This week:

The box office is super as Super 8 charts at number one; be prepared to be afraid of Lions, Tigers and Bears; love is in the air as Kodi Smit-McPhee joins Hailee Steinfeld in Romeo and Juliet; S. Victor Whitmill faces-off with Warner Bros. over Ed Helms’ Hangover 2 tattoo; Ed Zwick has Consent to Kill an American Assassin; Zemeckis and Washington take Flight; Warren Beatty is calling Dick Tracy 2 and has Fast Five’s Sung Kang fired a Headshot at Thomas Jane? He might have – but you can’t call it that!

Box Office

J.J. Abrams’ latest foray into directing, Super 8 topped the box office over the weekend with an impressive estimated gross of $37 million ($38 in total). While it may not be a record breaking debut like a lot of summer films, it is impressive since it’s not a sequel, or a remake, or based on an existing property, or headlined by an A-list star – but enough of “or” –  Super 8 was sold on Abram’s geek credentials and on Steven Spielberg’s Amblin brand.

The science fiction film is a love letter to the Spielberg/Amblin classics from the 70s and 80s like Gremlins, Back to the Future, E.T, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Goonies. Reviews have been positive (read ours), but it’ll be interesting to see how this holds up in the coming weeks when the big guns like The Green Lantern and Transformers 3 open – however the low $50 million budget should ensure profitability. It remains to be seen if this slice of old fashioned Americana will find an audience abroad.

X-Men: First Class dropped to second place over the weekend and almost hit the $100 million mark. The Matthew Vaughn directed prequel banked another $25 million and upped its gross to almost $99 million. Again, the coming weeks and foreign box office are crucial for profitably on this latest Marvel adventure. Is Brett Ratner sitting in his mansion laughing?

The Hangover Part II dropped down the charts, but don’t feel too sorry for “The Wolf Pack”. The Warner Bros. sequel laughed up a further $18.5 million from audiences and brought its total gross to over $216 million.

Kung Fu Panda 2 also grossed in the region of $16.6 million and upped its cume to around $127 million, while not as successful as the original, DreamWorks must take some solace knowing that international grosses are strong. Then there’s the twin-pack DVD set.

Pirates of the Caribbean 4 sailed away with another $11 million and upped its collected booty to just under $210 million. The pricey sequel has also banked well over $600 million abroad. Profit ahoy! Speaking of profit, Bridesmaids grossed about a million dollars less than Johnny Depp and his motley crew – and brought its gross to $124 million.

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer grossed around $6.2 million. I’m not going to waste anymore time writing about it.

Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris should bring in $6.1 million over the weekend, upping its gross to $14.3 million. The film now has the potential to be Allen’s highest grossing film since Hannah and Her Sisters in 1986. Everybody always talks about Woody Allen having a “return to form” and I’ve always felt left out. Now I’ve done it!

Thor hammered in another $2 million and brought its gross to over $173 million, while Fast Five brought in a smidgen under $2 million. The Vin Diesel/Paul Walker/ Dwayne Johnson testosterone fest has now grossed over $205 million.

Movie News

1. Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson have been hired to write Lions, Tigers and Bears. Don’t worry, the film isn’t yet another postmodern ironic spin on The Wizard of Oz.

According THR:

“The project is based on an Image comic book by Mike Bullock and tells of the adventures of a young boy who discovers that his stuffed animals come to life to protect him from monsters that come out of his closet.”

Lorenzo Di Bonaventura will produce the “effects-heavy live action tent-pole and possible franchise” for Paramount Pictures.

This sounds a bit like Time Bandits meets Monsters Inc. by way of Where the Wild Things Are.

Source: THR

2. The Road’s Kodi Smit-McPhee will join Hailee Steinfeld and Holly Hunter in the umpteenth screen adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Smit-McPhee will play Benvolio in the Carlo Carlei directed film, while Steinfeld stars as Juliet, with Hunter playing her nurse and confident. Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick will play the villainous Tybalt in the film which was written by Downton Abbey and Gosford Park’s Julian Fellowes. Let’s hope its jolly good- Fellowes. Yuk yuk.

Romeo and Juliet will start shooting this summer in Italy.

Source: Variety

3. S. Victor Whitmill is the man behind Mike Tyson’s iconic face tattoo. He’s also the man behind a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Warner Bros. due to said tattoo’s appearance in The Hangover Part II.

In the film Ed Helms’ character gets a tattoo based on Tyson’s during a drunken night out in Bangkok (like, who hasn’t?). The “tatt” has appeared prominently in the film and the marketing materials, Whitmill states that he owns the exclusive copyright to the design and that Warner Bros. hasn’t paid him for its use. The tattoo artist first attempted to block the comedy sequels release a few months ago, but the motion was rejected, but the case rolls on with a trial set for February 2012. Looks like this Hangover has a major headache!

Warner Bros. doesn’t want to wait around for this, as they have a DVD release planned (delaying it until after Christmas is no laughing matter), so they intend to digitally alter the film and change the offending facial inkage. A Warner Bros. statement says:

“If the parties are unable to resolve their dispute, Warner Bros. does not intend to make any use of the allegedly infringing tattoo after the film ends its run in theaters because Warner Bros. will digitally alter the film to substitute a different tattoo on Ed Helms’s face.”

Talk about a face-off.

Source: THR

4. Director Ed Zwick is a man who likes to flirt with many different genres (with mixed results) and it looks like he’s set to follow the Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway Viagra rom-com Love and Other Drugs (yeah, you read that correctly) with American Assassin for CBS films.

The film will be based on the most recent novel in Vince Flynn’s eleven book series about CIA agent Mitch Rapp. Last year CBS Films announced plans to kick start the Rapp franchise with Consent to Kill, with the studio aiming to cast either Gerard Butler, Colin Farrell or Matthew Fox in the role. However, American Assassin is a prequel novel (despite being the eleventh published) with CBS Films feeling like they might as well start the story at the start, rather than diving straight into the action – so to speak.

CBS Films president and CEO Amy Baer said:

“We were prepping Consent to Kill when Vince told us he was going to tell Mitch Rapp’s origin story in American Assassin. From there it was a natural decision to introduce audiences to Mitch Rapp, the man before he became the legend.”

It remains to be seen if Butler, Farrell and Fox are still in the mix, but I’d imagine they’ll go for someone a little bit younger, and cheaper.

Source: Deadline

5. Once Upon a time director Robert Zemeckis made films that weren’t motion captured “dead-eye” productions. Well, it looks like his fallout with Disney, following the box office disaster of Mars Needs Moms (which he produced), seems to have awakened the Who Framed Roger Rabbit? director from his technology induced, live action slumber.

We reported that Zemeckis was eying directing Flight and that Denzel Washington was “loosely attached” to star. We’ll it now looks “Washington’s deal will close shortly” and the film will take flight in the fall.

Let’s hope it’s the helmer that gave us Back to the Future and Romancing the Stone and not the guy who gave us The Polar Express.

Source: LA Times

6. Hollywood legend and former legendary lothario Warren Beatty was at a screening of his 1990 comic book film Dick Tracy during the 2011 Hero Complex Film Festival. Beatty told the assembled crowd about his thoughts on the movie, the forthcoming Blu-ray and he also revealed that he was working on a sequel to the film which grossed $103 million at the US box office twenty one years ago.

When probed about the sequel, Beatty said:

“I think it’s dumb to talk about movies before you make them. I just don’t do it. It gives you a reason to avoid making them.”

Beatty said of the original film:

“I didn’t want to do some picture where everything got blasted. … I think of this picture as rather a gentle movie, and it is compared to some stuff. Little by little I found myself caught up enough in it to actually go and make a movie about it, because it was hard for me. … I always think of making a movie like vomiting. I don’t like to vomit, but I get to the point where I think, ‘I’d better go ahead and do this, and I’ll feel better.”

He discussed his long standing love of the Chester Gould comic strip:

“It was the first comic strip I got involved with as a kid. You know, Dick Tracy was the first non-funny comic strip. … People got shot, times were tough in the Depression, things had to be done, and he went and did them.”

Beatty, who acquired the rights to the character in 1985 from the Tribune Co, recently fought a ferocious legal battle with company who said that the Oscar winner was just sitting on the dormant character. Beatty has been stating for years that he wanted to make a sequel to Dick Tracy, but the 72 year old likes to take his time when putting a film together.

He hasn’t directed since 1998’s political satire Bulworth and he hasn’t been seen on screen since 2001’s box office bomb Town & Country (budget: $90 million, worldwide gross: $10 million).

In the past Beatty has said that he intends to star in the film, and he hasn’t said anything to the contrary recently. The Ishtar star is a well known procrastinator, who likes to play his cards close to his chest, so don’t expect to hear much about Dick Tracy 2 until when, and if, it happens.

Source: LA Times

7. We recently brought you news that producers were planning to drop Thomas Jane from the Sylvester Stallone film Headshot, in the hope of casting someone more “ethnic”. Well it looks like they may have achieved their goal.

Joel Silver’s Dark Castle Entertainment has announced that shooting on the film will start later this month in Louisiana and Jane’s name is conspicuous by its absence. Reports have Fast Five’s Sung Kang joining the cast of the Walter Hill film – is he Jane’s replacement?

According to Variety:

“The film follows a New Orleans hitman (Stallone) and a Gotham cop who team up to take down the killers of their respective partners.”

Not only has the film lost Jane, but it’s also lost its title. Headshot has been ditched in favor of the oft-used, in-development moniker of “untitled”. Obviously the violent connotation of Headshot was too much for Warner Bros and Silver, who will undoubtedly re-title it something with a much more generic name.


Source: Variety

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