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Susan Heyward Lands Female Lead In Sony Playstation Series ‘Powers’, Max Fowler & Adam Godley Also Cast

By | Wednesday July 16, 2014 @ 2:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Susan Heyward Lands Female Lead In Sony Playstation Series ‘Powers’, Max Fowler & Adam Godley Also CastEXCLUSIVE: Coming off a recurring role on the Fox drama The Following, Susan Heyward has been tapped as the female lead in Powers, the Sony Playstation Network series based on the graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming. Also cast in the direct-to-series project, whose first two episodes will be directed by David Slade from scripts by Charlie Huston, are Max Fowler (The Killing) and Adam Godley (Breaking Bad, Suits).

heyward1231640-65_powers_8_02_superCombining the genres of superhero fantasy, crime noir and police procedural, Powers, produced by Sony Pictures TV, is set in a world full of people with superhuman abilities and where all of those powers are just another catalyst for mayhem and murder. It follows the lives of two homicide detectives, Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim (Heyward), who are assigned to protect humans like us and investigate cases involving people with superhuman abilities, referred to as Powers who glide through the sky on lightning bolts and fire and who clash above cities in epic battle, oblivious to the mortals below. Pilgrim is described as equal parts beauty and sarcasm, a wunderkind detective with edgy style. Read More »

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‘Forrest Gump’ Runs Again 20 Year Later; ‘Ghostbusters’ Returning For 30th Anni

forrest-gump1Life is still like a box of chocolates, and Paramount wants to remind everyone. The studio said today that it will rerelease Forrest Gump in Imax for the Best Picture Oscar winner’s 20th anniversary. The 1994 film that also won Academy Awards for star Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis and spawned a 12 million-selling soundtrack will return to the giant-screen theaters September 5. The news comes the same day Sony announced it is bringing Ghostbusters back tGhostbusterso theaters for its 30th anniversary. A restored and remastered version of the 1984 romp will start its limited engagement August 29 ahead of a September 16 launch of Blu-ray anniversary editions of the pic and its 1989 sequel.

Related: Third Installment Of ‘Ghostbusters’ A Go For Early 2015

Spongebob-squarepantsMeanwhile, Paramount also said today that it is moving up the release of SpongeBob SquarePants 2 by a week to February 6. It had been set as counterprogramming for Focus’ Fifty Shades Of Grey and Fox’s remake of Poltergeist. (Maybe the latter’s images of a child being pulled into a TV set hit a little too close to home.) Read More »

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Syfy Acquires Starz Drama ‘Spartacus’

By | Thursday May 22, 2014 @ 7:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Spartacus; EpisodeEXCLUSIVE: Syfy has acquired U.S. basic cable rights to all 39 episodes of Starz‘s Spartacus. That includes the three seasons of the  swords-and-sandals drama as well as the six-part prequel Gods Of The Arena. Spartacus will make its Syfy debut June 26 and will air at 10 PM, following original series Defiance and Dominion.

syfylogo1The Spartacus deal comes 16 years after then-5-year-old Sci Fi Channel made its biggest acquisition pact to date, spending $150 million for the exclusive basic cable rights to three other Showtime series, Stargate SG-1, The Outer Limits and Poltergeist: The Legacy. Stargate and Poltergeist went on to become original series on Sci Fi, which ordered additional seasons — five for Stargate and one for Poltergeist. Stargate became a signature series for Sci Fi, spawning a franchise. Read More »

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R.I.P. ‘Alien’ Artist H.R. Giger

By | Tuesday May 13, 2014 @ 10:11am PDT

HR Giger DeadThe Swiss surrealist painter and sculptor who created the Xenomorph alien design for Ridley Scott‘s 1979 sci-fi classic Alien died Monday after suffering injuries in a fall. He was 74. H.R. Giger‘s name became synonymous with his iconic Alien design, which originated from his own lithograph Necronom IV and went on to nab him an Oscar for Best Visual Effects. Giger’s sexually charged “biomechanical” designs got him on H.R. GigerScott’s radar in the 1970s when the artist had been working on Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s doomed version of Frank Herbert’s Dune (later directed by David Lynch). After Alien co-writer Dan O’Bannon showed Giger’s nightmarish designs to Scott, the helmer tapped Giger to design the Alien creature, eggs, planetoid Acheron AKA LV-426, and Alien ship for the film. He would go on to contribute designs to Aliens, Alien 3, Alien: Resurrection, Poltergeist II: The Other Side, Species, and Tokyo: The Last War, and was credited for original designs used in 2012′s Prometheus. Giger, who directed his own documentary shorts in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, appears in the new Sony Classics docu Jodorowsky’s Dune.

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Warner Bros Slapped With Second ‘Conjuring’ Rights Lawsuit By Producer

By | Wednesday April 23, 2014 @ 4:08pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEHard to tell if it’s more paralegal than paranormal but something is definitely haunting The Conjuring franchise Warner Bros is trying to create. Today the studio and its New Line division were the conjuringamong the defendants named in another breach of contract lawsuit by producer Tony DeRosa-Grund and his Evergreen Media. This time 87-year-old Lorraine Warren herself, whose investigations into the seemingly supernatural with her late husband were the basis for last year’s thriller, was also listed as a defendant. Filed in federal court in Texas like last month’s suit, today’s complaint (read it here) seeking a jury trial also wants to stop any sequels going forward; a declaratory judgment of rights; and a series of unspecified actual, punitive and statutory damages likely to run into the millions. And what does the other side say? “We have not been served,” a WB spokesman told me today.

Related: Warner Bros Hit With ‘Conjuring’ Rights Lawsuit, Lionsgate Exited TV Series Deal

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MGM Re-Opens ‘Barbershop’ For Business With Ice Cube Deal

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 3:31pm PDT
Mike Fleming

barberEXCLUSIVE: MGM is reviving its Barbershop franchise. The film company is negotiating a mid-seven-figure deal with Ice Cube to reprise his role as the catalyst for Barbershop 3. They are about to start talking to writers and I’m told the hope is to re-enlist Cedric the Entertainer and Queen Latifah as well. The 2002 original cost $12 million and grossed $75 million domestic while the 2004 sequel cost $30 million and grossed $65 million. MGM, whose late good fortunes are driven primarily by the 007 and Hobbit franchises, have clearly made franchise building a priority. There is a second Hot Tub Time Machine coming through Paramount at year’s end, Hercules has sequel aspirations, and there is the revival of the Poltergeist series. MGM is also working on the animated version of The Addams Family.

cedCube has been thriving in franchise work. He reprises in Sony’s 22 Jump Street, which Sony releases June 13 with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum reprising their roles as bumbling narcs. And after Universal saw Ride Along gross $146 million worldwide on a $25 million budget, the studio has greenlit the sequel to start production in late June with Cube and Kevin Hart reprising. Cube is separately producing Straight Outta Compton, the F. Gary Gray-directed adaptation of the formation of NWA, the hip-hop ensemble that launched the careers of Cube, Easy E and … Read More »

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Best Box Office Ever? Biggest Hollywood Franchises Explode In 2015 On Historic Collision Course

star-wars-logoIn 2011, Iron Man (I and II) director Jon Favreau called the summer of 2011, “a bloodbath for Hollywood” because of the number big-budget special effects films, remakes and sequels. Pfft! Wait until you get a load of next year. The amount of big-budget sequel fare and remakes set for 2015 from the major studios is mind-boggling and add to that highly anticipated films such as Fifty Shades Of Grey and another Quentin Tarantino film in the same year and you have all the makings for the biggest movie going year in history. The year is even going to start out hitting the ground running with audience-familiar titles, but it’s the summer and holiday season of 2015 that will be packed like no other — which brings up serious questions about what will happen as some of the biggest franchises in history collide? Remember, these films need major market exposure on over 2,500-3,000 screens or more to open big and some of them hope to play for weeks. This is going to be a star-studded war. I guess it was inevitable when studios ride out the franchises as far as they do now … what are we on Mission: Impossible 5 and Fast & Furious 7 now? And we have another Star Wars on our hands.

Related: Top 10 Domestic Box Office Grossers Of 2013 (Slideshow)

Mockingjay Book CoverThe year 2015 will go down in the books as the World Cup of franchise players: Superman vs. Batman vs. The Avengers vs. Mad Max vs. Fast & Furious vs. Jurassic Park vs. Terminator vs. Fantastic Four 3D, Marvel’s Ant-Man vs. Assassins vs. Untitled Bourne Identity, and then James Bond vs. Star Wars vs. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 vs. Mission Impossible for top film of the year.

In kid fare, parents should be ready to be pulled to the theater time and time again (sacrificing much-needed sleep) with Cinderella, Monster Trucks, The Penguins Of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda 3, The Jungle Book, Alvin And The Chipmunks 4, Peanuts, The Smurfs 3, Tomorrowland, and SpongeBob 2.

Practically every genre in 2015 is looking at proven titles: The year will start with the typical early year horror film fare — again no stopping franchise names — Amityville from Dimension and Frankenstein starring Daniel Radcliffe both in January, and Friday the 13th and Poltergeist. That will be followed by Fifty Shades Of Grey, based on the mega-selling book by EL James, which bows in February before the floodgates open again on sequels and remakes.

Related: Despicable Me 3′ Set For June 2017 Release

The plethora of franchise titles will likely push the 2015 box office to record-breaking heights as this year’s holdovers from the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday fare — such as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (which bows on November 21), Fox’s Night At The Museum 3 and Sony’s Annie and Warner Bros’ The Hobbit: There And Back Again (or should it be called The Hobbit: Here It Comes Again) will also add to the huge overall gross numbers of 2015. Read More »

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Fox Sets Date For ‘Planet of the Apes’ Project, Moves Romancer ‘The Longest Ride’ Away From ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’; ‘Night At the Museum’ Now Head to Head With ‘The Hobbit’

By | Tuesday January 14, 2014 @ 4:55pm PST

20th_century_fox_logo20th Century Fox has announced new release dates on three films, including staking out July 29, 2016, for its Untitled Planet of the Apes project. It will be released two weeks after the next installment in another franchise Ice Age 5. It also has announced a date shuffle for Valentine’s Day next year. It is dropping in the remake of the horror classic Poltergeist  (produced by MGM) on Feb. 13, 2015, and moving the romancer The Longest Ride off of that weekend so as not to compete with Focus Features’ highly anticipated Fifty Shades of Grey. In other words, Fox blinked. The Longest Ride, based on the Nicholas Sparks book, will now debut on April 3, around Easter. The studio also just moved its sequel Night At the Museum 3 into the Dec. 19, 2014, slot and now will go toe to toe with The Hobbit: There And Back Again from Warner Bros. It had been at Christmas previously. Fox’s R-rated buddy action/comedy Let’s Be Cops is set to go wide on August 13, 2014.

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Shine America Taps Audrey Chon As VP Scripted

By | Thursday January 9, 2014 @ 11:59am PST

Audrey ChonAudrey Chon is joining Shine America as VP Scripted Television. She will be involved in all aspects of scripted programming for the LA-based production company that’s currently behind FX’s The Bridge and Fox’s upcoming drama series Gracepoint, the company said today. Her appointment was announced by Carolyn Bernstein, EVP Scripted Television at Shine. Chon comes to Shine from Good Universe where she oversaw production and development, most recently producing MGM and Fox 2000′s upcoming Poltergeist remake. Before that, Chon served as Director of Development for Chernin Entertainment.

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R.I.P David Tynan

By | Sunday November 24, 2013 @ 5:15pm PST

Longtime TV writer David Tynan passed away November 11 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2008. He was 62. A series writer on Highlander, Poltergeist: The Legacy, and First Wave on which he also served as supervising producer, Tynan was a member of the Writers Guild of Canada and the Writers Guild Of America, West. His credits also include Flash Gordon and Scene of the Crime, and in 1996 received the WGC’s Leo Award for Best Screenwriter – Dramatic Television Series.

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Frank Grillo To Topline DirecTV Series ‘Navy St.’, Rosemarie DeWitt In ‘Olive Kitteridge’

By | Monday November 18, 2013 @ 12:12pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Frank Grillo (Captain America) is set to star in DirecTV’s original series Navy St., from Byron Balasco and Endemol Studios. Written on spec by Balasco, Navy St. is a gritty family drama set against the backdrop of Navy Street, a mixed martial arts (MMA) gym based in Venice, CA. Grillo, repped by CAA and Management 360, will play the gym’s owner, Alvey Henderson, a former fighter who never made it big due to a drug addiction but is now sober. Grillo has the perfect background for the role – in addition to his long acting career, he is a lifelong wrestler-turned-boxer-turned-MMA-er who trained with Greg Jackson, one of the top MMA trainers in the world, for his role as the trainer in the 2011 MMA feature Warrior. Grillo and Warrior star Joel Edgerton bunked together at Jackson’s MMA gym in Albuquerque for four months while he was training.

Rosemarie DeWitt is set to co-star opposite Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins in HBO’s miniseries Olive Kitteridge, directed by Lisa Cholodenko and produced by Playtone. Also cast in the project, based on the novel by Elizabeth Strout, are Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad) and Zoe Kazan. Written by Jane Anderson, Olive Kitteridge tells the story of a seemingly placid New England … Read More »

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OSCARS: Hey Academy, Don’t Forget ‘The Way Way Back’s’ Sam Rockwell (Interview)

By | Friday November 15, 2013 @ 5:42pm PST
Pete Hammond

The race for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars this year is shaping up to be another impossibly competitive contest. Jared Leto, Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Steve Coogan, Harrison Ford, Geoffrey Rush, Daniel Bruhl, Chris Cooper, Bradley Cooper, Jonah Hill, Casey Affleck, George Clooney and so many others already are staking a place in this crowded field. Fox Searchlight alone has viable contenders in its fall films with 12 Years A Slave’s Michael Fassbender and Enough Said’s James Gandolfini, who could grab a rare posthumous nom for one of his final film performances.

But Searchlight also has another contender who might be forgotten since his film came out way way back in June. Right. June. Can we remember back that far? When The Way Way Back was winning acclaim at the beginning of summer, the one name pundits found to ignite a nascent Oscar supporting contest was the wryly funny, smart and memorable turn from the criminally never-nominated Sam Rockwell as Owen, the wisecracking manager of Water Wizz Water Park and mentor to 14-year-old Duncan (Liam James), who has one unforgettable summer working there. Rockwell, who easily could — and should — have been nominated for last year’s Seven Psychopaths or his extraordinary work in another Searchlight film, Conviction (2010), always has been good. He’s an actor’s actor who first gained major notice after more than a decade acting in TV and films by playing game show host and CIA looney Chuck Barris in Clooney’s Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind (2002). Mainstream moviegoers probably know him best as Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2, while he has also gained a cult following for 2009′s Moon, a low-budget predecessor to Gravity (a film Rockwell says he loved). But his performance in The Way Way Back (which also deserves recognition for the sharp original screenplay from writer-directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash of Oscar-winning Descendants fame) was a real standout — and that’s in a cast that includes fine work from Steve Carell, Toni Collette and Allison Janney, among others. No one pitched Sam Rockwell to me in this endless season of pitching. I sought him out to talk about it.

Related: ‘The Way, Way Back’ Slides Into A Hot Holiday Opening

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Joe Swanberg’s ‘All The Light In The Sky’ Shines With Factory 25

By | Wednesday November 13, 2013 @ 12:03pm PST

Factory 25 has acquired U.S. rights to Joe Swanberg‘s All the Light in the Sky, the director’s follow-up to this year’s indie hit Drinking Buddies. Hung‘s Jane Adams co-wrote the pic with Swanberg and stars as Marie, an actress living in Malibu for whom roles are getting scarce due to her age. When her niece Faye (Green‘s Sophia Takal) arrives for the weekend, Marie’s emotional insecurities escalate and she must confront her fears and complicated relationships, and figure out how to navigate mid-life in Hollywood. As with his previous films, Swanberg tapped frequent collaborators and indie filmmakers for his cast including Kent Osborne (Uncle Kent), Allison Baar (Bad Fever), Simon Barrett (V/H/S), Lindsay Burdge (A Teacher), Larry Fessenden (The Last Winter), Lawrence Michael Levine (Green), Susan Traylor (Greenberg) and Ti West (The Sacrament). It’s also the latest pact between the prolific Swanberg and indie specialists Factory 25, who released his Silver Bullets and Art History and put out a box set of his collected work in 2011. All the Light in the Sky will debut on cable VOD, iTunes, and other digital outlets on December 3 followed by a December 20 theatrical release in NYC and additional roll-out. Adams is currently filming MGM’s Poltergeist.

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Quiet Ones’

Mad Men alum Jared Harris stars with Sam Claflin, Olivia Cooke, Erin Richards and Rory Fleck-Byrne in supernatural thriller. The Hammer production sets Harris as a professor who leads his students off the grid for an attempt to raise a poltergeist from negative human energy. John Pogue directs The Quiet Ones from a script he wrote with Craig Rosenberg and Oren Moverman. Lionsgate has North America and the UK, where the film begins its rollout April 11. Here’s the spooky first trailer:

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Delroy Lindo Cast In ‘Cymbeline’; Kennedi Clements Is Little Girl In ‘Poltergeist’ Remake; Jimmy Tatro Joins ’22 Jump Street’

By | Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 8:22pm PDT

Delroy Lindo has joined the cast of Cymbeline, writer-director Michael Almereyda’s biker-gang-and-bad-cops take on the Shakespeare play. Lindo will portray Belarius, a manly, battered and paranoid noble. Ed Harris, Dakota Johnson, Penn Badgely, Milla Jovovich, Ethan Hawke, Boyd Holbrook and Anton Yelchin also star in the film produced by Anthony Katagas. Lindo (The Chicago Code, Kidnapped) next stars in NBC’s new drama Believe. He is repped by APA.

Kennedi Clements has joined director Gil Kenan’s Poltergeistremake playing Madison, the little girl (named Carol Ann in the 1982 original) who meets up with nasty ghosts in her TV. Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt and Jared Harris star in the redo scripted by David Lindsay-Abaire. The 6-year-old’s credits include TV’s A Family Thanksgiving, Home for Christmas and a recurring role on the Canadian series Rogue. She is repped by Coast to Coast Talent Group, Premiere Talent Management and attorney Howard Fishman.

Jimmy Tatro will make his feature debut in 22 Jump Street. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are directing the sequel starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, who go undercover at a local college. Michael Bacall and Oren Uziel wrote the script. Tatro’s YouTube channel Life According To Jimmy has more than 1.7 million subscribers. He’s repped by UTA and manager Sarah Penna.

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Jared Harris Joins ‘Poltergeist’ Reboot

By | Wednesday September 4, 2013 @ 1:01pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Sherlock Holmes star Jared Harris has nabbed a lead role in MGM and Fox 2000′s Poltergeist reboot. Harris will play Carrigan, a larger than life TV personality who left the world of academia behind to become the star host of basic cable TV show Haunted House Cleaners. Gil Kenan is directing from a script by David Lindsay-Abaire reimagining the 1982 Tobe Hooper horror classic. Rosemarie DeWitt was cast in the pic in July. Recent Harris credits include his stint on AMC’s Mad Men as Lane Pryce, his role as Ulysses S. Grant in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, and Screen Gems’ The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. He appears next in Hammer & Liongate’s The Quiet Ones, FilmDistrict’s Pompeii, and Laika’s stop motion pic The Boxtrolls and will reunite with Sherlock Holmes helmer Guy Ritchie in WB’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. Harris is represented by Paradigm, Gateway Management and Independent in the U.K.

Related: Rosemarie DeWitt Scares Up Lead In ‘Poltergeist’ Revamp

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Vertigo Entertainment Taps Adam Stone As President Of Production

By | Wednesday July 24, 2013 @ 12:33pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Roy Lee‘s Vertigo Entertainment is bringing on Adam Stone as President of Production. Stone comes to the Warner Bros.-based Vertigo from Mandalay Pictures, where he was SVP Production and Development; he joined the company in 2006. Stone and Lee collaborated recently on Mandalay’s The Voices, and while at Mandalay, Stone also worked on the Daniel Radcliffe starrer Horns with Red Granite Pictures and football pic When The Game Stands Tall with Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions. He takes his new post at Vertigo at the start of September. Vertigo’s slate includes WB’s The Lego Movie and FilmDistrict’s OldBoy. The company is in preproduction on crime thriller Run All Night and Poltergeist, which is set for domestic distribution through Fox. On the TV side, Vertigo is heading into season 2 of A&E’s Bates Motel prequel and just signed a two-year deal with Fox 21 to develop new cable series.

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Rosemarie DeWitt Scares Up Lead In ‘Poltergeist’ Revamp

By | Tuesday July 23, 2013 @ 11:56am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Rosemarie DeWitt is the choice to play the female lead in Poltergeist, the new installment of the Tobe Hooper-directed horror classic that will be made by MGM and Fox 2000, with Gil Kenan directing a script by David Lindsay-Abaire. They are looking to cast the male lead. Jobeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson were the original parents whose ideal family life is uprooted by a cavalcade of spirits that culminates in the kidnap of their youngest daughter. Given how well these fright films are faring against studio product lately, this one seems ripe for remaking and I’m surprised someone didn’t reheat the 31-year old film sooner. Sam Raimi and Nathan Kahane are producing. DeWitt is coming off Promised Land and Your Sister’s Sister, and is currently starring in Kill The Messenger with Jeremy Renner for Focus Features.  She’ll next be seen in the Lynn Shelton-directed Touchy Feely and is repped by CAA and Wishlab.

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MGM, Fox 2000 To Co-Finance & Distribute ‘Poltergeist’; Production To Start This Fall

By | Thursday June 20, 2013 @ 6:35am PDT

LOS ANGELES, CA (June 20, 2013) – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), a division of MGM Holdings Inc., has partnered with Fox 2000 Pictures, a division of Twentieth Century Fox, to co-finance and distribute the film “Poltergeist,” it was announced today by MGM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Gary Barber and Twentieth Century Fox Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jim Gianopulos. Gil Kenan (“Monster House”) is set to direct from a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, David Lindsay-Abaire (whose recent credits include “Oz: The Great and Powerful”). The film is being produced by Sam Raimi (“Evil Dead”) and Rob Tapert (“The Posession”) via Ghost House Pictures, along with Roy Lee (“The Strangers”). Nathan Kahane (“The Grudge”) will serve as executive producer.

“Poltergeist” will be marketed and distributed worldwide by Twentieth Century Fox, with select international territories as well as international television distribution being handled by MGM. Fox will also handle home entertainment and domestic television. MGM and Twentieth Century Fox continue their longtime partnership as Fox also distributes MGM’s home entertainment product.

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