EXCLUSIVE: Screenwriter and producer Ed Ricourt has signed with WME in all areas. Last summer the scribe enjoyed a hit with his first produced script, Summit’s magician caper Now You See Me, which Ricourt penned with Boaz Yakin sharing credits with Ed Solomon. The pic starred Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson and Michael Caine and grossed $351M worldwide, spawning an upcoming sequel. Ricourt is currently a consulting producer on Netflix’s upcoming Marvel series AKA Jessica Jones, about an ex-superheroine who hangs up her costume to open her own detective agency. He’s also scripting graphic novel adaptation Anomaly for Relativity and Roth Films. Ricourt was previously at CAA. He’s additionally repped by Madhouse Entertainment and George Davis.
Shooting on the follow-up to last year’s sleeper hit Now You See Me will take place in the U.S., Europe, and Asia “to capitalize on the property’s international appeal, with most of the original cast returning, and some exciting new additions,” Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told analysts this morning in a call to discuss the company’s fiscal Q3 earnings. He added later that execs “absolutely see it as a franchise. We’re going to add some cast to it. We see it as an ongoing situation.” Execs pushed the theme of Lionsgate as an incubator for franchises; Feltheimer says the company has “an ability to assemble and mine the richest and most diverse portfolios of [intellectual property] in the industry.” He considers upcoming films Gods Of Egypt, Chaos Walking, and Mordecai (“a character that Johnny Depp loves,” he says) as “potential franchises — later adding The Last Witch Hunter with Vin Diesel to the list plus “another one we hope to announce shortly.” Speaking of franchises, the CEO said that timetable for the Hunger Games series remains “unchanged” — with releases planned for late November this year and next — following the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. “We’re fortunate to have his incredible talent grace our Hunger Games family,” Feltheimer says. “We send our deepest condolences to all who were close to him.” The CEO also talked up the Divergent series, noting that the studio is “gearing up to begin shooting Insurgent, the second film in the franchise, this summer in order to make our March 2015 release date.”
‘Catching Fire,’ ‘Now You See Me’ Drive Lionsgate To Become Billion Dollar Baby 2nd Year Running; Company Box Office Take To Date: $2.25 Billion Worldwide
Driven by the phenomenal success of its blockbuster franchise Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Summit Entertainment’s Now You See Me – the sleeper hit heist film which grossed a whopping $235M internationally — Lionsgate announced this morning that it has grossed more than $1 billion at the domestic box office and another $1 billion-plus internationally for the second year in a row. In 2013, Lionsgate achieved its best year to date in China with six films which grossed an estimated $116.3 million in that territory. It has an 8% marketshare in China and, overall, its international cumes have been buoyed by other markets, such as Latin America, the UK and Russia.
Lionsgate passed the $1 billion mark this past Sunday in North America when Catching Fire added another estimated $8.5M domestically for a total cume to date of $371.5M. Internationally, it brought in another $11M in 83 territories for a total of $393.6M. All told, Lionsgate has grossed an estimated $1.025 billion domestically and another $1.227 billion at the international box office for a worldwide box office total of approximately $2.252 billion to date. That figure will jump higher as Catching Fire is still playing in theaters around the world. It is Catching Fire that amounts for the lion’s share for Lionsgate: The second installment of the franchise has grossed a total of $765M worldwide just in its first five weeks of release. It has outperformed the …
Global Showbiz Briefs: “Documentary” Sting Nabs Alleged Pirate Kingpin; ‘Now You See Me’ Tops Box Office In China; More
It’s The Old Consult-On-A-Movie-About-Maritime-Piracy Trick
If this real-life tale were pitched as a movie, it might go something like this: “Imagine Argo meets Captain Phillips, with a little In Bruges thrown in.” Mohamed Abdi Hassan, an alleged pirate mastermind, was arrested during the weekend after arriving in Belgium from Nairobi. He was led there by the belief that he was signing a deal to act as an expert adviser on a documentary about the Somali piracy business. Instead, he was met by authorities, who arrested him. Hassan, aka Afweyne or “Big Mouth”, was charged with hijacking the Belgian ship Pompei in 2009 and kidnapping its crew, per the Associated Press. Some of the pirates involved in that attack were caught and convicted, but Hassan remained at large. When he evaded capture in Malaysia in 2012, Belgian authorities took the undercover route and approached an alleged accomplice, Mohamed Aden, saying they wanted Hassan to “collaborate as adviser and expert in the matter on a film about maritime piracy,” federal prosecutor Johan Delmulle told The New York Times. After months of back-and-forth, Hassan and Aden agreed to travel to Belgium. When they arrived on Saturday, they were arrested and sent to Bruges for a court hearing. Today, the hearing was pushed to October 30.
‘Now You See Me’ Opens Atop Chinese Box Office With $9.1M
Heist pic Now You See Me was No. 1 at the Chinese box office over the weekend. The film about a group of magicians who pull off a complex caper made $9.1M in its first four days of release over the local holiday, FilmBizAsia reports. Local pic Love Will Tear Us Apart opened with $5.21M in its first two days and in its third weekend, Tsui Hark’s Young Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon took a further $6.93M for a cume of $88.7M, outperforming Hark’s last pic, 2011’s Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate.
UPDATE: They did it again. Lionsgate’s stock today hit an intra-day and 52-week high of $31.10 on the New York Stock Exchange. It closed at 30.92, up 0.63 or 2.08%. Lionsgate has been on a roll lately, surging in part to the successful Hunger Games and Twilight franchises. Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain from Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment opened Wednesday with a solid $4.7M from only 876 dates, a surprisingly strong debut.
PREVIOUS, Tuesday PM July 2: It’s becoming boring to report when Lionsgate shares hit a new high. That’s been a recurring story since the beginning of 2013 as the company’s stock price has soared 82.5%, helped in part by successful franchises including The Hunger Games and Twilight. But at least we have an unusual reason for this week’s increase, which pushed the mini-major studio to an all-time high closing price of $29.90 with today’s 2.4% rise following a 6.2% jump yesterday. It isn’t just because the studio’s May 31 release, Now You See Me, is doing better than investors expected, having grossed $104.6M domestically as of the weekend. Lionsgate is benefiting this week from Friday’s re-balancing of the Russell Index, which takes place each year at the end of June. The Index identifies companies that have significantly increased their market value. Many portfolio managers use that information to decide what to do …
EXCLUSIVE: Management 360 has just signed Dynamo, the most popular magician in the UK. The company says he was an inspiration for Dave Franco’s Jack Wilder character in the hit film Now You See Me, and Management 360 will try to make sure a lot more people see Dynamo: they will look to set up a U.S. television show. Dynamo currently has a hit show in the UK called Magician Impossible. Management 360 will look to get him involved in live tours and potentially film along with the TV effort. Dynamo blends large-scale illusions with incredible sleight of hand and innovative street magic. Some of his illusions include walking on water across the River Thames in London, as well as scaling the side of the LA Times building downtown. He continues to be repped out of the UK by Dan Albion of Inner Circle Films. Here is a look at what he does:
Will Smith’s ‘After Earth’ Fizzles Behind #2 ‘Now You See Me’, ‘Fast 6′ Still Sizzles At #1, ‘Epic’ And ‘Hangover III’ Guzzle Overseas
SUNDAY 1:30 AM, 4TH UPDATE: Still clocking in at #1 is Universal’s Fast & Furious 6 (3,686 theaters) which easily dominated the field again with $34M this weekend. The domestic cume should reach a huge $170M through Sunday. But the big story – or should I say, the sad story – is Sony Pictures/Columbia’s After Earth (3,401 theaters) starring Will Smith and his son and directed by the now unwatchable M Night Shyamalan. Big online ticketseller Fandango first spotted the pic’s underperformance when After Earth ticket sales began lagging Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment’s Now You See Me (2,925 theaters) on Thursday for shows beginning at 9 PM. The magic-themed heist thriller amazingly overtook After Earth on Friday and stayed #2 all weekend, debuting with $27.5M for the weekend. That overperforms the $20M which the studio was predicting. This pic is breaking the so-called ‘movies about magic’ curse. (But it’s really a caper flick…) The film cost right around $75M with 2/3s mitigated by foreign sales since that’s the Lionsgate model. The studio notes that grosses were strong throughout Friday and into the evening which indicates a broad audience. “Older audiences attended the matinee performances, and the younger audience came out to our late shows,” an exec tells me. Directed by Louis Leterrier (Clash Of The Titans), scripted by credited screenwriters Ed Solomon and Boaz Yakin & Edward Ricourt, and produced by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Bobby Cohen, it has an ensemble cast including Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, and Common with showy roles for vets Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. It earned an ’A-’ CinemaScore which should help word of mouth stay strong.
But #3 After Earth earned only a ‘B’ CinemaScore which won’t help or hurt word of mouth. It opened to a $26.5M weekend. That’s way less than the high $30sM to low $40sM which Sony was predicting and which tracking showed was possible right into Friday. On Friday, rival studios chortled its grosses were ”2.5 times worse than Jaden Smith’s Karate Kid reboot and half of Oblivion‘s opening” with Tom Cruise. Not hard to understand because reviews for the sci-fi newcomer were just plain awful: 13% positive on Rotten Tomatoes. To be fair, Sony Pictures rarely has a big underperformer like this. And rightly or wrongly depending on how much you care about Jaden Smith and/or nepotism in Hollywood, the studio positioned the movie as a broad family film, building on Jaden’s stardom from the worldwide hit The Karate Kid and reaching out to young teens and families. Will Smith’s residual mega-wattage was still strong enough to open the summer tentpole comfortably above $20M. But even that and Sony’s marketing prowess couldn’t overcome this Shyamalan meltdown, yet another in his string of box office stinkers which have made audiences and critics alike completely soured on him. (The director lost me forever after the execrable The Happening…) I’m told that Will really wanted M Night to direct – even though this subject matter decidedly wasn’t in Shyamalan’s wheelhouse - and they together developed the script for a “not terribly expensive” movie. But a budget of at least $130M is hardly insignificant. Still, given the fact that Smith has made billions for Sony Pictures, the studio felt it just couldn’t say no to its most successful movie partner. Now Smith and Sony must weather this very public failure. I’m told the studio worked “really hard” to fix this crapfest in post-production and that even an arrogant know-it-all like Shyamalan was aware the pic didn’t work but couldn’t fix it on his own. ”You keep hoping people are going to be as good as their best work,” one insider told me about this all-too-familiar filmdom situation. “Sometimes some collaborations bring forth amazing results. And some are not meant to be.” Without a solid opening in North America and no chance for a strong summer multiple, pic will have to depend on overseas grosses. Sony launched it internationally day and date in 3 locations this weekend, and Korea opened very strong, but the overseas rollout really begins next week and the week after. As for the studio, it still has projected winners coming up this summer like Grown-Ups 2, Elysium, Smurfs 2, and This Is The End from the Superbad/Pineapple Express comedy team.
Hoping to fill that drought in PG family fare at the domestic box office, Twentieth Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios’ Epic (3,894 theaters, the weekend’s biggest count) came in #4 and should be grossing more domestically but isn’t. Even with a big Saturday kiddie bump of +65% from Friday, it’ll only earn a $16M second weekend and $64.7 cume. But the toon’s real story will be international where it released wide Friday.
In #5, Paramount’s Star Trek Into Darkness (3,585 theaters) did a $15.2M weekend and $181M domestic cume. Now a new crop of TV ads finally are targeting new moviegoers and driving traffic among non-Trekkies.
Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures’ The Hangover Part III (3,565 theaters) was #6 for a disappointingly anemic $15M second weekend and so-so $87.1M cume. Still unclear if in the morning it will finish a place or two ahead or behind in the Top Ten. However, H3 began its overseas wide rollout this weekend and is doing huge international grosses just as expected. On Thursday, it opened in 25 markets and grossed $15.4M for an international cume of $48.2M. Taking advantage of the public holiday, Germany marked the best opening day of the year. Russia is off to an excellent start ranking #1. Other #1 countries include Italy and Brazil (heading into a 4-day holiday weekend). ”These are great numbers, especially when you consider how big Hangover II was internationally – $332M,” a Warner Bros exec tells me.
On Saturday night the only laugher in the marketplace The Hangover Part III had competition from the Vince Vaughn-Owen Wilson buddy comedy directed by Shawn Levy, The Internship, about middle-aged interns inside Google. PG-13 pic doesn’t officially open in 3,000-plus North American theaters until June 7th but Twentieth Century Fox quietly decided to sneak it in 300 theaters for one prime 7 PM show around the country. Hard to believe it’s been 8 years since these actors first teamed up for Wedding Crashers. Even harder to understand why New Line never did a sequel for that or Toby Emmerich didn’t snap up Vaughn’s original script for this. I’ve asked and received no satisfactory answer on both.
1. Fast & Furious 6 (Universal) Week 2 [Runs 3,686] PG13
Friday $10.5M, Saturday $13.6m, Weekend $34.0M (-65%), Cume $169.8M
2. Now You See Me (Summit/Lionsgate) NEW [Runs 2,925] PG13
Friday $10.0M, Saturday $10.9M, Weekend $27.5M
3. After Earth (Columbia/Sony) NEW [Runs 3,401] PG13
Friday $9.8M, Saturday $10.1M, Weekend $26.5M
4. Epic (Blue Sky/Fox) Week 2 [Runs 3,894] PG13
Friday $4.1M, Saturday $6.8M, Weekend $16.0M, Cume $64.7M
5. Star Trek Into Darkness (Paramount) Week 3 [Runs 3,585] PG13
Friday $4.4M, Saturday $6.5M, Weekend $15.2M, Cume $181.0M
6. The Hangover Part III (Legendary/Warner Bros) Week 2 [Runs 3,565] R
Friday $5.2M, Saturday $6.0M, Weekend $15.0M (-64%), Cume $87.1M
Four days after Summit released the first four minutes of its ensemble heist thriller Now You See Me, another trailer has hit the web. The newest look at Louis Leterrier’s first helming effort since Clash Of The Titans shows a group of Vegas illusionists pulling off a trick that leaves their audience in the money. Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Morgan Freeman, Isla Fisher and Mark Ruffalo star in the pic that Lionsgate unleashes May 31:
Fandango is exclusively premiering the first 4 minutes of Summit Entertainment’s upcoming summer heist movie Now You See Me here with Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, and Isla Fisher plus Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Melanie Laurent and Mark Ruffalo. The movie about FBI vs illusionists opens May 31st:
Summit‘s second trailer for Now You See Me dropped today. This is looking pretty slick, with helmer Louis Leterrier applying his tentpole abilities to what is essentially a noir heist plot. It also has a killer cast in Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Morgan Freeman, Isla Fisher and Mark Ruffalo among them. Lionsgate releases it May 31. Check it out:
Now You See Me, the Summit Entertainment heist pic about a team of illusionists who rob banks during their performances and share the booty with their audiences, will now open wide May 31, 2013, up from its previous June 7 slot, Lionsgate said today. Louis Leterrier directs from a script by Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt, and Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, Elias Koteas and Common star. Meanwhile, Summit’s sequel Red 2 about not-so-retired spies will now open July 19, up from August 2. Dean Parisot directed Jon Hoeber & Erich Hoeber’s screenplay based on the graphic novel. Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker and Helen Mirren return to star.
Lionsgate/Summit conjured this trailer for the heist movie in which a team of illusionists rob banks during their performances and share the booty with their audiences. Louis Leterrier directs from a script by Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt. Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, Elias Koteas and Common star in Now You See Me. Opens June 7th, 2013:
Santa Monica, CA November 3, 2011 – Summit Entertainment and Aurum Producciones, an Alliance Films company, have entered into an exclusive three year output agreement for all rights in Spain to Summit’s slate of theatrical films. The deal was announced today by David Garrett, President of Summit International, and Jorge Vazquez, Managing Director of Aurum Producciones. This output deal encompasses upcoming films produced by Summit through October 2014 including NOW YOU SEE ME starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, and Dave Franco; and Summit’s re-imagination of the cult film HIGHLANDER. Summit Entertainment’s relationship with Aurum Producciones spans many years with Aurum having licensed many of the studio’s films including THE TWILIGHT SAGA franchise as well as THE GHOST WRITER.
Summit Entertainment has set or adjusted release dates for a handful of movies due next year and in 2013. Step Up 4, the next installment of the successful dance franchise, is now positioned on July 27, 2012. Set in Miami, this one’s directed by Scott Speer. The previous three Step Ups have grossed a combined $424.3 million worldwide. Warm Bodies, the odd zombie romance-adventure directed by Jonathan Levine starring Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich and Dave Franco, is planted August 10, 2012. Debuting two weeks later August 24 is Sinister. The supernatural crime tale directed by Scott Derrickson stars Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio and for now goes up against Sony’s Premium Rush. For 2013, Louis Leterrier’s illusionist-heist flick Now You See Me is slated to materialize January 18. Cast includes Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson and Mark Ruffalo. That day currently also has Disney/Pixar’s reformatted-in-3D Monsters, Inc, as well as Lionsgate’s The Last Stand. Director Gavin Hood’s movie based on Orson Scott Card’s phenomenal Ender’s Game is targeted for March 15. The landmark bestseller about kids trained to battle a ruthless insectoid alien race using videogame-console-based weaponry spawned a host of subsequent books — and ripe sequel and spinoff possibilities. Ender’s competition on that date is Warner Bros’ Arthur & Lancelot. And the retired and extremely dangerous ex-CIA operatives from RED …
The current wave of French directors making Hollywood films seems to have taken Jean-Luc Godard’s advice (“All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl”), amped it up with a healthy dash of special effects or 3D and taken it to the bank.
Louis Leterrier, director of The Incredible Hulk and Clash of the Titans, will in January be making Summit’s movie about magicians who rob banks during performances Now You See Me, with Star Trek writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci producing. Fred Cavayé, director of the original French version of the Russell Crowe-thriller The Next Three Days, is in talks with studios to remake his latest, Point Blank.
“I grew up watching American movies, so my lexicon is American directors like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas,” Leterrier said. “These movies seeped into my artistic DNA. At the same time, because Paris is the capital of world cinema, I was also watching French films, German cinema or kung fu movies from Hong Kong. What makes me and other French directors different from Americans is that we were feeding ourselves from other cultures.”
The communication revolution and modern travel realities are making it easier for French helmers to cross over to Hollywood. Today an agent in Beverly Hills can watch something online and make contact pretty within hours. “There’s a fluid traffic in information,” says Ron Halpern, executive vice-president of international production at Studio Canal. “The world has gotten smaller. The speed of communication means that foreign directors are on people’s radars much quicker. And when a studio is looking for something fresh and interesting, a foreign eye can often bring something.”
The Clash of the Titans helmer will direct Summit’s heist film, written by Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt. It’s about an FBI squad that chases a team of illusionists who pull off daring bank robberies during their performances and who share the spoils with their audiences while staying a step ahead of the law. It’s produced by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci via their Kurtzman Orci Paper Products production shingle. Before Clash of the Titans, Leterrier directed The Incredible Hulk and Transporter 2.