Religulous set to outgross Expelled

I can’t find it now, but I seem to recall seeing a banner ad for Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed recently which stated that it was the top-grossing documentary of the year.

If such an ad did exist, then there is a good reason why it might not be online any more: the film, which comes out on DVD next week, is about to be surpassed by Religulous.

Josh Friedman of the Los Angeles Times reports:

“Expelled,” hosted by commentator and character actor Ben Stein, opened April 18 at a whopping 1,052 theaters and grossed a total of $7.7 million at the domestic box office during its full run, according to data tracker Box Office Mojo.

That was nothing like the breakout blockbusters “Fahrenheit 9/11” ($119.2 million), “March of the Penguins” ($77.4 million) or even “An Inconvenient Truth” ($24.1 million), but nothing to sneeze at either: It was the 12th-highest gross ever for a documentary. . . .

“Religulous,” playing at 568 theaters, is benefiting from positive word of mouth. The controversial documentary, hosted by comedian Maher (“Politically Incorrect”) and directed by Charles (“Borat“), dropped only 35% in its second weekend, compared with the industry average of about 51%. By Monday it had topped $7 million, on pace to surpass $7.7 million by Friday and ultimately to a spot in the all-time top 10 for the documentary genre. . . .

Anybody up for a double bill?

UPDATE: Aha! I found the banner ad in question at Beliefnet — so now the question is, will they still be running it next week?

There’s a mix of good and evil in all of us.

This site is certified 37% EVIL by the Gematriculator This site is certified 63% GOOD by the Gematriculator
Click here to get your own site rated. Hat tip to Carmen Andres, whose blog is six percentage points holier than mine.

UPDATE: Wait a minute, something’s changed. When I click on the graphics above, I now get this rating, instead:

This site is certified 27% EVIL by the Gematriculator This site is certified 73% GOOD by the Gematriculator
Does acknowledging the Gematriculator and its opinion of your site automatically make your site holier? I wonder.

UPPERDATE: Ah, and now the vanity I have expressed in musing over my upward tick has brought me low, again. When I click on the graphics for my most recent rating, I now get this:

This site is certified 34% EVIL by the Gematriculator This site is certified 66% GOOD by the Gematriculator
I dare not check again to see what my latest rating might be.

You can never have too many Argonauts!

Variety reports that NBC is developing a new version of Jason and the Argonauts, and it will be “the first-ever green-screen drama developed for primetime.”

NBC previously adapted this Greek myth in 2000, in a mini-series starring Jason London, Frank Langella and Dennis Hopper.

Apparently there are also two big-screen projects in development right now called simply The Argonauts, one of which — mentioned here two months ago — is being written and produced by Zak Penn.

The most famous version of this story, of course, was produced for the big screen by stop-motion specialist Ray Harryhausen in 1963.

Franklyn has a trailer.

Franklyn — a story set partly in a parallel universe dominated by some sort of religious organization — now has a trailer:

Click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly.

The trailer doesn’t really clarify what the movie is all about, but so far, the story has sounded somewhat sprawling or confusing whenever people have tried to sum it up in a few words, or sentences, or paragraphs — so I’m not surprised that the trailer barely even tries to spell out the various plot points.

Without a clear narrative hook, the trailer has to make its pitch with images — and for some reason I can’t shake the idea that the Johnny Depp character in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) has been cloned repeatedly, and that the many copies of him have been dropped into the middle of Dark City (1998).

Hopefully the actual film will be better than that image suggests.

Star Trek XI bucks the long-reboot trend.

For whatever reason — the idea that long movies are important movies and vice versa, an increasing demand for movies that justify the hype and give us our money’s worth by putting more footage on the screen, etc. — movies that revive or reboot a franchise tend to be a little on the long side.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) was 132 minutes when it first came out in theatres, then grew to 143 minutes for TV (and, if I recall correctly, for VHS) before shrinking back down to 136 minutes on DVD. But one thing all three versions have in common is that they are longer than all of the Star Trek films that followed, which range from the 103 minutes of Insurrection (1998) to the 118 minutes of The Voyage Home (1986).

Batman Begins (2005) was 140 minutes, and The Dark Knight was 152 minutes. Both films were longer than the Batman films directed by Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher, all of which ran between 122 and 126 minutes.

Casino Royale (2006) was 144 minutes, and thus longer than any of the James Bond films produced before or since — although On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), i.e. the film in which Bond got married (and thus a very “important” entry in the franchise), came very close to matching it, at 142 minutes.

Why do I mention all this? Because J.J. Abrams, director of the upcoming Star Trek movie — which seems to be part sequel, part prequel, and part reboot — recently told MTV Movies Blog that his film will not conform to this trend:

“It will be a two-hour movie,” Abrams said of the film’s running time. “I’m sick of these two hours and forty-five minute movies. Seriously, it’s like I don’t have enough time to stay two hours and forty-five minutes. I’m exhausted just saying that twice. I can’t stand it.”

Well, that’s okay. The Star Trek franchise has done the long-ish reboot thing already, sort of. No need to do it again.

For what it’s worth, Abram also hints that there might be a teaser or trailer for the new film some time in November. Can’t wait.

UPDATE: Pictures from the new Star Trek movie have started to pop up on certain specially-chosen websites. See (the source of the photo above), Ain’t It Cool News,,, the MTV Movies Blog and, of course, for more. The latter site also gives us an advance look at the Star Trek-themed cover of next week’s Entertainment Weekly.

OCT 16 UPDATE: And here is the Entertainment Weekly article itself, which includes at least one more brand-new picture.

Yahoo! has an exclusive photo of John Cho as Sulu, too.

Canadian box-office stats — October 12

Here are the figures for the past weekend, arranged from those that owe the highest percentage of their take to the Canadian box office to those that owe the lowest.

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist — CDN $2,450,000 — N.AM $20,730,708 — 11.8%
Burn after Reading — CDN $6,230,000 — N.AM $55,177,399 — 11.3%
Religulous — CDN $758,856 — N.AM $6,732,631 — 11.3%

Body of Lies — CDN $1,180,000 — N.AM $12,884,416 — 9.2%
Eagle Eye — CDN $6,250,000 — N.AM $70,409,979 — 8.9%

Nights in Rodanthe — CDN $2,510,000 — N.AM $32,297,101 — 7.8%
Lakeview Terrace — CDN $2,690,000 — N.AM $36,201,729 — 7.4%
City of Ember — CDN $222,193 — N.AM $3,129,473 — 7.1%
Quarantine — CDN $978,464 — N.AM $14,211,321 — 6.9%
Beverly Hills Chihuahua — CDN $2,490,000 — N.AM $52,532,310 — 4.7%

A couple of discrepancies: Burn after Reading, City of Ember, Religulous and Lakeview Terrace were #7, #8, #9 and #10 on the Canadian chart, respectively (they were #14, #11, #13 and #12 in North America as a whole), while The Express, Appaloosa, The Duchess and Fireproof were #6, #8, #9 and #10 on the North American chart, respectively (the first three films were #13, #12 and #11 in Canada, and the latter film has not been released in Canada).