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Battleship Gets Blown Out of the Water at the Box Office



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The Hollywood Reporter

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It was a great weekend at the box office for a certain movie about an unlikely group of heroes having to come together to defeat an invading alien force. Unfortunately for the makers of Battleship, that movie was still The Avengers.

If it wasn’t called The Avengers, nobody gave a damn for the third week in a row. Another $55+ million weekend, over $450 million domestic, another $600 million internationally, and cracking the top 5 highest grossing movies of all time. Easily crushing new releases The Dictator, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and Battleship, the latter suffering the most due to its astronomical budget and nothing but negative karma since its inception.

Peter Berg’s mega budget tale of the US Navy battling sea-faring aliens with porcupine quill goatees, based on the board game by Hasbro, the toy company responsible for Transformers in case you haven’t heard, sank at the US box office with a paltry 2nd place $25.5 million opening, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Going into the weekend it was projected to earn $40-50 million, and even that would have been considered a major disappointment given the film’s hefty price tag.

Sony’s only real consolation is that by releasing the movie a month early internationally, they managed to make just a little over $200 million before The Avengers opened up and gobbled up all of that business, too. Not much consolation since Battleship cost $200 million to make, and that’s before factoring in the high price of marketing and distribution. It is entirely possible that the price of the Battleship folly could rival John Carter, and keep in mind that movie lost Disney over $200 million and the head of the film studio.

You really have to feel bad for poor Taylor Kitsch. You just know he, his agent, and all the people surrounding him had to be thinking he was about to become the next big thing what with his starring roles in two of the year’s biggest blockbusters. Then those two blockbusters end up being John Carter and Battleship. I’m not saying the guy’s career is dead, but right now he would have a better chance of actually sailing a battleship to Mars than headlining another major motion picture anytime soon.

The sad thing is you can almost guarantee that when the Sony execs gather to figure out what went wrong, more fingers will get pointed at Taylor Kitsch, director Peter Berg, and The Avengers than actually looking in the mirror and considering the possibility that maybe Battleship never should have been made in the first place.

Another big budget bust came in fourth place this weekend. Remember Dark Shadows? It just opened last weekend, and it seems like everyone has either already forgotten or don’t even care anymore. It took in $12.5 million for the weekend, bringing its domestic box office to just barely over $50 million. This latest Burton/Depp team effort reportedly cost somewhere between $150-175 million so Warner Bros. had better cross its fingers that Johnny Depp is a big enough star to make bank internationally.

Next weekend sees the release of the Oren Peli-produced R-rated horror chiller The Chernobyl Diaries and yet another mega budget movie that hopes to not get sunk in The Avengers‘ wake, Men in Black 3.

Going back to the biggest bombing of a Naval vessel since the USS Cole, the most interesting bit of fallout from the staggering amount of money about to be lost on Battleship probably means that we’ll never get to see the game below become a mega budget event movie. That’s a damn shame because I certainly would have camped in front of the theater for months to see it.

Battleship Gets Blown Out of the Water at the Box Office

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Video: The Shape of Water Q&A with Guillermo del Toro and Doug Jones at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre



This past weekend at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, CA betwixt a double screening of The Shape of Water and the classic The Creature from the Black Lagoon, the former’s director Guillermo del Toro (and star Doug Jones) sat down to discuss the latter’s influence on the film, Gill-man sex, “one sock movies,” his career in the genre, and more with moderator Jonah Ray, and we were there to film a portion of it.

Our sincere thanks to American Cinematheque general manager Dennis Bartok for extending the invitation.

For more Cinematheque screenings, visit the official website here.

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The Open House Review – Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here



Starring Dylan Minnette, Piercey Dalton, Patricia Bethune, Sharif Atkins

Written by Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote

Directed by Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote

Mere weeks, even days, after effusively beating Netflix’s original horror content drum (The Babysitter, Before I Wake, Creep 2), I’m here to confirm that The Open House is emptier than an vacant bomb shelter. Cold, unappealing and thoughtlessly plotted to the point where “generic” would have been an improvement. From the moment we’re welcomed into Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote’s scripted imprisonment, it’s nothing but loose floorboards and busted plumbing. The home invasion genre has rarely been navigated with such little attention to detail, asking for our suspension of coherent storytelling early, often, and without earning the right to be deemed mindless genre fun. Not even Ty Pennington could save this extreme renovation disaster.

Dylan Minnette plays Logan Wallace, a track star and student who must find closure after watching his father fall victim to a fatal car accident. It is his mother Naomi’s (Piercey Dalton) idea to spend a little time away from their suburban home – escape those painful memories – so they retreat to her sister’s luxurious mountain getaway. The catch? It’s in the process of being sold and open houses are on the regular, so Naomi and Logan must vacate their temporary premises on certain days. It’s after one of these very showings that Logan begins to notice slight changes around the house, and he fears that an unwanted visitor may be in their midst. Guess what? He’s right.

To understand how little The Open House cares about conscious blueprinting, just read the poster’s tagline. “You can’t lock out what’s already inside” – right, but you could have prevented them from coming in, or checked the house to make sure they weren’t squatting, or explored numerous other possibilities to avoid this scenario. The mansion’s realtor allows prospective buyers to come and go but it’s not her job to make sure no one’s hiding in the basement? Naomi can’t even keep track of the *single* visitor she lets look around the house? It’s infuriating to see so many people neglect safety out of forced coincidence because the script couldn’t rationalize the killer’s entry any other way – a confounding strike one.

This is also a film that admits no reasoning for why its own murderer has targeted the Wallaces, or why he stokes a violent fetish when it comes to open houses. We never actually see his face, just his imposing handyman-looking attire, nor do we savor any kind of tangible backstory (his family died during their own open house and he suffered a psychotic breakdown – just give me *something*). His undefined form never demands curiosity like John Carpenter’s “The Shape” once did, because scripting is nothing more than bullet notes for basic horror movie necessities. Here he is, your bad guy – too bad he’s introduced without fear, handled without originality and unable to characterize beyond torturous kidnapper dotted lines. He’s just, you know, a guy who sneaks into open houses and kills – COMPLETE WITH A FINAL PAN-IN ON AN OPEN HOUSE SIGN WHEN HE MOVES TO HIS NEXT TARGET [eye roll into infinity].

Every scene in The Open House feels like an afterthought. “Ah, we need a way to build tension – how about a senile local woman who lives down the street and wanders aimlessly into frame?” Overplayed and in no way suitable to most her inclusions, but sure. “Oh, and we need inner conflict – what about if the breaker-iner steals Logan’s phone and frames him for later acts?” I mean, didn’t Logan canonically lose his phone even before Naomi’s mid-shower water heater issues – but sure, instant fake tension. “How are people going to believe the killer is always around and never blows his cover – think they’ll just buy it?” No, we don’t. Worse off, his cat-and-mouse game is dully repetitive until a finale that skyrockets intensity with jarring tonal imbalance. This closing, dreadful end without any sort of redemptive quality. More abusive than it is fulfilling.

If there’s anything positive worth conveying, it’s that Minnette does a fine job shuffling around as a character with severe sight impairment. The killer makes a point to remove his contacts as a final “FUCK YOU,” just to toy around a bit more, and Minnette frantically slips or stumbles with nothing more than foggy vision. Otherwise, dialogue finds itself ripped form a billion other straight-to-TV Logo dramas about broken families, no moment ever utilizing horror past a few shadowy forms standing in doorways after oblivious characters turn away. You can’t just take an overused subgenre and sleepwalk through homogenized beats…case and god-forsaken point.

Even as a streamable Netflix watch, The Open House is irredeemable beyond fault. The walls are caving in on this dilapidated excuse for home invasion horror, benefiting not from the star power of a temperamental Dylan Minnette. I have seen most involved players here in far better projects (Minnette’s stock has rightfully been skyrocketing, Matt Angel in The Funhouse Massacre, etc), but this is bargain bin theatrics without a fully formed idea. A nameless villain, doomed nice guy (Sharif Atkins), woefully unaware plot advancement – all the worst cliches found in one rage-quit worthy effort. Anyone who makes it through deserves an award…or a dunce cap.

  • The Open House


Unless you’re irrationally afraid of cold showers, The Open House fails to deliver on a premise that can be summed up by no more than two lines of text.

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Michael C. Hall Buried in Stephen King’s Pet Sematary



Now here’s an audio book we can REALLY get behind! Entertainment Weekly is reporting that former “Dexter” star Michael C. Hall will be narrating the first ever unabridged recording of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. Sometime’s audio is better!

Readers have been asking for this audiobook for a very long time,” Stephen King said in a statement. “I know the listening experience will be worth the wait with Michael as narrator.

We’re thrilled to finally bring Pet Sematary to King’s audiobook fans,” Simon & Schuster Audio president and publisher Chris Lynch added. “Michael C. Hall is a perfect match for this timeless story, which has long deserved an unabridged production.

The unabridged audiobook of Pet Sematary will be released by Simon & Schuster Audio on March 27. Speaking of Hall… you know he would make a pretty friggin’ good casting choice to play Victor Pascow in the upcoming Pet Sematary remake. Just sayin’.


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