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.
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
Hulu’s subscription service Hulu Plus has bought exclusive VOD rights to stream online episodes of WGN America‘s new historical drama Manhattan, the companies announced the morning after the show’s debut. Under the deal, new episodes of the show will unspool each Monday after their initial Sunday airing on WGN until all 13 have played. The five most recent episodes will be available for free on Hulu’s basic service, after a three-day delay.
Hulu touted the deal in a release as the first time it has secured SVOD rights on a show before a single episode has aired. Manhattan is set in WWII in the Manhattan Project in New Mexico’s desert, where the federal government set up a secret project to research the first atomic weapons, and the surrounding and equally secret community set up to support the work. The show is being produced by Tribune Studios, Lionsgate and Skydance Television. Manhattan was created and written by Sam Shaw (Masters of Sex) and directed by Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing). Executive producers are Shaw, Schlamme, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Marcy Ross and Dustin Thomason.
Lionsgate has released the minute-long teaser trailer for its Hunger Games and Catching Fire sequel Mockingjay – Part 1, which it tantalized Comic-Con fans with this weekend in San Diego. In the third installment of the dystopian action franchise, Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) plot the next move for their rebellion and its iconic new poster girl, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence).
Lionsgate built an impressive off-site fan experience at Comic-Con this year. Rather than unveil its latest look at Mockingjay in Hall H, the studio partnered with Samsung on a slickly-outfitted space designed like the Capitol, located inside the Hard Rock Hotel, where fans walked through interactive Hunger Games and Samsung co-branded activities and got the first look at the below teaser. The film hits theaters November 21. Watch now:
Bold debuts from two of the weekend’s openers in a crowded specialty box office included yet another Woody Allen film as well as a last starring turn from the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight was another solid opener in a string of recent successes for the veteran writer-director, with a good per-screen average. That said, the numbers were less stratospheric than some of his recent summer films when comparing on a straight theater average, though this go-around did bow in substantially more locations.
Magic is Allen’s third consecutive summer release (and seventh if you count the ”shoulder” seasons). The formula continues to be a lucrative one for Allen and his backers. In its opening weekend, Magic brought in nearly $426K in 17 theaters, for a solid $25K PTA. The film, starring Colin Firth and Emma Stone, bowed with 11 more runs than last year’s box-office and award-winning behemoth Blue Jasmine (the best performer of Allen’s very long career), which debuted to a $102K PTA in 6 theaters. That film also had a $612K opening weekend and went on to cume over $33.4M.
Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Magic In The Moonlight’, ‘The Fluffy Movie’, ‘A Most Wanted Man’, ‘The Kill Team’, ‘Happy Christmas’
Looming in the wake of Boyhood‘s hot box office roll out earlier this month, some heavy-hitters will enter the Specialty fray this weekend which should shape up to be rather interesting come Sunday box office time. Woody Allen blitzed theaters last July with a smashing roll out of Blue Jasmine and he’s back, courtesy once again of Sony Classics with his latest Magic In The Moonlight. The distributor, however, is taking a somewhat different release track this time around. Lionsgate/Roadside is opening Philip Seymour Hoffman starrer A Most Wanted Man after delaying the title’s bow in the wake of its star’s death. The film will have a sizable theater count as it heads out to the box office Friday. But the weekend’s biggest Specialty opener in terms of location tally is Open Road’s The Fluffy Movie, which will hit several hundred locations nationwide though the bulk of its marketing has been targeted to a particular audience. On the other end of the scale is Oscilloscope’s Tribeca-winner The Kill Team which will bow at a single exclusive showing in NYC, while Magnolia’s Happy Christmas will have its theatrical launch in several locations after launching via ultra-VOD in late June.
SPC has had a winning streak with Woody Allen summer releases and it’s sticking to that formula for the filmmaker’s latest. Last year’s Oscar winner Blue Jasmine launched as a Specialty behemoth July 26 in 6 theaters, with a dazzling $102K average, eventually grossing over $33.4 million domestically. To Rome With Love was a comparatively more “modest” release, with a $72,272 PTA in five theaters in June 2012 ($16.69M cume), while 2011′s Midnight In Paris rocketed a $99,834 launch weekend PTA with six runs — eventually grossing over $56.8 million. “His films really seem to work in summer time,” said SPC co-president Michael Barker whose company has released Allen’s most recent five movies (and others in the past). The only recent exception was 2010′s You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger which opened in September of that year ($3.24M gross).”
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has a problem. Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch is preparing to sweeten his offer for the owner of Warner Bros, CNN, and HBO after it rejected an $80B cash-and-stock proposal last month. And Bewkes, who says he wants to keep Time Warner independent, has few takeover defenses. What can he do? Here are a few of the leading options that Time Warner execs and their advisors at Citigroup are weighing.
Combine with CBS: This would make Time Warner toxic for Fox: The FCC would not allow Murdoch to control two of the four biggest networks, and two of the largest TV station groups with overlaps in the nation’s largest markets.
And the business logic of a Time Warner-CBS combination is compelling. CBS chief Les Moonves would like to diversify his company to make it less dependent on domestic TV advertising. (He has already said that he’d like to buy CNN if Fox prevails with Time Warner and puts the news channel on the block.) Moonves also has made it clear that he’d like to play a bigger role in movies — his CBS Films appears to be struggling to figure out its identity. CBS could address these concerns by blending with Time Warner’s cable channels and movie studio.
The chief obstacle is that CBS is controlled by Sumner Redstone, who also owns Viacom. He hasn’t wanted to give up either property, and some bankers believe he’d prefer to …
Michael and Peter Spierig have in their crosshairs the Hammer Films’ supernatural thriller Winchester, about an heir to that firearms family fortune who believes she has been cursed by the victims and the lethal legacy of the “gun that won the West.”
The Spierig siblings will rewrite to direct the film, which will be shot in the world-famous Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. The story revolves around heir Sarah Winchester, who in 1884 began 38 years of construction on the 24,000-square-foot, 160-room Gothic mansion. It was after the sudden deaths of her husband and child that Winchester began to believe she was cursed by the family legacy, and she was instructed to build the mansion by a spiritualist medium, to appease the spirits. She never stopped building. Even though it’s a period film, I can’t imagine it will a favorite of the NRA, whose lobbying and money has kept gun makers from being held accountable to the bloodshed from their wares.
Frozen, already the all-time animation box-office champ and an Oscar winner, has added another jewel to its icy crown: Rentrak says the Walt Disney Animation feature topped the charts for the first half of 2014 in digital movie purchases and rentals on VOD and electronic sellthrough. Nearly all the other films in the top 10 were Oscar nominees too, even the Jackass-produced comedy Bad Grandpa, which snagged a nomination for best makeup and hairstyling. It appears everyone spent that very chilly winter of 2014 catching up on the Oscar contenders they didn’t watch in theaters.
There is one important caveat to this list, however: It does not include any films from NBCUniversal, nor from indie studios (whatever size studio we count Lionsgate as these days, its Hunger Games sequel made the list at a not-that-surprising No. 2). Rentrak said that though it couldn’t include individual Universal films for the list, the studio’s products as a whole were No. 1 for both overall transactions and retail revenue during the period, which ran from the week of January 5 to June 29.
Written and directed by Justin Simien, Dear White People takes a satirical look at race relations in the age of Obama. Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, Brandon P. Bell, Kyle Gallner, Malcolm Barrett, Brittany Curran, Marque Richardson, and Dennis Haysbert star in the Sundance prize winner that follows a group of black students as they navigate campus life and racial politics at a predominantly white college. Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions will release the film October 17. Check out the first official trailer:
Well, they are coming hot and heavy now. With Toronto International Film Festival announcing 13 Galas and 46 Special Presentations this morning in what is really just the first wave of their upcoming lineup, and on top on New York Film Festival’s confirmation of their Opening (Gone Girl), Centerpiece (Inherent Vice) and Closing (Birdman), BFI London’s opener of The Imitation Game and Venice Film Festival’s opener (also Birdman) the awards season landscape is starting to fill in a bit more significantly. Venice in fact will announce their entire lineup tomorrow but today’s TIFF list gives us some further clues as to how the Oscar game is being played on the fest circuit. Of course Telluride is another factor, but they won’t officially announce anything until their fest begins just before Labor Day weekend.
One player that I hear won’t be going to Telluride this year, or it seems Venice, is Warner Bros which has used both fests significantly in the past (Warners had Oscar winners Argo and Gravity at the past two Tellurides and Gravity opened Venice last year). But, as predicted here, they are going to Toronto in a BIG way with World Premieres of three of their Fall films, The Judge, This Is Where I Leave You and The Good Lie. Will TIFF mean the launch of an Oscar campaign for the trio, or is it just an effective way of getting the most media bang for your buck in releasing these early Fall titles? Certainly The Judge would seem to have acting potential for …
GLAAD Study Finds Lack Of LGBT Images, Offensive Content In Films From 7 Studios, Sony Columbia Gets Best Grade
GLAAD has released its second annual Studio Responsibility Index that maps the quantity, quality and diversity of images of LGBT people in films released by the seven largest motion picture studios during the 2013 calendar year: 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Sony Columbia, Universal Pictures, The Walt Disney Studios and Warner Brothers. GLAAD found that of the 102 releases from the major studios in 2013, 17 of them included characters identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. It found that the majority of these characters were minor roles or cameos, and that many of these were outright defamatory representations in films such as Pain & Gain and Riddick.
Global Showbiz Briefs: André Rieu Sets UK Box Office Record; Venice Critics’ Week Roster; Alibaba Pacts With Helmers; More
André Rieu Concert Sets UK Box Office Record
Flying the flag for event cinema, André Rieu’s 2014 10th Anniversary Maastricht Concert became the UK’s highest-grossing music event of all time at the box office this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, CinemaLive screened the concert at 410 locations across the UK and Ireland, grossing $1.42M. The concert also screened at 234 moviehouses in European markets including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Romania, Finland and Croatia, bringing the total gross box office figure to more than $2.05M for the weekend. Rieu’s July 2013 cinema concert event set UK records with about $766K. The massive jump this year is one more feather in the cap of live event cinema which has been growing in popularity with music- and theater-loving crowds. Classical violinist Rieu, aka “The King of Waltz”, is known for his energetic and festive live performances. He has sold more than 35M albums worldwide. Further screenings of the concert will take place this coming weekend in Australia and New Zealand, followed by Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Russia and South East Asia to ultimately reach more than 1,000 cinema screens in 35 countries. Pretty soon, I’ll have to start adding these to my international weekend box office reports.
Aaron Tveit Toplines ‘Stereotypically You’; Jeffrey Donovan Joins ‘Sicario’; Courtney James Clark Cast In ‘Jurassic World’
Aaron Tveit has the lead role in Stereotypically You, a romantic comedy from writer-director Benjamin Cox. Tveit plays Charlie, who goes on a hallucination-fueled post-breakup quest in New York City to find new love — and himself. Kal Penn, Shane McRae, Lauren Miller, Abby Elliot, Chris Elliot, Annaleigh Ashford, Lewis Black, Kelen Coleman co-star. Tveit also has landed a role in They Might Be Kennedys, which Neal McDonough is exec producing. The actor’s credits include the upcoming Big Sky and Undrafted along with Les Miserables, Premium Rush and TV’s Graceland. He is repped by CAA and Elin Flack Management.
Jeffrey Donovan has joined the cast of Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario, which is filming in New Mexico. In the Lionsgate actioner starring Benecio Del Toro and Emily Blunt, he will play Steve Forsing, a no-nonsense DEA Agent who engages in an all-out firefight at the Juarez border while transferring a prisoner. Donovan starred on USA Network’s Burn Notice, which wrapped its seven-season run in September. His credits also include the upcoming feature Welcome To Harmony as well as J. Edgar, Changeling and Hindsight. He is repped by WME, 3 Arts Entertainment, and Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof & Fishman.
Courtney James Clark has landed a role in Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World, from producer Steven Spielberg. She joins a cast that includes …
Box Office Final: ‘Apes’ No. 1′ With $36.2M, ‘The Purge’ With $29.8M+, ‘Planes’ Flies Low $17.5M, ‘Sex Tape’ Unravels To $14.6M In Soft Weekend
8th UPDATE, Monday, 1:32 PM: It was a down weekend. After the dust cleared today, we can see the final dips: The calendar year-to-date is down 6% with the weekend of the Top Ten from last year to this year down 25%. All films added in, the business is down 23.9%. Given that all pictures underperformed a bit, here are the final box office numbers as they look this morning. Of all the newbies, The Purge: Anarchy actually was able to gross the high end of yesterday’s estimate and ended with $29.8M. Both Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue and Sony’s Sex Tape took more of a hit, both off just a tad from their yesterday expectations; neither performed well. Meanwhile, Earth To Echo and Maleficent came in only $29K apart and the more exciting part of this box office weekend was that the smaller films did exceptionally well. Dinesh D’Souza’s controversial documentary America from Lionsgate, at No. 12, held quite well, down only 30% as did Jon Favreau’s Chef (Open Road), which even after dropping about 150 locations saw a significant jump on Saturday and ended the weekend at $25.9M. Another bit of sweet news was the solid per-screen number of Richard Linkaleter’s little masterpiece Boyhood (IFC) which held a nice $34,418 per screen; its cume is now $1.785M after two weeks in a platform release. The Top 20 chart follows:
Lionsgate confirmed this morning what Vin Diesel has been saying over the weekend while doing press for Guardians Of The Galaxy: that Michael Caine has come aboard The Last Witch Hunter, the supernatural action film starring Diesel and Rose Leslie and directed by Breck Eisner. Summit is releasing the pic, about an immortal witch hunter (Diesel) who partners with his natural enemy, a female witch, to stop the covens of NY from unleashing a plague on humanity. Caine recently wrapped Paolo Sorrentino’s The Youth opposite Harvey Keitel and Rachel Weisz and his upcoming pics include Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and Matthew Vaughn’s The Secret Service. He is repped by ICM Partners, Jackoway Tyerman and 42 in the UK.
This weekend’s domestic box office was off a whopping 28 percent, which has people wondering why. Could it be the quality is just not there? “Yeah, what the hell is going on, right?” said one distributor when I asked. “It’s content driven. We’re in a slump at the moment, but next year will be better. This year, I don’t think it’s any indication that problems are anything but the content.” As in quality, or lack thereof, and I think that most Deadline readers would concur that though this summer has seen some gems (like The Fault in Our Stars, Apes, Heaven is For Real), they’ve wrapped around some real stinkers (A Million Ways to Die in the West, Moms Night Out).
By the way, Paramount’s Transformers:Age of Extinction has made $659.1M internationally and around $228M to date domestically, is on track to become the 19th picture ever to move past the $1B mark and could end up in the Top Ten all-time worldwide grossers. But others have fallen flat. As we’ve noted in the past, it’s a cyclical business. Some of the pictures from 2014 moved to 2015 to avoid having to deal with the World Cup. Next summer looks more promising: the April 3rd release of Fast and Furious 7, followed in May by the highly-anticipated The Avengers: Age of Ultron and then The Fantastic Four, Jurassic World, Ted 2, Minions and Terminator.
But here’s the question: When will the industry see a movie that will go four consecutive weekends in a row at No. 1? (see chart below, courtesy of Rentrak). And could Disney/Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy do it?