UPDATE, 9:34 PM: The Motion Pictures Editors Guild said tonight that it has reached an agreement with the producers of The Hunt. “The crew will report to work as scheduled tomorrow, and they’ll be working under a union contract,” the guild said on its Facebook page. “Many thanks to all those sisters and brothers who volunteered to walk the picket line. Thankfully, this time it won’t be necessary.”
PREVIOUSLY: The upcoming CW series The Hunt doesn’t premiere until July 31st, but its producers are already in trouble with the Hollywood unions. The Motion Picture Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700, sent an email to its members and sister IATSE locals today calling for a Thursday picket against Renegade 83 Productions’ Sherman Oaks offices doing post-production. The union claims that production subsidiary Triple Ridge Entertainment “has improperly interfered with its employees’ free exercise of their right to organize”. MPEG took to its Facebook page to put out a call for picketers. The Hunt is a wilderness competition in which 12 teams compete in a physical game for a $25,000 prize. It is executive produced by David Garfinkle, Jay Renfroe and Greg Goldman.
Related: WGA Sets Thursday Rally For Striking ‘Fashion Police’ Writers
The Voice judge and Oklahoma native said last night that he wanted to put together a relief concert in support of victims of the massive Oklahoma tornado that hit earlier this week, killing dozens. Now NBC is working fast to make it happen. If it comes together, I understand the Blake Shelton-led concert would be held early next week — the network is putting together a few more elements, including where the event will be held. Details about the performances are sketchy, but it’s anticipated that several of Shelton’s Voice co-judges would be involved. Shelton performed a song with wife Miranda Lambert during last night’s live episode of The Voice as Red Cross donation information played on the screen. Read More »
The mobile gaming tie-in to Universal’s Fast & Furious 6 launched on the iTunes App Store last week and is #1 among free apps in 45 countries. Created with SF-based studio Kabam, it’s also the #1 overall game in 69 countries, the top racing game in 112 countries, and the #1 action game in 85 countries. Its iPad app version runs comparable if even wider in saturation as the top free app in 81 countries. By contrast, Paramount‘s Star Trek: The Game — tied to the release of Star Trek Into Darkness — stayed in-house and it’s doing lousy since it came out last month. According to VG Chartz, unit sales in its first three weeks are only 140K to date across PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 consoles. It’s also considered a failure because it’s very buggy despite years of development. Critics and users alike gave it poor reviews. So what happened?
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There are lots of stars in Cannes this year but I don’t think any of them are shining brighter at the festival than one who is no longer with us. Elizabeth Taylor may have died over two years ago at the age of 79 but she lives on, not only on the big and small screens where her many films still play, but also for all the amazing charitable work she did in her lifetime, particularly her fight against AIDS. Tomorrow night amFAR will certainly be remembering her at the 20th anniversary of Cinema Against AIDS, the signature event set during the Cannes Festival she helped start. And Tuesday night 20th Century Fox World Premiered its meticulous 2K digital restoration (it took nine months to complete) of the 1963 film, Cleopatra, infamous for the torrid off-screen love affair between its stars Taylor and Richard Burton.
Related: A New Day As HBO and VOD Movies Compete For Palme d’Or
On the occasion of its 50th anniversary the studio pulled out all the stops with a black tie premiere of the four-hour movie (that ironically almost bankrupted the studio), followed by a lavish party sponsored by Bulgari, the jeweler who supplied Taylor with so many of the baubles she was famous for collecting. In fact, as you entered the party on the J.W. Marriott rooftop it was hard to avoid them displayed in special glass cabinets. Included was the platinum and emerald necklace her co-star Burton gave her for their engagement in 1962. Host (and Bulgari spokesperson) Jessica Chastain actually wore it to introduce the film before taking it off and giving it back to Bulgari. She is the only person to have worn it other than Liz on her wedding day (or one of her wedding days). Also Fox brought in several original Cleopatra costumes. Fox Chairman Jim Gianopulos was there to help intro the film and told me later that the financial toll the film took on the studio has been overblown. “It turned a profit after three years,” he says although the movie’s cost was astronomical and ran off the rails. I asked Fox President of Post-Production Ted Gagliano about the story that director Joseph Mankiewicz actually had a six-hour cut and that two never-before seen hours of the film are somewhere in the Fox vaults. He says he has heard this as well but thinks it’s another in the long line of Cleopatra myths since they searched high and low and found nothing. One of the guests at the premiere, director and film nerd Alexander Payne told me after seeing the film again he wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn there was an even longer cut. “But who really needs to see a six-hour version?” he asked. Both Payne and his guest Laura Dern (whose father Bruce Dern stars in Payne’s Cannes entry, Nebraska, which premieres here Thursday) said they loved seeing the film in all its restored glory. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has hired Richard Cordiner to script Spacesuit, based on the book by Nicholas de Monchaux. This tells the true story of the unsung heroes of the Apollo space program — a team of bra and girdle designers from Playtex who successfully built the iconic spacesuit that enabled Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to walk on the moon. This improbable band of outsiders — led by a former TV repairman, a car mechanic, and their crew of spirited seamstresses — accomplished what all the aerospace giants couldn’t. It’s a long way from the shop floor of Playtex to the surface of the moon, and this incredible story tracks how it happened. Marc Shmuger’s Global Produce brought the project to the studio, and Shmuger and Tom McNulty will produce with Alexandra Loewy overseeing development. Kat Likkel and John Hoberg are exec producers and Jon Berg and Racheline Benveniste are overseeing for the studio. Read More »
CEO Amy Miles seems confident that consumers will continue to flock to theaters, even with the higher admission costs. “Sometimes we joke and say we are an industry that has been dying for the past 50 years,” she told investors today at Barclays Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference. But “as long as we continue to provide that great, affordable out-of-home experience…people are going to continue to go to the movies.” What’s “affordable” is in the eye of the beholder: Regal CFO David Ownby told the group that his company’s ticket prices for 2D movies “will go up in that 3% to 4% range” that’s been the pattern over the last few years. He notes that for IMAX movies Regal adds as much as $6.50 to the price of the basic 2D ticket. The chain’s own RPX large-screen venues have as much as a $5.00 upcharge while regular 3D films cost about $3.50 more than conventional 2D. This year’s potential blockbusters should help the cause. Read More »
Brad Pitt and Plan B Entertainment President Dede Gardner said today that Jeremy Kleiner is upped to Co-President of the busy production company. “Jeremy Kleiner has played an immeasurable role in the success of this company,” said Pitt in a statement. “This promotion is long overdue. We are happy to make it official.” Along with Pitt and Gardner, Kleiner produced Plan B’s upcoming World War Z, which stars Pitt and is being released by Paramount on June 21. He is also a producer on Plan B’s Twelve Years A Slave, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, and Paul Giamatti, which will be released by Fox Searchlight on December 27. With Gardner, Kleiner oversees Plan B’s development and production slate. He joined Plan B in 2003 and rose through the ranks from Creative Executive to Producer and now Co-President.
Related: Paramount Out To Prove Its Zombie ‘World War Z’ Doesn’t Stink
Kleiner also is a producer on True Story from New Regency which is directed by Rupert Goold and stars Jonah Hill and James Franco. Kleiner is also an Executive Producer of Plan B and Brillstein Entertainment Partners’ ABC/ABC Studios pilot, Resurrection, and on Plan B productions Kick-Ass, Eat Pray Love, and The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee. He previously worked as a creative executive at Dick and Lauren Shuler Donner’s company before joining Plan B.
2013-14 The CW New Series
The Originals – Family is power. The Original Vampire family swore it to each other a thousand years ago. They pledged to remain together, always and forever. Now, centuries have passed and the bonds of family are broken. Time, tragedy and hunger for power have torn the Original Family apart. When Klaus Mikaelson, the original vampire-werewolf hybrid, receives a mysterious tip that a plot is brewing against him in the supernatural melting pot that is the French Quarter of New Orleans, he returns to the city his family helped build. Klaus’ questions lead him to a reunion with his diabolical former protégé, Marcel, a charismatic vampire who has total control over the human and supernatural inhabitants of New Orleans. Determined to help his brother find redemption, Elijah follows Klaus and soon learns that the werewolf Hayley has also come to the French Quarter searching for clues to her family history, and has fallen into the hands of a powerful witch named Sophie. Tensions between the town’s supernatural factions are nearing a breaking point as Marcel commands his devoted followers and rules with absolute power. For Klaus, the thought of answering to his powerful protégé is unthinkable, and he vows to reclaim what was once his – the power, the city and his family. While they wait to see if their sister Rebekah will leave Mystic Falls and join them, Klaus and Elijah form an uneasy alliance with the witches to … Read More »
2013-14 NBC New Series
About A Boy – Based on the best-selling Nick Hornby (“High Fidelity,” “An Education”) novel, writer Jason Katims (“Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood”) and director Jon Favreau (“Iron Man,” “Revolution”) present a different kind of coming-of-age story. Will Freeman (David Walton, “Bent,” “Perfect Couples”) lives a charmed existence as the ultimate man-child. After writing a hit song, he was granted a life of free time, free love and freedom from financial woes. He’s single, unemployed and loving it. So imagine his surprise when Fiona (Minnie Driver, “Good Will Hunting,” “Barney’s Version”), a needy single mom and her oddly charming 11-year-old son, Marcus (Benjamin Stockham, “1600 Penn”), move in next door and disrupt his perfect world. When Marcus begins dropping by his home unannounced, Will’s not so sure about being a kid’s new best friend, until, of course, Will discovers that women find single dads irresistible. That changes everything and a deal is struck: Marcus will pretend to be Will’s son and, in return, Marcus is allowed to chill at Will’s house. Before he realizes it, Will starts to enjoy the visits and even finds himself looking out for the kid. In fact, this newfound friendship may very well teach him a thing or two that he never imagined possible — about himself and caring for others. Writer Jason Katims, director Jon Favreau, Tim Bevan (“Les Misérables,” “About a Boy”), Eric Fellner (“Les Misérables,” “About a Boy”), Liza Chasin (“Les Misérables,” “About … Read More »
2013-14 Fox New Series
New Comedies — Fall
Brooklyn Nine-Nine — From Emmy Award-winning writer/producers Dan Goor and Michael Schur (“Parks and Recreation”), and starring Emmy Award winners Andy Samberg (“Saturday Night Live”) and Andre Braugher (“Men of a Certain Age,” “Homicide: Life on the Street”), BROOKLYN NINE-NINE is a new single-camera ensemble comedy about what happens when a talented, but carefree, detective gets a new captain with a lot to prove. Detective JAKE PERALTA (Samberg) is a good enough cop that he’s never had to work that hard or follow the rules too closely. Perhaps because he has the best arrest record among his colleagues, he’s been enabled – if not indulged – throughout his entire career. That is, until the precinct gets a new commanding officer, Captain RAY HOLT (Braugher), who reminds this hotshot cop to respect the badge. Jake may have collared more criminals, but Detective AMY SANTIAGO (Melissa Fumero, “One Life to Live,” “Gossip Girl”) is close behind, and she’s keenly aware of how many arrests she needs to close the gap. Amy grew up with seven brothers who were all cops. She’s the first girl in the family to put on a police uniform, and suffice it to say: she’s extremely competitive…about everything. Also working cases in Brooklyn’s 99th precinct is Sergeant TERRY JEFFORDS (Terry Crews, “Bridesmaids,” “Everybody Hates Chris”), a linebacker of a man who’s lost his nerve, not because he’s a wimp, but because a year ago, his wife … Read More »
2013-14 CBS New Series
We Are Men — WE ARE MEN is a single-camera comedy about four single guys living in a short-term apartment complex who unexpectedly find camaraderie over their many missteps in love. Carter (Chris Smith), the youngest and most recent addition to the group, moved in after being ditched at the altar mid-ceremony, and is now eager to re-enter the dating scene and get on with his life with some guidance from his “band of brothers”: Frank Russo (Golden Globe and multiple Emmy Award winner Tony Shalhoub), a successful middle-aged clothing manufacturer and four-time divorcée who still fancies himself a ladies man; Gil Bartis (Kal Penn), a small business owner who was caught having the world’s worst affair; and Stuart Strickland (Jerry O’Connell), a speedo-wearing OB/GYN who’s hiding his assets until his second divorce is settled. Jill (Rebecca Breeds) is Frank’s charming and attractive daughter, who stands as the one positive remnant from his failed relationships. Armed with a hot tub, pool-side barbeque and plenty of questionable advice, these losers in the marriage department take Carter under their wing to impart their own brand of wisdom about the opposite sex. Emmy Award winner Rob Greenberg, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum are executive producers for CBS Television Studios. Rob Greenberg directed the pilot.
Mom — MOM is a comedy from executive producer Chuck Lorre starring Anna Faris as a newly sober single mom raising two children in a world full of temptations and pitfalls, … Read More »
2013-14 ABC New Series
Betrayal — A chance meeting between photographer Sara Hadley (Hannah Ware) and Attorney Jack McAllister (Stuart Townsend) leads to an instant and undeniable attraction. Sarah’s husband, Drew (Chris Johnson), is a successful prosecutor with political aspirations, while Jack is married to Elaine (Wendy Moniz), the daughter of his boss, Thacher Karsten (James Cromwell). When Karsten’s brother-in-law Lou is murdered, all evidence points to Karsten’s son, T.J. (Henry Thomas). Jack, the company’s lead counsel, will have to defend him, but for Sara’s prosecutor husband, Drew, this is the kind of high-profile murder case that can secure his political future. Just as Sara and Jack’s affair is starting, the lovers find themselves in an impossible situation — on opposite sides of a murder investigation. “Betrayal” stars Hannah Ware (“Shame,” “Boss”) as Sara, Stuart Townsend (“The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”) as Jack, James Cromwell (“Babe,” “American Horror Story”) as Thacher Karsten, Henry Thomas (“E.T.,” “Gangs of New York”) as T.J. Karsten, Chris Johnson (“The Vampire Diaries”) as Drew, Wendy Moniz (“Guiding Light,” “The Guardian”) as Elaine, Elizabeth McLaughlin (“The Clique”) as Val and Braeden Lamasters (“Men of a Certain Age”) as Vic. “Betrayal” was written by David Zabel (“ER”) and directed by Patty Jenkins (“The Killing,” “Monster”) and is executive-produced by David Zabel, Rob Golenberg (“Red Widow”) and Alon Aranya. “Betrayal” is produced by ABC Studios.
Killer Women — Of all the notorious lawmen who have ever patrolled the violent Texas frontier, none are more … Read More »
UPDATED: Exactly a week after its upfront presentation, CBS has picked up another comedy series for midseason, the single-camera Bad Teacher starring Ari Graynor, which has received a 13-episode order. Sony Pictures TV produced the pilot, an adaptation of the 2011 movie, which will now be a co-production with CBS TV Studios. Bad Teacher was among a slew of half-hour pilots that CBS were brass were high on this season. It screened and tested well and, despite not making the cut before the upfronts, talks between CBS and Sony continued through and after upfront week until a deal was reached. Bad Teacher brings the number of new CBS comedy series on tap for next season to a whooping six, the most in almost two decades. (Last season the network picked up a total of two, only one of which, Partners, got on the air.) CBS’ 2013-14 comedy class is split evenly between multi-camera (fall entries Mom and The Millers and midseason’s Friends With Better Lives) and single-cam (fall’s The Crazy Ones and We Are Men, plus Bad Teacher).
Related: CBS New Series Previews – Video
The pickup brings the number of new Sony broadcast series for next season to eight, a record for the independent studio. It was able to land new shows on every network (The Michael J. Fox Show, The Blacklist, Welcome To The Family and After Hours at NBC, Rake and Us And Them on Fox, The Goldbergs on ABC and Bad Teacher on CBS). Sony was able to get The Blacklist, Welcome To The Family and After Hours picked up and Community renewed for a final season in a complex, hard-fought negotiation with NBC that went down to the wire and resulted in Sony getting all shows involved picked up and securing NBC’s best launching pad, the post-Voice Monday 10 PM slot, for Blacklist. Leveraging the red-hot Blacklist, which had tested through the roof, I hear Sony held firm, indicating it was ready to leave rather than take a bad deal. Meanwhile, I hear NBC got ownership in Blacklist, which could make hundreds of millions of dollars profit in success, and is paying license fee vs. full freight on Community. Read More »
Emma Roberts, who most recently starred in Fox pilot Delirium, is nearing a deal to join American Horror Story: Coven, our sister site TVLine reports. Roberts (Scream 4) will play a self-involved party girl named Madison. She’ll join previously announced Oscar winner Kathy Bates, Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Lily Rabe, Frances Conroy, Taissa Farmiga, Angela Bassett, Patti LuPone and Gabourey Sidibe for Season 3.
The hot cable comedy project, which has Billy Crystal attached to star, co-write and executive produce, Burn Notice creator Matt Nix co-writing/executive producing and Curb Your Enthusiasm and Borat‘s Larry Charles directing/co-writing and executive producing, has been picked up by FX with a pilot order. Titled The Comedians, the single-camera comedy, which was taken out earlier this month, is produced by Fox TV Studios, marking the first FX pilot to not come out of the in-house FX Prods.
In The Comedians, Crystal plays a superstar veteran comedian who is reluctantly paired with a younger, edgier comedian for a late-night comedy sketch show. It is based on the 2004 Swedish series Ulveson And Herngren, starring comedians Felix Herngren and Johan Ulveson as they put together a sketch program. Charles is set to direct the pilot, which is said to be in the documentary style he perfected on another cable comedy starring a veteran stand-up comedian, HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. Charles, Nix and Crystal are co-writing with comedy writer-producer Ben Wexler, who previously worked with Nix on Nix’s Fox dramedy The Good Guys. The four executive produce with Nix’s manager, producer Mikkel Bondesen and Henrik Bastin, both of Fabrik Entertainment (formerly Fuse), which, like Nix, is under a deal at FtvS. Carl Molinder and John Nordling of Stockholm-based Efti AB, which is behind the original series, also executive produce. Fabrik’s Kristen Campo co-exec produces. Read More »
David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
All six major Hollywood studios and a raft of major tech firms have joined to solve compatibility and other issues with next-gen “cloud computing” tools they are increasingly using to create, collaborate on, distribute, protect and archive movies and other media. Dell, EMC, Rackspace and EVault are among the big tech firms taking part. The Entertainment Technology Center at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts will manage the joint standard-setting effort, called “Production in the Cloud.” Ex-Sony Pictures tech executive Ken Williams, now the ETC’s executive director and CEO, said the studios are trying to avoid another round of format wars, such as those that dogged Hollywood with Blu-Ray versus HD-DVD or VHS versus Betamax. Such format wars bring “uncertainty, inefficiency, and confusion to the marketplace, and (slow) product adoption and business growth for all players,” Williams said. “This effort will work to avoid those pitfalls in the evolution of production.” The same cloud-computing revolution that has powered the rise of consumer online services such as Google Apps, Dropbox and Spotify is also transforming high-end services used in Hollywood such as editing video, sharing it with post-production and visual-effects companies and distributing the finished products to various outlets. The initiative also will develop standard formats for archiving films and providing security among other core functions.
UPDATE, 10:55 AM: Cinedigm has just acquired all North American distribution rights to Visitors, with a fall 2013 4K release planned after the Toronto bow.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 12:01 AM: : The Toronto Film Festival has set the Godfrey Reggio-directed Visitors to have its world premiere at the festival September 8, in a most splashy manner. The film has an original score by Philip Glass and it is being presented by Steven Soderbergh. While that filmmaker is stepping away from directing features, he’s not done backing them and has been a big supporter of Reggio’s work since Koyaanisqatsi 30 years ago. The Toronto premiere will be presented in 4K digital projection and live accompaniment by members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Michael Riesman. The premiere will be held that Sunday at 6 PM at the Visa Screening Room at the Elgin Theatre.
Said TIFF Director and CEO Piers Handling: “Reggio’s Visitors is a poignant, powerful film. Coupled with live performance by 65 Members of the TSO, this event is an opportunity for Toronto audiences to be moved and to experience film in a whole new way.”
Of his involvement, Soderbergh told me: “I was a producer on the last Qatsi film but had lost touch with Godfrey and out of the blue I emailed his producer, Lawrence Taub. He told me they were in the last stages of cutting his new movie. They brought me out to Red Hook in Brooklyn to show it to me. I loved it and said, ‘What can I do to help, what do you want?’ They asked if I would be presenter and help them navigate making a distribution deal and finding a foreign sales person and I said, ‘I’m in.’ ” Read More »
After keeping mum on reports that it was taking in docu-reality series Who Do You Think You Are for the past nine months, TLC now officially announced that it has ordered eight new hour-long episodes of the Emmy-nominated series, which was cancelled by NBC after three cycles. Production is underway for a July 23 premiere. Celebrities who will be featured on the new season include Christina Applegate, Cindy Crawford, Zooey Deschanel, and Chris O’Donnell. The series, produced by Shed Media U.S. and Is or Isn’t Entertainment, reveals celebrities’ ancestry.