EXCLUSIVE: Paradigm has signed Lynn Collins. Managed by Untitled Entertainment’s Jason Newman and Stephanie Simon, Collins starred in John Carter and also starred in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. She played Portia opposite Al Pacino in the feature adaptation of The …
EXCLUSIVE: While Andrew Stanton‘s live-action feature directing debut John Carter led to a precedent-setting $200 million write-down for Disney earlier this summer, the filmmaker is officially out of director jail. I’ve been hearing for months that he would come aboard to direct the sequel to Disney-based Pixar‘s Finding Nemo, with the idea that Disney would give him another shot behind the camera on a live-action film.
I’m told he’s now officially come aboard the Finding Nemo sequel and has a concept the studio loves. Pixar continues to not be helpful on this, as they don’t comment on development. It’s understandable why Disney and Pixar would be excited by this. Stanton won two Oscars for his animation work on Wall-E and Finding Nemo. That original 2003′s fish tale’s $867.9 million worldwide gross makes it still Pixar’s second-highest-grossing film and the third-biggest Disney animated film release ever. And that comes before Finding Nemo is re-released in 3D in September.
Disney has quietly joined Universal, Fox, and Warner Bros in refusing to provide DVDs to low-cost rental firms including Redbox and Netflix on the day the discs go on sale, Home Media Magazine reports. The unannounced change caught people’s attention this week when Redbox kiosks didn’t have Disney’s John Carter, released on home video this past Tuesday. But those waiting for the financial mega-bomb to hit Redbox — so they’d only have to pay $1.20 a night to see what the fuss was about — won’t have to wait long. The company will simply buy discs from retailers so it can offer them for rental by June 12. “Redbox has always worked with Disney on a per title basis, without a contract,” the Coinstar-owned company says. “We will be sourcing John Carter through alternative means.” Redbox began to do the same thing with Warner Bros releases this year after the studio said it would double the delay period to 56 days before it would offer wholesale terms for its rental discs. Redbox has agreed to terms with Universal and Fox that include a 28-day delay. Other studios including Paramount and Lionsgate provide home videos the same day they hit retail shelves.
BOMBS AWAY! ‘Battleship’ Sinks To $25.3M Torpedoed By Still Strong ‘Avengers’; Lame ‘What To Expect’ Behind Limp ‘The Dictator’
May 18-20 Weekend Actuals
1. Marvel’s The Avengers (Disney) Week 3 [4,249 Runs] PG13
Friday $15.2M, Saturday $23.6M, Sunday $16.8M Weekend $55.6M (-46%), Cume $457.7 M
2. Battleship (Universal) NEW [3,690 Runs] PG13
Friday $8.8M, Saturday $9.7M, Sunday $7.0M Weekend $25.5M
3. The Dictator (Paramount) NEW-Wed [3,008 Runs] R
Friday $5.7M, Saturday $6.7M, Sunday $5.1M, Weekend $17.4M, Cume $24.5M
4. Dark Shadows (Warner Bros)
Shares are up slightly in post-market trading after Disney delivered an earnings report with a little of something for everybody. The company generated net income of $1.22B, up 21.3% vs the period last …
The early responses show that Disney watchers are miffed by the studio unit’s debacle with John Carter, but not enough to change their overall opinion of the company as one of their darlings. Here are some of the initial reactions. After the analyst’s name and affiliation, I’ve noted the person’s stock recommendation, any change in his or her earnings-per-share forecast for the fiscal year that ends in September, and key comments. I’ll add reports if and when they come in.
Drew Crum (Stifel Nicolaus) Rating: Buy. Change to FY 2012 EPS: -7 cents to $2.96. “(N)o change to our thesis here as we … continue to view the FY12 slate as weaker vs. last year…While discouraged by another large film loss (last year it was Mars Needs Moms) we’re not deterred and continue to focus on the positives including Media Networks + Parks.”
“In light of the theatrical performance of John Carter ($184 million global box office), we expect the film to generate an operating loss of approximately $200 million during our second fiscal quarter ending March 31. As a result, our
$101.2M Worldwide: But ‘John Carter’s $30.6M Weak Domestic Weekend Lags #1 ‘The Lorax’; Eddie Murphy Bombs Again
March 9-11 Weekend Actuals
1. The Lorax (Illumination/Universal) Week 2 [3,746 Theaters] PG
Friday $9.6M, Saturday $17.9M, Sunday $11.4M, Weekend $38.8M (-45%), Cume $121.7M
2. John Carter (Disney) NEW [3,749 Theaters] PG13
Friday $9.8M, Saturday $12.3M, Sunday $8M, Weekend $30.2M
3. Project X (Warner Bros) Week 2 [3,055 Theaters] R
Friday $4M, Saturday $4.4M, Sunday $2.7M, Weekend $11.1M (-47%), Cume $39.7M
4. Act Of Valor (Relativity) Week 3 [2,951 Theaters] R
Friday $2.0M, Saturday $3.1M, Sunday $1.9M, Weekend $7M (-49%), Cume $56.1M
5. Silent House (LD Entertainment/Open Road) NEW [2,124 Theaters] R
Friday $2.7M, Saturday $2.7M, Sunday $1.3M, Weekend $6.7M
6. A Thousand Words (DreamWorks/Paramount) NEW [1,890 Theaters] PG13
Friday $1.9M, Saturday $2.7M, Sunday $1.5M, Weekend $6.2M
7. Safe House (Universal) Week 5 [2,144 Theaters] R
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $2.2M, Sunday $1.2M, Weekend $4.8M (-35%), Cume $115.6M
8. The Vow (Screen Gems/Sony) Week 5 [2,478 Theaters] PG13
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $1.7M, Sunday $866K, Weekend $3.8M (-36%), Cume $117.5M
9. This Means War (Fox) Week 4 [1,949 Theaters] PG13
Friday $1.2M, Saturday $1.7M, Sunday $846K Weekend $3.8M (-33%), Cume $46.9M
10. Journey 2 (Warner Bros) Week 5 [2,525 Theaters] PG
Friday $874K, Saturday $1.7M, Sunday $1M, Weekend $3.6M (-45%), Cume $90.6M
9TH UPDATE, SUNDAY AM: Disney just released international figures from 55 territories, representing about 80% of the foreign market where John Carter was released this weekend. It opened to $70.6M. Combined with its domestic cume, the 3D sci-fi epic has now made $101.2M. “John Carter opened in Russia on March 8, and had the highest opening day in Russian cinema history and went on to be the #1 opening weekend of the year,” the studio said “John Carter was the #1 U.S. film in all of our major opened markets in Asia, Latin America and Europe.” Globally, IMAX’s box office take this weekend was $9.5M, with Russia the standout market. (3D-crazy China opens March 16th.) IMAX accounted for 64% of North American business in 3D, or $5M, and its 289 domestic screens represented a disproportionate 17% of the film’s overall GBO. Exit studies confirmed that IMAX’s core audience of fanboys were the film’s most supportive audience.
8TH UPDATE, SUNDAY AM: So 2012 keeps posting strong box office, and this weekend’s $140M is up +8.6% over last year. Universal’s $70M-budget holdover Dr Suess’ The Lorax is a huge #1 again. But Disney’s 3D sci-fi newcomer John Carter finished a feeble #2 considering its whopping $250+M cost. Friday’s domestic box office numbers for director Andrew Stanton’s actioner came in even weaker than predicted but rival studios tell me the loincloth epic experienced an unexpected double-digit bounce on Saturday. Clearly word of mouth, like the ‘B+’ CinemaScore from audiences, is helping although reviews were decidedly mixed. Only Monday actuals will confirm whether Disney got its “miracle” and John Carter‘s North American box office opening this weekend had a ’3′ in front of it. But that still means a massive $100+M writeoff for the parent company if this dismal opening affects the new pic’s international fortunes. The studio’s Prince of Persia, for instance, opened similarly weak in North America, then made up its domestic deficit overseas. Disney made a gigantic worldwide day-and-date push for John Carter and says Russia was especially ”very strong”. “We have some good starts in Europe, with some softer than we hoped. A few Asian territories are strong where this type of film plays well,” an exec tells me.
To summarize: this flop is the result of a studio trying to indulge Pixar… Of an arrogant director who ignored everybody’s warnings that he was making a film too faithful to Edgar Rice Burroughs’s first novel in the Barsoom series “A Princess of Mars”… Of the failure of Dick Cook, and Rich Ross, and Bob Iger to rein in Stanton’s excessive ego or pull the plug on the movie’s bloated budget … Of really rotten marketing that failed to explain the significant or scope of the film’s Civil War-to-Mars story and character arcs and instead made the 3D movie look way as generic as its eventual title… Disagree all you want, but Hollywood is telling me that competent marketing could have drawn in women with the love story, or attracted younger males who weren’t fanboys of the source material. Instead the campaign was as rigid and confusing as the movie itself, not to mention that ’Before Star Wars, Before Avatar‘ tag line should have come at the start and not at the finish. But even more I think John Carter is a product of mogul wuss-ism as much as it is misplaced talent worship. More detail to come.
Disney wasn’t the only studio mourning. Eddie Murphy has yet another bomb in DreamWorks/Paramount’s A Thousand Words which received a ‘B-’ CinemaScore. “A Thousand Words is the last live action movie to be released by Paramount that was produced by Dreamworks,” the studio made a point of telling me. Directed by Brian Robbins, the PG-13 comedy (with a zero score on Rotten Tomatoes) demonstrates the tragic degree to which reviewers and audience have deserted Eddie Murphy. Paramount marketing targeted a 4 1/2-week campaign to reach all African American adult audiences and older women. But I found that the spots never explained the movie’s premise adequately. On the other hand, no one cared. The trailer debuted last November. Lots of TV and radio were bought for female-oriented programs as well as high-profile NBA games. A week-long BET promotion released this past week along with promotions on Lifetime and Comedy Central. Paramount also made use of Tyler Perry’s popularity by piggybacking with his cable show House Of Payne and movie opening Good Deeds. Individual TV shows included BET’s The Game, VH1′s Basketball Wives, E!’s Khloe and Lamar and Ice Loves Coco. There was a “best of” Eddie Murphy content piece, with slideshows and additional videos. “With the scale of all partners combined, these placements potentially reached an audience of over 97 million monthly unique visitors online,” an exec tells me. Eddie himself did an extensive publicity campaign for the pic. And yet the movie tanked. Where Eddie’s career goes from here will be debated. He should have hosted the Oscars. Now he really needs to go back into television…
Open Road made a point of telling me it was only distributing the R-rated horror pic Silent House as “a service deal for our friends at LD Entertainment (formerly known as Liddell Entertainment”. Embarassing that audiences gave the genre film Silent House the dreaded ‘F’ CinemaScore. The film was budgeted at under $1M and and acquired by LD Entertainment at Sundance 2011 where the indie remake of the acclaimed ultra-low-budget Uruguayan film La Casa Muda (based on true events) premiered. In 2003 directors Chris Kentis and Laura Lau enjoyed huge success with the low-budget thriller Open Water. Genre movie fans take their horror seriously.
Here’s the Top 10:
1. The Lorax (Universal) Week 2 [3,746 Theaters]
Friday $9.8M, Saturday $19.3M, Weekend $39M, Cume $121.9M
2. John Carter (Disney) NEW [3,749 Theaters]
Friday $9.8M, Saturday $12.3M, Weekend $30.6M
3. Project X (Warner Bros) Week 2 [3,055 Theaters]
Friday $3.9M, Saturday $4.5M, Weekend $11.5M, Cume $40.1M
4. Silent House (LD Entertainment/Open Road) NEW [1,890 Theaters]
Friday $2.6M, Saturday $2.7M, Weekend $7M
5. Act Of Valor (Relativity) Week 3 [2,951 Theaters]
Friday $2.0M, Saturday $3.1M, Weekend $7M, Cume $56.1M
6. A Thousand Words (DreamWorks/Paramount) NEW [2,124 Theaters]
Friday $1.9M, Saturday $2.7M, Weekend $6.3M
7. Safe House (Universal) Week 5 [2,144 Theaters]
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $2.2M, Weekend $4.9M, Cume $115.7M
8. The Vow (Screen Gems/Sony) Week 5 [2,478 Theaters]
Friday $1.2M, Saturday $1.7M, Weekend $4M, Cume $117.6M
9. Journey 2 (Warner Bros) Week 5 [2,525 Theaters]
Friday $850K, Saturday $1.8M, Weekend $3.6M, Cume $90.7M
10. This Means War (Fox) Week 4 [1,848 Theaters]
Friday $1.2M, Saturday $#1.6M, Weekend $3.7M, Cume $46.8M
Disney sent a message to thousands of financial analysts and Wall Street types aimed at drawing their attention to about-to-bomb $250M-budget John Carter even though it’s looking like a $100 million writeoff. Talk about tone deaf. “The best part is the subject line of the email. Disney obviously hasn’t noticed …
Hollywood is in a tizzy over the early tracking which just came online this morning for Walt Disney Studios‘ John Carter opening March 9th. “Not good. 2 unaided, 53 aware, 27 definitely interested, 3 first choice,” a senior exec at a rival studio emails me. Another writes me, ”It just came out. Women of all ages have flat out rejected the film. The tracking for John Carter is shocking for a film that cost over $250 million. This could be the biggest writeoff of all time.” I’m hearing figures in the neighborhood of $100 million. And the studio isn’t even trying to spin reports of the 3D pic’s bloated budget any more.
Now, to be fair, this very soft tracking has been expected. The studios’ private reports have shown for some time very soft awareness and very little wannasee. So what’s Disney’s explanation? “It’s the last leftover from the previous regime of Dick Cook,” an executive who works for successor Rich Ross reminds me. “We’re not running away from the movie. Our job is to sell it.” Then again, Cook also left Ross Alice In Wonderland to sell, too, along with other hits and a few misses.
Here’s Disney’s game spot for John Carter, directed by Andrew Stanton and starring Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins and Willem Dafoe. Opens March 9.
Here’s a teaser for Disney’s Super Bowl spot for John Carter. There’s a contest tie-in for a trip to Super Bowl XLVII in 2013 in New Orleans. Details within.
Disney has released a new trailer for John Carter, the science-fiction epic based on the series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs that stars Taylor Kitsch as the Confederate veteran and gentleman warrior who finds himself mysteriously transported to Mars, where he becomes a planetary legend.
Disney Announces Two New Pixar Films
Who needs Comic-Con when you can do it yourself?
That must be exactly what Disney is thinking as it continues its massive second annual Disney D23/ Expo, the “ultimate fan event” taking place all weekend long at the Anaheim Convention Center right next to Disneyland (the name refers to 1923, the year Walt Disney started his studio). It’s an offshoot of the official Disney Fan Club and includes a ginormous exhibition center with every imaginable opportunity to buy Disneyana, numerous fan events and celebrity-sighting opps, and then there was today’s centerpiece: a near-three-hour preview of movies in the pipeline from Disney, Pixar and Marvel (which announced a partnership with the company in 2009 that is just now gearing up).
Call it “Mickey Con”. It’s all a bit overwhelming, so no wonder it takes three days just to get through it all. The event continues through the end of Sunday.
After his major presentation of the new Disney slate in the gargantuan arena in front of 4200 seemingly rabid fans (and a few more restrained press members), I caught up with Walt Disney Studios chairman Rich Ross in the Green Room for an exclusive interview in which he talked about the possibilities of a fifth Pirate.s of the Caribbean film as well as his first comments on the demise of Pirates team Johnny Depp and Jerry Bruckheimer’s about-to-shoot Western The Lone Ranger, which Deadline’s Mike Fleming first reported had been dropped by Disney due to budgetary concerns on the pricey pic. When I asked Ross if there was anything new to report he said, ”Nothing definitive. There is nothing new. I’m hoping to do it, I’m certainly hoping. I think it’s a compelling story and no one wants to work with Jerry and Johnny more than me, so we’ll see how it works.” And about the possibility of a fifth Pirates? The situation is obviously clouded with the Lone Ranger situation, but again he used the word “hopeful.”