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Fox Sets 2014 Release Slate: 3D ‘ID4′, ‘X-Men’, ‘Apes’ Sequels, ‘Robopocalypse’

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 12:43pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Los Angeles (May 31, 2012) __ Twentieth Century Fox announced today some major additions to its 2013-14 release slate, along with some date changes.

On the heels of the $344 million worldwide success of TITANIC 3D, the studio and director Roland Emmerich, in conjunction with Stereo 3D, which did the work on TITANIC, will produce a top quality 3D version of the iconic INDEPENDENCE DAY. ID43D will be released worldwide on July 3, 2013.

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Alan Horn Named Disney Studios Chief

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 12:17pm PDT

UPDATE: This statement from Warner Bros chairman and CEO Barry Meyer just came across:

“Alan was a terrific partner in every sense of the word,” said Barry Meyer, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. “He has a profound understanding of the filmmaking process as well as the ability to bridge the creative and business sides of a studio. He’s been a part of some of the most popular films produced in the last decade, and we’re very happy for him. All of his colleagues at Warner Bros. wish him the best.”

BURBANK, Calif. – May 31, 2012 – Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, announced today that Alan Horn has been named Chairman of The Walt Disney Studios effective June 11. Horn will oversee worldwide operations for The Walt Disney Studios including production, distribution and marketing for live-action and animated films from Disney, Pixar and Marvel, as well as marketing and distribution for DreamWorks Studios films released under the Touchstone Pictures banner. Disney’s music and theatrical divisions will also report to Horn.

Horn has been a prominent figure in the film and television industry overseeing creative executive teams responsible for some of the world’s most successful entertainment properties including the Harry Potter film franchise and the hit television series Seinfeld among others.

“Alan not only has an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience in the business, he has a true appreciation of movie making as both an art and a business,” said Iger. “He’s earned the respect of the industry for driving tremendous, sustained creative and financial success, and is also known and admired for his impeccable taste and integrity. He brings all of this to his new role leading our studio group, and I truly look forward to working with him.”

“I’m incredibly excited about joining The Walt Disney Company, one of the most iconic and beloved entertainment companies in the world,” said Horn. “I love the motion picture business and look forward to making a contribution as part of Bob Iger’s team working closely with the dedicated and talented group at the studio.”

Horn was most recently President and COO of Warner Bros. Entertainment where he had oversight of the Studios’ theatrical and home entertainment operations, including the Warner Bros. Pictures Group, Warner Premiere (direct-to-platform production), Warner Bros. Theatrical Ventures (live stage) and Warner Home Video. During his 12 year tenure, Warner Bros. Studios was the global box office leader seven times.

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Imagine Television’s Robin Gurney To Depart

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 12:05pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Veteran Imagine TV executive Robin Gurney, Senior EVP Development & Production, is leaving the company after a seven-year tenure. At the 20th Century Fox TV-based company, Gurney developed and produced such shows as Friday Night Lights, Shark, Lie To Me, Friends With Benefits and The Playboy Club. “I am very proud of the work I have a accomplished while at Imagine and will truly miss this amazing company” said Gurney. “Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are incredibly inspiring on so many levels and I am grateful for their continued support. That said, it is time to move on and I am excited to seek new professional challenges.”

In addition to Imagine principals Howard and Grazer, Gurney has worked at the company’s TV division with former Imagine TV president David Nevins and his successor, Francie Calfo. “Robin has been a tremendous asset to the company and a valued member of the Imagine family,” Grazer and Howard said in a statement. “While we are sad to see her leave we understand her desire to evolve and explore new avenues in the industry. We wish her the best in her new endeavors.” Gurney will remain in place to assist with the transition.

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Indian Paintbrush Makes First-Look Deal With Jeremy Renner’s The Combine

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 12:02pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Steven Rales’ Indian Paintbrush has made a two-year first-look deal with Jeremy Renner and writer-director Don Handfield, partners in the upstart production company The Combine. The financier/producer has deals with its Moonrise Kingdom helmer Wes Anderson and also with Jason Reitman, who is about to start Labor Day for Indian Paintbrush. This marks its first overall deal with an actor-producer.

The deal comes at a time when Renner is soaring. After successive Oscar nominations for The Hurt Locker and The Town, he starred alongside Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible –Ghost Protocol and played Hawkeye in The Avengers. Renner next stars in The Bourne Legacy, which Universal releases in August. Despite his growing bankability, the focus of the deal is to utilize Renner as producer and not necessarily as an actor. Indian Paintbrush’s Rales and Mark Roybal met with Renner and his partner and were impressed by their strong business plan and creative aspirations. They’ve already fixed on the first project, but were keeping it under wraps for the moment. It is likely their sensibility will be closer to The Hurt Locker than The Avengers.

Related: Hot Trailer: ‘The Bourne Legacy’ With Jeremy Renner Read More »

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IFC’s Violent New Comedy ‘Bullet In The Face’ Stirs Controversy, Will Make It To Air

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 11:50am PDT

Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.

Bullet In The Face IFCWhen IFC and Sundance Channel president Evan Shapiro departed his post in April, the forthcoming IFC original comedy Bullet In The Face lost its biggest champion. And champions are exactly what a show like Bullet needs considering that the broad, over-the-top half-hour may be the most violent comedy in television history. According to sources, when IFC execs screened the six-episode series, there was shock and nervousness in the room. And now the controversial Bullet, which was not mentioned during IFC’s upfront presentation in March, is being scheduled in a very odd pattern: three episodes back-to-back on two consecutive nights, August 16 and August 17, from 10 PM-11:30 PM.

Bullet In The Face ViolentThe uncertainty of what to do with Bullet In The Face is understandable. While its first three screened episodes show it to be uproarious and twisted, it’s also rife with cinematic-level violence and wildly politically incorrect imagery. It stars Canadian actor Max Williams as Gunter Vogler, a brutally psychopathic, deliriously misogynistic German assassin-turned-cop. The character is utterly without conscience or filter, shooting people indiscriminately and accompanying it with radically offensive invective. The blood spurts freely and often. Eric Roberts and Eddie Izzard co-star as wacko mob bosses. But here is the kind of stuff that may have spooked IFC into turning Bullet into a two-night event rather than a weekly series: We see Gunter in a church using a crucifix as a backscratcher and casually lumping former VP Dick Cheney with Hitler and Stalin in conversation. He mows down basketball players on a court as if taking target practice. It isn’t difficult to see watchdog groups taking offense at the material and using it to demonize IFC. Read More »

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‘Star Wars’ George Lucas Says He’s Really Quitting Blockbusters

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 11:47am PDT

George Lucas wants to make “experimental” movies, not blockbusters anymore. The Star Wars and Indiana Jones creator told UK publication Empire Magazine that “I’m moving away from all my businesses, I’m finishing all my obligations and I’m going to retire to my garage with my saw and hammer and build hobby movies,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to make movies that were more experimental in nature, and not have to worry about them showing in movie theatres.” Read More »

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History’s ‘Hatfields & McCoys’ Breaks More Cable Records

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 11:39am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Night 3 of History’s Hatfields & McCoys topped Night 1 and Night 2 with 14.3 million total viewers, 6.3 million adults 25-54 and 5.1 million adults 18-49 to become the new most-watched entertainment telecast of all time on ad-supported cable and the No. 1 entertainment telecast on ad-supported cable among 25-54 in 14 years. The mini’s three parts rank as the top three entertainment telecasts of all time in ad-supported cable history among total viewers. Overall, for the three nights on May 28-30, Hatfields & McCoys averaged 13.8 total viewers, 6 million adults 25-54 and 4.9 million adults 18-49.  The 4.9 million ddult 18-49 average makes it the highest-rated miniseries or movie on cable since 1998.

Related: History’s ‘Hatfields & McCoys’ Sets Cable Ratings Record With 13.9 Million Viewers

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UK Won’t Investigate Culture Minister’s Role In News Corp’s BSkyB Bid

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 11:36am PDT

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said he won’t launch a probe into whether Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt breached the ministerial code of conduct for Hunt’s part in overseeing News Corp’s ultimately failed bid for BSkyB. Hunt has been in the spotlight for his supposed close ties to News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch and son James, which raised eyebrows when he was handed a quasi-judicial role overseeing the $14B bid for the 61% of BSkyB that News Corp didn’t already own. During Hunt’s testimony today before the Leveson Inquiry charged with investigating UK media ethics, it was revealed he texted his congratulations to James Murdoch in December 2010 after News Corp’s bid cleared a regulatory hurdle. “Congratulations on Brussels,” Hunt texted to Murdoch after the European Commission ruled it would not block a deal. “Only Ofcom to go.” Not long after, Hunt was appointed the government overseer of the bid, which was scrapped in July as the phone-hacking scandal at News Corp-owned tabloid News Of The World erupted. Hunt told the inquiry today he would not have sent the text if he had known he was getting the overseer role. After watching Hunt today, Cameron said the Culture Minister acted “properly” throughout the period he was responsible for the bid.

Related: UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt To Turn Over Emails, Texts On BSkyB Bid Process Read More »

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Viacom Chief Says Paramount Developing Films With “Consumer Products Potential”

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman doesn’t sound anything like Dwight Eisenhower, but he seems to to have the architect of D-Day in mind when he talks about his broad plan to invade retail shelves with licensed merchandise. At Paramount, “for the most part we’re going to greenlight films with consumer products potential,” he told investors today at the Nomura U.S. Media & Telecom Summit. That’s key to his goal for Paramount to “focus on profitability” especially by integrating with other Viacom businesses. He’s particularly excited about Viacom’s plans to relaunch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which Viacom bought for $60M in 2009. The characters will appear in an animated series on Nickelodeon this fall and in a film on Christmas 2013.  ”Everybody knows the  history of it and are excited by the way it’s been reinvented,” Dauman says. “Once you get that strength at the retailer level, it allows you to layer in more properties.” It also ties in with his plan to develop new programs — and marketable characters — to help revive Nickelodeon from its ratings slump. “Nickelodeon will show improvement and it won’t take that long,” he says. Dauman adds that his interest in retail sales contributed to his decision to buy a stake in an Italian animation company with the popular Winx Club franchise, which has “good consumer products for girls.” Read More »

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Scarlett Johansson For ‘Cat On A Hot Tin Roof’

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 11:11am PDT
Mike Fleming

Scarlett Johansson will play Maggie The Cat in a Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, reports The New York Times. A revival is in the works for spring, 2013, with Jeremy Renner and Chris Pine being considered for the role of Brick. Johansson won a Tony for another revival, A View From The Bridge, in 2010.

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Wil Calhoun Joins NBC’s ‘Whitney’ As New Showrunner

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 11:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Friends alum Wil Calhoun has been tapped as executive producer/showrunner of NBC’s comedy series Whitney, which is heading into its second season. The stint is part of his overall deal with Universal TV, which produces Whitney. Calhoun, who will work with series creator/star Whitney Cummings, replaces Betsy Thomas, who has moved to NBC’s new comedy series Guys With Kids as a co-executive producer. There has been a change at the helm of both NBC freshman comedies that were renewed for a second season. Up All Night has Tucker Cawley as new executive producer/showrunner.

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Sundance Selects Acquires North American Rights For ‘Una Noche’

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 10:53am PDT
Mike Fleming

Sundance Selects will release the Lucy Mulloy-directed Una Noche in North America. The film premiered in Berlin and plays in competition at Tribeca where it won Best New Narrative Director, Best Cinematography and Best Actor in a Narrative Film for Dariel Arrechada and Javier Nunez Florian. Pic follows a day in the life of two Cuban teens as they dream of escaping poverty and heading 90 miles to Miami. This is the film where actress Anailin de la Rua and Nunez Florian actually used the trip to New York as a way to escape Cuba and seek political asylum in the U.S. UTA and XYZ Films sold it.

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Beyonce, Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Steven Tyler Lead Voice Cast For Fox Animated Film ‘Epic’

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 10:32am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios have set its voice cast for Epic, the new 3D CG-animated film by the makers of Ice Age and Rio. The Dan Shere-scripted film, which had been developed under the title Leafmen, will star Beyonce Knowles as Queen Tara, Colin Farrell as Ronin, The Hunger Games‘ Josh Hutcherson as Nod, Amanda Seyfried as Mary Katherine, Johnny Knoxville as Mandrake, Aziz Ansari as Mub, rapper Pitbull as Bufo, Jason Sudeikis as Bomba, and Aerosmith and American Idol frontman Steven Tyler as Nim Galuu. Blake Anderson and Judah Friedlander are also in the cast.

The film is directed by Ice Age helmer Chris Wedge, with Lori Forte and Jerry Davis producing. It is described as a battle deep in the forest between the forces of good and evil. When a teenaged girl finds herself magically transported into this secret universe, she must band together with a rag-tag team of fun and whimsical characters to save that world, which in turn saves the real world. Epic will be released May 24, 2013.

This becomes the first movie project for Beyonce since she took time off for maternity leave. She is also attached to star in the Clint Eastwood-directed remake of A Star Is Born for Warner Bros.

Related: Beyoncé Pregnancy Affects ‘A Star Is Born’

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Bourne Legacy’ With Jeremy Renner

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 10:25am PDT
Mike Fleming

Universal Pictures has just released a new trailer for The Bourne Legacy, the Tony Gilroy-directed spinoff film that stars Jeremy Renner as a Treadstone assassin, same as Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne in the Robert Ludlum novels. The surprise in this trailer is how much Jason Bourne there is in the trailer. You’ll recall that Damon wasn’t ready to make another installment of The Bourne Identity franchise when director Paul Greengrass said no. Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach and Oscar Isaac also star while Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn are back. Damon has left the door open to reprising Jason Bourne, and it looks here like they’ve allotted him ample room to do that while giving stage to the rising Renner. Frank Marshall produced with Captivate’s Jeffrey Weiner and Ben Smith. The film opens August 3.

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CKx Rebrands Itself As Core Media, Adds To Management Team Under Marc Graboff

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 10:06am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: CKx, the company whose portfolio includes reality series American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, the Elvis Presley estate and the Muhammad Ali brand, has been rebranded CORE Media Group, Inc. It is run by former NBC executive Marc Graboff, who was named president earlier this year and has made his first management appointments. “Our focus now is to take CORE to the next level,” Graboff said. “This means everything from creative content, and new means of distribution to changing the way we partner with sponsors, producers and artists to grow our business.” Graboff’s senior management appointments do not include creative positions as he plans to take his time making executive decisions in that area. But he is busy with dealmaking, closing in on several overall deals with unscripted producers and a reality company acquisition. Core is targeting cable reality and scripted series as well as game shows for its development slate, Graboff said, adding that he plans to build the company around its strong core licensing, merchandising and integrated marketing operations. Read More »

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Ratings Rat Race: ‘SYTYCD’ Up In Week 2, ‘Dogs’ & Stanley Cup Final Start Slow

Nellie Andreeva

SYTYCD RatingsFox’s streak of 19 consecutive Wednesday night ratings victories in adults 18-49 and total viewers carried over to the summer. The network won the first off-season Wednesday with a two-hour So You Think You Can Dance for a 20th nightly crown in a row. SYTYCD (2.6/8 in adults 18-49, 7 million viewers) was up 8% in the demo from last Thursday’s season premiere. Read More »

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Lionsgate Considers Turning ‘The Expendables’ Into A TV Series

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 9:30am PDT

The Expendables TV Show SeriesLionsgate is looking at converting several movies into TV series — including, I’m told, the 2010 action film about a team of mercenaries. It wasn’t on CEO Jon Feltheimer’s list this morning, though, when he briefly discussed synergy plans in a conference call with Wall Street analysts following the company’s release last night of its fiscal Q4 results. Feltheimer says  he’s also considering making series from Red and Step Up, film franchises acquired with the recent purchase of Summit Entertainment. Speaking of the deal, Feltheimer noted that Lionsgate’s $500M term loan to fund it “will be paid down on schedule” and its debt will be “significantly reduced.” One of the main reasons for that, of course, is the huge success of The Hunger Games. Due to the timing of the release in March at the end of the studio’s fiscal Q4, about 90% of the profits have yet to be reported. That made Feltheimer confident enough to report that Lionsgate “will generate approximately $900 million in EBITDA over the next three years.”

Related: Lionsgate Reports Fiscal Q4 Loss Due To Summit Acquisition Costs

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EMMYS: TV Academy Merges Lead & Supporting Acting Categories For Movies & Miniseries

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 9:16am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE: Lifetime’s EVP programming Rob Sharenow has issued a statement in response to today’s announcement of the consolidations of the movie and miniseries acting categories:

“We are disappointed the Academy has followed suit with its decision last year to merge the movie and miniseries categories by now combining the lead and supporting actress and actor categories.  Movies and miniseries represent some of television’s finest programming and it is our firm belief the industry should honor each category separately.  The Academy recognizes lead and supporting actresses and actors in other genres — as it should.  However, the continued consolidation of the movies and miniseries categories will unnecessarily deny award-worthy films and performances from receiving their proper recognition.”

PREVIOUS: While the TV longform genre seems to be having a renaissance with such programs as PBS’ Downton Abbey and Sherlock and History’s blockbuster mini Hatfields & McCoys, the movie/miniseries Emmy field continues to shrink. Following last year’s decision by the The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to merge the best TV movie and best mini-series categories into one, now TV Academy’s Board of Governors has voted to consolidate the longform performers categories beginning with the 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards. Instead of having separate lead and supporting acting categories, now there will be only one each for male and female actors: Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or Movie and Outstanding Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. They will feature six nominees each, one more … Read More »

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‘Piranha 3DD’ To Test Day-And-Date Waters

By | Thursday May 31, 2012 @ 9:07am PDT

Dimension Films announced today that it is partnering with Starz Digital Media to offer up the sequel to the fish-ploitation pic Piranha 3DD on-demand and online in places like Amazon, iTunes and Xbox Live the same day as its theatrical release Friday. It marks the first time a 3D movie is taking the increasingly common day-and-date distribution route. Beginning tomorrow, Piranha 3DD will be available for a 48-hour VOD rental; $6.99 in standard and high definition, and $7.99 in 3D. The first film in the franchise made $25M domestic and $83.2 globally when it was released in August 2010. The sequel stars Danielle Panabaker, Matt Bush and David Koechner.

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