(Beverly Hills, CA) January 13, 2011 – FilmNation Entertainment and Relativity Media LLC. are in final negotiations to solidify an exclusive multi-year deal whereby FilmNation would oversee the international sales and distribution of Relativity titles, produced under their single picture business. The union is slated to begin prior to the Berlin Film Festival. Final details of the deal will be disclosed in the coming weeks along with the films that will fall into this new arrangement.
Relativity’s 2011 slate includes Season of the Witch, currently in theaters, starring Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman. After that is Take Me Home Tonight on March 4th, starring Topher Grace and Anna Faris. Following on March 18th, is the much-anticipated Limitless, starring Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish and Oscar®-winner Robert De Niro. Relativity recently announced its acquisition of the Untitled David R. Ellis 3D Shark Thriller which will release in theaters on September 2nd.
The companies are currently collaborating on upcoming Relativity / Universal release, James Cameron’s Sanctum – with FilmNation handling the international sales.
SUNDAY AM: Knowing it was going to be a boring box office, I took off Saturday. First, I have zero interest in country music. Sony/Screen Gems’ Country Strong, which expanded into 1,424 theaters and made $7.3M in wider release, hitting the “high end” of the studio’s expectations, with a “B” CinemaScore. The only other tidbit of interest is that a Relativity genre movie finally had an opening that didn’t suck in even if audiences gave it only a “C+” CinemaScore and its budget was a too-big $40 million. This nonsense about medieval knights and witches, again something in which I have zero interest, did around $10.7 million for the weekend. Because all the bigwigs were at the Palm Springs Film Festival for The Fighter, the Relativity spin machine was keeping its other movie’s news under wraps – probably more used to handling losers at the box office.
Meanwhile Oscar-touted movies keep racking up bigger cumes. So how does Sony Pictures continue to remind awards voters about The Social Network when it was released way back in September? If you’re Jeff Blake, you decide to re-release the Facebook origins story in about 600 nationwide theaters this weekend to take advantage of all the critical acclaim and awards hype. And then launch the DVD on January 11th with more than 8 hours of bonus extras. But you also fete the fact that The Social Network will pass $200 million at the worldwide box office within the week. The Social Network has grossed more than $94 million in the U.S. after adding another $650K to its cume.
Here are the Top 10 grosses:
1. True Grit (Paramount) Week 3 [3,124 Theaters]
Friday $4.4M, Saturday $6.5M, Weekend $15M, Cume $110.4M
2. Little Fockers (Universal) Week 3 [3,675 Theaters]
Friday $4.2M, Saturday $6.3, Weekend $13.7M, Cume $127.9M
3. Season Of The Witch (Relativity) NEW [2,816 Theaters]
Friday $3.7M, Saturday $4.3M, Weekend $10.7M
This supernatural pic made with Atlas Entertainment had a too-big production budget of $40M although Relativity claims pre-sales and tax credits are estimated to cover “a minimum of 75% of that”. This one should earn out because box office combined with the foreign output deals and Relativity’s Netflix arrangement make this the first decent opening for the company in a long time. Somehow, Nicolas Cage (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, National Treasure, Ghost Rider) and Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Hellboy II) got roped into this. As I said, audiences gave it only a “C+” CinemaScore, and exit polls showed its moviegoers were 52%/48% male vs female, 39%/61% under vs over age 25, and 31%/69% Caucasian vs non-Caucasian (including 36% Hispanic, 14% Asian, 10% African-American, and 9% Other).
4. Tron: Legacy 3D (Disney) Week 4 [3,013 Theaters]
Friday $2.5M, Weekend $9.8M, Cume $147.9M
The big news here is that the Disney action pic’s international is up to $143.2M (including $17.6M this weekend), as Tron: Legacy 3D opened strong in Italy this past week and is now in release in 43 territories representing 75% of the international market. It will soon expand to China, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and France. New global cume is $291.1M which helps with that $170M budget and $120 worldwide marketing cost.
5. Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Week 6 [1,584 Theaters]
Friday $2.3M, Saturday $3.3M, Weekend $8.3M, Cume $61.4M
6. Country Strong (Screen Gems/Sony) Week [1,424 Theaters]
Friday $2.5M, Saturday $3M, Weekend $7.3M, Cume $7.4M
Sony today said this “hit the high end of our expectations” as the Gwyneth Paltrow pic featuring lotsa country music stars expanded from its 2-theater platforming in Nashville and Los Angeles. Opening weekend exits had a core audience of women who made up 73% of ticket sales and 49% of those were under 30. The film earned a “B+” CinemaScore among women and a “B” overall.
7. The Fighter (Relativity/Paramount) Week 5 [2,528 Theaters]
Friday $2M, Saturday $3M, Weekend $7M, Cume $57.8M
8. The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Co) Week 7 [758 Theaters]
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.8M, Weekend $6.8M, Cume $33.2M
9. Yogi Bear 3D (Warner Bros) Week 4 [3,288 Theaters]
Friday $1.1M, Saturday $3.3M, Weekend $6.8M, Cume $75.6M
10. Tangled (Disney) Week 7 [2,383 Theaters]
Friday $1M, Saturday $2.5M, Cume $5.2M, Cume $175.9M
This Disney juggernaut added another $26.3M from overseas and opened at #1 in all 10 of this weekend’s debut territories, including Australia, Brazil, Greece, New Zealand, Argentina, and Columbia. The film is currently in release in 43 territories representing approximately 55% of the international market.
Rogue has released a new trailer for the Nicolas Cage-starrer Season of the Witch. In the Dominic Sena-directed film, Cage plays a 14th Century knight charged with transporting a suspected witch whose powers are suspected to have caused the Black Plague. Nice visuals, but is it a good Cage film or one of those he does for the payday? Pic opens January 7.
January 7th is the release date for the Nicolas Cage supernatural action adventure Season Of The Witch which Relativity Media will distribute and market as part of its 2011 theatrical distribution slate. That already includes Kids In America (March 4th) starring Topher Grace and Anna Faris, and The Dark Fields (March 18th) starring Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper.
2ND UPDATE: I’ve just learned that Relativity Media will be in the distribution business sooner rather than later as it attempts to become a mini-major. Hmm.
UPDATE: This exclusive deal with Netflix might be impressive if more of Relativity Media’s movies did better at the box office. So it’s not exactly earth-shattering that Ryan Kavanaugh just told me that, at 12:01 AM Tuesday, Netflix is sending out a news release about Relativity no longer delivering its movies to pay TV channels. Instead, Relativity’s pics will now be shown via Netflix’s online streaming service. Insiders are calling this the “largest pay TV deal ever” — if that’s what it is. This will include going forward up to 30 movies per year. The first movies to go through the deal are the Nic Cage starrer Season of The Witch, the Brothers Strauss’ Skyline and The Fighter starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale. And maybe the Sundance-buzzed documentary Catfish and Wes Craven’s horror film My Soul To Take, among Relativity’s future movies. (How many underperforming Relativity films will be included as well?) Sorry, but it’s hilarious to think this deal will make HBO or Showtime or Starz or Epix shudder, especially as they continue to move away from showing movies and more towards original programming.