This week:

Get ready for Masters of the Web featuring our own Vic Holtreman; Tom Cruise rocks out with… shirt off in Rock of Ages; there’s change ahead for John Travolta’s Gotti biopic; Green Lantern is in the red but Ryan Reynolds talks Deadpool and Kate Winslet as well as Josh Brolin join Jason Reitman’s Labor Day.

Box Office

It’s not easy being green and for Warner Bros, it’s not easy starting a new superhero franchise. Sure, they successfully rebooted the Batman series, and they’ve got a new Superman film off the ground, but in recent years the studio has struggled to get films like The Flash and Justice League out of development hell – not to mention the recent Wonder Woman TV debacle. Meanwhile, Marvel characters have been flourishing on the big screen, with X-Men, Thor and  Captain America all kicking butt this summer. Which brings us to Green Lantern.

Last year Green Lantern’s first trailer was met with a muted response, which led to lowered expectations by the fanboy community, despite the presence of Ryan Reynolds. Further footage improved on these first impressions, and when the marketing blitz took over, even naysayers (like myself) believed that the film could be a fun summer ride, or the “new Star Wars,”  as those involved in the film would have you believe. However, once the reviews started coming in (read ours here) it looked like the writing was on the wall for the big budget comic book adaptation. The film cost a reported $300 million to produce and market – with some sources saying that this number is on the conservative side. If this is true then it’ll have to make some serious green to turn a profit.

An estimated opening weekend gross of just $52.6 million saw the film open to more than $10 million less that Thor and about $3 million shy of the X-Men: First Class debut– the fourth film in a decade old franchise. If the film drops as expected next weekend, then it’ll have to rake in some serious cash on the foreign circuit and in ancillaries to get out of the red. Suddenly Green Lantern 2 isn’t looking like a sure thing, cue “no green light for Green Lantern 2″ headlines.

What does this mean for other Warner Bros./DC superhero films?

Probably not a lot considering the inertia of the DC stable at Warner Bros. However, when they do get the ball rolling they’ll have to raise their game – and not just attempt to be a CGI spectacle. Nolan’s Batman films show that a good comic book adaptation can, not only be a great film, but also faithful to the source material and financially successful. It could be that audiences are also showing signs of superhero fatigue, which is something that may not bode well for Captain America – a character who will have to work hard to try and bring in coin abroad. Maybe the studio will hire more auteur filmmakers like Nolan to helm their DC adaptations, no offense to Martin Campbell, but he’s a very workmanlike director who has as many misses as hits on his resume – for every Goldeneye and Mask of Zorro there’s a Vertical Limit and Legend of Zorro. I mean, who wouldn’t love to see David Fincher’s Teen Titans?

Warner Bros. is at a crucial juncture with regard to their franchises. The Harry Potter series ends this year and Nolan has stated that he’s hanging up the bat cape after The Dark Knight Rises – so they need a new vibrant franchise. Superman has the potential but they bet a lot on the Green Lantern. That bet doesn’t seem to have paid off, so it looks like they’ll be back to the drawing board, and  I expect that some Warner Bros. employees will be getting a few stern words come Monday morning.

J.J Abram’s Super 8 dropped to number two, but held up well. The Steven Spielberg produced film dropped less than 50% and brought in another $21 million, upping its gross to a solid $72 million.

Jim Carrey’s latest live action feature had a disappointing start. Mr. Popper’s Penguins grossed an estimated $18 million. The debut is in-line with 2008’s Yes Man, which ended its run with $92 million, so the future may not be too bleak for Carrey and his feathered friends.

X-Men: First Class continues to hold well in its third week. The Matthew Vaughn franchise prequel scored another $11.5 million and brought its total to $120 million. The superhero film has now grossed over $250 million worldwide.

The Hangover Part 2 laughed up another $9.6 million for a total gross in the region of $232 million. Meanwhile, Kung Fu Panda 2 brought in about $8.7 million for a $143 million total and Bridesmaids walked down the aisle with over $7 million for a total cume of $136 million.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides sailed away with over $6 million and brought its total haul to $220 million – while Woody Allen’s latest Midnight in Paris grossed over $5 million for a cumulative take a smidgen under $22 million. The Owen Wilson film is on the way to becoming the director’s highest grossing feature in over twenty years!

The top ten was rounded out by Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer. The family film grossed just over $2 million for an $11 million total. It’s no wonder she’s moody.

Outside the top ten saw Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life (read our review) gross over $1 million. If you like it then you should be happy to know that Malick is apparently working on a six hour cut of the film. Seriously.

Movie News

1. Like movies? Love Screen Rant? Going to Comic Con this year?

Then you’ll be happy to know that, as always, Screen Rant will be representing. Unfortunately, I won’t be there because I’m stuck in the UK. However, Screen Rant’s founding father – Vic Holtreman will be present along with other members of the gang and he’ll be taking part in the legendary Masters of the Web panel.

Vic will be joined on the panel by such web luminaries as AMC’s John Campea, Thompson on Hollywood’s Anne Thompson, Slash Film’s Peter Sciretta, Movieline’s Jen Yamato, Film School Rejects’ Scott Beggs, Mike Sampson from Joblo, as well Sasha Perl-Raver and Jenna Busch.

Get your tickets, plan your questions, and go and see your favourite movie bloggers in the flesh!

Source: AMC

2. The big screen version of 80s-set musical Rock of Ages has been shooting in Miami for the last few weeks and now the first image of Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx has been released.

If you want to see a larger version of Cruise in all of his shirtless-gym inflicted glory then visit his official site here.

Source: Tom Cruise

3. John Travolta’s John Gotti biopic has gotten (gottin?) a new title.

The film was going by the title Gotti: Three Generations, which kind of made it sound like a bad television mini-series, but now it’ll known by the moniker of Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father – which kind of makes it sound like a bad television movie. Nice!

Travolta will be joined in the Barry Levinson film by Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Lindsay Lohan, and his wife Kelly Preston.

Great talent involved – shame about the title. Why don’t this just call it Gotti?

Source: What’ s Playing

4. Ryan Reynolds has long been associated with superheroes. The former Mr. Scarlett Johansson was once rumored for The Flash, starred opposite the troubled Wesley Snipes in Blade Trinity, and portrayed Deadpool in Hugh Jackman’s disappointing Wolverine. He’s now the star of the poorly received Green Lantern, which, unless a miracle happens will probably not get a sequel. I see some sort of pattern here – could there be a Ryan Reynolds superhero curse?

That said, Reynolds’ fans shouldn’t fear, as it looks like his long in development Deadpool spinoff film is inching closer to fruition. Reynolds was out shilling his green themed DC comics adaptation to MTV when he divulged some details on the Marvel movie.

When asked about the film and its director Tim Miller Reynolds said:

“I love Tim. Tim is someone who we all vetted through and through. He’s a guy who captures the spirit of it, and he’s also an incredible visual artist. Also, Tim came cheap, which helped as well. In order to do this movie the way we want to do it is pretty nasty, and pretty hard. You can’t exactly have a $200 million budget when you want to do a movie like this.”

Hopefully the Reynolds superhero curse won’t strike again.

Source: MTV

5. Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin will star in Jason Reitman’s adaptation of Joyce Maynard’s Labor Day. Don’t worry – it’s not a follow-up to Valentine’s Day, although that is on the way in the form of New Year’s Eve.

According to Entertainment Weekly:

“Set in the early ’80s over the late summer holiday weekend, Labor Day opens with divorced, depressed single mom Adele clothes shopping with her 13-year-old son, Henry. They encounter a large, fearsome man — who also happens to be bleeding badly. He asks for a ride, and against all judgment, they give him one.

Are they hostages, accomplices… or just deluded? As police search town for the escaped convict, the mother and son gradually learn his true story and their options become more and more limited.”

The film will shoot next year and don’t be too surprised if it gets an Oscar nod or two come 2013.

Source: EW

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