This Week:

Harry Potter works his magic for a record-breaking opening weekend; Jonathan Liebesman hails Caesar; catch a first look at Colin Farrell in Total Recall; Joe Carnahan’s The Grey starts a war; get ready for Bad Santa 2… and 3? Sam Raimi’s Oz gets a logo; Clint Eastwood’s son Scott faces the good, the bad and the ugly in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Vin Diesel is Unknown.

Box Office

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 waved its wand and unleashed some serious magic at the box office over the weekend. The final installment in the decade-old franchise obliterated records with its debut grossing an astonishing $168.6 million. Harry Potter (read our Deathly Hallows, Part 2 review) grossed $92 million on Friday (including midnight showings which brought in $43.5 million) giving it the largest single day gross in history.

The previous opening day record holder was 2009’s The Twilight Saga: New Moon with $72.7 million. The boy wizard adventure bested the opening weekend gross of fellow Warner Bros. stablemate The Dark Knight which grossed $158.4 million in its premiere back in 2008. Potter has also grossed an additional $157 million from foreign locations. Opening weekend total: Over $325 million (someone over at Warner Bros. has one HELL of a patronus charm).

Transformers: Dark of the Moon took a hit with Potter’s debut and had to settle for second place. The Michael Bay action film grossed an estimated $21.3 million for a total box office take of $302.8 million. The Paramount picture has now banked well over $700 million at the worldwide box office.

Horrible Bosses dipped to third place and banked $17.6 million for a total take of $60 million, while the Kevin James comedy Zookeeper brought in $12 million for a total gross of $42 million.

Disney Pixar’s Cars 2 has now grossed a somewhat disappointing total of $165 million after taking another $8.3 million.Fellow Disney film (although without Pixar) Winnie the Pooh should see the weekend in with $8 million. The animated film cost in the region of $30 million, so it will be profitable in the long run – keeping the brand alive for the mouse house.

Cameron Diaz comedy Bad Teacher laughed up another $4.5 million for total of just under $88 million. The R-rated flick is now a sure thing for hitting $100 million.

Tom Hank’s directorial effort Larry Crowne continues its lackluster run. The film, which Hanks also stars-in alongside Julia Roberts, brought in $2.5 million for a $31 million total. The $30 million production has scored almost $50 million worldwide.

Sci-fi throwback Super 8 banked a smidgen under $2 million. The Steven Spielberg production has hit $122 million at the domestic box office. The top ten was rounded out by Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. The ageing auteur’s latest film has now become his highest grossing effort (although not highest attended) after banking another $1.8 million for a $41.7 million total. The film, which stars Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams continues to play well, and it has  grossed over $75 million worldwide.

Movie News

1. It looks like the Warner Bros. top brass like what they see with Jonathan Liebesman Clash of the Titans sequel because the studio intends to bring a new epic film about Julius Caesar to the screen – directed by Liebesman and written by Chris Boal.

According to Deadline:

“It’s an original pitch that is not a biopic as much a Patton-like approach that covers the time in which Caesar was sent to Spain on a detail no one else wanted. There, he built the 10th Legion fighting force that would eventually march on Rome, overrun the forces of his close friend-turned-rival Pompey, and establish Caesar as the unrivalled ruler of the empire.”

It sounds like a bold move, and let’s hope that the film has a bit of depth to go along with its action scenes.

Source: Deadline

2. We’ve already had some behind the scenes shots of Armored Cops and Hovercars in the latest big screen incarnation of Total Recall – now we get the first look at its star Colin Farrell – and it looks like he’s in a spot of bother.

There has been mixed reaction to the news of a new Total Recall film because the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger film is a fan-favorite, and because the man calling the shots on the project is Live Free or Die Hard helmer Len Wiseman. However, there is hope that this 21st Century update of Philip K. Dick’s We Can Remember It for You Wholesale might be a fun summer film when it opens next August.

The last time Farrell was involved in a Philip K. Dick related project was in 2002, when he starred opposite Tom Cruise in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report.

Source: The Playlist

3. The Grey has been something of a passion project for director Joe Carnahan and it looks like the effort to bring the Liam Neeson film to the screen has been worth it. Deadline reports that Warner Bros, Open Road, Summit, Lionsgate, The Weinstein Company and FilmDistrict are trying to buy the film in a “hot and heavy” bidding war.

The site states:

“The movie’s had heat on it since CAA showed a three-minute reel right after the Cannes Film Festival. The ask is in the $8 million range minimum guarantee and a release upwards of 3000 screens and the deal will certainly be in the seven-figures.”

Source: Deadline

4. It appears that Dimension Films is very eager to get Bad Santa 2 off the ground – so eager in fact that they’ve commissioned two scripts; one from Johnny Rosenthal and another from John Phillips – who recently sold Dirty Grandpa to Universal. Dirty Grandpa sounds like it may have nabbed Phillps the Bad Santa gig because it’s a film about a “recently widowed, sexually aggressive grandfather”.

Original star Billy Bob Thornton is interested in returning for the sequel to the surprise hit, which grossed $60 million back in 2003, with Dimension hoping to get the film made in time for Christmas 2013. There is a chance that if the studio likes both scripts, then one will be used for Bad Santa 3!

Source: LA Times

5. Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful is getting ready to start filming and the logo for the James Franco film has been revealed – check it out below:

Expect to see a lot of this as the film approaches its March 2013 release date.

Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Abigail Breslin, and Zach Braff co-star in this prequel to The Wizard of Oz.

Source: Slash Film

6. You’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

Scott Eastwood must. Not only is his dad the mighty Clint Eastwood, but he’s also grabbed a lead role in director John Luessenhop’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D.

According to Deadline:

“Eastwood will play the role of Carl, the male lead, and the deal calls for him to be part of what is envisioned as a trilogy.”

So, it looks like Eastwood will be escaping Leatherface and his chainsaw induced antics – at least in the first film.

Source: Deadline

7. Variety is reporting that Vin Diesel is attached to star in and produce a new untitled action-thriller by Unknown writers Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell. Diesel’s One Race Productions will join Ink Factory to produce the film which has an…ahem…unknown plot.

Diesel is currently working on bringing a third Riddick adventure to the screen.

Source: Variety

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