Latin Hollywood Report: Feel the Heat

It may have been this weekend's heat wave, or it may have been people's desire to forget, at least for a couple of hours, that gas is four bucks per gallon for the first time in history. Whatever it was, everybody dove into movies this weekend, helping each of the top four score over $20 million. At the top of the heap was kiddie flick Kung Fu Panda, starring Jack Black's voice, which raked in $60 million. That pretty much makes the School of Rock actor king of the kiddies, and was more than enough to drop kick Adam Sandler's critically panned You Don't Mess with the Zohan, which nevertheless made a healthy $40 million. Rounding out the top five were Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which stiff-armed Sex in the City with $22.8 million take to the girls' $21.3 million, and The Strangers, which hung on for $9.3 million. Next up: Can a second Hulk movie in five years (The Incredible Hulk) and The Happening, directed by former crowd fave M. Night Shaymalan shake things up? Find out this Friday, when both flicks open.

Franc. Reyes, the curiously.punctuated.director responsible for last year's un-money Illegal Tender, just closed a deal with HBO to write a one-hour drama, Palladium, set in a New York salsa club. If HBO picks up the show, Reyes would direct and produce. Reyes' latest film, The Ministers, will close this year's New York Latino Film Festival (July 22-27). For the movie, a thriller in which a female dectective (played by newcomer Florencia Lozano) hunts her father's killers, Reyes teamed up with his Empire star John Leguizamo, who plays a dual role.

The Academy Award-winning movie Crash is being made into a TV series for Starz and two of the main cast members are Latino: Luis Chavez (Ocean's Thirteen) and newcomer Arlene Tur (Telemundos youth-aimed novela Los Teens). The 13-episodeseries, which will have different set of characters from the movie, will deal with racial tensions in Los Angeles and has started production in New Mexico.