Midyear Awards Report: Warner Bros. (Analysis)
Wranglers: 'The Hobbit' Production Responsible for Up to 27 Animal Deaths
NOTE: Every other day between July 16 and Aug. 3, The Hollywood Reporter's lead awards analyst and blogger Scott Feinberg will analyze a different studio's 2012 awards outlook. He then will post his first "Feinberg Forecast" of the season -- featuring ranked projections for every major Oscar category -- on Aug. 5.
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Warners entered the fall last year with a slate that looked extremely promising: Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar, a biopic of the legendary FBI director with the potential to bring Leonardo DiCaprio his first Oscar; Steven Soderbergh's Contagion, boasting an all-star ensemble including four Oscar winners and four Oscar nominees; George Miller's Happy Feet Two, the sequel to 2006's Happy Feet, which had been the last non-Pixar film to win the best animated feature Oscar; Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, an adaptation of an acclaimed 9/11-themed book from a director who had scored best pic noms with two of his three previous films and featuring two of America's most popular actors in key parts; and David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the final installment in the epic blockbuster franchise.
Commercially, the crop proved to be a mixed bag: Deathly Hallows Part 2 did historic numbers at the box office, opening at No. 1 domestically and setting an opening-weekend record by raking in $483.2 million worldwide. (It cost $250 million to make parts 1 and 2, and part 2 alone ended up grossing about $1.33 billion worldwide.) Contagion also opened at No. 1 in the U.S. and made about $75 million worldwide, but Soderbergh said it barely broke even after factoring in marketing costs. J. Edgar made about $44 million worldwide. Extremely Loud made about $8 million worldwide. Happy Feet Two lost $40 million.
From an awards perspective, though, the studio had to feel disappointed. J. Edgar, Contagion and Happy Feet Two were completely snubbed by the Academy. Deathly Hallows Part 2, which some speculated might receive a best picture nom as a salute to the entire franchise, wound up only with noms for art direction, makeup and visual effects. And Extremely Loud, which was completed and released so late in the season that voters from some early awards groups never got to see it before casting their ballots, did wind up with a best picture nom (which, because it was so poorly reviewed by critics, surprised virtually everyone but me), plus another nom for best supporting actor. But at the end of the day, none of the five collective noms resulted in Oscars.
2012 FIRST-HALF SUMMARY
Adam Shankman, who directed Hairspray! (2007) for New Line, adapted another hit Broadway musical for Warners' New Line unit, Rock of Ages (released June 15). After about a month in theaters, the $75 million film has grossed less than $50 million worldwide and earned only middling reviews. THR critic David Rooney seemed to speak for most pundits, though, when he wrote that the film's "main attraction" is the supporting performance of Tom Cruise, who portrays an "outrageously egomaniacal" rock star and had scored a best supporting actor Golden Globe nom for a similarly over-the-top appearance in Tropic Thunder (2008).