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TSM Movie News Roundup

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TSM Movie News Round-Up

For the week ending Friday May 16th, 2003.


Compiled by Jason Castleman


Got a lot more news this week in my second column than last week. Might wanna rest up before reading this.


Matrix Reloaded already breaking records!


Two box office records have already been shattered by The Matrix Reloaded and this is only Friday.


Variety says the highly-anticipated sequel bowed to record grosses in late night Wednesday showtimes prior to its formal opening Thursday. The original Jurassic Park earned $3.1 million in first-night box office and no film has matched that 1993 opening until now. It's estimated that Reloaded earned well more than $10 million from Wednesday night grosses alone!


Thursday wasn't too shabby either. "The Matrix did $42,475,000. That's the largest one-day opening in the history of movies," AOL Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons says.


Spiderman previously held the opening day record with $39.4 million, while it made $43.6 million on the Saturday following, the biggest day ever at the box office.


I thought the "R" rating was going to hinder The Matrix's box office?


Snoop Dogg boards Airplane


Soul Plane, The upcoming "urban" remake of Airplane, has two new cast members. Snoop Dogg has joined the cast as the plane's pilot with Method Man onboard as his best friend, Muggsy. A spokesperson for Snoop said the rapper will begin work on the flick in June. Video director Jessy Terrero, who helmed the clip for Snoop's "Tell It Like It Is" and 50 Cent's "Wanksta," will direct.


This isn't the only project the two rappers have on the horizon. Snoop is playing Huggy Bear in the upcoming Starsky & Hutch alongside Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. Method Man has a number of projects lined up with his pal Redman, including one in which they'll play a couple of DEA agents and another that's a fish-out-of-water comedy from Barbershop co-writer Don Scott.


I miss the good old days when actors got cast in movies instead of rap stars. I also miss the good old days of being able to call black comedies "black comedies" instead of having to call them "urban".


The Punisher gets a villain


Variety says that Artisan Pictures and Marvel Studios have cast John Travolta to play the lead villain opposite Thomas Jane in The Punisher, written and directed by Jonathan Hensleigh. Travolta plays Howard Saint, a former underworld figure who goes straight but returns to old habits after his son is slain.


"We didn't want to do a cliché villain," explained Marvel Studios CEO Avi Arad, who is heading up The Punisher with Artisan Pictures. "We are going for a dignified businessman who is cold but almost charming. And we are going to see his world fall apart like he made Frank's world fall apart. There is a lot of pain to what happens to Saint in this movie. And we needed an actor who can carry a real emotional journey."


Filming will begin in Tampa Bay, Florida this July for a summer 2004 release date.


Florida? I don't think I associate the Sunshine State with the Punisher. I also don't associate good movies with John Travolta.


Cry me a river. Then freeze it with your powerful ice breath and drop it on the burning nuclear power plant!


Rumors broke a few days ago of Justin Timberlake being approached about playing a role in the long in development Superman: Flyby. People assumed it would be the role of Jimmy Olsen. Thursday morning, Timberlake appeared on a UK show called Capital FM. In the interview, he not only confirmed that he had been asked to read the script, but according to Justin himself, he is reading for the part of Superman, not Jimmy Olsen.


Let's all bow our heads and pray for Warner Brothers' forgiveness and/or death.


The director's chair remains open on the film as well. Last week the news broke that WB was in talks with Jonathan Frakes. Reports this week back up that claim but say he is NOT the favorite. The opening has apparently come down to a three man race between Frakes (Star Trek: First Contact, Clockstoppers), Stephen Hopkins (Elm Street 5, Ghost and the Darkness, Lost in Space) and Kevin Reynolds (Waterworld, Prince of Thieves, Count of Monte Cristo) with Stephen Hopkins the current favorite to land the gig.


If Kevin Reynolds gets this movie I'll really feel sorry for the guy. If there's even been a movie more cursed than this one it was Waterworld. I'd pity the guy for being responsible for them both.


Hellboy unleashed!


The first picture of Hellboy from Guillermo Del Toro's comic book adaptation was released this week and it looks pretty damn good. I'm not a fan of Del Toro, I thought his Blade sequel sucked pretty bad, but if he can pull THIS thing off I'm changing my tune. Judging by the accuracy of this photo, he may just do it. Hellboy is a hard character to translate to screen but I look at this picture and there he is. I'm surprised.




That 70's Batman?


When he turned down the role of Superman people figured he didn't want to get tied down to doing one character for 10 years. When he turned down taking over the Michael Knight role in the upcoming Knight Rider movie people figured he must be pretty smart. It now turns out that the reason Ashton Kutcher has passed up a lot of these roles lately is because he has become the front runner to play Batman in one of the many proposed upcoming movie versions. Taking his age into account you'd have to believe that it's for Aronofsky's Year One and not for Nolan's version. But who knows, maybe it's for the canceled live action Batman Beyond or for Tim Burton's musical? Dude, where's my barf bag.


Well, this could take Batman into a whole new direction. He could go around pulling pranks on all the other superheroes. Imagine Superman thinking that the IRS has raided his Fortress of Solitude because of all the back taxes he hasn't paid. All of a sudden Batman runs out and goes "Dude, you just got punked, yo!"


Dead to Rights to Theaters


Nicolas Cage has signed to star in Dead to Rights, adapted from the popular video game. Lorenzo di Bonaventura will produce the film with Cage and his Saturn Pictures partner Norm Golightly, and they will begin pitching the project to studios immediately.


Cage will play Jack Slate, a disgraced cop who is hell-bent on discovering who murdered his father. The film is designed to have the Hong Kong-style action that has made the game so popular. The game's rights are controlled by Namco who have a sequel game being produced for Christmas 2004 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube formats.


"The videogame is so compelling because it has so many rich elements and the trick is to cut them down and get to the core story," said di Bonaventura. "The central character is emotionally tortured and that always makes for a good movie and a good Nic Cage movie."


I didn't know there were such things as good Nic Cage movies. Oh, come on, you know he's been in some pretty crappy movies. For every Adaptation there is 5 Gone in 60 Seconds type snoozers.


The good news is that Dead to Rights is being written by Kevin Brodbin. You may recognize him. His only writing credit until now is for the HUGE blockbuster....The Glimmer Man! Must've cost a huge chunk of change to get this guy to sign on the dotted line, huh? I swear man, you put a sled in The Glimmer Man and you got friggin Citizen Kane.


How much more money can get squeezed out of Hannibal?


Yet another prequel movie starring Hannibal Lecter is in the works. Not a prequel to Hannibal, not a prequel to Silence of the Lambs but a prequel to the prequel remake, Red Dragon. The working title of the new film is The Lecter Variation, and Dino De Laurentiis is on his way to Cannes next Tuesday to scout the concept around to all the major territories, though Universal will be releasing it in the states. The script will be penned by the series' creator, Thomas Harris, and tells the story of Lecter's youth in Lithuania all the way up to when he first came to America. Lecter will be around 25 in this movie which means that Hopkins most likely will not be involved, we can hope at least.


1. You know Hollywood is dead when you're making a prequel for a prequel that was already a remake to begin with.


2. Thomas Harris himself is writing the script? Well, that makes the movie a bit more interesting than Red Dragon already. But knowing how slow this guy works, we may never see this thing.


Changes to The Wickerman


In case you're actually interested in Neil LaBute's upcoming remake of the 1973 British so-called "classic", expect some changes. Not only has the location been changed from a small UK island to an unknown island in the mid-western United States, but the plot itself has been re-imagined according to LaBute.


"The original was a horror film about a policeman sent to a small island to investigate the disappearance of a girl who finds a pagan society. In my version, Nicolas Cage winds up on an island that's a very matriarchal society, run by women who are the direct descendants of pilgrims...I can't reveal the plot too far. But Cage's character's downfall comes about when he is torn between two very different women, neither of whom is what they seem. One is very outgoing and apparently upfront about her sexuality; the other is dark and intense. But looks can be deceptive, as he finds out."


Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder will play the two female leads. I wonder which one will be the slut.


I don't care for the original so I don't really care for this but I gotta ask the question.....WHAT?? An island in the middle of the United States ran by women? Where is, you know, the Wicker-MAN? Why do you remake a movie if you're not even gonna use the original story?


The fact the same guy that made In the Company of Men, Your Friend's and Neighbors, Possession and The Shape of Things is wasting his time doing a crappy remake of a crappy movie makes me feel a bit woozy.


Another pointless remake!


Tobe Hooper has signed to direct the totally un-needed remake of 1978's The Toolbox Murders. Of course, the original story has been completely taken out of this movie too and a totally new plot has been inserted in it's place. The new movie's story follows a young married couple who has just moved from the suburbs into an old Hollywood landmark, the Lusman Building, after the husband accepts a new job at a major advertising firm. But their new dwelling houses dark secrets, and the renovation with the building’s structure brings those evils out into the open. The wife discovers the mystery and attempts to face down the supernatural evil that thrives within the Lusman.


WHAT!?!? The original movie was about a dude with a toolbox that killed people with various carpentry tools. That was basically it. The original movie wasn't even very good except for the incredible redhead scene. The redhead scene is a work of brilliance. If you haven't seen that scene before, go get the DVD. Fast forward through everything else until you see the redhead. I could watch that redhead take a bath all day long. Damn she's hot. She's even hot when she's getting shot with a nailgun and believe me, you can't say that about most women. If the new movie doesn't put a naked redhead in a bathtub, I ain't watching it!


Where is Jinx and Bond 21?


If you're a fan of the recent Bond movies don't expect to see another one anytime soon says Bond producer Michael G. Wilson. "MGM and ourselves and Halle thought it might be a good idea to make a Jinx film, so we`re just kicking around some ideas with the writers, to see if we can do something with that. As for Bond 21, it`s not even a glimmer in it`s mother`s eye. It`s a matter of logistics, it takes time to make these films and they get bigger and bigger, and they take more and more planning... I reckon it would be at least three years from the last film".


Jon Voight in Ghost Rider?


SciFi.com reports that Jon Voight is in talks to play a villain in Ghost Rider, the upcoming film adaptation of the Marvel Comics series. "If you're going to play a strong character in these pieces, and you're not the leading man, you're usually going to get cast in the villain's role," Voight said in an interview. Voight declined to say which of the comic series' many villains he will play.


Crystal Sky Communications, the production company in which Voight is a partner, is co-producing the film with Marvel Entertainment and Sony's Columbia Pictures. Voight said his Crystal Sky connection led the producers to consider casting him. Mark Steven Johnson (Daredevil) is writing and directing with Nicolas Cage in the title role. No start date has been announced.


X3 bits and pieces


If you're like me, you wish that X3 would come out next week. While it's too early to know much about the movie, we CAN speculate and spread rumors.


Most of the cast of the first two movies is expected to return even though only a few of them are actually contractually obligated for a third movie. The only cast members who are 100% confirmed to be signed for another movie are Kelly Hu, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Alan Cummings, Shawn Ashmore, Famke Janssen and Daniel Cudmore. The ones that do not appear to be signed are Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, James Marsden, Patrick Stewart and Halle Berry. No definant word has leaked as far as the other cast members, but it doesn't appear that any of them are really willing to say no except for possibly Halle Berry who seems to care more about making that shitty Catwoman movie. Jackman himself says that while he's not signed, there's no way he's not returning and he may be interested in a Wolverine spin-off movie as well.


"I'm sure they're planning X3 and all I can say is I love this character," Jackman says. "There's so much more meat on the bone than you would ever hope to get out of a movie like this and it's great fun. You have all the action, too. Of course, my agent says, 'Never say definitely yes, Hugh!' "


When asked about the spin-off movie Jackman smiles and says, "I think my agent proposed it! I don't know about that project. I guess we have to wait until the box office rolls in this weekend before any decisions will be made."


The box office rolled in all right and it crushed mostly everything in it's path so it could be a bit more of possibility now. Ya think?


Of course, as most people noticed in the first movie, the third movie will deal with Jean Grey's transformation into the Dark Phoenix, but if you're expecting a strict retelling of the comic storyline, don't hold your breath. When Singer was recently asked why he brought out such a complicated storyline in only the second film he responded by saying that the Phoenix story was used because he wasn't going to make it like "I'm coming to take over the world." It will simply be her evolution into a stronger character. There will be no outer space, no aliens, none of that. It's simply the next step in her evolution and the story will deal with "unlimited power, and what do you do with all that power" and how she'll be able to relate with the other X-Men now that she's so powerful.


Earlier this week, the movie's production designer, Guy Dyas, also revealed many things that were created and designed for the second movie but had to be cut out for one reason or another but may be used for the third movie.....


"We designed a lot of new characters and environments for X2. Some made it into the final film and others will be saved for future episodes. Basically the designs that didn't make it in the film were:


-The Danger Room and the Danger room control room (where someone can monitor & supervise the training sessions)

-Beast and Beast's laboratory

-Angel and Archangel

-The interior of Alkali Lake's abandoned base, which included some very intricate prison cells and a giant cylindrical room where a big fight sequence was going to happen between Toad and Nightcrawler, a breathtaking mid-air battle.

-A land vehicle that was going to come out of the cargo area of the X-Jet.

-A secret level in the Pentagon in Washington D.C."


The biggest concern surrounding the third movie is director Bryan Singer's status. Singer has apparently made several statements to the studio and to the press that, after taking on two projects of this size, he really wants to return to his roots and go back to doing smaller films. In his own words...


"I would definitely be involved in some capacity on a third X-Men because I love the franchise and I love the cast, but I don't necessarily see myself having to direct it."


He could see himself writing the third film if specific things could be worked out with the major players involved.


"I have purposely incorporated things into X2 and have ideas that would lend themselves to future pictures, but certain circumstances would have to be appropriated because I really want to do a few small pictures before I tackle another big, special-effects movie."


Personally I think losing Singer could be a major blow to these movies. Even if Singer stayed on as writer and executive producer, a different director would bring his own vision of the universe and that would be like starting over. It'd be a major risk to let somebody else take over something so intricate as this. Singer's vision is a proven winner. Remember how the Batman franchise took a turn when Schumacher took it over, Burton was still a producer on that movie, he still had some input, it didn't help. Hopefully Singer will go do something smaller and then come back to do the third movie after that.


The studio hasn't officially announced a third movie yet, but HAVE picked May 5th, 2006 as a release date so take that for what it's worth.


As far as box office, as of Wednesday, X2 had already made $155,303,395. It's been in theaters less than two weeks and it's already less than 2 million away from making more money than the first movie. By time you're reading this it will have already beaten it. That's craaaazy.


Alien back in theaters


No, not a new Alien movie, the ORIGINAL movie. The original 1979 Alien will be re-released into theaters this Halloween building up hype for the upcoming special edition DVD box set coming out on November 11th. Trailers for the re-release will be attached to this summer's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.


Fantastic Four start over


Well, after all the speculation about George Clooney and Renee Zellweger joining the Fantastic Four cast with a November 4th, 2004 release date....it appears that director Peyton Reed is starting over from scratch. The current script has been tossed into the trash and writer Mark Frost ("Twin Peaks") has been signed to write a new one. The tone of this movie is said to be very different from the other batch of recent superhero movies with this one bordering on being an action/comedy type deal. Some earlier drafts are said to be very much like the Beatle's A Hard Day's Night movie.


And that's it for the news. Check out this week's new trailers....


The Eye

Freddy vs Jason

Spy Kids 3D

T3 - Rise of the Machines

The Last Samurai

Bad Boys II

2Fast 2Furious

Shaolin Soccer

Freaky Friday


I'm done. I'll be back next Friday with more news and even more sarcasm.


Click here to tell me how stupid I am.

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