Kung Fu Panda 3 leads box office with 21 million, feature film expected to extend lead towards President’s Day weekend; Star Wars: The Force Awakens snags 100 million from The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 as performance plummets, Lionsgate to add 17 new flims to restore performance; Weird Al Yankovic joins Disney’s Milo Murphy’s Law

The dragon warrior scores a touchdown! I’m Realistic Fish Head. As Super Bowl 50 approaches, Kung Fu Panda 3 leads the box office again with 21 million as Po continues to tackle box office opponents Hail Caesar and Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies. Meanwhile Star Wars: The Force Awakens made it to 900 million after increasing their weekly lead as Mockingjay Part 2 gets burned after disappointing numbers from Wall Street. With the dragon warrior still kung-fu kicking Gene, is it here on in for the rest of the month?

 

Gene:

 

Kung Fu Panda 3 continued to comfortably lead the box office with an estimated $21.0 million over Super Bowl weekend. The 3D computer animated sequel from Fox and DreamWorks Animation was down a sizable 49 percent from last weekend’s debut. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, Kung Fu Panda 3 registered the ninth largest Super Bowl weekend performance of all-time. Kung Fu Panda 3 has grossed $69.05 million in ten days of release. That is below expectations and places the film 24 percent behind the $90.73 million ten-day take of last year’s Hotel Transylvania 2 (which fell 31.5 percent in its second weekend to gross $33.19 million). With no new family films entering the marketplace next weekend, Kung Fu Panda 3 is likely to hold up very well over the Presidents Day holiday frame.

Universal’s Hail, Caesar! debuted in second place with an estimated $11.44 million. The Coen Brothers directed film featuring Josh Brolin and George Clooney opened in line with pre-release expectations, which were kept in check a bit by the film’s relatively modest location count and its Super Bowl weekend launch. Compared to previous collaborations between The Coen Brothers and Clooney, Hail, Caesar debuted 40 percent below the $19.13 million opening of 2008’s Burn After Reading and instead opened more in line with the $12.53 million start of 2003’s Intolerable Cruelty. Normally Hail, Caesar! would be a prime candidate for strong holding power (especially after opening against the Super Bowl), but that may not ultimately be the case for the film going forward given both its poor C- rating on CinemaScore and 48 percent current audience score on Flixster.

Fox’s The Revenant claimed third place with an estimated $7.1 million. The Alejandro González Iñárritu directed western starring Leonardo DiCaprio fell a respectable 44 percent from last weekend. The Revenant is now on the verge of crossing the $150 million mark with $149.70 million after 31 days of wide release (and an additional two weeks of platform release). The film is currently running an impressive 29 percent ahead of the $115.75 million 31-day take of 2010’s Shutter Island.

Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens placed in fourth with an estimated $6.89 million. In the process, the seventh chapter of the Star Wars franchise surpassed the $900 million domestic mark, making it the first film ever to do so without taking into account ticket price inflation. The 52-day total for The Force Awakens stands at a massive $905.96 million. When adjusting for ticket price inflation, The Force Awakens ranks as the ninth highest grossing film on the all-time adjusted domestic list. The Force Awakens was down 38 percent from last weekend, which represented the weekend’s strongest percentage hold among wide releases. Star Wars: The Force Awakens also passed the $2 billion global mark this weekend, making it just the third film ever to do so (joining 2009’s Avatar and 1997’s Titanic).

Lionsgate’s The Choice rounded out the weekend’s top five with an estimated $6.09 million. The Nicolas Sparks adaptation starring Benjamin Walker and Teresa Palmer debuted below its already modest expectations and delivered the smallest opening weekend take ever for a Sparks adaptation. The Choice opened 39 percent softer than the $10.00 million start of 2014’s The Best of Me, which previously represented the softest opening weekend performance for a Sparks adaptation. Given the performances of The Best of Me, last year’s The Longest Ride and now The Choice, it’s clear that Sparks adaptations aren’t anywhere near as popular as they were only a few years ago. On a positive note, The Choice did receive a solid B+ rating on CinemaScore (which represented the strongest score among this weekend’s three new releases), and currently has a 64 percent audience score on Flixster. The Choice is also likely to receive some help next weekend from Valentine’s Day.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies followed in sixth place with an even more disappointing estimated debut of $5.20 million. The horror romance hybrid from Sony and Screen Gems had been widely expected to get off to a stronger start thanks in part to the fanbase of the 2009 Seth Grahame-Smith novel the film was adapted from. Ultimately audiences clearly weren’t interested, as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies opened a very underwhelming 68 percent below the $16.31 million start of 2012’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (which was also adapted from a Seth Grahame-Smith novel). Reaction to the film also appears to be underwhelming as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies received a B- rating on CinemaScore and has a current audience score of 62 percent on Flixster.

 

To recap as we head towards the big game, Kung Fu Panda tackles again for the TD 1st, Hail, Caesar! is on the case in 2nd, The Revenant gets moved downfield in 3rd, Star Wars: The Force Awakens moves 4th after making the 900 million smacker mark shooting down the Mockingjay, and The Choice makes its choice in 5th.

 

 

As mentioned, Star Wars: The Force Awakens captured the 900 million smacker mark this week which in turn made a starting discovery. Because of The Hunger Games: The Mockingjay Part 2’s stumble last fall, its earnings on the Street proved to be the case. With 50 to 100 million smackers in the hands of the rebel alliance Angie, what can Lionsgate do to make up for it?

 

Angie Angelfish (via Deadline Hollywood)- Lionsgate is increasing its 2017 film slate by four films next year, from 13 to 17 films in wide release with lower overall film costs as they focus on “discipline production spends and a diverse portfolio,” executives said in a call early this morning with Wall Street analysts. The subject of Mockingjay 2‘s underperformance loomed large in the call as it affected the quarter.

Wall Street reacted sharply to yesterday’s earnings miss and today’s comments from CEO Jon Feltheimer that it was holding off on providing guidance. Lionsgate shares finished Friday at 18.53, down 27%, after hitting a new 52-week low of 16.21 intraday. That did no favors for the stock price of Starz; Lionsgate said earlier in the week it was exploring merger options with the cable network. Starz was off 22% today to 24.30 and nearly hit a 52-week low itself as both the Dow Jones and Nasdaq stumbled Friday.

Lionsgate execs during this morning’s call did note that despite Mockingjay “underperforming their profit margins by over $100M,” they believe that with their strong TV side — which includes Orange Is The New Black, which was renewed for three more seasons today, and The Wendy Williams Show — and ancillary businesses along with their three more wide releases in 2016 that includes another Divergent installment (Allegiance), they “have a clear path back to the adjusted EBITDA run rate of $350M to $400M that we’ve seen in recent years.”

 

They blamed the terrorist attacks in Europe along with box office monster Star Wars: The Force Awakens for knocking down the performance of Mockingjay 2. “I think the combination of circumstances was unique between the terrorist attack in Europe and Star Wars,” said Rob Friedman, Lionsgate’s co-chairman of the Motion Picture Group. He said the box office overperformance of Star Wars “hit our numbers by somewhere between $50M and $100M.” That claim is sure to raise some eyebrows around town.

However, the last in the Lionsgate franchise even failed this year to surpass The Last Witch Hunter in China. Lionsgate CEO John Feltheimer blamed it on the date and the competition as they were “all sandwiched together between The Martian and Spectre and we couldn’t get the screens.” He said, “we were disappointed in Mockingjay‘s performance in the country, especially since we did our first China premiere there.”

 

They also noted that 2016 was always considered to be the lowest contributor to their three-year plan because of the heavy production cost of Mockingjay 2. They said that 2017 slate should be stronger financially for the company because of the diversification of their slate, because they have plan to drop more films in the marketplace. “Clearly we feel very,very excited about Power Rangers, Hood (which stars Jamie Foxx), The Odyssey among others — not to mention Now You See Me 2 is coming and we are already starting for Now You See Me 3,” said Friedman. “So, we feel we have a lot of IPs that have a lot of breakout possibilities.” He also said he thinks that La La Land will be a breakout film for them and expect “a solid performance” from the upcoming Gods Of Egypt which they are advertising during the Super Bowl. That one bows on February. “We are not overthinking the performance on these.”

Gods of Egypt’s cost exposure, which is reported to have a $140M budget, is limited to the company, they said. Because of pre-sales, and tax credits, they said their actual risked capital in the film is under $10M.

It says it will also add two more horror films this year, they call “major additions.” Lionsgate also is planning a virtual reality game for its newest action franchise John Wick 2 as well and they believe they will start reaping “significant contribution” from the game space and from location-based entertainment business in the coming three years.

 

Hopefully, Lionsgate will be able to pull through after recent mistakes from last year won’t hurt them again.

 

Last year, we said goodbye to Phineas and Ferb after a season full of summer fun. Now the creators of the show found a successor and a polka playing and music artists spoof expert to go with it. Who are the Swampy brothers tacking as the lead role as Milo Murphy Dan?

 

Dan Barry (via Animation World)- Legendary satirist and Grammy Award-winning recording artist Al Yankovic (professionally known as “Weird Al”) will voice the title role in Disney XD’s Milo Murphy’s Law (formerly known as Mikey Murphy’s Law), an animated comedy series from creators and executive producers Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh of the globally acclaimed animated series Phineas and Ferb. Premiering this fall, Milo Murphy’s Law introduces Milo, the fictional great-great-great-great grandson of the Murphy’s Law namesake. Yankovic will also sing the opening theme song and throughout the series, will perform original songs as his character Milo Murphy.

Starring with Yankovic are Sabrina Carpenter (Disney Channel’s Girl Meets World) and MeKai Curtis (Disney XD’s Kirby Buckets) as Milo’s friends Melissa Chase and Zack Underwood. Povenmire and Marsh will also voice pistachio protectors Vinnie Dakota and Balthazar Cavendish.

Also joining the cast are: Christian Slater (Mr. Robot) as school crossing guard and Milo’s foe Elliot Decker; Vanessa Williams (Desperate Housewives) as Zack’s mom Eileen Underwood; Sarah Chalke (Scrubs) as science teacher Mrs. Murawski; Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) as popular television show character Dr. Zone; Mackenzie Phillips (American Graffiti) as Principal Milder; Chrissie Fit (Disney’s Teen Beach Movie) as classmate Amanda Lopez; Vincent Martella (Disney’s Phineas and Ferb) as classmate Bradley Nicholson; Diedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show) as Milo’s dad Martin Murphy; Pamela Adlon (Californication) as Milo’s mom Brigette Murphy; Kate Micucci (When in Rome) as Milo’s sister Sara Murphy; Dee Bradley Baker (Disney’s Phineas and Ferb) as Milo’s dog Diogee; Gregory Michael Cipes (Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man) as classmate Mort Schaeffer; Michael Culross (Disney’s Phineas and Ferb) as high school teacher Kyle Drako; and Kevin Michael Richardson (Disney’s The 7D) as Coach Nolan Mitchell.

The series follows Milo Murphy, who is the personification of Murphy’s Law where anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Suffering from Extreme Hereditary Murphy’s Law condition (EHML), Milo always looks to make the best of the cards he’s been dealt and his endless optimism and enthusiasm can turn any catastrophe into a wild adventure. Armed with knowledge, a backpack full of supplies and his fearless friends, Melissa and Zack, Milo is always prepared for every possibility. Together, he and his friends will learn that it’s all about a positive attitude and not to sweat the big stuff… and it’s all big stuff.

Povenmire and Marsh’s creative team includes Phineas and Ferb colleagues — producer and director Robert F. Hughes, story editor Scott Peterson, and staff writers Joshua Pruett, Dani Vetere and Martin Olson. Milo Murphy’s Law is produced by Disney Television Animation.

 

Checking the Penguins tally, 1,515 fans sign in as Team Skipper prepares for the Super Bowl.

 

It’s another week for Clarence as it leads up to the newest episode this Thursday along with Teen Titans Go, and We Bare Bears. Meanwhile on Nick, catch another weekly surprise of new episodes of Paradise Run. This is Realistic Fish Head saying, enjoy Super Bowl 50!

 

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