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Brillstein Reups With ABC Studios & Reorganizes TV Unit, Peter Traugott Exits

By | Tuesday May 31, 2011 @ 12:25pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Brillstein Entertainment Partners has signed a new two-year deal with ABC Studios, which will bring the company’s current tenure at ABC to eight years. Under the new pact, Brillstein Entertainment is reorganizing its TV division. Peter Traugott, who has run the TV unit for the past five years, will leave to form his own production company, which I hear will be based at NBC. Brillstein is coming off one of its strongest development seasons since setting up shop at ABC Studios in 2005. (Brillstein Entertainment’s predecessor, Brillstein-Grey, also had a TV financing deal with ABC in the mid-1990s). The company landed three pilot orders, for comedies My Freakin’ Family and Other People’s Kids at ABC and drama Ringer at CBS, which stars Brillstein client Sarah Michelle Gellar. Ringer went to series at the CW, with ABC Studios pulling out as an active co-producer but retaining passive interest. “We’ve enjoyed a long and close relationship with ABC Studios,” said Brillstein Entertainment Partners CEO Jon Liebman. “We love working with the people there and appreciate the studio’s continued commitment to building our television company.” Brillstein’s most recent series were ABC’s According to Jim, which continues to air in syndication, and Samantha Who?, both of which ended their runs in 2009. While known mainly as a comedy series producer, Brillstein has been looking to branch out, and Ringer marks its second drama series after HBO’s The Sopranos.

As for the ongoing reorganization of Brillstein’s TV division, the decision for TV president Traugott to leave was amicable. “Peter has been part of our company for many years,” Liebman said. “He is a talented producer and our good friend, and we genuinely wish him the best.” Read More »

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Paramount And Fake Empire Buy ‘Let It Snow’

By | Tuesday May 31, 2011 @ 12:11pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures-based Fake Empire has acquired Let It Snow, a pitch package that includes rights to an anthology of three intersecting short stories by young-adult novelists John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. The script will be written by Jordan Roter, and the goal is to turn it into a teen Love Actually. It revolves around what a crippling snowstorm does to one town on Christmas Eve. The film will be produced by Paramount-based Fake Empire partners Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, who bought the pitch through their discretionary fund. Fake Empire’s Lis Rowinski brought in the project. Face Empire has set several projects since landing at Paramount, including Fun Size, which Schwartz will direct, and Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick.

Roter, who’s repped by WME and Underground, is already in the Paramount fold. She set up Camp Rules there, adapting her own novel into a film that has Kristen Kiwi Smith attached to direct and Montecito producing. Separately, Paramount and producers Gil Netter and Brad Weston hired Roter to rewrite How Could You Do This To Me.

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George Lucas Has 50 Hours Of Scripts For ‘Star Wars’ Series

By | Tuesday May 31, 2011 @ 11:26am PDT
Mike Fleming

George Lucas gave a long-winded explanation of why the re-release of the Star Wars prequel trilogy will be important, in an interview with G4′s Attack of the Show. Personally, I was underwhelmed by the prequel and am not as sparked up for a 3D conversion as I would if The Lord of the Rings were being converted. But Lucas dropped a nugget that will have Star Wars fans salivating. He said that on his planned Star Wars TV series, he’s got 50 completed scripts that are ready to go, if they can just find a way to chop down the cost of shooting them. That’s a lot of Star Wars, and Lucas seems determined to find a way to get them done. Here’s the interview, and you might also notice that Lucas does the chat with Disney Imagineering’s Tom Fitzgerald. He must be a silent partner in this operation, because Lucas doesn’t even let him get a word in:

Game TrailersE3 2011Movies and TV

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Universals Ups Nicholas Carpou To Co-President Of Distribution

By | Tuesday May 31, 2011 @ 11:04am PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Universal’s legendary President of Distribution Nikki Rocco is promoting Nicholas Carpou from EVP/General Sales Manager in Distribution to Co-President of Distribution. “For recognition of his 25 years here and 34 years in the biz,” an insider tells me. “He’s a tremendous right hand to Nikki. It’s time.” Rocco, of course, has been President of Distribution at the studio since 1996 and remains the only top female in the male-dominated field (when she was appointed, all the guys said a woman wouldn’t last six months in the job). She’s been in the business for 44 years. You gotta love it. … UPDATE: Universal has issued a press release announcing the promotion:

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA (May 31, 2011) — Universal Pictures’ President of Distribution Nikki Rocco today announced that as of June 1, Nicholas Carpou will become Co-President of Distribution for the film studio.

Carpou, who currently serves as Executive Vice President of Distribution, has been with Universal for 29 years. In his new role, Carpou will become more involved in the day-to-day management and operations of the studio’s distribution division and at this time will remain responsible for oversight of Canada, the Eastern United States and Puerto Rico. He will continue to report to Rocco and work closely with Executive Vice President, General Sales Manager of Distribution, Mark Gaines and Universal’s sales team.

Read More »

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‘Kung Fu Panda 2′ Kicks Up Anti-3D Sentiment On Wall Street

By | Tuesday May 31, 2011 @ 10:55am PDT

Investors are jumping on the anti-3D bandwagon as the weekend’s lackluster sales of 3D tickets for DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2 seemed to confirm that audiences are fed up with the higher prices exhibitors are charging for the immersive visual experience. Shares of 3D technology company RealD were down 12% in mid-day trading to $27 — amounting to a 23% decline over the last two weeks. Even with the drop, RealD shares are up nearly 40% from this time last year. Investors appear to be more disenchanted with DreamWorks Animation, which is making all of its films in 3D. Its shares were off 3.3% at midday to about $24 — which is down nearly 20% vs this time last year. 3D tickets accounted for about 45% of Panda‘s domestic box office revenues. By contrast, last year DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek Forever After generated 60% of its opening-weekend revenues from 3D, even though it was on 343 fewer 3D screens, Lazard Capital Markets analyst Barton Crockett notes. Wall Street’s most vocal critic of 3D — BTIG’s Richard Greenfield — reiterated his “sell” recommendation for DreamWorks Animation and lowered his 2011 earnings estimate for the company to $1.54 a share, from $1.81. The company’s movies “have not lived up to expectations and the global DVD market is in a free fall as consumers continue to shift from buying to renting,” he wrote in a report.

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‘Camelot’s Jamie Campbell Bower Gets Lead in Screen Gems’ ‘The Mortal Instruments’

By | Tuesday May 31, 2011 @ 9:43am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Screen Gems has made its choice: Jamie Campbell Bower will get the male lead in The Mortal Instruments, the Scott Charles Stewart-directed adaptation of the Cassandra Clare novel series. He’ll play Jace Wayland, starring alongside Lily Collins, who’ll play the lead heroine Clary Fray. She has The Sight, and can see both demons and Shadowhunters. Jace is one of the best of the latter. When Clary’s mother is abducted, she is forced to learn about her bloodline and abilities in order to get her mother back. Clare’s series is comprised of six novels and is expected to launch a franchise. The role has been considered a potential star-making vehicle for an actor, and there has been much speculation on who’ll get it. I’m told the deal is being made now for Bower, who is best known for playing King Arthur in the TV series Camelot, and for playing Caius in the final installments of The Twilight Saga and Gellert Grindelwald in the final Harry Potter films. He’s repped by CAA and London-based Simon Beresford.

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AMC Sets ‘Breaking Bad’ Return Date

By | Tuesday May 31, 2011 @ 9:42am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The wait is over — the delayed Season 4 of AMC’s praised drama Breaking Bad will premiere on Sunday, July 17. The cable network took a longer-than-usual break between Season 3 of the show, which launched in March of last year, and Season 4, rendering the series ineligible for this year’s Emmy Awards. Star Bryan Cranston won an Emmy for each of the first three seasons, joined last year by co-star Aaron Paul, who won for supporting actor in a drama series. Here is a new Breaking Bad trailer released today.

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Kim Rozenfeld Joins Sony TV As EVP & Head Of Current Programming

By | Tuesday May 31, 2011 @ 9:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures TV is rebuilding its current executive ranks with the hire of former ABC head of current Kim Rozenfeld as EVP current programming. Rozenfeld will oversee all on-air series for Sony, which had been without a head of current for more than a year, since 25-year Sony TV veteran Jeanie Bradley left in February 2010 as part of the company-wide layoffs at Sony Pictures Entertainment. The across-the-board cuts claimed about 450 jobs, including Bradley, VP current programming Debra Curtis and manager of current programming Rose Lee, leaving VP John Westphal as the only remaining member of Sony TV’s current department. Westphal will now work under Rozenfeld. This marks Rozenfeld’s return to the studio where he started his executive career as director of series development for Columbia TriStar TV. Rozenfeld most recently had a pod deal at ABC Studios, to which he segued after his position as SVP and head of current at ABC was eliminated in June 2009 in an executive restructuring that included current duties being folded into ABC and ABC Studios’ drama and comedy departments. As a producer, Rozenfeld recently executive produced the ABC Family series Huge through his Half Full Entertainment banner. He joined ABC in 2005 as SVP current drama and took oversight of both comedy and drama series in 2008. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Bachelorette’ Slips, ‘Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss’ Debut OK

Nellie Andreeva

As the only network with an all-original lineup, ABC easily won Monday in adults 18-49 (2.2/6) and total viewers (7.1 million). Moving to its regular 8-10 PM time slot, The Bachelorette (2.1/6) was down 23% from its premiere behind the Dancing With the Stars performance finale last Monday. At 10 PM, the latest Extreme Makeover spinoff, Weight Loss Edition, got off to a promising start with a 2.3/6 in 18-49, up 28% from the season premiere of True Beauty in the time period last June. Following a Minute to Win It rerun (0.9/3), the NBC season premiere of USA’s Law & Order: Criminal Intent (1.1/3) was up a tenth from last summer’s broadcast debut. At 10 PM, burnoff Law & Order: LA (1.4/4) also was up a tenth from last week. CBS and Fox aired reruns.

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‘Countdown With Keith Olbermann’ Taps EP

By | Tuesday May 31, 2011 @ 8:33am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

David Sarosi of Keith Olbermann’s old Countdown show on MSNBC has been named executive producer of Olbermann’s new Countdown on Current TV, which will premiere June 20. “Nobody knows what Countdown should be, more than Dave Sarosi,” said Olbermann, host of Countdown With Keith Olbermann and Chief News Officer at Current. For the past five years, Sarosi produced two key segments of the MSNBC show: the program “open,” which posed the question “Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?” and the often-controversial Worst Persons in the World. Joining Sarosi as senior producers are Leslie Bella-Henry, Bob Lilly and Aaron Volkman.

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Donald Sutherland Joins ‘The Hunger Games’

By | Tuesday May 31, 2011 @ 8:24am PDT
Mike Fleming

Lionsgate has set Donald Sutherland to play the role of President Snow in The Hunger Games, the trilogy that will be directed by Gary Ross based on the Suzanne Collins novels. Snow is the autocratic ruler of Panem who uses the violent Hunger Games as a way to maintain control. Jennifer Lawrence plays heroine Katniss Everdeen. Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley and Elizabeth Banks are also in the cast.

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ReelzChannel Taps SVP Of Programming

By | Tuesday May 31, 2011 @ 7:01am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

ReelzChannel, which is stepping up its original programming efforts, has appointed Matthew Singerman as SVP of programming. Singerman had been a consultant with the channel since January and assisted in the marketing and scheduling of The Kennedys miniseries. He previously worked for five years as SVP of programming at TV Guide Network, where he oversaw all programming airing on the network. Before that, he was executive producer of morning programming at Fox News Channel from 2000-2005 and was in charge of the Fox & Friends franchise.

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‘The Hobbit’ Films Get Release Dates

By | Tuesday May 31, 2011 @ 4:44am PDT
Mike Fleming

The first of the Peter Jackson-directed installments will be called The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and Warner Bros will release the film Dec. 14, 2012. The second installment, The Hobbit: There And Back Again, will be released a year later, on Dec. 13, 2013. The films revolve around the adventures of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), and his efforts to thwart the fearsome dragon Smaug. I’d heard way back when that Jackson was eyeing Bill Nighy to provide the voice of the dragon, but Jackson hasn’t yet announced who he got, and I’m told the whole thing is being kept under lockdown. Jackson has brought back from The Lord of the Rings such cast members as Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis, Christopher Lee and Hugo Weaving.

The other unanswered question is, since Jackson is shooting the Hobbit films in 3D, will New Line owner Warner Bros convert the original LOTR franchise into 3D format? Despite the recent indications that audiences are tiring of forking over extra money for 3D conversions on films that seem just as palatable in 2D, seeing Middle Earth in 3D through that classic trilogy seems like an event that many would feel is worth an extra couple of bucks. It would give the trilogy a new theatrical and ancillary life. It seems inevitable, though it might be a ways down the line.

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‘X FACTOR’ JUDGE DRAMA 4TH UPDATE: Cheryl Cole Out Of British ‘X Factor’ Too

MONDAY: She was sought after for both the U.K. and the U.S. versions of X Factor. Now Cheryl Cole won’t be a part of either of them. After getting axed from the upcoming Fox edition of the singing competition, there was speculation that Cole would return to the British version of the show. But no deal was reached, and the X Factor network ITV announced earlier today that the judges for the upcoming season of the show will be Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos, Kelly Rowland and the only returning member of the panel, Louis Walsh. “These four are totally up for it, each of them bring a different attitude,” X Factor chief Simon Cowell said in a statement. “They have had a ton of hits between them and they are all committed to finding a star.” Cowell, who made an appearance as a judge on his other U.K. talent competition series, Britain’s Got Talent, over the weekend, got ribbed by co-host Dec over Cole’s dismissal. “Can you understand my accent Simon,” asked Dec, who shares the same Geordie roots as Cole. Read More »

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EMMYS: ‘Two And A Half Men’ Won’t Compete For Best Comedy Series

By | Monday May 30, 2011 @ 9:04am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: With 16 produced and aired episodes, this past eighth season of the CBS comedy Two and a Half Men is eligible for a best comedy series Emmy Award. But the veteran sitcom, which has been the subject of controversy surrounding now-former star Charlie Sheen, won’t be in the running. A source at the show’s producer Warner Bros. TV confirmed that Two and a Half Men was not submitted for best comedy. According to a show insider, the feeling was that, given the circumstances this past season, Two and a Half Men should not be submitted for consideration in the best comedy series category. Production on the show was suspended in January, after one of Sheen’s benders sent him to the hospital. Following a series of bizarre rants by Sheen who attacked relentlessly Two and Half Men co-creator Chuck Lorre, Warner Bros. and CBS, production on the show was shut down for the season and Sheen was subsequently fired and replaced with Ashton Kutcher. While not backing Men in the series category, I hear the studio is throwing its full support behind Sheen’s co-stars on the show with ad campaigns planned for Jon Cryer, Holland Taylor, Angus T. Jones and Conchata Ferrell. Two and a Half Men has been considered a long shot for a best series nomination even without the Sheen debacle. It has been nominated 3 … Read More »

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BIGGEST MEMORIAL WEEKEND B.O. EVER! ‘Hangover Part 2′ Shatters Comedy Records For $138M Domestic/194M Worldwide Total; ‘Kung Fu Panda 2′ Kicks Up $123M Global; ‘Pirates 4′ Sails Past $640M Cume In 12 Days

By | Monday May 30, 2011 @ 5:01am PDT

SUNDAY PM/MONDAY AM, 7TH UPDATE: As a frustrated studio bigwig who didn’t have a fresh film playing emailed me dripping sarcasm, “Yay, another day of counting other people’s money.” I told you to Memorial-ize this holiday because the 2011 North American box office slump is officially over thanks to moviegoers starved for comedy. Now the official start of the 2011 Summer Movie Season has set a record for the biggest Memorial Weekend box office ever – $275M overall for the 4-day holiday. Which easily beat 2007 as the highest grossing (when Pirates Of The Caribbean 3, and Shrek 3, and Spider-Man 3 ran 1-2-3 for $254M). And it beat last year’s overall total by almost +50%. YOWZA! Here is North American box office for the Top 10 movies:

1. The Hangover Part 2 (Legendary/Warner Bros) NEW [3,615 Theaters]
Thursday $31.6M, Friday $29.8M, Saturday $30M, Sunday $26M
Three-day Weekend $85M, Four-day Memorial Holiday $103
Five-Day Cume $135M, Intl Cume $59M, Global Cume $194M

It was one of the most anticipated sequels of the summer. And while the derivative content may have disappointed — oh, hell, I’ll just say it: this was shamefully just like the original (“The Wolfpack Is Back”) except transplanted to Thailand — the humongous holiday grosses sure didn’t. “It doesn’t get much better than this,” an exultant Warner Bros bigwig emailed me. One reason for the giant number is because 80% of U.S. colleges were out Thursday and Friday. So Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures’ Hangover 2 is the biggest 3-day weekend comedy debut ever, beating The Simpsons Movie‘s $74M. And it shattered all R-rated comedy records, both weekend and even first week numbers for Sex And The City ($56.8M/$79M). Hangover Part 2 opened after midnight Thursday in a wide 2,600 locations with $10.4 million. That was a big number and set the record for the highest grossing R-rated midnight show. (The previous record was Paranormal Activity‘s $6.3M.) It set another R-rated film record by debuting in 3,615 theaters. With the first Hangover in 2009 having made $44.9M the weekend of June 5, the sequel was expected to nearly double that for the same period, and then soar as high as $125 million according to some rival studio estimates for the five-day-long weekend. But even that was a modest guesstimate. (Warner Bros low-balled the five-day estimate at $100M.) Then again, this was a 2D feature without the higher 3D ticket prices. And it had only 33% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes going into this weekend. But the lure of a replay with the original cast including Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis under director Todd Phillips was irresistable. Exit polling showed that 51% of the audience was female, and 41% of moviegoers were aged 18 to 24 and 13% were under 18. Moviegoers gave the pic an “A-” CinemaScore overall, with under 18 rating it “A+”. The film played strong in both blue and red states with Los Angeles overindexing to lead the major cities. 

Internationally, Hangover 2 opened in 40 countries on 5,170 screens to a humongous $59m with 7.2m admissions, which is 3 times higher than the opening of H1 in the same markets. UK debuted to a massive £10.2m (US $16.4M) from 920 screens in 469 situations, making this the all-time biggest opening weekend for a U.S. comedy (all ratings) and the biggest opening weekend to date in 2011 (ahead of Pirates 4).

The studio’s strategy for selling Hangover 2 was “to stoke the very high anticipation coming off of the first movie by promising even more  outrageous comedy — an insanely good time with the guys you love in the exotic locale of Bangkok,” an exec tells me. The buzz for the movie transcended anything in the genre, and tracking had been at summer tentpole levels. The campaign kicked off with a teaser trailer in February, and a main trailer that launched on April 1st. TV was key, taking advantage of the highly-rated NBA playoffs and network primetime season finales. The publicity included a hosting position for Zach Galifianakis on SNL in March and Ed Helms in May as well as a heavy magazine campaign of covers. Warner Bros also participated in the National Association of Theatre Owners convention in Las Vegas and showed footage from the film. Press tours were completed in Toronto, New York, and Philadelphia, while screenings were hosted in Top 60 markets around the country. Online was also key to the sell with 13 million fans on Facebook (a staggering number) who regularly received content from the studio. In addition, there was a game based on the Mr. Chow character, and an omnipresent online advertising campaign.

2. Kung Fu Panda 2 3D (DWA Animation/Paramount) NEW [3,925 Theaters]
Thursday $5.8M, Friday $13.1M, Saturday $18.6M, Sunday $16.3M
Three-Day Weekend $48M, Four-Day Memorial Holiday $60M
Five-Day Cume $66M, Intl Cume $57M, Global Cume $123M

DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2 distributed by Paramount earned an “A” CinemaScore and its opening tally was on target for a 3D film with higher ticket prices. But its grosses started out slowly because only 10% of K-12 schools were out on Thursday and just 20% on Friday. The toon sequel built strength daily for the extra long 5-day holiday. Internationally, sequels always do better than in this country, and Kung Fu Panda 2 opened in 11 territories this weekend to a heavyweight total of $57M from 8,023 locations. The Dragon Warrior came in at #1 in nine of the territories it played in, shattering a string of records in the process. This opening represents 29% of the international markets on the film. Natch, it posted huge #1 totals in China ($18.5M from 5,540 positions) with Saturday’s opening day the all-time highest debut by a foreign film, exceeding the record set last weekend by Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 by a staggering 50%. Kung Fu Panda 2 became the highest grossing animated film ever released in 7 of its 11 debut markets this weekend.

Paramount had to position the toon so audiences understood what was new in this sequel about Po’s personal journey to discover who he really is. A teaser trailer was launched with DreamWorks Animation’s Megamind back on November 4th. On TV, the marketing campaign had spots running for 24 hours beginning with a New Year’s Eve Takeover on Fox, ABC, NBC, BET, and MTV carrying throughout the next day on kids programming as well as heavy frequency on cable networks. There also was a float at the Macy’s Day Parade, ads during the Rose Bowl Parade, followed by a pre-kickoff SuperBowl spot. A final trailer ran with Paramount’s own production Rango on March 4th. At the Kids Choice Awards, Jack Black hosted and had a conversation three times with an animated Po. Online, there was a first-ever in-game integration within CityVille, Facebook’s largest and most popular application, a Youtube homepage takeover last Monday, and then a Yahoo homepage takeover Friday. Footage was presented at NATO’s Cinemacon with Jack making a presentation in person. A worldwide junket and photo op was done at the Cannes Film Festival with Angelina Jolie and Dustin Hoffman joining Black there. A giant Hollywood premiere was held at Mann’s Chinese Theater, followed by a first ever live morning premiere last Tuesday in NYC. Jack surprised audiences of The Today Show with tickets. The Atlanta Zoo named a newborn panda Po in honor of Kung Fu Panda 2 and Black went to the naming ceremony. Furthermore, there was outreach to both the Girl Scouts and Martial Arts schools. Phew!  

3. Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 3D (Disney) Week 2 [4,164 Theaters]
Friday $10.8M, Saturday $15.1M, Sunday $13.3M
Three-Day Weekend $40M (-45%), Four-Day Memorial Holiday $51M
Cume $164.6M, Intl Cume $483M, Global Cume $647M

This weekend Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 crossed the $600M global threshhold in only 12 days after releasing into 100% of its international markets, which the studio says matched the industry speed record set by Pirates Of The Caribbean 3 back in 2007. It’s the #1 release of 2011 globally and now stands as the 6th biggest overseas release ever for Disney. Its international tally is now $483M and global cume $647M as of through Monday.

4. Bridesmaids (Universal) Week 3 [2,958 Theaters]
Friday $4.6M, Saturday $6M, Sunday $6.4M
Three-Day Weekend $17M, Four-Day Memorial Holiday $21.4M
Cume $90M

5. Thor 3D (Marvel/Disney/Paramount Week 4 [3,296 Theaters]
Friday $2.4M, Saturday $3.5M, Sunday $3.6M
Three-Day Weekend $9.5M, Four-Day Memorial Holiday $12M
Cume $162.3M

6. Fast Five (Universal) Week 5 [2,982 Theaters]
Friday $1.8M, Saturday $2.4M, Sunday $2.3M
Three-Day Weekend $6.5M, Four-Day Memorial Holiday $8.2M
Cume $197.6M, Intl Cume $346M, Global Cume $545M

Overseas, Fast Five grossed an estimated $13.3M at 7,700 dates in 61 territories and raised its international total to $346M this weekend. Combined with the domestic estimate, the worldwide cume will reach nearly $545M on Monday starting its 6th week abroad. International will cross $350M and domestic will cross $200M this week.

7. Midnight In Paris (Sony Classics) Week 2 [58 Theaters]
Friday $474K, Saturday $775K, Sunday $472K
Three-Day Weekend $2M, Four-Day Memorial Holiday $2.6M
Cume $3.5M

8. Something Borrowed (Warner Bros) Week 4 [1,440 Theaters]
Friday $550K, Saturday $700K, Sunday $750K
Three-Day Weekend $2M, Four-Day Memorial Holiday $2.4M
Cume $35.3M

9. Jumping The Broom (TriStar/Sony) Week 4 [939 Theaters]
Friday $475K, Saturday $800K, Sunday $680K
Three-Day Weekend $1.8M, Four-Day Memorial Holiday $2.2M
Cume $35.1M

10. Rio 3D (Blue Sky Studio/Fox) Week 7 [1,672 Theaters]
Friday $420K, Saturday $720K, Sunday $640K
Three-Day Weekend $1.7M, Four-Day Memorial Holiday $2.2M
Cume $135.1M, International Cume $321.9M

Fox Searchlight’s recent Cannes Film Festival Palme D’Or winner The Tree Of Life from filmmaker Terrence Malick and starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Jessica Chastain, broke records this weekend with every prime and evening show sold out in all locations (2 in NY and 2 in LA). It grossed grossed $352,320, with a theater average of $88,080. This will be  the highest opening average of any Fox Searchlight film — even ahead of Black Swan‘s $80,000 per theatre. The grosses are even more impressive when you consider the film is 2½ hours long (and therefore gets significantly fewer showings). Playing in the Arclight in Hollywood, the Landmark in West LA, as well as the Lincoln Plaza and the Sunshine in New York, the film had a very traditional art house roll out. Next weekend, it will open in exclusive engagements in an additional 8 cities while adding just 3 additional theaters in both New York and Los Angeles. Expansions are planned and booked for the succeeding four weeks when the film will reach its national release on July 1. Malick’s signature imagery and complex storyline in this fifth film earned a 92% rating on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. But its rollout indicated more interest than just cinephiles. Read More »

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What Was Hot During L.A. Int’l Screenings?

By | Saturday May 28, 2011 @ 11:17pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

U.S. comedies have harder time than dramas traveling internationally. But strong showings by new half-hour series at the broadcast upfronts last week were followed by solid performances at this week’s L.A. Screenings, where international buyers gather to sample the new crop of U.S. series. Upfront standouts — Warner Bros.-produced CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls and the 20th TV comedies New Girl (Fox) and Apt. 23 (ABC) — did very well. Read More »

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Paget Brewster Returning To ‘Criminal Minds’ Next Season, Rachel Nichols Leaving

By | Saturday May 28, 2011 @ 5:14pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Paget Brewster will continue on CBS’ crime drama Criminal Minds next season, while new series regular Rachel Nichols won’t return. Meanwhile, co-star Thomas Gibson still doesn’t have a deal for next season, with negotiations ongoing.

I hear CBS and series’ producer ABC Studios have exercised the option they have on Brewster and opted not to pick up Nichols. As part of Brewster’s modified deal for Criminal Minds last season, which included her doing fewer episodes, she got an out to do a pilot. Brewster used the opportunity and did a pilot, NBC’s comedy My Life as an Experiment, which didn’t make the cut to series. Bewster’s pilot was in first position to Criminal Minds but ABC Studios had an option to bring the actress back to the CBS drama if the pilot didn’t go to series and has now exercised that option. With Brewster and original cast member and fan favorite A.J. Cook returning to the crime drama alongside Kirsten Vangsness, there wasn’t much room left for Nichols, whose character Ashley Seaver was introduced last season in part to fill the void left by the departure of Cook’s JJ. As for Gibson, I hear Criminal Minds producers want him back. He got warm reception by international buyers at the L.A. Screenings this week where he appeared with other cast members of the veteran CBS crime drama. Co-star Shemar Moore, … Read More »

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Alice Braga Added To ‘Elysium’ Cast

By | Saturday May 28, 2011 @ 4:54pm PDT

UPDATE: So an idiot publicist can’t distinguish between Brazilian actresses even though they’re a generation apart and Alice Braga is the niece of Sonia Braga. It’s the former who’s confirmed for Neill Blomkamp’s latest project Elysium. The filmmaker won’t provide any details on the character she’ll play, but the actress will join the District 9 writer/director’s already-cast stars Jodie Foster and Matt Damon.

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