André Rieu Concert Sets UK Box Office Record
Flying the flag for event cinema, André Rieu’s 2014 10th Anniversary Maastricht Concert became the UK’s highest-grossing music event of all time at the box office this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, CinemaLive screened the concert at 410 locations across the UK and Ireland, grossing $1.42M. The concert also screened at 234 moviehouses in European markets including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Romania, Finland and Croatia, bringing the total gross box office figure to more than $2.05M for the weekend. Rieu’s July 2013 cinema concert event set UK records with about $766K. The massive jump this year is one more feather in the cap of live event cinema which has been growing in popularity with music- and theater-loving crowds. Classical violinist Rieu, aka “The King of Waltz”, is known for his energetic and festive live performances. He has sold more than 35M albums worldwide. Further screenings of the concert will take place this coming weekend in Australia and New Zealand, followed by Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Russia and South East Asia to ultimately reach more than 1,000 cinema screens in 35 countries. Pretty soon, I’ll have to start adding these to my international weekend box office reports.
Global Showbiz Briefs: André Rieu Sets UK Box Office Record; Venice Critics’ Week Roster; Alibaba Pacts With Helmers; More
André Rieu Concert Sets UK Box Office Record
The second season of FX’s Fargo will take place in Sioux Falls, S.D., in 1979, creator Noah Hawley said this afternoon at the TCA Summer Press Tour. “If you were paying attention to Season 1, we made a lot of references to Sioux Falls,” he said told TV critics. Some of the second season also will take place in Luverne, Minn.
The season will be a prequel of sorts, in that the Lou Solverson character, played in Season 1 by Keith Carradine, will be back, only this time he’ll be just 33 years old and recently back from Vietnam. “That time period is interesting — post-Vietnam, post-Watergate … the best of America versus worst,” Hawley said. “That sense, I think, that this war had come home with people, and the violence and brutality of it.”Lou Salverson went to Vietnam and came home, but now he’s come back and it’s here — it’s domestic.”
And while he said he would like nothing more than to see the continuing adventures of Molly and Gus, “I felt it would be disingenuous,” Hawly said of Deputy Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) and Officer Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks). Molly’s mom will be featured in Season 2 but will not be played by Tolman, despite urgings of several TV critics. “She should be in everything anybody ever made, as far as I’m concerned,” Hawley said. But he added that the idea of casting Tolman to play her character’s mother “seems a little gimmicky to me, and like cheating.” Using the same actors in different roles each season is “a brilliant turn on Ryan’s part, and he owns it — it would be imitative,” Hawley said of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story, with its practice of bringing back actors in different roles each season.
SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of the Season 6 finale and other episodes of Sons Of Anarchy.
For some of the reporters at the TCA panel for Sons Of Anarchy, last season’s ending exceeded their expectations for violence with Eli being shot in the back by Juice and Gemma’s forking of Tara. For Sons creator Sutter, it’s just all part of the process when you’re producing a pulp novel every week.
“I don’t have a filter,” said Sutter, “I rely on (FX CEO) John Landgraf for that.”
“It’s not so much, ‘How do I outdo myself?’, but within the circumstance of a scene between two characters, (I ask myself), ‘What is the most interesting way for things to happen?’ I can say fairly confidently that I don’t think we’ve ever done anything inorganically in a heightened season. It was a fork (as a weapon) in that scene, because it was there,” Sutter said.
In the wake of that scene, Sutter mentioned that people have approached his wife on the street asking for their forks to be autographed.
EXCLUSIVE: Writer-director John Swetnam (Step Up: All In, Into the Storm) and exec producer John Legend have cast the twinkle-toed lineup for their internet-generation dance pic, Breaking Through. Dancer, choreographer, and actress Sophia Aguiar was discovered via YouTube after performing with Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo, Usher, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, and Britney Spears. She’ll make her first feature splash in the pic alongside Jordan Rodrigues, who starred on Aussie teen dance drama Dance Academy and currently recurs on ABC Family’s The Fosters.
Swetnam’s casting search also led him to Robert Roldan who appeared on Season 7 of So You Think You Can Dance, contortionist and dancer Marissa Heart who’s danced with Miley Cyrus, J. Lo, and Kanye West, and Taeko McCarroll who appeared on America’s Best Dance Crew. Pic will be choreographed by YouTube star Ian Eastwood (American’s Best Dance Crew, Season 7) with performances by dance groups Les Twins, Poreotics, dance personality Dominic D-Trix Sandoval (So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Best Dance Crew) and hip hop violinist-dancer Lindsey Stirling (America’s Got Talent).
FINAL: Intl Box Office: ‘Transformers’ Adds $84.6M; ‘Apes’ Swings Up With $61.9M; ‘Boyhood’ Growing In UK; More
2ND UPDATE, MONDAY 3:20 PM PT: Updated figures for the international weekend have come in with all studios reporting. Among the top movies in the marketplace, Transformers: Age Of Extinction‘s 4th frame was up from original estimates to $84.6M in 58 territories ($662.6M cume), and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes was slightly higher than predicted in its 2nd frame with $61.93M on 10,347 screens in 51 markets ($103.6M cume).
Also of note, Fox’s The Grand Budapest Hotel has officially passed $110M internationally, adding $491K in 15 territories this weekend. Meanwhile, Boyhood, which Universal is releasing most everywhere overseas, added 60 locations in its 2nd UK frame. The result was a 0% drop from last week with $537K at 89 dates. The UK/Ireland total is now $1.5M (£892K). With the buzz growing, Universal is looking to continue the pattern by increasing the number of screens in more regional areas this Friday. In the next few days, the studio says the Richard Linklater drama will best the director’s Before Sunset (£932K) and A Scanner Darkly (£995K) to become his 2nd biggest film in the market behind School Of Rock.
Updated throughout the below are figures on the above films as well as Planes: Fire & Rescue, Sex Tape, The Purge: Anarchy, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Step Up All In, Maleficent, Blended, The Fault In Our Stars, 22 Jump Street, Edge Of Tomorrow, X-Men: Days Of Future …
TCA: When FX Hosts ‘Tyrant’ Q&A Featuring Show’s Critics, Howard Gordon Says He’s The Series’ “Midwife”
Gordon came to TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014 to discuss the series that debuted last month. He was joined onstage by representatives of various groups that have blasted, to varying degrees, the series. They came to discuss the ways in which they have complained about the series and the degree to which they have effected change. According to a network spokesman, some of the people onstage participated in a three-hour conversation with Gordon and others involved with the program which was a “very educational experience.” Their leader seemed to be Cynthia P Schneider, who co-directs the Los Angeles-based Muslims On Screen and Television, and teaches at Georgetown University.
Cross-platform entertainment site All Def Digital named former Machinima executive Sanjay Sharma as the site’s first president and COO, co-founder Russell Simmons said today. Sharma also will join the site’s board, and will be responsible for day-to-day business and operational affairs while working with Simmons and other site founders on strategic direction. Simmons, the music and entertainment impresario, launched ADD last year with a string of YouTube online video shows and series featuring acts such as musicians Spoken Reasons and Odd Future, slam poetry, comedy, the reality show Love Dollhouse and more. The site has since continued to branch out on various distribution platforms and with new programming. It has partnered with DreamWorks Animation digital video unit AwesomenessTV, HBO, YouTube and Universal Music Group, where Simmons’ Def Jam Music is quartered. The company also recently announced ADD52, a deal with Samsung’s streaming music service Milk Music to release a single from a little-known music artist every week for a year.
Sharma spent five years at Machinima as one of its first employees and left a few weeks ago as EVP Strategy and Business Development after helping spearhead a $18 million round of funding led by Warner Bros in March. Sharma previously worked in Warner’s business & legal affairs operations, and for an ad-tech startup.
UPDATED, 1:47 PM: A federal judge has denied Seven Arts Entertainment founder Peter Hoffman’s motion to dismiss the fraud charges against him stemming from $1.13 million he obtained in Louisiana tax credits to refurbish a run-down old New Orleans mansion and turn it into a state-of-the-are postproduction facility. Hoffman declined comment until he’s had time to study the judge’s 27-page ruling. A trail is set for January 20.
PREVIOUSLY, June 2: The founder of Seven Arts Entertainment claims that he did nothing wrong in obtaining tax credits to restore a rundown New Orleans mansion and convert it into a modern postproduction facility. Peter Hoffman has filed a motion to dismiss the criminal tax fraud charges (read it here) brought against him by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Louisiana in February. The 22-count indictment accuses Hoffman, a former business partner, and Hoffman’s ex-wife, producer Susan Hoffman, of conspiring to secure $1.13 million in Louisiana tax credits without having done the work they told state officials they were going to do. All three have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Box Office Final: ‘Apes’ No. 1′ With $36.2M, ‘The Purge’ With $29.8M+, ‘Planes’ Flies Low $17.5M, ‘Sex Tape’ Unravels To $14.6M In Soft Weekend
8th UPDATE, Monday, 1:32 PM: It was a down weekend. After the dust cleared today, we can see the final dips: The calendar year-to-date is down 6% with the weekend of the Top Ten from last year to this year down 25%. All films added in, the business is down 23.9%. Given that all pictures underperformed a bit, here are the final box office numbers as they look this morning. Of all the newbies, The Purge: Anarchy actually was able to gross the high end of yesterday’s estimate and ended with $29.8M. Both Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue and Sony’s Sex Tape took more of a hit, both off just a tad from their yesterday expectations; neither performed well. Meanwhile, Earth To Echo and Maleficent came in only $29K apart and the more exciting part of this box office weekend was that the smaller films did exceptionally well. Dinesh D’Souza’s controversial documentary America from Lionsgate, at No. 12, held quite well, down only 30% as did Jon Favreau’s Chef (Open Road), which even after dropping about 150 locations saw a significant jump on Saturday and ended the weekend at $25.9M. Another bit of sweet news was the solid per-screen number of Richard Linkaleter’s little masterpiece Boyhood (IFC) which held a nice $34,418 per screen; its cume is now $1.785M after two weeks in a platform release. The Top 20 chart follows:
Up for discussion at the network’s TCA Married panel was how the show changed dramatically between its pilot and subsequent episodes in terms of implementing hanky panky in its storylines. In Episode 1 of the Andrew Gurland-created show, Ross Bowman (Nat Faxon) hits an intimacy wall with his wife Lina (Judy Greer), to which she suggests that he venture out and find a mistress. (Spoiler: He failingly does.)
Talking with Deadline after the panel, Gurland said: “The show will became less about their sexual relationship. I found that a good jumping-off point for the series would be a husband saying, ‘We don’t have the intimacy we use to have,’ and there’s this element of, ‘Well, go have sex with other people.’ I wanted to put that to rest by the pilot because that’s not really the answer. That’s not a long-term solution if you want intimacy from your wife, so moving forward we wanted to keep the intimacy between the two of them but not restricted to their sexual relationship. I wanted to keep the show grounded and not go to this paper reality of here’s all this crazy stuff that this normal married guy is going to do.”
FXX said in April that it will air the longest marathon in TV history when it welcomes The Simpsons repeats, and today the network announced that it’ll run August 21 through September 1. During the course of the mega-marathon, FXX will air in chronological order all 25 seasons — 552 episodes — of the Fox animated series that’s the longest-running scripted series in TV history. The Simpsons Movie will be included in the marathon and also will air chronologically within the stunt, after episode No. 400. The marathon begins at 10 AM ET/PT on August 21 and ends at midnight ET/PT on September 1.
Reminding TV critics about the stunt at the TCA Summer Press Tour, panelists also walked them through plans for a new interactive digital and online experience that’s billed as the ultimate Simpsons digital experience. Simpsons World — named after, and incorporating, Matt Groening’s published show bible of same name — offers a premium Simpsons fan experience, including access to their entire catalog of full-length episodes for the first time ever via FXNOW App and SimpsonsWorld.com, in October.
Beginning September 2, FXX will regularly schedule The Simpsons episodes in fringe, primetime and late-night dayparts on weekdays and weekends. Additionally, every Sunday the network will broadcast a thematic mini-marathon consisting of eight Simpsons episodes beginning at 4 PM ET/PT and leading into the 8 PM ET/PT broadcast on Fox.
Matthew Strauss isn’t a household name in Hollywood yet. But he should be, and possibly will be soon. As Comcast Cable’s GM of Video Services, Strauss oversees the cable colossus’ Xfinity cloud-based X1 platform, video on demand, TV Everywhere, and — starting last year — sales of digitally downloadable movies and TV shows (known as Electronic Sell Through). In other words, he leads the cable industry’s counter-offensive as digital services led by Netflix and ad-zapping DVRs make inroads with pay TV consumers.
Studios and networks are taking notice, and striking deals with Strauss that push the boundaries of technology, and traditional business practices. For example, Comcast and FX have just begun to let VOD customers watch episodes of The Bridge a week before they appear on the channel itself. Deadline caught up with Strauss to find out the latest about that experiment and others that could reshape the medium. Here are his thoughts, edited for length and clarity.
DEADLINE: VOD has been one of Comcast’s top initiatives. Where do things stand?
STRAUSS: I have a long history with VOD. I’ve been working on this for almost 13 years now. About 70% of our digital subscribers use on demand every single month, and by the end of this year we’ll have 200,000 hours of on-demand content available. We surpassed our 30 billionth program viewed on demand last year. So this is something that has gone from almost an infancy, novelty kind of product and now is deeply entrenched. For the first time we now have the top 100 rated Nielsen shows …
Here’s one to keep an eye on. I’m hearing that Matthew McConaughey has come aboard The Company Man, the Black List script by Andrew Cypiot that had been known as the Untitled Ed Wilson Project. The Oscar-winning actor’s reps caution that none of this is set in stone, but I’m hearing he’s guiding the process of looking for a director before the project is shopped as a spec later this summer. It’s based on true events. CIA agent Edwin Wilson went behind enemy lines to secure a weapons contract and report information back to the CIA shortly after the Cold War. He had a meteoric rise until company policies changed and he was unceremoniously fired. Even after, he continued to operate as a man without a country and became public enemy No. 1 to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Former DreamWorks senior exec Mark Sourian is producing with Josh Kazdan. McConaughey’s repped by CAA, Cypiot by Verve. Sounds like another gritty project for him to sink his teeth into, after his superb performance in HBO’s True Detective.
Visual effects house Origin Digital Studios is opening for business in Burbank, even as VFX companies increasingly flee Los Angeles for more enticingly incentivized cities. The new mid-sized indie studio is backed by Miami-based Lincoln Road Advisors and already has a key strategic partnership in place, with Origin HQ operating out of a Fotokem facility in Burbank and its NY outpost fiber-connected to Fotokem’s network.
Origin is headed by president Mark Miller, the Emmy-nominated VFX veteran who previously held exec posts at Pixomondo, Eden FX, and Digital Magic and is a founding member of the Visual Effects Society (VES). He should know the pains and pitfalls of the current VFX landscape, grown increasingly tumultuous in recent years. Earlier this month, the monster merger of VFX houses Prime Focus World and Reliance MediaWorks marked an industry shift toward global consolidation.
TVGN has found a replacement for former chief financial officer Amy Thurlow, who took the CFO and COO gig at dick clark productions last week. Debra Wichser has been appointed CFO at TVGN, where she will oversee the cable network’s finance and accounting, financial planning and administration, human resources, engineering and operations, and facilities. She had been VP Corporate Development at CBS Corp. in New York; she is relocating to the network’s headquarters in LA and will report to TVGN President of Business Operations David Wisnia. Previously, Wichser worked at Viacom and in strategic analyst positions at 20th Century Fox and Disney.
It was a risky proposition, but Noah Hawley’s take on the Coen brothers classic Fargo was deemed a critical success, landing 18 Emmy nominations, and it drew a sizable total audience when time-shifted viewing and encores are factored in. Not surprisingly, FX is ordering a second 10-episode installment, with Hawley back as writer/executive producer for MGM TV and FX Prods. The new chapter of the Fargo story will feature an all-new cast of characters, a brand new cast, a new time period and a new “true crime” story, and it may be filmed in the same location in Calgary. “Noah’s audacious, bordering on hubristic riff on my favorite Coen brothers film earned 18 Emmy nominations – the most for a single program in our history,” FX Networks CEO John Landgraf. While Ryan Murphy has been using a core group of actors in multiple installments of American Horror Story, “Fargo demands a different level of realism, and we felt we couldn’t introduce these actors as new characters.”
Meanwhile, it was a long wait for Season 4 of Louis C.K.’s comedy series Louie but Season 5 is expected to arrive in time, albeit in an abbreviated form. FX has renewed Louie for a fifth season, which will consist of seven episodes — half the size of Season 4 — to premiere in spring 2015. “Louie’s fourth season was once again groundbreaking. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking — always thought provoking,” said …
UPDATE: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical grossed $1.3 million, breaking the house record at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre for the 12th time in 36 weeks of performances.
Proving their chops as Broadway draws, James Franco, Chris O’Dowd, Leighton Meester and Jim Norton set a second house record last week as their run in the revival of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice And Men comes to a close. The show grossed $929,888 for the week ending July 20, breaking its previous record of $897,851.00 for the week ending April 27. The show, which opened on April 16 at the Longacre Theatre and recouped its $3.8 million capitalization after 12 weeks, ends its limited run this Sunday.
The success of Mice, staged by Anna D. Shapiro, underscores the value of smart marketing, stalwart producing and, essentially, great word-of-mouth, all of which urged the show — hardly your typical breezy summer fare — to must-see status. The producers are David Binder, Kate Lear, Darren Bagert, Adam Zotovich, Latitude Link/Piedmont Productions, Raise the Roof, Paula Marie Black, Marc Turtletaub, Ruth Hendel/Barbara Whitman, Marianne Mills/Jayne Baron Sherman, Martin Massman, Judy Kent/Wendy Knudsen, Kevin Niu, Michael Watt and The Shubert Organization. 101 Productions, Ltd are the executive producers.
More Broadway box office news will come this afternoon.
The 58th BFI London Film Festival will kick off October 8 with the European premiere of Morten Tyldum’s Alan Turing drama The Imitation Game. The selection will guarantee a starry opening night with Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley in attendance at the Odeon Liecester Square. The screening will also be simulcast to cinemas across the UK. Cumberbatch plays Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win World War II. The film is a nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team at Britain’s top-secret Bletchley Park code-breaking center. Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance, Allen Leech and Matthew Beard also star. The Weinstein Co famously paid $7M for the film in a record-breaking deal at last February’s EFM in Berlin. It will release on November 21 in the U.S., and Studiocanal is releasing in the UK on November 14.
This is billed as a European premiere, so the film is expected to turn up at one of the fall festivals — two of which, Toronto and Venice, are announcing lineups this week. Last year, the London fest scored the Euro premiere of Captain Phillips as opener and the world premiere of Saving Mr Banks for the closing night. It’s a key venue for potential awards-season contenders to get out in front of all of those BAFTA voters, …