Box-office update: Robots ride dinosaurs, some films do better than the buzz would suggest, and Noah leaves North American theatres (while enjoying its third week in Japan)

Life was too busy to post a box-office update last week, but that’s okay, I think, since not a lot was happening then.

The big story this week is that Transformers: Age of Extinction supposedly became the first film of the year to gross over $100 million in a single weekend (in North America, that is) — but that figure was quickly disputed by rival studios, who said the film actually came in just a tiny bit beneath that amount. Whatever. It was still pretty huge.

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Unforgiven, samurai remakes, and subverted Christ figures

Clint Eastwood shot to big-screen fame in a series of “spaghetti westerns”, the first of which, A Fistful of Dollars (1964), was based on a Japanese samurai flick called Yojimbo (1961). Now things are coming full circle, as Variety reports that a Japanese remake of Eastwood’s final western Unforgiven (1992) is now in the works.

The new film will be directed by Korean-Japanese filmmaker Lee Sang-il, and will star Ken Watanabe (best known in North America for his parts in such Hollywood films as The Last Samurai, Batman Begins and Inception) as a retired samurai modeled after the Eastwood character. Watanabe, incidentally, has actually worked with Eastwood himself already, having starred in Clint’s World War II movie Letters from Iwo Jima (2006).

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