Warner Bros.’ The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug generated $8.8 million from midnight screenings. The studio is calling it “the second biggest midnight numbers ever in December.” Last year, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey brought in about $13 million in a similar number of theaters at midnight.
Now, this reminds me of something I haven’t thought about in a long, long time but could use a mention: The studios are always looking for SOMEthing to tout … SOME way to use the box office to tout its numbers. When this first started years ago, we used to roll our eyes as we’d be told things like, “It’s the second biggest five-day opening for a May.” Everything can be spun, right? Such as, “the second biggest midnight in the South during an election year” or “it’s the highest box office three-day during a leap year.”
Though Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug’s midnight numbers are not ones for the record books, the fact is it is still on track for a big opening this weekend (estimates are around $80 million today) in a crowded marketplace that is very different environment from last year, when theaters had Lincoln and the ending run of Twilight pulling in small numbers. This weekend Hobbit has two very strong contenders in the marketplace for box office dollars with the family film Frozen and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. “We had a fan base that was drooling to see … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Rob Corddry is set to co-star opposite Dwayne Johnson in Ballers, HBO’s half-hour dramedy pilot, which chronicles the lives of several Miami-based active and retired athletes. Corddry will play former all-pro running back Spencer’s (Johnson) boss, a financial advisor who tries really hard to fit in and who is confident but clueless at interpreting social cues. Peter Berg is directing the pilot, which Johnson is exec producing with Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson, and Evan Reilly serves as showrunner. The deal for Ballers will allow Corddry to continue on Childrens Hospital, the Emmy-winning show he created, exec produces and stars in. The actor, repped by WME, Principato-Young and Ken Richman, just wrapped the Sony feature Sex Tape and plays the one of the leads in MGM’s Hot Tub Time Machine 2.
NBC‘s veteran Community launches its Season 5 on January 2 with back-to-back episodes from 8-9 PM before moving to its old 8 PM Thursday slot. The season will mark the return to the helm by series creator Dan Harmon, who was sacked by the network before last season for bad behavior but then asked back when the show slipped — as even its hardest of hard-core fans would admit. There have been a couple of teaser trailers out there this week. Here’s the latest, darkest one — is the Harmon touch evident here do you think?
That makes back-to-back Stanley Kramer Awards for The Weinstein Company, who also released last year’s recipient Bully. Here’s today’s release:
LOS ANGELES (December 13, 2013) – The Producers Guild of America (PGA), announced today that the critically acclaimed feature FRUITVALE STATION will be honored with the 2014 Stanley Kramer Award at the 25th Annual Producers Guild Awards ceremony. The awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, January 19, 2014 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.
The Stanley Kramer Award was established in 2002 to honor a production, producer or other individual whose achievement or contribution illuminates and raises public awareness of important social issues. Stanley Kramer created some of the most powerful work in the history of American motion pictures, including such classics as INHERIT THE WIND, ON THE BEACH, THE DEFIANT ONES, and GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER.
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Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly will return to her show tonight, and will address the media drubbing she’s taken after asserting, on her primetime program, that Santa Claus and Jesus Christ were white. (Watch the clip after the jump). A perfect storm of media/late-night comic panning hailed down in response, coming as it did on the heels of her debut Tonight show appearance, in which she told host Jay Leno, “I am a straight news anchor — I am not one of the Opinion Hosts at Fox” — and a long, loving Washington Post profile, in which she was described as a “queen,” a melange of Grace Kelly and Barbara Stanwyck, and a “break in the clouds, an interlude of lucidity” sandwiched between Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, “admitted opinionators who specialize, respectively, in cantankerousness and mongering.”
Kelly was MIA from The Kelly File last night, which raised some media eyebrows, since her absence had not been noted in advance, and it would have been her first appearance on the show since Wednesday’s segment on the racial identity of Jesus and St. Nicholas. FNC said this morning Kelly had not appeared on last night’s show due to illnesss (she was under the weather during Monday’s Tonight show appearance, declining to shake hands with Leno’s other guest, Simon Cowell because, she said, he’s a “germaphobe”). The network said she will return tonight and will address the issue. Read More »
Harris Interactive conducted the poll of nearly 1,500 TV streamers (online U.S. adults who stream TV shows at least once a week) on behalf of Netflix and found that 61% among that group binge regularly — and feel good about it. 73% defined binge watching as watching between 2-6 episodes of the same TV show in one sitting. And nearly three quarters of TV streamers say they have positive feelings towards binge streaming TV. “Our viewing data shows that the majority of streamers would actually prefer to have a whole season of a show available to watch at their own pace,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix. 76% of TV streamers say watching multiple episodes of a great TV show is a welcome escape from their busy lives. 79% said watching several episodes of their favorite shows at once actually makes the shows more enjoyable. And three-quarters (76%) also say streaming TV shows on their own schedule is their preferred way to watch them. Among those who ever stream multiple episodes of a TV series in a row, more than one-third (38%) most like to do so solo; however, a combined 51% prefer to watch with at least one other person. 39% of TV streamers who prefer to “save” TV shows to watch at a later date choose to stream saved series or seasons when the person they want to watch with is available. Harris Interactive conducted the … Read More »
The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts announced nominees for the AACTA Awards last week with Baz Luhrmann’s locally-made The Great Gatsby and Oz filmmaker Kim Mordaunt’s foreign language Oscar contender The Rocket leading the pack. Today, the Academy has unveiled nominees for its International honors – and boy does the group heart David O Russell. This year his American Hustle is nominated in each of seven categories: Film, Direction, Screenplay and the four acting classes. Last year, Silver Linings Playbook also led the way with mentions in all of the races, ultimately scoring five prizes including Film, Direction, Actress, and the supporting categories. Running a close second to American Hustle is Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave with six nods. Captain Phillips, Gravity and Blue Jasmine each received three nominations. The Great Gatsby turned up again on this list for directing and for Oz-born supporting actor Joel Edgerton. Dallas Buyers Club and August: Osage County were nominated twice. Other movies receiving mentions include The Book Thief, Philomena, Fruitvale Station, Rush, Inside Llewyn Davis, Saving Mr Banks and The Wolf Of Wall Street. The AACTA International Awards will be held in Los Angeles on January 10th, 2014. Click over for the full list of nominees: Read More »
In a discovery that would make Inspector Clouseau proud, two long-lost short films starring Peter Sellers have been found in Southend, England and will be screened next year at a local film festival. Those will be the first public showings of Dearth Of A Salesman and Insomnia Is Good For You in over 50 years. The 30-minute movies were made in 1957, seven years before Sellers would make an Oscar-nominated turn in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb. It’s thought that Sellers used the recovered pictures as show reels while segueing from radio to movies. According to the BBC, they were originally found in a London dumpster in 1996 by a building manager who took them home and stocked them away without realizing what the 21 film cans contained. During a recent clear-out of his house, Robert Farrow rediscovered them and learned of the Sellers movies. Stephen Podgorney of Southend-based Dimwittie Films tells me he is now researching the films which are being digitally restored. “It’s a big task as so little is known.” However, it is believed that Dearth Of A Salesman features Judith Wyler, the daughter of director William Wyler, and both films were co-written by Oscar-winner Mordecai Richler. The Southend Film Festival will host the screenings on May 1st. Here are two clips that Dimwittie provided to Deadline:
Insomnia Is Good For You:
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Oscar guru and host Dave Karger is back for the second season of Fandango Frontrunners, the weekly digital video series that offers news, commentary and interviews focused on awards season. The movie website owned by NBCUniversal, also has a new collaboration this season with the USC School of Cinematic Arts and Dolby Laboratories. The first episodes will feature interviews with 12 Years A Slave’s Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o; Ben Stiller, star and director of The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, and Octavia Spencer, co-star and executive producer of Fruitvale Station. The episodes were filmed at The Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, where the Academy Awards will be held on March 2. Fandango also will film a special Frontrunners event at USC’s Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre/ Frank Sinatra Hall. Special award nominees will be interviewed about their “frontrunner” journey and will answer questions from the film school’s students in the audience and via Twitter. The special Frontrunners episodes will air on Fandango following the event.
Jerry Bruckheimer on Thursday became the first producer ever honored by the American Cinematheque, feted by some of the biggest names in show business who joined together to pay tribute a man whose name has become synonymous with big-box-office action movies. And because of it, he’s also one of the few filmmakers who has the distinction of being an international brand.
“No one is more shocked than myself that I am standing here tonight just having received this prestigious award, surrounded by Hollywood royalty not to mention a dame and a knight,” said Bruckheimer, referring to two of his presenters Dame Helen Mirren and Sir Ben Kingsley, who celebrated the evening with him. The producer thanked his former partner, the late Don Simpson, and also Tony Scott, “a true visual genius whose energy and unique vision set the standard for high-voltage filmmaking.”
Related: Fleming Q&As American Cinematheque Honoree Jerry Bruckheimer
The evening at the Beverly Hilton was interspersed with clips from so many of the movies that has defined his career and contributed to his phenomenal $11.2 billion in worldwide box office: American Gigolo, Flashdance, Top Gun, Days of Thunder, Crimson Tide, Pearl Harbor, Armageddon, Bad Boys, Remember the Titans, Black Hawk Down, and franchise hits Beverly Hills Cop and Pirates of the Caribbean, to name a few. Read More »
Michael Lynton said last month that they intended to create “a bigger universe around Spider-Man” and today Sony Pictures had a new webslinging big bang. Sony Pictures Entertainment, in association with Marvel Entertainment, announced it will make movies on Spidey villains Venom and The Sinister Six. Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, Ed Solomon, and Drew Goddard to collaborate on overseeing the developing story over several films that will be produced by Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach. This was announced via the tucked away ElectroArrives.com, Spider-Man 2 related website. Spider-Man reboot 1 & 2 director Marc Webb will join the five scribes and two producers in what Sony is terming “a franchise brain trust to expand the universe for the brand and to develop a continuous tone and thread throughout the films.”
Sony Plans More Spider-Man Sequels & Spinoffs But Still No Marvel Reunion
Hot Trailer: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
For a studio that’s trimming back film output it is a pretty big expansion but then again the 4-movie Spidey franchise has made $3.2 billion worldwide so far for Sony/Columbia since it started in 2002 – and that’s without the expected blockbuster of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 that starts its international rollout on April 16, 2014 and debuts Stateside on May 2, 2014. Besides Spider-Man 3, which is expected to come out on June 10, 2016, there is a Kurtzman-directed Venom and a … Read More »
Looking to capitalize on the slew of award nominations House Of Cards has received during the past 10 days from the PGA, WGA and SAG, culminating with four Golden Globe noms today, Netflix is releasing the first trailer featuring footage from the upcoming second season, along with a brief recap of Season 1. Needless to say, Frank Underwood’s (Kevin Spacey) road to the Vice President’s office is not going to be as smooth as he’d hoped. House Of Cards scored Golden Globe nominations for Best Drama Series; Best Actor in a Drama Series (Kevin Spacey); Best Actress in a Drama Series (Robin Wright); and Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie (Corey Stoll). The entire Season 2 will be released February 14.
Related: Golden Globes TV: A Pack Of Newcomers As Old Favorites Fall
U.S. Filmmakers Lend Support To Iceland’s Film Industry
In early November, Iceland’s government announced plans to cut funding to the Icelandic Film Centre by about 40%. The news was met with upset within the industry, especially given that film production turnover has grown 248% since 2010, according to industry reports. That was driven by a number of Hollywood pics that shot locally including Oblivion, Prometheus and The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty and HBO’s Games Of Thrones. Film trade orgs have said the effect of the cuts would hurt the local economy and result in 200 job losses. The country’s film bodies have now received a statement of support signed by filmmakers including Clint Eastwood, Darren Aronofsky and Terrence Malick. “We, the undersigned, have had the great pleasure of working on one or more film projects in Iceland,” the statement reads. “In our view, the Icelandic film professionals we’ve worked with are of the highest standard. The expertise that they bring to the table – not only as filmmakers but as invaluable advisors on Icelandic practices, customs and locations – has brought immeasurable benefits to the work that we do. We stand with them, and with the entire film community in Iceland, in their efforts to maintain the current levels of government support for filmmaking, and thus we urge the Icelandic government to reconsider their current plans to cut the budget of the Icelandic Film Fund.”
MTV Preps ‘Ex On The Beach’ For Spring UK Bow
MTV has commissioned reality series Ex On The Beach, which is set to premiere in the UK in the spring. It then will roll out across MTV’s international network, excluding the U.S. The series is produced for MTV UK by Whizz Kid Entertainment and was shot on location in southern Europe. It sees eight single men and women invited to enjoy a luxury vacation in the belief they are being set up for a holiday romance. Instead, as MTV cameras watch, ex-boyfriends and girlfriends of cast members arrive unexpectedly. Each ex will have a different motive for appearing, from winning their partner back to exacting revenge after a breakup. Ex On The Beach is exec produced by Steve Regan, Lisa Chapman and Suzanne Readwin. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE UPDATED: One of these women could follow in the footsteps of Maya Rudolph and become the first black female Saturday Night Live cast member in five years. No one is talking, but I have compiled the names of nine young performers rumored to potentially take the SNL stage on Monday to vie for a featured player spot on the venerable NBC sketch comedy show. SNL chief Lorne Michaels told The New York Times today that he plans to audition 7-8 women. The in-studio test follows preliminary auditions, including one held in Los Angeles, where some 25 hopefuls we seen. Here are the names I’m hearing as being on the short list for the Monday test: Bresha Webb, whose photo from the Los Angeles audition posted online brought to light SNL‘s casting plans; improv player Tanisha Long, cast member of MTV’s Girl Code; Misty Monroe, who comes out of Groundlings; Gabrielle Dennis, who recurred on BET’s The Game; and Amber Ruffin, member of Boom Chicago, an Amsterdam-based sketch group; actress-comedian Leslie Jones. Also possibly testing are UCB Theatre performers Sasheer Zamata, whose name had been floated as a suitable SNL candidate before, and Natasha Rothwell, who previously won an NBC Universal Diversity Scholarship; as well as Briana KC.
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You got to give lawyer Marc Toberoff points for perseverance. Just under three weeks after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed Warner Bros its seemingly final significant piece of the Superman copyright pie, the lawyer for the Man from Krypton co-creator’s heirs now wants a rehearing of the November 21 opinion by either the panel itself or the full court. “The Opinion warrants rehearing or rehearing en banc because it contravenes Congress’ clear objectives, and this Court’s carefully-circumscribed decisions,” says the 43-page petition (read it here) filed Tuesday, citing the 1976 Copyright Act. Last month’s 2-1 opinion reaffirmed a District Court decision supporting DC Comics and its corporate parent WB’s position that Mark Peary of Joe Shuster’s estate couldn’t file a copyright termination notice in 2003. WB claimed that a 1992 agreement with Shuster’s siblings, in which they were to be compensated $25,000 a year for life, already delivered all their Superman rights to the company. Leaning heavily on dissenting Judge Sidney Runyan Thomas’s opinion, Toberoff and fellow attorney Keith G. Adams say it isn’t that simple.
Gal Gadot Set To Play Wonder Woman In ‘Batman Vs. Superman’
Superman Birthday Present For Warner Bros As Court Ends Case
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Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond talks with host David Bloom about this week’s film nominations for the Golden Globes and SAG Awards, plus the American Film Institute’s picks for the year’s best, and what they all might portend for an increasingly complicated and competitive Oscar race. And though ’tis the season for film awards, they also take a look at the three organizations’ picks for best TV shows and performances of 2013.
Pete also gives his take on this week’s new movies, led by Peter Jackson’s eagerly awaited The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second installment in his J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy; the fine tale of Walt Disney’s prickly relationship with the Mary Poppins creator P.L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks; and the cross-dressing Christmas comedy Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas.
Deadline Awards Watch episode 54 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Awards Watch episode 54 (.M4A version)
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2nd UPDATE 6:10 PM: Pantelion Films, the joint venture between Lionsgate and Grupo Televisa, said today that it will donate a portion of its box office take for Paul Walker-starring drama Hours to the late star’s charity, Reach Out Worldwide. The company, which will bow the movie Friday in 16 theaters and on VOD, did not specify what percentage of the gross it will donate nor exactly when that would happen. Walker died November 30 in a car crash near Los Angeles.
Related: Paul Walker’s ‘Fast & Furious’ Family Mourns His Death
UPDATED 1:55 PM Friday: 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:
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Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Last week, Inside Llewyn Davis opened to the year’s second biggest screen average among Specialty releases and was clearly the ‘big indie’ heading into the weekend. This week the film will expand into over a dozen locations on the heels of its Golden Globe nominations this morning. This week’s new Specialties will still have to contend with Llewyn and other popular holdovers like fellow nominee 12 Years A Slave, Nebraska, Dallas Buyers Club as well as Philomena, which will likely dominate in the absence of a new star-boasting title that has built momentum out of the likes of Cannes or first tier fall festivals in North America. Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker should find some momentum among non-fiction fans for her latest feature The Crash Reel, which has picked up festival awards will begin its theatrical phase this weekend via Phase 4 Films. Magnolia’s thriller Here Comes The Devil will also begin in L.A. and New York, while Janus Films will begin a New York exclusive run of doc Liv & Ingmar. And Sweet Talk will open in downtown L.A. Friday, followed quickly by a VOD launch. Of note, Sony/Columbia’s American Hustle and Buena Vista’s Saving Mr. Banks begin their theatrical releases in limited engagement, but will expand to well over 2000 screens the following week.
The Crash Reel
Director-writer: Lucy Walker
Subjects: Kevin Pearce, Shaun White, Mason Aguirre, Jake Burton, Danny Davis, Scotty Lago
Distributor: Phase 4 Films
Twice Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker may possibly head down the red carpet a third time the Dolby Theater in March with The Crash Reel. The film, which made the doc short list, follows the epic rivalry between half-pipe legends Shaun White and Kevin Pearce, childhood friends who became the number one and two in the world leading up to the Vancouver Winter Olympics. “The [project] came from meeting Kevin at a retreat for extreme sports. [At times] you are smack hit with someone and know it has to be your next film,” said Walker about the film’s origin three-and-a-half years ago. “But on the other hand, I always wanted to do a film about people adapting to spinal injuries in addition to extreme sports.” After getting Pearce on board for the project Walker tapped Julian Cautherley to join her on the project. Read More »