Miramax via Everett Collection
Monday morning saw a heap of news involving the Weinstein brothers and their former golden goose Miramax. Deadline reports that, in short, Hollywood kingpins Harvey and Bob have signed a deal that will allow them to dig up old properties and revive them in new forms. This means sequels, reboots, and reimaginings for a lot of their past Miramax hits. In ascending order of madness, we have mention of...
- Rounders 2 — a follow-up to the Matt Damon poker flick that is reaching for Robert De Niro as the central villain.- A "series transfer" for Flirting with Disaster, an early David O. Russell movie that saw Ben Stiller on a quest to find his biological parents. This could easily be transformed into an episodic comedy (though we're not saying it should).- A Shakespeare in Love sequel, which, we guess, would involve the Bard's continued forays with romance as he explores the creative folds of his mind.- And finally, the most bewildering announcement that the showbiz news circuit has coughed up lately, another series adaptation: this one of the movie Good Will Hunting.
...That's pretty weird. For the three Americans who haven't seen Good Will Hunting, it tells the story of (once again) Matt Damon, as a 20-year-old orphan, impoverished Bostonian, and all-around dillhole with a genius intellect, most notably for complex mathematics. He spends most of his time causing mayhem with fellow dillholes (of the non-genius variety) Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, and Cole Hauser, until his mental stamina is discovered by a haughty MIT professor (Stellan Skarsgaard) who insists that his old pal (Robin Williams) refurbish the troubled young Damon's psychological state of being so that he can put his intelligence to good use. In the end, everything works out rather neatly. The poor-but-smart Mr. Hunting finds an outlet for his talents, gets in touch with his latent childhood traumas, and even meets a nice lady in the process (Minnie Driver). The sort of self-contained story that made for the bread and butter of '90s cinema.
So how on Earth are they going to turn this picture into a series? Some hefty bastardization is in order...
The Session-by-Session Route: Each week, we'll examine the psychological progress achieved by young William Hunting as he undertakes regular therapy sessions with Dr. Robin Williams. I mean Sean. Kind of like The Sopranos, with a different (albeit similarly egregious) mistreatment of the letter "R". Potential episodes: "Will Hunting's Daddy Issues," "Will Hunting and the Naked-in-High-School Nightmare," "Will Hunting vs. the Rorshach."
The On-the-Road-to-Skyler Route: At the end of the movie, we see Will take off out of Boston in the new car just bequeathed unto him by three friends who, unlike himself, actually don't have high paying jobs lined up. Without so much as a goodbye, he zooms down the road to "see about a girl" ... in other words, to reunite with Skyler, who at this point resides in California. Maybe we'll see the sequel as a series of sorts, with Will taking on a cross country journey to make amends with his lost love, getting himself mixed up in goofy adventures along the way. Potential episodes: "Will Hunting Takes Manhattan," "Will Hunting in the Bayou," "Will Hunting's Sheboygan Adventure."
The Just-Hangin'-'round-with-Chuckie-and-the-Fellas Route: This is probably the worst idea of the bunch... and yet, so many a film and TV program has been made of it. In this incarnation, Will and his Southie pals would spend their time drinking, cursing, watching little league games, beating up other kids in the park, going down to the bowling alley. Think of it as an even more nihilistic Seinfeld, with less money and a good deal more maim. Potential episodes: "Will and Chuckie Rob the Shaw's," "Morgan's Get Rich Quick Scheme," "Cole Hauser's Sheboygan Adventure."
The Original Thriller-esque Route: For those of you who have read up on the story behind the production of Good Will Hunting, for whatever unfounded reason, you might know that the script was originally a thriller about G-men who pursued Will for his mathematic gift. So, maybe something like that would work as a series, and we'd see Will taking on Jason Bourne-like adventures as he avoids the long arm of the American government. Potential episodes: "Will Goes Incognito," "Will Meets Carrie Mathison," "Will Finally Realizes It's Time to Serve His Country and Sells Out Entirely."
Which of these Good Will Huntings would you most like to see?
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Ever since the news broke that Ben Affleck would be taking on the role of Batman in the developing Man of Steel sequel, tentatively titled Batman Vs. Superman, every nook and cranny of the Internet has become entrenched in jokes on the subject. And we're not at all above that! As such, here are 45 jokes on the topic. Pass them off as your own as you see fit...
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? Who's playing Robin — Matt Damon?
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? Who's playing Robin — Casey Affleck?
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? Who's playing Robin — Robin Williams? That's confusing.
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? Who's directing this one — Michael Bayne?
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? Is he really the hero Gotham deserves?
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? What, is the Commissioner going to shine a light shaped like the Red Sox logo into the sky?
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? What, is he going to knock the Joker out and then ask him how he likes them apples?
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? Whoever thought he could handle a super hero role is something of a casting daredevil…
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? Is Casey Affleck going to make a mockumentary about Bruce Wayne's return to action called I'm Still Hero?
Speaking of Casey Affleck, is there any way to work a "Casey at the Bat" pun in here somewhere? No? Okay, sorry, carry on.
Ben Affleck's playing Batman in the Man of Steel sequel? Doesn't this make Hollywoodland a little too meta?
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? But didn't he already fight Two-Face in Paycheck?
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? But didn't he already fight Poison Ivy in Paycheck?
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? Makes sense — Christian Bale took his territory in The Fighter. This is revenge.
Ben Affleck's starring in Batman Vs. Superman? Didn't he already do a superhero crossover in The Town? (Batman Vs. Hawkeye)
Ben Affleck's starring in Batman Vs. Superman? Didn't he already do a superhero crossover in He's Just Not That Into You? (Batman Vs. Black Widow)
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? What, is Kevin Smith playing the Penguin?
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? What, is Jason Mewes playing whatever Christopher Walken's name was in Batman Returns?
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? Is his celebrity couple nickname with Catwoman going to be Belina?
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? Is Jennifer Garner going to be his stand-in?
No, Ben, this isn't the way to get that Oscar.
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? Isn't he the same age as Adam West now?
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? He must have seen Matt Damon kicking ass in Elysium and said, "I'll show him! I'll show them all!"
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? What, is the Batmobile going to be a Prius?
No, Ben, it's bats that this guy's into. Not Pats.
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? I guess that makes sense. He's used to cities filled with hordes of deranged maniacs on the loose.
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? What are they gonna call this one — Argotham?
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? What are they gonna call this one — Chasing Baney?
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? What are they gonna call this one — Mallbats?
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? What are they gonna call this one — Waynedeer Games?
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? What, is Cole Hauser playing… uh, one of the cops?
Ben Affleck's in a superhero crossover movie? Is this one going to end in shawarma-geddon? Best one yet.
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? Is his catchphrase gonna be "I am wicked vengeance!"
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? What, were Bruce Wayne's parents coming home from an Aerosmith concert when they were killed?
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? Is Bruce Wayne's new archenemy going to be A-Rod?
Part 1: Ben Affleck's playing Batman? Is his new archenemy going to be The Mango?
Part 2, Version A: … who will, in turn, spout the following phrase: "Bruce Whone?"
Part 2, Version B: … who will, in turn, spout the following phrase: "Whoce Wayne?"
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? Are he and a bunch of other guys going to sing "Leaving on the Batwing" halfway through the movie?
I'm not exactly sure how to machinate this one, but something in the vein of "To the Wonder-Mobile!"
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? Is anyone else starting to think that he's just trying to Single White Female George Clooney?
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? What are they gonna call this one — Going All the Wayne? (Remember that movie?)
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? What are they gonna call this one — Changing Waynes?
You wanna know how I got these scars? Watching Gigli!
Ben Affleck's playing Batman? That's a great idea!
And there you have it. I apologize for the absence of any Pearl Harbor jokes, but there's only so much you can do in times like these.
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In Paparazzi celebrity photographers are an affliction that torment tens if not dozens of residents of Brentwood the Hollywood Hills and Malibu. Bo Laramie (Cole Hauser) is one such denizen. As Hollywood's brightest new action star Laramie along with his wife Abby (Robin Tunney) is set to enjoy the sweet ride of success until paparazzo Rex Harper (Tom Sizemore) and his marauding band of slimy shutterbugs turn his life into a living hell. Or at least a fairly large inconvenience. With a blatant nod to Princess Di the pesky paparazzi cause a high-speed car wreck which sends Bo's son Zach (Blake Bryan) into a coma of convenient duration and results in the loss of Abby's spleen. Which is fitting as the movie has no discernible spleen of its own. And so our hero who has obviously not received the standard studio briefing on the joys of contract killers takes matters (and a baseball bat) into his own hands. The model for Paparazzi is the vigilante movie: Death Wish Billy Jack Walking Tall and the like. But whereas Bronson's Paul Kersey devolved from architect to cold-blooded killer only when faced with impossibly high stakes (the murder of his wife and rape of his daughter) Laramie by contrast turns into a serial killer and a sloppy one at that over a little retinal glare. And doing it all by himself? One imagines the Anthony Pellicanos of the world dispatching guys like Harper during a Pilates break.
It's problematic asking non-movie stars to play huge movie stars for obvious reasons. Bo Laramie is supposed to be the biggest thing since Ah-nuld held his day job but as Hauser plays him he comes off more like Michael Dudikoff. Even as he's beating paparazzi to death with his own hands there is no sense of a human being or even a movie star being pushed to his limits. Tunney who was terrific in Niagara Niagara has nothing to do and neither does Dennis Farina as the cop conflicted by the A-list avenger. Sizemore of course steals every scene he's in effortlessly and ruthlessly. In spite of his recent legal troubles (or perhaps because of them) he brings just the right dosage of dangerous persona and edgy charisma to his growing roster of manic miscreants. Ultimately though even his involvement is disappointing: When he's on screen he fools you into thinking a real movie is about to start.
First-time director Paul Abascal is but a pawn in Mel Gibson's dogmatic production slate. Screenwriter Forrest Smith had a small role with Gibson in We Were Soldiers and reportedly leveraged the moment to pitch Paparazzi to the actor/producer/Catholic poster boy. Gibson has had issues with his privacy before and has already proved himself shameless in using the movies to promote an agenda. So as with The Passion of the Christ a movie that wouldn't have gotten so much as a sniff at any other studio found itself with a green light. And Bo Laramie became family man/action hero Gibson's violent alter ego. Or maybe just ego. (Gibson also has a brief cameo and the one sheet for Laramie's "movie" Adrenaline Force 2 is a dead ringer for the poster art for Lethal Weapon 2). With Gibson's personal profits alone surpassing the $400 million mark with this week's Passion DVD sales and Paparazzi's budget listed at $20 million Gibson could make 20 sequels to Paparazzi. Or he could use the producer's pulpit to speak out against other vexations in his life. Somewhere at Icon world headquarters Leaf Blower: The Movie just went into pre-production.
Forget about fireworks, this Fourth of July weekend saw conniving machines dominate the box office.
Expectedly, the action-packed Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines debuted in the top spot, terminating the competition with a $44 million* haul over the weekend. Since its release July 2, T3's five-day cume is $72.5 million.
The third Terminator installment did much better than its predecessor Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which opened in July 1991 at $31.7 million and set a new record for its star Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has not had a hit film in years. His previous best opening was Batman & Robin with $42.8 million in 1997, the Associated Press reports.
"The nervousness is gone. Finally the baby's born, and it's in the public's hands," the film's co-producer Andrew Vajna told Reuters. T3 was reportedly budgeted at between $150 million and $175 million.
T3 didn't manage to beat Men in Black II's July 4 record, however, which became the biggest Independence Day opener ever last year with $52.1 million. T3 stands as the fourth biggest Fourth of July opener; the 1997 Men in Black comes in second with $51 million and the 1996 Independence Day takes third with $50.2 million. The 2000 The Perfect Storm rounds out the top five with $41.3 million.
But never underestimate blonde power. The other notable newcomer this weekend was Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, which giggled its way into second place with a total of $22.9 million, and since opening July 2, has seen $39.1 million over a five-day period. The sequel clearly out-pinked the original Legally Blonde, which opened July 2001 at $20.3 million.
The heavenly Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle zoomed in at No. 3 with $14.2 million, while the delightful Finding Nemo kept its head above water in fourth place with $11 million. The mean green The Hulk rounded out the top five with $8.2 million. The other wide release this week, the animated swashbuckler Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas made it to the list at No. 6 with a disappointing $6.8 million.
This Fourth of July weekend's overall take of $126.9 million from its top 12 films couldn't quite surpass last year's record-breaking haul of $139.1 million.
THE TOP TEN
Warner Bros.' R-rated Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines debuted in first place with an ESTIMATED $44 million at 3,504 theaters. Its per theater average of $12,570 was the highest of any film opening wide this week. Since opening last Wednesday, its five-day cume is $72.5 million.
The third installment picks up ten years after John Connor stopped Judgment Day and saved mankind from mass destruction. Now, Skynet is at it again, sending the T-X, the most sophisticated cyborg killing machine, back through time to finish the job. Connor's only hope for survival is to join forces with his former assassin: The Terminator.
Directed by Jonathan Mostow, it stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes and Kristanna Loken.
Give the girl two snaps! MGM's PG-13 rated Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde opened in the second spot with an ESTIMATED $22.9 million at 3,350 theaters ($6,836 per theater). Since opening July 2, its cume is $39.1 million.
In this sequel, Harvard's fave hot-pink grad goes to Washington to defend animal rights and keep four-legged critters out of the hands of evil cosmetics testers.
Directed by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, it stars Reese Witherspoon, Sally Field, Regina King, Bob Newhart and Jennifer Coolidge.
Sony Picture's PG-13-rated Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle dropped two places to third in its second week with an ESTIMATED $14.2 million (-62%) at 3,485 theaters (+26 theaters; $4,075 per theater). The sequel, which has the angels using their special talents to keep valuable information from getting into the wrong hands, has made $67.2 million so far.
Directed by McG, it stars Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Bernie Mac.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
Buena Vista/Disney and Pixar Animation Studios' G-rated computer-animated feature Finding Nemo fell a spot to fourth place in its sixth week with an ESTIMATED $11 million (-21%) at 2,901 theaters (-431 theaters; $3,790 per theater). Its cume is approximately $274.9 million.
Directed and co-written by Pixar veteran Andrew Stanton, it features the voices of Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe and Brad Garrett.
Universal Pictures' PG-13 The Hulk fell three notches into fifth place in its third week with an ESTIMATED $8.2 million (-56%) at 3,291 theaters (-383 theaters, $2,492 per theater). Its cume is approximately $117 million.
Directed by Ang Lee, it stars Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott and Nick Nolte.
DreamWorks' animated PG-rated Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas debuted in a weak sixth place with an ESTIMATED $6.8 million at 3,086 theaters ($2,492 per theater). Since opening July 2, it's taken in $10 million.
Inspired by the ancient tales of the Arabian Nights, Sinbad, the most daring and notorious rogue ever to sail the Seven Seas, is faced with his greatest challenge of all--forgoing his self-serving ways to save the life of his best friend.
Directed by Patrick Gilmore and Tim Johnson, it features the voices of Brad Pitt, Michelle Pfeiffer, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Joseph Fiennes.
Fox Searchlight's R-rated sci-fi thriller 28 Days Later dropped a few points in its second week to come in at No. 7 with an ESTIMATED $6 million (-40%) at 1,407 theaters (+147 theaters; $4,314 per theater). With only a $8 million production cost, the contemporary thriller about a fast-spreading virus that causes human rage on the people it infects has more than doubled its investment with a cume of $20.6 million.
Directed by Danny Boyle, it stars Cillian Murphy, Naomi Harris, Brendan Gleeson and Megan Burns.
Paramount Pictures' PG-13-rated actioner The Italian Job moved down a notch to eighth place in its sixth week with an ESTIMATED $4.2 million (-22%) at 1,584 theaters (-437 theaters; $2,699 per theater). Its cume is approximately $84 million.
Directed by F. Gary Gray, it stars Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Seth Green, Mos Def and Edward Norton.
Universal Pictures' PG-13 Bruce Almighty dropped three rungs to No. 9 in its seventh week with an ESTIMATED $4 million (-35%) at 1,929 theaters (-722 theaters; $2,074 per theater). Its cume is approximately $228.7 million.
Directed by Tom Shadyac, it stars Jim Carrey, Jennifer Aniston and Morgan Freeman.
Universal Pictures' PG-13-rated car culture sequel 2 Fast 2 Furious showed the least improvement this week, diving five spots down to 10th place in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $2.4 million (-61%) at 1,779 theaters (-1038 theaters; $1,349 per theater). Its cume is approximately $119.3 million.
Directed by John Singleton, it stars Paul Walker, Tyrese, Eva Mendes, Cole Hauser and Devon Aoki.
Focus Features' PG-13 rated mystery Swimming Pool managed to open with a respectable showing of an ESTIMATED $289,964 in 13 theaters, averaging $22,305 per theater. Also opening July 2, its total five-day cume is $375,809.
The story revolves around an uptight British mystery author who takes some time off to stay in the South of France. Her relaxed vacation is interrupted, however, by the arrival a sexually charged young woman, and their growing relationship sets off an increasingly unsettling series of events, including a possible real-life murder.
Directed by Francois Ozon, it stars Charlotte Rampling, Ludivine Sagnier and Charles Dance.
The Top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $126.9 million, up 12 percent from last week's take of $112.5 million but down 8 percent from this weekend last year, when key films grossed $139.1 million.
Last year, Sony's PG-13 rated Men in Black II premiered at the top of the heap with $52.1 million over the three-day weekend, with a five-day total of $87.2 million at 3,557 theaters ($14,661 per theater); Sony's PG-13-rated Mr. Deeds dropped to No. 2 in its second week with $18.4 million at 3,231 theaters ($5,698 per theater), while Buena Vista's PG-rated animated adventure Lilo & Stitch stayed in third in its third week with $12.6 million at 3,222 theaters ($3,922 per theater).