After making a mega-splash at the box office last year, Woody Allen gets some time in front of the camera with John Turturro‘s comedy Fading Gigolo, which he also stars in along with Sharon Stone. Millennium Entertainment will open the title in limited release. Two docs are among this weekend’s crop of new Specialty releases, including Sundance title Cesar’s Last Fast as well as penis documentary The Final Member from Drafthouse Films. China Lion is opening action-crime feature That Demon Within, which co-stars Nick Cheung who recently won Best Actor at the Hong Kong Film Awards for his role in Unbeatable. Magnolia is rolling out Tasting Menu, hoping to re-create a recipe of lofty box office returns from its previously released food-oriented fare. And Anchor Bay will open Small Time from first time filmmaker Joel Surnow in just over a dozen locations.
Director-writer: John Turturro
Cast: John Turturro, Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Vanessa Paradis, Liev Schreiber
Distributor: Millennium Entertainment
John Turturro directed Woody Allen’s one-act play Honeymoon Hotel in 2011. “I was thinking it would be interested to do something with Woody, but I didn’t know if we’d have chemistry,” said Turturro about the beginnings of what would become Fading Gigolo. The comedy centers on Fioravante who decides to become a Don Juan as a way of making money for his cash-strapped friend, Murray. The pair wind up in the sex business. “I didn’t know how I’d approach it but we exchanged notes,” said Turturro. “I did research on living that kind of life and on the Hasidic community. I wanted to make a human comedy and [Woody Allen] encouraged me to take that route.” Read More »
Highlights: Rio 2 (FOX) has $63.4M weekend, lands $12.6M in China debut; Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS) crosses $300M international; Noah (PAR) adds $36.2M; Divergent (LGF/SUM/var) nears $50M; Spanish Affairs (UNI) has 5th No. 1 weekend in Spain…
4th UPDATE, 7:15 PM, PST: The final Divergent numbers are in, with the film nearing $50M but not yet crossing it; it stands at $48.1M. The film is based on the YA novel of the same name (part of a trilogy) and Lionsgate is hoping it will become another big franchise. This is the same company that launched the wildly successful Hunger Games series. Divergent is at $124.7M in the U.S. after the 3-day weekend for a worldwide gross of $172.8M+.
3rd UPDATE, Monday, 1:52 PM, PST: New grosses are in for Rio 2, The Grand Budapest Hotel, 300: Rise Of An Empire, The Lego Movie, Spanish Affairs and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Rio 2 did better than previously expected internationally over the weekend, with a total tally of $63.4M to date; the worldwide cume on the animated family picture is over $100M.
2ND UPDATE, MONDAY 12:45 AM PT: Last weekend, Captain America: … Read More »
Syfy continues to aggressively build its original slate with a 10-episode order to The Expanse, a series based on James S.A. Corey’s series of novels. The project, which received a very rich straight-to-series order in a competitive situation, is in the space opera genre in the tradition of Battlestar Galactica that Syfy brass had been looking to bring back to the network. The Expanse was put together as straight-to-series by Alcon Entertainment’s TV arm Alcon Television Group and Sean Daniel and Jason Brown of the Sean Daniel Co., who developed the original pitch with Oscar-nominated writers Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men, Iron Man). This marks the first series order for ATG, which launched two years ago. Fergus and Ostby wrote the script on spec and will continue as writers and executive producers.
Related: 2014 Syfy Pilots
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Eddie Redmayne stars as physicist Stephen Hawking in Theory Of Everything, which Focus Features has set for a platform release on Friday, November 7, 2014. It will then expand the following two weekends. The Working Title biopic directed by Man On Wire‘s James Marsh focuses on the relationship between Hawking and his wife Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones), the arts student he fell in love with while studying at Cambridge in the 1960s. Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Charlie Cox, Simon McBurney, Maxine Peake and Harry Lloyd co-star and the script is by Anthony McCarten.
Relativity Media said today it has dated the Pierce Brosnan spy thriller November Man for Wednesday, August 27, 2014. Olga Kurylenko and Luke Bracey co-star in the pic directed by Roger Donaldson based on Bill Granger’s novel There Are No Spies. The release date news comes a week after Relativity acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film, with a commitment to a wide release this year. Michael Finch and Karl Gajdusek wrote the screenplay, which centers on a former CIA operative who is brought back in on a very personal mission and is pitted against his former protégé in a deadly game involving high-level CIA officials and the Russian President-elect. Read More »
Bravo Media has unveiled its slate of original programming at its upfront including 15 new series (two scripted), 16 returning series and three new projects in development. That includes Bravo’s first scripted comedy, Odd Mom Out, a half-hour series based on the life of author and fashionista Jill Kargman which captures the outrageous world of uber-wealthy momzillas of New York’s Upper East Side. It joins Bravo’s first scripted series, the recently greenlighted hourlong dramedy Girlfriend’s Guide To Divorce. The upcoming unscripted slate includes offshoots of Bravo mainstays Real Housewives and Top Chef. Among returning series, the network has confirmed a second season of Below Deck, a third season of Don’t Be Tardy, a seventh season of Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles and Season 6 for The Real Housewives Of New Jersey. Returning this fall also is a 12th season of the Emmy Award-winning culinary competition series Top Chef, season 8 of The Millionaire Matchmaker, The Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 7, and The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills Season 5. Here are descriptions of Bravo’s new series and projects in development:
Related: Oxygen Greenlights Seven New Series As Part Of Upcoming Rebranding
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Syfy is entering the hot zombie genre with Z Nation, a 13-episode series from Asylum, the company behind the network’s hit schlocky horror franchise Sharknado. Executive produced/showrun by Karl Schaefer (Eureka), Z Nation is set three years after the zombie virus has gutted the country, and a team of everyday heroes must transport the only known survivor of the plague from New York to California, where the last functioning viral lab waits for his blood. Although the antibodies he carries are the world’s last, best hope for a vaccine, he hides a dark secret that threatens them all. With humankind’s survival at stake, the ragtag band embarks on a journey of survival across three thousand miles of rusted-out post-apocalyptic America. “Z Nation is a unique new journey into the long established zombie genre,” said Syfy SVP Chris Regina. “Instead of existential despair, the series offers hope that somehow, some way, humanity will not only survive, but triumph.” Added Schaefer, “Our everyday heroes take the fight to the zombies.” Z Nation, set to premiere this fall, will be produced by Asylum, in its debut doing a regular series, and sold internationally by Dynamic Television. Schaefer is repped by APA and Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox & Light LLP.
Related: Syfy Picks Up 13-Part Mythological Drama ‘Olympus’
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David Letterman Ends An Era, Announcing He Will Retire In 2015
By Lisa De Moraes
CBS late-night star David Letterman surprised his studio audience this afternoon when he announced he is retiring in 2015.
Watch David Letterman’s Full Announcement Of His Retirement
By Lisa De Moraes
David Letterman stunned his Late Show studio audience today when he abruptly announced that he will retire next year. He began by telling the studio crowd he will be celebrating his 67th birthday in about a week (April 12), at which time, he said, he will have spent about half his life “behind this desk” and “in makeup.”
Fox Eyes Reality Show About Struggling Couples Who Switch Partners For Weekend
By Nellie Andreeva
EXCLUSIVE: Is Fox heading back to Temptation Island?
‘How I Met Your Mother’ Fans To Get Their Happy Ending? Series’ DVD Set To Include Alternate Ending To Series Finale
By Nellie Andreeva
EXCLUSIVE: Four days after the How I Met Your Mother series finale, fans of the show are still reeling from the controversial ending that saw the mother die, Robin and Barney divorce and Ted end up with Robin, leaving viewers stunned. Read More »
Catch up on the film stories you missed this week:
‘God’s Not Dead’s Kevin Sorbo Takes Hollywood & Media To Task As He Backs Crowdfunding Campaign For Telefilm On Convicted Abortion Doctor Kermit Gosnell
By Anita Busch
EXCLUSIVE: Kevin Sorbo is co-star of the past two weekends’ box office pleaser God’s Not Dead, which has pulled in $24M to date on a $2M budget. Now he is putting his name behind an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to help launch the tele-production of Gosnell – the story of the Philadelphia doctor who ran the abortion clinic from hell and was convicted on three counts of first-degree murder — but not without taking a shot at the media and Hollywood.
Keanu Reeves, Eli Roth To Team On Thriller ‘Knock Knock’
By Mike Fleming, Jr.
EXCLUSIVE: There are going to be plenty of film packages that spark buyers at Cannes, and here’s a fresh one that isn’t even waiting for the Croisette. Keanu Reeves has just committed to star for Eli Roth in Knock Knock, a psychological thriller that Roth wrote and will direct.
‘Game Of Thrones’ Actress Gwendoline Christie Replacing Lily Rabe In ‘Hunger Games’
By Mike Fleming, Jr.
While Lionsgate hasn’t divulged how it will deal with the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman as it goes forward with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, the studio has just confirmed that it is replacing Lily Rabe in the role of Commander Lyme with Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne on HBO’s Game Of Thrones. Read More »
Syfy has given a series order to 12 Monkeys, a drama based on the 1995 Universal Pictures film directed by Terry Gilliam. The project, written/co-executive produced by Terry Matalas & Travis Fickett (Nikita) has received a 12-episode order for a January 2015 premiere. 12 Monkeys was one of two pilots most recently ordered by Syfy. The other, Bryan Fuller’s High Moon, is not going forward.
12 Monkeys, from Universal Cable Prods. and Atlas Entertainment, producer of the movie, follows the journey of a time traveler (Aaron Stanford) from the post-apocalyptic future who appears in present day on a mission to locate and eradicate the source of a deadly plague that will eventually decimate the human race.
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EXCLUSIVE: If the half-shell hero Leonardo sounds a bit like Bad Grandpa in the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the half-pint sensei Splinter sounds like Monk, there’s good reason. Johnny Knoxville has just been added to voice the role of Leonardo, and Tony Shalhoub is voicing Splinter, the Yoda-like creature that teaches chop socky technique to the turtles. Now, Pete Ploszek played the role of Leonardo during the filming part, while Seinfeld‘s Danny Woodburn played Splinter. Insiders tell me they were always open to changing the voicing component of the Jonathan Liebesman-directed film that Paramount releases August 8, and those actors were only guaranteed to physically perform the roles in costume. But as it has proven with World War Z, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Noah, Paramount also is a studio that isn’t reticent to adding ingredients to the souffle after it has risen, and right up to the point where it’s ready to be served.
Related: Hot Teaser Trailer: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’
Discovery Channel touted its 2014-15 season slate to advertisers this morning at its upfront presentation, including Motor Mondays and the previously oredered The West with exec producer Robert Redford. The highlights of Discovery Channel’s 2014-2015 slate, unveiled ahead of its upfront presentation today, includes the following:
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Animal Planet is plunging into scripted territory with a retelling of the story that inspired the novel Moby Dick, in Revenge Of The Whale (working title). Starring Martin Sheen, this two-hour film tells a dramatic story of a time when whales were hunted for their oil. The BBC co-production re-imagines what happened when the magnificent sea creature finally turned on its killers. Here’s a complete look at Animal Planet’s new slate: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: China’s top action star Donnie Yen has signed with CAA, and his new reps just closed his deal to star in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon II: The Green Destiny, which Woo-ping Yuen is directing from a John Fusco script for The Weinstein Company.
That deal was started by Paradigm, where Yen recently left. His role in the film isn’t a surprise; he appeared at a Cannes panel on the film that I moderated last May. The film begins production in New Zealand in June and Michelle Yeoh reprises her role from the original. Though new to the U.S., Yen has been acting, producing, directing and serving as action choreographer since 1982. He was named the top earning artist in Forbes Asia, and this film will be his first as a leading man in an English language film. Yen is coming off the 3D epic Monkey King, which set a single day record at the China box office with $41 million in ticket sales, and is has grossed over $165 million in China and is spawning a sequel. Yen starred and choreographed and directing the realistic and unconventional fight scenes. Yen continues to be repped by Hong Kong attorney John McLellan.
One of USA Network‘s signature series, drama White Collar, is poised to wrap its run with a six-episode sixth and final season. There is no official word yet, but I hear the network and series producer Fox TV Studios are finalizing the deal. The size of the order looks like a compromise between a movie/mini-series conclusion USA had been considering and a full-length season, sought by producer FfvS. Season 5 ended with a cliffhanger involving the abduction of Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer). All of USA’s other established series — Monk, Burn Notice (also produced by FtvS), Psych and In Plain Sight — also had received a proper send-off. Moved to fall for the first time since its first season, White Collar got dinged up against in-season competition but rebounded in January when the conclusion of Season 5 averaged 2.8 million viewers in Live+Same Day, up 22% from fall, and 955,000 adults 18-49, up 32%.
Related: How Will It End? USA’s ‘White Collar’ Faces Uncertain Future As Renewal Talks Stall
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Sara Chase and Lauren Adams have joined NBC comedy series Tooken from 30 Rock’s Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. It centers on Kimmy (Ellie Kemper), who escapes from a doomsday cult and starts life over in New York. Chase, repped by TalentWorks and Perennial Entertainment, will play Cyndee, Kimmy’s best friend from the cult. Adams will play Gretchen, a member of the cult for the past 10 years and the only member who has been successfully brainwashed and believes everything she was told. Adams is with CESD, Luber/Rocklin and attorney Jeffrey Hynick.
Related: 2014 NBC Pilots
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The Walking Dead is headed to MyNetworkTV. The network has acquired off-network rights to the blockbuster AMC drama. The Walking Dead, currently the highest rated scripted series on TV in adults 18-49, will make its debut on MyNetworkTV in the fall, with two episodes from Seasons 1-3 airing back-to-back on one night a week. The network is later expected to get access to subsequent seasons of the zombie drama. “This agreement extends the reach of the number one show on television among adults 18-49 by giving viewers primetime access to The Walking Dead with back-to-back episodes on broadcast television one night a week,” said AMC president Charlie Collier. “The Walking Dead has grown in each of its first four seasons on AMC, and we look forward to exposing this compelling story and these unforgettable characters to new fans on MyNetworkTV.” The last statement refers to the fact that many series get a ratings boost in their primary run after they launch in syndication, though that usually happens with major cable networks, like TNT TBS or USA, as the off-network partner.
This will be by far the highest profile series on MyNetworkTV, whose lineup features repeats of Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: CI, House, Bones and Monk. “It’s not often you get to add the hottest show on the planet to your lineup,” Frank Cicha of the … Read More »
Nikita star Maggie Q is staying in the CBS/Warner Bros family with a lead role in CBS‘ untitled Kevin Williamson drama pilot. Maggie Q will play the female lead opposite Dylan McDermott in the project, from Warner Bros TV, the studio behind CW drama Nikita, which wrapped its run earlier this season. Written by Williamson and directed by Liz Friedlander, the psychological thriller revolves around two detectives, Beth (Maggie Q) and Jack (McDermott), who handle stalking incidents for the Threat Assessment Unit of the LAPD. Detective Beth Davis is the opinionated and obsessive, workaholic division captain of LAPD’s Threat Assessment Unit who also narrates the story.
Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
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Kevin Spacey To Play Title Role In Old Vic’s ‘Clarence Darrow’
Kevin Spacey is taking a break from playing Frank Underwood and is returning to the role of Clarence Darrow. The actor will portray the pioneering lawyer for the second time on stage in the upcoming Old Vic production of Darrow. Spacey previously played the legendary attorney in the Old Vic’s staging of Inherit The Wind and on TV in the PBS film Darrow, which was helmed by his House Of Cards collaborator John David Coles. From May 28-June 15, Thea Sharrock is directing him in Clarence Darrow, David W. Rintel’s one-man show that relives some of the civil rights hero’s pivotal experiences including the Scopes “Monkey” Trial and the “Thrill Killers” trial. Sharrock’s credits include Equus with Daniel Radcliffe, Henry V with Tom Hiddleston for Sam Mendes/Neal Street and the BBC and the latest Call The Midwife Christmas special. Spacey is celebrating his 10th anniversary this year as the artistic director of the Old Vic. Also as part of the upcoming summer/fall season in the round, Ian Rickson is directing Kristin Scott Thomas in a new take on Sophocles’ Electra written by Dancing At Lughnasa scribe Brian Friel. That runs September 20-December 20.
Related: Kevin Spacey Self-Releasing ‘Now: In The Wings On A World Stage’: Q&A
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