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The Weekly Trade Round-Up / The Pajiba Staff
Trade News | August 21, 2006 | Comments ()
Item #1: Because Dan has grown weary of mocking Peter Jackson, he has passed the baton off to me, and I gladly announce that everyone’s favorite lovable hack has optioned Naomi Novick’s fantasy novel Temeraire as a possible directing project. Temeraire apparently reimagines the Napoleonic wars with an air force of fire-breathing dragons and the aviators who fly them. The story itself revolves around a British naval captain who discovers a dragon’s egg meant for Napoleon. After the egg hatches, the captain gives up his career to care for the dragon, which he names Temeraire. Jackson has also optioned for the screen Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, a pretty decent novel about a 14-year-old girl who is raped and murdered and ends up following her family’s plight from Heaven. Word is that Jackson is considering meshing the two stories to create a bloated, 17-hour epic about a bearded director who is raped by a dragon for bastardizing all of the decent adaptation possibilities in Hollywood. The film, tentatively titled Go the Fuck Away, Peter Jackson, is the first in an expected series of movies to be filmed perpetually and released every six months for the rest of our lives. — Dustin Rowles
Item #2: Got a double-header in religious news for you: 20th Century Fox unveiled this week a new home video label called FoxFaith, which will release DVDs aimed at Christians with low entertainment standards. It will distribute six to 12 films a year theatrically through a deal with Woodland Hills, California-based The Bigger Picture. Easily the best quote on the subject, and one that’s 100 percent real, is this gem from a Fox spokesman: “We saw an opportunity to fill a need in an underserved market.” Not kidding. That’s the actual quote. That could be the nicest way I’ve ever heard a PR person say, “We saw an opportunity to shamelessly market to the kind of affluent conservatives that will storm the box office when we tell them to. Hey, God sells.” The first film on the list is Love’s Abiding Joy, directed by — wait for it — Michael Landon, Jr. Talk about answered prayers.
Next up: You know how pretty much every trailer has the green screen at the beginning that says “The following preview has been approved for all audiences” in giant white Big Brothery letters? Every now and then a trailer will start off with a red screen warning of its adult content. Known as redband trailers, they’re another way the MPAA can hurt films and prevent them from being advertised, since redband trailers can only be shown before films rated R or NC-17 (and it’s not like you’re gonna see one of those in the theaters, but anyway). Well, the MPAA has given a redband rating to the trailer for Deliver Us from Evil, a documentary about the child molestation scandals in the Catholic Church; mmm, family fun. In response, Lionsgate will send the film out without a rating, so look for it to disappear quickly from the indie theater near you. — Daniel Carlson
Item #3: You know, in a world full of all sorts of problems — natural disasters, a Middle East crisis, the death of Anna Nicole’s son, Pete Doherty’s drug problems — it’s so good to know that God and Satan — the eternal forces of good and evil — have cleared their calendars to fight over a woman named Lucy. Or at least that’s the concept for David Hubbard’s latest comedy, God, the Devil, and Lucy, about God and the Devil’s decision to come down to Earth and compete for the love of a woman named Lucy, because, you know, God digs chicks. Under the God/Devil pact, neither will be able to use their supernatural powers, and the first to make Lucy say “I love you” apparently wins all the souls of humanity. I’d offer the casting directors a few options for Lucy, but I think we all know that they’ll cast Scarlett Johansson in the end — they always do. — DR
Item #4: Fresh off following Bryan Singer around, writer Mike Dougherty (X2, Superman Returns) will make his directorial debut with Trick ‘r Treat, a horror film that will interweave four separate storylines. One of them involves a high school principal who moonlights as a serial killer. There’s no cast in place yet, but that isn’t stopping the trades from needlessly gushing about Dougherty’s cred, namely that he was actually born on Halloween, which if you ask me is like a guy born on Christmas thinking he’s the Messiah; the logic ain’t exactly strong. Then again, all Dougherty needs to do is hire Dennis Haskins to play the knife-wielding school administrator and this project will soar. — DC
Item #5: For those of you who are good little TV whores (if you’re not, shame on you) and/or who read the TV Whore regularly (and if you don’t, double shame on you with a cherry on top), you may remember the Thursday-night fracas that took place during the networks’ May upfronts — ABC announced it was putting its ratings dog “Grey’s Anatomy” on Thursdays at 9 p.m., against reigning champ “C.S.I.” and much-ballyhooed freshman “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” NBC quickly tucked its tail and moved “Studio 60” to Monday nights (where it premiered this week with rather decent ratings). Well, as is typically the case, Fox saw the other networks having fun and decided to get into it, albeit a little late. It now seems that they are considering moving the “American Idol” behemoth to Thursday nights, and possibly into that same 9 p.m. time slot. No word yet on whether this is all to back a new Fox special: “When Networks Attack.” — Seth Freilich
Item #6: In the box-office round up, the studios suffered another shellacking over the weekend, as Gridiron Gang was the number one film with a meager $14 million gross — clearly, the fact that The Rock did not remove his shirt affected the total take. In at number two, The Black Dahlia barely cleared the $10 million hurdle, and apparently Jeremy — and myself — were the only two people in America who didn’t actually abhor the film. The animated feature Everyone’s Hero grossed around $6 million to come in third, and The Covenant clung to the fourth spot with $4.7 million. And, at number five, The Last Kiss eked out a paltry $4.6 million, though it appears that most folks couldn’t put aside their distaste of Zach Braff long enough to focus their hatred where it really belonged: Paul Haggis, who has all the writing talent of Leno’s cue-card boy.
And what do we have for you this weekend? First up, Jackass: Number Two featuring Johnny Knoxville, who — judging by his latest Letterman appearance — has clearly had his testicles electroshocked a few too many times; seriously, the guy can barely string a sentence together anymore. We also have Flyboys, which has been advertised pretty heavily on the site of late, making it all the more fun to hate. Jet Li brings us Fearless, another one of those martial arts flicks, this one about the founder of the Jin Wu Sports Federation, if that means anything to you. Also up, All the King’s Men, a movie we’re trying very hard to reserve judgment about. If we can, we’re also going to review Project Greenlight’s last winner, Feast mostly for our own morbid curiosity. And, yes: We will also be reviewing The Science of Sleep this weekend. So, you know: Giddyup. — DR
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