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?

 

 

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!

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