EXCLUSIVE: Composer Steven Price, who scored Gravity, has signed on to create the music for David Ayer‘s currently untitled WWII tank film, which stars Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal and Michael Peña. The film was put together under the title Fury. Price previously scored Edgar Wright’s The World’s End and Joe Cornish’sAttack The Block. The WWII film will be released by Sony Pictures November 12, 2014.
“Steven Price’s fresh approach to scoring and his extraordinary creativity make him the perfect collaborator for my film,” said Ayer. The film is set near the end of WWII in April 1945, as the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre. A battle-hardened army sergeant (Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and his five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, they face overwhelming odds as they strike at the heart of Nazi Germany. Read More »
Paramount Pictures reports that World War Z had passed the $500 million worldwide gross mark, surpassing Troy’s $497.3 million to become Brad Pitt’s highest grossing film ever. Now, you could argue that WWZ received the benefit of a higher ticket price particularly because of its 3D numbers. But considering how badly maligned this film was in the weeks before it bowed, hitting the half billion dollar plateau seems something to brag about, even for a movie that cost in the $220 million range.
According to Paramount (which co-financed with Skydance and GK Films), WWZ has set several records for Pitt, whose Plan B produced. It set a personal best with a $66 million opening on June 21, and a total $197.4 million in the U.S., both of which exceeded Mr. & Mrs. Smith‘s total domestic gross of $186.3 million and $50.3 million opening weekend. The film has earned $305.2 million at the international box office, to date.
This pales in comparison to the numbers put up by Johnny Depp and his Alice in Wonderland and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises, but Pitt has done a lot of cool movies that were never meant to be blockbusters, and this was his most mainstream film since Troy and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. He seems happy with hitting a solid double with a Moneyball than playing the tent pole game. Passing the half billion dollar mark begs the question of … Read More »
It’s still got a long way to go to profitability. But at least Brad Pitt’s zombie pic World War Z isn’t the dud everybody thought it would be. Paramount announced today it’s the #1 film worldwide this weekend with $100M international grosses and $263M global box office after just 10 days in release. The PG-13 film co-financed with David Ellison’s Skydance Productions in association with Hemisphere Media Capital and GK Films grossed a big $70.1M foreign this weekend to bring the international cume to a strong $135.3M. Domestically the film earned $29.8M in its second weekend, with a cume to date of $123.7M. With approximately one-third of the international market still to release, the roll-out continues next week with France and then Spain and Japan opening later this summer. Directed by Marc Forster from a screenplay by Matthew Michael Carnahan and Drew Goddard & Damon Lindelof, this pic from Pitt’s Plan B banner is based on the popular novel by Max Brooks. Paramount moguls are giddy with relief after all that pre-release bad buzz which forced them to fix the movie before it came out. Much has been made of the film’s mega-cost: between $220M-$230M brought down to $200M by tax incentives in locations Scotland, Malta, England, and Hungary, or so the studio claims. But the media focused on the pic’s budget, plot, and production problems, including revamps and reshoots. Still hard to see how this film can earn out. But it won’t be a total write-off. Now a sequel is in the works.
Brad Pitt, opening this weekend in World War Z, has issued a statement on the passing of James Gandolini at age 51. They starred together, along with Julia Roberts in the Gore Verbinski-directed The Mexican, a movie that came along just as Gandolfini was watching his star rise because of The Sopranos. More recently they starred in Killing Them Softly, and they also appeared in the Tony Scott-directed True Romance, in which Pitt played a small but memorable role as a stoner.
“I admire Jimmy as a ferocious actor, a gentle soul and a genuinely funny man,” Pitt said. “I am fortunate to have sat across the table from him and am gutted by this loss. I wish his family strength and some semblance of peace.”
Brad Pitt and Plan B Entertainment President Dede Gardner said today that Jeremy Kleiner is upped to Co-President of the busy production company. “Jeremy Kleiner has played an immeasurable role in the success of this company,” said Pitt in a statement. “This promotion is long overdue. We are happy to make it official.” Along with Pitt and Gardner, Kleiner produced Plan B’s upcoming World War Z, which stars Pitt and is being released by Paramount on June 21. He is also a producer on Plan B’s Twelve Years A Slave, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, and Paul Giamatti, which will be released by Fox Searchlight on December 27. With Gardner, Kleiner oversees Plan B’s development and production slate. He joined Plan B in 2003 and rose through the ranks from Creative Executive to Producer and now Co-President.
Kleiner also is a producer on True Story from New Regency which is directed by Rupert Goold and stars Jonah Hill and James Franco. Kleiner is also an Executive Producer of Plan B and Brillstein Entertainment Partners’ ABC/ABC Studios pilot, Resurrection, and on Plan B productions Kick-Ass, Eat Pray Love, and The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee. He previously worked as a creative executive at Dick and Lauren Shuler Donner’s company before joining Plan B.
EXCLUSIVE: Logan Lerman is joining Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf inFury, the WWII tank thriller that David Ayer wrote and is directing for QED and Sony Pictures. Lerman will play Norman Ellison, an Army typist and the youngest and most inexperienced member of the crew who is thrust into being a tank gunner.
Sony Pictures won the right to distribute domestically and in most of the world, with some territories belonging to QED, whose Bill Block took a big risk by paying $1 million for Ayer’s spec, and then watched it pay off quickly when Pitt committed to the $80 million film. QED will produce with John Lesher and his Le Grisbi Productions banner. Ethan Smith, Block and Lesher are producing and they are eyeing a fall production start. The action takes place in 1945 as the Nazi regime collapses and the five-man crew of an American tank called Fury battles a desperate German army. Read More »
CinemaCon kicked off tonight at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas with a presentation from Paramount. In only its 3rd year, what used to be ShoWest is proving to have the magic touch as once again all the major studios plus Lionsgate will be doing dog and pony shows for the nation’s exhibitors before the confab ends on Thursday. Paramount and its Vice Chairman Rob Moore were first and offered the theater owners a slickly produced and very quick reel of upcoming product, along with extended looks at its hoped-for summer blockbusters Star Trek Into Darkness and World War Z, as well as a complete screening of Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain which opens next week.
With director J.J. Abrams stuck in L.A. still mixing the film to make its May 17 release date, Star Trek sequel writer/producer Damon Lindelof (Lost) filled in and interviewed cast members on hand including CinemaCon’s Male Star Of The Year Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Alice Eve and John Cho. Pine talked about the “vulnerability” of Kirk in this installment, while Quinto emphasized Mr. Spock’s previously not-fully-explored “emotional” side. Quinto also said it was the most physical of the Trek films at least for him. The 18 minutes of footage shown in 3D certainly confirmed that, with hair-raising scenes set in a volcano, underwater, and for a sequence where Kirk … Read More »
UPDATE: Sony Pictures has confirmed Deadline’s scoop that it captured the Brad Pitt WWII tank movie Fury from Bill Block’s QED. The release is at the bottom of our original break on the story.
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, 4:42 PM PDT: Sony Pictures will emerge from a big auction with the rights on Fury, the David Ayer-directed WWII tank drama that will star Brad Pitt. This is all just unfolding, and I’m told that Sony and Universal Pictures were the big players for this film. It was shopped by Bill Block’s QED, who bought the Ayer spec for $1 million, and then got a Pitt commitment that made this the hottest project in town. I’ve heard that the budget will be $80 million plus and that QED retains some territories plus a gross position for the company and for Pitt.
Fury is a WWII script by the End Of Watch writer-director, and QED will produce with John Lesher and his Le Grisbi Productions banner. Ethan Smith, Block and Lesher are producing and they are eyeing a fall production start. The action takes place in 1945 as the Nazi regime collapses and the five-man crew of an American tank called Fury battles a desperate German army. Ayer and QED reteam after the action thriller Ten, which Ayer directed and which stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington and Mireille Enos. Open Road will release it next January. Lesher produced Ayer’s End Of … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Brad Pitt is in final negotiations to star inFury, the David Ayer-directed drama that will start production in September. This is the Ayer script that Bill Block‘s QED International paid $1 million to acquire back in February. It was QED’s biggest spec deal ever, and when an indie company hooks a star like Pitt, it’s money well spent. Fury is a WWII script by the End Of Watch writer-director, and QED will produce with John Lesher and his Le Grisbi Productions banner. Ethan Smith, Block and Lesher are producing and they are eyeing a fall production start. QED is selling foreign.
The action takes place in 1945 as the Nazi regime collapses and the five-man crew of an American tank called Fury battles a desperate German army. Ayer and QED reteam after the action thriller Ten, which Ayer directed and which stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington and Mireille Enos. Open Road will release it next January. Lesher produced Ayer’s End Of Watch. Pitt most recently starred in and produced World War Z, but he’s back in the WWII territory of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. Read More »
ABC made a late charge on the pilot pickup front to end what will likely be the busiest day this season. (For full list of all broadcast pilots, click here.) The network has given the green light to comedy Pulling, from Bad Teachers scribes Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky and producer Aaron Kaplan. On the drama side, picked up are dramas Betrayal from David Zabel; Venice from McG and Byron Balasco, with McG set to direct; and The Returned, from writer Aaron Zelman, Brad Pitt’s Plan B and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
Single-camera comedyPulling is based on the praised 2006 British series. Eisenberg and Stupnitsky wrote the adaptation, produced by ABC Studios and Kapital Entertainment. Sharon Horgan and Dennis Kelly, creators of the original series, executive produce with Eisenberg, Stupnitsky and Kaplan. Pulling revolves around three dysfunctional women in their 30s living their lives the way they want, even if society tells them they should have it all figured out by this point. This marks the second pilot order for Kaplan today, joining CBS’ Dana Klein comedy, and third so far this season, along with NBC’s The Gates.Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Brad Pitt is circling the title role in Warner Bros‘ Pontius Pilate, the drama about one of history’s most vilified figures. The studio acquired a script by Woman On Top scribe Vera Blasi with Mark Johnson producing through his Gran Via banner. Pitt is not committed, but it could well move that way quickly.
I revealed this project last summer, when the studio acquired Blasi’s script. I got hold of a draft and it’s very strong stuff and has the makings of a compelling period big budget film. This script follows the evolution of Lucius Pontius Pilate from the sensitive son of a Roman Knight into a ferocious soldier whose warrior exploits make him a general and puts him on a political track under the Roman Emperor Tiberius. Promised a military governorship in Egypt, Pilate is instead assigned by Tiberius to become the prefect of Judea, at a time when Jerusalem was a cauldron of religious tensions between various factions of the Jewish faith. Pilate veers from the political fast track into the express lane to hell and historical infamy. Rather than a straight ahead Biblical film, Blasi’s script reads almost like a Biblical era Twilight Zone episode in which a proud, capable Roman soldier gets in way over his head. His arrogance and inability to grasp the devoutness of the citizenry and its hatred … Read More »
In a late buy, ABC has put in development The Returned, a serialized drama produced by Brad Pitt’s Plan B, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and ABC Studios. Written by Aaron Zelman (AMC’s The Killing), The Returned is based on the debut novel by Jason Mott, which is slated to be published next September by Mira Books. The rights to the book sparked a bidding war among several production companies and studios. Brillstein and Plan B were able to land the property in their first teaming together, and the project was taken to ABC Studios where Brillstein is based. Executive producing alongside Zelman are JoAnn Alfano and Jon Liebman from BEP and Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner from Plan B.
The Returned is one of several projects BEP has set up this season, including two with CSI creator Anthony Zuiker: soap Taboo at ABC and an Alice In Wonderland sequel at NBC. Zelman is repped by UTA and Circle of Confusion.
SUNDAY 7:30 AM, 3RD UPDATE: No change in the three top movies’ order at the domestic box office: Summit Entertainment’s Twilight Saga finale Breaking Dawn Part 2 is #1 for the third weekend in a row, the Eon Productions/MGM/Sony Pictures’ James Bond actioner Skyfall is a close #2, and Steven Spielberg’s Oscar buzzed Lincolnfrom DreamWorks/Fox/Disney is #3. It was a lean Friday but a fat Saturday. Ben Affleck’s Academy Awards-touted Argo crossed the $100M benchmark this weekend. While during the week, Wall Street called DreamWorks Animation’s Rise Of The Guardians “one of the most disappointing releases in the company’s history” – enough to hurt the public company’s share price. Analysts who expected to see $55M-$58M for the toon over Thanksgiving – not $32.6M - join Hollywood in still struggling to understand why audiences rejected the film. Toon is probably all in at just $80M.
Traditionally the weekend after Thanksgiving gives new definition to the term ‘quiet’. I’m told it’s failed to produce a wide release hit for 20 years and counting. So there were low expectations for producer Brad Pitt‘s R-rated ruthless star turn in Killing Them Softly (2,424 theaters) from his Plan B production company and Oracle heiress Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures which financed it for $15M. But Friday night it received a miserable ‘F’ CinemaScore from audiences despite decent reviews and a stellar cast including Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins, and James Gandolfini. Little wonder that distributor … Read More »
Pax and Zahara Jolie-Pitt will be appearing in Maleficentwith their mother Angelina Jolie, Deadline has learned. This makes four members of the family to join in the live-action Disney film, which is due out March 14, 2014. Four-year-old Vivienne had already been cast to play the very young version of Princess Aurora in the film, which tells the backstory of the villain from the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. Pax, 8, and Zahara, 7, will have very small roles in their feature debuts. Maleficent is also the directing debut of Robert Stromberg.Elle Fanning plays Aroura, and Brenton Thwaites and Sharlto Copley also star.
EXCLUSIVE: Taking advantage of a sliver of daylight in the Oscar season release corridor, The Weinstein Company has moved from an October 19 to a November 30 release on Killing Them Softly, the Andrew Dominik-directed crime drama that stars Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins and Ray Liotta. Pitt plays an enforcer who investigates a heist in a mob-sponsored card game. It is a smart move because the film was going against October 19 openers Paranormal Activity 4 and Alex Cross, the Rob Cohen-directed reboot of the James Patterson series that stars Tyler Perry. Right now, the film goes against the Nicolas Cage/John Cusack thriller The Frozen Ground and not much else. It also puts Pitt closer to the Oscar mix.
Harvey Weinstein confirmed the move to me. “In this industry it is a very rare event to look at a weekend where your movie could open as the only wide release picture,” he said. “November 30th will allow us to bring Killing Them Softly to a wide audience without competition. Additionally, the critical response to the movie has been very favorable especially on the amazing performances and November 30th positions us better in the Awards season calendar.”
This is one of those examples of convenient casting. Four-year-old Vivienne Jolie-Pitt will appearing in the Disney 3D live action movie Malificent starring her mother Angelina Jolie as the sorceress from the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. Vivienne, who is also Brad Pitt’s daughter, will portray Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning) as a child eventually cursed to sleep until awakened by a kiss from a handsome prince. Even though the role is minor, Vivienne is sure to pump up the publicity surrounding the film in advance of its March 2014 release date. She has a twin brother Knox Leon who is not cast in the film as far as we know because shooting in the UK is still going on. Big sister Shiloh had a cameo as Pitt’s big-screen daughter in 2008′s The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button for Paramount.
Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News Corp‘s News International and a one-time editor of the News Of The World, will face charges in connection with phone-hacking, Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service announced this morning. Andy Coulson, the former News Of The World editor who went on to be Prime Minister David Cameron’s communications director, will also face charges. Along with a group of former News Of The World journalists, they are each charged with “conspiring to intercept communications without lawful authority, from 3rd October 2000 to 9th August 2006. The communications in question are the voicemail messages of well-known people and/or those associated with them,” said the CPS. Those well-known people include Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Sadie Frost, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. In all, there are more than 600 people whom the prosecution will say are victims of the offense. Brooks is specifically facing charges relating to the alleged hacking of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s mobile phone as are a number of the other former journalists. The full list of charges can be read here. In total, eight people learned they would be charged today, while the CPS found insufficient evidence in the case of three other suspects. Decisions regarding two other suspects were deferred.
EXCLUSIVE: While reports had Damon Lindelof coming in to write a new ending to the Marc Forster-directed Brad Pitt-starrer World War Z, it actually was his Lost compadre Drew Goddard who did the bulk of the writing of the finale. Lindelof, who reworked Prometheus and co-wrote the Star Trek sequel, cracked a potential new ending of the film, but Lindelof didn’t have time to do the scripting so that task fell to Goddard, who most recently adapted Robopocalypse, which is Steven Spielberg’s next film at DreamWorks.
Both of those guys are off to other projects, so it’s quite possible that Paramount will tap another writer to punch up this ending — if the studio decides to use it. I’m hearing Christopher McQuarrie, whom the studio is high on after he adapted and directed Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher, based on the Lee Child novels. That isn’t set in stone because McQuarrie is Cruise’s go-to guy and he will be doing some script work on All You Need Is Kill, the Doug Liman-directed action film that Cruise will next star in after he completes Oblivion. So it is questionable whether he will be available or whether Paramount will need him. No date has been set for the reshoots that will be needed to implement the new ending, but insiders say Forster will be shooting those scenes. Read More »