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Monday
May262008

'Watchmen' Gets DVD-Only Bonus Movie

watchmen7.jpgWe've detailed the great move by Warner Bros. Animation to release Batman: Gotham Knight ten days before The Dark Knight hits theaters this summer. The DVD is an anime anthology of adventures set between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. It's an exciting way to whet your appetite for the follow-up, if, by some chance, you're not already geeked about seeing it.

But it appears that it could be part of a bigger plan for Warner. The New York Times reports that, in hopes of increasing its DVD sales, the studio will go full-scale with next year's anticipated graphic novel flick, Watchmen. Zack Snyder will direct a feature film released exclusively on DVD five days after Watchmen is released on March 6th.

That animated film, Tales of the Black Freighter, is a bit of an inside story. Within the Watchmen storyline, there's a teenager always reading a comic book at the newsstand. That comic is Tales of the Black Freighter, and for the DVD, Gerard Butler will voice the captain of the ship of the dead.

The Times also reports that the DVD will contain a bonus feature, a pseudo-documentary called Under the Hood, which will go deeper into character backstories. That's exactly what comic book movies need, especially those that deal with groups of crime fighters as opposed to one hero.

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Monday
May262008

Kate Beckinsale's 'Whiteout' Gets a Release Date

kbeckinsale6.jpgI honestly can't tell you why Kate Beckinsale isn't one of the biggest female stars in the world. She's always got to be in the argument of the most beautiful actresses in the world, and it's not like she's an absolute stiff on screen.

I mean, Cameron Diaz is a much bigger name and I don't think she's in Beckinsale's league in either category. But Beckinsale has had her moments, certainly, although I don't think her career was helped as much by Pearl Harbor as we would've suspected before its release.

Sure, the Underworld movies have treated her well, but the second one is pretty bad. And then you throw Van Helsing, one of the worst movies of its kind, and Serendipity on her resume, and you realize that a lot of the blame falls on her for picking bad roles. Still, I think she deserves better. Even her good films get ignored. I'm hopeful that Whiteout will be a bigger hit for her, but primarily because I like the premise.

It's a murder mystery set in Antarctica, and Beckinsale plays the U.S. Marshal charged with finding out whodunit before the continent goes dark for six months. I'm not in love with Dominic Sena calling the shots on it, but from what I'm told, the graphic novel on which it's based is pretty detailed, and the character Beckinsale plays, Carrie Stetko was compared to Dirty Harry by Artbomb, so there's certainly reason to be optimistic.

Now, Shock Till You Drop tells us that there's another reason to be optimistic: It should have a pretty good weekend to mark its debut. Competing against the quirky-looking animated flick Igor and a Samuel L. Jackson thriller (Lakeview Terrace), Whiteout will now open on September 19th.

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Monday
May262008

Box Office - 'Indy' Crosses $150 Million, Won't Set Any Records

The numbers are in, at long last, and we don't need to speculate about the opening weekend box office of Indiana Jones anymore. In the final analysis, Friday was the only day that really didn't live up to expectations. Yes, it made $31 million that day, but I think a lot of people wanted/imagined it would do five - seven million dollars more because it was the first chance for a lot of people in nearly 20 years to see Indy Jones.

The Thursday numbers were, well, Thursday numbers. You can never really tell what they'll do or what they'll mean. $25 million on Thursday is certainly strong, but the increase to Friday probably should have been more significant. Saturday got Indy back on track and Sunday and Monday held true to that form, giving the long-awaited sequel $151 million in domestic ticket sales over five days. Buried within that is the best opening weekend of the year, Friday - Sunday, with $101 million in sales, just edging Iron Man, which had $98 million on its Friday - Sunday debut.

So, no records were broken. Eleven movies have broken $100 million faster. Pirates still holds the Memorial Day four-day record, set last year, and in terms of opening weekends, Indy just cracks the top ten, according to Box Office Mojo. Three-day weekends finds Indy placing 13th, moving up the charts to eighth for a four-day stanza, and fifth all-time for five-day opening weekends.

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Monday
May262008

Go Behind the Scenes with New 'Wall-E' Featurette

On the surface, it's easy to believe that Wall-E will be another tremendous success. Cynically, you could argue that it's a cartoon and they're just licenses to print money. That's not really true, however. Just in the past two years, Surf's Up, Ant Bully, Open Season, Monster House, and Flushed Away all struggled at the box office.

Of course, you could add to your argument that Wall-E is a Pixar movie and those always do well. There, you'd be mostly correct. But I think the reason Pixar makes so much money with their films is because they invest so much in each of them, and not just financially. If you look at the studio's eight films, six of them are at least very good, with only A Bug's Life and Cars out of that discussion. Even then, it's not like those flicks are catastrophes.

So, yes, when Wall-E is released on June 27th, it should be another glorious day at Pixar. We've mentioned several times that it is a bit more experimental than their previous films. I'm not concerned about huge chunks of this movie not having any dialogue, but your six-year-old might become a bit restless. How will all of it play? Again, I'm happy to see Pixar try something different. That's what made them Pixar in the first place. But don't expect it to be Jimmy Neutron or anything.

Here's a great little featurette we found at Worst Previews if you want to give it a spin.

June 28th will be a great weekend, with Wanted and Wall-E arriving in theaters.

Sunday
May252008

Robert Downey to Play Hugh Hefner?

PlayboyLogo.jpgAnd see, kids, this is what happens when you land a big-ass summer blockbuster: The phone starts ringing. Robert Downey Jr., who admitted in a recent GQ article that part of the appeal of making Iron Man was to be in something enormous, a movie people would actually see, may be up for something a bit more risque, according to The Chicago Sun-Times.

Hugh Hefner has apparently given his blessing to Downey portraying the robed one in a bio-pic that chronicles Hefner's life as the biggest playboy of them all. Hefner was reportedly pleased with the versatility in Downey's performance as Tony Stark, a bit of a playboy himself.

Of course, Hef nodded off 33 minutes into the movie, but what he saw, he really liked.

At one time, Brett Ratner was slated to direct Playboy (that's the working title), but he's currently on the outside looking in at the moment, and let's hope it stays that way.

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