Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters opens 18 million box office win as the duo take out Movie 43 and Parker; Argo and Wreck-It–Ralph score big wins at the 2013 PGA awards; Disney’s 3D cancelation of Little Mermaid 3D called a “big mistake”

Hansel and Gretel go witch hunting! I’m Realistic Fish Head. In their first movie without DreamWorks, Paramount turns the fairy tale duo into a witch hunting team. But the feature managed to open weak with 18 million. With an R-rated weekend in favor of Hansel and Gretel, Gene Scallop digests what happened with last weekend’s spooky box office topper!

 

 Gene: Paramount’s Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters debuted in first place this weekend with an estimated $19.0 million. The R-rated 3D action-horror film opened towards the lower end of its wide ranging pre-release expectations. After debuting with $6.03 million on Friday, the film held up better than expected on Saturday and went on to register a strong opening weekend to Friday ratio of 3.15 to 1. It should be noted that in general Friday’s grosses were clearly deflated this weekend, due in part to the Northeast being hit by snow on Friday and in part from the break in the NFL Playoffs this weekend. Hansel and Gretel opened 26 percent stronger than the $15.09 million start of 2005’s The Brothers Grimm and 9 percent softer than the $20.83 million debut of 2009’s Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters received a respectable B rating on Cinema Score.

On the international front, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters grossed $25.0 million from 20 foreign markets. That brings the film’s international total to $35.8 million and early worldwide haul to $54.8 million. Key grosses this weekend included debuts of $4.5 million in Brazil, $3.7 million in Mexico, $1.9 million in Taiwan and a second weekend take of $4.75 million in Russia.

Mama fell 55 percent in its second weekend to claim second place with an estimated $12.9 million. Universal’s PG-13 horror film starring Jessica Chastain experienced a respectable second weekend hold, especially for its genre. In the bigger picture, Mama continues to perform very well with a strong ten-day take of $48.65 million (against a modest $15 million production budget). Mama is currently running 29 percent stronger than the $37.69 million ten-day gross of 2009’s My Bloody Valentine 3D (which fell 53 percent in its second weekend to gross $10.01 million).

To recap, Hansel and Gretel hunt witches in 1st, which puts Mama, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty each down a spot. But alas in 5th 6th and 7th onwards, both Parker and Movie 43 flop while Django survives.

 

Argo was the big winner at this year’s Golden Globes. But at the 2013 PGA awards, the film wasn’t alone. Which was the other movie that got the honors this year Angie?

 

Angie Angelfish (via Dateline Hollywood)- The Producers Guild of America announced its 24th annual film, television, and digital award winners tonight during a ceremony at the Beverly Hilton. Cheers erupted when Warner Bros’ Argo won the top feature film honor, the Darryl F. Zanuck Award. Ben Affleck exclaimed: “I am surprised.” The thriller now takes the lead in what is still a very close Best Picture Oscar race. Because the PGAs since its start in 1990 have selected 16 of the 22 winners to that the Academy Award – a 73% success rate. And since 2008 (when No Country For Old Men won) the PGA has been on a 5-year hot streak.

Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph won best animated film and Sony Pictures Classics’ Searching For Sugar Man best documentary feature. Showtime’s Homeland won best drama series. ABC/Twentieth TV’s Modern Family won best comedy series. HBO’s Game Change won for best long-form TV. The PGA Awards categories also include animated movies, feature documentaries, non-fiction programs, talk shows, competition shows, sports programs, children’s programs, as well as digital TV series. This year, the Producers Guild awards special honors to The Weinstein Company’s Bob and Harvey Weinstein (who cried onstage), Bad Robot’s J.J. Abrams, Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, and Def Jam founder Russell Simmons. the PGA recognized several producers with honorary awards including Bob and Harvey Weinstein (Milestone Award), Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner (David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures), J.J. Abrams (Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television), Russell Simmons (Visionary Award), and BULLY (Stanley Kramer Award).The 2013 Producers Guild Awards Chair is Michael DeLuca.

 

The show kicked off with PGA President Mark Gordon featured in an opening video clip singing a parody of The Sound Of Music‘s ‘Do Re Mi’ with Hawk Koch, Paula Wagner, Michael DeLuca, Norman Lear and others complaining about the challenges of producing films.

 

No doubt the longest acceptance speech of the night belonged to Harvey and Bob Weinstein in part because they received the Milestone Award from Robert De Niro, Quentin Tarantino, and Robert Rodriguez. De Niro took the podium first alone, saying “They’ve been my neighbors in Tribeca and have always been there for me… They’re enormous. But I’m not afraid of ‘em! (Harvey said it was OK for me to say that.)” De Niro ribbed about their Silver Linings Playbook: ”When they came to me with a movie about mental illness, I asked which brother do they want me to portray?” Next came Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez who said: “Talking about them is like talking about how your family sacrificed everything for you. I watched Bob build Dimension, and when he believes in you as a filmmaker, he gives it his all. I can’t think of any producers who sit with you and go through it line by line.” Rodriguez then launched into a gruff imitation of Bob Weinstein. “He told me not to do test screenings for Sin City and he never questioned when I wanted to go from horror films to family films.” Rodriguez recalled how ecstatic Bob became over the first Friday grosses of Spy Kids 3D. Quentin Tarantino took the mike and said: “It is safe to say my filmography and my career would not be the same without the Weinstein Brothers. Bob is always there to hear me when Harvey can’t. To me, Harvey is the only game in town.”

Everybody in the ballroom rose to their feet when Bob and Harvey took the stage. Bob spoke first, “There isn’t a chance in hell I would be up here if it wasn’t for Harvey. That’s what he told me to say.” Bob launched into the origins of their partnership, how he was making $35,000 in 1988 at Miramax and Harvey less. “Brad Grey worked for us and even then he thought we worked for him.” Bob mentioned how he almost took a $60+K exhibitor booking jib in 1988 and abandon his and his brother’s dream of a film studio. But then Bob passed on the job. The brothers gave it another go for a year and in 1989 released My Left Foot, Cinema Paradiso and Sex, Lies, And Videotape and never looked back. He also thanked former New Line heads Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne. “If Macys needed Gimbels, if Ali needed Frazier, then we needed them,” said Bob. And to his brother Harvey, Bob said: “Like all geniuses, you are murder to live with. There is a 60-40 chance that he and I will have a fight before the night is done. Also thank you to Miriam and Max,” ended Bob with a note to his parents.

Harvey took the mike and said: “I had no idea he was that funny!” In a teary speech, Harvey remembered how Bob and he went to the Cannes Film Festival for the first time, shared a mattress, and had Sean Connery ensure they weren’t kicked out of a screening. He called Tarantino the company’s ‘Babe Ruth’ and mentioned De Niro’s generosity post 9/11. He covered numerous topics from how the power of movies obtained Nelson Mandela’s freedom, the executives and agents like Brad Grey and Robert Newman who have passed through their Miramax and Weinstein hallways, as well as “my kids who are the best marketing research team in the world.”

J.J. Abrams accepted the PGA’s Norman Lear Achievement Award. Jennifer Garner presented, recounting when Abrams first called her in late 2000 with the script of the TV show Alias. (“The more he imagines, the taller his hair gets.”) A clip showed off Abrams’ TV and film work, including Felicity, Lost, Alias, Mission: Impossible 3, Super 8, and Star Trek. “Typical week!” quipped Abrams, winking at the headlines he made about his new Star Wars directing job for LucasFilm. “I stand before you accepting the Norman Lear Award. What the hell has happened to our standards?” The producer recalled watching Norman Lear’s sitcoms as a kid in his family’s living room, particularly All In The Family. “Like life itself, the nuanced dialogue mattered more than 3D itself.” Abrams poignantly segued to his late mother’s memorial service last June. “I walked into my father’s house and there was one guest who arrived first. It was Norman Lear. We laughed and drank. I was there once again in my parent’s living room – with Norman Lear.”

Bradley Cooper presented the Stanley Kramer Award to the Bully filmmakers, producers Lee Hirsch and Cynthia Lowen, citing the statistic that “every 7 minutes a child is bullied at school. Bully is about standing up, not standing by. This film continues to change lives.” Director Lee Hirsch thanked Harvey Weinstein for distributing the film. “You made a lot of promises when you bought the film, and you made good on them. If there was one thing Bully gave people something to point at, it was ‘This is going on at my school.’” Producer Cynthia Lowen added, “Bully was the result of those extraordinary voices of those families who were courageous enough to come forward with their painful stories and to make this film create change. We made this film for the brave kids who walk through their schools.”

Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner received the David O. Selznick Achievement Award from their Les Miserables co-star Anne Hathaway, who read a witty letter that their frequent collaborator Richard Curtis wrote to her about the pair: “They are decent men and they calm things down in post production. Love Actually was a disaster until they gave me two months. Fellner said: ”Thirty years ago, we were trolling the streets of Soho, dodging hookers and perverts which in the end prepped us for Hollywood. If we get to do Les Miz 2, all those guys will be in the movie.” Fellner listed his mentors throughout the years including Jeremy Thomas, David Puttnam, Brian Grazer, and Kathleen Kennedy. “These were people we wanted to be like. This is a tough thing we do. We are blessed. We see ourselves as enablers of really talented people, to make the best version of their projects. Years ago, we were looking for 70% of our budgets from the studios. Today you are lucky to get that percent of your budget from Harvey!” Tim Bevan followed. “I didn’t think 26 years ago I would live a career like David O Selznick. Doing this with someone is a lot better than doing it on your own. People always ask me what my favorite point of filmmaking is. First day of principal photography is always my favorite. Then there’s the magic moments in absolute moments of laughter and silence when you are with the cinema audience.”

Russell Simmons accepted the Visionary Award presented by LL Cool J who praised what a force he has been with Def Comedy Jam and Def Poetry Jam. Simmons kept it brief and humble, talking about how he has recently transplanted from New York to LA: “I’ve been staying at Brett Ratner’s house while I buy one here. Now what I really want to do is earn this award.”

 

 

Here’s a list of the rest of the 2013 Producers Guild Of America Award Winners:

 

The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures
Argo (Warner Bros.)
Producers: Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Grant Heslov

Ben Affleck and Gr​ant Heslov accepted the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding​ Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures. (George Clooney was in Berlin.) The Beverly Hilton ballroom erupted in cheers when Nicole Kidman announced that Argo was the winner. Ben Affleck exclaimed: “I am surprised and I am not even in the PGA. I would be remiss to say that I am still acting.” He went on to thank Harvey Weinstein for all his compliments in his tribute speech and Bob Weinstein who “showed me longer isn’t always better”. Grant Heslov said: “The hardest thing about this movie is working with two producers who are the Sexiest Men Alive. That puts pressure on me.”

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures
Wreck-It Ralph (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Producer: Clark Spencer

Clark Spencer explained why the film was green lighted: ”I joined Disney 23 years ago during difficult times and always wondered when I should leave. But I always believed in the studio. There is a renaissance going on at the studio – and that is John Lasseter.”

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures
Searching For Sugar Man (Sony Pictures Classics)
Producers: Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn

Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn accepted the award from Julianna Margulies. Bendjelloul said: “This is a film about a man who lived his life as a constructor worker in Detroit not realizing he was more famous in South Africa.” Chinn added: “It is wonderful that people are discovering the musician Rodriguez.”

The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama
Homeland (Showtime)
Producers: Henry Bromell, Alexander Cary, Michael Cuesta, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Chip Johannessen, Michael Klick, Meredith Stiehm

The David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television
Game Change (HBO)
Producers: Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Jay Roach, Amy Sayres, Steven Shareshian, Danny Strong

The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy
Modern Family (ABC)
Producers: Cindy Chupack, Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Morton, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Chris Smirnoff, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television:
American Masters (PBS)
Producers: Prudence Glass, Susan Lacy, Julie Sacks

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Competition Television
The Amazing Race (CBS)
Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Elise Doganieri, Jonathan Littman, Bertram van Munster, Mark Vertullo

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television
The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
Producers: Meredith Bennett, Stephen Colbert, Richard Dahm, Paul Dinello, Barry Julien, Matt Lappin, Emily Lazar, Tanya Michnevich Bracco, Tom Purcell, Jon Stewart

The Award for Outstanding Sports Program
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (HBO)

The Award for Outstanding Children’s Program
Sesame Street (PBS)
“The Weight of the Nation for Kids: The Great Cafeteria Takeover” (HBO)

The Award for Outstanding Digital Series
“30 Rock: The Webisodes” (nbc.com)

 

The Penguins tally is still piling up with 157 fans signing in as the pressure’s still on Nick to resume the show despite the last episodes still to be aired soon as possible. As of this week, the network’s preparing another power packed season, which might put Team Skipper’s last missions on hold for the moment.

 

In last Wednesday’s entertainment report, Disney cancelled the 3D version of The Little Mermaid. This week, the attempted cancellation was a “big mistake” according to Scott Mendelson at the Huffington Post, and Johnny Trout is siding with him with the surprising story!

Johnny Trout (via The Huffington Post)- From a business standpoint, one could argue the logic of Disney’s surprise cancellation of the planned September reissue of The Little Mermaid.  The 3D reissues, which started with The Lion King back in September 2011 peaked to an absurd degree with that blockbuster rerelease ($94 million domestic alone).  The respective grosses for Beauty and the Beast ($47 million), Finding Nemo ($41 million), and finally Monsters Inc. ($31 million) trended ever downward to the point where the flop 3D reissue of Monsters Inc. probably didn’t even break even when you account for prints and merchandising. 
 
I would argue that Disney dropped the ball by moving the Monsters Inc. reissue from January (where we have absolutely nothing for kids to see during the first six weeks or so of the year) to the already brutally crowded Christmas season where it was crowded out by the holiday releases and the still strong Wreck It Ralph and Rise of the Guardians (which should be crossing $100 million domestic in the next couple days). I would also argue that The Little Mermaid, which has the same nostalgia factor as The Lion King and has not yet been released on Blu Ray while going for around $50 on Amazon for the 2006 DVD, is a likelier contender to get parents into the theater than Monsters Inc. 

But that aside, Disney obviously thinks that the 3D reissue is an idea whose time came and went at record speed. And while we may champion the apparent quick death of the whole 3D reissue fad, which will likely live or die on how well Jurassic Park 3D performs in April, it does leave a pretty big hole in Disney’s release schedule.  A company that made its billions partially by catering to young females has now set its course for young boys almost exclusively.  If you look at Disney’s release schedule over the next two years, you’ll see a clear pattern.  Not only does pretty much every film target young audiences, they are almost exclusively geared toward boys.  For 2013 and 2014, Disney has a steady slate of either hardcore boy-centric entertainments (Planes, The Lone Ranger, Need For Speed) or male-driven genre that may or may not appeal to women as well (Oz: The Great and Powerful, Iron Man 3, The Muppets 2), along with one token girl-centric entry per given calendar year (and one theoretically adult-targeted year-end prestige picture).  Yes the ‘token girl movie’ is one of the bigger pictures in each respective calendar year, but it is still one versus many.

For 2013, the big female-centric picture is Frozen, the new Disney film that centers around a young girl searching for her missing sister.  The Thanksgiving release is co-directed by Jennifer Lee who will hopefully be the first female director to start *and* finish a major animated feature at Disney.  The one somewhat adult-skewing film is Saving Mr. Banks, a film about the making of Mary Poppins which features Tom Hanks as Walt Disney.  For 2014 it’s Maleficent, a big-budget live-action version of Sleeping Beauty.  The July 2014 release stars Angelina Jolie as Maleficent (from whose point-of-view the film will be told) and Elle Fanning as ‘Sleeping Beauty.’  It’s being helmed by first-time director Robert Stromberg, a long-time special effects supervisor who has been handed a major big-budget feature for his first go-around (but that’s a subject for another day).  The one adult-skewing entry in 2014 appears to be Brad Bird’s 1952, a mysterious sci-fi project that stars George Clooney.  In 2015 the picture gets a little shadier, since any number of would-be releases have yet to be scheduled or even announced.  But the female-centric outlier that year appears to be Inside Out, which is Pixar’s “Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind.”  The story, which involves a journey into a young girl’s brain, opens in June of 2015.
 
Other than that, it’s basically boys’ adventure stories from here on out, with the likes of the various Marvel movies, a big-screen version of Phineas and Ferb, and another Pirates of the Caribbean film.  Of course, I’ve long argued that the initial three Pirates of the Caribbean films triumphed with both genders because they basically told the story of Elizabeth Swann with Jack Sparrow merely playing a supporting role, but On Stranger Tides did not continue that trend in any way, shape, or form.  This is not to say that Phineas and Ferb isn’t A) awesome and B) inherently unappealing to females or that the Marvel movies don’t pull in relatively even gender demos.  But the studio that basically made its name on female-centric animated features has basically continued their post-Pirates of the Caribbean/National Treasure quest to chase the boy audience even at the arguable expense of their seemingly core demographic. It’s not just the movies either, as the theme parks have made efforts to appeal to the boys tagging along with their sisters at the various amusement parks.  Disney’s California Adventure now has Cars Land while Disney World has just opened a flurry of new attractions while they emphasize the boy-friendly nature of portions such as Gaston’s Castle.

Of course, what’s occurring at the parks is less of a concern as it’s not like the female-centric material is being closed or hustled into the corner to make way for Radiator Springs.  And let’s be fair, female-driven television shows absolutely dominate the Disney Channel line up, be it younger-skewing shows like the genuinely delightful Doc McStuffins (which I would pick as the best preschool-targeted cartoon since Dora the Explorer) the new Sophia The First: Once Upon A Princess or the various afternoon shows aimed at older girls (Shake It Up, Austin and Ally, and Jessie among many others). I do think it’s interesting that Disney knows that it can sell just as much princess merchandise using a new television show (which, while well-written, isn’t exactly an example of peerless animation and something that screams ‘prestigious’ or ‘high priority’) as it could with the kind of princess/fairy tale animated feature that they swear they’ve sworn off.  It would seem the pattern is clear: boys dominate the movies while girls get their share of Disney television, with the girl-centric properties holding less prestige in Hollywood.
 
I wrote about this amusing trend back in early 2012 when discussing John Carter, and it appears that Disney is still dead-set on appealing to the boys.  Say what you will about female geeks/nerds, but Disney didn’t buy Marvel or Lucasfilm in order to ensnare female Avengers fans or Star Wars junkies.  Brand expansion is normal and arguably healthy.  Disney knows it has the market cornered in female toys and female franchise characters, so it’s attempting to strengthen its hold on boys as well.  The issue at hand is whether or not they are pushing away the female demographic and doubling-down on boys rather than merely make products to serve both genders with relative equality in all of their media platforms.

 

The Total Turtle Takeover continues this week as Leo and the green machine kick ninja butt all week long leading up to a new TMNT this Saturday morning! This is Realistic Fish Head saying, fight on Ninja Turtles!

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