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More Side Deals Signed With WGA

By | Thursday January 31, 2008 @ 1:10pm PST

The WGA has announced new interim agreements with The Film Department and Intermedia. wga-side-deals.JPGThe deals are similar to agreements the WGA recently reached with RKO Productions Inc, Lionsgate, Marvel Studios, Yari Film Group, Anonymous Content/Overt Operations, The Weinstein Company, United Artists, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, Spyglass Entertainment, MRC, Jackson Bites, Mandate Films, and Worldwide Pants. This is all I can manage to post today.

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‘Old Christine’ Remembers Its BTL Crew

By | Thursday January 31, 2008 @ 9:20am PST

julia-louis-dreyfus.jpgJust thought I’d let you know that the crew of New Adventures of Old Christine just got checks of $1,000.  The card said: “To Our Old Christine Friends:  We miss you and hope we’ll be together soon.  Keep the faith.  With love from, The Writers, The Actors, The Director.” The Christmas gift was also nice: a Patagonia parka. As an insider told me, “While none of this makes up for the hardship of the strike, I’m proud to be working for a showrunner who shows such generosity, even when her show hasn’t yet become a big hit. And Julia Louis Dreyfus was on the picket line the very first day. She even went to that Desperate Housewives location shoot and helped disrupt Eva Longoria’s scene.”

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Chernin Returns To WGA Talks Friday

By | Thursday January 31, 2008 @ 8:56am PST

Inbetween sneezing and sniffling and gulping Theraflu, I’ve been told that the WGA-mogul negotiations get a kick-start on Friday when Peter Chernin returns from London and rejoins the talks in person. He’s also cancelled his Super Bowl tickets for Sunday in order to stay in town. I can’t post a lot today because I’m flu-ish. Stay tuned.

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ADVISORY: Down With Bronchial Flu

By | Wednesday January 30, 2008 @ 11:30am PST

Trying to rally today. If not, then tomorrow. I’m so sorry.

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Rumors About ICM’s Jeff Berg “Untrue”

By | Tuesday January 29, 2008 @ 2:33pm PST

jeff1.jpgLet me knock down that rumor making the rounds that Jeff Berg is supposedly leaving ICM on April 15th as far as any operating capacity is concerned and will just stay on the board. Sources tell me that not only does Berg have a long-term contract that continues for many years and is focused on the long-term strategy with Chris Silbermann, who manages most of the day-to-day. Berg also just reinvested in the tenpercentery and is now one of its significant owners once again (after earlier cashing out). “This rumor is just totally outrageous and absolutely untrue,” I’m told. It’s no secret that ICM has suffered big losses and staff changes — but post-strike all the big agencies will shrink considerably. And while there was earlier merger talk between ICM and UTA, there’s nothing going on now.

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More Sources Say More WGA Progress

By | Tuesday January 29, 2008 @ 1:53pm PST

“Things are looking very good,” I’m told.

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Director Quits Uni’s ‘Wolfman’ Remake

By | Tuesday January 29, 2008 @ 8:41am PST

wolfman2.jpgStart your engines, agents, because this is a prime project to slot in one of your many out-of-work directors. I have no doubt that Universal will find another helmer by the end of the week after Mark Romanek quit Universal’s The Wolfman. That’s right, quit. “He just blew the opportunity of a lifetime, which is mind-boggling,” an insider tells me. The commercial and video director did the well received but small budget One Hour Photo and made the step up to a big studio pic with a budget of $100 mil (but the cost is only $85M to Uni because of the UK rebate). But then Romanek decided he couldn’t make the film with just that dough. “He’s a purist, an artiste, an exquisite craftsman, but he just had a budget schedule he couldn’t accomodate,” an insider explains. Talk about career suicide.

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“Speechless”: Maggie Gyllenhaal

By | Tuesday January 29, 2008 @ 8:01am PST

Cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Zoe Kazan, Allyson Sereboff, Diana Paschal
Creative: George Hickenlooper, Alan Sereboff, Jill Kushner, Dean Alioto
Technical: Zachary Mortensen, Ghost Robot-Tripod, Scott Beardslee, Antonio Arroyo, Allyson Sereboff Roman Martynyuk, TCS (camera equipment), Dean Alioto, Robert Campbell, Chad Carter, Clint Bennett
Special Thanks: Galit and Michael Gold, Russo’s Avenue B Pizzeria
Music: Anthony MarinelliThis is the latest of the Writers Guild Of America member-conceived Internet videos for Project “Speechless” featuring A-list Screen Actors Guild talent. For the first time in the TV and movie industry, high-profile SAG actors are together taking their talents directly and exclusively to the Internet, the very medium which is at the center of the current WGA labor strike against the Alliance Of Motion Picture & Television Producers. The project, conceived by director/writer George Hickenlooper and writer Alan Sereboff, made its exclusive weekend debut here on my Deadline Hollywood Daily with 11 videos. The “Speechless” campaign now debuts on its new site, SpeechlessWithoutWriters.com, which will be adding new videos every day in both high-res and low-res versions.

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“Speechless”: Jennifer Jason Leigh

By | Tuesday January 29, 2008 @ 7:53am PST

Cast: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brian Cox, Nicole Ansari
Creative: George Hickenlooper, Alan Sereboff, Jill Kushner, Dean Alioto
Technical: Zachary Mortensen, Michael Simmonds, Antonio Arroyo, Allyson Sereboff, Roman Martynyuk, TCS (camera equipment), Bravo Studios (Location), Eclectic Encore (Props), Dean Alioto, Chris Burns, Robert Campbell, Chad Carter, Clint Bennett
Music: Anthony MarinelliThis is the latest of the Writers Guild Of America member-conceived Internet videos for Project “Speechless” featuring A-list Screen Actors Guild talent. For the first time in the TV and movie industry, high-profile SAG actors are together taking their talents directly and exclusively to the Internet, the very medium which is at the center of the current WGA labor strike against the Alliance Of Motion Picture & Television Producers. The project, conceived by director/writer George Hickenlooper and writer Alan Sereboff, made its exclusive weekend debut here on my Deadline Hollywood Daily with 11 videos. The “Speechless” campaign now debuts on its new site, SpeechlessWithoutWriters.com, which will be adding new videos every day in both high-res and low-res versions.

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Feb. 27 Pellicano Trial Won’t Be Delayed

By | Monday January 28, 2008 @ 3:54pm PST

pellicano1.jpgThere was a status conference in the Pellicano case this morning. Several things were discussed: disgraced entertainment attorney Terry Christensen’s motion to stay the case or to continue the trial was denied as well as his request to dismiss his indictment. So, as of right now, the trial of the Hollywood private investigator known as The Pelican will start on February 27th as planned. The feds said they expected to take 5 to 6 weeks to present evidence. The feeling is that the total length of the trial would be 9 to 10 weeks. Meanwhile, Anthony continues to sit in jail until trial.

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SOURCES: Terry Semel Looks At New Line

By | Sunday January 27, 2008 @ 11:12am PST

terry_semel.jpgEXCLUSIVE: I’m told that Terry Semel wants back in the movie biz in a big way. His pals know he’s been working on something big behind the scenes. “I’m looking at everything,” Semel is saying privately. But now I can report that the former Warner Bros co-chairman who failed at Yahoo! is actively considering two possibilities for a Hollywood re-entry via New Line Cinema or MGM. I’ve heard that Semel is seriously kicking the tires at New Line and has already had a confab with Time Warner about it. (One source told me Semel may partner with Arnon Milchan on it.) Meanwhile, New Line’s co-founders and current toppers Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne had that meeting on Wednesday with Jeff Bewkes I reported about last week. (See my previous, SOURCES: Bob Shaye’s New Line Contract Won’t Be Renewed By Time Warner Boss.) Hollywood is eagerly anticipating the announcement that the embattled pair’s been pink-slipped since Bewkes has wisely decided not to renew their contracts expiring this year. As for MGM, you may remember that Semel was seriously thinking of heading that beleaguered studio back in 1995 when Ron Perelman was thinking of making a run at it. Look, Semel already has lots of money, so this isn’t about that. (Not only was his Warner Bros executive compensation package so full of generous stock options that he was … Read More »

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Harvey Wants Another ‘Rambo’ Even Though Sly Can’t Beat ‘Spartans’ Spoof; Likes “Idea Of An Older Guy Kicking Ass”

By | Sunday January 27, 2008 @ 8:39am PST

rambo_galleryposter.jpgSUNDAY AM: I just got off the phone with Harvey Weinstein whose Weinstein Co is co-distributing Rambo with Lionsgate, and he’s remarkably bullish on Sly Stallone’s prospects especially overseas. Harv estimated that Rambo, which took in $18.1 mil from 2,751 theaters its opening weekend, “will end up doing $50 mil here and $100M to $150M foreign. That’s what usually happens since this franchise is really big overseas.” I bet the pic doesn’t even see $45 mil domestic and drops with a thud next weekend. Of course, this is just idle chatter from Harv because he doesn’t own Rambo: Avi Lerner and his company, Nu Image, do and produced the film. They licensed domestic rights to Lionsgate and LGF partnered with TWC.  Nu Image controls the international rights and neither TWC nor LGF have any dibs
on the foreign revenue. So it’s great to say that there’s a ton of international potential on the film but it does not benefit LGF nor TWC one bit. But that doesn’t stop Harv who is already talking sequel and even has a plot in mind “bringing the character back to the United States”. Rambo in a wheelchair, I asked? (Given that Sly at age 61 is ridiculously old to still be an action hero.) Harvey laughed and said, “I like the idea of an older guy kicking ass. Maybe it’s because I’m older, too.” (Weinstein turns 56 this March.)

meetthespartans_galleryposter.jpgGranted, Rambo‘s “Hard R” rating, complete … Read More »

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URGENT! Talks Status Report: Optimism

By | Friday January 25, 2008 @ 4:40pm PST

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I’m told the informal writer-mogul meetings are going “in a positive direction” enough so that it’s beginning to look possible for the Academy Awards to proceed normally. Friday’s was an especially productive session, I’ve learned. “I feel optimistic. In my opinion, today was productive and collaborative and respectful. I thought it was a very good day,” an insider told me. The CEOs’ pointman Peter Chernin is leaving tonight to go out of town (“This is not his day job,” one source reminded…) but the talks will continue in his absence. I can tell you that since Tuesday the News Corp/Fox No. 2 has been telling insiders that the moguls have decided to let the WGA leadership (yes, even the guy they all hate — Dave Young, who was in today’s session) “declare a face-saving victory” in order to get a deal done. Yesterday Chernin, ensconced in the Fox commissary surrounded by some of his execs — including Tom Rothman, Peter Liguori, and Hutch Parker — was reassuring people, “Don’t worry. It’s done.” My info is that it’s far from done yet, but things are looking up to the point that one of my sources thinks this could get settled in time to hold a real Oscars. Sure, we’ve all been here before and seen talks break down after a few optimistic days. But now, according to my insiders, the moguls finally want a deal as much as the writers. Will the deal be good enough?

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Add RKO To List Of WGA Side Deals

By | Friday January 25, 2008 @ 2:07pm PST

The side deal for RKO Productions Inc, a subsidiary of RKO Pictures, is similar to agreements the WGA recently reached wga-side-deals.JPGwith Lionsgate, Marvel Studios, The Weinstein Company, United Artists, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, Spyglass Entertainment, MRC, Jackson Bites, Mandate Films, and Worldwide Pants.

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DHD Update: Getting Up To Speed

By | Wednesday January 23, 2008 @ 8:36pm PST

I’m reading thousands of emails and returning hundreds of phone messages. Back today with full-time posting as soon as I get up to speed. I’m feeling great.

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Finke To Goldstein: Do The Write Thing

By | Tuesday January 22, 2008 @ 4:47pm PST

Patrick, you and I are longtime pals. We like each other personally. But professionally we usually find ourselves on the opposite sides of the Hollywood spectrum. You rarely write about a mogul or exec you don’t like. I rarely write about a mogul or exec I like. You think the movie business is about art. I think the movie business is about money. Usually, we coexist peacefully. But not this week. Not after that venomous screed you wrote in the Los Angeles Times yesterday berating Patric Verrone as if he’s to blame for all the ups and downs of the pre-strike and post-strike negotiations when certain moguls showed themselves to be lying scum only pretending to bargain in order to embarrass the WGA leadership in the eyes of members (a ploy which didn’t work). Have you not been reading what I’ve written these many months? Have you not been doing your own reporting? Or do you just transcribe what the CEOs tell you? Yes, I know that, as a former music writer, the Grammys are important to you. But to have that one issue color your thinking to such a degree that you can only see the DGA deal through rose-colored glasses is a sell-out to writers who have spent months striking to expand their residual system to New Media so future generations can benefit. This is their fight. Not yours. Not mine.

Worse, you have the effrontery to compare Verrone to Yasser Arafat. On what planet? I’ve actually covered world issues as a foreign correspondent for AP and Washington correspondent … Read More »

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HOLLYWOOD CEOS FINALLY GET SERIOUS! Moguls Return For Informal WGA Talks; Writers Abandon Reality & Animation; Grammys Won’t Be Picketed; Can Oscars Be Saved? Tick-Tock…

By | Tuesday January 22, 2008 @ 3:40pm PST

Here is the message just sent to membership by WGAW president Patric Verrone and WGAE president Michael Winship showing that the WGA-AMPTP negotiations have entered a new phase:

“We have responded favorably to the invitation from the AMPTP to enter into informal talks that will help establish a reasonable basis for returning to negotiations. During this period we have agreed to a complete news blackout. We are grateful for this opportunity to engage in meaningful discussion with industry leaders that we hope will lead to a contract. We ask that all members exercise restraint in their public statements during this critical period.

In order to make absolutely clear our commitment to bringing a speedy conclusion to negotiations we have decided to withdraw our proposals on reality and animation. Our organizing efforts to achieve Guild representation in these genres for writers will continue. You will hear more about this in the next two weeks.

On another issue, the Writers Guild, West Board of Directors has voted not to picket the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Members of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) face many of the same issues concerning compensation in new media that we do.  In the interest of advancing  our goal of achieving a fair contract, the WGAW Board felt that this gesture should be made on behalf our brothers and sisters in AFM and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).”

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Advisory: Oscar Noms/DGA Deal Analyses

By | Tuesday January 22, 2008 @ 2:20am PST

Separate commentaries coming much later today (hopefully), though the two stories are related. Still, it seems so futile to focus attention on the Academy Awards right now when we don’t know if there’ll even be a real Oscars.

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SOURCES: Bob Shaye’s New Line Contract Won’t Be Renewed By Time Warner Boss

By | Monday January 21, 2008 @ 9:15pm PST

robertshaye.jpgEXCLUSIVE: I’m told that New Line Cinema founders Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne are meeting with Jeff Bewkes this week to talk about their contracts which expire this year. Sources say it’s virtually certain that the studio pair will be shown the door. I hear this isn’t coming as a surprise to Shaye or Lynne, either: they’re expecting the new Time Warner chief to end their tenure at the studio they founded in 1967, sold to Ted Turner’s Turner Broadcasting System in 1994, and brought under Time Warner’s control in 1996 (when the Big Media conglomerate merged with the Atlanta company). While fellow Turner-owned studio Castle Rock eventually became absorbed into Warner Bros, New Line was kept a separate entity where Shaye/Lynne had considerable autonomy. This was always a sore point inside the media giant, less so when New Line was making gobs of money with its Austin Powers and Lord Of The Rings film franchises, more so in recent years because of a steady stream of budget busters and box office losers (including 2007′s bomb The Last Mimzy which Shaye foolishly directed himself and costly over-marketed).

I can’t pinpoint just when the formal announcement of Shaye’s and Lynne’s departures will come, but it’s a safe bet that New Line will be folded into Warner Bros as a result, moving such premium projects as the long anticipated back-to-back feature films of that beloved book The Hobbit. Well, it’s about time! Kudos to Bewkes for having … Read More »

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