What's the best thing that ever happened to Gordon Gekko in the 21st Century? No, it's not subprime mortgages (although that's a good guess). Gekko's secret weapon in 2010 is none other than Shia LaBeouf.
When Oliver Stone announced plans to revisit his 1987 hit "Wall Street," which awarded star Michael Douglas an Oscar for his portrayal of "Greed is Good" Gekko, there were questions whether a sequel could work over 23 years later. Stone was coming off the financial and critical disappointment of "W." and returning to Gekko after the nation's 2008 financial collapse seemed a bit obvious. Hopes were raised when the film screened at the Cannes Film Festival in May, but reviews were mixed. Fast forward four months later and, surprise, "Wall Street" is looking at a very big opening. And LaBeouf is the main reason why.
Older audiences certainly remember the first "Wall Street," but it's the presence of LaBeouf -- who hasn't had a bomb since starring in "Disturbia" in 2007 -- that is making "Money Never Sleeps" a stunning four quadrant hit. And the picture is entertaining enough that it should play for quite awhile. Could we be returning to "Wall Street" a third time? Is a FOX TV series in the future? Don't be surprised.
As for the rest of the long awaited return to the power list...
Sept. 23, 2010
1. "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" (not ranked)
The real star of this one? A scene stealing Frank Langella.
2. "The Social Network" (same)
World Premiere is later this week at the New York Film Festival. Then the real discussion on David Fincher's fascinating drama begins.
3. "The Town" (not ranked)
Everything old is new again. Ben Affleck is back at the top of the box office with his latest thriller. Jennifer Lopez will soon be a host on "American Idol," the no. 1 show on TV. Is this 2002?
4. Toronto Film Festival (last time no. 12)
Who said independent film is dead? "Rabbit Hole," "Submarine," "Beginners" and "Super" are just some of the great movies that found homes after their debut in the Great White North.
5. "Superman" (not ranked)
Jon Hamm is not up to play the Man of Steel. We repeat: Jon Hamm is not up to play the Man of Steel. Unless, of course, Warner Bros. actually asks him.
6. "Catfish" (not ranked)
Is it real or is it Memorex? Your guess is as good as ours. One thing's clear, those annoying filmmakers are gonna have a hard time finding dates with any women who see this pseudo doc.
7. "Spider-Man" (not ranked)
Andrew Garfield can't hide from questions about his upcoming superhero role during promotion for "Never Let Me Go." Get used to it.
8. "I'm Still Here" (not ranked)
How on earth did Casey Affleck come out of this mess looking worse than Joaquin Phoenix?
9. "Super 8" (not ranked)
J.J. Abrams' latest has begun shooting, but all we know is its got Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning and is shooting in the middle of nowhere. J.J. must be pleased.
10. Sacha Baron Cohen (not ranked)
The "Bruno" star is set to play Freddie Mercury in a biopic of the iconic Queen frontman, basically his first real dramatic role. Count us intrigued.
11. "Boardwalk Empire" (not ranked)
Who knew Martin Scorsese's best movie in 2010 wouldn't be on the big screen? A legion of TV critics it appears.
12. MGM (not ranked)
Dear god. It never ends. LA will have a new subway system before someone buys the Golden Lion.
13. "Paranormal Activity 2" (not ranked)
Paramount's hoping magic will strike twice. We'll soon find out.
14. "Tron Legacy" (not ranked)
New 3-D footage debuting at The 3D Experience in New York this Friday. Don't you wish you could be there to see it?
15. "Sherlock Holmes 2"
No Rachel McAdams this time around, but Noomi Rapace of the first "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" will make her English-language debut as Holmes' new love interest.
Dropping like a rock...
*"Resident Evil: Afterlife"
Biggest opening for the video game franchise ever and then a crash of massive proportions. Gotta love inflated 3-D ticket prices.
Movie Power Rankings usually appear every Tuesday on HitFix. Share your thoughts on this week's list below.