Weekend Movie News Wrap Up: March 21st, 2010

This week:

Alice stays in Wonderland, much to the disappointment of Jen and Gerard; Said says yes to Conan;  Steve Guttenberg gets over excited when he hears that “old faces” will be returning to Police Academy; Renner, Hoffman and Anderson are looking for anyone with $35 million sitting around to finance The Master; want to read another sentence where I compare a potential film franchise to the Jason Bourne movies? If so check out Andy McNab's Nick Stone film Echelon, and Paul Bettany and Rufus Sewell get their passports stamped for The Tourist.

Box Office

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland remained at the top of the box office after grossing an estimated $30 million over the weekend. The film has now grossed over $260 at the US box office alone. If I had a time machine I’d go back to the 90’s and bet some serious Benjamins on Johnny Depp being the biggest star in the world.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid was second with an estimated $21.8 million over the weekend. The Fox film is probably already in profit. The kid may be wimpy, but the box office is strong.

The Bounty Hunter made its debut in a disappointing third spot. The action-rom-com opened with around $21 million. The tabloid sensation coupling of Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler may have led to over-saturation, but , forgetting box office - what I really want to know is: are they or aren’t they?

Repo Men had a flaccid opening of just $6.1 million. The action film again proves that Jude Law isn’t a star at the box office, although I’ve heard that he’s something of a hit with the ladies!

Speaking of ladies – She’s Out of My League grossed $5.5 million giving it a total of just under $20 million.

Green Zone is a lot like a WOMD in Iraq – not a lot of people have seen it. The Greengrass/Damon combo has failed to ignite audience interest. The Iraq action thriller has grossed a little under $24 million since its debut last weekend. Maybe they should have made it in 3D.

Shutter Island grossed another $4.7 million over a weekend, giving the film a $115 million total. It just shows that anytime Leonardo DiCaprio gets on a boat, the cash registers ring. See if they’d worked that into The Beach...

Our Family Wedding and something called Avatar both did just under $4 million. Could next week be the first time in months I haven’t typed the words Avatar? We’ll find out.

It looks like a lot of people forgot Remember Me as the Robert Pattinson starrer. It grossed $3.1 million for a $14 million total.

Movie News

1. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra star Said Taghmaoui has signed on to Conan. The actor who played Breaker in the Hasbro adaptation will play the leader of thieves who is saved by Jason Momoa’s Conan in the Marcus Nispel directed film.

Avatar’s Stephen Lang stars as “a ruler in search of a queen whose blood will bring life to the demonic minions of a long-lost god.”

Ron Perlman has replaced Mickey Rourke as Conan’s father in the film which has just started shooting in Bulgaria.

Source: THR

2. Police Academy producer Paul Maslansky recently announced that there was a remake of the comedy franchise in the works. He stated that the film would have a new cast of recruits – but that it might keep the old theme tune:

However, it appears that some of the old crew will be returning after all:

"All I know is that I want to bring back some of the older characters to it, and maybe they’ll have principal roles, some of them, and some of them might be just you know [a cameo]."

I can see Steve Guttenberg running to phone his agent!

Source: MTV

3. A few months ago we told you that Paul Thomas Anderson was working on a religious drama with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, which was to be loosely based on Scientology. The news then was that Universal were waiting to see the script for the film (now called The Master) before they decided to green light the $35 million film.

Word from Deadline is that it’s very likely Bill Pohlad’s River Road will fully fund the film that now has The Hurt Locker’s Jeremy Renner is attached alongside Hoffman.

Hoffman stars as an intellectual in the 1950’s set film, who becomes the leader of a start-up religion that grows in popularity. Renner would play a young drifter who becomes his right hand man but begins to question his mentor and the religion's belief system.

It’s odd that Universal dropped the film. While it’s likely to be controversial, it does reek of Oscar. I’m assuming that $35 million was just too high of a gamble for the studio in this economic climate.

Source: Deadline

4. Hyde Park Entertainment has acquired the rights author Andy McNab's Nick Stone novels in the hopes that it becomes a franchise.

The first film will be Echelon which is based on McNab's Firewall, the third novel in the 12 book series.

Echelon movie

“In Echelon, soldier of fortune Nick Stone is paired with a street-smart female cryptographer, is hired to infiltrate a computer facility poised to breach a secret global surveillance system.”

The books have been compared to Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne novels.

Well, they are going to say that, aren’t they?

Source: Variety

5. Paul Bettany and Rufus Sewell have put their John Hancock’s on the dotted line to star opposite Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp in The Tourist. The Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck romantic thriller is now shooting in Venice, much to the excitement of the tabloids.

As Bettany and Sewell are British, I can only assume that their roles will be villainous in nature.

Source: Variety

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

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