The Dark Knight Rises reels 163 million box office win off Colorado movie shooting forces Warner Bros. to cancel worldwide screenings and red carpet and goes for nationwide screenings instead lowering its box office grosses; Fox joins DreamWorks, Disney, and Pixar as the 4th movie company in animation history


The Dark Knight strikes box office gold! I’m Realistic Fish Head. Movie theaters were in tight security because of the fatal shooting in Colorado this past week. Thanks to the tragedy, Warner Bros. was forced to cancel its midnight screening of Batman’s last chapter. But that didn’t stop the shield! Gotham City’s greatest hero swooped by and delivered 163 million to make amends for the delay! Gene Scallop on how the Colorado shooting forced other movie and TV companies to send their condolences to the Warners!

Gene: If you thought The Joker was the famous clown prince of crime in Gotham City, it looked like the joke was on them at Aurora, Colorado! That’s what happened there this past Friday when tragedy struck. To that end, Warner Bros. scrapped its worldwide screening schedule, with Plan B in action, they managed to use nationwide screenings to ease down since the TV networks pulled down their commercials for the movie. Tough luck Warners!


But in box office land, Batman was able to pull in 163 million smackers for the top spot, but The Marvel Heroes stopped him in their tracks with their recently made 207 million smackers making them still the 2nd summer packed box office hit; Ted being the biggest surprise so far. Despite the 2 factors, the Dark Knight’s 2D, Real D, Digital 3D, and IMAX 3D were not enough to beat the record breaking Marvel Heroes for superhero supremacy!

The Warner’s and their filmmakers were deeply saddened by this incident this past week which could ruin their market share for the rest of the year and more importantly their brand image. And I deeply regret my sorrows for the Dark Knight fans who bit the dust too soon…..

So to recap in honor of Gotham City, Batman swoops 1st, Ice Age 4 with guns blazing fires 2nd, Spidey swings 3rd, foul mouthed Ted taunts at 4th, Disney/Pixar’s Brave completes the top 5 as they show their archery skills!

As for Brave itself, it was the movie that that led to the arrival of Monsters University aka Monsters U, which surprisingly grounded Disney/Pixar’s next film Planes to debut this fall.

What a surprise Fox fans! Thanks to Ice Age 4, it’s joins DreamWorks, Disney and Pixar as an addition to their recently made films in the kid-friendly world as Johnny Trout discovered:

Johnny Trout (via The Wrap)- Pixar and DreamWorks Animation have dominated the kid-friendly world of animated films for more than a decade, but thanks to hits like “Ice Age,” Fox has emerged as a major force in one of the film industry’s fastest growing fields.

Over the next two years, the studio could solidify its place alongside those two pioneers with the release of "Epic," an original story with Beyonce voicing the lead, and "Rio 2," its second potential blockbuster franchise.

The News Corp.-owned studio renewed animation chief Vanessa Morrison’s contract on Wednesday, a vote of confidence for her role in a decade of blockbusters from the division and its Blue Sky Studios subsidiary.

The studio’s latest movie, “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” is closing in on $450 million at the global box office and is on track to pass more milestones before its theatrical run ends. The “Ice Age” franchise has now grossed $2.3 billion worldwide, giving it few peers in the world of franchises, animated or otherwise.

In the animation space, only DreamWorks Animation’s “Shrek” has earned more, with $3.5 billion in grosses across five movies.

“Artistically, and financially, all of our successes have been undeniable,” Morrison said.  "People love these movies around the world and that is the ultimate validation and the ultimate reason why we make these movies.”

Also read: Box Office: ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ Poised to Chill ‘Amazing Spider-Man’

Blue Sky Studios, led by Chris Wedge, Brian Keane and Carlos Saldanha, and Fox Animation have a far lower profile than Pixar or DreamWorks Animation, both of which have been run by industry icons — Steve Jobs and Jeffrey Katzenberg. And they haven’t yet received the critical adulation or awards recognition of their larger competitors.

“They want to have hits, but I don’t know what their perspective is on storytelling,” one rival executive said.

Since Fox formed an animation department around the Greenwich, Conn.-based studio, it has yet to miss at the box office. Even "Robots," though not a smash hit, still brought in a healthy $261 million. And it is one of six Blue Sky Studios films to top the box office its opening weekend.

Only one release, “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” failed to win its opening weekend. It fell $1 million short of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” The third “Ice Age” film still went on to be the most profitable in the company’s history, grossing $886 million worldwide – $50 million more than “Revenge of the Fallen.”

Morrison sees no reason her studio should be viewed as less successful than her more-established competitors. “We are absolutely one of the top animation studios out there,” she told TheWrap. “There’s no evidence to the contrary.”

And, for now, the competition is welcoming another player.

“We always hope that the animated genre will find success because computer-generated animated movies, particularly 3D movies like [“Ice Age”], are good for all of us,” the rival executive told TheWrap.

This summer, Pixar, DreamWorks Animation and Fox each released a film within about a month of one another, and despite that overlap, they all fared well.

DreamWorks Animation’s “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” the first to open, will soon pass $500 million at the global box office while Disney/Pixar’s “Brave” has topped $250 million. And then there’s “Ice Age,” which like its predecessors, has found a huge audience in foreign territories.

“When you look at animation, its one of the few categories that’s still really healthy,” Tony Wible, an analyst with Janney Montgomery Scott, told TheWrap. “It’s a lower-risk category. Yes, there is more competition, but creative windowing can almost assure you’re going to have a hit.”

Studios have taken notice.

Universal signed in 2008 an exclusive deal with Illumination Entertainment, run by former Fox Animation chief Chris Meledandri, who oversaw the first string of Fox/Blue Sky hits. His studio has made one film a year since 2010, two of them hits, “Despicable Me” and “The Lorax."

Sony has had an animated division since 2002, but it is ramping up its offerings, and Columbia chief Doug Belgrad just discussed a mandate from Michael Lynton to expand the studio’s family offerings.

Paramount has relied heavily on DreamWorks Animation and other outside producers over the past several years, but is expected to increase its in-house production.

And there are new companies outside the studio system, like DQ Entertainment, which is working on a “Jungle Book” movie, and Tradition Studios, a subsidiary of Digital Domain Media Group, which also owns the James Cameron-founded Digital Domain Productions.

What separates DreamWorks Animation and Pixar from Fox — longevity — is also what separate Fox from these other up and comers.

Not only has “Ice Age” continued its firm grip on the box office, but the studio has launched a second franchise – “Rio.” The first movie, starring the voices of Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway, grossed $484 million and the second one is slated for 2014.

Before that, Fox will distribute Blue Sky’s “Epic," formerly titled "The Leaf Men," which chronicles a teenage girl caught in a battle between forces of good and evil.

Morrison described it as the most ambitious film the studio has undertaken.

"It has that special look of a world that you recognize but with a tactile reality that technology allows us to do right now," she said.

Individuals with knowledge of Blue Sky and Fox say growth and expansion could be on the way — beyond its current clip of one movie a year.

“’Ice Age,’ ‘Ice Age 2,’ ‘Robots,’ ‘Horton,’ ‘Rio,’ ‘Ice Age 3’…we’ve been blessed in the sense that now we have a legacy behind us,” Morrison said. “Those are a lot of movies. A lot of movies that people put their hearts into.”


In our breaking news Friday, Direct TV and Viacom set up a new carriage agreement for their subscribers which proved that Viacom may have lost the battle, but they haven’t won the war on their part of the bargain.

DirecTV seems to have the edge in my non-scientific checks with industry watchers who monitored the contract dispute that for 10 days prevented 20M satellite customers from seeing Viacom’s 17 channels. But there are champions for both sides — and nobody outside of the companies knows enough about the financial terms to make a solid case for his or her view. Here’s what I’m told: DirecTV’s first year payment to Viacom in the seven-year deal is a double-digit percentage step up from what it was paying before, but less than the 30% that DirecTV said Viacom initially wanted. After that, DirecTV’s outlay for Viacom’s channels will rise by mid-single digit percentages each year. The deal gives DirecTV the right to stream Viacom programming to its customers — both inside and outside of their homes — via the satellite provider’s TV Everywhere program. And it doesn’t have to carry premium movie channel Epix, but has the option to pick it up.

When the talks initially broke down, Viacom said that its channels accounted for about 5% of the nearly $10B that DirecTV spent on programming last year — about $500M. Some say that the new deal would bring that to 6%, or $600M, but that’s in dispute. Whatever the case, DirecTV’s outlays apparently will be high enough so Viacom won’t have to revise contracts that assure other pay TV providers that they’ll pay the lowest rates. But they may not be high enough to meaningfully compensate for the advertising Viacom is losing as a result of the steep ratings declines at channels including Nickelodeon and MTV. Meanwhile DirecTV tells customers in an email that their “patience during this unfortunate Viacom blackout has helped to serve notice to every media company that you and our other customers will not be bullied” —  presumably into paying extravagant amounts for programming.

What do the experts on Wall Street say? Depends on whom you ask. Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger is firmly in the DirecTV-won camp. “The Viacom/DirecTV dispute may be remembered as a critical turning point in programmer/distributor negotiations,” he says. “For the first time in memory, it was the distributor that won the public relations war.” He says that the terms for Viacom were “way below the market’s and Viacom’s expectations.” Wells Fargo’s Marci Ryvicker also believes that DirecTV “may have won this battle….It is good for both companies that this is over, but we think leverage may have been with the distributor this time.”

Nomura Securities’ Michael Nathanson couldn’t disagree more. “This deal reinforces the power of Viacom’s networks and brands, especially in the face of weak short-term ratings,” he says. “It also helps set the template for future deals and debunks the bearish thesis of dropping any networks or not having enough clout over distributors given recent concerns over Nickelodeon ratings.” Barclays Capital’s Anthony DiClemente also concluded that “the deal represents a favorable outcome for Viacom—including a more than 20% initial step up in fees—and is yet another example of the leverage that content owners maintain in these negotiations.”

Investors also seem divided. DirecTV shares fell 1.3% on Friday, while Viacom was -0.5%. But if you start at July 9, just before the dispute became public, then DirecTV is -1.9% while Viacom is -2.6%.


Another signature is on the board as 125 fans sign in the Penguins tally as another new episode is revealed. With August right around the corner, they’re sure to be more fans signing in soon.

On Monday’s Big Time Rush, the boys search for the biggest fan. Which one is it? Find out in their concert special after Part 4 of Big Time Figure It Out! This is Realistic Fish Head saying, I hope you’re one of Big Time Rush’s biggest fans!

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