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Emily Hampshire & Tom Noonan Land Key Roles On Syfy Series ‘12 Monkeys’

By | Tuesday July 29, 2014 @ 12:41pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Emily Hampshire & Tom Noonan Land Key Roles On Syfy Series ‘12 Monkeys’EXCLUSIVE: Emily Hampshire (Rookie Blue) and Tom Noonan (Hell On Wheels) have been cast in major recurring roles on Syfy‘s adventure thriller series 12 Monkeys, inspired by Terry Gilliam’s 1995 movie starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt. The 13-episode show centers on Willis’ character Cole, played in the series by Aaron Stanford. Utilizing a dangerous and untested method of time travel, Cole journeys from 2043 to the present on a mission to locate and eradicate the source of a deadly plague that will all but annihilate the human race.

Related: Syfy Developing Alien Invasion Drama From Michael Horowitz & Hypnotic

tomnoonanCanadian actress Hampshire, repped by Intellectual Artists Management and Canada’s Creative Drive Artists and K.L. Benzakein Talent, will play Jennifer Goines, a female version of the Jeffrey Goines character played in the movie by Pitt. Jennifer is a dangerous, unstable mental patient who might have the key to unraveling the 12 Monkeys mystery locked away in her head. Noonan, repped by Vanguard Management and AKA Talent Agency, plays a newly created character, a mysterious villain who is the face of the enigmatic Army of the 12 Monkeys. Imposing and intelligent, Noonan’s character will be at the center of the conspiracy. The series, which also co-stars Amanda Schull (Dr. Cassandra Railly), Kirk Acevedo (Ramse) and Noah Bean (Aaron Marker), starts production on August 6 in Toronto. Showrunner Natalie Read More »

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Universal Buys Angelina Jolie-Brad Pitt Pic Deadline Broke In May

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 2:10pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Universal Buys Angelina Jolie-Brad Pitt Pic Deadline Broke In MayEvery studio was after it, but Universal Pictures acquired worldwide rights to the script Angelina Jolie is writing to possibly make her next movie, one she’ll star in with Brad Pitt. Deadline broke news of the project in May. It now has a title, By The Sea, and the studio says Jolie will direct. I’d heard that when I broke the story, but they weren’t admitting it at the time. Jolie and Pitt will produce.

Jolie and Donna Langley have developed a strong relationship after Langley tapped Jolie to direct Unbroken, the adaptation of the Laura Hillenbrand book about the late Olympian and war hero Louis Zamperini. That film bows on Christmas Day. Jolie has been fully focused on making that date, so don’t expect this next film to happen all that quickly. Read More »

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Sony Ups Columbia Prexy Doug Belgrad To President, Motion Pictures Group

By | Wednesday July 16, 2014 @ 8:27am PDT
Mike Fleming

Sony Ups Columbia Prexy Doug Belgrad To President, Motion Pictures GroupSony Pictures Entertainment continues to shuffle its motion picture division manpower. The studio announced this morning that Columbia Pictures president and former production president Doug Belgrad got promoted to the post of president of its Motion Picture Group. Belgrad continues to report to Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group.

Image (1) Sony-Pictures-logo__130125035333-200x312-1__140530164135.jpg for post 738072When Michael De Luca was tapped to share the production president role with Hannah Minghella, speculation ran rampant about what might happen to all of these executives. This came after a rough summer 2013, and minority shareholder Daniel Loeb complaining loudly about the flops. There was great performance pressure on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and scrutiny on everything else Sony has been doing. That sequel did not match the original’s $757 million global gross, but it cracked $700 million, which was considered good enough to keep the train moving. There was the hit sequel 22 Jump Street, and the sleeper TriStar hit Heaven Is For Real and Screen Gems’ Think Like A Man Too. Sex Tape is about to open with Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel boasting about baring all in the sexy laffer.

In the distance are the Antoine Fuqua-directed Denzel Washington film The Equalizer and the David Ayer-directed Brad Pitt-starrer Fury, with Annie and the untitled Cameron Crowe movie bowing in December in the Oscar mix. Down the line, there will be an event movie based on the venerable Barbie toyline, as well as another James Bond film, Spider-Man spinoffs, as well as reboots of Ghostbusters and Men In Black. As for the executive team, insiders tell me that Belgrad is an effective executive, and that he, De Luca and Minghella are bonding and creating their own niches. Read More »

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TCA: HBO Execs Try Unknotting Knickers Of ‘Game Of Thrones’ Fan/Critics And Dodge ‘True Detective’ Questions

By | Thursday July 10, 2014 @ 3:15pm PDT

TCA: HBO Execs Try Unknotting Knickers Of ‘Game Of Thrones’ Fan/Critics And Dodge ‘True Detective’ Questions“George hasn’t finished the next book – any concerns about that?” a TV critic asked HBO execs this afternoon at TCA, referring to Game Of Thrones author George R.R. Martin. Bleary-eyed TV critics, who gotten up pre-dawn to cover this morning’s Primetime Emmy nominations unveiling, HBOunderstandably had the series very much on their minds, what with the show clocking a pack-leading 19 noms. “His book’s not finished at this point, but we’re not concerned about it,” HBO Programming President Michael Lombardo said of the writer’s progress on his most recent book in the series. “We’re not losing sleep,” chimed in HBO CEO Richard Plepler, dismissing the critics’ suggestion that Martin was leaving the premium network hanging.

Related: DeadlineNow: Emmy Noms – HBO Scores, Other Hits And Misses (Video)

Another critic tried baiting the execs to confirm speculation that next season of anthology series True Detective would star two men and one woman — seriously, just the gender, no names. “We’re going to do the next season with puppets,” Lombardo snarked. “They’re being built right now.” Look for the tweets.

Related: EMMYS: Overall Nominations By Network

Not that the two guys onstage sent critics away empty-handed. They did reveal that the first two scripts of the second season of True Detective are “more exciting than the first season.” They also announced the show’s casting — is likely to be announced in the coming week. “Is it two lead actors and one actress?” the intrepid journalist with no name persevered. “We’ll let you know,” Plepler joshed. Read More »

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An Appreciation Of Louis Zamperini, A True American Hero

Mike Fleming

An Appreciation Of Louis Zamperini, A True American HeroWhat sad pre-holiday news: American Olympian track star and WWII hero Louis Zamperini passed away last night at age 97, just one day short of Independence Day. It’s somehow poignant that Zamperini’s shadow hovers over the July 4th holiday; it comes half a year before the Universal Pictures release of Unbroken, the Angelina Jolie-directed adaptation of the Laura Hillenbrand bestseller about a man whose unwillingness to break despite the most difficult of circumstances in a Japanese POW camp made him the personification of struggle and heroism. Part of that struggle included getting a movie made on his extraordinary life; imagine, Universal’s first attempt at a Zamperini film came in the 1950s, when Tony Curtis sparked to playing Zamperini as his follow-up to Spartacus.

louzzMany know Zamperini’s story because of the superb book by Seabiscuit author Hillenbrand, and the world will celebrate him at year’s end when Universal releases the film in Oscar season, with Jack O’Connell playing Zamperini. I have been obsessed with Zamperini since I saw a segment on his ordeal broadcast by CBS during the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, and have written about the movie at Variety and Deadline since then at the slightest provocation, because it seemed such a worth screen story. When CBS chronicled his story, Zamperini returned to Japan to run with the Olympic torch, covering ground not far from where he spent an unimaginably brutal stretch in a Japanese prison camp … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: David Ayer’s ‘Fury’

By | Wednesday June 25, 2014 @ 9:40am PDT

Hot Trailer: David Ayer’s ‘Fury’Here’s the first full trailer for Fury, the WWII actioner about a battle-hardened sergeant nicknamed Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) leading a five man tank against the odds into Nazi Germany. Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena, and John Bernthal co-star. Sony releases the David Ayer picture November 14:

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DeadlineNow: E3 Confab Halftime Report (Video)

By | Wednesday June 11, 2014 @ 3:51pm PDT
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What's Big At E3

After last year's splashy console reveals, this year's games industry convention now underway in LA is focusing on software and Hollywood convergence, like new footage from Brad Pitt's tank pic 'Fury'. Deadline's David Bloom and Dominic Patten report.

Related: David Ayer’s WWII Actioner ‘Fury’ Rolls Out At E3

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Hot Featurette: David Ayer’s WWII Actioner ‘Fury’ Rolls Out At E3

By | Tuesday June 10, 2014 @ 8:49pm PDT

fury-brad-pittToday at E3 Sony unveiled a behind-the-scenes first look at David Ayer‘s WWII actioner Fury, the ensemble war film that Bill Block’s QED International paid a cool $1M for in last year’s pricey spec sale. Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena, Logan Lerman, and Jon Bernthal star in the story of the five-man crew of an American tank battling Germans, and the odds, behind enemy lines. Block is producing for QED with John Lesher and his Le Grisbi Productions banner alongside Ethan Smith. Fury will hit theaters November 14:

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Tim Roth To Play Alabama Governor George Wallace In MLK Pic ‘Selma’

Mike Fleming

timroEXCLUSIVE: After playing Monaco’s Prince Rainer III in the Cannes opening-night film Grace Of Monaco, Tim Roth will play another period figure in a major feature. He’s signing on to the cast of Selma, and he will be playing George Wallace, the Alabama governor who favored segregation and whose bullying tactics galvanized Martin Luther King Jr and the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery. The Ava DuVernay-directed film for Paramount is shaping up with a strong cast that includes David Oyelowo as Dr. King and Tom Wilkinson is President Lyndon Johnson. Wallace turned out to be a key player in the proceedings, though it wallacehardly ended up like he hoped it would. He vowed to stop the march, and when the first wave of protesters turned up, they were brutally beaten by Wallace’s Alabama State Troopers. This created national outrage, and protesters white and black began arriving from all over the country. The continued violence led LBJ to say that this was not a black problem or a white problem but an American problem, and it prompted the president to push for the Voting Rights Act, which guaranteed African-Americans the right to vote.

Related: Cuba Gooding Jr Boards MLK Pic ‘Selma’

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BOX OFFICE PREVIEW: Disney’s ‘Maleficent’ Opens To Magnificent $4.2M Late Nights; Seth MacFarlane’s ‘A Million Ways To Die In The West’ Looks To Tonight’s Numbers

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Weekend Box Office Preview

Deadline film editor Anita Busch and Dominic Patten look ahead at the weekend box office, with 'Maleficent' a good bet for the No. 1 spot.

hr_Maleficent_42UPDATED: FRIDAY, 9:00 AM: Maleficent opened last night and conjured up a magnificent $4.2M for Disney, readying for the weekend box office blast by clearly bringing in the adult audience. It has been tracking anywhere between $60M to $70M and now you can bet on the high end (maybe $68M). Maleficent grossed above the $3.9M that Alice in Wonderland grossed in 2010 when it bowed at midnight and also the $2M gross at 9 p.m. with Oz: The Great and Powerful, which ended up with an opening weekend of $79.1M  (but that was a better picture).

IMAX is estimating that it took in 13.3% of that $4.2M late night gross or about $560K. X-Men didn’t have the benefit of IMAX last weekend because Godzilla had a stronghold on those screens; they did have large formats though via other exhibs.

Disney sold the picture on a trailer that clearly made it seem too scary for small children, but the kids I was in the theater with on Wednesday night seemed to enjoy it. The five and six year olds were a bit frightened.  It’s a great start to the weekend for this picture. Will be interesting to see what kind of CinemaScore it gets tonight. Right now, Disney’s in-house research shows that the film skewing 54% female and 46% male.

Still waiting to see how the Seth speaks movie plays out as well as how good a hold/how far a drop (depending on your perspective) this weekend will see for X-Men: Days of Future Past. Godzilla dropped 67% in its second weekend, X-Men: The Last Stand also dropped 67% in its sophomore frame after the Memorial Day holiday. Captain America: The Winter Soldier dropped about 51% in its second frame while ASM2 dropped 59%.

A_Million_Ways_To_Die_In_The_West_-_mov-2500_1600x1200_2460232490_genSpeaking of dropping, Seth speaks … I mean A Million Ways to Die in the West … was muted in late night Thursdays (8 p.m.), making only around $891K in 2,290, according to estimates this morning. However, it’s really not a great indicator of the entire weekend … best wait to see tonight’s numbers.

Enough about Seth, what about Angie who is the most watchable character in the movie. Anecdotally, Maleficent is No. 5 behind The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Godzilla, Neighbors and X-Men: Days of Future Past in terms of social media activity over the past 30 days, according to RelishMix which tracks social engagement of the Big Three (Facebook, YouTube and Twitter). “Fans are engaged with Maleficent YouTube trailers up to an earned/owned ratio of 11 to 1, showing growing intent especially for a family movie,” says RelishMix CEO Marc Karzen. On Facebook and Twitter, Angelina Jolie’s fans are looking for Brad Pitt being socked on the red carpet by the idiot, attention-seeking Ukranian.

Fandango reports that its pre-sales are outselling Maleficent producer Joe Roth’s Oz: The Great and Powerful which opened in March of last year as well as Snow White and the Huntsman (which Uni opened June 1, 2012) at the same point in the sales cycle. This looks like its gonna be two out of three for Roth so far … although Million Dollar Arm didn’t perform as anyone would have liked at Disney, Sony’s Heaven is For Real from filmmaker Randall Wallace is already up to $87.2M and still playing out. Oz: The Great and Powerful ended up with $493.3M worldwide (split pretty evenly between domestic and international) in 2013. Is it any wonder that Disney and Roth are doing a sequel?

PREVIOUSLY: THURS, 1:15 PM: Maleficent-Official-TrailerMaleficent, the Disney fantasy movie starring Angelina Jolie that has a trailer that’s scarier than the film itself (which is good news or bad news, depending on your age group), is opening tonight at 7 p.m. This weekend, the CGI fractured — uh, dark — fairy tale will be in 3,948 theaters of which 2,951 will be 3-D, on 346 Imax screens and on 213 large-format screens (and 121 D-Box locations). So, see ya, Godzilla; it was fun while it lasted.

Maleficent is expected to easily take the No. 1 box office spot this weekend, followed by last weekend’s opener, X-Men: Days of Future Past, which is tracking right now in the high $30Ms. Saturday should be an interesting day for Maleficent given that it’ll be its first family moviegoing day. The film already is opening above expectations overseas. Tracking currently has it between $60M and $70M.

Related: Disney’s ‘Maleficent’ Opens With $2.5M In UK As International Rollout Begins

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‘True Detective’ Season 2: More Details Emerge As Casting Rumors Intensify

By | Tuesday May 27, 2014 @ 10:57am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

true-detectiveThe True Detective follow-up season has become the TV equivalent of the latest Star Wars sequel, with closely guarded and wildly speculated about script and casting process. The HBO series’ creator Nic Pizzolatto has dropped a few more hints, confirming with NPR program To The Best Of Our Knowledge that Season 2 of the crime thriller will have three leads. Unofficial breakdowns floated around have listed the three leads as a fortysomething male detective/cop with Joaquin Phoenix, Christian Bale and Josh Brolin as prototypes, a twentysomething male cop and a thirtysomething female detective, with Jessica Chastain as a potential prototype. Following the tour de force performances of Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson last season, Season 2 casting rumors have been swirling, with a number of A-listers bandied about. After early speculation about Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Cate Blanchett, the rumor mill in the past few weeks focused on Bale, Phoenix and Brolin as well as The Normal Heart star Taylor Kitsch for the other male lead and Chastain. (The actress, who had been approached, recently confirmed that she won’t be doing the series.) While rumors are reaching fever pitch, actual casting may be a ways away, according to Pizzolatto. “The characters are all new, but I’m deeply in love with each of them,” he told the NPR show. “We’ve got the entire series broken out with a couple of scripts, and we’ll probably start casting in earnest in the coming months.” Read More »

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Only U.S.-Based News Corp Phone-Hacking Suit Dismissed; Angelina Jolie’s Stunt Double Must Pursue Case In UK

By | Thursday May 22, 2014 @ 12:39pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEConfirming his tentative ruling from February, a federal judge has formally dismissed the U.S.-based phone-hacking scandal suit against News Corp filed last June by a stunt double for Angelina Jolie. “The underlying facts here do not seem to be in dispute, at least by these parties. It appears, and certainly is alleged, that Plaintiff Eunice Huthart has suffered a grotesque invasion of her privacy,” said Judge Michael huthart jolieFitzgerald this week, granting the dismissal motion by the media giant in the first and only American-based suit in the wide-reaching scandal. “Nonetheless … the Court concludes that Huthart must obtain her relief from the courts of England and Wales,” he added in the order (read it here) filed Wednesday. Despite attempts by Huthart in March to keep the case in the U.S. with an argument that a move to the British courts would be the “litigation equivalent of purgatory,” this latest order is almost verbatim what the judge said in his tentative ruling in February.

Related: Rebekah Brooks Cleared Of One Charge As Defense Begins

In her initial complaint filed on June 13, 2013, the England-born Huthart — whose most recent gig was as a stunt coordinator on Disney’s upcoming Maleficent starring Jolie — claimed her cell phone was hacked in 2004 while staying in the U.S. and working with Jolie on Mr. And Mrs. Smith. Her fears turned out to be correct when Huthart’s name and phone number later turned up in the notes of Glenn Mulcaire, the jailed P.I. who worked for the now-shuttered Rupert Murdoch tabloid News Of The World. That hacking seems to be connected to a number of stories about the early days of Jolie’s relationship with her Smith co-star Brad Pitt. Read More »

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FINAL INT’L BOX OFFICE: ‘Godzilla’ Biggest Opening Of Year; ‘Spidey’ Passes ‘Captain America’s Int’l Cume; ‘Frozen’ Nearing Another Record As Disney Enjoys A $700M ‘Captain’ Ride

By | Monday May 19, 2014 @ 1:31pm PDT

Godzilla swishes tail to demolish competition with an updated $103.4M to mark biggest opening so far of 2014; Neighbors holding strong No. 2 behind lizard in most markets; Spanish Affairs knocked to No. 2 by lizard after record run, Amazing Spider-Man 2 adds $32.9M more and pushes to $635.5M worldwide and passes Captain America‘s international cume. Rio 2 now over $440M worldwide. Captain America: The Winter Soldier crosses over $700M.

cinemaworld7th UPDATE: Monday, AM: Updated numbers for Godzilla are below and came in just a bit higher to tally $103.4M on 17,045 screens in 64 markets with final numbers below from big markets coming from Rentrak. Biggest opener of the year. Also updated are final grosses from Sony on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Heaven is For Real . Universal for Neighbors, Spanish Affairs, and Ride Along, from Fox for The Other Woman, Rio 2, and The Grand Budapest Hotel and from Disney on its stateside opener Million Dollar Argodzilla_2014_teaserm which opened in India, Frozen, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Opener A Haunted House 2 estimates also come from Rentrak. Transcendence and Divergent are from Lionsgate. Pardon, the lack of territory by territory breakdown this week and next, but that will return when my colleague Nancy Tartaglione recoups from Cannes.

Related: FINAL BOX OFFICE: ‘Godzilla’ Monster Hit at $93.1M

One big note besides the obvious monster: Frozen is now at $1.208 billion worldwide. Given the strength of Japan (see below), it is quite possible that it could pass Iron Man 3 next weekend to become the No. 5 highest grossing movie in history. Iron Man 3 grossed $1.215M. It’s only $7M away and grossed $7.8M this past weekend.

Next weekend, the next installment of the popular Fox franchise X-Men: Days Of Future Past bows day and date in 100 countries — with the exception of Japan where it will open on the 30th and in Spain and Venezuela where it bows in subsequent weeks. And Thailand is under martial law which will halt moviegoing in that country.

6th UPDATE, Sunday 3:45 PM: Weighing in with Disney’s line-up overseas, including Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this weekend’s domestic opener Million Dollar Arm and the impossible-to-stop Frozen. It’s the Disney animated film, not Godzilla, that is the monstrous movie in Japan (see below for its incredible gross in the country where it is still No. 1). Speaking of the land of the rising sun, it’s worth noting that Warner Bros. holds the rights to Godzilla everywhere but in Japan, where it remains to be seen how the film’s tsunami and scene of a nuclear reactors crumbling will be received. Will that be entertaining to a country who has lost so much? We’ll find out when the Toho-created Gojira monster arrives in Japan on July 25th. As reported below, Godzilla became the biggest international opener of the year so far in 2014 with an updated final number of $103.4M. Read More »

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Common Is James Bevel, Andre Holland Is Andrew Young In Ava DuVernay’s MLK Tale ‘Selma’

By | Friday May 9, 2014 @ 1:25pm PDT
Mike Fleming

hollcommon Common is near a deal to play prominent civil rights activist James Bevel and Andre Holland is set to play Andrew Young in Selma, the Ava DuVernay-directed drama that has Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt’s Plan B producing at Paramount. David Oyelowo is playing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Bevel, field general of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, was a key figure in the politically charged march against segregation in Alabama.

marchHolland, who stars opposite Clive Owen in the Steven Soderbergh Cinemax series The Knick and opposite Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer in the Mike Binder-directed Black And White, plays Young, who was long a close confidante of MLK.  Common is repped by CAA, Holland by Paradigm and Brookside Artist Management.

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Casey Affleck To Star In HBO Miniseries ‘Lewis And Clark’

By | Friday May 9, 2014 @ 10:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

HBO‘s long-gestating six-hour miniseries Lewis And Clark has taken a big step towards fruition with the casting of Oscar-nominatedcasey2 Casey Affleck (The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford) as Lewis. Lewis And Clark, executive produced by Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and Gary Goetzman, is based on the book Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose. It tells the story of America’s first contact with the land and native tribes of the country west of the Mississippi River. It chronicles the epic journey of the Corps of Discovery and its captains Meriwether Lewis (Affleck) and William Clark traversing uncharted territory on a mission to deliver President Jefferson’s message of sovereignty as they search for his fabled all-water route to the Pacific. Lewis And Clark, from HBO and National Geographic Entertainment, is produced by Playtone, in association with Pitt’s Plan B and Class 5. Dede Gardner and Edward Norton also are executive producers. John Curran directs and co-wrote, along with Norton and Michelle Ashford. WME-repped Affleck can next be seen opposite Jessica Chastain in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.

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Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt Teaming On New Project She Wrote

By | Friday May 2, 2014 @ 3:50pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Brad PittjolieEXCLUSIVE: Here is a film that instantly becomes the one every studio will want on their slate. Angelina Jolie is in early talks to star with Brad Pitt in an original script that she has written. It’s in the early talking stages and nothing is solidified, but I hear it’s happening. I don’t know a lot more at this point.

Related: Sundance: Angelina Jolie Joins Ethiopian Pic ‘Difret’ As Executive Producer

The film hasn’t locked distribution, but it will team Jolie and Pitt together for the first time since 2005′s Mr. And Mrs. Smith. That film displayed an intense chemistry onscreen, and this was before they became a couple offscreen. Jolie is working on post-production on Unbroken, the adaptation she directed of the Laura Hillenbrand book. Universal has set a December 25 release for the harrowing survival tale of Olympic track prodigy-turned-WWII POW Lou Zamperini. It’s expected to be right in the Oscar mix. Unbroken was a hotly contested directing project, and Jolie won the job with a presentation that wowed the studio, where Donna Langley also was very impressed with her directorial debut, In The Land Of Blood And Honey. She next stars in Disney’s Maleficent, which opens May 30 with Jolie playing the title character in the revisionist version of the fairy tale.

Related:Read More »

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Scott Eastwood Lands Lead In Nicholas Sparks Adaptation ‘The Longest Ride’

By | Wednesday April 30, 2014 @ 2:44pm PDT

Scott Eastwood Longest Ride SparksEXCLUSIVE: Scott Eastwood is set to star in Fox 2000‘s Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Longest Ride, which Notorious helmer George Tillman Jr. is directing. Published in 2013, the Sparks lit romance tracks a 91-year-old man trapped in a car crash who reflects on his life with his deceased wife as a young couple fall in love a few miles away. LongestRideIn his first major studio leading role, Eastwood will play Luke Collins, whose love affair with college senior Sophia Danko plays out as the youthful half of the romantic saga. Fox 2000 acquired rights in a bidding war last year and has already set an April 2015 release hoping to chase the success of big screen Sparks flicks like Safe Haven, Dear John, and the author’s 2004 hit adaptation The Notebook. Sparks is producing alongside Temple Hill’s Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, Theresa Park, and Robert Teitel. Read More »

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Already Staked in the Warner Bros Slate, RatPac Partners Brett Ratner And James Packer Make First-Look Deal

By | Tuesday April 29, 2014 @ 8:50am PDT
Mike Fleming

francisalbertEXCLUSIVE: Already teamed with Dune’s Steven Mnuchin on a $450 million deal to co-finance the entire slate of Warner Bros films, RatPac Entertainment partners Brett Ratner and James Packer have made a deal with the studio to develop, produce and co-finance films at Warner Bros. They will take space on the Warner lot. Where do you put RatPac on that crowded lot? Where else but the headquarters that once belonged to Francis Albert Sinatra himself.

la-classic-steve-mcqueen-photo5“The offices Frank Sinatra had are the coolest ones ever,” Ratner told me. “As guys who love movie history, James and I appreciate it. Sinatra was there, Joel Silver had them, and Barbra Streisand, Sidney Poitier, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and Dustin Hoffman had them in the First Artists days. And Steven Spielberg had them too. First thing we’re doing is blowing up a picture of Sinatra, in front of that building.”

You can forgive Ratner for being a bit giddy, but RatPac’s abrupt importance to the film fortunes of Warner Bros is pretty astonishing. He has managed to keep his directing career going (he’s got Dwayne Johnson with the MGM/Paramount pic Hercules), and the first film in the RatPac-Dune slate deal was Gravity, which grossed $716 million worldwide and dropped a big fat windfall on the RatPac Dune venture right out of the gate. Read More »

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SAG-AFTRA Extras Squeezed Out Of Health & Pension Plans As Their Annual Earnings Continue To Plunge

By | Monday April 28, 2014 @ 3:05pm PDT

sag-aftra__130109005212__130214234025__130406160817__130525174654__131017234703__131120205043With negotiations for a new set of SAG-AFTRA film and TV contracts set to begin May 5, the plight of the unions’ lowest-paid members is coming to light. Data obtained by Deadline shows that earnings for SAG’s film and TV Braveheart extraextras have been in a steep decline during the past 10 years, leaving fewer and fewer of them eligible for SAG’s basic health plan. Data collected by the SAG Pension and Health Plans shows that during the past decade, the number of SAG members who have qualified for SAG health benefits based on their earnings from extra work alone has plummeted by more than 67%, down from 2,782 in 2003 to only 905 in 2011, the most recent year for which those numbers have been made available (see chart 1).

Related: SAG-AFTRA Working On Wide-Ranging Casting Diversity Report

Chart 1The numbers began their precipitous plunge in 2004, when the SAG Pension and Health Plans raised the earnings needed to qualify for basic health coverage from $7,500 a year to $11,000, an increase of nearly 50%. They plunged again in 2011 when the earnings requirement was raised to $14,800 – nearly double what it had been only eight years earlier. In 2004, the number of extras who qualified for SAG health benefits based on their earnings as extras alone fell by 33%, an indication that increases in eligibility hurts the lowest earners the most. The numbers slid again in 2005 then stabilized for the next two years. The slide resumed in 2008, when AFTRA started signing more TV producers to its contract, touching off a bitter feud that only ended when the two unions merged in 2010. Read More »

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