2ND UPDATE: I hear the New World Development investment in Legendary Pictures was $45 million.
UPDATE: What’s being described as the most powerful privately held family fortune in China has recently made an investment in Thomas Tull’s Legendary Pictures. It signals the start of new China business for the entertainment movie finance and production company best known for its 7-year, 40-picture deal with Warner Bros. The family company is called New World Development and among their many holdings it’s the largest landholder in China outside the government. This investment in Legendary Pictures is similar to those of Jim Breyer and Gordy Crawford previously reported. Film financing circles familiar with the investment speculate to me that Tull is eying a major move in China and expect this financial and strategic relationship to be a great asset to have towards that end. They say it’s possible that a joint production deal, company expansion, or offshoot company is planned. New World Development is the third well-connected investor for Tull’s company this month alone: both Gordy Crawford, the Downtown LA-based shareholder in a long string of entertainment companies through his firm Capital Research Global Investors, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist Jim Breyer of Accel Partners quietly bought minority stakes in Legendary — Crawford for his personal portfolio, and Breyer $40M for Accel after purchasing the shares from a previous legendary investor as part of a larger stock sale that Legendary arranged in March.
APRIL 16: Thomas Tull’s Legendary Pictures is seeking to secure a $700 million line of credit from 2013 out to 2016 or even 2017. Its current credit facility doesn’t expire until 2013 — the same year that Legendary’s current distribution and financing arrangement with Warner Bros ends — “but the feeling is that now there are really favorable terms.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The era of the Reveille of Ben Silverman is officially over — Howard T. Owens will step down as managing director of the Shine-owned company in June when his contract is up. He plans to spend time with his … Read More »
After mostly conciliatory messages for the past month, Charlie Sheen has fired one of his most vicious attacks on Two and a Half Men co-creator Chuck Lorre over increased speculation that Lorre is plotting a Men without Sheen. The letter … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: TV Land successfully jump-started its half-hour comedy business with a sitcom from a former NBC comedy star, Sean Hayes’ Hot In Cleveland. Now USA Network is looking to do the same with Kelsey Grammer. As part of USA’s push … Read More »
This morning NBC executives finally had something to celebrate: great fast national numbers for the rerun of The Voice premiere. Its 2.1/5 rating in 18-49 bested everything in the 9-11 PM slot except for Fox’s American Idol-powered lineup. TV reporters immediately trumpeted … Read More »
Disney XD has opted not to renew sophomore comedy I’m In the Band for a third season. The remaining unaired episodes from Season 2 will run throughout the rest of the year.
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Charles Ferguson (Inside Job) has come on board to direct HBO Films’ movie about Julian Assange should it be greenlighted for production. The project, a co-production with the BBC, is based on source material that includes Raffi … Read More »
20th Century Fox has made a high six-figure spec deal for an untitled action comedy that figures to be the next film directed by Luke Greenfield, whose pic Something Borrowed opens May 6 through Warner Bros and Alcon. The new … Read More »
Say it ain’t so … again. It seems Grauman’s Chinese Theatre has had as many owners as footprints and handprints that blanket the famed Hollywood movie house’s front steps and draw tourists from all over the world. The latest title … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Back when Chris Albrecht took the reins of Starz as CEO more than a year ago, he said that the programming focus of the pay cable network will be on original series and big event miniseries/limited series. With nothing in the pipeline in the big event arena, Albrecht picked up the eight-part miniseries Pillars of the Earth. Now Starz may be ready to roll out its first original limited series, an adaptation of Dean Koontz’ 1985 novel Twilight Eyes. The project, which centers on Slim MacKenzie, who uses his psychic powers, aka Twilight Eyes, to hunt Goblins — monsters that have the ability to mimic human beings — is in high-priority development.
Koontz has shied away from TV in the past few years and no book of his has been adapted to the small screen in a decade. His former agent at WMA, Rob Lee, now head of his own production company Bayonne Entertainment, remembered Koontz once talking about Twilight Eyes as a potential miniseries. But Koontz wanted a longer treatment — 6-8 hours, something the broadcast networks, the primary longform buyers in the 1990s, were not interested in. Lee teamed with writer Stephen Tolkin, who had adapted two Koontz novels as TV movies, 1997′s Intensity and 1998′s Mr. Murder. The two pitched the idea for a Twilight Eyes limited series to Koontz, and he gave them their blessing. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate is making a deal with MGM to distribute The Cabin in the Woods, putting an end to an unexpectedly long shelf life for a horror film that has a terrific creative pedigree and a high degree of fanboy wanna-see. Cloverfield writer Drew Goddard directed the film and co-wrote it with Joss Whedon. The film’s cast includes Chris Hemsworth, who made it before he was set to star as the title character in Marvel’s Thor. Ironically, Whedon and Hemsworth are reuniting, with Whedon directing The Avengers, and Hemsworth reprising his hammer-swinging role. It’s unclear when Lionsgate will release the film, but October is a good bet.
The delay has little to do with the quality of the film. It was once slated to be released by MGM on Oct. 23, 2009, but was pulled back because it was going to be converted to 3D. Then, everything froze at MGM because of the strangling debt load, and The Cabin in the Woods was among several pictures that languished. By the time the picture is released, Thor will have established Hemsworth’s star value, which will certainly help a film that also stars Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford.
That leaves the remake of Red Dawn as the last holdover MGM film seeking a distributor. That picture also stands to gain from having sat on a shelf. Read More »
Paramount’s 3D Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the third installment in the Michael Bay-directed franchise, is slated for a July 1 release. The trailer gets its world premiere today.
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures is negotiating with Jeff Bridges to star with Ryan Reynolds in the Robert Schwentke-directed supernatural comedy R.I.P.D. The Matt Manfredi & Phil Hay-scripted film centers on a police force comprised of undead officers, based on the Peter Lenkov … Read More »
Canada’s already cozy film market may soon become a little cozier. We hear that the country’s No. 1 independent film distributor, Alliance Films, is angling to acquire one of its largest competitors, Maple Pictures — and is deep into talks … Read More »