Welcome to the Charlie Brown Christmas 50th anniversary edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report. Here’s what’s topping today!
We’re right at the climax of Summer movie extravaganza and so far, most of our summer hits have claimed box office record territory this year. Thus, box office revenue is raising as we speak. There were plenty of hits and not a lot of misses that box office analysts have looked at so far. Last summer was a bummer as animation was left alone and the superhero theme dominated. As of this week Jim, has box office revenue increased to a new high?
Jim Fish (via The Hollywood Reporter)- North American box-office revenue has hit an all time record year-to-date, a significant achievement after last year’s downturn.
Through Tuesday, revenue for 2015 stood at $6.863 billion, narrowly besting the $6.783 billion earned between Jan. 1 and Aug. 3 in 2013.
“Look at the huge franchise films we’ve had this year,” said Rentrak analyst Paul Dergarabedian. He also credited titles such as American Sniper, Cinderella, Fifty Shades of Grey and Kingsman: The Secret Service.
So far, the top-grossing title of the year domestically is Universal’s Jurassic World with a T. Rex-like cume of $632.2 million, the second-best showing of all time behind Avatar ($760.5 million) and Titanic ($658.8 million); Disney and Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron ($456.9 million); Universal’s Furious 7 ($351 million); Disney and Pixar’s Inside Out ($330.4 million); and Universal and Illumination’s Minions ($289.6 million).
While things may slow in August, sans a Guardians of the Galaxy, Dergarabedian and other box office experts remain confident that 2015 will be a record year, eclipsing the $10.9 billion grossed in 2013. Event titles waiting in the wings include Ridley Scott’s The Martian (Oct. 2), James Bond installment Spectre (Nov. 6), the final Hunger Games film (Nov. 20) and Pixar and Disney’s The Good Dinosaur (Nov. 25). Then there’s J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Dec. 18), the most anticipated movie of the year.
That doesn’t mean there haven’t been misses, and it may not be a record summer. Tentpoles that have disappointed include Sony’s Pixels, Disney’s Tomorrowland and Terminator: Genisys, from Paramount and Skydance. Several R-rated comedies have also flailed, including Entourage, Ted 2 and Magic Mike XXL.
To be sure it won’t be a disappointment this week, the newly rebooted Fantastic 4 will return after the film back in 2013, but what will moviegoers will be looking for at theaters today Angie?
Angie Angelfish (via Dateline Hollywood)- While tomorrow will see the fan fueled debut of Aardman Animation’s Shaun the Sheep from Lionsgate, this weekend the No. 1 and 2 spots are expected to be 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Four and Paramount Pictures’ Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation. Fantastic Four is expected to gross between $40M and $50M for the three-day weekend and MIRN may end up dropping around 50% or more to grab in the mid-$20M range. MIRN will still be holding onto its IMAX screens which will give it a nice boost.
The next installment of the Fantastic Four superhero franchise is tracking better than Ant-Man right now across all demos except older females and older males, so we will see how the tracking translates to ticket sales. Ant-Man opened to $57.2M. FF debuts Thursday night in previews starting at 8 PM on about 2,300 to 2,400 screens before rolling out wide on roughly 3,950 screens.
Shaun the Sheep from Lionsgate should expect a front-loaded Wednesday in its 2,202 runs and maybe even Thursday as Aardman has a loyal fan base. It could end up with a nice five-day opening number. For the three-day weekend, look for the mid-single digits and some are thinking it could be in around $8M for the 5-day in 2,313 locales. The critics love this film and we expect this sheep film to have some legs.
STX Entertainment is bringing its first film to market with the Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton thriller from Blumhouse, The Gift. Made on a very small budget (we hear $5M with STX’s financial portion at $2.5M), this good little thriller is getting kudos from critics and has a solid marketing campaign behind it. It bows on Thursday at 8 PM before going wide to 2,470 theaters. It looks to be in the range of anywhere between $7M and $10M. Welcome to the game, STX. We’ve been waiting for you.
And finally we have Ricki and the Flash on only 1,600 screens. The Meryl Streep as hippie chick rocker is appealing to a — what else — female audience. This one is kind of the wild card of the weekend and could open in single digits. Sony expects this one, which has been screening well, to have some long legs. It opens Thursday night at 7 PM.
As of Tuesday night, Shaun made his debut in theaters nationwide after a head start in London back in June. We should get a nice number between now and Friday as box office numbers roll in to see whether the sheep lands in the box office. Remember folks, Mission Impossible 5 is still leading currently at 235 million smackers and counting, so anything could change so we’ll have to keep tabs on Cruise today.
Good grief! It’s the Charlie Brown’s Christmas special’s 50th birthday come this fall in time for the head start of the holiday season. CBS first aired the special back in ‘65 and continued to air it until ‘87. A few years later in 2003, ABC took the rights to the Peanuts crew by using never before seen footage that the eye network never aired in 22 years. Then the sister network ABC Family took the special as part of the 25 Days of Christmas yearly schedule a few years later, which continues to this day. With everything in place Dan, Where will we see the Christmas special on ABC again?
Dan Barry (via Animation World)- In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the beloved Peanuts animated tale, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Kristen Bell will host a special holiday retrospective, “It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown,” Monday, November 30 (9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. The anniversary special will celebrate 50 years of the iconic classic that has brought joy and a television watching tradition at the holidays for generations of fans. With an unforgettable night featuring spectacular live performances of Vince Guaraldi’s classics from acclaimed musical guests, the special will also feature Hollywood notables reminiscing about their most treasured A Charlie Brown Christmas moments.
In the digitally-remastered 1965 special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown complains about the overwhelming materialism that he sees everywhere during the Christmas season. Lucy suggests that he become director of the school Christmas pageant, and Charlie Brown accepts, but it proves to be a frustrating struggle. When an attempt to restore the proper spirit with a forlorn little fir Christmas tree fails, Charlie Brown needs Linus’ help to learn what the real meaning of Christmas is.
The cast of A Charlie Brown Christmas includes Peter Robbins as Charlie Brown, Christopher Shea as Linus, Tracy Stratford as Lucy, Chris Doran as Schroeder, and Sally Dryer as Violet.
A Charlie Brown Christmas was executive-produced by Lee Mendelson and created and written by Charles M. Schulz. Bill Melendez is the producer and director, and Vince Guaraldi is the music composer.
On October 2, 1950 the “Peanuts” comic strip launched in seven American newspapers. Who would have guessed the impact the brand would have around the world for decades to come. Now celebrating its 65th anniversary, Peanuts reaches fans through thousands of consumer products around the world, over 50 television specials, on all social media channels, and a daily comic strip available in all formats from traditional to digital. A highly anticipated Peanuts movie from 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios is also on the horizon for this fall.
And don’t forget the Peanuts movie from 20th Fox on November 2016!
Checking the Penguins tally, 2,006 fans sign in as Shaun’s head start to the box office prompts the flightless heroes to keep a close watch on him to see if his trip from UK theaters can do the same here as Agent Tom Cruise sees trouble ahead to see what he can do against the defiant hero.
As summer begins its last legs this month, these hits on DVD and Blu-Ray will surely keep you entertained until the weather cools down:
The Divergent Series: Insurgent
Do You Believe?
A Little Chaos
Far From the Madding Crowd
The Riot Club
5 to 7
Folks, looks like TCA coverage is starting to wind down as new shows and season renewals continue to fly in as Fall TV season approaches. We’ll have the final words on this on the next edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report!