American Sniper adds 64 million after hitting 200 box office record; DreamWorks adjusts movie schedule to 2 movie releases a year after cutting 500 jobs; Toonami cuts down final hour due to low ratings


The troops kill two movies with one stone! I’m Realistic Fish Head. American Sniper reached record territory with 90 million. This week, the damage wasn’t done as the movie scored 64 million which brought it to the 200 million mark in a week’s span With Fox’s Avatar’s record of 68 million, it bows out to the sniper hunters. Does this change everything this awards season Gene?





Warner’s American Sniper continued to absolutely dominate the box office this weekend with an estimated first place take of $63.27 million. In the process, the Clint Eastwood directed Best Picture nominee starring Bradley Cooper surpassed the $200 million domestic mark this weekend.  American Sniper was down just 28 percent from last weekend. That represented an extremely impressive second weekend hold, especially for a film with grosses of this magnitude.

Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, American Sniper registered the eighth largest second weekend gross of all-time. American Sniper also registered the third largest January weekend gross of all-time (behind only the film’s performance last weekend and the third weekend performance of Avatar back in 2010). With $200.14 million after just ten days of wide release, American Sniper is currently running a massive 64 percent ahead of the $122.32 million ten-day start of 2013’s Gravity (which fell 23 percent in its second weekend to gross $43.19 million). Given this weekend’s performance, American Sniper is obviously in great position to zoom past the $300 million milestone going forward.

American Sniper took in an estimated $5.8 million from IMAX locations this weekend. That brings the film’s IMAX total to $18.8 million, which represents 9.4 percent of the film’s overall gross thus far.

The Boy Next Door debuted in second place this weekend with an estimated $15.0 million. Universal’s low-budget thriller starring Jennifer Lopez performed on the higher end of pre-release expectations. The film was off to a good start, especially with its low production budget in mind.  The Boy Next Door opened 23 percent ahead of the $12.20 million start of 2010’s The Back-Up Plan (which also starred Lopez) and debuted just 12 percent below the $17.12 million debut of 2013’s The Call. The Boy Next Door received a B- rating on Cinema Score, which is respectable for a thriller. The audience breakdown for The Boy Next Door skewed heavily towards female moviegoers (71 percent) and towards moviegoers 25 years and older (60 percent).

The news was far worse for the weekend’s other two wide releases as Disney’s Strange Magic and Lionsgate’s Mortdecai were both dead on arrival. As was the case with Universal’s Blackhat last weekend, Strange Magic and Mortdecai both had a problem finding an audience due in large part to the breakout performance of American Sniper (with poor critical reviews for both films also not helping).

Strange Magic debuted in seventh place with an estimated $5.53 million. The computer animated film written and executive produced by George Lucas debuted below its already modest pre-release expectations. Strange Magic performed similarly to Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, which opened with $3.75 million back in May of last year. Strange Magic received a B- rating on Cinema Score, which is lackluster for an animated film. The audience breakdown for Strange Magic skewed towards female moviegoers (56 percent) and towards moviegoers 25 years and younger (53 percent). Family audiences represented 71 percent of the film’s overall audience.

Mortdecai landed in ninth with an estimated $4.13 million. Unlike Strange Magic, the comedy starring Johnny Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow had been expected to have somewhat of a presence at the box office this weekend, due in part to strong levels of online buzz. But much like last year’s Transcendence (which debuted with just $10.89 million), Mortdecai failed to live up to expectations. Audiences have clearly lost interest in Depp, especially when it comes to his non-event film roles.  Mortdecai received a soft C+ rating on Cinema Score.

Paddington took third place this weekend with an estimated $12.39 million. The family film from The Weinstein Company was down 35 percent from last weekend’s three-day start. That represented a nice second weekend hold, especially with the added direct completion from Strange Magic. Paddington surpassed the $40 million mark this weekend and has grossed a very solid $40.06 million. That places the film on par with the $40.06 million ten-day start of The Nut Job last January (which fell 38 percent in its second weekend to gross $12.10 million).

Sony’s The Wedding Ringer followed in fourth with an estimated $11.6 million. The modestly budgeted comedy starring Kevin Hart and Josh Gad was down a respectable 44 percent from last weekend. The Wedding Ringer has grossed $39.68 million in ten days, which is on the lower end of expectations. The film is now running 4 percent ahead of the $38.28 million ten-day take of last year’s About Last Night (which declined a far sharper 71 percent in its second weekend to gross $7.53 million).

Fox’s Taken 3 rounded out the weekend’s top five with an estimated $7.6 million. The third installment of the Liam Neeson led franchise was down a significant 48 percent from last weekend.  Taken 3 has grossed $76.05 million in 17 days, which places the film 28 percent behind the $105.83 million 17-day gross of 2012’s Taken 2.

Best Picture nominees The Imitation Game and Selma took in sixth and eighth place with respective estimated takes of $7.14 million and $5.50 million. With aid from expanding into an additional 414 locations, The Weinstein Company’s The Imitation Game was up a strong 5 percent over last weekend. Paramount’s Selma fell 37 percent from last weekend, due in part to last weekend’s performance having been inflated by the Martin Luther King holiday. Respective total grosses stand at $60.64 million for The Imitation Game and at $39.22 million for Selma.



To recap, American Sniper continues guns a blazing at 1st, The Boy Next Door visits 2nd, Paddington stays at 3rd, The Wedding Ringer rings on in 4th, and Taken 3 still outgunned by sniper troops, stays in 5th. To add on a lighter note, the troops also eliminate Lionsgate’s Mortdecai and Disney’s Strange Magic as both flicks miss the boat on estimate expectations.



On last week’s entertainment report, an estimated 200 jobs was expected to leave DreamWorks during worker cleanup. We’ve got the final number today as the studio made some important changes last week since Soria and Arnold became double animation exec’s. What was the straw that broke their backs Johnny?


Johnny Trout (via The Hollywood Reporter)- DreamWorks Animation has announced a restructuring plan for its film business, including trimming its slate to two films a year. As part of the restructuring, marketing chief Dawn Taubin and COO Mark Zoradi are exiting the company and vice chairman Lew Coleman is retiring.

In an effort to bring down costs as it eliminates about 500 jobs — or 18 percent of its entire staff — the studio said Thursday that, beginning in 2016, it will focus its efforts on one original film and one sequel per year.

The newly announced lineup consists of the sequel Kung Fu Panda 3, set for release on March 18, 2016, followed by an original, Trolls, on Nov. 4, 2016.

The following year will bring Boss Baby on Jan. 13, 2017, and The Croods 2 on Dec. 22, 2017. For 2018, the studio has set The Larrikins on Feb. 16, 2018, and How to Train Your Dragon 3 on June 29, 2018.

DreamWorks is outsourcing another project, Captain Underpants, based on the children’s novel series by Dav Pilkey, which, it said, “will be produced at a significantly lower cost.” It will be released in 2017 and much of the production will take place overseas.

The studio’s next film, Home, its one release for 2015, will be released domestically on March 27.

The new slate will be overseen by Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria, who were named co-presidents of DreamWorks Animation on Jan. 4 as chief creative officer Bill Damaschke stepped down from his position.

The studio, which in the past few years has beefed up its TV and digital businesses and acquired companies like Classic Media and Awesomeness TV, may have expanded too quickly, given its declining financial performance of late, and CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg acknowledged as much during a conference call on Thursday, promising to spend more of his time on movies.

“We want to get back to basics here and just do an outstanding job on two movies a year,” Katzenberg said. “Much of my time and efforts in the last couple years have been focused on expanding the company into these other businesses … It’s now time for me to turn my attention back to the core business.”

While DWA’s How to Train Your Dragon 2, which Arnold produced, was the top-grossing animated film of 2014, collecting $619 million worldwide, DWA has taken write-downs on recent underperformers Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Rise of the Guardians and Turbo.

On Thursday, Katzenberg said the company will take yet another write-down, this time $80 million, including $55 million mostly due to weak results for Penguins of Madagascar, though some of that is also related, again, to Mr. Peabody & Sherman.

Katzenberg also said the company’s studio in Northern California will be shut down and consolidated onto its Glendale campus and about half of the “key talent” there will be offered the opportunity to move to that area.

“While I couldn’t be more confident for the future, I’m deeply saddened by the fact that we’ll be losing so many treasured, loyal, inspired and valued members of the DreamWorks Animation family,” Katzenberg said.

The CEO also said the studio plans to spend about $120 million for the production of each original movie, down from $145 million.

The company, which currently has approximately 2,700 employees worldwide, has been contending with poor financial performance. In its first three quarters of 2014, it posted a 10 percent decline in revenue to $450.4 million and a net loss of $46.4 million compared with a profit of $37.9 million a year prior.

Reflecting the poor financial results, the company’s stock has fallen 39 percent in the past 12 months, though shares rose 3 percent on Thursday and an additional 3 percent after the closing bell when the restructuring was announced.

As a result of reducing its feature film production, which will result in the loss of 500 jobs across all divisions of the company, DWA said it expects to incur a pre-tax charge of approximately $290 million, about $60 million of which will go toward severance payments and charges associated with moving employees to Glendale.

“This consolidation will not only lower our cost structure, it will foster better collaboration, maximizing creativity while also driving efficiency,” Katzenberg said.

With the restructuring, the studio should save about $30 million this year and about $60 million annually by 2017, executives said Thursday.

The restructuring comes after negotiations to sell the studio did not yield results. Katzenberg had merger discussions with Japanese telecommunications firm SoftBank, toymaker Hasbro and conglomerate 21st Century Fox.

The company hired Zoradi, a former president of the Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Group, in July, and Katzenberg addressed his decision to let the COO go after a mere seven months on the job.

‘We were top-heavy,” Katzenberg said. “We have too much corporate staff here.”

After the layoffs, DWA will employ about 2,200 people worldwide.


Also, last week, Toonami announced Kill La Kill to premiere on the block 2 week from Saturday. That signaled another change to the schedule which didn’t please Jason De Marco this week. What caused his concern with the schedule Dan?



Dan Barry (via Nick and More)- For today’s Toonami Roundup, there’s a slew of horrible misfortunes.

First off, Toonami is getting a time reduction. The block, which has run from 11:30pm-6am ET/PT since January 4th, 2014, will have the last hour cut off, meaning the block will now run from 11:30pm-5am ET/PT, effective January 31st, 2015. The time previously occupied by Toonami will now belong to re-runs of the adult swim staple King of the Hill. This unfortunate schedule change is happening due to low ratings, according to Jason DeMarco via Twitter.

What does this mean for the lineup? For starters, Toonami staples Samurai Jack and IGPX will be removed from the line-up completely starting January 31st. Attack on Titan re-runs are also being moved from 11:30pm ET to 2:30am ET starting the same day.

While the majority of the lineup changes take place January 31st, some changes will be taking place today (January 24th). Starting then, the lineup from 12am-6am ET/PT will be shifted up a half-hour (this means Attack on Titan re-runs will be taking a hiatus just for that week. The re-runs will return the following week, as mentioned above). In addition, the last half hour (5:30am) will be cut from the block starting the same date.

These changes also bring wonder to where new acquisition Kill La Kill will be placed on the line-up, and what show will bite the bullet in order for that to happen.

As unfortunate as this news is, do not fret Samurai Jack and IGPX fans! Toonami will be putting up the final 2 episodes of Samurai Jack (the ones they skipped on Cartoon Network) on Adult Swim’s website and on the Adult Swim Video On Demand section (which is available via cable providers). There will also be a home media release of IGPX coming sometime this year from Discotek Media (however, it is currently unconfirmed whether or not the English dub will be the one broadcasted on Toonami previously – the Toonami version contains a different soundtrack and is edited due to profanity).

The new schedules for January 24th and January 31st can be found below (all times Eastern/Pacific):

January 24th, 2015:
•11:30pm – Dragon Ball Z Kai
•12am – Naruto: Shippuden
•12:30 – InuYasha: The Final Act
•1:00 – One Piece
•1:30 – Gurren Lagann
•2:00 – Deadman Wonderland
•2:30 – Bleach
•3:00 – Space Dandy
•3:30 – Cowboy Bebop
•4:00 – Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG
•4:30 – IGPX
•5:00 – Samurai Jack

January 31st, 2015:
•11:30pm – Dragon Ball Z Kai
•12am – Naruto: Shippuden
•12:30 – InuYasha: The Final Act
•1:00 – One Piece
•1:30 – Gurren Lagann
•2:00 – Deadman Wonderland
•2:30 – Attack on Titan
•3:00 – Bleach
•3:30 – Space Dandy
•4:00 – Cowboy Bebop
•4:30 – Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG

All news in this roundup courtesy of the official Toonami Tumblr page, unless noted otherwise.



Once Kill La Kill is on the schedule, these changes will be resolved soon.



Checking the Penguins tally 1,939 fans sign in as Jeffery Katzenberg delivered his decision on Thursday that the Penguins of Madagascar movie will be written off similar to the same way as Peabody and Sherman was last year thus ending rumors of the fate of Team Skipper which left him deeply concerned. By the way, this flick’s the last in line to the DreamWorks/PDI library ever since 20th Fox released it last November. It may’ve be the last time we see the team on the big screen, thanks to tough critics and past headlines which nailed the story from the start, but their run on the small screen might wait a bit longer than expected.



Awards season continues with the 2014 Annie’s as Birdman fights to take best picture. While on the animation side, DreamWorks Dragons 2 is aiming for best animated feature. Will both movies earn their share of Annie’s or does the criticism continue for the award voters? This is Realistic Fish Head saying, watch the Annie’s and see!

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