Underworld Surfaces

Halloween comes a little early this year as first-time director Len Wiseman’s vampire vs. werewolf actioner Underworld opens in theaters today. Sony Screen Gems and Lakeshore Ent. hope to put the bite on the late summer box office with this EFX-driven entry featuring pixel trickery by Framestore CFC and Fantasy II under EFX supervisor Nick Allder.

Underworld stars Kate Beckinsale (Pearl Harbor, Serendipity) as a beautiful vampire warrior who falls in love with one of the enemy, a werewolf who opposes the age-old war between subspecies. The British actress will tread similar ground in the upcoming Universal 2004 offering Van Helsing, based on characters from the classic Universal horror franchises Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolfman.

Also opening today is Secondhand Lions, written and directed by Iron Giant scribe Tim McCanlies. McCanlies makes his directorial debut with this coming-of-age story starring Haley Joel Osment, Michael Cain and Robert Duvall.

Other debut contenders include the Dennis Quaid/Sharon Stone thriller Cold Creek Mannor from Leaving Las Vegas director Mike Figgis, The Fighting Temptations starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Beyoncé Knowles and the Woody Allen comedy Anything Else starring Jason Biggs and Christina Ricci.

Sotoshi Kon’s bittersweet animated offering Millennium Actress enters its second week in very limited release under DreamWorks indie banner Go Fish. Joining it in a handful of theaters this weekend are the comedy/horror flick Bubba Ho-tep, about an Elvis impersonator (Bruce Campbell) who takes on an ancient mummy in a nursing home, and French director Olivier Assayaz’s Demonlover, a corporate spy thriller set in the world of 3D manga pornography.