For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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While recent animated blockbusters have aimed to viewers of all ages starting with fantastical concepts and breathtaking visuals but tackling complex emotional issues along the way Ice Age: Continental Drift is crafted especially for the wee ones — and it works. Venturing back to prehistoric times once again the fourth Ice Age film paints broad strokes on the theme of familial relationships throwing in plenty of physical comedy along the way. The movie isn't that far off from one of the many Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels: not particularly innovative or necessary but harmless thrilling fun for anyone with a sense of humor. Unless they have a particular distaste for wooly mammoths the kids will love it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift continues to snowball its cartoon roster bringing back the original film's trio (Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth Denis Leary as Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth) new faces acquired over the course of the franchise (Queen Latifah as Manny's wife Ellie) and a handful of new characters to spice things up everyone from Nicki Minaj as Manny's daughter Steffie to Wanda Sykes as Sid's wily grandma. The whole gang is living a pleasant existence as a herd with Manny's biggest problem being playing overbearing dad to the rebellious daughter. Teen mammoths they always want to go out and play by the waterfall! Whippersnappers.
The main thrust of the film comes when Scratch the Rat (whose silent comedy routines in the vein of Tex Avery/WB cartoons continue to be the series highlight) accidentally cracks the singular continent Pangea into the world we know today. Manny Diego and Sid find themselves stranded on an iceberg once again forced on a road trip journey of survival. The rest of the herd embarks to meet them giving Steffie time to realize the true meaning of friendship with help from her mole pal Louis (Josh Gad).
The ham-handed lessons may drag for those who've passed Kindergarten but Ice Age: Continental Drift is a lot of fun when the main gang crosses paths with a group of villainous pirates. (Back then monkeys rabbits and seals were hitting the high seas together pillaging via boat-shaped icebergs. Obviously.) Quickly Ice Age becomes an old school pirate adventure complete with maritime navigation buried treasure and sword fights. Gut (Peter Dinklage) an evil ape with a deadly... fingernail leads the evil-doers who pose an entertaining threat for the familiar bunch. Jennifer Lopez pops by as Gut's second-in-command Shira the White Tiger and the film's two cats have a chase scene that should rouse even the most apathetic adults. Hearing Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame) belt out a pirate shanty may be worth the price of admission alone.
With solid action (that doesn't need the 3D addition) cartoony animation and gags out the wazoo Ice Age: Continental Drift is entertainment to enjoy with the whole family. Revelatory? Not quite. Until we get a feature length silent film of Scratch's acorn pursuit we may never see a "classic" Ice Age film but Continental Drift keeps it together long enough to tell a simple story with delightful flare that should hold attention spans of any length. Massive amounts of sugar not even required.
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]
A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.
Hollywood.saw sharp declines across the board at the box office over the post-Thanksgiving weekend as moviegoing gave way to holiday shopping.
Buena Vista/Disney and Pixar's G-rated computer-animated blockbuster "Toy Story 2" held on to first place in its third weekend with a 50% drop that reflected how most films in the marketplace performed.
"Toy 2" snapped up a still hefty estimated $28.30 million (-50%) at 3,238 theaters (+2 theaters, $8,734 per theater). Its total is approximately $117.3 million, heading for a domestic theatrical total of $250 million-plus.
"Toy 2's" per-theater average was the highest for any film playing in wide release last weekend. Directed by John Lasseter, it features the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Annie Potts, Wayne Knight, Laurie Metcalf, Estelle Harris and R. Lee Ermey. Its score and two new songs were composed by Grammy Award winner Randy Newman.
The original "Toy Story" grossed about $190 million in the United States and Canada in 1995. It did about $360 million in worldwide ticket sales and sold more than 22 million videocassettes in the United States alone. If "Toy 2" hits $200 million by Dec. 31, Buena Vista will become the only distributor ever to have two films reaching $200 million in the same calendar year. The studio's blockbuster "The Sixth Sense" crossed the $200 million mark in early September.
"It's down 50% from Thanksgiving weekend, and I do not consider that bad at all," a Buena Vista distribution executive said Sunday morning. "It took us 11 days to reach $100 million (on Saturday). It is the biggest weekend for the first week in December, (beating) the original 'Toy Story' with $20.2 million."
MGM's PG-13-rated "The World Is Not Enough," the 19th James Bond epic, held on to second place in its third weekend with a quieter estimated $10.60 million (-55%) at 3,163 theaters (theater count unchanged, $3,345 per theater). Its total is approximately $90.4 million, heading for $120 million in domestic theaters. Directed by Michael Apted, it stars Pierce Brosnan in his third performance as 007.
Universal and Beacon Pictures' R-rated action-fantasy adventure "End of Days" came in third again with a less lively estimated $9.71 million (-53%) at 2,599 theaters (+6 theaters, $3,735 per theater). Its total is approximately $45.9 million. Directed by Peter Hyams, it stars Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"We all knew this was going to be a tough weekend. This is traditionally not a great weekend at the box office, but look at the numbers -- they were again record-breaking," Universal Distribution President Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning. "People are going to the movies. The economy is good. They're out there doing things. They're doing their Christmas shopping. That's what happens in a good economy. You don't have to choose between entertaining yourself or buying Christmas presents. You do both."
The rise of Internet shopping may be a helpful factor, as well, according to Rocco: "People have more free time for entertainment. You spend an hour in the morning online (shopping on the Web), and you can still go out and go to the movies and relax. There's more time for recreation."
Paramount's R-rated period action adventure "Sleepy Hollow" continued in fourth place in its third weekend with a sleepier estimated $9 million (-51%) at 3,069 theaters (+2 theaters, $2,933 per theater). Its total is approximately $74.3 million, on its way to $100 million in domestic theaters. Directed by Tim Burton, it stars Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci and is based on Washington Irving's classic "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."
"It's not unexpected," Paramount Distribution President Wayne Lewellen said Sunday morning, focusing on the post-Thanksgiving marketplace. "Obviously, you'd like for it to hold up better than it is. But it still gets us to a little over $100 million with the picture."
Universal's R-rated suspense thriller "The Bone Collector" rose one notch to return to the top five in its fifth weekend with a strong estimated $3.15 million (-43%) at 2,518 theaters (+18 theaters, $1,250 per theater). Its total is approximately $58.1 million. "Bone's" 43% drop was the lowest for any film in the top five. Directed by Phillip Noyce, it stars Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. Sony's Columbia Pictures unit is partnered 50-50 with Universal on "Bone's" worldwide film rentals. Sony is releasing the picture internationally.
"We've been very fortunate. Where 'Bone Collector' is playing, it's just lingering in the multiplexes," Rocco said Sunday morning. "It's back in the top five, and it's hanging on. The goal was always $65 million (in domestic theaters) with this picture. It's certainly getting to $65 million, and it probably will get to $70 million."
Rocco noted that "Bone's" success is even greater given its relatively low production cost of about $40 million.
Warner Bros.' G-rated Japanese animated feature "Pokemon: The First Movie" slipped one peg to sixth place in its fourth weekend with a soft estimated $2.21 million (-69%) at 3,043 theaters (theater count unchanged, $726 per theater). Its total is approximately $80.6 million, heading for a domestic theatrical gross in the low $90 millions.
Lions Gate's release of "Dogma," the controversial R-rated irreverent comedy it took over from Miramax, held on to seventh place in its third weekend with an OK estimated $2.15 million (-37%) at 1,292 theaters (theater count unchanged, $1,664 per theater). Its total is approximately $24.5 million. Directed by Kevin Smith, it stars Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Salma Hayek, Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, Alan Rickman and Chris Rock.
Buena Vista/Touchstone's critically acclaimed R-rated drama "The Insider" rose one rung in its fifth weekend to eighth place with a quiet estimated $1.40 million (-45%) at 1,483 theaters (-189 theaters, $912 per theater). Its total is approximately $23.9 million. Directed by Michael Mann, it stars Al Pacino and Russell Crowe.
USA Films' R-rated comedy "Being John Malkovich" added theaters and jumped one slot to ninth place in its sixth weekend with an encouraging estimated $1.39 million (-33%) at 624 theaters (+35 theaters, $2,224 per theater). Its total is approximately $13.9 million. Directed by Spike Jonze, it stars John Malkovich, playing himself, John Cusack, Cameron Diaz and Catherine Keener.
"It's amazing," USA Films distribution head Jack Foley said Sunday morning. "We probably had the smallest drop among all the films out there from last weekend. At this level (of theaters), it puts you out there so you're going to feel the effects of the marketplace on you. We've held well. I think last weekend more people discovered the picture. And even in these shopping days, we're beginning to benefit (from word of mouth). This is a delight.
"Now as the (year-end critics) lists come in, hopefully, it will keep it buoyed up in everybody's mind. It is defying gravity. You know it's a great film, but to say (such an unusual) picture could have penetrated the markets of America this way and get this response is amazing."
Rounding out the Top 10 was 20th Century Fox's PG-13-rated mother-daughter drama "Anywhere But Here," down two notches in its fourth weekend with a calm estimated $1.30 million (-54%) at 1,628 theaters (-58 theaters, $799 per theater). Its total is approximately $16.4 million. The film is directed by Wayne Wang and stars Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman.
OTHER OPENINGS Weekend 49 also saw the arrival of 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilms Ltd.'s reissue of "Star Wars: Episode One -- The Phantom Menace" for a one-week charity run, placing 11th with a down-to-earth estimated $1.18 million at 832 theaters ($1,412 per theater). Its total s approximately $429 million.
Columbia's R-rated romantic drama "The End of the Affair" kicked off at 7 theaters, placing 23rd with an engaging estimated $0.20 million ($29,000 per theater). Directed by Neil Jordan, it stars Ralph Fiennes, Julianne Moore and Stephen Rea.
Sony Classics' PG-13 dark comedy "Sweet and Lowdown" opened exclusively in New York at 3 theaters, placing 24th with a strong estimated $0.10 million ($33,333 per theater). Sony Classics does not have its grosses tracked and released to the industry, but distribution insiders said they were hearing that the film did about $100,000. Directed by Woody Allen, it stars Sean Penn and Uma Thurman. Allen's films typically perform best in New York.
TriStar's R-rated youth appeal "Virtual Sexuality" kicked off at 101 theaters, placing 27th with a soft estimated $0.045 million ($450 per theater). Directed by Nick Hurran, it stars Laura Fraser and Rupert Penry.
Miramax's R-rated dark comedy "Holy Smoke" opened an Oscar qualifying run at 2 theaters, placing 28th with a promising estimated $0.032 million ($16,000 per theater). Directed by Jane Campion, it stars Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel.
"'Holy Smoke!'s' a pretty good start," Miramax's senior vice president, marketing, said Sunday morning. "It's always tricky when you do a one-week qualifying run (for Oscars) because the second week will tell you so much more. But it's pretty good, actually. There were a lot of Academy qualifier (runs this weekend), and we were leading that pack. Jan. 14 we reopen in the top 40 markets on about 100 screens."
Avalanche Releasing's romantic comedy "Spanish Fly" opened in 30th place to a dreary estimated $0.011 million at 7 theaters ($1,570 per theater). Written and directed by Daphna Kastner, it stars Kastner and Toni Canto.
USA Films' R-rated comedy-drama "Agnes Browne," directed by and starring Anjelica Huston, opened an Oscar qualifying run at 2 theaters, placing 31st with an unexciting estimated $0.006 million ($2,929 per theater). The film will open in March, USA Films' Foley said Sunday morning.
Also opening was First Look Entertainment's drama "A Map of the World" in L.A. and New York for a weeklong Academy Awards-qualifying run. No estimates were available since First Look does not have its grosses tracked and released to the industry. Directed by Scott Elliott, it stars Sigourney Weaver and Julianne Moore.
SNEAK PREVIEWS Weekend 49 saw no national sneak previews. EXPANSIONS On the expansion front, Weekend 49 saw Miramax's PG-13-rated comedy "Mansfield Park" widen slightly in its third weekend, placing 22nd with a promising estimated $0.23 million (-33%) at 32 theaters (+2 theaters, $7,031 per theater). Its total is approximately $0.85 million. Directed by Patricia Rozema, it stars Embeth Davidtz, Jonny Lee Miller, Alessandro Nivola, Frances O'Connor and Harold Pinter. USA Films' R-rated Civil War action-drama "Ride With The Devil" added theaters in its second weekend, placing 26th place with a slow estimated $0.053 million at 15 theaters (+4 theaters, $3,554 per theater). Its total is approximately $0.17 million. Directed by Ang Lee, it stars Tobey Maguire, Skeet Ulrich and pop singer Jewel. WEEKEND COMPARISONS Weekend 49's key films, those grossing more than $500,000 for the weekend, took in approximately $75.31 million, up approximately 10.66% from $68.05 million for the comparable weekend last year. Weekend 49's key film gross was down approximately 50.86% from the $153.26 million that key films took in during the Friday-Sunday portion of this year's five-day Weekend 48. Last year, Buena Vista/Disney's second weekend of "A Bug's Life" was first with $17.17 million at 2,701 theaters ($6,358 per theater), and Universal's opening weekend of "Psycho" was second with $10.03 million at 2,477 theaters ($4,050 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $27.2 million. This year, the top two films grossed an estimated $38.9 million. For the first 49 weekends of 1999, ticket sales were approximately $4.665 billion, up about 4.84% from 1998's gross of $4.450 billion. Of this year's 49 weekends, 28 were up (one marginally and one because of a four-day vs. three-day holiday weekend comparison) and 21 were down (three only marginally and one because of a holiday vs. nonholiday comparison) vs. last year. STUDIO MARKET SHARES Based on business by key films, the top six distributors in Weekend 49 were the following: Buena Vista (Touchstone and Disney) was first with three films ("Toy Story 2," "The Insider" and "The Sixth Sense") grossing an estimated $30.67 million or 40.7% of the market. Universal was second with three films ("End Of Days," "The Bone Collector" and "The Best Man") grossing an estimated $13.45 million or 17.9% of the market. MGM was third with two films ("The World Is Not Enough" and "Flawless") grossing an estimated $11.55 million or 15.3% of the market. Paramount was fourth with two films ("Sleepy Hollow" and "Double Jeopardy") grossing an estimated $9.54 million or 12.7% of the market. Twentieth Century Fox was fifth with two films ("Anywhere But Here" and "Star Wars: Episode One -- The Phantom Menace") grossing an estimated $2.48 million or 3.3% of the market. Warner Bros. was sixth with one film ("Pokemon: The First Movie") grossing an estimated $2.21 million or 2.9% of the market. ADDITIONAL ESTIMATES (11) "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace"/Fox: (see OTHER OPENINGS above) (reissue)
(12) "The Sixth Sense"/BV: Theaters: 1,034 (+17) Gross: $0.97 million (-37%) Average per theater: $937 Total: $273.6 million
(13) "Flawless"/MGM Theaters: 478 (0) Gross: $0.95 million (-40%) Average per theater: $1,995 Total: $3.4 million
(14) "American Beauty"/DreamWorks: Theaters: 694 (+109) Gross: $0.78 million (-33%) Average per theater: $1,130 Total: $67.6 million
(15) "The Best Man"/Universal: Theaters: 511 (+5) Gross: $0.59 million (-51%) Average per theater: $1,160 Total: $32.1 million
(16) "The Messenger"/Sony: Theaters: 977 (-995) Gross: $0.55 million (-54%) (tie) Average per theater: $563 Total: $13.7 million
(16) "The Bachelor"/New Line: Theaters: 1,044 (-289) Gross: $0.55 million (-52%) (tie) Average per theater: $527 Total: $20.6 million
(18) "Double Jeopardy"/Paramount: Theaters: 708 (-132) Gross: $0.54 million (-47%) Average per theater: $755 Total: $113.0 million
(19) "The House on Haunted Hill"/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 651 (-390) Gross: $0.37 million (-47%)(tie) Average per theater: $575 Total: $39.2 million
(19) "Music of the Heart"/Miramax: Theaters: 858 (+64) Gross: $0.37 million (-52%)(tie) Average per theater: $435 Total: $14.0 million
(21) "The Omega Code"/Providence: Theaters: 405 (+106) Gross: $0.30 million (-40%) Average per theater: $745 Total: $11.9 million
(22) Mansfield Park/Miramax: (see EXPANSIONS above)
(23) "The End of the Affair"/Columbia: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(24) "Sweet and Lowdown"/Sony Pictures Classics: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(25) "Liberty Heights"/Warner Bros.: Theaters: 6 (0) Gross: $0.068 million (-32%) Average per theatre: $11,333 Total: $0.4 million
(26) "Ride With the Devil"/USA Films: (see EXPANSIONS above)
(27) "Virtual Sexuality"/TriStar: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(28) "Holy Smoke!"/Miramax: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(29) "Tumbleweeds"/Fine Line: Theaters: 5 (0) Gross: $0.017 million (-59%) Average per theater: $3,344 Total: $0.077 million
(30) "Spanish Fly"/Lions Gate Films: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
(31) "Agnes Browne"/USA Films: (see OTHER OPENINGS above)
Top Story: Emmy Fashions Sold Off to Charity
Emmy fashions worn by the likes of Jennifer Aniston and Edie Falco will be auctioned off on eBay for charity, The Associated Press reports. For the second year in a row, the "Clothes Off Our Back" fund-raiser, created by actress Jane Kaczmarek from Fox's Malcolm in the Middle, asks celebrities to donate their red-carpet outfits from such designs as Prada and Vera Wang, to benefit the Cure Autism Now Foundation and the Union of Concerned Scientists, AP reports. Last year, Friends star Aniston donated her dress after winning the award for best actress in a comedy series and it raised $50,000, Kaczmarek told AP. Stars participating this year besides Aniston and Falco include Cynthia Nixon, Sean Hayes, Dule Hill, Debra Messing, Ellen DeGeneres, Bernie Mac and Jennifer Garner. The auction is to begin Sunday evening and run for 10 days.
Sopranos Lead Internet Emmy Predictions
GoldDerby.com, considered to be the Internet's No. 1 award predictions website, has given the best odds to HBO's The Sopranos for the Emmys Sunday night, including the award for best drama series as well as the prizes for actor (James Gandolfini) and actress (Edie Falco). For best comedy series, odds are on CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond, with HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm a close second.
Man Held for Trespassing on Schwarzenegger's Property
A man was arrested Sunday after sneaking onto Arnold Schwarzenegger's estate in Brentwood, Calif., and stealing items from one of the family's vehicles, AP reports. Richard Sathianathan, 32, was charged with two counts of trespassing, and one count each of prowling, vehicle tampering and petty theft, authorities told AP. Sathianathan pleaded innocent and remained jailed on $50,000 bail.
Diaz Makes Small Screen Debut
Cameron Diaz will make a guest appearance in the television pilot Why Blitt? executive produced and directed by those wacky Farrelly brothers, Bobby and Peter. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the semi-autobiographical pilot centers on 5-foot-tall Ricky Blitt, an aspiring screenwriter who has a dismal love life and no-end job but hits the jackpot when his script for The Cameron Diaz Show is picked up and he heads to Hollywood.
Huppert, Penn Honored in San Sebastian
Isabelle Huppert, Sean Penn and Robert Duvall will be honored with lifetime achievement awards at Spain's 51st San Sebastian International Film Festival, AP reports. As well, films scheduled for competition include Joel Schumacher's Veronica Guerin, starring Cate Blanchett, and Jacques Rivette's The Story of Marie and Julien, starring Emmanuelle Beart.
Simon & Garfunkel Tour Selling Out
Looks like lots of fans are anxious to hear Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel sing "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" once again. Tickets to their first tour in 20 years are selling like hotcakes, Reuters reports. The opener Oct. 18 in Auburn Hill, Mich., is completely sold out, as are shows in Chicago; St. Paul, Minn.; and San Jose, Calif. Dates in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, and in Sacramento and Oakland, Calif., were at a 90 percent sellout, according to Reuters. "We just put Chicago and St. Paul on sale, and they both sold out within minutes," Jerry Mickelson, co-president of Chicago-based promoter Jam Productions told Reuters. "Tickets just blew out so quickly. Demand is huge."
Role Call: Bratt Pounces on Catwoman, Diaz Stung By W.A.S.P.S., Danes Shops 'Til She Drops
Benjamin Bratt has joined Halle Berry in Warner Bros.' Catwoman, a film based on the DC Comics' Batman foe. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Bratt will play Det. Tom Leone, a love interest to Berry's Catwoman. The film also stars Sharon Stone as a villainous cosmetics magnate…meanwhile Angels star Cameron Diaz has signed onto the war drama W.A.S.P.S, being co-produced by actress Mimi Rogers' Millbrook Farm Prods. Variety reports the film follows the first female pilots recruited during WWII…20th Century Fox is giving Steve Martin's novel Shopgirl is the big-screen treatment, with Martin, Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman attached to star. The film centers on a girl (Danes) who sells gloves and other accessories at Neiman Marcus. Feeling useless in her job and unfulfilled by a romantic relationship, she is bowled over when a rich, divorced older man (Martin) enters her life.