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Sony Pictures Vice Chairman Jeff Blake Exiting Studio After 22 Years

By | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 8:06am PDT

Sony Pictures Vice Chairman Jeff Blake Exiting Studio After 22 YearsEXCLUSIVE: Jeff Blake, who has served as vice chairman of Sony Pictures and chairman of worldwide marketing and distribution for Sony Pictures since 2005, is leaving the studio that he has been a part of for the past 22 years. Part of the innermost circle of Sony’s senior management team with CEO Michael Lynton and chair of Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group Amy Pascal, the departure is a real shake-up for the studio at the highest level. Blake is the stalwart pro and has been one of the longest survivors at any studio. He worked under several Sony regimes including that of Peter Guber and Mark Canton, Jonathan Dolgen, Alan Levine, Robert Wynne, Mel Harris, the beloved John Calley, Howard Stringer, and finally Lynton and Pascal. He exits August 1.

Sony announced it at 8 AM this morning, saying, “It’s with a heavy heart and great appreciation that we want to share with you news that Jeff Blake has decided to leave SPE to pursue other opportunities … he’s been an important part of the fabric of SPE. We have all loved his legendary role as raffle master at our annual holiday party, enjoyed his gregarious laugh and sense of humor and appreciate his reputation as one of the nicest and most easy-going guys in the business.”

Image (1) sony-pictures-logo__140323172613.jpeg for post 703140With Blake’s departure, the studio loses an executive with institutional and strategic knowledge of not only marketing and distribution both domestically and internationally, but on the business itself. He has worked at three studios, having joined the business in 1974 working for Paramount Pictures in Chicago. He has also worked with the best known names in the business at Paramount and at Sony (and even a short stint at Disney) – from Charlie Bludhorn and Barry Diller to Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Stanley Jaffe, Frank Mancuso, the wonderful Brandon Tartikoff, the aforementioned executives and so many others. Katzenberg and Mancuso became Blake’s lifetime friends and mentors.

decode-pascal-articleInlineHis departure comes after Pascal and Lynton and the rest of SPE’s senior management have been under tremendous pressure after a rough round last summer and a hit-and-miss year so far in 2014. Pascal and Lynton have spent this past year making changes at the studio and shoring up their ranks with execs like Michael De Luca coming in as president of production at Columbia, and the announcement last week that Doug Belgrad is expanding duties with a new president of the motion picture group title. Those expanded responsibilities included working with the marketing and distribution team which also saw changes last year. Sony has undergone extreme cost-cutting at the studio as well with layoff after layoff. They have also worked to bring in co-financing deals and closed a big one with Lone Star Capital and Citibank, a smaller agreement with Village Roadshow and have also been waiting for former Warner Bros. executive Jeff Robinov to secure financing to start producing movies to distribute.

“Certainly there has been an air of change at Sony for the past couple of years,” said Blake. “I put it out there prior to our summer if at some point, I needed to step aside that I certainly would but, in the meantime, I wanted to make sure that there were no distractions in releasing our summer slate. I’m really comfortable with my decision, Read More »

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GLAAD Study Finds Lack Of LGBT Images, Offensive Content In Films From 7 Studios, Sony Columbia Gets Best Grade

By | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 7:45am PDT

GLAAD Study Finds Lack Of LGBT Images, Offensive Content In Films From 7 Studios, Sony Columbia Gets Best GradeGLAAD has released its second annual Studio Responsibility Index that maps the quantity, quality and diversity of images of LGBT people in films released by the seven largest motion picture studios during the 2013 calendar year: 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Sony Columbia, Universal Pictures, The Walt Disney Studios and Warner Brothers. GLAAD found that of the 102 releases from the major studios in 2013, 17 of them included characters identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. It found that  the majority of these characters were minor roles or cameos, and that many of these were outright defamatory representations in films such as Pain & Gain and Riddick.
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FINAL: Intl Box Office: ‘Transformers’ Adds $84.6M; ‘Apes’ Swings Up With $61.9M; ‘Boyhood’ Growing In UK; More

FINAL: Intl Box Office: ‘Transformers’ Adds $84.6M; ‘Apes’ Swings Up With $61.9M; ‘Boyhood’ Growing In UK; Morecinemaworld2ND UPDATE, MONDAY 3:20 PM PT: Updated figures for the international weekend have come in with all studios reporting. Among the top movies in the marketplace, Transformers: Age Of Extinction‘s 4th frame was up from original estimates to $84.6M in 58 territories ($662.6M cume), and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes was slightly higher than predicted in its 2nd frame with $61.93M on 10,347 screens in 51 markets ($103.6M cume).

Also of note, Fox’s The Grand Budapest Hotel has officially passed $110M internationally, adding $491K in 15 territories this weekend. Meanwhile, Boyhood, which Universal is releasing most everywhere overseas, added 60 locations in its 2nd UK frame. The result was a 0% drop from last week with $537K at 89 dates. The UK/Ireland total is now $1.5M (£892K). With the buzz growing, Universal is looking to continue the pattern by increasing the number of screens in more regional areas this Friday. In the next few days, the studio says the Richard Linklater drama will best the director’s Before Sunset (£932K) and A Scanner Darkly (£995K) to become his 2nd biggest film in the market behind School Of Rock.

Updated throughout the below are figures on the above films as well as Planes: Fire & Rescue, Sex Tape, The Purge: Anarchy, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Step Up All In, Maleficent, Blended, The Fault In Our Stars, 22 Jump Street, Edge Of Tomorrow, X-Men: Days Of Future Read More »

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Box Office Final: ‘Apes’ No. 1′ With $36.2M, ‘The Purge’ With $29.8M+, ‘Planes’ Flies Low $17.5M, ‘Sex Tape’ Unravels To $14.6M In Soft Weekend

Box Office Final: ‘Apes’ No. 1′ With $36.2M, ‘The Purge’ With $29.8M+, ‘Planes’ Flies Low $17.5M, ‘Sex Tape’ Unravels To $14.6M In Soft Weekend8th UPDATE, Monday, 1:32 PM: It was a down weekend. After the dust cleared today, we can see the final dips: The calendar year-to-date is down 6% with the weekend of the Top Ten from last year to this year down 25%. All films added in, the business is down 23.9%. Given that all pictures underperformed a bit, here are the final box office numbers as they look this morning. Dawn-of-the-Planet-of-the-Apes-Caesar-eyesOf all the newbies, The Purge: Anarchy actually was able to gross the high end of yesterday’s estimate and ended with $29.8M. Both Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue and Sony’s Sex Tape took more of a hit, both off just a tad from their yesterday expectations; neither performed well. Meanwhile, Earth To Echo and Maleficent came in only $29K apart and the more exciting part of this box office weekend was that the smaller films did exceptionally well. Dinesh D’Souza’s controversial documentary America from Lionsgate, at No. 12, held quite well, down only 30% as did Jon Favreau’s Chef (Open Road), which even after dropping about 150 locations saw a significant jump on Saturday and ended the weekend at $25.9M. Another bit of sweet news was the solid per-screen number of Richard Linkaleter’s little masterpiece Boyhood (IFC) which held a nice $34,418 per screen; its cume is now $1.785M after two weeks in a platform release. The Top 20 chart follows: Read More »

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Paramount Takes Worldwide Distribution On Spain’s ‘Capture The Flag’, ‘Tad’ Sequel

Paramount Takes Worldwide Distribution On Spain’s ‘Capture The Flag’, ‘Tad’ SequelParamount Pictures has boarded worldwide distribution on two upcoming animated features hailing from Spanish director Enrique Gato. The studio has entered a landmark deal with Telecinco Cinema, Telefónica Studios and Los Rockets AIE on space race adventure Capture The Flag and Tad Jones: The Hero Returns, the sequel to 2012′s Tad, The Lost Explorer. Gato won the Best New Director Goya for The Lost Explorer, a wink to the Indiana Jones series, and the movie also took the screenplay honors last year. It is the highest grossing Spanish animated film of all time with a worldwide haul of about $45M. That film went through Paramount in Spain and this new deal sees the studio look more broadly at international where the movie did strong business with releases throughout Latin America and Europe. The sequel will roll out in 2016. The pact for both films is significant in that it’s the first studio deal on two upcoming Spanish toons. Latin American moviegoers are growing in importance at the international box office, notably in places like Mexico and Brazil, while animation can be smoothly translated for wider audiences. Last year’s Argentine and Spanish 3D football picture Metegol (aka Foosball 3D) was a big hit for Universal.

capture the flagCapture The Flag is inspired by the 1960s space race and sees a ruthless billionaire bent on exploiting the source of … Read More »

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Can ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Help Rescue The Summer Box Office?

By | Sunday July 20, 2014 @ 2:48pm PDT

Can ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Help Rescue The Summer Box Office?Image (1) box_office_weekend_3202008-12-22-1229966765_20110417092737.jpg for post 123287This weekend’s domestic box office was off a whopping 28 percent, which has people wondering why. Could it be the quality is just not there? “Yeah, what the hell is going on, right?” said one distributor when I asked. “It’s content driven. We’re in a slump at the moment, but next year will be better. This year, I don’t think it’s any indication that problems are anything but the  content.” As in quality, or lack thereof, and I think that most Deadline readers would concur that though this summer has seen some gems (like The Fault in Our Stars, Apes, Heaven is For Real), they’ve wrapped around some real stinkers (A Million Ways to Die in the West, Moms Night Out).

By the way, Paramount’s Transformers:Age of Extinction has made $659.1M internationally and around $228M to date domestically, is on track to become the 19th picture ever to move past the $1B mark and could end up in the Top Ten all-time worldwide grossers. But others have fallen flat. As we’ve noted in the past, it’s a cyclical business. Some of the pictures from 2014 moved to 2015 to avoid having to deal with the World Cup. Next summer looks more promising: the April 3rd release of Fast and Furious 7, followed in May by the highly-anticipated The Avengers: Age of Ultron and then The Fantastic Four, Jurassic World, Ted 2, Minions and Terminator.

But here’s the question: When will the industry see a movie that will go four consecutive weekends in a row at No. 1? (see chart below, courtesy of Rentrak). And could Disney/Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy do it?  Read More »

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Bart & Fleming: Fox-Time Warner Merger Mania Means Banker Fees And Layoffs, Not Quality

By and | Sunday July 20, 2014 @ 9:25am PDT

Bart & Fleming: Fox-Time Warner Merger Mania Means Banker Fees And Layoffs, Not QualityFlemingBartColumn_badge__140510005503Peter Bart and Mike Fleming Jr. worked together for two decades at Daily Variety. In this weekly Sunday column, two old friends get together and grind their axes on the movie business.

Bart: Like  7th grade boys staring in the mirror, corporate CEOs these days keep asking themselves, “Am I big enough?” What scares them is the prospect of becoming a takeover target, and there’s been a rush of takeover talk lately —Rupert Murdoch’s bid for Time Warner being the most dramatic. Size means safety in the corporate universe and Time Warner became vulnerable by ridding itself of Time Inc., AOL and Time Warner Cable — the latter becoming a target for Comcast. With giants like Google, Apple and Amazon looming, CEOs are scared they can’t measure up, but the folks who should really be frightened are the creatives and their audiences. Bigness means giant fees for bankers and profits for shareholders, but the impact of the monoliths is easy to read — a universe of corporate plodding, tentpoles and sequels.

Read More »

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Paramount Sets F. Javier Gutiérrez To Helm ‘Ring’ Threequel

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 10:00am PDT

Paramount Sets F. Javier Gutiérrez To Helm ‘Ring’ ThreequelParamount has hired F. Javier Gutiérrez to direct the third movie in its The Ring series, marking the Spanish filmmaker’s second studio genre franchise after Relativity and The Weinstein Co. tapped him to reboot The Crow in another hotly contested helmer search. The Ring threequel is being produced by Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald. It’s the latest installment of the $400M-grossing horror franchise first launched stateside by Gore Verbinski in 2002 with The Ring and its sequel The Ring 2, both starring Naomi Watts as a woman caught in the clutches of a cursed video tape. The Japanese original Ringu, directed by Hideo Nakata and adapted from the novel by Kōji Suzuki, spawned its own series of prequel/sequels and spin-off films and led a wave of J-horror Hollywood remakes throughout the 2000s. Read More »

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Dustin Lance Black To Adapt ‘Lindbergh’ for Paramount TV; Based On A. Scott Berg’s Pulitzer-Prize Winning Book

Dustin Lance Black To Adapt ‘Lindbergh’ for Paramount TV; Based On A. Scott Berg’s Pulitzer-Prize Winning BookOscar-winning writer Dustin Lance Black (Milk) has been hired to adapt Paramount TV’s event series ‘Lindbergh’ based on A. Scott Berg’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of the same name. The project will be produced by Berg, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Killoran and Kevin McCormick. The story of Lindbergh both in his flight achievements in 1927 and the subsequent kidnapping of his young child in 1932became international news.

The project once captured the attention of director Steven Spielberg (he bought it preemptively before it published) but he apparently decided against it once he learned more and more about the aviator. Lindbergh, of course, had Charles Lindbergha colored history with Germany and had been accused of being antisemitic. He and his wife Anne attended the Olympic Games in Germany in 1936 and became very impressed with the Germany military force. By 1938, they were planning to move to Berlin. That same year he was presented with the Service Cross of the German Eagle for his aviation contributions; it was presented on behalf of Adolf Hilter. He never wore the Service Cross nor took it from its box, according to Berg. At the same time, he was secretly reporting on the German aviation force. However, he was dead set against going to war. In speeches, he repeatedly urged America to stay out of intervening and became one of the leading voices of the America First movement (which promoted non-intervention).

He had a long history of being at odds with … Read More »

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MGM Acquires Terry Hayes Thriller ‘I Am Pilgrim’

By | Thursday July 17, 2014 @ 8:38am PDT

MGM Acquires Terry Hayes Thriller ‘I Am Pilgrim’MGM has landed feature film rights to screenwriter Terry Hayes’ debut novel, the just-released espionage thriller I Am Pilgrim. The scribe, whose film credits include Payback, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior and Dead Calm, will adapt his book, and Lloyd Braun will produce the film through his Whalerock Industries. Whalerock’s Andrew Mittman will be executive producer. This is a franchise play for the studio.

MGM90In the book, “Pilgrim” is the codename for a man who doesn’t exist. The adopted son of a wealthy American family, he once headed a secret U.S. espionage unit. Now in anonymous retirement, he is called upon to lend his expertise to an unusual investigation but ultimately is caught in a race against-time to save America from oblivion. Emily Bestler Books/Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, published the book in May, with plans to translate it into 20 languages. Read More »

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Skydance Promotes Jesse Sisgold To COO

By | Tuesday July 15, 2014 @ 10:00am PDT
Mike Fleming

Skydance Promotes Jesse Sisgold To COOJesse Sisgold has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer of Skydance Productions, replacing Paul Schwake. Sisgold, who was outside counsel for Skydance at his own Beverly Hills law firm before becoming president of Business Affairs and Strategic Planning in January, will report directly to David Ellison.

“In his time at Skydance, Jesse has demonstrated a deep understating of our business and creative culture,” said Ellison. “His entrepreneurial spirit makes him the perfect choice to continue paving the way for Skydance’s growth into the future.”

He will step up and oversee operations at Ellison’s shingle, which is producer and co-financier of what seems like most of the big ticket films at Paramount Pictures. That has included Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, World War Z, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Star Trek: Into Darkness. Upcoming films include the reboot of the Terminator franchise, the disaster film Geostorm, Mission: Impossible 5 and sequels to Jack Reacher, WWZ and Star Trek. Skydance also launched a TV shingle,  its first series Manhattan, to premiere on WGN America, about the quest to build the world’s first atom bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

”I’m extremely honored by this opportunity to help guide Skydance and its amazing team to the next level,” said Sisgold. “We are just getting started.”

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Update: Intl Box Office: ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Awakens To $31.3M Overseas; ‘Transformers’ Adds $100M+ To Crash Past $500M Barrier

Update: Intl Box Office: ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Awakens To $31.3M Overseas; ‘Transformers’ Adds $100M+ To Crash Past $500M BarriercinemaworldUPDATE, Monday 5:30 PM: Updates are in from Fox and Universal which had the films everyone wanted to know about in the domestic marketplace this weekend as well — Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and the indie favorite Boyhood. Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures’ Transformers: Age of Extinction took in a little less than the $102M estimate, but nonetheless grossed $100.3M from 12 markets, according to the studio, to sail past the $500M market in just three weeks of release. The international cume is now $540.6M. Added with the domestic gross and the go-bots are hitting on all cylinders with $713.4M worldwide.

All other numbers are updated below for those two films as well as for X-Men: Days of Future Past, How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Other Woman, Neighbors, A Million Ways to Die in the West, and The Fault in Our Stars and newcomer Rico, Oskar Und Die Tieferschatten. Just received Warner Bros. and Disney final international grosses so more updates below on Tammy, Jersey Boys, Maleficent, Edge of Tomorrow, Blended, and Godzilla. Sony has come in at 3 PM with its numbers for 22 Jump Street, Deliver Us From Evil, Heaven is For Real and Think Like a Man Too.

UPDATE, Sunday 2:10 PM PT: With the World Cup winding down tonight, next week will see Transformers: Age Of Extinction and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes expand significantly to … Read More »

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UPDATE: Herb Allen’s Sun Valley Retreat – Recap

UPDATE: Herb Allen’s Sun Valley Retreat – RecapUPDATED, Monday, 4:56 PM: Saturday’s panel with Secretary of State John Kerry and interviewer Charlie Rose went off without a hitch after some technical problems the previous day, but listening about the conflicts in the Middle East was not as interesting to moguls (‘what else is new, it’s a mess over there’) as the panel that featured billionaire investor Warren Buffet and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, according to some in attendance. Bezos, whose company Amazon has become a powerhouse in publishing and is creating its own content now, told the group gathered that the Amazon business model in publishing and creating content is here to stay. While the panels are always greatly attended, some of those who sat through the first few said they were a bit dry and boring, but “Buffet is always interesting to listen to,” said one attendee. Jeffrey_Katzenberg_118299588Said another, “All the networking is really done in the first day … unless you’re Jeffrey Katzenberg lining up meetings every hour.” Added another, “He sits there and does one meeting after another … he must have had like 20 meetings.” Yes, DreamWorks Animation’s Katzenberg was doing his ‘speed-dating’ meetings near the duck pond as usual which had some entertainment moguls laughing and others rolling their eyes (‘He has like what? One movie in the marketplace?’ Does he know how silly it looks?).

On Saturday, too, were presentations from the younger entreprenuers of Lookout, Xapo and Lending Club, which another attendee said he thought was fantastic (‘The guy from Lookout looked like he was 16 years old’). Also interesting to one attendee was the education panel with Eva Sarah Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools and Kaya Henderson who is the D.C. school superintendent. “They were really good together and kept everyone’s interest.” That panel took place last Thursday.

The five-day Sun Valley retreat wrapped up last night with the annual dinner hosted by Herb Allen, whose aserbic wit and self-deprecating humor was enjoy by all. In reference to the panel earlier in the week that featured producer Brian Grazer and TWC’s Harvey Weinstein talking about the creative process, one attendee noted that “Brian really hit the mark on it. He was pitch perfect. If he did that same speech in showbiz circles it might not resonate but it did with most of people who were not in the business.’” One of the things that they both suggested was to listen to the voices in your head and get in touch with your instinct, which Allen use as a set up for a joke at the Sunday night dinner: “I have the voices in my head. I just don’t know what to do with them yet.” Until next year …

3RD UPDATE, FRIDAY, 2:50 PM: People actually enjoyed the Michael Bloomberg panel today at the H2013-07-11t154703z_2111664344_gm1e97b1tzw01_rtrmadp_3_sunvalley-conference_Fotorerb Allen Sun Valley conference as the 72-year-old answered questions from journalist Willow Bay, wife of Disney’s Robert Iger. The former mayor of New York whose fight for reasonable gun laws is well-documented, spoke about his philanthropy efforts and giving back to society. Through Bloomberg Philanthropies, the billionaire does just that in the areas of education, the arts, gun issues, governance and public health. He spoke about how dysfunctional the current U.S. system is politically and otherwise to get things done — no doubt as he personally saw what happened behind the scenes in Washington D.C. as politicians in the pocket of the NRA stymied efforts to get background checks on gun sales passed. Leave it to a politician — an orator and a former Eagle scout (hey, it’s no small task) — to wake up the moguls.

The second panel, which was supposed to feature Charlie Rose interviewing Secretary of State John Kerry piped in live from Afghanistan, went awry as the video feed didn’t work (they tried for about 15 minutes to get it up and running to no avail). That conversation, which was expected to be about how heavily the U.S. should be involved in the current explosive situation in the Middle East, will now take place tomorrow after journalist Becky Quick interviews Warren Buffet and Jeff Bezos.

So they are attempting to fix the video feed for tomorrow, but let’s face it, if it doesn’t work, we doubt anyone will be upset as Kerry drones … on and on. Speaking of drones, there has been some attempt to make sure that drones don’t fly over the conference taking pictures, according to Bloomberg News. Ahhh, technology … the age of the paparazzi drone? If people are still awake after Kerry and Rose, a number of younger entrepreneurs will have their turn at bat.

Most all we spoke with don’t expect any major deals to go down at this conference. That Read More »

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Marvel Wants SCOTUS To Reject Jack Kirby Heirs’ “Bizarre” Rights Petition

By | Monday July 14, 2014 @ 2:18pm PDT

Marvel Wants SCOTUS To Reject Jack Kirby Heirs’ “Bizarre” Rights PetitionEXCLUSIVE: No big surprise that today Marvel and Disney asked the Supreme Court to deny a petition from the heirs of Captain America, The Avengers and X-Men co-creator Jack Kirby. “This case presents a factbound application of a test uniformly adopted by the lower courts under a statute that does not apply to works created after 1978,” said a response filed today (read it here). “It implicates no circuit split, no judicial taking, no due process violation, and no grave matter of separation of powers. It does not remotely merit this Court’s review,” added the media giant’s main attorney in the matter, R. Bruce Rich. In case, Marvel’s rejection of the heirs desires were not clear enough, the Disney-owned company really hits it hard elsewhere in today’s response. “In likely recognition of the fact that the statutory question does not satisfy the requirements for this Court’s review, petitioners turn to a series of bizarre constitutional arguments raised for the first time in this Court,” says Marvel. “Those arguments only underscore that none of the questions presented merits this Court’s plenary consideration.”

DJP LEGAL BADGEIn a move that could have huge copyright implications for the entertainment industry if it went before the nine justices and they found in the heirs’ favor, Lisa Kirby, Neal Kirby, Susan Kirby and Barbara Kirby petitioned the SCOTUS this spring to hear their much-denied case. The heirs contended they had the right in 2009 to issue 45 termination notices to Marvel and others including Fox, … Read More »

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Box Office: ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Swings With $72.6M Weekend; ‘Boyhood’ Mans Up With Strong Per Screen

By | Monday July 14, 2014 @ 1:57pm PDT

Box Office: ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Swings With $72.6M Weekend; ‘Boyhood’ Mans Up With Strong Per ScreenUPDATED, Monday 1:57 PM: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, brought in, as we reported this AM a total take of $72.6M for the three-day weekend (which included $4.1M in Thursday late nights). This, after it took in $31.3M overseas so it has a worldwide total of $103M+ already and it has barely begun its international run.

The Matt Reeves-directed film had a wonderful Saturday and ended up with an A- CinemaScore so audiences loved it as much as the critics. Sunday moviegoing was off for all films, probably due to the World Cup Finals and the nice weather. Fox’s other film, How to Train Your Dragon 2 had a great hold from Saturday to Sunday but will be hit by Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue when it bows next weekend.  Apes should have at least two solid weeks of play before audiences look to Disney/Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy to keep them entertained when it bows on August 1. Transformers: Age of Extinction — in its third weekend of release — crossed $200M on Saturday.

Sony opens Sex Tape next weekend in hopes of making it pop over its estimated $42M+ budget. I’ve seen it and yes, it starts out raunchy, but it is really funny and even, at times, hilarious. The guys will go to see a naked Cameron Diaz and the girls will go see tall drink of water Jason Segel, but it’s really for couples. Rob Lowe also co-stars in this film from the next generation Kasden — Jake — who directed the two in Bad Teacher.

The other movie opening next weekend is Universal’s horror film, The Purge: Anarchy. And, after seeing the one-sheet, I certainly hope they aren’t running those teaser one-sheets reminiscent of the Joker around the Cinemark Theater in Colorado where it will be in the marketplace during the two-year mark of the theater shooting. To me and others who suffered through that, it’s a hard image to look at … sort of like the geniuses who came up with The Strain one-sheets that people don’t want to see either. “Not for everyone.” Indeed. The Purge is bowing today and over the weekend in 14 overseas markets. The chart follows: Read More »

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Paramount Acquiring Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence’ For 2015 Oscar Season

Mike Fleming

Paramount Acquiring Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence’ For 2015 Oscar SeasonParamount Pictures is in talks to acquire U.S. distribution rights to Silence, and the tentative plan is to release the film November 2015, right in that holiday corridor where awards-bait pictures dwell. Silence is one of those pictures on Scorsese’s bucket list, an adaptation of the Shusako Endo novel that Scorsese has longed to make for more than a decade. The project finally came together when Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films principals Randall Emmett and George Furla committed the production financing, with Corsan Entertainment co-financing. Shooting will get underway in Taiwan. The film takes place in the 17th century, where two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and to spread Christianity. The script is by Scorsese’s Gangs Of New York scribe Jay Cocks, and the filmmaker has pulled together a cast including Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, Ken Watanabe and Adam Driver.

silenceEmmett and Furla are producing with Emma Tillinger Koskoff and Irwin Winkler. Paramount seems a logical landing place for Silence. While Red Granite funded The Wolf Of Wall Street, Paramount released the  film, which was nominated for five Oscars including Best Picture. The studio also distributed Shutter Island and Hugo. Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions is Paramount-based and the filmmaker has a strong relationship with Brad Grey, a producer on The Departed who didn’t get a Best Picture Oscar because Grey took the top Paramount job.

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‘Devil Inside’ Helmer William Brent Bell Set To Direct ‘The Inhabitant’

By | Monday July 14, 2014 @ 11:54am PDT

EXCLUSIVE: The Devil Inside‘s helmer William Brent Bell been hired to direct a supernatural thriller called The Inhabitant said to be in the vein of The Conjuring. Lakeshore Entertainment’s Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi, Vertigo’s Roy Lee, Matt Berenson (A Place Beyond The Pines), Jim Wedaa and Adam Stone are producing from a script by Stacey Menear.

William_Brent_BellThe Devil Inside was released last year and did incredible business. The movie was done on a shoestring budget ($1M+) and made over $101.7M worldwide for the filmmakers and distributor Paramount. Talk about a profitable film. Bell is repped by ICM Partners and Jackoway Tyerman (Karl Austen). Menear is repped by WME.

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Paramount Television Inks First-Look Deal With Robert Zemeckis

By | Monday July 14, 2014 @ 11:09am PDT

Paramount Television Inks First-Look Deal With Robert ZemeckisThe two-year, first-look deal includes all television programming developed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, Jack Rapke and their production company, Compari Entertainment, Paramount Television announced today. Their first project will be a drama series inspired by Nicholson Baker’s bestselling novel The Fermata, which is being adapted by David Hollander.

“Not only is Bob one of the all-time greatest filmmakers but he has been an important member of the Paramount family for more than 20 years,” said Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. “His ability to tell and capture a story so brilliantly on any screen is second to none and we look forward to partnering creatively with him, Jack and their team on the television side of our business.”

“I know Brad and Amy share a deep appreciation for creating inspired entertainment and I look forward to making great television together,” said Zemeckis.

“Bob is a masterful storyteller, and we’re thrilled to be developing character-driven, visually creative programming in the television space that reflects his beloved cinematic approach,” said Amy Powell, President, Paramount Television.

Zemeckis’ relationship with Paramount Pictures goes back to the 1994 Oscar-winning pic Forrest Gump for which Zemeckis won the Best Directing Academy Award. The film starring Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise and Robin Wright grossed $677 million worldwide and won a total of six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Hanks. In 2012, the studio and Zemeckis partnered on  Denzel Washington-starrer Flight, which received two Oscar noms.

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Comic-Con 2014 Film Schedule: Paramount, Legendary, TWC Attending

By | Sunday July 13, 2014 @ 9:59am PDT

Comic-Con 2014 Film Schedule: Paramount, Legendary, TWC AttendingComic-Con has announced its film schedule in full. Here are a few events we think you should get in line for. Check back for updates.

Wednesday, July 23
10 PM, Gaslamp Theater
Screening of Warner Bros. Into the Storm

Thursday, July 24
11:30 AM – 1 PM, Hall H
DreamWorks Animations
Penguins of Madagascar
Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, Tom McGrath, directors Simon J. Smith and Eric Darnell
Home:
 director Tim Johnson

12:30-1:30 PM, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront
Sony Pictures
Goosebumps: 
Jack Black, director Rob Letterman
Pixels:  director Chris Columbus

the_giver_payoff_poster_final1:30-2:30 PM, Hall H
Weinstein Co.: Walden Media
The Giver:
Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites, Odeya Rush, director Phillip Noyce, and bestselling author Lois Lowry.

3-4 PM, Hall H
Paramount Pictures 
Attendees TBD

6-7PM, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront
Goonies Never Say Die

A reunion with the cast of the cult Richard Donner ’80s film.

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