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Saturday, December 11, 2010

'The Tourist' Tanks Despite Johnny Depp & Angelina Jolie; 'Narnia 3D' Opens No. 1


The Top 10 North American motion pictures.   Both Fox's The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader and GK Films' The Tourist underperformed Friday.   Interesting that Fox Searchlight's Black Swan cracked the Top 10 despite playing in only 90 locations. That momentum should help its Oscar chances.
1. Chronicles Of Narnia/Voyage Of Dawn Teader 3D (Walden/Fox) NEW [3,555 Theaters]
Friday $8.2M, Estimated Weekend $28M

Fox management will be glad to see 2010 end. A weekend opening of $40 million for Narnia 3 would have been a home run for the studio restarting this fantasy franchise. Instead, Fox has only the low end of what it wanted: high $20sM which is low for a kid's film in 3D. But "the real story of this movie’s performance may well be the multiple off its opening and not the opening itself," a Fox exec emailed me. "Word of mouth about a great family film will serve us well as we move into the holidays." Narnia 3's budget of under $150 million, even with Walden still the co-financier, means this pic's grosses better pick up -- and quickly. (Still, that budget is nearly $100M below the second film. Plus Narnia 3 was shot in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK because of tax and currency conversion reasons.)
Fox really pulled out all the stops, including a London Royal Premiere in London with the Queen herself. The studio dated this PG threequel the same opening time frame as the first blockbuster film, and Fox took great pains to reestablish ties with the faith-based communities who made the first film such a hit and were ignored by the 2nd film, which was released in summer and promoted with a  lot of battle imagery. To that end, Fox hired Christian PR consultancy Grace Hill Media to reach out to churches, religious radio, faith-based websites, and so on. "The biggest hurdle was how to resurrect the franchise after the second film left the perception of a failed franchise," a Fox insider tells me. The Walden franchise had been at Disney, then moved to Fox because of a relationship dating back some years: Elizabeth Gabler at Fox 2000 originally wanted the series and pitched Walden on it before it went to Disney. When it became available again, Fox Filmed Entertainment co-chairmen Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos felt the franchise had a lot of life left in it, and Narnia just needed to be re-configured and re-launched.
2. The Tourist (GK Films/Sony) NEW [2,756 Theaters]
Friday $6.1M, Estimated Weekend $18.5M

When Angelina says to Johnny in the trailer, "I'm sorry I got you involved in this", we now know what she meant... Who knew? Not the distributor Sony Pictures which saw a fun sexy PG-13 thriller starring what’s surely the world’s hottest pairing right now and decided it was a big commercial pic that was going to play great during the crowded holiday season. Oops! But The Tourist really struggled on tracking all the way up until Thursday when it saw a jump. "But I think that jump may be more a function of marketing support rather than genuine interest," a rival studio exec told me. Then again this GK Film in association with Spyglass Entertainment is produced by Graham King and directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck who, so the production notes claim, presented his vision of The Tourist to King who took all of 30 minutes to decide to finance and produce the film. During its shoot, The TouristThe Tourist's savior may well be international. European distributor Studio Canal planned the biggest ever release across Europe because it’s a remake of its own 2005 film, Anthony Zimmer. paralyzed Venice and those parts of Italy where it was filming. (At one point, production was shut down because too many fans showed up trying to get pics.) 
English screenwriter Julian Fellowes wrote the original screenplay while American screenwriters Christopher McQuarrie (Valkyrie) and Jeffrey Nachmanoff (Traitor) did the rewrites about an American tourist drawn into a web of intrigue by a female Interpol agent. The production history of this movie was as convoluted as any thriller. Donnersmarck had previously dropped out of directing The Tourist. At that point Sam Worthington was going to play opposite Jolie. And Worthington only came on board after Tom Cruise dropped out. Cruise was originally going to star opposite Charlize Theron as the Interpol agent. Marketing was aimed at women, so the TV spots were bought during the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, Barbara Walters/Oprah interview, etc. Talent participated in a worldwide press junket in Paris and the cast and director are currently on a European tour.
3. Tangled 3D (Disney) Week 3 [3,565 Theaters]
Friday $3.4M, Estimated Weekend $14.5M, Cume $115.5M

4. Harry Potter/Deathly Hallows, Pt 1 (Warner Bros) Week 4 [3,577 Theaters]
Friday $2.4M, Estimated Weekend $8.5M, Cume $257.7M

5. Unstoppable (Fox) Week 5 [2,967 Theaters]
Friday $1.1M, Estimated Weekend $3.8M, Cume $74.2M

6. Burlesque (Screen Gems/Sony) Week 3
Friday $1M, Estimated Weekend $3.2M, Estimated Cume $32.7M

7. Love And Other Drugs (Fox) Week 3
Friday $1M, Estimated Weekend $3M, Estimated Cume $27.6M

8. Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Week 2 [90 Theaters]
Friday $987K, Estimated Weekend $3M, Estimated Cume $5.3M

9. Due Date (Warner Bros) Week 6
Friday $860K, Estimated Weekend $2.5M, Estimated Cume $94.8M

10. Megamind 3D (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) Week 7
Friday $565K, Estimated Weekend $3M, Estimated Cume $140.8M

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