Apes continue to rise, The Help has a heyday, and Final Destination 5 keeps the franchise alive... for now; The Smurfs will return in 2013; Bridget Jones's love woes aren't over yet; Disney is giving Cinderella a makeover; Patrick Wilson jumps onboard the Prometheus ship; and Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston is writing and directing his own movie.
Neither Emma Stone nor Death itself could stop Rise of the Planet of the Apes from snagging the box office crown a second time this weekend. The popular prequel dropped about 49% from its opening for an estimated $27 million take and a $104.4 million total. Suffice it to say, 20th Century Fox will want Rupert Wyatt to start giving more thought to his sequel(s) plans, ASAP.
Positive buzz helped propel The Help to the #2 spot over the weekend, where it took in some $25.7 million for a total around $35.5 million since its opening last Wednesday. The adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's best-selling novel benefited from Emma Stone's rising star-power, already-acclaimed supporting performances by Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, and a blend of comedy and racially-charged period drama that played out well with moviegoers. A total of over $100 million is definitely on the table.
Final Destination 5 (read our review) wasn't left for dead, but its estimated opening of $18.4 million was smaller than that of the last two entries in the franchise - including the previous 3D installment, The Final Destination. That may be enough to keep the series alive for now, but the supernatural horror franchise won't be able to avoid Death forever...
Sony's The Smurfs looks to have
smurfed taken in another $13.5 million, upping its total to $101.5 million, while the studio's 30 Minutes or Less (read our review) was not too far behind with an opening of $13 million. Who'd have predicted that a movie about CGI blue critters voiced by the likes of Anton Yelchin and Katy Perry would gross more in its third weekend than the reunion of Zombieland duo Jesse Eisenberg and director Ruben Fleischer could manage during its first?
Cowboys & Aliens rustled up an estimated $7 million for a total of around $80.8 million. Reaching $100 million in the U.S. may still be feasible for the costly genre mashup.
Crazy, Stupid, Love also managed to gross around $7 million over the weekend. The rom-com has secured approximately $55.3 million to date.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 wasn't too far behind, taking in around $6.7 million for an estimated total of $356.8 million. Captain America: The First Avenger was right behind the boy wizard series finale, taking in another $6.5 million for a total of $156.2 million or so.
The Change-Up rounded out the top ten with about $6 million, dropping some 60% from last weekend for a total of about $25.5 million. It looks like the Ryan Reynolds/Jason Bateman team-up won't come close to matching the financial success of this summer's other R-Rated laughfests (see: Bridesmaids, Bad Teacher, and Horrible Bosses).
Finally, Glee: The 3D Concert Movie only managed an estimated opening take of $5.5 million, setting it outside the top ten. It looks like most Gleeks weren't interested in paying the 3D surcharge to see their favorite auto-tuned characters perform "live on the big screen" - when they can just sit at home and watch them for free instead.
1. Love them or loathe them, The Smurfs are coming back
Sony has settled on an August 2nd, 2013 release date for the tentatively-titled The Smurfs 2, which so far only has producer Jordan Kerner set to return. Will Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, and Jayma Mays be returning for the sequel as well? And will the sequel have even more Smurf puns, pop culture jokes, and shameless product plugs than its predecessor?
Casual moviegoers don't exactly seem to love The Smurfs, but they have spent over $150 million seeing it up on the big screen - hence why it's getting a sequel.
We've already received Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel and Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties - any guess on what groan-worthy pun will be in the title of the Smurfs followup?
2. Working Title Films is reportedly pressing ahead with the long-rumored Bridget Jones 3, which would once again star Renee Zellweger as the charming English woman who's always struggling to keep her foot out of her mouth, her love life in order, and her weight well under 140 pounds.
Colin Firth previously had the following to offer, about what might go down in the third Bridget Jones flick:
“I can tell you that Bridget and [my character] Mark can’t have children, I think that’s the way it goes on. So then she makes the huge mistake of going back to Daniel Cleaver [Hugh Grant's character] for long enough to get pregnant. And I think he dumps her, and she’s left stranded, and guess who comes back to rescue her?”
While the second Bridget flick, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, left critics with a sour taste in their mouth back in 2004, it still managed to gross $262 million worldwide and keep the franchise alive. Still, are that many fans interested in seeing the Mark-Bridget-Daniel love triangle storyline rehashed AGAIN - even with the promise that Bridesmaids director Paul Feig could be calling the shots?
Source: Entertainment Weekly
3. Snow White isn't the only fairy tale princess being re-fitted for the new century. Walt Disney Pictures is moving ahead with a re-imagining of Cinderella, and is eying Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo, Never Let Me Go) as a possibility to direct.
The Mouse House's Cinderella retelling is based on a pitch by Devil Wears Prada screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna, which Deadline describes as "the re-imaging of the classic tale where the prince is set for a politically arranged marriage, until the evil plan is threatened when the prince meets Cinderella."
Passing over questions about how similar Disney's Cinderella re-telling will be to the 1998 Drew Barrymore flick, Ever After - Romanek is certainly an appealing choice to handle the famous Brothers Grimm story. If Disney ends up bringing previously-rumored starlet Amanda Seyfried onboard, this project would sound all the more promising.
Hey, it would have to be an improvement on Red Riding Hood, right? Right?
4. Watchmen and Insidious leading man Patrick Wilson is reportedly onboard for Ridley Scott's Prometheus, which has been shooting for several months now. Like most of the cast, there's no word yet on who and what exactly Wilson's character in the semi-Alien prequel will be.
In case you missed it, here is 20th Century Fox's (vague) official synopsis for Prometheus:
Visionary filmmaker Ridley Scott returns to the genre he helped define, creating an original science fiction epic set in the most dangerous corners of the universe. The film takes a team of scientists and explorers on a thrilling journey that will test their physical and mental limits and strand them on a distant world, where they will discover the answers to our most profound questions and to life’s ultimate mystery.
Early signs indicate that we won't find out for certain whether or not the rumored Prometheus plot outline is indeed false until the film is actually released in theaters.
Actually, the lack of details about the secretive project should help keep interest piqued - though, sometimes, spoiler-ish details and images can actually raise more questions than answer them (see: the recent onslaught of Dark Knight Rises set photos).
5. As if acclaimed Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston wasn't busy enough, he's now looking to write and direct an adaptation of David Wiltse's novel, Home Again.
Here is how Cranston describes the story:
"It’s basically a very strong father-son story, and a murder-mystery. An FBI agent who suddenly quits the department and takes his son and his wife and moves back to his hometown of Cascade, Nebraska, to rekindle family values and pay attention now. He’s been working for the FBI for years, so he’s been home sporadically. And his son is now sixteen, very sensitive, and looks upon his father like sort of a stranger… And then there’s a murder that happens in the little town that they move to, which kills [the father’s] whole stance on, 'Things are better in these small towns!' And then things unravel, and basically, the father and son come together at the end and save each other emotionally and literally.”
Cranston clearly has a fondness for solid screenwriting, and he's previously directed episodes of both Breaking Bad and Malcolm in the Middle. So, by all means, he seems like a ripe candidate to try his hand at working behind the camera on a feature-length film as well.
The actor will also be showing up in several noteworthy movies over the next year, including Drive, Contagion, Red Tails, John Carter, Rock of Ages, World War Z, Total Recall, and Argo. Seriously, when does this guy sleep?
That's it for now. See you at the movies.