Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D saws away with 23 million lead; Warner Bros. settles Small Ville lawsuit; George Lucas engaged with DreamWorks chairwoman Mellody Hobson

 

The Texas Chainsaw goes 3D! I’m Realistic Fish Head. After 6 successful weeks in the box office, The Hobbit reached the $600 million mark as of last week. But movie goers got a scary surprise to go with it that scared them away!

 

Gene: It was very scary indeed as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D scared the box office with 23 million smackers to take the top spot. What happened along the way? Let’s see…

 

Texas Chainsaw 3D led a four-way race for first place this weekend with an estimated $23.0 million. Lions gate’s horror franchise re-launch exceeded expectations and in the process continued the tradition of horror films performing well in early January. In comparison to previous January horror films, Texas Chainsaw 3D opened 18 percent stronger than 2006’s Hostel ($19.56 million) and 32 percent softer than last year’s The Devil Inside ($33.73 million). In comparison to previous installments of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, Texas Chainsaw 3D opened 24 percent stronger than 2006’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning ($18.51 million) and 18 percent softer than 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ($28.09 million). It should be noted that the previous installments of the franchise didn’t have the aid of higher priced 3D admissions.

Like most horror films, Texas Chainsaw 3D should be front-loaded towards its opening weekend performance. After opening with $10.2 million on Friday, the film registered an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.25 to 1. It will also face competition in the following weeks from Open Road’s A Haunted House and Universal’s Mama. Texas Chainsaw 3D received a C+ rating on Cinema Score, which is respectable for a horror film. The audience breakdown for Texas Chainsaw 3D skewed heavily towards moviegoers under 25 (64 percent) and was fairly evenly split between genders (52 percent female, 48 percent male).

Django Unchained grossed an estimated $20.08 million to remain in second. The Quentin Tarantino directed western from The Weinstein Company fell just 33 percent from last weekend. That represented an impressive second weekend hold, especially when considering the competition the film faced from the start of the NFL Playoffs this weekend. Django Unchained topped the $100 million mark this weekend and has grossed a stronger than expected $106.35 million through 13 days of release. That places Django Unchained 35 percent ahead of the $78.65 million 13-day gross of 2009’s Inglorious Basterds and 19 percent ahead of the $89.29 million 13-day take of 2010’s True Grit.

Warner’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey fell two spots and 45 percent to take third with an estimated $17.53 million. With the holidays behind us, the Peter Jackson directed 3D fantasy film lost noticeable momentum this weekend. With that said, The Hobbit has now grossed $263.82 million in 24 days domestically. The film is currently running 16 percent stronger than the $228.06 million 24-day take of 2007’s I Am Legend and 3 percent softer than the $272.56 million 24-day gross of 2002’s The Two Towers.

Les Misérables fell one spot and 41 percent from last weekend to place in fourth with an estimated $16.12 million. Like Django Unchained, the modestly budgeted musical from Universal also surpassed the $100 million domestic milestone this weekend. After being quite front-loaded in its initial days of release, Les Misérables has shown signs of stabilization the past few days. The 13-day total for Les Misérables stands at $103.60 million, placing it $2.75 million behind Django Unchained in the race between the two Christmas Day releases for domestic bragging rights.

Internationally, Les Misérables grossed $14.5 million from 17 foreign territories this weekend. That brings the film’s international total to $81.0 million and worldwide haul to a strong $184.6 million. Key international grosses this weekend included $4.3 million in Korea, $3.7 million in Japan and $3.3 million in Australia.

Fox’s Parental Guidance rounded out the weekend’s top five with an estimated $10.13 million. The family comedy starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler was down a healthy 30 percent from last weekend. Parental Guidance continues to exceed expectations with a 13-day take of $52.76 million. The film will have a good chance of continuing to hold up well throughout January thanks in part to the lack of new options for family audiences during the month.

Promised Land (Focus), The Impossible (Lions gate) and Zero Dark Thirty (Sony) all expanded into additional locations this weekend. While Promised Land led the way among the three films during the frame with an estimated $4.31 million, it also registered the lowest per-location average of the bunch; $2,573 from 1,676 locations. The Impossible grossed an estimated $2.76 million from 572 locations, giving it a stronger per-location average of $4,825. Meanwhile, Zero Dark Thirty grossed an estimated $2.75 million from only 60 locations, giving it a terrific per-location average of $45,833. This weekend’s performance for Zero Dark Thirty boasts very well for the film’s expansion into wide release next weekend. Respective total grosses to date stand at $4.66 million for Promised Land, $4.46 million for Zero Dark Thirty and at $2.76 million for The Impossible.

 

To recap, Lions gate’s Chainsaw slices 1st, D’Jango gets chained up 2nd The Hobbit moves 3rd thanks to an 45% drop, Universal’s Les Miz hauls up worldwide smackers in 4th, and Fox’s Parental Guidance keeps the kids in check in 5th.

 

Checking the Penguins tally, 304 fans take part as this sets up for what maybe the last we see of Team Skipper. We’ll keep you informed of the situation right here!

 

This past Wednesday, Warner Bros. scored a big victory against Tollin/Robbins Productions with a settled lawsuit concerning Small Ville. Jim Fish on how the shield helped millions of Superman fans through this troubled event with a sigh of relief.

 

Jim Fish (via Hollywood Reporter)- Warner Bros. has settled a big part of a significant lawsuit that alleged the creators and executive producers of Smallville were cheated out of tens of millions of dollars through sweetheart license-fee deals that the studio made with its sister TV networks.
 
On Wednesday, Tollin/Robbins Productions submitted papers in Los Angeles Superior Court to dismiss its claims. A Warner Bros. spokesperson confirms to The Hollywood Reporter that the dispute with the production company has been resolved. Part of the case from Killara Productions, run by Smallville co-developer Miles Millar and Leonardtown Productions and operated by Alfred Gough, will continue.

The Tollin/Robbins lawsuit from Smallville show runners Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins seeking more than $100 million in damages was filed in March 2010, about a year before the long-running show about Superman’s earthly upbringing ended after 10 lucrative seasons on the air.

The case touched upon a sensitive issue in Hollywood: so-called “vertical integration.” The producers contended they were deprived of significant profits when WBTV allegedly undersold the series to affiliates the WB Network and then The CW instead of licensing the series to outside companies.

In August, a judge put the case on the path to a June trial.

In court papers, Warner’s argued that that it had absolute discretion to determine the terms of its license agreement. The studio also attempted to convince the judge that damages were merely “speculative” because Tollin/Robbins couldn’t establish that greater profits would have been earned if Smallville had been licensed to Fox or another network.

But Judge Michael Johnson said there was enough in the pleadings to send it to a jury. In his ruling, he said the plaintiffs had demonstrated triable issues as to whether WBTV complied with obligations to conduct negotiations at various divisions in-house at arms-length and whether the producers’ contracts included profit definitions that necessitated that money be collected at “fair market rates consistent with licenses granted by Warner to non-affiliates.”

The judge added that it was up to a jury to determine whether Tollin/Robbins received terms comparable to other WBTV licensing deals, whether those terms met the customs and practices of the industry and whether the plaintiffs could have received greater compensation from The WB and The CW if the series’ license agreements were negotiated and renegotiated in good faith and at arm’s length.

The plaintiffs’ claims for monetary damages also were aided by the judge allowing the possibility of punitive damages as well as a late claim that alleged that Warner Bros. had paid itself for Superman rights by including subsidiary DC Comics (the show is based on the Superman comic) into the profit pool and unilaterally reducing plaintiffs’ profit participation. That action was alleged to have cost the producers about $13.4 million.

A trial undoubtedly would garner big attention in the industry thanks to its focus on sensitive Hollywood accounting. Terms of the settlement agreement have not been made public. The claims from Millar and Gough are still active.

The plaintiffs were represented by the Santa Monica firm Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert. Warner’s was represented by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

 

In a startling turn of events, George Lucas the creator of Star Wars, is engaged with DreamWorks Animation chairwoman Mellody Hobson! Does this spell wedding bells for both animator creators? Angie’s got this short but simple story!

 

Angie Angelfish (via The Patriot News with The Associated Press)- LOS ANGELES — “Star Wars” creator George Lucas is engaged.

A spokeswoman for Lucasfilm Ltd. says the 68-year-old director is engaged to 43-year-old investment firm president Mellody Hobson. No other details were provided.

Hobson serves as chairwoman of DreamWorks Animation and is a financial contributor to ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Lucas helped to launch the modern blockbuster age with his “Star Wars” sagas and “Indiana Jones” adventures. The original “Star Wars” still stands as the No. 2 film in terms of tickets sold domestically, behind only “Gone with the Wind.”

Lucas has three children: Amanda, Katie and Jett. He was previously married to film editor Marcia Lucas from 1969 to 1983.

Disney completed its acquisition of Lucasfilm and the “Star Wars” franchise from Lucas for $4.06 billion in cash and stock last month.

 

The unraveling continues at the Anubis House as the caretakers of the House continue their search. But the Headmaster is not going to let this discovery come to pass! To find out what happens, see the newest House of Anubis this Thursday! This is Realistic Fish Head saying, keep looking for more secrets!

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