Is "The Grinch" breakable?
That's the question this weekend as kiddie dog flick "102 Dalmatians" and M Night Shyamalan's "The Sixth Sense" follow-up "Unbreakable" look to dethrone Carrey's mad moneymaking "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
"'The Grinch' is certainly the picture to beat here. I think 'Grinch' would still be No. 1. It has the momentum behind it right now," says Brandon Gray, box office analyst from boxofficemojo.com. "It could make another $50 mil over the five-day holiday."
But, of course, this being a game of speculation, anything could happen.
And as we wait for the results this Sunday, here's a look at the two big films opening this weekend.
"102 Dalmatians" THE SKINNY: A follow-up to 1996's successful "101 Dalmatians," the sequel has Cruella De Vil (Glenn Close) once again hooked on the Dalmatian fur coat she has always coveted. THE UPSIDE: The original film took in more than $130 million in domestic box office. THE DOWNSIDE: But that was four years ago. "I see no indication that people are desiring a sequel [to the film]," Gray says. "I say this one's going to be in the low $20 mil for the five days."
"Unbreakable" THE SKINNY: Bruce Willis plays a man whose life is spared in a devastating train accident. Samuel L. Jackson plays the nice black man who helps him through this difficult time. THE UPSIDE: "[It has] the momentous reteaming of 'The Sixth Sense' team. The film is unique in the marketplace right now," Gray says. "It's quite feasible for the film to make somewhere around $30 mil over the five-day range." THE DOWNSIDE: What's up with Jackson's hair?
Don't forget holdovers such as "Rugrats in Paris: The Movie," "Charlie's Angels," "Men of Honor," "Meet the Parents," "The 6th Day" and "Bounce." And for those feeling nostalgic, the Russell Crowe blockbuster "The Gladiator" gets a re-release at Imax theaters today.
There's no doubt about it ... Christmas has definitely arrived early in theaters.
Perhaps rewarding him for being a very good boy all year, audiences came out in droves over the weekend to see Jim Carrey's personification of the classic Dr. Seuss miser the Grinch. And the results?
"Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" took in an estimated $55.1 million at the box office this weekend, making it the second highest-grossing film this year its first week out after Tom Cruise's summer actioner "M:1-2," per estimates released today.
"The Grinch's" hefty take more than doubles Carrey's last box office debut, "Me, Myself & Irene's" $24 million back in June.
Undoubtedly a weekend for the kiddies, the animated "Rugrats in Paris: The Movie" came in at No. 2 with a strong $23 million. The first installment of the franchise, "Rugrats: The Movie," grossed more than $100 million domestically in 1998.
After having reigned the box office for two consecutive weeks, "Charlie's Angels" dropped to the third spot with an estimated $13.7 million. The film has so far grossed $93.6 mil and is poised to break the $100 million mark this coming week.
Coming in at fourth is Arnold Schwarzenegger's return-to-form actioner "The 6th Day" with $13.2 million. And rounding out the Top Five is the Ben Affleck-Gwyneth Paltrow romance "Bounce" with an estimated $11.5 million.
Meanwhile, notable drops include Adam Sandler's "Little Nicky", which went from last weekend's second place to this week's No. 7 spot with an estimated $7.7 million, and the Mars flick "Red Planet," which debuted at No. 5 last week but barely locked in the No. 10 spot this weekend with $2.7 million.
Here are the weekend's Top 10 films, per estimates released by Exhibitor Relations (final figures will be released Monday):
1. "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," $55.1 million (new) 2. "Rugrats in Paris: The Movie," $23 million (new) 3 "Charlie's Angels," $13.7 million ($93.6 million total) 4. "The 6th Day," $13.2 million (new) 5. "Bounce," $11.5 million (new) 6. "Men of Honor," $8.01 million ($25 million total) 7. "Little Nicky," $7.7 million ($26.5 million total) 8. "Meet the Parents," $6.4 million ($138.5 million total) 9. "The Legend of Bagger Vance," $2.92 million ($25.3 million total) 10. "Red Planet," $2.74 million ($13.4 million total)
(POSTED: 11/19/00 at 2 p.m. ET)
After looting the box office this summer with "Gladiator," helmer Ridley Scott is about to do the same thing on the high seas.
Daily Variety is reporting that the lauded director will direct Disney's "Captain Kidd," an adventure tale based on the life of the notorious 17th century pirate.
The project will be produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and will be written by "Double Jeopardy" scribes Doug Cook and David Weisberg.
Scott has just finished wrapping "Hannibal," the sequel to "The Silence of the Lambs," and will immediately segue into the big-budget flick "Black Hawk Down."
A SOUND 'MIND:' Ed Harris knows what's hot. Variety says that the actor has aligned himself with red hot director Ron Howard and red hot actor Russell Crowe in the project "A Beautiful Mind."
In the true story, "Gladiator" Crowe will play John Nash, a paranoid-schizophrenic and Nobel Prize winner. Harris will co-star as an intelligence officer in the film.
Howard, of course, just came off helming a little holiday film called "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" with Jim Carrey.
ANOTHER GENERATION: "Star Trek" fans can rejoice. Variety says that "Gladiator" scribe John Logan has been tapped to write the next "Star Trek" flick in the sci-fi franchise. The project will be No. 10 for the big-screen series.
No director has been named yet, but veteran Trekkies Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner are set to return.
He's a movie star, Broadway actor and multiple Tony Award winner. Now you can add one more title to Matthew Broderick's resume -- television's "The Music Man." Daily Variety reports today that the "Inspector Gadget" guy will star in the TV version of the Tony-winning Broadway musical "The Music Man."
In the telepic, Broderick is slated to play Professor Harold Hill, a con man trying to unload band instruments in a small Iowa town but instead falls in love with the town librarian. According to Variety, Broderick's wife, "Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker, is being courted for the role of Marian the librarian.
Broderick won two Tony Awards for his roles in the revival of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and the Neil Simon play "Brighton Beach Memoirs."
The three-hour "The Music Man" will air on ABC's "Wonderful World of Disney" some time next year.
ANNE AND 'ALLY': Anne Heche is switching sides again, but this time she's going from the silver screen to the boob tube. The Hollywood Reporter says that the actress has signed on to guest star in Fox's legal eagle dramedy "Ally McBeal." Heche, an Emmy winner during her days on the soap "Another World," will reportedly play a picky client in her three-episode deal. Her guest appearance will air during November sweeps.
'KISS ME,' DANNY: The Associated Press says that Danny Nucci ("Titanic," "Crimson Tide") has landed a starring role on a CBS comedy series. The show, called "Kiss Me, Guido," is about a guy (Nucci) who unknowingly ends up rooming with a gay man (Jason Bateman). The CBS series will debut in midseason, according to the report.
PEE-WEE'S BACK: Rejoice, Pee-Wee's back on TV! OK, not exactly, but it's close enough. Paul Reubens, the man who once brought to daytime kid TV the strange world of Pee-Wee Herman, will return to the tube as the host of ABC's long-delayed gameshow "You Don't Know Jack." In case you haven't heard, the show is based on a mega-popular CD-ROM game of the same name.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Set your VCR! AP tells us that PBS stations will turn over two and a half minutes of airtime for eight nights so that presidential candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore can deliver their campaign messages. The arrangement starts Wednesday after Jim Lehrer's "NewsHour".
The $20 million club might soon welcome another member. Daily Variety says today that funnyman Martin Lawrence, whose last laugh fest was the summer hit "Big Momma's House," is in talks to star in two pictures. If signed, the comedian will make an upward of $20 million for each project.
The hike will put Lawrence in the same salary ranking as Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy and Chris Tucker. Lawrence previously got $16.5 million for starring in the Fox film "The Black Knight."
The two films -- "National Security" and "Blue Streak 2," a sequel to the 1999 hit -- are both action comedies being developed at Columbia Pictures. "National Security" is about a white cop wrongly accused of beating a black man (Lawrence). And in "Blue Streak 2," the actor would reprise his role as a thief turned cop when the Luke Wilson character enlists him once again to solve a crime.
No word on which of the two projects will go into production first. But shootings for the two films will be back to back, with the first one starting in spring and the second in July if the Hollywood actors and writers strike doesn't occur.
What does Russell Crowe have in common with Tom Cruise, Jim Carrey and Harrison Ford?
Answer: The "Gladiator" roughtrade might soon be making the same type of cash as those A-list leading men.
British Web site Popcorn reports that Crowe has been offered a cool $20 mil for the lead in a new World War II project titled "Giant." If Crowe accepts the role, the salary offer will be his career high.
Directed by John Frankenheimer ("Reindeer Games") and penned by Dan Gordon ("The Hurricane"), the film's slated for a January start date.
ROBIN PLAYS 'DEATH': Daily Variety reports that Robin Williams is close to taking the lead in "Death to Smoochie." He'll be playing a costumed children TV star (a la Barney) who seeks vengeance after being replaced by another character. The comedy will costar Danny DeVito, who'll also serve as director.
LUKE GOES 'BLONDE': Luke Wilson, who has the coveted duty of playing Cameron Diaz's lover in the upcoming "Charlie's Angels," will costar with Reese Witherspoon in "Legal Blonde," according to Variety.
BATES TAKES BAIT: The Hollywood Reporter says that Kathy Bates might join Kevin Costner in the thriller "Dragonfly." The film is about a bereft widower (Costner) who believes that his dead wife is trying to communicate with him. If talks go well, Bates will play his neighbor.
HOLLYWOOD, Aug. 22, 2000 - Emmys, anyone?
Taking the Emmys to the street, the folks at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences unveiled the first-ever public viewing of the famous gold statuettes in Universal Studios Hollywood today.
An armored motorcade (well, actually, more like an armored truck with two motorcycles trailing it) delivered the 27 Emmys to Universal's Globe Theatre this morning. The statuettes will remain there, on public display, until Sept. 5, just prior to the Emmy broadcast.
Academy of Television Arts and Sciences President Jim Chabin and Emmy award-winning actress Camryn Manheim from "The Practice" were at hand for the unveiling ceremony.
The Emmy Awards will be handed out Sept. 10.
HOLLYWOOD, Aug. 14, 2000 – Perhaps they should call it "Hollywood Fat Cat in the Hat." Variety reports that Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment are planning to adapt Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat" into a live-action comedy starring Tim Allen.
"The Cat in the Hat" is the second Dr. Seuss property the two studios are producing. Their first, the much awaited "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" with Jim Carrey, will come out this Thanksgiving.
VIRTUAL CASTING: Al Pacino is about to work with a never-before-seen beauty in his upcoming movie. The Hollywood Reporter says that the actor will play opposite a computer-generated character in "Simone," a project directed by "The Truman Show" scribe Andrew Niccol.
ENTER THE 'DRAGON': Variety tells us that New Line Cinema has paid about $5 mil for the distribution rights to "Dungeons and Dragon: The Movie" in the United States.
Whether the MPAA or the PTA approve or not, vulgarity is here to stay. But whether Jim Carrey is here to stay or not, that’s another question. Carrey, who has had an indelible hand in shaping twisty-faced humor into a proud genre of its own, failed to hit the high water mark with his latest comedic foray, "Me, Myself & Irene." The Farrelly brothers-directed flick made a less-than-Carrey-like $24 million in its opening weekend and has grossed $83.1 million after five weeks. Not exactly a bomb, but in a summer that saw a $42 mil debut from a blatantly derivative flick called "Scary Movie", Carrey's no longer the undisputed King of Comedy.
Until 1998's "The Truman Show" ($125.6 mil), it looked like the chameleon comedian could do no wrong. It all began with his 1994 breakthrough hit "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" ($108.3 mil), followed by "Dumb and Dumber" ($127.2 mil) and "The Mask" ($119.9 mil) in the same year, "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls" ($108.3 mil) in 1995 and "Liar Liar" ($181.4 mil) in 1997. Except for "The Cable Guy" in 1996 ($60.2 mil), Jim Carrey has consistently been a $100 million man.
"Man on the Moon" Then, all of a sudden, the funnyman’s box office recession hit in 1999 with "Man on the Moon," the Andy Kaufman biopic that made chump change ($34.5 mil) in comparison with his laundry list of hits.
"Me, Myself & Irene" -- which clung to the No. 10 spot at the box office last weekend -- was heralded as a respite from Carrey’s dramatic (i.e. not-so-lucrative) tangent and as his triumphant return to comic (i.e. lucrative) form.
So, why didn't it set the world afunny? Could "Me, Myself & Irene" be underperforming because the modern-day Jerry Lewis himself has lost his knack? Is Jim Carrey's schtick simply getting old?
For answers, we asked Martin Knelman, author of the biography "Jim Carrey: The Joker Is Wild," and he says the answer is no.
"[’Me, Myself & Irene’] is just not a very good movie," says Knelman. "Carrey does as well as anyone did. The problem is not with Jim Carrey’s physical comedy, but it’s that [the jokes] are not connected to the film in any narrative ways. It’s just a lackluster movie, and it’s not as good as a script."
We also asked Paul Dergarabedian, an industry analyst and box office watcher for Exhibitor Relations Co., and he likewise disagreed with the notion that Carrey's clownery is becoming passe. To the contrary, Dergarabedian thinks Carrey's clout is falling because he hasn’t been sticking to his tried-and-true comedy formula.
"I don’t think his act, quote-unquote, is old. Actually, I think [slapstick comedy is] what people want, but he's been sort of straying away from that. Audiences respond to him when he's more of the funny, goofy kind of guy, the friendly schlub who is the butt of jokes.
"I think ["Me, Myself & Irene"] was expected to do better," Dergarabedian adds. "I think any time you have a Jim Carrey movie, there's always a possibility that film could do over $100 million. And certainly the Farrelly brothers also have that potential, since 'There's Something About Mary' did $168 million, but this one just didn't catch on in that way."
Perhaps blaming the film’s lukewarm draw on Carrey might be unfair. If you believe what you read, then what's repelled viewers from "Me, Myself & Irene" is the tasteless jokes -- the pooping in the front yard, or a scene where Jim suckles a mother's breast. You can blame the Farrellys for that stuff.
"How the Grinch Stole Christmas" As one netizen gripes on a Jim Carrey fan Web site (www.jimcarreyonline.com), "Please tell me why it is necessary for Big Jim Carrey to use vulgarity as humor? He is a man of many talents and should not rely on the shocking and disgusting things for comedy. Come on, Jim, stop wasting time ... be funny without the yuck and nasty."
But, Carrey lovers, don’t fret. Knelman predicts that it's "extremely likely" the actor’s next headliner, the holiday tentpole "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," will be the biggest Jim Carrey hit yet.
And why not? After all, no one would dare try to desecrate the Dr. Seuss classic with poop. Right?
Fake shark fins, anyone? The marketing folks at Universal Home Video have been ticking off SoCal beachgoers, plastering lifeguard stands and trash cans with "Jaws" (1975) posters as part of a national ad campaign to plug the flick’s 25th anniversary video and DVD release.
Critics of the ad say that the posters -- with that famous painting of a shark approaching an unsuspecting swimmer -- freak out children and could be misleading to non-English speakers.
Universal has promised to nix the ad campaign if the hullabaloo continues.
Meanwhile, the people at the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors, who OK'd the publicity stunt, told the Los Angeles Times that the complaints arose because "everybody isn’t familiar with the movie."
And that’s where we come in.
How many people are really in the know when it comes to the Steven Spielberg-helmed, Oscar-winning blockbuster about a bloodthirsty shark?
Seeking the answer, we swiftly whipped up a list of trivia that we believe any "Jaws" lover could easily answer and headed down to the Santa Monica beach for some casual Q&A with ocean lovers.
And guess what, the County folks were right: Not one person we talked to could answer any of our following questions:
Q: What community does the story of "Jaws" take place in? Real answer: Amity Island. Best answer from the beach: "Well, I know it takes place by the beach." -- Mary Ann, sunbather from North Hollywood. Q: Who wrote the book that the movie was based on? Real answer: Peter Benchley. Best answer: "I don’t know, I don’t really read." -- Eddie, local college student on summer break.
Q: What actor played the police chief? Real answer: Roy Scheider Best answer: "How am I supposed to remember?" -- Debbie, housewife from Arizona.
Q: Which of the main characters gets eaten? Real answer: Quint (played by Robert Shaw). Best answer: "It’s one of the three characters who went out on a boat at the end." -- Lisa, vacationer from the United Kingdom.
Q: What Jaws movie did Mario Van Peebles appear in? Real answer: "Jaws: The Revenge:" (1987). He played Jake. Best answer: "Who?!" -- Jim, retiree living in Santa Monica.
Q: What Jaws movie did Michael Caine appear in? Real answer: "Jaws: The Revenge" (1987). He played Hoagie. Best answer: "Er, the first one?" -- Debbie, housewife from Arizona.
Q: In which Jaws movie is a shark electrically barbecued? Real answer: "Jaws 2" (1978). Best answer: "Hold on, how many ‘Jaws’ were there?" -- again, Debbie, housewife from Arizona.
Q: Which "Jaws" flick features the star of "Diggstown"? Real answer: Lou Gossett Jr., in "Jaws 3D." Best answer: "Of what?!"-- Jim, retiree living in Santa Monica.
Q: Which of these flicks is a Jaws knock-off: a) "Mako: Jaws of Death" b) "Grizzly" c) "Tentacles" d) "Deep Blue Sea" Answer: All of the above. Best answer: "'Deep Blue Sea.' That one has sharks in it. I’ve seen that one." -- Eddie, local college student on summer break.
But that’s not all. To put the whole shark scare to rest, we talked to Capt. Mickey Gallagher of the Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguard Operations. Instead of shark movie posters, Gallagher says people should really be more concerned about watching their kids, and jellyfish, when they come to the beach.
But Gallagher couldn’t answer any of our "Jaws" trivia questions, either.