The state of the entertainment industry is strong overall, but the state of the industry in California is in serious trouble and our Film and TV Tax Credit program just isn’t cutting it, politicians and studio execs said today at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s second annual State of the Industry Conference. “We need a game changer; this is a very incremental approach,” Paramount Studio Group President Randy Baumberger said of the annual $100 million lottery system program. “Virtually no feature films are shot in LA anymore. What producers need are commitment and consistency. What producers are looking for is to be able to plan out 3 or 4 years,” he added during a panel on keeping jobs in California. “They can’t plan for a lottery on one single day. We need to be able to look out a year in advance and say what is the cost structure for that film. California is at a disadvantage by having all of the money gone in a few hours.”
Politicians Eye Major Upgrade To California Film/TV Tax Credit
Film Czar Tom Sherak: Plan To Boost LA Prod’n Coming By Early 2014
The shortcomings of the state’s current program and the job losses the industry is experiencing in California were the primary topics this morning as speaker after speaker lamented rising runaway production, the ineligibility of tentpoles and network TV for the credit and the much heftier incentives of states such as Georgia, Louisiana and NY. Read More »
Everybody knew there would be interest in Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis on Sunday Night Football (9.5/23) last night — but there really was a lot of interest it turns out. The Colts’ 39-33 victory over Manning’s favored Denver Broncos surged up 30% over the fast nationals of last week’s Cowboys-Redskins game, which is commonly one of the top draws in the NFL. In the 8:30-11 PM block, Broncos-Colts was watched by 25.87 million viewers, up 6 million from the 19.65 million who tuned in last week. In metered market households, last night’s game pulled in a 17.3/29, up 28% over last week’s metered market result and 48% over the 11.7 of last season’s Week 7 game (Pittsburgh-Cincinnati). The 8:30 PM-12:15 AM game pulled a 10.0 rating among adults 18-49, 64% better than what the No. 2 demo show — AMC’s The Walking Dead — got with its 6.1. It was also the fourth-best metered-market result in the 8 years NBC has had its primetime NFL package (No. 1 remains the 18.3 of the Cowboys-Redskins NFC East title game on December 30, 2012) and the best October primetime NFL game result since the 17.5 Minnesota-Green Bay drew on October 5, 1998. As always with live events like sports, expect an adjustment in the final numbers later today. Having said that, there’s little doubt NBC will retain its top spot among adults with a 7.8/20 rating and 21.45 million in total viewers for Sunday night. CBS was second with a 2.7/7 rating and 12.27 million viewers. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: A mental institution will live up to its funny farm nickname as the setting of a half-hour NBC comedy project written and executive produced by playwright-screenwriter Neil LaBute (The Shape Of Things) and executive produced by Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment. Harmony House centers on a young psychiatric resident who finds the woman of his dreams in the most unlikely of places: as a patient in the psychiatric facility where he recently has taken a job. The single-camera project is a romantic comedy that reminds us that love can drive you a little crazy. 20th Century Fox TV is producing. The Harmony House sale comes on the heels of ICM Partners-repped LaBute signing a deal with DirecTV to produce a series of 10 short films about human relationships. DirecTV’s limited series Full Circle, based on LaBute scripts, premieres next month.
EXCLUSIVE: Jaime Ray Newman (Drop Dead Diva) has landed a new regular role on ABC’s midseason drama series Mind Games, about two brothers — Ross (Christian Slater), a con man, and Clark (Steve Zahn), suffering from bipolar disorder — as they run a problem solving firm that uses psychological manipulation. Newman will play Anna Gordon, a seasoned con woman who is trying to turn over a new leaf and is hoping that her somewhat skill set will be perfect for Ross and Clark’s company.
Rockmond Dunbar (The Game) is set for a recurring three-episode arc on CBS’ veteran drama The Mentalist, with potential to become a series regular. He will appear in episodes 7, 8 and 9, playing FBI Supervisory Agent Dennis Abbott who is a tough, no-nonsense cop who doesn’t suffer fools and isn’t overly impressed by Patrick Jane’s skills or charm. The Mentalist is looking for new regulars as part of a cast changeover that includes the planned exit of original cast members Amanda Righetti and Owain Yeoman in a plot twist. The series also is casting a new female regular.
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
This weekend boasts a big number of Specialty Releases ranging from star-powered features to smaller offerings with non-pro actors. Jeff Nichols’ Mud with Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon opens in over 300 theaters courtesy of Roadside Attractions, while Cinedigm’s Arthur Newman stars Emily Blunt, Colin Firth and Anne Heche. Sony Classics will platform release At Any Price, which stars Dennis Quaid, Kim Dickens, Zac Efron as well. The Weinstein Company with its Pacific adventure, Kon-Tiki. Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist with Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber and Kiefer Sutherland had a wild ride before it finally opened the Venice Film Festival last August and Terence Nance’s An Oversimplification Of Her Beauty received new life after winning a Gotham Award. Joining the fray this weekend are Torch Films’ Aquí Y Allá and Factory 25′s Sun Don’t Shine which will open in L.A. and New York respectively.
Director-writer: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Paulson
Distributor: Roadside Attractions
Writer-director Jeff Nichols had the idea for Mud back in college during the ’90s. The film follows two teenage boys who encounter a fugitive (McConaughey) and form a pact to help him evade the bounty hunters on his trail and to reunite him with his true love. “I was thinking who I’d like to hang out with on an island on the Mississippi River and that was Matthew McConaughey”, joked Nichols who spoke at the Apple Store in SoHo last weekend in New York. “And I liked him in Lone Star”. “He is the DNA of the project”, said McConaughey. “I’ve done over 40 films and I’ve never done one in which we stayed so closely to the script as on this film”. The Cinema Society hosted the New York premiere of Mud last Sunday and Nichols and McConaughey were joined by Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Paulson at the event and party at nightspot Harlow. Witherspoon did not join the Apple store conversation and she also notably cancelled scheduled appearances on GMA and Fallon following her recent arrest in Georgia. Asked if he thought Witherspoon’s turn from the public eye might affect the film’s opening weekend, Roadside Attractions chief Howard Cohen sounded upbeat. “We’re doing a big television buy and we have Matthew out everywhere”, he said. “We’re totally focused on the great things we’ve done and she’s great in the movie. It happened and it’s played out, but she’s great and did a ton of press ahead of time and she also attended the premiere and I don’t think it will have an impact”. Read More »
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Ryan Gosling teams up with director Derek Cianfrance in their first collaboration since Blue Valentine. Focus Features will open The Place Beyond The Pines in a traditional roll out, with expectations that its stars will be as strong a draw as its filmmaking prowess. Cohen Media Group’s Blancanieves will likely be the highest profile silent film (perhaps the only one?) to hit the big screen since Oscar powerhouse The Artist. Australian-born P.J. Hogan reunites with Toni Colette for Mental, their first collaboration since Muriel’s Wedding helped launch both of their careers. IFC Films’ long-time exec Ryan Werner gives the lowdown on his final release with the distributor, Room 237. Werner leaves IFC Films this week. And Drafthouse Films will open Wrong, which it picked up out of Sundance last year.
The Place Beyond The Pines
Director-Writer: Derek Cianfrance
Co-Writers: Ben Coccio, Darius Marder
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Craig Van Hook
Distributor: Focus Features
Filmmaker Derek Cianfrance directed Ryan Gosling in 2010 drama Blue Valentine, which scored well at the box office with a domestic take of just over $9.7 million (and an Oscar nomination for co-star Michelle Williams). This time around, he adds Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes to the mix. The film centers on a motorcycle stunt rider turned outlaw who robs banks in order to provide for the son he didn’t know he had, but runs afoul from an ambitious rookie cop. “It’s filmed by a filmmaker. He’s the deal,” said Focus chief James Schamus. “He really brought back the kind of ambition you saw with filmmakers from the 70s. It doesn’t have to be a big budget movie for it to be ambitious.” Focus picked up the film out of last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. To spread the word, Focus sent Cianfrance on an extensive promotional tour. “It is publicity, but he’s been amazing. Some directors don’t enjoy talking about their work, but he’s so infectious,” noted Schamus. Read More »
CBS kept the tradition of renewing most of its slate in one fell swoop. Demonstrating its signature stability, the network has picked up most of its current series for next season, with two major exceptions: veteran Criminal Minds, which is in the midst of renegotiations with the cast, and freshman Vegas, which will get a tryout on Friday later this spring. Renewed for next season are freshman drama Elementary; critical darling The Good Wife; comedies 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly; and drama procedurals NCIS: LA, Person Of Interest, The Mentalist, Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods. The nine join previously renewed The Big Bang Theory (part of a three-year pickup), How I Met Your Mother for a final season, and veterans NCIS and CSI, picked up when their stars Mark Harmon and Ted Danson, respectively, re-upped their contracts. Additionally, CBS said it continues negotiations with Warner Bros TV for another season of Two And A Half Men. Parallel negotiations with stars Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer are underway too and progressing. Also picked up for next season are unscripted series The Amazing Race, Survivor and Undercover Boss and newsmagazines 60 Minutes and 48 Hours.
Not surprisingly, MIA from CBS’ early renewal list again is perennial bubble comedy Rules Of Engagement. With the series recently hitting the 100-episode mark, the deals for the … Read More »
Independent film distributor Dada Films has acquired Mental. The Australian comedy reunites director P.J. Hogan with actress Toni Collette for the first time since their collaboration in Muriel’s Wedding back in 1994. Dada’s owners MJ Peckos and Steven Raphael say they plan to release Mental both theatrically and on VOD on March 29. In Mental, Collette plays Shaz a single woman hired by the father of five young girls to take care of them after their mother has a nervous breakdown. Anthony LaPaglia plays the father. Liev Schreiber also stars in the film as a shark hunter. Dada picked up Mental after it debuted at the Palm Springs International Film Festival earlier this month. Jerry Zucker, Janet Zucker, Todd Fellman and Jocelyn Moorhouse produced Mental.
Related: Toni Collette Filming Paul Newman’s Final Pic ‘Lucky Them’
EXCLUSIVE: Matt Damon is negotiating to join The Monuments Men, the period drama that George Clooney will direct in January in Europe as a co-production between Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox. Damon joins what continues to be shaping up as an amazing cast. Besides Damon and Clooney, the film will star Skyfall‘s Daniel Craig, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, The Artist’s Jean Dujardin, Argo‘s John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville and Bob Balaban. Clooney and Damon did the Ocean’s Eleven movies together and Syriana.
The drama, which was scripted by Clooney and partner Grant Heslov, confronts the final chapter of Germany’s rule, which came down to the absolute destruction of everything that makes a culture keep its standing, including the lives that are lost and the sacrifices that are made. All of this is in danger of being lost forever as Hitler and the Nazis try to cover the tracks of a murderous regime. A crew of art historians and museum curators unite to recover renown works of art that were stolen by Nazis before they are destroyed. Read More »
New Zealand Hints At Improving Offshore Production Incentives
New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key has agreed to consider changing the incentives for large scale productions to make them more attractive to offshore TV producers after being lobbied by Hollywood studio executives. The Large Budget Screen Production Grant provides a tax rebate of 15% but that requires a minimum spend of $NZ15M ($12.2M). Back home after a four-day visit to Los Angeles, Key said the studios wanted changes to the subsidy in relation to TV productions, telling Radio NZ “There’s a little bit of logic in what they’re saying, I can understand one of two of the issues, but we’ll need to go away and think those through carefully.” James Cameron, who shot Avatar in Wellington and plans to shoot the Avatar sequels in NZ, hosted Key’s visit. Cameron said Key also spoke about tweaking the incentives to mitigate the declining value of the U.S. dollar. Despite the exchange rate (the Kiwi dollar currently is worth US82 cents), the country has played host to Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit franchise, Andrew Adamson’s Mr. Pip, the Evil Dead remake and Peter Webber’s Emperor. – Don Groves Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The Mentalist creator/executive producer Bruno Heller and the series’ executive producers Ashley Gable and Tom Szentgyorgyi have set up a new crime drama at CBS. Titled Murder Bitches, it centers on two young female detectives who are complete opposites, their relationship made more complicated by the fact that one of them suffered a stroke two years ago at age 27. They’re known on the force, in admiration and envy, as the Murder Bitches. Gable and Szentgyorgyi will write the script and executive produce with Heller. Mentalist producer Warner Bros TV, where Heller is under an overall deal, is producing. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Star Trek: Voyager alumna Kate Mulgrew has been cast as a regular on Orange Is The New Black, Netflix’s new 13-episode hourlong series from Weeds creator Jenji Kohan. It centers on Piper (Taylor Schilling), an engaged Brooklynite whose decade-old relationship with a drug-runner (Laura Prepon) in college results in her arrest and multi-year detention in a federal penitentiary. Mulgrew, repped by Innovative and Viking Entertainment, will play Red, a Russian prisoner who runs the kitchen and serves as a mother figurehead for the women.
Lost alum Henry Ian Cusick is set for a three-episode arc on CBS’ crime procedural The Mentalist. He will play Tommy Volker, a multi-millionaire adventurer playboy who comes under suspicion when a television reporter is murdered. Cusick was most recently a regular on the first season of ABC’s new drama Scandal but left the series as it headed into Season 2.
The Wire alum Seth Gilliam has booked the recurring role in AMC’s Untitled Lagravenese/Goldwyn pilot, a legal thriller centered on Adam Page (Damon Gupton), a District Attorney who uncovers new evidence that prompts the reinvestigation of a sensational murder. Gilliam, repped by Gersh and McGowan Management, will play Adam’s younger brother, a handsome uniformed cop. He is also doing multiple episodes of Teen Wolf for MTV.
… Read More »
Phil Rosenthal, David Wild To Pen 2012 Environmental Media Awards
The Environmental Media Association says Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal and TV writer David Wild will team up to pen the 22nd annual Environmental Media Awards. The pair first worked together on America: A Tribute To Heroes telethon in 2001. Wild’s TV writing credits include the Grammy Awards and The Primetime Emmy Awards. Rosenthal directed and stars in the feature documentary Exporting Raymond. The awards will be held September 29 at Warner Bros Studios in Burbank.
Russell Brand, Christopher Eccleston Sue Over Phone-Hacking
Russell Brand and Christopher Eccleston have added their names to the list of News Of The World litigants. News Corp’s News International, which published the now-defunct paper, is now facing about 174 invasion of privacy claims over alleged phone-hacking claims. Those cases are expected to go to trial next year, The Guardian reports. Along with the British actors, there are politicians, local TV personalities and the filmmaker Christopher Terrill. Read More »