This weekend:

Disney leap Frogs the competition to get to number one; Andy Daly moves to Jelly Stone Park; a Twilight star sees Hereafter; Polanski might not get a release but his Ghost Writer will; Diaz is a Bad Teacher; Frank Langella is an Unknown White Male and Frankenstein Lives in Death Race 2.

Box Office

Clint Eastwood’s Invictus scored just under $10 million over the weekend from 2,125 locations. Opening much like Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby, the film has had solid reviews from critics. With Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon head-lining, the film might have a chance of hitting the $100 million club if it gets some awards momentum.

Disney’s The Princess and the Frog took the top spot this weekend with an estimated $25 million. The film which had been on limited release in selected cinemas has gotten great reviews and with no real competition for the next few weeks it should have no problem crossing the century mark.

Sandra Bullock’s The Blind Side banked another $15 million for a total take of $139 million. The film is showing good legs, so it still has a chance of hitting $200 million, more so if Warner Bros. pushes for a Bullock Oscar nomination.

New Moon sucked another $7.7 million from the wallets of audiences. The total gross of the Bella and Edward film now stands at a massive $261 million.

A Christmas Carol grossed another $6.5 million over the weekend. With $119 million in the bank so-far, the film has another week or so in it before it’s done.

The rest of the top ten was littered by a selection of holdovers including Brothers, Old Dogs, 2012, Armored and Ninja Assassin.

Expect things to be shaken up next weekend when James Cameron’s Avatar opens. Despite some mixed pre-release buzz, the film has gotten some great reviews (see ours here) so it should score a hefty debut. Having said that – I don’t think that it’ll break any records or do New Moon numbers – but we’ll see about that next week.

Movie News

1. Andy Daly will join Dan Aykroyd, Justin Timberlake, Anna Faris and Tom Cavanagh in the currently shooting Yogi Bear movie for Warner Bros.

According to Variety:

“He’ll play Mayor Brown, who uses the city budget for his personal fun, drives the city into bankruptcy and comes up with the idea of selling Jelly Stone Park to fix his mess.”

Comedy will undoubtedly ensue.

Eric Brevig is directing the live action/CGI film.

Man, it makes me ill even thinking about this film!

Source: Variety

2. Bryce Dallas Howard has joined the cast of Clint Eastwood’s supernatural drama Hereafter.

The film follows an American, a French journalist and an English school boy as they are affected by death.

The film opens next December- in what is becoming Eastwood’s regular movie slot.

Howard will be seen in the forthcoming Twilight sequel Eclipse which opens in June.

Source: Variety

3. Summit Entertainment has purchased the North American distribution rights to Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer despite his legal situation.

The thriller stars Pierce Brosnan as a former British Prime Minister and Ewan McGregor as the Ghost Writer for his memoirs who discovers a dark secret.

The film which is based on the Robert Harris novel The Ghost (the original title of the film) will open during the Berlin International Film Festival and Summit plans to release it in the first half of 2010.

The film wasn’t completed when Polanski was arrested in Zurich in September (music scoring and sound mixing were incomplete), but one can only imagine that the Polish director has completed these since being under house arrest.

I have the book on my “to read” list and I hope to check it out over the holidays.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

4. Cameron Diaz will return to the world of the R-rated comedy in Bad Teacher.

“The story centers on a foulmouthed, gold-digging middle-school teacher who, after getting dumped by her boyfriend, competes with a colleague for the affections of the school’s model teacher.”

Jake Kasdan will the direct the film which was written by The Officewriters Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky.

Sounds like somebody will be able to package a three disc DVD set of There’s Something About Mary, The Sweetest Thing and now Bad Teacher.

It’s all about synergy!

Diaz will next be seen (or heard) in Shrek Forever After, Knight and Day with Tom Cruise and Green Hornet.

5. Frank Langella has joined the cast of Liam Neeson’s Unknown White Male. The thriller follows a man (Neeson) who awakens from a coma to discover that somebody has taken his identity. Langella will play Neeson’s colleague.

I presume that Neeson will be kicking all sorts of butt in the film as he’s now the go to middle aged action guy.

Langella is currently starring in The Box and he’ll also be seen in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, while Neeson has a slew of projects on the way including The Clash of The Titans and The A-Team.

Source: Variety

6. Roel Reiné will direct straight-to-DVD sequel to the Paul W.S. Anderson’s Death Race. The film titled Death Race: Frankenstein Lives.

The film written by Tony Giglio (almost a really cool name) has the following logline:

“Newly arrived at Terminal Island, a prison for the most unredeemable of convicts, Carl ‘Luke’ Lucas must prove his mettle in a race to the death.”

Source: Bloody Disgusting

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