coming Soon

3. Francis Ford Coppola is taking a new audience friendly approach with the editing of his latest film Twixt (formally Twixt Now and Sunrise). You can read all about Coppola’s editing plans here. It also appears that the public will be able to partake in the marketing of the horror film by voting for the film’s poster – you can do that here and you can also check out Twixt’s official site here.

Val Kilmer stars in this experimental new horror film from The Godfather director.

Source: Shock Till You Drop

4. Con Air co-stars John Cusack and Nicolas Cage are set to re-team for a new thriller The Frozen Ground.

According to The Wrap:

“It’s dark stuff, about the serial killer Robert Hansen, who murdered between 17 and 21 women near Anchorage. His crimes were especially grotesque: He abducted and raped women, flew them to a desolate area of Alaska, released them on sandbars and then hunted and killed them.

He was arrested after a 17-year-old victim got away while Hansen was loading supplies onto his airplane and went to police.

In the movie, Cage’s character finds the girl alive on the street.

Hansen ultimately was charged with four murders. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 461 years in prison.”

The Frozen Ground sees Scott Walker direct his own script, with Randall Emmett and George Furla, Mark Ordesky and Jane Fleming producing.

Sounds like it has potential – let’s hope that everyone involved brings their A-game. Both Cusack and Cage have been known to do the odd gig for a paycheck and not the quality of the script!

Source: The Wrap

5. Antoine Fuqua is set to direct John Huddy’s unwieldy titled non-fiction book Storming Las Vegas: How a Cuban-Born, Soviet-Trained Commando Took Down The Strip to the Tune of Five World Class Hotels, Three Armored Cars, and Millions of Dollars for Summit Entertainment.

The film is about a Cuban-born, Soviet-trained Commando who took down the Las Vegas strip to the tune of five world class hotels, three armored cars, and millions of dollars.

You really have to start paying attention. I can’t keep spoon-feeding you this information!

However, Deadline has a more detailed account:

“The book told the rags-to-riches story of a modern-day Robin Hood. Jose Vigoa was a larger-than-life Cuban-born commando veteran of the Soviet army who found his way to Vegas in the 1990s at a time when casinos were trying to embrace a squeaky clean image. Vigoa and his crew embarked on a violent 16-month crime wave that targeted some of the town’s most prominent casinos. He was pitted against a 23-year vet of the Vegas police force, who was charged with tracking down Vigoa and his cohorts without letting the story make the papers and spoil Vegas’ image.”

Source: Deadline

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