In the latest effort mining its deep library catalog for feature film franchises, MGM said today that it is developing a new Pink Panther movie, a live-action/animated hybrid that will take its cues from the tone set by the original Friz Freleng and David De Patie cartoons in addition to that of Blake Edwards’ films. That means that the focus will be on the Pink Panther character itself more than Inspector Clouseau, who took over the spotlight for Edwards’ movies thanks to Peter Sellers’ creation of one of the most iconic comedy characters of all time. There have been 11 Pink Panther feature films (and countless cartoons and shorts) spanning five decades — like another MGM property James Bond one of the movie business’ longest-running feature franchises.
Walter Mirisch, exec producer of the original movies and TV series, has come aboard to produce the new pic along with Edwards’ widow Julie Andrews. The Simpsons Movie and Monsters Inc director David Silverman will direct. MGM’s SVP Production Cassidy Lange will oversee the film for the studio. Read More »
The new decidedly NSFW trailer for the horror-spoof sequel also has some fun at the expense of those semi-disturbing Facebook Look Back things. The Open Road pic sees Marlon Wayans moving into his dream house with new squeeze Jaime Pressly, but nightmare house is more like it. Michael Tiddes, who directed last year’s original that unearthed $40M domestic, returns to the scene of the crime for A Haunted House 2, and Wayans and Rick Alverez reprise their gigs as writer-producers. Gabriel Iglesias, Ashley Rickards, Steele Stebbins, Essence Atkins, Affion Crocket, Dave Sheridan, Hayes MacArthur, Missi Pyle and Cedric the Entertainer co-star. Have a look:
Spike TV has picked up a fifth season of Ink Master. The network has ordered 16 one-hour episodes for a fall debut, it announced today. Ink Master is hosted by Dave Navarro and produced by Original Media. It features tattoo artists from around the country battling it out each week in permanent ink for a $100,000 cash prize and an editorial feature in Inked magazine. Season 4 (through five episodes) has delivered 1.72 million viewers and improved the timeslot in Adults 18-49 by 81% and Adults 18-34 by 115%, according to Spike TV.
Tom O’Donnell, the current president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 817 in New York, has been named director of the Teamsters Motion Picture and Theatrical Trades Division, replacing the venerable Leo Reed, who left the post in January after 25 years at the helm. The union, founded in 1903, represents 1.4M workers throughout North America and Puerto Rico — of that number, 10,000 work in the motion picture/theatrical trades division. O’Donnell will be the representative on the national level for coordinating bargaining and will address any safety standards, work rules, and other issues on the nation’s movie sets. O’Donnell was first elected Secretary-Treasurer of Local 817 in 1990 and was elected president in 2012. He began his career, however, as a driver on the motion picture production of Stepford Wives in 1974. The announcement was made today by Teamsters general president Jim Hoffa, who said in a statement that “no one understands the industry better than Tom. He’s a tremendous leader who will continue to help Teamster locals navigate the ever changing industry landscape.” He added that O’Donnell has been “a strong partner … from coast to coast.”
EXCLUSIVE: Just because spring has sprung doesn’t mean there isn’t still action coming out of January’s Sundance Film Festival. I’m told that Paramount is closing a low-seven-figure deal for Rudderless, the film that Shameless star William H. Macy directed. It closed the Park City festival. Paramount will acquire North American rights and several additional territories. It will start with a theatrical run in a deal that is taking shape with the Samuel Goldwyn Co. The film will be released later this fall.
Macy stars with Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, Selena Gomez, Laurence Fishburne, and Felicity Huffman in a musical drama about the power of a parent’s love. Scripted by Casey Twenter and Jeff Robison, the film revolves around a grieving father in a downward spiral who stumbles across a box of his recently deceased son’s demo tapes and lyrics. Shocked by the discovery of this unknown talent, he forms a band in the hope of finding peace in the wake of his loss. Keith Kjarval of Unified Pictures and Brad Greiner are producing.
WME Global is closing the deal. Macy makes his feature directorial debut on the film. Radiant’s Mimi Steinbauer is selling foreign.
This is sure to hurt Charter Communications’ already long-shot effort to persuade Time Warner Cable shareholders to reject the $45B sale to Comcast. The cable giant plans to add $2.5B in share repurchases to the current plan to buy back $3B in 2014, Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis told Bloomberg. He noted that when the deal with TWC was announced, the No. 2 cable company cancelled its own planned $2.5B stock repurchase. “We’d evaluate whether we’d want to accelerate [Comcast's] plan and increase it above $3 billion, based on the fact that Time Warner Cable had terminated their buyback plan,” he told the news service. His company could finance the stock repurchase from the cash it expects to collect after a merger when it sells systems with at least 3M subscribers, bringing its total to about 30M. Comcast and TWC’s stock prices each declined more than 5% over the last few weeks, but rebounded today. TWC’s +1.4% in afternoon trading and Comcast is +1.3%.
EXCLUSIVE: Director Joe Johnston has signed with WME for representation. Johnston had been in play since agents Martin Spencer and Adam Kanter left Resolution to go to Paradigm. He had been with CAA with Kanter for a long time, before the agent made the move to Resolution and Johnston went with him. This is a big get for WME. Johnston’s hits include October Sky, Captain America: The First Avenger, Jurassic Park III, Jumanji and Honey I Shrunk The Kids. He is currently developing the high-concept sci-fi thriller Extinction by Spenser Cohen with Mandeville and Good Universe. His next film, Not Safe For Work, is set at Universal. Johnston continues to be lawyered by Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown.
The hottest songwriter at the moment, Pharrell Williams (and his signature hat) will join NBC’s singing competition The Voice next season. He replaces original coach CeeLo Green who recently announced his departure. NBC is yet to announce whether fellow original Voice coaches Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine would be back for Season 7. “It’s been a huge year for Pharrell, with recognition for his contribution in the world of music — the ‘Despicable Me’ franchise soundtracks, his Oscar-nominated song Happy and his Grammy-winning collaboration with Daft Punk on the breakout dance hit Get Lucky,” said Paul Telegdy, President, Alternative and Late Night Programming for NBC Entertainment. “His dominance in record sales in 2014, coupled with his incomparable accomplishments in the world of fashion and design, make him an irresistible addition to The Voice family,” said Paul Telegdy. Singer-songwriter-producer Pharrell was previously an advisor to team Usher on season four of The Voice. He performed the hit single Blurred Lines with Robin Thicke last May on The Voice. Pharrell is the lead vocalist and drummer for the band N.E.R.D. and is a partner in the record production duo the Neptunes.
EXCLUSIVE: Matt Schwartz has been hired as VP Film and Television at Weed Road/Safehouse Pictures, the shingle run by Akiva Goldsman, Joby Harold and Tory Tunnell. This marks a return for Schwartz, who began his career in development at Weed Road after a stint at ICM. He most recently has been an exec at Hutch Parker Entertainment. Weed Road/Safehouse shares a first-look deal at Warner Bros, borne of their first collaboration King Arthur, which Harold directed and which Guy Ritchie will direct by year’s end. This is the first of what is conceived as a six-film franchise hatched by Harold that Weed Road/Safehouse will produce. Goldsman most recently directed Winter’s Tale and is rewriting Insurgent, the sequel to Lionsgate’s Divergent. Said Tunnell: “Akiva, Joby and I are thrilled to bring Matt into the fold. He’s one of the best and brightest out there and we couldn’t be more excited to have him join us on the lot.”
Summit Entertainment has hired Oscar-nominated scribe Melisa Wallack to do a polish on the Vin Diesel actioner The Last Witch Hunter, to be directed by Breck Eisner (Sahara, The Crazies). Wallack earned her first Academy Award nomination for last year’s Dallas Buyers Club, which she co-scripted with Craig Borten. Before that she wrote and co-directed 2007 dramedy Meet Bill and penned 2012 Snow White fantasy Mirror Mirror, working on both projects with producer Bernie Goldmann, who co-directed the former and is a producer on Last Witch Hunter. The supernatural tale, about an immortal witch hunter (Diesel) who partners with a witch to save humanity from the covens of New York City, was originally penned by Cory Goodman (Priest) and revised by D.W. Harper. Pic has been brewing since Summit bought Goodman’s pitch for mid-six figures in 2011 with Timur Bekmambetov attached to helm. Eisner came aboard last year to direct. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Richard Dreyfuss has joined the TBS comedy pilot Your Family Or Mine, from Greg Malins, Sony Pictures TV and Fanfare. Based on a Keshet format, the show centers on Oliver and Kelli, who are living proof of the adage “When you marry someone, you don’t just marry them, you marry their whole family.” It is a family comedy with an unusual structure — each episode focuses on a different side of the family: one week featuring the couple dealing with Kelli’s family, the next spent with Oliver’s. Dreyfuss, repped by APA and The Schiff Co., will play Ricky, Oliver’s father, opposite JoBeth Williams’ Louis. This marks the first series-regular role for Oscar-winner Dreyfuss since his starring turn on the 2001 CBS drama The Education Of Max Bickford. Over the past decade he’s done arcs on Showtime’s Weeds and NBC’s Parenthood. He most recently wrapped Darren Aronofsky and Joel Viertel’s feature Zipper and was seen in Paranoia.
Related: 2014 TBS Pilots
Looks like more than the paranormal are a threat when it comes to The Conjuring. After months in arbitration with Warner Bros over who owns what rights to the sequels and spinoffs of the successful New Line-released supernatural thriller, producer Tony DeRosa-Grund and his Evergreen Media late last week filed a breach of contract complaint (read it here) against the studio and its subsidiary. And it’s not just over movies: the 30-page complaint alleges that because of this dispute with Warners and New Line, Lionsgate eventually pulled out of a proposed Conjuring TV series deal it had with Evergreen in late summer last year. “As a direct consequence of Defendants’ deliberate actions and interference, Evergreen is unable to collect the compensation owed under its agreement with Lionsgate and has suffered monetary damages that reach well into the millions of dollars,” says the complaint filed in federal court in Texas on March 28. Released on July 19 last year, Conjuring has pulled in more than $318 million globally, and a sequel set for October 2015 was announced last month. Among other claims by DeRosa-Grund and Evergreen is that the producer has not been paid the profit participation he and New Line agreed on out of their use of case-file material the plaintiffs owned of the investigations of Ed and Lorrain Warren.
Related: What’s In A Title? ‘Conjuring’ Producer & New Line In Dispute Over TV Rights
The plaintiffs evoke the names of Bob and Harvey Weinstein in their dense complaint as yet another example of Warner Bros and New Line playing a rights shell game.
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Dianna Agron, Griffin Dunne and Richard Masur have been added to the cast of Tumbledown, the romantic comedy that stars Jason Sudeikis and Rebecca Hall. Principal photography is now underway in Devens, MA. Sean Mewshaw directs from Desi Van Til’s original screenplay, which follows a woman (Hall) who is unable to move on after the death of her husband, an acclaimed musician and the subject of a biography she’s struggling to write. She meets a brash New York academic (Sudeikis) who has a different take on her husband’s life and death, and the pair must collaborate to craft the famous singer’s story and begin to write the next chapter in their lives together. Agron was last seen in Luc Besson’s The Family opposite Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer and recently wrapped Zipper opposite Patrick Wilson. Dunne co-starred in The Dallas Buyers Club. CAA packaged the project and is repping North American rights and Sierra/Affinity is handling international sales.
After 13 years apart, Erwin More and Brian Medavoy are reuniting to restart More/Medavoy Management. They currently rep two clients together — Neil McDonough (Mob City, Desperate Housewives) and Douglas Smith (Percy Jackson, Big Love, Ouji) — and others are expected to join Medavoy’s current management roster. Neither Medavoy nor More would say which clients were coming with them, but there are a number of actors and actresses that do not have managers at Paradigm. More leaves the agency business after 12 years and has gotten the blessing of Paradigm, where he has worked for the past five years. At one point he was head of the TV talent department where he worked with Sharon Stone, McDonough, Mariska Hargitay (now at CAA), Chris Vance, Jill Hennessy, Roseanne Barr, Chevy Chase and Dwight Yoakam and others. (Andrew Ruf continues to head the talent department at Paradigm).
Prior to Paradigm, More worked as co-head of the talent department at the former William Morris Agency. Medavoy left the business and lived in Whitefish, MT, for five years before coming back and building his own management company again. He currently represents such clients as Paula Patton, McDonough, Bella Heathcote, Kris Polaha, Reno Wilson, Michael Beach, Ben Koldyke and Eric Balfour. Manager (and former UTA agent) Matt Sherman joined with Medavoy last year. And Medavoy’s current producing partner, lit and talent manager Alan Nevins, will continue his association with More/Medavoy via Renaissance Literary and Talent. Nevins and Medavoy are already producing Gucci, a miniseries about Patricia Gucci, the daughter of fashion icon Aldo Gucci, which is in development at E! ”We’re putting the band back together,” laughed Medavoy, who said that their shared client McDonough helped paved the way for them to reunite after working on the actor’s projects together. “I have a 13-year relationship with Erwin and I know what we have done together in the past and what we can do together now. We’re not going to try to recreate More/Medavoy as it was because the business model now — with Amazon, Netflix and (other platforms) — there are a lot more opportunities out there (for their clients).” Read More »
The National Association of Broadcasters is upset, but consumer groups are gleeful, after the FCC followed Chairman Tom Wheeler’s lead and approved orders that limit TV stations’ ability to jointly negotiate ad sales and retransmission consent deals. In a 3-2 vote on party lines, commissioners said that a station that sells at least 15% of the ads for a would-be rival will be considered to own the station — which could run afoul of ownership caps. Broadcasters can get a waiver if they demonstrate that the arrangement serves the public, or doesn’t affect the smaller station’s programming. Companies have two years to either secure a waiver or unwind sidecar deals. In a separate, 5-0 vote the FCC barred joint retransmission consent negotiations involving two of the four highest-rated stations in a market. Wheeler says that the changes will promote competition and diversity. TV station collaborations represent “a growing end run” around the FCC’s ownership limits.
Former Commissioner Michael Copps, now with Common Cause, says that he hopes the vote “marks the long overdue start of a new era of public interest leadership.” Another FCC vet, former Chairman Michael Powell — now CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association — also praised the retransmission consent rules saying that “such coordinated behavior harms consumers by artificially inflating the cost of watching over-the-air broadcast stations on cable systems.” But NAB’s Dennis Wharton says that the vote threatens the ability of “free and local TV stations to survive in a hyper-competitive world dominated by pay TV giants.” He adds that “the public interest will not be served by this arbitrary and capricious decision.” Read More »
Johnny Depp started his Chinese promotional tour for Transcendence in Beijing tonight, playing guitar for about 1,000 invited guests and fans. The event was held at the 798 art zone inside a decomissioned factory that was built during the period of military-industrial cooperation between the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. Depp is in Beijing to boost the profile of Wally Pfister’s directorial debut, which opens day-and-date with the U.S. on April 18. Warner Bros is releasing Stateside. Hollywood stars are increasingly traveling to China to promote their films in the world’s second largest box office market. This two-day tour is hosted by DMG Entertainment which produced Transcendence with Alcon Entertainment and Straight Up Films. Last year, DMG pulled off a similar one-of-a-kind event in support of Iron Man 3, bringing Robert Downey Jr to town for a gala inside the Forbidden City. That show looked a little more formal, while tonight’s was more rock-and-roll, with a massive fan base coming out to see Depp. Joining him onstage was Taiwanese R&B/hard rock artist David Tao, a big local star. Depp jammed on guitar while Tao sang a tune made famous in the early 1990s by Cui Jian, aka “The Father of Chinese Rock”. Here’s an exclusive snap of the duo:
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EXCLUSIVE: Sheldon Turner has been hired by New Regency and Ubisoft to write a new draft of Splinter Cell, turning this video game adaptation into a reunion of another movie that hasn’t happened yet. I’ll explain. Turner wrote the Sony Pictures film Everest, about the attempt by George Mallory to be first to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Doug Liman is set to direct that film and Tom Hardy is starring in it. But the picture got postponed after another film called Everest took the hill first, this one about a 1996 climb that turned deadly when a blizzard hit just as the climbers were about to reach the top. Universal Pictures, Working Title and Cross Creek are in production right now, with Sam Worthington and Robin Wright recently joining Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Jake Gyllenhaal, Martin Henderson, Emily Watson and Thomas Wright in the Baltasar Kormakur-directed film.
Even though they didn’t get to the start line on the project, Hardy, Liman and Turner must have had a good collaboration as they prepared. Hardy, who has long been attached as Splinter Cell star, first brought in Liman and now they’ve enlisted Turner. They will get this new version ready to shoot in August. American Hustle‘s Eric Warren Singer wrote the most recent draft. Turner is then scheduled to direct Borderland at Relativity. The hope … Read More »