Monday, August 03, 2009
FILM: Funny People at #1, Twilight's Upgrade, and more
• Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen's Funny People stole the top spot from Harry Potter with a modest $23 mil. Even though it had mixed reviews, I'm still seeing it this Wednesday. You really can't go wrong with an Apatow film. Meanwhile, the kids were still digging both Potter, which has reached a resounding $659 mil worldwide after only 3 weeks, and G-Force, which came in right after it at #3 with a depressingly high $66 mil. Seriously kids? Hamsters? Unfortunately, because of the two, Aliens in the Attic had a truly disappointing open at #5 with $7.8 mil. The only other adult-oriented film in the top 5 is the rom-com The Ugly Truth, which slid down to #4 with $54 mil. Can you believe that Gerard Butler had to re-audition as an American, in order to convince the director that he shouldn't play his character as a Scottsman? After seeing the film and laughing my ass off, I'm glad he stuck to his guns. There's no way a Scottsman would've done or said half the things his character did. Another film I'd recommend seeing is the dramatic romance Adam with Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne. It opened in 4 theaters with $66,000. The critics loved the deadpan humor and quirky endearing qualities of a troubled yet charming character. Retiring from the top 10 are Public Enemies with a sizable $93 mil, and Bruno with a $119 mil, which is less than half of what Borat made. And 0n the verge of being retired from the top 10 is the formidable Transformers sequel with $806 mil worldwide. Not bad at all.
• It seems as the Twilight saga progresses, there are more and more efforts to legitimize the film's worth. A majority of Hollywood and viewers thought the first film was a joke, whether due to the acting or the directing, but I'm truly surprised at what lengths the studio will go in order to silence the snickering. At first, replacing Catherine Hardwicke with Chris Weitz (Golden Compass) as director seemed like a no-brainer, especially since she okayed the addition of crappy dialogue and presented the laughable, stripper-like glitter effect on Edward's skin. But then they went above-and-beyond by threatening to nix Taylor Lautner as Jacob if he didn't beef up, selected respected actors like Dakota Fanning to portray future characters, and most recently recast a formidable future enemy. The controversy regarding the replacement of Rachelle Lefevre as the vengeance-seeking Victoria with Bryce Dallas Howard (The Village and Lady in the Water) has become a heated discussion on the net. Was it fair to nix Lefevre because she wouldn't have been available for 10 days to shoot due to a previous commitment to another film? And even more importantly, will it make a difference? I, personally, think that the amount of rage that Victoria possesses can't really be expressed by someone who looks as innocent and harmless as Howard. We've already been witness to Lefevre's fury and expecting Howard to deliver the same or even better will be a hard sell. Replacing actors half way through a saga is never a good idea in my opinion.
• While Courtney Cox is set to star in her very own ABC comedy series called "Cougars," another "Friends" graduate, Jennifer Anniston, has just signed on for a cougar-themed rom-com called Pumas. It's about two women in their 30s who go on the hunt for some young blood while on a French skiing vacation. According to the press release, the experience "challenges their romantic expectations." How exactly? They discover something that Demi Moore already has: young men can actually maintain a steady monogamous relationship? I think the clincher will be whoever ends up as her co-star. Fingers crossed for a heavyweight like Drew Barrymore, although I think she's above such low-brow rom-coms, but it's the only way to attract a major box office result.
• Ever since I heard that the producers of "Dexter" gave it an expiration date, the sudden flurry of films Michael C. Hall has signed on for makes perfect sense. First I saw him in the trailer for Gerard Butler's upcoming action thriller Gamer, and now I'm hearing that he's signed on for the indie drama adaptation East Fifth Bliss. He'll play a guy who begins an "awkward relationship with the 18-year-old daughter of a former high school classmate." Plus, he just wrapped the comedy Peep World, where four siblings try deal with their youngest sibling's recently published tell-all about their family secrets. Sounds like we won't be seeing the last of Hall even if his serial killer alter ego gets the ax.