While a dispute with Transformers: Age Of Extinction sponsor Pangu Investments was swiftly resolved around the time of the film’s release, the folks at the Wulong Karst National Park are not relenting. Earlier this month, the tourism group said it was going ahead with legal action against the producers of the highest-grossing film of all time in China. Unhappy with its portrayal in the film, the UNESCO World Heritage site has now filed a lawsuit at Chongqing No. 3 Intermediate People’s Court, accusing Paramount Pictures and Beijing-based 1905 Internet Technology, of violating their contract. The State-owned Xinhua new agency reports the court has accepted the suit. Wulong says its name was due to be featured on screen announcing the locale, but is not in the finished film. There also is concern that because the scenes immediately following take place in Hong Kong, it mistakenly gives the impression the two are nearby. Wulong is understood to be seeking 4M yuan in losses for the days the park was closed for filming, compensation of expected profit losses of 12M yuan and the return of 4.8M yuan of a contract payment. This despite reports that there’s been a hike in visitors since the movie came out. Paramount has not previously commented on the Wulong issue, but the head of 1905′s M1095 earlier told local press that Wulong delayed payment to Paramount for five months which resulted in a squeeze on production time and a misunderstanding …
FINAL: Intl Box Office: ‘Transformers’ Adds $84.6M; ‘Apes’ Swings Up With $61.9M; ‘Boyhood’ Growing In UK; More
2ND UPDATE, MONDAY 3:20 PM PT: Updated figures for the international weekend have come in with all studios reporting. Among the top movies in the marketplace, Transformers: Age Of Extinction‘s 4th frame was up from original estimates to $84.6M in 58 territories ($662.6M cume), and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes was slightly higher than predicted in its 2nd frame with $61.93M on 10,347 screens in 51 markets ($103.6M cume).
Also of note, Fox’s The Grand Budapest Hotel has officially passed $110M internationally, adding $491K in 15 territories this weekend. Meanwhile, Boyhood, which Universal is releasing most everywhere overseas, added 60 locations in its 2nd UK frame. The result was a 0% drop from last week with $537K at 89 dates. The UK/Ireland total is now $1.5M (£892K). With the buzz growing, Universal is looking to continue the pattern by increasing the number of screens in more regional areas this Friday. In the next few days, the studio says the Richard Linklater drama will best the director’s Before Sunset (£932K) and A Scanner Darkly (£995K) to become his 2nd biggest film in the market behind School Of Rock.
Updated throughout the below are figures on the above films as well as Planes: Fire & Rescue, Sex Tape, The Purge: Anarchy, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Step Up All In, Maleficent, Blended, The Fault In Our Stars, 22 Jump Street, Edge Of Tomorrow, X-Men: Days Of Future …
Update: Intl Box Office: ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Awakens To $31.3M Overseas; ‘Transformers’ Adds $100M+ To Crash Past $500M Barrier
UPDATE, Monday 5:30 PM: Updates are in from Fox and Universal which had the films everyone wanted to know about in the domestic marketplace this weekend as well — Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and the indie favorite Boyhood. Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures’ Transformers: Age of Extinction took in a little less than the $102M estimate, but nonetheless grossed $100.3M from 12 markets, according to the studio, to sail past the $500M market in just three weeks of release. The international cume is now $540.6M. Added with the domestic gross and the go-bots are hitting on all cylinders with $713.4M worldwide.
All other numbers are updated below for those two films as well as for X-Men: Days of Future Past, How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Other Woman, Neighbors, A Million Ways to Die in the West, and The Fault in Our Stars and newcomer Rico, Oskar Und Die Tieferschatten. Just received Warner Bros. and Disney final international grosses so more updates below on Tammy, Jersey Boys, Maleficent, Edge of Tomorrow, Blended, and Godzilla. Sony has come in at 3 PM with its numbers for 22 Jump Street, Deliver Us From Evil, Heaven is For Real and Think Like a Man Too.
After 12 days of release (and a bit of confusion over official numbers), Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age Of Extinction now has the distinction of passing Avatar as the highest-grossing film ever in China. With $225.1M (1,396M RMB), the movie has bested James Cameron’s record of $221.9M that was set in 2010. On Tuesday, Chinese research firm Ent Group reported that the Autobots had overtaken the Na’vi as of July 6 with $222.74M, but Paramount has just weighed in with its official numbers. Because of currency fluctuations, the yuan renminbi figure was key. Avatar was worth about 1.39B during its life in the Middle Kingdom. TAOE has been dogged somewhat by local sponsors who have griped about their placement in the movie. But audiences have embraced it willingly, encouraged by all the Chinese elements — including actors, locations and storyline.
Paramount Chairman and CEO, Brad Grey, said this morning, “We’re honored by the deeply passionate response from Chinese audiences – and audiences throughout the world – to Transformers: Age Of Extinction and the unique storytelling of Michael Bay. The many new relationships we have built with members of the creative community in China is a source of great pride and we look forward to collaborating with them in the future.” Paramount Vice Chairman Rob Moore acknowledged the “great work of China Film Group in the distribution of Transformers” and thanked partners Jiaflix, China Movie Channel, M1905, China Movie Media and Hua Hua.
DeadlineNow Morning Report: ‘Transformers 4′ Legal Woes, TCA Kicks Off, World Cup Scores With Twitter TV (Video)
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines yin and yang as “opposite sides, elements, or extremes,” while other definitions add that the two are complementary forces that can’t exist without each other. Given the events of the past month, Chinese philosophers might have a field day applying the concept to the case of Transformers: Age Of Extinction and its run on the mainland. The film is exploding at the local box office, while at the same time it’s becoming a magnet for legal threats raised by Chinese sponsors.
Last Thursday, representatives of the Wulong Karst National Park located in Chongqing said they were mulling legal action against producers of the film. This followed calls for edits by another sponsor, Pangu Investments, which made headlines just before the movie’s release. The latter matter was swiftly resolved. But at a press conference on Monday, Wulong confirmed it is going forth with a suit, local reports say. The move comes as Chinese research firm Ent Group reports that TAOE has overtaken James Cameron’s Avatar as the top-grossing movie ever in the territory. Paramount has yet to weigh in, reporting late yesterday that the Michael Bay film had earned $52M in the market over the weekend with total box office at $212.8M. But Ent Group says that as of July 6, the film had taken $222.74M. Avatar earned $221.9M in 2010. I had previously heard that the milestone would likely not be reached until Wednesday. Because of currency fluctuations, the yuan renminbi …
Update: Intl Box Office: ‘Transformers’ Adds $52M In China Weekend; ‘Dragon 2′ Fires Up $30M; And How’s ‘Tammy’?; ‘Maleficent’ Dethrones ‘Frozen’ In Japan; More
5TH UPDATE, TUESDAY AM: Paramount came in with numbers late on Monday evening showing a slight bump in the overseas cume for Transformers: Age Of Extinction‘s 2nd frame. It was worth to $96.6M, the studio said, although the total overseas figure to date was unchanged at $400.9M. China‘s gross lifted to $52M from the previous $50.9M estimate. That was good for a total box office in the market through Sunday of $212.8M. There is some confusion over the tally, however, as local websites are reporting it had $222.74M through Sunday. That would push it past Avatar as the highest-grossing movie ever in China. We’re working to get the exact figures nailed down. All other figures for TAOE are updated in the copy below.
4th UPDATE, MONDAY, 4:00 PM PT: Paramount Pictures is the only studio that has not reported, and it has, of course, Transformers: Age Of Extinction, which is pounding it way across international markets. So we have finals for everything but the No. 1 pic internationally. The studio is still on holiday in the states. But Sony, Disney, Fox, Warner Bros and Universal have weighed in with updated numbers for their international releases this weekend.
The titles we have final updates for include 22 Jump Street, Deliver Us From Evil, Maleficent, Frozen, The Fault In Our Stars, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Rio 2, The Other Woman, X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Edge …
16th UPDATE, Monday, 2:40 PM: Here are the final gross updates for the Top 20 films of the July Fourth weekend. I’ve included both 3-day and 5-day totals for the Top Ten. The jump went to favorite son 22 Jump Street as this morning it looked like it was under Screen Gems’ Deliver Us From Evil. See below for the Monday updates. So while 22 Jump Street won the three-day weekend, it racked up a lesser per screen average than Evil which won the five-day derby. That’s a way to mix it up as they were neck in neck throughout the weekend. Overall, the Fourth of July holiday weekend was 42% lower than last year when Despicable Me 2 bowed to a whopping $83.5M. Last year, the 4th fell on a Thursday.
Interesting to see how the weather affected the box office holiday this weekend. On the Fourth, which was a Friday, Los Angeles was down only 1% night to night (which is fairly normal for the Fourth with good weather in L.A.). However, the East Coast where it was raining saw a huge jump in movie attendance — 76% up from Thursday to Friday in New York and 170% rise on Friday in Boston. When it rains in the summer, people go to the movies, esp. on a rainy holiday.
Transformers: Age of Extinction, in its second weekend dropped 63%. It also dropped 75% Friday to Friday (which included $8.75M of late night grosses) so the studio likely made their adjustments during the week or weekend. Despite what others reported, everyone knows that this industry has yet to see a picture open to $100M. Next weekend, we have Dawn of the Planet of the Apes coming from Fox, but that is not expected to do it either even though it is a high-quality film well-targeted for its demo. Expect a high CinemaScore and great word of mouth. Right now, it’s expected to surpass the opening weekend of Rise of the Planet of the Apes which bowed to $54.8M in April 2011. Dawn opens at 10 PM on July 10.
A shout out to a very high-quality film coming out this coming weekend: Richard Linklater’s Boyhood from IFC Films. It is, simply put, one of the best films I’ve seen so far this year.
Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see how far Tammy falls next weekend as word of mouth is going to hurt it. Here’s the finals from the studios:
Sony/MGM’s 22 Jump Street, which has done well during the height of the World Cup and has proven to be a good comedy option and counter-programming, had a $1M opening in Russia. The number is significant because in one day it surpassed 21 Jump Street‘s full weekend gross in the territory. That puts the sequel on track to pull in almost $4.5M during the weekend which would also best the lifetime projection in the market of Neighbors, another R-rated comedy. Of course, two kids with badges can’t beat the monster: Transformers: Age Of Extinction is No. 1 and is crushing everything in sight as it dominated China and now is boldly going (er, wait, wrong Par movie franchise) … as it plows into Europe.
Hollywood is eager to take a bite out of the Chinese market which can provide fast and huge box office numbers – even if studios are only recouping 25% with no ancillaries. But the learning curve on doing business there can be steeper than a ride up Hong Kong’s Peak Tram. Paramount‘s Transformers: Age Of Extinction, which through the first five days of release earned $134.5M in the Middle Kingdom, has certainly been aided by the deep ties TAOE has to China on the production side. But that hasn’t stopped transactional headaches from surfacing. The latest hiccup comes over the Wulong Karst National Park located in Chongqing. Local representatives of the UNESCO World Heritage site say they are considering taking legal action against the film. According to local media reports, Huang Daosheng, the head of the landscape management committee, says the park’s name was due to be featured on screen announcing the locale, but is not in the finished film. There also is reported concern that because the scenes immediately following take place in Hong Kong, it mistakenly gives the impression the two are nearby when they are actually over 700 miles apart. (Evidently the landscape committee has never seen Ronin – or pretty much any other movie ever shot in Paris — whose car chase scenes would have one believe that Montmartre is right next to the Seine…)
Liang Longfei, head of m1095 a subsidiary of TAOE production and promotional partner, China Movie Channel, told local …
The Very Big Opening of Transformers: Age Of Extinction did nothing to lift the box office for the first half of the year. It’s basically flat when compared to 2013, down .8%. The box office summer — which semi-officially begins the first Friday of May — is way off, down 14.9% from 2013, when the box office was plumped up by such films as Iron Man 3 and Monsters University. We have neither a $300M grosser nor do we have a $100M opening weekend yet. It would be great to see Fox’s The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes pull it off, but expectations are that we won’t see it until November, when Lionsgate bows its adaptation of the first part of the last book of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games‘ trilogy, Mockingjay.
Last year was a record year at the box office. “Comparing to last year’s record, you have to keep up and hit it of the park every time and that’s difficult to do. It’ll happen next year, but it a cyclical business,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media anaylst with Rentrak. “People can talk about all these external forces going on like The World Cup and weather, but when you have the product, it delivers.”
Right now, Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures Godzilla is the only picture in history to have had an opening weekend larger than $90M that has yet to cross $200M mark for its domestic cume. This past weekend …
Update: Intl Box Office: Boosted By China, ‘Transformers’ Crushes $202.1M Says Paramount For Biggest 2014 Offshore Bow; ‘Breakup Guru’ Woos; ‘Dragon’ Still Flying
FINAL UPDATE, MONDAY, 2:30 PM: Final numbers are in for Sony’s 22 Jump Street, Think Like a Man Too, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Warner Bros.’ Edge of Tomorrow, Jersey Boys, Blended and Godzilla, Disney’s Maleficent and Frozen (in Japan), Fox’s How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Fault in Our Stars, The Other Woman, and Uni’s batch of films, Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie, Neighbors, Boyhood, and A Million Ways to Die in the West, Transcendence (which debuted in France and Japan) and Heaven Is For Real. We just updated territory by territory breakdowns of Paramount’s Transformers: Age of Extinction.
We have overall cume numbers of Paramount’s Transformers: Age of Extinction now. Internationally, it was estimated at $201.3M yesterday and the studio says its final number for the weekend is $202.1M. In China, the estimate was $90M and today’s final the studio says is $91.9M. The worldwide gross sits around $299.6M based on true domestic three-day domestic grosses of $97.5M. Paramount’s claim of a $100M three-day box office is being widely disputed by all other distributors in the U.S. who also think the $97.5M is about right. In 10,152 locations, the Michael Bay-directed movie opened No. 1 in all 37 territories that it debuted in and Paramount Pictures was 35% bigger than the last installment, 2011′s Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
4TH UPDATE SUNDAY 3:28 PM PT: Michael Bay’s fourth in the Transformers franchise, as expected, dominated international play this weekend. With what Paramount says on Monday is a final of $202.1M, Age Of Extinction is the biggest international opener of the year and has bragging rights as the biggest imported bow ever in China at what was estimated at $90M but Monday showed $91.9M. China was the top market for Transformers: Dark Of The Moon which tallied $165.5M in 2011. TAOE included an added incentive for the Chinese given its Mainland locales, home-grown star Li Bingbing and a big publicity push that boasted the Hong Kong world premiere and the closing-night berth at the Shanghai Film Festival. The overall international numbers for the Top 10 films this weekend are worth 56% more than last weekend, but they are still 3% down on the comparable frame in 2013. That seems kind of surprising.
But, looking at last year, there was World War Z with $70.1M, Man Of Steel with $52.2M, Monsters University with $44.2M, Despicable Me 2 with $40.1M and local Chinese romancer Tiny Times, which debuted to $42.8M. Studios this year were already getting out of the way of the World Cup, and with TAOE sucking a lot of air out of the Asian markets, ultimately the result has its reason. One film that did creep up into the top echelons this weekend as local counterprogramming to TAOE in China was The Breakup Guru. The romantic comedy opened to $20.57M in two markets – China and the U.S. – and helps explain why holdovers like Maleficent or Godzilla dropped in their Middle Kingdom runs. (More on Breakup Guru below in the territory round-ups). TAOE has yet to bow in several territories, in many cases because of the ongoing World Cup, and could yet provide further records. They include the UK (July 5), Mexico (July 11), France (July 16), Germany and Brazil (July 17) and Japan (August 8). Of those, only France, Germany and Brazil are still moving forward in the mega-football tourney, so having their release dates fall after the final looks somehow prescient. The European premiere for TAOE will be held in Berlin this week.
Box Office: ‘Transformers’ Controversy Erupts As Paramount Stakes Claim To $100M Three-Day Gross, No One’s Buying It
FINAL UPDATE, MONDAY 1:20 PM: Sorry, Paramount, but our Box Office chart will reflect what we believe is the more accurate three-day gross of Transformers: Age Of Extinction. We are also posting Par’s numbers so we can show the industry how they claimed to have gotten there. See below. Also, it is worth noting that with the accurate grosses, it puts Transformers 4‘s worldwide total at $299.6M. With Paramount’s inflated domestic grosses, it puts their worldwide gross at an inflated $302.1M. But what better headlines to please the bosses and shareholders with: A $100M domestic and over $300M worldwide. The only problem? It’s a public company and there are strict guidelines about this type of thing.
10th UPDATE, MONDAY 9:43 AM: The first big controversy of box office in the sixth months since I’ve been reporting erupted this AM as Paramount Pictures put the final three-day domestic cume of Transformers: Age Of Extinction at $100.038M as its opening weekend for the fourth installment. “They’re lying,” said one distribution head at a major studio. Said another, “I don’t get get it. Is it just arrogance? What is the point of inflating your box office numbers? So they can claim the first $100M movie opening of the year? Oh please, who cares? It’s a great opening anyway.”
That being said, the Box Office Chart below reflects both the industry three-day gross for Transformers as well as Paramount’s purported final gross, which, by everyone’s account in the industry is inaccurate and inflated.
One insider at Paramount with knowledge of the financials told Deadline that there have been concerns that there could be more layoffs if Transformers 4 didn’t hit the $100M mark. So maybe that’s what’s going on. Even so, everyone in town — and I mean everyone – has it much less than $100M. Hey, as one my colleagues just said, the movie itself is inflated to 2 hours and 45 minutes, so why not the box office grosses, too?
Even by Michael Bay standards, the filmmaker finishes a pyrotechnic weekend that is a career high watermark for movies and TV. His Transformers: Age Of Extinction might cross $100 million domestic on its opening weekend (a shade less than the $108 million done by Transformers 3), and passed $200 million international (biggest offshore opener this year) to generate $300 million in total ticket sales. Those who stayed home had to deal with Bay’s TNT drama The Last Ship, which aired tonight with hopes to build on a June 22 premiere of the post apocalyptic drama that totaled 5.3 million total viewers. Its 1.2 rating among the 18-49 demo in that debut episode made it the second highest-rated drama debut in the past few weeks and the best cable result so far this summer. There are already expectations that Bay will do his fifth Transformers installment (he, Peter Jackson and James Cameron seem comfortable working in their respective billion dollar franchise sandboxes over and over), but I hear Bay might want to take a break and direct a smaller movie next, as he did with Pain & Gain. There is always the prospect of Bad Boys 3 kicking around. Bay overhauled the Transformers storyline with his Pain & Gain star Mark Wahlberg. Has Bay positioned himself and Wahlberg to drive the next few installments of the saga?
Bart: Everyone I encounter in town this week seems fixated on Chinese takeout — only it’s finance, not food. Specifically, funding for films and theme parks. Here’s the catch: For every mogul who claims he’s made a ‘killer deal,’ I run into ten who say their deals imploded. “Once your deal closes with the Chinese, that’s when the real negotiations begin,” according to one veteran of the co-production process. Jeff Robinov and Ryan Kavanaugh may have announced megadeals, but will they get their money? On a smaller scale, look what just happened to Paramount on their Transformers: Age Of Extinction deal – a Chinese partner (the Pangu Group) changed their minds when they saw the film and it endangered the China release of the movie. Two weeks ago China abruptly scrapped a giant alliance between the world’s three largest container-shipping companies, triggering confusion among Euro entities like Maersk as well as US lines.
Fleming: Pangu disagreed with how its Pangu Plaza property was displayed in Transformers, and used as pressure the threat of delaying China distribution to get its way. Everybody walks on eggshells in these …