Why ‘Evan’ Is Not ‘Night At The Museum’

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Today’s Los Angeles Times story finally writes what I’ve been reporting for the past month about Universal’s Evan Almighty, even down to identical language. Theirs: “Saying prayers as Evan Almighty opens to $32 million”. Mine: “Moguls at the studio are resorting to just … Read More »

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Germany Bans Tom’s Latest Film Just As Cruise’s UA Starts High-Profile Campaign

By | Sunday June 24, 2007 @ 1:03pm PDT

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2ND UPDATE: According to United Artists, Germany’s reported opposition to UA’s movie-in-the-works Valkyrie filming at military sites has less to do with its star Cruise’s being a “dangerous” Scientology and more to do with fuss and bother. … Read More »

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NYT Investigates Murdoch For Monday; Auletta Promises But Doesn’t Probe Rupe

By | Sunday June 24, 2007 @ 12:09pm PDT

murdochsmaller.jpgOnce again, The New Yorker‘s Ken Auletta, who invented the journalism genre I’ve dubbed CEO Porn, wastes valuable trees — this time, in a lengthy look at the Murdoch-Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal battle for ownership that doesn’t lay … Read More »

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DHD Update: Oscar Coverage Begins July

By | Sunday June 24, 2007 @ 9:39am PDT

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MORE SINKING SEQUELS: ‘Evan Almighty’ Debuts Weak; ‘Silver Surfer’ Drops -65%

By | Friday June 22, 2007 @ 3:51pm PDT

evanalmighty_bigteaserposter1.jpgSUNDAY AM: Hollywood’s most expensive comedy ever needed divine intervention and didn’t get it at the box office this weekend as Universal’s Evan Almighty debuted to a disappointing $32.1 million. That’s well below the $50 mil which box office gurus initially expected and the studio’s own lowered expectations of 40+ mil. The PG faith-based pic made less than half the $68 million that the original PG-13 Bruce Almighty took in its opening weekend at the box office. Neither Saturday night nor Friday date night boosted weak matinees for Universal’s terribly reviewed family-targeted Noah’s Ark retelling which did $11.4 million on Friday and $11.4 million on Saturday and a projected $9.5 mil Sunday from 3,602 theaters. The Tom Shadyac-directed pic will see at most $100 mil domestic this summer despite its runaway cost of $210 mil. (Universal insists the final budget came in at $175 mil.) The pic’s business was strongest in the South and Mid-West, average in the West Coast and Mountain regions, and softest in the East and Canada. But the studio had marketed the movie’s religious theme heavily to faith-based sectors whose crowds never translated into multitudes of moviegoers. Exit polls showed 47% of the non-child audience considered themselves frequent attenders of religious services, and ratings were markedly higher among frequent religious service attenders vs. non-frequent attenders. “Suffice to say without ‘frequent church attenders, this film might have gone down as one of the biggest bombs in Hollywood history,” an insider who helped market the film explained to me. All along, tracking scores for “Unaided Awareness” had been too low. 1408_posterbig.jpgAnd even with the book and toilet jokes removed, parents didn’t want to take their kids to a sequel based on a movie they felt was too mature. According to exit polls, the pic drew a wide range of ages, with 52% over age 25, but family moviegoers comprised only 45% of the audience, with just 24% parents and 21% children under age 13. But the major problem in the end seemed to be that Evan Almighty sacrificed too many laughs at the altar of heartwarming. Exit polls showed that the top reason adults wanted to see the movie was the humor (76%). But Evan‘s reviews were god awful. According to RottenTomatoes.com, it garnered only 21% positive reviews among the pool of 112 film critics, and only 9% from major media outlets.). For details about what went wrong, including an analysis of the movie’s marketing and a meltdown by the director, read my previous: ‘Evan Almighty’: Going To Heaven Or Hell?.

Internationally, Evan Almighty opened No. 1 in Russia and Ukraine day and date with domestic. Russia grossed an estimated $1.5M at 329 venues, which is 10% bigger than Bruce Almighty. Ukraine grossed an estimated $178K at 64 dates, which is 11% bigger than Bruce.  Evan debuts in Greece July 5th, UK on August 3rd, Germany on August 9th, and France on August 15th during school holidays.

I’m told MGM / The Weinstein Co’s Stephen King horror film 1408 starring John Cusack amightyheart_posterbig.jpgdebuted well in 3rd place this weekend earning $20.3 million from 2,678 venues. So fright pics are alive and well – as logn as their content isn’t torture porn. Another movie opening was Paramount Vantage’s A Mighty Heart, starring Angelina Jolie in the story of journalist Daniel Pearl’s terrorist murder. It finished in 10th place this weekend with only $4 mil from 1,355 playdates. But the real gauge here is its per screen average, which was extremely low, indicating weak interest in this well-reviewed pic despite a ton of publicity featuring tabloid-favorite Jolie. I believe releasing it this blockbuster-crowded summer, even as counter-programming, was a dumb move. September would have been a better time.

The 2nd biggest movie, Fox’s Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer, suffered a 65% drop-off (and -72% on Friday night alone) at the start of its second week out to make $20.5 mil this weekend from 3,963 theaters for a new cume of $97.9 mil. Warner’s sequel Ocean’s Thirteen three weeks in release was 4th with a new cume of $91.1 after raking in $11.5 mil from Friday through Sunday from 3,450 venues. Universal has had much better luck with its R-rated Judd Apatow laugher Knocked Up in 5th place at the start of four weeks. Its new cume is $108.9 mil after taking in $10.6 mil this weekend from 2,975 venues. In 6th place starting five week in release, Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End added another $7.2 mil Friday from 2,802 playdates for a new cume of $287.1 mil. Overseas, the Johnny Depp threequel just reached $585 mil for a whopping new worldwide gross receipts of $872 mil. Sony’s toon Surf’s Up was 7th, making $6.4 mil this weekend from 3,309 theaters beginning its third week. for a new cume of $47 mil. DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek The Third came in 8th at the start of six weeks out after making $5.7 mil from Friday through Sunday from 2,822 theaters for a new cume of $307.9 mil. And, finally, 9th place Nancy Drew from Warner’s dropped 34% after one week to make $4.5 mil from 2,612 venues for a new cume of $16.1 mil. Here’s the Top 10 chart:

  • 1. Evan Almighty $11.4M Fri, $11.4M Sat, and est $9.5M Sun. (cume $32.1M)
  • 2. Silver Surfer $6.2M Fri, $7.9M Sat, and est $6.4M Sun. ($97.9M)
  • 3. 1408 $7.6M Fri, $7.4M Sat, and est $5.3M Sun. ($20.3M)
  • 4. Ocean’s Thirteen $3.5M Fri, $4.6M Sat, and est $3.4M Sun. ($91.1M)
  • 5. Knocked Up $3.3M Fri, $4.3M Sat, and est $3M Sun. ($108.9M)
  • 6. Pirates 3 $2.1M Fri, $2.9M Sat, and est $2.2M Sun. ($287.1M)
  • 7. Surf’s Up $2.1M Fri, $2.5M Sat, and est $2.1M Sun. ($47.3M)
  • 8. Shrek The Third $1.7M Fri, $2.2M Sat, and est $1.9M Sun. ($307.9M)
  • 9. Nancy Drew $1.5K Fri, $1.6M Sat, and est $1.2K Sun. ($16.1M)
  • 10. A Mighty Heart $1.1M Fri, $1.6M Sat, and est $1.1M Sun. ($4M)
  • Read More »

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    Ben Silverman Now Official NBC Employee

    By | Friday June 22, 2007 @ 1:34pm PDT

    He’s passed his drug test. Previous: Ben Silverman Is Breaking All The Rules.

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    Tracking: Harry Is ‘Transformers’ Huge; ‘Rat’ Big, ‘Die Hard’ Good, ‘Captivity’ Zero

    harrypotterandtheorderofthephoenix_bigposter.jpgThe summer box office is about to overheat with so many movies racing into theaters, so the studios understandably have a bad case of pre-release flopsweat. Warner’s Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (July 11th) just … Read More »

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    Spidey vs Jack: We May Have A Winner!

    By | Friday June 22, 2007 @ 12:37am PDT

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    Earlier in the summer I chronicled a catfight between Sony and Disney over counting the worldwide grosses for Spider-Man 3 vs. Pirates Of the Caribbean 3. (May I never get caught in the middle of a Hollywood brawl like that again!) Well, now the two … Read More »

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    Violent Video Game Won’t Hit U.S. Stores

    By | Thursday June 21, 2007 @ 8:13pm PDT

    manhunt2.jpgIt’s not just sick and twisted horror movies that are hurting. The July 10th release of the reputedly cruel and sadistic “Manhunt 2″ is being temporarily suspended because of a ratings setback in the United States and a … Read More »

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    Woody Allen Set To Direct LA Comic Opera

    By | Thursday June 21, 2007 @ 7:07pm PDT

    allen_040805_big.jpgWhich is more surprising: that Woody Allen will be working in Los Angeles, or that he’ll be directing an opera? Allen said today: “I have no idea what I am doing. But incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm.” … Read More »

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    Janet Hill To Exit Paramount Pics In July

    By | Thursday June 21, 2007 @ 5:19pm PDT

    paramountlogo.jpgWith her two year contract expiring on July 18th, Janet Hill is leaving as Paramount Pictures chief Brad Grey’s corporate mouthpiece. The veteran of MTV Networks and Miramax hasn’t decided exactly what she’ll do next. And there’s … Read More »

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    FCC Ownership Rules Blamed For Total Dominance By Right-Wing Talk Radio

    By | Thursday June 21, 2007 @ 2:47pm PDT

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    You’re not wrong if you think Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity never shut up, whereas Ed Schultz or Randi Rhodes barely get air time on the radio. The Center for American Progress and Free Press just released the first-of-its-kind statistical analysis of the … Read More »

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    Ex-Chief Producing Series Pilot For HBO

    By | Thursday June 21, 2007 @ 12:57pm PDT

    fuchsmichael.jpgOne gossip column today buzzsaws Michael Fuchs about when he was honored June 11th at HBO’s NYC headquarters whose state of the art theater will now be known as the Michael J. Fuchs Theater. It tries to imply that … Read More »

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    Here’s Good Sea-quel Idea Free Of Charge

    By | Thursday June 21, 2007 @ 11:28am PDT

    Flipper II: He’s Not Your Friend Anymore
    (Marine Officials Warn Of Wild Biting Dolphins)
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    Why Hollywood Must Ask For A Raise Now

    By | Wednesday June 20, 2007 @ 5:05pm PDT

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    It was bad enough that his Warner Bros executive compensation package full of generous stock options made a semi-billionaire of Terry Semel. So rich, in fact, that he was raking in a lot more than Jerry Levin, the head of parent company Time Warner at the … Read More »

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    Brillstein-Grey Rebrands …Without Brad

    By | Wednesday June 20, 2007 @ 3:38pm PDT

    berniebrad.JPGThe renamed talent management and movie/TV production entity will continue to pay homage to Bernie Brillstein, who founded the firm and mentored many of its executives and remains active. “It’s been a pleasure seeing this company evolve over … Read More »

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    Tom Shadyac Busts A New Move For Jesus

    By | Wednesday June 20, 2007 @ 3:25pm PDT

    tomjesus.JPGThe pandering to the Christian audience I’ve seen by everyone associated with Evan Almighty has made my head spin. The latest is this week’s Christian Today online interview with Tom Shadyac in which he talks about The Creator, quotes … Read More »

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    ‘Evan Almighty’: Going To Heaven Or Hell?

    By | Tuesday June 19, 2007 @ 3:38pm PDT

    tom3.jpgThere’s none of the usual reassuring platitudes. Instead, moguls at the studio are resorting to just plain prayers. Because Universal isn’t even trying to hide its nerves about the opening number this Friday for Hollywood’s most expensive … Read More »

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    De Niro And Scorsese Team Up Yet Again

    By | Tuesday June 19, 2007 @ 1:40pm PDT

    robert_de_niro_scorsese.jpgWhile recently promo-ing his The Good Shepherd, Robert De Niro said he had one particular desire over all: to do two more movies with Martin Scorsese and make it an even 10 they did together. I can report … Read More »

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