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Hurricane Irene: Worst Movie Weekend Of 2011? ‘The Help’ #1 Again, ‘Colombiana’ #2, ‘Afraid Of The Dark’ #3, ‘Our Idiot Brother’ #6

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 4TH UPDATE: This weekend’s numbers bounced around, especially after Rentrak, the box office reporting service, sent out the following advisory: “We wanted to make you aware that a possible 1,000 theatres could be affected by the weather on the East Coast. We’ve been hearing about closures at many theatres and wanted to advise you that both Saturday and Sunday grosses will be affected.” This is turning into the worst moviegoing weekend of 2011, in a race with only Super Bowl weekend, because of the expected miniscule $80M expected for total North American box office grosses. Theater chains like AMC, Regal, and Clearview Cinemas were closing, location counts were dropping, and major releases were finding cover. Hurricane Irene came ashore along the Atlantic Seaboard on Saturday starting in North Carolina and heading due north. Mass transit was suspended in many areas while heavy rains and high winds pounded the region, causing one studio exec to complain to me, ”Business is in the crapper right now. Any way you slice it business is getting creamed this weekend.” The storm, at one point bigger than the size of Europe, created a state of emergency up the East Coast from North Carolina to Massachusetts and will depress box office by 10%, 20%, or more. Considering that this weekend’s 3 major opening movies were only expected to debut modestly even in fair weather, studios and distributors have a Mother Nature excuse when their films underperform at the North American box office. So I can’t humiliate them for not hitting double digits. Drats!)

1. DreamWorks/Disney’s The Help is a lock again for #1 with $4.4M Friday and $5.9M Saturday for a $14.3M weekend as the bestselling book-turned-pic enters its 3.5th week into 2,778 originally booked theaters. The cume is estimated at $96.6M and should pass the $100M plateau mid-week.

2. Sony Pictures/TriStar’s Luc Besson-produced and co-written PG-13 actioner Colombiana starring Zoe Saldana as the female assassin. It did the best of the newcomers opening to $3.7M Friday and also $3.7M Saturday to a $10.3M weekend with an original booking into 2,614 theaters. It earned an ‘A-’ CinemaScore from audiences. “Given the devastating weather system on the East Coast, the film performed better than expected and is off to a solid start and should hold well for the coming holiday weekend and into the Fall,” the studio said. Sony Pictures did a distribution deal for Colombiana which was fully financed by EuropaCorp and partners TF1 Films Production, Grive Productions with the participation of Canal+ and Cinecinema. They also put up the P&A for this title. For the media and promo campaign, Sony tied into the revenge theme of the movie with custom branded promotions and tie-ins with outlets like BET where there was “back to payback” stunt. The studio placed sneak peaks of the film in programming blocks where the cable channel was broadcasting revenge-oriented titles like Romeo Must Die and A Man Apart. Zoe Saldana shot custom interstitials. On channels like G4, a sweepstakes gave the winner time with Zoe’s trainer and to remake a scene from the film. Activities also specifically targeted urban audiences and Spanish language press. TriStar Pictures and Stage 6 Films present a coproduction EuropaCorp. Directed by Olivier Megaton, Colombiana gave writing credits to Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen, and produced by Luc Besson and Ariel Zeitoun.

3. FilmDistrict’s Guillermo del Toro-written and co-produced haunted house movie Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, starring Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce was originally booked into 2,760 theaters. It debuted with $3.6M Friday and $2.9M Saturday and will make $8.6M this weekend. It earned an unfortunate ‘C-’ CinemaScore from audiences. “All things considered, not a bad Saturday and ultimately the weekend total was good despite the hurricane,” said FilmDistrict’s Bob Berney. ”Our key large urban East Coast markets were really killed.” Females under 25 responded strongest to Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark and in markets with large Latino populations. Berney has known Guillermo since distributing his Academy Award-winning Pan’s Labyrinth at Picturehouse. that’s also where Berney released The Orphanage which del Toro exec-produced. Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark had been in the works for some time ever since del Toro made Mimic for the original Miramax. Guillermo based the new movie on a 1973 TV pic that had “scared the crap” out of him as a kid in Mexico. Del Toro chose director Troy Nixey from his work in comic books and a short film that Guillermo really responded to. Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark was shot while Guillermo was in New Zealand preparing The Hobbit (remember that?) and would fly over to Melbourne where Nixey was shooting and remained very involved in the $28M production. After Disney sold Miramax to the Colony Capital/Ron Tutor group, FilmDistrict acquired Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark around Sundance this year. It was the closing night pic at the LA Film Festival and put together a Comic-Con panel with del Toro and Guy Pearce. Attendees called it the most highbrow discussion of the Con steeped in both film history and profanity. Guillermo has a “Presents” credit on the film and his pedigree has been one of the key marketing points of the film. “Jeanne and I were really happy to be working with Guillermo again,” Berney emailed me. “He really is the ’hardest working man in show business’ and the most generous and nicest guy as well. Not to mention that he holds the record for ‘F bombs’ at Q&As and panels around the world.”

4. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (Fox) Week 4 [3,374? Theaters]
Friday $2.6M, Saturday $3.6M, Weekend $8.6M, Cume $148.4M

5. Spy Kids 4D (Dimension/Weinstein Co) Week 2 (3,305? Theaters)
Friday $1.5M, Saturday $2.5M, Weekend $5.7M (-51%), Cume $21.7M

6. The Weinstein Co’s not-so-raunchy R-rated comedy Our Idiot Brother showcasing Paul Rudd surrounded by Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer originally booked into 2,555 theaters. It opened to $2.3M and $2.5M Saturday for a $5.7M weekend. It earned a disappointing ‘C+’ CinemaScores from audiences. This film was acquired by TWC and Ron Burkle’s YUK Films at the Sundance Film Festival for $6 million in exchange for U.S., Germany, France, Japan, and Benelux rights. Alliance has Canada via their recent acquisition of Maple Films. Directed by Jesse Peretz from a script he wrote with his sister Evgenia, he reached out to producer Anthony Bregman (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) who in turn enlisted producer Peter Saraf (Little Miss Sunshine) and they put the whole deal together in a few weeks. TWC’s marketing campaign involved not only the traditional media buys but a lot of extras on the Internet as well — like the Funny Or Die video with Harvey Weinstein and Paul Rudd. Rudd went on MLB.com talking sports. There also was a ’Search for Willie Nelson’ (the dog’s name in the film) viral campaign. And an Idiot Photo Booth social campaign. Our Idiot Brother gave writing credits to Evgenia Peretz and David Schisgall and producing credits to Stefanie Azpiazu, Caroline Jaczko, Aleen Keshishian, Anthony Bregman, Peter Saraf, and Marc Turtletaub. Read More »

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Weinstein’s Latest Bid For Free Film PR: ABC Won’t Air ‘Our Idiot Brother’ Trailer

By | Thursday August 25, 2011 @ 11:03am PDT

UPDATE: Almost every time The Weinstein Co gets set to release a new movie, it manufactures some fake “controversy” in order to get free film publicity from media outlets. Usually it’s Weinstein Co vs MPAA’s ratings system. Now it’s Weinstein Co vs ABC. I’m sick and tired of these TWC press releases, frankly. So here’s the latest: Weinstein today is bitching that ABC refused to air the commercial spot for its new  comedy Our Idiot Brother being released Friday unless TWC made these specific cuts:

PLEASE REMOVE THE VISUAL OF THE EXCHANGE OF WHAT IS ASSUMED TO BE DRUGS.
PLEASE REMOVE THE VISUAL OF THE CHARACTER USING THE JUICE BOX TO DEPICT URINATION.
PLEASE REMOVE THE REFERENCES TO GETTING HIGH AND SMOKING.

The refusal prompted Harvey Weinstein to cut a new and dirtier red-band trailer for the film and dedicate it “to censorship everywhere”. Oh barf.

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CANNES: The Weinstein Company Parties (Twice) And Previews Its 2011 Film Slate

Pete Hammond

Still enjoying its post-King’s Speech Best Picture Oscar win from a couple of months ago, The Weinstein Company had plenty of reasons to party Friday night in Cannes, so they threw two soirees instead of just one. It was a packed main event at the Martinez, where the company showed clip reels of its burgeoning 2011 slate. COO David Glasser touted the company’s recent highlights and introduced a beaming Harvey Weinstein, who crowed (sorry) about the upcoming slate mentioning future hoped-for biggies including what he described as perhaps their biggest movie ever, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master. Deadline broke the news Friday of another potential winner that was mentioned, TWC’s acquisition of The Iron Lady, starring Meryl Streep as Britain’s only female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, which TWC will release in the fall in time for Oscar. Then he showed some first looks of upcoming product including My Week With Marilyn, with Michelle Williams glammed up as the legendary Monroe (although it’s clearly a challenge to capture that particular magic) and Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier. I talked to Williams on a phoner from London while she was making the film, and she had a really difficult time articulating the process she was going through. The task was obviously a daunting one, but I can’t wait to see what she does with it in the context of the whole film. I heard Branagh’s brilliant in it.

There were also clips from Our Idiot Brother, with Paul Rudd, and the last-minute Cannes competition entry The Artist, a black-and-white silent movie that will unspool in a prime Sunday night slot at the Palais. Harvey introduced it by saying his associates thought he was off his rocker for buying this black-and-white silent, “just like they thought I was when I did a film about a guy with a left foot and a British king who stutters.” At the party, he made a point of telling me to see the film as soon as possible here. The footage really made it look intriguing, full of old Hollywood pizzazz and style, so I will be checking it out bright and early Sunday morning at the first press screening. Weinstein clearly has a Harv-on for this one and also seemed high on a new comedy just wrapping production, I Don’t Know How She Does It starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Greg Kinnear and Pierce Brosnan. Parker was flown into Cannes for the event and introduced the clips herself. Also part of the proceedings was yet another recent acquisition announced in Cannes (these guys are busy) of Peter Ho-Sun Chan’s Martial Arts film noir, Dragon, which had its official Cannes premiere out of competition just after midnight. The director introduced the entire cast and promised something completely new in the genre. And just to keep the town hopping, Weinstein threw a second party later Friday to celebrate Dragon before their red-carpet stroll.

Elsewhere on Friday, the competition films got international with former Palme d’Or winner Nanni Moretti’s Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Our Idiot Brother’

Mike Fleming

The Weinstein Company has released a new trailer on Our Idiot Brother, the picture that Harvey Weinstein acquired at Sundance in a vigorous bidding battle. TWC teamed with Ron Burkle to pay between $6 million-$7 million, and a P&A commitment of $15 million in one of the bigger deals of the festival. The comedy, which stars Paul Rudd as the title character, will be released Aug. 26.

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Weinstein Dates ‘Our Idiot Brother’, ‘I Don’t Know How She Does It’, ‘Apollo 18′, ‘Piranha 3DD’

EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company announced release dates for several 2011/2012 movies:

Our Idiot Brother (formerly titled My Idiot Brother) a recent Sundance acquisition, will debut in theaters in wide release on Aug. 26, 2011.

I Don’t Know How She Does It, a Weinstein Co production which just wrapped at the end of February, is set for Sept. 16, 2011, wide.

Apollo 18, a Dimension title formerly set for April 22, 2011, has been moved to Jan. 6, 2012.

Piranha 3DD, a Dimension title formerly dated Sept. 16, 2011, is now set for release on Nov. 23, 2011.

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