This week:

Avatar stays atop the box office; Is Teresa Palmer taking a trip down Fury Road? Bill Murray joins Fox and Rourke in Passion Play; Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are in line for the Crowne and Mark Wahlberg thinks that Four Brothers is so 2005 and that we must upgrade to Five!

Box Office

Avatar held on to its usual position over the Martin Luther King weekend with an estimated gross of $50 million. With $500 million already in the bank, it is now a sure thing that the James Cameron film will top Titanic as the highest grossing film of all time at the US domestic box office, as well as worldwide. It’s a sight that I never thought that I’d see for a long time.

Denzel Washington had to settle for the runner-up position with The Book of Eli. The post-apocalyptic action film still grossed an estimated $37 million, giving Washington one of the better openings of his career, and probably another $100 million hit.

Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones was number 3 with a decent $23 million weekend. The pricy film was once seen as a possible major Oscar contender, but mixed reviews seem to have put an end to that sort of talk. The film might be able to scrape $100 million by the end of its run.

Alvin & The Chipmunks was fourth with a gross in the region of $15 million. With $195 million already in the bag, one can only image what sort of pun that they’ll think up for the third title!

Sherlock Holmes came in fifth this weekend with a gross of just over $12 million. The film is now approaching the double century mark and a sequel is on the way.

The Spy Next Door saw another nail in Jackie Chan’s career coffin. With about $12 million it wasn’t a total disaster, but come on Jackie! I doubt the Karate Kid remake will help things.

It’s Complicated banked another $10 million giving the Meryl Streep comedy a $91 million gross.

Leap Year, The Blind Side and Up in the Air all duked it out for the 7, 8 and 9 positions. With about $7 million each it’ll be a tough call. The Blind Side has so far made a huge $228 million, while George Clooney’s Up in the Air has now accumulated an impressive $64 million.

Movie News

1. While out promoting How to Train Your Dragon, Jay Baruchel let it slip that actress Teresa Palmer will have a major role in Mad Max: Fury Road.

Baruchel said:

“She gets to work with him, and she’s (going to be) doing Mad Max 4 with Miller.”

While the actor didn’t give any specifics he did say that he believed that it would be the female lead.

“She’s the main chick in Fury Road. She’s going to be there for over a year. It’s really, really cool.”

Is this the role that Charlize Theron was in the frame for a few months back?

Time will tell.

Source: The Herald Sun

2. Bill Murray has now signed on to star in Passion Play alongside Mickey Rourke and Megan Fox.

The former (current?) Ghostbuster will play gangster Happy Shannon in the 1950’s set film. The role was originally filled by British actor Toby Kebbell who dropped out for unspecified reasons. Okay, it’s got Murray and Rourke – I’m there!

Source: Production Weekly

3. Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are set to re-team for Larry Crowne

“The story centers on a middle-aged man being forced to find a new career.”

The film will be directed by Hanks (his first since That Thing You Do), and the Oscar winning actor also had a hand in writing the script.

Hanks and Roberts last shared the screen in 2007’s Charlie Wilson’s War.

Source: Variety

4. It looks like Mark Wahlberg is sequelizing his 2005 hit Four Brothers, with the imaginatively titled Five Brothers. See what they did there? I can just imagine the high fives in the room when the thought of that title.

The first film was a loose reworking of the John Wayne western The Sons of Katie Elder, and it was directed by John Singleton.

Wahlberg apparently had a hand in the concept for the new film, alongside David Elliot and Paul Lovett. Details are sketchy at the minute, but you can bet you’ll find them on Screen Rant when they emerge.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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