After Dark Films
It seems a bit odd to take on a movie review of Courtney Solomon's Getaway, as only in the loosest terms is Getaway actually a movie. We begin without questions — other than a vague and frustrating "What the hell is going on?" — and end without answers, watching Ethan Hawke drive his car into things (and people) for the hour and a half in between. We learn very little along the way, probed to engage in the mystery of the journey. But we don't, because there's no reason to.
There's not a single reason to wonder about any of the things that happen to Hawke's former racecar driver/reformed criminal — forced to carry out a series of felonious commands by a mysterious stranger who is holding his wife hostage — because there doesn't seem to be a single ounce of thought poured into him beyond what he see. We learn, via exposition delivered by him to gun-toting computer whiz Selena Gomez, that he "did some bad things" before meeting the love of his life and deciding to put that all behind him. Then, we stop learning. We stop thinking. We start crashing into police cars and Christmas trees and power plants.
Why is Selena Gomez along for the ride? Well, the beginnings of her involvement are defensible: Hawke is carrying out his slew of vehicular crimes in a stolen car. It's her car. And she's on a rampage to get it back. But unaware of what she's getting herself into, Gomez confronts an idling Hawke with a gun, is yanked into the automobile, and forced to sit shotgun while the rest of the driver's "assignments" are carried out. But her willingness to stick by Hawke after hearing his story is ludicrous. Their immediate bickering falls closer to catty sexual tension than it does to genuine derision and fear (you know, the sort of feelings you'd have for someone who held you up or forced you into accessorizing a buffet of life-threatening crimes).
After Dark Films
The "gradual" reversal of their relationship is treated like something we should root for. But with so little meat packed into either character, the interwoven scenes of Hawke and Gomez warming up to each other and becoming a team in the quest to save the former's wife serve more than anything else as a breather from all the grotesque, impatient, deliberately unappealing scenes of city wreckage.
And as far as consolidating the mystery, the film isn't interested in that either, as evidenced by its final moments. Instead of pressing focus on the answers to whatever questions we may have, the movie's ultimate reveal is so weak, unsubstantial, and entirely disconnected to the story entirely, that it seems almost offensive to whatever semblance of a film might exist here to go out on this note. Offensive to the idea of film and story in general, as a matter of fact. But Getaway isn't concerned with these notions. Not with story, character, logic, or humanity. It just wants to show us a bunch of car crashes and explosions. So you'd think it might have at least made those look a little better.
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The undermost of all dogs were the Caltech Beavers: a Division III college basketball team that went twenty-six years without winning a single conference game (and a pretty long time without winning any games whatsoever, for that matter). In 2007, before the losing streak was broken, director Rick Greenwald created the documentary Quantum Hoops to depict the plight of and glorify the character of the Caltech basketball team. But for those of you unwilling to see a documentary that is ostensibly about failure, you have Disney.
Disney Pictures, in association with Ben Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld, is producing a narrative feature-film adaptation of the 2007 documentary. Moneyball writer Stan Chervin is working on the script. Now, neither Disney is no stranger to underdog sports stories. The former has given us The Mighty Ducks, Miracle and Cool Runnings, among others: all upbeat movies where the good guys win in the end (even though in real story behind Cool Runnings, the entire Jamaican bobsled team was badly injured by the crash and could not finish the race... uh, I mean, feel the rhythm!). And Ben Stiller gave us Dodgeball. So, if history does indeed repeat itself, we can prepare for some silly humor, the embracement of team spirit, and general feel-goodery.
Peace be the journey, mon.
Judge throws out Hilton lawsuit
A Los Angeles judge has thrown out Paris Hilton's $30 million invasion of privacy lawsuit against the Internet company that owns the rights to One Night in Paris, the infamous sex romp video of the hotel heiress and her ex-flame Rick Solomon. Reuters reports the reasons for Friday's dismissal against Florida-based Kahatani Ltd. were unclear. The New York Daily News, however, reports Hilton herself dropped the lawsuit in return for a cash sum plus a percentage of profits on sales of the video, which she would then donate to charity. Salomon, meanwhile, has dropped a lawsuit accusing the Simple Life star and her family of slander. The 45-minute video circulated on the Web before Red Light District Video, a suburban Los Angeles porn production company, bought the distribution rights from Salomon in April. Salomon and Hilton made the video in May 2001, but the socialite claimed in the lawsuit the night-vision videotape had been "intended only for personal use."
Marc Anthony pays unpaid tab, staves off lawsuit
Singer Marc Anthony, who was sued in a Puerto Rican court last week by an El San Juan Hotel & Casino club owner for an unpaid bill, has offered to pay the $20,000-plus tab. According to the AP, the suit stemmed from a bill for a private party thrown by Anthony and his then-wife, former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres, after the 2002 Miss Universe pageant. A report in the Puerto Rican paper Primera Hora alleged the singer had declined to pay the $21,067 bill "due to personal problems." Holly Taylor, a spokeswoman for the singer, told the AP Monday Anthony's representatives had been trying to resolve the matter for the last several months. Anthony divorced Torres June 1 and reportedly married Jennifer Lopez days later in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Lindsay Lohan to launch singing career
Following in the footsteps of Disney constituent Hilary Duff, 18-year-old Mean Girls star Lindsay Lohan has signed a record deal with Tommy Mottola's Casablanca Records. "It's a long-term recording contract," Peter LoFrumento, a representative for Casablanca's parent company, Universal Music Group, told The Associated Press on Monday. "Right now she needs to get into the studio and get down to work." Lohan is no stranger to music. The actress's pop vocals were heard on the Freaky Friday and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.
Eminem, Sirius launch new hip-hop station
Sirius Satellite Radio has teamed up with Eminem, his label Shady Records and Interscope Records to launch a hip-hop channel. "Once upon a time not too long ago, the Feds wanted all my music off the air," Eminem said in a statement. "Now we'll be on Sirius 24 hours a day." The channel will feature hip-hop from across the spectrum, not just the two labels. According to Reuters, Eminem's DJ Green Lantern will host a weekly show, with the rapper himself and other Shady Records artists hosting occasional shows. The station, which is expected to launch this fall, does not yet have a name.
Fox News criticized in new documentary
Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox News Channel went on the defense Monday after a new documentary accused the cabler of tailoring its coverage to back President Bush, Reuters reports. Outfoxed, by Robert Greenwald, uses testimony from ex-Fox employees, footage from broadcasts and internal news planning memos to make its case. Fox News said in a statement that the film did not seek comment from the station and showed copyrighted material out of context to make partisan points. "If any news organizations decide to make this an anti-Fox News story, then all of their material becomes fodder immediately for possible out of context and biased documentaries," Fox News said. Outfoxed, sponsored by liberal advocacy groups including MoveOn.org and the Center for American Progress, is set to premiere Tuesday at New York University. There are no plans for a theatrical release, Reuters reports.
Franken changes radio show name
Al Franken's daily three-hour Air America Radio show, The O'Franken Factor, is changing its name to The Al Franken Show, the AP reports. The 53-year-old comedian's liberal talk show was dubbed The O'Franken Factor as an obvious jab at Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, but Franken told AP he's changing the name because "no matter how hard we tried, conservative entertainer Bill O'Reilly wouldn't sue us." Last year, a judge threw out Fox News' request to ban Franken from using the slogan "Fair and Balanced" on the cover of his book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.
Baldwin wants to Scare some people
Sci Fi Channel has signed actor Stephen Baldwin to host the third season of Scare Tactics, replacing original host Shannen Doherty, who left to pursue other projects. According to Variety, the cabler has ordered up 14 new episodes of the reality show, which sets up elaborate and terrifying pranks to play on unsuspecting participants.
Actors, Broadway producers reach agreement
Actors' Equity Association and the League of American Theatres and Producers reached a tentative settlement Monday on a new four-year production contract, CNN.com reports. Specific details may not be known until Wednesday, League spokeswoman Kelly Sullivan told CNN.com. The negotiations had taken an ugly turn after the union's contract with the League expired June 27, with threats of a strike. The major concern was the question of non-Equity tours, which have been gaining in number over the last several years.
Kit Bowen contributed to this report.
Tomb Raider buried its box office competition this weekend with $48 million in ticket sales.
Paramount and Mutual Film Company's PG-13 rated action adventure Lara Croft: Tomb Raider arrived to a butt kicking ESTIMATED $48.2 million at 3,308 theaters ($14,571 per theater), heading for $140-150 million in domestic theaters.
Tomb's average per theater was the highest for any film playing in wide release this weekend. Tomb opened bigger than the similar female power themed Charlie's Angels, which arrived to $40.13 million the weekend of Nov. 3-5, 2000 at 3,037 theaters, averaging $13,213 per theater). Angels, which played through the holiday season rather than the summer, went on to gross $125.3 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Simon West, Tomb stars Angelina Jolie.
Distribution sources noted that Tomb's ticket sales fell from Friday to Saturday by five or six percent instead of going up as is typically the case. Some attributed that decline to the film's unfavorable reviews, saying they kept adults away and that Paramount should not have screened the picture for critics. Other insiders countered that the bad reviews didn't really matter to the film's core audience of young moviegoers and that it wasn't unusual for movies opening so huge to be down a little on Saturday from Friday's heat of opening day.
"I can tell you that it wasn't unexpected," Paramount distribution president Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning about Saturday's drop versus Friday. "I was using X-Men as the comparison to this. Their opening was like $54 million ($54.47 million the weekend of July 14-16, 2000 at 3,025 theaters, averaging $18,007 per theater) versus this one at $48 million. They were down seven percent on Saturday versus Friday and we're down five percent.
"Their Sunday was off 25 percent. I've estimated this one to be off 23 percent Sunday to Saturday, but quite frankly the fact that it's Fathers Day is (helpful because it's) a good movie day. I've looked back (at Sunday versus Saturday drops on Father's Day) and Mission: Impossible 2 was only off 21 percent (and) Shaft was off 11 percent. Most of the films were in the 10 to 15 percent drop on Sunday versus Saturday. So we could actually end up with a little better number."
Driven by Tomb, this Fathers Day weekend's box office for key films -- those grossing at least $500,000 - is about $128 million. Several distributors pointed out that that total is about 35 percent bigger than last year's $94.4 million key film gross and would make this the biggest Fathers Day weekend ever.
As for Tomb's exit polls, Lewellen said, "It was about 55 percent to 45 percent male versus female and younger than older. 25 and under is the majority of the audience. I don't have the breakdown (yet), but the majority of the audience was under 25. The definite recommends were very good -- in the younger audience more so than the older audience."
The film's strong opening came despite largely negative reviews. "I think is one of those films that may be review proof," Lewellen said. "That audience was ready to go see it. Particularly being a younger audience, the reviews don't have as much of an impact as (they would on) an older audience."
Asked where Tomb is heading in domestic theaters, Lewellen said it most likely would be in the $140-150 million range: "Obviously, the key to it is the second weekend and how it holds. If it continues to play along the lines of X-Men, (that) was off 57% the second weekend. If we follow that, you're looking at around $140-145 million." X-Men opened to about $6 million more than Tomb and ended up with $157.2 million in domestic theaters.
Buena Vista/Disney's PG rated animated feature Atlantis went wide after one week of sold-out exclusive engagements in New York and Los Angeles. Atlantis made sizable second place waves with an ESTIMATED $20.35 million at 3,011 theaters (+3,009 theaters; $6,760 per theater). Its cume is approximately $20.9 million.
Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, its voice talents include Michael J. Fox, James Garner, Cree Summer and Leonard Nimoy.
"We're extremely pleased," Buena Vista Distribution president Chuck Viane said Sunday morning. "We always set a target of $20 million and to be able to get there in the face of such an overpowering opening by Tomb Raider. I just think is great. We always try to counter program, but who could have ever imagined Tomb Raider to be that big? It's fabulous. I'm just happy to be number two and at a number that is really, really comfortable for everybody."
Asked about audience reaction to the film, Viane noted, "I saw the CinemaScores and they were A-plus for males under 21 and A for females (under 21). For the 21-34s, they were both A and for the 35 and overs, they were both B-plus. I think that says a lot. It shows that both fathers and moms are having a good time at the movie and that obviously helps us a lot because you get the whole family to go together then.
"Historically, what will happen is that your weekdays become that much more important now that it's summertime and everybody's getting out of school. By the time the week's over, I'd imagine we're going to be somewhere around $31 to $32 million and, boy, that's a hell of a start!"
Last summer, BV/Disney's launch of its animated feature Dinosaur opened to $38.85 million the weekend of May 19-21, averaging $11,930 per theater. It went on to gross $137.7 million in domestic theaters.
In the summer of 1999, BV/Disney's animated feature Tarzan kicked off to $34.2 million the weekend of June 18-20, averaging $11,388 per theater. It went on to gross $171.1 million in domestic theaters.
DreamWorks' PG rated computer animated blockbuster Shrek fell one slot to third place in its fifth week, still holding impressively with an ESTIMATED $12.9 million (-22%) at 3,317 theaters (-398 theaters; $3,885 per theater). Its cume is approximately $197.5 million on its way to $250 million or more.
DreamWorks said Sunday morning that it expects Shrek to crack $200 million this Tuesday or Wednesday.
Directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, its voice talents include Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow.
Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow's R rated action thriller Swordfish dropped three rungs to fourth place in its second week, holding well with an ESTIMATED $12.16 million (-33%) at 2,688 theaters (+10 theaters; $4,522 per theater). Its cume is approximately $39.2 million, heading for the $70 millions in domestic theaters.
Directed by Dominic Sena and produced by Joel Silver and Jonathan Krane, it stars John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Don Cheadle.
"We had the largest percentage increase over Friday night -- up 54 percent -- than any other film this weekend," Warner Bros. Distribution president Dan Fellman said Sunday morning. "Audiences continue to enjoy and recommend the film. They like our cast, they like the movie."
Buena Vista/Touchstone and Jerry Bruckheimer Films' PG-13 rated three hour epic action romance Pearl Harbor slid two levels to fifth place in its fourth weekend with a quieter $9.5 million (-35%) at 3,140 theaters (-115 theaters; $3,025 per theater). Its cume is approximately $159.9 million, on its way to $200 million by late summer.
Directed by Michael Bay, Pearl was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay and written by Randall Wallace. Its extensive cast is led by Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Tom Sizemore, Jon Voight and Alec Baldwin.
Focusing on where Pearl is heading, BV's Chuck Viane said, "I think it'll take us the rest of the summer (to reach $200 million). The picture shows that it plays very well on Saturday night. I think it'll be around for quite a while and that's the blessing of (having) all these megaplexes."
DreamWorks' and Columbia's PG-13 rated sci-fi comedy Evolution plunged two pegs to sixth place in its second week with a slower ESTIMATED $6.5 million (-52%) at 2,613 theaters (+2 theaters; $2,469 per theater). Its cume is approximately $25.4 million.
Directed by Ivan Reitman, it stars David Duchovny, Orlando Jones, Seann William Scott and Julianne Moore.
Columbia's release of Revolution Studios PG-13 youth appeal comedy The Animal dropped two rungs in its third weekend to seventh place with a slower ESTIMATED $5.7 million (-41%) at 2,741 theaters (-47 theaters; $2,080 per theater). Its cume is approximately $45.4 million, heading. for $55 million or more in domestic theaters.
Directed by Luke Greenfield, it stars Rob Schneider.
20th Century Fox's PG-13 rated romantic musical drama Moulin Rouge slipped two notches in its fifth week (its third in wide release) to eighth place, holding well with an ESTIMATED $5.18 million (-32%) at 2,091 theaters (-192 theaters; $2,475 per theater). Its cume is approximately $36.8 million.
Directed by Baz Luhrmann, it stars Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor.
"This is very, very encouraging," Fox distribution executive Rick Myerson said Sunday morning, pointing to the film's good legs. "The other pictures seem to be off a little bit more or about the same, so I think this is really good news for Moulin."
MGM's PG-13 comedy What's The Worst that Could Happen? fell two pegs to ninth place in its third weekend with a dull ESTIMATED $2.75 million (-50%) at 1,927 theaters (-748 theaters; $1,427 per theater). Its cume is approximately $27.3 million.
Directed by Sam Weisman, it stars Martin Lawrence and Danny DeVito.
Rounding out the Top Ten was Universal's PG-13 rated adventure blockbuster sequel The Mummy Returns, down two slots in its seventh week with an okay ESTIMATED $2.43 million (-48%) at 1,777 theaters (-763 theaters; $1,370 per theater). Its cume is approximately $193.2 million, heading for $200 million in domestic theaters.
Written and directed by Stephen Sommers, Mummy stars Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz and features an appearance by wrestling star The Rock.
This weekend also saw the arrival of Fox Searchlight's R rated drama "Sexy Beast" to a sexy ESTIMATED $0.18 million at 9 theaters ($20,077 per theater). Its cume after five days is approximately $0.23 million.
Directed by Jonathan Glazer, it stars Ben Kingsley.
"We're thrilled with the excellent opening we had which is really supported by the fantastic reviews that we've gotten almost unanimously across the board," Fox Searchlight distribution president Stephen Gilula said Sunday morning.
"It's a tremendous opening, I think, that shows that counter-programming of good alternative movies in the summertime can work (very well)."
Lions Gate Films' PG-13 rated drama Songcatcher opened to an unexciting ESTIMATED $0.040 million at 7 theaters ($5,686 per theater).
Directed by Maggie Greenwald, it stars Janet McTeer and Aidan Quinn.
There were no national sneak previews this weekend.
On the expansion front, this weekend saw Miramax's R rated French thriller With a Friend Like Harry... continue to widen in its ninth week with an okay ESTIMATED $0.4 million at 220 theaters (+121 theaters; $1,835 per theater). Its North American cume is approximately $2.6 million.
Harry is being released under Miramax's French film banner Miramax Zoe.
Directed by Dominik Moll, it stars Laurent Lucas, Sergi Lopez, Mathilde Seigner and Sophie Guillemin.
Fine Line Features' R rated comedy The Anniversary Party went wider in its second week with an encouraging ESTIMATED $0.19 million at 16 theaters (+5 theaters; $11,955 per theater). Its cume is approximately $0.4 million.
Written and directed by Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh, its ensemble cast includes Jane Adams, Jennifer Belas, Phoebe Cates, Alan Cumming, Kevin Kline, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gwyneth Paltrow, Parker Posey and John C. Reilly.
Key films -- those grossing more than $500,000 -- took in approximately $128.01 million, up about 28.56% from the comparable weekend last year when key films grossed $99.58 million.
This weekend's key film gross was up about 35.65% from last weekend this year when key films took in $94.37 million.
Last year, Paramount's opening week of Shaft was first with $21.71 million at 2,337 theaters ($9,292 per theater); and Buena Vista's second week of Gone In 60 Seconds was second with $14.90 million at 3,049 theaters ($4,886 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $36.6 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $68.6 million.
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