Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why Nickelodeon Is Releasing Its First PG-13 Movie

From The Hollywood Reporter:
Why Nickelodeon Is Releasing Its First PG-13 Film

The Oct. 26 opening of Josh Schwartz-directed "Fun Size" is the culmination of a seven-year makeover for the Paramount label.

Underage drinking and a giant robotic chicken [...]? Move over, Rugrats, Nickelodeon Movies is all grown up.

The Paramount label once associated with G-rated kiddie fare like Charlotte's Web is releasing its first PG-13 film Oct. 26 with the Josh Schwartz-helmed teen comedy Fun Size.

VIDEO: Jane Levy and Victoria Justice in 'Fun Size' Trailer

The move marks the culmination of the label's seven-year makeover. “We have been looking to define Nickelodeon movies as something not just for children but for everyone, including children,” says Paramount vice chair Rob Moore. “In the past, there wasn’t much breadth in the target audience.”

Moore cites recent Nick movies releases The Last Airbender, Rango and The Adventures of Tintin — all PG films that earned a combined $939 million worldwide.

STORY: Josh Schwartz to Direct 'Fun Size'

Still, there’s a limit to how adult the label will skew.

“I think the way I originally wrote it, it would have been R mainly because of language and innuendo,” says Max Werner of his Black List screenplay, which marks Schwartz (Gossip Girl) and Fake Empire partner Stephanie Savage's first movie after they inked a first-look deal with Paramount. “But the studio always wanted it to come in at PG-13.”

Quips Schwartz, “If it’s too watered down, it’s for nobody."
Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures will be releasing the brand new Nickelodeon Movie "Fun Size", in which Victoria Justice has a lead role in, in the UK on Monday 29th October 2012, for the October 2012 school half-term holidays in the UK, and just in time for Halloween.

Also, from Screen International's ScreenDaily:
Fun Size

Dir: Josh Schwartz. US. 2012. 87mins

With Nickelodeon star Victoria Justice heading the ensemble cast, Halloween-themed family comedy Fun Size mixes a perky tone with some mildly risqué humour aimed at the older end of the tween-teen spectrum. While the tone might put off more cynical teens, in the US at least the popularity of Justice and her hit cable sitcom Victorious could lead to a decent (or better) theatrical performance and a strong video showing for this Nickelodeon Movies production.
The comedy ranges from basic slapstick to pretty innocuous verbal and visual gags.
Launching the film this week in North America, worldwide distributor Paramount will be able to leverage the theme during Halloween festivities, though the PG-13 rating (Nickelodeon offerings usually get a straight PG) might be a limiting factor. An October 29 opening in the UK should have a similar effect while performances in other international markets will probably vary according to the local popularity of Victorious and its star.

Justice's Wren is a smart and pretty Cleveland high schooler whose Halloween plans centre on going to the coolest party in town with status-obsessed friend April (Jane Levy, from the US version of Shameless). When the odd-acting kid brother she’s supposed to be babysitting sneaks off, Wren has to spend most of the night tracking him down. In the process she gets to measure the romantic attentions of the party host against those of a nerdy nice guy (Project X's Thomas Mann).

First time feature director Josh Schwartz (whose TV writer-producer credits include Gossip Girl and The OC) gives the film a sitcom feel and an episodic structure - other characters who get turns at the centre of the action include Wren’s widowed and slightly flaky mother (played by TV host Chelsea Handler) and a crazed wrestler (an uncredited Johnny Knoxville).

The comedy ranges from basic slapstick to pretty innocuous verbal and visual gags about [...] (plus a couple of awkward jokes about out-of-place adults).

The proceedings end with a more serious sequence in which Wren, her brother and their mother meet after the parties are over and get back on terms as a fatherless but affectionate family.
Production companies: Nickelodeon Movies, Anonymous Content, Fake Empire

Worldwide distribution: Paramount Pictures

Producers: Stephanie Savage, Josh Schwartz, Bard Dorros, David Kanter

Executive producers: Michael Beugg, Steve Golin, Paul Green

Screenplay: Max Werner

Cinematography: Yaron Orbach

Editor: Michael L Sale

Production designer: Mark White

Music: Deborah Lurie


Main cast: Victoria Justice, Thomas Mann, Jane Levy, Thomas McDonell, Thomas Middleditch, Chelsea Handler
Also, from The Huffington Post:
Fun Size was an interesting experiment, a Nickelodeon funded kids comedy set on Halloween to serve as an antidote to the likes of Paranormal Activity 4 (down 70% in weekend two for an $8.6 million second weekend and a ten day total of $42 million but a worldwide total of $91 million) and Sinister ($39 million in 17 days). Alas the film ended up with a PG-13. Hence it was considered too adult for kids but too kid-friendly for older audiences. Without any big stars on the poster (sorry Victoria Justice), the film fizzled with just $4 million (the 64th worst wide-release opening of all time). The Curtis Hanson/Michael Apted surfing melodrama Chasing Mavericks earned just $2.2 million (the ninth-worst wide release opening of all-time), proving that Gerald Butler is only a star with a strong opener when paired with the likes of Jennifer Aniston or Jamie Foxx.
Also, from
Also opening on Friday was Nickelodeon Films and Paramount Pictures' "Fun Size." The PG-13 comedy starring tween star Victoria Justice grossed just $1.3 million for what could be a $4 million weekend. "Fun" didn't cost much, but it's still a loss for the Viacom divisions. It's also a sign of just how weak the Nickelodeon network is as a promotional launch platform these days.
Also, from Variety:
"Fun Size" garnered a B appraisal and earned the majority of its opening from families and teenage girls. The pic, from TV's "Gossip Girl" co-creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, toplines Nickelodeon star Victoria Justice.