Born on Jan. 19, 1992 in Des Moines, IA, Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Shawn Johnson began her athletic career at three years old when her parents enrolled her in gymnastics class after finding h...
Whereas The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) was an underdog to win last weekend versus The Mummy 3 (Universal), I am installing the Christopher Nolan-directed comic book adaptation as the betting favorite to win both the traditional 3-day and the Wednesday-thru-Friday 5-day frames this weekend--although it could be close.
Two new movies are opening Wednesday (August 6) in the hopes of getting a jump on the Friday night Opening Ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. NBC’s prime-time coverage over the next 3 weeks will smartly feature many of the high profile swimming events, including those featuring Michael Phelps, and gymnastics, with Shawn Johnson’s pursuit of the Women’s All-Around, but the Olympics have begun to increasingly skew 25 Plus. Given that, both Sony and Warner Bros have picked a good spot for their respective releases.
Pineapple Express, Sony’s R-rated stoner comedy, is aimed at Males Under 25, and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, a youth-oriented chick flick from Warner Bros, is reaching for Females Under 25. I do not believe, however, that the pageantry of the Opening Ceremonies, including a celebration of the history of Chinese culture, will do much to dampen the box office performance of these 2 new releases.
The Judd Apatow-produced Pineapple Express looks very solid in industry tracking, especially with the big money young male demo, and this marijuana-fueled comedy has an outside chance to upset The Dark Knight. Both movies are likely to finish in the same range with a traditional 3-day of $24M-$29M and a Wednesday-thru-Friday 5-day of $35M-$40M. Ultimately, I suspect that the Caped Crusader will defeat the Seth Rogen/James Franco toker jokefest, but Express will be a strong #2.
Pants 2 is the probable 3rd-place finisher for the weekend. The 2005 original opened on a Wednesday and managed a 3-day of $9.83M and a Wednesday-thru-Sunday of $13.57M. The modestly-budgeted, good-hearted “girl power” movie went on to $39M domestic. This sequel will enjoy a big step up at the box office.
With America Ferrera, now a star thanks to Ugly Betty, Alexis Bledel, Blake Lively and Amber Tamblyn all returning, the new Traveling Pants seems destined to break $20M for the 5-day with something in the $19M-$22M range. The 3-day weekend should be $13M-$16M.
The Mummy 3 (Universal) will suffer a severe drop with a $13M-$16M Friday-thru-Sunday and something near $20M for 5-days. Tomb of the Dragon Emperor fell apart on Monday with just $4.24M, and that suggests a 65%+ drop-off from the film’s $44.7M 3-day opening.
FINAL 3-DAY PREDICTIONS FOR AUGUST 8-10
1. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) - $28M
2. Pineapple Express (Sony) - $25M
3. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (Warner Bros) - $15.5M
4. The Mummy 3 (Universal) - $14.75M
5. Step Brothers (Sony) - $8.5M
6. Mamma Mia (Universal) - $7.5M
7. Journey to the Center of the Earth (Warner Bros) - $4.5M
8. Swing Vote (Disney) - $3.7M
9. WALL-E (Disney) - $2.9M
10. Hancock (Sony) - $2.7M
FINAL 5-DAY PREDICTIONS FOR AUGUST 6-10
1. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) - $37.6M
2. Pineapple Express (Sony) - $35M
3. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (Warner Bros) - $21.5M
4. The Mummy 3 (Universal) - $21M
5. Step Brothers (Sony) - $11.6M
6. Mamma Mia (Universal) - $11.2M
7. Journey to the Center of the Earth (Warner Bros) - $6.65M
8. Swing Vote (Disney) - $5.2M
9. WALL-E (Disney) - $4.3M
10. Hancock (Sony) - $3.8M
Set in post-World War III Los Angeles Southland Tales takes place over the three days leading up to a huge Fourth of July celebration as the world is crumbling around the city’s citizens who are living in a city that has been turned into an armed camp by the government. There’s a huge cast of characters in this disjointed tale written and directed by Richard Kelly including Boxer Santaros (Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson) an action-movie star married to Madeline (Mandy Moore) the spoiled rich daughter of a powerful senator. Boxer turns up near the beach in L. A. suffering from complete amnesia; he’s watched by a military sniper named Pilot Abilene (Justin Timberlake) who also narrates the film and seems to hold the key to the mystery of what happened to Santaros in the desert that caused his mental breakdown. Meanwhile Santaros falls for activist porn star Krysta Now (Sarah Michelle Gellar) as radical anti-government forces led by Cyndi Pinziki (Nora Dunn) plot a huge terrorist event to take place on the Fourth. Add in a police officer (Seann William Scott) who may be the link between all the other characters and you’ve got the gist of the story. Unfortunately there are easily 10 other characters wandering around in this mishmash of a plot played by everyone from Miranda Richardson John Larroquette and Christopher Lambert to Wallace Shawn Kevin Smith Jon Lovitz and Bai Ling and not one of them seems to have a clue as to what is actually going on--which is exactly how the audience watching feels too. It is a mystery how so many usually talented actors stumbled into this incoherent mess of a movie much less how they have all succeeded in giving some of the worst performances of their careers. Dwayne Johnson the usually likable wrestler-turned-actor leads the pack resorting to rolling his eyes and twitching his fingers to portray a man in emotional distress. Sarah Michelle Gellar is equally abysmal; her ridiculous porn-star/talk-show-host character comes off as a complete caricature not a characterization. Miranda Richardson simply chews the scenery and Wallace Shawn actually does a caricature of himself which is just weird. It is no wonder that when this inane flick debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006 people booed and walked out. The shock is that Sony coughed up more money for special effects and a re-edit--perhaps that is because there are so many well-known names on the cast list? Whatever the reason the still two-and-a-half-hour film is so jumbled enervating and downright boring that we’re pretty certain you’ll be tempted to head for the bathroom and never come back. The only thing that might keep you interested is if you have a Bai Ling fetish (although why you would pick her to obsess over is a complete mystery); she spends the movie vamping it up in costumes that make her look like the porn star instead of Gellar. Writer-director Richard Kelly had a cult hit with Donnie Darko which apparently made him believe that there is a market for movies that are incredibly incoherent and lacking in the most basic narrative focus. Sadly he’s made just that movie with Southland Tales; in fact he explains himself in three graphic novels and a large Web site the prequel to the movie that we apparently should have investigated beforehand since the film is supposed to be the last three chapters of the saga. But therein lies the rub as no filmmaker should assume that moviegoers will have taken the time to do those things before entering the theater. For anyone who has not embraced this self-involved filmmaker’s other work Southland Tales simply comes across as a mixed-up jumble of half-baked ideas performed by actors who look like they are involved in a high school video project not a bona fide Hollywood movie. And if the steady stampede for the door during the screening we sat all the way through is any indication this is a movie that will have patrons who have actually paid for the experience considering a quick sneak away into a different movie in the multiplex. Lord knows that only someone who is paid to watch would actually sit through this whole film. After all those are two hours and 24 minutes of life that we will never get back.
Top Story: Cage, Presley Officially End Marriage
Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage and Lisa Marie Presley have made their divorce final, ending lengthy legal proceedings which outlasted the actual marriage itself, Reuters reports. Cage filed for divorce in November 2002 from Presley, after being married for only three months. According to an Extra report, citing court papers filed on Monday, the two "amicably resolved" their brief marriage, with neither receiving any kind of spousal support and each maintaining all assets acquired prior to their marriage. It was a third marriage for Presley, who was married to Michael Jackson for less than two years and who previously had two children with musician Danny Keogh. Cage was also previously married to actress Patricia Arquette.
Madonna Sidelines L.A. Concert
An ailing Material Girl had to cancel her second Los Angeles concert due to the stomach flu, Reuters reports. A statement posted on her Web site said Madonna was ordered to rest by her doctor but would be "back at 100 percent" by Wednesday. Madonna, 45, kicked off her Re-Invention tour in L.A. Monday night.
West Wing's Janney Gets Engaged
Emmy-winning actress Allison Janney, known as the sharp C.J. Cregg on NBC's The West Wing, is engaged to marry actor Richard Jenik, The Associated Press reports. The couple live in Los Angeles and have dated for two years, a spokesman for Janney said Wednesday. A wedding date has not be set as yet.
Charges Against Simmons Cleared
An assault charge against exercise guru Richard Simmons, who was accused of slapping a man at an airport, has been dropped, AP reports. Simmons, the outlandish 55-year-old known for his exercise videos, was accused of slapping a 6-foot-2, 250-pound traveler, who recognized Simmons in March at an Phoenix, Ariz., airport as they were waiting for a flight to Los Angeles and made an off-hand comment about Simmons' exercise videos, police said.
Marvel, Lions Gate Make Direct-to-DVD Pact
Marvel Enterprises Inc., which controls a library of more than 4,700 comic book characters, has chosen Lions Gate Entertainment to make at least eight direct-to-DVD animated features. Marvel and Lions Gate are expected develop eight 66-minute animated features for release on DVD beginning next year, focusing first on comic book characters such as Captain America, the Hulk, Thor and Iron Man. Per the agreement, Lions Gate will provide Marvel with licensing fees for character rights and fund all of the development, production, distribution and marketing for each title. According to Reuters, some Wall Street analysts predict this new line of animated home videos could sell as many as 1 million DVD units each.
MTV Names More Presenters for Movie Awards
More presenters have been announced for the 2004 MTV Movie Awards, which will be broadcast on the network June 10. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Vin Diesel, Paris Hilton, Ice Cube, Ashton Kutcher, Matthew Perry, Queen Latifah and Marlon Wayans and Shawn Wayans have been added to the list of previously announced presenters Snoop Dogg, Dave Chappelle, Kirsten Dunst, Eve, Jimmy Fallon, Kate Hudson and Scarlett Johansson. Lindsay Lohan, the 17-year-old star of Mean Girls is set to host the show, with musical performances by D12, the Beastie Boys and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
CBS Ends TV Season on Top
CBS will finish the TV season--which officially ends today--as the nation's most popular network, the AP reports. According to Nielsen Media Research, CBS has averaged 13.1 million viewers this season--up 4 percent over last year. Fox's American Idol, however, was the favorite show of the season, averaging 25.8 million viewer, winning by a slim margin over CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, which averaged 25.6 million viewers. And while NBC was down 5 percent among total viewers, the network proclaimed a season victory in the only demographic it worries about: the 18-to-49-year-old viewer. Fox was the nation's third-place network, second among 18-to-49-year-old viewers, while ABC followed in fourth place.
Just for Laughs Festival Announces Lineup
Wayne Brady, Caroline Rhea, Tim Allen, Tom Arnold and Jackie Mason are among the comics scheduled to perform at Montreal's 22nd Just for Laughs Festival, which runs July 15-25. Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green and Mila Kunis, the voices behind the animated show Family Guy, will do a live script reading of the show, which has become one of the biggest-selling TV DVDs. The festival will also host the world premiere of Evil Dead 1 & 2: The Musical, a comedy based on the director Sam Raimi's campy horror classics. New on this summer's roster is Late Nite Down Under, a spotlight on the funniest acts from Australia and New Zealand, including performances by Colin Hay of '80s pop band Men at Work, and the North American premiere of James Campbell's stand-up comedy for kids ages 5 and older.
Role Call: Harrison Ford Takes To Outer Space with Goodspeed
Harrison Ford is set to star in Godspeed, an outer space-set thriller being put together by James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainmen
Et tu, Sarah Michelle Gellar?
Sarah Michelle Gellar Isn't it bad enough that the ages have wreaked havoc on the sitcom statures of Mallory Keaton and Carol Seaver? Isn't it bad enough that TBS relegates "Family Ties" reruns to the freakin' crack of dawn? Isn't it bad enough that there are children out there who know "Growing Pains" only as "That Sitcom Leonardo DiCaprio Used to Do Before He Was Famous?" Do you, Miss Entertainment-Weekly-Thinks-I'm-Cool, have to go and plunge your vampire-slaying knife into their backs?
In the Feb. 19 edition of TV Guide, Gellar goes Jennifer Lopez on Mallory (the dear, innocent Keaton as played by Justine Bateman on "Family Ties") and Carol (the dear, bookish Seaver as played by Tracey Gold on "Growing Pains'"). With the same sort of venom in which the aforementioned Lopez went after Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow in an infamous 1998 Movieline interview, Gellar calls Mallory "an idiot"; Carol, an anti-role model.
Read it and weep: "[Young women] respond to Buffy because for years we didn't have a character young girls could look up to," Gellar tells the magazine, by way of explaining her status as the esteemed star of WB's "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer." "Mallory on 'Family Ties' was an idiot. Carol on 'Growing Pains' wasn't happy being smart; she wanted to be popular. Those were not role models."
If Gellar figured Mallory and Carol would not respond to her unkind words because, well, they're not real people and therefore can't really speak, she was sorely mistaken. Mallory and Carol have friends who will speak for them.
Justine Bateman as Mallory Keaton Yeah.
"Mallory's character certainly had an innocent charm to her, but she was not an idiot," counters Shawn McNulty, designer of the "Family Ties" Page (http://members.tripod.com/~blwagener/). "Sitcom writing was different 15 years ago. These days sitcoms are trying a little too hard to be witty, and it just turns to cynicism."
And besides, says McNulty, Gellar's comments are "fairly 'idiotic'" -- as is her series. (Meow!)
"... [By contrast,] 'Family Ties' was easily one of the best-written sitcoms of all time," McNulty says. "The cast was brilliant, and they knew how to act. Mallory was part of the well-rounded group of characters. Her interests lied in areas that the show never really pursued."
Lisa R. Johnson of The '80s Server (www.80s.com) -- the online bible for all things Reagan Era -- agrees that Mallory Keaton was, too, not dumb. "Mallory was very knowledgeable about fashion, music, social activities and men -- the things that make life worth living," Johnson says.
But what of Carol Seaver? Was she really the sad, pathetic figure that Ms. Gellar would have us believe? No, says Johnson. "Both women [Mallory and Carol] were iconic representations of women in the '80s -- falling at opposite ends of the female spectrum but nevertheless bringing into our homes what the rest of the media was portraying worthwhile women to be," she says.
In Johnson's book, Mallory symbolized the 1980s obsession with the supermodel while Carol was the decade's Sandra Day O'Connor -- the smart girl who could grow up to be a U.S. Supreme Court Judge. (Yes, apparently, even "Growing Pains" had subtext.)
"Both women were following their true nature and their true calling but found their roles hard to live with because the people around them always wanted 'more,'" Johnson says.
In Mallory's case, McNulty argues that the character, perhaps, only appeared stupid compared with Alex P. Keaton, her Young Republican of an elder brother portrayed by Michael J. Fox on the 1982-89 series.
There was no word on what Gellar thinks of Alex.
In fact, after trashing Mallory and Carol, the 22-year-old Daytime Emmy winner held fire on other 1980s icons, training her guns instead on the likes of ex-"Baywatch" lifeguard Nicole Eggert (one of those "actresses ... who are so physically perfect you can never be like them), Keri Russell (TV Guide says Gellar rolled her eyes when asked about the "Felicity" star's virginity confessions to a national mag), anorexia rumors ("It's like McCarthyism all over again!") and her father ("He is not a person who exists in my life.").
But if Gellar is out of barbs, the Mallory/Carol defenders are not. Says McNulty: "I think Ms. Gellar should invest in a Roth IRA because there is no talent there."
Competed on the eighth season of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars"; became the youngest winner of the competition
Publishing the book, Shawn Johnson: Olympic Champion: Stories Behind the Smile
Won two individual Olympic silver medals and a Gold metal at the 2008 games in Beijing
Joined forces with former gymnast and coach Liang Chow
Traveled the US as a member of "The Tour of Gymnastics Superstars"
Won the all-around at the U.S. National Championships and the World Championships
Made a cameo appearance on "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" (ABC Family)
Won the U.S. Junior National All-Around Championship
Nominated for the 2009 Teen Choice Award for Choice TV: Female Reality/Variety Star
Began taking gymnastics classes at three years old
Born on Jan. 19, 1992 in Des Moines, IA, Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Shawn Johnson began her athletic career at three years old when her parents enrolled her in gymnastics class after finding her jumping and tumbling off of tables. At six, she joined forces with former gymnast and coach Liang Chow, who went on to steer Johnson to Olympic silver at the 2008 games in Beijing. Training less than others her age, Johnson was able to maintain honor roll grades while attending Valley High School in West Des Moines. Meanwhile, she qualified for Junior Elite Status on her first try, then garnered attention in 2005 when she placed third in the junior division at the U.S. Classic. The following year, she won the U.S. Junior National All-Around Championship. In 2007, she made the jump to the senior division, where she won the all-around at the Tyson American Cup. Also that year, she won four gold medals at the Pan American Games, then won the all-around at the U.S. National Championships - a feat she repeated the following year.
In 2008, Johnson became an overnight star at the Olympic Games in Beijing, where she helped steer the United States to a silver medal during the team competition. Johnson made her mark during the individual rounds, winning silver in the all-around, as well as for her floor routine. Johnson became an instant celebrity, appearing on countless talk shows after the games, then led the Pledge of Allegiance at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. She made a cameo appearance on "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" (ABC Family, 2008- ), then was a member of the Tour of Gymnastics Superstars, which traveled the United States during the fall. After publishing a book Shawn Johnson: Olympic Champion: Stories Behind the Smile in December 2008 and being named fifth on the Associated Press list of top female athletes of the year, Johnson became one of 13 contestants to appear on the eighth season of "Dancing With the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ) and, at age 17, was the show's youngest competitor up until that time. Continuing the tradition of Olympians prevailing on the popular variety show, Johnson would shockingly beat out French actor, Gilles Marini for the coveted disco ball trophy.