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The move will unite two of Hollywood's most sought after DI colorists -- Nakamura and Company 3 president and colorist Stefan Sonnenfeld -- along with the firm's team of feature, TV and commercial colorists.
A digital intermediate colorist is responsible for creative color grading and manipulation of other image characteristics of a feature, before it is output to film or a digital format for distribution.
Nakamura will arrive from Technicolor Digital Intermediates, where he has been a colorist since the firm began offering DI services in 2002 under the name Technique. His credits including Martin Scorcese's The Departed and The Aviator.
Said Sonnenfeld of Nakamura: "He's someone who I can turn to as a colleague, as a peer, as a friend, an artist, who is just a great guy. I hope to grow the L.A. and New York company." »
Spider-Man is returning for a fourth installment of the superhero franchise, but without director Sam Raimi in the director's chair. Raimi directed the first three movies and co-wrote 2007's Spider-Man 3 - but the filmmaker is stepping back to let someone else create their own vision for the web-slinging adventure. He tells MTV.com, "Right now, a writer is being sought to write the next installment. We're in the very early stages. I won't be working on the story. It'll be a brand-new writer coming in with a brand-new story - a fresh take on the Spider-Man series. We're hearing different versions right now and really enjoying the different stories. Hopefully, we'll hear one that sounds right for the fourth installment." When asked if would produce the movie, rather than direct, Raimi replies, "Yes, that's right. In this case, it's more in the writer's hands. I'm going to let the writer envision where Peter Parker would go to next." »
Lynton joined SPE in January 2004. After weathering some initial boxoffice disappointments, he led Sony Pictures to a record $1.7 billion and change at the domestic boxoffice in 2006 with co-chairman Amy Pascal. Top hits included The Da Vinci Code and Casino Royale.
SPE also earned more than $3.3 billion in worldwide boxoffice receipts that year, an all-time high for the company. Last week, Sony topped $1 billion at the domestic boxoffice for the sixth straight year, including the year's biggest U.S. hit to date, Spider-Man 3.
"Michael Lynton's financial acumen and firm grasp of content in the digital era is exactly what's needed to lead a studio in the 21st century," said Sony chairman and CEO Howard Stringer, who announced the extension. "Together he and Amy have become a forceful and dynamic team, guiding the studio to even greater heights than I could have hoped."
Lynton's contract was set to expire in March. »
Hollywood attempted to squeeze a few more dollars out of a record summer by launching a handful of midrange movies that mostly came up short at the North American boxoffice during the weekend. But the strength of the holdovers kept the ticket-takers busy, especially Sony Pictures' raunchy, R-rated Superbad, which held down the top spot for the second weekend in a row.
Summer-to-date, The Hollywood Reporter estimates that total boxoffice has reached an estimated $4.11 billion, surpassing the record of $4.009 billion set during summer 2004.
Following in the footsteps of Spider-Man 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Superbad -- from producer Judd Apatow -- became only the third film in this competitive summer to reign as leader of the pack for two weekends in a row. Falling off just 45% from its first weekend, the comedy took in $18 million, raising its domestic cume to $68.6 million.
In its fourth weekend of release, Universal Pictures' spy chase The Bourne Ultimatum demonstrated an even stronger hold, declining just 37% from the previous weekend. Bourne collected an additional $12.5 million, enough to earn it the second slot and a new cume of $185.3 million. »
Related story: 'Bourne' snatches o'seas crown from 'Simpsons'
A bunch of horny teens managed to vanquish a batch of new releases at the North American boxoffice this weekend as the blistering summer moviegoing season slowed down en route to its Labor Day weekend close. Crossing the $4 billion mark, summer 2007 passed summer 2004 to set a record for the season a week before it officially ends.
Sony Pictures' R-rated "Superbad" collected an estimated $18 million to top the chart for the second weekend in a row. It's only the third film this summer to claim the No. 1 spot for two consecutive frames, following the $300 million-plus sequels "Spider-Man 3" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End."
Three of the weekend's new arrivals were clustered around the $10 million mark, with Universal Pictures' comedy "Mr. Bean's Holiday" the most buoyant, finishing in fourth place with an estimated $10.1 million, followed by Lionsgate's "War" at $10 million and MGM's release of the Weinstein Co.'s "The Nanny Diaries" at $7.8 million. Finishing well outside of the top 10 were the Yari Film Group's dramatic "Resurrecting the Champ", Universal's Latino-flavored "Illegal Tender" and Slowhand Releasing's history-based Western "September Dawn".
Even so, the boxoffice registered an improvement over the comparable frame last year for the seventh weekend in a row. According to Nielsen EDI, the top 10's haul of an estimated $85.5 million was up 12% over the comparable frame in 2006, when Buena Vista's football tale "Invincible" topped the list with a $17 million opening.
"Bean" was something of a wild card heading into the weekend. While awareness of the G-rated comedy starring Rowan Atkinson as a pratfall-prone Englishman on holiday was high, it appeared to be the weekend's underdog because definite interest appeared low. But the film, directed by Steve Bendelack, surprised by grossing an estimated $10.1 million from 1,714 theaters, a per-theater average of $5,904. Given that the movie has already collected nearly $190 million internationally, it's all gravy.
Hollywood actress Kirsten Dunst was targeted by thieves who swiped a $13,000 handbag from her hotel room in New York City. The Spider-Man 3 star was staying at the SoHo Grand Hotel in Manhattan to film her forthcoming movie How to Lose Friends and Alienate People when the thieves struck. The gang stole designer bags, $2,500 in cash, credit and ID cards, two digital cameras, a cellphone and an iPod music player. A surveillance camera captured the burglars leaving the establishment with the items. One of the suspects, Jarrod Beinerman, was being held on $50,000 bond after being arraigned in a Manhattan court on Wednesday on burglary and grand larceny charges. Authorities have since recovered credit cards, IDs and the cellphone. »
Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix and Spider-Man 3 have been nominated for a host of prizes at Britain's inaugural National Movie Awards. U.K. TV network ITV is launching the new awards show following the success of their National Television Awards. Both events invite the public to vote for winners. Keira Knightley (Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End), Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man 3), Emma Watson (Harry Potter), Megan Fox (Transformers), Eva Green and Dame Judi Dench (Casino Royale) are up for the Best Actress at the September 28 London ceremony. Bruce Willis (Live Free Or Die Hard), Daniel Craig (Casino Royale), Shia LeBoeuf (Transformers), Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man 3), Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom (Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End), Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) are fighting for the Best Actor trophy. Meanwhile Flushed Away, Happy Feet, Shrek The Third and The Simpsons Movie have been nominated for Best Animation. »
As August quickly drags summer away, the overseas boxoffice faces a quirky period of film releases during the final weeks of what is hailed as the most successful summer in industry history.
Traditionally, the final days of school holidays are a precursor to the fall when, starting in September, the major studios start placing more serious adult offerings in the international distribution pipeline. But August is, in fact, a catch-all period of the year that mainly offers foreign fans a mixed bag of movies that include holdover tentpoles from the major studios, American also-rans, homegrown films and non-U.S. imports.
High-profile films are seldom launched in late August, a period more noted for the playoffs of the sizzling blockbusters of June and July and perhaps a trickle from such May stalwarts as this year's Spider-Man 3 from Sony Pictures and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" from Walt Disney Pictures.
But one late summer tentpole, Universal Pictures' The Bourne Ultimatum, which opens Friday in the U.K. after starting out this month in Hong Kong, Indonesia and South Africa, is making a big key-market thrust in the last weeks of moviegoing vacation period. »
Karey Kirkpatrick will helm the film, which was penned by Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson. The story centers on a struggling businessman who solves his troubles at work by consulting his 6-year-old daughter and the imaginary world she has created. Church will play Whitefeather, Murphy's ruthlessly ambitious rival at work.
Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producing through his Paramount-based shingle alongside Solomon.
Ben Cosgrove is shepherding the project for the studio, which has set a Sept. 26, 2008, release date.
Shooting is scheduled to begin next month in Los Angeles.
He is repped by WMA and attorney Michael Gendler. »
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International has become the third major company to hurdle the $1 billion mark this year at the overseas boxoffice, a goal the overseas distributor previously known as Buena Vista International has reached for a record 13 consecutive years.
WDSMPI entered the billionaire ranks again Wednesday when Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End became the fourth-most-popular movie ever released in the international marketplace by reaching a gross of $642.3 million and narrowly topping the final $642.2 million achieved by previous company record-holder, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
This year's summer tentpoles played a key role in helping Disney, Sony Pictures Releasing International and Warner Bros. Pictures International reach the overseas $1 billion benchmark. Sony's billionaire status was triggered by Spider-Man 3 and Warners by Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
WDSMPI said that it has racked up $18 billion at the overseas boxoffice since it started its $1 billion run 13 years ago. »
TOKYO -- DreamWorks/Paramount's Transformers returned to its spiritual home Tuesday evening as director Michael Bay, Josh Duhamel, illusionist Franz Harary and thousands of fans converged here for a Japanese premiere that brought the characters' 23-year odyssey full circle.
The shape-changing automatons the hit film is based on began life in a toy-design workshop in eastern Tokyo nearly three decades ago. In 1984, U.S. toymaker Hasbro teamed with Japan's Takara, believing that the action figures had potential outside robot-obsessed Japan.
The partnership has continued fruitfully until today -- still shipping a million toys annually in Japan and five million globally -- and led to the TV series and movies.
While other recent premieres, including those for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Spider-Man 3, were held at the swanky Roppongi Hills cinema in the city center, Transformers debuted in the aircraft hangarlike venue at the Tokyo Big Sight complex in Odaiba. The sci-fi look of the area, which sits on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay and also houses the futuristic Fuji TV building, provided an apt backdrop for a tale of robotic wars. »
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix opened a powerful No. 1 on the international circuit during the weekend, setting a record for the franchise by grossing an estimated $190.3 million from more than 12,000 screens in 44 territories. Worldwide, its opening tally stands at $330.3 million.
Not only did the fifth Harry Potter register the biggest opening surge in the profitable franchise's history, but it propelled distributor Warner Bros. International past the $1 billion overseas gross mark this year (to an estimated $1.15 billion).
Phoenix, which began its graduated rollout Wednesday, fell shy of the international opening grosses of Sony's Spider-Man 3 ($231 million in its first six days) and Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End ($216 million in its first five days).
Nonetheless, Phoenix finished No. 1 in all the markets in which it played and dwarfed the competition by grossing nearly $100 million more than the combined weekend tallies of all other titles.
In the U.K., the four-day opening estimate for Phoenix was a record $32.5 million from 1,390 screens. Germany registered $18.875 million from 1,300 situations. France chipped in with $16.9 million from 950 locales. Australia tallied $14.4 million from just 500 screens. Korea furnished $12.1 million from 390 sites, while Mexico provided $10 million from 1,030 screens. Upcoming this week are openings in Japan and Russia.
Transformers, the previous weekend's No. 1 title, finished second overall, grossing an estimated $35.9 million from 3,793 screens in 33 territories and raising its international gross to $146.4 million. »
Moviegoers shouldn't have to search far to find Warner Bros. Pictures' "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," which opens today nationwide. The film plans to work its magic in 4,285 theaters, the widest domestic opening ever for a Warners movie, and it will employ more than 9,000 prints in North America.
In terms of wide openings, it stands second only to Buena Vista's "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," which set sail in 4,362 theaters in May, and slightly eclipses Sony Pictures' "Spider-Man 3", which swung into 4,252 theaters, also in May.
Warners' biggest domestic release to date was summer 2006's "Superman Returns", which opened in 4,065 theaters. By contrast, the last "Potter" movie, "Goblet of Fire", debuted in 3,858 theaters in 2005.
"Phoenix" will be shown digitally on 579 screens in 325 locations -- also a Warners record.
As the movie unspooled at midnight screenings early this morning, it also was part of the largest day-and-date worldwide release for any film in the franchise as it is rolled out simultaneously in 44 markets worldwide. »
Another strong summer stanza on the international circuit saw a reshuffle at the top during the weekend, when Transformers emerged as the new No. 1 title with an estimated $43.6 million gross from 3,503 screens in 29 territories.
Although not as muscular overall as the previous weekend's exceptionally strong showing -- when a half-dozen titles grossed more than $10 million, compared with three this stanza -- the weekend's action reinforced the view that summer 2007 remains sizzling overseas for the major U.S. studios.
Sony Pictures Releasing International said Sunday that the international boxoffice for its films this year passed the $1 billion mark faster than ever before in the distributor's history, making Sony the first studio to reach that milestone in 2007.
Sony's previous international record was set last year on Aug. 24. (By the end of 2006, Sony generated $1.634 billion overseas, its biggest year to date.) The biggest of Sony's titles overseas so far this year are Ghost Rider ($103.9 million gross), The Pursuit of Happyness ($120.1 million), Casino Royale (which grossed $87.9 million of its $428 million total in 2007) and, of course, Spider-Man 3 ($549.4 million, $215 million more than its domestic gross).
Transformers, the sci-fi/action film directed by Michael Bay and based on the popular toy line and animated TV series, broadened its international rollout in its second weekend by opening in 19 new territories, finishing No. 1 in Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Turkey. The DreamWorks/Paramount Pictures International release has an international gross of $93.6 million; it has grossed $246.1 million worldwide.
The biggest Transformers market was Russia (an estimated $8.3 million from 394 screens), followed by Spain ($5.2 million from 706 sites) and the Netherlands ($1.4 million from 111 situations). »
The studio has lined up only four tie-in partners for what is considered to be one of the summer's tentpole films, and only one -- Burger King -- is a traditional major advertiser buying TV ads to support the film.
The other three partners -- 7-Eleven, JetBlue and Vans shoes -- are running nontraditional promotional programs that might be generating headlines but not the multimillion-dollar media buys typical of such films as "Spider-Man 3", "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" and "Transformers".
Just this summer, Sony Pictures lined up seven partners for "Spider-Man" that reportedly spent more than $100 million on co-branded media alone; Disney teamed up with 13 partners for "At World's End", the most for the studio on one film; and DreamWorks/Paramount Pictures partnered with eight brands for "Transformers" that reportedly spent $100 million-plus in media and other marketing support.
"Usually with most films today, what the studios are looking for are partners that are going to come on board with lots of media dollars," said Jeff Greenfield, principal of branded entertainment studio Buzz Nation. "I'm sure (Fox) could have selected any partner they wanted, so it's interesting they didn't pick the people with the biggest pocketbooks. It tells me they value the integrity of the film and they realize the value of nontraditional marketing and word-of-mouth."
Other promotions and marketing experts noted that there was incredibly stiff competition for tie-in partners this summer. Yet it appears that the decision to sign up a few mostly nontraditional partners who could implement more outside-the-box campaigns befitting "The Simpsons'" irreverent style was intentional.
The very essence of the TV show's anti-corporate humor makes it critical for the film to not look as if it is selling out. And with the show's enormous success and pop culture status built during the past 20 years, Fox apparently felt that it didn't need the additional media blitz usually provided by a film's promotional partners.
20th Century Fox declined comment, but in a news release announcing 7-Eleven's promotion with the movie, Lisa Licht, the studio's executive vp global marketing partnerships, said the promotional strategy was to "partner with companies that would execute programs that have never been done before."
A source close to the movie's promotions said that the studio and the filmmakers were "extraordinarily selective and specific in terms of the creative content" for tie-ins. "They need to be organic to the genius of the writing of the movie, and not too many partners can pull that off," the source said. »
Spider-Man director Sam Raimi is unsure about superhero franchise' future - insisting he does not know what his "future holds yet." Despite this year's release of Spider-Man 3 setting the box-office alight, it's rumored Raimi will not be back for the fourth installment if actors Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst do not return. He tells MTV News, "Sony Pictures is going to be making many more Spider-Man pictures. I just don't know what (my) future holds yet. It would be really hard for me to make a movie without Tobey and Kirsten playing the two leads. I would still hope that Sony would offer it to me (to direct) first." »
Phil Traill will make his feature directorial debut on the project, which will begin shooting this summer.
The story centers on a brilliant crossword constructor (Bullock) who, after one short date, decides that a CNN cameraman (Church) is her true love. Because the cameraman's job takes him hither and yon, she crisscrosses the country, turning up at media events as she tries to convince him they are perfect for each other. She fails in this objective but falls in with a band of misfits who appreciate her for who she is. Kim Barker (License to Wed) penned the screenplay.
Fox 2000 Maria Faillace is overseeing the project for the studio.
He is repped by WMA. »
NEW YORK -- Licensing Show opens Tuesday amid concern that there are few, if any, major blockbusters slated for 2008 that can match the enormous merchandising success of this summer's megahits "Spider-Man 3", "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" and "Shrek the Third" as well as the highly anticipated "Transformers".
But with CBS hosting its first booth ever at Licensing Show and increased primetime offerings from NBC and ABC, the major networks are making their strongest showing yet, with more opportunities for primetime licensing. Fox, which through 20th Century Fox Licensing and Merchandising has had a strong presence at the show for years with "The Simpsons", is back in full force as "The Simpsons Movie" opens in theaters in July.
"It's going to be very, very difficult across all product categories to match the (retail) numbers against this year," said Jonathan Samet, publisher of the Licensing Book and the Toy Book. "There are just not that many 'Spider-Mans' and 'Pirates' out there. A lot of the studios really just don't have anything new on the horizon from a merchandising standpoint. With the lineup that's coming out next year, I don't see anything that's going to match the merchandising numbers from this summer."
One sign of the less robust film merchandising slate for 2008 is the decline in studio ads in the Licensing Book, he said. "I don't have as much movie advertising in my publication. Our advertising is up, but it's not from the same big studios that used to take four, six and eight pages at a time because they don't have the properties to be promoting at this time."
Charles Riotto, president of LIMA, the licensing industry's worldwide trade organization and sponsor of the Licensing Show, said he was expecting 2007 to be "the biggest year ever for sales of entertainment-based licensing merchandise because of all the blockbuster movies we've had this year and all the ones that are still to come like 'Transformers, ' 'The Simpsons Movie, ' and 'Ratatouille.' I don't think we've ever had a year like this where we've had so many great movies with such significant licensing sales potential."
Riotto is also set to report at the show Tuesday that U.S. retail sales of licensed product were up 1.5% in 2006 to $108.7 billion, a slightly smaller increase than the 1.8% rise reported in 2005. Entertainment licensing fared better but still experienced a bigger percentage gain in 2005. U.S. retail sales of entertainment-based licensed product rose 2% in 2006 to $48.2 billion, up from $47.3 billion in 2005, when sales rose 2.4%.
Of all the major studio offerings, the two films drawing the most interest so far are both from Warner Bros. –- the Batman sequel "The Dark Knight" and "Speed Racer", a live-action movie based on the TV series created by anime pioneer Tatsuo Yoshida. The film, set for release in May, marks a reunion for directors Larry and Andy Wachowski and producer Joel Silver, who last worked together on the "Matrix" trilogy. But with the "Batman" sequel being described as a bit dark, there was concern it could limit sales among younger children who may not see the film. "The Incredible Hulk" from Marvel also is attracting some interest going into the show.
But for the most part retailers and licensees will be working very hard at the show this year to figure out the best bets for boxoffice and merchandising success in 2008. "I think retailers are going to be looking to figure out how to anniversary some pretty significant sales they had in 2007," said Vince Klaseus, senior vp franchise development and marketing at Disney Consumer Products. »
A Memphis projectionist working for the Malco Theatre chain has lost his job after writing an unauthorized early review of 20th Century Fox's "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer" for the Web site Ain't It Cool News.
Jesse Morrison, the projectionist, claims that Fox was behind Malco's decision to suspend him for an undetermined period. The studio denied the charge.
While studios and filmmakers have endured early reviews of their movies, both negative and positive, on Web sites since the early days of the Internet, the incident might mark the first time someone working in the entertainment industry has lost a job for voicing an early opinion online.
On Saturday, www.aintitcool.com posted a negative review by Morrison (writing under his online moniker Memflix) under the headline "Memflix crushes all hope for 'Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.' "
A 29-year-old film, video and journalism major at the University of Memphis, Morrison worked for $7 an hour at the Ridgeway Four, next door to Malco's home office. He picked up further compensation by readying movie prints for exhibitor and press screenings, which allowed him during the past year to write reviews of such movies as "Disturbia", "Vacancy" and "Spider-Man 3" for Ain't It Cool. He also wrote reviews for Malco's movie blog and a circular distributed at the theater. »
Buena Vista Pictures' Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End continued to rule the high seas at the North American boxoffice during the weekend, when Captain Jack Sparrow and his crew plundered an estimated $43.2 million in their sophomore frame to bring the 10-day total including previews to a hearty $216.5 million.
The worldwide gross for the Johnny Depp starrer stands at an impressive $625.3 million so far.
While the supremacy of At World's End during the weekend never was in doubt, what did catch the industry by surprise were the fertile returns generated by Universal Pictures' Knocked Up, which captured second place overall with an estimated $29.3 million from 2,871 venues.
Heading into the weekend, most observers had pegged the Judd Apatow-helmed Knocked Up for the third position after Paramount Pictures' Shrek the Third, with expectations somewhere in the high-teens to low-$20 million range. The debut proved a personal best for Apatow, topping the $21.4 million opening of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and is the fifth-biggest bow of all time for an R-rated film.
Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl star in the comedy.
Shrek, from DreamWorks Animation, pulled in an estimated $26.7 million to take the third slot during its third weekend in theaters. The animated comedy slipped 50% from a week earlier, but the PG sequel has amassed a hefty $254.6 million to date.
MGM's Mr. Brooks, an R-rated crime drama starring Kevin Costner, bowed in the fourth slot overall with an estimated $10 million from 2,453 sites, within the range anticipated going into the weekend. Costner plays a violent serial killer in this outing, directed by Bruce A. Evans and co-starring William Hurt and Demi Moore. The per-theater average was a moderate $4,085.
Sony Pictures' leggy Spider-Man 3 swung into the fifth slot in its fifth weekend, grossing an estimated $7.5 million. The Sam Raimi-directed action-adventure film has grossed about $318.3 million domestically and its worldwide gross to date is about $850 million, the biggest total in the Spider-Man franchise and the top-grossing film in Sony history. »
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