Thomas Tull just bought himself a fully functioning in-house marketing division. Legendary Pictures announced today that they’ve acquired strategic marketers FIVE33. The LA and London-based company will become incorporated into Legendary. The companies became acquainted earlier this year as FIVE33 were brought on board for marketing on Legendary’s Pacific Rim and the still in production Godzilla. Here’s the release:
Burbank, CA – May 16, 2013 – Legendary Entertainment has announced an agreement to purchase FIVE33, a global marketing company that specializes in developing innovative marketing programs to bring immersive awareness of tentpole movies and intellectual properties to audiences around the world. Through this deal, FIVE33 will now work exclusively with Legendary and its high-profile stable of filmmakers and storytellers to drive awareness of the studio’s brand and suite of properties via worldwide campaigns and multi-platform strategies. The announcement was made by Legendary President and Chief Creative Officer, Jon Jashni and FIVE33 CEO and Founder, Emily Castel.
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The legal battle between Legendary Pictures and producers Roy Lee, Dan Lin and Doug Davison over the Godzilla reboot seems more and more certain to be headed to trial. “We’re not interested in arbitration, we want a jury to hear this case”, said the producers’ lawyer Stanton L. Stein in a hearing today in LA Superior Court. With his clients Lee and Lin looking on, Stein made clear that a jury trial is still his goal despite an agreement today by all parties to pursue mediation. “I understand why they don’t want public scrutiny of this case. I understand why they don’t want their behavior being made public”, he added of Legendary’s efforts to have the case moved to private arbitration.
Back in January dueling suits were filed between the producers and Legendary after the studio sought to remove them from the project with a tiny $25,000 payout. The trio countered with a cross complaint January 17 accusing Legendary of breach of contract. Lin, Lee and Davison are seeking millions in compensatory damages, screen credit, and participation in sequels, prequels, or further remakes. As this legal tussle continues, Godzilla is currently in production in Vancouver with the movie set for a May 16, 2014 release.
Related: ‘Godzilla’ Adds Ken Watanabe, But What About Those Producers? Read More »
It was Warner Bros Pictures’ turn for studio slate presentations at the CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas Tuesday and President of the Warner Bros Pictures Group Jeff Robinov unveiled the studio’s packed summer lineup with its familiar mix of comedy, horror, superheroes, monsters, and sequels. Robinov looked to the future and thanked all the studio’s partners: New Line, Legendary, Village Roadshow, Alcon, and MGM (on the Hobbit trilogy). He also thanked his new boss Kevin Tsujihara who won the job of Chief Executive Officer replacing Barry Meyer. ”All of us share his vision and this will be an exciting time under his leadership,” Robinov said. Distribution head Dan Fellman initiated a bunch of baseball analogies after the success of Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros’ Jackie Robinson biopic 42 last weekend. It followed a string of 5 straight box office disappointments for Warner Bros and occasional other partners (like New Line). ”Consistency has always been a hallmark of Warner Bros Pictures. But even the most consistent player can hit a few fouls,” Fellman told exhibitors. Fellman emphasized that Warner Bros is the only studio to score $1 billion box office gross domestically 12 years in a row. And International Distrib topper Veronika Kwan Vandenberg pointed out that the studio in 2012 grossed over $4 billion worldwide thanks to hits like The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Add to that the 85th Oscar-winning Best Picture success of Argo. Plus, this year Warners Bros is celebrating the 90th anniversary of its founding by the Brothers Warner in 1923.
The season starts out May 10th with the 3D drama from Baz Luhrmann, The Great Gatsby, originally intended for the 2012 awards season but held for Summer 2013 instead. Luhrmann is still tweaking the movie which will open the Cannes Film Festival on May 15th, but sent along a pre-taped introduction – complete with music underscoring to the film’s trailer. Footage was shown at last year’s CinemaCon but this was much different and in 3D. No question it looks like another visual triumph for the director of Moulin Rouge and Romeo And Juliet which starred his Gatsby lead Leonardo Di Caprio. Luhrmann said he was inspired to use 3D when he saw a 3D screening of the Alfred Hitchcock 1950s drama Dial M For Murder (also released by Warners). Even though he said the most special effect in this movie is the acting.
Director Todd Phillips publicly chided Luhrmann before introducing The Hangover Part III trailer. “It would be nice if Baz showed up. There are a lot of directors backstage. We showed up,” he said. Phillips then fed the exhibitors’ egos by saying that comedies should be seen in theaters where everyone can laugh together. Warner’s is now referring to his sleeper smash as the Hangover Trilogy.
Next was Zack Snyder, director of Man Of Steel, who turned up with the world premiere of the film’s new trailer which will play before Oblivion starting on Friday. “There’s no competition between superheroes obviously. But if there were, he would win,” said the unabashed fan of the comic book hero. “I am sorry to even have to say this now but we shot the movie on film and anamorphic. We wanted to give your cinemas a big giant movie movie.” He also acknowledged producer Christopher Nolan’s help during their first meeting in steering him in the right direction on the film. Nolan and his co-producers Emma Thomas and Chuck Roven were in the audience but oddly not introduced to the crowd. The trailer played well and Nolan seemed pleased with the reaction when I saw him afterwards. Read More »
Hillary Bibicoff is leaving her partnership at Greenberg Glusker for a place at the boutique law firm of Holmes Weinberg PC. “I had the pleasure of working with Hillary at the beginning of her career. I’m delighted with her success and look forward to working with her again. I have great confidence that she will thrive within the client-focused boutique team environment Steve [Weinberg] and I have created,” said Henry Holmes in a statement today. Bibicoff had been at LA powerhouse Greenberg Glusker for the last 12 years, and she specialized in talent deals in the entertainment practice. Bibicoff has repped James Cameron, Kathy Bates, How I Met Your Mother producer-director Pam Fryman, Carnivale creator Dan Knauf and Mike Nichols among others. In 2005, she represented the two largest investors in the $500 million film finance deal between Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros; she also repped Godzilla rights owner Toho in 2010 in the sale of the film rights to Legendary. Bibicoff began her career in Cooper, Epstein & Hurewitz’s transactional entertainment and corporate departments before going on to work as an executive at LIVE Home Video and then as VP Theatrical Business & Legal Affairs at Rysher Entertainment and then Greenberg Glusker. Among various industry positions, Bibicoff currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Professional Representatives Section of the … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has emerged from a three-studio bidding battle with screen rights to remake the Korean crime film New World. The deal was mid six-figures and the film will be produced by Roy Lee and Dan Lin, with Jon Silk and John Powers Middleton exec producing. The script will be written by Will Fetters, who has been on fire at Warner Bros. He has scripted the Clint Eastwood-directed remake of A Star Is Born, as well as Crazy For The Storm for Sean Penn to direct, and he most recently rewrote the Nicholas Sparks novel The Best Of Me.
The original film was written and directed by Park Hoon-jung, who scripted I Saw The Devil and The Unjust. New World has parallels to The Departed, on which Lee was exec producer and Lin was development exec. After a mob boss is gunned down, an outright battle ensues among several mobsters who want to succeed him. One of them is an undercover cop. The pic just got released. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Sally Hawkins has nabbed the final lead role in Godzilla, the monster movie that Legendary and Warner Bros kicked off shooting last week in Vancouver. Hawkins (Happy Go Lucky) will play a scientist alongside Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, David Strathairn, Brian Cranston and Juliette Binoche. Gareth Edwards is directing Godzilla, which is slated for a 3D release on May 16, 2014. Max Borenstein, Frank Darabont and Dave Callaham wrote the script.
Hawkins recently starred in Constellations, the Nick Payne play that had a sold-out run at the UK’s Royal Court Theatre and then the West End. Her upcoming films include Almost Christmas with Paul Rudd and Paul Giamatti, which will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, and Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine which opens July 26. She is repped by ICM Partners, Principal LA and John Grant in the UK.
Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures today announced final principal casting for Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, which begins filming today in Vancouver. Ken Watanabe, repped by WME and ROAR, joins Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn, and Bryan Cranston in the reboot that is slated for a 3D release on May 16, 2014. Edwards is helming from a script by Max Borenstein, Frank Darabont, and Dave Callaham. But the producer roll call is where things get awkward: Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni are confirmed as producing with Mary Parent and Brian Rogers, but there’s no mention of Roy Lee, Dan Lin, and Doug Davison, the trio of producers who were iced out of the project they claim they brought to Legendary in the first place. Back in January dueling suits were filed between the trio and Legendary after the studio sought to remove them from the project with a mere $25,000 payout. Lee, Lin, and Davison countered with their own cross complaint accusing Legendary of breach of contract and seeking millions in compensatory damages, screen credit, and participation in sequels, prequels, or further remakes or compensation thereof. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has won a bidding battle for movie rights to Proof Of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey Into The Afterlife, the runaway bestselling non-fiction book about a man who glimpsed the afterlife during a near death health crisis. Mary Parent and Cale Boyter will produce through Disruption Entertainment. Deal was six figures and three studios chased the book.
The film will be written by Ryan Knighton, an interesting story in his own right. He first made a name for himself adapting his own memoir, Cockeyed, about his 15-year gradual descent into blindness. He’s currently adapting the Peter Spiegelman novel Thick As Thieves for Fox 2000, Imagine and Film 360.
Proof of Heaven has topped The New York Times bestseller list since it was published in late October by Simon & Schuster. It is a first person account by Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon who taught at Harvard Medical School and other universities, embracing science over faith. Despite being a Christian, he did not embrace religious theories of the afterlife. That was until he contracted a rare bacterial meningitis that penetrated his cerebro-spinal fluid and attacked his brain. He lay near death, comatose for seven days in 2008. He awoke with a clear recollection of what he described as a journey to heaven.
Several studios went after a book for its huge appeal to a faith-based readership. Studios have tried to cover this subject matter — the 1983 film Brainstorm comes to mind — but this will be presented as a true account. The book has been published in 30 countries, with more coming. Read More »
It intrigues me that Christopher Walken’s latest film — which just signed for North American release by Steelyard Pictures — is titled The Power Of Few. I’ve never heard of this distributor, and maybe the film is a cinematic treat, but I’m reasonably certain this movie will come and go with little fanfare. The title is memorable because it summarizes perfectly how I wish iconic actors like Walken would run their careers. I was thinking about this over the weekend, when I again watched Django Unchained and observed how the whole movie changed from the moment that Samuel L. Jackson first came into view as the awful plantation slave patriarch Stephen. I find it one of the most memorable performances I’ve seen in the last five years, a villain to rival any Spaghetti Western antagonist ever, and am amazed how Jackson disappeared into a fully fleshed character as completely as Daniel Day-Lewis did with Lincoln and Joaquin Phoenix did in The Master, and Denzel Washington did in Flight. All three of those guys got nominated for Oscars, and Sam did not, even though it’s his best performance since Pulp Fiction. It’s easy to say it came down to Christoph Waltz’s Best Supporting Actor nomination (Leo DiCaprio was also snubbed), but I think a factor is that Jackson works so often that Oscar voters discount his great performances because it’s just one of the seven films he did in that calender year. Contrast that to Day-Lewis. When he works, you know it’s a special event, there is high anticipation and he either wins or gets nominated almost each and every time out.
To me, Walken is in the same class as Jackson, and so is Robert De Niro and Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins, and so would Sean Connery and Gene Hackman if anybody could coax those guys out of retirement. Kevin Costner is knocking on the door as well.
De Niro got an Oscar nom for Silver Linings Playbook, and it seemed to work in reverse; it seemed to help that this was the first movie in a long time where the material wasn’t beneath his vast talent, and that he proved he still had it.
As for Walken, I was at the Toronto Film Festival premiere of the Martin McDonagh-directed Seven Psychopaths last fall, and observed something rare. Gifted with dialogue from In Bruges‘ McDonagh, Walken had people cheering to just about every line he delivered, in his singular style. I wish guys like him would save themselves for just the really good stuff (like De Niro and Pacino in Heat and De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook), instead of leaving a trail of cinematic turds along the way. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Godzilla scribe Max Borenstein has come on to write Mona for New Regency. The film is an adaptation of the upcoming novel by Dan Sehlberg, which is an international thriller that merges science fiction with real developments in the fields of thought-control systems and cyber warfare. A terrorist invents a computer virus that is infectious to humans and a Swedish scientist, who has invented a device that allows disabled people to use their minds to surf the web uses that technology to battle the terrorist.
Michael London and Janice Williams will produce the project via their Groundswell Productions banner. Niclas Salomonnson will executive produce the project.
Borenstein is currently writing the action sci-fi film Paladin for Disney, which he sold as an original pitch to the studio with Justin Springer set to produce. He’s come back on Godzilla (after a Frank Darabont polish), as that film heads toward a production start for a May 2014 release through Legendary Pictures.
Borenstein is repped by UTA, Anonymous Content and attorney Eric Feig.
EXCLUSIVE: Norwegian helmers Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, whose film Kon-Tiki was Oscar nominated today for Best Foreign Language Film, are near a deal to make their first big splashy Hollywood helming deal. They are signing a 7-figure pact to direct Spectral for Legendary Pictures. The script, based on a treatment by Ian Fried and with a most recent script draft by Jayson Rothwell, is described as a supernatural Black Hawk Down and it is viewed as a potential franchise.
Roenning and Sandberg have been meeting with and being offered projects by studios since Kon-Tiki began playing in Norway and then made its festival debut at Toronto in September. The film tells the harrowing tale of Thor Heyerdahl’s 1947 journey, drifting 4,300 miles across the Pacific Ocean on a balsa raft with a small crew to Polynesia to prove South Americans were its original settlers. Shot on the high seas for $15 million (making it the most expensive Norwegian film ever), Kon-Tiki looks like it was significantly more expensive, showing the potential of directors who can get bang for their buck on logistically complicated studio-level action adventure fare. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Pictures is eyeing Kick-Ass star Aaron-Taylor Johnson to star in Godzilla, the Gareth Edwards-directed reboot of the franchise based on the iconic Japanese reptile. I’m told that Johnson, who starred in the Oliver Stone-directed Savages and Anna Karenina and followed by reprising in Kick-Ass 2: Balls To The Wall is the frontrunner for the job. He won’t make a final decision on whether or not to take the offer until he sees the final polish that Frank Darabont is writing based on the Max Borenstein script.
Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni are taking the creative lead on this project — they just put Mary Parent on after she became a producer of Pacific Rim — and Warner Bros is distributing everywhere except for Japan. There, rightsholders Toho will handle the release. While there has obviously been a legal dust-up in the producing ranks, the film is still on course to begin production in March, with the film dated for a May 16, 2014 release. If he takes the gig, Johnson could well have a second franchise, not at all a bad thing for a young actor. He’s repped by WME and Brillstein, and Christian Hodell in the UK.
Legendary Pictures today filed suit (read it here) against producers Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Doug Davison to have them removed from the Godzilla reboot. The company also wants the court to order arbitration to stop a potential temporary restraining order by the defendants against the film’s production. The new Godzilla is scheduled to be released by Warner Bros and Legendary on May 16 2014. “This dispute…concerns Defendants’ assertion that they are entitled to substantial producing fees and backend compensation on the Film,” claims Legendary in the suit. Lin Pictures and Vertigo Entertainment are also named as defendants in the case.
Related: UPDATE: Mary Parent Boarding ‘Godzilla’, Which Is Getting A Frank Darabont Rewrite And Losing Roy Lee And Dan Lin
The complaint for Declaratory Relief filed in LA Superior Court Wednesday by The Dark Knight Rises and 300 producers claims that all is owed to the Warner Bros lot based Lin, Lee, Davison and their respective companies is $25,000 as agreed upon in the March 2011 Producer Loan Agreement the parties drafted. “Defendants would be entitled to certain backend compensation only if the Film were ‘produced substantially under the supervision’ of Defendants,” says Legendary in their suit. In their court documents, Legendary claims that it brought the trio on board soon after acquiring the rights to the Godzilla character from Japanese corporation Toho in March 2010. … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In a seven-figure deal, David Ellison’s Skydance Productions has pre-emptively purchased an untitled global disaster film spec script written by Dean Devlin and Paul Guyot. Devlin will make his feature directing debut. Skydance’s Ellison and Dana Goldberg will produce with Devlin and his Electric Entertainment team of Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan.
Devlin returns to the global destruction sandbox he played in when he and then-partner Roland Emmerich sold their Independence Day spec for millions, a guaranteed Fox green light and release date, and a global gross north of $800 million. They continued the destruction with Godzilla. While Emmerich continued crushing the planet with The Day After and 2012 (he and Devlin are working on two Independence Day sequels), Devlin formed Electric Entertainment and has put together movies (one was Flyboys, which featured avid aviator Ellison onscreen), and the Noah Wyle telepic series The Librarian. Devlin is currently exec producer of the TNT series Leverage. Guyot, Devlin’s co-writer on the spec, is supervising producer of that series. Read More »
UPDATE, 1 PM:: I can understand why Godzilla is trying to shed producers, because there are plenty. Mary Parent is about done with a deal to come aboard on the producer roster. Parent, whose Disruption banner is based at Paramount, takes the job after working closely with Legendary on the Guillermo del Toro-directed Pacific Rim.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 8:42 AM: As it stomps its way toward a March production start, Godzilla has two significant developments in the offing. Frank Darabont, who veered into genre territory by launching the AMC series The Walking Dead, has been hired by producer-financier Legendary Pictures to do a final rewrite on the script that was written by The Seventh Son scribe Max Borenstein.
At the same time, Warner Bros-based producers Dan Lin and Roy Lee, who were among the producers who came into Legendary with a Toho rights deal for the iconic reptile, are in a huge battle with the financier-producer. Legendary, which now controls the rights, wants to drop the producers from the film. As it stands right now, the 3D picture will be produced by Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni, along with Brian Rogers, the latter of whom was on the ground floor of the Toho deal. The film will be directed by Monsters helmer Gareth Edwards and has been dated for May 16, 2014 release. Read More »
The deal with Waddell & Reed brings Legendary Entertainment‘s total 2012 raise to $720 million. This investment will go toward “growth and working capital across its filmed entertainment and publishing divisions” as well as digital, merchandising and TV, the company said. Here’s the release:
Burbank, CA, December 18, 2012 –Legendary Entertainment has completed an equity financing transaction with the investment management affiliates of Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc. (NYSE: WDR) totaling approximately $443 million in aggregate proceeds. The announcement was made today by Legendary’s Chairman and CEO, Thomas Tull.
Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc. is one of the oldest investment management companies in the United States and is parent company to Ivy Investment Management Company and Waddell & Reed Investment Management Company, manager to the Ivy Funds and Waddell & Reed Advisors Funds, respectively. The investment in Legendary will reside within the Ivy Asset Strategy Fund, the Waddell & Reed Advisors Asset Strategy Fund and other portfolios utilizing the same investment strategy.
Legendary plans to allocate proceeds from the transaction towards growth and working capital across its filmed entertainment and publishing divisions, and to build out further opportunities in the digital, merchandising and television sectors.
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EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros tells me that — technically speaking — Legendary Pictures “was never officially in” to co-finance Tom Cruise‘s futuristic world army-vs-alien fighters sci-fi film currently filming in London. But then why was Thomas Tull’s banner listed on WB’s October 1st announcement dating All You Need Is Kill for 2014? “Anticipated their involvement but was never firm,” WB tells me. So this is what I’ve learned: the movie’s UK production was just notified within the past 24 hours that Legendary “has pulled out” of Warner Bros’ All You Need Is Kill starring Cruise and Emily Blunt with Doug Liman directing. Actually, Legendary’s decision was made about 10 days ago – after Warner Bros begged Legendary to come in with Village Roadshow. “Legendary agreed to come on subject to terms. That meant subject to script, budget, and creative mandate,” confirms my insider. “But then Legendary decided it doesn’t fit within their creative mandate or fanboy demographic and they didn’t really have the appetite for this. So they didn’t come to terms with Warner Bros.” I’m assured that the Legendary-WB relationship is still very much intact, especially with Legendary having brought Pacific Rim and Godzilla to the studio while co-financing Man Of Steel with Warner Bros. Meanwhile, there are vehement denials of behind-the-scenes chatter that Liman is over budget or Cruise is running the show. All You Need Is Kill is dated for March 14, 2014.
BREAKING: Jason Segel and Drew Pearce have sold a pitch to Fox. They will turn the documentary The Other F Word into a feature that will be a star vehicle for the How I Met Your Mother star. Segel and Pearce will co-write and be executive producers.
Several studios chased the deal before Fox took it off the table. The 2011 docu explores the world of aging punk rock musicians as they transition into fatherhood and try to maintain the contrast between their anti-authoritarian lifestyle with the responsibilities of being a dad.
Andrea Blaugrund Nevins wrote and directed the docu, producing it with Cristan Reilly. Among the rock stars balancing these roles were Blink-182′s Mark Hoppus, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea, and Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath. Nevins and Reilly will be executive producers on the comedy. Read More »