Fanboy gamers often complain that studio meddling somehow ruined a video game tied to a major movie release. It’s less common to hear an A-list filmmaker blame developers for messing with his movie. Star Trek Into Darkness is the seventh-highest-grossing film of 2013, but its director seems to think it could have done better — if it hadn’t been for that pesky video game. J.J. Abrams said in an interview with GamerHub this week that Star Trek: The Game — which generated terrible reviews and crummy sales — “was obviously a big disappointment to me. We were actually involved from the very beginning, and then we sort of realized that it was not going in a place where we were going to get what we wanted. So we dropped out, and they continued to do it despite … y’know.” Yahoo Games says developer Digital Extremes has pointed fingers at Paramount, claiming the studio’s heavy involvement was a burden, but Abrams the developer — and even thinks the glitchy game might have hurt Star Trek Into Darkness at the box office. “For me, emotionally, it hurt because we were working our asses off making the movie and then this game came out and it got — this isn’t even my opinion — it got universally panned,” he said. “And I think that it was something without question that didn’t help the movie and arguably hurt it.” Agree with Abrams or not, he certainly wouldn’t be able to blame any Star Wars shortcomings on a video game.
The studio plans to squeeze more life out of its undead hit and space sequel. Paramount and a clutch of exhibitors are going back to the future for a …
“I think that the thing is so big and so massive to so many people that the key to moving forward is honoring but not revering what went before,” said JJ Abrams today about the challenges of directing the new Star Wars movie. Abrams also revealed that production on Star Wars Episode VII is set to start right at the beginning of 2014. “Most likely we are going to be moving to London at the end of the year for the Star Wars movie,” said the Star Trek Into Darkness director Saturday at the Produced By conference on the Fox lot. Abrams added that the overseas shoot “drives me insane” as he would have liked to film the movie in LA. He also noted that the plan to shoot Star Wars Episode VII for Disney in the UK was set before he was brought on board. The director joked that getting the offer to helm the new Star Wars was the only thing that would have caused him to postpone a long set family vacation.
The mobile gaming tie-in to Universal’s Fast & Furious 6 launched on the iTunes App Store last week and is #1 among free apps in 45 countries. Created with SF-based studio Kabam, it’s also the #1 overall game in 69 countries, the top racing game in 112 countries, and the #1 action game in 85 countries. Its iPad app version runs comparable if even wider in saturation as the top free app in 81 countries. By contrast, Paramount‘s Star Trek: The Game — tied to the release of Star Trek Into Darkness — stayed in-house and it’s doing lousy since it came out last month. According to VG Chartz, unit sales in its first three weeks are only 140K to date across PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 consoles. It’s also considered a failure because it’s very buggy despite years of development. Critics and users alike gave it poor reviews. So what happened?
‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ $164.5M Global: Lower Domestic But +80% Bigger Overseas; ‘Gatsby’ $132.1M Global, ‘Iron Man 3′ $1B
SUNDAY 9 AM, 7TH & 8TH UPDATE (WRITETHRU): The iconic space tentpole grossed a lot of money worldwide as May continues to sizzle for Summer 2013. But came nowhere near the $80M weekend and $100M total predicted. Star Trek Into Darkness from Paramount Pictures, Skydance Productions, and director J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot opened with $2M Wednesday from IMAX late shows, $11.5M Thursday, $22M Friday, $27.2M Saturday (for a +25% bump), and an estimated $21.2M Sunday. So that’s a $70.5M weekend from 3,868 theaters and an $84M domestic cume. Exit polling shows that the audience was 64% male/36% female with 27% under age 25/73% age 25 and over. Despite the passage of 4 years and the addition of 3D and IMAX for ticket premiums, 4 1/2 days of Star Trek Into Darkness barely beat 2009′s Star Trek 3-day weekend opening. Rightly or wrongly, fanboys (who are notoriously hard to please) saw the sequel as a ripoff of 1982′s The Wrath Of Khan. I felt the problem was that the latest pic’s marketing assumed people had seen the first installment and therefore didn’t target newbies. The iconic space tentpole in 3D received a coveted “A” CinemaScore to help word of mouth and 87% positive Rotten Tomatoes score setting it up for a strong weekend. The budget was a costly $190M, but the studio was predicting a 3-day weekend domestic estimate of $80M and 4-day estimate of $100M. Abrams’ first grossed $257.7M in North America but only $128M overseas where the franchise has long underperformed. STID was expected to easily beat the North American take so Abrams filmed 30 minutes using high-resolution cameras to increase the IMAX grosses which comprised 16% of domestic. To expand international, Paramount dispatched Abrams’ Bad Robot partner Bryan Burk to share 20 minutes of footage with media and distributors abroad earlier this year. It helped: international told a stronger story. Since sequels usually play well overseas, the total is $80.5 from 40 markets through Sunday, or +80% from the prior film. For comparison, STID is running +33% on a global basis compared to the 2009 reboot. Worldwide total is $164.5M. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto reprise their roles as Kirk and Spock with its ensemble USS Enterprise cast and Benedict Cumberbatch debuts as the movie’s mysterious baddie in this sequel to Abrams’ 2009 reboot of the franchise, which began as a 1960s TV series. Star Trek Into Darkness, based on Gene Roddenberry’s creation, was written by credited scripters Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman & Damon Lindelof, who also are producers along with the Bad Robot duo of Abrams and Burk.
1. Star Trek Into Darkness (Skydance/Paramount) Week 1 [3,868 Theaters]
Wed $2.0M, Thurs $11.5M, Fri $22.0M, Sat $27.2M, Est Sun $21.2M
Wkd $70.5M, Dom Cume $84.0M, Intl Cume $80.5M, WW Total $164.9M
2. Iron Man 3 (Marvel/Disney) Week 3 [Runs 4,237]
Friday $9.6M, Saturday $15.8M, Weekend $35.5M,
Dom Cume $337.1M, Intl Cume $736.2M, Worldwide Total $1.073.3B
On May 16, the film crossed the $1B benchmark at the global box office in 23 days and the $300M threshold at the domestic box office in 14 days. Iron Man 3 is now the #9 highest grossing film of all time globally and the #9 highest grossing film of all time internationally. This is the 2nd Marvel Studios film and the 6th Walt Disney Studios release to reach $1B globally, and the 9th Disney release to reach $300M domestic.
3. The Great Gatsby (Warner Bros) Week 2 [Runs 3,550]
Friday $7.6M, Saturday $9.5m, Weekend $23.6M (-53%)
Dom Cume $90.1M, Intl Cume $42.1M, Worldwide Total $132.2M
Baz Luhrmann’s biggest to date here and overseas looks to make $140M domestic all in. “Domestic box office results are excellent,” a Warner Bros exec gushed. “Counter-programming can succeed with great success in a summer of tentpole fanboy event films.” Coming off the heels of a gala opening night event at the Cannes Film Event, The Great Gatsby in 3D released in 49 territories overseas and grossed a big $42.1M (ith 4.6Madmissions from almost 8,400 screens). This was 38% higher than Luhrmann’s Australia in the same markets ($30.4M) and 3x higher than Moulin Rouge ($13.8M). This weekend’s rollout abroad represent 70% of the international box office; major markets yet to launch include Australia (May 30th), Mexico (May 31st), Brazil (June 7th), Japan (June 14th). This weekend’s results included some #1 placements despite stuff competition: Russia $6.2M (Rbl 194M), UK $6.1M (£4.0M), France $4.7M (€3.6M), Korea $4.3M (KRW 4.75B), Italy $3.8M (€2.9M), Germany $3.7M (€2.8M), Spain $2.2M (€1.7M), Taiwan $779K (NT$23.9M).
Also, Universal’s May 24th domestic opener Fast & Furious 6 kicked off its worldwide release in the UK and Ireland this weekend with a record breaking #1 opening. The film grossed $13.8M (£9M) at 460 dates scoring Universal’s biggest 3-day opening weekend in that territory (smashing the previous record set by Les Miserables of $13.1M). It is the biggest opening weekend in the UK for the franchise and the highest opening weekend for Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson. F&F6 is now the 2nd biggest opening weekend of 2013 there behind IM3‘s $17.6M.
As the launch of Star Trek Into Darkness approaches, J.J. Abrams will be asked a lot of questions at screenings and junkets, many of which will be about his plans for Star Wars VII. Abrams was more of a Star Wars fan than a Trekkie, and he hasn’t done so badly with that. (Feel free to disagree or agree.) Empire recently asked Abrams what he has in mind for a new Star Wars adventure. Here, excerpted from the Empire interview, is part of what what Abrams had to say:
I don’t know because we’re just getting started. … Even though I was never a Star Trek fan, I felt like there was a version of it that would make me excited, that I would think ‘that’s cool, that feels right, I actually would want to see that’.
… With Star Wars … I feel like I can identify a hunger for what I would want to see again and that is an incredibly exciting place to begin a project. The movies, the worlds could not be more different but that feeling that there’s something amazing here is the thing that they share.
Here’s yet another trailer for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness, this time with an extra dose of Benedict Cumberbatch’s villain. The film is set for a May 17 release in the U.S. with IMAX 3D screenings starting May 15. The UK release was just moved up by …
The UK release of J.J. Abrams‘ Star Trek Into Darkness has officially been moved up by a week to May 9 when it will go out in IMAX 3D, 3D and 2D cinemas. Paramount currently has the film set for a May 17 release in the States with IMAX 3D screenings on May 15. The shift has led some to wonder if the U.S. date may move to May 9 as well, but then what would happen to all those Super Bowl viewers who unlocked movie tickets for special early showings on the 15th? Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty in the film, just tweeted: “Looks like Star Trek Into Darkness will land in the UK first. Release date May 9th. That’s about 8 weeks away. Not long considering.” There have also been rumblings that the movie would get a special screening at the Cannes Film Festival which runs from May 15-26, but I’ve heard that is not the case. The new release date would seem to support that since movies are rarely screened in Cannes after they’ve premiered big elsewhere. Click over for the Star Trek Into Darkness motion poster narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch‘s villain, but beware the autoplay:
Paramount’s 2nd-quarter Super Bowl spot for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness has gone up on Apple/iTunes but you can watch it here:
After the spot’s debut during the Super Bowl, viewers who have downloaded the app (www.startrekmovie.com/startrekapp) can watch a longer version of the game …
If last year’s record breaking 111.3 million viewers is any indication, Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVII is going to be a good place to be seen. But it costs $4 million for a 30 second spot. Despite that, …
The terminally ill Star Trek fan who got his wish to see the latest movie before its May release has died. New York’s Subway Cinema reported on its Facebook page that Daniel Craft died Friday …
Never let it be said that J.J. Abrams doesn’t go out of his way for Star Trek fans. During the holidays the director learned through a series of communications over Reddit and Twitter about a dying man’s wish to see …