Monday, August 17, 2009

BUZZ: District 9 at #1, Downey Jr. as Lestat, and more

• After rave reviews, it's no wonder that District 9 came in at #1 with $37 mil. But, of course, we'll only know of its true success after the second week, once non-critic word gets around. The Time Traveler's Wife managed to debut at #3 with a flimsy $19 mil. It irritated me to no end every time it previewed before a film I went to go see, but I thought girls would lap it up. Unfortunately, not even critics were impressed. Has Rachel McAdams lost her appeal? Regardless, I'm sure after moviegoers see her in Sherlock Holmes, people will remember why they fell in love with her. Speaking of lowered profiles, Jeremy Piven's star is seriously dimming. His comedy The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard died hard with a $5 mil open at #6. Alas, nothing tanked bigger than Vanessa Hudgens' Bandslam, which debuted at #12 with $2 mil, and it wasn't even a limited release. Ouch! Oddly enough, the critics thought the writing was rather refreshing. Nonetheless, that was Hudgens' first forray into non-High School Musical territory. Hopefully, this won't affect the open of her next lead role in the teen fantasy romance Beastly. A real indie, Ashton Kutcher's Spread, opened in less than a hundred theaters (and with much less critic approval), grossing $117,000. Meanwhile, G.I. Joe managed to hang in at #2 with $99 mil, and Julie & Julia slid down to #4 with a decent $43 mil. The horror thriller A Perfect Getaway, however, freefell out of the top 10, retiring with less than $12 mil.

• Apparently, vampires are so hot right now, even Robert Downey Jr. is getting in on the genre. There are rumors floating around that the Anne Rice series is about to get rebooted, and Downey Jr. is in the running for Lestat. If Tom Cruise ever needed a bigger sign that he was becoming increasingly irrelevant, he's about to get one. It's been fifteen years since the first movie in Rice's Vampire Chronicles was made, and seven since Stuart Townsend debuted as Lestat in The Queen of the Damned. There's no word on whether the series will be rebooted completely or if they'll continue the saga with the third book, The Tale of the Body Thief. But if Downey Jr. signs on to restart the franchise, he'll have three iconic characters that he'll be contractually obligated to preform for the next five to ten years: Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes, and Lestat, which leaves no room for indies or dramatic roles that don't involve fantasy. Heck, he won't even have time to just make us laugh like he did in Tropic Thunder, or better yet Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. I'm not too keen on that. Two is enough.

Eric Bana is reportedly uninterested in reprising his role in Star Trek or Hulk, because he's more interested in doing a Mad Max remake. However, I think reusing him as a villain in the Star Trek sequel would be a bad idea. He was good, but having an unknown, mysterious villain is way more enticing than revisiting the same vendetta. Besides, it's not like he's as ominous and intimidating as say....Darth Vader. (I'm kidding. I know that's Star Wars.)

• Uhh, apparently Bradley Cooper isn't the only one benefitting from the super stardom status of The Hangover. Ed Helms was just tapped for a film that sounds awfully similar to NBC's "Chuck." In the action comedy Central Intelligence, an accountant is "thrown into the world of international espionage after reconnecting with an old friend through Facebook." We'll see if he can carry a film on his own or if it'll be a major flop. I think it's too soon for him to go out on his own, but I applaud him for having the balls to.

• USA is greenlighting yet another spy series called "Covert Affairs" that'll star Christopher Gorham ("Ugly Betty") and Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly). It's about a multilingual CIA trainee (Perabo) who joins the agency and is still reeling over a mysterious ex-boyfriend who appears to be of particular interest to her bosses. Gorham will play a blind CIA military agent who'll help her navigate her new job.

• What would you do if you could start over? In Allison Winn Scotch's novel, Time of My Life, a woman is given the opportunity to redo her life. She wakes up seven years in the past without her husband and baby girl. Will she choose to do it all over again or forgo the white-picket-fence future? Hmm, sounds like a job for Reese Witherspoon.

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