Produced By Conference: Jerry Bruckheimer Says ‘Top Gun’ Sequel Still In Play, ‘Lone Ranger’ Sequel Not Set Yet

By | Sunday June 9, 2013 @ 4:42pm PDT

Top Gun 2 is still aiming for lift off, said Jerry Bruckheimer today. “For 30 years we’ve been trying to make a sequel and we’re not going to stop. We still want to do it with Tom [Cruise] and Paramount are still interested in making it,” the producer said Sunday at the Produced By conference. “What Tom tells me is that no matter where he goes in the world, people refer to him as Maverick,” added Bruckheimer of Tom Cruise who starred as the rebel fighter jet pilot in the original 1986 movie. “It’s something he is excited about so as long as he keeps his enthusiasm hopefully we’ll get it made,” Bruckheimer said about the sequel and its star. Bruckheimer noted that the death of original Top Gun director Tony Scott last August did put a pause on the project.

In a wide-ranging discussion with Deadline’s Pete Hammond at the PGA event, the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise and this summer’s Lone Ranger producer also revealed that star Johnny Depp often travels with his Captain Jack Sparrow costume and visits children’s hospitals unannounced. “He knows he is a very fortunate person and he wants to give back,” Bruckheimer said. Praising the actor and others, Bruckheimer said the success of his films over the decades, both with partner Don Simpson and on his own, is “always about the talent… our company worships talent.” Read More »

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#1 ‘Identity Thief’ Steals $36M Weekend (Bigger Than ‘Bridesmaids’), #2 ‘Warm Bodies’ $11.4M, #3 ‘Side Effects’ $9.5M: Blizzard Didn’t Blitz U.S. Box Office

By | Saturday February 9, 2013 @ 11:58pm PST

SATURDAY 11:45 PM, 7TH UPDATE: Well, Winter Storm Nemo raged over the Northeast Friday but box office stayed really solid. Despite movie theaters closed by nightfall and venues with lost power. Even though Northeast governors shut down all road traffic and imposed fines and even jailtime. That could have been terrible news for this weekend’s two major openers but wasn’t. Now for the dig out. Both Universal’s frenemies comedy Identity Thief and Open Roads Films’ Steven Soderbergh crime thriller Side Effects scored middling ‘B’ CinemaScores which won’t help or hurt word of mouth. Yet grosses went up double digits – +35% and +52% respectively from Friday to Saturday for the pair. True, this weekend’s total moviegoing is only $100M which is down a disappointing 45% from last year.

Even so I’m astonished that weekend trends showed incredibly strong numbers for Identity Thief (originally in 3,141 theaters) with $11.2 million Friday and $15 million (+35%) Saturday trending for $36M this weekend. Despite (or because) it was critically panned as derivative drivel, the Melissa McCarthy-Jason Bateman comedy is doing fantastic box office in nation’s center (which Hollywood derides as ‘flyover’ country). ”Everyone says Identity Thief is really good – even when it gets formulaic,” a rival exec admitted to me. And it only cost $35M, claims the studio. It’s even beating McCarthy’s Bridesmaids opening numbers - $26.2M weekend from 2,918 theaters on May 13, 2011. Of course, that Universal movie went on to do a huge multiple for the studio which would be happy with 3x now.

Identity Thief is doing 1/3 better than tracking predicted — and it was tracking well before the storm. Led initially by females, awareness and interest spread out to men, helped by 2 spots around the Super Bowl this past Sunday. But why Hollywood keeps making this story every decade is beyond me – 2003′s Bringing Down The House with Queen Latifah and Steve Martin, 1992′s HouseSitter with Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin. This one reteams Batemen with his Horrible Bosses director Seth Gordon, and it’s McCarthy’s first starring role since Bridesmaids which earned her an Oscar nomination. Identity Thief was produced by Scott Stuber, Pam Abdy and Bateman who pitched Stuber the idea while they were working together on Couples Retreat. They originally developed the film for two male leads, but then they saw McCarthy in Bridesmaids and adapted the co-lead role for her with more physical comedy. Overseas, pic opens day and date in Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania and Taiwan and continues rolling out abroad beginning February 21st.

#3 is last weekend’s winner, Summit Entertainment’s zombies rule comedy Warm Bodies, which grossed $3.2M Friday and $5.4M Saturday for maybe $11.7M after its big $25.1M opening a week ago. New cume is $36.8M.

#3 is Side Effects  (originally 2,605 theaters) opening with $2.8M Friday and $4.2M Saturday (+52%) for a $9.4M weekend. Open Road, underwritten by both AMC and Regal, claims it will make a profit at that result even with a production budget of $30M and a marketing spend of $20M. Open Road in January 2012 pre-bought the U.S. rights to Side Effects which was financed by Endgame Entertainment. Pic’s producers are Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, Gregory Jacobs, and Scott Z. Burns who is also the screenwriter. With a marquee director in Steven Soderbergh and a marquee cast in Jude Law, Channing Tatum, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, it’s perplexing why pic didn’t do better at the box office. Obviously, kicking off the publicity campaign with a New York Times piece doesn’t mean anything anymore. Rooney Mara even appeared on the cover of Vogue and Interview Magazine. But the hip stayed home. The trailer launched on November 2nd with Flight and the media campaign was focused on adults 18-49. A heavy word-of-mouth screening program included screenings for psychiatric doctor groups accompanied by niche publicity about the psychiatric medicine of the movie. The online campaign kicked off with a viral push for the fictional drug featured in the film. Interestingly, much of the content featured on the film’s website could only be revealed by rollover – alluding to the theme of the film that there is much more beneath the surface. Oh, well.

Warner Bros pushed up the print count to 1,405 for its Best Picture Oscar lead contender Argo in its 18th week to jump back into the Top Ten Films for a $2M weekend and $123.2M cume. And Paramount’s Top Gun reissued in 3D IMAX (300 locations) rounded out the Top Ten with $2M for the weekend  in support of the Blu-ray debut this month.

Here’s the Top Ten based on weekend estimates:

1. Identity Thief (Universal) NEW [Runs 3,141]
Friday $11.2M, Saturday $15.0M, Weekend $36.0M

2. Warm Bodies (Summit/Lionsgate) Week 2 [3,009]
Friday $3.2M, Saturday $5.4M, Weekend $11.7M (-43%), Cume $36.8M

3. Side Effects (Open Road) NEW [Runs 2,605]
Friday $2.8M, Saturday $4.2M, Weekend $9.4M

4. Silver Linings Playbook (Weinstein) Week 13 [Runs 2,809]
Friday $1.6M, Saturday $3.1M, Weekend  $6.4M, Cume $89.5M

5. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (Paramount) Week 3 [Runs 3,285]
Friday $1.3M, Saturday $2.7M, Weekend $5.7M, Cume $43.8M
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‘Top Gun’ Cleared For 3D IMAX Takeoff

By | Tuesday December 11, 2012 @ 11:24am PST

Top Gun will return to theaters for an exclusive six-day IMAX engagement beginning February 8 that will see the iconic 1986 Tom Cruise pic remastered in 3D for the large-screen format. The late director Tony ScottRead More »

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Hammond On Tony Scott: An Appreciation

Pete Hammond

It is doubly sad and ironic that action movie maestro Tony Scott would apparently choose to end his life by jumping from a bridge. This is the kind of scene you would more likely see because he was calling the shots from behind the camera – … Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: The Netherlands, New Zealand, Mexico, UK

3D Conversion Of Paramount’s ‘Top Gun’ In The Works
Another blockbuster is getting the 3D conversion treatment, it seems. Top Gun, Tony Scott’s iconic 1986 film starring Tom Cruise, is being re-formatted for a possible 2012 release by Paramount. That was the word from Legend3D CEO Rob Hummel, speaking today at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam, where he presented a 4-minute clip in the new format. “I think Top Gun lends itself to 3D due to the aerial flight,” Hummel said. “You can have fun with 3D by bringing things off the screen if they are not attached to the edge of the screen.” Hummel said that the studio wanted to get Scott’s approval before proceeding, while Paramount said there had been no talk of a release date. If the redo of the blockbuster does materialize, it will be on top of 3D conversions of The Lion King, set for release later this month, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Titanic.

Vicki Jackways To Represent New Zealand In Hollywood
New Zealand is reaching out to Hollywood in a bid to lure more film shoots and facilitate U.S. co-productions. Film New Zealand and Park Road Post Production are teaming on an initiative that will see Park Road’s marketing chief Vicki Jackways working to heighten New Zealand’s Hollywood presence next year when she comes to L.A. in a semi-permanent capacity. New Zealand is on Hollywood’s location map and has an established effects and post-production infrastructure. It famously served as Middle Earth for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. “Thanks to the talents and entrepreneurship of our screen industry across the country, and the backing of successive governments, New Zealand has built a remarkable reputation as a film-making culture. Los Angeles-based representation is an important next step in taking full advantage of this reputation.”
Netflix CEO: Two Years Until We See Profit In Mexico
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings estimated today that it will take two years before his firm sees any returns from Mexico. “We are going to lose money for a while … it will take a lot of subscribers to get to profitability,” he said at a Mexico City news conference to mark the launch, part of a previously announced Latin American expansion. He declined to say how many subscribers it would take to get into the black but expressed confidence that the bandwidth commonly available in Mexico, markedly lower than that common to the U.S., would be viable. Netflix will charge $8 for a monthly subscription in Mexico. Local broadcasters TV Azteca and will make some of their content available through Netflix in Mexico, he said.
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HAMMOND: Ridley And Tony Scott Build TV Empire And Invade The Emmy Awards

Pete Hammond

EXCLUSIVE: Last week, Deadline’s Mike Fleming reported that Ridley Scott is planning another Blade Runner film, while brother Tony Scott plots to do a remake of the 1969 Sam Peckinpah Western classic The Wild Bunch. These are just a couple of many film projects the indefatigable pair are involved in after careers that have spawned some of the most successful pictures of recent years. For Ridley, that would include three Best Director Academy Award nominations for the likes of Best Picture Oscar winner Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and Thelma and Louise, and for Tony a resume that includes such hits as Top Gun, Crimson Tide and most recently last year’s Unstoppable. He’s currently prepping Hell’s Angels, while Ridley is working on the 2012 summer release Prometheus. It’s remarkable that they actually have time for anything else, but since 1995 they have been heavily involved in their very prolific joint production company Scott Free, which not only produces their big-screen vehicles (and many others) but also has become a force in television, receiving 23 Emmy nominations this year in multiple categories covering scripted, nonfiction and miniseries. In 2010, it received the Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Filmed Entertainment.

Under the day-to-day guidance of president of television David Zucker, Scott Free has seen growing critical and ratings success in the medium even as both are often in far-flung corners of world making movies. When I caught up with them in a conference call last week, Tony was in London, Ridley was in the South of France, and David was in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, they were thrilled about the Emmy love and planned to be here for the Sept. 18 prime time ceremony, where the CBS hit drama series The Good Wife, now moving into Season 3, is nominated for nine Emmys and the elaborate Starz miniseries Pillars of the Earth collected seven nominations. Their nonfiction entry Gettysburg is a major player also, with seven nods in the Creative Arts awards to be handed out a week earlier.

Previous TV projects includes the long-running CBS series Numbers, HBO’s Into the Storm and The Gathering Storm, A&E’s The Andromeda Strain and TNT’s spy thriller The Company, among many others.

The secret to all this success, they say, is smart creative choices and independence. “In terms of the creative ambitions of the company, as well as profitability, Ridley and Tony decided a few years ago to go entirely independent, so we have the flexibility to partner with ambitious and like-minded production companies like Tandem Communications but also the freedom to align on network projects or cable projects, with whatever studio or broadcaster that suits the material,” Zucker says. “I think the mandate that has always been the case for the company is that it’s very talent-driven, it’s very writer-driven, so when we happen upon something fiction or nonfiction that excites everyone and that Ridley and Tony want to pursue, then it’s all about finding the right home and about finding the right partner, and so the flexibility of being independent has been critical to being able to have this variety of projects.” Read More »

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