(And Queen Latifah Too!)
One didn’t have to be Nostradamus
to anticipate that big-budget sci-fi actioners like “Daredevil,” “X2” and “Matrix
Reloaded” would perform heroically at the box office
this year. Harder to predict was the fervor with which
audiences embraced comedies in the first five months of
2003: “Bruce Almighty,” “Anger Management,” “Bringing
Down the House,” “How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days” and “Daddy
Day Care” have all vaulted handily into blockbuster
territory, and some pundits speculate that “Finding
Nemo,” with its $70-million opening weekend, will
top them all, exceeding even “Monsters Inc.’s” $255-million
With five features under its belt and
having yet to suffer anything resembling a box-office
disappointment, “Nemo” studio
Pixar’s next two films are, naturally, highly anticipated. “The
Incredibles” revolves around a dysfunctional family
of superheroes whose quiet life in the suburbs is disrupted
when they’re called into action to save the world.
Brad Bird, who directed “Iron Giant” and wrote
1987’s live-action UFO comedy “*batteries not
included,” directs “The Incredibles” from
his own screenplay. John Ratzenberger, a veteran of all
five prior Pixar features, provides the voice of Mr. Incredible,
the family’s paunchy patriarch. Buena Vista plans
a Nov. 5, 2004 release.
John Lasseter, who helmed Pixar’s “Toy Story”, “A
Bug’s Life” and “Toy Story 2,” returns
to the director’s chair for 2005’s “Cars.” It
follows a bunch of classic automobiles and their adventures
on Route 66. It is also Pixar’s last film under its
current contract with Buena Vista. A new agreement was
reportely being renegotiated at press time.
Gathering $137 million in just 10
Almighty” reigns over this year’s live-action
comedy troupe, with star Jim Carrey rebounding nicely from
the critical and commercial drubbing he took with 2001’s “The
“Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind” finds Carrey
in another comedy, this time about a man who undergoes
a procedure to erase memories of his ex-girlfriend – but
begins to regret the procedure when he’s left with
only memories of their earlier, happier days together.
Michel Gondry (“Human Nature”) directs from
a screenplay by Charlie Kaufman (“Being John Malkovich,” “Human
Nature,” “Adaptation,” “Confessions
of a Dangerous Mind”). Carrey’s co-stars include
Kate Winslet (“The Life of David Gale”), Kirsten
Dunst (“Spider-Man,” “Levity”),
Elijah Wood (“Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”),
Tom Wilkinson (“The Importance of Being Ernest”),
David Cross (“Men in Black II”) and Mark Ruffalo
(“View From the Top”). Focus hopes to lodge
its Nov. 14 release date firmly in your memory.
The popular comic children’s book series “Lemony
Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events” comes
to the screen as an adventure about three orphans who are
taken in by Count Olaf, a relative who is trying to separate
the children from an undisclosed fortune. It’s based
on the book series by Daniel Handler. Brad Silberling (“Moonlight
Mile”) is set to direct from a screenplay by Handler
and Robert Gordon (“Men in Black II”). Carrey
was set to star as Count Olaf. Paramount plans a 2004 release.
Carrey is reportedly in talks to play Darrin
Stephens opposite already-signed Nicole Kidman in a big-screen
version of “Bewitched.” Based
on the 1964-1972 ABC sitcom, the film will reportedly deal
with Darrin’s courtship of the supernaturally powerful
Samantha. Nora Ephron (“You’ve Got Mail,” “Lucky
Numbers”) was reportedly set to direct from her own
screenplay. Sony has yet to spell out a release date.
Carrey is also supposed to start shooting
another Sony project, “Fun With Dick and Jane,” this autumn.
The heist comedy, about an upper-middle-class couple who
turn to thievery to pay their bills, is a remake of the1977
George Segal-Jane Fonda starrer. Barry Sonnenfeld (the “Men
in Black” series), who quit the “Lemony Snicket” project,
has signed to direct “Fun” from a screenplay
by Peter Tolan (“America’s Sweethearts”).
No other cast or release date has been announced.
“Almighty” player Jennifer Aniston has another
co-starring role in “Captured,” a comedy about
a married man who analyzes risk for a living while carefully
avoiding risk himself – until he has an affair that
turns his life upside-down. John Hamburg (“Safe Men”)
directs from his own screenplay. Aniston’s castmates
include Ben Stiller (“The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Envy”),
Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Love Liza”), Debra
Messing (“Hollywood Ending”), Hank Azaria (“America’s
Sweethearts”), Alec Baldwin (“Dr. Seuss’ The
Cat in the Hat”) and Bryan Brown (“Grizzly
Falls”). Universal plans a 2004 release.
Last fall’s seriocomic “Punch-Drunk Love” met
much critical acclaim but turned out to be Adam Sandler’s
lowest-grossing starring vehicle ever. Come springtime,
Sandler’s more characteristically silly “Anger
Management” went a long way to shore up the funnyman’s
bankability with a domestic theatrical gross of more than
Sandler takes part next in a sort of distaff
version of Carrey’s “Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless
Mind.” “50 First Kisses” is a comedy
about a guy who falls in love with a woman with short-term
memory loss and his efforts to reconvince her of their
love every time they meet. “Anger Management” helmer
Peter Segal directs from a screenplay by Lowell Ganz & Babaloo
Mandel (“EDtv,” “Where the Heart Is”)
and George Wing. Sandler reunites with “Wedding Singer” co-star
Drew Barrymore (“Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle,” “Duplex”).
Their supporting cast includes Sean Astin (the “Lord
of the Rings” series) and Rob Schneider (“The
Hot Chick”). Sony unwraps this valentine Feb. 13.
“Collateral” stars Sandler as a mild-mannered cabbie
whose fare takes him hostage. Tom Cruise was reportedly
set to play the passenger. Michael Mann (“Heat,” “The
Insider,” “Ali”) was reportedly set to
direct. DreamWorks has set no other cast or release date.
Jack Nicholson is sticking with comedy
as well. The untitled Sony comedy written and directed
by Nancy Meyers (“What
Women Want”) is due to hit screens Dec. 12. Nicholson
and Diane Keaton (“Town and Country”) co-star
in the project, which concerns a successful man in late
middle-age who, following a heart attack, falls for the
mother of his much younger girlfriend. Keanu Reeves (“The
Matrix Reloaded”) plays the doctor who treats him
and also falls in love with the Keaton character. Jon Favreau
(“Daredevil”), Paul Michael Glaser (TV’s “Starsky
and Hutch”), Frances McDormand (“Laurel Canyon”),
Amanda Peet (“Identity”) and Norwegian movie
vet Per Christian Ellefsen co-star.
Also stuck on Dec. 12, Nicholson has a cameo
as himself in Fox’s “Stuck On You.” The comedy is
about what happens when an unseparated Siamese twin decides
to pursue an acting career in Hollywood. Written and directed
by Peter and Bobby Farrelly (“Osmosis Jones,” “Shallow
Hal”), it stars Matt Damon (“Gerry”),
Greg Kinnear (“Auto Focus”), Eva Mendes (“2
Fast 2 Furious”), Wen Yann Shih and Terence Bernie
Hines (“Identity”). Jay Leno, Al Pacino, Jesse
Ventura and Luke Wilson also appear as themselves.
“Bringing Down the House” surprised everyone
by bringing down more than $130 million. Which means star
Steve Martin’s asking price may have gotten more
expensive for “Cheaper By The
The comedy is about a couple with 12 kids
who run into parenting obstacles when Dad takes a new job
and Mom finds
herself having to leave the house more and more to promote
her new book. It’s a loose remake of the 1950s comedy,
based on the children’s book by Frank B. Gilbreth
Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. Shawn Levy (“Just
Married”) directs from a screenplay by Sam Harper
and Craig Titley (“See Spot Run”). Martin’s
castmates include Bonnie Hunt (“Stolen Summer”),
Piper Perabo (“Lost & Delirious”), Hilary
Duff (“The Lizzie McGuire Movie”), Brent Kinsman
and Tom Welling (“Smallville”). Fox plans a
“Shopgirl” is a romantic comedy, set in Los Angeles,
about a struggling artist/department store salesgirl who
finds herself torn between the middle-aged millionaire
she sleeps with and the young loser who loves her. It’s
based on Steve Martin’s novella of the same name.
Anand Tucker (“Hilary and Jackie”) directs
from a screenplay by Martin (“Roxanne,” “L.A.
Story,” “A Simple Twist of Fate”). Martin
plays the rich guy, Claire Danes (“Terminator 3:
Rise of the Machines”) the title role and Jimmy Fallon
(“Almost Famous”) the third leg of the triangle.
DreamWorks plans a September start for a planned 2004 checkout.
Hot off her Oscar-nominated role in “Chicago,” Queen
Latifah solidified her star status with “Bringing
Down the House,” then moved quickly to capitalize
on it with a role in “Barbershop 2.” Kevin
Rodney Sullivan (“How Stella Got Her Groove Back”)
directs from a screenplay by Don D. Scott (“Barbershop”).
Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Michael Ealy, Eve, Troy
Garity and Sean Patrick Thomas reprise their roles from
the original. MGM has an appointment for Nov. 21.
Already on screen in “A Mighty Wind” and “Dumb
and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd,” Eugene Levy
is up next in “American Wedding.” The
latest in the “American Pie” franchise opens
Aug. 1 and is covered in more detail in this month's Preview.
Eddie Murphy had a tough time at the
box office in 2002, but “Daddy Day Care” has already grossed more
than “Showtime,” “Pluto Nash” and “I
The star “SNL” alum hopes to build on his latest
success with “The Haunted Mansion.” The comedy
(another in a run of films named after Disney amusement-park
rides) is about a ghost who inspires a workaholic dad to
connect with his heretofore neglected family. Rob Minkoff
(the “Stuart Little” franchise) directed from
a screenplay by David Berenbaum (“Elf”). Murphy
is joined by Terence Stamp (“Full Frontal,” “My
Boss’s Daughter”), Jennifer Tilly (“The
Cat’s Meow”), Nathaniel Parker (“Beverly
Hills Ninja”), Marsha Thomason (“Black Knight”)
and Wallace Shawn (“Personal Velocity”). Buena
Vista unlocks the turnstiles Nov. 26.
Murphy reprises his role as a wisecracking
donkey in “Shrek
2.” In this sequel to the 2001 blockbuster, Princess
Fiona accepts a dinner invitation from her father, who
is shocked to learn that she’s now an ogre and married
to another ogre. Other returnees from part one include
director Andrew Adamson, screenwriter Joe Stillman (“Beavis & Butthead
Do America”) and the voices of Mike Meyers, Cameron
Diaz and John Lithgow. Newcomers to the series include
screenwriters J. David Stem & David N. Weiss (the “Rugrats” movies, “Jimmy
Neutron: Boy Genius,” “Clockstoppers”),
as well as John Cleese as the voice of Fiona’s father.
DreamWorks hopes green is its color June 18, 2004.
Kate Hudson had a breakthrough comedy
role in “How
to Lose a Guy in Ten Days.” She appears next in “Le
Divorce.” The Fox Searchlight comedy, which
opens Aug. 8, is covered in detail in this month's Preview.
Her “How to Lose a Guy” guy, Matthew McConaughey,
puts his movie star looks to unusual purposes in “Tiptoes.” The
comedy-drama follows a pregnant young woman whose boyfriend
objects to having the baby and reveals the reason why:
he’s the only “normal-sized” member of
a family with a long history of dwarfism. Upon meeting
his diminutive twin brother she discovers she’s falling
in love with him instead. It was written and directed by
Matthew Bright (“Freeway,” “Freeway II:
Confessions of a Trickbaby”). Kate Beckinsale (“Laurel
Canyon”) co-stars as the girlfriend and Gary Oldman
(“Hannibal”) as the brother. Patricia Arquette
(“Holes”), David Alan Grier (“15 Minutes”),
Debbie Lee Carrington (“The Independent”),
Dana Sessen and Bridget Powers (“Confessions of a
Dangerous Mind”) costar. It is currently seeking
a higher profile with U.S. distributors.