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Sequels Continue to Arrive as 'Mamma Mia 2', 'Equalizer 2' and 'Unfriended 2' Hit Theaters
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: With an estimated $14.7 million, Universal's Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again led the way, heading toward what could be a $40 million opening weekend, well ahead of the $27.7 million opening for the original. The film received an "A-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences. Internationally, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again opened in 41 markets this weekend including major markets U.K. & Ireland, Germany, Australia, Sweden and Spain. The film has so far grossed $2...

'Hotel Transylvania 3' & 'Skyscraper' Aim to Top Weekend Box Office
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Sony Pictures Animation's Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation took in an estimated $16.65 million on Friday and is expected to finish the weekend with $43 million (including $1.3 million in Amazon Prime showings and $2.6 million in Thursday night previews. Universal and Legendary's Skyscraper is struggling in its opening weekend, taking in an estimated $9.26 million on Friday and looking at a three-day weekend around $25 million. This comes up well short of Mojo's ...


Dracula 2000: Bat Doesn't Suck or Fly
A review of Wes Craven Presents : Dracula 2000
by J. D. Rummel

This is a movie with two good ideas, some good effects, some good performers and not a lot to bring those elements into harmony.

Director: Patrick Lussier

Stars: Christopher Plummer, Jeri Ryan

Rating: R

Release: 12-22-2000

Time: 99 minutes

Buy Movie at Amazon.com The plot involves some hi-tech thieves opening up a super vault beneath an antiques shop. The thieves reason that a super vault must harbor a super payoff. In fact the vault is actually a prison designed to keep the king of the undead prisoner. (While this is a great idea, the nerd in me wondered why it was designed as a vault and not a prison. The design should not have been just to keep people out but to keep someone in. Just a nit to pick)

Anyway, the thieves open Drac's casket reasoning against mounting evidence that it contains a payday. From here the movie begins a decline into a sadly uninteresting story. The thieves' plane crashes outside New Orleans (good thing they were headed right where Drac needed to go for the sake of the plot) and Dracula (Gerard Butler) goes on a killing spree while searching for Dr. Van Helsing's estranged daughter (Justine Waddell).

The other neat idea discusses who Dracula is. I won't spoil it here, but in a movie that wasn't rushed and took the time to involve the audience it could have had more impact. Butler has been getting his chops busted for being a dull Dracula, and while I don't think he will be called back for a sequel, he is not bad, his character simply has nothing interesting to do and no one we care about ever shows up on screen. In this writer's opinion, Dracula should not be a male model. Dracula should be a presence, more felt than seen. Let the minion jump and fight. Dracula orchestrates.

As in any vampire flick many characters get wasted, but so are some popular performers. Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager) is cast as a reporter. She should have just worn a red shirt and been beamed to the planet's surface for all the good she accomplishes on the screen. Dad Van Helsing (Christopher Plummer) looks the part, but the script fails to make us believe that he is capable of going after ol' Vlad. I kept wanting Wesley Snipes to show up and really put a thump on the nosferatu.

Dracula 2K uses lots of Matrix and Buffy-influenced combat effects, and it does generate some cheap scares. It is billed as "Wes Craven presents Dracula 2000." I don't know what exactly Wes had to do with it. Maybe he lent his cachet for cash. He should be more discriminating.