The Dark Knight surprised no one by performing impressively at the box office. We all knew it would win the weekend. It had everything working toward that end: a talented star who died too soon in his final full performance; film number two in a hot franchise; and the adulation of pretty much every critic out there. There was no way this movie was going to open at anything but number one at the box office.
Angelina Jolie gave birth to her and Brad Pitt's twins (a boy and a girl) on Saturday night. And nothing else happened anywhere in the world. At least that's what the news media would make you think. Possibly nothing else will ever happen in the world as long as the Jolie-Pitt clan continues to live and breathe and breed and adopt.
Earlier today, I said that Angelina Jolie's impending birth of twins was being treated like an M. Night Shyamalan movie. You probably said, "didn't that guy's English teacher warn him about overuse of hyperbole?" Well, guess what? That suspenseful news conference the Associated Press kept pimping all morning has turned out just like a Shyamalan movie: There's a surprise twist, and it sucks. Jolie isn't having her babies anytime soon.
You know how, when a filmmaker's first film does reasonably well at the box office, their next project is generally a little bit better, a little bit bigger, and they slowly inch their way up the Hollywood ladder until they've got the pull and the relationships to really make something epic? Well, that's generally how it goes, but sometimes there are guys out there that just say "fuck it" and shoot for the moon. Sometimes they nail it (Peter Jackson), most times they don't (randomly pick just about any name over at IMDb), and sometimes they're Wanted writer Mark Millar, and you just want to sit back with a bag of popcorn and watch the whole thing unfold. Millar had a decent summer movie that made a reasonable amount of money ($134,000,000 at the B.O.), and now he wants to take the Superman franchise and make it his "magnum opus."
Both new movies in wide release debuted strong at the box office, a sign that the box office numbers aren't slowing this summer, despite our nation's economic crunch.
To no one's surprise, Pixar's latest, WALL-E debuted at No. 1 (don't Pixar's movies always? I can't find one that hasn't), taking in $62.5 million, which ties it with Monsters, Inc. for the third-highest Pixar opening weekend, after The Incredibles and Finding Nemo.
Hancock dominated the 4th of July weekend -- both the three-day and the five-day versions -- at the box office. The movie's $66 million weekend and its even more impressive $107 million five-day take prove one thing: Will Smith not only still owns Independence Day (he has since Independence Day, really), but he also showed that he really is the last movie star. (Take that, Time magazine and George Clooney!)
Universal Pictures set sail this morning, armed the harpoon guns, and took aim at a classic. According to Variety, the prey was Herman Melville's Moby Dick, which Universal will film as a "reimagining" with director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) and scribes Adam Cooper and Bill Collage. The writers "revere Melville's original text, but their graphic novel-style version will change the structure." Cooper calls it the original "action-adventure revenge story," for which they will get to "capitalize on the advances in visual effects". According to the report, "Ahab will be depicted more as a charismatic leader than a brooding obsessive." At this point, poor dead Herman Melville crawls out of his plot at Woodlawn Cemetery and is about to capitalize on the advances in Google to look up the offices of Universal Pictures.
I have a confession to make. I recently recommended that my friend catch a screening of the 1986 John Stamos-Vanity-Gene Simmons vehicle Never Too Young To Die at a theatre near him in Los Angeles. I know, I know, what kind of friend am I? I figured he'd get a kick out of it, and I was really sad that I lived over a thousand miles away and couldn't attend myself, having watched it on video and yet still longing to see a giant Stamos projected 30 feet high. But while reading my friend's blog, in which he briefly summarized the story for the uninitiated, I was struck with a startling realization. Never Too Young to Die has the same plot as Wanted. Intrigued yet?
Watching commercials for Kick-Ass, one might be tempted to think that the movie is over the top. And depending on your definition (are the Coen brothers over the top? Tim Burton? Neveldine/Taylor?), it probably is. But while over-the-top movies often turn out to be the most enjoyable, Kick-Ass is actually more down to earth than most "serious" superhero movies. That's because the main character in the movie isn't a comic-book character, he's just an insecure teenager, and the other heroes are not superpowered at all -- they're just intelligent people with a flair for the dramatic and the element of surprise. The movie still goes a bit too far in places, but compared to the Crank series, Kick-Ass is like An Education with ski masks. It's also really funny, really violent and really entertaining.