Today in film and television: The Big Year tanks big for Fox, Hasbro kicks the tires on another Transformers, and Aaron Sorkin's first reaction to Moneyball.
- Nobody turned up to see Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black's birdwatching comedy The Big Year, which grossed an anemic $3.2 million in its opening weekend. The only major studio release this year to make less in its first weekend was Sony's much-reviled (and much cheaper) Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, which earned $2.3 million back in September. Nikki Finke speculated the film, which Fox cofinanced for close to $41 million, could serve "a come-to-Jesus moment in big Fox filmmaking – until you realize that there have been so many of these come-to-Jesus moments in Fox filmmaking in recent years." Fox president of domestic distribution Bruce Snyder at least seemed non-plussed. "It's a quality movie, and we're proud of it," Snyder said, "but I guess people just aren't interested in bird watching." [Los Angeles Times]
- Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner said on the toy company's third quarters earning conference call that the company is talking with Paramount, director Michael Bay, and producer Steven Spielberg about plans for a fourth Transformers movie, with an announcement potentially coming next quarter. Bay insisted back in 2010 that the most recent installment of the franchise would be his last as director. Goldner also said the toy company is continuing to "actively develop" movie versions of board games Candyland, Risk, Clue and Monopoly and that an adaptation of Ouija, which Universal reportedly put into turnaround back in August because of concerns over the estimated $100 million budget, is still in the works, probably with a smaller budget. [The Hollywood Reporter]
- After screenwriter Aaron Sorkin saw the first cut of Moneyball, he sent director Bennett Miller an email saying it felt like a "fifty-million dollar indie film." Miller insists Sorkin intended it as a compliment, but also admits their sensibilities aren't the same. Sorkin, in Miller's estimation, has "more of a populist sense...what he writes is meant to go one hundred miles per hour and be fast and fun and bright and loud." The final cut has traces of that, but Miller says he also wanted it to work on a "slower, more observational frequency." [The New Yorker]
- Agent Sue Mengers died at her home in Los Angeles at the age of 78. At the height of her power in the 1970s, her client roster at Creative Management Artists included Barbra Streisand, Cher, Mike Nichols, Peter Bogdanovich, Nick Nolte, and Bob Fosse. She retired in 1986 after a series of client defections, with her house increasingly serving as a gathering place for moguls, agents, stars, and journalists like Graydon Carter, who broke the news of her death. [Vanity Fair]
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