Director Adam McKay's police spoof, which also stars Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton and Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, raked in the cash in its first weekend on release (06-08Aug10), ending Inception's three-week reign.
Leonardo DiCaprio's dream thriller slips into second place with $18.6 million (£12.4 million), taking its total gross from the North American market to $227.7 million (£151.8 million).
Dance movie Step Up 3D is new at three with $15.5 million (£10.3 million), while action thriller Salt and comedy Dinner for Schmucks round out the top five in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
By both critical and commercial measures live-action anime adaptations boast a record of futility second perhaps only to videogame adaptations. Some essential aspect of the source material is irretrievably lost during the process of translating Japanese cartoon to Hollywood tentpole something that even the most bloated visual effects budget can’t conceal. Think Dragonball Evolution and Speed Racer.
And yet Hollywood keeps trying lured by tantalizing visions of cash-cow franchises fed by loyal built-in — and most importantly international — audiences. The latest casualty of this misguided ambition is The Last Airbender based on the hit Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender. To be fair Avatar isn’t anime in the orthodox sense in that it was conceived and produced in the States but its style and soul are almost exclusively anime-inspired. As such its big-screen fate is similarly sealed.
Who could possibly break such a rueful trend? For some reason the minds at Paramount thought M. Night Shyamalan that notorious purveyor of ponderous and increasingly shlocky supernatural thrillers might succeed where so many other directors had failed. Even worse they saw fit to hire him to pen the screenplay as well ensuring that every vital aspect of the film would feel the crushing weight of his heavy hand. With such a hacky burden to bear it comes as no surprise that The Last Airbender never really takes flight.
The film's story is set in a world divided into four tribes each aligned to an element: Air Earth Water and Fire. Certain gifted tribe members known as a “benders ” can manipulate the properties of their assigned element to suit their ends. In order to do so they must first perform an elaborate and utterly ridiculous kung fu dance after which a torrent of fire water or whatever arises to obey their command.
For the better part of a century the oppressive and warlike Firebenders have besieged the other nations gradually thinning their respective ranks. The Air Nomads have faired the worst of the lot and are presumed to be extinct until Water peeps Katara (Nicola Peltz) and Sokka (Jackson Rathbone) discover a boy named Aang (Noah Ringer) trapped in a giant ball of ice. Not only is Unfrozen Kung Fu Warrior the last remaining Airbender (thus the title) he is also an Avatar the only being on the planet capable of wielding all four elements. And only he can bring an end to the Firebenders’ evil reign.
Blessed with an opportunity to reinvent himself in a new genre and with a new demographic Shyamalan can’t avoid falling back on old habits most notably his penchant for awkward and cumbersome dialogue. It’s difficult enough for adults to deliver his lines but it’s absolute hell for The Last Airbender’s youthful protagonists whose not yet fully-developed temporal lobes can’t hope to adequately process the inanities of Shyamalan-speak. One can almost see the smoke coming from little Noah’s ears as he labors to complete each portentous sentence. Poor kid. Where are the Child Labor people when you need them?
But bad dialogue is only one of a litany of problems that plagues The Last Airbender which suffers from mediocre CGI inexplicable casting decisions (caucasians actors none of whom are especially talented are tabbed for asian roles when sufficiently mediocre race-appropriate actors were surely available) and a plot comprehensible only to the most ardent fans of the Nickelodeon series. Much as Aang bends the air Shyamalan tries to bend the laws of quality cinema to his will but they refuse to yield to the force of his ego. I only wish the execs at Paramount had been as stalwart.
The talk show host oversees the successful O magazine and as a thank you to everyone working for her, she's lavished them with gifts.
A spokesperson for Winfrey says, "As a thank you for their hard work and dedication, Oprah Winfrey surprised the staff of O, The Oprah Magazine, with an Apple iPad and a cheque for $10,000, to commemorate the magazine's 10th anniversary."
And the media mogul isn't the only star showing off her generosity - Simon Cowell is said to have marked his departure from American Idol last month (May10) by handing out designer baggage and $750 (£500) in cash to employees.
A source tells Britain's Daily Star, "The men got expensive wallets, the women got designer handbags. And tucked inside was £500. He wanted them to know he has valued their contributions."
Nicole Kidman and Nicolas Cage have signed on to play a married couple in Trespass, a Joel Schumacher-directed action-adventure pic from Nu Image/Millennium Films. Irwin Winkler, Avi Lerner and Danny Dimbort will produce, Variety reports.
In other Cage news, Columbia is revving up a Ghost Rider sequel and is in talks with the actor to star and Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor to direct.
Neveldine and Taylor, whose first feature as directors was Crank in 2006, wrote the screenplay for the upcoming Jonah Hex.
The screenplay for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance was written by Scott Gimple and Seth Hoffman based on a story by David Goyer. Neveldine and Taylor may do a rewrite, says the Heat Vision blog, although that has yet to be determined.
Columbia risked losing Ghost Rider rights which would have reverted back to Marvel if the studio couldn't put a sequel into production by November.
It is not known if any cast from the original, including Eva Mendes, will return.
Meanwhile, Cage and Kidman will shoot Trespass in Louisiana from a story written by Karl Gajdusek and Eli Richbourg about a husband and wife taken hostage by four brutal perpetrators seeking easy cash. Complications ensue amid the unexpected discovery of betrayal and deception, says Variety.
Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson, John Thompson and Rene Besson are executive producing.
The movie, starring Reynolds as DC Comics character HAI Jordan (aka The Green Lantern), is currently shooting in New Orleans, Louisiana for a planned summer 2011 release.
But bosses at Warner Bros. are keen to cash in on what they believe will be a soaring success and have already started development on a sequel.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, studio executives have hired original Lantern writers Greg Berlanti, Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim, to come up with the second installment.
The Green Lantern cast also includes Blake Lively, Tim Robbins, Peter Sarsgaard and Brit Mark Strong.
Brando Enterprises has filed a lawsuit against Joe's Jeans, seeking compensation for damages.
The suit also seeks an injunction to stop Joe's Jeans from further "infringing and misappropriating the Brando name" and recover damages caused by sales and marketing of the unlicensed products.
The suit claims that Joe's Jeans has consistently used Marlon Brando's name throughout its marketing campaign for a leather jacket called The Brando, as well as an e-newsletter titled The Wild One - one of Brando's most famous films.
Brando Enterprises was established in 2009 by The Marlon Brando Living Trust to consolidate aspects of the Brando Trust. Co-trustees are movie producer Mike Medavoy, accountant and business manager Larry Dressler and Brando family friend Avra Douglas.
According to the suit, "At no time did (Brando Enterprises) ever give permission to (Joe's Jeans, Inc) to use the name and mark 'Brando' or 'The Brando,' or the identity or persona of Marlon Brando... nor has (Brando Enterprises) ever received any compensation for such unauthorised commercial use of the Brando publicity rights."
The former child star passed away in March (10) after suffering an apparent drug overdose at his mum's Los Angeles home.
Haim's family members subsequently appealed for financial help when they struggled to raise enough money to have the actor's body transported back to his native Canada for a memorial service.
Bosses at U.S. memorabilia company Startifacts stepped in to help cover the costs, sending Judy Haim a $20,000 (£13,333) cheque and assisting in the sale of Haim's possessions online to raise the rest of the cash.
However, reports have emerged which suggest Haim's brother-in-law, Mark Alexander, told Startifacts executives that bosses at a funeral home in Toronto, Canada paid the bill, and the donated cash would be used to help pay for Judy's ongoing cancer treatment.
Judy has now stepped in to clarify the rumours, telling TMZ.com that the money won't be used to pay her medical bills - as her treatment costs have already been paid for. She confirms bosses at the funeral home did pay for Haim's memorial, but insists she used the donated money to reimburse them.
The actor, who played Blake Carrington in the hit 1980s soap and provided the voice of the mysterious Charles Townsend in TV crime series Charlie's Angels, died of complications from pneumonia in Santa Ynez, California on Thursday (01Apr10).
Born in New Jersey, Forsythe started out as a baseball announcer and drama teacher. He began his acting career on Broadway and signed a deal with Warner Bros. just before World War Two.
He enlisted in the Army Air Corps.
After the war, he co-founded the Actors Studio, where his students included a young Joan Collins - who was to become his Dynasty co-star - and appeared in a series of TV plays.
By the mid-1950s he was among the most in-demand TV and radio thespians, and landed a big deal in 1957 when he signed up to play Bentley Gregg in hit show Bachelor Father.
He continued making appearances in top-rated TV theatre projects and was given his own show, The John Forysthe Show, in the mid-1960s. He also landed a long run in To Rome With Love.
But his heyday as a TV icon was yet to come - he voiced Charlie in Charlie's Angels on television from 1976 to 1981 and then became the star of soap phenomenon Dynasty throughout the 1980s after George Peppard quit as Blake Carrington.
According to imdb.com, he was the only actor to appear in all 220 episodes of Dynasty.
Forsythe had one more successful TV run in the early 1990s as Senator William Franklin Powers in The Powers That Be.
He returned to the spotlight at the beginning of the new century to reprise his Charlie voice in the Charlie's Angels movie and sequel Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.
Forsythe spent the last four years of his life battling cancer. His family has asked that fans donate cash to the American Cancer Society in lieu of flowers.
Flowers will be placed on his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to mark his passing.
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.
The star started out as a model for American clothing brand Abercrombie & Fitch before pursuing a career in acting and shooting to fame as vampire Emmett Cullen in the hit movie franchise.
Now Calvin Klein underwear bosses want to cash in on the 24 year old's rising popularity and have reportedly signed Lutz up to front their next advertising campaign.
And fashion insiders claim Lutz's photoshoot will be reminiscent of the sexy ads featuring Mark Wahlberg, which were shot in the 1990s during the actor's transition from rap alter ego Marky Mark to Hollywood star.
A source tells the Fox News 411 blog, "He's going to be their new Mark Wahlberg. Kellan has been signed to Calvin Klein for a huge campaign that will feature him in his skivvies (underwear) all over billboards and in magazines…
"The executives have a plan to model the ads very similarly after the famous Mark Wahlberg campaign in the '90s. They want to recreate the look of the hugely successful ads."