Andy Samberg ready to host a 'Twilight' filled affair
Just how far can MTV jam "Twilight" down viewers throats on Sunday night during the MTV Movie Awards? With two days to go, the network is probably still figuring out more even ways to hype the picture that dominated the show's nominations this year.
Up for 7 nods including Best Movie and Best Kiss (slam dunk winner), "Twilight" stars Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner are all set to make appearances during the show. Additionally, the trio will introduce the new teaser trailer for the movie's upcoming sequel, "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," which will be available online shortly after on MySpace and here on HitFix. And hey, the HitFix team are just as big fans of the vampire franchise as you can get, but we're hoping MTV remembers to show the love to some flicks like "The Dark Knight," "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Iron Man" that are also worthy hyping.
Being that it's MTV, however, the show will also feature musical performances by Eminem (perfect since he just loves Hollywood) and Kings of Leon. Your host is "Saturday Night Live's" Andy Samberg, so don't be surprised if The Lonely Island shows up to perform one of their hits live (I'm gunning for the profane laced "I'm on a Boat" featuring T-Pain).
And as it's summer movie season, "New Moon" isn't the only movie that's going to get hyped. "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" will debut a new clip during the show and presenters selling their upcoming flicks include Sacha Baron Cohen as "Bruno," Chris Pine ("Star Trek"), "Transformers" stars Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox, "G.I. Joe's" Channing Tatum, "The Hangover's " Bradley Cooper, "Land of the Lost's" Will Ferrell, "The Proposal's" Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Radcliffe and the cast of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," and many more. It's an impressive roster of stars that you can argue even the Oscars and Golden Globes can't match (of course, those shows don't have categories such as Best Fight or Best WTF Moment either).
Who will actually win? (Like it matters.) This awards prognosticator made his picks weeks ago. Check out all the potential winners and nominees here. Make sure you also check HitFix for our live blog of the proceedings (especially for you West Coast peeps), red carpet galleries and a best and worst recap of the proceedings.
The MTV Movie Awards air on MTV this Sunday at 9 PM. Will you be watching?
Is there already an animated film controversy to worry about?
Oh, have times changed.
In the wake of last weekend's 62nd Cannes Film Festival, one thing was redundantly clear: Oscar passed by the croissette this season. It's been decades since a Palm d'Or winner has gone on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture (The Envelope's Tom O'Neil studiously notes that hasn't happened since "Marty" in 1955). However, the films and performances at Cannes have had a major impact on the Awards Season race in the past few years.
Before expanding on how dreadful this year was, here's a quick rundown of festival selections who eventually received Oscar nods over just the past three years alone:
"Changeling," "The Class," "Waltz with Bashir," "Vicky Christina Barcelona"
"No Country for Old Men," "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," "Sicko," "Persepolis"
"Babel," "Volver," "Pan's Labyrinth," "Marie Antoinette," "Indigenes"
This snapshot features one best picture winner (out of two nominees), two best actress nods and a supporting actress winner last year with Cruz for "Barcelona." This year the festival will be lucky if it can get more than two best foreign language film nominations out of its selections. That's pretty much it.
Hudson shines, but no singing yet from Day-Lewis
So, if the Cannes Film Festival is up and running again, that means the first awards season pretenders, er, contenders are starting to sneak their way out of the gate. At this early stage, however, it wasn't a film that premiered in France that has gotten everyone's attention, it's the simultaneous release of the teaser trailer for Rob Marshall's highly-anticipated big screen musical "Nine."
Marshall, whose cinematic debut "Chicago" won six Oscars (but not best director), is returning to the movie musical after tripping up with his second film, the straight melodrama "Memoirs of a Geisha."
Based on Federico Fellini's classic "8 1/2," "Nine" was first brought to the stage in 1982 where it won a Tony Award for Best Musical and made the too early departed Raul Julia a star. In 2003, a successful revival featured Antonio Banderas and, again, it scored Tony love with a Best Revival award. Now, Marshall and producer Harvey Weinstein have recruited an all-star cast including Daniel Day-Lewis in the lead role to bring the musical based on a movie back to theaters (shoot if "Hairspray" can do it...). And if this preview delivers anything it certainly showcases that star power.
What do you want to know about the second chapter of the 'Twilight' saga?
A legion of fans are going to be very envious regarding my destination tomorrow night. Having already visited the set of the original "Twilight" a year ago in the wilds of Oregon while I was chronicling the world of movies at MSN, I'm lucky enough to be going back-to-back as I head to Vancouver for a sneak peek of "The Twilight Saga: New Moon."
First time around I and one other journalist got a gift that is a rarity nowadays: a 45 minute interview with a relaxed and blunter than he'll ever be again Robert Pattinson. Don't expect that to happen this time around, but, no doubt director Chris Weitz will want to share his vision for the second chapter in the "Twilight" saga. Who else will HitFix get to chat with? Unclear, but it should be a very busy day.
Summit is smartly embargoing our stories for a bit to wet everyone's appetite, but you can follow my journey to some extent over the next few days on Twitter. Or, why not participate? This writer has purposely avoided reading any of the novels to come at the series from a strictly cinematic perspective (a decision that has worked well for the "Harry Potter" franchise). However, I'd love to know what you, the fans, would like to find out about the movie. What are you most curious about? What would you ask Chris Weitz if you could? Dakota Fanning? Or, a member of the Wolfpack?
Post your questions and thoughts in our comment section below. If you haven't done so already, take 90 seconds to join the site here and then you'll easily be able to post your question.
Follow Gregory Ellwood and his journey to Vancouver and the "New Moon" set on Twitter at twitter.com/HitFixGregory
Stellar performances from Foxx and Downey, Jr. could have been in awards play
Like an anxious high school senior class thinking they'll never see these people again, this town can be harsh and judgmental when it has no right to be. A big movie moves its release date at the last minute? Oh, something must be wrong, it must not play, it's a misfire, it doesn't work. All scuttlebutt heard on cellphone to E-mail to instant to messages across Hollywood.
Granted, there is a lot of history to back this line of thinking up. "All the King's Men" and "The Life of David Gale" are two former Oscar bait pictures eventually dumped that immediately come to mind. So, when Paramount announced last October that the Joe Wright's inspirational drama "The Soloist," starring Robert "I'm edging out Johnny Depp as the hottest star in town" Downey, Jr. and Jamie Foxx, was moving out of its November release date to a spring 2009 date, eyes rolled across the 323. Especially as it was only a few weeks before the picture was set to open the city's increasingly prestigious AFI Film Festival. "Guess it wasn't a true awards contender, huh?"
Analysis: Paramount is clearly taking the long view in rebuilding the franchise
In anticipation of conducting some "Star Trek" editorial later this week, I scoured a number of Trek fan sites over the weekend to see what the current take from the hardcore contingent was on J.J. Abrams reboot. What I found was troubling. As you'd expect, a bunch of fans were voicing their displeasure that "The Next Generation" crew weren't getting their due in the relaunch. Other fans were horrified over some of the changes to the Enterprise's iconic design. Much more disconcerting, however, were Trek fans obsessing over the box office performance in comparison to another May release, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." A debate so fierce it seemed that many of those posting were so emotionally invested that if the movie isn't a massive blockbuster, they fear their beloved franchise will really be left for dead.
Relax Trekkers, Trekies and Tribble lovers, "Star Trek" has already been resurrected and isn't going anywhere.
The drama began on Friday, when industry publication Ad Age published an article based on data from studio tracking service Marketcast. The survey company released findings to studios predicting "Wolverine" is on its way to a massive $80-100 million opening the weekend of May 1. That's not surprising as most surveys are showing massive interest in a film that's smartly been sold as an "X-Men" sequel. "Star Trek," in comparison, is tracking for an opening at about half that level. The report also noted that Paramount Pictures, the longtime shepherd of the Trek franchise, was having problems enticing younger women (i.e., women under 25) to consider the property. At the time of these surveys, "Wolverine" had a 38% definite interest among that category and "Star Trek" only had 18%. Additionally, I can also report that competing survey services have been very, very positive with surprisingly low definitely not interested scores for "Trek" (more on that later).
Who wins and looses in the two week delay?
And just like that, we're back! With legitimate awards season news to wax over.
It wasn't completely unexpected, but it was still jarring to read the announcement that next year's Academy Awards won't take place until March 7, 2010. Figuratively, that's two weeks later than this year's February 22 show.
The reason for the delay has to do with the Winter Olympics beginning a tad later than usual, In 2006, the Olympics forced the Oscars to move to a March 5 date. Of course, before 2004, the big show was always held in late March. After years of fatigue because of such long and intense award season campaigns, the show was moved to late February. It also was supposed to help the studio save money on campaigns which didn't really happen. Studios shot themselves in the foot by beginning the whole scenario earlier and earlier until legitimate contenders were packing October's release slate instead of the usual traffic jam in December.
The bigger surprise is how this move affects the overall awards season calendar. Here's a quick rundown of the new dates thanks to the AMPAS.
- Tuesday, December 1, 2009: Official Screen Credits forms due
- Monday, December 28, 2009: Nominations ballots mailed
- Saturday, January 23, 2010: Nominations polls close 5 p.m. PT
- Tuesday, February 2, 2010: Nominations announced 5:30 a.m. PT,
- Wednesday, February 10, 2010: Final ballots mailed
- Monday, February 15, 2010: Nominees Luncheon
- Saturday, February 20, 2010: Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards presentation
- Tuesday, March 2, 2010: Final polls close 5 p.m. PT
- Sunday, March 7, 2010: 82nd Annual Academy Awards presentation
Important dates? Nominations aren't due until the 23rd of January. Final polls won't close until March 2. Even if most o the contenders move their release dates to mid-November forward, we're talking about a very, very intense first two months of 2010 for Oscar campaigning. Additionally, this could make the results of the Golden Globes (still scheduled for January), SAG Awards and the BAFTA Awards even more influential than in previous years.
Want some more winners? How about those struggling trades Variety and The Hollywood Reporter? Along with the popular Oscar section of The Los Angeles Times (that yours truly once worked for), those both the print and online versions of those outlets (assuming paper even exists 8 months from now) should get a nice bump by the extension of the season. See? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is all about helping the economy too!
Who might loose in all this? It may amount to only two extra weeks, but that could be enough for studios nervous about their prestige pics to skip the trifecta of festivals that traditionally kicks off awards season: Venice, Telluride and Toronto. And considering the importance of the Hollywood machine at those events, that could be very dire news.
Don't be surprised to see some release date shuffling due to this announcement. Fox Searchlight currently has "Amelia" on Oct. 23. Is that too early now? Does Paul Greengrass' "Green Zone" open limited to avoid the December rush? The news will certainly make distributors big and small take a second look at their release patterns.
As for AMPAS, the biggest remaining question on Oscar's agenda? To Hugh or not to Hugh. Will Jackman be back or not? The host was very popular with the rank and file and those in attendance at last month's show, but critics gave him mixed reviews. The clock is ticking AMPAS. You only have 8 or 9 months to figure that one out. Ah, the drama stirs even in the offseason. In the meantime, it's time to get ready for....the MTV Movie Awards!
Aren't you excited?
All said and done, it's a hit
As the projected weekend numbers for "Watchmen" hit the web on Sunday morning, no doubt many "I told you so" pundits were furiously typing away at their computers about the huge disappointment the opening weekend gross of "Watchmen" was. And while a few will spin it that Warner Bros. was wrong to invest the rumored $150 million budget into a 2 hour and 43 minute R-rated comic book thriller with no recognizable stars, another contingent are secretly hoping this can be the beginning of the end of all these "horrible comic-book" movies (really).
Hardly to both points.
It's clear that many in the mainstream media (and a few online) have a disdain for the exuberance and over-enthusiastic response to the whole process (announcement, production, marketing, release) of beloved genre movies coming to fruition such as "Watchmen." (Of course, many of them act similarly at the altar of Clint Eastwood or Spielberg, but that's a topic for another day.) No one will dispute that a little reality needs to be injected into the proceedings on both sides, but wishing for a project to fail because a large audience of fanboys are chomping at the bit to see it? Do we really want people to not get excited about going to the movies? Really? Think about it for a moment.
Now, let's get back to the primary point of box office and do some math, shall we? "Watchmen" is now the third biggest opening ever in March, behind Snyder's "300" which raked in $70 million two years ago and "Ice Age: The Meltdown" which cumed $68 million in 2006. The "Ice Age" sequel was something "Watchmen" never intended to be: a four quadrant family flick that was only 90 minutes long. Newsflash: "300" was also almost a complete hour shorter. You can make the argument that in this age of the multiplex theater owners can throw up enough screens to compensate so moviegoers can have more options in case they miss the first 8:00 PM show. That's partially true, but there are laws of time and physics at work here. You can't max out the number of showings to the level a shorter film did (like "300") during the same period. This does compensate for some of the difference in per screen average. "300" did a little over $22,000 per screen its opening weekend and "Watchmen" was also slightly more than $15,000 per screen. But, we're hardly drinking the kool aid here.
No one should argue that "Watchmen" maxed out on its opening weekend. Clearly, R-rated blockbusters have done way more, but each film is really it's own animal. "The Matrix Reloaded"? Sure, it got to $91 million during its opening weekend, but anyone remember the publicity maelstrom around that sequel? "The Passion of the Christ"? Never doubt the power of the mighty one and Mel Gibson, but that marketing, promotion and audience around that phenomenon is too complex to dissect here, nor is it fair to compare. "Hannibal's" $58 million? That sequel word is gonna come up again. And finally, "Sex and the City." Yes, Carrie Bradshaw's jump to the big screen opened to just $2 million more than "Watchmen" last June, but in many way's it's the perfect comparison.
Probably the only true disappointment from Warner Bros. this weekend was their inability to broaden "Watchmen's" must see outside the core demo of 18-34 year old men. Exit polls showed 65% of the audience was male and only 35% of it over the age of 25. Ironically, that last figure was the opposite of pre-release tracking services, who said the older audience was more interested in the film than younger. Warner's can only hope those older moviegoers follow form and show up next week when the crowds have died down somewhat. But, if you were to flip the exit polling numbers, they would look a lot like "Sex and the City." The percentage of moviegoers would be completely female dominated with older women turning it into a major movie event instead of twentysomething men. And that flick, naysayers aside, didn't crash and burn after one weekend. It grossed a startling $150 million by the time it was all said and done. And that takes us back to the biggest number of all: production budget.
Publicly, "Watchmen's" production budget is at $150 million and the studio has claimed only $50 million in marketing expenses (domestically). Even if you believe those figures, a similar $150 million gross to "Sex" isn't going to cut it (especially with Fox taking 8.5% after settling the rights lawsuit in January). However, "Watchmen" grossed $35 million overseas on Friday alone. [Correction: Initial reports were wrong, "Watchmen" did only $27 million overseas this weekend.] Final numbers for the weekend will be available later today, but a $300-350 worldwide gross when it's all said and done? Let's just say Warner Bros. stockholders should be more worried about the future of AOL than the profit margins on "Watchmen" which should certainly be in the black after DVD and the growing video on demand market is taken into account.
And I'm sure Mr. Snyder and producers Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin can hold their heads up high about that.
Change came, but the Academy still showed its age
"Damn you 'Departures'!"
Yes, that was the refrain heard from coast to coast Sunday night as the little Japanese Foreign Film entry that could upset perennial favorites "The Class" and "Waltz for Bashir" in a night that was pretty much a ride on the "Slumdog MIllionaire" train. And yes, I got it wrong with just about everyone else (save some very lucky and happy peeps at U.S. distributor Regent Releasing).
As for the rest of the winers, your fastidious prognosticator didn't do too badly in his picks nailing 18 out of 24. What did I blow?
Winner: "The Dark Knight"
Lame Excuse: We all know that the Academy has little respect for their animated film nominees, but who knew they had almost zero when it comes to actually awarding statues?
The 'I Love You, Man' promo part of a sly underground campaign
Yes, awards season is over, but I'm not going anywhere (wait, was that disappointment I heard?).
At some point, this blog will be rebranded for the off season as "the EIC." It's still going to cover the highlights of what's become a year-round awards season and no doubt may of you are counting the days till the MTV Movie Awards (although I'm not sure why), but until things heat up in early September, the EIC is going to try and fill in the gaps in the worlds of movies, music and pop culture that Drew McWeeny and Melinda Newman are amazingly chronicling in their Motion/Captured and The Beat Goes On blogs respectively. And no, I'm not going near TV except for my "Battlestar" recaps, because I think my continuing disdain for the medium may drive Fienberg over the edge. And as we all know, that can't happen at least until "Idol" finishes it's current season in May.
[And yes this means dance music will finally gets its occasional due on HitFix. House music will never die people. Deal with it. Just be glad I'm obstaining from writing about the depressing state of Clippers basketball.]
So, while an Oscar wrap up is coming tomorrow (I swear), I had to pass on this interesting twist to DreamWorks/Paramount's marketing campaign for "I Love You, Man."
The upcoming comedy stars Paul Rudd as Peter, a real estate agent who is psyched to be marrying his longtime sweetheart. Unfortunately, Peter's been one of those guys who has always had more "girl" friends than "guy" friends, so when it's time to find a best man he's sort of screwed. After going on a bunch of "man dates," he finally finds his destined buddy, or so he thinks, in Sydney, played by Jason Segal. I haven't seen the flick but as the opening night film at SXSW next month it's got to be better than your average studio comedy, right?
In any event, in a sly move to tap into Peter's metrosexual tendencies (apparently butch men have no interest in "The Devil Wears Prada"), Paramount has put up a fake billboard at the corner of Beverly Blvd. and Robertson Blvd. touting the character's real estate services in a most provocative manner. According to our own Drew McWeeny (who knows a good deal more about the movie than I do), "Peter's competition in the film is a guy who puts up really douchey billboards all over LA, and Peter refuses to play that game. He thinks it's tacky. Obviously, something changes by the end of the movie. But what?"
More third act conflict. Nice.
Besides the fact the ad is within walking distance of The Ivy and paparazzi row, it is also directly on the border of West Hollywood (where liberal means mandatory washboard abs and being the home of the first Pinkberry store). They are even pushing a fake front end to their official "I Love You, Man" website at PeterKlaven.com.
Now, whether the gays who live in WeHo will fall for such shrill marketing tactics as a shirtless Paul Rudd remains to be seen. If they do, Focus will be cursing themselves for not putting a bare-chested Sean Penn on the "Milk" poster to drive the movie into profitability (I kid Focus peeps! I kid!).
Update: Paramount has just launched a new Restricted Clip titled "Boat Race" (although it has little to do with one) that's pretty funny. Check it out here.
"I Love You Man" opens nationwide on March 20.