Summer 2013: Sleeper Movie Forecast

Anyone who predicts sleeper hits ahead of the summer is either very brave or very spun. But these are the pics expected to emerge through the cracks of tentpole action: All benefit from obvious counterprogramming, festival hype, and demo-targeted storytelling. In chronological order:

IFC’s Frances Ha has high awareness among its targeted younger-skewing arthouse crowd and exhibitors. “It’s certainly getting talked about in the right places for the audience they’re going for,” one NATO member tells me. Star Greta Gerwig and director Noah Baumbach are indie darlings and scored a talked-about New Yorker piece last week that boosted their profile as a filmmaking couple. According to an IFC Films rep, it’s the sleeper they’re banking on when it releases May 17. “We think we’re going to get great word of mouth,” they tell me.

Kings Of Summer CBS Films CBS Films has two indie pickups budgeted at under $2M each that they’ve slotted into the summer. Sundance pickup Kings Of Summer (formerly Toy’s House) stars three youngsters and has TV stars Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, and Megan Mullally supporting. The studio’s hoping for its Stand By Me-esque story to build momentum with a May 31 limited release. “It’s a movie about discovering in general — which people who see arthouse films spark to,” a studio insider tells me. “And discovery is part of what makes a sleeper hit”. CBS Films is hoping it becomes this year’s Salmon Fishing In The Yemen which was a surprise success for the studio last year.

– Upstart distrib A24 is new to the summer game and has two more youth-skewing pics on tap after scoring a minor youthquake with the sexploitation Spring Breakers in March. The first is Sofia Coppola’s Bling Ring will get a NY-LA limited opening June 14 two weeks after its Cannes premiere.
Read More »

Comments (10)

HAMMOND: Woody Allen, Brad Pitt, ‘The Help’ & Cast Among Early 2011 Leading Oscar Contenders; Can They Hang On?

Pete Hammond

OK, I’ll say it: If the Oscars were held today (nearly two-thirds of the way through 2011) Woody Allen could have another Best Picture winner. Of course the 84th Academy Awards aren’t being held yet and we are … Read More »

Comments 62

YO HO-HUM TO 3D BUT NOT OVERSEAS: ‘Pirates Caribbean 4′ Soft $90.1M Domestic; Saved By #1 Biggest 5-Day International Opening, 4th Highest Global Cume $346.4M

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 7TH UPDATEArrrr, mateys, now I know why these marauders of the seas are always cranky. Because in North America this weekend, Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opened with only $35 million Friday and $32 million Saturday from 4,155 theaters because of weak demand for sequels and 3D. But it doesn’t matter because the action pic made it up overseas where sequels still rule and 3D is still king. It finished the weekend with the #1 biggest 5-day international opening of $256.3M (beating Harry Potter 6‘s $236M) and the #4 biggest global opening of all time with $346.4M (behind Harry Potter 6, Spidey 3, and Pirates 3). It’s now the best global, international, and domestic opening of 2011:

1. Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 3D (Disney) NEW [4,155 Theaters]
Friday $35M, Saturday $32M, Weekend $90.1M
International Cume $256.3M, Global Cume $346.4M

A Disney exec told me Friday that IMAX grosses were “very solid” for the film, but Saturday morning he admitted that 3D had turned “very soft” in the U.S. and Canada. Maybe people are sick of wearing those dumb glasses. That translated into a $90.1M weekend domestic – a far cry from the $100M weekend which Disney was expecting or the $114M which Pirates 3 did in 2007 for the first 3 days of the Memorial long weekend. I hear Pirates 4 cost in the neighborhood of $250 million to make and another $170M to market worldwide. But a derivative and lackluster U.S. promotional campaign didn’t help. (Recruited to help newbie MT Carney was vet Valerie Van Galder, a mistake.) Then again, reviews for Rob Marshall’s direction ranged from bad to mediocre after fans were already disappointed with the threequel from Gore Verbinski (who helmed the Pirates trilogy). However, CinemaScore was a B+, indicating moviegoers liked #4. Or maybe just those mermaid scenes.

For over 2,000 midnight locations, Pirates 4 opened to a hefty $4.7M, beating the previous midnights for Disney’s own Alice In Wonderland and well as new Summer 2011 blockbusters Fast Five and Thor. Disney released On Stranger Tides into 4,155 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, of which 2,747 are 3D locations including 256 IMAX (an IMAX domestic record). But interestingly, a survey by big online movie ticketseller Fandango found 61% of more than 2,000 ticketbuyers picked Johnny Depp’s new love interest Penelope Cruz as primary reason to attend, while only 29% selected 3D as a main factor. It won’t help that the new installment will have to contend with Hangover Part 2 and Kung Fu Panda 2 this coming Memorial weekend so rival studios think Pirates 4 will have a tough road to reach the $300M domestic of all three prior films.

That may not matter because Disney is confident it can pass the $670M of Pirates 3 now that Pirates 4 scored the best 5-day international opening of the franchise and the 4th biggest global cume. As a Disney exec acknowledged to me, “It’s a summer popcorn four-quadrant pic and U.S. audiences know what they’re getting. But internationally, there’s no denying it’s more important than ever and Johnny’s global appeal will definitely help us as well as the addition of Penelope in Europe (and the rest of world) certainly won’t hurt.”

The 2011 Summer Movie Season began its blockbuster rollout overseas with both Fast Five and Thor opening first abroad and establishing their box office bonafides before coming to North America. Disney did the same — and foreign saved this pic. Pirates 4‘s international grosses overwhelmed the results of Pirates 3 in most of the 70 foreign markets where Russia had the biggest opening day ($5M) and the biggest opening weekend ($28.6M) of all time but also big grosses in China, India, Brazil, Latin America Middle East, Norway, & Turkey. Russia is where 3D continues to play huge and star Johnny Depp showed up for the premiere. In the first 3 days of release, the film took in foreign of $92.1M which was 8% higher than Pirates 3, as Wednesday opened in 33% of the international market, Thursday 32%, and Friday 35%. Adding in Saturday and Sunday, the foreign total expanded into not just the biggest opening of 2011 but the #1 biggest 5-day international opening of $256.3M (beating Harry Potter 6‘s $236M) and the #4 biggest global opening of all time with $346.4M (behind Harry Potter 6, Spidey 3, and Pirates 3). This shattered the IMAX global record with $16.7 million on 394 screens.

2. Bridesmaids (Universal) Week 2 [2,937 Theaters]
Friday $6.4M, Saturday $8.2M, Weekend $21M (-20%), Cume $59.5M

Universal’s R-rated female comedy Bridesmaids is enjoying an exceptional hold at the start of its 2nd weekend. Elated Universal execs reached all the way back to New Line’s The Wedding Crashers to find an R-rated comedy with anywhere near a comparable hold.

3. Thor 3D (Marvel/Disney/Paramount) Week 3 [3,924 Theaters]
Friday $4.3M, Saturday $6.5M, Weekend $15.5M (-54%), Cume $145.4M

The Norse god came into its 3rd weekend with $238M international. Paramount grossed another $9M for Thor this weekend from 60 overseas markets bringing the foreign cume to $247M after 4 weekend in release. The movie’s opening in Japan is still to come this July. The biggest contribution this weekend came from China, UK & Ireland, and Mexico.

4. Fast Five (Universal) Week 4 [3,622 Theaters]
Friday $3.1M, Saturday $4.4M, Weekend $10.6M, Cume $186.2M

This streetracing turned heist film crossed $300M at the international box office on Friday and $500M worldwide on Sunday for a global cume of $506.2M for Fast Five in 61 territories. It held strong in 2nd place overseas with what the studio said were smaller drops than expected.

5. Rio 3D (Blue Sky Studio/Fox) Week 6 [2,593 Theaters]
Friday $1.1M, Saturday $2M, Weekend $4.6M, Cume $131.6M

6. Priest 3D (Screen Gems/Sony) Week 2 [2,864 Theaters]
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $1.9M, Weekend $4.6M (-69%), Cume $23.7M

7. Jumping The Broom (TriStar/Sony) Week 3 [1,472 Theaters]
Friday $1M, Saturday $1.7M, Weekend $3.7M, Cume $31.3M

8. Something Borrowed (Warner Bros) Week 3 [2,606 Theaters]
Friday $1.2M, Saturday $1.3M, Weekend $3.4M, Cume $31.4M

9. Water For Elephants (Fox 2000/Fox) Week 5 [1,894 Theaters]
Friday $660K, Saturday $900K, Weekend $2.1M, Cume $52.4M

10. Madea’s Big Happy Family (Lionsgate) Week 5 [912 Theaters]
Friday $280K, Saturday $476K, Weekend $1M, Cume $51.7M

Meanwhile, Woody Allen’s newest romantic comedy, Midnight In Paris, scored an awesome per screen average of $92,457 total from just 6 locations for Friday’s tally of $171K and Saturday $213K. Weekend is $564K for Sony Pictures Classics. Meanwhile, Mel Gibson’s acting comeback movie wasn’t. The Beaver from Summit Entertainment and Participant Media presentation in association with Imagenation Abu Dhabi is starting to expand in North American but made only $190K playing at 168 theaters this weekend for a paltry per theater average of $1,131. Estimated cume to date is $582K in limited release.

Read More »

Comments 178

MONDAY UPDATE: Sony’s ‘Takers’ Wins Nailbiter Weekend Vs Lionsgate’s ‘Last Exorcism’

MONDAY 2ND UPDATE: Here are the actuals for this weekend. Sony/Screen Gems’ Takers won despite a 668 locations advantage in The Last Exorcism‘s favor. I hear Joe Drake at Lionsgate phoned Jeff Blake this morning to congratulate him.

#1 Takers (Screen Gems/Sony) -32% Sunday for $20.5M
#2 The Last Exorcism (Lionsgate) -45% Sunday for $20.3M
Read More »

Comments 188

‘Expendables’ Easy #1 Again This Weekend

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM UPDATE: There is now a clear consensus over which motion picture was No. 1 at the box office this weekend. Sly Stallone’s action holdover The Expendables for Lionsgate is the easy winner after a nailbiter Friday. It was … Read More »

Comments 263

Nolan’s ‘Inception’ #1 For 3rd Weekend; Carell’s ‘Dinner For Schmucks’ Opens #2; But Zac Efron’s ‘Charlie St Cloud’ Only #6

SUNDAY AM: As July ended, three opening studio movies — Dinner For Schmucks, Charlie St Cloud (which collapsed 32% from Friday to Saturday because Zac Efron’s High School Musical fans frontloaded the grosses), Cats & Dogs 3D: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore – made for a crowded summer box office … Read More »

Comments 226

‘Inception’ Dreams Up $60.4M Opener; ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ Nightmare $17.3M

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM UPDATE: Friday, Saturday, and weekend numbers for North America’s Top 5 movie grosses:

inception poster1. What an impressive start for the Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures mind-bending scifi thriller from 3,792 theaters, with Friday’s $21.6 million (including $3M midnight shows in 1,600 locations) … Read More »

Comments 210

IT’S GOOD TO BE BAD! ‘Despicable Me 3D’ Doubles Expectations For $60.1M Weekend; R-Rated ‘Predators’ On Target With $25.3M; ‘Eclipse’ Global Cume Now $456M; See How This Hollywood Summer Is Doing Overseas

SUNDAY AM: It was a great weekend at the box office with the total tally $202M, up an impressive +41.4% from last year. And that doesn’t factor in next week which features the most anticipated movie of the summer, Chris Nolan’s Inception. Year to date, 2010 revenues are running $5.9M, that up 5.06% … Read More »

Comments 108

‘Eclipse’ Cast To Mix With U.S. Movie Mobs


The TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE stars will be visiting theaters across the U.S. to introduce the latest film in the franchise now shattering box office records. Beginning Friday July 2nd and extending through the holiday weekend, approximately 20 cast members will be … Read More »

Comments (10)

‘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 »

Comments 323

FX Buys ‘Grown Ups’ & ‘Knight and Day’

Nellie Andreeva

grown_ups_posterEXCLUSIVE: Summer 2010′s films are all ending up at FX — or maybe it just seems that way. The basic cable network has acquired the TV rights to Sony’s Adam Sandler comedy Grown Ups, the highest-grossing new release last weekend with $40.5 million. Additionally, FX … Read More »

Comments (1)

‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ Tracking Worse Than ‘Prince Of Persia’

sorcerers-apprentice-posterAt the same exact point, 2 1/2 weeks out, Jerry Bruckheimer’s U.S. underperformer Prince Of Persia for Disney scored 75 awareness, while his Sorcerer’s Apprentice for Disney scored 74 awareness. But Prince Of Persia scored 36 definite interest and 5 first … Read More »

Comments 78

11 WRITERS LATER: How 20th Exec Alex Young Lost Control Of ‘The A-Team’

By | Wednesday June 9, 2010 @ 7:04pm PDT

a team poster2ND UPDATE (below): I can report exclusively that the Writers Guild recently decided the credits on The A-Team, the movie based on the ’80s TV show and opening this weekend. There were 11 screenwriters who worked on … Read More »

Comments 197

‘Toy Story 3′ Should Win UK Summer Box Office

By | Friday June 4, 2010 @ 9:24am PDT

Toy Story 3So say UK exhibitors that I’ve talked to, handicapping this summer’s blockbusters. “We haven’t had a line-up this good since 2002 when Spider-Man, Star Wars II & l, and were released,” one UK exhibitor drools. “Even so, … Read More »

Comments (7)

“Spontaneous” Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz

By | Thursday May 13, 2010 @ 12:25pm PDT

It was their idea to do this as viral PR for Fox’s Day And Knight summer movie:

Comments 27

What’s Most Anticipated Summer Movie?

By | Monday May 10, 2010 @ 10:04pm PDT


Well, this is hardly surprising. More than 1,400 moviegoers voted in a poll on Fandango for the most anticipated movie of this summer – and Eclipse won with 36% of the vote. (Just to remind you, here’s a photo of the … Read More »

Comments 25

NO #1 RECORDS: But ‘Iron Man 2′ Opens With 5th Best Opening Weekend; $133.6M Domestic & $194M Overseas For $327M

By | Saturday May 8, 2010 @ 10:40pm PDT

im2 a

SUNDAY AM UPDATE: Iron Man 2 didn’t break the big Hollywood AlamoDrafthouse2record for opening day or one-day or even 3-day weekend. “Hey, it’s Iron Man, not Platinum Man,” one rival studio exec quipped in an email to me. But it did launch with an “A” Cinemascore and $133.6 million, placing at least the 5th and maybe even 4th all-time best grossing weekend. That beats Shrek 3′s $121.6M and possibly Pirates Of The Caribbean 3′s $135.6M. But not Twilight Saga 2: New Moon’s $142.8M, or Spider-Man 3‘s $151.1M, or The Dark Knight’s $158.4M.

This is the first Marvel film to be released since it was acquired by Disney. Distributor Paramount debuted IM2 in 4,380 North American theaters to $46.5M Saturday and $52.4M Friday, including $7.5 million in Thursday midnight shows at just under 3,000 locations. IM2 easily beat the original’s launch of $38.7M/$102.1M from 4,105 locations. But the sequel had reeled in the widest release in Hollywood history. IMAX logged a 3-day domestic total of $10.2M, or 8% of the film’s overall box office for an IMAX 2D opening weekend domestic record, passing Star Trek‘s $8.5M a year ago. (It also outgrossed 3D Avatar’s snow-impacted opening weekend of $9.5M.) 

Kicking off the official summer movie season, IM2 already has earned $194M overseas from almost 60 territories where it opened before the U.S. and Canada, so that’s a $327M worldwide cume. Top grossing countries were Britain and Korea with $23M each. Here’s the Top 10:

1. Iron Man 2 (Marvel/Paramount) NEW [4,380 Runs]
Friday $52.4M, Saturday $46.5M, Weekend $133.6M, Cume $327M
2. Nightmare On Elm Street (New Line/WB) Week 2 [3,332 Runs]
Friday $3.2M, Saturday $3.7M, Weekend $9.1M (-72%), Cume $48.5M
3. How To Train Your Dragon (DWA/Par) Week 7 [3,003 Runs]
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.8M, Weekend $6.7M, Cume $201.0M
4. Date Night (Fox) Week 5 [2,734 Runs]
Friday $1.6M, Saturday $2.3M, Weekend $5.3M, Estimated Cume $80.8M
5. The Back Up Plan (CBS Films/Sony) Week 3 [3,003 Runs]
Friday $1.4M, Saturday $1.9M, Weekend $4.3M, Cume $29.4M
6. Furry Vengeance (Summit) Week 2 [3,002 Runs]
Friday $950K (-46%), Saturday $1.6M, Weekend $4.0M, Cume $11.6M
7. Clash Of The Titans (Warner Bros) Week 6 [2,157]
Friday $800K, Saturday $1.0M, Weekend $2.3M, Cume $157.8M
8. Death At A Funeral (Screen Gems/Sony) Week 4 [1,706 Runs]
Friday $575K, Saturday $895K, Weekend $2.1M, Cume $38.2M
9. The Losers (Dark Castle/Warner Bros) Week 3 [2,450 Runs]
Friday $600K, Saturday $755k, Weekend $1.8M, Cume $21.4M
10. Babies (Focus Features) NEW [534 Runs]
Friday $381K, Saturday $689K, Estimated Weekend $1.5M

Read More »

Comments 146

Chris Nolan’s ‘Inception’ Seen By Insiders

By | Wednesday May 5, 2010 @ 6:16pm PDT

This summer’s most anticipated film, Christopher Nolan’s Inception, is still unfinished with a July 16th release date. But I’ve learned it screened for the cast and their reps on Monday. And even the most cynical people who usually hate everything were knocked out. “It was beautiful.” Lots of gushing about the ”incredible work” by Leonardo DiCaprio, … Read More »

Comments 23

‘Losers’ Moves From Spring To Summer

By | Thursday February 11, 2010 @ 4:21pm PST
Mike Fleming

Warner Bros is moving The Losers from April 9th to June 4th, one week before Fox’s A-Team.

Comments (14)
More Deadline | Hollywood »