SUNDAY UPDATE: Illumination Entertainment‘s and Universal‘s 3D sequel Despicable Me 2 opened this weekend as one of the top 4 films internationally for the weekend alongside Man Of Steel, World War Z and Monsters University. All its rivals are playing in 40+ territories against DM2‘s seven markets. Yet the new toon opened #1 in five of its 6 new territories this weekend for a cumulative total of $50M through Sunday from the UK-Ireland, France, Belgium, Netherlands, French-speaking Switzerland, and Sweden as well as Australia which debuted last weekend. As a comparison in the same seven territories, DM2 is performing well ahead of the original Despicable Me as well as DreamWorks sequels Kung Fu Panda 2 and Madagascar 2 and 3. Gru and his manic minions open in North America in limited release Tuesday night and go wide on Wednesday before the Fourth Of July holiday. Expectations are for new records in the 38 territories with the U.S./Canada opening next weekend. Here’s a territory by territory breakdown:
This is the first in a planned series of reports on the people, projects and polemics that have folks buzzing in various overseas territories.
Each year following the Cannes Film Festival the French film industry falls into semi-hibernation as execs recover from months of build-up, the box office gives way to Hollywood tentpoles and attention turns to tennis and weeks-long vacations. Some years, it seems like the industry doesn’t even really wake up again until the fall festivals hit. But in this past month since Cannes ended, there’s been quite a bit keeping the industry buzzing. Among the issues are what France’s Oscar entry will be, vagaries at the local ratings board, a renewed push to allow film advertising on television and the fight to preserve the Cultural Exception. France led the charge on the latter, winning in its bid on June 14 to keep the audiovisual business out of a negotiation mandate for trade talks between the U.S. and Europe. This was a fight that got a lot of traction in Cannes with even Harvey Weinstein and Steven Spielberg coming out in favor of the Cultural Exception as a means to maintain the diversity of European cinema.
Meanwhile, the jury that Spielberg chaired in Cannes gave its top honor to a coming-of-age love story between two women, Blue Is The Warmest Color. Many people have posited that Blue will be France’s Oscar entry this year, but I’m told that it will not. It’s generally accepted that films that win the Palme d’Or end up representing their country — the last time a French film won, The Class, it indeed was the submission.
Despite the difficulties of trying to woo some Academy voters with a lesbian love story with explicit sex scenes like Blue, the main reason I’m told it won’t make the cut is because French distributor, Wild Bunch, is not releasing it in time. The Oscar rep selection committee at French film body the CNC requires that a film go out nationally in France before September 30 and Wild Bunch has set an October release. Wild Bunch’s Vincent Maraval calls the rule “stupid” but tells me they believe October is best for the picture. It’s my understanding that Sundance Selects will release Blue unrated later this year in the U.S. Blue is expected to get a French rating that bars only kids under 12 because, Maraval says, “There are only positive values and love in the film, no violence or drugs.” When I asked him if he thought drugs were regarded more damaging than sex by the ratings board at the CNC, he said “Well, I hope sex is less serious than drugs, no?”
In a summer where internal studio battles are exploding, talent agencies are attacking each other, gun violence is rampant in real life and on screen, football teams are spawning accused murderers, teen idols are out of control, and people don’t talk — they just text — it’s nice to reflect on this Sunday before Independence Day that there once was what, at least in retrospect, seemed to be a kinder, more innocent Hollywood. At least that was the feeling I got this week at two events celebrating two uniquely inspiring past stars, both very much off the radar of the industry that eats its young today. They are worth noting.
Many people today who worship the likes of the Kardashians may not know who Dolores Hart is. Or was. But in the late 1950s and early ’60s she was a genuine film star who gave Elvis Presley his first screen kiss in Loving You (1957) and again in King Creole (1958); searched for men in Where The Boys Are (1960); and co-starred opposite the likes of Montgomery Clift, Karl Malden, Anthony Quinn, Myrna Loy and many others until she suddenly gave it all up after attending the New York premiere of her last film (1963′s Come Fly With Me). She told the studio’s limo driver to drop her off at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, CT, and became a nun. That was exactly 50 years ago, and Mother Dolores, as she is now known, is still there and still doing great things with her life — even if it isn’t as the movie star she once was.
It’s still got a long way to go to profitability. But at least Brad Pitt’s zombie pic World War Z isn’t the dud everybody thought it would be. Paramount announced today it’s the #1 film worldwide this weekend with $100M international grosses and $263M global box office after just 10 days in release. The PG-13 film co-financed with David Ellison’s Skydance Productions in association with Hemisphere Media Capital and GK Films grossed a big $70.1M foreign this weekend to bring the international cume to a strong $135.3M. Domestically the film earned $29.8M in its second weekend, with a cume to date of $123.7M. With approximately one-third of the international market still to release, the roll-out continues next week with France and then Spain and Japan opening later this summer. Directed by Marc Forster from a screenplay by Matthew Michael Carnahan and Drew Goddard & Damon Lindelof, this pic from Pitt’s Plan B banner is based on the popular novel by Max Brooks. Paramount moguls are giddy with relief after all that pre-release bad buzz which forced them to fix the movie before it came out. Much has been made of the film’s mega-cost: between $220M-$230M brought down to $200M by tax incentives in locations Scotland, Malta, England, and Hungary, or so the studio claims. But the media focused on the pic’s budget, plot, and production problems, including revamps and reshoots. Still hard to see how this film can earn out. But it won’t be a total write-off. Now a sequel is in the works.
Warner Bros Pictures and co-financier Legendary Pictures said today that its Superman reboot earned more than $500 million worldwide Saturday with some international territories still to open. Warner Bros Pictures President of Domestic Distribution Dan Fellman and President of International Distribution Veronika Kwan Vandenberg said 3D Man Of Steel has earned $248.7M domestically and $271.7M internationally for a worldwide total of $520.4M to date. It opened #1 in the U.S. and Canada with the biggest June release ever and also #1 one in many international territories and continues its roll out with record-breaking bows. The film is still to open in Brazil and Japan. The PG-13 film continues to set records worldwide in IMAX theatres, where it has earned an estimated $27M domestically and $18.9M internationally for a worldwide total of $45.9 million. “This success for Man of Steel is a great 75th birthday present for this iconic character. The film took Superman back to his roots for a new generation of moviegoers, who have once again embraced Krypton and Kansas’ favorite son,” Fellman said in the official statement. “The film’s strong CinemaScore tells us that word of mouth should keep the Man Of Steel flying through the summer.” The studio thanked director Zach Snyder profusely but didn’t mention Christopher Nolan, who mentored and produced and co-wrote the story as well as handpicked Snyder, or screenwriter David S Goyer. Both Snyder and Goyer are prepping the sequel.
Curb Your Enthusiasm fans know how Larry David pines for a serious head of hair. He gets his wish — for a while, at least — in his HBO Films comedy Clear History. Looking a little like Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski, David is a marketing exec at car maker. But an argument with his boss leaves him jobless, and he sells his 10% of the company, just before its worth soars into the billions. A decade later, with a new identity and minus numerous hair follicles, he lands a chance to get even. David co-wrote the telepic, which also stars Bill Hader, Curb and Seinfeld veteran Philip Baker Hall, Jon Hamm, Kate Hudson, Michael Keaton, Danny McBride, Eva Mendes, Amy Ryan and David’s Curb foil J.B. Smoove. It premieres August 10 on HBO. Here’s the trailer:
The martial arts grandmaster who starred alongside Bruce Lee in the iconic 1973 film Enter The Dragon died yesterday. He was 67. His ex-wife confirmed his death in a Facebook post. Jim Kelly was an international karate champion with his own school in LA when he was cast in the kung fu classic billed as “the first American-produced martial arts spectacular. His fighting skills and imposing screen presence — a lanky 6-foot-2 topped by a funky Afro — earned Kelly the title role in 1974′s Black Belt Jones. After that, he appeared in numerous action films through the ’70s. Later he became a professional tennis player, joining the USTA Senior Men’s Circuit and starred alongside LeBron James in a 2004 Nike TV ad.
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Pedro Almodovar‘s boozy sex comedy I’m So Excited lead an otherwise unremarkable host of newbies in the Specialty Box Office. The feature, which opened the Los Angeles Film Festival earlier this month, bowed in 5 locations in New York and L.A., grossing over $100K for a three-day winning $20,546 average. Jem Cohen’s Museum Hours debuted two runs, grossing almost $30K for a decent $14,718, while Tribeca Films’ doc How To Make Money Selling Drugs rolled out in 5 theaters, grossing over $15K. IFC Films’ Byzantium opened with a $3K average in 6 theaters, followed by Drafthouse Films’ A Band Called Death ($2,193 PSA) and Roadside’s Redemption, which floundered with a $959 average albeit in 19 runs.
Insiders speculated over whether the latest feature from Spanish maestro Almodóvar would pass muster from his fans and the art house crowd. The speculation will still linger. Opening weekend numbers were decent although not, to take a cue from the film, orgasmic. Almodovar’s much darker last film The Skin I Live In boasted more recognizable stars and bowed with a $37,187 average in 6 theaters, a figure topped by Broken Embraces in 2009 ($53,556 PSA in 2 runs). 2006′s Volver averaged $39,540 in five theaters on its way to nearly a $12.9 million cume in the U.S. Excited has not flown the way of his most recent films, however, opening in the summer and bowing out of the usual Almodovarian Cannes debut.
Melissa McCarthy Fires Up ‘The Heat’ For #2 And $40M Weekend; #4 ‘White House Down’ Flops For $26M; ‘Monsters U’ Holds For #1
SUNDAY 10:30 AM, 7H UPDATE: It’s already crowded at the pre-Fourth Of July domestic box office which will need to expand in time to accommodate so many movies playing during the holiday. True, total filmgoing this weekend went down -8.5% from a year ago for only $192M. But studios are scrambling to see when the last time all Top Five movies made more than $20+M for the 3-day weekend. On Friday, the order of finish changed hour by hour but then fixed firmly for Saturday and apparently Sunday. Pixar/Disney’s huge hit from a week ago Monsters University is still the strong #1 as families crave toons. But the real story is this weekend’s newcomers: Twentieth Century Fox’s The Heat debuted a big #2 as fan favorite Melissa McCarthy again sets off R-rated fireworks with audiences. But Sony Pictures’ White House Down really disappointed in #4, opening a third less than Hollywood expected and ensuring its high cost will make it impossible to earn out. But the studio is still hoping for a 4x holiday-aided multiple. Both pics received ‘A-’ CinemaScores from audiences to help word of mouth. Top Ten numbers for the weekend are:
1. Monsters University 3D (Pixar/Disney) Week 2 [Runs 4,004] G
Friday $14.2M, Saturday $17.5M, Weekend $46.1M (-44%), Cume $171.0M
Great weekend hold. Easily stayed #1 after the +23% Saturday kiddie bump. But window for family fare will be fleeting once Universal’s sequel Despicable Me 2 hits North American marketplace wide on July 3rd. Foreign grosses still to …
Apparently so, according to a Reuters report. The No. 2 cable operator has spoken to Cox and Cablevision about possible deals “in recent months” and continues to be interested in them, the news wire says. Execs recognize that the cable industry is mature and poised for consolidation. But they’re also cool to the idea of combining with Charter, a much smaller company that’s seen as a stalking horse for John Malone after his Liberty Media paid $2.6B for a 27.3% stake. The problem: Charter, which has a market value of $12.5B, likely would have to take on a lot of debt in order to buy Time Warner Cable, valued as $32.7B. And Evercore Partners’ Bryan Kraft notes that TWC’s board might “see selling now as premature if it believes management is righting the ship.” TWC already has rejected Malone’s overtures, leading him to take his case directly to its investors, The Wall Street Journal says. TWC, which has about 12M video subscribers, is the only cable company big enough to turn Charter into a major industry player. Investors have waited for years, though, to see TWC (which controls the system in Manhattan) combine with Cablevision (which dominates NYC’s surrounding boroughs and suburbs). TWC has had to bide its time because the Long Island-based Cablevision — with a market value of $4.5B — is controlled by Charles …
SAG-AFTRA Election Coalition Collapses As Roberta Reardon Fails To Push NY Local Prez Aside And Secure EVP Support
EXCLUSIVE: It was a SAG-AFTRA coalition that ultimately wasn’t. Roberta Reardon‘s plan to run for both NY Local President and National Executive Vice President came only after coalition talks collapsed, union sources tell me. NY-based USAN and the current SAG-AFTRA Co-President’s then-unnamed slate were deep in negotiations to form a powerhouse unit for this year’s union national elections. Those talks included current NY Local President Mike Hodge seeking his post again in this summer’s election and Reardon running for the EVP gig when the SAG-AFTRA national convention meets in September. Initially Reardon wanted Hodge to step aside as NY Local President. But all the principals involved in the coalition negotiations thought that was a bad idea and agreed that the current NY Local President should seek re-election. The grand alliance splintered and folded when Reardon was unable to secure endorsements from the USAN slate for the EVP job. (Related: USAN Unveils SAG-AFTRA Election Slate.) ”People involved in the talks thought that because this is the merged union’s first national election, people shouldn’t be bound by endorsements and should vote their conscience,” a source says. Meanwhile, Reardon has announced the formation of the unfortunately named NYC4U, a new slate that is expected to announce other candidates next week.
Photographer and filmmaker Bert Stern, best known for shooting a collection of 2,500 images of Marilyn Monroe six weeks before her death, died Wednesday in NYC according to reports. He was 83. The commercial photog got his start at Look magazine, where he first befriended Stanley Kubrick; he’d later go on to shoot publicity stills on Kubrick’s Lolita including the film’s iconic poster image featuring starlet Sue Lyon, a lollipop, and a pair of heart-shaped sunglasses. In 1959 Stern co-directed the music docu Jazz On A Summer’s Day, about the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, which was later inducted into the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 1999. Stern’s Monroe snapshots, however, were his lasting legacy. First commissioned by Vogue magazine in 1962, the photo shoot dubbed The Last Sitting intimately captured Monroe in a room at the Hotel Bel-Air and was released in book form in 1982 and 2000. In 2010 Stern was the subject of the First Run-released documentary Bert Stern: Original Madman, directed by wife Shannah Laumeister.
Benjamin Bratt voices supervillain El Macho opposite Steve Carell‘s Gru in Universal‘s July 3 animated sequel, which is already speeding along strongly overseas. Bratt introduces this Spanish-language promo put out by Universal Pictures Latino, the marketing arm targeting Hispanic audiences:
Another round of layoffs has hit the LA Times as parent Tribune Co. looks to unload the newspaper along with seven others. Multiple reports say Friday’s cuts affected at least 20 staffers, including members of the graphics department and newsroom. Editor Davan Maharaj and Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin described the layoffs as “a modest round of staff reductions” in an internal memo Friday. The same day Tribune Co. revealed that its net income dove 41% in the first quarter from $99.1M last year to $58.4M, with its newspaper unit sliding 9% to $254 million in ad revenue. Variety was first to report the cuts.
LAObserved columnist Veronique de Turenne was headed to the Hollywood Bowl the other night when she saw these lawn signs for Emmy campaigns. “I hate when people say this but, seriously, only in LA,” she wrote:
Deadline’s unstoppable Film Editor Mike Fleming and indefatigable TV Editor Nellie Andreeva will be on vacation with their families starting Saturday, June 29th. Mike will be back by July 17th to cover Comic-Con with the Deadline team. Nellie will cover the Emmy nominations on July 18th but won’t return to work full-time until July 22nd. Please refrain from phoning, emailing, or texting them during this rest period – or I’ll yell at you. (They deserve time off!) Also expect a lightly staffed Fourth Of July week. Thanks for understanding. As always, contact Deadline with breaking news at Editors@Deadline.com.
How many Nickelodeon-loving children will shed tears over Netflix‘s Viacom programming dump? Deadline reader Zeke sends in this message from his 4-year-old son to Reed Hastings. (Netflix’s loss is Amazon Prime‘s gain):
UPDATED: Another NBC pilot that narrowly missed the cut to series is staying alive. I’ve learned that the network has extended the options on the entire cast of the untitled Craig Robinson pilot, which I hear also is getting an order for three additional scripts. The project, written by Owen Ellickson, centers around a talented musician (Robinson) who adjusts to his new life as a middle school music teacher, where he maneuvers precocious kids, teacher politics, and the temptations of single moms. The cast of the pilot, from Universal TV, Deedle-Dee Prods and 3 Arts, also includes Larenz Tate, Amanda Lund and Jean Smart. Ellickson is executive producing with Greg Daniels, Tracy Katsky, Gabe Miller and Jonathan Green, who helped rewrite the pilot script, Howard Klein and Mark Schulman. Robinson serves as producer. The Craig Robinson pilot joins fellow NBC/Uni TV comedy pilot Assistance, which recently received an order for three more scripts and extended the options of several cast members, including Krysten Ritter and Alfred Molina. Similarly, NBC ordered another script for the John Stamos-starring drama I Am Victor with an eye toward a new pilot order for a midseason series pickup. That pilot also re-upped several cast members, led by Stamos. Additionally, NBC/NBCU’s John Mulaney comedy pilot is now in series consideration at Fox with a script order.
A day after downgrading Glee veterans Heather Morris (Brittany), Mark Salling (Puck), Amber Riley (Mercedes) and Harry Shum Jr (Mike), Fox has promoted New Directions’ latest recruits. Melissa Benoist (Marley), Jacob Artist (Jake), Becca Tobin (Kitty), and Blake Jenner (Ryder), and Alex Newell (Wade AKA “Unique”) will anchor the musical dramedy as series regulars. Glee returns for its fifth season in September.