Tribeca And Doha Film Fest End Partnership After four years of collaboration, the Doha Film Institute and Tribeca Enterprises have announced the dissolution of their partnership on the Doha Tribeca Film Festival. Doha Film Institute CEO Abdulaziz Al-Khater says the Qatar-based festival will continue in a “new niche” with future plans to be laid out during Cannes next month. I’m told the separation was amicable after Tribeca helped launch the festival. Last year, DTFF showcased Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist which was made with the backing of the DFI. In Berlin earlier this year, Participant Media partnered with the DFI to form a $100M revolving fund to finance a slate of feature films.
Fraser Robinson Joins ITV Studios Global Entertainment
Former NBC Universal International Channels exec Fraser Robinson has joined ITV Studios Global Entertainment as VP scripted acquisitions & co-productions. He will be charged with growing the drama slate and co-production portfolio of the commercial arm of UK broadcaster ITV. He was previously director of scripted development for NBCU’s international channels group in London with responsibility for developing and managing co-produced content across over 50 platforms worldwide and oversaw series including Haven, Fairly Legal, Rookie Blue and Shattered. Read More »
Four days after Sony slotted the Cameron Diaz-Jason Segel comedy Sex Tape for July 2, 2014, Warner Bros has lit the fuse on a potentially explosive faceoff with Melissa McCarthy. The Identity Thief star’s latest road-trip raunchfest Tammywill hit theaters that same Independence Day weekend, setting up an intriguing showdown. McCarthy stars in the New Line pic as a woman who loses her job and discovers her husband is cheating, then hits the highway for a bout of self-discovery along with her grandmother, a cussin’, diabetic boozehound. Mark Duplass last month landed a key role in the flick, which was written by McCarthy and hubby Ben Falcone; the latter stepped in as director for TV veteran Beth McCarthy-Miller, who was to make her feature helming debut. Tammy also stars Kathy Bates, Susan Sarandon, Allison Janney and Dan Aykroyd.
Canadian singer and actress Deanna Durbin, who enjoyed a short but successful career as a Universal contract star from 1936 to 1948, has died. She was 91. Durbin passed away “a few days ago”, her son Peter H. David told the NYT. Cause of death was not disclosed. Durbin was discovered at age 13 by MGM but moved to Universal the next year. There her debut film Three Smart Girls earned a Best Picture Oscar nomination and launched her career as one of the most popular teen idols of her generation. In 1939 she shared a Juvenile Academy Award with Mickey Rooney for their “significant contribution in bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth, and as juvenile players setting a high standard of ability and achievement”. Career highlights include One Hundred Men And A Girl (1937), First Love (1939), and The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943). Attempts at a more mature image led the ex-child star to roles in the 1944 noir Christmas Holiday opposite Gene Kelly and 1945′s Lady On A Train. She retired in 1949 and in 1960 earned a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.
Saoirse Ronan and Alexis Bledel star in Violet & Daisy as a pair of hit girls swept up in intrigue with their latest target (James Gandolfini). Precious writer Geoffrey Fletcher wrote and directed the 2011 Toronto Film Fest entry. Cinedigm is promising a June release but has yet to lock down a date. Check out the trailer:
EXCLUSIVE: TNT dramaMajorCrimes is getting its upcoming second season supersized. The network has ordered four additional episodes from The Closer spinoff, bringing its second season order to 19 episodes. That is almost twice the size of Major Crimes‘ first season, which consisted of 10 episodes. Additionally, another TNT drama going into its second season, the Eric McCormack starrer Perception, has received a pickup for one additional episode, bringing its Season 2 order to 14 episodes. Major Crimes’ second season debuts on June 10, Perception‘s on June 25. Major Crimes‘ debut, which aired immediately after the blockbuster series finale of The Closer last August, drew 9.5 million viewers, a new record as basic cable’s most-watched series launch ever. With an average audience of nearly 7 million, Major Crimes’ first season ranked as cable’s No. 1 new series for last year.
Les Moonves is out to get Aereo by any means necessary, but he “doesn’t lose sleep over it,” the CBS Corp president and CEO told the Milken Institute’s Global Conference today. “Barry Diller has done what he likes to do, disrupt things,” Moonves added. However, the CBS chief did say that if the situation couldn’t be resolved in the courts, he is more than willing to take CBS to cable. “We can do it in a few days. If we go to cable, if we are forced to, then about 10% of America will not get our signal and I don’t think they will like that,” Moonves said Tuesday. The CBS chief said that with around 2,000 subscribers in NYC, the “illegal” Aereo won’t hurt the network but that he still intends to shut them down. “We will go after them in the courts and if that doesn’t work there are other remedies. There are financial remedies; there are congressional remedies.” On Monday at the conference, IAC CEO Diller said that CBS and the other broadcasters suing Aereo want Congress to save them if their copyright infringement suits fail. Fox and Univision have also threatened to move to cable if Aereo prevails.
Outdoor Channel shares are up 7.4% in post-market trading after InterMedia Partners, in a surprise move, offered $9.15 a share – about $236.5M – for the cable network. That tops the $8.75 a share bid from real estate and sports mogul Stanley Kroenke the board accepted in March. ”We are confident that you, after consultation with your outside legal counsel and financial advisors, will conclude that our proposal constitutes a superior proposal,” InterMedia says in a letter today to the Outdoor Channel board. The offer comes ahead of a May 8 shareholder meeting to vote on the Kroenke deal. It reopens a decision that appeared to have been settled after Outdoor Channel elected to go with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment. That ended an $8 a share cash and stock deal it cut in November with InterMedia which also owns The Sportsman Channel and 15 magazines including Guns & Ammo and Petersen’s Hunting. InterMedia’s new bid seems to reflect a change of heart: It said in March, after Kroenke appeared to have prevailed, that “Outdoor Channel presented an attractive merger partner for us, but our first duty is to our investors and there are prices at which some deals stop making sense.”
The May sweep has begun, and this was the week that scripted struck back. After NBC‘s The Voice took the top spots in both total viewers and adults 18-49 during the week of April 15-21, it seemed the show might be poised to lead a reality a win streak, joined by fellow unscripted shows Dancing With The Stars and American Idol, which filled out the rest of the Top 5 most-watched of the week. Idol also came in third overall in the demo. Well, it was a very short streak: Original dramas and sitcoms swung their weight around in Week 31 of the 2012-2013 season.
The Voice’s April 22 broadcast held onto its No. 1 spot in the demo for the week of April 22-28 with a 4.9/14, but CBS’ The Big Bang Theory on April 25 took second place with a 4.5/15 to push the second Voice of the week to third. Among total viewers, let’s just say reality was schooled by the broadcast nets as a new NCIS on April 23 took the top spot with 17.332 million viewers, Big Bang Theory was second with 15.050 million and NCIS: LA took third with 14.216 million to beat the Monday airing of The Voice (14.152 million). ABC’s DWTS came in fifth with 13.765 million. April 24’s American Idol was eighth with 12.457 million watching. Long story short, it was repeats that gave Voice such dominance in Week 30. In Week 31, the CBS boys were back in town. It will be interesting to watch this week to see whether the first of NBC’s two weeks of five hours of The Voice pays off, or if Week 30 was really just a one-time treat.
Tony Stark himself (aka Robert Downey Jr) rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange this morning in celebration of Iron Man3‘s May 3rd release. Several Marvel execs, as well as NYSE’s Scott Cutler also were on board. Whatever happens with the movie, Disney’s a hit on Wall Street: Its shares reached yet another all-time high yesterday after UBS Investment Research’s John Janedis upgraded his recommendation to “buy” from “neutral,” raising his target price to $72 from $55. Disney closed today at $62.84, down 0.3%. After ringing the bell, Downey talked with CNBC’s Bob Pisani about the film’s success so far:
Not bad for six months of work. To be fair, though, the tally includes $14M in restricted stock units to replace some of the compensation that Marissa Mayer forfeited in July when she left Google to take the top job at Yahoo, according to the proxy filed today at the SEC. There’s also a one time retention award of worth $30M that vests over five years. Her package for last year included $454,862 salary, $35M stock awards, $1.1M in non equity incentives, and $40,540 in other compensation. Almost all of the last category is for personal security services. Mayer wasn’t even Yahoo’s highest paid employee last year: The crown goes to COO Henrique de Castro who made $39.2M after joining in November from Google. Yahoo laid out a lot of cash to take care of all the execs who came and left last year. Former Interim CEO Ross Levinsohn, who held the top job from May to July, made $13.4M including a $1.5M severance payment. His predecessor Scott Thompson, who served from January to May, made $24.3M. Shareholders will have a chance to register their opinions about the outlays in an advisory vote at the annual meeting to be held June 25 in Santa Clara, Calif. Also on the agenda is a vote on a shareholder resolution asking Yahoo to publish an annual Corporate Social Responsibility report. The company opposes the move, saying that it is “working proactively … Read More »
The studio’s being “pretty aggressive” about at least one potential venture and hopes to have “news to share pretty quickly,” CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg told analysts this evening following his company’s Q1 earnings release. He didn’t provide details, but offered his comment in response to a question about TV opportunities with a traditional cable channel, a possible DreamWorks Animation channel, and online. “There are too many plates spinning right now and we don’t have certainty on which will be the best,” he says. Cable presents a “complicated set of challenges and circumstances,” and while he’s “not close to concluding a deal” there “we continue to have interest.” DWA’s three shows on Nickelodeon make a “negligible” contribution to the company, mostly from licensing and merchandising. But the studio has equity in Dragons on Cartoon Network which is “a more advantageous model for us.” Plans for a Netflix show based on the upcoming movie Turbo provide “another set of economics that have opportunity.” Indeed, he says that with Classic Media’s 450 titles “it is a meaningful place of opportunity for us.”
The first confirmed resident of ABC Family‘s Ravenswood is bad boy Caleb Rivers. Pretty Little Liars co-star Tyler Blackburn will be joining the series’ upcoming spinoff. The series hails from the same auspices as Pretty Little Liars: Warner Horizon, Alloy and executive producers Marlene King, Oliver Goldstick and Joseph Dougherty. The new series takes place in Ravenswood, a town nearLiars‘ hometown of Rosewood PA, and revolves around five strangers who are connected by the curse that has plagued Ravenswood for generations. Caleb (Blackburn) will travel to Ravenswood in the third annual Liars Halloween special in October, which will be used to introduce Ravenswood and its inhabitants and launch the new series. Blackburn, repped by Gersh and James Feldman & Cynthia Farrelly Gesner, has been a PLL fan favorite. He has been on the hit drama since the end of the first season, upped to a regular after Season 2. He will appear in every episode of PLL‘s upcoming fourth season this summer before segueing to Ravenswood.
Alcon Television Group, the television division of Alcon Entertainment, and Frank Sinatra Enterprises are teaming to produce an as yet untitled documentary about the life and music of Frank Sinatra to premiere on HBO. Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney will direct the four-hour mini-series docu described as an up close and personal examination of Sinatra, his life, his music and his legendary career. Never before seen footage, including industry and home movies, as well as private and professional performances, will be featured. Frank Marshall, Nancy Sinatra, Charles Pignone, Alcon Television President Sharon Hall, and co-CEO’s Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove are executive producers. Kennedy-Marshall Company and Jigsaw Productions also are partnering on the project.
It’s the latest jettisoning by KSL-TV, Salt Lake City’s NBC affiliate owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The station said last night that it will stop airing freshman drama Hannibal due to the show’s “extensive graphic nature”, showing the local news in its place. Local CW affiliate KUCW has picked up Hannibal and will air it at midnight on Saturdays, after Saturday Night Live, which it also carries because KSL will not. KSL has made similar decisions not to air what it considers inappropriate content from NBC, including passing on sitcoms like The New Normal, Coupling and God, The Devil And Bob, and the now-cancelled drama The Playboy Club. NBC declined to comment on the latest move, which comes after the network itself scrapped Episode 4 of Hannibal that was slated to air April 25. That episode, “Ceuf”, was about families who were killed by their missing children — a plotline that didn’t sit well following the Newtown killings. The episode was later converted into webisodes that bridge the gap between Episode 3 and Episode 5, though the episode was broadcast in its entirety outside the U.S.
Gamers are going nuts over Rockstar‘s new video game sequel promo. It teases Grand Theft Auto V‘s three uberviolent protagonists — a Tony Soprano-esque ex-con, a Wire-style gangbanger, and a drug-addled hillbilly psychotic. (Hollywood never makes trailers this ballsy.) 2008′s GTA IV broke records moving 3.6 million units in its first day and has sold over 25 million copies to date. The studios have even cleared out of GTA V‘s way – they’ve set zero pics aimed at young males for two weeks after its September 17 release, when that demo will be at home glued to their consoles. Check out the trailer:
The No. 1 theater chain probably wants to forget the first three months of 2013. It ended up with $22.4M in net income, -51.6% vs. the period last year, on revenues of $642.8M, -6.1%. Analysts thought revenues would hit $652.7M. Earnings of 13 cents a share matched expectations. Admission revenues fell 7.9% to $436.6M as attendance fell 7.6% to $49.6M with an average ticket price of $8.79, down 4 cents. Concessions revenue fell just 4.6% to $171.8M as average spending per patron rose 11 cents to $3.46. “In a challenging box office environment, we’re pleased that the increase in our average concession sales per patron and our focus on controlling variable costs helped drive free cash flow of over $90M in the first quarter,” CEO Amy Miles says.
EXCLUSIVE: Condé Nast Entertainment has named development executive Gina Marcheschi as VP Scripted Television Series. Marcheschi will oversee the development and management of CNE’s scripted TV projects. She will be based in the company’s Los Angeles office, reporting to CNE president Dawn Ostroff. Marcheschi joins CNE’s EVP Jeremy Steckler, who oversees motion pictures, and EVP Michael Klein, who is in charge of alternative TV programming. “Gina has an extensive and entrepreneurial background in both television and film production,” said Ostroff. “Her knowledge and expertise in developing projects for both domestic and international television audiences makes her an invaluable asset to the CNE as we build our television business.” Read More »
Lightning Strikes For SXSW Comedy ‘Gus’ Lightning Entertainment has acquired international rights to the comedy Gus, starring Michelle Monaghan, Radha Mitchell and Michael Weston. It premiered at this year’s SXSW and is the feature debut of Jessie McCormack, who wrote and directed. ICM Partners reps Monaghan and Mitchell and is also repping U.S. rights to the film in Cannes, where it will make its market bow May 16. Gus centers on Lizzie (Mitchell), who longs to start a family with her husband Peter but is unable to conceive. Her best friend Andie (Monaghan), single and adrift, gets pregnant from a one-night stand and offers to give Lizzie the baby. Reluctantly, Peter agrees to be the child’s father, and before he knows it Andie has moved into the guest room for the duration of her pregnancy. When Peter invites his ne’er-do-well recovering-addict brother (Weston) to the house, chaos ensues. McCormack produces alongside Kathryn Himoff, Kevin Fitzmaurice Comer and Erik Van Wyck. Richard N. Gladstein is exec producer. Read More »
New York (April 30, 2013) – Cohen Media Group has acquired all U.S. release rights to MADEMOISELLE C., it was announced today by Chairman/CEO Charles S. Cohen. The film about former Vogue Paris editor-in-chief and French fashion stylist Carine Roitfeld, will be released theatrically in major U.S. markets in the Spring of 2014. Carine Roitfeld is the most renowned French fashion editor on the planet along with her opposite number at American Vogue, Anna Wintour. During her 10 years as editor-in-chief at Vogue Paris she was noted for her successes and scandals (“porno chic” was her creation). Last year, Roitfeld left Vogue Paris with the greatest challenge to date, create a new fashion magazine: CR. Having been granted unprecedented access, this documentary follows the making of a magazine from the first editorial meeting through to the extravagant launch party in New York.