We get that you probably don't want to get your hopes too high in respect to the in-the-works Boy Meets World sequel series, Girl Meets World. What if it never happens? Or worse yet, what if it does happen... and it's awful? Perfectly understandable concerns. But not necessarily valid.
The second matter can be quelled by the involvement of Michael Jacobs, creator of Boy Meets World, who is the brains behind this new production. Although the still-not-concrete GMW might find its home on the Disney Channel, as opposed to the preferable ABC or ABC Family, it will have the genius who crafted the story of Cory Matthews (the Story Matthews, if you will) back in the golden era that was the 1990s.
And as far as the project's uncertainty, we at least have some progress to hang our hats on: Entertainment Weekly has apprehended Disney's casting call information for the two lead characters. At the center of the show is Cory and Topanga Matthews' daughter, who is revealed to be named Riley. Below is a profile of her developing character:"Please submit all ethnicities. 13 years old, indelible personality, an adorable girl on the cusp of whatever comes next in life, and wanting to rush into it head first. She is fiercely loyal to her friends, and spends most of her time juggling the obstacles that life throws her way, some of those being her father who is also her seventh grade history teacher, her mother who is Topanga, and her brother, Elliot, who is one grade older in school and in life experience and makes sure to always let her know it. But there is no obstacle in this girl’s world that can dampen her bright spirit and eternal optimism. Series Lead."Alongside Riley will be the character's best friend, Maya:"Please submit all ethnicities. 13 years old. Maya is Riley’s best friend and does not share Riley’s optimism. She is far darker and less trusting of the world. She is an only child and has never known her father, which immediately makes her relationship with both Riley and Cory Matthews very important to her although she’d never admit it. She is not a good student in school, but is a wonderful student of life and absolutely magnetic in attracting or intimidating the people in her sphere as she cares to. Dark and edgy, but just as fiercely loyal to Riley as Riley is to her. Which makes us want to believe that maybe there’s a good heart under the acerbic wit. Or maybe not. Series Regular."Sound familiar enough? A precocious, earnest, wide-eyed young lead (with a "cool" older brother and a father figure schoolteacher), and her more cynical best friend who comes from a broken home — we're setting up for a female, post-millennial Cory and Shawn. Jacobs clearly isn't straying too far from the formula that made Boy Meets World so beloved. At first, it might seem like Riley and Maya are too similar to their respective predecessors, but that's probably only the case on paper. How these broad character descriptions manifest can vary widely as a result of their performers and the scripts for the new show. Plus, we do want some familiarity here — something that makes Girl Meets World actually feel like Boy Meets World.
As you can see above, we also learn that Cory has taken a position as middle school teacher, following in the footsteps of his mentor George Feeny. But we don't know what Topanga will be up to — that very same school's principal? Political figure? A detective bent on solving the unsolved disappearance of her younger sister, Nebula Stop-the-War Lawrence?
And for that matter, where will the rest of the old cast be throughout this show? TMZ spoke with Lily Nicksay, the now-24-year-old actress who played Cory's feisty younger sister Morgan on BMW, who says that she'd "love to talk about being a part of [the show]." But what about older brother Eric, parents Alan and Amy, ol' Mr. Feeny, and Shawn Hunter himself? How about Angela, Jack, Minkus, Harley, and Frankie the Enforcer? We understand that not everyone can be a regular on Girl Meets World, but hopefully, we'll have a faithful revival of the Philadelphia we once fell in love with.
[Photo Credit: ABC]
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From the creators of the TNT miniseries Gettysburg including executive producer Ted Turner and writer/director Ronald F. Maxwell Gods chronicles the Civil War from its beginnings when the South rises up. Confederate General Robert E. Lee (Robert Duvall) a distinguished military man but also a loyal native Virginian chooses to fight for his home rather than his country while Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson (Stephen Lang) a devoutly religious man becomes Lee's most trusted lieutenant. On the other side we have Colonel Joshua Chamberlain (Jeff Daniels) a professor from Maine who ends up one of the Union's finest military leaders. In between there are glimpses of the wives and families left behind. Stories of this magnitude with their dramatic bloody battles and tragic endings usually leave you numb or crying for those lives lost and destroyed. Instead Gods and Generals holds no resonance whatsoever meticulously plotting out the details and making this decisive moment in American history interminable at three and a half hours. It's like wading through a textbook--or worse watching Civil War fanatics carefully reenact the famous battle scenes on the very ground they were fought over and over again--while the players stand around quoting long-winded verse from the Bible or Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Blech.
The actors in Gods and Generals must have honestly thought they were making something important when they signed up. Main players Lang (who played Major Gen. George Pickett in Gettysburg) and Daniels (who reprises his Gettysburg role as Chamberlain) have their moments but after hearing them recite one speech after another especially Lang's Jackson who says more prayers to God than anything else you start to wonder if they ever realized they made a mistake. (Or have we for sitting through it?) One of the more superfluous scenes is when Jackson and his black cook Jim played by Frankie Faison are standing outside in the freezing cold night for about 15 minutes both looking up at the stars and praying to God. It seems like the actors are trying to make such sermonizing poignant meaningful but all this pontification simply drags the movie further down. These speeches aren't just Lang's and Daniels' territory--Mira Sorvino as Chamberlain's wife and Kali Rocha as Jackson's wife get their own personal moments in the sun too. If you count the cast of thousands each with their own things to say well you get the point. Thankfully Duvall who is the only good thing about the movie gets to keep the talking to a minimum.
If you want to see a Civil War melodrama at its best where watching the heroes race through a sacked city makes you hold your breath and witnessing horrific hospital scenes makes you squirm then watch Gone With the Wind. If you want gut-wrenching Civil War battles or more understanding of how slaves truly felt then watch Glory. If you want a heartening history lesson about the Civil War that not only teaches you about the era's political machinations but also shares the insights and thoughts of the men and women who experienced it then watch Ken Burns' documentary series The Civil War. Gods and Generals offers none of that in its dry textbook version of the Civil War which uses the same shots are used over and over again (how many times does the camera pan up to the night sky or show the panoramic view of Fredericksburg Virginia? I lost count) features more actors waxing prophetic than real drama and actually makes you yawn during what should be intense battle scenes.
Hostages and POWs attempt to subdue their captors this President's Day holiday weekend as Hollywood heavyweights Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis battle for box office supremacy.
Lurking in the shadows, however, is pop songbird Britney Spears, whose Crossroads opens Friday against Washington's John Q, Willis' Hart's War, Disney's Peter Pan sequel Return to Never Land and the police parody Super Troopers.
Washington, who received an Oscar nomination Tuesday for his role as a corrupt cop in Training Day, looks set to prove once again that when he's bad, he's good at the box office. In the process, John Q will knock off Arnold Schwarzenegger's Collateral Damage as the No. 1 film.
Director Nick Cassavetes' scabrous but preposterously executed attack on HMOs, election year politics and media chicanery stars Washington as a father unable to afford the heart transplant operation that his young son desperately needs. So Washington does what every church-going, blue-collar family man does: hold hostage the patients awaiting treatment at an E.R. and force his son's doctor (James Woods) at gunpoint to perform the lifesaving operation.
The dubious moral of the story--that one must resort to violence in order to overcome bureaucratic red tape--will be lost amid the cheers destined to accompany Washington's every speech and threat. To that extent, John Q should triumph where the similarly themed Mad City failed in 1997 and enjoy an opening weekend that should exceed the $10.5 million total of that Costa-Gavras' misfire by perhaps $3 million. It helps that Washington is on roll after scoring with The Bone Collector ($66.4 million), The Hurricane ($50.6 million), Remember the Titans ($115.6 million) and Training Day ($76.2 million).
Washington's The Siege co-star Willis will provide the stiffest competition for John Q. The two tussled in the fall, when Washington's Training Day fended off Willis' underachieving Bandits with relative ease.
Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan rekindled interest in World War II. The Sept. 11 attacks also left audiences hungry for war sagas, resulting in the subsequent successes of Black Hawk Down ($89.2 million through Thursday) and Behind Enemy Lines ($58 million).
A thoughtful mediation on racism within the U.S. army's ranks, Hart's War pits Willis against Colin Farrell in a courtroom thriller set within the confines of a German POW camp. Willis, the camp's highest-ranking American officer, orders Farrell to defend a black pilot (Terrence Howard) during a murder trial that isn't quite what it seems.
Romance drove such recent World War II sagas as Pearl Harbor, Enemy at the Gates, Captain Corelli's Mandolin and Charlotte Gray. Hart's War offers no such diversion, which could keep away those most likely to swoon at the sight of a pretty boy in uniform. Hart's War, however, should score with those who turned U-571 into a $79 million hit in 2000. Also, it helps that director Gregory Hoblit knows his way around a courtroom. His Primal Fear earned $56 million in 1996 and propelled Edward Norton to fame. Hart's War could do the same for Farrell, who became such a hot property after the critically acclaimed but hardly seen Tigerland that he replaced Norton in Hart's War, Matt Damon in Spielberg's Minority Report and Jim Carrey in Phone Booth.
Accordingly, Hart's War should match the $13.8 million that Enemy at the Gates opened with this time last year.
Hart's War will likely steal audiences away from the bloody Black Hawk Down, especially since director Ridley Scott's Somalia-set saga failed to secure a Best Picture Oscar nomination this week. Hart's War, though, faces extreme competition on March 1 in the form of Mel Gibson's Vietnam epic We Were Soldiers.
There's no question that Britney Spears moves more albums than Mandy Moore. But can she sell more movie tickets than her bubblegum pop rival?
Moore surprisingly raised the bar in January for Spears' starring debut Crossroads when A Walk to Remember opened with $12.1 million. The teen romance has made a solid $30.6 million through Monday after three weekends, but will likely buckle under the pressure of facing Crossroads.
The sight of a scantily clad Spears jiggling her way across America should be enough to attract an audience larger than her loyal female following, resulting in an opening similar to that of A Walk to Remember.
Crossroads might have a harder time matching the extremely chaste A Walk to Remember's eventual gross. Some parents might not take too kindly to their younger children watching Spears strut around in her underwear or sit through a road movie that touches upon such sensitive issues as rape and teen pregnancy.
There are no such worries with Return to Never Land, a somewhat belated sequel to 1953's Peter Pan and Disney's annual animated President's Day offering. Disney originally conceived Return to Never Land as a direct-to-video project, as it did with Toy Story 2. Disney clearly believes that Return to Never Land can enchant a young audience recently weaned on the likes of Peter Pan, The Jungle Book and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Still, Disney isn't displaying as much faith in Return to Never Land as it did in Toy Story 2, which opened with $57.3 million in 1999 during the lucrative Thanksgiving holiday. The weekend before and during the President's Day holiday offered down-to-earth openings for 2001's Recess: School's Out ($13.5 million; $36.6 million total) and 2000's The Tigger Movie ($9.4 million; $45.5 million total). Return to Never Land should match Recess's opening and fly off to about $50 million before enjoying a long and lucrative life on video and DVD.
A trip to Never Land will cause some families to cancel plans to run with Disney's other family offering, Snow Dogs, but not enough to slow Cuba Gooding Jr.'s Alaskan adventure to a crawl. Snow Dogs continues to show great legs, earning a strong $7.1 million in its fourth weekend despite competition from Big Fat Liar. Snow Dogs has $60.8 million through Wednesday, and should cross the finish line with $80 million.
Return to Never Land won't likely pose much of a threat to Big Fat Liar, which opened last weekend with a strong $11.5 million. The comedy, with Frankie Muniz matching wits with a greedy film producer, has $13.4 million through Thursday, and should remain the film of choice for pre-teens unable to sneak into Crossroads.
Fox failed in January to turn its spoof Kung Pow: Enter the Fist into a marital arts equivalent of Scary Movie. The company's boutique label, Fox Searchlight, won't have better luck trying to pass off Super Troopers as a Naked Gun for the 21st century. Like Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, Super Troopers features no recognizable faces. Super Troopers also will fail to exceed the PG-13 rated Kung Pow: Enter the Fist's $7 million opening by virtue of its prohibitive R rating.
With John Q and Hart's War now in theaters, Collateral Damage will sustain a major hit in its second weekend.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's somewhat timely terrorist thriller opened last weekend with $15.1 million, slightly better than other such action-packed disappointments as Last Action Hero and The 6th Day. Collateral Damage has collected an unexciting $19.4 million through Thursday and will certainly not exceed the $66.8 million amassed by 1999's End of Days, which marked the start of Schwarzenegger's box office decline as an action hero.
Still, Schwarzenegger should fare better than his Predator and Last Action Hero director John McTiernan, whose ill-advised Rollerball remake crashed with a lousy $9 million opening. Audiences completely rejected this reworking of Norman Jewison's thoughtful but stomach-churning look at a futuristic sport driven by its body count.
MGM pulled Rollerball from its August release following terrible word-of-mouth and then cut out a fair chunk of nudity and violence to secure a PG-13 rating. The tactic didn't work in 2000 for the studio's Supernova ($14.2 million total), and it isn't going to save Rollerball from certain disaster. With Chris Klein serving as an inferior substitute for the original's James Caan, Rollerball has managed to amass an uncompetitive $10.8 million through Thursday. After The Thomas Crown Affair and Rollerball, McTiernan should avoid any more attempts to exploit Jewison's extensive body of work.
Perhaps MGM should have instead turned its attention to remaking Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo. Director Kevin Reynolds' reworking of the classic tale of revenge, with Jim Caviezel plotting revenge against Guy Pearce, has plundered a grand $34.6 million through Thursday.
The promise of Oscar gold provided an immediate boost to such contenders as A Beautiful Mind and I Am Sam.
A Beautiful Mind saw its grosses jump from $433,000 on Monday to $610,000 on Tuesday after receiving eight Oscar nominations, including one Best Picture. You don't need to be a genius in mathematics to calculate that Ron Howard's biography of John Nash Forbes Jr., which has collected $116.2 million through Thursday, looks set to benefit the most this Oscar season. A Beautiful Mind will likely see its President's Day tally jump modestly from last weekend's haul of $6.3 million.
I Am Sam, which garnered a surprise Best Actor nomination for Sean Penn, increased from $323,000 on Monday to $395,000 on Tuesday. The heart-wrenching drama, with the mentally challenged Penn fighting to retain custody of his 7-year-old daughter, has $25.6 million through Thursday. I Am Sam should enjoy another $5 million weekend thanks to its Oscar nomination.
Best Picture nominations also should revitalize The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring ($272.9 million through Thursday), Gosford Park ($22 million through Sunday) and In the Bedroom ($19.2 million through Sunday) at the box office this weekend. Monster's Ball, which secured Halle Berry an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, should now successfully build upon the $2.3 million it earned at 342 theaters last weekend. The tense family drama has $3.9 million through Sunday.
With its 13 Oscar nominations, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring will certainly end up with a gross in excess of $300 million. Its $272.9 million total equals director Peter Jackson's budget for the three films in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring surpassed Shrek ($267.7 million) last week to become 2001's second-highest grossing film.
Perhaps a certain apprentice wizard should considering casting a spell that would prevent him from being thrashed at the box office by a lowly hobbit on a life-or-death mission.