3 Days To Kill

Kevin Costner is Ethan Renner, a CIA agent ready to give up his life of globe-trotting espionage to reconnect with his estranged wife (Connie Neilsen) and teenage daughter (Hailee Steinfeld). Unfortunately for his family, sexy operative Amber Heard lures Renner back in to hunt down a berserk terrorist or two before the healing can begin.

Neither director McG nor writer Luc Besson are known for their austere realism, so expect rampant witlessness among all the bone-crunching, blood-spraying action. Costner plays the whole mess remarkably straight.


‘Edge of Tomorrow’ Takes Second Place with $9.3M Haul


UPDATE: World Cup Ratings: England v Italy Gives ESPN Most-Watched Non-U.S. Group Match; BBC One Scores 11.5M Viewers

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Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen match…

world-cup-2014UPDATE 4:28 PM PT: The England-Italy game that was played on Saturday averaged a 2.6 rating for ESPN with 4.615M viewers. That makes it ESPN/ESPN2’s most-watched non-U.S. Group Stage World Cup game ever. The network says that only three U.S. men’s Group Stage matches have delivered a larger audience (the side has yet to take the field this year). In terms of household ratings, England’s defeat at the hands of the Azzurri is the 2nd highest-rated non-U.S. Group Stage World Cup game, falling behind Thursday’s Brazil-Croatia opener which scored a record overnight average of 3.2 in the metered markets. Univision, meanwhile, reports that its World Cup audience is 25% larger among total viewers than in 2010 through eight matches. Yesterday was the most-watched Saturday of Group play in Univision Deportes’ World Cup history, the network says. Those matches included Colombia-Greece, Uruguay-Costa Rica and England-Italy. Today’s big match-ups included France versus Honduras, which ended a few hours ago, and Argentina versus Bosnia-Herzegovina, who are still on the pitch. Germany faces off with Portugal tomorrow at 12 PM ET, but what Americans will really have their eyes on is how the U.S. fares against Ghana at 6 PM ET.

PREVIOUS, 2:28 AM PT: When England met the U.S. in the 2010 World Cup, the team’s first match of the tournament peaked with 20.1M viewers in the UK and 72.7% of the audience, according to Overnights TV. The sides ended at a 1-1 draw and the match overall averaged 16.1M viewers. Last night’s match between England and Italy didn’t end quite so well, not for the English team, and not in the ratings. Per the overnights, BBC One‘s full coverage from 10:20 PM to 1:30 AM averaged 11.51M viewers and 68.4% of the audience. The match’s peak came italy world cupat 11:40 PM with 15.65M and a 78.5% share. Italy’s 2-1 victory over the Three Lions was played out in the Amazon, the first Cup match so far to see the pitch at Arena Amazônia. The New York Times reports it was still 83 degrees at halftime with 70% humidity, an hour after the sun had set. Italian coach, Cesare Prandelli, called the conditions “absurd,” despite victory for the Azzurri. At home in Italy, the match aired on RAI 1, RAI and Sky Sport 1, totalling 15.27M viewers and an 82% share. The majority, according to local reports, went to Rai 1 with 12M viewers and an audience share of 70.5%. Earlier in the UK, ITV‘s coverage of the Uruguay-Costa Rica match averaged 5.5M and a 28.8% share. Colombia vs Greece drew 4.57M and 34.3% on BBC One in Saturday’s first game.


Update: Intl Box Office: ‘Godzilla’ Thrashes Again With $38M Weekend Led By China; ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2? Fires Up $24.8M; More

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Highlights: Godzilla (WB) lords over China with $36M open; Edge Of Tomorrow (WB) stilil sharp with $37.4M; Maleficent (DIS) adds $37.2M; How To Train Your Dragon 2 enters 25 markets with $24.8M; X-Men: Days Of Future Past (FOX) flies over $450M; The Fault In Our Stars (FOX) shines with $16.4M; 22 Jump Street cops to $6.9M; Noah (PAR) enters Japanese waters, crosses $250M; More…

cinemaworldUPDATE, 4:02 PM PT: This was largely a Hollywood holdover weekend with some new market plays and only one major new entry. Of the Top 15 movies internationally, three were from offshore: Korean action thriller A Hard Day in its 3rd frame, Korean action noir For The Emperor in its 1st frame and Hong Kong’s Overheard 3. This is of course the first weekend of full-on World Cup action, which in Asia is not as all-consuming as in Europe. That’s despite Korea and Japan having teams in the mix. The massive sporting event certainly doesn’t seem to have dented box office in China where Godzilla roared to the best opening of 2014 while Edge Of Tomorrow and X-Men: Days Of Future Past continued to perform (see below). In Europe, on days when the major national teams play, box office can be down by about 50%-60% in the home markets, and by about 20% if the home team isn’t involved. The phenomenon may not be as drastic this year because of the time differences between Europe and Brazil which means most games are airing late at night on the Continent.


However, overseas, across the Top 10 titles, the frame was down 22% on last weekend and 15% on last year. At this same point in 2013, Man Of Steel opened to $71.6M in 24 international markets. After Earth, Fast & Furious 6, The Hangover Part III and Star Trek Into Darkness were also still playing. Plus, Chinese action pic Switch flicked on at home with a $22M+ opening. Overall drops are expected this year during the World Cup play, when very few blockbuster type films open. That, however, opens the door for holdovers to stretch and counterprogrammers to pick up some of the slack. The films that tend to work during this period are ones that skew to female, family and older audiences. How To Train Your Dragon 2 was the only big new opener this week, with $24.8M across 25 territories. It dominated market share, while The Fault In Our Stars continued to woo overseas audiences. In other holdovers, Edge Of Tomorrow, Maleficent and X-Men: Days Of Future Past kept churning. Each of those films has received positive reviews (as has Dragon 2) and so given the studios’ strategic plans, could continue to show legs even if they begin to wobble a bit. Next weekend, Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys warbles in the UK, France, Italy and elsewhere. The subject matter of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons may be a bit foreign to foreign auds, but moviegoers less concerned with football are likely to seek out a film by the respected director. TFIOS and HTTYD2 are hitting a bunch more markets next weekend as well; especially the latter which flies forth into about 30 including Australia, Mexico and Brazil, each of which were among the first film’s best territories. In Brazil, kids are also off from school. Maleficent, meanwhile, sees its China bow on June 20. See below the original post for key market breakdowns.

PREVIOUS, 12:51 PM PT: Rampaging his way through China, Godzilla earned an estimated $36M in his first weekend in the Middle Kingdom. That makes the Warner Bros and Legendary film the frame’s biggest international grosser. Already out since mid-May, its last weekend overseas was worth $5.4M in 63 markets. Along with China this weekend, it made $38M in 62 markets. For sure, the Gareth Edwards-directed movie took the world’s second biggest box office market by storm beginning on Friday when itopened to $10.9M on an estimated 9,000 screens, more than a third of the nation’s moviegoing real estate, and the best debut of 2014. The full weekend gives Warner its biggest three-day opening of all time in the market. Godzilla is also on track to tie the IMAX/China industry record of $4.5M, currently held by Warner’s The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug. Look for it to perform in a similar manner to last year’s Pacific Rim, which did monster Chinese business of about $112M. (These are big numbers we talk about each weekend when dealing with China, and it’s important to remember that the studios are only recouping 25% based on the revenue share set-up. However, I’m also often cautioned that with P&A so negligible there, 25% net of $100M or so is hardly unwelcome in Hollywood.) China is the penultimate international territory for Godzilla, which will return to its roots July 25 when it releases in Japan via Toho. The international cume is now $248.3M and the worldwide cume is $440M.

Related: UPDATE: Intl Box Office: ‘Godzilla’ Has $14.8M Saturday In China; $25.8M Cume

edge of tomorrowAt No. 2 overseas, Edge Of Tomorrow earned an estimated $37.4M over the weekend with roughly 5.1M admissions on 13,400 screens. It continues to show stronger overseas than domestically. That takes the international cume to date to $181M, including $14.2M from IMAX dates. In China (big weekend for Warner Bros there), the frame grossed $9.3M on a 3,264 screens, or about half of what it played last weekend. The estimated cume to date in China is $49.7M. Russia saw a drop of just 19% with $6.1M from 1,539 screens. The local cume of $16.4M means that the well-reviewed Tom Cruise pic has outperformed the entire run of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol by 31%. Still in action-loving Asia, Korea continued at No. 1 for the 2nd consecutive week, with an estimated $6.2M on 706 screens. The total in that market is $24.8M. Other No. 1s included France with $1.6M in the 2nd frame, and Taiwan with $780K in the 3rd frame. EOT heads to Japan on July 4.

Related: BOX OFFICE: ’22 Jump Street’, No. 1, ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2? No. 2 Around $50M In Big Sequel Weekend

Ahead of its opening in China next weekend, Disney’s Maleficent conjured up another $37.2M this frame in 53 overseas markets. That’s a 39.7% 3rd-frame-over-2nd drop and takes the global cume to an estimated $436.4M. International’s part of that is $272.9M. It’s become star (and newly-minted honorary Dame) Angelina Jolie’s 2nd biggest live-action career movie, behind Mr & Mrs Smith and its $478M worldwide. This frame, Maleficent added Thailand, where there’s a late-night curfew in place in many areas. It opened at No. 1 on a four-day gross, including previews, of $1.8M. The bow was Jolie’s best ever in the market. After China opens on June 20, Japan will release on July 4 — pitting Jolie versus Cruise and EOT.

dragon 2Fox’s release of DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon 2 swooped into 25 markets this weekend with $24.8M on 4,438 screens. Fox says it had the No. 1 market share in all countries where it opened. Along with some Middle East territories that quietly got the movie last weekend, the cume to date is $26.5M. Russia was a big bow with $12.76M from 2,409. That’s the industry’s 5th highest animated opening ever; Russia was the No. 2 market for the original film with a theatrical lifetime of $23.5M. Malaysia, which is increasingly an interesting market to watch, had its biggest animated opening ever with $2.26M at 340. Singapore was also the biggest animated bow ever with $1.75M at 65. A similar milestone was passed in the Philippines ($1.92M from 165) and India ($1.23M from 453) where the movie was the 2nd highest animated opening ever. HTTYD2, directed by Dean DeBlois, lands in 28 more markets next weekend including World Cup crazy Argentina, Australia, Brazil and Mexico. Counterprogrammed against the football frenzy, HTTYD2 will angle for the family audience and has a pretty clear path as the only major animated fare on offer this summer (Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue starts rolling out in late July). Each of the Top 10 markets for the first Dragon, save China, have a national team in the play so it will be interesting to see how this works out for the movie that opened No. 2 in the U.S. this weekend.

X-Men Days of Future Past character posterX-Men: Days Of Future Past picked up another $18.2M from 10,549 screens in 74 markets over this weekend. That’s brought the international cume to $457.6M. China is still tops for the Fox pic which added $2.1M from 1,400 screens. It now has a $111.8M cume to date in the market where it has likely just passed Dad, Where Are We Going? as the No. 3 movie of the year. Meanwhile, some Brazilians evidently did go to the movies this weekend, despite the World Cup kickoff all around the country. At 651 locations, X-Men dropped 34% and earned $1.97M. In its 4th frame in many overseas markets, the film only bowed in Spain last weekend. It held the No. 1 spot there with $1.2M at 688 dates. Frankly, with the way the Spain v Netherlands Group Stage match went on Friday night, it’s not surprising that the movie theaters saw action. X-Men’s final overseas bow is in Venezuela next weekend.

The Fault in Our Stars movie poster #TFIOSAlso from Fox, The Fault In Our Stars lit up in 21 new markets, to earn $16.4M from 3,714 screens in 37 total. The international cume is now $39.3M after a strong opening last frame that included Brazil. The teen tearjerker continues playing to audiences there who are big fans of the source material book. It earned $4.2M from 753 locations, bringing the cume to $12.34M. That number, get this, surpasses the lifetime Brazilian box office of Twilight, The Hunger Games, Divergent (which featured two of the same young stars) and Godzilla — after 11 days in release. Mexico remains the No. 2 market so far with $8M after picking up a further $2.88M from 976 this weekend. Germany, another hotbed of appreciation for John Green’s book, took $1.85M from 388. TFIOS shines on seven new markets next weekend, including the UK.

After a solid UK opening last weekend at $8.2, 22 Jump Street infiltrated the U.S. this weekend with what’s expected to be about $60M. The R-rated comedy, which has gotten strong reviews, has now added an estimated $6.9M to its overseas stash from 14 territories. The international cume is $20.6M. Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the Channing Tatum/Jonah Hill-starrer was No. 1 in its New Zealand bow this weekend with $705K – or 2.5 times more than the opening of 21 Jump Street. Israel also more than doubled the first film’s debut with $351K on 26 screens. Eastern Europe contributed $450K from five territories combined. Unsurprisingly, the UK remains the top market for the movie thus far and held the No. 1 spot again, grossing $3.9M. This is the second week in a row that 22 Jump Street has had no major competition in the UK market. The cume there is now $16.6M million. The Netherlands fell 39% in its 2nd frame, grossing $435K for a cume of $1.6M. Domestically, the movie is playing to a 50/50 split of men and women, but I’m also told it appears to be playing more broadly than most R-rated comedies. That’s good for a movie that is being strategically sent out as a counterprogramming alternative to the World Cup.

Related: Specialty Box Office – Robert Pattinson’s ‘The Rover’ Runs Strongly In Blah Weekend

The other big comedy still rolling out overseas is Universal‘s A Million Ways To Die In The West. The Seth MacFarlane pic opened in nine new territories this weekend and grossed an estimated $4.2M at 3,500 dates in 46 markets for an international total of $26.7M. Malaysia had the best debut result, although specific numbers were not provided. Neighbors, meanwhile, added no new markets but grew the keg fund by $2M for an estimated overseas cume of $88.8M. As an antidote to the World Cup, Neighbors hits Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Panama next weekend.

Over in Japan, there’s this little Disney movie there that is positively Frozen in place. Yes, the record-setting animated juggernaut is No. 1 again for the 14th consecutive frame with only a 31% drop from last weekend. The movie added $3.8M in Japan for a local cume of $225.5M; an international cume of $852M and a global take of $1,252.7M. Film Business Asia pointed out an interesting factoid this week when it noted that because of Frozen’s lengthy stint atop the box office, only three other films have been able to ascend that spot this year. They are: local pics The Eternal Zero and Mole Song, and Warner Bros’ The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug.

Noah finally washed ashore in Japan this weekend, and actually got kind of close to Frozen with $3.5M from 338 locations. Paramount has consistently used Gravity as a comp, and says the Noah bow was 20% below that sci-fi pic. In total this weekend, Noah added $4M at 560 locations in 19 markets. The other debut, in the Philippines, was worth $429K at 90 sites. The international cume is now $251M.

On a less biblical note, The Other Woman is getting closer to having $100M in its war chest, adding $1.1M this weekend from 892 screens in 19 markets for a cume of $97.5M. The Fox comedy bowed at No. 3 in Spain with $510K from 304 screens. France and Italy open next weekend. Also from Fox, Rio 2 earned another $913K from 752 screens in 20 markets. The international cume is $344.7M. Australia opens July 1.

Finally, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, which wowed at the Berlin Film Festival and elsewhere earlier this year, is now playing in Germany, Austria and Switzerland with a weekend estimate of $468K at 128 dates. That gives Universal an early total of $1M. This is a word-of-mouth movie with a 40% hike in the 2nd frame; in Germany it has the second-best per-screen average. The U.S. opens through IFC on July 11. Also from Universal, this time in Spain, The Two Faces Of January opened at No. 3 with $474K at 227 dates, bigger than comp The Talented Mr Ripley. The U.S. opens through Magnolia on Sept. 26.

Key territory round-ups

Despite any historical animosity between China and Japan, Godzilla was heartily embraced here this weekend. The creature feature earned $36M in the world’s 2nd biggest box office market on about 9,000 screens. That gave Warner its biggest three-day opening of all time. Edge Of Tomorrow, also from Warner Bros, picked up an extra $9.3M on 3,264 screens which was a drop of more than half from the dates it was playing last weekend when it made $25.1M in its first outing. EOT’s cume there is now $49.7M; more than double what Cruise-starrer Oblivion did there last year. X-Men: Days Of Future Past added $2.1M as it continued to be the biggest market for the movie with a to-date cume of $111.8M.

Is Frozen just frozen at No. 1? In its 14th consecutive week atop the box office, the film has now taken a staggering $225.5M. And yet, its added $3.8M this week was just slightly higher than Noah’s bow of $3.5M. The next big Hollywood movies that could thaw the ice are Maleficent (also from Disney) and Edge Of Tomorrow on July 4, with Godzilla primed for July 25.

'For the Emperor' sceneEdge Of Tomorrow is still No. 1 in Korea after its 2nd frame with an estimated $6.2M on 706 plays. The cume there is now $24.8M. The market previously saw Oblivion earn $9.9M. Local action thriller A Hard Day was worth $3.3M for a $15M local cume, while new opener For The Emperor earned $2.3M. The Park Sang-Joon directed noir follows a former professional baseball player who lost everything when implicated in a game-fixing scheme. He ends up taken under the wing of a gang boss, but when the woman he falls for disappears, he rebels against his mentor suspecting his involvement. X-Men, in its 4th frame, took $1.2M from 379 screens. Also in Asia, HTTYD2 was Malaysia’s biggest animated opening ever with $2.3M from 340 screens. A Million Ways To Die In The West also opened best there amongst its new territories.

The World Cup hosts kept The Fault In Our Stars shining at the top of the box office for the 2nd week in a row. Teen girls are on school vacation, and with the book such a hot property here, likely more interested in this bigscreen love story than local forward Neymar. The film added $4.2M from 753 screens and has already surpassed the lifetime box office of Twilight, The Hunger Games, Divergent and Godzilla. Also in Brazil, X-Men added $1.97M at 651 dates in its 4th weekend. Its cume is now $23.88M. Edge Of Tomorrow just hasn’t seemed to click that well in Brazil, conversely, with $550K this weekend and a $3.9M cume after three frames.

Russia was the biggest overseas market this weekend for new title How To Train Your Dragon 2. The $12.8M bow on 2,409 screens is the industry’s 5th biggest for an animated film. Edge Of Tomorrow also continued its strong run with $6.1M from 1,539 screens, a drop of 19% which is impressive in such a fast-burn market. The $16.4M cume is 31% bigger than the entire run of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, but has yet to reach Oblivion’s $19.2M.

Although Spain played the Netherlands on Friday — or maybe because of their crushing defeat – folks did go to the movies. X-Men, which opened last weekend, held at No. 1 with $1.2M from 688 dates. I stopped by a mall multiplex today in Barcelona and the mid-afternoon had a crowd of adults and kids lining up for various offerings, including The Other Woman and local animation Pancho: El Perro Millonario. Patricia Highsmith adaptation The Two Faces Of January also opened here this weekend with $474K at 227 dates.

22 Jump Street had a wide berth this weekend again in the UK after opening as the only major studio offering last frame. No. 1 for the 2nd time, it added $3.9M for a $16.6M cume. X-Men: Days Of Future Past continued in its 4th frame with $1.4M at 700 dates. Fox says its $41.6M cume makes it the biggest superhero movie ever in the market. Edge Of Tomorrow added $1.1M for a $9.4M cume. The Fault In Our Stars opens on Thursday with Jersey Boys on Friday.

One of the biggest markets for the John Green book upon which The Fault In Our Stars is based, is Germany. This weekend, the teen romancer opened on 388 screens to $1.9M. Not that it’s the same audience, but Germany has yet to play a match in the Group Stage of the World Cup (its first is Monday versus Portugal), but the country is also exceedingly faithful to the sport and continues watching matches on TV with fervor even if its team falls out of a major tournament. Edge Of Tomorrow added $544K here this week for a $4.2M cume. Oblivion previously made $8.8M in the market. Performing strongly after a big push at the Berlin Film Festival, is Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. The well-reviewed film won the helmer the directing Silver Bear and is benefitting from strong buzz locally. After opening last week, its box office rose 40% in Germany, Austria and Switzerland where it’s released by Universal. The weekend estimate is $468K at 128 dates for an early total of $1M.

Edge Of Tomorrow is still hot in France where it was No. 1 for the 2nd week at $1.6M and a $5.8M cume. Just behind was Days Of Future Past with $1.4M at 719 plays. This week also saw the opening of local pic La Ritournelle, a comedy by Marc Fitoussi and starring Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Pierre Darroussin as farmers who undergo a marriage crisis. Well-reviewed, it was the biggest opener on its first day this week with nearly 17,000 admissions on 228 screens. This coming Wednesday welcomes Jersey Boys, The Other Woman and The Two Faces Of January (which was backed by local company Studiocanal).


EMMYS: Jim Parsons On Performing In ‘Normal Heart’ — ‘Several Moments Grounded In Realism’

Jim Parsons Big Bang Theory Normal Heart interviewFor Jim Parsons, taking part in Ryan Murphy’s HBO adaptation of Larry Kramer’s Tony-winning play, The Normal Heart, was a no-brainer. Parsons could’ve gone on collecting Emmys for his superlative work on The Big Bang Theory—he has three so far for outstanding lead comedy actor. And he had already played acid-tongued AIDS activist Tommy Boatwright on Broadway. But it was important to him that he reprise the role for the telefilm. Here, Parsons reveals the confusion that followed his first meeting with Murphy, his reaction to his new scenes and the significance that his first Emmy nomination for a dramatic role would hold.

AWARDSLINE: How did you get involved with this project?
PARSONS: I’m pretty sure Ryan saw (me in) the stage production. But I have to admit, I’m not exactly sure whether he had the idea to approach me, or if jointly with Larry he had the idea to use me, or, if completely pushed by Larry, he had the idea to use me.

AWARDSLINE: I actually spoke to Ryan and he said Larry pushed to have you play this role.
PARSONS: That does not shock me. I was very fortunate with my experience doing the play with Larry. He was around a lot, (and) he happened to really like what I was doing. He was always a big, big supporter.

Related: Michael Ausiello’s Interview With Ryan Murphy

The Normal Heart play sceneAWARDSLINE: But it was Ryan who reached out to you, correct?
PARSONS: Yes. It was shortly after I’d returned from doing the play that summer (in 2011) that I got a call from my manager saying Ryan would be interested in meeting with me about playing Tommy in the movie. I went to his office (and) adored him immediately. He had such gravity, such intelligence. I remember leaving there (thinking), “He’s going to make a beautiful film.” What I didn’t know, though—and this is so Hollywood—was whether I was playing this part or not. I think he asked if I would be interested in playing it, and I’m sure I said yes, but I came home and told my manager that I didn’t know whether I just got the part or what the hell happened. It was really a few weeks that went by, and (my manager) was like, “Apparently, it’s yours. That’s what that (meeting) was.” So I was very relieved.

Jim Parsons in The Normal HeartAWARDSLINE: Actors tend to say they never want to repeat themselves. Did you have any trepidation about playing the same role twice?
PARSONS: No. I just considered it its own beast. In retrospect, having done the movie, I’m very, very grateful for having gotten to spend so much time with the play (first). I would have never had that much time with this role otherwise. And I brought that with me (to the film).

AWARDSLINE: Larry beefed up the role of Tommy for the film, which meant that there were a lot of new scenes for you to play. That must have been exciting.
PARSONS: It was very exciting. As a participant in such an important piece of material, the more of it you can be a part of, the happier you are. It wasn’t scary, the idea of, “Oh Lord, what other scenes will there be, and will I be able to master them?” I think I have a good enough grip on (the character) that I would relish the chance to try out new situations with him.

AWARDSLINE: One of those new scenes was a eulogy Tommy gives at a memorial service. How did you approach that scene?
??PARSONS: So much of the time, in both Larry’s play and in the movie, it’s a situation where Tommy is trying to run damage control between two warring parties or trying to lighten the mood. So it was very different tonally in that there was no attempt being made to take the pressure off a situation. It was very much a completely fed-up moment for him . . . I really spent a lot of time on the memorization (and making sure I had) all those words in the right order, because I thought it was so beautifully constructed.

AWARDSLINE: Do you feel like you were at a real memorial service?
PARSONS: Yes. Everybody was dressed in their funeral finest, we were in this really beautiful church, there was a coffin sitting right there, and the actor playing that role was in it the whole time . . . I wasn’t unaware that we were acting, but it was one of several moments that (was really) grounded in realism. It would catch you off guard sometimes… and take it out of the intellectual. You’d go, “Jesus Christ, this is depressing. This is hard.” Those moments are fleeting, but they are instructive as an actor, as a performer, as a human. And that scene was one of them.

Related: Directing Sex Scenes in ‘Normal Heart’

The Big Bang Theory castAWARDSLINE: Obviously, you’re known for comedy work and have a mantel full of Emmys to show for it. What would a nomination for a dramatic role like this mean?
PARSONS: Oh God, it’s really hard to say. I don’t even know. If the fates decide that I should get to continue on this journey through an awards season, I can only imagine that would feel like a great extension of this. I enjoy being associated with this project, and the other people with it, so much that anything that extends that time where you get to attend events together in support, or in celebration, of the project would be very meaningful.

Original photograph by J.R. Mankoff


Twitter SEEiT Feature Connects Tweets, TV Shows

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Twitter logoTwitter lights up during big TV events such as the Super Bowl, Olympics and the Oscars, but can the social-media platform deliver users directly to the tube? Comcast and Twitter are betting it can with SEEiT, a button embedded in tweets that actually can change the channel from a user’s smartphone or tablet or set a DVR to record a show. The platform works with shows from ABC, A&E, AMC, Fox, NBC and others as well as set-top boxes from Comcast, Cablevision, Charter and Time Warner Cable.  “If you’re between 13 and 24, (social media) is probably the primary way you’re discovering things,” says Erik Flannigan, executive VP of multiplatform strategy and development for the Viacom Entertainment Group. That’s why Flannigan considers initiatives such as SEEiT to be “the tip of an iceberg.”

Comcast logoProgrammers are intrigued: Nearly half of viewers under 30 use computers, smartphones or tablets to visit social networks during their TV time, research from Deloitte recently reported. A separate study from the Council for Research Excellence found that viewers of specials, sci-fi shows, sports and movies are especially eager to simultaneously chat online with others. “TV networks fully understand, top to bottom, that their mission is to deliver that (social media experience) to you in a relationship that’s 24/7/365, and it never used to be that way,” Flannigan says. For now, SEEiT’s value lies in the insight it offers about consumer behavior—including which tweets inspired people to watch a show. Comcast and Twitter “will have all that data and interactions that will enable them to understand a particular consumer’s engagement with both social media and whether they click through to watch the program,” says Mark Lieberman, CEO of Viamedia, the cable industry’s largest independent ad sales company. “That becomes a powerful data insight.”

SEEiT button with arrowSome potential problems still need to be addressed. For example, will viewers resent all the data collection? Also, SEEiT clearly owns that first piece of the connection between viewers and their smartphones. “Does this run the risk that Comcast can disintermediate other cable companies, programmers and platforms?” Lieberman asks. “Sure.” Flannigan has a similar concern as Viacom and other companies try to get on “a level playing field in the consumer-relationship business with the folks who own the billing relationship on the cable side,” he says, adding that this should be easy to resolve. “We all want more people to use our systems and watch cable television and, really, all of these things are aligned in trying to get people to do that.”


‘How to Train Your Dragon 2′ Enjoys Fifth Highest Industry Debut for an Animated Film in Russia


Bart & Fleming: Selling Summer Sleepers Like ‘The Fault In Our Stars,’ ‘Jersey Boys’ ‘Begin Again’ And ‘Boyhood’

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FlemingBartColumn_badge__140510005503Peter Bart and Mike Fleming Jr. worked together for two decades at Daily Variety. In this weekly Sunday column, two old friends get together and grind their axes on the movie business.

faultinFleming: The success that Elizabeth Gabler’s Fox 2000 had with The Fault In Our Stars has me entertaining the unthinkable. Is it possible that between the giant lizards, robots and superheroes that populate studio tentpoles, there is room for thoughtful sleeper films in the summer? The Fault In Our Stars might be the most stirring summer sleeper success I can remember since 1990’s Ghost, another movie about loss. The Fault In Our Stars was particularly sad, young teens facing their mortality because of cancer, struggling to seize life while they can, and helpless parents who’ll never recover from outliving their kids. By the way, the big star is John Green, writer of the book. How’s that for a blockbuster formula in an escapist summer season? Next up is Jersey Boys, where the starpower comes solely from director Clint Eastwood and Frankie Valli’s famous falsetto!

jerseyboysBart: If John Green is unexpectedly the Man of the Moment, Clint Eastwood has every right to wonder how some of that zeitgeist can be transferred to Jersey Boys. Clint’s new film, out June 20, is not tracking well and his rather melancholy take on the brash musical hit has elicited mixed reactions from screening audiences. But I have to admire the venerable filmmaker: He cast unknowns, not stars (contrary to Jon Favreau’s earlier approach) and he dug into the sobering back stories of the characters while audiences were waiting to hear “Oh, What a Night.” But can filmgoers get teary while also tapping their toes? The marketing of the film ties it to the play, but it is quite a different animal.

johngreenFleming: I attended the New York premiere of The Fault In Our Stars. The collective sobbing in the theater was eerie, all from kids who’d read the book. At the party, kids carried copies of the books to shyly ask Green for an autograph. I brought my daughter and niece and asked my daughter how she could get so crazed about an author. My high school junior said that aside from his books, Green and his brother give web tutorials and they were remarkably helpful in getting her through AP History. She looked at this guy like he was Paul McCartney. Isn’t this what you went through with Love Story back in the day?

lovestoryBart: Comparisons of Fault to Love Story have been inevitable, which amuses me because, in my Paramount days, Bob Evans and I wallowed in the ample tears spilled by young movie audiences that lined up to see the Ali MacGraw-Ryan O’Neal weepie. While cancer was the common denominator of the two films, Love Story began its life as a screenplay (every studio rejected it) written by a professor of classics who’d never heard of ‘young adult’ novels. I persuaded the professor, Erich Segal, to rewrite it as a novel, then fired the first director who tried to change the story by turning it into an art picture (Arthur Hiller replaced him). But the studio shed tears when it saw the first cut of the movie; it was awful. Bob Evans and Arthur Hiller did a brilliant job of re-shooting, adding scenes and changing the structure. The movie had legs because it was one of the great aphrodisiacs in film history. Young men knew they would score if they took their dates to the film and cried together. And Paramount knew that big grosses meant never having to say you’re sorry.

beginFleming: Placing a thoughtful film in the summer is a risk. When I saw Can A Song Save Your Life by Once director John Carney at its Toronto premiere, to me it was a cross between Love Actually and Jerry Maguire, grounded by the filmmaker’s love for music. Buyers scrambled out to crunch numbers and The Weinstein Company paid $7 million for domestic rights. I don’t love the new title, Begin Again, like I did the old one, but this is an unforgettable film that will put Adam Levine on the movie map, and you won’t believe how well Keira Knightley sings and how good Mark Ruffalo is. But it opens June 27 against Transformers: Age Of Extinction, going into a July 4th weekend which has been a woodchipper for films that don’t make the grade. I am going to be bullish here and predict that the movie thrives as counterprogramming, because it is that good.

favreBart: I’m glad you feel optimistic about Begin Again because the summer box office thus far has not been friendly toward “specialty” pictures. While the studios have fared well with most of their tentpoles, art films with good casts and credentials like Belle and Words And Pictures have failed to perform. My guru of specialty films, Ted Mundorff, who runs Landmark Theaters, tells me that, by contrast, Chef has held its own for several weeks. I loved Chef but its success carries a certain irony. The movie features a nasty critic (albeit food critic); Jon Favreau, who both stars in Chef and directs it, has taken a beating from critics for his last tentpole, Cowboys And Aliens, and also for Chef — some critics resented the fact that Chef is a “feel good” movie and critics seem to like being brutalized. Like several movies of the summer, both big and small, Chef arguably has not been well marketed. The movie’s clout reflects its affectionate father-son story. The title and campaign suggest it’s about food.

boyhFleming: The specialty market should embrace Rick Linklater’s Boyhood, a coming-of-age story in the extreme in that he shot it over 12 years so you can actually see Ellar Coltrane physically age. It’s a singular achievement for a narrative effort and it should become the buzz title in the specialty marketplace when it platforms July 11 — the same weekend as Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes opens on probably 5000 more screens than Boyhood will get. At least IFC and Linklater have the novelty of a time-lapse drama to sell. Like Green was, Linklater will be most accommodating in selling Boyhood. John Green and his youth following is an anomaly; it’s hard to find something to stand up and get these fragile films some attention and love.

Related: Q&A: Richard Linklater Firms Summer Release, Talks 12 Years Making ‘Boyhood’

segalerichBart: Your comments about the emergence of John Green as a “star” fascinate me, because Green continues to enhance his image through his YouTube classes. To Green, there’s no contradiction between writing novels aimed at teenage girls and conducting online Shakespeare classes. He is an off-beat Renaissance man, and proud of it. By contrast, Erich Segal, who wrote Love Story, was embarrassed by writing popular fiction. He was convinced it would destroy his academic career — which it did. While John Green goes on every TV show that will have him, I had to twist Segal’s arm to submit to an interview on the Today show. To my amazement, Segal used his TV time to tell audiences that Love Story was based on a true encounter he had had with a girl. His emotional tale succeeded in selling out his first edition overnight. He later confided that there was no such girl — the fiction writer had indulged in some convenient fiction. John Green, best I can tell, admits he made up Fault, though he vaguely references some cancer victims he has encountered. Bottom line: His story, real or invented, has moved millions of readers (and film audiences) and made him a very rich man.