EXCLUSIVE: Relativity and The Weinstein Company are in advanced negotiations to team in the acquisition of U.S. distribution rights for Jane Got A Gun, the Western that is being directed by Gavin O’Connor and star Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Ewan McGregor, Noah Emmerich and Rodrigo Santoro. The deal is for a wide release but they haven’t finalized a slot for the film. CAA is brokering the deal. I hear CBS Films and Focus Features were also in the mix.
The film’s backers showed footage of the picture on Wednesday, and they were looking for a deal with no upfront money, a discounted distribution fee and a small equity percentage of the gross until the film’s overages are covered. Relativity was negotiating with JGAG producers and it became clear that Weinstein wanted a piece of the movie. Harvey Weinstein has a close relationship with David Boies, the hot shot attorney who is partner in Jane backer Straight Up Films. His daughter, Regency Boies, is a producer on the movie for Straight Up Films. Relativity will handle distribution, I’m told, and TWC is taking the lead on marketing the film, and they decided this would be a good strategic fit. The film is produced by Scott Steindorff, Portman and her Handsomecharlie Films, Aleen Keshishian, Terry Dougas, Scott LaStaiti and Straight Up Films’ Regency Boies.
It’s the latest bit of good news–now this picture is … Read More »
With the market officially wrapped, the deal pace has slowed to a crawl and the focus turns back to the movies. That’s after a week of international sales on some key titles and a few high-profile domestic deals in an environment that nevertheless was marked by caution. Oftentimes as Cannes is about to start, there are splashy announcements of domestic pick-ups on fest-related movies and that helps set the pace. In 2011, The Weinstein Co. acquired The Artist before the curtain lifted. Last year, it grabbed The Sapphires and Sony Pictures Classics bought Susanne Bier’s Love Is All You Need on Day One. This year, there were no eve-of-the-fest acquisitions on titles that are in official selection (although Warner Bros. moved in on Ryan Gosling’s How To Catch A Monster which is currently shooting and Lionsgate arrived in town having taken the upcoming The Quiet Ones). Ultimately, U.S. buyers that I spoke with ahead of the fest said they would be opportunistic, but cautious. “Everyone goes in very carefully,” Sony Classics’ Tom Bernard told me. “There’s a lot of pushback in the ancillary areas so when you’re spending money, you have to spend it wisely.”
Foreign sellers say there’s a shift in the balance of key territories. China, Russia, Brazil, the Middle East and even India – which has such a massive local box office – are becoming “significant pieces of the puzzle.” Spain and Italy remain the places that make sellers misty given the economic crises there. Rai, however, did pick up The Gunman starring Sean Penn in what was a notable buy for the company. That movie virtually sold out for Studiocanal. Read More »
In a multi-territory deal, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisition has acquired Germany, Austria, German-speaking Switzerland, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, and Latin America on Focus‘ Jude Law-starrer Black Sea. Kevin Macdonald is directing the film about a submarine captain on a risky hunt for sunken treasure. FFI also sealed a deal with BackUp Media which invested against rights in France, Benelux and French-speaking Switzerland. Other territories sold include Australia and New Zealand (eOne), China, CIS, Israel and South Africa.
CBS Films has overhauled under Terry Press and Wolfgang Hammer who were named co-presidents about a year ago. At the time, CBS Corp. president and CEO Les Moonves said, “They both possess the ‘roll-up-your-sleeves’ attitude for making, acquiring and marketing quality films for a division that is small in size, but laser-focused on assembling a mix of home-grown productions and acquisitions across a diverse range of genres.” Demonstrating its mettle here in Cannes, the company has the very high-profile Coen brothers movie Inside Llewyn Davis in Competition. It acquired the film in February after a screening on the Sony lot attracted lots of interest and created a competitive situation. CBS spent close to $4M to seal the deal. The movie will be a big part of CBS’ presence in Cannes, but that doesn’t mean the company isn’t looking to buy. It’s releasing about four to six pictures a year and has the flexibility to work across any genre. Although it has never acquired a foreign language film, it’s not out of the question, I’m told. Previous pick-ups include Lasse Hallstrom’s Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, horror hit The Woman In Black and Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths.
Related: Cannes: Actors To Watch
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BREAKING: Since forming 11 years ago, Focus Features has been a relative bastion of stability. That will remain so as CEO James Schamus has re-upped for a new term, and Andrew Karpen, president since 2006, has been promoted to co-CEO. Schamus will remain a creative catalyst for the company, while Karpen oversees the global business strategy for the company and will continue to spearhead the company’s digital initiatives. Together, they run all aspects of the company, including acquisitions and worldwide production, marketing, and distribution. Karpen continues to report to Schamus, who hatched the label with David Linde in 2002. Schamus reports to Universal co-chairman Donna Langley.
These are stand-up guys who come to the Croisette with the hottest project in Hollywood, and one which they are not selling here, at least not yet. That’s 50 Shades Of Grey, the adaptation of the steamy novel that has sold 70 million copies worldwide, and which Langley won in a huge multi-million dollar bidding battle, and then placed it with taste-maker label Focus, to be produced by Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca. That project is still forming and while there might be some hot and bothered whispering here at the Croisette (it’s unclear whether its partner, Universal, will let any territories go), the focus here for International head of Distribution and Sales Alison Thompson is on Mike Leigh’s new film, which stars Timothy Spall as the painter J.M.W. Turner; the Asif Kapadia-directed docu on Amy Winehouse; and new Focus titles that the Michael Cuesta-directed fact-based thriller Kill The Messenger with Jeremy Renner, and the Andrew MacDonald-directed undersea adventure film Black Sea with Jude Law. FFI will also world premiere Ruairi Robinson’s thriller The Last Days On Mars, starring Liev Schreiber, Olivia Williams, and Romola Garai in the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight section. Read More »
CANNES: Below I’ve compiled this year’s list of what Cannes films are most often being mentioned by potential buyers. But already there’s been a bit of action in the marketplace, with Warner Bros acquiring domestic on the Ryan Gosling-directed How To Catch A Monster. Sellers feel a good appetite for deal-making is in the air. “This has been the busiest month we’ve had going into a Cannes Film Festival. The frenetic activity has never been this intense,” said Roeg Sutherland, who runs CAA’s independent film operation with Micah Green. “It’s not that a lot of new companies are jumping in like they did last year. But we’re seeing those companies coming back here with good slates, which is the healthiest thing for everybody.” I can tell you that sellers this year are cautiously optimistic this Cannes market will be closer to 2011′s when sales were made on the basis of sizzle reels. (Harvey Weinstein made a big bet on The Iron Lady after watching seven minutes of Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, and John Hillcoat’s Lawless and Rian Johnson’s Looper sold on the basis of preview reels as well.) Not even rain in the forecast for the next couple of days can depress the upbreat attitudes here. After all, at last Cannes, the sellers market on the Croisette belonged to the umbrella salesman getting 40 Euros a pop in a nonstop torrential downpour that put a figurative damper on the entire market. We all known you cannot measure the success of Cannes the way you can Toronto and Sundance. If buyers don’t buy, sellers are in trouble. Here, a chance conversation with a high net worth individual can make the whole Cannes experience worthwhile. This is a festival of intangibles, and players have to make the time to hustle at the Hotel Du Cap where the billionaire investors roam and the movie stars are stashed until they have to come to the Croisette for premieres. That’s as glitzy as it gets here, but sellers and buyers tell me they do most of their business over a drink at the Carlton and Majestic Hotels, and to a lesser degree the Martinez. Agents especially have “how I won the war” Cannes stories of unexpected encounters that turned into game-changing deals.
Related: Hammond: Festival Kicks Off With Most Anticipated Slate In Years
“Beyond the competition and the exposure that is so good for the careers of your clients, it is an important place to create a moment that leads to films getting financed,” said UTA’s Rich Klubeck. “Two years ago, we met with the guys at Studio Canal who’d said they missed being in business with Joel and Ethan Coen. We had another meeting in New York and they wrote the check for Inside Llewyn Davis, which premieres here. It could not have been a better situation. They have proven to be perfect partners.” That deal allowed the Coens and producer Scott Rudin to shoot the 1960s folk movie without pressure to find early domestic distribution. The picture went to CBS Films after the filmmakers showed the finished product to a crowd of buyers. “We got to take our time, hear the marketing plans offered by each distributor, and pick the perfect situation,” Klubeck told me. “This is a good place where a lot of stuff happens.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The resilient indie Western Jane Got A Gun finally has its bad guy. Ewan McGregor is negotiating to play the pivotal role of the leader of an outlaw gang in the film that Gavin O’Connor is now directing. Natalie Portman plays the wife of an outlaw (Noah Emmerich) who leaves that gang after he gets shot up, and returns home. Knowing his former outlaw mates will come to finish him off and destroy her farm, Jane is forced to rekindle a relationship with a past love (Joel Edgerton), a capable gunman who can help her. This is the role that Jude Law originally was going to play, but he exited when original director Lynne Ramsay abruptly left the night before production began. After O’Connor came on to replace Ramsay behind the camera, they got Bradley Cooper to play the part, but his schedule is so impossibly busy — particularly after shooting got postponed on the David O Russell-directed American Hustle because of the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent city lockdown — that Cooper had to drop out. This was OK because the villain wasn’t scheduled to shoot until later into the production. Read More »
UPDATE: Bradley Cooper has confirmed his exit from Jane Got A Gun, and he has offered this statement: “Regretfully, due to date conflicts between the film I an currently shooting for David O Russell and Jane Got A Gun, I am unable to join Natalie, Joel, Noah and Gavin on this truly exciting project. I was really looking forward to being a part of it and hope to work with each and every one in the future.”
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, 5:17 pm PDT: It is proving hard for the makers of Jane Got A Gun to find a good outlaw. Bradley Cooper, who had agreed to replace Jude Law opposite Natalie Portman and Joel Edgerton in the Gavin O’Connor-directed Western, has had to exit a film that is well into production. The filmmakers are working hard to replace him, and are courting a short list of actors that includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hiddleston. Cooper signed on to play the gang leader who will come to kill an outlaw colleague (The Americans‘ Noah Emmerich) who got shot and headed home. That unfortunate homecoming prompts his estranged wife (Portman) to lean on a former lover (Edgerton) to stand up to the bad guy to save her farm. Unfortunately, Cooper is shooting David O Russell’s American Hustle, and the schedule in Boston got messed up by the terrorist bombing that took … Read More »
Here is the full transcript of director Steven Soderbergh‘s keynote at the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival delivered Saturday. At first he requested the festival ensure no still photographs, audio, or video of his talk at the Kabuki Theater. But instead it was tweeted, blogged, recorded, and put online. Soderbergh promised in advance to “drop some grenades” and he opined about studio executives, indie filmmaking, and cinema vs movies. He did not detail his own retirement:
A few months ago I was on this Jet Blue flight from New York to Burbank. And I like Jet Blue, not just because of the prices. They have this terminal at JFK that I think is really nice. I think it might be the nicest terminal in the country although if you want to see some good airports you’ve got to go to a major city in another part of the world like Europe or Asia. They’re amazing airports. They’re incredible and quiet. You’re not being assaulted by all this music. I don’t know when it was decided we all need a soundtrack everywhere we go. I was just in the bathroom upstairs and there was a soundtrack accompanying me at the urinal, I don’t understand. So I’m getting comfortable in my seat. I spent the extra $60 to get the extra leg room so I’m trying to get comfortable and we make altitude. And there’s a guy on the other side of the aisle in front of me and he pulls out his iPad to start watching stuff. I’m curious to see what he’s going to watch – he’s a white guy in his mid-30s. And I begin to realize what he’s done is he’s loaded in half a dozen action sort of extravaganzas and he’s watching each of the action sequences – he’s skipping over all the dialogue and the narrative. This guy’s flight is going to be five and a half hours of just mayhem porn.
I get this wave of – not panic, it’s not like my heart started fluttering – but I had this sense of, am I going insane? Or is the world going insane – or both? Now I start with the circular thinking again. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s generational and I’m getting old, I’m in the back nine professionally. And maybe my 22-year-old daughter doesn’t feel this way at all. I should ask her. But then I think, no: Something is going on – something that can be measured is happening, and there has to be. When people are more outraged by the ambiguous ending of The Sopranos than some young girl being stoned to death, then there’s something wrong. We have people walking around who think the government stages these terrorist attacks. And anybody with a brain bigger than a walnut knows that our government is not nearly competent enough to stage a terrorist attack and then keep it a secret because, as we know, in this day and age you cannot keep a secret.
So I think that life is sort of like a drumbeat. It has a rhythm and sometimes it’s fast and sometimes it’s slower, and maybe what’s happening is this drumbeat is just accelerating and it’s gotten to the point where I can’t hear between the beats anymore and it’s just a hum. Again, I thought maybe that’s my generation, every generation feels that way, maybe I should ask my daughter. But then I remember somebody did this experiment where if you’re in a car and you’re going more than 20 miles an hour it becomes impossible to distinguish individual features on a human being’s face. I thought that’s another good analogy for this sensation. It’s a very weird experiment for someone to come up with.
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Focus Features International will sell worldwide rights to the untitled biopic that Julien Temple will direct with Rent and Law & Order‘s Jesse L. Martin starring as the iconic soul singer with the sweet voice and troubled personal life. Script is by Matthew Broughton, and In Bruges‘ Brendan Gleeson will play the role of Freddy Cousaert, who met Marvin Gaye in 1981 in the Belgian fishing village of Ostend when the singer was battling everything from drug problems to the IRS. Cousaert helped the singer regain his mojo, leading to a comeback that included hits like Sexual Healing. Vicky Krieps (Hanna) also stars and Dwight Henry (the bakery owner who played Hushpuppy’s father in Beasts Of The Southern Wild) will play Gaye’s father, who silenced his son with a gunshot.
Related: Jesse L. Martin To Play Marvin Gaye, Replaces Lenny Kravitz Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: I’m not certain it’s going to happen as they try to sort scheduling issues, but Werner Herzog’s Queen Of The Desert has James Franco circling the role that Jude Law was going to play. If you recall, Herzog lined up Naomi Watts and Robert Pattinson to star in the story of Gertrude Bell’s life as a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the 20th Century. Law had signed on to the film, but exited awhile ago to do the play Henry V, and the project ground to a halt. Getting a commitment from Franco would put the picture back on track. Stay tuned. There is kind of a race on Gertrude Bell, as Ridley Scott also has one that Angelina Jolie was eyeing. But it looks like Scott is working hard on his Biblical film Exodus at Fox–Christian Bale is eyeing the role of Moses–and Jolie is preparing to direct Unbroken, the unbelievable life of Olympian sprinter-turned WWII POW Louis Zamperini. So both of them are certainly preoccupied.
EXCLUSIVE: As distributors line their coffers with big films for Cannes, Focus Features has grabbed one, acquiring worldwide rights to Black Sea, an adventure thriller that Kevin Macdonald will direct with Jude Law starring. It’s contemporary, and Law will play a submarine captain who is laid off by a salvage company and makes a deal with a shadowy backer to look for a storied sunken sub reputed to be loaded with gold at the bottom of the Black Sea. Since this find would get him even with his ex-bosses, he puts together a crew of English and Russian sailors for the task, taking off to uncharted depths with his motley crew. The closer they get to the prize, the riskier it becomes to trust one another.
Law just starred for Focus Features in Anna Karenina. Film 4 developed, co-produced and is co-financing Black Sea with Focus, and Macdonald has committed to make it next. Macdonald, who helmed the Oscar-winning docu One Day In September and Touching the Void, and who directed The Last King Of Scotland and State Of Play and The Eagle, last helmed the Saoirse Ronan/Tom Holland-starrer How I Live Now and the docu Marley. Focus holds worldwide rights — excluding the U.K. free-TV rights held by Film4, and international sales will begin at Cannes. Macdonald and Charles Steel are producing. Dennis Kelly, who recently authored the book of the acclaimed stage musical adaptation of Matilda, is writing the Black Sea script. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Bradley Cooper is poised to join the cast of Jane Got A Gun, stepping in to play the bad guy role that Jude Law exited shortly after We Need To Talk About Kevin helmer Lynne Ramsay‘s abrupt exit. Cooper joins Natalie Portman and Joel Edgerton in the film that Warrior helmer Gavin O’Connor took over.
Related: ‘Jane Got A Gun’ Loses Director Lynne Ramsay On First Day
Despite a tough start, the film is now two weeks into production. The producers, including Scott Steindorff, Portman, Terry Dougas and Aleen Keshishian, have pulled off a minor miracle here. As Deadline revealed exclusively, the cast and crew found out the morning of the first day of shooting that Ramsay had withdrawn from the film. They managed to keep the crew and cast from scattering until they could set O’Connor. Then Law exited, because he wanted to work with Ramsay. I’ve seen independent films fall apart with less adversity, but these guys persevered. They got the film started, but needed to find a replacement with someone with comparable value to Law in the overseas marketplace. They’ve overachieved in landing Cooper. Read More »
Matthew McConaughey has confirmed he’ll star in Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar for Paramount and Warner Bros, which Deadline told you exclusively a week ago. The actor doesn’t say much about the role, just that he’s doing it. Having veered from the rom-com, he’s having a nice second wind to his career. Now, you might think it douchey of me to feel the need to remind that Deadline broke the story, but there are so many online sites creating businesses by swiping our stories, many with no credit, that we need to drop reminders of who’s putting in the work and turning over the hard ground. These aggregating sites are getting more brazen. The one that has been grating on me lately is Slashfilm. I don’t see a lick of original reporting, and I don’t think that site would exist without Deadline or the work of trade reporters like Borys Kit and Justin Kroll. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: While the troubled independent feature Jane Got A Gun got a new director this morning in Gavin O’Connor, fallout continues from Monday’s abrupt exit of helmer Lynne Ramsay. I’m told that Jude Law has formally withdrawn from the film. It is because he signed on to work with Ramsay, best known for the edgy drama We Need To Talk About Kevin. The producers of Jane Got A Gun have tried to hold its cast together when Ramsay stepped out, and this is the second significant star to drop out in the past few weeks. Michael Fassbender also exited, ostensibly because of a scheduling clash with his upcoming X-Men movie; he was replaced by Joel Edgerton. The latter worked with O’Connor on Warrior, so I would imagine he’ll hang in, and the film’s star, Natalie Portman, is also a producer on the film. Ramsay has declined comment. I’ll tell you more when I hear it.
‘Warrior’ Helmer Gavin O’Connor Rides To Rescue On ‘Jane Got A Gun’
SHOCKER: ‘Jane Got A Gun’ Loses Director Lynne Ramsay On First Day
EXCLUSIVE: When We Need To Talk About Kevin helmer Lynne Ramsay pulled a no-show and dropped out of helming Jane Got A Gun on the first day of shooting, producer and financier Scott Steindorff said they were determined to set a new director quickly and keep the picture from falling apart. Well, it looks like they’ve gotten themselves a good one. A deal is closing with Gavin O’Connor, the writer-director of Warrior, Pride And Glory, Miracle and Tumbleweeds. O’Connor will get the picture underway Thursday.
Related: More Fallout On ‘Jane Got A Gun:’ Jude Law Exits Picture
Considering how fragile independently financed productions can be, this is fairly remarkable that Steindorff and his fellow producers including Natalie Portman and Aleen Keshishian have managed to keep this picture from falling apart, and prevent the cast and crew from leaving the Sante Fe set and scattering to the winds. As Deadline revealed exclusively yesterday, the production endured what has to go down as the worst first day of shooting in movie history, when Steindorff was forced to gather the crew and castmembers Portman, Joel Edgerton, Jude Law and Rodrigo Santoro to tell them that after nine months of developing the project, the director wasn’t showing up after a series of negotiating twists and turns took place over the weekend.
Related: SHOCKER: ‘Jane Got A Gun’ Loses Director Lynne Ramsay On First Day Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: When the cast and crew of the indie drama Jane Got A Gun showed up for the first day of production Monday in Sante Fe, they learned that director Lynne Ramsay was a no-show and had abruptly dropped out of the film. Among those who learned of her exit yesterday were Natalie Portman, who stars in the film and is producing with Scott Steindorff, Joel Edgerton, Jude Law and Rodrigo Santoro. Steindorff, who is financing the picture through his Scott Pictures label, confirmed the crisis and said they are determined to hold the picture together until they set a new director. He said that would happen imminently.
A lot of filmmakers step off projects and we chalk it up to creative differences, but I can’t remember a situation when a filmmaker who developed a film didn’t show up for work on the day it starts production. Clearly there was drama the weekend before, but this is pretty shocking. Not surprisingly, Steindorff indicated that there is a high level of acrimony here. He said that Ramsay has a pay or play deal, and that he has also retained litigator Marty Singer to keep his options open. The crew is still showing up to work and the project is still being cash flowed, with actors rehearsing scenes.
“I have millions of dollars invested, we’re ready to shoot, we have a great script, crew and cast,” Steindorff told Deadline. “I’m shocked and so disappointed someone would do this to 150 crew members who devoted so much time, energy, commitment and loyalty to a project, and then have the director not show up. It is insane somebody would do this to other people. I feel more for the crew and their families, but we are keeping the show going on, directors are flying in, and a replacement is imminent.” Read More »
Scott Melrose is the second seasoned former agent to be brought back into the fold by Paradigm. That agency, which signed former CAA-turned-Overbrook Entertainment exec Ken Stovitz, has just brought in Melrose, the former Endeavor agent who became a manager several years ago. He has focused on UK-based film , TV and theater clients including Hannah Tointon (The Hour). Back at Endeavor, Melrose repped the likes of Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Charlie Sheen, Hank Azaria and Mark Valley. It’s unclear yet who he’ll rep at Paradigm.
The Academy Awards are about movies but they are also about money, too. And this year the moolah looks good for ABC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. At around $1.7 million to $1.8 million for a 30-second spot, the Walt Disney Company-owned network has sold out its ad inventory for this Sunday’s show. The price for those spots are the highest the network has charged since 2008 when the economy started to tank. Advertisers Diet Coke, Neutrogena, J.C. Penny, Hyundai, Coldwell Banker Real Estate, Chobani Yogurt, and Grey Poupon are all hoping that host Seth MacFarlane will meet or beat those numbers for the new commercial campaigns they are launching. Other advertisers include Amex, Samsung, McDonald’s, Sprint, the University of Phoenix, Royal Caribbean, Anheuser-Busch and Ameriprise. In terms of the studios, Paramount, Weinstein Company and Universal won’t have movie ads. Disney, who gets discounted rate advertising from ABC, will be showing a spot for their upcoming Oz The Great And Powerful. Fox will be advertising The Heat, their upcoming Sandra Bullock/Melissa McCarthy feature directed by Paul Feig. Last year’s show, which was up a slight 4% from 2011, was the second most watched Oscars in the past half decade with 39.3 million viewers. The other number the Academy hopes to beat is how much it makes from the Oscars. Last year the profit was $51.2 million off the ceremony - up a bit from 2011 – with $89.6 million in revenue and $38.3 million … Read More »