BOX OFFICE Spartans slayed the competition at the box office this weekend, with 300: Rise of an Empire taking in an estimated $45.1 million. Though the sequel, with Noam Murro at the helm in place of Zack Snyder, failed to match 300's opening numbers domestically, it outpaced the original overseas, raking in $87.8 million from 58 markets. Mr. Peabody & Sherman was yet another disappointment for DreamWorks Animation, opening in second with $32.5 million. The movie suffered from family-friendly competition like The Lego Movie, which placed #4 with an additional $10.8 million, and Frozen, which held at #8 with an additional $3 million. Last week's top movie, the Liam Neeson actioner Non-Stop, dropped to #3 with $15.8 million.#AlwaysTrending
FLETCH Mystery writer Gregory McDonald's classic character, immortalized on screen by Chevy Chase in the 1985 comedy Fletch and its 1989 sequel Fletch Lives, is finally ready for his comeback. THR reports that Jason Sudeikis will step in to play Irwin M. Fletcher in Warner's long-in-development Fletch Won. Based on McDonald's novel of the same name, the movie is described as a "gritty action comedy with heart" along the lines of Beverly Hills Cop. A director is currently being sought.
ASM2 It is generally agreed that the downfall of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man franchise was villain overcrowding, with Sandman, Venom and Green Goblin 2 all chewing up screen time at the expense of solid storytelling. It's understandable, then, that many fans of director Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man are afraid that history will repeat itself because The Amazing Spider-Man 2 also boasts three major villains — Electro (Jamie Foxx), Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) and the Rhino (Paul Giamatti) — and possibly even a couple minor ones, as well. Webb addressed this concern on Saturday at South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, saying that he is "obviously familiar with the complaints people had" about Raimi's final movie.
We're very careful to make sure the stories intertwine. For Peter Parker, it's very important that you create obstacles that are difficult to overcome.
Webb went on to say that Giamatti's Rhino will only appear "in the movie for four minutes." Andrew Garfield returns as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, joined by Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens May 2nd.
EPIC FAIL Lionsgate has picked up a comedy pitch from Ed Helms (The Hangover movies) and producer Nicky Weinstock, reports THR. The movie follows "an elite but highly unorthodox special forces team [that] takes their dysfunction and excessive firepower on a desperate mission to save America, led by the only soldier more badass and more mustachioed than a Navy SEAL, The Walrus." Helms will star in the movie, presumably as the Walrus, and is also producing with Michael Falbo through their Pacific Electric Picture Co. and with Weinstock's Invention Films.
BIGFOOT Shortly after its premiere at SXSW, Exists was picked up for distribution by Lionsgate, reports THR. Directed by Eduardo Sánchez, who helped define the "found footage" genre as the writer and co-director of The Blair Witch Project, from a script by Jamie Nash (Altered), the movie tells the story of "five friends on a camping weekend in the remote woods of East Texas who struggle to survive against a legendary predator that is stronger, smarter, and more terrifying than anything they would have ever believed exists."