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‘Retreat’ Helmer Boards Sci-Fi Pic ‘Timeless’

By | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 6:45pm PDT

‘Retreat’ Helmer Boards Sci-Fi Pic ‘Timeless’EXCLUSIVE: UK director Carl Tibbetts (Retreat, Black Mirror) is now in the director’s chair on Timeless, the science fiction project scripted by Bill Kelly (Enchanted, Premonition). Story tracks a twentysomething surfer who sets out to build a time-travel machine after his wife dies in an accident. He taps a young Harvard physicist to help make the impossible a reality. Kelly first sold the spec in 2010 when Phillip Noyce was attached to direct. Now new financier Nicolas Veinberg and Defiant Pictures have come aboard, and Sunil Perkash (Salt, Enchanted, Premonition) will produce alongside Veinberg and Lucas Jarach. Relativity Media, which made the initial spec deal, is circling for domestic distribution. Tibbetts made his feature debut with the sci-fi thriller Retreat starring Cillian Murphy, Thandie Newton, and Jamie Bell. He’s casting for the Timeless shoot next spring in Gran Canaria, Spain, where producers aim to take advantage of generous 38% local tax incentives. Defiant Pictures’ upcoming slate includes Charlize Theron starrer Dark Places and Wild Oats starring Shirley MacLaine and Jessica Lange. Tibbets is repped by Verve, Independent in the UK and Attorney Doug Stone. Kelly is repped by WME.

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Paramount Takes Worldwide Distribution On Spain’s ‘Capture The Flag’, ‘Tad’ Sequel

Paramount Takes Worldwide Distribution On Spain’s ‘Capture The Flag’, ‘Tad’ SequelParamount Pictures has boarded worldwide distribution on two upcoming animated features hailing from Spanish director Enrique Gato. The studio has entered a landmark deal with Telecinco Cinema, Telefónica Studios and Los Rockets AIE on space race adventure Capture The Flag and Tad Jones: The Hero Returns, the sequel to 2012′s Tad, The Lost Explorer. Gato won the Best New Director Goya for The Lost Explorer, a wink to the Indiana Jones series, and the movie also took the screenplay honors last year. It is the highest grossing Spanish animated film of all time with a worldwide haul of about $45M. That film went through Paramount in Spain and this new deal sees the studio look more broadly at international where the movie did strong business with releases throughout Latin America and Europe. The sequel will roll out in 2016. The pact for both films is significant in that it’s the first studio deal on two upcoming Spanish toons. Latin American moviegoers are growing in importance at the international box office, notably in places like Mexico and Brazil, while animation can be smoothly translated for wider audiences. Last year’s Argentine and Spanish 3D football picture Metegol (aka Foosball 3D) was a big hit for Universal.

capture the flagCapture The Flag is inspired by the 1960s space race and sees a ruthless billionaire bent on exploiting the source of … Read More »

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New Venture Road Show Theatrical Sets Broadway Bow With Wiz-Bang Magic Revue At Marquis Theatre

New Venture Road Show Theatrical Sets Broadway Bow With Wiz-Bang Magic Revue At Marquis TheatreEXCLUSIVE: Hugh Jackman may not make it to Times Square as Houdini, but Oz and magic are still in the cards for the Main Stem: Road Show Theatrical, a new joint venture pairing investors Kilburn Media Partners and presenter/management company The Production Office, will make its Broadway debut during the coming holiday season with The Illusionists — Witness The Impossible, a Las Vegas-style extravaganza slated to run at the Nederlander Organization-managed Marquis Theatre. Road Show is fully financing the show to the tune of  ”several million dollars,” according to the principals, Kilburn CEO Mark Manuel and Production Office managing partner Gregory Young.

IllusionistsUnder the WME banner, The Illusionists has been filling theaters in Australia and New Zealand, including the Sydney Opera House, with a splashy combination of magic acts and production numbers. The stars are billed as “seven of the most incredible illusionists on Earth.” The Marquis run is set for November 26 through January 4.
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FINAL INT’L BOX OFFICE: ‘Godzilla’ Biggest Opening Of Year; ‘Spidey’ Passes ‘Captain America’s Int’l Cume; ‘Frozen’ Nearing Another Record As Disney Enjoys A $700M ‘Captain’ Ride

By | Monday May 19, 2014 @ 1:31pm PDT

Godzilla swishes tail to demolish competition with an updated $103.4M to mark biggest opening so far of 2014; Neighbors holding strong No. 2 behind lizard in most markets; Spanish Affairs knocked to No. 2 by lizard after record run, Amazing Spider-Man 2 adds $32.9M more and pushes to $635.5M worldwide and passes Captain America‘s international cume. Rio 2 now over $440M worldwide. Captain America: The Winter Soldier crosses over $700M.

cinemaworld7th UPDATE: Monday, AM: Updated numbers for Godzilla are below and came in just a bit higher to tally $103.4M on 17,045 screens in 64 markets with final numbers below from big markets coming from Rentrak. Biggest opener of the year. Also updated are final grosses from Sony on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Heaven is For Real . Universal for Neighbors, Spanish Affairs, and Ride Along, from Fox for The Other Woman, Rio 2, and The Grand Budapest Hotel and from Disney on its stateside opener Million Dollar Argodzilla_2014_teaserm which opened in India, Frozen, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Opener A Haunted House 2 estimates also come from Rentrak. Transcendence and Divergent are from Lionsgate. Pardon, the lack of territory by territory breakdown this week and next, but that will return when my colleague Nancy Tartaglione recoups from Cannes.

Related: FINAL BOX OFFICE: ‘Godzilla’ Monster Hit at $93.1M

One big note besides the obvious monster: Frozen is now at $1.208 billion worldwide. Given the strength of Japan (see below), it is quite possible that it could pass Iron Man 3 next weekend to become the No. 5 highest grossing movie in history. Iron Man 3 grossed $1.215M. It’s only $7M away and grossed $7.8M this past weekend.

Next weekend, the next installment of the popular Fox franchise X-Men: Days Of Future Past bows day and date in 100 countries — with the exception of Japan where it will open on the 30th and in Spain and Venezuela where it bows in subsequent weeks. And Thailand is under martial law which will halt moviegoing in that country.

6th UPDATE, Sunday 3:45 PM: Weighing in with Disney’s line-up overseas, including Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this weekend’s domestic opener Million Dollar Arm and the impossible-to-stop Frozen. It’s the Disney animated film, not Godzilla, that is the monstrous movie in Japan (see below for its incredible gross in the country where it is still No. 1). Speaking of the land of the rising sun, it’s worth noting that Warner Bros. holds the rights to Godzilla everywhere but in Japan, where it remains to be seen how the film’s tsunami and scene of a nuclear reactors crumbling will be received. Will that be entertaining to a country who has lost so much? We’ll find out when the Toho-created Gojira monster arrives in Japan on July 25th. As reported below, Godzilla became the biggest international opener of the year so far in 2014 with an updated final number of $103.4M. Read More »

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Fox’s Jim Gianopulos Delivers USC Film Commencement Speech; Marvel’s Kevin Feige Celebrates Rejection: Transcript

By | Friday May 16, 2014 @ 4:51pm PDT

Jim GianopulosThe Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment addressed 2014 graduates of USC‘s School of Cinematic Arts today at the Shrine Auditorium near the LA campus. Prior to Jim Gianopulos‘s speech, Marvel President and USC alumnus Kevin Feige received the school’s Mary Pickford Alumni Award, remembering his own time as a Trojan and sharing advice for the program’s aspiring filmmakers. Gianopulos joined the SCA Board of Councilors last year. Here’s a full transcript of Gianopulos’ speech, followed by highlights of Feige’s:

Congratulations Kevin on receiving the Mary Pickford foundation Award. It’s very well deserved for the great Marvel films you’ve produced, and I wish you continued success, as long as your movies aren’t opening on the same weekend as ours!

USCDean Daley, distinguished faculty, guests and—most important—all of you graduates in the class of 2014—it is an honor and a thrill for me to be here today.

I’d like to make one thing clear right away—I am not here to give you life-changing advice. As someone who’s worked in Hollywood for many years, the only thing I can tell you with certainty is… stay off the 405.

I have no easy answers, no mandated rules for living, no reminders to floss. The great journey you’re about to embark upon will be about exploring questions and finding your own answers to them, and trust me, it’s way better than thinking you have all the answers already.

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UPDATE: Intl Box Office: ‘Spider-Man 2′ Snares $67.2M; ‘Rio 2′ At $250M; ‘Captain America 2′ Crosses $400M; China’s ‘My Old Classmate’ Aces Test; ‘Other Woman’ Attracts $12.8M; ‘Spanish Affairs’ Still Hot In Spain; ‘Transcendence’ Adds $11M; More

Highlights: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (SONY) spins $67.2M in sophomore weekend; Rio 2 (FOX) wings way to $250M; Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS) adds $16M for $420.3M overseas haul; The Other Woman (FOX) has $20.63M cume; Noah (PAR) summons $11.1M; Transcendence (WB) takes $10.8M; Divergent (LGF/SUM/var) nearing $100M intl; The Lego Movie (WB) builds to $200M; Spanish Affairs (UNI) becomes highest-grossing Spanish film of all time at home with $61.4M…

cinemaworld4TH UPDATE, WEDNESDAY 9 AM PT While I was traveling back from the U.S., additional and updated numbers came in for the past weekend’s box office. Notably, we’ve been furnished with a breakdown of Transcendence‘s performance in its 2nd frame. In 39 ex-U.S. markets, the film added a further $11.02M for an overseas cume of $34.1M. The worldwide total is $52.08M. In China, it earned $2.8M from an estimated 2,640 screens this frame, a 75% drop from its first outing last week. There were major new local films in the market (see below), but last week’s start was lower than hoped for especially given Johnny Depp’s big China promotional tour. However, with $19.1M total in China, the market is still outperforming domestic and should end up its biggest territory. With stiff competition from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Other Woman and Rio 2, the film kicked off at No. 4 … Read More »

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Felicity Jones To Star In Juan Antonio Bayona’s ‘A Monster Calls’

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 12:07pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Felicity Jones A Monster CallsEXCLUSIVE: Felicity Jones is making a deal to star in A Monster Calls, the Juan Antonio Bayona-directed adaptation of the Patrick Ness children’s fantasy novel. I’ve heard that she will play the character of Mum, and that the filmmakers are courting Liam Neeson for the role of the Monster, though I am not sure that will result in a deal. The film tells the tale of a young boy who attempts to deal with his mother’s illness and the bullying of classmates by escaping into a fantastical world of monsters and fairy tales that deal with courage, loss and faith. Ness wrote the book based on an original idea by the late Siobhan Dowd, and Ness and illustrator Jim Kay won Britain’s Carnegie and Greenaway Medals for the book which Ness has turned into a script. Read More »

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INTL BO: ‘Spider-Man 2′ Spins $47M Web For Biggest Opening Of 2014; ‘Captain America’ Passes $500M; ‘Frozen’ Highest Animated Grosser Ever; ‘Rio 2′ passes $200M Overseas

Highlights: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (SONY) opens in 14 markets with $47M; Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS) passes $500M; Transcendence (WB) opens to $17.1M, mostly from China; Rio 2 (FOX) flies past $200M and is burning it up in Latin America. Noah (PAR) at $197.4M; Divergent (LGF/SUM/var) at $18M  for $74.7M cume; The Other Woman (FOX) bows with $5.3M in four markets; Spanish Affairs (UNI) phenom as Spain’s top local-lingo pic ever, still No. 1 … twice the marketshare of Spider-Man 2′s bow.

Related: Box Office: ‘Heaven Is For Real’ Rises High; ‘Transcendence’ Descends Into Hell

cinemaworld__1404061439493rd UPDATE, Monday, 10:50 PM PDT: Final numbers in for Transcendence, Divergent, Rio 2, The Other Woman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Lego Movie, and Mr. Peabody & Sherman. All grosses for the movies have changed.

2nd UPDATE, Sunday, 6:50 PM. PDT: More estimates have been added for Rio 2, Divergent, and further analysis on The Amazing Spider-Man 2. There will be another update tomorrow, but no territory by territory breakdown this week. It’s always interesting to see a snapshot of the top international pictures so far in 2014. Disney’s has the two lead spots right now with  Frozen $462M) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($385.1M), followed by The Wolf of Wall Street ($262.5M), which is being handled by Universal and many other distribs. The difference between the No. 2 and No. 3 pictures is a substantial $122.6M so far. Surprising, no? Rounding out the top five is Warner Bros.’  duo The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ($244.5M) and 300: The Rise of an Empire ($223M).

Related: Specialty Box Office: ‘Fading Gigolo’ Seduces In Limited Opening; ‘Under The Skin’ Passes $1M

Amazing Spider-Man 2PREVIOUSLY, 10:27 AM, Sunday, PDT: Marking the biggest opening internationally of 2014, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has taken the markets by storm, grossing an estimated $47M as it bows in such major territories as the U.K., Spain, Germany and Belgium, Mexico and Australia. All told, 14 markets. It was a big box office weekend internationally with several major pics playing well throughout the world. But all eyes are on Spider-Man, which opened strong in territories earlier in the week. The top market for the Sony franchise is Read More »

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UPDATE: Intl Box Office: ‘Rio 2′ Soars With $63.4M; ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Blasts Past $300M Overseas; ‘Noah’ Adds $36.2M; ‘Divergent’ Nearing $50M

Highlights: Rio 2 (FOX) has $63.4M weekend, lands $12.6M in China debut; Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS) crosses $300M international; Noah (PAR) adds $36.2M; Divergent (LGF/SUM/var) nears $50M; Spanish Affairs (UNI) has 5th No. 1 weekend in Spain…

cinemaworld4th UPDATE, 7:15 PM, PST: The final Divergent  numbers are in, with the film nearing $50M but not yet crossing it; it stands at $48.1M. The film is based on the YA novel of the same name (part of a trilogy) and Lionsgate is hoping it will become another big franchise. This is the same company that launched the wildly successful Hunger Games series. Divergent is at $124.7M in the U.S. after the 3-day weekend for a worldwide gross of $172.8M+.

3rd UPDATE, Monday, 1:52 PM, PST:  New grosses are in for Rio 2, The Grand Budapest Hotel, 300: Rise Of An Empire, The Lego Movie, Spanish Affairs and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Rio 2 did better than previously expected internationally over the weekend, with a total tally of $63.4M to date; the worldwide cume on the animated family picture is over $100M.

2ND UPDATE, MONDAY 12:45 AM PT: Last weekend, Captain America: Read More »

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Focus Dates ‘A Monster Calls’ For October 2016

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 10:33am PDT

monsterc__140305193750Focus Features announced it will release the Juan Antonio Bayona-directed A Monster Calls on October 14, 2016. So far the pic has the date to itself. Based on the award-winning children’s fantasy novel by Patrick Ness, (The Chaos Walking Trilogy), A Monster Calls centers on a young boy who attempts to deal with his mother’s illness and school bullies by escaping into a fantastical world of monsters and fairy tales. Ness wrote the novel based on an original idea by the late Siobhan Dowd, and he and illustrator Jim Kay won Britain’s prestigious Carnegie Medal and Greenaway Medal in 2012, presented to the year’s best children’s literature in the UK. Ness is adapting the screenplay from his novel. A Monster Calls will be produced by Belen Atienza (The Impossible, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Orphanage). Executive Producers are River Road’s Bill Pohlad and Mitch Horwits, Participant Media’s Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King, and Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairman Patrick Wachsberger.

Related: Focus Makes $20 Million P&A Deal For River Road, Participant And Lionsgate Intl-Funded Juan Antonio Bayona-Helmed ‘A Monster Calls’

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UPDATE: Intl Box Office: ‘The Winter Soldier’ Plants $39.2M Flag In China, Crosses $200M Overseas; Disney Passes $1B Global; ‘Rio 2′ Flies To $55.4M; ‘Noah’ Sails Past $100M; ‘Divergent’ Cumes $22.4M; More

Highlights: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS) bests Iron Man 3 China bow with $39.2M; Frozen (DIS) ices competition in Japan with $75.1M total, studio passes $1B in global box office; Rio 2 (FOX) lifts to $55.5M cume on extra $22.2M; Noah (PAR) builds to $106.2M; Divergent (LGF/SUM/var) adds $10.9M in 44 markets; Spanish Affairs (UNI) is Spain’s top local-lingo pic ever…

cinemaworld3RD UPDATE, SUNDAY 3 PM PT: Led by Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this weekend was a big 34% boost on the same frame last year when G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Croods and Chinese romantic comedy Finding Mr Right were the top three earners. This frame also repped a 19% jump on last weekend. There are no major new wide releases set for next week, although Divergent will continue its overseas rollout hitting Germany, Russia, France and Australia, while Rio 2 takes flight not only in the U.S., but notably lands in China, France and Mexico.

2ND UPDATE, SUNDAY 12:46 PM PT: Concurrent with its massive domestic opening (see Anita Busch’s box office report here), Captain America: The Winter Soldier continued its huge international run, and, with the help of Frozen, pushed Disney past the $1B global box office threshold. The estimated 2014 cume to date for the studio is $1,211M. Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, The Winter Soldier added a massive $107.1M this weekend overseas for an international cume to … Read More »

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Facebook Acquires Virtual Reality Startup Oculus For $2B

By | Tuesday March 25, 2014 @ 3:14pm PDT

facebook_logo_2MENLO PARK, Calif., March 25, 2014 — Facebook today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Oculus VR, Inc., the leader in immersive virtual reality technology, for a total of approximately $2 billion. This includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock (valued at $1.6 billion based on the average closing price of the 20 trading days preceding March 21, 2014 of $69.35 per share). The agreement also provides for an additional $300 million earn-out in cash and stock based on the achievement of certain milestones.

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UPDATE: Google Takes Another Hit In ‘Innocence Of Muslims’ Appeal

By | Friday March 14, 2014 @ 3:29pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEUPDATE, 3:29 PM: Google got some swift justice today, but it wasn’t the type it wanted. The 9th Circuit Appeals has decided it does not want to conduct an all-judges rehearing of the tech giant’s appeal in the Innocence Of Muslims copyright case. “A vote of the non-recused active judges was conducted as to whether to rehear the panel order en banc,” read an order (read it here) from the court today after Judge Sidney Thomas talked to his colleagues. “A majority of the non-recused active judges did not vote in favor of rehearing en banc.” This sua sponte action of Thomas’ own initiative comes two days after the tech giant requested a full rehearing by the appeals court. On February 19, a 9th Circuit panel sided with actress Cindy Lee Garcia and decided 2-1 new-google-logo-o__130307101539-275x91__140303154259__140313225345that YouTube had to take down the controversial anti-Islam film Innocence Of Muslims. With today’s order, this is Google’s third loss in a row in its appeal. “Therefore, the panel shall resume control of the case,” added today’s 2-page order. “Any further proceedings as to the panel opinion, including any petitions for rehearing and rehearing en banc, will be considered separately.”

Related: Google Allowed To Post Edited ‘Innocence Of Muslims’ Video Online Says Court

PREVIOUS, MARCH 13 PM: It has struck out two times in a row so far, but Google isn’t giving up its legal battle to get the Innocence Of Muslims video back on YouTube. In an expected en banc rehearing request this week against the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2-1 decision of February 19 in favor of actress Cindy Lee Garcia ordering the controversial 14-minute trailer taken offline, the tech giant says the Copyright Office is on its side.
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SXSW: Showtime’s ‘Penny Dreadful’ Debuts Juan Antonio Bayona-Helmed Premiere Episode

By | Sunday March 9, 2014 @ 8:51pm PDT

Penny Dreadful Showtime SXSWLiterary and cinematic roots run deep in Showtime’s new psychosexual horror series Penny Dreadful, which debuts in May with an episode helmed by The Orphanage director Juan Antonio Bayona. Josh Hartnett, Eva Green, Timothy Dalton, and Harry Treadaway star in the show created by Oscar-nominated scribe John Logan and exec produced by Sam Mendes which crosses the mythologies of iconic horror figures from Frankenstein, Dracula, and Dorian Gray lore in a Victorian England setting. “We wanted to pay respects to the mythology but bring them to a new level,” said Bayona of the show’s twisty take on well-known stories and characters.

Coincidentally, another thread connects the Penny Dreadful gang in front of and behind the camera. “There’s a lot of James Bond on this show: John wrote Skyfall, Sam directed it, Eva was in Casino Royale – I said to someone, I think I’m being groomed for the next Bond movie,” said Hartnett at a Q&A following the premiere of Penny Dreadful’s first episode Sunday at SXSW. Hartnett plays American gunslinger Ethan Chandler, who is recruited by Sir Malcolm (Dalton, a former 007 himself) and the enigmatic Vanessa Ives (Green) for a supernatural mission in London. The gothic series is one of a handful of television projects highlighted this year in SXSW’s new programming slate devoted to episodic /TV content.

Related: Showtime Lands Horror Drama From John Logan & Sam Mendes Read More »

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Focus Makes $20 Million P&A Deal For River Road, Participant And Lionsgate Intl-Funded Juan Antonio Bayona-Helmed ‘A Monster Calls’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In the third huge pre-buy deal this year,bayona Focus Features is committing $20 million in P&A to release A Monster Calls, a film that will be financed by River Road Entertainment and Participant Media. The film will be the next directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, who helmed the tsunami film The Impossible and made his breakthrough on The Orphanage. The film is an adaptation of the children’s fantasy novel series by Patrick Ness and it is already on course to begin production this fall for release in 2016. The novel focuses on a young lad who tries to deal with school bullies and his mother’s illness by losing himself into a vivid world of monsters and fairy tales. Ness adapted his own prize-winning work.

monstercIn the configuration taking shape, Focus releases the film wide domestically and Universal Pictures International releases in Spain. Lionsgate International is a key piece of this puzzle, as Patrick Washsberger’s troops will sell all other world territories. Producing is Belen Atienza, who teamed with Bayona on his films and produced Pan’s Labyrinth. Bill Pohlad’s River Road is coming off the Best Picture for 12 Years A Slave, and I’m told Pohlad and his team will exec produce with Participant Media’s Jeff Skoll and his team, along with Wachsberger.

This becomes the first major deal for Peter Schlessel since James Schamus and Andrew Karpen left Focus and Schlessel merged his FilmDistrict shingle in the company and took the reins. While Bayona is separately attached to helm a sequel to the zombie saga World War Z 2, this film will come first. Read More »

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FX Picks Up Andrew Gurland Comedy Pilot & ‘You’re The Worst’ To Series

By | Friday January 24, 2014 @ 12:00pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

fxlogo1FX Networks, which is making a big push in comedy with nine half-hour pilots, has picked up two of them – Married (formerly know as the untitled Andrew Gurland) and You’re The Worst – to series with 10-episode orders for a July debut on the flagship channel FX. “Married and You’re The Worst represent the continuing expansion of our comedy brand. They are smart, funny and adult,” FX’s Nick Grad said. The two shows, from FX Prods., also delve in marriage and romantic relationships, an area FX had largely stayed away from until now, focusing on more male-oriented fare. Read More »

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Year-End: UK Tax Breaks Too Much Of A Good Thing? Tasty Danish Offerings; French Film Biz Blues; Germany, Russia, Italy, Spain

YearEnd2013_badge__131227212819__131230220451The 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:

UK
ukflagThe 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 … Read More »

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2014 FX & FXX Pilots

By | Friday December 13, 2013 @ 12:16am PST

FX

COMEDY

BIGFOOT (animated)
STUDIO: FX Productions
TEAM: Matt McKenna (w, ep), Seth Rogen (ep), Evan Goldberg (ep), Graham Roumieu (ep), Jimmy Miller (ep), Sam Hansen (ep), Adam Reed (ep), Matt Thompson (ep)
LOGLINE: Centers on Bigfoot, everyone’s favorite crypto-zoological hominid, as a modern-day everyman who struggles with life’s philosophical quandaries as well as his own animalistic tendencies. Based on Graham Roumieu’s faux Bigfoot autobiography graphic novels.

THE COMEDIANS (single-camera)
PICKED UP TO SERIES; 13-EPISODE ORDER
STUDIO: Fox TV Studios
TEAM: Matt Nix (w, ep), Billy Crystal (w, ep), Larry Charles (w, d, ep), Ben Wexler (w, ep), Mikkel Bondesen (ep), Henrik Bastin (ep), Carl Molinder (ep), John Nordling (ep), Kristen Campo (co-ep)
LOGLINE: A superstar veteran comedian is reluctantly paired with a younger, edgier comedian for a late-night comedy sketch show. Based on the 2004 Swedish series Ulveson And Herngren.
CAST: Billy Crystal, Josh Gad, Stephanie Weir, Matt Oberg, Megan Ferguson

DEATH PACT (single-camera)
NOT GOING FORWARD
STUDIO: FX Productions
TEAM: Rob Long (ep), Ted Safran (ep), Eric Tannenbaum (ep), Kim Tannenbaum (ep), Randall Einhorn (d)
LOGLINE: A formerly lazy, pot-dealing assistant high school coach returns to his hometown as a decorated war hero. He runs across three down-on-their-luck friends and former students and sucks them into his new radical self-help philosophy, which involves harsh consequences for failure.
CAST: Tracy Morgan, Steve Talley

HOW AND WHY
NOT GOING FORWARD
STUDIO: FX Productions
TEAM: Charlie Kaufman (w, d, ep)
LOGLINE: The story of a man who can explain how and why a nuclear reactor works, but is clueless about life.
CAST: John Hawkes, Michael … Read More »

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Paramount Moving Forward On ‘World War Z’ With Helmer Juan Antonio Bayona

By | Tuesday December 10, 2013 @ 3:31pm PST
Mike Fleming

wwzJ.A. Bayona helmed the monsoon disaster pic The Impossible, but he might be taking on something close to that title as Paramount and Skydance have signed him to oversee figuring out a sequel to World War Z. The first film, which was directed by Marc Forster and released last summer, was perhaps the most maligned film in memory prior to its release, certainly for a film that actually turned out to be quite good. The film went significantly over budget, when basically the last third was scrapped for a tense, contained conclusion. Trouble is, Brad Pitt’s United Nations staffer effectively solved the zombie quandary.

The original scrapped ending featured a bloody mano a mano battle against humanity and zombies in Russia that led seamlessly into a second installment. But the studio and Forster felt it was all too much, after the show-stopping insect swarm of zombies that overwhelmed Israel. It turned off audiences and the drastic decision was made that nobody would want a sequel if they walked out disliking the first film. Even at a cost of $220 million or higher, depending on who you ask, and another $125 million to launch the film globally, WWZ‘s $540 million global gross made a sequel possible. How they make the storyline anything more than mop-up duty to eradicate the flesh eaters will be the challenge facing Bayona and Pitt’s Plan B. The Max Brooks book was written with a UN … Read More »

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