Weekend Movie News Wrap Up: January 9th 2011

Here's our weekend box office report and various movie news tidbits we may have missed.

This week:

The box office shows True Grit, while Season of the Witch fails to cast a spell over audiences; Will Smith and Brett Ratner are Wheeler Dealers; Diego Luna and Lukas Haas get caught with Contraband; we travel back to the 60s using Pan Am and when we get there we meet a Playboy in the Magic City; Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock and John Goodman are Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Eminem commits Random Acts of Violence.

Box Office

The Coen brothers and Jeff Bridges have shown some true grit and determination with their latest effort... er... True Grit. This seems to have paid off because, according to estimates, the western has taken the top spot at the box office - defeating nearest rival Little Fockers. The remake of the John Wayne film (if that’s what you want to call it) banked $15 million over the weekend, upping its total to $110 million.

Little Fockers dropped to second place after scoring another $13.7 million. The total gross of the Ben Stiller/ Robert De Niro face-off flick is now $123.9 million.

The much maligned (and delayed) Season of the Witch (read our review) opened at number three with a gross of $10.7 million. It’s not as bad of an opening as some predicted - but it could have been a lot better considering Nicolas Cage’s star-power. Having said that, the man has been making films like they’re going out of fashion, so maybe audiences are getting Cage fatigue.

cage film debuts at number 3

Tron: Legacy upped its cume to $147 million after grossing another $9.8 million. Meanwhile, Black Swan banked another $8.3 million and brought its total up to over $61 million.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest Country Strong brought in $7.3 million over the weekend. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but ponder the fact that it’s only playing in about half as many theatres as Season of the Witch.

The Fighter punched up another $7 million, upping its total to $57.8 million – this should grow if it bags a few of those predicted Oscar nominations.

The King’s Speech talked its total up to $33 million. The historical drama brought in another $6.8 million over the weekend.

The top ten was rounded out by Yogi Bear and Tangled. Yogi scored another $6.8 million, while the Disney film brought in a smidgen over $5 million. Their totals stand at $75 million and $175 million respectively.

Movie News

1. Paramount Pictures has just sealed the deal on Wheeler Dealers.

smith and ratner produce wheeler dealers

According to Deadline:

“It's based on the true story of a group of Miami twenty-somethings who landed a $300 million Pentagon contract to acquire massive stockpiles of old Chinese ammunition that wound up being sent to supply the Afghan army.”

Michael Lerner will write the script for Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment and Brett Ratner's Rat Entertainment.

Will it be a comedy,drama, or an action film? Time will tell.

Source: Deadline

2. Diego Luna and Lukas Haas have joined the cast of Mark Wahlberg’s Contraband.

Baltasar Kormákur’s directs the smuggling drama, which is a remake of his own Icelandic thriller Reykjavik-Rotterdam.

Kate Beckinsale, Giovani Ribisi, and Ben Foster also star in the film.

Source: What’s Playing

3. The success of Mad Men means that 60s-set dramas are now “all the rage.”

Casting news for Playboy show

NBC has given the nod for the pilot for Playboy, according to Variety:

“The hour-long drama is set in the frisky world of 1960s Playboy clubs. Chad Hodge (Tru Calling) wrote the script, which focuses on a group of women working as Playboy bunnies in the New York club. Playboy will use that as a jumping-off point to explore the nation's changing mores and the coming sexual revolution.”

Playboy isn’t the only new drama set in the swinging 60s. Variety also says that:

“Starz recently gave a 10-episode order to the 1960s Miami series Magic City, while ABC is developing Pan Am, centering on the airline's wild crew in the 1960s.”

I hope that these people realize that what made Mad Men a hit was the quality of the show, and not just the period setting.

Source: Variety

4. John Goodman has joined the cast of Stephen Daldry's adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The former Roseanne star joins Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks in the film which is sure to be Oscar bait.

goodman joins hanks and bullock

"The drama centers on Oskar, a 10-year old boy who loses his father (Hanks) in the Sept. 11 attacks and goes on a cathartic journey to deal with his loss. He scours New York for information relating to the lock-box key box left behind by his father and meets an assortment of people along the way -- each dealing with their own forms of grief and loss that connect and parallel his own."

Source: THR

5. Nine years ago rap superstar Eminem made his movie debut in Curtis Hanson’s Oscar-winning 8 Mile. Despite a huge gross and critical acclaim, he didn’t seem interested in repeating that success – until now.


The rapper is set to star in Random Acts of Violence for 20th Century Fox, which is said to “center on an ex-con just released from prison who is trying to stay on the right side of the law despite pressure from his former comrades. At the same time, the FBI is trying to recruit him to bring down the syndicate.”

David Von Ancken, the director of the underrated Pierce Brosnan/Liam Neeson western Seraphim Falls and multiple episodes of Californication will direct the film.

A spokesperson for Eminem said:

“Eminem’s producing team, including his manager Paul Rosenberg, have been developing this project for some time. Everyone involved hopes that it comes to fruition and the film goes into production, but as of right now nothing is set in stone and there is no firm start date.”

Source: THR

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

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