pacific rim movie

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.

 

Film Fanatic

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You probably wouldn’t be shocked that one of the greatest bits of trivia in movie history involved Steven Spielberg and George Lucas considering they’re two of the most influential directors of all time.  But you might be surprised to learn about a bet the two filmmakers made early in their career that still affects them to this day.

In the mid to late ’70s, both men were hard at work on their respective science fiction epics.  Spielberg was working on Close Encounters of the Third Kind while Lucas was slaving away on some little film called Star Wars.  After dealing with so many issues on Star Wars (Including production delays and studio interference) and being deeply stressed and depressed, Lucas decided to take a vacation and visit the set of Close Encounters.  When he got there, he was amazed at how much better Spielberg’s film was looking than his own.

spielberg-lucas
George Lucas and Steven Spielberg | (celebritynetworth.com)

In an article in Celebrity Networth, Spielberg talked about Lucas’ visit and how he was convinced Close Encounters would be far more successful than Star Wars.

“George came back from Star Wars a nervous wreck.  He didn’t feel Star Wars came up to the vision he initially had.  He felt he had just made this little kids’ movie.  He came to Mobile, Alabama where I was shooting Close Encounters on this humongous set and hung out with me for a couple of days.  He said, ‘Oh my God, your movie is going to be so much more successful than Star Wars.  This is gonna be the biggest hit of all time’.”

Perhaps feeling a little jealous, Lucas made a bet with with Spielberg.  Trade two and a half per cent of Star Wars‘ earnings with two and a half per cent of Close Encounters’.  Big mistake on Lucas’ part.

Close Encounters was a big hit at the time making more than $300 million and rescuing Columbia Pictures from bankruptcy.  But it didn’t come close to what Star Wars would eventually earn.  By the end of 1978, Star Wars‘ worldwide box office receipts totaled $500 million.  This sum earned Spielberg roughly $12.5 million which adjusted for inflation comes out to $46.675 million in 2013.  As of today, Star Wars is the second highest grossing movie of all time (behind Avatar) when you adjust for inflation.  Off of a budget of just $11 million, Star Wars has earned more than $2.5 billion.

Star Wars was a phenomenon and I was the happy beneficiary of a couple of points from that movie which I am still seeing money on today,” said Spielberg.

Not that Lucas is hurting in the money department, but boy was that a costly bet.  Spielberg made millions of dollars for a franchise he had nothing to do with.  It’s great to be friends with George Lucas apparently.

Rumor of the week: Christopher Nolan Approached to Direct James Bond 24

With Skyfall director Sam Mendes declining to return for the next installment in the Bond franchise, MGM has been trying to find a replacement in order to meet their goal of releasing another movie within three years.  With probably every big-shot director on their list, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson have been rumored to have spoken with perhaps the hottest director at the moment, Christopher Nolan.

According to the Daily Mail, Nolan and the producers have had informal talks about the Batman director tackling Bond and Nolan himself has expressed interest in directing an installment in the past.

But if the producers intend on releasing another Bond picture in the next three years, they’ll either have to settle on someone else or wait for Nolan to finish work on his next enormous project, Interstellar.

Bond-Nolan
Christopher Nolan | Collider

Nolan’s sci-fi project has only recently begun pre-production and will be released November 7, 2014.  According to Mendes, the reason he decided to pass on doing another film was because of the 18 months of preparation needed to direct a Bond film.  With the next year and a half devoted to Interstellar, there’s no feasible way Nolan could do both in time to meet MGM’ s deadline.

This might be a blessing in disguise however.  Nolan’s film Inception was heavily influenced by the Bond films of the ’60s and ’70s so he would certainly have a passion for the material, but I’d like to see Nolan continue to explore original work rather than take on another franchise.

Whether it’s The Prestige, Inception or his upcoming film, Nolan is one of the few major directors who attempts to create new stories told on a grand scale.  The Dark Knight trilogy was his foot in the door.  That allowed him to do something unique like Inception and it appears Interstellar will follow the same path.  As much as I would love to see him direct a James Bond movie, his talents are needed elsewhere.

Trailer of the Week: Pacific Rim

It’s too early to tell whether or not Pacific Rim will be a success when it is released in July.  The film has no stars and despite the appearance of giant fighting robots, the film doesn’t have Transformers attached to its title so you never know.  But if the film is anywhere close to matching its impressive trailer, fans of the Transformers movies will be more than satisfied.

The trailer blends Transformers and Godzilla with a little Matrix thrown in.  The inclusion of the GLaDOS voice from the video game Portal is a nice touch and unlike the last two Transformers movies, Pacific Rim appears to do a good job emphasizing the massive size and scale of the film.  People can’t relate to seeing giant robots and monsters fighting in real life so the fact that a lot of the shots are from ground level is a welcomed sight.

I’m also excited to see one of my favorite video games as a child, Rampage, come to life.  Seeing massive creatures tossing freight ships around like rag dolls and using cities as destructive playgrounds is quite impressive.  The fact that the film is directed by Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy I and II, Pan’s Labyrinth) is exciting as well.  He seems like a director who has a lot of passion and intelligence behind his projects and with Pacific Rim, it appears he has made something more than just a generic robot fighting movie.