No question about it, this is a good summer for Hollywood: Last weekend the summer's total box office gross passed the $1 billion mark. It's early in the year for that milestone -- in fact, to become the top-grossing summer ever, the rest of the season needs to average a hefty but reachable $92 million per week, a figure that's been regularly topped in recent weeks.
Today's openings should help: When "The Living Daylights" opened overseas last week, Timothy Dalton's debut as James Bond made more first-weekend money than any Sean Connery or Roger Moore Bond film. If Dalton, who's now been signed for three more Bond movies, has similar clout in the United States, you can expect "Robocop" to suffer the most; that action-adventure movie dropped by 26 percent last weekend but still managed to outgross newcomers like "Summer School," "Superman IV" and "La Bamba." That last movie, a commercial question mark before its release, did quite well on a per-screen basis and was No. 1 in Los Angeles, where Ritchie Valens, the subject of the film bio, had his first success. It pulled especially strong numbers in the more than two dozen theaters where it's being shown in Spanish; theaters had their choice of dubbed or subtitled versions, but they all chose dubbed.
Remembering the Alamo Again There's a movie in the works that purports to tell the real story about what happened at the Alamo, not the altered Hollywood version that was shown in John Wayne's "The Alamo." But you won't be able to walk into a neighborhood theater and see the $3 million "Alamo ... the Price of Freedom" when it opens next March, because the film is made for the wide-screen Imax process and can be shown in only 55 special theaters.
"Freedom," the first dramatic movie made in Imax, is now being shot on the set of Wayne's 1960 "Alamo," though it has been rebuilt to match the fort's real dimensions; victorious general Santa Anna's original battle plans are being consulted; the battle is being shot at night, when it actually took place; and among the extras are 500 history buffs who make their own authentic period costumes and travel around the country reenacting famous battles. Private San Antonio investors have raised not only the money to make the film, but also the $3.4 million it will take to build an Imax theater and host the world premiere in San Antonio March 6.
The Horror Outlook David Cronenberg, who expanded his horror film audience considerably with "The Fly," will soon start work on his next film in Toronto. Titled "Twins," it stars Jeremy Irons as twin brothers, both gynecologists; it's reportedly based on a horrifying but true story from New York City in the mid-1960s ... And also on the horror film front, see if you can keep this one straight: Empire Entertainment has started work on "Trancers II: The Return of Jack Deth," a sequel to 1984's "Trancers." It's part of a trilogy called "Pulsepounders," which also includes "The Evil Clergyman" and "The Dungeonmaster." The various story lines in "Trancers II" and the other films will pick up plot lines and characters from not only "Trancers," but also the previous Empire films "Re-Animator," "From Beyond" and "The Dungeonmaster."
Trailers Burt Reynolds and Theresa Russell will star in "Smoke," a $12 million murder mystery about a public defender (Russell) and a former cop (Reynolds). Producer Martin Ransohoff, who also produced the similarly themed "Jagged Edge," says the new film is a return to 1940s-style film noir ... The mayor of Goshen, Ind., is one of the citizens who have submitted their re'sume's to filmmakers looking for locals to play small roles in "Eight Men Out," director-writer John Sayles' film about the Chicago "Black Sox" World Series scandal of 1919. The movie will begin filming in September in Indiana, which was chosen because that state's Bush Stadium has the right look ... And the makers of "Brenda Starr" are being sued because they trimmed some Florida foliage on the set of the Brooke Shields film. Property owner Charles Gaudry says the film crew cut down "an ancient vine" without permission; he wants "an equitable share" of the movie's profits. If Gaudry were more familiar with the film business, he'd realize that most movies don't make any profit.