Although in many parts of the country it's still sweatier than a sumo wrestler in a sauna, the U.S. summer box office will be wrapping up the season as we head into Labor Day weekend. How did things go over the last few months? Better than expected, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Going into this weekend, "Nielsen EDI data showed domestic tallies of $3.96 billion that are sure to rise to beyond $4 billion by the Monday holiday." The box office was surprisingly strong "thanks to unsurprisingly robust sequels and a shockingly lucrative performance by the latest installment in a 19-year-old superhero franchise." The latter refers, of course, to The Dark Knight, although I have to wonder why its success is considered so shocking. Was anyone expecting, say, Meet Dave to siphon off some of the Bat's profits?
The excellent comic book review and discussion web site iFanboy recently released a vlog interview with Marvel comics Godfather and mascot Stan Lee. One of the questions asked of Lee, creator of such heroes as Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four, was what one creation of his, and long-time partner Jack Kirby, surprised even him with its level of success? His answer begrudgingly was The Hulk.
Not "incredible" as in "unbelievable," mind you. By that definition, Lee's Hulk was incredible indeed, because I couldn't believe that the title character didn't appear for 45 minutes, the action took a back seat to the exploration of family dramas, and the final scene involved Nick Nolte biting a power line and turning into a thunderstorm. (Okay, that last bit is kinda believable.) No, when it applies to the Hulk or his movies, "incredible" should mean explosive! Bombastic! Larger than life! Considering that Leterrier did all of that with the 5-foot-6-inch Jet Li in Unleashed, doing the same with the Hulk must have been like shooting Bi-Beasts in a barrel.
Just in case you're not reading our DVDs Unwrapped blog, we thought we'd clue you in on the latest DVDs we've gotten the chance to review. Sadly, we were turned down for a review copy of Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter, but we'll keep trying.
Journey to the Center of the Earth -- Possibly the greatest 3-D movie made entirely to show off the wonders of 3-D you'll see this year. Of course, it's no The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D, but then, what is?
The Strangers -- When Dave Chappelle (dressed as Lil Jon) talked about giving himself "a stranger," I don't think he meant breaking into his own home and terrorizing himself for the better part of a night. But maybe he did. We don't know his life!
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull -- Love it or loathe it, this is an out-of-this-world DVD set. Above and beyond. To the moon, Alice. In other words, it may have been created by aliens.
The Incredible Hulk -- A pretty incredible collection of extras, including an alternate opening where you can see Captain America stuck in a block of ice. Be prepared to "freeze"-frame. Get it?
Sleeping Beauty: 50th Anniversary Edition -- It's the newest edition of the Disney classic, straight outta the vaults and fully restored with bonus songs and some sweet documentaries. Fun for a girl or a boy! (Boys, be prepared to fast-forward.)
Check out more DVD reviews in DVDs Unwrapped!
Comic book movie casting news changes faster than Clark Kent in a phone booth. Just a few days ago, Michael Caine (better known as Alfred to some, and as Alfie to others) was telling MTV News that he'd heard it from a Warner Bros. executive that the studio wanted Johnny Depp as the Riddler and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the Penguin. It seemed all but confirmed that Hoffman would waddle onto the big screen as the Bat's next nemesis. When asked about it the next day, though, Hoffman himself denied the long-standing rumor, saying: "No one has talked to me about it, ever -- never." He added that he's "such a fan of those [comic book] movies," but explained that he'd rather watch them than be in them.
Don't get too excited (or fearful) yet. There's no definite plan for a fresh reboot of the Superman film franchise. There aren't even definite plans for another Superman film, period. Or at least no announced plans. Last month, Incredible Hulk director Louis Leterrier created a minor hubbub when, according to one website, he told a "French media outlet" that he had "heard whispers at [Warner Bros.]" that they were considering "reinventing" the Super franchise. Whispers of a reboot have been circulating since practically the day Superman Returns bowed in 2006. Now comic book writers Grant Morrison and Mark Waid are talking to MTV's Splash Page about how they'd like to do things.
When The Incredible Hulk arrives on DVD and Blu-ray this October 21, home movie enthusiasts and will have several options to choose from. Collider has reported details about the extra footage that will be available. For those living in the past with mere DVD players (that would be me), there's the standard release, which will contain a little over 13 minutes of scenes deleted from the theatrical release. You can also choose to shell out the extra bucks for a three-disc collection that has almost 30 minutes of deleted footage. But if you've upgraded to a Blu-ray player, an incredible 44 extra minutes will be available to you.
It's amazing how quickly things move in Hollywood. The Incredible Hulk has been a box office smash for less than a day, and already its director, Louis Leterrier, is inking his next movie deal: According to the Hollywood Reporter, Leterrier is in talks to direct Strays, an "eco action thriller." Because, you know, eco-themed movies are usually so entertaining and not at all bloviating. Take The Day After Tomorrow, for instance: That 48 rating at Metacritic has nothing to do with how good the movie actually was, right? Riiiiight. In other words: Louis should stick to a different kind of "green": Hulk franchise, anyone?
The Incredible Hulk hasn't been quite the buzz machine that certain other comic books have been this summer, but it's been generating plenty of its own news over the weekend, with the biggest bit of news being that Hulk will actually speak in this movie -- unlike in the TV series and Ang Lee's Hulk film (except in a dream sequence) -- and he'll be voiced by the TV series' star, Lou Ferrigno. [Yes, the one who didn't speak on the TV show. - Z]
The Incredible Hulk director Louis Leterrier told ComingSoon.net recently that he's eager to do another Marvel comics movie. Everyone wants to see a movie about Wolverine and tons of people are already salivating over the prospect of an Iron Man sequel, but Leterrier said he would try "camping out at the Marvel office to direct anything they want." "Anything"? Marvel has over 5,000 characters at its disposal; if he's thinking about pitching new ideas, he might want to narrow it down.