Michael Gershman Dies: The ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’, ‘Crossing Jordan’ Cinematographer Was 73

Emmy-nominated cinematographer Michael Gershman died on March 10 at his home in Malibu. The cause of his death has yet to be reported. He was 73.

Known for his work on the Sarah Michelle Gellar-fronted cult TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Crossing Jordan, Gershman worked under the Academy Award-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond as a camera assistant on numerous iconic films from the ’70s and ’80s, including The Deer Hunter, The Rose, Heaven’s Gate and Blow Out.

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Gershman was born in St. Louis on June 17, 1944 and came from a family that worked in the entertainment industry. His father, Edward Gershman was a producer on Mr. Magoo short films. He made his move to Los Angeles at 19 and worked for his uncle Wally Bulloch, who worked in camera manufacturing and animation.

As a protege of one of the most lauded cinematographers, he went on to work on Joss Whedon’s Buffy, which aired from 1997 to 2001 on the WB Network, which morphed into UPN and is now the CW. He not only worked as a director of photography but also directed 10 episodes. He earned an Emmy nod for cinematography for the memorable episode “Hush,” which was almost completely devoid of dialogue. In 2001, he went on to serve as a director and cinematographer of the NBC crime drama Crossing Jordan, which starred Jill Hennessy.

His other credits include The Golden ChildMidnight RunDie Hard 2, Say Anything… and Losing Isaiah.

Gershman is survived by his wife, Cecilia, as well as his daughters, Lauren and Abigail, and mother, Doreen.


Black Panther Stomps Tomb Raider in 5th Weekend Box Office Win

It was expected to be a close race at the box office this weekend between Marvel’s Black Panther, which had won the last four weekends in a row, and Warner Bros.’ Tomb Raider reboot. That turned out to be true. However, while Tomb Raider was expected to dethrone Black Panther, that didn’t happen, with the Marvel superhero adventure winning for a fifth weekend in a row with $27M, taking down Tomb Raider, which debuted in second with a respectable $23.5M.

With this weekend’s big box office win, Black Panther becomes the first movie since Avatar to win its first five weekends in a row, dropping just 33.8% in its fifth frame, with a respectable $7,049 per-screen average from 3,834 theaters, a 108-theater drop from last weekend. This weekend’s tally was also good enough to push Black Panther over the $600 million domestic mark, becoming just the seventh movie in history to accomplish that feat. Its domestic tally now stands at $605.4 million, with an additional $577.1 million overseas for a worldwide tally of $1.18 billion

Black Panther hasn’t posted a decrease of more than 50% in its five-week run, which is impressive, and also puts it well within striking distance to keep climbing up the all-time domestic charts. The movie will most likely surpass Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($619.7 million) and The Avengers ($623.3 million) to become the highest-grossing superhero movie of all time at the domestic box office. Still, it will have some work to do if it wants to surpass Jurassic World in fourth place with $652.2 million, Titanic in third with $659.3 million, Avatar in second with $760.5 or the all time record holder Star Wars: The Last Jedi with $936.6 million. Regardless of where it ends up, its domestic and worldwide totals are quite impressive.

Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics (49% on Rotten Tomatoes), Tomb Raider still put up a solid showing with $23.5 million, debuting in 3,854 theaters for a solid $6,104 per-screen average. It fared even better internationally, taking in $102.5 million from foreign markets, for a worldwide total of $126 million, from a $94 million budget. The faith-based I Can Only Imagine put up a surprising showing with $17 million, more than doubling its $7 million budget, with an impressive $10,476 per-screen average, the highest of all wide release movies, from 1,629 theaters. Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time dropped exactly 50% in its second frame with $16.5 million in fourth place, while 20th Century Fox’s Love, Simon debuted in fifth with $11.5 million, earning a $4,788 per-screen average from 2,402 theaters.

Rounding out the top 10 this weekend is Game Night ($5.5 million), Peter Rabbit ($5.2 million), Strangers: Prey at Night ($4.8 million), Red Sparrow ($4.4 million) and Death Wish ($3.3 million), 7 Days in Entebbe debuted in 13th place with $1.6 million earning a paltry $1,943 per-screen average from 838 theaters. Flower earned $57,851 from three theaters for a $19,284 per-screen average while Ramen Heads earned $7,014 from two theaters for a $3,507 per-screen average and Journey’s End earned $6,350 from two theaters for a $3,175 per-screen average. Looking ahead to next weekend, five newcomers open in wide release, with Universal’s Pacific Rim Uprising, Open Road Films’ Midnight Sun, Paramount’s Sherlock Gnomes, Bleecker Street’s Unsane and Sony’s Paul, Apostle of Christ. Take a look at the top 10 estimates for the weekend of March 16, courtesy of Box Office Mojo.

1Tomb Raider
2Black Panther
3I Can Only Imagine
4A Wrinkle in Time
5Love, Simon
6Game Night
7Peter Rabbit
8Strangers: Prey at Night
9Red Sparrow
10Death Wish


‘Flower’ Blooms In Trio Of Pots; ‘Keep The Change’ Solid: Specialty Box Office

UPDATED at 12:10PM PT with more numbers and analysis. The Orchard sprouted a hit over the weekend, opening teen comedy Flower, starring Zoey Deutch, in just three theaters and grossing a rousing $57,851.

That tally yielded the highest per-theater average of the weekend, though right behind it was IFC Films’ The Death of Stalin, which came in with $18,143 per situation in its second frame even while expanding to 32 runs.

Focus Features’ 7 Days in Entebbe went out to over 800 theaters on Friday with a so-so $1.63M start, while Good Deed Entertainment’s Journey’s End debuted in two locations, grossing $12,700.

Classical music doc Itzhak expanded to 19 runs in its second weekend, conducting $37,500, while SPC’s The Leisure Seeker with Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland camped in 49 theaters in its second outing, taking in $149K. Also in Week Two was Focus’ Thoroughbreds, which collected $470K. Best Foreign Language winner A Fantastic Woman widened to 190 theaters grossing over $203K, while other Oscar winners put up largely tepid numbers (though The Shape of Water did crack $100M overseas after a stellar China bow).

Writer-director Max Winkler’s Flower got a little help from its friends, according to its distributor, The Orchard. “Endorsements from major celebrities helped bolster multiple sellouts in all locations and a fantastic mix of diverse audiences,” the company said today. The Orchard picked up the feature about a rebellious, quick-witted, 17-year-old firecracker living with her single mom at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. “We felt it was a unique voice,” said The Orchard’s Paul Davidson earlier this week. “Though it’s now a year later and the world is a different place, the themes of female empowerment and young people making their way in the world is very timely.”

Flower will go to 60 locations in the top 20 markets next weekend ahead of a national expansion March 30.

Fellow Tribeca debut Keep The Change, by writer-director Rachel Israel, had a solid start in an exclusive run. The romantic-comedy by Rachel Israel took in $13K, pointing to promising theatrical prospects. “We believed in this heart-warming romantic comedy starring non-professional actors on the autism spectrum from the start, so we are extremely gratified that rave New York reviews and audience enthusiasm will now assure this landmark motion picture a robust national expansion,” said Wendy Lidell, Kino Lorber’s SVP of Theatrical/Nontheatrical Distribution & Acquisitions. The feature will add locations in the coming weeks.

The widest of the weekend’s specialties was Focus Features’ 7 Days in Entebbe with Rosamund Pike and Daniel Brühl. The drama-thriller, based on a true story of a 1976 hijacking, grossed $1.63M in 838 theaters for a so-so $1,945 average. Focus looked to its 2017 release The Zookeeper’s Wife, which it successfully rolled out last March, as a template for 7 Days. Starring Jessica Chastain along with Brühl, Zookeeper opened in 541 theaters, grossing $3.28M ($6,079 average). It went on to cume $1.57M.

Good Deed Entertainment opened British war drama Journey’s End in New York and Los Angeles Friday. The WWI feature, starring Paul Bethany and Sam Claffin, grossed $12,700, averaging $6,350. “We’re encouraged by both the extremely positive critical and consumer reactions,” said Kristin Harris, VP, Acquisitions and Distribution, for Good Deed. “Having witnessed theater-goers sitting in emotional silence well after the end credits have rolled, following the last, powerful moments of Dibb’s film, we feel strongly that positive word-of-mouth in conjunction with the calculated rollout strategy we’ll be executing will ensure that Journey’s End continues to find and connect with its audience.”

IFC Films’ Death of Stalin continued its dominance into a second frame. Starring Steve Buscemi, Son Russell Beale and Jeffrey Tambor, Armando Iannucci’s political satire grossed $580,576, averaging $18,143. Stalin had IFC Films’ second-best multi-screen opening last weekend (behind only 2014’s Boyhood), grossing $77,524 in four theaters, averaging $45,327. This weekend’s numbers placed it in the top 20 overall. 

IFC Films said Sunday that the film “continued to sell out multiple shows in its expansion building on strong word of mouth and excellent reviews.” The film will head to the top 50 markets next weekend.

Greenwich Entertainment’s Itzhak expanded to 19 runs Friday. The doc about violinist Itzhak Perlman, which was directed by Alison Chernick, grossed $37,500, averaging $1,974. In its debut in two locations, the film took in $14,442, averaging $7,221. Itzhak’s two-week cume is $53,796.

Sony Classics doubled its reach for The Leisure Seeker in its second frame, grossing $149K in 49 locations ($3,041 average). The title starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland opened in 28 theaters last weekend, grossing over $119K ($4,270 average). It has cumed nearly $327K.

Also in week 2 is Focus’ Thoroughbreds, which had 15 additional runs over its debut. Thoroughbreds grossed $470K averaging just $837. In its launch, the feature took in $1.22M in 549 locations, averaging $2,229. It has cumed $2,267,000.

SPC kept Foxtrot in 6 locations in its third weekend, grossing $52,650  for a $4,388 PTA, which is only a small decrease from the last weekend. In its second frame, the title grossed $29,757 in six theaters, averaging $4,960.

Sony Classics added 34 runs for its Best Foreign Language Oscar winner A Fantastic Woman in its seventh weekend, grossing $203,711 ($1,072 average) bringing its cume to just shy of $1.5M.

Other Oscar titles held in decently. Best Picture winner The Shape of Water grossed $800K in 758 locations ($1,055 average), bringing its cume to $62.68M. Darkest Hour took in $105K ($789 average) in 133 locations, while Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri grossed $265K in 282 theaters ($940 average). A24’s Lady Bird grossed $73,800 in 88 locations, averaging $839. It has cumed $48.85M.


7 Days in Entebbe (Focus Features) NEW [838 Theaters] Weekend $1,630,000, Average $1,945

Flower (The Orchard) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $57,851, Average $19,284

Journey’s End (Good Deed Entertainment) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $12,700, Average $6,350

Keep The Change (Kino Lorber) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $13,000

Ramen Heads (Gunpowder & Sky) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $7,014, Average $3,507


The Death of Stalin (IFC Films) Week 2 [32 Theaters] Weekend $580,576, Average $18,143, Cume $843,967

Itzhak (Greenwich Entertainment) Week 2 [19 Theaters] Weekend $37,500, Average $1,974, Cume $53,796

The Leisure Seeker (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 2 [49 Theaters] Weekend $149,028, Average $3,041, Cume $326,984

Thoroughbreds (Focus Features) Week 2 [564 Theaters] Weekend $470,000, Average $837, Cume $2,267,000


Foxtrot (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3 [6 Theaters] Weekend $52,650, Average $4,388, Cume $175,824

The Young Karl Marx (The Orchard) Week 4 [8 Theaters] Weekend $7,901, Average $988, Cume $94,147

Double Lover (Cohen Media Group) Week 5 [1 Theaters] Weekend $485, Cume $164,392

Loveless (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5 [ Theaters] Weekend $47,730, Average $1,110, Cume $379,474

The Party (Roadside Attractions) Week 5 [80 Theaters] Weekend $63,040, Average $788, Cume $600,623

Samson (Pure Flix) Week 5 [34 Theaters] Weekend $19,500, Average $574, Cume $4,675,031

A Fantastic Woman (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7 [190 Theaters] Weekend $203,711, Average $1,072, Cume $1,495,730

Forever My Girl (Roadside Attractions)  Week 9 [37 Theaters] Weekend $17,975, Average $486, Cume $16,291,941

The Insult (Cohen Media Group) Week 10 [12 Theaters] Weekend $17,668, Average $1,472, Cume $932,230

Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 12 [38 Theaters] Weekend $12,016, Average $316, Cume $840,916

Hostiles (Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures) Week 13 [102 Theaters] Weekend $52,000, Average $510, Cume $29,700,847

Phantom Thread (Focus Features) Week 13 [92 Theaters] Weekend $245,000, Average $1,038, Cume $20,907,000

I, Tonya (Neon/30West) Week 15 [160 Theaters] Weekend $110,385, Average $690, Cume $29,744,035

The Shape of Water (Fox Searchlight) Week 16 [758 Theaters] Weekend $800,000, Average $1,055, Cume $62,688,637

Call Me By Your Name (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 17 [118 Theaters] Weekend $128,304, Average $1,087, Cume $17,743,161

Darkest Hour (Focus Features) Week 17 [133 Theaters] Weekend $105,000, Average $789, Cume $56,311,000

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Fox Searchlight) Week 19 [282 Theaters] Weekend $265,000, Average $940, Cume $53,888,624

Lady Bird (A24) Week 20 [88 Theaters] Weekend $73,800, Average $839, Cume $48,851,065

BPM (Beats Per Minute) (The Orchard) Week 22 [2 Theaters] Weekend $1,792, Cume $125,080

Faces Places (Cohen Media Group) Week 24 [10 Theaters] Weekend $4,712, Average $471, Cume $934,594


Infinity War Trailer Gets Sweded in Shot-for-Shot Homemade Remake

Marvel Studios finally released the second trailer for Infinity War on Friday and fans have been dissecting every frame to try and find out where the Russo Brothers are taking us. However, a group of hardcore Marvel fans took it one step further and decided to do a shot-for-shot remake of the entire trailer and the results are pretty awesome and hilarious as well. There’s only a few weeks left to go before the epic movie hits theaters and the hype has clearly gotten some fans a little bit more excited than the rest.

The fan-made remake of the Infinity War trailer was reportedly made for an English class project and it is literally a shot-for-shot remake utilizing objects from around the house and the audio from the original clip. Included in the bottom left-hand corner is the real trailer, to show off how faithful these hardcore Marvel fans were while constructing their project. It’s pretty amazing that they were able to pull off something so good in such a short amount of time and one has to wonder just how many times they had to all watch the Infinity War trailer to nail everything.

The fan-made interpretation of the Infinity War trailer was posted on to Twitter yesterday and has since gained a whopping 24,000 likes and over 17 thousand retweets in less than 24 hours. The hype for Infinity War is that intense right now. Not bad for a video that uses plates to represent Doctor Strange‘s magic and clothes pins for Infinity Stones. Speaking of Infinity Stones, there’s not a whole lot in the way of makeup in the trailer remake, but they did throw in the lines on the kid’s face who was portraying Thanos.

This new fan-made Infinity War trailer is just the lighthearted remake that the intense original version needed. The Russo Brothers along with the cast have been telling interviewers over the last few days that there will be tears in the eyes of fans while watching the movie. We know that some of our favorite heroes are not going to make it out of Infinity War alive and the trailer strongly hints at some of these impending deaths. So, it’s good to have a laugh at a trailer that has such dark undertones.

Infinity War will hit theaters one week early all over the world on April 27th and the 26th for fans that were lucky enough to score the Thursday night preview tickets. While no reviews for the movie have been released (it’s much too early), we hope that the students responsible for this incredible shot-for-shot remake of the latest trailer at least got a good grade for their efforts and hard work that went into constructing everything. Anything less than an A grade is entirely unacceptable. You can watch the entire shot-for-shot remake of the latest Infinity War trailer below, thanks to Aiman Sany’s Twitter account.

Who did it better?

— Aiman Sany (@awesomerawks) March 17, 2018


Veteran Cirque Du Soleil Performer Dies After Fall During Tampa Show

Yann Arnaud, a longtime aerialist for Cirque Du Soleil, died after injuries sustained Saturday night in a fall during a performance of Volta in Tampa, Fla.

The company’s official Twitter handle acknowledged Arnaud’s death in a Twitter post, calling the fall “a tragic accident.” Arnaud, a 15-year Cirque veteran, fell to the stage and emergency crews immediately rushed to administer treatment. He was then taken to an area hospital, the company said, where he later died.

“The entire Cirque du Soleil family is in shock and devastated by this tragedy,” Cirque president and CEO Daniel Lamarre said in a statement. Arnaud “was loved by all who had the chance to know him. Over the coming days and weeks, our focus will be on supporting Yann’s family and employees, especially the Volta team, as we go through these difficult times together.”

An investigation into the accident is in its early stages, and details are thus far limited. On the Cirque website, Volta is described as “a spellbinding story about the freedom to choose and the thrill of blazing your own trail. Inspired in part by the adventurous spirit that fuels the culture of action sports, the show weaves acrobatics in a visually striking world driven by a stirring melodic score.” Sequences in which acrobats swing on long straps are a signature element of many Cirque shows, and the company even brought them to last month’s BAFTAs in London.

The last two performances of Volta in Tampa, the company said, were canceled.


Black Panther Is First Movie Since Avatar to Win Box Office 5 Weeks in a Row

Marvel’s Black Panther had no problems staying number one at the box office this weekend. The movie has now been number one for 5 consecutive weeks, making it the first blockbuster to do so since 2009′s Avatar. Additionally, Black Panther is only a few days away from becoming the highest grossing Marvel movie domestically released thus far, currently at $605.4 million while the first Avengers movie is at $623 million.

Tomb Raider was the expected competition this week, after A Wrinkle in Time failed to challenge Black Panther at the box office. However, weak reviews for the video game reboot led to sluggish ticket sales in its opening frame, earning only $23.5 million, which was no match for the $27 million that Black Panther brought in. While Tomb Raider didn’t do as well as many thought, the action film is expected to bring in some cash overseas, when it’s released in China. The Christian drama, I Can Only Imagine beat out A Wrinkle in Time with a respectable $17.1 million.

Disney head Bob Eiger recently spoke about the company being in competition with itself and that was definitely the case with Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time. Ryan Coogler’s movie had the benefit of rave reviews from nearly all critics, which resulted in an opening weekend that nobody predicted. Now, the Marvel movie has gone on to become one of the highest grossing movies of all time with relative ease, but it has its own competition on its way in the form of Infinity War.

Disney will once again be in direct competition with itself with the release of Infinity War at the end of April. While Black Panther stomped pre-sale ticket sales, Infinity War decimated those numbers in a few hours on Friday. Worldwide, Black Panther has earned $1.1 billion and Infinity War is expected to get past that number with relative ease. However, both movies feature Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa, which means that the actor, along with some of the returning cast, will have been in two of the biggest movies of all time, released in the same year.

Black Panther is now in rare company, becoming the 7th movie in box office history to cross the $600 million mark domestically. It’s been a remarkable ride for the Marvel movie that has now become a cultural world-wide phenomenon since its release. People that wouldn’t normally go see a superhero movie have flocked to theaters to see what all of the fuss is about, and it really doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. In a few days, Black Panther will surpass the Avengers to become the highest grossing superhero movie in North America ever. You can read more about the crazy box office ride of Marvel’s Black Panther over at Box Office Mojo.


Benedict Cumberbatch Broke a Big Marvel Rule on Infinity War Set

Benedict Cumberbatch pulled a no-no on the set of Avengers: Infinity War. Yes, the man behind Doctor Strange broke a cardinal Marvel rule, but he’s living to not only laugh but also tell about it. Sort of. He won’t give anyone the specifics, but he is one of the few to have read the entire script for the epic sequel. Even though he definitely wasn’t supposed to.

Marvel is keeping all Infinity War secrets closely guarded. So much so that directors Joe and Anthony Russo kept the full script out of the actors’ hands, only feeding them their pages one sheet at a time. This has helped ensure that no big spoilers get out. But somehow, Benedict Arnold, whoops, we mean Cumberbatch…Somehow managed to get his hands on the thick script, and he couldn’t help but read it as fast as he could before it got yanked away. And now he knows ALL of the movies big secrets.

Benedict Cumberbatch will reprise his role as Doctor Stephen Strange in Infinity War. And we’ve seen him being tortured by the Black Order in the most recent trailer. He plays a key part in all the action, so he already was privy to quite a bit of the movie’s true plot as it has been laid out. But he decided to take things a bit further than this Marvel co-stars, who played by the rules. Asked what he knows about the story, he couldn’t hold back that he knows pretty much everything.

“Well, that’s a loaded question, because I’m not supposed to have read the script. But I have. It’s just mind-blowingly epic. What I thought is, this just doesn’t stop. Once it starts, it does. Not. Stop. It’s just this horrible, brilliant, terrifying, at times funny, at times very moving, relentless action. It’s like everyone’s constantly in crisis, and catching up with themselves, and it’s really breathless to read a script like that. This isn’t a slow burn. You’re really thrown in helter-skelter. [Laughs] It’s got a lot of facets to it, but I think the main one for me was just how utterly relentless the events and action were.”

He doesn’t give anything away really, but he sure does say a lot for someone who isn’t supposed to have read the script, and broke a major Marvel rule. The good Doctor goes onto explain how he came to have the entire script in his possession. He explains that an exception was made that allowed him to be the ultimate Marvel rule breaker, even though we believe Mark Ruffalo still holds that unique description.

“Well, it’s not Marvel’s practice to hand around the whole script of any particular one of their enterprises, especially a film as big as this, and as secret as this. I kind of had to have a bit of an overview to understand what I was doing in it. Maybe I’m just a bit more stupid than the other actors involved. I just need a little bit of special care. And they were very sweet, and chained me to something immovable whilst I read it, and unchained me after I finished reading it.”

Okay, so there was some cheating involved. Playing coy, the actor admits that he played dumb so that he could get his hands on every single word. But he’s not Tom Holland, who is notorious for spouting spoilers at a moments notice.

“And this is where the interview gets dull! Because I can’t really say. [Laughs] He’s pretty actively involved, he’s got quite an important Infinity Stone that’s in his vicinity, and that draws him into the action, as well as a couple of other characters’ plights, and stuff happens. [Laughs] That’s about it! That’s about all I think I can say,” Cumberbatch said.”

We don’t have long to wait until we all know what happened in Infinity War. The movie is arriving early than expected, and will be in theaters April 27. Tickets went on sale this past week. We can think Entertainment Weekly for dropping this fun little nugget of info.


Desilu Exploring U.S. Public Offering After Acquisition Of Israel’s Vonetize: Report

Desilu Studios, the production entity behind projects like V: The Movie, is exploring a public offering in the U.S. as part of its acquisition of Israeli tech company Vonetize.

Execs at Desilu said Friday they had acquired a controlling stake in Vonetize, which provides streaming technology for major studios as well as distribution, security and monetization. News of the transaction sent Vonetize shares up 83% on Sunday on the Tel Aviv stock exchange. Vonetize operates in more than 60 countries and has partnerships with Samsung, LG, Disney, Warner Bros., Fox, Sony, Universal and others.

According to a Reuters report, Desilu said it had bought a 10% stake in cash from controlling shareholders at a company valuation of $50 million, receiving an option to buy 44% more over the next 12 months. Vonetize said on Sunday that Desilu would list in the U.S. to finance the deal for the rest of its proposed stake in the Israeli business. Another option could be Vonetize initiating a dual listing on Nasdaq (along with Tel Aviv) this year and then merging Desilu into that listing through a share-swap transaction, Vonetize CEO Noam Josephides told Reuters.

In announcing the acquisition, execs said the technology arm in Desilu’s L.A. post-production facilities will work closely with Vonetize’s team to integrate the Israeli company’s technology. Desilu said the Vonetize tech will be a “driving force” across many of its operations, from direct-to-consumer streaming offerings to interactive experiences to digital commerce.

Desilu Studios is owned Desilu Corp., a diversified company with interests in theme parks, merchandising and streaming and exhibition technology. The name is a fabled one in Hollywood, dating to the original Desilu’s founding by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in 1950. Ball later bought out Arnaz and ran the company on her own for a period of years before selling it to Gulf + Western, which re-branded it as Paramount Television. Along with I Love Lucy, the company’s credits include Star Trek and The Untouchables.

“It has been my vision from day one to deliver our content direct to consumers via streaming or any other emerging and disruptive technologies,” Charles B. Hensley, Desilu’s Chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “Discovering Vonetize in Israel through my Exec VP Steven Posen has been a game changer for us, with Exec VP Bobbie Celler expediting and advancing our global footprint exponentially.”

Josephides called Desilu “the embodiment of the classical Hollywood Studio with a modern twist, a progressive vision on converging film, TV, technology and ancillary experiences into a whole new level of entertainment.”

The studio did not immediately respond to a Deadline email seeking comment on the Reuters report.


Scrapped Justice League 2 Plans Teased by Zack Snyder

Justice League 2 probably won’t happen. But now we have a little better understanding of what it was supposed to be. The first Justice League was an unmitigated disaster. Not from top to bottom, but enough so that it faltered and failed, and fell out of the box office at an expedient rate, racking up bad reviews from fans and critics alike. Warner Bros. is still trying to sort out the shrapnel from this bomb as it pieces back what it’s DCEU will look like in the future. And it doesn’t sound like a sequel is part of those plans. Even though it was supposed to be.

That said, Justice League did follow Marvel in that it gave fans two intriguing post-credit scenes. One was merely for fun, as The Flash and Superman raced to see who is faster. The other, later one that came at the very end actually got a lot of fans all hot and bothered for what was to come in the DCEU. Deathstroke and Lex Luthor on a boat hold a lot of possibilities. But now Jesse Eisenberg doesn’t know if he’ll ever reprise his iconic bald headed villain, and poor Joe Manganiello may only ever get that two minute scene.

Zack Snyder was supposed to direct Justice League as an epic 2-Part movie. Some say he was fired from the first film, others say he left to attend to a family tragedy. We do know for certain that Joss Whedon was brought in to repair and fix all the leaks in Part 1. And that way too many fans hate him for it, claiming he ruined the movie. Some still call out for the mythical Synder cut, which may or may not exist. It also may or may not be any good. Some have said what Snyder was working on was unwatchable.

However you paint it, Zack Synder’s time in the DCEU is over. But now he’s starting to peel the skin off what he originally had planned. One fan has discovered that Snyder is once again using his favorite social media platform of choice, Vero, to tease wha he had planned for the next installment. He shows of three crosses in the background of Superman’s death scene, which is found in the R-Rated Ultimate cut of Batman V Superman. The director then points out that this very scene was a stealth reference to what he was planning to do with the events and plot line of Justice League 2.

Zack Snyder uses the hashtag #untilitwasnt in describing what he is showing off, meaning that these plans are more than likely completely canceled by Warner Bros. and DC Films. So, what is the meaning behind the three crosses? Some speculate that these represent the New Gods, who were first introduced via Steppenwolf in Justice League, arriving as the main villain looking for the Mother Boxes. We know from what happened leading up to the release of the movie that Steppenwolf was supposed to continue on in Justice League 2, helping to introduce Darkseid.

Snyder may be revealing this information now as it has been announced that A Wrinkle in Time director Ava Duvernay is making The New Gods movie, which will stand outside of the DCEU. It’s possible that we’ll learn more about Zack Snyder’s plans via the director himself as he continues to tease little pieces on social media, and as The New Gods movie takes things in a different direction.

For now, the DC movie universe is in constant flux. Aquaman is finished shooting with Jason Momoa at the forefront. And Wonder Woman 2 is definitely happening with origin director Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot back in the lead. DC Films has also confirmed directors for Flashpoint with Ezra Miller reprising his role as Barry Allen. So the DCEU isn’t dead by any means. But after these three movies, who knows where it will go? Shazam is rumored to bring Henry Cavill back as Superman, and is shooting now, but it stands just on the peripheral. Then there is producer Martin Scorsese’s Joker origin movie, Duvernay’s New Gods, and a few other loose strings handing. Plus, Suicide Squad 2 is dangling in the balance. One thing is for certain, there won’t be an immediate sequel to Justice League and Zack Snyder is done with this universe. Zack Snyder’s Vero account update was first shared on Reddit.

Justice League 2 plans Zack Snyder


‘Black Panther’ Keeps B.O. Treasure From ‘Tomb Raider’; How ‘I Can Only Imagine’ Hit A $17M High Note

Sunday AM final update: Disney/Marvel’s Black Panther once again prevented any other major studio title from advancing on its No. 1 turf with a fifth weekend haul of $27MBlack Panther will cross the $600M threshold today on its 31st day of release, becoming the second-fastest to that mark after Star Wars The Force Awakens (12 days) and ahead of Jurassic World (36 days) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi (37 days).


Check out our previous box office update and industry analysis on Black Panther reaping $461M in profit. 

For a reboot priced at $90M+, Tomb Raider didn’t wow stateside with a studio-reported weekend of $23.5M plus an overall B CinemaScore, and 70% overall positive on PostTrak. MGM/Warner Bros. are hoping to make up for that shortfall abroad, but the fact that they’re co-financiers on this feature indicates that they knew there was some inherent risk that needed to be mitigated. Tomb Raider‘s opening was only 8% higher than the second 2003 Tomb Raider movie, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life starring Angelina Jolie ($21.7M). That sequel closed the whole franchise down for another 15 years, and if the creators wanted to resuscitate this brand, it had to be better than where the franchise left off. Critics and audiences just weren’t feeling it.

If Tomb Raider carried a production cost in the $50M-$60M range like a Resident Evil, MGM/Warner Bros. could be looking at a mini-genre franchise here akin to what Screen Gems owns. Mostly guy video game fans turned out at 56%. The studios can celebrate the fact that Tomb Raider is the No. 1 film worldwide with $108M this weekend, 78% of that figure coming from abroad. I’ve heard that $275M is the magic number worldwide for a breakeven point, but there are some film finance executives who believe it’s much higher. Imax drew $9.4M on Tomb Raider worldwide, $2.6M of that coming from 400 domestic auditoriums.

Overseas, Alicia Vikander has been traveling to different markets and Warner Bros. sold Tomb Raider as a global campaign. The first trailer, which Vikander introduced on Late Late Show with James Corden drew 100M views, and there was a clever featurette showing how Vikander trained and how she went through hell in her prep. Essentially, the point here was to defy audience expectations who believed that Angelina Jolie should be reprising her role, and proving that Vikander earned her stripes as the iconic character. Relish Mix notices that Daniel Wu is the only social media star with a 1M following, however, WB did other things to get Vikander out in the ether, read in an effort to stoke female audiences, the Oscar-winning actress appeared in Vogue YouTube videos.

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It is truly a tough marketplace right now where social media dictates zeitgeist tastes in nano-seconds. Overall weekend ticket sales according to ComScore were at $135M, down close to 50% from the same period a year ago. In regards to tracking, it’s taking into account the power of Black Panther, and that’s the reason why we haven’t seen opening projections increase dramatically in recent weeks for A Wrinkle in Time, Tomb Raider and next week’s Legenadary/Universal title Pacific Rim Uprising which is looking at a $24M-$31M start (a very similar range that Tomb Raider possessed going into this weekend). When this version of Tomb Raider was greenlit, neither Warner Bros. or MGM had any concern about Black Panther. Tomb Raider is opening essentially a month after Black Panther and it’s rare for a February release to own the top spot for five weekends running. “It use to be more straightforward,” says one executive about the theatrical marketplace, “you could get clever on how you market, but individual tastes change dramatically from the point of greenlight to release.”

Roadside Attractions

The biggest eyebrow raiser over the weekend was Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate’s Christian rock movie I Can Only ImagineAs a number of faith-based titles have flooded the market over the last four years, tracking wasn’t expecting this one, about the backstory of MercyMe song, to hit a high note. But this $7M production made its budget back in 3-days after earning a $17M 3-day and a A+ CinemaScore. Pic drew 67% female, 80% over 35. The assumption heading into the weekend was that Greg Berlanti’s Love, Simon after earning strong previews of $800K last Saturday would potentially be the one to overperform. The $10M production still did fine with an $11.5M three day, and A+ CinemaScore.

Love, Simon drew 58% females, 42% males with 59% under 25. The movie over-indexed in the west, Northeast, and Midwest; slightly under-indexed in the Rockies; and under-indexed in the south and southeast. Top 20 markets that over-indexed include LA, NY, SF, Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Minneapolis. Top grossing theaters came from LA, NY, SF, Boston, Toronto, Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, and San Antonio. Canada repped 5.6% of the weekend’s take.

Bravo, Sony, on the family front as Jumanji:Welcome to the Jungle crossed $400M, just $3.5M away from toppling Spider-Man to become the studio’s highest grossing movie ever at the domestic B.O. Also, Peter Rabbit hopped past $100M.


Roadside Attractions

I Can Only Imagine surfaced on Roadside Attractions’ radar late last summer after the executives caught a screening of the pic at the DGA theater. Universal and Sony were also in the mix, vying for the Andrew and Jon Erwin-directed title, but RSA won out. The title was referred to them by faith-based marketing firm Working Title Agency. Given the success of this movie, RSA will be expanding the pic to north of 2,000 runs. Given how high this movie started, it’s looking at a 4-5x multiple. Heaven Is Real four years ago opened to $22.5M and legged out to $91.4M (4x) while God’s Not Dead debuted to $9.2M and churned out a huge 6.6x of $60.7M.

The movie tells the backstory about MercyMe’s beloved 17-year old song “I Can Only Imagine”.

“There’s a huge brand awareness for the song in the Christian community,” says RSA co-founder and co-president Howard Cohen, “while not a musical, it’s a music-movie, and when they hit, they strike a chord.”

Why didn’t tracking see this movie coming? They projected its weekend outcome in the low single digits. Recent history has shown that most faith-based films aren’t popping, but also, hardcore Christians are a specific subset of moviegoers that a statistical sampling doesn’t necessarily cover as a whole.

Over Valentine’s Day weekend, RSA had MercyMe announce advance ticket sales on Facebook Live. Selling advance tickets for a faith-based title was an anomaly. It’s not done often with such titles, Sony’s War Room being one of the last ones. When RSA began noticing that I Can Only Imagine logged $1.6M in advance ticket sales, they knew they had something special. Fandango reported that the movie was their fifth best seller heading into the weekend.

Other marketing highlights for I Can Only Imagine which had a heavy presence on social media and Christian and country music radio stationsNationally-known evangelist Greg Laurie sat down with co-director Jon Erwin for a March 1 webinar that lasted 37 minutes that posted on Facebook. In that talk, they told people how to buy pre-sale movie tickets and directed people to City on the Hill which was giving out Church “Campaign Kits” for the film. They also provided special screenings ahead of time. Air1 gave away tickets for opening day. Bart Millard, lead singer of MercyMe, went around and sang the song live on radio stations like 95.9 (the Fish) FM, a Christian music station. Working Title was hired to handle the faith-based end of marketing.

Studio reported figures for the weekend  of March 16-18:

1..) Black Panther (DIS), 3,834 theaters (-108)  / $7.5M Fri /$11.6M Sat/$7.8M Sun / 3-day: $27M (-34%)/Total: $605.4M/Wk 5

2..) Tomb Raider (MGM/WB), 3,854 theaters  / $9M Fri (includes $2.1M of previews) /$8.8M Sat/$5.7M Sun/3-day: $23.5M /Wk 1

3..) I Can Only Imagine (RSA/LG), 1,629 theaters  / $6.2M Fri /$6M Sat/$4.8M Sun/3-day: $17M /Wk 1

4..) A Wrinkle in Time (DIS), 3,980 theaters (0)  / $4.6m Fri/$7M Sat/ $5M Sun/3-day: $16.6M (-50%)/Total: $61M/Wk 2

5..) Love, Simon (FOX), 2,402 theaters  / $4.6M Fri /$4.1m Sat/$2.8M Sun/3-day: $11.5M /Wk 1

6..) Game Night (NL/WB), 2,686 theaters (-375) / $1.7m Fri /$2.4m Sat/$1.4M Sun/3-day: $5.6M (-29%)/Total: $54.1M/Wk 4

7..) Peter Rabbit (SONY), 2,725 theaters (-387)  / $1.4M Fri  /$2.2M Sat/ $1.5M Sun/3-day: $5.2M (-23%) /Total: $102.4M/Wk 6

8..) Strangers: Prey at Night (AVI), 2,464 theaters  (0)/ $1.5M Fri /$1.9M Sat/ $1.3M Sun/3-day: $4.8M (-54%)/Total:$18.6M/Wk 2

9..) Red Sparrow (FOX), 2,583 theaters (-481)  / $1.3m Fri /$1.9M Sat/ $1.2M Sun/3-day: $4.4M (-48%)/Total: $39.6M/ Wk 3

10..) Death Wish (MGM), 2,676 theaters (-206)  / $952K Fri /$1.4M Sat/ $952K Sun/3-day: $3.3M (-49%)/Total: $30M/Wk 3


Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (SONY), 1,556 theaters (-601)  / $463K Fri  /$745k Sat/ $442K Sun/3-day: $1.65M (-40%) /Total: $400.2M/Wk 14

7 Days in Entebbe (FOCUS), 838 theaters  / $545k Fri /$637K Sat/ $446K Sun/3-day: $1.63M /Wk 1

Flower (ORCH), 3 theaters  / $28k Fri /$15K Sat/ $15K Sun/PTA: $19,2K/3-day: $57,8k /Wk 1

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