This week:

1. Tron captures the top spot; Bill Pullman moves to Torchwood; AMC has Hell on Wheels; Legendary Pictures and Paul Greengrass won’t experience Jimi Hendrix; Nick Cassavetes knows the life of John Gotti; Ridley and Tony Scott read A Conspiracy of Paper; Sarah Jessica Parker, Halle Berry and Zac Efron celebrate New Year’s Eve; Syfy Ventures and Universal Pictures birth Syfy Films; Ron Howard talks Stephen King’s The Dark Tower; Ethan Hawke has an Exit Strategy for his movie career and Mila Kunis moves from the Black Swan to The Teddy Bear.

Box Office

Tron: Legacy won the belt of box office champion. The highly promoted and belated sequel to the ‘80s film grossed an estimated $43.6 million over the weekend. With a production budget somewhere in the region of $150-200 million, it’s safe to assume that the film will need good legs and strong international grosses to break even. Reviews of the film have been mixed (read ours) and Disney has a lot of bucks hinging on this – including dreams of continuing the franchise in further features. Next weekend will be the first indication if Tron: Legacy will indeed have a legacy – but we might have to wait and see how the film does on DVD/Blu-ray.

Yogi Bear opened in second place. The big screen adaptation of the beloved cartoon banked an estimated $16.7 million over the weekend. Warner Bros. was hoping that the film might gross as much as $25 million, but bad reviews probably didn’t help. Did they expect anything else? Gee Yogi!

Unless a Christmas miracle takes place, it looks like The Chronicles of Narnia franchise has come to the end of the road. The Voyage of The Dawn Treader banked just under $12.4 million in its second weekend and upped its total to $43 million.

Oscar hopeful The Fighter was third with an estimated weekend take of $12.2 million. While its not a huge debut, it must be noted that the film was playing in a thousand fewer theaters than Yogi Bear. Good legs should see the film pack a box office punch.

Disney’s Tangled grossed an estimated $10M for a total take of just under $130 million.

Sony is also getting it rough with The Tourist. The Angelina Jolie/ Johnny Depp film grossed an estimated $8.7 million following its debut last weekend. The European set thriller has now brought in $30 million.

Meanwhile, Black Swan expanded over the weekend and brought in an estimated $8.2 million. The Natalie Portman ballerina thriller continues to do well, despite a limited run.

It was more bad news for Sony Pictures. James L. Brooks’ How Do You Know debuted with just $7.6 million. That’s a bad enough start for any studio romantic comedy, however it’s made worse when that romantic comedy stars Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd and Jack Nicholson. Then factor in that the film cost $120 million to produce – and you can see that the type of headache that Sony executives are going to be facing on Monday morning.

The latest Harry Potter film, The Deathly Hallows scored a smidgen over $5 million and upped its cume to a mighty $266 million.

Denzel Washington and Chris Pine rounded out the top ten. The Tony Scott directed Unstoppable grossed around $2 million – upping its total to $77 million.

Movie News

1. Independence Day star Bill Pullman has signed on to Torchwood as a series regular.

Pullman joins series stars John Barrowman and Eve Myles in the fourth series of the Doctor Who spin-off.

Mekhi Phifer has also joined the series. According to Deadline:

“Phifer will play Oswald Jones, a dangerously clever convicted murderer who escapes his lifelong prison sentence on a technicality and quickly becomes a media sensation. Genuinely repentant yet boiling with lust and rage, Oswald gets caught up in a terrifying worldwide crisis.”

Source: Deadline

2. AMC has given a 10 episode order to Joe and Tony Gayton ‘s Hell on Wheels.

“Set in post-Civil War America, Hell on Wheels centers on former confederate soldier Cullen Bohannan (Anson Mount) whose quest for vengeance has led him westward to work on the construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad.”

And people are saying that the western is a dead genre.

Source: Deadline

3. Legendary Pictures had been developing a biopic of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix, however it now looks like the film, which would have been directed by Paul Greengrass, has been scrapped.

Many have tried and failed to get a Hendrix movie off the ground, and Legendary Pictures decided to package a deal for the film without asking the estate of Hendrix. The company hired Greengrass and writer Max Borenstein to develop the script and then pitched it to the Hendrix estate in the hope that they would be interested. It turns out that they weren’t.

Janie Hendrix said:

“Legendary proceeded without our permission, direction or involvement. It didn’t ‘fall apart,’ it never was. When we do the Jimi Hendrix feature film bio we will be involved and in control from the beginning.”


Source: Deadline

4. Nick Cassavetes is in talks to with Fiore Films to direct a biopic about the life of John Gotti Jr.

Variety states:

“The story, with actor Leo Rossi working on the script, will focus on the complex relationship between Gotti and his father — the flamboyant head of the Gambino crime family in New York who spent the last decade of his life in prison before dying of cancer in 2002. In his last visit to his father, the son said he was ending his life of crime and getting out of the family business.”

Cassavetes is quoted as saying: “I think it’s a great story about redemption and about America.”

Source: Variety

5. Warner Bros. has picked up the screen rights to David Liss’ novel A Conspiracy of Paper for Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free production company.

According to Variety

“Danny Strong has been tapped to adapt the mystery thriller, set in early 18th century London against the backdrop of the beginnings of stock speculation and the retreat from a mineral-based currency. Protag is Benjamin Weaver, a Jewish former boxer living on the fringes of criminal society who becomes entangled with powerful financial giants.”

Source: Variety

6. Sarah Jessica Parker has signed on to the dotted line for Garry Marshall’s New Year’s Eve, while Halle Berry and Zac Efron are in also in negotiations to also join the all-star cast.

Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Hilary Swank, Ashton Kutcher, Sofia Vergara, Jessica Biel, Lea Michele and Abigail Breslin are also currently set to star in the film, which is a follow-up to last years Valentine’s Day.

Source: THR

7. Syfy Ventures and Universal Pictures have teamed-up to create Syfy Films.

Apparently :

“The new entity will leverage Syfy’s genre expertise to produce human and relatable theatrical releases from the worlds of science fiction, fantasy, supernatural and horror.”

Universal will distribute the films theatrically, while the features will be promoted on SyFy.

There’s no news on what sort of budgets these films would have – but cross your fingers that it’s more than the usual SyFy effort.

Source: Coming Soon

8. Ron Howard has given an update of his current adaptation(s) of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower.

Howard plans to turn King’s work into a movie trilogy and a television series. The director said:

“It is going well, and it has been incredibly stimulating to work on. It’s dense, a great author’s life work is not to be taken lightly. It has been utterly fascinating to explore it, and we are having great creative conversations. I’ve begun tossing and turning at 3 in the morning over it, so that’s a good sign.”

Universal will release the first installment of The Dark Tower on May 17, 2013.

Source: Deadline

9. Ethan Hawke is in talks to star in the Fox TV drama titled Exit Strategy.

“[The show is] described as a high octane procedural, Exit Strategy centers on a team of 5 experts associated with the CIA who are deployed when a CIA operation goes bad to extract the ones involved before it’s too late. Hawke would play the team leader, the architect of exit strategy who also empathizes with the people they extract and would rather die than let them get hurt. Each episode would tackle a different crisis in a different country.”

Fox hopes that the show will be a replacement for 24.

Source: Deadline

10. Mila Kunis and Adam Scott are in negotiations to join the cast of Ted (formally The Teddy Bear).

“The movie centers on a man who as young boy made a Christmas wish that his Teddy Bear would come to life and be his best friend forever. Twenty-five years later, the bear is still at his side, but has now evolved into a cursing, smoking, delinquent that is preventing the man from maturing.”

Mark Wahlberg is set to star in the lead role.

“Kunis will be Wahlberg’s girlfriend, who wants their relationship to move to the next level and finally has enough of him living with his best friend Ted. She turns to her cad of a boss, to be played by Scott, for comfort.”

Source: THR

Just for fun:

How about seeing the last 12 months of movies in 6 minutes?

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