Nearly 10 years after The Lord Of The Rings trilogy wrapped its record-breaking run with a best picture Oscar and more than $3 billion in worldwide ticket sales, director Peter Jackson has done the last thing he expected: He got the band back together for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. “I came away from Lord Of The Rings with 266 days of shooting three movies and thought I’d never do that again in my life,” says Jackson. “Then we sat down at the first production meeting on The Hobbit, and I flipped to the last page of the schedule, and it was 266 days! It was exactly the same length of time! And I just said, ‘I cannot believe I find myself back at this place again.’ ”
The first in a new trilogy adapting the first book in J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic Middle Earth mythology, Jackson and his crew’s steady hand on The Hobbit offers reassuring creative continuity while pushing the technical envelope by adding stereoscopic 3D and, most controversially, shooting at 48 frames per second.
Just ahead of its official bow, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will screen for Britain’s royal family as the 65th Royal Film Performance. The event will take place December 12 and benefits the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, which cares for UK industry employees and their families who are suffering hardship. Warner Bros UK chief Josh Berger said, “It’s fitting that this film, with a significant number of British cast and crew, will help support the great work the CTBF does for those most in need in the UK’s film and television community.” British castmembers include Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Ian Holm, Andy Serkis, Luke Evans and Benedict Cumberbatch. Warner Bros releases the film December 14.
The latest tease for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey dropped this morning. The merry dwarves are back along with menacing monsters and fresh footage since the first trailer from last December. This one also has extra Gollum. This will be the first picture in what recently became a trilogy of Hobbit movies. In July, it was confirmed that Jackson would split what was a planned two-picture story into three films from JRR Tolkien’s book and 125 pages of appendices that the author included in a later publication of final Lord Of The Rings installment, The Return Of The King. Set in Middle-earth, 60 years before LOTR, The Hobbit trilogy kicks off with n Unexpected Journey on December 14 this year, followed by The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug on Dec. 13, 2013 and The Hobbit: There And Back Again on July 18, 2014.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is set to premiere in Wellington in late November 2012, director Sir Peter Jackson and Prime Minister John Key announced today at the Hobbiton set in Waikato. Wellington previously hosted the world premiere of the final Lord of the Rings movie, Return of the King, in December 2003. Over 100,000 people packed into the city’s CBD to watch the preceding parade. “I think Warner Bros. in particular were blown away by the Return of the King premiere – no one in the international industry could quite believe how the country got behind that,” Sir Peter said today. An Unexpected Journey hits theaters December 14, 2012. The second movie The Hobbit: There and Back Again opens December 13, 2013.
You can watch Jackson’s complete (11:19) announcement here.
Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will have its world premiere November 28 in New Zealand — two weeks before its U.S. debut and on Jackson’s home turf. Warner Bros bows the film in the states December 14, 2012; the second film in the series, The Hobbit: There And Back Again, is set for domestic release December 13, 2013. New Line Cinema and MGM teamed on the movies, the prequels to the JRR Tolkein novels that begat Jackson’s The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Filming on the Hobbit movies is taking place at Stone Street Studios in Wellington and on location throughout New Zealand.
Warner Bros has unleashed the second trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, due out in the U.S. on December 13th. The sequel to Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the second of three MGM- and Warner-produced movies adapted from JRR Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings prequel novel. Martin Freeman returns as Bilbo Baggins along with Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Cate Blanchett as Galadriel. Orlando Bloom takes up Legolas’ quiver and Evangeline Lilly joins the troupe this time around. Benedict Cumberbatch voices the titular dragon:
The sequel to Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is due out December 13 from Warner Bros, the second of three MGM- and Warners-produced movies adapted from JRR Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings prequel novel. Here’s the first look at the The Desolation Of Smaug, which introduces the titular dragon voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch:
The slate of nominations for Best Animated Features this year are A Letter To Momo (GKIDS), Despicable Me 2(Universal Pictures), Ernest & Celestine (GKIDS), Frozen (Walt Disney Animation Studios), Monsters University(Pixar Animation Studios), The Croods (DreamWorks Animations), and The Wind Rises (Studio Ghibli and The Walt Disney Studios). Winners will be announced during the 41st Annual Annie Awards ceremony February 1 at UCLA’s Royce Hall. The full list of nominees follows: Read More »
The hit movies are the gifts that keep on giving for MGM. In addition to the jump in revenues, the studio says that James Bond and the residents of Middle Earth helped to raise Q3 net income by $23M vs the period last year — once you factor out last year’s $48.5M gain from the sale of MGM Networks to Liberty Global’s Chellomedia. The reported results, including last year’s sale, shows net income of $16.59M, -29%, with the revenue boost to $242.9M. TV licensing was +84% with pay TV and streaming revenues for Skyfall and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as well as TV series Vikings and Teen Wolf. MGM says that there was “no similar film content” moving through its pipelines last year. The privately held company also reports that it doubled its share repurchase plan to $150M. That indicates MGM’s “continued confidence in the company and its prospects,” CEO Gary Barber says.
LOS ANGELES, CA (November 11, 2013) – The Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced today that acclaimed filmmaker Peter Jackson, visual effects artist Joe Letteri and Weta Digital will receive the Producers Guild’s 2014 Vanguard Award. The award will be presented to Jackson, Letteri and Weta Digital at the 25th Annual Producers Guild Awards ceremony on Sunday, January 19th at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.
Jackson and Letteri‘s Academy Award-winning visual effects powerhouse Weta Digital is a world leader in all areas of digital visual effects production, having created some of the most astounding effects ever seen onscreen. Their motion picture credits include such hits as THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, AVATAR and KING KONG, among many others.
The Producers Guild’s Vanguard Award recognizes achievements in new media and technology. Previous recipients include James Cameron, Stan Lee, George Lucas, John Lasseter, YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, and game designer Will Wright, as well as RealD’s Michael V. Lewis and Joshua Greer.
The Royal Film Performance is the major annual fundraising event for the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, the UK charity that cares for industry employees and their families who are suffering hardship. Last year, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was the gala pic. This year, the CTBF is going with Justin Chadwick’s Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. It will screen in London on December 5th for members of the Royal Family along with the cast and filmmakers. The biopic is a South African/British co-production and stars Idris Elba in the eponymous role with Naomie Harris as Winnie Mandela. Pathé releases it January 3rd in the UK. The Weinstein Co opens it Stateside in the heart of Awards Season on November 29th.
Scottish actors Graham McTavish (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 24) and Gary Lewis (Billy Elliot, Gangs Of New York) will join lead and fellow Scot Sam Heughan in Starz‘s upcoming drama series Outlander, based on Diana Gabaldon’s novels. Heughan was recently cast as Jamie Fraser, nephew to Dougal MacKenzie (McTavish) and Colum MacKenzie (Lewis) in the series which spans the genres of romance, science fiction, history and adventure in one epic tale. The first two episodes are being written by Battlestar Galactica alum Ronald Moore and directed by John Dahl (Dexter, Breaking Bad, Justified). Shooting is set to begin this fall in Scotland. Sony Pictures TV is producing the series with Tall Ship Productions, Story Mining and Supply Company and Left Bank Productions. It’s set to premiere on Starz in 2014. McTavish is repped by Cheri Barner Management and the Stone, Manners, Salners Agency; Lewis by CAA in the UK.
Researchers from the Munich School of Management and the Copenhagen Business School have published a paper examining the effects on box office revenues of the shutdown of Megaupload. The notorious cyberlocker was closed on January 19, 2012 and the result, the study concludes, is that the move may have actually dented the theatrical performance of some films. The research team used weekly data from 10,272 movies in 50 countries over the period 2007-2013 and found that the box office for a majority of movies didn’t increase, while the effect on a mid-range of pics was negative. Only blockbuster titles benefited from the absence of Megaupload, among them: Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs, The Avengers, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, in countries like Australia, Denmark, Italy, Israel, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates. The researchers argue that “smaller films” were impacted negatively because of “social network effects” whereby online piracy “acts as a mechanism to spread information about a good from consumers with low willingness to pay to consumers with high willingness to pay.” Word-of-mouth promotion, in other words, decreases when pirates aren’t there to share buzz. Without naming them, the researchers suggest these smaller films were affected negatively because they usually have limited marketing campaigns making word-of-mouth “a more important success driver.” Read More »
Mundial Grabs Sales For Kidnap Drama ‘A Wolf At The Door’ Mundial, the joint venture from IM Global and Canana, has boarded international sales on Brazilian title A Wolf At The Door. Written and directed by first-time feature helmer Fernando Coimbra, the dark suspense pic centers on the distraught parents of a kidnapped child. Leandra Leal (Cazuza: Time Doesn’t Stop), Milhem Cortaz (Elite Squad) and Fabíula Nascimento (Estomago: A Gastronomic story) star in the film which bows in Toronto.
BFI Taps Tricia Tuttle As Deputy Head Of Festivals
Tricia Tuttle has been named to the newly created role of deputy head of festivals for the BFI, responsible for delivering the annual programs for the BFI London Film Festival and the BFI Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. She will manage a team of programmers and program advisors to increase audience reach, attendance, participation and satisfaction and ensure cultural and commercial objectives are achieved. Tuttle previously was senior manager for film and skills at BAFTA. Read More »
The privately held studio says that revenues were up across all of its core businesses, but singled out contributions from the international release of home videos for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and the James Bond film Skyfall.The year over year results are slightly skewed by the $55.7M it recorded from a television asset sale in 2012. With that included, net income came in at $35.9M, -16% vs the period last year, on revenues of $339M, +164%. Without the asset sale, net income would have been up $30M in Q2. Although the studio had no new movies in theaters, worldwide theatrical revenue came in at $6.6M, +267%, as Unexpected Journey — released in December — finished its run. Worldwide home entertainment revenues were up 533% to $179.9M. And worldwide television licensing revenues rose 71% to $121.2M with VOD sales for Skyfall and ongoing sales for Vikings. MGM’s upcoming releases include Carrie (with Sony) and The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug(with Warner Bros.). Last month the company increased its credit facility by $100M, enabling it to tap as much as $750M.
MGM announced today it had tapped veteran TV exec Greg Robertson to head MGM International Television’s Asia Pacific office. In his newly created role, Senior VP Asia Pacific International TV, he will be based in Australia. Caroline Edwards will continue in her role as Vice President of Asia Pacific, MGM International Television Division, working directly with Robertson. Read More »
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is extending invitations to join the organization to 276 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 2013. “These individuals are among the best filmmakers working in the industry today,” said Academy President Hawk Koch. “Their talent and creativity have captured the imagination of audiences worldwide, and I am proud to welcome each of them to the Academy.”
The 2013 invitees are:
Jason Bateman – “Up in the Air,” “Juno”
Miriam Colon – “City of Hope,” “Scarface”
Rosario Dawson – “Rent,” “Frank Miller’s Sin City”
Kimberly Elise – “For Colored Girls,” “Beloved”
Joseph Gordon-Levitt – “Lincoln,” “The Dark Knight Rises”
Charles Grodin – “Midnight Run,” “The Heartbreak Kid”
Rebecca Hall – “Iron Man 3,” “The Town”
Lance Henriksen – “Aliens,” “The Terminator”
Jack Huston – “Not Fade Away,” “Factory Girl”
Milla Jovovich – “Resident Evil,” “Chaplin”
Lucy Liu – “Kill Bill: Vol. 1,” “Chicago”
Jennifer Lopez – “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” “Selena”
Alma Martinez – “Born in East L.A.,” “Under Fire”
Emily Mortimer – “Hugo,” “Lars and the Real Girl”
Sandra Oh – “Rabbit Hole,” “Sideways”
Paula Patton – “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Michael Peña – “End of Watch,” “Crash”
Emmanuelle Riva – “Amour,” “Hiroshima, Mon Amour”
Jason Schwartzman – “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Rushmore”
Geno Silva – “Mulholland Drive,” “Amistad”
Danny Trejo – “Machete,” “Heat”
Chris Tucker – “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Rush Hour”
(June 24, 2013 – Burbank, CA) Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced a new leadership team to run Warner Bros. Pictures Group, capitalizing on the proven strengths of a number of longtime Studio executives. Sue Kroll will now serve as President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures; Greg Silverman will now serve as President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, Warner Bros. Pictures; and Toby Emmerich will continue as President and COO, New Line Cinema, while adding responsibility for Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures. The announcement was made today by Kevin Tsujihara, CEO, Warner Bros., to whom all three executives will report.
Working closely with the management team, Dan Fellman, whose contract has been extended, will continue in his role as President, Domestic Distribution, reporting directly to Tsujihara. Veronika Kwan Vandenberg will continue as President, International Distribution, and ultimately assume responsibility for worldwide distribution, taking on the domestic distribution function upon the planned retirement of Fellman. Kwan Vandenberg will report to Kroll who, in addition to her marketing and distribution responsibilities, will continue to be involved in all aspects of Warner Bros. Pictures’ and New Line Cinema’s releases.
“Warner Bros. is the world’s preeminent motion picture studio with one of the most talented executive benches in the industry,” said Tsujihara. “Collectively, this team has more than 100 years at the company and broad experience across the film business, which will ensure that Warner Bros. Pictures continues as a respected leader in production, marketing and global distribution. I have every confidence that we will continue to deliver the industry’s most compelling, popular and successful movies.”