Christmas Box-Office, Spike Lee Judges ‘Django Unchained’ and ‘Star Wars’ Turns to ‘Star Trek’ for Direction

J.J. Abrams1.) Making news out of a non-story is the word out of Empire magazine today in which J.J. Abrams confirms he turned down any involvement in Star Wars: Episode VII:

There were the very early conversations and I quickly said that because of my loyalty to Star Trek, and also just being a fan, I wouldn’t even want to be involved in the next version of those things. I declined any involvement very early on. I’d rather be in the audience not knowing what was coming, rather than being involved in the minutiae of making them.

Abrams directed the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness, which hits theaters in May and I have to ask, does anyone else find it mildly concerning that the level of imagination taken in approaching this new Star Wars trilogy already has the producers looking at a director with his own similar sci-fi franchise already in theaters? Wouldn’t you want to distance and differentiate your franchise and isn’t it interesting Star Wars is now literally turning to Star Trek for direction?

2.) I have no idea what we should expect from Wes Anderson‘s next film The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is described as a European set comedy set 85 years ago in which the main character, who’s a bit crazy, has a personal medium [mind reader] whose assistant is a teenager. That main character was originally supposed to be played by Johnny Depp, but he had to drop out and was replaced by Ralph Fiennes. Either previously rumored, or now confirmed, Fiennes will be joined in the film by Jude Law, Bill Murray, Angela Lansbury, Owen Wilson, Saoirse Ronan, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Mathieu Amalric and F. Murray Abraham. I don’t know about you, but it’s hard not to look forward to a film with that cast intact. [THR]

3.) Over the past couple of days the acting world lost both Jack Klugman (“The Odd Couple”) who died on December 24 at the age of 90 and Charles Durning (The Sting) who passed away on Christmas Day at the age of 89.

Django Unchained4.) Whether because he enjoys being irrational and judging things he hasn’t seen or because he simply has no tolerance for Quentin Tarantino (Lee has taken issue with Tarantino’s use of the n-word for years), Spike Lee has spoken out against Tarantino’s Django Unchained telling Vibe TV, “I cant speak on it ’cause I’m not gonna see it… All I’m going to say is that it’s disrespectful to my ancestors. That’s just me… I’m not speaking on behalf of anybody else.” His efforts to not speak out on it then continued on Twitter where he wrote, “American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western.It Was A Holocaust.My Ancestors Are Slaves.Stolen From Africa.I Will Honor Them.”

I respect anyone’s informed opinion, but to judge something before you’ve seen it is part of the problem we’ve already seen with the critics of Zero Dark Thirty.

5.) Speaking of Django, Tarantino’s film brought in $15 million on Christmas Day, coming in second behind the $18.2 million earned by Les Miserables while The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is holding its own with a strong $11.3 million.

The Christmas Day opening record is still held by Sherlock Holmes at $24.6 million, but Les Mis and Django are now numbers two and three respectively, ahead of Marley and Me at #4 with $14.3 million.

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