Weekend Movie News Wrap Up: March 20th, 2011

This week:

This weekend's box office is Limitless; Samuel L. Jackson is a not-so-good Samaritan; Taylor Swift will be protected by The Lorax; Tom Hanks is ready to take on A Captain's Duty; Gore Verbinski is headed for The Brink; Sam Worthington finally gets the Drift; Sarah Jessica Parker and Marisa Tomei are Married and Cheating; and more.

Box Office

Limitless ended up being the winner at this weekend's box office race, taking in an estimated $19 million from 2,756 theaters.

Director Neil Burger's thought-provoking popcorn flick (read our review) exceeded early expectations and should help further cement star Bradley Cooper's standing as a credible box office draw - when he's not just getting up to Hangover related antics, that is.

Bradley Cooper in Limitless (review)

Paramount's Rango managed to snag second place again, thanks to the customary Saturday matinee bump that kid-friendly flicks often get. It took in around $15.5 million and upped its cume to about $92.7 million total. The combination of star Johnny Depp and director Gore Verbinski has once again proven to be a potent one, as far as financial returns go.

Sony's Battle: Los Angeles came in third, bringing in around $14.5 million for a total of $60.5 million. The gritty alien invasion was down almost 60% from its opening weekend haul, but should still manage a total domestic gross in the vicinity of $80-90 million.

The Lincoln Lawyer (read out review) managed to bring in about $13.6 million, edging out this weekend's extraterrestrial movie release, Paul (read our review) with $13.2 million. It's possible those two will switch positions when the actual weekend results are released - either way, both were pretty much right on with early box office predictions.

Catherine Hardwicke's Red Riding Hood saw its ticket sales sliced in half from the opening weekend, and took in another $7.3 million for a $26 million total.

The Adjustment Bureau snagged another $5.9 million, adjusting its total (*rimshot*) domestic gross to $48.8 million.

Mars Needs Moms held up quite well from its miniscule opening weekend, grossing another $5.2 million and upping its cume to $15.2 million. That's still nowhere near enough to cover its $150 million + budget, of course.

Beastly brought in another $3.2 million, upping its total haul in the U.S. to $22.1 million.

Hall Pass rounded out the top ten by taking in another $2.7 million for a $39.9 million domestic total.

Source: Deadline



1. Samuel L. Jackson won't be taking a break between now and the beginning of production on Joss Whedon's The Avengers. The actor will first be starring in The Samaritan, a neo-noir thriller that revolves around an ex-con... con man (Jackson) who, fresh off twenty years in prison, is hoping for a new start - but soon learns to appreciate the phrase "We may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us." Kudos if you get that reference.


Director David Weaver describes The Samaritan as being like "'Mona Lisa', 'The Crying Game', or later on, 'Sexy Beast' and 'Memento'… because they blended the conventions of the American genre film with a singular daring in their approach to their subject matter.”

Also, for those wondering - no, this film will not involve Jackson's Die Hard With a Vengeance character, their same nicknames aside.

Source: Deadline


2. Taylor Swift fans who've been yearning to see the singer continue her acting career following her debut performance in Valentine's Day (*ahem*), rejoice! She'll be lending her vocal talents to Universal and Illumination Entertainment's computer-animated adaptation of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, which is being written and directed by the same trio of talents that brought you Despicable Me.

Swift will voice the object of affection for a boy (Zac Efron) who meets a curmudgeonly but charismatic creature called The Lorax (Danny DeVito), a being responsible for protecting the world. Ed Helms, Rob Riggle and Betty White will round out the voice cast for the film.

It'd be a stretch to claim that either Efron or Swift are known more for their expressive voices, and not their heartthrob looks. Neither one will be voicing an especially eccentric character in The Lorax - so they actually should be fine in the film.

Here's hoping The Lorax is more Horton Hears a Who! and less The Cat in the Hat, in terms of previous Dr. Seuss movie adaptations.

Source: THR


3. Tom Hanks hasn't appeared in a live-action film since 2009's Angels & Demons, but he's prepped to (pardon the wording) get busy in front of the camera again. Besides his upcoming role in this year's Larry Crowne, Hanks has signed on recently for Kathryn Bigelow's Triple Frontier, Disney's Jungle Cruise movie, and Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

Now Hanks is also onboard (pun intended) to play Captain Richard Phillips in an adaptation of the novel "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days At Sea". The book recounts the actual Phillip's harrowing experience, when he willingly allowed himself to be taken hostage by a group of Somali pirates - so as to spare his ship's crew from having to do so.

This true-life tale of bravery and sacrifice is being produced by the team behind The Social Network and was scripted by acclaimed screenwriter Bill Ray (who also wrote the upcoming Hunger Games adaptation). Once a name director becomes attached to this project, it'll all but literally shout "Awards Contender," yes?

Source: Deadline


4. Hot off the heels of his latest financially successful team-up with Johnny Depp, on the CGI-animated flick Rango, director Gore Verbinski will shift gears into serving as the executive producer for Starz' latest TV series, The Brink.

The Grudge screenwriter Stephen Susco is penning The Brink pilot, which is based off the supernatural crime novel "Personal Effects: Dark Art" by J.C. Hutchins and Jordan Weisman. It will revolve around art therapist Zach Taylor, who begins an investigation into the life of Martin Grace - a supposed serial killer who claims to have merely foreseen his victims' deaths, not caused them directly.

Brink should be familiar territory for Verbinski, who's no stranger to dark supernatural material - having been at helm of The Ring and the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. With Verbinski only producing this time around, it will be interesting to see how he influences the style and design of Starz' new show.

Chances are good, though, that Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name won't pop up, riding a golf cart again in The Brink (don't ask).

Source: Deadline


5. Those who can never get enough of Sam Worthington are in luck. The Australian star of Avatar and Clash of the Titans will be headlining a low-budget surfing flick titled Drift - co-directed by fellow Aussie talents Morgan O'Neill and Ben Nott, working from O'Neill's screenplay.

The 1970s set movie follows a pair of surf-loving brothers (one of which is Worthington) who attempt to begin a new life in a small Australian coastal town. That's easier said than done, as the siblings soon have to contend with the suspicious locals, whose ranks include a pack of punk bikers.

Screen Australia's Fiona Cameron says that "The unique combination of surfing and performance expertise gives 'Drift' the potential to be the first character-driven action movie set in the surfing world since Kathryn Bigelow's 'Point Break'." Take that as you will.

Source: Variety


6. Sex & the City's Sarah Jessica Parker and Marisa Tomei (who by now really has earned the Oscar she won for My Cousin Vinny) look set to work together on the dramedy Married and Cheating - from acclaimed indie writer/director Raymond De Felitta (City Island).

The film revolves around three married couples that are (what else) struggling to attain happiness, and takes place in both New York and Paris.

Tomei continues to improve her resume as an actress, between her latest role in this week's The Lincoln Lawyer and George Clooney's next directorial effort, The Ides of March. Parker, by comparison, has Garry Marshall's next celebrity ensemble rom-com, New Year's Eve, on the horizon - which, admittedly, is the sort of thing she does best anyway.

Source: Variety



Finally - Chile now has its own real-life Jedi Academy. Do I need to explain how awesome this is?


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

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