‘COWBOYS & ALIENS’ & ‘SMURFS’ TIE FOR TOP BOX-OFFICE SPOT

cow8 Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and producer Steven Spielberg couldn’t save a lackluster opening performance from Cowboys & Aliens, which tied The Smurfs for the top spot, taking in $36.2 million (final figures will be released Monday).  It’s a huge disappointment for the $163 million budgeted Sci-Fi/Western, especially since director Jon Favreau’s last two efforts (the Iron Man films) were blockbuster hits.

For Cowboys & Aliens to turn a decent profit, the picture must perform well overseas.  Here’s the top 10:

1.  Cowboys & Aliens – $36.2 million

1. (tie)  The Smurfs – $36.2 million

3.   Captain America: The First Avenger – Since its release over two weeks ago, the picture has collected $116.8 million domestically.  This weekend, it took in $24.9 million

4.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 – With its $21.9 million haul, the film has made over $$318.5 million domestically, making it the strongest box-office outing of the franchise.

5.  Crazy, Stupid, Love – A fifth place debut for this Steve Carell comedy is a tad disappointing, but great critical reception may draw a stable rate of viewers in the coming weeks. Plus the movie only cost an estimated $45 million.  This weekend, it made $19.3 million.

6.  Friends With Benefits $9.3 million

7. Horrible Bosses – $7.1 million

8.  Transformers: Dark of the Moon – $6 million

9.  Zookeeper – $4.2 million

10.  Cars 2 – $2.3 million

Click on the media bar below to hear Harrison Ford talk about his character in Cowboys & Aliens.

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‘AGAINST THE WALL’ CREATOR DISCUSSES THE CHICAGO CODE

against2 Premiering Sunday (Lifetime, 10 pm et/pt), the series Against The Wall centers on a Chicago police officer (Rachael Carpani) who is promoted to the Internal Affairs division.  The new job is met with resistance by her father (Treat Williams) and her three brothers (Brandon Quinn, Steve Byers, James Thomas), all of whom are cops.

At the TCA sessions, Carpani talked about playing Abby Kowalski, a woman who is struggling to find her way.  “That’s what drew me to this character in the first place,” says the actress.  “She does have all these boundaries and restrictions on her.  And she stumbles and falls a lot in her life and is very bad at faking it and looking dignified.  I kind of like watching this woman stumble and fall and wear her flaws on the outside and struggle against all these rules and limitations that she grew up and were put on her and have really kept her safe.”

Click on the media bar below to her Against the Wall creator Annie Brunner explain the difference between Chicago cops and LAPD officers.

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FIRST RATE ‘CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE’ RECEIVES CRITICS’ CHOICE SEAL

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Crazy, Stupid, Love (now playing), is getting great reviews, and the feature received the Critics’ Choice seal from the Broadcast Film Critics Association (the critics who rate their movies, gave the film an above average score of 86).

Having just seen the film, I was pleasantly surprised how the film deftly balanced comedy and heartache, and while most romantic comedies exist solely on cliches, Crazy, Stupid, Love is a cut above the norm.

In his most dramatic work since Dan In Real Life, Steve Carell plays Cal a broken man who leaves his wife (Julianne Moore) after she confesses to an affair with a co-worker (Kevin Bacon).  Back on the dating scene, Cal gets learns the art of seduction with the help of a ladies man (Ryan Gosling), who excels at one-night stands, that is until, he falls in love with a young woman (Emma Stone).

The feature also contains standout work from Jonah Bobo, who plays Cal’s precocious and romantically idealistic 13-year-old son (he has a crush on his babysitter), and Bobo’s exchanges with Carell actually serve as the emotional spine of Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Click on the media bar to hear Steve Carell explains the complex nature of fractured relationships.

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HARRISON FORD SAYS ‘COWBOYS & ALIENS’ IS “FIRST AND FOREMOST A WESTERN”

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Harrison Ford, whose stoic demeanor makes him a perfect fit for Westerns (think today’s version of Gary Cooper), plays Woodrow Dolarhyde, a hardened Civil War vet turned cattle baron in Cowboys & Aliens.

“It’s first and foremost a Western,” says Ford.  “And then weird things happen and it goes back to being a Western.  And that to me was very interesting.  And I got the chance to play a character very different to most of the characters I play.”

Daniel Craig also stars as a mysterious loner who teams up with Dolaryhyde and his gang to stop the aliens who threaten the New Mexico town of Absolution.

Although the Cowboys & Aliens screenplay had more exposition and backstory regarding Dolaryhyde, Ford believes a key to good screenwriting is by revealing a character through his behavior and actions.

Click on the media bar and listen to Ford explain how Woodrow Dolarhyde changed as a character from script to screen.

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Cowboys & Aliens, co-starring Sam Rockwell and Olivia Wilde, is now playing.


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HANK AZARIA’S GARGAMEL DUTIES: CAT TOSSING IN ‘THE SMURFS’

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Gargamel (Hank Azaria) isn’t exactly a nice guy, and besides his lifelong battle with The Smurfs, our demented villain doesn’t treat cats with the gentlest of ease.  The actor recalls a deleted sequence in The Smurfs which has Gargamel looking for a robe and casting a cat attack spell on a street vendor.

Although he does throw a cat in The Smurfs, Azaria actually has no problem with felines.  “I have lived with several cats,” says Azaria.  “I don’t dislike cats, but I prefer dogs.  Girlfriends have had cats and then you end up becoming the daddy to the cat I guess.”

Click on the media bar to hear Azaria talk about his girlfriend’s Italian street cat.  He also mentions his cat tossing sequence in The Smurfs.

The Smurfs, co-starring Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays, is now playing nationwide.

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