One Chance, the David Frankel-directed film about opera singer Paul Potts, will make its first performance on Yahoo Screen, an advertiser-supported online service from Yahoo. In a new wrinkle about finding an audience for a crowd pleasing film with no big stars, Yahoo has made a deal with The Weinstein Company to air the film on its Yahoo Screen service ten days before it rolls out in theater this fall. The plan is different from the multi-platform strategy used by RADiUS-TWC on films like Snowpiercer, which has broadened to 356 screens and grossed $3.5 million theatrically. Here, Yahoo will show a commercial movie to its audience, making it available free, before TWC takes it to movie screens. The film opened last year overseas and grossed $9.9 million.
Potts was an assistant who dreamed of being an opera singer. His audition for Britain’s Got Talent became a YouTube sensation. He went on to win the competition and has a thriving career. James Corden, who won the Tony for Orie Man, Two Guvnors and who co-stars in the TWC release Begin Again, plays Potts. Julie Walters, Mackenzie Crook, Colm Meaney, Jemima Rooper and Alexandra Roach also star.
How wide the film opens after its Yahoo bow remains to be determined when the film opens later this fall. Exhibitors don’t love the multi-platform model, and as is often the case with some multi-platform releases, and it will be interesting to see how they greet an online showing. TWC will four wall some theaters to reach … Read More »
Richard Bean’s Great Britain – a scatalogically accurate satire of the press that has come hot on the heels of the hacking scandal that brought down The News Of The World and culminated last week in a guilty verdict handed down last week for former editor Andy Coulson — is transferring from the National Theatre’s South Bank complex to the West End. Performances are slated to begin September 10 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and run through January 10, 2015. The show opened earlier this week at the National.
The company describes Great Britain as “an anarchic and foul-mouthed satire about the press, the police and the political establishment. Paige Britain is the ambitious young news editor of The Free Press, a tabloid newspaper locked in a never-ending battle for more readers.”
Bean is the playwright behind One Man, Two Guvnors, a masterful riff on the classic Carlo Goldoni farce The Servant Of Two Masters, which was an earlier hit for the National starring James Corden, and transferred to a Tony Award-winning run on Broadway. Great Britain reunites the playwright with director Nicholas Hytner, National Theatre director and the helmsman behind several West End and Broadway transfers, including The History Boys and One Man. The new show is designed by Tim Hatley, with video design by 59 Productions, lighting by Neil Austin, music by Grant Olding and sound by Paul Arditti. Casting for the West End run will be announced shortly.
Docs join this weekend’s new crop of Specialty releases, hoping to lure audiences in from the heat. Magnolia will open veteran filmmaker Joe Berlinger’s Sundance feature Whitey: United States Of America v. James J. Bulger in a case that shook the FBI and the criminal underworld while FilmBuff and Participant will team on fellow Sundance doc The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story Of Aaron Swartz. And Magic Mike actor Joe Manganiello returns to the male strip club world with his doc La Bare for Main Street Films. The Weinstein Company is rolling out two films Friday including Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine starrer Begin Again, which it picked up out of Toronto and Yves Saint Laurent, the French-language film about the legendary and sometimes troubled designer. Zeitgeist Films is opening India-set Siddharth and China Lion will bow China’s The Breakup Guru in limited release. In addition to these films, Lionsgate will open America in three theaters before heading out to over 1,000 locations over the 4th of July weekend. And RADiUS-TWC opens Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho’s international sci-fi drama Snowpiercer stateside. Interestingly, the film had a unique event this past week in Austin where ticket buyers rode a train somewhat mirroring the film’s premise to a screening outside the city. The film also played BAMcinemaFest Wednesday night in addition to the Film Society of Lincoln Center Thursday night with Bong in attendance leading up to this weekend’s release.
Whitey: United States Of America V. James J. Bulger
Director: Joe Berlinger
Subjects: Stephen Rakes, James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, Tommy Donahue, David Beori, Steve Davis, Dick Lehr, Shelley Murphy
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures, CNN Films (for broadcast)
Filmmaker Joe Berlinger has spent a significant portion of his filmmaking career on stories in which the criminal justice system and/or policing goes awry, most notably with the Paradise Lost doc trilogy. He said he had long been fascinated by James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, who spent a long time as Number 2 on America’s Most Wanted List after Osama Bin Laden. Bulger had terrorized Boston for years, seemingly with impunity, despite being connected to multiple murders as well as other offenses that permeated various levels of government. “I had been interested in the [Bulger case] for a long time, but didn’t think I had anything to add, but when he was arrested in Santa Monica, the trial promised to be the biggest legal proceeding in Massachusetts history,” said Berlinger. Read More »
As reported here two weeks ago, a major revival is in the works for next spring on Broadway: the Stephen Sondheim-Burt Shevelove-Larry Gelbart 1963 romp A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. Plans are for the show to star James Corden — who won a 2012 Tony for his indefatigable, hilarious performance in One Man, Two Guvnors – in the role of Pseudolus created by Zero Mostel (who also starred in the 1966 film) and played in subsequent revivals by Phil Silvers and, most recently, Nathan Lane in 1996. Production will be directed by sizzling youngster Alex Timbers (Here Lies Love, Rocky), though deals are incomplete. The veteran producing trio is Emanuel Azenberg, Jill Furman and Roy Furman. Show marked Sondheim’s debut as composer and lyricist, following his work as lyricist on West Side Story (music: Leonard Bernstein) and Gypsy (music: Jule Styne). A Funny Thing Happened is a heady, punny riff on the comedies of Plautus in which the slave Pseudolus yearns for freedom and strikes a deal with his lovestruck master to earn it. The show famously was rescued from early, bewildered audiences who didn’t know what to make of it until Sondheim penned a new opener, “Comedy Tonight,” preparing them for the general lunacy that followed.
Channel 4 drama Southcliffe leads the nominations for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts TV Awards. The miniseries has four nods including for Leading Actor Sean Harris and Supporting Actor Rory Kinnear. Comedy The IT Crowd also has four nominations, with stars Richard Ayoade and Chris O’Dowd competing with The Wrong Mans’ Mathew Baynton and James Corden in the Male Performance in a Comedy Programme category. Broadchurch and The Village scored three nods, including for Drama Series where they are joined by My Mad Fat Diary and the BBC’s Top Of The Lake. Other notable mentions include Dominic West for Leading Actor in Burton And Taylor;Helena Bonham Carter is also nommed for her role as Elizabeth Taylor in the mini. Among other British shows with nominations are the BBC’s The Fall, Ripper Street and the Doctor Who anniversary movie An Adventure In Space And Time. The International category features Breaking Bad, House Of Cards, Denmark’s Borgen, and France’s The Returned. This year’s ceremony will be held at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London on May 18. A list of the major drama and comedy nominees follows (the full list is here): Read More »
Here’s the official trailer for the film that until last week was known as Can A Song Save Your Life?The Weinstein Company picked up the comedy after an epic bidding war following its Toronto premiere, and now it’s set to close the Tribeca Film Festival. The newly retitled Begin Again stars Mark Ruffalo as Dan, a fired music exec who stumbles upon his second chance in Gretta (Keira Knightley), who gets cut loose by her musician boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) after he signs a major-label deal. Hailee Steinfeld, James Corden, Catherine Keener and Levine’s former The Voice colleague CeeLo Green also star in the film from writer-director James Carney (Once). Begin Again‘s tour of theaters starts July 4. Have a look and a listen:
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has announced its 2014 lineup. The 29th edition features 23 World Premieres and 31 U.S. Premieres and runs January 30-February 9. Robert Nixon and Fisher Stevens’ Mission Blue opens the fest and Before Midnight closes it, followed by a Q&A with Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. Here’s the full lineup: Read More »
The follow-up to International Emmy and Peabody Award-winning comedy/talk show hybrid The Kumars At No. 42 will bring the Kumar clan back to television after a seven-year break. The new show, titled The Kumars, is a six-part series that will air on the UK’s Sky1 HD from January 15th. The original ran on the BBC for 53 episodes and was also broadcast on BBC America. There is no U.S. deal yet, but given the earlier show’s popularity and the caliber of guests, it wouldn’t be surprising to see it land Stateside. The original scripted and improvised show centered on three generations of a British Indian family. Sanjeev Bhaskar played the thirtysomething son whose parents support his dream of being a talk show host by building a TV studio onto the back of their home. Celebrity guests were greeted with fanfare at the family’s front door, sometimes making a pit-stop on the living room couch for nibbles (see video below), before being ushered into the TV studio for a chat with Bhaskar while his parents and grandmother offered inappropriate questions from the peanut gallery. The new series will kick off with Daniel Radcliffe, Chevy Chase and Broadchurch‘s Olivia Colman as guests. Returning cast include Bhaskar, Vincent Ibrahim and Meera Syal. But fortunes have shifted and the family now lives in a flat behind a homewares and gift shop that the father … Read More »
Rufus Norris’ feature helming debut, Broken, opened Cannes‘ Critics’ Week in 2012 and later nabbed the Best Picture Prize at the British Independent Film Awards. But Norris won’t have much time for movies in the near future. London’s National Theatre today named him successor to Nicholas Hytner as artistic director, a post that’s considered the biggest in British theater – and one that’s had its share of influence on Hollywood. Norris will officially take over in April 2015, after Hytner steps down in March. Hytner, whose film credits include The Madness Of King George, The Crucible and The History Boys, has presided over some of the most prosperous of the National’s years in London since he took over from Trevor Nunn in 2003. At the National, he’s directed or overseen hits that moved to Broadway and/or the movies including The History Boys, War Horse and One Man Two Guv’nors (with One Chance star James Corden). He also pioneered the NT Live initiative which broadcasts stage performances like Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller and Helen Mirren-starrer The Audience, to cinema screens around the country and abroad. Norris has been working with Hytner for the past two years as associate director and recently staged The Amen Corner. Among his numerous earlier credits are a 2006 revival … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE:CAA has landed James Corden, who was great opposite Keira Knightley in the John Carney-directed Can A Song Save Your Life?, which premiered at Toronto and was quickly acquired by The Weinstein Company after a bidding war. Corden also stars in TWC’s Paul Potts biopic One Chance as the unknown-turned-opera star, and opposite Meryl Strep and Johnny Depp in Rob Marshall’s Into The Woods. A Tony winner last year for his Broadway turn in One Man, Two Guvnors, Coreden also won a Best Comedy Performance BAFTA for the BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey, which he co-created, co-wrote, and starred in. He continues to be repped in the UK by Ruth Young United Agents and his attorney is Jason Sloane.
Just call it Weinstein Premiere-O-Rama. The company launched four movies with splashy galas at the Toronto International Film Festival in the span of 48 hours (is this some sort of weird record?). That included Saturday night’s Mandela: Long Walk To FreedomWorld Premiere, Sunday’s North American launch of Philomenaand last night’s World Premieres of August: Osage County and One Chancedirectly against each other. When I saw Harvey Weinstein at the combined Soho House after-party for the Monday films I told him he obviously loves Toronto. He was moving fast between his movies showing up everywhere, including on stage for August before it began. ”Everything came together and we just thought this would be the perfect way to get these films out there,” he said clearly beaming at the reaction.
All the films won standing ovations, not uncommon in movie-friendly Toronto (people like getting up on their feet here) but even by those standards the raucous, prolonged standing O for August: Osage County was definitely the most enthusiastic I have encountered at this year’s fest. And the John Wells-directed movie adaptation of actor/writer Tracy Letts’ Tony-winning Midwestern-set Broadway play about a dysfunctional family to end all dysfunctional families played like gangbusters with much audible reaction throughout. Star Meryl Streep was a last-minute cancellation due to illness and co-producer George Clooney (with Grant Heslov) didn’t make the trek to Canada for this film or Gravity in which he co-stars with Sandra Bullock since he was back in L.A. still working on posting his latest directorial gig, Monuments Men as well as shooting Disney’s Tomorrowland. But most of the cast was there including Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis, Chris Cooper, Julianne Nicholson, Abigail Breslin, Dermot Mulroney and Julia Roberts, clearly the belle of this ball. When I spoke with her afterwards she was definitely on cloud nine over the reaction the film received and obviously excited to be working with this cast and opposite Streep who manages to do the impossible and tops Streep as the bitterly funny, bitingly caustic mother who lets it rip, particularly in the film’s (and the play’s ) signature dinner scene. Roberts is also at her best and both should be major Oscar contenders in the impossibly crowded lead actress category. This would make nomination #18 for Streep. Could anyone ever top her own record? Read More »
2ND UPDATE, 2:25 AM PT: After an all night auction, The Weinstein Company is nearing a deal to acquire U.S. rights to the John Carney-directed Can A Song Save Your Life? TWC is now in exclusive negotiations and I’m told they are tying down a deal that will land at around a $7 million minimum guarantee for U.S. rights with a P&A commitment of at least $20 million. They are working on the final numbers in what is a very strong deal for the film backed by Exclusive Media and Sycamore, and Exclusive is nearly done auctioning off the remaining foreign countries. There are going to be a lot of tired deal makers roaming around Toronto Sunday, as CAA, UTA and WME were all in the mix making all of these deals, with several bidders in the mix until the wee hours. These kinds of auctions don’t happen that often anymore, but Carney made an exceptional movie with breakout potential if it is handled right and I’m not surprised so many distributors sparked to it the way they did. Coming in, it looked like Can A Song Save Your Life? and Bad Words would be the big money titles and they didn’t disappoint. Both went in … Read More »
Myriad Pictures is handling all international rights on Miss Meadows, written and directed by Karen Leigh Hopkins. The dark satire/fairy tale stars Katie Holmes and James Badge Dale. Myriad will introduce it to buyers in Toronto. Holmes plays a sweet and proper elementary school teacher who moonlights as a gun-toting vigilante. Badge Dale is the local sheriff who falls in love with her. The film is produced by Crazy Heart‘s Rob Carliner and Eric Brenner. Read More »
iThe Toronto Film Festival got underway last night with the Gala premiere of the Bill Condon-directed DreamWorks Julian Assange film The Fifth Estate. Today, the acquisitions market should get going with the first screening of the Jason Bateman-directed comedy Bad Words and Saturday’s premiere of Once helmer John Carney’s Can A Song Save Your Life?
Toronto has long served a dual role as a global platform to launch prestige films into the Oscar race, as well as a place where distributors can bolster slates with acquisitions of finished films that need someone to release them. The odd thing about this year’s marketplace: the biggest challenge facing sellers is to get the major buyers to focus, because they are so preoccupied with the films they are launching in the Oscar race from Toronto that dealmaking is a distant second on the priority level. Whether it’s The Weinstein Company, Sony Pictures Classics, Fox Searchlight, CBS Films or Focus Features, everybody has a viable Oscar horse. Frankly, there is less early chit-chat about deal prospects than there is about how the end-of-year releases of Oscar corridor films will be as crowded and brutally competitive as the summer season that just passed. There are way more films platforming and playing through the winter than was the cast last year. Just as some worthy summer blockbusters underperformed because of the onslaught, upcoming prestige films will be under extreme pressure to perform.
Here, the major distributors that have the funds to create bidding battles have tons of product at Toronto. SPC’s Michael Barker and Tom Bernard have nine movies playing, and TWC’s Harvey Weinstein has six. The challenge facing sellers will be to get those buyers to wrap their arms around new product that will fill slate holes in 2014. Everybody is loaded for bear for the fall and early winter. This won’t be a replay of the times past, when films like Shame, The Wrestler and Rabbit Hole were acquired and launched from festivals right into Oscar season.
The Weinstein Co‘s One Chance is the rags-to-riches story of Britain’s Got Talent‘s 2007 winner Paul Potts. The David Frankel-directed pic stars James Corden as Potts, the cell phone salesman who became an overnight sensation and a successful opera singer. Julie Walters, Mackenzie Crook, Colm Meaney, Jemima Rooper and Alexandra Roach also star. It world premieres on Monday as a Special Presentation in Toronto. Here’s the first trailer:
Hulu came to the press tour today to preach New Model and show off some of its new programming. TV critics showed up in dribs and drabs. Those who came stuck around until the final session — but that’s only because it included Seth Meyers and they wanted to ask him about — NBC’s Saturday Night Live. This morning, Hulu was pitching:
*The Wrong Mans – a comedy/thriller from James Corden and Matthew Baynton about two lowly office workers who become caught in a deadly criminal conspiracy when one of them finds a ringing cell phone at the scene of a horrific car crash.
*Behind The Mask – a documentary about sports mascots.
*Quickdraw — a half hour Western/CSI spoof about a Harvard-educated sheriff trying to introduce the emerging science of forensics to an unruly Kansas town in the late 19th century.
The Toronto International Film Festival has set its list of 70 gala and premiere screenings, and not surprisingly it includes many of the films that figure to factor in the Oscar discussion. This includes 12 Years A Slave to August: Osage County, Rush, Labor Day, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Parkland, Dallas Buyers Club, Alfonso Cuaron’s 3D thriller Gravity and Atom Egoyan’s West Memphis 3 film Devil’s Knot. There will be plenty of starpower, including actors-turned first time directors Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Don Jon), Keanu Reeves (Man Of Tai Chi), Jason Bateman (Bad Words), Mike Myers (Supermensch), as well as Coriolanus helmer Ralph Fiennes (The Invisible Woman).
The festival generally provides a mix of those films as well as acquisition titles that usually get released next year. Also on the list is the opening night film, the Bill Condon-directed The Fifth Estate, the DreamWorks drama about polarizing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is played by Benedict Cumberbatch.
Here’s the list made official this morning by Toronto Fest organizers:
Piers Handling, CEO and Director of TIFF, and Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival, unveiled the first round of titles set to premiere in the Galas and Special Presentations programmes at the 38th Toronto International Film Festival®.
“This first round of films offers a taste of the powerhouse lineup at this year’s Festival,” said Handling. “These are
Magnussen was most recently Tony nominated for Chris Durang’s Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike. Magnussen’s last screen work came in Fox Searchlight’s The East and Whit Stillman’s Damsels In Distress. He also played an arc on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and next appears in the Martin Scorsese-produced Revenge Of The Green Dragons. He’s repped by BRS’s Charles Bodner, managed by Authentic’s Dara Gordon and lawyered by Robert Offer.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine — From Emmy Award-winning writer/producers Dan Goor and Michael Schur (“Parks and Recreation”), and starring Emmy Award winners Andy Samberg (“Saturday Night Live”) and Andre Braugher (“Men of a Certain Age,” “Homicide: Life on the Street”), BROOKLYN NINE-NINE is a new single-camera ensemble comedy about what happens when a talented, but carefree, detective gets a new captain with a lot to prove. Detective JAKE PERALTA (Samberg) is a good enough cop that he’s never had to work that hard or follow the rules too closely. Perhaps because he has the best arrest record among his colleagues, he’s been enabled – if not indulged – throughout his entire career. That is, until the precinct gets a new commanding officer, Captain RAY HOLT (Braugher), who reminds this hotshot cop to respect the badge. Jake may have collared more criminals, but Detective AMY SANTIAGO (Melissa Fumero, “One Life to Live,” “Gossip Girl”) is close behind, and she’s keenly aware of how many arrests she needs to close the gap. Amy grew up with seven brothers who were all cops. She’s the first girl in the family to put on a police uniform, and suffice it to say: she’s extremely competitive…about everything. Also working cases in Brooklyn’s 99th precinct is Sergeant TERRY JEFFORDS (Terry Crews, “Bridesmaids,” “Everybody Hates Chris”), a linebacker of a man who’s lost his nerve, not because he’s a wimp, but because a year ago, his wife … Read More »