UPDATED: We expect to have analysis from Nikki but want to give you some numbers to chew on. Updated numbers are below.
PREVIOUS, SATURDAY PM: Lionsgate’s Ender’s Game topped Friday with $9.9M on track to a projected $29.4M cume. But for a film designed to start a franchise it’d better giddyap, especially with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire bound to hoover up all that young demo box office cash. Paramount’s Bad Grandpa slid into second with $18M and should land at a $59.7M 2-week take, followed by CBS‘s older-skewing Last Vegas heading for a $15.5M weekend. Relativity’s animated Free Birds snagged 4th with $15.1M and is slow-cooking its way to the Thanksgiving holiday. Meanwhile Disney Int’l raked in $45.2M with Wednesday overseas opener Thor: The Dark World before it hammers its way stateside next week. Read More »
Cowen and Company analyst Doug Creutz raises that concern this morning in a report that downgrades Lionsgate to “market perform” from “buy.” The production company’s been a Wall Street hero with the success of its The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games franchises. Ender’s Game, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and Divergent. “Although we tend to think that these three films will, taken as a whole, perform well, we think there is a risk of a sell-the-news reaction even if expectations are met,” Creutz says. “If one or more films underperform, however, we think there is a risk of significant downside to shares.” He’s concerned that Ender’s Game — about a boy who’s given the responsibility to lead the world’s military against an alien invasion — will fail to reach wide audiences after its November 1 release. In addition to “its hardcore sci-fi theme and difficult source material,” Creutz says that book author Orson Scott Card’s opposition to gay marriage “could cause some of the potential audience to avoid the film.” The analyst projects a domestic box office of $70M, which probably wouldn’t be sufficient to justify sequels. Read More »
The action film starring Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren “underperformed our expectations at the domestic box office” but will “make a solid profit” as it opens in overseas markets, Lionsgate CEO … Read More »
Looking hard for new youth-oriented franchises to line up alongside The Hunger Games, Summit Entertainment gave the Comic-Con crowd in Hall H a peek at two aspirants to be franchises in Divergent and Ender’s Game.
Even though it went second today, I will focus first on Ender’s Game, the Gavin Hood-directed adaptation of the Orson Scott Card novel series about the attempt to find youthful prodigies with the gunner skills to save humanity from invading aliens. The film has gotten recent unwanted exposure because of the personal views the author has expressed against same-sex marriage, prompting distributor Summit to disavow attitudes that have nothing to do with the film.
While the film company might have preferred the issue not come up — the author was conspicuously absent — there was no such luck. When the panelists fielded questions, the first one was to ask how the makers of the film are dealing with the Card controversy. Producer Roberto Orci said they stood behind Summit and Lionsgate’s statement supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and that he would hate to see the fortunes of the movie discounted, given its themes of tolerance and empathy. “Rather than shy away from this, I would reiterate that we support LGBT rights, and human rights,” Orci said. Read More »
Just six days remain until Lionsgate brings its new big budget sci-fi franchise Ender’s Game to Comic-Con, where the studio is keeping controversial author and anti-gay … Read More »
Harrison Ford will return for the second time to San Diego Comic-Con as Summit presents its next would-be franchise, Ender’s Game – but controversial author Orson Scott Card will not … Read More »
Here’s the first trailer for Summit’s sci-fier Ender’s Game, adapted from the novel by Orson Scott Card. Asa Butterfield stars as a boy recruited to an advanced military school to prepare for an alien space invasion. Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin, … Read More »
After the six major studios wrapped up their turns in front of the CinemaCon convention goers with 20th Century Fox earlier today, it was Lionsgate‘s turn to carry the flag for the indie sector, even though NATO’s John Fithian said last year that in Lionsgate we are seeing the birth of the “seventh major studio”. And although some of the speakers during the company’s relatively brief presentation this afternoon took up that mantle, Lionsgate in its sizzle reel actually touted the fact that they are the only non-major to actually go over $1 billion in a single year — certainly thanks to the dynamic duo of Summit’s Twilight finales and The Hunger Games, which became the third-highest-grossing film of 2012 with more than $400 million domestically. So are they are a major? A mini-major? A true independent? Or just a money-minting film company with a couple of franchises the real majors would kill for (and in the case of Twilight actually passed on — ouch).
But as befits any wannabe major, a spiffier, more corporate logo was in order, and as Deadline reported earlier they debuted it for the theatre owners here in Las Vegas. As distribution head Richie Fay put it during his turn onstage, “Lionsgate is an overnight success that was 12 years in the making”.
As far as the presentation went, Lionsgate certainly took an independent route from the way the majors have behaved all week, offering a musical-chairs lineup of executives taking their turn in front of delegates who crowded into the Colosseum to check out the product. In addition to Fay, we also heard from CEO and co-founder Jon Feltheimer, co-chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Rob Friedman and AMC theatres exec Elizabeth Frank, who pointed out the company released 20 major films in 2012 and led the field 11 separate weeks. She said her company was looking forward to the 17 movies on tap this year and many of them were showcased for the first time over the course of the 80-minute show emceed by comedian Kevin Hart. Read More »
Veteran Michael Nathanson is a former president and COO of MGM Pictures and onetime worldwide production boss at Columbia Pictures, and he had been consulting for OddLot Entertainment in mapping out its business plan. Now he will join longtime OddLot exec Bill Lischak as co-presidents of the production company behind pics like Drive, Rabbit Hole and the upcoming Ender’s Game. The two will work in tandem under the direction of OddLot founder and CEO Gigi Pritzker to oversee the company’s day-to-day operations and push forward its strategy. “Bill and Michael both bring incredible strengths and complementary skill sets to the table and I am privileged to be able to work with both to implement the robust business plan we have developed over the last six months”, Pritzker said in a release announcing the news. Read More »
Earlier this month, a bankruptcy judge fast-tracked an auction for financially troubled special effects company Digital Domain. On Sunday, the James Cameron-founded business announced that a joint venture between Galloping Horse America and Reliance MediaWorks will acquire Digital Domain Productions and subsidiary Mothership Media for $30.2M. Under the agreement, Chinese film and TV company Galloping Horse and India’s Reliance will pick up all the of the groups’ business assets including feature film and advertising visual effects, commercial production, studios in California and Vancouver and a co-production stake in Lionsgate’s Ender’s Game of which Digital Domain has been a co-producer. Galloping Horse holds a 70% stake with Reliance MediaWorks taking 30%. “This is a great day for Digital Domain,” said CEO Ed Ulbrich. “Our new partners have incredible strength and reach in the global entertainment marketplace. Read More »
Hollywood studios will not be pulling the plug on projects at the financially troubled special-effects company after Digital Domain got some breathing room yesterday in bankruptcy court. Judge Brenden Shannon approved a fast-tracked auction of Digital Domain Media Group for September 21 and a debtor-in-possession order (read it here) that gives the almost-broke company immediate access to almost $12 million. The new auction date comes after newly named DDMG chief Ed Ulbrich told the court that six Hollywood studios told him they would start pulling projects from the Oscar-winning company this week unless Digital Domain had a clear financial path forward. The loss of those effects projects would result in the removal of what is currently 80% of the company’s revenues. “We’ve been fighting diligently to fend off a run on the company, Ulbrich testified. DDGM’s lawyer Robert Feinstein put it even more bluntly: “The studios are freaking out,” the attorney told the judge. Some of the films that Digital Domain is currently working on include Lionsgate’s Ender’s Game (Digital Domain is a co-producer), New Line’s Jack The Giant Killer, and Paramount’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
Related: Digital Domain Files For Bankruptcy Protection But With Sales Agreement Read More »
Sierra/Affinity will handle international sales for The Trials Of Cate McCall and Plus One. Currently shooting in LA, the legal redemption drama Trials stars Kate Beckinsale and Nick Nolte. The thriller Plus One, directed by … Read More »
Summit Entertainment’s Ender’s Game, the long awaited adaptation of the Orson Scott Card science fiction novel, has been moved from March 15, 2013 to November 1, 2013. The Gavin Hood-directed film stars Hugo‘s Asa Butterfield, Abigail Breslin, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld and Viola Davis in a drama that puts the … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Nonso Anozie (The Grey) will play Sergeant Dap in the film version of Orson Scott Card’s best-selling novel Ender’s Game. The film, which begins production this month in New Orleans, is a futuristic adventure about brilliant young … Read More »
Ben Kingsley and Brandon Soo Hoo (G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra) are set to join Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Stanfield and Abigail Breslin in the film version of Orson Scott Card’s bestselling novel Ender’s Game. The … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Asa Butterfield, the 14-year old title star of Martin Scorsese’s 3D film Hugo, has been offered the title role in Ender’s Game, the Odd Lot Entertainment adaptation of the Orson Scott Card science fiction novel. Summit Entertainment will release … Read More »
Summit Entertainment has set or adjusted release dates for a handful of movies due next year and in 2013. Step Up 4, the next installment of the successful dance franchise, is now positioned on July 27, 2012. Set … Read More »