Since Tuesday, Hancock has grossed over $40 million domestically and is on track to stack $100 million plus by wke’s end. While early word from critics and geeks is decidedly mixed, that’s a lot of moolah for Will Smith, director Peter Berg (his first major hit), and Sony. How puzzling then that Nikke Finke says there are serious doubts circling inside the studio regarding Hancock‘s franchise potential—she even compares the film’s buzz to Wild Wild West. Jab, Hook, Jab. With a reported budget of $150 million, Jeff Wells cries Feh if the film grosses $90 mill or less by Sunday. Meanwhile, Diddy swooned and probably received a nice paycheck. UPDATE 2: It’s on target for $110 million. Wells now says he’s “in pain.” Aww.

My take: the flow of flip-flops, Crocs and wheelies after the holiday will remain steady, less steady than I Am Legend, which received similar “third act was wack” laments, but so what? Will Smith’s “coasting” will outperform the equally pricey The Incredible Hulk. And judging from early viewer comments below, “light fun” beats out-and-out hate.

Discuss: So, what did you think? In a summer of superlative superhero outings, where does Will Smith’s gravity-defying, comic-less street gruff fall? What did you make of the twisteroo that’s drawing steely comparisons to the guy who made The Happening? Would the film have been cooler if it was freed up by an R-rating as originally envisioned and marked by the MPAA—click here to read Vincent Ngo‘s leaked screenplay forTonight, He Comes. Was the 92-minute running time too short? Was the editing botched? Is a sequel warranted? What of the performances of Smith and Charlize Theron? Does the Hancock storyline/concept cancel out “Demon in a Bottle” for Iron Man 2 as some have prematurely suggested in the preceding weeks? Worth seeing in a theater?

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LOL: Real Life Hancock?

Our friends at MovieMoron bring us today’s edition of LOL: a photo of a real life Hancock. And before you ask, I’m pretty sure this real life Hancock doesn’t actually have any super powers.

/Filmcast Episode 6: Wanted and Wall-E

/FilmCast

In this episode of the /Filmcast, Dave, Adam, and Devindra geek out about some brand new trailers, speculate on the future of The Office, and try to find some meaningful criticisms of Wall-E. Special Guests Kevin Buist from Filmcouch and Eric Vespe (AKA “Quint”) from Aint it Cool News join us today. Have any questions/comments/suggestions? Want to advertise with us or sponsor us? Feel free to e-mail us at slashfilmcast@gmail.com.

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I have just confirmed that the movie trailer for Scott Derrickson‘s The Day the Earth Stood Still remake will be attached to prints of Hancock, which hits theaters next week.

The contemporary re-imagining of the 1951 science fiction classic stars Keanu Reeves as Klaatu, an alien whose arrival on our planet triggers a global upheaval. As governments and scientists race to unravel the mystery behind the visitor’s appearance, a woman (Jennifer Connelly) and her young stepson (Jaden Smith) get caught up in his mission – and come to understand the ramifications of his being a self-described “friend to the Earth.” Kathy Bates also stars. The Day the Earth Stood Still scheduled to hit theaters on December 12th 2008.

LOL: Hancock Subway Art

Found in the subways of New York City, this Hancock advertisement has been remixed by Posterboy using clippings from Eddie Murphy’s face from Meet Dave. And this wouldn’t be a LOL posting if there werent some kind of stupid dick joke hidden in the website url.

via: Flickr

LOL: Hancock Billboard

We we launched the LOL feature, we never thought it would degrade into dick and fart jokes. But so far we’ve posted two defaced Happening billboards which were transformed into “The CRAPening” and “The Penis”. When I first saw this unfinished Hancock billboard before quickly telling myself it was an easy joke not worthy of featuring on the site. Who are we? The Sun? Well actually the British newspaper did feature the photo… And then came the emails. /Film readers suggesting that we feature the Hancock billboard in LOL. So thanks to Oscar, Daniel, John C, and Will B, here it is. Next time we’ll bring you something that has subtle layers of hilarity, I promise!

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Release Date Change: Hancock on July 1st

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Hancock will be hitting select theaters one night earlier than expected. Columbia Pictures has decided to hold nationwide screenings of the Will Smith drunken superhero action comedy on Tuesday July 1st, a day before the film’s announced release. Screenings will begin as early as 7:00pm on the first. Check your local listings for complete details. Thanks to /Film reader Alex for submitting the tip.

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Back in April, we discussed whether Entertainment Weekly‘s prediction that Will Smith‘s Hancock would be the third highest grossing film of Summer ’08 and the top superhero movie (discounting Indiana Jones), was accurate. On Slashfilm, interest in the big budget satire seems to be running far behind The Dark Knight, Iron Man and, arguably, The Incredible Hulk, so it’ll be interesting to see whether it reaches the teetering-on-$300 million grosses of I Am Legend. In a new article in the NYT, director and Michael Mann-protege Peter Berg (The Kingdom, Friday Night Lights) discusses the subversive nature of the film and it’s added therein that Hancock has received an R-rating twice from the MPAA.

“We had statutory rape up until three weeks ago,” Mr. Berg said, describing just one of the elements that has turned “Hancock” into an exercise in brinkmanship.

While jockish humor, action and grade-A special effects have been key to the film’s marketing, Berg adds that the final product will still contain a borderline amount of violence and sexuality sourced from the long praised original script by Vincent Ngo. This is noteworthy, if only because no other PG-13 blockbuster this summer has faced ratings challenges in the press, if memory serves. Might Hancock be darker than The Dark Knight? Sony co-chair Amy Pascal politely says of the film…

“It’s scary in that it goes farther than we’ve gone before.”

Meanwhile, Berg and writer-producer Akiva Goldsman are definitely playing up the “one for us” mentality to an intriguing degree.

New Hancock Movie Trailer from American Idol

Hancock

Columbia Pictures premiered an exclusive new Hancock movie trailer on Wednesday night’s American Idol. The new Peter Berg film stars Will Smith as superhero who has fallen on hard times and has fallen out of favor with the public. He enters into a questionable relationship with the wife (Charlize Theron) of the public relations professional (Jason Bateman) who’s trying to repair his image. The trailers and marketing up until this point almost gave off a parody vibe. This new trailer shows a different story featuring a lot more action and drama. I’m actually now officially looking forward to this movie. What do you think? Comment below!

[flv:http://media2.slashfilm.com/slashfilm/trailers/hancockfirstlook.flv 470 262]

Hancock hits theaters on July 2nd 2008.