'I'm Mark Wahlberg. I Star In 'Max Payne.''

Seth Abramovitch · 10/20/08 11:04AM

Time to unzip your Happy Weekend Suit and step back into your Monday Morning Iron Maiden: The work week is again upon us. Quick—jumpstart your productivity with some box office numbers before someone finds your position detrimental to the bottom line: 1. Max Payne - $18 million Fresh off his ass-whispering turn on an especially excruciating, Sarah Palin-boosted episode of SNL, it's Mark Wahlberg who's doing most of the laughing today: The actor's latest cinematic foray clicked with young male moviegoers, despite being dismissed by most critics as being hyper-stylized junk, like some spiraling turd floating in the Wachowski brothers's septic tank. Still, not all were left unimpressed, as a giddy Colin Powell, his eyes reflecting a steady downpour of slo-mo bullets, gushed to his wife that the "transformational" third-person-shooter adaptation who would "electrify" our country's fanboy electorate.2. Beverly Hills Chihuahua - $11.2 million Audiences continued to roll onto their backs and squirm in delight as they had their bellies rubbed by Disney's bat-eared superstars. Not surprisingly, then, the hit's microscopic sequel—Fleas of Beverly Hills Chihuahua, about a poor, parasitic insect family that hops from rich chihuahua to rich chihuahua so that their children can enroll in the area's public schools—is being rushed into production. 3. The Secret Life of Bees - $11.05 million Gracefully developing, is-she-or-isn't-she-stroppy? superstar Dakota Fanning and friends balanced out the vast gender divide for Fox, giving their Searchlight label the women who avoided Max Payne like the plague. "We had something for everyone," explained Fox VP Bert Livingston, temporarily forgetting about the 99.999999% of the world's population interested in neither. 4. W. - $10.55 million Let's run down W.'s numbers: It's Oliver Stone's fifth-best opening ever, right behind Natural Born Killers. Exit polling showed 47% of audiences were over 40, 90% don't like the President, 80% were voting Obama, and 6% McCain. A round 100%, however, thought the movie was intermittently engaging, but by and large a cojones-deficient mess. 5. Eagle Eye - $7.343 million "If you want to live, you'll do as I say. Now get wasted, hook up with Adrian Grenier's girlfriend, and lose a pinkie nail in a near-fatal car accident at the corner of Hollywood and La Brea. You'll get your next instruction there."

Yappy 'Chihuahua' Insurgency Holds Its Ground

STV · 10/13/08 12:23PM

It might be a holiday for some of you, but even on Columbus Day, the whip cracks for the number-crunchers and trend-spotters at Defamer HQ. Their work today yields the surprising latest installment of Monday Morning Box Office, in which a low-budget thriller surprised even its own studio and Leonardo DiCaprio is furious after stomping out a flaming bag of chihuahua crap. Read on for the details.1. Beverly Hills Chihuahua — $17.5 million Disney unleashed its vast canine army for a second straight week, prompting mad scientists at competing studios to commence top-secret experiments to engineer another, equally lucrative breed. Word on the street has Miramax taking the early lead with Tribeca Guard Dog, the story of a vicious German Shepherd named Henrik who unexpectedly finds love with a pug who persuades him to let her owner out of captivity in a dank Manhattan editing facility. Scott Rudin will produce, natch. 2. Quarantine — $14.2 million The stunning opening gross for Sony's horror film exceeded its budget by $2 million, thus inheriting the B-schlock mantle from the retiring Saw franchise and guaranteeing another five years of sloppy, utterly forgettable viral marketing. Well done, America. 3. Body of Lies — $13.1 million We never thought we could be accused of being too generous to Ridley Scott's spy-flick folly, but there you have it. 4. Eagle Eye — $11.1 million The Shia LaBeouf thriller sustained exceedingly well in its third weekend, dropping less than 40% percent and inspiring DreamWorks to scour the Hitchcock canon for the third thinly veiled Gen-X updating between their young star and director D.J. Caruso. The front-runner to date: Nutso, one of Hollywood's hottest unproduced scripts, which would feature Shia as a rural motel proprietor on the outs with his mysterious, Klonopin-addled stepmother. A green light is forthcoming as soon as the judge lifts the injunction. 5. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist — $6.5 million Continuing a new tradition, expect the disappointed producers of The Express — the highly touted footbal biopic that nevertheless finished a distant sixth behind Playlist — to launch an inquiry into ticket fraud and other Michael Cera-inspired box-office shenanigans by the end of the day.

'Run, MOM!!! Dad’s Not Looking!'

Douglas Reinhardt · 10/09/08 12:03PM

Click to Midway through a matinee of Beverly Hills Chihuahua, mother-daughter duo Katie Holmes and Suri sent Tom Cruise out for a refill on snacks and sodas. As soon as Cruise left the theater, Suri leaned over to her mother and whispered, “If we ever wanted to run away, now would be the time. We got maybe five minutes before he gets back. Are you with me?” Holmes looked over her shoulder and eyed the door. Nobody was coming. Holmes stared into the eyes of her daughter and wondered if they could pull it off. Before she made her mad dash for freedom, Suri left behind an origami unicorn crafted out of a movie ticket stub. [Photo Credit: Splash Pics] *A Call To The Bullpen is a work of fiction. Although the pictures we use are most certainly real, Defamer does not purport that any of the incidents or quotations you see in this piece actually happened. Lighten up, people ... it's a joke.

'American Carol' Producers Blame Weak B.O. On Left-Wing, Chihuahua-Led Conspiracy

Kyle Buchanan · 10/07/08 12:41PM

When the conservative satire An American Carol failed to catch fire at this weekend's box office, there were a wealth of potential targets for blame: the terrible, terrible trailer, the heated political climate, even the low-wattage cast of Hollywood's few Republicans (without even so much as a cameo for D.B. Sweeney!). However, the team behind the David Zucker-helmed parody would prefer to ignore those valid debits, instead alleging that there has been a vast, ticket-switching conspiracy designed to deflate American Carol grosses (and boost, perhaps, the thinly-veiled pro-immigration dogma of Beverly Hills Chihuahua?):

Chihuahua Army Craps Gold For Disney

Seth Abramovitch · 10/06/08 11:25AM

Hard times got you down? Well don't expect the weekend's box office numbers to cheer you up any: 1. Beverly Hills Chihuahua - $29 million Since we first glimpsed its trailer—a jaw-dropping depiction of 45,000 CGI chihuahuas line-kicking to a song about burrito condiments on the steps of a Mayan ruin—we've made little secret of our obsession with this movie. Sadly, a painful ingrown toenail prevented us (yes—all of us; when one hurts, the others feel it just as deeply) from actually paying to see it. Enough did, however, to earn Disney its highest-ever October opening. They were mostly struggling American families, looking in this canine rags-to-riches story for a distraction from their growing financial woes, like Little Orphan Annie offered during the Great Depression. Unfortunately, the plan largely backfired, as all hungry audiences could see in place of the film's adorable Mexican lapdogs were delicious, charcoal-broiled rotisserie chihuahuas floating across the screen.2. Eagle Eye - $17.7 million Meanwhile, this hi-tech thriller starring Shia LaBeouf (in his last pinkie-nail-intact role) continued to draw them in, in which he and Katie Holmes's MI3 stand-in play two strangers taunted mercilessly by That Lady Who Offers Voicemail Options. 3. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - $12 million We had high hopes based on the cleverly culled clips used in the commercial, but came away extremely disappointed, as just about everything in this movie—from the queer band members cast by obviously straight dudes, to the CW-caliber dialogue, to the most disgusting sequence we've ever endured involving a wad of chewing gum—came off as just plain wrong. (With the exception of Michael Cera, who emerged unscathed using his mutant superpower of being insanely cute.) 4. Nights in Rodanthe - $7.355 million While we're not ones for Hallmark porn, we're confident that Richard Gere has achieved in Rodanthe yet another heart-shaped turd to toss onto his ever-growing shmalzography pile. 9. An American Carol - $3.810 million 10. Religulous - $3.5 million Bill Maher's amazing voyage inside the heart of bible-thumping America performed strongly, earning around the same as what David Zucker's execrable An American Carol—a profoundly unfunny satire paradoxically geared to an audience born without satire-detection capacities—managed on three-times the screens.

45 Percent of Critics Can't Be Wrong About 'Beverly Hills Chihuahua'

STV · 10/03/08 02:35PM

We said it once, but it bears repeating in streets and valleys far and wide: It's opening day for Beverly Hills Chihuahua! ZOMG, right? At least we thought so, but despite our all-consuming anticipation and lobbying on its behalf, Defamer's fevered attempts to break down the Disney wall for an early viewing were met with repeated, unappreciative radio silence. And because the world's first review — a rave, natch — seemed suspiciously exempt from the studio's embargo, it's only now that we can reliably study the critical spectrum. And just as we thought: It's almost half-good! Or, more realistically, the reviews catalogued at Rotten Tomatoes are just about split, but that can't deter our optimism — even the slags after the jump have us clamoring for quitting time:

Chihuahua Attack Snares Michael Cera, Megan Fox and Others in Box-Office Bloodshed

STV · 10/03/08 11:25AM

Welcome back to Defamer Attractions, your weekly guide to everything new, thrilling and thoroughly unnecessary at the movies. And we've got plenty of each to go around today as seven films are opening or expanding on 1,000 or more screens, a pair of Oscar-chasing indies open small and a legion of talking dogs threaten to overtake the box office. You can't say we didn't warn you. So read on for our picks, poxes and DVD alternatives for those of you too overwhelmed to face the multiplex. We feel your pain. As always, our opinions are our own, but with unfailing taste and accuracy like this, why argue?WHAT'S NEW: This is the week we've been waiting for since May, when Disney ignored our urgent plea to immediately release Beverly Hills Chihuahua from its high-camp captivity. And now that it's here, we're kind of over it; blame it on last month's chihuahua-only sneak preview. Not like the sadists at Disney need us: BHC is this week's only new family release and will do business accordingly, setting up for around $32.3 million over the three-day. The Michael Cera/Kat Dennings effort Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist will ride teens and the date crowd to about $17 million, which still won't be enough to overtake Eagle Eye for second place. Nothing else will break $10 million; Greg Kinnear's windshield-wiper biopic (!) Flash of Genius is on too few screens, Julianne Moore's dodgy drama Blindness will fall victim to the angry blind lobby, and Ed Harris's expanding Western Appaloosa couldn't find traction when it was on 1,000 screens, let alone 2,000. Most of the remaining release slate looks like a gang of orphans hassling tourists for change: Jia Zhangke's acclaimed Still Life; the timely, revealing political doc Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story, Rutger Hauer's psychological love-triangle drama Mentor; Obscene, the story of Grove Press publisher Barney Rosset; the Muslim stand-up concert film Allah Made Me Funny, and the Iraq-vet basket case drama The Violent Kind. THE BIG LOSER: MGM's hard-luck streak looks likely to continue with How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, the adaptation of Toby Young's thinly-veiled bestseller about his misadventures in the Conde Nast empire. It won't fail for lack of trying — at least not with a cast including Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Megan Fox and Jeff Bridges rocking his best Graydon Carter impression — and a month ago, in less-congested times, this may have even had some multiplex leverage. But in this glut, with the reviews it's receiving and audience awareness less than half of what it needs to be, expect a $3 million opening and quick dispatch to DVD. Where, in fairness, the Fox connection will more than make up for it stillbirth at the box office.

Critic: 'Beverly Hills Chihuahua' Breaks Shallow New Ground in Mexican-American Relations

STV · 09/16/08 12:30PM

Photographic evidence of last Saturday's dogs-only preview of Beverly Hills Chihuahua has arrived at Defamer HQ, and it looks like precisely the kind of shrill, infernal canine redoubt we thought might occur when more than 300 chihuahuas and their owners piled into the Fine Arts Theater. The user reviews to date are positive overall ("IT WAS THE BEST MOVE [sic] EVER !!!! THANK YOU !!!" wrote one satisfied small-dog exploiter], but only trustworthy to the extent you can rely on the taste of people who stuff diminutive pooches into makeshift sweaters, tuxedos and other garments for a day on on the town. But that's OK! One critic apparently had an early look at the film, either busting Disney's review embargo or pimping it outright for a price — let it suffice to say he liked it. Still, even after a review with 12 chapters and seemingly no spoiler left unpeeled, we don't really get why:

Oscar-Winner Brad Pitt, Resurgent Weinsteins and 9 Other Bold Predictions For Fall Movie Hell

STV · 09/11/08 10:55AM

Our office's crystal ball usually tends to function best on Fridays — and even then, as we handicap new releases in our Defamer Attractions column, it can be a tad hinky. But after a few weeks of painstaking inquiry, we think we now have a handle on some of the fall movie slate's biggest revelations to come. Will Brad Pitt backward-age his way to Oscar immortality? Is Twilight really the best investment for your vampire-movie dollars? Can Beverly Hills Chihuahua live up to its exceptional promise? Follow the jump for answers to those and a few of the season's other pressing questions. Feel free to scan your own tea leaves as well; our own oracle shuddered and crapped out the minute we asked about Australia, so any and all input is welcome. Onward!1. Brad Pitt will win an Academy Award. We know the post-Toronto establishment has all but engraved Mickey Rourke's name on this year's Best Actor Oscar (hell, even Rourke has engraved his name on this year's Best Actor Oscar), but taking both The Wrestler (release date TBD) and Pitt's epic The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (12/25) sight unseen, we'll take the aging-backward-on-other-people's-bodies gimmick over the gritty indie comeback 10 times out of 10. Not that it won't be close: Brad Grey will spend more on his old pal's campaign than Fox Searchlight is probably ready to drop on Rourke's, but Rourke will be the more accessible nominee to the media. Look for dark horse Sean Penn (Milk) to split the field late; Focus Features won't settle for another 0-fer in '08. 2. W. (10/17) will tip the election to the GOP. Opening less than three weeks before Election Day, the film will be too muddled to move the Democrats yet irreverent enough to galvanize the Republican base against Hollywood one more time before voting. Oliver Stone will be recognized as the new Ralph Nader. 3. You're going to miss Don LaFontaine a lot more than you think. Otherwise execrable trailers like this one for The Haunting of Molly Hartley (10/31) acquired bittersweet relevance overnight: 4. The Weinstein Company will muscle its way back to prominence. Harvey had a relatively hemorrhage-free summer, closed out by his $16 million-grossing (and counting) Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Meanwhile, Zack and Miri Make a Porno (10/31) left Toronto with goodwill to spare, the LA immigrant saga Crossing Over (10/24) has Harrison Ford, Sean Penn and others channeling Crash, and the company bumped up The Reader for Kate Winslet Oscar consideration. (NB: The Rourke Factor also reportedly inspired Harvey to finally slot his long-shelved Killshot on Nov. 7.) The Weinsteins being the Weinsteins, of course, the operation could crash at any time, but at least the ensuing conflagration promises Hindenberg levels of spectacle. That's our Harvey. 5. Owen Wilson will emerge from, return to hiding after explaining the trailer to Marley & Me (12/25). That is all.

Kyle Buchanan · 08/06/08 04:50PM

Ay yi yi: inspired, perhaps, by the evocative mashup that is The Dark Cock, Disney has decided to retool its controversial comedy Beverly Hills Chihuahua into an empowering political fable worthy of Manohla Dargis. No longer simply a slapstick stereotype-fest, it's now the story of a lone chihuahua birthed Athena-like from the head of Kevin Costner and thrust into that most awe-inspiring of responsibilities: casting a vote to decide the fate of the U.S. presidential election. After two hours of sturm and drang (and the advice from his precocious liberal daughter), will he make the right choice? Spoiler alert: after a persuasive lobbying from surrogate Tinkerbell, he picks Paris Hilton. [Beverly Hills Chihuahua]

Sacha Baron Cohen To Explore His Serious Side In Searing Immigration-Law Drama, 'Accidentes'

Seth Abramovitch · 07/22/08 01:20PM

Always on the lookout for the next bushy-stashed, swarthily complected foreigner to add to his comedic repertoire, Sacha Baron Cohen has attached himself to a comedy pitch snapped up by Fox Atomic. From Bruno co-writer Peter Baynham, the movie is based on those ubiquitous billboards and DASH ads you've likely idled behind in traffic countless times before. Yes, Accidentes, the adventures of "el mejor abogado," is coming to a cinema near you:

Heads, Anticipation Explode as German 'Beverly Hills Chihuahua' Trailer Unveiled

STV · 07/15/08 01:40PM

We should have seen this coming after our first confession of love at first sight, but there is no doubt plenty of magic to be found in the growing number of reaction videos to the Beverly Hills Chihuahua trailer. Brooks Barnes had a glimpse at the burgeoning subgenre in yesterday's New York Times, but he nevertheless missed the boat on the international phase of Disney's Mexi-canine plot: Germany. Spoiler alert: You haven't really reacted to the BHC trailer until you've heard George Lopez's Teutonic counterpart introduce himself, "Ich bin ein Chihuahua." Is it still vaguely racist in German? Is it even worse? And either way, after all of its accompanying marketing horrors, why can we still not wait to see it? [YouTube]

'Beverly Hills Chihuahua' Further Corners Market on Mexican Gags For the Whole Family

STV · 07/08/08 02:25PM

Our obsession with Disney's forthcoming nature extravaganza Beverly Hills Chihuahua has resulted in feverish demands for an earlier release date and, failing that, an unabating anticipation of the day when we can plunk down our $10 for studio's garish, G-rated monument to ethno-canine stereotypes. The bastards appear to be listening, however, as a new teaser making the rounds features the angry, George Lopez-voiced hero Papi rallying the diminutive troops, wetting panties and calling for "mas" all-you-can-eat taco bars and "no mas" handbag accessorizing. Seriously — who can wait for this?

Al Pacino And His Interminably Boring Stories

Mark Graham · 04/15/08 11:00PM

· Al Pacino made a guest appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman last night to promote his new film, 88 Minutes (aka Nick Of Time 2: Nicked Again!). Let this clip of Al Pacino putting Dave Letterman and the rest of the viewing audience to sleep with his Ted Striker-esque stories be a lesson to all of you up-and-comers in Hollywood; should you ever get called to sit on the chair next to Dave, Jay, Conan, Jimmy or Craig, the most important thing you can do is to PRACTICE YOUR ANECDOTES. And if you get called to do Carson Daly's show? Don't worry, no one is watching. [CBS, video by Molly McAleer]
· In an unprecedented move in the nearly 100 year history of Hollywood, Marvel and Paramount are banding together to turn the phenomenal trailer for Iron Man into a full-length movie. We can't wait! [The Onion]
· The thing about Scientology that creeps us out the most is the fact that even the ones who get away are crazy. [YouTube]
· If they cast the Yo Quiero Taco Bell dog in Beverly Hills Ninja instead of Chris Farley, you'd have yourself Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Unholy. [/Film]
· Wondering why Short Ends came to you a few hours late tonight? Well, it's because your Uncle Grambo was finishing his taxes. Let this serve as a reminder to all of you West Coasters, there's only three hours left to file your taxes! That is, unless your first name is Wesley and your last name is Snipes. In that case, don't sweat it. [IRS]