By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire July 25, 2011 at 3:12AM
In case you were away from your computer this weekend, here's a tidy package of our weekend coverage that includes news from Comic-Con, box-office reports, a big trailer debut and more.
The folks behind both Gilles Paquet-Brenner’s “Sarah’s Key” and Mike Cahill’s “Another Earth” had reason to celebrate this weekend, as estimates provided by Rentrak on Sunday suggested the duo of debuting films found some nice numbers at the box office. “Key” - a French-language film starring Kristin Scott Thomas - was released in 5 theaters via The Weinstein Company and found the best per site numbers of any film in release (including “Captain America” and “Harry Potter”), taking in $117,045 for a $23,409 average. Its second weekend should be telling, but so far things look good for the film, which stars Scott Thomas as a journalist who finds her life becoming entwined with a young girl whose family was torn apart during the notorious Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup in 1942. A very different film - “Another Earth” - made its way to 4 theaters in NY and LA (though notably on 7 screens, as both the Lincoln Center and Sunshine theaters in New York and Arclight in LA had “Earth” in 2 different showings). The result was a $78,413 gross, averaging a strong $19,603 per theater.
Now you’re just spoiling us, Steven Soderbergh! A week or so the ace trailer for his star-studded thriller “Contagion” dropped; now, with Comic-Con in full swing, we’re treated to the preview for his other thriller, “Haywire,” which looks equally as compelling. (He’s also apparently not retiring after all according to reports at the event.) In the action flick mixed martial arts superstar Gina Carano plays Mallory Kane, a highly trained operative who performs dangerous tasks for a government security contractor. When she gets double crossed by her own team, she takes matters into her own hands to uncover the reasons behind their failed attempt to snuff her.
The stars aligned around the Paramount logo this weekend as the Marvel Entertainment production "Captain America: The First Avenger" became the summer’s biggest superhero opener at $65.8 million, beating "Thor" ($65.7 million), "X-Men: First Class" ($55.1 million) and DC’s "Green Lantern" ($53.2 million). Women who had their fill of watching men in tights took in another showing of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" ($48.1 million) or Sony/Screen Gems’ kinky romantic comedy "Friends With Benefits" at $18.5 million.
EW’s Dave Karger moderated Universal’s "Snow White and the Huntsman" panel at Comic-Con, which included director Rupert Sanders, producers Joe Roth and Palek Patel, and stars Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron and Sam Clafin. Sanders is a first-time feature director, but showed an impressive reel of his commercials to the hordes in Hall H. The film is set to start shooting soon, so the cast members have only just met and begun to get a feel for each other.
Comic-Con attendees were granted an early glimpse at "The Amazing Spider-Man"'s main baddie The Lizard (who as a man is named Curt Connors, played by Rhys Ifans), over the weekend at the event. In the clip, Connors introduces himself as “the foremost authority on herpetology, which is the study of reptiles.” Pointing out his missing right arm to a group of students, he explains that he “longs to fix himself.” In the footage, Connors experiments on himself with DNA from a reptile that can replenish and re-grow its appendages. The dosage is way too high, and Connors begins to transform into a reptilian monster. After enduring some unusual changes, he explodes from beneath a bathroom stall fully-formed as The Lizard, menacing two teenage girls. The clip ends with a shot of The Lizard roaring fiercely and lunging towards the camera, which looked pretty terrific in 3D.
Reports surfaced late Saturday night and early Sunday that Rhys Ifans was arrested following an incident before “The Amazing Spider-Man” panel over the weekend. According to The Wrap, the actor was cheesed when a member of his entourage didn’t have the proper clearance get into the hall and an irate Ifans wound up pushing a guard to let him through. Ifans participated in the panel but was issued a citizen’s arrest afterward. “He was aggressive and belligerent,” said Lt. Andra Brown. “He was…berating everyone from the security staff to the United States of America.”
Now this is a superhero. Conan O’Brien gave us his alter ego 'The Flaming C' months ago, a defender of the weak who can be fearless because he wears a powerful oven mit. At Comic-Con, Conan showed up at the panel for the animated Green Lantern television series to premiere his trailer for a non-existent movie version. Even in this short clip, The Flaming C has more personality than "Captain America: The First Avenger."