Thursday, July 23, 2009

'Eternal Sunshine' director to do 'Green Hornet'

HONG KONG - "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" director Michel Gondry has replaced Hong Kong comedian Stephen Chow as director of the Columbia Pictures adaptation of the TV series "The Green Hornet," a studio spokesman said Thursday.

Nicolas Cage and Cameron Diaz are also in talks to star in the movie, Columbia Pictures spokesman Steve Elzer said.

Chow had originally signed on to direct the film and play Kato — the sidekick character portrayed by Bruce Lee in the 1960s series — but quit both duties over the past year, saying he wanted to focus on developing a superhero movie with Jack Black.

French filmmaker Gondry has signed on to replace Chow as director, Elzer confirmed in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Cage is in talks to play a gangster villain and Diaz a reporter, the Hollywood trade publication Variety reported on Monday.
The original "Green Horne
t" series, which debuted on radio in 1936, is about a newspaper publisher who moonlights as a masked crime-fighter along with his martial arts-expert sidekick. In 1966, it was turned into an ABC television series starring Van Williams as the title character. It ran for one season.

Canadian actor Seth Rogen will play the Green Hornet in the Columbia Pictures version.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"Harry Potter" poised to fetch princely sum

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Talk about performance anxiety.

If ever there was a film release almost certain to turn a tidy profit, it would be any Harry Potter movie, and Warner Bros. executives can rest assured that Wednesday's debut of the franchise's sixth installment will pile the grosses high through Sunday. But to understand just how fervently studio insiders will be hoping for a muscular box-office bow by "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," consider that this time last year Warners launched a little film called "The Dark Knight" to rather good effect.

No pressure there.

"The reviews are great," Warners domestic distribution president Dan Fellman said with a what-me-worry nonchalance. "I think it's the best Harry Potter picture so far. Certainly, as the cast matures, they keep getting better."

"Potter" movies have carried PG or PG-13 ratings, with "Prince" toting the less-restrictive former designation. As the cast and their book-based characters age, Warners hopes to attract new, younger patrons while continuing to draw older fans of the series.

"Half-Blood Prince" is set for 4,275 U.S. and Canadian locations Wednesday and 50 more beginning Friday, and its screen count runs north of 8,000. A consensus estimate for its first five days in domestic release has it pulling in $140 million or more, with about $100 million of that sum likely to be rung up during the Friday-Sunday span.

Previous Potter pics have posted cumulative domestic grosses ranging upward from the $249.5 million fetched by 2004's "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," with 2001 franchise launcher "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" enjoying the series' best domestic take to date: $317.6 million.

The most recent release, 2007's "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," registered $292 million domestically and another $646.2 million internationally. "Phoenix" fetched $44 million on its first day and $139.7 million during its first five days. There is broad consensus that "Prince" can best those numbers.

It already has surpassed the franchise-best tally of $12 million in midnight box office posted by "Phoenix." By late afternoon Tuesday, exhibition sources made it clear that advance sales of "Prince" tickets for 12:01 a.m. Wednesday performances were outpacing the witching-hour numbers for its immediate predecessor.

In a sign of just how hot tickets sales have been for "Prince," industryites are whispering that the "Potter" pic has an outside shot at besting the record $18 million midnight box office registered by "The Dark Knight" last July 18. All signs are certainly auspicious, with Fandango and MovieTickets reporting that thousands of performances have already sold out.

"I think they're beatable," Fellman said of the "Phoenix" grosses. "Ticket prices have gone up, and the last time we had the first 'Transformers' opening just five days before us."

That picture's sequel, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," enters its fourth frame this weekend. No other film opens wide domestically this session, and the most prominent second-weekend holdover -- Universal's R-rated comedy "Bruno" -- couldn't have a more distinct target audience from that of "Prince."

Still, there will be no getting away from those batty comparisons: "Dark Knight" fetched $158 million during its first weekend and $533 million overall domestically. The chances of "Prince" matching that are slim to none

Friday, July 10, 2009

"Harry Potter" stars felt pressure to "ace" kiss (Reuters)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Harry Potter" stars Emma Watson and Rupert Grint felt the pressure of millions of fans of the boy wizard series when they recently filmed a highly anticipated kiss between their characters Hermione and Ron. The kiss happens in the seventh and final book in author J.K. Rowling's series and Watson told a news conference on Thursday -- promoting the sixth film "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" -- that the scene was filmed two weeks ago.

"Rupert and I were quite nervous that it might look ingenuous as we were so desperate to get it over with," Watson, 19, said. "Rupert and I felt the pressure of this kiss, there's so much interest."

"This is 10 years worth of tension and hormones and chemistry and everything in one moment. We had to ace it," said Watson. "Kissing is awkward, kissing is always awkward."

The final book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," is being split into two films and it remains unknown which of the final two movies contains the kiss.

"It's not something we were really looking forward to," said 20-year-old Grint. "It was quite a strange thing to have to think about doing."

But it doesn't seem strange for fans because a lot appear to be excited about it. In a poll conducted by online ticket seller , 59 percent of fans said the on-screen kiss they most want to see is between Hermione and Ron.

Only 40 percent said they can't wait to see the peck in "Half-Blood Prince" between Potter, played by Daniel Radcliffe, and Ginny Weasley, Ron's sister in the film who is played by Bonnie Wright.

"I saw the film again a couple of nights ago at the premiere and ... my God, my lips are like the lips of a horse, kind of distending independently away from my face and trying to encompass the lower half of hers," Radcliffe, 19, said.

"So I apologize for that," he said.

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" hits theaters on July 15, while part one of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is due out in late 2010 and part two is planned for release in summer 2011.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


R,1hr 46min
Genres: Action,Drama

Released: June 8, 2009

Director:Tony Scott

Distributor:Sony/Columbia Pictures

Starring:Denzel Washington, John Travolta, James Gandolfini


A New York City subway dispatcher draws on his extensive knowledge of the subway system in order to outsmart a dangerous criminal mastermind who's hijacked a subway train in this remake of the 1974 thriller inspired by John Godey's best-selling book. Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) was drifting through his daily routine when he received word that a heavily armed gang of four has hijacked a subway train and are holding all of the passengers hostage. Led by cunning master thief Ryder (John Travolta), the gunmen will begin executing everyone aboard should the authorities fail in delivering $10 million in the space of just one hour. With the tension in the tunnels rising, Walter races to save the hostages before the shootings start. But through it all, there's one part of Ryder's plan that Walter can't quite comprehend: even if the thieves do succeed in getting their money, how could they possibly get out of the tunnels undetected? ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide