By Shawn Robbins
Walt Disney Studios announced this afternoon a handful of release date changes (seen below), most notable among them being the 7- and 18-month delay of two Pixar films. The widely anticipated Finding Dory, originally slated for November 25, 2015, will now be released on June 17, 2016 (filling the void of the "Untitled Pixar Film" Disney had in that slot). In addition, The Good Dinosaur will take Dory's former place on the schedule as it has been delayed from its original May 30, 2014 date to November 25, 2015.
In addition to those moves, Disney announced the following:
- The Fifth Estate (from DreamWorks) will now see a wide release on October 18 this year (from October 11 in limited release)
- Maleficent (starring Angelina Jolie) moves to May 30, 2014 (from July 2, 2014)
- McFarland receives a November 21, 2014 wide release date
Obviously, the biggest news here is the shuffling of two major Pixar films. The Good Dinosaur will now release a year-and-a-half later than planned. Although it's fairly late in the game to delay a film that was relatively close to its summer release next year, the news makes sense in the wake of this month's announcement that director Bob Petersen (co-director of Up) was removed as director.
Although this move leaves 2014 with no Pixar films for the first time since 2005 (in between 2004's The Incredibles and 2006's Cars), the strategy is wise given the creative conflicts that seem to have arisen over the original story. Now, Pixar has the time necessary to steer the ship back in the right direction.
Meanwhile, Finding Dory will also benefit from its move to summer. Rumors persist that Disney may release Star Wars: Episode VII in or around December 2015--less than one month after Dory was originally slated to open. Although that remains wholly unconfirmed, the pieces are starting to align in a way that quietly indicate Disney's intentions. Time will tell. Either way, Finding Nemo became the highest-attended Pixar film ever (domestically and overseas) with its Summer 2003 release, so Dory will be right at home in June 2016.
Insidious: Chapter 2 is already turning heads. The micro-budget horror sequel opened in North America to $40.27 million and posted the biggest Friday opening of all time for a horror film in U.K. box office history en route to a $4.59 million bow. The sequel finished the weekend as the top film in the United Kingdom with a debut that outgrossed comparable titles like The Conjuring, The Purge, Mama, and Insidious. Insidious: Chapter 2 is currently playing on 558 screens at 414 locations across the U.K. The original Insidious opened to $2.4 million in the United Kingdom and went on to gross $11.9 million in the market. BoxOffice estimates the film's total budget at $30 million, making Insidious: Chapter 2 an instant box office hit.
eOne, Film District, and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions announced a third entry to the franchise today with Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2 screenwriter Leigh Whannell set to pen next the chapter in the horror saga.
In a joint statement made available through a press release, Peter Schlessel, FilmDistrict's CEO, Xavier Marchand, eOne's President, Film Production, and Steven Bersch, President of SPWA, said, "The release of the first Insidious resonated with audiences around the world and quickly became one of the most talked about films in 2011. This weekend moviegoers enjoyed the terrifying continuation of the first film and we are confident they will be excited to see the third chapter of the Insidious world. There is nobody better suited to bring audiences the next chapter of this haunting story than Leigh who has brilliantly written both Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2."
Jason Blum, founder and CEO of Blumhouse added, "FilmDistrict, eOne and SPWA have been incredible partners on the Insidious franchise. We are all so grateful for how audiences embraced James Wan and Leigh's latest film and are excited to see what Leigh has in store for the third chapter."
Monsters University reached its last overseas market in South Korea and walked away with a $1.2 million bow. The film will look to add to its tally over the country's Chuseok holiday this upcoming Wednesday. Monsters University has earned $465.4 million overseas and $730.9 million globally.
Despicable Me 2 opened head-to-head against Monsters University in South Korea and finished with a $2 million take with previews factored in. The Minions also opened in Iceland, where they posted the highest box office gross for a Saturday in 2013. Despicable Me 2 walked away with $86k from its opening weekend in Iceland. The animated sequel is Universal's highest grossing film of all time in Russia, where it has currently grossed $33 million after 32 days in release. Despicable Me 2 has grossed $481.2 million overseas and $840.2 million worldwide.
Planes got a boost from openings in Brazil and Mexico, the two largest markets in Latin America. The animated film took in $2.6 million from Mexico during a holiday weekend, finishing in first place at the box office. Planes earned $1.9 million in Brazil to finish in second place behind the premiere of The Conjuring. Planes has earned a total of $55.8 million outside of North America and has grossed $138.8 million worldwide The film will open in Australia and Slovenia next weekend.
Riddick reached a $22 million overseas total after taking in $9.6 million from 39 markets over the weekend. The sci-fi action flick had a successful bow in Russia with a $4.3 million premiere from 926 screens. A $1.1 million opening in Australia had Riddick premiere in second place behind The Smurfs 2. The film opens in Belgium, France, Germany, and Sweden next week. Riddick has grossed $53.2 million worldwide.
The Conjuring took the top spot in its Brazilian debut with a $4.1 million bow. It was a packed weekend in Brazil that also saw the premieres of Planes, 2 Guns, and Rush. The Conjuring fell to second place after three consecutive weeks as the #1 film in Mexico. A $1 million hold in its fourth weekend pushed The Conjuring to a $16.7 million cume in the market. Top markets for the horror film include the United Kingdom ($16M), Russia ($10M), Australia ($8.1M), Spain ($7.8M), and Argentina ($6.2M). The Conjuring will open in South Korea on Tuesday, ahead of the country's long holiday weekend. The horror film has grossed an overseas total of $132.5 million and a global cume of $270.6 million.
A $1.5 million opening in Germany accounted for about half of the overseas weekend take for Red 2. The film has grossed $71 million overseas and is set to open in China later this month. The global total for Red 2 is $123.6 million.
R.I.P.D. opened in mid-sized releases in Australia and Italy, posting low numbers from traditionally large markets. Australia brought in $466k from 150 locations and Italy contributed $78k from 133 dates. R.I.P.D. has grossed $34.6 million overseas and $67.9 million globally with nine territories to come. The film will open in Argentina, Spain, and the United Kingdom next weekend.
Jurassic Park 3D reached $53.8 million from China, where it has grossed the lion's share of its $71.1 million overseas total. It is Universal's second biggest film in the market, only trailing this summer's Fast & Furious 6. Jurassic Park 3D has grossed $116.5 million worldwide. The film will open in its last two territories, Argentina and Portugal, on October 3.
Fast 6 is finishing its overseas run after hitting the $550 milestone outside of North America. The sixth entry in the Fast & Furious franchise has grossed $788.7 million worldwide. It is the year's second biggest earner overseas and is third in terms of global box office.
Pain and Gain saw a strong $1.4 million opening from 254 locations in France as it continues its run in 24 territories. The film is posting healthy cumes in Germany ($6M), the United Kingdom ($3.6M), and Spain ($2M). Pain and Gain has grossed a total of $29.1 million overseas and $78.9 million worldwide. They aren't the numbers that director Michael Bay is used to, but it's a respectable take from a film that has seen a limited overseas release on a $55 million budget.
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters crossed the $100 million overseas mark after opening in 13 new markets. Italy posted the best result with a first place $1.9 million debut. The family-friendly adventure film is reporting strong runs in France ($12.6M), Russia ($12.1M), Brazil ($10.8M), and the United Kingdom ($10.6M). Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters has grossed $103.5 million overseas and $165.7 million worldwide.
We're the Millers enjoyed a $1.5 million opening in Italy including previews. The comedy finished second to Percy Jackson in the market but finished its opening frame with the weekend's highest per-screen average and outperformed similar titles like Bad Teacher, Horrible Bosses, and Bridesmaids. Other top markets for the film include Russia ($16.5M), the United Kingdom ($11M), and Australia ($7.8M). We're the Millers has a $69.7 million overseas cume and has grossed $195.8 million globally.
The Wolverine is set in Japan but couldn't attract enough interest in the country to finish above third place. A $2.4 million debut from 655 screens in Japan helped the film reach a $238 million overseas cume and $367.6 million global total. The Wolverine will try its luck in China on October 17, where a successful run could push it above the $400 million global mark.
Now You See Me is enjoying its run over the $200 million mark overseas. The magic/heist film has grossed $203.5 million outside of North America and $320.8 million worldwide.
Sunday Update: FilmDistrict's Insidious Chapter 2 dominated the box office this weekend with a massive estimated $41.05 million first place debut. That figure represents the second largest unadjusted opening weekend ever for the month of September (behind only the $42.52 million debut of last year's Hotel Transylvania) and the second largest opening weekend for a traditional horror film in 2013 (slightly behind the $41.86 million start of The Conjuring back in July). That director James Wan has two $40 million openers within a few months of one another is especially impressive. Also especially impressive is that Insidious Chapter 2 opened 209 percent stronger than the $13.27 million start of 2011's Insidious, and that like its predecessor, Insidious Chapter 2 carried a small production budget (reported at $5 million). On the heels of Olympus Has Fallen earlier in the year, Insidious Chapter 2 represents the second over-performer of 2013 for FilmDistrict.
Insidious Chapter 2 grossed $20.06 million on Friday (with a modest estimated $1.5 million of that total coming from late-night Thursday shows that began at 10 p.m.) and went on to register an opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.05 to 1. Insidious Chapter 2 was quite front-loaded this weekend, but that came as no surprise given the film's status as a high-profile horror sequel and from the film receiving an added opening day boost from Friday the 13th. While it may take a bit for the film to stabilize, Insidious Chapter 2 will have a good chance of stabilizing at some point thanks in part to the limited amount of horror options for moviegoers this fall. The film's B+ rating on CinemaScore is also a very encouraging early sign, especially for a horror film.
The audience breakdown for Insidious Chapter 2 was split fairly evenly between genders (52 percent male, 48 percent female) and skewed towards moviegoers under the age of 25 (62 percent).
Relativity's The Family was off to a very respectable start this weekend with an estimated second place take of $14.5 million. The Luc Besson directed film starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer opened on the high end of expectations. The Family likely received an added boost as serving as the primary option for those who weren't interested in Insidious Chapter 2 this weekend. The opening weekend performance of The Family represents a bit of a bounce back for De Niro, who has seen his drawing power at the box office fall off in recent years with debuts such as the $9.35 million start of 2011's Killer Elite and the $7.59 million start of this year's The Big Wedding. The Family performed more in line with the $16.29 million start of 2008's Righteous Kill. De Niro will hope to continue to build back up box office momentum when Last Vegas debuts in theatres on November 1.
The Family grossed $5.4 million on Friday, was essentially unchanged on Saturday to gross $5.38 million and is estimated to fall 31 percent on Sunday to take in $3.72 million. That gave the film a so-so opening weekend to Friday ratio of 2.69 to 1. That isn't the greatest sign going forward and neither is the film's C CinemaScore rating. Furthermore, The Family will face major competition for adult audiences going forward, with the first of that new competition arriving this coming Friday in the form of Warner's Prisoners.
Universal's Riddick, last weekend's top film, fell 63 percent and two spots to land in third with an estimated $7.0 million. The sci-fi sequel starring Vin Diesel was expected to drop off significantly this weekend due to its fanbase-driven nature and the debut of Insidious Chapter 2. Riddick has grossed $31.28 million through ten days of release. That is a bit below expectations and is 26 percent softer than the $42.49 million ten-day start of 2004's The Chronicles of Riddick (which fell 61 percent in its second weekend to take in $9.42 million). However, it should be reminded that Riddick was far less expensive than The Chronicles of Riddick was.
In other box office news, Lee Daniels' The Butler is projected to top the $100 million mark on Sunday after grossing an estimated $5.58 million this weekend. The early awards season hopeful from The Weinstein Company was down 34 percent from last weekend and placed in fourth this weekend. The Butler has grossed $100.04 million through 31 days of release, thanks in part to very strong word of mouth and continued awards buzz.
Also reaching the $100 million domestic milestone this weekend was Sony's This Is The End. The R-rated ensemble comedy was down 59 percent from last weekend to gross an estimated $0.78 million this weekend. The 96-day total for This Is The End stands at $100.42 million.
We're the Millers rounded out this weekend's top five with an estimated $5.42 million. Despite the new competition it faced in the marketplace this weekend, the break-out comedy was down just 30 percent from last weekend. We're the Millers has grossed $131.60 million in 40 days.
Meanwhile, Lionsgate's Instructions Not Included began to lose momentum this weekend with an estimated sixth place take of $4.25 million. That was down a sizable 48 percent from last weekend, as the film may have been affected more than most by the arrival of Insidious Chapter 2. In the bigger picture, this weekend's decline isn't all that important given that the low budget comedy has already grossed $26.58 million in 17 days of release.
Saturday Update: FilmDistrict reports this morning that James Wan's Insidious Chapter 2 grossed an estimated $20.06 million on Friday, including the sequel's $1.5 million haul from Thursday night shows. On track for a huge $42 million opening weekend, the horror sequel handily topped the previous September opening day record of $13.1 million--impressively held for eleven years by Sweet Home Alabama. That figure also exceeds the $16.96 million first day of Wan's The Conjuring back in July, while falling in line with Paranormal Activity 2's $20.1 million opening day in 2010.
The previous high for horror films in September belonged to 2005's The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which debuted to $11.3 million in its first day onward to a $30.1 million weekend. Not only has Insidious Chapter 2's opening day already topped its predecessor's $13.3 million debut weekend, it's also targeting Hotel Transylvania's September weekend record of $42.5 million. That one's too close to call at this point.
Director James Wan (next helming Fast & Furious 7) is on a hot streak following the success of The Conjuring, and now, the Insidious franchise. The film's Flixster score is declining (at 72 percent as of this writing), however, it is still above the first film's 61 percent score for now. Given the Friday the 13th release tie-in, look for a significant drop on Saturday.
Relativity's The Family is slightly over-performing out of the gate. The Robert de Niro mob flick tallied $5.4 million yesterday, a much stronger showing than his previous flick this year--The Big Wedding, which debuted to $2.6 million in its first day. Although horror films usually stand to benefit most, Friday the 13th may have resulted in some spillover business for The Family and other films. Right now, the flick is on pace for around $15 million this weekend. Audience reception appears questionable as its Flixster rating is already down to 63 percent.
Friday Update: Insidious Chapter 2 snagged $1.5 million from Thursday evening shows. While that's certainly not a bad start, it doesn't compare favorably to the $3.3 million that The Conjuring managed from Thursday shows or the $3.4 million haul of The Purge on the day before full release.
Check back tomorrow morning for official studio estimates and BoxOffice's weekend projections.
Wednesday Update: Fandango reports that Insidious Chapter 2 currently ranks as their top horror pre-seller of the year to date, outselling Mama, The Evil Dead, The Purge and the director's previous movie, The Conjuring at the same point in their sales cycles.
According to a Fandango survey of more than 1,000 "Insidious 2" ticket-buyers:
· 82% plan to see the movie on opening weekend;
· 67% say they are fans of director James Wan (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring);
· 65% are attracted by the film's cast, led by Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne.
BoxOffice projects an impressive $40 million debut frame.
Only 25 months after the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the final and most successful entry in the Harry Potter franchise, Warner Bros. announced that it's headed back to Hogwarts. Potter scribe J.K. Rowling and the studio agreed on a development deal that will mark the author's screenwriting debut in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The new franchise will be an extension of the Potter universe without being a direct sequel or prequel to the Potter storyline. The protagonist of the new series will be Newt Scamander, the fictitious author who wrote the textbook the film draws its title from, a textbook used by Potter during his Hogwarts days.
The cast and characters that populated Potter's wizard world might not be present, but all other aspects of the globally proven formula will remain. "The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films," wrote Rowling on a statement published on her official Facebook page, "but Newt's story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry's gets underway."
The Harry Potter universe has earned $7.69 billion worldwide across eight films released theatrically from 2001 to 2011. It was difficult to think that Warner Bros. would walk away from such a profitable universe at the conclusion of the Potter storyline. Warner Bros. recently announced Batman's return in the upcoming Superman vs. Batman project currently in development, starring Ben Affleck as the new iteration of the Dark Knight. Director Christopher Nolan was responsible for reigniting Warner's Batman cash cow with a trilogy of films that resonated with critics and audiences alike. Warner Bros. wasted little time to revive the character, announcing Batman's return to the silver screen just a year after Nolan's final entry hit theaters.
The Superman vs. Batman concept seemed to be on the fast track in 2002 after Warner Bros. hired Wolfgang Petersen to direct the project, aiming for a summer 2004 release. At the time, both properties had languished in development hell, spending years on the shelf without any extraordinary interest past their respectively loyal fan(boy) bases. The project never materialized and Warner Bros. instead focused on revaluing their properties with stand-alone franchises. Batman eventually went to Nolan, who churned out a Dark Knight trilogy that grossed $2.45 billion worldwide. Superman had a misfire with Bryan Singer's Superman Returns, which grossed $391 million worldwide. Superman Returns had outgrossed the $374 million worldwide earned by the previous year's Batman Begins, but the direction of the franchise failed to garner much excitement. The formula was tweaked seven years later with the release of Zack Snyder's reboot, Man of Steel, which has grossed $661 million worldwide since its release in June. Warner Bros. is coming back to the Superman vs. Batman concept with the two superheroes in their box office prime.
Today's Hollywood is one of brand-name franchises, where familiar titles form part of an extensive and inter-locking diegetic universe. Disney and Marvel's partnership has maximized this strategy across the Avengers films and the corresponding stand-alone series that populate it. Disney looks to be ready to repeat the same formula with their acquisition of the Star Wars universe, with speculation of annual spin-off films to complement a new trilogy.
Unproven properties molded into wannabe blockbusters have their days numbered in Hollywood after two consecutive years of costly box office flops. The Lone Ranger, Battleship, R.I.P.D., Jack Reacher, and John Carter are only a handful of examples that show the difficulty of launching new crowd-pleasing properties. The fact that the films weren't any good might have something to do with it as well, but making a half-decent movie appears to be significantly less enticing than releasing a film that's easier to market.
One can hardly blame Warner Bros. for going back to J.K. Rowling in an attempt to dig up another multi-billion dollar franchise from the author. The deal isn't confined to whatever makes it onto the silver screen, maximizing the licensing power that comes with J.K. Rowling. The New York Times reports that the WB/Rowling deal includes additional attractions at the Harry Potter sections of the Universal Studios theme parks and global distribution rights to a televised miniseries from the BBC based on "The Casual Vacancy," her 2012 novel aimed at adults.
There is a lot of potential in this deal, but Warner Bros. has to be wary in how they develop their Potter universe spin-offs. Author Stephanie Meyer became a household name with the Twilight franchise, a series that grossed a total of $3.32 billion worldwide from five feature film adaptations. Meyer's following film project, The Host, bombed earlier this year after grossing $63.2 million globally. Granted, The Host didn't belong in the Twilight universe, but the discrepancy in global grosses between the two franchises clearly indicates that the audience's allegiance was with Meyer's characters rather than her oeuvre. Warner Bros. will be hoping the same doesn't apply with their fledgling Fantastic Beasts franchise. J.K. Rowling and the studios are ready to make Newt Scamander a household name in the coming years.
A look at some of the franchises mentioned in this article: