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‘Fault In Our Stars’ Ansel Elgort To Tickle The Ivories In Cold War Saga ‘Van Cliburn’

Mike Fleming

‘Fault In Our Stars’ Ansel Elgort To Tickle The Ivories In Cold War Saga ‘Van Cliburn’EXCLUSIVE: Ansel Elgort, hot off the male lead of Augustus Waters in The Fault In Our Stars, has signed to play the title role in Van Cliburn, a feature that is being mounted by Temple Hill partners Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen along with Crystal City Entertainment in association with The Johnson Group. Godfrey and Bowen, who worked with Elgort on The Fault In Our Stars, will produce with Ari Daniel Pinchot and Robert M. Johnson is exec producer. Andrew Stern will write the script.

vancliburnThe film is based on the Howard Reich book Van Cliburn, and Elgort will play the pianist in his formative years when, at age 23 in 1958, he emerged from out of nowhere to win the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow. It was the first time the tournament was held, and was organized by the USSR after it had caught up to the U.S. in the nuclear arms race and completed the first successful space launch with Sputnik. Nikita Khrushchev saw the competition as a way to lord Soviet superiority at a time when tensions between the two superpowers were sky high. The lanky pianist from Texas who graduated Juilliard but was taught by his neighborhood piano teacher mother, had a very unorthodox instinctive style that bowled won over the Russian judges and the proletariat crowd that followed every note of the competition. Although some tried to marginalize him so they could knock him from the competition, Cliburn made it to the finals. Judges, fearing exile to Siberia, brought in Khrushchev as they deliberated. The Soviet premier asked them if he was the best, and told them to give him the prize when they answered yes. This was credited with bridging the Cold War gap. Cliburn became a favorite among Russian audiences, and he played for U.S. presidents as well, until he abruptly stopped publicly performing in 1978. The one-time prodigy died last year of bone cancer at 78. Read More »

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‘Divergent’ Sequel ‘Insurgent’ Casts Keiynan Lonsdale As Uriah

By | Tuesday June 10, 2014 @ 12:05pm PDT

Keiynan Lonsdale Uriah InsurgentSummit’s Divergent follow-up Insurgent has cast Keiynan Lonsdale. The actor, who recently starred on Australian dance drama Dance Academy, will play Uriah, a fellow initiate who befriends Tris (Shailene Woodley) as the stakes climb higher in the second and third installments. The character is introduced in Veronica Roth’s original YA novel Divergent, but didn’t make an appearance in Lionsgate/Summit’s $267M March blockbuster adaptation. Insurgent is being directed by Robert Schwentke from a screenplay by Brian Duffield and Akiva Goldsman. Filming is underway in Atlanta. Insurgent also stars returning cast members Theo James, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q and Mekhi Phifer alongside new franchise castmates Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Daniel Dae Kim, Rosa Salazar, Suki Waterhouse, and Jonny Weston. Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher are producing for their Red Wagon Entertainment banner along with Pouya Shahbazian. Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman are executive producing for Mandeville Films along with Neil Burger and Barry Waldman. Insurgent is set for a March 20, 2015 release. Lonsdale is repped by Silver Lining Entertainment, Morrissey Management in Australia, and attorneys Isaac Dunham and Ira Schreck.

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Lionsgate To Split Final ‘Divergent’ Sequel ‘Allegiant’ Into Two Films To Cap Sci-Fi Franchise

Divergent Allegiant two filmsEXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate/Summit will adapt Veronica Roth‘s Divergent novel trilogy into a total of not three, but four films starring Shailene Woodley as the dystopian sci-fi heroine Beatrice “Tris” Prior, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger revealed today. Following last month’s blockbuster hit Divergent and its planned 2015 sequel Insurgent, Allegiant – adapted from the third book in Roth’s bestselling YA book series – will be split into two separate films to conclude the franchise. Lionsgate had previously set Allegiant for a March 18, 2016 release. Allegiant Part 1 will keep that date, with Part 2 to follow on March 24, 2017. Both films will be produced separately.

Divergent has quickly made a box office star of Woodley, who will reprise her role in all three sequels as Tris, the 16-year-old girl who finds herself a target as one of few in her futuristic society who defy categorization into one of five personality-based factions. The first picture scored a $54.6M opening in March and has now racked up $117M domestic and $139M worldwide in three weeks of release. It’s still rolling out strong internationally and opens this weekend in France, Germany, Russia, Australia, Scandinavia, and other territories. Meanwhile sales of Roth’s novels have also enjoyed a bump from the film’s release, with boxed set and multi-book e-bundles jumping up 55 percent in sales last week and nearly 20 million copies sold worldwide.

Related: BOX OFFICE: ‘Divergent’ Opens At $54.6M

Splitting Roth’s final novel into two films isn’t a left field move for Lionsgate. Similar thinking first paid off for the company in a big way with Twilight Saga-ender Breaking Dawn. Read More »

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BOX OFFICE FINAL: ‘Captain America’ Smashes April Opening Record With Estimated $95M For Disney/Marvel, Includes $10.2M Thursday Previews; Year Up 6.8%, Weekend Ahead 23% From 2013

OPENING: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS), smashes April opening records with estimated $95M to $96.2M opening and ended up at $95M.

captain-america-wallpaper-batman-vs-superman-avengers-2-captain-america-2-spider-man-2-is-this-the-golden-age-of-superhero-movies

UPDATED, MONDAY, 1:00 PM: Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘s final numbers are in, and it’s on the low end of the estimate to $95M with international numbers still coming in. But what a huge start overseas: The Disney/Marvel franchise has commanded an estimated international cume of $207.1M, with $32.9M coming this weekend from China alone. So worldwide, it already has grossed $302.1M to date. It’s about 47% ahead of the first Captain America, which made $193.9M overseas and ended its run with $370.5M worldwide in 2011.

Domestically, it should be clear sailing next weekend for Captain America as bowing will be the animated kid’s fare Rio 2 From Fox, which has already hit overseas markets to gross $55.4M. It hasn’t swung into China or Mexico yet. The first Rio made $143M domestically and $484.6M worldwide in 2011. But family audiences are growing weary of both Muppets Most Wanted and Mr. Peabody & Sherman, which have been in the marketplace for three and five weeks, respectively, so its prime time to come out with another family film. In addition, Lionsgate Films’ opens in wide release the Ivan Reitman-directed Draft Daystarring Kevin Costner, who must be exhausted from the number of press junkets he’s had to go through this year with Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, 3 Days to Kill and now Draft Day. Blumhouse Prods’ horror flick Oculus from Relativity hopes to mirror the success of Evil DeadOculus premiered at Toronto while Evil Dead also went the festival circuit last year at SXSW before bowing in April. In limited release from The Weinstein Company will be opening the Colin Firth-Nicole Kidman starrer Railway Man, the WWII film based on the Eric Lomax’s best-selling book.

1). Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS), 3,938 theaters / 3-day cume: $95M ($10.2M from previews) / Per screen average: $24,129 / Wk 1

2). Noah (PAR), 3,571 theaters (+4) / 3-day cume: $17M (-61%) / Per screen average: $4,773 / Total cume: $72.3M / Wk 2

3). Divergent (LGF), 3,631 theaters (-305) / 3-day cume: $12.9M (-49%) /Per screen average: $3,573 /  Total cume: $114M / Wk 3

4). God’s Not Dead (FREE), 1,758 theaters (+580) / 3-day cume: $7.7M (-12%) / Per screen average: $4,416 / Total cume: $32.5M / Wk 3

5). Muppets Most Wanted (DIS), 3,052 theaters (-142) / 3-day cume: $6.1M (-46%) / Per screen average: $2,014 / Total Cume: $42M / Wk 3

6). The Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL), 1,263 theaters (+286) / 3-day cume: $6.1M (-28%) / Per screen average: $4,842 / Total cume: $33.19M / Wk 5

7). Mr. Peabody And Sherman (FOX), 2,931 theaters (-368) / 3-day cume: $5.1M (-43%) / Per screen average: $1,751 / Total cume: $102M / Wk 5

8). Sabotage (OPRD), 2,486 theaters / 3-day cume: $1.9M (-62%) / Per screen average: $2,486 / Total cume: $8.8M / Wk 2

9). Need for Speed (DIS), 1779 theaters (-926) /3-day cume: $1.8M (-57%) / Per screen average: $1,016 / Total cume: $40.8M / WK 4

10). Non-Stop (UNI), 2,515 theaters (-430) / 3-day cume: $1.7M (-55%) / Per screen average: $1,040 /  Total cume: $88.1M / Wk 6 Read More »

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UPDATE: Intl Box Office: ‘The Winter Soldier’ Plants $39.2M Flag In China, Crosses $200M Overseas; Disney Passes $1B Global; ‘Rio 2′ Flies To $55.4M; ‘Noah’ Sails Past $100M; ‘Divergent’ Cumes $22.4M; More

Highlights: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS) bests Iron Man 3 China bow with $39.2M; Frozen (DIS) ices competition in Japan with $75.1M total, studio passes $1B in global box office; Rio 2 (FOX) lifts to $55.5M cume on extra $22.2M; Noah (PAR) builds to $106.2M; Divergent (LGF/SUM/var) adds $10.9M in 44 markets; Spanish Affairs (UNI) is Spain’s top local-lingo pic ever…

cinemaworld3RD UPDATE, SUNDAY 3 PM PT: Led by Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this weekend was a big 34% boost on the same frame last year when G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Croods and Chinese romantic comedy Finding Mr Right were the top three earners. This frame also repped a 19% jump on last weekend. There are no major new wide releases set for next week, although Divergent will continue its overseas rollout hitting Germany, Russia, France and Australia, while Rio 2 takes flight not only in the U.S., but notably lands in China, France and Mexico.

2ND UPDATE, SUNDAY 12:46 PM PT: Concurrent with its massive domestic opening (see Anita Busch’s box office report here), Captain America: The Winter Soldier continued its huge international run, and, with the help of Frozen, pushed Disney past the $1B global box office threshold. The estimated 2014 cume to date for the studio is $1,211M. Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, The Winter Soldier added a massive $107.1M this weekend overseas for an international cume to … Read More »

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BOX OFFICE: ‘Captain America’ Latenights $10.2M Push It Past $100M Worldwide On Path To $85M+ Weekend; ‘Divergent’ Passes $100M

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 8:22am PDT

captain-america-the-winter-soldier01UPDATED, FRIDAY, 8:20 AM: Captain America: The Winter Soldier late nights (starting at 8 p.m.) nabbed a whopping $10.2M last night to push it well past the $100M mark worldwide. The total includes $1.2M from 344 IMAX locations. Warner Bros.’ Man of Steel grossed $9M in late nights — it started at midnight — and went onto gross over $100M on its opening weekend. Other tentpole late nights were The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug ($8.8M for a $73.6M opening), and Thor: The Dark World” ($7.1M for an $85.7M weekend bow). Estimates for the debut weekend gross for Captain America is around $85M+ now. Divergent (LGF/SUMMIT) took in roughly $1.5M last night on  locations to push its gross to $101M as it heads into its third weekend of release. These two pictures are battling for the same 20-something demo, but Captain America is expected to crush everything in sight. At the moment, it ranks fourth as the top Marvel pre-sellers on Fandango, right behind Iron Man 2 which opened with a $128.1M in May of 2010 and above Thor: The Dark World. The top pre-seller continues to be The Avengers which was, far and away, the No. 1 title.  The $1.5B worldwide grosser opened to over $200M on its debut in 4,349 theaters Read More »

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BOX OFFICE FINAL: ‘Noah’ Rises, ‘God’s Not Dead’ Surprises As Schwarzenegger Brought To Knees; ‘Budapest Hotel’ Checks In Again; ‘300′ Passes $100M

By | Monday March 31, 2014 @ 1:25pm PDT

OPENING: Noah (PAR) estimated around $43.7M for weekend’s No. 1; Sabotage (OPRD) tanks in No. 7 with maybe $5.2M; Cesar Chavez (LGF) in limited release. NOTEWORTHY: The Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL) expands for about $8.5M and another strong per screen; Bad Words (FOC) expands to weak result.

Box officeUPDATED, MONDAY, 1:25 PM: The final numbers are in and Paramount’s Noah grossed $43.7M (which includes strong Thursday late nights that started at 7 PM of $1.6M). Freestyle Releasing’s God’s Not Dead did, in fact, rise into the Top 5 and was down only 5% from last weekend, having added theaters, but still a very respectable showing in its second weekend with a solid $7,468 per screen. “It took a village to market the movie,” said Freestyle co-president Mark Borde. “On every conference call there were about 20 people on the conference call.” Gods-Not-Dead-FacebookPure Flix, a faith-based producer of product, produced this picture and it used a marketing company called Working Title Agency in Tennessee to come up with a very arresting one-sheet. “They also had a pre-sales group for tickets and a social media team, just various individuals that managed the YouTube and Twitter and Facebook. To be honest, there is no way to quantify the results of social media, but in this case, I have to say that I believe the social media aspect is a very strong contributor,” Borde said. “The Facebook had over a million likes and they weren’t bought. Not one penny was spent and at any given time, there were over 700,000 talking it at any given time.” It was also trending on Twitter No. 5 and Fandango as No. 3, said Borde, who added God’s Not Dead was actually tracking in the past two weeks.

Related: Biblical and Faith-Based Movies: In Hollywood To Stay?

“We knew that when we showed up in tracking we were going to do OK, but not this OK,” said Borde. “If you add all that together, we had a sense that we were going to be very strong in the marketplace. But the key to success in this movie is word-of-mouth. It’s the reason it’s held. We had the smallest drop of any movie from Saturday to Sunday on the first weekend and on the second weekend – Son Of God was our model and we had the smallest drop again. What that tells me is — we didn’t increase the buys or advertising — that’s word of mouth. That’s better than anything you can buy. There’s a lot of luck in the movie business, but Duck Dynasty stars were embroiled in a big controversy right before this happened and they were on the front page and we had the first movie they were in.”  They also had the very popular Chrstian pop rock band Newsboys. Freestyle Releasing will add about 200 theaters this weekend.

The Grand Budapest Hotel from Fox Searchlight expanded well with an $8.5M take for a per-screen average of $8,741. Opening next weekend is the Disney/Marvel franchise Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which is expected to take all of the air out of the box office as it opens wide and pull in the same demo as Divergent which had two good weekends in a row for Lionsgate and Summit grossing a total of $94.3M. Tracking already shows Captain America at anywhere from $80M-$85M or higher and it has already grossed more than $75M internationally since bowing this past weekend. It’s a total shoot-em-up and more bullets than there are extras in the film. Keeping the previous chart below so anyone who wants to can compare the estimates with the final numbers. Here are the final grosses for the Top 20 via Rentrak:

1). Noah (PAR), 3,567 theaters / 3-day cume: $43.7M / Per screen average: $12,257 / Wk 1

2). Divergent (LGF), 3,936 theaters (0) / 3-day cume: $2.6 (-53%) / Per screen: $6,509 / Total cume: $94.3M / Wk 2

3). Muppets Most Wanted (DIS), 3,194 theaters (0) / $3-day cume: $11.2M (-34%) / Per screen: 3,531/ Total Cume: $33.1M to $33.8M / Wk 2

4). Mr. Peabody And Sherman (FOX), 3,299 theaters (-308) / 3-day cume: $9M (-23%) / Per screen: $2,750/ Total cume: $94.4M / Wk 4

5). God’s Not Dead (FREE), 1,178 theaters (+362) / 3-day cume: $8.7M (-5%) / Per screen: $7,468 / Total cume: $21.7M / Wk 2

6). The Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL), 977 theaters (+673) / 3-day cume: $8.5M (+26%) / Per screen: $8,741 / Total cume: $24.1M / Wk 4

7). Sabotage (OPRD), 2,486 theaters / 3-day cume: $5.2M / Per screen: $2,121 / Wk 1

8). Need For Speed (DIS), 2,705 theaters (-410) /3-day cume: $4.2M (-47%) / Per screen: $1,562 / Total cume: $37.6M / Wk 3

9). 300: Rise Of An Empire (WB), 2,601 theaters (-484) / 3-day cume: $4.2 (-51%) / Per screen: 1,618 / Total cume: $101M / Wk 4

10). Non-Stop (UNI), 2,515 theaters (-430) / 3-day cume: $4M (-38%) / Per screen: 1,595 / Total cume: $85M / Wk 5

Read More »

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‘Noah’ Late Nights Tally $1.6M On Road To No. 1, ‘Divergent’ Expected at No. 2, Third May Be ‘Budapest Hotel’ Or Schwarzenegger-Starrer ‘Sabotage’

By | Friday March 28, 2014 @ 8:34am PDT

hi-res-still-from-noah-movieThe dark epic Darren Aronofsky film Noah got off to a good start domestically last night in late nights that started at 7 PM taking in an estimated $1.6M for Paramount and New Regency. Also, word is from distributors that the early matinees in N.Y. look good. The opening of Noah doesn’t reflect the numbers or the group sales that Son of God had for Fox. That faith-based pic surprised everyone last month when it took in $1.2M from shows that began at 10 p.m. So, in other words, Noah is opening more like a mainstream studio movie, which is not surprising given that it stars Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly. The demo on the picture is definitely skewing older and Paramount is comparing it to Gravity, noting that Noah is playing just above it — Gravity made $1.4M in late nights. However, Gravity started at 10 p.m. for Warner Bros. so had less playtime and neither its opening weekend nor its gross is expected to touch Gravity, which opened to $55M and went on to make $273.1M domestically. Tracking has it anywhere between $40M and $45M for the 3-day domestically but others have it in the high 30s, so after more grosses come in tonight, everyone will have a better estimate.

Noah already opened overseas in Mexico (where the Catholic faith is prominent) and Korea to a combined $14M. The movie grossed $8.3M at 500 dates for the No. 1 … Read More »

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BOX OFFICE: ‘Divergent’ Takes $54.6M; ‘Muppets Most Wanted’ Zapped By ‘Peabody’ & ‘Frozen’?; Faith-Based ‘God’s Not Dead’ Surprises At No. 4 And ‘Budapest Hotel’ Another Strong Showing

OPENING: Divergent (LGF/SUMMIT) was expected at $53M to $55M+ and rose to $56M+ for the weekend, ended at $54.6; Muppets Most Wanted (DIS) was tracking at $28M, then opened and was thought to be $18 to $19M, then ended at $17M; God’s Not Dead (FREESTYLE RELEASING) surprised everyone to take the No. 5 spot and a wicked $11K per screen. NOTEWORTHY: The Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL) expands to 304 for a strong $22K per screen; Frozen drops out of Top Ten after 18 weeks in release.

Box office6th UPDATE, MONDAY, 2:45 PM: With an opening weekend of $54.6M, Lionsgate’s Divergent opened right in line with what it was tracking at, not $56M+ but still a strong opening for the start of another hopeful franchise for the company. It should get yet another good weekend as Spring Break swings into gear and before Captain America (DIS/MARVEL) debuts. The surprise of the weekend was the strong opening of faith-based film God’s Not Dead which debuted in No. 6 on Friday and ended up stepping up to No. 4 with a higher than expected gross on Sunday of  $9.2M with a very hearty per screen average of $11,852. The question is, of course, its second weekend out and how much it will drop. Son of God from Fox took around a 60% hit on its second weekend out and Paramount Pictures’ Noah opens this weekend so it may sink to the bottom like a rock.

peabodyMuppets Most Wanted was a big disappointment for Disney, ending its opening weekend with $17M and change on a budget of $54M. Frozen is on PPV and hit the street on DVD this weekend so you have to wonder how much that took from its opening weekend. Same studio, too. And, as I said below, if Mr. Peabody, which took in $11.8M wasn’t in the marketplace wouldn’t Muppets have benefited that much more? Hopefully, for the filmmakers it will make some money in home entertainment. Exhibs wanted more family films in the first quarter and they got it, 80FEB5CE-B4B3-FFD6-28D0C3F38E6C445Bmaxresdefaultbut the success of one film is gnawing the box office away for another. The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of those first quarter surprises for the industry. It opened in very limited release three weeks ago for a record-breaking $202K per screen and it just … won’t … quit. Fox Searchlight is expanding the Wes Anderson-directed pleaser to around 700 to 800 screens this weekend. Shouldn’t be hard to reach that goal. Final Top 20 chart below: Read More »

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Lionsgate Shares Up Modestly After ‘Divergent’ Meets Analysts’ Expectations

By | Monday March 24, 2014 @ 10:21am PDT

Divergent coverOn an ordinary day you’d expect Lionsgate shares to rebound nicely today. Stifel’s Benjamin Mogil predicted “a sigh of relief” after the studio’s latest release, Divergent, pretty much met analysts’ recently lowered expectations by generating $56M at domestic box offices over the weekend. But company shares are up 2.7% in mid-day trading,  leaving Lionsgate down 14% since March 12, while exhibition stocks are off today. Investors are responding to the anemic overall box office results — as well as a report showing weak growth in U.S. manufacturing, and growing predictions that Russia could fall into a recession following Western economic sanctions its annexation of Crimea. The Dow Jones U.S. Media Index is down about 1%. Too bad for Lionsgate: Wells Fargo Securities’ Marci Ryvicker says the film beat her $50M target and “more than likely sets up another franchise for the studio.” MKM Partners’ Eric Handler thought Divergent would hit $64M but notes that “solid word of mouth … could help sustain the film’s legs in the coming weeks.” Read More »

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BOX OFFICE: ‘Divergent’ Late Nights Huge $4.9M And On Track For $50M-$60M+ Frame; ‘Muppets Most Wanted’ Expected At No. 2; ‘Budapest Hotel’ Expands

By | Friday March 21, 2014 @ 10:00am PDT

DivergentDivergent had a fantastic start last night for Summit (Lionsgate’s company), pulling in $4.9M in late-night Thursday screenings that began at 8 PM. That is one of the best preview numbers in recent memory, and compares to starts like BoxOffice_logoUniversal’s Despicable Me 2 at $4.7 million and World War Z at $3.6M and went onto gross $66.4M with a similar demographic. DM2 went onto gross $83.5M but that was fueled by family audiences. The action/adventure film, based on the 2011 Veronica Roth novel of the same name, is appealing to the twenty-something crowd who drive the box office on these kinds of films; it was produced by Doug Wick, Lucy Fisher and Pouya Shahbazian. Interestingly, the book doesn’t have the same kind of readership/fan base as say Hunger Games or even Vampire Diaries, so if this movie opens to its expected $50M-$60M+ (as it has been tracking to over the last couple of weeks), it will be a testament to the efforts of Summit who began marketing this title last July at ComicCon and then placed the trailer before Hunger Games: Catching Fire so it got tons of exposure for those perhaps not familiar with the Roth book. They have also been pushing on social media, but Divergent (starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James) is no Hunger Games. Checking in with social engagement experts RelishMix, “Divergent‘s social engagement is less than 50% (of Hunger Games) with heavy paid impressions not converting to social sharing,” said CEO Marc Karzen. And that is a key marketing indicator as the twenty-somethings who live on social platforms.

Advanced tickets went on sale on March 4 and pre-sales on Fandango sold out half of its tickets in one day, outpacing the first days of sales for the first Twilight when it began its pre-sales, however as we’ve said before no one is expecting this to be a Twilight opening which bowed to $69.6M in its first 3-day with $7M coming from midnight screenings. Also, the first Hobbit grossed $13M in early shows and the second The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug earned $8.8M in early shows and went on to open at $73.6M . The second opened to Divergent will play on 3,936 screens, 346 of which will be IMAX. It will bow internationally on April 4. Read More »

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Lionsgate Shares Fall On Weak Tyler Perry Open And Early Criticism Of ‘Divergent’

The stock price closed -5.1% as worrisome developments from the weekend overwhelmed the announcement this morning of a 5 cent-a-share quarterly dividend. Lionsgate was teed up for a weak day after Tyler Perry’s Single Moms Club underperformed in its opening weekend. DivergentIt generated about $8M domestically, making it Perry’s first film to open with less than $10M. It also was far less than the Street anticipated. For example, MKM Partners’ Eric Handler forecast $15M while Wells Fargo’s Marci Ryvicker predicted $17.5M. Investors might have overlooked the disappointment if it hadn’t been accompanied by early raspberries from the Hollywood trades for Divergent, the action-adventure film that Lionsgate hopes to turn into a Twilight- or Hunger Games-sized franchise after it opens this weekend. Variety criticized the film’s “uncertain sense of setting, bloated plot, drab visual style and solid yet underwhelming lead turns from Shailene Woodley and Theo James,” Read More »

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Hot Featurette: ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’ Composer Junkie XL’s Piano Creation

By | Monday March 10, 2014 @ 11:38am PDT

EXCLUSIVE: In the world of film score composition, musician-composers usually resort to Avid’s Pro Tools and plug-ins. As a pianist-composer myself and a lover of film scores, I found this quite innovative from 300: Rise Of An Empire composer Tom Holkenborg, known as Junkie XL. He is a former Dutch producer-engineer and former DJ and multi-instrumentalist who took apart a piano and re-purposed it to create the sounds of 300. He is not unlike Harry Partch who began making his own instruments in an experiment to generate different sounds in the 1940s to the late 1960s and was very interested in pre-classical, in particular the music of ancient Greece. Junkie XL also did the music on the upcoming film, Divergent. Have a look:

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‘Divergent’ Tracking To Huge $50M-$60M Weekend Three Weeks Out; Pre-Sales Outstanding; ’300′ And ‘Mr. Peabody’ Also Strong For Weekend Bows

By | Wednesday March 5, 2014 @ 4:39pm PST

imagesAnother huge box office is on the way this weekend as tracking for Warner Bros’ 300: Rise Of An Empire (from Legendary Pictures) could be $40M-$45M, with Fox’s Mr. Peabody And Sherman roughly around $30M-$35M. But the story of this week is Divergentwhich looks to be a whopper of a box office hit two and a half weeks out. Some distribs in the industry have it tracking between $50M-$60M. It bows March 21. (300 will open at 8 PM tomorrow so we’ll be watching those Thursday night numbers).

300 Rise Of An EmpireMarketing for Divergent, based on the Veronica Roth trilogy and starring Shailene Woody and Theo James, has been smartly done. Audiences got their first look at the trailer for Divergent ahead of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire last November, and it continued playing on The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug through the holidays. This weekend it will play before 300. Three weeks ago, it had 58% definite interest from females under 25 and has been racking up consistently as avid moviegoers’ first choice. That interest from females may end up hurting Muppets Most Wanted which bows the same weekend, but only time will tell. Read More »

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Robert Schwentke To Direct ‘Divergent’ Sequel ‘Insurgent’

By | Tuesday February 11, 2014 @ 8:32pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Summit Entertainment has found its director for Insurgent, the follow-up to the upcoming Divergent that will launch a three-pic series based on Veronica Roth’s sci-fi novels. Robert Schwentke, whose credits include the 2010 action comedy Red that also came from Summit, has been tapped for duty, and he will helm the script currently being written by Akiva Goldsman Robert_Schwentke_v2based on a draft by Brian Duffield. In December, Summit had to explain that Divergent director Neil Burger couldn’t helm the second pic because of postproduction on the first movie overlapping preproduction. That second pic has been fast-tracked for next year and has a March 20, 2015 release date already.

Divergent, which stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Kate Winslet, comes out March 21. The third pic in the trilogy, Allegiant, will bow on March 18, 2016.

Related: Hot Trailer: ‘Divergent’

Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher are producing Insurgent via their Red Wagon Entertainment along with Pouya Shahbazian. Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman have come on board to executive produce via their Mandeville Films. Lionsgate Motion Picture Group president of production Erik Feig and SVP Production Gillian Bohrer are overseeing for the studio.

Schwentke, repped by CAA and LBI, is currently attached to the serial killer pic Entering Hades for New Regency as well as The Finest Hours, the Disney drama about a Coast Guard rescue attempt off the coast of Cape Cod after a pair of oil tankers are destroyed during a blizzard in 1952. His most … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Divergent’

By | Tuesday February 4, 2014 @ 10:16am PST

Here’s the final trailer for Summit‘s next big screen YA adaptation Divergent, about a young woman named Tris (Shailene Woodley) living in a dystopian future in which people are divided into five factions based on their personality. When Tris discovers she doesn’t fit into any category and can’t be controlled — she’s “divergent” — she sets out to uncover the conspiracy to eliminate her kind. Kate Winslet, Maggie Q, Theo James, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoe Kravitz, Ashley Judd, and Tony Goldwyn also co-star alongside two of Woodley’s recent onscreen love interests: The Spectacular Now‘s Miles Teller, who plays her nemesis, and Ansel Elgort of the upcoming The Fault In Our Stars, who plays her brother. The Neil Burger-helmed sci-fier is out March 21:

Watch the video on YouTube.

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Hot Teaser: ‘Divergent’

By | Monday February 3, 2014 @ 7:58pm PST

For those who just can’t wait until a clip of the new Divergent trailer premieres on Jimmy Kimmel Live! later tonight, here’s a 12-second preview. This clip from Summit‘s pic starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James takes the action underwater and high above the streets and features — wait for it — a bird attack. Divergent, directed by Neil Burger and based on Veronica Roth’s YA bestseller, opens March 21. The full trailer hits the web tomorrow. Take a peek:

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Red Wagon Hires Nicki Cortese As VP Film And Television

By | Monday February 3, 2014 @ 12:43pm PST

NickiCorteseDoug Wick and Lucy Fisher’s Red Wagon Entertainment has hired former Weed Road Pictures exec Nicki Cortese as VP Film and Television. The former ICMer spent the past five years at Akiva Goldsman’s Weed Road. She will work closely with Red Wagon creative executive Charlie Morrison. Said Wick in announcing her hire: “Nicki arrives with extraordinary creative relationships and she brings the energy and talent to put them all to use.” Added Fisher: “We especially appreciate what a magnet she is for newer writers.” Red Wagon is currently in post on Divergent, the first in the trilogy based on Veronica Roth’s bestselling novels, which is being released March 21. The company also recently produced Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.

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Lionsgate Shares Rise As Investors Turn Their Sights To ‘Divergent’

By | Wednesday January 22, 2014 @ 11:12am PST

Divergent posterThe stock’s up 5.8% in afternoon trading after Piper Jaffray analyst James Marsh said that social media buzz around Divergent the sci-fi action film that premieres on March 21 — is tracking ahead of the patterns for The Hunger Games on Twitter, and is catching up with the hit franchise on Facebook. The data suggest that Divergent “continues to strengthen across social outlets relative to other recent teen franchises, bolstering our enthusiasm for the film.” Marsh is sticking with his forecast for Divergent to generate $150M at domestic box offices and $120M internationally — but says that it “has the potential to generate results in-line with Twilight (DBO: $193M/ IBO: $200M) and will be green-lit as a multi-film franchise.” The analyst was over-optimistic about Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Its global box office likely will hit $900M, below his forecast for $950M. Even so, he raised his earnings estimate for the quarter that ended in December, in part due to “higher than expected splits with exhibitors.” Lionsgate shares hit an all-time high in October, but have fallen about 11.5% since then as investors took profits, and waited for clearer signs about the prospects for the studio’s new projects.

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