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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Sherlock Holmes

Box Office: 'Sherlock,' 'Chipmunks' sequels underperform [Video]

December 19, 2011 | 12:32 pm

Sherlock Holmes was the No 1 film at the box office this weekend
There wasn't much holiday cheer at the box office this weekend, as two big-budget sequels came in far below industry expectations.

"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" was the No. 1 film with about $40 million in ticket sales, far short of the $62.9 million the first film raked in back in 2009 -- though the original did open over the busier Christmas weekend. "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked," the third picture in the animated series, also fell short of its predecessors, with around $23.5 million. The previous two installments each collected more than $40 million on their first weekends in theaters.

One bright spot was the performance of "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol," the fourth Tom Cruise action flick, which Paramount Pictures previewed on more than 400 Imax and large-format screens. In limited release, the film grossed $13 million -- a tally that may have been boosted by a six-minute prologue to next summer's "The Dark Knight Rises," which played in front of the movie in some locations.

What do this weekend's numbers mean for the holiday season at the box office? Check out this week's box office video report for details.


Photos: Top 10 movies at the box office

A 'Batman' bounce for 'Mission: Impossible'

A weak weekend for 'Sherlock Holmes,' 'Chipmunks'

--Amy Kaufman


Photo: Noomi Rapace stars with Robert Downey Jr. in "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows." Credit: Warner Bros.

Word of Mouth: Guy Ritchie returns to form with 'Sherlock' [video]

December 8, 2011 |  2:14 pm

Once known only for directing arty gangster movies such as "Snatch" (and for having been married to Madonna), British director Guy Ritchie burst onto the blockbuster scene with 2009's "Sherlock Holmes." Although the movie featured a few of the filmmaker's stylish touches, his real handiwork is much more evident in Dec. 16's sequel, "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows."

Audience tracking surveys suggest Ritchie's sequel, in which Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Watson (Jude Law) try to foil an international plot, could be the holiday season's biggest hit. While Ritchie is now developing a remake of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." with producing partner Lionel Wigram, he may soon be asked to direct a third "Sherlock Holmes" film.

Times staff writer John Horn discusses all of this in this week's Word of Mouth column, and in this video.


On the Set: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law talk 'Sherlock Holmes'

On the trail of the cinematic Sherlock Holmes

Guy Ritchie calls marriage to Madonna a 'soap opera'

— John Horn



An emotional night for Robert Downey Jr.

October 15, 2011 | 12:20 pm

Robert downey
When Robert Downey Jr. urged Hollywood movers and shakers Friday night to forgive his friend  Mel Gibson "his trespasses," it certainly created a lot of buzz at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. But it was hardly the only emotional moment at the the 25th annual American Cinematheque Award gala.

Celebrity after celebrity -- including Jodie Foster, Guy Ritchie, Michael Douglas, Jennifer Aniston, Jon Favreau and Jack Black --- talked about the double Oscar nominee's courage in turning his life around after years of drug addiction that led to him serving time in prison.

The evening also included countless clips of Downey's work over the last quarter century, including his early films "Weird Science," "Back to School" and "Less Than Zero"; his Oscar-nominated turns in "Chaplin" and "Tropic Thunder"; and of course "Sherlock Holmes," "Wonder Boys," "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" and both "Iron Man" blockbusters.

But it was his wife, Susan Downey, and his father who provided some of the most poignant moments.

Robert Downey Sr., a director, showed a clip of his son's acting debut at the age of 5 in "Pound," which featured actors playing dogs in a pound. Sporting  longish hair and an impish grin, the younger Downey played the role of a puppy who is adopted. The elder Downey said that he and his wife couldn't afford a babysitter so they brought their son to work that day and a star was born.

Yet the elder Downey said: "The moment you turned your life around was more heroic than any movie. I am proud to be your father."

Susan Downey, who produces the "Sherlock Holmes" films and is expecting the couple's first child early next year, explained that "creativity is in his blood."

Pausing, she touched her belly and added, "no pressure kid."

Her husband beamed.

Robert Downey Jr. revisits his film career

Mel Gibson gets a boost from Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr.'s wife is pregnant with their first baby

-- Susan King

Photo: Robert Downey Sr. addresses the audience during the 25th American Cinematheque Award benefit gala honoring his son, actor Robert Downey Jr., on Friday in Beverly Hills. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press

'Sherlock Holmes' sequel could be shot in 3-D

April 23, 2010 |  8:12 pm

EXCLUSIVE: With M. Night Shyamalan's "Airbender" and Michel Gondry's "The Green Hornet" each now getting    a type of conversion treatment -- and seemingly every other upcoming film engaged in a 3-D discussion of some kind -- the English detectives may not be far behind.

The sequel to the Guy Ritchie/Robert Downey/Jude Law holiday hit "Holmes" -- which continues to tear it up  on DVD -- is moving closer to the development finish line. And as it does, the  conversations about shooting it in 3-D are heating up.

We caught up with Kieran and Michele Mulroney, the writers on the Holmes sequel as well as the writer-directors on new indie release "Paper Man," and the pair told us that there have been a number of serious conversations at Warner Bros. about conceiving and producing the new "Holmes" in 3-D. The discussions are still underway, but both writers, at least, were open to it.

Although they each worry what would happen if every film Hollywood churns out is turned into a z-axis spectacle, they think it makes sense here. "Sherlock would be great in 3-D," Kieran says. Speaking generally of the 3-D craze, he added that "the wind keeps moving in that direction."

It's hard to know how  some of the roundhouse kicks, sword play and, er, puzzle-solving will play in the full relief of 3-D, but it may not be that long before we find out. The pair is about to turn in a draft of the Holmes script to Warner Bros., and neither producers nor the studio want to hunker down in the development issues that can tie up some sequels for years. "They're anxious to get moving," Kieran says.

Some key questions on the new picture of course remain,  namely, the role of nemesis Moriarty and whether it will indeed be Brad Pitt playing him, as well as what part of the Holmes canon the film will use as source material (the first movie, which came from such stalwarts as "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" writer Simon Kinberg and up-and-comer Anthony Peckham, took the characters and just a few pages from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and spun an entirely new tale out of it).

The first film did provoke some Holmesians by giving both Holmes and Watson action-hero qualities. But the Mulroneys say that this was true to Conan Doyle's intent -- and that the new movie will continue in that direction. "From all the stories, he was a brawler and he had martial arts training. He didn't smoke a curvy pipe," Kieran says.

As "Sherlock" moves forward, the Mulroneys aren't sitting on their laurels. The couple's "Paper Man," an indie drama starring Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Daniels that opened the Los Angeles Film Festival last year, comes out in limited release this weekend.

The movie centers on an unusual relationship, a precocious teenager and an emotionally stunted middle-aged man (who also sees and talks to a superhero imaginary friend, played by Reynolds) as the pair connect over a few unexpectedly eventful days at Daniels' country home. A Michele puts it, "she's wise beyond her years and he's emotionally retarded, and the movie is about what happens when you meet in the middle."

As for the choice of the Reynolds character as a superhero-imaginary friend, Kieran says that it was made with a particular aim in mind.  "We wanted to explore loneliness but we didn't want it to be a dreary, drab movie about a guy feeling sorry for himself. So we gave him a lively foil so you're not stuck in isolation with this guy." Sometimes liveliness can come from 3-D. And sometimes it can come the old-fashioned way: from a strong character.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in 'Sherlock Holmes.' Credit: Warner Bros.


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