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Comic-Con: ‘Penny Dreadful’ Showrunner John Logan Teases Season 2 & New “Human” Villain

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 4:47pm PDT

Comic-Con: ‘Penny Dreadful’ Showrunner John Logan Teases Season 2 & New “Human” VillainSan Diego is about to get a Gothic horror visit from Victorian England today and John Logan is about to let Penny Dreadful get truly uninhibited. “A lot of Season 1, for me, was actually putting the playing pieces on the board,” says the Oscar nominated scribe of the Showtime series of 19th century iconic supernatural misfits he created. “Now I feel we’ve had 8 hours to do that, to establish the landscape and so now I really get to play,” the first time showrunner adds with a laugh. “I can create more and more complex patterns of the relationships of the characters and of the supernatural element as well,” the Gladiator and Skyfall writer says. “In terms of the second season, I’ve written all but two of the episodes. So, the last two are yet to be written. So I’m well ahead of the game there, and the actors will all be getting it the end of this month.

Penny Dreadful Comic-ConIn just over a month since Dreadful’s rather spectacularly blood soaked Season 1 finale, Logan will be taking the stage in Ballroom 20 of the San Diego Convention Center this evening with cast members Harry Treadaway, Reeve Carney and Josh Hartnett. If he returns next year, he may be bringing a few more people with him and not just absent leads Timothy Dalton and Eva Green. “I’m teasing out from the characters I really love … Read More »

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Sony Pictures Vice Chairman Jeff Blake Exiting Studio After 22 Years

By | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 8:06am PDT

Sony Pictures Vice Chairman Jeff Blake Exiting Studio After 22 YearsEXCLUSIVE: Jeff Blake, who has served as vice chairman of Sony Pictures and chairman of worldwide marketing and distribution for Sony Pictures since 2005, is leaving the studio that he has been a part of for the past 22 years. Part of the innermost circle of Sony’s senior management team with CEO Michael Lynton and chair of Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group Amy Pascal, the departure is a real shake-up for the studio at the highest level. Blake is the stalwart pro and has been one of the longest survivors at any studio. He worked under several Sony regimes including that of Peter Guber and Mark Canton, Jonathan Dolgen, Alan Levine, Robert Wynne, Mel Harris, the beloved John Calley, Howard Stringer, and finally Lynton and Pascal. He exits August 1.

Sony announced it at 8 AM this morning, saying, “It’s with a heavy heart and great appreciation that we want to share with you news that Jeff Blake has decided to leave SPE to pursue other opportunities … he’s been an important part of the fabric of SPE. We have all loved his legendary role as raffle master at our annual holiday party, enjoyed his gregarious laugh and sense of humor and appreciate his reputation as one of the nicest and most easy-going guys in the business.”

Image (1) sony-pictures-logo__140323172613.jpeg for post 703140With Blake’s departure, the studio loses an executive with institutional and strategic knowledge of not only marketing and distribution both domestically and internationally, but on the business itself. He has worked at three studios, having joined the business in 1974 working for Paramount Pictures in Chicago. He has also worked with the best known names in the business at Paramount and at Sony (and even a short stint at Disney) – from Charlie Bludhorn and Barry Diller to Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Stanley Jaffe, Frank Mancuso, the wonderful Brandon Tartikoff, the aforementioned executives and so many others. Katzenberg and Mancuso became Blake’s lifetime friends and mentors.

decode-pascal-articleInlineHis departure comes after Pascal and Lynton and the rest of SPE’s senior management have been under tremendous pressure after a rough round last summer and a hit-and-miss year so far in 2014. Pascal and Lynton have spent this past year making changes at the studio and shoring up their ranks with execs like Michael De Luca coming in as president of production at Columbia, and the announcement last week that Doug Belgrad is expanding duties with a new president of the motion picture group title. Those expanded responsibilities included working with the marketing and distribution team which also saw changes last year. Sony has undergone extreme cost-cutting at the studio as well with layoff after layoff. They have also worked to bring in co-financing deals and closed a big one with Lone Star Capital and Citibank, a smaller agreement with Village Roadshow and have also been waiting for former Warner Bros. executive Jeff Robinov to secure financing to start producing movies to distribute.

“Certainly there has been an air of change at Sony for the past couple of years,” said Blake. “I put it out there prior to our summer if at some point, I needed to step aside that I certainly would but, in the meantime, I wanted to make sure that there were no distractions in releasing our summer slate. I’m really comfortable with my decision, Read More »

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Movie Academy Invites 271 New Members

Movie Academy Invites 271 New MembersThe 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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Europe Remains Key To Intl Box Office, Despite Big Growth In Emerging Markets

Reporting from Barcelona…

european unionStudio executives and international exhibitors are gathered this week in Barcelona for the annual CineEurope conference. Akin to CinemaCon, the event is an occasion for studios to tubthump their upcoming slates through the rest of 2014 and into 2015. On the ground are reps from DreamWorks, Warner Bros, Universal, Fox, Paramount, Disney, Sony, Mister Smith, Studiocanal and eOne. There are also representatives of some Chinese, and other non-European, companies on the trade show floor as international box office increasingly expands. Year-on-year, the overseas box office is up about 5% from January to May. The top market increases are estimated to be China (+17%), France (+17%), Brazil (+16%), Mexico (+8%), Russia (+5%) and Italy (+3%). Still, with seemingly every week a new record broken in China, and the growing impact of markets like Brazil, Russia and Korea, folks say Europe nevertheless continues to be the major overseas driver for Hollywood.

“The UK, Germany and France remain a critical part of our business,” says a studio exec. Like the U.S., they are mature and not growing in the same way as the emerging markets, but are “hugely important to our overall international business, if not more important.” Because emerging markets will eventually mature as well, I’m told the studios can’t “afford to rely” on them alone. “We need to focus on making our movies work in these mature markets, so they remain strong consumers of our movies.”

Importantly, another studio … Read More »

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Michael Gambon Leads Cast Of J.K. Rowling’s HBO/BBC Miniseries ‘The Casual Vacancy’

By | Friday June 6, 2014 @ 7:11am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

gambonHarry Potter star Michael Gambon is reuniting with the author on whose books the movies were based, J.K. Rowling. Gambon will topline the HBO/BBC three-part miniseries The Casual Vacancy, the adaptation of Rowling’s follow-up book to the Harry Potter series. Also starring in the mini are  Keeley Hawes (Line Of Duty), Rory Kinnear (Skyfall), Monica Dolan (Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa), Julia McKenzie (Notes On A Scandal), and Rufus Jones (Bil). Directed by Jonny Campbell from a script by Sarah Phelps, Casual Vacancy centers on Pagford, a seemingly idyllic English village with a cobbled market square and ancient abbey. Behind the pretty façade, however, is casual-vacancya town at war: rich vs. poor, teenagers vs. parents, wives vs. husbands, teachers vs. pupils. Gambon plays Howard Mollison, owner of the Pagford delicatessen; Dolan plays Tess Wall; McKenzie plays Howard’s wife, Shirley Mollison; Jones plays Howard’s son, Miles Mollison; Hawes plays Miles’ wife, Samantha Mollison; and Kinnear plays Barry Fairbrother. Also cast in the project are Simon McBurney (Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy) as Tess’ husband, Colin Wall; Keeley Forsyth (Coronation Street) as Terri Weedon; newcomer Abigail Lawrie as Terri’s daughter, Krystal Weedon; Richard Glover (A Field In England) as Simon Price; Marie Critchley (In The Flesh) as Simon’s wife, Ruth Price; and Michelle Austin (Secrets & Lies). Casting of several other roles continue, with filming scheduled to begin July 7 in South West England. Read More »

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UPDATE: Soundelux Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy; Pink Slips For 30

By | Wednesday May 21, 2014 @ 3:29pm PDT

2ND UPDATE, 3:29 PM: Today’s closures of Soundelux’s facilities in Hollywood and Santa Monica have resulted in layoffs of about 30 of the historic postproduction Todd-Soundelux_logosound studio’s 200 employees, said Leslie Cohen, the company’s bankruptcy attorney. “There are no further imminent layoffs expected at this time,” she said, noting that the company’s Burbank facilities remain open for business. “The company is still in business and intends to stay in business, and will satisfy all of its commitments to its customers, pay its creditors, and will sell the business as a going concern. The bank is consenting to the company’s further operations and restructuring efforts.” Read More »

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Showtime’s ‘Penny Dreadful’ Debuts OK, ‘Game Of Thrones’ Down, ‘Veep’ Hits High

By | Monday May 12, 2014 @ 3:27pm PDT

penny dreadfulIt was a night of bloody Victorian beginnings, some tribulations in Westeros and D.C. season highs on cable Sunday. The beginning was the premiere of Showtime’s new 19th century horror series Penny Dreadful. Created by Oscar-nominated scribe John Logan and exec produced by Skyfall director Sam Mendes, the 10 PM series debut drew just 872,000. That’s a far drop from the 1.35 million Ray Donovan got when it debuted on June 30 last year in the same time slot. With a stronger lead-in of Dexter as compared to Californication last night, the debut of the Hollywood fixer series last summer was the best original series premiere in Showtime’s history. Over the multiple plays last night, Penny Dreadful had a total of 1.443 million viewers. Of note is that 895,000 of those viewers, or 62%, were in the adults 18-49 demo – the best such result for a Showtime drama since Dexter launched in 2006 with 65% demo in its total viewership. Over all its plays, last night’s grouping of Victorian icons was also a slight 5% gain on what Homeland and Masters Of Sex had in their 2011 and 2013 fall debuts. Also of note is that Penny Dreadful’s premiere episode has been available online for the past two weeks and attracted 900,000 Showtime subscribers. Read More »

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Cannes: Voltage Brings ‘Prisoner Of War’ To Croisette

By | Friday May 9, 2014 @ 2:44pm PDT
Mike Fleming

voltagepicturesVoltage Pictures has set the sci-fi thriller Prisoner Of War, which Joe Miale will direct with Alex Russell (Chronicle) in negotiations to star alongside Bérénice Marlohe (Skyfall). The film tells the story of humankind’s last stand against a cataclysmic alien invasion. Set in the war-ravaged African countryside, a U.S. soldier and a French foreign aid worker team up to survive the alien onslaught. Cannes2014_badgeAs they journey through the battlefield in search of refuge, their bond will be tested when the soldier discovers his true identity. The film will begin production in September on location in South Africa.

Automatik’s Brian Kavanaugh-Jones is producing alongside Rory Aitken and Ben Pugh, and Tea Shop & Film Company’s James Harris. Zev Foreman and Nicolas Chartier will also be producing for Voltage. Mark Lane will co-produce for Tea Shop & Film. Read More »

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MGM Joins Studios That Sell Movies To Comcast Customers

By | Wednesday April 30, 2014 @ 6:26am PDT

Comcast-new-logo__130212144603-200x112Los Angeles, CA and Philadelphia, PA – April 30, 2014 – Comcast and MGM Television (MGM) today announced that Comcast will begin to make MGM content available through the Xfinity On Demand digital store. Xfinity TV customers can own and access movies anytime, anywhere, on any device, often before the DVD release.

The list of stellar MGM fan favorites to be added to the Xfinity On Demand store will include: Bull Durham, Capote, Carrie (2013), Fargo, The Graduate, Hoosiers, Hot Tub Time Machine, Legally Blonde, The Princess Bride, the Rocky franchise, Skyfall, The Silence Of The Lambs, The Usual Suspects, Thelma & Louise, West Side Story and When Harry Met Sally as well as the hit television series Vikings. MGM’s content will debut on Comcast with the 2014 film RoboCop on Digital HD on May 20, 2014.

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Ex-Aardman Exec Launches UK Animation Studio Backed By Elisabeth Murdoch

sarah smithFormer Aardman Animation Creative Director Sarah Smith is branching out on her own, creating the UK’s first dedicated high-end CG feature animation studio, Locksmith Animation. The new shingle’s focus will be on creating a long-term slate of CG-animated pics for a worldwide audience. Locksmith has received backing from Elisabeth Murdoch, who is the principle shareholder and made the investment in a personal capacity, as well as VFX house Double Negative which will collaborate closely with the company. This is a major development in the UK toon sector following the introduction of the animation tax credit last year.

locksmithSmith made her animation debut as director and co-writer of 2011′s Arthur Christmas, and co-exec produced The Pirates! Band Of Misfits in 2012. Her other credits include producing UK TV series The League Of Gentlemen, and several collaborations with Armando Iannucci. She joined Aardman in 2006. Double Negative, a major player in Britain’s bustling VFX arena, counts credits that include The Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall, Les Misérables, Fast & Furious 6, Captain Phillips, Rush, Man Of Steel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Transcendence and Godzilla. Smith said today, “With animated films among the most beloved and successful movies in the world, but still only a handful of producers out there, the UK offers Locksmith a unique opportunity, including a world class CG Visual FX industry, brilliant comedy writers and … Read More »

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Netflix’s ‘Marco Polo’ Taps Lorenzo Richelmy As Lead; 5 Others Join Cast

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 7:30am PDT

Marco PoloThe streaming service has put together a decidedly international cast for its upcoming drama about the legendary 13th century traveler. Italian actor Lorenzo Richelmy stars as the title character in Marco Polo, which has begun filming in Venice before moving on to Kazakhstan and the new Pinewood Studios in Malaysia. Richelmy starred in the Italian dramedy Terra e vento and has appeared in other films including Fat Cat and Terzo tempo. The cast also includes England’s Benedict Wong (Prometheus), netflix_logo2China’s Zhu Zhu (Cloud Atlas), Hong Kong-born and London-raised Tom Wu (Skyfall), Aussie Remy Hii (Treading Water) and Washington, D.C. native Rick Yune (Olympus Has Fallen). Creator John Fusco and Harvey Weinstein are executive producing the Weinstein Co. drama, which received a 10-episode straight-to-series order in January. Kon-Tiki helmers Joachim Ronning & Espen Sandberg are directing the first two episodes. Dan Minahan is exec producing and also directing two episodes. The series is set in China during the 1200s — a world replete with astonishing martial arts, sexual intrigue, political skullduggery and spectacular battles. Netflix plans to debut Marco Polo late this year.

Related: ‘Marco Polo’ Crew Mourns Ju Kun; Asst Martial Arts Choreographer Is Among Missing On Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

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‘Noah’ Late Nights Tally $1.6M On Road To No. 1, ‘Divergent’ Expected at No. 2, Third May Be ‘Budapest Hotel’ Or Schwarzenegger-Starrer ‘Sabotage’

By | Friday March 28, 2014 @ 8:34am PDT

hi-res-still-from-noah-movieThe dark epic Darren Aronofsky film Noah got off to a good start domestically last night in late nights that started at 7 PM taking in an estimated $1.6M for Paramount and New Regency. Also, word is from distributors that the early matinees in N.Y. look good. The opening of Noah doesn’t reflect the numbers or the group sales that Son of God had for Fox. That faith-based pic surprised everyone last month when it took in $1.2M from shows that began at 10 p.m. So, in other words, Noah is opening more like a mainstream studio movie, which is not surprising given that it stars Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly. The demo on the picture is definitely skewing older and Paramount is comparing it to Gravity, noting that Noah is playing just above it — Gravity made $1.4M in late nights. However, Gravity started at 10 p.m. for Warner Bros. so had less playtime and neither its opening weekend nor its gross is expected to touch Gravity, which opened to $55M and went on to make $273.1M domestically. Tracking has it anywhere between $40M and $45M for the 3-day domestically but others have it in the high 30s, so after more grosses come in tonight, everyone will have a better estimate.

Noah already opened overseas in Mexico (where the Catholic faith is prominent) and Korea to a combined $14M. The movie grossed $8.3M at 500 dates for the No. 1 … Read More »

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MGM Trumpets Its Strong 2013 Financials Despite A Weak Q4

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 12:21pm PDT

mgmIt’s easy to see why the studio would rather focus on the 12-month results. With hit films including Skyfall and The Hobbit, and TV series Vikings and Teen Wolf, full-year revenues jumped 11% to $1.53B. Net income at $122.2M fell 5% but would be up 97% if you factor out the company’s asset sales in 2012 including its $55.6M gain from the sale of MGM Networks. “Growth in revenue and profitability was above our expectations and our operating income of $202 million is higher than any known or reported amount in MGM’s 90-year history,” CEO Gary Barber says. But we pretty much already knew that from the results in the first nine months. What about the new figures for Q4? The company has little to say about that. MGM had to report costs tied to the December release of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug before most of the sales rolled in. That contributed to a 69.6% drop in net income to $12.2M on revenues of $463.7M, – 69.6%. MGM appears to be unfazed as it crows about a 2014 film slate that includes 22 Jump Street, Hercules, If I Stay, and The Hobbit: There And Back Again, as well as a TV lineup that includes the new series Fargo.

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UPDATE: Intl Box Office: ‘Need For Speed’ Adds $29.2M For No. 1; ‘Noah’ Reigns In Mexico & Korea With $14M; ‘Peabody & Sherman’ Crosses $100M; ‘Spanish Affairs’ Muy Caliente; Asian Pics Advance; More

Highlights: Noah (PAR) floods Mexico and Korea with opening cume of $14M; Muppets Most Wanted (DIS) scores $1.5M in eight debut markets; Need For Speed (DIS/var) drives another $29.2M; 300: Rise Of An Empire (WB) seizes further $21.2M; Mr Peabody & Sherman (FOX) at $103M; Rio 2 (FOX) flies to $10.5M in Russia/Ukraine; The Grand Budapest Hotel (FOX) has extra room for $9.7M; Frozen (DIS) nearing Toy Story 3‘s record; Uni’s 8 Apellidos Vascos (aka Spanish Affairs) still seducing Spain; trio of Asian pics enters Top 20…

cinemaworld6TH UPDATE, MON, 12:43 PM PT: Final numbers are in now for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Monuments Men as well as Ride Along, 300: Rise of an Empire and The Lego Movie (which grossed more than previously thought). Final numbers also came in Monday night for Oscar Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave which added another $3.9M to raise its international cume to $121.7M, most of its gross has come from the U.K. with $32.7M; the film has made $178M worldwide. Lionsgate opened Divergent in 18 international markets, but are not releasing numbers as yet. We are using Rentrak which has five small territories (see below for more info on that). Lionsgate, as they always do, pre-licensed international so there are many distributors handling the film in their prospective territories. The big territory rollout for Divergent will be April 4 in the U.K., Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Mexico, and Finland, followed April 11 by France, Germany, Russia, Australia, Denmark and Norway. Read More »

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SXSW: Showtime’s ‘Penny Dreadful’ Debuts Juan Antonio Bayona-Helmed Premiere Episode

By | Sunday March 9, 2014 @ 8:51pm PDT

Penny Dreadful Showtime SXSWLiterary and cinematic roots run deep in Showtime’s new psychosexual horror series Penny Dreadful, which debuts in May with an episode helmed by The Orphanage director Juan Antonio Bayona. Josh Hartnett, Eva Green, Timothy Dalton, and Harry Treadaway star in the show created by Oscar-nominated scribe John Logan and exec produced by Sam Mendes which crosses the mythologies of iconic horror figures from Frankenstein, Dracula, and Dorian Gray lore in a Victorian England setting. “We wanted to pay respects to the mythology but bring them to a new level,” said Bayona of the show’s twisty take on well-known stories and characters.

Coincidentally, another thread connects the Penny Dreadful gang in front of and behind the camera. “There’s a lot of James Bond on this show: John wrote Skyfall, Sam directed it, Eva was in Casino Royale – I said to someone, I think I’m being groomed for the next Bond movie,” said Hartnett at a Q&A following the premiere of Penny Dreadful’s first episode Sunday at SXSW. Hartnett plays American gunslinger Ethan Chandler, who is recruited by Sir Malcolm (Dalton, a former 007 himself) and the enigmatic Vanessa Ives (Green) for a supernatural mission in London. The gothic series is one of a handful of television projects highlighted this year in SXSW’s new programming slate devoted to episodic /TV content.

Related: Showtime Lands Horror Drama From John Logan & Sam Mendes Read More »

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Tribeca 2014 Reveals Spotlight, Midnight & Special Screenings Slate

By | Thursday March 6, 2014 @ 9:00am PST

tribecaThe Tribeca Film Festival continues to roll out its lineup for this year’s  13th edition, which kicks off April 16. Here is the program slates for the Spotlight, Midnight, Special Screenings and Storyscapes sections. The fest’s shorts program will be unveiled Tuesday. Here are today’s films, which include Spotlight spots for Roman Polanksi’s Venus In Fur, the Robin Williams-starrer Boulevard from Dito Montiel, world premieres of films directed by actors Chris Messina and Courteney Cox, and of course the horror comedy Zombeavers:

Related: Tribeca Film Festival Unveils Competition Slate

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Sony Q3 Operating Income Up, Movie Division Down; PC Unit To Be Sold & TV Spun Off Cutting 5,000 Jobs

By | Thursday February 6, 2014 @ 12:08am PST

sony_logo__120321193753__131022211432-200x150In a move that was expected, Sony will sell off its Vaio personal computer business to investment firm Japan Industrial Partners, the company said this morning in Tokyo. Also on the electronics side, the company is continuing with a restructure of its TV business, with plans to spin the division off by July. As a result of the measures, Sony anticipates it will cut 5,000 jobs by the end of the 2014 fiscal year. The announcements were made as Sony reported consolidated financial results for the third quarter ended December 31, 2013, and adjusted its forcast for the fiscal year to a $1.08B loss. That’s compared to a previous estimate of a $295M profit. Restructuring costs of $690M are partly responsible for the revised figures. Overall, sales and operating revenue were up 23.9% to $22.9B, boosted by the new PlayStation 4 game console, which sold more than 4.2M units since its November launch. Operating income was also up to $860M. In the movie division, sales were down 13% on a U.S. dollar basis. Operating income dropped to $231M. The motion picture division saw lower theatrical and home entertainment revenues, despite the strong performance of Captain Phillips and Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2. The same quarter last year had Skyfall still in theaters while The Amazing Spider-Man and Men In Black 3 were clicking on the home entertainment front. On a U.S. dollar basis, … Read More »

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International Box Office: ‘Robocop’ Stomps Into Asia; ‘Monkey’ Is King In China; Russian ‘VIY’ Breaks Records; ‘Smaug’ Hits $600M

By | Sunday February 2, 2014 @ 7:46pm PST

cinemaworld1There are strong debuts and holds for Hollywood in the international marketplace this week, despite a drop of about 25% from the similar frame last year when Django Unchained was the top film overseas. (Last week, international box office was off about 50%, so that’s an improvement of sorts.) Still, a fair few movies are making, and breaking records — especially in China. While Monday-morning quarterbacks have been gearing up for today’s Super Bowl, in the rest of the world where football is played without shoulder pads and where the Big Game isn’t due til this July, audiences flocked to movies in such diverse places as China, Russia, Germany, Korea and France. Notably, the Chinese New Year began on January 31 and with it came The Monkey King. The film took $46M in seven territories, and broke records at home, while TV reality series transfer Dad, Where Are We Going? grossed $34M (more below).

roboopThe only new studio entry on the international scene this week was MGM and Columbia Pictures’ Robocop which blasted its way into three territories in Asia. The movie, starring Joel Kinnaman, strategically bowed in Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore – taking advantage of the Chinese Lunar New Year – and scored a strong opening with $5.5M and a No. 1 trifecta. Robocop does not yet have a China date, although that’s expected to be clarified shortly. … Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Netflix Execs Headed Back To France For Expansion Talks; Patrick Malone Joins Goldcrest Post; More

Netflix Execs Headed Back To France For More Expansion Talks
Last week, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the company was eyeing “substantial” European expansion in 2014. His comments came a little more than a month after execs from the streaming service met with staff of French President François Hollande to discuss an entry into France. According to local media reports, Netflix execs now are due to return to France to meet with industry folk within the next week. Pascal Rogard, head of authors’ rights group the SACD, told Le Figaro that the situation is coming into focus with a possible launch later this netflix_logo2year. Netflix is available in 41 countries including France’s neighbors to the north such as the UK, the Netherlands and the Nordic region. A French launch has been rumored over the years, but moving into the fiercely protected territory is ornery in part due to a complex film-windows chronology that prohibits movies from appearing on monthly SVOD services until three years after a theatrical release. There is no such protection for TV series, but Netflix’s House Of Cards already airs on local pay-TV leader Canal Plus, which would see the service’s arrival as competition. In a conversation with analysts, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos was asked last week whether the service would be out of certain markets with its key originals because it had already sold them to local providers. “It depends,” he said. “There’s multiple windows, and we’ll continue to have those negotiations as we get closer to those launches.” It’s expected that should Netflix enter France, it would have to adhere to obligations to invest in local content. Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti told Le Journal du Dimanche this weekend, “Netflix should be an additional player, not a stowaway.” It’s also believed that Netflix is eyeing a move into Germany. With regard to expansion, MoffettNathanson Research’s Michael Nathanson said last week that “it remains difficult to figure out the ultimate size and value of Netflix’s international opportunity” due to the company’s “undisclosed new market entries, minimal transparency and continual reinvestment.” Read More »

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