Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Smith returns with more holiday fireworks

Look out! Another “Big Willie Weekend” is upon us!

That’s what Will Smith jokingly calls his success over July Fourth holidays ever since “Independence Day” burned up the box office in 1996. Since then, a couple of “Men in Black” films have turned the same trick, with only “Wild, Wild West” being considered a “disappointment,” opening at just under $50 million before falling fast in the summer of 1999.

Today, Smith rides high as “Hancock,” a perfect summer surprise filled with laughs, special effects, a grand twist, just enough angst and, maybe best of all, clocking in at only a little more than 90 minutes.

“If you can imagine,” Smith explained way back in December while strutting his “I Am Legend” stuff, “it’s the Michael Mann version of an alcoholic superhero. It is so bizarre. (Producer) Michael Mann actually developed a script about an alcoholic superhero, and Jason Bateman plays a publicist who begins to rehabilitate me in the eyes of the public.”
Oh yeah, Bateman’s wife, played by Oscar-winning Charlize Theron, has a key role, too. In fact, ya gotta see that to believe it!
By the way, Smith only talked to TV press to promote “Hancock.” An unconfirmed report claimed it’s because he’s “saving the print press” to talk about his next film, the dramatic “Seven Pounds,” which opens Dec. 12 (moving up from a March 2009 release). Smith apparently thinks it’s good enough to win him his own Academy Award.
Of course, it’s directed by Gabriele Muccino, who put Smith through his Oscar-nom paces in “The Pursuit of Happyness.” The next film co-stars Rosario Dawson and Woody Harrelson.
With “Wall-E” and “Wanted” dominating last week’s box office, the only other film expanding this holiday weekend is “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl.” You can read what little Abigail Breslin has to say about it on my blog at MovieZen.

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