Oscar contenders The King’s Speech, The Fighter and 127 Hours will face off again, this time as finalists in the feature film category for this year’s Humanitas Prizes, which recognize writers whose work “entertain, engage and enrich the viewing public.” The series finale of DirecTV’s Friday Night Lights made the cut in the hourlong TV category alongside Fox’s House, Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva and HBO’s The Pacific, while ABC’s Emmy-winning Modern Family, which shared the comedy prize in the half-hour category with Showtime’s Nurse Jackie last year, is nominated again, along with Nurse Jackie, CBS’ How I Met Your Mother and Showtime’s The Big C. (The drama prize last year was split between Glee and The Good Wife.) The winners in 6 categories will be announced at the annual ceremony slated to take place Sept. 16 at the Montage Beverly Hills where comedy veteran Gary David Goldberg will receive the Kieser Award “which is given to an individual whose work has helped promote a greater appreciation for each member of the human family.” Here is the official release:
The Deadline Team of Nikki Finke, Pete Hammond, and Mike Fleming have spent recent days interviewing the studio moguls to gauge their perspective on this very close Oscar race:
12 Nominations: 5 Black Swan, 6 127 Hours, 1 Unstoppable
DEADLINE’s Nikki Finke: How would you characterize this Oscar season?
TOM ROTHMAN: I think it’s been a really good season, actually. Between Black Swan and 127 Hours we’re doing great. So I feel actually pretty ecstatic about it. But we’ll see what happens. If I have a disappointment, I would say it’s one that’s common and consistent in almost every awards season in the modern era. That often times in the technical category, some of the master craftsmanship in a lot of big, commercial pictures tends to be overlooked, even though it’s the highest level of work — the editorial work, the cinematography, the sound in particular. It’s as if it’s not fashionable, that commerciality is inconsistent with the craft. But I would say this season is a really good representation of a number of high quality films. And I happen to be a person who still very much wishes that there were only five slots for Best Picture.
DEADLINE: I agree.
ROTHMAN: I regret that change. Because I believe that, in the orgy of self-congratulations that is the Hollywood awards system, when everything else in our world is common, what made the Academy Award nomination for Best Picture so special was exactly how …
London-based Ingenious Media, the private equity fund which backed Twentieth Century Fox’s Avatar, has struck a deal with Fox Searchlight to make between 2 to 3 movies in the $10M-15M range. Ingenious could inject up to $14 million annually into the deal, providing 20%-30% equity per movie. Fox Searchlight will guarantee U.S. distribution, the Holy Grail for most UK indie producers. Both companies worked together most recently on 127 Hours, Never Let Me Go, and the forthcoming The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which Fox Searchlight will release in the Fall. Ingenious has backed more than 30 Fox movies but until now under a loose arrangement, financing between 5 and 10 of Fox Filmed Entertainment’s movies each year. Recent investments include Gulliver’s Travels, Unstoppable, The A-Team, and Percy Jackson.
James Clayton, CEO of Ingenious Investments, tells me he first approached Fox Searchlight presidents Steve Gilula and Nancy Utley and production president Claudia Lewis back in November about formalising their relationship. “The UK independent sector has been going through a very tough time I told them I think there’s something more ambitious we can do in the UK. Given our position, we get to see pretty much every UK project in development. And Fox Searchlight wanted to make a greater commitment to the UK business.” The new deal, notes Clayton, takes advantage of “Fox Searchlight’s great taste, superb marketing and the economics of global distribution [which] are much more interesting from a financing perspective than …
LOS ANGELES, CA (January 7, 2011) __ Fox Filmed Entertainment (FFE) and iTunes are offering nearly 100,000 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) members Fox Searchlight Pictures’ 127 HOURS, BLACK SWAN and CONVICTION in HD from iTunes for viewing on their iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Mac or PC, or with Apple TV on their HD TV. The films will be available to members from January 7-28 during the SAG awards consideration window.
In the past, studios have faced security concerns and prohibitive costs to create and distribute screeners to organizations with large numbers of voters. For the first time ever, FFE’s Fox Searchlight Pictures and iTunes allow the studio to make the screening of films still in theatrical release available to all SAG members who are eligible to vote, in a more secure and cost effective manner. Fox is discussing a similar arrangement in the future with AMPAS, BAFTA and other organizations to implement this new way to present their films for consideration.
“We are thrilled at the nominations these fantastic films have received from this prestigious group, and while we would always prefer voters see films in a theaters, we realize that is not always possible, so we wanted to make sure as many voters as possible have the opportunity to screen them. iTunes enables us to make our films still in theatrical release available to a large number of important voters,” said Jim Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment.
“We’ve worked with Fox to bring their films to SAG members
Here’s a holiday message from 127 Hours star James Franco, whose proud grandmother deals with those moviegoers who are having trouble with the film’s amputation scene.
While Slumdog Millionaire is remembered for its cache of Oscars and cast dancing through the end credits Bollywood-style, Danny Boyle’s real achievement was drawing a global mainstream audience for a film that depicted such brutal moments as the mother of the young protagonists being beaten to death, and a child blinded to make him a more productive panhandler. That was a walk in the park compared to 127 Hours, Aron Ralston’s harrowing tale of survival after being pinned for five days under an 800-pound boulder. Given the opportunity to follow Slumdog by taking a multi-million dollar paycheck for James Bond or another big studio film, Boyle instead got paid $666,000 and gambled his Oscar currency on the bet he could get an audience to sit through a grueling survival story for a rich spiritual payoff. Here, Boyle provides the logic behind the most daring creative leap he has made in an exceptional career:
DEADLINE: Early in 127 Hours, Aron Ralston takes an exhilarating free-fall through a chasm and into a pool of blue water far below. Isn’t there a parallel to the creative leaps you take, the way you jump from one genre to another and take on improbable premises that could easily end up going splat?
BOYLE: There certainly is that possibility of going splat. One of the things I believe in is to be extreme. I don’t mean do things for shock value, but to tell a story as …
SUNDAY AM: First weekend I’ve slept past 8 AM in what feels like forever. But this is Hollywood’s lone box office break for big movies before the end of the year, and the 2nd slowest grossing weekend of the year (since the Fri-Sat-Sun post-Thanksgiving is usually a turkey). But a lot of specialty films had their debuts or expansions including Fox Searchlight’s drama Black Swan from Darren Aronofsky starring Natalie Portman (18 theaters in 8 cities — NY, LA, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC, Dallas, Toronto). It had Friday’s best per screen average with $23,660, and the studio knew it was overperforming when Friday’s matinees were double the per screen average of Aronfsky’s previous The Wrestler. Black Swan grossed $1.3M with a gross per theater average of $77,459, setting an all-time record for Fox Searchlight. (More than Juno, Slumdog Millionaire, Sideways, and Little Miss Sunshine all of which were in fewer theatres.) The drama also is the 2nd highest opening of a limited release for 2010, passing The Kids Are All Right and now only behind The King’s Speech.
Also for Fox Searchlight, there is Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours with James Franco (433 theaters for a gross per screen average of $3,695), The King’s Speech from The Weinstein Co (6 theaters) with another terrific gross per screen average of $54,312. Roadside Attraction release I Love You, Phillip Morris starring Jim Carrey scored $18,886 gross a screen in 6 theaters for its opening. “Considering the behemoth that is Black Swan, who took away a nice chunk of our hipster, gay and specialty audience, we think we came through with shining colors,” a Roadside exec tells me. Roadside and its partner on the release, Liddell Entertainment, are spending a fraction of what, say Fox Searchlight or The Weinstein Co is spending. Magnolia’s drama thriller All Good Things (2 theaters), directed by Andrew Jarecki, debuted with a gross per screen average at NYC’s Paris and Angelica of $20K. But the movie has already made millions on VOD and is on its way to becoming Magnolia’s most successful on that platform. “There is a giant section of America that doesn’t have access to these types of films,” said a Magnolia rep. “The VOD/Theatrical model is alive and very well and these numbers proves that clearly. Many wonder how VOD will affect theatrical – this opening shows that it can lead to success for both. The VOD acts as a sneak and word of mouth tool and theatrical numbers reflect that.”
The good news is that the marketplace expanded for all of these films because the adult audience still feels underserved. Also in theaters are Summit Entertainment’s Fair Game (436 theaters), and Waiting for ‘Superman’ from Paramount Vantage [85 theaters]. Most are platforming for awards season, but none are cracked the Top 10 this weekend. Fair Game added screens but still came in behind Black Swan which looks to gross a phenomenal $300K for Friday, so figure about $1 million for the weekend. On the other hand, the expansion of 127 Hours still can’t get it to hang with the big boys.
As for the major studios, only Rogue/Relativity’s martial arts western The Warrior’s Way stealth-opened semi-wide in 1,622 theaters. I never saw a single trailer or TV ad for it anywhere. No matter: it’s a bomb with the production budget at $42 million and independently financed thanks to international superstar Dong-gun Jang. It was distributed in the U.S. as a rent-a-system deal by Relativity. With a CinemaScore of “C-”, the studio claimed today, “The opening results, while modest, didn’t fall far below expectations as the campaign and spend were very targeted.” According to exit polls, 35%/65% were under/over age 25, with 65% of moviegoers male. But it was a very diverse audience with 27% Asian, 23% African-American, 20% Caucasian and 20% Latino. Among holdovers, this weekend should have seen even steeper drops since a week ago was the day after Thanksgiving and the biggest moviegoing day of the year. But 3 of the 4 opening pics badly underperformed. Disney’s Tangled finally surged past Warner Bros’ Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows which continues to dominate the overseas marketplace, grossing an estimated $54.4M in 62 territories for an international cume to date of now $469.1M and a global cume of $713.3M. Disney’s 50th animated toon took in $26M this weekend from 15 territories representing 35% of the international market. With Tangled now hitting a domestic cume of $96.5M and overseas total of $45.8M, the new global cume is $142.3M:
1. Tangled (Disney) Week 2 [3,603 Theaters]
Friday $5.1M, Saturday $9.9M, Weekend $21.5M (-56%), Cume $96.5M
2. Harry Potter/Deathly Hallows (Warner Bros) Week 3 [4,125 Theaters]
Friday $4.8M, Saturday $7.4M, Weekend $16.7M, Cume $244.2M
Pete Hammond: Indie Spirit Nominations Could Predict Oscar
LOS ANGELES (November 30, 2010) – Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, announced nominations this morning for the 2011 Film Independent Spirit Awards. Eva Mendes and Jeremy Renner served as presenters and 2011 Spirit Awards host Joel McHale was also on hand. Nominees for Best Feature include 127 Hours, Black Swan, Greenberg, The Kids Are All Right and Winter’s Bone.
Please Give was selected for the Robert Altman Award, which is given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast.
“The artistic side of independent film is stronger than ever, and it’s especially impressive to see the developed craft of extraordinary independent filmmakers who have only gotten better over the years. Past nominees such as Darren Aronofsky, Noah Baumbach, Danny Boyle, Lisa Cholodenko, Debra Granik, Nicole Holofcener and John Cameron Mitchell continue to create original and compelling films that move and amaze us.” said Film Independent Executive Director Dawn Hudson.
Selected from 220 submissions, this year’s winners will be announced at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. on the beach in Santa Monica. The 26th annual awards show will air exclusively that night on IFC at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. Winners of the Filmmaker Grants will be highlighted during the Spirit Awards and announced at the 2011 Spirit Awards
I’ve had boats since I was a teen, and it’s a frustrating relationship because they are expensive and you never use them enough. Nothing’s better than getting out in the ocean where the fish are biggest, and dropping your line 80 feet down to them, with the ocean swells creating a gentle rocking motion. And nothing’s more frustrating than when you bring a guest who is rendered green by those swells, usually just when the tide is perfect and the big fish start biting. You head in, a great day is redefined as something else, and you remember why you prefer to go alone.
This reminds me of all the reports I’ve been reading on Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours, which has been in danger of being defined not by its cinematic achievement, but rather by the number of faint-hearted folks who, reports suggest, have been dropping like canaries in a coal mine. I saw the film at its Toronto International Film Festival premiere, and have rarely felt as moved by a movie, especially when Boyle and James Franco were joined onstage by hiker Aron Ralston. But the audience continues to be part of the storyline: at last Thursday’s Academy screening, the crowd reaction was huge, but press focus was on a single moviegoer who fainted (apparently not from the amputation scene, but a health issue). I’m told a Producers Guild screening …
The director, whose 127 Hours is closing the festival, was presented with a BFI Fellowship at tonight’s awards ceremony by fellow director Stephen Daldry. Also on hand was Martin Scorsese, who paid tribute to the BFI National Archive. As for the winners, jury president Patricia Clarkson presented director Alexei Popogrebsky the Best Film award for the isolation-themed How I Ended This Summer. Andy Serkis presented the Best British Newcomer award to Clio Barnard, director of The Arbor, about playwright Andrea Dunbar. And Barnard also won this year’s Sutherland Award for most original and imaginative feature debut, presented by jurors Michael Winterbottom and Olivia Williams. Armadillo won Best Documentary. Other guests at the ceremony, held at LSO St. Luke’s, home of the London Symphony Orchestra, included ex-BBC Director General Greg Dyke and screenwriter Tony Grisoni.
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will present James Franco with the Outstanding Performance of the Year Award for his performance in 127 Hours. The festival runs January 27-February 6. Carey Mulligan will receive the Breakthrough Performance Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which runs January 6-17. She’s being honored for her roles in Never Let Me Go and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.
No, it wasn’t a publicity stunt. I’m told that two people fainted during a screening hosted by Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich of Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours that took place Friday night at Pixar’s theater packed with about 300 people. Paramedics were called, the pair were declared fine, but it underscores once again the intensity of this real life tale starring James Franco as the hiker who gets trapped and cuts off his arm to free himself. The pic opens in theaters November 5th.
Fox Searchlight has issued a new full length trailer for Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours, which stars James Franco as Aron Ralston, the hiker who amputated his own arm after it was pinned for days under a boulder in a deserted canyon in Utah. The film will be released November 5