Can you feel the chill in the air? Winter’s coming! Okay, so many of you likely don’t live in the northeast and this is the Movie News Cheat Sheet, so there’s little room for TV references here, but fall is right around the corner!
Even with Oscar season approaching, our Academy Awards potentials aren’t getting much love at the box office. After a weak start, Warrior took a tough fall and this weekend newcomer Drive lacked the zest to earn it the #1 spot, or even the #2 one for that matter. In other dark news, Nicolas Cage is apparently a vampire and Tim Burton’s take on Dark Shadows looks as though it’ll fit quite nicely in his twisted repertoire.
We’ve got a couple of lawsuits hitting the courts as well, one pitting the upcoming film In Time against the author of Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktockman, Harlan Ellison, who claims New Regency unlawfully used his material and another involving Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter, the former calling the latter a “copycat news organization.”
But don’t worry; it’s not all doom and gloom in this Cheat Sheet. In fact, we’ve got a particularly solid trailer section to share. Interested? Keep reading for more.
1. Nicolas Cage is a Vampire: There’s a new item up for auction on eBay, “Nicolas Cage is a Vampire/Photo from 1807/Tennessee.” Sure enough, the image looks exactly like Cage and the seller believes it’s really him claiming, “He is some sort of walking undead/vampire, et cetera, who quickens/reinvents himself once every 75 years or so.” I don’t know about that, but there certainly is a resemblance here. Then again, there’s a pretty good shot this is just a wannabe phenomenon via Photoshop and I’m inclined to believe just that as it seems like the head is looking to the left, but the facial features dead straight. Is this the real thing and is it worth $1 million? You be there judge. Click here to check it out. (via THR)
2. Django Unchained is a No Go for Kevin Costner But Samuel L. Jackson Is Good To Go: Just a few months ago, word got out the Kevin Costner was joining the cast of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained as a rough and tough slave trainer at Candyland with a pension for killing his trainees. Well, according to Variety’s Justin Kroll that’s not happening anymore, Kroll tweeting, “And in another interesting piece of casting news, Kevin Costner has had to pass on DJANGO UNCHAINED due to scheduling conflicts.” Sure the news is disappointing, but we’ve still got Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx and now Samuel L. Jackson, too. As reported by Variety, Jackson will team with Tarantino for the fifth time to portray Stephen, “a house slave and the right-hand man of a sadistic slavemaster.”
3. Harlan Ellison Trashes In Time: Harlan Ellison, the scribe behind the Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions sci-fi anthologies, doesn’t just not like the upcoming Justin Timberlake film In Time, he despises it so much he’s demanding every copy of the feature be destroyed. Ellison is suing New Regency and director Andrew Niccol, claiming copyright infringement. According to Ellison, the film is seemingly based on his short Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktockman, a piece Ellison is currently adapting to film himself. The writer says the parallels between his short and In Time are “obvious” and some critics, including Richard Roeper, got the impression In Time was actually based on Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktockman during press screenings. THR points out Ellison could be fighting an uphill battle as copyright law protects only expression and not ideas, but the article also mentions Ellison’s fame could work to his advantage.
4. Ashley Bell is Back for The Last Exorcism 2: While promoting her latest film, The Day, at TIFF, Ashley Bell told Bloody Disgusting, “I just signed on for the sequel of Last Exorcism.” SPOILER ALERT, Bell’s Nell Sweetzer’s fate is a bit up in the air after her exorcism, so it should be interesting to see where Eli Roth and co. take the character. As for Bell, she’s simply psyched for her big return. “I’m so excited. I have not seen or heard anything so I don’t know what is going to go down.” When asked about the new contortion requirements, Bell explained, “I am sworn to secrecy. My life’s now worth more sharing more details.”
5. Tyler Perry Is The Highest-Paid Man In Entertainment: Forbes’ list of the highest paid men in entertainment is quite interesting. You’d think it’d include Hollywood rock stars like Johnny Depp or maybe a top-notch athlete, but actors and sports stars barely make a dent, Tiger Woods assuming the 10th position with his $75 million and Leonard DiCaprio coming in 8th with his $77 million. Of the bunch, just four crack the $100 million mark, beginning with Elton John. Moviemakers Jerry Bruckheimer and Steven Spielberg snag the second and third positions with $113 million and $107 million respectively, and, while that’s a ton of dough, those numbers come nowhere close to the bankroll of the year’s highest earner, Tyler Perry. Perry tops the list with an incredible $130 million and it’s really no wonder. Perry churned out a total of five films over the past two years, all but one earning more than $20 million opening weekend. He’s a hardworking guy with an expanse of talent. He’s certainly earned this honor.
6. Deadline vs. The Hollywood Reporter: Two of our favorite entertainment news resources are going at it in court. Apparently Deadline is suing THR for copyright infringement. Both sites released official statements, THR claiming, “An initial review of the complaint shows that it is replete with examples of stories that originated from widely-released press releases from publicists, or widespread confirmations from publicists to numerous outlets.” They also purport this is a Nikki Finke ruse in an effort to distract folks from recognizing THR’s growth. On the other hand, Penske Media Corporation, the owner of Deadline, says, “PMC is taking a stand against desperate and copycat news organizations and media outlets such as THR that constantly monitor PMC’s websites for the sole purpose of copying and imitating PMC websites’ news stories and original content within minutes after online publication.” Check out PMC’s full statement here and THR’s right here and stay tuned for more information on the situation. (via NYMag.com)
7. Dark Shadows Gets The Tim Burton Treatment: After what Tim Burton did to the beloved Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, it should come as no surprise that the director’s take on Dark Shadows’ Barnabas Collins is well, a bit flamboyant. Rather than merely rocking those choppy bangs and a set of fangs, according to a set of photos snapped by Celebuzz, Johnny Depp’s Barnabas Collins comes fully loaded with sleek sideburns, blue shades and a porcelain complexion. Click here to check out the gallery and decide for yourself whether or not Burton is taking his adaptation a bit too far.
8. Bye Bye TIFF: The Toronto International Film Festival may be coming to a close, but this is only the start for a few of its well received players. Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz earned some high marks, ComingSoon.net saying, “It once again proves [Polley’s] talents both for writing riveting dialogue and for being able to get unforgettable performances from her actors.” The Vine honors The Eye of the Storm with four stars, calling it “frank, funny and immensely satisfying.” Friends with Kids may have gotten a boost from its all-star cast including Kristen Wiig, Megan Fox, Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph and more, but now it earns some clout from solid reviews, too. NYMag.com describes the pieces as “sharp, quick, and energized by tremendous chemistry.” Naturally, the festival’s also seen its fair share of losers, too. Butter isn’t getting much love, JoBlo giving it a 3 out of 10 and calling it a “shockingly dismal failure.” THR loves Jennifer Hudson in Winnie, but can’t say the same for the film as a whole. “There are rich dramatic possibilities in the conflicted choices here, but in striving to inflate the tragic love story, Roodt’s film whitewashes too many moral issues, sacrificing nuance and complexity.” As for buying, according to TheWrap, more than 31 films have been sold including Goon, The Raid and Sara Palin – You Betcha!.
9. Trailers: Premium Rush, The Muppets, 13 and We Bought a Zoo: After years of living in New York City, I’m well aware of the risk bike messengers take by hitting the road alongside the slew of traffic, but Premium Rush is far beyond getting bumped by a cab or two. Miss the eight minutes of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo shown before early screenings of Straw Dogs last week? At least you can watch the Muppets parody as many time over as you’d like. Crank up the intensity yet again with Sam Riley, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke and 50 Cent in the trailer for the remake of 13 Tzameti, a twisted tale of Russian roulette. Let’s wrap things up with something a little more family friendly, Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo. Due out on December 23rd, this Matt Damon starrer certainly looks like some very appropriate wholesome holiday fair.
10. Box Office: Will classic Disney animations returning to the big screen in 3D be the latest trend? Well, after The Lion King’s $29.3 million opening weekend, I’d bet on it. Not only did The Lion King snag the #1 spot, but it absolutely demolished the competition. Contagion dropped a modest 35.4% for $14.5 million and the second slot while newcomer Drive posted a mediocre $3,818 per theater average for a total of $11 million for the weekend. The Help continues to hold on strong even in its sixth week. After a mere 27.9% fall, The Help adds another $6.4 million to its pot. Wrapping up the top five is another first-timer, Straw Dogs. However, even with nabbing that fifth position, the film still only managed to take a mere $5 million in its opening weekend. Then again, that’s more than Sarah Jessica Parker can say for her latest, I Don’t Know How She Does It. That one finished with a measly $4.5 million (via Box Office Mojo)