This week:

The box office travels to Rio, while we Scream again; Russell Brand sings Rock of Ages; Pesci gets Gotti; The Dark Tower gets a new writer; Galifianakis may have a hangover but he won’t R.I.P; Franco attends Jump Street – but will Johnny Depp? Trumbull may have Silent Running but he’ll be moving at 60 fps and Hallelujah – there’s finally a Jeff Buckley biopic.

Box Office

Rio was the box office champion over the weekend after grossing an estimated $40 million. The animated film which features the vocal talents of Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Tracy Morgan, will.i.am, Jamie Foxx and George Lopez surpassed predictions to again show that animated films are big at the box office. This could be the start of a new animated franchise for 20th Century Fox, giving the studio a steady income for the next few years.

Speaking of franchises, the Weinsteins dusted off the Scream series after an 11 year hiatus and reunited the original cast, Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson – the result was a disappointing $19.2 million debut for the fourth film in the horror series which first began in 1996. Scream 4 (read our review) was supposed to kick-off a new trilogy, but it remains to be seen if that will happen – it could depend on how next weekend goes. If it acts like a normal horror-sequel then look for a 50% plus drop.

Hop dropped to third place after two weeks at the top. The Russell Brand voiced Easter Bunny family film scored another $11.1 million, upping its gross to almost $83 million.

Soul Surfer held up well (off less than 30% from last week). The Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt film banked $7.4 million for a solid $20 million total.

Teenage assassin pic Hanna also held up well. The Saoirse Ronan-led film brought in just under $7.5 million for a $23.5 million total haul so far.

Last weekend Russell Brand’s Arthur had a disappointing debut and this weekend things only got worse. The comedy remake fell hard and brought in an estimated $6.9 million, for a total gross of just $22.3 million.

Insidious continues to impress. The $1 million budgeted fright film scared-up another $6.8 million and upped its cume to almost $36 million.

Source Code continues its quiet, but impressive run. The Duncan Jones directed science fiction film grossed another $6.3 million. The Jake Gyllenhaal starrer has now banked $37 million.

Robert Redford’s The Conspirator cracked the top ten, despite a limited run – bringing in $3.9 million. The $25 million budgeted film should do well in the future and turn a decent profit.

Natalie Portman and James Franco’s Your Highness scored another $3.8 million and upped its cume to a lacklustre $15.9  million.

Movie News

1. Russell Brand doesn’t seem to be letting the disappointment of Arthur get him down. The British comedian has signed on to join Tom Cruise and Alec Baldwin in Rock of Ages.

According to Deadline:

“He’ll play Lonny, who runs the ’80s rock club The Bourbon for owner Dennis (Alec Baldwin). Brand and Baldwin get to sing a rousing version of the REO Speedwagon tune Can’t Fight This Feeling.”

Amy Adams recently dropped out of the Adam Shankman directed film due to scheduling conflicts with her role as Lois Lane in Man of Steel.

Source: Deadline

2. Joe Pesci has signed to star alongside John Travolta and Lindsay Lohan in Gotti: Three Generations.

The Goodfellas actor will play Gotti deputy Angelo Ruggiero in the film which starts shooting in October. Hangover 2 cameo-er Nick Cassavetes was set to direct the film, but has left over scheduling issues.

Source: Coming Soon

3. Writer Mark Verheiden has been brought on-board to co-write the NBC series The Dark Tower alongside Akiva Goldsman.

The show is a continuation of a movie trilogy (directed by Ron Howard) based on Stephen King’s hugely successful book series.

Verheiden has previously worked on Heroes and Battlestar Galactica.

The Dark Tower looks set to star Javier Bardem in the role of Roland Deschain.

Source: Deadline

4. The Hangover star Zach Galifianakis has pulled out of supernatural comedy R.I.P.D.

The comic book adaptation, about undead cops working for the Rest in Peace Department, is set to star Ryan Reynolds in the lead with Red director Robert Schwentke at the helm.

It’s believed that scheduling issues are the reason for his departure.

Source: Deadline

5. James Franco’s brother – Dave, has signed on to 21 Jump Street. The bigscreen adaptation of the Johnny Depp series stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as cops who go undercover within a high school.

Deadline states that Franco will “play Eric, the most popular kid in school, who also happens to be a raging drug dealer”.

Word on the street is that Depp will shoot a cameo for the film – if he can find time in his always hectic schedule.

Source: Deadline

6. Silent Running and Brainstorm director Douglas Trumbull has announced that he is set to direct a new film – his first since 1983.

Trumbull, who has been a special effects supervisor on films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Trek:The Motion Picture plans to shoot the film in 3D, and in 60 frames per second (films are normally shot at 24 fps).

Silent Running

Trumball said:

“Higher frame rates create a sense of realism. We are now at a time when we can have any film texture we want. But it’s not an either/or situation.”

He went on to say:

“James Cameron has been talking publicly about shooting tests in 48 and 60. Peter Jackson wants to do The Hobbit in 60. … It doesn’t seem too daunting.”

The title and plot of Trumball’s forthcoming effort are still unknown.

Source: THR

7. Jake Scott (son of Ridley, nephew to Tony) is set to direct a biopic about ill-fated musician Jeff Buckley.

The films producers have optioned David Browne’s book Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley as the basis of the film and Browne will be a consultant on the project.

Jeff Buckley, (the son of folk singer Tim) had only released one album (Grace) when he died in 1997, at only thirty years old, while swimming in Wolf River, Tennessee.

Ryan Jaffe wrote the screenplay for the film which will be produced by Michelle Sy, Orian Williams and Buckley’s mother Mary Guibert.

I can only imagine that James Franco will be on the list of potential stars.

Source: Deadline

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