OPENING: 300: Rise of An Empire (WB) commands $43M to $45M; Mr. Peabody and Sherman (FOX) $30M+ strong; Son of God (FOX) drops 55% or more in its second weekend. NOTEWORTHY: Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave (FOX) re-upped to 1,065 screens and breaks back into the top ten. Grand Budapest Hotel on four screens in L.A. and N.Y. a phenomenal $54,000 per screen on Friday night.
UPDATED, Friday 1:00 A.M.: Phenomenal per screen average numbers for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson’s idiosyncratic comedy starring an impressive ensemble cast (Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, etc.) led by Ralph Fiennes, just came in and have been added below (scroll down).
PREVIOUS, Friday 12:02 AM.: Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures’ 300: Rise of an Empire and Mr. Peabody and Sherman (Fox/DreamWorks) are both kicking it at the box office this weekend based on Friday night numbers. After a stellar $3.3M in late nights Thursday, Rise of an Empire is on track to make anywhere from $43M to $45M this weekend and could have a per screen average over around $12,300, according to early Friday night estimates. It received a B Cinemascore. The animated Peabody is barking up the right tree and is expected to take in around $30M+ and all hopes are that it will appeal past the kiddie market. It got an A CinemaScore. In third place will be … Read More »
“We are all Sarah Jones,” “Never Forget. Never Again,” and “Safety for Sarah” were the rallying cries tonight during the first of two tributes held this weekend by local unions for the 27 year-old assistant camerawoman killed on the set of Midnight Rider two weeks ago. Tonight’s tribute began at 7 PM this evening with candlelight walk and vigil that started at the DGA building and ended at the International Cinematographers Guild Local 600 offices two blocks down Sunset Blvd.
The crowd of almost 1,000 members from across several unions participated in the memorial vigil held for Jones who was killed on a train track on the set in Georgia. Seven others were injured included two seriously — the 42 year-old hairstylist Joyce Gilliard and the make-up artist.
Related: ‘Midnight Rider’ Suspends Filming Following Train Death
A scholarship fund has been set up in Sarah Jones’ name and donations can be made to the BCHS Foundation in c/o Sarah Jones, 1300 State St., Cayce, SC 29034.
The evening’s tribute began with a video slide presentation of Sarah Jones set to the music of Somewhere Over the Rainbow (the Brother Iz version) as her grieving (and very courageous) parents, Elizabeth and Richard Jones from South Carolina, along with members of the Local 600 — including a very emotional Bruce Doering, National Executive Director of the International Cinematographers Guild — spoke, but none so impassioned as Mike Miller, VP of the IATSE. Read More »
‘Gone With The Bullets’ Sets China Release Date
Jiang Wen’s Gone With The Bullets has secured a December 18 release date in China. The film is the follow-up to Jiang’s blockbuster Let The Bullets Fly, which made $140M worldwide in 2010. Based on a true story, 3D comedy Gone With The Bullets is set in 1920s Shanghai. Ma Zouri (Jiang Wen) and Xiang Feitian (Ge You) establish a notorious beauty pageant called the Flowers Competition. All of the city’s elite attend the gala event, but when an unexpected winner is crowned, it sets into motion a series of tragic events that change their destinies. Per FilmBizAsia, Jiang’s Buyilehu Film told local media that it hopes the title will represent China at the Oscars next year. The film will be handled internationally by Sony Pictures Releasing International. December is a hot time locally for Chinese films with U.S. movies often out of the frame. FBA says other films believed to be eyeing a December release include Tsui Hark’s The Taking Of Tiger Mountain, Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Wolf Totem and Chen Kaige’s Taoist Mountain. Read More »
BREAKING: Even as Jeff Berg was locking down an investment in the agency this week from Beijing-based Bison Capital, rumors raced that other less desirable shakeups were about to happen. We are hearing that veteran motion picture agents Adam Kanter and Martin Spencer, longtime CAA agents who left to join Resolution last year, were escorted out of Resolution headquarters tonight and likely are on their way to Paradigm. Each of the agents brought key clients with them — Kanter brought Doug Liman and Pete Segal, only to see them leave. This is the hard part of trying to launch a talent agency in a most competitive climate, luring agents in as you build enough clientele to enable packaging. It tests client loyalties. I hear they were asked to take pay cuts and didn’t want to. More coming as I hear more about a developing situation.
Related: Director Doug Liman Returns To CAA
Scott Kalvert, who went from helming music videos to the features The Basketball Diaries and Deuces Wild, has died. He was 49. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office said it is investigating his death as a suicide but provided no other details. Kalvert had a knack for working with unknown acts who would go on to become huge stars. He started in the music video business, hitting paydirt with his first project: “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” a 1988 pop hit by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince that launched the career of Will Smith. It was named Best Rap Video at the MTV Video Music Awards. The NYC native went on to direct videos for such acts as Snoop Doggy Dogg, Cyndi Lauper and, notably, “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, which featured a muscle-bound unknown named Mark Wahlberg. He also helmed the 1988 concert video Guns N’ Roses: Live At The Ritz, which aired on MTV. In 1995, Kalvert directed The Basketball Diaries, an adaptation of “People Who Died” singer Jim Carroll’s 1978 memoir. The film starred a teenage Leonardo DiCaprio as Carroll along with Wahlberg in one of his first film roles and featured three actors who go on to be regulars on The Sopranos: Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperoli and Vincent Pastore. Kalvert’s only other feature directing credit was the 2002 actioner Deuces Wild, starring Stephen Dorff and Brad Renfro.
Broadcasting veteran Ted Bergmann, who produced the first NFL and Grammy telecasts and was present to record the German surrender to the Allies for radio in 1945, has died. He was 93. Bergmann died March 2 following surgery at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica. During the course of his 70-year broadcast career, Bergmann produced such shows as Three’s Company and its two spinoffs; The Arthur Godfrey Show; and Love Thy Neighbor, a 1973 ABC series about a black couple in a white neighborhood that was so controversial that Sears and Proctor & Gamble pulled their advertising. A Brooklyn native, Bergmann started his TV career as an NBC page. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Army, soon earning the rank of captain and covering stories in the European theater for the NBC radio program Army Hour. On May 6, 1945, the 24-year-old Bergmann took a recording crew to a schoolhouse Reims, France, to preserve the German surrender to the Allies for radio. He was the last surviving witness to the event. Returning to the U.S., Bergmann rejoined NBC. Within five years became president of the DuMont Network, where he was the first to broadcast NFL games and live boxing and launched such notable TV personalities as Jackie Gleason and Bishop Fulton Sheen. During the 1950s, Bergmann segued to TV advertising, working with such firms as McCann-Erickson and Parkson Advertisting Agency. Read More »
The Honeymooners actress Sheila MacRae has died. The 93-year-old UK-born MacRae passed away March 6 , at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, NJ. She is best known to American audiences for her 4-year stint as Alice Kramden in the mid-’60s revival of The Honeymooners within The Jackie Gleason Show on CBS. In addition to her 1966-70 run as Ralph Kramden’s wife, MacRae was on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 with her then husband, singer Gordon MacRae, the night the Beatles debuted in America. The actress appeared on General Hospital in the 1960s and on NBC’s Parenthood TV series for the 1990-91 season. MacRae had a career on the stage as well in Guys and Dolls, Absurd Person Singular and other productions. One of her last acting appearance was in the one-women show An Evening With Sheila MacRae.
This is gutsy. Fox has handed early renewals for next season to comedies Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl and The Mindy Project and drama The Following. Golden Globe-winning freshman Brooklyn Nine-Nine is picked up for a second season, Mindy and The Following for a third and New Girl for a fourth. They join three other Fox scripted series that already have been picked up for next season: freshman drama Sleepy Hollow; veteran Bones, renewed for a 10th season; and Glee, which has a final sixth season as part of a two-year pickup. That is a lot of programming already locked in for next season though Fox has extra holes to fill following the cancellation of The X Factor. Networks are not required to make any renewal decisions until May, and most wait to see their pilots before making decisions. Fox, of course, declared in January that it was breaking away from the pilot cycle, so the network also may be going on its own timetable with renewals. But most of all, today’s pickups are about Fox brass giving a vote of confidence to series they feel strongly about creatively.
Related: Fox’s Abolishment Of Pilot Season: Practical Guide To How Will It Work
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NBC’s ads for midseason drama series Believe feature front and center its mastermind, newly minted Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarón, touting his best director statuette for Gravity. Meanwhile, the promos for another heavily marketed midseason drama that premieres within a day of Believe, ABC’s Resurrection, don’t even mention the fact that it comes from the producers of best picture Oscar winner 12 Years A Slave. Brad Pitt’s Plan B is behind Resurrection, with the company’s two other principals, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, who shared in the best picture Oscar with him, executive producing the series. Just like Plan B’s 12 Years A Slave managed to top Gravity and seven other movies to land the biggest prize, ABC probably hopes its show would spark some ratings magic. And boy, does the network need some of that.
Related: TCA: ‘Resurrection’ Producers Sort Out Crowded Resurrection Landscape
ABC is on an unenviable streak of three consecutive new drama entries hitting a 0.6 rating in adults 18-49 — an all-time low on a Big 4 network: The Assets (which was billed as a limited series), Killer Women and Mind Games. That, coupled with the 0.7 low marks for the long-forgotten Lucky 7 and Betrayal and the 0.8 for Once Upon A Time In Wonderland makes for a very dismal freshman drama record this season. Read More »
Here’s a look at the latest from true independent director Henry Jaglom. The title, The M Word, refers to the change of life, but in this case it is a broad definition as the story also centers on big personnel changes at a local TV station that is threatened by economic downturn, possible in-house graft and massive job loss. The cast is led by frequent Jaglom co-star Tanna Frederick and includes Michael Imperioli and Frances Fisher among many others. It opens April 30 in LA and NY, followed by a wider national break.
UPDATED: Chris Conroy has booked a series regular role on ABC’s The Club (fka untitled Susannah Grant) from CBS TV Studios and ABC Studios. The drama, already greenlighted straight to series with a 13-episode order, is an upstairs/downstairs soap set at a private country club. Gersh-repped Conroy will play rich and handsome Forty Holbrooke, who was doing OK until his mother killed herself, leaving him everything. Since then he’s been staggering through life with too much money and too little real support.
Related: 2014 ABC Pilots
Comedy Central resident roastmaster Jeff Ross and Jayson Blair (The New Normal) has signed on to ABC‘s multi-camera untitled Kevin Hart comedy pilot. Written by Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan based on Hart’s life and stand-up, the project takes a candid look at the post-divorce life of a couple, Derek (Romany Malco) and Lorraine (Bresha Webb) Read More »
There may be lots of speculation about the future of DreamWorks in its current incarnation at Disney as my colleague Mike Fleming wrote earlier this week, but you would never know it from last night’s rip-roaring premiere of its latest film, Need For Speed, at the Chinese Theatre. I went in expecting a poor man’s Fast & Furious and instead got a riveting and fun entertainment with lots of heart and emotion in addition to all the stunt driving. The film, which opens Friday and stars Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul as a street racer out for revenge after being framed for a death of a young street-racing rookie, has all the requisite action you would expect from this kind of movie, but there’s so much more. The fact that it marks the second feature directed by former stuntman Scott Waugh (the son of another stuntman, Fred Waugh, who passed away while his son was in preproduction) would lead one to believe it would be all pedal-to-the-metal and no soul, but that’s not the case. Waugh’s first feature behind the camera, Act Of Valor, proved he knew how to put humanity into a genre film. What he’s made here is a good old-fashioned movie that doesn’t rely on CGI, has a genuine story to tell with three-dimensional characters (in 3D, no less), and great locations. It also presents yet another reason the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences needs to re-consider its decision not to create a 25th category for stunt work. Come on, these people deserve the recognition on a regular basis. I do understand the ticklish situation with the Actors branch, the Academy’s largest and most powerful, but this kind of work is definitely Oscar worthy. The Television Academy has a stunt peer group and recently even split comedy and drama stunt coordination into two separate Emmy categories. Veteran stuntman-director Hal Needham got an Honorary Oscar in 2012, and I suppose the Academy feels that’s enough recognition for now (Needham passed away several months after getting that Oscar). But it’s not.
Related: Hot Trailer: DreamWorks’ ‘Need For Speed’
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Joanna Going (House Of Cards) has been tapped for a series regular role in DirecTV’s gritty drama series Navy St. From Byron Balasco and Endemol Studios, the dark family drama is set against the backdrop of Navy Street, a Venice, CA-based mixed martial arts gym owned by Alvey Henderson (Frank Grillo), a former fighter who never made it big due to a drug addiction but is now sober. Going will play Christina Hyatt, Alvey’s ex wife and mother to Jay (Jonathan Tucker) and Nate (Nick Jonas). Going, repped by AKA and Vanguard Management, co-stars in the upcoming Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy.
Related: Primetime Pilot Panic!
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HBO has unveiled its promo for Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, which unveils on April 27 (see below). The new weekly satire current events show from the former The Daily Show With Jon Stewart correspondent (and stand-in host) will air at 11 PM on Sundays. Last November, HBO announced it had snagged Oliver to do a weekly show. Oliver took his final Daily Show bow in December, and Stewart had him in tears as he surprised the Brit comic with his own retrospective, on his last day. During the ambush, Oliver, who’d been with the Comedy Central late-night program for more than seven years, was mostly speechless and fighting tears.
Oliver got rave reviews covering for Stewart over the summer on Comedy Central while Stewart took time off to direct his first film, Rosewater. And though Oliver told PBS’ Charlie Rose in an interview, “I don’t think it’s going to change my life”, and that his goal had been only “not to destroy that machine” during his brief tenure, it proved to be a game changer for Oliver — and for Viacom Entertainment Group president Doug Herzog, whose empire includes Comedy Central, and who learned from the experience that there can be life after Stewart — unless HBO comes to the same realization and is looking for another topical late-night show. Watch Oliver’s HBO promo here:
CBS, Disney, Fox, and Time Warner are the easy answers — and the ones that many financial types believe are eyeing the independent programming network companies following Comcast’s $45.2B agreement to buy Time Warner Cable. But Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger takes the conversation a step further today with an intriguing report that suggests several less obvious potential buyers for AMC Networks, Scripps or Starz. Distributors including DirecTV, Dish Network, Charter, AT&T and Verizon might want to take a page from Comcast’s playbook when it bought NBCUniversal. DirecTV doesn’t offer broadband, so it has “additional motivation to take some action to future-proof the business,” possibly by offering exclusive access to certain networks, Juenger says. Charter and Dish are long shots: Charter probably could only afford AMC. And Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen seems intent on acquiring airwave spectrum, although “nobody really knows Mr. Ergen’s potential plans, and they could change.” AT&T and Verizon’s corporate cultures are “a step (or three) further removed from the content business.” Yet here, too, they might take a leap since “their historical core businesses are not exactly growing, and they could amass the financial resources.”
Related: What A Comcast-TWC Could Mean For Hollywood
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Larry Kudlow‘s 7 PM ET CNBC program, The Kudlow Report will end its run at the end of this month, with Kudlow staying on as a senior contributor to the business network’s business-day programs. No word yet as to a replacement program. Kudlow, who has been a part of CNBC for its 25-year history, had headlined The Kudlow Report since January of ’09, after hosting Kudlow & Company from ’05 to 0’8., and partnering with Jim Cramer in Kudlow & Cramer before that. “In my career, I have encountered few television hosts with Larry’s range,” CNBC president Mark Hoffman said in a memo to staff, a copy of which was obtained by TVNewser. “As an interviewer, he is unfailingly polite and energetic, skillfully grilling guests but always ending a segment graciously. Larry has always brought great enthusiasm to every program and appearance.”
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EXCLUSIVE: Resolution has signed new directors Nadav Schirman and Mike Tully. Schirman’s first film, the Israel-Germany co-production The Champagne Spy, won the Israeli Academy Award for Best Documentary, was nominated for the European Film Prize, and won the John Schlesinger Award for Outstanding First Feature. It is being remade by Bille August and producer Uli Limmer. Schirman followed with In The Darkroom, a feature length docu that is part of a trilogy that continues with The Green Prince, based the nonfiction book Son Of Hamas. Schirman is produced by Schirman through his Frankfurt based A List Films GmbH, in collaboration with Oscar winning producers John Batsek (One Day In September) and Simon Chinn (Man On Wire).
Also signed is Tully, whose Sundance film Ping Pong Summer came out of that festival with a deal from Gravitas.The film stars Susan Sarandon, and centers on an awkward teen who attempts to become a master breakdancer, ping pong player and ladies man all before the end of a summer break in 1985. The film is based on Tully’s own childhood experiences.
Katie Holmes has landed a series regular role in ABC’s Richard LaGravenese drama pilot. In the vein of Dangerous Liaisons, the untitled project is set in New York and revolves around the love and rivalry between two equally matched, powerful socialites, Philip Fitzgerald Julien (Rufus Sewell) and Margot Worth Cole, who play out their obsessive attraction and seduction of each other through their manipulation of others. Holmes will play Ann, a woman of education and breeding who, with her husband, runs a philanthropic foundation that helps bring clean water to African villages.
Related: 2014 ABC Pilots
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Bob Berney‘s company has grabbed all U.S. rights to the latest from the team behind the Lionsgate slasher pic You’re Next. The Guest, from director Adam Wingard, writer Simon Barrett and Snoot Entertainment, follows a family who takes in a young soldier who claims to be a good friend of their son who was killed in action. But when people in their town start turning up dead, the teenage daughter becomes suspicious of their guest. Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Leland Orser, Lance Reddick and Sheila Kelley star in the film, which is screening as a Midnighter at SXSW after bowing at Sundance in January. CAA brokered the deal for The Guest. Picturehouse is planning a fall release.
Related: SXSW: Oscilloscope Acquires Joel Potrykus’ Comedy ‘Buzzard’