The New Year has yet to make its mark on the Specialty Box Office, though 2013 titles continue to show traction in January. CBS Films jumped Inside Llewyn Davis from 156 runs to 729 in the run-up to tonight’s Golden Globes, where the film is vying for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy) and Best Actor for Oscar Isaac as well as other categories. It grossed $1.876M, averaging $2,573, placing its 6 week cume mostly in limited release at $9,309,126. CBS Films took out a two-page spread this week in the New York Times naming several hundred critics, writers and bloggers who tagged the film as one of their year-end favorites and it has been active generally in touting the Cannes Grand Prix winner this Awards Season. How it will drive audiences as it continues to move into an expansive release is the question mark. CBS Films did note Sunday when reporting the film’s numbers that Llewyn Davis‘ cume has already surpassed the lifetime gross of the Coens’ previous non-studio feature, A Serious Man, which cumed $9,228,768 domestically. Inside Llewyn Davis‘ 9 week cume stands at $9,309,126. Paramount also added theaters for Alexander Payne’s Awards contender Nebraska, moving the film into an additional 281 locations in its 9th weekend in release. It grossed $820K, averaging $1,574. Last week, it averaged $2,792 in 240 theaters. Also up for a Best Picture (Comedy or Musical) and Best Director prizes tonight at the Globes, Nebraska has cumed $8.15M.
NBC announced this morning Matt Lauer will host Going For Gold — and yet, it’s not a Sochi Olympics walk-up. It’s a celebrity-studded walk-up to the network’s broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards, is an NBC News production, and will air Friday at 8 PM. If it’s Sochi Olympics walk-up you’re looking for, NBC will broadcast Shaun White: Russia Calling on January 25 — an hour-long program examining how the two-time gold medal winner balances work and play while prepping for the Games. It is not produced by NBC News, instead by Shaun White Enterprises, with Shaun White exec producing, and promises, modestly, to be “a rare inside look into the challenges and sacrifices that are made in order to be the best in the world.”
From NBC’s Going For Gold announcement:
OSCARS Q&A: ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ And ‘Captain Phillips’ Producer Scott Rudin On Making Prestige Pics Inside And Outside The Studio Fold
It has become common to find Scott Rudin with multiple films in the Oscar hunt. This time, the producer has the Joel and Ethan Coen-directed Inside Llewyn Davis, financed independently and distributed by CBS Films, and the Paul Greengrass-directed Captain Phillips, funded by Rudin’s home studio Sony Pictures. The prolific producer manages these Oscar campaigns while he presided over a record-breaking limited stage run of the Mike Nichols-directed Betrayal with Daniel Craig; as The Book Of Mormon continues to be Broadway’s biggest bread winner; preps for next month’s Berlin premiere of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel; is in post on the Chris Rock-directed Finally Famous and Jon Stewart’s helming debut Rosewater, about a mock journalist who spent nine frightening months detained in Iran after filing a comic field report on Stewart’s The Daily Show. There are big pics percolating, from one with Paul Thomas Anderson to the adaptation of Walter Isaacson’s book on Steve Jobs, a Girl With the Dragon Tattoo sequel, and the adaptation of Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra book that got a new draft from Eric Roth and has everyone excited including Angelina Jolie, who seems destined to play the Egyptian queen. Rudin, who once had his projects bankrolled by whatever major studio he called home, has responded to a changing market for the challenging adult films he favors by becoming increasingly nimble in finding money to empower the auteurs that work with him over and over. There is reason for optimism in this race: his last two Coen collaborations were the Best Picture Oscar winning No Country For Old Men and the Best Picture nominee True Grit; his last film with Hanks, Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, was a Best Picture nominee. Rudin took time out to discuss Inside Llewyn Davis, Captain Phillips, and his continued evolution in a fast-changing business.
DEADLINE: Inside Llewyn Davis was probably the first Coen Brothers film made without a distributor in place. How did you benefit from doing it that way?
RUDIN: It gave us a huge advantage. It was not a particularly expensive movie, under $20 million, and we financed it completely out of Europe. StudioCanal was a fantastic partner and allowed the guys to go off and make the movie exactly the way they wanted to. They wrote a check, wished us luck, and loved it when we were done. To have a completed Coen Brothers movie, and own North America, was spectacular. We had four or five offers for it. We did a one night screening with a music component to it that people loved, and we took the CBS Films deal. That was a choice people were curious about when we made it because they didn’t have experience with this kind of movie. It worked out fantastically well.
DEADLINE: Is that because the usual suspects already had Oscar bait films?
RUDIN: A big part of the draw was Terry Press. We’ve worked together on a ton of movies; she was the head of publicity back when I did Sister Act at Disney. We go back 25 years. She worked on The Social Network and on Dragon Tattoo, and I knew she loved this kind of music and the Coens. As we fielded other offers, I frankly hoped it would end up there. We had a lot of input into how they distributed it and sold it. I liked working with Wolfgang Hammer and have always loved Les Moonves. He was running Fox Television while I was running feature production at Fox in the mid-1980s so we go back 30 years. They didn’t have another movie in this slot, and it felt they would do something bold and more aggressive with it. It felt like a perfect fit.
DEADLINE: You undersold that buyers screening. As I recall, there were wall to wall music stars milling with Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and every star in the constellation…
RUDIN: That became our selling screening. We had this idea to do a screening the night before Grammys because a ton of music people would be in town and we wanted to screen the movie for musicians. We sent invitations and the list came back so spectacularly that I said to Joel and Ethan, why don’t we just invite some buyers? It was such a great opportunity to screen the movie for an audience you could feel pretty confident would love it, because the movie was really about them. It was a great party full of people who really loved the movie and had a profound relationship to the subject. A lot of them had worked with the Coens or worked with me. We had 700 people in two screening rooms, followed by a concert with T Bone Burnett, The Punch Brothers played, so did Marcus Mumford and Oscar Isaac. It was pretty spectacular. Because there was this pure motive of, let’s screen the movie for musicians, and because no one had seen the film, it had a buzz in the room that existed because it was an authentic event.
DEADLINE: When did your offers come in?
RUDIN: The next day.
Catch up with Deadline’s best film stories of the week:
Year-End: How A Growing Global Mandate And Franchise Fever Led To Movie Studio Tsuris
By Mike Fleming – Considering that global movie ticket sales reached precedent levels after a particularly robust holiday period and a mostly sizzling summer, 2013 was one of the most turbulent years I can remember in the executive suites of major studios.
Box Office: Nation In Deep Freeze As Ticket Sales Plummet; ‘Frozen’ Still No. 1, Just Shy of $300M; ‘Paranormal’ Audiences Scared While ‘Wolf’ And ‘Hustle’ Close
By Anita Busch – With the nation in a deep freeze, pictures across the board were affected this weekend. And Sunday moviegoing is expected to be down. With more estimates coming in, the odds are that The Wolf of Wall Street will just nudge out American Hustle by a mere $200,000 for the weekend to take the fourth spot.
Year-End: UK Tax Breaks Too Much Of A Good Thing? Tasty Danish Offerings; French Film Biz Blues; Germany, Russia, Italy, Spain
By Nancy Tartaglione – The UK emerged in 2013 as an increasingly attractive location destination with new and expanded tax credits – but can it stand the bulge? Hollywood has cozied up to Britain, not only bringing its films there to shoot, but now its TV programs while it also continues to plumb it as a source of original drama to be remade in the U.S.
WGA Continues Strong Awards Season For ‘Wall Street’, ‘Hustle’, ‘Dallas’ & Woody, But ‘Gravity’, ‘12 Years’ & Coens Not Invited To The Party
By Pete Hammond – It continues to be a good week for American Hustle, The Wolf Of Wall Street, Her, Captain Phillips, Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club and Nebraska. All followed up yesterday’s Producers Guild nominations with WGA noms this morning, making it 2-for-2 in the early guild contests of this new year.
The 56 member-strong National Society of Film Critics today helped CBS Films’ Inside Llewyn Davis bounce back from its PGA and WGA snubs, awarding the 1960s-set folk music drama Best Picture, Best Director for Joel and Ethan Coen, Best Actor for Oscar Isaac‘s turn as the eponymous singer-songwriter, and Best Cinematography. The boost came the same day CBS took out a full-page For Your Consideration ad in the New York Times pulling a select portion of this Dec. 30 Tweet by NYT critic A.O. Scott: “I’m gonna listen to the Llewyn Davis album again. Fare thee well, my honeys.” Whatever works? Scroll down for full NSFC awards:
Specialty Box Office: ‘Her’ Nabs $42K Per-Screen; Bollywood’s ‘Dhoom 3′ Sizzles; ‘The Past’ Coasts In Opening; ‘Llewyn Davis’ Still Faring Well
In its limited debut, Spike Jonze‘s Her opened on 6 screens and tallied $257,815 over 3 days averaging $42,969 per screen. The tech-themed drama-romance starring Joaquin Phoenix as a man in love with his Siri-esque operating system (Scarlett Johansson) jumped to $361,474 over 5 days, averaging $60,246 for WB which has Oscar hopes for Phoenix. And beyond the Hobbits and Ron Burgundy shenanigans it was a Bollywood weekend in the USA (and Canada) this weekend. Bollywood also bows to the franchise machine and it cashed in with Dhoom 3, which Yash Raj Films opened in 236 theaters in North America, grossing over $3.3M and averaging a solid $14K. America and India did not have a good week diplomatically as protests raged in the subcontinent after a diplomat was arrested in NYC. Yash Raj touted some exciting factoids about the release Sunday morning: Dhoom 3 had the highest opening day gross of any Indian movie in North America Highest opening weekend gross of any Indian movie in North America First Bollywood movie to do over $1 million on opening day. Only Bollywood movie to do more than $1 million on 2 consecutive days. “Our biggest strength has been that our audiences are so clued in that technically we just need to announce a date and they will be there for a film like this,” Yash Raj’s VP – Int’l Operations, Avtar Panesar said this week. It will roll out further in the coming weeks.
China also made a grand opening with Feng Xiaogang’s Personal Tailor, launching in 9 locations this weekend. It opened in 9 runs, growing $104K for an $11,555 PSA.
The Coen brothers’ folk singer and a ginger cat in early-’60s Greenwich Village won two of the top prizes tonight from the Toronto Film Critics Association. Inside Llewyn Davis was named picture, and its star Oscar Isaac claimed Best Actor. Cate Blanchett claimed the Best Actress prize for Blue Jasmine, Gravity helmer Alfonso Cuarón took Best Director, and Spike Jonze won Best Screenplay for Her. Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle) and Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) were named Best Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor, respectively. The 2013 TFCA Awards will be presented at a gala dinner hosted by Cameron Bailey on January 7 at Toronto’s Carlu. Here is the full list of winners and runners-up:
The weekend had no new specialty anchors and the few niche films that did open, including Phase 4′s The Crash Reel, Magnolia’s Here Comes The Devil and Janus’ Liv & Ingmar, didn’t bother to report numbers Sunday morning. So cheers to Hobbits and Hustlers this holiday season because the new indies passed out. Inside Llewyn Davis was by far last weekend’s big story and by default receives this weekend’s focus. It opened with the year’s 2nd highest PSA at $100,500 in 4 theaters and perhaps not so shockingly finished its second weekend with less celestial figures. The Golden Globes nominee added 11 theaters, grossing a reported $344K in 15 runs for a $22,931 average, bringing its 10 day cume to $897,504.
Delivering the numbers Sunday morning, CBS Films noted: “To be clear, the film had one of the highest limited openings of all time last weekend so a drop was expected. A $20K+ PSA (15 locations) in week two, against significant competition on both the limited and wide release front.” CBS said it felt good about the numbers and expect the film to continue to play well as it expands. Llewyn grossed just under $97K Friday, jumping 45% to almost $141K Saturday. It will head into wider release in January.
The week was jam packed with news leading up to South African icon Nelson Mandela’s funeral. The Weinstein Company bowed Toronto, Mill Valley, Hamptons and AFI Fest Golden Globe feature Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom three weeks ago in a platform release and it has stuck to that strategy.
Last night marked Saturday Night Live hosting gig #13 for John Goodman, who noted that he’d last hosted in 2001 but stopped “because I had to work.” Speaking of having to work, the Inside Llewyn Davis co-star wasn’t the only veteran actor who showed up to promote a new flick: Grudge Match duo Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro dropped by to cameo alongside Goodman as the “Three Wise Guys” in a pre-holiday Nativity sketch (Sly & De Niro’s old-guy boxing pic hits theaters on Christmas Day). Unfortunately they lacked the ease Goodman had elsewhere even dressed as a snowflake and a woman. Meanwhile Kenan Thompson got significant screentime in multiple sketches through the night, including a stint as Black Santa as Weekend Update poked fun at Megyn Kelly‘s recent yuletide comments. Watch highlights below:
UPDATED, 2:35 PM: The LA Film Critics Association held its annual end-of year awards vote today, handing Best Picture to WB pics Gravity and Her in one of multiple ties. The big surprise of the day went down as Best Supporting Actor award resulted in a tie between Oscar contender Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) and James Franco (Spring Breakers). Also tying for LAFCA honors were Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine and Adèle Exarchopoulos for Blue Is the Warmest Color, while Nebraska‘s Bruce Dern was named Best Actor and Alfonso Cuaron beat Spike Jonze for Best Director.
Scroll down for full winners.
BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM: Blue Is the Warmest Color
Runner-up: The Great Beauty
BEST PICTURE (tie): Gravity and Her
BEST ACTRESS (tie): Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine and Adèle Exarchopoulos, Blue Is the Warmest Color
BEST SCREENPLAY: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Before Midnight
Runner-up: Spike Jonze, Her
BEST ACTOR: Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Runner-up: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
BEST DIRECTOR: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Runner-up: Spike Jonze, Her
It was predictable that Inside Llewyn Davis would rule over the Specialty Box Office this weekend, but the question mark was how big the numbers would be for the CBS Films release. Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen and starring Oscar Isaac, folk music drama grossed a spectacular $402K in four theaters, giving the feature a knock out $100,500 per screen average. Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine opened slightly higher earlier this year with a $102,011 PSA, but the weekend’s numbers far outpace the Coens’ previous non-studio release A Serious Man, which had a $41,890 PSA from 6 theaters when it opened in October, 2009. CBS Films reported that the Cannes Grand Prix winner bowed Friday with a $123,340 gross, jumping 29% on Saturday to $159,324. It is estimating a 25% drop for Sunday to $119,336.
Noted CBS Films Sunday morning touting Llewyn Davis‘ numbers: “Looking at the past decade (and excluding the El Capitan live show premium) this puts Inside Llewyn Davis in the #7 slot for PSA on opening weekend. Above There Will Be Blood in two locations ($95,370 PSA) and Midnight In Paris in six locations ($99,834 PSA).” Inside Llewyn Davis will expand December 20 but will remain in limited runs before going nationwide in January.
“As excited as we were to get the film back in February and with the reviews and award at Cannes,” said Steven Friedlander, EVP, Theatrical Distribution at CBS Films Sunday. “There’s nothing that beats theater managers telling us about repeat sell out shows. We’re thrilled with the early word of mouth and look forward to weeks of fans finding themselves lost in funny, beautiful and completely unique world of the Coens.”
After a sizable festival run including wins in Cannes, the Hamptons and a big Gotham prize this week, the Coens’ Inside Llewyn Davis is easily the most anticipated Specialty release of the weekend. The Oscar hopeful will platform release via CBS Films. Tim’s Vermeer had good news ahead of its theatrical roll out this weekend, making the Oscar Documentary shortlist. A Telluride and New York Film Festival premiere, Sony Classics will open the unique film which illusionist/entertainer Teller (of Penn and Teller fame) directed. Producer Adam Shopkorn is self-distributing his doc Lenny Cooke which will make its rounds this month ahead of a hopeful television deal that will move the Tribeca film’s reach into high gear. And also opening is IFC Films’ comedy White Reindeer in limited release.
The Coens latest has made its rounds online with various trailer releases since its World Premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last May where it won the Jury Grand Prize. The film then headed to the Telluride and New York Film Festivals as well as festivals in Chicago, Austin and AFI Fest. The Gothams gave it its best awards push to date with a Best Film win for 2013, while the National Board of Review gave the Coens a Best Original Screenplay nod and the NY Film Critics Circle recognized Bruno Delbonnel for Best Cinematography. The drama follows the week in the life of a young singer against the backdrop of the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.
The one thing that really matters in a successful Oscar run is momentum: Who has it and who lost it. It’s a tricky maneuver for movies to grab it, and more importantly, keep it going in a very long season that can start as early as May at the Cannes Film Festival. One studio head cornered me at a recent event and said, “Anyone who thinks they can go to Cannes and keep their film on ice for four months is kidding themselves.” This executive has turned down opportunities to take a major film to Cannes for that very reason. It is simply too hard to maintain the forward movement that long, he explained. In the case of movies that play the world’s most famous film festival in May but hold back their release until fall, it’s challenging to recapture the magic.
Two recent examples are Paramount’s Nebraska, which played Cannes but didn’t open domestically until November 15, six months after its initial reviews came out; and the Coen brothers’ Cannes Grand Prize winner Inside Llewyn Davis, which doesn’t open in the U.S. until December 6. This same executive, who works for a rival studio, didn’t think either film could possibly keep the buzz on their side that long after Cannes.
Since graduating from Juilliard in 2005, Guatamalan-born and Miami-bred Oscar Isaac has been on a steady rise. With noticeable roles in films such as Robin Hood, Drive and The Bourne Legacy, Isaac has been proving his worth as a film actor with something extra. That “something extra” has been fully realized with his breakthrough role as the title character in Joel and Ethan Coen’s tale of a struggling folk singer in the early 1960s, Inside Llewyn Davis. Since winning the Grand Prize at Cannes in May, the film has been building a high profile this season and promises to put Isaac, who does all of his own singing, right in the heart of the race.
AwardsLine: Recount how you got this role, because the audition process was drawn out for the film. The Coen brothers thought the movie wouldn’t get made if they didn’t find the right actor.
Oscar Isaac: I heard about the audition process early on, and I was like, “I have got to get into this thing because I love the Coen brothers, I play music and I can sing.” I went in (to the audition) knowing that it was loosely based on (folk musician) Dave Van Ronk’s memoirs, and I knew he was this huge 6-foot-5, 200-pound Swede. I knew (I would be) a stretch, if they were trying to do a biopic. So I came in and I had a beard and I saw a photograph of this well-known musician—dark hair, dark beard. Suddenly, I calmed down and said, “So is this a reference shot? You guys are looking for people like that?” (Someone in casting) says, “Oh, no. He came in; he killed it.” It was like all the blood being drained out of my veins. They had been looking at a lot of really great musicians for the part because they wanted to have full songs performed live in the film, which is very unusual. I learned three songs and did the audition, and about a week later, they called me in to meet with the Coens. They’re the best to audition for. They are incredibly generous, and they’re quick to laugh, even just in conversation. So it was impossible to tell how it went because, apparently, they’re like that for everybody. A month went by, and I was just begging the universe to give me this one shot. Then I got a call (from) Joel. I remember him talking for a while before saying it, but then he finally said, “We’d love for you to do (the film), if you’d want to be a part of it.” I couldn’t believe it.
It doesn’t even open until December 6th but this has been a very big week already for the Coen Brothers’ new film Inside Llewyn Davis, which is set in New York’s folk-singing world of the early 1960s. The soundtrack album …