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‘AVENGERS’ SETS 2ND WEEKEND RECORD $103.2M – Still #1 Phenom For $1+B Global And Now 11th All-Time Biggest Moneymaker; Anemic ‘Dark Shadows’ Creeping To $28.8M

May 11-13 Weekend Actuals

1. Marvel’s The Avengers (Disney) Week 2 [4,349 Theaters] PG13
Friday $29.2M, Saturday $42.9M, Sunday $30.9M Weekend $103.1M (-50%), Cume $373.1M

2. Dark Shadows (Warner Bros) NEW [3,755 Theaters] PG13
Friday $9.7M, Saturday $10.8M, Sunday $9.2M Weekend $29.7M

3. Think Like A Man (Screen Gems/Sony) Week 4 [2,052 Theaters] PG13
Friday $1.6M, Saturday $2.3M, Sunday $2.0M, Weekend $5.8M (-28%), Cume $81.4M

4. The Hunger Games (Lionsgate) Week 8 [2,531 Theaters] PG13
Friday $1.2M, Saturday $1.9M, Sunday $1.5M, Weekend $4.5M (-19%), Cume $387.0M

5. The Lucky One (Warner Bros) Week 4 [2,839 Theaters] PG13
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $1.6M, Sunday $1.2M, Weekend $4.1M (-24%), Cume $53.8M

6. Five-Year Engagement (Universal) Week 3 [2,569 Theaters] R
Friday $963K, Saturday $1.3M, Sunday $1.1M, Weekend $3.3M (-34%), Cume $24.6M

7. Pirates! Band of Misfits (Aardman/Sony) Week 3 [3,079 Theaters] PG
Friday $740K, Saturday $1.3M, Sunday $1.1M, Weekend $3.1M (-43%), Cume $23.0M

8. Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox Searchlight) Week 2 (178 Theaters] PG13
Friday $672K, Saturday $1.1M, Sunday $919K, Weekend $2.7M (+263%), Cume $3.7M

9. Chimpanzee (Disneynature)  Week 4 [1,559 Theaters] G
Friday $386M, Saturday $617K, Sunday $752K, Weekend $1.8 (-46%), Cume $25.7M

10. Safe (Lionsgate) Week 3 [1,690 Theaters] R
Friday $387K, Saturday $554M, Sunday $506K Weekend $1.4M (-46%), Cume $15.7M

SUNDAY AM, 9TH UPDATE North American grosses came in exactly as expected. Marvel’s The Avengers from Disney broke $100M in its second weekend for the first time in movie history (beating Avatar‘s 75M). Saturday’s number is about $43.1M after Friday’s was $29.1M for an estimated weekend total of $103.2M with Sunday’s expected $30.9M. That’s down only 50% from its massive opening a week ago. The projected domestic cume now is $373.2M for its first 10 days of release. The international figure is $628.9M after adding $95.4M from overseas this weekend playing in almost every movie territory. Disney says Avengers will cross $1.002B worldwide Sunday. Yowza! That makes Avengers #11 on the all-time money making list, past The Dark Knight (not adjusted for premium ticket prices or inflation). And it should shoot up to #5 very quickly. It will be the first Marvel film and fifth Disney release to reach $1B.

Meanwhile there was no dramatic turnaround for Warner Bros’ Dark Shadows even though the comedic gothic thriller went up a decent 12% from Friday’s $9.7M to Saturday’s $10.9M in North America. That yielded only a disappointing $28.8M total for the weekend. “We played to an older audience. But I am hopeful we can can broaden our base over the next 2 weeks as the new films to come are not really in our wheelhouse,” a WB exec emailed me Sunday, adding. “Stay tuned… Our pulse is still strong.” On Sunday the studio came out with its day-and-date international numbers: $36.7M, including previews with 4.6M admissions from 5,664 screens in 42 territories. Becase of Avengers in the marketplace, Dark Shadow’s was #2 in many territories like Russia ($5.3M from 977 screens), Australia ($3.7M from 369 screens), Korea ($2.5M from 375 screens), Taiwan ($994K from 106 screens), and Hong Kong ($915K from 60 screens). It was #1 in France where Johnny Depp and his family reside ($4.6M from 474 screens), Spain ($2.4M from 341 screens), and Italy ($2.3M from 537 screens). The UK grossed $4.0M from 515 situations, while Germany took in $2.0M from 441 screens. Upcoming Releases: Japan (May 19), Brazil and Mexico (June 22).

Top Ten below.

SATURDAY AM, 6TH UPDATE: How do you know your new movie is in trouble? When exhibitors want your pic to share supersized screens with your holdover rival that’s a mega-hit. Oops. Turns out Warner Bros felt it had no choice but to buckle under the theaters’ demands to extend Disney’s big screen run. So Warner Bros’  Dark Shadows is losing a morning show and an evening show to Marvel’s The Avengers every day from Friday until May 25. Warner Bros insisted to me this will be revenue neutral because some large-screen venues were added for the staggered showtimes. But the two pics also are competing overseas. Disney thinks $1B is possible worldwide through Sunday for Avengers which is playing almost everywhere. Meanwhile Dark Shadows is eking out its big international debut this weekend in 42 major markets except Japan, Brazil, and Mexico. The comedic gothic thriller earned $770,000 in France where Depp and his family reside. But the studio’s new vampire sendup of the vintage TV daytime soap is a disappointment at the North American box office. Its audiences gave it only a ‘B-’ CinemaScore, and 61% of top film critics panned it.

This 8th re-teaming of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton suffered weeks of soft tracking ahead of time, mostly because Avengers sucked all the air out of this month’s films trying to get pre-release attention. (Interestingly, Sacha Baron Cohen’s Paramount laugher The Dictator and Universal’s Battleship also are tracking softer than expected before their openings this month. And not for lack of awareness…) Dark Shadows opened by making a so-so $550K during midnight screenings from 1,600 locations overnight. But it didn’t draw blood from 3,755 theaters later, either. instead it was creeping out of the gate with only about $9.7M Friday for at best a $28M weekend – unless Saturday picks up.  Even though adaptations from TV to film generally perform modestly, Dark Shadows was predicted to earn a minimum of $35M — which is feeble considering the pic’s budget was a costly $150M-$175M. But it should have opened to at least a $40M-$50M weekend with the popular Depp-Burton push that last sent Alice In Wonderland grosses soaring past $1B worldwide for Disney. Warner Bros attempted to counterprogram Avengers with Depp’s Barnabas Collins — who awakens in 1972 after being imprisoned in a coffin for 200 years, complete with fish-out-of-water jokes and an over-the-top sex scene — hoping to snag women of all ages. But the strategy backfired when Avengers turned into a four-quadrant monster.

Yes, the biggest North American movie is getting still bigger and still setting records. Playing very wide with 4,349 theaters, The Avengers looks like around $29.1M for Friday and approaches a gargantuan $100M second weekend. This will be far-and-away the highest second domestic weekend in box office history (passing Avatar‘s and The Dark Knight‘s $75M records). That means the holdover will drop only 53% after its record-setting opening. Coming into Friday Avengers was scooping up 75% of all tickets sales at online Disney says its  superhero worldwide juggernaut will cross $300M domestic on Saturday in a record of only 9 days. (The previous record was 10 days.) Through Sunday its domestic haul should be around $355M.  So what’s the total overseas so far?  Its international gross is $533.3M for a global cumulative of $888.3M.

Related: ‘AVENGER’ ACTUALS: $654.8M Weekend = $207.4M Record Domestic, $447.4M Foreign

Burton was a devoted fan of the original ABC gothic soap Dark Shadows when he was a schoolboy, while Depp long obsessed about reimagining the vampire role made famous by Jonathan Frid (who filmed a cameo before he died). Depp and his Infinitum Nihil producing partner Christi Dembrowski had a first-look deal with Graham King’s GK Films. So the two companies produced Dark Shadows along with Dick Zanuck who now has six collaborations with Burton under his belt.

But it was co-star Helena Bonham Carter who sounded the alarm when she predicted that Dark Shadows was “going to be impossible to sell. It’s very original and it’s kind of uncategorizable” So Warner Bros positioned the pic “as a fun, wildly original vampire story as only Tim Burton and Johnny Depp can,” an exec tells me. “In addition to the humor and pedigree, we focused on the stellar cast, the gothic fantasy element, and the bold originality born from this incredible creative collaboration.” The studio had been trying for several years to pull together this movie adaptation. It purchased the film rights to the TV series from the estate of Dan Curtis (the creator, producer and director of Dark Shadows). John August was the first writer hired to script Tim Burton’s project. And Seth Grahame-Smith, who made his Hollywood entry writing novels that put a macabre twist to literary classics and historical figures, wrote the new draft.

Given the film’s tight production schedule because Depp is so much in demand, the concentrated marketing campaign kicked off with a very aggressive trailer schedule throughout March on movies from 21 Jump Street to The Hunger Games. TV ads kicked off with an early burst on NCAA Finals and notable placements like the Mad Men premiere as well as select network finales and NBA playoffs. Online Burton and Depp collaborated on an original featurette, while the studio came up with a Barnabas-style curse generator. Johnny Depp went on Ellen for the first time, while the event premiere had a live performance from Alice Cooper. “The quirky charm of the picture was present in all aspects of our campaign,” an exec told me. Now the studio is hoping that Dark Shadows can save itself through some staying power.

Other news is that Fox Searchlight’s specialty film Best Exotic Marigold Hotel jumped into the #8 spot despite playing in only 178 venues. The upscale drama had a per screen average of $15K. And Lionsgate’s coming-of-age dramedy Girl In Progress opened in 10th place with just 322 theaters. Overall, the weekend is looking like $170M or up +21% from last year.

Here’s the Top Ten (based on weekend estimates):

1. Marvel’s The Avengers (Disney) Week 2 [4,349 Theaters] PG13
Friday $29.1M, Saturday $43.1M, Weekend $103.2M (-50%), Cume $373.2M
International Weekend $95.4M, Int’l Cume $628.9M, Global Cume $1.2B

2. Dark Shadows (Warner Bros) NEW [3,755 Theaters] PG13
Friday $10.5M, Saturday $10.9M, Weekend $28.8M Read More »

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‘Dark Shadows’, ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Light Up Warners’ Summer Preview: CinemaCon

By | Tuesday April 24, 2012 @ 4:30pm PDT
Pete Hammond

The 10 minutes of The Hobbit footage unveiled during Warner Bros’ slate presentation at CinemaCon today might have garnered the least-enthusiastic response among attendees of the studio’s summer slate presentation for exhibitors. That despite its revolutionary 48-frames-per-second format that left the crowd torn over the admittedly unfinished clip. The crowd seemed much more responsive to the other films Warners trotted out from its summer schedule. First up, Warner Bros topper Jeff Robinov introduced Tim Burton, director of the studio’s May release Dark Shadowswho said he was a devoted fan of the original ABC gothic soap when he was in school and bonded with his frequent star Johnny Depp on their mutual love of  “weird cultural phenomena”. With that he brought on Depp, who just simply waved to the crowd and said he hopes they enjoy it. They seemed to, especially the twisted comic tone of the footage.

Related: ‘The Hobbit’ Footage In New Format Draws Lukewarm Response: CinemaCon

Robinov next brought on director Christopher Nolan to intro his third in the Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises (July 20). Robinov noted Nolan has only made seven films but they have collectively grossed $2.5 billion — music to this crowd’s ears. A selection of short scenes were shown to nice effect, and Nolan noted he’s been working on this trilogy now for nine years so it is nice to be able to go out on this kind of scale; one third of it was filmed with IMAX cameras. Read More »

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R.I.P. Jonathan Frid

By | Thursday April 19, 2012 @ 1:38pm PDT

Jonathan Frid DeadJonathan Frid, star of the original Dark Shadows, has died He was 87. The Canadian actor, who passed away Friday in his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, played benign vampire Barnabas Collins on ABC’s gothic soap opera from 1967-71 and in the 1970 movie House Of Dark Shadows. Frid also has a cameo in Warner Bros’ upcoming Tim Burton-directed Dark Shadows reboot as an older version of Barnabas. In the movie, which comes out May 11, he meets up with the younger version of himself played by Johnny Depp. Read More »

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Paramount Moving ‘The Dictator’ To May 16, Away From Warner Bros’ ‘Dark Shadows’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures will change the opening date of its Sacha Baron Cohen-starrer The Dictator forward five days, moving from May 11 to its new date on Wednesday May 16. That is being done to avoid a head to head showdown against Warner Bros’ Dark Shadows. The move was made after a trailer for the Tim Burton-directed Johnny Depp-starrer began showing that the film seems far more comedic than expected considering its eerie subject matter. Paramount didn’t want to risk cannibalizing the comedy audience by bashing heads with a rival on the same opening weekend.

Now, The Dictator opens closer to Memorial Day, between Dark Shadows and Battleship. Warner Bros is never shy about scheduling such opening weekend dust ups, which is has done when Arthur went against Your Highness, A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas went against Tower Heist, and Sherlock Holmes 2 went against Mission: Impossible–Ghost Protocol. Paramount gave itself five days of space from that date, and it worked out well for everyone.

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Hot Trailer: Johnny Depp In ‘Dark Shadows’

By | Thursday March 15, 2012 @ 5:16pm PDT

Warner Bros and Village Roadshow have released the first full trailer for the May 11 release, Dark Shadows, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Chloe Grace Moretz and Jonny Lee Miller. As the trailer makes clear, Burton is playing for laughs the gothic story of vampire Barnabas Collins (Depp) and his re-emergence in 1972 in ways the original cult TV series on ABC never did:

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Helena Bonham Carter on ‘Dark Shadows’: “It’s Going To Be Impossible To Sell”

By | Thursday December 1, 2011 @ 4:59pm PST

Talking to MTV after the Britannia Awards, the actress describes her role as Dr. Julia Hoffman: “She’s an alcoholic psychiatrist, so I hadn’t played that before. And she’s got a secret. They all have secrets. It’s all about people who have secrets.” The movie as a whole? “It’s very original and it’s kind of uncategorizable. It’s going to be impossible to sell, frankly, because … it’s a soap opera, but it’s very, very subtle. I don’t know. We’ll see. It’s a ghost story, but then it’s an unhappy vampire story” — directed by Tim Burton with Johnny Depp as the vampire Barnabas Collins and Eva Green as Angelique. Warner Bros. has slated the Village Roadshow coproduction to open May 11.

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UK Extends Movie Tax Break Until 2015

By | Thursday November 10, 2011 @ 7:21am PST

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that film tax relief will be extended for four more years until the end of December 2015. It had been due to expire March next year. The UK tax break is worth 16% of the budgets of Hollywood movies shooting over here, and 20% of the budgets for local films. The news is designed to re-assure Hollywood that the UK is still the place to shoot big-budget movies. Recent Hollywood productions that have shot at Pinewood Studios include Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows and Snow White and the Huntsman. The tax break has been worth $151 million to producers over the most recent financial year, supporting over $1.6 billion spent on 208 UK-qualifying films. Read More »

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Warner Bros Settles On 2012 Dates For ‘Dark Shadows’, ‘Rivals’ & ‘Journey 2′

By | Thursday May 12, 2011 @ 4:01pm PDT

Warner Bros will release Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows on May 11, 2012, and the Will Ferrell-Zach Galifianakis starrer Rivals on Aug. 10, 2012, the studio announced today. Dark Shadows, based on the cult TV series, stars Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green and Jackie Earle Haley. Rivals, directed by Jay Roach, centers on the rivalry between a pair of political candidates.

The studio also has found a release date for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island: Jan. 27, 2012. It originally was slated for “sometime in 2012.” Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Josh Hutcherson and Vanessa Hudgens star in the family adventure, the sequel to the 2008 hit.

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Chloe Moretz Joins ‘Dark Shadows’

By | Thursday March 31, 2011 @ 6:46pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Tim Burton’s cast for Dark Shadows gets better and better. Kick-Ass star Chloe Moretz is now in talks to join the Warner Bros drama based on the 60s TV soap. Moretz will play Carolyn. She’s the daughter of Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer), the reclusive matriarch of the Collins clan and owner of the Collinwood mansion where the supernatural saga unfolds. Moretz just wrapped the Martin Scorsese-directed Hugo Cabret and she is currently starring in the Derek Martini-directed Hick with Blake Lively and Alec Baldwin. Moretz also is expected to reprise her Hit Girl character in a Kick-Ass sequel. She’s repped by WME and 3 Arts.

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Gulliver McGrath To Play ‘Dark Shadows’ Kid Role; Will Michael Sheen Play His Dad?

By | Thursday March 31, 2011 @ 9:48am PDT
Mike Fleming

Tim Burton has set Gulliver McGrath to play the role of David Collins in Dark Shadows. It was a coveted role on the pint-sized set, and I’ve heard Burton has his sights on Michael Sheen to play his father, Roger Collins. The young Australian actor made it to the finals for the lead in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo Cabret, then got a small role after the job went to Asa Butterfield. The role of David Collins was originated in the 60s soap by David Henesy, and then Joseph Gordon-Levitt played him in the 1990 series revival. Johnny Deep heads a cast that includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Bella Heathcoate, Jackie Earle Haley and Eva Green, with Helena Bonham Carter also expected to join. Seth Grahame-Smith wrote the script. McGrath is repped by Management 360, ARG in London and Emma Raciti in Australia.

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Thomas McDonell Graduates From ‘Prom’ To ‘Dark Shadows’

Mike Fleming

Warner Bros and director Tim Burton has set Thomas McDonell to play the young Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows, the feature film based on the 1960s TV soap. He’ll be serving as the younger version of the character that Johnny Depp plays in the film’s lead role. McDonell gets the job after starring in the upcoming Disney pic Prom. Shooting begins in May.

McDonell joins Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Bella Heathcoate, Jackie Earle Haley and Eva Green, with Helena Bonham Carter also expected to join the cast. I’ve also heard that Michael Sheen is in early discussions to play the role of Roger, the conniving brother of Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (the role being played by Pfeiffer). Seth Grahame-Smith wrote the script. McDonell is repped by WME.

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Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter Eye ‘Dark Shadows’

Mike Fleming

Tim Burton is turning to familiar onscreen leading ladies for roles in Dark Shadows, the film he’ll direct for Warner Bros with Johnny Depp in the lead role of Barnabas Collins. Michelle Pfeiffer is in talks to play Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. And while talks haven’t begun yet, I’m told Helena Bonham Carter is in line to play Dr. Julia Hoffman.

Pfeiffer, who played a memorable Catwoman in the 1992 Burton-directed Batman Returns, will play the reclusive matriarch of the Collins clan. She is the owner of Collinwood, the mansion where the supernatural saga unfolds. That role was originated by Joan Bennett in the TV series.

Bonham Carter, who is Oscar nominated for The King’s Speech and just won the BAFTA, is likely to play Hoffman, a specialist in psychology and rare blood disorders who moves into Collinwood. While she initially is a threat to the vampire Barnabas, she eventually becomes his ally, who might be able to cure him of his thirst for blood. Bonham Carter, Burton’s leading lady off screen, has starred in Burton-directed films that include Alice in Wonderland and Sweeney Todd. Hoffman was played in the series by Grayson Hall.

Deadline told you previously that Eva Green was set to play the witch Angelique, Jackie Earle Haley is playing the conman Willie Loomis, while Bella Heathcoate will play Victoria Winters, the young governess of the Collins estate.

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Ultimate Bond Girl Eva Green Gets ‘Dark Shadows’ Lead

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Eva Green has landed the female lead in Dark Shadows, the Tim Burton-directed adaptation of the 60s supernatural TV soap opera for Warner Bros. Green, who made a most memorable impression when she broke James Bond’s heart in Casino Royale as Vesper Lynd, is negotiating to play the role of Angelique. In the series, she was a powerful witch who was alternately tormented and bewitched by her love-hate relationship with Barnabas Collins. Depp will play Collins. Lara Parker played the role in the original Gothic horror soap. The French-born actress most recently starred oppposite Ewan McGregor in the romantic thriller Perfect Sense, the Sundance title just acquired by IFC. Green just signed with UTA and she is also repped by UK-based Tavistock Wood.

Yesterday, Deadline revealed that Jackie Earle Haley and Bella Heathcoate are also negotiating lead roles in the film.

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EXCLUSIVE: Johnny Depp To Start ‘Dark Shadows’ In April With Tim Burton Directing

It’s star Johnny Depp’s and Tim Burton’s hotly anticipated next collaboration and movie. Seth Grahame-Smith, who made his Hollywood entry writing novels that put a macabre twist to literary classics and historical figures, recently snagged the high profile job of writing the new draft of the 1960s gothic daytime serial featuring the juicy role of vampire Barnabas Collins whom Depp has had a long obsession wanting to play. The film has been slated to begin production in January but today was pushed back to April. Depp’s Infinitum Nihil and Graham King’s GK Films are producing along with Dick Zanuck. (It’s Zanuck’s 6th collaboration with Tim Burton.)

Warner Bros has been trying for several years to get to the starting line on this movie adaptation of the TV series that ran on ABC from 1966-1971 and had legions of fans frightened by the moody and atmospheric storyline. (Tim Burton May Push Back ‘Dark Shadows’ Start Date) Barnabas Collins (played by Jonathan Frid) was the central figure in the groundbreaking supernatural soap. Warner Bros purchased the film rights to the TV series from the estate of Dan Curtis (the creator, producer and director of Dark Shadows). As for Tim Burton’s version, John August was the first writer hired to script the project. Grahame-Smith got the job on the basis of his own bestselling novel, Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Read More »

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Seth Grahame-Smith On ‘Dark Shadows’ As Tim Burton Pic Gets Closer To Start Date With Johnny Depp As Vampire Barnabas

Mike Fleming

dark2 shadowsEXCLUSIVE: Seth Grahame-Smith, who made his Hollywood entry  writing novels that put a macabre twist to literary classics and historical figures, has just snagged the high profile job of writing the new draft of Dark Shadows. The Tim Burton-directed adaptation of the 60s daytime serial will star Johnny Depp  as the vampire Barnabas Collins. The film is slated to begin production in January at  Warner Bros. Depp’s Infinitum Nihil and Graham King’s GK Films are producing.


Warner Bros has been trying for several years to get to the starting line on the movie adaptation of the TV series that  ran on ABC from 1966-71 and had legions of fans frightened by the moody and atmospheric storyline. (Tim Burton May Push Back ‘Dark Shadows’ Start Date) Barnabas Collins (played by Jonathan Frid) was the central figure in the groundbreaking supernatural soap. As for Tim Burton’s version, John August was the first writer hired to script the project, based on the Dan Curtis-created characters. Grahame-Smith will be writing a new take under Burton. He got the job on the basis of his own bestselling novel, Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Burton and Timur Bekmambetov bought that project out of their own money as producers, and I hear that Bekmambetov is likely to make the film his next directing effort…. Read More »

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