RatPac Entertainment has joined Warner Bros in the pursuit of movie rights to Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller The Goldfinch. They finally closed the deal today for a film that will be produced by Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson of Color Force, along with RatPac’s Brett Ratner, whose Hercules opened Friday. James Packer will be executive producer. It shows how prolific the relationship is becoming between Warner Bros and RatPac, which teams with Dune on the overall slate financing deal with the studio.
This ends a long drawn out negotiation and becomes the second book by the bestselling author for Warner Bros, which years ago acquired Secret History. I’d heard that the studio’s glacial pace on that book was a reason this deal took so long, but this is flat out a coup for the studio, a real prestige title. ICM Partners brokered the deal for The Goldfinch, which has been on The New York Times bestseller list for 39 weeks. Courtenay Valenti and Racheline Benveniste will oversee for the studio.
The novel focuses on Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker who survives an accident that kills his beloved mother. Abandoned by his father and unable to mesh in the elite social circle after he’s taken in by a wealthy friend, Decker stays connected to his mother through a small painting that eventually draws him into the art underworld. Read More »
3RD UPDATE, MONDAY 3:10 PM PT: All studios have reported actuals for the international weekend with no major discrepancies between the cumulative estimates reported Sunday and what’s come across today. Across the top titles, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes was up a tick to $54.84M from an estimated $54.4M; Transformers: Age Of Extinction was slightly lower at $36.9M versus $37.5M; Hercules was smack on with $28.7M; and How To Train Your Dragon 2 was up a whisker at $24.4M versus the $24M estimate.
One notable factoid is that for the 2nd weekend in a row, numbers on Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore comedy Blended are higher than expected. Yesterday, they were estimated at $3.8M in 47 markets. Today, Warner says the actuals are $4.25M. That takes the overseas cume to $66.6M – the domestic cume was $45.4M. In Brazil, the film has been especially strong, adding $1.7M this weekend for a local cume of $6.8M and a slight 18% drop from last frame. When I asked what the deal is with Sandler, Blended and Brazil, I was told that his films are roundly popular there where family fare is also big – and this one is now bigger than Grown Ups, 50 First Dates, Bedtime Stories, Don’t Mess With The Zohan and Chuck And Larry.
Along with the above films, all figures throughout the below have been updated on: Planes: Fire & Rescue, Godzilla, Step Up All In, Sex Tape, The Purge: Anarchy, Maleficent, The Fault In Our Stars, Mrs Brown’s Boys D’ Movie, 22 Jump Street, Deliver Us From Evil, Neighbors, Kick, Edge Of Tomorrow, and Boyhood. Read More »
15th UPDATE, Monday, 2:00 PM: Lucy ended up the weekend just shy of $44M while Hercules did better on Sunday to get $29.8M and several other films did a notch better than expected from Sunday moviegoers. And So It Goes ended up right at $4.6M. Ugh. The Fluffy Movie was on only 432 screens and will remain on those going into the weekend (results below).
Next weekend, all eyes are on the new openers — Marvel/Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Universal’s James Brown biopic Get On Up — to lift the box office out of its summer slump. And Guardians is likely to do just that. It’s tracking right now between $65M and $75M and veteran distribution executives think it could go higher. It’s 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes right now and seems to be getting positive reaction on all sides. And why not? It’s a really entertaining film, filled with unexpected humor and a raccoon character that kind of steals the show. Right now, Get On Up is tracking around $15M to $20M so between that and the second weekend of Lucy, Universal should end up with the No. 2 and No. 3 spots. Here’s the Top 20 chart … until next weekend when the Star Lord arrives:
1). Lucy (UNI), 3,173 theaters / 3-day cume: $43.9M / Per screen average: $13,835 / Wk 1
2). Hercules (MGM/PAR), 3,595 theaters / 3-day cume: $29.8M / Per screen: $8,289 / Wk 1
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2ND UPDATE, MONDAY 3:20 PM PT: Updated figures for the international weekend have come in with all studios reporting. Among the top movies in the marketplace, Transformers: Age Of Extinction‘s 4th frame was up from original estimates to $84.6M in 58 territories ($662.6M cume), and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes was slightly higher than predicted in its 2nd frame with $61.93M on 10,347 screens in 51 markets ($103.6M cume).
Also of note, Fox’s The Grand Budapest Hotel has officially passed $110M internationally, adding $491K in 15 territories this weekend. Meanwhile, Boyhood, which Universal is releasing most everywhere overseas, added 60 locations in its 2nd UK frame. The result was a 0% drop from last week with $537K at 89 dates. The UK/Ireland total is now $1.5M (£892K). With the buzz growing, Universal is looking to continue the pattern by increasing the number of screens in more regional areas this Friday. In the next few days, the studio says the Richard Linklater drama will best the director’s Before Sunset (£932K) and A Scanner Darkly (£995K) to become his 2nd biggest film in the market behind School Of Rock.
Updated throughout the below are figures on the above films as well as Planes: Fire & Rescue, Sex Tape, The Purge: Anarchy, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Step Up All In, Maleficent, Blended, The Fault In Our Stars, 22 Jump Street, Edge Of Tomorrow, X-Men: Days Of Future … Read More »
Swedish up-and-comer Rebecca Ferguson, who got a Golden Globe nom for her English-language debut in the title role of BBC’s The White Queen, has been set to play the female lead opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible 5 for Paramount Pictures, Skydance Productions and Bad Robot. This comes after Deadline revealed that Alec Baldwin is in talks to play the head of the CIA in the film, which Chris McQuarrie will direct with shooting to begin in August. This was a coveted role.
Ferguson was raised in Sweden and became established in London. The actress, who next will be seen in the Brett Ratner-directed Hercules, is repped by Charlies Collier at Tavistock Wood and Actors in Scandinavia. I would imagine there might be a Hollywood agency or five courting her after they read this. Cruise, who’ll reprise his role as Ethan Hunt, is producing with J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk, and David Ellison, Dana Goldberg & Don Granger exec producing the fifth installment of a franchise that has grossed north of $2 billion worldwide. Read More »
Tom Hardy has officially been set to co-star with Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant, the gritty thriller adapted and helmed by Alejandro González Iñárritu from Michael Punke’s novel The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge. Oscar-winning Gravity cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki is also onboard for the New Regency and RatPac co-fi production with filming set to start on September 22 ahead of a Fall 2015 release. Iñárritu and Mark L. Smith adapted the story of a 19th century fur trapper (DiCaprio) who’s mauled by a grizzly bear, left for dead, and robbed. When he survives against all odds he sets out on a treacherous journey to exact revenge on his betrayers. Read More »
Entertainment One Television is beefing up its alternative programming division with the appointment of David Shaye as VP Development, U.S. Alternative Programming. Additionally, the company has closed three separate first-look deals with reality producers Kevin Healey, Riaz Patel and Ben Bitonti. The announcements were made today by Tara Long, SVP Alternative Programming. In his new role, Shaye will work closely with Long and division executives to expand eOne Television’s existing slate of unscripted series. He will report directly to Long.
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EXCLUSIVE: The Avengers star Tom Hiddleston will play Country & Western legend Hank Williams in I Saw The Light, a film that Marc Abraham will direct and which has come together as a co-production between RatPac Entertainment, Bron Studios, and Creative Wealth Media Finance, all of which will fund the film. Abraham wrote the script based on the Colin Escott biography of Williams and Aaron L. Gilbert will produce with Brett Ratner, G. Marq Rosell and Abraham. Ratner’s partner, James Packer, will be exec producer.
Production will begin in Louisiana in October, and Hiddleston will sing such Williams standards as “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and “Hey Good Lookin’,” after the film’s backers made a deal with Sony ATV to secure rights to the Williams music catalog. The film will tell the story of Williams’ meteoric rise to fame, and the price that fame took on his personal life. He died at age 29 of heart failure. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Brett Ratner and James Packer’s RatPac Entertainment have acquired the Jon Mooallem article American Hippopotamus for Class 5 Films and RatPac for a feature film. Class 5′s Edward Norton and William Migliore will produce with RatPac’s Ratner. They will frame a feature around a difficult-to-believe but true story.
Responding to a meat shortage in the U.S. in 1910, two bitter enemies joined forces to try and import hippopotamuses to the swamps of Louisiana and convince Americans to eat them. Even though Theodore Roosevelt and The New York Times endorsed the plan, the fact that you don’t find hippo on the menu shows how well their campaign fared. Key to the movie is the rivalry of the hippo duo, both of whom were spies. Frederick Russell Burnham was a frontiersman and freelance adventurer whose exploits were the inspiration for the Boy Scouts, and he teamed with Fritz Duquesne, aka the Black Panther, a virtuoso con man and cynical saboteur who believed only in his own glorification and revenge. Burnham and Duquesne only recently had been under orders to assassinate each other, and they would return to being bitter enemies. But they took a break to try and get American hungry for hippos. Read More »
Katherine Rowe has been elevated to SVP at Slate PR, and the New York-based Rowe will run the powerhouse PR firm’s Gotham headquarters. She has spent the last four years at Slate after joining from ID-PR, and the clients she works with include Sam Mendes, Brett Ratner, Marc Webb, Sons Of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter and Gore Verbinski. “Katherine is one of the most talented professionals we have ever had the pleasure to work with,” said Slate partner Stephen Huvane. “Her taste and relationships are first class and we are delighted to recognize her ongoing success with this new role.”
“I only want to be a husband and a father,” Hercules says humbly. So we all know what’s gonna happen to the family. Dwayne Johnson stars as the Son of Zeus, out for vengeance against men, beasts and descendants of Hades — who cannot be killed by an ordinary mortal. Based on Radical Comics’ take on the mythical muscle man, the Paramount-MGM actioner co-stars Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan and John Hurt. Brett Ratner directs from a script by Ryan Condal and Evan Spiliotopoulos. Check out the new trailer for Hercules, which invades theaters July 25.
The ‘Fannibals’, as well as TV Academy members, came out en-masse Wednesday night to Awardsline’s screening of Gaumont International Television‘s Hannibal. While the crowd was armed with fan-made comic books, pictures and gifts for creator/showrunner Bryan Fuller, Hugh Dancy (Will Graham), Caroline Dhavernas (Dr. Alana Bloom) and executive producer Martha De Laurentiis; panel moderator, Deadline’s Dominic Patten, also took the opportunity to geek out by donning Hannibal’s plastic chopping garb.
With Hannibal leaving Will and Alana fatally wounded in the season 2 finale, which screened yesterday, Fuller exclaimed that “There is going to be a painful delay (in season 3) and you won’t find out in the first episode who survives. The first episode focuses on Dr. Bedelia du Maurier (Hannibal’s therapist played by Gillian Anderson).” As far as who survives, “It’s more like episode 2 or 3,” said Fuller.
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EXCLUSIVE: I’m back on my feet after an awful case of jet lag, in time to lob a couple end-of-day stories as the Cannes Film Festival continues supplying splashy deals into the waning days. The Weinstein Company tonight is now in exclusive negotiations to acquire The Water Diviner, and is in position to land the directorial debut of Russell Crowe. This comes after Crowe traveled to the Croisette and presented about 12 minutes of footage to an array of distributors at the Majestic. He then hung around and met with them. The distributors I spoke with all came away very impressed by what Crowe had done. In the end, he and his WME Global reps felt that Harvey Weinstein would be the right man for the job of releasing the film. TWC has offered $4 million with the promised of a wide release. Crowe and Weinstein worked together years ago on Master And Commander.
Related: Russell Crowe Sets ‘The Water Diviner’ For Directing Debut
In the film, Crowe plays an Australian man who travels to Turkey to find his three sons, who went missing after the brutal Battle of Gallipoli during WWI. I am told that there is an epic quality to the subject matter in the script by Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios, covering a war that absolutely decimated a generation of young Australian men. Anyone who saw Peter Weir’s Gallipoli knows the scale of carnage. I’ve heard The Water Diviner has a Braveheart quality to it. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Alec Baldwin is the latest actor to join Warren Beatty‘s untitled Howard Hughes project, portraying the reclusive billionaire’s lawyer Bob Maheu. Beatty has been tapping some of his friends for various roles. Those who have already been reported by Deadline include Martin Sheen, Matthew Broderick, and Beatty’s wife Annette Bening. The two leads are Alden Ehrenreich (Beautiful Creatures), who plays Hughes’ assistant, and the young assistant’s actress love interest, played by Lily Collins (Mirror, Mirror). The focus of the film is the love story between those two characters. Beatty portrays Hughes.
Related: Warren Beatty’s Howard Hughes Pic Finally Takes Flight
An interesting note about the real Maheu is that the senior go-to guy for Hughes was widely reported at the time of Hughes’ death to have never actually have seen his boss and received all his instructions on hand-written notes. He was a very interesting man — a spy during WWII, he worked for the CIA and ultimately testified in the Senate about Hughes giving money to Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon. He also sued and won a defamation lawsuit against Hughes in his later years. Baldwin shot his role over two days. Read More »
Axel Foley will be making his long-awaited return to the big screen in about two years. Paramount today set a March 25, 2016, release date for Beverly Hills Cop, the fourth installment of the mega-grossing 1980s movie series that has Eddie Murphy set to reprise his role as the wise-cracking detective. The new film has the pre-summer weekend to itself for now. Jerry Bruckheimer is back as producer, and Brett Ratner is directing the pic, which will see Murphy’s Foley returning to his Detroit roots. Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec, the scribes behind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, are writing that script. It looked for a while as if Beverly Hills Cop‘s resurrection was going to be televised. Early last year, CBS ordered a pilot from Shawn Ryan and Murphy that was to follow the adventures of Foley’s cop son, with Barry Sonnenfeld directing and Murphy set to appear in the pilot and possibly recur. But the network surprisingly passed on the project at the eleventh hour.
EXCLUSIVE: 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.
“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 »
EXCLUSIVE: New Regency, RatPac Entertainment and Plan B have acquired 3 Videotapes, a pitch by Ian McCulloch that puts both companies in the low-budget genre game. The film is an elevated thriller with aspects of The Ring and Memento. RatPac’s Brett Ratner is executive producer. New Regency’s Arnon Milchan and Brad Weston brought in Plan B last fall after they collaborated on Best Picture winner 12 Years A Slave. They recently acquired The Operators, which will be developed as a star vehicle for Brad Pitt with Animal Kingdom helmer David Michôd to write and direct The latter project is also being done with RatPac, with Pitt producing with his Plan B partners Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, and Ratner exec producing. WME reps McCulloch.
EXCLUSIVE: Leonardo DiCaprio has committed to star this September in The Revenant, a gritty thriller that Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu will direct for New Regency, for fall 2015 release through Fox. Gonzalez Inarritu and Mark L. Smith co-wrote the script. DiCaprio had been attached to team with Gonzalez Inarritu, but he is attached to many projects; getting the star to commit off his Oscar-nominated The Wolf Of Wall Street performance is a big development for Arnon Milchan and Brad Weston’s game plan to make tasteful, star- and director-driven fare.
Anonymous Content’s Steve Golin, Keith Redmon and David Kanter will produce with Gonzalez Iñárritu, Milchan and James Skotchdopole. Brett Ratner and Paul Green are exec producers. The film will be co-financed by RatPac and Worldview Entertainment, latter of which just partnered with Regency and Fox Searchlight in the Inarritu-directed Birdman, which was just set for release on October 17.
An adaptation of the Michael Punke novel The Revenant: A Novel Of Revenge, Inarritu Gonzalez’s next film will star DiCaprio as Hugh Glass, a 19th century fur trapper who gets mauled by a grizzly bear, and then is left for dead by cohorts who rob him. When he survives, he is as pissed as a bee-stung bear and sets out on a treacherous journey to exact revenge on those who betrayed him. Sean Penn had been circling as one of those bad guys, but he won’t be in the film. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: On the eve of its publication, Harlan Coben‘s new mystery novel Missing You has been acquired in a preemptive screen rights deal by Warner Bros and RatPac Entertainment. The book is published tomorrow by Dutton. For RatPac, Brett Ratner will produce and John Cheng and James Packer will be exec producers.
In Coben’s latest, a New York City Police Department detective named Kat Donovan is exploring a dating website and discovers the profile and photo of the ex-fiance who dumped her 18 years ago. She soon she begins to unravel an intricate catfish scheme led by a brilliant and calculating killer. Coben, whose page-turners get better and better and whose last six novels debuted atop The New York Times Bestseller list, seems poised to finally pop on the big screen. Besides Missing You, his novel Tell No One is being adapted by Argo scribe Chris Terrio for Universal and director Gavin O’Connor; Six Years is at Paramount with Mark Gordon producing and Hugh Jackman attached to star, with Jonathan Stokes adapting. Coben made a deal with Lawrence Kasdan directly to team on the Coben novel Stay Close, until that process slowed when Kasdan got the call to return to draft the new Star Wars movie for J.J. Abrams to direct.
Missing You was brought in Chantal Nong, the first major project for her since being minted VP Production. … Read More »