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December 2006 Archive

Box Office

UPDATE: 'Rocky' Opens With Knock-Out; Tracking Giant 'Museum', Great 'D-Girls'

UPDATE FRIDAY AM: Rocky Balboa made $3.4 mil for Thursday, a respectable drop of -45% the day after its opening. Cume now is $9.6 mil. Thursday AM: I’m told MGM’s Rocky Balboa started fast with a $6.2 million mid-week opening Wednesday from 2,752 theaters. Early word had been that the matinees were “looking good” since the movie is better than anyone ever expected. Amazing that the franchise still had life in it, especially when the Hollywood studios were telling… Read

What Tony Scott's Stellar NYT Review Really Means For Clint's 'Iwo Jima'

Everyone’s talking today about A.O. “Tony” Scott’s rave review in The New York Times (published in tomorrow’s edition) of Clint’s Letters From Iwo Jima. “Utterly original… strikingly intimate… close to perfect.” It’s also, in part, a re-review of Flags Of Our Father as seen within the context of both pics simultaneously. This will have a huge impact on Academy members. But, even though it’s still way too early to prognosticate accurately (despite all the useless Oscar… Read

Finke/LA Weekly: 2007 Orgy of Sequels

My latest column, Orgy Of Sequels Climaxing In 2007, takes a snarky look at next year’s knock-offs. Will the public get off? Or is it just studio masturbation? (Yes, I saw today’s Los Angeles Times‘ marathon piece about 2006’s sequel fever. Great minds may think alike, but at least I think ahead.) Here are excerpts from mine: It's official: Hollywood has run out of original ideas. If you thought 2006 was bad, just wait. In 2007, the studios will give up on birthing… Read

Here's Hook For Next 'Survivor' Season: Life Of Luxury vs Left With Nothing

So CBS unveiled details of its 14th season of Survivor (aka “I’ve got two naked guys in the hot tub”) set in Fiji. And the new Mark Burnett-conceived hook (13th season’s was race based, remember?) is once again going to cause controversy, though not necessarily with advertisers but surely with viewers: While one team will live the life of luxury, the other team is left with virtually nothing. Uh, doesn’t that defeat the whole point of the show since the contestants are… Read

See Promo For Seinfeld 2007 'Bee Movie'

Jerry Seinfeld is fascinated by animation, and technology in general. His most recent DVD “Season Six” boxed set included animated versions of some of the more memorable episodes of his sitcom Seinfeld — re-imagined and drawn as “Sein-imation;” that is, stick-figure cartoons, using the original cast voices. But it’s still surprising that the comedian has been quietly busy for the past three years writing, producing and starring in a movie for DreamWorks Animation SKG… Read

Details About Spielberg Reality TV Show

Here are more details from Steven Spielberg and Mark Burnett talking about their 2007 reality show (see video). (In case you didn’t know it already, Spielberg is a Reality TV mega-fan, especially of Burnett’s Survivor.) Too bad it’s on Fox where everything new — except American Idol and 24 — goes to die. It’s part Idol, part Apprentice and, hopefully, not anything like Ben Affleck/Matt Damon’s HBO-aired Project Greenlight, which was such a snore. On The Lot chooses 16… Read

Box Office

Sony Pics Boasts Record-Breaking 2006

Look, I hate it when a Hollywood studio has a good year. Where’s the snark in that for me? So it greatly pains me to regurgitate the press release that Sony Pictures Entertainment had a humongous record-breaking year. With its 13th #1 release (The Pursuit of Happyness), the studio’s box office receipts for 2006 breaks the all-time motion picture industry U.S. box office record for a single year. SPE’s box office receipts for 2006 have passed $1.573 billion, it was… Read

Box Office

Will Smith's 'Pursuit Of Happyness' #1 Friday; 'Eragon' #2, 'Charlotte's Web' #3; Mel Gibson's 'Apocalypto' Falls to 6th

SUNDAY AM: Holiday spirit ruled the box office, especially for Sony which scored its 13th No. 1 release this weekend and passed $1.573 billion in 2006 box office receipts — setting a new motion picture industry record for U.S. box office in a single year. I’m told Sony’s The Pursuit Of Happyness, even playing in fewer theaters than the competition, pit Will Smith (and his real-life son) against a dragon and spider and won its opening weekend with a big $27 million ticket… Read

Even More Abhorrent 'Apprentice': Losers Live In Tents In Beverly Hills Backyard

I didn’t think it was possible for NBC’s The Apprentice, or Donald Trump’s shtick, to get even more abhorrent. Boy, was I wrong! First, I’m surprised anyone will bother watching it January 7th, opening the sixth season  — this time, based in Los Angeles (since last spring’s show drew less than half of 2004’s Season 1 average). Anyway, TV Guide has the 411 on what will be new: most disgusting is that each week’s winning team will luxe it up in a Beverly Hills mansion… Read

Box Office

Tracking: Pig/Will/Dragon Battle For #1; 'Night At Museum' Next Xmas Biggie?

I’m told, for this weekend, Fox’s Harry Potter clone Eragon is tracking “strong” with boys, and Paramount’s Babe-like Charlotte’s Web “strong” with girls, while Sony’s Forrest Gump feel-good flick, The Pursuit of Happyness, looks to draw both sexes and all ages because of subject matter and starrer Will Smith. Certainly Web has the theater count advantage — 3,566 compared to Eragon‘s 3,020 and Pursuit‘s 2,852. Predictions are Pursuit and Eragon with $20+ million, and Web… Read

Africa As The New Canada For Filmmaking

Tonight on Leno, Leo DiCaprio talked a lot about the Blood Diamond shoot — how he fell in love with Africa and spent some of the most unforgettable moments of his life there. “From the slums of Kenya, to the once-genocidal streets of Rwanda, to the villages of Mozambique, Hollywood has embraced Africa — as a place to shoot films and as a source of fresh dramatic themes.” So says The Washington Post in a new article datelined from the Namib Desert, Namibia. Now this is… Read

Vivendi Still GE/NBC Uni's Silent Partner

So the latest Hollywood perk seems to be a silent partner. A real silent partner. Vivendi has decided to keep its 20% stake in NBC Universal and extend its GE deal. Bloomberg reports the Paris-based company emailed a statement today that it won’t exercise an option to sell part of its holding in January. Vivendi’s right to ask for a share sale of NBC Universal was expanded, and now can be exercised in November of every year from 2007 to 2016. GE’s option to buy Vivendi’s… Read