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‘Thor: The Dark World’ Scores Superhuman $109M Overseas, Boosts Disney To Another All-Time Int’l Record

By | Sunday November 3, 2013 @ 11:02am PST
Mike Fleming

Disney scored a Marvelous haul opening Thor: The Dark World overseas early Wednesday to $109.4M in 36 territories. The film opens stateside next Friday and is already making history. Thor 2‘s early take helped bump Disney’s international box office on the year beyond its previous all time $2.302B record with two months of global cash-collecting to go. The studio brought the Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman Marvel sequel early and at #1 in key territories France, the UK, Korea, Germany, Spain, Taiwan, Australia, Russia, Mexico, and Brazil and still has Argentina, Italy, China, and Japan on the docket; at this pace it’s hurtling towards a better run than the first Thor flick overseas.

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‘The Wind Rises’ Set For North American Release In February

By | Wednesday September 11, 2013 @ 6:36pm PDT

Hayao Miyazaki‘s The Wind Rises is set for limited release in North American theaters on February 21 and will expand a week later, Disney and Studio Ghibli announced tonight. Under the Touchstone Pictures banner, the film also will play Oscar-qualifying engagements in New York and Los Angeles on November 8-14. The Wind Rises — which has been the No. 1 film in Japan for the past eight weeks — made its international debut at the Venice Film Festival this month, where it was revealed that this would be Oscar winner Miyazaki’s last film. The animated pic features a mix of the real-life stories of aircraft designer Jiro Horikoshi and poet Tatsuo Hori. It had its North American premiere tonight at the Toronto International Film Festival.

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‘The Avengers’ Marketing Chiefs Assemble For New Golden Trailers Nod

By | Wednesday May 1, 2013 @ 5:38pm PDT

Avengers, Golden Trailer AwardsIf your trophy show is going to inaugurate its first new category since the Clinton administration, not a bad idea to dole it out to the third-biggest film of all time. Deadline has learned exclusively that the Golden Trailer Awards will lay its spanking-new Top of the Box Office prize for the year’s top-grossing film on the marketing superheroes behind Disney/Marvel’s superflick The Avengers. The trailer-topped statuette will go to Walt Disney Studios’ Asad Ayaz, SVP Marketing, Live Action and Marvel, and John “Ibby” Ibsen, SVP Creative Film Services. While saving the world, The Avengers made off with $1.51B worldwide last year, beating the No. 2 title, Sony’s Skyfall, by more than $400M. The 14th annual Golden Trailers — which honor achievement in movie marketing, including film trailers, posters and TV spots — will be handed out Friday at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. Rob Schneider and Aisha Tyler are your hosts.

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Disney Announces ‘Avengers 2′ In Development

The Avengers Sequel This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who sat through the credits of The Avengers, or who simply looked at the film’s record-breaking box office sales this past weekend. Still, fans (and investors) will be glad to hear that Disney CEO Bob Iger just announced that the company is developing a sequel. The film’s success “is a great illustration of why we like Marvel so much.” Demand for Avengers merchandise has been strong, he added.

Related: Disney Tops Fiscal Q2 Earnings Estimates With Boosts From Cable And Theme Parks

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Report: Studios Should Prepare For “The Death Of Superheroes”

It may be indelicate to make this argument just as thousands of fantasy fans are converging on San Diego for the annual Comic-Con. But the movie business may soon find itself mourning “the death of superheroes,” Susquehanna Financial Group’s Vasily Karasyov says in an intriguing report this morning. The analyst says that the boom in superhero movies began around 2000 as computer generated imagery (CGI) made it easier for filmmakers to credibly show action that defies the laws of physics. Virtually all of the most popular films of the last decade couldn’t have been made without CGI. Within that group Karasyov counts 16 superhero films, not counting sequels, resulting in four franchises: Fox’s X-Men, Sony’s Spider-Man, Warner Bros’ Batman, and Paramount’s Iron Man. Yet nothing has taken off since Iron Man came out in 2008, he says, largely because studios have already tapped their hottest properties. “As film studios dig deeper into catalogues for characters for new films, we think the chances of finding a break out property are diminishing fast” — even though the films still come with high production costs — Karasyov writes. If superhero films fail to catch on, then studios can forget about raking in lots of additional revenue from licensed merchandise. The bottom line: Investors should expect “growing risks to (financial growth) estimates” for companies including Disney and Time Warner that are looking to superheroes to help rescue their studio profits. And Disney CEO Bob Iger may end … Read More »

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Leak Leads To Disney Earnings Drama

Disney released its earnings report today, but a leak of the numbers before the bell rung had investors making moves before trading actually ended. So shares dropped 5% in the final half hour before ending with a 2.9% loss. The company has said it’s investigating. As for the actual earnings, net income fell to $835 million from $895 million compared to a year ago. Revenues were flat at a 1% drop. The company said its fiscal 4th quarter profit dropped on charges and a decline in earnings at its cable channels and theme parks. Disney’s Media Networks division, which includes cable channels ESPN and ABC Family, experienced a revenue drop of 6.6% and a profit drop 18%. On the film side, however, the studio posted a profit of $104 million on the back of Toy Story 3 after seeing a loss same quarter last year. Bob Iger said that a shorter week in the quarter and a shift in collecting ESPN revenues were the main reasons for the company’s overall performance, but the outlook is bright. “With the acquisition of Marvel, our brand and franchise portfolio is stronger than ever and we’re confident our global growth strategy positions the company well to thrive in the coming years,” he said. 

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Paramount To End Relationship With Marvel In 2012: Disney Will Distribute ‘Iron Man 3′ and ‘The Avengers’

UPDATE: The Walt Disney Studios deal to buy Paramount Pictures out of the final two films of its  six-picture distribution deal with Marvel Studios amounts to the Mouse paying a premium to get cracking on its $4 billion investment in Marvel. When you break down the numbers, it’s a pretty good deal for both studios. Paramount had been earning an 8% distribution fee on the Marvel titles like Iron Man. Paramount also put up P&A and got reimbursed over time. The $115 million will be paid in two installments–half when The Avengers is released May 4, 2012, and the other half when Iron Man 3 is released May 3, 2013. If those movies perform more strongly than expected, Paramount will earn more than $115 million advance. I’m told that Paramount is actually getting 9% on that third Iron Man movie, a reward for launching one of Hollywood’s most valuable franchises. So essentially, Paramount is getting paid without having to put up the P&A or exert the manpower that goes into releasing summer blockbusters.

Paramount loses bragging rights that come with counting the worldwide grosses in its annual tally. But considering that Disney kept 92% of the profits that came from Iron Man 2′s $622 million worldwide revenues, how much were those bragging rights really worth? Paramount needed the Marvel deal when it was signed because the studio had little of its own homegrown franchise product to lean on. Marvel and DreamWorks product got the studio through lean times. DreamWorks is gone and Marvel will be out in 2012, but Paramount is already in a much better place. The $50 million grosses on the $20 million budget Jackass 3D indicate that this franchise is far from done. Transformers 3 gets released in July, a fourth Mission:Impossible is in production and will be released for holiday, 2011. The following year brings another Star Trek, G.I. Joe and the relaunch of the Tom Clancy-created Jack Ryan series, with Chris Pine playing the CIA analyst. Paramount next week releases Paranormal Activity 2, and it owns worldwide distribution rights on sequels. Many of those movies are coming from core lot producers Bad Robot and Lorenzo di Bonaventura, and newcomer Platinum Dunes is revamping the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. Clearly, Paramount won’t need the product in 2012 as much as it has in recent years. Paramount will still distribute Thor on May 6, 2011 and The First Avenger: Captain America on July 22, 2011. Read More »

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Will Dr. Strange Be Marvel’s First Superhero To Fly Under the Disney Banner?

Mike Fleming

dr20strangeEXCLUSIVE: Marvel Studios has hired Conan scribes Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer to write Dr. Strange, marking forward progress on a long-gestating superhero property which will likely be among the first Marvel films generated under the Disney banner.  Aside from Conan–the Marcus Nispel-directed Lionsgate film that stars Jason Momoa–Donnelly and Oppenheimer also scripted a live action adaptation of the vidgame Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune for Sony and producer Chuck Roven, and they wrote a draft of the Jon Favreau-directed Cowboys and Aliens for DreamWorks/Universal.

Originated in 1963 by Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, Dr. Strange was a self-centered New York surgeon robbed of his touch after a car accident. After a stint as a wandering derelict, he found his way to a healer in the Himalayas, where he learned to tap into psychic powers to battle evil wizards and other wrongdoers. His mind is his weapon, rather than the brute force that distinguish most memorable Marvel heroes.

Dr. Strange has had a long strange journey to the screen that included stints at Savoy Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Dimension Films and Paramount–with a parade of writers and directors that included Bob Gale, Wes Craven, David Goyer, Stephen Norrington and Guillermo del Toro. Marvel finally got the rights  and brought the property back into the fold.

Marvel Studios has four more films committed to be distributed through Paramount (including Iron-Man 3). Those will include Thor and The First Avenger: Captain America, with the last to likely be … Read More »

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