This week:

If you go down to the woods today you’re in for a big surprise – an alien invasion with Battle: Los Angeles. These aliens might be seeing Red, but they aren’t from Mars; Bruckheimer & Bay are Cowboys;  director Brad Furman has Intricate details; BP are in Deepwater; Vin Diesel and director David Twohy get Riddick-ulous; Tom Petty might be Free Fallin‘ but his daughter Adria won’t Suffocate and Ellen Barkin enters A. Mann’s World.

Box Office

Some say that love is a battlefield, but they just don’t follow the weekly box office. This weekend a  major battle took place at the box office, and like any combat situation, there were some casualties. Three high profile new movies opened, but only one could be the winner. Battle: Los Angeles, Red Riding Hood and Mars Needs Moms all fought it out for the box office crown, but it was Battle: Los Angeles (read our review) that had the firepower to win. The Aaron Eckhart-led science fiction/war film saw an impressive debut of $36 million. The testosterone-fueled action-fest cost a reported $70 million, so it looks like this is going to be very profitable for Sony and producer Neil Moritz.

Johnny Depp’s Rango dropped to second place after grossing an estimated $23 million. The ILM animated film has now amassed $69 million worth of coin, meaning that it’s going to be another $100 million hit for Depp. Who mentioned The Tourist?

Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke’s Red Riding Hood (read our review) opened third after grossing an estimated $14.1 million. The retelling of the famous fairy tale starring Amanda Seyfried was expected to debut in the $20 million range, so this has to be something of a disappointment for Warner Bros. I wonder if Hollywood is going to rethink the multitude of fairy tale films that it has in development?

The Adjustment Bureau dropped to fourth place after banking $11.4 million. The Matt Damon starring adaptation of the Philip K. Dick tale has now chased up over $38 million.

Disney’s disaster Mars Needs Moms (read our review) had a tear-inducing $6.8 million debut. If you think that’s a bad start for 3D movie, you would be right. Now realize that it cost $150 million to produce. Ouch!

The reimagining of Beauty and the Beast – Beastly, brought in about $5 million for a $17 million total, while Hall Pass grossed the same amount for a healthier total of just under $35 million.

The Adam Sander and Jennifer Aniston comedy Just Go With It has now amassed $94 million worth of green, helped by this weekend’s take of $4 million.

The King’s Speech banked another $3.6 million for a $129 million total haul, while Gnomeo and Juliet should bring in another $3.5 million for a $89 million cume.

Liam Neeson’s Unkown kicked around $3.3 million out of the pockets of moviegoers over the weekend, but dropped out of the top ten. The action thriller has now grossed over $58 million – it’s good, but it has not taken as much as… er… Taken.

News

1. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Transformers helmer Michael Bay have hired a new writer for their HBO series Cocaine Cowboys. The Pacific screenwriter Michelle Ashford has been brought onboard by the two producers to pen the pilot for the show, which will be loosely based on the 2006 documentary of the same name.

The Fighter director David O. Russell has a film version of Cocaine Cowboys in development, but he also has a packed slate, including the Uncharted movie that’s set to star Russell favorite Mark Wahlberg. Look for one of these projects to pull out of this audio/visual game of chicken.

Expect Cocaine Cowboys to have less smash, bang and wallop than Bruckheimer and Bay’s previous joint efforts like The Rock, Bad Boys and Pearl Harbor. Hopefully.

Source: Deadline

2. Brad Furman, the director of the forthcoming Matthew McConaughey legal thriller The Lincoln Lawyer is set to direct a new film called Intricate.

According to the LA Times:

“Inspired by a true story, Intricate tells of a highly touted college basketball recruit who gets involved in the drug underworld after his hoops career doesn’t pan out. At the time, the New York narcotics trade is rife with violence and connections to the burgeoning rap industry.”

Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky and Scott Franklin were both apparently involved in early development, but it doesn’t look like they will be a part of the film.

Source: LA Times

3. Summit Entertainment has joined forces with Participant Media and Imagenation Abu Dhabi to option a New York Times article titled Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hour.

The article (which you can read here) by David Barstow, David Rohde and Stephanie Saul offers a detailed account of the BP oil-rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

I wonder if Kevin Costner will be involved.

Source: Deadline

4. Now, from oil to diesel – Vin Diesel. The gravel voiced actor and director David Twohy have been talking up the third film in their Riddick franchise. The duo have said that the film will be a lot like Pitch Black because of the (lack of) money involved. They have also stated that they are “committed to going R” and that they’ll maintain this rating “at any cost.”

Twohy went on to say:

“We’re gonna be lean and we’re going to go quick and it’s going to be a cool movie, I can tell you that.”

Source: Vin Diesel

5. Musician Tom Petty’s daughter, Adria is set to direct the thriller Suffocate.

According to Deadline:

“Suffocate is a thriller about a group of city workers who enter a hoarder’s condemned brownstone and find it loaded with deadly traps, and an unrelenting killer. The group is forced to use their wits–and demolition tools–to stay alive.”

In the past Petty has directed a slew of commercials and the documentary Paris, Not France.

Suffocate was written by Ben Olsen and will be produced by Radar Pictures.

Source: Deadline

6. Ellen Barkin is set to join Don Johnson in the pilot of A. Mann’s World.

Barkin will play Johnson’s ex-wife in the show, a role which could become regular if the Michael Patrick King directed pilot goes to series.

The cast of the Shampoo-esque drama also includes Sex and the City’s Mario Cantone, as well as Kelly Hu, Sandra Vergara, Caitlin Crosby, Amanda Warren and J.R. Bourne.

Source: THR

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