Photo: Chris Hemsworth, left, stars with Chris Evans in "The Avengers." Credit: Walt Disney Studios
From the LA Times Company Town blog. Click here for the latest industry news.April 30, 2012
"The Avengers" makes bank in Asia and Europe one week prior to US Release. "The Avengers" is set to dominate the domestic box office next weekend with a massive opening of over $150 million -- but overseas, the film's ticket sales are already soaring.
The superhero action flick debuted in 39 foreign countries last week and has since raked in a phenomenal $178.4 million, according to an estimate from distributor Walt Disney Studios. By comparison, Universal Pictures' "Battleship" passed the $170-million mark overseas this weekend after three weeks in international release.
The Skinny: I promise I'll never turn off another playoff game, no matter how much of a blowout it looks like. I was safe with the Knicks game but missed a classic comeback by the Clippers. Lesson learned. Monday's headlines include the surprise success of "Think Like a Man" at the box office, the struggle to bring apps to television and a look at why this summer's movie season will feel like a rerun.
In another sign of China's growing appetite for the entertainment industry, Beijing-based Seven Stars Entertainment has announced a partnership with the Chinese government to open a new "entertainment and media hub" in the world's most populous country.
Seven Stars Entertainment, a production company owned by media entrepreneur Bruno Wu, and the city of Tianjin said they would invest more than $1.27 billion to build a new entertainment and media complex outside of Beijing. To be called "Chinawood," the facility is to serve as a base for Chinese co-productions with filmmakers from the U.S., European nations and other foreign countries.
The complex is to include a 114,000-square-foot facility, scheduled to open in October, and house a film studio and private equity group controlled by Wu, who said the new center will "dramatically benefit" U.S. production partners.
Co-productions are exempt from China's quota system on foreign films allowed into the country.
"With the East Asia film market on course to be worth $10 billion by 2015, of which China will account for 50%, and rapidly catching up to North America, it is crucial, as well as inevitable, that we offer the products and services to facilitate substantial cooperation between the two territories," Wu said in a statement. "This project is a significant step towards closing that gap by providing expertise and facilities in all areas of financing, legal, co-production, distribution, marketing, sales and infrastructure."
Photo: A scene from "Think Like a Man." Credit: Alan Markfield / Associated Press
Return that ring. "Think Like a Man" once again surprised the box-office experts by staying in first place and beating back four new movies. The romantic comedy took in $18 million and is clearly appealing beyond its African American base. The big disappointment of the weekend was the romantic comedy "The Five-Year Engagement," which was supposed to open at No. 1 with $18 million but finished fourth with $11.2 million. I do recall saying in this space last Friday that the movie's marketing left much to be desired, so I'm honestly not surprised that viewers stayed away. It was pitched like a straight-to-DVD release and tried too hard to tie itself to "Bridesmaids." Box-office recaps from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.
Daily Dose: This time of year, TV actors and producers are walking on egg shells waiting to hear if their shows will get renewed for the fall schedules, which are announced in a few weeks. Some casts have to be good sports about the whole thing too. NBC had its prime-time programs take part in filming a bit the network will show at its presentation to advertisers next month. Some of those participating, including the cast of the drama "Parenthood," still don't know if they'll be back next season. If the show gets cut from the schedule, their faces will get cut from the video. Ouch.
Gambling on a Blockbuster to make the summer hot...
Why isn't there an app for that? Although new platforms have changed the way people get their content, cable and satellite companies have steered clear of so-called apps. Though it may seem like only a matter of time until one turns on the TV screen and downloads apps for the cable channels they want, programmers have little incentive to tear up the current business model. Time Warner doesn't want to sell you a TNT app. They want you to have to buy TNT, TBS, TruTV, CNN and their other channels. The New York Times looks at the challenges of introducing the app approach to the pay-TV world.
Bygones. Although much of Hollywood cooled on its love affair with President Obama after the administration expressed concern about anti-piracy legislation that was subsequently defeated, now the wallets are opening up again. George Clooney is hosting an all-star fundraiser expected to bring in at least $10 million. The Wall Street Journal looks at how Obama is wooing back Hollywood.
We have met the enemy, and he is us. Kids love watching cartoon on Netflix. Disney and Nickelodeon make nice money selling their content to the streaming service. But in some cases, Netflix viewing may be taking eyeballs away from the cable channels. Media analyst Todd Juenger wonders if kids' programmers should rethink how they sell to Netflix. More from Barrons.
Maybe the lockout was a good idea. A shortened basketball season gave a sense of urgency to the season, and ratings were up at ABC and TNT and flat on ESPN. The playoffs are already off to a strong start as well. Still, I don't recommend the labor dispute strategy again. Details from Variety.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: If this summer feels like a rerun, that's because there are lots of sequels at the box office. Ben Fritz looks at what is coming this summer (see graph at right).
-- Joe Flint and others
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