With box office momentum behind their wintry animated hit Frozen, Disney has released a clip featuring Best Song Oscar hopeful “Let It Go,” by songwriting team Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. Idina Menzel belts the number voicing Elsa, the Snow Queen whose super powers put her kingdom in peril in the pic also starring Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, and Josh Gad:
Character actress Kate Williamson, who played Mrs. Rogers on ABC’s Ellen and turned in supporting roles in films including Barry Levinson’s Disclosure, Dahmer, Dream Lover, and Racing with the Moon, died Friday evening at her Encino, CA home. She was 83. Williamson, born Robina Jane Sparks, was the daughter of actress/singer Nydia Westman and producer/writer Salathiel Robert Sparks. In 1954 she married actor and acting teacher Al Ruscio, whose credits include The Godfather, Part III , Life Goes On, and Seinfeld. Ruscio had served on the SAG board of directors and died less than a month ago on November 12. The couple leaves behind four children, three of whom also went into showbiz: Actress and poet Elizabeth Ruscio, director and editor Michael Ruscio, production designer Nina Ruscio and teacher Maria Ruscio. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to The Actors’ Fund of America, 729 7th Ave., Floor 10, New York, NY 10102-1841, in the name of Jane Kate Ruscio aka Kate Williamson.
2013 European Film Awards: Paolo Sorrentino’s ‘The Great Beauty’ Dazzles With Wins For Best Film, Director & Actor
The 26th European Film Awards ceremony just concluded tonight in Berlin. Last year, on its road to a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar win and a Best Picture nomination, Michael Haneke’s Amour won four prizes including Best European Film. This year, Italy’s Oscar entry The Great Beauty was the big winner with nods for film, director, lead actor, and a previously announced prize for editing. Paolo Sorrentino’s love letter to Rome, as seen through the eyes of a 65-year-old man, was a Cannes competitor earlier this year. Sorrentino was not on hand at the ceremony. The movie had four nominations tonight, losing out only in the screenwriting category where the prize went to France’s François Ozon for In The House. The most-nominated film this evening was Felix van Groeningen’s Berlin and Tribeca prize-winner, The Broken Circle Breakdown. Out of five nominations, the Oscar entry from Belgium walked away with one, for actress Veerle Baetens. Other major winners announced tonight included Ari Folman’s best animated feature The Congress. In what was an overriding theme of the night – collaboration between film industries – the Israeli director pointed out that nine different nations and 270 animators had contributed to the movie.
Opening the show, German comedy star and host of the evening, Anke Engelke, joked it was the first time Michael Haneke “won’t go home with 26 prizes.” …
“This is a regime that came to power swearing opposition to the United States, to Israel, and to many of the values that we hold dear,” President Obama told Power Rangers billionaire and staunch Israel supporter Haim Saban today about Iran. “But what I’ve consistently said is even as I don’t take any options off the table, what we do have to test is the possibility that we can resolve this issue diplomatically.” Obama and Saban were speaking at the Saban Forum’s 10th annual conference in DC. Today’s conversation with the President is the first time the media mogul has actually conducted an interview at his own event. “Ultimately, my goal as President of the United States, something I’ve said privately and publicly, is to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” Obama also told Saban. “Our commitment to Israel’s security is sacrosanct.”
Interviewing Obama onstage on a variety of Middle East related topics at Washington DC’s Willard Hotel, the big Democratic Party donor joked about the “very obedient President I have here today.” Obama cracked back that ‘it’s the Saban Forum, you’re in charge.” “I wish,” replied Saban with both noting to laughter that the media billionaire’s wife Cheryl who really was running things.
The exchange between the two comes just …
BOX OFFICE: ‘Frozen’ ‘Catching Fire’ Amid Nation’s Ice Storm; ‘Llewyn Davis’ Strong; ‘Out Of The Furnace’ Not So Hot
BOX OFFICE THUMBNAIL: Out of the Furnace (wide after opening Wednesday in four theaters) looks weak. Inside Llewyn Davis (opened limited in four) is very strong. Thor: The Dark World surpasses $600 million this past week. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Frozen both headed to $30 million weekends.
UPDATE SATURDAY AM: Box office reporters of today have become weathermen and horse race announcers. Behind-the-scene estimates from highly intelligent number crunchers at the distributors vary significantly. So here we go until further updates and I will do the top ten since it seems that is pretty set now:
The harsh weather is impacting almost the entire nation with snow, sleet, ice storms, rain from the West Coast and up through the Ohio Valley and into New York which has and will continue to impact the box office. Heck, I don’t even want to go out in this stuff to get groceries. Given that, distribs have downgraded previous box office estimates. Also, as already reported here, all of the films have seen big decreases in percentages from last weekend’s Thanksgiving holiday which is normal. Now, off to the races –
The Top Five:
Appropriately, Disney’s Frozen has edged slightly ahead into the front spot with an expected $27 million to $28 million three-day gross followed by Lionsgate’s Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which is now in the $26 million to $27 million range. Though estimates have been downgraded, it is really not affecting the rest of the pack’s pecking order which has now become clearer.
With that said, CBS Films’ Inside Llewyn Davis ‘ per screen numbers are still strong in 4 theaters looking like a robust $85,000 to $89,000 per screen. The Cannes Grand Prix winning picture has great reviews and strong word of mouth as it rolls out in limited release domestically so the distrib is ditching A Serious Man comparisons and now making comparisons with The King’s Speech, which had a similar per when it bowed. (Everytime I write the name of this movie, I think of the late Paramount distrib president and I catch myself writing “Lewellen.” Miss Wayne).
Relativity and Red Granite International’s newcomer Out of the Furnace estimates have been downgraded to anywhere between $5.2 million to $5.5 million for the weekend. The film is getting flack from the mayor of the Native American tribe in the NJ area where it was shot for propagating stereotypes in the Native American community who is asking for other tribes across the nation to join them in showing their discontent.
Disney’s Thor: The Dark World (Marvel) is now estimated to be around $4.5 million to $4.6 million for the weekend to bring its cume to about $193 million. And the studio’s Delivery Man is now looking like a $3.5 million to $3.6 million weekend for a cume of around $24 million. Shrug. But good for Disney to have three pictures in the top five.
The Bottom Five:
Open Road’s Homefront is, as expected, around the $3.0 million to $3.2 million-range still for an estimated cume of around $15 million total.
Next in is The Book Thief, the little film from Fox that started out in limited release and this week added 82 theaters for a total of 1,316 locations. Still can’t figure out why the distrib decided to start its run in large theaters on its way into the domestic box office in a market that was crowded with such big movies vying for the same screens.
Best Man Holiday from Universal is still pulling in a bit of cash this weekend with an estimated $2.7 million to $2.9 million for a total cume of around $67 million.
In ninth place is the WeinsteinCo’s Philomena which is holding strong this weekend in only 836 theaters for an estimated $2.0 million to $2.4 million. Of course, the distrib is hoping the film will earn Judi Dench a best Oscar nom. The total take so far is roughly $8,400.
Speaking of Oscar Buzz for its actors, rounding out the ten, is the Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto-starring drama Dallas Buyers Club which is taking in another $1.4 million to $1.5 million to bring its cume to around $12.4 for Focus Features.
Fox Searchlight’s Black Nativity is off significantly in its second weekend in the nation’s theaters, down 76 percent. The film just didn’t connect with audiences and its total cume is only around $6.3 million after pulling in a meager $889,000 estmate this weekend.
PREVIOUS, FRIDAY 10:49 PM: Based on Friday night ticket sales, Lionsgate’s Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Disney’s Frozen continue to be in a dead heat to claim the weekend’s top box office spot. Catching Fire is now estimated around a $28.3 million weekend while Disney’s Frozen is skating in at $28.2 million and the two films’ per screen averages are almost identical. Inside Llewyn Davis is very strong in its limited bow on 4 screens for CBS Films with a healthy $110,000 per Friday night which brings its estimated per screen for the weekend up to around $86,000. Relativity’s Out of the Furnace is as expected around $6 million for third place and Disney/Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World is in fourth with an estimated $4.4 million as it is expected to push its cume over the $190 million mark. It looks like Disney may have three pictures in the top five this weekend with the Vince Vaughn-starring Delivery Man breaking out of the pack to serve up a $3.3 million to $3.6 million weekend for the studio to pull slightly ahead of Open Road’s Homefront which is a little over $3 million at the moment. It will be interesting to see how much the weather affects attendance for these updated estimates as much of the nation faces ice storms and plunging temperatures.
Mild Spoiler Alert…
Although Downton Abbey‘s fourth season doesn’t begin airing in the U.S. for another few weeks, the regular UK season wrapped last month and the Christmas special is now nearly here. As is custom, the episode will air over two hours on Britain’s ITV on December 25th. It will air Stateside at the end of S4′s Masterpiece run which begins January 5th. The teaser below offers a glimpse of Shirley MacLaine in her return as Cora’s mother Martha Levinson, and of Paul Giamatti as Cora’s brother Harold. While not terribly spoilerish, those who’ve seen nothing of the fourth season may want to think twice before clicking play.
Universal Pictures optioned Steve Breen’s picture book Unicorn Executions and attached Dodgeball‘s Rawson Thurber. Scott Stuber will produce through his Bluegrass Films banner, and Saturday Night Live writer Simon Rich will pen the script. The book will be published in May by Skyhorse.
Not a bad week for Jehane Noujaim’s film about Egyptian activists battling the establishment. The Square scored the Best Feature trophy tonight at the 29th annual IDA Documentary Awards, three days after it made the Oscar shortlist. The film, which also is up for a Spirit Award, is the first documentary picked up by Netflix. Other winners announced at the ceremony hosted by Paul Provenza at DGA headquarters in Los Angeles included Slomo for Best Short, PBS’ Independent Lens for Best Continuing Series and CNN’s Morgan Spurlock-hosted Inside Man for Best Limited Series. Alex Gibney, who won an Oscar for Taxi To The Dark Side and was nominated for Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room, received a Career Achievement Award. Here is the full list of winners at the 2013 IDA Documentary Awards, presented by the International Documentary Association:
Global Showbiz Briefs: BBC Two Sets Musical Telepic, British Airways Docu; UK, French Nets Honor Nelson Mandela; More
BBC Two Preps Musical Telefilm, British Airways Docu
BBC Two has a pair of new projects on deck: a musical TV movie and an inside look at national carrier British Airways. Drama Tubby And Enid will star Oscar nominee Imelda Staunton and Olivier Award winner Michael Ball and is an adaptation of Victoria Wood’s stage play, That Day We Sang. Hilary Bevan Jones’ Endor is producing with shooting to start January 6. The story’s roots are found in the recording of Henry Purcell’s Nymphs And Shepherds as sung by the Manchester Children’s Choir in 1929. Jumping ahead 40 years, it focuses on a reunion of the same choir being filmed for a documentary. Wood writes and will direct. Meanwhile, BBC Two has greenlighted an observational documentary series about British Airways. The three-part series will feature unprecedented access to the airline and promises to be the “most in-depth analysis of British Airways in 25 years.” Lion Television is making the doc for BBC Two.
British And French TV Networks Celebrate Nelson Mandela
British and French networks are turning over time to tributes to Nelson Mandela this weekend. BBC One aired the special Nelson Mandela: The Fight For Freedom on Friday night and also will extend its news coverage. Sky1 aired the special Nelson Mandela: The Struggle Is My Life, while the news division will have presenter Jeremy Thompson live in South Africa from Saturday. I’m also told the funeral service for Mandela, who died Thursday, will be aired live. Channel 4 ran Nelson Mandela Superstar, a celebration of his life and legacy on Friday night local, and at the same time, ITV also aired a special program. In France, pubcaster France Télévisions’ France O and Franco-German channel Arte aired specials and documentaries. National network France 2 has scheduled Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman in an Oscar-nominated turn as Mandela, to air on Saturday night. Eastwood shot part of that movie in France.
The cast of David O. Russell‘s fictional pic based on the 1970s Abscam scandal will be feted January 4 during an Awards Gala at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. The Ensemble Performance Award celebrates the film’s cast, which includes Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Louis C.K., Michael Pena, Lis Rohm and Alessandro Nivola. “David O. Russell has created a viscerally powerful film,” said PSIFF Chairman Harold Matzner. “American Hustle grabs you from the start and is populated by a group of eminently believable characters as brought to life by this brilliant cast.” The festival’s 25th edition runs January 3-13.
XBox Entertainment Studios in May ordered its first drama series, Halo, and recently greenlighted its first unscripted series with the street soccer competition Every Street United. Now I’ve learned the company is venturing into comedy with an untitled half-hour project which I hear marks the first script sale to close at xBox. Like Halo and Every Street United, the comedy too is tied to gaming, which is xBox’s core business. Written by Ian Edelman, the untitled single-comedy is about four racially diverse, ex pro skaters living together in a Los Angeles. Skate boarding is big in sports video games as is soccer. And Halo, of course, is based on the popular video game. Edelman, repped by UTA, 3 Arts and Ken Richman, serves as showrunner on the comedy, with WME-repped Rob Drydek executive producing.
For Playboy‘s 60th anniversary issue, the magazine needed an iconic subject for the Playboy Interview, and I hit the lottery. I got to talk with actor-writer-director-producer Ben Affleck about his life and the remarkable second act that he wrote for himself as writer-director of Gone Baby Gone and The Town, which culminated in the Best Picture Oscar for Argo. Naturally, the first topic on the menu was his surprise decision to become the latest in a long line of actors to play the Caped Crusader in Batman Vs. Superman. At the time we met, Affleck was watching as the Internet exploded negatively to his Bat-candidacy. Having weathered career hardship before and come back stronger for it, Affleck was unconcerned by the Bat-zealots who actually started online petitions against him.
All those Kickstarter contributors to Warner Bros‘ Veronica Mars movie will be able to reap their rewards now that the studio has confirmed the worst-kept secret in town: the pic has been given a March 14, 2014 release date in select cities. (It means most backers will get a copy of the shooting script on release day while the slightly more deep-pocketing funders will get digital copies of the movie in the mail following opening day.) The film’s website scooped the studio by announcing the date on social media outlets Wednesday. In all, the pic’s crowdfunding campaign raised its target total in 10 hours back in April with donations from 91, 585 people totaling $5.7 million.
Listen to (and share) episode 62 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s financial editor talks with host David Bloom about growing interest in some corners of Washington D.C. about crafting new communications policies for the Internet age; AMC’s best concession deal in decades with a stock deal for its customers; a report that suggests breaking up the pay-TV bundle would “devastate” consumers and the oligopoly that dominates the industry; and new government efforts to measure the economy that say the country’s creative industries generated $915 billion in 2011, and what that might mean for new policies for Hollywood.
The Contenders 2013: Julie Delpy On Co-Writing And Co-Starring In ‘Before Midnight’ – “The Stress Of It All Is Just Intense” (Video)
She’s a triple threat. She writes. She directs. And of course she acts. But as she explained to a packed audience of AMPAS and Guild members on the Sony Pictures Classics panel at Deadline’s THE CONTENDERS event Julie Delpy has never quite done anything as stressful or intense as the trilogy of films that began with Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004) and now has produced Before Midnight, one of the few critical favorites from the first six months of 2013. She wrote all three films with her director Richard Linklater and co-star Ethan Hawke and now is being widely buzzed for not only her performance which just won her a Lead Actress nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards but also for the script which is among top contenders for a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination. Still she says none of it is easy and it’s all on the page as well as the screen.
The legal battle over who actually wrote the 2012 Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams baseball pic Trouble With The Curve today hit fastball territory. Just a couple of days after Warner Bros threw back in a motion to have Ryan A. Brooks and Gold Glove Productions’ multimillion dollar copyright infringement case against them tossed, the plaintiffs are now seeking a summary judgment of their own. “While often the issues related to these types of claims of copyright infringement raise factual issues requiring a full trial, the evidence presented herein as relates to these specific claims of intentional infringement weighs so heavily in favor of such a finding that it can fairly be said that no reasonable juror could find to the contrary,” says the motion filed today in federal court in LA (read it here). Along with the motion, the plaintiffs filed a number of declarations today asserting their case. Among other things, the declaration from Brooks (read it here) notes that it was an October 5, 2011 piece by my colleague Mike Fleming Jr on Eastwood joining a project called Trouble With The Curve that alerted him to the film and its supposed similarity to the scripts that he owned. Eastwood is not named as defendant in the the initial October 1 12-claim filing but WB, UTA, Gersh, director Robert Lorenz, screenwriter Randy Brown and Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions …
The freshman season of Fox comedy Dads will consist of 19 episodes, three fewer than full-season 22. The network gave the live-action sitcom a back order in October, but the exact number was fuzzy. It now has been set at 6. The reduced pickup is understandable given the fact that Dads will air its last original episodes February 4 and 11 before getting off to make room for Glee. The series’ long-term prospects remain undetermined but not bright.