Dogwoof Closes Slew Of Deals For ‘Blackfish’ Documentary Sales outfit Dogwoof has closed a multi-territory deal with Universal Pictures International Entertainment on 2013 Sundance documentary Blackfish. The territories include Asia, Italy, Portugal, Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, Scandinavia and Latin America. Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the film tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale who killed several people while in captivity. The controversial and popular film was shortlisted in the Oscar documentary category and has a BAFTA nomination this year. Other territories sold by Dogwoof include German- and French-speaking Europe, Spain, The Netherlands, and a multi-territory deal with Netflix.
Tinie Tempah-Laura Mvula Duet Will Open BAFTA Awards
For this year’s musical opening, the BAFTA Awards on February 16 will kick off with a duet by multiplatinum-selling English rapper Tinie Tempah and English soul singer Laura Mvula. The pair will sing the track “Heroes,” which appears on Tempah’s album Demonstration. Not to be confused with the classic David Bowie song, the refrain incorporates the lyrics, “Here everyone’s a hero/We all got a second chance.” (Heroes are popular this year: two weeks after the BAFTAs, the Oscars will honor big-screen real-life heroes, super heroes, popular heroes and animated heroes, both past and present.) In previous years, the likes of Paloma Faith and Tom Jones have performed ahead of the BAFTA ceremony. Read More »
Well, one thing is for sure: Cable news viewers like films about killer whales a lot more than ones about pro-nuclear power. CNN’s airing last night of the documentary Pandora’s Promise delivered a wet 345,000 total viewers in its 9-11 PM time slot and just 145,000 among adults 25-54. The heavily promoted Robert Stone-directed film was way, way down from the 1.36 million that CNN Films’ Blackfish drew in total viewers in the same slot two weeks beforehand. Promise also got less overall viewers than the film about keeping killer whales in captivity at marine theme parks pulled in just the key demo. Winning the time slot over CNN’s cable news rivals, Blackfish had 472,000 among the 25-54s when it aired October 24. CNN Films acquired the nuke-themed Pandora’s Promisein April this year after it screened at the Sundance Film Festival and had a theatrical run. Such docus as Promise and Blackfish are a part of the network’s attempt to broaden its programming scope — though with mixed results, obviously.
The premiere of CNN Films: Blackfish was No. 1 among cable news networks in the news demo from 9-11 PM last night, averaging 472,000 in the news demo. Fox News Channel followed with 331,000 in the demo, and MSNBC registered 235,000. It’s CNN’s highest-ranking film this year. The film, exploring the consequences of keeping orcas in captivity at marine theme parks for the entertainment of humans. The Gabriela Cowperthwaite movie is pegged to the 2010 death of SeaWorld Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was killed by a 6-ton whale that had been linked to other deaths.
CNN actually did better with 18- to 49-year-olds, averaging 688,000 viewers. FNC logged 216,000 viewers in the age bracket in that block of time, and MSNBC logged 173,000. CNN drew 471,000 viewers ages 18-34, more than eight times the combined competition of FNC (31,000) and MSNBC (25,000). Following the movie, Inside Blackfish, an Anderson Cooper-anchored special at 11 PM, topped MSNBC in both the key demo 25-54 (231,000 vs. 74,000) and in total viewers (560k vs. 361k). FNC averaged 334k/1.2m during this time period.
Nonfic film organization Cinema Eye has unveiled their inaugural “The Unforgettables” list, celebrating 18 of the year’s “notable and significant” docu subjects – including former Indonesian death squad leader Anwar Congo, the mass killer who’s confronted by his crimes in genocide docu The Act Of Killing. In the pic Congo claims to have murdered over 1,000 people while leading the paramilitary forces that also extorted and terrorized half a million Indonesians in the mid-1960s. But Congo and other perpetrators initially participated in the pic to glorify their atrocities, which they’ve never been held accountable for in Indonesia. Should Cinema Eye be honoring nefarious individuals like this rather than the filmmakers who bring them to light?
Over 80 filmmakers and Cinema Eye curators voted on the first class of “Unforgettables” honorees selected “to publicly acknowledge the rich collaborations that often take place between subjects and filmmakers,” according to Cinema Eye founding director AJ Schnack. It’s tricky territory. The list includes another killer: Tilikum the deadly orca who killed multiple humans while in captivity, who doesn’t sit for a single interview with the filmmakers in Blackfish.
Blackfish, purchased by CNN at Sundance, is the story of a captive performing Orca connected to the deaths of several people and premieres on Thursday at 9 PM ET. The film traces the 39-year history of killer whales in captivity leading up to a 2010 incident in which an experienced Sea World trainer was killed by the 12,000-pound orca, Tilikum, who had previously been associated with the deaths of two other trainers. Orcas are thought to be one of the most intelligent species in the animal kingdom, and the film details the consequences of holding them captive to perform for the amusement of spectators, while subjecting them, CNN said, to a “much darker existence when the show is over.”Pandora’s Promise features the rift within the environmental movement created when some environmental experts take a journey of “defection” in the debate over climate change, and now support nuclear energy; it premieres November 7 at 9 PM ET. Oscar-nominated director Robert Stone examines how fears of “nukes” may have extended the era of fossil fuels, perilously accelerating the pace of climate change as the global demand for energy soars, particularly in the developing world, and takes viewers inside the exclusion zone around Fukushima and into the area of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
UPDATED: Documentaries lead the way with sizzling debuts among the Specialties over the weekend. Drafthouse Films clearly won bragging rights with critically lauded Danish-produced feature The Act Of Killing. The film re-tells the story of the little-known massacre of leftists and perceived leftists in Indonesia in the 1960s and ’70s through Hollywood-style re-enactments of the crimes by the killers themselves. It opened at downtown Manhattan’s Sunshine theater, grossing $28,067. Though only one venue, the bow nevertheless gives the title reason to boast — placing it atop all other documentary debuts in 2013 including the likes of 56 Up ($22,088 per screen average), The Gatekeepers ($20,517 PSA), 20 Feet From Stardom ($18,199 PSA), Koch ($17,598 PSA) and Stories We Tell ($13,527 PSA). Also opening with some gusto this weekend was Magnolia’s Blackfish. The fellow Sundance docu opened in four theaters, grossing $66,500 for a $16,625 PSA, placing it in the middle of the year’s top non-fiction openers. The weekend’s big narrative debuts, Only God Forgives and Girl Most Likely, meanwhile, skirted the traditional platform strategy and headed into a number of markets. Cannes debut Forgives, starring Ryan Gosling, headed with a mix of critical response into 78 theaters, grossing a so-so $315K for a $4,039 average (though the film is No. 2 on iTunes this weekend). Meanwhile, Roadside/Lionsgate’s Girl Most Likely with Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening and Matt Dillon had the largest Specialty bow of the summer with its 353 locations, grossing $736K for a soft $2,085 PSA. Read More »
At this year’s Sundance several buyers were interested in the Blackfish, the documentary about the notorious killer whale Tilikum that is responsible for the deaths of three individuals, including a top trainer. Magnolia Pictures and CNN Films, which kicked off its sales activities during the festival, ended up combining on the rights deal. Magnolia releases it July 19 and CNN will air it sometime in the fall.