In a very crowded field of late-summer contenders, one film stood alone on Friday. The Expendables 2, sequel to 2010’s paean to 1980s action, took in $10.5 million on Friday – twice as much as The Bourne Legacy in second place. Playing in 3,316 locations, the sequel is expected to earn about $30 million by Sunday: a bit less than The Expendables saw on this same weekend two years ago. Two other new releases did well enough to make it into Friday’s top five: ParaNorman, the stop-motion animated feature from the creators of Coraline, earned an estimated $4.5 million from 3,429 runs while Sparkle, the musical drama co-starring the late Whitney Houston, realized $4.6 million from a more-modest 2,244 locations. Both films are expected to fall in the $13 million range after their first three days. Outside of the top five, The Odd Life of Timothy Green earned an estimated $3.4 million while The Dark Knight Rises crossed the $400 million mark in domestic ticket sales. We’ll have complete details tomorrow.
||The Expendables 2
||The Bourne Legacy
It was just in November when I traveled out to Detroit for a day on the set of Sparkle, Whitney Houston’s posthumous film about music, growing up in church, and finding your way. A remake of the 70’s movie, it is set at the height of the civil rights movement and Motown boom in Detroit, and chronicles a family whose daughters form a singing group—modeled after The Supremes—and their journey to find success in uncertain times. It is apparent that those in charge are dedicated to making the film authentic and successful. American Idol winner Jordin Sparks plays the title character Sparkle, the dark horse in the singing group. Houston, in her anticipated return to the screen, stars as the girls’ mother. Though the plot may feel familiar, after having talked extensively with the cast and crew, it is clear that there is a personality to this story. The film is rooted in family values, and has an elevated, sophisticated tone. More after the jump.
In the drama Darling Companion, from director/co-writer/producer Lawrence Kasdan (Body Heat, The Big Chill, Silverado), Beth (Diane Keaton) and her daughter (Elisabeth Moss) take home a dog that they find on the side of the freeway, much to the ire of her husband, Joseph (Kevin Kline). Before long, the dog, aptly named Freeway, becomes a beloved member of the family. But, when the dog bounds away into the woods after a deer, everything is thrown into crisis mode and a search party forms that ultimately ends up bringing the entire family closer together.
At the film’s press day, filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan talked about what made him decide to to this as an independent film, assembling a cast of this caliber that was willing to work for scale, how limiting and liberating the process of making an indie can be, and what he loves about working with Kevin Kline. He also talked about writing and producing The Bodyguard and working with Whitney Houston, how he feels about both of his sons (Jon and Jake) going into the business, and what still keeps him making movies. Check out what he had to say after the jump:
The first trailer for the remake of Sparkle has gone online. The story was inspired by the legendary female singing group The Supremes and stars Jordin Sparks, Tika Sumpter, and Carmen Ejogo as three sisters who start out singing at their local church, and go on to find great success—and troubles—as a Motown girl group. The film also sadly marks the final onscreen performance of Whitney Houston, as she plays the single mother of Sparks’ lead character. The period and Motown setting is ripe with possibilities, but the songs in this trailer seem a bit too modern to fit. This probably has something to do with the fact that R. Kelly wrote original songs for the film, but the story does show promise so I’ll hold off judgment until we’ve seen more.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer. The film also stars Derek Luke, Mike Epps, Cee-Lo Green, and Omari Hardwick. Sparkle opens on August 17th.
It was just in November when a group of journalists and I spent a day at a church in the outskirts of Detroit, where the film Sparkle was shooting. We spent half a day in interviews with the cast until finally it was announced that “Ms. Houston” was here. There are rumors of what charisma is like: Being in Whitney Houston‘s company, the air took on a sharper more pronounced feel, everyone was seemingly in a trance in her presence because it was that absorbing. With warm glowing skin and exquisite features, visually she was arresting, but it was her candor that was so affecting. Equally ready to hand out praise or tough love, she seemed compelled to speak the truth. Her exuberance for the project sprung from her great respect for the civil rights movement (the era in which Sparkle is set), as well as the potential for this film to showcase a beautiful image of African Americans. This is a film, she conveyed, that will make families want to go to the movies. Her charm is one that now in the current landscape of calculated personas, feels antiquated and unmatchable. After a day of interviews, I recall noting what a self-possessed sense of ease Houston had; from both the brief time with her and the conversations with her castmates, she seemed a natural leader who had visibly, and yet quietly, charmed and encouraged the rest of the cast.
Hit the jump for the full interview between Houston (also an executive producer on the film) and Debra Martin Chase, her producing partner on Cindarella and The Preacher’s Wife . They talked about why they wanted to do the project, what it was like for Houston to be in front of the camera again, the soundtrack, and so much more.
We noticed that the first image from Sparkle popped up recently—since this is the first film still of Whitney Houston since 1996′s The Preacher’s Wife, we wanted to get it up on the site this weekend. Sparkle is a remake of the 1976 movie of the same name inspired by The Supremes. Jordin Sparks, Tika Sumpter, and Carmen Ejogo star as three sisters start out singing at their local church, and go on to find great success (and the troubles that come with it) as a Motown girl group.
Derek Luke, Mike Epps, Cee-Lo Green, and Omari Hardwick also star; Salim Akil (Jumping the Broom) is directing. R. Kelly wrote new original songs to add to the Curtis Mayfield score from the original. Sparkle is set for release on August 10. See the image after the jump.
by Jason Barr Posted: September 12th, 2011 at 4:58 pm
With Warner Bros.’ musical remake A Star Is Born getting pushed back indefinitely due to Beyoncé’s pregnancy, Sony Pictures is jumping all over the chance to put out its own music-centric redo. Variety reports that Whitney Houston is in talks to join both Mike Epps (The Hangover) and American Idol-winner Jordin Sparks in the studio’s remake of the 1976 music drama Sparkle. Salim Akil (Jumping the Broom) will direct the pic from a screenplay by his wife, Mara Brock Akil (writer/producer for ABC’s Cougar Town).
For those unfamiliar with the original, it was co-written by Joel Schumacher and followed the rise of an all-sister trio whose success wreaks havoc on their personal lives in the late 1950s. Per the report, Akil’s remake will be set during Motown’s rise in 1968 Detroit and will focus on the youngest of three sisters, a musically gifted youngster named Sparkle (Sparks) whose rise to fame is spattered with familial troubles. There is no word on which roles Epps and potentially Houston will be taking on but, with production on the remake set to begin next month, my guess is that more details will be available shortly.