Iron Man 3 posts 2nd biggest open with 175 million: DreamWorks wins Kung Fu Panda case; Warner Bros. predicted to beat DreamWorks in summer box office battle

Iron Man takes the world by storm! I’m Realistic Fish Head. Disney and Paramount pulled out the stops as Iron Man 3 posts a 175 million win, the 2nd best record and the 7th best open behind Harry Potter and the Twilight Saga. Worried by a drop in 3D sales and disapproval of new scenes in Chinese theaters, Disney has shrugged off those worries. Gene Scallop on how Tony Stark managed to continue his battle amid in the movie that someone has framed him in order to defend his innocence.

 

Gene:

Disney is reporting that Iron Man 3 opened with a strong $68.312 million on Friday, including $15.6 million from Thursday night previews (9pm onward). That marks a 30 percent increase over the $52.4 million opening day of Iron Man 2 three years ago, while sitting about 14 percent below the first day take of The Avengers (a record $80.8 million). Note that neither of those those films opened wide before midnight, while Iron Man 2 also wasn’t released in 3D.

All-time, this gives Iron Man 3 the seventh best opening day behind The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’s $68.5 million and ahead of The Hunger Games’ $67.3 million. The relatively unknown nature of Thursday’s 9pm shows could skew historical opening day-to-weekend ratios, but for now, we’re projecting a $169 million debut weekend.

In holdover news, Pain and Gain dropped 69 percent from last Friday to $2.35 million yesterday. With a $28.7 million domestic haul after eight days, the film is on track for a $7.2 million sophomore frame.

Universal’s Oblivion sank 67 percent from last Friday to $1.7 million yesterday. Competition from and the loss of IMAX screens to this weekend’s big competition played a major role in the decline. Through 15 days of release, Oblivion has tallied $76 million domestically. BoxOffice is projecting a $5.8 million weekend.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros.’ 42 was less fazed and dropped just 39 percent Friday-to-Friday. With another $1.79 million in the bank yesterday, 42 has amassed an impressive $73.9 million haul in 22 days. The film is on pace for a $6.3 million frame.

Lastly, The Big Wedding dropped 54 percent from opening day to $1.2 million on Friday. We’re projecting a $3.9 million weekend.

To recap iron Man 3 zooms 1st, Pain and Gain gets overhauled in 2nd, so does 42 in 3rd, Oblivion sinks 4th as a 69% drop as Iron Man 3 takes IMAX away from them, and The Big Wedding rings its bells in 5th.

 

On March 7, Paramount won their case against the courts for No Country For Old Men. This week, DreamWorks wins their case for their Kung Fu Panda movies referring Po, the Dragon Warrior as a spiritual Kung Fu fighter. Another case dropped again in the courts wasn’t it Perch?

 

Perch Perkins (via The Hollywood Reporter)- A California appeals court upheld a verdict in favor of DreamWorks Animation after a jury found that the studio didn’t steal the idea to create its mega-successful Kung Fu Panda movies.

Terence Dunn, a self-described “writer-producer-teacher-philosopher” who was CEO of a company called Zen-Bear Inc., sued in June 2010 for breach of an implied contract. At a trial in the summer of 2011, he told a jury that he made a four-to-five minute pitch to a DreamWorks executive in November 2001, and followed it up with a phone call over his “proposal for Zen-Bear, the Kung Fu Panda.”

He wanted compensation for the studio’s alleged use of his idea, but a jury wasn’t swayed. On appeal, Dunn challenged the verdict on the basis that the trial judge had erred with improper jury instructions over the test for determining use of an idea.

On Tuesday, California’s Second Appellate District weighed in with some wisdom on the nature of ideas. Here’s the full ruling.

Kung Fu Panda came out in 2008 and starred the voice of Jack Black. It went on to gross more than $630 million worldwide. A successful sequel also was released.

Dunn said that he had created a “Zen-Bear” in the early 1990s and hired an illustrator “to design [his] concept of a martial arts panda bear.”

He says he spoke for months with DreamWorks executive Lance Young about his idea, and alleged that he was told in 2002 that DWA already had a “martial arts panda project.” He says his final conversation with DreamWorks happened with another DreamWorks executive named Michael Lachance.

Lachance oversaw the Kung Fu Panda project after DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg suggested in 2000 at a roundtable meeting that the company “take a look at pandas as a possible subject for a movie.”

According to the legal documents, Lachance drafted a story outline entitled “Kung Fu Panda,” dated Nov. 27, 2001, one week after Dunn claims he pitched his ideas to Young at the holiday party.

Before a verdict happened in the case, a judge instructed the jury, “For Plaintiff to recover for Breach of Implied Contract in this case, he must prove that the movie Kung Fu Panda is substantially similar to the movie he pitched to DreamWorks. Substantial similarity is determined by making a comparison of the two works based on the opinion of the average individual.”

But the judge declined Dunn’s invitation to add, “Differences between the movie and the pitch do not necessarily mean they are not substantially similar. You may find that differences between the movie and Plaintiff’s pitch were deliberately contrived to disguise the fact that Plaintiff’s ideas were being used.”

A California appeals court says that the failure to deliver this guidance wasn’t an error.

“The first sentence unnecessarily highlights an obvious point — Dunn need not prove his pitch was identical to the film Kung Fu Panda in order to establish his cause of action,” says the decision. “The second sentence of this proposed instruction amount[s] to an argument to the jury in the guise of a statement of law, and the trial court properly refused to include it in its instructions to the jury.”

Dunn also contended that the verdict should be overthrown because of how the judge responded to a question from the jury.

The jury asked, “If an idea is expressed by Dunn to DreamWorks, incorporated in an intermediate work and abandoned before the movie is made, does this constitute use?”

The judge responded, “No.”

Despite Dunn’s argument that the jury was confused and required a different answer with further instructions, the ruling says it was a correct answer.

“The jury asked about abandonment of Dunn’s idea, not differences between Dunn’s idea and the film,” adds the appeals court. “The question does not indicate the jury was seeking clarification on the substantial similarity standard.”

Speaking of DreamWorks, it doesn’t look good for them. According to an analyst, The Warner’s will take out the movie studio as summer box office champ this year. As you may remember from past reports, both companies were exposed by their weakness as well as being held hostage by the 2011 box office slump. Will the Warner’s have the best market value over both DreamWorks and Paramount Danny?

 

Danny Angelfish (via The Hollywood Reporter)- Time Warner is in position to benefit most from the summer box-office season, while DreamWorks Animation faces the most challenges, according to a Wall Street analyst who released his annual prognostication on Friday.

Doug Creutz of Cowen and Co. picked his “Dirty Dozen” list of movies that he figures will account for about 70 percent or more of this summer’s total domestic box office. Topping his list is Iron Man 3 from Disney/Marvel, though the studio with the most titles on the list is Warner Bros.

Creutz estimates Iron Man 3 will top out at $350 million domestically. His pick for the second biggest film of the summer is Monsters University, from Disney/Pixar, which he figures will earn $275 million.

Next on his list is a tie at $250 million between Star Trek Into Darkness from Paramount and Despicable Me 2 from Universal.

The rest of his Dirty Dozen shapes up like so: The Hangover Part III from Warner’s ($225 million); Man of Steel from Warner’s ($220 million); Fast & Furious 6 from Universal ($220 million); The Wolverine from Fox ($190 million); Turbo from DWA ($171 million); a tie between The Great Gatsby and Pacific Rim , both from Warner’s ($150 million); and Grown Ups 2 from Universal ($125 million).

Those 12 films will make about $2.556 billion domestically, while the entirety of the box office this summer will amount to about $3.651 billion, Creutz predicts. Last year, the Top 12 performing films accounted for nearly 80 percent of the total domestic box office during the summer season.

Creutz says that if he’s wrong about this year’s Dirty Dozen, it’s probably because one or more of several other films he names will sneak into the Top 12 and knock out one of his picks. Among the titles most likely to do that, are: After Earth or White House Down from Sony; Paramount’s World War Z; Disney’s The Lone Ranger; Red 2 from Lionsgate or Universal’s R.I.P.D.

The titles he thinks are most at risk of not performing as well as he has predicted, are: The Wolverine, Pacific Rim and Turbo.

Titles having only a “reasonable chance” of cracking the Top 12 this summer are Epic, The Heat and The Internship from Fox; and Sony’s This is the End and Smurfs 2.

Creutz acknowledges that he has more confidence in several titles than do other experts, starting with The Great Gatsby. “This appears to be one of the few films this summer not directed at kids or young men, and as such, we think it can be effective counter-programming appealing to women and adult audiences,” he writes.

And one title where Creutz is on the very low side of estimates is Man of Steel. “Anyone remember Sucker Punch?” Creutz writes. “Zach Snyder’s very distinctive visual style worked well for 300, however his subsequent films have received very mixed reviews and many critics compare his works to big-screen video games, which could restrict the audience to young males.”

Creutz writes that Warner’s “is the best positioned of all the major studios to have a solid summer at the box office.”

Of DWA, though, he writes: “The competitive situation facing Turbo has kept us on the sidelines regarding shares, as we are very concerned it could be an odd man out this summer.”

There’s no slump here at the Penguins tally as 867 fans make sure that the upcoming summer box office battle will help DreamWorks overpower its enemies between now and March 2015 as our flightless heroes prepare for one last mission on the big screen.

 

This just in! During the week, Cartoon Network and Nick’s sister stations Boomerang and Nicktoons air of their counterpart’s channels last episodes such as Johnny Test and The Troop to make room for new additions to the spring schedule. This is Realistic Fish Head reminding you, Keep looking and watching for late breaking news as it develops!

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