Amid the hustle, bustle and occasional tussle of holiday shopping and preparation, sometimes you just want to have a pint with your pals. The World’s End stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright have the right idea in this season’s greeting sent out tonight by Focus Features. I guess pulling in $46 million worldwide could put you in a celebratory mood.
International Box Office Snapshot: ‘47 Ronin’ Disappoints In Japan, But Universal Poised To Break All-Time Global Record
In September, Universal Pictures International crossed the $2B mark at the overseas box office for the first time in its 101-year existence. In keeping with that record performance, it could soon see animated sequel Despicable Me 2 break another record, becoming the highest-grossing film (animated or not) in Universal’s history. That’s because it recently secured a January 10th release date in China, the booming box office territory that is now the world’s second-largest market. China has been good to Universal; films like Les Misérables and Fast & Furious 6 were big hits there this year. Although the first Despicable Me was not released theatrically in China, local audiences are familiar with the Minions through VOD and DVD. China is the last international territory where DM2 will go out after making more than $551M abroad. Combined with the domestic cume of $367.2M, the worldwide total is now $918.7M. To reach the record goal of becoming the studio’s biggest hit ever, it would need to make about $11M in China. That’s not a stretch.
But with the yin, sometimes comes the yang. Shifting territories to Japan, in what looks like a rare misstep for the studio, 47 Ronin — the pricey 3D samurai film starring Keanu Reeves and a Japanese cast – opened in its first territory on Friday and fared worse than expected. I understand the studio puts the production budget, after tax incentives, at $175M. Over the weekend, estimates for the film in China were $1.3M at 333 dates for a No. 3 spot behind two local pics. But the actuals told a different tale and came in with a gross of $1.05M in the No. 5 slot. It is still the top film from a major for the weekend in a territory that is notoriously keen on local pics. Insiders say the Japan result is “not a catastrophic hit” for the studio’s financial year with accounting adjustments having been anticipated. Although the result is an underperform, I’m cautioned that “Japan is the kind of market where opening weekend doesn’t necessarily forecast the rest of the film’s run.” The sun hasn’t set, in other words. The film rolls out in Singapore and Malaysia on December 19th, Indonesia the next day and has 15 more territories opening the last weekend of 2013, including the UK and Spain. It launches in U.S. on Christmas Day.
Universal and Focus Features have been busy rounding out the cast of Fifty Shades Of Grey, which stars Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey opposite Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele. Callum Keith Rennie (Battlestar Galactica) has been cast in the adaptation of EL James’ bestselling erotic novel as Ray Steele, Anastasia’s stepfather. Rennie recently finished filming Weinstein acquisition The Young And Prodigious TS Spivet with Helena Bonham Carter and indie feature Ride with Helen Hunt. He’s repped by APA, Hodgson Management Group, and Kleinberg Lange Cuddy & Carlo.
The comedy from Darko Entertainment, Aggregate Films and MXN stars Jason Bateman in his feature directorial debut. He plays a 40-year-old Guy Trilby, who finds a loophole in the National Spelling Bee rules and enters the competition. As he dusts his preteen rivals, a reporter (Kathryn Hahn) digs into Guy’s …
BOX OFFICE FINAL: ‘Frozen’ Catches Heat And Fire To Lead The Weekend; Coen Brothers’ ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ Soars
5TH UPDATE, MONDAY PM: Here are today’s final Top 10 studio-reported actuals for the December 6-8 box office frame, courtesy of Rentrak. See the full Top 20 at the bottom of the file:
2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Lionsgate, $26,185,886 4,163 locations, (third week) -65%, $6,290 average, $335,850,842.
3. Out Of The Furnace, Relativity Media, $5,220,288, 2,101 locations (first week), $2,485 average, $5,247,364.
4. Thor: The Dark World, Disney, $4,811,545, 3,074 locations (fifth week) -57%, $1,565 average, $193,711,187.
5. Delivery Man, Disney, $3,742,544, 2,905 locations (third week) -45% , $1,288 average, $24,767,326.
6. Homefront, Open Road, $3,428,440, 2,570 locations (second week) -50%, $1,334 average, $15,328,830, 2 weeks.
7. The Book Thief, 20th Century Fox, $2,625,623, 1,316 locations (fifth week) -46%, $1,995 average, $12,000,678.
8. The Best Man Holiday, Universal, $2,609,890, 1,577 locations (fourth week) -68%, $1,655 average, $67,175,505.
9. Philomena, The Weinstein Company, $2,195,341, 835 locations (third week) -40%, $2,629 average, $8,167,976.
10. Dallas Buyers Club, Focus Features, $1,505,669, 734 locations (sixth week) -40%, $2,051 average, $12,453,993.
BOX OFFICE THUMBNAIL: Out of the Furnace (wide after opening Wednesday in four theaters) looks weak. Inside Llewyn Davis (opened limited in four) is very strong. Thor: The Dark World surpasses $600 million this past week. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Frozen both headed to $30 million weekends.
4TH UPDATE, SUNDAY 11 AM: Walt Disney’s Frozen and Lionsgate’s power franchise Hunger Games: Catching Fire warmed the box office this weekend as most of the nation was under a deep freeze. Traditionally, also, the weekend after Thanksgiving is slow and percentage drop-offs were not unexpected.
Frozen, driven by family-friendly Saturdays, was able to leapfrog over Catching Fire – early estimates had them in a dead heat going into the weekend. Frozen won the weekend with an estimated $31.6 million-plus take (a $134.2 million cume) in a box office weekend that had business suffer from moviegoers not wanting to venture out into biting temps. It’s per screen was around $8,400 in 3,742 locations and it saw a 126% jump from Friday to Saturday. This is the film’s second week out.
Catching Fire is estimated around $27.6 million for the 3-day for a total cume of about $336.7 million domestically (per screen of $6,486 in 4,163 theaters). The film, in its third weekend, was down anywhere from 63% to 67% from a week earlier, but its Friday to Saturday jump this was roughly 53%. Last weekend, Lionsgate over-estimated on its domestic gross, but this week they seem to be more in line with general consensus.
Internationally, the female-driven franchise is in 83 markets and has taken in around $44.3 million this weekend, which brings its international total – oddly enough – to the same $336.7 million tally for a total worldwide cume of $673.4 million, according to its distributor.
Lionsgate also noted that the film is playing in the number one spot in India (where it opened this weekend) as well as Australia, Mexico, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, and Belgium. So, the other 76 territories it is playing in, it is not number one, but with numbers like this … who cares. The film will open in Japan on December 27, rounding out its bows around the world.
CBS Films is crowing over the huge per screen numbers for the Coen brothers movie, Inside Llewyn Davis, which with ticket sales tallying at an estimated $402,000 is about $100,500 per screen. CBS smartly added theaters on Saturday after sellouts on Friday. For news about this film, WeinsteinCo’s Philomena (no. 9 in the box office top ten with roughly $2.82 million) and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom ($19,000-plus per screen), Fox Searchlight’s 12 Years a Slave, Focus Features’ Dallas Buyers Club (which rounded out the box office top ten with $1.5 million), see Brian Brooks’ Specialty Box Office Story.
BREAKING: Longtime Imagine Entertainment executive Erica Huggins has been promoted to president of the production company by chairman and co-founders Brian Grazer and Ron Howard and co-chairman Michael Rosenberg. This comes while Huggins is producing Get On Up, the James Brown biopic at Universal that stars Chadwick Boseman with Tate Taylor directing, and she is exec producing the Howard-directed The Heart Of The Sea at Warner Bros with Chris Hemsworth leading the cast. Kim Roth becomes sole president of production.
Huggins joined Imagine in 2004 as SVP of Motion Pictures. Two years later she became EVP and in 2010 became co-president of production. Over that time she has worked on such films as J. Edgar, Restless, Rush, and Flightplan, among others, as well as the Howard-directed music docu Made In America and Katy Perry: Part Of Me 3-D. She also works with Jason Katims on the NBC series Parenthood and has been a key part of the company’s attempt to become more entrepreneurial and adaptable in the digital age.
UPDATE: Paul Walker’s Charity To Receive Some Proceeds From ‘Hours’ Soundtrack And ‘Fast & Furious 6′ Home Video Release
UPDATED 1:55 PM: Benjamin Wallfisch, who composed the music for the upcoming Paul Walker drama Hours, said today that he and Varèse Sarabande Records will donate a portion of the soundtrack’s sales and royalties to the late actor’s nonprofit, Reach Out WorldWide. The film, which stars Walker as a father struggling to keep his daughter alive in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, opens Friday.
Related: Photos: Paul Walker, 1973-2013
PREVIOUSLY: The studio hasn’t made any decisions about the future of Fast & Furious 7 yet in the wake of the death of Paul Walker on November 30. But Universal said today that it will donate some of the proceeds from the upcoming Fast & Furious 6 DVD, Blu-ray and digital release to Walker’s charity Reach Out WorldWide. Here’s the release:
EXCLUSIVE: Storyline Entertainment partners Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have signed on with The Weinstein Company to produce Pippin, the screen adaptation of the musical that recently won Best Revival of a Musical among a four-Tony Award haul. This puts Zadan and Meron back with Weinstein, with whom they most successfully teamed on Chicago, the 2002 screen adaptation that won Best Picture among six Oscars. The duo also produced the hit movie musical Hairspray.
With book by Roger O. Hirson and music & lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, Pippin originally launched in 1972 with Bob Fosse directing. It focused on the existential journey of the title character, a son of King Charlemagne trying to find his place in the Middle Ages. The Spectacular Now helmer James Ponsoldt is writing the screenplay adaptation of Pippin.
Netflix To Debut Romney Presidential Campaign Documentary ‘Mitt’ In January 2014 Following Sundance Premiere
Netflix has acquired the just-announced Sundance 2014 documentary Mitt, which follows Republican nominee Mitt Romney through the beginnings of his presidential aspirations in 2006 to his defeat to Barack Obama on Election Night 2012. [See today's Sundance line-up announcement here.] The film from director Greg Whiteley (New York Doll, Resolved) spans seven years as Whiteley gains intimate access to the former Massachusetts governor and his family on and off the campaign trail through Romney’s quest for the White House. “It feels like a full circle moment to premiere this movie at Sundance,” said Whiteley. “I first met and filmed the Romney family in Park City in 2006 as they gathered to discuss whether Mitt should run for President. Over the next seven years I couldn’t believe I was filming inside rooms and situations I had no business being in.” Mitt is exec produced by Undefeated and King of Kong helmer Seth Gordon and will premiere January 17 during the 2014 Sundance Film Festivalas a gala in Salt Lake City, where Romney has roots and once led the Salt Lake Olympics Games Organizing Committee.
The American Film Institute jumped into the movie awards season today with the release of their annual Movies of the Year list. 12 Years A Slave, American Hustle , Captain Phillips, Fruitvale Station, Gravity, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Saving Mr. Banks and The Wolf Of Wall Street are the 10 films that made the cut. And based on the recent track record AFI has had for correlation between its list and the ultimate Oscar choices for Best Picture, these films should start popping the champagne corks. Last year, AFI matched 8 of 9 Oscar nominees with Amour being the only one it did not have (foreign films are not eligible for AFI’s list). In 2011, there were the same number of matches — though eventual Oscar winner for Best Picture The Artist was a separate “honorable mention” since it also was not eligible due to its French origins. In fact, I would go on to say the AFI list is fast becoming one of the most reliable precursors in predicting the way the Academy will eventually go.
This year’s list seems to reflect the frontrunners for the most part indicating consensus in a very competitive year. The list is also extremely good news for the major studios, which appear to be very strong in this year’s race with two entries from Sony, two from Paramount, two from Warner Bros and one from Disney. Fox is repped through their Searchlight division by 12 Years A Slave. CBS Films also made the cut for the first time with Inside Llewyn Davis. The Weinstein Company, usually a larger force , is repped only by their small very indie summer release Fruitvale Station, which so far has been doing very well in the initial awards races. The Weinsteins’ higher-profile eligible films such as August: Osage County and Lee Daniels’ The Butler are missing from the lineup along with Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom and Philomena (which were not eligible — neither was Weinstein’s Best Pic champ The King’s Speech in 2010, though it got a special mention). Other notable contenders that were eligible that were AWOL at AFI: All Is Lost, Dallas Buyers Club, Rush , Lone Survivor, Prisoners, Blue Jasmine and Mud to name a few whose Best Picture prospects may have just taken a hit. Well that is if you take these important precursors seriously and it seems by the strong correlation that at least when it comes to AFI the Academy definitely does.
Unlike other groups, AFI does not divide its list which also includes one for the top TV programs of the year into winners and losers but rather as an “almanac documenting works of excellence that mark a moment in time”. AFI also is the only organization honoring the entire creative ensemble of the films which qualify as those that “best advance the art of the moving image, enhance the rich cultural heritage of America’s art form, inspire audiences and artists alike, and /or make a mark on American society”.
The awards-giving season is now in full swing with weekend results from numerous critics groups including L.A. and Boston and the New York Online Critics with disparate choices that indicate this is a wide open race and anybody’s ballgame as we move into the bigger arenas of the SAG and Golden Globe nominations later this week. Here’s the official AFI list for film:
After a buzzy festival run and Toronto pick-up by The Wagner/Cuban Company’s Magnet Releasing, Ti West‘s Jonestown-esque thriller The Sacrament has been set for a June 6, 2014 theatrical release. Before then it …
That would be huge if Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman’s prediction is accurate — although he declined to elaborate in his presentation today at the UBS Global Media and Commmunications Conference. Viacom reportedly has talked with Sony about teaming up to offer an online service that would include the same kind of channels that now are only available to cable and satellite TV subscribers. Many programmers fear that a national online service could undermine their ability to sell their channels in bundles that require people to pay for services that they don’t watch. Intel met stiff resistance from cable networks when it proposed to introduce what’s known as an over-the-top service, and now wants to sell its technology.