SATURDAY 3 AM, 5TH UPDATE: This is turning into a wild and wacky overperforming weekend at the North American box office For Universal’s The Purge. My sources saw a big Friday for its moviegoing helped by Tropical Storm Andrea which worked its way up from Florida at midweek to the MidAtlantic’s East Coast and is dumping rain. That’s means people flocked to movie theaters so bigger-than-expected grosses. Insiders say Universal‘s small miscreant horror pic The Purge(in wide release in 2,536 theaters) is opening $15M Friday. This includes $3.4 million at Thursday 10 PM late shows and Friday midnights from 1,751 theaters which tops The Hangover Part III ($3.1M) and even Star Trek Into Darkness ($3.3M). That’s a huge number, even more so considering the R-rated crime spree thriller’s budget was only $3M. Estimates now are to reach $32.5M this weekend – a completely unexpected welcome. It’s the first movie in Universal’s overall deal with Paranormal Activity franchise producer Jason Blum. One reason for the rush to see it was the huge social media response to its creative and digital marketing campaign. It stars Ethan Hawke and Game Of Thrones Lena Headey, and was both written and directed by James DeMonaco (The Negotiator), and produced by Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes. It’s DeMonaco’s original spec script that he developed with producer Sebastien Lemercier and second feature as a director. On Thursday, Fandango said The Purge comprised 54% of online ticket sales, and Movieline 60%, as the #1 horror seller of the year. Fandango called it “a true phenomenon”.
And in #2 is the other wide release movie opening today, Twentieth Century Fox/New Regency’s PG-13 buddy comedy The Internship (3,365 theaters) which also is exceeding expectations. My sources say it made $7M Friday and $20M for the weekend for a budget pegged at $58M. Those grosses include $800K in Thursday late shows and Friday midnights which beat The Campaign’s $625K which also was a laugher starring two big but older stars ”so things are looking up,” an insider tells me. Reviews were awful for the Vince Vaughn-Owen Wilson starrer from director Shawn Levy with every critic complaining it’s a 2-hour commercial for Google. How high grosses go may depend on the CinemaScore to see if moviegoers like the execution of an intriguing high-concept. The studio sneaked the film in 300 theaters around the country for 7 PM shows last Saturday night to help word of mouth. But pre-sales have been soft: pic was passed for the #2 spot in online ticket sales Thursday by last week’s holdover, Lionsgate/Summit’s Now You See Me which right now looks like #4. Hollywood wasn’t expecting The Internship to make $20M – which is the minimum that stars should open a pic – and more like $15M. Hard to believe it’s been 8 years since these actors first teamed up for Wedding Crashers. Even harder to understand why New Line never did a sequel for that. Fox grabbed the June 7th date last October, or 3 weeks earlier than The Internship was supposed to release. Now it’s the first original comedy of the summer.
UPDATED: The Vince Vaughn-Owen Wilson buddy comedy about middle-aged interns inside Google doesn’t open in 3,000-plus North American theaters until June 7th. But Twentieth Century Fox has quietly decided to sneak director Shawn Levy’s The Internship tonight for one prime 7 PM show around the country. Sign of desperation or confidence? “Word of mouth screenings have been phenomenal and preview screenings have scored unbelievably. Better than tracking would suggest. Thus the sneaks,” an insider tells me. The studio also may hold another round of sneaks on Monday in honor of National Intern Appreciation Day. Fox grabbed the June 7th date last October, or 3 weeks earlier than The Internship was supposed to release. Now it’s the first original comedy of the summer. Hard to believe it’s been 8 years since these actors first teamed up for Wedding Crashers. Even harder to understand why New Line never did a sequel for that or Toby Emmerich didn’t snap up Vaughn’s original script for this. I’ve asked and received no satisfactory answer on both. (“Toby really missed the boat on this one,” one insider noted to me.)
Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page said it was a concern for improving the image of computer programming that led the web giant to participate in filming Fox’s The Internship, a comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as unemployed salesmen who talk their way into coveted internships at the company. “I’m not sure we had a choice” about participating, Page said at Google’s I/O developer conference today. “Computer science has a marketing problem. We’re the nerdy curmudgeons. (But) the guy who plays the head of search [in the movie] is by far the coolest guy in the movie, and we’re really excited about that.” The comments came as Page talked of the need for better education and more computer programmers if the country is to remain competitive (the company also announced an initiative to make it easy for schools to buy and install educational apps on Google-powered tablets and computers). The Internship, directed by Shawn Levy, is set to debut June 7. Read More »
Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson play a couple of 40-ish sales guys who find themselves suddenly obsolete and out of jobs. Desperate to remain relevant and employable, they try to land internships at Google. With (naturally) Google+ as a promotional partner 20th Century Fox rolls out the movie June 7. Directed by Shawn Levy and written by Vaughn and Jared Stern, The Internship also features Max Minghella, Rose Byrne, John Goodman, Josh Gad, B.J. Novak, Aasif Mandvi, and Will Ferrell among others.
EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox and New Regency are moving the Shawn Levy-directed comedy The Internship up three weeks to a June 7, 2013 berth. Summer 2013 is going to be brutal, and the studio saw a sliver of daylight to come out as the first original comedy of the summer, two weeks after The Hangover Part III. The film, which reteams the stars of Wedding Crashers, is now out of the way of the Channing Tatum/Jamie Foxx action drama White House Down, as well as Kick-Ass 2: Balls To The Wall, the Brad Pitt-starrer World War Z, The Lone Ranger, and it moves ahead of End Of The World and Man Of Steel. At the same time, the film opens right after most college students are out of school, and is up against the Will Smith/Jaden Smith film After Earth by director M. Night Shyamalan, which will likely have a different audience. As for historical precedent, the comedies The Hangover, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan and Knocked Up each came out the first week of June, scored big opening weekends en route to sizeable grosses. So unless someone else moves to that weekend, it seems like sound strategy from Fox and Regency.
EXCLUSIVE:Josh Gad has signed up for The Internship. The Book Of Mormon star will join Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in the 20th Century Fox comedy about two middle-aged men who have to start over at the bottom of the career ladder. Shawn Levy is directing. Gad will play Headphones, an anti-social engineer at the tech firm where Vaughn and Wilson are interning. Gad starts filming in next month. JoAnna Garica, Aasif Mandvi and Jessica Szohr co-star. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: There’s been Ed Helms, Rob Corddry, Lewis Black and of course Steve Carell, and now Aasif Mandvi looks to be the next Daily Show With Jon Stewart correspondent to make the leap to the big screen. Mandvi is joining Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in The Internship. He will play Mr. Chetty, the tough head of the internship program Vaughn and Wilson’s characters enlist in as they try to reinvent their dead-end careers. Shawn Levy is directing, and JoAnna Garcia also co-stars. Besides being on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show since 2006, Mandvi sold a series to CBS last year and appeared in Sasha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator as well as the financial-crisis drama Margin Call with Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Irons. He also appears in the just-released indie Ruby Sparks and is set to appear as the lead in Ayad Akntar’s play Disgraced at Lincoln Center’s LCT 3 Theatre. Mandvi is repped by ICM Partners and Sweet 180.
The former Gossip Girlbad girl will play dance instructor Marielena in the Shawn Levy-directed Fox comedy. The Internshipstars Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn as two middle-aged guys who lose their jobs and have to start at the bottom in the new American workforce. Marielena also has another “dancing” job on the side that she keeps under wraps. The Internship is filming this summer in Atlanta. In Ten Cent Pistol(formerly titled The Go-Getters), Szohr will play Jena Malone’s (Danneel) close friend, a fun LA party girl. The film, starring Joe Mantegna and Adam Arkin, tells the story of two brothers whose crimes have spirally consequences and is shooting now in LA. Szohr also will be seen in Light Years opposite Clark Gregg and Allison Janney and Pawn opposite Nikki Reed, Forest Whitaker and Ray Liotta. She is repped by ICM Partners, Mosaic and attorney Dave Feldman.
20th Century Fox moved up the release date of its Ang Lee-directed drama Life Of Pi from Christmas week to November 21. That’s the date Warner Bros had staked out for its Alfonso Cuaron-directed sci-fi drama Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock, which recently was pushed to sometime in 2013. Now Lee’s 3D adaptation of Yann Martel’s bestselling novel will land there, and the studio hopes it will play into the holiday season. Pi centers on a 17-year-old zookeeper’s son and his arch rival, a bengal tiger, who are stranded together on the open seas after their ship is pummeled by a storm.
BREAKING… The Twentieth Century Fox comedy will have a June 2012 start. Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson last teamed in the huge hit The Wedding Crashers and now reunite for director Shawn Levy. Fox made the announcement today because filming begins June 25th. In the story, Vaughn and Wilson portray two old school salesmen who find themselves suddenly unemployed and uschooled in the digital world. Yet they try to reinvent themselves by becoming interns at a major tech company. Levy’s 21 Laps Entertainment and Vaughn’s Wild West Picture Show Productions will produce the film that is based on Vaughn’s original script. Jared Stern delivered the rewrite to Fox. That’s two in a row at Fox for both Vaughn and Wilson: Vaughn will star in this summer’s Neighborhood Watch while Wilson co-starred in The Big Year.