6 items from 2014
As an action star, Liam Neeson can do no wrong.
The actor’s latest pic, Universal’s “Non-Stop,” estimated $30 million in its opening frame, enough to beat Fox’s overperformer “Son of God,” with $26.5 million, and Warner Bros.’ former box office champ “The Lego Movie,” which grossed $21 million through Sunday.
Making global headlines in the run-up to Sunday’s Oscarcast, Disney’s two-time nominated toon “Frozen” crossed the $1 billion mark, making it only the second 2013 release to do so — coincidentally, the Mouse had the other: “Iron Man 3.”
Another Oscar-nominated film to hit a milestone this weekend, Fox Searchlight’s best picture hopeful “12 Years a Slave” crossed the $50 million domestic mark after more than four months in theaters.
In limited release, Lionsgate-CodeBlack Films’ urban-targeted Forest Whitaker pic “Repentance” failed to attract much of its core demo, grossing just $530,000 from 152 locations, averaging $3,487 per screen.
The Metropolitan Opera celebrated its 75th live transmission this weekend, »
- Andrew Stewart
A pair of saviors battle for box office glory during Oscar weekend, with Universal’s Liam Neeson action-hero pic “Non-Stop” expected to gross in the mid-$20 millions, ahead of Fox’s Biblical drama “Son of God,” tracking in the mid-to-high teens.
“Non-Stop” should knock “The Lego Movie” from its three-week winning streak. The Warner Bros.-Village Roadshow hit toon is expected to land around $20 million (down around 35%) through Sunday; domestic cume is nearing $190 million.
Expectations for both wide new entries are difficult to nail down, however.
“Non-Stop,” for instance, battles comparisons to past Neeson action pics: “Taken” bowed to $24 million over Super Bowl weekend in 2008, while its sequel earned more than twice that during opening weekend in 2012.
“Son of God,” on the other hand, has seen sizable online ticket sales, according to both Fandango and Movietickets.com, though pre-sold tickets for the film weren’t necessarily for this weekend. So far, »
- Andrew Stewart
On February 28th, have a safe flight.
Global action star Liam Neeson (Taken series, Unknown) is U.S. Air Marshal Bill Marks in Non-stop, a suspense thriller played out at 40,000 feet in the air. During a transatlantic flight from New York City to London, Marks receives a series of cryptic text messages demanding that he instruct the airline to transfer $150 million into a numbered account. Until he secures the money, a passenger on his flight will be killed every 20 minutes.
Struggling with his personal demons has drained Marks of any passion for the heroic calling of his profession. He has come to view his important assignment as merely a desk job in the sky. However, another day at the office becomes a high-stakes crisis when shortly into a routine transatlantic flight, Marks’ world is upended.
Surrounded by only a couple of people he initially believes are trustworthy—including his fellow passenger, »
- Movie Geeks
Studiocanal, Europe’s biggest film producer and financier, will launch a distribution practice very few non-Hollywood majors can match.
The French major is initiating an almost day and date-release strategy for Liam Neeson starrer “Non-Stop,” which it financed and will distribute in certain major territories, rolling out the pic out Feb. 26 in France and Feb. 28 the U.K., followed in quick succession by Australia and New Zealand and Germany.
For Studiocanal, the release of “Non-Stop” is a coming of age, “the first big Studiocanal production to be fully financed by Studiocanal with (almost) same-time worldwide release,” said Studiocanal chairman-ceo Olivier Courson. »
- John Hopewell and Elsa Keslassy
The three will report directly to Joel Silver, with Erwin serving as exec VP and Meyer and Auch serving as senior VPs.
During their tenure at Silver Pictures, the trio have worked on the development and production of projects like “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” “Orphan,” “Unknown,” “Sherlock Holmes” and “Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows.”
- Justin Kroll
Exclusive: Big shakeup at Silver Pictures, Joel Silver‘s producing label. I’m told that his two top creative executives — president Andrew Rona and Evp Alex Heineman – have just left the company. Both Rona and Heineman came there after Universal sold Rogue Pictures to Relativity and Rona, who ran that label, moved on. He took the Silver Pictures job after longtime head Susan Downey exited to partner in Team Downey with husband Robert Downey Jr. I’m told that Rona and Heineman intend to start their own production shingle. A spokesperson for Silver confirmed the moves, and said Silver wished them well as they set up their new venture. Silver kept a prolific pace even as the producing great transitioned from a longtime Warner Bros producing deal to being backed by StudioCanal and distributing through Universal Pictures. During Rona and Heineman’s time at Silver, the label produce 12 movies including »
- MIKE FLEMING JR
6 items from 2014
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