ben affleck

Film Fanatic: ‘Indiana Jones 5,’ Affleck Directing Again and Tom Cruise to the Moon

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Film Fanatic

 

‘Indiana Jones 5’ Won’t Go the ‘James Bond’ Route According to Producer

Most fans of the Indiana Jones franchise downright hated Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Personally, I really enjoyed the first half and then once we all witnessed Shia LaBeouf swinging from vines with monkeys, I can totally see where fans lost it.

But I think most rational fans can agree that the problem with Indy 4 didn’t have anything to do with Harrison Ford who was surprisingly still energetic and spry for being in his late sixties at the time.

Despite fanboys coming down hard on the film, Indy 4 was the most successful movie in the series thanks to nearly 20 years of anticipation and the idea of a fifth entry seemed like a forgone conclusion.

I would leave that alone Indy.
I would leave that alone Indy.

But it’s now been seven years since the release of Crystal Skull and Ford isn’t getting any younger. Based on that notion, the thought was that any future Indy movies would go the way of James Bond and re-cast the lead role once the actor was too old or bored with the role. Rumors of Bradley Cooper or Chris Pratt possibly taking the mantle have been mentioned.

But according to producer Frank Marshall, if there’s going to be an ‘Indiana Jones 5,’ it’s going to star Harrison Ford.

“There are a lot of rumors. We haven’t even sat down to talk about Indy yet… at some point we’ll sit down,” said Marshall to Total Film. “But there’s a bunch of people who could probably take the baton [But we are] not doing the Bond thing where we’re going to call somebody else Indiana Jones… we have to figure this out.”

These comments are very noncommittal. They haven’t even talked about Indy 5 and Marshall doesn’t seem to have any idea of how to move the series forward. If that’s the line of thinking, they need to just re-cast the part.

It’s not like anyone will ever forget Ford’s performance once a new actor comes in. Sean Connery hasn’t played Bond for more than 30 years and the majority of fans still think of him when they think about Bond.

While promoting Bridge of Spies, Steven Spielberg said he plans to make another Indiana Jones with Ford, but his statement was a bit sarcastic because he was talking about making as many movies with Tom Hanks as Ford.

I really believe they will eventually just re-cast the part and Pratt seems to be an obvious replacement. What’s great about the Indiana Jones movies is that they have always been set in the past (WWII, specifically). Continuing the story with Ford moves the franchise into the ’60s and possibly ’70s and it just wouldn’t feel right. Jones is an iconic character for a specific time period in history and the only way to continue that continuity is to go younger.

 

‘Live by Night’ Begins Shooting

It’s been three years since the release of Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning film Argo. Following the success of that film, Affleck was quick to put together his next directing project, Live by Night, which is based on Dennis Lehane’s novel.

The story takes place in Boston (Shocker) during the 1920s and focuses on the rise of one man who went from petty thief to the most successful rum runner in the region. Affleck is once again starring, co-writing, producing and directing with a supporting cast that will include Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana, Elle Fanning, Chris Messina and Chris Cooper.

Ben Affleck screenrant.com
I prefer Affleck behind the camera than in front. | (screenrant.com)

Affleck intended to make Live by Night soon after Argo in 2013, but two major acting roles prevented him from doing so. The first was a chance to work with David Fincher on Gone Girl. That ended up being the right choice to make as it was Affleck’s most successful film, in a starring role, in more than ten years.

The second delay on Night was so that Affleck could play the Dark Knight in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. After nearly a year of filming, Affleck finally wrapped work on the highly-anticipated DC movie earlier this year making room for his next directing gig in Night.

Affleck tweeted a photo from the set of the film on Wednesday officially marking the first day of production. Affleck rebuilt his career when he went into directing and so far he’s 3 for 3 (Gone Baby Gone, The Town and Argo). As much as I’m looking forward to seeing him play the caped crusader (And he will for many years), it’s exciting to see he’s finally able to fit in his next passion project.

Warner Bros. has set Live by Night to be released in 2017, but if his last three films are any indication, we could see the movie next fall in time for Oscar season.

 

Tom Cruise May go to the Moon Before Returning to Mission Impossible

You may not agree with some of the things Tom Cruise does in his personal life, but you definitely can’t question the man’s work ethic. Despite being in his mid-50s, the actor hasn’t really taken any kind of a break from acting since the late ’90s and that was only because he was working with Stanley Kubrick who was a notorious perfectionist and went well over a year making Eyes Wide Shut.

In fact, there’s never been more than a three-year gap in film releases for Cruise’s career which now spans more than 30 years. His staying power has truly been remarkable.

And he has no intention of slowing down either as he has already begun production on Jack Reacher: Never Go Back after wrapping on Doug Liman’s drug-smuggling film Mena.

Tom Cruise and Doug Liman-variety.com
Tom Cruise and Doug Liman possibly working together for a third time. | (variety.com)

Following the success of yet another outstanding Mission Impossible movie this summer, Cruise quickly announced that work had already begun on a sixth installment which would begin filming next year. But now it appears Cruise may work with Liman once again on a project the director has been trying to get off the ground for years.

According to Variety, Liman has been developing a moon-set heist film called Luna Park for a few years now without much progress. But once you work with one of the biggest movie stars in the world a couple of times, projects you thought were stalled can be put on the fast track and it sounds like Luna Park will see the light of day.

Paramount and Skydance hired another writer to take a pass on the Luna Park script and the studio is looking to begin production next year. If all goes as planned, Cruise would make Park in early 2016 (Shortly after finishing Jack Reacher) and then start on Mission: Impossible 6 in the summer. Like I said, Cruise is a machine.

As for the story, Luna Park revolves around a group of rogue employees who venture to the moon to steal an energy source. Sounds hokey, but then again, so did Edge of Tomorrow on paper until Liman and Cruise made one of the best action movies of the decade.

 

 

Film Fanatic: Ben Affleck, David Fincher, ‘I Am Legend’ Reboot

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Video Essay on the Work of David Fincher

With the upcoming release of the film Gone Girl, I’ve been reading and watching a lot of career retrospectives on the work of director David Fincher.  He’s my favorite filmmaker and a well-respected director amongst film critics and movie fans.

For me personally, Fincher is fascinating because of his meticulous desire to achieve perfection in every frame of his movies.  You could literally pause any scene from any of his movies and it would look like a work of art.  In reviewing his masterpiece Zodiac, I referred to this meticulousness as “Fincher’s almost fetishistic attention to detail.”

But you can’t really appreciate his work in words.  He’s a master visualist best appreciated by viewing one (or all) of his films or simply watching this fascinating 7 1/2-minute video breakdown from Tony Zhou.

What Zhou points out is that Fincher is great at conveying information visually or verbally and having it not seem like exposition.  He’s very subtle in that regard despite being known for his amazing visuals.

Zhou also focuses on specific scenes from Se7en to articulate Fincher’s way of developing character relationships through camera angles.  Fascinating stuff.  The one thing the video doesn’t talk about is Fincher’s use of CGI which is often so seamless and subtle (Ironically), you aren’t even aware of it which in my opinion is the best use of computer generated images.

Any fan of cinema or anyone currently taking a film class in college should watch this simple yet fascinating breakdown of the art of filmmaking from the perspective of arguably its best artist and then go and see Gone Girl with this fresh perspective in mind.  You might have a better viewing experience.

‘I Am Legend’ Reboot in Development

It’s been seven long years since Will Smith starred in I Am Legend.  A visually stunning epic while also being intimate, Legend earned nearly $600 million worldwide and proved to be one of Smith’s few challenging roles.  Warner Bros. has since wanted to make another film, a prequel if I remember correctly (Smith did die at the end), but Smith is reluctant to return to the franchise.

Will Smith-indiewire.com
An ‘I Am Legend’ reboot is happening minus Will Smith. | (indiewire.com)

Now it seems Warner Bros. has found a different way of making another film and it appears they’re going with a reboot.  According to Deadline, WB will re-work the spec script A Garden at the End of the World, written by Gary Graham.  The script is described as a “sci-fi version of The Searchers,” which Graham wrote when he worked at the Apple store.  He submitted the script to the Black List website and WB  not only took notice, but they envisioned a way to fit the story into the Legend universe.

Specifics of Graham’s script are foggy, but it appears that there are no plans to bring Smith back.  I’ve always thought a prequel to the first film would have been unnecessary.  Legend featured a few hints at Neville’s (Smith) involvement with the outbreak, but the ambiguity served the film well.  A sequel with the alternate ending (found on the Blu-ray) where Neville lives would have made more sense.

If they do make another film, please replace those terrible-looking CGI creatures that were the crux of the first film.  Just use real people with practical effects and makeup.

Ben Affleck May Star in ‘The Accountant’

After winning the Oscar for Argo, Ben Affleck was ready to get the ball rolling on his next directing gig, Live by Night.  But then David Fincher called about a part in Gone Girl and Affleck of course obliged.  Then came a certain Caped Crusader character in a giant superhero movie and again Affleck was forced to push his period crime drama back.

FilmMagic
Ben Affleck’s schedule is getting pretty full. | (Mike Pont/FilmMagic)

Now there’s news that he might be squeezing another acting job in before getting behind the camera again.  Variety is reporting that Affleck is in negotiations to take the lead in the Warner Bros. thriller The Accountant which follows a mild-mannered accountant who moonlights as a lethal assassin.

Other than maybe Christopher Nolan, Affleck is WB’s golden boy who can do pretty much anything he wants.  When he became interested in The Accountant, WB’s long-in-development project moved to the front of the line.  While I’m not a huge fan of Affleck as an actor (He’s often either too emotional or too wooden), I’m eager to see his performance in Gone Girl which is getting rave reviews.

 

 

 

Film Fanatic

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James Spader to Play Ultron in The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Last week there was some fairly big news regarding a casting decision in the world of superhero movies.  This one is not quite as big, but for fans of The Avengers (And there are a lot of them), this bit of news is probably just as exciting.

James Spader - empireonline.com
James Spader | (empireonline.com)

Marvel announced this week that James Spader has been cast as Ultron, the main villain in the upcoming sequel, The Avengers: Age of Ultron.  The character is apparently a humanoid robot, so it’s unclear whether or not Spader will do motion-capture work for the performance or just provide the voice.

It was thought that Thanos would be the primary villain in the highly-anticipated sequel since he had an after-credits scene, but the fact that Ultron is literally in the title of the sequel probably infers that he will be the main villain.  Marvel is known for thinking outside-the-box when it comes to casting their characters (Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, Robert Redford), so the decision to go with Spader is not entirely surprising.  

The three-time Emmy Award Winner has had a diverse career both in film and television and he’s worked with some of the great filmmakers of our time including David Cronenberg, Sidney Lumet, Steven Soderbergh, Oliver Stone and most recently Steven Spielberg in Lincoln.  No doubt writer/director Joss Whedon has crafted a dark and complex character that Spader will nail.

Matt Damon Joins Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’

In other casting news, Matt Damon has joined the already loaded cast for Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic Interstellar.  According to The Playlist, Damon will be playing a minor role as the actor is reportedly only going to be filming for two weeks in Iceland.

Matt Damon - indiewire.com
Matt Damon | (indiewire.com)

The actor joins Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, John Lithgow, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, Ellen Burstyn and Michael Caine in the film which centers around a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.

Who Damon will be playing (Or anyone else for that matter) is of course a secret, but news of the actor working with Nolan for the first time is exciting.  Despite being a major movie star, Damon doesn’t mind having small roles in films as he has had memorable minor roles, even cameos, in movies like Chasing Amy, Finding Forester, Jersey Girl and my personal favorite, EuroTrip.

Interstellar will be released on November 7, 2014.

Sweet Fake Batman vs. Superman Trailer Released

Well that didn’t take long.  It’s only been a week since news broke that Ben Affleck would be playing Batman in the Man of Steel sequel, but that didn’t deter a fanboy from making an awesome fake trailer for the film.

Splicing together footage from Man of Steel, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Affleck in Daredevil and State of Play, Amy Adams in Trouble With the Curve and random scenes from Elysium and The Prestige, the trailer is well made.  There’s even a shot of Jeremy Irons which I guess means this person wants him to play Alfred.

Of course the other presence in the trailer is Bryan Cranston who is already being talked about as the leading candidate for the Lex Luthor role.  The trailer features scenes from his performance on Breaking Bad, as well as the movie Total Recall, which is really all that movie should be good for at this point.

This will probably be the first of many fake trailers made for this and the next Star Wars film, but hey, us movie buffs need something to tide us over until 2015.  God I love the Internet.

‘Getaway’ Earning Worst Reviews of the Year According to Rotten Tomatoes

A couple of weeks ago, Paranoia, starring Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman and Liam Hemsworth had the distinction of being not only the worst performing studio film of the year at the box office (It made $3.5 million in its opening weekend), but it was also the worst-reviewed film of the year with a demoralizing 3 percent (Two likes, 62 dislikes) on Rotten Tomatoes.

But the crown of worst film of the year was short lived as we now have a new contender.  Getaway, starring Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez, has as of this writing, earned a one percent on the critic-tracking website.  That’s one like and 81 dislikes.  For a while the film was well on its way to having the dubious distinction of scoring zero precent and joining the illustrious zero club which includes the Sarah Palin documentary The Undefeated, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star and Ballistic – Ecks vs. Sever, aka the worst film I’ve ever seen.

GETAWAY
‘Getaway’ | (TheWrap)

But then someone had to go and like Getaway.  Norman Wilner of Now Toronto, praised the film’s quick pace and simple story saying, “At a fleet 90 minutes, Getaway feels like the opposite of the increasingly over-complicated Fast & Furious features.”

Anyone accusing the Fast & Furious franchise of being “over-complicated” needs to watch those movies again, but I digress.  While I don’t root for a film to be terrible, there’s a certain symmetry to seeing one with a big fat donut score on Rotten Tomatoes.  The same goes for the other end of the spectrum as well.  Someone had the nerve to dislike The Godfather: Part II and that movie sits at 98 percent with 59 likes and one dislike.

Of course all films are subjective, but when a group of people overwhelmingly dislike a film, there’s a good chance it’s pretty terrible.  Having watched the trailer, Getaway looks that bad.  What a weird year for Ethan Hawke.  He starred in a film with a 98 percent ranking (Before Midnight) and another at one percent.  Would that be considered versatile acting or is Hawke about to go down a Nic Cage path of erratic acting choices?  Let’s hope for the former.

 

 

 

 

Film Fanatic

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New Batman Cast in Superman Sequel

Sooooo, a little announcement happened last night, perhaps you heard about it.  If not let me spill the beans.  Warner Bros. has announced that Ben Affleck will be playing Batman in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel sequel set to open July 17, 2015.

At Comic-Con this year, Snyder surprised everyone with news that his Superman sequel would feature a Superman vs. Batman type plot and fanboys all over the world immediately began speculating and campaigning for certain actors to be the next caped crusader.

ben-affleck-batman-slice-Collider
Ben Affleck playing Batman | (Collider)

Names like Jon Hamm and Josh Brolin were rumored as leading contenders based on the fact that Snyder and Warner Bros. wanted an older and wiser superhero who would have the experience and intellect to conceivably battle Superman since Batman is merely a human after all.

Personally I don’t have a problem with Affleck portraying Batman, but it just seems like an odd and risky career move for him.  Affleck played a superhero once before in 20th Century Fox’s 2003 film Daredevil.  That film has been much-maligned over the years and came at a low point in his acting career.  It wasn’t until he started directing that Affleck was able to return to A-list status culminating in a Best Picture Oscar for his film Argo last year.

“We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of DC Comics’ most enduringly popular Super Heroes, and Ben Affleck certainly fits that bill, and then some” said Greg Silverman, President of Creative Development and Worldwide Production at Warners Bros.

While I would never consider Affleck’s acting ability to be “extraordinary,” seeing him in a superhero film at this point in his revitalized career certainly brings a level of credibility to the Superman sequel.  Man of Steel focused on being a serious, more grounded comic book movie (Almost to a fault) and Affleck is more than capable of contributing to that particular tone.

Ironically, Affleck has donned the Superman tights before as well. In Hollywoodland, the actor played George Reeves, who portrayed Superman in the 1950s television series.  All I ask with him playing Batman is that he doesn’t have a distractingly gravel, where-are-my-throat-lozenges voice.

The Three Cornettos Trilogy Experience

Last night I got the chance to see Edger Wright’s trilogy of genre films starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.  Loosely known as the Three Cornettos Trilogy since each one features a scene involving Cornetto ice cream, my enthusiasm for this marathon was extremely high.

If you recall, the last time I experienced a movie marathon at the theater it was for Die Hard which turned out to be a highly enjoyable time that unfortunately ended in disappointment with the latest installment.

The Worlds End Regal Marathon
The Three Cornettos Trilogy Movie Marathon | (regmovies.com)

But on this night I did not fear that Wright’s brilliant and hilarious trilogy of films would end on a sour note.  One of the most passionate and talented filmmakers working today, I trusted Wright would find a way to release a film that fans of the previous installments would love while also attempting to do something that didn’t feel like a retread.  Fortunately, Wright succeeded in creating a fitting conclusion to a memorable series of films that fans will cherish for years to come.

Sitting in theater number eight, the second largest behind only the IMAX room, I arrived just as Shaun of the Dead was beginning.  The theater was about a quarter full, not surprising considering we would be here for the next seven hours, but those that did come were as passionate as I had imagined for such an occasion.

One man wore Pegg’s work outfit in Shaun, a white dress shirt and red tie, complete with blood splatter which I hoped was nothing more than ketchup.  Another person, female, was decked out in a British-style police uniform.  She was obviously a hug fan of the second chapter in the trilogy, Hot Fuzz.  These were my kind of people.

Seeing Shaun on the big screen for the first time was tremendous.  Like everyone else in the room, I laughed all the way through, including a few premature chuckles for jokes I knew were coming.  Shaun remains my favorite of the three films.  Often thought of as a parody of zombie movies, the film strides to be more than that.

It is a quintessential zombie flick filled with plenty of gore, undead transformations and creative filmmaking techniques to remind you of its endearing low-budget appeal.

Shaun (Pegg) as the reluctant hero and Ed (Frost) as his bumbling best friend are the heart of the film.  Their real-life friendship can easily be seen on the screen but Wright does a good job of constantly creating conflicts in their friendship that are challenged as the film and the end of the world progresses.

Shaun of the Dead - edgarwrighthere.com
Shaun of the Dead | (edgarwrighthere.com)

Wright’s talents as a director are constantly on display, including a memorable tracking shot of Shaun walking from his house to a convenience store that is filmed twice, once before the zombie apocalypse and once after.  The scene is my personal favorite in any of the three films because it perfectly conveys Shaun’s seemingly ignorant perspective on his own life and the world surrounding him.

Shaun of the Dead perfectly balances the humor and violence creating an entertaining film with stakes.  The music is also tremendous, including a scene where characters beat a zombie with pool cues that is in-sync with Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now.

After the film ended, the theater applauded as if they had just seen their favorite band play their old hits.  Chapter one complete.

The time in-between Shaun and Hot Fuzz allowed me to get my dinner for the evening, popcorn and soda.  Not exactly healthy, but appropriate for the setting.

Like Shaun did with zombie movies, Hot Fuzz is also a send-up of another genre, American action movies, particularly Michael Bay movies and others from the ’90s.  This time Pegg is Nicholas Angel, a by-the-book cop from London who is re-assigned to the quiet little town of Sandford.  Everything seems just a little too perfect in Sandford and eventually Angel, with the help of his inexperienced partner, (Frost) begin to unravel a series of conspiracies that involve murder and corruption.

Fuzz, while not as funny as Shaun, certainly features the same magic that made the first film great.  Pegg and Frost are once again perfect together and the film also features a number of minor characters who are given moments to shine.

The film is not as politically incorrect as Shaun is, but there are still plenty of laughs to be had including some cheeky police office humor and great physical comedy, particularly from Frost.

kinopoisk.ru
Hot Fuzz | (fanpop.com)

As an homage to action movies, Wright features a number of sequences that movie fans will find familiar.  A mug-shot montage is filmed right out of a Tony Scott movie and the climax to the film features a couple of signature Michael Bay shots including a 360 degree shot of Pegg and Frost and a slow-motion sequence of them looking up as a helicopter flies over.

At the end of the day Hot Fuzz is a love letter to action movie fans and if you pick up on the references it’s that much more enjoyable.  The film features the same gory violence seen in Shaun and while it might not feature as many funny moments, the conclusion is arguably better than the first film.

Following the end of Fuzz, we all thought we would have to sit through another 30-minute intermission before the debut of The World’s End.  That is until someone with Regal came in to the theater to announce that the download time for the film was moving slowly and the 10:00 start time was going to be more like 10:30.  I was expecting a, “You wouldn’t have this problem if you were still using film instead of digital projection,” from someone in the theater but it never came.

Instead of complaining, people in the theater tried their best to pass the time.  Some wandered the hauls checking their phone like me while others decided to play hide and seek in the theater.  I’m not kidding, it happened.  We were even treated to a Machete Kills trailer while waiting.  Anything on the screen was better than nothing.

The beginning of the end finally commenced.  Nearly ten years after Shaun of the Dead debuted, The World’s End was hopefully going to end the trilogy on a high note.  Luckily, the film mostly succeeds, giving fans the same familiar comedy and action they’ve come to love while also telling another story that feels original.

In the early nineties a group of five friends, led by fearless leader Gary King (Pegg), attempted to complete the Golden Mile which entailed drinking one pint at 12 pubs in the town of Newton Haven.  They failed to complete their youthful mission for one reason or another and now Gary is compelled to bring the group back together to not only complete the pub crawl, but also relive the glory days.

After a somewhat slow start, which features Gary finding each of his four friends to convince them to join him on his quest, the film picks up when the old gang begins their journey.  At first everything seems familiar in someway as they begin to reminisce about their youth, but soon they discover that the town seems a little off.  It’s not that the people who never left the town have forgotten them, it’s that they’ve been turned into robotic clones out to perfect the human race.

Unlike Shaun and Fuzz, which more closely followed and celebrated the genres they were living in, End feels a little more mature and structured.  There are certainly sci-fi elements to the film that are reminiscent of those great 1950s movies (Invasion of the Body-Snatchers, The Day the Earth Stood Still), but End is focused more on telling a story of whether it’s really possible to grow up without getting old rather than a simple sci-fi genre story.

Another aspect to the film that’s different is that instead of Pegg playing the straight-man it’s Frost this time.  While I give Wright credit for mixing things up, having Pegg who is clearly the star of these three films, play the flawed and immature character is a risky move as his character can seem unlikable at certain moments in the film.

The World's End - Collider
The World’s End | (Collider)

But as the film progresses, Pegg is able to tap into Gary’s insecurity about living in the past and he really showcases his abilities as an actor beyond straight comedy.  Seeing Frost play the more mature character of the two is also a revelation.  I’ve only ever seen him play the bumbling fool with a warm heart so that was certainly refreshing to see as well.

Featuring a number of great action sequences, including a well-choreographed fight in a pub where Gary just wants to finish his pint, The World’s End continues the trilogies’ great tradition of creative action and smartly-written humor.

It might not be as funny or as fast-paced as the first two installments, but The World’s End is arguably the most heartfelt and intelligent of the trilogy and Wright and company should be commended for daring to switch up the formula.

It’s a quarter to one and I’m finally leaving the theater.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the experience, but we’re all a little eager to get home and climb into bed.  But the night was filled with plenty of laughs and entertainment.  I doubt anyone went home disappointed.  Not when Wright, Pegg and Frost are involved.

Film Fanatic

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Hollywood Could See 4 Straight Weeks of Bombs at the Box Office

Back in late June, everyone (including me) was shocked by how much money World War Z made in its opening weekend.  The troubled production surrounding the film ballooned its budget to $200 million but despite the negative buzz, the Brad Pitt zombie epic opened to $66 million in its first weekend and is on pace to finish around $185 million domestically.

World War Z contributed to May and June seeing record-breaking grosses that put the year on pace to be the biggest ever.  But since the last week in June, high profile summer movies have crashed and burned and the next couple of weeks could see similar results.

Pacific Rim - TheWrap
Pacific Rim | (TheWrap)

Sony’s $150 million White House Down started the slide with less than $25 million the weekend of June 28.  Disney’s $225 million The Lone Ranger followed with $29 million over the July 4 weekend and this weekend could see another mega bomb.  Guillermo del Toro’s $180 million movie Pacific Rim is projected to open around $40 million this weekend according to The Wrap.  While that number is certainly better than White House Down or The Lone Ranger’s opening weekend haul, it’s still low enough to be considered a disappointment financially.

The giant robot/monster movie features no stars or an ’80s toy legacy (Transformers) so despite the positive reviews it’s been getting (72 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), Pacific Rim will likely continue the blockbuster slump.

But it doesn’t end there.  Early projections have the Jeff Bridges-Ryan Reynolds flick R.I.P.D. opening below $15 million which would be a horrid return on a $130 million movie.  Poor Ryan Reynolds.  The guy just can’t catch a break.

The next $100 million movie expected to be a hit will be The Wolverine which opens July 26.  The 2013 blockbuster season got off to a hot start and will likely finish strong with The Wolverine, 2 Guns and Elysium, but the middle portion will not be remembered fondly.  Financially at least.

Ben Affleck in Talks to Star in David Fincher’s Gone Girl

Ben Affleck has seen a resurgence in his career thanks to his decision to work behind the camera.  Gone Baby Gone, The Town and Argo were all met with critical and commercial acclaim and all that success culminated in Affleck winning the Best Picture Oscar for Argo this past year.  Plus he’s figured out that if you’re the director, you can cast yourself as the star.

This plan has allowed Affleck to not only become a major player in Hollywood when it comes to directorial projects, but it has also given him an opportunity to revive his acting career.  He’s already worked with Terrence Malick last year in To the Wonder and now he is in talks to collaborate with another beloved filmmaker.

David Fincher, Ben Affleck - Collider
David Fincher, Ben Affleck | (Collider)

 

Affleck is now in talks to lead David Fincher’s adaptation of the Gillian Flynn bestselling novel Gone Girl.  According to Deadline, production has stalled on Fincher’s adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with Disney deciding to push back production to 2014.  But in the meantime, Fincher appears keen on directing a smaller scale film.

While I would have preferred Fincher move forward on sequels to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, any project he’s interested in is intriguing and worth seeing.  The man could direct paint drying and I’d go see it.

Gone Girl focuses on a man whose wife disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary, only to have all signs point to him as the woman’s killer.  The Wrap reports that Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron and Emily Blunt are all being considered for the female lead.

While I’m not the biggest Ben Affleck fan in regards to his acting ability, perhaps Fincher can bring out the best in him.

The Continued Demise of Adam Sandler

Opening this week is the sequel no one wanted, Grown Ups 2.  Starring Adam Sandler and his buddies, the reason behind this sequel is of course money.  The first film grossed more than $162 million three years ago and was Sandler’s most successful film in recent years.

Over the past fifteen years, Sandler has starred in 12 movies that have each grossed more than $100 million at the box office.  To provide some context, over that same time period, movies stars like Will Smith and Tom Cruise; and comedic stars Will Ferrell, Jim Carrey and Ben Stiller have all failed to reach the same number of $100 million movies.

Grown Ups 2 - TheWrap
Grown Ups 2 | (TheWrap)

Sandler’s movies has been the definition of critic proof.  All twelve of those films have been met with disdain by critics and while a movie critic isn’t always right, they’ve been pretty accurate in assessing the quality of films Sandler has chosen to do, especially recently.

With Grown Ups, Jack and Jill, Just Go with it, That’s My Boy and now Grown Ups 2, Sandler has had as bad a run lately as anyone in recent memory.  Grown Ups 2 is currently at 5 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Movies like Airheads, Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer and Big Daddy worked back in the day because like Sandler, we were all young.  We ate up that sophomoric humor.  But Sandler is in his forties now.  Hasn’t he made enough money by now to stop making these kinds of movies?  It’s time to grow up (see what I did there) Sandler.  The frat boy shtick has grown tiresome.