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Deadline’s Best Film Stories Of The Week

By | Sunday April 27, 2014 @ 7:34pm PDT

Check out the top film stories you missed on Deadline this week:

William Hurt Midnight RiderWilliam Hurt Pulls Out Of ‘Midnight Rider’ Movie
By Anita Busch and Jen Yamato
William Hurt, who was set to play Gregg Allman in the feature film Midnight Rider, has pulled out of the movie. The exit of its star casts even more doubt over whether the Randall Miller-directed biopic will move forward following the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones during filming in February in Georgia.

‘Midnight Rider’ Producer Made Controversial Comments About Local Filming Days Before Sarah Jones Death
By Jen Yamato
The weekend before the February 20 train accident that killed camera assistant Sarah Jones, Midnight Rider producer Jody Savin made controversial public comments at a meeting of local production crew in which she touted her company’s methods and complained about the Savannah film commission for keeping a close watch on her previous film, CBGB.

Weekend B.O.: ‘The Other Woman’ Rules And Sets Up Nicely As Counterprogramming For ‘Spidey 2′ Onslaught
By Mike Fleming Jr
So now we have a good grasp of a weekend that resulted in nearly $100 million in box office, which is up around 19% from comparable weekend last year. It is still the calm before the storm, when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 takes the stage and better do three times what The Other Woman did, or else. Read More »

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BOX OFFICE FINAL: All Totals In But Paramount Gives Only Estimates; Overhype Comes Back To Bite Them, ‘Hobbit’ No. 1,’Frozen’ Slides Past Over-Estimated ‘American Hustle’ For Third Spot; ‘Thor 2′ Crosses $200M

8th UPDATE, MONDAY PM:  Here are today’s final Top 10 studio-reported actuals for the December 20-22 box office frame, courtesy of Rentrak. Paramount Pictures is the only studio to report estimates to Rentrak on Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Go figure. Disney’s Frozen did slip past Sony’s American Hustle to take the No. 3 spot with $19.6M (see below). Sony is reporting $19.0M, down from an over-estimation. Yes, Paramount wasn’t alone, but at least the other distribs thought Hustle could be higher, too. The Christmas crunch comes on Wednesday. Final numbers (except for Paramount estimate on Anchorman 2). See the full Top 20 at the bottom of the file.

1. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug,BoxOffice_logo__131122164403-275x206__131207011855 Warner Bros., $31,505,278, 3,928 locations, $8,021 average, $127,550,695, Week 2.

2. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Paramount, $26,234,000, 3,507 locations, $7,480 average, $39,457,000, Week 1. (ESTIMATE)

3. Frozen, Disney, $19,642,107, 3,540 locations, $5,549 average, $192,034,117, Week 5.

4. American Hustle, Sony, $17,901,068, 2,507 locations, $7,140 average, $19,014,436, Week 2.

5. Saving Mr. Banks, Disney, $9,344,381, 2,110 locations, $4,429 average, $9,969,867, Week 2.

6. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Lionsgate, $8,764,479, 2,949 locations, $2,972 average, $371,718,275, Week 5.

7. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas, Lionsgate, $8,384,980, 2,194 locations, $3,822 average, $28,155,257, Week 2.

8. Walking With Dinosaurs, 20th Century Fox, $7,091,938, 3,231 locations, $2,195 average, $7,091,938, Week 1.

9. Dhoom 3, Yash Raj Films, $3,152,590, 239 locations, $13,191 average, $3,422,590, Week 1.

10. Thor: The Dark World, Disney, $1,341,763, 1,116 locations, $1,202 average, $200,779,871, Week 7.

OPENING: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Paramount, wide after Wed. opening) Paramount says $40M for 5-day; others estimates well under, and in fact it looks like $39.4M, American Hustle (Sony, wide) great set up for Christmas week, Saving Mr. Banks (Disney, wide) respectable, Walking with Dinosaurs (Fox/Reliance/IMG Global, wide) in the tar pits, Dhoom 3 (Yash Raj Films, ltd) Top Ten surprise and record breaker. Her (WB) is strong and The Past (Sony Pictures Classics) is in the past. NOTEWORTHY: Disney’s Thor: The Dark World goes over $200M mark.

7th UPDATE, MON. 7:45 AM: Paramount finally came to its senses this morning, downgrading its Sunday overstatement that Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues would gross $40M for the three-day — an overhype that had everyone rolling their eyes. This morning, it has a new number: $34.2M for the five-day. The Paramount brass ordering up this over-inflated nonsense should take a breath. Still, $34.2M is nothing to sneeze at guys. The sequel took in $26.2M for the three day weekend pre-Christmas.

In addition, when the dust cleared this morning, it appears as though Disney’s Frozen slid passed  Sony’s American Hustle to take 3rd place this weekend. Read More »

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Warner Bros Slams Weinsteins’ $75M Lawsuit Over ‘Hobbit’ Profits

By | Wednesday December 11, 2013 @ 9:58am PST

NEW DJP LEGAL BADGEThe studio today said that Bob and Harvey Weinstein made a big “blunder” over the rights to The Hobbit movies and now they’re trying to fix their own mistake through the courts by suing over Warner Brosprofits from upcoming sequels. ”This is about one of the great blunders in movie history,’ said WB in a statement today after the brothers and Miramax filed a $75 million in damages lawsuit in NY Superior Court Tuesday. “Fifteen years ago Miramax, run by the Weinstein brothers, sold its rights in The Hobbit to New Line. No amount of trying to rewrite history can change that fact.  They agreed to be paid only on the first motion picture based on The Hobbit.  And that’s all they’re owed.” The Weinsteins of course see it very differently. “This case is about greed and ingratitude,” says the filing (read it here) against Warner Bros Entertainment and New Line Cinema about the studio’s approach. “Warner’s position is simply an improper attempt to deprive the people originally responsible for hugely successful films being made from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien of their right to share in revenue from two of the three filmed installments of Tolkien’s The Hobbit,” it adds. As always in these things, it all depends how you look at the deal. For Bob and Harvey, the fact that there are three movies being made out … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug’ 3-Minute Peek

By | Monday November 4, 2013 @ 5:09pm PST

Here’s another look at Peter Jackson‘s Hobbit sequel The Desolation Of Smaug, hurtling toward theaters on December 13. The new three-minute trailer includes looks at newcomers Evangeline Lilly and Luke Evans and franchise returnees Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Lee Pace, and Richard Armitage between shots of dragon-induced carnage, fight action, and peril in Middle Earth:

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‘Hobbit’ Trilogy Price Tag Over Half A Billion Dollars (So Far)

By | Friday October 4, 2013 @ 5:00pm PDT

Warner Bros.‘ three Hobbit films have racked up over half a billion dollars in production costs, reports the AP, citing Kiwi financial filings that say Peter Jackson has spent $676 million New Zealand dollars ($561 million US) so far on his LOTR follow-ups. But that figure’s just the total so far as of March 31 and doesn’t include post-March spending, post-production expenses, and marketing costs. WB has additionally enjoyed $98 million worth of New Zealand tax incentives for shooting in the area. The first of the Hobbit pics, An Unexpected Journey, grossed over $1 billion worldwide after debuting last December. Sequel The Desolation Of Smaug is set to follow with a December 14, 2013 release followed by There And Back Again on December 17, 2014.

Related: Race To Finish ‘The Hobbit’: Video
Peter Jackson Confirms No ‘Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug’ At Comic-Con, Too Busy Finishing Sequels

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Peter Jackson Invited To Direct ‘Doctor Who’ Episode – But Won’t: No Time Now

By | Saturday August 24, 2013 @ 11:37am PDT
Mike Fleming

It spread like wildfire on the web this weekend that Peter Jackson will direct an episode of Doctor Who. I can tell you with 100% certainty that there are no plans for Jackson to do any such thing. What has happened is this: Jackson has been given an open-ended invitation to direct an episode of the series if he was ever available. It did not progress beyond that. The director is completely engrossed in the second and third installments of The Hobbit trilogy, and he will not be emerging from Middle Earth for the better part of two years. Now, Jackson is a devoted fan of the series: I saw him two Comic-Cons ago and, when my son mentioned he was headed to a Doctor Who event, Jackson stopped him in his tracks – and they spent most of my interview time talking about their love for the series.

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Peter Jackson Confirms No ‘Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug’ At Comic-Con, Too Busy Finishing Sequels

By | Monday July 1, 2013 @ 2:31pm PDT

In his latest production diary from the set of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, Peter Jackson reveals that the Tolkien sequel won’t be at this month’s Comic-Con at all. Last year he popped up to court fans with 12 minutes of The Hobbit screened in 2D at 24 FPS — a careful choice following his disastrous 48 FPS Cinema-Con first-look. Today he explains he’s too busy finishing December 13′s Smaug and 2014′s The Hobbit: There And Back Again to even put together a sizzle reel for Warner Bros:

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Keshet to Canada; Credit For Bona Film; NZ Lures Tourists With ‘Hobbit’; ‘Mr. Selfridge’ Selling; More

Keshet Int’l Invades Canada With Mark Rubenstein
Keshet International is moving into Canada via a joint venture with veteran TV executive Mark Rubinstein. Keshet Canada will bring Keshet’s scripted and unscripted formats to the Canadian market and will look to develop, produce and co-produce original content. Rubinstein is a former president and CEO of Insight Sports and COO of Alliance Atlantis Broadcasting. The venture will have the rights to over 50 Keshet International properties, to be produced in the territory under the Keshet Canada banner. Keshet, the company behind Prisoners Of War, the Israeli source of Homeland, has recently set up shop in Australia and the UK.

Bona Film Group Gets $34.2M Credit Line
China’s Bona Film Group, which part-owned by News Corp., has secured a $34.2M revolving credit line with China Minsheng Banking Corp. The facility will be for three years and will be used to help grow exhibition, production and distribution. News Corp. acquired a 19.9% equity stake in the Nasdaq-listed Bona in May 2012, and in October Fox International Productions and Bona entered a multi-picture co-producing pact for Chinese-language films. Bona this year released Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster. Its upcoming titles include rom-com My Lucky Star with Zhang Ziyi and China’s first 3D disaster film, Inferno, produced by Oxide and Danny Pang. The company also plans to double its theater network to 40 owned-and-operated cinemas before 2015. Read More »

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Warner Bros Fires Back At ‘Hobbit’ Creator’s Estate & Publisher In $80M Case

By | Wednesday March 13, 2013 @ 3:35pm PDT

Warner Bros says a multimillion-dollar merchandising lawsuit from the estate of Lord of The Rings creator J.R.R. Tolkien and publisher HarperCollins has hurt it financially, undermined its rights to the author’s properties, and it wants big bucks in damages. “Counterclaim Defendants are simply attempting to extract additional huge sums of money for rights and/or take back rights that they had already granted,” the studio says in documents (read them here) filed this week in federal court. While damages are not specified in the counterclaim, the request for a jury trial does state that Warner Bros lost millions in license fees because of the fallout from the rights dispute. The claims by the studio come almost five months after the Tolkien Estate Ltd, its trustees and News Corp-owned publisher sued Warners, its New Line subsidiary and The Saul Zaentz Company’s Middle-earth Enterprises division in an $80 million copyright infringement and breach of contract dispute over video games, online slot machines and other digital merchandising. That legal move occurred just under a month before the first movie in the Warner Bros-distributed and Peter Jackson-directed trilogy The Hobbit hit the big screen December 14. The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, directed by Jackson, has made almost $3 billion in worldwide box office. Read More »

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‘The Hobbit’ Passes $1 Billion Worldwide

By | Sunday March 3, 2013 @ 5:37pm PST

To date, the blockbuster has earned $301.4 million domestically. Now, with its recent release in China where it has grossed $37.3M in 10 days, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has earned an estimated $700 million internationally. That’s a global total of $1 billion to date. Peter Jackson’s pic becomes only the 15th film in history to exceed one billion dollars worldwide. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first in a trilogy based on JRR Tolkien’s epic and is a production of New Line Cinema and MGM Pictures. Warner Bros Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM.

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Documents Shed Light On Peter Jackson’s 2010 ‘Hobbit’ Dispute With Australian Union

By | Tuesday February 26, 2013 @ 5:01am PST

Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney

Documents released by the New Zealand government today reveal more of the intense nature of the 2010 dispute over The Hobbit which threatened to move production out of the country. Included are emails between Peter Jackson and government officials which further crystallize the ire in the Shire over the aggressive tactics and demands of New Zealand Actors’ Equity and its Oz-based umbrella, The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance — which repped a small amount of actors — during their campaign to unionize the production. The turmoil ultimately calmed when the government amended the labor laws and gave the Warner Bros production $56M to shoot in the country after Jackson threatened to film elsewhere. Jackson and partner Fran Walsh said today they hope the documents (read them here) will “put to rest the unfounded conspiracy theories that sought to characterize these events as a Hollywood studio dictating terms to a sovereign government — a charge that is as spurious now as it was then.” Read More »

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‘The Hobbit’ Passes Two ‘LOTR’ Pics At Worldwide Box Office

By | Monday January 28, 2013 @ 3:52pm PST

Warner Bros and Peter Jackson have taken heat (including from Deadline) for turning JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit into three movies, but if the first film’s box office performance is any indication they might not much care. This weekend The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey eclipsed both Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring and Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers in worldwide box office. Those pics are from Jackson’s first Tolkien trilogy, which generated $3 billion in ticket sales. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has grossed $939,623,831 worldwide since its December 14 premiere, with foreign figuring in a greater portion of the total (69%) so far than all three of its predecessors, according to Box Office Mojo. Domestically, Hobbit crossed $100M in five days and made $3.3 million during its latest frame, bringing its North American cume to $293.2 million — that total is still short of all the LOTR movies. The last in that series, Return Of The King, grossed $1.19 billion worldwide and won the Best Picture Oscar.

Related: ‘The Hobbit’ Passes Global Half Billion Mark

The next installment in the Warner Bros-MGM series, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, is set to be released December 13, 2013. The third pic, The Hobbit: There And Back Again, comes out July 18, 2014.

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‘Hobbit’ And ‘Les Miserables’ Drive December Movie Profits: SNL Kagan

By | Thursday January 17, 2013 @ 12:32pm PST

Warner Bros’ latest visit to Middle Earth should generate $1.26B in revenues from all major sources — 3.59 times its expected costs — putting it on track to become the most profitable movie released in December, SNL Kagan says today. The research company builds a financial model for films by using early box office results to estimate likely revenues from theaters, home video, and free and pay TV deals against probable costs. To account for many variables it can’t ascertain (including distribution fees, interest, profit participation, and residuals), Kagan figures a movie will be profitable if expected revenues are 1.75 times higher than estimated costs. Those with a lower ratio but that are still higher than 1.40 times are in a gray area. Films below that are deemed likely money losers. By that standard three other December films will end up in the black: Universal’s Les Miserables ($396.7M in expected revenues/2.37 times costs), Weinstein Company’s Django Unchained ($473.2M/2.18X) and Columbia Picture’s Zero Dark Thirty ($230.7M/2.10X). Those falling short include: Paramount’s Jack Reacher ($253.8M/1.38X), Universal’s This Is 40 ($159.5M/1.14X), Fox’s Parental Guidance ($163.3M/1.12X), Disney’s Monsters, Inc 3D ($75.0M/0.77X), Paramount’s The Guilt Trip ($89.1M/0.57X), and FilmDistrict’s Playing For Keeps ($37.7M/0.28X). Read More »

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Warner Bros Should Repay ‘Hobbit’ Subsidy Says New Zealand Politician

By | Monday January 14, 2013 @ 9:20pm PST

Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.

The leader of NZ First political party has demanded Warner Bros. repay the $NZ67 million ($US56 million) subsidy it got from the New Zealand government for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit after the first film in the trilogy grossed more than $NZ1 billion worldwide. Winston Peters disputed Prime Minister John Key’s claim that the productions had created an extra 3,000 jobs, alleging that figure was plucked from the air. A spokeswoman for Key insisted 3,000 jobs was “a minimum” and did not count flow-on jobs created for businesses and communities that supplied and serviced The Hobbit. In correspondence with the government obtained by NZ First under the Official Information Act, a rep of Jackson’s Wingnut Films described 3,000 jobs as “a good number” and said there were 1,000 people on payroll at the studio, 1,000 at Weta Digital and almost 1,000 at Park Road Post, Weta Workshop and related companies and casual contractors. NZ First has seven seats in parliament and Peters was a Minister outside Cabinet in the Labour-led coalition government from 2005-2008. “The Government stands by its commitment to attract and retain the film industry in New Zealand in order to reap these significant economic benefits,” Key’s spokesman said. Warner Bros. had no comment.

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‘The Hobbit’ Opens To $223M Worldwide As It Breaks Records Around Globe: $84.7M Domestic And $138.2M International For All-Time Christmas Release

By | Sunday December 16, 2012 @ 11:10am PST

SUNDAY 11 AM, 8TH UPDATEHollywood now has high hopes for this all-important holiday box office after this journey to Middle Earth is the largest Christmas release of all time. Rival studios knew Peter Jackson‘s film adaptation of the 1937 JRR Tolkien novel would be a monster hit so left this weekend alone. Warner Bros says The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey internationally opened to $138.2M in its first 5 days for 15M admissions in 56 markets from 18,200 screens. Domestically it earned $84.7M from 4,045 theaters. That makes for a gargantuan worldwide total of $223M, including a December record of $15M from IMAX screens. Pic opened in U.S./Canada to $37.5M Friday and $28.1M Saturday and an estimated $19.1M Sunday for an $84.7M weekend with an ‘A’ CinemaScore from audiences. There are two records shattered – biggest December Friday and biggest December weekend for the domestic box office. The debut for the 3D actioner from MGM/Warner Bros in 4,045 theaters is grossing much larger than The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Friday’s take included a record $13M from 3,100 midnight shows, counting $1.6M on IMAX screens. Matinee trends had the pic on a $113+M fast track for its first U.S.-Canada weekend. But then its business slowed Friday evening no doubt because of its very long 2 hour, 46 minute running time. Exit polling of the audience showed that males made up 57%/females 43%, and that under 25 years old were 42%/over 25 yrs old 58%/under 18 years old 20%.

The Hobbit was digitally re-mastered into IMAX 3D format and a select number of IMAX theatres will be presenting the pic using a higher frame rate (HFR) – presenting the picture in 48 frames per second (fps) which is closer to what the human eye actually sees. This is twice the rate of the standard 24 fps, which is the current format in cinemas worldwide. This use of HFR 3D is the first in a major motion picture release. Domestically, IMAX (included in the overall total) comprised $10.1M from 326 locations. As for market share, 3D made up 49% and 2D was 51%. IMAX logged multiple sellouts across North America. In fact, The Hobbit‘s top 10 North American locations were all IMAX runs.

It’s already the #1 movie internationally since opening Wednesday. Warner Bros says 3D screens represented 60% of the total box office. The Hobbit broke an IMAX December record, grossing $5M in 126 IMAX overseas locations for a hefty per screen average of $40K. (December records were set in Brazil, Spain, Singapore, Turkey, Ukraine and the UK.) IMAX HFR locations generated $44K per screen domestically and $57K per screen overseas. Country by country, Warner Bros says The Hobbit opened to: UK – £11.4M (US$18.3M) taking 62% of the market share with 3D projection 60%; Germany - €12.6M (US$16.3M) including previews, representing a 60% share with 3D taking 80%; France - €9.8M (US$12.7M) taking 63% of the top 5 films with 3D projection 60%; Korea debuted to KRW9.2B (US$8.5M); Spain €6.5M (US$8.4M); Sweden SEK39.6M (US$6.0M); Italy €4.2M (US$5.4M); Mexico Ps66M (US$5.2M); Brazil R$10.1M (US$4.9M). My insiders thought it was very possible for the movie to end this weekend with approximately $200M worldwide but it did way more. Yowza!

In the U.S. and Canada, MovieTickets said box office advance tickets for the pic accounted for nearly 91% of sales going into Friday, with nearly 18% coming from those wanting to see the film in standard 3D format, 8% in High Frame Rate 3D, and 7% in IMAX 3D. The record opening for this weekend is I Am Legend‘s $77m. Remember, all Lords Of The Rings 2D films opened Christmas Week whereas 3D The Hobbit will play to lower openings but huge multiples helped by 3D and IMAX. The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey‘s production was managed by New Line Cinema with parent company Warner Bros Pictures handling worldwide theatrical distribution. Select international territories (including Scandinavia) as well as all international television distribution was handled by MGM.

In North America, the film is playing in 4,045 theaters, a record number for December. That includes 3,160 3D theaters and 461 theaters in the 48 frames-per-second format. Overseas, The Hobbit is opening in 55 territories on approximately 17,000 screens this weekend (excluding Australia, China and Russia). The pic scored a record opening in New Zealand where it was filmed and which is Jackson’s native country, marking the biggest non-holiday debut for a Wednesday.

Warner Bros, which specializes in tentpoles, crafted an event-level marketing campaign that simultaneously had to satisfy Tolkien’s Hobbit and Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings fans but also ignite new ones. ”We were fortunate to have in Peter Jackson a director who had both a unique vision for this broad movie marketed to everyone and a sustained relationship with his singular fan base,” the studios told me. To aid that, The Hobbit included many familiar faces among the cast and filmmakers from the original trilogy: Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Ian Holm as Old Bilbo, Christopher Lee as Saruman, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Elijah Wood as Frodo, and Andy Serkis as Gollum. Martin Freeman plays the central role of Bilbo Baggins, with Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield.

The screenplay was by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro based on the Tolkien novel. Jackson and Walsh also produced the film, together with Carolynne Cunningham and Zane Weiner. The executive producers are former Warner Bros film topper Alan Horn, and New Line chief Toby Emmerich, as well as Jackson’s longtime manager and producing partner Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood. Also pivotal was Jackson’s Weta Digital, the five-time Academy Award- winning visual effects facility based in Wellington, New Zealand, as well as Weta Workship for physical effects.

The marketing campaign began back in 2011 on Facebook with a series of video journals from Jackson’s POV, engaging fans throughout the year by taking them into the production activity leading up to the announcement trailer at the beginning of 2012.  Jackson also marked milestones like Hobbit Day and the novel’s 75th anniversary. Publicity included the first ever film-themed Rolling Stone standalone issue and a week of television programming on The Colbert Report. The Hobbit also received major treatment from Fall and Holiday previews. An online media blitz kicked off in early November with an advanced ticketing campaign across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to drive early ticket sales. Warner Bros live-streamed the world premiere from Wellington, New Zealand, to a record-setting audience of a million views.

DreamWorks/Fox/Disney’s Lincoln passed the $100M mark domestically on Thursday, 34 days from its initial exclusive release in 11 theaters on November 9th. Total moviegoing this weekend was $137M, which is +15.9% over last year.

Here’s the Top Ten based on weekend estimates:

1. The Hobbit: Unexpected Journey (MGM/WB) NEW [Runs 4,045] PG13
Friday $37.5M, Saturday $28.1M, Weekend $84.7M

2. Rise Of The Guardian (DWA/Par) Week 4 [Runs 3,387] PG
Friday $1.5M, Saturday $3.4M, Weekend $7.4M, Cume $71.3M

3. Lincoln (DreamWorks/Fox/Disney) Week 6 [Runs 2,285] PG13
Friday $1.9M, Saturday $3.2M, Weekend $7.2M, Cume $107.9M

4. Skyfall (Eon/MGM/Sony) Week 6 [Runs 2,924] PG13
Friday $1.8M, Saturday $3.0M, Weekend $7.0M, Cume $272.3M

5. Life Of Pi (Fox) Week 4 [Runs 2,548] PG
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $2.3M, Weekend $5.4M, Cume $69.5M

Read More »

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UPDATE: Warner Bros Hails ‘Hobbit’ Victory Over “Cynical” Mockbuster Producers

By | Monday December 10, 2012 @ 3:39pm PST

UPDATE, 3:39 PM: Just hours after a federal judge today granted Warner Bros, MGM and others a temporary restraining order against mockbuster Age Of The Hobbits, WB hailed the court action as a victory over producer Global Asylum’s “cynical business model.” Warner Bros is the distributor of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novelHere is Warner Bros’ statement:

“This victory underscores the importance of protecting the unique work of our industry’s creative community from companies like Asylum, whose cynical business model is designed to profit from the work of others.  Their intent to create confusion in the marketplace on the eve of release of ‘The Hobbit,’ one of the most anticipated films of the year, has met with defeat.”

PREVIOUSLY, 2:47 PM: There will only be one Hobbit on the screen this week and that will be Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Warner Bros, New Line Cinema, MGM and producer Saul Zaentz today were granted the temporary restraining order they sought against Global Asylum’s mockbuster Age Of The Hobbits (read the order here). “There is substantial likelihood that consumers will be confused by Age Of Hobbits and mistakenly purchase the film intending to purchase The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey“, said federal judge Philip Gutierrez today. “Indeed, Plaintiffs have presented evidence that Asylum’s other films have caused confusion among consumers, who mistakenly purchase Asylum films intending to purchase a different film”. Read More »

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R.I.P. Eileen Moran

By | Tuesday December 4, 2012 @ 1:00am PST

Eileen Moran, a driving creative force at Weta Digital and longtime visual effects executive producer for Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Joe Letteri, died in New Zealand Tuesday. At the top of her profession, Moran worked with James Cameron on Avatar, Steven Spielberg on The Adventures Of Tintin, Ridley and Tony Scott, and with Jackson on King Kong, The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, The Lovely Bones, and the upcoming The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. She missed the Hobbit premiere last week because she was in hospital. In a note to the staff of Weta Digital, Jackson and Walsh said, “Fran and I are terribly upset at the news that we lost Eileen a couple of hours ago. She was a lovely, decent person who had great respect for all the artists she worked with. Eileen was so proud of Weta and the work all of you have done over the years. She was fiercely loyal to the company, and to Fran and I personally, and we will always be grateful for her friendship.”  James Cameron offered the following remembrance: “Eileen was an integral part  of building Weta Digital into the most powerful engine for imaginative imagery that ever existed, and she shepherded some of the milestone films of her generation to completion.”

Moran grew up on NY’s Long Island and attended New Paltz University drama school with dreams of becoming an actress. But she decided it was too tough. instead, she took a job as a production assistant on a commercial, working her way up to … Read More »

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Race To Finish ‘The Hobbit’: Video

By | Sunday November 25, 2012 @ 6:04pm PST

Peter Jackson says he and his team are working ’round the clock to finish post-production on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in time for its world premiere Wednesday November 28 in Wellington, New Zealand. And there’s also U.S. opening December 14. Jackson and editor Jabez Olssen introduce the latest in a series of Hobbit video progress reports:

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UPDATE: N.Z. Journalist Not Disinvited From ‘Hobbit’ Premiere; There Is “No Media Blacklist”

By | Wednesday November 21, 2012 @ 9:23am PST

UPDATE: Deadline has learned that Radio New Zealand journalist Cushla Norman is in fact invited to the red carpet and press conference for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. While we understand a mistake was made in uninviting the reporter, it has been rectified and her credentials have not been revoked. People close to the situation have assured Deadline that there is no media blacklist.

Norman said earlier today that her premiere and press conference credentials had been revoked because of her negative coverage. Separately, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit production company Wingnut Films told New Zealand’s TV3 “We don’t have — and have never had — any form of media blacklist. That’s not who we are or how we operate.” Read More »

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