Even when expected, it’s still an industry low when the box office sees record-breaking dismal numbers. But, on the bright side, the Toronto International Film Festival is in full swing and a handful of entries are racking up the positive reviews, so at least we’ve got some quality films to look forward to. Who wouldn’t take quality over millions of dollars in revenue?
Speaking of making the big bucks, the word is out that Eon Productions has plans to make two more Bond films after “Skyfall” with Daniel Craig and Jeffrey Wright is due to get much more attention after snagging the role of Beetee in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” On an independent level, Renee Zellweger is gearing up to make her directorial debut while “Horns” might pick up Juno Temple and more to join Daniel Radcliffe.
Ready to roll into all of that and much more? Here comes your weekly Movie News Cheat Sheet.
1. Toronto International Film Festival: We’re only a few days into the festival and the reviews are already pouring in. “Looper” is in good shape across the board, Total Film giving it five stars and IGN calling it “one of the year’s most engaging sci-films.” While Empire Movies points out that “Argo” is an unlikely contender come awards season, the outlet still dubs it “worth seeing if you’re interested in recent American history.” On the other hand, The Huffington Post and more are calling “Silver Linings Playbook” an “Oscar Heavyweight.” While most certainly not Oscar bait, The Globe and Mail calls “Spring Breakers” a “terrible, perfect movie,” and IndieWire says that its “greatest strength lies in [Harmony] Korine’s ability to present this toxic fantasy of youthful excess in terms that are simultaneously gorgeous and grotesque.” Eli Roth’s “Aftershock” is also making waves, Screen Crush saying, “For late nights and gatherings it more than serves its purpose,” while Collider praises “Seven Psychopaths” describing it as “brash, brilliant, wickedly fun, and the best film about screenwriting since ‘Adaptation.’” “Cloud Atlas” seems to be the one dividing the pack, critics like First Showing saying that it’s “a massive cinematic accomplishment on the grandest scale, an utterly enchanting, moving, remarkable storytelling masterpiece,” but THR calling it “a film that aims for the clouds but is often weighed down by its own lofty intentions.”
2. 007 Will Make It To 25: “Skyfall” isn’t due out until November 9th, but it’s already a guarantee that two more James Bond movies will follow. According to Deadline, Daniel Craig will take the franchise to film #25 via Eon Productions with Sony Pictures set to co-finance. With “Casino Royale” accumulating $40.9 million its first weekend out and “Quantum of Solace” taking $67.5, Craig and Eon could both be in very good shape for quite some time.
3. Juno Temple, Joe Anderson and Kelli Garner Go for “Horns:” “Horns” is already getting attention courtesy of Daniel Radcliffe, but now director Alexandre Aja is adding three more big names to the roster. Via The Wrap, Juno Temple, Joe Anderson and Kelli Garner are all in negotiations to take part in the film based on the Joe Hill novel. Radcliffe is set to lead as Ig Perrish, a guy who’s suspected of raping and murdering his own girlfriend (Temple). After spending a night drowning his sorrows in booze, Ig wakes up to find that he’s got a pair of horns growing out of his head, a pair of horns with the power to get others to confess their sins. Production is set to kick off this fall.
4. Jeffrey Wright is “Catching Fire’s” Beetee: While everyone was drooling over Finnick Odair, I anxiously awaited the casting of my favorite “Hunger Games” character, Beetee. He’s described as an older, fidgety man who’s nothing short of a genius when it comes to electronics, his home district’s specialty. He may not be able to drill an arrow into an opponent like Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) or even take someone on with brute force like Brutus (Bruno Gunn), but Beetee is just as deadly as any Hunger Games victor. Jeffrey Wright had never crossed my mind for the role, but now that he’s officially on board, I’m slowly warming up to the idea. I’d always pictured Beetee to be a far frailer looking man than Wright who I’ve come to know as someone who tends to play dignified men of power. Still, we’re talking about a talented and accomplished actor here, and he should have no trouble fulfilling his duty and become the character.
5. Renee Zellweger Due to Get Behind the Lens: What do you do when you’re an Academy Award winning actress and haven’t had a successful film in quite some time? How about give directing a go? Okay, perhaps that isn’t a fair generalization, but, really, what else does Renee Zellweger have going right now? “Bridge Jones’s Baby?” If that ever even actually happens, no thanks. As reported by Deadline, Zellweger has opted to fill her time with a new venture, directing and starring in “4 ½ Minutes.” The film is set in New York City and will feature Johnny Knoxville as a stand-up comic with a fear of commitment who winds up taking a gig watching Zellweger’s single-mom character’s son. Zellweger is expected to get behind the lens for production in February.
6. Tobey Maguire Too Famous for “Life of Pi:” Talk about a backhanded compliment. According to THR, Ang Lee opted to cut Tobey Maguire from his upcoming movie, “Life of Pi.” Maguire filmed scenes for a small role as a writer who interviews the main character, but, according to an “insider,” Lee didn’t think it worked. A source on Maguire’s side says that the trimming was due to the fact that Maguire was too famous to appear alongside the film’s cast of unknowns. Maguire makes no note of that issue in his official statement saying, “I fully support Ang’s decision to go a different direction for this role in ‘Life of Pi.’ Ang shared a lot of the film with me, and what I saw was absolutely beautiful.” However, the official statement from Lee suggests otherwise. “To be consistent with the other casting choices made for the film, I decided to go with an entirely international cast. I very much admire Tobey and look forward to working with him again in the future.” Rafe Spall has assumed The Writer role.
7. Al Pacino is Joe Paterno: Not only is Joe Posnanski’s biography “Paterno” on its way to the big screen, but it’ll star Al Pacino as the titular character. According to Deadline, ICM Partners is shopping a package with Pacino set to play disgraced Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno. As expected, the film will follow Paterno’s rise on the football field to his firing for helping cover up defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky’s history as a pedophile up until his passing shortly thereafter. While the project is certainly coming together, it’s still without a writer and director, so it’ll be quite awhile before Paterno’s story makes it to the big screen. Regardless, this is certainly one to keep on the radar.
8. Posters: The Good, The Bad and the Disproportionate: With the very positive reports coming out of the Toronto International Film Festival, it’s vital that “Silver Linings Playbook” has an appealing poster to go along with what’s being described as an award worthy film and, sure enough, the marketing department delivers, offering up something that keeps it simple, but has just the right dose of flare. “Parental Guidance,” on the other hand, not only does absolutely nothing to separate it from those painfully desperate holiday family films, but totally locks it into that lame classification. The poster for “Silent Hill: Revelation 3D” is even worse off, going with a terribly disorienting image that also looks quite digital and rather cheap, too.
9. Trailers: “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2,” “The Bay,” “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters:” The final trailer for the final film of “The Twilight Saga” has arrived and it’s actually pretty good. The piece is packed with the schmaltzy romantic material that makes non-Twihards gag, but it’s also got a nice amount of what looks to be pretty impressive action sequences. If you’re looking for yet another reason to mind what you touch, eat and drink, check out the trailer for Barry Levinson’s “The Bay.” The film focuses on the quiet town of Chesapeake Bay and what happens when its water supply is overrun by a deadly plague. Last up is the first trailer for “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters,” which most certainly takes some liberties with its source material. There’s a good chance this could be a failure of a CGI-heavy action flick along the lines of “Jonah Hex” and “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” but there’s also something rather fun about what the trailer’s got to offer and it might have a little something to do with that Nine Inch Nails track in the background.
10. Box Office: With no films managing to crack $10 million at the box office, this weekend is officially the lowest grossing since the same weekend in 2008. Thanks to the lack of competition, “The Possession” managed to hold on to the top spot, dropping just 46.4%, which is quite impressive for a horror movie, and earning another $9.5 million. “Lawless” also managed to hold on quite strong, but considering it only pulled in $10 million during opening weekend, its minimal 40% drop doesn’t get it very much, just $6 million. “The Words” had an absolutely dismal start, taking just $1,785 per theater for a $5 million total. “The Expendables 2” lost nearly half of its weekend three profits for a $4.8 million fourth weekend out while “The Bourne Legacy” dropped 44.7% for $4 million and the fifth spot at the box office. (via Box Office Mojo)