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2013 Most Valuable Blockbuster – #7 ‘Monsters University’ Vs. #10 ‘Thor: The Dark World’; #2 ‘Frozen’ Vs. #15 ‘The Great Gatsby’

Mike Fleming

The fourth of four posts today Frozen Thor: The Dark World Profitin Deadline’s Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament. The subsequent rounds will play out next week.

Other Matchups:
#1 ‘Iron Man 3′ Vs. #16 ‘The Conjuring’
#3 ‘Despicable Me 2′ Vs. #14 Star Trek Into Darkness’
#4 ‘Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug’ Vs. #13 ‘Oz The Great And Powerful’
#5 ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Vs. #12 ‘World War Z’
#6 ‘Fast & Furious 6′ Vs. #11 ‘The Croods’
#8 ‘Gravity’ Vs. #9 ‘Man Of Steel’




Monsters-ThorHow They Got Here: Monsters University might well be the most stealthy of all the films that grossed more than three-quarters of a billion dollars worldwide. The film was the seventh-largest domestic grosser of the year, and did near double that abroad. Pixar’s representative in the tournament turned thorin the second-largest gross of all films from the John Lasseter hit machine, second-largest G-rated film, and is Pixar’s third biggest overall film ever. Thor: The Dark World continues the Marvel superhero juggernaut, and it did particularly well in China, Russia and the UK. While the hammer-wielding hero pales compared to Iron Man, the sequel bettered the original film in both domestic and overseas for a total tally of $645 million.

The Bottom Line: Thor 2 cost $170 million to make, per our experts, and because Marvel is so stingy to everyone but Robert Downey Jr, there are modest participations here that amount to around $12 million. Monsters University cost $200 million, and that include pricey paydays for returning voicers like John Goodman and Billy Crystal. Participations clocked in at around $13.5 million.

The Winner: Neither gains much of an edge because each is MonstersIncthe second installment of a franchise, though Thor 2 probably amps up expectations of the next installments of Marvel’s biggest jewel, The Avengers. So we go to the profit numbers. According to our experts, Monsters University will return $179.8 million to Disney, besting the $139.4 million that Thor 2 returns to Disney. Total cash-on-cash return edge goes to Monsters University, at 1.36 to the 1.32 turned in by Thor 2. Disney is the big winner here, but Monsters University advances.
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OSCARS: Catherine Martin’s 1920s ‘The Great Gatsby’ Is Hotsy-Totsy

By | Saturday February 15, 2014 @ 9:28pm PST

Catherine Martin, who has won two Academy Awards for Costume Design and Best Art Direction/Set Decoration on the French-themed musical Moulin Rouge in 2001, has two noms for one movie again this year: The Great Gatsby, directed by Baz Luhrmann. The Warner Bros remake based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel garnered Martin nominations for Costumes and Production Design. As with Moulin Rouge, Martin’s sets in The Great Gatsby were wondrously extravagant. The set decorator nominated with Martin is Beverley Dunn. Simply put, the production design was (in combination with the special effects team) colorful, intricate 1920s eye candy. Martin recently won an Art Directors Guild Award for her work on the film.

Related: OSCARS: Acting Races Head Into The Homestretch — So Who’s Got The Best Shot For The Gold?

party1To design Jay Gatsby’s world, Martin says, she followed her husband Luhrmann’s lead. “He wanted to create Fitzgerald’s New York as creative and exciting as it was for Fitzgerald. He wanted it immediate and how it would feel for him.” The Times Square of 1920, for instance, of the Luhrmann/Martin vision became an exciting, colorful, crowded, roaring party as were the actual parties of Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). In one of the pool scenes, an inflatable zebra is seen in the pool, which had people questioning the historical accuracy. In the book, Fitzgerald writes specifically about an air mattress he describes as a “pneumatic mattress,” but as Martin explains, “I researched inflatable pool toys to see what shapes existed and how they were made. When we put the first trailer out, you see girls cavorting with inflatable zebras and that came directly from research. Inflatables had been around since the late 19th century. The Macy’s parade started in the 1920s. What I enjoy about production design is that you are able like a detective you are able to discover and challenge your perceptions.”

Related: OSCARS: Who Were The Unsung Heroes Of 2014′s Academy Award Pics?
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Art Directors Guild Awards: ‘Her’, ‘Gravity’, ‘The Great Gatsby’ Win Top Film Prizes; HBO Cleans Up On TV Side; Martin Scorsese Honored

By | Saturday February 8, 2014 @ 7:16pm PST

ADG logoHer, Gravity and The Great Gatsby were the big winners on the film side at tonight’s ADG Awards at the Beverly Hilton. “I didn’t know if we were making a fantasy or a period film in the future,” Her production designer K.K. Barrett in accepting the award. “Spike Jonze told me, ‘Who are we to question what anybody else feels is real.’” Looking around the room, I believe in all your realities.”

Related: WGA Awards: ‘Captain Phillips’ & ‘Her’ Win Top Film Awards
Said production designer Andy Nicholson from the podium: “Gravity was an incredibly long and tough journey for my crew. None of this would’ve been possible without the artistic vision of Alfonso Cuaron.”
Martin Scorsese scored points in the room as he accepted the guild’s prestigious Cinematic Imagery Award, presented by his Wolf Of Wall Street stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill. “How does one even separate cinema from PD? You can’t,” he said. “We have images in our mind, pictures in our head, but yours are the ones I look to to get those images on the screen. You’ve never let me down. This [award] is for you.”

HBO cleaned up on the TV side, with Game Of Thrones, Behind The Candelabra and Veep all picking up trophies during the 18th annual Art Directors Guild Excellence in Production Design Awards. The show was hosted by Owen Benjamin, a comic and regular on the TBS comedy Sullivan & Son.

Here is the complete list of winners. Read on for the recap of our live blog.

Related: ‘Phillips’ IS The Captain Now As It Defies ‘Gravity’ At The ACE Eddie Awards To Win Second Guild Honor In A Row
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Deadline’s Best Film Stories Of The Week

Miss Deadline’s top film stories? Catch up now:

Ant-Man Paul RuddIs ‘Anchorman’s Paul Rudd Superhero Material? ‘Ant-Man’ In The Offing
By Mike Fleming Jr. – The long-rumored crowning of Paul Rudd as Ant-Man is finally happening. He is Marvel’s choice to star as the title character in the Edgar Wright-directed film.

Warner Bros Sets ‘Gilligan’s Island’ As Star Feature Vehicle For Josh Gad
By Mike Fleming Jr.EXCLUSIVE: Remember Gilligan’s Island, the venerable 1960s TV series about seven castaways who wind up stranded on a tropical island after a torrential storm shipwrecks their yacht The S.S. Minnow? Warner Bros is charting a course for a feature film based on the series.

OSCARS: Nine Films On Foreign Language Shortlist; ‘The Past’, ‘Wadjda’ Miss Cut
By Nancy Tartaglione – Last weekend, I profiled 15 films that had a lot of heat ahead of the Foreign Language Oscar shortlist unveiling today. Of those 15 (plus a handful of wildcards), seven have ended up among the Academy’s nine selections that will move on to the second round of voting.

anchorman-2__131123195832-275x187BOX OFFICE: Paramount Stretching Estimates As ‘Hobbit’ No. 1, ‘Anchorman 2,’ Lead
By Anita Busch – Gotta take Paramount Pictures to task with their inflated estimates for the five-day estimated gross for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. There’s not a distributor in town who agrees that the five-day number will hit $40M. Read More »

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Great Gatsby! Oscar Saboteur Targets Lana Del Rey Song ‘Young And Beautiful’: Video

By | Tuesday December 17, 2013 @ 12:37pm PST
Mike Fleming

gatsbyEXCLUSIVE: Oscar trickery has routinely been an unfortunate part of the Academy Awards. Usually it’s reserved for the Best Picture candidates, but this year someone got an early start in the Best Original Song category. I’m told by a reliable source that an anonymous envelope was mailed to members of the Academy music selection committee, complete with a printout from an online article that made the bogus assertion the Grammy-nominated Lana Del Rey song “Young And Beautiful” was disqualified for Best Song over a technicality involving The Great Gatsby‘s changed release date. The word Variety appeared on the printout that was sent, but when Warner Bros got wind of it and checked thoroughly, the piece sent was never published by Variety, and it does not appear to have been published anyplace legitimate. Insiders said attempts to figure out the sender were unavailing, so the studio and Interscope focused on setting the record straight with the Oscar committee member who reported receiving the missive and others who might have. Warner Bros, which has several songs from the Baz Luhrmann-directed film on the just-release long list of 75 eligible tunes, is now recutting a music featurette to emphasize the collaboration between Luhrmann and Del Rey on the song, which plays in the scene where Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) regales Daisy (Carey Mulligan) with the grandeur of his mansion. And yes, the song is Oscar-eligible. Read More »

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OSCARS: ‘American Hustle,’ ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ ‘Hansel & Gretel’ & ‘Bad Grandpa’ Make Makeup & Hair Shortlist

Oscars 2014BEVERLY HILLS, CA — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that seven films remain in competition in the Makeup and Hairstyling category for the 86th Academy Awards®.

The films are listed below in alphabetical order:

American Hustle
Dallas Buyers Club
The Great Gatsby
Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
The Lone Ranger

On Saturday, January 11, 2014, all members of the Academy’s Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch will be invited to view 10-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films. Following the screenings, members will vote to nominate three films for final Oscar consideration.

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‘The Great Gatsby’, ‘The Rocket’ Lead Oz Academy Of Cinema Award Nominations

By | Tuesday December 3, 2013 @ 2:14am PST

aactaThe Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts has set nominations for its 3rd AACTA Awards. The feature prizes, considered the local equivalent of the Oscars, aren’t as young as they seem: they’re a continuum of the Australian Film Institute Awards which were established in 1958. Baz Luhrmann’s Oz-filmed The Great Gatsby scooped 14 nods followed by Kim Mourdant’s foreign language Oscar entry The Rocket with 12. The AACTAs also honor TV and gave 10 nominations to Jane Campion’s New Zealand-set BBC mini Top Of The Lake. Along with Gatsby and The Rocket, the nominees for Best Feature include Tony Krawitz’s drama Dead Europe; Ivan the-great-gatsby-leonardo-dicaprioSen’s thriller Mystery Road; family pic Satellite Boy by Catriona McKenzie; and omnibus The Turning, with directorial efforts by the likes of Mia Wasikowska and Justin Kurzel. Rose Byrne is nominated for lead actress in that pic, along with Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby; Tasma Walton in Mystery Road; and Naomi Watts in Adoration. Leonardo DiCaprio is nominated as Best Actor for Gatsby; Tribeca winner Sitthiphon Disamoe has a nod for The Rocket; Ewen Leslie is nominated for Dead Europe; and Hugo Weaving picked up a mention for The Turning. That film’s ensemble of helmers has a Best Director nomination along with Luhrmann, Mourdant and Sen. The AACTAs will be handed out over two events on January 28th and 30th. Following is a full list of nominees: Read More »

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Resolution Signs Bollywood Legend Amitabh Bachchan

By | Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 3:26pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan has signed with Resolution. Bachchan is considered the icon of the Indian film industry and recently starred in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. His breakthrough role was in the film Zanjeer which established his persona of the “angry young man” of Bollywood. Amitabh reworked the image of the Hindi film hero with major hits like Deewar, Sholay, Trishul and Don. He popularized the violent melodrama genre but had an equal flair for tragedies and comedies. Attesting to his popularity, the entire nation of India prayed for his recovery during a near fatal accident on a film set in 1982. The agency will look to build the Hollywood feature momentum that came with Gatsby. Bachchan was once set to star in the Warner Bros film Shantaram when the film got shelved because of the writer’s strike; it’s unclear whether he’ll be involved as it is coming back together with Joel Edgerton starring.

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OSCARS: At 2013′s Halfway Point Does Anything Have A Best Picture Shot?

Pete Hammond

Almost exactly one year ago, Fox Searchlight released Beasts Of The Southern Wild. The Sundance sensation was significant in many ways, but it also stood out as the only 2012 Best Picture Oscar nominee to have been released in theatres in the definitely NOT Oscar-friendly first half of the year — and coming at the tail end of June it made that distinction by the skin of its teeth. The fact is, in Oscar’s modern era at least, it’s just not wise to risk a release in the first half of the eligibility year if you want to have a serious shot at Best Picture or other major Oscars. In the last five years only seven films have managed to buck the trend (Hurt Locker and Up in June 2009; Winter’s Bone and Toy Story 3 in June 2010; and Midnight In Paris and The Tree Of Life in May 2011 were the others), and that’s only because the Academy doubled its potential Best Pic noms from five to 10. In 2008, the last year there were only five nominees, no film was nominated in the top category that wasn’t released in the second half of the year.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and the long list of Oscar’s Best Picture winners have included early-release films that forced voters to have longer memories: Hurt Locker, Crash (May 2005), Gladiator (May 2000), Braveheart (May 1995) and Silence Of The Lambs (February 1991). The latter was particularly impressive since you would have to go back to Patton in 1970, during Hollywood’s road show era where films played a year on a single screen, to find another Best Pic winner released as early as February. That one definitely went against the grain of thinking in the modern era of Oscar campaigns.

So with the 2013 Oscar race hitting the halfway point this week, and assuming Friday’s crop of The Heat and White House Down are not Best Pic caliber, is there anything that has hit theatres pre-July that looms as a serious Best Picture contender? I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. Read More »

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WME Signs ‘The Great Gatsby’ Star Carey Mulligan

By | Wednesday June 5, 2013 @ 6:30pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Now, this is a coup. WME has just signed actress Carey Mulligan, who’s about as hot a gal as there is in town. She’s coming off Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, the Steve McQueen-directed Shame and the stylish Nicolas Winding Refn-directed Drive. Mulligan has a pair of pictures at Cannes; besides the curtain raiser Gatsby, she also starred in the Joel and Ethan Coen-directed Inside Llewyn Davis, which won the Grand Prix at the festival and will be released by CBS Films December 6. Mulligan had been repped by CAA, and she was signed by Warren Zavala, who had been at CAA but moved to WME last year with his whole client list. She has been rumored to be in contention to play Hillary Clinton in the James Ponsoldt-directed Rodham, but I’m told that’s far from a sure thing at this point. Mulligan will next begin production on Far from the Madding Crowd starring opposite Mathias Schoenaerts and directed by Thomas Vinterberg. She continues to be repped in the UK by Julian Belfrage & Associates and at Ziffren Brittenham.

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‘The Great Gatsby’ Starts With $5.4M International As Baz Luhrmann’s Biggest Opening

Leonardo DiCaprioHelped by a full-frills Cannes film festival gala event, The Great Gatsby opened in 27 markets on Thursday including United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Russia and Korea. Together with the 2nd day figures for the French-speaking markets, the tally was $5.4M, putting it on track to become the biggest opening for a Baz Luhrmann film. Spain and several other markets are set to open today. Going into Friday, The Great Gatsby has grossed $66.7M domestic since opening a week ago as Luhrmann’s biggest here.

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‘Great Gatsby’ Upsets ‘Iron Man 3′ Box Office

By | Thursday May 16, 2013 @ 8:58am PDT

OK, here’s some box office hilarity for you. Even if it’s only for one night, an adaptation of a 90-year-old novel toppled fanboy favorite Iron Man 3 as the #1 film in America Wednesday. Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio became the top-grossing film in North America with $3.9M from 3,535 theaters vs Iron Man 3‘s $3.85M from 4,253 theaters, according to Warner Bros which co-financed with Village Roadshow and is distributing worldwide. Gatsby‘s 6-day cume is now $63.3M. “It’s a stunning box office upset for the ages,” one exec gushed to me this morning. On the other hand, Disney/Marvel’s Iron Man 3 opened two weeks earlier in the U.S. and three weeks earlier overseas and should pass $1 billion in worldwide gross today and $300 million in North America. And let’s not forget that IM3 lost tickets to the opening of Star Trek Into Darkness last night. Its cumulative performance to date is international $691.9M and domestic $298.6M for a global total of $990.5M. Iron Man 3 is now the 2nd highest grossing superhero movie of all time overseas behind Marvel’s The Avengers and currently stands as the #11 highest grossing film of all time in the international marketplace. By country: China $102.4M, Korea $55.6M, UK $49.7M, Mexico $43.6M, Russia $40.2M, Brazil $39.0M, France $36.4M, Australia $33.7M, Japan $21.4M, Italy $19.8M, Taiwan $18.4M, Germany $18.4M, Indonesia $14.6M, Philippines $14.3M, Hong Kong $13.1M, other markets $171.4M.

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Hammond On Cannes: Opening Night ‘Gatsby’ Party Wet But Elaborate

Pete Hammond

Baz Luhrmann followed up his biggest opening day in America with his biggest opening day in France as The Great Gatsby took in $78K in partial-day results that still were bigger than his Moulin Rouge and AustraliaUnderstandably in a party mood thanks to the overperformance of his U.S. box office last weekend, the director pronounced himself pleased with one of the most elaborate after-parties which Cannes has seen since Moulin Rouge premiered here in 2001. Warner Bros co-hosted the gala event with Gatsby‘s other key financier, Village Roadshow. “I love it.  I think Jay Gatsby would have loved it too. ‘Screw the rain,’ he would have said,” Luhrmann laughed.

The Cannes celebration of its opening-night film continued into the early morning hours despite a monsoon-like downpour. When I left around 2 AM, though, the party showed no sign of winding down. Luhrmann was frequently out on the dance floor whooping it up with the likes of Warner Bros worldwide marketing czarina Sue Kroll (“When you open the festival, you have to spend a good amount of money on the party,” Kroll told me), his co-star Isla Fisher, and his WME agent Robert Newman. Also there was the festival guru Thierry Fremaux, who told me that the first film he ever programmed when he first snagged the prestigious Cannes gig was Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge.

Luhrmann said he was now really optimistic about the global … Read More »

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Hammond On Cannes: Jury Takes Center Stage As Oscar Rivals Steven Spielberg And Ang Lee ”Worship” Each Other

Pete Hammond

Once rivals for Oscar in February and now fellow jurors in Cannes, Ang Lee called Steven Spielberg his “hero” as Spielberg praised Lee’s Life Of Pi, which won Best Director over Lincoln. This mutual lovefest took place as the jury for the 66th Cannes Film Festival was introduced to the world’s press this afternoon. Spielberg, who said he hasn’t served on any festival jury since 1974 (the beginning of his feature film career) is President and has been asked many times but said the timing was finally right. “I’ve been so consistently at work, especially in the spring months directing, that every time I’ve been approached to be on the jury I’ve been working so I suddenly found myself with an open year, and so that’s why this all came together this year. I am honored I was invited,” he said. Spielberg has been to Cannes many times before with films like E.T. and most recently, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull.

Asked about being on the Cannes panel with Spielberg after defeating him for the Oscar almost three months ago Lee said, “Steven and I are good friends. I worship him. I don’t know how he looks at me, but I worship him. I don’t think any result would change how I feel about him or even myself. He’s my hero.” Spielberg responding seemed at a loss for words. “I don’t know how to answer that, except to say Ang and I have been friends for a long time and we’ve never ever been competitors, we’ve always been colleagues and that will just contiinue. And certainly I worship Life Of Pi and therefore I worship Ang Lee as well.” Read More »

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Cannes Kick-Off: ‘Gatsby’ Glitz, ‘Catching Fire’ Heat, Festival Jury’s Spielberg Meal

CANNES: Hollywood excess hasn’t disappeared entirely from the 66th Festival De Cannes. But it will be limited to a few studios. Warner Bros is bringing Baz Luhrmann’s lush The Great Gatsby to town for opening night and a gala event. Lionsgate is organizing a beach blowout to promote Catching Fire even though it doesn’t release until November. Fox is making a big deal of the 50th anniversary of Cleopatra, partnering with Bulgari jewelers for a reception displaying pieces from Elizabeth Taylor’s personal collection after a screening of the movie’s new restoration. Even the Cannes jury met for the first time last night, rather fittingly, for dinner at the Palme d’Or restaurant in the Martinez Hotel where the chef prepared a meal inspired by jury president Steven Spielberg’s films. And of course, billionaire Paul Allen’s yacht is expected to turn up in the bay with his annual super-exclusive party falling on May 20. But it’s not all champagne and bikinis on the boats. One exec who’s on a monster yacht each year at Cannes tells me it’s a cost-efficient way to do business rather than just a showy splurge. And even though some Cannes parties can cost $3 million, Warner Bros opened its wallets.

Related: Fleming On Cannes: Can Sizzle Reels Make Sizzling Deals This Year?

One executive calls it ”a victory lap” for The Great Gatsby after grossing way above expectations in North America. Now the studio wants to generate buzz internationally for the film adaptation of this most American of novels. No problem, because the rules state a movie can be released in its own country and still have its international premiere at Cannes. So Warner Bros is using this glitzy platform to open in 49 territories on the weekend including France, UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia and Korea.

The full cast and filmmakers will attend tonight including Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, Elizabeth Debicki, Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan, producers Lucy Fisher and Doug Wick, and several studio bigwigs led by Warner Bros Pictures chief Jeff Robinov. In 2001 Luhrmann opened the festival with Fox’s Moulin Rouge and one of the most memorable soirées, replete with Can Can girls, trapeze artists and Fat Boy Slim as deejay. The Gatsby after-party will evoke the Roaring 20s with help from partners Samsung, Tiffany, Moët, Brook Brothers and Chivas. There’s a gargantuan structure the size of an airplane hangar set up on a jetty across the port from the Palais where locals are already lining up for the screening Wednesday night. On Thursday night, the Gatsby party structure will be home to a soirée for about 800 locals. This isn’t an official festival event; rather it’s organized by the town each year and Warner Bros agreed to leave up the Gatsby décor for it.

Related: Hammond On Cannes: Festival Kicks Off With Most Anticipated Slate In Years Read More »

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Hammond On Cannes: Festival Kicks Off With Most Anticipated Slate In Years

Pete Hammond

After two years in a row of heavily influencing the Oscar race, the 66th Cannes Film Festival lineup may make it three this year. Certainly I see very long and winding Croisette lines to pick up press or market credentials at the Palais, which is adorned with posters of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in a provocative still shot from their fluffy France-set 1963 comedy A New Kind Of Love. One early clue came when the jury was announced, beginning with President Steven Spielberg and including such Oscar winners as Ang Lee, Nicole Kidman and Christoph Waltz. And if it’s not enough to have those icons prominent at this year’s fest, add The Great Gatsby‘s Baz Lurhmann whose film is the opening night event with a gala after-party, and Martin Scorsese who will also be in town for a yacht party announcement of his longtime gestating directorial effort Silence on May 16th. Certainly many of the Cannes contenders both in and out of competition are from Academy Award winners and Cannes veterans back with intriguing films that make up a high profile and potent selection with advance buzz.  Competing are the Coen Brothers, Steven Soderbergh, Roman Polanski and Alexander Payne plus a slew of famous names in front of the cameras both on screen and on the Red Carpet this year.

Related: Fleming: Can Sizzle Reels Make Sizzling Deals This Year?

As for the competition and key sidebars, one perennial Cannes question os whether it’s a good idea to ready or even rush a film designed for year-end release in order to play at the Festival in May. Particularly of that means risking negative reviews which can be a real buzz killer. Take, for instance, Payne’s last minute entry Nebraska from Paramount, which almost didn’t appear here. In the initial forecast Deadline posted on March 13, we thought Payne’s film fit in with the auteurist nature of the fest, it’s in black and white, and its filmmaker is quite a favorite in Cannes. (He has had only one film previously in competition – 2002′s About Schmidt – and won no prize, but he not only headed the jury for Un Certain Regard in 2005 but also was a member of the main competition jury last year.) Yet shortly after this prediction I was told Cannes wasn’t in the cards due to Payne’s fondness for long post-production time. He didn’t want to be rushed. Then the studio saw the film about a week before the Cannes deadline and execs urged Payne to put it into the festival. He took Nebraska to Paris to show to Cannes programming honcho Thierry Fremaux with just two days to go before the press conference announcing the 2013 lineup. Now it is one of the most anticipated screenings even though it ooccurs towards the end of the Festival on May 23. Paramount claims  it recently had a successful research screening in Pasadena and has dated the film for November 22nd, right in the heart of Oscar season (Payne is a two-time Screenwriting Oscar winner for Sideways and The Descendants).

Conversely there was absolutely no doubt Joel and Ethan Coen would be bringing their latest, the 1960′s-set Greenwich Village folk music tale Inside Llewyn Davis screening on May 19. It is their 8th time around this particular block so they are virtually Cannes regulars. CBS Films won’t release the movie stateside until December 6, another prime Oscar date.

Roman Polanski’s Venus In Fur screening on May 25 on the last day of competition is the adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway play. It brings Polanski back to Cannes for the first time since winning his only Palme d’Or (for 2003′s The Pianist, which resulted in a Best Director Oscar). It stars  his wife Emmanuelle Seigner and Mathieu Almarac and though audiences and critics weren’t too impressed with the last Polanski Broadway play adaptation God Of Carnage, this dramatic work could be more up his alley. There’s also strong interest in French director  Arnaud Desplechin’s Jimmy P: Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian screening May 18 largely due to lead actor Benecio Del Toro’s role as a Blackfoot Indian WWII vet. (But someone’s gotta change that lumbering title.) Cannes watchers also are buzzing about new works from three directors who are no strangers on the Croisette: Nicolas Winding Refn who won Best Director in Cannes for 2011′s Drive and has re-teamed with star Ryan Gosling as a drug smuggler in the May 22nd entry Only God Forgives. (I am told Kristin Scott Thomas steals this one as his mother). And though his films don’t make much noise in theatres, James Gray is a Cannes favorite  and back with his fourth competition entry, The Immigrant (formerly called Lowlife) screening May 24th with a starry cast of Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner. Jim Jarmusch brings his new Vampire story Only Lovers Left Alive which stars the always intriguing Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska . It has the distinction of being the last film to make the list and the last competition film to be screened: in the 10 PM slot on May 25th.

As always with Cannes there is just too damn much to see with many sidebar competitions like Un Certain Regard, Director’s Fortnight, Critics Week, Cannes Classics and so on. Certainly the opener for Un Certain Regard, Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring and Ryan Coogler’s Sundance sensation Fruitvale Station (summer releases stateside) are both screening on the sidebar’s first day of May 16th and are instant must-sees in addition to James Franco’s directorial outing, As I Lay Dying, on May 20th.

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‘The Great Gatsby’ Hip-Hops To Big $52M; But ‘Iron Man 3′ Still Tops; ‘Peeples’ Flops

By | Saturday May 11, 2013 @ 10:00pm PDT

Great Gatsby Box OfficeSATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 4TH UPDATE: There’s more good news at the box office for the start of Summer 2013. Domestic grosses for Warner Bros‘ The Great Gatsby (3,035 theaters) just keep going strong. Big online seller Fandango tells me this female-driven film is heading into Mother’s Day and ticket sales show no signs of flagging across the country from city to heartland. Despite audiences giving it a ‘B’ CinemaScore. In addition to moviegoers showing up dressed in 1930s period costumes, exhibitors are reporting some audiences spontaneously bursting into applause when Leonardo first appears on screen. (When’s the last time that happened?) That’s prompted some Hollywood execs to speculate this is the original Titanic crowd. Warner Bros hopes the Baz Luhrmann-directed, DiCaprio starrer ”perfectly counter-programs” all the May action movies. My sources’ latest estimates for the 3D tentpole are $19.4M for Thursday/Friday, and -6% for $18M Saturday. Hollywood is expecting an overperforming $52M first weekend for the romantic drama co-financed by Village Roadshow and based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 classic novel. The #1 film is still Disney/Marvel’s Iron Man 3 (which has the biggest theater count at 4,253) with $19.7M Friday (-72% from last Friday’s huge opening) and a huge $33M Saturday for $75M this weekend. (Last year The Avengers made an incredible $103M in its second weekend…) Before Friday, IM3 grossed $794M — international cume $581.6M and domestic $212.4M. Now the North American cume should be $287.4M through Sunday. Yowza! The only other major newcomer is Lionsgate’s Peeples (2,031 theaters), a ‘Tyler Perry Presents’ comedy not written or directed by him but by Tina Gordon Chism. It received a ‘B-’ CinemaScore and weak grosses even for a tiny budget of $15M: $1.1M Friday and $1.8M Saturday for a $4.2M weekend.

Gatsby‘s success might all seem surprising considering the film’s uneven reviews. Then again these critics — the vast majority white middle-aged men — are complaining about Luhrmann’s supposed “sacrilege” in adding hip-hop to Gatsby which of course is set in the decade dubbed “The Jazz Age”. Way to make themselves look old and out of touch. (Are these the same purists who piled on when Bob Dylan went electric? I found the music a fresh touch.) While Leo’s and Tobey Maguire’s performances are praised, Carey Mulligan’s is not. Then again there were misgivings in the media from the day the extravagant Baz project was first announced – the 4th attempt to film the novel after Warner Baxter starred in 1926, Alan Ladd in 1949, and Robert Redford in 1974. But tracking told a different story: it was strong from the day Lurhmann’s version co-scripted with Craig Pearce came on — especially heavy with females but also registering decently with men. The Great Gatsby kept improving its numbers as the full frills and very effective marketing campaign took hold. Even without P&A, the movie’s cost reportedly ballooned up to $200M. But Warner Bros claims that figure is $160M, which was brought down to $105M because of ”tons of rebates” from Luhrmann’s Australia filming location. That was then split 50-50 between the studio and co-financier Village Roadshow. (Initially the budget was $80M when Sony passed, and then $120M when Warner Bros and Village Roadshow first came aboard.) Read More »

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‘Great Gatsby’ Soundtrack Sales Zooming Up Billboard 200

By | Saturday May 11, 2013 @ 1:21pm PDT

Baz Luhrmann‘s ambitious 3D Great Gatsby pic isn’t just raking in the dough in theaters. Its Jazz Age-meets-Jay-Z mash-up soundtrack has been climbing the charts fast after Tuesday’s release. According to SoundScan, early projections pegged first week sales at 90,000-95,000 copies but now the album’s headed toward 100K by Sunday and could notch a #2 debut on the Billboard Top 200 when official results come in next week. Luhrmann, exec producer Jay-Z, and executive music producer Anton Monsted gambled on slotting anachronistic new tracks and covers by contemporary hip-hop and pop artists into the 1920s-set F. Scott Fitzgerald tale. Read More »

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Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond, Episode 25

By | Thursday May 9, 2013 @ 3:06pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Listen to (and share) episode 25 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Our awards columnist and host David Bloom discuss the Motion Picture Academy’s big membership meeting, likely Oscar impacts of its new rules on foreign films; the Tony Awards nomination snubs of big Hollywood names; and the week’s new movies, including Baz Luhrmann’s sleek new take on The Great Gatsby and Sarah Polley’s autobiographical documentary Stories We Tell.

Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 25 (MP3 format)
Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 25 (MP4a format) Read More »

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