This has not been a good week in Hollywood. It has nothing to do with box office receipts or TV ratings or the Comcast/NBC Universal merger. No, the movie industry is fixated on the shocking murder of longtime publicist Ronni Chasen, a fixture on the awards scene for decades.
It goes without saying that Chasen’s 30 plus years in the business within the top levels of the studio system made her one of the most well connected people in town and many are still in mourning over her passing. In the three days since, Beverly Hills Police have reportedly determined it wasn’t a car jacking or that a sniper was involved, but that hasn’t made residents of the affluent area feel any safer. The pressure is now on law enforcement to determine what caused this act of violence in a part of town where shootings are a rarity. In the meantime, all five major studios have agreed to cover the costs of a private memorial which will be held Sunday on the Sony lot. So, while Chasen was hardly known to the general public, her tragic death will hang over Hollywood for quite some time.
When actually talking about the business of the movies however — and apologies for such an awkward segue — it’s the trailer for Jon Favreau’s “Cowboys & Aliens” that has everyone buzzing. From rival studios to fanboys, it’s clear Universal might just have a big hit on their hands which would be welcome news for the struggling major.
As for the rest of this week’s rankings…
Nov. 19, 2011
1. Ronni Chasen Tragedy
A true Hollywood “lifer” taken too soon.
2. “Cowboys & Aliens” (not ranked)
Wow. People really like that trailer. This could be the movie that turns Universal Studios’ summer fortunes around and just in time for the Comcast merger!
3. “Harry Potter” (last week no. 1)
Strong reviews for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1” and a possible $130 million opening this weekend makes it hard to believe it’s all really going to end with “Pt. 2” in July.
4. “Green Lantern” (not ranked)
Reaction to the new trailer couldn’t have been what WB wanted, but at least they know what works now and what doesn’t.
5. Golden Globes (not ranked)
The week’s other big shocker: the HFPA is suing Dick Clark Productions claiming they made a deal with NBC without the organization’s consent. Bizarre.
6. “The Wolverine” (not ranked)
Director Darren Aronofsky reveals to HitFix the title of the new stand alone Wolverine film. Oh, and he gets a two-year deal at Fox too.
7. “Your Highness” (not ranked)
Anyone thinking this James Franco, Danny McBride and Natalie Portman comedy isn’t going to be a hit really needs to see this trailer.
8. “Spider-Man” (last week no. 2)
Dennis Leary gets his shot at a movie franchise playing Emma Stone’s dad in the Marc Webb reboot.
9. “The Twilight Saga” (last week no. 5)
Just how big will “Eclipse” be on DVD? Oh, and one year till “Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1” hit theaters. Really not that far away peeps.
10. “Wizard of Oz” (not ranked)
Warner Bros. wants Robert Zemeckis to direct a new version of the original MGM script. I’m losing track of all the different “Oz” movies going around, how about you?
11. “Burlesque” (not ranked)
People either love or hate the new self aware musical, but word is it’s no “Showgirls” or “Glitter.” Of course, Hollywood’s more interested in the confirmed reports of fighting on the set between Screen Gems topper Clint Culpepper and director Steven Antin (who also just happen to be boyfriends of 20 years), but the national media have little interest in that one.
12. “Tron Legacy’ (last week no. 7)
The long awaited sequel is now less than a month away from opening and the industry is starting to wonder if it can live up to the hype with moviegoers. Disney hopes kids and families will go, but will they?
13. “Blue Valentine” (last week no. 15)
The Weinstein Company aren’t giving up on fighting the NC-17 ruling for their acclaimed Sundance drama and have hired publicity friendly legal team Bert Fields and David Boies to make their case. Fingers crossed.
14. “The Thing” (not ranked)
Yep, the release date is moving. Yep, there is additional photography. But the producer hopes it will be a good, um, thing in the long run.
15. Academy Awards (not ranked)
Many Academy and SAG members are secretly thrilled the good movies just arrived in the mail with screeners for “Somewhere,” “The Kids Are All Right” and “The Social Network” ready for viewing over Thanksgiving weekend.
Dropping like a rock…
Yeah, that didn’t work out so well at the box office. We think “Battle: Los Angeles” has little to worry about at this point.
Last week’s rankings:
Movie Power Rankings will now appear on HitFix every Thursday. Share your thoughts on this week’s list below.