THURSDAY AM: The Hollywood studios now think every weekend should start on Wednesday just to wring every last dollar from moviegoers (and ensure I’m even more sleep deprived than usual). The result is that these 4 1/2-day holidays render comps and records meaningless even within a franchise. Warner Bros claims The Hangover Part III co-financed with Legendary Pictures is off “to a great start” with $3.1M from Wednesday late shows and Thursday midnights before opening wide today in 3,555 locations. But that’s still a lot less than the last one. The real question is how much this Memorial Weekend box office can expand over last year’s to accommodate three new movies tracking very well (Universal’s actioner Fast & Furious 6 opening Friday in North America as does Twentieth Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios’ toon Epic: both with 70+% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes) plus three still thriving pics already in the marketplace (Iron Man 3, The Great Gatsby, Star Trek In Darkness). What I don’t comprehend is why the weekend of May 31st stayed open for so long until at the last minute Sony Pictures moved Will Smith’s After Earth there. Hollywood expected either Warner Bros (who was Johnny-come-lately to Memorial Weekend and then moved from a Friday to Thursday wide release) or Universal (who tagged Memorial Weekend from the beginning) to blink. “But they just stared …
SUNDAY UPDATE: Summer 2013 just keeps sizzling here and abroad. The sixth installment of the Universal Pictures franchise is looking to successfully transition from street racing to heist action to terrorist plot and kicked off this weekend in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Fast & Furious 6 is opposite Warner Bros’ The Great Gatsby (including Thursday previews) and the second week of Paramount’s Star Trek In Darkness. But F&F6 is set in London and had its world premiere there. It scored a record breaking #1 opening and grossed $13.8M (£9M) at 460 dates for Universal’s biggest 3-day opening weekend in that territory. (Smashing the previous record set by Les Miserables of $13.1M). It is the franchise’s biggest opening weekend in the UK as well as the highest opening weekend for Vin Diesel and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. F&F6 is now the 2nd biggest opening weekend of 2013 there behind IM3‘s $17.6M. F&F6 opens in North America and 59 international markets day and date on May 24th. Universal did what no studio has ever dared to do: change the genre of a successful franchise. But chairman Adam Fogelson and co-chairman Donna Langley put Chris Morgan – the screenwriter of Fast Five as well as The Fast And The Furious 3: Tokyo Drift, and Fast & Furious 4 — on the latest script to freshen the franchise yet again. Johnson is back as a federal agent alongside Diesel, Paul Walker and of course director Justin Lin (behind the camera for the 4th time) and longtime producer Neal Moritz. It also stars Jordana Brewster, …
‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ $164.5M Global: Lower Domestic But +80% Bigger Overseas; ‘Gatsby’ $132.1M Global, ‘Iron Man 3′ $1B
SUNDAY 9 AM, 7TH & 8TH UPDATE (WRITETHRU): The iconic space tentpole grossed a lot of money worldwide as May continues to sizzle for Summer 2013. But came nowhere near the $80M weekend and $100M total predicted. Star Trek Into Darkness from Paramount Pictures, Skydance Productions, and director J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot opened with $2M Wednesday from IMAX late shows, $11.5M Thursday, $22M Friday, $27.2M Saturday (for a +25% bump), and an estimated $21.2M Sunday. So that’s a $70.5M weekend from 3,868 theaters and an $84M domestic cume. Exit polling shows that the audience was 64% male/36% female with 27% under age 25/73% age 25 and over. Despite the passage of 4 years and the addition of 3D and IMAX for ticket premiums, 4 1/2 days of Star Trek Into Darkness barely beat 2009′s Star Trek 3-day weekend opening. Rightly or wrongly, fanboys (who are notoriously hard to please) saw the sequel as a ripoff of 1982′s The Wrath Of Khan. I felt the problem was that the latest pic’s marketing assumed people had seen the first installment and therefore didn’t target newbies. The iconic space tentpole in 3D received a coveted “A” CinemaScore to help word of mouth and 87% positive Rotten Tomatoes score setting it up for a strong weekend. The budget was a costly $190M, but the studio was predicting a 3-day weekend domestic estimate of $80M and 4-day estimate of $100M. Abrams’ first grossed $257.7M in North America but only $128M overseas where the franchise has long underperformed. STID was expected to easily beat the North American take so Abrams filmed 30 minutes using high-resolution cameras to increase the IMAX grosses which comprised 16% of domestic. To expand international, Paramount dispatched Abrams’ Bad Robot partner Bryan Burk to share 20 minutes of footage with media and distributors abroad earlier this year. It helped: international told a stronger story. Since sequels usually play well overseas, the total is $80.5 from 40 markets through Sunday, or +80% from the prior film. For comparison, STID is running +33% on a global basis compared to the 2009 reboot. Worldwide total is $164.5M. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto reprise their roles as Kirk and Spock with its ensemble USS Enterprise cast and Benedict Cumberbatch debuts as the movie’s mysterious baddie in this sequel to Abrams’ 2009 reboot of the franchise, which began as a 1960s TV series. Star Trek Into Darkness, based on Gene Roddenberry’s creation, was written by credited scripters Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman & Damon Lindelof, who also are producers along with the Bad Robot duo of Abrams and Burk.
1. Star Trek Into Darkness (Skydance/Paramount) Week 1 [3,868 Theaters]
Wed $2.0M, Thurs $11.5M, Fri $22.0M, Sat $27.2M, Est Sun $21.2M
Wkd $70.5M, Dom Cume $84.0M, Intl Cume $80.5M, WW Total $164.9M
2. Iron Man 3 (Marvel/Disney) Week 3 [Runs 4,237]
Friday $9.6M, Saturday $15.8M, Weekend $35.5M,
Dom Cume $337.1M, Intl Cume $736.2M, Worldwide Total $1.073.3B
On May 16, the film crossed the $1B benchmark at the global box office in 23 days and the $300M threshold at the domestic box office in 14 days. Iron Man 3 is now the #9 highest grossing film of all time globally and the #9 highest grossing film of all time internationally. This is the 2nd Marvel Studios film and the 6th Walt Disney Studios release to reach $1B globally, and the 9th Disney release to reach $300M domestic.
3. The Great Gatsby (Warner Bros) Week 2 [Runs 3,550]
Friday $7.6M, Saturday $9.5m, Weekend $23.6M (-53%)
Dom Cume $90.1M, Intl Cume $42.1M, Worldwide Total $132.2M
Baz Luhrmann’s biggest to date here and overseas looks to make $140M domestic all in. “Domestic box office results are excellent,” a Warner Bros exec gushed. “Counter-programming can succeed with great success in a summer of tentpole fanboy event films.” Coming off the heels of a gala opening night event at the Cannes Film Event, The Great Gatsby in 3D released in 49 territories overseas and grossed a big $42.1M (ith 4.6Madmissions from almost 8,400 screens). This was 38% higher than Luhrmann’s Australia in the same markets ($30.4M) and 3x higher than Moulin Rouge ($13.8M). This weekend’s rollout abroad represent 70% of the international box office; major markets yet to launch include Australia (May 30th), Mexico (May 31st), Brazil (June 7th), Japan (June 14th). This weekend’s results included some #1 placements despite stuff competition: Russia $6.2M (Rbl 194M), UK $6.1M (£4.0M), France $4.7M (€3.6M), Korea $4.3M (KRW 4.75B), Italy $3.8M (€2.9M), Germany $3.7M (€2.8M), Spain $2.2M (€1.7M), Taiwan $779K (NT$23.9M).
Also, Universal’s May 24th domestic opener Fast & Furious 6 kicked off its worldwide release in the UK and Ireland this weekend with a record breaking #1 opening. The film grossed $13.8M (£9M) at 460 dates scoring Universal’s biggest 3-day opening weekend in that territory (smashing the previous record set by Les Miserables of $13.1M). It is the biggest opening weekend in the UK for the franchise and the highest opening weekend for Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson. F&F6 is now the 2nd biggest opening weekend of 2013 there behind IM3‘s $17.6M.
Hammond On Cannes: Wet Fest’s Official Competition Finally Heats Up With Coen Brothers’ ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’
The first purely American entry in the 2013 Cannes Film Festival competition (opening nighter The Great Gatsby was Out of Competition), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen‘s terrific Inside Llewyn Davis had its first press screening Saturday night to strong response and big buzz on the very rainy Croisette. This tale of a talented folk singer unable to balance art and commerce, and who never quite hits the big time in the late ’50s/early ’60s emerging folk scene, is pure Coen Brothers with a winning mixture of brilliantly observed comedy and darker moments that give it an edge most reminiscent of Coen movies like Barton Fink, which won the Palme d’Or on their first try at Cannes in 1991. Joel Coen also took the Director award that year and again for The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) among the seven previous times they have been in the Cannes competition. 1994′s The Hudsucker Proxy, 1996′s Fargo, 2000′s O Brother Where Art Thou, 2004′s The Ladykillers and 2007′s No Country For Old Men represent their other numerous chances to reap a second Palme d’Or since Barton Fink but none of them did the trick.
Judging from initial reaction, at least among the press, Inside Llewyn Davis probably makes them an early front-runner for that second Palme. We say early since the film doesn’t have its official black tie premiere at the Palais until Sunday night, only the fourth day of the competition. But with its superb acting including leading man Oscar Isaac as the morose but oddly engaging Llewyn and a great supporting cast including Carey Mulligan, John Goodman (just great), Justin Timberlake, Stark Sands and a scene-stealing cat (or cats? – you’ll see) among others, plus the Coens’ knack for catching this era in all its glory, I suspect this will remain a contender for the entire week of debuts to come.
Danish director Thomas Vinterberg, whose The Hunt was in the Cannes competition last year, will make his studio-produced English-language helming debut with the adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel, Far From The Madding Crowd. The UK’s DNA Films is producing with Fox Searchlight, which confirms that Carey Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts will star in the new take. They’ll play Bathsheba Everdine and Gabriel Oak in the story of the ill-fated passions of a willful young woman and her three suitors. Production is scheduled for this fall in the UK with Searchlight marketing and distributing for the world. A previous film version was directed by John Schlesinger in 1967 and starred Julie Christie, Terence Stamp, Peter Finch and Alan Bates (as Oak). Mulligan is in Cannes this week in support of The Great Gatsby and Inside Llewyn Davis. Schoenaerts was in Cannes last year with Rust And Bone and is here now with Blood Ties. They are both repped by CAA; Vinterberg is repped by ICM Partners.
Helped by a full-frills Cannes film festival gala event, The Great Gatsby opened in 27 markets on Thursday including United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Russia and Korea. Together with the 2nd day figures for the French-speaking markets, the tally was $5.4M, putting it on track to become the biggest opening for a Baz Luhrmann film. Spain and several other markets are set to open today. Going into Friday, The Great Gatsby has grossed $66.7M domestic since opening a week ago as Luhrmann’s biggest here.
The Indian icon, known at home as Big B, may seem like an odd choice for a “to watch” piece, but the series of vignettes I’m doing this week is about keeping an eye on interesting people here in Cannes, not solely newcomers. And, Amitabh Bachchan, who has made more than 180 films at home, has only just made his Hollywood debut with a cameo in Baz Luhrmann’s Cannes opening night film The Great Gatsby. Bachchan has said that the short scene in which he appears with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire was a “friendly gesture” towards Lurhmann whom he had met a few years back. He also says he did not take any compensation: “What commerce can one consider for work for a single day!” he recently wrote on the blog he updates religiously. Luhrmann called him “one of the best actors” he’s ever worked with at the Gatsby press conference yesterday. (He also got a shoutout during a scene on Fox’s New Girl last week.) Bachchan has said he would consider other Hollywood roles if they were offered. Here in Cannes, he also stars in a section of Bombay Talkies, which is screening in honor of the 100th anniversary of Hindi cinema. An Indian producer says, “We’ve grown up watching his versatility and there’s nothing he cannot do. An absolute all-rounder. He’s our Al Pacino, Daniel Day-Lewis and Robin Williams all rolled into one.”
Related: Cannes: Producers To Watch
OK, here’s some box office hilarity for you. Even if it’s only for one night, an adaptation of a 90-year-old novel toppled fanboy favorite Iron Man 3 as the #1 film in America Wednesday. Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio became the top-grossing film in North America with $3.9M from 3,535 theaters vs Iron Man 3‘s $3.85M from 4,253 theaters, according to Warner Bros which co-financed with Village Roadshow and is distributing worldwide. Gatsby‘s 6-day cume is now $63.3M. “It’s a stunning box office upset for the ages,” one exec gushed to me this morning. On the other hand, Disney/Marvel’s Iron Man 3 opened two weeks earlier in the U.S. and three weeks earlier overseas and should pass $1 billion in worldwide gross today and $300 million in North America. And let’s not forget that IM3 lost tickets to the opening of Star Trek Into Darkness last night. Its cumulative performance to date is international $691.9M and domestic $298.6M for a global total of $990.5M. Iron Man 3 is now the 2nd highest grossing superhero movie of all time overseas behind Marvel’s The Avengers and currently stands as the #11 highest grossing film of all time in the international marketplace. By country: China $102.4M, Korea $55.6M, UK $49.7M, Mexico $43.6M, Russia $40.2M, Brazil $39.0M, France $36.4M, Australia $33.7M, Japan $21.4M, Italy $19.8M, Taiwan $18.4M, Germany $18.4M, Indonesia $14.6M, Philippines $14.3M, Hong Kong $13.1M, other markets $171.4M.
Baz Luhrmann followed up his biggest opening day in America with his biggest opening day in France as The Great Gatsby took in $78K in partial-day results that still were bigger than his Moulin Rouge and Australia. Understandably in a party mood thanks to the overperformance of his U.S. box office last weekend, the director pronounced himself pleased with one of the most elaborate after-parties which Cannes has seen since Moulin Rouge premiered here in 2001. Warner Bros co-hosted the gala event with Gatsby‘s other key financier, Village Roadshow. “I love it. I think Jay Gatsby would have loved it too. ‘Screw the rain,’ he would have said,” Luhrmann laughed.
The Cannes celebration of its opening-night film continued into the early morning hours despite a monsoon-like downpour. When I left around 2 AM, though, the party showed no sign of winding down. Luhrmann was frequently out on the dance floor whooping it up with the likes of Warner Bros worldwide marketing czarina Sue Kroll (“When you open the festival, you have to spend a good amount of money on the party,” Kroll told me), his co-star Isla Fisher, and his WME agent Robert Newman. Also there was the festival guru Thierry Fremaux, who told me that the first film he ever programmed when he first snagged the prestigious Cannes gig was Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge.
EXCLUSIVE: Big day on the Croisette for Joel Edgerton. The Australian actor just took the bows for the Cannes opening night film The Great Gatsby, and I’ve learned that he’s just closed a deal to star alongside Johnny Depp in the Cross Creek crime thriller Black Mass, which Barry Levinson is directing. The picture is a co-production between Cross Creek and Nigel Sinclair and Guy East’s Exclusive Media, with the two entities co-financing and Universal Pictures releasing in the U.S. through Cross Creek’s distribution deal with the studio.
Whitey Bulger rose to the top of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List when he disappeared for a decade before he could be put behind bars. Many felt he could never have gotten that far without the help of John Connolly, an FBI agent and childhood pal of Bulger and his brother. Connolly was tasked with bringing down the Italian mob, and he was aided by Bulger, who burnished his own position as Boston crime kingpin by getting rid of the competition for his Winter Hill gang. Edgerton will play Connolly, who was lauded for his work before things went south for him. He was eventually convicted of racketeering and obstruction of justice for aiding Bulger, who is currently in a Massachusetts state prison for second-degree murder. Edgerton gets a meaty role in a story about a …
Hammond On Cannes: Jury Takes Center Stage As Oscar Rivals Steven Spielberg And Ang Lee ”Worship” Each Other
Once rivals for Oscar in February and now fellow jurors in Cannes, Ang Lee called Steven Spielberg his “hero” as Spielberg praised Lee’s Life Of Pi, which won Best Director over Lincoln. This mutual lovefest took place as the jury for the 66th Cannes Film Festival was introduced to the world’s press this afternoon. Spielberg, who said he hasn’t served on any festival jury since 1974 (the beginning of his feature film career) is President and has been asked many times but said the timing was finally right. “I’ve been so consistently at work, especially in the spring months directing, that every time I’ve been approached to be on the jury I’ve been working so I suddenly found myself with an open year, and so that’s why this all came together this year. I am honored I was invited,” he said. Spielberg has been to Cannes many times before with films like E.T. and most recently, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull.
Asked about being on the Cannes panel with Spielberg after defeating him for the Oscar almost three months ago Lee said, “Steven and I are good friends. I worship him. I don’t know how he looks at me, but I worship him. I don’t think any result would change how I feel about him or even myself. He’s my hero.” Spielberg responding seemed at a loss for words. “I don’t know how to answer that, except to say Ang and I have been friends for a long time and we’ve never ever been competitors, we’ve always been colleagues and that will just contiinue. And certainly I worship Life Of Pi and therefore I worship Ang Lee as well.”
CANNES: Hollywood excess hasn’t disappeared entirely from the 66th Festival De Cannes. But it will be limited to a few studios. Warner Bros is bringing Baz Luhrmann’s lush The Great Gatsby to town for opening night and a gala event. Lionsgate is organizing a beach blowout to promote Catching Fire even though it doesn’t release until November. Fox is making a big deal of the 50th anniversary of Cleopatra, partnering with Bulgari jewelers for a reception displaying pieces from Elizabeth Taylor’s personal collection after a screening of the movie’s new restoration. Even the Cannes jury met for the first time last night, rather fittingly, for dinner at the Palme d’Or restaurant in the Martinez Hotel where the chef prepared a meal inspired by jury president Steven Spielberg’s films. And of course, billionaire Paul Allen’s yacht is expected to turn up in the bay with his annual super-exclusive party falling on May 20. But it’s not all champagne and bikinis on the boats. One exec who’s on a monster yacht each year at Cannes tells me it’s a cost-efficient way to do business rather than just a showy splurge. And even though some Cannes parties can cost $3 million, Warner Bros opened its wallets.
One executive calls it ”a victory lap” for The Great Gatsby after grossing way above expectations in North America. Now the studio wants to generate buzz internationally for the film adaptation of this most American of novels. No problem, because the rules state a movie can be released in its own country and still have its international premiere at Cannes. So Warner Bros is using this glitzy platform to open in 49 territories on the weekend including France, UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia and Korea.
The full cast and filmmakers will attend tonight including Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, Elizabeth Debicki, Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan, producers Lucy Fisher and Doug Wick, and several studio bigwigs led by Warner Bros Pictures chief Jeff Robinov. In 2001 Luhrmann opened the festival with Fox’s Moulin Rouge and one of the most memorable soirées, replete with Can Can girls, trapeze artists and Fat Boy Slim as deejay. The Gatsby after-party will evoke the Roaring 20s with help from partners Samsung, Tiffany, Moët, Brook Brothers and Chivas. There’s a gargantuan structure the size of an airplane hangar set up on a jetty across the port from the Palais where locals are already lining up for the screening Wednesday night. On Thursday night, the Gatsby party structure will be home to a soirée for about 800 locals. This isn’t an official festival event; rather it’s organized by the town each year and Warner Bros agreed to leave up the Gatsby décor for it.
After two years in a row of heavily influencing the Oscar race, the 66th Cannes Film Festival lineup may make it three this year. Certainly I see very long and winding Croisette lines to pick up press or market credentials at the Palais, which is adorned with posters of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in a provocative still shot from their fluffy France-set 1963 comedy A New Kind Of Love. One early clue came when the jury was announced, beginning with President Steven Spielberg and including such Oscar winners as Ang Lee, Nicole Kidman and Christoph Waltz. And if it’s not enough to have those icons prominent at this year’s fest, add The Great Gatsby‘s Baz Lurhmann whose film is the opening night event with a gala after-party, and Martin Scorsese who will also be in town for a yacht party announcement of his longtime gestating directorial effort Silence on May 16th. Certainly many of the Cannes contenders both in and out of competition are from Academy Award winners and Cannes veterans back with intriguing films that make up a high profile and potent selection with advance buzz. Competing are the Coen Brothers, Steven Soderbergh, Roman Polanski and Alexander Payne plus a slew of famous names in front of the cameras both on screen and on the Red Carpet this year.
As for the competition and key sidebars, one perennial Cannes question os whether it’s a good idea to ready or even rush a film designed for year-end release in order to play at the Festival in May. Particularly of that means risking negative reviews which can be a real buzz killer. Take, for instance, Payne’s last minute entry Nebraska from Paramount, which almost didn’t appear here. In the initial forecast Deadline posted on March 13, we thought Payne’s film fit in with the auteurist nature of the fest, it’s in black and white, and its filmmaker is quite a favorite in Cannes. (He has had only one film previously in competition – 2002′s About Schmidt – and won no prize, but he not only headed the jury for Un Certain Regard in 2005 but also was a member of the main competition jury last year.) Yet shortly after this prediction I was told Cannes wasn’t in the cards due to Payne’s fondness for long post-production time. He didn’t want to be rushed. Then the studio saw the film about a week before the Cannes deadline and execs urged Payne to put it into the festival. He took Nebraska to Paris to show to Cannes programming honcho Thierry Fremaux with just two days to go before the press conference announcing the 2013 lineup. Now it is one of the most anticipated screenings even though it ooccurs towards the end of the Festival on May 23. Paramount claims it recently had a successful research screening in Pasadena and has dated the film for November 22nd, right in the heart of Oscar season (Payne is a two-time Screenwriting Oscar winner for Sideways and The Descendants).
Conversely there was absolutely no doubt Joel and Ethan Coen would be bringing their latest, the 1960′s-set Greenwich Village folk music tale Inside Llewyn Davis screening on May 19. It is their 8th time around this particular block so they are virtually Cannes regulars. CBS Films won’t release the movie stateside until December 6, another prime Oscar date.
Roman Polanski’s Venus In Fur screening on May 25 on the last day of competition is the adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway play. It brings Polanski back to Cannes for the first time since winning his only Palme d’Or (for 2003′s The Pianist, which resulted in a Best Director Oscar). It stars his wife Emmanuelle Seigner and Mathieu Almarac and though audiences and critics weren’t too impressed with the last Polanski Broadway play adaptation God Of Carnage, this dramatic work could be more up his alley. There’s also strong interest in French director Arnaud Desplechin’s Jimmy P: Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian screening May 18 largely due to lead actor Benecio Del Toro’s role as a Blackfoot Indian WWII vet. (But someone’s gotta change that lumbering title.) Cannes watchers also are buzzing about new works from three directors who are no strangers on the Croisette: Nicolas Winding Refn who won Best Director in Cannes for 2011′s Drive and has re-teamed with star Ryan Gosling as a drug smuggler in the May 22nd entry Only God Forgives. (I am told Kristin Scott Thomas steals this one as his mother). And though his films don’t make much noise in theatres, James Gray is a Cannes favorite and back with his fourth competition entry, The Immigrant (formerly called Lowlife) screening May 24th with a starry cast of Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner. Jim Jarmusch brings his new Vampire story Only Lovers Left Alive which stars the always intriguing Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska . It has the distinction of being the last film to make the list and the last competition film to be screened: in the 10 PM slot on May 25th.
As always with Cannes there is just too damn much to see with many sidebar competitions like Un Certain Regard, Director’s Fortnight, Critics Week, Cannes Classics and so on. Certainly the opener for Un Certain Regard, Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring and Ryan Coogler’s Sundance sensation Fruitvale Station (summer releases stateside) are both screening on the sidebar’s first day of May 16th and are instant must-sees in addition to James Franco’s directorial outing, As I Lay Dying, on May 20th.
SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 4TH UPDATE: There’s more good news at the box office for the start of Summer 2013. Domestic grosses for Warner Bros‘ The Great Gatsby (3,035 theaters) just keep going strong. Big online seller Fandango tells me this female-driven film is heading into Mother’s Day and ticket sales show no signs of flagging across the country from city to heartland. Despite audiences giving it a ‘B’ CinemaScore. In addition to moviegoers showing up dressed in 1930s period costumes, exhibitors are reporting some audiences spontaneously bursting into applause when Leonardo first appears on screen. (When’s the last time that happened?) That’s prompted some Hollywood execs to speculate this is the original Titanic crowd. Warner Bros hopes the Baz Luhrmann-directed, DiCaprio starrer ”perfectly counter-programs” all the May action movies. My sources’ latest estimates for the 3D tentpole are $19.4M for Thursday/Friday, and -6% for $18M Saturday. Hollywood is expecting an overperforming $52M first weekend for the romantic drama co-financed by Village Roadshow and based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 classic novel. The #1 film is still Disney/Marvel’s Iron Man 3 (which has the biggest theater count at 4,253) with $19.7M Friday (-72% from last Friday’s huge opening) and a huge $33M Saturday for $75M this weekend. (Last year The Avengers made an incredible $103M in its second weekend…) Before Friday, IM3 grossed $794M — international cume $581.6M and domestic $212.4M. Now the North American cume should be $287.4M through Sunday. Yowza! The only other major newcomer is Lionsgate’s Peeples (2,031 theaters), a ‘Tyler Perry Presents’ comedy not written or directed by him but by Tina Gordon Chism. It received a ‘B-’ CinemaScore and weak grosses even for a tiny budget of $15M: $1.1M Friday and $1.8M Saturday for a $4.2M weekend.
Gatsby‘s success might all seem surprising considering the film’s uneven reviews. Then again these critics — the vast majority white middle-aged men — are complaining about Luhrmann’s supposed “sacrilege” in adding hip-hop to Gatsby which of course is set in the decade dubbed “The Jazz Age”. Way to make themselves look old and out of touch. (Are these the same purists who piled on when Bob Dylan went electric? I found the music a fresh touch.) While Leo’s and Tobey Maguire’s performances are praised, Carey Mulligan’s is not. Then again there were misgivings in the media from the day the extravagant Baz project was first announced – the 4th attempt to film the novel after Warner Baxter starred in 1926, Alan Ladd in 1949, and Robert Redford in 1974. But tracking told a different story: it was strong from the day Lurhmann’s version co-scripted with Craig Pearce came on — especially heavy with females but also registering decently with men. The Great Gatsby kept improving its numbers as the full frills and very effective marketing campaign took hold. Even without P&A, the movie’s cost reportedly ballooned up to $200M. But Warner Bros claims that figure is $160M, which was brought down to $105M because of ”tons of rebates” from Luhrmann’s Australia filming location. That was then split 50-50 between the studio and co-financier Village Roadshow. (Initially the budget was $80M when Sony passed, and then $120M when Warner Bros and Village Roadshow first came aboard.)
Baz Luhrmann‘s ambitious 3D Great Gatsby pic isn’t just raking in the dough in theaters. Its Jazz Age-meets-Jay-Z mash-up soundtrack has been climbing the charts fast after Tuesday’s release. According to SoundScan, early projections pegged first week sales at 90,000-95,000 copies but now the album’s headed toward 100K by Sunday and could notch a #2 debut on the Billboard Top 200 when official results come in next week. Luhrmann, exec producer Jay-Z, and executive music producer Anton Monsted gambled on slotting anachronistic new tracks and covers by contemporary hip-hop and pop artists into the 1920s-set F. Scott Fitzgerald tale.
The Weinstein Co. has acquired worldwide rights to the live-action remake of Yasuomi Umetsu’s Japanese anime film Kite. Samuel L. Jackson stars with India Eisley (The Secret Life Of The American Teenager) and Callan McAuliffe (The Great Gatsby). South African director Ralph Ziman (Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema) stepped in for the late David R. Ellis back in February and filming had just wrapped. TWC is handling outside the U.S., South Africa and India.
Listen to (and share) episode 25 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Our awards columnist and host David Bloom discuss the Motion Picture Academy’s big membership meeting, likely Oscar impacts of its new rules on foreign films; the Tony Awards nomination snubs of big Hollywood names; and the week’s new movies, including Baz Luhrmann’s sleek new take on The Great Gatsby and Sarah Polley’s autobiographical documentary Stories We Tell.
The annual marketing kudos went big for Disney pics Iron Man 3, Wreck-It-Ralph, Monsters University, Brave, and The Avengers at the Golden Trailer Awards Friday night. The GTAs didn’t just fete the best movie promos of the year. They also doled out Trashiest Trailer (to A24′s Spring Breakers) and gave indie comedy Hit & Run the Golden Fleece award, awarded to a trailer better than its actual movie. Here’s the full list of winners:
UPDATE (ADDS DETAIL): After Earth, The Lone Ranger, R.I.P.D., and World War Z are among the “most notable candidates” to join the ranks of “several high-profile failures” from the major studios that Cowen and Co’s Doug Creutz predicts this morning. He worries Summer 2013 has “the most crowded release slate in recent memory” and could produce at least eight underperformers. Creutz has been making these domestic predictions for five of the past seven years. Here are his latest studio-by-studio prognostications:
Disney is at risk, Creutz says. He agrees Iron Man 3 will be a hit and projects domestic box office of $350M, and Pixar’s Monsters University should do well to the tune of $250M, but if The Lone Ranger bombs it could “sustain the perception that Disney’s film studio has some serious problems away from the Marvel-Pixar axis.” He expects Lone Ranger to generate $120M domestically but says it’s “a strong contender for an early write-down.” Westerns typically don’t play well overseas, he notes, recalling how even Will Smith’s star power couldn’t save 1999′s Wild, Wild West.
The analyst also forecasts that Paramount is “likely to have a one-up-one-down summer” with Star Trek Into Darkness probably making $250M and World War Z nowhere near that. He predicts just $85M for World War Z, which “had a troubled production” forcing a delay from the original December 2012 release date. It’s also up against Man Of Steel, and he says ”buzz has been elusive for the film, as we think …