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Big Budget ‘Jack The Giant Slayer’ Bombs On Bad Weekend For All New Releases

SATURDAY PM, 2ND UPDATE: I’m traveling but will keep you posted about box office. In a word, it’s ugly. Maybe that really lousy Academy Awards show turned off America to the movies. “It’s a bad weekend across the board,” a studio exec warns while one more describes, ”Another soft weekend.” Total filmgoing of $100M looks to be a whopping -37% less than last year with every single new release underperforming tracking by a wide margin. This is usually a good time to release family fare, and even more so now because there’s next-to-nothing in the multiplex. That said, Warner Bros knew well before this weekend that Bryan Singer‘s 3D Jack The Giant Slayer (3,525 theaters, including 317 IMAX screens) was tracking very soft domestically and turning into major trouble. All those effects drove the cost to a ridiculously expensive $200 million shared with Legendary Pictures and New Line. Now it looks like this family fare with no stars (Nicholas Hoult who?) may only open to $26M – far less than the $30M hoped for by the studio which is still too low given the high cost. It’ll do a miserable 2X multiple even with a solid ‘B+’ CinemaScore. And, remember, Friday’s figure of $7.7M was inflated by Thursday 10 PM/Friday midnight showings of $400K. Saturday’s $12.2M was a +60% improvement over Friday but still not good enough.

This bomb continues what has been a disastrous beginning of the year for Warner Bros (despite its Best Picture Oscar win for Ben Affleck’s Argo). Jack is the studio’s 4th straight box office dud – beginning with Gangster Squad in January and continuing through an abysmal February with Bullet To The Head and Beautiful Creatures.  Upcoming The Incredible Burt Wonderstone isn’t likely to deliver, either. By May, the studio’s slate should deliver big grosses again starting with The Great Gatsby, The Hangover Part III, and the hotly anticipated Man Of Steel which by many accounts overdelivers. (That’s the buzz following its first internal screening.) But given Jack‘s jacked-up pricetag, not even big expectations abroad can save it – even though pic has opened to what the studio says are “very strong results” in Asia. Already insider autopsy reports are blaming Singer and the script by Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie and Dan Studney for the lack of edge in this entirely familiar fairy tale twist on the classic Jack And The Beanstalk battle into a PG-13 effects extravaganza. Jeez, enough with this fairy tale crap, puh-leeze. “Problem is it plays like a 12-and-under pic. Everybody’s at fault. It’s just not a great movie.” Shot by Singer in 2011, it originally was set to open in the heart of Summer 2012 (June 15) under the title Jack The Giant Killer. Then it was pushed back to March 22, and shifted again to March 1 where it’s coming out only a week ahead of the Disney juggernaut, Oz, The Great And Powerful.

If Relativity’s cheap frat comedy 21 And Over (2,771 theaters) looks like Hangover for the college crowd with a ‘B’ CinemaScore – it is. It was scripted by Hangover writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. The studio is so embarrassed it’s not even publicizing the pic with me. It’ll make 1/3 what Hollywood expected – under $10M - and those were low expectations to begin with. Same with The Last Exorcism Part II (2,700 theaters), yet another unnecessary low-budget PG-13 horror movie and not even an audience pleaser judging by the ‘C-’ CinemaScore. Good thing CBS Films only paid a few million dollars for the movie. Marketing focus was kept on females under 25 and genre fans influenced by producer Eli Roth receiving a “Presented By” credit above the film’s title. (Who used to find Roth promising? No more…) Last and least, RCR Media’s thriller Phantom (1,118 theaters) looks to be a dreadful debut and won’t even exceed $500K.

Meanwhile, Universal’s Melissa McCarthy-Jason Bateman frenemies comedy Identity Thief now becomes the first 2013 pic to break $100M. And Best Picture winner Argo looks in line for a +17% Oscar bump – about half the usual +35%.

Here’s the Top Ten based on weekend estimates:

1. Jack The Giant Slayer 3D (Legendary/Warner Bros) NEW [Runs 3,525] PG13
Friday $7.6M, Saturday $12.2M, Weekend $26.0M

2. Identity Thief (Universal) Week 4 (Runs 3,230) R
Friday $2.7M, Saturday$4.2M, Weekend $9.7M, Cume $107.5M

3. 21 And Over (Relativity) NEW [Runs 2,771] R
Friday $3.3M, Saturday $3.6M, Weekend $9.1M

4. The Last Exorcism Part II (CBS Films) NEW [Runs 2,700] PG13
Friday $3.2M, Saturday $3.2M, Weekend $7.9M
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Hot Trailer: ’21 And Over’

By | Monday November 12, 2012 @ 9:55pm PST

Here’s a first look at 21 And Over from Hangover writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. Chaos ensues when a straight-A college student’s two best friends take him out for a “quick beer” to celebrate his 21st birthday the night before his all-important medical school interview. Miles Teller, Justin Chon, Sarah Wright and Skylar Astin star. 21 And Over is slated for a March 1, 2013 release.

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Relativity Firms 2013 Release Slate

By | Wednesday October 17, 2012 @ 4:30pm PDT

Release: January 25, 2013

Directors: Steven Brill, Peter Farrelly, Will Graham, Steve Carr, Griffin Dunne, James Duffy, Jonathan Van Tulleken, Elizabeth Banks, Patrik Forsberg, Brett Ratner, Rusty Cundieff, James Gunn
Writers: Will Carlough, Tobias Carlson, Jacob Fleisher, Patrik Forsberg, Will Graham, James Gunn, Claes Kjellström, Jack Kukoda, Bill O’Malley, Matthew Portenoy, Greg Pritikin, Rocky Russo, Olle Sarri, Elizabeth Shapiro, Jeremy Sosenko, Jonathan Van Tulleken, Jonas Wittenmark, Ricky Blitt
Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Bell, Halle Berry, Leslie Bibb, Kate Bosworth, Gerard Butler, Bobby Cannavale, Common, Kieran Culkin, Josh Duhamel, Anna Faris, Richard Gere, John Hodgman, Terrence Howard, Hugh Jackman, Greg Kinnear, Johnny Knoxville, Justin Long, Stephen Merchant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Chris Pratt, Dennis Quaid, Liev Schreiber, Seann William Scott, Emma Stone, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet (Cast listed in alphabetical order)
Producers: Charles B. Wessler, John Penotti, Peter Farrelly, Ryan Kavanaugh
Co-Producers: Kenneth Halsband, Jason Barhydt, Marc Ambrose, Tom Gormican
Executive Producer: Tim Williams, Tucker Tooley, Jason Felts
Co-Executive Producers: Rene Rigal, Brian Kornreich

Release: February 8, 2013

Director: Lasse Hallström
Writers: Dana Stevens, Gage Lansky
Cast: Josh Duhamel, Julianne Hough, David Lyons, Cobie Smulders
Producers: Ryan Kavanaugh, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Nicholas Sparks
Executive Producer: Tucker Tooley

Release: March 1, 2013

Directors: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
Writers: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
Cast: Miles Teller, Justin Chon, Skylar Astin, Sarah Wright, Francois Chau, Jonathan Keltz, Daniel Booko, Dustin Ybarra
Producer: David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, Ryan Kavanaugh
Executive Producer: Tucker Tooley, Jason Felts, Jon Lucas, Scott Moore, David Manpearl, Luo Yan

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Relativity Responds To Critics Of Filming In China: ‘We Would Never Knowingly Do Anything To Undermine’ Human Rights

By | Sunday October 30, 2011 @ 9:50pm PDT

Responding Sunday evening to criticism of Relativity Media for filming scenes from the upcoming buddy-debauchery movie 21 and Over in a province of China where a blind activist has been held under brutal house arrest, the company issued this statement:

“From its founding, Relativity Media has been a consistent and outspoken supporter of human rights and we would never knowingly do anything to undermine this commitment. We stand by that commitment and we are proud of our growing business relationships in China, through our partnership with Sky Land, its strategic alliance with Huaxia Film Distribution Company. As a company, we believe deeply that expanding trade and business ties with our counterparts in China and elsewhere can result in positive outcomes.”

Criticism in the news media from activists in China and via Twitter in the U.S. appeared to catch executives at Relativity off guard, with the dust still settling from recent but unrelated industry fallout over bad publicity surrounding Hilary Swank’s appearance at Chechnya tyrant Ramzan Kadyrov’s birthday party. Reports surfaced earlier Sunday about human rights activists protesting Relativity’s decision to film the now already completed scenes of 21 and Over in the Chinese city of Linyi. The city is tainted by its location in Shandong province where blind activist Chen Guangcheng remains under house arrest in his village of Dongshigu and reportedly subjected to government thuggery. Read More »

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Relativity Kicks Off China Venture With Jon Lucas & Scott Moore Comedy ’21 And Over’

Relativity Setting Business Venture In China

The first of the film projects Relativity Media is making with its China joint venture partner Sky Land is officially underway in the Shandong province city of Linyi. The comedy 21 And Over was written and is being directed by The Hangover scribes Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and stars Miles Teller, Justin Chon, Skylar Astin and Sarah Wright. It revolves around two childhood friends who drag their straight-arrow buddy out to celebrate his 21st birthday the night before an all-important medical school interview, and the evening spirals out of control. Sky Land, a fully funded production/distribution/financing entity, is a partnership with Relativity, SAIF Partners and IDG China Media that was formed in August to “create movies which will be appealing to both Chinese and western audiences alike.” It also formed an alliance with the Chinese government-sanctioned Huaxia Film Distribution Company, making it easier to navigate the often difficult bureaucratic path for foreign entertainment companies. Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman and producing 21 And Over with SAIF’s Andy Yan and IDG’s Hugo Shong, in association with Richard Branson’s Virgin Produced. Some shooting already has been completed in Seattle.

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