2011 wasn’t a good year for film studios, with the fewest tickets sold since 1995. Theatrical revenues dropped 4.5% overall, and it didn’t look much better on the home entertainment, DVD and streaming front. However, if some analysts are to be believed, 2012 will be better.
The Hollywood Reporter cites analysts from Barclays Capital and MKM Partners, who predict growth in 2012, but not because of increased attendance. Instead, growth, or rather, revenue growth, will come from increased ticket prices. The same analysts predict a price increase of about 2 to 3 percent per ticket.
The analysts were still optimistic for an increased attendance rate, and said that we could see a 1% (a whopping 1%!) increase in attendance due to big titles like The Dark Knight Rises, Men in Black 3, and The Hobbit.
While major Hollywood studios keep fighting everyone from pirates to Netflix in their quest to retain ownership and profits for their content, Sony Pictures executive John Calkins has some other words, words that moviegoers will be happy to hear.
Calkins, who runs the digital content division of Sony Pictures, said in a recent interview with PC Magazine, that prices of digital downloads are too high, and that Sony is pricing their content at “a couple of bucks lower”. Calkins said,
“If you look at our pricing on new releases today, the pricing for online ownership is too high. For us, the number one mission in Hollywood today is to bring more value to ownership. Collecting offline has been a great success story for us; we’d like to replicate that online.”
Calkins went on to say that most people prefer the rental option because it’s much cheaper, and that in order to get consumers to buy the movie instead, it has to be a combination of offering extras and a lower price.
Of course, many people have been saying this for years: the prices are too high, and as the late Steve Jobs once told content owners, “you’re competing against free”.
The final poster for Haywire has just been released by Relativity Media for the upcoming action-thriller, directed by Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh.
The cast of Haywire is very impressive. Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Michael Douglas, Michael Angarano and mixed martial arts superstar Gina Carano star in the film.
From looking at the new trailer, the movie is a dynamic action-thriller with Carano performing her own high-adrenaline stunts. The trailer doesn’t really tell us much about the movie. But what is clear is that Carano kicks some serious butts. Those butts belong to men. Go Girl!
Carano plays Mallory Kane, a highly trained operative who works for a government security contractor in the dirtiest, most dangerous corners of the world. After successfully freeing a Chinese journalist held hostage, she is double crossed and left for dead by someone close to her in her own agency. Now she is the target of skilled assassins who know her every move, Mallory must find the truth in order to stay alive.
Using her black-ops military training, she devises an ingenious—and dangerous—trap. But when things go haywire, Mallory realizes she’ll be killed in the blink of an eye unless she finds a way to turn the tables on her ruthless adversary.
The movie opens January 20, 2011.
British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, a fairly unknown face here in the States, but a well-known and highly regarded character actor in the UK, has been cast as the villain of the upcoming Star Trek sequel, scheduled for release in 2013. Cumberbatch has appeared in such films as Atonement, War Horse, and will appear in the upcoming The Hobbit as well.
Star Trek was one of the most successful films of 2009, and a big part of its success came from its cast: a batch of young, talented actors, aided by seasoned veterans like Eric Bana and Simon Pegg. Much of the original cast will be returning for the sequel: including Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Seldana, to name a few.
The Star Trek sequel, helmed by J.J. Abrams, is in production now and is scheduled for a Summer 2013 release.
If you have been reading the trades then you know that Australian actor Joel Edgerton has for a long been connected to the untitled Osama Bin Laden film with Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal attached. Edgerton, who is best known for starring in the Warrior has made it official – he has signed on to star.
According to the trades, Edgerton has been the number one choice since as early as May; but he had some scheduling conflicts and dealings with an unfinished script. Since Edgerton bowed out of Warner Bros. sequel to 300 and the script is now done, he’s joined the Bin Laden film, which also includes Jason Clarke.
Bigelow will direct the film from Boal’s script. The story focuses on the Navy Seal team that tracked and eventually killed Osama Bin Laden. Boal and Bigelow are well-known for their Hurt Locker collaboration – winning the Oscar for best movie.
The film is scheduled to go into production in February with a release date set for December 19, 2012.
Several roles are still open for casting. One role involves a female reporter entrenched with the Navy Seal team. Variety reports that Rooney Mara had been a possible choice, but her The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo promotion schedule ended that bright idea.
The Aussie has made a name for himself with such films as Animal Kingdom and Warrior. His next big film is The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan.
According to a report in the LA Times, the upcoming zombie apocalypse movie World War Z, starring Brad Pitt, may be the first one in a trilogy. Apparently, Paramount Pictures and director Marc Forster see World War Z as a trilogy, rather than a standalone flick. World War Z, with a reported budget of $150 million, is slated for release in December 2012.
Starring Linda Cardellini, Michael Shannon and John Slattery and directed by Liza Johnson, Return is an edgy film about returning to the States after combat duty. But, it’s not a husband or dad returning. It’s Kelli (Cardellini) who is a wife and mother.
When she returns home from war, she expected to slowly but surely settle back into her life with her husband (Shannon) and kids in the small town she grew up in.
Instead, she gradually realizes that the life she left behind is no longer there waiting for her. The trailer is very tight and tense as we see Kelli’s struggle to find her place in a life she no longer recognizes.
Cardellini’s vivid performance in this trailer is worth seeing. You can see it over at Apple. As an independent film, shown at Cannes Film Festival 2011, Directors Fortnight, Return will open in select theaters on February 10, 2012 and will be available on VOD on February 28th.
Cowboy Bebop is one of the most beloved anime series ever, and a live-action feature film has been in and out of development for a very long time. In its current iteration, it’s at Fox with Keanu Reeves attached to play protagonist Spike Spiegel.
However, back in the early 2000s, there was another set of producers looking to cash in on Cowboy Bebop, and they had someone else in mind: reportedly, Stephen Dorff was set to play Spike Spiegel, with Cameron Diaz as Faye. The above poster is a fan-made affair that circulated the net in 2003, based on rumors at the time. If you know Cowboy Bebop, you’ll know that the poster and the cast do it far from any justice.
Luckily for Cowboy Bebop fans, the film never materialized. The new version with Keanu Reeves was reportedly put on hold in 2010 pending a rewrite in order to reduce the budget of the production.
Sequels keep the heart of Hollywood beating strong and steady. Some say that is not a good thing; but it brings money to the studios. Paramount studio is developing another Paranormal Activity feature – fourth one within four years.
The studio announced the plan for the fourth sequel yesterday while also announcing Paramount as the No. 1 studio with worldwide grosses in 2011 — scoring best ever at $5.17 billion. If you do the math, In North America the studio brought in $1.96 billion and $3.21 billion internationally. That’s quite a showing in North America.
The fourth installment is listed as part of the studio’s 2012 lineup, which also includes G.I. Joe: Retaliation, World War Z and The Dictator.
It’s hard to imagine what more Paramount can milk out of the supernatural storyline. The last two installments were pretty much similar as prequels to the original. The combined $581 million in worldwide grosses is, obviously, the key factor for making a fourth. The first movie opened as a limited release, whereas the next two sequels went into wide release the weekend before Halloween.
The original Paranormal Activity, written and directed by Oren Peli, was a phenomenon – costing only $15,000 to produce. Peli used the infamous “found footage” technique. The storyline centered on a young couple haunted by a supernatural presence.
Paranormal Activity 3 was directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman from a screenplay by Christopher B. Landon. The fourth installment producers, director, writer and release dates have not been announced yet.
Director Zack Snyder is hard at work on the new Superman film, which is scheduled to begin filming this spring. According to rumors, Warner Bros. is in late-stage talks with Bradley Cooper for the part of none other than super villain Lex Luthor — a role which has been previously portrayed by heavy hitters like Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey.
Bradley Copper seems somewhat of an odd choice for the bald villain, but we’ll see how it works out (we’re yet to see Cooper bald, after all). The new Superman movie, officially titled Man of Steel, is scheduled for a 2013 release.