5 items from 2007
The deal, made before the WGA strike, sees Wasserman and Balsam acquiring two projects from Castro: the drama Eileen's Ice and the coming-of-age road drama Cupcake, which will mark the writer's directorial debut.
"Ice" centers on an unorthodox nun who is ordered to take in a troubled teen under house arrest and learns that the two unlikely companions have more in common than she thinks.
Cupcake follows a teen's quest to find the father he never knew with the help of a prostitute named Cupcake.
On what was predicted to be an intensely competitive domestic boxoffice weekend, writer-director Perry's Why Did I Get Married? from Lionsgate grossed an estimated $21.5 million to open at No. 1. But Clooney starrer and putative frame favorite Michael Clayton from Warner Bros. bowed with just $11 million to snag a third-place tie with Sony opener We Own the Night, starring Mark Wahlberg and Joaquin Phoenix.
The leggy Game performance -- which followed two weekend wins for the Andy Fickman-helmed pic -- moved its cume to $59.4 million. Friday's grosses pushed Disney's annual domestic haul past the $1 billion mark for the 11th time.
Universal's historical sequel Elizabeth: The Golden Age, with Cate Blanchett reprising her title role, bowed in sixth place with $6.2 million. And Yari Film Group's baseball drama The Final Season debuted with 1,011 playdates but a gross of $665,000.
Among holdover pics, The Heartbreak Kid, the Farrelly brothers comedy from DreamWorks/Paramount, dropped 47% from its opening weekend to gross an estimated $7.4 million in fifth place, with a 10-day cume of $26 million. Fox's youth fantasy The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising fell 43% in its sophomore session to $2.2 million in 10th place, pushing its cume to $7.1 million.
Universal's Jamie Foxx starrer The Kingdom dropped 53% over its third frame to gross $4.6 million in seventh place and move its cume to $40 million. And Lionsgate's Russell Crowe-toplined 3:10 to Yuma, while finishing outside the top 10 in its sixth frame, lassoed another $1.5 million to leg its cume up to $51.4 million.
Industrywide, an estimated $99 million was rung up this weekend, or 7% more than the same frame last year, according to data tracker Nielsen EDI.
With so many early award-consideration films in the art film swim this year, it's worth noting what may be the season's first belly-flop. »
The filmmakers' love for baseball shows in every frame of The Final Season. What doesn't come through is a love for good drama. Poor writing, an indifferent production and sincere but often wooden acting make Season one big strikeout. The film may score fans in home entertainment, but its theatrical outlook is poor despite Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings) in the dual role of the film's hero and exec producer.
This is yet another "based on a true story" sports picture. A high school baseball team from Norway, Iowa, a town of 586 people, won 19 State Championships in 22 years. Then in 1991 -- destined to be its final season as Norway was to merge with a neighboring school district because of state cutbacks -- a new coach named Kent Stock took over and drove his players to win a final championship, the school's 20th.
Which leaves writers Art D'Alessandro and James Grayford with a great ending but no story. So they invent a false conflict between the coach and his kids, a player from Chicago with an attitude, a perennial naysayer, a political battle between the townsfolk and school board, a couple of lame romances and even a bus driver with a heart problem to fill in the gaps between the games. The film thereby misses its real story -- the dying of small-town American life and the role of school sports in such communities.
Astin stars as Kent Stock, as assistant coach the year before, who took over from legendary head coach Jim Van Scoyoc (Powers Booth). Van Scoyoc actually left not because of an evil school board's refusal to renew his contract, but to take a dream job as pitching coach in the Detroit Tigers' farm system. The movie then portrays Stock as a former girl's volleyball coach, who is therefore greeted on his first day of practice by a dugout filled with volleyballs.
Despite the loss of several players, Stock pushes his players to win enough games to make the playoffs. Along the way, he finds time for a very PG-ish romance with Rachel Leigh Cook, playing a state official promoting the school merger. The central focus among the players rests with Michael Angarano, a surly catcher who sneaks smokes and throws off attitude, the result of the death of his mother and inattention of his dad (Tom Arnold in little more than a cameo).
The dialogue throughout is cheesy and often without subtext. Baseball action, staged by director David Mickey Evans, is routine and lacking in excitement. The only actor who shows much life is Angarano, though his rebel-without-a-cause routine is a tad old.
Even for those who know nothing about Norway and its baseball team, there is something all too predictable, preordained even, about this movie's portrait of its final season.
THE FINAL SEASON
Yari Film Group Releasing
Final Partners presents a Carl Borack/TRMC production in association with Fobia Films
Director: David Mickey Evans
Screenwriters: Art D'Alessandro, James Grayford
Executive producers: Sean Astin, Carl Borack
Director of photography: Daniel Stoloff
Production designer: Chester Kaczenski
Music: Nathan Wang
Costume designer: Lynn Brannelly-Newman
Editor: Harry Keramidas
Kent Stock: Sean Astin
Jim Van Scoyoc: Powers Boothe
Polly Hudson: Rachel Leigh Cook
Mitch: Michael Angarano
Jared: James Gammon
Roger Dempsey: Larry Miller
Burt Akers: Tom Arnold
Sheryl Van Scoyoc: Lucinda Jenney
Running time -- 117 minutes
MPAA rating: PG
12-year-old Nancy Drew star Josh Flitter is set to revive the Ace Ventura: Pet Detective franchise after taking over the role that helped turn Jim Carrey into a household name. Flitter has signed to star in the third Ace Ventura movie, according to movie news website MovieHole.net. The young actor will play the son of the original ace, who takes over the family business. Director David Mickey Evans admits he let his own kids pick the project for him - after presenting them with a handful of scripts he was offered after making family baseball movies The Sandlot and The Final Season. He told the website, "My kids run my career. After The Final Season got picked up for theatrical release, I had a bunch of offers and scripts on my desk. I asked my nine, 11, and 15 year olds what they wanted me to do. They said, 'Dad, you're doing Ace Ventura 3!' I don't know if the fact that the film shoots in Orlando and that's where Disney World is, had anything to with their marching orders, but I suspect it did." »
Angarano will play a troubled 17-year-old wannabe kung fu warrior who, after a humiliating defeat at the hands of a street gang, is sent back in time to ancient China on an impossible mission to set free the imprisoned Monkey King Li) and return to him his all-powerful staff. John Fusco wrote the script.
The project is due to start filming in early May in China.
Angarano, repped by ICM and Coast to Coast, recently starred in Columbia Pictures' Lords of Dogtown and the Walt Disney Co.'s Sky High. His upcoming projects include Snow Angels with Kate Beckinsale, The Final Season with Sean Astin and Rachael Leigh Cook and Man in the Chair with Christopher Plummer. »
5 items from 2007
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