Mockingjay Part 2 stays on top for week 4 with 11 million; In the Heart of the Sea sinks down with 3 million taking down the competition as Katness survives; Katie O’Donnell appointed by DreamWorks as head of live action; Disney’s The Lion Guard premieres January 15th




Katness survives another assault! I’m Realistic Fish Head. Heading into its 4th week in the box office, Mockingjay Part 2 scorched the competition yet again with 11 million after a big scare last week when Universal’s Krampus hit all targets from all critics and reviewers causing Disney/Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur to go soft. Meanwhile, In The Heart of the Sea tried to put out the streak, but it proved no match for the Mockingjay. Now it needs one more hump to pass this week, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Can the Force take down Katness Gene?






While moviegoers continue to wait for the debut of Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens next weekend, it turned out to be a close four-way race for first place this weekend, with Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 leading the way with an estimated $11.3 million. The final chapter of the young adult blockbuster franchise starring Jennifer Lawrence has led the weekend box office for four consecutive frames. Mockingjay – Part 2 was down 40 percent from last weekend. That represented a solid hold, especially since the film lost IMAX screens to In the Heart of the Sea this weekend. In comparison, last year’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 fell 42 percent in its fourth weekend to gross $12.69 million.  Mockingjay – Part 2 has grossed $244.49 million in 24 days, which places the film 12 percent behind the $276.88 million 24-day take of Mockingjay – Part 1.

Warner’s In the Heart of the Sea debuted in second place with a very disappointing $11.01 million. Expectations were already low to begin with for the pricey Ron Howard directed adventure drama starring Chris Hemsworth, but the film opened even lower than expected.  In the Heart of the Sea opened 54 percent below the $24.12 million start of Exodus: Gods and Kings over the same weekend last year. Instead, the film performed much more in line with the $10.01 million launch of 2013’s Rush. That stat is especially underwhelming given that In the Heart of the Sea was far more expensive than Rush and also had the added advantage of higher priced 3D and IMAX admissions. For Chris Hemsworth, In the Heart of the Sea marks another failed attempt at breaking out as a box office draw outside of his role as Thor.

In the Heart of the Sea opened with $3.85 million on Friday (which included an estimated $0.58 million from Thursday evening shows), increased 12.5 percent on Saturday to gross $4.33 million and is estimated to decrease 35 percent on Sunday to gross $2.83 million. That places the film’s estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.86 to 1. The audience breakdown for the film skewed towards male moviegoers (54 percent) and heavily towards moviegoers over the age of 35 (68 percent).  In the Heart of the Sea earned a respectable B+ rating on CinemaScore, but the film’s audience score on Flixster currently sits at a lackluster 64 percent. With the launch of Star Wars: The Force Awakens next weekend, it is hard to see In the Heart of the Sea holding up well going forward.

The Good Dinosaur finished closely behind in third with an estimated $10.50 million. The 3D computer animated film from Disney and Pixar stabilized this weekend, as it was down 31.5 percent. Historically, animated films experience strong holds this weekend on the heels of sharp post-Thanksgiving fall-offs. Despite this weekend’s hold, The Good Dinosaur has grossed a softer than expected $89.66 million in 19 days. That places the film an underwhelming 22 percent behind the $115.40 million 19-day take of 2010’s Tangled (which fell 34 percent in its third weekend to gross $14.33 million). The Good Dinosaur will obviously face much tougher competition next weekend with both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Fox’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip entering the marketplace.

Warner and MGM’s Creed claimed fourth place with an estimated $10.12 million. The critically acclaimed seventh installment of the Rocky franchise was down a very solid 32.5 percent.  Creed has grossed a stronger than expected $79.32 million in 19 days. The film is currently running a healthy 31 percent ahead of the $60.64 million 19-day take of 2006’s Rocky Balboa (which fell 43 percent in its third weekend to gross $6.02 million). With the holidays still ahead of it, Creed should hold up better from this point forward than Rocky Balboa (as a Christmas weekend release) did.

Krampus rounded out the weekend’s top five with an estimated $8.01 million. The holiday themed PG-13 horror film from Universal was down 51 percent from last weekend, which represented a respectable second weekend hold for a horror film. Krampus continues to exceed expectations with a ten-day start of $28.15 million. That places the film essentially on par with the $28.16 million ten-day take of 2013’s Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas (which fell 48 percent in its second weekend to gross $8.38 million).

On the platform front, Paramount’s The Big Short was off to a terrific start this weekend with an estimated $720,000 from just 8 locations. That gave the Adam McKay directed ensemble comedy-drama an impressive per-location average of $90,000 for the frame. The Big Short appears to have been aided by strong critical reviews and by having received four Golden Globe nominations on Thursday. The platform launch for The Big Short was fairly similar to the platform launch of 2013’s American Hustle, which grossed $740,455 from 6 locations (for a per-location average of $123,409). The Big Short is scheduled to go into wide release on Wednesday, December 23.



To recap, Mockingjay Part 2 stays at its nest in 1st, In the Heart of the Sea faces tough waters in 2nd, The Good Dinosaur who got spooked by Krampus last week moves 3rd, Creed continues to knock his opponents down in 4th, and Krampus, fresh off its exceeding targets last week moves 5th.



On the last week before Black Friday, DreamWorks added Peilin Chou to its animation board. Then DHX Media last week expanded its SVOD library to the studio to add their recent episodes as part of its content deal. DreamWorks added a former Gaumont CEO to expand the studio’s plans to visualize the TV landscape. Who’s the newest employee on board Dan?



Dan Barry (via Animation World)-  DreamWorks Animation announced the appointment of Katie O’Connell Marsh as Head of Global Live-Action Television, a role in which she will oversee the expansion of DWA’s television business into the live-action genre. Ms. Marsh will be based at the Company’s Glendale headquarters and begin her duties in January 2016.

“Television has quickly grown into one of our most successful businesses and, as the demand for kids and co-viewing content continues to rise, extending the DreamWorks Animation brand to live-action TV in a strategic and financially disciplined way will spur even further growth,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation. “Katie’s proven track record of developing hit live-action television programming, coupled with her success in quickly building television businesses from the ground up, makes her the perfect executive to lead us into this new genre.”

“Our move into live-action will enable DWA to further capitalize on the evolving television landscape by creating new opportunities on both traditional and emerging platforms for our branded series,” said Ann Daly, President of DreamWorks Animation. “Moreover, live action will give us yet another creative lens with which to explore our library of rich storytelling and memorable characters that have resonated with audiences for the past two decades.”

“When Jeffrey and Ann approached me, I was impressed by the endless possibilities and unique specificity of the opportunities that lie ahead, as I have always admired the iconic and global DreamWorks Animation brand,” said Marsh. “The existing library of brands, coupled with a desire for original content, makes this opportunity incredibly special. I look forward to working with Jeffrey, Ann and everyone at DWA.”

Marsh joins DreamWorks Animation, having served since 2010 as the CEO of Gaumont International Television (GIT), a division of Gaumont SA she built from the ground up.  Under her leadership, GIT quickly established itself as a leading global programmer, with critical and commercial hits such as Hannibal (NBC), Narcos (Netflix), Hemlock Grove (Netflix) and the upcoming F Is For Family (Netflix), among others. Previously, Ms. Marsh was an executive at NBC, where she first served as Senior Vice President of Development in New York, developing, among other shows, Lipstick Jungle and the Emmy Award-winning 30 Rock. Ms. Marsh was ultimately elevated to Executive Vice President of Drama Programming, a role in which she oversaw all aspects of NBC’s Drama series, including development and current programming. Prior to NBC, Ms. Marsh was Executive Vice President of Development and Current Programming at Imagine Television, where she developed numerous comedy and drama projects, including the Emmy Award- winning Arrested Development, while also overseeing series such as 24, Quintuplits and others. She is currently a professor in the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and is a regular lecturer at the University of Notre Dame, from which she earned a B.A. in American Studies.




Lion King fans are in luck after seeing The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar aired back in November on Disney Channel. Now Disney Junior has the series in the pride’s hands. When will preschool viewers see the continuing story Dan?




Dan Barry (via Animation World (continued)- The animated series The Lion Guard will premiere Friday, January 15 (9:30 a.m., EST/PST) on Disney Channel and encore throughout the weekend on Disney Junior and Disney Channel. Continuing The Lion King epic, its story, introduced last month in a Disney Channel movie which posted commanding ratings among Kids 2-5 and total viewers, follows the adventures of Kion, the second-born cub of Simba and Nala, and his diverse group of friends, each with a unique skill, as they unite to protect the Pride Lands.

Each episode of “The Lion Guard” incorporates Swahili words and phrases and includes original songs. The Education and Science experts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park serve as consultants, inspiring original stories based on their first-hand experiences, and advising on the characteristics, behaviors and habitats of various African animal species.

Joining the cast, which includes Rob Lowe and Gabrielle Union as Simba and Nala, and Max Charles as Kion, are recurring guest stars Blair Underwood (ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) as Makuu, leader of the crocodiles and one of the Lion Guard’s main villains; Ana Gasteyer (ABC’s The Goldbergs) as Reirei, a clever and scheming jackal who wreaks havoc in the Pride Lands; and Maia Mitchell (ABC Family’s The Fosters) as Jasiri, a friendly hyena who rescues Kion and helps him face off against Janja and the rest of the hyenas. Jason Marsden, Andy Dick and Lacey Chabert reprise their roles as Kovu, Nuka and Vitani, respectively, from The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride in an upcoming episode.

The Lion Guard voice cast also includes: Joshua Rush as Bunga, Atticus Shaffer as Ono, Diamond White as Fuli, Dusan Brown as Beshte, Eden Riegel as Kiara, Sarah Hyland as Tiifu, Madison Pettis as Zuri, Jeff Bennett as Zazu, Andrew Kishino as Janja, Vargus Mason as Cheezi, Jonny Rees as Mzingo, Khary Payton as Rafiki, Kevin Schon as Chungu and Timon, Gary Anthony Williams as Mufasa, and Ernie Sabella reprising his role as Pumbaa.

Ford Riley (Special Agent Oso) is the executive producer. Howy Parkins (Jake and the Never Land Pirates) is supervising director. Christopher Willis (Mickey Mouse) is the composer and Beau Black (Miles from Tomorrowland) is singer/songwriter. Author and Swahili expert Sarah Mirza is the language and cultural advisor. The Lion Guard is a production of Disney Television Animation.

Disney Channel’s premiere of the animated television movie The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar is the #1 primetime cable TV telecast of 2015 among Kids 2-5 and the #1 animated telecast across kid cable-TV networks among Total Viewers and Adults 18-49. Since its debut, the movie has garnered over one million views on WATCH Disney Channel and WATCH Disney Junior.

Brand extensions across Disney businesses include The Lion Guard, a mission-based mobile app game from Disney Publishing Worldwide; multiple storybook and early reader book titles; and a full product line including toys, apparel, home décor and stationery from Disney Consumer Products. The Lion Guard soundtrack from Walt Disney Records will become available on Friday, January 8, and Disney Studios will release a DVD of The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar movie on Tuesday, February 23. The DVD includes a complimentary Digital Copy of the film and Here Comes The Lion Guard music video performed by Beau Black.




Checking the Penguins tally, 1,523 fans sign in as Team Skipper enters the halfway point as they await Santa’s arrival.




This week, it’s Uncle Grandpa’s turn as we unveil new episodes of helping, fun, excitement, and of course adventure! Join Uncle Grandpa, Pizza Steve, Mr. Gus, and Giant Realistic Flying Tiger for new episodes of Uncle Grandpa! This is Realistic Fish Head saying in the words of Uncle Grandpa, “Good Morning”! For which we say, Good Weekdays!

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