No matter how much money she’s being guaranteed for movies these days, Nicole Kidman had better start thinking twice about her legacy as an actress.
Her new one, "The Invasion," opened Friday and bombed quite brilliantly. It took in a little less than $2 million. The price for this disaster? Over $100 million. And even though it co-stars James Bond actor Daniel Craig, nothing can make "The Invasion" into a hit.
What’s worse is, no one wanted even to see it in theatres. At boxofficemojo.com, a poll among subscribers showed almost no interest in "The Invasion."
Of course, the marketing didn’t help. The movie looked like "The Stepford Wives II," another Kidman disaster. And in many of the ads, Craig’s name wasn’t even mentioned. It was just Nicole Kidman, looking beautiful, running among dead eyed weirdos.
The public smelled a rat, Warner Bros. punted, and the rest is history.
Kidman was riding high in her career at one point with hits like "The Hours," for which she won an Oscar, "The Others," and "Moulin Rouge."
But lately her choices of projects have been disastrous. From "Stepford" to "Bewitched" to "Fur," "Birth," "Dogville," "The Interpreter," and her misguided work in "Cold Mountain," Kidman has made one bad decision after another. What it shows is a lack of direction, and no one to manage or guide her.
There may be hope, though: Kidman and Ralph Fiennes have just signed on to star in "The Reader" for Weinstein Co. But in the meantime, Kidman will appear in Baz Luhrmann’s epic "Australia" and sooner, Noah Baumbach’s "Margot at the Wedding." She needs not only a commercial hit but a critical one to re-establish her position as the best actress of her generation.
Did you know that Richard Gere is famous for being the first male movie star to exhibit frontal nudity in a legit film?
The answer is "yes," in 1980's “American Gigolo." Gere caused a sensation.
Since then, Gere has not been shy about showing at least his hind parts in films. Ladies, and some gents, may know the details of all this. But in his new film, “The Hunting Party,” the almost 59-year-old, white-haired Gere makes a joke of his previous unveilings.
In one scene he pulls down his pants and quite prominently moons a whole crowd. One the left cheek is written the F-word. And the right: “You.” It’s pretty impressive for a man of his years.
“They had a great day on set when that was shot,” an insider told me Thursday.
It’s the only time Gere’s flesh makes an appearance in “The Hunting Party,” Richard Shepard’s skillfully made thriller about American journalists in Bosnia trying to find a political mass murderer. The movie is part thriller and part meditation, sort of “The Quiet American” with explosions.
I guess it could have been called “The Noisy Americans.”
Terrence Howard and young Jesse Eisenberg play Gere’s comrades, and all three are excellent as they search Bosnia — and narrowly escape death several times — for “The Fox,” played with chilling effectiveness by Croatian actor Ljubomir Kerekes.
There are also many cameo appearances, including one by James Brolin as a Dan Rather-type network anchor. Brolin is quite good, although he seems to pulling in leftover characteristics from his recent TV star turn as Ronald Reagan.
Also popping up in “Hunting Party” are Diane Kruger as a mysterious speed bump in the men’s quest, and the sizzlingly beautiful Joy Bryant as the girlfriend waiting for Howard’s character on a Greek island.
Otherwise, Shepard has used more or less all local actors. The result is tremendous authenticity to the whole project.
Based on an Esquire story by Scott Anderson, “Hunting Party” is no formulaic thriller. It has plenty of humor and Shepard — who directed Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear so well in “Matador” — lets the story peel itself off, layer by layer, like an onion.
Aside from his mooning, Gere comes off beautifully once again. When you think of his career from “Dr. T and the Women” forward, it’s astonishing. He’s completely reinvented himself. Taken with “Chicago,” “The Hoax” and “Unfaithful,” this film now forms a body of work for the actor that no one would have ever guessed he’d have.
Ironically, though many people find him sexier than ever, Gere’s aging means a slowly changing face. Gone is the little-boy-lost look. He now is starting to resemble the late great Richard Boone, from “Have Gun Will Travel.” Now that Gere’s agent, Ed Limato, is settled at the William Morris agency, he should check into the remake rights immediately!
As for the rest of the "Hunting Party": despite Howard’s weird interviews of late, he remains a powerful new leading man on the scene. He and Gere make a good team and seem plausible as good friends even though there’s a 20-year age difference.
And Eisenberg, who was so good in “Roger Dodger” and “The Squid and the Whale,” provides subtle comic relief as a network VP’s kid who uses the Bosnian adventure to break into journalism.
Yes, this column told you some time ago that Bruce Springsteen was coming back with an E Street Band album and a tour.
Thursday, Bruce made the official announcement. The album is called “Magic” and it’s released on Oct. 2.
OK, so we told you so. I like it when Variety tells us things we already knew, don’t you?
I can tell you that the album is hard rockin’, according to my sources. Springsteen, with all the E Streeters, including Clarence Clemons, is taking no prisoners. The first single is called “Radio Nowhere.”
And as I reported before, the tour is already booked and ready to be announced. It will be the first one without Springsteen’s longtime aide de camp, Terry Magovern, who died recently at age 67. Magovern was with Springsteen since 1969.
I’m told the Boss played a song he wrote specially for Terry at his funeral. Bruce, like Sting and Jon Bon Jovi, is part of the mensch generation of rock stars.
Also out right now is The Eagles’ new single, “How Long.” It’s been streaming on their MySpace page since Thursday night. A country rocker, the song harkens back to “Take It Easy,” their first single in 1973. It’s very catchy, and everyone gets a chance to sing lead.
The Eagles, of course, are no longer on a major record label. They’re exclusive through Wal-Mart, and on Amazon.com, etc.
Meanwhile, James Blunt has a lot to live up to after his debut single, “You’re Beautiful,” which was played so often on radio that it was eventually banned.
His new one, “1973,” from his upcoming sophomore album, is on Rhapsody and iTunes, etc., and likely on the radio by now. Not the obvious smash, “1973” is still a hit, and it shows that Blunt, to be blunt, is a keeper despite his long nights of partying with Petra Nemcova.
At the same time, Matchbox Twenty’s new single, “How Far We’ve Come” is out, and streaming on their MySpace page. I told you about this one in June. It’s one of six new tracks that will be packaged with the group’s greatest hits, called “Exile on Mainstream,” also out on Oct. 2. Steve Lillywhite produced the new tracks, and they are hot stuff.
And there’s always Kanye West. His “Stronger” is a remade sample from the group Daft Punk. West splits the songwriting credit and royalty with them.
His version is great, but one wonders how much money you can really make if all your songs are samples of something else. Still, West’s “Graduation” album is coming on Sept. 11, and it’s supposed to be full of cool samples and West miscellany.
One nice thing about Kanye West. A couple of weeks ago, as I waited at the endless baggage carousel at American Airlines JFK terminal, a man darted in front of me and started pulling luggage off the conveyor belt.
It was Kanye West. And they weren’t even his bags, but those of his crew. Nice.
There are a lot of naysayers out there, claiming “Rush Hour 3” is either stalled or isn’t a hit. With $64 million in the bank since last Friday, however, “RH3” looks like it’s done pretty well after all.
First, here are the stats: It’s the third biggest opener for a three-day weekend in August of all movie types. “Rush Hour 2” and “Signs” are ahead of it.
It’s also the fourth biggest three-day opener for a comedy. So there. It’s right behind “Austin Powers Goldmember,” “Bruce Almighty” and “Rush Hour 2.”
Want more? It’s the fifth biggest three-day opening for a comedy ever, with “Meet the Fockers,” “Bruce Almighty,” “Rush Hour 2” and “Goldmember” in front of it.
I’d say: That’s not bad.
Sources tell me that all the numbers that went flying around this week about the director have been wrong.
Contrary to those reports, Brett Ratner made at least $20 million from “X-Men: The Last Stand.” The movie grossed $459 million internationally with more than half coming from the U.S. Again, a home run.
The director — who seems to invoke a lot of jealousy — is far from cash poor. He’s got $10 million guarantees for each of several projects coming up, including his Hugh Hefner movie and his Trump heist film, sources tell me.
Meantime, “RH3” should do nicely again this weekend. The slate of new releases — "Superbad,"
"The Invasion," "Death at a Funeral" — don’t pose much of a threat to its standing.
And by now, word of mouth has probably increased interest. Chris Tucker is funny, matter how you slice it.