Weekend box office preview: Will “The Roommate” breach “Sanctum”? Does anyone care?

It’s Superbowl weekend and that means partially empty theaters on Sunday as a good chunk of the nation drinks beer, eats various high fat and sodium foods, and obsesses either over the game or the commercials. Between that and possible lingering effects of the big storm being suffered through by my easterly Premium Hollywood/Bullz-Eye colleagues in the Midwest and the East, you’re talking about less than optimum movie-going conditions. And, this week, it’s certainly looks like a battle between two less than optimum movies.

To be specific, we have “The Roommate” from Sony/Screen Gems which features “Gossip Girl” star Leighton Meester and the similar looking Minka Kelly of the acclaimed “Friday Night Lights” in a what sure looks like a retread of one of those “the _______ from hell” movies of the eighties and nineties. I never actually saw it, but the model in this case appears to be 1992’s “Single White Female” but set in a dorm room — scarier because the personal space is even smaller, I suppose.

909285 - The Roommate

It’s also scarier because it’s not being shown to critics and the trailer for this alleged thriller actually gave me a couple of good laughs. Even so, hopes are reasonably high for this very young female skewing PG-13 flick to top this very top-able weekend. The L.A. TimesBen Fritz and THR‘s Pamela McClintock both pass on the general opinion that the take will probably not be much more than $15 million and quite possibly significantly less. On the other hand, “The Roommate” only cost $16 million to make so, it’ll make back its budget and it doesn’t seem to me like the studio is blowing much on marketing this one either. Today was the first I’ve heard of it.

The other major new release, which has been on my radar to some degree, is an underwater Australian thriller shot in 3D that is pushing the name of its producer as hard as it can. I guess James Cameron can afford to sully his brand name with what sure looks like a sub-par effort if he wants to. It’s not nice to judge a movie you haven’t seen but with mostly bad reviews and a trailer showing off some scary moments and some surprisingly poor acting it’s hard to hope it’ll be terribly good.

Pamela McClintock reports that Universal is downplaying expectations with a guess of $6 to 8 million. $10 million is apparently too much to hope for. Considering that men are the primary audience is here, if you want to treat a movie theater like your own inner sanctum, I suggest seeing this around 6:00 on Sunday in a theater in or near Wisconsin or Ohio.

In limited release in some 26 theaters according to Box Office Mojo, we have a film with a title that must be on movie marketers’ minds every Superbowl weekend: “Wo Zhi Nu Run Xin.” That’s, transliterated Mandarin for “What Women Want.” The remake of the rather funny Mel Gibson/Helen Hunt 2000 fantasy rom-com from Nancy Myers is back at us from China with Andy Lau and Gong Li.

  

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Clippin’ Out: “Gossip Girl” / “Life Unexpected” (The CW)

“Gossip Girl” – Blair has spent a fabulous summer in Paris without realizing her former love, Chuck Bass, has been shot. As much as Blair tries to distract herself from the pain Chuck caused her, his mysterious appearance in Paris with a beautiful new woman will force both of them to face what happened. Meanwhile, a newly single Serena has been enjoying a Parisian summer of love with boys, Blair and Balenciaga as she tries to avoid the inevitable decision about which of her two long-time beaus, Dan or Nate, she should return to. Back on the Upper East Side, Nate meets an intriguing girl, Juliet, who helps him realize that his summer of sexual conquests with the help of Chuck’s little black book was his way of avoiding his unresolved feelings for Serena. Meanwhile, Dan’s baby mama drama continues with Georgina. Finally, the van der Woodsen apartment is buzzing with activity as the “Fashion’s Night Out” event is planned. (Season Premiere Sept. 13)

“Life Unexpected” – Cate and Ryan return from their honeymoom only to discover that major changes have been made at the radio station in their absence. A very confused Baze struggles with his feelings for Cate, and ends up hooking up with the hot new bartender, Paige, at his bar. Meanwhile, Lux and Bug find themselves at a major crossroads in their relationship. Shaun Sipos (“Melrose Place”) guest stars as Eric, a newcomer to Portland who befriends Lux. (Season Premiere Sept. 14)

  

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A Close Encounter with a Couple of Hellcats (and an Olympian to boot)

Recently, Premium Hollywood was pitched the opportunity to attend the so-called SuperGirl Jam 2010, an event which, if we’re to be completely honest, we’d never heard of before we received our invitation.

Why the invite…? Because a couple of the stars of The CW’s new cheerleading drama, “Hellcats,” were going to be in attendance – Robbie Jones and Aly Michalka – and we’d been told that we’d have a chance to chat with them about the series. As a bit of pop culture gravy, we’d been told that we’d also be getting the opportunity to speak with an honest-to-goodness Olympian: Nastia Liukin, who’s also managed to turn up on such series as “Gossip Girl” and “Make It Or Break It.”

So off we went to SuperGirl Jam 2010…and $17 dollars in parking fees later, we did indeed get to to talk to all three of these individuals. That’s the good news. The bad news, however, is that the sum total of time spent with the trio – we talked to each of them separately – barely topped out at the 10-minute mark. Note to self: next time, get a guarantee of at least five minutes per person.

And possibly parking validation.

– Robbie Jones –

Premium Hollywood: Hi, I’m Bob Westal from Premium Hollywood/Bullz-Eye.com.

Robbie Jones: Nice to meet you.

PH: I’m not usually a TV guy and I was researching you. You’re kind of a mystery man.

RJ: Am I?

PH: There’s not a lot about you on the Internet. For example, your age.

RJ: It’s crazy.

PH: Your age is unknown. Are you like 50 years old?

RJ: 57. I have 16 kids.

PH: In five different states.

RJ: It’s crazy. The math is all off but it’s true.

PH: Okay, I know you were on “One Tree Hill” and they kind of killed you.

RJ: It was sad. Sad. Q. [Quentin Fields] was just turning the corner to be a positive guy and — life cut short. Tragic end.

PH: “Tragic end.” Okay. Let’s get a little background [before we move on to “Hellcats”]. Where are you from originally? How did you get started?

RJ: I’m from Sacramento, California and I’ve been in L.A. for about five years and I’ve been acting pretty much since I got out here.

PH: How did you get the “One Tree Hill” gig?

RJ: Well, it was the audition process. I’m sure a ton of guys auditioned for the role. I went in, just like everybody else. [Series creator] Mark Schwahn, I’m telling you, he changed my life, he gave me a shot, believed in me, [CBS Television President] Peter Roth believed in me, and the rest is kind of history. It’s really a blessing from God, honestly.

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TCA Press Tour, Summer 2010: Day 3

Day 3 of the TCA Press Tour continued with the CBS family of networks, offering us a split day between Showtime and The CW…and if I’m to be honest, my enthusiasm was decidedly higher for the former. I’ve made this comment before, but The CW so unabashedly caters to an audience that’s far younger and prettier than myself (or, really, almost anyone I interact with on a regular basis) that it’s hard for me to get but so excited about their shows…but, of course, that doesn’t mean I won’t be reporting on them, anyway. First up, though, is Showtime, which I am excited about. Seriously, it’s reached the point where I’m pretty sure I prefer Showtime to HBO.

There, I said it…and it feels good.

Showtime Introductory Remarks

Matthew C. Blank, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Showtime, took the stage to welcome the assembled throng, then launched immediately into a series of announcements and remarks, including the following:

“Weeds” guest stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Alanis Morrissette, Jennifer Jason-Leigh, Mark Paul Gosselaar, Peter Stormare, and Linda Hamilton.

“Dexter” guest stars: Julia Stiles, Peter Weller, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Shawn Hatosy, and Jonny Lee Miller.

“Californication” guest stars: Carla Gugino, Rob Lowe, Tommy Lee, Zoe Kravitz, Michael Ealy, and Callie Thorne.

Liam Neeson will be joining his former “Kinsey” co-star Laura Linney for an episode of her new Showtime series, “The Big C.” Also guesting on the show: Cynthia Nixon and Idris Elba.

The network has committed to ten episodes of “Web Therapy,” a comedy developed by and starring Lisa Kudrow.

“Nurse Jackie” and “United States of Tara” will be both be returning for third seasons, as will “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” for Season 4.

Producer John Wells is premiering his new Showtime series, “Shameless,” starring William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum, on January 9th. Also coming in 2011 is “The Borgias,” starring Jeremy Irons and created and executive-produced by Neil Jordan, who’s directing the series’ first two episodes as well. The trailer for “Shameless” looks like the start of another great dysfunctional-family drama for Showtime, and…well, actually, I guess you could say the same of “The Borgias,” although they haven’t really filmed enough of it yet for us to get much of a feel for it. Most of what we were shown was interview clips with Irons and Jordan and footage from the photo sessions for the series, so all I can really confirm is that it looks awesome…but, then, what else would you expect from the network that brought you the gorgeousness of “The Tudors”?

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Greetings to the New Season: The CW – UPDATED

And so we come to the last of the big network upfronts…if, that is, you consider The CW to be a big network. I’m not saying I don’t, you understand. I just mean that there are still some people out there who haven’t yet accepted Fox as being a real network, so you can only imagine what they think of The CW.

But I digress.

Sort of.

It probably is worth noting that, unlike ABC, CBS, NBC, and, yes, even Fox, The CW held their upfront without providing photos, let alone videos, to accompany their new fall series…and since there are only two of them, you’d think they could’ve at least managed to throw together logos for them to serve as preliminary artwork. Instead, I’m stuck falling back on the tried and true network logo.

Yawn.

Okay, sorry, that really was a digression…and, as it turned out, a mostly unnecessary one, since the photos had appeared on The CW’s press site by 10:30 AM EST. Still, that was well after the press release about the fall schedule went out…a press release which, FYI, required two revisions due to various accidental omissions. I’m just saying.

Anyway, on with the show(s)…

MONDAY

8 – 9 PM: 90210

9 – 10 PM: Gossip Girl

TUESDAY

8 – 9 PM: One Tree Hill

9 – 10 PM: Life Unexpected

WEDNESDAY

8 – 9 PM: America’s Next Top Model

9 – 10 PM: Hellcats: a coming-of-age story about Marti Perkins, a young, pre-law student at Lancer University in Memphis, Tennessee. Marti is cool, hip and alt, but her world flips upside down, literally and figuratively, when she loses her scholarship, and realizes the only way she can stay in school is by reigniting her dormant teen gymnastic skills to win a place on Lancer’s legendary cheerleading team, The Hellcats. Against her every instinct, Marti goes for it and makes the squad, and is thrust into a world of camaraderie, backstabbing and the intersection of sports, backroom academia and big money.

Marti’s new roommate, Savannah Monroe, a petite, peppy Texan, is among the diverse cast of athletes, undergrads, family and friends, all set on the sprawling campus of a powerhouse college football program in the deep South. The series stars Aly Michalka as Marti Perkins, Ashley Tisdale as Savannah Monroe, Heather Hemmens as Alice Verdura, Robbie Jones as Lewis Flynn, Matt Barr as Dan Patch, with Sharon Leal as Vanessa Lodge and Gail O’Grady as Wanda Perkins. “Hellcats” is executive produced by Kevin Murphy (“Desperate Housewives”), Tom Welling (“Smallville”), and Allan Arkush (“Heroes,” “Crossing Jordan”). The pilot was directed by Arkush.

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