UPDATE: Sony Pictures is not known for risky moves. So all through the holidays rival studio execs were predicting that Amy Pascal et al would not go forward with the 2nd and 3rd film installments of Stieg Larsson’s bestselling Millennium trilogy The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest. That opinion was based on the mediocre opening for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Sure its domestic debut was significantly behind M:I4 and Sherlock 2, but it’s R-rated and both of those are PG-13. Then overseas grosses, expected to be huge, began trickling in underwhelming. GWDT opened only 3rd in the UK, and disappointing in Asia, and “not as good as hoped for” in Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. Now I’ve learned that Sony Pictures is indeed going forward with The Girl Who Played With Fire already written by Steve Zaillian, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest which Zaillian is penning. Studio chief Pascal and producer Scott Rudin have not yet locked in David Fincher as director. But they’re looking to start shooting #2 by the end of this year/beginning of next. Overseas, Sony now expects GWDT to do over $200M — so $300M all in globally. “And that’s a really good number,” the Sony exec told me hopefully. But one mogul counters, “The surprising part is that Sony is not waiting to see if the movie works overseas before going forward with the sequels. I would have.”
UPDATE: Sony Pictures Entertainment has issued a press release on Mara. I’ve included it after Deadline’s story break.
EXCLUSIVE: Ending one of the most drawn out and closely watched casting searches for an actress in years, Sony Pictures Entertainment and director David Fincher have chosen Rooney Mara to play Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the film that begins shooting this fall in Sweden, with Daniel Craig starring. The film will be released December 21, 2011. Rooney was considered Fincher’s first choice in the process: the director had just helmed her in The Social Network. Closing a deal will amount to a formality, because Mara essentially agreed to terms when she and other young actresses signed on to tests that Fincher and producer Scott Rudin have conducted over the past several weeks. Her deal includes an option for two sequels that will cover The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, the second and third books in the Millennium Trilogy by the late author Stieg Larsson. The books continue the same murder conspiracy storyline.
Deadline revealed that Craig was signed a deal with two options weeks ago to play Mikael Blomkvist, the investigative journalist and part owner of the magazine Millennium, and Deadline also broke the story that Robin Wright was in talks to play Erika Berger, his occasional bed partner and the publisher of Millennium. Stellan Skarsgard was also …
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Entertainment has begun deal talks with Steve Zaillian to adapt The Girl Who Played With Fire, the second installment of the Millennium Trilogy of crime novels written by Stieg Larsson. Zaillian adapted The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which SPE puts into production this fall after director David Fincher and producer Scott Rudin end the well-publicized search for an actress to play the troubled genius computer hacker Lisbeth Salander. Like Daniel Craig, that actress will sign a deal with two options covering The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest. Craig is playing journalist Mikael Blomkvist.
SUNDAY AM: Since my weekend box office report puts all its emphasis on the big moneymakers, I want to give smaller movies some love (or hate). Here’s a separate wrapup for limited releases:
Fox Searchlight’s Cyrus finished in the 11th spot this weekend. After 5 weeks in release its per screen average fell to $2,465 with a weekend total of $1.075M from 446 locations and a new cume of $5.06M.
In 12th place, Focus Features’ The Kids Are All Right continues strong its 2nd week in release. Playing in just 38 locations, its per screen average is a big $27,285. Its weekend total was $1.025M with a 52% increase from Friday to Satuday indicating strong word-of-mouth. Its new cume is $1.77M.
Rocky Mountain Pictures’ Standing Ovation opened this weekend in 623 locations, making $159K on Friday, $106K on Saturday, for a $361K debut weekend. But its per screen average was only $560.
Also opening was Oscilloscope Pictures’ Kisses in 2 theaters for a $13.9K weekend and $6,950 per screen average.
Opening in one venue, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno from Flicker Alley made $3.8K for the weekend.
The Girl Who Played With Fire from Music Box Films is still capitalizing on the $100+M big screen success of Stieg Larsson’s worldwide bestselling novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. This 2nd in his crime thriller series expanded into 141 dates and made $640K this weekend for a per screen average of $4,540.
SUNDAY AM: Since my weekend box office report puts all its emphasis on the big moneymakers, I want to give smaller movies some love (or hate). Beginning today, I’ll post a separate wrapup for limited releases:
Focus Features released its Julianne Moore/Annette Bening/Mark Ruffalo starring dramedy The Kids Are All Right to the highest per screen average so far this year, $72,127 for 7 theaters (3 in NYC, and 1 location each in LA, SF, Chicago and Toronto), ahead of Ghost Writer and Cyrus. It made $143K ($20,483 per screen average) Friday, and $199K ($28,563 per screen average) Saturday for an estimated opening weekend gross of $504K. Focus said Kids’ +39% increase from Friday to Saturday was driven not only by sell-out prime evening shows, but also by matinees which were also sold out in most markets. The venues were a mix of both smart house and commercial theaters, so these numbers bode well for Kids‘ expansion set for 11 new markets next weekend broadening to 34 engagements.
Music Box Films capitalized on the $100+M big screen success of Stieg Larsson’s worldwide bestselling novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by releasing the 2nd in his crime thriller series, The Girl Who Played With Fire in the U.S. and Canada this weekend. Playing in 110 locations, it made $965K this weekend, finishing in the 11th spot of all movies this weekend, for a per screen average of $8,777. I hear all screenings sold out in LA. Music Box …