When we first met John McClane in 1988, he was just an everyman cop trying to help his wife and her colleagues out of an office building. But oh, how things have changed. Each installment of the Die Hard franchise has gone bigger than the last, and number five, A Good Day to Die Hard, is no exception. McClane travels to Russia not only to save his son, but, apparently, to defend democracy itself.

In real life, we saw that progression unfold over two and a half decades. But next month, you can relive it in just a matter of hours. Fox has announced that it will bring all four previous films back to the theaters for one day only, as part of a marathon leading up to the release of A Good Day to Die Hard. Hit the jump for more details.

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 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

HARRY POTTER & THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX (Warner Bros) continued its strong run at the box office on Friday grabbing an estimated $26.5M, bringing its 3-day cume to just shy of $90M. That should put HP5 right at $80M for the traditional Fri thru Sun 3-day weekend, and it will give ORDER OF THE PHOENIX the biggest 5-day opening in the history of the franchise with an estimated $142.6M.

The second weekend of Michael Bay’s mega-hit TRANSFORMERS (Dreamworks/Paramount) is starting off with a solid $10.5M estimate for Friday. Early Saturday, Optimus Prime will fly past $200M domestic, and my studio sources are pointing to a $34M weekend, down just 52% from it’s opening 3-day. Remy and company has added another $5.5M Friday as Pixar’s RATATOUILLE tops the $130M mark. I’m expecting a weekend take of $17.2M for the critically-acclaimed animated film distributed by Disney, down only 41%. LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD (Fox) looks to be just under $3M to start the weekend, and, by Monday, the latest John McClane action pic will have banked a $9.65M 3-day and climbed past the $100M threshold. The Warner Bros misfire LICENSE TO WED added just $2.2M on Friday, and it will struggle to only $6.9M on its 2nd weekend.

For Friday and 3-Day Estimates for the top 14 films, you can visit FantasyMoguls.

Transformers PosterAs predicted, Transformers kicked more ass at the box office this weekend, with a Sunday morning estimate of $67.6 million. This brings the giant robot film to a grand total of $152.5 million in just 6.1 days of release (the film opening on Monday night at 8:00pm). WOW. Our friend Steve Mason at Fantasy Moguls has a good round-up of what Michael Bay’s Transformers has accomplished thus far:

  • All-time biggest Tuesday ($27.85M)
  • All-time best opening 6 days of release for a non-sequel [Monday thru Sunday] ($152.5M)
  • 2nd-best opening 4 days of release for a non-sequel [Tuesday thru Friday] ($98.6M)
  • 2nd-best opening 5 days of release for a non-sequel [Tuesday thru Saturday] ($124.5M)
  • 2nd-best opening 6 days of release for a non-sequel [Tuesday thru Sunday] ($143.7M)
  • 3rd-best Wednesday ($29.07M)
  • 4th-best opening 3 days of release for a non-sequel [Tuesday thru Thursday] ($76.1M)
  • 5th-best Thursday ($19.17M)
  • 6th-best opening 6 days of release [Tuesday thru Sunday] ($143.7M)
  • 6th-best opening 7 days of release [Monday thru Sunday] ($152.5M)
  • 9th-best opening 5 days of release [Tuesday thru Saturday] ($124.5M)
  • 12th-best opening 4 days of release [Tuesday thru Friday] ($98.6M)
  • 16th-best opening 3 days of release [Tuesday thru Thursday] ($76.1M)

Michael Bay should be proud. Also, Ratatouille earned over $29 million this weekend, brining the computer animated feature’s grand total to $109.5 million. Not bad, but also not great for a Pixar movie. I’m thinking that most of the people over at Disney must be relieved, because they expected less. Live Free or Die Hard brought in $17.4 million for a $84 million cume. Also of note: Michael Moore’s Sicko made $3.6 million, brining the film’s total to $11.5 million. It will be interesting to see how far this film can go as it continues to expand.

The following is a counter-point movie review by Francisco Saco. You can read Peter Sciretta’s original positive review at this link.

Live Free or Die Hard

The announcement of a new installment in the Die Hard series caused a wave of deep skepticism to wash over me. The fact that every geriatric actor in Hollywood has decided to once again take on the roles that made them household names is an insult to all fans of their original work. An obvious ploy to milk the new generation of filmgoers for all their milk money, these new and updated continuations usually fall short of their predecessors, turning away veteran fans at the expense of trying to make new and younger ones with more buying power.  With all this said, knowing that an aged Bruce Willis was to reprise the classic role of Detective John McClane was a bit unsettling when I first heard of it. Nevertheless, as a devout follower of the first three films in the series, especially the first and the third parts, I attended the screening on opening day.

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 Live Free or Die Hard

Live Free or Die Hard made an estimated $9.1 million on Wednesday, according to 20th Century Fox. Obviously, this number comes no where near the Wednesday Opening Day Record set by Spider-Man 2 ($40.4 million). Fox considers this a good number. Most people were projecting $8-$10 million. So it’s good but not great. You can now expect the film to take in around $35 to $40 million for the 5-day opening (Wednesday to Sunday).

But tomorrow, three new movies will challenge John McClane: Disney/Pixar’s Ratatouille, Michael Moore’s Sicko and Focus Features’ Evening. Ratatouille is tracking low for a Pixar film, and will probably take in anywhere from $40 – $50 million. Let’s hope for a bigger number, the film deserves it. Sicko is a limited release which I’m being told will be shown in almost 450 screens. At around $25,000 per screen, Moore’s film should be able to take in $10+ million. And if the film can pull that kind of number, expect The Weinstein Co to expand the release through out the month of July.

iPhone

The summer movie season is in full effect. I saw Live Free or Die Hard last night and loved it despite the many logic holes and ridiculous stunts (read my review here). Tonight I see License to Wed, which I don’t have much hope for (why does Mandy Moore keep picking the crappiest movies? I really want her to succeed). I would assume the studio also doesn’t have much hope for the film considering it’s being released against Transformers, possibly the biggest movie of the Summer. And before next week Sicko and Ratatouille hit theaters on Friday. I would venture to say that in this 7 day span you will be able to see at least 3 of the best movies of the year thus far (and I haven’t seen Transformers yet, so that could be four). So if there is anytime this summer to make the trip to the multiplex, I recommend you do it this or next week.

The hype for Transformers is now reaching epic heights. I’m seeing the movie on Thursday, but I’ve talked to quite a few people who saw it at the Los Angeles Junket and so far I haven’t heard one complaint. It looks like Michael Bay may have come through this time. I’m so excited for this film that the other day I decided to buy a new transformers movie toy. May-be it was just an attempt to relive my childhood, who knows. The huge Optimus Prime toy is more of a puzzle than a toy, and provided way more fun than it should have. Optimus Prime is now guarding my DVD collection until further notice.

It’s also pretty sweet to see that one of my favorite directors Kevin Smith quoted from my Die Hard review on his website. I’ve had a couple e-mail exchanges with Smith in the past over a story inaccuracy, where the director admitted that he’s been a long time reader of /Film. Anyways, Smith referred to me as “My man Pete at /Film” on his blog post, which is really cool.

And I’m going to try as much as I can not to buy an Apple iPhone on Friday afternoon. The verizon pocket pc I currently use really REALLY sucks. I recommend that no one ever buy a Windows Mobile phone. Windows was never meant to be an operating system for a phone. I’m a little put off by the whole Cingular/AT&T service provider change, but more importantly, the whole slower EDGE internet thing is what concerns me the most. The phone does have Wi-Fi enabled, but you can’t find an open wi-fi network everywhere, and while in transit it’s currently impossible. San Francisco is supposed to eventually (hopefully) get free wi-fi internet courtesy of Earthlink and Google, but that could be a year off. Now that would be cool.

Peter Sciretta
/Film Editor in Chief

Movie Review: Live Free or Die Hard

Live Free or Die Hard

I just got home from the press screening for Live Free or Die Hard (aka Die Hard 4.0, which woulda, coulda and shoulda been the film’s official title). With any sequel, everyone immediately asks how it compares to the previous films in the series. There really is no way to review a fourth film in a series on solid ground because you walk into it with hours (in this case six hours) of expectations. We go to a movie like this expecting to relive our cinematic, pop-culture childhood. Unfortunately it’s a promise which is almost never fulfilled. And you might be saying, “Why doesn’t he cut to the chase” or “just spit it out and tell us that you hated the movie!” But the truth is that I had a GREAT time. The problem is that I feel like I shouldn’t have. I now watch movies with a more critical eye. Hey, it’s become my job. That said, the stunts and action are non-stop but may-be too over-the-top for some, and the story is filled with gaps of logic. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t mention these two things. For some of you it might be a deal-breaker, but I have a feeling that most of you are probably like me, and are willing to sit back and enjoy the movie.

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 Die Hard Interview: Kevin Smith and Bruce Willis

One of our favorite indie directors turned big screen action star – Kevin Smith, got a chance to interview Live Free or Die Hard co-star Bruce Willis, and we have the video footage. The interview takes place on the Fox Hollywood back-lot. Willis talks about making the film, talking to fans on iChat, and much more. This interview is far more interesting than most studio created promotional material (hence why we’re posting it). I hope Fox and other studios learn to do more of this kind of stuff. Watch the video after the jump.

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