Will the actress's new horror film trounce 'Fright Night' opening weekend?
While Hollywood begins its post-mortem on “Fright Night,” the 3D horror film that performed way below expectations this weekend, all eyes are on “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” the Katie Holmes terror-fest that opens next Friday.
Will “Dark” succeed where “Fright Night” failed? Believe me, I loathe the practice of declaring a film a success or failure based on its opening weekend alone but panicked studio execs seem to be placing more and more importance on those early numbers. And with “Fright Night” bringing in slightly less than $8 million over the weekend, the Disney and DreamWorks folks are not exactly doing handstands down the streets of Burbank.
If “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” has a killer opening, as I believe it will, we may see even more hand-wringing from Disney execs since the studio’s sale of Miramax last year sent this eerie film away from Mickey’s purview and over to the fledgling FilmDistrict.
Girls gone wild at chic boarding school elevated by up-and-coming cast
Did the film adaptation from a stellar cast and crew deserve better?
Disney spills the beans on new animation projects involving dinosaurs and the human mind
Among the events at the D23 Expo this weekend at The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank was the announcement of two new Pixar films. Not a lot of information was given about the as-yet untitled films but the news was still greeted with excitement by thousands of diehard fans who attended this behind-the-scenes tour of Disney's current and upcoming projects.
The first film, to be released in 2013, was introduced by its director, Bob Peterson (“Up”). It will be a what-if tale about a world in which the asteroid missed the Earth and dinosaurs still roamed our planet.
The second film, scheduled for 2014, delves into the human brain. Director Pete Docter (“Monsters Inc.”) said the film will attempt to answer such age-old questions as “why do songs get stuck in your head?”
We'll provide more details on these CG undertakings as they are revealed. The Disney Expo also heralded two Pixar features that are next on the docket: next summer’s “Brave,” a fairy tale set in medieval Scotland, and “Monsters University,” a prequel to the popular “Monsters Inc.,” to be released in June 2013.
Pixar is marking its 25th anniversary this year. Can you believe it has only 12 films under its belt? And that three of those are sequels? Still, the studio seems to have the Midas touch. The films have grossed a whopping $6.5 billion and have won 29 Academy Awards. With that kind of success rate, it's no wonder the studio takes its sweet time.
“Conan” opening day pales in comparison to the women of “The Help”
Proving that the apocalypse may not be upon us after all, the new 3D “Conan the Barbarian” is trailing far behind “The Help,” still the Number 1 film two and a half weeks after opening. The Dreamworks/Disney drama took in $5.7 million on Friday with an estimated $20 million for the weekend ($71 million to date). The uber-violent “Conan,” on the other hand, had an anemic opening day in the Number 4 position, taking in $4.1 million in box office receipts with a wan weekend estimate of $11 million.
According to Nikki Finke of Deadline, both “Conan the Barbarian” and “Fright Night” flatlined on their opening day yesterday. And since both “Conan” and “Fright Night” are playing in more theatres than “The Help,” the numbers may bode well for heartfelt message films over nonstop blood-and-guts terror. At least until next week.
I hear Jason Momoa has challenged Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer to a brutal hand-to-hand rematch. I don’t know about you, but my money is on the ladies.
Despite a disastrous press conference at Cannes, Lars Von Trier’s new film is getting a positive buzz
Magnolia Pictures just released the official U.S. poster for Lars Von Trier's latest film, “Melancholia.” Last May, Von Trier sabotaged the positive reception of the film at the Cannes Film Festival with a press conference that had his PR people pulling their hair out. First, the Danish director/provocateur joked about making a hardcore pornographic film with his stars, Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg (who were sitting right there in awkward silence). He then made some off-color comments about Jews and Nazis and said that he understood Hitler. At one point he even declared that he was a Nazi. Though Von Trier later insisted that the press just didn’t get his dark humor, the bizarre escapade prompted the officials at Cannes to declare the director “persona non grata” for the rest of the festival.
Too bad Von Trier’s bad-boy antics overshadowed what sounds like one of his best films in years. Despite the debacle with the press, Kirsten Dunst received the Best Actress Award at Cannes for her performance as a bride who seems to have it all just as life as we know is about to change.
Like the recent “Another Earth,” the film features a complex story of human relationships against a science fiction backdrop, in this case a likely collision between our planet and a larger one that is speeding toward us from another solar system.
The cast of “Melancholia” includes Alexander Skarsgard as Dunst’s new husband, Charlotte Gainsbourg as her vulnerable sister, Kiefer Sutherland as her sister’s optimistic spouse, and Charlotte Rampling and John Hurt as the parents of the two women. Each of the characters has a very different response to the imminent catastrophe facing our planet.
The film will be released in the United States on November 11. I’m guessing that its distributor will do its best to keep the focus on Kirsten Dunst’s heralded performance and less on Lars Von Trier's tendency to whip up controversy wherever he goes.
Check out the emotional trailer below. (And, if I were you, I might not choose this film for a first date...)
Rebel Wilson books three new projects
Annoucement of production comes just as three are free from prison after 18 years
It’s only fitting that, on the same day that the “West Memphis Three” were freed from prison after 18 years for a crime many believe they did not commit, Hollywood would announce a feature film adaptation of the story. But this isn’t a case of a studio rushing a quick project to capitalize on breaking news, as the film about the trials and convictions of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley Jr. for the murder and mutilation of three young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas in 1993 has been in development for a number of years, and the announcement comes with a team of talented filmmakers behind it.
Deadline reports that the film is essentially ready for production, with Atom Egoyan (“The Sweet Hereafter,” “Chloe”) on board to direct from a screenplay by Scott Derrickson and Paul Boardman (“The Exorcism of Emily Rose”). The pair have been working on the script since 2006. Egoyan has reportedly spent the last month and a half rewriting the script with Boardman, proving that this is one of the projects that just seems meant to be. The script is based on investigative reporter Mara Leveritt's 2003 book Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three. The book focused mainly on the trials that sent the three to prison, so it will be interesting to see how the filmmakers work recent developments into their script.
The film package reportedly includes life rights deals with some of those involved with the case, including private investigator Ron Lax, one of the three’s most dedicated crusaders. Lax has worked the get the verdicts overturned since 1993. There are currently no rights deals with Echols, Baldwin, and Misskelley.