I’m told Jackie Chan fired CAA on the day his new movie The Forbidden Kingdom opened #1 last Friday. Today he landed with the William Morris Agency’s Phillip Button. As for the There Will Be Blood director, Paul Thomas Anderson left Endeavor yesterday and landed tonight at WMA with Mike Simpson and John Fogelman.
SUNDAY AM: I now have the weekend’s official numbers, and kudos to my box office gurus for getting them right once again. Moviegoers were in a kick-butt mood, so No. 1 was Lionsgate/The Weinstein Co’s The Forbidden Kingdom, pairing martial arts movie stars Jet Li and Jackie Chan for the first time: it had a $20.8 million weekend after opening to $7.7M Friday and $7.9M Saturday in 3,151 theaters. Indeed, ”the smart money” was on Forbidden Kingdom because of its PG-13 rating, one marketer told me. “Its target audience has been reliable in the past.” And it was again. But in a conversation with me this morning, TWC’s Harvey Weinstein, whose company shares domestic and foreign 50/50 with Lionsgate, credited the movie’s success to producer Casey Silver. ”First and foremost, no one has ever seen Jackie and Jet together but Casey Silver got them to do the movie. And then he brought in Rob Minkoff of The Lion King and Stuart Little to make a family movie that appealed to martial arts fans as well as to my daughters aged 5, 10 and 13 who loved it. It’s more fantasy and Narnia than it is a big martial arts movie.” Claiming the pic was made for only $55 million, TWC is quick to point out that Forbidden Kingdom is the first film released under its Asia Fund.