EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has set Chris McKay to direct its sequel to The LEGO Movie, the film that opened last month and has so far turned in a worldwide gross of $361 million. McKay was animation co-director on …
UPDATE: Intl Box Office: ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’ Lifts To $88.8M; ‘Non-Stop’ Passes $100M Worldwide; More
6th UPDATE, MONDAY 9:09 PM PT: Updated numbers for Best Picture Oscar winner 12 Years a Slave and Pompeii have been added below. 12 Years a Slave‘s cume internationally is now $104.5M and its worldwide total stands at $157.6M.
5TH UPDATE, MONDAY 12:20 PM PT: Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures’ 300: Rise Of An Empire is now tracking up 11% over the original 300 internationally. Revised numbers have just come in from Warner which says the movie took $88.8M in 58 markets. Some of the major territories were slightly down, but the overall cume was up. The Lego Movie was slightly lower than predicted at $9.6M on 5,585 screens, however the overall overseas cume is $135.4M, a small bolt off the originally estimated $135.6M. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug added a confirmed $7.5M internationally — down from the estimated $8M — and with $679.7M total; again, a breath away from the previously reported cume of $680M. As ever, numbers are updated in the territory sections below, with more to come as they roll in.
This was expected, and needed, as evidenced by last week’s announcement that the online video service that targets gamers (read: teenaged boys and young men) axed about 30% of its workforce. But it’s interesting to see how much today’s release plays up the potential partnerships between Machinima and Warner Bros. Machinima CEO Allen DeBevoise says that there are “myriad opportunities” to connect their audiences. And Warner Bros Television Group President of Business and Strategy Craig Hunegs says he’s “excited” about the ability “to reach new audiences, create new original content, and discover new talent.” Don’t be surprised if they look for projects outside of Google’s YouTube, which collects about 45% of the ad revenues it sells for Machinima. No word here about the terms of the financing arrangement, although the companies say that current investors MK Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and Google Capital have also upped their stake. Machinima is said to have raised $67M, including $35M from Google. Here’s today’s official announcement:
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is in, and Sony Pictures and New Regency are out of The Juliet, an adaptation of the Alfred Bester short story that was developed by Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment. The film has a script by Henry Bean that is being rewritten by Paul Haggis, and Snow White And The Huntsman helmer Rupert Sanders is attached to direct. At one point it looked like Sony would make it this spring. Atlas’s Roven and Alex Gartner are producing with Frank Beddor of Automatic Pictures.
It makes me wonder, what is going on in Hollywood? I have been around long enough that I actually broke the story of when Warner Bros, clashing with John Hughes over $2 million in budget, allowed Fox to grab Home Alone and turn the $18 million film into a $477 million worldwide gross blockbuster. After that, studios used to never let projects go for fear of being embarrassed, a possibility that was reinforced when Paramount inexplicably let the option lapse on the Twilight Saga, the billion-dollar franchise that built Summit Entertainment. Studios used to keep everything, or heap on overhead costs that made them prohibitively expensive, or attach first-dollar-gross obligations, like the 5 percent that Harvey Weinstein got on The Lord Of The Rings and is trying to enforce on The Hobbit.
Today’s announcement and other financial moves reportedly in the works for the gaming-oriented online service underscore how hard it is for channels to make money at YouTube. Machinima – which describes itself as “the number one global video entertainment network for young males” — says today that the layoffs, hitting 30% of the workforce, are part of its “restructuring in and around its sales organization” as it leans on its “longstanding partnership with YouTube to drive media sales.” But it also comes as it lines up $18M in funding from a group led by Warner Bros, website Re/code reports, citing “people familiar with the transaction.” Last week The Wall Street Journal reported that Warner Bros was mulling the possibility of investing as much as $15M in the online video operation. The numbers are a far cry from the amounts approaching $70M that Machinima was said to be hoping to secure last year. One of the problems for YouTube services like Machinima is that Google takes about 45% of the ad revenue it sells, as well as much of the inventory.
BREAKING: As Deadline was first to reveal after the exits of Lynn Harris and Sarah Schechter, Jon Berg and Courtenay Valenti have been promoted to EVP Development and Production at Warner Bros Pictures by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production. Both execs, who’ve worked forever with Silverman, will report to him. Duties will be expanded for Valenti, a 25-year studio vet, and Berg, who has been rising in the ranks since arriving in 2008. They will take grater roles in oversight and management of Warner Bros’ development team and budget, as well as managing the studio’s film projects.
UPDATE, 12:04 PM: By Warner Bros jumping aboard the high-profile Johnny Depp-Joel Edgerton pic Black Mass, it means the studio won’t be taking on another Whitey Bulger project in its own backyard: the one that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon had been developing for a couple of years as a starring vehicle for Damon via their Warners-based Pearl Street Films. I’m hearing that Affleck and Damon were given a day or two advance notice that the studio was putting its eggs in the Black Mass basket, but that news came just a day before the latest rewrite was turned in by Aaron Stockard, who worked with Affleck on The Town and Gone Baby Gone and who rewrote the script by Oscar nominated The Wolf Of Wall Street scribe Terence Winter. There was much enthusiasm, then radio silence, and then…Naturally there are bruised feelings that Warners will have to repair with two of its most valuable players, as this was the first project pitched for Affleck to direct and Damon to star after Pearl Street inked its overall deal there, and I’m told the studio assured the pair it wanted to make their movie.
This is all a part of the big rough and tumble game of studios needing to fill slates, and clearly someone was going to come out first with a Bulger biopic. But there are plenty of reasons to smooth any ruffles here. Affleck is directing and starring in Warner Bros’ Live By Night, an epic period crime drama that he adapted from the best-selling novel by Dennis Lehane, author of Affleck’s first directorial outing Gone Baby Gone. It’s the follow-up to the Best Picture Oscar winner Argo he made for the studio. He also is playing Batman in Warner Bros’ Batman Vs. Superman.
Video Game Sensation ‘Minecraft’ Coming To The Big Screen As Warner Bros Acquires Rights; ‘Lego’s’ Roy Lee And Jill Messick Producing
EXCLUSIVE: Minecraft, one of the hottest video game franchises in the market today, is going to be made into a major motion picture. Warner Bros. just acquired the rights to the wildly popular game from Swedish indie developer Mojang AB (mojang means “gadget” in Swedish). The property already is getting huge interest from writers and filmmakers as Warners is putting together a live-action version. Roy Lee is going to produce Minecraft via his Vertigo Entertainment production company along with Jill Messick (Mean Girls and Mean Moms) who will also produce in some capacity. Lee produced the megahit The Lego Movie with Dan Lin which launched a franchise for Warner Bros and a sequel is planned. Jon Berg is the executive in charge at the studio. CAA brokered the deal for the film rights.
Minecraft is one of the top five “open world”-type games, in which players can engage in a virtual world, creating any environment they can dream up with virtual blocks. It often is described as a “open sandbox” where the users can build anything they want. Minecraft has become an Internet sensation since its introduction in 2011. I know, gamers out there will point out that the beta version was introduced in 2009 and were invited to buy and play the game before it was finished — which was a smart move by Mojang because the players basically became the company’s test market and helped develop the game itself. (It didn’t hurt their bank account either).
UPDATE, 3:50 PM: Well that didn’t take long. After a brief hearing on Monday in which Judge Dale Fischer said she was “inclined” to toss the multimillion-dollar Trouble With The Curve copyright infringement lawsuit, the federal judge today has pretty much done just that. “Defendants’ cross-motion for summary judgment re similarity is GRANTED, Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment re similarity is DENIED, Plaintiffs’ motion for continuance is DENIED, and the motion to strike the FAC is GRANTED,” said Fischer in a 10-page memorandum (read it here) “All other outstanding motions are DENIED as MOOT,” the judge added.
Today’s order essentially frees Warner Bros and others from plaintiff Ryan Brooks and his Gold Glove Productions’ October 1 119-page complaint that claims that the idea for the Randy Brown-written 2012 Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams baseball pic was stolen. Brooks had said that Curve actually came from a script he had paid another scribe to have written. “Anyone who knows me, knows my journey, how hard I’ve worked, and continue to work. And it’s incredibly disappointing that someone with money and malice can wreak such negativity,” said Brown to me after the order from Fischer came down today. Brown, along with WB, Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions, talent agencies UTA and Gersh and others, was named as one of the defendants in the case – Clint himself was not.
Warner Bros Dates Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Inherent Vice’ For December 2014, ‘Entourage’ Landing In June 2015, ‘The Intern’ In September 2015
Paul Thomas Anderson‘s next film Inherent Vice has been given a plum awards-season release date. Warner Bros said today that the pic starring Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Josh Brolin, Katherine Waterston and Jena Malone will come out December 12, 2014. The adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 detective novel will be Anderson’s first film since 2012′s The Master, which was nominated for three Oscars. The studio has spent the past week setting its release slate, especially for early 2015, finding spots for Man From U.N.C.L.E (January 16), Run All Night (February 6), Focus (February 27) and Get Hard (March 27).
As usual it will be a packed Oscar-bait weekend on December 12. That’s when Fox releases its Ridley Scott biblical epic Exodus, starring Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgerton as Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II. It’s also the date for Paddington, the live-action adaptation of the classic cartoon character from TWC-Dimension. Colin Firth voices the bear, and Nicole Kidman is an evil taxidermist out for revenge.
There have been glimpses and teasers of the rebooted monster but today the first full-blown trailer of Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros’ Godzilla has dropped. Helmed by Gareth Edwards and featuring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche and Sally Hawkins, Godzilla hits the big screen on May …
UPDATE: Int’l Box Office: ‘Lego Movie’ Builds $93.5M Overseas; ‘Desolation Of Smaug’ Sets Records In China; ‘Frozen’ Hits $980M Worldwide; ‘Robocop’ Big In Brazil; More
3rd UPDATE, 3:20 PM PT Monday: The Lego Movie has upped its overseas weekend cume to $24M in its 48 markets due to stronger UK and France numbers. It now has an international total estimated at $93.5M. …
UPDATE, 4:09 PM: Warner Bros has filled another slot in its early 2015 release date calendar, saying today it will drop the Liam Neeson-starrer Run All Night, the Brad Ingelsby actioner, on February 6, 2015. Jaume Collet-Serra is directing in a reteam with Neeson who combined to make Unknown and the upcoming Non-Stop. Neeson plays a mob hitman who, in a single night, is forced to take on his former boss. The guy also has to protect his son and family, and winds up on the run from the mob and the authorities. Joel Kinnaman, Ed Harris and Vincent D’Onofrio co-star.
PREVIOUS, THURSDAY AM: Guy Ritchie’s Man From U.N.C.L.E will be released January 16, 2015, which is the start of the Martin Luther King Jr holiday weekend, Warner Bros said today. Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander and Luca Calvani star in the pic, a big-screen update of the 1960s TV series. This is the project that forced Warners to go back to Square 1 a couple of times, first when Steven Soderbergh was ready to direct and George Clooney to star. After Soderbergh and Clooney left, Warner Bros recruited Ritchie and then landed Tom Cruise for the lead alongside Hammer. Cruise departed last May to focus on Mission: Impossible 5. Cavill then came aboard as CIA agent Napoleon Solo opposite Hammer’s KGB operative Illya Kuryakin, who team amidst the Cold War to stop a global criminal organization. Jared Harris, Elizabeth Debicki and Hugh Grant co-star.