Morning Call Sheet: Weekend Box Office, Depressing Bond News, and Affleck to Direct 'The Stand'?
BOX OFFICE ANALYSIS
1. Paranormal Activity $54M -- Thus far this franchise has kept its promise to scare us to death, and look how that's paying off at the box office. The budget on this one was only $5 million and you can bet a fourth is on the way.
2. Real Steel $11.3M -- With a total take of $67M in only three weeks it's no blockbuster but still respectable.
3. Footloose $11M -- After a disappointing opening, the remake held on and is now officially not an embarrassment.
4. The Three Musketeers $8.8M -- As much as I love what Milla Jovovich and her director husband Paul W.S. Anderson have done with the fantastic "Resident Evil" series, nothing about the concept of introducing "wire-fu" to this beloved story or the trailer itself made me want to see it for free on HBO, much less in a theatre.
5. Ides of March $4.9M -- Clooney's drama has yet to crack $30 million after three weeks.
9. The Thing $3.1M -- The other eighties reboot released the same weekend as "Footloose" but unable to hang on.
MENDES WANTS AN OSCAR: NEW BOND TO BE PERFORMANCE PIECE, LIGHT ON ACTION
Cubby Broccoli, the originator of the Bond franchise, must be rolling over in his grave.
Rumours are growing that new British director Sam Mendes is planning to ditch a host of stunts and action scenes from his first Bond film.
Insiders say the new film, expected to be called Skyfall, will be very different in tone as Mendes instead aims for “characterful performances” that will put his creation in the running for Oscar nominations.
That could put a lot of pressure on Daniel Craig, who will be making his third appearance as the British secret agent It will also provide a big opportunity for the 43-year-old who has said that he wanted to bring more “emotional depth” to the role.
This is what happens when you hire an "artiste" instead of a journeyman action director like Martin Campbell, who brought us 'Goldeneye' and 'Casino Royale.' First Marc Forster, an otherwise respectable director who nonetheless had never been near an action film, is allowed to ruin 'Quantum of Solace,' and now the director of "American Beauty" is going to make a James Bond flick a "performance piece."
What in the world is going on here?
Part of the problem is obviously Craig, who can't bring himself to embrace the role for what it is.
BEN AFFLECK TO DIRECT NEW ADAPTATION OF STEPHEN KING'S 'THE STAND'?
Awfully hard to believe the terrific television miniseries starring Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwald is already 18 years old. As a huge, huge fan of the novel, there was nothing lacking for me in the six-hour television movie. In fact, I still think it's something of a miracle that such a beloved novel with such a large and expansive scope and with so many characters could be adapted so beautifully.
Prior to the '94 miniseries there was also a lot talk of a theatrical film. If memory serves, my paperback edition of the novel announced George Romero as the director. But even then it was impossible to imagine the story being told in a single two or three hour feature film.
But in this era of franchises, "The Stand" could be a huge blockbuster but also a risky venture. Many, many films are released with the idea to create a franchise behind them, but if they flop that's not the story's fault, because many of those films work just fine as standalones. Announcing King's novel as a trilogy would mean that if the first chapter failed to find an audience, the studio would be left with a mess. Either they can invest another $200 million to complete a story no one wants to see or have the first chapter of an unfinished trilogy forever hanging out there as an embarrassment. It would also be hard to market part one on home video if the others aren't coming.
Even 'Lord of the Rings' didn't face the same risk. At least 'Fellowship' represented a completed novel in a trilogy. One third of 'The Stand' would be an incomplete novel.
As far as Affleck goes, he'd be an excellent choice to direct. With 'The Town' and 'Gone Baby Gone,' he's already proven plenty capable of holding tight to his characters without losing sight of the action necessary to create an exciting story. And characters are everything in 'The Stand.'
PARKER POSEY DECLINES LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Parker Posey is 42 now, which means it's still not too late for Hollywood to make her the household star she deserves to be. She was always my number-one pick (after the perfect Margot Kidder) to portray Lois Lane, and ten years ago, she would've been an inspired choice as "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Posey remains the most talented and interesting actress working who has yet to receive her due.
Posey was right to turn down this award because the best part of her career has yet to begin.
I'm sure of it.
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JOSS WHEDON WRAPS SECRET SHAKESPEARE MOVIE PROJECT
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GREAT NEW CLIP FROM TOWER HEIST SHOWS US EDDIE MURPHY THE CAT BURGLAR
LAST NIGHT'S SCREENING
Some spoilers coming…
Now that the cross-country move and the home renovation are starting to get behind us and our time is becoming ours again, it was a good weekend to clean up the fall leaves, hit Walmart, and catch up on my Redbox viewing. Purely by chance I saw four films with strong Christian themes over the weekend: 'Priest,' 'The Rite,' 'True Grit' (2010), and 'The Last Exorcism.' The first two were weak, the latter two terrific, but all four treated the Christian faith with respect. 'The Last Exorcism' might have a charlatan preacher as the lead character, but in the end we learn the Devil is real and the con man redeems himself.
Most especially when it comes to matter of faith, things are changing in Hollywood and it would be unfair for us not to recognize that.
Also saw 'Thor,' which stunk, and 'Bridesmaids,' which was surprisingly funny, touching and intelligent. Kristen Wiig might be the best 'SNL' alum to hit the big screen in a decade.
CLASSIC PICK FOR TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25
2:00 AM EST King of Kings, The (1961) -- Epic retelling of Christ's life and the effects of his teachings on those around him. Dir: Nicholas Ray Cast: Jeffrey Hunter, Siobhan McKenna, Robert Ryan. C-171 mins, TV-PG, CC, Letterbox Format
A loving, beautifully filmed and faithful retelling of the life of Jesus. Not a perfect movie by any stretch, and Jeffrey Hunter isn't always convincing as Jesus, but if you set aside the time and allow yourself to get caught up in the story, the rewards are plenty--most especially the unforgettable Sermon on the Mount and Robert Ryan's superb turn as John the Baptist.
--Please send tips/suggestions/requests/complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org