Next to the all-star fireworks Warner Bros unleashed at CinemaCon last month with Adam Sandler, Johnny Depp and Clint Eastwood, the studio kicked off WonderCon’s Saturday movie schedule on a sleepy note with a low wattage of stars. Comparisons to Disney’s previous D23s are inevitable, especially due to the fact that the Mouse House has trotted out such megastars at this same venue — the Anaheim Convention Center Arena — in its previous confabs, i.e. Angelina Jolie, Natalie Portman, and Robert Downey Jr. First up for Warner Bros today was a fresh Edge of Tomorrow trailer, spotlighting co-star Bill Paxton as a Kentucky sergeant. Paxton later took the stage, but Edge of Tomorrow star Tom Cruise didn’t show; the crowd didn’t seem to mind, though, rolling their cheers in appreciation for the Aliens thespian, but still — Cruise isn’t here. Nor was Godzilla castmember Bryan Cranston, a fave for his panel appearances for Breaking Bad at ComicCon.
Related: WonderCon: 20th Century Fox Executes Bryan Singer PR Control During ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ Panel
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On Thursday, Thierry Frémaux will unveil the lineup for the 67th running of the Cannes Film Festival. Speculation, comme d’habitude, has been rife for at least the past month as to which titles may make the trip to the Croisette. While one exec with movies in contention says, “It’s going to the wire this year,” some contenders are coming into sharper focus. Although nothing is confirmed until Frémaux says so, among the titles I hear consistently cited as near faits-accomplis are DreamWorks Animation‘s How To Train Your Dragon 2; the Dardenne brothers’ Two Days, One Night with Marion Cotillard; Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher; Mike Leigh‘s Mr Turner; Tommy Lee Jones‘ The Homesman; and David Cronenberg‘s Maps To The Stars. There are many, many more required to fill the Competition, Out-of-Competition, Un Certain Regard, Special Screenings and other sections. Here’s a primer for what’s looking likely, and what isn’t, to make the cut in an official category on Thursday:
Related: Cannes: 67th Fest Poster Celebrates Marcello Mastroianni In Fellini’s ‘8 1/2’
We know that Nicole Kidman-starrer Grace Of Monaco is the opening-night film. French distributor Gaumont is planning a classic Cannes soirée which will follow the official screening and dinner on May 14. In other certainties, French debut feature Party Girl is opening the Un Certain Regard sidebar; a less showy title than 2013’s Bling Ring, but one that fits with UCR jury president Pablo Trapero’s take on the section this year. Jane Campion, the only woman ever to win a Palme d’Or (for The Piano in 1993), is president of the Competition jury whose other members will be revealed shortly.
Among the high-profile Hollywood titles expected is DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon sequel, which I hear is getting a special screening. The studio isn’t commenting, but DWA and Cannes have a long history – going back to when Frémaux took over the selection in 2001 and caused a stir by putting Shrek in the Competition. We’ve heard that Frémaux has put a full-court press on Paul Thomas Anderson to get Inherent Vice (Warner Bros) to the festival. But with a release date at the end of 2014, this could be a long shot, and some I’ve spoken with believe it won’t be ready for next month. Some wonder if Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys could make the trip. Eastwood has been to Cannes several times before and is esteemed by Frémaux who gave him the inaugural Lumière Prize in 2009 at the October festival he oversees in Lyon with Bertrand Tavernier. Although I’m told Jersey Boys isn’t a typical Cannes film, I wouldn’t fully rule it out — it’s also got a timely June release. Read More »
Joey King (The Conjuring, Oz The Great And Powerful) has been cast in Lifetime’s original movie Outlaw Prophet from Sony Pictures Television. It focuses on the true story of Warren Jeffs, the leader of a Fundamentalist Mormon polygamist sect who spent more than a year on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List, eluded authorities and was ultimately caught by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper. Based on Stephen Singular’s book When Men Become Gods, the movie chronicles Jeffs’ rise to power after the death of his father, Rulon Jeffs (Martin Landau). King will play Elissa Wall, the battered young woman who brings Jeffs (Tony Goldwyn) to justice. King, repped by Dan Spilo at Industry Entertainment and Meredith Fine at Coast to Coast Talent Group, will next be seen in FX’s Fargo and Zach Braff’s indie Wish I Was Here.
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UPDATE, 1 PM: That didn’t take long. ABC News has promoted special correspondent and substitute anchor Juju Chang to co-anchor of Nightline joining fellow anchors Dan Harris and Dan Abrams. News division president Ben Sherwood sent a memo to staff announcing the changes today, bidding a fond farewell to McFadden. Check out the full memo below the original story.
PREVIOUS, 12:31 PM: ABC‘s Nightline co-anchor Cynthia McFadden has departed for NBC News, where she will become senior legal and investigative correspondent. McFadden spent the past 20 years at ABC News as an anchor and correspondent before being named a correspondent for the network’s late-night news broadcast. She has served as Nightline’s co-anchor for the past nine years. Based in New York, McFadden will join the NBC News investigative unit and she will contribute across all broadcasts and platforms of NBC News. “Cynthia McFadden is a rare talent — passionate about journalism, compassionate in her view of the world, truly gifted in the art of storytelling,” NBC News chief Deborah Turness said in today’s announcement. Said McFadden: “While it is not easy leaving the Nightline anchor chair, the opportunity NBC offered to make a deep dive into the kind of reporting I am most passionate about — legal and investigative — was just too appealing to resist,” McFadden said. Read More »
Although Disney devoted a good chunk of its CinemaCon presentation today to talk of Star Wars and The Avengers and clips of upcoming movies including first looks at the live-action re-telling of Cinderella and Pixar’s Inside Out, theater owners left the near three-hour session really singing the praises of one of the lesser-known films on the slate: the May 16 release Million Dollar Arm. It stars Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, who received the convention’s Excellence In Acting award from studio Chairman Alan Horn just before a full screening of the movie, which Horn told the crowd has scored higher than any movie he has ever tested at Disney, or Warner Bros before that. “And that includes the first Harry Potter, which was so highly anticipated,” he said. Judging from the reaction in the Caesars Palace Colosseum theater and comments afterward, those test scores would seem to be justified. This is the kind of increasingly rare non-animated family film that should play across the board. “It’s comical, it’s emotional, it has great music” was what one exhibitor was heard saying as he walked out. That music, by the way, is from two-time Oscar winner A.R. Rahman, who scored Slumdog Millionaire.
Related: Hot Trailer: Jon Hamm In ‘Million Dollar Arm’
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Oscar crowned a Best Picture winner two weeks ago, but which 2013 film deserves to be called the profitability champ? This is hard to ascertain. We can reliably track box office grosses domestic and offshore, but studios routinely spin cost factors like production, P&A budgets, and talent participation. Capturing the spirit of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament that just got underway, Deadline has bracketed 2013’s 16 highest-grossing films and they will play off against one another. Our tournament will play out over five rounds. As is the case with the NCAA, the top-earning films face the bottom earners in the first round, leaving room for upsets for setting up brutal behemoth collisions later in the bracket.
Instead of relying on numbers from studios that would make us susceptible to spin, we instead confidentially engaged two separate experts from entities that regularly create revenue models. We assure you, these are top-level insiders. We have used the results to create a formula that encompasses the wisdom of both. Films that advance to the next round will do so partly by the profit they create for their sponsoring studios, but other intangibles will be considered on close call decisions. Those include films that launch or grow franchises and create ancillary revenues, variables that have become the core of the studio business these days. The detailed descriptions and analysis of the … Read More »
Disney is ramping up its fairy tale pic Maleficent with the latest trailer for the Angelina Jolie-starrer, which provides more of a look at the interaction between the evil sorceress and the object of her scorn Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning). The pic’s last trailer debuted during the Grammys. It opens May 30.
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is in, and Sony Pictures and New Regency are out of The Juliet, an adaptation of the Alfred Bester short story that was developed by Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment. The film has a script by Henry Bean that is being rewritten by Paul Haggis, and Snow White And The Huntsman helmer Rupert Sanders is attached to direct. At one point it looked like Sony would make it this spring. Atlas’s Roven and Alex Gartner are producing with Frank Beddor of Automatic Pictures.
It makes me wonder, what is going on in Hollywood? I have been around long enough that I actually broke the story of when Warner Bros, clashing with John Hughes over $2 million in budget, allowed Fox to grab Home Alone and turn the $18 million film into a $477 million worldwide gross blockbuster. After that, studios used to never let projects go for fear of being embarrassed, a possibility that was reinforced when Paramount inexplicably let the option lapse on the Twilight Saga, the billion-dollar franchise that built Summit Entertainment. Studios used to keep everything, or heap on overhead costs that made them prohibitively expensive, or attach first-dollar-gross obligations, like the 5 percent that Harvey Weinstein got on The Lord Of The Rings and is trying to enforce on The Hobbit.
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Eccho Rights has sold popular Turkish drama The End into further markets. It’s already being remade in the U.S. by Sander/Moses Prods at Fox, and now Germany’s UFA will develop a local version for broadcaster SAT1 while Shine France has also taken an option on the series. Further, Netflix has signed a non-exclusive agreement for the original in Sweden and the UK. The story is about a woman navigating a web of lies and intrigue as she searches for her husband whom she presumed dead following a plane crash. But it turns out he never boarded the plane. Produced by Ay Yapim in Turkey, the show is also getting a Russian version. Read More »
In the end the Academy Awards fell right into place with every other awards show this season. Gravity got LOTS of love but it ended with 12 Years A Slave‘s Steve McQueen making the big acceptance speech of the night for Best Picture — just like it went at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Movie Awards, BAFTA, PGA and others. It’s a weird year when a blockbuster picture like Gravity can win seven Oscars including Best Director yet lose the big one. But science fiction is not a category the Oscars have ever embraced in that way, and this year was no exception. In 1977 Star Wars also won seven Oscars yet lost in the end to Best Pic winner Annie Hall, which only picked up four awards overall much like Slave’s haul of three nods this year. The record still stands though with 1972′s Cabaret winning eight Oscars but losing ultimately to The Godfather which won only three including Best Picture.
OSCARS: The Complete Winners List
OSCARS: 2014 Winners Photo Gallery
How do you explain it? It’s called spreading the wealth but wanting to save your most important award for a movie that has real gravitas, one that breaks barriers over what the Academy has ever done before. A movie directed by a black person has never before won nor has a film that so harrowingly details one aspect of the black experience. 12 Years A Slave may have depicted the dark side of this country in a way Oscar had never before recognized, but the Academy wanted to spotlight that and reward it with its highest prize in a year of great films about the black experience. In fact the whole show was full of diversity including numerous black presenters and the Best Director award to Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron.
OSCARS: Deadline’s Live Blog
Backstage At The Oscars
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Monica Corcoran Harel is contributing to Deadline’s Oscars coverage.
Clearly, God loves a red carpet. How else to explain how the torrential rain miraculously ceased by noon today so we wouldn’t have to see actresses with frizzy hair and streaked mascara in belted trench coats? Instead, this year’s Oscar red carpet brought us a bevy of gold beaded dresses, dozens of bare shoulders, an al fresco Jennifer Lawrence pratfall and many leading men in blue.
2014 Oscars Gallery
OSCARS: Deadline’s Live Blog
That red carpet also brought about $2.3M to our local economy, according to a recent study from a Los Angeles consulting firm that tallied wardrobe expenses for women attending the Academy Awards. (Of course, nominees and presenters don’t have to buy anything — all is custom designed or borrowed.) Celebrity stylists, however, can earn up to $10,000 per day for prepping, pulling looks and fitting clients. (Having co-written a book with Rachel Zoe last year, I can attest to stress of the task. However, any monthlong job that earns enough money to buy a Tesla is no crap gig, eh? )
Related: Oscars Winners List
This year, beaded metallics reigned. Cate Blanchett in pale gold Armani Prive, Angelina Jolie in sparkly Elie Saab Couture, Sally Hawkins in Valentino and Lady Gaga wearing Atelier Versace were reflective. With barely any sunlight, the flashes of paparazzi made these women sparkle. Bare shoulders also were a major trend, and the ones who did it right opted for dramatic bodices and necklines, including Charlize Theron in Christian Dior, Sandra Bullock in navy Alexander McQueen and Amy Adams in Gucci Couture. The lack of straps also makes a great canvas for diamond necklaces, as we saw on Lawrence in $2 million worth of Neal Lane sparklers.
Related: Backstage At The Oscars
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Here we are again after the Golden Globes, Mike Fleming and Anita Busch taking on the task of play by play during the most wide-open Oscar race we can remember. Even on the party circuit, industry insiders who usually have a grasp of who’ll walk away with Oscars were evenly torn between Alfonso Cuaron’s 3D masterpiece Gravity and Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave. Then again, there were so many terrific films that got Best Picture nominations, and all of them have at least a puncher’s chance at an upset.
Related: OSCARS: Pete Hammond’s Absolute FINAL Predictions
That includes American Hustle, where David O Russell co-wrote the Best Original Script nominee with Eric Warren Singer and got tour de force performances and nominations for Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Perfs so strong there was no room on the nomination roster for perennial Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner. The film is up for 10 awards, and has grossed over $240 million on a $40 million budget.
Then there is The Wolf Of Wall Street, with Leonardo DiCaprio giving the most emphatic and complete performance of a great career, and Jonah Hill right there with him as his crazy con man sidekick. The film is up for five nominations, including Martin Scorsese for directing a terrific adaptation from The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire vet Terence Winter.
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They knew what they had was dynamic. They were smart, did their research and worked hard — and the result was the Son Of God big-screen version that is expected to gross anywhere from $25.7M to $26.7M in its debut weekend. People in this world achieve great success for a reason, but not all get the reason why — whether it be George Clooney, who has used his celebrity to bring well-needed attention to the horrors of Darfur, or Angelina Jolie, whose humanitarian work is also well needed and appreciated, or Mel Gibson, whose The Passion Of The Christ brought the word of God beyond borders anyone had ever seen before ($611M worldwide — that’s a lot of eyes). These are the kings of charity, who understand their responsibility in the world. Mark Burnett — the reality TV entrepreneur behind such phenoms Survivor, The Voice, Shark Tank, and The Apprentice — understands the reason why, too. He and wife Roma Downey know in their core that they are on that path now — to spread the word to as many people as possible, he said.
Related: HOLY MOLY! Late-Night Showings ‘Son Of God’ Rises With $1.2M; ‘Non-Stop’ Also Strong Thursday
On the wings of angels (and butterflies) and in many languages — the marketing behind this film is very interesting: The team wisely dubbed a Spanish version for this weekend’s movie debut, and it was put in 200 theaters; they also did a subtitled Korean-language version and placed it in 15 select theaters. “Because we are a small organization, we don’t have to ask permission — we just do it,” Burnett said. The theaters playing Spanish-language Son Of God grew in a just few days as they were booking theaters and 4% of the gross came from those theaters; 22% of the audience was Hispanic. In addition, the film had a phenomenal 91% rating on PostTrak and was heavily weighted to excellent with an impressive 72%. In addition, it has an incredible 80% recommend and played 62% female to 38% male with 82% of moviegoers over age 25.
Related: Hot Trailer: Fox’s ‘Son Of God’
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The Stateside phone hacking-scandal suit that a former body double for Angelina Jolie filed against News Corp last summer looks likely to end up in the U.K. if a federal judge doesn’t change his mind. Before a hearing Monday on the company’s motion to dismiss, Judge Michael Fitzgerald said in a tentative ruling that Eunice Huthart‘s case belonged in “the courts of England and Wales” not the U.S.
Alleging that her phone was tampered with in 2004 while living with Jolie in L.A., Huthart’s initial complaint on June 13 was the first hacking scandal suit filed against News Corp and its UK Press arm in the U.S. Back in September of last year, News Corp and News International filed their motion to toss the case or have it move to Britain. After issuing his tentative and hearing arguments from lawyers representing the English-born stuntwoman and the media corporation, Judge Fitzgerald said he would take the matter under submission (read it here). Though it happens, it is very unusual for a judge to reverse himself after issuing such a clear tentative.
Related: Phone-Hacking Trial – Rebekah Brooks Cleared Of One Charge As Defense Begins
As has proven the case in many of the suits in the on-going hacking-scandal, the longtime ex-Jolie stuntwoman’s allegations are years old. Huthart, whose most recent gig … Read More »
Jack O’Connell is in final negotiations to star in the thriller Section 6 for Universal Pictures. This is the pic for which the studio won a bidding war in October 2013 for the spec script written by Aaron Berg, picking it up for seven figures in a late-night deal with no attachments. It revolves around the origins of MI6, the British intelligence agency founded during World War I. Marc Platt is producing alongside Adam Siegel for Marc Platt Productions, and Lawrence Grey will produce for Grey Matter Productions. Universal’s EVP Production Jon Mone and director of development Sara Scott will oversee for the studio. O’Connell just wrapped production on Unbroken, in which he starred as Olympics hero and WWII POW Louis Zamperini for Angelina Jolie. He’s next up in 300: Rise Of An Empire and the indie Starred Up. He also starred in 71, the thriller based on the troubles in Ireland that just screened in competition at Berlin. He is repped by CAA and attorney Robert Offer and Conway van Gelder Grant in the UK. The Wrap reported the story first.
The casting for one of the key characters in Paramount and Skydance Productions’ Terminator: Genesis is almost complete — but not finalized. What’s true is that Jai Courtney has been offered the role of Kyle Reese, a gig that figures to span at least two movies that will end the story of Skynet’s battle with the resistance that began with James Cameron’s two films and two more that followed. As we told you last week, it was down to Courtney and Boyd Holbrook to land the Reese role originated by Michael Beihn in the first pic. If the Courtney deal makes, he will join Arnold Schwarzenegger as the signature cyborg, Game Of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke as Sara Connor and Zero Dark Thirty’s Jason Clarke as her son John Connor in the time-travel saga that will be directed by Alan Taylor. The film has a July 1, 2015 released date.
Related: ‘Terminator Genesis’: Between Jai Courtney, Boyd Holbrook For Kyle Reese Role?
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Angelina Jolie‘s Unbroken got a first-look tease today during the Olympics in an extended preview profiling Louis Zamperini, the Olympian-turned-WWII POW whose life story gets the big screen treatment this Christmas. Jack O’Connell plays the younger Zamperini with Japan’s Miyavi, Garrett Hedlund, Domhnall Gleeson, and Jai Courtney in supporting roles. The Universal release marks Jolie’s second feature as helmer following 2011′s In the Land Of Blood And Honey. Check it out:
Related: First Look Photo: ‘Unbroken’s Angelina Jolie & Louis Zamperini