With witches, bats and zombies battling it out at the box office, it would seem as though Halloween has come a bit early this year. The competition gets spooky this weekend as Warner Bros.’ Batman Begins defends the top spot from Sony’s big-screen update of the classic TV comedy Bewitched and the latest gore fest from horror maestro George A. Romero, Land of the Dead.
While positive word-of-mouth should keep director Christopher Nolan’s Dark Night entry rolling in the bucks, one cannot underestimate the star power of Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell, and the familiarity of vintage TV that moviegoers tend to find comforting. On the 1960s Bewitched sitcom, the special effects were pretty much limited to objects floating on filament and people appearing and disappearing via jump cuts. And though it would be fun to see some of those old-school, low-tech tricks pop up again, effects shop Rhythm & Hues has no doubt taken a more sophisticated route in helping to bring the supernatural romantic comedy to the silver screen.
Though it’s debuting in fewer theaters, good reviews may help make a formidable contender of Land of the Dead, the fourth installment of Romero’s zombie saga that began with 1968’s Night of the Living Dead and continued with 1978’s Dawn of the Dead and 1985’s Day of the Dead. Backed by Universal, the master of the macabre finally gets a big budget to work with and incorporates state-of-the-art visual effects by K.N.B EFX Group, SPIN VFX, Switch VFX and J.M.S. Special Effects.
Also opening in wide release this weekend is Disney’s Herbie: Fully Loaded. Lindsay Lohan (Freaky Friday) stars in this revival of the comic film series about a Volkswagen bug with a mind of its own. Helping to bring the mischievous racecar to life are Entity FX, Industrial Light & Magic and Lola Visual Effects. In addition, rumor has it that Disney technicians had to digitally raise necklines and decrease the size of Lohan’s bust for certain scenes after parents objected at test screenings.