Mary Jane on Broadway: Gossip maven Elizabeth Snead has a somewhat breathless item about Evan Rachel Wood of "The Wrestler" and "Across the Universe" taking on the role of Spider-Man babe Mary Jane Watson for the Broadway play that is shaping up as the most expensive production in the history of the Great White Way: "Evan Rachel Wood will play Mary Jane in Julie Taymor’s ‘Spider-Man’ on Broadway! ‘I start rehearsals in June and will be on Broadway for a year,’ she said Wednesday at a press junket for ‘The Wrestler.’ She’s already learned the songs, written by Bono, and did a run-through for Marvel. But that’s not why she recently colored her hair red, like Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane movie character. ‘No, I didn’t even think about it,’ she insists. ‘After I got it done, I looked in the mirror and went ‘Duh!’ I emailed Julie the picture!’ Who will be Spidey? ‘We’re trying to convince Jim Sturgess (her ‘Across the Universe’ costar). We did the workshop together, but I don’t know if he can commit to a whole year.’ How about the villains? ‘There will be some new ones and some old ones,’ she said cautiously. And will she have to do wire work? ‘Yeah, I’ll be dangling from buildings and things. It should be fun.’ But she insists that Spider-Man will never, ever sing in tights. ‘That was the deal. He never sings in Spandex,’ Wood says. And will she have to do that upside-down kiss? ‘Everyone keeps asking me that! I think there might be one at the end. I’m gonna have to have a talk with Julie. I can’t remember if there is one. But people will be waiting for it so we might have to make that happen.’ " [The Dish Rag] Read more on the Spidey’s Broadway venture here and here.
Heath Ledger’s Golden Globe nod: The late actor’s family put out a statement expressing their pride for the nomination annouced Thursday. Here’s an item by Melenie Ambrose: "Heath Ledger’s no-holds-barred performance as the Joker in last summer’s Batman blockbuster ‘The Dark Knight’ has earned the late actor a posthumous Golden Globe nomination, announced Thursday morning. Commenting on the honor of being nominated for best performance by an actor in a supporting role, Heath’s Perth, Australia-based father, Kim Ledger, said in a statement to PEOPLE, ‘We thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for honoring Heath’s performance in ‘The Dark Knight.’ He added, ‘This nomination is deeply appreciated and is not lost on those of us who continue to love and miss him. We are so proud our boy’s work is being recognized in this way.’ Ledger will compete in the supporting actor category with Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr. for their roles in ‘Tropic Thunder,’ Ralph Fiennes for ‘The Duchess’ and Philip Seymour Hoffman for his role in ‘Doubt.’ " [People magazine]
"The Dark Knight" at retail: Business reporter Dawn C. Chmielewski goes into the numbers on the DVD and Blu-ray release of "The Dark Knight," which is a home-video hero that Hollywood hopes will save the day: "The major promotion push behind the DVD release of Warner Bros.’ summer blockbuster, ‘The Dark Knight,’ appears to have worked — at least out of the gate. The film, which brought in $530 million in ticket sales in the United States, sold nearly 3 million copies Tuesday, the first day of its DVD release in the U.S., Canada and Britain. ‘The Dark Knight’s’ retail reception is reminiscent of strong first-day sales for ‘The Matrix’ and ‘Titanic’ (any debut of 1 million or more units is considered a home run). At the present rate, ‘Dark Knight’ looks to be on pace to catch Paramount Pictures’ ‘Iron Man,’ which sold 7.2 million units in its first week on store shelves this year. Hollywood has been anxiously watching home video sales as the recession deepens because they are a major profit center for the studios. Nielsen VideoScan estimates that home video sales are off 5.2% this year as several movies that did well at the box office didn’t sell as well as expected on DVD. The studios have been hoping that the new Blu-ray high-definition format will help to spur the sluggish DVD market. As many as 25% to 30% of the ‘Dark Knight’ discs sold — or 600,000 copies — were purchased in the Blu-ray format. That surpasses the previous record set by ‘Iron Man,’ which sold 260,000 Blu-ray discs upon its first day of release. [Los Angeles Times]
Standing still, moving forward: Reviewer Kenneth Turan had some fun with "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and then he had some fun writing the review: "Keanu meets Klaatu. It could be a match made in heaven, or at least in a galaxy far, far away. Which is just what ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ wants us to think. This contemporary remake of the science fiction classic knew what it was doing when it cast Keanu Reeves, the movies’ greatest stone face since Buster Keaton, as a perplexed alien whose first words on Earth are ‘This body will take some getting used to.’ When you want distant and disconnected, Reeves is your man. The 1951 original offered the more genial Michael Rennie as the intergalactic visitor, a being arrived on Earth accompanied by giant robot companion Gort. Rennie’s alien was a courtly individual with the charm of vintage James Bond, but Klaatu’s temperament is not the only thing that has been changed in this enjoyable updating. For one thing, Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly), the widow who is Klaatu’s main human contact, has been elevated from mom to mom and astrobiologist. And imperturbable robot Gort has gone from a clunky 8 feet to a lithe and bulked-up 28 feet tall. Take it easy on those steroids, big guy!" [Los Angeles Times]
"Ultimatum" tops: Some good news for Jeph Loeb, who was bounced from "Heroes" but still knowns how to write an "event" comic book: "Marvel Comics’ ‘Ultimatum’ No. 1 was the bestselling comic book title based on total unit sales to comic book specialty shops for November 2008, according to Diamond Comic Distributors. The new five-issue limited series features Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Ultimates, the Hulk and more in the defining moment of truth for Marvel’s ‘Ultimate’ Universe. Brought to you by award-winning scribe Loeb and superstar artist David Finch, the book spells the end of the Ultimate universe… or it may mean a new beginning. Marvel Comics also nabbed the top publisher spot in November, leading both retail dollar and unit market shares, with a 42.90% unit market share, and a 36.96% retail dollar market share.The top-selling graphic novel for November was DC Comics’ ‘Fables’ tradepaperback ‘Vol. 11: War & Pieces,’ collecting issues #70-75 of the Eisner Award-winning series from creator Bill Willingham. Kotobukiya’s Iron Man Movie Fine Art Statue netted the No. 1 toy product, and WizKids’ DC HeroClix: Arkham Asylum Booster Pack was the bestselling game product to comic book specialty shops." [Diamond press release]