Johnny Depp is in negotiations for the lead role in Lionsgate‘s Mortdecai, an adaptation of the 1970s novels by Kyril Bonfiglioli. David Koepp is set to direct from Eric Aronson’s script. Depp would play …
July 4th Global Weekend: ‘Despicable Me 2′ Giant $293.2M and #1, ‘Lone Ranger’ Dismal $73.2M For Depp, ‘Let Me Explain’ $17.3M
SUNDAY NOON, 13TH UPDATE: As predicted fireworks blazed at the Fourth Of July box office which headed to $229M domestic through Sunday (+16% from last year) and a new 3-day weekend record for the holiday. But there was only bad news for Disney’s #2 too-expensive The Lone Ranger (3,904 theaters) which opened disastrously Wednesday, remained weak on Thursday, did only $10.6M Friday, and flatlined for $10.7M Saturday. That’s a very disappointing 5-day holiday of $48.9M max. The two-quadrant Western won’t cover its high $215M-$250M cost despite this holiday’s 4x multiple. The Johnny Depp-Armie Hammer starrer’s domestic cume is way below Disney’s initial lowball projection of $65M and the 3rd big-budget bomb of Summer 2013. (Two Sony pics – White House Down and After Earth- also were expensive bombs.) As Deadline was first to report, the studio in August 2011 shut down Lone Ranger for six months after the budget ballooned out of control. Too bad Disney didn’t just scrap the pic altogether. Depp’s worldwide popularity may, repeat may, help overseas where oaters usually don’t excel.Lone Ranger opened day and date in 30% of the foreign landscape but only 4 big markets: Italy and Russia (released July 2) and Australia and Korea (July 4). It made $24.3M internationally for a global cume of $73.2M through Sunday. Ouch!
Far different result for the #1 movie, Illumination Entertainment’s and Universal’s Despicable Me 2 (3,957 theaters) which only cost a very reasonable $76M. It is the #1 film in the world this weekend, opening atop the U.S. and Canadian box office with a record-breaking estimated gross of $142.1M. The 3D toon posted the biggest 5-day opening for an animated film and the top 3-day animated opening in July (earning $82.5M). Internationally, its gross widened to 6,849 dates in 45 territories to total $151.1M. The combined global cume is $293.2M. This marks Universal’s second biggest international opening weekend ever behind Fast & Furious 6 ($161M). Day after day pic kept overperforming in North America for the 5-day holiday. (“We stood here watching Rentrak and wondering, ‘Could it be?’” a Uni exec tells me.) The new worldwide cumulative easily passed $200M Saturday on its way to $300M through Sunday. Not only is DM2 performing well ahead of the original film globally but also on par with such toon franchise megahits as Toy Story 3, Ice Age 4, Madagascar 3 and Shrek 4. And the sequel’s opening is among the top animated openings of all time in every market. Pic has 18 more territories to open over the next few months.
Kevin Hart’s concert pic Let Me Explain (876 theaters) from Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment made $3.7M Friday and the studio projects $17.4M for the 5-day holiday. It’s yet another surprisingly strong debut from the standup comedian’s rabid and rapidly growing fanbase in the cheapest film and smallest theater count of the Fourth Of July field from major studios. Studio harnessed Hart’s social media network to plug the pic.
More analysis below. Here’s the Top Ten estimates:
1. Despicable Me 2 (Universal) NEW [Runs 3,957]
Wednesday $35.0M, Thursday $24.5M, Friday $30.5M, Saturday $29.6M
3-Day Weekend $82.5M, Domestic Cume $142.1M
International Cume $151.1M, Worldwide Total $293.1M
2. The Lone Ranger (Disney) NEW [Runs 3,904]
Wednesday $9.6M, Thursday $9.8M, Friday $10.6M, Saturday $10.7M
3-Day Weekend $29.4M, Domestic Cume $48.9M
International Cume $24.3M, Worldwide Total $73.2M
UPDATE, 11:24 AM: Deadline broke news last night that Johnny Depp was teetering toward the exit door on Black Mass, the Barry Levinson-directed story of Whitey Bulger, with Joel Edgerton playing his disgraced FBI pal John Connolly. There was some hope last night that after some hard negotiating, things might turn around and Depp would stay in the movie. I’m now told that’s not going to happen. The financiers, Cross Creek and Exclusive Media, are moving to recast the lead, balking at paying Depp the equivalent of $23 million to headline the indie crime drama. If you remember, Ben Affleck planned to direct buddy Matt Damon in a Bulger picture, but this news isn’t going to help those heavily booked fellas. The Black Mass team — which sold the picture heavily in Cannes — expect to have a new star in place so they can shoot the picture later this year.
After four days of pristine presentations of certified vintage (mostly) classic movies, the TCM Classic Film Festival saved its only new film for the last day Sunday with the official world premiere of the documentary Don’t Say No Until I Finish Talking: The Story Of Richard D. Zanuck. The 90-minute doc begins airing on TCM next month, and it’s not only a must for anyone interested in the extraordinary career of Zanuck, but as a primer on survival in the dog-eat-dog movie industry.
Even though the Egyptian Theatre screening was a “world premiere”, the film actually was first seen in early October at Zanuck’s memorial service at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. (Zanuck died July 13 of a sudden heart attack at age 77). As his widow and co-Oscar-winning producer Lili Fini Zanuck (Driving Miss Daisy, Cocoon) told me before Sunday’s screening, “When it was time to do the memorial I was so grateful to have this footage. There’s just nothing that could come close. There’s no montage I could have come up with or people speaking — you never would have wanted people speaking for some 90-odd minutes. And I felt so fortunate that night at the Academy to have this incredible documentary. It is not that it just follows Dick’s life, it’s that it is incredibly inspiring to people… After the memorial some people came up to me and said ‘Oh I wish I knew Dick this way’, and I said ‘You would never know Dick this way’. He wasn’t that kind of person. He didn’t see himself as a role model of any kind I think. He was just doing his best , and in his youth he was sort of rough and tumble. He would have gotten a big kick out of people finding him inspiring.”
Exhibitors I polled this week at CinemaCon had more faith in franchises than star-driven blockbusters on the 2013 slate. Like Tom Cruise in Oblivion, Will Smith is still a big deal to theater owners. He’s just not a sure thing in a slow-moving sci-fi vehicle like Sony’s After Earth, which now opens May 31. Johnny Depp scored biggest with a surprise appearance in front of elated NATO members and the promise of another eccentric blockbuster role, but the specters of Universal’s Cowboys & Aliens and Disney’s own John Carter loom over the Western. Paramount even trotted out an uncomfortable-looking Brad Pitt to boost World War Z, but exhibitors worry the zombie pic won’t be a must-see for moviegoers. Jennifer Lawrence and Lionsgate’s Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire, on the other hand, had CinemaCon attendees seeing dollar signs. Meanwhile the problem with Aubrey Plaza winning CinemaCon’s Breakthrough Performer Of The Year award (on the heels of her MTV Movie Awards stunt) is that exhibitors still have no idea who she is. The Parks And Recreation star is better known to younger TV viewers than the corporate-leaning CinemaCon crowd. And many theater owners still see television as the enemy, including Regal CEO Amy Miles, who said as much at a CinemaCon luncheon Thursday.
But mid-sized theater owners are realizing they have to cater to their audiences, and those may not always be blockbuster crowds. “My biggest movie of last year was The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel“, a 40-year owner of a Michigan resort-town cinema said. “At my theater, the biggest star is Kevin James”, another operator of a California second-run multiplex told me. One thing that was not bankable at CinemaCon 2013: High-frame-rate technology. The Hobbit stumbled at last year’s confab by pushing its 48 FPS HFR 3D to exhibitors. Despite the first pic’s $1 billion global box office, nobody this year was pinning hopes on HFR specifically in The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug this Christmas — even Peter Jackson, who conspicuously made no mention of it in his taped message to the CinemaCon audience.
It’s clear even from this Japanese-subtitled, English-language version that producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski have endeavored to deliver a rousing popcorn movie with Armie Hammer as the title character and Johnny Depp as his spirit warrior partner Tonto. Whether they succeeded or not, we’ll find out …
LOS ANGELES, CA, MARCH 5, 2013 – Rebecca Hall is set to star alongside Johnny Depp and Paul Bettany in Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister’s directorial debut, TRANSCENDENCE, it was announced by Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove, co-founders and co-CEOs of Alcon Entertainment, which is financing and producing the project.
Principal photography is set to begin in April in Los Angeles. Warner Bros. will release the film on April 25, 2014 via its output deal with Alcon.
When Deadline broke the story that Johnny Depp would star as Whitey Bulger in the Barry Levinson-directed Black Mass, it raised a lot of questions about his intentions to star in Transcendence, the film directed by Chris Nolan’s visionary cinematographer Wally Pfister. His reps have now clarified the dance card of Depp, who’ll next be seen reuniting with Gore Verbinski in The Lone Ranger this summer. Here’s the deal:
LOS ANGELES (February 27, 2013) — Johnny Depp is set to star in Transcendence, the directorial debut of Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister. The film will begin principal photography in April.
The film is being financed and produced by Alcon Entertainment’s Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove and will be released by Warner Bros. The film will also be produced by Straight Up Films’ Annie Marter, Marisa Polvino and Kate Cohen along with David Valdes. Pfister will direct from newcomer Jack Paglen’s screenplay, which was developed with Annie Marter, with the most recent draft by Noah Oppenheim. Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas are serving as executive producers. Straight Up’s Regency Boies will co-produce.
Producers are not revealing the film’s plot.
Following Transcendence, Depp will segue into the crime thriller Black Mass, about notorious Boston mob boss Whitey Bulger, to be directed by Barry Levinson, with Jez Butterworth writing a new draft of the screenplay by Mark Mallouk, based on the New York Times best-seller Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill.
Filming is beginning in early summer of 2013.
NEW YORK (January 30, 2013) – Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired all North American rights to Charlie Paul’s directorial debut, FOR NO GOOD REASON from Itch Film. Foreign sales are being handled by Independent Film Sales. Charlie Paul, who has been a director in advertising for years and is a former artist himself, spent 10 years making FOR NO GOOD REASON. Produced by Itch Film’s co-founder Lucy Paul, the intimate documentary portrait focuses on Ralph Steadman and features Johnny Depp observing Steadman’s fascinating working process at his home studio.
EXCLUSIVE: Disney has closed a deal for an untitled pitch to be written by Steve Pink and Jeff Morris, and produced by Infinitum Nihil’s Johnny Depp and Christi Dembrowski. The project is best described as a modern re-imagining of Don Quixote. Depp has long been intrigued with that character, and at one time was attached to the Quixote film that Terry Gilliam has tried to make.
Pink and Morris met working on True Memoirs Of An International Assassin, a script that Morris wrote and which made the Black List, and to which Pink remains attached as director. For Screen Gems, Pink just wrapped directing Sexual Perversity In Chicago, an adaptation of the David Mamet play that was previously turned into the film About Last Night. Pink and Morris will start writing immediately even as Pink, best known for directing Accepted and Hot Tub Time Machine, eyes as his possible next film Contractors.
BREAKING: Johnny Depp is negotiating to star in Transcendence, the directorial debut of Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister. The project is being put together for an early 2013 shoot by Alcon Entertainment co-founders and co-CEOs Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove. Alcon will release through its output deal with Warner Bros.
The screenplay, written by newcomer Jack Paglen, was developed by Annie Marter and Straight Up Films, whose company principals include Marisa Polvino, Kate Cohen and Regency Boies. Polvino, Marter and Cohen will produce along with David Valdes (The Book Of Eli), Johnson and Kosove. Boies will co-produce. The plot of Transcendence is being kept under wraps.
Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas are serving as executive producers and Alcon is financing. Pfister won an Oscar for his cinematography on the Nolan-directed Inception. He has done seven films with Nolan and Thomas, including The Dark Knight Rises and Memento. He was also cinematographer on Moneyball and The Italian Job.
Johnny Depp’s Production Co. Teams With Yellow Bird Prods. & Tom Fontana For Series Based On Shakespeare’s Plays
EXCLUSIVE: Johnny Depp‘s Infinitum Nihil has partnered with leading Scandinavian producer Yellow Bird Productions, which is behind the original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo films, and Emmy-winning writer-producer Tom Fontana for a scripted series based on the plays of William Shakespeare.
Young writer Randall Fontana (no relation to Tom Fontana) will write the project, described as a modern take on the plays of The Bard, building on the existing characters and plots from several of his most notable plays. Infinitum Nihil, which is run by Depp’s sister Christi Dembrowski, Yellow Bird Prods, and Tom Fontana will executive produce.