Screenwriters have been hired to pen the script for the upcoming Monopoly movie -- and they're actually good writers (well, except for Agent Cody Banks)!
Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who have co-written highly regarded movies like Ed Wood and People vs. Larry Flynt, will somehow adapt one of the most famous board games for the big screen.
The project, to be co-produced by Ridley Scott, has been in the works for a very long time, continuing to trudge along after it was recently dropped by Universal.
It's far from the only board-game adaptation coming up: Clue and, yes, Ouija are both in the works, while Battleship, directed by Peter Berg, is already done and set for a summer 2012 release. Scroll down for its trailer!
As I expect every one of you is a Pixar fan (being otherwise is a sign of sociopathy), you might have noticed a similarity in the voices of characters like Toy Story’s Hamm, WALL-E’s John and Mack from Cars and its upcoming sequel, Cars 2. That’s because they, and six other characters spanning eleven movies and counting, are all voiced by John Ratzenberger. He might be the only performer to have held such consistency with this particular company, but he is not unique in being an actor who repeatedly works with the same people. In fact, we've come up with a list of nine other proverbial Ratzenberger's and their respective Pixar's:
MICHAEL CAINE & CHRISTOPHER NOLAN
Michael Caine is one of those rare immortal actors who is completely untouchable. I’ve never heard even the most contrarian of my hipster friends say that Michael Caine is overrated. As such, it’s no surprise why rising powerhouse Christopher Nolan has opted to stick him in his last four (and upcoming fifth) directing pursuits. Caine’s roles do not vary much between these films—he’s always wise, good-natured and the only person the much younger hero can trust. He’s always someplace between the movie and the audience. And he’s always got at least one scene-stealing quip at the protagonist’s expense. But can you really take issue with this repetitiveness? With a resume like The Prestige, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Inception and the unhealthily anticipated The Dark Knight Rises, how can you blame this dynamic duo for sticking with a formula that works?
STEVE BUSCEMI & THE COEN BROTHERS
The Coen Brothers. They’ve made some gold. They’ve made some silver. Throughout the 1990s, the Coen Brothers made five movies, and Steve Buscemi was in each one, as well as their short film part of a collaborative anthology, Paris Je T’Aime, in 2006. Buscemi had bit parts in Miller’s Crossing and The Hudsucker Proxy, a slightly larger one in Barton Fink, and was the second male lead to William H. Macy in Fargo. But, like everyone who went to college, I favor, of course, The Big Lebowski, and cherish every second Buscemi was onscreen as Theodore Donald Kirobatsos. He really tied the movie together.
J.K. SIMMONS & JASON REITMAN
If I may just start out by saying something entirely uncontroversial: J.K. Simmons is awesome. He is as typecast as you can get, and it seems that neither he nor we seem to have any problem with this. Jason Reitman: also awesome. Juno was awesome. I don’t care what you say, everyone I’ve ever met. I loved that movie.
Reitman is still relatively new to filmmaking. Aside from Juno, his feature resume up to this point consists only of Thank You For Smoking and Up in the Air. Coming out later this year is Young Adult: a drama about a young woman seeking romance after a divorce. This film, as well, will include Simmons among the cast (playing gruff-but-lovable, no doubt), and is written by Diablo Cody—who also wrote the screenplay for Juno. Which was awesome.
JOHNNY DEPP & TIM BURTON
Not all of these friendships produce good material. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, both individually and as a pair, have indeed given us some memorable pieces of cinema. Some of the better projects on which they’ve collaborated include Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow and Ed Wood. I’ll even throw Corpse Bride into the Pros list. But as time went on, they began making a career out of defaming timeless works of art with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. Also, Sweeney Todd happened. But they’re not done yet. Coming up for 2012 is Dark Shadows: a horroresque film directed by Burton, about the adventures of a vampire (played by Depp) who encounters a slew of other mythological creatures. Nice change of pace, guys.
SAMUEL L. JACKSON & QUENTIN TARANTINO
Samuel L. Jackson is an interesting case. He has appeared in four of six of the feature films over which Tarantino played director, but in two instances, he was never seen. Those two are Kill Bill: Volume 2, in which he played a bit part as Rufus, the pianist at the church wherein Uma Thurman’s character intended to be married, and who existed to the audience only as a silhouette with a cigarette (that’s a pretty good band name).
His second faceless performance was in Inglourious Basterds, when Jackson performed a single voice-over segment to introduce Til Schweiger’s character, Hugo Stiglitz. Aside from these, Jackson has played Ordelle Robbie in Tarantino’s oft forgotten Jackie Brown, and (do I even need to mention?) the career-defining Jules Winfield in Pulp Fiction. Jackson is also set to play a major role in Tarantino’s upcoming Django Unchained.
RUSSELL CROWE & RIDLEY SCOTT
Crowe and Scott pair together quite naturally. Both are responsible for some fantastic pieces of cinema, and neither would you be entirely comfortable inviting into your home. Since their initial collaboration on the 2000 Best Picture Gladiator, Crowe and Scott have paired up on four additional films—earning praise for American Gangster, dissatisfaction with Robin Hood, and… Did anyone see Body of Lies? Or the other one? I think it was about a house, or a garden…
OWEN WILSON (OR BILL MURRAY) & WES ANDERSON
Owen Wilson is undoubtedly more famous for his roles with the proverbial Frat Pack, especially frequent collaborator Ben Stiller. But the actor with the agonizingly mellow voice has appeared in almost every feature film directed by Wes Anderson, a college friend of Wilson’s, to date.
Anderson, a favorite director of all the people who think they're better than you, has created Bottle Rocket and The Royal Tenenbaums, both of which Wilson co-wrote. In addition to these, Wilson had major roles in Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, and the director’s first animated movie, The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Wilson also co-wrote Anderson’s 1998 film Rushmore, which (along with each of the above movies with the exception of Bottle Rocket) included Bill Murray as a member of the cast. Both Murray and Wilson are rumored to appear in Anderson’s next film, Moonrise Kingdom, about two parents’ efforts to recover their runaway daughter.
LEOBERT DeNIPRIO & MARTIN SCORSESE
For the better part of his career—and I mean that in every way—De Niro was Scorsese’s key player. Starting with 1973’s Mean Streets, the duo forged a working relationship that lasted twenty-two years. Their most recent collaboration was Casino, in 1995. However, Scorsese and De Niro have been in talks to develop a new project called The Irishman and, if you can believe (or stomach the idea of) this, a sequel to Taxi Driver.
For the time being, it seems as though Scorsese has replaced De Niro with a younger, sparkier, ruffled good-guy: Leonardo DiCaprio. Since 2002, DiCaprio has starred in four Scorsese films. Scorsese is even going as far as to cast his new muse, whom everyone I know seems to either love or hate, in a role sure to earn him a great sum of scrutiny: in a developing biopic called Sinatra, as the Chairman of the Board himself.
EVERYONE IN THE HAPPY MADISON UNIVERSE
Adam Sandler has a greater reputation of working with his friends than anyone in the business. His production company, Happy Madison, has developed fifteen films starring Sandler since its first film and half of its namesake, Happy Gilmore. Three of Sandler’s major starring roles, Billy Madison, The Waterboy, and The Wedding Singer, were produced independently from Happy Madison. Over the course of his career, Sandler has wavered from accusing his girlfriend of adultery with fictitious penguins. He has played romantic leads, PTSD-sufferers, and cancer survivors. One consistency throughout his years onscreen, however, is in his supporting casts. Sandler's confidants, rivals, and comic reliefs are often actors who have played similar roles in other Happy Madison films. Included in the recurring clan of Sandler's screen partners are Rob Schneider, Allen Covert, and--the guy you probably never noticed--Jonathan Loughran, who have each played behind the man in nine different films. Although none reach this level of dedication, other impressive numbers belong to Peter Dante with eight films, once again to Steve Buscemi, with six (this is clearly a loyal guy), to Kevin Nealon with five, and to Henry Winkler and Kevin James, with four movies each. And these are just the Sandler-starring films. There are dozens of other Happy Madison Productions that include these and other recurring actors.
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.
Queen Latifah and Steve Martin's romantic jailbreak comedy Bringing Down the House remained undefeated at the box office for a third week in a row, locking up a hefty $16.2 million* despite the arrival of four new wide releases.
Bringing Down the House defended its No. 1 title against this week's most threatening competitor, the supernatural thriller Dreamcatcher. Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, Dreamcatcher debuted in second place with a down-to-earth $15.3 million.
The 'tween spy pic Agent Cody Banks dropped a notch to third place with $9.3 million, while the new flight attendant comedy View From the Top premiered in fourth place with a turbulent $7.5 million. The actioner The Hunted rounded out the Top Five with $6.5 million.
The new animated feature Piglet's Big Movie failed to see big profits with a tiny $6.1 million take, landing it in seventh place. The week's other new release, the comedy Boat Trip, shipwrecked into tenth place with choppy $3.7 million.
THE TOP TEN
Buena Vista's PG-13 rated comedy Bringing Down the House won the box office crown for the third week in a row with an ESTIMATED $16.2 million at 2,871 theaters (+70 theaters). Its $5,643 per theater average was the highest of this week's top ten grossing films. Its cume is approximately $83.4 million, heading towards the $100 million mark.
Directed by Adam Shankman, it stars Steve Martin and Queen Latifah.
Warner Bros.' R-rated supernatural thriller Dreamcatcher debuted in second place with an ESTIMATED $15.3 million at 2,945 theaters with an impressive $5,197 per theater average.
The film, based on the Stephen King novel, revolves around four childhood friends bonded beyond friendship by telepathy--a power they must use stop an alien invasion.
Directed by Lawrence Kasdan, the film stars Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, Jason Lee, Damian Lewis and Donnie Wahlberg.
MGM's PG-rated Agent Cody Banks fell a notch to No. 3 in its second week with an ESTIMATED $9.3 million at 3,369 theaters (unchanged), with a $2,760 per theater average. Its cume is approximately $26.6 million.
Directed by Harald Zwart, it stars Frankie Muniz, Hilary Duff and Angie Harmon.
Miramax's PG-13 rated airline comedy View From the Top opened in fourth place with an ESTIMATED $7.5 million at 2,508 theaters, with a $3,016 per theater average.
The film focuses on a girl from a Nevada trailer park who sets her sights on becoming a flight attendant.
Directed by Bruno Barreto, the film stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Kelly Preston and Christina Applegate.
Paramount Pictures' R-rated actioner The Hunted dropped two places to fifth in its second week with an ESTIMATED $6.5 million at 2,517 (+1 theater), with an $2,606 per theater average. Its cume is approximately $23.4 million.
Directed by William Friedkin, it stars Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio Del Toro and Connie Nielsen.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
In its 13th week of release, Miramax's PG-13 rated musical Chicago continued its mainstay in the Top Ten, dropping from fifth to sixth place with an ESTIMATED $6.2 million (-12%) at 2,565 theaters (-35 theaters, $2.434 per theater). Its cume is approximately $134 million.
Directed by Rob Marshall, it stars Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere.
Buena Vista's G rated animated feature Piglet's Big Movie premiered in seventh place with an ESTIMATED $6.1 million at 2,084 theaters, with a $2,927 per theater average.
In the film, young Piglet is told he is too small to help the gang from the Hundred Acre Wood begin a honey harvest. When he disappears, his pals Eeyore, Rabbit, Tigger, Roo and Winnie the Pooh must use Piglet's scrapbook as a map to find him.
Directed by Francis Glebas, it features the voices of John Fiedler, James Cummings and Andre Stojka.
Warner Bros.' R rated war actioner Tears of the Sun fell from fourth to eighth place in its third week with an ESTIMATED $4.5 million (-48%) at 2810 theaters (-163 theaters) with a $5,785 per theater average. Its cume is approximately $37.9 million.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua, it stars Bruce Willis and Monica Bellucci.
DreamWork's R rated buddy comedy Old School dropped from sixth place to No. 8 in its fifth week of release with an ESTIMATED $4 million (-40%) at 2,033 theaters (-419 theaters) with a $1,968 per theater average. Its cume is approximately 50.8 million.
Directed by Todd Phillips, it stars Luke Wilson, Will Farrell and Vince Vaughn.
Rounding out the Top Ten is Artisan Entertainment's R-rated comedy Boat Trip, which debuted with an ESTIMATED $3.7 million at 1,714 theaters, with a $2,159 per theater average.
The film follows two dimwitted straight guys who set sail on a Caribbean cruise looking for love--but find out too late that they have been booked on a gay cruise.
Directed by Mort Nathan, the film stars Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Horatio Sanz.
The Top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $83.9 million, down 7.62 percent from last week when they totaled $90.8 million.
The Top 12 were also down 29.01 percent from last year when they totaled $118.2 million.
Last year, New Line's R rated Blade II debuted at the top of the box office with $32.5 million at 2,707 theaters ($12,016 per theater); Fox's PG rated Ice Age came in second with $30 million at 3,345 theaters ($8,986 per theater); and Universal's PG rated special edition re-release of E.T. The Extraterrestrial debuted in third with $14.2 million at 3,007 theaters ($4,730 per theater).
New Line Cinema's epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring made a noble debut at the box office this weekend, taking in $45.2 million in its opening weekend, bringing its four day domestic theatrical release total to $73.1 million. Hitting 3,359 theaters, The Fellowship of the Ring averaged $13,471 per theater.
While the PG-13-rated The Fellowship of the Ring did not surpass last month's $90.3 million take for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, it did eclipse the $60 million mark predicted by the studio.
The Fellowship of the Ring pulled in $18.2 million at the domestic box office on its first day, the biggest take ever for a single day in December, and the third biggest Wednesday opening for any film in North America. It did not, however, surpass records set by Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, which grossed $28.5 million on May 19, 1999, and Jurassic Park III, which made $19 million on July 18, 2001.
Directed by Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring stars Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd and Liv Tyler.
Warner Bros.' PG-13 crime remake Ocean's Eleven kept its runner-up title for the second week in a row, earning $14.5 million in 3,075 theaters ($4,745 per theater). Its cume is approximately $95.2 million.
The film, directed by Steven Soderbergh, stars George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, and Don Cheadle.
Armed and ready, Paramount's G-rated animated feature Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius comfortably slid into third place with an estimated $14 million in 3,139 theaters ($4,460 per theater), easily beating out Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
Last week's box office topper, Paramount's Vanilla Sky, dropped to fourth place this weekend. The romantic thriller earned $12.1 million, a 52 percent drop from last week, at 2,744 theaters ($4,410 per theater). Sky has a cume of approximately $45.1 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Cameron Crowe, Vanilla Sky star Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz.
Universal's R-rated pot comedy How High smoked its way to a fifth place with an estimated $7.6 million at 1,266 theaters (an impressive $6,003 per theater).
It's directed by Jesse Dylan and stars rappers Method Man and Redman.
Slowly losing steam, Warner Bros.' Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone dropped two spots to finish sixth, making $6.7 million-a 38 percent drop from last week, at 3,311 theaters (-111 theaters; $1,863 per theater). Its cume is approximately $236.1 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Chris Columbus, it stars Daniel Radcliffe in its title role.
Sony's R-rated youth flick Not Another Teen Movie fell four notches to place seventh with an estimated $5.5 million (-56%) at 2,365 theaters ($2,326 per theater). Its cume is approximately $21.6 million.
Directed by Joel Gallen, the film stars Jaime Pressly, Mia Kirshner, Chyler Leigh, Chris Evans and Cody McMains.
Warner Bros.' The Majestic made a weak debut in eighth place with a dull estimated $5 million at 2,361 theaters, with an average of $2,128 per theater.
The PG-rated drama directed by Frank Darabont stars a subdued Jim Carrey.
Fox's Joe Somebody eked by in ninth spot. The PG-rated comedy opened with an estimated $3.6 million at 2,503 theaters ($1,458per theater).
Directed by John Pasquin, the film stars Tim Allen, Julie Brown, Hayden Panettiere and Greg Germann.
Rounding out the top ten was Buena Vista's Monsters, Inc., down four rungs in its eighth week with an estimated $3.5 million at 2,097 theaters (-585 with an average of $2,530 per theater). Its cume is approximately $224.1 million.