UPDATE, Monday 5:30 PM: Updates are in from Fox and Universal which had the films everyone wanted to know about in the domestic marketplace this weekend as well — Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and the indie favorite Boyhood. Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures’ Transformers: Age of Extinction took in a little less than the $102M estimate, but nonetheless grossed $100.3M from 12 markets, according to the studio, to sail past the $500M market in just three weeks of release. The international cume is now $540.6M. Added with the domestic gross and the go-bots are hitting on all cylinders with $713.4M worldwide.
All other numbers are updated below for those two films as well as for X-Men: Days of Future Past, How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Other Woman, Neighbors, A Million Ways to Die in the West, and The Fault in Our Stars and newcomer Rico, Oskar Und Die Tieferschatten. Just received Warner Bros. and Disney final international grosses so more updates below on Tammy, Jersey Boys, Maleficent, Edge of Tomorrow, Blended, and Godzilla. Sony has come in at 3 PM with its numbers for 22 Jump Street, Deliver Us From Evil, Heaven is For Real and Think Like a Man Too.
UPDATE, Sunday 2:10 PM PT: With the World Cup winding down tonight, next week will see Transformers: Age Of Extinction and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes expand significantly to … Read More »
With a little more than a month to go until Peter Capaldi fully regenerates as the latest incarnation of the Time Lord, the official Doctor Who trailer has been revealed. BBC One aired the latest look at Series 8 during halftime of the World Cup on Sunday night. After some much shorter glimpses into the new Who, this full-length trailer features Daleks, Cybermen, a dinosaur and Capaldi on a horse. Series 8 kicks off on the BBC and on BBC America on August 23 with a feature-length episode entitled “Deep Breath” in which Capaldi’s 12th Doctor makes his first full-episode appearance. Jenna Coleman returns as companion Clara Oswald and Samuel Anderson joins the cast as Danny Pink, a teacher at Coal Hill School, where Clara also works. On Friday, the BBC said it had added comedian, actor and broadcaster Sanjeev Bhaskar (The Kumars) to the cast. Guest stars in the new series include Michelle Gomez, Frank Skinner, Ben Miller, Tom Riley, Keeley Hawes and Hermione Norris.
‘Lucy’ To Open Locarno Film Festival
Luc Besson’s Lucy is set to open the Locarno Film Festival on August 6. Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman star in the sci-fi pic about a woman caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior. Besson showed extended clips at CineEurope in Barcelona a few weeks ago that handily demonstrated Johansson’s badass-ness in the vein of other of his strong female heroes. The director will be on hand in Switzerland to present the movie that’s produced by his EuropaCorp. Universal releases Stateside on July 25.
Brazil’s ‘SuperStar’ Gets Season 2 Renewal
Rising Star’s Brazilian version, SuperStar, has been renewed for a second season — this is the first renewal for a local version. Rede Globo has ordered a 14-episode second season of Superstar to air in 2015. The Keshet International format had its finale on Sunday and was the most-watched show of the night, peaking with a 33% share and 3M votes. It averaged a 31% share throughout the first season, during which the voting app was downloaded 3.2M times and about 25M votes were cast. The other international versions currently airing are in Portugal and the U.S. Season 2 of the original Israeli format is prepping up.
‘Mandela’ Getting Wide Release In China
In a first for a South African film in China, … Read More »
Cor blimey, the British aren’t coming — they’re here to stay. Including Ricky Gervais’ surprise Emmy nomination as Lead Actor in a Comedy series for Derek this morning, there are 15 nods for Brits in the acting races this year. If we add voice-overs, Jeremy Irons and Daniel Craig would make it 17 performance nods. Last year, there were 14 total.
British actors have been plying their trade in U.S. series for ages, but this crop boasts a lot of British-based (or instigated) productions and co-productions rather than U.S. shows à la Homeland. The UK TV tax credit has encouraged British broadcasters to strive for increasingly ambitious productions.
Along with Gervais, whose Derek was originally commissioned for Channel 4 before being picked up by Netflix, there’s a big group from perennial Downton Abbey, a co-pro of Carnival Films and Masterpiece; a first Emmy nod for Golden Globe nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor in BBC miniseries Dancing On The Edge, which Starz airs Stateside; Idris Elba in Luther, another BBC show that goes out on BBC America; and Helena Bonham Carter playing the British-American Elizabeth Taylor in BBC and BBC America co-pro Burton & Taylor. And, of course, Sherlock is back this year. Benedict Cumberbatch scored a Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie spot … Read More »
Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s Birdman, or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance, has been selected for opening honors at the Venice Film Festival. When Fox Searchlight set an October 17 North American release, and when Birdman didn’t appear in Cannes, we expected it would get a berth at one of the fall festivals. I felt particularly strongly about Venice, especially as it makes a nice dovetail to last year when Iñárritu’s pal Alfonso Cuaron did opening night honors with Gravity. That film went on to a huge awards season run, but it was not in competition in Venice, and that was lamented across the board. The world premiere screening of Birdman on August 27 is IN competition, and looks like a sign that Venice wants to stand out further. It is increasingly seen as a launchpad for some of the major titles that will figure in the awards races later in the year. But, it competes heavily with Telluride and Toronto which overlap the event. The former last year even ruffled Venice’s feathers by programming some big-ticket titles before their Lido premieres. Also of note, Gravity‘s Oscar winning cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, shot Birdman.
Oscar-nominated Babel director Iñárritu’s first black comedy stars Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan and Andrea Riseborough. Keaton plays an actor, famous for having portrayed an iconic superhero, who … Read More »
After 12 days of release (and a bit of confusion over official numbers), Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age Of Extinction now has the distinction of passing Avatar as the highest-grossing film ever in China. With $225.1M (1,396M RMB), the movie has bested James Cameron’s record of $221.9M that was set in 2010. On Tuesday, Chinese research firm Ent Group reported that the Autobots had overtaken the Na’vi as of July 6 with $222.74M, but Paramount has just weighed in with its official numbers. Because of currency fluctuations, the yuan renminbi figure was key. Avatar was worth about 1.39B during its life in the Middle Kingdom. TAOE has been dogged somewhat by local sponsors who have griped about their placement in the movie. But audiences have embraced it willingly, encouraged by all the Chinese elements — including actors, locations and storyline.
Paramount Chairman and CEO, Brad Grey, said this morning, “We’re honored by the deeply passionate response from Chinese audiences – and audiences throughout the world – to Transformers: Age Of Extinction and the unique storytelling of Michael Bay. The many new relationships we have built with members of the creative community in China is a source of great pride and we look forward to collaborating with them in the future.” Paramount Vice Chairman Rob Moore acknowledged the “great work of China Film Group in the distribution of Transformers” and thanked partners Jiaflix, China Movie Channel, M1905, China Movie Media and Hua Hua.
TAOE … Read More »
Downton Abbey producer Carnival Films will travel back much further in time for its latest period drama — a Game Of Thrones-esque epic. The NBC-owned company is teaming with BBC America to co-produce ninth century-set eight-part historical series The Last Kingdom for BBC Two. Based on Bernard Cornwell’s book series The Saxon Stories, The Last Kingdom will combine real historical figures and events with fictional characters during the reign of Alfred the Great, who as King of Wessex fought off a Viking invasion. Replete with heroic deeds and epic battles, the series will also embrace politics, religion, warfare, courage, love, loyalty and the universal search for identity. Stephen Butchard (Good Cop, Five Daughters, House Of Saddam) is scripting. Production starts in the fall and casting has yet to be confirmed. Carnival’s Gareth Neame and Nigel Marchant will exec produce with Butchard. Nick Murphy (Prey, Occupation) is co-executive producing and directing multiple episodes. Chrissy Skinns (Mr Selfridge) will produce.
The series slots into BBC Two’s strong drama portfolio. On deck, it’s also got the ambitious Wolf Hall, the adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s historical novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies.
Set in the year 872, when many of the separate kingdoms of what is now known as England have fallen to the invading Vikings, the great kingdom of Wessex has been left standing alone and defiant under the command of King Alfred the Great. Against this turbulent backdrop lives Uhtred, the hero of the stories. When his noble Saxon parents are killed by the Vikings, the marauders kidnap him and raise him as one of their own. Forced to choose between the country of his birth and the people of his upbringing, his loyalties are continually tested. On a quest to claim his birthright, Uhtred must tread a dangerous path between both sides if he is to play his part in the birth of a new nation and, ultimately, seek to recapture his ancestral lands. Read More »
Anne Morrison is the second woman to be named Chair in the history of BAFTA. She succeeds John Willis who will act as Deputy Chair for the next year. Morrison was previously Deputy Chair, a member of the Television Committee, Chair of the Learning Events Committee and member of the Board of Trustees. Since 2009, she has also been Director of the BBC Academy, overseeing the largest broadcast training organization in the UK. She officially departs the BBC later in 2014. Her tenure as BAFTA Chair will run for the next two years. Her background is principally in television production, starting as a producer/director and rising to become Controller, Documentaries and Contemporary Factual at the BBC. Under her stewardship, the production department made such programs as The Secret Policeman, The Queen’s Golden Jubilee, Mischief and What Not To Wear; it also relaunched Top Gear. She was later appointed Programme Director of the Network Supply Review, planning and overseeing the growth of BBC network television from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Morrison said today, “I am delighted and deeply honored to become Chair of BAFTA. Over the next two years I want to build on everything BAFTA has already achieved, from the prestigious Awards to the amazing year-round learning program that supports, nurtures and develops new talent. I look forward to sharing my passion for offering opportunities to talented young people, regardless of their background, and inspiring … Read More »
Nigerian Censor OKs ‘Half Of A Yellow Sun’ Release
Nigeria has given a greenlight to the distribution of Chiwetel Ejiofor starrer Half Of A Yellow Sun. The drama will be released August 1, after being certified by the National Film and Video Censors Board. It previously was due to open in April, but some scenes were deemed objectionable at the time, the BBC notes. Thandie Newton also stars in the adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel. Set in 1960s Nigeria, the story brings audiences into a country torn apart by civil war and shows how the interwoven lives of four central characters intersect during a struggle to establish an independent republic of Nigeria. Biyi Bandele is the director. In a statement, Shareman Media and FilmOne Distribution thanked Nigerians for their “patience and support”.
‘My Man Can’ Game Show Headed To France
French television network NRJ 12 has ordered a local version of Red Arrow International’s game show format My Man Can. The premise sees four women gamble with the abilities of their partners, putting their man’s courage and skills to the ultimate test. It’s been sold to more than 30 countries worldwide. In France, Enibas Productions will produce it under the moniker, Cheri T´es Le Meilleur (Sweetie, You’re The Best).
Two Weeks In, Conan O’Brien Has 3M Hits In China
Conan … Read More »
AMC Networks completed its $1B acquisition of Liberty Global’s Chellomedia in February. Today, it has announced a re-brand of the group to AMC Networks International. AMC Networks International will also encompass AMC/Sundance Channel Global, which operates in Europe, Latin America, the Mid-East and Asia. “Re-naming Chellomedia is a natural next step as we continue to integrate this portfolio of channels and transition AMC Networks into a global media company,” said AMC Networks COO Ed Carroll. AMCNI consists of six operating units: Asia-Pacific, Central Europe, Iberia, Latin America, Zone (EMEA) and DMC. The latter is a European-based global media technology and distribution company. AMCNI delivers programming to subscribers in more than 140 countries and includes such global brands as Sundance Channel and MGM Channel, as well as local channels across various genres.
Writing as gossip columnist Rita Skeeter at Pottermore.com (registration required), JK Rowling has brought the Hogwarts band back together. In doing so, she also evidently crashed the site for a while. When I took a look a little bit ago, all was fine, but it just asked me to “come back later and try again.” In a 1,500 word piece that appears in the Daily Prophet section of the site, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger are gathered together with their families and other old cohorts attending the final of the Quidditch World Cup 2014 — magical timing just ahead of the final of the (Muggle) World Cup in Brazil next weekend. This is the first time Rowling has written new material about the beloved characters since the last book was published seven years ago. There are also a series of match reports and articles about the wizarding sport’s tournament, all penned by Rowling. Back in March, the author posted the first part of her History of the Quidditch World Cup on the site that is the official digital platform for all things Potter.
Mild spoiler alert below:
Today, Rowling (as the vicious Skeeter) writes that as Harry approaches 34, he has “threads of silver” in his black hair, and also sports a mysterious cut over his cheekbone. Rita deduces it has been inflicted as part of his top-secret career as an Auror, … Read More »
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines yin and yang as “opposite sides, elements, or extremes,” while other definitions add that the two are complementary forces that can’t exist without each other. Given the events of the past month, Chinese philosophers might have a field day applying the concept to the case of Transformers: Age Of Extinction and its run on the mainland. The film is exploding at the local box office, while at the same time it’s becoming a magnet for legal threats raised by Chinese sponsors.
Last Thursday, representatives of the Wulong Karst National Park located in Chongqing said they were mulling legal action against producers of the film. This followed calls for edits by another sponsor, Pangu Investments, which made headlines just before the movie’s release. The latter matter was swiftly resolved. But at a press conference on Monday, Wulong confirmed it is going forth with a suit, local reports say. The move comes as Chinese research firm Ent Group reports that TAOE has overtaken James Cameron’s Avatar as the top-grossing movie ever in the territory. Paramount has yet to weigh in, reporting late yesterday that the Michael Bay film had earned $52M in the market over the weekend with total box office at $212.8M. But Ent Group says that as of July 6, the film had taken $222.74M. Avatar earned $221.9M in 2010. I had previously heard that the milestone would likely not be reached until Wednesday. Because of currency fluctuations, the yuan renminbi … Read More »
5TH UPDATE, TUESDAY AM: Paramount came in with numbers late on Monday evening showing a slight bump in the overseas cume for Transformers: Age Of Extinction‘s 2nd frame. It was worth to $96.6M, the studio said, although the total overseas figure to date was unchanged at $400.9M. China‘s gross lifted to $52M from the previous $50.9M estimate. That was good for a total box office in the market through Sunday of $212.8M. There is some confusion over the tally, however, as local websites are reporting it had $222.74M through Sunday. That would push it past Avatar as the highest-grossing movie ever in China. We’re working to get the exact figures nailed down. All other figures for TAOE are updated in the copy below.
4th UPDATE, MONDAY, 4:00 PM PT: Paramount Pictures is the only studio that has not reported, and it has, of course, Transformers: Age Of Extinction, which is pounding it way across international markets. So we have finals for everything but the No. 1 pic internationally. The studio is still on holiday in the states. But Sony, Disney, Fox, Warner Bros and Universal have weighed in with updated numbers for their international releases this weekend.
The titles we have final updates for include 22 Jump Street, Deliver Us From Evil, Maleficent, Frozen, The Fault In Our Stars, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Rio 2, The Other Woman, X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Edge … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Religion-themed pics are all the rage, and I’ve learned that Gravity and Harry Potter producer David Heyman is set to produce the adaptation of Reza Aslan’s Zealot: The Life And Times Of Jesus Of Nazareth. The bestseller was acquired by Lionsgate in December, and former Focus Features chief James Schamus is penning the adaptation.
Iranian-American writer and scholar Aslan’s book was published in 2013 and named one of the best of the year by Publishers Weekly. It’s a historical account of the life of Jesus, analyzing the various religious perspectives on him as well as the creation of Christianity. Set in 1st century Palestine, the story challenges long-held assumptions about the Galilean. “Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Dr. Aslan sheds light on one of history’s most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived,” Lionsgate said when it picked up the title. Aslan added at the time that his objective in writing the book was to “illuminate the life of Jesus in a humanistic, as opposed to religious, context.” While Schamus pens the transfer, I hear that top directors have expressed interest.
Heyman will produce with Jeff Clifford. The pair also is teamed on The Queen Of The Tearling, the adaptation of Erika Johansen’s upcoming novel that’s part of a trilogy to be published by HarperCollins this year. Mark L Smith, who co-wrote Alejandro … Read More »
The British Film Institute‘s Film Fund is the largest public film fund in the UK. Per annum, it invests over £27M ($46.2M) into development, production, international sales and distribution and supports about 30 new films each year. Now, it’s getting serious about diversity and will require movies meet a list of standards before doling out any cash. In order to ensure that titles receiving funding “reflect and represent the diversity of the UK”, a “three ticks” approach is being set up. Beginning September 1, all BFI Film Fund-supported projects must demonstrate “commitment to encouraging diverse representation across their workforces and in the portrayal of under-represented stories and groups on screen.” The org says it’s concerned with diversity in relation to ethnicity, disability, gender, sexual orientation and socio-economic status. Applicants will have to be able to put a check mark next to at least one criterion in a minimum of two areas out of on-screen diversity, off-screen diversity and creating opportunities and promoting social mobility. A diversity expert is bring brought in to help implement the guidelines. Read More »
From Hugh Laurie to Idris Elba and Dominic West, there’s a history of British actors heading to America to ply their trade on U.S. TV. Now, with increasingly provocative drama spurred on in part by the UK’s high-end tax credit, a handful of American women have begun a mini-trend on British telly in the past year. After Gillian Anderson in The Fall and Elisabeth Moss in Top Of The Lake, along comes Maggie Gyllenhaal who just debuted as the protagonist of BBC Two’s eight-part miniseries The Honourable Woman. The series was originally commissioned by BBC Two and is a co-production from BBC Worldwide and Sundance Channel in the U.S. The first episode aired late last week in the UK to favorable reviews and solid ratings with an average 2.13M viewers and a 10.6% share. It hits the States on July 31 — sans the “u” in the title. The fast-paced, labyrinthine thriller is set against an international political backdrop and centers on Nessa Stein (Gyllenhaal), whose father was a Zionist arms procurer. As children, she and her brother were witness to his assassination. As an adult, inheriting her father’s company, Stein dramatically inverts its purpose from supplying arms to laying high-spec data cabling networks between Israel and the West Bank. Her sudden appointment to the House of Lords, apparently due to her tireless promotion of projects for reconciliation between the Israelis and Palestinians, creates an international political maelstrom. … Read More »