F Scott Fitzgerald‘s handwritten ledger chronicling his film payments 1919-1938 is now online just weeks before the release of Baz Luhrmann’s new film adaptation of The Great Gatsby. Which, according to these meticulous records, …
It was Warner Bros Pictures’ turn for studio slate presentations at the CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas Tuesday and President of the Warner Bros Pictures Group Jeff Robinov unveiled the studio’s packed summer lineup with its familiar mix of comedy, horror, superheroes, monsters, and sequels. Robinov looked to the future and thanked all the studio’s partners: New Line, Legendary, Village Roadshow, Alcon, and MGM (on the Hobbit trilogy). He also thanked his new boss Kevin Tsujihara who won the job of Chief Executive Officer replacing Barry Meyer. ”All of us share his vision and this will be an exciting time under his leadership,” Robinov said. Distribution head Dan Fellman initiated a bunch of baseball analogies after the success of Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros’ Jackie Robinson biopic 42 last weekend. It followed a string of 5 straight box office disappointments for Warner Bros and occasional other partners (like New Line). ”Consistency has always been a hallmark of Warner Bros Pictures. But even the most consistent player can hit a few fouls,” Fellman told exhibitors. Fellman emphasized that Warner Bros is the only studio to score $1 billion box office gross domestically 12 years in a row. And International Distrib topper Veronika Kwan Vandenberg pointed out that the studio in 2012 grossed over $4 billion worldwide thanks to hits like The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Add to that the 85th Oscar-winning Best Picture success of Argo. Plus, this year Warners Bros is celebrating the 90th anniversary of its founding by the Brothers Warner in 1923.
The season starts out May 10th with the 3D drama from Baz Luhrmann, The Great Gatsby, originally intended for the 2012 awards season but held for Summer 2013 instead. Luhrmann is still tweaking the movie which will open the Cannes Film Festival on May 15th, but sent along a pre-taped introduction – complete with music underscoring to the film’s trailer. Footage was shown at last year’s CinemaCon but this was much different and in 3D. No question it looks like another visual triumph for the director of Moulin Rouge and Romeo And Juliet which starred his Gatsby lead Leonardo Di Caprio. Luhrmann said he was inspired to use 3D when he saw a 3D screening of the Alfred Hitchcock 1950s drama Dial M For Murder (also released by Warners). Even though he said the most special effect in this movie is the acting.
Director Todd Phillips publicly chided Luhrmann before introducing The Hangover Part III trailer. “It would be nice if Baz showed up. There are a lot of directors backstage. We showed up,” he said. Phillips then fed the exhibitors’ egos by saying that comedies should be seen in theaters where everyone can laugh together. Warner’s is now referring to his sleeper smash as the Hangover Trilogy.
Next was Zack Snyder, director of Man Of Steel, who turned up with the world premiere of the film’s new trailer which will play before Oblivion starting on Friday. “There’s no competition between superheroes obviously. But if there were, he would win,” said the unabashed fan of the comic book hero. “I am sorry to even have to say this now but we shot the movie on film and anamorphic. We wanted to give your cinemas a big giant movie movie.” He also acknowledged producer Christopher Nolan’s help during their first meeting in steering him in the right direction on the film. Nolan and his co-producers Emma Thomas and Chuck Roven were in the audience but oddly not introduced to the crowd. The trailer played well and Nolan seemed pleased with the reaction when I saw him afterwards.
At 70 years old, Amitabh Bachchan has acted in more than 180 films, won scores of awards and once held the top spot on Box Office India’s highest-earning actors list for 16 consecutive years. He is also a producer and singer whose family is its own industry dynasty: His wife is Jaya Bhaduri Bachchan, who worked with legendary director Satyajit Ray, and his son is Bollywood movie star Abhishek Bachchan, who is married to Aishwarya Rai. In a nod to Bachchan’s clout at home, he recently Q&A’d Steven Spielberg for a Reliance-sponsored event during the director’s swing through Mumbai. But Bachchan had never had a role in a Hollywood production until Baz Luhrmann recruited him to play underworld businessman Meyer Wolfsheim in The Great Gatsby. Bachchan keeps a meticulous blog that he updates daily and on it he recently posted the story of how he came to be cast in the movie and offered some insight into the filming. The Great Gatsby premieres in New York on May 1 and opens the Cannes Film Festival on May 15. “At the end of all this,” Bachchan recently wrote, “I would require a year to recover from symptoms of acute delusion as to what, where and why I am.” His Gatsby blog post is excerpted on the next page:
Listen to (and share) Episode 17 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Our awards columnist and host David Bloom discuss this week’s Hall of Fame inductions at the TV Academy, led by one of TV’s controversial creators, Philo T. Farnsworth; the Cannes Film Festival decision to open with Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, and likely competition films there from auteurs such as the Coen Brothers, Woody Allen, and Sofia Coppola; and Pete’s take on this week’s movies of note, including Reality, Springbreakers and If I Were You.
The 3D version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic, which was just tapped to be the opening night film at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and which Warner Bros plans to release in the U.S. on May 10, will provide an early indication of whether the extra dimension appeals to audiences who like dramas — and not just animation, action, and fantasy fans. “We’re really excited to see what the data points are,” RealD Chief Financial and Operating Officer Drew Skarupa said today of The Great Gatsby at the Piper Jaffray Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference. The 3D technology company is also eager to see additional films that appeal to overseas audiences. When a movie is available in 2D and 3D, about 60% of international sales go to the 3D version as opposed to 45% in the U.S. That’s a problem because “the press and the Street tend to focus on the domestic numbers.” What accounts for the difference? “We’ve seen direct correlations between the number of 3D showtimes and box office,” Skarupa says. “We’d like to see in the U.S. markets a greater percentage of 3D showtimes.”
Baz Luhrmann’s 3D adaptation of The Great Gatsby will kick off the 66th Cannes Film Festival on May 15, organizers said today. The Warner Bros drama will screen in the out-of-competition selection. The latest adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher and Jason Clarke. It opens in the U.S. on May 10 but day-and-date with its May 15 Cannes launch in France.
This was basically a no-brainer decision. Luhrmann is a favorite of the festival, and his 2001 musical drama Moulin Rouge still remains one of the splashiest opening nights in Cannes history with an elaborate, very expensive party thrown by distributor 20th Century Fox afterward. Those who were there (I was among them) will not soon forget the extragance of it all, and certainly if any other movie might deserve the same opulent treatment it is Luhrmann’s Gatsby, which was delayed from an awards-season opening in 2012 by Warner Bros so the director could continue to refine the ambitious film. Whether the studio will spring for a kickoff like a party Jay Gatsby himself might throw remains an open question, especially since it won’t be the world premiere of the film, but nevertheless it is worth the speculation.
Exhibitors actually got their first look at the 3D drama almost a full year ago when Warners previewed footage at CinemaCon in Las Vegas as part of their 2012 slate sneak look. After it was delayed by the studio into a 2013 debut, a Cannes opening seemed inevitable, particularly with the prospect of getting big star names like DiCaprio, Maguire and Mulligan to come to the Croisette for a glamorous European premiere.
Warner Bros has put up a new trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s take on the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic The Great Gatsby. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the title character, Carey Mulligan is Daisy and the rest of the cast includes Tobey Maguire, Isla Fisher, Joel Edgerton and Jason Clarke. Luhrmann and Craig …
BREAKING: Warner Bros. Entertainment and Village Roadshow Pictures Group have extended to 2017 their long-standing arrangement to co-produce and co-finance films. VRPG also renewed and upsized its now 15-year film production facility to $1.125 billion through that date. JPMorgan Chase and Rabobank continue as joint syndication agents.
The VRPG and Warner Bros co-financing arrangement has spanned 15 years and 68 films so far, with global hits that have included The Matrix trilogy, the Ocean’s Eleven films, Sherlock Holmes and Happy Feet. The co-financing program has been a cornerstone of the Warner Bros program, with Legendary Pictures also emerging as a significant player in allowing the studio to share risk in tent pole fare. Upcoming Warner Bros/VRPG films include the Ruben Fleischer-directed Gangster Squad and the Baz Luhrmann-directed The Great Gatsby.
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney
With The Wolverine, The Great Gatsby, Peter Jackson’s Hobbit movies and the Evil Dead remake shooting in the southern hemisphere, it might appear that all is rosy on the location front Down Under. But the reality is that as the Oz dollar has soared since 2010 – it’s currently about even with the greenback – all but two major Hollywood productions have bypassed Australia as a shooting location. With the New Zealand dollar trading at only 83 U.S. cents, the exchange rate there is better. And, after Hobbiton packs up, James Cameron will crank up the two Avatar sequels, filling a potential gap.
But a chorus of execs at major Oz studios, post houses and Ausfilm, the group that markets Australia as a location, warn that Australia won’t attract large-scale international productions unless the location tax credit is lifted to 30%. The Oz government is considering calls to raise the offset from 16.5% as part of a new national cultural policy that’s due to be announced soon. “It’s make-or-break,” says Fox Studios Australia chief exec Nancy Romano, who has two U.S. features potentially lined up for 2013, but only if the incentive is raised.
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney
Co-producing the box office under-achievers Happy Feet Two, The Lucky One and Dark Shadows with Warner Bros. doesn’t seem to have hurt Australia’s Village Roadshow Ltd, which today announced a net profit of $A33.8M ($33.5M) for the year to June 30. That’s a 20.2% rise on the previous year. The company didn’t break out the results of its 47.6%-owned Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, which consists of Village Roadshow Pictures and the Concord Music Group. But managing director Graham Burke tells Deadline he’s happy with Village Roadshow Pictures’ performance, “We take a long-term perspective on our relationship with Warner. We put our money as a chip on the table with them.”
Burke highlighted the success of VRP’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which grossed $544M worldwide, and prospects for upcoming releases including Gangster Squad, The Great Gatsby, All You Need Is Kill, Lego and Fury Road. Burke says the 20 minutes of Great Gatsby he’s seen are “breathtaking” and he fully supports the decision to delay the release till summer 2013 to give Baz Luhrmann more time. In Oz, Roadshow Films continued as the top theatrical
BURBANK, CA, August 6, 2012 – Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures have moved the release date of “The Great Gatsby” to Summer 2013. The announcement was made today by Dan Fellman, President of Domestic Distribution, and Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, President of International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.
In making the announcement, Fellman stated, “Based on what we’ve seen, Baz Luhrmann’s incredible work is all we anticipated and so much more. It truly brings Fitzgerald’s American classic to life in a completely immersive, visually stunning and exciting way. We think moviegoers of all ages are going to embrace it, and it makes sense to ensure this unique film reaches the largest audience possible.”