EXCLUSIVE: A major shake up is taking place at Arnon Milchan’s New Regency. Co-chairmen Bob Harper and Hutch Parker will not renew their contracts when they expire in December. I’ve confirmed with Harper that he and Parker are negotiating their exits. There had recently been a ripple of rumors about this, and there will be the inevitable speculation over whether the duo are jumping before being pushed. Harper didn’t get into that, but said that he was confirming because he and Parker were aware of the rumors and were most concerned with reassuring filmmakers with Regency projects that the duo would continue to be closely involved and see those films through to release. Harper also said the decision came after months of conversations with Milchan over whether or not to renew. Recently, they came to the conclusion that this was the best course. Milchan could conceivably name a replacement quickly, but Harper told me that he and Parker will continue to see through the completed films as well as some of the projects that are gearing up for production starts, regardless of how quickly the succession takes place.
Harper had been in the job for four years (he moved from the post of vice chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment and has worked for Fox since 1986), and Parker had been in the post for more than three years (he moved over from the post of 20th Century Fox vice chairman, and had been with the studio 13 years when he took the job). They have been involved in every facet of New Regency films, including production, marketing, distribution and administering the library. Harper said it is unclear what will happen next year, and that he and Harper haven’t solidified their plans. I wouldn’t be surprised if they remain on the Fox lot as producers or in some other capacity. READ MORE »
On the heels of Strike Back and Transporter, Cinemax is developing another action drama series, Sandbox. It centers on a group of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who return to the Coachella Valley to discover their … Read More »
After a long search, newcomer John Boyega (Attack the Block) has landed the lead in HBO’s newly picked up drama pilot Da Brick, from Spike Lee, John Ridley, Doug Ellin and Mike Tyson. Boyega will play the … Read More »
Banking on the smart phone boom continuing, the 12-year-old maker of software that enables users to watch live TV today filed to raise as much as $75M in an IPO. The filing did not indicate how many shares it will offer … Read More »
UPDATE: President Barack Obama blinked in the staring contest with House Speaker John Boehner. Tonight, the White House agreed to move Obama’s speech to Thursday, the night of the opening game of the NFL season. The time of the televised address is TBD. … Read More »
Former Greek star Scott Michael Foster has signed a talent holding deal with ABC, reuniting with the network’s president Paul Lee, who as head of ABC Family developed and launched Greek. In addition to being available for ABC … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After a long search process, 20th Century Fox and Bruce Willis have just chosen John Moore to direct Die Hard 5. The film will shoot in Russia, and the hope is to make it before Willis moves on to shoot a Red sequel for Summit Entertainment. In fact, Willis has just begun going through the same director search with Summit on a sequel to the 2010 hit Red. Robert Schwentke is busy helming Universal’s R.I.P.D. with Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds. They’ve just begun casting the dragnet for directors on that film. Names like Breck Eisner are being floated, but other shooters are being considered.
As for Die Hard 5, Moore is in final negotiations and was in the running through the entire search as Fox tried to find a filmmaker that pleased Willis and the studio execs that have to shoot this movie in Russia and bring it in on a budget and a tight schedule. Fox has been looking for a new director since Noam Murro left the picture after he got the job helming 300: Battle Of Artemisia for Warner Bros. The studio started with a wish list of directors to helm the script by Skip Woods that included Joe Cornish (who directed Attack the Block), Fast Five helmer Justin Lin, Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn, and Moore. More recently, I’d heard Fox had conversations with helmers that included Gary Fleder, Paul McGuigan and 1408 helmer Mikael Hafstrom. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The classic 1984 action-adventure romantic comedy Romancing the Stone is headed to the small screen. NBC has bought a TV series adaptation of the Robert Zemeckis movie, which was produced by 20th Century Fox and starred Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. The TV project, from 20th Century Fox TV and Shawn Levy and Marty Adelstein’s studio-based 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods, has received a script commitment with penalty from NBC. The Forgotten creator Mark Friedman will write the series adaptation with Levy attached to direct subject to feature availability. The 1984 film starred Turner as a romance writer who sets off to Colombia to ransom her kidnapped sister, and soon finds herself in the middle of a dangerous adventure alongside a swashbuckling American bird exporter, played by Douglas. Read More »
Greg Berlanti has taken a second project out this season, landing a second straight put pilot commitment. Following the sale earlier this month to Fox of a legal drama to be written by Berlanti’s frequent collaborator Marc … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After Paul Lee rearranged his top programming executives in June, ABC and ABC Studios have now made more tweaks to their teams. The biggest one — Michael McDonald is being promoted to SVP drama development for ABC Studios and will head the studio’s drama department. The post had been vacant since June when previous drama topper Patrick Moran was elevated to Head of Creative Development for the studio as part of the executive restructuring. McDonald, whose deal is still being finalized, most recently served as VP drama current series for ABC Studios. With his promotion, both ABC’s drama and comedy departments are heading into the new development season with new leaders. Amy Hartwick was named SVP comedy development for the studio in June.
ABC Studios’ drama department is getting additional reinforcement: Emily Cummins, formerly of Akiva Goldsman’s Weed Road, is joining as VP drama development. Spike TV’s highest-ranking scripted executive, Dustin Davis, will be joining ABC as director in the network’s current department. (Spike’s other scripted exec, Laurence Sullivan, already left for Conan O’Brien’s Conaco production company as the cable network is putting scripted development on hold.) Also in ABC’s current department, Karin Dubiel is being promoted from coordinator to manager. Meanwhile, Zack Olin, executive director current programming for ABC, has moved to ABC Studio’s comedy development department as executive director. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Tobey Maguire’s Material Pictures has hired Focus Features executive Matthew Plouffe to be its new SVP Production. Plouffe, who has spent the past six years in the New York headquarters of Focus, will move to Los Angeles and start the job Oct. 1. Plouffe is currently Focus’ Director of Production and has worked on such Focus films as the Sam Mendes-directed Away We Go, Shane Acker’s 9, the Ryan Fleck/Anna Boden-directed It’s Kind of A Funny Story and most recently on the Lone Scherfig-directed adaptation of One Day that stars Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. Plouffe wanted to move West, and the transition was done with the blessing of Focus Features chief James Schamus, who wrote and produced Maguire’s breakout film as an actor, The Ice Storm. “All of us at Focus have been blessed over the past six years to see Matt grow to become one of the smartest, hardest-working and kindest execs out there, and while we’re sad to see him go, he couldn’t have found a better opportunity than the one Tobey has offered. It’s great to see two of the smartest people in the business teaming up,” Schamus said. Read More »
Phase 4 Films has acquired U.S. and Canadian distribution rights to Rid of Me, the James Westby-directed black comedy that will be released in the fall. Phase 4 will team with Submarine for the theatrical run of a film first … Read More »
The Telluride Film Festival kicks off its 38th edition Friday, marking the unofficial official launch of awards season, and for the fourth consecutive year it is getting help from the the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to do … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: British thesp Harry Lloyd has landed the lead role in Closer to the Moon, joining Vera Farmiga and Mark Strong in the period drama. The film’s set in 1959 Bucharest, where a Jewish group of former anti-Nazi revolutionaries refocus … Read More »
When NFL teams win the Super Bowl, they go to Disneyland; when celebrities go to jail, they get a reality show. VH1 just announced it has greenlighted a new 10-episode reality series starring rapper T.I., who is readjusting … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Steven Soderbergh’s hunkfest Magic Mike is finally getting something that has so far been missing: actresses. Olivia Munn is negotiating to play the role of Amber, the love interest to Channing Tatum, who plays Magic Mike. She’ll join Tatum, … Read More »
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills will premiere Sept. 5 as originally scheduled despite the recent suicide of co-star Russell Armstrong. “Given that these episodes were filmed months ago, the producers of the show taped a brief interview this … Read More »