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Stuff You Need to Know, Saturday, July 19, 2008

  • The Dark Knight has blown up. $67 million dollar opening day. That’s in unadjusted dollars, but I don’t know if anything could beat that from the past. This video is accurate, especially about the Christmas part. Hollywood execs have dreams about their films opening to huge ridiculous box office but they never quite make it there. That’s why you scratch your head and say, “$30 million? Sounds good to me…” This is one of the few cases where it actually met the wildest, wet dream expectations of Warner Brothers.

    Direct link for the feedreaders.

  • The free online mini-musical Dr. Horrible has been released and gone viral this week, proving that fans of Joss Whedon will get behind anything where they don’t actually have to go to the cinema and support an existing franchise. But, hey, J!nx has Dr. Horrible shirts and you can wear them around the house.
  • Fox Home Video has the third season of How I Met Your Mother hitting October 7th. Also, The Complete Series Stash Box of That 70s Show hits October 14th. Thirty-two discs, plus collectible packaging, a keepsake yearbook, the finale script, and from what I can tell, no additional goodies on the discs.
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  • Whoopi Goldberg is going to join the cast of the Xanadu musical for about six weeks starting July 29th. She’ll be playing Calliope. The only time I’ve seen her doing a stage show is her original Broadway one-woman show, which really was amazing. The HBO special version is available on the 20th Anniversary 2-disc set.
  • High school musicals are getting their own award: the Jimmy, otherwise known as the National High School Musical Theater Awards. First awards are given out June 1st of next year. How do you get to the Jimmies? You apparently work your way up through regional competitions. This will be a huge boon to high school musicals: even after the boost from the Disney movies, many high school shows find themselves closing after one, maybe two weekends. Not available for pre-order yet.
  • Kirby fans: take note. Your friends and ours at TwoMorrows are releasing the Jack Kirby Checklist: Gold Edition in a trade paperback form and a full-searchable PDF form. They put out a silver edition in 1998 and now they’ve had ten years to tweak, correct, refine, and add to the ultimate listing of Kirby’s work. Check it out:

    It lists in exacting detail every published comic featuring Kirby’s work, including dates, story titles, page counts, and inkers. It even cross-references reprints, to help collectors locate less-expensive versions of key Kirby issues, and includes an extensive bibliography listing books, periodicals, portfolios, fanzines, posters, and other obscure pieces with Kirby’s art, plus a detailed list of Jack’s unpublished work as well. BONUS: It now includes a complete listing of the over 5000-page archive of Kirby’s personal pencil art photocopies.

    Plus, TwoMorrows has rare and unseen art coming out of their ears, so they’ve included those in the book just because. $14.95 for the print edition–and when you buy it from them online you get 15% off plus the $6.95 PDF version for free. Buy the print version (with the free digital version) here or if you’re dead set against paper, you can buy the digital copy here.

  • Kung Fu Panda and DreamWorks are getting sued by a guy who walks around with a stuffed animal. No, we’re serious. Zhao Bandi is a performance artist who uses a lot of pandas in his work. He’s suing for an apology from DreamWorks because the panda is China’s national symbol and “the fact that Po’s father in the film is a duck is an insult to all Chinese and also the panda’s eyes are green, which is an evil color.” There is precedent for this, since Idaho’s state symbol, Mr. Potato Head, was depicted in the Pixar Toy Story movies as having Don Rickles’ voice. This caused a performance artist in Vermont, Klar Moonbow, to sue Pixar, but everyone pretty much ignored him because he was an asshole. When polled, a representative sampling of the Chinese people were found to either be too busy watching the movie to comment (56%) or responded “Zhao who?” (44%).
  • MGM is releasing a collector’s edition of Pumpkinhead on September 9th.

  • Papillon is getting remade. Budget is $90 million. Will be shot in the Canary Islands, for the most part, assuming it actually happens. Nobody but nobody attached yet.
  • Showtime is planning ahead. Two more seasons of Weeds have been ordered, another season of the excellent Bullshit! as well. They’ve picked up Edie Falco’s Nurse Jackie. And they’re also going to do a spinoff of The L Word, although no details have been provided. I’m betting there will be naked women involved, though. And you know what? I’m okay with that.
  • What the hell is Soul Men? It’s a comedy with Bernie Mac and Sam Jackson that opens November 14th. They play soul music legends who decide to reunite after 20 years to honor their deceased band leader. Here is a pic. They are Feeling It.

    Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson in \'Soul Men\'

  • Lionsgate is releasing the Speed Racer Complete Classic Series Collection on October 7th. Fifty-two episodes across five discs with a sixth disc of bonus bits. Not available for pre-order yet. Stay tuned.
  • So we’ve had movies getting made into stage musicals, we’ve had stage musicals getting made into movies, now we get a movie musical remake of a movie that was not originally a musical. What would be your first guess as to what that might be? Your sixth? Somewhere around your two-hundred and sixth guess would be Valley Girl from 1983, which starred a very young Nicolas Cage and April Fool’s Day‘s Deborah Foreman. I don’t know about you, but Howard the Duck was my two-hundred and fifth guess. Because that I might actually go see. That being said, around your fifty-third guess would be 9 to 5. No really, it hits Broadway in 2009, music and lyrics by Dolly Parton and stars Allison Janney, Stephanie J. Block (Wicked national tour), Megan Hilty (Wicked on Broadway) and Marc Kudisch (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on Broadway). It will have twenty new songs. Remember the whole garage door opener scenario from that film? Wouldn’t you love to be the technical director on that show?
  • Viz Media wants to make movies. They’ve now got a production company so they can either get Hollywood and Japan talking on ways to use the licenses or they’ll produce the things themselves. I guess they’re taking a page from Marvel’s play book: if you want something done, do it yourself. Dindrane is currently caught in the liminal void between squeeing and going tharn. It’s frightening to behold.
  • So…Watchmen trailer. Watch the Watchmen:

    Direct link for the feedreaders.

    Here’s the thing. I’ve read a draft of this screenplay that was so infuriating it might actually make Dindrane kick a kitten and make Siege eat a salad. No shit. And yet, I feel a sense of calm watching this. I know I’m setting myself up for heartbreak. But that is Rorschach. And damn if that’s not Dave Gibbons’ Dr. Manhattan walking around. Zack Snyder: please, please, please do not fuck this up.

  • John Woo is going to helm Caliber based on the comic that I’ve been meaning to read because the concept sounds cool. It’s…well, Camelot 1880. Word has it that they’ll be able to afford horses. The Coconut Growers Association is utterly beside themselves.
  • Did you know there was a Zorro musical with music by the Gipsy Kings? Me neither.

    • Note to self: Read Watchmen. I hear Rorschach is something akin to Raphael, Ninja Turtle, rated R. Sounds like my kind of hero. The question is, wait for the movie first, and not know what’s going on, or read the comic first, and consequently hate the movie? I’m reading it either way, but I leave the choice to you, Widge, as you have the knowledge I lack.

    • Shall I shun him now? Blank go read the book. Also, while you are reading it there are some very good annotated notes on the web. Please just go read the book. I don’t like to shun, it is not pretty.

      I believe everyone is just holdng their breath on Watchman. I already have a problem with casting. But I will leave my comments for Dragon Con.