In case you missed this hysterical story from Chris Pratt on Late Night With Seth Meyers Wednesday night, the Parks and Recreation actor recounted when he opted to take a nude scene — a little too far. Pratt told Meyers, ”It’s kind of funny now because they’re not going to fire me — I don’t think, because we’re going to be done this year. Wait! They could. They sent me a letter saying that I’m not suppose to make a joke about this, so just so you know, this is really serious.” Unlike other comedians whose bad jokes ran afoul with the NBC suits in the past (i.e. Norm MacDonald’s Saturday Night Live Weekend Update stint and then NBC West Coast Executive Don Ohlmeyer), Pratt luckily lived to see another day. He stars in Disney/Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, opening Friday. Take a look at Pratt’s sitdown with Meyers:
EXCLUSIVE: David Singh, who has worked in creative advertising at both Disney and most recently at Sony Pictures Entertainment, is going to 20th Century Fox after leaving Sony two weeks ago. He is expected to be named exec vp of creative advertising working under Marc Weinstock, head of domestic marketing. He had served at Sony for three years working on a number of campaigns and left on his own volition. He previously worked at Disney for 10 years. Singh will work alongside Arnaldo D’Alfonso, executive vice president and creative director. Weinstock and Singh worked together at Sony and D’Alfonso and Singh worked together previously at Disney. They will be co-running the creative advertising department.
Disney/Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy and Universal’s James Brown biopic Get On Up both bow tonight in late nights but all eyes are on Guardians which storms into theaters at 7 PM. This is a title with a relatively unknown actor in the lead (Chris Pratt) and about minor characters in the Marvel Universe, so this is relying quite heavily on the Marvel brand. Will they wish they had Bradley Cooper in the starring role and Chris Pratt as the voice of the scene-stealing Rocket raccoon at the end of the day? Naawww. It works fine just as it is … better than fine. We expect it to go north of $70M. And Universal’s Get On Up may be only in the mid-teens as Lucy‘s second-weekend percentage drop is not likely to keep it out of the No. 2 spot. So No. 3 right now is up for grabs, depending on Hercules second weekend drop.
Get On Up, from Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment and Mick Jagger’s Jagger Films, bows in 2,466 theaters this weekend. Chadwick Boseman portrays the legendary singer in the film. Audiences will remember him from portraying Jackie Robinson in 42. Directing this one is Tate Taylor who helmed the 2012 Best Picture nominee The Help which won best supporting actress for Octavia Spencer who is also in Get On Up. With Viola Davis in this one, too, audiences can expect a quality film. It opens tonight at 8 PM.
But let’s get back to the film of the weekend: Guardians. Yeah, OK the marketing for Guardians comes across, at times, as a bit campy, but Marvel fans were asking for something original and Marvel definitely delivered. The film bows tonight in 4,080 theaters, making it the widest August release ever. It will be on 350 IMAX screens for the next few weekends; in addition, it debuts on 3,200 3D, 350 large formats and 240 D-Box — yes, D-Box. This is a picture that will play well with kids — and an exec noted that 90% of them are still out of school (HUGE plus) and the tracking shows it on fire with all quadrants right now. This could be the biggest August opening ever, surpassing Bourne Ultimatum‘s seven-year record of $69.2M.
EMMYS: TV Academy To Honor Casting Queen Marion Dougherty With Governors Award; Announces Juried Winners
Casting director Marion Dougherty will be posthumously awarded the 2014 Governors Award, the Television Academy said today. It will be presented, along with the Juried Award winners (also announced today) during the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Saturday, August 16 at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live.
Dougherty, who passed away in 2011, is being recognized for defining the role of the Casting Director, changing the profession for both television and film. She broke the mold of traditional casting, which commonly involved bringing in a large number of the same type of actors to read for a role. Instead, she would bring three or four very different actors to provide the director with casting options, and performers who could bring unique shadings to the roles. She used that approach in casting Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Martin Sheen, William Shatner, Christopher Walken, Robert Duval, Glenn Close and James Caan in some of their earliest roles.
Among her many achievements: suggesting to Norman Lear that Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton play Archie and Edith on Lear’s pilot for a new series called All In The Family; convincing Richard Donner to cast Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon even though his part was written for a white male; and casting Robin Williams in Garp, his first dramatic role.
There was a push in 1991 to get Dougherty the Honorary Lifetime Achievement Oscar — with the likes of Warner Bros’ Mark Rosenberg, Paula Weinstein, Newman, Woody Allen and Sydney Pollack behind the campaign — but that lobbying effort failed.
Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine star in Disney‘s adaptation of James Lapine’s Broadway musical Into The Woods. It follows the classic tales s of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel, all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch who has put a curse on them. Rob Marshall directs the pic that bows on December 25. Check out the first trailer that dropped this morning:
Not even the arrival of fast-selling sequel Mario Kart 8 could rev up sales of the Wii U game console, as one-time video game king Nintendo continued to struggle in its first quarter. Operating losses of 9.47 billion yen ($92.2M) were twice as bad as expected in consensus analyst estimates, while sales dropped more than 8 percent to 74.7 billion yen ($72.7M) despite sales of more than 2.8 million units of Mario Kart in the quarter.
There were modest signs of hope, as Wii U sales spiked more than three times from the same quarter a year ago, hitting 510,000 units. That still leaves the Wii U far behind Sony’s next-generation game console, the PS4, which has racked up 8.7 million units sold since its debut in November 2013, a year after the Wii U. Nintendo has sold fewer than 6.7 million units in 19 months.
Toonsmiths Get An Earful on Guild’s Pending ‘Wage Suppression’ Suit Against Disney, DreamWorks And Other Studios
The Animation Guild is gathering information for a possible “wage suppression” lawsuit against Hollywood’s major animation studios, members were informed on Tuesday night. The guild believes that toon studios, including Disney and DreamWorks, might have entered into an illegal pact not to recruit one another’s employees, thus suppressing their wages. Guild members were informed of the fact-finding mission during Tuesday night’s packed general membership meeting.
“It’s come to light that Disney, DreamWorks, and other studios may have participated in a … wage suppression cartel, and our members have been interested in the guild taking action on behalf of those who may have been damaged by having their compensation suppressed unlawfully,” guild organizer Steve Kaplan wrote on the IATSE Local 839’s website.
Celluloid lives to film another day: “After extensive discussions with filmmakers, leading studios and others who recognize the unique artistic and archival qualities of film, we have in place a plan that will enable us to continue production” of film stock, Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke says. The company once famous for “Kodak moments” will make about 450M linear feet of film — about 1/28 its output in 2006 as Hollywood has shifted to digital recording and projection.
Kodak was about to go to zero — with plans to close the last remaining film production plant, in Rochester, NY — before directors including Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Judd Apatow, and J.J. Abrams and several studios lobbied for a reprieve. (Abrams is shooting Star Wars Episode VII on film.) Kodak relented after Warner Bros, Universal, Paramount, Disney, and Weinstein Co. committed to buy a set amount of film stock for several years, the company says, confirming a report in The Wall Street Journal.
In its first collaboration, Paramount Digital Entertainment is teaming with Pitch Perfect’s Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman’s Brownstone Productions banner on the workplace comedy Resident Advisors. Banks and Handelman will exec produce and Ira Ungerleider (Friends) has come aboard to shepherd the project as both exec producer and director. Natalia Anderson will produce based on a pilot script written by Taylor Jenkins Reid and Alex Reid. The ensemble cast includes Ryan Hansen (2Broke Girls, Burning Love), Jamie Chung (Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, The Hangover Part II & III), Alison Rich (College Humor Originals), Andrew Bachelor (House Of Lies), Graham Rogers (Revolution) and Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect). Series is set in the most hormonally overloaded, sexually active, out-of-control workplace in the world: a college dorm. It follows a group of resident advisors as they navigate sex, drugs, and midterms.
Michael Andreen has been named SVP Production at Fox International Prods. and will assume his new role on August 1, Sanford Panitch, FIP’s president said today. FIP has a strong local-language business and Andreen’s hire likely indicates a ramping up in that area. It’s also a homecoming for Andreen at Fox. He previously served in various creative production capacities, working on titles including Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World and The Day After Tomorrow.
The fanboy Super Bowl is over. Who made the most of San Diego Comic-Con and who spit the bit? Here’s the view from Deadline staffers who endured endless movie and TV show presentations. We’ll start with features:
WARNER BROS: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Mad Max: Fury Road, Jupiter Ascending, The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
The best Comic-Con panels show fans things they’ve never seen before. From that standpoint, Warner Bros changed the game by making the Hall H experience seem larger. It turned the dark curtains covering 450 feet down the sides of the auditorium into a wraparound multimedia visual experience that left jaded geeks looking left and right in wonder at images that complemented the onstage presentation. Expect others to rip this off. For star power: Zack Snyder introduced his Batman v Superman stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, and Gal Gadot and offered glimpses of the film. Warner Bros also wowed with explosive footage from Mad Max: Fury Road, a film that looks like it could be the answer someday to this Trivial Pursuit question: What movie transformed Tom Hardy from a great actor into a big fucking movie star? Warner Bros also brought Middle Earth excitement to Hall H with a lengthy Hobbit: The Five Armies panel and footage that had LOTR fans aflutter.
MARVEL: Ant-Man, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Marvel is always the must-see panel; not so much this year. Maybe it was DC Comics’ turn to shine, and maybe being a sequel factory imposes limits on the surprise front. They trotted out the superstar Avengers lineup — been there, done that! — with additions Josh Brolin, Aaron Johnson, and Elizabeth Olsen. No Black Widow Scarlett Johansson, who was busy bitch-slapping Hercules at the box office in the Luc Besson film Lucy. Footage was OK, but Kevin Feige set a high bar for himself in past Cons, and this year he couldn’t clear it. Ant-Man brought Corey Stoll and Evangeline Lilly (already knew they were in the movie), and plans for a Guardians Of The Galaxy sequel were greeted by a collective “Duh!’ Feige could have told us what movies will fill all those release dates he recently staked out. He didn’t. Better luck next year, Marvel Man.
Giancarlo Esposito has joined the cast of NYC-set musical drama Stuck, about six strangers trapped on a stalled subway train. Filming is underway with a cast that includes Amy Madigan and singer-actress Ashanti. Esposito will play Lloyd, a mysterious homeless man who might offer more wisdom than expected.
Stuck is adapted from the stage play by Riley Thomas, who co-scripted with director Michael Berry; the helmer is set to release his drama Frontera, also co-starring Madigan alongside Ed Harris, Eva Longoria, and Michael Peña, this month. Esposito starred on the recent NBC series Revolution and was just announced as joining the cast of Disney’s The Jungle Book. He’s also in pre-production on his own project Patriotic Treason which he’ll direct, produce, and co-star opposite Ed Harris in the period retelling of the saga of abolitionist John Brown.
To quote the Thing from the Fantastic Four – “It’s clobberin time!” Just two days after Jack Kirby was honored at Comic-Con, lawyers for the heirs of the comic legend have replied to Marvel and Disney with a pummeling brief filed at the Supreme Court. “Respondents, although called to respond, do not address the legal issues. Instead, they focus on the wrong questions and the wrong court,” say lawyer Marc Toberoff and Tom Goldstein, a new attorney on the case, today. After failing repeatedly in lower courts, Lisa Kirby, Neal Kirby, Susan Kirby and Barbara Kirby petitioned the High Court on March 21 for a hearing. The heirs want SCOTUS to rule in favor of their assertion that they had the right in 2009 to issue dozens of termination notices to Marvel and others on the artist’s characters under the provisions of the 1976 Copyright Act.
The 16-year Disney veteran and had been president of Walt Disney Japan and now will be charged with running Disney’s Asia strategy and coordinating its businesses in the region. Paul Candland will report to Andy Bird, chairman of Walt Disney International. The Walt Disney Company also said tonight that Stanley Cheung has been promoted to chairman of TWDC Greater China. He was managing director. Here’s the release:
Burbank, Calif., July 28, 2014 – Underscoring the growing importance of Asia to The Walt Disney Company’s global growth strategy, Paul Candland has been named to the newly created position of president, The Walt Disney Company, Asia, with oversight of Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, and Greater China. Mr. Candland, a 16-year Disney veteran and president of Walt Disney Japan, will be responsible for driving the company’s strategy and coordinating all of its business efforts in Asia. He will report directly to Andy Bird, chairman Walt Disney International. Rob Gilby, managing director, TWDC South East Asia, will report to Mr. Candland.
Bluebirds of happiness were alighting at distributor Fox and creator Blue Sky Studios this week, as Rio 2 flew to the No. 1 spot in Rentrak’s weekly DVD and Blu-Ray sales charts in its home-entertainment debut. The sequel’s capering birds were followed at the top by two other animated hits beloved by kids and therefore their parents: Warner Bros’ The Lego Movie and Disney’s Oscar-winning and all-time animated box-office champ Frozen.
The theatrical arrival of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, another Fox film, likely caused its cinematic predecessor, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, to swing back near the top of the charts a whopping 136 weeks (more than 2 1/2 years) after it first arrived there.
FINAL: Intl Box Office: ‘Apes’ Dawns Again; ‘Godzilla’ Stomps Japan; ‘Hercules’ Muscles In; ‘Transformers’ $300M+ In China; Asia Action Ramps Up; More
3RD UPDATE, MONDAY 3:10 PM PT: All studios have reported actuals for the international weekend with no major discrepancies between the cumulative estimates reported Sunday and what’s come across today. Across the top titles, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes was up a tick to $54.84M from an estimated $54.4M; Transformers: Age Of Extinction was slightly lower at $36.9M versus $37.5M; Hercules was smack on with $28.7M; and How To Train Your Dragon 2 was up a whisker at $24.4M versus the $24M estimate.
One notable factoid is that for the 2nd weekend in a row, numbers on Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore comedy Blended are higher than expected. Yesterday, they were estimated at $3.8M in 47 markets. Today, Warner says the actuals are $4.25M. That takes the overseas cume to $66.6M – the domestic cume was $45.4M. In Brazil, the film has been especially strong, adding $1.7M this weekend for a local cume of $6.8M and a slight 18% drop from last frame. When I asked what the deal is with Sandler, Blended and Brazil, I was told that his films are roundly popular there where family fare is also big – and this one is now bigger than Grown Ups, 50 First Dates, Bedtime Stories, Don’t Mess With The Zohan and Chuck And Larry.
Along with the above films, all figures throughout the below have been updated on: Planes: Fire & Rescue, Godzilla, Step Up All In, Sex Tape, The Purge: Anarchy, Maleficent, The Fault In Our Stars, Mrs Brown’s Boys D’ Movie, 22 Jump Street, Deliver Us From Evil, Neighbors, Kick, Edge Of Tomorrow, and Boyhood.
DreamWorks Animation Taps Mark Zoradi As COO As It Promotes Ann Daly To President And Lew Coleman To Vice Chairman
The studio just announced the changes one day ahead of its Q2 earnings — and after watching its shares lose 35.4% of their value since the beginning of the year. “As DreamWorks [Animation] grows, we are focusing on creating a strong management structure that has the expertise and capacity to best serve the changing needs of our company,” CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg says. Mark Zoradi was president of Disney’s Motion Picture Group overseeing marketing and distribution until 2010. He also helped to launch Walt Disney Home Entertainment and The Disney Channel and served as General Manager of Buena Vista Television. He says that he’s “enthusiastic about the opportunity to join the talented DreamWorks team at a time of remarkable expansion and growth for the company” and plans to help “build and expand their reach with new businesses and venues.”
In the process, DWA elevated Ann Daly — who had been COO since it went public in 2004 — to president. Lew Coleman, who had been president, now becomes Vice-Chairman, and holds on to his other titles as Chief Financial Officer and Acting Chief Accounting Officer.
15th UPDATE, Monday, 2:00 PM: Lucy ended up the weekend just shy of $44M while Hercules did better on Sunday to get $29.8M and several other films did a notch better than expected from Sunday moviegoers. And So It Goes ended up right at $4.6M. Ugh. The Fluffy Movie was on only 432 screens and will remain on those going into the weekend (results below).
Next weekend, all eyes are on the new openers — Marvel/Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Universal’s James Brown biopic Get On Up — to lift the box office out of its summer slump. And Guardians is likely to do just that. It’s tracking right now between $65M and $75M and veteran distribution executives think it could go higher. It’s 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes right now and seems to be getting positive reaction on all sides. And why not? It’s a really entertaining film, filled with unexpected humor and a raccoon character that kind of steals the show. Right now, Get On Up is tracking around $15M to $20M so between that and the second weekend of Lucy, Universal should end up with the No. 2 and No. 3 spots. Here’s the Top 20 chart … until next weekend when the Star Lord arrives:
1). Lucy (UNI), 3,173 theaters / 3-day cume: $43.9M / Per screen average: $13,835 / Wk 1
2). Hercules (MGM/PAR), 3,595 theaters / 3-day cume: $29.8M / Per screen: $8,289 / Wk 1
Christopher Walken will voice King Louie, the ruler of a troop of monkeys and apes, and Giancarlo Esposito will play Akela, leader of the wolf pack, in Disney‘s Jungle Book. It’s the latest edition to the live-action/animation hybrid pic, which Jon Favreau is directing from a script by Justin Marks. The duo join Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa and newcomer Neel Sethi as Mowgli – the only actor to physically appear on screen. The 3D pic has an October 9, 2015 release date.