2013 Most Valuable Blockbuster – #5 ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Vs. #12 ‘World War Z’; #4 ‘Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug’ Vs. #13 ‘Oz The Great And Powerful’

Mike Fleming

Hunger Games Catching Fire Hobbit Smaug ProfitThe second of four posts today in Deadline’s Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament. The subsequent rounds will play out next week.

Other Matchups:
#1 ‘Iron Man 3′ Vs. #16 ‘The Conjuring’
#2 ‘Frozen’ Vs. #15 ‘The Great Gatsby’
#3 ‘Despicable Me 2′ Vs. #14 Star Trek Into Darkness’
#6 ‘Fast & Furious 6′ Vs. #11 ‘The Croods’
#7 ‘Monsters University’ Vs. #10 ‘Thor: The Dark World’
#8 ‘Gravity’ Vs. #9 ‘Man Of Steel’





HungerGames-WWZHow They Got Here: Talk about two completely paths to success. When Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was released last Thanksgiving, the only question was how high Katniss Everdeen would soar. She didn’t disappoint, as the film blew past the holiday record for three-day and five-day totals, and it was just about as strong domestically as it was foreign. Contrast that to World War Z, the Marc Forster-directed Brad Pitt- survives-a-zombie-plague movie had all kinds of troubles during its production, and the last act of the movie got scrapped after it was shot because test audiences and Paramount Pictures didn’t like it. It was redrafted and reshot. That added $20 million or more to an already highWorldWarZ budget, but worse, the buzz around the film was that it was going to be awful. Surprise. The film’s ending worked very well, and the action shots of zombies collectively swarming over walls like insects made it the most visually compelling zombie film since Night Of The Living Dead. Is that enough to topple The Hunger Games sequel?

The Bottom Line: When it was released, many thought Catching Fire would burn long enough to surpass the billion-dollar gross mark. It didn’t come that close with an $864 million worldwide gross, but it did improve upon the first film’s tally, which is exactly what the second leg of a continuing story is supposed to do. Considering all its hardships, World War Z is lucky just to be in this tournament. Usually, when you hear a film is going to be a train wreck, it usually turns out to be just that. Catching Fire Box officeIt was laudable to see a studio be willing to pull a film out of a prime release slot, and throw more money into it to rescue it, even if naysayers questioned why it took everybody that long to realize it didn’t work and needed to be fixed. Paramount was happy enough with the results to put elements on a sequel, even if that became creatively complicated by the first film essentially solving the zombie problem.

The Winner: It’s Hunger Games in a walk. Our experts peg the World War Z budget around $269 million, though Paramount argues it was considerably less. Tack on another $160 million to market it, and Pitt’s first-dollar gross deal, and, according to our experts, this film barely broke even. You don’t invest $430 million to make and market a film just to break even, especially when it became the biggest opening of a film starring Pitt, and the biggest-grossing film in his career. Good luck on that sequel. Read More »

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IMAX Q1 Earnings Miss Forecasts Despite Strong Box Office Results

By | Thursday April 25, 2013 @ 5:40am PDT

The main culprit appears to be a drop in joint revenue sharing deals as IMAX installed four new theaters under these arrangements in Q1 vs eight in the same period last year. All told, the company reported net income … Read More »

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‘Oz The Great And Powerful’ Crosses $300M At Global Box Office

By | Thursday March 21, 2013 @ 3:37pm PDT

The Disney pic eclipsed the worldwide milestone yesterday, with the international cume now at $154.2M to go along with $152.9M domestic. Oz The Great And Powerful is likely to pass $175M on Sunday in North America, with spring … Read More »

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#1 ‘Oz’ Holds For $281.8M Worldwide Cume; Halle Berry In #2 ‘The Call’ Beats Carell-Carrey In #3 Bomb ‘Burt Wonderstone’

SUNDAY 8 AM, 4TH UPDATE: Jetlagged from traveling but home at last. Let’s start with the domestic bad news because that’s what Hollywood craves. New Line’s The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (3,160 theaters) is a complete disaster despite no fresh comedy at the multiplex since Identity Thief opened … Read More »

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Next Disney Fairy Tale Blockbuster? How About ‘Trance’ Scribe Joe Ahearne Reimagining ‘Beauty And The Beast?’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Hot on the heels of another splashy revisionist fairy tale opening in Oz The Great and Powerful, Disney is in talks with UK-based writer Joe Ahearne to reinvent its Beauty And The Beast franchise. Ahearne … Read More »

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‘Oz’ Wizardry Powers Great $150.2M Global: $80.3M Domestic Is 2013′s First Huge Weekend And Third Highest March Debut

By | Sunday March 10, 2013 @ 7:30am PDT

Box Office WeekendSUNDAY AM, 6TH UPDATE Disney‘s 3D wizardry Oz The Great And Powerful was magic for the U.S. and Canadian box office just like advance tracking showed it would be. Little wonder that the studio has gone into development of a first sequel and expects this new franchise to spin off not just films but mucho merchandising and park attractions for years to come. All after naysayers said no one could mess with a classic like The Wizard Of Oz. The $215M-costing Sam Raimi-directed fantasy was by far the biggest domestic film debut of what has been a disappointing 2013 start for Hollywood pics and opened to the third biggest March. It scored an $80.3M domestic debut – it isn’t even a holiday weekend. Overseas it made a good but not great $69.9M but that’s still a giant $150.2M worldwide. Reviews were lukewarm but a “B+” CinemaScore from audiences helped word of mouth so domestic grosses increased +25% from Friday to Saturday’s $33M for the all-important family fare bump. And that’s even with Friday’s $24.1M including $2 million from select theaters in Thursday pre-midnights and Friday post-midnights. (Friday’s early matinees also were ahead of Universal’s megahit toon Lorax.) Sunday’s gross is an estimated $23.1M. Disney played live-action Oz in traditional 2D, as well as Disney Digital 3D, RealD 3D and IMAX 3D formats. Of all filmgoers, 3D formats drew 54% and 2D 46%. In North America, audience exit polling showed that moviegoers over 25 years old made up 55% while under 25 were 45%. Couples comprised 48%, families 35%, and teens 17%. Females outnumbered males 52% to 48%. The studio ensured its TV ads for PG-rated Oz were omnipresent as part of a $100M marketing spend and mirrored the colorful chaos of those for its 2010  Alice In Wonderland mega-hit. Oz even released the same weekend as Alice. But that Tim Burton pic offered not only worldwide star Johnny Depp but also one of the first truly rich 3D experiences and scored a $116 million domestic debut and went on to earn a superb $1 billion worldwide, making 2/3s of its money overseas. This Oz wizardry was less appealing with James Franco who struggles to open box office solo. Whether this pic earns back its hefty cost depends largely on overseas grosses - and I’ve been warning that the Land Of Oz is not the globally familiar place in literature Wonderland was and is.

Oz released day and date in 80% of the international marketplace. It began with Russia, Germany, Australia, Korea and Italy on Thursday, and then Friday expanded into a total 46 territories, including UK, Spain, Mexico, Japan, Brazil. Talent and filmmakers did a global press tour across 8 major markets which helped Russia become the lead market with $15M followed by the UK ($5.7M), Mexico ($5.1M), Australia ($5.0M), and Germany ($4.2M).

For IMAX, the domestic performance of Disney’s Oz delivered a robust $8.2M on 307 screens, second best for its March 3D titles. IMAX’s international box office on 135 screens hit $4Ml for the weekend, setting a new record for a March opening. The Fri-Sun result in Russia was a territory 3-day record of $1.4M (per screen of $50K). IMAX’s global weekend gross for Oz is an estimated $12.2M from 442 digital only screens, which is a second-best for a March opening (bested only by Alice In Wonderland‘s extraordinary performance in 2010)..

Meanwhile, FilmDistrict’s R-rated action thriller Dead Man Down also opened but to an anemic first weekend of $5.3M from 2,188 theaters. FilmDistrict acquired the U.S. rights from IM Global, Original Film, and Frequency Films for no minimum guarantee and had a P&A backstop. Marketed to an adult audience with a focus on urban and ethnic moviegoers, the film grossed on the low end of expectations. That despite the trailer debuting on Django Unchained and promos highlighting director Niels Arden Oplev who helmed the original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo also starring Noomi Rapace. This is yet another loser for Colin Farrell who continues to demonstrate he can’t open a movie. Pic was scripted by J.H. Wyman and earned a ‘B-’ CinemaScore from audiences who were 60% male and 40% female and 75% aged 25 and older.

So Oz faced no competition at this weekend’s cineplex, especially after Warner Bros’ Jack The Giant Slayer (another $200M budgetbuster) bombed last weekend and fell apart this one. And DreamWorks Animation’s family toon The Croods doesn’t open until March 22nd. Expectedly, the Disney marketing machine was in high gear for its witches/wizards and put together a really spectacular campaign that worked. Tracking services stayed steady in the weeks leading up to release with the pic expected to earn from the $70sM to $80sM even with box office down significantly since Christmas/New Year. A high-profile Super Bowl spot with Disney online homepage takeover, followed by digital takeovers on Moviefone, Fandango, IMDb, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter) and presence in major broadcast events like the Academy Awards, Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, and Rose Parade did the trick. Trailers accompanied 2012 blockbusters while the world premiere was held February 13th at Disney’s El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood followed by international premieres in Tokyo, Moscow, London, and Paris. Talent and filmmakers were out in force in support of the film, with appearances across daytime and late-night, print media (10+ cover stories), an E! movie special that aired March 7, and exclusive screenings and special events including Comic-Con (featuring buzzed-about Hall H panel and footage debut), CinemaCon and Daytona 500 (with James Franco serving as Grand Marshal). And end-credit song “Almost Home” by Mariah Carey released February 19th via Island Def Jam while the music video directed by longtime Carey collaborator David LaChapelle debuted on American Idol. in terms of innovation, Google Chrome Experiment “Find Your Way to Oz” designed by Disney and Google created an immersive experience and included an unprecedented Google homepage takeover on February 7th. The “Journey to Oz” Balloon Tour, sponsored by HSN and IMAX, launched February 12 while Disney theme park integrations included an exclusive 8-minute 4D sneak peek of the film throughout March and a large-scale Oz garden with entry portal, carnival area, and Yellow Brick Road through May 19.

The pre-release pressure on Disney was enormous. First came months of bad buzz. Then Wall Street was understandably nervous about another movie costing $200 million. Some business media even wrote headlines like “Oz The Great And Powerful Could Be Disney’s Next John Carter Flop”. (Granted, tracking is less and less an accurate indicator of actual theatrical performance. But John Carter, which also cost $200M, only opened to $30.1M and made just $73M domestically all-in.) This weekend success for Oz cements director Raimi as the real deal when it comes to helming blockbusters. Read More »

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Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond, Episode 16

By | Thursday March 7, 2013 @ 3:49pm PST
Pete Hammond

In episode 16 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond, our Awards Columnist talks host David Bloom about Emperor and Oz The Great And Powerful, two big movies debuting this month with some year-end awards potential. They also look at the lingering Oscars controversy over which entertainment notables were left out of this year’s ceremony’s “In Memoriam” segment, and talk about the MTV Movie Awards, which have shifted schedule to adapt to a summer blockbuster season that starts well into spring. With the nomination of Oscar winners such as Daniel Day-Lewis, Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence and the lack of nominations for the last of the Twilight films, Pete says the MTV Movie Awards also appear to be moving upscale in their choices.

Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 16 (MP3 format)
Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 16 (MP4A format)
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Super Bowl Spot: ‘Oz The Great And Powerful’

By | Sunday February 3, 2013 @ 4:18pm PST

Disney’s Oz The Great And Powerful — the Land of Oz as seen by wizard Sam Raimi:

Watch this video on YouTube.

Related: Super Bowl XLVII To Air 6 Studio Film Ads

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Disney, Google Chrome Unveil ‘Oz’-Themed Next-Gen Web Experience

By | Wednesday January 30, 2013 @ 8:06pm PST

Oz Google ChromeChasing the tech-leaning male demographic ahead of its Super Bowl ad buy, Disney today unveiled their “Find Your Way To Oz” Google tie-in, a plugin-free, in-browser web experience linking … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Oz The Great And Powerful’

By | Monday January 28, 2013 @ 11:18am PST

Disney unveiled a special look at its Oz The Great And Powerful last night during the SAG Awards, part of a full-court press campaign ahead of the pic’s March 8 premiere. That push includes a separate tease for an ad that will play during the Super … Read More »

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UPDATE: SAG-AFTRA Responds To Michigan’s Right-To-Work Vote

By | Tuesday December 11, 2012 @ 8:00pm PST

UPDATE, 8 PM TUESDAY: Michigan’s governor tonight signed two so-called right-to-work bills passed by the state Legislature that allow workers in unionized workplaces to opt out of paying union dues if they wish. SAG-AFTRA strongly opposed the legislation and issued this statement in response:

“This legislation does

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Hot Trailer: ‘Oz The Great And Powerful’

By | Wednesday November 14, 2012 @ 6:48am PST

Disney debuted the first trailer for Sam Raimi’s Oz The Great And Powerful back in July at Comic-Con. Today brings a new, longer look at the film that stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz. Based on the books by L. Frank … Read More »

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Comic-Con: Disney Unveils ‘Oz The Great And Powerful’, ‘The Lone Ranger’, And More

Luke Y. Thompson is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of Comic-Con.

The Disney panel at Comic-Con offered the first trailers for Sam Raimi’s Oz The Great And Powerful and Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger. Raimi’s Oz impressed … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Oz The Great And Powerful’

By | Thursday July 12, 2012 @ 4:02pm PDT

Here’s the first trailer for Disney‘s Oz The Great And Powerful. The trailer screened today at Comic-Con along with one for The Lone Ranger that we’ll post as soon as it’s available. Directed by Sam Raimi and starring James Franco and Mila Kunis, Oz is … Read More »

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Oscar Winning Actresses Roberts, Theron, Jolie, Weisz Turn Evil To Boost Boxoffice Fortunes

Pete Hammond

Mirror Mirror may not have burned up the box office in its opening weekend. Its estimated $19 million made the family film a distant and weak third, but that won’t stop a trend among Oscar winning actresses from going evil. Not since … Read More »

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Who Needs Comic-Con? Disney Reveals All At D23 Expo

Pete Hammond

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.” Read More »

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Zach Braff Joins ‘Oz: The Great & Powerful’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Zach Braff is in final talks to join Disney’s Oz: The Great and Powerful, the Sam Raimi-directed film for Disney. Braff will play the role of Frank, the loyal but under-appreciated assistant to Oz (James Franco), a charismatic circus … Read More »

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Disney Sets ‘Oz: The Great And Powerful’ For March 8, 2013

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Disney has staked out the weekend of March 8, 2013 to release the Sam Raimi-directed 3D Oz: The Great and Powerful. The film is still casting, but James Franco stars as the title character, with Mila Kunis playing Theodora, … Read More »

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James Franco Closing Disney Deal For ‘Oz: The Great And Powerful’

Mike Fleming

While James Franco and Anne Hathaway have been busy pulling it together to host Sunday’s Oscarcast, Franco’s CAA reps and Disney have closed his deal to play the title role in Oz: The Great and Powerful. That puts the … Read More »

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