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‘Underworld 4′ On Top With $25M, ‘Red Tails’ Surprising $19M, ‘Contraband’ Steady, ‘Extremely Loud’ Swells, ‘Haywire’ Struggles

Jan. 20-22 Weekend Actuals

1. Underworld Awakening (Screen Gems/Sony) NEW [3,078 Theaters] R
Friday $9.3M, Saturday $10.2M, Sunday $5.8M, Weekend $25.3M

2. Red Tails (LucasFilm/Fox) NEW [2,512 Theaters] PG13
Friday $6M, Saturday $8.6M, Sunday $4.2M,  Weekend $18.9M

3. Contraband (Universal) Week 2 [2,870 Theaters] R
Friday $3.7M, Saturday $5.8M, Sunday $2.5M, Weekend $12.0M (-51%), Cume $45.9M

4. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (Warner Bros) Week 5 [2,630 Theaters] PG13
Friday $3.2M, Saturday $4.8M, Sunday $2.1M, Weekend $10.0M (+10,935%), Cume $10.7M

5. Beauty And The Beast 3D (Disney) Week 2 [2,625 Theaters] G
Friday $2.1M, Saturday $4M, Sunday $2.6M,  Weekend $8.8M (-51%), Cume $33.5M

6. Haywire (Relativity) NEW [2,439 Theaters] R
Friday $2.9M, Saturday $3.8M, Sunday $1.7M, Weekend $8.4M

7. Joyful Noise (Warner Bros) Week 2 [2,735 Theaters] PG13
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.8M, Sunday $1.4M, Weekend $5.9M (-47%), Cume $21.7M

8. Mission: Impossible 4 (Paramount) Week 6 [2,519 Theaters] PG13
Friday $1.5M, Saturday $2.9M, Sunday $1.2M, Weekend $5.6M (-53%), Cume $197.4M

9. Sherlock Holmes 2 (Warner Bros) Week 6 [2,485 Theaters] PG13
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $2.3M, Sunday $945K, Weekend $4.5M (-47%), Cume $178.3M

10. The Iron Lady (The Weinstein Co) Week 4 [1,076 Theaters] PG13
Friday $1.1M, Saturday $1.7M,Sunday $916K,  Weekend $3.7M (-32%), Cume $12.6M


SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 4TH UPDATE: It’s another good start for 2012 domestic box office complete with surprises like a snowstorm in the Midwest and East. (The snow effect on Chicago, always in the Top 5, caused it to rank only 13th Friday.) The weekend overall looks like $125M, up as much as +30% from last year. Despite expanding to 662 runs, The Artist which was Saturday night’s Producers Guild Awards and last weekend’s Golden Globes winner and now Academy Awards frontrunner is still doing very quiet business with a $2.3M weekend and $12.1M cume going into its 9th week in release. How come all this marketing help isn’t pushing The Weinstein Co gross higher even if this is a French black-and-white silent movie? Here’s my take on this weekend:

1. Underworld Awakening (Screen Gems/Sony Pictures) NEW [3,078 Theaters]
Friday $9.3M, Saturday $10.2M, Weekend $25.2M

What is there more to say about a fourquel to a franchise that was one of the modern-day godmothers to today’s ruthless vampires and werewolves overpopulating films and TV series? Sony Pictures/Screen Gems’ latest Underworld Awakening is playing better than its previous installment, which is rare for franchises domestically. But co-creator Len Wiseman’s franchise is still very healthy — he produced and had a hand in the scripting of Awakening. Most importantly it was presented in 3D and IMAX for the first time. (Sony is distributing the film worldwide with the exception of the UK and France.) Also #3 lacked star Kate Beckinsale who skipped the franchise’s previous and came back. Now Awakening is the #2 opener in the series that’s popular primarily because the 38-year-old Beckinsale still looks hot in leather and spandex even after waking up from a forced 12-year hibernation. It’s also always a good sign for this kind of genre movie when Saturday’s grosses go up from Friday’s even if it’s weather-related. The horror actioner garnered an ‘A-’ CinemaScore from audiences and won the weekend easily. “Right where we wanted to be and in this crowded market pretty great,” a Sony exec emailed me. As for marketing, it’s pretty much formulaic after making four of these.

2. Red Tails (LucasFilm/Fox) NEW [2,512 Theaters]
Friday $6M, Saturday $8.6M, Weekend $19.4M

Hollywood studios were stunned by how well this George Lucas banner film Red Tails did in matinees Friday. Until they discovered that the Lucasfilm/Twentieth Century Fox marketing inside the African-American community resulted in busloads of midday filmgoers for the Tuskegee Airmen’s true story. Despite fears that this pic appeared frontloaded, it went up a whopping +40% from Friday to Saturday. It boasted an ’A’ CinemaScore from audiences even if historians and critics chide this film as a whitewash. Directed by Anthony Hemingway (Treme), it had a stream of other writers working on it over the years but John Ridley (who also has story credit) and Aaron McGruder received screenplay credit. Rick McCallum and Charles Floyd Johnson received full producer credit. It took Lucas from 1988 to 2009 to get this pic in production, and he’s been bitter in interviews about turndowns from major studios. Reports say he covered the cost of production with his own money, then provided another $35M for distribution. In an interview on The Daily Show this month, Lucas claimed the majors balked at the all-black cast and predicted no overseas market for the film. Interesting that in the cast Terrence Howard in Hart’s War and Cuba Gooding Jr in an HBO film have portrayed Tuskegee Airmen previously.

3. Contraband (Universal) Week 2 [2,870 Theaters]
Friday $3.6M, Saturday $5.8M, Weekend $12.3M (-49%), Cume $46.3M

Bad weather hurt all the holdovers by inflating their Friday to Friday drops. Working Title/Universal’s R-rated thriller Contraband was last Martin Luther King weekend’s big winner with an opening of $28.8M. It would have fallen even less than -50% without the severe storm. With a $25M budget, Universal tapped first time director Baltasar Kormakur to remake a film he starred in and produced — enabling Working Title to produce Contraband with scope and action for cheap and set its highest-grossing opening ever. This Mark Wahlberg starrer (his first leas role since The Fighter and he also produced) should get to $75M and possibly $100M domestic. I’m still surprised by how well this pic is doing considering how generic it looked in its TV ad campaign.

4. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (Warner Bros) Week 5 [2,630 Theaters]
Friday $3.1M, Saturday $4.7M, Weekend $10.2M, Cume $10.9M

Warner Bros’ Oscar-buzzed 9/11 emotionfest Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close expanded in its 5th weekend into 2,630 theaters Friday after playing in only 6 theatres in 3 markets (NY, LA, and Toronto). The strategy was to ensure the takeaway is “uplifting rather than depressing” in the words of one WB exec who acknowledged that the critical response has been “polarizing”. Its ‘A-’ CinemaScore from audiences will aid its good word-of-mouth. The studio aimed the pic at a predominantly female audience and positioned it “as a moving, hopeful, emotional journey with an incredible ensemble cast and brilliant performances”. Besides Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, it had pedigreed director Steven Daldry and writer Eric Roth who adapted Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel. Following a limited opening on Christmas Day, the marketing campaign has continued with a strong national TV buy on pretty much everything from NFL playoffs, morning shows, and mid-season premieres. Trailers ran on both broad and indie fare to appeal to the widest possible audience. The campaign now is focused on additional high-profile opportunities including prominent placement on the new Kindle Fire.

5. Haywire (Relativity) NEW [2,439 Theaters]
Friday $2.8M, Saturday $3.8M, Weekend $8.6M

I felt Haywire was marketed very poorly considering the big talent behind and in front of the camera. But it’s shocking to see a Steven Soderbergh-directed film receive a rare ‘D+” CinemaScore from audiences. So what the hell happened here? This pic was getting some great buzz last year and insiders were telling me back then it was Oscar-winner Soderbergh’s “most commercial film in years”. AFI Fest debuted it at a “Secret Screening” in November. It was written by The Limey‘s Lem Dobbs. It starred talent like Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Michael Angarano, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas, Bill Paxton and introduced mixed martial arts star Gina Carano. (She performed her own stunts.) One thought is that maybe action movies like this shouldn’t be made on the cheap for a production budget supposedly just $23M because audiences want more whizbang than just cool quotient. (Relativity claims that after foreign sales and tax rebates from shooting on location, its risk was mitigated to a $1.5 million net investment before P&A.) The movie was greenlit before Relativity began self-distributing movies. And I do know Soderbergh and the studio got into some nasty arguments over release dates and music choices and other stuff. In the end Relativity had low expectations and projected Haywire to open to only $8M domestic ”which keeps us on track for profitability across ancillary distribution channels including our Netflix deal, home entertainment, television and digital sales,” one of the studio’s execs tells me. No doubt this pic will start the usual debate about how women can’t lead action movies. But, ahem, Kate Beckinsale’s Underworld Awakening is the #1 movie this weekend.·

5. Beauty And The Beast 3D (Disney) Week 2 [2,625 Theaters]
Friday $2.1M, Saturday $4M, Weekend $8.3M (-53%), Cume $33.2M

Last MLK weekend, Disney’s holdover Beauty And The Beast 3D earned $23.5M which broke the all-time industry January animation opening record. That’s even more impressive when you realize it costs next to nothing to put these Disney vault pics onto a new platform. Like Contraband‘s, the Friday-to-Friday drop was exaggerated because of the winter storm.

Here’s the rest of the Top 10:
Read More »

Comments 191

R Rating Upheld For Soderbergh’s ‘Haywire’

By | Tuesday November 15, 2011 @ 4:06pm PST

The Classification and Rating Appeals Board today upheld the R rating given to the movie Haywire. The Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) had assigned the movie the R rating for “some violence.” In the appeal brought by Five Continents, the Appeals Board heard statements on behalf of Haywire from Steven Soderbergh, the film’s director, and Kyle Davies, President, Worldwide Distribution for Relativity Media. The Classification and Rating Administration was represented by Chairman Joan Graves.


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Hot Comic-Con Trailer: ‘Haywire’

By | Friday July 22, 2011 @ 1:17pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Relativity Media trotted out its slate of films for the Comic-Con crowd, including images of its untitled Snow White film as well as Immortals, The Raven and Shark Night 3D. Relativity also introduced a trailer for Haywire, the Steven Soderbergh-directed action film that will try to make an action hero out of mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano. Here’s a look:

Comments 53

COMIC-CON: Some Film Studios Sitting Out

Deadline Comic-Con Movie Contributor Luke Y Thompson reports:

It’s the story every media outlet is dying to tell every year: “Comic-Con just ain’t what it used to be.” This year, however, the event — set for July 21-24 at the San Diego Convention Center — comes with some alarmist (and circumstantial) evidence: Warner Bros won’t be doing a movie presentation. Marvel Studios won’t be either, even though the tiniest teaser for The Avengers last year made for the most memorable panel. Disney initially appeared absent too. So what’s going on? Did the failure of Scott Pilgrim to triumph at the box office following a massive Con promotion last year leave studios leery?

Well, you’d think if that were the case, Universal would feel the most burned — yet they’re doubling down by holding the premiere of Cowboys and Aliens there, inviting many of the fans to attend; one would imagine the big names like Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig will at least attend.

Disney, which now owns the Muppets and Marvel Studios, is likely saving those properties for its own D23 Expo in Anaheim toward the end of August. They are, however, bringing the DreamWorks pickup Fright Night to Comic-Con (in presentation and screening form) — notably, this is a movie that will open Aug. 19, the same day the D23 Expo begins, so it makes sense to hype it sooner. Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin and Christopher Mintz-Plasse are the big names attending; curiously, the publicity has consistently downplayed the presence of former Doctor Who star David Tenant, and he has not been mentioned as attending, though he’d be given a hero’s welcome if he did.

Warner Bros’ lack of a movie panel may largely be due to the fact that the next Superman and Batman movies aren’t ready to show much yet — Man of Steel star Henry Cavill will be there, but on behalf of Relativity’s Immortals (also Luke Evans, Kellan Lutz and Mickey Rourke; director Tarsem Singh is not currently expected). Certainly WB is showing a ton of TV previews, but I’ll leave that to my colleague Gary Hodges to discuss. The biggest question mark in my mind is what Time Warner-owned Entertainment Weekly will put on the cover of their Comic-Con issue now: traditionally, it’s been a big reveal from a Warners movie.

The biggest name being batted about right now as a possibility is Steven Spielberg, to present footage from his The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. Certainly, a Tintin presentation would be wise, as the teaser has left many (myself included) highly skeptical. The fanbase needs persuading, and since it’s Spielberg, there’s probably at least one kickass scene that can get people hyped. But Paramount’s still playing things close to the vest — when I asked a publicist there about Comic-Con plans, I was told “It’s uncertain what or if we’re bringing anything.” That’s not a denial. And there has been talk of a Captain America screening — whether that translates into an actual panel is uncertain, as the regular press junkets and such will already be in full swing for the movie, opening that week. Read More »

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Relativity To Distribute Steven Soderbergh-Directed ‘Haywire’

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Relativity Media will distribute Haywire, the Steven Soderbergh-directed action film that will get a Jan. 20, 2012 release date. Though Relativity Media financed the pic, it was originally going to be released domestically by Lionsgate. I’m told it was a better fit for Relativity. The film will be released overseas by Lionsgate. It becomes the second film in two days to move from Lionsgate to Relativity Media. The other was Machine Gun Preacher, and that one moved because director Marc Forster wanted it released this year and Lionsgate was unable to accommodate it because of a busy fall schedule.

Haywire stars mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton, Antonio Banderas and Michael Angarano.

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