7 items from 2007
There will be something on theater marquees for nearly everyone this weekend as three wide releases and several specialty films arrive at the boxoffice for the last frame in September. The new arrivals carry MPAA ratings ranging from PG to NC-17, which all but ensures a broad demographic appeal.
Universal's The Kingdom is the highest-profile release of the group and is opening with the second-widest theater count of the newcomers, with 2,792 locations on tap. The action thriller, starring Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner and Chris Cooper, is a timely feature about a team of U.S. counterterrorism investigators who work with a local police officer, played by Ashraf Barhom, in Saudi Arabia to find the perpetrators behind an attack on Americans in Riyadh.
Peter Berg directed the R-rated Kingdom, which was produced by Michael Mann and Scott Stuber. Berg is presently working on the Will Smith starrer Hancock for Columbia Pictures and helmed Universal's Friday Night Lights and The Rundown.
Reviews have been mixed on Kingdom, but its timeliness, star power and astute marketing campaign should help the film open in the high-teens to low-$20 million area, according to industry observers. The 18-49 demographic is the target audience, and Kingdom is expected to skew more male than female.
Despite a North American boxoffice that continues to post upbeat results, the weekend's new wide releases didn't leave their respective distributors celebrating.
New Line Cinema's action comedy Rush Hour 3 handily took the top slot with an estimated $50.2 million opening, but while that number was impressive, it fell short of the $67.4 million that Rush Hour 2 commanded when it debuted in 2001. Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures' fantasy Stardust was earthbound with an estimated $9 million bow, and Sony Pictures' Daddy Day Camp, a sequel of sorts to the 2003 hit Daddy Day Care, opened to an estimated $3.6 million.
The overall boxoffice remained strong compared with the same frame a year ago, when Sony Pictures' Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby led the list for the second weekend in a row with a take of $22.1 million. According to Nielsen EDI, the top 10 films for the weekend grossed an estimated $135.7 million, up 31% from last year.
As Hollywood's summer of sequels grinds to a close, the latest installment in the Rush Hour franchise did face some hurdles: It's been six years since the last film in the series, and fast-talking star Chris Tucker hasn't been seen on the big screen since then. With Brett Ratner again directing, the pricey, $140 million sequel reunites Tucker with Jackie Chan as the two mismatched detectives who this time find new culture clashes in Paris.
Opening in 3,778 theaters, the PG-13 film collected its $50.2 million by achieving a per-theater average of $13,297. According to New Line, the opening-weekend audience was evenly divided between males and females and those under and over 25. The studio said that 85% of the audience polled rated the movie good or excellent, while 75% said they would definitely recommend it. »
There's no statute of limitations on sequels, but New Line Cinema's Rush Hour 3 will be pushing the envelope this week as it launches in North America six years after Rush Hour 2. Even so, the buddy action flick starring Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan is in line to pick up the baton from Universal Pictures' The Bourne Ultimatum, which dominated the previous weekend and should hold down the No. 2 spot this frame with a $30 million-plus haul.
Still, it should make for another upbeat weekend for Hollywood compared with the same frame a year ago, when Sony's comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby led the list for the second straight weekend with a gross of $22.1 million.
Despite the wait between Rush Hour films, the key creative components of the fast-talking action franchise have reunited: Brett Ratner is again at the helm, and screenwriter Jeff Nathanson, who penned the second installment, also is on board as Tucker and Chan this time around take their mismatched buddy routine to the streets of Paris. »
Aiming squarely for the potty and missing virtually every time, Daddy Day Camp, the Eddie Murphy-less sequel to 2003's Daddy Day Care, makes for an awfully long 85 minutes -- even by the diminished demands of its juvenile target audience.
Any scrap of charm or honest-to-goodness humor already possessed in limited quantities by the original has been relegated to the outhouse in this sorry follow-up.
Obviously, Sony is banking on its intended demographic not being overwhelmed by Buena Vista's Underdog, given "Daddy's" arrival less than a week later. But minus Murphy, it's got nowhere to go but down.
It turns out Murphy isn't the only one who's out of the picture -- so is the rest of the original cast, including Jeff Garlin, who played his best buddy-turned-business partner.
So this time around, the roles of Charlie and Phil are played by once-upon-a-time Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. and Garlin look-alike Paul Rae, still operating their thriving Daddy Day Care business.
But when they discover that their old childhood day camp has been run into the ground, they agree to take it over, much to the chagrin of their kids, who would prefer to go to the tonier Camp Canola, which is now operated by Charlie's old nemesis and tormentor, Lance Warner (Lochlyn Munro).
With mere days away from being foreclosed upon, the guys have to work fast, even if it's at the expense of Charlie's relationships with his eager-to-please son (Spencir Bridges) and disapproving military dad (Richard Gant).
Their combined efforts produce enough puking, farting and shots to the crotch to fill the next Jackass movie, while the entire childhood rival plot line could have been lifted wholesale from Cheaper by the Dozen 2.
As far as the performances go, let's just say if Savage's cast was encouraged to play it any broader, they would have needed CinemaScope.
DADDY DAY CAMP
A TriStar Pictures and Revolution Studios presentation
Director: Fred Savage
Story by: Geoff Rodkey, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow
Producers: William Sherak, Jason Shuman
Director of photography: Geno Salvatori
Production designer: Eric Weiler
Music: Jim Dooley
Costume designer: Carolyn Leone-Smith
Editor: Michel Aller
Charlie Hinton: Cuba Gooding Jr.
Lance Warner: Lochlyn Munro
Buck: Richard Gant
Kim Hinton: Tamala Jones
Phil Ryerson: Paul Rae
Uncle Morty: Brian Doyle-Murray
Dale: Joshua McLerran: Ben Hinton: Spencir Bridges
Running time -- 85 minutes
MPAA rating: PG
Ross, recently cast in Tony Kaye's drama Black Water Transit, will play Little Boy, the nephew of border-patrol agent and one-time Los Angeles gang member Michael Dixon (Gooding). The two shared a strong bond before Dixon disappeared from Los Angeles, leaving Little Boy to join the gang and seek out a psychotic member as his surrogate father. When a chance encounter leads the gang to Dixon, the agent is forced to take extreme measures to protect his family.
Ross, the son of Diana Ross, recently appeared in Lionsgate's Pride, HBO Films' Life Support, Warner Bros. Pictures' ATL and the upcoming Life Is Hot in Cracktown. Gooding's credits include Sony Pictures' Jerry Maguire, for which he won the best supporting actor Oscar; DreamWorks/Paramount Pictures' Norbit; the upcoming Sony Pictures' Daddy Day Camp; Universal Pictures' American Gangster; and Harold for City Lights Pictures and M.E.G.A Films. »
PARIS -- The divorce papers were finalized Sunday as the end officially arrived for the three-year joint distribution venture Gaumont Columbia TriStar France.
As the U.S. studio and French major go their separate ways, the Columbia TriStar label is taking on its mother studio's name, Sony Pictures France. Sony's 32-strong team will continue to be run by Eric Brune, with Alexandre Bihn heading up the marketing division and Etienne Reynard head of sales.
From now through the end of the year, Sony will release six films in French theaters including Hostel: Part II on July 11, Daddy Day Camp on Aug. 15 and Surf's Up on Oct. 24, for a total of 15 films in 2007. The studio plans to increase its theatrical output in the territory to 18-22 films next year.
After a successful 2006 boxoffice that featured You Are So Handsome, OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies and The Valet, Gaumont is hoping for a strong second half of 2007 with seven titles including Michel Boujenah's 3 Friends on Aug. 22; Christine Carriere's Darling on Nov. 7, starring Cesar-winner Guillaume Canet; and Djamel Bensalah's Big City, starring only children, Dec. 12.
"We'll miss our colleagues at Columbia, that's for sure." »
In her new post, Meier will be responsible for bringing in new material as well as developing Red Wagon's current creative slate, including projects like The Historian.
Before joining Red Wagon, Meier served as director of development at Blue Star Pictures, where she co-produced Daddy Day Camp with Cuba Gooding Jr. and associate produced the Nicolas Cage starrer Bangkok Dangerous.
Meier's began her career at Motion Picture Corporation of America before joining MGM and Catch 23 Entertainment. »
7 items from 2007
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