SATURDAY PM, 5TH UPDATE: Jeez, Jeffrey Katzenberg must have enemies in higher places than anyone thought possible. Because studios are telling me this weekend’s freakishly early East Coast snowstorm will definitely take a bite out of box office. (On the other hand, maybe JK has friends in higher places because now no one will know what his movie would have done on its own.) There’s no doubt that DreamWorks Animation’s 3D Puss In Boots distributed by Paramount is finishing the weekend #1 with anywhere from $32.2M to $35M. That’s the range among my sources. So it remains to be seen when the actuals come in on Monday if the cat broke the Halloween weekend record of $33.6M set by Saw III in 2006. The Shrek spinoff’s opening was looking in line with 2011′s other non-summer animated 3D hits like Rio ($39M, also 3D) and Rango ($39M but only 2D) before the snow. But one rival studio exec snarked to me Friday night, “What will DWA think about an opening in the $30sM? Dunno, but it could be more like Puss In Cement Boots.”
Fox’s sci-fi thriller In Time with Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried is soft considering the wide release. It’s clear now that Justin, while talented on SNL, is no movie star. FilmDistrict’s The Rum Diary with Johnny Depp also is performing … Read More »
If director Andrew Niccol and New Regency’s Justin Timberlake thriller In Time is based on a pilfered idea, as is claimed in a copyright suit filed yesterday in L.A. federal court, they may have picked on the wrong guy. At the wrong time. The suit was brought by science fiction author Harlan Ellison, who says that the movie is too close to his 1965 short story ”Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman” and wants its scheduled Oct. 28 release blocked. A copyright curmudgeon, Ellison has a track record of filing high-profile copyright cases. He received an acknowledgment credit after he sued over The Terminator, claiming it was based on two Outer Limits episodes her wrote. And according to the suit, after years of waiting, Ellison recently had a third party write an adaptation of the book and was preparing to approach the studios with it. Ellison’s suit alleges plot and character parallels, and he apparently isn’t the only one who sees similarities. The author notes in his suit that critic Richard Roeper in his Fall Movie Preview, says that the film “is based on a short story by the great Harlan Ellison.” In addition to blocking the film’s release, Ellison is seeking compensatory damages.
Fox and New Regency put up a trailer this weekend for In Time, the Andrew Niccol-directed futuristic science fiction thriller that takes place in a world where people who want to live beyond 25 have to purchase time. The protagonist’s clock is about to run out when a rich guy tired of living gives away his time. Niccol used a similar plot driver in his 1997 directorial debut Gattaca, where Ethan Hawke got the chance to escape his dreary home planet and got a shot at space travel despite inferior genetics when an elite athlete (Jude Law) whose body is ruined gives him his ticket off the planet. It worked well in that movie, and In Time gives Justin Timberlake an opportunity to move from romantic comedies to action terrain in a movie career that so far has been a pleasant surprise. Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde and Cillian Murphy also star in a film that opens Oct. 28.