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The six Hollywood majors will set an all-time record at the overseas boxoffice during 2007, raking in about 15% more than last year with a peak of nearly $10 billion.
The half-dozen MPA companies each topped $1 billion for the first time in industry history, according to preliminary data. An estimate for the full year places Warner Bros.' international theatrical arm in the No. 1 spot with $2.15 billion.
Disney's analogous unit is next with about $1.66 billion, followed by 20th Century Fox at $1.64 billion, Paramount Pictures at $1.60 billion, Sony Pictures at $1.27 billion and Universal Pictures at a touch above $1 billion.
The figures and standings are tentative because most of the companies have titles in release during the final days of the lucrative year-end holiday period.
On Warners' current slate are I Am Legend, Beowulf and Fred Claus. Disney still has to include the foreign returns from National Treasure: Book of Secrets and more dates on Enchanted, Fox has Alvin and the Chipmunks, Paramount has Bee Movie and Universal has American Gangster, Atonement and Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
A highlight of the 2007 boxoffice bonanza was the entry of Par's PPI and Universal's UPI in the $1 billion ranks. Both were operating for the first time as stand-alone overseas distributors following the breakup of their longtime partnership in United Pictures International.
For Warner Bros. Pictures International, its tally marks the seventh straight year that it has exceeded $1 billion in foreign boxoffice. The more than $2 billion this year represents the company's second-highest gross, trailing only the $2.2 billion achieved in 2004 as the industry standard. »
In the category of outstanding performance by a cast of a motion picture, "Wild" faces off against 3:10 to Yuma, American Gangster, Hairspray and No Country for Old Men. SAG appears to favor films that have spent weeks, if not months, in release, ignoring such titles as Atonement, Sweeney Todd and The Great Debaters, which are just hitting theaters.
30 Rock and "Ugly Betty" were nominated for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series, where they will compete with "Desperate Housewives", Entourage and The Office. In addition to "The Sopranos", the nominees for best dramatic ensemble are Boston Legal, The Closer, Grey's Anatomy and rookie series Mad Men.
Because the WGA has granted its union ally SAG a waiver to produce the awards show -- which will be broadcast Jan. 27 by TNT and TBS from the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles -- the SAG Awards promise to be one of the few untroubled spots in an embattled awards season.
"Wild", a Paramount Vantage release, was left in the dust when the nominations for Golden Globes were announced last week -- it picked up just two mentions for its score and Eddie Vedder's song "Guaranteed" -- but it roared back to life Thursday as Jeanne Tripplehorn and Terrence Howard announced the SAG picks at a predawn news conference at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.
"Wild"'s Hirsch, who appears to starve himself in the film as he confronts a harsh Alaska winter, scored his first SAG nom and will compete for best dramatic film actor with George Clooney, who plays a troubled legal fixer in "Michael Clayton"; Daniel-Day Lewis, a ruthless oil baron in "There Will Be Blood"; Ryan Gosling, who romances a real, not-so-live doll in "Lars and the Real Girl"; and Viggo Mortensen, who goes mano a mano with the Russian mob in "Eastern Promises".
For dramatic film actress, the SAG nominating panel of 2,100 guild members stayed loyal to Cate Blanchett for again presiding over Elizabethan England in the sequel "Elizabeth: The Golden Age". Blanchett, who now has been nominated for SAG Awards 11 times, was first nominated in 1999 for "Elizabeth". She also was nominated this year for supporting actress for making like Bob Dylan in "I'm Not There".
In the best actress heat, Blanchett is surrounded by Julie Christie, who drifts off into Alzheimer's in "Away From Her"; Marion Cotillard, who embodies Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose"; Angelina Jolie, who plays another real-life woman, Mariane Pearl, in "A Mighty Heart"; and Ellen Page, who stars as a wisecracking pregnant teen in "Juno".
The best supporting male lineup consists of Holbrook, who appears as a lonely retiree in "Wild"; Javier Bardem and Tommy Lee Jones, who represent opposite sides of the law in the same film, "No Country for Old Men"; Casey Affleck, who has a love-hate relationship with a celebrated outlaw in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"; and Tom Wilkinson, who suffers a breakdown in "Michael Clayton".
Keener, who teaches Hirsch's character some hard-learned lessons about life on the road in "Wild", is nominated for supporting actress along with Blanchett; Ruby Dee, who plays the crime lord's mom in "American Gangster"; Amy Ryan, who plays another mom caught up in a crisis in "Gone Baby Gone"; and Tilda Swinton, a manipulating corporate attorney in "Michael Clayton".
On the TV side, James Gandolfini and Edie Falco, who each have won two SAG Awards as best dramatic actor and actress for their work in "The Sopranos", are again nominated in those categories for the mob series' cut-to-black final season. »
List of nominees
'Massive sweep' for Focus
'Damages' leads TV pack
Strike curbs enthusiasm
"Atonement", the tony British drama of love, lies and war, led the pack with seven nominations -- including best drama and acting noms for its two leads, Keira Knightley and James McAvoy -- as the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. on Thursday morning announced its nominations for the 65th annual Golden Globes.
"Charlie Wilson's War", a comic look at the roots of the U.S.' involvement in Afghanistan, followed with five nominations, including best comedy or musical.
On the TV side, the top contenders with four nominations apiece are the FX dramatic series "Damages", which revolves around a lethal legal case, and the HBO telefilm "Longford", which looked at a crime and its punishment in Great Britain. NBC's comedy "30 Rock", HBO's "Entourage" and ABC's freshman entry "Pushing Daisies" both scored three noms, as did the HBO telefilm "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee".
But this year's wide-open film awards season didn't get much narrower as a result of the Globe nominations as the HFPA chose to include a whopping seven films in its best drama category. In addition to "Atonement", the crowded list includes several looks at criminal behavior, "American Gangster", "Eastern Promises" and "No Country for Old Men"; two very different takes on American business, the oil-struck "There Will Be Blood" and "Michael Clayton", with its corporate intrigue; and the inspirational college drama "The Great Debaters". According to the HFPA, the expanded category came about because three films tied for fifth place.
That should make the competition for prime tables even tougher when the Globes ceremony, broadcast live by NBC, is held Jan. 13 at the Beverly Hilton.
In the case of the best comedy or musical category, the HFPA was a little more selective, nominating three musicals -- the Beatles-inspired "Across the Universe", the '60s-inflected "Hairspray" and the bloody "Sweeney Todd" -- along with two comedy-dramas, "Charlie Wilson's War" and "Juno", a wry look at an unexpected teen pregnancy.
With just five nominations in the best directing category, the contest suddenly got fiercer. On the dramatic side, brother filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen were nominated for "No Country" along with Ridley Scott for "Gangster" and Joe Wright for "Atonement". The only director with a film from the musical category is "Sweeney Todd"'s Tim Burton. The fifth nominee is Julian Schnabel for "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," which also was nominated for best screenplay and best foreign-language film.
Cate Blanchett scored a double-header, picking up a best dramatic actress nom for her regal turn in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" and supporting actress recognition for her Dylanesque performance in "I'm Not There". With best dramatic actor and supporting actor noms for, respectively, "The Savages" and "Charlie Wilson's War", Philip Seymour Hoffman was much in evidence. Clint Eastwood, though he didn't appear on film this year, also earned two nominations for his score and song for "Grace Is Gone", the study of an Iraq War widower.
Still, for all their largesse, the 82 voting members of the HFPA ignored several possible nominees. Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" was left out in the cold, save for score and song nominations. "Knocked Up" and "Superbad", which were both critical and commercial hits, also got the cold shoulder. Laura Linney, who stars with Hoffman in "Savages", wasn't awarded a nomination like her co-star. Tommy Lee Jones, lauded by critics for performances in both "In the Valley of Elah" and "No Country" wasn't mentioned. And the 3-D "Beowulf" didn't make an appearance in the Globe's new animated feature category, which encompasses just "Bee Movie", "Ratatouille" and "The Simpsons Movie".
With co-productions figuring prominently on both the studio and indie fronts, there were plenty of bragging rights to go around. »
Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe have been named as Hollywood's most overpaid stars - as their movies often fail to make a profit. The list of actors whose paychecks fail to reflect their box office performance was compiled by Forbes magazine and names Kidman and Crowe as the least deserving of their massive salaries. Oscar winner Kidman was paid an estimated $15 million for her role in this month's release The Golden Compass. The film was reportedly made on a budget of $200 million but only grossed $26 million during its first week of release in the U.S. American Gangster star Crowe was named the worst earner on the list with films including Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World and Cinderella Man only earning the studios $5 for every $1 of Crowe's salary. »
- Atonement may have gotten the largest overall number of noms, but we should expect a different outcome for total number of wins coming January. 13th. Today's list of noms sort of reminds me of what they are doing in schools today to boost self-confidence and not bruise egos: handing out medals/trophies to every single student not for 'winning' but for their 'participation'. In an embarrassing attempt to include everyone, there will be a total of 12 titles vying for Best Movie of the year (Best Drama has a ridiculous number of 7 noms, while Best Comedy/Musical has a five. Despite this, I'll be glued to the set. The glorified dinner party also sorts its nominations out in the most bizarre of manners - take for example the Best Dramatic performance of the year for an actress: hands down you'd think that Marion Cotillard and La Vie en rose would »
13 December 2007 | IMDb News
Atonement was the dominant movie at this morning's announcement of the Golden Globe nominations with seven nods, including Best Picture (Drama) and three acting nominations. The adaptation of Ian McEwan's acclaimed bestseller also received nominations for directing, screenplay, and score as well as for its two leads, James McAvoy and Keira Knightley, and a supporting actress mention for young Saoirse Ronan. Critical favorite No Country for Old Men received four nominations, including picture, supporting actor (Javier Bardem), and directing and screenplay nominations for Joel Coen and Ethan Coen; legal thriller Michael Clayton also received four nods, including picture and three acting nominations for George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton. Rounding out the dramatic Best Picture nominees -- there were an unprecedented seven in all -- were American Gangster, Eastern Promises, The Great Debaters, and There Will Be Blood. Over on the Comedy/Musical side, Charlie Wilson's War led the pack with five nods, including Best Picture (Comedy/Musical), three acting nominations for stars Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and a screenplay nomination for Aaron Sorkin. Tim Burton's blood-filled adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd received four nominations in the Comedy/Musical categories for picutre, Best Actor (Johnny Depp), Best Actress (Helena Bonham Carter), and a directing nod for Burton. Indie hit Juno also scored well, with mentions for star Ellen Page and screenwriter Diablo Cody as well as a best picture nod, and summer musical Hairspray bounced back to life with nominations for picture, lead actress (Nikki Blonsky) and supporting actor (John Travolta). The other nominee for Best Picture (Comedy/Musical) was the Beatles musical Across the Universe. In the television categories, FX newcomer Damages was the leading series contender with four nominations, while the HBO movie Longford also received four nods. Freshman hit Pushing Daisies, returning comedies Entourage and 30 Rock, and miniseries Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee received three nominations each.
Get all of the Golden Globe Nominations in our Road to the Oscars section
Fifty-nine songs from eligible feature-length motion pictures are being considered in the original song category for the 80th Annual Academy Awards.
The songs, unveiled Wednesday, include four songs from August Rush as well as three each from Dan in Real Life, Enchanted, 56 Drops of Blood, Good Luck Chuck, Into the Wild and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will screen clips in random order Jan. 15 featuring each song for voting members of the music branch in Beverly Hills and New York. Following the screenings, members will vote to determine which three, four or five songs become nominees in the category.
The 80th Academy Awards nominations will be announced Jan. 22.
The original songs, along with the motion picture in which each song is featured, are:
"Do You Feel Me" from American Gangster
"At the Edge of the World" from Arctic Tale
"Someday" from August Rush
"This Time" from August Rush
"Raise It Up" from August Rush
"Break" from August Rush
"Nothing's There" from Badland
"The Devil's Lonely Fire" from Badland
"A Hero Comes Home" from Beowulf
"The Stars of Orion" from Berkeley
"Say" from The Bucket List
"To Be Surprised" from Dan in Real Life
"My Hands Are Shaking" from Dan in Real Life
"I'll Be OK" from Dan in Real Life
"December Boys" from December Boys
"So Close" from Enchanted
"That's How You Know" from Enchanted
"Happy Working Song" from Enchanted
"Atkozott Egy Elet" from 56 Drops of Blood
"O, Atyam!" from 56 Drops of Blood
"Eleg!" from 56 Drops of Blood
"A Dream" from Freedom Writers
"Lyra" from The Golden Compass
"Good Luck Chuck" from Good Luck Chuck
"Shut Me Out" from Good Luck Chuck
"I Was Zapped by the Lucky Super Rainbow" from Good Luck Chuck
"Grace Is Gone" from Grace Is Gone
"Lullabye for Wyatt" from Grace Is Gone
"Come So Far (Got So Far to Go)" from Hairspray
"The Tale of the Horny Frog" from The Heartbreak Kid
"China Doll" from Honeydripper
"It Will Stay With Us" from The Hottest State
"Never See You" from The Hottest State
"Society" from Into the Wild
"Guaranteed" from Into the Wild
"Rise" from Into the Wild
"First Amendment Blues" from Larry Flynt: The Right To Be Left Alone
"Hello (I Love You)" from The Last Mimzy
"Despedida" from Love in the Time of Cholera
"Huck's Tune" from Lucky You
"Little Wonders" from Meet the Robinsons
"Another Believer" from Meet the Robinsons
"Way Back into Love" from Music and Lyrics
"PoP! Goes My Heart" from Music and Lyrics
"Ordinary People" from Music Within
"Pretty Much Amazing" from Nancy Drew
"Falling Slowly" from Once
"If You Want Me" from Once
"Le Festin" from Ratatouille
"Land of Quiet Poems" from Resurrecting the Champ
"Love Will Still Be There" from September Dawn
"Royal Pain" from Shrek the Third
"Rule the World" from Stardust
"Before It's Too Late (Sam and Mikaela's Theme)" from Transformers
"Baby Don't You Cry" from Waitress
"Beautiful Ride" from Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
"Walk Hard" from Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
"Let's Duet" from Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
"Back Where You Belong" from The Water Horse
With seven nominations, Sean Penn's Into the Wild, the account of a young man who leaves society behind, led the pack as the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. announced its nominees for its 13th annual Critics' Choice Awards Tuesday morning in New York.
Wild figured in the categories of best picture, best actor for Emile Hirsch, best supporting actor for Hal Holbrook, best supporting actress for Catherine Keener and best song for Eddie Vedder's "Guaranteed" and picked up a double nomination for Penn as both writer and director.
Several actors received dual recogntion. Newcomer Michael Cera appeared twice among the nominees for best young actor for his performances as a horny teen in Superbad and an unexpected father in Juno. Cate Blanchett was hailed with a best actress nom for Elizabeth: The Golden Age and a supporting actress nom for her Dylanesque appearance in I'm Not There. Amy Adams, who plays a Disneyesque princess in Enchanted was nominated for best actress and made an appearance in the best song category for "That's How I Know" -- in the song category, the group recognizes the performer who performs a song on film.
Made up of nearly 200 TV, radio and online critics from the United States and Canada, the BFCA prides itself on its ability to foreshadow eventual Oscar noms and awards.
However, the BFCA does load up some of its categories with six nominations each to cover its bases. And for best picture, the group nominated ten films that encompassed American Gangster, Atonement, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Into the Wild, Juno, The Kite Runner, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men, Sweeney Todd and There Will Be Blood.
In addition to Hirsch, the best actor heat includes George Clooney (Michael Clayton), Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood), Johnny Depp (Sweeny Todd), Ryan Gosling (Lars and the Real Girl) and Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises).
Nominated for best supporting actor are Holbrook, Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), Javier Bardem (Country), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson's War) and Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton).
Seven directors appeared among the BFCA's six nominations for best director, thanks to a shared nomination for brothers Joel and Ethan Coen for Country. Their competition embraces Penn, Tim Burton (Sweeney Todd), Sidney Lumet ("Before the Devil Knows Your Dead"), Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell) and Joe Wright (Atonement).
- If actor Josh Brolin was an actual Ipo back at the start of the year he'd have soared like Google has. Thanks to popular supporting roles in Grindhouse, In the Valley of Elah, American Gangster, his starring role in No Country for Old Men and his memorable clueless movie-going patron in the Coens Bros.' short in Chacun son cinema has made the actor a hot property among casting agents/producers. Now Groundswell Prods. (Dan Jinks, Bruce Cohen, Michael London) and Focus Features are circling the actor for the player opposing Sean Penn's take on Harvey Milk.Written by Dustin Lance Black and directed by Gus Vant Sant, Milk (which begins filming next month in San Fran) tales the symbolic tale about the slain San Francisco politician Harvey Milk (Penn) who along with Mayor George Moscone was killed by Dan White (Brolin) in 1978. Whether he plays good or »
Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe's hit new movie American Gangster is at the center of a new legal fight, after upsetting a retired Drug Enforcement agent in New York. The narcotics detectives are far from happy with the way they are depicted in the gritty new movie, which follows the fortunes of 1970s heroin kingpin Frank Lucas and the cops trying to bring him to justice. And one of the police officers, who worked the Lucas case, is now threatening to sue movie studio bosses at Universal for what he claims are "false and defamatory statements." Gregory Korniloff's attorney Dominic Amorosa has sent a cease and desist letter to the studio heads demanding a retraction of statements made in the film, according to Tmz.com. The letter alleges that several key facts in the movie are misleading. Korniloff was the case agent for the DEA and "personally participated in the search of Lucas' house... and the arrest of Lucas." »
As the major studios start to position high-profile films for the holiday season, two diverse films -- Robert Zemeckis' pop-culture adaptation of the Old English epic poem Beowulf, and Ridley Scott's crime thriller American Gangster -- jumped to the forefront at the start of the year-end international boxoffice race.
Beowulf, from Warner Bros. Pictures International, grossed an estimated $17.3 million in its opening weekend from 2,500 prints in 13 markets, while Gangster pulled in $14.3 million from 1,477 screens in 14 countries.
In several key markets in which both films opened simultaneously, the films were close competitors. In the U.K., Gangster came in at No. 1 with $5.3 million from 410 screens, followed by Beowulf with $4.5 million from 454. In Germany, Gangster also topped the boxoffice chart with $2.7 million from 357 screens, with Beowulf copping the No. 2 spot with $1.9 million from 667.
On its own in Korea, Beowulf, showing in some markets in Imax and digital 3-D, arrived at No. 1 with $3.8 million (including previews) from 148 prints, topping the third-weekend take of local smash hit Le Grand Chef, which tallied $2.7 million from 330 screens for a market cume to date of $13.1 million. Beowulf entered Italy at No. 3 with $2.1 million from 667 screens, lorded over by two local contenders -- the opening of Matrimonio Alle Bahamas ($4.4 million from 431 screens) and the second weekend of Come Tu Mi Vuoi ($2.4 million from 367).
Beowulf was particularly strong in Asia, dominating Taiwan with an 80% market share of the top five films, and 81% in Thailand, and debuted at No. 1 in Hong Kong ($539,000 from 45 prints).
Bowing in France without competition from Beowulf, Gangster grabbed the No. »
But the battle for the top spot was hardly epic, with two pics in their third week of release running far behind the frontrunner in grabbing the weekend's silver and bronze medals. DreamWorks/Paramount's animated Bee Movie finished second with $14.3 million, and Universal/Imagine's crime drama American Gangster was third with $13.2 million.
Also bowing over the pre-Thanksgiving frame, Fox's family fantasy Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium -- a Walden Media pic starring Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman -- finished fifth with $10 million. And New Line/Stone Village's literary adaptation Love in the Time of Cholera unspooled in 852 theaters to gross $1.9 million in 10th place.
Paramount Vantage's Nicole Kidman starrer Margot at the Wedding bowed in single theaters in New York to gross $82,929, or $41,464 per location. Margot expands to about 35 runs in the top 12 U.S. and Canadian markets on Wednesday.
IDP's Southland Tales, a futuristic comedy starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, grossed $116,550 from 63 theaters over its first weekend, or a thin $1,850 per venue. Cumulative boxoffice hit $133,896 after Tales unspooled Wednesday in seven of its locations.
Industrywide, the weekend became the eighth of the last nine frames to underperform boxoffice from the same session a year earlier. Collectively, distributors rung up $107 million over the latest frame, or 27% less than the comparable frame a year ago, according to data tracker Nielsen EDI.
Seasonal boxoffice is off 4% from fall 2006, but year-to-date grosses still are up 5% year at $8.28 billion.
In another positive, Universal this week crossed the magical $1 billion on the year, marking the first time five studios have managed such a feat. Sony, Warner Bros., Disney and Paramount also have rung up more than $1 billion in 2007. »
Review: Bee Movie
Review: Fred Claus
Review: American Gangster
Related story: International crowds elevate 'Saawariya' boxoffice
UPDATED 9:34 p.m. PT Nov. 11, 2007
Ho, ho, huh?
Warner Bros.' seasonal comedy "Fred Claus", starring Vince Vaughn as Santa's naughty sibling, couldn't sleigh north of a couple nice holdovers this weekend and settled for a third-place bow with an estimated $19.2 million.
Instead, DreamWorks/Paramount's "Bee Movie", using a tiny 32% drop from opening grosses, flew to the top of the domestic boxoffice in a $26 million sting. Universal/Imagine's "American Gangster", which outgunned "Bee" for the top spot the previous weekend, fell just 44% to score $24.3 million and finish second overall.
The 10-day cume is $72.2 million for "Bee", an animated comedy with Jerry Seinfeld voicing the lead, uh, bee, and $80.7 million for "Gangster", a Denzel Washington-Russell Crowe crime drama directed by Ridley Scott.
Meanwhile, perhaps the most complicated disappointment in a mix of limp openers this busy Veterans Day weekend was turned in by yet another underperforming Middle Eastern drama. United Artists' slate-christening "Lions for Lambs" -- helmed by Robert Redford and starring Redford, Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep --bowed with just $6.7 million in fourth place.
With its all-star cast and a $35 million budget, "Lambs" lies somewhere between a typical commercial release and an art film, so it never was in the running for weekend laurels. But with Cruise and producing partner Paula Wagner now running UA at the Harry Sloan-era MGM, execs might have hoped for a splashier bow for their first title. UA insiders had been hoping for at least $10 million in opening grosses to keep film finances on track.
"Lambs" skewed wildly older, with two-thirds of patrons over 35 and audiences 55% female.
"Adult audiences don't necessarily come out the first weekend, and we've positioned it to play right through the Thanksgiving holiday," MGM distribution president Clark Woods said.
There's also a WGA strike angle to the "Lambs" disappointment, as cast promos were curtailed after late-night talk shows went into reruns as a result of the writers' walkout. Some studios expect to compensate in such situations by additional spending on TV spots, but that was a luxury "Lambs" could ill afford because of budgetary and time constraints. »
The older brother in “Goonies” is probably the most popular role Josh Brolin has ever played. After more than 20 years as an actor on stage and the big screen, that might be changing. Brolin starred in “Grindhouse,” “American Gangster,” “Into the Valley of Elah,” and his biggest role of the year in the Coen brothers’ “No Country for Old Men.” Before we sat down to begin the interview, Brolin looked out the window and said, “ I actually slept well for the first time in about a year last night.” It’s easy to understand why, considering he was getting roles in films like “Into the Blue” and now he’s working with Denzel Washington, Tommy Lee Jones and Russell Crowe. And if you’re curious, even though he looks like a black »
- Jeff Bayer
This weekend's domestic boxoffice crown could be grabbed by a leggy Gangster or a still-hovering Bee who sounds like Jerry Seinfeld, but it more than likely will go to a newcomer with the last name of Claus.
Yes, it looks like another busy weekend for anybody programming movie multiplexes.
Warner Bros.' Fred Claus, a seasonal comedy starring Vince Vaughn as the ne'er-do-well older brother of Santa (Paul Giamatti), bows in 3,603 theaters during a period bolstered by better-than-usual Sunday and Monday grosses. That is thanks to the anticipation of help from the Veterans Day holiday, which falls on Sunday and will give many prospective moviegoers a day off from work Monday.
"It's a great family film and is really well-positioned going into the long weekend," Warners distribution president Dan Fellman said.
Claus' playability over the coming frames should be strengthened by the approach of the Thanksgiving holiday period. And as Fellman noted, "The thing about Christmas movies is that they play long."
During its first three days, Claus seems safe to do more than $20 million, but it's worth noting that Vaughn has starred in a few films opening above $30 million. »
Lionsgate's Saw IV got chopped up by the new entrants and fell 65% in its second weekend to gross $11 million in third place with a $51.1 million cume. But Disney's Steve Carell comedy Dan in Real Life slid just 29% in its sophomore session to gross $8.1 million and finish fourth with a cume of almost $23 million.
In a limited bow, Warner Independent's documentary about war-torn Sudan Darfur Now grossed $24,000 from two runs in New York and one in L.A., or a solid $8,000 per location. The Don Cheadle-starring docu expands to 20 runs in 12 additional markets next weekend.
Industrywide, the weekend represented some needed good news for a town wracked by labor tensions, with the frame's $140 million in total grosses marking an 8% improvement over the same session last year. It was the first improved session after six successive weekends of year-over-year declines.
Year-to-date, boxoffice is still running 6% ahead of the same period of 2006 at a total of $7.85 billion. But fall grosses are off 4% compared with a year ago, at $966.8 million.
Gangster always looked to be the weekend's likeliest top finisher, despite an R rating and a running time two hours and 37 minutes, as pre-release tracking surveys showed moviegoers anxious to mob movieplexes.
Its opening was the biggest ever for Washington and Crowe but fell just short of being the best debut among pics over 2 1/2 hours with restricted ratings. Troy (2:43) still holds those bragging rights after unspooling with $46.9 million in May 2004. »
Completing its fifth consecutive weekend as the No. 1 international boxoffice attraction, Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille served up an estimated $14.5 million from 4,381 screens in 29 territories and raised its international gross to $371.8 million.
Overall, the stanza was down slightly from the comparable weekend a year ago, and the ending of school holidays took a toll in key markets, particularly the U.K. But notable were the small-market international bows of American Gangster, Bee Movie and 30 Days of Night.
Universal International's Gangster, the Denzel Washington-Russell Crowe crime drama that finished first during the weekend in North America, made an estimated $150,000 from 23 screens in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, enough to rank No. 1 in each territory.
DreamWorks Animation/Paramount Pictures International's Bee Movie, Jerry Seinfeld's first big film venture that bowed at No. 2 domestically, also opened at 492 screens in Russia and Ukraine for a combined estimate of $3.2 million.
Sony's horror film 30 Days of Night, the fifth-ranked domestic title, scared up $510,000 from 73 screens in Malaysia and the Philippines, finishing No. 1 in the former territory and grabbing second place in the latter.
In overseas release since June 28, Ratatouille continues powerfully in holdover markets. It finished No. 1 in seven territories -- the U.K., Italy, Sweden, Poland, China, Switzerland and Denmark -- propelling its global take to $577 million.
The animation film about Remy the French rat surpassed 2004's The Incredibles as the second-most-popular Disney/Pixar co-venture ever behind 2003's Finding Nemo. It also stands as Disney's third-biggest-grossing animation title behind The Lion King and Nemo, and the sixth-most-popular animation title from any studio. »
After an anemic fall season, this weekend's two star-studded new arrivals pumped fresh blood into the North American boxoffice.
Universal's American Gangster, from Imagine Entertainment, showed plenty of swagger as it took in an estimated $16 million domestically Friday. DreamWorks Animation's Bee Movie, released by Paramount, created plenty of buzz of its own, collecting about $10.1 million for the day.
The one-two punch of an R-rated crime saga and a punny, PG-rated animated movie not only kicked off the year-end movie-going season with pizzazz, but also showed that stars, when they take on the right roles, can draw crowds to the multiplex.
In Gangster, Denzel Washington headlines as a real-life Harlem drug lord matched up against Russell Crowe as the detective who pursues him. Ridley Scott directs the two Academy Award winners in the film, which also opened in several Eastern European territories this week. (Within the next two weeks, it will roll out in such major European countries as France, Germany and the U.K.)
Despite the challenge of both an R-rating and a running time of more than two and one half hours, Gangster, bowing in 3,054 theaters domestically is on track to score an opening weekend that could climb north of $45 million. »
This could be the weekend in which the studios help theater owners put some bang back in the boxoffice.
Universal's Denzel Washington-Russell Crowe starrer American Gangster has been going gangbusters in prerelease tracking. And the weekend appears doubly blessed, as the PG-rated, animated feature Bee Movie from DreamWorks/Paramount appears to be solid counter-programming to the grittier Gangster.
Gangster is a bit unwieldy for those programming auditoriums, with a running time of two hours and 37 minutes. But solid early reviews could still push the Ridley Scott-helmed crime drama north of $40 million.
Uni execs see Warner Bros.' 2006 Irish mob film The Departed as offering a rough template for the likely bow of Gangster. Departed opened in 3,017 theaters with $26.9 million during the Oct. 6 frame en route to a domestic haul totaling $132.4 million.
Gangsters goes out with more than 3,000 playdates.
" 'American Gangster' is big title for Universal, but we're dealing with an adult-oriented, R-rated film," Uni distribution president Nikki Rocco said.
Title awareness among prospective moviegoers is high, and the picture is tracking well with older and younger males and females. But it's skewing male and slightly toward an older demographic in prerelease surveys among prospective film patrons. »
Russell Crowe will never forget the first time he met his American Gangster co-star Denzel Washington - he accidentally spit on his lip. The two actors worked together on 1995 movie Virtuosity - made when Crowe was a virtual unknown - and Crowe cringes at the memory of his screen test opposite the already-famous Washington. He says, "In 1995 on Virtuosity, I was doing a screen test and Denzel already had the gig. We had a cyclone wire fence between us and the scene was pretty intense. They said, 'Action!' and I started going into it. And this little bit of spit comes out of my mouth, it was really athletic and graceful, wound its way through the cyclone wire and straight onto Denzel's lip. In the back of my mind I've got this voice going, 'Oh my God, what have you done?' And the thing is, he was really cool about it. It was my screen test, so he just let it run (until) the director said, 'Cut!' His line which I'll always remember as cool, he said, 'I love the taste of saliva in the morning!'" »
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