Weekend Movie News Wrap Up: May 22, 2011

Here’s our box office report for the weekend of May 20th 2011 – as well as various movie news tidbits we may have missed.

This week:

Moviegoers walk the plank as Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides sails to the top of the box office; Mel Gibson uses Sleight Of Hand for a career comeback; Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell and Alec Baldwin play Turkey Bowl; Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton take a bite out of Byzantium; Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz pose for Gambit and Robert De Niro is The Wizard of Lies.

Box Office

The fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise - On Stranger Tides debuted this weekend to an impressive, but not spectacular $90.1 million. This is down from the $114 million start of its predecessor At World’s End and the mighty $135 million opening of Dead Man’s Chest. The number is also well below studio expectations in aiming for a $100 million-plus opening.

Reviews have been mixed (read ours here) but with strong international grosses ($256 million so far) it looks like this big budget blockbuster will bring in enough booty to guarantee that the already in development Pirates of the Caribbean 5 reaches screens. Will there be smooth sailing ahead for this latest pirate adventure or will the Jerry Bruckheimer produced franchise be entering stormy waters at the box office in the coming weeks? Critics may be tiring of Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow, but it remains to be seen if audiences have.

on stranger tides opens at number one

Last weekend’s surprise hit Bridesmaids was in second place after grossing an estimated $21 million, a figure which is less than 20% down from last week’s debut. The R-rated comedy has upped its cume to almost $60 million, and it looks like $100 million might be in range. Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Rose Byrne star in the Judd Apatow production.

The Kenneth Branagh directed Thor continues to hammer in the grosses, showing that even a second tier superhero can strike box office gold. Another $15.5 million saw the Norse god up his box office total to over $145 million.

Fast Five continues to drive up its grosses. The Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson action extravaganza banked over $10 million on its fourth week in release. $186 million is already in the till, meaning that a figure over $200 million is on the horizon. This fifth installment in the decade-old franchise is the most successful - and Monday morning should see worldwide grosses surpass $500 million.

Animated flick Rio rounded out the top five after scoring just under $5 million, giving the Fox film a $132 million box office total. It will probably take a massive hit next weekend when Kung Fu Panda 2 arrives.

Priest dropped almost 70% from last weekend’s start. The additional $4.6 million means that the Paul Bettany film has a total of $23.6 million. A total haul under $40 million awaits.

Jumping the Broom and Something Borrowed grossed in the region of $3.7 and $3.4 million upping their totals to an estimated $31.3 and $32.4 million respectively.

Water for Elephants scored another $2.1 million and brought its total up to over $52.4 million, while Tyler Perry’s Madea's Big Happy Family completed the top ten after grossing under $1 million - giving the film a total approaching $52 million.


Movie News

1. It looks like Mel Gibson might be finding career redemption after all. The aging box office titan and tabloid darling is reportedly in talks to join the ensemble heist film Sleight Of Hand.

Kiefer Sutherland, Thomas Jane, Gerard Depardieu, Giancarlo Giannini, Jon Lovitz and Johnny Hallyday are already set to star in the film which is “about a bunch of bungling burglars in Paris who inadvertently steal a rare gold coin belonging to a gangster.”

Sleight Of Hand might just be the thing that helps rebuild Gibson’s career without the burden of having to carry the film on his name alone. The interesting cast, solid premise and an international setting also mean that if the film doesn't do well at the US box office - it could score on the international scene.

Brad Mirman directs the movie, which starts shooting in July.

Mel Gibson can currently be seen in The Beaver.

Source: Variety


2. Mark Wahlberg is set to reteam with Will Ferrell and Alec Baldwin in Turkey Bowl.

Deadline states that the film “stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as guys from football-obsessed towns who lead rival teams in an annual tackle football game for bragging and trash-talking rights.”

Turkey Bowl will be written by 30 Rock's Robert Carlock and Scott Silveri – with both Wahlberg and Ferrell producing through their respective production companies.

The word on the street is that the film will be filled with “fun cameos” in the vein of Anchorman.

Source: Deadline


3. Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton are set to star in director Neil Jordan’s latest vampire film Byzantium.

According to THR:

“The original script is penned by Moira Buffini and details the story of a mother vampire who turns her own daughter into a vampire and the pair form a lethal partnership, sometimes posing as sisters.”

Over the years Jordan has directed numerous films in a variety of genres, including the stylish horrors A Company of Wolves and Interview with The Vampire. While Jordan’s films are often visually interesting and filled with good ideas, he often lacks a strong emotional drive to engage the audience – maybe this is something that can be corrected with Byzantium.

The film’s producer Stephen Wooley said:

“I love the horror genre and we’ve been working on this for three or four years. I sent it to Neil and he liked the script. We’d both recently revisited Angela Carter’s book and it was just chance that when I called [Jordan], we were thinking along the same lines.”

The film has a budget of $11 million and is set to start shooting in October.

Twilight fans assemble!

Source: THR


4. Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz started shooting the remake of Gambit on May 5th. The first image of the film has been released showing er... Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz. Though, it looks as if Firth may have stolen the original Gambit star's glasses (Michael Caine)!

Stanley Tucci and Cloris Leachman have joined the cast of the Michael Hoffman directed film - which was written by Joel and Ethan Coen.


5. Acting legend Robert De Niro is set to produce and star in a new movie for HBO based on Diane Henrique’s book The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust.

Madoff... ahem... 'made off' with billions of dollars of investors money over four decades and, when finally convicted, was sentenced to 150 years in prison.

So, it's going to be a real life Wall Street?Money Never Sleeps indeed.

Source: THR

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

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