Weekend Movie News Wrap Up: February 14, 2010

This Week:

It’s Valentine’s Day weekend and love is in the air, so it’s no surprise what’s atop the box office. The other positions are less obvious; writers take a Vacation for New Line; Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Marion Cotillard get contagious for Steven Soderbergh; Jeffrey Dean Morgan might be a Loser but he has an Unblinking Eye and why the switch for Cage’s Witch film?

It was a romantic weekend at the box office as Garry Marshall’s Valentine’s Day claimed the number one position with an estimated $52 million over the weekend (or$60 million over the four day Presidents Day weekend). With a slew of top names like Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba and Anne Hathaway it would appear that this rom-com is going to be pretty profitable (most of the cast took a back end deal).

Percy Jackson & the Incredibly Long Title was second with an impressive $31 million (or$40 million over four days). While it’s not Harry Potter money it does indicate that a sequel may be on the way.

The Wolfman was third with a $3o million gross ($35 inc Monday). With mixed reviews (Vic loved it) it might get to the point where we see Wolfman 2: The Wolfman takes Manhattan. If we do, it won’t cost $100 million like this one!

Avatar should bring in another $23 million over the four days for a mind-boggling $665 million gross. $700 million is now certainly on the cards. Imagine it folks - someone, somewhere has gross profit points in this film.

Dear John faced stiff competition, but banked another $15 million over the weekend. Tooth Fairy snatched another $5.3 million, while John Travolta's From Paris With Love banked another $5 million.

Mel Gibson's Edge of Darkness nabbed another $4.4 million, while Jeff Bridges' Oscar favorite Crazy Heart sang up another $4 million.

When In Rome rounded out the top ten with just over $3 million.

Movie News

1. Last year we brought you news that Wedding Crashers director David Dobkin was producing a National Lampoon’s Vacation “revamp” for New Line. The film will focus on Rusty Griswold (the son of Chevy Chase’s Clark) as he takes his family to Wally World (the setting of the original film) before it shuts down.

The studio has now hired Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley to pen the script for the film which may (or may not) bring Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo back in the roles that they played from 1983-1997. The duo recently returned to the roles in a recent advert that played at the Super Bowl.

New Line hoped that the film will be similar in tone to Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

More on the new Vacation when we get it.

Chevy Chase will next be seen opposite John Cusack in Hot Tub Time Machine.

Source: Variety

2. Steven Soderbergh loves to work. The director constantly juggles multiple projects and always has one film ready to go as soon as he finishes another. The Ocean’s 11 director is currently shooting Knockout and he was ready to segue into his Liberace biopic with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, but he has pushed that project back for viral thriller Contagion

Soderbergh works so fast that Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Marion Cotillard are currently closing deals to star in the film which has been penned by The Informant and The Bourne Ultimatum scribe Scott Z. Burns.

The film is believed to be a multi-stand story similar to Soderbergh’s Oscar-winning hit Traffic. Contagion is scheduled to start shooting this fall.

Liberace fans shouldn’t panic though as Soderbergh, Damon and Douglas are set to tinkle the old ivories for an early 2011 start.

More when we get it.

Source: The Playlist

3. A few days ago I had the great pleasure of interviewing Solomon Kane director Michael J. Bassett – that interview will be live in a few days si be sure to come back and check it out. During the course of the interview he said that he was working on a new “genre” film and that the cast would be announced shortly. While he couldn’t give me details at the time, he did say that he was excited by the cast that he’d lined up. Now we can see why: Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen, The Losers) will star in The Unblinking Eye.

The Hollywood Reporter has the following synopsis for the film:

Homicide detective John Callisto now a retired recluse after being nearly murdered by a serial killer, is tracked down by a relentless journalist. As the two confront each other, dark secrets from both their pasts come to light.

The $10 million budget film starts shooting in May, after which Bassett would like to shoot a Solomon Kane sequel.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

4. Life really can be a witch. Just ask Lionsgate and Nicolas Cage!

The studio had planned to release the Nicolas Cage starrer Season of the Witch in five weeks (March 19th), but they’ve now pulled the film, and no replacement release date is set!

The Dominic Sena directed film which also stars B-movie favorite Ron Perlman follows 14th Century Knights as they transport a girl who is believed to be a witch.

Season of the Witch Nicolas Cage Ron Perlman

No reason has been given for the removal – but the March 19th date does have a lot of other movies that might impact on the films box office takings – science fiction actioner Repo Men with Jude law and Forest Whitaker and action comedy The Bounty Hunter with Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler also open.

I’d imagine that a fall or winter date would suit the film better – maybe around Halloween? Just a guess.

More on Season of The Witch when we get it.

Source: Variety

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

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