A friend tells me Exhibitor Relations isn’t listing Red Sun, Black Sand, Clint Eastwood‘s Japanese-language war film lensed last spring as a companion piece to Flags of Our Fathers (Paramount/ DreamWorks, 10.20), as a December release. (They always wait for an official announcement.) Coming Soon.net isn’t listing it on its December release page either, and Rotten Tomatoes isn’t even acknowledging that Black Sand is a film Eastwood has directed. And there isn’t a damn thing about it on both the Paramount and DreamWorks websites.

And yet the IMDB is running a presumed release date of December 2006, and this column is heavily dug into a belief that Red Sun, Black Sand (which stars Ken Watanebe as General Tadamichi Kuribayashi) will indeed open in December. How can it not? Two movies made in tandem by the same fast-working director about the battle of Iwo Jima — one about the Americans, one about the Japanese…and Paramount/DreamWorks is going to release only the American version on 10.20? Okay, it’s possible…but does anyone believe it’s at all likely?
I wouldn’t think Paramount’s Oscar consultants and marketers would stand for a separate ’07 release for Black Sand. (They’ll at least insist on a year-end platform debut.) They know that a sequential double-whammy in the same year will make a Best Picture nomination for one of the two Eastwood films all but guaranteed. I mean, unless they both put people to sleep.
Apologies for yesterday morning’s box-office typo — the projected Pirates 2 weekend total should have been $58,317,000 — not $50,317.00. This morning’s projected Pirates 2 figure for the weekend is $60,598,000, with a slightly higher overall cume of $255 million. Little Man will continue to edge out You, Me and Dupree with respective hauls of $21,910,000 and $21,338,000. Poor Superman Returns is now likely to finish at $10,881,000 (just over $750,000 higher than yesterday’s projected total of $10,058,000) with a slightly revised overall tally close to $163,000,000. The Devil Wears Prada‘s new projected weekend total is about $50 grand shy of $10 million — $9,947,000 — or about $420,000 higher than yesterday’s projected tally of $9,526,000.