UPDATE: CNBC Orders More ‘The Profit’, Beefs Up Reality Slate; ‘Restaurant Kickstart’ Looks “Under The Hood”

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 11:40am PDT

cnbclogoUPDATE, 11:40 AM: One of CNBC‘s new series Restaurant Kickstart adds to the business network’s roster of reality-competition fare. Debuting in July, it follows wannabe restaurateurs launching pop-up establishments with $7,500 in seed money, on Melrose Avenue. Start-ups, chef and co-star Tim Love said today at the network’s NBC Press Day panel, are getting to be “more and more focused,” he said, citing The Meatball Shops that have opened up around New York, and one of this show’s would-be restaurateurs who wanted to serve all her meals in waffle cones — “she thinks that’s the next big thing,” he said. In this new program, competitors must create and open a pop-up restaurant almost overnight. Love and show host Joe Bastianich then decide, based on the results, whether to invest more heavily in the entrepreneur. Unlike the pantheon of food competition series on TV these days, “it’s not a restaurant show — it’s an investment show,” Love insisted. “It really looks under the hood,” chimed in exec producer Eden Gaha.

PREVIOUS, 8:51 AM: Coming off its best quarter among adults 25-54 in more than a decade, CNBC today announced an extended order of episodes for Season 2 of The Profit. The series, which airs Tuesdays at 10 PM, follows serial entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis who saves struggling businesses while investing his own cash in the process. Last Tuesday’s episode of The Profit was the most-watched original series telecast ever for the network among P25-54 and total viewers. And among P25-54, season two is up +115% from last year’s first season. CNBC added eight additional episodes to season two for a total of 16 one-hour episodes. The additional episodes, which have yet to be shot, will air in October. The Profit is produced by Machete Productions with Amber Mazzola as executive producer. The network also greenlit two new primetime summer series, Restaurant Kickstart with restaurateur Joe Bastianich, and celebrity chef, Tim Love set for July; and Filthy Rich Guide to debut in August. In addition, CNBC unveiled three series in development: Restaurant Confidential: New York (working title), Hard Money (working title) and More Money More Problems (working title). The announcements were made today by Jim Ackerman, SVP, Primetime Alternative, CNBC. Here are descriptions of the new greenlit series and projects in development: Read More »

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Noah Segan Joins Chilean Action Star Marko Zaror In ‘Redeemer’

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 12:52pm PDT

Noah Segan Redeemer EXCLUSIVE: XYZ Films‘ action pic Redeemer just got more international with the addition of actor Noah Segan (Looper, Brick), who’ll co-star opposite martial artist Marko Zaror (Expendables 2, Machete Kills) in the pic now filming in Chile. In his fourth team-up with director Ernesto Díaz Espinoza, Zaror stars as an ex-hitman who’s made a deal with God to hunt down the men he used to work for. Segan’s come aboard to play an unhinged American expat businessman-cum-kingpin with a thing for Chilean culture who zeroes in on Zaror when his money goes missing. The casting is unusual in that he’ll play his character in English within the otherwise Spanish-language pic – a development that arose when the filmmakers tailored the role for Segan, who is also joining the project as a producer alongside Zaror, Espinoza and Diego Moral Heimpell. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: XYZ Boards ‘Redeemer’; ‘Testament Of Youth’ Gets Underway; ‘Black Box’ Sells; More

marko zarorXYZ Films has joined Spanish-language actioner Redeemer as executive producer and sales agent. The movie, Redentor in Spanish, stars Chile’s Marko Zaror (Expendables 2, Machete Kills). He’s teaming for the fourth time with writer director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza. This time around, the story follows a former hitman who has made a deal with God: Every day he will hold a gun to his own head and pull the trigger; each time he does not die, he will take it as a sign that he is meant to continue hunting down the men he used to work for. Principal photography starts on March 24 in Chile. Zaror is a highly trained martial artist across multiple disciplines who performs all of his own fight and stunt work without any wires or CGI tricks. Espinoza recently was editor on Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno and his credits as director also include Kiltro, The ABCs Of Death anthology and Bring Me The Head Of The Machine Gun Woman. Espinoza, Zaror and Diego Moral Heimpell are producers. Read More »

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‘Expendables 3′ Helmer Patrick Hughes Finalizes Deal To Direct ‘The Raid’ Remake

By | Tuesday March 4, 2014 @ 4:04pm PST

Patrick HughesScreen Gems‘ long-in-the-works redo of Gareth Evans’ The Raid: Redemption now has a director: it’s The Expendables 3 helmer Patrick Hughes, who had been rumored for the gig for a while. The script is from Out Of The Furnace writer Brad Ingelsby and original producer XYZ Films is also producing the new one. Evans, who has already done a sequel, The Raid 2: Berandal, that comes out this month via Sony Pictures Classics, is executive producing and the original fight choreographers are involved too. The 2011 Indonesian actioner is centered on an elite DEA team trapped in a tenement run by a notorious drug lord, his assassins and personal army armed with machetes and machine guns. It gets ugly as they fight their way out. The pic was a hit at Toronto and Sony sibling Screen Gems snapped up remake rights soon after. Hughes and Ingelsby are both repped by WME, with Hughes also repped by Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown.

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Is Robert Evans Working On A Pay Cable Series About ’70s Hollywood? You Bet He Is!

By | Tuesday January 28, 2014 @ 12:47pm PST
Mike Fleming

Robert Evans Cable Series 1970s HollywoodEXCLUSIVE: Iconic Hollywood producer and former studio head Robert Evans has partnered with Television 360 to develop a pay cable TV series about Hollywood in the 1970s. They’ve made a deal with Fox 21, and Evans is exec producing with Guymon Casady, Dean Schnider, Scott Lambert and Brett Ratner. They are out to writers right now. The vision of the series is much darker than the contemporary inside Hollywood depicted in Entourage. Set in the ’70s with a creative tone similar to Casino, it involves the last days before studios were taken over by conglomerates, when they were run by wily entrepreneurs, and where there was a mob influence, drugs, sex, excess, casting couches, and some of the best movies made in the 20th century. The protagonist is an outsider who against the odds rises to become a king in Hollywood in a tale of power, legacy, and the American dream.

The series isn’t based on Evans — real anecdotes will be used in a fictitious storyline — but everyone who either read or, better yet, heard him read the audio of The Kid Stays In The Picture knows that Evans started as an actor and rose to the top of Paramount Pictures when that studio was nearly out on its feet. He, with a scrappy team of execs that included my former Variety editor Peter Bart, saved the studio by making classics including … Read More »

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EFM: XYZ To Handle International On Kevin Smith’s ‘Tusk’

By | Thursday January 23, 2014 @ 10:05am PST

tuskXYZ Films has boarded Kevin Smith‘s new horror pic Tusk for international sales and will introduce the project at Berlin’s EFM next month. Demarest Films (A Most Wanted Man, Machete Kills) financed and is producing Tusk in partnership with A24 (Spring Breakers, The Bling Ring). Smith wrote the film, which was borne out of one of his popular SModcasts. Justin Long, Haley Joel Osment, Genesis Rodriguez and Michael Parks star. Tusk, currently in production, is described as a modern-day monster movie that follows a journalist named Wallace (Long) who finds the story of a lifetime in Mr. Howe (Parks), a worldwide adventurer with amazing tales and a curious penchant for walruses. A24 plans to release it wide in the third quarter of 2014. Read More »

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Razzie Nominations: ‘Grown Ups 2′, ‘After Earth’, Tyler Perry, Sylvester Stallone

By | Wednesday January 15, 2014 @ 7:01am PST

One day ahead of the Academy Awards nominations, the anti-Oscar Razzies have unveiled their picks for the cinematic worst of 2013. Perennial punching bags Adam Sandler and Tyler Perry are called out for Grown Ups 2, the most-nominated film, and A Madea Christmas, respectively. Also, Sylvester Stallone nabbed a 31st nom for a trio of films that came out last year. Here’s the full Razzie rundown:

razzie_awardOne year shy of their 35th anniversary, Tinsel Town’s Tackiest Trophy Derby continues to call on Hollywood’s A-Listers to “Own Their Bad.” This year’s 34th Annual RAZZIE® nominees include some of the biggest names in the movie business, who happened to star in some of the biggest box office bombs of 2013. For the first time in their history, the RAZZIES® are also working with their worldwide fan-base of PO’d motion picture-goers, and the cutting edge crowd-funding website Indiegogo to put on a high-end show this year and pave the way for the first ever RAZZIE® Awards Broadcast in 2015.

Garnering their first ever RAZZIE® nods are some of the silver screen’s most recognizable luminaries, including past Oscar® nominees Johnny Depp and Naomi Watts as well as up-and-comers making crummy choices like Jaden Smith and Selena Gomez. The list also includes several “Repeat Offenders,” returning for more pie-in-the-face/light-hearted joshing from the only folks whose statuette no one wants to win. Going for a possible 3rd Worst Actor “win” in a row,

Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Vanessa Hudgens’ ‘Gimme Shelter’

By | Monday November 25, 2013 @ 1:32pm PST

This has nothing to do with the Stones or Altamont; it’s about Vanessa Hudgens continuing to distance herself from those Disney roots. Her past three roles? A bikini-clad party girl-turned-armed robber in Spring Breakers, a serial killer’s would-be victim in The Frozen Ground and ill-fated accomplice of the title character in Machete Kills. And in Gimme Shelter, the erstwhile High School Musical sweetheart plays a pregnant teenager who flees her abusing mother (Rosario Dawson), is spurned by her Wall Street father (Brendan Fraser) and ends up in a shelter for homeless teens. There she meets a man (James Earl Jones) who steers her on a path to a better future. Written and directed by Ronald Krauss, the drama inspired by a true story opens January 24 via Roadside Attractions. Here’s the first trailer, with a perky intro by Hudgens:

Related: Roadside Acquires Vanessa Hudgens Starrer ‘Gimme Shelter’

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AFM Briefs: Kate Bosworth, Thomas Jane To Star In ‘Somnia’; Image Acquires ‘Drive Hard’; Myriad To Sell ‘Frontera’ Overseas; ’10 Things I Hate About Life’ Revived; More

By | Thursday November 7, 2013 @ 1:21pm PST

Refresh for latest…

Sierra/Affinity has added two titles to its lineup for the AFM, both directed by Mike Flanagan, and both originally with the soon-to-shutter Focus Features International. The first is Flanagan’s Oculus, which premiered in Toronto and was acquired by Relativity for U.S. distribution. The other is Flanagan’s follow-up, Somnia, which will star Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane. Flanagan wrote the script with his Oculus partner Jeff Howard (the pair recently sold their original pitch, Peekers, to Lionsgate). Production starts November 11th. Somnia is about an orphaned child whose dreams and nightmares manifest physically as he sleeps. Demarest Films and MICA Entertainment are financing, with Intrepid Pictures’ Trevor Macy and Demarest’s Sam Englebardt and William D. Johnson Producing. Mali Elfman and D. Scott Lumpkin are executive producers. Bosworth is repped by CAA, Radius Entertainment, and Sloane Offer Weber and Dern. Jane is repped by Paradigm and Ziffren Brittenham. Flanagan and Howard are with APA, Affirmative Entertainment, and Nelson Davis Wetzstein.

Image Entertainment has acquired U.S. rights to the actioner Drive Hard starring John Cusack (The Number Station, 2012) and Jane (The Punisher). The pic recently finished production in Australia and is set for a theatrical release next year. Brian Trenchard-Smith directed from a screenplay by Chad and Evan Law about a former race car driver-turned-driver’s training instructor (Jane) who is abducted by a mysterious thief (Cusack) and forced to be the wheelman for a crime that puts both in the sights of the cops and the mob and leads them all on a chase across Australia’s Gold Coast.

Myriad Pictures said it will handle worldwide sales outside the U.S. and Canada on the dramatic thriller Frontera starring Ed Harris, Eva Longoria, and Michael Peña. Michael Berry directed and co-wrote the script with Luis Moulinet III. CAA is repping U.S. and Canadian rights to the pic, which follows the events that take place after a former U.S. sheriff’s wife (Amy Madigan) is fatally injured while riding on her ranch property in the dangerous border area between the U.S. and Mexico. Read More »

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Spike TV Gets First Window On 5 Open Road Films Including ‘Homefront’, ‘Machete Kills’

By | Wednesday October 30, 2013 @ 10:18am PDT

Spike TV has grabbed the broadcast TV premieres of Open Road‘s Homefront — which hits theaters next month Machete Kills, End Of Watch, The Grey and Killer Elite. The first to air will be Killer Elite, which premieres November 11 on the cable net. The first-position windows for the remaining films are spread out through 2016.

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Warner Bros’ ‘Gravity’ Gets November 20 China Release

By | Wednesday, 16 October 2013 17:52 UK

Alfonso Cuaron‘s space odyssey Gravity has been given a November 20th release date in China, a Warner Bros rep tells Deadline. The film will now have access to the world’s second-largest market and one that has deep IMAX penetration with 126 IMAX theaters in operation at the end of June. Gravity‘s global cume as of Friday stood at $191.4M. It has yet to open in such markets as France, the UK and Japan.

Related:
#1 ‘Gravity’ Defies Hanks With $200M Global: ‘Captain Phillips’ $26M Domestic For Tom’s Best In 5 Years, ‘Machete Kills’ Only $3.7M
‘Gravity’ Will Not Have French IMAX Release; Space Reserved For Jean-Pierre Jeunet Pic

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‘Gravity’ Will Not Have French IMAX Release; Space Reserved For Jean-Pierre Jeunet Pic

Gravity just became IMAX‘s highest-grossing second weekend title ever, but French moviegoers won’t get to see it in the format when the Warner Bros hit bows in France on October 23rd. That’s because Amélie helmer Jean-Pierre Jeunet‘s 3D The Young And Prodigious T.S. Spivet has staked out the only slots at the country’s five IMAX locations. Spivet comes out on October 16th, a week before Gravity, and is expected to stay in place until Thor: The Dark World moves in on October 30th. So how did a film that lends itself so completely to the IMAX experience find itself without a window in France?

Gaumont, the studio behind Jeunet’s English-language Spivet, has a deal with IMAX for the film to be released locally and internationally in its immersive format. The pact follows IMAX’s collaboration with Pathé’s 2012 French comedy Houba! On The Trail Of The Marsupilami, as the company looks to work increasingly with local filmmakers. Spivet initially had an October 23rd release – a similar date to Jeunet’s last two films, Micmacs and A Very Long Engagement, which coincidentally were released by Warner Bros France in 2009 and 2004, respectively. Warner Bros for its part had originally been eyeing a November 6th Gravity release in France, but in February this year moved onto October 23rd. Spivet then also moved, to October 16th. Because IMAX was committed to Spivet, and doesn’t split screens in France, Gravity was effectively squeezed out. Ultimately, I’m told Warner Bros preferred sticking to its planned release strategy rather than co-opt it for just the five IMAX screens. (The latter half of October in France is hotly-contested release real estate in any format. Among the recent hits to lay claim, box office and/or prestige-wise, are Asterix & Obelix: God Save Britannia, Amour, The Artist, Paranormal Activity 2 & 3, The Adventures Of Tintin and Little White Lies.) Read More »

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Deadline’s Best Film Stories Of The Week

Catch up with the best of Deadline’s Top Film stories from this week:

SHOCKER! Charlie Hunnam Exits Christian Grey Role In ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’
By Mike Fleming Jr. – Well, here’s a surprise. Universal is going to have to look harder to find its S&M minded zillionaire Christian Grey because Sons Of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam has exited the role he only just got.

Angelina Jolie Sets Japanese Singer Miyavi As Brutal WWII POW Camp Guard ‘The Bird’ In ‘Unbroken’
By Mike Fleming Jr. - EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures and director Angelina Jolie have found their villain for the Lou Zamperini tale Unbroken.

Universal Pays 7-Figure Deal For Aaron Berg ‘Section 6′ Spec
By Mike Fleming Jr. – EXCLUSIVE: It’s not only an exceptional deal for a new writer; I’m hard pressed to come up with the last clean seven-figure deal for a script with no attachments. Four studios bid on the project… Read More »

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#1 ‘Gravity’ Defies Hanks With $200M Global: ‘Captain Phillips’ $26M Domestic For Tom’s Best In 5 Years, ‘Machete Kills’ Only $3.7M

By | Sunday October 13, 2013 @ 11:39am PDT

SUNDAY 11 AM, 6TH UPDATE: Warner Bros‘ hit holdover Gravity had outstanding international holds in all key markets of 38 territories now in release, dropping only 27%. The cume now stands at $68M and the worldwide total at almost $200M. Upcoming are openings in Brazil, Korea, Mexico, France, Britain, Japan, and presumably China. Pic’s IMAX gross is the highest second weekend non‐holiday hold (‐21%) for a film opening over $55M, and the biggest second weekend non‐holiday hold (‐21%) for over 2,000 locations this year. It’s also now IMAX’S highest-grossing second weekend ever, besting previous records for films released in summer and holiday. This, even after 45 IMAX locations shifted to playing Sony Pictures’ Captain Phillips. This weekend wound up with very strong grosses for the Top 3 domestic movies - but not much left for the other pics through Columbus Day Monday. So total moviegoing looks like $120M, or -10% from last year.

Gravity expanded into 3,660 North American theaters and is still in such strong orbit that it’s running rings around other adult newcomers. After making $12.6M Friday and rising to $18.4M Saturday, the space drama finished with a $44.2M second weekend (-21% from a week ago). That’s a $123.4M cume through Sunday thanks to an 82% 3D ratio. ”It doesn’t get much better than that. The demise of 3D in the domestic marketplace was totally premature,” a Warner Bros exec tells me. ”Of all the people polled this week, over 6% had already seen Gravitytwice. Great legs and awards to follow.” Thanks to those repeat viewings and astounding VFX and great word-of-mouth, this Oscar-buzzed original thriller grossed IMAX domestic cume of $26.5M with a  global cume $33.3M. Good thing IMAX reserved the entire month of October to play this film. Other markets still to open, include Japan, Mexico, the Middle East, and the UK. Pic also is on track for one of the year’s top second weekend sales on Fandango. (First is Iron Man 3.) According to Fandango and MovieTickets.com, Alfonso Cuaron’s space thriller starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney accounted for 47%-48% of all online tickets sold from Thursday to Friday. Meanwhile, Gravity‘s global grosses could rocket near $175M in its first 10 days of release. Let’s not forget it was then Warner Bros Pictures chief Jeff Robinov who took this now Oscar-buzzed script out of turnaround at Universal after Cuaron and his reps asked for it back when David Linde left. (Despite this and other successes, Robinov was pushed out the door. Only in Hollywood, folks.)

Sony/Columbia Pictures’ real-life sea pirates saga Captain Phillips jumped +23% from Friday to Saturday. In solid 2nd place, this latest Tom Hanks starrer earned a rare ‘A’ CinemaScore from audiences and obviously helped word of mouth after opening in 3,020 theaters. Friday’s take was $8.5M, Saturday’s $10.4M, nearing a $26M first weekend. But who thought we’d see the day when the Captain Phillips poster wouldn’t even feature Hanks’ face? Now this is one of Hanks’ biggest live-action fllms in what has been a long list of recent flops at the box office. (His last hit was Sony’s 2009 Angels & Demons and debuted to $46.2M.) This Paul Greengrass directed PG-13 drama from a screenplay by Billy Ray is based on the book “A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, And Dangerous Days at Sea” by the real-life captain Richard Phillips. It set sail with $600K from Thursday late shows and Friday midnights buoyed by strong reviews (94% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). Producers included Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, and Scott Rudin. Fandango saw sales jump from 15% to 33% Thursday to Friday, prompting a Sony exec to predict: ”Plenty of juice left at the box office this weekend for Captain Phillips on the strength of fantastic notices.” Studio claims the film cost about $55M. Opening weekend demos for the film showed the audience was 52% male and 48% female. and 38% was under 35 while 62% over 35. Captain Phillips debuted at the New York Film Festival and Britain’s BFI London Film Festival to great acclaim  – including a NYFF standing ovation during the gala premiere with Hanks and Greengrass and Phillips on the Red Carpet. Naturally, the media questioned the pic’s accuracy depicting that 2009 hijacking off the Somali coast. In fact a 3-year-old lawsuit is still going on questioning the ship’s owner for putting the crew in danger. (“The movie tells a highly fictionalized version of what actually happened,” one lawyer tells ABC News. So what else is new? Hollywood rarely gets true stories right.) This only matters if controversy obscures the awards buzz for a Best Picture Oscar nod or Hanks another Best Acting Oscar nomination 13 years after his last win. Marketing focused on adults who like to leave theaters thinking about a film’s issues.  Read More »

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‘SNL’ Cold Open: ‘Gravity’ Gets Shut Down

By | Sunday October 13, 2013 @ 12:16am PDT

SNL‘s NASA-set cold open would have made sense last week when Gravity actually opened just days after the federal shutdown. No matter: WB’s space pic is still #1, and more spoof-able than Captain Phillips:

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Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond, Episode 45

Pete Hammond

Listen to (and share) episode 45 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Deadline’s awards columnist and host David Bloom wrap up the latest news out of the New York Film Festival, led by the premiere of Ben Stiller’s remake of The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty; a winning film adaptation of the best-selling WWII drama The Book Thief that may have some stealthy awards ambitions; whether possible radical changes can fix the perennially controversial Oscar foreign-language film-selection process; and the long, loving TV Academy tribute to one of its stalwarts, omnipresent comedy producer/director James Burrows. Finally, Pete gives his take on this week’s new movie releases, including Captain Phillips, the intense Paul Greengrass telling of the kidnapping by Somali pirates of a ship’s captain played in fine form by Tom Hanks; the action sequel Machete Kills, directed by Robert Rodriguez and featuring Danny Trejo; and a traditional take on Romeo And Juliet, with Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth.

Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 45 (MP3 format)
Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 45 (MP4a format) Read More »

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Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg Reups Through 2018

By | Wednesday October 9, 2013 @ 12:20pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Open Road Films CEO Tom Ortenberg has re-upped for another four years through 2018, solidifying the distribution company. Ortenberg founded Open Road in 2011, backed by theater chains AMC and Regal. The move comes after Open Road extended its $100 million credit facility and set premium pay TV deals through Showtime and Netflix. Ortenberg’s deal was to scheduled to expire next year. “Working with AMC and Regal to establish Open Road Films — and growing the company over the past two and a half years — has been the most satisfying and exhilarating experience of my career,” Ortenberg said in a statement. “I could not be more proud of the job our team has done so far and I am looking forward to the future with great excitement.”

In Ortenberg, AMC and Regal got a savvy pro to launch a company designed to acquire and distribute wide release fare. Ortenberg previously served top posts at The Weinstein Company and Lionsgate. Open Road finds itself in an interesting position, given that one of its main wide release rivals, FilmDistrict, is being folded into Focus Features with the ascension of Peter Schlessel to take over the Universal-based prestige film label. It is unclear how that will impact competition, but even if Focus does more genre fare it gives Open Road room to breathe. Read More »

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Quentin Tarantino’s Top Ten Of 2013

By | Sunday October 6, 2013 @ 10:06am PDT
Mike Fleming

The Quentin Tarantino Archives site has gotten QT to dish on his Top 10 films of the year. Now, we know Tarantino’s a big fan of grindhouse and of Robert Rodriguez, so I can only imagine he hasn’t seen Machete Kills yet. Plus there’s a bunch of Oscar-caliber films that might not have been available for his viewing. How does this match up with your own lists? Personally, I would have included Fruitvale Station, still the most moving film I’ve seen so far this year. But here is Quentin’s list at this moment in time, and in alphabetical order:

Afternoon Delight (Jill Soloway)
Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)
Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)
The Conjuring (James Wan)
Drinking Buddies (Joe Swanberg)
Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach)
Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
Kick Ass 2 (Jeff Wadlow)
The Lone Ranger (Gore Verbinski)
This Is The End (Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg)

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Demian Bichir Makes Helming Debut With Eva Longoria In ‘Refugio’

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 11:06am PDT
Mike Fleming

Deadline revealed back in April that A Better Life star Demian Bichir was moving toward his feature directing debut on the indie Refugio. He’s set his cast—Eva Longoria, Jose Angel Bichir, and Jorge Perugorria (Strawberries And Chocolate)—and production is just getting underway in Mexico City. The film follows the title character, a young dreamer who’s born in the circus and embarks on a search to find his long lost true love. That character will be played at various points in his life by a series of actors including Demian Bichir himself. The majority of screen time goes to Jose Angel Bichir, who is the director’s nephew. Longoria plays a horse acrobat who joins the circus in Mexico trying to heal a broken heart.

Stefanie Sherk, Ana Claudia Talancon, Arcelia Ramirez and Ludwika Paleta also star, and Julian Fidalgo will play the young Refugio in flashback scenes. The film’s produced by AG Studios’ Alex Garcia, Itaca Films’ Santiago Garcia Galvan, BN Films’ Lucas Akoskin and Escarabajo’s Bruno Bichir (the director’s younger bro). Longoria’s repped by CAA and Brillstein. Bichir, who stars in the FX series The Bridge, opens shortly in the Robert Rodriguez-directed mayhem filled Machete Kills.

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