This week:

The Wolf Pack mark their territory at the top of the box office as The Hangover Part II has a record breaking debut; Kevin Costner saddles up again for The Hatfields and McCoys; Bradley Cooper isn’t just a pretty face – he’s also a writer and he’s written a spec for Hyperion;The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein finds a writer; World War Z starts in June; Michael Mann takes on Le Mans as he prepares to Go Like Hell with Ford and Ferrari; Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium adds a beauty and moves release date – and has Thomas Jane taken a lethal Headshot from the producers of his new movie with Stallone?

The Wolf Pack’s  back. The Hangover Part II topped the box office and broke records in the process. The Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis starring comedy grossed $31.6 million on Thursday, giving it the highest-grossing opening day ever for a live-action comedy. The R-rated film has received mixed reviews (read ours) but by the end of the Memorial Day weekend the film should gross a powerful $137 million. Word of mouth will be interesting, but this $85 million budgeted sequel should be profitable enough to have Warner Bros. green-light a third film.

The Bangkok-set comedy wasn’t the only sequel to open over the weekend – Kung Fu Panda 2 (read our review) also launched with a decent $68 million. Jack Black and Angelina Jolie lead the vocal talent for the ‘toon, which debuted on Thursday – however it must be noted that the grosses were buoyed by the increased 3D ticket prices. Bangkok dangerous indeed.

Pirates of the Carribbean: On Stranger Tides dropped to third place over the weekend. The Johnny Depp sequel should score another $53 million over the four-day weekend, giving the pirate adventure a gross of over $166 million. The Disney film has already banked over $500 million at the worldwide box office, showing that although US audiences haven’t embraced Jack Sparrow like they did in the past, the rest of the world still likes sailing the high seas with the lovable rogue.

Bridesmaids banked another $21.5 over the long weekend and upped its gross to $90 million. Strong legs show that this is one of the sleeper hits of the summer (much like the original Hangover) and don’t be too surprised if you see those Bridesmaids walk down the aisle again in a year or so.

Thor dropped to five and banked an estimated $11 million. The Marvel adventure has now upped its gross to over $160 million domestically. The Chris Hemsworth superhero film has now collected well over $400 million at the worldwide box office.

Fast Five is taking its foot off the gas, but it’s still zooming towards $200 million in the U.S. Another $9 million over the Memorial Day weekend should see the Diesel-powered film bank over $198 million.

Woody Allen’s latest, Midnight in Paris, was seventh – with a gross of $2.6 million. The gross doesn’t sound overly impressive, but when you factor in the high-powered competition and the fact that it’s only playing in 58 theaters, then you can see that it’s a good start. Oh, and it’s not in 3D!

Jumping the Broom and Rio were neck and neck with an estimated take of $2.5 million. Broom has scored almost $35 million, while the animated film has brought in over $135 million.

Priest continues its unimpressive run after scraping in another $2.3 million. The Paul Bettany film has now hauled in almost $28 million.

B.O. via Deadline

Movie News

1. It looks like Kevin Costner’s signing to Man of Steel has reminded money-men that the Dances With Wolves star is still a force to be reckoned with.

Costner will star-in and produce a mini-series called The Hatfields and McCoys for History.

According to THR:

“The project, which will center on the bloody hostilities between two clans that escalated to the point of near war between two states, will air next year, the 150th anniversary of the country’s most infamous family feud.”

Costner, who will play “Devil” Anse Hatfield said:

“As an avid history fan, I am thrilled to join with Leslie Greif and History in this dramatic re-telling of a classic and timeless tale that is forever immersed in the folklore of our country.”

Could this be the same western miniseries that Costner was developing for A&E a couple of years ago?

Source: THR

2. CHUD is reporting that Bradley Cooper revealed on the Charlie Rose show that he has written a spec treatment (with his friend Conal Byrne) for Dan Simmons’ Hyperion.

The A-Team star said that

“[We] went to Graham King, who own the rights to Hyperion, and we wrote a treatment on spec. I said, ‘I know this is a very audacious endeavour, but can you just read this spec we wrote? I think we have a way in to tell the story.’ So now we’re negotiating to write the script for it.”

The grosses of Limitless and The Hangover Part II probably mean that King will think this over – if Cooper is willing to star.

Sources: CHUD & Charlie Rose

3. Proof playwright David Auburn has signed up to write the script for an adaptation of Peter Ackroyd’s The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein.

RT Features and Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures will produce the film, which according to Deadline “covers the youthful days of Frankenstein, who begins experimenting with corpses, influenced by the outspoken English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, whose Mary wrote the book. She’s a character in the film as well.”

Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov previously toyed with the idea of directing the film, but no director has been signed.

The film is one of a slew of Frankenstein projects that Hollywood has in development.

Source: Deadline

4. Screen Daily is reporting that Marc Forster’s adaptation of Max Brooks’ World War Z is set to go into production in June.

Shooting of the Brad Pitt starrer is set to take place in Malta, UK and Hungary. Mireille Enos will co-star in the $125 million budgeted zombie film that was written by J. Michael Straczynski and Matthew Michael Carnahan.

Source: Screen Daily

5. Deadline reports that Michael Mann is in early talks with 20th Century Fox to develop A.J. Baime’s book Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and their Battle For Speed and Glory at Le Mans.

The Heat director is never one to shy away from detailed, adult aimed material and this sounds right up his street:

“The book tells the story of the decision by Henry Ford II to go against Enzo Ferrari’s dominance on the Le Mans track in 1966. Ford challenged Ferrari with a car designed by racer-turned-car designer Carroll Shelby. It plays out like The Right Stuff on the race track as Ford was able to turn around its fortunes in the sports-car marketplace, elevating the automaker’s fortunes under Lee Iacocca.”

The project hasn’t moved into first gear yet, so it’s quite far off. Meanwhile Mann is busy with HBO’s Luck, which stars Dustin Hoffman.

Source: Deadline

6. District 9 director Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium will now open on March 1st, and has added actress Alice Braga (Predators) to the cast.

Deadline initially reported that it was Alice’s aunt, Sonia Braga who had joined the film, and then offered the following explanation about the confusion:

So an idiot publicist can’t distinguish between Brazilian actresses even though they’re a generation apart and Alice Braga is the niece of Sonia Braga. It’s the former who’s confirmed for Neil Blomkamp’s latest project Elysium. The filmmaker won’t provide any details on the character she’ll play.

Blomkamp’s latest sci-fi opus  also stars Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Matt Damon, and Wagner Moura.

Source: Coming Soon & Deadline

7. Walter Hill’s comeback film Headshot sounded great. A mis-matched buddy action film with Sylvester Stallone and Thomas Jane had the potential to be a testosterone filled, retro-piece that might just scratch that 80s itch that Stallone’s The Expendables missed.

Unfortunately, it looks like the film might not make it to the screen in that incarnation. Arrow in the Head reports that Joel Silver’s Dark Castle production company wants to ditch Jane and cast someone more  “ethnic.”

The word on the street is that Stallone and Hill are fighting the good fight for Jane, and they still want him on the picture, but Dark Castle (and I would presume Warner Bros.) want an action film in the style of Hill’s own 48 Hours and Silver’s Lethal Weapon series.

Arrow contacted Jane who simply said:

“No comment, but I can tell you this, we have a classic with me & Sly & Hill. Script is tailor made for us all.”

I’ve got three words for you people – Tango & Cash!

Source: Arrow in the Head

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