After spending most of 2014 gushing over the Oscar nominees and relatively few others, the specialty box office biz got a massive jolt this weekend with the arrival of Wes Anderson‘s Berlin opener The Grand Budapest Hotel. The Fox Searchlight film broke records for a live-action opener, grossing a massive $800K in four theaters (the ArcLight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, the Landmark in West LA, the Regal Union Square in NY, and the AMC Lincoln Square in NY) for a stunning $200K per-theater average. Other openers braved opening alongside Budapest this weekend with various results.
Related: Box Office: ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Checks In With Record Debut
Three of the bigger openings this weekend had not reported numbers as of this afternoon. Magnolia Pictures opened the Elijah Wood-starring thriller Grand Piano in one theater each in New York, L.A. and Austin. The distrib’s genre label Magnet Releasing is behind the North American rollout of China blockbuster Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons, which grossed $205 million in its home territory alone last year. It opened Friday in 10 markets ahead of a broader U.S. rollout. Another pic, the Italian drama Miele (Honey), opened in a single NY theater before expanding to LA next week. We’ll update with those numbers when they arrive.
Related: Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, ‘Grand Piano’, ‘Journey To The West, More
Read More »
The Unit alum Robert Patrick is back at CBS with a co-starring role in another drama project, pilot Scorpion, from writer Nick Santora, director Justin Lin, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. It centers on an eccentric genius and his international network of super-geniuses who form the last line of defense against the complex threats of the modern age. Patrick, repped by Gersh, McKuen Frankel Whitehead and the Coronel group, will play Cabe Gallo, a no non-sense, blue collar Federal Agent who works with the group. He is currently on El Rey’s From Dusk til Dawn and has Kill the Messenger coming out.
The Honeymooners actress Sheila MacRae has died. The 93-year-old UK-born MacRae passed away March 6 , at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, NJ. She is best known to American audiences for her 4-year stint as Alice Kramden in the mid-’60s revival of The Honeymooners within The Jackie Gleason Show on CBS. In addition to her 1966-70 run as Ralph Kramden’s wife, MacRae was on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 with her then husband, singer Gordon MacRae, the night the Beatles debuted in America. The actress appeared on General Hospital in the 1960s and on NBC’s Parenthood TV series for the 1990-91 season. MacRae had a career on the stage as well in Guys and Dolls, Absurd Person Singular and other productions. One of her last acting appearance was in the one-women show An Evening With Sheila MacRae.
Former CBS News correspondent Bill McLaughlin died this morning. The diplomatic and foreign correspondent, who headed bureaus in Germany and Lebanon for CBS News in the late 1960s and ‘70s, died from cardiac arrest in a Waterbury, CT hospital. McLaughlin lived in France and was visiting friends in the U.S. at the time of his death. He was 76.
McLaughlin’s television news career spanned 27 years, nearly all of it with CBS News; he left for two years in late 1979 to report for NBC News as its United Nations correspondent. He spent a decade overseas on his CBS news assignments, including the Paris bureau, where he met his wife, the former Huguette Cord’homme, who survives him. He covered the gamut of overseas events, from the Vietnam War, to terrorism to the conflicts in the war-torn Middle East, appearing on the CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite, CBS Radio News and other CBS News broadcasts, including CBS Reports documentaries. From 1983 to 1993, when he left CBS news, he was a State Department correspondent, and general assignment reporter in the Washington Bureau. This job, too, sent him overseas on a regular basis, covering the diplomatic travels of secretaries of state, including George Shultz.
R.I.P. Newsman Bruce Dunning
R.I.P. Newsman Lew Wood
Read More »
UPDATED: Chris Conroy has booked a series regular role on ABC’s The Club (fka untitled Susannah Grant) from CBS TV Studios and ABC Studios. The drama, already greenlighted straight to series with a 13-episode order, is an upstairs/downstairs soap set at a private country club. Gersh-repped Conroy will play rich and handsome Forty Holbrooke, who was doing OK until his mother killed herself, leaving him everything. Since then he’s been staggering through life with too much money and too little real support.
Related: 2014 ABC Pilots
Comedy Central resident roastmaster Jeff Ross and Jayson Blair (The New Normal) has signed on to ABC‘s multi-camera untitled Kevin Hart comedy pilot. Written by Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan based on Hart’s life and stand-up, the project takes a candid look at the post-divorce life of a couple, Derek (Romany Malco) and Lorraine (Bresha Webb) Read More »
CBS, Disney, Fox, and Time Warner are the easy answers — and the ones that many financial types believe are eyeing the independent programming network companies following Comcast’s $45.2B agreement to buy Time Warner Cable. But Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger takes the conversation a step further today with an intriguing report that suggests several less obvious potential buyers for AMC Networks, Scripps or Starz. Distributors including DirecTV, Dish Network, Charter, AT&T and Verizon might want to take a page from Comcast’s playbook when it bought NBCUniversal. DirecTV doesn’t offer broadband, so it has “additional motivation to take some action to future-proof the business,” possibly by offering exclusive access to certain networks, Juenger says. Charter and Dish are long shots: Charter probably could only afford AMC. And Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen seems intent on acquiring airwave spectrum, although “nobody really knows Mr. Ergen’s potential plans, and they could change.” AT&T and Verizon’s corporate cultures are “a step (or three) further removed from the content business.” Yet here, too, they might take a leap since “their historical core businesses are not exactly growing, and they could amass the financial resources.”
Related: What A Comcast-TWC Could Mean For Hollywood
Read More »
Rake co-star Bojana Novakovic is finalizing a deal for the title role in ABC’s drama pilot Agatha, from ABC Studios and Mark Gordon Co. It centers on former convict-turned-big-city criminologist Agatha (Novakovic), who is brought in to help local police crack a case involving a perplexing disappearance. The casting is in second position to Fox’s midseason series Rake, which has done poorly on Thursdays and is being moved to Fridays starting next week en route to likely cancellation. Rake marked the first US series for Serbian-born Australian actress Novakovic, repped by CAA and Management 360.
Related: 2014 ABC Pilots
EXCLUSIVE: Mexican actor-singer-heartthrob Jaime Camil is making his US pilot debut with a co-starring role opposite Gina Rodriguez in the CW‘s drama Jane The Virgin. Based on the successful Venezuelan telenovela Juana la Virgen, Jane The Virgin centers on Jane (Rodriguez), a hardworking religious girl who, due to a series of outrageous events, is accidentally artificially inseminated. International telenovela star Camil will play the series regular role of Rubio, who happens to be a world-famous telenovela star with a surprising connection to Jane. Camil, who is coming off back-to-back hit Spanish-language series in Mexico and the U.S. with Que Pobres Ran Ricos and Poy Ella Soy Eva, is currently seen on Univision’s new rom-com novela, Qué Pobres Tan Ricos. He made a successful feature debut in the US as the star of bilingual Patelion/Lionsgate hit Pulling Strings, which ranked as the third highest-grossing foreign language film of 2013. Additionally, a recent guest appearance by Camil on Devious Maids delivered strong ratings for the Lifetime series, which also has Latin roots. Jane the Virgin, from CBS Studios, is written by Jennie Snyder Urman and directed by Brad Silberling. Camil is with ROAR, WME and attorney James Mandelbaum.
20th Century Fox Television has promoted Jennifer Carreras to VP Comedy Development and Mandy Summers to VP Current Programming. Additionally, former Glamour editor Jen Weinberg has joined the studio as VP Talent Relations and Events. Carreras reports to EVP Development Michael Thorn, Summers to EVP Current Programming Jeffrey Glaser, and Weinberg to SVP Corporate Communications and Publicity Chris Alexander.
Carreras, who joined 20th TV in July 2007 as assistant to Chairman and CEO Dana Walden, most recently had been Director of Comedy Development, shepherding the development of this season’s high-concept new series Enlisted for Fox broadcast network. She oversees a roster of producers, writers and directors for the studio including Mike Royce and The Walcott Co. (Jake Johnson and Max Winkler). She has been working on a broad slate of development this season, including projects from Neil Goldman and Garret Donovan with Kevin Hart, Phil Rosenthal, Joe Port and Joe Wiseman with Mike White, Matt Silverstein and Dave Jeser, Wendy and Lizzie Molyneux with Jenny Bicks and Jay Baruchel.
Read More »
UPDATE, 10:38 AM: Unsurprisingly, Aereo is not happy with the denial today of its attempt to overturn the six-state injunction against the Barry Diller-backed service. “We are disappointed in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals 2:1 decision denying our request to stay the injunction in the 10th Circuit,” said spokesperson Virginia Lam Abrams today after the court’s order became public. “We believe that Aereo’s individual, cloud-based antenna and DVR technology falls squarely within the law and we look forward to presenting our case to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
PREVIOUS, 9:44 AM: If you felt that the Aereo legal roller coaster went fast before, welcome to Utah. Just over a week after getting a 14-day reprieve from the 6-state injunction it had been slapped with on February 19, the Barry Diller-backed streaming service today took a hit from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. A panel of judges on the federal court denied Aereo’s emergency motion to stay the injunction.
“Aereo has not made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits of its appeal,”said two of the judges in the 2-page order (read it here) today. “Nor has Aereo demonstrated that the other factors weigh in its favor. We therefore deny Aereo’s emergency motion to stay the preliminary injunction pending appeal, .While Judge Harris Hartz says he would have granted the motion, his colleagues’ order means that Aereo’s services … Read More »
Patrick Sabongui (Godzilla) has been added to the cast of the CW pilot The Flash, based on the DC comic. It tells the story of scientist Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), who through a freak accident is given the power of super speed that transforms him into the Fastest Man Alive. Sabongui will play another character of the comic, Captain David Singh, a potentially recurring role.
Related: 2014 The CW Pilots
Read More »
Amazon.com today announced a licensing deal with BBC Worldwide North America that will make Prime Instant Video the exclusive online-only subscription home for streaming Season One and future seasons of the dramatic thriller Orphan Black. The series returns to BBC America on Saturday, April 19, at 9 PM EST. Prime Instant Video is the exclusive online-only subscription home for PBS series Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge, FX drama The Americans, CBS summer series Under The Dome and later this summer, Extant, among other programs that include Veronica Mars, Justified, Falling Skies, Grimm, Workaholics, Suits, Covert Affairs, etc., as well as Amazon’s first original series Alpha House and Betas.
Read More »
Bebe Neuwirth and Erich Bergen are set to co-star opposite Tia Leoni in CBS drama pilot Madam Secretary, from CBS Studios and Revelation Entertainment. Written by Barbara Hall and directed by Dave Semel, the project explores the personal and professional life of maverick female Secretary of State Elizabeth McGill (Leoni) as she drives international diplomacy, wrangles office politics and balances a complex family life. Emmy and Tony winner Neuwirth, repped by ICM Partners, plays Elizabeth’s Chief Of Staff. Up-and-comer Bergen, who co-stars in Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys, plays Elizabeth’s young, loyal assistant, and the only person on her staff she actually hired. Also cast in the pilot is Evan Roe as Adam, Elizabeth’s teenage son, a budding anarchist. Bergen is with DBA and Anonymous; Roe with House of Representatives and Trilogy Talent. Hall is exec producing the pilot with Semel and Revelation’s Lori McCreary, Morgan Freeman and Tracey Mercer.
Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
Paul Reiser has been set to recur on Andrew Gurland’s new FX series Married, which was picked up to series in January and will debut this summer. Created, directed and executive produced by Gurland, Married stars Nat Faxon and Judy Greer as Russ and Lina Bowman, who can barely remember what was like before kids, debt, and suburbia rained on their romance. But every once in a while they are reminded what drew them together in the first place: They’re best friends. Reiser will play the older love interest of co-star Jenny Slate’s character. Brad Gelman also co-stars. Reiser, who had a pair of films — Whiplash and Life After Beth — premiere at Sundance this year, most recently appeared in HBO’s Behind The Candelabra. He is repped by Gersh, New Wave Entertainment, and attorney Jeff Finkelstein.
Related: 2014 FX Pilots
Read More »
CBS News has named veteran Bill Whitaker a 60 Minutes correspondent, it was announced today by Jeff Fager, the executive producer of the newsmag and the chairman of CBS News. Whitaker, who has been based in Los Angeles, will move to the New York area and begin appearing in the fall on the CBS newsmagazine, which is America’s most-watched news program. The newsmag got nicked in its reputation when Lara Logan took a leave in the wake of the program’s since-discredited story on the Benghazi attacks. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Hawaii Five-0 showrunner Peter Lenkov has signed a new overall deal with CBS Television Studios, the studio behind the CBS crime drama. Under the two-year pact, he will continue as executive producer/showrunner on the Hawaii Five-0 reboot, which he developed and co-wrote with Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci and has run since the pilot. Now in its fourth season, Hawaii Five-0 is an important asset for CBS TV Studios as it has a rich off-network syndication deal and is a strong international seller. The new overall deal secures Lenkov’s leadership on the show for the next two seasons and also calls for him to develop new projects for network and cable. This past season, he re-teamed with Kurtzman and Orci to develop high-concept drama Salvation, which sold to CBS. Read More »
Mariana Klaveno (Devious Maids, True Blood) has been cast in CBS’ untitled Kevin Williamson drama pilot. Written by Williamson and directed by Liz Friedlander, the psychological thriller revolves around two detectives, Beth and Jack (McDermott), who handle stalking incidents for the Threat Assessment Unit of the LAPD. Klaveno, repped by APA, Shelter Entertainment, and Lev Ginsburg, plays Janice, one of the unit’s detectives who often is underestimated because of her somewhat flashy appearance.
Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
Lost alum Neil Hopkins has been cast in Matador, the upcoming action drama series for Robert Rodriguez‘s El Rey Network, created by Bob Orci and Alex Kurtzman. It chronicles the unlikely rise of Antonio “Matador” Bravo (Gabriel Luna), a popular soccer star who in reality is a covert operative for a little known branch of the CIA. Hopkins, repped by SDB Partners and the Cornell Group, will play Noah, female lead Annie’s (Nicky Whelan) brilliant but awkward partner.
Related: 2014 ABC Pilots
Homeland alum David Harewood is taking a comedic turn with a supporting role in ABC’s single-camera comedy pilot Selfie, written by Emily Kapnek and directed by Julie Anne Robinson. It centers on Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan), a self-obsessed, twentysomething who is more concerned with “likes” than being liked. Harewood will play the off/crazy president of the company Eliza works for.