The numbers do the roaring for MGM. In the first three months of this year it generated net income of $57.4M, +150.7% vs the period last year, on revenues of $481.7M, +168.4%. It shouldn’t be a surprise. With the late 2012 release of the James Bond film Skyfall, and a 50% stake in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the studio had $139.5M in worldwide box office revenues, up from $0.5M last year. The company says that it has to wait for costs to be covered before it can recognize revenue from two films it co-financed: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Home entertainment also was way up — to $201.7M from $36.2M — with the home video release of Skyfall and piggy-back promotions for its James Bond library. But worldwide television licensing was -3.2% to $109.3M. MGM’s 19.1% stake in EPIX delivered $5M to net earnings, +16.3%. The results “exceeded our expectations” and “position us well to deliver on our financial goals” for 2013, CEO Gary Barber told investors.
The huge opening for Iron Man 3 over the weekend gives FX Networks 10 titles that have been the highest-grossing pics at the U.S. box office during the first 18 weeks of 2013. FX has commercial TV premiere rights to Iron Man 3 as part of a previous output deal with Marvel Studios. As part of that pact it aired Iron Man 2 on Sunday, which ranked as as basic cable’s top program that night in total viewers (3.26 million), adults 18-49 (1.75 million), adults 18-34, and men 18-49 and 18-34. “Iron Man 3 is a massive success and that franchise has performed incredibly well for our networks”, said Chuck Saftler, EVP FX Networks and General Manager of FXM. “The success of Iron Man 3 along with the other titles we’ve purchased this year bodes well for future success on our three networks.” The FX Networks include FX, FXM and new entry FXX. The other hot 2013 titles that will join the FX library in mid-to-late 2015: Pain And Gain (Paramount), Oblivion (Universal), The Croods (DreamWorks Animation/Fox), A Good Day To Die Hard (FOX), Evil Dead (Sony), Identity Thief (Universal), Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (Paramount), Mama (Universal), and Zero Dark Thirty (Sony).
Several key numbers were down, although cost-cutting at Paramount appears to have enabled Viacom to slightly beat the Street’s profit expectations. The company’s fiscal Q2 net earnings from continuing operations came to $489M, -18.4% vs the period last year, on revenues of $3.14B, -5.9%. Analysts thought revenues would reach $3.19B. But earnings at 96 cents per share were a penny above forecasts. At Viacom’s core pay TV networks operation, revenues increased 2% to $2.23B while operating income fell 2% to $873M. Domestic affiliate revenues were up 3%, but the company says that if you factor out the streaming deals that helped last year’s results the number would be up by a low-double-digit percentage. Ad sales in the U.S. and abroad were up 2% — an upturn that many investors wanted to see after last year’s ratings declines at Nickelodeon. Filmed entertainment was the weakest link with revenues -20% to $941M and operating income -43% to $65M. Viacom says its worldwide theatrical revenues fell 15% without a film that provided the same boost it saw last year from Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.
EXCLUSIVE: Gemma Arterton and Anna Kendrick have been set to star alongside Ryan Reynolds in The Voices, the Marjane Satrapi-directed psychological thriller that is being co-produced by 1984 Private Defense Contractors and Mandalay Vision. Filming is about to start in Berlin, with script by Paranormal Activity‘s Michael R. Perry. Reynolds plays a lovable but strange bathtub factory worker who yearns for the attention of a woman in accounting. When their relationship takes a sudden murderous turn, Jerry’s evil “talking” cat and benevolent “talking” dog lead him down a fantastical path that ultimately brings him to salvation.
CinemaCon kicked off tonight at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas with a presentation from Paramount. In only its 3rd year, what used to be ShoWest is proving to have the magic touch as once again all the major studios plus Lionsgate will be doing dog and pony shows for the nation’s exhibitors before the confab ends on Thursday. Paramount and its Vice Chairman Rob Moore were first and offered the theater owners a slickly produced and very quick reel of upcoming product, along with extended looks at its hoped-for summer blockbusters Star Trek Into Darkness and World War Z, as well as a complete screening of Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain which opens next week.
With director J.J. Abrams stuck in L.A. still mixing the film to make its May 17 release date, Star Trek sequel writer/producer Damon Lindelof (Lost) filled in and interviewed cast members on hand including CinemaCon’s Male Star Of The Year Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Alice Eve and John Cho. Pine talked about the “vulnerability” of Kirk in this installment, while Quinto emphasized Mr. Spock’s previously not-fully-explored “emotional” side. Quinto also said it was the most physical of the Trek films at least for him. The 18 minutes of footage shown in 3D certainly confirmed that, with hair-raising scenes set in a volcano, underwater, and for a sequence where Kirk …
EXCLUSIVE: After collaborating on Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, the movie’s writer/director Tommy Wirkola and production company Gary Sanchez are reteaming, this time on the TV side. Norwegian filmmaker Wirkola and Gary Sanchez’s Will Ferrell and Adam McKay have set up a half-hour project at Showtime.
The untitled dark comedy, now in development, is based on the 2012 Norwegian half-hour series, Hellfjord, which Wirkola created and produced with his partners Kjetil Omberg, Terje Strømstad and Stig Frode Henriksen through their Tappeluft Pictures. Wirkola, Henriksen, and Zahid Ali, the writers on the original seven-episode series, will also write the Showtime adaptation. Wirkola will direct the potential pilot and will executive produce with Ferrell and McKay. Described as in the vein of Hot Fuzz and Twin Peaks with a Nordic noir twist, Hellfjord centers on a disgraced Oslo police officer (Ali) who, after a freak horse accident, is banished to serve out his last three months on the force in the remote and strange fishing town of Hellfjord. (watch trailer below) There are no plans for Ali and Henriksen, who co-starred on the original series, to act in the American adaptation. With strong attendance overseas, revisionist fairy tale Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton, just crossed …
The news comes the same day the revisionist fairy tale starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton crossed $200 million at the global box office. That’s a significant milestone and key to the decision to go ahead with a sequel that is now officially in development; Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters made its bones overseas. While the pic opened at $19.6 million here January 25, and topped out at $54 million domestically on what Paramount said was a $50 million budget. But they loved it overseas, where the film has done over $150 million. That provides a strong hedge for these high concept action films.
Paramount, MGM and MTV Films were behind the first pic, from Gary Sanchez Productions, whose principals Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Kevin Messick are expected to return as producers for the second go-round as is Beau Flynn. Tommy Wirkola wrote and directed the first movie, which after this weekend has grossed $205.8M worldwide.
‘Die Hard 5′ Wins Presidents Weekend, ‘Identity Thief’ #2, ‘Safe Haven’ Fades After Valentines Day, ‘Escape Planet Earth’ Weak, ‘Beautiful Creatures’ Bombs
TUESDAY 10TH UPDATE… TOP TEN GROSSES BELOW… This Presidents Weekend overall was a so-so moviegoing weekend and not a good one, even though this holiday is usually one of the hottest domestic. If only the opening pics had been better. Total moviegoing was $164M, or down -15% from last year. The race for #1 was closer than expected. Twentieth Century Fox’s critically panned A Good Day To Die Hard (3,552 theaters) went up more than +45% from Friday to Saturday and held Sunday to win the 4-day holiday. But Universal thought its 2nd place holdover, the Melissa McCarthy-Jason Bateman frenemy comedy Identity Thief, was giving it a run for its money. As a Universal exec told me, “To think we could even scare a #1 film is a great accomplishment.” So it came down to Monday’s grosses with the $92 million budgeted actioner that’s a 25-year-old franchise ending up with an unimpressive $36.7M in its first 5 days. Last time around, 2007′s Live Free Or Die Hard opened on a Wednesday and earned $48.3M for the 5 days and $33.3M for the 3-day weekend. Fox shrugged off the awful reviews – only 13% positive on Rotten Tomatoes – for this R-rated mess directed by John Moore, scripted by Skip Woods, and produced by Alex Young and Wyck Godfrey. (“What reviews? There are reviews on this movie?,” a Fox exec laughed.) On Sunday, Fox released international numbers claiming A Good Day To Die Hard had an “explosive weekend” grossing its biggest weekend ever - $61.5M from 9,595 screens in 63 markets to hold the #1 market position in 32 out of 37 new openers. The worldwide cume went past $80M.
There was another holiday to score: Valentine’s Day, always a huge moviegoing event. (2012′s was a $30 million Tuesday.) Thursday was won by Relativity’s critically panned romantic drama Safe Haven (3,223 theaters) -even though it was worse reviewed than Die Hard 5 with only 11% positive on Rotten Tomatoes. The Lasse Hallstrom-directed PG-13 pic has been fading since VDay. Maybe because this latest tearjerker adapted from romance novelist Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, Dear John) starred Josh Duhamel who doesn’t have the sex appeal of Channing Tatum or the acting chops of Ryan Gosling. Both Die Hard 5 and Safe Haven earned ‘B+’ CinemaScores from audiences to help word of mouth. Bruce et al was #2 on Valentines Day because, when you think of romance, you think of Die Hard 5.
As for Friday’s release, The Weinstein Company’s critically panned PG toon Escape From Planet Earth (3,288 theaters) came in 4th Friday, then had a major kiddie business (Saturday +82%). But the $70M movie ($40M cost and #30 to open, according to Weinstein execs) earned only $20.8M this 4-day holiday even though there’s been nothing fresh in the family marketplace for months and most toons do $35M-40M on a 3-day weekend. With no new kid films for the next few weeks, let’s see what the multiple turns out to be. The film was directed by Cal Brunker.
Warner Bros’ Beautiful Creatures (2,950 theaters) opened Thursday as a huge disappointment after its ‘B’ CinemaScore. Scripted and directed by Richard LaGravenese, this PG-13 tween/teen goth romantic fantasy tried to capitalize on the Twilight target audience addicted to the book series – in this case, the first in the Caster Chronicles novels by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. The marketing emphasized social media –from Instagram-released production photography to Facebook-hosted set visit contests to extensive Twitter-based interviews. There even were mall tours. But none of this could overcome the fact that the filmmakers altered the book, which annoyed fans who stayed away from the movie version.
#1 ‘Identity Thief’ Steals $36M Weekend (Bigger Than ‘Bridesmaids’), #2 ‘Warm Bodies’ $11.4M, #3 ‘Side Effects’ $9.5M: Blizzard Didn’t Blitz U.S. Box Office
SATURDAY 11:45 PM, 7TH UPDATE: Well, Winter Storm Nemo raged over the Northeast Friday but box office stayed really solid. Despite movie theaters closed by nightfall and venues with lost power. Even though Northeast governors shut down all road traffic and imposed fines and even jailtime. That could have been terrible news for this weekend’s two major openers but wasn’t. Now for the dig out. Both Universal’s frenemies comedy Identity Thief and Open Roads Films’ Steven Soderbergh crime thriller Side Effects scored middling ‘B’ CinemaScores which won’t help or hurt word of mouth. Yet grosses went up double digits – +35% and +52% respectively from Friday to Saturday for the pair. True, this weekend’s total moviegoing is only $100M which is down a disappointing 45% from last year.
Even so I’m astonished that weekend trends showed incredibly strong numbers for Identity Thief (originally in 3,141 theaters) with $11.2 million Friday and $15 million (+35%) Saturday trending for $36M this weekend. Despite (or because) it was critically panned as derivative drivel, the Melissa McCarthy-Jason Bateman comedy is doing fantastic box office in nation’s center (which Hollywood derides as ‘flyover’ country). ”Everyone says Identity Thief is really good – even when it gets formulaic,” a rival exec admitted to me. And it only cost $35M, claims the studio. It’s even beating McCarthy’s Bridesmaids opening numbers - $26.2M weekend from 2,918 theaters on May 13, 2011. Of course, that Universal movie went on to do a huge multiple for the studio which would be happy with 3x now.
Identity Thief is doing 1/3 better than tracking predicted — and it was tracking well before the storm. Led initially by females, awareness and interest spread out to men, helped by 2 spots around the Super Bowl this past Sunday. But why Hollywood keeps making this story every decade is beyond me – 2003′s Bringing Down The House with Queen Latifah and Steve Martin, 1992′s HouseSitter with Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin. This one reteams Batemen with his Horrible Bosses director Seth Gordon, and it’s McCarthy’s first starring role since Bridesmaids which earned her an Oscar nomination. Identity Thief was produced by Scott Stuber, Pam Abdy and Bateman who pitched Stuber the idea while they were working together on Couples Retreat. They originally developed the film for two male leads, but then they saw McCarthy in Bridesmaids and adapted the co-lead role for her with more physical comedy. Overseas, pic opens day and date in Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania and Taiwan and continues rolling out abroad beginning February 21st.
#3 is last weekend’s winner, Summit Entertainment’s zombies rule comedy Warm Bodies, which grossed $3.2M Friday and $5.4M Saturday for maybe $11.7M after its big $25.1M opening a week ago. New cume is $36.8M.
#3 is Side Effects (originally 2,605 theaters) opening with $2.8M Friday and $4.2M Saturday (+52%) for a $9.4M weekend. Open Road, underwritten by both AMC and Regal, claims it will make a profit at that result even with a production budget of $30M and a marketing spend of $20M. Open Road in January 2012 pre-bought the U.S. rights to Side Effects which was financed by Endgame Entertainment. Pic’s producers are Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, Gregory Jacobs, and Scott Z. Burns who is also the screenwriter. With a marquee director in Steven Soderbergh and a marquee cast in Jude Law, Channing Tatum, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, it’s perplexing why pic didn’t do better at the box office. Obviously, kicking off the publicity campaign with a New York Times piece doesn’t mean anything anymore. Rooney Mara even appeared on the cover of Vogue and Interview Magazine. But the hip stayed home. The trailer launched on November 2nd with Flight and the media campaign was focused on adults 18-49. A heavy word-of-mouth screening program included screenings for psychiatric doctor groups accompanied by niche publicity about the psychiatric medicine of the movie. The online campaign kicked off with a viral push for the fictional drug featured in the film. Interestingly, much of the content featured on the film’s website could only be revealed by rollover – alluding to the theme of the film that there is much more beneath the surface. Oh, well.
Warner Bros pushed up the print count to 1,405 for its Best Picture Oscar lead contender Argo in its 18th week to jump back into the Top Ten Films for a $2M weekend and $123.2M cume. And Paramount’s Top Gun reissued in 3D IMAX (300 locations) rounded out the Top Ten with $2M for the weekend in support of the Blu-ray debut this month.
Here’s the Top Ten based on weekend estimates:
1. Identity Thief (Universal) NEW [Runs 3,141]
Friday $11.2M, Saturday $15.0M, Weekend $36.0M
2. Warm Bodies (Summit/Lionsgate) Week 2 [3,009]
Friday $3.2M, Saturday $5.4M, Weekend $11.7M (-43%), Cume $36.8M
3. Side Effects (Open Road) NEW [Runs 2,605]
Friday $2.8M, Saturday $4.2M, Weekend $9.4M
4. Silver Linings Playbook (Weinstein) Week 13 [Runs 2,809]
Friday $1.6M, Saturday $3.1M, Weekend $6.4M, Cume $89.5M
5. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (Paramount) Week 3 [Runs 3,285]
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $2.7M, Weekend $5.7M, Cume $43.8M
UPDATE: Jeremy Renner’s ‘Kill The Messenger’ Acquired By Focus Features For WW Distribution On Journo Gary Webb Saga
EXCLUSIVE UPDATE, 9:30 AM: Just after Jeremy Renner and Homeland exec producer/director Michael Cuesta came aboard Kill The Messenger, the film has formalized a deal for Focus Features to take worldwide rights. Focus will distribute in the U.S., and Focus Features International’s Allison Thompson will sell foreign in Berlin this week. This development isn’t a shock, considering that Scott Stuber set it up years ago at his home studio Universal, and it is an excellent fit at Focus. The film is about journalist Gary Webb and how his mostly accurate investigative report on how the CIA helped introduce crack to California got the journalist smeared and fired. He eventually committed suicide.
EARLIER, JANUARY 31 PM: The movie packages are coming together on the eve of next week’s Berlin film market. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters star Jeremy Renner has been set to star in Kill The Messenger, a thriller that Michael Cuesta will direct that is based on the tragic tale of a journalist who committed suicide after being smeared by the CIA. The script was written by Peter Landesman. Cuesta seems perfect for this; he’s an exec producer and has directed numerous episodes of Homeland and has been integral in establishing the visual look of that show. He also helmed the pilots for Dexter and Elementary.
Scott Stuber, who set up this project eight years ago as producer at Universal, will be joined by Renner and Don Handfield, and it will be a co-production between Stuber’s Bluegrass and Renner’s The Combine. Naomi Despres is also producing. The film begins production in the summer.
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney
Nominated for 12 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards, The Sapphires won six gongs at a ceremony hosted by Russell Crowe in Sydney on Wednesday night. The musical drama about four Aboriginal girls who formed a singing group in the 1960s won best director (Wayne Blair), lead actress (Deborah Mailman), lead actor (Chris O’Dowd), supporting actress (Jessica Mauboy) and adapted screenplay (Keith Thompson, Tony Briggs). That’s in addition to five craft awards presented on Monday. The Weinstein Co. will release the film in the U.S. on March 22. Thriller Wish You Were Here took the AACTA original screenplay award for husband-and-wife creative team Kieran Darcy-Smith and Felicity Price, and supporting actor for Antony Starr. German actress Saskia Rosendahl received the best young actor trophy for Cate Shortland’s Lore, which was Australia’s entry for the foreign language Oscar. The Byron Kennedy Award, named for George Miller’s late producing partner, went to director/animator Sarah Watt (Look Both Ways, My Year Without Sex), who died of cancer in 2011. John Edwards’ Puberty Blues, which was inspired by Bruce Beresford’s 1981 film, was named best TV drama series. Presenters included AACTA president Geoffrey Rush, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters leads Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton. It was the second annual ACTAA awards, the successor to the Australian Film Institute’s awards. The complete list of winners follows:
SUNDAY 3:30 AM, 4TH UPDATE: Saturday’s box office was big after Friday’s business slowed when R-rated newcomers dominated North American movie theaters. The turnaround put this weekend around $100M for all moviegoing but that’s still -15% from last year. “Tough sledding for the new films this week – and next week won’t get any easier with the Super Bowl,” one studio exec warned me. First up: fairytale characters who are heavily armed. Not exactly PC for the serious gun control discussion begun in this nation over recent violence in real life and entertainment. Paramount‘s Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters 3D co-financed with MGM playing on 3,372 theaters opened to $5.9M Friday then went up +40% to $8.4M Saturday. That still makes for a disappointing $18M for the weekend, especially with the 3D premium. On 2,000 screens for its midnight opening, this mashed mash-up masquerading as an action comedy made $500K in midnight grosses, less even than Warner Bros’ recent disappointing Gangster Squad. Even though Hansel & Gretel will be #1 this weekend, Paramount has another underperformer. The R-rated pic only had one semi-star, machinegun-toting Jeremy Renner. Good thing Paramount claims it only cost $50M (though sources say budget was $83M). Audiences gave it a ‘B’ CinemaScore which won’t hurt or help its prospects. Exit polls showed filmgoers were 55% male with 57% over 25.
This reimagined dark twist on the classic Grimm tale kept moving its release date – never a good sign – from March 2nd, 2012, to January 11th, to now. “This should really set up the international,” a studio exec gave me as an excuse back then. ”Jeremy Renner’s international profile should be in great shape after being in Mission: Impossible 4, then The Avengers, then The Bourne Legacy.” Nope. Renner’s Bourne grossed only so-so: he just can’t carry a movie solo. It didn’t help that guns are falling out of favor. So I was surprised that Paramount didn’t change the TV ads to delete that shoot-em-up nonsense and instead show more comedy. Then again, this new film picks up the fairy tale 15 years after Hansel and Gretel’s evil encounter at the gingerbread house. They’ve become bounty hunters tracking and killing wicked witches. Tommy Wirkola directed and co-wrote the script with Dante Harper. Will Ferrell’s and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Prods produced.
Major studios are great marketers but only if they have the goods. To announce the IMAX release, Paramount debuted pic on MGM’s Skyfall IMAX screens – but without generating any buzz. The studio also negotiated coverage of an exclusive custom content piece with talent intros that launched at all Regal theatres on January 18th with Django Unchained, Broken City, and The Last Stand. Problem is, filmgoers only turned out for Quentin Tarantino’s pic. On opening night, the first 100 Hansel And Gretel fans at all Cinemark XD theatres across the country received a free movie shirt, while the first 60,000 Regal IMAX 3D audience members received a collector’s print of exclusive movie art. Kinda late for that. Media-wise, Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton did the usual press junket and talk show circuit plus Hispanic and African-American targets. Street teams visited nearly 50 high profile sporting events covering the NBA, NFL, NGL and College Football. New Years Day featured male-targeted cable marathons. H&G also had presence three weeks in a row in NFL playoff games. There was partnering with MTV. The online campaign focused on movie’s red band trailer. A custom Hansel & Gretel Play & Win sweepstakes on Xbox aligned with the rabid Halo 4 audience. And still pic’s grossed domestically underwhelmed.
But international prospects look good after Russia opened to huge $8.6M. Latin America and Southeast Asia are debuting after a strong lead by Brazil and Mexico. These markets represent 30% of the international box office.
#2 is last week’s PG-13 suspense thriller topper Mama from Universal in 2,682 theaters. Developed and presented by Guillermo Del Toro and starring Zero Dark Thirty‘s Best Actress Oscar likely Jessica Chastain as a brunette, pic had a second Friday of $3.8M and $6.2M Saturday for a weekend of $13.2M (-54%) for an expected cume through Sunday of $49M.
#3 is The Weinstein Company’s R-rated Oscar-buzzed Silver Linings Playbook in 2,641 theaters with a $2.3M Friday and $4.3 Saturday for a $9.3M weekend and $68.8M cume through Sunday. “Notice that Silver Linings is going to beat Zero Dark Thirty this weekend which is pretty impressive in my book,” a Weinstein exec gushed to me. “It is the best hold of the top films by far and that is after 11 weeks!”
#4 is another R-rated Oscar-touted pic. Zero Dark Thirty financed by Annapurna Pictures and distributed by Sony Pictures. Playing in 2,929 theaters, it made $2.3M Friday and $4.3M Saturday for a $9M weekend and cume of $69.1M through Sunday.
#5 is FilmDistrict’s barely registering R-rated crime drama Parker despite a ‘B+’ CinemaScore which could help word of mouth. It was directed by Taylor Hackford and stars Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez who only is in shadow on the main one-sheet and whose film career truly is DOA. in 2,224 theaters. Parker opened to $2.1M Friday and +40% for $3.1M Saturday for a lousy weekend of $7.2M. FilmDistrict licensed the U.S. distribution rights and knew pic would only gross in the single digits. Film had been tracking strongest with males ages 17-34 so primary media focused heavily on channels and programming tailored to men as well as actions fans and Hispanics. Based on the series of bestselling novels by Donald E. Westlake, Parker was financed by Sierra/Affinity, Incentive Filmed Entertainment, and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment. Doubtful whether future films based on the franchise will be made given this outcome. Current Entertainment’s Steven Chasman produced along with Sidney Kimmel, Les Alexander and Jonathan Mitchell via their Alexander/Mitchell banner, and Taylor Hackford.
Falling from #6 to #7 is Relativity’s $6M R-rated ensemble comedy Movie 43 that earned a dreaded ‘D’ CinemaScore from audiences to hurt word of mouth. Playing in 2,023 theaters, its gimmick is 12 directors, 30 name actors, and 18 writers working on different shorts stitched together. I’m already hearing a lot of them regret taking part. Movie 43 debuted at $1.8M Friday and +10% to $2M Saturday for a weekend of $4.0M. That’s only half what Relativity predicted. “If you are going to take a creative risk, what better way to do it than on a $6M budget with the opportunity to work with a large pool of writers, directors and actors including Peter Farrelly and Charles Wessler – two comedic geniuses.” Actors worked for scale and the production moved to accommodate schedules. This explains why the film was shot over 3 years. Seriously, how much longer is Relativity going to keep claiming its risk is mitigated by international pre-sales, outputs and Netflix before P&A spend? Meanwhile Ryan Kavanaugh, listed as a producer, may well be in the Witness Protection Program because he’s mercifully stopped publicizing himself. With Alliance Films distributing in Canada, Relativity owns worldwide rights and Lionsgate International handled international sales and distribution. Movie 43 has supposedly taken in $10M overseas.
Here are the Top 10 films based on weekend estimates:
1. Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters 3D (MGM/Paramount) NEW [Runs 3,372] R
Friday $6.0M, Saturday $8.4M, Weekend $18.0M
2. Mama (Universal) Week 2 [Runs 2,682] PG13
Friday $3.8M, Saturday $6.2M, Weekend $13.2M (-54%), Cume $49.0M
3. Silver Linings Playbook (Weinstein) Week 11 [Runs 2,641] R
Friday $2.3M, Saturday $4.3M, Weekend $9.3M, Cume $68.8M
4. Zero Dark Thirty (Annapurna/Sony) Week 6 [Runs 2,929] R
Friday $2.3M, Saturday $4.3M, Weekend $9.0M, Cume $69.1M
5. Parker (FilmDistrict) NEW [Runs 2,224] R
Friday $2.1M, Saturday $3.1M, Weekend $7.2M
6. Django Unchained (Weinstein) Week 5 [Runs 2,007] R
Friday $1.2M, Saturday $2.2M, Weekend $4.8M, Cume $146.1M
7. Movie 43 (Relativity) NEW [Runs 2,023] R
Friday $1.8M, Saturday $2.0M, Weekend $4.0M
Movies, Music Hit Europe Via Google Play Next Tuesday
Google Play music and movies will be available in Europe starting November 13. Owners of a Google TV set-top box or enabled TV in the UK, Germany and France will gain access to media on the Google Play store, the company said in a Google+ post. Italy and Spain were included in a previous post but were not mentioned in the most recent. Also, the movies and music won’t immediately be accessible to other Google devices such as Nexus smartphones or tablets but should have access in the near future. Rolling out content internationally has been complicated for Google because of Hollywood movie and TV licensing issues, according to CNET. Canada and Australia also may soon see an expansion of Google Play content, according to another Google+ post that also has been deleted.
With an emphasis on red, it seems. Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters, starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton, opens January 25 from Paramount via MGM.
MGM’s Roger Birnbaum Steps Down To Return To Producing; Gary Barber Now Revived Studio’s Sole Chairman & CEO
This is not surprising news. “There’s no drama here. He wants to produce,” an insider tells me about Roger Birnbaum’s decision. “He was just done with the business side. He now wants to focus only on movies and talent.” Understandable since it took Birnbaum and longtime partner Gary Barber two years to take over MGM after its bankruptcy and return it to a firmer footing with both its creditors and the Hollywood community. “Everybody’s happy – and Roger is ecstatic,” the insider adds. Here’s the announcement:
October 3, 2012 (Los Angeles, CA) – Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum today announced that Birnbaum will transition to an exclusive producer role at the studio, while Barber will become the sole Chairman and CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. Birnbaum will remain in his current offices in MGM’s executive suite and will produce and develop new projects exclusively for the company. The announcement marks a return to hands-on producing for Birnbaum. He will first serve as executive producer and oversee production of the José Padilha reboot of the 1980s classic ROBOCOP, which started principal photography on September 15. Other upcoming projects he plans to produce include films based on DEATHWISH, WAR GAMES and MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.
“Gary and I decided, 2 years ago, to accept the challenge of joining MGM and restoring the company to its rightful place in the industry. I am very proud
Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton play the kids who have come a long way from eating a witch’s gingerbread house in the original Grimm fable. Paramount and MGM are behind the reimagined take that will be released in the U.S. on January 11, 2013. Tommy Wirkola directed, and Famke Janssen co-stars. The trailer hit today.
The company isn’t talking, but says in a cryptic press release that it has “submitted a draft registration statement on a confidential basis” to the SEC for “a possible initial public offering of its Class A common stock.” I hear that JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are managing the IPO plans. Although the devil’s in the details, the announcement suggests that MGM has come a long way since late 2010 when it emerged from bankruptcy. Last year MGM spent $30.3M to repurchase about 1.5M shares; it ended 2011 with net income of $37.8M on revenues of $699.1M. MGM’s library includes about 4,100 films — including the Rocky, Pink Panther, and James Bond franchises — and more than 10,400 hours of TV programming from the libraries of United Artists, Orion Pictures, Goldwyn Entertainment and PolyGram Filmed Entertainment. MGM also is a partner at EPIX, with Viacom and Lionsgate. The company disclosed in March that it acquired 100% of United Artists late last year, giving it the rights to Hot Tub Time Machine, Fame, Valkyrie, and Lions For Lambs. MGM said that it “may resume using the United Artists banner to develop and produce new films”. The company added that it is co-financing New Line’s two films based on The Hobbit. It also appears to be tight with several studios including Viacom as a financing partner for Paramount’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, and MTV Networks’ TV series Teen Wolf. MGM’s board includes former Fox …
If you think that The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was a hit, then talk to MGM Holdings CEO Gary Barber. His company co-financed the film, and although it has generated about $231M at worldwide box offices he tells investors who own MGM’s unlisted shares that “it is below our expectations and we booked a modest loss.” The company wouldn’t say how much it wrote down, but Barber notes that execs ”were hoping we’d do 10% more than we did.” MGM has an option to co-finance the other two films in the trilogy and is talking to Sony about following through “assuming we can achieve better economics.” He was much more upbeat about the early performance of 21 Jump Street, which MGM also co-financed. “We expect it to be profitable,” Barber says. He adds that ”MGM has entered 2012 as a revitalized company.” He declined to describe MGM’s strategy but says it is “evaluating all options.”