SUMMER MOVIE SEASON OFFICIALLY OVER
The end of the summer moviegoing season hangs just over the horizon, and after a few superheated sessions, the box office could end up taking something of a vacation. While North America's multiplexes will continue to see business from holdovers like last weekend's champ, Sony Pictures' Superbad, this weekend's debutantes, led by Lionsgate's War, are looking to distinguish themselves simply by cresting the $10 million mark.
"War" has the advantage of two marquee names in the action arena - Jet Li and Jason Statham - facing off against each other as assassin and FBI agent, respectively. Directed by Philip G. Atwell, who has handled music videos for Eminem and 50 Cent, the R-rated film should get pulses racing among younger males.
Li and Statham have proved themselves to be $10 million-plus men. Li's 2005 Unleashed and 2006 Fearless bowed to $10.9 million and $10.6 million, respectively, while Statham's Crank opened to a three-day gross of $10.5 million last Labor Day weekend. War, shooting up 2,277 theaters, conservatively should grab $10 million-$12 million and could spike higher.
The Nanny Dairies, on the other hand, will be appealing to female audiences. Selling itself as this summer's equivalent to The Devil Wears Prada, it stars Scarlett Johansson as a nanny struggling to please a forbidding employer (Laura Linney).
BETTY THOMAS TAKES ON LONG AWAITED 'DALLAS' MOVIE Regency and 20th Century Fox are overhauling the bigscreen adaptation of TV series "Dallas," about the oil-rich Ewing clan, and this time they're drilling for laughs. Betty Thomas, the director who mined two spoof movie hits from "The Brady Bunch," is in discussions to direct. Pam Brady, who most recently scripted "Hot Rod," is penning the script.
John Travolta remains attached to play slimy oil tycoon J.R. Ewing.
When the movie was derailed late last year, Gurinder Chadha ("Bend It Like Beckham") was directing. Luke Wilson was attached to play Bobby Ewing with Shirley MacLaine to play Miss Ellie, while producers were talking with Meg Ryan to play Sue Ellen after Jennifer Lopez dropped out.
The budget for the comic "Dallas" should be lower than the projected $65 million for the straight-faced version. There is also hope that a comedy about the dysfunctional Ewings will appeal to a younger audience, which has become a Regency priority. The studio is eyeing a January start date.
NETWORKS PLAN KATRINA ANNIVERSARY COVERAGE
Two years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the networks are planning a wide range of coverage to mark the anniversary and look in on the long recovery process.
ABC News said Thursday that it will air "Katrina: Where Things Stand" beginning Sunday. It will encompass all of the network's platforms, including "Good Morning America," "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" and "World News With Charles Gibson." "GMA" co-anchor Robin Roberts will report from Mississippi; Dan Harris, Jim Avila and other correspondents will report from elsewhere on the Gulf Coast.
"NBC Nightly News" will originate from New Orleans and Mississippi beginning Tuesday. Anchor Brian Williams, who is making his 14th trip since the storm that he rode out at the Superdome in New Orleans, will report from the region. "Today" also will originate from New Orleans on Wednesday. NBC has shown a large commitment to continuing to report the Katrina story.
CBS will have a four-part series anchored by Katie Couric on "CBS Evening News," along with pieces by Harry Smith on "The Early Show" and two separate hours this season on "48 Hours Mystery." One hour focuses on two murders in New Orleans after the storm and how the city is still a hotbed of homicide. Another focuses on a husband and wife who are on trial for charges related to the deaths of people from Katrina, though the defense says it's the government that is to blame.
CNN paired filmmaker Spike Lee and correspondent Soledad O'Brien for a documentary titled "Children of the Storm" that has been filmed almost exclusively by 11 teenagers in New Orleans. It focuses on teens whose lives have been dramatically changed by the storm and lets them tell their own stories. It will begin airing Wednesday.Return from Entertainment News August 25 to Entertainment News