Some of country music’s big names, including Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Darius Rucker and Zac Brown Band, take the stage at the Bayou Country Superfest at LSU’s Tiger Stadium for a Memorial Day holiday jamfest.
Whichever way the mistral wind blows on Sunday when Steven Spielberg’s jury hands out its awards, it’s fair to say that, for critics, the Competition has been divisive. While a number of films received huzzahs in the Palais, several met with mixed reactions. Among the best received were the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, Steven Soderbergh’s Behind The Candelabra, Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s Like Father Like Son, and Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue Is The Warmest Color. Among the not so hot were Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives and Takashi Miike’s Shield Of Straw, both of which were subject to boos during press screenings. And, yet, each has its supporters.
Only God Forgives had something to live up to. Winding Refn and star Ryan Gosling were the darlings of Cannes two years ago when the former won the directing prize for Drive. But God Forgives‘ violence and extreme exercise in style were a turn-off for many. Still, The Guardian gave it five stars. One veteran critic adds that supporters also “tend to be French and genre specialists.” Libération calls Gosling, “The greatest actor of all time in the galaxy of the world.” Shield Of Straw, from the prolific and iconic Japanese director Miike was booed, “not because it’s totally awful, but because it really didn’t belong in Competition,” I’m told. But The Japan Times says it’s the type of film that’s “beloved by the local industry.” Warner Bros. recently released in Japan for about $12M in the first three weeks.
Other divisive titles include A Castle In Italy, the sole Competition film directed by a woman. Some see the semi-autobiographical story as too bourgeois, but France’s Première finds it transcends helmer Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi’s previous work. Many agree James Gray’s The Immigrant boasts a strong performance from Marion Cotillard as a Polish immigrant in early 20th century New York. But terms tossed around about the film alternately include “extraordinary,” “unengaging,” “sublime,” “lame,” and “superbly directed.”
Whether a film’s future career depends on its reception here is debatable, some say. Amat Escalante’s Heli scored low on critics’ lists, but still closed deals. Sales agent Fiorella Moretti tells me divided reviews didn’t much change her ability to sell the film. She allows that U.S., UK and Latin American (especially Argentinian) distributors rely on reviews, “but it’s not the last word.” Given the homefield advantage, a film’s French career can be tarnished if the local press doesn’t like it. (A distributor says the same goes for the Venice Film Festival where a bad reaction from the Italian press does no favors to a film’s prospects in Italy.) Still, if a film is not scheduled for release immediately following a festival, the reaction can blow over and the marketing can be tweaked. If a film needs reviews to help push it, then positive critiques “can bring a smaller movie into the limelight,” an offshore sales agent says. If films are mainstream, they can sometimes get past negative critical reaction. Conversely, even good reviews at Cannes can’t guarantee success at the box office. Last year’s Brad Pitt-starrer Killing Them Softly debuted in Competition to largely positive notices but only made about $15M in the U.S. and another $22M foreign.
Speaking of box office, France’s Relax News pulled together some interesting figures on what Palme d’Or winners have done in receipts over the past 25 years. According to the research, Michael Moore’s controversial 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 is the top scoring victor with about $220M in receipts, followed by 1995’s Pulp Fiction with $214M. Roman Polanski’s The Pianist rounds out the top three with $120M. His Venus In Fur screens here in Competition today.
SATURDAY 6:30 PM, 7TH UPDATE: Summer 2013 keeps sizzling as huge grosses for the Top 6 movies add up to the biggest Memorial Day weekend and the biggest 4-day holiday ever(numbers below). That’s potentially $300+ million, easily beating 2011′s all-time Memorial Weekend record of $276M. Yowza! The easy #1 is Universal’s Fast & Furious 6 pulling ahead with $39M Friday (including Thursday late shows and Friday midnights) to target $119.3M for the holiday weekend from 3,658 domestic theaters. After 12 years, five films and more than $1.5 billion at the global box office, the sixth Fast & Furious installment successfully transitioned from street racing to heist action to terrorist plot and will be the franchise’s biggest opening by far. Audiences gave it an ‘A’ CinemaScore which will help word of mouth. Universal claims the cost of the movie is $160M. F&F6 debuted in 2,409 North American theaters for Thursday 10 PM late shows and Friday midnights and made $6.5M which speeded past Fast 5‘s $3.8M late show grosses from an uncrowded April 29, 2011. It debuts day and date in 59 total international territories this weekend and already has $53.4M from 34 international markets, opening #1 in all of them as the franchise’s biggest. Another 25 territories release Friday. No studio has ever dared to keep changing the genre of a successful franchise – but chairman Adam Fogelson and co-chairman Donna Langley again hired Chris Morgan to freshen it yet again. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is back as a federal agent alongside Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and of course director Justin Lin (behind the camera for the 4th time) and longtime producer Neal Moritz. It also stars Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Elsa Pataky plus newcomers Luke Evans and Gina Carano.
The #2 film is Warner Bros’ The Hangover Part III co-financed with Legendary Pictures making $14.5M Friday after earning $11.7M for its Wednesday late shows/Thursday midnights. As the only R-rated comedy, it’s aiming for a $52M Memorial Weekend from 3,555 North American theaters and $63.5M cume over 5 1/2 days. Studio claims the cost was $103M. Pic’s $11.7 million start for Wednesday late shows and Thursday midnights was miniscule compared to H2‘s April 2011 Thursday opening of $31.6M - the highest-grossing opening day ever for a live-action comedy. Audiences only gave The Hangover Part III a ‘B’ CinemaScore compared to the ‘A-’ which the sequel scored. Reviews were only 26% positive on Rotten Tomatoes compared to H2‘s 34% which was considered embarrassingly awful. (By contrast, both F&F6 and Epic both scored 70+% positive RT reviews.) But worldwide moviegoers really like this mindless summer crap. Internationally, the comedy is taking off in only 3 markets this weekend – the UK, Australia and New Zealand with strong early numbers. Next weekend H3 opens in 32 markets, including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil. Memorial Weekend wouldn’t have been so crowded if either Warner Bros (who came late and then moved from a Friday to Thursday wide release) or Universal (who tagged it from the beginning) blinked. “But they just stared each other down as they both were driving off a cliff,” one rival studio exec says. Strange because the weekend of May 31st stayed open until Will Smith’s After Earth grabbed it. H3 is positioned as ”the epic conclusion to the trilogy of mayhem and bad decisions” and ”fans have to see how the most popular comedy franchise of all time ends”. Director Todd Phillips returns Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and nemesis Ken Jeong to Las Vegas where it all began.
And #4 right now is Twentieth Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios’ 3D toon Epic which is looking at $9.1M Friday and expecting $44.2M in 3,882 U.S. and Canadian locations for Memorial Weekend.That’s about par for the course for original content animated films in a very competitive environment. (Opening weekends for recent comps range from $37M-$39M. This may pop since audiences gave it an ‘A’ CinemaScore which will help word of mouth. Sibling of the hit Ice Age and Rio franchises looks more earnest and less fun but benefits greatly from what has been a drought of family fare since March when The Croodsopened. Fox claims cost was $93M for this Chris Wedge-directed animated actioner with screenplay credited to James V. Hart & William Joyce, Dan Shere, and Tom J. Astle & Matt Ember. Producers were Lori Forte and Jerry Davis. Beyoncé was the cast ‘get’ plus Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Christoph Waltz, Aziz Ansari, Pitbull, Jason Sudeikis, Steven Tyler. Blake Anderson, and Judah Friedlander. Epic began its $14.5M overseas rollout last weekend in only 16 markets - only 3 top – with 20 additional international territories opening this Memorial Weekend.
There are also 3 proven blockbusters still in the marketplace: Disney/Marvel’s Iron Man 3 in 3,424 theaters, Warner Bros/Village Roadshow’s The Great Gatsby in 3,090 locations (which Friday crossed $100M domestic after only 14 days and is the first Baz Luhrmann film to do so), and Paramount/Skydance’s Star Trek In Darkness in 3,907 theaters.
Here’s the Top Six based on Friday estimates. Refined numbers in the morning:
1. Fast & Furious 6 (Universal) NEW [Runs 3,658] PG13
Friday $39.0M, Weekend $96.2M, 4-Day Holiday $119.3M
2. The Hangover III (Legendary/Warner Bros) NEW [Runs 3,555] R
Friday $14.5M, Weekend $43.0M, 4-Day Holiday $52.0M, Cume $63.5M
3. Star Trek Into Darkness (Paramount) Week 2 [Runs 3,907] PG13
Friday $10.1M, Weekend $37.0M, 4-Day Holiday $47.0M, Cume $155.9M
4. Epic (Blue Sky Studios/Fox) NEW [Runs 3,882] PG
Friday $9.1M, Weekend $34.5M, 4-Day Holiday $44.2M
5. Iron Man 3 (Marvel/Disney) Week 3 [Runs 3,424] PG13
Friday $5.2M, Weekend $19.5M, 4-Day Holiday $25.0M, Cume $373.0M
6. Great Gatsby (Village Roadshow/Warner Bros) Week 3 [Runs 3,090] PG13
Friday $3.9M, Weekend $14.0M, 4-Day Holiday $18.0M, Cume $118.7M
Aviva Drescher is back on for the sixth season of Bravo's "The Real Housewives of New York City," a Bravo insider told TheWrap.
The housewife, who held the production hostage along with her cast mates for bigger paychecks earlier this month, broke the news on Twitter.
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Fox sent a wave through the television ranks when it announced on Friday that Mike Darnell, its alternative programming president, is leaving the network at the end of June.Related Articles: Fox's Mike Darnell, Alternative Programming Chief, Exiting Network WME Signs Departing Fox Exec Mike Darnell (Exclusive) Jennifer Hudson in Negotiations to Judge 'American Idol'
Fox's president of alternative entertainment, Mike Darnell, has announced his departure.
The executive will be exiting the network at the end of June, Fox announced on Friday.Related Articles: WME Signs Departing Fox Exec Mike Darnell (Exclusive) 'American Idol' & 'Voice' Winners: Who's Broken Out, Who's Just Broken (Photos) Jennifer Hudson in Negotiations to Judge 'American Idol'
Actors Ed Asner, Clancy Brown, Dennis Hayden, and George Coe are among the 15 plaintiffs who filed suit today in federal court against SAG-AFTRA for not properly disbursing $110 million in foreign residuals they say have not been paid out. Asner is the former SAG president (1981-1985) who very publicly opposed the SAG-AFTRA merger along with other ex-union board members. The 52-page filing also claims that the merged union has deliberately withheld information and kept the money in trust and spent portions on first class travel and lavish parties and big salaries for current union officials. “Plaintiffs have reason to believe that SAG-AFTRA has now amassed a substantial slush fund that does not belong to the labor organization but instead belongs to members and non-members, and/or their estates, on covered and uncovered works,” says Friday’s filing. Requesting a jury trial, the plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages as well as injunctive relief and an order by the court that would stop the union from being able to collect overseas royalties. Instead, the suit proposes a separate “independent body” established to handle the funds in the future.
Today’s action follows a request made to SAG-AFTRA back in September 2012 for a full accounting of the collection of the foreign funds. Asner was one of the plaintiffs in an ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit in early 2012 to get a preliminary and permanent injunction to stop SAG from calling for a vote on the proposed SAG-AFTRA merger. Clancy Brown and George Coe were also plaintiffs in that suit and are plaintiffs today, too. All were also on the losing side in an effort to stop SAG and AFTRA becoming one union. Members passed the union merger overwhelming on March 30, 2012. The Burbank law firm of Helena S. Wise represents the plaintiffs.
The Indianapolis 500 will be broadcast Sunday on ABC. But this DreamWorks Animation toon’s 2nd phase trailer waits what seems like an interminable time for the tie-in. David Soren writes and directs Turbo about a snail that feels the need for speed. Scripted with Darren Lemke and Robert D. Siegel, its voice cast includes Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Bill Hader, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, Snoop Dogg, and Samuel L. Jackson. The Fox release opens July 19th: