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Box office report: 'The Wolverine' earns $55 million; Plus 'Despicable Me 2' crosses $300 million mark

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Sometimes even earning the No. 1 spot can be seen as a modest disappointment, or at least that’s what the new narrative around The Wolverine (CinemaScore: A-) would have you believe.

With no competition this weekend, The Wolverine pulled in about $55 million domestically in 3,924 locations — on target with studio estimates, but far below tracking projections, some of which went so far as to predict an $80 million weekend. With the majority of screens showing the Fox tentpole in 3-D, the movie averaged about $14,016 per screen on an estimated budget of $120 million, so this weekend’s performance is really nothing to scoff at. Interestingly, at $55 million, the film is right in line with 2011′s X-Men: First Class which made $55.1 million in its first three days at the box office in early June. But so far The Wolverine is holding steady as the second lowest opening of all of Fox’s six X-Men movies — that title goes to the first in the series which opened at $54.5 million. But X-Men was also released 13 years ago with no 3-D surcharges, so it’s not an entirely fair comparison.

The Wolverine opened internationally this weekend as well to grosses of $86.1 million, playing on 15,152 screens in 101 territories, bringing its worldwide total to about $141.1 million. Fox estimates that audiences were about 58 percet male, and 42 percent under the age of 25.
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'The Way, Way Back': Behind the scenes of the summertime coming-of-age comedy -- EXCLUSIVE

Steve Carell has made you cringe before, but usually it’s in service of being awkwardly funny.

Not this time. READ FULL STORY

'The Way, Way Back' to close Los Angeles Film Festival; Full lineup announced

The 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival has revealed its full lineup, including Sundance favorites The Way, Way Back, which will close the festival on June 23, and Fruitvale Station.

The Way, Way Back follows awkward teenager Duncan (Liam James) through a summer break that’s rather nightmarish whenever he’s with his mom (Toni Collette) and her boyfriend, but has bright moments whenever he’s at the local water park, where he strikes up a friendship with one of the slacker employees (Sam Rockwell). Nat Faxon (Ben and Kate) and Jim Rash (Community) co-wrote, co-directed, and appear in the film. READ FULL STORY

'The Way, Way Back' trailer: Sam Rockwell and Steve Carell star in Sundance summer comedy -- VIDEO

We’ve seen Steve Carell do funny. We’ve seen him play crazy. We’ve seen him do awkward. But in Sundance favorite The Way, Way Back, Carell plays mean, and he’s the one picking on the awkward guy: his girlfriend’s teenage son, Duncan (Liam James).

The Way, Way Back follows Duncan through his summer break that’s rather nightmarish whenever he’s with his mom (Toni Collette) and her boyfriend, but has bright moments whenever he’s at the local water park, where he strikes up a friendship with one of the slacker employees (Sam Rockwell).

The trailer shows off a good chunk of Way, Way Back‘s impressive cast, including Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph, Rob Corddry, and co-director/co-writer Jim Rash.

Check out the trailer, which kicks off with one of Carell’s toolish moments inspired by a traumatic moment in Rash’s real life, below: READ FULL STORY

'The Way, Way Back' is ready for the summer; nabs prime July release date

When The Way, Way Back premiered at Sundance last month, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash’s homage to Meatballs was the rare festival offering that had the fun feel of a summer movie. Now, it’s official. Fox Searchlight — which won a $10 million bidding war for the comedy — announced today that the comedy will be released on Friday, July 5. Sam Rockwell stars as a laid-back waterpark manager who takes a young teen (Liam James) under his wing during the boy’s difficult summer vacation with his single mom (Toni Collette) and her mean-spirited boyfriend (Steve Carell). Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph, Amanda Peet, and Rob Corddry also star.

It’s the first film written and directed by Faxon and Rash, who won an Oscar for co-writing The Descendents with Alexander Payne last year. “Nat and I grew up on John Hughes and Meatballs,” Rash, who also appears on NBC’s Community, told EW at Sundance. “Hughes knew how to explore teen problems without talking down to it. So we really, if anything, wanted to create a nostalgic feeling of a movie that hopefully crosses all those lines for everybody.”

Disney’s Lone Ranger and Universal’s Despicable Me 2 (also featuring Carell) are also slated to open that expanded Independence Day weekend, though those two are getting a head start with a Wednesday opening on July 3.

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Sundance 2013: ‘The Way, Way Back’ thrills, sells for big bucks

Sundance 2013: The deal report

Yes, the Sundance Film Festival is a temple to the glory of independent film and the purity of the art of cinema and blah blah blah. But it is also a vital marketplace for indie distributors to find the next blockbuster Little Miss Sunshine, or acclaimed Beasts of the Southern Wild, or wildly overpriced Happy, Texas. With the festival drawing to a close, Sundance 2013 has already proven to be one of the biggest deal-making festivals in recent memory, producing several major sales of movies that will either go on to become some of the buzziest films of the year, or, you know… not. We’ll update this space with additional deal reports throughout the week ahead. Here are the highlights so far: READ FULL STORY

Sundance 2013: 'The Way, Way Back' makes huge splash with nostalgic summer comedy -- VIDEO

UPDATE: Sources close to The Way, Way Back confirm that Fox Searchlight has settled a deal to distribute the comedy for just under the record $10.5 million the company paid for Little Miss Sunshine in 2006. Terms are settled and negotiations are over, with Searchlight planning an announcement shortly.

Anyone who thought the Sundance Film Festival would suffer a post-first-weekend malaise did not anticipate The Way, Way Back, a throwback summer comedy from Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, the Oscar-winning screenwriters of The Descendents. There were 1,001 possible versions of Way Back that could’ve been made — 1,000 of them forgettable — but their tale of an awkward teenager (Liam James) whose nightmare beach vacation with his mom (Toni Collette) and her obnoxious boyfriend (Steve Carell) is salvaged by a gonzo mentor (Sam Rockwell) received a standing ovation from the capacity crowd at Park City’s Eccles Theater Monday afternoon.

Rash, who stars as Dean Pelton on NBC’s Community, was emotional even before the film started, indicative of the eight long years it took to bring their script to the screen and the personal nature of the protagonist’s struggle. In the first scene of the film, Duncan (James) is sitting in the way, way back of an old-fashioned station wagon when his potential stepfather callously asks how the teen grades himself on an attractiveness scale of 1 to 10. When the kid reluctantly answers 6, the grownup corrects him with only a 3. “That was inspired by a piece of a true story from me,” Rash said after the screening. “As I was asked what I thought I was on a scale of 1 to 10 by my stepfather at the time during a car trip to Michigan. We knew that was a great launch for understanding Duncan’s journey.”

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