EXCLUSIVE: Twentieth Century Fox has begun negotiations with James Mangold to return for another installment of The Wolverine, with Hugh Jackman bringing back his signature character with the razor sharp adamantium hooks. This comes after The Wolverine …
Global Showbiz Briefs: Girls Impact The World, Dubai Fests Partner On Filmmaker Prize; ‘The Wolverine’ Tops In China; More
Girls Impact the World And Dubai Fests Team On Film Prize
The Girls Impact the World Film Festival and the Dubai International Film Festival have partnered to offer a new prize, the DIFF Prize for Advancing Women and Girls. The prize will be awarded to an aspiring student filmmaker from the Middle East and North Africa region for a short original film on an issue related to the advancement of women and girls globally. The winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship award. The submission deadline is December 31. Entries will be judged by a panel that includes Jeff Skoll, Christy Turlington-Burns, actor Ian Somerhalder, and Paley Center CEO Pat Mitchell. The winning submissions will be screened — and the final winner selected — at an awards ceremony at Harvard College on February 22. Guidelines and entry requirements can be found here.
‘The Wolverine’ Claws Its Way To $14.4M Opening In China
Fox’s The Wolverine opened in China this weekend, taking $14.4M from Friday through Sunday. After four days in release, it had earned $18.3M through last night, according to FilmBizAsia. The film was No. 1 at the box office and outperformed 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which earned a total of $13.2M. The Wolverine was ahead of Donnie Yen’s new Chinese entry Special ID, which opened on Friday to $10.9M. Last week, magic/heist thriller Now You See Me was the top pic at the box office, but fell sharply in its second weekend, FBA said. Tsui Hark’s hot Young Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon, is closing in on $98.5M and Huayi Brothers Media Corp said Monday that it was lowering its box office revenue share from 43% to 30% in an effort to get the film across the line.
Twentieth Century Fox International films set another milestone this weekend for what it boasted was an unprecedented 5 straight years and 7 overall – both industry records. Its 2013 overseas theatrical grosses passed the $2 billion box …
Hollywood Blues: ‘Smurfs 2′ Bombs Here And Blah Overseas; Denzel-Mark’s ’2 Guns’ Wins Weekend, ‘Wolverine’ Holds For #2
SUNDAY AM, 7TH UPDATE: This is yet another weekend that confounded and confused Hollywood as domestic numbers are coming in lower than projected and only international grosses are saving Summer 2013. Interesting that the Top Three films are all based on comic books. (Maybe that’s the reason?) Total moviegoing looks about $125M or about +8% from last year because of the glut of 3D films in the crowded marketplace.
I’m shocked how badly the #3 film Sony Pictures Animation‘s The Smurfs 2 (3,866 theaters) bombed in the U.S. and Canada where even the most wretched family fare can catch a break at the summer box office. This 3D hybrid live-action/CG animated sequel couldn’t even make in its first five days ($27.8M) what the 2011 original grossed in its first three-day weekend ($35.6M). Ouch! Guess little blue people creep me out and North Americans, too. The domestic total fell way short of the $35M first projected by the studio which blames too many PG films at the multiplex. But even the foreign cume was blah: $52.5M from 43 territories was “not enough to make up for U.S. underperformance,” a Sony exec tells me. That’s a worldwide total of $80.3M, far less than the $100M which Sony projected this weekend. Russia and Latin America beat Smurfs 1 while shockingly Europe (where the Smurfs began) did not. Let’s remember that the 2011 original made 75% of its coin overseas ($420M foreign vs $142M domestic) so Sony is was counting on a big worldwide weekend to save pic’s bottom-line. The negative cost for Smurfs 2 was $125M ($146M less production benefits of $21M). Sony also lined up for the sequel one of the studio’s largest global promotion campaigns with $150M from 100 corporations, licensees, and retail partners. (Including McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, blueberries). That’s a big deal for family fare not branded Disney, Pixar, or DreamWorks. As expected Smurfs 2 opened Wednesday #1 atop the North American box office but with only a lame $5.2M and then a lifeless $18.2M three-day weekend. Its Rotten Tomatoes score was a poor 12% but the ‘A-’ CinemaScore from audiences didn’t help domestic word of mouth. I hear the Sony brass was concerned from the outset because their sequel was out-tracked by Disney’s Planes (which opens August 9th). Smurfs 2‘s disappointment will only put more pressure on the studio from cantankerous investor Daniel Loeb who’s currently destabilizing the studio. The first film was taken out of turnaround from Paramount by then Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman/CEO Michael Lynton, now the Sony America bigwig. And that original Smurfs movie caught lightning in a bottle and grossed $563M worldwide. Because of that, Smurfs 3 already is scheduled for 2015.
Better news for Emmett/Furla Films which financed 2 Guns that’s being distributed in America by Universal with EOne releasing in Canada. Playing in 3,025 domestic theaters, it was the #1 film this weekend – 7th time Universal has claimed top spot at the North American box office in 2013 – with a so-so $27.4M. Audiences liked it much more than critics who gave it only a middling 58% Rotten Tomatoes score vs its ‘B+’ CinemaScore. The studio had trouble building awareness in the crowded marketplace so low-balled its projection of only a $22M weekend. But two marquee stars paired for the first time like Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg should open any film to at least $25M. Good thing the ‘R’-rated comedy actioner cost only $61M. I think what helped box office is that Denzel rarely appears in a bad pic so audiences trust that. And Wahlberg is a consistent draw. Their starpower clearly was pushing gross for this film based on the Boom! Studios comic book by Steven Grant and directed by Baltasar Kormakur (who reteamed with Wahlberg after Contraband) and screenwriter Blake Masters (TV’s Brotherhood). 2 Guns was tracking strongest with its target audience of young males and African Americans after significant multicultural outreach. To that end, Universal developed an 82-second English-language spot specifically for the bilingual Hispanic audience. Washington and Wahlberg made appearances on NBCU-owned Telemundo’s morning show Un Nuevo Dia which created a first ever interview paired with the Today Show. 2 Guns villain Edward James Olmos did Hispanic media and developed 10 spots with Mexican-themes. Other promotions were aimed at African-Amercans including BeET’s top rated 106 & Park and the 2nd largest black network TV One. Exit polling showed moviegoers were 14% Hispanic and 28% African-American.
In #2 is Twentieth Century Fox’s holdover, Marvel’s Wolverine (with the highest theater count of 3,924). Marvel character played by Hugh Jackman yet again dropped 59% drop from last weekend for $21.7M and a new domestic cume through Sunday of $95M. Worldwide total is $255.2M.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros/New Line’s low-cost $19M horror genre The Conjuring (3,155 theaters) crossed $100M after three weeks Saturday on its way to $135M all in. Studio says it’s now the 6th biggest horror film of all time and easily will end up as #4 or even #3.
Here are the Top Ten films based on weekend estimates:
1. 2 Guns (Emmett-Furla/Universal) NEW [Runs 3,025] R
Friday $10.0M, Saturday $9.8M, Weekend $27.4M
2. The Wolverine 3D (20th Century Fox) Week 2 [Runs 3,924] PG13
Friday $6.4M, Saturday $8.6M, Weekend $21.7M (-59%), Cume $95.0M
International Cume $160.2M, Worldwide Total $255.2M
3. The Smurfs 2 3D (Sony Animation) Week 1 [Runs 3,866] PG
Friday $5.5M, Saturday $7.1M, Weekend $18.2M, Cume $27.8M
International Cume $52.5M, Worldwide Total $80.3M
Listen to (and share) the first episode of Deadline’s audio podcast “Global Showbiz Watch, with Nancy Tartaglione.” Deadline’s international editor talks with host David Bloom about Rupert Murdoch’s latest backpedal over the …
Back when Darren Aronofsky stepped away from The Wolverine to direct Russell Crowe in the Biblical epic Noah, the emergence of James Mangold was something of a surprise. He’s an accomplished filmmaker, but his sweet spot is grounded characters with earthbound dilemmas in films from Walk The Line to Girl, Interrupted, Copland and 3:10 To Yuma. Just before he and Hugh Jackman unveiled a killer highlight reel as part of Fox’s Hall H panel, I sat down with Mangold to see why he related to Marvel Comics’ perennially pissed-off protagonist.
DEADLINE: You’ve directed actors like Reese Witherspoon, Joaquin Phoenix, Angelina Jolie and Sylvester Stallone to career performances, but with the possible exception of Knight & Day, your movies have always been very grounded in character and reality. What made you take the leap into the fantastical genre of superheroes?
JAMES MANGOLD: Several things appealed to me. The studio and the star were ready to do something different. This didn’t have to serve other films, we were operating off some perception of disappointment for the first film. To follow an act that tripped in some way gave us a lot of freedom. As for my own sensibility as a filmmaker, the opportunity I sensed was a chance to make a movie more like the comic books I’ve read and less like what I call comic book event movies. I’ve been a comic book fan since I was a kid, and they weren’t always about the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Every week, it was not about how a city, a continent or a universe will be destroyed if X doesn’t happen. That is unsustainable for the comic book writers. I think what is missing from a lot of comic book films reliant on peak battles is the angst, the character work, the things that as young people we related to. It was not infantile, but incredibly mature themes about life, death, betrayal, revenge, friendship, loyalty, parents, genetics, who we are and accepting ourselves for who we are. Those are themes in the comic books but the movies dabble in that but become about defeating a villain who’s intent on destroying the X that will occur unless Y happens to stop them. I was really interested in the idea of making a superhero film that purposely avoided putting the audience at risk. It seems all too often that comic book movies convey situations to the audience that, if the superhero doesn’t succeed, we’re all dead. I was trying to make a film that operated as a real drama, a real thriller, noir, Western or a real samurai film. Where you become invested in the heroes of the film worried about their interests, their needs, their safety, and not yours.
Hugh Jackman returns as The Wolverine in the Fox superhero movie that bows Stateside on July 26. The James Mangold-directed pic is the sequel to 2009′s X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the latest in the X-Men franchise. It finds Wolverine out of his depth in modern day Japan where he faces his ultimate nemesis in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Brian Tee, Will Yun Lee and Hiroyuki Sanada also star, with a cameo by Famke Janssen. Oscar-nominee Jackman will also strap on his Adamantium claws for Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past that’s out next year. Here’s the domestic trailer Fox released today, followed by the international one:
The official international Website for The Wolverine has released a motion poster depicting a contemplative Hugh Jackman atop a building, in Japan, in the rain. The James Mangold-directed Wolverine is the sequel to 2009′s X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the latest in the X-Men franchise. It’s due out on July 26, 2013. Click over for the poster, but beware the autoplay:
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.
The Wolverine starts shooting at the Fox Studios in Sydney next week with no indication yet of who will play the Viper alongside Hugh Jackman in the title role of the 20th Century Fox tentpole. At a media conference here, director James Mangold insisted Jessica Biel was only ever in talks for the role of the mutant villain — she withdrew last week — and deflected questions on whether Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy star Svetlana Khodchenkova would get the part. Acknowledging that the Australian government’s $A12.8 million grant was an added inducement to shoot in Sydney, Jackman said, “I think on the balance sheet side of things it’s a win-win. What you can’t quantify is the skills, is the confidence, is keeping Australia as world-class as we are in filmmaking. Not just in acting but as crews… any industry we can really nurture or encourage — which is about knowledge, is about skills.”
Remember at Comic-Con when I told you Jessica Biel would play Viper in The Wolverine? Talks fell apart and it’s not going to happen. Director James Mangold will meet with other actresses to fill that role.