Source: Vulture

Negotiate well and you're set for life. This is the issue facing Sony, reportedly in the middle of a minor dispute with director Ivan Reitman over who might sit in the director's chair on Ghostbusters 3.

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When the director signed his contract for Ghostbusters 2, he got quite a bit of power, including a powerful yay-or-nay on the director of Ghostbusters 3. Flash forward 20 years, and that control might mean that Reitman will be the killing blow to plans for a 3D sequel, as Sony wants to move ahead with someone else, and Reitman can veto their choices.

Similar to the Spider-Man franchise, the studio wants to revitalize the Ghostbusters brand with fresh blood, although unlike the web-slinging hero, their plans included the original team, which was comprised of comedian Bill Murray, screenwriters Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, and popular character actor Ernie Hudson. Fresh blood, however, apparently extends to the helmer, and it doesn't help matters that the 63-year-old Reitman hasn't had a hit in years (his last film was the $22-million-grossing My Super Ex-Girlfriend in 2006).

The studio was hoping a competing gig on the upcoming comedy Friends With Benefits would be enough to tie up his free time, but Reitman has apparently insisted he can do both projects. (A logical thought would be hiring Reitman's son Jason, but the director has said in several interviews that he has no interest in making a Ghostbusters film.)

In any case, Sony will have to make a decision soon. They have no other major projects lined up for 2011 (although they could probably push Men in Black 3 -- a series often compared to Ghostbusters -- into production). The studio expects a current draft of the screenplay, by "Office" producers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, in May. The previous two Ghostbusters films grossed $341.7 million domestically in 1984 and 1989, which equates to approximately $692.3 million when adjusted for inflation.

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Source: The Los Angeles Times

Bryan Singer's return to X-Men may be a bigger deal for the director than previously thought: new rumblings suggest that Donner may be courting him for for not one, not two, but as many as three X-Men projects currently in the pipeline.

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Near the end of a Los Angeles Times interview with the director and series producer Lauren Shuler Donner are the following paragraphs:

Shuler Donner also has pitched Singer on doing a fourth installment of the previously established "X-Men" franchise and Jackman had that lunch with Singer to coax him into a project as well, which may or may not be a "Wolverine" film, which Jackman has said will be set in Japan and released in 2011. "I wish I could be four people," the director said with a moan. "I could make everybody happy."

Singer turned to Shuler Donner and said of "X-Men 4": "Hold that one off for just a little, I'm fixated on the other one right now." She nodded and answered, "I will, I will ... I'm holding it open with high hopes. It's totally different [from 'First Class'] and it will be so interesting for you."

Singer notoriously left the franchise in order to direct Superman Returns, while director Brett Ratner took over for Singer on X-Men: The Last Stand. Bizarrely, while both films were at least modestly financially successful (Returns made back its money, all told, grossing almost $400 million worldwide against a $270 million budget, and X3 was the most financially successful of the trilogy, pulling in $234.3 million domestically), neither seemed to please the fans of the respective franchises. Following Returns, Singer made the Tom Cruise World War II thriller Valkyrie, which was only modestly successful here ($83 million), but a hit overseas ($117.1 million), despite several delays.

There is currently no date set for X-Men: First Class, although Singer is currently committed to a Jack and the Beanstalk movie for Fox. To date, the franchise (including last year's X-Men Origins: Wolverine) has grossed $786.4 million in the US.

 

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Total tweets for March 19th Openers

Diary Of A Wimpy Kind had a strong Wednesday for its genre as it rose to 494 tweets, up from 347 tweets on Tuesday. In comparison, The Spy Next Door had 342 tweets its Wednesday before release, and The Tooth Fairy had 445. Just as I started to doubt it, it bounces back with a nice total. Look for it to score $3.75 million on Friday and $13 million for the full weekend.

Repo Men stalled on Wednesday with 685 tweets, a tad more than its 671 on Tuesday. Small to non-existant increases from Tuesday to Wednesday is usually an indication of a film hitting a non-Twitter friendly demographic hardest (usually see it with films appealing to the over 35 for some reason) but even with this audience as its base the low theater count and genre is going to ensure a ~1,000 ratio. Expect a $2.75 million Friday and $8m for the weekend.

Lastly, The Bounty Hunter started its rise on Wednesday as it came in with 917 tweets, up from 667 tweets on Tuesday. By comparison, Couples Retreat had 1,022 tweets its Wednesday before release. I was getting some serious doubts after the early week totals but I think it is going to have a solid weekend and pull in $8.75 million Friday and $26.5 million over the whole frame.

Check back tomorrow to see the Thursday numbers and the final predictions for the weekend. Follow @AlexBOXOFFICE on Twitter for additional updates.

Twitter tracking history. (For 2009's ratio history please check here.)

alltweets031210.jpgThe ratio is the number of tweets per $1 million of Friday Box Office gross. A film with 1,000 tweets and a $10 million Friday would therefore have a ratio of 100. In general, films that appeal to very young or older audiences have lower ratios since those audiences are not big users of Twitter. By comparison, films that appeal to younger audiences (18-35) have much higher ratios since those audiences are much more active users of Twitter.

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Las Vegas - GDC Technology ("GDC"), a world leading digital cinema solution provider, is pleased to announce the signing of yet another digital cinema deployment deal continuing its strong sales in the US market, this time with R/C Theatres, a Maryland-based cinema chain operator. Installation is scheduled to commence in May 2010 and the full deployment of 42 units of GDC servers is expected to complete by Q4 2010. The servers will be installed at multiplexes in Wilkes-Barre PA, Hanover PA, and Kill Devil Hills, NC. GDC will work in conjunction with Barco Series 2 projectors using DLP Cinema® technology.

Founded in 1932, R/C Theatres currently ranks among the 30 largest cinema chains in the country with theatres in the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida. "I have been using the GDC server to present both 2D and 3D content since November 2008 and have found it to be exceedingly stable, user friendly and intuitive," said Scott R. Cohen, CEO of R/C Theatres. "It has interfaced without problem to the DCI projector, sound system and 3D equipment. I have also found the technical support persons to be very accessible, knowledgeable and helpful."

"As a veteran of the US movie industry and the primary champion of the independent exhibitor, R/C Theatres will be closely watched by its peers on its server choice," said Dr. Man-Nang CHONG, founder and CEO of GDC Technology. "R/C's choice of GDC servers over others is both significant and indicative to us and we are overjoyed by it. GDC server's superior quality and cost-effective ownership have been the major contributing factors behind the successful digital conversions of many of its customers, and we are hopeful that more CBG members will come to us soon to join in the GDC success story."

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OMAHA, Neb.-- Ballantyne Strong, Inc. (NYSE Amex: BTN), a provider of digital cinema projection equipment and services, cinema screens and other cinema products, announced today that it will provide 66 NEC Digital Cinema projection systems with RealD 3D technology to National Amusements, Inc. (39 systems) and Marcus Theatres Corporation, a division of The Marcus Corporation (NYSE: MCS) (27 systems). With each projector Ballantyne Strong will also provide high-gain ‘silver' screens required for 3D projection, and its service group will install over half of the projection systems. The installations are expected to be completed in the first and second quarters of calendar 2010.

Funding for the projectors was completed via Digital Link II, LLC (Digital Link II), an entity formed by RealD and Ballantyne in which Ballantyne has a 44% stake. NEC Finance provided debt financing to Digital Link II to fund the projector deployment. Ballantyne and RealD each provide guarantees for the debt based on their respective ownership in Digital Link II. The cinema screen sales are outside of the Digital Link II facility.

John P. Wilmers, Ballantyne's CEO, commented, "We are pleased to again team with RealD to expand the digital and 3D footprints of these important, long-term customers. It is particularly gratifying given these exhibitors' satisfaction with systems we have previously provided to them. The patron appeal and box office benefits of digital cinema and RealD 3D technology have been well demonstrated throughout the exhibition industry, driving demand for additional systems to take advantage of the growing slate of 3D releases."

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