BREAKING: New York-based Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents has under its banner authors including Jeffrey Deaver, Tracy Chevalier, David Nicholls, David Rabe, Chris Bohjalian, Carolyn Hart, Meg Gardiner, Alan Lightman, Madison Smartt Bell, John Burdett, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Glen Duncan and Evan Hunter/Ed McBain. The alliance with ICM Partners just announced today will see the formation of a new entity, Gelfman/Schneider/ICM Partners, with the agency co-signing authors and journalists and also repping film, television and media rights from the rich library of titles now at its disposal. ICM’s Media Rights Department has had plenty of success in this realm, brokering deals for such projects as Steve Jobs, Lincoln, No Country For Old Men and Sex And The City. Gelfman Schneider will keep its offices on Seventh Avenue, with ICM Partners’ agents down the road in their Fifth Avenue HQ doing the deals. The pact comes after ICM Partners gained a foothold in the D.C. publishing arena via a similar alliance with Raphael Sagalyn’s The Sagalyn Agency in November, which melded Sagalyn’s nonfiction author list and ICM’s list to that point dominated by fiction authors.
EXCLUSIVE: Canadian actress Marie Avgeropoulos (Cult) has signed on to entice Taylor Lautner into the dangerous world of parkour in Tracers, the 2014 action thriller from Twilight Saga producers Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey’s Temple Hill Entertainment in partnership with the Doha Film Institute. Avgeropoulos, who also stars on The CW‘s midseason series The 100, will play Nikki, a skater girl who runs with a gang of street criminals. She meets Lautner’s bike messenger Cam and pulls him into her world – and, naturally, into a love triangle with a member of her crew. Filming is set for NYC with Spanish helmer Daniel Benmayor (Bruc, The Manhunt) directing. Avgeropoulos is repped by AKA Talent, Protégé Entertainment, and attorney Rick Genow. FilmNation took the pic to Cannes last month. WME is repping domestic rights.
Starz has greenlighted its next drama series, Power, executive produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Mark Canton (300) and Randall Emmett (End Of Watch) and created by Courtney Kemp Agboh (The Good Wife), who will serve as an executive producer and showrunner. The pickup comes on the heels of Starz greenlighting another drama series, fantasy saga Outlander. Power, which has received an eight-episode order, tells the story of James “Ghost” St. Patrick, a wealthy New York City nightclub owner who wants to build an empire, turn the club into a Fortune 500 business, but there’s just one problem: Ghost is living a double life as the kingpin of the most lucrative drug network in New York. His marriage, family and business all become unknowingly threatened as he is tempted to leave his criminal life behind and become the rags-to-riches businessman he wants to be most of all. “Curtis has a unique and specific vision for the series, lending it an authenticity and voice rarely seen,” Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said. “Courtney has created a rich world and characters not often explored in contemporary drama. There is a rawness and soul to the character of Ghost as he struggles to live between these two worlds.”
THURSDAY NOON UPDATE: You wouldn’t think that imagining a bunch of stoned and drunk celebrities at James Franco’s house would amount to much as a film. Then again, it’s from the Superbad/Pineapple Express crew. So Sony/Columbia Pictures’ raunchy apocalyptic comedy This Is The End received a ‘B+’ CinemaScore from audiences and 82% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and a #1 reception Wednesday night. With a dearth of both ‘R’-rated movies or well-received laughers in the marketplace, pic made $7.8M Wednesday from 3,055 theaters after a stronger-than-expected late shows around the country. That number includes $2.2M from Tuesday late and midnight screenings. Sony’s latest projections are for the film to take at least mid-$30sM or higher over the next 5 days - or about the same dollar figure as its $32M negative cost. This Is The End was marketed squarely at a young adult male audience and should counter-program the Man Of Steel juggernaut niftily this weekend. Written by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Jason Stone, and directed by Goldberg and Rogen in their directorial debuts, This Is the End is based on Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse, a short film created by Rogen and Jay Baruchel in 2007. Initially called The Apocalypse, the new film’s name was changed but its roots were made clear during marketing: on this past April Fools’ Day, Sony released a trailer for Pineapple Express 2 which …
Santa Monica, CA, and Vancouver, BC, June 12, 2013 — Ron Schwartz, a 20-year veteran of Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) and its predecessor companies, has been promoted to President and General Manager of Lionsgate Home Entertainment Sales and Distribution, the Company announced today.
The promotion recognizes Mr. Schwartz’s ongoing leadership role in growing the Company’s $1 billion-a-year home entertainment operations as they continue to build momentum following the most successful year in their history.
Led by the blockbusters HUNGER GAMES and THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 1, two of the three biggest home entertainment releases in the industry last year, Lionsgate achieved nearly 10% market share in calendar 2012, ranking among the top five home entertainment distributors. The Company is off to a fast start in calendar 2013 as well, driven by releases such as THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 2, one of the biggest home entertainment titles of the year to date.
The BBC is in hot water again, this time over the handling of the Digital Media Initiative, a project to digitize archive content and make it easily accessible to production staff. The project was cancelled last month, but had already cost the broadcaster and taxpayers nearly £100M. Now, the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) contends that it was misled over the status of the initiative during evidence given in 2011 by the BBC and its then-director general Mark Thompson. At the time, Thompson – who is now CEO of the New York Times Company – told the Committee, “There are many programs that are already being made with DMI, and some have gone to air and are going to air with DMI already working.” But at a hearing yesterday, Committee chair Margaret Hodge said, “We were told that there were bits of this system that were working, that you were using them. That wasn’t true. That just wasn’t true.” She has summoned Thompson to answer questions at a July hearing, The Guardian reports.
In a statement, Thompson said, “When I appeared in front of the PAC… I answered all of the questions from Committee members honestly and in good faith. I did so on the basis of information provided to me at the time by the BBC executives responsible for delivering the project.” Thompson has had a hard time leaving the BBC behind. Just as he was starting his New York Times Co. job in November, he was the subject of scrutiny from the flagship paper, and the British media, over the Jimmy Savile/Newsnight saga and was also interviewed for an inquiry into the scandal which erupted just after he left the broadcaster.
“I think that the thing is so big and so massive to so many people that the key to moving forward is honoring but not revering what went before,” said JJ Abrams today about the challenges of directing the new Star Wars movie. Abrams also revealed that production on Star Wars Episode VII is set to start right at the beginning of 2014. “Most likely we are going to be moving to London at the end of the year for the Star Wars movie,” said the Star Trek Into Darkness director Saturday at the Produced By conference on the Fox lot. Abrams added that the overseas shoot “drives me insane” as he would have liked to film the movie in LA. He also noted that the plan to shoot Star Wars Episode VII for Disney in the UK was set before he was brought on board. The director joked that getting the offer to helm the new Star Wars was the only thing that would have caused him to postpone a long set family vacation.
Rarely at a loss for words, Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter has spoken before about doing a prequel to the FX series. Today at the Produced By conference, he told me a little bit more about where things stand with the possible look at the formation of SAMCRO. “Right now, it is just conversations,” Sutter said after appearing on the Hit The Ground Showrunning panel. Confirming that the series, if it happened, would be with SOA’s current home of FX, Sutter said that the show wouldn’t be coming for a few years. “I want to let the property rest for a year or so after Sons is over before jumping in,” he noted. SOA is heading into its sixth season with the expectation that the biker club series will go for a least one more cycle after that. Beyond that timeline, a lot about the prequel is still up in the air. “I don’t know if it will be a series or a limited series of say 10 to 13 episodes,” Sutter said. “I don’t want to do it as a movie – tonally, I don’t see it as a movie.”
#1 ‘The Purge’ Surges For $15M Friday And $34.5M First Weekend, #2 ‘The Internship’ Fetches $7M For $20M
SATURDAY 3 AM, 5TH UPDATE: This is turning into a wild and wacky overperforming weekend at the North American box office For Universal’s The Purge. My sources saw a big Friday for its moviegoing helped by Tropical Storm Andrea which worked its way up from Florida at midweek to the MidAtlantic’s East Coast and is dumping rain. That’s means people flocked to movie theaters so bigger-than-expected grosses. Insiders say Universal‘s small miscreant horror pic The Purge (in wide release in 2,536 theaters) is opening $15M Friday. This includes $3.4 million at Thursday 10 PM late shows and Friday midnights from 1,751 theaters which tops The Hangover Part III ($3.1M) and even Star Trek Into Darkness ($3.3M). That’s a huge number, even more so considering the R-rated crime spree thriller’s budget was only $3M. Estimates now are to reach $32.5M this weekend – a completely unexpected welcome. It’s the first movie in Universal’s overall deal with Paranormal Activity franchise producer Jason Blum. One reason for the rush to see it was the huge social media response to its creative and digital marketing campaign. It stars Ethan Hawke and Game Of Thrones Lena Headey, and was both written and directed by James DeMonaco (The Negotiator), and produced by Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes. It’s DeMonaco’s original spec script that he developed with producer Sebastien Lemercier and second feature as a director. On Thursday, Fandango said The Purge comprised 54% of online ticket sales, and Movieline 60%, as the #1 horror seller of the year. Fandango called it “a true phenomenon”.
And in #2 is the other wide release movie opening today, Twentieth Century Fox/New Regency’s PG-13 buddy comedy The Internship (3,365 theaters) which also is exceeding expectations. My sources say it made $7M Friday and $20M for the weekend for a budget pegged at $58M. Those grosses include $800K in Thursday late shows and Friday midnights which beat The Campaign’s $625K which also was a laugher starring two big but older stars ”so things are looking up,” an insider tells me. Reviews were awful for the Vince Vaughn-Owen Wilson starrer from director Shawn Levy with every critic complaining it’s a 2-hour commercial for Google. How high grosses go may depend on the CinemaScore to see if moviegoers like the execution of an intriguing high-concept. The studio sneaked the film in 300 theaters around the country for 7 PM shows last Saturday night to help word of mouth. But pre-sales have been soft: pic was passed for the #2 spot in online ticket sales Thursday by last week’s holdover, Lionsgate/Summit’s Now You See Me which right now looks like #4. Hollywood wasn’t expecting The Internship to make $20M – which is the minimum that stars should open a pic – and more like $15M. Hard to believe it’s been 8 years since these actors first teamed up for Wedding Crashers. Even harder to understand why New Line never did a sequel for that. Fox grabbed the June 7th date last October, or 3 weeks earlier than The Internship was supposed to release. Now it’s the first original comedy of the summer.
Here’s the Top Ten based on Friday estimates:
Paramount Pictures claims that it was the victim of a fraud and conspiracy involving JP Morgan and it’s not going to take it anymore. “Paramount Pictures Corporation brings this Cross-Complaint against Content Partners LLC and its affiliate seeking redress for a years-long scheme by Content Partners and Wall Street investment bank JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. to defraud Paramount through an unlawful and secret assignment of rights in connection with 25 Paramount motion pictures,” says the cross complaint (read it here) filed Thursday in LA Superior Court in Santa Monica by the studio. “The cross-complaint seeks relief for a contrived attempt to frustrate Paramount’s rights and tarnish its reputation in relation to a series of film financing transactions, a Paramount spokesperson told me today.
Calling Content Partners as “the Hollywood equivalent of a patent troll,” the dense legal action this week comes in response to a $45 million breach of contract and fraud suit that the asset management group brought against Paramount in 2010 over profit participation on films such as Face/Off and The Truman Show. Content Partners claimed that the studio played fast and loose with paying out money it owed. The 2010 case had been winding its way through the courts and the discovery process. It was scheduled to go to trial later this month but delayed because the judge retired. Now Paramount has fired back and set a whole new legal saga in motion. The jury trial seeking complaint filed Thursday claims intentional interference with contractual relations, fraud, misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair business practices and civil conspiracy. Though mentioned throughout the complaint as being deeply involved in the alleged fraud and other claims, J.P. Morgan are not actually named as a defendant in this week’s filing.
Oscar winner Melissa Leo has signed on for Mark Webber’s third directorial effort. A hard examination of a marriage, The Ever After also stars Webber and Warm Bodies’ Teresa Palmer in the lead roles from a script the duo wrote together. Rosario Dawson, rapper Kid Cudi, Phoebe Tonkin and Hart of Dixies’ Jaime King are also in talks to join the film. Webber’s sophomore directorial effort The End of Love was nominated for a Sundance 2012 Grand Jury Prize and the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World actors’ helming debut Explicit Ills won SXSW’s Audience Award back in 2008. While details of Leo’s role in The Ever After are sketchy she is playing a mystical individual who has a profound impact on Webber and Palmer’s character’s relationship. The news of Leo joining The Ever After comes just a week after it was announced that The Fighter actress had joined Denzel Washington in The Equalizer. Leo is also set to star in After Earth director M. Night Shyamalan’s Fox event series Wayward Pines, which is scheduled for a fall 2014. Leo will be seen soon in the Lee Daniels-directed White House saga The Butler, and in the final season of HBO’s Treme, which is back in late October. Leo is represented by CAA and Untitled.
Showtime’s ‘Borgias’ To End Run After Three Seasons; Creator Neil Jordan On How He Planned To Wrap Story
EXCLUSIVE: The saga of The Borgias is coming to an end. The current third season of Showtime‘s medieval drama will be its last, with the June 16 season finale serving as series finale. Created by Neil Jordan, The Borgias stars Jeremy Irons as Pope Alexander VI, the cunning, manipulative patriarch of the infamous Borgia dynasty, who builds an empire by bribing, buying and muscling his way into the papacy.
The series was originally envisioned as going for four seasons, matching the run of predecessor The Tudors. But while filming a pivotal scene in the Season 3 finale, Jordan said Irons turned to him and told him that “this feels like the end of something, that the family has come to an end.” While mulling a potential fourth season, Jordan said he wasn’t sure he had enough material for 10 episodes and wasn’t sure whether Showtime would want to commit to another season either. ”As a compromise, I proposed to finish the arc of all the characters with a two-hour movie,” Jordan said, adding that Showtime commissioned the script and he wrote it. “When they looked at what it could cost, it was just too expensive,” he said. “Sadly, that’s what happened. I would have loved to bring all the characters to a conclusion. All of the actors were heartbroken we couldn’t continue, and so was I.” Jordan said he still likes where the story currently ends with the third season finale, especially for siblings Cesare and Lucrezia, and thanked Showtime for supporting his vision.
Sony Pictures and producer Neil Moritz have optioned remake rights to A Prophet, the French film released in the US in 2010. Moritz and Toby Jaffe are producing through the Original Film banner. The Jacques Audiard-directed French film a young man’s rise to the top of a crime syndicate after he’s mentored by the boss. Pic was a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee in 2010 and won Grand Prize at Cannes and nine César Awards in France.
Moritz called the film “an epic crime saga with compelling characters and original storytelling. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to make an English-language version of the film and am grateful to have the trust of Jacques Audiard and his producers, as well as the writers Thomas Bidegain, Nicolas Peufaillit, and Abdel Raouf Dafri.”
EXCLUSIVE: Kristen Stewart has committed to star in back to back projects shooting this summer. She will star in Camp X-Ray, a politically charged drama written and directed by Peter Sattler, and she will also star in the Olivier Assayas-directed Sils Maria.
In Camp X-Ray, Stewart will play a young soldier who escapes her suffocating small town by joining the military, only to find that she isn’t going for a tour of duty in Iraq as she hoped. Instead, she’s sent to Guantanamo. Met with hatred and abuse from the Muslim men in her charge, she forges an odd friendship with a young man who has been imprisoned at Gitmo for eight years. The film’s being produced by Gina Kwon and Sophia Lin, and exec produced by David Gordon Green, Lindsay Williams and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein. Production begins late summer.
Stewart will join Juliette Binoche and Chloe Moretz in Sils Maria, the CG Cinema-produced English language film that Assayas wrote for his Summer Hours star Binoche. The film explores middle age and that introspective period where one questions how they’ve spent their life so far and what they’ve accomplished. The title refers to the Swiss setting, and Stewart plays the assistant to Binoche’s character, an actress who becomes obsessed with a young actress (Moretz) playing the role that made the older actress famous when she was young. The film shoots this summer in Europe. IFC acquired …
We already scooped the some of the top castings in The Spoils Of Babylon, IFC’s six-episode epic miniseries spoof produced by Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Funny Or Die, including Tobey Maguire, Kristen Wiig and Haley Joel Osment. Now IFC has officially unveiled the cast of the project, which also includes Jessica Alba, Val Kilmer, Michael Sheen and Tim Robbins, as well as more details about the mini. Here is the release:
BREAKING: Fox Searchlight, which was uncharacteristically quiet at Cannes, has just made a buy. Searchlight presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley have closed a deal for North American and a few other territories on the Richard Shepard-directed Dom Hemingway. The darkly comic crime saga stars Jude Law, Richard E. Grant, Demian Bichir and Emilia Clarke. Jeremy Thomas produced through Recorded Picture Company and the film will be released next year. “We were so attracted to this film, with its rich array of characters and sharp dialogue. Jude Law’s clever and outrageous performance as Dom is completely transformative, unlike anything you have seen him do before,” said Utley and Gilula.
Will Smith’s ‘After Earth’ Fizzles Behind #2 ‘Now You See Me’, ‘Fast 6′ Still Sizzles At #1, ‘Epic’ And ‘Hangover III’ Guzzle Overseas
SUNDAY 1:30 AM, 4TH UPDATE: Still clocking in at #1 is Universal’s Fast & Furious 6 (3,686 theaters) which easily dominated the field again with $34M this weekend. The domestic cume should reach a huge $170M through Sunday. But the big story – or should I say, the sad story – is Sony Pictures/Columbia’s After Earth (3,401 theaters) starring Will Smith and his son and directed by the now unwatchable M Night Shyamalan. Big online ticketseller Fandango first spotted the pic’s underperformance when After Earth ticket sales began lagging Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment’s Now You See Me (2,925 theaters) on Thursday for shows beginning at 9 PM. The magic-themed heist thriller amazingly overtook After Earth on Friday and stayed #2 all weekend, debuting with $27.5M for the weekend. That overperforms the $20M which the studio was predicting. This pic is breaking the so-called ‘movies about magic’ curse. (But it’s really a caper flick…) The film cost right around $75M with 2/3s mitigated by foreign sales since that’s the Lionsgate model. The studio notes that grosses were strong throughout Friday and into the evening which indicates a broad audience. “Older audiences attended the matinee performances, and the younger audience came out to our late shows,” an exec tells me. Directed by Louis Leterrier (Clash Of The Titans), scripted by credited screenwriters Ed Solomon and Boaz Yakin & Edward Ricourt, and produced by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Bobby Cohen, it has an ensemble cast including Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, and Common with showy roles for vets Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. It earned an ’A-’ CinemaScore which should help word of mouth stay strong.
But #3 After Earth earned only a ‘B’ CinemaScore which won’t help or hurt word of mouth. It opened to a $26.5M weekend. That’s way less than the high $30sM to low $40sM which Sony was predicting and which tracking showed was possible right into Friday. On Friday, rival studios chortled its grosses were ”2.5 times worse than Jaden Smith’s Karate Kid reboot and half of Oblivion‘s opening” with Tom Cruise. Not hard to understand because reviews for the sci-fi newcomer were just plain awful: 13% positive on Rotten Tomatoes. To be fair, Sony Pictures rarely has a big underperformer like this. And rightly or wrongly depending on how much you care about Jaden Smith and/or nepotism in Hollywood, the studio positioned the movie as a broad family film, building on Jaden’s stardom from the worldwide hit The Karate Kid and reaching out to young teens and families. Will Smith’s residual mega-wattage was still strong enough to open the summer tentpole comfortably above $20M. But even that and Sony’s marketing prowess couldn’t overcome this Shyamalan meltdown, yet another in his string of box office stinkers which have made audiences and critics alike completely soured on him. (The director lost me forever after the execrable The Happening…) I’m told that Will really wanted M Night to direct – even though this subject matter decidedly wasn’t in Shyamalan’s wheelhouse - and they together developed the script for a “not terribly expensive” movie. But a budget of at least $130M is hardly insignificant. Still, given the fact that Smith has made billions for Sony Pictures, the studio felt it just couldn’t say no to its most successful movie partner. Now Smith and Sony must weather this very public failure. I’m told the studio worked “really hard” to fix this crapfest in post-production and that even an arrogant know-it-all like Shyamalan was aware the pic didn’t work but couldn’t fix it on his own. ”You keep hoping people are going to be as good as their best work,” one insider told me about this all-too-familiar filmdom situation. “Sometimes some collaborations bring forth amazing results. And some are not meant to be.” Without a solid opening in North America and no chance for a strong summer multiple, pic will have to depend on overseas grosses. Sony launched it internationally day and date in 3 locations this weekend, and Korea opened very strong, but the overseas rollout really begins next week and the week after. As for the studio, it still has projected winners coming up this summer like Grown-Ups 2, Elysium, Smurfs 2, and This Is The End from the Superbad/Pineapple Express comedy team.
Hoping to fill that drought in PG family fare at the domestic box office, Twentieth Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios’ Epic (3,894 theaters, the weekend’s biggest count) came in #4 and should be grossing more domestically but isn’t. Even with a big Saturday kiddie bump of +65% from Friday, it’ll only earn a $16M second weekend and $64.7 cume. But the toon’s real story will be international where it released wide Friday.
In #5, Paramount’s Star Trek Into Darkness (3,585 theaters) did a $15.2M weekend and $181M domestic cume. Now a new crop of TV ads finally are targeting new moviegoers and driving traffic among non-Trekkies.
Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures’ The Hangover Part III (3,565 theaters) was #6 for a disappointingly anemic $15M second weekend and so-so $87.1M cume. Still unclear if in the morning it will finish a place or two ahead or behind in the Top Ten. However, H3 began its overseas wide rollout this weekend and is doing huge international grosses just as expected. On Thursday, it opened in 25 markets and grossed $15.4M for an international cume of $48.2M. Taking advantage of the public holiday, Germany marked the best opening day of the year. Russia is off to an excellent start ranking #1. Other #1 countries include Italy and Brazil (heading into a 4-day holiday weekend). ”These are great numbers, especially when you consider how big Hangover II was internationally – $332M,” a Warner Bros exec tells me.
On Saturday night the only laugher in the marketplace The Hangover Part III had competition from the Vince Vaughn-Owen Wilson buddy comedy directed by Shawn Levy, The Internship, about middle-aged interns inside Google. PG-13 pic doesn’t officially open in 3,000-plus North American theaters until June 7th but Twentieth Century Fox quietly decided to sneak it in 300 theaters for one prime 7 PM show around the country. Hard to believe it’s been 8 years since these actors first teamed up for Wedding Crashers. Even harder to understand why New Line never did a sequel for that or Toby Emmerich didn’t snap up Vaughn’s original script for this. I’ve asked and received no satisfactory answer on both.
1. Fast & Furious 6 (Universal) Week 2 [Runs 3,686] PG13
Friday $10.5M, Saturday $13.6m, Weekend $34.0M (-65%), Cume $169.8M
2. Now You See Me (Summit/Lionsgate) NEW [Runs 2,925] PG13
Friday $10.0M, Saturday $10.9M, Weekend $27.5M
3. After Earth (Columbia/Sony) NEW [Runs 3,401] PG13
Friday $9.8M, Saturday $10.1M, Weekend $26.5M
4. Epic (Blue Sky/Fox) Week 2 [Runs 3,894] PG13
Friday $4.1M, Saturday $6.8M, Weekend $16.0M, Cume $64.7M
5. Star Trek Into Darkness (Paramount) Week 3 [Runs 3,585] PG13
Friday $4.4M, Saturday $6.5M, Weekend $15.2M, Cume $181.0M
6. The Hangover Part III (Legendary/Warner Bros) Week 2 [Runs 3,565] R
Friday $5.2M, Saturday $6.0M, Weekend $15.0M (-64%), Cume $87.1M
UPDATE 7:27 PM: SAG-AFTRA members voted overwhelmingly to approve its commercials contracts, with 96% of the national membership saying yes. The 2013 SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract and 2013 SAG-AFTRA Radio Recorded Commercials Contract are the first major pacts negotiated by the merged union since SAG and AFTRA linked up in March 2012. The contracts (summaries are here and here) go into effect immediately, retroactive to April 1, and are good through June 30, 2016. “The significance of this ratification is two-fold,” said Roberta Reardon, National Co-President of SAG-AFTRA. “Not only are these the first major contracts negotiated as SAG-AFTRA, but the contracts’ provisions provide for great improvements in the lives of our members and their families. I am grateful to the SAG-AFTRA members and staff who served alongside me on the negotiating team for all of their hard work.” Added union Co-President Ken Howard, “The overwhelming vote of support for these contracts is gratifying.”
PREVIOUSLY: Members have until 5 PM PT to vote on the Commercials Contract, the first deal negotiated by SAG-AFTRA as a new union. A tentative deal on new contracts covering television and film commercials was reached April 6 and the National Board voted unanimously to approve it April 21.
Q&A: Imagine’s Brian Grazer On ‘Arrested Development’ & ’24′s Comebacks, More ‘Development’ In Works & New Projects
Imagine Television is not giving up easily on its shows. Within the past year, the production company of Brian Grazer and Ron Howard managed to revive both of its signature series, the Emmy-winning Arrested Development and 24. Arrested Development got a new season on Netflix, while 24 is coming back as an event series for Fox. Both were able to do it with their key auspices and stars on board. Imagine now has five shows on the air, a record for the 20th TV-based company. They are returning NBC dramedy Parenthood, which landed the high-profile Thursday 10 slot for fall, new dramas Gang Related on Fox, from hot Fast & The Furious writer Chris Morgan, and Those Who Kill on A&E starring Chloe Sevigny, as well as Arrested and 24: Live Another Day. The company also has an animated presentation at Fox with 50 Cent loosely based on the rapper’s childhood and Conquest, a sweeping period drama at Showtime that has Howard attached to direct. In an interview, Grazer and Imagine TV president Francie Calfo talk about how Arrested Development and 24 came back, whether there would be another season of Arrested, how 24 foreshadowed the era of binge-viewing and what new projects the company is working on, including a hybrid comedy/reality presentation for Fox.
DEADLINE: Arrested Development‘s new season premiered more than seven years after the last original had aired on Fox. How were you able to resurrect the show and bring everyone back?
BRIAN GRAZER: It was an unified effort that was spearheaded by Mitch Hurwitz, Arrested Development‘s creator, producer and sometime director, and Ron Howard. They kept their arms wrapped around the subject of Arrested Development and were able to keep the team of actors unified, wanting to do the show. The key was finding a way to unlock it logistically. Gratefully, Mitch did. A lot of it was made possible by the success of the DVDs, which kept the show alive in the hearts of the minds of its core audience. Arrested Development is one of those shows that is one of the first things someone walking into our offices talks about, there has been such a desire for the show. Luckily, Ted (Sarandos) had the same experience on Netflix.
DEADLINE: Netflix executives recently indicated that they’re open to another season of Arrested Development. Will we see Season 5?
GRAZER: It’s up to Ted. If Ted is into it, we would be very excited то pursue it.
FRANCIE CALFO: It’s also up to Mitch, who is probably resting right now as he put everything he had into these episodes and hasn’t had a chance to think beyond that.
DEADLINE: What about the Arrested Development movie, which the new season was intended to lead to?
GRAZER:We’re hoping that we could do that; the popularity of the series will inform that decision.