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FINAL: Intl Box Office: ‘Transformers’ Adds $84.6M; ‘Apes’ Swings Up With $61.9M; ‘Boyhood’ Growing In UK; More

FINAL: Intl Box Office: ‘Transformers’ Adds $84.6M; ‘Apes’ Swings Up With $61.9M; ‘Boyhood’ Growing In UK; Morecinemaworld2ND UPDATE, MONDAY 3:20 PM PT: Updated figures for the international weekend have come in with all studios reporting. Among the top movies in the marketplace, Transformers: Age Of Extinction‘s 4th frame was up from original estimates to $84.6M in 58 territories ($662.6M cume), and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes was slightly higher than predicted in its 2nd frame with $61.93M on 10,347 screens in 51 markets ($103.6M cume).

Also of note, Fox’s The Grand Budapest Hotel has officially passed $110M internationally, adding $491K in 15 territories this weekend. Meanwhile, Boyhood, which Universal is releasing most everywhere overseas, added 60 locations in its 2nd UK frame. The result was a 0% drop from last week with $537K at 89 dates. The UK/Ireland total is now $1.5M (£892K). With the buzz growing, Universal is looking to continue the pattern by increasing the number of screens in more regional areas this Friday. In the next few days, the studio says the Richard Linklater drama will best the director’s Before Sunset (£932K) and A Scanner Darkly (£995K) to become his 2nd biggest film in the market behind School Of Rock.

Updated throughout the below are figures on the above films as well as Planes: Fire & Rescue, Sex Tape, The Purge: Anarchy, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Step Up All In, Maleficent, Blended, The Fault In Our Stars, 22 Jump Street, Edge Of Tomorrow, X-Men: Days Of Future Read More »

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Even After U.S. Departure, World Cup Rules Twitter TV Ratings By Big Margin

By | Monday July 7, 2014 @ 7:14pm PDT

Even After U.S. Departure, World Cup Rules Twitter TV Ratings By Big MarginFIFA’s World Cup telecasts continued to absorb American attention on social media every bit as much as they delivered big TV ratings for the fleet of networks carrying games, and it wasn’t just for the U.S. team’s unexpected run into the so-called “knockout rounds.” Even after that foray ended with a 2-1 loss to Belgium (a week after that game, I am not writing “spoiler alert,” dang it), interest and online conversation have continued to be very high.

That said, the Team USA game was a particularly huge conversation piece online, generating nearly 4.7 million posts on Twitter during the game and in the three hours before and after the telecast on four U.S. networks. Those tweets reached an audience of almost 12.4 million viewers, Nielsen calculates.

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World Cup Games Dominate Twitter TV Ratings Too; ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Atop Series Side Again

By | Tuesday June 24, 2014 @ 8:18am PDT

World Cup Games Dominate Twitter TV Ratings Too; ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Atop Series Side AgainABC Family‘s summertime guilty pleasure Pretty Little Liars once again topped Nielsen’s Twitter TV ratings for series and specials for the week, while on the sports side, it was all World Cup all the time, and by a wide margin, led by the first two games of the U.S. team in first-round play. The Nielsen Twitter TV ratings attempt to measure the total unduplicated audience of people who saw tweets about a given show during its first broadcast and for the three hours before and after that broadcast. Nielsen breaks its ratings into two weekly top 10s (they’ll be releasing dailies this week on the World Cup numbers as interest intensifies heading into the final first-round games), one for sporting events and the other for series and specials.

Twitter TV Sports 20140623On the sports side, with the NHL and NBA finals finished, Major League Baseball barely a third of the way into its long season and no other distractions on the global sports calendar, the rankings were all World Cup games, led by massive social-media audiences for broadcasts of the U.S. team against Ghana (a win) and highly ranked Portugal (a dramatic draw when Portugal scored in the game’s last minute). The matchup between host country Brazil and Mexico, with its massive U.S. fan base, was third. … Read More »

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Reality Check: Nielsen Twitter TV Season Rankings Show Reality’s Strength

By | Friday June 13, 2014 @ 12:05pm PDT

Twitter-Logo__130513233830-150x150When Nielsen recently wrapped the TV season, it released a set of graphics breaking out the biggest of the big in its new Twitter TV Ratings, in which reality fared well. Among the biggest on the social-media site: the series finale of AMC’s Breaking Bad,  AMC’s zombie drama  The Walking Dead, the NFL and college football championships, the Oscars etc. Among the season’s Twitter records, however, is winner of Most Tweets and Tweets-Per-Minute: NBC’s The Voice. Viewers sent 1.92 million tweets on May 13, including a record 310,000 at 8:59 PM EST. 1.5 million tweets mentioned #VoiceSave. Here’s the season overview, which includes strong showings overall from ABC’s The Bachelor and Dancing With The Stars:

Related: What TV Series Do Rich And Smart People Watch? You Might Be Surprised

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Spelling Bee Buzzes To Top Of Week’s Twitter TV Ratings

By | Monday June 2, 2014 @ 7:37pm PDT

The Scripps National Spelling Bee spelled a win for ESPN in the weekly Twitter TV ratings from Nielsen for series and specials, with posts about the contest reaching more than 4.2 million unique audience members, tops in the Series & Specials category. HBO’s powerhouse Game Of Thronesa weekly contender for the Top 10, grabbed second with another shocker ending that set Twitter digits a-tapping, while reality competitions dominated most of the rest of the list, beginning with two episodes of The Bacheloretteat Nos. 3 and 7. WWE wrestled its way back into the bottom of the top with a pay-per-view event at No. 9 and its usual Monday Night Raw show on USA grabbing the tenth spot.
Twitter TV Ratings S&S Chart 20140602
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DeadlineNow: Super Bowl, ‘Breaking Bad’ & Oscars Top Twitter TV Rankings (Video)

By | Monday June 2, 2014 @ 4:22pm PDT
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Twitter Season TV Rankings Heavy On Sports & Awards Shows

Nielsen's season-ending rankings show that live TV events still rule -- though 'Breaking Bad','The Walking Dead' and 'The Voice' get plenty of social media traction. Deadline's David Bloom and Dominic Patten discuss.

Related: Nielsen’s Twitter TV Season Highlights: ‘Breaking Bad’, Football, Oscars

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Nielsen’s Twitter TV Season Highlights: ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Walking Dead’, Football, Oscars, Grammys

By | Monday June 2, 2014 @ 11:10am PDT
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Twitter Season TV Rankings Heavy On Sports & Awards Shows

Nielsen's season-ending rankings show that live TV events still rule -- though 'Breaking Bad','The Walking Dead' and 'The Voice' get plenty of social media traction. Deadline's David Bloom and Dominic Patten discuss.

Twitter-Logo__130513233830-150x150Nielsen just wrapped up the TV season, releasing a set of graphics breaking out the biggest of the big in its new Twitter TV Ratings, including with the highest-rated shows and the season’s record holders in various categories. No surprises here, really. Most of the biggest on Twitter are also the biggest on TV, and people like to talk about them on social media, including millions of Twitter posts reaching millions of followers, talking about such biggies as the series finale of Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, the NFL and college football championships, and the Oscars and Grammy shows. The NFL’s Super Bowl was Twitter king, with 25.3 million tweets reaching an audience of 15.3 million followers. The Oscars generated 11.1 million tweets seen by about 13.9 million audience members. In a couple of words: this is event TV, made for appointment viewing, that thing that most TV viewers don’t do anymore with most shows.

Related: Full 2013-2014 TV Season Series Rankings

TV Season Big Moments on Twitter_Highlights_5_29_14

It’s important to note that the way Nielsen measures Twitter audiences creates something of a tautology (look it up, kids; it’s your word for the day): Nielsen measures only the audience of unduplicated Twitter users who see a post by another Twitter user about a show during its initial broadcast and for the three hours before and after that broadcast. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Hannibal’ Finale Up, ‘What Would You Do?’ Debuts Even

By | Saturday May 24, 2014 @ 9:37am PDT

hannibal s 2 finale 2With the 2013-2014 season officially over and the summer shows not yet out in force, the TV tumbleweeds were rolling across primetime last night. On an encore dominated Friday, the lone original drama on last night was the Season 2 finale of Hannibal (1.0/3) on NBC at 10 PM. As bloody and visually beautiful as you would expect from the Bryan Fuller-created show based on author Thomas Harris’ infamous characters, Hannibal was up 11% from last week’s show. However, finale-to-finale, last night’s Season 2 closer had an even better night as it rose 19% from the 0.8/2 that the recently renewed series’ Season 1 ender garnered on June 20 last year. While also packed with repeats, that Thursday night saw the gory psychological thriller competing with Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals, where the Miami Heat sealed the deal to take home their second straight title. With all that said, in what has been an unpredictable season for Hannibal, last night’s finale slipped 9% from Hannibal’s Season 2 opener and Friday night debut on February 28 this year.

Related: Full 2013-2014 TV Season Series Rankings Read More »

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Full 2013-2014 TV Season Series Rankings

By | Thursday May 22, 2014 @ 4:40pm PDT

Sunday Night Football Top RatedNBC has won the 2013-14 TV season — but you already knew that — with Sunday Night Football finishing the season as the No. 1 show in primetime in total viewers (21.528 million viewers) and among adults 18-49 (9.971 million viewers), based on Live+Same Day data from Nielsen. NBC’s The Blacklist and ABC’s Resurrection are the only freshman series to make the Demo Top 1o List for the season that officially wrapped last night. And Blacklist alone makes the Total Viewer Top 10 among newbies. NBC20Historically, Fox’s American Idol fell off both lists, making room for adds. In its defense, Idol’s two nights landed in the Top 20 in the demo — and Top 25 in total viewers — which puts it ahead of most broadcast primetime programming. Meanwhile, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, in its seventh season, maintained its No. 2 status in overall audience (19.960 million viewers) and the demo (7.88 million), and rose to No. 2 in the demo — behind only NBC’s football in both.

Related: NBC Poised To Win 2013-14 Demo For First Time In 10 Years

Sunday Night Football mopped up this season the franchise not only finished No. 1 for the season, in 2+ and the demo, but also among adults 18-34 and 25-54 — which included season wins not only with men 18-49, 18-34 and 25-54 but also with women 18-34 and 18-49. NBC also notes that 12 SNF games averaged at least 20 million viewers, tying the network’s Sochi Winter Olympics for most primetime telecasts with an average of 20 million viewers tuned in (not including pre-/post-shows).

Related: ABC To Win May Sweep For First Time In 14 Years

LOGO_-ONAIR_Resurrection_57778_302As usual, the TV Season Rankers Lists are full of inequities. ABC’s Resurrection, for instance, makes the Demo Top 10 (and barely misses the Total Viewer Top 10 at No. 11), in part because it ran zero repeats in its time slot; other freshman dramas saw their season averages tugged downward by encore-episode ratings in their slots. I know — cry me a river. Yes, we did not include pre- and post-game shows — and yes, we went with actuals in the demo this year, eliminating all those pesky three- and four-way ties. And yes, the lists are a bit beauty-pageant,  given that a series’ success tends not to be based on whether it finished the season as the country’s 33rd-most-watched series, but whether it improved the network’s ratings performance in its time slot, how much it costs to make, who owns it, ancillary market potential, etc.

Even so, we love our lists. Check them out:

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Univision Unveils 2014-2015 Slate

By | Thursday May 8, 2014 @ 3:15pm PDT

univisioncomm1Univision has unveiled its 2014-2015 slate ahead of next week’s upfront presentation. It includes four new novelas, and four news documentaries. Novelas La Gata and Hastal El Fin Del Mundo are both slated to premiere this fall, and Mi Corazon Es Tuyo and La Malquerida, are set for later in the year. News documentaries include Who Is Dayani Cristol, which focuses on the death of migrant workers in the Sonora desert, and Narco Tek, which takes a look inside the technology used in the drug trafficking business both from the drug cartels’ side and the governments who are constantly fighting the multimillion dollar underground industry. Returning for a ninth season is Univision’s hit beauty pageant and reality series Nuestra Belleza Latina 9, featuring 12 young women who compete to become Hispanic television’s next big star. Here is Univision’s complete 2014-2015 programming lineup: Read More »

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Fox News Tops Cable’s Total-Viewer Rankings With Week Of Ukraine, Malaysia Airlines Mystery And Obamacare Deadline

By | Tuesday March 18, 2014 @ 10:47am PDT

Ukraine, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370,fox-news-logo and the Obamacare deadline catapulted Fox News Channel to No 1 among cable networks in primetime last week, with an average of 2.049 million viewers. FNC edged past USA  (1.907 million), History (1.898 million), AMC (1.796 million), TBS (1.73 million), TNT (1.613), and ESPN (1.334 million). CNN finished the week 22nd among cable networks with 800,000 primetime viewers of all ages, and MSNBC ranked No. 27 with 666,000 primetime viewers. In total day, FNC ranked No. 3 with viewers 2+, CNN ranked No. 37 and MSNBC ranked No. 28.
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‘American Idol’ Partners With Google & Facebook For Online Voting, Takes On ‘Rising Star’ With Real-Live Voting Updates

By | Monday January 27, 2014 @ 10:52am PST
Nellie Andreeva

American IdolWhen Fox confirmed recently that AT&T, which had been one of the main sponsors of the singing competition since Season 2, will not return for the current 13th season, the move appeared to be a sign of the times. Phoning and texting, the primary way of audience voting a decade ago, have been pushed out by online voting, which American Idol has been doing for the past couple of seasons. Now the show has brought in Internet juggernauts Google and Facebook to handle voting this season and is introducing real-time results — months before the premiere of Rising Star on ABC, whose format is built around that. As part of the new partnerships, voting on Idol will begin at the beginning of the live shows as opposed to after the broadcast as was the practice for the first 12 seasons.

Google will provide an online voting platform that allows viewers to cast votes directly from Google Search. Meanwhile, Facebook will give on-air voting progress updates based on real-time East Coast voting data during select live shows. That will include demographic voting trends and relative contestant rankings. While not exactly mirroring Rising Star‘s model of contestants being able to see their voting tally as they perform, Idol is jumping in front of the trend of reporting voting as it happens in real time. One of Rising Star‘s biggest challenges has been incorporating Mountain and Pacific time zones in … Read More »

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Box Office Final Numbers: Weather Knocks Film Grosses Down Across The Board

OPENING: Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (Paramount, wide) $18.3 est. 3-day opening for recast franchise NOTEWORTHY: Frozen (DIS) crosses $600M worldwide

BoxOffice_logo__131122164403-275x206__131207011855UPDATED MONDAY, 1:30 PM: Final numbers for all weekend estimates are less than expected as arctic temps across the nation kept moviegoers home Sunday night. As it played out, The Wolf of Wall Street ended up at $13.2M and American Hustle at $12.4M for the three-day weekend and, of the top ten, Wolf had the best weekend to weekend hold, down 29%. Other pics have been in the marketplace longer, of course, but it is still worth noting. Opening wide this Friday will be The Legend of Hercules from Lionsgate from director Renny Harlin, Universal’s Afghan battle pic Lone Survivor and expanding to 1,700 screens is Warner Bros.’ Her from Spike Jonze. Here are the final numbers and rankings from this weekend. Bottom ten on second page:

1). Frozen (DIS), $19,575,525 3-day (-32% from previous weekend) / 3,318 locations (-17) / $5,900 average / Cume: $296,691,729 / Wk 7

2). Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (PAR), $18,343,611 / 2,867 locations / $6,398 average / Cume: $18,343,611, / Wk 1

3). The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (WB), $15,675,220 (-46%)/ 3,730 locations (-168) $4,202 average / Cume: $229,059,642 / Wk 4

4). The Wolf Of Wall Street (PAR), $13,230,353 (-29%) / 2,557 locations (+20) / $5,174 average / Cume: $63,125,467 / Wk 2

5). American Hustle (SONY), $12,404,207 (-34%) / 2,518 locations (+11) / $4,926 average / Cume: $87,923,123 / Wk 4

6). Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (PAR) $10,633,959 (-45%)/ 3,407 locations (-100) / $3,121 average / Cume; $108,713,472 / Wk 3

7). Saving Mr. Banks (DIS), $8,694,891 (-35%) / 2,110 locations (0) / $4,121 average / Cume: $58,958,280 / Wk 4

8). The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (FOX), $8,001,717  (-37%)/ 2,922 locations (+13) / $2,738 average / Cume: $45,470,954 / Wk  2

9). The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (LG), $7,051,309 (-30%) / 2,143 locations (-172) / $3,290 average / Cume: $407,139,699 / Wk 7

10). Grudge Match (WB), $5,325,423 (-34%) / 2,856 locations (+18) / $1,865 average / Cume: $24,835,480, / Wk 2

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Warner Bros Tops UK Distributor List For Third Time In Four Years

Warner-bros-logoWarner Bros UK was Britain’s top distributor in 2013, the third time in four years it has held the title, and the sixth time since rankings began in 1991. The studio says it grossed £194M ($320.3M) last year for a 16.5% share. The figures are not records as the last time Warner UK was No. 1 in 2011, it grosed £205.8M for an 18.04% share (that was the year Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 ruled the box office); and in 2010, WB UK grossed £204.1M for an 18.4% share with the first part of the Harry Potter finale and Christopher Nolan’s Inception among top films. In its post-Potter period, Warner Bros remains entrenched in the UK and in 2013 inaugurated the Warner Bros Studios Leavesden and the Making Of Harry Potter studio tour. (It also opened its first-ever West End musical, Sam Mendes’ Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.) The first two films made at Leavesden, Doug Liman’s Tom Cruise vehicle, Edge Of Tomorrow, and the Wachowski siblings’ Jupiter Ascending, both arrive in theaters in 2014. This year, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (£32.9M), Man Of Steel (£29.9M), Gravity (£27.3M), The Hangover Part III (£19.3M), The Great Gatsby (£15.7M) and The Conjuring (£10.4M) were among the highest local grossers for the studio. Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine was also handled locally by WB and became the director’s top UK movie ever with … Read More »

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‘Modern Family’ Ratings Mystery: Where Is The Syndication Bump On ABC?

By | Tuesday December 24, 2013 @ 9:57am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Modern FamilyLast week, the latest numbers for Modern Family‘s freshman run in syndication came out. The Emmy winning ABC comedy, which airs on USA and in broadcast syndication, hit new combined highs in all key measures, including households (5.1), Adults 18-34 (3.1) and Adults 18-49 (3.1). Modern Family now ranks as the No.2 program in all of syndication among 18-49 behind The Big Bang Theory (3.4) and is No.1 in 18-34. At the same time, the season to date rankings for all broadcast programs came out, and Modern Family is averaging 5.0 in 18-49 in 18-49 through the first 12 weeks of the season (in most current ratings that include DVR playback). That is not bad, as Modern Family is tied with NBC’s The Blacklist for No.3 in 18-49 behind Sunday Night Football (7.9) and Big Bang (6.8). But vs. the same 12 weeks last season, Modern Family is down 21%. That despite the show’s solid start in syndication. Read More »

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Foreign Language Oscar Preview: A Long List Of Strong Contenders For Such A Shortlist Of Possible Nominees

oscarLast year, I offered up a preview of the 15 films that had the most buzz going into the unveiling of the Foreign Language Oscar shortlist. Somehow this year, with a record 76 entries (last year it was 71), I whittled down another 15 films that have a shot at the shortlist which is expected to be finalized later this week. This was not an easy task in one of the strongest fields for foreign film in recent years. While 2012′s eventual winner Amour seemed like a foregone conclusion, this year has any number of possible outcomes. Movies that started their careers in Berlin and Cannes are represented below, but so are others that didn’t make it to those high-profile events. I spoke with the directors of each film about their inspirations and expectations, and in some cases with the U.S. distributor about what gave them the confidence to acquire. Notably, Harvey Weinstein clarifies the controversy surrounding an edit of Wong Kar Wai’s Hong Kong entry The Grandmaster. There’s also a lot more here from folks like Paolo Sorrentino, Thomas Vinterberg and Sebastian Lelio, among many others. The rules for selecting the final winner have changed this year with the entire Academy voting body able to weigh in without proving they have seen the films in a movie theater. But the regs for establishing the shortlist remain the same: The Phase I committee determines six of the nine films on the shortlist. The other three titles will be determined by the select Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee. Those three extra titles might have international renown but been somehow overlooked by the larger committee (wink, wink City Of God, 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days and others). After that, an uber-committee of 30 higher profile members chooses the ultimate five nominees after viewing the finalists over the course of a long weekend. Below (in alphabetical order by title) are profiles of the 15 films that I believe have a shot at the first stage: Read More »

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Golden Globes TV: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’, ‘House Of Cards’ & ‘Masters Of Sex’ Lead Pack Of Newcomers As Old Favorites Fall

By | Thursday December 12, 2013 @ 8:34am PST
Nellie Andreeva

The Hollywood Foreign Press are a fickle crowd — one day you may be in and winning by a landslide, the next day you are out. Showtime’s Homeland learned Brooklyn-nine-ninethat this morning. The Golden Globes was the first major awards show to recognize the Showtime drama two years ago when it was tied for most nominations, 3, winning for best drama series and best actress, Claire Danes. The thriller drama did one better last year, leading the TV pack with most noms, 4, and sweeping the top drama categories: best drama, best actress and best actor, Damian Lewis. But there is no trace of Homeland on the list of nominations this year as the dominant winner of the past two Golden Globes has been shut out. Golden Globes 2014 Nominees TVThe same goes for another big drama performer at the Golden Globes, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, which won the best drama series trophy before Homeland in 2011. The HBO drama had scored at least two nominations every year, also winning for star Steve Buscemi in 2011, but was left out completely today.

Related: Golden Globes TV Nominees Remarkably Snub-Free – Sorry, ‘Homeland’

The Golden Globes again took upon its role of the biggest cheerleader of new broadcast series. No, they didn’t hand a best drama series nomination to a freshman — extending first-year broadcast dramas’ drought in the category to seven years. But they still recognized broadcast’s freshman class, which had been completely ignored by the WGA and the SAG Awards. That includes best comedy series and comedy actor nominations for Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine and star Andy Samberg; best comedy actor nom for Michael J. Fox, star of his struggling eponymous sitcom on NBC;  and best drama actor for James Spader for hit new NBC drama The Blacklist. But the broadcast networks again fell short of unseating cable from the top of the network rankings. Premium cable and digital were dominant this year. Fueled by longform, HBO was once again No. 1 with 9 noms, followed by the two other pay cable networks, Showtime and Starz, and digital upstart Netflix with six each. But it was a broadcast net, CBS, that landed the only multiple best series nominations — for comedy The Big Bang Theory and drama The Good Wife.

Related:
Golden Globes Nominees: Scorecard
Golden Globe Awards Nominations

house_of_cardsAlmost all buzzy cable/digital 2013 newcomers (sans FX’s The Americans)  got a notice by the HFPA, with Netflix’s House Of Cards leading the way with four nominations including best drama series; Showtime’s Masters Of Sex landing nominations for best drama and best actor, Michael Sheen (but no Lizzy Caplan?!); and fellow Showtime newcomer Ray Donovan nominated for star Liev Schreiber and co-star Jon Voight. Two breakout performances by young actresses are getting first major award recognition, Tatiana Maslany of BBC America’s Orphan Black and Taylor Schilling of Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black. They are part of an overhauled best drama actress field which includes only one returning nominee, 2010 winner Julianna Margulies.  The other first-timers are Kerry Washington for ABC’s Scandal and House Of Cards‘ Robin Wright. Things are mirrored on the male side with only one holdover, Bryan Cranston of AMC’s Breaking Bad, joined by Schreiber, Sheen, Spader and House Of Cards‘ Kevin Spacey. The Newsroom‘s Jeff Daniels, who landed a Golden Globe nomination last year and followed up with a surprise Emmy win, has been left out, along with Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm, who scored the AMC drama’s only nomination last year. The series’ tally went to zero this year. Also left out completely for a second straight year: HBO’s Game Of Thrones. Read More »

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FNC’s New Primetime Snags Year’s Best Stats, Third Consecutive Week At No. 2 Among All Cable Nets

By | Tuesday November 12, 2013 @ 11:08am PST

Fox News Channel‘s revamped primetime, unveiled on October 7, clicked last week, scoring its highest ratings of 2013 in both total viewers and the news demo, excluding the week of the Boston Marathon bombing back in April. FNC’s primetime logged 2.1 million in total viewers, which put it behind only ESPN among cable networks. In the news demo, FNC logged 376,000 primetime viewers, according to Nielsen. The week was FNC’s third consecutive ranking No. 2 in prime among all cable networks. In total day, FNC ranked No. 4 last week — trailing Nick, ESPN and Adult Swim.

Related: Megyn Kelly Tops Cable News On Election Night

Meanwhile, MSNBC averaged 716,000 primetime viewers and CNN averaged 433,000, which put them at No. 27 and No. 38 in the cable network rankings for the week, respectively. Among 25- to 54-year-olds, MSNC snagged 202,000 (No. 26) and CNN averaged 146,000 (No. 37).

Related: MSNBC’s ‘Alec Baldwin’ Hits New Low, CNN’s ‘Unguarded’ Down
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UPDATE: Domestic Box Office Top 10: ‘Thor 2′ Eyeing $86M To $87.7M Weekend

By | Sunday November 10, 2013 @ 8:47am PST
Mike Fleming

2ND UPDATE: Thor: The Dark World has performed more strongly than expected and it will finish anywhere from $85.8 million this weekend to $87.7 million, even though I have one pundit who feels it could exceed that. Though many of our commenters have taken after Thor (and me, but the latter is inevitable given who I am temporarily replacing) in the comment thread following this box office report, Thor 2 is doing what a sequel is supposed to do. It is the ninth biggest November debut ever, coming just behind last year’s 007 pic Skyfall‘s $88.36 million, and it is the fourth biggest opening weekend of the year behind Iron Man 3‘s $174 million, Man Of Steel‘s $116.6 million and Fast 6‘s $97.4 million. It is scoring with younger audiences. Internationally, it is doing twice as well overseas as here, and that means the film could land upwards of $600 million.

The key will be how it plays before the opening of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which could have a $150 million opening weekend and consume all the oxygen in the room. Marvel seems to be able to do no wrong. The studio is in a zone I’ve seen in the past only with animated films, back when Jeffrey Katzenberg‘s Disney was cranking out one classic 2D animated classic after the other (my kids were small then, I saw The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast probably 500 times each and knew the words to every tune), and John Lasseter‘s Pixar. Marvel could probably score a big hit right now with a movie devoted to Tom Hiddleston‘s Loki character. The studio will undoubtedly come back to earth at some point, as the label tries to launch new franchises like Guardians Of The Galaxy and Ant-Man, and those will be Kevin Feige‘s real test.

There’s a real horse race going on for second place, and all three of the horses have held strongly. It’s a virtual dead heat for Bad Grandpa, Free Birds and Last Vegas. The drop-offs from last week’s numbers are low considering the arrival of Thor 2. Bad Grandpa only fell 43%, Free Birds is off 30% and Last Vegas only 32% as a younger audience is giving it a shot. Since there’s a statistical margin of error in early weekend numbers, the second place winner won’t be known until the photo finish comes in tomorrow morning, when all of the final grosses are submitted and Rentrak sends out box office actual weekend grosses.

Another title worth watching is Fox‘s slow build on The Book Thief, the Brian Percival-directed adaption of the Markus Zusak WWII novel for Fox 2000. It opened in four locations and put up a per screen average of $27,000, for $108,000 total.

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa had another strong weekend and looks likely to squeak out second place. I saw this movie on the anniversary of a personal tragedy, picked up my distraught son from college and took him hoping to pull him out of the rut. I suppose it is easy to critically dismiss movies rife with physical comedy, but the two of us laughed like idiots, and director Jeff Tremaine and Johnny Knoxville will always occupy a place in my heart for helping my son get through what would have otherwise been an unbearable evening. As Tremaine told me, “Sometimes, you just need to laugh.” That movie, which cost a reported $15 million, ends the weekend around $78.5 million as Tremaine continues his evolution as a filmmaker with a movie on the decadent rock band Motley Crue.

Coming in third will be Free Birds, the Relativity released animated film that could get to $30 million after its second frame. Is that a good outcome for a film with a reported $55 million budget? I saw the Relativity team at last night’s AFI premiere of the Scott Cooper-directed Out Of The Furnace (more on that in a later post), and they seemed relieved that the film was performing more strongly than was expected going into the weekend. Over half that budget was covered by foreign pre-sales in what was the first film from Relativity and Reel FX as they find their footing in animation.

As for the rest of the Top 10, the under-$30 million Last Vegas will finish fourth and get to $33 million; Ender’s Game should finish with a $44 million gross. For a franchise starter with a $110 million price tag, that just won’t get it done. Gravity continues to defy its title, ending the weekend with a domestic gross around $231 million. I’d covered all of the project’s twists and turns when Angelina Jolie dropped out and Universal punted; when Warner Bros. struggled to find a package that worked. They came at Jolie again and when she passed a second time, the studio focused in on Natalie Portman and Sandra Bullock, after looking at a field of actresses that included Naomi Watts, Marion Cotillard, Carey Mulligan, Scarlett Johansson and some others. Then Robert Downey Jr. dropped out, and George Clooney stepped up. When I saw the movie, beyond feeling overwhelmed by an auteur-de-force Cuaron outing, I kept asking myself, how the hell did this movie get made? None of WB’s financing partners would touch it (RatPac was gifted the film). It made no sense on paper, as great films often don’t. It comes down to betting $100 million on a world class filmmaker. Globally it has crossed $430 million. Most refreshingly, like its 3D counterpart Life Of Pi, Gravity has no sequel in it. It’s just a great one-off, with no future installments to water down its memory.

One of the other two noteworthy films in the Top 10 is 12 Years A Slave. I must admit, I cannot stand violence against women and children (still haven’t seen Prisoners) and maybe that’s why I have missed seeing this movie at its Toronto, NYFF and Hamptons showings. My box office sources tell me that the film’s escalation from 734 to 1144 screens, which prompted a 37% spike in business, is good – not great. But the film has a chance to play well for a long time, as awards season heats up. I will see it before then.

Richard Curtis’s About Time will finish ninth in the rankings, getting to a $6.2 million gross. Does that make it a flop? I don’t think so. I’m told by insiders that the film cost under $15 million to make, and is has already grossed $43 million overseas. You empower a writer/director like Curtis and hope you get another Love Actually. Even if you don’t, when he covers the bet like he will here, it’s good news that he can keep taking his swings.

Finally, a word about the future of Deadline’s box office reporting. This is my second weekend at it; last week I put up numbers because nobody else did. And so I did it, in between moderating panels at our Contenders Event. I have my eye on someone who’ll soon be taking this over and who will elevate it and make it their own. But I do have some observations about this beat. There is a learning curve here, just as I am learning things every day in my new adventure here in Hollywood after covering this business from Long Island for so long. For instance, I learned from last night’s Out Of The Furnace premiere that when they post a 6PM start time, what they really mean is they won’t be dropping the puck for at least an hour after that. Box office has similar challenges for a newcomer.

People who have been critical of Deadline’s box office coverage in the past have said films got thumped based on the biased observations of studios jockeying for position. I don’t know about that, but I have seen all the spinning that goes on this weekend, and it’s an easy trap to fall into if you don’t actually go see the films and be better able to judge quality. I can see the spin at work, how one studio will over-project a rival’s weekend expectations, so that when the actual numbers roll in, the movie can be spun as disappointing. Or how reporting factors in tracking service projections. Tracking is a tool that allows studios to see whether their marketing is creating awareness, and campaigns are fine-tuned in the final weeks based on those results. That tracking is not a reliable measure of performance. When some journalists see that actual film performance falls below tracking projections, they thump the movies and not the flawed tracking.

I can tell you that while I am doing this for the next couple of weeks, I will try my best to see as many of the new movies as I can, something that wasn’t a priority here. I have a healthy respect for the creative process, for how hard it is to make a movie, and all the places it can go wrong. Last night at Out Of The Furnace, I met with the director, Scott Cooper. Here was a guy who put his own imprint on a spec script by Brad Inglesby (who was selling insurance when he got paid $500,000 against $1.5 million when Ridley Scott was directing and Leo DiCaprio starring), and Cooper made it very reminiscent of one of my fave films The Deer Hunter, with timely themes of economic hardship and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in soldiers returning from the Middle East. When I told Cooper how much I liked his movie, I could see him looking hard at me, as though trying to be sure I wasn’t shining him on (I wasn’t). Maybe it won’t be this way for every film he makes, but I could tell this one has themes that are very personal to Cooper and he really threw himself into this. Maybe this sense of empathy will make me the worst box office reporter of all time. I have seen already it isn’t pleasing some readers who come for bloodsport. I figure these would have been running around in togas in ancient Rome, using phrases like “epic fail” when they stopped throwing Christians to the lions. The only blood on display here will be my own, because I tend to bleed on the page sometimes. If that’s not good enough, so be it. Read More »

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