April 24, 2014

Tag Archives: Alvin and the Chipmunks

“Devil Inside” kicks off 2012 with $34m Box Office

By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com:More often than not, especially when dealing with big numbers, opening weekends are about marketing, not the quality of the film. So don’t be too shocked when you hear that Paramount’s The Devil Inside opened with $34.5 million this weekend. Yes, the film is allegedly terrible. Yes, audiences nationwide have allegedly been booing at the (allegedly atrocious) finale. But sometimes it’s about a popular genre, a solid trailer, and the good luck of following up a recent smash hit. Exorcism and religious-themed movies have always been popular. The simple reason is that, along with the usual horror junkies, they attract more religious/spiritual moviegoers that otherwise disdain horror pictures. We’ve over/under $20 million openings from the likes of Stigmata (whose $18 million opening in September 1999 would equal about $28 million today), Exorcist: The Beginning ($18 million in August 2004), The Unborn ($19 million in January 2009), The Last Exorcism ($20 million in August 2010), and The Rite ($18 million last January). The anamoly that The Devil Inside most resembles is the somewhat surprising $30 million debut of The Exorcism of Emily Rose back in late 2005. But that film had both a PG-13 (like The Rite and The Last Exorcism) and a prestigious adult cast (Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, etc). Heck, throw in the $22-24 million debuts of various supernatural horror films (White Noise, The Haunting In Connecticut, The Amityville Horror, etc) and you can see that, when adjusted for inflation and a few other factors, a $34.5 million debut for The Devil Inside is quite impressive (it is indeed the biggest debut for a religious horror picture) but not a complete surprise.
As for those other factors, sometimes your best marketing weapon is your last hit film. Why did Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief open with $32 million in February 2010? Well mostly because its moody and effective (IE – misleading!) teaser played in front of every set of eyeballs who happened to see Avatar. The second release from Paramount’s Insurge label (ten micro-budgeted genre films being given wide release) had a snappy and creepy little trailer that just happened to play in front of pretty much every print of Paranormal Activity 3 last October. That film opened to $53 million and eventually grossed $104 million, so an effective trailer targeting [...]

Tom Cruise is back! Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol

By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: As is often the case, the last weekend of the year is basically a repeat of last weekend, both in general ranking and numbers, as the holiday weekend tends to keep drops low, if often absent. Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol led the pack of major Christmas and holiday releases that actually went up from last weekend. The Brad Bird spy thriller earned $31 million over Fri-Sun, with an eye towards a likely $40 million four-day holiday weekend. At the end of its third weekend, the first of which was IMAX-exclusive, the crowd-pleasing Tom Cruise vehicle will have grossed $140 million by Monday, which means it has already outgrossed the $134 million-grossing Mission: Impossible III. Overseas, the sequel is doing even bigger business, with a worldwide total of $324 million as we close out 2011. The $215 million gross of John Woo’s Mission: Impossible II is likely out of reach, but surpassing the $181 million gross from Brian DePalma’s Mission: Impossible is not only possible but plausible. Worldwide, the film is shaping up to be $600 million earner, the respective totals, speculative as they may be now, would make this film Tom Cruise’s third-biggest domestic grosser and his biggest worldwide earner ever. MI4 already ranks ninth on both lists.

Coming it at a strong second place was Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Both it and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked debuted below expectations two weeks ago, but both have used the holiday season to pick up lost ground, proving again that the last two weeks of the year are great for leggy runs. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows grossed $22 million, for a new total of $132 million. Combined with Monday’s grosses, that should put the second Sherlock Holmes picture exactly where the first was at the end of its New Year’s weekend, albeit with an extra seven days to get there. Point being, if the film can avoid complete collapse in the mostly barren January (and said mediocre January slate will boost every single film discussed here today), it may get closer to the $209 million domestic total of Sherlock Holmes than anyone thought possible two weeks ago. Alvin and the Chipmunks 3 earned $18 million for the weekend, giving it $94 million with the strong possibility of crossing the $100 million mark on [...]

“Mission: Impossible” tops “Sherlock” at holiday box office

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Sequels duked it out at the holiday box office, with a fourth “Mission: Impossible” triumphing over a second “Sherlock Holmes” to walk away with the (estimated) box office crown.
Monitoring figures for the Friday-Sunday frame, Brad Bird’s thrilling “Ghost Protocol” earned an estimated $26.5 million, putting it ahead of Guy Ritchie’s second “Holmes,” which grabbed $17.8M in its second stint. That marked a 55% drop in attendance for “Game of Shadows.” To date, the explosive sequel has pocketed $76.5M. Could a third “Sherlock Holmes” happen if these figures persist?
Elsewhere, as Oscar contenders entered the marketplace, David Fincher’s bleak “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” earned $21.4 million since opening late last Tuesday. And Steven Spielberg’s newcomer, “The Adventures of Tintin,” posted a $17.1 million figure since opening on Dec. 21. (The Oscar-winning director also opened “War Horse” on Christmas Day, and we’ll track that film’s progress all week.)
Fox can’t be thrilled with “We Bought a Zoo,” which earned an estimated $7.8 million, for a sixth-place finish on the weekend. It leads us to question if the two paid sneaks that took place weeks ago bit into Cameron Crowe’s potential box office.
And the studio’s third “Alvin and the Chipmunks” isn’t meeting the financial levels of its predecessors. Each passed the $200 million mark, while “Chipwrecked” sits at $50.2M after two weekends.
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Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol sizzles in IMAX debut – Sherlock Homes: A Game of Shadows Box Office

By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: This was a weekend where two films gave the strongest evidence yet that there may be some kind of ‘slump’ in domestic box office while a third stood as a firm ‘It’s the movie, stupid!’ rebuttal. The two main wide releases, heavily marketed sequels to exceptionally popular originals, opened at levels far below their predecessors. The top film of the weekend was Sherlock Homes: A Game of Shadows (review), which debuted with a seemingly solid $40 million. But the sequel opened 36% lower than the first Sherlock Holmes opened with over Christmas weekend two years ago ($62 million). That’s a pretty big drop, especially when it wasn’t exactly contending with the $75 million-grossing second weekend of Avatar this time around. I’ve long been of the opinion that the pre-Christmas weekend is among the strongest to open a film, as you can parlay your opening weekend into two full weeks of ‘school vacation’ time and get some occasionally incredible legs (essay). The film cost $125 million, which is a touch more than the $90 million original, but still not a case of overspending on a sequel. It remains to see whether this frankly shockingly depressed opening is a case of moviegoers not having an interest in the continuing adventures of this variation on Sherlock Holmes or whether it’s merely a case of it not being appointment viewing. Also not helping matters was the blogosphere obsessing about a seven-minute Dark Knight Rises prologue (which actually kinda stunk) that was playing in 40 IMAX theaters showing Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol while ignoring the actual Dark Knight Rises trailer (which is officially offline until I presume Monday morning) that was attached to all prints of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

The marketing certainly did not help make this one ‘appointment viewing’, as it basically promised more of the same, but with lots of gunfire this time (teaser and trailer)! Casting a character actor (Jared Harris) as arch-villain Professor Moriarty may have been the right artistic choice, but it was possibly fatal to the PR campaign, as it left the film without a new hook to sell the sequel (imagine a wholly different marketing strategy based around Brat Pitt or Daniel Day Lewis as Moriarty ala Health Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight). Best case scenario, Guy Ritchie’s period action-adventure [...]

“Sherlock Holmes,” “Chipmunks” off to slow box-office starts

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Box office success for the new “Sherlock Holmes” movie isn’t so elementary, my dear Watson.
Despite the introduction of chief nemesis Professor Moriarty (Jared Hess) and the return of the bulk of the creative team, Guy Ritchie’s “Game of Shadows” is off to a slower start than its immediate predecessor according to Friday box office figures. THR says that the bombastic sequel has pulled in an estimated $15 million, putting it on track for a $42-$45M opening.
The original “Sherlock,” a much more enjoyable affair (in my humble opinion), opened to $62.3M in 2009. But reviews for “Shadows” haven’t been nearly as favorable … and the sequel has stiff competition in Brad Bird’s “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” which is off to a red-hot start in limited release.
Paramount’s sequel, opening on IMAX screens ahead of its Dec. 21 wide release, nabbed an estimated $4.6M on 425 screens. Analysts believe that the inclusion of Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” prologue ahead of “Ghost Protocol” helped boost the “Mission” numbers. But we’ll see how the sequel performs on its own in wider release.
Elsewhere, the third “Alvin and the Chipmunks” got off to a relatively slow start, given the previous films’ successes. It earned $7 million on Friday, targeting a $13M weekend.
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“Kung Fu Panda 2″ now highest-grossing film directed by a woman

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Most people who pay attention to box office stats could tell you that James Cameron currently holds the title of top male box-office earner thanks to his impressive work on both “Titanic” and “Avatar.” But how many people could tell me which female director has Hollywood’s highest-grossing film?
As of this weekend, the answer is Jennifer Yuh Nelson, whose animated summer sequel to “Kung Fu Panda” crossed the $636M mark worldwide, making it the highest grossing film ever directed by a woman.
As reported by EW.com, the Panda sequel broke the record when it surpassed Phyllida Lloyd’s musical adaptation of the hit Broadway show “Mamma Mia!” with Meryl Streep and Amada Seyfried.
Women actually have a strong track record when it comes to animated or CGI-and-live-action blends, as other leaders on the chart include “Shrek 2” co-director Vicky Jenson and Betty Thomas for her work on “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.” Slightly further down the list, you’ll find original “Twilight” helmer Catherine Hardwicke, whose contribution to that popular franchise earned $192.8M domestically and $392.6M worldwide.
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Cowboys and Aliens and The Smurfs do battle, tying with $36.2 million

HollywoodNews.com: This weekend is an excellent example of why it’s the numbers, not the rankings that matter when discussing box office. And, more importantly, the context of the numbers must be taken into account as well as the hard figures. As of this moment, The Smurfs and Cowboys & Aliens are battling for the top slot at this weekend’s box office, with both films hovering at $36.2 million. One cost $110 million while the other cost $165 million. One has strong foreign prospects and a guarantee of eternal life as a family DVD purchase/rental, while the other faces an uncertain future as it belongs to a distinctly American genre. Point being, The Smurfs can take solace that it somewhat over-performed this weekend, while the Jon Favreau genre mash-up may go down as one of the bigger whiffs of the summer season.
Cowboys and Aliens opened with about $36.2 million this weekend, mostly on the strength of men over 25. Sci-fi westerns are a tricky business, as (somewhat stereo typically speaking perhaps) western fans don’t like sci-fi while science-fiction geeks aren’t fans of the classic westerns. Of course, neither Wild, Wild West or Jonah Hex were very good, and Cowboys and Aliens received some shockingly poor reviews. The film received a weak reception from its world premiere at Comic Con last weekend, something that the many powerful people behind the film (director Favreau, producers Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard, etc) were not expecting. Since the film was targeting older audiences as much as the stereotypical geeks, the reviews did matter in this case. The film has a Cinemascore grade of a B+, which is a little low for such apparently mainstream entertainment.
As far as long term marketing, it was a clear case of not quitting while you’re ahead (see past perpetrators of this crime). I loved the teaser from last November, but was less and less impressed with each new trailer. More importantly, the several additional trailers were basically the same footage re-cut. It’s nice that Universal didn’t blatantly spoil the whole film in the ad campaign, but using nearly identical footage cut up slightly differently for six months gave the impression that the bag was empty. Universal should have just gone with the terrific teaser and kept a certain amount of ‘mystery’. This is alas, another [...]

Fourth “Mission: Impossible” moves release date … by a few days

By G. Clay Whittaker
Hollywoodnews.com: The next installment of “Mission: Impossible” has chosen to accept a later release date, moving it from Dec. 16 to the 21st and taking its fight closer to the holiday weekend.
Indiewire reported that Paramount Pictures is moving the film back five days. The fourth film, subtitled “Ghost Protocol,” will now be out of direct competition with Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” and the family comedy “Alvin and the Chipmunks” On the flip side, it will now be competing with the David Fincher version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”
It’s possible that Paramount is moving the release date back because the film won’t be ready in time, but the more likely cause is a calculation by the studio to carve out a profit. They’re either backing away from the “Sherlock Holmes” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks” sequels, or crowding out “Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo” and Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin.”
Either decision would speak clearly to how the studio feels about “Mission: Impossible,” but it’s unclear this early whether they see it as weak or strong for the holidays. That said, the earliest trailer looks stunning, and coming out less than a week from Christmas usually means a film is ready to come out swinging.
Let’s just hope that J.J. Abrams producing number four is as good as J.J. Abrams directing number three.
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Derek Hough’s movie shows that dancing has taken off

By Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith
HollywoodNews.com: Yes, there are a lot of “Dancing With the Stars” fans missing popular pro Derek Hough this season. However, “He is off to Canada to film a movie, ‘Cobu 3D.’ He’s starring. He’s dancing and acting,” notes Julie McDonald of the dance romance in which Hough’s leading lady is Asian star BoA. “He wants to do other things, and this is a wonderful opportunity for him.”
Hough is among the elite group of dance talents represented by McDonald’s MSA agency — so she knows. The former dancer (whose own career was cut short by injury) has more than 20 years’ experience in working with dancers, stage director and choreographers, including “So You Think You Can Dance” choreography faves Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo. Tabitha and Napoleon happen to be choreographing “Cobu,” in addition to assignments like Fox’s “Mobbed” and “The Kids Choice Awards,” plus the new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, “Chipwrecked.”
“People’s careers are extending longer and longer in dance,” McDonald observes, “but those who want to have even longer careers have to expand. Some go into choreography, some into acting. Then you see a lot of choreographers going into producing and directing, like Kenny Ortega, Adam Shankman and Rob Marshall.”
McDonald adds that today, with mass exposure including social networking making dance stars into household names, there are even more opportunities for branching out. “Dancers are often trendsetters. A lot of them are into fashion and design. Tabitha has a store,” she notes.
The explosion of dance and musical show popularity in recent years has made things both easier and more difficult for McDonald, a pioneer in exclusively representing terpsichorean types. The business, she notes, has become much more complicated — and crowded. “There are a lot more people out there calling themselves choreographers.”
Still, there’s obviously demand for the cream of the corps. In a sampling of McDonald’s clients, Swany (Mark Swanhart) is the choreographer for Celine Dion’s new Vegas show and Gilles Papain is their video designer. Sonya Tayeh is directing and choreographing Miley Cyrus’s new tour. Marguerite Derricks is choreographing Broadway’s Wonderland, and Jamie King is directing the forthcoming Michael Jackson Cirque du Soliel show with Travis Payne choreographing. That show is so huge, in fact, McDonald says that multiple choreographers are contributing their talents.
To read [...]

This Week In Movies with Pete Hammond

By Pete Hammond
hollywoodnews.com: For the first time two 3D movies opened against each other on the same weekend grabbing a combined total of an estimated $60 million at the box office just one week after the debut of another 3D family epic, The Chronicles Of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader which held pretty well from a soft opening, and only one week before yet another 3Der, Jack Black’s Gulliver’s Travels. Both of those movies plus both of this week’s flicks, Tron: Legacy and Yogi Bear are blasts from the past rebooted with new technological advances to make their dormant characters hot again. The future is here, movie-wise, and the studios are clearly stating their aim with this kind of holiday programming.

As for Tron: Legacy its $43.6 million dollar start plus B+ Cinemascore bodes well for a sci-fi reinvention based on a 28 year old Disney movie that was no great shakes to start with. Jeff Bridges starred in that one and he’s back this time but the difference is literally night and day as he is now playing opposite his younger self thanks to some remarkable effects by Digital Domain. This technology of actually making the same actor age up or down instead of hiring different actors to play a character at different ages was first brought to light in a major way with DD’s Oscar winning work on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in which we saw Brad Pitt go from old man to baby and all points in-between. When I visited Digital Domain’s Venice , California headquarters recently DD head Cliff Plummer, Visual Effects Supervisor (and ‘Benjamin Button’ Visual Effects Oscar winner) Eric Barba, “Mothership” head Ed Ulbrich and Oscar winning head of DD animation Steve Preeg helped explain the process and showed me a remarkable teaser that they, along with Tron: Legacy director Joe Kosinski, put together in order to even convince Disney it would be possible to do this reboot and make Bridges convincing as both his 60 year old current self and his 30 years younger version.
So they created a mini-trailer and took it to Comic Con where fanboys went wild and convinced Disney to give the greenlight to the expensive project. After all the original Tron was no great shakes at the box office (about $33 million in 1982 [...]

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