GoDigital Picks Up Rights to ‘You, Me & The Circus’

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 2:11pm PST

The deal with GoDigital includes North American VOD and digital distribution rights for the film starring Anita Briem (The Tudors), Melonie Diaz (Hamlet 2) and Marlon Wayans (Scary Movie) and directed by Ty Hodges. Produced by Omar Epps … Read More »

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‘Justified’s Margo Martindale To Star In ABC Comedy Pilot ‘Counter Culture’

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 2:10pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Justified alumna Margo Martindale has been cast as one of the leads in ABC’s multi-camera comedy pilot Counter Culture. Additionally, Martindale has been taped for a guest-starring role in the Showtime pilot Masters Of Sex. Written and executive produced by … Read More »

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Inside The Summit And Lionsgate Merger: Layoffs Are The Order Of The Day

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 1:41pm PST
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: This is the week when the pain from the Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment merger gets felt, as the pieces are being mixed and matched, and layoffs rule the day. It sounds a lot like the plot of … Read More »

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DreamWorks Animation Shares Hammered Amid Growing Concerns About 2012

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 1:30pm PST

The stock closed down 12.2%, to $17.26, after analysts piled on the production company for its soft year-end results, a warning that costs in 2012 will be higher than expected, and broad concerns about the market for animated films. ”Although the … Read More »

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Sacha Baron Cohen Signs First Look With Paramount; Studio Gets His Next Pic

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 12:33pm PST
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Paramount Pictures has signed Sacha Baron Cohen and his Four By Two Films banner to an exclusive three-year first-look deal. Four By Two Films will be headed by Sir Todd Schulman, who worked on the Baron Cohen films The Dictator and Bruno.

Deal comes after Baron Cohen’s memorable stunt on the Oscar Red Carpet, where he dumped what he said was the ashes of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il over emcee Ryan Seacrest’s tux jacket. All this as the star and studio prepare to release the comedian’s latest film The Dictator on May 11th. They simultaneously have agreed to partner again on Baron Cohen’s next original star vehicle. As part of the arrangement, Paramount has also created a development fund for Baron Cohen to generate projects in the UK to find new talent. Read More »

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Adopt Films Takes U.S. Rights To ‘Tabu’: Berlin

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 12:32pm PST

Tabu is the fourth pickup for Adopt Films from this year’s recent Berlin International Film Festival’s main competition. It won the festival’s Alfred Bauer Prize and the FIPRESCI international critics award. Portuguese filmmaker Miguel Gomes directed and co-wrote … Read More »

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Molly Shannon Joins HBO’s ‘Enlightened’

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 12:20pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Molly Shannon is reuniting with Mike White, signing on for a recurring role on the upcoming second season of White’s HBO series Enlightened. The single-camera comedy stars Laura Dern as Amy, a self-destructive woman who has a spiritual awakening and decides to live an enlightened life, which creates havoc at home and work. In a role written for her by White, Shannon will play Eileen, the loyal executive assistant to the CEO of Abaddonn. In Amy’s mission to blow the whistle on Abaddonn’s corporate malfeasance, Eileen is unwittingly duped into providing damning information about her boss. Eileen also becomes a romantic interest for Tyler, played by White. This marks the third collaboration between Shannon and White. She previously starred in his movie Year Of The Dog and his Fox series Cracking Up. Read More »

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Another High-Level OWN Executive Departs

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 11:55am PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: The revolving door at OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network continues. The latest high-level executive to depart the struggling cable network is SVP Business and Legal Affairs Alan Saxe, a well-respected executive who ran OWN’s business affairs department. In light of his departure (he reportedly left to pursue other opportunities), Tina Perry, VP Business and Legal Affairs, will lead the department as interim head. Saxe is the latest in a slew of executive departures at OWN, most recently EVP Production and Development Lisa Erspamer.

Meanwhile, OWN has been in cost-cutting mode after an yearlong struggle to break out in the ratings despite a marquee brand name and massive cash infusion from co-parent Discovery Communications. I hear the network’s executives have been told that the business in its current form is unsustainable and cuts have to be made, especially in the main Los Angeles office. Leading the charge in that area is new Discovery CFO Andy Warren, who has been examining OWN’s books. In one cost-cutting measure, OWN was recently asked to eliminate temp positions. The network has had a lot of essential positions, including assistants, filled by non-full-time employees, something that will now end. Read More »

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Cloris Leachman Set For ‘Adult World’

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 11:54am PST

Cloris Leachman will play Mary Anne, the owner of a porn store, in director Scott Coffey’s Adult World. John Cusack, Evan Peters and Emma Roberts star in the film, currently shooting in upstate New York from a script … Read More »

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Emma Watson To Star in Sofia Coppola’s ‘The Bling Ring’

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 11:45am PST

Emma Watson will lead an ensemble cast in the latest from Oscar-winner Sofia Coppola. The Bling Ring is inspired by real events in which a group of teens engage in a string of celebrity burglaries.

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SHOCKER! Chris Nolan’s Agent Dan Aloni Fired From CAA

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 11:24am PST
Mike Fleming

UPDATE: I’m told that as of right now, Aloni’s top client Chris Nolan has not left the CAA fold. We’ll have to wait and see if that changes. There is speculation that Aloni could perhaps become a manager, … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Avengers’

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 11:23am PST

The Marvel superheroes pic is written and directed by Joss Whedon, which only serves to ramp up expectations among the fanboy set. So does the cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgard and Samuel L. Jackson. Here’s the second … Read More »

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Deadline Advisory: Nikki Will Be Traveling

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 11:22am PST

I have some bigger articles to post. But for the next several weeks I will be traveling for most of the time. Play nice.

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R.J. Cutler Signs First-Look Television Deal With Lionsgate

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 11:04am PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: R.J. Cutler is expanding his relationship with Lionsgate Television. The Oscar-nominated filmmaker (The War Room) and Emmy-winning television producer (American High), has signed a first-look television deal with Lionsgate to develop and produce scripted programming for broadcast and cable. … Read More »

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Lionsgate Founder Frank Giustra Takes Stake In ‘Blade Runner’ Owner Thunderbird

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 10:52am PST

Frank Giustra founded Lionsgate in 1997, was chairman until 2003 and returned to the board in 2003. Now the Canadian investor has come aboard … Read More »

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R.I.P. Davy Jones

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 10:50am PST

Davy Jones was the lead singer of the 1960s band The Monkees, the Beatles-esque pop group that was created to star in the TV sitcom of the same name. He died of a heart attack today in a Florida hospital … Read More »

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Ashley Greene To Star In ABC Drama Pilot ‘Americana’

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 10:45am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Twilight co-star Ashley Greene has been tapped for the female lead opposite Anthony LaPaglia in ABC’s drama pilot Americana, a soap about a famous fashion industry clan. It centers on iconic fashion designer Robert Soulter (Anthony LaPaglia), the patriarch of … Read More »

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Will Rupert Murdoch Unload Newspapers With James Gone From News International?

That question seems to intrigue News Corp watchers far more than any debate about succession plans following today’s announcement that Deputy COO James Murdoch is relinquishing his role as executive chairman of the UK publishing unit. News Corp shares are up about 2% at mid-day, a contrast to the overall market which is slightly down. And many believe it’s because James’ departure from the publishing business gives investors a little more reason to hope that Rupert might ditch some or all of his newspapers. He loves the assets, but the Street considers them to be growth-challenged distractions. Wells Fargo Securities analyst Marci Ryvicker calls the news about James “one sign” that newspapers “may be spun, sold or otherwise shed.” Yesterday COO Chase Carey said that News Corp recognized such a move might help its stock price, which he says is “woefully undervalued.” But he tried to douse any belief that a plan to unload newspapers is on the company’s front-burner. “Our focus is on managing these businesses and improving profitability,” he said.

Why so little attention to James and his role in the line of succession?  It’s now a foregone conclusion that Read More »

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Agatha Christie Estate Acquired By U.S.-Based Acorn Media

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 10:34am PST

The move by Acorn Media Group to take a 64% stake in Agatha Christie’s estate marks the first time a U.S. company will have a controlling interest in one of the most-mined properties in entertainment. The mystery author counts 2 billion books sold, and numerous TV shows and movies based upon them; the estate, co-owned by Chorion, includes more than 80 novels and plays. Among the latest projects in the canon came almost a year ago, when Disney announced it was developing a Miss Marple movie with Jennifer Garner as the famous sleuth. That news was met with scorn among fans of the mysteries, who objected to what would be a younger, sassier Marple. That project hasn’t been heard from since. Here’s today’s release:

Silver Spring, MD; February 29, 2012 – Acorn Media Group, a leading independent media company, has acquired a 64% stake in Agatha Christie Limited from Chorion. With more than 2 billion books sold, Agatha Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time. Her works only follow The Bible and William Shakespeare as the most widely published books, and they continue to be adapted into internationally successful films. This milestone acquisition gives Acorn Media majority ownership of Christie’s extensive works including more than 80 novels and short story collections, 19 plays, a film library of nearly 40 TV films, and iconic characters Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, among many others. The Agatha Christie family retains its 36% holding and Mathew Prichard, Agatha Christie’s grandson, remains Chairman of Agatha Christie Limited.

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