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OSCARS: Why Michael Fassbender’s Refusal To Campaign Likely Won’t Matter
By Pete Hammond - Campaign or no campaign, in Fassbender’s case it may not matter. He’s very likely going to get nominated — and could win — for Best Supporting Actor and I think that’s a scenario whether he lifts a finger or not in doing the usual rounds.

Tom Hanks Retraces A Life In Pictures, Talks Pitfalls Of Comedy & Freedom From Self-Consciousness At BAFTA Event
By Nancy Tartaglione - Tom Hanks was in London on Saturday to spend an evening with BAFTA. The British Academy’s Life In Pictures series is a walk through an actor or director’s career – Hanks’ this evening lasted two hours, which, considering his resumé, wasn’t nearly enough time to touch on every film.

Oren Aviv Exited As Chief Movie Marketing Officer At 20th Century Fox
By Nikki Finke - EXCLUSIVE: There’s yet another shake-up inside a major Hollywood studio. I’ve learned that Thursday will be the last day for 20th Century Fox Chief Marketing Officer Oren Aviv at Twentieth Century Fox even though his contract had another 18 months to go.

Tony Sella Not Out Yet At Fox Film – But Decision Day Is Monday
By Mike Fleming Jr. - Might 20th Century Fox Film chief creative officer Tony Sella be soon following marketing chief Oren Aviv out the door? Read More »

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Halloween Horror: ‘Carrie’ Falls Flat After ‘Gravity’ Wins 3rd Weekend And #1 Global, ‘Escape Plan’ Trapped, ‘Fifth Estate’ Flops

By | Sunday October 20, 2013 @ 12:00pm PDT

Technical problems delayed box office updates.

SUNDAY NOON, 5TH UPDATEFirst the good news: Warner Bros’ Gravity continued Box Office Results Carrieto defy the laws of box office playing in the widest release of 3,820 theaters. The only question mark was whether the Alfonso Cuaron/Sandra Bullock 3D space drama could orbit #1 for its 3rd straight domestic weekend despite a trio of newcomers in the marketplace. But none of the openers could muster strong openings or even 50% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. So no surprise Fandango reported that Gravity was pre-selling more tickets this weekend than most movies do at opening. (Remember: the studio mogul Jeff Robinov responsible for this yowza was forced out.) Its $31M weekend led a fresh $170.5M cume. Internationally pic has earned $114.2M from 51 territories for a new worldwide cume through Sunday of $284.7M and #1.

True to life or not (and many say not), Sony Pictures’ Paul Greengrass/Tom Hanks sea pirates drama Captain Phillips holds in 3,020 theaters for a healthy -33% and #2 with a new 10-day cume of $53.3M. Grosses rose a stunning 45% from Friday to Saturday. Overseas pic’s total is $9.1M from just 18 territories for a new worldwide cume of $62.3M.

But the Halloween horror is how Sony’s Screen Gems’ and MGM’s completely unnecessary Carrie remake fell flat on its bloody face. It couldn’t scare up $20M even as the only horror movie opening this October. Audiences gave it a ‘B-’ CinemaScore which hurt word of mouth. Weekend opening in 3,157 theaters was a disappointing $17M. Pic at first levitated $725K in Thursday late shows and Friday midnights and seemed promising based on matinee trends. Especially considering it was made for what the studios claim is $30M but also marketed with a full frills TV spend. Brian De Palma’s 1976 United Artists adaptation of the Stephen King classic novel has spawned a 1999 sequel and a 2002 made-for-TV movie and now this movie directed by Kimberly Peirce and starring Chloe Moretz and Julianne Moore. But it’s an R-rated teen drama masquerading as a horror film and didn’t satisfy either Saw fans wanting gore or Paranormal Activity addicts seeking supernatural thrills. Both those genre pics have dominated the pre-Halloween box office since 2004. But Paramount decided to delay PA5 from this month to October 2014. Carrie was no substitute. Opening weekend exit polling showed the audience was 46% male and 54% female. with 56% under age 25 and 44% at 25 and older.

Lionsgate/Summit’s been there and done that Escape Plan (opening in 2,883 theaters) paired Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the kind of film their fans used to flock to. Um, those fans have vanished now that both action heroes are more likely to break a hip than open a movie. (Even Letterman joked it’s ‘Escape From Assisted Living’.) “Fans didn’t turn out for them individually in Last Stand or Bullet In The Head,” one exec points out. “Now audiences are rejecting them together.” Opening at #4 for only a $9.5M weekend, its ‘B+’ CinemaScore helped word of mouth. Directed by Mikael Håfström with screenplay and story by Miles Chapman with credited scripter Arnell Jesko, movie cost around $50 million because it was shot in Louisiana where there are hefty tax incentives. Summit claims limited financial exposure because it had many international presales and licensings and because Emmett/Furla was in for about 1/3 of the budget. Exit polling showed audience was 55% male vs. 45% female with 61% over age 30 and 39% under 30. Overseas, the duo earned $14.1M day and date from 25 territories for a worldwide cume of $23.9M.

Placing #7 is DreamWorks Studios’ The Fifth Estate flopping worse than forecast with only a $1.7M weekend even factoring its low 1,769 theater count. The per screen average was under $1,000, meaning each location played nearly empty. No wonder this hyperbolic melodrama earned only a ‘B-’ CinemaScore. Its multiple trailers and high-spend TV ads were as misguided as WikiLeaker Julian Assange played by Benedict Cumberbatch who deserved better than director Bill Condon. (He helmed among the worst reviewed installments of the Twilight series.) Pic has now earned $2M internationally for a $3.3M worldwide cume, including $1.4M in the UK where Assange is holed up inside London’s Ecuadorian embassy which has granted him diplomatic asylum. This should have been an HBO flock, which DreamWorks realizes now. With the exception of The Help and Steven Spielberg’s Oscar bait Lincoln, DreamWorks CEO Stacey Snider just keeps presiding over disappointing openings like I Am Number Four, Cowboys & Aliens, Fright Night, Real Steel, Spielberg’s own War Horse, and now this. Given how small the studio’s annual output is, you’d think Snider could stop whining about financing long enough to oversee better product.

Not only does Assange hate the movie but he plotted to steal the tell-all manuscript being penned by his former second-in-command Daniel Domscheit-Berg which became one of the two books that formed the basis of The Fifth Estate film. Josh Singer (Fringe, The West Wing) adapted. But Condon claims credit for broadening the film’s scope to a “multiplicity of perspectives” ascribed to real-life and representative figures involved which is what critics panned as the weakest part of the pic. The project began shortly after DreamWorks acquired the rights to Domscheit-Berg’s Inside WikiLeaks:  My Time With Julian Assange At the World’s Most Dangerous Website. And then producers Michael Sugar and Steve Golin of Anonymous Content took the book to Singer who pitched the studio. “You could make several movies out of this material,” Singer has said, “but we had to choose one, and ultimately, the story of Daniel’s journey with Julian was the most relatable.” Cumberbatch donned  prosthetic makeup, colored contacts, bleached eyebrows, and Assange’s signature white hair, as well as intensive vocal work to capture Assange’s particular way of speaking. He reached out directly to Assange and established an email connection. Assange asked Cumberbatch not to do the role. The WikiLeaker was right.

Finishing in 16th place, Fox Searchlight/New Regency’s Oscar frontrunner 12 Years A Slave platformed in 6 markets for a total of 19 theaters. There was tremendous curiosity in Hollywood as to its box office potential because pre-sales showed the strongest per-screen opening of the weekend before it opens wide November 1. Director Steve McQueen’s pre-U.S. Civil War drama grossed $960K for an impressive per screen average of over $50,000 a theater. Written by John Ridley based on the book by Solomon Northup) the film features a stellar cast including Brad Pitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Paulson, and Alfre Woodward. Financed and produced by New Regency, pic is being marketed and distributed by Fox Searchlight to a satisfied audience of mostly cinephiles and African-Americans for an ‘A’ CinemaScore. Next weekend adds 6 cities and expands theater count to about 125.
Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Carrie’ Remake

By | Tuesday August 27, 2013 @ 3:04pm PDT

The second trailer for MGM/Screen Gems’ Carrie remake may spoil all the iconic scenes from the 1976 original. But Sissy Spacek’s telekinetic heroine never had to deal with mean girls in the cell phone age. Chloe Moretz stars as Stephen King‘s misfit teen opposite Julianne Moore as her Christ-crazy ma in the October 18 pic directed by Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry). Check it out:

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Hot Trailer: ‘Carrie’ Remake

By | Thursday April 4, 2013 @ 5:26pm PDT

It’s a tough road to fully wipe clear the iconic images of Brian De Palma’s 1976 original, based on the Stephen King book about a loner high school girl whose crazy mom and the mean kids at school eventually get the brunt of her blossoming telekinetic powers. But this first trailer for MGM/Screen Gems’ remake of Carrie – starring Chloe Moretz, Julianne Moore and directed by Kimberly Peirce – does a pretty good job of setting its own ominous tone. Plus, with increased focus on bullying in our schools these days, the redo takes on new meaning. The pic is due out October 18.



Watch the video on YouTube

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Hot Teaser Trailer: ‘Carrie’

By | Monday October 15, 2012 @ 9:17pm PDT

Screen Gems and MGM‘s remake stars Julianne Moore and Chloe Moretz, who’s seen here for the first time as Stephen King’s idea of the girl next door. Kimberly Peirce directed Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s script for Carrie, which is due out March 15, 2013.

Watch this trailer on YouTube

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Portia Doubleday, Judy Greer Join ‘Carrie’ Remake

By | Thursday June 14, 2012 @ 12:28pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: MGM and Screen Gems have set Portia Doubleday to play bad girl Chris Hargensen and Judy Greer to play the gym teacher Miss Desjardin in the Kim Peirce-directed Carrie remake. Nancy Allen played Hargensen in the original and Betty Buckley played the sympathetic gym teacher who comforts Carrie White when she menstruates and doesn’t understand what is happening because of the guilt hammered into her by her repressive mother. Hargensen triggers Carrie’s telekinetic powers with an atrocious prom prank. The film stars Chloe Moretz as Carrie White, Julianne Moore is playing her mother, while Gabriella Wilde plays Sue Snell.

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MGM Sets Julianne Moore And Gabriella Wilde For ‘Carrie’ Remake

By | Friday May 11, 2012 @ 5:29pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: MGM and Screen Gems has closed a deal with Julianne Moore to play the iconic Margaret White in Carrie, the remake that is being directed by Kimberly Peirce. Now the studio has set Gabriella Wilde for the the role of Sue Snell, the role originated by Amy Irving. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa wrote the script and Kevin Misher is producing. Chloe Moretz is playing Carrie, the role originated by Sissy Spacek in the Brian DePalma-directed original. ICM and UK-based Tavistock Wood rep Wilde and Moore is repped by CAA and Management 360.

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MGM Offers Julianne Moore Iconic Mom Role In ‘Carrie’ Remake

By | Friday April 27, 2012 @ 1:45pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Julianne Moore Carrie MovieIt isn’t a big surprise, but MGM has formally offered Julianne Moore the nightmarish religious fanatic mother in the Kimberly Peirce-directed remake of the 1976 film Carrie. Chloe Moretz is already set to play the title character, a young woman whose devastating telepathic powers rear up when she reaches puberty. Kevin Misher is producing.

Moore’s name has been in the mix for a while, but at the time MGM maintained it was talking to numerous actresses. Now, they’ve sent Moore the script and a pay or play offer to play Margaret White, the role that Piper Laurie rode to an Oscar nomination. (Moore just got done playing Sarah Palin in the Jay Roach-directed HBO film Game Change, but Margaret White makes the former vice presidential candidate seem like a raging liberal.) The film is based on the 1974 Stephen King novel that was first filmed by director Brian De Palma. Sissy Spacek played Carrie White, and both she and Laurie got Oscar noms. Moore is repped by CAA and Management 360.

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MGM Formally Offers Lead Remake Of Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’ To Chloe Moretz

By | Tuesday March 27, 2012 @ 9:33am PDT
Mike Fleming

Chloe Moretz CarrieBREAKING: After meeting and reading a group of young actresses for Carrie, MGM, Screen Gems and director Kim Peirce have made their decision and made the formal offer today to Chloe Moretz. If negotiations work out, she’ll play the title role in the remake of the Brian DePalma original that was based on the 1974 Stephen King bestseller. She’s expected to play the shy high school student Carrie White, who is raised by a nightmarish religious fanatic mother, and comes to grip with devastating telepathic powers just as she reaches puberty. She eventually uses those gifts for lethal means when fellow classmates use the prom as an excuse to humiliate her before the entire school in a parable about bullying. Sissy Spacek played the character in the first movie, with Piper Laurie playing her mother, and Amy Irving, Nancy Allen, John Travolta, Betty Buckley and William Katt rounding out the cast. Both Spacek and Laurie got Oscar nominations for their work in the 1976 film. Read More »

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MGM/Screen Gems Eye Kimberly Peirce To Direct Remake Of Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’

By | Wednesday January 4, 2012 @ 12:54pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Kimberly Peirce is in talks to direct Carrie, the remake of the Stephen King thriller about the telekinetic teenager who gets pushed too far at the prom and wreaks havoc on her fellow high school students. Peirce is best known for helming another troubled female coming-of-age tragedy, the Hilary Swank-starrer Boys Don’t Cry. Carrie was previously turned into the 1976 film that starred Sissy Spacek, John Travolta and Amy Irving, with Piper Laurie as the repressive mother. The script has been written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, whose rewrite work helped save Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark on Broadway. Aguirre-Sacasa set out to write a version of Carrie that is more faithful to the King book, and more grounded than the Brian De Palma-directed film. That kind of grounded material is something Peirce does well. She last directed Stop-Loss and is repped at CAA.

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Broadway Spider-Man Re-Writer Tackles ‘Glee’ And ‘Carrie’ Remake

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the playwright and comic book writer who was brought on to rewrite and hopefully save Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, has booked several projects to follow. On the TV side, he’ll become a co-producer and writer of the hit series Glee. And I’m told that he’s just been set by MGM and Screen Gems to write a remake of Carrie, the Stephen King thriller about the telekinetic teenager who gets pushed too far at the prom and wreaks havoc on her fellow high school students. King’s bestselling book was turned into the 1976 film that starred Sissy Spacek, John Travolta, Amy Irving and Piper Laurie as the repressive mother.

For Aguirre-Sacasa, these diverse projects are right in his wheelhouse. On Carrie, he will write a version that is more faithful to the King book than the earlier movie, much the same as Joel and Ethan Coen went back to the Charles Portis novel True Grit to present a version that didn’t really feel like a remake. Aguirre-Sacasa has a relationship with the author, after writing the graphic novel version of King’s The Stand, King’s seminal apocalyptic novel. Read More »

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‘Carrie’ Back Again On Broadway: But Why?

By | Wednesday October 6, 2010 @ 5:12am PDT
Mike Fleming

The revamp is set for the Lucille Lortel Theatre for 2011-2012, and director Stafford Arima (Ragtime and Altar Boyz) is promising new songs and material. But this MCC Theater announcement that it plans to retool and relaunch the musical Carrie makes me think there is still a chance for remakes of Ishtar and Plan 9 From Outer Space. Because Carrie was that big a flop, historic, losing $8 million. As a cub reporter at New York Newsday assigned to cover Broadway opening nights, I went to the 1988 opening of Carrie expecting big things because the Stephen King book is such a chilling coming of age tale and the movie wasn’t bad, either. The musical started out OK and, at intermission, I chatted up King, who was encouraged. But then we returned to our seats, the curtain rose, and the bad kids launched into Out For Blood. Meant to be a showstopper, the number cemented Carrie‘s rep as one of the worst ever musicals. Reviewers were merciless, and the musical closed after just 21 performances. Changing that second act opener seems a no-brainer.

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