3RD UPDATE, MONDAY 3:10 PM PT: All studios have reported actuals for the international weekend with no major discrepancies between the cumulative estimates reported Sunday and what’s come across today. Across the top titles, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes was up a tick to $54.84M from an estimated $54.4M; Transformers: Age Of Extinction was slightly lower at $36.9M versus $37.5M; Hercules was smack on with $28.7M; and How To Train Your Dragon 2 was up a whisker at $24.4M versus the $24M estimate.
One notable factoid is that for the 2nd weekend in a row, numbers on Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore comedy Blended are higher than expected. Yesterday, they were estimated at $3.8M in 47 markets. Today, Warner says the actuals are $4.25M. That takes the overseas cume to $66.6M – the domestic cume was $45.4M. In Brazil, the film has been especially strong, adding $1.7M this weekend for a local cume of $6.8M and a slight 18% drop from last frame. When I asked what the deal is with Sandler, Blended and Brazil, I was told that his films are roundly popular there where family fare is also big – and this one is now bigger than Grown Ups, 50 First Dates, Bedtime Stories, Don’t Mess With The Zohan and Chuck And Larry.
Along with the above films, all figures throughout the below have been updated on: Planes: Fire & Rescue, Godzilla, Step Up All In, Sex Tape, The Purge: Anarchy, Maleficent, The Fault In Our Stars, Mrs Brown’s Boys D’ Movie, 22 Jump Street, Deliver Us From Evil, Neighbors, Kick, Edge Of Tomorrow, and Boyhood. Read More »
Philip Marshak, who wrote and directed several cult classic films in the late ’70s and ’80s, including Night Train To Terror, Cataclysm and Dracula Sucks, has died. He passed away last night surrounded by his family at his Los Angeles home after a long battle with leukemia, diabetes and heart disease. his son, talent manager Darryl Marshak said. He was 80. Philip Marshak began his Hollywood career as an actor studying with Lee Strasberg, but then took a turn as an underground/guerrilla filmmaker in the late 60’s/70’s. Read More »
A day after FX series Tyrant made the decision to permanently relocate production of its freshman season from Israel to Turkey, USA Network limited series DIG too is officially pulling out of the country torn by the violence in Gaza. “Given the current situation and after careful consideration, we are relocating the production of Dig partly to Albuquerque and are continuing to explore other locations,” USA said in a statement. “Our experience filming in Israel was very positive and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to capture such an authentic landscape that will be threaded throughout the series.”
When the Gaza attack started a week ago, DIG extended its planned hiatus by week while the network and producers were exploring alternatives and holding conversation with the project’s insurance company. The series, starring Jason Isaacs as an FBI agent investigating a troubling murder of a young woman archeologist in Jerusalem, took a break after filming the first episode of its six-episode order. The pilot episode was shot throughout Israel, including Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. The decision comes as FAA this morning banned all flights to Israel for the next 24 hours following reports of a Palestinian rocket strike landing close to Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. And yesterday, the US Department of State warned Americans against traveling to Israel and the Gaza Strip. Read More »
Before FX developed The Strain for its lineup, Guillermo del Toro says a broadcast network suggested developing it as a comedy. The Strain, based on the trilogy of novels by del Toro and Chuck Hogan, follows Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) as the NYC head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team, leading the effort to discover the root of a viral outbreak that seems to have killed all the passengers and crew of a Berlin-originated airplane that turns out to be a strain of vampirism.
Back in 2006, del Toro told TV critics this afternoon at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014, the project was sent around for possible development as a TV project. At that time he said, the the only way anybody envisioned vampires was “as a romantic conception of vampires — that sort of GQ version of vampires,” he said. But he was pitching a show in which vampires would be “truly revolting, physically and spiritually.” At one network, he said, he got asked, ” ‘Could you turn it into a comedy?’ I said ‘no’.”
Series exec producer Carlton Cuse, meanwhile, says that while there are horror elements to the show, he thinks of it much more as an adventure show, along the lines of Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, he worked on in its development. “It’s not that scary — it’s not just a horror show,” Cuse insists of The Strain. “The material lent itself to a big pulpy engaging type of storytelling.” Read More »
Sky News issued an apology after one of its reporters sifted on air through luggage from one of the victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, the jetliner shot down earlier this week over the Ukraine by what U.S. officials said were pro-separatist rebels using sophisticated anti-aircraft missile systems. All 298 passengers and crew members were killed, their bodies, luggage and other wreckage scattered across several square miles of countryside. One of the reporters covering the resulting investigation, Colin Brazier, was recorded live picking through some of the belongings in a victim’s small yellow suitcase, showing what appears to be a child’s belongings and talking about the enormity of the tragedy. After a few seconds, Brazier can be heard in the clip saying, “We shouldn’t really even be doing this, I suppose.”
The incident sparked a huge negative response on Twitter and beyond, with protesters calling for Brazier’s removal. Sky News quickly issued an apology through a spokeswoman: “Today whilst presenting from the site of the MH17 air crash, Colin Brazier reflected on the human tragedy of the event and showed audiences the content of one of the victims’ bags. Colin immediately recognised that this was inappropriate and said so on air. Both Colin and Sky News apologise profusely for any offence caused.”
Oscar-winning writer Dustin Lance Black (Milk) has been hired to adapt Paramount TV’s event series ‘Lindbergh’ based on A. Scott Berg’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of the same name. The project will be produced by Berg, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Killoran and Kevin McCormick. The story of Lindbergh both in his flight achievements in 1927 and the subsequent kidnapping of his young child in 1932became international news.
The project once captured the attention of director Steven Spielberg (he bought it preemptively before it published) but he apparently decided against it once he learned more and more about the aviator. Lindbergh, of course, had a colored history with Germany and had been accused of being antisemitic. He and his wife Anne attended the Olympic Games in Germany in 1936 and became very impressed with the Germany military force. By 1938, they were planning to move to Berlin. That same year he was presented with the Service Cross of the German Eagle for his aviation contributions; it was presented on behalf of Adolf Hilter. He never wore the Service Cross nor took it from its box, according to Berg. At the same time, he was secretly reporting on the German aviation force. However, he was dead set against going to war. In speeches, he repeatedly urged America to stay out of intervening and became one of the leading voices of the America First movement (which promoted non-intervention).
He had a long history of being at odds with … Read More »
All throughout the past month, we’ve covered the World Cup ratings bonanza for broadcasters from ABC, ESPN and Univision in the U.S., to BBC One, ARD, ZDF, and TF1 in Europe, among others. While we know a lot of those numbers don’t take into account folks watching in bars, cafés and town squares, what about fans who were in the air? The sky as a content destination is a fast-growing business with companies like Global Eagle, Gogo and Panasonic Avionics connecting entertainment and airline passengers in new ways. In a historic first, and courtesy of Panasonic’s in-flight Sport 24 channel, Sunday’s World Cup final was shown live by nine international carriers. According to the company, Germany’s defeat of Argentina was seen by 40,000 people, 35,000 feet above Earth. Bloomberg reports the figure is a record for a live in-flight TV broadcast. Throughout the World Cup and across such carriers as Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines and Emirates, Panasonic estimated that 1.5M passengers will have seen the tournament live on its systems. The matches were delivered over satellite WiFi and shown free of charge — in all classes. Carriers in the U.S. also allowed travelers to watch many of the matches via traditional satellite TV services from DirecTV and Dish Network, Forbes reported. ESPN is beamed directly to seat back televisions in many aircraft, but not ABC which showed many weekend games and the final.
The two-year, first-look deal includes all television programming developed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke and their production company, Compari Entertainment, Paramount Television announced today. Their first project will be a drama series inspired by Nicholson Baker’s bestselling novel The Fermata, which is being adapted by David Hollander.
“Not only is Bob one of the all-time greatest filmmakers but he has been an important member of the Paramount family for more than 20 years,” said Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. “His ability to tell and capture a story so brilliantly on any screen is second to none and we look forward to partnering creatively with him, Jack and their team on the television side of our business.”
“I know Brad and Amy share a deep appreciation for creating inspired entertainment and I look forward to making great television together,” said Zemeckis.
“Bob is a masterful storyteller, and we’re thrilled to be developing character-driven, visually creative programming in the television space that reflects his beloved cinematic approach,” said Amy Powell, President, Paramount Television.
Zemeckis’ relationship with Paramount Pictures goes back to the 1994 Oscar-winning pic Forrest Gump for which Zemeckis won the Best Directing Academy Award. The film starring Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise and Robin Wright grossed $677 million worldwide and won a total of six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Hanks. In 2012, the studio and Zemeckis partnered on Denzel Washington-starrer Flight, which received two Oscar noms.
Just in time for the All-Star break, when America’s Pastime tries to snatch back some of the spotlight from the World Cup, Atmosphere Entertainment’s Mark Canton has teamed up with Mandalay Sports Media’s Mike Tollin and Peter Guber to option the Ben Bradlee Jr book The Kid: The Immortal Life Of Ted Williams. They will turn the complex life of baseball’s most prolific hitter into a miniseries they will shop once they hire a writer. Canton, Tollin and Guber will be exec producers, and David Hopwood will be a producer. Guber became an owner of the L.A. Dodgers only to watch that team’s iconic player, Jackie Robinson, get movie treatment from Legendary Pictures (and Pittsburgh Steelers part owner) Thomas Tull. Here, Guber gets another shot with a player with almost as rich a story as Robinson.
Williams is one of those larger-than-life when-men-were-men characters — Frank Sinatra in a baseball uniform. His baseball exploits were legend, and he was a hero on the battlefield as well as the ball field, twice interrupting the prime years of his baseball career to serve as a flight instructor in WWII and a fighter pilot in the Korean War. He also was an ornery, enigmatic man who had a love-hate relationship with Boston Red Sox fans and media, along with several wives, who quickly learned they were third in importance to him after baseball and fishing. He had a long rivalry with the Yankees and its star outfielder Joe DiMaggio, whose team won a bundle of World Series titles while the Red Sox were always the bridesmaids.
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To refresh everyone’s memory: Global Eagle is the airline entertainment and Internet company founded by former CBS and Sony exec Jeff Sagansky and former MGM chief Harry Sloan. They, along with others on the board, just gave the company’s pilot wings to Dave Davis, who was CFO and COO after serving for years as CFO of Northwest Airlines. He spent most of his career in finance, and helped Northwest navigate its merger with Delta. Davis replaces John LaValle, who will continue to serve the company as a consultant.
“I initially invested in Global Eagle because I saw so much potential for delivering content thru digital delivery to airline passengers getting connected ” Sloan says. “Since then, Global Eagle has become the dominant player in delivering movies, TV series and games to the commercial airline industry. As airline connectivity becomes more ubiquitous around the world, the demand for content will be even greater, and Dave’s excellent relationships with the airlines will serve Global Eagle well, as he leads our expansion.”
Davis may have to steer Global Eagle through some choppy air. The company’s stock price is -23% so far in 2014 as it competes with rivals including Gogo and Panasonic to connect and serve planes in flight. But Global Eagle — which reaches planes via satellite transmissions, not terrestrial ones – hopes to gain altitude from a deal to serve Southwest Airlines, and other overseas airlines. The company reported a loss of $26.3M on revenues of nearly $86M … Read More »
National Geographic Channel announced this afternoon it will re-trace the day before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon — what it calls “the last day of innocence” — in a two-hour documentary premiering Sunday, September 7, called 9/10: The Final Hours.
Here is NatGeo’s announcement, setting up the premise:
Few images in history are as seared in America’s consciousness as that of American Airlines Flight 11 crashing into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in 2001. In the days, months and even years following the attack, the horrific events of that day and the aftermath have been relived through the media — so much so that it’s hard to remember a time before Sept. 11.
Premiering Sunday, Sept. 7, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, 9/10: The Final Hours takes us moment by moment through the day before everything changed, before the “war on terror” became a part of the world’s everyday vernacular. We’ll hear from those who worked inside the World Trade Center, whose snap decisions resulted in narrow misses of the attack, as well as men and women who confronted the terrorist mastermind of the operation, Mohamed Atta, during his sudden — and still unexplained — detour to Portland, Maine.
We also see the World Trade Center from another unique perspective, that of the artists who lived and worked on the 91st and 92nd floors of the North Tower. This combination of perspective brings this last day of innocence into new — and
… Read More »
The 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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CBS News today named Vladimir Duthiers as a new correspondent; he will begin work in August, based in New York. Duthiers joins CBS News from CNN, where he was an international correspondent based in Lagos, Nigeria. Most recently, Duthiers reported on the more than 200 girls kidnapped from their school in northeastern Nigeria by Boko Haram and was one of the first Western journalists to interview family members of the abducted children.
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“TVs are primarily entertainment interfaces,” engineering director Dave Burke said as he introduced AndroidTV to developers at the Google I/O conference today. The company wants app makers to support its effort to tightly integrate Android phone and app capabilities to TV navigation. For example, those with AndroidTV supported sets or set top boxes will be able to use a smartphone or watch to make search commands, including by voice, tailored for TV: If you ask for Breaking Bad, then it will offer to play an episode available for streaming, and provide info about stars. Users also can find programming by making indirect search requests: It can call up Oscar nominated movies from a particular year, or find actors from inquiries about the parts they play. Sony’s 2015 Ultra HD 4K TVs will support the platform as will next year’s models from Sharp and TP Vision. Others on board include Marvell, Intel, and Qualcomm — and Razer and Asus plan to make AndroidTV set top boxes.
Noting that Android phone users check the devices 125 times a day, the company raised the bar in smart watches — a market that Apple’s expected to enter this year. Google’s Androidwear software can respond to voice commands, tell you your heart rate, and provide information tied to what’s on your calendar or where you are. It knows when you’re at home to offer ordinary for reminders. If you’re traveling it can provide flight status, a boarding pass, and weather forecast at the destination.
BREAKING: Jeff Robinov’s back and with an investment from Fosun International Ltd. which will help finance his war chest that brings in a total of what sources say is a combined equity/debt structure of around $1B. Fosun just filed their paperwork with the Hong Kong stock exchange, stating that it entered the agreement on June 6.
Details of the Fosun deal structure is, as yet, unknown as the company did not disclose it nor have they disclosed any governance issues, the deal breakdown of how much equity vs. debt. In other words, its as ambiguous as can be at the moment. It is also understood that Robinov is in talks with other possible financial partners as well. Huayi Brothers still could be involved in the final deal as a distributor in certain territories and Robinov is also talking to European investors. The entire financial structure of the deal is currently being worked out, sources said.
Meanwhile, Fosun said in its filing, “pursuant to the Agreement, the company will exercise significant influence over the distribution arrangements of movies produced by Studio 8 in the mainland of China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan regions.” They also just put out a press release which is translated from Chinese that states through its investments, the deal gives Fosun the opportunity to share “Chinese elements and stories in Studio 8′s Chinese co-productions and wants to “build a global culture platform covering movie, entertainment, culture … Read More »
Disney, which has been quick to drop the axe on its Broadway flops, including Tarzan and The Little Mermaid, announced today that its accidental hit, Newsies, will close on August 24 at the Nederlander Theatre, while still earning respectable money at the box office after a run of more than two years and grosses of over $100 million.
Based on Disney’s 1992 film — a $42.8 million box-office dud whose video built a cult following — Newsies opened in the fall of 2011 at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse, where it was planned as a dry-run for a regional tour. But a new book by Harvey Fierstein (La Cage Aux Folles, Kinky Boots) and songs from Alan Menken and Jack Feldman, along with an upbeat, high-energy production staged by director Jeff Calhoun and choreographer Christopher Gatelli impressed the New York critics, compelling Disney Theatricals chief Thomas Schumacher to change course and head for Broadway. The show, which cost about $5 million, opened the following May and won Tonys for score and choreography.
Since then, however, the Nederander box office has weakened incrementally as several other family-friendly shows came in and amped up the competition for dollars from the Disney demo, notably that company’s own Aladdin along, of course, with the now-and-forever blockbuster Lion King.
The Imagen Foundation is out with the nominations for its 29th annual awards that honor portrayals of Latinos and Latino cultures in TV and film. Up for Best Primetime Television Program are FX’s The Bridge, NBC’s Chicago P.D. and Law & Order: SVU and ABC Family’s The Fosters and Switched At Birth. Nominees for Best Picture are A Miracle In Spanish Harlem, After School, Cesar Chavez, Coyote and Sleeping With The Fishes. Trophies will be handed out August 1 at the Beverly Hilton, and the Imagen Awards will air as an hourlong special on PBS SoCal (date TBA). Here is the complete list of this year’s nominees: Read More »
Amazon today announced it had snagged a U.S. content licensing agreement with Aardman Animations that will make Prime Instant Video the exclusive subscription streaming home for the TV and short film series Wallace & Gromit, Shaun The Sheep, Timmy Time and classic animation Rex The Runt. In addition, new shows from the Shaun The Sheep and Timmy Time series will be added to Prime Instant Video, including Seasons 3 and 4 of Shaun The Sheep, the Shaun The Sheep: Championsheeps special, and two new Timmy Time specials. Read More »
Felix the Cat, created in 1919, is “known everywhere” and is “especially popular in Asia,” CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg told the Licensing Expo in his keynote address today. And the feline character “goes beyond evergreen status and rises to something even more uncommon, as he is a true icon. We plan to make him one of the most desired fashion brands in the world.”
He also disclosed his plans for “DreamWorks’ DreamHouse,” a location-based entertainment initiative scheduled to begin this holiday season. Shoppers “will be treated to a fully immersive story that will appeal to parents as well as kids,” Katzenberg says. “It will be hosted by our characters and will include a thrilling four-minute flight on Santa’s sleigh to visit the big guy in his home at the North Pole.” The studio is already talking to mall owners to cut deals for them to offer what the CEO calls “a complete overhaul of the Santa experience, utilizing all of the high-tech gadgetry in our storytelling toolbox.”
Katzenberg’s announcements buttressed a larger point about his belief in brands and retailing — where brick-and-mortar store owners have been struggling to compete with online rivals. Although the Internet “has added a whole new dimension to shopping,” the DreamWorks Animation chief adds that “the cyber experience is limited. You can’t try on the clothes, you can’t interact with people … you can’t meet Santa.” He says that the “Chicken Littles who have predicted that online shopping will destroy retail remind me of the doomsdayers who, time and again, have predicted the demise of moviegoing.” They were wrong because ”People like to get out of their homes and, equally important, theater owners have continually upgraded the experience with enhancements like digital projection, 3D, great sound as well as quality food and beverage offerings. In much the same way, retail will continue to flourish … because people enjoy getting out and interacting with their world, and because you continue to make the shopping experience more inviting and dynamic.” Read More »