The Hangover Part II is beginning to seem like a litigation magnet. The latest lawsuit was filed last week in federal court in Los Angeles according to Entertainment Weekly. It alleges that filmmakers mimicked a script that aspiring scribe Michael Alan Rubin based on his own marital misadventures in Asia. Plaintiff Rubin claims The Hangover II “is copied from the treatment … and also from the real life incident of the Plaintiff, because the protagonist … travels from the United States to an Asian country to marry his Asian girlfriend.” How did they get his script, you might wonder? Rubin claims his ex-wife gave the filmmakers his story, and furthermore accuses them of defaming him with descriptions of Ed Helms’ character’s drug-fueled antics including sex with a transsexual prostitute. Rubin is representing himself. Back when The Hangover became a hit in summer 2009, you may recall, Deadline revealed that the original movie was loosely based on the Las Vegas escapades of producer Tripp Vinson. Meanwhile, a previous lawsuit filed by the tattoo artist who designed the ink adorning Mike Tyson was settled, and another filed by a stunt man injured during the making of the film is pending.
UPDATE: Jeff Bewkes Admits ‘Green Lantern’ Not As Bright As Expected As Time Warner Beats 2Q Estimates
UPDATE, 9:30 AM: CEO Jeff Bewkes tried to stick to his optimistic story for Time Warner, but analysts forced him to play defense as well in this morning’s quarterly earnings call. In response to a question, Bewkes acknowledged that Green Lantern “did not live up to expectations” — although he wouldn’t say whether Warner Bros has ruled out a sequel. Despite the film’s disappointing performance, the CEO says that he’s “not concerned” about the studio’s effort to capitalize on DC Comics superheroes: “DC will be a major contributor,” with new films on tap featuring Batman and Superman.
Bewkes also said that TNT and TBS’ ratings suffered because “we had some bad programming choices in series we acquired over the last few years.” The problem may have been exacerbated by the fact that some of the shows were also available on digital platforms. As streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu become more popular, “hit shows win, and mediocre stuff loses.” Turner hopes to fix the problem by adding reruns of popular series including The Mentalist and Hawaii Five-0. One hit “can have a significant impact,” Bewkes says. He urged analysts to keep an eye on Time Warner’s upcoming initiatives involving Flixster, the movie site it recently bought, and the entertainment industry’s UltraViolet program that enables consumers who buy a home video to access it on almost any kind of device. Beginning with Warners’ Green Lantern the “vast majority” of its releases will work with UltraViolet, Bewkes says. He adds that a beta version of Flixster that will be “deeply integrated” with UltraViolet will be released this week. Beginning this fall, consumers also will be able to bring DVDs they already own to retailers who will be able to make them available from the broadband cloud. All in all, investors seemed unimpressed with today’s news even though the financial numbers beat analyst estimates: Time Warner shares are down about 2.2% in mid-day trading.
PREVIOUS, 4:42 AM: The entertainment giant ended 2Q with net income of $638M, up 13.5% vs the period last year, on revenues of $7B, up 10.2%. Earnings at 60 cents a share handily beat the Street’s forecast of 56 cents. Analysts also anticipated revenues of $6.8B.
SUNDAY UPDATE: This weekend, The Hangover Part II generated an estimated $21.4M from approximately 5,800 screens in 55 markets, bringing the international total to $256M. With a worldwide gross of $488M, the sequel now surpasses the original’s gross of $468M to become
the biggest R-rated comedy globally. The combined worldwide box office for both pics now exceeds $1 billion. Yowza!
SATURDAY: The combined worldwide box office for Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures’ The Hangover and The Hangover, Part II will now exceed $1 billion. Yowza! Today the sequel (before this weekend Domestic: $226.2M, International $216.4M) will surpass the original’s $467.4M (Domestic: $277.3M, International: $190.1M).
If you thought everyone was glued to the tube watching last night’s NBA Finals, you were right. LeBron fans (or foes) took a big bite out of Sunday night’s North American box office numbers. TV ratings were 50% higher than last year, affecting the male-skewing films in the evening like Super 8 ($9.3M), X-Men: First Class ($6.4M), and The Hangover Part II ($4.4M), which all missed their Sunday estimates by between $800K and $1.6 million. That means Super 8 ended the weekend at $35.4M (not $37M) with a cume of $36.4M (not $38M):
1. Super 8 (Bad Robot/Amblin/Paramount) NEW [3,379 Runs]
Friday $12.2M, Saturday $14M, Sunday $9.3M, Weekend $35.4M, Cume $36.4M
2. X-Men: First Class (Fox) Week 2 [3,692 Runs]
Friday $8M, Saturday $10.1M, Sunday $6.4M, Weekend $23.7M (-57%), Cume $97.6M
3. The Hangover Part II (Warner Bros) Week 3 [3,644 Runs]
Friday $5.7M, Saturday $7.6M, Sunday $4.4M, Weekend $17.7M, Cume $215.8M
The money is flowing again into Big Media. Just about every media CEO who recently spoke to Wall Street analysts about this year’s 1st Quarter earnings said that ad sales are up and consumers are spending. “Viacom has never been stronger financially,” CEO Philippe Dauman crowed. At Disney, where net profits fell slightly, CEO Bob Iger expressed he was “confident in the trends we’re seeing across our segments”. So will these companies do more hiring and give out raises? Don’t be naive. Dauman, for one, told investors that he’s “watching for head count creep” while the company returns $1.9 billion to shareholders over the first 9 months of its fiscal year. Most Big Media companies are buying back their stock, making publicly held shares more valuable. CBS doubled its quarterly dividend to shareholders and Viacom plans to follow suit.
Here are some of the other major themes from this earnings season:
TV Advertising: Network executives were predictably upbeat about what will happen in their upfront ad sales negotiations in coming weeks. Disney CEO Bob Iger predicted the market will be “strong”. NBCUniversal chief Steve Burke upped that to “very strong”. And News Corp COO Chase Carey claimed it’ll be “truly strong”. Their pronouncements made CBS chief Les Moonves sound refreshingly bold when he projected “solid double-digit increases” in ad sales for his broadcast network. Executives cited the price increases they’ve seen in scatter sales as the economy has improved and auto, technology, telecom, …
The nature of a hangover is that it’s dreadful because of the lingering headache. Warner Bros is experiencing just that after mistakenly slapping its trailer for the R-rated Todd Phillips-directed The Hangover sequel on the front of the PG-13 film The Source Code, without first running that by the MPAA. Warner Bros has rectified the situation and issued the following statement:
“In our haste to meet the placement schedule for this trailer, we failed to properly vet the final version with the MPAA. We acted immediately to correct the mistake and removed the trailer from screens.”
The good part for Warner Bros is Deadline readers get to the see the offending trailer again. Here it is: