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‘Ted’ Beating ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Overseas

EXCLUSIVE: Of course a foul-mouthed teddy bear would translate internationally since it’s a beloved global plush toy. Still, MRC/Universal’s Ted is already open in 10 international territories and was #1 in almost every territory including an outstanding run in Australia. Now Universal opens it in 10 more markets this weekend and it’s already topping the foreign box office with big grosses in Germany and Russia plus previews in the UK. There, the Seth MacFarlane/Mark Wahlberg starrer has been #1 for two days of $5.3M previews, besting Warner Bros’ and Legendary Pictures’ third weekend of The Dark Knight Rises. Universal has planned  the widest-ever release for Ted‘s official opening today in the UK and Ireland. In Germany, Ted opened #1 on its first day ahead of TDKR and grossed $1.2M on Thursday, a 2012 record best for Universal in this market. In Russia, Ted had a record-breaking start as well, opening Thursday with $1.4M as the #1 film ahead of TDKR. This is a record for a Hollywood comedy. Ted‘s international total has risen to $54.5M in just 20 territories, and Universal has 38 openings yet to release in the next few months.

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‘Dark Knight Rises’ $161.8M For All-Time 2D Opening Weekend; $76.1M Friday 3rd All-Time Domestic Debut Day & Best 2D Single Day; $45.2M Saturday, $40.5M Sunday; Tragedy Lowers Grosses For All Movies

July 20-22 Weekend Actuals

1. Dark Knight Rises (Legendary/Warner Bros) NEW [4,404 Theaters] PG13
Friday $75.8M, Saturday $44.9M, Sunday $40.2M, Weekend $160.9M

2. Ice Age 4 (Blue Sky/Fox) Week 2 [3,886 Theaters] PG
Friday $6.8M, Saturday $7.8M, Sunday $5.9M, Weekend $20.4M (-56%)
Domestic Cume $88.8M Foreign Cume $438.0M, Global Cume $526.8M

3. Amazing Spider-Man (Columbia/Sony) Week 3 [3,753 Theaters] PG13
Friday $3.4M, Saturday $4.3M, Sunday $3.2M, Weekend $10.9M (-69%), Cume $228.6M

4. Ted (MRC/Universal) Week 4 [3,214 Theaters] R
Friday $3.2M, Saturday $3.9M, Sunday $2.9M, Weekend $10.0M (-55%), Cume $180.4M

5. Brave (Pixar/Disney) Week 5 [2,899 Theaters] PG
Friday $1.9M, Saturday $2.3M, Sunday $1.8M, Weekend $6.0M (46%), Cume $208.8M

6. Magic Mike (Warner Bros) Week 4 [2,606 Theaters] R
Friday $1.6M, Saturday $1.6M, Sunday $1.1M, Weekend $4.3M (-52%), Cume $102.0M

7. Savages (Universal) Week 3 [2,336 Theaters] R
Friday $1.0K, Saturday $1.3M, Sunday, $1.1M, Weekend $3.4M (-64%), Cume $40.1M

8. Madea’s Witness Protection (TPerry/Lionsgate) Week 4 [1,540 Theaters] PG13
Friday $713K, Saturday $949K,Sunday $591K, Weekend $2.3M (-60%), Cume $60.3M

9. Moonrise Kingdom (Focus Features) Week 9 [895 Theaters] PG13
Friday $557K, Saturday $748K, Sunday $527K, Weekend $1.8M (-51%), Cume $36.1M

10. To Room With Love (Sony Classics) Week 5 [552 Theaters] R
Friday $401K, Saturday $602K, $397K, Weekend $1.4M (-43%), Cume $11.1M

Rentrak Won’t Release Worldwide Grosses This Weekend

Warner Bros Won’t Report Box Office For ‘Dark Knight Rises’ All Weekend “Out Of Respect For The Victims And Their Families”

12 Dead, Dozens Wounded After Mass Shooting By Gunman At Suburban Colorado Theater Showing ‘Dark Knight Rises’

SUNDAY 11:30 PM, 14TH UPDATE: Tonight my sources see the domestic box office picking up a bit more than the estimates. The Dark Knight Rises domestic tally is now $161.8M but the actual numbers here and abroad will be released by Rentrak, as well as Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures, Overseas, Christopher Nolan’s final installment in his Batman trilogy opened #1 in the UK, Australia, Spain, and the rest of the total 9 countries where it opened. It raked in $A15.1 million in its first four days in Australia. That ranks as the 4th biggest opening weekend Down Under.

Here is  the Top Five tally in North America after Sunday:

1. Dark Knight Rises (Legendary/Warner Bros) NEW [4,404 Theaters]
Friday $76.1M, Saturday $45.2M, Sunday $40.5M, Weekend $161.8M

2. Ice Age 4 (Blue Sky/Fox) Week 2 [3,886 Theaters]
Friday $6.6M, Saturday $7.6M, Sunday $3.3M, Weekend $20.3M (-57%)
Domestic Cume $88.8M, Foreign Cume $442.7M, Global Cume $531.5M

3. Amazing Spider-Man (Columbia/Sony) Week 3 [3,753 Theaters]
Friday $3.4M, Saturday $4.2M, Sunday $3.3M, Weekend $10.9M, Cume $228.7M

4. Ted (MRC/Universal) Week 4 [3,214 Theaters]
Friday $3.2M, Saturday $3.8M, Sunday $3.1M, Weekend $10.1M, Cume $180.4M

5. Brave (Pixar/Disney) Week 5 [2,899 Theaters]
Friday $1.9M, Saturday $2.2M, Sunday $1.8M, Weekend $6.0M, Cume $208.8M

SUNDAY 9:20 AM, 13TH UPDATE: It may seem callous to post about less-than-packed theaters around the country and North American and worldwide box office this weekend after the Colorado movie theater tragedy. And of course our hearts go out to those killed and wounded. (I stayed up all Friday post-midnight/pre-dawn reporting on the shooting as the horrendous event unfolded.)  But this is an entertainment business website that tracks movie grosses. And so many filmmakers inside and outside Hollywood worked exhaustively on The Dark Knight Rises — just as they do on every pic released each year — that the final product should be examined for its success vis a vis ticket sales. Warner Bros Pictures has decided not to release its box office results this weekend until Monday. Also some other studios. Rentrak won’t report worldwide estimates. That said, there can be no doubt that Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures last installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is huge in terms of domestic grosses. In fact the entire moviegoing weekend should be up around +35% over last year, demonstrating the resilience of the public and their love for watching films in the shared experience of a movie theater. Hopefully, with more security provided, the emotional distress and financial setback caused by one psychotic gunman won’t be permanent for theater chains. But the entire movie industry’s shock and grieving over the Aurora tragedy is real and intense. Although the national and international debate over the sociological effect of film violence will be ongoing — and necessary. Now, back to business.

Related: Showtime, USA, CLOO Pulling Violent Programming After Colorado Shooting; TNT Still Airing ‘The Dark Knight’ 

Related: Networks, Not Warner Bros, Pulled ‘Dark Knight Rises’ TV Ads

Business was gargantuan Friday but definitely off Saturday and may be off Sunday, too. I was told Friday night there were a lot of admissions still to count. On Saturday morning my sources said The Dark Knight Rises brought in $77.2 million Friday (give or take one million) from 4,404 domestic theaters.  Now that Friday number has been adjusted to $76.1M as either more theaters reported a lesser number, or refunds hit the books. Either way, when looking at it closely this morning, it went down a little. That is still the 3rd all-time opening day and the best 2D single day. There was indeed a huge -41% drop Saturday mostly because of those $30.6M in midnight shows (including $2.2M IMAX grosses) which expanded Friday’s tally. Previous installment The Dark Knight dropped -29% its Saturday. I can now tell you that The Dark Knight Rises made $46.2M Saturday and is projected at $39.3M Sunday (-12%). My sources now say the 3-day weekend cume looks around $161.1M with the caveat that the Colorado tragedy may have an impossible-to-predict effect until Monday actuals. This could still be the largest grossing 2D North American opening weekend ever, past 2008′s The Dark Knight at $158M. However, despite the “like nothing ever happened” box office momentum which Warner Bros saw Friday morning, it is clear that Dark Knight Rises numbers won’t be record-breaking overall. Yes, because of pre-sales, midnights shattered the $18.4M generated by Marvel’s The Avengers earlier this summer. But The Dark Knight Rises didn’t beat Avengers‘ $80.5M Friday and won’t come near Avengers‘ all-time $207.4M collected from 2D, Digital 3D, RealD, and IMAX 3D.

Here’s the rest of the Top Ten list based on weekend estimates:

6. Magic Mike (Warner Bros) Week 4 [2,606 Theaters]
Friday $1.6M, Saturday $1.5M, Weekend $4.3M, Cume $102.0M

7. Savages (Universal) Week 3 [2,336 Theaters]
Friday $990K, Saturday $1.2M, Weekend $3.3M, Cume $40.0M

8. Madea’s Witness Protection (TPerry/Lionsgate) Week 4 [1,540 Theaters]
Friday $744K, Saturday $984K, Weekend $2.3M, Cume $60.4M

9. Moonrise Kingdom (Focus Features) Week 9 [895 Theaters]
Friday $551K, Saturday $741K, Weekend $1.8M, Cume $36.1M

10. To Room With Love (Sony Classics) Week 5 [552 Theaters]
Friday $401K, Saturday $602K, Weekend $1.5M, Cume $11.2M

Read More »

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Syfy Developing TV Series Version Of Movie ‘The Adjustment Bureau’

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Syfy is developing a TV series based on this year’s MRC/Universal Pictures movie The Adjustment Bureau, which was written, directed and produced by George Nolfi and starred Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. Former Smallville executive producers Darren Swimmer and Todd Slavkin are writing the TV adaptation, which is being produced by MRC. Nolfi is executive producing with Swimmer and Slavkin, with Michael Hackett, a producer on the feature, serving as co-executive producer. The 2011 sci-fi thriller, based on Philip K. Dick’s short story Adjustment Team centered on a rising politician (Damon) whose budding romance with a dancer (Blunt) is intercepted by the Adjustment Bureau, a secret organization with special powers, which uses them to ensure that people’s lives follow the chairman of the Bureau’s plan for them. MRC doesn’t normally do traditional network development, but the deal for The Adjustment Bureau stems from the fact that Syfy is a sister network of Universal Pictures, which released the MRC-produced movie. In addition to Adjustment Bureau, WME-repped Slavkin and Swimmer also are writing a high-tech character-driven procedural for NBC and Wolf Films.

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‘Sucker Punch’-ed By ‘Wimpy Kid 2′ For #1

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM: This has been a topsy-turvy box office as North American grosses come in for Friday Saturday, and the weekend (which will be another down one overall compared to last year). Friday night, it appeared that Fox’s Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules sequel opened as a surprise No. 1, but then Warner Bros’ Sucker Punch came on strong in late night West Coast shows. By Saturday moning, they were looking neck-and-neck for the weekend depending on how much Zach Snyder’s scifi fantasy film dropped on Saturday or Wimpy Kid 2 surged in kiddie matinees. But by Saturday night, the kid sucker-punched Zach Snuder for #1. Meanwhile, 2 pics this first quarter of 2011 passed $100 million domestic: Paramount’s Rango and Sony’s Just Go With It (Adam Sandler’s 12th pic to do so while international is headed to $100M, too).
Here’s the Top 10:

1. Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (Fox) NEW [3,167 Theaters]
Friday $7.3, Saturday $10.4M, Weekend $24M

Interestingly, a year ago, the first installment of Diary Of A Wimpy Kid embarrassed much-hyped The Bounty Hunter with Jen and Gerry on Saturday. Same thing happened this weekend with Diary Of A Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules and Zach Snyder’s Sucker Punch. Who’d a thunk it? The sequel was already in development when the first one struck gold based on Jeff kinney’s wonderful book series with 40 million copies in print since first published in 2007. It was fired Disney movie chief Nina Jacobson’s first film as a producer (Color Force is her indie company), and she brought on Brad Simpson to co-produce … Read More »

Comments 247

Bradley Cooper’s ‘Limitless’ Opens #1 On Soft Weekend; ‘Lincoln Lawyer’ #4, ‘Paul’ #5

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 4TH UPDATE: It’s clear that too many potential moviegoers were busy watching March Madness basketball these past 3 days. After some pre-weekend uncertainty, the North American office has a clear road warrior: Virgin/Relativity’s Limitless starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. It finished #1 with $6.6 million Friday and $7.4M Saturday and an estimated $5M Sunday for an overperforming $19M after Hollywood expected just a $10M-to-$15M result.

After that, it was a freeway pile-up with holdover Paramount’s Rango coming in 2nd because of a big Saturday matinee kiddie bump, followed by another holdover Sony Pictures’ Battle: Los Angeles coming in 3rd. Working Title/Universal’s Paul fell behind Lionsgate’s The Lincoln Lawyer*. Lionsgate is now saying 190,000 tickets were sold for The Lincoln Lawyer through the 48-hour Groupon/Fandango discount deal, with  about 20,000 actually redeemed at the box office Friday and another 18,000 redemmed Saturday (about a 20% redemption rate). This comes to about 2.5% of the box office but that’s enough Lionsgate-subsidized ticket coin to change the film rankings for this very competitive weekend. ”It was always about awareness,” Lionsgate emails. “This was a new marketing promotion that reached 4 million people for not a whole lot of money.” Here is the Top 10.

1. Limitless (Relativity) NEW [2,756 Theaters]
Friday $6M, Saturday $7.6M, Weekend $19M

I have to say it’s nice to see Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media receive a Big Gulp at the box office after a long drought on the movies he distributes. And this wasn’t even a schlocky film. It was also co-produced by Virgin Produced, Sir Richard Branson’s first film from his newly formed production company. Relativity released the upscale Limitless in the U.S. through its own maturing distribution system and in Canada via Alliance Films and now can celebrate this success. So can Bradley Cooper who’s now a bonafide post-Hangover movie star able to open a film on his name and image alone. (No way this film would have been as successful with Shia LaBeouf in the lead role which was the case when Relativity’s Rogue Pictures first took it over after it moved from Miramax to Intermedia to Universal.) The estimated gross was well above Relativity’s and Hollywood’s projections mostly thanks to a smart marketing campaign that tapped into the most intriguing elements of the pic’s high-concept plot in an easy-to-grasp way for both guys and gals. (Take that pill? For me, Bayer Aspirin with an Advil chaser has the same effect.) Best of all, the pic’s production cost supposedly just under $30 million, reduced from the $50M budget Universal had earmarked, a veritable bargain these days especially considering the presence of both Cooper who also snagged an executive producer credit and Robert De Niro. (“Our net investment is under $1 million as a result of our  successful foreign sales and soft money initiatives from the Pennsylvania tax rebate for shooting on location in Philadelphia,” a Relativity exec tells me.) CinemaScore was a B+. Exit polls showed the audience was 52% female and 48% male, while 40% was under 25 and 60% was age 25 and over. The ethnic breakdown of moviegoers was 43% Caucasian and 57% non-Caucasian including 19% Hispanic, 17% African-American, 11% Asian, and 11% other. The film was directed by Neil Burger (The Illusionist) who normally writes and helms his own films. But writer Leslie Dixon acquired the rights to the novel “The Dark Fields” by Alan Glynn and adapted the screenplay for less than her normal quote in exchange for being made one of the film’s producers. Then she and fellow producer Scott Kroopf approached Burger to direct the film.

3. Rango (Paramount) Week 3 [3,843 Theaters]
Friday $4.1M, Saturday $6.7M, Weekend $15.3M, Cume $92.5M

2. Battle: Los Angeles (Sony Pictures) Week 2 [3,417 Theaters]
Friday $4.5M, Saturday $6.1M, Weekend $14.6M (-59%), Cume $60.6M

4. The Lincoln Lawyer* (Lionsgate) New [2,707 Theaters]
Friday $4.4M, Saturday $6M, Weekend $13.4M

5. Paul (Working Title/Universal) NEW [2,802 Theaters]
Friday $4.5M, Saturday $5.2M, Weekend $13.1M

Another of those Simon Pegg and Nick Frost farces (Hot Fuzz, Shaun Of The Dead), this comedy isn’t from American filmmakers who tend to do the vast majority of their business domestically. But not even Steven Spielberg playing a small part in this E.T./Close Encounters Of The Third Kind spoof could improve modest North American grosses for Universal’s Paul. But it doesn’t much matter. Because Working Title pics make all their money overseas, and this one already has performed “incredibly” in the UK and France with $28.1M international cume, according to Universal which said worldwide grosses after this weekend are $41.3M on a $40M budget. Internationally the film continues its rollout with another five territories and has 53 more territories to go in the coming months. The film’s domestic tracking had been growing — or so the studio thought — but the pic ended smack in the middle of so-so $10M-$15M expectations. Cinemascore was a “B+” with under age 25 moviergoers giving it an “A-”. Audience composition was 56% male/44% female, and 58% over age 25/42% under age 25. Relativity Media is a partner in the film.

6. Red Riding Hood (Warner Bros) Week 2 [3,030 Theaters]
Friday $2.4M, Saturday $3.1M, Weekend $7.2M (-48%), Cume $25.9M

7. The Adjustment Bureau (MRC/Universal) Week 3 [2,660 Theaters]
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.6M, Weekend $5.9M, Cume $48.7M

8. Mars Needs Moms 3D (Disney) Week 2 [3,117 Theaters]
Friday $1.5M, Saturday $2.2M, Weekend $5.3M (-28%), Cume $15.4M

9. Beastly (CBS Films/Sony) Week 3 [1,810 Theaters]
Friday $1M, Saturday $1.2M, Weekend $3.2M, Cume $22.2M

10. Hall Pass (New Line/Warner Bros) Week 4 [1,905 Theaters]
Friday $825K, Saturday $1.1M, Weekend $2.6M, Cume $39.5M Read More »

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‘Battle: LA’ Opens #1 For $36M Weekend; ‘Red Riding Hood’ Debuts Soft At #3; But ‘Mars Needs Moms’ Is Big Money Loser

By | Saturday March 12, 2011 @ 10:40pm PST

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 5TH UPDATE: Here’s how the North American box office is shaping up for this weekend based on Friday, Saturday, weekend and cumulative grosses. It was an overall $129 million weekend, which is still down (-12%) compared to last year’s fired-up Alice In Wonderland 3D totals.

1. Battle: Los Angeles (Sony) NEW [3,417 Theaters]
Friday $13.5, Saturday $3.7M, Weekend $39M

Sony Pictures’ PG-13 sci-fi actioner Battle: Los Angeles opened as the big #1 this weekend with $13.5M Friday and +2% for $13.7M Saturday. With the studio claiming the pic only cost $70M (I don’t buy it), it met the lower end of expectations of weekend grosses around $36M. That’s Sony’s fourth consecutive #1 film debut this year following The Green Hornet, Just Go With It and The Roommate. The film received a “B” overall CinemaScore, but an “A” from young men under age 18 and an “A-” from all moviegoers under 25. Directed by Jonathan Liebesman, produced by Neal Moritz and Ori Marmur, and written by Chris Bertolini, the pic had a very fresh-looking marketing campaign overseen by Jeff Blake and Marc Weinstock with exec Doug Belgrad. It didn’t hurt that the studio also generated a lot of press timed to the anniversary of an actual 1942 UFO sighting in Los Angeles that prompted a full military response including an all-out assault along the coast with artillery. Fast forward to nowadays: sorry, but I suspect that LA would be the last place on earth to become the last stand for mankind. (Dogs or dolphins, yes. Mankind, no.) The film opened day and date in 33 territories this weekend, including Mexico, Russia, Korea, and the UK, and earned $16.7M with mostly #1 debuts, for a worldwide total of $52.7M.

2. Rango (Paramount) Week 2 [3,923 Theaters]
Friday $5.5M, Saturday $10.2M, Weekend $23M (-39%), Cume $68.6M

Paramount’s winner from last weekend, the toon Rango, stayed a strong #2.

3. Red Riding Hood (Warner Bros) NEW [3,030 Theaters]
Friday $5M, Saturday $5.7M, Weekend $14.1M

Warner Bros’ unfortunately titled Red Riding Hood performed much softer than the predicted weekend of $20M — only $14.1M. (Every time I saw a trailer, it reminded me of M. Night Shyamalan’s dreadful The Village…) It failed to meet even the studio’s lowered expectations Friday and Saturday as Spring Break begins to kick off. Teen girls, for whom the $39M-budget movie was aimed, never showed up in the droves that Warner Bros had hoped since director Catherine Hardwicke couldn’t attract her Twilight fans (teen girls and their moms). Not even an American Idol marketing integration ploy helped. The film was positioned as a re-imagined haunting of a classic legend complete with love triangle, which was treated as a secondary element throughout the marketing campaign compared to highlighting the “Who Is The Wolf?” mystery. Though the film was counter-programming the male-targeted Battle: Los Angeles, Warner Bros hoped to engage males on a secondary level. But, c’mon, what guy is going to a movie titled Red Riding Hood?

4. The Adjustment Bureau (MRC/Universal) Week 2 [2,847 Theaters]
Friday $3.4M, Saturday $5.5M, Weekend $12M (-46%), Cume $38.4M

MRC/Universal’s holdover The Adjustment Bureau stayed #4, down only 46% from a week ago.

5. Mars Needs Moms (Imagemovers/Disney) NEW [3,117 Theaters]
Friday $1.8, Saturday $3.1M, Weekend $6.8M

But the movie that Hollywood was talking about all weekend was Disney’s Mars Needs Moms 3D. Why? Because the Dick Cook leftover wound up one of the biggest money losers of all time. It cost $150M but, even with the higher 3D ticket prices, it pulled in the pittance of only $6.8M this weekend – that’s right all weekend. ”It’s about as bad of an animated miss as possible,” one rival studio exec emailed me. It’s rare that any Disney toon flops at all, much less this badly, even though it’s based on the book by author and illustrator Berkeley Breathed, the Pulitzer Prize winner for his comic strip “Bloom County”. But my insiders say this movie is why, after Rich Ross screened it, Disney a year ago shuttered Robert Zemeckis’ Imagemovers Digital, which also produced the blockbuster Disney’s A Christmas Carol. (Of course, Cook’s slate also included that as well as last year’s huge moneymakers Alice In Wonderland and Toy Story 3). It opened in 14 territories overseas, repping 25% of the international market, and made just $2.1M.

Here’s the rest of the Top 10: Read More »

Comments 189

Johnny Depp’s #1 ‘Rango’ Reaches $38M, Matt Damon’s ‘Adjustment Bureau’ Grabs #2, ‘Beastly’ Debuts #3, ‘Take Me Home’ #11

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 2ND UPDATE: Here is Friday and Saturday and weekend and cume North American box office grosses and the weekend forecasts. This was supposed to be Hollywood’s comeback weekend after a product-driven underwhelming start to the New Year. But Friday through Sunday is expected to reach only $135 million, which pales in comparison (-31%) to last year’s first weekend in March when just Alice In Wonderland 3D alone did $116M and the overall movie total was $196M. The result is that the movie execs are giving up on accurately predicting box office not just because of how depressed the overall marketplace has been but also because they no longer can rely on tracking to be accurate. They don’t like the year-to-date stats, either: $1.6B vs $2.1B, with revenue down 20% and attendance down 21%.

1. Rango (Paramount) NEW [3,917 Theaters]
Friday $9.7M, Saturday $16.8M, Weekend $38M, International $16.5M, Global $54.5

Remember back to the Super Bowl and that Rango ad? Well, according to a USA Today poll, it ranked higher that all the other movie ads including Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 and Transformers 3 screened during the big game. Now, after weeks of tracking strongly despite its dark and weird vibe, the reteaming of Pirates Of The Caribbean duo Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp lived up to its promise — though not the $50M opening weekend which Paramount had initially hoped. ”No question people responded to the concept of Johnny Depp in an animated film,” a Paramount exec told me. “Johnny has a track record in family movies and therefore attracts a broad family audience.” That’s a feat considering it’s a non-summer 2D toon and the kids weren’t even out of school Friday. When they were, the pic had a big Saturday matinee bump of +73% even though the film wasn’t aimed at young children but rather ages 6 to 12 and parents (who nevertheless gave Rango only a “C+” CinemaScore despite the overwhelmingly positive reviews). True, the pic might have added 15%-20% to its grosses had it been 3D. But that lizard and company played like a four-quadrant hit pic. It also helped that Paramount paired the trailer with True Grit and Little Fockers and could rely on other Viacom companies like Nickelodeon and Comedy Central and MTV for promotion.

Rival studios claim the movie cost $180M though Paramount pegs the budget at $130M. And the uber-marketing cost a pretty penny. What happened was that when Universal didn’t go ahead with his Bioshock pic, Verbinski went from just producing and prepping Rango to also directing Josh Logan’s script. One of the reasons Rango snagged Depp and impressed the critics was Verbinski’s idea to have the actors actually perform their roles, instead of the traditional approach of standing in a booth and just voicing, to create chemistry between the cast and deliver better performances. Verbinski decided to use ILM, which had done the CGI for Pirates Of The Caribbean but wasn’t in the toon biz, for the complete character animation film. Now Paramount expects ILM to keep making toons for it without any startup costs and give DreamWorks Animation a run for Paramount’s toon distribution. (“Have you checked the DreamWorks Animation stock lately? It’s becoming the biggest short in the media business,” a rival studio emailed me…)

Paramount just told me that, overseas in the 33 countries it was opening in day and date (including UK, Mexico, Germany, and Spain), Rango was #1. It opened about half the markets internationally this weekend and generated $16.5 million, led by the UK’s $3 million and Mexico’s $2.3 million.

2. The Adjustment Bureau (MRC/Universal) NEW [2,840 Theaters]
Friday $6.7M, Saturday $9.1M, Weekend $20.9M, International $10.5M, Global $31.4M

The Adjustment Bureau overperformed this weekend for definitely more than the mid-to-high teens Universal was predicting. The studio acquired the “B” CinemaScore pic (with ages up to 34 giving it either an “A-” or “B+” — from MRC for $62 million. Hey, Matt Damon running, and running, and running a la Bourne is a tried and true and derivative formula so the PG-13 actioner should have earned more. Exit polls showed the audience was 73% ages 30 years and older/27 % under 30 years of age and 47% male/53% female. Tracking indicated the film appealed to an older demographic because it’s a romance, a thriller, and a sci-fi’er all in one with known Damon and Emily Blunt starring. That made it hard to comp because it doesn’t fit neatly into any one genre. And also hard to sell since it required some unusual thinking in order to sell well. But it tracked with men and women over age 25, and Universal’s marketing department did a more than decent job. Besides North America, the pic earned $10.5M overseas when it released day and date in 21 territories: Australia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Greece, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Serbia Montenegro, Singapore, Thailand, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Philippines, Poland, Spain, Turkey, and the UK. Universal stressed that The Adjustment Bureau is Damon’s biggest opening weekend overseas since 2007′s The Bourne Ultimatum.

3. Beastly (CBS Films/Sony) NEW [1,952 Theaters]
Friday $3.5M, Saturday $3.9M, Weekend $10.1M

CBS Films’ Beastly starring Alex Pettyfer in yet another career debut — this time an updated Beauty And The Beast storyline that received a “B” CinemaScore (the highest of all this weekend’s films) and an “A-” CinemaScore from teenage girls — overperformed beyond the $8M predicted this weekend. That’s better than the low expectations considering the narrow release. This pic was all about attracting 12- to 14-year-old girls, but that one quad is always hard to predict. (Comps like BandslamPost Grad and I Love You Beth Cooper all tanked.) CBS Films wanted $5M this weekend against the $17M cost. Film was pre-sold internationally. Read More »

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