HBO, Max to Bow ‘MoviePass, MovieCrash’ Doc on May 29

Max and HBO are  set to bow the documentary MoviePass, MovieCrash on May 29. It’s a 96-minute film showcasing how the former MoviePass online subscription theatrical movie ticket service went from being one of the fastest growing online services with 3 million subscribers to bankruptcy in less than nine years.

MoviePass offered subscribers unlimited access to theatrical movies for a $10 monthly fee — a business model that proved unsustainable when it was disclosed that the platform was paying movie theaters face value for tickets used by subscribers.

The doc claims to explore the “visionary mission” of its co-founders, Stacy Spikes and Hamet Watt, its early successes and precipitous downfall caused by alleged mismanagement and corporate greed.

Spikes, who was fired from MoviePass in 2018 by corporate owner Helios and Matheson Analytics, re-acquired the assets in 2021 following a ruling by a New York bankruptcy court judge.

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Video industry and Netflix veteran Mitch Lowe was also an executive at MoviePass for a period of time.

The service spawned the launch of ticket subscription services by theatrical chains AMC Entertainment and Regal.

Ryan Gosling’s ‘The Fall Guy’ $28.5 Million Weekend Box Office Debut Underwhelms

Less than two months after his Barbie Academy Awards show-stealing musical number “I’m Just Ken,” Ryan Gosling’s theatrical return in The Fall Guy was thought to possibly ignite the early summer box office season.

Instead, the Universal Pictures’ action/comedy co-starring Emily Blunt sold $28.5 million in projected opening weekend tickets through May 5, about $1.5 million below estimates. With a $130 million production budget (excluding marketing), the movie’s soft opening was buttressed in part by $25.4 million in foreign revenue, upping its global haul past $65 million.

Regardless, should Universal not extend the movie’s domestic theatrical window to 31 days for reaching $50 million, Fall Guy could make an early transition to PVOD, followed by exclusive streaming on the Peacock platform over the summer.

At No. 2 for the weeked was the 25th anniversary re-release of 1999’s Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, which added $8.1 million in revenue across 2,700 screens, upping its North American tally to $482.6 million, and $1.04 billion globally.

At No. 3 with $7.6 million in revenue was last weekend’s No. 1, Amazon MGM Studios’ Challengers, starring Zendaya as a budding tennis champ caught up in love triangle.

Sony/Screen Gems’ Tarot made $2.545 million on Friday, $2.355 million on Saturday and a projected $1.6 million on Sunday across 3,104 screens. The studio is projecting a $6.5 million opening weekend for the low budget release.

Other box office returnees included Warner Bros. Pictures’ Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, which added $4.5 million in ticket sales across 2,884 screens to up its domestic tally past $188 million after six weekends, and A24’s Civil War, which sold another $3.5 million in tickets to up its four-week total to $62 million. Lionsgate’s Unsung Hero added $3 million in revenue to up its two-week tally past $13 million after two weekends, and Columbia Pictures’ Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire made $405,000 on Friday, $865,000 on Saturday and a projected $530,000 on Sunday across 2,025 screens. The studio is projecting $1.8 million for the weekend, bringing its total domestic gross to almost $110 million through Sunday.

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Comedy ‘East Bay’ Headed to Theaters April 26, On Demand May 31 From Level 33

The comedy East Bay will be released in theaters April 26 and via on demand May 31 from Level 33 Entertainment.

The unexpectedly uplifting comedy follows a 39-year-old man who is forced to accept he’s a failure and starts having hallucinations that make him question reality. He turns to his friends, whose lives also haven’t exactly gone as planned.

The film stars Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians, Hustlers, ABC’s “Fresh Off The Boat”), Kavi Ramachandran Ladnier (CBS Crime Series “NCIS: Los Angeles,” Cold Pressed), Daniel Yoon (Post Concussion), Edmund Sim, Destry Miller (Post Concussion), Melissa Pond (The 4 Corners), Dougald Park (Bruce Almighty, The Last Ship) and Jennifer Chang (What If He Wins).

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Kaleidescape Bows Digital Platform for On-Demand Theatrical Movie Distribution

Kaleidescape, longtime high-end distributor of digital movies in the home, April 8 announced it is expanding its technology to the theatrical market. In a press release at the ongoing CinemaCon confab through April 11 in Las Vegas, Kaleidescape seeks to incorporate an on-demand digital platform to existing theatrical projectors to distribute catalog movies.

The company envisions the platform enabling exhibitors to program additional movie screenings, or movie marathons, and curate special events. Moviegoers can watch their favorite titles or cinema classics on the big screen. The strategy comes as theater operators look to diversify content offerings, including the recent exclusive concert tour docs with Taylor Swift and Beyoncé, in an effort to attract additional moviegoers.

“[The] secure media platform provides enhanc[ed] flexibility and scalability for the exhibitor, offering access to a diverse array of content for their customers,” Priscilla Morgan, COO of Kaleidescape, said in a statement.

Indie exhibitors Alamo Drafthouse, B&B Theatres, Brenden Theatres, Cinema West, Classic Cinemas, Epic Theatres, Megaplex Theatres and Star Cinema Grill have agreed to pilot the platform.

Kaleidescape also has an agreement with one major Hollywood Studio and is in active discussions with several others. Additionally, the company is working with technology partners to integrate with their platform, to further streamline an exhibitor’s workflow.

“[The] platform is a potential game changer for exhibitors, allowing easy activation of excess screen capacity, bringing a steady slate of library titles on demand,” said Tony Adamson, SVP for GDC Technology.

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Horror Flick ‘The Omicron Killer’ Headed to Theaters Feb. 22 From BayView

BayView Entertainment will release the horror flick The Omicron Killer in select theaters in the United States and Canada Feb. 22.

The film will be released digitally and on disc later this year.

Writer-Director Jeff Knite’s The Omicron Killer features international star Bai Ling (The Crow, Dumplings), “scream queen” Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp, Terrifier 2), and Lynn Lowry (Geoge Romero’s The Crazies, David Cronenberg’s Shivers). The film also features Impractical Jokers’ Rob Emmer.

In the film, a copycat serial killer, killing his last victim on the anniversary of the death of the original killer, decides to retire from his life of murder. But his retirement doesn’t last for long. Attacked by vicious thugs, left severely wounded and hospitalized, The Omicron Killer returns, hellbent on vengeance as he embarks on a new reign of terror.

Co-written by Knite with Paugh Shadow, who also plays the title character, the film is executed produced by Richard Bernstein and Stream producer Chris Guttadaro, along with Chris Lazzaro, former producer at Fuzz On The Lens productions (Stream, Terrifier 2, Terrifier 3).

Knite, Guttadaro, Lazzaro, and Bernstein also appear in the cast, alongside Gabriel Ricardez (My Mexican Brother), Larissa Dali (A Gettysburg Christmas), and Tony Diaz (The Covid Killer).

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“We couldn’t be more thrilled to add The Omicron Killer to our stable of horror offerings,” Peter Castro, VP of BayView Entertainment, said in a statement. “Featuring a ‘murderer’s row’ of horror heavy hitters like Bai Ling, Lynn Lowry, and Felissa Rose, plus Rob Emmer from the hit Impractical Jokers TV show, this delivers the goods for genre fans everywhere.”

The Omicron Killer is produced by Dark Knites entertainment and Shadow Films, and distributed by BayView Entertainment.

 

Lionsgate Names Adam Fogelson Motion Picture Group Chair

Lionsgate has named Adam Fogelson chair of the Motion Picture Group. Previous chair Joe Drake, who initiated the transition, will be working with Fogelson over the coming months to ensure a smooth succession.

Drake rejoined Lionsgate in 2017 after having success with Good Universe Pictures, the second company acquired by Lionsgate from Drake. During his current tenure, the Motion Picture Group has achieved growth, profitability and creative risk taking, according to a Lionsgate release. Highlights include the multiple award-winning Knives Out ($312 million global box office), the last two “John Wick” movies ($766 million-plus combined worldwide box office), relaunching the “Hunger Games” franchise with The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes ($340 million-plus worldwide box office), and the latest installment in the “Saw” franchise ($111 million global box office). In 2023, Lionsgate achieved its first billion-dollar-plus year at the global box office ($1.08 billion) since 2019.

In addition to the 2023 box office success, Drake and team have been responsible for expanding the Lionsgate Motion Picture business across multiple platforms, including tripling the size of its multiplatform business with movies such as Shotgun Wedding, Silent Night, Sisu and the upcoming Simple Favor 2, establishing itself as the leader in the theatrical faith space with hits such as Jesus Revolution, and growing its library through production and strategic acquisitions, according to Lionsgate.

Adam Fogelson (Photo by Eric Charbonneau)

“Joe has been a great partner and a respected team leader, a truly entrepreneurial executive with one of the best business minds in the industry,” Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said in a statement. “We are very fortunate to have Adam Fogelson, one of Hollywood’s most accomplished and innovative film executives, to succeed him.  Adam has the leadership experience at both the major studio and independent level as well as the strategic vision to keep our Motion Picture Group strong and vibrant in a fast-changing environment.”

“Despite unprecedented disruption over the last few years, we built a team that thrived throughout and achieved everything I could have imagined at Lionsgate,” Drake said in a statement.  “I am very proud we were able to reinvigorate our ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Saw ‘franchises, grow the ‘John Wick Universe,’ and successfully expand every aspect of our motion picture business.  When Jon and I engaged in succession planning, our goal was to build on the momentum and success we’d experienced over the last few years. Having worked side by side with Adam for the past 18 months, he is the perfect choice to lead the motion picture group forward to even greater heights.”

“I deeply appreciate the trust and confidence that Jon, Michael, Joe and the rest of the management team have placed in me and I look forward to embarking on this next chapter together,” Fogelson said in a statement. “Lionsgate unifies the two primary threads of my career: the scale and talent relationships of a major studio with the renegade, resourceful spirit of a start-up. I am dedicated to building and extending our extensive library of films and top-tier franchises which, as the last year has proved, still have lots of room to grow. I’m particularly grateful for the chance to continue working alongside this passionate and innovative team in a culture that is creatively audacious, entrepreneurial and supportive.”

Lionsgate is the third studio Fogelson will lead after serving as chairman of both Universal Pictures and the STX Motion Picture Group. At STX, he oversaw such hits as Hustlers, the “Bad Moms” franchise, The Upside, Greenland, The Gift, Molly’s Game and The Gentlemen, among others. Prior to leading the motion picture group at STX, Fogelson served as chairman of Universal Pictures for four years, leading that studio to its highest grossing performances at the worldwide box office at that time with hits including Despicable Me 1 and 2, Ted, Bridesmaids, Pitch Perfect, Contraband, Safe House, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Snow White and the Huntsman, Identity Thief, Mama, The Purge and Les Misérables.

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He was instrumental in the growth of the “Fast” franchise, overseeing the release of Fast and Furious 5 and 6, and he led the relaunch of the “Jurassic” universe with Jurassic World and greenlit other major hits including Lone Survivor, Ride Along, Non-Stop, Neighbors, The Purge 2, Fifty Shades of Grey and Lucy.  He also managed the marketing campaign for Universal’s Tony Award-winning musical Wicked.

Level 33 to Bow Thriller ‘Double Down South’ in Theaters Jan. 19

Level 33 Entertainment will release the thriller Double Down South in theaters Jan. 19.

Set in the dangerous high stakes world of illegal keno-pool gambling, the film follows veteran ace Nick (Kim Coates), who is enamored of smart, tough, and charming newcomer Diana (Lili Simmons) and is determined to stake her. Diana must prove herself in a man’s world to win a match against DuBinion (Justin Marcel McManus), the world’s best shooter. Soon Diana and Nick find themselves in more danger than they ever imagined.

The film won the Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Cordillera International Festival and the Audience Award for Best Feature at the Omaha Film Festival. Its trailer was nominated for the Golden Trailer Award for Best Independent Trailer.

Disney’s ‘The Marvels’ Looks to Boost Superhero Brand, Weekend Box Office

Disney’s The Marvels, expected to lead the box office take for the weekend through Nov. 12, is the latest Marvel Comics blockbuster in a franchise that is showing its age of late.

The first time Brie Larson donned superhero gear as Captain Marvel, the movie catapulted the 2016 Oscar winner (Room) to the box office A-list, generating a $153 million opening weekend en route to a $1.13 billion global theatrical run.

But times have changed since 2019, and box office superhero billionaires have become a scarce commodity due to market saturation and streaming video.

Larson is back as Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel, with Disney’s The Marvels, Marvel Studios’ 33rd theatrical release following Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. This time, Captain Marvel partners with two other heroines, Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani) and Captain Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), to take control of a destabilized universe.

While Larson has not been able to market the movie due to the just-ended actors’ strike, the actress is all over the television selling Nissan cars and headlining “Lessons in Chemistry” on Apple TV+.

The Marvels is projected to sell north of $42 million in tickets through Nov. 12, according to new data from Box Office Pro. The movie generated about $6 million in Thursday special screenings. That should be enough to easily win the weekend, holding off previous polesitters Universal Pictures’ Five Nights at Freddy’s (with a projected $7.6 million for the upcoming weekend) and Taylor Swift/The Eras Tour concert movie ($7 million).

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Paramount Pictures/Apple Studios’ Killers of the Flower Moon is projected to sell another $5 million worth of tickets, just ahead of Sony Pictures’ new faith-based movie Journey to Bethlehem (a projected $4 million), and A24’s Pricilla Presley biopic Pricilla ($3.6 million).

Other releases include Focus Features’ The Holdovers (a projected $2.3 million), Paramount’s Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie ($1.6 million), Pantelion Films’ Radical ($1.4 million), and Universal/Blumhouse’s The Exorcist: Believer ($1.3 million).

Screen Media Acquires Mystery Comedy ‘Helen’s Dead,’ Due for Day-and-Date Release Nov. 3

Screen Media has acquired all North American rights to the mystery comedy Helen’s Dead.

Screen Media plans to release the film as a day-and-date release on Nov. 3.

Directed by K. Asher Levin and written by Amy Brown Carver from a story by Levin and Carver, Helen’s Dead stars Emile Hirsch, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Tyrese Gibson, Dylan Gelula and Oliver Cooper. 
 
The film follows the story of Addie (Gelula). After a terrible breakup with her boyfriend, Addie goes to confront her best friend about cheating allegations and accidentally steps into a murder scene.
 
“I have always dreamt of making my very own freewheelin’, one crazy night movie,”said Levin in a statement. “It’s truly a blessing to have assembled such an amazing cast and found such a supportive company in Screen Media to release the film.”
 
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Screen Media recently acquired Tom DeLonge’s directorial debut Monsters of California and the Bella Thorne-led thriller Saint Clare, starring Ryan Phillippe and Rebecca DeMornay. Recent film releases include Maggie Moore(s), starring Emmy winners Jon Hamm and Tina Fey; The Ritual Killer, starring Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman and Cole Hauser; Devil’s Peak, starring Academy Award winner Billy Bob Thornton and Emmy winner Robin Wright; The Locksmith, starring Ryan Phillippe, Kate Bosworth, and Ving Rhames; and Poker Face, directed by and starring Academy Award winner Russell Crowe.

 

‘Barbenheimer’ Craze Continues, Movies Top Respective $214 Million, $107 Million Domestic Grosses Following Tuesday Box Office

The “Barbenheimer” trend continued another day as moviegoers in above-average numbers flocked to theaters July 25 to see Warner Bros. Pictures’ fantasy comedy Barbie, starring Margot Robbie as the real-life Mattel doll and Ryan Gosling as Ken doll, and Universal Pictures’ three-hour biopic Oppenheimer, about the father of the atomic bomb J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Florence Pugh, Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer

Barbie surpassed $214 million in North American revenue after five days of release, and $408 million worldwide, after selling another $26 million in tickets on Tuesday, according to industry data. It marked the second record weekday box office revenue for a Warner release, topping the near $22 million grossed by Aquaman on Christmas Day in 2018.

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Oppenheimer added $12 million, to up its North American tally past $107 million, and $221 million globally. Both movies are expected to continue their box office momentum into the weekend, competing with the new Disney release The Haunted Mansion.