Early Box Office Numbers Suggest ‘Unbroken’ and ‘Into The Woods’ Will Have Big Weekends, But Not ‘The Interview’While The Interview should have an excellent per screen average, since it’s playing on just 331 screens, it probably will have a hard time cracking $2 million, while Unbroken is looking to clear $30 million. (THR) (VAR) (DH)
If You Were On the First Season Of ‘Extant,’ and Your Name Isn’t Halle Berry, You’re Probably Not Coming Back For Season TwoStar returns in the role of an astronaut named Molly who became pregnant while on a space mission. Also returning are Pierce Gagnon, who plays her android son, and Grace Gummer. Goran Visnjic and Camryn Manheim will depart soon after the season starts. (TVW) (IW)
Since It’s Boxing Day, There’s No Reason Not To Take a Look At ‘The Untold Story of National Lampoon’s ‘Christmas Vacation”From freak snowstorms to the comedic cyclone that is Chevy Chase, the cast and creators reveal the secrets behind this beloved (by some, of course) holiday-movies classic. (RS) (CB) (TVG) (DS)
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Awards 2015 Spotlight: Producer Richard Linklater On the Pragmatic Undertaking, No Contracts and Annual Crew Reunions of ‘Boyhood’The two-time Oscar nominee is, for the first time, a front runner in awards season, thanks to his 12-years-in-the-making masterpiece about nothing more than a boy in Texas growing up. (SSN)
Awards 2015 Spotlight: Producers Jason Blum and Helen Estabrook On Their “Little Engine That Could’ Film, ‘Whiplash’Amidst a fall and winter movie-going season heavy on true-life stories, a little original indie called Whiplash is still capturing moviegoers nearly three months after its release. (SSN)
SSN’s 2014 Year-End Industry Poll, Part 2: Jenni Konner, Iñárritu, Will Weaton and Others Pick Surprise Standouts In TV, Film, Books and MusicAmong the other luminaries on our list are Mike Medavoy, Sherry Lansing, Lauren Shuler Donner, writer Aaron Guzikowski, and producer Teddy Schwarzman, among others. Check out what the thought was the best of 2014! (SSN)
This Bad Luck, It Feels Like It Never Ends: PlayStation and Xbox Live Networks Continue To Be DisruptedWhat appears to be denial-of-service attacks have kept both online networks down, with short exceptions, for the past couple days. Both Sony and Microsoft say they are working on the problem and hope to have it solved for the weekend. (DH) (BG) (HV)
Not Exactly a Christmas Miracle, But the Timing Is Right: ‘Mockingjay, Part 1’ To Pass $300 Million Mark This WeekendIn what has been a weak year at the box office, the third Hunger Games flick will become only the second 2014 film to surpass the mark, after the year’s champ, Guardians of the Galaxy. Overall, BO was off five percent from 2013. (VAR)
If You Live In Egypt or Morocco, and Really Wanted To See ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings,’ You’re Plum Out Of LuckAccording to several Egyptian and Moroccan press outlets, both countries have banned local cinemas from showing Ridley Scott's biblical epic movie because of “historical inaccuracies,” even though the Hollywood blockbuster was due to be released in each today. (SAA) (COL) (HP)
The Final ‘Hobbit’ Movie Again Nabs the Box Office Top Spot, With ‘Unbroken’ and ‘Into the Woods’ Both Starting Strong …The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies comes in at $41.4 million for the five day weekend, giving it over $140 mil overall since it’s December 17th opening. Meanwhile, Big Eyes falters and The Interview closes in on $3 million. (BO) (THR)
Another Argument For How Foreign Numbers Make Things Good: Warner Bros. Surpasses the $3 Billion MarkThe studio reaps the benefits of the latest Hobbit film, as well as Godzilla and, interestingly, Edge of Tomorrow, plus the fact that it owned the foreign rights for Interstellar, which has down boffo numbers abroad, means it’s a good year, overall. (VAR) (DH) (TP) (BC)
Did You Know That Mike Nichols Once Fired Robert De Niro From a Movie That, Ultimately, Never Happened?The project, Bogart Slept Here, eventually morphed into The Goodbye Girl, but the whole story is rather interesting, and is featured in a new bio of the Oscar-winning actor, De Niro: A Life, by Shawn Levy. (IW) (COL) (CB) (SM)
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The Third ‘Hobbit’ Movie Takes Box Office Title For Third Straight Week, Surpasses $200 Million DomesticPeter Jackson’s sixth movie about Middle Earth grossed $21.91 million to retain its title, while The Woman In Black 2 surprises with a number four finish, behind Into the Woods and Unbroken, but ahead of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. (BO) (VAR) (VUL) (COL) (USA) (DH) (BC) (TP) (THR) (SM)
2:22 1/1/2015 Logline: Dylan Boyd’s life as an air traffic controller is derailed when he begins to find himself in Grand Central Station every day at 2:22 p.m., forcing him to solve the mystery of this uncanny occurrence and find his one true love. Production Companies: Icon Productions, Pandemonium, Lightstream Pictures, Walk The Walk Entertainment Director: Paul Currie Producer(s): Lawrence Inglee, Bill Mechanic, Steve Hutensky, Paul Currie Cast: Teresa Palmer, Benjamin Walker Writer(s): Todd Stein, Nathan Parker, Paul Currie, Kerry Williamson SSN Insight: First spec sale for Todd Stein. The film was previously in development at Gold Circle Films. Literary sale date was May 14 2005.
47 Meters Down 1/5/2015 Logline: Two sisters are trapped in an observation cage at the bottom of the ocean, with oxygen running low and sharks circling. Production Company: The Tea Shop & Film Company Director: Johannes Roberts Producer(s): Mark Lane, James Harris Cast: Vanessa Kirby Writer(s): Johannes Roberts SSN Insight: Bob and Harvey Weinstein’s Dimension Films acquired domestic rights to the thriller while Altitude Film Sales will handle worldwide sales. “This script really caught my eye with its tension and adventure,” said Bob Weinstein in an interview with Variety. “I look forward to working with Johannes to bring audiences a very unique, edge-of-your-seat thrill-ride.”
Dirty Grandpa 1/5/2015 Logline: A recently widowed veteran tricks his adult grandson into going on a road trip for Spring Break in Florida. Production Companies: Josephson Entertainment, Ninjas Runnin' Wild Productions Director: Dan Mazer Executive Producer(s): Alexander F. Young, John Friedberg Producer(s): Barry Josephson, Bill Block, Jason Barrett, Michael Simkin Cast: Zac Efron, Robert De Niro Writer(s): John Phillips SSN Insight: Screenplay was on the 2011 Black List. Project was previously set up at Universal.
A Year and Change 12/30/2014 Logline: After falling off a roof at a New Year’s party, Owen makes some big life changes: He quits drinking, gets to know his estranged son, renews old friendships and falls in love. Production Companies: Unbound Feet Productions, Pebble Hill Films Director: R. Stephen Suettinger Producer(s): Emily Ting Cast: Bryan Greenberg, Claire van der Boom, T.R. Knight, Marshall Allman, Jamie Hector Writer(s): R. Stephen Suettinger, Jim Beggarly SSN Insight: The film marks the feature directoral debut for Suettinger. Previous to Grey’s Anatomy, T.R. Knight was recently in the film 42. The film was shot on location in Maryland.
Voice From the Stone 12/22/2014 Logline: A psychologist tries to help a young boy who made a promise to not speak until his dead mother's spirit returns. Production Companies: Zanuck Independent, K5 Film, Code 39 Films Director: Eric D Howell Executive Producer(s): Mark Wheaton, Tannaz Anisi Producer(s): Dean Zanuck, Stefano Gallini Cast: Emilia Clarke, Marton Csokas, Edward Dring, Caterina Murino, Remo Gironi Writer(s): Andrew Shaw Details: Based on the novel "La Voce Della Pietra" by Silvio Raffo and published by Il Saggiatore in 1996. SSN Insight: Hideo Nakata was previously attached to direct. Maggie Gyllenhaal was previously attached to star.
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On the Set For 1/5/15: Zac Efron and Robert De Niro Start ‘Dirty Grandpa,’ T.R. Knight Finishes ‘A Year and Change,’ and MoreA trio of projects get underway and begin the new year in style, while a pair of projects complete principal photography. (SSN)
And, the Next Round Of Nominations Has Emerged, This One From the Producers Guild. There Are SurprisesWhile the top contenders remain the same, the biggest stunners are the inclusion of Nightcrawler and the snubbing of both Unbroken and Selma in the final list of 10 nominees. (COL) (DH)
So, If You’re Keeping Score, It’s Now Scarlett Johansson In, Margot Robbit Out Of ‘Ghost In the Shell’Now that Robbie has signed on for Suicide Squad, the lead role in the live action adaptation of Masamune Shirow’s manga stories, the Black Widow herself signs up to front the DreamWorks project. (EMP) (VUL) (TOH)
Look Out, Skeletor! Jeff Wadlow Has Apparently Finished the First Draft Of His ‘Masters Of the Universe’ ScriptColumbia Pictures Senior Vice President DeVon Franklin tweeted out an image of the script, written by the Kick-Ass 2 filmmaker, who will probably go on to direct this adaptation, as well. (GR) (HJ) (HP)
Oscar Controversy In the Writing Categories! Damien Chazelle’s ‘Whiplash’ Script Re-Classified As Adapted Screenplay By AcademyThe AMPAS considered it “based on other material” because Chazelle and his producers had previously made a short to help get financing, but it was a scene from the script. The WGA still calls it an Original Screenplay, causing major confusion for voters. (DH)
Mark Gordon Sells 51 Percent Of Company To Entertainment One, Will Combine Forces For New Indie StudioThe deal is worth $132.6 million, and the new company which will finance and produce movies and TV shows for the networks, cable channels and digital platforms. eOne will distribute the projects internationally, while Gordon will take the role of CEO. (VAR)
Because J.J. Abrams Apparently Is a Fan Of Awesomeness, a Trio Of Actors From ‘The Raid’ and ‘Raid 2’ Movies Are In the New ‘Star Wars’Obviously, there is no word at all on who Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, and Cecep Arif Rahman will be playing, but one would expect it would involve them utilizing their incredible fighting prowess in some fashion. (MF) (THR) (COL) (BW) (SF) (ITV) (CB) (FSR)
My Own Man Network: Netflix Studio: Class 5 Films Production Company: Sixteen Tons Production Executive Producer(s): Edward Norton, William Migliore, Lisa Nishimura, Adam Del Deo Writer(s): David Sampliner Logline: As filmmaker David Sampliner learns he will be a father to a baby boy he struggles to embrace and define the masculinity he’s rejected all his life. As he researches masculine ideals, including vocal lessons, warrior weekends and hunting, he realizes he must confront his turbulent past with his father in order to grow. SSN Insight: Sampliner wrote, produced and directed the documentary which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in April and has since been picked up by Netflix to premiere on March 6. Sampliner co-directed Dirty Work, his first documentary, which screened at the Sundance Film Festival and aired on the Sundance Channel. He also co-directed Art, Architecture, And Innovation, a documentary about the history of the Guggenheim Museum, now there on permanent exhibition.
Untitled Hacker Series Network: SyFy Studio: Relativity Television Executive Producer(s): Tom Forman, Brad Bishop Logline: Each episode will focus on the true stories, ripped from the headlines of real-life hackers, featuring interviews with both the actual perpetrators and the law enforcement agents who tracked them down. In addition graphics will create an “experiential hacking scene” to illustrate what happens when a network is hacked. SSN Insight: Given the recent Sony hack, this subject is extremely relevant. The series is unlikely to feature the Sony hack, though, as the matter is not closed. Relativity Television is adept at series on cyber dangers as they also produced MTV’s successful Catfish series, based on the documentary film. USA also recently ordered ten episodes of hacker series, Mr. Robot.
The Grace Helbig Project (Working Title) Network: E! Production Company: Embassy Row Executive Producer(s): Grace Helbig, Michael Davies, Amanda McPhillips, Ken Treusch Writer(s): Grace Helbig Logline: A fresh take on the conventional talk show which will incorporate viewer Tweets, Vines and Instagrams. Celebrity guests will be interviewed in alternate locations like a grocery store or car instead of the traditional studio stage. SSN Insight: E! has given a series order for the weekly primetime talk show, set to debut in April and starring the YouTube sensation Helbig, with more than two million subscribers to her talk/comedy hybrid channel, It’s Grace. Helbig commented on the deal to THR. “Congratulations to E! for giving an internet-obsessed introvert a talk show. I’m looking forward to working with humans.”
Kevin From Work Network: ABC Family Production Company: Kapital Entertainment, Wonderland Sound & Vision Executive Producer(s): Barbie Adler, Aaron Kaplan, McG Writer(s): Barbie Adler Logline: Kevin Daily thinks he's getting a terrific new job in Italy, so he writes his gorgeous co-worker Audrey Piatigorsky a sloppy, drunken goodbye love letter. But after the Italian job falls through and he fails to stop the letter from reaching Audrey, Kevin comes crawling back to his crappy old cubicle, his humiliating secret out in the open. It feels like his life is over, but it might just be beginning... SSN Insight: ABC Family has ordered a pilot that McG is set to direct. McG also teamed with Kaplan for the Mysteries of Laura and directed that pilot for NBC. Paige Spara and Noah Reid (Backpackers) have been cast as leads.
Tough Cookie Network: ABC Family Studio: Universal Television Production Company: No Production Company Available. Executive Producer(s): Lauren Iungerich, David Janollari Writer(s): Lauren Iungerich Logline: 32 year old successful, self-centered, Lilla Spencer is a publicist who makes a living lying--or at least, covering up her clients' flaws. However, Lilla has a big secret, which she refuses to acknowledge: she had a baby girl at age 20 whom she gave up for adoption. When she discovers that her baby is now 12 years old and might want a shot at her real mom instead of another stint in foster care, Lilla meets Eleanor. Lilla finds her maternal instinct and Eleanor discovers she may be family material after all. SSN Insight: ABC Family has ordered a pilot. In addition to penning and executive producing the series, Iungerich will also direct the pilot. Janollari first reteamed with Iungerich last year for a comedy that was set up at NBC and previously spearheaded Awkward whilehead of programming at MTV.
CW/ Untitled Scooter Braun Todd Graff Music Drama Project Network: CW Television Network Production Companies: Flame Ventures, LLC, SB Projects Executive Producer(s): Todd Graff, Tony Krantz, Scooter Braun Writer(s): Todd Graff, Tony Krantz Logline: The story chronicles the rise of Gary Graham, a brilliant young manager with the talent and ambition to shake up the industry, which is a world gone viral: where stars are minted overnight, relationships are constantly tested and careers can be made or crushed with one perfectly placed phone call. SSN Insight: The CW has given an initial script commitment. The drama will have original songs and cameos from some of music’s biggest names, given EP Braun manages Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Psy, and Carly Rae Jepsen among others. The series marks Braun’s second TV scripted project alongside CBS' breakout hit and recently picked up Scorpion.
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Awards 2015: Writer/Director J.C. Chandor Talks National Board Of Review Best Film Winner, ‘A Most Violent Year’The Oscar-nominated filmmaker’s third film has been on a lot of year-end Top 10 lists, and the director was joined on the NBR awards list by his stars, Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain. (SSN)
TV Development For 1/6/15, Netflix Acquire Edward Norton-Produced Doc, YouTuber Helbig Gets Talk Show, and MoreIn other news, Syfy kicks a reality show about hackers into gear, ABC Family puts a pair of projects into motion, and The CW moves forward on its Scooter Braun music drama. (SSN) (DH)
That Long-Awaited, Matt Damon-and-Paul Greengrass-Led ‘Bourne’ Movie Is Now Coming Out July 29th, 2016The duo will actually co-write the script with Greengrass’ longtime editor Christopher Rouse, who doesn’t actually have a writing credit to his name. This is the first movie in the series that will not feature the work of Tony Gilroy. (COL)
Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence’ Continues Its Forward Momentum, As Evidenced By the Casting Of Tadanobu AsanoThe long-gestating adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s novel follows Father Rodrigues, a 17th century Portuguese Jesuit heading to Japan with a fellow priest to discover whether Rodrigues’s mentor has left the church. Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson and Adam Driver also star. (EMP) (VAR) (THR) (WAH) (SF)
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Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Star Continues To Rise, Will Co-Star Opposite Matthew McConaughey In ‘Free State Of Jones’Director Gary Ross is helming the story of Newton Knight, a Mississippi man who defected from the Confederate army and took a group of like-minded troops with him to create the Free State of Jones. (EMP) (THR) (SAA) (CB) (DS)
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SSN’s Entertainment Guide To 2015: Brad Bird, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road,’ Netflix’s ‘Jessica Jones,’ and MoreJust as the calendar inevitably turns from December to January, from one year to the next, so is it inevitable that operations like ours churn out year-end roundups and looks ahead to what the upcoming year has in store. This time is no different, though it is rather entertaining. (SSN) (SF) (DH) (HE) (HP) (VAR)
VH1 Is Getting Back Into the Original Movie Business, and It’s Hired Seith Mann To Write and Direct ItThe film as a working title of The Breaks, is inspired by journalist Dan Charnas’ book "The Big Payback," a narrative history of business in the hip-hop industry, and might become a series after the movie is made. (SAA) (MF) (CB)
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Alexander Payne and Reese Witherspoon Agree To Try To Recreate Past Glory By Working Together Again On ‘Downsizing’The sci-fi, social satire will star Matt Damon in the lead role, with Witherspoon and Payne working together for the first time since 1999’s Election. New film is set in a not-too-distant future world where scientists had learned to shrink human beings down to miniature size. (TP) (BQ)
Nat Geo Is Getting Into the Late Night Talk Show Game, and Of Course, Their Host Is Neil DeGrasse TysonThe new show, Star Talk, is at least partially based on the physicist’s podcast of the same name, will premiere later this year and will be taped at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, in front of a live studio audience. (CB) (EMP) (VUL) (MO)
Deep Cover Logline: Under wraps Production Company: Red Granite Pictures, Some Kind of Garden Producers: Jim Carrey, Michael Aguilar, Riza Aziz, Joey McFarland Writer: Johnny Rosenthal Cast: Jim Carrey SSN Insight: Carrey has decided to re-team with his producing and financing partner on Dumb and Dumber To, Red Granite, on this new comedy.
The Free State of Jones Logline: The true story of Newton Knight, a soldier for the Confederacy during the Civil War who became disillusioned with the South's cause, fled the battlefield, rallied supporters, and declared a safe haven in an area of southeastern Mississippi in opposition to the Confederacy. Studio/ Distributor: STX Entertainment Production Company: Larger Than Life Productions, Bluegrass Films Producers: Gary Ross, Jon Kilik, Scott Stuber, Robert Simonds, Allison Thomas, Robin Bissell Writer: Gary Ross Director: Gary Ross Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Matthew McConaughey SSN Insight: This would be one of the first projects to get off the ground for Robert Simonds’ newly formed mini-studio, STX. Film is said to have a $65 million budget.
Conjuring 2 Logline: The story of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren continues. Studio/ Distributor: New Line/ Warner Bros. Production Company: POV Productions, The Safran Company, Atomic Monster Producers: Rob Cowan, Peter Safran, James Wan Writer: David Leslie Johnson Director: James Wan SSN Insight: New Line is anxious to get the next installment of their hit franchise into theatres and has hired David Leslie Johnson to rewrite a script byWan, Chad and Carey Hayes and Eric Heisserer.Pete’s Dragon Logline:Pete, following the death of his parents in a car crash when he was four, escaped to the forest and became best friends with a dragon, who raised him - but Pete and the dragon now face unprecedented threats to the way of life they've come to know and love. Studio/ Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures Production Company: Whitaker Entertainment Producers: Jim Whitaker Writer: David Lowery, Toby Halbrooks Cast: Wes Bentley, Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Oona Laurence, Oakes Fegley Director: David Lowery SSN Insight: Hunger Games star, Wes Bentley, signs on tothis remake of the 1977 animation/ live action hybrid film which just started shooting in New Zealand.
The Esperanza Fire Logline:The real-life account of a tightly knit forest service engine crew that perished battling "the perfect storm" of wildland fires near Idyllwild, CA in 2006. Production Company: Legendary Entertainment Producers: Jon Jashni, Thomas Tull Writer: Sean O’Keefe Director: Jim Mickle Notes: Based on the non-fiction book "The Esperanza Fire: Arson, Murder, and the Agony of Engine 57," written by John Maclean and published by Counterpoint on February 12, 2013. SSN Insight: The Cold in July and We Are What We Are director continues to expand his filmmaking scope by signing on to this drama.
The Lost City of Z Logline:The true story of British explorer Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett, who disappeared in 1925 while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon. Financier: Annapurna Pictures Production Company: Plan B Entertainment, Annapurna Pictures, Sierra/ Affinity Producers: Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Marc Butan Writer: James Gray Cast: Sienna Miller, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Pattinson Director: James Gray Notes: Based on the book "Lost City of Z" written by David Grann. The book is an expansion of an article, written by Grann, that appeared in The New Yorker magazine in September 2005. SSN Insight: The project used to be setup at Paramount with Brad Pitt to star. Gray had hoped to start shooting in early 2015 but now it looks like the production won’t get up until summer 2015.
Star Trek 3 Logline:Storyline under wraps. Studio: Paramount Pictures Production Company: Bad Robot, Skydance Productions Producers: J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Robert Orci Writer: Patrick McKay and JD Payne Director: Justin Lin SSN Insight: Lin replaces Robert Orci, the co-writer on the previous re-vamped films, who remains on board as a producer.
The Naughty List Logline:High concept action comedy centering around a group of unlikely heroes who must band together to save Christmas. Studio: New Line Production Company: FlynnPictureCo. Producers: Beau Flynn Writers: Greg Erb and Jason Oremland SSN Insight: New Linelooks to duplicate the success of its previous Christmas-themed films such as Elf and Four Christmases with this new pitch acquisition. The Escapist Logline: A prison inmate learns that his beloved daughter is very ill and must plot an escape to see her. Studio/Distributor: StudioCanal Production Company: Picture Farm Producers: Rupert Wyatt Writer: Sean O’Keefe Cast: Liam Nesson SSN Insight: Sean O’Keefe seems to be getting projects made at Legendary as this is the second project that they announced with him moving forward. The other being The Esperanza Fire highlighted above.
The Damned Logline: Described as an elevated supernatural thriller in the vein of The Sixth Sense and Jacob’s Ladder. Studio/ Distributor: Legendary Pictures Author: Andrew Pyper SSN Insight: Legendary optioned the film rights to Andrew Pyper’s upcoming novel and Simon & Schuster will publish the book in February.
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PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Awards 2015: What’s Ahead For Richard Linklater, David Oyelowo, and the Other Palm Springs Film Fest HonoreesEach year, right before the Oscars and the Golden Globes, stars head to the California desert for this event. This year, the 26th annual fest will play host to 10 days of screenings, panels, and of course, fancy galas that celebrate honorees. (SSN)
Film Development For 1/8/15: Liam Neeson On Board For ‘The Escapist,’ Sienna Miller Joins ‘Lost City of Z’ and MoreAlong with news about the new Star Trek sequel, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw joining Matthew McConaughey in Free State Of Jones, there is news on Deep Cover, The Conjuring 2 and Pete’s Dragon remake, among others. (SSN) (DH) (COL) (VUL) (EMP) (TOH) (CO) (IM)
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The Comic Book ‘Zombies Vs. Robots’ Will Be a Movie Called ‘Inherit the Earth,’ and Now Has a DirectorShrek and Chronicles of Narnia helmer Andrew Adamson will take the reins of the project for Sony and Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes. The current draft of the script is by Oren Uziel, after previous drafts by J.T. Perry. (VAR)
Years Ago, Guillermo Del Toro Was Going To Direct a Movie Called ‘A Killing On Carnival Row,’ and Now It’s an Amazon PilotThe script was originally sold by Pacific Rim writer Adam Beacham as a spec. The project passed through the hands of several different directors before Legendary picked it up last year and repurposed it as a TV pilot, with del Toro re-writing along with Beacham and Rene Echevarria. (SF) (TW) (THR) (SAA) (IW) (DS)
TV software services company SeaChange International bought Timeline Labs for $22 million in cash and shares, with an additional $2.5 million in possible additional stock payouts based on performance. Timeline and SeaChange announced NewCoin recently, an initiative to measure local TV ratings, through a joint venture that also includes Fox TV Stations, Univision and Tribune Media.
Producer Mark Gordon is splitting with ABC Studios. Gordon has set up the next phase for the Mark Gordon Company, teaming with Entertainment One to create an independent studio that will finance and produce film, network, cable, and digital content, which eOne will distribute internationally. Gordon will serve as Chief Executive Officer of the venture, which will finance projects produced by him as well as other producers.
Charles King has left William Morris Endeavor to form MACRO, a startup that will focus on developing content for multicultural audiences. MACRO will focus on developing and distributing feature films, TV series and digital content targeting African-American, Latino and multicultural markets. Steve Richards, a 19-year veteran of Silver Pictures, has left to start Endurance Media. The company kicks off with a $250 million financing structure to produce and finance films in the $20 million-$60 million range. Writer-director-producer Rick Bieber and financier Ken Clark have joined forces to form Minds I Cinema, an indie film production company. Their first project is the demonic love story The Other, which Bieber wrote and will direct. Former IMG Sports and Entertainment prexy George Pyne launched Bruin Sports Capital, a global marketing venture backed by an investment of $250 million. Family Christian Stores, the nation’s largest Christian retail chain, is going Hollywood. Rick Jackson, the chain’s entrepreneur, has formed Family Christian Entertainment. The company will produce two films per year, and starts off by teaming with Emmett Furla Oasis to produce 90 Minutes In Heaven.
Studios, Networks, ConglomeratesMarketing exec JP Richards has stepped into his new post leading digital marketing at Warner Bros., after a stint at Universal, where he oversaw digital campaigns for Pitch Perfect, the Purge movies, and the Fast & Furious franchise. He’ll report to WB’s EVP Worldwide Marketing Blair Rich.
After a stellar summer for 20th Century Fox, Kieran Breen has been upped to President of International Marketing. Breen has served as Fox International's EVP, International Marketing since 2006 and has been with the studio since 2000. Angela and Catherine Paura joined Alcon Entertainment as co-presidents of worldwide marketing. The sisters come from their partnership in Capstone Global Marketing & Research Group - a marketing research and consulting firm. Catherine co-founded and served as CEO of marketing research firm Nielsen NRG. Anglea, formerly NRG's COO, worked with Alcon on such releases as The Blind Side and Dolphin Tale.
Financier-producer of The Imitation Game, Black Bear Pictures is expanding. President/CEO Teddy Schwarzman named as president and COO Dan Steinman, the longtime vet of the CAA Film Finance Group. Steinman will be based in New York, as Gotham-based Schwarzman moves to Los Angeles to start an outpost there.
Discovery Channel president Rich Ross announced that he’s named HBO vet John Hoffman as Executive Vice President of Documentaries and Specials. Discovery Channel has also tapped John Goldwyn as an executive producer for scripted programming. Goldwyn most recently served as executive producer for the series Gracepoint for Shine America and Fox, and is known for his work producing Showtime’s Dexter.
Warner Bros Domestic TV Distribution promoted David Decker to EVP Cable & SVOD Sales. He will replace Tom Cerio, who is retiring from his daily EVP duties at the end of March, but will remain with the company in a sales consultancy role. Benjamin “BJ” Elias, who played a major role in expanding Fox Networks’ TV Everywhere apps and sites, has been upped to SVP Distribution of the division. He was previously VP Distribution, Advanced Services. Elias will oversee Fox Networks’ distribution of new media products and services including TV Everywhere, over-the-top television, VOD and interactive TV.
Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews will be Senior Vice President, News Administration at CBS News. Tim Gaughan becomes Vice President, News Gathering. Former ABC Family President Michael Riley returns to Los Angeles with a new post as President and CEO of Southern California’s independent TV station KCETLink.
Agencies, Management Companies, Marketing, Public Relations, Law Firms
Kyle Luker, a founding member of The Group Entertainment, has left to join Industry Entertainment. He’s bringing his client list with him, including Krysten Ritter (co-managed with Steve Caserta), Patrick Heusinger, Gillian Alexy, Josh Salatin, Ryann Redmond, Liza Bennett and Marnie Schulenburg.
PGA nominated John Lesher is joining LBI Entertainment, the management/production company founded by Rick Yorn, Ian Montone and Dave Baram, with Julie Yorn running the production business.
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