Archive for November, 2014
Hunger Games Mocking Jay Part 1 takes Black Friday box office with 83 million, Penguins of Madagascar debuts healthy 36 million; Frozen 2 in the works but Disney bucks it with feature short and ice skating show; Paddington to make British box office debut before box office debut
Mocking Jay gets back on track! I’m Realistic Fish Head. After critics last week exposed the 26% weakness of its debut, Mocking Jay made sure that it listened correctly to them and indeed learned its lesson this week as it took the Black Friday box office with 83 million. As for DreamWorks’ Penguins of Madagascar, which was released on Thanksgiving, did the movie deliver what Madagascar fans and fans of the TV series wanted since the last ever episode aired online Gene?
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 comfortably remained in first place this weekend with an estimated three-day take of $56.88 million. The third installment of Lionsgate’s blockbuster franchise starring Jennifer Lawrence took in an estimated $82.69 million over the five-day frame. Mockingjay – Part 1 was down a very reasonable 53 percent from last weekend. In comparison, last year’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire fell 53 percent in its second weekend to gross $74.18 million. Mockingjay – Part 1 zoomed past the $200 million mark this weekend and has grossed $225.69 million in ten days. While Mockingjay – Part 1 is already the seventh highest grossing domestic release of 2014 so far, the film is running a significant 24 percent behind the $296.29 million ten-day take of Catching Fire.
Penguins of Madagascar placed in a distant second with an estimated $25.8 million over the three-day frame. The 3D computer animated film from Fox and DreamWorks Animation has grossed an estimated $36.0 million in its first five days, which is below pre-release expectations. Compared to previous Thanksgiving family releases, Penguins of Madagascar opened 11 percent ahead of the $32.34 million five-day start of 2012’s Rise of the Guardians and 13 percent below the $41.52 million five-day start of 2012’s The Muppets. Penguins of Madagascar is set to mark another underwhelming domestic performer for DreamWorks Animation; as it joins the likes of 2012’s Rise of the Guardians, 2013’s Turbo and to a lesser extent this year’s Mr. Peabody & Sherman. Penguins of Madagascar received an A- rating on CinemaScore.
Horrible Bosses 2 was off to an even softer start this weekend with an estimated $15.7 million fifth place take over the three-day frame. The comedy sequel from Warner Bros. took in an estimated $23.01 million over the five-day frame, which was well below expectations (which had already been scaled back a bit due in part to the film’s poor critical reviews). Horrible Bosses 2 opened 36 percent behind the $36.13 million five-day start of 2011’s Horrible Bosses (which opened on a Friday) and 50 percent behind the $46.05 million five-day Thanksgiving start of 2008’s Four Christmases. Horrible Bosses 2 was clearly hurt by its poor reviews, though the film may be going over a bit better with moviegoers, as it received a respectable B+ rating on CinemaScore.
The combined performances of Penguins of Madagascar and Horrible Bosses 2 this weekend argue very strongly that moviegoers continue to have sequel fatigue in 2014.
Thanks in part to the softer than expected starts of both Penguins of Madagascar and Horrible Bosses 2, Disney’s Big Hero 6 and Paramount’s Interstellar both held up very nicely this weekend. Big Hero 6 placed in third for the weekend with an estimated $18.77 million, which was down a very slim 7 percent from last weekend. The 3D computer animated film from Walt Disney Animation Studios took in an estimated $26.01 million over the five-day frame. Big Hero 6 has grossed $167.21 million through 24 days of release. That places the film 12 percent ahead of the $149.28 million 24-day take of 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph.
Interstellar claimed fourth place over the weekend with an estimated $15.8 million. The Christopher Nolan directed sci-fi film was up a terrific 3 percent over last weekend. Interstellar took in an estimated $22.01 million over the five-day frame and has grossed $147.09 million through 24 days of release. While Interstellar continues to perform below expectations, the film is displaying very solid holding power, due in part to good word of mouth, continued IMAX grosses and from skewing heavily towards older moviegoers.
Universal’s Dumb and Dumber To took sixth place with an estimated $8.3 million over the three-day frame. Despite the poorer than expected performance of Horrible Bosses 2, Dumb and Dumber To still took a hit this weekend, as it was down a sharp 41 percent from last weekend. Dumb and Dumber To took in an estimated $11.6 million over the five-day frame and has grossed a solid $72.21 million in 17 days.
The Theory of Everything had a very promising expansion this weekend with an estimated $5.08 million over the three-day weekend. That placed the awards season hopeful from Focus in seventh place among all films this weekend. The Theory of Everything earned a per-location average of $6,337 from 802 locations. The film has grossed $9.60 million in 24 days and should continue to hold up well going forward.
Fellow awards season hopeful The Imitation Game was off to a very strong start this weekend with an estimated $482,071 from 4 locations in New York and Los Angeles. The Weinstein Company drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch generated a massive per-location average of $120,518 for the frame. That represents the second largest per-location average for platform releases thus far in 2014 (behind only The Grand Budapest Hotel). The Imitation Game looks to be in store for a lengthy box office run throughout the awards season.
To recap, Mocking Jay Part 1 soars to a best Black Friday open 1st, Penguins of Madagascar fights in action in 2nd as Team Skipper joins Team Jack Frost as one of the best performing teams as they take out Peabody and Sherman and Team Turbo, Big Hero 6 gets upped in 3rd, Interstellar resumes course in 4th, and Horrible Bosses 2 struggles in 5th.
After a successful run last year, Disney’s Frozen has impacted worldwide fame since theaters first froze in the box office. Now, they’re talks about a sequel to the mouse’s best animated feature. Is Disney tackling that rumor down Jim?
Jim Fish (via The Wrap)- Anybody thought Disney was not going to capitalize on one of its biggest blockbusters of all time by producing a sequel — what are you, crazy?
In what should be no shocker to anybody, “Frozen” voice star Idina Menzel told the Telegraph that “Frozen 2” is “in the works.”
Disney has not announced another feature-length animated adventure for princesses Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Menzel), but has confirmed a Broadway musical and an ice show, as well as a short film hitting theaters in 2015.
The studio has not yet responded to TheWrap‘s request for comment.
Although Menzel expects to “hopefully” return the studio to sing more songs as Elsa on the big screen, she says she will not be involved in the stage show.
“Not the stage show – I don’t know what will happen with that – but the movie hopefully,” Menzel said. “We’ll see. I’m just going along for the ride.”
A massive commercial success, “Frozen” accumulated nearly $1.3 billion in worldwide box office revenue. It also starred voice actors Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad and Santino Fontana.
Britain’s most popular bear is heading to the big screen as Paddington Bear readies himself for his biggest adventure yet. But there’s another famous character ready to hit the big screen too. Does this mean a matchup between bear vs. sheep Angie?
Angie Angelfish (via Dateline Hollywood)- Darkest Peru may seem an unlikely place to find the inspiration to become a global player. For Studiocanal, however, the jungles of the Latin American country may just have led them to a game-changer in the guise of a lovable bear called Paddington.
Based on Brit author Michael Bond’s much-loved series of books, Paddington the film is, by some margin, Studiocanal’s most ambitious project ever. (See trailer below.) In addition to cementing its position as Europe’s leading film company, Paddington represents a strategic entry into the family space for Studiocanal, which hopes it will consolidate efforts to be the leading provider of studio-quality product to the global marketplace.
Arguably, it also marks the most concerted attempt by a European independent company to launch an international multi-quadrant franchise outside of the studio system. Quite an achievement for a film about a homeless bear, who loves marmalade.
Paddington’s budget of $55M, which the Euro major fully financed, handled international sales on and is releasing in its direct distribution territories, is Studiocanal’s highest-ever single bet on a picture. The UK release today will also be its wider ever in the country at 500 sites. (Studiocanal later releases the film in France December 3; Germany December 4; Australia December; 11 and New Zealand December 18.)
“Paddington is by far the biggest thing we’ve ever done,” says Studiocanal UK chief Danny Perkins. “It’s been a big focus for us these last two years to create a completely coordinated campaign across our own territories as well as providing marketing and distribution support to our international partners the same way that Lionsgate, for example, does with Hunger Games.”
The film’s marketing campaign, particularly in the UK where a specially created trail of 50 Paddington statues designed by the likes of London mayor Boris Johnson and man-of-the-moment Benedict Cumberbatch, were placed across the city, has generated huge publicity and drawn much praise. Just as importantly, it will raise funds for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
“It’s been staggering,” says Paddington producer David Heyman. “The UK team driving it have been really fantastic.”
Studiocanal execs devised ingenious ways to increase awareness for a character who, while beloved in the UK for more than 50 years, is less well-known in other parts of the world. In Liam Neeson-starrer Non-Stop, which Studiocanal also financed, an almost subliminal sight gag with the grizzled action star holding a Paddington soft toy got the ball rolling. Paddington star Hugh Bonneville then set the bar even higher at this year’s Berlin Film Festival when he managed to get the cast of Monuments Men, including George Clooney, Matt Damon and Bill Murray, to pose on the red carpet with the cuddly bear.
The film will also benefit from Harvey Weinstein’s coup in getting Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani to record a song tie-in ahead of TWC’s domestic release of Paddington on January 16 next year.
David Heyman knows a thing or two about launching multi-quadrant franchises. As the producer of the Harry Potter films, he is responsible for the highest grossing family-friendly film series in film history. Warner Bros was Heyman’s home for the Potter movies and the producer — who also made Gravity at the studio — retains very close personal and professional ties there.
When Warner put Paddington — which has Brit helmer Paul King writing and directing — into turnaround in 2012 after five years in development, Heyman turned to the independent film world, an experience he describes as “scary and exciting.” Studiocanal moved quickly.
“It was a great opportunity to work with someone like David Heyman and to be involved in a project that was anchored in Europe but could travel everywhere,” says Ron Halpern, Studiocanal’s EVP of international production and acquisition. “It doesn’t make sense for us to make a film about a bunch of kids running around a U.S. city. We don’t add any value there. But with the film set in London, and given the history of films like Mary Poppins, Harry Potter and Narnia, we knew that audiences around the world get British children.”
While both Halpern and Perkins are effusive in their praise of Heyman, who has been completely hands-on with the production to point of collaborating with international distributors over their choice of foreign language voices to play Paddington across territories, the project did bring with it many risks.
Firstly, Studiocanal had never financed a film with such sophisticated VFX before. (The bears in Paddington are spectacularly rendered in CGI thanks to the stellar efforts of London-based post and effects house Framestore). Secondly, Paddington had nowhere the level of global recognition that the Potter books had.
“Potter was absolutely unique,” explains Heyman. “We optioned the book before it had even come out in the U.S. By the time the first film came out, the Potter books were numbers one, two and three on the New York Times Bestseller List.”
Also, Paddington’s writer-director King only had one feature credit to his name — 2009 low budget Brit indie Bunny And The Bull, which was actually released by Studiocanal.
“Looking back, the company had to make some big decisions, some really big calls,” recalls Halpern. “Plus, if you want to get into the family space, there is such a high creative level already, especially in the U.S. with the likes of Pixar, Dreamworks. You need to be sure you can reach those levels before you even show up.”
Ironically, Studiocanal’s indie roots paved the way for an approach that allowed King — a stalwart of the alternative Brit comedy scene through cult series The Mighty Boosh — and Heyman complete creative control.
Even the high profile departure of Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington in May this year — a decision described as “mutual” — to be replaced by Ben Whishaw did not cause any undue panic in the ranks.
The result is a film, completed literally only a fortnight ago, that has been ecstatically reviewed virtually unanimously by the British press.
“It’s probably going to be our best reviewed film of the year,” says Perkins. “The economics for us are completely different than a U.S. studio. When they make a $150 million-plus tentpole, there are certain boxes they need to tick to protect their investment: merchandise, known IP, appeal to all quadrants. With Studiocanal, even with a budget like Paddington, our approach is still to back the filmmaker and support their vision. Our core focus is just to make the best film possible.”
And while Studiocanal has financed, sold and distributed numerous high profile films — Liam Neeson-starrer Non-Stop the most recent example — Paddington is upping the ante significantly in terms both of financial risk as well as potential upside. If it is able to launch a lucrative repeating feature series, the attendant ancillary revenues, from merchandise and the like, could take the company, which is owned by French pay TV giant Vivendi, to a whole new level.
Studiocanal is already planning further moves into the family space, with Aardman-produced Shaun The Sheep set for release in 2015. And discussions continue with both Heyman as well as other regular Studiocanal collaborators, Working Title, about finding other projects in the family space.
While most eyes will be on the film’s box office numbers in the UK this weekend, Paddington himself may be casting an eye back home, where Studiocanal execs decided to open the film in Peru day-and-date with his adopted homeland on 80 prints.
Checking the Penguins tally, 2,021 fans sign in as Team Skipper claims victory in the box office as their 36 million smacker opening gains domestic performance from Team Jack Frost as they knock down both write offs from Peabody and Sherman and Turbo.
Way to go!
With the holidays underway, we jump into the holiday season with plenty of holiday movies and specials from your favorite toons! Be sure to check out ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas starting tomorrow night! This is Realistic Fish Head saying as we head to December, have a pleasant holiday!
The Lego Movie producer Dan Lin reveals how Lego Movie Batman was chosen after Lego Movie sequel; Hunger Games saga slips after Mocking jay Part 1 earns top spot in box office; Birdman nominated for 6 Spirit awards
Welcome to the Thanksgiving Eve edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report. Here’s what’s topping today!
We head to the animation Roundtable this week as Lego Movie producer Dan Lin hints there could be a Lego Batman to their Lego Movie collection after next year’s Lego Movie sequel. What’s the dish today Johnny?
Johnny Trout (via The Hollywood Reporter)- From Gandalf and Shakespeare to Wonder Woman and Shaq, The Lego Movie’s referential humor seemed to know no bounds.
When producer Dan Lin sat down with The Hollywood Reporter for the Animator Roundtable, he said it was a big challenge going to rights holders of each individual character and telling them how they were going to “Lego-ize” their properties. Lin said it was important for the rights holder to understand that they “were approaching everything form a source of comedy, but also being true to who your character is.”
Lin also talked about approaching Warner Bros. for permission to include a comical Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) in the animated feature.
The producers wanted to ask the permission of both parties, as Warner Bros. (which distributed The Lego Movie) owns the rights to the DC superhero and Nolan acted as producer-director for the ultra-lucrative Dark Knight franchise.
“We pitched it a different kind of Batman,” Lin explained. “You guys have your live-action Batman, and we will have what we call the Lego Batman. As soon as they understood that they were different universes—they have their DC universe and we have our Lego Batman version—it worked out okay.”
The Lego Movie went on to gross over $450 million worldwide. Now, Lin says, they are “deep in production” on a stand-alone Lego Batman movie, out 2018, with Arnett returning to voice Batman.
Lin made his comments during the Animator Roundtable, which also featured Tomm Moore (Song of the Sea), Travis Knight (The Boxtrolls), Jorge Gutierrez (The Book of Life), Bonnie Arnold (How to Train Your Dragon 2) and Don Hall ( Big Hero 6).
Hunger Games Mocking Jay Part 1 scored 123 million smackers at the box office this week. Critics discovered that the movie dropped 26% once it debuted, signaling that the flick didn’t quite measure up like the previous 2 movies which scored perfectly since 2012. Is the Hunger Games saga in trouble Jim?
Jim Fish (via USA Today Entertainment)- Turns out the only thing that could beat The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 was past Hunger Games.
Mockingjay — Part 1 exploded at the top of the weekend box office charts with an impressive $123 million, the highest opening weekend of 2014, according to studio estimates from tracking firm Rentrak.
But the third in the Lionsgate franchise did not reach the giddy heights of its predecessors.
The Hunger Games’ 2012 franchise opening brought in $152 million, while 2013’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire scored $158 million.
Each installment doesn’t need to top its predecessor financially, producer Nina Jacobson told USA TODAY last week.
“Of course, you always hope that every movie outperforms the last,” Jacobson says. “But when you are dealing with the kinds of numbers we’ve been blessed enough to have, if (we) can get into the ballpark, that’s pretty darn good.”
The nominees for next year’s Spirit Awards are in and we’ve now have a favorite in the running. Who scored pay dirt Danny?
Danny Angelfish (via Entertainment Weekly)- Birdman scored six Independent Spirit Award nominations, the most of any film, when the nods were announced today, but for the most part the Spirit Awards spread the love around.
Boyhood, Nightcrawler, and Selma each got five nominations, while Whiplash, a source of buzz since its debut at Sundance, received four. Though most of these films have Oscar hopes, the Spirit Awards have also honor films that haven’t made much headway in the awards conversation, despite critical praise. For instance, the John Lithgow-Alfred Molina film Love Is Strange was nominated for Best Feature, and received four other nominations, while A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, a film described as the “first Iranian Vampire Western,“ has three nominations to its name.
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Love Is Strange
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Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Ava DuVernay, Selma
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
David Zellner, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter
Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski, Big Eyes
J.C. Chandor, A Most Violent Year
Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
Jim Jarmusch, Only Lovers Left Alive
Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias, Love is Strange
Best First Feature
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Dear White People
She’s Lost Control
Best First Screenplay
Desiree Akhavan, Appropriate Behavior
Sara Colangelo, Little Accidents
Justin Lader, The One I Love
Anja Marquardt, She’s Lost Control
Justin Simien, Dear White People
John Cassavetes Award – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000
It Felt Like Love
Man From Reno
Best Female Lead
Marion Cotillard, The Immigrant
Rinko Kikuchi, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Jenny Slate, Obvious Child
Tilda Swinton, Only Lovers Left Alive
Best Male Lead
André Benjamin, Jimi: All Is By My Side
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
John Lithgow, Love is Strange
David Oyelowo, Selma
Best Supporting Female
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
Carmen Ejogo, Selma
Andrea Suarez Paz, Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
Emma Stone, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Best Supporting Male
Riz Ahmed, Nightcrawler
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Alfred Molina, Love is Strange
Edward Norton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Darius Khondji, The Immigrant
Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Sean Porter, It Felt Like Love
Lyle Vincent, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Bradford Young, Selma
Sandra Adair, Boyhood
Tom Cross, Whiplash
John Gilroy, Nightcrawler
Ron Patane, A Most Violent Year
Adam Wingard, The Guest
20,000 Days on Earth
The Salt of the Earth
Best International Film
Force Majeure (Sweden)
Norte, the End of History (Philippines)
Under the Skin (United Kingdom)
Robert Altman Award
Special Distinction Award
18th Annual Piaget Producers Award
21st Annual Kiehl’s Someone to Watch Award
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
H., Directors: Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia
The Retrieval, Director: Chris Eska
20th Annual Lenscrafters Truer than Fiction Award
Approaching the Elephant, Director: Amanda Rose Wilder
Evolution of a Criminal, Director: Darius Clark Monroe
The Kill Team, Director: Dan Krauss
The Last Season , Director: Sara Dosa
Nick’s Saturday Night schedule made up for lost time last week as Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn and Henry Danger gained the most viewers earning it their 6th weekly win. With the same 2 shows moving up viewership, did their other Nick hits take them to their 6th monthly win for November? Let’s find out shall we?
Nickelodeon closed the fourth week of November (11/17/14-11/23/14) as the top basic cable network in total day with Kids 2-11 (2.2/670K) and total viewers (1.3M), scoring its sixth consecutive weekly win.
SpongeBob SquarePants was the network’s top series for the week with Kids 2-11, averaging a (4.6/1.4M). It was followed in that category by live-action hits Henry Danger (3.9/1.2M) and Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn (3.7/1.1M), respectively. With Kids 6-11, Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn was the net’s number-one program landing a 5.3/990K average, while Henry Danger (5.3/989K) was second for the week.
Additionally, PAW Patrol (6.5/771K) led Nickelodeon’s preschool slate, with Wallykazam! (4.2/507K) following.
Nickelodeon’s niche network, Nicktoons, posted double-digit year-over-year increases with its core demo, posting gains with Kids 6-11 (0.6/79K, +50%), Boys 6-11 (0.9/59K, +50%) and P2+ (243K, +54%).
A few editions ago, we highlighted Boomerang’s new look for 2015 since Cartoon Network recently chose their new president of programming. This week, the sister network continued their recent schedule change to blend in with their new look. Who’s replacing CN’s recent hit shows Dan?
Dan Barry (via Nick and More)- As if Teen Titans Go! and The Amazing World of Gumball don’t air enough on Cartoon Network, starting December 1 they’ll both air on Boomerang as well.
Teen Titans Go! will air weeknights in the 8pm hour, replacing Pokémon which is moving to the 4pm hour. Gumball will join weeknights from 9-10pm, replacing the third daily hour of Chowder.
No other schedule changes are present on weekdays, but we’ll have to wait and see if there are any changes to weekends.
Boomerang is gearing up for a total rebrand in 2015, the first for the network since launching in 2000.
Keep an eye and close watch on both Teen Titans Go and Gumball for recent episodes on CN’s current schedule to blend in with Boomerang.
Checking the Penguins tally, 2,022 fans sign in as the door is left wide open for Team Skipper after Mocking Jay Part 1’s disappointment in the box office. How much will the team get this weekend? See Sunday’s box office report for details.
Well folks, this ends the turkey day hunt for November. What will December bring as the holidays begin? See you soon for the December edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report. Now if you excuse me, I’ve got to get ready for the Thanksgiving Day parade!
The Hunger Games Mocking Jay Part 1 sets debut record with 123 million; Splitting up Mocking Jay tops Hunger Games controversies; Disney XD to air holiday schedule
The Games end here and now! I’m Realistic Fish Head. The heroic Katniss strikes again as The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1 tops a box office debut record of 123 million, the biggest open since Catching Fire with 158 million! With the trilogy through the halfway point, she will do what it takes to outwit her opponents to officially win The Hunger Games. Will Katniss have what it takes to scorch the box office this week Gene?
Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 registered the largest opening weekend of 2014 with an estimated $123.0 million this weekend. However, the third installment of the blockbuster franchise starring Jennifer Lawrence debuted a significant 22 percent below the $158.07 million start of last year’s Catching Fire and 19 percent below the $152.54 million start of 2012’s The Hunger Games. While Mockingjay – Part 1 had been largely expected to open below Catching Fire due in part to not having an IMAX boost this time around, the degree of the drop-off from Catching Fire was certainly unexpected.
With that said, it should be noted that in addition to easily generating the largest opening weekend of 2014 (the previous high being the $100.04 million start of Transformers: Age of Extinction), Mockingjay – Part 1 also claimed the sixth largest opening weekend ever for the month of November and the 15th largest opening weekend of all-time (without adjusting for ticket price inflation). Those are still impressive accomplishments, especially without the aid of either 3D or IMAX sales.
Mockingjay – Part 1 opened with $55.15 million on Friday, which included $17.0 million from Thursday night shows. The film declined 26 percent on Saturday to gross $40.75 million and is estimated to fall 33.5 percent on Sunday to gross $27.1 million. That places the film’s estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.23 to 1, which is on par with the 2.23 to 1 ratio of Catching Fire. The ratio suggests that Mockingjay – Part 1 will likely display similar holding power to that of Catching Fire, though Mockingjay – Part 1 could potentially hold up slightly better due in part from having opened significantly lower and in part from not having to face competition from Frozen. Mockingjay – Part 1 received an A- rating on CinemaScore.
Disney’s Big Hero 6 took in an estimated $20.09 million to remain in second place. The 3D computer animated film from Walt Disney Animation Studios was down 42 percent from last weekend. Even though Mockingjay – Part 1 didn’t pack the same punch as Catching Fire did last year, it still had a clear effect on holdovers, as percentage declines from last weekend were significant in general. Big Hero 6 has grossed $135.71 million through 17 days of release. That places the film 11.5 percent ahead of the $121.75 million 17-day take of 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph (which fell 44 percent in its third weekend to gross $18.58 million). While it will face new direct competition from Fox’s Penguins of Madagascar beginning on Wednesday, Big Hero 6 is likely to hold up nicely over Thanksgiving weekend thanks in part to strong word of mouth and in part based on historical trends for family fare over the Thanksgiving frame.
It was a fairly close race for third place this weekend between Paramount’s Interstellar and Universal’s Dumb and Dumber To. With an estimated $15.1 million, Interstellar topped Dumb and Dumber To by an estimated $1.3 million for the frame. Interstellar was down a significant 47 percent from last weekend, as despite continued IMAX shows, the Christopher Nolan directed sci-fi film still took a hit from Mockingjay – Part 1. Interstellar continues to perform below expectations with $120.69 million after 17 days of wide release. The film is also falling further and further behind the pace of Gravity, as it is now running 29 percent behind the $169.56 million 17-day take of Gravity (which fell just 31 percent in its third weekend to gross $30.03 million). While Interstellar could experience stronger than usual stabilization over the next two weeks, the film will be facing very direct competition from both Fox’s Exodus: Gods and Kings and Warner’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in December.
On the heels of last weekend’s stronger than expected first place debut, Dumb and Dumber To fell three spots and a massive 62 percent from last weekend to land in fourth with an estimated $13.8 million. A fan-driven opening weekend performance combined with poor critical reviews and lackluster word of mouth among moviegoers (not to mention the added presence of Mockingjay – Part 1) clearly helped lead to a hefty second weekend decline for the long-awaited comedy sequel starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. Despite the second weekend decline, Dumb and Dumber To is running in line with expectations at this point with a very solid ten-day take of $57.45 million. However, the film has now fallen 7 percent behind the $61.57 million ten-day pace of last year’s Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (which fell just 38 percent in its second weekend to gross $20.01 million).
On the limited front, Focus’ The Theory of Everything expanded nicely with an estimated $1.50 million from 140 locations. That placed the James Marsh directed awards season hopeful in tenth place among all films and gave the film a per-location average of $10,714 for the frame. The Theory of Everything has grossed $2.79 million through 17 days of platform release and will continue its expansion over the upcoming Thanksgiving frame.
Fellow awards season hopeful Foxcatcher grossed an estimated $474,339 from 24 locations. That gave the Bennett Miller directed film starring Steve Carell and Channing Tatum a per-location average of $19,764. The Sony Pictures Classics release has grossed $0.822 million after ten days.
To recap, Hunger Games Mocking Jay soars the 2nd highest open as it flies 1st, Big Hero 6 defends the 2nd spot as does Interstellar in 3rd, Dumb and Dumber To which surprised both favorites last week, drops 4th, and Fox’s Gone Girl jumps back in 5th after the dumb duo sent it below the top 5.
Ever since Lionsgate decided to turn the Hunger Games trilogy into box office hits, there have been many controversies surrounding the franchise. Thus, the studio made plenty of changes between the original Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and now Mocking Jay. We ask ourselves Jim, which of the top 5 controversies proved to be the difference?
Jim Fish (via The Hollywood Reporter)- The odds have clearly been in the Hunger Games films’ favor, as the series has pulled in oodles of cash throughout its run and landed Jennifer Lawrence a spot on the A-list.
However, there have nonetheless been some bumps along the road. Here are five controversies that the franchise has dealt with in the past few years.
The casting of a black actress, Amandla Stenberg, in the role of Rue in the first film led to racially charged responses on social media. There were also complaints when black actor Jeffrey Wright was cast as Beetee, a white character.
Read more Jennifer Lawrence: I’m the Worst Part of the ‘Hunger Games’ Franchise
Jennifer Lawrence and her hair
It may now be hard to believe that anyone could have possibly questioned the casting of Lawrence as Katniss. Still, there were numerous naysayers when Lawrence was initially selected, and much of the criticism focused on her light-colored hair. Evidently, Hunger Games fans weren’t familiar with the concept of hair dye.
Peeta goes passive
Josh Hutcherson has made it clear he wishes Peeta could have had a little more to do in the first film. His character spends most of his time pretending to be a rock, a plot twist that Hutcherson referred to as “laughable” in an Entertainment Weekly interview.
Claiming that the studio wanted him to finish the second film faster than he would be able to, Gary Ross, who directed the first Hunger Games film, left the franchise in April 2012 and was replaced by Francis Lawrence.
Splitting up the final installment
After the strategy helped extend profits for the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises, it was no big surprise when Lionsgate opted to turn the final Hunger Games book into two movies. However, dividing up the book may have contributed to some less-than-stellar reviews for the first Mockingjay film this weekend, along with the opening-weekend gross coming in below that for Catching Fire.
The holidays are almost here as Disney XD prepares to unveil their new holiday schedule next month. As ABC Family counts down the final days to next month Dan, what will XD viewers see this before we jump in to the holidays officially?
Dan Barry (via Nick and More)- Disney XD celebrates the Christmas season with a week of premieres, including themed episodes for most of their series, including Lab Rats, The 7D, Pac-Man, Wander Over Yonder, Randy Cunningham, Ultimate Spider-Man and a special preview episode of new series Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero. A full rundown from Disney XD follows:
Monday, December 1
Mighty Med “Do You Want to Build a Lava-Man?”
(8:00 PM – 8:30 PM ET/PT)
Oliver and Kaz travel to Skylar’s home planet, Caldera, to search for the Annihilator’s former mentor, Hapax the Elder.
Lab Rats “Merry Glitchmas”
(8:30 PM – 9:00 PM ET/PT)
When Adam, Bree and Chase discover that their new action figures are being outsold by another toy, they attempt to improve their toys by adding special features: bionic abilities.
Kirby Buckets “Art Attack”
(9:00 PM – 9:30 PM ET/PT)
After being rejected from the school art fair, Kirby meets the leader of an underground group of artists and is immediately accepted into their ranks. Meanwhile, Dawn discovers Eli was once a toddler model.
Tuesday, December 2
The 7D “Gingersnaps and Grumpy Snaps / Jollybells”
(8:00 PM – 8:30 PM ET/PT)
“Gingersnaps and Grumpy Snaps” – Grumpy saves an elf named Gingersnap from drowning who in return, vows to act as Grumpy’s servant for the rest of his life.
*Guest starring Cheri Oteri (“Saturday Night Live”) as Gingersnap.
“Jollybells” – Happy must figure out a plan to bring the holiday spirit back to the villagers of Jollywood after the Glooms drain the joy out of the town using a magical Joybuster device.
Tuesday, December 2
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures “Happy Holidays and a Merry Berry Day”
(8:30 PM – 9:00 PM ET/PT)
As the holidays approach, Pac gets a surprise visit from his parents who are on a “top-secret mission” that compels him to hide them from even his closest friends, who become increasingly suspicious something is very wrong – and they may be very right.
Wednesday, December 3
Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja “Happy Hanukkah, Howard Weinerman / Snow-Klahoma!”
(8:00 PM – 8:30 PM ET/PT)
“Happy Hanukkah, Howard Weinerman” – Howard must save Greg’s Game Hole by learning the true meaning of Hanukkah.
“Snow-Klahoma!” – Randy purposely leaves the Nomicon at school so Ninja-ing won’t ruin his trip with Howard to Snow-klahoma.
Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man: Web-Warriors “Nightmare on Christmas”
(8:30 PM – 9:00 PM ET/PT)
Spider-Man sees what the world would be like without him when Nightmare takes the web-slinger on a journey through his past, present, and future. Mark Hamill (“Star Wars” films) guest stars as Nightmare.
Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. “It’s a Wonderful Smash”
(9:00 PM – 9:30 PM ET/PT)
Alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Hulks must break free of a simulated paradise created by The Collector in order to save the universe.
Thursday, December 4
WANDER Wander Over Yonder “The Gift”
(8:00 PM – 8:30 PM ET/PT)
“The Gift” – In this holiday-themed episode, Wander is handing out gifts to every new friend he’s made and sneaks onto Lord Hater’s ship to give him and the Watchdogs gifts.
Friday, December 5
Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero “North Pole Down”
(7:00 PM – 7:30 PM ET/PT)
Feeling down about his first Christmas without his parents, Penn wants to avoid the holidays altogether but is zapped to the North Pole to save Christmas as Santa Claus himself. Emmy Award-winner Henry Winkler (“Happy Days,” “Children’s Hospital”) guest stars as The Snowman.
Checking the Penguins tally, 2,025 fans sign in as Team Skipper will have their flippers full as they face off against the competition in the box office this week. They’ll have to work fast if they want to get past Mocking Jay Part 1, which pulled in the 2nd biggest open since Catching Fire last year. Do your best!
It’s a week of Thanksgiving episodes as we feast on turkey and other fixings as we set the table this week. Catch your favorite balloons for this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade as they debut 6 balloons to look for from the streets of New York! So until then, this is Realistic Fish Head saying, Happy Thanksgiving and look forward to a wonderful holiday season!
Dish Network and Turner reach an agreement, but mum’s the word. Gene Scallop here on the breaking story.
Yesterday, the deadline for the carriage agreement was extended to resume talks on Turner’s future with Dish to keep them on the lineup. After 3 weeks to spare, both companies reached an agreement ending the crisis to avoid the blackout from many TV customers. How did it go today Dan?
Dan Barry (via Nick and More)- Cartoon Network is back on DISH Network today. The Turner networks returned to DISH, but neither side has stated whether there are any long term agreements, meaning a future black-out isn’t out of the question.
Here’s a small press statement from Turner:
Turner Broadcasting and DISH Network announced today that they have mutually decided to restore service of CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, truTV, TCM, HLN, CNN en Espanol and Boomerang, and extend the carriage of TBS and TNT. Dish and Turner will not have any further comment.
Last year, Viacom, Time Warner, and DirecTV were threatened to block out every channel if their carriage agreements weren’t extended. Unlike Turner and DISH, both companies commented on how the agreements worked out. We’ll have to see if both Turner and DISH both have up their sleeves on how are they’re going to say about this agreement.
Keep tabs on this story as it develops folks. See you soon for this weekend’s box office report!
DreamWorks delays BOO due to leaked merger talks; Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn and Henry Danger renewed for season 2, 2 new live action shows green lighted in January 2015; Nick sweeps underway as live action and preschool score high rating marks
Welcome to the sweeps week edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report. Here’s what’s topping today!
DreamWorks planned to merge with Hasbro this week, the problem was that the newest animated flick B.O.O. had spooked too soon causing the two companies to put the deal and the flick on hold. Sounds like DreamWorks forgot to move the ghastly movie out of the summer schedule for next summer didn’t they Johnny?
Johnny Trout (via The Hollywood Reporter)- DreamWorks Animation will be taking animated tentpole B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherwordly Operations off the summer 2015 calendar, according to sources.
No new date has been determined, leaving Jeffrey Katzenberg’s company with two releases next year, Home (March 27) and Kung Fu Panda 3 (Dec. 23), unless B.O.O. opens in the fall.
“Animated features are our most valuable assets and we regularly evaluate how to maximize their value, including determining the most opportune time to release a film,” a DWA spokesperson said regarding any decision to move B.O.O.
B.O.O. revolves around a top-secret government agency that employs ghosts to protect humans from being haunted. When the agency itself comes under attack, two new recruits set out to save the day.
The decision to push back the movie’s release, first reported by The Los Angeles Times, comes as DWA ponders its fate after two unsuccessful attempts to sell. Last week, merger talks fell through with Hasbro, while talks collapsed in September with Japanese giant Softbank.
On Monday, shares of DWA fell 14 percent based on news that talks with Hasbro have ended, mirroring the rise the stock enjoyed when news of those discussions first surfaced.
Sweeps week is here this week as Nick, Cartoon Network, and Disney deliver ratings reports in time for Turkey week next week, Disney Channel’s live action, animated, and preschool shows such as Sheriff Callie’s Wild West, which got renewed for season 2, topped higher against their network competitors. Nick on the other hand, was wasting no time since the big rebound from their Saturday Night schedule last week. Did it continue this week Dan?
Dan Barry (via Nick and More)- Nickelodeon, the number-one entertainment brand for kids, continues to cultivate new talent and deliver the laughs for kids with the greenlight of two new live-action comedic pilots The Dunes Club (Working Title) from Heather Flanders (Undateable, Lab Rats) and Future Shock (Working Title), created by Mitchel Katlin and Nat Bernstein (See Dad Run), and the season two renewal of hits Henry Danger and Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn, it was announced today by Russell Hicks, Nickelodeon’s President of Content Development and Production.
Today’s news follows the rapid rise of Nick’s newest live-action series as emerging hits with kids 6-11. Nick has finished first in the demo among live-action for the past two weeks, and most recently the combination of Henry Danger, The Thundermans, The Haunted Hathaways and Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn were the top four rated live-action shows with kids 6-11, respectively (week of November 3-9), according to Nielsen.
“Each new pilot exemplifies what we look for as we continue to build our live-action slate – relatable concepts with unique voices, bold, breakout characters and fresh humor with heart,” said Hicks. “Our greatest hits that have stood the test of time have always been creator-driven kid stories told from show runners who understand the Nick brand, and we’re excited that Henry Danger and Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn have connected with our audience in such a strong way.”
Details of Nickelodeon’s new pilots and series renewal are as follows:
THE DUNES CLUB (Working Title): Set in a high-end beach club, an unlikely friendship forms between a sheltered, privileged boy and a street-smart local girl who takes a job for the summer to earn extra cash. The pilot is created by Heather Flanders (Undateable, Lab Rats) and will begin production in January 2015.
FUTURE SHOCK (Working Title): Created by Mitchel Katlin and Nat Bernstein (See Dad Run), two brothers get the shock of their lives when a girl from the future accidentally transports them with their mom to the year 2070. The pilot will begin production in January 2015.
HENRY DANGER: The series follows the adventures of 13-year old Henry Hart (Jace Norman) whose life takes a wild turn when he gets selected by superhero Captain Man (Cooper Barnes) to be his apprentice. After promising to keep his new identity a secret, Henry must navigate a double life balancing the challenges of eighth grade with the crazy adventures of a crime fighter.
NICKY, RICKY, DICKY & DAWN: The series follows the hysterical adventures of the 10-year-old Harper quadruplets Aidan Gallagher (Nicky), Casey Simpson (Ricky), Mace Coronel (Dicky) and Lizzy Greene (Dawn) who don’t have much in common, except their birthday, but know they can do anything when they stick together.
We’ll have more of these 2 new Nick-coms in a future edition when they’re official. Meanwhile, the fun didn’t stop Nick that time as they were looking for their 5th weekly win in a row. Say Dan, did their latest sweeps notch it for the win?
Dan Barry (via Nick and More) (continued)- Nickelodeon marks five straight weeks at the top of basic cable in total day, winning the week (11/10/14-11/16/14) with Kids 2-11 (2.3/704K) and total viewers (1.4M). Nick’s performance was fueled by its live-action lineup, which were TV’s top three series with kids 6-11 and kids 2-11 this week.
For the third straight week, Nickelodeon nabbed the top spots with kids 6-11, with The Thundermans landing at number-one (6.4/1.2M, up +42% over year ago), followed by Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn (6.1/1.1M, up +53%) and Henry Danger (5.8/1.1M, +5%). Among kids 2-11, the top three shows were Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn (5.1/1.6M, up +13%), The Thundermans (5.1/1.6M, +2%) and Henry Danger (4.6/1.4M, +7%).
Additionally, Paw Patrol is the week’s number-one preschool series, averaging a 6.2/736K with kids 2-5.
Nickelodeon’s niche networks, TeenNick and Nicktoons, posted double-digit year-over-year increases with their core demos. TeenNick averaged a 0.4/69K with Teens 12-17, up +33% from last year, while Nicktoons notched increases with Kids 6-11 (0.6/84K, +50%), Boys 6-11 (0.9/58K, +80%) and P2+ (248K, +59%).
As we check the Penguins tally, it’s T minus 7 days and counting for the Penguins of Madagascar movie as 2,028 fans sign in as Team Skipper obtained their sponsor Kid Cuisine to coincide with the movie premiering next week in the box office.
Be sure you have the fixings ready next week as we get ready for next week’s thanksgiving day parade. The excitement starts soon on the next edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report!
Dumb and Dumber To opens strong 38 million, Big Hero 6 and Interstellar hold positions; Maleficent, and Guardians of the Galaxy set Disney’s 4 billion record; Thanksgiving schedule set for the Nick networks
The Dumb Duo have returned! I’m Realistic Fish Head. After a decade long hiatus, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels return to dumb glory as Dumb and Dumber To, the sequel to the 90’s hit Dumb and Dumber, opened a strongly and not dumb 38 million. The two managed to spoil Big Hero 6’s plan to stay on the top spot since last week. Did Baymax kept the duo at bay to prevent further damage Gene?
Universal’s Dumb and Dumber To took in an estimated $38.05 million this weekend to claim first place. The long awaited comedy sequel starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels outpaced Big Hero 6 by an estimated $2.04 million for the frame, in what turned out to be a close race for first place. Dumb and Dumber To exceeded expectations this weekend, as the film proved to be critic-proof. Pre-release online buzz for the film had been relatively soft as well, but fans of the original 1994 film clearly showed up in a big way on opening weekend. Dumb and Dumber To represented the largest live-action debut for Carrey since the $67.95 million debut of Bruce Almighty back in 2003. For a number of reasons, box office comparisons are tough to make to Carrey’s more recent films. Dumb and Dumber To did open an impressive 19 percent ahead of the $32.06 million start of last year’s Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.
Dumb and Dumber To opened in first place on Friday with $14.2 million (which included $1.6 million from Thursday night shows), decreased a slim 2 percent on Saturday to fall to second with $13.9 million and is estimated to fall 28 percent on Sunday to gross $9.95 million. That places the film’s estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at a very respectable 2.68 to 1. The film did receive a lackluster B- rating on CinemaScore, which along with a fan-driven opening weekend, could signal front-loading going forward, though that remains to be seen. The audience breakdown for the film skewed towards male moviegoers (55 percent) and towards moviegoers 25 years and older (57 percent).
Disney’s Big Hero 6 placed in a close second with an estimated $36.01 million. The 3D computer animated film from Walt Disney Animation Studios held up well this weekend, as it declined a healthy 36 percent from last weekend’s strong start. Big Hero 6 surpassed the $100 million mark this weekend and has now grossed $111.65 million through ten days of release. That is in line with the film’s lofty pre-release expectations and places Big Hero 6 19 percent ahead of the $93.65 million ten-day take of 2014’s Wreck-It Ralph (which fell 33 percent in its second weekend to gross $33.01 million). Big Hero 6 represents another strong recent performer for Walt Disney Animation Studios, joining the likes of Wreck-It Ralph, 2010’s Tangled and last year’s Frozen. The film will likely continue to hold up well throughout the holiday season.
Also holding up well this weekend was Paramount’s Interstellar. The high-profile Christopher Nolan directed sci-fi film was down an encouraging 39 percent from last weekend’s lower than expected debut to place in third with an estimated $29.19 million. This weekend’s hold was especially encouraging given the new competition the film faced for older moviegoers from Dumber and Dumber To. Interstellar is being helped out by its continued strong IMAX grosses, from good word of mouth and from its long running time and older-skewing audience leading to some natural back-loading. Interstellar is on the verge of reaching the $100 million mark with $97.81 million after ten days of wide release. It should be noted that Interstellar has fallen further behind the pace of last year’s Gravity. Interstellar is now running 20 percent behind the $122.32 million ten-day take of Gravity (which fell just 23 percent in its second weekend to gross $43.19 million).
Beyond the Lights opened in fourth place this weekend with an estimated 6.5 million. Despite strong reviews and strong pre-release online buzz levels, the low-budget drama from Relativity opened below expectations. Beyond the Lights debuted 13 percent below the recent $7.49 million start of Addicted (which opened in significantly fewer locations). Beyond the Lights started out with $2.3 million on Friday, increased 14 percent on Saturday to gross $2.63 million and is estimated to decline 40 percent on Sunday to gross $1.57 million. That places the film’s estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.83 to 1. That is an early encouraging sign when it comes to potential holding power, as is the film’s strong A rating on CinemaScore.
Fox’s Gone Girl rounded out the weekend’s top five with an estimated $4.63 million. In the process, the critically acclaimed David Fincher directed film surpassed the $150 million domestic mark this weekend. Gone Girl continues to display terrific holding power, as it was down just 25 percent from last weekend. The 45-day total for the film stands at $152.699 million.
Upon expanding into wider release, Fox Searchlight’s Birdman claimed tenth place with an estimated $2.45 million. That was up a slim 6 percent from last weekend and gave the Alejandro González Iñárritu directed awards season hopeful starring Michael Keaton a modest per-location average of $2,859 from 857 locations. After a very strong platform start, Birdman has been unable to maintain momentum as it has expanded into wider release. With that said, the film has still grossed a very respectable $11.58 million to date and will hope to stick around throughout the awards season.
In limited release, neither Open Road’s Rosewater nor Samuel Goldwyn’s Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas lit the box office on fire this weekend. The Jon Stewart directed Rosewater opened with an estimated $1.20 million from 371 locations, while the Kirk Cameron led Saving Christmas was slightly softer with an estimated $1.01 million from 410 locations. Respective per-location averages were $3,235 for Rosewater and $2,468 for Saving Christmas.
Sony Pictures Classics’ Foxcatcher was off to a more encouraging start in platform release with an estimated $288,113 from 6 locations. That gave the Bennett Miller directed awards season hopeful starring Steve Carell and Channing Tatum a healthy per-location average of $48,019 for the frame.
Elsewhere in platform release, Focus’ The Theory of Everything held up nicely with an estimated $738,000 from 41 locations. That gave the James Marsh directed awards season hopeful a strong per-location average of $18,000 for the frame.
To recap, Dumb and Dumber To makes a strong start at 1st, but Big Hero 6 and Interstellar manage to resist further damage as they hold respectfully at 2nd and 3rd. Beyond the Lights shines 4th and Gone Girl places 5th.
This week is Mickey Mouse’s birthday as the head mouse celebrates in style. From Steamboat Willy to the new Mickey Mouse cartoons, the mouse has definitely inspired Disney fans to follow the footsteps of today’s animated characters. Also to top off the birthday bash, Disney itself has set a yearly box office record which help beat investor profits last week on Wall Street, and saved Pixar’s bacon from last summer’s box office debacle which put away The Good Dinosaur thanks to box office flicks Maleficent and the Galaxy Guardians. Did these 2 top off the best record in history Angie, and what else made the list?
Angie Angelfish (via Deadline Hollywood)-The Walt Disney Studios on Friday reached a new milestone, passing $4 billion at the global box office for the second time in its history. The first time was just last year, but that was on November 26, meaning Disney bested its speed to $4B by 12 days this year. The new tally of roughly $4.05B joins the studio’s other 2014 records, including $2B internationally on Aug. 4, and $3B globally on Aug. 5, faster than any previous year.
Disney’s 2014 box office has been largely driven by four films, two from the hit machine that is Marvel, and two firmly rooted in fairy tales, and with female protagonists to boot.
Tops is Guardians Of The Galaxy. With $330M, it is the year’s No. 1 film domestically, and its global cume of $770.1M makes it the the No. 2 film worldwide. It recently hit its last markets, including China, where it topped out at about $96.5M.
Also from Marvel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier had a fantastic tour of duty this spring with $259.8M domestically, making it the year’s No. 2 film. Its $714.7M worldwide gives it the No. 5 slot globally.
Angelina Jolie-starrer Maleficent holds the No. 2 spot internationally in 2014 with $516.8M. It’s the No. 3 film globally, having conjured up $758M during its run, which began in May. The juggernaut holdover that was Frozen earned $733M of its total $1.27B during this calendar year. Elsa & Co. notably iced the competition in Japan, where the movie made a staggering $249M and stayed at the top of the chart for 16 weeks — until Maleficent stole the crown in July, that is.
In more recent news, Big Hero 6 started rolling out internationally at the end of October and has now earned $148.M globally. It continues bowing through February and is the 85th title in the studio’s history to cross $100M.
Next up on Disney’s roster is the feature adaptation of Broadway musical Into The Woods, starring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine. It releases domestically on Dec. 25 and rolls out elsewhere from there.
In last week’s entertainment report, we previewed Santa Hunters, Nick’s newest original movie in which 4 kids must prove that the jolly man exists. Looks like the entire Nick community wants in on this Thanksgiving party. What’s on the Turkey Day menu for Nick Dan?
Dan Barry (Nick and More)- Nickelodeon offers a super-stuffed Thanksgiving week with new episodes of the network’s hit preschool and live-action series; Santa Hunters, an original TV movie; and the Nickelodeon HALO Awards, an hour-long concert special honoring real-life kids and their commitment to service. Additionally, week-long marathons of hit classics and animation favorites like Big Time Rush, iCarly, Victorious, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Legend of Korra will air across Nick’s digital networks, TeenNick and Nicktoons.
Airing Monday, Nov. 24, through Sunday, Nov. 30, the programming feast kicks off with the premieres of the Dora and Friends:Into the City! special “Mystery of the Magic Horses,” on Monday, Nov. 24, at 10 a.m. (ET/PT), and then Bubble Guppies “Gobble, Gobble Guppies,” on Wednesday, Nov. 26, at 9 a.m. (ET/PT). On Friday, Nov. 28, kids will dive into the holiday spirit with the original TV movie Santa Hunters at 7 p.m. (ET/PT) and continue the festivities into Saturday, Nov. 29, with holiday-themed live-action premieres of Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn at 8:30 p.m. (ET/PT), The Thundermans at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT) and Awesomeness TV at 9:30 p.m. (ET/PT).
The sixth annual Nickelodeon HALO Awards caps off the hearty weekend with a star-studded concert special hosted by Nick Cannon, airing Sunday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. (ET/PT) across Nickelodeon networks (Nickelodeon, TeenNick, Nicktoons) and streaming live on Nick.com, the Nick App and Nick Radio.
The following is a full rundown of Nickelodeon’s Thanksgiving programming, by network (all times ET/PT unless otherwise noted):
Dora and Friends: Into the City! “Mystery of the Magic Horses” – Monday, Nov. 24, at 10 a.m.
Dora and her friends set off on a magical journey to a mysterious island to save a herd of lost horses. Along the way, they must outwit bandits so they can safely return the horses to the city farm.
Bubble Guppies “Gobble Gobble Guppies” – Wednesday, Nov. 26, at 9 a.m.
Molly and Gil discover all of the pumpkins are missing when they go to the pumpkin patch. Their turkey friend Giblet leads them on a harvest hunt to find the culprits–the pumpkin patch pirates!
ORIGINAL TV MOVIE:
Santa Hunters – Friday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m.
Alex (Benjamin “Lil P-Nut” Flores Jr. of The Haunted Hathaways) and his cousins Zoey (Breanna Yde of The Haunted Hathaways) and Richard (Mace Coronel of Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn) set out to prove to the world that Santa is real by creating an elaborate setup of traps to catch Santa on tape, but their plan backfires when they realize that seeing Santa will cause him to lose his Christmas magic. The kids have to protect the tape to save Christmas, learning that believing is more important than seeing.
Nickelodeon HALO Awards – Sunday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m.
Led by host, creator and executive producer Nick Cannon, the Nickelodeon HALO Awards celebrates kids who are “Helping and Leading Others” (HALO) in their communities. Featuring performances by pop superstars Jessie J, Nick Jonas, Meghan Trainor, Echosmith, The Vamps, Fifth Harmony and The Roots; along with celebrity presenters, Nick stars and special surprises. The hour-long concert special will air across Nickelodeon’s networks (Nickelodeon, TeenNick and Nicktoons) and stream live for the first time ever on Nick.com, the Nick App and Nick Radio.
Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn “Santa’s Little Harpers” – Saturday, Nov. 29, at 8:30 p.m.
The quads want the newest video game console for Christmas, so Tom and Anne make them work at the store to earn the money to buy it. It becomes every kid for themselves as they compete over the tip money.
The Thundermans “Winter Thunderland” – Saturday, Nov. 29, at 9 p.m.
Max is at his Scroogiest on Christmas Eve, until the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future show up to put him in the holiday spirit.
AwesomenessTV “The Thank You Mask” – Saturday, Nov. 29, at 9:30 p.m.
Hosted by Benjamin Flores Jr. and Breanna Yde of The Haunted Hathaways, this hilarious episode is filled with holiday fun and festive sketches including Terry The Tomboy: Guide To New Years’ Eve, Santa Falling Prank, Ways To Get More Presents, Sierra’s Guide To Living Glamorously: Gingerbread, and more.
TeenNick celebrates Thanksgiving week with day-long marathons of fan favorites including Big Time Rush, iCarly, Victorious and Zoey 101, followed by theatrical movie premieres at 9 p.m. (ET).
Nick Jr. offers kids a sweet serving of Tickety Toc premieres at 5:30 p.m. (Mon, Wed, Fri), leading into the Satur-Yay! premiere of Julius Jr. at 1 p.m.
NickMom celebrates the holiday with a robust line-up of classic movies including A Walk to Remember, Spanglish, Little Manhattan, American President, Nanny McPhee Returns, Mrs. Doubtfire and Parenthood.
Nicktoons unveils its “Fansgiving” celebration with action-packed marathons of Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Legend of Korra, Monday–Thursday from 5:00 p.m.–12:00 a.m. (ET). Then, on Wednesday, Nov. 26, the NickSports block is jam-packed with an all-new episode of WWE Slam City, the NFL RUSH: Football Rivalries, Vol. 1 special and the network premiere of LeBron James: More Than A Game, from 9-11 p.m. (ET).
Only T minus 9 days until The Penguins of Madagascar movie heads to the box office next week as 2,030 fans sign in as they gear up for the biggest event in Team Skipper’s and more importantly penguin culture history.
We serve up some goodies as we approach Thanksgiving Week. Be on the lookout for the season finale of Power Rangers Super Megaforce. Plus, look for signs of holiday cheer as the holiday season approaches! This is Realistic Fish Head saying, it’s time to serve up a Thanksgiving feast!
Nick’s Saturday night schedule boosts entire schedule: Hellsing Ultimate movies added to Toonami’s December movies;Santa Hunters to air Thanksgiving weekend
Welcome to the Santa Hunter preview edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report. Here’s what’s topping today!
Before Nick notched up their 6th monthly win, we recapped that its Saturday Night schedule didn’t do very well, and boy was it a stinker! This time, they managed to go back and figure out the kinks to what happened late September, here’s what Nick did recently:
After premiering to disappointing numbers back in September, Nick’s Saturday night live-action comedies jumped to series and season high this past weekend (November 1).
Henry Danger started the night at 8 p.m. with a series high in total viewers (2.193 million) and ranked #3 for the week in kids 2-11 (1.2 million) and kids 6-11 (971,000).
Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn followed at 8:30 p.m. with a series high in total viewers and a gain on its lead-in (2.358 million) and placed #1 for the week in kids 2-11 (1.3 million) and kids 6-11 (1.1 million).
The Thundermans followed at 9 p.m. with a second season high in total viewers (2.211 million) and ranked #2 for the week in kids 2-11 (1.3 million) and kids 6-11 (1.0 million).
The Haunted Hathaways moved from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. and scored higher than normal with total viewers (1.784 million). Demo ratings aren’t available.
Ratings for the 10 p.m. AwesomenessTV premiere aren’t available yet.
On Saturday morning, new episodes of Nick’s animated shows sagged some with total viewers: Sanjay and Craig (2.257 million), Breadwinners (1.921 million) and Rabbids Invasion (1.731 million). At noon Power Rangers Super Megaforce was up with total viewers (1.588 million) to its highest rating since returning with premieres in August.
The Saturday 10 a.m. episode of SpongeBob SquarePants – a repeat mind you – was the #1 animated program with kids 6-11 for the week (882,000) and total viewers (2.819 million).
Overall for the week, Nick ranked #1 with kids 2-11 (608,000) and #2 in total viewers (1.137 million) behind ESPN.
It’s that time of year as Toonami’s 2nd December block enters another year of anime action, only this time consisting of 2 shows currently on the block: Hellsing Ultimate and now as of last week, DBZ Kai. Plus, 2 more movies which premiered on Toonami’s birthday just one year ago, is also on the yearly schedule. Who’s in the Christmas party Dan?
Dan Barry (via Nick and More)- Just like last year, Toonami will be doing another Month of Movies in December. Now, Toonami has released the line-up (via Tumblr)! Times are currently pending at the moment, though the first film of the night will likely start at the beginning of the block:
•December 6th – Hellsing Ultimate Episode 9 & Summer Wars
•December 13th – Hellsing Ultimate Episode 10 & Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos
•December 20th – Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan & Akira
•December 27th – Evangelion 1.11 & Evangelion 2.22
The best part about this announcement is the return of Hellsing Ultimate, which was announced to be leaving after the 8th episode. Now, fans of the show will be able to watch the complete series on television.
Also, unlike last year’s Fullmetal Alchemist film, this film does in fact correspond to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, the series currently airing on Toonami.
Akira, Summer Wars, and both Evangelion movies have previously aired on Toonami, but the first two have not been seen since last year’s Month of Movies, while the latter two have not been seen since March 17th, 2013 and August 31st, 2013 respectively.
Nick’s collection of holiday movies rolls on again with their newest original movie which their second going into the holiday season, the first being Fairly Odd Christmas. Will it be wrapped in time for Thanksgiving week Dan?
Dan Barry (via Nick and More) (continued)- Santa’s making his list, checking it twice… and undergoing a secret investigation in Nickelodeon’s brand-new original TV movie Santa Hunters, premiering Friday, Nov. 28, at 7:00p.m. (ET/PT). The film, which stars Benjamin “Lil P-Nut” Flores Jr. (The Haunted Hathaways), Breanna Yde (The Haunted Hathaways) and Mace Coronel (Nicky Ricky Dicky & Dawn), follows nine-year-old Alex (Flores) as he sets out to prove to the world that Santa is real. However, unexpected consequences from Alex’s meddling may cause Santa to lose his Christmas powers forever.
In Santa Hunters, Alex and his cousins Zoey (Yde) and Richard (Coronel) create an elaborate setup of traps to catch Santa on tape, but their plan backfires when they realize that seeing Santa will cause him to lose his Christmas magic. The kids have to protect the tape to save Christmas, learning that believing is more important than seeing.
Fans can visit the Santa Hunters supersite on Nick Online to access an exclusive sneak peek of the movie, flip through photo galleries, take fun holiday polls and watch behind-the-scenes videos of the cast!
Santa Hunters is executive produced by Scott McAboy (Swindle, Big Time Movie, Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh), Robin Cowie (Exists, The Blair Witch Project), Christopher C. Dotson, III and Reed Frerichs (Exists). The film is produced by Amy Sydorick (Big Time Movie, Swindle, Jinxed, A Fairly Odd Summer), directed by Savage Steve Holland (Big Time Rush, Fairly Odd Summer, Fairly Odd Christmas) and written by Jamie Nash (Cordially Invited, Lovely Molly).
We’ll have more on this on our entertainment portion of Sunday’s box office report.
Checking the Penguins tally, 2032 fans sign in as Team Skipper prepares last minute preps for their movie coming in T minus 17 days.
Besides Nick’s newest original movie coming in 2 weeks, who else was invited to the Turkey day party? Find out this Sunday. But for now, see you soon for the next edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report!
Big Hero 6 zooms past Interstellar with 56 million; Star Wars episode 7 title revealed; Toy Story 4 to hit theaters in June 16, 2017
Disney streaks to the stars! I’m Realistic Fish Head. Their animated hit Big Hero 6 rocketed past expectations against Paramount’s Interstellar at the box office with 56 million. This also beats Wreck-It-Ralph’s debut at 49 million 2 years ago. How did Baymax fair well against Ralph Gene?
Disney’s Big Hero 6 led the way at the box office this weekend with an estimated $56.2 million. That gave the 3D computer animated film from Walt Disney Animation Studios a relatively comfortable win in its battle with Interstellar this weekend to kick off the holiday movie season. Big Hero 6 opened in line with its lofty expectations and is set to represent another strong recent performer for Walt Disney Animation, joining the likes of last year’s Frozen, 2010’s Tangled and 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph. Big Hero 6 opened an impressive 15 percent stronger than the $49.04 million debut of Wreck-It Ralph.
Big Hero 6 opened in a close second with $15.83 million on Friday (which included $1.4 million from late night shows on Thursday), moved into first place on Saturday by surging 52 percent to gross $24.06 million and is estimated to fall 32 percent on Sunday to gross $16.31 million. That places the film’s estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 3.55 to 1. Big Hero 6 received a strong A rating on CinemaScore, which is a very good sign for the film going forward.
The audience breakdown for Big Hero 6 was evenly split between genders and skewed towards moviegoers under the age of 25 (58 percent). Family audiences made up a sizable 72 percent of the film’s overall audience. 3D grosses accounted for 29 percent of this weekend’s overall grosses.
Paramount’s Interstellar was considered the favorite by many heading into the weekend, but ultimately had to settle for second place with an estimated $50.0 million. The highly anticipated Christopher Nolan directed sci-fi film has grossed $52.15 million to date, after an additional two days of limited release on Wednesday and Thursday. Interstellar opened 10 percent below the $55.79 million start of last year’s Gravity (which did have the advantage of higher priced 3D admissions) and 20 percent below the $62.79 million debut of 2010’s Inception. Given the comparisons, it appears that the high level of anticipation for Interstellar among Nolan’s fanbase didn’t really transfer over outside of the fanbase. The film’s mixed critical reviews likely played a significant part in that.
Interstellar took first place on Friday with $17.00 million (which included $2.7 million from late night shows on Thursday), increased a modest 8.5 percent on Saturday to fall to second with $18.45 million and is estimated to fall 21 percent on Sunday to gross $14.55 million. That places the film’s estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.94 to 1. While the film’s nearly three-hour run-time will likely lead to some natural back-loading, it remains to be seen if Interstellar will hold up as well as Gravity and Inception did. The film’s B+ rating on CinemaScore, while solid, also leaves a bit to be desired, though it should be noted that Interstellar also received a B+ rating on CinemaScore.
The audience breakdown for Interstellar was nearly evenly spit between genders (52 percent male, 48 percent female) and skewed heavily towards moviegoers 25 years and older (75 percent). With that in mind, the relative lack of appeal with teens and young adults was a key component of the film’s softer than expected start. Interstellar received a significant boost from its strong IMAX performance this weekend.
With the weekend’s box office being dominated by the battle between Big Hero 6 and Interstellar, holdovers took a clear backseat. In addition, holdovers were especially bunched together, as just $600,000 separated third place and seventh place this weekend. As a result, final rankings could still change a bit when actual grosses are released on Monday.
Fox’s Gone Girl claimed third place with an estimated $6.1 million. The critically acclaimed David Fincher directed film continued to hold up well as it was down just 28 percent from last weekend. The hold was especially impressive given the new competition from Interstellar. Gone Girl has grossed an impressive $145.43 million in 38 days, which leaves it $4.57 million away from reaching the $150 million domestic mark.
Ouija followed closely behind in fourth with an estimated $6.0 million. The low-budget horror film from Universal and Platinum Dunes was down a very respectable 44 percent. After opening on the low end of expectations a few weeks ago, Ouija has held up surprisingly well for a horror film. The 17-day total for the film stands at $43.46 million.
The Weinstein Company’s St. Vincent placed in fifth with an estimated $5.71 million. The well-received comedy starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy had another strong hold this weekend, as it was down only 21 percent. Thanks in part to continued strong word of mouth, St. Vincent has grossed $27.36 million to date.
On the heels of last weekend’s close second place start, Open Road’s Nightcrawler fell to sixth place this weekend with an estimated $5.51 million. The critically acclaimed crime thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal was down a significant 47 percent, which suggests that the film isn’t going over as well with audiences as it has with critics. Nightcrawler has grossed $19.76 million in ten days, which is in line with expectations.
Sony’s Fury landed in seventh place with an estimated $5.5 million. The World War II film starring Brad Pitt was down a solid 38 percent from last weekend. Fury is on the verge of clearing the $70 million mark with a 24-day take of $69.27 million.
On the platform front, Focus’ The Theory of Everything was off to a noteworthy start with an estimated $207,000 from 5 locations in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto. That gave the James Marsh directed biopic of Stephen Hawking a per-location average of $41,400 for the frame.
To recap, Big Hero 6 zooms past 1st beating the favorite Interstellar in 2nd, Gone Girl moves 3rd, Ouija, who was out spooked by Nightcrawler in the Halloween box office drops 4th, and St. Vincent marks his place in 5th.
During the summer months, there were rumors of the title for Star Wars episode 7. This past week, the title was officially revealed. Did J.J. Abrams manage to ward off of those rumors Jim?
Jim Fish (via The Hollywood Reporter)- Putting some speculation to rest and kick-starting a new round of interpretation, the newest Star Wars movie now officially has a title.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the title of the J.J. Abrams-directed film, Disney announced Thursday. The studio also confirmed that it had wrapped principal photography, which had been widely reported over the weekend.
The cast and crew of the film, which reunites the original trilogy stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, was said to have gathered at London’s Science Museum on Nov. 1 to celebrate the shoot.
The cast also features new additions that include John Boyega, Andy Serkis, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o and Adam Driver and familiar names to fans like Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca).
Also this past week after the official title was unveiled, Disney and Pixar revealed the next chapter of the Toy Story franchise, Toy Story 4. After the success of Toy Story 3, it was time for John Lasseter to be at the helm again. Will he get the chance to do it again Danny?
Danny Angelfish (via Entertainment Weekly)- The Pixar chief who changed the animation game with his innovative use of computer technology in 1995’s Toy Story will return to the directing chair to make a fourth movie about the adventures of Woody, Buzz, and the gang, Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger announced Tuesday.
The film is set to hit theaters in June 16, 2017, and in a somewhat surprising twist it will be written by Rashida Jones, formerly of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, and her screenwriting partner Will McCormack (who penned the 2012 indie romantic comedy Celeste and Jesse Forever.)
The story was conceived, however, by the Pixar brain trust: Lasseter, Finding Nemo‘s Andrew Stanton, Up and Monsters Inc.‘s Pete Docter, and and Toy Story 3‘s Lee Unkrich.
Iger who revealed the news in a quarterly earnings call for investors late Thursday afternoon, did not say whether Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn or any of the other actors who voice the toybox crew will be returning, but it’s inconceivable that a movie would be made without them.
Fans reacted to the news with what can only be described as uncertainty, taking to Twitter to wring their hands in worry. Most people, including many within Pixar, felt Toy Story 3 was a perfect close to a beloved trilogy, and are hesitant about anything that might sully that legacy.
In a statement, Lasseter tried to calm those nerves: “We love these characters so much, they are like family to us,” he wrote. “We don’t want to do anything with them unless it lives up to or surpasses what’s gone before.”
He acknowledged that Toy Story 3 “ended Woody and Buzz’s story with Andy so perfectly that for a long time, we never even talked about doing another Toy Story movie. But when Andrew, Pete, Lee and I came up with this new idea, I just could not stop thinking about it. It was so exciting to me, I knew we had to make this movie — and I wanted to direct it myself.”
FOUR YEARS ON THE SHELF
In the time since Toy Story 3 came out in 2010, Woody and Buzz haven’t exactly been strangers — the characters have turned up in a series of short films and television specials, which picked up with the family of playthings after grown-up and college-bound Andy handed his toys over to a new child, the sweet little girl Bonnie.
The first of these was 2011’s Hawaiian Vacation, playing before Cars 2, in which Barbie and Ken (voiced by Jodi Benson and Michael Keaton) are treated to a trip to the islands without ever leaving their new owner’s bedroom.
That same year, The Muppets was preceded by Small Fry, in which spaceman Buzz being left behind at a fast-food restaurant, and 2012’s Finding Nemo 3-D featured Partysaurus Rex, in which Shawn’s timid plastic dinosaur discovers his wild and crazy size in a bathtub rave.
Last year, a grade-school friendly horror film was produced as a Halloween broadcast for ABC. Toy Story of Terror followed Woody, Buzz, Jessie and the rest getting lost at a scary hotel during a family trip.
Although these characters were clearly not going away, and remain omnipresent among Disney’s consumer products and theme parks, there was never a guarantee that we’d see them in a feature film again. Few were even speculating about it — until this afternoon.
THE GOLDEN GOOSE IN A HAWAIIAN SHIRT
Iger’s announcement is potentially good news for lovers of Toy Story, it’s potentially nervous-making news for investors in the company, which is probably why he chose to reveal it in an earnings call as opposed to a fan gathering. Lasseter reigns as the supervising animation guru for three divisions: Pixar, Walt Disney Studios Animation, and DisneyToon Studios, which makes predominantly home-video titles such as the Tinker Bell movies and Planes.
In the eight years since The Walt Disney Co. bought Pixar for more than $7.4 billion, inheriting him in the process, Lasseter (as chief creative officer alongside Ed Catmull as president) has overseen a renaissance at Walt Disney Studios Animation — which went from making flops like Treasure Planet and under performers like Chicken Little to blockbusters like Wreck-It Ralph and last year’s Frozen.
Frozen not only collected the Best Feature Animation Oscar — which, astoundingly, was company’s first — it was the No. 1 movie of the year, earning north of $1.27 billion globally.
Still, every movie to emerge from the studio, be it shorts like Paperman or Feast, to Disney Animation’s latest feature, Big Hero 6, hits theaters with filmmakers talking about Lasseter’s hands-on approach.
TURNING OVER THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR
He hasn’t directed a film himself since Cars 2 in 2011. Last March, in a similar earnings call, Iger revealed that Cars 3 was in development, and although no release date was set, it now seems unlikely Lasseter would direct that unless it were pushed back until around 2020.
He has handed off the directing reigns before, turning over Toy Story 3 to Lee Unkrich, his co-director on 1999’s Toy Story 2, who went on to make arguably the most acclaimed film in the series.
With Unkrich, who also collected a Best Animated Feature Oscar for No. 3, busy on an untitled Dia de los Muertos movie for Pixar, Lasseter is returning to the toy box — though there’s no telling how that will influence his other work producing the dozens of other theatrical, short and home-video releases he oversees.
There’s not going to be any playing around for him.
Checking the Penguins tally, 2,034 fans sign in as Team Skipper is 2 weeks away from the official untold backstory.
There’s still a lot of episodes to look for this week as Turkey Week comes less than 2 weeks. With signs of progress being made in time for the holidays, it will possibly mean more holiday wishes from our toon friends. The hunt continues this week! This is Realistic Fish Head saying, make sure you find some gobbling pointers this week!
Warner Bros lays off 1,000 workers; Richie Rich live action series green lighted; Sony and Federator launch GO Cartoon
Welcome to the Richie Rich edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report. Here’s what’s topping today.
Last August, Rupert Murdoch called off the merger between Fox and the Warner’s which was the right decision as he put Jeff Bewkes under pressure to merge the 2 companies. The pressure put by Murdoch forced him to surrender the deal. As Fox’s 21st Fox boosted higher on profit earnings on Wall Street, the Warner’s Time Warner sank on their profits because of Murdoch’s choice. That came to bite them in the hindquarters yesterday as Warner’s CEO Kevin Tsujihara delivered the bad news. What was the end result that caused the fate of the botched deal Johnny?
Johnny Trout (via The Hollywood Reporter)- As Warner Bros. begins the process of laying off about 1,000 workers company-wide, CEO Kevin Tsujihara sent a memo to the studio’s employees on Tuesday citing the “difficult decisions” made.
The layoffs are expected to affect more than 10 percent of the company’s 8,000-person global workforce. Most of the company’s business groups will begin the process Tuesday. However, Tsujihara said, some groups, like finance, MIS and technical operations are undergoing more complex reorganizations, and staff changes won’t be complete until the first quarter of next year. Additionally, some of the cuts in international operations won’t take place until the first part of 2015.
“These are difficult decisions, and we don’t take them lightly,” Tsujihara wrote. “We examined every aspect of our businesses to ensure that we were restructuring in a way that would allow us to minimize the impact on our employees, while continuing to adapt to the changing global marketplace.”
The memo did not specify terms of the separation agreements it will be offering, but Tsujihara said, “we will be as generous as possible with those who are impacted by these cuts.”
As units across Time Warner look to cut costs, Tsujihara has told investors that he is looking to cut $200 million from the studio’s annual budget by reducing its workforce and paring back in other area like marketing costs.
Here’s what Tsujihara said here in a memo:
There is no easy way to deliver today’s message. As you know, we at Warner Bros. have committed to reducing costs across the company in order to meet our long-term financial targets, and that includes cutting staff. These changes are challenging, but we believe they will allow us to reallocate resources and position the company for growth and stability in the years ahead.
We’ve now completed much of our company-wide review, and most business groups will be announcing staff changes this week, beginning today. However, some groups, including Finance, MIS and Technical Operations, have been engaged in more complex reorganizations; they will make some staff changes now, with most coming in the first quarter of next year. Similarly, international territories will proceed according to local policies and protocol, and most of their changes will be announced in the early part of next year.
I know that every employee around the world is a part of Warner Bros.’ success, and it’s difficult to lose colleagues who have helped make the Studio the global industry leader it is today. As always, we are committed to taking care of our employees, and we will be as generous as possible with those who are impacted by these cuts.
These are difficult decisions, and we don’t take them lightly. We examined every aspect of our businesses to ensure that we were restructuring in a way that would allow us to minimize the impact on our employees, while continuing to adapt to the changing global marketplace. With your continued help and support, I am confident that Warner Bros. will remain the best studio in the world, while preserving the culture that has made this company so special.
Following the arrival of Awesomeness TV from DreamWorks, Sony Pictures teamed up with Fred Seibert’s Federator to air their collection of cartoon shorts on YouTube. What’s the newest channel that could go up against Awesomeness TV Angie?
Angie Angelfish (via Dateline Hollywood)- Budding animators will get the chance to get their shorts funded by Sony Pictures Animation under a just-launched incubator project with the YouTube channel Cartoon Hangover, which is part of Fred Seibert’s Channel Frederator online multi-channel network.
Sony and Cartoon Hangover are launching GO! Cartoon to capture up-and-coming talent and give them a pipeline into Sony’s animation operations. The incubator will pick a dozen creators from online submissions, with Sony financing a short by each to appear on the GO! Cartoon channel. At least one will be turned into a limited series for the channel, said Sony Pictures Digital Production President Bob Osher.
“Fred found a whole pool of talent that just…transparency (to artists) for the studios was hard,” said Osher of Seibert’s past animation incubator efforts on cable TV and online. “So many of them are so talented and have a story and things they want to do. Many of them are so talented, and we want to take advantage of that right away. For us, it’s a chance to expand our relationship with Fred, find new talent, give us access to them. He’s always been charmed that way (in finding new talent), but he works hard at it. “
The project deepens the long-term production relationship between the organizations, as well as the personal and professional ties between Osher and Seibert. Seibert is a serial pioneer of animation programming on new distribution platforms, from cable networks MTV, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon to Tumblr.com and Frederator, which has been creating animation for the web and traditional outlets for nearly a decade. More recently, Frederator used Kickstarter to raise a record $850,000 to fund the recently debuted Bee & PuppyCat from Natasha Allegri. That show has garnered 4 million online views since its debut two weeks ago.
Channel Frederator now has nearly 1,000 channels in its YouTube network, and also creates features and TV shows for traditional outlets such as Adventure Time on Cartoon Network. The new arrangement echoes what Seibert and Osher did while working at Turner Broadcasting Networks two decades ago. Then, Seibert was courting up-and-coming talent through Cartoon Network showcases for their one-off shorts, and compiling them into anthology shows that later spun off into series.
Osher credited the Cartoon Network incubator programs with uncovering future stars such as Genndy Tartakovsky, the animation wizard behind ’90s- and ’00s-era hits such as Dexter’s Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls and Samurai Jack. More recently, Tartakovsky was director of Sony animated feature Hotel Transylvania and its upcoming sequel.
“Bob and I thought there might be a more direct match where we can use our approach on Cartoon Network and move (promising talent) over to feature in a more rapid and more interesting way,” Seibert said. “I’m certainly excited about it and think the talent community will be thrilled by it. The cross-pollination gives us huge opportunities to develop, together, both talent and properties. It’s not lost on anyone that Walt Disney trained himself and everyone else (at Disney in the early years) on short films in the ’20s and ’30s before they even tried to do feature films.”
Cartoon Hangover has more than 1.3 million subscribers on YouTube, part of the nearly 1,000 channels within the Frederator MCN, which dates back to 2005 and YouTube’s earliest days.
“The fact that Sony has jumped aboard is testament to their forward thinking,” Seibert said. “We’re figuring out what is in the primordial ooze of what’s out there. From my perspective…it is a huge evolutionary step for a feature company to make this kind of commitment.”
A dozen 5-minute shorts will be produced, with one a month released on Cartoon Hangover. Osher said one project will be picked to become a limited series that also will run on Cartoon Hangover, but if other particularly worthwhile projects are posted, Sony will back them too, with hands-on support if that’s what a creator needs.
“Once people are picked, and if they need the support, that will be available to them,” said Osher.
And speaking of awesome cartoon characters, Awesomeness TV has brought back the famous and richest cartoon character Richie Rich. The rich kid has sparred TV shows and live action movies through out the years. Only this time, he’s going straight to comedy. When will Ritchie return this time Dan?
Dan Barry (via Nick and More)- AwesomenessTV has re-invented classic cartoon character Richie Rich for the modern world in a new live action half-hour comedy series, Richie Rich, which will be exclusively available for Netflix members in the US, Canada and Latin America beginning early 2015.
Richie Rich is a series about the richest kid in the world. After making a trillion dollars by inventing and selling a cool new green technology, Richie moves into a decked out mansion and instantly starts living the most awesome life ever. The 21-episode series follows his adventures, from exploring Antarctica, making a movie with his friends and meeting famous celebrities. There’s never a dull moment in Richie’s new life.
Richie Rich stars Jake Brennan (Dark Skies), Joshua Carlon, Jenna Ortega, Lauren Taylor, Kiff VandenHeuvel (Star Trek Into Darkness) and Brooke Wexler.
The Penguins tally is currently holding at 2,036 as Team Skipper continues to search for clues of their next task this month.
As for searching for hints to unaired TV shows, Nick’s viewership has gone down since the team’s last mission since 2009. In fact since 2000, the network has a lot of unaired shows and episodes of current and past shows that have not been shown since then. Nicktoons has taken over the brother network since ratings were starting to decline. In turn since November 1st, a petition tally has been made to convince Nick to air their entire collection of unaired shows since The Sponge took the network by storm on his 2nd run. I can assure you TV fans that Nick will do anything in their power to salvage what’s left of their unaired collection.
We’ve got a feast full of DVD’s this month. Check out what we’ve cooked up here:
The One I Love
Step Up All In
Planes: Fire & Rescue
A Most Wanted Man
Let’s Be Cops
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Into the Storm
And So It Goes
22 Jump Street
Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
The Playback Singer
The November Man
The Expendables 3
Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas
As Above, So Below
The Hundred-Foot Journey
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Kids for Cash
Guardians of the Galaxy
Dolphin Tale 2
When the Game Stands Tall
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Spark: A Burning Man Story
The Devil’s Hand
Magic in the Moonlight
The Trip to Italy
Things are gobbling so far this November, so keep a close watch on more toon news on the next edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report!
Night Crawler ekes out Ouija by 9 million;Sonic Boom to premiere November 8th;Kelly Kulchak named animation programmer at DreamWorks TV
Night crawler beats Ouija, but the box office says it’s too soon! I’m Realistic Fish Head. The spooky film managed to take the top spot, but estimates say Monday’s full report will determine if it will officially hold on top. Are they right Gene?
It turned out to be an extremely close race for first place this weekend between Open Road’s Nightcrawler and Universal’s Ouija. The two films are currently tied for first with weekend studio estimates of $10.9 million each, so final rankings won’t be known until actuals are released on Monday. It should be noted that on Friday and Saturday, Ouija grossed $8.4 million, while Nightcrawler took in $7.87 million.
Open Road’s Nightcrawler debuted with an estimated $10.91 million. The critically acclaimed crime thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal appeared set to lead the weekend after a close second place finish on Friday, but Friday’s $3.2 million performance ultimately wasn’t affected by Halloween as much as anticipated. Nightcrawler was able to open in line with pre-release expectations, which were boosted a bit by the film’s strong reviews and relatively strong online activity over the past few weeks. The film opened 17 percent below the $13.15 million start of Open Road’s End of Watch back in September of 2012. Nightcrawler received a lackluster B- rating on CinemaScore, which suggests that the film isn’t going over as well with audiences as it has with critics.
With the aid of Halloween, Universal’s Ouija took in an estimated $10.9 million this weekend. The low-budget PG-13 horror film from Platinum Dunes didn’t hold up all that well during the midweek, but rebounded quite nicely on Halloween and maintained momentum throughout the rest of the weekend. Ouija fell 45 percent from last weekend, which represents a good second weekend hold for a horror film. Ouija has grossed a very solid $34.96 million through ten days of release. That is in line with expectations and places the film 34 percent ahead of the $26.11 million ten-day take of last year’s Carrie.
It was an extremely tight race for places three through seven this weekend, as third place and seventh place were separated by just $1.05 million. With that in mind, the order of finish could still change around a bit when actuals are released on Monday. Holdovers in general held up well this weekend, thanks in part to the limited amount of new competition in the marketplace.
Sony’s Fury claimed third place with an estimated $9.1 million. The David Ayer directed World War II film starring Brad Pitt held up nicely this weekend, as it was down 32 percent from last weekend. Fury surpassed the $60 million mark this weekend and has grossed $60.44 million in 17 days. The film continues to perform in line with expectations and is currently running 4 percent ahead of the $57.86 million 17-day take of Sony’s The Monuments Men earlier this year.
Fox’s Gone Girl placed in fourth with an estimated $8.8 million. The critically acclaimed David Fincher directed film starring Ben Affleck held up very well, as it was down just 20 percent from last weekend. This weekend’s hold was especially impressive given the added competition the film faced from Nightcrawler. Gone Girl has grossed a very impressive $136.60 million in 31 days. The film is already the highest grossing film of Fincher’s career and is now just $13.40 million away from reaching the $150 million mark.
The Book of Life rounded out the weekend’s top five with an estimated $8.3 million. Fox’s modestly budgeted computer animated film was down a slim 17 percent from last weekend. Like Ouija, The Book of Life received a boost from the holiday weekend (though its boost was on Saturday). The film also likely received an added boost from moviegoers who wanted to catch it before Disney’s Big Hero 6 arrives in the marketplace next weekend. The Book of Life surpassed the $40 million mark this weekend and has grossed a solid $40.52 million in 17 days.
John Wick took sixth place with an estimated $8.05 million. The Keanu Reeves led action thriller from Lionsgate did lose a bit of momentum over the weekend, as it was down 44 percent from last weekend. With that said, John Wick is still performing on the high end of expectations with $27.59 million in ten days. John Wick has already out-grossed the $26.42 million final gross of 2008’s Street Kings and is in good shape to surpass the $38.36 million final take of last year’s 47 Ronin before the end of its run.
The Weinstein Company’s St. Vincent placed in seventh with an estimated $7.75 million. The low-budget comedy starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy held up especially well this weekend, as it remained even with last weekend’s performance. St. Vincent was helped out this weekend by strong word of mouth and from expanding into an additional 270 locations. The film has grossed $19.53 million to date and will hope to continue to hold up well going forward.
The weekend’s other two new wide releases were both dead on arrival. Clarius’ Before I Go to Sleep debuted on the low end of its already low expectations with an estimated $2.03 million, while Lionsgate’s Saw 10th Anniversary opened with a very disappointing $650,000. That gave Before I Go to Sleep and Saw 10th Anniversary respective per-location averages of just $1,047 and $315 for the frame.
On the platform front, Fox Searchlight’s Birdman took in an estimated $2.51 million from 231 locations. That gave the critically acclaimed Alejandro G. Iñárritu directed film starring Michael Keaton a healthy, but not exceptional, per-location average of $10,866 for the frame. Birdman has grossed $5.00 million through 17 days of platform release.
To recap, Night crawler will take the top spot if Ouija stays on top which holds in 2nd, Fury fires in 3rd, Gone Girl stays 4th, and Fox’s The Book of Life stays in 5th.
Fans of Sonic the Hedgehog were waiting to see if the fastest hedgehog can make another animated run. That was discovered yesterday when the freedom fighters confirmed that they’ll add a 6th member to the group ending rumors that surfaced last summer. Which channel will get the full package Jim T.?
Jim Trout (via Variety)- Sonic the Hedgehog is racing back to TV.
Videogame publisher SEGA has turned to Bill Freiberger (“The Simpsons,” “Drawn Together”) to help re-introduce the iconic blue character to viewers through the company’s first CG-animated series that launches on Cartoon Network in the U.S. and France’s Canal J and Gulli in Fall 2014. The new show, tentatively titled “Sonic Boom,” is a co-production between SEGA of America and Genao Prods.
The companies will initially produce 52 11-minute episodes of the comedy that targets kids age 6-11 and revolves around Sonic, his best friend and sidekick, Tails, their never-ending search for adventure and battles with Sonic’s arch-nemesis, Dr. Eggman.
The show’s producers will work closely with Takashi Iizuka, the head of Sonic Team and driving creative force behind the Sonic games, to make sure it’s true to the Sonic characters and universe.
Evan Baily, formerly executive VP of production and creative affairs for Classic Media (now owned by DreamWorks Animation) will serve as a showrunner of the series along with Freiberger, who serves as co-executive producer.
SEGA sees the project as a way to breathe new life into the franchise and attract new players to the games.
“Sonic is the star of the SEGA universe and the stage is now set for him to shine like never before,” said Hiroyuki Miyazaki, SEGA’s chief content officer for Sonic. Through the new TV series, “we’re ensuring that the Sonic legacy will be introduced to a new generation of children across the globe.”
Sonic already has appeared in four TV series and more than 70 video games that have sold over 140 million copies. The latest is “Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed.”
Sonic the Hedgehog, which is Sega’s equivalent to Mickey Mouse, first appeared as a videogame character in 1991, and besides games has been licensed as toys, apparel, comics and animation.
Earlier this year, SEGA announced an exclusive partnership with Nintendo to produce three Sonic games, with “Sonic Lost World” as the first to launch later this year.
SEGA executive producers Evan Baily, Donna Friedman Meir and Jane McGregor packaged “Sonic Boom.”
Lagardere Entertainment holds worldwide rights to the TV series around the world, with the exception of Asia and the U.S., where Jane McGregor manages it. Lagardere also handles Japan.
During our summer coverage, we digested every DreamWorks animated show from top to bottom as Marjorie Cohn handed the reins to current Nick president Russell Hicks who’s doing well so far. Now, the former Nick pres. has added a TV programmer to help with the schedules coming up this season. Who did Cohn take Angie?
Angie Angelfish (via Dateline Hollywood)- Kelly Kulchak has been named head of current programming at the TV division of DreamWorks Animation. In the newly created post, Kulchak will supervise the day-to-day production of all series, which totals nearly 1,200 episodes of original animated television content.
She joins DreamWorks Animation as it prepares to unveil two new series, All Hail King Julien and VeggieTales In The House, by the end of the year.
Prior to joining DreamWorks, Kulchak served as president and executive producer at Tagline Pictures, where she developed and produced such series as Psych for USA Network and Man Up for ABC. Kulchak also previously served as SVP of development at Worldwide Pants and has held development and current-programming positions with Fox, Gracie Films and the WB Network.
“Kelly’s background in producing award-winning and, more importantly – truly funny, comedy gives her a sensibility that’s perfect for the content we’re developing,” said Margie Cohn, head of DreamWorks television. “We’re thrilled to have her join our already accomplished leadership team, including Peter Gal in development and Mark Taylor in production, as we continue to create and produce an incredibly ambitious slate for Netflix and partners around the world.”
Checking the Penguins tally, 2,040 fans sign in as Team Skipper commences Operation: Backstory as their untold story reaches its final phases.
With the countdown to the holidays fast approaching, look out for new Thanksgiving surprises this month as we get ready to find ourselves some turkey picks from your favorite shows. Plus, watch out for this year’s Thanksgiving parade as we look forward to the debut of Dora and Friends. And to top it off, we ring in the holidays officially as part of Winter season 2014 when ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas brings forth holiday specials and movies all December long! For now, this is Realistic Fish Head saying, good luck and happy turkey hunting!