The news came during NuvoTV‘s upfront presentation in NY, where the English-language cable network targeting U.S. Latinos showed off its 2013-2014 programming lineup. Jennifer Lopez already had a business stake in the network, with her Nuyorican Productions pacting in September to contribute programming, work on strategy and assist in marketing. In exchange, she received a minority stake. She told advertisers today: “Latinos are a force in this country. We are an engine for growth — we have huge economic power and unprecedented political and cultural influence and it’s time for television to reflect who the modern Latino actually is — not who we are believed to be, not who we may have been, but who we are now”. Among NuvoTV’s offerings this year are several with Lopez ties, including a biography special and an unscripted series about the backup dancers on her world tour. Here are the network’s descriptions of the new shows:
Cannes: ‘ABCs Of Death 2′ Lines Up Directors Bill Plympton, Vincenzo Natali, Sion Sono, Larry Fessenden
Magnet Releasing is plotting more ABCs Of Death following its 2012 high concept horror anthology. The sequel’s directors unveiled today at Cannes will include Oscar nominated animator Bill Plympton, Goya winning director Alex De La Iglesias (The Last Circus), and documentarian Rodney Ascher (Room 237), who lead a new lineup of international directors depicting assorted horrible ways to die. Also tapped to direct segments: Filipino filmmaker Erik Matti, whose On The Job debuts this week in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight sidebar (watch Deadline’s exclusive trailer here), founder of Nigerian “Nollywood” cinema Lancelot Imasuen, Lithuania’s Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper (Vanishing Waves), Japan’s Sion Sono (Cold Fish), Vincenzo Natali (Splice, Cube), indie horror icon Larry Fessenden (The Last Winter), Marcus Dunstan (The Collection), France’s Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo (Inside, Livid), SXSW breakout E.L. Katz (Cheap Thrills), twin auteurs Jen and Sylvia Soska (American Mary), Israel’s Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado (Rabies, Big Bad Wolves), Julian Gilbey (A Lonely Place To Die), Brazil’s Dennison Ramalho (Ninjas, Love For Mother Only), Jerome Sable (The Legend Of Beaver Dam), and BAFTA nominated animator Robert Morgan (Bobby Yeah).
This is the deal that DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg appears to have been alluding to last night when he said he had video-related “news to share pretty quickly.” He says this AM that the YouTube destination is “one of the fastest-growing content channels on the Internet today and our acquisition of this groundbreaking venture will bring incredible momentum to our digital strategy.” AwesomenessTV has TV and film aspirations which indicates it has “continued cross-platform expansion plans,” the companies say. The deal, which includes contingencies, should provide a nice payoff for founder and CEO Brian Robbins as well as UTA and Ziffren Brittenham — all of whom supported (the trendy term is “incubate”) the young service. Stifel analyst Benjamin Mogil says DWA’s acquisition is “strategically prudent” given the growth in Internet video viewing even though it will “likely be dilutive [to earnings] in the near term.” DreamWorks shares are up 6.6% in mid-morning trading. Here’s the release:
New York, NY – April 22, 2013 – The Wagner/Cuban Company’s Magnolia Pictures announced today that they’ve acquired North American rights to GOOD OL’ FREDA, a crowd-pleasing documentary about Freda Kelly, The Beatles’ lifelong secretary. Directed by Ryan White (Pelada), and produced by Kathy McCabe, White and Jessica Lawson, the doc had its US premiere at the SXSW Film Festival last month.
Freda Kelly was just a shy Liverpudlian teenager when she was asked to work for a local band hoping to make it big. As The Beatles’ devoted secretary and friend, Freda was there with unfaltering loyalty and dedication as history unfolded, witnessing the evolution – advances and setbacks, breakthroughs and challenges – of the greatest band in history. In GOOD OL’ FREDA, she tells her story for the first time in 50 years. One of few films with the support of the living Beatles and featuring original Beatles music, the film offers an insider perspective on the beloved band that changed the music industry.
Magnolia will release the film theatrically later this year.
SUNDAY, 5TH UPDATE: Exit polling for Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros’ 42 showed the audience composition was males 48%/females 52%; under age 25 was 17%, age 25 and up 83% (with a predominantly older audience), and the main reason for attending the movie was subject matter 84%. A Warner Bros exec tells me: “While we do not poll race breakdown, I can tell you we performed extremely well in all the large urban markets. But the highest grossing theaters were the country’s most commercial screens.” Pic’s $9.1M Friday opening received an impressive +25% Saturday bump to $11.3M for what should be a greatly overperforming $27.3M weekend and #1. Dimension Films’ Scary Movie 5 for The Weinstein Company went up slightly (+9%) from Friday’s weak $5.5M debut to Saturday’s $6.0M for a $15.1M weekend that’s not even 38% of what the franchise’s fourquel opening grossed. Now that schoolkids and colleges are back in class, the domestic box office has understandably cooled – and the weekend looks on par with last year’s. Top Ten list below.
The Jackie Robinson biopic 42 (3,003 theaters) nicely overperformed tracking which was in the mid-teens for an original movie about race and baseball with no hot stars. (Granted Harrison Ford is a legend but not box office nowadays.) The opening number is a record for a baseball flick in terms of straight dollars, topping the $19.5M debut of 2011′s Moneyball. Even factoring in higher ticket prices and inflation, the $13.7M debut of 1992′s A League Of Their Own would have been on par with 42. The moderately budgeted film ($38M) received an ‘A+’ CinemaScore which will help word of mouth. Grosses on MLB’s Jackie Robinson Day – which is April 15 - when every player wears Robinson’s #42, could even stay level because of the attention. In addition to the $38M marketing spend, the film has generated a ton of national media and awareness that didn’t cost any money. “Just watching the film’s box office growing at a rapid pace all day,” a Warner Bros exec gushed on Friday. “Great news for Thomas Tull and his team at Legendary.” (Question still remains whether financier/filmmaker Tull’s Legendary will exit Warner Bros, or vice versa. But Sue Kroll’s marketing did well by him.) Still, I wondered whether Academy Award winning writer-director Brian Helgeland’s soft-focus storyline would turn off moviegoers to Thomas Tull‘s passion project, especially without the street cred of African-American filmmakers involved. But no. ‘All you can do is put these things together in the way you think is best,” Tull told me Thursday. Instead he relied on Rachel Robinson. ”Her voice helped us with authenticity. That was the person who lived it,” Tull said. “And that was a really important story for us to tell.” Tull does admit that, had Rachel herself not been so involved, there may have been more focus on the tough stuff. The filmmakers wound up with the highest testing movie that Legendary has ever had. Rachel Robinson had been promised over the last two decades that Hollywood would make this movie – and never did. Then, at 90 years old, she was approached by Tull two years ago. ”She looked me in the eye and asked, ‘Are you going to make this movie?’ and I said we’d make it happen,’” Tull recalled.
Far, far, far behind in #2 was Scary Movie 5 (3,402 theaters) which bombed badly considering that 2006′s Scary Movie 4 opened to $40.2M from 3,202 theaters. This franchise has run out of steam. For one thing, there’s no Anna Faris or Regina Hall who both starred in all four earlier installments. But it does have the nauseating casting of Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen playing themselves. (Audible groan…) Once again, Dimension just isn’t bringing the box office heat to Weinstein Co grosses like it did to the old Miramax. Bringing back the Scream and Spy Kids franchises produced only 1/2 and 1/3 of the originals’ openings. This fifth Scary Movie installment which cost $19.5M is directed by Malcolm D. Lee and written by/produced by David Zucker who also directed 3 and 4. Dimension really needs to get off its butt and incubate new low-budget genre storylines.
Here’s the Top Ten list based on weekend estimates:
1. 42 (Legendary/Warner Bros) NEW [Runs 3,003] PG13
Friday $9.1M, Saturday $11.3M, Weekend $27.3M
2. Scary Movie 5 (Dimension/Weinstein) NEW [Runs 3,402] PG13
Friday $5.5M, Saturday $6.0M, Weekend $15.1M
After working as a consultant to Entertainment One Films US, Ryan Markowitz has been hired in the newly-created position of VP theatrical sales and distribution. Based in New York, Markowitz has managed releases for eOne titles including A Late Quartet and Cosmopolis. EOne’s domestic theatrical division focuses on upscale arthouse and indie genre films and feature documentaries. Upcoming titles include Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf’s, Brian de Palma’s Passion, Sundance pic We Are What We Are and Cuban Fury, starring Rashida Jones and Chris O’Dowd. Markowitz has previously held positions at New Line, Picturehouse, Apparition, FilmDistrict and IDP. He’ll be repping eOne at CinemaCon next week.
MIPTV Briefs: ITV Studios Nabs ‘Poirot’ Pre-Sales; Fremantle Shops ‘Blake’s 7′; KidsCo Acquires ‘Matt Hatter Chronicles’; Venevision International & More
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ITV Studios Global Entertainment has secured pre-sales for the 13th and final series of ITV Studios’ iconic detective drama Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Based on crime writer Agatha Christie’s famous novels, series 13 of Poirot has been acquired by eight broadcasters worldwide: TMC (France), ABC (Australia), Prime (New Zealand), Chungwa (Taiwan), Latvian Television, RTV (Slovenia), HRT (Croatia), Sanoma (Hungary) and Digiturk (Turkey). WGBH in the US will co- produce and air two of the Poirot films – The Big Four and Dead Man’s Folly. The deals were brokered by David Wilcox, VP North West Cluster; Jennifer Ebell, VP South East Cluster; Nancy Wang, Senior Sales Executive, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan; Dan Edwards, Senior Sales Executive, Australia and Jemma Losh, Sales Executive, New Zealand for ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
At Discovery Communications’ upfront today, the company’s Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and Investigation Discovery presented their slates of new and returning series. (See Discovery/Harpo-owned OWN’s announcement here). Discovery Channel, which had its highest-rated January ever in total viewers and adults 25-54, is putting an emphasis on live events with specials Fast N’ Live and the Grand Canyon tightrope walk Wallenda Live as well as scripted TV with its first scripted project, miniseries Klondike. The network’s unscripted slate features 10 new series, including The Huntsmen, Rock Raiders, two Naked shows, Hidden Kingdom and Survival.
TLC’s slate features 52 new and returning series, including the return of pop culture hit Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Breaking Amish and its spinoff. Animal Planet returns 20 series and new ones like Eel Of Fortune, about hunting prized eels off the New England coast. Its best-performing series ever, River Monsters, returns April 7. Investigation Discovery, meanwhile, is offering up its second original newsmagazine Deadline: Crime With Tamron Hall and the Jerry Springer-hosted Tabloid.
Here are details for all the Discovery networks:
Silver Spring, Md. – Whether exhibiting human-like behavior or living an existence so foreign it is fascinating, the animal kingdom has the power to mesmerize. Today, Discovery Communications announces the debut of Animal Planet L!VE, featuring unfiltered, round-the-clock access to the compelling worlds of the beautiful, cute and misunderstood. The 24/7 digital experience builds on Discovery Communications’ long-standing success with live animal cams, including Penguin Cam and Shark Cam, and acts as a digital complement to Animal Planet and its on-air programming.
Athens, Ga. – Thirty-nine recipients of the 72nd Annual Peabody Awards were announced today by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The winners, chosen by the Peabody board as the best in electronic media for the year 2012, were named in a ceremony in the Peabody Gallery on the UGA Campus.
The latest Peabody recipients reflect diversity in content, genre and sources of origination.
They include “Girls,” Lena Dunham’s HBO comedy-drama about the young and the feckless in New York; “Putin, Russia and the West,” a compelling portrait of a modern-day czar; “Rapido y Furioso (Fast and Furious),” Univision’s Mexican perspective on the infamous Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive gun-tracking debacle; “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” a sterling magazine series that springboards from athletics; “Robin’s Journey,” a public-service campaign created around “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts’ treatment for a rare blood disease; and “Design Ah!,” an imaginative Japanese series aimed at developing children’s creative vision.
The goal of the Viterbi Startup Garage is to keep early-stage engineering companies and their entrepreneurs spawned from USC‘s engineering program in the region via the first LA-based accelerator backed by a big university. It’s the latest move from UTA to work with early-stage companies in media and entertainment as well as other business sectors. Among its initiatives, the agency recently incubated ShopHers, an e-commerce business focused on high-end designer fashion brands, and it also has equity stakes in and has provided advisory services for companies like AwesomenessTV, Andover Games, Playcast, Gold Run, Media Morph and Kevita. It also has an equity position in an as yet unannounced denim company. “We have been proudly advising technology startups for many years, and the Startup Garage will give us an opportunity to be even more hands-on with inspiring entrepreneurs who are working on groundbreaking ideas,” said Brent Weinstein, Head of Digital Media, UTA. “So many early-stage companies are media-focused or media-adjacent, that we feel Los Angeles is the ideal place to launch an accelerator in partnership with world class partners like USC and KPCB.”
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has backed more than 500 ventures including, famously, media companies like Amazon and Google.
The USC Viterbi School of Engineering has about 1800 undergraduate and 3800 graduate students and …
Film Independent has chosen eight projects and 12 filmmakers for its 2013 Documentary Lab. The eight-week intensive program is designed to help filmmakers who are currently in post-production on their feature-length documentary. Lab mentors provide creative feedback and story notes to the selected filmmakers and help filmmakers strategize the completion, distribution, and marketing of their film. Projects and participants are Birdmen (Milena Pastreich); KUSAMA: Princess Of Polka Dots (Heather Lenz); Maidentrip (Jillian Schlesinger, Emily McAllister); Mary Woronov, Cult Queen From Warhol To Corman (Francesca Di Amico, Claudia Unger), Mateo (Aaron Naar); Rich Hill (Tracy Droz Tragos, Andrew Droz Palermo); Storyteller: The Wonderful, Magical Life Of The Man Who Saved Ben Hur (Joe Forte); and Top Spin (Mina T. Son, Sara Newens). Click over for a complete description.
Director Joe Swanberg brought his most accessible film yet to SXSW this year, with name actors Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston starring in the relationship comedy about a pair of Chicago craft brewery co-workers whose platonic friendship veers toward flirtation. Magnolia Pictures has taken notice, acquiring North American distribution rights today. Drinking Buddies has a more traditional look than Swanberg’s previous mumblecore releases, with Beasts Of The Southern Wild DP Ben Richardson doing the lensing. The pic was entirely improvised as the cast worked from Swanberg’s outline. Here’s today’s release announcing the deal, which will see the pic hit theaters sometime this year:
New York, NY (March 19, 2013) – The Wagner/Cuban Company’s Magnolia Pictures announced today that they have acquired North American distribution rights to writer-director Joe Swanberg’s DRINKING BUDDIES, starring Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston. Produced by Dark Arts’ Alicia Van Couvering and Andrea Roa; Burn Later’s Paul M. Bernon and Sam Slater; and Swanberg, the film premiered this month at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival. The film was executive produced by Mike Witherill, Ashley Bernon, Jessica Klapman, David Kaplan, Anish Savjani, and Wilde. Magnolia Pictures is planning a theatrical release for later this year.
EXCLUSIVE: After a three-year battle waged to determine ownership of sequel and separated rights on the CBS sitcom Hogan’s Heroes, creators Albert S. Ruddy and the late Bernard Fein have been granted all rights. Ruddy will work with Fein’s estate to develop a feature film ensemble comedy using the show’s clever WWII German POW camp premise. The duo was granted rights that include movies, publication, merchandising, radio and live rights, as well as TV sequel rights. The judgment was made by arbitrator Joel M. Grossman on March 1. The creators went up against Bing Crosby Productions, which produced the show, and whose rights are now owned by Mark Cuban. Ruddy and Fein were represented by Greenburg & Traurig’s Vince Chieffo and Alan Schwartz, and WGA’s Heather Pearson and Anthony R. Segall.
Hogan’s Heroeswas a top-rated show on CBS that spanned 168 episodes that ran from 1965-1971, starring Bob Crane as Col. Robert Hogan, Werner Klemperer as Col. Wilhelm Klink, Richard Dawson as Cpl. Peter Newkirk and John Banner as Sgt. Hans Schultz. Ruddy and Fein created the show and wrote and developed the pilot.
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
A24 Films will release two of its brood this weekend including Harmony Korine’s anticipated Selena Gomez/Vanessa Hudgens/James Franco starrer Spring Breakers, which had its U.S. debut this past week at the SXSW Film Festival. The new distribution company will also roll out Ginger & Rosa, although it sees the titles as appealing to different audiences. Also in this weekend’s specialty slate is Millennium Films’ Kirsten Dunst starrer Upside Down, which may had the largest number of opening cities among the limited release debuts, though it will still be under a dozen runs. And Oscilloscope’s Reality has a unique story of its own, with a convicted prisoner as a star — filmmaker Matteo Garone made an arrangement with Italy’s prison system.
Director-writer: Harmony Korine
Cast: Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, James Franco, Rachel Korine
Distributor: A24 Films
Spring Breakers had a lively U.S. debut at the SXSW Film Festival ahead of its theatrical run which begins this week. Described as the “most accessible” of veteran indie director Harmony Korine’s career to date by some festival-goers, the title debuted in Venice and Toronto last Fall. Newcomer distributor A24 Films became involved with the feature in November. “Spring Breakers is, initially, for a younger audience and, frankly, anyone looking for something a little different,” noted A24′s David Fenkel. The crime-comedy centers on four college girls who end up in jail after robbing a restaurant to finance their spring break vacation, but find themselves bailed out by a drug-and-weapons heavy who wants them to do some more dirty work.
FactoryMade Ventures, which with Robert Rodriguez co-owns Tres Pistoleros Studios and the soon-to-launch El Rey Network, has formed a joint venture with Lucha Libre AAA, the popular Mexican wrestling league. The plan is to re-imagine, operate and expand the league in the U.S. and other international territories on multiple platforms that at first will focus on live events and sponsorship, pay-per-view, scripted and non-scripted series, licensing and merchandise. It’s unclear but possible such an expansion would include a spot on El Ray, the new English-language U.S. cable channel backed and carried by Comcast that will launch January 1, 2014.
Founded in 1992 by its creator, Antonio Peña Herrada, Lucha Libre AAA is Mexico’s dominant wrestling league with an audience of 1 million for more than 1,000 live events per year and a reach of 52 million viewers on Spanish network Televisa. (It also was the basis for the 2006 comedy feature Nacho Libre starring Jack Black). The joint venture will hold exclusive licenses in all territories excluding Mexico to Lucha Libre intellectual property, which includes its brand, more than 250 characters, and its entertainment formats.
EXCLUSIVE: Ridley Scott and his commercials production company RSA will team with Machinima to produce 12 short films that will focus on science fiction content that might be grown into feature franchises. Machinima is the top global video entertainment network for males aged 18-34, reaching more than 2.6 billion views monthly. It is the top-rated entertainment channel on YouTube.
Despite turning 75, Scott continues to have an appetite for cutting-edge stuff and emerging technologies. He won’t direct any of these short films but will be a hands-on executive producer with RSA president Jules Daly. With Machinima, they will select directing clients of RSA and figure out what stories to tell.
Machinima has provided a strong springboard for genre content on the web. The network distributed Mortal Kombat: Legacy, which revived the moribund Mortal Kombat franchise. It started with a short film and is now in its second season and led to a feature film in development. Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn premiered last fall and the series has received more than 3.2 million views.