Why exactly would anyone want to remake a classic film? With so much to live up to, times five, due to the time tested nostalgia factor, there is almost no conceivable way you can trump the expectations. But if there was one person that I would trust to remake Halloween, it would probably be Rob Zombie. House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects were a call back to the classic horror films of the 1970′s. It’s almost like Zombie, and his collected crew, are able to channel Tobe Hooper and the directors of that era. It’s more about mood than anything else. It’s that creepy unsettling feeling that you feel. A mixture of the set design, camera direction, casting, and soundtrack. This is why I knew Rob Zombie would scare the living hell out of us again, with one of horror’s classic characters. But I was wrong.
Zombie’s re-imagining of the John Carpenter 1978 classic went wrong in conception. The concept is simple, and a good one at first glance: Who is Michael Myers? We got a small glimpse of his childhood origin in the original film, but Zombie’s vision was to expand upon this mythology. Because Myers was the key to the first film’s success. Sure, you had Jamie Lee Curtis’ lungs, and Carpenter’s now classic score, but the kids came because of the man in the mask.
In Zombie’s new film we learn why Myers wears the mask, and we even learn why he doesn’t speak. We learn a lot about Michael Myers, and that is problem #1. The reason why we enjoyed his character in the original was because he was such a mystery. It was what we didn’t know, what we didn’t see, what we were forced to make up in our heads.
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Michael Myers is ready to slash his way to an all-time 4-day Labor Day weekend record, and, by Monday, he’ll pass Jigsaw to become the 4th-biggest grossing movie “killer” in modern box office history.
The original 1978 John Carpenter film HALLOWEEN is, for my money, the scariest of all scary movies. Donald Pleasance is just over-the-top enough when the nurse says, “Don’t you think it would be better if you referred to ‘it’ as a ‘him’?, and, as Doctor Loomis, he responds, “If you say so.” And the moment where Jamie Lee Curtis says, “I killed him” and the little boy
says, “You can’t kill the boogie man” is classic.
No official reviews available for Rob Zombie’s new version of HALLOWEEN (MGM/Weinstein). Quint from ‘Aint It Cool News says that user reviews from screenings and bootlegs are love-hate 50/50. He also, correctly, points out that the Weinsteins are thrilled with Zombie, and Bob and Harvey have signed him to a 2-picture deal.
That being said, it’s always dangerous to remake classic, and HALLOWEEN is a bit of a high wire act, but this movie is going to open huge. I reviewed tracking with a well-placed source today, and even they were surprised at the apparent strength. This slasher pic isn’t just scoring with Under 25′s. The 25 Plus crowd may be showing up.
SAW III (Lionsgate), which opened to $33.6M last October, is a very good comparable. The most recent chapter of the twisted James Wan/Leigh Whannell horror series was stronger in almost every category on its opening day than HALLOWEEN is now, but ‘ole Mike Myers is giving Jigsaw a run for his money.
The Lionsgate sequel had Un-Aided Awareness of 22% compared to a very strong 13% for HALLOWEEN. The Rob Zombie remake actually leads SAW III in Total Awareness 82%-73%, but that’s a function of the legendary status of the original. The 3rd movie featuring Jigsaw leads in Definite Interest 46%-36% and in the First Choice column 20%-13%, but HALLOWEEN has a First Choice with Males 25 Plus of 11% and Females 25 Plus of 10%.
Is a 4-quadrant horror movie possible? To some degree, yes, but this is Rob Zombie (THE DEVIL’S REJECTS), and this picture has a strong R rating. Mom may have gotten a great scare out of Jamie Lee and Mike 30 years ago, but she’s not necessarily going to bring the kids to the mall to see this one. There will be a wave of nostalgia, but it won’t be a tsunami.
I’m targeting $23M-$26M for HALLOWEEN, which would be a record-breaking 4-day Labor Day weekend, surpassing 2005′s TRANSPORTER 2 from Fox. It will easily post the best opening weekend in the 8-film history of the franchise, and, interestingly, Michael Myers will pass Jigsaw to become the all-time 4th-best grossing movie killer/slasher. (Jigsaw will almost certainly retake #4 on the list sometime this fall with Saw IV opening on October 26.)
The tracking for BALLS OF FURY (Rogue Releasing) is actually stronger than its opening Wednesday of $1.7M. Its Un-Aided Awareness was 5%, which is a bit of a commercial pulse, but there were no long lines at America’s multiplexes on opening day. Critics are not being kind, but that’s not exactly a surprise. BALLS has a 29% Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes and it’s 37% positive at MetaCritic.com, but they didn’t make this movie for the Ebert & Roeper crowd. This is the BEERFEST or DODGEBALL of ping-pong. That’s a huge range. BEERFEST opened with a 3-day of $7M back in 2006 and went on to gross a mere $19.1M. Meanwhile, DODGEBALL opened to $30M and became a phenomenon with $114.3M domestic.
The most recent dumb sport-themed movie was HOT ROD starring Andy Samberg. Despite debuting on over 2,000 screens, it managed only $5.3M on opening weekend, and, to-date, it has registered just $13.6M in domestic ticket sales. BALLS OF FURY is showing up dramatically stronger than HOT ROD in industry tracking with a 67% Total Aware vs. 42%, 34% Definite Interest vs. 25% and it’s got a 10% First Choice vs. 0% for HOT ROD.
My hunch is that Rogue’s soft Wednesday opening isn’t a great predictor of the weekend performance for BALLS OF FURY ($1.7M on Wednesday could be pointing toward a 4-day of $10M). Instead, I’m looking for a marginally better 4-day Labor Day weekend of $12-$15M, which would actually make it one of the All-Time Top 5 4-day Labor Day weekends (still not impressive). BALLS will likely turn in a 6-day (Wed thru Sun) of $15M -$18M.
That brings us to the hardly-marketed DEATH SENTENCE (Fox), which has been screened for virtually nobody. SAW co-creator James Wan is the director of his Kevin Bacon film, and those in the industry will likely view this as strike 2″ for him. (The first “strike” was Universal’s spring horror flick EAD SILENCE.)
The tracking says that only 42% of the movie-going public has ever heard of the film, and with Definite Interest of just 30% and a First Choice number of 4%, it won’t take long for this one to show up at the local Blockbuster. I’m not looking for more than $3M-$6M in its opening 4 days.
For the complete Box Office Tracking report go to FantasyMoguls.
A workprint of Rob Zombie’s Halloween has been leaked onto the internet. TheÂ copy turned up on several bit torrent websites just four days before the film’s theatrical movie premiere on Friday.
Hopefully Halloween won’t suffer the same fate as Eli Roth’s Hostel: Part II which had an unfinished work-print leak online a week before its theatrical release. In the case of Hostel, a week was all that was needed to convince the online horror community not to spend their cash at the box office. On the other hand, an early leak of Michael Moore’s Sicko lead to strong word of mouth, which many people speculate, may have ended up helping the film’s box office (however there is no way to prove anything either way). Disney/Pixar’s Ratatouille also ended up on the torrent sites a week before the film’s theatrical release after a nationwide sneak preview screening. Most people agree that this leak didn’t hurt the film due to its targeted family demographic. Movie Piracy seems to be most effective against the box office in films which target a teen demographic.
It’s also interesting to note that both Sicko and Halloween have ties to The Weinsteins, while Sicko and Hostel 2 have ties to Lionsgate. It’ll be interesting to find out exactly where these work-prints were leaked, but I have a feeling that they might all be connected. Again, I have no proof, but I’m guessing there is a leak somewhere in the chain of post production of all three of these films.
At Comic-Con, Rob Zombie premiered some new footage for his re-imagining of Halloween. And now a new trailer is available online. There are not many horror remakes that have me excited, but I have faith that Zombie has done it right. By the time that the music hits at the conclusion of the trailer, my heart is beating at a rapid pace. Check out the new trailer after the jump.
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Reshoots is usually not a good thing. Word came in this weekend via BD that Rob Zombie has been hard at work filming new scenes including a new ending for his Halloween remake/prequel. Apparently they spend seven days to film the six new death sequences which are said to give the film a “serious boost in violence, gore and bloodshed” and a new ending which is only described as “Gruesome”.
Hmmm, well I guess I can’t complain about that. Plus wasn’t one of the bathroom attack sequence one of the best sequences from Snakes on a Plane? That was also part of a series of reshoots for the same purpose. So may-be filming some extra material to harden up a horror film is a good sign. We’ll have to wait and see. Yeah, Snakes on a Plane is probably not the best example…
Rouge Pictures has decided to move Balls of Fury from September 14th, to August 31st 2007. The comedy was originally set to go head to head with Danny Boyle’s Sunshine and Jet Li’s War. The film will now go up against Mr. Bean’s Holiday and Rob Zombie’s Halloween. I think they may have been better off in the previous release date.
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Rob Zombie has posted a new still of Tyler Mane (X-Men, Troy) as Michael Myers in Halloween (movie trailer). Looks pretty much like you would expect him to look. Click on the image to see Myers in full high resolution. Zombie’s new film is a bit of a prequel and a remake at the same time.
Did You Know: The mask that Michael Myers wears is actually William Shatner’s face painted white?
Halloween hits theaters on August 31st 2007.
On March 25th, we had the opportunity to talk with most of the stars of Grindhouse. We will be posting the interviews leading up until the film’s release on April 6th 2007.
We sat down with Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Rent, 25th Hour) to talk about her role as Abernathy in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof. We talked to Rosario about her change from a tom boy to a girlie girl, Kevin Smith’s upcoming romantic comedy, her aspirations to work with Rob Zombie, Eli Roth and Catherine Hardwicke, her comic book series O.C.T.: Occult Crimes Taskforce, and the film she is producing based on the book. But for the most part Rosario hijacked the interview to tell us about her first producing effort, Descent, which will make it’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. Dawson was very excited about her new film, so we let her do most of the talking.
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