Welcome to the first Weekend Movie News Wrap Up of November. Let’s see what movie news we can read to take our minds off buying Christmas presents.

This week:

Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman read The Book of Eli; Samuel L. Jackson is a Dragon; Ridley Scott is howling; Shyamalan is a Devil and just what is Genesis: Apes?

Box Office

Halloween hit the box office hard this week! It’s no surprise that Saw V mutilated the number one spot on Friday with a gross of just over $3 million. Look for the horror franchise pic to gross $9-10 million by Monday morning.

Clint Eastwood’s Changeling should also make some change in the $9-10 million range over the weekend. However, expect the Angelina Jolie film to have legs like…er… Angelina Jolie. High School Musical 3 dropped by a terrifying 90% on Halloween night grossing a mere $1.7 million. Don’t worry Effronettes that’s because most of you were out trick or treating. The film should have banked enough on Saturday and Sunday to ensure it grosses about $10 million over the weekend.

Kevin Smith must be tad disappointed. Zak and Miri Make a Porno was supposed to open with around $18-20 million over the weekend – ensuring that this movie would break his final ceiling gross of $30 million. Looks like it won’t happen. The R-rated comedy should end the weekend with about half the expected gross, meaning a $8-9 million weekend.

Meanwhile the Haunting of Molly Hartly died a grisly death on its opening. Expect a ghastly $5 million weekend for the fright-pic.

Meanwhile here in the UK Quantum of Solace (check out my review here) killed all the competition with a record breaking opening day. The James Bond adventure took a mighty £4.94 million on Friday – the biggest Friday gross ever here! By comparison Casino Royale grossed £2.9m on its first day.

Movie News

1. Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman will team for the post apocalyptic western The Book of Eli. The film will be directed by The Hughes Brothers (From Hell), and the plot follows Washington as he tries to protect the titular book that could save the human race.

It’s good to see Oldman back on bad guy duties!

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

2. The always busy Samuel L. Jackson will star as Sho’nuff, the Shogun of Harlem in a remake of the 1985 film The Last Dragon. According to The Hollywood Reporter:

“The updated plot will be along the same lines of the original, centering on young martial arts student Leroy Green in his quest through the streets of New York to achieve the highest level of martial arts accomplishment, known as the Last Dragon. Those who achieve the high ranking possess the Glow, making them the greatest fighter alive.”

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

3. Ridley Scott has acquired the rights to a werewolf movie written by Ian Jeffers. No details are known about the project but I wouldn’t hold your breath on Scott directing, the 71 year old has about a billion projects attached to his name. Although, having said that he might need a hit after Body of Lies. Russell Crowe as a werewolf? Seems possible.

Source: Bloody Disgusting

4. In July we told you M. Night Shyamalan had signed a deal with Media Rights Capital to form The Night Chronicles, a financing and production partnership that aims to produce one thriller a year for the next three years. Well now we can tell you that the first film from the shingle will be the supernatural thriller Devil.

John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle will direct and executive produce the film that was written by Brian Nelson.

Could be good, could be bad. I think it depends on your view of Shyamalan.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

5. Word on the street is that 20th Century Fox has been developing a reboot of The Planet of The Apes. Apparently this film will have nothing to do with Tim Burton’s 2001 effort, but it will be a prequel film showing how the apes took over the earth!

According to CHUD:

“Things are different in this script, written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, which is called Genesis: Apes. Fans will know that Caesar in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes is the result of a massive temporal paradox – his parents escaped to 1973 from a far future Earth. Further, Conquest takes place in a dystopian ‘future’ – 1991 – while Genesis: Apes is set in the modern day.

In this version Caesar is the result of a genetic scientist fooling around with the nature of things. When the baby monkey exhibits intelligence and the ability to talk, he takes the cuddly thing home to his wife, who is unable to bear children. Things go surprisingly well for a number of years until Caesar grows up and sees mommy getting attacked. The dutiful son steps in and accidentally kills the attacker.

Here’s where it takes off. In a scene paralleling Charlton Heston in the cage in the original Planet of the Apes, Caesar ends up in custody at an Ape Conservatory where he and the other apes are abused mercilessly. Caesar finds himself a primate without a world – he’s as smart as humans but will never be one of them (and is in fact tortured by them) and he’s initially rejected by his monkey brethren.”

This all sounds rather crazy and very much unlike the current regime at Fox. CHUD is skeptical that the film will ever see the light of day (as am I) but it would be a good way to reboot the franchise. The only problem is that it takes away the impact of the ending to the original film – if that is the way that they wanted to go in future films.

It’s a nifty and ballsy idea – but I don’t think that it is Planet of the Apes. The original is an iconic masterpiece that can’t be touched – but it would be fun to see a modern interpretation done with heart! As big a Tim Burton fan as I am, I felt that he did apes for the paycheck and his heart and visual styling weren’t in it. However, no one out there could really match Heston in the role (especially Mark Wahlberg) so a total change in franchise direction may be the only way to avoid comparisons to the original film (and franchise).

If Genesis: Apes does indeed make it to theatres I’d be amazed and impressed by Fox’s thinking. However, I can’t see that happening.

Source: CHUD

That’s it for another weekend. See you at the movies.