“Puss in Boots” steals second box office crown

Puss in Boots“Puss in Boots” snatched the domestic box office title from a band of working-class thieves in the new Eddie Murphy action-comedy “Tower Heist,” studio estimates released on Sunday showed.

“Puss in Boots,” an animated spinoff from the blockbuster “Shrek” movies, nabbed an estimated $48 million in global ticket sales during its second weekend in theaters.

That included an unexpectedly strong $33 million from U.S. and Canadian theaters, putting the 3D family film in first place domestically for the second week in a row.

This week’s win came as a surprise as industry watchers had forecast “Tower Heist” would steal the show. Domestic sales for “Puss” dropped just 3 percent from last week, far less than the typical decline of at least 40 percent after a debut weekend.

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The People vs. George Lucas (2010) Review

In the world of fandom, Star Wars fans are arguably among the most dedicated of aficionados. (Although, I’m sure that Star Trek fans can make a passionate case against that statement.) At the heart of every Star Wars fan’s affection is an almost equally passionate opinion either for or against George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars universe. Because of Lucas’ inability to stop making changes to the original three Star Wars movies (1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back, and 1983’s Return of the Jedi), some fans have gone so far as to accuse him of “raping their childhood.”

The People vs. George Lucas, a documentary by Alexandre O. Philippe, gives these fans a platform to air their grievances about not only the changes to the original versions of the films but also the three prequels (1999’s The Phantom Menace, 2002’s Attack of the Clones, and 2005’s Revenge of the Sith) that many feel are extremely disappointing and an insult to their intelligence.

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Ridley Scott to write and produce new “Blade Runner” film

For years now rumors of a new “Blade Runner” film have bounced around as various producers took hold of the license. In May, Alcon Entertainment, makers of “The Blind Side” among other projects, acquired rights to make either a prequel or sequel, and signed a deal with Warner Bros. to distribute whatever resulted. Well, now we know what that is.

Deadline is reporting that Ridley Scott, director of the iconic original “Blade Runner,” has signed a deal to direct a produce a new addition to the franchise. As of yet, nothing is known beyond that, particularly whether Scott will steer a prequel or sequel, or God forbid, a reboot. The other big question is whether they’ll reach out to Harrison Ford to participate; obviously with “Indiana Jones 4” the actor showed a willingness to return to classic roles.

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‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ dominates

Now here’s some monkey business that everyone in Hollywood will take seriously! ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ conquered the box office with a tremendous $54 million in its debut weekend. The $90 million Fox reboot/prequel exceeded all expectations and churned out the fifth-best August opening of all time. And it did it all without any of that pesky 3D!

‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ played primarily to an older male crowd. According to exit polling, 56 percent of the audience was male, while 59 percent were over the age of 25. Notably, 20 percent of the audience was at least 50 years old – perhaps fans of the original 1968 film. For the most part, viewers liked what they saw, as they gave ‘Rise’ a strong “A-” CinemaScore grade.

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‘Smurfs,’ ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ tie at box office

“Cowboys & Aliens” had the heft of two popular genres going for it.

The film, one of the most expensive movies to be released this year, also boasted two A-list actors in veterans Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig. And it had two Hollywood bigwigs behind the camera — Steven Spielberg as executive producer and “Iron Man’s” Jon Favreau as director, who in recent weeks has been exhaustively promoting the movie. And it was received well by the fanboy audience at Comic-Con International in San Diego, where it premiered late last month.

But rather than opening to twice the success, the film had disappointing ticket sales this weekend. In a surprise, “The Smurfs” — a critically panned live-action/computer-animated hybrid movie based on characters that originated more than 50 years ago — grossed far more than pre-release polling had indicated. As a result, on Sunday the studios behind the pictures estimated that each film would collect $36.2 million domestically by weekend’s end. Meanwhile, the weekend’s other new wide release, the adult romantic comedy “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” brought in a decent $19.3 million.

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DVD Haul: Hollywood Video 7/20/10

‘Toy Story 3’ Takes #1, ‘Jonah Hex’ Is Cursed At Box Office

Two Wild West heroes entered the box-office arena this weekend. Only one gunslinger made it out with victory to his name. That badge-wielding cowboy goes by the name of Woody, the pull-string action figure at the center of “Toy Story 3,” Pixar’s latest effort that easily outgunned “Jonah Hex.”

“Toy Story 3” emerged in first place this weekend with a fantastic $109 million haul, the best opening weekend ever for any Pixar film to date. “The Incredibles” held the previous record with $70.5 million. At the start of the weekend, some box-office analysts predicted that the third “Toy Story” installment could break the best opening weekend record for an animated film, though the latest adventure of Andy’s toys settled for the second best record behind “Shrek the Third” ($121.6 million).

In contrast to the “Toy Story” threequel’s massively successful opening performance was “Jonah Hex,” Warner Bros.’ adaptation of the DC Comics Western hero. Even with the involvement of high-profile actors like Josh Brolin and Megan Fox, “Jonah Hex” was unable to overcome harsh critical backlash and bad prerelease buzz, resulting in a dismal $5.1 million eighth-place finish.

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Short Film Pitches New Mortal Kombat

Baraka as a surgeon gone mad? Reptile as a survived harlequin baby with a taste for human flesh? Scorpion as the hero, and Jeri Ryan as Sonya Blade? The answers are all found in a short film that could lead to the next Mortal Kombat film.

According to Jeri Ryan’s Twitter page, the Mortal Kombat short is not a trailer for a movie in the works, but rather one made to sell the director’s vision for Mortal Kombat to Warner Bros. His vision is rated R, and is also kind of awesome. I mean, the ridiculous premise (all the world’s killers compete in a kung-fu tournament) doesn’t lend itself to such a serious treatment, but at least it’s fun and gritty and violent. This looks like a great midnight movie, or the sort of thing you watch on the Syfy channel on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

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‘Shrek Forever After’ Tops Box Office For Third Straight Weekend

Even with four major new releases hitting theaters this weekend, box-office supremacy remained in the clutches of the mean green ogre known as Shrek. “Shrek Forever After,” the franchise’s fourth installment, topped the charts with a $25.3 million haul from Friday through Sunday, marking the film’s third consecutive weekend victory.

Of the weekend’s new releases, “Get Him to the Greek” performed the best. The raunchy comedy stars Jonah Hill as a young talent agent and Russell Brand as Aldous Snow, the troubled rock star first introduced in 2008’s “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” “Greek” managed a respectable $17.4 million haul, nearly halving its reported $40 million production budget.

Although “Greek” wasn’t able to best “Shrek,” it did manage to defeat “Killers,” the spy-themed romantic comedy starring Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl as a married couple drawn into the deadly world of espionage. The film earned a third-place finish worth $16.1 million.

The weekend’s other major new releases, “Marmaduke” and “Splice,” stayed out of the top five altogether with sixth- and eighth-place finishes, respectively. It’s a particularly disappointing finish for the Owen Wilson-starring “Marmaduke,” as the family film was the widest new release of the weekend by a significant margin of over 300 theaters.

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Why Guillermo del Toro left ‘The Hobbit’

Over the last four years, there has scarcely been another project in Hollywood that has been more highly anticipated — and has weathered more back-room corporate wrangling — than “The Hobbit.” So when filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Hellboy”) announced he was dropping out of directing the two films planned for J.R.R. Tolkien’s literary preamble to “The Lord of the Rings,” the news served as both a shock to fans and yet another possible casualty in the sad ongoing saga of MGM Studios.

As Del Toro and “The Hobbit” producer Peter Jackson explained to”LOTR” fansite TheOneRing.net, the two “Hobbit” films are still slated for release in December 2012 and December 2013. And Del Toro is still collaborating on the screenplay with Jackson and his LOTR co-screenwriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. But why did Del Toro walk away from one of the most highly coveted director’s chairs in modern cinema? And who could possibly step in to replace him?

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