Highlights: Need For Speed (Dis/various) accelerates to $45.6M international; 300: Rise Of An Empire (WB) brings its cume to $158M with an additional $41.3M; Frozen (Dis) skates to $9.4M Japanese opening, boding well for an historic outcome; Mr Peabody & Sherman (Fox) adds $15.3M; Robocop (SPRI/MGM) opens in Japan; Universal’s Spanish romcom 8 Apellidos Vascos breaks local records; The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox) crosses $20M in strong Euro holds; Wolf Of Wall Street (Uni/various) now at $260M international; solid legs for Oscar pics…
Car race actioner Need For Speed opened in 40 international territories this weekend nabbing an estimated $45.6M in the process. That’s more than two and a half times its lower-than-expected domestic estimate of $17.8M. The worldwide tally is now an estimated $63.4M for a picture budgeted at $66M+ — and there are some hefty markets to come including Germany, Korea and Japan. Based on the super popular Electronic Arts videogame series, the DreamWorks picture is handled by Disney in the U.S., Asia Pacific and Latin America, while Europe, the Middle East and Africa are overseen by Mister Smith Entertainment. Unsurprisingly, China accounted for the bulk of the movie’s international take this weekend with an approximate $21.2M. That was good for a No. 1 at the finish line. Also, it set a new March record for IMAX in China: At 138 … Read More »
The Grand Budapest Hotel continued to charm audiences as it expanded, cashing in. The Fox Searchlight powerhouse moved into 66 theaters in its second weekend, grossing a cool $3.64M for a still dazzling $55,152 per-theater average. The Wes Anderson film shattered a slew of records last weekend when it opened in four theaters with a $200K screen average. It is still a must-see in its second round and even surpassed Anderson’s last film Moonrise Kingdom in the b.o. in its second week. That film played in 16 theaters in its second weekend after a record-breaking opener $130K-plus average back in May 2012. In its second weekend, Moonrise averaged $53,043 and went on to cume over $45.5M.
Related: Box Office: ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ Looks To Take No. 1 Spot; ‘Need For Speed’ Stalling; Tyler Perry’s ‘Mom’s Club’ Lackluster, ‘Budapest Hotel’ Exceptional … Again
Budapest placed 8th in the overall box office. Noted Searchlight Sunday reporting the numbers: “The film is reaching a wide audience beyond the core Wes Anderson fans. While moviegoers have been visiting Art houses and Specialty venues in record breaking fashion this weekend, there have also been great results in the few mainstream multiplexes that we opened as well. It appears that the film has as opportunity to cross over to an audience who may not have seen his films before, but are now ready to check into The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Searchlight will take Budapest to an additional 40 markets next week and will expand in existing cities, taking the feature to 275 – 325 theaters. And it will expand further later in the month and into April. Read More »
Oprah Winfrey is set to sell her Harpo Studios to Chicago developer Sterling Bay after putting the complex up for sale months ago. A lease-back agreement will keep Winfrey’s media company on the site for two more years as part of the pact, which will take effect within 30 days. Winfrey first established her namesake studio in 1990 anchored by her talk program The Oprah Winfrey Show but ended the series in 2011 to start OWN Network. Harpo Studios currently employs over 200 in Chicago. “We have entered into a purchasing agreement with Sterling Bay for the four-building Harpo Studios Campus in Chicago’s West Loop. The property will be leased back to Harpo for two years and the studio will continue to produce programming for OWN,” a Harpo spokesperson confirmed in a statement.
OPENING: Need for Speed (DIS) no gas for the DreamWorks pic at $18M to $19M+, then $18M and now at $17.3M to $17.8M; Tyler Perry’s Single Mom’s Club (LGF) is one of the worst openings for him to date was around $9.1M to $9.4M now at $8.3M; Veronica Mars (WB) strong per screen to take over $2M+ for the weekend. The Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL) expanded to 66 screens with another stellar $55K+ per screen; Frozen (DIS) still in Top Ten after 17 weeks.
4th UPDATE, SUNDAY 8:35 AM: Chart updated with per screen average and percentage increases/decreases. Disney’s international numbers for Need for Speed and Lionsgate just released its domestic numbers for Tyler Perry’s Single Mom’s Club, which is the low end of all estimates. Updates in copy below and incorporated into chart. No. 10 is just spot too close to call between Sony’s Monuments Men and Warner Bros.’ Veronica Mars. Will see how it plays out today and tonight. Also, expansion plans for Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel — which is having an extraordinary run — are outlined below. For Bad Words grosses and more about Budapest Hotel and how it compares to Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, read Deadline’s Brian Brooks’ specialty box office story.
3rd UPDATE, SUNDAY 7:20 AM: The news of the weekend is that Fox’s Mr. Peabody and Sherman surprised to take No. 1 in its second weekend out for DreamWorks Animation (Family audiences gave it a strong Saturday night bump) while Need for Speed (Disney/DreamWorks) started out strong on its late night showings on Thursday and then just tanked. DreamWorks, R.I.P. 1994 to 2014? And Stacey Snider the Phoenix to rise from the flames? Ugh. How can it be? Talk about failing upwards.
Everything looks pretty much as it did last night (just got lucky in the algorithm), with Need for Speed stalling to $17.3M although Disney has it higher than anyone else at $17.8M. Internationally, Disney shows that it grossed $45.6M in 40 markets, so this $66M+ budgeted picture (plus marketing costs) is at $63.4M worldwide. See more later today on this and Budapest Hotel’s overseas grosses from Deadline’s Nancy Tartaglione’s international box office report. Read More »
Creator and cast of CBS‘s Monday comedy series How I Met Your Mother declined to give up any information about the series finale at the PaleyFest tonight. Right off the bat moderator Wayne Brady (who played Neil Patrick Harris’ gay brother on the show) asked creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays about the “rumors swirling” that Cristin Milioti’s character, aka The Mother, “is dying. Would you really kill of the mother?” Brady asked.
Thomas and Bays began to tap dance, saying they are “wildly excited” about the finale, that “it’s great” and “we can’t say anthing” about it, with Thomas adding apologetically, “We have been the worst interview in show business” for the show’s nine seasons, likening himself and Bays to “disgraced politicians” with their evasive answers – especially about the mother, whose identity had been kept secret for eight seasons.
They also dodged a question as to what will be the show’s final slap – slaps being a thing on HIMYM. “It will happen; we won’t forget, ” Thomas promised. In re whether there will be another of the CBS comedy’s trademark musical production numbers before the show ends at the end of this month, Thomas responded, “We won’t confirm or deny. But no.”
Nobody mentioned the spinoff, How I Met Your Dad.
RELATED: HIMYM characters will not get updates in spinoff because “curtain coming … Read More »
Former WGA-President Patric M. Verrone, 54, disclosed today in a letter to his fellow writers that he is running for the California State Senate. He is one of six Democratic candidates who are looking to succeed Democrat State Senator Ted Lieu, who is running for the seat vacated by Representative Henry Waxman. Verrone is a 27-year Pacific Palisades resident in the northern 26th District which runs on the coastline starting in Palo Verdes and includes Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and part of Hollywood. His campaign is centered around a theme of preserving the middle class dream here in the state, maintaining and creating quality jobs, better schools and affordable colleges. Verrone won back-to-back terms as WGA West president in 2005 and 2007 and was blocked by guild rules from seeking a third term in 2009. He lost a 2011 bid for presidency to Christopher Keyser. Verrone mentioned that today was one of the most important days of his life, including “the day we won the writer’s strike” in his note per Variety. “As president of the Writers Guild of America, West, I did what I believe every elected leader should do. I fought for what matters, led a struggle to save thousands of good jobs, and won.” Many of those in the industry feel that the 2007-08 WGA strike set the film and TV production business back significantly, accomplishing very little for the writers at large.
Related: WGA Negotiations Impasse Read More »
DIY distribution platform VHX made a big move at SXSW this week when it opened its digital doors to the public, allowing any content creator to sell direct to fans at low cost. The start-up founded in 2011 by Jamie Wilkinson and Casey Pugh had been in private beta for two years building a library of over 300 select titles from indie filmmakers and film companies including Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color, Mike Birbiglia’s Sleepwalk With Me, and Oscar nominated docu The Act of Killing. Unlike video distribution storefronts like Vimeo, Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, and iTunes, VHX offers technology that allows makers to sell content direct to fans via high quality streaming or DRM-free download at price points of their choosing, on their own websites. That means flinging the gates wide open to any and all content. “The goal is to close the gap between interest and availability,” VHX co-founder Wilkinson told me in Austin. Most digital distributors are selective in their content deals but VHX is a facilitator, not a gatekeeper of content.
VHX is one of a handful of rising DIY distribution companies offering content creators an alternative to aggregators by cutting out the middleman, dramatically changing traditional distribution models, territorial rights, and release windows – not just the means of delivery. “Traditional distribution thinking is that the world is chunked up into borders and information does not cross these borders, but the internet has changed all that,” said Wilkinson. VHX allows users to geofilter content by region but recommends they offer worldwide releases for maximum exposure. More than half of VHX sales come from outside the U.S. from consumers who don’t want to wait for a film to expand to their region or hit home video. “When you’re marketing or at a premiere in the U.S., people hear about it and there’s demand all over the world. We see tons of successful pre-orders because of that – there’s demand and people are Googling the film and they want to take some kind of action. You might as well offer it for purchase.” Read More »
Comedian David Brenner died today at his home in New York, NY. He was 78. A favorite of Tonight Show host, Johnny Carson, Brenner made over 150 appearances as a guest and substitute host on the NBC latenight show, starting in the ’70s. A contemporary of such stand-up legends as Andy Kaufman, Freddie Prinze and Gabe Kaplan, Brenner made a name for his observational comedic styling accentuated by his toothy grin, wavy hair and lanky demeanor. Brenner was born on Feb. 4, 1936 in Philadelphia, the son of a vaudeville singer and comedian who went under the stage name “Lou Murphy”. Read More »
Actor Logan Miller is joining Paramount‘s upcoming Christopher Landon horror comedy Scouts vs. Zombies. Miller, whose credits include two seasons on Disney XD’s I’m in the Band, Cinedigm’s Night Moves and Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, plays Carter, a class clown who yearns to get out of the scouts so he can join his place alongside the popular kids. After returning from a camping trip with his troop, he learns that his small town is under attack by zombies, and he’s forced to defend it with his fellow scouts. Scouts vs. Zombies is scheduled to start lensing in May. Logan is repped by Jennifer Patredis at Innovative Artists and Eric Skinner and Jeff Morrone at Intellectual Artists Management. Miller joins Tye Sheridan (Mud, Tree of Life) who plays the lead scout. Deadline reported exclusively in September that Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones director Landon became attached to Scouts vs. Zombies. The film is produced by Todd Garner and his Broken Road Productions, Andy Fickman and Betsy Sullenger of Oops Doughnuts, and Bryan Brucks and his Brucks Entertainment. Broken Road’s Sean Robins is exec producer.
Diane Haithman is a Deadline Hollywood Contributor
Today at a California Film & Television Production Alliance rally in Sunland, CA, state assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima), who co-authored the legislation for an increase in California’s $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit Program, called the crowd to action: “This will not be an easy lift. We’re going to have to tell stories. There are some folks in Sacramento who think this program doesn’t work, that it’s a giveaway (to California’s workers)”
After his speech before a crowd of 600 at Independent Studio Services, Bocanegra told Deadline that there is no dollar figure attached to the overhaul legislation for California’s $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit Program but its authors want the expansion to “be competitive with other states” and cited New York’s $450 million tax credit program. When asked if he seeks a similar figure for California, Bocanegra said “yes.”
Related: Bring Blockbusters Back to California With Increased Film Incentives, Says Film LA
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The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival announced their Audience Award-winners today including wins for Diego Luna‘s biopic Cesar Chavez in the narrative spotlight and the Emmy Rossum-starring drama Before I Disappear in the narrative feature spotlight. Also getting a crowd-pleasing boost before its April 6 HBO premiere is Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley which took the Episodic award. Last year’s winner in the narrative feature competition was Short Term 12 which was released by Cinedigm and had some awards buzz this past fall. The SXSW Jury Awards were announced on Tuesday with the Grand Jury Prize going to Fort Tilden and the The Great Invisible, Margaret Brown’s look at the oil industry’s secretive world in the wake of the Gulf Coast disaster, earning the top documentary prize. Below are a list of the SXSW Film Festival Audience Award winners: Read More »
Authentic. Risky. Diverse. Conversation starter. Those are the kinds of words that often pop up in describing Orange Is the New Black, and they were among the many topics creator Jenji Kohan and a dozen castmembers discussed during the prison dramedy’s PaleyFest panel Friday. “Our focus is on character, and these people are individuals,” Kohan said early on. “We talk about them like they’re people we know. And you don’t approach it like, ‘Well what does the black one do? What does the Latino one do?’ It’s like you know these people – you can’t view it as tokenism.” Said Laverne Cox, who plays Sophia Burset: “We should talk about the conversations that this show has sparked — who is in prison and why are people in prison, things we need to talk about more in this country. It’s important for the trans community; a lot of people are having conversations about trans people that they weren’t having. Amazing conversations about diversity, a lot of important things that we need to be talking about.” Kohan chimed in: “But it’s natural, its normative – it’s presented as something that’s part of everyone’s life. It’s not the ‘very special episode about the trans character.’ It’s normalizing this conversation.”
Related: PaleyFest 2014 Schedule Read More »
Danny Trejo, Mischa Barton, Michael Madsen Star In AMBI’s ‘Hope Lost’
Danny Trejo, Mischa Barton, Michael Madsen and Daniel Baldwin are set to star in Hope Lost, a crime thriller from Italy’s AMBI Pictures. David Petrucci is directing the film from a screenplay by Francesco Trento, Damiano Giacomelli, Francesco Teresi and Loretta Tersigni. A bored young woman who dreams of the life of soap opera characters meets a mysterious man who charms her away from her small hometown then sells her to a pimp. The cast also includes Andrey Chernishov, Francesca Agostini and Alessia Navarro. Principal photography will begin this month in Rome with Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi and Cosetta Turco producing and Danielle Maloni executive producing.
Liberty Global Acquires Remaining Shares Of Chile’s VTR
Liberty Global said today that it has acquired the remaining 20% of the outstanding shares in both VTR GlobalCom and VTR Wireless in a stock-swap deal. The shares in Chile’s largest cable operator were purchased from a subsidiary of Corp Group Holding Inversiones Limitada in exchange for 10.1 million Liberty Global Class C ordinary shares. The purchased shares had a market value of about $422 million, based on Liberty Global’s closing price of $41.80 per share on March 13, 2014.1 The deal gives VTR Finance B.V., the parent entity of Liberty’s recently created Chilean credit pool, 100% of both the Chilean … Read More »
Angry comments have erupted on the Veronica Mars Kickstarter site from donors upset that they are unable to download the movie via the service provided: Flixster/Ultraviolet. The film, which was funded on Kickstarter, promised that donors who pledged $35 or higher would “receive a digital version of the movie within a few days of the movie’s theatrical debut, plus the T-shirt, plus the pdf of the shooting script.” After Warner Bros declined to finance the idea based on its 2004-07 TV series, Veronica Mar’s creator/exec producer Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell went to the crowdfunding site with an intention of raising $2M to bring the popular TV series to the big screen, but it quickly ended up raising a whopping $5.7M.
Related: ‘Veronica Mars’ Movie Opening Scene Hits Web: Video
The comments range from, “This is a bunch of crap. Where is the MP4 download that just works, for everyone, with no problems?” and “This is ridiculous. I can’t even get a full download of Flixter (sic) to even attempt to watch the movie. Both I and my husband have been alternately trying to download it for over an hour. I have never been so disappointed … I’ve been looking forward to this for a year” to “I’m disappointed that the Flixster streaming/download isn’t working when we had a whole evening planned around watching the movie. I ended up paying $7.00 to rent the movie through amazon … ” Others wrote: “What a way to say ‘screw you’ to backers” and “I regret this funding.” And still another: “Giving up getting digital download to work. Happy movie got made but can’t help but feel ripped off for not getting the copy of the movie I was promised.” In response, Thomas sent out this statement to donors:
“We’ve read all of your comments since yesterday’s update. We know that some of you have strong opinions about the decision to provide digital versions of the movie through Flixster. As you’ll see in the original FAQ on our Kickstarter page, we’ve always planned to include Flixster as a digital distribution platform. But I also know that many of you use iTunes, Amazon or other platforms, and would prefer to claim your digital copies on your favorite service, so we hoped we’d also be able to arrange for more options. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t possible. In the end, Flixster was the best option for getting the digital movie reward out to all of you, worldwide, at the same time.” He suggests calling the customer support team … okay, a total debacle.
elated: ‘Veronica Mars’ TV Series To Stream On Amazon Prime
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American Pie alum Eddie Kaye Thomas will co-star opposite Elyes Gabel in CBS‘ drama pilot Scorpion. Also cast in the project, from writer Nick Santora, director Justin Lin, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, is young Canadian actress Jadyn Wong (Being Erica). Scorpion centers on Walter (Gabel), an eccentric genius and his international network of super-geniuses who form the last line of defense against the complex threats of the modern age. Thomas, repped by Gersh, plays Toby, a genius behaviorist and a member of super-geniuses team. Wong, repped by Greene & Assoc. and Toronto’s Characters, plays Happy, the mechanical genius who can fabricate anything and has hands with a surgeon’s precision and a magician’s inhuman speed. Robert Patrick co-stars.
Creative Artists Agency has signed Eugenio Derbez, one of the top Latino filmmakers/actors in the business and certainly one of the most recognizable Latino actors in the world. Derbez is the creator and star of one of Mexico’s most popular sitcoms La Familia P. Luche (The Plush Family) which ran fot 10 years on Univision and also created the Televisa produced sketch-show XHDRbZ which ran for two seasons. Both programs not only appeared in the U.S. but also ran in Europe and, of course, Latin America. He had very recognizeable names in the Latino market on his sketch show, including the president of Mexico Vincente Fox. He also wrote, directed and starred in last year’s Instructions Not Included, which is touted as the highest-grossing Spanish-language film in the U.S., earning $44.4M in the U.S. and $41M internationally for a total of $85.5 million worldwide. He was also the voice of Donkey in the Spanish-language version of Shrek and also played a character voice in Guillermo Del Toro’s animated comedy Book of Life. U.S. audiences may remember him from Liongate’s Girl in Progress starring opposite Eva Mendes (2012) or in Fox Searchlights Under the Same Moon from 2008. He was previously with WME. His attorney is Howard Abramson of Behr & Abramson, LLP.
Masters of Sex‘s Nick D’Agosto and Mixology‘s Andrew Santino have been cast as leads alongside Greta Gerwig, Drew Tarver and Krysta Rodriguez in CBS’ comedy pilot How I Met Your Dad, rounding out the How I Met Your Mother spinoff’s primary cast. In the vein of the original series, HIMYD tells the story from a female point of view, that of Sally (Gerwig), and revolves around a new group of friends in New York. D’Agosto, repped by UTA, Emerald Talent and SMGSB, will play Frank, the head of IT for Juliet’s (Rodriguez) fashion blog who falls for Sally. Santino, repped by CAA and Underground, will play Danny, Sally’s older brother, a perfect but uptight overachieving lawyer. Santino is billed as a guest star in the pilot as his casting is in second position to ABC’s midseason comedy Mixology, which has been soft in its first couple of airings. D’Agosto was a regular on the first season of Showtime’s Masters of Sex and will continue on the racy drama in a recurring capacity. The pilot, from 20th TV, was written by Emily Spivey and HIMYM creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and will be directed by Pam Fryman.
Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
Wendell Pierce (The Wire) has signed on to CBS‘ multi-camera comedy pilot The Odd Couple, a take on the Neil Simon classic. Co-written and executive produced by Matthew Perry, Odd Couple revolves around two mismatched roommates — the messy Oscar Madison (Perry) and neat freak Felix Unger (Thomas Lennon). Pierce will play Teddy, a neurotic cop and a good buddy of Oscar’s who goes to his apartment every week for Game Night. Pierce, repped by Chris Schmidt at Paradigm and Donald Spradlin at Essential Talent, recently wrapped the fourth and final season of HBO’s Treme and will appear in a multi-episode arc on Showtime’s Ray Donovan.
Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
Nancy Lenehan has been cast in CBS’ multi-camera comedy pilot More Time With Family, executive produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon and written/exec produced by Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith. Based on the stand-up of Tom Papa and the experiences of Damon, More Time With Family centers on Tom (Papa), a husband and father making a career change to spend more time with his family. Opposite Joe Pantoliano, Nancy will play Barb, the sweet, flighty, worrier-mother of the family. Repped by Pakula/King & Associates and Meghan Schumacher, Lenehan recurs on HBO’s Veep and next will be seen in upcoming feature Sex Tape.