Monday links on a slow news day:
OK, so I didn’t explicitly say it, but when I predicted we’d get five movies over the weekend to debut over $20 million, I meant the entire holiday weekend, which includes today. So when the top five movies through Sunday ranged between $21.8 million and $17 million, they’ll probably all be over $20 million by the end of the holiday weekend. I was right! Kinda. But what we didn’t get was a true smash hit because I Am Number Four, which was supposed to get at least $35 million, is going to be stuck around a disappointing $23 million or so. The one piece of very good news is that Big Momma’s House 3 is only at $19 million right now, the franchise’s lowest debut, which pretty much means we’ve seen the last of Martin Lawrence traipsing around in a fat suit. Now if we can only derail Norbit 2, all will be right with the world.
We’ve had our usual winter lull in the TV cancellation schedule, but as soon as February sweeps are over, things are going to rev up again because TV execs now have about five months of ratings to examine what shows are producing, and what shows simply aren’t pulling their weight. Gave some quick insight into this in yesterday’s PopRox column in the Pocono Record. Some predictions that will happen by the end of March or by the May release of schedules:
--NBC is going to abandon having six original comedies on Thursday nights (for now), move 30 Rock back to 8:30, cancel Perfect Couples and pull Outsourced from the schedule. Then it will bring back The Marriage Ref in the spring or just air comedy repeats at 10 p.m. Then it will decide later in the year what it really wants to do with Outsourced. Another comedy night, perhaps, to get Community out of the way of Big Bang Theory?
--Shows that won’t make it to April: Detriot 1-8-7, The Cape (already announced it’s stopping production), Chase, Lie to Me (abruptly finished its season already) and Traffic Light (even though it’s a pretty good show).
--Mr. Sunshine, which isn’t a bad show, will end up moving with Cougar Town to a new night next year to start another comedy block for ABC. Better With You will get renewed and ABC will pick up another comedy pilot for the post-Modern Family spot.
--Fox execs announce they won’t renew Fringe for next yearand vows they will never, ever, ever again put a sci-fi show with a rabid fan base on Friday nights, lest they tip off their evil plan of ruining the sci-fi genre forever. Seriously, how many sci-fi/action shows can they put there before they realize it just doesn’t work? What, X-Files and Firefly weren’t enough? Terminator and Dollhouse didn’t tip them off? A Star Wars TV show wouldn’t last on Friday nights on Fox.
Big improvements in the latest Thor trailer. The first one was too stuffy and serious, focusing more on the Thor family tree and throne succession instead of letting us know it’s going to be a fun, cool summer popcorn movie. It gave no indication whatsoever that it could mesh fun/action/adventure/cool the way Iron Man so seamlessly did in the trailer and the movie. This one, however, is different. Now it’s got a couple laughs without losing the big action scenes that are going to be what makes or breaks this movie. But you can’t convince women to go to a movie like this unless they think they’re going to get a kick out of it without blowing something up. Enter Kat Dennings, who should have been a major star three times over now, but maybe this will finally be her chance. She’s got three decent laughs in about 10 seconds of trailer time (tops) and lets us know we’re not getting two hours of Thor fighting with his old man over who’s getting his kingdom’s throne. Bing, bang, boom, you’ve got a trailer. They just made an extra $10 million in gross by convincing a million women there’s something in it for them.
Watching Friday Night Lights when it started, you knew those kids were in for bigger things. They were just too big and too good looking for the small screen to contain them. Five years later, we’ve now got Minka Kelly who had a #1 movie this month and is about to marry America’s golden boy, Taylor Kitsch who will be the top-line star of two major 2012 summer blockbusters and last week, we found out Adrianne Palicki is going to star in what is becoming one of the fall’s biggest pilots as Wonder Woman. That’s the possibility of three major Hollywood stars getting their starts on this little show no one watched. Someone’s casting director needs a raise.
One of the things you never really hear about in Hollywood is how people lost roles to other actors. Every actor has a list of projects they circled/signed up for/auditioned for/were considered for but never got. Bill Murray has had a remarkable movie career spanning more than three decades, and I looked at his IMDB page and counted no less than 10 seminal characters and movies that you can’t picture anyone else but Murray playing. But his list of movies/parts he almost gotis even more impressive. The only thing that seems to be missing is The Gimp from Pulp Fiction or any Leo DiCaprio part in a Scorsese movie. Then I got obsessed with his career for a little bit and decided to quickly rank his top 10 roles: 1. Carl Spackler, Caddyshack. 2. Phil Connors, Groundhog Day. 3. (Yes, I am) Dr. Peter Venkman, Ghostbusters 1 and 2. 4. Bob Harris, Lost in Translation. 5. Herman Blume, Rushmore. 6. Ernie McCracken, or Big Ern, Kingpin. 7. Bob Wiley, What about Bob? 8. Frank Cross, Scrooged. 9. John Winger, Stripes. 10. Jeff Slater, Tootsie. Holy s—! Go through that list again and let it sink in. Does anyone else in the last 35 years have a top 10 like that? Tom Hanks doesn’t make it unless you count Ned Donnelly (which I’m inclined to do). I’ve only got Harrison Ford at eight. DeNiro probably beats him with about 13, but I’d take Murray’s quality. I have to stop this now or I’ll spend all day on it. Smells like a separate blog post. Feel free to comment away if you can come up with a top 10 better than Murray’s.
From the It’s Five Years Too Late file: A record exec taking out a full page ad to slam the Grammys. He could have saved himself some trouble and just published my blog posts on it, I’ve been ranting about those exact same things for years.