Two percent doesn't sound like much of a quantity on its face, but it's apparently more than enough room for studio execs to rejoice after recent box-office scans reveal this year's grosses are slightly up from those of Summer 2007. Observers attribute part of the bump to "better-than-expected" openings for films like Kung-Fu Panda, Sex and the City, The Happening and The Incredible Hulk, with the latter film's $55 million opening rounding out Marvel Studios' blockbuster tandem with Iron Man.
Few came away from Ang Lee's vision of Hulk—about two freakishly massive, green cowboys who smash boulders and each others' hearts on the open Wyoming plain—feeling the director had really done the Marvel source material justice. So it was with a measure of relief that Ed Norton announced he would be sweeping in to reclaim the franchise, with a bold re-envisioning of the beloved tale of Dr. Banner and his rageoholic, gamma-bomb-enhanced Mr. Hyde. Now, reports Deadline Hollywood Daily, the legendarily exacting Norton has been locking horns with the Marvel Studios brass over final cut:
· The Weinstein Co. (with help from their besties at Lionsgate) will release Michael Moore's documentary Sicko on July 29th, which should do for America's health care system what Bowling for Columbine did for a senile-seeming, rifle-loving Charlton Heston. [Variety]
· Hollywood Out Of Ideas, Even In The Prehistoric Past And Distant Future Edition: Robert Rodriguez is in talks to direct a live-action feature adaptation of The Jetsons, and has also met with Universal about Will Ferrell's adaptation of Land of the Lost. [THR]
· Universal lands its second Serious Actor for its The Incredible Hulk project, as Tim Roth is in negotiations to play Hulk antagonist Abomination and spend long hours discussing how best to portray the emotional torment of gamma-wave-poisoning sufferers in the context of a superhero film. [Variety]
· FX may pay up to $40 million for the TV rights to Spider-Man 3 for five years, but only once it completes it pay-cable run on Starz. [THR]
· Var TV critic and Entourage nemesis Brian Lowry is amused that his HBO stand-in, who'll be harassed by an aggrieved Johnny Drama in an upcomnig episode shot in the paper's offices, has an assistant. [Variety]
· Here's comes Spider-Man 3! But how much will it make on its domestic opening weekend, after breaking records in 10 of the 16 territories in which it's already playing? Experts agree: a fucking shitload. [[Variety]
· But! Is THR playing the hype card? We're reminded that the beginning of the summer blockbuster season is always accompanied by the loss of "all sense of perspective." Whatever. This movie's doing $400 million in three days, we can feel it. [THR]
· Reese Witherspoon's Type A Films is developing an adaptation of Rebecca Godfrey's Under the Bridge, the "true-crime account of a brutal high school murder." With no superhero angle to speak of and no prospects of breaking Pirates 2's box office record, why are we wasting time on this? Our theory: Witherspoon is in talks to play Mary Jane in Spidey-4. [Variety]
· Liv Tyler will star opposite Edward Norton in next summer's The Incredible Hulk. Opening weekend prediction: a disappointing $37 million. Hey, no Spider-Man cameo. [THR]
· Thursday night's special, two-hour, spinoff-introducing Grey's Anatomy holds the show's usual viewership, so get ready to enjoy Dr. Addison's romantic misadventures on a weekly basis this Fall. (Did we really hear Tim Daly say, "I'm going to kiss you with tongue?" Maybe they're saving the snappier, "I'm going to place my penis inside you. Then move it around" banter for the actual series.) [Variety]
· When a reader goes through the trouble of spending hours tinkering around in MS Paint to create a fan-art masterpiece , we have no choice but to share it with you. Behold, the Incredible Norton. (Click the photo for a larger version.)
· If you watch just one video of Britney Spears amusing herself by babbling semi-coherently about the tabloid media that's ruining her life into a paparazzi agency's video camera, make it this one.
· And also: Is Britney more charitable than a certain A-list golden boy?
· Kiefer Sutherland savagely bites Forest Whitaker in a Walk of Fame sneak attack!
In what is easily the most unexpected superhero casting news since it was announced in September that Robert Downey, Jr. would be donning Iron Man's exoskeleton, Variety reports that fellow card-carrying Serious Actor Edward Norton has signed on for an Incredible Hulk sequel planned for release next summer: