BREAKING: I’m told that producer Scott Rudin’s move to Sony Pictures is upon us. He’s closed a three-year first look deal with the studio. From last year’s Best Picture nominee The Social Network to the upcoming Brad Pitt-starrer Moneyball and the David Fincher-directed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, to the upcoming Somali Pirates Tom Hanks-starrer A Captain’s Duty that will be directed by Paul Greengrass and Cleopatra with Fincher directing Angelina Jolie starring, Rudin is already in the middle of some of Amy Pascal’s most ambitious projects.
Rudin’s deal has been at Disney for several years but it was settled out. It became clear his films didn’t fit into the family film profile that the studio was pursuing under Rich Ross and Sean Bailey. When Disney sold Miramax Films, Rudin began making movies all over town. Now Rudin, who just won the Tony Award for Best Musical for The Book Of Mormon, has a new home. He’ll remain in his New York offices, but the deal gives him the latitude to continue to buy material as aggressively as he is accustomed to being. He’s known for moving quickly in that regard, often buying literary properties when they are in the most nascent stages if he believes in the authors.
It has been clear for some time this move would be happening. Deadline told you in February that Rudin had streamlined his operation and shuttered his Los Angeles office, content to do it all from Gotham as he prepared to make the Sony move.
His Sony deal won’t be exclusive, because he could likely fill every slot on Pascal’s slate with all the quality projects he generates. He is a natural fit for Sony Pictures and Pascal because he is a filmmaker-driven producer who prizes literature as source material, qualities she has as well. Among the other films he’s got going right now are Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the 9/11-themed drama that stars Hanks and Sandra Bullock, with Warner Bros just dating the film December Oscar season release; the Sacha Baron Cohen-starrer The Dictator, which is in production now for Paramount; the Wes Anderson-directed Moonrise Kingdom for Focus Features; and the Noah Baumbach-directed While We’re Young. Aside from The Book Of Mormon, Rudin produced the Broadway productions of House of Blue Leaves with Ben Stiller and Edie Falco, Motherfucker With the Hat with Chris Rock, and the Olivier Award-winning Jerusalem. And he’s already started lining up next season with a revival of Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth to star Nicole Kidman and James Franco in the fall. Rudin also made an HBO deal for More As This Story Develops, a pilot about cable news that re-teams him with The Social Network scribe Aaron Sorkin.
ABC said today that it has set the final broadcast of All My Children for Friday, Sept. 23, officially ending a run that began more than 41 years ago. The multiple-Emmy-winning soap opera first appeared on the network in 1970. … Read More »
UPDATE, 5:30 PM: Lionsgate announced that Up in the Air co-star Anna Kendrick also has been added to the cast of the film. The CAA-repped actress will play a Rosie, who reunites with an old flame and fellow … Read More »
Universal and Gold Circle Films have announced that they teamed to acquire worldwide rights to Pitch Perfect, a musical comedy set in the world of college a cappella groups. Jason Moore will direct from a screenplay by Kay … Read More »
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is one step closer in its long regulatory fight to take control of British Sky Broadcasting, with UK Culture Secretary telling the House of Commons today that he is ready to approve the merger. He did … Read More »
UPDATE: Don’t look for Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin to appear on another news show right away now that he’s been suspended by MSNBC. We’re told that the suspension does not let him out of his contract which precludes him from appearing on another news network during its duration. MSNBC President Phil Griffin called Halperin on his cell phone shortly after the end of Morning Joe this morning to inform him of the decision to suspend him. Griffin told Halperin what MSNBC intended to say in a statement. Halperin immediately agreed and said that he wanted to make a statement as well.
Time Magazine has just issued a statement upbrading its Editor at Large. The magazine says his “comments on air this morning were inappropriate and in no way reflective of Time’s views. We have issued a warning to him that such behavior is unacceptable. Mark has appropriately apologized on air, via Twitter and on The Page.” Halperin added that his remark “was not funny. I deeply regret it.”
PREVIOUS, 9:07 AM: MSNBC has suspended political analyst and contributor Mark Halperin indefinitely for a slur he made today on Morning Joe describing President Obama. During a discussion of the president’s Wednesday press conference, Halperin, also an editor at large for Time magazine and co-author of Game Change, was asked by host Joe Scarborough what he thought of the president’s performance during the press conference. “Are we on a seven-second delay today?” Halperin asked. “I want to characterize how I thought the president behaved.” After assurances that there was a delay, he said: “I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Andrew Meieran and his Bureau of Moving Pictures has acquired rights to make a movie about Rod Serling, the Twilight Zone creator who left behind a remarkable legacy of sci-fi and fantasy work. Stanley Weiser, who wrote Wall Street with Oliver Stone, will script the movie. Serling’s widow Carol Serling will be a producer along with Meieran.
Before he became an iconic TV figure, Serling had a life of struggle that included a stint as a paratrooper and member of the demolition squad in the Army during WWII. Stationed in the Philippines, he saw more than his share of death as the US battled the Japanese, and his experiences would inform much of what he would write later. He worked his way into radio and then became a TV writer who found his niche with the CBS series Twilight Zone, a series that elevated scripted television with thought-provoking science fiction tales, each with a great and unexpected plot twist. The segments have influenced a legion of TV and feature writers to this day. If you don’t understand the reference “It’s a cook book!,” you could do worse than go back and watch the original episodes.
Serling hatched another memorable TV anthology series a decade later in Night Gallery. Movies were made from both series, there’s a lively Tower Of Terror theme-park ride that incorporates Serling and a haunted hotel, and Serling also co-wrote with Michael Wilson the script for the 1968 sci-fi classic Planet of the Apes, based on the Pierre Boull novel. Serling died at 50, from complications stemming from chain-smoking cigarettes his entire adult life. Read More »
There’s a new trailer up for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, the Tomas Alfredson-directed adaptation of the John Le Carre espionage novel. The film stars Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ciaran Hinds. Oldman unbelievably has managed to exist as one of the most consistently great … Read More »
NYC may lose one of its most influential movie-reviewing sites. At midnight tonight, The Village Voice employees’ three-year contract at New York’s venerable alternative weekly newspaper expires, and they’ve authorized their union to call a strike if there’s no agreement. Writers and editors and … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In a low-seven-figure minimum guarantee deal, FilmDistrict has acquired U.S. rights to Only God Forgives, a drama that will reteam Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn with Ryan Gosling. Several distributors were in the mix, but FilmDistrict’s Peter Schlessel had … Read More »
SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!
It’s the heavily hyped show that rewrote the rules for TV talent contests on the networks this spring. But it also cost a whopping $1.4 million per episode. (… Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Jason Blum will bring the studio into the low-budget but often high-gross world of genre films. Universal Pictures has made a 3-year first-look deal with Blum and his Blumhouse Productions which produced the Paranormal Activity franchise, and followed that up with Insidious, the James Wan-directed thriller that has already become one of the most profitable films of 2011. A sequel seems inevitable.
The original Paranormal Activity cost about $15,000 and grossed $193 million. The first sequel cost $3 million and grossed $177 million worldwide and the third film debuts Oct. 21. Insidious cost $1.5 million and grossed $81 million worldwide and is still rolling out. This guy is minting money. He’s producing the latest installment of the fright franchise Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes for Dimension Films, produced the Barry Levinson-directed eco-horror film The Bay, The River for ABC and the Jay Chandresakar-directed comedy Baby Makers. He is producing the Oren Peli-directed Area 51 for Paramount Pictures, as well as The Lords of Salem, with Rob Zombie directing. Blum’s also an exec producer on the John Hillcoat-directed The Wettest County in the World. This amounts to an aggressive move into the low-budget area for Universal, which, if anything, is known for spending generously on its slates. Read More »
Mandate Pictures has acquired Lamb of God, a script by Juno scribe Diablo Cody that will mark her feature directorial debut. Mason Novick (500 Days Of Summer) will produce. Mandate president Nathan Kahane will executive produce alongside Cody. Mandate has the project on the fast track and will begin casting right away. The comedy follows a young conservative religious woman who loses her faith after a plane crash. She decides to go to Vegas and live the life of a sinner, and somehow finds her faith along the way. Cody was a stripper who started a blog and found a voice as a screenwriter, which led to her breakout effort in writing Juno and emerging as a quite interesting screenwriting voice. She followed with Jennifer’s Body, a movie that didn’t hit, and most recently reteamed with Juno helmer Jason Reitman on Young Adult. Read More »
Lionsgate is reorganizing its Theatrical Publicity department under EVP Theatrical Publicity Julie Fontaine, whom the studio scooped up from Disney back in March. Under the new structure, films on Lionsgate’s slate will be divided between two project teams … Read More »
Warner Bros today said that it will release the Clint Eastwood biopic J Edgar, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench and Armie Hammer, sometime in October. The studio also said it will bow Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close … Read More »
UPDATE: 3:16 PM: The official release from new MySpace owner Specific Media had an interesting bit of news in it: Justin Timberlake will take an ownership stake in the social-media site “and play a major role in developing the creative direction and strategy for the company moving forward.” It’s unknown how much he is investing in the deal, in which seller News Corp receives a minority equity stake in Specific, but it makes sense in that MySpace had become a de facto music promotions site since being essentially left in the dust by Facebook. Specific Media and Timberlake say they plan to evolve Myspace into the premiere digital destination for original shows, video content and music. ”There’s a need for a place where fans can go to interact with their favorite entertainers, listen to music, watch videos, share and discover cool stuff and just connect. MySpace has the potential to be that place,” Timberlake says in the release. “Art is inspired by people and vice versa, so there’s a natural social component to entertainment. I’m excited to help revitalize Myspace by using its social media platform to bring artists and fans together in one community.”
PREVIOUS, 11:47 AM: It was such huge news back in 2005 when News Corp plunked down $580 million for the web’s hottest social-networking site MySpace. It makes today’s news maybe even bigger: News Corp has agreed to sell the site to ad-targeting firm Specific Media for $30 million-$40 million, the Wall Street Journal is reporting, well below its $100 million asking price. Read More »