EXCLUSIVE: Comics and graphic novel publisher Boom! Studios and Universal opened their Denzel Washington-Mark Wahlberg actioner 2 Guns at #1 earlier this month. Now the companies have inked a deal for their next comic book adaptation. Uni snatched up film rights to the new Boom! comic Day Men just about a month after it hit shelves, in what I hear was a pre-emptive seven-figure bid. Day Men follows a secret order of humans charged with protecting vampires as they sleep during the day; when a war breaks out between two rival vampire families, one of the Day Men must intervene.
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘The Simpsons’ Getting the Lego Treatment; Locarno Fest Opens With ’2 Guns’ This Week
Woo-Hoo! ‘The Simpsons’ Lego Set Coming Next Year
Lego said Monday that it will launch its first set based on The Simpsons next year. A spokesman for the privately held Danish toymaker wouldn’t single out which characters …
Hollywood Blues: ‘Smurfs 2′ Bombs Here And Blah Overseas; Denzel-Mark’s ’2 Guns’ Wins Weekend, ‘Wolverine’ Holds For #2
SUNDAY AM, 7TH UPDATE: This is yet another weekend that confounded and confused Hollywood as domestic numbers are coming in lower than projected and only international grosses are saving Summer 2013. Interesting that the Top Three films are all based on comic books. (Maybe that’s the reason?) Total moviegoing looks about $125M or about +8% from last year because of the glut of 3D films in the crowded marketplace.
I’m shocked how badly the #3 film Sony Pictures Animation‘s The Smurfs 2 (3,866 theaters) bombed in the U.S. and Canada where even the most wretched family fare can catch a break at the summer box office. This 3D hybrid live-action/CG animated sequel couldn’t even make in its first five days ($27.8M) what the 2011 original grossed in its first three-day weekend ($35.6M). Ouch! Guess little blue people creep me out and North Americans, too. The domestic total fell way short of the $35M first projected by the studio which blames too many PG films at the multiplex. But even the foreign cume was blah: $52.5M from 43 territories was “not enough to make up for U.S. underperformance,” a Sony exec tells me. That’s a worldwide total of $80.3M, far less than the $100M which Sony projected this weekend. Russia and Latin America beat Smurfs 1 while shockingly Europe (where the Smurfs began) did not. Let’s remember that the 2011 original made 75% of its coin overseas ($420M foreign vs $142M domestic) so Sony is was counting on a big worldwide weekend to save pic’s bottom-line. The negative cost for Smurfs 2 was $125M ($146M less production benefits of $21M). Sony also lined up for the sequel one of the studio’s largest global promotion campaigns with $150M from 100 corporations, licensees, and retail partners. (Including McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, blueberries). That’s a big deal for family fare not branded Disney, Pixar, or DreamWorks. As expected Smurfs 2 opened Wednesday #1 atop the North American box office but with only a lame $5.2M and then a lifeless $18.2M three-day weekend. Its Rotten Tomatoes score was a poor 12% but the ‘A-’ CinemaScore from audiences didn’t help domestic word of mouth. I hear the Sony brass was concerned from the outset because their sequel was out-tracked by Disney’s Planes (which opens August 9th). Smurfs 2‘s disappointment will only put more pressure on the studio from cantankerous investor Daniel Loeb who’s currently destabilizing the studio. The first film was taken out of turnaround from Paramount by then Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman/CEO Michael Lynton, now the Sony America bigwig. And that original Smurfs movie caught lightning in a bottle and grossed $563M worldwide. Because of that, Smurfs 3 already is scheduled for 2015.
Better news for Emmett/Furla Films which financed 2 Guns that’s being distributed in America by Universal with EOne releasing in Canada. Playing in 3,025 domestic theaters, it was the #1 film this weekend – 7th time Universal has claimed top spot at the North American box office in 2013 – with a so-so $27.4M. Audiences liked it much more than critics who gave it only a middling 58% Rotten Tomatoes score vs its ‘B+’ CinemaScore. The studio had trouble building awareness in the crowded marketplace so low-balled its projection of only a $22M weekend. But two marquee stars paired for the first time like Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg should open any film to at least $25M. Good thing the ‘R’-rated comedy actioner cost only $61M. I think what helped box office is that Denzel rarely appears in a bad pic so audiences trust that. And Wahlberg is a consistent draw. Their starpower clearly was pushing gross for this film based on the Boom! Studios comic book by Steven Grant and directed by Baltasar Kormakur (who reteamed with Wahlberg after Contraband) and screenwriter Blake Masters (TV’s Brotherhood). 2 Guns was tracking strongest with its target audience of young males and African Americans after significant multicultural outreach. To that end, Universal developed an 82-second English-language spot specifically for the bilingual Hispanic audience. Washington and Wahlberg made appearances on NBCU-owned Telemundo’s morning show Un Nuevo Dia which created a first ever interview paired with the Today Show. 2 Guns villain Edward James Olmos did Hispanic media and developed 10 spots with Mexican-themes. Other promotions were aimed at African-Amercans including BeET’s top rated 106 & Park and the 2nd largest black network TV One. Exit polling showed moviegoers were 14% Hispanic and 28% African-American.
In #2 is Twentieth Century Fox’s holdover, Marvel’s Wolverine (with the highest theater count of 3,924). Marvel character played by Hugh Jackman yet again dropped 59% drop from last weekend for $21.7M and a new domestic cume through Sunday of $95M. Worldwide total is $255.2M.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros/New Line’s low-cost $19M horror genre The Conjuring (3,155 theaters) crossed $100M after three weeks Saturday on its way to $135M all in. Studio says it’s now the 6th biggest horror film of all time and easily will end up as #4 or even #3.
Here are the Top Ten films based on weekend estimates:
1. 2 Guns (Emmett-Furla/Universal) NEW [Runs 3,025] R
Friday $10.0M, Saturday $9.8M, Weekend $27.4M
2. The Wolverine 3D (20th Century Fox) Week 2 [Runs 3,924] PG13
Friday $6.4M, Saturday $8.6M, Weekend $21.7M (-59%), Cume $95.0M
International Cume $160.2M, Worldwide Total $255.2M
3. The Smurfs 2 3D (Sony Animation) Week 1 [Runs 3,866] PG
Friday $5.5M, Saturday $7.1M, Weekend $18.2M, Cume $27.8M
International Cume $52.5M, Worldwide Total $80.3M
Listen to (and share) episode 37 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Deadline’s awards columnist talks with host David Bloom about the Motion Picture Academy’s groundbreaking insider of a new president; Academy voter relief that Woody Allen is finally going Blue; an August full of Emmy voting and the weekend’s movie debuts, including action comedy 2 Guns and the hybrid animated-live action sequel The Smurfs 2.
It was a face-off today between Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg on Telemundo‘s morning show Un Nuevo Dia and Matt Damon on Univision‘s Despierta America. Washington and Wahlberg promo’ed their new Universal pic 2 Guns on Un Nuevo Dia‘s sister Today with Savannah Guthrie. That was followed by an interview for Telemundo that was broadcast live on Un Nuevo Dia from the Today show plaza. At the same time, Matt Damon appeared on Univision’s Despierta America promoting Sony’s Elysium by participating in a live “guess that movie” game of charades with hosts. It’s a sign of the increasing competition among studios for the growing Latino market and the heated battle among Spanish-language TV broadcasters for that all-important morning space. Who fared better? Check out the videos: (beware auto play)
EXCLUSIVE: IP is a precious commodity in Hollywood, and now comic book company BOOM! Studios is adding more original properties to its catalog. The award-winning comics and graphic novel publisher behind Universal‘s 2 Guns has acquired Eisner and Harvey Award-winning indie label Archaia Entertainment, which will live on as a BOOM! imprint. Archaia, established in 2002, is known for graphic novels Mouse Guard, Jim Henson’s A Tale of Sand, Rust, Spera, Cowboy, and Gunnerkrigg Court. Now those titles join the fold at BOOM!, which aims to start nipping at the heels of WB‘s DC Entertainment and Disney‘s Marvel Entertainment as the largest independently-controlled comics and graphic novel library in town. BOOM!’s creator-friendly business model also shares IP ownership between the company and creatives — a nice incentive for artists looking to feed their comics properties into the Hollywood mill.
BOOM!’s foray into feature films launches this summer with Universal’s August 2 release 2 Guns starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, based on industry veteran Steven Grant’s original comic. BOOM!’s also prepping to shop two more Grant properties in the works: Damned, Grant’s 1997 miniseries with Mike Zeck which BOOM! is re-releasing in July, and new comic The Deceivers which boasts a set-up akin to 2 Guns with spies.
Universal’s 2 Guns is directed by Baltasar Kormákur from a script by Blake Masters. The action thriller stars Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as two undercover federal operatives from competing bureaus who are forced on the run together. Pic opens in theaters August 2nd:
Late Friday, the White House announced a new deal with China that would allow for more foreign films to be released in the nation’s movie theaters — and more money in the pockets of U.S. studios to boot. After the news broke, Mark Damon, whose Foresight Unlimited sold out on the European Film Market’s hottest title, 2 Guns, told me: “I have a feeling what just happened was already perceived by the Chinese. Buyers were out in full force and paying big numbers for theatrical releases — numbers you couldn’t afford if you were just going to video or TV.” Buyers, Damon noted, were also willing to give up censorship clauses during the EFM, which ran alongside the just-ended Berlin International Film Festival. “Up until now they would do a two-tier deal: X if a movie went theatrical and Y if it didn’t and Y would be substantially less. This time, they weren’t insisting on those.” The new agreement allows foreign studios a 25% share of box office as opposed to the traditional 13% and provides for 14 additional titles outside the 20-film quota. Chinese box office is projected to hit $5 billion from a potential 16,000 screens in 2015. There are currently about 6,200 screens. Talk about a need for product. One European exec tells me they’ve heard that on pictures where you’d normally expect to get, say, $50,000, the Chinese will now pay as much as $500,000.
EXCLUSIVE: Denzel Washington, whose most recent action effort Safe House premieres in New York tonight, is in discussions to take on another action drama involving Universal Pictures. He’s in early talks to join Mark Wahlberg in 2 Guns, a film that’s based on a Steven Grant graphic novel published by Boom! Studios. Baltasar Kormakur will direct the film. He’s coming off the Universal remake of his own film Contraband, which starred Wahlberg. The script was written by Blake Masters. The financing of the film is still coming together, though I’m told that Emmett/Furla Films the likely co-financier. Marc Platt is producing along with Boom!’s Andrew Cosby and Ross Richie. Randall Emmett and George Furla will likely join that roster.