UPDATE, 4:25 AM: Exclusive Media co-chairman/CEO Nigel Sinclair has confirmed Deadline’s exclusive story last night that a reorganization is underway at the company, one that very well could leave the co-founders no longer running the label after some big bets didn’t pay off. Sinclair issued this statement: “Exclusive Media’s management is engaged in collaborative discussions with our partners from Dasym Investment Strategies BV regarding the forward plan for the company. We will make an announcement regarding the outcome of these discussions at the appropriate time.”
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, THURSDAY PM: The talk of Berlin is a shake-up that is going on right now at Exclusive Media, the production and foreign sales company that is headed by Nigel Sinclair and Guy East. I’m hearing that this will likely end with both of them either leaving those executive posts or transitioning into producing deals. Insiders acknowledge the turmoil, but denied that Sinclair or East could be fired because they are part owners of the company. Sinclair and East — well respected veterans who were behind Let Me In, The Ides Of March and Woman In Black as well as the music documentaries Last Play At Shea with Billy Joel and the Martin Scorsese-directed docu on George Harrison — formed Exclusive Media when they merged their Spitfire Pictures label into the venture, with an acquisition of Hammer Films coming after. The company is backed primarily by Netherlands-based investment company Dasym Investment Strategies. Read More »
‘Sherlock’ Season Finale Ratings Tops Weekend In UK
A roundly lauded finale for Season Three of Sherlock was the weekend’s most-watched TV program in the UK. The modern detective series’ third installment, entitled “His Last Vow,” drew 8.77M viewers for a 32.1% share, according to the overnights. While it was possibly the best-reviewed episode of the current season, it also was the lowest-rated. Last week’s 90-minute turn, “The Sign Of Three,” had brought in 8.84M viewers and the January 1st opener, “The Empty Hearse,” was the show’s most-watched episode ever at 9.2M on BBC One. In March last year, star Benedict Cumberbatch said there would be a fourth series of a three more episodes. At a BAFTA screening and panel discussion last week, Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat said the next season will be made “as quickly” as possible. Season 3 kicks off in the U.S. on PBS on January 19.
UK’s BBFC Changes Its Movie Ratings Criteria
After a spending nearly a year polling more than 10,000 members of the British public, the UK ratings board is tweaking its guidelines. Beginning February 24, the BBFC will give greater weight to the theme and tone of a film, especially around the 12A and 15 certificate levels (12A is similar to PG-13 in the U.S. and 15 means suitable only for 15 and overs). The board will also pay particular attention “to the psychological impact of horror” and strong visual details like gore. The BBFC has previously shown itself to be squeamish: In 2012, Lionsgate UK shaved seven seconds off The Hunger Games when it appeared the board was going to stamp it with a 15 certificate. Fixes were made in four scenes of violence and one showing details of injuries. It secured the 12A with a warning that it had “occasional gory moments.” While the BBFC will be stricter with language at the U level (equivalent to an MPAA G), it will also be more flexible about allowing very strong language at the 15 rating. “Context, not just frequency, is the most important factor in how language in films is perceived by the public,” the BBFC said today. Further, the group’s findings show that the public is notably concerned about the sexualization of girls in mainstream films and about risks to vulnerable adolescents, including what some described as the onscreen ‘normalization’ of behaviors which parents consider inappropriate. According to findings of the poll, 95% of parents with children under 15 say they check the BBFC rating before watching a film and 89% of moviegoers ratings important. The most complained-about film over the past four years was 2012′s The Woman In Black starring Daniel Radcliffe. Eleven percent of moviegoers polled thought it had received too low a rating at 12A and should have been given a 15. Read More »
Three Added To Cast Of Susanne Bier’s ‘A Second Chance’
Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Maria Bonnevie and Ulrich Thomsen have joined the cast of Susanne Bier’s A Second Chance. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau stars in the film, which focuses on how far decent human beings are willing to go when tragedy blurs the line between the just and unjust. Shooting is underway in Denmark. Lie Kaas stars in the current No. 1 film at the Danish box office, The Keeper Of Lost Causes. He’s next up in Child 44. Thomsen, from Cinemax’s Banshee, has previously worked with Bier in Brothers and A Better World. Swedish-Norwegian actress Maria Bonnevie’s recently starred in Belle Du Seigneur with Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Marianne Faithful. TrustNordisk kicked off international sales on the Danish-language A Second Chance during the AFM. Read More »
UDPATE, 2 AM WRITETHRU: With the British film and TV industry in the throes of a capacity crisis, it’s a good — if frustrating — time to be in the studio facilities business. The Pinewood Shepperton group today announced consolidated results for the six months ended September 30th with £36.6M ($59.1M) in revenues compared to £27.1M ($43.8M) in the same period last year. After-tax profit was $5.5M, up from $3.2M in 2012. The Pinewood studio is currently host to Kenneth Branagh’s lavish Cinderella, Hammer sequel The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death, and just had Ridley Scott’s Exodus on the lot which has now gone on location. Lucasfilm has also hung its shingle with the new Star Wars installment gearing up to shoot in 2014. Johnny Depp-starrer Alice In Wonderland 2 is expected to turn up, and Bond will be back with No. 24 next year. Over at nearby Shepperton, Marvel has wrapped Into The Woods and has The Avengers 2 on deck. But I hear its Ant Man had to forgo shooting in the UK due to the lack of space.
Related: Hollywood Pics Pack UK Soundstages Creating Space Crunch Read More »
A new version of The Abominable Snowman is getting underway courtesy of British horror label Hammer and producer Ben Holden (The Quiet Ones, The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death). The screenplay, by Pusher scribe Matthew Read and Angel Of Death‘s Jon Croker, puts a contemporary twist on the 1957 original which hails from Hammer’s own archives. That film starred Forrest Tucker, Peter Cushing and Maureen Connell and followed a British scientist who joins an American expedition in the Himalayas as they search for the legendary yeti. The new film will be a modern take on the yeti myth and see an expedition’s illegal ascent up a formidable, unclimbed peak which accidentally awakens an ancient creature. Depending on when this film goes, it could tie into the current zeitgeist for Himalayan climbing projects that includes two studio-backed Everest movies and Fox’s Everest event series. Hammer has had a resurgence in the past few years with films like 2010′s Let Me In and 2012′s The Woman In Black. Its 2014 slate includes the Jared Harris-starrer The Quiet Ones and Woman In Black sequel, Angel Of Death. Abominable Snowman falls in line with the label’s plans to reimagine its own source material for new audiences.
Independent Talent Signs English Actor Tom Prior
Rising English star Tom Prior has signed with UK agency Independent Talent. The 22-year-old actor, who recently had starring roles in the National Youth Theatre’s West End season, also is signed with Firefly for management. Prior is shooting Matthew Vaughn’s The Secret Service and also has boarded James Marsh’s Stephen Hawking pic The Theory Of Everything from Working Title.
‘What’s In A Name?’ Coming To U.S. Via Under The Milky Way
New York-based Under the Milky Way has set a December 13 theatrical and digital release in the U.S. for the hit French comedy What’s In A Name? The film from writer-directors Alexandre de La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte, based on their play Le Prénom, stars Patrick Bruel as a slick real estate agent about to become a father. At a meeting with family and childhood friends he announces the name of his future son, but the scandalous moniker ignites a discussion that brings the group’s past bubbling to the surface. What’s In A Name? was a local smash, selling more tickets in France last year than The Avengers.
EOne Sets UK Release Date For ‘The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death’
EOne has set a UK release date for horror film The Woman in Black: Angel of Death, the follow-up to Daniel Radcliffe starrer The Woman In Black. … Read More »
The Weinstein Company has hired Jamie Schwartz to be president of international marketing. The hire was made by TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein and COO David Glasser. Schwartz will head international marketing for TWC releases from their UK offices. As VP Marketing at Momentum Pictures, Schwartz spearheaded campaigns for The King’s Speech, The Woman In Black, Limitless, The Fighter, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Shame and Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters. Before that he worked at the UK ad agency AMV BBDO. “I’m thrilled to be joining TWC and excited at the opportunity to work with Harvey Weinstein and David Glasser across their diverse range of films,” Schwartz said. “I have always been an admirer of their innovative marketing and am looking forward to working with the talented team there.” Weinstein said Schwartz “has incredible experience in marketing smart, high-quality pictures and is a perfect fit for the company.”
Cynthia Kim previously was VP International Sales and Distribution at Exclusive Media and is joining Blumhouse International just in time for the Toronto Film Festival, where she and founder-CEO Jason Blum will be selling Visions, the company’s latest micro-budget effort a la The Purge and the upcoming Joe Carnahan action comedy Stretch. Kim has been named SVP International Sales and Distribution and will oversee sales in Benelux, France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, Spain, Switzerland, UK, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, Latin America, Australia and Canada. Remaining territories are handled by IM Global via a servicing deal; BHI handles sales of films outside Blumhouse’s first-look deal with Universal. At Exclusive, Kim oversaw territory sales for titles like End Of Watch, The Woman In Black, The Ides Of March and upcoming films Rush and A Walk Among The Tombstones. Before that she worked at Paramount Vantage and on the finance side at Sony Pictures. Blumhouse International launched at Cannes this year where it sold Stretch to Universal. The studio has set a March 21, 2014 release date for it with Patrick Wilson, Ed Helms, Chris Pine and Brooklyn Decker starring.
UK films brought in $5.3B at the global box office, according to findings published today in the British Film Institute‘s annual Statistical Yearbook. The figure reps a 15% share of the world market and is the third-highest on record. The performance on British movies was led by James Bond pic Skyfall, the No. 1 film of all time in the UK at £103M loocally and $1.1B worldwide. Total UK box office was £1.1B. Admissions, however, were up only a half a percentage point, hampered by distractions that included the Queen’s Jubilee, the Summer Olympics and the Euro 2012 soccer tournament.
On the audience front, people 45 and over made up 36% of moviegoers. The now dominant demographic reflects a trend towards films made for and marketed to older audiences. Top among those titles last year were Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Anna Karenina. Younger audiences declined with the 15-24 age group decreasing from 31% in 2011 to 25% of the total in 2012. Marigold Hotel also led indie exports, taking $135M internationally, followed by The Woman In Black with $128M. Total UK film exports were worth £1.7B. Read More »
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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Will Clarke’s Altitude Film Entertainment is teaming with Subzero Film Entertainment to produce action adventure pic Big Game which has Samuel L. Jackson attached to play the president of the United States. Jalmari Helander, the Finnish director behind 2010′s Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, makes his English-language helming debut with the pic. The story centers on a shy 13-year old boy who undergoes a test of manhood by spending a day and night alone in the wilderness. On the same night, Air Force One is shot down by terrorists and the boy discovers the president in an escape pod in the forest where the pair team up in a struggle for survival. Clarke and Andy Mayson co-produce for Altitude along with Jens Meurer of Egoli Tossell Film. Alex Garland is executive producer. Production starts in late summer and Altitude Film Sales will start pitching to buyers in Cannes. It’s also starting sales on horror thriller The Loch, co-scripted by The Woman In Black director James Watkins. Simon Duric will direct with Peter Mullan attached to star. The new take on the Loch Ness myth is set to go into production later this year.
Arts network Ovation said during its upfront presentation today that it will premiere nine new original series this summer and fall. It also unveiled 16 more series in the works for 2014. The ramp-up will see 236 hours of original fare produced this year compared with 46 hours in 2012, which was double the amount in 2011. With this seismic shift in our programming focus, we are making the leap to become a full-service arts network — America’s only arts network”, said Robert Weiss, Ovation’s Chief Creative Officer, who made the announcements today. The majority of programming will be produced at the network’s new Ovation Studios in Santa Monica. The network also revealed a new tagline: Art Everywhere. Here are descriptions of five of the network’s new shows (the rest will be announced in June) and the development slate: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Daniel Radcliffe is set to star in Tokyo Vice, a thriller that music video and commercials director Anthony Mandler will direct from a script by playwright JT Rogers. Le Grisbi Productions’ John Lesher and Adam Kassan are producing, and production will start early 2014. Radcliffe will play American reporter Jake Adelstein who, while working at the Yomiuri Shinbun newspaper in Tokyo, covered the crime beat and locked horns with yakuza boss Tadamasa Goto, called the “John Gotti of Japan. The film is based on Adelstein’s memoir detailing how the journalist’s investigating and finally exposing the notorious gangster exacted a high personal cost and sacrifice which included death threats. Adelstein, who will be working with Rogers on the story, is still an investigative reporter who writes for The Daily Beast, The Japan Times, The Atlantic Wire, and is an adviser to Polaris Japan, a non-profit group that combats human trafficking. His second book, The Last Yakuza, will be published next year by Pantheon.
Since graduating from Hogwarts and the Harry Potter series, Radcliffe has been busy. He followed The Woman In Black and Sundance pic Kill Your Darlings with the recently wrapped horror film Horns, the romantic comedy The F Word, and he has just signed on to star in Frankenstein for Fox and Davis Entertainment. Radcliffe this June returns to the West End stage in Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple Of Inishmaan. Mandler has helmed vids with Rihanna, Jay-Z, The Killers, and Lana Del Rey. He’s attached to Vlad for Summit/Lionsgate, and Last Days Of American Crime with Oblivion producer Radical Studios. Rogers’ plays include Blood And Gifts, which played London’s National Theatre and Lincoln Center, and The Overwhelming, which also played both sides of the pond. He shared an Olivier Award nom in 2009 for Great Game: Afghanistan. Read More »
War Horse‘s Jeremy Irvine and British actress Phoebe Fox (Switch) will star in Hammer’s follow-up to The Woman In Black. Tom Harper is directing The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death, which picks up 40 years after the original film that starred Daniel Radcliffe and grossed $130M worldwide. The new story is set during World War II after the government has seized the eerie Eel Marsh House and a group of evacuated children arrives to awaken its scary tenant. Jon Croker, a story editor on the first film, wrote the screenplay. Exclusive has international sales and will introduce the title to buyers at Cannes. EOne will co-finance and distribute in the UK, Spain and Canada. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: While my colleague Nancy Tartaglione has reported a somewhat soft market midway through Berlin, seeds are being planted for a lot of deals that might not bear fruit until Cannes. Domestic and foreign buyers have been watching a lot of sizzle reels. It’s a risky way to buy a movie, but sometimes it’s a lot better than having to sit through a whole picture in between all those meetings because these presentations usually range from five to eight minutes on in-progress films.
Some of these will get deals before the week is out, and on some it starts a dialogue that leads to an onslaught of deals at Cannes, when distributors really need to plug holes in release schedules. For sure, some of these films will likely factor in next year’s Oscar race. I’ve seen this kind of salesmanship lead to splashy sales on films that have included Looper, The Iron Lady and Drive. The titles most buzzed about that I’ve heard are Grace Of Monaco, and Diana on the prestige circuit, and on the genre circuit, there is the Eli Roth cannibal extravaganza The Green Inferno. Here are the ones I’ve heard about that are whetting the appetite of buyers in Germany right now. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Just as Whitey Bulger rose to the top of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List when he disappeared for a decade before he could be put behind bars, the fast mobilizing movie about the Boston crime kingpin just rose to the top of the most wanted list in the upcoming European Film Market in Berlin. That’s because Johnny Deep has become attached to star in the Cross Creek crime thriller Black Mass, with Barry Levinson directing him. The picture is a co-production between Cross Creek and Nigel Sinclair and Guy East’s Exclusive Media, with the two entities co-financing. Universal Pictures is aboard to release the film in the U.S. through Cross Creek’s distribution deal with the studio, and production is to begin in May.
The film will be produced by Cross Creek’s Brian Oliver and Tyler Thompson, John Lesher, and Christi Dembrowski, Depp’s partner in Infinitum Nihil. Exclusive Media’s Tobin Armbrust, President Worldwide Production and Acquisitions and Cross Creek Pictures Sr. VP of Production Adam Kassan, will oversee production. Alex Walton, Exclusive Media’s President of International Sales and Distribution, will introduce Black Mass to overseas buyers at the upcoming European Film Market in Berlin.
The title of the film comes from the 2001 Dick Lehr/Gerald O’Neill New York Times bestseller Black Mass: The True Story of … Read More »