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Joel Silver And Warners Say He’s Staying: “I Can’t Stop The Slings & Arrows”

EXCLUSIVE: As you must know by now, in the past 48 hours, Joel Silver had his $160M movie Speed Racer tank at Warner Bros, and his TV series Moonlight axed by CBS. And, because of his many faults, most of the town is ecstatic over it. And, to make matters worse, everybody and their dry cleaner have heard today’s rumor that Warner Bros is supposedly cancelling or at the very least not renewing his deal there. Page Six is even writing about it tomorrow. But a Warner Bros spokesman told me officially today that Silver is and will be staying at the studio. So I phoned up Joel who just gave me this info exclusively: ”My deal has a year and a half to go. I won’t renew it until the deal is up. And my Dark Castle deal has 16 movies released through Warner Bros which are independently funded, and which we have all the money for. And the first one is the Guy Ritchie movie, RocknRolla, which will be in October.”

Look, say what you will, but Silver’s Lethal Weapon series and Matrix movies made gazillions for Warner Bros. Of course, he and the studio are down in the dumps about Speed Racer‘s disastrous opening. “Everyone is disturbed about this. I know there’s a long list of Hollywood types right now kinda elated about that. But Warner Bros is my family, I’ve been there for 22 years, and we’re fine. But I can’t stop the slings and arrows of the world around me.”

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More ‘Speed Racer’ Fallout: Emile Hirsch Exits United Talent; “Total Shocker”

EXCLUSIVE: UTA was just informed today, and the actor’s agent Shani Rosenzweig is gobsmacked, I’m told. The tenpercentery had repped Emile Hirsch for seven years. The star of Speed Racer, which opened dismally over the weekend, is planning to park himself with his manager Sam Maydew, I’m told. “He claims he just doesn’t want an agent,” an insider informs me. “It’s further evidence how talent is nervous in this town. This is a total shocker.” Look, UTA helped make Hirsch one of the best-known young leading men of his generation in films like Into the Wild (for which he was nominated for several awards), Alpha Dog, and Lords Of Dogtown, The Girl Next Door. He’ll also be starring in the upcoming Gus Van Sant pic Milk. This year, he was ranked #17 on Entertainment Weekly‘s high-profile “30 Under 30″ actors list. (2008). UTA doesn’t deserve this.

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TOLDJA! ‘Speed Racer’ Finishes Only 3rd; Facts Show Warner Bros Inflated Figures

Shame on the trades and mainstream media for not making the big deal out of this angle of the Sunday box office story I did. (Or, is that the reason? See my previous, Rival Studios Accuse WB Of Inflating #s). It’s now clear that Warner Bros wildly exaggerated its domestic gross claims for its disastrous Speed Racer. The WB-inflated tally of $20.2M put its anime actioner 2nd and Fox’s What Happens In Vegas only 3rd with $20M, when every other studio had the ranking the other way around and Speed Racer‘s tally around $19.7M. Those rival studio execs told me Sunday there was no way WB’s kiddie pic would suddenly have a huge Sunday. And, remember, there’s primo PR value in these Top 10 ranking which get reported in newspapers and on TV and the Internet. But now the official figures have been reported Monday, and everyone can see how fudged WB’s figures really are. Speed Racer made only $18.5M for the weekend, while Fox’s Vegas totalled $20.1M. That’s a difference of more than $1.6M. Jeez. As I noted yesterday, these kind of controversies don’t develop often in Hollywood, but when they do, they can be ugly. That’s because there is a certain code of honor among thieves, if you will — a tacit agreement that every Hollywood studio will try to report … Read More »

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WHAT A DISASTER! ‘Speed Racer’ $20M Weekend Half What Warner Bros Hoped; Rival Studios Accuse WB Of Inflating #s

SUNDAY AM: Showing just how fiercely competitive the summer box office is right now, rival Hollywood movie studios are complaining to me they don’t believe Warner Bros’ domestic gross numbers released today. Those claim its disastrous Speed Racer came in 2nd behind Marvel’s Iron Man in the weekend’s Top 10 contest. All the other majors — Fox, Sony, Paramount, Universal, Disney, and MGM – have the anime actioner opening only 3rd. And rivals dispute WB’s reporting that Speed Racer made $20.2 million for Fri-Sat-Sun because its projected Sunday number isn’t seen as possible. “That’s a very aggressive Sunday estimate to try and claim 2nd,” one studio’s top marketing and distribution mogul complained to me this morning, echoing the disbelief of most of his colleagues. “Warners is hoping moms want to go to Speed Racer for Mothers Day.” (To give Warner Bros the benefit of the doubt, it’s true that family pics do well on Mothers Day.) But all the other studios have Fox’s romantic comedy What Happens In Vegas in 2nd place with $20 million, and Speed Racer only 3rd with $19.7 million. And the rival execs say that, since Speed Racer‘s gross was even softer than anyone thought, up only 18% on Saturday because of kiddie matinees compared to Friday, the Warner Bros film couldn’t possibly get to $20 million for the weekend barring a box office miracle on Sunday. “Their estimate is utterly laughable!,” a top exec at a rival major told me this AM. “That being said, … Read More »

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‘Speed Racer’ Crashes & Burns To Become First Summer Bomb: ‘Iron Man’ Still No. 1

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SUNDAY AM UPDATE: WHAT A DISASTER!
‘Speed Racer’ $20M Weekend Half What Warner Bros Hoped
Rival Studios Accuse WB Of Inflating #s

SATURDAY NOON UPDATE: I’m just receiving reports that Speed Racer also isn’t doing well overseas where it opened day and date Friday in 30+ territories. Says a marketing and distribution source for another studio: “It is a disaster in the worst way. It was No. 6 in the UK and No. 9 in Germany and the numbers are horrific. Only Latin America showed signs of life – but it was barely a pulse.” I haven’t seen any official international figures from Warner Bros yet. But the film was supposed to do better overseas where anime is a bigger draw than in the U.S.

As expected, Marvel’s Iron Man is the blockbuster No. 1 for the second week in a row. According to distributor Paramount, it took in a str0ng $15 million Friday from 4,111 theaters (-62% from its opening) for what should be a $50 million … Read More »

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Weekend Prediction: Problem-Plagued ‘Speed Racer’ Distant No. 2 To ‘Iron Man’

The last time I saw a studio resort to prayer for a movie opening was Universal for Evan Almighty. And the Box Office Gods didn’t make it a hit pic. But now Warner Bros is figuratively on its knees praying for at least a mid-$30 million weekend opening for its kiddie anime Speed Racer — already down from a hoped-for $40 million just a few days earlier. There are some positive, and some negative, factors to consider. For instance, a plus is that the “Parents and Kids” premium tracking has bettered by a lot. But before I delve into those issues, I have to say that I rarely see Hollywood so gleeful to dump all over a movie’s release. But my box office gurus can’t wait to puncture the tires of what they say will be Speed Racer‘s slow crawl of a domestic opening Friday. Still their predictions are a bit higher today than a few weeks ago; they now range from high $20sM to mid-30sM from 3,606 theaters. That’s well behind Marvel’s blockbuster holdover Iron Man which Paramount has placed in 4,111 venues and projected a $50M second weekend.

As a Warner exec told me this afternoon, “I remain optimistic that families will go. I’m hoping we mirror something like Alvin And The Chipmunks. Industry projections based on tracking had it opening at $25M, but it opened to $44M.” Unfortunately, Warner’s film will get creamed by the competition from the Disney/Walden blockbuster Narnia 2 opening the very next weekend. One bright spot is … Read More »

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PETA Asking Hollywood To Whistleblow

By | Thursday May 1, 2008 @ 3:15pm PDT

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) today claims someone from the set of the upcoming Warner Bros film Speed Racer reported that one of the young chimpanzees used in the role of Chim Chim was beaten during filming. Now, PETA is officially asking other Hollywood insiders to take on the role of whistleblowers. the organization took out a full-page ad in today’s Variety calling on readers who witness or suspect animal abuse in the production of a movie to immediately report the incident to PETA via a special hotline number and/or website. The ad shows a dejected monkey dressed in human clothing and carries the tagline “Not Everyone Wants to Be Famous”. This week, Variety also ran an ad from the National Enquirer asking readers to report tips and gossip to the tabloid.  See my previous:

  • PETA  Claims Golden Retriever Puppies Dying On Set Of Disney Sequel
  • Finke/LA Weekly: Speaking for the bruised, slaughtered, bleeding
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