Martin Grove’s Hollywood Report 09-04-12

“Looper” – In theaters September 28th

“Looper” – In theaters September 28th

Scene from the upcoming Lionsgate action film “Dredd”

Scene from the upcoming Lionsgate action film “Dredd”

“Resident Evil: Retribution” – In theaters September 14th

“Resident Evil: Retribution” – In theaters September 14th

September sizzle Summer may be history, but Hollywood’s hoping for plenty of boxoffice sizzle in September.

It helps that the studios have wide releases set that offer something for everyone – including, family films, film festival contenders, horror films and action thrillers.

In an unusual twist, the same movie will begin and end the month. That’s because TriStar and FilmDistrict’s high profile futuristic action thriller “Looper” will kick off September in the media spotlight with its world premiere Thursday, Sept. 6 as the Toronto International Film Festival’s opening night presentation. “Looper” will then close out the month with its U.S. release Sept. 28.

Written and directed by Rian Johnson, it stars Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo and Jeff Daniels. Johnson was a 2006 nominee at the Toronto festival for best first feature for his drama “Brick.” In 2005 he won the Special Jury prize at Sundance in 2005 for “Brick” and was also a Grand Jury Prize nominee.

“Looper” takes place in a future world where time travel is possible, but illegal. It’s become the mob’s way to get rid of people by sending them decades back into the past. That’s where Joe (Gordon-Levitt), who’s a “looper” or hitman, deals with them. When the mob decides to “close the loop,” they send Willis, Joe’s future self, back for assassination.

With its prestigious Toronto launch, “Looper” could emerge as an awards contender, depending on the reception it gets from critics and festivalgoers. It will face stiff competition in Toronto’s awards contender spotlight from a number of other high profile films, including Ben Affleck’s 1979 Iran hostage crisis theme drama “Argo,” opening Oct. 12 via Warner Bros., and Robert Redford’s CIA theme thriller “The Company You Keep,” opening later this year via Sony Pictures Classics.

Actually, September’s first wide release will be the Sept. 7 opening of CBS Films’ PG-13 romantic drama “The Words.” It’s from first time feature directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, who also wrote its screenplay, and stars Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid and Olivia Wilde.

Cooper plays novelist Rory Jansen, who achieves best-selling success as a writer, but not for something he’s actually written. Rory’s act of plagiarism comes back to cost him dearly.

Sept. 14 will see the arrival of Screen Gems’ R rated 3D action horror thriller “Resident Evil: Retribution.” Directed by “Resident Evil” director Paul W.S. Anderson, it stars Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory and Michelle Rodriguez.

It’s the fifth episode in the franchise that began with “Resident Evil,” which reportedly cost $33 million and opened Mar. 15, 2002 to $17.7 million. It wound up grossing $40.1 million domestically.

The next episode, “Resident Evil: Apocalypse,” reportedly cost $45 million and opened Sept. 10, 2004 to $23 million. It did $51.2 million domestically.

“Resident Evil: Extinction” opened Sept. 21, 2007 to $23.7 million and grossed $50.6 million domestically.

“Resident Evil: Afterlife” opened Sept. 10, 2010 to $26.7 million and is the series’ top grossing episode with $60.1 million domestically.

In “Retribution” Jovovich’s character Alice battles against the Umbrella Corporation, whose deadly T-virus continues to ravage Earth, turning people everywhere into flesh eating Undead.

Also opening Sept. 14 is Disney and Pixar’s re-release in 3D of their 2003 G rated animated comedy adventure blockbuster “Finding Nemo.” Directed by Andrew Stanton (“John Carter”) and Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”), its voice talents include Albert Brooks, Ellen Degeneres and Alexander Gould.

“Nemo” opened May 30, 2003 to $70.3 million and ended up doing $339.7 million domestically.

The multiplexes will be busy Sept. 21 with four wide openings competing for moviegoers’ time and money.

Lionsgate and Big Entertainment’s R rated sci-fi action thriller “Dredd 3D,” is directed by Pete Travis (“Endgame”) and stars Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey.

“Dredd,” a new take on 2000 AD’s Judge Dredd comic book series, is set in the future when atomic wars have ravaged Earth and most survivors live in densely populated crime ridden mega-cities ruled by violent drug lords. Judge Dredd (Urban) is judge, jury and executioner.

Sylvester Stallone played Dredd in the 1995 original “Judge Dredd,” directed by Danny Cannon (“I Still Know What You Did Last Summer”). It opened via Buena Vista June 30, 1995 to $12.3 million and only did $34.7 million domestically.

Relativity Media’s PG-13 rated horror thriller “House at the End of the Street,” from first time feature director Mark Tonderai, stars Jennnifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Shue and Max Thieriot.

It’s the story of a newly divorced mother and her daughter (Lawrence and Shue) who move to a small rural town where it turns out their new dream house is next door to the house where a young girl murdered her parents. And, by the way, that story’s not over yet.

Warner Bros. and Malpaso Productions’ PG-13 drama “Trouble With the Curve” is from first time feature director Robert Lorenz and stars Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake and John Goodman. Lorenz was the first assistant director and an executive producer of Eastwood’s 2004 hit “Million Dollar Baby.” Among his many producing credits are Eastwood’s “Gran Torino,” “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima.”

Eastwood plays an aging baseball scout who takes his daughter (Adams) along on his final recruiting trip.

Open Road Films’ crime drama “End of Watch” is directed by David Ayer (“Street Kings”) and stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena and Anna Kendrick.

Its story revolves around two police officers (Gyllenhaal and Pena) whose lives are endangered after making a routine traffic stop and confiscating money and guns from members of a drug cartel.

Gyllenhaal’s older sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal, will follow him into theatres a week later with the Sept. 28 opening of 20th Century Fox and Walden Media’s PG drama “Won’t Back Down.” Directed by Daniel Barnz (“Beastly”), it stars Viola Davis, Holly Hunter and Gyllenhaal.

Its story focuses on the efforts by two determined mothers to transform their children’s failing inner city school and taking on a powerful bureaucracy to do so.

Also on tap for Sept. 28 is Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation’s PG rated 3D animated comedy “Hotel Transylvania,” from first time feature director Genndy Tartakovsky. Among its voice talents are Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James and Fran Drescher.

Dracula’s lavish “five stake” hotel is where monsters and their families can live it up without any humans around to bother them. Frankenstein and his wife, the Mummy and the Invisible Man are among those celebrating Drac’s daughter Mavis’s 118th birthday when an ordinary human unexpectedly turns up and falls for Mavis.

Sept. 28’s third wide release, “Looper,” will have already been in the media spotlight after premiering, as noted above, Sept. 6 at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Bottom line: With films targeted to a wide range of moviegoers, Hollywood has high hopes that September will get the fall movie season off on the right boxoffice foot.