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‘Sinister’ Sequel Brewing As Blumhouse Eyes Hat Trick Of Micro-Budget Franchises

By | Friday March 1, 2013 @ 12:11pm PST

EXCLUSIVE: Jason Blum‘s Blumhouse Productions is moving forward on its third micro-budget franchise with Sinister 2, the sequel to last year’s horror pic that grossed more than $87M worldwide off of a $3M budget. The move to build the Sinister franchise follows in the footsteps of Blumhouse’s successes with the Paranormal Activity and Insidious series of ultra-low-budget genre hits.

I understand that all of the major behind-the-scenes players are back for Sinister 2, including creators Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill. They wrote the original, which Derrickson also directed. Thinking is that they’ll write the sequel, and I hear director conversations are in the works. Blum will produce as will Derrickson. (Blumhouse and Derrickson are also working on a screen adaptation of Stephen King novella The Breathing Method.)

The original Sinister starred Ethan Hawke as a true crime novelist who discovers a box of mysterious, disturbing home movies that plunge his family into a supernatural nightmare. Cast and story for the sequel are being kept under wraps. Read More »

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‘Sinister’s Blumhouse And Scott Derrickson Re-Team On Stephen King Novella ‘Breathing Method’

By | Monday October 15, 2012 @ 2:17pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Hot off an $18 million opening-weekend gross of Sinister that was six times its $3 million budget, Jason Blum‘s Blumhouse has teamed with Sinister director and co-writer Scott Derrickson on a screen adaptation of the Stephen King novella The Breathing Method. They’ve secured an option on King’s work from the author, and the script will be written by Scott Teems. They haven’t yet set it for financing.

The novella was part of the 1982 King collection Different Seasons and is the only story in the volume that hasn’t been adapted. If focuses on an elderly physician named Dr. Emlyn McCarron, who recounts an incident in his career of a patient who was determined to give birth to her illegitimate child, despite her financial difficulties and the social stigma in the 1930s. The patient turns to the doctor because of the book he has written about the Breathing Method, a system to help women through childbirth. She grows close with the doctor, who finds that she is so determined to have the child through the method that she lingers on even after a horrific accident on the way to the hospital. Read More »

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Big Crowded Weekend: ‘Taken 2′ Still #1; Ben Affleck’s ‘Argo’ Opens #2; ‘Sinister’ #3; ‘Boom’ #5; ‘Seven Psychopaths’ #9; And ‘Atlas Shrugged Part 2 #10

SUNDAY AM, 5TH UPDATE: What a crowded domestic box office with five films opening in wide release. And it’s not even a holiday weekend. I just don’t get the distribution crush, especially with so much sports on TV (college and NFL football, baseball playoffs). Nevertheless, it was another major-league grossing weekend: $120M which is up a whopping +45% from last year. Twentieth Century Fox’s popcorn action holdover Taken 2 (3,706 theaters) starring Liam Neeson finished #1 for the second straight weekend with $22M, or a good -54% hold from a week ago. Cume is now $86.M

Following in #2 this weekend is yet another critically acclaimed and Oscar buzzed Ben Affleck R-rated film for Warner Bros. Argo (3,232 theaters) opened Friday #3 because exhibition told me it was playing “very old”. But pic logged a rare ‘A+’ CinemaScore from audiences which resulted in great word of mouth and a bump of +50% Friday to Saturday. Now it ends the weekend #2 and $20.1M. That’s less than director Affleck’s previous The Town opener ($23.8M) for this true story of the ‘Canadian Caper’ covert operation to rescue 6 Americans during the 1979-1980 Iran hostage crisis. But it should have legs since The Town kept widening its audience week after week. Made on just a  $44M budget, which included a $6.4M California film tax credit, Argo was financed by Warner Bros and Graham King’s GK Films (which also backed The Town). To save money, most of the pic was filmed right in Los Angeles and with a large pool of local Iranian-American extras supplementing star Affleck and supporting actors Alan Arkin and John Goodman. Screenplay by writer Chris Terrio was adapted from a Wired magazine article and a memoir chapter from CIA spy Tony Mendez. Script was commissioned by Smokehouse Pictures producers Grant  Heslov and George Clooney who then selected helmer Affleck, a Middle Eastern studies major at Occidental College before dropping out to act. (Clooney first intended to play the pic’s lead himself before passing the role to Affleck. By the way, I could have done without so many extended but distracting close-ups of bearded Ben.) Warner Bros’ marketing campaign “sought to highlight the well-crafted tension, balanced by a unique comedic sensibility, which results in a completely original, wildly entertaining movie,” an exec tells me. Studio drove early interest and critical accolades at the Telluride Film Festival in August, and then built upon that at Toronto. A multipronged TV, social media, and online campaign was targeted to both males and females before release. Affleck was everywhere and on everyone and did everything. Red Carpet premiere in LA included tastemakers from DC and NY.

Friday’s order of finish was up-ended when Summit Entertainment’s Sinister came on very strong during late shows for #1. The horror pic (2,527 theaters) went into this weekend as the top-selling film online at Fandango and Movie Tickets with 25%-30% of all tickets. Then it started out better than expected with $1 million from Thursday’s late shows and Friday midnights in 1,494 locations. Unfortunately, audiences gave it only a ‘C+’ CinemaScore so it fell to #3. But it’s $18.8M by end of Sunday is incredible in view of its $3M cost and R-rating. Lionsgate’s Summit is distributing in the U.S. and Alliance in Canada. The film’s producers Jason Blum (of the Paranormal Activity franchise) and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones (Insidious) along with the director/writer Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism Of Emily Rose) were the creative team behind the micro-budget film. Ethan Hawke comes out of the Witness Protection Program to play a true crime novelist who discovers a box of mysterious and disturbing home movies that plunge his family into a supernatural nightmare. Summit kicked off its theatrical marketing campaign for Sinister at SXSW and then focused on moviegoers aged 17-34 reaching out to African American and Hispanic moviegoers. The studio used Tugg, the collective action platform, to allow fans across the country to organize their own word-of-mouth screenings in their hometowns. The trailer launched at midnight on June 13th simultaneously across the 6 top horror sites, which had never been done before. A red band trailer debuted 3 months later.

Sony Animation’s blockbuster toon Hotel Transylvania (3,375 theaters) will scare up another strong weekend by holding -32% from a week ago. It could move up to #3 or #2 for the weekend with $19M.

That pushes down Sony’s Kevin James new comedy Here Comes The Boom (3,014 theaters) to 5th place with what even the studio said was a “hard fought” $12M. That’s a lousy per screen average for the likeable James and Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison banner in this live action comedy. (I should note they’re voice talent in the big hit Hotel Transylvania.) But audiences gave the family fare a surprisingly good ‘A’ CinemaScore which should help word of mouth. Studio knew from tracking that this movie was in trouble from the get-go – but it was made for only low $40sM. James even did stunts like teaching TV viewers how to be an MMA fighter and serving as Grand Marshal at Talladega. Big marketing push to sports outlets with integrations in UFC (natch), NFL and college football (“Bringing the Boom”), NASCAR, MLB playoffs, and wrestling.

Playing is half as many locations, CBS Films’ well reviewed R-rated Seven Psychopaths (1,408 theaters) ended #9 but with -40% less box office take than the studio was hoping. Not clear if film can find a bigger audience beyond its urban and college town plays. The movie was co-financed by CBS Films and Film4 and BFI at a cost of just teens. It’s got a 90+ score on Rotten Tomatoes and won the People’s Choice Award in Toronto. Not surprising with a cast consisting of Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, Tom Waits, and Colin Farrell who also starred in pic’s writer/director Martin McDonaugh’s first feature film In Bruges. Studio’s current plan is to expand on the other side of Paranormal Activity 4 on October 26 so word of mouth has time to grow. Paid media spend was limited given the scope of the release and targeted to men 18–49. Heavy TV sports and scripted series as well as print. Film premiered as part of Toronto’s Midnight Madness and extended to Hampton’s and Mill Valley film fests. Online content initiatives included Seven PsychoCATS. Best was that viral video from the LA junket where Walken, Rockwell, and Farrell did Honey Boo Boo.

Public shrugged at Atlas Shrugged Part 2 (1,012 theaters). Serious drama to Ayn Rand accolytes, hilarious comedy to the rest of us, its gross fell from Friday to Saturday – never a good sign – for #10 for the weekend.

Here’s the Top Ten based on weekend estimates:

1. Taken 2 (Fox) Week 2 [3,706 Runs] PG13
Friday $7.0M, Saturday $9.8M, Weekend $22.7M (-54%), Cume $86.3M

2. Argo (Warner Bros) NEW [3,232 Runs] R
Friday $5.9M, Saturday $8.9M, Weekend $20.1M

3. Sinister (Summit/Lionsgate) NEW [2,527 Runs] R
Friday $7.4M, Saturday $7.0M, Weekend $18.8M
Read More »

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Summit Moves ‘Sinister’ To October 12

By | Wednesday September 12, 2012 @ 4:07pm PDT

Lionsgate-Summit has shifted the wide-release horror movie Sinister to October 12th from October 5th. The week earlier date has Tim Burton’s stop-motion Disney animated Frankenweenie and Fox’s Taken 2. The Scott Derrickson-directed horror flick starring Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio will now go up against Warner Bros’ Argo, Here Comes The Boom and Seven Psychopaths.

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WB Dates Todd Lincoln’s ‘The Apparition’

Warner Bros has slated previously undated The Apparition for August 24, 2012. Directed by Todd Lincoln, the supernatural thriller with Ashley Greene and Sebastian Stan goes up against Summit’s horror movie Sinister as well as David Koepp’s Premium Rush from Sony with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jamie Chung.

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Summit Sets Dates For Six In 2012-13

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 REDRead More »

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