Open Road To Acquire U.S. Distribution On Stephenie Meyer’s ‘The Host’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Open Road, the upstart distribution company formed by theater chains AMC and Regal, is making its second big acquisition. Tom Ortenberg’s company is acquiring domestic distribution rights to The Host, the Andrew Niccol-directed adaptation of Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer’s novel. I’m told that the there were at least three other distributors trying to get this and that the deal will be a seven-figure minimum guarantee, a healthy P&A commitment, and gross for participants that include the author.

Saoirse Ronan is set to play heroine Melanie Stryder, one of the last humans putting up a fight against an alien species called Souls, parasites that invade human bodies, fuse to each person’s consciousness and systematically erase their personalities. Melanie is captured by the aliens and implanted by a Soul called Wanderer. While Wanderer’s goal is to get Melanie to give up the remaining pockets of humans, the alien finds Melanie to be unique in her unwillingness to surrender her consciousness. Wanderer is so overwhelmed by Melanie’s memories and feelings that she is driven to reconnect with Melanie’s old life, which includes falling for Melanie’s boyfriend. The result is a complex, romantic and emotional human/alien love triangle. Nick Wechsler, Meyer, Paula Mae Schwartz and Steve Schwartz are producing. Inferno’s Marc Butan, Jim Seibel and Bill Johnson are exec producers and Roger Schwartz is co-producer. Read More »

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‘Twilight Saga’ Author Stephenie Meyer’s ‘The Host’ Lands Saoirse Ronan To Star

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Saoirse Ronan has been set to star in The Host, the screen adaptation of the bestselling novel by Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer. Scripted by Andrew Niccol, the film figures to be one of the hot titles when Inferno launches sales at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival next week. Niccol, who was originally set to direct, might resurface as the filmmaker.

Ronan, the Oscar-nominated star of Atonement, The Lovely Bones and most recently Hanna, will play Melanie Stryder, one of the last humans putting up a fight against an alien species called Souls. These parasites invade human bodies, fuse to each person’s consciousness and systematically erase their personalities. Melanie is captured by the aliens and implanted by a Soul called Wanderer, something of a legend because of all of the “hosts” she has attached to on numerous planets. Wanderer’s goal is to get Melanie to give up the remaining pockets of humans, but instead the alien finds Melanie to be unique in her unwillingness to surrender her consciousness. Wanderer is so overwhelmed by Melanie’s memories and feelings, the alien is driven to reconnect with Melanie’s old life.

The concept is more of a visual challenge than Meyer’s Twilight Saga books, but one thing they plan is for Ronan to play both Melanie and Wanderer. Meyer’s book has an enormous fan base, and the author had long resisted offers to sell it. She finally made a deal two years ago with producers Nick Wechsler and Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz, who’d done the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road together. They deliberately developed the script outside the studio system, and invited the author to be very hands on in the adaptation. Read More »

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‘Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn’ Filmmakers Ask Online Leakers To Stop

Mike Fleming

Online leaking of premature footage and piracy has been the bane of filmmakers for years. The latest victims: Summit Entertainment and the creative team behind Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. They’ve issued a statement about leaked images that have been spreading … Read More »

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Summit’s Post-’Twilight’ Chapter To Be Underwritten By Book Adaptations

Mike Fleming

The start of Summit Entertainment’s trajectory began when the mini-major convinced Stephenie Meyer to sell her Twilight Saga book series after she’d been left so frustrated by how Paramount Pictures let it languish. Was it a billion dollar lucky break? … Read More »

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Next Twilight Saga ‘Breaking Dawn’ To Film In Baton Rouge & Vancouver

Summit Entertainment’s THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN will be filmed in both Louisiana’s Baton Rouge and Canada’s Vancouver over the next year starting this fall. The Stephenie Meyer novel will be released as two separate films starting on November 18, 2011.

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‘ECLIPSE’ KEEPS BREAKING RECORDS: Twilight Saga Threequel Sets Best Ever Wednesday Opening Of $68.5M; Thursday $24.2M; Six-Day July Fourth Holiday Estimated At $178M; Twi-Hards Mob Theaters In U.S., Canada, Overseas

twilight-saga-eclipse-poster10TH UPDATE, THURSDAY 11 PM: No. 1 at the North American box office was the Twilight Saga: Eclipse with what looks like $24.2M today for a new cume of $92.8M and $110M for 5 days with a total of $178M for the 6-day July Fouth Holiday since Wednesday. That would put the pic just shy of Spider-Man 2 which holds the July 4th holiday record with $180M.

9TH UPDATE, THURSDAY 3:30 PM: Summit Entertainment is disclosing that THE TWILIGHT SAGA: Eclipse had “an incredible start” internationally. Despite great weather and the World Cup, Eclipse launched with an estimated $19M from 22 markets. The only major territories that opened on June 30th were Italy, Brazil, and Russia. Other majors like Spain, Australia and Mexico launch today. France, Germany, S. Korea and Japan will launch in the weeks to come. Here are some highlights of opening day results: Eclipse Kicks Off Big International Run

8TH UPDATE, THURSDAY 8 AM: I can report now that the 3rd film in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga series of novels is off to a record-breaking start at the North American box office. Summit Entertainment’s ECLIPSE opened to $68.5 million today which shattered the best-ever $62 million for a Wednesday single day opening set last summer by Paramount’s Transformers 2. That $68.5M included Eclipse‘s record-setting $30M from Wednesday 12:01 AM and 3 AM showings at more than 4,000 theaters in the U.S. and Canada. Eclipse also registered the biggest single day opening during the summer play period, besting The Dark Knight‘s $67.2M. But the Twilight saga’s 2nd film, New Moon, still holds the largest single day opening record of $72 million. Eclipse is playing in 4,416 domestic locations, which sets another record for the biggest ever release in Hollywood history, surpassing Iron Man 2‘s 4,380 venues. 

eclipse orange2Stay tuned for the David Slade-directed Eclipse starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner from Melissa Rosenberg’s script to set more records over this 6-day July 4th holiday weekend. I’ve learned that 57% of the audience attending opening day did so because of the “subject matter”, while 36% did so because of the actor in the lead role, and 15% because of the actress in the lead role. Eclipse received a Cinemascore overall grade of “A” with 92% of moviegoers giving the pic an A or B. Read More »

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