Hacking attempts on media organizations have ramped up in recent months with attacks on the AP, The Guardian, CBS News accounts, The Onion, and E! Online. On Friday The Financial Times’ Tech Blog and Twitter accounts were hacked into, the organization reported. “Various FT blogs and social media accounts have been compromised by hackers and we are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible,” FT later Tweeted. Earlier in the week, The New York Times website experienced traffic slowdowns that limited access to some users because of online attacks not attributed to a specific group.
‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ $22M Friday For Lower $62.2M Weekend And $75.5M Domestic Cume; Overseas Total Predicted $75M
SATURDAY 4:45 PM, 6TH UPDATE: International for Star Trek Into Darkness from Paramount Pictures, Skydance Productions, and director J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot continues way up from the last film with $35M projected for this weekend, led by Russia debuting at $9M vs $2M. That would put the overseas total at a projected $75M through Sunday with just over half of all markets opened.
SATURDAY 8:30 AM, 4TH & 5TH UPDATE: Friday domestic numbers for Star Trek Into Darkness diverged wildly last night as did estimates for the 3-day weekend and 4 1/2-day cume from 3,868 theaters. Heck, they’re still over the place. One thing I can say for sure: despite the passage of 4 years and the addition of 3D and IMAX for ticket premiums, Star Trek Into Darkness even though its release began Wednesday night will not beat 2009′s Star Trek opening 3-day weekend. The new film’s 4 1/2 day number may not even gross bigger than 2009′s $75.2M. Paramount obviously wants to put the best face on an underperforming situation and is still telling me that “when opening day isn’t Friday you get a higher multiple vs Friday”. But the numbers are the numbers, and rival studios have estimates for STID that are dramatically lower. Don’t get me wrong: the movie is still making a lot of money. Just not the $100M cume predicted all week by the studio which is now claiming $22M for Friday, $70M for the 3-day weekend, and $83M for the 4 1/2-day total. Rival studios have numbers of $21.6-$22.0M for Friday, $56.2M-$66.2M for the 3-day weekend, and $69.7M-$75.5M for the 4 1/2-day total. Paramount says moviegoers “are definitely choosing IMAX as it is 14% of the gross” helped by director/producer J.J. Abrams filming 30 minutes of the new sequel using high-resolution cameras to increase the IMAX audience. “The IMAX screens are selling out early so there isn’t as much late business,” a Paramount exec tells me.
1. Star Trek Into Darkness (Skydance/Paramount) Week 1 [3,868 Theaters]
Friday $22.0M, Weekend $66.2M, Cume $75.5M
2. Iron Man 3 (Marvel/Disney) Week 3 [Runs 4,237]
Friday $9.6M, Weekend $35.0M, Cume $337.0M
3. The Great Gatsby (Warner Bros) Week 2 [Runs 3,550]
Friday $7.6M, Weekend $24.4M (-51%), Cume $91.2M
FRIDAY 1 PM, 3RD UPDATE: My sources say early matinees are very strong for Star Trek Into Darkness from Paramount Pictures, Skydance Productions, and director J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot. It continued its domestic run today in 3,762 theaters with a refined number of $13.4 million from Wednesday’s 336 IMAX late shows and Thursday’s midnights and then yesterday’s wide release. Today’s grosses are almost double Thursday’s and an early read of noon averages is ranging from $25M to $27M Friday and $80M to $88M for the 3-day weekend - with a prediction of $100M for the first four days. Abrams’ first 2009 installment of the long-running film franchise opened to $30.1M Friday (without a Thursday start) and $79M for the first weekend. Fandango reports the new pic’s ticket sales are outpacing the first movie at the same point in the cycle and 55% of surveyed filmgoers plan to see it more than once. Over 80% of MovieTickets sales are for Star Trek Into Darkness and that’s led to some 430 sold out screenings this weekend. Overseas, the iconic 3D space tentpole’s cume is now $47M through Thursday.
EXCLUSIVE: Hours after it made its World Premiere in Director’s Fortnight at Cannes, the Jeremy Saulnier-directed Blue Ruin was acquired by Radius-TWC. Radius co-presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego bought North American rights, and plan to release the film theatrically this fall. (Watch a clip from the film here.) Saulnier, whose film is one of the few American offerings in Directors’ Fortnight sidebar, here directs a story of a man who finds his quiet life upended by unwelcome news and subsequently sets off for his childhood home to carry out an act of revenge. Proving an improbable assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family. Blue Ruin was produced by Anish Savjani, Richard Peete and Vincent Savino.
Saulnier first directed Murder Party, which Radius co-presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego released at Magnolia. They called his followup Blue Ruin “a masterpiece and a future cult classic. It is one of the most exceptional discoveries of the last few years thanks to Jeremy’s deft hand. We couldn’t be more excited for our second collaboration.”
Said Saulnier: “Tom and I go way back when he championed my first film…I’m thrilled that my new film has found a home with him. Radius is absolutely the perfect fit for Blue Ruin.” Quinn and Janego negotiated the deal with Memento’s Ram Murali, Emilie Georges and Tanja Meissner.
This gives Radius two films playing here at Cannes; the label is also releasing the Nicolas Winding Refn-directed Only God Forgives, which premieres next week and stars Ryan Gosling and Kristen Scott Thomas. Footage on that film was shown at a TWC slate sampling, and is was shocking, in Refn’s signature stylized way.
Paramount‘s zombie tentpole World War Z will open the Moscow International Film Festival held June 20-29, the fest’s Leonid Vereshchagin announced today at Cannes. The Marc Forster pic opens stateside June 21. Also announced today for the fest were retrospectives of Olympic Games-themed documentaries, films by Bernardo Bertolucci and Costa Gavras, and a Dutch cinema program. The Moscow Business Square sidebar will host 20 Russian and international projects, while the Generation Campus program will offer young filmmakers training in writing, directing, cinematography, and editing. Ten in-competition titles announced today include: Matterhorn (dir. Diederik Ebbinge, Netherlands), Drogowka (dir. Wojciech Smarzowski, Poland), Rol/The Role (dir. Konstantin Lopushansky, Russia), Spaghetti Story (dir. Ciro de Caro, Italy), Sayonara Keikoku/The Ravine Of Goodbye (dir. Tatsushi Ômori, Japan), Los Chicos Del Puerto (dir. Alberto Morais, Spain), Rosie (dir. Marsel Gisler, Switzerland), Zerre/Particle (dir., Erdem Tepegöz, Turkey), Disorder (dir. Archil Kavtaradze, Georgia), and Skolzheniye/Slide (dir. Anton Rozenberg, Russia).
Hammond On Cannes: Wet Fest’s Official Competition Finally Heats Up With Coen Brothers’ ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’
The first purely American entry in the 2013 Cannes Film Festival competition (opening nighter The Great Gatsby was Out of Competition), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen‘s terrific Inside Llewyn Davis had its first press screening Saturday night to strong response and big buzz on the very rainy Croisette. This tale of a talented folk singer unable to balance art and commerce, and who never quite hits the big time in the late 50′s/early 60′s emerging folk scene, is pure Coen Brothers with a winning mixture of brilliantly observed comedy and darker moments that give it an edge most reminiscent of Coen movies like Barton Fink, which won the Palme d’Or on their first try at Cannes in 1991. Joel Coen also took the Director award that year and again for The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) among the seven previous times they have been in the Cannes competition. 1994′s The Hudsucker Proxy, 1996′s Fargo, 2000′s O Brother Where Art Thou, 2004′s The Ladykillers and 2007′s No Country For Old Men represent their other numerous chances to reap a second Palme d’Or since Barton Fink but none of them did the trick.
Judging from initial reaction, at least among the press, Inside Llewyn Davis probably makes them an early front-runner for that second Palme. We say early since the film doesn’t have its official black tie premiere at the Palais until Sunday night, only the fourth day of the competition. But with its superb acting including leading man Oscar Isaac, as the morose but oddly engaging Llewyn and a great supporting cast including Carey Mulligan, John Goodman (just great), Justin Timberlake, Stark Sands and a scene stealing cat (or cats? – you’ll see) among others, plus the Coens’ knack for catching this era in all its glory, I suspect this will remain a contender for the entire week of debuts to come.
IFC Midnight acquired North American rights to Cinipix’s action/thriller Raze, directed by Josh Waller. The film, written by Robert Beaucage, stars Zoe Bell, Rachel Nichols, Tracie Thoms and Sherilyn Fenn, and made its world premiere at last month’s Tribeca Film Festival. Cinipix financed Raze. The film was produced by Kenny Gage and Andy Pagana. Raze follows Sabrina, a woman who is mysteriously abducted and held captive in an underground lair, where she is forced to do battle with other innocents for the amusement of unseen spectators. Each of these reluctant warriors has something to lose, but only one will remain when the game is done.
Jonathan Sehring, President of Sundance Selects/IFC Films, said: “Josh Waller has crafted the most intense and unique action film that we have seen in a longtime. With the magnificent Zoe Bell leading a strong female cast, Raze delivers and then some. We can’t wait to unleash it upon audiences.”
Phase 4 and XLrator Media have teamed up on North American rights to Jamesy Boy, starring Mary-Louise Parker, James Woods, Ving Rhames, Taissa Farmiga, and newcomer Spencer Lofranco. Trevor White directed and co-wrote the true story pic with Lane Shadgett. Lofranco plays teenager James Burns, who befriends a convicted murderer (Rhames) in prison who helps him turn his life around. The Synergics Films and Star Thrower Entertainment production is produced by Tim White, Wayne L. Rogers, Steven P. Saeta, Maria Norman, Galen Walker and Scott Mednick. Phase 4′s Larry Greenberg and Gordon of XLrator Media negotiated the deal with the Paradigm Finance Group on behalf of the filmmakers. Atlas International is handling the foreign sales.
EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company‘s Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters has added the final pieces to its casting puzzle. Modern Family‘s Sarah Hyland and Vikings’ Gabriel Byrne will now also be sinking their teeth into the movie based on the books by Richelle Mead. Byrne will play Victor, one of the leaders of the Academy while Hyland will play Natalie, Victor’s daughter and the best friend of the lead Rose and Lissa characters. Lucy Fry and Zoey Deutch have already been announced as Lissa and Rose. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’s Joely Richardson and Dominic Sherwood have also joined the film. Richardson will play Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi Vampires. Sherwood will be playing Christian, Lissa’s love interest. These latest cast additions come on the heels of the announcement last week that Sami Gayle (Blue Bloods), Cameron Monaghan (Shameless), Ashley Charles (White Buffalo) and Claire Foy (White Heat) had joined the ensemble cast. The film also stars …
EXCLUSIVE: New York-based distributor Adopt Films has acquired all U.S. rights to French director Jacques Doillon’s Love Battles (aka Mes Séances De Lutte). The movie debuted in the Panorama section of Berlin earlier this year. The story follows a young woman who deals with her father’s death by engaging in a contest of wills, physicality and carnality with the caretaker of his estate. Sara Forestier, here in Cannes with Katell Quillévéré’s Critics’ Week opener Suzanne, stars alongside James Thiérrée. Adopt is planning a theatrical and VOD release this fall for the controversial title that will go out in France afterwards. Led by Tim Grady and Jeff Lipsky, Adopt has had a healthy track record with films coming out of Berlin. At the 2012 fest, they picked up Ursula Meier’s Sister, which was shortlisted for a foreign language Oscar. They also acquired Christian Petzold’s Barbara which won the directing Silver Bear, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s Golden Bear winner Caesar Must Die and Miguel Gomes’ Tabu, winner of the FIPRESCI prize (Gomes is president of the Critics’ Week jury here in Cannes). Grady negotiated the deal on behalf of Adopt with Doc & Film CEO Daniela Elstner.
Shannyn Sossamon is to play architect and designer Eileen Gray in biopic The Price Of Desire with Alanis Morissette in to play her lover. Swiss actor Vincent Perez, well known for his work in France, will be Gray’s nemesis, Le Corbusier. Mary McGuckian (Man On The Train, The Bridge Of San Luis Rey) is directing the story about Gray, a pioneer of architecture’s Modern Movement, and her relationship with Le Corbusier. It will also focus on the iconic E1027 Villa in Roquebrune Cap Martin, France and how it influenced and inspired a century of modern architecture. EG Film Productions Limited, Lightstream Pictures and Saga Film produce.
Cannes Briefs: ‘Space Dogs 2′; Franco’s ‘Tar’; ‘The Surprise’; ‘Rudderless’; Gosling’s ‘Monster’; ‘Starry Eyes’; Wentworth Media & Arts; ‘Lilting’; ‘Third Person’; Doha Fests
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Epic Pictures is launching sales on animated action-adventure Space Dogs 2, the sequel to 2010′s canine astronaut pic Space Dogs 3D. Vadim Sotskov of Kinoatis and Sergei Sernov are producing alongside exec producers Patrick Ewald and Shaked Berenson of Epic Pictures Group. The US-Russian project is currently in production in stereoscopic 3D. Epic is also repping global sales on action-thriller The Patrol: Operation Herrick, written and directed by Tom Petch, who is producing with Tom Stuart for AFG Film Ltd. The story of a British Army patrol battling the Taliban in Afghanistan stars Owain Arthur, Nicholas Beveney, Daniel Fraser, Alex Mcnally, Oliver Mott, Ben Righton, and Nav Sidhu.
Spotlight Pictures has come aboard to sell Tar, the biopic of Pulitzer-winner poet CK Williams that stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, Jessica Chastain, Zach Braff, Henry Hopper and Bruce Campbell. The pic follows the life of Williams (Franco) as he recalls the experiences that shaped the man he became and the writer he was destined to be. It was directed by 12 NYU film students and premiered last year at the Rome Film Festival. The sales deal was negotiated by Vince Jolivette for Rabbit Bandini Productions with Carlos Rincon at Spotlight.
Open Road Films and Unclaimed Freight Productions’ Randall Miller and Jody Savin are partnering to bring Gregg Allman biopic My Cross To Bear to U.S. theaters. Miller and Savin penned the screenplay based on the New York Times bestselling autobiography of the iconic blues singer. Miller will direct. Open Road will handle U.S. distribution. The story will focus on Allman’s early struggles through the formation of The Allman Brothers Band and the group’s ultimate explosion on the music scene. Savin and Miller are working closely with Allman and his manager, Michael Lehman, both of whom will serve as executive producers. The film is expected to include original Allman Brothers tracks as well as re-recorded performances by the actor/musicians. Production is scheduled to begin late summer 2013 in Georgia. Casting is under way. The deal was negotiated on behalf of Open Road Films by Tom Ortenberg and Ben Cotner, SVP of Acquisitions. Ben Weiss of Paradigm negotiated on behalf of the filmmakers. Miller and Savin recently produced CBGB about the famous New York City rock ‘n’ roll club. CBGB is being repped in Cannes by The Exchange and several large foreign deals are under way.
Sean Ellis’ Philippines-set Metro Manila is bound for a remake courtesy of Fox International Productions which acquired rights earlier this week. The Sundance World Cinema Audience Award winner has now been picked up by distribution partners 108 Media and Paladin for North America. Written by Oscar- and BAFTA-nominated English filmmaker Ellis (Cashback) and Frankie E. Flowers, the thriller follows a poor farmer seeking a brighter future who takes the most dangerous job in Manila as an armored transport driver. Paladin’s Mark Urman and 108 CEO Rastogi negotiated the deal with Independent’s Abigail Walsh and Jessica Lacy, on behalf of ICM partners, who represent Ellis.
Yahoo has set a Monday news conference in NY to announce “something special”, and CBNC says that CEO Marissa Mayer will be there. Could the news be that it is acquiring the social network Tumblr? Reports surfaced last night that Yahoo is mulling a deal to buy or invest in the youth-skewing blogging site, and AllThingsD, which broke the news, says Yahoo’s board is meeting tomorrow to consider an all-cash buy for $1.1B. If the deal makes it would be the biggest yet for Mayer as she looks to boost the fortunes of the company, which is still in transformation mode. Yahoo has acquired mostly small startups since she took over last July, and a potential big deal to buy a controlling stake in French video site Dailymotion was scotched by the French government earlier this month. Last month, Yahoo reported declining ad sales for the second fiscal quarter in a row, with revenue from display ads falling 11% year over year, and it reduced its revenue guidance for the current second quarter.
Myriad Pictures has tapped Richard Loncraine to direct Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton in Life Itself, a comedy based on the Jill Ciment novel Heroic Measures. Charlie Peters wrote the screenplay, about a long-married NY couple who find themselves swept into an emotional and comical real estate bidding war when they put their beloved downtown apartment on the market — and must come to terms with the possibility of moving from the home where they have spent most of their adult lives. Freeman and Lori McCreary’s Revelations Entertainment will produce with Latitude Productions. McCreary, Curtis Burch, Peters and Tracy Mercer are producing, and Freeman will executive produce. Myriad’s Kirk D’Amico and David Ducar negotiated international sales rights to the film and the company is introducing the project at Cannes. Its slate here includes Emanuel And The Truth About Fishes starring Kaya Scodelario and Jessica Biel; The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Him And Her with Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy; Life Partners with Leighton Meester, Adam Brody, and Gillian Jacobs; and the Derek Martini-directed The Curse Of Downers Grove with Bella Heathcote, Lucas Till and Kevin Zegers. CAA and WME Global co-rep North American rights to Life Itself.
Phase 4 Films has acquired U.S. and Canadian rights to The Crash Reel, which follows the different paths taken by childhood friends and rivals Shaun White and Kevin Pearce. The latter suffered a serious brain injury while training for their anticipated showdown at the Vancouver Olympics; White went on to gold medals and fame while Pierce struggled to recover. HBO, which helped finance the film, retains U.S. TV broadcast rights to the pic, which weaves 15 years of verite footage with a soundtrack that includes music from Chemical Brothers, Underworld, and Moby and chronicles Pearce’s long road to recovery. It premiered this year at Sundance. Oscar-nominated Lucy Walker (Waste Land, Devil’s Playground) directed, wrote the script with Pedro Kos and produced with Julian Cautherley. HBO’s Sheila Nevins executive produced. Phase 4 plans an early winter 2013 theatrical release. The deal was negotiated by Phase 4′s Larry Greenberg and Sam Posner with Andrew Herwitz at The Film Sales Company on behalf of the filmmakers.
This is a project that stirred a lot of excitement when it was initially announced in 2010. Writer-director Andrew Dominik was coming off of The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford at the time and then went on to make Killing Them Softly. He is still aboard to direct Blonde, which Worldview Entertainment has now optioned. The fictional biopic of Marilyn Monroe is based on a 700-page imagined memoir written by Joyce Carol Oates. Fans of the book are legion. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 2001, and the prolific Oates has said she thinks it may be the book for which she will be most remembered. Dominik wrote the adaptation. The filmmakers are currently casting (Naomi Watts was originally attached to play Monroe). CAA arranged financing and is packaging. The agency reps Dominik and will handle domestic rights. Wild Bunch is selling internationally.