EXCLUSIVE: So who’s right? The last I heard from WME insiders, they told Reality TV major player John Ferriter to report for work. Now I’ve just received this statement from the agent’s reps: “For the past several weeks WME2 so constrained John Ferriter from performing his duties as a talent agent, that Ferriter’s attorney sent a letter today to WME’s legal counsel confirming Ferriter’s employment status as a termination. Despite verbal offers to return to his office, Ferriter was barred from WME2 premises; warned not to communicate with employees and about his email access; barred from company events; and agents were instructed to call his clients stating publicly that he had resigned and new agents would represent them — while being expected to fulfill his contract. Ferriter contends the termination was unlawful and retaliatory for raising concerns to upper executives. Ferriter will continue to provide advice and support to his clients and will now pursue opportunities for employment and/or entrepreneurship to minimize his damages. While this saga is far from over, Ferriter’s association with WME2 clearly is.”
FROM THE INDEPENDENT FILM & TELEVISION ALLIANCE
(IFTA relies on the definition that an independent film is financed in majority from sources other than the six U.S. major studios. So films on this list distributed by a major studio were independently produced and acquired.)
TOP 20 INDEPENDENTLY FINANCED FILMS
Weekend of October 23–25, 2009
Exclusive To Deadline Hollywood
TITLE, DISTRIB, COMPANY, WKD BOX OFFICE, SCREENS/AVERAGE, CUME
1. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (Par/IM Global) $21.1M [1,945/$10,850] $61.5M
2. SAW VI (Lionsgate) $14.1M [3,036/$4,650]
3. LAW ABIDING CITIZEN (Overture) $12.4M [2,890/$4,292] $40.0M
4. ASTRO BOY (Summit/Imagi) $6.7M [3,014/$2,224] $6.7M
5. A SERIOUS MAN (Focus) $1.0M [176/$6,211] $3.1M
6. GOOD HAIR (Roadside Attractions) $945K [466/$2,030] $2.8M
7. CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY (Overture) $726K [636/$1,142] $12.9M
8. WHIP IT (Fox Searchlight/Mandate) $466K [435/$1,071] $12.2M
9. AN EDUCATION (SPC/BBC/Odyssey) $367K [31/$11,851] $940K
10. COCO AVANT CHANEL (SPC/Canal+) $272K [63/$4,321] $1.7M
11. NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU (Vivendi) $230K [110/$2,092] $747K
12. FAME (MGM/Lakeshore) $212K [445/$477] $22.0M
13. BRIGHT STAR (Apparition/TVA) $212K [209/$1,015] $3.9M
14. TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE** (Warner/New Line) $203K [284/$718] $62.8M
15. I CAN DO BAD ALL BY MYSELF (Lionsgate) $178K [273/$655] $51.6M
16. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (Weinstein/Uni) $176K [206/$857] $119.3M
17. DISTRICT 9 (Sony/QED) $148K [232/$638] $115.5M
18. 5150, RUE DES ORMES (Alliance Films) $107K [55/$1,955] $787K
19. MORE THAN A GAME (Lionsgate) $99K [107/$929] $749K
20. THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE (Roadside0 $89K [61/$1,469] $3.4M
** A New Line production distributed through Warner Brothers.
The 30 Rock diss of Ben Silverman is here.
Amazing that the “Advertising Hall of Achievement” is honoring Ben Silverman as one of its “Newest Stars”. Check out the full page ad in The New York Times on Page A11 today. It seems that just a few months into his new venture with Barry Diller, Silverman is already “significantly impacting the advertising industry”. Madison Avenue and IAC can only hope that he doesn’t “significantly impact” them the way he significantly impacted NBC. (Chimes, anyone?)
This purports to be a parody of those vampire relationship projects proliferating now. I can’t decide if this is funny or lame: “After a few years, every relationship can get old. Even when it’s with a vampire.”
Hopefully, Ricky Gervais will mock NBC, and dick clark productions, and especially the Hollywood Foreign Press Association when he hosts the bogus awards show on January 17th.
The agreement Brings Lionsgate’s current and catalog feature film releases and television programming from its 12,000-title library to the ZillionTV service as either pay-per-view, electronic sell-through, or advertising-supported video-on-demand. The deal includes Mad Men, Weeds, and Tyler Perry pics. ZillionTV is scheduled for nationwide availability in the second half of 2010 and delivers directly to TVs via a common high-speed Internet connection.
Fandango reports that Michael Jackson’s This Is It , which opens tomorrow night, is scooping up 61% of all its online ticket sales. And its week-long online survey shows that 43% of the moviegoers interested in seeing the pic are hardcore Michael Jackson fans, 48% of This Is It moviegoers are more interested in Michael Jackson’s work since his death, and 60% sampled one or more songs from the This Is It album as of last Friday before its release.
LA Weekly recently ran an in-depth cover story on how showbiz flack Howard Bragman helps gay actors come out to the Industry. “In Hollywood,” Bragman told the paper’s Patrick Range McDonald, “most publicists keep their clients in the closet. And I’m the guy people tend to come to when they want to come out of the closet.” He’s done this since 1991 when Bragman helped actor Dick Sargent — the second Darrin on Bewitched — to come out on Entertainment Tonight. Most recently, Bragman has helped Chastity Bono navigate the publicity of becoming the transgendered man, Chaz Bono. ”I didn’t want it in The National Enquirer, so I called TMZ and told Harvey Levin it’s a go. He did it in the most respectful way,” Bragman said. “Chaz still hasn’t said one word to the media. It’s worked out really well.” The publicist has also brought out former Party of Five regular Mitchell Anderson, Married With Children co-star Amanda Bearse, and 1980s TV character actor Tom Villard (before he died of complications from AIDS in 1994). During one high-profile stretch of sports figures, Bragman also brought out NFL defensive lineman Esera Tuaolo, LPGA star Rosie Jones, WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes and retired NBA center John Amaechi, all of whom remained closeted until after they consulted with Bragman, who worked for months on their coming-out plans.
Bragman isn’t yet as well-known for this as for founding major flackery BNC (Bragman, Nyman, Cafarelli) or and his new boutique PR firm Fifteen Minutes. …
Nice gig for the former William Morris Chairman/CEO turned independent consultant Jim Wiatt to be one of the 9 directors on the board of AOL when that company separates from Time Warner in December. Wiatt joins Michael Powell (former FCC Chairman) Michael Powell, Pat Mitchell (former president/CEO of PBS and The Paley Center For Media), and Fredric Reynolds (former CBS Corp EVP/CFO and president/CEO of Viacom Television Stations Group).
In his first public speaking engagement since leaving DirecTV for his return to News Corp No. 2 Chase Carey sat down for a keynote Q&A at the 2009 B&C/Multichannel News OnScreen Media Summit. Here’s what I thought was most pertinent, including that News Corp isn’t in acquisition mode because “I would rather be building businesses than buying them.”:
Q: One of the top stories in the news obviously is the talks—or whatever’s reportedly going on—between Comcast and General Electric. A lot of these reports say News Corp has been mentioned in one way or the other, so I’m going to ask you flat out: Is News Corp interested in being part of any deal to acquire NBC Universal?
Chase Carey: Anytime you have something of this size and scale going on, you’re not doing your job if you’re not thinking about it. [But] I don’t think it is something we are actively engaged in.
Q. So do you think the Comcast-GE deal gets done?
Chase Carey: Neither one’s denying much right now. I think there’s a decent chance it will come to fruition. This is a deal that makes sense for GE today, and there seem to be reasons for both sides.
Q. So is this a good deal for Comcast?
Chase Carey: I think [NBC Universal has] great assets, a unique set of assets. The cable channels are obviously the heart of it. They are run really nicely. A group of channels like that doesn’t come along very often. It is a truly
Before Stephenie Meyer authored the Twilight Saga, Anne Rice was the Queen of Vampires. So, in a recent Wall Street Journal interview, she talks about the fang explosion in showbiz. (And, yes, this is another in my shameless plugs for Twilight fan traffic):
WSJ: What do you think of the whole vampire phenomenon that’s taken hold?
Anne Rice: I think it’s wonderful fun. Now that I don’t write the Vampire Chronicles I feel free to enjoy it. I really enjoy the HBO series True Blood. When I was writing my own, I wouldn’t have wanted to be influenced.
WSJ: Have you read any of Stephenie Meyer’s books?
Anne Rice: No, I haven’t read any of the Twilight series, but I did see the film. I felt that it reflected the deep desire of young women to have the mystery and protection and wisdom of older men. I think many girls mature much earlier than boys, and they are frustrated when they approach young boys for love or protection. Hence the fantasy of a wise and protective vampire coming into the life of a young girl who, of course, appreciates him in a special way.
#1 ‘Paranormal Activity’ Scares Away Weekend Rivals; ‘Saw VI’ Scares Away Audiences For Only #2; ‘Vampire’s Assistant’ Can’t Scare Up Hardly Anyone
SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM: The big story this weekend is the pre-Halloween box office — the horror, the horror of it all — and how Saw VI, which has been a disgusting but reliably performing franchise over the years for Lionsgate, was decimated Friday and Saturday by even lower budget Paranormal Activity — despite the Paramount phenom playing in 1,100+ less theaters during its 5th week of release. Twisted Pictures’ Saw has always opened as the #1 horror flick since its sequel, and above $30M for installments II-V, but not this sixquel. It debuted #2 with only $6.9 million Friday but sources tell me it went down -30% to #3 with just $4.7 million Saturday and an estimated $3M for Sunday from 3,036 theaters. It finished the weekend #2 with an underperforming $14.8M. I’m thrilled that it fell apart, finally, since it’s ”Hard R”-rated for torture porn. (While I support a filmmaker’s creative freedom, I do hold responsible those moguls who make money distributing crap like this pic.) “Perhaps they should have made this one in 3-D instead of the next one. Oh please, tell me there won’t be a next one. Please,” a rival studio exec emailed me. Believe me when I say that torture porn flicks embarrass the industry which has been moving away from that and towards PG-13 fright fare.
On the other hand, Paramount’s Paranormal Activity received its “R” rating for language. The pic scored $7.5M Friday …
LOS ANGELES AND NEW YORK (October 24, 2009) — The National Board of Directors of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) met today by videoconference plenary in Los Angeles and New York.
The AFTRA National Board approved that the tentative agreement with the video game industry for an extension to the AFTRA Interactive Media Agreement, which is currently set to expire on December 31, 2009, be sent out for ratification by a referendum vote of the affected members who perform work under the contract. The Board is sending out the referendum with an overwhelming and strong recommendation for a yes vote on the new terms. The AFTRA Interactive Media Steering Committee, which is made up of members around the country who work this agreement, and the AFTRA Administrative Committee previously approved and recommended to the Board the tentative agreement, which was reached with video game employers in early October. If ratified, the 15-month extension will take effect on January 1, 2010, and remain in full force until March 31, 2011.
The extension delivers a 2.5 percent wage increase and a 0.2 percent increase in employer contributions to the AFTRA Health and Retirement Funds, both effective April 1, 2010, and a new liquidated damages payment provision to incentivize employers to give notice of vocally stressful work – the first-ever such payment under any union contract. The agreement also preserves the extra “Remote Delivery” payment for performers – currently 135 percent of the original session fee – and establishes a
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that UTA has hired CAA agent Darren Boghosian for its talent department. (And, no, this is not related to UTA talent agent Darren Statt wanting to leave for CAA. Just a coincidence of names.) Boghosian has been at CAA since 2002 and reps Jenna Elfman, Christian Slater, Michael Landes, Jaime Pressly, Alyssa Milano, Connie Nielsen, Kevin Costner, Justin Kirk, Anthony Anderson, Katharine McPhee, Sally Pressman, Rhys Coiro, Stephanie Szostack and others. But no word yet on which clients will be following him out the door. “He’s smart, aggressive and well-liked around town, the kind of young agent we like to invest in,” a UTA insider tells me. Meanwhile, I’m told that UTA and CAA are working to settle out talent agent Darren Statt by the end of next week.
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s a little promo clip made by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant to help promote the Hollywood Disabilities Forum today at UCLA for actors, writers, directors, producers, casting directors, and industry pros:
Here’s another of my shameless plugs for Twilight fan traffic… What do you do when you’re a mini-major and the second film in your hot Twilight Saga franchise is opening next month? Well, if you’re Summit Entertainment, you send the New Moon cast on a 15-city nationwide tour from November 6th through 19th. All the resulting media coverage of huge crowds and fainting tween/teen girls is intended to help sell movie tickets and soundtrack CDs to the sequel opening November 20th. The tour will kick off in Los Angeles at the Hollywood & Highland Center on November 6th with a concert by several bands featured on New Moon soundtrack: Death Cab for Cutie, Anya Marina, Sea Wolf, and Band of Skulls. Fans can also attend a Question & Answer forum with many of the movie’s cast members. At each of the 15 city stops along the tour, there’ll be other activities and prize giveaways related to the film as well as the cast Q&As. Select cities will feature the soundtrack band performances. Fans who acquire VIP credentials on October 31st will be granted access to a special event with select New Moon cast members at their respective malls. (Summit is telling fans that, for the chance to register they need to visit Hot Topic or select Nordstrom stores at 8:00 AM on October 31st at one of the participating mall locations. They will be given access to return and meet select …
It’s had a rocky start, but NBC is committed to the “Back 9″.
I hear it looks certain for a TNT pickup of Southland, which was dumped by NBC. People working on the show are being told to prepare for a projected November 2nd resume shooting date, but that may be premature. Warner Bros has no official announcement. But that’s because TNT and NBC are still negotiating moolah terms, according to my sources. *UPDATE: “NBC has been holding things up, but we’re getting closer,” a show insider just told me tonight. “This behavior from NBC has been unbelievable and amazingly fucked-up — even for them — which is really saying something…”*
C’mon, was there really any doubt that TNT would want this Warner Bros series? Especially since John Wells and Barry Meyer are joined at the hip? Plus, judging from the fan furor, the show deserved another try. Anyway, at this moment, this is what I understand to be the most accurate info.