3RD UPDATE, SUNDAY 6:40 PM PT: Across the Top 10 titles, the international haul is up this week over last by 10%, and ranks 23% bigger than the comparable frame in 2013. Warner Bros and Legendary’s 300: Rise Of An Empire leads the charge with a strong debut in 58 markets and an estimated $87.8M haul. Last year, it was Oz, The Great And Powerful that was seducing audiences with $63M in overseas takings. Next week brings Need For Speed starring Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul.
All initial international numbers are in from the studios, and breakdowns for some key territories follow the original posts below with notable happenings in France, Italy, India, Russia and elsewhere. In the meantime, overseas numbers for Liam Neeson-starrer Non-Stop have yet to arrive since the movie is released by a slew of offshore distributors, notably Studiocanal which will likely provide details tomorrow. However, Rentrak says Non-Stop, out in 22 markets, added an estimated $12M for a $40M cume.
2ND UPDATE, SUNDAY 10:50 AM PT: As expected, Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures’ 300: Rise Of An Empire was the dominant movie at the international box office this weekend. The Noam Murro-directed sequel ranked No. 1 across all continents tallying up an estimated $87.8M from 58 markets. Of that, $5.2M came from IMAX plays, setting a new March record. The tracking previously put Rise Of An Empire at 9% ahead of the original 300, but the studio now says it’s up 10%.
Also notable in the market are an expanded Mr Peabody And Sherman, a still fighitng Robocop; Frozen‘s hot streak, The Grand Budapest Hotel‘s record-setting European bows for Wes Anderson and an Oscar bump for 12 Years A Slave which crossed $100M overseas. Details follow below, after a closer look at Rise Of An Empire.
Related: U.S. Box Office: ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’ Commands $45M
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Actor-comedian Paul F. Tompkins (Comedy Bang! Bang!) will star opposite Molly Shannon in ABC’s single-camera comedy pilot from creator Brian Gallivan, Sony TV and Olive Bridge Prods. It centers on an overworked father (Tompkins) dreaming of being “on vacation all year” who decides to uproot his family from the city and move them to New Hampshire, where they open a group of tourist cottages but rarely, if ever, feel like they’re on vacation. Shannon plays his wife. Also cast in the pilot is Tessa Albertson as the couple’s older daughter. Repped by Innovative/MKSD.
Related: 2014 ABC Pilots
Strangers With Candy‘s Amy Sedaris will co-star opposite Jane Krakowski in Fox‘s half-hour pilot Dead Boss, from WBTV and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment. An adaptation of the BBC3 series, Dead Boss is a comedic mystery that finds overachiever Helen Stephens (Krakowski) wrongfully convicted of murdering her boss and forced to rely on her train wreck of a sister to prove her innocence. Sedaris plays Mary, one of Helen’s nosy, fault-finding co-workers and the gatekeeper to their boss who secretly loved the man and openly hated Helen.
Related: 2014 Fox Pilots
The premiere of CNN’s new Chicagoland didn’t get totally whacked last night but it certainly didn’t make a ratings killing either – in fact it came a distant third in terms of total viewership compared to its cable news time slot rivals. The 10 PM debut Thursday of the cable news network’s heavily promoted 8-part documentary series drew 227,000 viewers among adults 25-54 with 629,000 total viewers. That was a drop in total viewership of 7% from the 673,000 that the second hour of CNN’s much less hyped And The Oscar Goes To… documentary pulled in on February 27. That also leaves Chicagoland in third place behind the 1.43 million total viewers who watched Fox News Channel’s Hannity and the 816,000 who tuned into MSNBC’s Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell.
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In terms of the key news demo, Chicagoland was up 58% from the weak 144,000 viewers who watched the Oscars docu in the same time slot last week. Yes, that’s up just over 100% from the limbo low 113,000 viewers among the 25-54s that CNN has averaged on the previous four Thursdays in the time slot. However even with the full marketing efforts of CNN both on and off-air, Chicagoland was not that much ahead of the 207,000 among the 25-54s that MSNBC got last night with The Last Word– a show that was … Read More »
TBS has picked up a 10-episode second season of multi-camera comedy Ground Floor, created by Bill Lawrence and Greg Malins and starring Skylar Astin and Briga Heelan. The renewal extends TBS’ streak of renewing its freshman series, which includes sitcoms Men at Work and Sullivan & Son and reality comedy King of the Nerds. Ground Floor started off lower than the other two scripted comedies, drawing 1.6 million viewers for its premiere vs. 2.7 million for for Men at Work and 2.5 million for Sullivan & Son. But Ground Floor launched against much stronger competition during the November sweep; it has been pretty consistent, and TBS brass believe in its upside potential. Ground Floor finished its first season with an average of 1.8 million viewers in Live + 7 delivery, including 1.1 million adults 18-49 and 575,000 adults 18-34. The renewal keeps Lawrence and Malins with two projects each at TBS. Lawrence has series Cougar Town, while Malins has pilot Your Family or Mine. Read More »
Former Warner Bros executive Jeff Robinov is said to be talking to a number of investors to finance a new production company that could be set up most likely at Sony Pictures, and if a deal can’t be made there possibly 20th Century Fox. Despite rumors and reports swirling about done deals with the likes of China’s Huayi Brothers Media, we’re hearing that nothing has been set in stone in his quest to raise $100 million in funds. There are many moving parts, we’ve been told, and talks with numerous other investors are ongoing, and any combination of investors is possible. One rumored financier that is out at the moment is Ukrainian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik, who had been in talks to provide the bulk of an investment for the new shingle. The crisis in Ukraine might have played a part in the cooling off of those talks. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Safe House helmer Daniel Espinosa is in talks with Warner Bros to develop to direct Blood On Snow, which Leonardo DiCaprio is eyeing as a potential star vehicle. This is a two-book series that Norwegian crime novelist Jo Nesbo has written under the pseudonym Tom Johansson. The books, which Knopf will publish in two installments this fall and the following spring, will be produced by Kevin McCormick’s Langley Park (which is bringing Charlie And The Chocolate Factory to Broadway) and DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran’s Appian Way, which is coming off Best Picture nominee The Wolf Of Wall Street.
They will now go out to scribes to draft the tale of a hit man who’s forced to go into hiding after he fails on a job and finds himself on the run with his intended target, who unfortunately happens to be his boss’s wife. Landing Espinosa is a coup. He’s coming off Child 44 for Summit, the adaptation of the Soviet serial killer tale that stars Tom Hardy, Joel Kinnaman, Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman and Jason Clarke. Espinosa is repped by UTA and Magnolia Entertainment. Jon Berg and Cate Adams are steering the project for Warner Bros.
While California Gov. Jerry Brown is still “not committed” to expanding the state’s film and TV tax credit, Los Angeles is seeing another drop in broadcast pilot production to what appears to be an all-time low. Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been doing photo ops with Disney and Marvel execs to celebrate their commitment to film some 60 episodes of Marvel’s four Netflix series and a miniseries in the Big Apple. And now New York, which also lured The Tonight Show franchise away from Los Angeles, has more reasons to celebrate after another very strong pilot performance, returning this year to the top as the most popular drama location and reinforcing its strong position in comedy.
A record 15 broadcast pilots will be filming in New York this year, including 10 — almost a third — of the 34 drama pilot/direct-to-series projects filming within the regular cycle that have set their locations (two remain TBD). That is up from 13 total and eight dramas last year and just shy of the city’s all-time drama record of 11 in 2012. (Keep in mind that the number of NY-based was zero just four years ago, before the state implemented its aggressive tax break program.) New York is chipping away at Los Angeles’ comedy dominance. LA used to own the comedy space, with virtually every pilot filming here. Just two years ago, it housed 100% of the broadcast comedy pilots. The percentage dropped to 89% last year and is at 85% (39 out of 46) this season. New York made a big move in the arena in 2013 after seven years of no major broadcast comedy pilot presence there. A whopping five broadcast half-hour pilots were filmed in the city last year, including straight-to-series The Michael J. Fox Show. Proving that that wasn’t a fluke, New York matched its comedy haul this year with another five pilots, including NBC’s straight-to-series Tooken. Like last year, all five are single-camera. What’s more, a hybrid comedy, How I Met Your Dad, which is filming the pilot in Los Angeles, will move to New York if it goes to pilot. In most cases, the NY location is talent-driven (Irreversible star David Schwimmer, Dead Boss‘ Jane Krakowski, How I Met Your Dad star Greta Gerwig, Lowell and Gaffigan are all based in NY). But studios wouldn’t have been as open to setting shop in New York had the tax incentives not been strong enough to rein in production costs on comedies, especially the expensive single-camera format, which are still higher than a Los Angeles-based half-hour pilot but not by much. One drawback of comedy series filming in New York has been the shortage of writing talent as broadcast shows have to compete with such cable comedies as Louie and Girls, but with New York-based comedy production appearing to be here to stay, more writing talent may relocate there to support them.
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Coming off HBO’s Treme, Rob Brown has joined NBC’s drama pilot Salvation. In the project, written by Elizabeth Heldens and directed by Jeffrey Reiner, mega-church Pastor Daniel Strickland suddenly dies, and his loyal wife, Jennifer Strickland (Ashley Judd), must rally to keep their family together and save the church. Brown, repped by WME, Industry Entertainment and Jeff Endlich, will play Miles Strickland, the adopted son of Jennifer and Daniel Strickland who returns home after a 6-year absence out of a sense of loyalty to the family but does not share in their beliefs. He most recently seen in Joseph Gordon Levitt’s directorial debut Don Jon.
Related: 2014 NBC Pilots
Drew Powell has been cast in a guest starring/recurring role in Fox‘s Batman prequel drama Gotham, which has a series commitment. Based on DC characters from the Batman universe, Gotham explores the origin stories of Commissioner James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) as an idealistic rookie detective in Gotham City, along with Bruce Wayne and the villains who made Gotham City famous. Powell, repped by Stone Manners Salners and Billy Miller Management, will play Butch Gilzean, the deceptively clever and ambitious second-in-command to sadistic gangster boss Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith).
Related: 2014 Fox Pilots
Justine Lupe and Ravi Patel are set to co-star opposite Jane Krakowski in Fox‘s half-hour pilot Dead Boss, from WBTV and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment. An adaptation of the BBC3 series created by Sharon Horgan and Holly Walsh, Dead Boss is a comedic mystery that finds overachiever Helen Stephens (Krakowski) wrongfully convicted of murdering her boss and forced to rely on her train wreck of a sister to prove her innocence. Lupe, repped by Gersh and Authentic, plays Laura, Helen’s well-intentioned sister who moves into Helen’s condo, takes over Helen’s job and finds herself starting to enjoy living Helen’s life. Patel, repped by Seven Summits, TalentWorks and Gregg Gellman, plays Henry, one of Helen’s co-workers who loves and is obsessed with her and is devastated when Helen receives a guilty verdict.
Related: 2014 Fox Pilots
Tara Holt has joined the final season of Showtime’s Californication in a recurring role. In it, Hank (David Duchovny) is joining the writers room as his never-released film Santa Monica Cop now becomes a TV series. He’s riled frequently by his boss, the show’s old-school executive producer Rick Rath (recurring Michael Imperioli). Holt, repped by Nancy Chaidez & Associates and Untitled, will play Melanie, Rath’s gorgeous assistant whose presence causes a commotion in the writers room. Read More »
UPDATE, 12:04 PM: By Warner Bros jumping aboard the high-profile Johnny Depp-Joel Edgerton pic Black Mass, it means the studio won’t be taking on another Whitey Bulger project in its own backyard: the one that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon had been developing for a couple of years as a starring vehicle for Damon via their Warners-based Pearl Street Films. I’m hearing that Affleck and Damon were given a day or two advance notice that the studio was putting its eggs in the Black Mass basket, but that news came just a day before the latest rewrite was turned in by Aaron Stockard, who worked with Affleck on The Town and Gone Baby Gone and who rewrote the script by Oscar nominated The Wolf Of Wall Street scribe Terence Winter. There was much enthusiasm, then radio silence, and then…Naturally there are bruised feelings that Warners will have to repair with two of its most valuable players, as this was the first project pitched for Affleck to direct and Damon to star after Pearl Street inked its overall deal there, and I’m told the studio assured the pair it wanted to make their movie.
This is all a part of the big rough and tumble game of studios needing to fill slates, and clearly someone was going to come out first with a Bulger biopic. But there are plenty of reasons to smooth any ruffles here. Affleck is directing and starring in Warner Bros’ Live By Night, an epic period crime drama that he adapted from the best-selling novel by Dennis Lehane, author of Affleck’s first directorial outing Gone Baby Gone. It’s the follow-up to the Best Picture Oscar winner Argo he made for the studio. He also is playing Batman in Warner Bros’ Batman Vs. Superman. Read More »
Son Of God from Fox so far is the surprise of the weekend, taking in a phenom $1.2M Thursday in late-night shows that began at 10 PM. Universal’s Non-Stop also did bang-up business beginning with 8 PM shows and a total of 720K, according to estimates, as the actioner starring Liam Neeson right now is also playing strong. Two distributors compared Non-Stop‘s opening to that of Olympus Has Fallen, which went onto gross $161M+ worldwide ($99M of it in the U.S.) and that opening was $500,000. So right now Non-Stop is playing above that.
Son Of God still could end up anywhere on the box office top 10, depending how it does this weekend, but if last night is any indication, it could push right up the aisle past Non-Stop. Distributors and those who track the films for a living cannot predict what this picture will gross in its three-day. Reality TV king Mark Burnett, who is producing the picture and is doing a heck of a job garnering publicity with his exec producer Roma Downey, already helped drum up $4.5M in pre-sold tickets — that includes a tremendous amount of group sales from a Colorado-based company called Compassion International which is buying up tickets and giving away parishoners to churches in 40 U.S. cities. “It’s an excellent start and it looks as though Mark and Roma’s sincere grass-roots marketing efforts have ignited and motivated audiences across the country to see Son Of God,” Fox domestic distribution boss Chris Aronson said.
Related: Hot Trailer: Fox’s ‘Son Of God’
The moviegoers that come to see this particular genre aren’t frequent moviegoers so they are traditionally hard to track. To that point, only 30% of 1,000 people buying tickets for Son Of God have seen Frozen and only 28% have seen Gravity — two of the biggest box office hits today. However, at the same time, Fandango also found that 94% Son Of God ticket buyers want to see more Biblical stories made into motion pictures and 76% plan to see Paramount’s Noah starring Russell Crowe and 83% are interested in seeing TriStar/Screen Gems’ Heaven Is For Real (Greg Kinnear). The latter is based on the book that wouldn’t leave the New York Times bestseller’s list. Roughly the same percentage — 82% — are interested in seeing Fox’s Exodus starring Christian Bale. So Son Of God is going to give the studios — especially Fox — a lot of propriety information moving forward on marketing Exodus.
Paramount is also enlisting help from religious entities for their marketing materials. The National Religious Broadcasters and Paramount said last night that they made the joint decision to add an explanatory message to future marketing materials for Noah. Specicially, marketing materials will state: “The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis.” Studios are listening to the faith-based organizations and what works and what doesn’t. Read More »
Big Sony is opening Russian epic Stalingrad in a record number of IMAX theaters this weekend. The roll out may be a watershed for Russian filmmaking in the U.S. and it marks another blending of “specialty” and “Hollywood” though that isn’t really new as the grey areas have mounted for years. Hollywood’s biggest stars have long had indies intervals between studio cash cows. Cinedigm will open The Bag Man with Robert De Niro and John Cusack theatrically, while the Universal acquisition will remain with the studio’s non-theatrical lineup. Lionsgate/Codeblack will bow Repentance with Anthony Mackie and Forest Whitaker in over 150 theaters, targeting its primarily African-American audience. On the traditional end, Sony Classics will platform Cannes debut The Lunchbox this weekend, while Velvet Films will open an exclusive engagement at Film Society of Lincoln Center for Raoul Peck’s Fatal Assistance.
The Bag Man
Director-writer: David Grovic
Writers: Paul Conway, James Russo, Marie-Louise von Franz (inspired by her short story, The Cat)
Cast: John Cusack, Rebecca Da Costa, Robert De Niro, Crispin Glover, Dominic Purcell
First-time feature filmmaker David Grovic landed quite a cast for his crime thriller The Bag Man. Starring John Cusack, Rebecca Da Costa and Robert De Niro, the title centers on a criminal who bides his time at a seedy motel, waiting for his boss after killing several men and making away with a mystery bag. “We were incredibly fortunate to get essentially first choices in all the roles,” said Grovic. “Unless you’re a studio paying huge money, I think the only way you can get this quality of cast is by making it a passion project.” Grovic said that the cast responded to the script’s non-stereotypical traits including De Niro’s hair and eccentric dialog as well as Da Costa’s wonder woman outfit for starters. Read More »
Comedy Central has promoted Brooke Posch to SVP, Original Programming and Development. Posch, formerly VP, will continue to oversee development and production on all East Coast-based Comedy Central original pilots and series, including Amy Poehler’s Broad City, which was just renewed for a second season, and Inside Amy Schumer. She is currently developing projects with Hannibal Buress, Chris Gethard and Lorne Michaels’ digital platform, Above Average. “Brooke is so personable and has such finely-tuned creative instincts she could do anything she wants in this business,” said Comedy Central’s president of original programming Kent Alterman. “I’m just grateful she’s letting me be her boss.” Prior to Comedy Central, Posch served as VP, Comedy and Animation at MTV and as Director of Development/Executive Producer at Crossroads Television.
Eight months after Nancy Dubuc brought in BBC executive Jana Bennett to lead LMN and Bio and transform Bio into a lifestyle brand, the company has set July 7 as a launch date for Bio’s successor, FYI, and its inaugural slate of six series and two pilots. The series run the gamut of tried-and-true lifestyle areas: food, home/home renovation and personal makeover, with the network touting its programming as being younger skewing and upscale. Pilots include one featuring actress Jennifer Esposito and her gluten-free bakery. The project was first piloted by E!, which passed on it. Here is the slate: Read More »
Breakout Kings alum Malcolm Goodwin has been cast as a co-lead in Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero’s CW drama pilot iZombie, from Warner Bros. TV. Also cast in the DC comic adaptation are Last Man Standing alumna Alexandra Krosney, and Alias‘ David Anders. iZombie is a supernatural crime procedural that centers on Liv, a med student-turned-zombie who takes a job in the coroner’s office to gain access to the brains she must reluctantly eat to maintain her humanity, but with each brain she consumes, she inherits the corpse’s memories. With the help of her medical examiner boss and a police detective (Goodwin), she solves homicide cases in order to quiet the disturbing voices in her head. Goodwin’s Clive is a detective who recently received a promotion from vice to homicide but has been floundering for his first two months and is in desperate need of making a case. Though dubious at first about Liv’s “psychic” powers, she demonstrates too much accuracy for him not to take her seriously. Krosney plays Peyton, Liv’s best friend and roommate who is baffled by Liv’s recent behavior and feels like they’re drifting apart. Anders cast plays the show’s bad guy Blaine, an entitled rich kid who bites off more than he can chew in the drug business. Goodwin is with Paradigm, MJ Management … Read More »
Here is Deadline’s annual list of The Overachievers Of Pilot Season. For anyone, landing a pilot is a major accomplishment. These selected few individuals/production companies took that achievement to the next level.
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With marquee comedy clients including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Kevin Hart, 3 Arts has been building a strong TV production business. The management/production company has set a new personal record this season with nine greenlights. That includes one straight-to-series order for the Tina Fey/Robert Carlock comedy Tooken at NBC, one pilot/series track order at Fox for Cabot College, from Matt Hubbard, Fey and Carlock, and five more pilots: the comedies untitled Kevin Hart project at ABC, Amy Poehler’s Old Soul and Love Is Relative at NBC and Tom Papa’s More Time With the Family at CBS, plus untitled Richard LaGravenese drama at ABC. Additionally, three 3 Arts pilots from last season, Mulaney and Mr. Robinson, recently received series orders for next season.
Amblin TV has one pilot/series track order at Fox for drama Red Band Society, starring Octavia Spencer, and pilot orders for drama The Visitors at ABC and comedy The Money Pit at NBC. Additionally, the company scored a straight-to-series order this season for sci-fi drama Extant, which landed Halle Berry as the lead, for a summer launch.
Related: PILOT SEASON: How Many Orders Is Each Broadcast Network Eyeing This Year
Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly‘s Timberman-Beverly has a straight-to-series order at ABC for untitled David O. Russell/Susannah Grant drama and three pilots at CBS, comedy The Odd Couple starring Matthew Perry and untitled John Cusack and David Marshall Grant drama projects.
Aaron Kaplan‘s one-man indie shop Kapital Entertainment landed a pilot order with series penalty at ABC for Secrets & Lies, toplined by Ryan Phillippe, and pilot orders for drama The Mysteries of Laura starring Debra Messing at NBC and comedy Dead Boss starring Jane Krakowski at Fox. Read More »