Box Office: ‘The Purge’ Could Put an End to ‘Fast 6’ Dominance This Weekend

The Purge,” a horror thriller that cost $3 million to make, looks like it will knock off the far pricier “Fast and Furious 6” and Owen Wilson-Vince Vaughn workplace comedy “The Internship” at the box office this weekend.

Universal would be OK with its blockbuster cars-and-criminals sequel giving up the top spot in its third week, because the “The Purge” is the first movie to come out of the studio’s deal with low-budget horror guru Jason Blum, the man behind the lucrative “Paranormal Activity” franchise.

“It would make it an easier pill to swallow,” Universal’s head of distribution Nikki Rocco said with tongue in cheek. Her movies could finish 1-2 this weekend.

“Fast & Furious 6,” which cost somewhere around $160 million, gave the studio its biggest opening ever, passing the half-billion mark faster than any Universal picture before. It has alreadly racked up $522 million globally. With its micro-budget, “The Purge” is as close as it comes to a sure bet to make money.

‘American Idol’ Reboot Chaos: Top Producers Nigel Lythgoe, Ken Warwick Out

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“American Idol” is firing longtime executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick in a continuing bid to win back viewers and shake up the show, an insider with knowledge of the show told TheWrap.

Fox declined to comment on this report.

TheWrap was the first to report in early May that there would be major changes next season, including the executive firings and a wipe-out of Season 12’s judging panel. (Since our report, Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey have announced their departures, leaving only, at this point, Keith Urban.)

Lythgoe and Fremantle Media’s Warwick have been with the show since its inaugural season in 2002 and also worked on its predecessor, Britain’s “Pop Idol.”

Their terminations from the show arrive amid flux for the talent competition after alternative programming chief Mike Darnell’s sudden Memorial Day weekend exit.

The new judging panel was aimed at assembling with three former “Idol” contenders, but that plan appears to in a holding pattern since Darnell’s departure, a senior executive with knowledge of the production told TheWrap.

Fast’ Women and ‘Hangover’ Headaches at Box Office

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Much was made of the ethnic casting that helped “Fast & Furious 6” drive the record Memorial Day box office by attracting a broad and diverse audience. But it played very strongly with another demographic group: women.

Opening weekend crowds were 49 percent female, very high for an action film. Part of its appeal may be the film’s strong roles for Michelle Rodriguez, Jordan Brewster and Gina Carano.

We’ll never know how well “The Hangover Part III” might have done had it not gone head-to-head with Universal’s dynamo, but it’s a good guess they’re wondering about that at Warner Bros. in the wake of the R-rated comedy’s softer-than-expected first weekend.

A film to watch is the animated kids film “Epic,” The adventure fantasy from Fox’s in-house Blue Sky Studios if off to a solid start, but can it play steadily and become the foundation for a franchise?.

Hollywood Scores Record-Breaking Weekend…

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1. Fast & Furious 6 (Universal) NEW [Runs 3,658] PG13
Friday $38.7M, Saturday $31.5M, Sunday $26.6M
3-Day Weekend $96.8M, 4-Day Holiday $120.0M
Domestic Cume $120.0M, International Total $197.0M, Worldwide Cume $317.0M

2. The Hangover III (Legendary/Warner Bros) NEW [Runs 3,555] R
Friday $14.5M, Saturday $14.6M, Sunday $12.5M
3-Day Weekend $41.7M, 4-Day Holiday $51.2M
Domestic Cume $63.0M, International Total $19.2M, Global Cume $82.2M

3. Star Trek Into Darkness 3D (Skyd/Paramount) Week 2 [Runs 3,907] PG13
Friday $10.0M, Saturday $14.4M, Sunday $12.8M
3-Day Weekend $37.2M, 4-Day Holiday $47.0M
Domestic Cume $155.8M, International Total $102.1M, Global Cume $257.9M

4. Epic 3D (Blue Sky Studios/Fox) NEW [Runs 3,882] PG
Friday $9.3M, Saturday $13.3M, Sunday $10.7M
3-Day Weekend $33.5M, 4-Day Holiday $42.6M
Domestic Cume $42.6M, International Total $44.0M, Global Cume $86.6M

5. Iron Man 3 3D (Marvel/Disney) Week 3 [Runs 3,424] PG13
Friday $5.1M, Saturday $7.4M, Sunday $6.6M
3-Day Weekend $19.2M, 4-Day Holiday $24.3M
Domestic Cume $372.4M, International Total $774.8M, Global Cume $1.14B

6. The Great Gatsby 3D (Vill Road/Warner Bros) Week 3 [Runs 3,090] PG13
Friday $3.9M, Saturday $5.1M, Sunday $4.5M
3-Day Weekend $13.5M, 4-Day Holiday $17.0M
Domestic Cume $117.7M, International Total $85.6M, Global Cume $203.3M

‘Twilight,’ ‘Iron Man 3’ Lead First Wave of Teen Choice Awards Nominations

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The “Twilight Saga” can look forward to one last hoorah at Fox’s Teen Choice Awards this summer. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2″ leads the first wave of nominees with seven nominations announced on Wednesday.

The final installment of the blockbuster franchise was tapped for Choice Movie in both the sci-fi/fantasy and romance categories, while Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner all scored nominations in the acting categories. Like the film, Stewart and Pattinson were nominated for their performances in both the sci-fi/fantasy and romance categories.

Twilight” has some stiff competition, though. “Iron Man 3,” which is up for six Teen Choice Awards, is also nominated in the sci-fi/fantasy category, with Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow nominated in the coinciding acting categories.

And if Marvel’s billion-dollar summer superhero movie can’t win over the Twihards, it still has a chance to conquer the action categories. “G.I. Joe: Retalliation,” “Skyfall,” “The Bourne Legacy” and “The Dark Knight Rises” are all up for Choice Action Movie.

Fox’s ‘X Factor’ Confirms New Judges Kelly Rowland, Paulina Rubio

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It’s girl power on the third season of Fox’s “The X Factor” as Simon Cowell finds himself as the lone male judge.

As TheWrap previously reported, Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio will join returning judges Demi Lovato and Cowell.

“It’s taken more than a decade but I’m delighted to finally be on a panel with three girls (I think!),” Cowell said in a statement.

“Paulina and Kelly both have great taste and massive experience in the music industry and together with Demi, this is going to be a fun panel. It just feels like the time to do something different.”

‘Star Wars Rebels’ pilot to launch on Disney Channel — EXCLUSIVE

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Star Wars Rebels, a one-hour animated pilot already in production at Lucasfilm, is scheduled to premiere in Fall 2014 on the Disney Channel before the new brand leaps to Disney XD for the ongoing series, according to Lucasfilm sources.

The series will mine material from the 19 years that follow Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and precede the Episode IV: A New Hope. In other words, using the life of the Skywalker twins as a measure, the series will be active in the story years that come after their separation as newborns and before their (unwitting) reunion on the prison level of the Death Star. Read more

Cannes: Scarlett Johansson to Make Directorial Debut

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Scarlett Johansson will make her directorial debut with “Summer Crossing,” Truman Capote’s first novel.  Johansson, nominated three times for a Golden Globe as an actress, has previously directed a short, “These Vagabond Shoes.”

Capote wrote “Summer Crossing” in the 1940s, but it was thought to be lost for more than 50 years before being rediscovered at an auction in 2004 and later published. The novel chronicles a 17-year old girl who stays behind in New York as her parents go off to Paris. She takes up with a Jewish parking attendant during a brutishly hot summer.

“Several years ago I began working alongside the Capote estate and writer Tristine Skylar to adapt ‘Summer Crossing’, an inspired early work of Truman’s which has long captured my heart,” Johansson said in a statement. “Being able to bring this story to the screen as my full length directorial debut is a life dream and deep privilege.”

Aldamisa, which is shopping the international distribution rights to the film, will co-finance it with Oleg Boyko, Boyko will also produce the film with Aldamisa co-chairman Sergei Bespalov and Oscar winner Barry Spikings. CAA, which reps Johansson, will handle domestic sales.

Production is set for early 2014.

ABC Fall Lineup: ‘Dancing’ Condensed to One Night; ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Gets Tuesday Slot

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ABC is condensing “Dancing With the Stars” to one night, Monday, and giving the plum spot after “Modern Family” to the new Conan O’Brien-produced comedy “Super Fun Night.” It is airing the highly anticipated “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” at the top of a new Tuesday night lineup that will include dramas and comedies.

Landing the timeslot after “Modern Family,” ABC’s biggest hit, is a huge reversal of fortune for “Super Fun Night,” which stars Rebel Wilson (pictured). Last season, CBS passed the show over for the 2012-13 season. Now it will debut with a huge lead-in.

ABC also announced it is airing the new spinoff “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” on Thursdays, and is moving “The Neighbors” to Fridays. And it has ordered the new Pixar special “Toy Story of Terror,” starring the original voice cast from the hit “Toy Story” films.

ABC announced its fall schedule hours before it unveils it to advertisers at its upfront presentation. Read more

Star Wars: Episode VII Confirmed To Shoot In The UK

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The Wrap has confirmed that Star Wars Episode VII— and possibly the sequels and spinoffs to come after that– will shoot in the United Kingdom, where Industrial Light and Magic has already set up extensive facilities for building their singular visual effects. When ILM began eyeing that move we speculated that the film might shoot there as well, and now it’s official that the full Star Wars Episode VII production will be flying under the British flag. Here’s what newly appointed Lucasfilm President– and longtime Steven Spielberg collaborator– Kathleen Kennedy said in the announcement:

“We’ve devoted serious time and attention to revisiting the origins of Star Wars as inspiration for our process on the new movie, and I’m thrilled that returning to the UK for production and utilizing the incredible talent there can be a part of that.”

Each of the previous six Star Wars films have all shot some scenes at studios in the UK, but Episode VII appears to be making the largest commitment there. And of course, there will almost certainly be location shoots, whether revisiting the deserts of Tunisia to recreate Tattooine or northern Norway for a visit to Hoth. More likely, they’ll pick some spectacular new location to allow the story to visit a new planet– Iceland is pretty popular these days. Then again, J.J. Abrams has created the world of Star Trek almost entirely inside studios, so maybe those Star Wars vistas are a thing of the past?

With the pieces coming together for Episode VII to start shooting in early 2014, we’re still busily collecting all the rumors and eagerly awaiting any official news about where the Star Wars universe will go from here. If that involves giving Han Solo descendants British accents, we’ll let you know.