It's the last week of the Olympic Games in London, so things are starting to wind down. With Michael Phelps and the rest of the superstar swim team off to play their water sports outside of the competitive realm, it's up to everyone else to pull the weight of gold and glory. And so the gymnasts start to wrap it up, the beach volleyball kids are growing tired of the sand between their toes, and the runners are really hitting the pavement. Let's see what's good from day eleven, shall we?
It's Raisman Men Gold: While Gabby Douglas has been getting most of the attention this year for her spectacular showing last week, today was all about Aly Raisman. Raisman--who missed out on a medal in the women's individual all-around that Douglas clinched--beat out the Romanians and the Russians to clinch a golden victory on the floor routine. And not only that, but homegirl nabbed herself a bronze on the balance beam. We can ONLY imagine how her parents reacted to the good news.
Life's A Beach for Team USA: Americans beat out China today in the sand, so it's going to be an all-American situation during the beach volleyball finals tomorrow, where Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor will battle fellow American ladies Jennifer Kessy and April Ross for gold. Which means: Yay! Americans will win gold AND silver...but who to root for?! Kerri and Misty May are hoping for a threepeat of their golden Olympic success, but we highly doubt Jennifer and April are going to take this one lying down.
Walk Off, Pay Off: After the drama surrounding the momentary disqualification from the games for walking during the 800m race yesterday, Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria took home the gold at the 1500m event today, beating out the favored Kenyan racers. In a surprise move not seen since 1968, Leonel Manzano of the United States took the silver. It's the first medal for our fair country since those games 40ish years ago.
Magic Wheels?: Could the Brits be hiding super-stealthy magical wheels that make their men go super-duper fast and win things that they shouldn't? After Jason Kenny beat world champion Grégory Baugé in the men’s track cycling sprint yesterday, the French sure seem to think so! Apparently the team hides the wheels they use on the track immediately after races. SCANDAL! No word yet on if this will turn into a full-scale investigation, but anything that involves accusations of magical wheels is something we're interested to see played out in full. Maybe they will finally reveal the truth about the magical gnomes that paint their wheels in fairy dust, which carries them faster and farther than even those dragon-scaled wheels the kooky Italians have.
[Photo Credit: WENN.com]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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Bridging a language gap is never easy, especially when all the world's countries have coalesced, and you have to talk to every single one of them. But what do you say!? Do you talk politics? No, because you don't know your prime ministers from your poohbahs. Do you chat about the weather? No, because that's stupid. So what do you talk about? Michael Phelps!?
Pop culture, obviously! There's no greater equalizer in international conversation (except unrefined things like music and literature) than the sound of two cultures converging into one harmonious dialogue about what happened last night on True Blood. So consider it my gift to you, American Olympic athletes, as a way of saying thank you for wearing skintight leotards and swimming and stuff. If you've been struggling to come up with something topical to say to your new French amis or Spanish amigos, feel free to consult my wildly helpful list.
(NOTE: All translations are thanks to Google Translate, which kind of works, sort of, sometimes.)
"Magneti, stronza!" (Italian)
"Mes amis disent que je suis un Phoebe, mais je pense que je suis plus d'une Rachel." (French)
My friends say I'm a Phoebe, but I think I'm more of a Rachel.
"Hast du gesehen, Cee Lo Katze?" (German)
Did you see Cee Lo's cat?
"Hiyo ni nini alisema." (Swahili)
That's what she said.
"Jag hoppas att någon hittar en lämplig bil för Jason Sudeikis." (Swedish)
I hope someone finds a proper vehicle for Jason Sudeikis.
"Usted no es la próxima top model de Estados Unidos." (Spanish)
You are not America's Next Top Model.
"Wiedzialem, ze wyspa byla czysciec caly czas." (Polish)
I knew the island was purgatory the whole time.
"Kan familien forstå babyen? Eller bare hunden?" (Norwegian)
Can the family understand the baby? Or just the dog?
"Blair og Chuck eru tímalaus ástarsaga." (Icelandic)
Blair and Chuck are a timeless love story."Ito ay panahon walong at hindi pa rin namin nakilala ina!" (Filipino)
It's season eight and we still haven't met the mother!?
Follow Marc on Twitter @MarcSnetiker
[Photo Credit: David J. Phillip/AP Photo]
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Kim Kardashian may be the most searched person on Bing, but the credit card venture she and her sisters tried to start up is already hitting a wall and shattering into a million plastic shards. Their prepaid debit cards – dubbed “Kardashian Kards” – venture is under fire for “predatory” fees (and improper spelling). Wisely, the trio has promptly decided to GTFO. -Popeater
Word has it that John Mayer almost derailed the Katy Perry-Russell Brand mega romance. The night before Perry met her British hubby, she was slinging back drinks with the Don Juan of the music world and get this: she was actually really into it. She was even exchanging texts with Mayer on that fateful VMA night when she threw that water bottle of love at his bed-head. -E!
Well this is one way to pay your respects…to your favorite whiskey. Pink spilled the beans about her unborn child’s name – if it’s a boy, he’ll be named Jameson after the delicious amber elixir. Pink’s hubby, Carey Hart is not loving the name, but dude at least she’s not naming him Audio Science or Jermajesty. -Popeater
Can’t a guy wear some leather pants to a movie premiere? Apparently once you near 50, even if you’re as sexy as Brad Pitt, leather pants are no longer okay. After rocking the look at the Paris premiere of Megamind, the internet is in an uproar about the aging (gracefully) actor’s wardrobe. Here’s what’s up: he’s Brad-freaking-Pitt and he can wear whatever he wants. -Us
Harry Potter isn’t exactly synonymous with scandal, but that’s changing pretty quickly. One PostSecret.com user is accusing a Harry Potter cast member of fathering her child. Last week an anonymous postcard featuring Harry Potter stars like Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Alan Rickman, Oliver Phelps and James Phelps read "One of these men is the father of the most amazing little girl in the world. He's never met her. He never will. He probably can't even remember my name." Felton and the Phelps brothers have denied the rumors, but the other stars still remain mum. Does anyone else notice that one of these things is not like the others? -Celebuzz
Johnny Depp told Vanity Fair that Disney was worried about Jack Sparrow being too “gay.” Depp even said that they “couldn’t stand” Sparrow and even went as far to ask if the character was meant to be gay. Chill out Disney, I’m sure that the of millions of moviegoers’ dollars that Depp’s flamboyant pirate allowed you to plunder should be enough hush money. -Huffpo
And Charlie Sheen will have to adopt a new strategy to get out of this pickle. Deny, deny, deny doesn’t work when investigators subpoena your medical records from the night of your rumored coke binge. You should go ahead and set up the plans for rehab now. Sorry, Charlie. -RadarOnline
The British actor found himself embroiled in the scandal when an anonymous postcard featuring a photo of Felton alongside Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and four of their Deathly Hallows: Part 1 co-stars was posted online on 21 November (10).
The picture was accompanied by the caption: "One of these men is the father of the most amazing little girl in the world. He's never met her. He never will. He probably can't even remember my name."
Speculation as to who the baby's father could be was rife as Potter fans attempted to solve the mystery, but 23-year-old Felton, who is dating film assistant Jade Olivia, has denied any involvement in the claims.
Taking to his Twitter.com page, he writes, "My friend just found this on the web! Just to confirm that I can be cancelled out of this equation."
His movie colleagues Oliver and James Phelps, who play twins George and Fred Weasley respectively, have also moved to distance themselves from the controversy.
Oliver writes on his Twitter blog, "Apart from making me laugh, I can honestly say it's 100 per cent not me."
James adds, "To clear things up, this isn't me. Funny, but nothing to do with me."
Radcliffe, Grint, Jason Isaacs and Alan Rickman, the other two actors featured on the postcard, have yet to comment on the claims, reports UsMagazine.com.
On Friday night I reported that The House Bunny (Sony) had won the Friday box office race, but that Tropic Thunder (Dreamworks/Paramount) would win the weekend, and that is exactly the way it played out. The Anna Faris PG13-rated comedy was down almost 12 percent from its $5.92M Friday for $5.25M on its second day of release, and it will likely hit $15.1M for the three-days. That is well above industry expectations for the modestly-budgeted Under 25 Female-geared movie.
Meanwhile, the Ben Stiller-directed Tropic Thunder, which struggled to a less-than-expected $36.8M in its first five days competing with Michael Phelps and his historic chase for eight gold medals in Beijing, held very strongly with a second Saturday of just under $6.5M. The R-rated movie-within-a-movie comedy will finish the frame with an estimated $16.1M, down just 37 percent from last weekend, pushing it to a new cume of just over $65M. With very light competition over the next month, Tropic Thunder still has a real shot at reaching $100M domestic.
At No. 3 for the weekend is Universal’s Death Race, a re-make of the 1975 film Death Race 2000, produced by the prolific Roger Corman. The R-rated action pic was, as expected, front-loaded, so it followed its $4.6M Friday with a Saturday of $4.4M or so, five percent lower than opening day. That translates to a $12.29M opening weekend. That makes for the all-time fourth-best opening for Jason Statham, behind The Italian Job ($19.4M), The One ($19.1M) and Transporter 2 ($16.5M).
Still, Death Race opened stronger than recent Jason Statham openings The Bank Job ($5.93M), Crank ($10.4M), War ($9.8M) and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale ($3M). The Universal action pic should finish its domestic run with a cume of $30M-$33M.
The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) continues to hold strong with an estimated $10.3M and a new cume of $489.17M. The Christopher Nolan-directed action picture will pass $500M domestic by Labor Day. Meanwhile, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, another Warner Bros property, held on to No. 5, but it stalled dramatically in its second weekend. The LucasFilm animated film is expected to wrap the frame with just $5.66M, down 61 percent from its opening three-day, and a 10-day cume of $25M.
The other two wide new wide releases are both disappointments. The Longshots (MGM), starring Ice Cube, appears to have finished eighth overall with just $4.3M. The Rocker (Fox) performed even worse than its already dismally low expectations with a mere $2.75M for three days and an embarrassing $3.8M for five-days. Don’t expect to see Rainn Wilson from The Office above-the-title anytime soon.
Among limited releases, the immaculately-reviewed Elegy (Samuel Goldwyn), starring Oscar-winner Ben Kingsley and Penelope Cruz, scored an excellent $5,400+ Per Theatre Average at 92 locations, and Hamlet 2 (Focus), a hit at Sundance, grabbed over $4,200 per screen at 102 locations.
FINAL THREE-DAY STUDIO ESTIMATES
1. Tropic Thunder (Dreamworks/Paramount) - $16.1M, $4,803 PTA, $65.66M
2. The House Bunny (Sony) - $15.1M, $5,563 PTA, $15.1M cume
3. Death Race (Universal) - $12.29M, $4,855 PTA, $12.29M cume
4. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) - $10.3M, $3,527 PTA, $489.17M cume
5. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Warner Bros) - $5.66M, $1,639 PTA, $25M cume
6. Pineapple Express (Sony) - $5.6M, $2,137 PTA, $73.92M cume
7. Mirrors (Fox) - $4.87M, $1,829 PTA, $20M cume
8. The Longshots (MGM) - $4.3M, $2,060 PTA, $4.3M cume
9. Mamma Mia (Universal) - $4.3M, $1,849 PTA, $124.44M cume
10. The Mummy 3 (Universal) - $4.06M, $1,680 PTA, $93.81M cume
*The Rocker (Fox) - $2.75M, $987 PTA, $3.8M cume
The Death Race (Universal) vs. Tropic Thunder (Dreamworks/Paramount) weekend battle I was expecting has not materialized. Instead, Anna Faris as The House Bunny (Sony) has managed an upside surprise with a well-above-expectations $5.9M on Friday. Industry tracking pointed toward a strong opening for the Jason Statham action picture and something softer for the PG-13 comedy Bunny, but that audience research does not always pan out.
For Faris, the always-funny star of Scary Movies 1 thru 4, this represents a box office breakout . In fact, it is her all-time best non-Scary Movie opening, topping Just Friends ($9.2M). Still, The House Bunny will almost certainly be front-loaded with Females Under 25 showing up on opening day, and it is likely to sink to #2 for the weekend with an estimated $14.4M.
That opens the door for a repeat win for Tropic Thunder, which grabbed an estimated $4.9M on its 2nd Friday. Michael Phelps and NBC’s Olympics coverage has clearly been a drag on the performance of this very funny, critically well-received movie industry satire, but it will finish with about $15.8M for 3-days as the Summer Games wind down, representing just a 39% drop from last weekend. That will push the Ben Stiller-directed film to over $65M domestic by Monday morning.
Jason Statham is proving to be a decent, but not sure-fire Hollywood action star, as Death Race managed a somewhat disappointing $4.3M on its opening day. With a cast that also includes Oscar nominee Joan Allen (The Contender) and Golden Globe winner Ian McShane (Deadwood), Death Race will likely ride to just $11.9M for the weekend and a 3rd place finish.
Death Race 2000, produced by the prolific Roger Corman and directed by Paul Bartel (Eating Raoul), was released in 1975 with David Carradine starring and Sylvester Stallone in the role of Machine Gun Joe. This slick update seemed to provide an excellent vehicle for Statham and Tyrese Gibson (Four Brothers, Transformers) in the Stallone role, but the results are a bit lackluster.
If the $11.9M number holds, Death Race will be stronger than recent Statham openings The Bank Job ($5.93M), Crank ($10.4M), WAR ($9.8M) and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale ($3M), but it will be well off the top 3 openings for the action star behind The Italian Job ($19.4M), The One ($19.1M) and Transporter 2 ($16.5M).
Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) continues to soar, adding $3.02M to start the weekend, and with its usual strong Saturday matinee bounce, the Batman Begins sequel will likely hit an estimated $10.12M for the frame, lifting TDK to about $489M. That will be more than enough to out-pace the disappointing Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Warner Bros), which fell to $1.75M on its 2nd Friday and will stagger to just $5M for the weekend. The LucasFilm animated pic will probably drop about 66%, and its cume by Monday will likely be shy of $25M.
MGM’s The Longshots, starring Ice Cube, picked up just $1.4M on Friday, and this family-friendly movie will finish in the $4.25M range, #10 for the weekend. The results are disastrous for the Rainn Wilson comedy The Rocker (Fox). After a dismal take of $2M on Wednesday-Thursday, the picture could only muster $1M on Friday, and it seems headed for just $2.9M. For Fox, it is another disappointment in a tough summer that has included The Happening, Space Chimps, Meet Dave and The X-Files, although the studio did score a modest hit with last week’s genre pic Mirrors.
EARLY FRIDAY ESTIMATES
1. The House Bunny (Sony) - $5.6M, $1,462 PTA, $5.6M cume
2. Tropic Thunder (Dreamworks/Paramount) - $4.9M, $1,462 PTA, $54.46M
3. Death Race (Universal) - $4.3M, $1,699 PTA, $4.3M cume
4. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) - $3.02M, $955 PTA, $481.89M cume
5. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Warner Bros) - $1.75M, $507 PTA, $21.08M cume
6. Mirrors (Fox) - $1.62M, $609 PTA, $16.82M cume
7. Pineapple Express (Sony) - $1.46M, $558 PTA, $69.78M cume
8. The Longshots (MGM) - $1.4M, $670 PTA, $1.4M cume
9. Mamma Mia (Universal) - $1.35M, $581 PTA, $121.5M cume
10. The Mummy 3 (Universal) - $1.29M, $536 PTA, $91.03M cume
*The Rocker (Fox) - $1M, $359 PTA, $2.05M cume
EARLY 3-DAY ESTIMATES
1. Tropic Thunder (Dreamworks/Paramount) - $15.8M, $4,714 PTA, $65.63M
2. The House Bunny (Sony) - $14.4M, $5,306 PTA, $14.4M cume
3. Death Race (Universal) - $11.9M, $4,702 PTA, $11.9M cume
4. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) - $10.12M, $3,200 PTA, $488.99M cume
5. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Warner Bros) - $5M, $1,448 PTA, $24.33M cume
6. Mirrors (Fox) - $4.62M, $1,737 PTA, $19.82M cume
7. Pineapple Express (Sony) - $4.6M, $1,757 PTA, $72.93M cume
8. Mamma Mia (Universal) - $4.32M, $1,860 PTA, $124.47M cume
9. The Mummy 3 (Universal) - $4.3M, $1,785 PTA, $94.04M cume
10. The Longshots (MGM) - $4.25M, $2,034 PTA, $4.25M cume
*The Rocker (Fox) - $2.9M, $1,042 PTA, $3.95M cume
There are four new wide releases this week, but only of them is likely to top $10M for the traditional three-day weekend. The Jason Statham vehicle Death Race (Universal) seems to be getting some traction in industry tracking, although a huge breakout opening is unlikely. Instead, the Paul W.S. Anderson-directed action pic will likely open with $13M-$16M. I suspect this movie, also starring Oscar nominee Joan Allen (The Contender) and Golden Gobe winner Ian McShane (Deadwood), will be enough to out-pace holdover Tropic Thunder (Dreamworks/Paramount), which will probably dip 40 percent-45 percent from its opening weekend.
Adapted from 1975’s Death Race 2000, which starred a pre-Rocky Sylvester Stallone, the new Death Race features Statham, who is increasingly becoming a solid bankable action star. If the new movie reaches my $16M predicted opening, it would be his all-time fourth-best opening behind The Italian Job ($19.4M), The One ($19.1M) and Transporter 2 ($16.5M).
The Ben Stiller-directed satire Tropic Thunder, which was clearly hurt by Michael Phelps and the first week of the Olympic Games on NBC, has a real chance to repeat as the weekend box office champ with something in the $13M-$16M range, but I am calling for $15M, a tick behind Death Race. I still believe that Thunder is going to perform very well in coming weeks thanks to excellent reviews and positive word-of-mouth.
The Warner Bros mega-hit The Dark Knight should continue to hold extraordinarily well with a probable No. 3 finish. I am calling for a possible $9.75M for the Friday-thru-Sunday period, which would likely push the total domestic cume for the Caped Crusader to something over $488M.
The other wide releases are all likely to finish the three-day with disappointing results. The House Bunny (Sony), featuring the always-funny Anna Faris from Scary Movies appears to be the strongest of the titles in the marketplace. Lots of appeal with Females Under 25 could result in $6M-$9M, and my call is for $8.2M and a 4th place finish.
Fox’s The Rocker, starring Rainn Wilson (The Office), is trying to get a jump on the competition with a Wednesday opening, but this film is just not moving the needle. My sources tell me that industry tracking shows no buzz, low awareness, a poor Definite Interest score and a dismal First Choice. The result will be a possible three-day of $5M-$8M (my prediction is $6.2M) and a potential five-day of only $8M-$11M (my number is $9.3M). If those numbers hold, The Rocker will be fifth for the weekend.
Meanwhile, MGM/Weinstein’s The Longshots, featuring Ice Cube (Are We There Yet?) will open very quietly with $4M-$7M and a finish anywhere from sixth to 10th place. My call is for just over $5M.
FINAL PREDICTIONS FOR THE WEEKEND OF AUGUST 22
1. Death Race (Universal) - $16M
2. Tropic Thunder (Dreamworks/Paramount) - $15M
3. The Dark Knight (Warner Bros) - $9.75M
4. The House Bunny (Sony) - $8.5M
5. The Rocker (Fox) - $6.2M
6. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Warner Bros) - $6M
7. The Longshots (MGM/Weinstein) - $5.25M
8. Pineapple Express (Sony) - $5.1M
9. Mirrors (Fox) - $5M
10. The Mummy 3 (Universal) - $3.7M