At age 60, Liam Neeson has become the most impressive action star in Hollywood. The grizzled actor’s revenge sequel Taken 2 topped the box office in a major way on Friday, earning an estimated $18.6 million; that puts the film on pace for a weekend in the $45-50 million range — far above the original Taken‘s $24.7 million bow. Fox execs should be celebrating that audiences flocked to Taken 2 despite its terrible reviews. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Tim Burton (11-20 of 30)
Liam Neeson has a very particular set of skills as a movie star, and one of them is selling tickets at the box office.
The actor’s revenge sequel Taken 2 is expected to easily top the chart over the next three days — and the thriller is hardly the only player this weekend. Tim Burton’s animated effort Frankenweenie will take on the monster hit Hotel Transylvania, which opened in first place last weekend, and the a cappella comedy Pitch Perfect will expand to a whopping 2,770 theaters.
All in all, it’s a diverse weekend that gives moviegoers viable options across an array of genres, and it should yield solid grosses. Here’s how the whole frame might play out:
1. Taken 2 – $44 million
Fox could never have known the instant cult status that the original Taken would garner when it was released in 2009. The revenge thriller revived Liam Neeson’s career, galvanizing him as a sort of grizzly, wizened Chuck Norris. The $20 million film opened to a strong $24.7 million, but thanks to amazing word of mouth and sheer curiosity at the relentless over-the-top badassery, the film chugged all the way to $145 million.
Taken 2 will start off much faster, though with reviews as bad as the ones it has been earning, it may not have the same legs as its predecessor. Still, between Neeson’s gigantic appeal (he helped The Grey earn $51.6 million earlier this year, and that film was sold on nothing but his drawing power) and Taken‘s fondly regarded reputation,Taken 2 is set to muscle its way to number one. A rep at Fox says the studio shelled out $42 million for the sequel and will release it in 3,661 theaters. Fox should earn all of that money back this weekend, as Taken 2 seems headed for a $44 million bow.
2. Hotel Transylvania – $24 million
Last weekend’s chart-topper may drop by about 40 to 45 percent (somewhat high for a family film) due to the direct competition from Frankenweenie. Still, a $24 million weekend would give Hotel a robust $74 million total after ten days.
3. Frankenweenie – $17 million
As evidenced by the Dracula-centered Hotel Transylvania, theaters are playing host to an inordinate number of creepy kiddie flicks of late. ParaNorman entered theaters in August, followed by Hotel last week, and now Frankenweenie, about a young boy’s attempt to resurrect his dearly departed pooch, is entering the fray.
Disney’s $39 million Tim Burton-directed film doesn’t have the same kind of broad appeal as Hotel Transylvania, and its stop-motion animation style turns off many moviegoers (see: The Pirates! Band of Misfits). Yet Frankenweenie‘s proximity to Halloween lifts its prospects, as does Burton’s name appeal. With strong reviews but a creepier style, it seems likely that Frankenweenie will play to more adults than a typical family film, much in the same way that Coraline (which opened to $16.8 million) did in 2009. Disney is releasing the film into a big 3,005 theaters, but it may have to settle for a $17 million weekend.
4. Pitch Perfect – $16.5 million
Universal’s $17 million a cappella comedy broke out last weekend, earning $5.1 million from just 335 theaters. Now, it’s strutting its way into 2,770 locations. Thanks to a full week of buzz — including a straight “A” CinemaScore grade — Pitch Perfect should have another terrific frame, especially with its core demographic of females under 25, who may not be all that interested in seeing Taken 2. Give Pitch Perfect about $16.5 million for the Friday-to-Sunday period.
5. Looper – $13 million
Liam Neeson will take away some of the audience for Looper, but strong reviews and positive word-of-mouth will keep the thriller a contender. A decline just under 40 percent would give the Bruce Willis/Joseph Gordon-Levitt vehicle about $13 million for the weekend and $41 million total.
Check back all weekend for full box office coverage, and follow me on Twitter for up-to-the-minute box office updates.
On Thursday night in Austin, Tex., Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League welcomed a most enthusiastic audience — “one big pile of nerds,” as the always-exuberant tuxedoed host put it — to the eighth annual Fantastic Fest. The largest genre festival in the United States is geek heaven for horror, sci-fi, and to-the-guts weird film lovers. “The nerds have conquered the universe,” declared League. “This is our world now!”
Fantastic Fest’s opening-night film was the world premiere of Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, the wistful story of Victor, a grieving boy who figures out a way to bring his beloved dog back to life. The stop-motion animation 3-D film was simulcast in the Alamo Drafthouse Lamar’s five theaters, with one of them dedicated exclusively to dressed-to-the-nines locals and their similarly attired dogs. Alamo Drafthouse is famous for its delightfully rigid stance against talking, texting, and cellphone use during movies. Last night the theater premiered its first ever “Don’t Bark” PSA. Nerdy and adorable! READ FULL STORY
Oscar-winning film producer Richard D. Zanuck — who, over a 53-year career, marshaled everything from mass-market popcorn movies like Jaws and Planet of the Apes, to prestige pictures like Driving Miss Daisy and Road to Perdition — died Friday, of a heart attack. He was 77.
Zanuck was born into Hollywood royalty; his father Darryl F. Zanuck ran 20th Century Fox, and the younger Zanuck was named president of production at the studio when he was 28. In 1971, he formed the Zanuck/Brown Co. with David Brown (who passed away in 2010), where he produced Steven Spielberg’s first two films, The Sugarland Express and Jaws, as well as The Verdict and Cocoon. READ FULL STORY
Tim Burton’s recent cinematic output is heavy on remakes. Dark Shadows revisited a beloved soap opera, Alice in Wonderland remixed the surreal Disney cartoon, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tried to out-Wonka Gene Wilder, and Planet of the Apes did indeed feature apes on a planet, just like the Charlton Heston sci-fi classic. It seems inevitable, then, that Tim Burton would finally get around to remaking Tim Burton. Hence: Frankenweenie, the tale of a boy who decides to bring his dead dog back to life, based on a short film Burton made back in the ’80s. Frankenweenie marks Burton’s return to stop-motion, and the new trailer also has a definitive madcap-horror Gremlins vibe. Check it out: READ FULL STORY
That central story obviously is a spin on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (by way of the classic Universal movies) and Burton promises various other famous monsters of filmland will turn up in the story as assorted ghoulish pets. The poster for the 3-D, black-and-white film, which hits theaters Oct. 5, reveals just a few.
Is that a Creature From the Black Lagoon version of a sea monkey in the lower left corner?
For Tim Burton, this year is 2005 all over again. In 2005, the director first released the big-budget, live-action Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the summer, followed by the stop-motion animated Corpse Bride in the fall. The latter earned Burton his first and only Oscar nomination (for animated feature film). Cut to 2012. Burton’s big-budget, live-action horror comedy Dark Shadows, his eighth collaboration with star Johnny Depp, hits theaters this weekend. But waiting in the wings is Frankenweenie, a 3-D stop-motion animated monster movie that’s very dear to Burton’s heart.
Frankenweenie is a remake of the 1984 black-and-white, live-action short of the same name, which Burton directed for Disney at the tender age of 25. At the time, Disney shelved the PG-rated short, about a suburban boy who brings his dead pooch back to life, deeming it too scary. But when Burton became a big-name director, the studio gave the short a home-video release in 1992, and it can now be found on the DVD and Blu-ray editions of The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Burton originally envisioned Frankenweenie as a stop-motion animated movie, but opted for live-action due to budgetary concerns. “I’m kind of grateful that it was live-action, because if it had been animation, I probably wouldn’t have gotten into live-action,” said Burton. “It was a very lucky break in a way.” That’s because after actor Paul Reubens saw Frankenweenie, he hired Burton to direct his 1985 film Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, which led to Beetlejuice, which led to Batman, and so on.
Burton’s feature-length version of Frankenweenie isn’t due for another five months (Disney will release it on Oct. 5), but EW recently sat down with the filmmaker and picked his brain — hiding beneath all those famously unruly curls of hair — about the project. READ FULL STORY
UPDATED: Johnny Depp comments below …
Just a few weeks before his most famous character was to be reborn, the original Barnabas Collins from Dark Shadows has died.
Jonathan Frid, the Canadian actor who brought the suave bloodsucker to life on the 1966-71 gothic soap opera, passed away from natural causes on April 13 in his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, according to MPI Home Video, which releases the Dark Shadows DVDs.
Dark Shadows inspired a generation of boys — Tim Burton and Johnny Depp among them — to become obsessed with a show originally aimed at their mothers. On May 11, Burton and Depp will debut their passion project: a big-screen version of the tale, with Depp taking on the role Frid originated. READ FULL STORY
The next three months are going to be a whirlwind for writer Seth Grahame-Smith. On April 10, the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies author’s next foray into genre-tweaked revisionist fiction, Unholy Night — about the Three Kings of the Nativity — arrives in bookstores. On May 11, his big screen version of the beloved horror soap opera Dark Shadows, directed by Tim Burton, hits theaters. And on June 22, Grahame-Smith’s adaptation of his hit novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, with Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov, will open.
“It’s going to be a very interesting, crazy spring and summer,” he tells EW with a laugh, minutes before stepping onto the stage at WonderCon in Anaheim, Calif. for the big panel on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Grahame-Smith is especially aware of what’s in store for him at the multiplex, with two dark, gothic debuting within six weeks of each other. “The good news is that they’re extremely different,” he says. “One is much more of an entertainment, much more overtly funny. And one is a kick-ass period action movie.”
The bad news? Reaction to the Dark Shadows trailer has been, in Grahame-Smith’s words, “mixed,” with many fans of the TV show crying foul over the trailer’s jokey, winky tone. It’s a reaction that Grahame-Smith says he understands, although it took him a bit by surprise. Check out our interview about it below: READ FULL STORY
Then Johnny Depp and Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows turns on the laugh track.
This movie, based on the 1966-1971 supernatural soap opera, turns out to take its source material not so seriously. When the buried undead bloodsucker Barnabas Collins is freed from his tomb in the year 1972, he finds the time period … a little funky.
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