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    AWARDS HEADLINES

    Academy Overhaul: Vows To Double Number Of “Women And Diverse Members”, Amends Oscar Voting Rules

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors voted unanimously Thursday night to approve what it calls ” substantive changes designed to make the Academy’s membership, its governing bodies, and its voting members significantly more diverse.” The goal is to commit to doubling the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020. (AL)

    A Breakdown of the ‘Outrageous’ Costs Of 2016 Oscar Campaigns

    Leonardo DiCaprio may have devoured real bison liver while shooting The Revenant, but Oscar voters have a far better meal plan: breakfast at Monkey Bar, lunch at Le Bernardin, dinner at the Harvard Club. For the 6,000-plus members of the Academy, awards season is now synonymous with handshakes and selfies against a stream of lavish buffets. Welcome to the new reality of the Academy Awards. (IC)

    OTHER HEADLINES

    SSN Box Office Trending Report For 1/22/16: ‘Star Wars’ & ‘The Revenant’ Stay Strong While ‘The 5th Wave’ Fizzles

    In our latest weekly series, SSN Insider will take a deep dive into the film ticket sales of the week leveraging data from the powerhouse ticketing website, MovieTickets.com. Not only will the infographic pinpoint which movies are claiming the largest piece of the pie from day to day in terms of sales but also which film had the biggest uptick in terms of a percentage variance surge and which had the biggest downtick or steepest dive between any two points. (SSN)

    On the Set for 1/22/16: Michael Fassbender Starts Shooting Universal’s ‘The Snowman’, Antonio Banderas Wraps on ‘Security’

    Among the other films getting up and running are the new drama from Oren Moverman and the new movie starring Noomi Rapace and Michael Shannon, the new Blumhouse film is among the films to finish principal photography. Click on the link to get all the info. (SSN)

    Well, That Was Fast: ‘Avatar 2’ Bows Out Of Christmas 2017 Release Date, Avoids ‘Star Wars’ Showdown

    Back at the start of 2015 came the news that James Cameron had opted to delay the release of Avatar 2 by a year. Kicking off a new trilogy, it would now arrive at Christmas, 2017 instead of Christmas, 2016. Exactly 12 months later, Avatar 2 has shifted its release date again. It now definitely won’t arrive at the end of next year, and this time there’s no indication of when it’ll surface instead. (EMP)

    Universal Pictures to Strike $500M Slate Deal With China’s Perfect World

    Five-year pact makes the Chinese TV production and video games company a co-financier, giving Universal a new source of funds. It also makes Perfect World the latest Chinese player to align with a big-name Hollywood company. Conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group recently sealed a $3.5 billion deal to acquire Legendary Entertainment. (TB)

    Greta Gerwig Snags an Oscar-Nominated Actress To Lead her Directorial Debut

    Saoirse Ronan is set to star in Lady Bird for Gerwig, who also wrote the script. Movie follows a high school senior over her last year at home in Sacramento. Scott Rudin is on board to produce, along with Eli Bush and Evelyn O’Neill. (SF)

    From Superheroes To Vampires, Charlie Cox Signs On To Headline Feature ‘Eat Local’

    Cox has joined the cast of the upcoming vampire feature, which marks the directorial debut of actor Jason Flemyng. Film revolves around an unwitting Essex boy whose promise of a night of passion with a ravishing cougar quickly turns into a fight for survival after she introduces him to some of her friends – a coven of hungry vampires – at a remote farmhouse. Then, a heavily armed band of mercenary vampire hunters crashes the party – and they’re out for blood. (CS)

    David Schwimmer Returns To Series TV, Will Star In New AMC Drama

    Friends alum, who next appears as Robert Kardashian in the FX anthology The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, has been tapped to star in Feed the Beast. Jim Sturgess will co-star in the drama, which revolves around two friends who are like brothers and can’t stay out of trouble. They share a dusty pipe dream of opening up an upscale restaurant in their hometown of the Bronx, which is all they have left to turn their lives around. (LF)

    HBO Drops ‘Brothers In Atlanta’, as Comedy Series Will Not Move Forward On the Cable Net

    Network has opted not to proceed with the comedy series created by and starring Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin, directed by Tim Story and produced by Lorne Michaels. The network had been trying to get the project off the ground for several years and was picked up to series in April. The show will not go forward. (DL)


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    AWARDS HEADLINES

    PGA Awards Winners: ‘The Big Short’, ‘Inside Out’, and ‘Game of Thrones’ Triumph

    The PGA put their crown on Adam McKay‘s The Big Short, the entertaining financial-crisis dramedy, showing that there might be a bit of a scramble with who will end up winning the Best Picture race. (COLL)

    OTHER HEADLINES

    Box Office: ‘The Revenant’ Survives Storm Jonas To Win Weekend With $16M

    Alejandro G. Inarritu’s awards frontrunner The Revenant rode to the top of the box-office chart in its third weekend in wide release — the first time the movie has come in No. 1. The frontier epic grossed $16 million from 3,711 theaters for a domestic total of $119.2 million for Fox and New Regency. (THR)

    Sundance Sensation ‘Manchester By The Sea’ Near $10M Amazon Deal

    Amazon closed a $10 million deal for domestic rights to Manchester By The Sea, the Kenneth Lonergan-directed drama that premiered Saturday to the best reviews of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival so far. (DH)

    A24 Makes First Sundance Deal With Crowdpleaser ‘Morris From America’

    Morris From America is the latest Sundance favorite from Hartigan, who premiered the award-winning This is Martin Bonner back in 2013. A24 purchased the film through its deal with DirecTV.  (IW)

    James Schamus Directorial Debut ‘Indignation’ Acquired By Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment

    Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment paid around $3.5 million for North American rights on Indignation, the directorial debut of former Focus Features head James Schamus. The film, which Schamus adapted from a novel by Philip Roth, premiered Sunday night. (DH)

    Frank Zappa Doc Nabbed by Sony Pictures Classics

    Sony Pictures Classics made the acquisition announcement of the doc’s worldwide rights (excluding France and Germany) ahead of its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival In the Documentary Premieres section. (BILL)

    Sony Options Memoir ‘Red Platoon’ With Immersive Pictures Producing

    Sony Pictures has optioned the memoir “Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor” by Clinton Romesha with Josh Bratman on board to produce. Bratman brought the book to the studio under his first-look deal and will produce under his Immersive Pictures banner. (VAR)

    War Is Coming In The New ‘Warcraft’ TV Spot

    Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures have debuted a new TV spot for the highly anticipated Warcraft which you can check out here. (CS)

    Screenwriter: Navigating Hollywood – 11 Ways to Develop Your Screenwriting Hustle

    All you have to do is write a great script and you’re in. Think again. Jeanne Veillette Bowerman shares tips for developing the hustle it takes to navigate Hollywood and find screenwriting success. (SM)

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    Company Launches & Partnerships

    Sky Atlantic will be the exclusive home to Showtime programming in major European markets under Sky’s new long-term licensing agreement with CBS Corp. The deal encompasses all countries where Sky is present, including the UK and Germany among others, with a total of 21 million subscribers. This is the biggest international deal to date for Showtime and the first time its content portfolio has been licensed to a single media company across numerous European territories. Customers will also have on-demand access to the Showtime catalogue via Sky Go. Alongside scripted content, Sky gains an exclusive option to take all new Showtime distributed unscripted shows.

    Beijing-based Perfect World Pictures and Universal Pictures are closing in on a deal for a $500 million movie slate financing deal to run five years and cover 25% of the budget of each film. Universal requested a distribution fee of 12.5% and excluded Fast And Furious, Jurassic and Illumination Minions franchises. On films Universal shares with Legendary, Perfect World would conceivably take 25% of Universal’s limited stake, on films like the Bourne Identity franchise and the Tom Cruise-starrer The Mummy. The funding will include $250 million equity with the rest in debt.

    As reported in Film & TV Deals, Fred Bernstein has started a new Los Angeles-based production company, named Astute Films. Bernstein’s experience includes stints as President of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Companies, SVP of the MCA Motion Picture Group (the former parent of Universal Pictures) and President of Worldwide Production at Columbia Pictures. The production company launches with $50 million in private equity funding. The company has signed on Dominique Telson as VP of Development and Production. Telson was previously the VP of Original Programming for Showtime.

    Hernan Lopez has founded Wondery, a new podcast network. He was previously at Fox for 20 years, most recently as the CEO at Fox International Channels. Wondery will be a hub for curating existing podcasts with new titles. The ‘audio on-demand network’ will focus on mobile users. Wondery has joined forces with San Francisco-based ART19 tech firm to help with distribution infrastructure and dynamic ad insertion across multiple podcasts.

    Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman have founded independent production company The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC). Eli Holzman will have the title of CEO and Saidman, the title of President. Holzman was previously the President at All3Media America while Saidman as previously the EVP of Development & Current Programming at All3Media America. Rachel Dax has been named the EVP of Head of Production. She was formerly the SVP of Production at Endemol Shine USA. Steve Erdman is now a Coordinator of Development. He was previously the Coordinator of Development at All3Media America. Matt Zien has been named the Director of Development. He was previously the Manager of Development at All3Media America. Andy Olymbiou has been named the VP of Head of Finance. He was previously the Director of Finance at 495 Productions.

    SpectreVision
    , the genre production company founded by Elijah Wood, Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller, has signed a deal with Ubisoft to develop and produce original and interactive virtual reality content. The SpectreVision team will work with Ubisoft’s FunHouse Studio in Montreal.

    CAA has acquired London-based sports marketing agency Brandrapport. Brandrapport specializes in sports corporate consulting and “experiential” marketing. Its client list includes Nestle, Prudential, and Samsung. Andy Kenny, who was the Managing Director, will now be the Head of CAA Sports Consulting. CAA will now rep upwards of 130 NFL athletes. CAA Sports Consulting, founded in October 2011, has negotiated more than $2 billion in sponsorship rights deals.

    Russia’s Gazprom-Media and China’s Shanghai Media Group have signed a deal that covers collaboration on the production and distribution of content across film, TV and digital. Gazprom-Media, under Russian energy giant Gazprom, includes the media assets NTV and TNT TV channels as well as top film company Central Partnership. The state-owned Shanghai Media Group controls over twelve radio stations, TV channels and pay TV networks and publications. It also has a strategic association with Disney that comprises the co-production of films and development of TV shows.

    FreemantleMedia has acquired a 51 percent stake in Israel’s Abot Hameiri. Founded by Eitan Abot and Guy Hameiri in 2006, the production company specializes in entertainment formats, scripted reality and drama. Their credits include local versions of The X Factor, Survivor and Amazing Race. Abot Hameiri also develops and produces its own formats, including Power Couple.

    Infront Sports & Media, under parent company Dalian Wanda Group in China, has bought 51% of Omnigon, a consulting firm that helps sports, media and entertainment providers to develop mobile apps and websites. Omnigon’s client list includes World Rugby, PGA Tour, NASCAR, AS Roma, Fox, Fox Sports, Miami Heat and WWE. The New York-based firm will continue to operate as a stand-alone entity, keeping its brand name.

    James Huntsman and Todd Slater have founded Blue Fox Entertainment, a sales representation and completion funding company to help indie filmmakers place their films of different genres with buyers for theatrical and digital release. They’ve already have the Sigourney Weaver narrated documentary, All You Need Is Love and Havenhurst from the producers of Saw.

    Film

    Randy Lake has been upped from EVP to the President, Studio Operations & Imageworks at Sony Pictures and he will oversee all operations, strategy and planning for Sony Pictures Imageworks and the Post Production Services, Production Services, Global Mastering and Servicing, and Asset Management divisions.

    Stephen Emery has been named the EVP of Acquisitions & Development at The Solution Entertainment Group. He was previously the EVP of Development & Production at Circle of Confusion.

    Wendy Lidell has been named the SVP of Theatrical Distribution & Acquisitions at Kino Lorber. She was formerly the President at International Film Circuit, Inc. in New York. Elizabeth Sheldon has been named the COO at BOND/360. She was formerly the SVP at Kino Lorber.

    Jack Sheehan has been upped from Coordinator to the Manager of International Sales at Lotus Entertainment. Previous to Lotus he worked at QED International, WME and Northwestern Mutual.

    Adam Stone has been named the President of Entertainment at Phenomenon. He was previously the President of Production at Vertigo Entertainment.

    TV

    Steven Moffat is leaving his post as the Showrunner, Head Writer and EP of the hit series, Doctor Who, after the upcoming Season 10. In his stead, Broadchurch EP Chris Chibnall will be taking over. Moffat has been at the helm of the series since Season 5 in 2010.

    Beau Ferrari has been shifted from EVP of Operations to the EVP of Corporate Strategy & Development at Univision Communications Inc. Jorge “Pepo” Ferradas has been named the President, Music Division of Univision Communications Inc. He was previously the SVP of Touring at Live Nation in New York.

    Jason Zajac has been named the EVP of Strategy & Business Insights at NBCUniversal. He was previously the Partner, Managing Director at Boston Consulting Group in San Francisco.

    Charlie Corwin and Cris Abrego have been named the Co-Chairmen of Endemol Shine Americas in addition to their titles as Co-Chairmen, Co-CEOs at Endemol Shine North America.

    Nick Borenstein has been named the Director of Scripted Programming at First Look Media. He was previously the VP of TV Development at Hudson Media in New York.

    Georgia Brown has been named the EVP of Global Scripted & Factual Content at FremantleMedia in London. He was previously the SVP of Scripted at FremantleMedia International.

    Hector Campos has been named the VP of Programming at UP. He was previously the VP of Programming & Acquisitions at CMT.

    Mioshi Hill has been named the VP of Non-Fiction Programming at Lifetime. Mioshi was formerly the SVP of Development & Creative Affairs at Hudson Media.

    Michael Katz is now a Senior Development Consultant at CMJ Productions II Inc. in Montreal. He was previously the VP of Programming, Production and Marketing for A+E Networks International.

    Anna Mallett has been named the COO at BBC Studios. She was formerly the Director, Project Lead at BBC Production. Charlotte Moore is now the Controller at TV Channels & iPlayer at BBC. She was formerly the Controller at BBC One.

    Alberto Ciurana is now pursuing other opportunities. He was previously the President of Programming & Content at Univision Communications Inc.

    Josie Crimi has been named the EVP of Development & Production at Scott Brothers Entertainment. She was formerly the VP of Development & Production at General Purpose Entertainment.

    Ana De Moraes has been named the Head of New Formats at TwoFour in London. She was formerly the Creative Director of Development Central at BBC.

    Peter Fincham is now pursuing other opportunities. He was previously the Director, Television at ITV in London. Kevin Lygo has been named the Director of Television at ITV in his stead. He was previously the Managing Director at ITV Studios. David McGraynor has been named the Chief Finance & Operating Officer at ITV Studios. He was previously the Finance Director at ITV Studios. Julian Bellamy has been named the Managing Director at ITV Studios. She was previously the Managing Director at ITV Studios UK.

    Kim Shillinglaw is now pursuing other opportunities. She was formerly the Controller at BBC Two and BBC Four.

    Matt Stein has been named the SVP of Marketing at Animal Planet and Science Channel (as of February 1st, 2016). He was previously the SVP of Marketing, Promotion & Creative Services at BBC America.

    Emily Morgan has been named the Executive Producer of National Productions at Zone3. She was formerly the Senior Director of Original Lifestyle Content at Shaw Media in Toronto.

    Marissa Ronca has been upped from SVP of Development & Original Programming to the EVP of Head of Programming at truTV. Puja Vohra has been named the EVP, Marketing & Digital at truTV. Puja was previously the SVP of Marketing & Digital at truTV.

    Management, PR, Agencies

    Crystal Johns has been named a Broadcast News Agent at Bienstock, the news and broadcast division of UTA. Johns will represent clients working in network and cable news as well as in top local markets. She was formerly at CBS News, where she was the Director of Talent Development and Diversity and responsible for recruiting talent for the Division and for the oversight of employee development and mentoring programs.

    Crystal Johns is now a Broadcast News Agent at Bienstock/UTA. She was formerly the Director of Talent Development and Diversity at CBS News.

    Miles Lozano is now an Agent in Alternative Programming & Digital Media at Abrams Artists. She was formerly the Agent Trainee at Abrams Artists.

    Katherine Rowe is now the Principal at Rowe PR. She was formerly the SVP, Head, New York Office at Shelter PR.

    Jennifer Sims has been named the Senior Account Executive at BWR Public Relations. She was formerly the Account Executive at ID Public Relations.

    Tamer Ahsan has signed on to Pakula/King & Associates as a Talent Agent. He was previously at APA where he began his career in the mailroom in 2012 and quickly moved up the ranks to a talent coordinator position. His client list includes veterans Barbara Hershey, Mitch Pileggi and Patrick Duffy.

    Music, Digital, Publishing, Misc.

    Suzanne Kolb is now the EVP and General Manager, Discovery Digital Networks and will oversee the company’s portfolio of 70+ web-native brands and series, original digital development, Discovery VR and social partnerships. Kolb will split her time between Discovery’s Los Angeles and San Francisco offices. She was formerly the President of E! Entertainment, and responsible for Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Chelsea Lately, Botched and Total Divas.

    Alex Roetter, the SVP of Engineering, Skip Schipper, the VP of HR, Katie Stanton, the Head of Media and Kevin Weil, the Head of Product are all leaving their posts at Twitter, after confirmation by CEO Jack Dorsey. will be leaving his post as CEO of Twitter. Jason Toff, a Product Executive at Vine is also leaving. Following the shake-up, Twitter COO Adam Bain will also handle the revenue-related product team, the Media team, and HR, while CTO Adam Messinger will be taking on engineering and consumer product, design and research, user services, and Fabric under a single group.

    Geoff Elsner
    has been upped from Director to the Executive Director of Business Development at Variety Insight. Carolyn Horwitz has been named the Managing Editor at Variety. She was formerly the Executive Editor at Entrepreneur magazine.

    Tamoor Shafi has been named the Chief Digital Officer at Relativity Media. He was previously the Founder, CEO at Omnia Media. Court Coursey has been named the Chief Investment & Strategy Officer at Relativity Media LLC and Managing Partner, TomorrowVentures. Court was formerly the Managing Partner at TomorrowVentures. Kenneth Halsband has been named the COO of Relativity Media in addition to his title as President, Physical and Post-Production at Relativity Studios.

    Matt Sawin has been upped from VP of Commercial Development to the SVP of Marketing & Commercial Development at Caroline.


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    AWARDS HEADLINES

    Awards 2016: ‘Room’s’ Nine-Year-Old Stand-Out & SAG Nominated Actor Jacob Tremblay Talks Fake Crying, Auditioning & His Love of Macaroons

    Often times during Hollywood’s movie awards season, a young child seemingly comes out of nowhere to unanimously capture the hearts of minds of moviegoers and critics. This year, it is nine year old Jacob Tremblay who is garnering attention for his performance in the indie film Room. As Jack, he escapes his life in a 10×10 room where he’d grown up since birth, not realizing that he and his mother (Brie Larson) were being held captive there. (SSN)

    A Voice Of Calm Amidst the Storm: Demien Bichir’s Take On the Oscar Diversity Controversy States “Art Is Art”

    Hailing from an acting family, Bichir became a top star in Mexico and established himself in Hollywood with a milestone performance in A Better Life that led him to be the first Mexican since Anthony Quinn to be Oscar nominated for Best Actor. Currently on the screen in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, has written about his feelings on the matter. (AL)

    Confused About the Two Sound Categories? A Primer On the Difference Between Oscar’s Sound Editing and Mixing

    One key contribution to filmmaking is misunderstood more than any other: sound. Oscar voters will weigh in on sound editing and sound mixing in final balloting, which runs Feb. 12th through the 23rd. But even industry veterans can get confused at the difference. Here’s one way of remembering: E comes before M in the alphabet, so sound editing occurs before mixing. But they’re not separate entities; neither can live without other. (IC)

    OTHER HEADLINES

    Exec Shuffle for 1/25/16: China’s Perfect World Pictures & Universal Circling Deal, Exodus at Twitter, Eli Holzman & Aaron Saidman Launch IPC

    Among the other big deals coming through are Sky Atlantic and Showtime coming together in a European broadcasting deal, a new company for Fred Bernstein, a deal between SpectreVision and Ubisoft, and a new acquisition by CAA. Click on the link to get all the info. (SSN)

    Sundance Buying Update: Sony Pictures Classics Nabs Rights To Female-Driven ‘Equity’

    The film puts a female spin on The Big Short and Margin Call by focusing on a group of women caught up in the world of high finance. The film centers on an investment banker (Anna Gunn) who gets entangled in a controversial public offering. Meera Menon directs from a screenplay by Amy Fox. Fox wrote the story with Thomas and Reiner. Both women serve as producers. (VAR)

    ABC Looks Into a New Event Series Focusing On Nixon and Watergate

    Alphabet is in the early stages of developing a limited series exploring Richard Nixon’s 1970s White House burglary and subsequent scandal. From Entertainment One and Bob Cooper, the drama will be penned by Jon Maas and told through the eyes of John Dean, the then-White House counsel for President Nixon. (THR)

    Fox’s ’24: Legacy’ Finds Leading Man in ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Star

    Network has tapped Corey Hawkins to star in the new take, which features an all-new cast of characters and will be structured in the same style of the original series. Legacy revolves around a military hero’s return to the U.S. and the trouble that follows him back — compelling him to ask CTU for help in saving his life, and stopping what potentially could be one of the largest-scale terror attacks on American soil. (LF)

    It’s Finally Official: Denis Villeneuve’s Long-Awaited ‘Blade Runner 2’ Will Start Shooting In July

    Alcon Entertainment, the company behind the production, has officially announced the start date for the film, with Warner Bros. distributing the picture stateside and Sony around the globe. Ryan Gosling stars opposite the returning Harrison Ford, and 13-time Oscar nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins will shoot it. (TP)

    Relativity Says It Has A Movie Co-Financing Deal With LAMF, Can Emerge From Bankruptcy

    Relativity Media will be making a lot of announcements to convey a sense of optimism about its financial prospects in the week leading up to next week’s hearing to determine whether it’s ready to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The latest — following one this morning describing new financial backing: The studio says it has a five-year deal with the Los Angeles Media Fund (LAMF) co-finance and produce upcoming feature films. (DH)

    Vin Diesel Is Getting Some Pretty Serious Company In His Upcoming ‘xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage’

    Ice Cube, who starred in the second film in the series, xXx: State of the Union, as Darius Stone, will return and be a major part of the third film, which starts shooting soon. Samuel L. Jackson also returns to the series, and will be joined by new cast members Jet Li and Ruby Rose. (CB)


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    Nate Parker’s ‘Birth Of A Nation’ Benefits From #OscarsSoWhite

    The $10 million passion project, which Nate Parker produced, wrote, and directed, is sparking a bidding war which culminated in a record-busting $16 million bid from Fox Searchlight. (FOR)

    ‘Ghost in the Shell’ Moves To Paramount From Disney

    DreamWorks’ Ghost in the Shell, starring Scarlett Johansson, has shifted from Disney to Paramount, keeping its March 31, 2017, wide release date. (VAR)

    ‘Ex Machina’ Producer DNA Films Acquired Award-Winning Novel ‘The Loney’

    DNA Films has acquired the rights to Andrew Michael Hurley’s critically acclaimed and award-winning modern gothic horror novel The Loney. (DH)

    ‘Vampire Diaries,’ ‘Underworld’ Producers Land Pilot Orders From Fox

    Fox has ordered pilots for two dramas set in the world of law enforcement; A.P.B. from writer and executive producer David Slack and to be directed by director Len Wiseman and Recon, from writer Caroline Dries. (WRAP)

    ABC Orders Two More Family Comedy Pilots

    Square Roots as well as Chunk & Bean mark the network’s fifth and sixth comedy pilots this season — all of them family fare. (THR)

    ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ Movie Based On Bestselling Book To Unleash In 2017

    Universal Pictures has set director Lasse Hallström’s A Dog’s Purpose, based on the bestselling book of the same name, for release on January 27, 2017.  (DH)

    Miley Cyrus To Star In Woody Allen’s Upcoming Amazon Series

    In her first major TV gig since Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus has booked a starring role on Allen’s in-the-works project. (TVL)

    Matt Smith To Play Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe In Biopic

    Former Doctor Who actor Matt Smith has signed up to play the celebrated photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in a new biopic. The film, entitled Mapplethorpe, will be directed by Ondi Timoner. (GUAR)

    Watch ‘The Raid’ Director Gareth Evans’ Samurai Short Film

    Red-hot director Gareth Evans posted a pre-vis fight scene to his YouTube account — a short samurai tale about a warrior tasked with delivering a treaty who finds herself hunted by two assassins — check it out here. (COLL)


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    A.P.B.
    Network: Fox Broadcasting Company
    Studio: 20th Century Fox Television
    Production Company(s): Sketch Films, Storied Media Group
    Executive Producer(s): David Slack, Len Wiseman, David Bernardi, Dennis Kim, Todd Hoffman
    Writer(s): David Slack
    Logline: Explores what happens when an enigmatic tech billionaire purchases a troubled police precinct in the wake of a loved one’s murder. Can this eccentric and enigmatic figure’s cutting-edge approach fix the broken ways of these blue-blooded veterans?
    Details: Inspired by the article, “Who Runs the Streets of New Orleans,” written by David Amsden and published in the New York Times Magazine on July 30, 2015.
    SSN Insight: Fox gave an initial script commitment in October and ordered the pilot on January 25.

    Altered Carbon
    Network: Netflix
    Production Company(s): Skydance Productions
    Executive Producer(s): Laeta Kalogridis, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Marcy Ross
    Writer(s): Laeta Kalogridis
    Logline: Set in the 25th century, the human mind has been digitized and the soul is transferable from one body to the next. Takeshi Kovacs, a former elite interstellar warrior known as an Envoy who has been imprisoned for 500 years, is downloaded into a future he tried to stop. If he can solve a single murder in a world where technology has made death nearly obsolete, he’ll get a chance at a new life on Earth.
    Details: Based on the novel “Altered Carbon” written by Richard Morgan; published by Gollancz February 28, 2002.
    SSN Insight: Netflix has picked up the series. Previously in development with Warner Bros. who paid mid-six against seven figures for feature film rights. Previous writers hired to adapt were John Pogue, Albert Torres, and Joshua Marston. Previously in development with Silver Pictures.

    Bunker Hill
    Network: CBS Entertainment
    Studio: Universal Television
    Production Company(s): True Jack Productions
    Executive Producer(s): Jason Katims, Michelle Lee
    Writer(s): Jason Katims
    Logline: Follows a young Silicon Valley tech titan who enlists a veteran surgeon with a controversial past in starting a hospital with a cutting-edge, “new school” approach to medicine.
    SSN Insight: CBS initially gave a commitment of a put pilot on August 21, 2014. Rolled from 2015-2016. CBS has now given a pilot order. Sarah Watson was previously attached to write and Executive Produce.

    Chunk & Bean
    Network: ABC Entertainment Group
    Studio: ABC Studios
    Executive Producer(s): Ed Herro, Brian Donovan, David Hemingson
    Writer(s): Ed Herro, Brian Donovan
    Logline: Centers on the unlikely friendship of two misfits, Chunk and Bean, who benefit from having two very different sets of parents living next door to each other.
    Details: Inspired by the childhoods of Ed Herro and Brian Donovan.
    SSN Insight: ABC ordered the pilot on January 25.

    Citizen
    Network: Hulu
    Studio: Paramount Television
    Production Company(s): Anonymous Content
    Executive Producer(s): Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Josh Pate, Nick Schutt, David Kanter, Matt DeRossand
    Writer(s): Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Josh Pate, Nick Schutt
    Logline: A fresh take on the hero origin story blending elements of magical realism and gritty vigilantism set against the backdrop of a vibrant, “supernaturalized” Los Angeles.
    SSN Insight: Hulu is finalizing the deal for a pilot order. Anonymous Content has a first look deal with Paramount TV.

    Crashing
    Network: HBO
    Executive Producer(s): Pete Holmes, Judd Apatow, Dave Rath
    Writer(s): Pete Holmes
    Logline: After his wife leaves him, a sweet, wholesome comedian has nowhere to stay but on the couches of New York’s finest comics.
    Details: Based loosely on the real life experiences of Pete Holmes.
    SSN Insight: HBO ordered the pilot on September and gave a series order on January 21.

    Drew
    Network: CBS Entertainment
    Studio: CBS Television Studios
    Production Company(s):
    Executive Producer(s): Joan Rater, Tony Phelan, Dan Jinks
    Writer(s): Joan Rater, Tony Phelan
    Logline: Nancy Drew is now a detective for the NYPD where she investigates and solves crimes using her uncanny observational skills, all while navigating the complexities of life in a modern world.
    Details: Based on the character, Nancy Drew, originally created in 1930 and on the mystery book series.
    SSN Insight: Planned as a contemporary update on the Nancy Drew character. CBS ordered the pilot on January 19.

    Good Fortune
    Network: NBC Entertainment
    Studio: 20th Century Fox Television
    Production Company(s): Le Train Train Productions
    Executive Producer(s): Matthew Zinman, Craig Gerard, Rashida Jones, Will McCormack
    Writer(s): Matthew Zinman, Craig Gerard
    Logline: Follows a hyper-structured young woman whose life is upended when she starts taking advice from a mysterious fortune teller.
    SSN Insight: NBC ordered the pilot on January 22.

    I Am Frankie
    Network: Nickelodeon
    Writer(s): Catharina Ledeboer
    Logline: An experimental android navigates the perils and wonders of being a teenager. Frankie looks like any other girl, but functions like the newest computer: complete with Internet access, extensive memory and a hard disk. Frankie goes to school and no one but the members of her family know her secret. She adapts to the real world quite well, despite having no feelings or emotions, but all that changes when she begins to experience family life, make friends and have a boyfriend. Her biggest challenge will be to fall in-love without her operating system malfunctioning.
    Details: Based on the Colombian series, “Yo Soy Franky,” which premiered on Nickelodeon Latin America in 2015.
    SSN Insight: Nickelodeon gave a series order of 20 episodes on January 20. The series will be the first global series to be produced at the new Viacom International Studios in Miami, which has two 15,000 square foot stages and will be a multiplatform production hub for all of Viacom’s brands.

    I Do Crew
    Network: CW Television Network
    Studio: Warner Bros. Television
    Production Company(s): Little Engine
    Executive Producer(s): Erin Cardillo, Richard Keith, Gina Matthews, Grant Scharbo
    Writer(s): Erin Cardillo, Richard Keith
    Logline: The series focuses on the events leading up to a destination wedding from the point of view of the friends of the bride and groom.
    SSN Insight: The series is in development at the CW, but no pilot order has been given.

    Imaginary Gary
    Network: ABC Entertainment Group
    Studio: Sony Pictures Television
    Production Company(s): Happy Madison Productions
    Executive Producer(s): Patrick Osborne, Adam F. Goldberg, David Guarascio, Doug Robinson
    Writer(s): Adam F. Goldberg, David Guarascio
    Logline: A thirtysomething bachelor’s life is turned upside-down when he finally meets the love of his life — a divorced working mom with three kids. This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend he created as an only child suddenly reappears in his life to help him navigate the transition from single guy to family man.
    SSN Insight: ABC secured the project back in October after a bidding war by giving it a pilot production order with a series penalty attached. ABC gave a formal pilot order on January 21.

    Kicking & Screaming
    Network: Fox Broadcasting Company
    Studio: Lionsgate
    Production Company(s): Pulse Creative
    Executive Producer(s): Matt Kunitz, Anthony Dominici
    Logline: Ten expert survivalists are teamed with pampered partners. The 10 teams are dropped in a forbidding wilderness where they must overcome dangerous animals, raging rivers, hunger and extreme weather. To win the competition, the survivalist experts will have to drag their privileged partners — who think roughing it is going a week without a massage — kicking and screaming, to the finish line.
    SSN Insight: Fox has given a series order of eight episodes as of January 19.

    Midnight, Texas
    Network: NBC Entertainment
    Studio: Universal Television
    Production Company(s): David Janollari Entertainment
    Executive Producer(s): David Janollari, Monica Breen
    Writer(s): David Janollari, Monica Breen
    Logline: The story focuses on a fictitious and very creepy town in Texas filled with secrets and romantic entanglements
    Details: Based on the Midnight, Texas novel series, which includes the novels, “Midnight Crossroad,” “Day Shift,” “Night Shift.” The novels are written by Charlaine Harris and published by Ace.
    SSN Insight: NBC ordered the pilot on January 22.

    Miranda’s Rights
    Network: NBC Entertainment
    Studio: Universal Television
    Executive Producer(s): Katie Lovejoy, John Glenn
    Writer(s): Katie Lovejoy
    Logline: Six years after a sex scandal upended her life, 28-year-old Miranda Coale gets a shot at redemption when she’s hired by a group of millennials living and lawyering together in a start-up law firm.
    SSN Insight: NBC gave an initial script commitment back in August and ordered the pilot on January 22.

    Monger
    Network: Showtime Networks
    Studio: CBS Television Studios
    Production Company(s): Groundswell Productions
    Executive Producer(s): Josh Safdie, Ben Safdie, Michael London
    Writer(s): Josh Safdie, Ben Safdie
    Logline: Centers on two adult brothers and their relationship with their father who is a New York City fishmonger.
    Details: Loosely based on the Safdie brothers’ relationship with their father.
    SSN Insight: This is the first sale under the multi-year first-look non-exclusive deal with CBS TV and Oscar-nominated producer Michael London and his production company, Groundswell Productions.

    Mortal Kombat X: Machinima’s Chasing The Cup Finale
    Network: CW Television Network
    Production Company(s): Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Inc.
    Logline: The final episode of the e-sports docu-series that streams on CW Seed, that follows five of the world’s top-ranked players of the acclaimed fighting game Mortal Kombat X, vying to achieve their dream of being crowned the best in the world at the ESL Mortal Kombat X Pro League Finals.
    SSN Insight: The full five episode series streams on CW Seed. The finale will be broadcast on the CW.

    My Time/Your Time
    Network: CBS Entertainment
    Studio: CBS Television Studios, Sony Pictures Television
    Production Company(s): Bays Thomas , Gifted and Talented Camp
    Executive Producer(s): Hilary Winston, Carter L. Bays, Craig Thomas
    Writer(s): Hilary Winston
    Logline: The series chronicles the relationship of a young couple as they begin dating long distance. Based on the web series.
    Details: Based on the 5-part web series “7P/10E,” which was released in 2014.
    SSN Insight: CBS gave a pilot order on January 19.

    Recon
    Network: Fox Broadcasting Company
    Studio: Warner Bros. Television
    Production Company(s): Outerbanks Entertainment
    Executive Producer(s): Caroline Dries, Kevin Williamson, Julie Plec
    Writer(s): Caroline Dries
    Logline: A rookie FBI agent embeds herself in a suspected terrorist family.
    SSN Insight: Fox gave a pilot order on January 25. Julie Plec executive produces The Originals and The Vampire Diaries.

    Square Roots
    Network: ABC Entertainment Group
    Studio: ABC Studios
    Production Company(s):
    Executive Producer(s): Vijal Patel
    Writer(s): Vijal Patel
    Logline: A man from a family of logic-driven engineers is determined to use his “gift” to help the people he loves with their everyday issues. . .whether they like it or not.
    SSN Insight: ABC gave an initial script commitment. Previously in development for the 2013-2014 season at ABC. ABC gave a pilot order on January 25.

    Still Star-Crossed
    Network: ABC Entertainment Group
    Production Company(s): Shondaland, The MrG Production Company
    Executive Producer(s): Heather Mitchell, Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Michael R. Goldstein
    Writer(s): Heather Mitchell
    Logline: Set in 16th century Verona after the events in William Shakespeare’s tragedy, the story follows the conflict between the Capulets and the Montagues in the wake of Romeo and Juliet’s deaths.
    Details: Inspired by the play, “Romeo and Juliet,” written by William Shakespeare and believed to be published sometime in the 1590s.
    SSN Insight: ABC ordered the pilot on January 21. Still Star-Crossed joins ABC drama pilots The Jury, Marvel’s Most Wanted, John Ridley’s Presence, and Kiefer Sutherland series Designated Survivor.

    Storyville
    Production Company(s): Mission Control
    Executive Producer(s): William J MacDonald, Walt Becker
    Writer(s): William J MacDonald, Walt Becker
    Logline: Set against the backdrop of the birth of jazz music, which originated in New Orleans as a way to lure clients into high-end bordellos, the story delves into the turbulent, colorful world of the city’s notorious red-light district at the turn of the century. Based on the book.
    Details: Based on the book, “Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans,” written by Gary Krist and published by Crown on October 28, 2014.
    SSN Insight: Mission Control is in discussions with a network but this might go the indie route as it has received private-equity financing. A pilot will be shot and scouting has started in Louisiana for a mid-2016 start date.

    Superior Donuts
    Network: CBS Entertainment
    Studio: CBS Television Studios
    Executive Producer(s): Bob Daily, Neil Goldman, Garrett Donovan, Mark Teitelbaum, John R. Montgomery
    Writer(s): Bob Daily, Neil Goldman, Garrett Donovan
    Logline: The story follows the relationship between the owner of a donut shop, his new young employee and their patrons in a gentrifying neighborhood of Chicago.
    Details: Based on the play by Tracy Letts, which was first staged by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago in 2008 and premiered on Broadway in 2009.
    SSN Insight: CBS gave a pilot order on January 22.

    The Deuce
    Network: HBO
    Executive Producer(s): David Simon, George Pelecanos, Nina Kostroff Noble, Michelle MacLaren, Richard Price
    Writer(s): David Simon, George Pelecanos
    Logline: The story chronicles the legalization and subsequent rise of the porn industry in New York’s Times Square from the early 1970s through the mid-1980s. Also explored: the rough-and-tumble world that existed in midtown Manhattan until the rise of HIV, the violence of the cocaine epidemic and a rejuvenated real estate market ended the bawdy turbulence.
    SSN Insight: HBO gave a series order on January 19. The series will star James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

    The Exorcist
    Network: Fox Broadcasting Company
    Studio: 20th Century Fox Television
    Production Company(s): Morgan Creek Productions
    Executive Producer(s): Jeremy Slater, Barbara Wall, James G. Robinson, David C. Robinson
    Writer(s): Jeremy Slater
    Logline: A propulsive, serialized psychological thriller following two very different men tackling one family’s case of horrifying demonic possession, and confronting the face of true evil.
    Details: Based on the novel “The Exorcist,” written by William Peter Blatty and published by Harper in 1971.
    SSN Insight: Fox gave a pilot order on January 22. Morgan Creek originally began pitching the series in summer of 2013.

    The Trail
    Network: NBC Entertainment
    Studio: Warner Bros. Television
    Production Company(s): Barge Productions, Good Session Productions
    Executive Producer(s): Jeffrey Astrof, Matthew Miller
    Writer(s): Jeffrey Astrof, Matthew Miller
    Logline: Follows a young big-city lawyer and his oddball defense team during a high profile murder trial in a small southern town.
    SSN Insight: NBC initially gave a put pilot commitment back in August. NBC ordered the pilot on January 22.

    Time
    Network: NBC Entertainment
    Studio: Sony Pictures Television
    Production Company(s): Davis Entertainment
    Executive Producer(s): Eric Kripke, Shawn Ryan, John Davis, John Fox, Marney Hochman Nash
    Writer(s): Eric Kripke, Shawn Ryan
    Logline: An unlikely trio travel through time to battle unknown criminals in order to protect history as we know it.
    SSN Insight: The series landed at NBC in August after a bidding war, with a pilot production commitment. NBC gave a formal order for a pilot on January 21.

    Untitled Butler/Hope/O’Shannon Comedy Project
    Network: CBS Entertainment
    Studio: CBS Television Studios, ABC Studios
    Production Company(s): Dark Toy Entertainment
    Executive Producer(s): Dan O’Shannon, Robyn Butler, Wayne Hope, Todd Holland
    Writer(s): Dan O’Shannon, Robyn Butler, Wayne Hope
    Logline: A wife and mother learns she was adopted and that her birth parents are a flamboyant but loving family of drag-racers.
    Details: Based on the Australian series, “Upper Middle Bogan,” which premiered on ABC 1 in 2013.
    SSN Insight: CBS gave a pilot order on January 19.

    Watergate
    Network: ABC Entertainment Group
    Production Company(s): Storyscape Entertainment
    Executive Producer(s): Bob Cooper, Dan Halsted, Eric Hamburg, Jeff Floyd, Jon Maas
    Writer(s): Jon Maas
    Logline: A Faustian, cautionary thriller about a man who thinks he’s getting the job of a lifetime as he walks into the Oval Office of the White House, only to discover that it’s a snake pit and he’s being set up to be the fall guy for the most powerful man in the country, if not the world.
    Details: Based on the book “The Nixon Defense: What He Knew And When He Knew It,” written by John Dean and published by Viking in 2014. Based on the book “The Women of Watergate,” written by Alden Duer Cohen and published by Stein and Day in 1975. Based on a treatment “The System,” written by Jason Grote.
    SSN Insight: ABC is in early stages of developing the series. eOne will distribute the series internationally.

    When the Street Lights Go On
    Network: Hulu
    Studio: Paramount Television
    Production Company(s): Anonymous
    Executive Producer(s): Brett Morgen, Eddie O’Keefe, Chris Hutton, Chad Hamilton, Tariq Merhab
    Writer(s): Eddie O’Keefe, Chris Hutton
    Logline: A coming-of-age thriller about a sleepy, suburban town that is rocked by the brutal murder of a high school girl and her teacher in the summer of 1983.
    SSN Insight: Project was included on the 2011 Black List. Previously in development at Imagine Entertainment. Hulu gave a pilot order on January 25. Anonymous Content has a first look deal with Paramount TV.


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    AWARDS HEADLINES

    A Look At How the Nominees For Best Picture Serve Up Clues To the Big Race

    Since the indie revolution of the early ’90s, the Academy’s best picture nominees have come to represent a fairly wide spectrum of productions in terms of scope and style. But if you look back at all the winners since 2000, the connective tissue is a nomination in the two other key filmmaking categories: directing and writing. (IC)

    Universal’s Donna Langley To Receive Pioneer Of The Year Award At CinemaCon

    The Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation will honor the Universal Pictures  chairman April 13th in Las Vegas. Under Langley’s stewardship, Universal had the highest-grossing year ever in 2015 for a studio in industry history. The year marked the first time any studio tallied three films to cross a billion dollars at the worldwide box office, with Furious 7, Jurassic World and Minions all reaching that milestone. (AL)

    OTHER HEADLINES

    TV Development for 1/26/16: ‘Kicking & Screaming’ Heading to TV, ABC Developing Watergate Series, Orders Shondaland’s ‘Still Star-Crossed’

    Among the other new stuff happening in TV Land is something new at Netflix from writer Laeta Kalogridis, a new project from Jason Katims, as well as something fresh from Carter L. Bays and Craig Thomas. Click on the link to get all the info. (SSN)

    Abe Vigoda, the Man Behind Both Tessio and Fish, Has Died At the Age Of 94

    According to his daughter, Carol Vigoda Fuchs, Vigoda died this morning at his home in Woodland Park, New Jersey. In 1982, rumors of his death began to circulate due to an erroneous People Magazine article, and later a website was even created to track whether or not he was alive. The actor fully embraced this to maintain career momentum, and he frequently appeared on late-night talk shows to play this fact for laughs. This time, though, it’s real. (CB)

    Relativity Television Relaunches After Post-Bankruptcy Split as Critical Content

    From the ashes of the Relativity Media bankruptcy comes … Critical Content. That’s the new moniker for the Relativity Television division that was acquired in October by Relativity’s major creditors as part of the parent company’s bankruptcy brawl last fall. Critical CEO Tom Forman and president Andrew Marcus have spent the past three months re-engineering operations after the detachment from Relativity. (VAR)

    Just Two Weeks Into Its First Season, ‘Billions’ Has Already Been Given a Second One By Showtime

    Premium cable network has renewed the financial drama for a second season. Factoring in three days of delayed viewing, Billions premiered this month to 6.5 million viewers across multiple platforms, up 7 percent from Ray Donovan in 2013. Starring Homeland veteran Damian Lewis and Oscar nominee Paul Giamatti, the hourlong entry is set in the Manhattan world of high finance and tells a contemporary tale of power politics. (LF)

    Delroy Lindo Will Play Adventure-Seeking Rogue Dominic Fortune in ‘Marvel’s Most Wanted’

    ABC’s in-the-works Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spin-off series has booked Lindo in the role of Dominic Fortune. The spin-off will follow the continued adventures of Bobbi Morse, a.k.a Mockingbird (played by Adrianne Palicki), and Lance Hunter (Nick Blood) of the original Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series. (SAA)

    ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Movie Puts Down Stakes at Paramount

    When Sony picked up the project back in 2012, it had Scott Rudin attached as a producer with David Gordon Green in talks to direct. Gordon Green then left the director’s chair vacant, which was filled by Sean Durkin in late 2014 just before the picture went into turnaround. Durkin is still attached to direct the adaptation of the Laura Ingalls Wilder book series, scripted by screenwriter Abi Morgan, but it’s now set up at Paramount. (COL)

    Oscars Boycott Not Likely to Shake Up ABC’s Bottom Line as Sponsors Stay Put

    Amovement to persuade viewers to boycott this year’s Oscars broadcast may be gaining steam, and while a mass tune-out could take a bite out of ABC’s ratings, it’s far less likely to have an impact on the network’s advertising business. (AA)

    Ryan Kavanaugh and Relativity: The Epic Fail Of Hollywood’s Hottest Algorithm

    When Kavanaugh wasn’t hanging out with Bradley Cooper, or leasing a horse for Kate Bosworth, or negotiating a Golden Globes shout-out from Christian Bale, or bringing a baby wold to the office, he was talking up the sweetest game in Hollywood: the chance to invest in movies that seemed certain to succeed. (VUL)


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    AWARDS HEADLINES

    ‘Mad Max,’ ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Martian’ and ‘Revenant’ Get Nods For Sound Editing

    Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Martian and The Revenant led all films in nominations for the 2016 Golden Reel Awards, the Motion Picture Sound Editors announced. (WRAP)

    César Nominations Sans Surprise: ‘My Golden Days’, ‘Marguerite’, ‘Mustang’ & ‘Dheepan’ Lead

    Leading the pack is Arnaud Desplechin’s My Golden Days. It won the SACD prize in the section and now has 11 César nods including Best Film and Best Director. Sharing the lead with 11 is Xavier Giannoli’s Marguerite. (AL)

    Oscar Nominees ‘Carol,’ And ‘Danish Girl’ Up For GLAAD Media Awards

    Oscar-nominated pictures Carol and The Danish Girl are among the more than 100 nominees for the GLAAD Media Awards. (USA)

    OTHER HEADLINES

    Sundance: The Orchard Scoops Up ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’

    The film comes from red-hot New Zealand helmer Taika Waititi, who will direct the next Thor movie for Marvel. (THR)

    ‘Zoobiquity’ Drama Pilot From ‘Bones’ Showrunners Ordered at Fox

    Fox has placed a pilot order for Zoobiquity, a one-hour medical procedural written and and EP’d by Bones showrunners past (Stephen Nathan) and present (Jonathan Collier). (TVL)

    Crackle Orders New Drama ‘Start Up’ Starring Martin Freeman & Adam Brody

    Sony’s Crackle is expanding its scripted programming slate with a 10-episode order of drama series Start Up, starring Martin Freeman, Adam Brody, Edi Gathegi and Otmara Marrero. (DH)

    Joseph Fiennes To Play Michael Jackson In 9/11 Road-Trip Drama

    Sky Arts will screen the one-off drama, co-starring Stockard Channing as Elizabeth Taylor and Brian Cox as Marlon Brando, about the trio’s supposed road trip west from New York after the 9/11 terror attacks. (GUAR)

    Screenwriters: ‘Empire Of The Sun’

    An undated, unspecified draft of Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun. (DS)


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    CAA: Oscar winning actress Emma Thompson has shifted from WME to CAA. She will next be seen as Mrs. Potts in Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast and the Berlin competition film, Alone in Berlin, alongside Brendan Gleeson. This year she won her first Scottish BAFTA for her role in the dark comedy The Legend of Barney Thomson. She also was seen last year playing Robert Redford’s wife in A Walk in the Woods and Bradley Cooper’s doctor in Burnt.

    UTA: Grammy-nominated producer, music executive, DJ and Snapchat personality DJ Khaled has signed with UTA in all areas. He has six million followers across social media platforms. On Snapchat his content includes him regularly dispensing advice and explaining his personal philosophies while documenting his daily life. I Changed a Lot, Khaled’s eighth studio album, debuted and peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard 200.

    WME: Actress Gwendoline Christie has signed with WME as her first U.S. agency. She is well known for playing Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones, Commander Lyme in The Hunger Games’ franchise and Captain Phasma in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. She will next be seen on Game of Thrones when it returns for a sixth season come April 24. After that, she will return for Star Wars: Episode VIII and appear in BBC Films and Fox Searchlight’s Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.

    CAA: Actress Zoe Saldana has shifted from ICM Partners to CAA. She is currently in three major studio franchises: Avatar, Guardians Of The Galaxy and Star Trek. Previous to ICM Partners she was with Gersh. She can next be seen alongside Ben Affleck in Live By Night and in Star Trek Beyond. She’s also attached to the films I Kill Giants to be directed by Chris Columbus and Swindle for Paramount, both in active development.

    WME: Golden Globe, SAG and Emmy nominated actress Ruby Rose, known for her role as Stella Carlin in Orange is the New Black, has signed with WME. She’s also an Australian model and DJ. She recently wrapped Resident Evil: The Final Chapter and is currently in production on John Wick 2 alongside Keanu Reeves. Further out she’ll appear in the rebooted xXx franchise alongside Vin Diesel. She also wrote, produced, and starred in the short film Break Free, which hit more than 15 million views on YouTube.

    UTA: UK writer-director Jim Hosking will now be represented by UTA in all areas. He made his feature directorial debut with The Greasy Strangler that premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. His 2010 short film, Renegades was also at Sundance. He also co-wrote and directed Channel 4’s comedy miniseries Privado.

    ICM Partners: Writer and producer Aaron McGruder has signed with ICM. He is well known for creating and executive producing the Peabody Award-winning television series, The Boondocks, an animated sitcom that aired for four seasons on Adult Swim, based on his comic strip. His live-action comedy, Black Jesus currently airs on Adult Swim, where he has a first-look deal. McGruder is also developing multiple feature films, including a feature based on Black Jesus. Previously, he co-wrote the George Lucas feature Red Tails.

    UTA: Writer-director Tim Sutton has signed with UTA for representation. His film, Dark Knight about gun violence, is premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival as part of their NEXT sidebar. His previous film Memphis premiered in Venice and Sundance in 2014. Sutton also recently signed with Cinetic’s newly formed management division which is repping domestic rights for Dark Night.

    Abrams Artists Agency: Andrea Brooks, whose YouTube channel AndreasChoice has racked up more than 3.72 million subscribers and 230 million views has signed with the agency. Her videos provide viewers with unique and easy-to-do D.I.Y. projects and creative tips and tricks on fashion, beauty and lifestyle. She is a member of the Maker Studios network and her videos earned a 2015 Teen Choice Award nomination for Choice Web Star: Fashion/Beauty. She has also starred in a national commercial for Colgate’s Optic White campaign and guest on NBC’s Today.

    CAA: Matt Bellassai has signed with Creative Artists Agency to be repped in all areas. He was this year’s winner of the 2016 People’s Choice Award for Favorite Social Media Star. He has 1.5 million followers on Facebook and his content includes musings on pop culture, the Internet and his struggles as a single, gay adult living in New York City. He is also on Twitter Tumblr, and Instagram, where his content has been viewed more than 125 million times in the past six months. Bellassai was the writer, producer and star of BuzzFeed’s “Whine About It,” a comedic web series with an audience of more than 3.5 million weekly viewers.

    WME: John de Mol’s Talpa Media, the production company behind such global unscripted formats as The Voice, Utopia, I Love My Country, and Dating In The Dark has signed with WME. ITV Studios newly acquired Talpa for $530 million. The company is behind over 100 shows programmed in 180 countries. WME is the first agency to represent the company as a whole. Before starting Talpa in 2005, de Mol co-founded Endemol and was behind such shows as Big Brother, Fear Factor, and Deal or No Deal.

    UTA: Chris Brown has shifted from ICM Partners to UTA to be represented in all areas including film, television, digital, licensing and endorsements. The musical artist has sold 6.8 million albums in the U.S., with his most recent album Royalty hitting number one on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. Two of Brown’s albums have also hit number one: F.A.M.E. and Fortune. His acting credits include Battle of the Year, The O.C. and Stomp the Yard.


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    Aaron Korsh, creator and executive producer of USA’s hit drama series Suits has signed a two-year overall deal with Universal Cable Productions. Korsh has been under an overall deal at UCP since December 2012, will continue as showrunner on Suits and develop new projects for UCP. Suits has been renewed for a sixth season and will begin production this year. Korsh began his career in television as a PA on Everybody Loves Raymond before landing staff writer positions on various shows. He began as co-executive producer on Suits, before being promoted to his current position.

    CBS Corporation have signed a long-term licensing agreement for Sky Atlantic to be the exclusive home to Showtime’s growing portfolio of programming across all its territories in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy. Previously, Sky has licensed select Showtime content from CBS on a program-by-program basis. The deal will span all new and future series, including Billions, which premiered in the U.S. with the best series debut performance ever for a Showtime original series. Alongside scripted content, Sky will have an exclusive option to take all new Showtime distributed unscripted shows such as documentaries, late night and reality shows.

    Oscar-nominated producer Michael London and his production company, Groundswell Productions, have inked a multi-year first-look deal with CBS TV Studios. The non-exclusive pact will include projects for the broadcast networks as well as CBS Studios’ premium cable sibling Showtime. The first sale under the deal is Monger, a half-hour comedy at Showtime. Under the deal, Groundswell has hired Hilary Zaitz Michael as Director of Development for Film and Television. Groundswell Productions’ credits include the Hulu drama series Chance, The Magicians, which premieres next Monday on Syfy, and the upcoming HBO movie Confirmation.

    As reported in this week’s Exec Shuffle, Beijing-based Perfect World Pictures and Universal Pictures are closing in on a deal for a $500 million movie slate financing deal to run five years and cover 25% of the budget of each film. Universal requested a distribution fee of 12.5% and excluded Fast And Furious, Jurassic and Illumination Minions franchises. On films Universal shares with Legendary, Perfect World would conceivably take 25% of Universal’s limited stake, on films like the Bourne Identity franchise and the Tom Cruise-starrer The Mummy. The funding will include $250 million equity with the rest in debt.

    Pinewood Studios Group has joined forces with StoryFirst PST Limited to form Pinewood Television. The new company will create, develop and finance high quality drama series for the international market. Helen Gregory has been named their Creative Director. Pinewood Television is expected to be both an originating producer and a co-producing partner for major drama projects looking for deficit funding. It is in the process of organizing long-term external financing for its slate from an assembly of investors and banks. The new division will act as a one-stop shop, through partnerships with producers, providing both development and deficit financing with enhanced upside economics.

    Relativity’s television operation has been re-launched as independent content studio Critical Content. The company will be headed by Tom Forman and Andrew Marcus and funded by an investor group led by Anchorage Capital Group, with contributions from Falcon Investments with a total of $75 million of growth capital. The goal is to develop unscripted and scripted content for broadcast, cable, and digital platforms. Critical Content currently has more than 50 projects in production for more than 30 different networks including Limitless, Catfish and The Great Food Truck Race among others. Critical Content will expand upon their existing “Pod Model” where producers get a capital investment and access to infrastructure to boost their development and production capabilities.

    Reality producers David Shumsky and Mark Harris have signed an overall deal with Lionsgate TV to create new, original programming and formats for the alternative group through their Ohana Pictures shingle. Lionsgate will have exclusive rights to unscripted TV produced by Ohana Pictures, as well as first-call on any scripted development. Kicking & Screaming, an eight-episode competition series, is the first series order under this deal with a premiere date in 2016 via Fox. The series was co-created with Matt Kunitz, who is also under an overall deal with Lionsgate TV.

    Endemol Shine UK has acquired short-form and branded content production house Electric Robin and digital talent management firm OP Talent. The companies will supplement the existing commercial department. Electric Robin, a director-led business spanning commercials, branded entertainment and original material, was launched in 2013 by Kevin Batchelor and Ross Brandon with brand clients that incldue Doritos and Superdry. OP Talent’s roster includes 11 of the UK’s top online influencers such as game commentator KSI, Legends Of Gaming host Ali-A and YouTube channel Comedy Shorts Gamer.

    CBS Corporation and Stan, Australia’s leading local subscription video-on-demand provider, have signed a long-term, exclusive licensing agreement to bring all future Showtime series and programming to Stan’s streaming service. It will also provide Stan, a joint venture between Nine Entertainment Co. and Fairfax Media, with an exclusive license to the Showtime brand and trademark, making Stan the official home of Showtime in Australia. The deal will include exclusive SVOD rights to CBS and The CW series such as Madam Secretary, Limitless, Elementary, and Reign.


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    AWARDS HEADLINES

    Awards 2016: SAG Nominated Actor Michael Shannon Discusses ‘99 Homes’ & Its No-Holds-Barred Look into the Housing Crisis

    The Screen Actors Guild award winner took home two actor statues in 2011 and 2010 for best performance by an ensemble in a drama series for his HBO series Boardwalk Empire. On Saturday, he will be in contention once more, this time for best supporting actor thanks to his performance as a real estate shark in the heralded indie. (SSN)

    The Foreign Film Race: Rookies Crack Race For the Big Prize

    The Academy has, by accident or design, carved a culturally richer group from the relatively homogeneous shortlist that preceded it. Furthermore, Mustang’s Turkish-French writer-director Deniz Gamze Erguven stands with What Happened, Miss Simone? docmaker Liz Garbus as the only female feature directors nominated in this year’s typically testosterone-dominated Oscar slate. (IC)

    #OscarsSoWhite: Academy Chiefs Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Drama That Led to Historic Change

    The day after a history-making announcement by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences about diversifying its membership, the 88-year-old organization’s leaders were in a palpably good mood at their Beverly Hills offices. On January 14th, the names of 20 acting nominees, all of whom were white, would elicit year two of #OscarsSoWhite outrage. “The sequel is always bigger,” says Academy CEO Dawn Hudson now, ruefully. She’s right. (HRA)

    OTHER HEADLINES

    Film & TV Deals for 1/27/16: Pinewood Television Launches, CBS Increases Global Reach, ‘Suits’ Creator Aaron Korsh Signs with Universal Cable

    Lots of other things going on this week, as well, including an Oscar-nominated producer signing a multi-year first-look deal with CBS TV Studios, a new acquisition for Endemol Shine UK, and a relaunch for Relativity TV. Click on the link to get all the info. (SSN)

    Rep Moves for 1/27/16: CAA Scoops up Zoe Saldana, UTA Snags Two Sundance Filmmakers, WME Signs Reality Powerhouse Talpa Media

    A very active week in Hollywoodland, as a pair of big social media stars, writer-director-cartoonist Aaron MacGruder and a host of others all find themselves with new reps. For the full skinny, head on over to SSN Insider and see it all. (SSN)

    Sundance News: A Big Day For Hulu as It Nabs ‘Weiner,’ ‘King Georges’ in Broad Documentary Output Deal with IFC Films

    Online streaming service has set an output pact with IFC that will give it early SVOD access to a range of documentary films including Sundance title Weiner, from the IFC Films, Sundance Selects and IFC Midnight banners. The IFC pact marks the first time Hulu has cut a deal for access to film titles following the theatrical and rental VOD windows. (VAR)

    When Sony Releases Its ‘Spider-Man’ Reboot In 2017, Prepare For an IMAX Experience

    Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios have struck a deal for a worldwide IMAX release in theaters when the film arrives in the summer of 2017. IMAX made the announcement today with the two studios. Not much is known about the new version other than the fact that it will be directed by Cop Car helmer Jon Watts with Tom Holland playing the teenage version of the superhero. (SF)

    CBS Finds the Star Of Its Summer Drama Series, ‘American Gothic’

    The straight-to-series drama has enlisted Virginia Madsen to co-star alongside Justin Chatwin, Megan Ketch, Antony Starr, Juliet Rylance, Stephanie Leonidas and Gabriel Bateman. Matt Shakman will direct the pilot. Show centers on a prominent Boston family attempting to redefine itself in the wake of a chilling discovery that links their recently deceased patriarch to a decades-spanning string of murders, and the mounting suspicion that one was his accomplice. (LF)

    Rebecca Hall & ‘Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens To Star In ‘Permission’

    British pair is starring in the new romantic comedy, which is being shot in New York by writer-director Brian Crano. In the film, the duo will portray a couple who decide to sleep with other people for the sake of their relationship. The film also stars Gina Gershon, Francois Arnaud, Morgan Spector, Bridget Everett, David Joseph Craig, Sarah Steele and Jason Sudeikis. (DH)

    Elisabeth Moss Confirms Her Return For ‘Top Of The Lake’ Season 2; Filming Begins This Year

    Last summer, there was no shortage of excitement when news broke in the Australian trades that Jane Campion’s drama series was not only getting a second season with the director co-helming again, but that Elisabeth Moss would be returning too. Now, in Sundance to promote her movieThe Free World, she has confirmed that the show is going back in front of the cameras this summer. (VF)


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    AWARDS HEADLINES

    The House of Mouse Rules at the Advanced Imaging Society Awards

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Martian and Inside Out were big winners at the Advanced Imaging Society’s Creative Arts Awards on Jan. 27 at Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles. Here’s the complete winners list. (THR)

    Studios Still Fear Pirates But are Taking Baby Steps Towards Digital Screeners

    The film industry has been talking with vendors of streaming/digital screening for years, but wanted guarantees before they embraced a new system for Oscar voters. However, the piracy this year is a reminder that the DVD process has serious vulnerabilities, so many film execs expect streaming to become a major factor in 2016-17 Oscar campaigns. (VAR)

    OTHER HEADLINES

    Julia Roberts is Going Behind Bars for New HBO Film ‘ADX’

    Julia Roberts is set to star in and produce ADX, a drama about the real life harrowing and potentially groundbreaking lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Prisons over the treatment of inmates at the infamous ADX supermax facility in the Rocky Mountains. (TB)

    Byron Allen is Taking on the FCC as Entertainment Studios Files $10 Billion Lawsuit

    The Federal Communications Commission and Charter Communications were sued for $10 billion in federal court by Allen’s Entertainment Studios and the National Association of African-American Owned Media for “racial discrimination in contracting for television channel carriage.” (DL)

    Former History & MTV Exec Join Forces to Launch Talos Films

    U.S. television producers Julian P. Hobbs, who most recently headed up scripted development and production at History, and Elli Hakami, who was formerly MTV’s exec VP of current series and programming, have launched Talos Films. The new company has the backing of distributor Sky Vision and independent producer October Films and will produce a diverse range of content suitable for a global audience. (VAR)

    Paramount Breaks Out the Checkbook to Buy ‘The Intervention’ at Sundance for $2.5 Million

    Paramount Pictures has closed a world rights deal in the vicinity of $2.5 million for The Intervention, the dramatic comedy starring Cobie Smulders, Natasha Lyonne, Jason Ritter, and Ben Schwartz. It also marks the directorial debut of Clea DuVall. (DL)

    K5 Clinches Clive Owen to Star as a Detective in a World Without Anonymity

    Clive Owen is set to star in Andrew Niccol’s Anon, a psychological thriller with sci-fi elements to be produced by K5. Owen will play a detective in a world without anonymity. However, when Owen’s character stumbles on a young woman who doesn’t exist, he discovers it may not be the end of crime. (DL)

    Film Studio Scorecard: How Much Diversity Really Is There Among Decision Makers?

    Here’s a handy chart that breaks down just how many top tier execs are either a person of color and/or a woman at the majors. The study found there are more women than persons of color among the leading executives. (THR)

    Tyra Banks, Jessica Alba & Arnold Schwarzenegger Head to Silicon Beach for ‘The Apprentice’

    NBC revealed the full line-up of stars set to participate in the eighth edition of the reality show (and 15th season of The Apprentice franchise) and the names run the gambit from sports stars to reality TV fixtures. (NBC)

    Screenwriters: New Year’s Resolution – The Writing Exercise Workout

    No matter where you are in developing your craft, there’s always room for strengthening existing muscles and building new ones. Here’s the best writing exercises to build muscle and enable you lift heavier weights with ever more ease. (SM)


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    New Attachments

    All Eyez on Me
    Logline: This biopic will follow rapper Tupac Shakur’s career, including his time at Death Row Records and his involvement in the rivalry between East coast and West coast rappers, culminating in his murder in 1996.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Open Road Films
    Production Company(s): Morgan Creek Productions, Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films
    Producer(s): James G. Robinson, David C. Robinson, LT Hutton, Randall Emmett, George Furla
    Writer(s): John Singleton, Ed Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft, Michael Starrbury, David McKenna
    Director(s): Benny Boom
    Cast: Demetrius Shipp Jr., Jamal Woolard, Danai Gurira, Katerina Graham, Jamie Hector, Keith Robinson
    SSN Insight: Antoine Fuqua was previously attached to direct. Soulja Boy was previously mentioned to star. Project was previously in development at Universal. Robinson will portray TNT Records founder Atron Gregory.

    Audrie & Daisy
    Logline: Assault in the social media age is examined after two girls are sexually assaulted by boys they consider to be friends and online bullying leads each to attempt suicide.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Netflix
    Production Company(s): Actual Films, Impact Partners, AfterImage Public Media
    Producer(s): Richard Berge, Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk, Sara Dosa
    Director(s): Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk
    SSN Insight: Netflix acquired worldwide SVOD rights after the film’s premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

    Equity
    Logline: Focuses on a group of women caught up in the world of high finance, specifically an investment banker who gets entangled in a controversial public offering.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Sony Pictures Classics
    Production Company(s): Broad Street Pictures
    Producer(s): Alysia Reiner, Sarah Megan Thomas
    Writer(s): Amy Fox
    Director(s): Meera Menon
    Cast: Anna Gunn, James Purefoy, Sarah Megan Thomas, Alysia Reiner, Carrie Preston
    SSN Insight: Sony Pictures Classics acquired worldwide rights after the film’s premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

    Hunt For the Wilderpeople
    Logline: A kid from the city finds himself on the run with his foster uncle in the New Zealand wilderness, prompting a nationwide manhunt.
    Studio/Distributor(s): The Orchard
    Production Company(s): Defender Films Limited, Curious Films, Piki Films
    Producer(s): Taika Waititi, Carthew Neal, Leanne Saunders, Matt Noonan
    Writer(s): Taika Waititi
    Director(s): Taika Waititi
    Cast: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rhys Darby, Stan Walker, Rima Te Wiata
    Details: Based on the novel “Wild Pork and Watercress” written by Barry Crump and published by Beckett Publishing, Auckland, New Zealand, in 1986.
    SSN Insight: The Orchard acquired domestic rights following the film’s premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for $2 million.

    Indignation
    Logline: Two complicated and unique individuals, one the son of a kosher butcher from Newark and the other the daughter of a well-regarded surgeon from Cleveland, explore a relationship at their Midwestern university in the 1950s.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Summit Entertainment
    Production Company(s): X-Filme Creative Pool, Symbolic Exchange, FilmNation, Likely Story, BFB Entertainment, RT Features
    Producer(s): Anthony Bregman, James Schamus, Rodrigo Teixeira
    Writer(s): James Schamus
    Director(s): James Schamus
    Cast: Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon, Tracy Letts, Linda Emond, Danny Burstein
    Details: Based on the novel “Indignation” written by Philip Roth and published by Houghton Mifflin in September 2008.
    SSN Insight: Scott Rudin preemptively acquired the novel by Philip Roth in a reported seven-figure deal. Project was previously in development at Scott Rudin Productions with Scott Rudin attached to produce. Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment paid an estimated $2.5 million for North American rights to the film.

    Lady Bird
    Logline: The film revolves around a student’s last year in high school in Sacramento, California.
    Production Company(s): Scott Rudin Productions
    Producer(s): Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, Evelyn O’Neill
    Writer(s): Greta Gerwig
    Director(s): Greta Gerwig
    Cast: Saoirse Ronan
    SSN Insight: Saorise Ronan is making waves and has been nominated for Best Actress at this year’s Oscars for her starring role in Brooklyn.

    Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World
    Logline: This documentary asks the question: “Does the internet dream of itself?” and explores the horizons of the connected world.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Magnolia Pictures
    Production Company(s): Saville Productions
    Producer(s): Werner Herzog, Rupert Maconick
    Director(s): Werner Herzog
    SSN Insight: Magnolia Pictures acquired worldwide rights after the film’s premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

    Love & Friendship
    Logline: Set in the 1790s, a widow waits out rumors about her dalliances while she seeks a husband for herself, and a husband for her reluctant daughter.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Amazon Studios, Roadside Attractions
    Production Company(s): Netherlands Film Fund, Westerly Films, Blinder Films, Chic Films, Revolver Films (Netherlands)
    Producer(s): Lauranne Bourrachot, Katie Holly, Whit Stillman
    Writer(s): Whit Stillman
    Director(s): Whit Stillman
    Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Xavier Samuel, Morfydd Clark, Emma Greenwell, Tom Bennett
    Details: Based on the novel/novella “Lady Susan” written by Jane Austen, written sometime between 1794 and 1805, and first published in 1871.
    SSN Insight: Sienna Miller was previously attached to play the role of Lady Susan. Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions will partner on the domestic theatrical release of the film in a deal made at Sundance.

    Manchester By The Sea
    Logline: Centers on a man who, after the death of his brother, is forced to return home to care for his 16-year old nephew and confront a tragic past that separated him from his family and the community where he was raised.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Amazon Studios
    Production Company(s): Pearl Street Films, The Media Farm, B Story, The Affleck/Middleton Project
    Producer(s): Lauren Beck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Gigi Pritzker, Kimberly Steward
    Writer(s): Kenneth Lonergan
    Director(s): Kenneth Lonergan
    Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges, C.J. Wilson
    SSN Insight: Previously in development at OddLot Entertainment. Matt Damon was previously attached to star. Pre-production was scheduled to start on September 8, 2014. Amazon has acquired domestic rights for the film for an estimated $10 million.

    Morris from America
    Logline: Morris is a hip-hop-loving American 13-year-old, who has to face the challenges of adolescence in a foreign place when his father moves to Heidelberg.
    Studio/Distributor(s): A24
    Production Company(s): Südwestrundfunk (SWR), Indi Film GmbH, Lichtblick Media, Beachside Films
    Producer(s): Martin Heisler, Sara Murphy, Adele Romanski, Gabriele Simon
    Writer(s): Chad Hartigan
    Director(s): Chad Hartigan
    Cast: Craig Robinson, Carla Juri, Lina Keller, Markees Christmas, Jakub Gierszal
    SSN Insight: A24 acquired domestic distribution rights for a figure reported to be north of $1 million following the film’s premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

    Permission
    Logline: A couple decide to sleep with other people for the sake of their relationship.
    Production Company(s): Picture Films Inc, Ball and Chain Productions, Paper Trail
    Producer(s): Margot Hand, Rebecca Hall, Giri Tharan, Joshua Thurston
    Writer(s): Brian Crano
    Director(s): Brian Crano
    Cast: Rebecca Hall, Dan Stevens, Gina Gershon, Francois Arnaud, Morgan Spector
    SSN Insight: WME is repping worldwide rights. Hall recently became attached to Meredity Danluck’s State Like Sleep alongside Michael Shannon and Ben Foster.

    Popeye
    Logline: The adventures of spinach-eating Popeye the Sailor, his girlfriend Olive Oyl and his nemesis Bluto.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Columbia Pictures
    Production Company(s): Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, Arad Productions, Inc., Sony Pictures Imageworks, Inc., Sony Pictures Animation
    Producer(s): Avi Arad, Ari Arad
    Writer(s): T.J. Fixman, Jay Scherick, David Ronn
    Details: Based on the character Popeye the Sailor created by E.C. Segar and first appearing in the King Features comic strip “Thimble Theatre” on January 17, 1929.
    SSN Insight: Genndy Tartakovsky was previously attached to direct. Fixman has also scripted Men Who Kill at Fox, with Michael B. Jordan attached to produce and star in and has sold One Night On The Hudson to Universal.

    Silver Ghost
    Logline: Charles Rolls and Henry Royce create the first Rolls-Royce car, but their lives intertwine with the royal Beaulieu family and complications arise.
    Production Company(s): Sikelia Productions, Zuma Productions
    Producer(s): Martin Scorsese, Anthony Haas
    Writer(s): Jeffrey Caine
    Director(s): Asif Kapadia
    SSN Insight: Kapadia was also the filmmaker behind the critically acclaimed racing documentary Senna.

    Sleight
    Logline: After his mother’s death, a young street magician turns to dealing drugs at parties to support his little sister. When she kidnapped by his supplier, he uses his sleight of hand and keen intelligence to find her.
    Studio/Distributor(s): WWE Studios, Blumhouse Productions
    Production Company(s): Diablo Entertainment
    Producer(s): Eric B. Fleischman, Sean Tabibian, Alex Theurer
    Writer(s): JD Dillard, Alex Theurer
    Director(s): JD Dillard
    Cast: Jacob Latimore, Dulé Hill, Tyga, Storm Reid, Seychelle Gabriel
    SSN Insight: WWE Studios and Blumhouse Productions acquired worldwide rights after the film’s premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for an estimated low seven figures.

    Songs My Brothers Taught Me
    Logline: On a Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, a brother and his younger sister find themselves on separate paths to rediscovering the meaning of home.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Kino Lorber
    Production Company(s): Significant Productions
    Producer(s): Chloe Zhao, Mollye Asher, Angela C. Lee, Forest Whitaker, Nina Yang
    Writer(s): Chloe Zhao
    Director(s): Chloe Zhao
    Cast: Eleonore Hendricks, Travis Lone Hill, Taysha Fuller, Irene Bedard, Jashaun St. John
    SSN Insight: Kino Lorber has acquired North American rights to the film ahead of the film’s March 2 theatrical bow at New York’s Film Forum ahead of a national rollout and digital release.

    Submergence
    Logline: The interwoven stories of former lovers; one a member of British Intelligence, the other a scientist.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Embankment Films
    Production Company(s): Neue Road Movies, Lila 9th Productions
    Producer(s): Cameron Lamb, Andrew Banks
    Writer(s): Erin Dignam
    Director(s): Wim Wenders
    Cast: James McAvoy, Alicia Vikander
    Details: Based on the novel “Submergence” by J.M. Ledgard; published by Coffee House Press March 26, 2013.
    SSN Insight: UTA will rep domestic rights with Embankment handling international sales at this year’s EFM in Berlin.

    The Birth of a Nation
    Logline: The true story of Nat Turner, the educated slave and preacher who led a violent slave rebellion in Virginia in 1831.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Fox Searchlight
    Production Company(s): Mandalay Pictures, Phantom Four, Bron Media Corp., Tiny Giant Entertainment
    Producer(s): Nate Parker, Kevin Turen, Jason Michael Berman, Aaron Gilbert, Preston L. Holmes
    Writer(s): Nate Parker
    Director(s): Nate Parker
    Cast: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Mark Boone Junior, Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis
    SSN Insight: Fox Searchlight acquired worldwide rights for $17.5 million following the film’s premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

    The Intervention
    Logline: A weekend getaway for four couples takes a sharp turn when one of the couples discovers the entire trip was orchestrated to host an intervention on their marriage.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Paramount
    Production Company(s): Burn Later Productions
    Producer(s): Paul Bernon, Sam Slater, Sev Ohanian
    Writer(s): Clea DuVall
    Director(s): Clea DuVall
    Cast: Clea DuVall, Cobie Smulders, Melanie Lynskey, Jason Ritter, Natasha Lyonne
    SSN Insight: Paramount acquired worldwide rights after the film’s premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for $2.5 million.

    The Million Dollar Duck
    Logline: Examines the eccentric subculture surrounding the Federal Duck Stamp Contest, tracking six artists vying to win what’s been called “the Olympics of wildlife art” by designing the latest version of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Lionsgate
    Production Company(s): No Production Company Available.
    Writer(s): Martin J. Smith
    Director(s): Brian Golden Davis
    SSN Insight: Lionsgate acquired domestic rights to the film which it will distribute in limited theatrical release along with digital home entertainment and packaged media and Animal Planet acquired television rights after the film’s premiere at the 2016 Slamdance Film Festival.

    Weiner-Dog
    Logline: Several people find their life inspired or changed by one particular dachshund, who seems to be spreading comfort and joy.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Amazon Studios
    Production Company(s): Killer Films, Annapurna Pictures, Greyshack Films
    Producer(s): Mike S Ryan, Megan Ellison, Christine Vachon
    Writer(s): Todd Solondz
    Director(s): Todd Solondz
    Cast: Greta Gerwig, Julie Delpy, Jack Huston, Kieran Culkin, Danny DeVito
    SSN Insight: Amazon acquired domestic distribution rights for seven figures following the film’s premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Amazon will partner with a theatrical distributor for a domestic theatrical release.

    New Projects

    Anon
    Logline: Centers on a detective in a world with no privacy, ignorance and anonymity. It is the end of crime. However, when Owen’s character stumbles on a young woman who doesn’t exist, he discovers it may not be the end of crime but the beginning.
    Production Company(s): K5
    Producer(s): Oliver Simon, Daniel Baur
    Writer(s): Andrew Niccol
    Director(s): Andrew Niccol
    Cast: Clive Owen
    SSN Insight: K5 Film is producing and financing the film. Owen is next starring in Luc Besson’s sci-fi epic Valerian. CAA will rep U.S. distribution rights with K5 handling international rights.

    East/West

    Logline: Storyline under wraps for this comedy film.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Universal Pictures
    Production Company(s): Lava Bear Films
    Producer(s): Jason Winer, Zhang Ziyi, Tory Metzger, David Linde, Ling Lucas
    Writer(s): Ethan Sandler, Adrian Wenner
    Director(s): Jason Winer
    Cast: Zhang Ziyi
    SSN Insight: Ziyi’s past films include The Crossing Part II, The Grandmaster, Dangerous Liaisons and My Lucky Star.

    Eat Local
    Logline: An unsuspecting Essex boy’s fling with a stunning cougar becomes a fight for survival when she introduces him her friends, a coven of ravenous vampires, at a remote farmhouse.
    Production Company(s): GFM Films, Hereford Films
    Producer(s): Rod Smith, Jonathan Sothcott, Neil Jones
    Writer(s): Danny King
    Director(s): Jason Flemyng
    Cast: Charlie Cox, MacKenzie Crook, Dexter Fletcher, Freema Agyeman, Eve Myles
    SSN Insight: Jason Flemyng is also helming Reign of Blood, currently in production for GFM Films.

    Mapplethorpe
    Logline: Based on the life of avant-garde photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.
    Production Company(s): Interloper Films, Boston Diva Productions
    Producer(s): Ondi Timoner, Eliza Dushku, Nate Dushku, Sirad Balducci
    Writer(s): Bruce Goodrich
    Director(s): Ondi Timoner
    Cast: Matt Smith, Zosia Mamet
    SSN Insight: Matt Smith is best known for playing Doctor Who in the long-running BBC series.

    NickToons
    Logline: Signature Nickelodeon characters from the shows “Rugrats,” “Ren & Stimpy,” “Rocko’s Modern Life,” “Aaahh! Real Monsters” and “The Angry Beavers” are brought together in this film.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon,
    Production Company(s): Disruption Entertainment
    Producer(s): Mary Parent, Cale Boyter
    Writer(s): Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess
    Director(s): Jared Hess
    SSN Insight: The film is based on a pitch by Ali Mendes, who works for Parent at Disruption Entertainment.

    People Who Eat Darkness
    Logline: After the murder of a young Englishwoman working in Tokyo, her parents try to navigate the Japanese legal and police systems to bring their daughter’s killer to justice.
    Studio/Distributor(s): 20th Century Fox
    Details: Based on the book “People Who Eat Darkness” written by Richard Lloyd Parry and published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2012.
    SSN Insight: Fox has acquired the rights for the book. Parry is an award-winning foreign correspondent and Asia bureau chief for The Times of London. Parry’s deal was handled by Judy Daish & Associates.

    The Loney
    Logline: In 1976, teenage Tonto and his family make their annual pilgrimage to a shrine which is engulfed in the mysteries of a priest’s death and a pregnant girl in a wheelchair.
    Production Company(s): DNA Films, Film4 Productions
    Producer(s): Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich
    Details: Based on the novel “The Loney” written by Andrew Michael Hurley and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2016.
    SSN Insight: In a competitive situation, DNA Films, best known for Ex Machina, and Film4 have acquired the rights to Andrew Michael Hurley’s novel.

    The Sound of Metal
    Logline: A singer and a drummer in a band must come to terms with the new reality of silence when the drummer begins to lose his hearing.
    Production Company(s): COTA Films
    Producer(s): Michael Costigan, Ben LeClair
    Writer(s): Darius Marder
    Director(s): Darius Marder
    Cast: Dakota Johnson, Matthias Schoenaerts
    SSN Insight: The film is in the process of setting up financing, with a plan to shoot in next fall.

    The Apollo Theater Project
    Logline: A documentary about the authorized history of New York’s famed Apollo Theater.
    Production Company(s): White Horse Pictures, Studiocanal, Universal Music Group, Impact Pictures
    Producer(s): Nigel Sinclair, Jeanne Elfant Festa, Steve Cohen, Paula Froehle, Ken Pelletier, Dave Knott, Jonelle Procope
    Writer(s): Cassidy Hartmann, Mark Monroe, Shola Lynch
    Director(s): Lee Daniels
    SSN Insight: Long-established documentary financing company Impact Partners, the Europe-based Studiocanal and Universal Music Group are financing the project along with The Chicago Media Project. Studiocanal, Impact Partners and White Horse Pictures jointly represent the US rights.

    The Time Museum
    Logline: A bright, socially awkward high school student discovers the mysterious Earth Time Museum.
    Production Company(s): Josephson Entertainment, Broad Green Pictures
    Producer(s): Barry Josephson, Elizabeth Bassin
    Details: Based on the graphic novel series “The Time Museum,” written by Matt Loux and to be published by First Second/Macmillan in 2017.
    SSN Insight: Broad Green recently bought the Tyger Williams pitch Bad Influence.


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    AWARDS HEADLINES

    Looking For Some Inside Dope On Who Will Win the SAG Awards on Saturday Night? This Might Help

    The 22nd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards are set for Saturday night, as industry thespians gather to celebrate their own and tell those awkward “I’m an actor” stories to the camera. Trumbo led the way with film nominations, while Game of Thrones and House of Cards led for TV. Here, some fearless predictions of who will walk away a winner. (IC)

    It’s Time To Ask That Inevitable Question: Which Sundance Films Could Score With Oscar Next Year?

    We’ve still got a month to go until Chris Rock hosts the Academy Awards, but after several major films popped over the last week at the Sundance Film Festival, we’re beginning to get a glimpse of what next year’s Oscars might look like, too. (VUL)

    OTHER HEADLINES

    Film Development for 1/28/16: All the Sundance Acquisitions in One Place Including the Huge Deals for ‘Birth of a Nation’ & ‘Manchester By The Sea’

    Among all the various Sundance deals, including a WWE Studios and Blumhouse combining to pick up the sci-fi/magic drama Sleight, and The Orchard picking up The Wilderpeople, there are also lots of other moves in Hollywoodland. Click on the link to get all the info. (SSN)

    Raine Group to Invest $100 Million-Plus in Imagine, Partners Eye Expansion

    Imagine Entertainment, the production powerhouse led by longtime partners Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, is poised for a significant expansion, powered by a new investment under a new partnership agreement. The arrangement anticipates building Imagine into a major media player with other investors as part of the transaction, said two individuals familiar with the pact. The deal has yet to be signed but is just days away from being finalized. (VAR)

    All Your Favorite Nickelodeon Characters Are Coming Together In a Single Movie

    Cable network is going to ambitiously put characters from all their ’90s shows into a single movie, NickToons, with Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess to helm the project. The worlds of Doug, Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy and Ahh! Real Monsters will collide (and, potentially, Hey Arnold!) for what’s being described as a Who Framed Roger Rabbit?-esque film. Hess is also writing the project with regular collaborator Jerusha Hess. (TP)

    Martin Scorsese Teams With ‘Amy’ Director for ‘Silver Ghost’

    Legendary filmmaker is teaming up with Amy Winehouse doc director Asif Kapadia on the narrative feature film, which Kapadia will direct and Scorsese will produce with Anthony Haas. Movie tells the epic story of the iconic Rolls Royce car, marking the genesis of aviation and all the courage and daredevilry that went with it. Running alongside this sweeping narrative, the film tells the story of a passionate and highly charged affair. (THR)

    Tony Kushner Comes Aboard Denzel Washington’s ‘Fences’ For Paramount

    The award-winning playwright and writer has been brought aboard to help pull together a screenplay for a film based on August Wilson’s play. The project, which Washington will direct and hopefully star in with his Fences Broadway co-star Viola Davis (schedules pending), is trying to get before the cameras as soon as possible in order to be ready for the big screen this year — in time for Academy Award consideration. (DH)

    That ‘American Gods’ TV Adaptation Just Took Another Big Step Forward, With Casting Of Lead Character

    Ricky Whittle has been cast as Shadow Moon in the upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed contemporary fantasy novel, which will begin shooting in April. The show is produced by FremantleMedia North America and will run on the Starz network. Bryan Fuller and Michael Green are writers and showrunners, with David Slade directing the pilot and additional episodes. (SAA)

    Comcast Says ‘Minions’ Is Universal’s Most Profitable Movie Ever, as Animated Film Brings In $1.16 Billion In Worldwide Ticket Sales

    The animated summer film starring the yellow creatures that don’t speak a discernible language is the most profitable film in the studio’s history. Steve Burke, chief executive officer of Comcast Corp.’s NBC Universal division, told employees in a memo last weekend that the picture was among three movies that each grossed more than $1 billion worldwide in 2015. That was also a first, he said. (AA)

    Trailer Buzz: ‘Nine Lives’

    Europa Corp. has released the first official look at the upcoming comedy, starring Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Garner, Malina Weissman, Cheryl Hines, Christopher Walken and Robbie Amell, and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. It hits theaters on August 5th. (COL)


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    Sundance: Nick Jonas Fraternity Drama ‘Goat’ Nabbed By Paramount’s MTV Films

    Paramount/MTV Films has acquired worldwide rights to Sundance darling Goat. The purchase price is just south of $3 million. (THR)

    Amazon And Open Road Team Up For Acclaimed Sundance Doc ‘Gleason’

    Amazon Studios has secured all U.S. rights to Clay Tweel’s acclaimed documentary Gleason. The company has bought all theatrical, On Demand and streaming rights and will partner with Open Road Films to co-release it in theaters this summer. (IW)

    Harrison Ford, Natalie Dormer, And Paul Bettany Join Spy Thriller ‘Official Secrets’

    Harrison Ford will be joining director Justin Chadwick’s Official Secrets. Also joining Ford are Paul Bettany, Natalie Dormer, Martin Freeman, and Sir Anthony Hopkins. They’re all on board the thriller  slated to begin principal photography in May 2016 in the U.K. (COLL)

    Slamdance Names ‘Million Dollar Duck,’ ‘Honey Buddies’ 2016 Festival Winners

    The 22nd Slamdance Film Festival named The Million Dollar Duck the winner of both the Jury Award and Audience Award for Documentary Feature.  Honey Buddies, by director Alex Simmons, won the Audience Award for Narrative Feature. (WRAP)

    ABC Pilot Orders: Drama ‘Notorious’, 4 Comedies, Including Shondaland’s ‘Toast’

    ABC picks up drama Notorious from Josh Berman and The Firm; and four comedies: Shondaland’s Toast, Hail Mary from Brian Gallivan and Seth Gordon; a lesbian-straight duo comedy, from writers Ed Weeks & Hannah Mackay; and The Fluffy Shop, co-written by and starring Gabriel Iglesias. (DH)

    ABC Picks Up Comedy Pilot ‘The Second Fattest Housewife In Westport’

    ABC has picked up a comedy pilot for The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport from writer Sarah Dunn and exec producer Aaron Kaplan. (VAR)

    CBS Orders Football Comedy Pilot ‘The Kicker’ Produced By Tina Fey

    CBS has given a pilot order to a multi-cam comedy called The Kicker, which Tina Fey, Jack Burditt, and Robert Carlock began developing for the network last year. (SS)

    This Short Film Suggests That After You Die You Can Google Anything About Your Life

    In The Answers, which has just debuted online after appearing at several film festivals, it’s not your pets or lost loves that you want to see immediately after dying—it’s the cold, hard, objective facts about the life you just left behind. (FC)

    Screenwriters: ‘Dark Star’

    An undated, unspecified draft of Dark Star by John Carpenter and Dan O’Bannon. (DS)

     

     


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    STARTS

    The Good Catholic
    01/25/2016
    Logline: An idealistic young priest is dedicated to his calling until he meets a woman in confession, so he seeks guidance from his fellow priests.
    Production Company(s): Pigasus Pictures
    Director(s): Paul Schoulberg
    Executive Producer(s): David Anspaugh
    Producer(s): Zachary Spicer, John Armstrong, Graham Sheldon
    Cast: Danny Glover, John C. McGinley, Wrenn Schmidt, Zachary Spicer
    Writer(s): Paul Schoulberg
    SSN Insight: Filming will take place in Bloomington, Indiana. Glover can be seen in the film, Mr. Pig, now playing at Sundance. He recently wrapped Universal’s Meyers Christmas and Paramount’s Monster Trucks. McGinley just wrapped James Gunn’s The Belko Experiment for MGM. Spicer founded Pigasus Pictures in 2015 with the goal to produce quality story-driven films with far-reaching appeal.

    WRAPS

    Girl on the Train
    01/30/2016
    Logline: A young woman gets mixed up in a murder investigation because of what she sees on her daily commute.
    Studio/Distributor(s): Amblin Partners, Universal Pictures
    Production Company(s): Marc Platt Productions
    Director(s): Tate Taylor
    Executive Producer(s): Jared LeBoff, Celia D Costas
    Producer(s): Marc Platt
    Cast: Haley Bennett, Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Édgar Ramírez, Luke Evans
    Writer(s): Erin Cressida Wilson
    Details: Based on the novel “Girl on the Train” written by Paula Hawkins and published by Riverhead Books in 2015.
    SSN Insight: Kate Mara was mentioned to co-star. Chris Evans was previously in negotiations for the role filled by Justin Theroux. Tate Taylor is also attached as director/producer/screenwriter on two films in active development: Joyland as well as Tupperware Unsealed, for Columbia Pictures with Sandra Bullock attached.

    The Yellow Birds
    01/29/2016
    Logline: A look at the harrowing lives of two soldiers in Iraq and the effects of war on their families at home.
    Production Company(s): Story Mining & Supply Co., Cinelou Films
    Director(s): Alexandre Moors
    Executive Producer(s): Jim Kohlberg, David Lowery
    Producer(s): Jeffrey Sharp, Evan Hayes, Mark Canton, Courtney Solomon
    Cast: Tye Sheridan, Jack Huston, Alden Ehrenreich, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Patric
    Writer(s): R. F. I. Porto, David Lowery
    Details: Based on the novel “The Yellow Birds” written by Kevin Powers and published by Little, Brown and Company September 11, 2012.
    SSN Insight: Benedict Cumberbatch was previously attached to star. David Lowery was previously attached to direct. Moors previously teamed with R.F.I. Porto on the film Blue Caprice which was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award in 2014.

    Trolls (Animated)
    01/29/2016
    Logline: Poppy, the optimistic leader of the Trolls, and her polar opposite Branch, embark on an adventure that takes them far beyond the only world they’ve ever known.
    Studio/Distributor(s): DreamWorks Animation, 20th Century Fox Distribution
    Production Company(s): Festa Entertainment
    Director(s): Mike Mitchell
    Executive Producer(s): Dannie Festa
    Producer(s): Gina Shay
    Voice Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, James Corden, Russell Brand, Gwen Stefani
    Writer(s): Erica Rivinoja, Adam Wilson, Melanie Wilson LaBracio
    Details: Based on the Good Luck Troll dolls created by Thomas Dam for his daughter in Denmark in 1959.
    SSN Insight: Mitchell is the executive producer behind Kung Fu Panda 3. He also is attached as a director on three films in active development including Home of the Future for Universal, Jitters for Paramount and Once Upon a Time for MGM.


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    -In our latest weekly series, SSN Insider will take a deep dive into the film ticket sales of the week leveraging data from the powerhouse ticketing website, MovieTickets.com. Not only will the infographic pinpoint which movies are claiming the largest piece of the pie from day to day in terms of sales but also which film had the biggest uptick in terms of a percentage variance surge and which had the biggest downtick or steepest dive between any two points.-

    Box Office Trending 1-29


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    AWARDS HEADLINES

    The Academy’s Sci-Tech Awards Have Found Their Hosts In the Form Of Olivia Munn and Jason Segel

    The pair are set to host the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation on Saturday, February 13th, at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills. They will present 11 awards to 33 individual recipients and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers during the evening. (AL)

    Art Directors Guild Awards: Production Designers Appraise the Nominees

    Ahead of the Art Director Guild’s annual awards ceremony, production designers weigh in on the current work of some of their shortlisted colleagues. A variety of films across several categories are covered, including Bridge of Spies, Cinderella, and The Martian. (IC)

    OTHER HEADLINES

    SSN Box Office Trending Report for 1/29/16: ‘Deadpool’ Sneaks In While ‘Kung Fu Panda 3′ Leaps On to the Scene

    In our latest weekly series, SSN Insider will take a deep dive into the film ticket sales of the week leveraging data from the powerhouse ticketing website, MovieTickets.com. Not only will the infographic pinpoint which movies are claiming the largest piece of the pie from day to day in terms of sales but also which film had the biggest uptick in terms of a percentage variance surge and which had the biggest downtick or steepest dive between any two points. (SSN)

    On the Set for 1/29/16: Danny Glover Starts on ‘The Good Catholic’, Emily Blunt and Luke Evans Wrap ‘Girl on the Train’

    A very light week of production beginnings and endings sees just the one beginning and a small handful of endings, including the Iraq War drama, The Yellow Birds, starring Tye Sheridan, Jack Huston, Alden Ehrenreich, Jennifer Aniston and Jason Patric. Click on the link to get all the info. (SSN)

    Netflix Renews ‘House of Cards’ for a Fifth Season, Without Creator and Showrunner Beau Willimon

    Streaming giant and producers Media Rights Capital have renewed the streaming giant’s breakthrough original series for a fifth season (the fourth debuts March 4th), but the show must go on without creator and showrunner Willimon. The question now is whether the popular political melodrama, starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, can sustain critics’ and viewers’ interest without him. (TOH)

    With ‘Tron 3’ Shelved, Joseph Kosinski Moves on to Wildfire Drama ‘No Exit’

    Filmmaker has signed to helm a film about wildfires called No Exit. Lorenzo di Bonaventura, is producing No Exit with Black Label Media financing the picture.The movie is based on the true story of the tragic 2013 wildfire in Prescott, Arizona — known as the Yarnell Hill Wildfire — that almost killed an entire crew of firefighters. (COL)

    Liam Neeson Lines Up a Third Action Thriller With His ‘Non-Stop’ and ‘Unknown’ Director

    The actor will once again team with helmer Jaume Collet-Serra for The Commuter, which will find Neeson unwittingly caught up in a conspiracy that threatens the lives of himself and the people he loves, when he somehow gets involved in a criminal enterprise on his way home from work.  (CB)

    With the Success Of ‘The Royals’, E! Network Continues Its Foray Into Scripted Fare With ‘The Arrangement’

    The NBCUniversal-owned cable network has given a series order to the drama from former Mad Men scribe Jonathan Abrahams. Project centers on a beautiful young actress who auditions for the female lead in a summer blockbuster playing opposite the hottest actor in town. Her amazing audition segues into a perfect first date, but her Cinderella story turns bizarre when she is presented with a contract that details an entire relationship with her leading man. (LF)

    Reports Of Fish Mooney’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated: Jada Pinkett Smith Returning To ‘Gotham’

    Comic book drama is putting a literal spin on the classic Fish out of water tale. The actress has signed on to reprise her role as Fish Mooney for multiple Season 2 episodes. A rep for the Fox drama confirmed Smith’s return but declined to provide details about how the crime boss will resurface. Fish was last seen in the Batman prequel’s Season 1 finale getting pushed into a watery grave by the Penguin. Gotham resumes its second season on Monday, Feb. 29. (TVL)

    Is Sundance Too Big for its Own Good? Founder Robert Redford Proposes Big Changes

    Between the record-breaking deal for Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation and many other multi-million dollar purchases, including the $10 million Amazon paid for Manchester By the Sea, there’s no doubt this year’s festival is Sundance’s biggest yet. But it’s not just the films that are getting bigger and selling for more, and according to festival founder Robert Redford, Sundance might be getting too big for its own good. (IW)


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    AWARDS HEADLINES

    SAG Awards Winners 2016: Complete List

    Spotlight was the big winner by the end; it won the best ensemble prize for film. On the television side, Downton Abbey edged past Mad Men for the drama prize, while Orange is the New Black won in the comedy category. (VF)

    ‘The Martian’, ‘Mad Max’, ‘Revenant’ Among Art Directors Guild Award Winners

    The trio of films were victorious in the night’s top categories — The Revenant won for best period film, Mad Max for best fantasy film and The Martian for best contemporary film. (EW)

    ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ And ‘The Big Short’ Among The ACE Eddie Awards Winners

    Editor Margaret Sixel won in the dramatic film category for Mad Max and Hank Corwin was honored in the comedy or musical category for The Big Short. (LAT)

    OTHER HEADLINES

    Box Office: ‘Kung Fu Panda 3′ No. 1 With $41M; ‘Finest Hours,’ ‘Fifty Shades Of Black’ Sink

    In China, the threequel scores the biggest animated opening of all time with $58.3 million; Natalie Portman’s Jane Got a Gun is DOA, while Star Wars: The Force Awakens nears $2 billion worldwide. (THR)

    All Of The Winners Of The 2016 Sundance Film Festival

    The big winners included documentaries Sonita and Between Land and Sea and dramatic features The Birth of a Nation and Morris From America. (IW)

    Michael Shannon, Imogen Poots Drama ‘Frank and Lola’ Sells To Universal For $2 Million

    Matthew M. Ross wrote and directed the film, which stars Michael Shannon and Imogen Poots.  The film will receive a theatrical release under the deal.   (WRAP)

    Keira Knightley In Talks To Star In ‘Colette’ Biopic

    Keira Knightley is in talks to star in Colette, a biopic about the French novelist who wrote Gigi and Cheri, which Stephen Frears adapted into a feature film starring Michelle Pfeiffer. (DH)

    The CW Orders Greg Berlanti’s Archie Comics Series ‘Riverdale’ To Pilot

    The CW went in on pilot orders, formally picking up four new projects and confirming two previously reported ones. The highest profile pilot order was for the “Archie Comics” adaptation Riverdale, which comes from Greg Berlanti. (COLL)

    ‘Ted,’ ‘Family Guy’ Writers Tackle Dad Comedy For Universal

    Wellesley Wild, Kevin Biggins and Mike Desilets’ pitch centers on a group of overweight dads who get a wakeup call when one of their own has a heart attack. (THR)

    Amazon Orders 4 ‘American Girl’ Live-Action Specials

    Amazon inked a multiyear pact with Mattel for four live-action specials based on the toymaker’s popular American Girl doll franchise.  (VAR)


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    Company Launches & Partnerships

    ComScore has completed the stock swap acquisition of Rentrak it spoke of last fall. The deal will allow comScore to measure more than 260 million desktop screens, 160 million mobile phone screens, 95 million tablet screens, 40 million television screens, 120 million video-on-demand screens, and 40,000 movie theater screens making it a powerful tool to analyze the digital and TV audience.

    Condé Nast Entertainment is forming CNE Studios and it will be headed by Emmy-winning producer/director Al Edgington. The studio will produce unscripted television series developed by CNE. CNE now has five unscripted television series in production or on the air. The studio will grow CNE into a full-service production company, developing and producing projects in film, television and digital video.

    Julian P. Hobbs and Elli Hakami are teaming to launch Talos Films. Based in New York, Talos will produce content for global audiences including event documentaries, docu-dramas, scripted and unscripted series and formats. Sky Vision, the international distribution and production arm of Sky and UK-U.S. indie October Films and funding the company. Hobbs most recently headed up scripted development and production at History. Hakami was formerly MTV’s EVP of Current Series and Programming, with credits including Catfish and The Challenge.

    Brian Flanagan and Vidiots founders Michael and Anthony Amoia are joining together to launch new full-service production house Switchblade Entertainment to produce non-scripted television, documentaries, sports programs, and commercial content for cable, digital and mobile. They will operate in a 20,000 square foot production facility in New York, where all types of content can be created, edited and distributed in one facility. Flanagan has executive-produced over 40 non-scripted TV shows. Vidiots will slowly fold into the Switchblade banner.

    Chris Culvenor and Paul Franklin have launched Eureka, a production company in partnership with FremantleMedia with an office in LA and three projects set up at cable networks. Culvenor was previously Endemol Shine’s SVP of Development and Franklin was their EVP of Programming. They’ve previously developed, adapted and produced franchises such as MasterChef, The Biggest Loser, The Voice, Fake Off, The Apprentice and Project Runway.

    IMAX Corporation has signed a distribution and marketing partnership with the Discovery Channel. The deal includes 18 months of exclusive paid global television rights for up to 10 IMAX documentary films to be released through the IMAX Original Film Fund (Fund), following the titles’ theatrical release across the IMAX institutional theatre network. This marks IMAX’s first television distribution agreement for original content. Discovery Channel will air IMAX documentaries worldwide following their theatrical IMAX release, and consult on development, production and marketing.

    Subscription-based digital service Premo, set to start next month, has signed content partnership deals with Gravitas Ventures, Oscilloscope and Cinedigm. Its goal is to become a major source for digital entertainment aimed at multicultural millenial viewers. Premo will stream content on multiple platforms including short-form programming.

    Film

    21st Century Fox announced they will trim $250 million from its personnel costs. Per the corporate statement: “We are looking across our film and television businesses to transform certain functions and to reduce costs. As part of this process, which is in its early stages, today some colleagues from Fox Networks Group and 20th Century Fox will be offered a generous benefit package if they opt to voluntarily leave the Company.”

    Sophie Cassidy has been upped to SVP Production and Acquisitions at Open Road Films. She was previously VP Production & Acquisitions and joined Open Road in 2014 and was part of Lawson’s team acquiring and producing films such as Mother’s Day, Oliver Stone’s Snowden and 50 Shades Of Black.

    Joshua Deitell has been promoted to the position of VP of International Sales and Acquisitions from Manager of Sales and Acquisitions at The Solution Entertainment Group. Deitell will oversee international sales efforts for Asia and Eastern Europe for all of The Solution Entertainment Group’s feature film productions and sales titles. Deitell joined in 2013 as a development coordinator and rose through the ranks to his newly appointed role of VP.

    Randy Lake has been upped from GM and EVP to the President of Studio Operations & Imageworks at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

    Peter Lawson is now pursuing other opportunities (as of March 2016). He was previously the EVP of Production & Acquisitions at Open Road Films.

    John McCauley has been upped from CMO to the Chief Strategic Development Officer at Screenvision.

    John Logan Pierson has been named the VP of Features at Film 44. He was previously the Director of Film & Television Production at The Weinstein Company.

    Christopher Wells has been named the Director of Repertory Programming, the Quad Cinema at Cohen Media Group in New York. He was previously the Programmer at the IFC Center.

    TV

    Michael Ellenberg will leave his post as EVP drama development for HBO but will segue into a production deal with HBO. Casey Bloys has been promoted from EVP of Comedy to President, HBO Series, Late Night and Specials and will oversee drama series following Ellenberg’s leave. Bloys began at HBO in 2004 as Director, Development, HBO Independent Productions, and after several promotions was named EVP in 2013.

    Jimmy Jellinek has been named the VP of content marketing and digital innovation for TBS and TNT. Jellinek will lead the development of all content marketing for TBS and TNT, multi-platform content publishing and social media amplification.He was previously the President of Entertainment and COO for Playboy Enterprises and the Editorial Director of Playboy and Playboy.com.

    Elaine Bedell will leave her post as Director of Entertainment and Comedy at ITV at the end of February. She had been at ITV for seven years and responsible for ordering and overseeing a wide-ranging slate of hit programs including Britain’s Got Talent, The X Factor and I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

    Anna Bean has been upped from Coordinator to Manager of Development at Jupiter Entertainment in New York. Harrison Land has been upped from Senior Director to the VP, Development.

    Lisa Behlendorf has been upped from VP to the SVP of Production at Original Productions. Susan Terrill has been upped from Development Casting Director to the VP of Talent at Original Productions.

    Lesley Grant has been named the Senior Development Producer of Scripted Programming at Temple Street Productions (Toronto). She was formerly the Drama Production Executive at CTV. Laura Notarianni has been upped from Director to the Senior Director of Scripted Programming. Trish Williams has been named the VP of Scripted Programming. She was formerly a Co-Executive Producer of the series Saving Hope.

    Helen Gregory has been named the Creative Director at Pinewood Television (UK). She was formerly the Co-Creator, Co-Executive Producer at The Catch.

    James Murdoch has been named Chairman of pay TV conglom Sky TV. He is succeeding Nicholas Ferguson. Murdoch joined the board in 2003 as Chief Exec and previously served as Chairman from 2007 to 2012. Murdoch also became Chief Exec of 21st Century Fox, which owns a 39% stake in Sky, in 2015.

    Tim van Rongen has been named the SVP at Simon Cowell’s joint venture with Sony Music, Syco Entertainment. Rongen co-created the Starmaker format and was an on-air judge on the Dutch version of the show. In 2010, he joined Talpa Media Group as a Global Casting Director and was executive producer for The Voice and The Voice Kids.

    Ruth Anne Herman has been upped from SVP to the EVP of Human Resources at Fox Networks Group.

    Tom Lerner has been named Manager of Television at Storyscape Entertainment. He was previously the Executive Assistant of US Scripted Television at Entertainment One. Sandy Shenkman has been upped from Director of Development to the VP of Television at Storyscape Entertainment.

    DJ Nurre has been upped from SVP to the EVP of Programming & Development at 3 Ball Entertainment.

    Noel Siegel has been named the Head of Production & Development at Bray Entertainment in New York. She was formerly the SVP of Production & Development at National Geographic Channel in Washington D.C.

    Bob Tuschman is pursuing other opportunities. He was previously the GM, SVP at Food Network in New York.

    Michelle Van Kempen has been named the Head of Policy & Development at The Non-Fiction Producers Association. She was formerly the Co-Principal, Executive Producer at Film Garden Entertainment.

    Christian Vesper is now pursuing other opportunities. Vesper was formerly the SVP of International Programming, Development, Acquisitions & Co-Productions, SundanceTV in New York.
    Assaf Blecher has been named the VP of Development and Content at Israel’s Keshet Broadcasting. He will oversee development of non-scripted content including game shows, entertainment and reality I their LA offices. He was previously VP, Development and Programming for TV and Digital for Dick Clark Productions and MD of Keshet DCP.

    Sharon Hall has been named President, Endemol Shine Studios, the scripted shingle under Endemol Shine North America. Previously she launched Alcon’s TV division in 2012 and was President of Alcon Television until she left in July, producing such projects as Alcon’s first scripted series, The Expanse for Syfy.

    Laura Nichols has been named the in the new position of Chief Communications Officer at National Geographic Partners. She was previously the Global Communications EVP for the MPAA.

    Caroline Perez has been named VP of Development and Production, Science Channel. She will be responsible for bringing new series to the network while supervising the development and production of concepts to green light, in addition Perez will scout writers, producers and talent for new programming. She was previously VP, Production & Development at Destination America.

    Management, PR, Agencies

    Counsel Craig Averill has been named Partner at Serling Rooks Hunter McKoy & Worob, LLP.

    Kevin Herrera is now the Principal at moopsy. He was previously the Head of Digital at Gersh.

    Gary Stiffelman is now a Shareholder at Greenberg Traurig LLP. He was previously a Partner at Ziffren Brittenham LLP.

    Music, Digital, Publishing, Misc.

    It’s expected Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer will announce more widespread layoffs and business unit closures after Q4 earnings reports are released. This follows the closure of its Yahoo Screen video hub with a cut of 10% of the workforce (around 1000 employees), today that number is reportedly “up to 15%.”

    Adrian Benjamin has shifted from Manager of Client Services to Client Manager, BracketPro Sales Lead at Omnigon in New York. Becki Wronko Civello has been upped from Managing Director to VP of Client Services. Joanna Solowey has been promoted from Director to the VP of Marketing & Communications. Jake Stone has been upped from Senior Manager of Client Services to the Director of North American Sales. Manish Dayal has been upped from Director, PMO to the VP of Client Engagement and Managing Director in their Los Angeles office.

    Lori Rovner has been upped from VP to the SVP, Business & Legal Affairs at Skydance Media. Ashley Johnson has been promoted from Executive Assistant to Creative Executive at Skydance Media. Carolyn Harris has been upped from VP to the SVP of Television at Skydance Media.

    Suzanne Kolb has been named the EVP, GM of Discovery Digital Networks (Los Angeles/San Francisco). She was formerly the President at E! Entertainment.

    Valeska Rodriguez is now a Research Coordinator at Variety Insight. She was formerly a Tracking Assistant at Variety Insight.

    Nick Soares has been named the CEO at GoDigital, Inc. He was previously the CEO at Distribber.com.

    Amanda Berman-Hill has been named the SVP and Head of West Coast Writer Relations at Sony/ATV Music Publishing. She was formerly the VP, Creative at Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Jennifer Knoepfle has shifted from SVP of Creative to the SVP and Head, West Coast A&R at Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

    Alisa Coleman has been upped from Senior EVP to the COO at ABKCO Music & Records, Inc.

    Andrew Robbins has been named the Senior Director of Film/TV Music at Manhattan Production Music. He was previously the Director of Film/TV Music at MusicBox.


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