It's getting to be that time again. An annual swell of "Twilight" madness as the latest installment in the blockbuster franchise nears. This past week found almost daily breaks with the first clip of "Eclipse" debuting online, tickets going on sale six weeks early (and sellouts a plenty) and a whole lot of hype on Oprah (Ellen gets a visit from Robert Pattinson on Wednesday). Oh, and there was that whole little contractual squabble thing about "Breaking Dawn." Oh, you hadn't heard?
It's no secret the reason Summit hasn't officially confirmed that "Breaking Dawn" will be two films is because of contractual negotiations with the cast. While the franchise's lead trio of Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner will get rewarded for their legion of fans, it's the supporting players that are becoming a problem. Two of those thespians, Ashley Greene and Kellan Lutz, are looking for a lot more money than the studio wants to pay them.
Only under contract for the first three films, word is both actors are asking for about $2 million for each film and are justifying their demands by the increasing involvement of their characters in Meyer's "Dawn" novel (not that the movie script can't be changed). Unfortunately, the more the duo play hardball, the more likely the studio ditches them for an upgrade. They did it - mistakenly mind you - with Rachelle LeFevre after an unfortunate misunderstanding before "Eclipse" and they clearly have no qualms about doing so again.
Again, "Twilight"-world. The fun and drama never ends. As for the rest of this week's power rankings...
Posted: Tuesday, May 18, 2010
1. "The Twilight Saga" (last week No. 5)
You can't keep a good vampire out of the top spot.
2. "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" (not ranked)
Not surprisingly, Disney opts to shoot in 3-D. Cha-Ching.
3. "The Avengers" (not ranked)
Samuel L. Jackson says he'll play Nick Fury in "The Avengers" before moving on to a solo S.H.I.E.L.D. movie. Sam doesn't tend to B.S. Plus, rumors fly online and on twitter that Nathan Fillion will portray Henry Pym. Whedon making his first casting move?
4. "Inception" (last week No. 2)
Oh, TV Spots. Exciting. (Really)
5. "Avatar" (not ranked)
That was quick. James Cameron tells a conference audience in Korea a release date for "Avatar 2" will be announced over the next few months.
6. Lionsgate (last week no. 10)
Settlement talks with Carl Ichan finally begin. Whew. For a minute there, we thought this was gonna take longer to resolve than health care reform.
7. "Iron Man 2" (last week No. 3)
The highly anticipated sequel has done well, but still left the door open for "Toy Story 3" to win the summer box office derby. Is there anything else left on the release schedule that could possibly out gross either of them? Wait. Don' answer that...
8. "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea"
David Fincher might have played dirty pool to get his version of this classic tale made. Stay classy Finch.
9. Cannes Film Festival
Woody Allen's flick got positive reviews, "Wall Street: Money Never Sleep" got mixed notices and Mike Leigh made one of the few movies anyone likes but you'll never see it. Does anyone feel like they've missed anything by not being there? Not really.
10. "Sex and the City 2"
Fans of the series and first movie are very, very, very excited and not afraid to share their enthusiasm with anyone they meet.
11. "The Tiger" (not ranked)
Brad Pitt and Darren Aronofsky tease that they might finally work together on this new thriller. Do we believe them?
12. The Wachowski's (not ranked)
The publicity shy duo's last film was the box office bomb "Speed Racer." Now, they are hoping to make a gay drama about a U.S. Soldier and the Iraqi citizen he falls in love with. Career suicide or career revival? You decide.
13. "Jonah Hex" (not ranked)
Character posters, trailers, stills - my lord. This movie might actually be coming out next month.
14. "Hanna" (not ranked)
Haven't heard of this thriller where Saorise Ronan plays a kick-ass teen who has to take down numerous foes to save her father? (Boy, that sounds familiar...) Based on the buzz from just 90 seconds of footage shown to buyers at this years Cannes Film Market you soon will.
15. "Shrek Forever After"
Show the billion dollar franchise some respect. It is the "final chapter" after all. (Or so they keep promising.)
Dropping like a rock...
* "Robin Hood" (last week No. 9)
Russell Crowe shouldn't walk out of interviews with the BBC. International audiences are all he's got left.
* "Letters to Juliet" (not ranked)
This felt like a movie that should have worked at the box office. Puzzling.
Do you even want to know that "Diary of a Wimpy Kid has made $15 million more than "Kick-Ass"? No, I didn't think so.
For the latest entertainment commentary and breaking news follow Gregory Ellwood on Twitter @HitFixGregory .