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.

'Express,' 'Quarantine' Climb Into Multiplex Over Leo's Dead 'Body'

STV · 10/10/08 11:00AM

Welcome back to Defamer Attractions, your regular guide to everything new, noteworthy and potentially hideous this week at the movies. Today we see another fistful of titles tossed on the fall-release glut, none of which may have the stamina to outlast Disney's purse dog in a three-day race at the box office. We also have our refined eye on the weekend's most disappointing opening as well as our official art-house underdog, plus a few cherry-picked new DVD titles for the shut-ins among you. You know how this works by now: Our opinions are our own, but with free, near-gemological precision like this, why go anywhere else?WHAT'S NEW: Yesterday we broke down some of our problems with Body of Lies, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a CIA operative entangled in the boilerplate "web of intrigue" when his sketchy boss (Russell Crowe) dispatches him to Jordan to zzzzzzzzz... Critics aren't behind it, and it's too late in the year for Warner Bros. to push this as anything more than the beach-reading it is. Which doesn't mean it can't finish in first place, of course — even though it won't. Beverly Hills Chihuahua will sprint out the stretch over Body's lumbering, wheezing frame, narrowly outgrossing Warners' $16 million for the week's biggest dogtrack upset. Warners will do much better distributing RockNRolla for Guy Ritchie and Joel Silver on a smattering of screens in LA and New York before going wide on Halloween, but that's pocket change below Universal's football biopic The Express (should open strong around $15.2 million), the B-horror Quarantine ($11.9 million), the family adventure City of Ember ($6.6 million) and finally in wide release, Keira Knightley nifty bodice-ripper The Duchess ($5.2 million). Eagle Eye and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist will skim off everyone's top as well with a combined $16 million for the weekend. Also opening: Mike Leigh's latest annoyance Happy-Go-Lucky; the quirky microbudget romance Good Dick; the gay family dramedy Breakfast With Scot; Daddy Yankee's gangland redemption saga Talento de Barrio; and the self-explanatory biopic Billy: The Early Years of Billy Graham. THE BIG LOSER: Equipped as it is for international support and a long life on DVD and cable, $20 million is still the low end of studio expectations for Body of Lies. It won't come anywhere close.

Leonardo DiCaprio's Sinking Ship 'Body of Lies' Readies the Lifeboats

STV · 10/09/08 06:35PM

Tracking on Body of Lies isn't dazzling anyone today at Warner Bros., which has spent the last two months trying to push Ridley Scott's $100 million Leonardo DiCaprio/Russell Crowe war-on-terror thriller onto the top of this weekend's congested slate of new releases. Most forecasts place its opening gross around $17 million — likely enough to dispatch mildly aromatic new competition like Quarantine, City of Ember and The Express, but not nearly enough to guarantee a first-place finish ahead of Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Not. Acceptable. Is it too early to ask what the hell happened here?Warners may be the only studio that hasn't yet had its big Iraq-themed clusterfuck; that time appears to have arrived. (Its defunct subsidiary Warner Independent bungled the underrated In the Valley of Elah to a $1.5 million wide release last September, just one of the misfires that cost the mini-major its life.) Universal only opened with $17.1 million for last year's The Kingdom, and Paramount saw Stop-Loss die quickly this past spring, earning almost half of its $11 million total gross in the first week of release. So if Iraq and the war on terror aren't over yet as Hollywood themes, they probably will be when Monday rolls around. Critics aren't digging it either, but maybe even more importantly: Has Leonardo DiCaprio ever seemed more out-of-place than the Body trailers and TV spots?

Russell Crowe Is Shocked To Hear The News!

Douglas Reinhardt · 10/06/08 02:44PM

Click to At the premiere of Body Of Lies, Russell Crowe was shocked to hear that one of the reporters on the red carpet was not a fan of cheese. The rough and tumble Aussie actor couldn’t believe that the reporter did not enjoy one of the finest things in life. Crowe said, “Perhaps, this woman has been given the wrong cheese and maybe I’m the person to teach her about the ways of proper cheese consumption. I love CHEESE! Give me a nice slice of Havarti and a beautiful Bordeaux and I’m as tame as a baby kitten.” [Photo Credit: WENN] *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.

Russell Crowe Cops The Latest Mix Tape!

Douglas Reinhardt · 10/03/08 01:25PM

Click to Hip Hop aficionado and dolphin short enthusiast Russell Crowe took to the rough and tumble streets of Beverly Hills to pick up the latest mix CD from his favorite rapper, Supa Soaker. The Body Of Lies star asked Supa Soaker if he sells his mix tapes and CDs on line as a direct digital download. Crowe believed it would increase Soaker’s audience and it would be a lot easier to put onto his iPod. Crowe said, “Mr. Soaker and myself know that Beverly Hills is full of hardcore hip hop fans, but I believe he’s limiting his commercial appeal by focusing primarily in this area. Now, if he was on MySpace or the Friend Book, he might have more fans.” [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.

DiCaprio/Crowe/Scott Thriller Promises Hours of Shouty Man-on-Man Action

STV · 03/18/08 11:25AM

With Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe working in the service of a screenplay by William Monahan (The Departed), the CIA-vs.-terrorist thriller Body of Lies is roughly what you get when Warner Bros. throws a platinum-plated kitchen sink at Ridley Scott's Oscar curse. Except rough is only the half of it, according to a script review published Monday: