NBC’s ads for midseason drama series Believe feature front and center its mastermind, newly minted Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarón, touting his best director statuette for Gravity. Meanwhile, the promos for another heavily marketed midseason drama that premieres within a day of Believe, ABC’s Resurrection, don’t even mention the fact that it comes from the producers of best picture Oscar winner 12 Years A Slave. Brad Pitt’s Plan B is behind Resurrection, with the company’s two other principals, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, who shared in the best picture Oscar with him, executive producing the series. Just like Plan B’s 12 Years A Slave managed to top Gravity and seven other movies to land the biggest prize, ABC probably hopes its show would spark some ratings magic. And boy, does the network need some of that.
Related: TCA: ‘Resurrection’ Producers Sort Out Crowded Resurrection Landscape
ABC is on an unenviable streak of three consecutive new drama entries hitting a 0.6 rating in adults 18-49 — an all-time low on a Big 4 network: The Assets (which was billed as a limited series), Killer Women and Mind Games. That, coupled with the 0.7 low marks for the long-forgotten Lucky 7 and Betrayal and the 0.8 for Once Upon A Time In Wonderland makes for a very dismal freshman drama record this season. Read More »
In a study released today on feature film production in California in 2013, FilmL.A. has added its voice to the chorus wanting an increase to the entertainment industry tax incentives the Golden State offers. While the opinion is nothing new for the nonprofit local-permitting organization, the basis of its latest argument is: We need more blockbusters. According to FilmL.A.’s 6-months-in-the-making report, California is tied for second place with the entire country of Canada for the location where most feature films released last year were made. Introduced in 2009, California’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program does not allow pics with budgets of more than $75 million to be eligible for its annual lottery. “For a program intended to help reverse runaway production, California’s incentive entirely ignores film projects carrying the greatest economic value with the greatest propensity to run away: big‐budget features,” says the 2013 Feature Film Production Report. Even with an increase in overall feature production in California last year, the only 2014-released pics with budgets of more than $100 million that were partly made in the state are Interstellar and Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Solder. Removing the cap on blockbusters is one of the elements of new legislation introduced on to expand the state’s program.
Related: California Pols Unveiling Bill Today To Expand Film & TV Tax Credit Program
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UPDATE, 5:02 PM: Changes are coming to the historic Culver Studios, but job losses are not going to be part of them. “The 40 employees employed by Culver Studios have been retained and business continues as usual,” said a spokeswoman today for brand new owners Hackman Capital Partners. As Deadline reported yesterday, the privately held investment firm purchased the legendary 14-acre lot in Culver City for over $80 million – with the deal closing late last night. Now that the ink is drying, the new owners can reveal their true intentions. “We intend to keep Culver Studios operating as a studio,” HCP CEO Michael Hackman told me today.
While condos are not part of the plan, new offices and thousands of new parking spaces are as the industrial real estate specialists intend to spend the next year studying the best way to maximize the potential of the studio. “We are also planning to make a significant investment in modernizing the existing stage space, as well as adding additional parking, production offices and media related creative office space,” Hackman added. HCP already has several properties in the Culver City area that it has invested nearly $100 million in over the past few years. While nothing is written in stone and a lot of ideas have been bandied about, the CEO says that there will definitely be a transformation of Culver Studios in … Read More »
While California Gov. Jerry Brown is still “not committed” to expanding the state’s film and TV tax credit, Los Angeles is seeing another drop in broadcast pilot production to what appears to be an all-time low. Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been doing photo ops with Disney and Marvel execs to celebrate their commitment to film some 60 episodes of Marvel’s four Netflix series and a miniseries in the Big Apple. And now New York, which also lured The Tonight Show franchise away from Los Angeles, has more reasons to celebrate after another very strong pilot performance, returning this year to the top as the most popular drama location and reinforcing its strong position in comedy.
A record 15 broadcast pilots will be filming in New York this year, including 10 — almost a third — of the 34 drama pilot/direct-to-series projects filming within the regular cycle that have set their locations (two remain TBD). That is up from 13 total and eight dramas last year and just shy of the city’s all-time drama record of 11 in 2012. (Keep in mind that the number of NY-based was zero just four years ago, before the state implemented its aggressive tax break program.) New York is chipping away at Los Angeles’ comedy dominance. LA used to own the comedy space, with virtually every pilot filming here. Just two years ago, it housed 100% of the broadcast comedy pilots. The percentage dropped to 89% last year and is at 85% (39 out of 46) this season. New York made a big move in the arena in 2013 after seven years of no major broadcast comedy pilot presence there. A whopping five broadcast half-hour pilots were filmed in the city last year, including straight-to-series The Michael J. Fox Show. Proving that that wasn’t a fluke, New York matched its comedy haul this year with another five pilots, including NBC’s straight-to-series Tooken. Like last year, all five are single-camera. What’s more, a hybrid comedy, How I Met Your Dad, which is filming the pilot in Los Angeles, will move to New York if it goes to pilot. In most cases, the NY location is talent-driven (Irreversible star David Schwimmer, Dead Boss‘ Jane Krakowski, How I Met Your Dad star Greta Gerwig, Lowell and Gaffigan are all based in NY). But studios wouldn’t have been as open to setting shop in New York had the tax incentives not been strong enough to rein in production costs on comedies, especially the expensive single-camera format, which are still higher than a Los Angeles-based half-hour pilot but not by much. One drawback of comedy series filming in New York has been the shortage of writing talent as broadcast shows have to compete with such cable comedies as Louie and Girls, but with New York-based comedy production appearing to be here to stay, more writing talent may relocate there to support them.
Related: Culver Studios To Shutter After Sale; Condos Next?
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Just over a month after a new Captain America: The Winter Soldier trailer debuted during the Super Bowl, Disney/Marvel today unveiled a new TV spot for the superhero sequel. Some of this we’ve seen before, but the new 1:01-minute spot has a lot more of Anthony Mackie as the Falcon in flying action. The Cap sequel is out April 4 – check out the new spot here:
Here we are again after the Golden Globes, Mike Fleming and Anita Busch taking on the task of play by play during the most wide-open Oscar race we can remember. Even on the party circuit, industry insiders who usually have a grasp of who’ll walk away with Oscars were evenly torn between Alfonso Cuaron’s 3D masterpiece Gravity and Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave. Then again, there were so many terrific films that got Best Picture nominations, and all of them have at least a puncher’s chance at an upset.
Related: OSCARS: Pete Hammond’s Absolute FINAL Predictions
That includes American Hustle, where David O Russell co-wrote the Best Original Script nominee with Eric Warren Singer and got tour de force performances and nominations for Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Perfs so strong there was no room on the nomination roster for perennial Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner. The film is up for 10 awards, and has grossed over $240 million on a $40 million budget.
Then there is The Wolf Of Wall Street, with Leonardo DiCaprio giving the most emphatic and complete performance of a great career, and Jonah Hill right there with him as his crazy con man sidekick. The film is up for five nominations, including Martin Scorsese for directing a terrific adaptation from The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire vet Terence Winter.
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Dylan McDermott To Star In CBS’ Kevin Williamson Drama Pilot
By Nellie Andreeva – Hostages‘ Dylan McDermott is set as the male lead in another CBS/Warner Bros TV drama project, the untitled Kevin Williamson pilot. Read More »
In this week’s podcast, Deadline Executive Editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom look at the many implications of Netflix’s big, big deal with Comcast to ensure better video quality of its shows streamed by their mutual customers. The deal could affect the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, net neutrality issues, the business of online video and much more, and likely will serve as a template for other content-quality deals to come. They also take a peek at a multimillion-dollar production-incentive package that persuaded Disney to shoot a Netflix-only Marvel series in New York City and preview another interesting Disney online-content venture, this one involving live streaming online of this weekend’s Oscar telecast on ABC.
Deadline Big Media podcast 74 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Big Media podcast 74 (.M4A version)
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PBS has named Ira Rubenstein new general manager of PBS Digital. He will report to PBS chief operating officer Michael Jones and serve as a member of PBS’ senior leadership team, starting March 24. Rubenstein will lead all digital content and service efforts for PBS and its member stations, and will focus on PBS’ digital efforts in both the children’s and general audience space. He joins from mobile media company MeeMee Media where he was CEO. Prior to that, Rubenstein served as EVP Digital Marketing for 20th Century Fox where he established the Digital Marketing organization and led the team behind social and mobile campaigns for Prometheus, Chronicle, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, X-Men: First Class, and others. Before joining Fox in 2011, he had stints at Marvel and Sony.
EXCLUSIVE: Patrick Wilson will join the cast of the Edgar Wright-directed Ant-Man for Marvel Studios, I hear. The film stars Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas and Michael Pena. Not sure what role Wilson will play at this point. He is coming off two fright franchises The Conjuring and Insidious. Wilson is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content.
“I believe the Governor and his staff are very interested in the progress of this legislation — I don’t think they’ve committed one way or another nor would I expect them to them to at this point in the progress, ” new LA Film Czar Ken Ziffren said today about the proposed expansion to California’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program. With nearly 60 co-sponsors from across the state, the new legislation introduced last week looks certain to pass the Assembly but it still has to also get the approval of the state Senate and be signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been openly weary of adding new expenditures to the state’s now stable budget.
Related: California Pols Unveiling Bill Today To Expand Film & TV Tax Credit Program
While Ziffren stressed during a conference call this morning that he wanted to see production in California return to its heights of the mid-1990s, he would not commit to a dollar figure he thought the new legislation should seek; the pending legislation has left the funding level blank as political wrangling takes place in Sacramento. However, industry sources have cited $400 million as the target amount for which the program should aim. “Our office is not committed to any number but to make sure all the legislators understand the need for improvement and modernization of legislation,” Ziffren said. “The number will follow depending on a number of factors like the economy, the size of the surplus, and other constituents in California.” Today was Ziffren’s first significant public statements since, as I exclusively revealed February 8, the heavyweight entertainment lawyer was tapped by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti to replace Tom Sherak as the first head of the City of LA’s Entertainment Industry and Production office after Sherak died January 28.
Related: It’s Official – Lawyer Ken Ziffren Named New LA Film Czar
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New York was “our first choice” to film four NYC-based Marvel “Defenders” series and a miniseries planned for Netflix beginning in 2015, Disney CEO Bob Iger said today during a press event in NY announcing the deal. But the Empire State’s taxpayers had to help seal the deal for what officials say is the biggest film or TV production commitment ever for New York: The state provided the entertainment giant with undisclosed breaks and incentives estimated at $4M for the project that’s projected to create 3,000 jobs including 400 full time ones in the Big Apple. They’ll work on 52 one-hour live action episodes and a miniseries built around Marvel characters Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage in what Disney calls “the gritty world of heroes and villains of Hell’s Kitchen, New York.” Taxpayers had to sweeten the terms for Disney because there was “a lot of competition from different cities” to land the production, Iger says. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the commitment is “exciting,” and a win for his efforts to broaden the economic base which heavily depends on financial institutions. The economic downturn in 2008 “was a wake-up call for the state of New York…you have to diversify,” he said at announcement with Iger. The Disney chief says that no decision has been made with Netflix about whether the series’ episodes will be released all at once or individually.
Here’s the release from Disney and New York state: Read More »
The same day that Disney launches its mega-hit Frozen in the digital realm, the company is announcing a cloud-based purchase and storage service for its films. In a new deal with Apple, Disney Movies Anywhere goes live today exclusively through iTunes, kicking off with more than 400 Disney, Pixar and Marvel titles such as Iron Man 3, Finding Nemo and Mary Poppins. The service allows users to browse, buy, manage and watch movies on PCs and iOS devices using an app or website. The move comes 15 months after the company announced it was pulling the plug on Disney Movies Online, its barely-known and costly Internet pic service.
Not that DMA is without precedent.
In many ways, DMA is Disney’s answer to UltraViolet. While the House of Mickey has not been a part of the UltraViolet gang, the cloud-based digital rights library has been backed by many of the other major studios as well as Lionsgate, DreamWorks Animation and HBO, among others. With two such systems now on the movie market, there undoubtedly will be concerns about consumer confusion over DMA and UltraViolet, which debuted in 2011. The latter’s backers want the service to be the industry standard and to provide consumers with a single digital locker for their movies. A desire the new DMA now challenges.
Additionally, the tie-up with Apple is key for Disney. Right now UltraViolet titles can be played on Apple devices, with the help of an app, but don’t show up in iTunes. DMA is powered by KeyChest, Disney’s adaptable technology that can integrate with any existing distribution partner as well as work with new ones to enable access to digital content. DMA bolsters the companies’ ties with Apple. Last year, the Disney Channel app was made available on Apple TV. Read More »
The most expensive Olympics ever ended today in Sochi, Russia. NBC broadcast the Closing Ceremony in primetime tonight. Here’s NBC’s version of that ceremony:
8:25 PM ET: NBC’s walk up to the Closing Ceremony is its one-hour docu on Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding which, Kerrigan tells Bob Costas when it’s over, was difficult to watch and “doesn’t matter” any more, in re whether Harding knew in advance about the plan to club Kerrigan in the knee. Seems about right. It will be interesting to see what kind of ratings this debbie-downer lead-in pulls for NBC.
8:28 PM ET: Bob Costas plugging Rio Summer Games, eating up precious minutes. Does this mean we won’t get the see the Closing Ceremony’s honoring of Russian authors Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn, Checkhov and others too numerous (and tough to spell) to mention?
Related: Bob Costas Makes Return To NBC Olympics Coverage
8:35 PM ET: Al Michaels, Chris Collinsworth, and Vladimir Pozner are hosting. Little girl Luba — Love to her friends — from Opening Ceremony is back, and two clowns are guiding a flying boat into the arena. Why a clown, Pozner asks, rhetorically. In Russia, he explains, “the clown is the hero.” Dancers on the floor of the arena, who are dressed in tin foil-y caftans, are soon to go into the Olympic ring configuration you’ve probably already … Read More »
Fox recently cleared some prime summer 2015 real estate for its reboot of Marvel’s Fantastic Four, now it appears to have its actors. After a long search — Chronicle‘s Josh Trank was announced as the director at the 2012 Comic-Con — Fruitvale Station breakout Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller (Divergent), Kate Mara (Transcendence) and Jamie Bell (Nymphomaniac) are working on deals to star as the ’60s-spawned superhero quartet. The deals aren’t in cement yet, but Jordan and Bell look pretty solid. The roles as they stand would be Jordan as Johnny Storm (aka the Human Torch), Teller as Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Mara as Sue Storm (the Invisible Woman) and Bell as Ben Grimm (the Thing). The latest script is from X-Men: Days of Future Past scribe Simon Kinberg.
Marvel‘s superhero team-up Guardians Of The Galaxy unveiled a first-look trailer tonight on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. Chris Pratt stars alongside Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Benicio Del Toro, and Vin Diesel in the cosmic tale of Peter Quill (Pratt), who becomes the target of bounty hunters after stealing a mysterious orb and links up with a ragtag band of misfits with the fate of the galaxy at stake. James Gunn directs the pic, which hits theaters August 1. Check out the trailer: