Los Angeles-based multi-platform media company Shout! Factory has acquired all U.S. and Canada distribution rights to EuropaCorp’s CG-animated family adventure film Jack And The Cuckoo-Clock Heart. The movie, helmed by Dionysos lead singer Mathias Malzieu and music video director Stéphane Berla in their feature debut, is produced by Virginie Besson-Silla and Luc Besson’s Europa. Shout! is planning a theatrical, VOD, SVOD, EST and TV rollout later this year. The company previously released Europa’s animated A Monster In Paris. Jack was adapted by Malzieu from his own 2007 novel and the gold-selling Dionysos album from the same year. The fairy tale is set in late-19th century Edinburgh where Little Jack is born on a day so cold that his heart remains frozen. His life is saved by inserting a cuckoo clock in its place, but it will work only if he observes three golden rules: He must never touch the hands of the clock, he must control his anger and he must never fall in love. When Jack sets eyes on a young girl singing on a street corner, the hands of his clock-heart begin to race and he heads out on a romantic quest that will take him from Scotland, to Paris to Andalusia. The English voice cast features Orlando Seale and Les Misérables’ Samantha Barks. The French version was released locally on February 5, to …
UPDATE, 9:10 AM: Two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz is returning this year as a presenter, joining previously announced Daniel Day-Lewis, Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence. From today’s release:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Two-time Oscar® winner Christoph Waltz will present at this year’s Oscars, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. The Oscars, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, will air on Sunday, March 2, live on ABC.
Last year Waltz won his second Oscar for his supporting performance in “Django Unchained.” He received his first in 2009 for his supporting role in “Inglourious Basterds.” Waltz’s other feature credits include “Carnage,” “The Green Hornet” and “Water for Elephants.” Waltz will next be seen in “Big Eyes“ and “Horrible Bosses 2.”
UPDATE: Sacha Baron Cohen Hails Leo’s ‘Wolf’ Hooker Anus Coke-Snorting In Paramount Re-Up, As ‘Grimsby’ Moves To Sony
“Any studio that puts out a movie where Leonardo DiCaprio snorts cocaine from a hooker’s anus is a place I’m happy to call home.”
Here it is in French: “N’importe quel studio ne met un film où Leonardo di Caprio renifle de la cocaïne de l’anus d’une prostituée est un endroit que je suis heureux d’appeler à la maison,” said Baron Cohen today while vacationing with his mistress in Villenueve, Southern France.
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, 11:24 am PST: Paramount Pictures has renewed its first look deal with Sacha Baron Cohen’s Four By Two Films, with a three year term and a commitment to make two pictures. At the same time, Sony Pictures has picked up worldwide rights to Grimsby, a comedy that was developed by Baron Cohen’s company at Paramount. Sony has committed to make the film and has set it for release on July 31, 2015. The studio has locked Clash Of The Titans helmer Louis Leterrier to direct the film, which will begin shooting this summer with Baron Cohen starring. Leterrier’s deal is being made right now.
Co-written by Baron Cohen, Phil Johnston and Peter Baynham, the comedy focuses on a British black-ops spy whose brother is an idiotic English football hooligan. Baron Cohen plays the latter. Baron Cohen and Baynham were Oscar-nominated …
Global Showbiz Briefs: Netflix Execs Headed Back To France For Expansion Talks; Patrick Malone Joins Goldcrest Post; More
Netflix Execs Headed Back To France For More Expansion Talks
Last week, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the company was eyeing “substantial” European expansion in 2014. His comments came a little more than a month after execs from the streaming service met with staff of French President François Hollande to discuss an entry into France. According to local media reports, Netflix execs now are due to return to France to meet with industry folk within the next week. Pascal Rogard, head of authors’ rights group the SACD, told Le Figaro that the situation is coming into focus with a possible launch later this year. Netflix is available in 41 countries including France’s neighbors to the north such as the UK, the Netherlands and the Nordic region. A French launch has been rumored over the years, but moving into the fiercely protected territory is ornery in part due to a complex film-windows chronology that prohibits movies from appearing on monthly SVOD services until three years after a theatrical release. There is no such protection for TV series, but Netflix’s House Of Cards already airs on local pay-TV leader Canal Plus, which would see the service’s arrival as competition. In a conversation with analysts, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos was asked last week whether the service would be out of certain markets with its key originals because it had already sold them to local providers. “It depends,” he said. “There’s multiple windows, and we’ll continue to have those negotiations as we get closer to those launches.” It’s expected that should Netflix enter France, it would have to adhere to obligations to invest in local content. Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti told Le Journal du Dimanche this weekend, “Netflix should be an additional player, not a stowaway.” It’s also believed that Netflix is eyeing a move into Germany. With regard to expansion, MoffettNathanson Research’s Michael Nathanson said last week that “it remains difficult to figure out the ultimate size and value of Netflix’s international opportunity” due to the company’s “undisclosed new market entries, minimal transparency and continual reinvestment.”
Hollywood homages trending in Super Bowl ads this year? While Ben Kingsley, Mark Strong and Tom Hiddleston star in a Super Bowl ad for the Jaguar F-Type R Coupe, directed by The King’s Speech and Les Miserables helmer Tom Hooper, Dannon’s Oikos spokesman John Stamos will star in an ad, joined by Bob Saget and Dave Coulier with whom he co-starred in ABC’s late-80′s/early 90′s hit sitcom Full House that averaged about 30 million viewers a week in its heyday. Super Bowl XLVIII will be broadcast Sunday on Fox. Watch it here:
UPDATE: International Box Office: ‘Wolf Of Wall Street’ Overseas Cume Nears $75M Led By France; ’12 Years A Slave’ Rises In UK; ’47 Ronin’ Crosses $25M In Russia; More
UPDATE: WEDNESDAY 3:58 PM: I’ve earlier reported strong international numbers for The Wolf Of Wall Street based on the several territories where Universal is handling the film with all No. 1s across the board. But this is a movie that also has a lot of independent distributors around the world. Wolf backer Red Granite now has chimed in with its latest figure for the ex-U.S. cume, including Universal’s patch, and it’s an impressive $74.7M from 52 territories (for those keeping score, that’s 1,245 times what Jonah Hill says his payday was for the film). Domestic, the movie is at about $91M and notably, Wolf‘s strongest overseas market to date by far is France. It’s released there by the Hadida brothers’ Metropolitan Filmexport. The French take according to the latest numbers I have is $21.17M. Although it opened on Christmas Day in France, it has taken more than half of its 2.4M admissions in 2014 and had a drop of only 12% in its 4th week that ended January 21. In the UK, the movie took an impressive $7.5M in its opening this past weekend; there it’s rated 18 which is basically an NC-17, and in France, where the ratings board tends to take sex scenes with less issue, it’s rated so that anyone over 12 can be admitted. That’s a lot of Leonardo DiCaprio fans. There’s for sure heat on this movie given the controversies surrounding it, but as I’m often told — and as I have experienced over 20 years here — a director’s name means a helluva a lot, and coupled with a major star, in a country of cinephiles like France it’s not surprising that they are lapping up this latest. Outside France and the strong Universal territories noted below, The Wolf Of Wall Street is also hot in Belgium ($2.49M) Holland ($3.56M) and Poland ($3.58M) as of the latest figures.
UPDATE, WEDNESDAY 9:51 AM PT: With Universal’s final figures in for The Wolf Of Wall Street overseas this past weekend, the international cume from its territories is now $28.5M. Actuals were a touch off in the UK ($7.5M vs an estimated $7.6M), but higher than expected in Germany, Spain, Austria and German-speaking Switerland. In other Universal news, 47 Ronin has been having a strong run in Russia despite its underperformance elsewhere. In its 3rd frame there this weekend, the film placed No. 3 and broke the $25M barrier. Fox’s The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty also had a better than previously estimated weekend, with an international cume to date of $106.2M. And the heavily Oscar-nominated 12 Years A Slave added $7.62M for an international take of $23.92M and a worldwide haul of $64.2M. It’s currently playing in 21 international markets with Belgium and France opening today. The first 2 PM showing in Paris this afternoon sold 2,400 tickets on 32 screens, outperforming Hayao Miyazaki’s Oscar-nominated The Wind Rises and Stallone/De Niro vehicle Grudge Match. The Martin Luther King holiday slowed the release of some final international weekend figures, but numbers have been updated as they’ve come in below:
The sequel to Tim Burton’s billion-dollar 2010 pic will be called Through The Looking Glass, and Sacha Baron Cohen is in early talks to star. Disney‘s new film, directed by The Muppets helmer James Bobin and set for release May 27, 2016, returns Mia Wasikowska as Alice and Johnny Depp as Mad Hatter. It would be a reunion for Baron Cohen and Depp, who starred together in Burton’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street. The Bruno and Borat star’s recent credits include Les Miserables, The Dictator and a voice role in Madagascar 3. In November, he signed a first-look deal with FXP, and FXX ordered Ali G: Rezurection, which features his breakout Ali G character. A week later, he stole the show at the BAFTA/LA Britannia Awards when he came to the podium to accept a career award and “inadvertently” pushed an elderly wheelchair-bound woman off the stage. Or not.
‘Frozen’ Becomes Shining Star For Disney: Surpasses $300M Domestically, At $655M Worldwide To Date; Is Broadway Next?
Frozen, the animated musical from Walt Disney Studios Animation, has slid past the $300M mark domestically, according to estimates Tuesday night. The film is on its way to becoming the highest-grossing Disney Animation release in history … one insider said it could become their Billion dollar baby. This, of course, begs the question — will Frozen‘s huge success take it all the way to the Great White Way? It a natural for Disney. The soundtrack just hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart today and the film itself seems custom-made for a stage presentation for a holiday season as soon as the ice freezes in Rockefeller Center. “There’s been no discussion on doing that with Frozen yet, but we are obviously aware how powerful it is and how powerful the music is,” said one top Disney executive. At present, Disney is prepping for Aladdin which bows on Broadway on March 20th. And, as everyone knows, The Lion King has become a huge success — for a while a permanent fixture – on Broadway, winning six Tony Awards and playing throughout the country and on stages worldwide (in many territories). It has, as of year-end 2013, become the first Broadway show ever with $1B in cume gross; it has been running 17 years to pass Les Miserables as the 4th longest running show on Broadway. So, it would make sense for Frozen to follow in its footsteps to become the next worldwide juggernaut. The Lion King box office success also spawned two direct-to-video films, a spinoff TV series and several video games. In fact, the previous record-holder at the worldwide box office for Disney was the original The Lion King, which in 1994 ended up with a total gross on its initial run of $313M domestically and $452M internationally for a total worldwide cume of $765M.
‘Gravity’ Leads BAFTA Nominations With 11 Nods; ‘12 Years A Slave’, ‘American Hustle’ Each Score 10 (LIVE)
UPDATE, 12:16 AM PT: Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity scored 11 nominations from the British Academy this morning including Best Film, Best British Film, Best Director and Leading Actress for Sandra Bullock. It led the pack of movies recognized by BAFTA and is followed by 12 Years A Slave and American Hustle with 10 nods each across the major categories. Captain Phillips drew nine mentions; Behind The Candelabra – released theatrically in the UK – has five, as does Saving Mr Banks. The latter film has underperformed at the British box office, but it clearly found a mark with voters. It world premiered in London and both of its stars, Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, recently made a point of stopping by BAFTA for lengthy sit-downs and a look back at their careers. Thompson is nominated in the Leading Actress category for the film and Hanks is also a Leading Actor candidate, although he’s up for Captain Phillips which is also a Best Film contender. But back to Gravity: It’s also vying in the original screenplay, original music, cinematography, editing, production design, sound and special visual effects races. Notably, Gravity is nominated as both Best Film and Best British Film, something I expected might happen. The same thing goes for Philomena which scored …
Year-End: UK Tax Breaks Too Much Of A Good Thing? Tasty Danish Offerings; French Film Biz Blues; Germany, Russia, Italy, Spain
The UK emerged in 2013 as an increasingly attractive location destination with new and expanded tax credits – but can it stand the bulge? Hollywood has cozied up to Britain, not only bringing its films there to shoot, but now its TV programs while it also continues to plumb it as a source of original drama to be remade in the U.S. Across the Channel, after a wake-up call in the waning days of 2012 by France‘s influential Vincent Maraval of Wild Bunch, the local industry spent 2013 debating its rich subsidy system that’s spent big (too big?) on talent. Germany‘s local share of the box office is expected to be down for 2013, only slightly, but it’s been fertile ground for the studios working in local language. Meanwhile, Olympics host Russia is seeing its star rise while Italy and Spain are still undergoing financial woes. And yet, nothing seems rotten in the state of Denmark where the box office is top heavy with local films and a new drama series could be the Danes’ answer to Downton Abbey. Here’s a look back at 2013 and some glimpses of what 2014 may hold:
The British government has strongly backed the film and television business by increasing tax breaks this year. But in so doing, has it backed the industry into a corner? Arguably one of the biggest stories out of the UK in …
Catch up on Deadline’s top film stories you missed this week:
‘Lawrence Of Arabia’s Peter O’Toole Dead At 81 – 8-Time Oscar Nominee Retired Last Year
By Anita Busch and Jen Yamato – Oscar-nominated actor Peter O’Toole died yesterday, his agent confirmed Sunday. He was 81. Often called the Hamlet of his generation, his death comes only about a year after retiring from a 54-year career in both stage and film highlighted by his turn as T.E. Lawrence in David Lean’s 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia, which won seven Oscars including Best Picture.
Peter O’Toole’s Long And Frustrating Half-Century Dance With Oscar: “Always A Bridesmaid, Never A Bride”
By Pete Hammond – There is no doubt Peter O’Toole was one of the greatest actors the movies have ever seen. Since coming into major international stardom with his dazzling turn in Lawrence Of Arabia, O’Toole compiled a group of brilliant performances over the past half century that are second to none. But he also holds another distinction.
BOX OFFICE: Weather Impacts BO But Attendance Up Overall Year to Date, ‘The Hobbit’ Lighter But Strong, ‘Frozen’ Steals ‘Madea’s Christmas’ As ‘American Hustle’ Kicks It On Six Screens
By Anita Busch – The severe weather across the nation – winter storms across 23 states and 100 million people – also impacted the nation’s box office this weekend. It seems to have affected the older pictures most.
UPDATED WITH FULL LIST: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced nominations for the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards this morning at the Beverly Hilton. Aziz Ansari, Zoe Saldana and Olivia Wilde handled the unveiling of names and titles in 25 film and TV categories after being introduced by new HFPA president Theo Kingma. Following today’s announcement, the HFPA will mail out final ballots to members December 23 (since it’s a slow time at the U.S. Postal Service?), with votes due back January 8. Winners will be announced during the Golden Globes ceremony January 12, 2014 at the Beverly Hilton, aired live on broadcast partner NBC and hosted for a second consecutive year by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. The duo’s well-received debut as hosts last year helped the show draw 19.7 million total viewers, a 17% jump over the year before, and a 6.4 rating in the adults 18-49 demo, a 20% bump — the best in both metrics in six years — that all but assured the pair’s return trip. One who won’t be there next month: Woody Allen, who said he would not attend to receive his 2014 Cecil B. DeMille Award. Instead, his longtime co-star Diane Keaton will accept on his behalf. Last year’s ceremony also saw eventual Oscar winner Argo selected Best Motion Picture Drama (though Les Miserables won the most film awards with three), while on the TV side Homeland won Best Drama and Girls took Best Comedy.The 71st annual Golden Globe Awards will be seen in more than 160 countries and is produced by dick clark productions in association with the HFPA. Here is the full list of nominees:
Related: Golden Globes Nominees: Scorecard
BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
12 YEARS A SLAVE
Plan B Entertainment, New Regency Productions and River Road Entertainment; Fox Searchlight Pictures
Columbia Pictures; Sony Pictures Releasing
Warner Bros. Pictures / Esperanto Filmoj / Heyday Films; Warner Bros. Pictures
Pathe, BBC Films, BFI, Canal+, Cine+, Baby Cow/Magnolia Mae; The Weinstein Company
Universal Pictures, Cross Creek Pictures, Exclusive Media, Imagine Entertainment, Working Title, Revolution Films; Universal Pictures
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr Banks
Kate Winslet, Labor Day
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years A Slave
Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford, All Is Lost
BEST MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Columbia Pictures and Annapurna Pictures; Sony Pictures Releasing
Warner Bros. Pictures / Annapurna Pictures; Warner Bros. Pictures
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
Mike Zoss Productions, Scott Rudin Productions, Studio Canal; CBS Films
Paramount Vantage; Paramount Pictures
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
Paramount Pictures and Red Granite Pictures; Paramount Pictures
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Julie Delpy, Before Midnight
Greta Gerwig, Francis Ha
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf Of Wall Street
Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Joaquin Phoenix, Her
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
DreamWorks Animation LLC; Twentieth Century Fox
DESPICABLE ME 2
Universal Pictures/Illumination Entertainment, A Chris Meledandri Production; Universal Pictures
Walt Disney Animation Studios; Walt Disney Pictures
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR (France)
Quat’sous Films; IFC Films
THE GREAT BEAUTY (Italy)
Indigo Film, Medusa Film, BABE Films; Janus Films
THE HUNT (Denmark)
Zentropa Entertainment; Magnolia Pictures
THE PAST (Iran)
Memento Films Production, France 3 Cinema, BIM Distribuzione; Sony Pictures Classics
THE WIND RISES (Japan)
Studio Ghibli; Touchstone Pictures
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years A Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Daniel Bruhl, Rush
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years A Slave
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle
BEST SCREENPLAY – MOTION PICTURE
Spike Jonze, Her
Bob Nelson, Nebraska
Jeff Pope & Steve Coogan, Philomena
John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave
Eric Warren Singer & David O Russell, American Hustle
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – MOTION PICTURE
Alex Ebert, All Is Lost
Alex Heffes, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
Steven Price, Gravity
John Williams, The Book Thief
Hans Zimmer, 12 Years A Slave
BEST ORIGINAL SONG – MOTION PICTURE
“Atlas”, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Music by: Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion
Lyrics by: Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion
“Let It Go”, Frozen
Music by: Kristen Anderson Lopez, Robert Lopez
Lyrics by: Kristen Anderson Lopez, Robert Lopez
“Ordinary Love”, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
Music by: Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen, Jr., Brian Burton
Lyrics by: Bono
“Please Mr Kennedy”, Inside Llewyn Davis
Music by: Ed Rush, George Cromarty, T Bone Burnett, Justin Timberlake, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Lyrics by: Ed Rush, George Cromarty, T Bone Burnett, Justin Timberlake, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
“Sweeter Than Fiction”, One Chance
Music by: Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff
Lyrics by: Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff
UPDATE: International Box Office: ‘Catching Fire’, ‘Frozen’ Strong; It’s ‘About Time’ In Korea + Regional Analysis
UPDATE: TUESDAY PM: Welcome to Deadline’s first dedicated international box office round-up, with me as your host. After last night’s snapshot (below), here’s a look at the past weekend and an overview of what’s going on at the turnstiles in various overseas territories. Feedback, as always, is appreciated:
Internationally, this weekend was down on the comparable frame last year when films like Skyfall, Rise Of The Guardians and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 were in the mix. The top 10 titles this weekend saw a drop to about $118M from the Thanksgiving period that scored abroad with $182.7M, according to industry data. The actual holiday isn’t a factor overseas, but it does bring big movies to market. Overall, some European territories are off – to varying degrees – versus the first 11 months of 2012, while Latin America and Asia remain hot spots. This weekend’s big pictures overseas continued to be Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire which added $42.9M for a $340.6M cume and Disney’s animated Frozen which added an estimated $30.6M for an international total of $55.9M.
The place that’s highest on execs’ minds is China where “we’re all looking forward to a boom,” one tells me. Catching Fire and Warner Bros’ Gravity are still playing on the Mainland with respective cumes of $26.8M and $63.7M. But both films will taper off as the local industry ramps up a series of homegrown movies for the remainder of December. With quotas filled for 2013, Hollywood will wait until 2014 for the next debut which will be Universal’s Despicable Me 2 on January 10th. As the Chinese box office rolls along on its way to a potential $3.5B tally for 2013, the current top film is local 2D action-road trip pic No Man’s Land. Co-produced by DMG, it opened at No. 1 on December 3rd and won the week with $23.7M through Monday. It came just ahead of another local hit, The Four 2. The rest of the year will see a big push for local films as the territory continues an aim to up its local market share, which is currently at 55%.
Elsewhere in Asia, romantic comedy About Time had a strong No. 1 opening in Korea this weekend with $4M at 289 dates and 28% of the market. Director Richard Curtis has said this would be the last film he helms. It comes squarely 10 years after the movie he’s perhaps most associated with directing, Love Actually. About Time’s opening in Korea is double what that film did there. The low-budget time travel romcom with Rachel McAdams, Domnhall Gleeson and Bill Nighy has had pretty significant legs for Universal. It was first released in the UK in September and now has a cume of $48.3M. Summit’s Escape Plan – the actioner that teams Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger – has now muscled its way into 41 international markets, adding Korea this weekend for $925K and a No. 5 slot on 287 screens. Its international total is now $95.9M out of a worldwide gross of $120.5M. This was a slow weekend for local films in Korea despite the territory’s overall strength. Its box office growth in the first 11 months of the year is understood to be at about 7.6% and I’m told the homegrown market share could top out at 60%.
EXCLUSIVE: After wrapping his fan-funded Veronica Mars movie, Rob Thomas is reuniting with the film’s co-writer Diane Ruggiero for a zombie drama series project based a DC property. The CW has put in development iZombie, which Thomas and Ruggiero will write based on the characters created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred and published by DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint. iZombie, from Warner Bros TV and Rob Thomas Prods, is a supernatural crime procedural that centers on a med student-turned-zombie who takes a job in the coroner’s office to gain access to the brains she must reluctantly eat to maintain her humanity. But with each brain she consumes, she inherits the corpse’s memories, and with the help of her medical examiner boss and a police detective, she solves homicide cases in order to quiet the disturbing voices in her head. Thomas and Rugierro, who previously served as an exec producer on Thomas’ series Veronica Mars and Cupid, are executive producing with fellow frequent Thomas collaborators Danielle Stokdyk and Dan Etheridge.
Zombies cannot be hotter at the moment with AMC’s The Walking Dead shattering ratings records and Brad Pitt’s World War Z doing well in theaters recently. Additionally, there are three series projects about loved ones coming back from the dead: Babylon Fields at NBC, a remake of the hit French drama The Returned at A&E, and ABC’s midseason series Resurrection.
The AFM, which gets underway tomorrow, will see a record influx of Chinese companies and execs. But that’s not the only draw for Mainland players this week. The 2013 U.S. China Film Summit kicks off today in LA with execs and talent attending that include Village Roadshow Pictures Asia CEO Ellen Eliasoph, CAA China managing director Jonah Greenberg, MPA president for Asia-Pacific, Mike Ellis, and Xiao Lu Xue, director of box office hit Finding Mr Right. Last night, an event organized by the MPAA and China’s SAPPRFT was held at Universal to celebrate the start of the third annual China International Co-Production Film Screenings. Attending were NBCUniversal vice chairman Ron Meyer, MPAA chief Chris Dodd and China Film Group vice chairman Jiao Hongfen, among others. Meyer delivered a speech in which he said, “We are focused on building new and expanded partnerships to establish long-term relationships between Universal and China.” He also noted that Universal’s “key initiatives” include “doing more co-productions and establishing an office in Beijing that will be our base of operations in China.” It further emerged that Despicable Me 2 will have a China release in early 2014. (The original Despicable Me was not released there and earlier this year, the sequel had been denied a slot.) “As Universal enters its 2nd century in …
BREAKING: Voltage Films has cast Amanda Seyfried to play the daughter role opposite Russell Crowe in the Gabriele Muccino-directed film Fathers And Daughters, which Brad Desch scripted. Pic is a love story detailing the bond between a father and daughter living in New York. The story moves back and forth between the 1980s where Jake Davis, a famous novelist and widower, struggles with mental illness as he tries to raise his 5-year-old daughter, Katie, and 30-year-old Katie’s life in present-day Manhattan where she battles the demons that stem from her troubled childhood. Seyfried most recently starred in Lovelace and Les Miserables, the latter with Crowe. Next up is Seth MacFarlane’s Western A Million Ways To Die In The West.
Aneurin Barnard Joins ‘The Devil’s Harvest’; Animated ‘Book Of Life’ Sets Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana & More
EXCLUSIVE:The White Queen‘s Aneurin Barnard has been cast in The Devil’s Harvest. The drama from director George Mendeluk also stars Ben Kingsley, Terence Stamp, Max Irons and Les Misérables‘ Samantha Barks. Barnard, who’s also got Mary Queen Of Scots coming up, will play Mykola in the story about a young man growing up in rural Ukraine who finds his life changed forever by the invasion of the Red Army and the subsequent persecution of his family and fellow countrymen as Stalin’s regime extends into Eastern Europe. Jaye Gazeley is producing, Camilla Storey is co-producer. Shooting is currently underway in Romania and Ukraine. Barnard is repped by Ken McReddie Associates in the UK and by UTA.
20th Century Fox Animation‘s Guillermo del Toro-produced Book of Life has set its voice cast. Channing Tatum, Zoë Saldana, Diego Luna, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, Kate del Castillo and Ron Perlman lead the pic along with Cheech Marin, Hector Elizondo, Placido Domingo, Ana de la Reguera (Nacho Libre, Eastbound and Down), Eugenio Derbez (Instructions Not Included), comedian Gabriel Iglesias (Stand-up Revolution), radio personality Ricardo (“El Mandril”) Sanchez, and Danny Trejo. Jorge Gutierrez is directing the pic which 20th and Reel FX has set for an October 17, 2014 release.
BREAKING: Voltage Films has set Russell Crowe to star in the Gabriele Muccino-directed Fathers And Daughters, which instantly establishes this film as a hot sales title for AFM. The film is a love story between a father and daughter who live in Manhattan 25 years apart. The story moves back and forth between the 1980s where a famous novelist and widower struggles with mental illness as he tries to raise his 5-year old daughter; then it shows that daughter as a 30-year old woman in contemporary Gotham who battles her own demons that stem from that turbulent childhood. The script was written by Brad Desch (Shotgun Lovesongs).
Fathers And Daughters will be produced by Voltage Productions’ Craig J. Flores and Nicolas Chartier, and Busted Shark Productions’ Sherryl Clark. Exec producing are Crowe and his Fear Of God Films partner Keith Rodger. Romilda De Luca is also exec producer. Voltage Pictures will handle foreign sales, which get underway at AFM. They are circling a major actress to play the daughter. The film preps in December.