SUNDAY AM 2ND UPDATE: The big news is that washed-up Arnold Schwarzenegger flopped in 10th place playing a washed-up lawman in The Last Stand (2,913 theaters). “Nobody wants to see Arnold,” one rival studio exec giggled to me. Lionsgate should demand its money back from Arnie who clearly can’t open a movie anymore even with a ‘B’ CinemaScore from audiences. Pic made only a pathetic $6.7M for the 3-day weekend and no more than $7.7M for the 4-day holiday. I don’t think that even covers Schwarzenegger’s cigar bill. The actioner featuring The Guvernator’s first solo comeback to the big screen was just one of the major releases that opened for the long Martin Luther King holiday weekend. Saturday’s business “was shockingly good,” execs told me, once again demonstrating that the theatrical business is kicking butt with audiences even if Arnold isn’t. Bombing as well was Emmet-Furla/New Regency’s critically panned dramatic thriller Broken City (2,620 theaters) breaking Mark Wahlberg’s long string of box office hits. Also starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Russell Crowe (thankfully, not singing) and distributed by Fox, it debuted only #5 and finished with a sorry $9.5M for the 3-day weekend and $10.9M for the four day holiday. That star power should have generated at least $25M for the MLK weekend with its ‘B’ CinemaScore from audiences.
No question that Universal’s supernatural thriller Mama (2,647 theaters) - “presented” by Guillermo Del Toro to lend it credibility – debuted #1 Friday and stayed tops through Monday with an overperforming $28.1 for the 3-day weekend and $33.2M for the 4-day holiday. ”This is an incredible result for a little film. We think it was the advertising on Twilight [Breaking Dawn Part 2] and the really scary trailer targeted to girls,” a Uni exec preens. It succeeded despite an unimpressive ‘B-’ CinemaScore from audiences. I can’t recalll when an actress was in Hollywood’s top two films, but Jessica Chastain snags that honor after last weekend’s topper, her Annapurna Pictures/Sony Pictures’ Zero Dark Thirty (2,946 theaters after 5 weeks) came in #2. The chameleon looks almost unrecognizable as a brunette in the new comer.
I’m surprised that Universal Pictures didn’t take the time with me to publicize more fully Del Toro’s role in this $15 million budgeted hit film, trying to dismiss him as “only as an executive producer”. In fact Guillermo took the original short film by Andy Muschetti and, from the moment of inception, developed it hand-in-hand. Del Toro even did informal passes on the screenplay. He chose Neil Cross as the co-writer for the project (they had worked together on Mountains Of Madness), then took the film to Universal where he
actively campaigned for a greenlight and cast Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Jessica Chastain (working with her
agents and manager himself). He even located the production offices in Pinewood Studios where he was prepping and would shoot Pacific Rim so he could be available and ready to assist Barbara and Andy Muschetti. I’m told that Del Toro would revise Andy’s storyboards every day before call, go through dailies, and work in the editing room. He chose the composer Fernando Velazquez to score because they had worked together twice already (on Orphanage and Julia’s Eyes). ”Guillermo was present at all crucial stages of pre- and post- production, including color timing and final mix,” a rep tells me. “He worked closely with Universal on the movie’s campaign and launch – to the point that ‘A Mother’s Love Is Forever’ was his suggested tagline at the very first meeting he spent pitching the feature for Universal.”
How hard are Mark Wahlberg and director Allen Hughes working to promote their new film Broken City? Doing TV interviews in Philadelphia, the duo jumped right in and handled the broadcast’s traffic and weather report. They acquitted themselves nicely, but it seemed surprising that Wahlberg didn’t tell the newscasters to … Read More »
Allen Hughes‘ first solo effort as a director stars Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Wahlberg plays an ex-cop and Russell Crowe is the mayor who double-crosses him. Zeta-Jones plays the mayor’s wife. Financed by Emmett/Furla Films, Broken City opens via Fox on January 18th: … Read More »
Allen Hughes spent the past two decades as one-half of The Hughes Brothers. He makes his solo feature directing debut with Broken City, a political corruption drama that stars Mark Wahlberg as an ex-cop who does a favor for the mayor (Russell Crowe) by following the pol’s philandering wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones). The results are murder and conspiracy, with Fox releasing the Emmett/Furla Films-financed drama January 18.
Allen and Albert Hughes burst on the feature scene with 1993’s Menace II Society, a wildly profitable slice of violent inner-city life. Together they’ve co-directed the Vietnam-era crime drama Dead Presidents, the Jack the Ripper thriller From Hell, the documentary American Pimp, and most recently the post-apocalyptic thriller The Book Of Eli. They also direct commercials and videos under their Underworld banner. I’ve known the siblings for about as long as they’ve been making features, and always found them to be strong individuals. I never quite understood the alchemy that goes into a two-man directing team, or what happens when one splits up. Who better than Allen Hughes to explain?
DEADLINE: After directing movies all these years as a team, what was the biggest challenge in not being able to rely on Albert?
ALLEN HUGHES: The biggest challenge had nothing to do with the movie-making process at all. When we took meetings, there were two of us. This is a crazy town and there are very cunning people. As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one. There was a certain amount of respect they paid us because there were two of us. And there was a shorthand we had in breaking things down to the last compound, and factoring in every angle. It made quite an impression to have two guys doing that. That’s what was missing this time around, but I felt comfortable with the moviemaking process. It’s naturally a one-man or -woman gig. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Russell Crowe is set to star alongside Mark Wahlberg in the Allen Hughes-directed independently financed noir drama Broken City. Production begins in November. Wahlberg plays an ex-cop-turned-private detective who is hired by the mayor (the role Crowe will play) to see if his wife is cheating on him. The private eye confirms those suspicions, and when the mayor’s wife’s cheating partner ends up dead, the private eye immerses himself in the mayor’s business and uncovers a real estate scandal that involves the pol dealing himself choice city-owned properties. The script by Brian Tucker made the 2008 Black List. The $60 million film will be financed by Emmett/Furla Films.
Wahlberg is producing through his Closest to the Hole banner; Stephen Levinson through Leverage; and Randall Emmett, George Furla and Hughes are also producing. Wahlberg and Levinson, partners on Entourage and Boardwalk Empire, just wrapped the drama Contraband. Crowe is costarring as Jor-El in the Superman reboot Man of Steel and just wrapped The Man With The Iron Fists. Read More »
Mark Wahlberg and Allen Hughes are in early talks to team on Broken City, a noir-style drama about an ex-cop-turned-private detective who is hired by the mayor to see if his wife is cheating on him. When the mayor’s wife’s … Read More »