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Comic-Con: Major Cast Exits On ‘Ant-Man’ Include Patrick Wilson

By and | Friday July 25, 2014 @ 2:17pm PDT

Comic-Con: Major Cast Exits On ‘Ant-Man’ Include Patrick WilsonEXCLUSIVE: Don’t expect Patrick Wilson, Matt Gerald and Kevin Weisman to be at tomorrow’s Marvel Studios Hall H presentation at Comic-Con. That trio has dropped out of the ever-morphing Ant-Man movie that has Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas and The Hobbit‘s Evangeline Lilly starring. The movie has been in some state of flux after director Edgar Wright dropped out over differences in creative vision with Marvel’s Kevin Feige, so not surprisingly there is speculation that the trio’s exit is for the same reason that Wright departed and was replaced by Peyton Reed. Marvel insiders adamantly dispute that.

Related: Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari In Negotiations For ‘Ant-Man’ Rewrite

Ant-Man-Comic-Con_612x380We’re told by insiders that Gerald and Weisman’s characters were omitted in the newly evolved version of the script. Wilson, on the other hand, had a scheduling conflict as production on the movie got delayed, and that is why he won’t be there. Lilly is at Comic-Con to tour a children’s book and Peter Jackson’s final Hobbit installment, The Battle Of The Five Armies. We wouldn’t be surprised to see her at the Marvel panel along with Rudd, Douglas and Reed. Feige always pulls out the stops on Comic-Con, so we expect star-studded updates on Avengers: Age Of Ultron and some vamping on the imminent release Guardians Of The Galaxy. Feige is always good for a few … Read More »

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Comic-Con: Benedict Cumberbatch Mania Headlines DreamWorks Animation Panel

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 1:26pm PDT

Comic-Con: Benedict Cumberbatch Mania Headlines DreamWorks Animation PanelDreamWorks Animation might take it as a good sign that the mere sound of Benedict Cumberbatch‘s voice — and the vision of him in character as an animated wolf in Penguins Of Madagascar – elicited screams in Hall H this morning at Comic-Con. Cumberbatch, who’s making his first stop at the San Diego fan convention this year, also stars in Comic-Con fave Sherlock and Peter Jackson’s upcoming The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies. Not that distracting Sherlock chatter was welcome at the DWA panel: “Any questions about Sherlock, and Comic-Con is CANCELLED,” joked moderator Craig Ferguson.

Benedict Cumberbatch John MalkovichCumberbatch stars in Penguins as Classified, the leader of secret animal agent operation The North Wind who teams with Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private to stop new villain Dr. Octavius Brine. John Malkovich stars as Brine and also made his maiden voyage to San Diego Comic-Con for the panel. “This your first Comic-Con? You’ll fit right in,” Ferguson quipped to Malkovich. Studio pushed the Madagascar spin-off hard, unveiling 20 minutes of footage from the November 26 release.

Related: Hot Trailer: ‘The Penguins Of Madagascar’

There is also speculation and hotfire rumors that Cumberbatch will be announced to star in Doctor Strange, Marvel’s franchise-launching film that will be directed by Scott Derrickson and penned by Jon Spaihts. Cumberbatch has been deflecting questions left and right — maybe more clarity is to come at the Marvel presentation Saturday?

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Comic-Con 2014: What You Can’t Afford To Miss

Comic-Con 2014: What You Can’t Afford To MissComic-Con 2014 officially opens today and tens of thousands are descending on San Diego to pick up their passes and prepare for four days of special screenings, studio and network panels, and previews. Having already hit the ground running, Deadline is here with Mike Fleming Jr leading our film coverage along with Jen, while Dominic and Anthony D’Alessandro handle the TV side. (Dominic will also be moderating FX’s Archer panel this year.)

Comic-Con 2014 Announces Full ScheduleOf course, veteran heavyweights like HBO’s Game Of Thrones and AMC’s The Walking Dead will be packing the mammoth Hall H on the TV side. HBO’s True Blood, a longtime fave in its final season, is set to make its Comic-Con bow Saturday in Ballroom 20, as is Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, which just wrapped its first season and has its panel this evening. Repping the big screen side, studios are putting their tentpole wares out there with presentations by Marvel and Warner Bros with The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies and Mad Max: Fury Road among others.

Below we spotlight a few special events on the schedule that you don’t want to miss. (For the full TV and film lineups, go here and here.) Read More »

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Box Office: ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Swings With $72.6M Weekend; ‘Boyhood’ Mans Up With Strong Per Screen

By | Monday July 14, 2014 @ 1:57pm PDT

Box Office: ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Swings With $72.6M Weekend; ‘Boyhood’ Mans Up With Strong Per ScreenUPDATED, Monday 1:57 PM: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, brought in, as we reported this AM a total take of $72.6M for the three-day weekend (which included $4.1M in Thursday late nights). This, after it took in $31.3M overseas so it has a worldwide total of $103M+ already and it has barely begun its international run.

The Matt Reeves-directed film had a wonderful Saturday and ended up with an A- CinemaScore so audiences loved it as much as the critics. Sunday moviegoing was off for all films, probably due to the World Cup Finals and the nice weather. Fox’s other film, How to Train Your Dragon 2 had a great hold from Saturday to Sunday but will be hit by Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue when it bows next weekend.  Apes should have at least two solid weeks of play before audiences look to Disney/Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy to keep them entertained when it bows on August 1. Transformers: Age of Extinction — in its third weekend of release — crossed $200M on Saturday.

Sony opens Sex Tape next weekend in hopes of making it pop over its estimated $42M+ budget. I’ve seen it and yes, it starts out raunchy, but it is really funny and even, at times, hilarious. The guys will go to see a naked Cameron Diaz and the girls will go see tall drink of water Jason Segel, but it’s really for couples. Rob Lowe also co-stars in this film from the next generation Kasden — Jake — who directed the two in Bad Teacher.

The other movie opening next weekend is Universal’s horror film, The Purge: Anarchy. And, after seeing the one-sheet, I certainly hope they aren’t running those teaser one-sheets reminiscent of the Joker around the Cinemark Theater in Colorado where it will be in the marketplace during the two-year mark of the theater shooting. To me and others who suffered through that, it’s a hard image to look at … sort of like the geniuses who came up with The Strain one-sheets that people don’t want to see either. “Not for everyone.” Indeed. The Purge is bowing today and over the weekend in 14 overseas markets. The chart follows: Read More »

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Comic-Con 2014 Film Schedule: Paramount, Legendary, TWC Attending

By | Sunday July 13, 2014 @ 9:59am PDT

Comic-Con 2014 Film Schedule: Paramount, Legendary, TWC AttendingComic-Con has announced its film schedule in full. Here are a few events we think you should get in line for. Check back for updates.

Wednesday, July 23
10 PM, Gaslamp Theater
Screening of Warner Bros. Into the Storm

Thursday, July 24
11:30 AM – 1 PM, Hall H
DreamWorks Animations
Penguins of Madagascar
Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, Tom McGrath, directors Simon J. Smith and Eric Darnell
Home:
 director Tim Johnson

12:30-1:30 PM, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront
Sony Pictures
Goosebumps: 
Jack Black, director Rob Letterman
Pixels:  director Chris Columbus

the_giver_payoff_poster_final1:30-2:30 PM, Hall H
Weinstein Co.: Walden Media
The Giver:
Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites, Odeya Rush, director Phillip Noyce, and bestselling author Lois Lowry.

3-4 PM, Hall H
Paramount Pictures 
Attendees TBD

6-7PM, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront
Goonies Never Say Die

A reunion with the cast of the cult Richard Donner ’80s film.

Related: TV Lineup For Comic-Con 2014
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Comic-Con: Warner Bros. Bringing Peter Jackson, ‘Mad Max’, ‘Jupiter Ascending’, ‘Into the Storm’

Comic-Con: Warner Bros. Bringing Peter Jackson, ‘Mad Max’, ‘Jupiter Ascending’, ‘Into the Storm’In the first of what is yet to come in terms of the major studio film announcements, Warner Bros. revealed today its cinema panel lineup at Comic-Con 2014.  On Saturday, July 26 at 10 AM, the studio is bringing Peter Jackson and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies to Hall H as well as director George Miller who’ll present a sneak peek at his Mad Max: Fury Road.  In addition, there will be a first look at the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending.  Attending stars will be announced at a later date.  In the meantime, fans can start lining up at the Gas Lamp Theatre for a 10 PM  pre-Con fan screening of New Line and Village Roadshow Pictures’ upcoming “cli-fi” thriller Into the Storm on Wednesday, July 23.

However, the big question Comic-Con attendees really wanna know is: Will Disney bring Star Wars: Episode VII in any shape or form to the fanboy confab? Will J.J. Abrams possibly start that August break just a little earlier and bring the gang to San Diego?  Disney did not reveal any sneek peeks of the franchise at their D23 convention last summer.

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Overseas Appeal Of Sequels, Superheros And Animation Should Boost Big Media Stocks: Analyst

By | Wednesday July 2, 2014 @ 9:08am PDT

Overseas Appeal Of Sequels, Superheros And Animation Should Boost Big Media Stocks: AnalystBad news for those of you who are sick of Hollywood’s flood of sequels, superheros, and animated films. Nomura analyst Anthony DiClemente says we’re going to see a lot more of them — and that’s a good thing for studios. He raised his stock forecasts for Disney, Fox, and Time Warner this morning, arguing that their efforts to appeal to overseas audiences should enable them to profit as international box office receipts grow an average of 5.5% a year to $57.6B in 2022.

Disney, Fox, and Time Warner have “increasingly shifted film production towards genres that resonate well within these markets,” he says. Sequels accounted for 76 of the 107 top grossing films in the 10 largest markets over the last 12 years. The hot genres also tend to be the most profitable: The average animated film from 2004 to 2013 generated a gross margin of 52%, followed by action with 40% — well ahead of drama at 30% and comedy at 22%.
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Update: Intl Box Office: Boosted By China, ‘Transformers’ Crushes $202.1M Says Paramount For Biggest 2014 Offshore Bow; ‘Breakup Guru’ Woos; ‘Dragon’ Still Flying

Update: Intl Box Office: Boosted By China, ‘Transformers’ Crushes $202.1M Says Paramount For Biggest 2014 Offshore Bow; ‘Breakup Guru’ Woos; ‘Dragon’ Still FlyingcinemaworldFINAL UPDATE, MONDAY, 2:30 PM: Final numbers are in for Sony’s 22 Jump Street, Think Like a Man Too, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Warner Bros.’ Edge of Tomorrow, Jersey Boys, Blended and Godzilla, Disney’s Maleficent and Frozen (in Japan), Fox’s How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Fault in Our Stars, The Other Woman, and Uni’s batch of films, Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie, Neighbors, Boyhood, and A Million Ways to Die in the West, Transcendence (which debuted in France and Japan) and Heaven Is For Real. We just updated territory by territory breakdowns of Paramount’s Transformers: Age of Extinction.

We have overall cume numbers of Paramount’s Transformers: Age of Extinction now. Internationally, it was estimated at $201.3M yesterday and the studio says its final number for the weekend is $202.1M. In China, the estimate was $90M and today’s final the studio says is $91.9M. The worldwide gross sits around $299.6M based on true domestic three-day domestic grosses of $97.5M. Paramount’s claim of a $100M three-day box office is being widely disputed by all other distributors in the U.S. who also think the $97.5M is about right. In 10,152 locations, the Michael Bay-directed movie opened No. 1 in all 37 territories that it debuted in and Paramount Pictures was 35% bigger than the last installment, 2011′s Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

4TH UPDATE SUNDAY 3:28 PM PT: Michael Bay’s fourth in the Transformers franchise, as expected, dominated international play this weekend. With what Paramount says on Monday is a final of $202.1M, Age Of Extinction is the biggest international opener of the year and has bragging rights as the biggest imported bow ever in China at what was estimated at $90M but Monday showed $91.9M. China was the top market for Transformers: Dark Of The Moon which tallied $165.5M in 2011. TAOE included an added incentive for the Chinese given its Mainland locales, home-grown star Li Bingbing and a big publicity push that boasted the Hong Kong world premiere and the closing-night berth at the Shanghai Film Festival. The overall international numbers for the Top 10 films this weekend are worth 56% more than last weekend, but they are still 3% down on the comparable frame in 2013. That seems kind of surprising.

Transformers international box office chartBut, looking at last year, there was World War Z with $70.1M, Man Of Steel with $52.2M, Monsters University with $44.2M, Despicable Me 2 with $40.1M and local Chinese romancer Tiny Times, which debuted to $42.8M. Studios this year were already getting out of the way of the World Cup, and with TAOE sucking a lot of air out of the Asian markets, ultimately the result has its reason. One film that did creep up into the top echelons this weekend as local counterprogramming to TAOE in China was The Breakup Guru. The romantic comedy opened to $20.57M in two markets – China and the U.S. – and helps explain why holdovers like Maleficent or Godzilla dropped in their Middle Kingdom runs. (More on Breakup Guru below in the territory round-ups). TAOE has yet to bow in several territories, in many cases because of the ongoing World Cup, and could yet provide further records. They include the UK (July 5), Mexico (July 11), France (July 16), Germany and Brazil (July 17) and Japan (August 8). Of those, only France, Germany and Brazil are still moving forward in the mega-football tourney, so having their release dates fall after the final looks somehow prescient. The European premiere for TAOE will be held in Berlin this week. Read More »

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Movie Academy Invites 271 New Members

Movie Academy Invites 271 New MembersThe Oscar organization has unveiled its annual invitees list for 2014. Check out the release below:

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is extending invitations to join the organization to 271 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures. Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy’s membership in 2014. “This year’s class of invitees represents some of the most talented, creative and passionate filmmakers working in our industry today,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “Their contributions to film have entertained audiences around the world, and we are proud to welcome them to the Academy.”

The 2014 invitees are:

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Final Int’l Box Office: ‘Godzilla’ Thrashes Again With $38.4M Weekend Led By China; ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2′ Fires Up $24.4M; ‘Fault’ On Fire In Brazil

Highlights: Godzilla (WB) lords over China with $38.4M open; Edge Of Tomorrow (WB) stilil sharp with $37.3M; Maleficent (DIS) adds $37.2M; How To Train Your Dragon 2 enters 28 markets with $24.4M (total $26.1M); X-Men: Days Of Future Past (FOX) flies over $450M; The Fault In Our Stars (FOX) shines with $16.1M; 22 Jump Street cops to $7M; Noah (PAR) enters Japanese waters, crosses $250M; More…

cinemaworldUPDATE, 3:44 PM, PT: Final numbers are in for Sony’s 22 Jump Street, Fox/DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 2, Tom Cruise’s sci-fi actioner Edge of Tomorrow and Godzilla, Fox’s The Fault in Our Stars and X-Men: Days of Future Past, Universal’s A Million Ways to Die in the West and Neighbors, and the festival fave Boyhood, the animated Rio2, the Viggo Mortenson, Oscar Issac thriller Two Faces of January and local Spanish hit, Spanish Affairs, Paramount Pictures’ Noah in Japan and more.

UPDATED SUNDAY, 4:02 PM PT: This was largely a Hollywood holdover weekend with some new market plays and only one major new entry. Of the Top 15 movies internationally, three were from offshore: Korean action thriller A Hard Day in its 3rd frame, Korean action noir For The Emperor in its 1st frame and Hong Kong’s Overheard 3. This is of course the first weekend of full-on World Cup action, which in Asia is not as all-consuming as in Europe. That’s despite Korea and Japan having teams in the mix. The massive sporting event certainly doesn’t seem to have dented box office in China where Godzilla roared to the best opening of 2014 while Edge Of Tomorrow and X-Men: Days Of Future Past continued to perform (see below). In Europe, on days when the major national teams play, box office can be down by about 50%-60% in the home markets, and by about 20% if the home team isn’t involved. The phenomenon may not be as drastic this year because of the time differences between Europe and Brazil which means most games are airing late at night on the Continent.

godzilla2014-china-poster

However, overseas, across the Top 10 titles, the frame was down 22% on last weekend and 15% on last year. At this same point in 2013, Man Of Steel opened to $71.6M in 24 international markets. After Earth, Fast & Furious 6, The Hangover Part III and Star Trek Into Darkness were also still playing. Plus, Chinese action pic Switch flicked on at home with a $22M+ opening. Overall drops are expected this year during the World Cup play, when very few blockbuster type films open. That, however, opens the door for holdovers to stretch and counterprogrammers to pick up some of the slack. The films that tend to work during this period are ones that skew to female, family and older audiences. How To Train Your Dragon 2 was the only big new opener this week, with $24.4M across 28 territories. It dominated market share, while The Fault In Our Stars continued to woo overseas audiences. In other holdovers, Edge Of Tomorrow, Maleficent and X-Men: Days Of Future Past kept churning. Each of those films has received positive reviews (as has Dragon 2) and so given the studios’ strategic plans, could continue to show legs even if they begin to wobble a bit. Next weekend, Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys warbles in the UK, France, Italy and elsewhere. The subject matter of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons may be a bit foreign to foreign auds, but moviegoers less concerned with football are likely to seek out a film by the respected director. TFIOS and HTTYD2 are hitting a bunch more markets next weekend as well; especially the latter which flies forth into about 30 including Australia, Mexico and Brazil, each of which were among the first film’s best territories. In Brazil, kids are also off from school. Maleficent, meanwhile, sees its China bow on June 20. See below the original post for key market breakdowns.

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Europe Remains Key To Intl Box Office, Despite Big Growth In Emerging Markets

Reporting from Barcelona…

european unionStudio executives and international exhibitors are gathered this week in Barcelona for the annual CineEurope conference. Akin to CinemaCon, the event is an occasion for studios to tubthump their upcoming slates through the rest of 2014 and into 2015. On the ground are reps from DreamWorks, Warner Bros, Universal, Fox, Paramount, Disney, Sony, Mister Smith, Studiocanal and eOne. There are also representatives of some Chinese, and other non-European, companies on the trade show floor as international box office increasingly expands. Year-on-year, the overseas box office is up about 5% from January to May. The top market increases are estimated to be China (+17%), France (+17%), Brazil (+16%), Mexico (+8%), Russia (+5%) and Italy (+3%). Still, with seemingly every week a new record broken in China, and the growing impact of markets like Brazil, Russia and Korea, folks say Europe nevertheless continues to be the major overseas driver for Hollywood.

“The UK, Germany and France remain a critical part of our business,” says a studio exec. Like the U.S., they are mature and not growing in the same way as the emerging markets, but are “hugely important to our overall international business, if not more important.” Because emerging markets will eventually mature as well, I’m told the studios can’t “afford to rely” on them alone. “We need to focus on making our movies work in these mature markets, so they remain strong consumers of our movies.”

Importantly, another studio … Read More »

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Update: Intl Box Office: ‘Godzilla’ Thrashes Again With $38M Weekend Led By China; ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2′ Fires Up $24.8M; More

Highlights: Godzilla (WB) lords over China with $36M open; Edge Of Tomorrow (WB) stilil sharp with $37.4M; Maleficent (DIS) adds $37.2M; How To Train Your Dragon 2 enters 25 markets with $24.8M; X-Men: Days Of Future Past (FOX) flies over $450M; The Fault In Our Stars (FOX) shines with $16.4M; 22 Jump Street cops to $6.9M; Noah (PAR) enters Japanese waters, crosses $250M; More…

cinemaworldUPDATE, 4:02 PM PT: This was largely a Hollywood holdover weekend with some new market plays and only one major new entry. Of the Top 15 movies internationally, three were from offshore: Korean action thriller A Hard Day in its 3rd frame, Korean action noir For The Emperor in its 1st frame and Hong Kong’s Overheard 3. This is of course the first weekend of full-on World Cup action, which in Asia is not as all-consuming as in Europe. That’s despite Korea and Japan having teams in the mix. The massive sporting event certainly doesn’t seem to have dented box office in China where Godzilla roared to the best opening of 2014 while Edge Of Tomorrow and X-Men: Days Of Future Past continued to perform (see below). In Europe, on days when the major national teams play, box office can be down by about 50%-60% in the home markets, and by about 20% if the home team isn’t involved. The phenomenon may not be as drastic this year because of the time differences between Europe and Brazil which means most games are airing late at night on the Continent.

godzilla2014-china-poster

However, overseas, across the Top 10 titles, the frame was down 22% on last weekend and 15% on last year. At this same point in 2013, Man Of Steel opened to $71.6M in 24 international markets. After Earth, Fast & Furious 6, The Hangover Part III and Star Trek Into Darkness were also still playing. Plus, Chinese action pic Switch flicked on at home with a $22M+ opening. Overall drops are expected this year during the World Cup play, when very few blockbuster type films open. That, however, opens the door for holdovers to stretch and counterprogrammers to pick up some of the slack. The films that tend to work during this period are ones that skew to female, family and older audiences. How To Train Your Dragon 2 was the only big new opener this week, with $24.8M across 25 territories. It dominated market share, while The Fault In Our Stars continued to woo overseas audiences. In other holdovers, Edge Of Tomorrow, Maleficent and X-Men: Days Of Future Past kept churning. Each of those films has received positive reviews (as has Dragon 2) and so given the studios’ strategic plans, could continue to show legs even if they begin to wobble a bit. Next weekend, Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys warbles in the UK, France, Italy and elsewhere. The subject matter of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons may be a bit foreign to foreign auds, but moviegoers less concerned with football are likely to seek out a film by the respected director. TFIOS and HTTYD2 are hitting a bunch more markets next weekend as well; especially the latter which flies forth into about 30 including Australia, Mexico and Brazil, each of which were among the first film’s best territories. In Brazil, kids are also off from school. Maleficent, meanwhile, sees its China bow on June 20. See below the original post for key market breakdowns.

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Manu Bennett Signs With APA; ICM Partners Inks Madeline Brewer

By | Friday May 30, 2014 @ 1:04pm PDT

Manu BennettManu Bennett has signed with APA.  The New Zealander plays Orc chieftain Azog in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy and Slade Wilson/Death Stroke on The CW’s Arrow. He also starred as Crixus on Starz’s Spartacus and appeared in features including 30 Days Of Night, The Condemned and The Marine. Bennett also is repped by Sanders/Armstrong/Caserta and attorneys Jeff Frankel and Rob Goldman.

Madeline BrewerMadeline Brewer has inked with ICM Partners. She made her debut as Tricia Miller on Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black and next appears in Season 2 of the streaming service’s original drama Hemlock Grove, playing a mysterious graphic novelist entering the town. She continues to be managed by Inphenate and lawyered by Schreck, Rose.

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Warner Bros. Passes $1B Internationally, Driven By ‘The Hobbit,’ ’300′ And ‘Lego’

By | Sunday May 25, 2014 @ 12:35pm PDT

Warner_Bros._Pictures_introFourteen consecutive years. That’s how many times Warner Bros. has crossed the $1B threshold internationally. What propelled it this time around? Strong openers this year such as 300: Rise of an Empire, The Lego Movie and Godzilla and suberb holdovers from The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug and Gravity last year. “This benchmark is a result of the diversity and strength of our film slate along with the hard work of our teams around the globe,” said Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, president of international distribution. “We are thrilled to reach this number so early in the year.” Of course, the films must be broken down picture by picture to look at profitability.  While Warner Bros. distributed the big budget flop Transcendence it was Alcon who financed and sold the rights internationally. I wrote before Veronika even weighed in, that you gotta give kudos so what far has been a fairly impressive slate of films from Warner Bros.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugThey have done extremely well picking the right dates internationally (and domestically) for their films. The biggest grosser for the studio for 2014 was the holdover The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, which was released on Dec. 13th of last year, took in $245M of its $695M cume this year.

hr_The_LEGO_Movie_9The next highest grosser for the studio in 2014 was 300: Rise of an Empire which opened in March and pulled in $224M internationally or 67% of the overall worldwide gross of $330M, followed by The Lego Movie with $208M to date and about over $462M worldwide. Following those films is, of course, Godzilla which has already made an international cume of $166.6M in its second weekend out with China still to come on June 13. Read More »

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China Box Office Predicted To Hit $4.5B In 2014 Based On Latest Figures

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China Box Office On Track For 24.7% Growth To $4.49 Billion

Hollywood investment in China is surging, along with record box office takes in the Middle Kingdom. Dominic Patten reports.

China-flag__130422145455In the first five months of 2014, Chinese box office hit 10.2B yuan, or about $1.63B, with local movies dominating the market at 56% through May 21. Watchdog SAPPRFT released the figures today via state news agency Xinhua. Those numbers have led analysts to predict total 2014 box office could top out at a staggering 28B yuan, or around $4.49B. That would rep a 24.7% change from 2013 which ended with $3.6B. I say staggering because the numbers really do look wild, but a 24.7% increase would be slightly lower than the 27.5% jump from 2012 to 2013.

It’s difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison with 2013 based on the figures released today given that last year the authority provided half-year numbers in July. However, it’s worth noting that it took six months in 2013 for box office to cross the 10B yuan mark. This year, it was less than five. In the first six months of 2013, Chinese films also ruled the box office at about 61%, grossing $1.1B in the semester which had total takings of $1.79B. This was a reversal from the whole of 2012 when, much to the chagrin of SAPPRFT (then SARFT), market share had fallen to under 50% for the first time in four years.

the monkey kingBut U.S. movies are still doing big business in the world’s No. 2 box office territory thus … Read More »

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XLrator Media Takes U.S. On SXSW Pic ‘The Mule’

By | Friday May 16, 2014 @ 8:58am PDT

The Mule premiered in Marchthe-mule-poster (1) at SXSW and now XLrator Media has acquired U.S. rights to the comedy thriller. Angus Sampson (Mad Max: Fury Road, Insidious) wrote, co-directed with Tony Mahony and stars in the pic along with Hugo Weaving (The Hobbit, The Lord Of The Rings, The Matrix) and Leigh Whannell (Saw, Insidious). Ewen Leslie, Geoff Morrell, Georgina Haig, Noni Hazlehurst and John Noble (The Lord Of The Rings, Fringe) also star. Based on true events, the 1983-set pic centers on a naive man who’s detained by Australian Federal Police with lethal narcotics hidden in his stomach. Alone and afraid, ‘the Mule’ makes a desperate choice – defy his bodily functions and withhold the evidence…literally. And by doing so becomes a human time-bomb, dragging cops, criminals and concerned family into his impossible escapade. Sampson also produces with Jane Liscombe and Michele Bennett, Whannell, David Griffiths, Angus Coupland and Troy Lum exec producing. Deal was negotiated by Barry Gordon on behalf of XLrator and Anick Poirier of Séville International (eOne Films International’s boutique sales arm) and Paradigm on behalf of the filmmakers. XLrator is planning a fall release via its Macabre genre label.

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Ken Schapiro To Exit MGM

By | Thursday May 15, 2014 @ 11:32am PDT

mgm__130913144151-200x137__131115203538Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.’s Chief Strategic Officer Ken Schapiro is exiting the studio at the end of this month after joining the company in 2011 as COO. He was a key figure at MGM in recent years, helping to guide the studio’s strategy, and was promoted in January to his current post. Analysts saw his promotion as a sign that MGM possibly was going public (which it indicated in 2012 was a distinct possibility). It’s not clear where that stands now. However MGM Chair Gary Barber did tell analysts recently in a conference call that he would continue to evaluate that and promises to do what’s best for the company. Schapiro has been involved in all of the company’s financials. He helped to structure debt and its $75M stock repurchase, helped coordinate MGM’s investments in new media and the 2012 divestiture of the company’s overseas channels, and oversaw MGM’s home video campaign for its 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise. Before joining the studio, Schapiro co-founded investment management company Qualia Capital and was COO of Artisan Entertainment — helping to turn around the video distributor and merge it with Lionsgate. Schapiro said he was thankful to be part of the restructuring at MGM and was looking forward to another challenge. Read More »

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SundanceTV Boards Danny Boyle’s ‘Babylon’

By | Wednesday May 14, 2014 @ 12:00pm PDT

SundanceTV-LogoSundanceTV has boarded the Danny Boyle-directed Babylon.  The network said today it is co-producing with UK’s Channel 4 six new TV format episodes which will air on Sundance in 2015. FX had been exploring joining the comedy-drama series, which is set inside a modern London police force in desperate need of a spruced-up public image. Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later, Trainspotting) executive produces with Robert Jones (The Usual Suspects, Dirty Pretty Things) and Derrin Schlesinger (Southcliffe, Four Lions) producing. Brit Marling (Another Earth, Sound Of My Voice) and James Nesbitt (The Hobbit, Millions) star. Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong (Peep Show, The Old Guys, Fresh Meat), penned the script. The feature-length pilot aired on Channel 4 in the UK earlier this year with the series set to air on the UK broadcaster this fall.

Related: Hot TV Trailer: Danny Boyle’s ‘Babylon’

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Marketing Vet Michael Tritter Departs WB

By | Thursday May 8, 2014 @ 6:31pm PDT

michael tritterWarner Bros. SVP of Interactive Marketing Michael Tritter is leaving his post after nearly two decades with the studio. His run at WB Pictures spanned campaigns from Twister to The Perfect Storm to Inception, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight pics, Man Of Steel, The Hobbit, and this year’s animated hit The Lego Movie. It’s an amicable split between the studio and Tritter, who moved to LA from NY six years ago taking over domestic and international interactive marketing under Sue Kroll and EVP of Marketing Blair Rich. Tritter’s tenure in WB’s interactive marketing division paralleled the shift in studio online marketing strategies, which have evolved by necessity with the explosion of the internet space. Of course, he had his finger on the web’s pulse from the start: One of his first contributions was personally coding the website for 1996′s Space Jam, which 18 years later still enjoys what has to be an industry-leading longevity on the net. “While we are sad to see him go, we share his excitement for new endeavors in the future and wish him great success,” said Rich in a memo to staff. “Please join us in wishing Michael well, and thanking him for his considerable contributions to the Marketing division.”

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