Best Buy and founder Richard Schulze have ended talks whereby he and private equity investors were seeking three board seats in exchange for acquiring a minority stake in the consumer electronics giant, Bloomberg reported. Schulze wasn’t able to line up debt and equity financing, according to sources cited by the news service. Schulze’s attempt to arrange a smaller deal with Cerberus Capital Management, TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners also ended. Hopes a deal might be achieved had risen earlier this year after Best Buy posted better-than-expected holiday sales. With a stake of about 20% Schulze is the company’s biggest shareholder and had sought since last year to take over the company he founded more than 40 years ago. He resigned as chairman in June and new CEO Hubert Joly has since stabilized sales, closing some stores and improving e-commerce operations. Schulze might still come up with a last-ditch proposal but it seems unlikely. Best Buy reports Q4 earnings Friday.
Global Showbiz Briefs: BFI Film Fund For Docs, Film London For Artists, RealD In Hospitals, Endemol’s ‘Big Boss’
Documentary Makers To Pitch BFI For Funding
The BFI Film Fund will dish out funding to documentaries via twice-yearly public pitch sessions, in London and at Sheffield Doc/Fest. Documentarians will pitch ideas to a panel of senior execs “from within the BFI Film Fund and wider documentary funding community”, with selected candidates benefitting from a day of expert-led development to help them focus pitches and strengthen ideas. Documentary filmmaking in Britain is on a high after a string of high-profile successes like Man On Wire and Senna, as well as this year’s Oscar- and BAFTA-winning Brit-produced Searching For Sugarman and the BAFTA-winning The Imposter. “Documentary is the punk of the film industry,” said the BFI’s Lizzie Francke. “We’re absolutely committed to supporting the UK’s visionary documentary filmmakers and we’re pleased to be working with Sheffield Doc/Fest on this new way to deliver support directly to the sector.” – Joe Utichi
Hasbro Studios today laid off the three staffers in its Game & Reality Show Production & Development department under VP Kevin Belinkoff. Belinkoff will continue to oversee the studio’s game show efforts, including current series Family Game …
Specialty Preview: ‘Stoker’, ‘War Witch’, ‘A Place At The Table’, ‘Genius On Hold’, ‘The End Of Love’
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
The first weekend after Oscars brings a variety of specialty films making their U.S. theatrical debuts. South Korean auteur Park Chan-wook‘s first English-language thriller Stoker, starring Nicole Kidman, hopes to lure Park fans and new converts, while Tribeca Film hopes to draw audiences for its award winning and Oscar-nominated film War Witch. Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio and Jeff Bridges are just two of the marquee names behind hunger documentary A Place At The Table, which Magnolia Pictures rolls out Friday. Fellow doc Genius On Hold looks at a troubled father-son relationship (one a telecommunications genius, the other a jewel thief) in what may be a precursor to a bigger narrative feature down the road. Variance Films also taps the father-son relationship in the drama The End Of Love.
Director: Park Chan-wook
Writers: Wentworth Miller, Erin Cressida Wilson
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Wentworth Miller penned the screenplay for Stoker under a pseudonym, which eventually made its way to producer Michael Costigan and his colleagues. The story centers on India, whose mysterious Uncle Charlie comes to live with her and her unstable mother following the death of her father. India suspects that her charming uncle has ulterior motives although she also becomes increasingly infatuated with him. “We wondered whether [Park Chan-wook] would read Hollywood scripts as did Searchlight,” Costigan said of the Korean-based filmmaker. “So we thought, ‘let’s give it a shot’. Fortunately his group in the U.S. liked it and he wanted to talk about it. And not only did he want to talk, he started pitching ideas.”
Rebecca De Mornay and Nick Westrate have been cast as leads in NBC’s hourlong pilot Hatfields & McCoys, a take on the infamous feud set in present-day Pittsburgh. The startling death of the McCoy patriarch re-ignites the feud between the two legendary families, unleashing decades of resentment. De Mornay will play the central character of Mary Hatfield, the Mayor of Pittsburgh and matriarch of the powerful Hatfields, who basically run the city through their development company and political connections. Westrate will play Randall Hatfield, Mary’s smug son.
EXCLUSIVE: Sophia Bush is returning to drama series with a lead role in NBC’s hourlong pilot Hatfields & McCoys, a modern-day take on the infamous feud executive produced by Charlize Theron. Written by John Glenn and directed by Michael …
To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the Telluride Film Festival will extend its usual four-day run to five days, it was announced today. The 2013 edition will run August 29 to September …
Creators of the 1991-99 ABC comedy series Home Improvement are suing Walt Disney Television in a dispute over syndication revenues and calculations of the creators’ profit-sharing in the show. Writer-producers Matt Williams, Carmen Finestra, David McFadzean and their respective production companies accuse Disney of syndicating Home Improvement for significantly less than its fair value in certain markets and of failing to properly account for their share of profits on the series. Plaintiffs Williams, Finestra and McFadzean were executive producers and showrunners on Home Improvement for eight seasons, overseeing all aspects of production. While the series was in production, they received writing and exec producing fees under various agreements.
Plaintiffs say in their suit (read it here) that Disney sold Home Improvement in New York City, the nation’s largest TV market, for no monetary consideration under a barter-only agreement. In Dallas, however, Disney licensed the series to the local CBS affiliate for $3.75 million plus barter. In the No. 3 market Chicago, the deal was for $12.18 million plus barter. In Los Angeles, the No. 3 market, it was $5.2 million plus barter. Additionally, plaintiffs say Disney improperly charged expenses and distribution fees to the series, failed to report merchandising and music publishing revenue plus failed to report licensing fees for format rights in foreign territories. These and other studio actions reduced the creators’ share of the series profits despite Home Improvement‘s more than $1.5 billion in revenue to date. The creators and their production companies are entitled to 75% of net profits for the series and the studio is entitled to 25%, according to the suit.
EXCLUSIVE: Focus Features and Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are closing a deal to acquire the new Neil Gaiman novel The Ocean At The End Of The Lane. Joe Wright is being attached to direct, and his Shoebox Films partner Paul Webster is coming aboard to produce with Hanks and Goetzman. The film will be a co-production between Playtone and Shoebox.
The Ocean At The End of the Lane will be published in June by William Morrow. According to jacket copy, it’s about about memory and magic and survival, about the power of stories and the darkness inside each of us. The narrator describes a tale that begins when he was seven and a lodger stole the family’s car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and a menace unleashed — within his family, and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. His only defense is three women, on a ramshackle farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.