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‘Stooges’ Star Will Sasso Lands Lead In ‘My Asshole Neighbor’

By | Monday June 24, 2013 @ 1:45pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: It’s good that Will Sasso has landed the title role in a movie, but I’m led to wonder why so many film companies press forward with naughty titles knowing full well they will never make it to the screen because newspapers and TV can’t run the advertising. Sasso, most recently seen as Curly in the Farrelly Brothers-directed The Three Stooges, has signed to star opposite David Koechner in director Andrew Currie’s suburban comedy feature My Asshole Neighbor. Sasso will portray Jerry, a loud, rude redneck who moves next door to a professional mediator Paul (Koechner), turning his world upside down. Once his private little patch of peaceful suburbia is invaded, the usually peace-loving Paul finds himself waging war on Jerry — which ultimately begs the questions, who’s really the asshole, and which sphincter will prevail? Produced by Mary Anne Waterhouse, the film will shoot mid-August in Vancouver. Read More »

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‘Hunger Games’ Passes $500M Global Cume, Scores #1 Domestic B.O. For 4th Weekend; ‘Three Stooges’ #2, ‘Cabin In Woods’ #3; ‘Battleship’ Builds $58M Foreign War Chest

April 13-15 Weekend Actuals

1. The Hunger Games (Lionsgate) Week 4 [3,916 Theaters] PG-13
Friday $6.4M, Saturday $9.3M, Sunday $5.4M, Weekend $21.1M (-36%), Cume $336.7M

2. The Three Stooges (Fox) NEW [3,477 Theaters] PG
Friday $5.6M, Saturday $7M, Sunday $4.4M, Weekend $17.0M

3. The Cabin in The Woods (Lionsgate) NEW [2,811 Theaters] R
Friday $5.6M, Saturday $5.7M, Sunday $3.5M Weekend $14.7M

4. Titanic 3D (Paramount/Fox) Week 2 [2,697 Theaters] PG-13
Friday $3.3M, Saturday $5.2M, Sunday $3.4M, Weekend $11.9M (-31%), Cume $44.7M

5. American Reunion (Universal) Week 2 [3,203 Theaters] R
Friday $3.4M, Saturday $4.4M, Sunday $2.6M, Weekend $10.5M (-51%), Cume $39.7M

6. Wrath of The Titans 3D (Warner Bros) Week 3 [3,102 Theaters] PG13
Friday $1.9M, Saturday $3.0M,Sunday $1.9M, Weekend $6.9M (-53%), Cume $71.3M

7. Mirror Mirror (Relativity) Week 3 [3,206 Theaters] PG
Friday $2.1M, Saturday $3.0M, Sunday $1.8M, Weekend $6.8M (-38%), Cume $49.3M

8. 21 Jump Street (Sony) Week 5 [2,735 Theaters] R
Friday $2.0M, Saturday $2.9M, Sunday $1.6M, Weekend $6.6M (-34%), Cume $120.3M

9. Lockout (FilmDistrict) NEW [2,308 Theaters] PG13
Friday $2.2M, Saturday $2.5M, Sunday $1.5M, Weekend $6.2M

10. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax 3D (Universal) Week 7 [2,112 Theaters] PG
Friday $866K, Saturday $1.3M, Sunday $865K, Weekend $3.1M, Cume $204.5M

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 5TH UPDATE: Overall the North American weekend looks to be down around -11% from last year which may make Hollywood nervous going into the all-important summer movie season starting in May after a super-heated 2012 first quarter. The difference in this weekend’s close finishes were a matter of MPAA ratings and theater counts with 22% of K-12 out of school Friday. Lionsgate’s PG13-rated The Hunger Games scored the most locations in the U.S. and Canada this weekend and beat its domestic competition for the 4th straight weekend. As of Sunday morning, its global cume is now a gargantuan $500+ million! Fox received its hoped-for Friday (#1 after matinees) and Saturday (+24%) family fare bumps for the Farrelly Brothers’ PG-rated The Three Stooges, which played in more runs than Lionsgate’s R-rated The Cabin In The Woods. Interesting to note that both Stooges and Cabin were greenlit by then MGM production chief Mary Parent — and then taken over by other studios when MGM couldn’t handle its debt load. CinemaScores were as follows: Fox’s The Three Stooges ‘B-’ (‘A’ from audiences  under 18, ‘C’ from 25 and older), Lionsgate’s The Cabin In The Woods ‘C’ (‘D+’ from females), FilmDistrict’s Lockout ‘B-’. Interesting how the Stooges reviews were better than expected, especially from top-end critics who found genius in that silliness. But not as good as Joss Whedon’s horror pic which received truly stellar reviews, including 93% positive on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Three Stooges will be Peter and Bobby Farrelly’s 3rd highest opener.

Universal’s Battleship continues to screen strongly overseas with estimates bringing the 72-hour total to $58 million now that all 26 international territories are open. Director Peter Berg’s military vs alien actioner debuted to #1 in 24 of those new territories. For months the studio has fought bad buzz about how risky this expensive pic has been. Especially when the studio is claiming it came in at $209M — and everyone else is saying $250+M. And there’s still the possibility that, in the United States at least, it could become a disappointing ”John Carter in gunmetal grey”. But the film is performing well enough to allay fears that the rah-rah-USA patriotic theme in 2D might not do well internationally in a crowded foreign marketplace (against The Hunger Games, Titanic 3D, American Pie Reunion, and The Wrath Of The Titans). Universal pursued an unorthodox, even daring, strategy to open Battleship internationally more than a month before it debuts May 18th in North America. But it may pay off. My sources project the film could steam past $300M foreign box office based on current trends. The film rolls out to another 24 territories including big guns Russia and China next weekend.

My sources estimate these early Top Ten grosses for Friday, Saturday, and the weekend in North America:

1. The Hunger Games (Lionsgate) Week 4 [3,916 Theaters] PG-13
Friday $6.5M, Saturday $9.5M, Weekend $21.7M, Cume $335.7M

2. The Three Stooges (Fox) NEW [3,477 Theaters] PG
Friday $5.6M, Saturday $6.9M, Weekend $17.1M

3. The Cabin In The Woods (Lionsgate) NEW [2,811 Theaters] R
Friday $5.5M, Saturday $5.9M, Weekend $15.1M

4. Titanic 3D (Paramount/Fox) Week 2 [2,697 Theaters] PG-13
Friday $3.3M, Saturday $5.1M, Weekend $11.4M (-34%), Cume $44.1M

5. American Reunion (Universal) Week 2 [3,203 Theaters] R
Friday $3.4M, Saturday $4.4M, Weekend $10.6M (-51%), Cume $39.8M

6. Mirror Mirror (Relativity) Week 3 [3,206 Theaters] PG
Friday $2.0M, Saturday $3.1M, Weekend $7.2M, Cume $49.6M

7. Wrath Of The Titans 3D (Warner Bros) Week 3 [3,102 Theaters] PG-13
Friday $1.9M, Saturday $3.1M, Weekend $7.0M, Cume $71.3M

8. 21 Jump Street (Sony) Week 5 [2,735 Theaters] R
Friday $2.0M, Saturday $3.0M, Weekend $6.8M, Cume $120.0M

9. Lockout (FilmDistrict) NEW [2,308 Theaters] PG-13
Friday $2.2M, Saturday $2.6M, Weekend $6.4M

10. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax 3D (Universal) Week 7 [2,112 Theaters] PG
Friday $880K, Saturday $1.3M, Weekend $3.0M, Cume $204.7M
Read More »

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Hot Stoogery: The 3 Stooges Take On WWE

By | Tuesday April 10, 2012 @ 9:12am PDT
Mike Fleming

The Three Stooges stars Chris Diamantopoulos (Moe), Sean Hayes (Larry) and Will Sasso (Curly) are pulling out the stops to promote Friday’s opening of the Farrelly Brothers-directed comedy for 20th Century Fox. That brought them to the last night’s broadcast of WWE Raw, and a pretty funny encounter with grappler Santino Marella. The routine, complete with signature sound effects, is funnier than most of the trailers. The trio also got in the wrestling ring to vamp, harkening back to all those original Stooges shorts that sent Curly into the ring against boxers and wrestlers in shorts like the 1934 classic Punch Drunks. That’s the one where Curly became invincible as long as Pop Goes the Weasel played in the background. Those actors the Farrellys found have the Stooges voices and slapstick down so well, they can take this act on the road when all this is over. Sasso wound up getting choke slammed by WWE grappler Kane, which seems consistent with all the punishment Curly endured in the ring during the shorts. Here’s footage of both the WWE intro and Curly’s Kane encounter. While these actors aren’t big names, I wonder if Fox would have been able to get Benicio Del Toro, Sean Penn and Jim Carrey to do this had they been cast in the film.

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Mike Fleming Interviews Pete And Bobby Farrelly On Risky Film ‘The Three Stooges’

By | Tuesday April 3, 2012 @ 3:19pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Ever since I wrote a Three Stooges biography that Pete and Bobby Farrelly liked, they’ve kept me up to speed through their long effort to make a feature that not only channeled the spirit of the troupe’s indelible repertoire of slaps, eye pokes and workplace mishaps, but that actually brought back Moe, Larry and Curly to dish them out for a new generation. The Farrellys sent me scripts–all were funny–and recently gave me an early peek at the finished film. Despite my reservations going in, I laughed hard and often at the trademark mayhem. And I was surprised they managed to keep things civil enough for a PG that opens the door to the same young age group that saved Stooges shorts from obscurity when they aired afternoons on TV in the 60s.

The Farrellys tell me they’ve gotten similarly encouraging reactions from Stooges fans like Howard Stern, who, with his sound effects-savvy producer Fred Norris, does as much to keep the spirit of The Stooges alive as anybody these days. Stern told his listeners that he was surprised how loud and how often he laughed. If you’re a Stooges guy, that’s how you respond to their gags, usually with a woman by your side, looking at you like you’re an idiot.

Still, I can’t for the life of me predict how this movie will fare when Fox releases it April 13. Cynicism is high in the internet age, but for this … Read More »

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CBS Rejects ‘Three Stooges’ Drug Spoof Ad On NCAA Hoops Championship Broadcast

By | Monday April 2, 2012 @ 11:44am PDT
Mike Fleming

2ND UPDATE: CBS maintains that Fox wasn’t blindsided by the network’s decision to reject The Three Stooges commercial that parodies prescription drugs, and the a spokesman said the network aired “alternative creative’ for the movie, and that those spots ran during earlier rounds of the tournament. The network says now that no spot was purchased for the championship game. Here is the chronology from a source I trust. Fox submitted the Stoogesta ad on March 22, and CBS accepted it. The following day, the network higher ups changed course and rejected the ad, using the explanation I provided in the original story. I’m told other ads the network refers to that ran in early rounds of the tournament were 15 second spots, and had nothing to do with the commercial that CBS rejected. It was only the Stoogesta spot that Fox submitted to CBS so that it could air during tonight’s title game. As I reported earlier, Fox did not replace that with another ad and that’s why the movie did not advertise during the championship game.

UPDATE: Despite what my sources tell me, CBS says that the ad that was turned down had been intended to air during earlier NCAA rounds, not before tonight’s championship game, and was replaced by alternative Three Stooges spots.

Three Stooges Drug Spoof Ad

EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox just got an eye poke from CBS after the network rejected a 30-second spot … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Three Stooges’

By | Wednesday March 21, 2012 @ 11:20am PDT

Here’s the final trailer for Fox’s Farrelly brothers comedy homage The Three Stooges, which opens April 13. First thought: The Foley guys on this shoot deserve a vacation.

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Chris Diamantopoulos Joins Cast Of ‘The Black Marks’

By | Thursday January 12, 2012 @ 6:40pm PST

Chris Diamantopoulos (The Kennedys) is joining the cast of The Black Marks by writer/director Jonathan Sobol. The comedy stars Kurt Russell as Crunch, Matt Dillon as Nicky and Jay Baruchel as Francie. It’s about a retired motorcycle daredevil with a penchant for snatching art. Nicholas Tabarrok (Running Mates) is producing. Diamantopoulos will star as Moe in The Three Stooges by Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly, also starring Sean Hayes as Larry and Will Sasso as Curly.

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Three Stooges’

By | Wednesday December 7, 2011 @ 2:39pm PST

Here’s the first look at Fox’s The Three Stooges, the Farrelly brothers’ long-in-the-works take on the comedy trio. Its winding road started with the original plan to cast Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro and Jim Carrey in the lead roles; eventually, the brothers went with Sean Hayes, Will Sasso and Chris Diamantopoulos. It’s due out April 4, 2012. So, do they pull off getting Larry, Curly and Moe right? And do they pull off putting them in modern day?

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Casting Directors Under Scrutiny After Investigation Finds Convicted Molestor Hired Child Actors

Jason James Murphy served a five-year prison term for kidnapping and abusing an 8-year-old boy near Seattle, but has been working for a decade as Jason James hiring kids as a casting assistant for productions including Super 8, Bad News Bears, The School Of Rock, Cheaper By The Dozen 2, and the upcoming film The Three Stooges, the LA Times reports.  Police said that they have no reason to believe that he molested anyone else; he is cooperating with their investigation into whether he complied with laws that apply to registered sex offenders — including that they report within five days when they use an alias. The law also bars sex offenders from working directly with unaccompanied minors. The fact that he has had so much power and opportunity to victimize kids has child protection advocates up in arms: Several say that they want unions to screen people who work with children, and to have them submit to background checks and fingerprinting. Murphy is a member of Teamsters Local 399 since 2008. The union and casting directors told the paper that they were unaware of Murphy’s background. “It’s shocking and it’s devastating, not just as a filmmaker but as a father and someone who is entrusted to make sure that everyone I work with, especially children, are safe,” Super 8 director J.J. Abrams said. “To think that someone like this was among us is unthinkable.”

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Peter And Bobby Farrelly Plan More ‘Dumb And Dumber’ For Jim Carrey & Jeff Daniels

By | Wednesday October 26, 2011 @ 3:30pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Now that they have wrapped their dream project The Three Stooges after a decade of trying, Peter and Bobby Farrelly are moving forward with another project they’ve long wanted to do: a second installment of the New Line 1994 hit Dumb and Dumber. The intention is to bring back Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels as Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne, the lovable dimwitted pals with big hearts and small brains. Sean Anders and John Morris have been hired to write the script. They co-wrote the Anders-directed Sex Drive and just co-directed the Adam Sandler comedy I Hate You Dad. The hope is for the Farrelly Brothers to direct this next.

While Carrey isn’t a big sequel guy, he dropped hints about the movie while he was out promoting Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Nothing much has happened until now because the Farrellys were engaged on The Three Stooges and Anders and Morris were shooting the Sandler comedy. Now, things are heating up. The original Dumb and Dumber, made on a $16 million budget, grossed nearly $250 million worldwide. They could have done this a long time ago, but New Line unwisely went forward with Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd. Made on the cheap with lookalike actors, the movie was dreadful, but it obviously didn’t kill the franchise. Original producers Charles B. … Read More »

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‘The Three Stooges’ Teaser Poster Unveils

By | Saturday October 15, 2011 @ 7:07am PDT

Here’s the first teaser poster for The Three Stooges coming out April 4th from Twentieth Century Fox. And, yes, the logo is intentionally cropped: Read More »

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Fox Dates ‘The Three Stooges’: April 4, 2012

20th Century Fox has dated The Three Stooges, Peter and Bobby Farrelly’s take on the iconic comedy trio, for April 4, 2012. Sean Hayes, Will Sasso and Chris Diamantopoulos star as the threesome; Jane Lynch, Jennifer Hudson, Sofia Vergara, Craig Bierko, Stephen Collins, and Larry David co-star. The story revolves around the boys as they become embroiled in an oddball murder plot and stumble into starring in a hit reality TV series while trying to save their childhood orphanage.

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Jennifer Hudson Joins ‘The Three Stooges’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: There are now three nuns in The Three Stooges. Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson has signed on to play Sister Rosemary. She joins Jane Lynch, who’s playing Mother Superior, and Larry David, who’s playing Mother Mengele. I’m betting that Sister Rosemary is the nice one at the orphanage where the Stooges come of age, despite the best efforts of the nuns to get the precocious trio adopted. The 20th Century Fox comedy has begun production, with Peter and Bobby Farrelly directing Chris Diamantopoulos (Moe), Sean Hayes (Larry) and Will Sasso (Curly).

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Craig Bierko Joins ‘The Three Stooges’

By | Thursday May 12, 2011 @ 4:46pm PDT

Craig Bierko has been cast in The Three Stooges, the Peter and Bobby Farrelly-directed comedy for 20th Century Fox. Beirko, who had some funny moments in those Scary Movie films,will play Mac, one of the heavies trying to exploit the Stooges. He recently appeared on FX’s Damages, and he is next is on the big screen in Universal’s The Change-Up. He joins Chris Diamantopoulos, who is signing on to play Moe; Will Sasso, who will play Curly; and Sean Hayes, as Larry Fine. Production is set to begin this month.

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Stephen Collins Joins ‘Three Stooges’

By | Thursday May 5, 2011 @ 6:59pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Stephen Collins usually plays the nice guy types, but he’s the heavy in The Three Stooges, the Peter and Bobby Farrelly-directed comedy for 20th Century Fox. He plays Mr. Harter, who, teamed with Modern Family‘s Sofia Vergara as the charming couple that adopts the slap happy trio, for less than benevolent reasons.

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Hey Moe! Fox Makes Discovery For ‘Three Stooges’ Movie

By | Monday April 25, 2011 @ 4:16pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Chris Diamantopoulos has emerged as the frontrunner to play Moe in The Three Stooges, the 20th Century Fox film to be directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly. The choice is being made after the directors met thousands of candidates to play the stern patriarch of the Stooges clan. The Farrellys said they would search high and low until they found the right Moe. Diamantopoulos is handsome, but put a soup-bowl haircut on him and he could be a spitting image. He joins Will Sasso, who’s playing Curly, and Sean Hayes, who signed on recently to play Larry Fine.

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‘Three Stooges’ Cast Update: Hank Azaria & James Marsden To Join Will Sasso?

By | Friday March 25, 2011 @ 8:45pm PDT
Mike Fleming

UPDATE: Peter and Bobby Farrelly with Fox will complete the casting on The Three Stooges by the end of next week. At this point, Hank Azaria has emerged as a frontrunner for the role of Moe, the group’s stern disciplinarian and the guy who dishes out the slaps and eye pokes. As for the simpleton Larry, the name I am most often hearing is James Marsden. Marsden worked for Fox as Cyclops in the original X-Men films, but he has played comedy in films like Enchanted and next stars in the Universal/Illumination Entertainment film Hop.

7:31 PM: MadTV alum and CBS’ $#*! My Dad Says star Will Sasso has been cast as Curly in The Three Stooges movie being made at 20th Century Fox and directed by the Farrelly brothers. Sasso did the films Life As We Know It, Best In Show, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Beverly Hills Ninja, and Happy Gilmore, and is currently shooting the lead role in the dramedy The Guys Who Move Furniture. He is repped by APA and D2 Management. The approval of the MGM pre-packaged bankruptcy opened the door for the long-gestating comedy to get made, and Fox took over the project for the Farrellys who are based there. This is the first casting for the comedy scripted by Bobby and Peter Farrelly with Mike Cerrone.

The role of Curly originated with Jerome “Curly” Howard, who suffered a stroke and was succeeded by his brother Samuel (Shemp). After Shemp died suddenly, he … Read More »

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Fox Sets March 14 Start For ‘The Three Stooges’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The approval of the MGM pre-packaged bankruptcy has opened the door for the long-gestating comedy The Three Stooges to get made at 20th Century Fox. The studio has taken the project over from MGM and has scheduled a March 14 start date for the comedy. Bobby and Peter Farrelly will direct a script they wrote with Mike Cerrone. Conundrum partner Bradley Thomas will produce with Charles B. Wessler. The film will be exec produced by Earl Benjamin, the gatekeeper of the Stooges estate, and the stepson of Joe DeRita. DeRita was the sixth member of the troupe. He played the role originated by Jerome “Curly” Howard, who suffered a stroke and was succeeded by his brother Samuel (Shemp). After Shemp died suddenly, he was replaced by Joe Besser, who gave way to the vaudeville vet De Rita.

The project has no cast at this point. Jim Carrey and Sean Penn are out, and it is unclear whether Benicio Del Toro will play Moe. The deal brings the project back to Fox, where the Farrellys are based. The Three Stooges has been a passion project for Conundrum for over a decade, first at Columbia Pictures, then Warner Bros, and finally MGM. Things looked strong with Carrey, Penn and Del Toro until Penn took a sabbatical for personal reasons. He floated in and out, and then everything halted when MGM hit the financial rocks last year.

The Farrellys know that casting such iconic … Read More »

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Larry Charles To Direct Jim Carrey Comedy

Mike Fleming

larrycharlesEXCLUSIVE: Larry Charles, who steered Sacha Baron Cohen through audacious comic turns in Bruno and Borat, is now ready to do the same for Jim Carrey. Charles has signed on to direct Pierre Pierre, a comedy that has Carrey playing the role of a Frenchman who transports a stolen painting from Paris to London, behaving more obnoxiously than any waiter you’ve ever encountered at Cannes. jim_carrey_me_myself_&_irene_001

This project is moving forward again after weathering some serious setbacks. Two years ago, the script by then-unknowns Edwin Cannistraci and Frederick Seton made the Black List and sold for $1 million, with Carrey to star and Juno‘s Jason Reitman attached to direct. AceVenturaNatureCalls14Fox Atomic’s Debbie Liebling and Peter Rice won the bidding battle over three others. Then: Reitman dropped out; Fox Atomic imploded; Liebling moved to Universal; Rice moved up in the Fox hierarchy. Sans champion, Pierre Pierre fell into turnaround. With Charles aboard, the comedy will be shopped again by its producers, Escape Artists’ Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch, and Category 5′s Brian Sher. They plan to make the movie for just over $20 million. dumbdumber1

As a connoisseur of physical comic performances, I salivated over the prospect of Carrey playing Curly Howard (each the best physical comic of his generation) in the Farrelly Brothers-directed The Read More »

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