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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Call this Episode 2: A New Hope. Warner Bros had to be taken aback a bit by the feel-good box office for its feel-good family pic Dolphin Tale, which hit No. 1 in its second weekend back in 2011 and finished with $95 million-plus worldwide. Alcon Entertainment dips … Read More »
Alcon Entertainment, Alloy Entertainment and Kira Davis’ 8:38 Productions have reteamed to acquire Ann Brashares‘ latest young adult novel, The Here And Now, which was released this week by Delacorte Press. The three companies previously joined to collaborate on Brashares’ bestselling Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants novels, turning them into a 2005 feature film starring Blake Lively, Alexis Bledel, America Ferrara and Amber Tamblyn and a 2008 sequel. Both were released by Warner Bros under Alcon’s output deal there.
Davis will produce the Here And Now adaptation with Alcon’s Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson. Alloy president Les Morgenstein and VP of Alloy features Elysa Dutton will also produce. The novel is an epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world…if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, Fox has landed Everest, a 10-part event series from Alcon Entertainment. There is a multiple script order for the project, which is in the process of setting up a writers room. Created by Jeffrey Lieber (Necessary Roughness) and produced by Alcon and FX Prods, Everest — which is being pitched as renewable limited series that can have follow-up cycles — is described as a suspenseful, action-packed drama that revolves around a group of hikers on an expedition to conquer Mount Everest. Secrets are revealed and the truth about their motives are uncovered as the group struggles to survive on the world’s highest peak. Everest marks one of the first major TV sales for the TV division of Warner Bros-based Alcon Entertainment, which was launched last year when former Sony Pictures TV head of drama Sharon Hall was tapped to run it. The company has spent the last year actively acquiring properties and developing and packaging projects with a focus on going straight to series. The pitch for Everest too was the result of a four- to five-month development process. Lieber was brought to Alcon by Hall, who worked with the Necessary Roughness exec producer/showrunner while she was at Sony.
Related: Sony Eyes March For Doug Liman’s ‘Everest’ Movie
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Denis Villeneuve‘s Prisoners broke out big-time on the Oscar-season radar over the weekend in Telluride, where his hostage drama starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal landed a … Read More »
Alcon Entertainment, which has done well turning books like The Blind Side into films, has acquired film and television rights to Chicken Soup For The Soul. Alcon co-founders Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove made the deal with Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC. They’ll finance and produce a feature film based on the branded book series that has sold over 100 million copies in the US and Canada alone. The film will be produced by The Kerner Entertainment Company’s Jordan Kerner, who most recently produced The Smurfs pic, with Johnson and Kosove also producing. Brandon Camp (Love Happens) will write the screenplay, which is inspired by a variety of characters and stories from the Chicken Soup For The Soul series. Warner Bros will release via Alcon’s output deal.
In a statement Kosove and Johnson described the branded title as “synonymous with inspiration and life improvement and has touched hundreds of millions of readers through the power of storytelling. The ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ series lends itself perfectly to a fictional narrative that will inspire, entertain and intrigue.”
The film will be Executive Produced by Ben Haber, Bill Rouhana and Tim Rouhana with Kate Moulene set as co-producer. Read More »
Alcon Entertainment has solidified plans for a sequel to their 2011 hit A Dolphin Tale. Stars Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr, Ashley Judd, and Kris Kristofferson will return along with helmer Charles Martin Smith, who directed the first based-on-a-true-story pic. Real life rescued dolphin Hope will play herself in the film:
LOS ANGELES, CA, July 26, 2013 – Alcon Entertainment has green lit Dolphin Tale 2, a follow up to its successful 2011 Warner Bros release, it was announced by co-founders and co-CEOs Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson. The entire cast of Dolphin Tale will reunite for the sequel, including Harry Connick Jr., Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman, Academy Award nominee Kris Kristofferson, Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominee Ashley Judd, Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff, among others. Charles Martin Smith (“Dolphin Tale,” “Air Bud”) has written the screenplay and will again direct.
The fact-based adaptation Dolphin Tale was originally brought to Alcon by the Company’s President Of Worldwide Marketing, Richard Ingber, who also produced, and will serve as a producer on the sequel. Dolphin Tale 2 tells another true story inspired by the life of the rescued bottle nose dolphin, Winter, this time involving a new baby dolphin named Hope who was also saved and rehabilitated by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in 2010.
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DMG Entertainment, the Beijing-based company that teamed with Disney/Marvel on Iron Man 3, is partnering with Alcon Entertainment to finance, produce, and distribute a series of films beginning with Johnny Depp-starrer Transcendence. The sci-fi pic that marks Wally Pfister’s directorial debut began shooting last month and has set an April 2014 release. Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall and Kate Mara also star. DMG and Alcon will also pair on the Ericson Core-helmed remake of Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 surfing/crime thriller Point Break. Shooting starts at the end of 2013 with the action transferred to the world of international extreme sports. Under the partnership, DMG will distribute both pictures in China. Warner Bros. has North America.
The Transcendence team has done a solid job keeping a tight lid on the plot of Jack Paglen’s script, but DMG provided some details today in Beijing. The story is set in the world of artificial intelligence science and, according to CEO Dan Mintz, “is about that moment when human consciousness and the insanely fast rise of computing power collide.”
Mintz also said, “We are very excited that these will be the first two films of what will be a long-lasting and very successful partnership with Alcon. We look forward to making history with our new partner.” Read More »
Alcon Entertainment‘s Dolphin Tale grossed $95.4M worldwide when it was released in September 2011, and now the producer-financier is close to diving in for a sequel. Charles Martin Smith, who directed the first pic, is set to helm … Read More »
Related: Ridley Scott To Direct New ‘Blade Runner’
LOS ANGELES, CA, MAY 31, 2013, 3:30 pm, EST—Writer Michael Green is in negotiations to do a rewrite of Alcon Entertainment’s “Blade Runner” sequel penned by Hampton Fancher (“Blade Runner,” “The Minus Man,” “The Mighty Quinn”) and to be directed by Ridley Scott. Fancher’s original story/screenplay is set some years after the first film concluded.
Alcon co-founders and co-Chief Executive Officers Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove will produce with Bud Yorkin and Cynthia Sikes Yorkin, along with Ridley Scott. Frank Giustra and Tim Gamble, CEO’s of Thunderbird Films, will serve as executive producers.
Green recently completed rewrites on “Robopocalypse” and Warners Bros “Gods and Kings.”
Alcon and Yorkin previously announced that they are partnering to produce “Blade Runner” theatrical sequels and prequels, in addition to all television and interactive productions.
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EXCLUSIVE: Ericson Core, the cinematographer who made his feature directorial debut on Invincible, has been set by Alcon Entertainment partners Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove to direct Point Break, the remake of the 1991 action thriller that … Read More »
BREAKING: The directorial debut of Christopher Nolan’s longtime DP Wally Pfister continues to get more interesting. He’s added Kate Mara to the cast of Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany and Rebecca Hall in Transcendence. The pic is being … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Paul Bettany is in negotiations to star opposite Johnny Depp in Transcendence, the Alcon Entertainment film that marks the directing debut of Wally Pfister, Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer on Inception and many other films. Alcon … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Alcon Entertainment has added Terrence Howard to round out the impressive cast that has mobilized for Prisoners. The film stars Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Melissa Leo, Viola Davis, Maria Bello and Paul Dano. The cast has responded to the screenplay by Contraband scribe Aaron Guzikowski, and the chance to work with Oscar-nominated Incendies director Denis Villeneuve. The story revolves around a small-town carpenter (Jackman) whose young daughter and her best friend are abducted. After the cops fail to find them, Keller takes the law into his own hands, but in the process runs up against a detective (Gyllenhaal), a hot-shot cop with confidence to burn, assigned to the case. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Mario Bello has signed on to the kidnapping thriller Prisoners. The Touch actress will play Grace, the wife of Hugh Jackman’s Keller character in the movie. Jake Gyllenhaal, Melissa Leo, Paul Dano and Viola … Read More »
BREAKING: Johnny Depp is negotiating to star in Transcendence, the directorial debut of Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister. The project is being put together for an early 2013 shoot by Alcon Entertainment co-founders and co-CEOs Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove. Alcon will release through its output deal with Warner Bros.
The screenplay, written by newcomer Jack Paglen, was developed by Annie Marter and Straight Up Films, whose company principals include Marisa Polvino, Kate Cohen and Regency Boies. Polvino, Marter and Cohen will produce along with David Valdes (The Book Of Eli), Johnson and Kosove. Boies will co-produce. The plot of Transcendence is being kept under wraps.
Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas are serving as executive producers and Alcon is financing. Pfister won an Oscar for his cinematography on the Nolan-directed Inception. He has done seven films with Nolan and Thomas, including The Dark Knight Rises and Memento. He was also cinematographer on Moneyball and The Italian Job. Read More »
BREAKING: Belle Pictures and the Mark Gordon Company have set a film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Memphis at Warner Bros-based Alcon Entertainment. Mark Gordon and Molly Smith will produce with Alcon’s Andrew Kosove and Broderick … Read More »