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Warner Bros Goofs By Sending Wrong Version Of Dustin Lance Black’s ‘J Edgar’ Script To Oscar Voters

By | Friday January 6, 2012 @ 1:07pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros just issued an email to the members of the Writers Branch of the Academy in an attempt to fix its mistake of sending some of them the wrong version of the script for J Edgar by Oscar-winning Milk scribe Dustin Lance Black. Instead of Black’s final shooting script, the studio sent a version given it by Malpaiso that was used in post-production and for continuity, not the final version by which the writer’s awards-season chances should be judged. (For instance, it is missing the writer’s signature descriptions of action between the dialogue). I’d heard that Black was upset by the mistake and concerned it could hurt his Oscar nomination chances. While anything having to do with J. Edgar Hoover smacks of conspiracy, I’m told that the scribe is feeling better after the studio’s fast fix and chalks it up to being an honest mistake. The wrong scripts were sent to about one-third of the writer’s branch who specifically requested a script. Here’s the missive that Warner Bros sent today:

Dear Member of the Writers Branch:

It has just come to our attention that the version of the screenplay for “J. Edgar” that was sent for your consideration was not the shooting script written by Dustin Lance Black, but rather what is known as a continuity draft. The language in this continuity draft was not written by Mr.

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‘Immortals’ #1 With So-So $32M Domestic But $36M Foreign, ‘Jack And Jill’ $26M

By | Sunday November 13, 2011 @ 8:01am PST

SUNDAY AM, 3RD UPDATE: Latest Top 10 grosses show better North American box office than previously thought thanks to the Veterans Day holiday weekend when school is out in 60% of the country. The good news is a break from slumping attendance with a $137M total moviegoing weekend, up +18% from last year. But the bad news is that these movies are still way underperforming what they should have done on a holiday weekend. That’s because these major studio pics were definitely not crowd-pleasers. Just check out their Rotten Tomatoes scores. But the real question is why Hollywood released two young male-skewing movies the weekend right after two major video games were released. Anecdotal evidence is that the guys were otherwise engaged. Full analysis coming:

1. Immortals 3D (Relativity) NEW [3,112 Theaters]
Friday $14M, Saturday $10M, Weekend $32M

Richard Branson didn’t waste any time blogging to his peeps today: “Congratulations to Jason and the whole team at Virgin Produced for Immortals, their follow up film to Limitless, going straight to number one at the box office this weekend. Jammy bastards!!” He’s as good at spinning underwhelming box office as Relativity’s Ryan Kavanaugh. Truth is Immortals started out slow: it did an unexciting $1.4M in Thursday midnight gross from approximately 900 locations then expanded runs and grosses for Friday but lost -30% Saturday. Pic eked out a $30+M weekend bow, which is a rarity these days. But you also must realize that Immortals is a 300-clone yet didn’t make even 45% of the $70.8M opening amount that the original 2D movie did back in 2006. Even with the higher 3D ticket prices. Immortals should have made $50+M, folks, given the genre and promotion. “300 was absolutely a big success, but we are in a different economy, marketplace, and time of year,” a Relativity exec told me Friday night. “Young males have been hard to get over the past year. It’s a significant accomplishment that we got them. We are well positioned to be the 3rd highest R-rated film this year and the highest R-rated action film this year. This is a win for us.” Needless to say, Relativity is known for its bluster. But it also claims reduced risk from foreign pre-sales on the supposedly $75M-budgeted film. Then explain to me why, for 2 years, Relativity was telling everybody and their mother that the budget of Immortals was $120M. (Don’t believe me? Go back and do a Google search). It sold the film internationally to foreign buyers with a budget of $120M. Now, all of a sudden, the budget is $75 million because of what Relativity says are tax rebates for shooting and doing post production in Montreal? Puh-leeze.

Audiences gave Immortals a ‘B’ CinemaScore but Rotten Tomatoes recorded just 37% positive reviews. That’s lousy considering the pic is from the producers of 300 (Mark Canton and Gianni Nunnari). Yet now Relativity tries to claim this new epic adventure is “completely original — it’s not derived from a comic book; is not based on a novel; and is not a sequel.” Tarsem Singh (The Cell, The Fall) directed and Charles Parlapanides & Vlas Parlapanides are the credited screenwriters. Marketing was aggressive and therefore expensive. It kicked off at Wondercon in April, followed by Comic-Con in July, and what even the studios says was a “barrage” of publicity media appearances, in-theater marketing, outdoor advertising, and radio/TV spots. Partnerships/alliances  included Best Buy. Relativity owns worldwide rights to Immortals; Lionsgate handled foreign sales. Alliance Films is releasing in Canada. About 70% of locations played the film in 3D.

Pic opened in over 35 international territories including China, UK, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Russia. Current estimated weekend box office is approximately $36M with a number of territories (including Indonesia and India) still to report. Relativity says this was the first title releasing through Sky Land, its joint venture with IDG and Saif Partners in China. The list of foreign output partners and additional territories is as long as my arm, including Austria/Constantin, Bulgaria/MGN, China/Sky Land, Finland/Nordisk, Germany/Constantin, Greece/Village, India/Soundspace, Israel/Forum, Italy/RAI, Japan/Universal, Netherlands/A-Film, Russia/CIS/MGN, Romania/MGN, South Africa/Nu Metro, South Korea/Next, Sweden/Nordisk, Turkey/Aqua, UK/Universal, United Arab Emirates/Gulf, Malaysia/PT Parkit, Taiwan/SSG.

2. Jack And Jill (Sony Pictures) NEW [3,438 Theaters]
Friday $9.8M, Saturday $9.6M, Weekend $26M

Sony Pictures’ Jack And Jill starring Adam Sandler was hard-pressed to equal his usual $30+M opening comedies. (Maybe moviegoers aren’t as moronic as Hollywood thinks they are.) Rotten Tomatoes gave this turkey only a 3% positive score. Pic received a ‘B’ CinemaScore but also an ‘A-” from audiences under age 18. After releasing a trailer that was as viciously derided as I’ve ever seen on Deadline, Sony is relieved this Christmas-themed PG movie at least opened. So Adam is off the hook. “It’s a family film so it will play to a better multiple through the season than his normal movies,” one rival studio exec tells me. But you’ve gotta wonder if Sandler is developing a Jim Carrey problem and the public will stop supporting him if he’s in too many stinkers like this. Sony is somewhat alarmed that Adam keeps working with the same cronies in almost every film, but the studio also can’t tell its long-time golden goose Happy Madison to stop laying eggs. Sony sources claim the film was made for $80M and, unlike many comedians, Adam’s films do healthy business overseas because he’s worked at becoming a foreign draw. “So we will be in good shape when all is said and done,” the studio assures me. Unless moviegoers keep remembering what a suckfest this was and can’t get that bad taste out of their mouths when they think of paying for another film. Folks, it’s releases like this that are killing the biz.

That said, Sony did its usual stellar job building awareness for this turkey directed by Dennis Dugan and produced by Sandler, Jack Giarraputo, and Todd Garner. The screenplay os credited to Steve Koren & Adam Sandler with story by Ben Zook. The marketing campaign targeted Sandler’s core fans, and the concept was easy to grasp. (Uh, that was the problem…) Adam did his usual plethora of appearances and promotions to support the pic. In addition to the stuff you’d expect (Leno, Kimmel, Conan, Letterman, Today Show, Regis and Kelly, ad nauseum), he also taped an intro for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, and did a recent episode of Dr. Phil featuring the real life twins from the movie. There were integrations with The X Factor and Survivor: South Pacific, interstitials on Nickelodeon, tie-ins on Comedy Central as well as promotions on TBS, ABC Family, and Univision, among others. Online Sony held an awkward sibling photo contest (awkwardfamilyphotos.com) and networked on social media with Sandler’s extensive fanbase, including his 25 million friends on Facebook.
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Clint Eastwood’s ‘J. Edgar’ Opens Strong

By | Thursday November 10, 2011 @ 6:42am PST

Early estimates from Warner Bros has J. Edgar bowing to a low-key but healthy midweek $53,000 in limited runs Wednesday in 7 theatres in 5 cities — LA, NY, Chicago, Washington DC, and San Francisco. That was good enough for 12th place at the slow North American box office, besting movies playing in thousands of locations. The Oscar-buzzed biopic starring Leonardo DiCaprio opens nationwide on Friday in 1,910 locations. Tracking has been strong for weeks, especially among adults.

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Parody: Can Leo Win Oscar For ‘J. Edgar’?

By | Wednesday November 9, 2011 @ 3:45am PST

J. Edgar opens limited runs today in 7 theatres in 5 cities — LA, NY, Chicago, Washington DC, and San Francisco — and nationwide on Friday in 1,910 locations. So Funny Or Die just posted this trenchant video mashup about Leonardo DiCaprio’s pursuit of the Best Actor Oscar past and present:

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OSCARS: ‘J. Edgar’ Campaign Rolls Into High Gear With Eastwood, DiCaprio, Watts, Hammer At Packed Screenings, Q&As

Pete Hammond

With its splashy world premiere as the opening-night film of AFI Fest on Thursday and a series of Q&As and receptions, Warner Bros’ campaign for J. Edgar — one of its big Oscar hopefuls — swung into high gear this week. In addition to the hoopla around the premiere, director Clint Eastwood did a DGA screening and discussion with Academy directing governor and fellow DGA and Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow on Tuesday night; stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts and Armie Hammer appeared for a Q&A in front of a packed-to-the-rafters SAG audience on Wednesday night (I moderated that one); and on Friday they all appeared for yet another screening, Q&A and reception at the LA County Art Museum. The latter was a prelude to Saturday night’s inaugural Art + Film gala, where Eastwood is being honored. Warners plans many more voter opps like these in the coming weeks.

First reviews of the film that opens next week are mixed to good depending on what you read and who you talk to (Rotten Tomatoes has it at 57% fresh, but only seven reviews are up so far). But it is done in classic and classy Eastwood style and, whatever the ultimate commercial and critical fate of the film, it is absolutely clear DiCaprio has a strong stake on a Best Actor Oscar nomination. As the complex and controversial FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, DiCaprio ages from his 20s to late 70s with seeming ease and has some heavy dramatic scenes — including one in which he dons his dead mother’s dress and another fight/kiss encounter with Hammer, who expertly plays his constant companion Clyde Tolson (and could be a Supporting Actor contender himself). Older Academy voters who remember Hoover should particularly respond to this well-crafted look at his complicated personal and professional life. Read More »

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AFI Fest Announces Centerpiece Galas And Special Screenings

Pete Hammond

With just a little more than two weeks to go before its opening-night world premiere gala of Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar on November 3, the American Film Institute has just announced the long list of Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings for its 25th edition — AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi. Unlike the Eastwood coup, the lineup doesn’t include any other world or North American premieres and instead is made up of films recently seen in Toronto, Venice, Telluride or New York or combinations of all of the above festivals.

The AFI Fest, which runs November 3-10, is becoming known as the festival of galas, with at least one big red-carpet event every night of the week. Slated as Centerpiece Galas this session are Luc Besson’s The Lady (November 4), which played the Mill Valley Film Festival last week in a version now several minutes shorter than its well-received Toronto Film Festival premiere; Roman Polanski’s Carnage (November 5); My Week With Marilyn (November 6); The Artist (November 8); and Steve McQueen’s controversial Shame (November 9). Also on November 7, the fest will present an evening with Pedro Almodovar, this year’s Guest Artistic Director, who will be presenting his 25-year-old classic Law of Desire and participating in a special onstage conversation. All will be presented at the Chinese theater in Hollywood. Read More »

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New York Film Festival Unveils Surprise Oscar Contender Monday

Mike Fleming

So far, there is no consensus Oscar frontrunner like there was at this time last year, and many of the biggest Oscar hopefuls haven’t yet been seen. We’ll have a good sense of one of them early next week. The New York Film Festival plans to show a work in progress film by a “legendary” filmmaker this Monday. It has to be one of several Oscar-bait films that weren’t completed in time to be shown at the festivals. So it’s either Clint Eastwood’s J Edgar, Steven Spielberg’s War Horse or The Adventures of Tintin, Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, Jason Reitman’s Young Adult, or David Fincher’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The festival will begin selling tickets by Friday, so we’ll know soon. I’m told this is the first time that the festival has done this kind of thing, and that the unfinished film will be screened Columbus Day at 7 PM at Avery Fisher Hall.

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Hot Trailer: ‘J Edgar’

By | Monday September 19, 2011 @ 7:40pm PDT

Warner Bros today released the theatrical trailer for J Edgar, with Clint Eastwood directing star Leonardo DiCaprio. WB plans a limited release on Nov. 9 before going wide two days later.

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Clint Eastwood’s ‘J. Edgar’ To World Premiere As AFI Fest Opener

By | Wednesday September 7, 2011 @ 1:00am PDT
Pete Hammond

EXCLUSIVE: Although it was speculated that Clint Eastwood’s much-anticipated J. Edgar would show up at either the Venice, Telluride, Toronto or New York film festival this fall, it has been conspicuously absent from all of those lineups — until now. Warner Bros and Eastwood have agreed to have its world premiere Nov. 3 as the opening-night gala at AFI Fest 2011 at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Warners will open the film in limited engagements Nov. 9 and go wide two days later.

The film starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the controversial founding director of the  FBI co-stars  Naomi Watts, Armie Hammer and Judi Dench in an original screenplay by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black (Milk) that explores the public and private life of a man described as one of the most  powerful, controversial and enigmatic figures of the 20th century.

Eastwood, a four-time Oscar winner including Best Pictures Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby, also has ties to the American Film Institute as the recipient of the 1996 AFI Life Achievement Award. Word inside Warners from those who have seen it say the film could put the prolific director back in the Best Picture race for the first time since Million Dollar Baby won in 2004. A (biased?) source there told me that it is definitely three-time nominee DiCaprio’s best shot to finally take an Oscar, so the premiere is a coup for AFI, … Read More »

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Warner Bros Eyes October Release For ‘J Edgar’, December Bow For ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’

By | Wednesday June 29, 2011 @ 4:03pm PDT

Warner Bros today said that it will release the Clint Eastwood biopic J Edgar, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench and Armie Hammer, sometime in October. The studio also said it will bow Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close sometime in December; that drama stars Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. Exact dates have not been announced. The news does ensure that both films will be on screens right in the middle of awards season.

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Miles Fisher Gets ‘J. Edgar’ Role

By | Tuesday March 8, 2011 @ 3:29pm PST
Mike Fleming

Miles Fisher, the young superagent from the Pinkberry short film spoof that was so popular among Deadline Hollywood readers, has landed a supporting role in Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar. After Deadline aired the Pinkberry short film that was made for a WME retreat, Fisher signed with ICM and landed a lead in Final Destination 5. In J. Edgar, he plays Agent Garrison, an FBI man who interviews his boss, J. Edgar Hoover, at different stages in the movie.

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Jeffrey Donovan Playing RFK in ‘J. Edgar’

Mike Fleming

Burn Notice star Jeffrey Donovan has joined Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar, playing Hoover’s rival Robert F. Kennedy in the Warner Bros. film. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the manipulative FBI chief. Besides the distinction of being asked back into a film by Eastwood (Donovan previously played a ruthless cop alongside Angelina Jolie in Changeling), Donovan grew up just outside of Boston in Amesbury, Mass., so playing RFK is a highlight for him. Production on the film has already begun, but Donovan will shoot his scenes next week. He just directed Bruce Campbell in Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe, a prequel telepic that airs April 17, and he starts production on the fifth season of the USA Network series March 21. He’s repped by Paradigm.

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Josh Lucas Lands Lindbergh in ‘J. Edgar’

Mike Fleming

Josh Lucas, already a candidate to play the 16th President in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, has landed the role of aviator Charles Lindbergh in the Clint Eastwood-directed J. Edgar for Warner Bros. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the FBI head and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment is producing with Eastwood’s Malpaso. Lucas next stars opposite Matthew McConaughey in The Lincoln Lawyer. He’s repped by WME.

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‘Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick joins ‘J. Edgar’

Mike Fleming

Gossip Girl star Ed Westwick has landed a major supporting role in J. Edgar, the Clint Eastwood-directed drama about manipulative FBI director J. Edgar Hoover that stars Leonardo DiCaprio. At the same time, Charlize Theron will not be playing the role of Helen Gandy, as was rumored. She’s signing on for Snow White and the Huntsman at Universal and Eastwood is now looking at Naomi Watts and Amy Adams as possibles for the Gandy role. As for Westwick, the British actor will play a clean cut operative with writing skill. Once Hoover discovers he can write, he conscripts Agent Smith to write Hoover’s biography, until Smith gets a little too close to the truth. The film’s produced by Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment and Eastwood’s Malpaso. The Social Network‘s Armie Hammer also signed on to play Hoover’s assistant and secret lover Clyde Tolson.

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