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.
This August comes the spin-off series that nobody asked for. Disney Animation’s direct-to-video wing has been working on a film called Planes based on the Cars concept. Several months ago, the Mouse House decided this was big enough to support a feature film roll-out to they spruced up the animation a bit (at least I am assuming) and added a recognizable vocal cast. The voice-over work is not yet complete thus why the animated characters mouth a lot of words in the following trailer, but it is coming none the less and it actually looks, dare I say, better than Cars 2. It is not an incredibly high bar to beat, but considering the merchandising from the franchise alone, this is a going to be a home run for Disney from a financial perspective. Continue Reading
The Lone Ranger is in danger of being forgotten already if they do not start the promotional engine back up soon. Already, box office prognosticators are saying it will be a write-off for Disney which is something I certainly do not believe, but if they fail top drum up awareness in the midst of fierce summer competition that could definitely end up being the case by no fault of the film. From what I have heard, it plays more like Pirates of the Caribbean than anything else, and people like that, right? Here is a new poster posted to the net Monday. Continue Reading
With Pirates of the Caribbean now two years out from release, it is time for the Mouse House to find itself a new director. Gore Verbinski moved on long ago and On Stranger Tides’ Rob Marshall seems almost assuredly out of the running leaving us with a short-list of unknowns. Deadline reports tonight that those include Fredrik Bond, Rupert Sanders, and the team of Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg. It is Sanders who is the most well-known though as he is famous for ‘directing’ Kristen Stewart in Snow White and the Huntsman. He actually did a pretty good job with his feature debut relatively speaking as they produced the movie on an accelerated time table due to a rival Snow White movie. The pic seemed hastily construed, but Sanders’ contributions included a beautiful art style possibly honed from his days in commercials.
In recent months, we heard Netflix was beginning to angle for cheaper streaming deals by ‘narrowing the field’ and requesting more specific shows as opposed to a network’s entire library. The case in point was Nickelodeon which seemed to be its priciest package by far, and even though Viacom had every reason to pull the whole thing as their live viewership began to dip, Netflix wanted to play hardball. Well, that is yet to be wrapped up, but there is news today on the red envelope company’s progression towards that relatively new strategy.
The streaming group had acquired rights to a few programs over at Disney–a relatively impressive feat given the Mouse House has long been the hold out in child entertainment. Programs they have gained the rights to include Tron: Uprising, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Handy Manny, Special Agent Oso and JoJo’s Circus. Read on for the press release. Continue Reading
It might be worth mentioning what the trades are all bullshitting their way through this week. They are all running stories about the imminent Avengers sequel negotiations and how many are unhappy with how they were treated the last time out. Naturally, this is all because agents went whining to reporters in an attempt to land sympathy from fans. Perhaps an angry letter suggesting Disney give Robert Downey, Jr. $500 billion would help put things in perspective.
What I want to say is the world needs to calm down on this topic. A lot of these stars are absolutely 100% optioned up through several film. Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlet Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Cobie Smulders, Mark Ruffalo, and Jeremy Renner should all be locks to return even though they could ‘hold out’ for a bigger share of the proceeds. Considering these characters are co-anchoring the film at about 20-30 minutes of screen time each, it would appear the $2-3 million salary is sufficient. Continue Reading
Video game blogs across the net have been fuming over the past few months. Ever since the Disney-Lucasfilm purchase in the back-end of last year, there has been a pretty sizable loss for words from the hardcore Lucas Arts fanboys who were clearly going to miss out on some grade-A titles in the years that followed. Disney quickly squashed those rumors, saying that they would move to license out the property as the company did for its MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic before the Mouse House got involved. Today, we have word that the publisher behind that specific title, has won the rights war for everything else. Electronic Arts now exclusively carries the monopoly on the galaxy far, far away via a press release issued earlier in the day. Continue Reading
The box office results are in for Saturday, and they are really good to say the least. Upon hearing Friday’s $68 million opening for Iron Man 3, all eyes turned to the next 24 hours as it was considered a make or break period for an ‘overperforming’ type of weekend. These types of releases usually are heavily hyped in nature and therefore feature monster drop-offs in the days that follow. The most obvious exception was The Avengers which showed the family audience appeal of Marvel Studios was truly a three-day event.
That said, the industry has never seen such a feat for a standalone from the group…until today. Iron Man 3 found $62.2 million in its second day in U.S. release, adding to its North American total and prompting Disney to estimate $175.3 million through Sunday night. Such a feat would be the second-largest opening weekend of all-time, edging Harry Potter 8′s $169 million two summers ago.
The good news does not end there though as the Mouse House’s latest tentpole is estimated to be at $680 million worldwide through the end of the day. While The Avengers out-did Iron Man 3 stateside by about $7 million, it was the opposite when looking at overseas markets thus the tremendous number overall. Make no doubt about it, the latest superhero blockbuster will be a billion-dollar movie by the end of May.
Adding to Iron Man 3′s $307.7 million overseas total was the late night debut of the third Iron Man movie last night. The Marvel Studios release opened across the nation in primetime Thursday, banking $15.6 million which exceeded the $7.5 million from midnights that Iron Man 2 scored three years ago. Surprisingly, this came in well below the $30.6 million scored from The Dark Knight Rises in July which means DC still holds the superhero genre record in that particular category.
It must be said though that the assumption is the audience behaves differently for anything Marvel in that its ‘side of humor’ adds to a younger demo appeal and therefore the family traffic is what supports such features. The Avengers only found $18.6 million in its midnight showings, and it still went on to make $207 million by its first Sunday. That said, expect Friday night through Sunday afternoon to more than make up for any shortcomings in the record books thus far as Iron Man’s audience makes their way to the theater.
Hollywood still thinks the film is likely to gross over $150 million at the box office this weekend as a worst-case scenario. It is hard to find anyone who assumes that this will not go down as a top-three debut meaning The Dark Knight Rises should be passed as the top standalone superhero opener of all-time. This is helped tremendously by the addition of 3D which Christopher Nolan’s Batman movie chose to avoid. All eyes now point to the single-day records for all-time (Harry Potter 8′s $91.1 million) and the superhero genre (The Avengers’ $80.8 million) although neither appear to be in Iron Man’s range.
Tonight is the night where Iron Man 3 finally hits North American theaters. The film had already conquered the rest of the world to numbers greater than The Avengers in some places, and now it is finally time to figure out if a franchise this country bought into long ago has room to grow. Safe money is being placed on ‘yes’ as it would appear the movie is already headed to $150 million plus through Sunday night. The bigger question might actually be if Marvel Studio’s ensemble piece from a year ago is a fair measuring stick.
It is for late night showings, at least in my opinion. The Avengers actually had a relatively weak late night debut one year ago as moviegoers instead opted to bring most of their business Friday evening and onward. As a result, the movie only ended up grossing $18.7 million from its first showings–a genre record at the time. This was half the Harry Potter 8 record for $43.5 million so one could see why Hollywood was so blown away when the total three-day start exceeded Potter’s $169 million.
That is why every box office analyst is going to be looking at tonight’s figures when they come out early Friday. The assumption is that the size of this number will make up for the any Saturday-Sunday shortcomings in the record books and it is conceivable that moviegoers treat Iron Man 3 more like a sequel to The Avengers and all come back. I would bet my money on that not happening although a similar pattern of enthusiasm is definitely there which has me supporting the claim of $160+ million. This would be an improvement over Iron Man 2′s non-3D start of $128 million.
More news today is coming out of Disney’s decision to launch Iron Man 3 first overseas. They are capturing headlines once again (which was the purpose of such a rollout) as the studio announced the title had passed $240 million through seven days in release. This included a minor trickle out from last Wednesday and Thursday before the majority of markets joined in. China appears to be the last major country to get the title, but that will be remedied today as authorities over there have changed the date to Wednesday, May 1 instead of the previously announced May 3. The date is a holiday in China, thus why the move was a good one.
This update comes down a day before the late night release of Iron Man 3. The earliest North American showings are expected to come a few hours before midnight so numbers are expected to be eye-popping the next day to say the least. Many expect an Avengers-like $200 million draw, but tracking seems to be around $150-160 million early on. If the optimists win out, we will know by Saturday as the difference can be had with late night and matinees Friday. Those were the weak periods that The Avengers had as no one expected it would come close to $207 million in three days until 36 hours after debut.
The Mouse House has finally found a suitable replacement for Emma Watson who had to drop out of Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella re-telling. The story today is that the lead role opposite Cate Blanchette’s evil stepmother is going to Downtown Abbey alumna Lily James. The actress has done feature films before despite her small screen resume, but unfortunately that includes Wrath of the Titans. To that end, it would feel like she is an unknown to anyone who does not watch the PBS-run period drama. It is okay though because this is Branagh who makes everything good, so he knows what he is doing with this casting choice from left field.
Websites from around the entertainment industry, most-notably THR, are having a bit of a ‘mole hill’ moment regarding the camcorder piracy for Iron Man 3 today. They are noting that there are already cheaply-made versions of the film online and available to view that have in fact been downloaded. Even so, the rankings are yet to top Jack Reacher and The Last Stand which have pristine 720p copies thanks to those movies’ recent retail launches.
The reality of it is that Iron Man’s fans are very serious about this fan-favorite property and a lot of them cannot wait to see how it all goes down. They have every intention of seeing it in theaters next weekend upon North American release, so there really is no harm in such bootlegs. Having said that, it also must be acknowledged the limited demographic, males 18-24, who make up the vast majority of torrenters.
Iron Man 3 is a four-quadrant film with widespread appeal. Even if that key sliver of the pie was cut out, Hollywood’s latest blockbuster would still be a smash hit. Disney expects the film to gross over $150 million in its three-day debut, but even if that fails to be reality, the pic at least is responsible for a $200 million overseas start this past weekend.
With extra care to not get too far ahead of ourselves now, the box office watchers among us cannot help but notice that Iron Man 3 is looking like a film every bit as big as The Avengers, at least on the international end. A domestic launch on Friday should solidify that assessment at which point Disney has a bit of a problem. Now, Iron Man 3 is placed in the first weekend of May as that has historically been deemed the official start of the summer movie season. The weeks and months before hand are not at all known for its tentpole launches. Outside of this time of year, November and December are the performers while many studios continue to push March and February.
Basically, the red flag months are September, October, January, and April. A blockbuster can find success in these months and has on a number of occasions although it is exceedingly rare which is why Disney and the like would prefer to avoid these release periods. That brings us to today’s issue: Marvel Studios’ follow-ups to The Avengers are acting more like a fan-favorite television series in terms of retention than previously thought. We can look at Thor: The Dark World and accept its pre-Thanksgiving release this coming November, but beyond that lies the glaring elephant in the room. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is currently scheduled for April 4, 2014. Yes, early April of next year. Continue Reading
Iron Man 3 certainly shattered expectations abroad. Its overseas opening was projected to be $110 million, and the film is already at $195 million when including the $36 million two-day micro rollout. This is a big deal for the Mouse House as the latest Marvel Studios offering looks to obtain profitability by next weekend. They invested $200 million in the pic, just $20 million less than The Avengers, and Disney appears to be getting very similar returns from what they received one year ago.
This all is preceding what is expected to be the biggest domestic opening of the year next week. Tony Stark & Co. are expected to make over $150 million in its first three days of release, taking the franchise to new heights. That seems to be the floor though as all the hype leading up to the North American launch seems to suggest a similar gross to its direct predecessor and not necessarily Iron Man 2 in that regard. While $207 million seems crazy, so does the idea that the franchise would be flat ($120 million.)
All expectations point to Iron Man 3 becoming a $1 billion movie, the first standalone Marvel Studios title to perform such a feat. Stay tuned for on-going coverage in what will clearly be the biggest box office story of the year.