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6 items from 2007


Boxoffice didn't 'Plan' for $22.7 million bow

1 October 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Disney's "The Game Plan" pulled off a surprise at the domestic boxoffice during the weekend as the PG-rated family film exceeded expectations and scored an estimated $22.7 million in its debut. It finished about $5 million ahead the second-place film, Universal's R-rated "The Kingdom", which bowed to about $17.7 million.

Heading into the weekend, prerelease tracking indicated that the two films were neck and neck, with most industry observers giving a slight edge to "Kingdom". But families and kids are the wild card in tracking because interest from that demographic is more difficult to gauge than teens and adults.

Another factor playing into the strong finish for "Game Plan" was the relative dearth of family-oriented pictures in the marketplace of late. The majority of wide-release films opening the past four to eight weeks have been rated R, with a smattering of PG-13 films thrown in.

"It always feels terrific when you over-deliver on industry expectations," said Chuck Viane, president of Walt Disney Pictures Distribution, which now has had four films debut in first place this year.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stars in "Game Plan", which opened in 3,103 locations and averaged $7,307 per theater. Andy Fickman helmed the gridiron-set family comedy, which centers on a carefree NFL quarterback (Johnson) who discovers he has an 8-year-old daughter (Madison Pettis) from a previous relationship.

The opening was the second best for Johnson in a starring role, after Universal's "The Scorpion King", which grossed $36.1 million in its April 2002 debut.

Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner toplined "Kingdom", which opened in 2,793 venues. Peter Berg directed the action thriller, about a team of U.S. counterterrorism investigators who work with local authorities in Saudi Arabia to track down the perpetrators of an attack on Americans there.

"Considering how many R-rated films are in the market, we are very pleased with the opening," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said.

Although "Game Plan" exceeded expectations and "Kingdom" bowed in the area expected, the total for the weekend's top 12 films was $76.7 million, down 11% from a year ago, when Sony's "Open Season" shot into the top spot with $23.6 million. »

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Canton to chair Capri fest

26 September 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

ROME -- Mark Canton has been selected as chairman of the 12th annual Capri, Hollywood International Film Festival set for Dec. 27-Jan. 2 on the scenic Mediterranean island of Capri.

Canton, whose production credits include Zack Snyder's historical drama "300" and Andy Fickman's yet-to-be-released remake of 1980s musical "Fame", takes over a festival that last year handed out more than three dozen prizes, including a movie of the year award to Will Smith starrer "The Pursuit of Happyness", the first Hollywood feature from Italian director Gabriele Muccino.

The theme at this year's event will be Italian cinema and its traditions, according to a statement.

With screening locations scattered around the island off the coast of Naples, the "Capri, Hollywood" event -- funded by a combination of Italian governmental sources and private Italian sponsors -- is the only international film festival in the world that starts one year and concludes the following. »

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Johnson escapes to 'Witch Mountain'

29 August 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is in negotiations to topline Witch Mountain, Walt Disney Pictures' modern re-imagining of its classic 1975 adventure movie Escape to Witch Mountain. Andy Fickman is on board to direct, while Disney-based Andrew Gunn is producing via his Gunn Films banner.

The story follows a pair of siblings, endowed with paranormal powers, who go on the run from a diabolical group of men who wish to exploit their abilities. Johnson will play a Las Vegas cab driver who is in for the ride of his life when he picks up the duo.

Matt Lopez wrote the current 'Witch' draft.

Gunn Films' Ann Marie Sanderlin is executive producing. Brigham Taylor and Casey Wolfe are overseeing for Disney.

The studio is eyeing a March 2008 start date.

The casting will reteam Johnson with Fickman, for whom he starred in The Game Plan, Disney's upcoming family comedy.

Johnson is repped by UTA. »

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Fickman on way to 'Witch' redo

23 July 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Andy Fickman is coming on board to direct Witch Mountain, Walt Disney Pictures' modern re-imagining of its classic 1975 adventure movie Escape to Witch Mountain. Disney-based Andrew Gunn is producing via his Gunn Films banner.

The 1975 film was based on a science fiction novel by Alexander Key and followed a pair of siblings, endowed with paranormal powers, who go on the run from a diabolical group of men who wish to exploit their abilities. The brother and sister turn out to be extraterrestrials.

The movie hatched a sequel, Return to Witch Mountain, best remembered for having Bette Davis and Christopher Lee in the cast, as well as a made-for-TV movie Beyond to Witch Mountain that was to have been a pilot for a TV series.

Matt Lopez wrote the current draft. Lopez also penned the studio's Bedtime Stories, which is due to go before cameras in January with Adam Shankman directing Adam Sandler.

Gunn Films' Ann Marie Sanderlin is exec producing. Brigham Taylor and Casey Wolfe are overseeing for Disney. »

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Disney swims with 'Pool Rats'

29 June 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Walt Disney Pictures has picked up Pool Rats, a family comedy to be directed by Andy Fickman. Nichole Millard, Kathryn Price and Fickman are writing the script, which will be produced by Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray's Mayhem Pictures.

The project reunites the creative team -- including the director, writers and producers -- of Disney's upcoming family comedy The Game Plan, starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Rats is a semiautobiographical story inspired by Fickman's wild times coaching a neighborhood league swim team during a summer that he says changed both his life and his swimmers. With the shenanigans that ensued, it was hard to see who the bigger troublemaker was -- the coach or the kids.

The real events transpired in Houston in the 1980s, but Rats will be set in present-day.

The filmmakers are hoping to strike a tone similar to camp classics such as 1979's Meatballs and 1980's Little Darlings.

Fickman has been developing the project with his partner Betsy Sullenger, and during filming of Plan decided to team up with Ciardi and Gray and bring it to Disney. »

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Gainor tapped Screen Gems prod'n exec

1 February 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Screen Gems has named Glenn Gainor physical production executive, the genre division of Sony Pictures Entertainment said Thursday.

Gainor, whose recent executive producing credits include "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo", "Strange Wilderness" and the upcoming Luke Wilson-Kate Beckinsale thriller "Vacancy", also will produce films exclusively for Screen Gems.

The executive has produced for the stage, teaming with Ovation Award-winning director Andy Fickman for the musical "Sneaux". »

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6 items from 2007


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