Entertainment Industry

Category: New Regency

Box Office: 'Mission: Impossible' sequel is No. 1 Christmas pick [Updated]

"Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" was the No 1 film at the box office this weekend
Moviegoers chose to accept Tom Cruise's "Mission" at the box office this weekend.

"Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol," the fourth installment in the action franchise, grossed $46.2 million over the holiday period beginning Friday and ending Monday, according to an estimate from distributor Paramount Pictures. The movie -- budgeted at about $145 million -- debuted in limited release 11 days ago and has since racked up an impressive total of $78.6 million in ticket sales.

Warner Bros.' "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows," which opened last weekend, claimed the No. 2 spot. The $125-million production collected a soft $31.8 million over the long weekend, bringing its overall tally to $90.6 million. Twentieth Century Fox's $80-million "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked," which has also been in theaters for two weeks, came in with a disappointing $20 million. Both movies were expected to be big winners over the Christmas holiday, but each is so far lagging significantly behind their franchise predecessors in ticket sales.

David Fincher's highly anticipated "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" -- based on the first book in a trilogy of novels by Swedish author Stieg Larsson -- did decent business. The Sony Pictures movie opened Tuesday night, but grossed $19.4 million over the holiday weekend, raising its overall total to $27.7 million. The R-rated film had a budget of about $100 million, according to an individual close to the production, though a Sony spokesperson said the cost was $90 million.

Two new films directed by Steven Spielberg debuted to mixed results.

"The Adventures of Tintin," a 3-D animated family movie adapted from a popular Belgian comic book, did not prove exceptionally popular with American audiences. Although the film has been a hit overseas, so far collecting over $240 million abroad, it only grossed $16.1 million domestically this long weekend. Since opening on Wednesday, "Tintin," which cost Paramount and Sony between $150 million and $175 million to make, has sold $24.1 million worth of tickets. Paramount, which is releasing the film in the U.S. and Canada, is hopeful that the movie will follow in the footsteps of last Christmas' "Yogi Bear." That family flick ultimately grossed over $100 million domestically.

Meanwhile, Spielberg's epic "War Horse" fared better, debuting on Sunday and grossing $15 million in sales over two days. The film attracted an older audience, 31% of whom were over the age of 50. Those who saw the $70-million DreamWorks production liked it, assigning it an average grade of A-, according to market research firm CinemaScore.

Cameron Crowe's "We Bought a Zoo" earned an even better grade -- an A -- but moviegoers did not show up in as large numbers to see the family drama. The movie starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, which cost Fox about $50 million to produce, opened on Friday and grossed $15.6 million through Monday. The film also appealed to an older demographic, as 59% of the crowd was age 25 or above, while 58% overall was female.

Of all the movies that opened over Christmas, the horror film "The Darkest Hour" was the least expensive, costing co-financiers Summit Entertainment and New Regency about $30 million to produce. That's good news, because it only grossed a weak $5.5 million over Sunday and Monday, and received a dismal C+ CinemaScore.

[Updated 1:45 p.m., Dec. 26: The "Mission: Impossible" sequel continued to soar overseas, grossing an additional $43 million from 45 foreign countries. The movie performed best in Korea and China, where it was No. 1 for the second weekend in a row. The film has now made about $24 million in each country respectively. Overall, the movie already has an international tally of $140 million. The third film in the franchise raked in over $260 million abroad in 2006, and it seems likely that the new fourth installment will far exceed that figure.

Here are the top 10 movies in the U.S. and Canada, based on their four-day grosses with exceptions as noted. Percentage drops are based on three-day grosses. International grosses are through Sunday only.

Continue reading »

New Regency founder Arnon Milchan shakes up executive team

WhatsYourNumber
With his film finance and production company short on box-office successes over the last few years, New Regency founder Arnon Milchan is replacing his leadership team.

Milchan, whose company has been partnered with 20th Century Fox since 1998, will assume a more hands-on role overseeing operations as its chairman. Co-Chairmen Bob Harper and Hutch Parker, who have jointly run the film and television outfit since 2008, will be leaving.

Milchan is close to hiring former Paramount Pictures production President Brad Weston as president and chief executive of the company, in which 20th Century Fox parent News Corp. owns 20%.

Although Milchan did not return a call, Weston confirmed Thursday that he is finalizing a contract to take the position soon. He began talks with Milchan, who was looking for new leadership at his firm, earlier this summer. His four-year run at Paramount ended in 2009 when studio Chairman Brad Grey fired him and film group President John Lesher because they had been slow to develop new movies. ArnonMilchan

Since then, Weston has been a producer based at Paramount, though his deal through which the studio covered his expenses expired last month. A remake of "Footloose" that he produced will be released in October. He also just wrapped production on the low-budget comedy "Destination Wedding."

With the notable exception of the "Alvin and the Chipmunks" series, New Regency has struggled to find hits in the last few years. Among its recent box-office misses have been the romantic comedy "Monte Carlo," the drama "Love and Other Drugs," and the family film "Aliens in the Attic."

The company has several upcoming movies that will be released this fall by Fox, including the raunchy comedy "What's Your Number?" the science-fiction thriller "In Time," and a third "Alvin" movie.

New Regency co-finances some of its movies with Fox and fully finances others.

In January, Regency extended its deal with Fox through 2022 and also began exploring plans to restart a television production division. The company has yet to hire an executive to oversee that unit.

The Regency shake-up was first reported by Deadline.

Related:

Arnon Milchan's New Regency Productions and Fox extend longtime partnership

Paramount shake-up: Lesher, Weston out; Goodman upped

-- Ben Fritz

Top photo: Ari Graynor, left, Anna Faris and Kate Simses in "What's Your Number?" Bottom photo: Arnon Milchan: Credit: New Regency.

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