Highlights: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (SONY) opens in 14 markets with $47M; Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS) passes $500M; Transcendence (WB) opens to $17.1M, mostly from China; Rio 2 (FOX) flies past $200M and is burning it up in Latin America. Noah (PAR) at $197.4M; Divergent (LGF/SUM/var) at $18M for $74.7M cume; The Other Woman (FOX) bows with $5.3M in four markets; Spanish Affairs (UNI) phenom as Spain’s top local-lingo pic ever, still No. 1 … twice the marketshare of Spider-Man 2′s bow.
Related: Box Office: ‘Heaven Is For Real’ Rises High; ‘Transcendence’ Descends Into Hell
3rd UPDATE, Monday, 10:50 PM PDT: Final numbers in for Transcendence, Divergent, Rio 2, The Other Woman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Lego Movie, and Mr. Peabody & Sherman. All grosses for the movies have changed.
2nd UPDATE, Sunday, 6:50 PM. PDT: More estimates have been added for Rio 2, Divergent, and further analysis on The Amazing Spider-Man 2. There will be another update tomorrow, but no territory by territory breakdown this week. It’s always interesting to see a snapshot of the top international pictures so far in 2014. Disney’s has the two lead spots right now with Frozen $462M) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($385.1M), followed by The Wolf of Wall Street ($262.5M), which is being handled by Universal and many other distribs. The difference between the No. 2 and No. 3 pictures is a substantial $122.6M so far. Surprising, no? Rounding out the top five is Warner Bros.’ duo The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ($244.5M) and 300: The Rise of an Empire ($223M).
Related: Specialty Box Office: ‘Fading Gigolo’ Seduces In Limited Opening; ‘Under The Skin’ Passes $1M
PREVIOUSLY, 10:27 AM, Sunday, PDT: Marking the biggest opening internationally of 2014, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has taken the markets by storm, grossing an estimated $47M as it bows in such major territories as the U.K., Spain, Germany and Belgium, Mexico and Australia. All told, 14 markets. It was a big box office weekend internationally with several major pics playing well throughout the world. But all eyes are on Spider-Man, which opened strong in territories earlier in the week. The top market for the Sony franchise is Read More »
The Horse’s Mouth is an ongoing feature with a collection of head-scratching comments and crazy conversations we’ve had with people across the industry that made us laugh. We thought we’d share them with you. No need to call for a retraction as no one but your assistant (if they were listening in) will know who you are. We’ll never tell:
Reporter: Are we all still on for lunch?
Publicist: Yes, but we eat fast, so don’t order any desserts or coffee.
Publicist: Can you put in that the movie had an A- CinemaScore?
Reporter: I did that already on Friday when I did all the other CinemaScores. Scroll down and you will see it.
Publicist: Ahhh, I didn’t scroll far enough. Thank u so much! Sorry to bother u on a Sunday.
Reporter: No worries … and it’s a Monday.
Reporter: I heard there were a lot of layoffs at your company today.
Exec: Oh, it was nothing. Just normal stuff.
Exec: Yeah, just one of those things. Just a normal day.
Reporter: Laying off an entire staff is a normal day?!
Exec: Well, I don’t want you to make a big deal of it.
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The filmmaker is set to helm his first feature since the 2010 Jennifer Aniston-Gerard Butler vehicle The Bounty Hunter. Andy Tennant will direct 13th Grade, about a disillusioned NYC journalist who is passed up for a promotion and abandoned by his girlfriend, forcing him to move back to his mother’s house in suburban Chicago, where he settles for a job teaching at his former high school. The pic from Sycamore Pictures and Ad Hominem Enterprises was scripted by Evan Endicott from a story he wrote with Mark Phinney. Tom Rice, Ben Nearn and Adam Wagner are producing, with Alexander Payne exec producing alongside partners Jim Burke and Jim Taylor. Production is planned to start in late fall for a 2015 release. Tennant most recently directed an episode of Amazon’s Betas, which Endicott co-created, and his feature credits include Fool’s Gold, Hitch and Sweet Home Alabama.
Movies open every weekend. Some soar, some fail. Every once in a while a flop comes along that is so unexpected and devastating that everyone in town is left saying, “How the hell did that happen?” Recent examples include John Carter, The Lone Ranger and maybe even Pompeii or The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, even if the latter two sank without making much of a ripple. The $100 million Transcendence, the Johnny Depp-Morgan Freeman starrer that marked the directing debut of Chris Nolan’s vaunted cinematographer Wally Pfister, is one of those what-the-hell-happened films. Consider it grossed just $10.8 million domestic for its opening weekend, about half of Heaven Is For Real, a starless movie whose $12 million budget was likely less than Depp’s Transcendence salary. Heaven If For Real has grossed $30 million so far domestically and looks like a breakout sleeper hit.
Related: INTL BO: ‘Spider-Man 2′ Spins $47M For Year’s Best Opening
So what the hell happened? There is blame to go around, including at Alcon Entertainment, which with its offshore partners fully financed the Warner Bros-distributed flop. Talking to numerous parties, I believe this was a movie that probably never should have been made because the script was complex, derivative, and hard to market, and it was not easy to discern who the audience should have been. It also is a case where yet again it was a mistake to give a first-time director the keys to a movie with complex subject matter that required meshing with the high maintenance of a big movie star and a giant budget. Transcendence seems similar in some ways to John Carter, where first-time live-action director Andrew Stanton had the endorsement of Pixar’s John Lasseter that led Disney execs to give him a lot of rope, and he proved out of his depth despite having directed so many animated hits. Here, Pfister got the job after standing aside Nolan as cinematographer, and proving himself a gifted visual artist on such films as The Dark Knight trilogy and Inception. Nolan, who made the film Insomnia at Alcon, endorsed his protege there and encouraged him to start on the kind of big canvas on which Nolan creates his masterpieces. But just because Pfister stands next to Nolan doesn’t mean he is Nolan, or has his ability for making the most complex storytelling palatable for the masses, like he did on Inception. The shoot was rough. Pfister and Alcon certainly put in the work here, and got the test scores to an acceptable level, but critics just hated the movie. Audiences felt the same, with the film getting a 19% rating on RottenTomatoes. And Johnny Depp, mostly seen as a computer image on a computer screen, didn’t open it the way that highly paid movie stars are supposed to.
Related: Box Office: Lukewarm Thursday Bow For ‘Transcendence’
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EXCLUSIVE: FX Productions has signed a two-year overall production deal with writer-producer David Manson and his production company Sarabande Prods. Under the pact, Peabody Award-winning Manson will develop, write and produce series for FX Networks. The pact stems from Manson and FX’s recent collaboration on the network’s drama series pilot Hoke starring Paul Giamatti. Manson serves as executive producer on the project, from writer/executive producer/director Scott Frank, which just wrapped production. Manson first worked with FX on the limited series Thief, which won star Andre Braugher an Emmy. “David is an incredibly talented writer-producer and highly respected in the creative community,” said FX Networks and FX Prods President Nick Grad. “It’s great to have him under the FXP umbrella, and we expect to announce some projects with him very soon.”
Related: Louis CK Inks Overall Deal With FX Productions For New Series
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Relativity Media has set a summer limited bow for Desert Dancer, from helmer Richard Raymond. Reece Ritchie and Freida Pinto star in the true story of Afshin Ghaffarian (Ritchie), an Iranian dancer who risked everything to start a dance company amidst the politically volatile climate of the country’s 2009 protests and the nation’s ban on dancing. Pic marks Raymond’s directorial debut and was written by Jon Croker (Paddington) and produced by Pippa Cross, Richard Raymond, Izabella Miko and Luis Astorquia. Desert Dancer will open in select cities on August 15, expanding on August 22.
I have learned that Amazon Studios has assembled the cast of Really, a single-camera comedy pilot, written, directed by and starring Jay Chandrasekhar, part of comedy team Broken Lizard. Sarah Chalke will play the female lead opposite Chandrasekhar in the project, executive produced by Jamie Tarses. Also cast in the pilot, fully financed and produced by Main Street Films, are Selma Blair, Luka Jones, Travis Schuldt, Lindsay Sloane, Hayes Macarthur and Collette Wolfe. Really, which was quietly picked up to pilot more than a month ago, revolves around a social and opinionated group of thirtysomething friends in Chicago. It centers on two of them, happily, messily married neurologist Jed (Chandrasekhar) and lawyer/mom Lori (Chalke). Their group of friends includes Fred (Jones) and his wife Joanna (Blair), Mike (Schuldt) and his wife Margaret (Sloane) as well as Hayes (Macarthur) and his significant other Alison (Wolfe). The dynamic in the group changes forever when Jed accidentally catches Mike and Joanna having a sexual liaison. Read More »
The cabler has fired back at the DVD/streaming service, which earlier today slammed the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger as anti-competitive. In its response, Comcast said Netflix‘s stance “is based on inaccurate claims and arguments.” Here’s the company’s full reply from Jennifer Khoury, SVP Corporate & Digital Communications:
Netflix’s opposition to our Time Warner Cable transaction is based on inaccurate claims and arguments. There has been no company that has had a stronger commitment to openness of the Internet than Comcast and we are the only ISP in the country that is currently legally bound by the FCC’s vacated net neutrality rules. In fact, one of the many benefits of our proposed transaction with Time Warner Cable will be the extension of Net Neutrality protections to millions of additional Americans. Here are the facts:
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The weekend before the February 20 train accident that killed camera assistant Sarah Jones, Midnight Rider producer Jody Savin made controversial public comments at a meeting of local production crew in which she touted her company’s methods and complained about the Savannah film commission for keeping a close watch on her previous film, CBGB. Savin, who is married to Midnight Rider director Randall Miller and co-owns their Unclaimed Freight production company, was an invited guest speaker at a February 16 meeting held by the Savannah Women In Film and Television (SWIFT). Savannah-based hair stylist JC Davis was in attendance with about 30 others including local production crew, many of whom were seeking to work on the upcoming Midnight Rider production. According to her, Savin “went on to talk about CBGB and was bitching about how our former film commissioner Jay Self kept showing up to set, telling her she couldn’t do this, she couldn’t do that and that she was so glad he was no longer film commissioner. [Savin] said, ‘We make movies by our own rules.’ ” Deadline has talked to other attendees who also corroborate the comments made by Savin at the event.
Related: ‘Midnight Rider’ Investigation Handed Over To D.A.
Savin’s comments during the hourlong chat reportedly left some of those in attendance unsettled. “A lot of people felt insulted by the whole thing. It was very negative toward a lot of people who work in this town,” another attendee present at the event told Deadline. “Savin seemed proud of the fact that she was able to get crew cheaply. It was more about the bottom line. A lot of women wanted to work on it but I think after meeting a lot walked away and thought. ‘I wouldn’t work on that show.’ ” Read More »
I can confirm that talks are down the road with Danny Boyle on the Aaron Sorkin-scripted Steve Jobs movie at Sony, based on Walter Isaacson’s book. The deal is by no means sealed, but the studio is moving quickly to get this to the start line. A report in THR says Leonardo DiCaprio is the choice to star, and his name was in circulation at the very beginning when the book first was optioned by Sony with producers Mark Gordon and Guymon Casady, who were joined by Scott Rudin when Sorkin came aboard to adapt. DiCaprio just committed to The Revenant with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for fall, so the timing might not work. But this is a movie on a very fast track. Boyle’s repped by WME.
Hey Woody Allen haters: if you were hoping his rare sojourn as strictly a hired actor in writer/director/star John Turturro‘s new comedy, Fading Gigolo, would flop due to his latest scandal and controversy you have to be sorely disappointed today. Not only did Gigolo NOT fail, it drew the second highest opening weekend gross for a 2014 indie release and reviews, though mixed for the movie are particularly good for Allen’s turn as a “pimp” for the aging lothario played by Turturro. With nearly $200,000 at just five theaters and a sterling $39,680 per screen average it came in only behind Wes Anderson’s hit, The Grand Budapest Hotel in terms of limited debuts this year. Millennium’s Bill Lee told Deadline Sunday the film was performing even better than they had hoped. It starts expanding next weekend. Now why is this significant?
Related: Specialty Box Office: ‘Fading Gigolo’ Seduces In Limited Opening
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Fox is pulling out all the stops for the global launch of X-Men: Days Of Future Past, with stars Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy stepping up to bat for a week’s worldwide premiere tour billed as the “X-Men X-Perience.” The trio — who respectively play Wolverine, young Magneto and young Dr. Charles Xavier in the film — made a web video announcement today (see below). After the New York premiere, they will be joined by castmembers Jennifer Lawrence, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Peter Dinklage, Ellen Page, Fan Bingbing, Omar Sy and Nicholas Hoult for tour stops including London, Moscow, Singapore, Melbourne, Beijing and Sao Paulo — though who will wind up where is still a secret. The X-Men franchise has morphed into a cash cow overseas, with the most recent titles — last year’s The Wolverine and 2011′s X-Men: First Class – pulling in well over 60% of their global box office haul from territories outside the U.S. and Canada. This is a marketing move typical of 20th Century Fox’s prowess in foreign markets, and since the days of Titanic and Braveheart it has always globetrotted talent in an effort to raise a film’s profile and maximize moolah. X-Men: Days Of Future Past opens day and date worldwide May 25.
Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told Wall Street analysts today that Maryland officials are engaged in “ongoing negotiations” to keep House Of Cards production in the state — even though lawmakers didn’t approve the tax breaks producer Media Rights Capital wants. “I would anticipate that these are overcome-able issues,” he says. The Netflix exec says that the state benefits from “staggering” benefits including “hundreds of jobs, and not just for actors.” The controversy has become a political volleyball, he said, though he was careful to note that Maryland “has been great for the show” and that “investors and fans are not at risk in any way.” MRC, which had planned to start shooting the third season of the D.C.-set drama in early spring, received about $26M in Maryland tax credits for its first two season, according to reports. The production company has been seeking a tax credit for Season 3 in line with Season 2′s $15 million. But that would require the Legislature to raise the total credits for all shows — including HBO’s Veep — to $18.5M from $15M. Those favoring the increase were unable to secure the votes they needed.
Related: John David Coles Joins ‘House Of Cards’ As Executive Producer
There is a casting change on HBO‘s miniseries Criminal Justice, the passion project of the late James Gandolfini. John Turturro has stepped in to play the role of Jack Stone, originally played by Gandolfini in the pilot. Turturro replaces Robert De Niro who committed to succeeding the beloved Sopranos star last fall but has pulled out because of scheduling reasons. Gandolfini is getting a posthumous executive credit on the seven-hour miniseries, based on the BBC series created by Peter Moffat. Richard Price wrote the adaptation with Steven Zaillian directing. On the mini, produced by HBO in association with BBC Worldwide Prods. and Film Rites and Tribeca Films, Turturro joins originally cast Riz Ahmed, Bill Camp, Payman Maadi and Poorna Jagannathan.
The New York crime story centers on Jack Stone, an ambulance-chasing New York City attorney who gets in over-his-head when he takes on the case of a Pakistani (Ahmed) accused of murdering a girl on the Upper West Side. While the Jack Stone part is central to the overall story, in the pilot the character only appears in the final scene, which led to discussions between HBO and Zaillian about possibly recasting the role and carrying on with the project that had been so important to Gandolfini. Criminal Justice is executive produced by Gandolfini, Zaillian, Price, Moffat, BBC Worldwide’s Jane Tranter, with Film Rites’ Garrett Basch and Attaboy’s Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders serving as co-executive … Read More »
OPENING: Heaven Is For Real (SONY) stellar at $22.5M (3-day) and $29.5M (5-day) for No. 2; Transcendence (WB) despondent at No. 4 with $10.8M; A Haunted House 2 (OPRD) $8.8M; Bears (DIS) hibernating with $4.7M.
5TH UPDATE, 2:45 PM: The final numbers are in for the box office Top 20, and Sony/TriStar has a lot to celebrate this weekend as peeps flocked to Heaven Is For Real this Easter holiday with a final tally of $22.5M (three-day) and $29.5M (five-day). Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier has a very good chance of being No. 1 for four weekends in a row as there is nothing in the hamper next weekend to stop it. Not since Lionsgate unleashed The Hunger Games in 2012 has that happened, and before that, the last time was in 2008 when Warner Bros introduced The Dark Knight. Rio 2 is No. 3 in its second weekend out, dropping 44%, and racking up $75M in two weeks. Transcendence, the Johnny Depp-starring sci-fi film, short-circuited this weekend and should have been retitled Despondence as it came in under $11M for Warner Bros. and Alcon. Uh, no peeps cared for that one. Surprising coming from Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister who made his directing debut and delivered such a bomb. The trailer was confusing and hard to follow. Seemed like it was just a bunch of shots of Depp in different states of duress instead of selling futuristic sizzle. The one sheet was a headshot of Depp with digits on his head. And the production stills made him look like American Hustle‘s Bradley Cooper in perm rods. It’s like Lawnmower 2 for the YK2 generation. Yes, in fact, there is actually a Y2K joke in there … so 2000.
Leaving no question about Divine Intervention: Noah jumped up two notches yesterday over opener Bears and God’s Not Dead to round out the Top 10 … and … Draft Day (which dropped 42% this weekend) scored better in its sophomore frame and juked Divergent this weekend to get the No. 6 spot. A Haunted House 2 from Open Road creaked its way to No. 5 and $8.8M in its debut while Oculus dropped 57% in its second weekend. Opening next weekend: the Cameron Diaz-Kate Upton-Leslie Mann comedy The Other Woman (Fox), Brick Mansions (REL) which stars the late Paul Walker, and the horror film The Quiet Ones (LGF). Expanding from five theaters to 25 runs in LA and NY will be the John Turturo’s comedy Fading Gigolo (Millennium). Here are the final weekend box office numbers: Read More »
The latest piece in Legendary Entertainment‘s TV operations has fallen into place, with the company saying today it is forming a global television distribution division that will be headed by veteran Michael Grindon, who had been head of Sony Pictures Television International for 15 years. Grindon will report to Bruce Rosenblum, president of Legendary Television and Digital Media, who since being hired last spring has overseen the expansion of Legendary’s TV unit that now has the capacity to develop, finance and self-distribute its fare worldwide.
It’s the latest big movie for Legendary, which in December bolstered its TV roster with its first acquisition, nabbing indie producer Asylum Entertainment for north of $100 million by outbidding rivals in the midst of Legendary’s first development season, when it set up several projects. The plan is for Asylum to serve as a production label for non-scripted, long-form, sports and other genres. That deal jump-started Legendary’s unscripted and documentary production and gave it a toehold in longform programming, an area Asylum is building with Legendary’s help. It also has been adding execs including Tom Lesinski, President, Digital Content and Distribution; Gaumont International Television COO Richard Frankie as EVP Business Management; Wonderland’s Peter Johnson as EVP Scripted Series Development; and Greg Siegel from Break Media as SVP Development and Production.
Grindon will help build and operate a global distribution infrastructure at Legendary Worldwide Distribution and hire and oversee a team to handle the sales, marketing and servicing of all Legendary TV programming worldwide. The division will also look to handle international distribution for other indie production companies. Read More »
Bill Bellamy has signed with Resolution in all areas. He stars in and executive produces the syndicated comedy Mr. Box Office and toplined the Showtime specials Crazy Sexy Dirty and Bill Bellamy’s Ladies Night Out and exec produced and hosted last month’s Centric Comedy All Stars. Bellamy also is a recurring co-host on The Rachael Ray Show and appeared in the 2013 feature 10 Rules For Sleeping Around. He is managed by Barry Katz.
Jonny Campbell has inked with Verve. The UK-based TV director also has signed to helm the BBC/HBO adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. The Warner Bros-produced project will premiere on the BBC before airing on HBO. Campbell directed last year’s BBC Three miniseries In The Flesh and has helmed multiple episodes of UK series including Doctor Who, Shameless, Ashes And Ashes and Phoenix Nights. He is repped in the UK by 42.
The Time Warner CEO benefited from a new contract that took effect last year and the board’s conclusion that he “has been highly effective and successful” in a year when the share price appreciated 46%. Jeff Bewkes‘ 2013 package included: $2M salary, $8.2M stock awards, $7.8M option awards, $14.4M non equity incentives, and $126,889 in other compensation. The “other” category includes $55,191 for Bewkes’ personal use of the company plane as well as payments for car and driver and reimbursement for financial advisory services. The Time Warner board treats Bewkes like a rock star in comparison with other execs: His compensation accounts for 53% of the total paid to the top five officers, up from 48% last year. He made 5.5 times the median for his four top lieutenants, up from 4.5 times last year. Corporate governance watchdogs often become concerned that a CEO’s pay is out-of-whack when he or she makes more than three times the median for the others. Time Warner will hold its annual meeting in Burbank on June 13. Read More »