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The studio estimates have come out for the weekend’s box office, and they are a little bit off from the expectations going into the three-day. Star Trek Into Darkness is the culprit of that as Paramount only found about 80% of what they were looking for. The studio was banking on early tracking of $100+ million through four days. Instead they got $84 million and change. This is $2 million south of what the previous film in the franchise did in its four-day debut without the benefit of 3D or IMAX hype.
What we may be seeing is that money does not necessarily make this franchise a bigger draw. Its character development and ongoing themes really helped narrate J.J. Abrams Trek, and now that seems to have taken a back seat to the more intense sci-fi action sequences. That is not to say it is gone, but any hope of capturing a healthy female audience certainly is, leading me to believe Paramount will push for more of Zoe Saldana’s Uhura in round three.
Yes, there will be a round three, but it would seem like $190 million backing the production was a little beyond what this franchise could reasonably support. How many times have we heard that said? Fans should expect a contraction back to $150 million although there is pretty much zero probability of Paramount boxing the series as they continue to look for tentpole programming.
Here is the field:
- STAR TREK 2 – $70.6 M / $84.1 M
- IRON MAN 3 – $35.2 M / $337.1 M
- THE GREAT GATSBY – $23.4 M / $90.2 M
- PAIN & GAIN – $3.1 M / $46.6 M
- THE CROODS – $2.8 M / $176.8 M
- 42 – $2.7 M / $88.7 M
- OBLIVION – $2.2 M / $85.5 M
- PEEPLES – $2.2 M / $7.9 M
- THE BIG WEDDING – $1.1 M / $20.2 M
- OZ – $0.8 M / $231.2 M
Just ‘wow.’ It is seldom the case that three films are announced all at once, but this is exactly what we are seeing with the Transporter series over at EuropaCorp. Luc Besson’s production arm has just signed a deal with Fundamental Films that constitutes a portion of their current output deal. As part of the agreement, the two will co-finance, produce and distribute parts 4, 5, and 6 of the Jason Statham-led saga which is expected to stay low-budget. There is no confirmation on Statham’s return, but this appears to be at least more potent than the Cinemax television off-shoot series. The current hope is a capable director is given the gig for round four which sounds imminent.
Get set for a very biblical 2014. Not only is the year playing home to Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan follow-up Noah (a Noah’s ark tale starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly,) but it is also home to Exodus–Ridley Scott’s Moses pic that has been in the works for quite some time. Interestingly enough, we first heard of this pic last year at a time when it became known Steven Spielberg wanted his own Moses feature. That one eventually came off the map as Scott kept on track for with his next production, now dated for December 12 of next year.
Do not worry too much about oversaturation though as the Noah movie will land in March. There will be a pretty sizable gap and therefore plenty to talk about in regards to whether the ‘bible belt’ still bites into large scale features of the sort. They certainly gobbled up History’s mini-series The Bible, but this is different. There is always a concern of redundancy and Hollywood money grubbing at play here that might lead to widespread rejection. This is not exactly a reboot of a superhero movie. It is a reboot of a classic narrative retold for thousands of years.
For Exodus, expect casting on the pic soon. Christian Bale is assumed to be leading the project although that is yet to be confirmed. Schindler’s List and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo scribe Steven Zaillian wrote the script.
Nintendo: A core brand in video gaming that played a key role in its migration to the home entertain format. No one will ever forget their contributions as that is now part of history. Having said that, they are now a dead in the water company flailing in the water as the Wii U continues to flop in its first half-year of release. Even the once prominent handheld market is having a bit of a hiccup for them, and that is cause for concern. Yes, they are making a slight profit, but that is due to shrewd business practices and not a continued wave of support.
Naturally, the heads of the company are searching for any way possible to make up for lost revenue and the sort as a way of padding the balance sheet by time the next quarterly statement comes around. We see this a lot in the corporate world (particularly when a company’s leadership wants to maximize earnings before resigning–why else do you think the CEO of EA released SimCity before it was ready?) thus introducing a bit of a problem. The tactic is typically short-term in spirit which is exemplified in the Kyoto-based group’s most recent move. Continue Reading
Well, they sure showed us. When we first heard Ubisoft had attached Michael Fassbender for Assassin’s Creed: The Movie (my title, not theirs,) it seemed like this was yet another promising film project that would inevitably fail to see the light of day or, even worse, come out half-baked. After trouble with the major studios, the video game company eventually decided to go it their own and develop this one internally with New Regency producing which was another red flag although now we see a release date has been set up.
Ubisoft is partnering with Fox to distribute the pic which has been dated for May 22, 2015. That’s right, two years from now. There are no real details to go off at this time and a director is yet to be chosen, but the scheduling of Assassin’s Creed’s theatrical rollout shows they do believe this thing will inevitably get made. Prince of Denmark scribe Michael Lesslie wrote the first draft and Fassbender is producing, so yes, he does have a reason to remain attached although we are yet to hear the X-Men actor speak on the topic.
For those keeping score at home, this makes four video game to movie converts currently slated for actual release. Aside from Assassin’s Creed, it is expected that Need for Speed, Resident Evil 6, and Ratchet & Clank will arrive in theaters in March 2014, September 2014, and 2015 respectively. Projects merely in the development phase (meaning they could easily disappear) include Warcraft, Mass Effect, Splinter Cell, Shadow of Colossus, Drake’s Fortune, God of War, Spy Hunter, Deus Ex, Metal Gear Solid, Gears of War, and Tomb Raider.
Paramount was looking at fireworks and a $100 million debut going into release for Star Trek Into Darkness. Unfortunately, the numbers do not add up and what we are really looking at is a moderately successful sequel launch plain and simple. The $190 million production is staring at a $75 million 4-day debut (when including IMAX Wednesday) which is on pace with the film’s predecessor. This news comes after a $22 million Friday dramatically changed the forward estimates for the film. Foreign numbers have been up, but they may not be enough to carry runaway box office success. For that reason, it would appear the Memorial Day Weekend will be more important for the new Star Trek movie.
You know a studio is coming into their own when they start to think sequel months before a film’s release. Summit (a member of the rapidly growing Lionsgate group) is doing just that in regards to the Bruce Willis-led Red franchise which has him pairing with other retired CIA types. The first film has proven to show that the action-comic blend really works quite well, making this an episodic series people would undoubtedly like to revisit. As for why this is in our crosshairs today, the studio has apparently rehired Jon and Erich Hoeber to draft the script for round three.
Expect a release as early as February 2015 as production is being set up for winter. No director or cast members have signed on just yet. Red 2 hits theaters on July 19 although that could change as it shares a date with another action-comedy, R.I.P.D. which was coincidentally directed by the same guy who helmed the first Red movie.
While American Bullshit continues to be the ‘David O. Russell project of the moment,’ there MIGHT be another one that everyone will soon be talking about. The Oscar-winner has allegedly signed up to both write and direct a feature called Legacy of Secrecy which is based on a Lamar Waldron-Thom Hartmann non-fiction book by the same name that tackles some pretty serious JFK conspiracies. This one has a Mafia godfather Carlos Marcello confessing to have ordered the hit on the president.
Interesting enough, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro appear to be on the board the project. DiCaprio’s involvement goes back to 2010 and he is said to be taking a long vacation from acting at this time. That said, I will believe it when I see it in regards to his involvement. The De Niro thing is a tad more believable given he has attached himself to O. Russell as of late after a string of lackluster releases before Silver Linings brought him back on top. Of course, that is assuming O. Russell is actually on board and is not simply flirting with the project.
Paramount might be regretting their decision to move Star Trek Into Darkness to Thursday. The film only grossed a mere $13.5 million on its first day in nationwide release (and that includes midnight and late night IMAX Wednesday.) J.J. Abrams’ apparent farewell to the Trek universe may have been met with a massive level of media hype to help build this $190 million feature to box office greatness, but nothing we have seen yet appears to indicate it will live up to it all.
Even so, we did kind of learn our lesson from the dynamics of Iron Man 3 in that the crowds of people who pack the theater opening weekend for these types of movies do so with their families. In other words, anything before Friday evening is off the table. Hollywood likes to say that the first weekend of May marks the start of the summer movie season, but people still have work and school into June which means any movie releasing before then will get hit with lackluster mid-week performances regardless of context.
That all said, expect the numbers to perk up as that $100 million by Sunday estimate might not be forever lost.
Update: The refined number came in at around $13.4 million, but not to worry. Just as I suspected, Friday afternoon traffic is double what it was Thursday and the pic is still on pace for a 9-figure start. Check for an update tomorrow.
It is official. Iron Man 3 has become a billion-dollar movie thanks in part to the coattails it rode off The Avengers one year ago. The standalone franchise has grown in popularity by leaps and bounds on both the domestic and foreign fronts, creating a double-edged sword of expanding box office dollars. Its budget came in at around $200 million the last two trips out, but with the most-recent success it would seem that attempts to lower the costs of production going forward would prove trivial. Marvel Studios actually wanted to cut this one down to $140 million for fear Iron Man 2 crippled the series’ potential, only to change their minds once their ensemble piece changed the equation. It was a hasty call that proved to be well made.
The next trip out for the Disney-owned studio will be Thor: The Dark World in November which nobody truly believes is capable of this size gross. Its first installment only made $450 million; however, Iron Man 2 only ended up at $600 million. Who are we to speculate that Chris Hemsworth’s next blockbuster would perform worse than Skyfall did in the previous November. Its competition will be just as tough as the foes Iron Man 3 is facing this May as Ender’s Game and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will bookend the Alan Taylor feature’s release.
With all sorts of new programming coming down the pipe at Syfy more in line with the cross-media pollination of Defiance, the basic cable channel today announced it would be ending its mainstay Warehouse 13 after an abbreviated fifth season to ‘wrap things up.’ This marks the fall of great things as at one point the network with smitten with the idea of spinning this show off. Read on for the ‘farewell’ press release.
NEW YORK – May 17, 2013 – Syfy today announced that its long-running flagship series Warehouse 13 will return for a fifth and final season of six episodes in 2014. Continue Reading
Remember that Zombieland show we all wanted to work out on Amazon Prime? It has already been kicked to the curb. That is the sentiment we are getting from franchise creator Rhett Reese who is without words for the show’s apparent non-pickup.
Having said that, maybe there is still chance for the franchise to live on in sequel form. Never say never because these things tend to work out for the best. That horrible idea to move 24 to the big screen? It fell apart and now Fox is bringing it back for a limited run on television. Some things play better in a specific medium, and Zombieland may go down as a prime example of that. Continue Reading
The latest addition to Disney’s musical Into the Woods seems to be Emily Blunt. THR says the Salmon Fishing star is nearing a deal to join the live-action feature adaptation from Chicago director Rob Marshall. Her role will be that of the baker’s wife who is placed under a spell of barrenness by Meryl Streep’s character. Other stars in the film include Johnny Depp, Chris Pine, and Jake Gyllenhaal. This looks to be yet another solid follow-up for the Looper star coming off of The Five-Year Engagement and Arthur Newman. Her next major release All You Need Is Kill was just delayed to June 2014, so there looks to be a lot of time without Blunt ahead of us while she prepares these next projects.