2013 Most Valuable Blockbuster – How The Minions Came To Rule Hollywood

Mike Fleming

Well, now that Universal‘s Despicable Me 2 has proven itself 2013′s Most Valuable Blockbuster, the film’s impresario, Illumination Entertainment founder Chris Meledandri (below), deserves to take a victory lap. More seriously, the tournament was conducted to give a clearer idea, beyond the weekend and annual box office standings, of the profits and Total Cash on Cash returns that films generate. These are the factors that keep studios in business and keep co-financiers coming back for more. As a final cap, Deadline Hollywood provides readers with the revenue and costs charts of all 16 films that participated in the inaugural tournament. This data was always expected to be the most memorable part of this exercise.

Despicable Me 2 Chris Meledandri Profit

As a refresher, here’s how our tournament played out, with links to each game: Read More »

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2013 Most Valuable Blockbuster Championship Game – #1 ‘Iron Man 3′ Vs. #3 ‘Despicable Me 2′

By | Thursday March 27, 2014 @ 3:08pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Iron Man 3 Despicable Me 2 ProfitIt’s tipoff time for the championship matchup to determine Deadline’s Most Valuable Blockbuster of 2013. Stay tuned for our version of the postgame show, where we peel the curtain back on the data we commissioned from insiders to determine just how profitable a movie really is.

DeadlineBracket_Final

The Matchup: After surviving a bruising battle with #5 seed The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, #1 Iron Man 3 takes the court against #3 Despicable Me 2, a film that came through a pick ‘em matchup with #2 seed Frozen. Read More »

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2013 Most Valuable Blockbuster Final Four – #2 ‘Frozen’ Vs. #3 ‘Despicable Me 2′

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 1:42pm PDT
Mike Fleming

We are down to the nitty gritty on Deadline’s search for Despicable Me 2 Frozen Profit2013’s Most Valuable Blockbuster. This is the second of our two showdowns today. Fueled by the numbers furnished by our insiders, we’ll find out just how profitable a movie really is.

DeadlineBracket_FinalFour

TODAY’S OTHER FINAL FOUR MATCHUP
#1 ‘Iron Man 3′ Vs. #5 ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

The Matchup: The battle of the year’s biggest animation film hits pits the year’s second-highest global gross film Frozen against Universal and Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment’s hit Despicable Me 2, the year’s third-highest global grossing film. To get here, Frozen beat The Great Gatsby and Monsters University, while Despicable Me 2 beat Star Trek Into Darkness and Fast & Furious 6.

The Box Score: What the numbers say.

The Bottom Line: This is tougher than the other Final Four matchup — and that’s saying something. Read More »

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2013 Most Valuable Blockbuster – #6 ‘Fast & Furious 6′ Vs. #3 ‘Despicable Me 2′

By | Tuesday March 25, 2014 @ 1:00pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Fast & Furious 6 Despicable Me 2 ProfitThe final eight films in Deadline’s Most Valuable Blockbuster movie tournament face off today. This is the third of our quarterfinal matchups and for the first time we reveal the numbers behind the numbers that show just how profitable a movie really is.

DeadlineBracket_2ndRound

Fast6-Despicable-meThe Matchup: This amounts to an internal skirmish within Universal Pictures, between the studio’s most dependable franchise and its next one. Can Gru and a bunch of adorable minions in Despicable Me 2 outmuscle the muscle cars and cast of Fast & Furious 6 including Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker, Jason Statham and Tyrese? Luckily for the Minions, this doesn’t involve bench-pressing. Game On.

The Box Score: Here is how the two films project in revenue and costs.

Vin Diesel

The Bottom Line: Fast 6 got here by besting another animated film in the #11 seed The Croods. Despicable Me 2 cruised past #14 film Star Trek Into Darkness. While Despicable Me 2 showed significant improvement over its first film, Fast 6 has steadily built its gross, to the point where its sixth film was the highest grosser both domestically and overseas. But here is where the Minions deliver a beat-down. Read More »

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2013 Most Valuable Blockbuster – #6 ‘Fast & Furious 6′ Vs. #11 ‘The Croods’; #3 ‘Despicable Me 2′ Vs. #14 Star Trek Into Darkness’

Mike Fleming

The third of four posts today in Fast & Furious 6 Despicable Me 2 ProfitDeadline’s Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament. The subsequent rounds will play out next week.

Other Matchups:
#1 ‘Iron Man 3′ Vs. #16 ‘The Conjuring’
#2 ‘Frozen’ Vs. #15 ‘The Great Gatsby’
#4 ‘Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug’ Vs. #13 ‘Oz The Great And Powerful’
#5 ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Vs. #12 ‘World War Z’
#7 ‘Monsters University’ Vs. #10 ‘Thor: The Dark World’
#8 ‘Gravity’ Vs. #9 ‘Man Of Steel’

 

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SWEET 16

#6 FAST & FURIOUS 6 Vs. #11 THE CROODS

Fast-CroodsHow They Got Here: Fast & Furious 6 is the last one directed by Justin Lin, who took this off franchise life support. His finale was the ninth-highest domestic grosser of the year and eighth-biggest worldwide grosser with a $789M global tally. It continued the momentum of Universal’s most valuable live-action franchise, and of course all this happened before the tragic death of stalwart Paul Walker, which has dramatically A scene from The Croodsimpacted the next film that will resume production at month’s end. Up against it is #11 grosser The Croods, another powerhouse animated film from DreamWorks Animation that got an Oscar nom for Best Animated Picture.

The Bottom Line: Both films are burdened by high production costs, with Fast & Furious carrying more in talent participations, and The Croods paying an 8% distribution fee to Fox. Our experts peg the Fast & Furious budget at $260 million, a huge number that is much higher than what the studio admitted to. The Croods tab was $175 million in production FastFurious6costs.

The Winner: Per our experts, this one turns out to be a close call. Our experts say that Fast & Furious 6 made $135.1 million profit for Universal, while The Croods turned in $106.5 million in profit to DreamWorks Animation. Given the durability of the race car franchise, I’m going to give this round to Fast & Furious 6.
Read More »

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OSCARS: Time For A Toon To Take Best Picture

By | Friday February 21, 2014 @ 2:27pm PST

What is it going to take for an animated pic to shatter the Best Picture live action ceiling?

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences created an animated feature category back inAwardsLine 2001, it was an official nod to the fact that the genre has evolved into a true art form. Before the category’s existence, it was a rare feat for a toon to earn a best picture nomination, which happened just once, in 1992, with Beauty And The Beast. The fact that Up and Toy Story 3 recently managed to get best picture and best animated feature noms after the animated category was created and the top category was enlarged shows just how much Academy voters love and respect these films. Yet despite this progress, no animated film has turned a best pic nom into a win.

Beauty-and-the-Beast-beauty-and-the-beast-309492_1024_768But times are changing, and it is now conceivable that an animated film could take home a best picture statuette in the next decade. The universal appeal of toons—proven by the enviable worldwide box office a majority of them earn—coupled with an emerging generation that blurs the assumed boundaries between live action and line drawings, bodes well for this prospect.

Related: The Croods’ Creative Team Tells How They Pulled Off A Big Win For Dreamworks Animation (Video)
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Pharrell Williams To Perform At Oscars

By | Tuesday February 4, 2014 @ 6:02am PST

Pharrell WilliamsThe singer-songwriter-producer will sing “Happy,” a song he wrote and produced for Despicable Me 2. It’s a candidate for the Best Song award, along with ”Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, “Let It Go” from … Read More »

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Annie Awards: ‘Frozen’ Wins Big Including Best Feature; Miyazaki Gets Best Writing; Spielberg Honored; ‘Futurama’ & ‘Sofia’ Top TV; ‘Get A Horse!’ Best Short

Annie Award WinnersDisney’s Frozen was on fire tonight at the 41st Annie Awards and now is generating real heat for the upcoming Academy Awards. Having made $864.4M worldwide at the box office since its late-November release, the 3D fantasy musical snagged 5 Annies tonight. Frozen won Best Animated Feature, Best Directing for Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, Best Music, Production Design and a Voice Acting win for Josh Gad. who also was a presenter. Whether this will translate into Oscar gold remains to be seen. Last year’s big Annie winner, Wreck-It Ralph, which Lee co-wrote, ended up losing the Best Animated Feature Oscar to Pixar’s Brave. However, the 2012 Annie Feature winner Rango did win at the Oscars that year.

“We haven’t even started talking about a sequel yet,” Frozen co-director Jennifer Lee told me before the ceremony started. “We’ve talked about the Broadway musical but not a sequel. No one’s even mentioned it,” said Lee, who just flew in today from a promotional visit to Tokyo.

frozen2With 30 awards handed out and hosted by Patrick Warburton, this year’s Annies from UCLA’s Royce Hall also saw animation trailblazer Hayao Miyazaki take home the Writing in an Animated Feature award for The Wind Rises and Disney’s Mickey Mouse throwback pic Get A Horse! — which played before screenings of Frozen — take the Best Animated Short prize. Steven Spielberg, Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo and Star Wars and Jurassic Park effects whiz Phil Tippett were honored with the Annies’ prestigious Winsor McCay for their contribution to the art form. DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods garnered three awards, for Best Animated Effects in an Animated Production, Character Design and Character Animation. The Chris Meledandri-headed Illumination and Universal’s Despicable Me 2 took the Best Animated TV/Broadcast Commercial award.

A recap of Deadline’s live blog of tonight’s show follows the winners list below.

Related:
Disney’s ‘Frozen’ Stays Hot With Sing-Along Version Headed To Theaters
‘Despicable Me 2′ Breaks Records In $80M Home Vid Debut
OSCARS: Best Animation 2013 – Titans Vs. Indies In A Wide Open Race

Toy-Story-of-TerrorThe Halloween special Toy Story of Terror! and Disney Mickey Mouse each won three awards. Best General Audience Animated TV Production and best Writing in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production went to Futurama, while Disney’s Sofia The First picked up the category’s Preschool Children award. Industrial Light & Magic’s Pacific Rim team won the Animated Effects in a Live Action Production for their work on Warner Bros and Legendary’s apocalyptic blockbuster.

After a slightly late start, host Warburton kicked off the show by making a joke that he has “no experience as a host” but that the Annies are his favorite awards show. He later said of Royce Hall, “What a terrific venue to have the Annies — or, if you’re Seth MacFarlane, a birthday party.” He added that maybe he shouldn’t have mentioned it because “not everybody here was invited.” Later he said, “We lost Brian the dog on Family Guy this year. That was tragic news for fans of the show. … Tragic news for me would be if I found out Rogaine caused brain cancer.” He added that, “So Seth MacFarlane killed a dog. To me that makes him no better than Michael Vick.” The joke got a big laugh.

Congrats to all who took home an Annie tonight, check out the full list of winners below:

Read More »

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Comcast Lifts Stock Buyback And Dividend As Q4 Earnings Miss Analyst Expectations

By | Tuesday January 28, 2014 @ 4:14am PST

The No. 1 cable operator and owner of NBCUniversal says this morning that it will increase its dividend by 15.4% to 90 cents a share annualized beginning in April, and will boost the share repurchase plan to $7.5B, including $3B in 2014. Comcast-new-logo__130212144603-200x112That news, plus some improving metrics from its cable systems, should impress investors looking at the company’s mixed — although mostly robust — report for Q4. Comcast ended up with net income of nearly $2B, +8.9% vs the period in 2012, on revenues of $16.9B, +6.2%. The net income attributable to Comcast (remember: in 2012 GE still owned 49% of NBCU) was $1.9B, +26%. The revenue figure beat the Street’s consensus forecast for $16.6B. But adjusted earnings at 66 cents a share fell short of projections for 68 cents. NBCUniversal was surprisingly strong with $1.3B in operating cash flow (+14.3%)  on revenues of $6.5B (+7.5%). Filmed Entertainment may be the biggest shock with home video sales of Despicable Me 2 outweighing the downturn in Universal Studios‘ box office sales. Comcast 1The film unit ended up with cash flow of $192M (+127.4%) on revenues of $1.4B (+4.9%). The NBC Broadcast TV unit also exceeded forecasts with cash flow of $140M (+54.8%) on revnues of $2.2B (+11.5%). Comcast attributes that to the 8.3% increase in ad revenues plus growing retransmission consent fees and revenue from content licensing which it says reflects “the timing of content availability.” But cable networks — usually the standout performer — may disappoint with cash flow of $929M (+3.8%) on revenues of $2.3B (+5.3%). While ad sales rose 4.3% and fees from pay TV distributors increased 7.8%, the operation saw a 4.6% drop in content licensing and reports rising costs for new shows, sports rights, and marketing expenses. Meanwhile theme parks turned in predictably solid numbers with cash flow of $257M (+4.6%) on revenues of $566M (+8.8%). CEO Brian Roberts had earlier flagged the big news at his main business — cable systems. Video subscriptions increased by 43,000 to 21.7M, ending a 26 quarter stretch of downturns. “As we begin 2014, we remain excited about our businesses and intend to continue to prudently invest to enhance our strategic differentiation and to drive growth,” he says.

Related:  Comcast: Film Spending Will Rise In 2014 Ahead Of 2015 Sequels

Here’s how today’s reported results look: Read More »

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International Box Office UPDATED: ‘Frozen’ Crosses $800M Worldwide; ‘I, Frankenstein’ Strong In Russia; Battle Underway In China For No. 1

xthe-wolf-of-wall-street-leonardo-dicaprio-poster_jpg_pagespeed_ic_-p9xvpOtUxUPDATED, MONDAY 3:55 PM: International numbers are flowing in and will be updated as they arrive in the below market by market breakouts. The Wolf Of Wall Street continues to show its teeth, grossing $17.4M in Read More »

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Global Showbiz Watch 22 – The ‘Gravity’ Is British Podcast

By and | Tuesday January 14, 2014 @ 4:54pm PST

Global Showbiz Watch ep 22Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione and host David Bloom discuss the latest enticement to film Britain, a  marketing and distribution incentive package from the British Film Institute designed to give UK indie movies a better chance at a Sundance deal; why BAFTA thinks Gravity is a British film; prominent new roles for veteran media execs Pierre Lescure and James Schamus at two of Europe’s biggest film festivals and a Despicable villain’s big Chinese debut, half a year after his U.S. run.

Global Showbiz Watch podcast 22 (.MP3 version)
Global Showbiz Watch podcast 22 (.M4A version)
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UPDATE: International Box Office: ‘Despicable Me 2′ Has $14.4M Weekend In China; ‘Frozen’, ‘Smaug’ Hit Milestones; ‘Book Thief’ Steals Spain; Scorsese Scores In Denmark; More

cinemaworld1UPDATE, MONDAY 12:39 PM PT: Actuals from the overseas weekend box office are starting to roll in with Universal among the first to report. Despicable Me 2‘s China opening weekend ended higher than the studio had predicted … Read More »

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‘Despicable Me 2′ Has $4.13M 1st Day In China; Eyes $14M Weekend; After Six Months On International Release, How Did It Score Big Despite Local Piracy?

dm2 posterIt’s already been out for six months elsewhere, but Despicable Me 2 drew big numbers in its opening in China. The film bowed in China on Friday, the first major U.S. title to debut in the country this … Read More »

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OSCARS: Best Animation 2013 – Titans Vs. Indies In A Wide Open Race

By | Sunday December 22, 2013 @ 6:56pm PST
Pete Hammond

The race for best animated feature is usually fairly easy to predict. With a few exceptions, you can AwardsLine.LogoBWalways count on Disney/Pixar to win or place. The studio has had a pony on this track nearly every year the category has been in existence since 2001 (when DreamWorks’ Shrek became the inaugural winner). In fact, Pixar has won the prize an astonishing seven times, most recently last year when Brave triumphed. In off-years, other studios have had a shot, too, with Warner Bros. winning for Happy Feet and Paramount for Rango. And although several independent lower-budget toons have been nominated recently, the win usually goes to the higher-profile studio offerings. Pixar-LogoThis year, there are lots of indies entered, but expect the battle to continue among the titans, especially studios who are pouring money into campaigns for their box office behemoths. So when it comes to predicting a surefire winner, there just doesn’t seem to be one this year.

Related: OSCARS: 19 Films Submitted For Animated Feature

A late-breaking entry into the race has been Disney’s musical Frozen, which hasDisney's Frozen wowed critics and has been cleaning up at the box office throughout the holiday season. That, plus a huge push by Disney may be propelling it to the top of the pack. In the vein of Tangled and The Little Mermaid, Frozen comes from the creative team behind last year’s Wreck-It Ralph and carries a long pedigree of the studio’s tuneful toons, which have enjoyed a string of enormous successes over the past two decades. The fact that the songs come from the same group that delivered The Book Of Mormon also gives it a hip factor. Voters might want to reward Disney for returning to its roots, but ratcheting up the material. Disney also has Planes, a modest late-summer performer that is basically another sequel of sorts to the Cars franchise and won’t fly high in this company. But more promisingly on the subject of “planes,” Disney has famed Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises, which is the fictionalized biography of the man who created the Zero plane used during World War II. Read More »

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‘Despicable Me 2′ Breaks Blu-Ray, Digital Sales Records In $80M Home Vid Debut

despicable_me_2Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment‘s Despicable Me 2 took in $80 million in physical and digital sales and sold roughly 4.5 million units in its first week of home entertainment release, the companies announced today. The … Read More »

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UPDATE: International Box Office: ‘Catching Fire’, ‘Frozen’ Strong; It’s ‘About Time’ In Korea + Regional Analysis

cinemaworld1UPDATE: TUESDAY PM: Welcome to Deadline’s first dedicated international box office round-up, with me as your host. After last night’s snapshot (below), here’s a look at the past weekend and an overview of what’s going on at the turnstiles in various overseas territories. Feedback, as always, is appreciated:

Internationally, this weekend was down on the comparable frame last year when films like Skyfall, Rise Of The Guardians and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 were in the mix. The top 10 titles this weekend saw a drop to about $118M from the Thanksgiving period that scored abroad with $182.7M, according to industry data. The actual holiday isn’t a factor overseas, but it does bring big movies to market. Overall, some European territories are off – to varying degrees – versus the first 11 months of 2012, while Latin America and Asia remain hot spots. This weekend’s big pictures overseas continued to be Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire which added $42.9M for a $340.6M cume and Disney’s animated Frozen which added an estimated $30.6M for an international total of $55.9M.

CHINA:
gravityThe place that’s highest on execs’ minds is China where “we’re all looking forward to a boom,” one tells me. Catching Fire and Warner Bros’ Gravity are still playing on the Mainland with respective cumes of $26.8M and $63.7M. But both films will taper off as the local industry ramps up a series of homegrown movies for the remainder of December. With quotas filled for 2013, Hollywood will wait until 2014 for the next debut which will be Universal’s Despicable Me 2 on January 10th. As the Chinese box office rolls along on its way to a potential $3.5B tally for 2013, the current top film is local 2D action-road trip pic No Man’s Land. Co-produced by DMG, it opened at No. 1 on December 3rd and won the week with $23.7M through Monday. It came just ahead of another local hit, The Four 2. The rest of the year will see a big push for local films as the territory continues an aim to up its local market share, which is currently at 55%.

KOREA:
about timeElsewhere in Asia, romantic comedy About Time had a strong No. 1 opening in Korea this weekend with $4M at 289 dates and 28% of the market. Director Richard Curtis has said this would be the last film he helms. It comes squarely 10 years after the movie he’s perhaps most associated with directing, Love Actually. About Time’s opening in Korea is double what that film did there. The low-budget time travel romcom with Rachel McAdams, Domnhall Gleeson and Bill Nighy has had pretty significant legs for Universal. It was first released in the UK in September and now has a cume of $48.3M. Summit’s Escape Plan – the actioner that teams Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger – has now muscled its way into 41 international markets, adding Korea this weekend for $925K and a No. 5 slot on 287 screens. Its international total is now $95.9M out of a worldwide gross of $120.5M. This was a slow weekend for local films in Korea despite the territory’s overall strength. Its box office growth in the first 11 months of the year is understood to be at about 7.6% and I’m told the homegrown market share could top out at 60%. Read More »

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OSCARS: ‘Despicable Me 2′s Pharrell Williams Aims For Best Song Spot With “World’s First” 24-Hour Music Video

By | Friday November 22, 2013 @ 10:42am PST
Pete Hammond

Well here is an idea that could be very intimidating for other tunes trying to get a foothold in the OscarDespicable Me 2 race for Best Song this year. Pharrell Williams, who has been on the circuit performing his Academy Award contending song “Happy” from Despicable Me 2has created what is being billed at the world’s first 24-hour music video to showcase it. Shot over 11 days in L.A entirely on Stedicam (the camera crew estimates they walked over 8 miles each day) more than 400 extras appear in it, including several celebrities and the film’s stars Steve Carell and Miranda Cosgrove. All of them hand off to one another as the song continues in a loop. Williams  appears in the video 24 times, at the top of every hour, and then followed by 14 additional performances in the same hour. Here’s a sample:

The emphasis on the song is a big part of Universal’s awards campaign for the movie which at over $900 million worldwide is the biggest grossing hit in the studio’s history. Read More »

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The Contenders 2013: ‘Despicable Me 2′s’ Chris Meledandri Talks Humor, Heart, Minions And The Future Of Illumination (Video)

By | Friday November 15, 2013 @ 4:05pm PST
Pete Hammond

Illumination’s Chris Meledandri shows up on the Universal panel at Deadline’s THE CONTENDERS event to talk about the formula for success that has made his Despicable Me 2 not only the year’s top animated grosser not too far under … Read More »

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Big Week For China-Hollywood Ties; Universal To Open Beijing Office

The AFM, which gets underway tomorrow, will see a record influx of Chinese companies and execs. But that’s not the only draw for Mainland players this week. The 2013 U.S. China Film Summit kicks off today in LA … Read More »

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