24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: American Pie

Box Office: 'Hunger Games' is tops for third consecutive weekend [Video]

April 9, 2012 | 12:15 pm

The Hunger Games was the No 1 film at the box office for the third consecutive weekend
It's been three weeks since "The Hunger Games" hit theaters, but American moviegoers have yet to tire of the Suzanne Collins adaptation.

For the third consecutive weekend, the fantasy epic topped the box office, raking in an additional $33.5 million. That means the film has now surpassed the $300-million milestone in the U.S. and Canada alone.

The success of "The Hunger Games" negatively impacted "American Reunion" and "Titanic 3-D," which debuted over the weekend. The fourth installment in the raunchy comedy franchise, "Reunion" sold only about $21 million in tickets, while the 3-D version of James Cameron's classic took in a so-so $17 million.

So are audiences totally over '90s reboots? Check out this week's box office video report for more.


'Hunger Games' surpasses $300 million at box office

'American Reunion' stars talk pies, sex, kids and rehab

'Titanic' & 'American Reunion:' Is the nostalgia clock ticking?

-- Amy Kaufman


Photo: Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson star in "The Hunger Games." Credit: Lionsgate

'Titanic' & 'American Reunion:' Is the nostalgia clock ticking?

April 9, 2012 |  7:00 am

"American Pie."
Sometime in the late 2020s, a canny producer will try to revive "The Hunger Games." He will graft on the technology of the moment (a smell-enhancing app for your next-generation Google Glasses, natch) and find a new narrative thread to bring back the duo of Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, now nearing 40 and hankering for their fifth collective Oscar.

Overcome with goodwill about the franchise of their formative years, a handful of thirtysomething moviegoers will rush out to see the "Hunger Games" reboot. But the teenagers that comprise the bulk of the filmgoing audience will be baffled by a franchise that reminds them of their parents and instead flock to a newer phenomenon (a superhero horror comedy starring the prepubescent son of Daniel Radcliffe and Rosie Coker, and costarring Justin Bieber, somehow still pre-pubescent in 2029).

OK, so that's as hard to imagine as, say, Tiger winning another major. Still "Hunger Games" did this weekend what, given the cyclical ways of pop culture, others may well one day do to it. In its third weekend of release, the Jennifer Lawrence film crushed not one but two '90s revivals,"Titanic" and "American Pie." Nirvana, indeed.

Few wallets were hurt in the making of "Titanic 3-D"; conversion costs for the reissue ran about $18 mil and were shouldered by two studios.  But with barely $17 million in premium ticket prices collected over the three-day weekend, you wouldn't exactly call the James Cameron re-release popular. especially given how much love we had for it the first time around. (In contrast, a 3-D revival of "Beauty and the Beast," which upon initial release made only a fraction of "Titanic's" original $600 million, actually opened to higher numbers.)

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'American Reunion': Critics not nostalgic for reheated 'Pie'

April 6, 2012 |  4:53 pm

American Reunion
Thirteen years after the bawdy high-school comedy "American Pie," nearly the whole gang has gotten back together to relive the good old days in the sequel "American Reunion," including horndog Jim (Jason Biggs), sensitive jock Oz (Chris Klein) and party animal Stifler (Seann William Scott). For most movie critics, though, this reunion is safe to skip.

Tribune film critic Michael Phillips calls the latest film "a rather tired sequel" with an entirely predictable story line. ("The plot you know, even if you don't," Phillips promises.) Although "American Reunion" occasionally "rouses itself to deliver," as in a post-credits scene featuring Eugene Levy (a.k.a. Jim's Dad) and Jennifer Coolidge (Stifler's Mom), "the movie's cinematography and editing are pure hack work, drab and jumpy and jammed with full-face close-ups. Not good for comedy."

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'American Reunion' stars talk pies, sex, kids and rehab

April 4, 2012 |  2:02 pm

Seann William Scott, left, declines an offer of apple pie from actor Jason Biggs at the House of Pies restaurant in Los Feliz.
The guy who had sex with a pie.

That’s how most fans still identify Jason Biggs, even though it’s been 13 years since the actor partook in an infamous act of experimental copulation with a dessert in “American Pie.” The R-rated raunchfest set the bar for dirty high school comedies and launched the careers of many of its young stars, including Seann William Scott -- still known to many as the party-loving Stifler.

Both actors were featured in the two theatrical sequels to “Pie,” the last of which was released nine years ago. Now, Biggs, 33, and Scott, 35, are back in “American Reunion,” which brings the class of 1999 back to its Michigan hometown for a get-together. (Each has an executive producer credit on the film as well.)

A few days after returning from Europe where they had been promoting the film, we caught up with the pair at -- where else? -- Los Feliz’s House of Pies.

You’re already on your third cup of coffee, Jason. Has the press tour been exhausting?

Biggs: The last time I did a press tour that was this extensive was for the third “American Pie,” and that was nine years ago. Well, I guess my body has changed a lot in the last nine years. Back then, I was single, and I’d go out at night from dinner to drinks, go out with local people and party, and then roll into the publicity obligations in the morning with energy. Now, I lay down for a nap at 6 p.m. and wake up at 6 a.m. the next day. One glass of champagne and I’m like, “What happened last night, baby? Do I have a Mike Tyson tattoo on my face?”

How did landing “American Pie” change your career?

Scott: I was working at Home Depot. There were a lot of teen movies coming out, but this particular one seemed to have a buzz about it. So I quit Home Depot.

Biggs: It was the biggest high to date for me. I had been OK with girls before that.

Scott: But the part didn’t hurt.

Biggs: It was a lot different afterward. I totally realized that it was largely superficial and absolutely ridiculous and thought most of the people that were interested in me because of [fame] were absolutely ridiculous. But I’m also a young, virile man … that has opportunities now. And these opportunities need to be capitalized upon for the sake of men everywhere.

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'American Pie' director surprised by ‘American Reunion’ in-jokes

March 1, 2012 |  7:04 pm


Eugene Levy and Jason Biggs in "American Reunion."

Next month, the horndogs of “American Pie” return to the American consciousness with “American Reunion,” the first time in nearly a decade that the likes of Jim, Finch and Stifler will be on the big screen together. The movie, which comes out April 6, hopes to tap into the recent boom in R-rated comedies that the "American Pie" franchise helped create.

The fourquel is a reboot of sorts, and the “Harold & Kumar” filmmakers in charge of it are treating the new film (the first theatrical piece since "American Wedding' in 2003) as, well, a reunion, with the students of Michigan’s East Great Falls getting together for their high school reunion. (They graduated in 1999, so the new movie is either set a few years ago or they do things differently in Michigan.)

Normally a long hiatus might mean a fresh start on the jokes; after all, today’s all-important college audience was barely out of the finger-painting stage when the first movie came out.

But the new comedy -- from “Harold & Kumar’s" team of Jon Hurwitz-Hayden Schlossberg and starring Jason Biggs, Sean William Scott and pretty much the rest of the "American Pie" crew -- doesn’t shy away from the inside references.

Paul Weitz, who directed the first film and had a far less involved role on this one as an executive producer, said he was struck upon reading the script by how deep inside the first movie the new story went.

“They seemed very devoted to ‘American Pie,’” he told 24 Frames. “My only concern [after reading it] was that people wouldn’t understand all the references, because I couldn’t understand all the references and I directed the film,’ he said.

Which means the new movie goes well beyond the apple-pie and webcam jokes that became part of the comic vernacular.

Weitz rewatched “American Pie” recently, he said, and found his initial reaction to the “Reunion” script confirmed. "I was shocked to realize how many in-jokes there were in the new film,” he said. “But that’s how it happens at a high school reunion, so it all kind of fits."


A new 'American Pie' goes into the theatrical oven

Comedy: How deep will the R-rated renaissance run?

Harold & Kumar writers on the art of offensive comedy

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Eugene Levy and Jason Biggs in "American Reunion." Credit: Universal Pictures

A new 'American Pie' goes into the (theatrical) oven

February 17, 2010 |  3:11 pm


Break out the webcams and apple pie: The antics of Chuck, Stifler and the rest of the "American Pie" crew could be coming back to theaters.

Universal, which made and distributed the pop-phenomenon original, is developing a new version with an eye toward resetting the property as a theatrical franchise.

The studio is poised to bring on "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg to script a new take on the franchise, which is being described in the development community as "American Pie 4." The movie would come on the heels of the third theatrical movie in the franchise, "American Wedding," which came out in 2003, and a slew of lucrative DVD titles that followed.

The original "American Pie" was released in 1999 and became a cultural and commercial phenomenon, grossing more than $200 million worldwide and spawning a booming market for R-rated summer comedies. "American Pie 2" and "American Wedding" followed at two-year intervals.

A host of direct-to-DVD titles then followed "Wedding" under the banner of "American Pie Presents," including "Band Camp," "The Naked Mile," "Beta House" and, this past December, "The Book of Love." But the studio, sources say, hopes that the franchise could be ripe for a new theatrical run.Universal declined comment on the new project.

At least some of the original cast is interested in coming back for the new picture, though sources emphasized that development is early and there are no actor deals in place.

Seann William Scott, Jason Biggs, Shannon Elizabeth and Alyson Hannigan were among the young comedic actors who got their break in the first film, which explored a group of high school seniors trying to lose their virginity before they left their adolescence behind.

How the characters would be worked into a new script remains a question; many, after all, are now in their late 20s and early 30s, and the original picture was set in high school. Writers would also need to contend with a world in which the novelty of the raunchy comedy, which was a relatively new form more than a decade ago, may have worn off with the success of movies like "The Hangover" and a spate of Judd Apatow films.

But the studio is clearly hoping that the awareness and fondness for the comedy brand could help support a new installment. Franchise reboots have become the latest vogue in Hollywood, even and especially for properties that haven't been away that long: Sony is rebooting "Spider-Man" just a few years after the webbed one last appeared on the big screen.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Jason Biggs, Thomas Ian Nicholas and Eddie Kaye Thomas from "American Pie." Credit: Vivian Zink / Universal


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