USA Network‘s Chrisley Knows Best went out with a whoop last night clocking 1.5 million viewers — 890,000 of them in the 18-49 demo and 803,000 of them in the older 25-54 age bracket. That’s up by double digits over the previous week’s 1.2 million viewers. Last week, paired with USA’s off-network family comedy Modern Family, Chrisley Knows Best — following the antics of Atlanta-based multimillionaire Todd Chrisley, his wife Julie, and their five children — hit what was then the show’s season high with 823,000 demo viewers and 742,000 in the older bracket, as well as that overall crowd of 1.2 million. (Last week’s ratings had been a jump of 34% in adults 18-49 and 10% in total viewers from the previous week).
EXCLUSIVE: WME has signed Gavin O’Connor, the writer-director of the superb generational fighter tale Warrior, the indie Tumbleweeds, cop drama Pride And Glory, and the U.S. Gold Medal-winning hockey team saga Miracle.
O’Connor most recently directed the pilot that launched the FX series The Americans, and he came on to save the day when he signed on to direct Jane Got A Gun, the drama that stars Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Ewan McGregor and Rodrigo Santoro. Relativity acquired the Western for release and will open the film later this year. O’Connor had been at CAA.
We’re heading into the homestretch of pilot season as the broadcast networks are beginning to view and test the completed pilots, a process that will continue for about two weeks before the nets move on to making pickup and scheduling decisions. Based on buzz around town, here are the most talked-about pilots three weeks before the upfronts.
Related: PILOTS 2014: Early Buzz Edition
Every year, there is at least one pilot that comes out of nowhere and surprises everyone. We may have that this season in ABC‘s multi-camera Cristela. It was not even supposed to be a pilot. Developed at 20th TV-based 21 Laps/Adelstein for more than a year, the semi-autobiographical project co-created by and starring rising Latina stand-up comedian Cristela Alonzo was sold to ABC last summer with significant penalty. But when pilot-pickup time came along, ABC quickly loaded on high-profile sitcoms, including the 20th TV-produced The Winklers, starring Henry Winkler, and the untitled Kevin Hart project starring Romany Malco. Cristela didn’t get a pilot order, but the producers, who also are behind ABC’s Tim Allen sitcom Last Man Standing, decided to take the penalty, which I hear was about $500,000, and use it to shoot a presentation. (ABC called it “proof of concept.”) Cristela ended up filming a full-length pilot on the stage of Last Man Standing using that sitcom’s crew, led by director/co-exec producer John Pasquin, with very little time to rehearse and prep. Because it was supposed to be a presentation, Cristela was not budgeted to get a testing, but I hear 20th TV brass liked the finished product and had it tested. I hear the results blew expectations, with Alonzo, who has no previous acting experience, scoring higher than most stars in recent 20th TV comedy pilots, including Allen, New Girl‘s Zooey Deschanel and The Crazy Ones‘ Robin Williams.
Lionsgate is the latest studio to shake up its marketing operations, saying today it is combining operations under Chief Marketing Officer Tim Palen that will give him oversight of film marketing for Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment product as well as its Pantelion Films joint venture with Televisa and urban Codeblack Films label. With the consolidation, Summit’s president of worldwide marketing Nancy Kirkpatrick is resigning at month’s end (although she doesn’t appear to be in her office now). As the company streamlines its operations — it currently releases about 12 to 15 movies a year now — the question is if others might follow Kirkpatrick out the door.
Kirkpatrick, who is well-regarded, ends her tenure after shepherding the marketing efforts for all five Twilight Saga films as well as the recent launch of the first pic in the Divergent franchise, which bowed last month with a $56.4 million opening weekend and has grossed $175M-plus to date worldwide. Draft Day was the last picture to open and it didn’t do well, grossing only $9.7M this past weekend, but the last three Kevin Costner film openings have been soft.
“Nancy has done a great job and has been an important part of this company,” said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chair Rob Friedman, “And Tim has done an amazing job and has great relationships with both staffs.” One source noted that the word ‘integration’ has been talked about for awhile in the hallways of Lionsgate and Summit.
In fact, one of the biggest question marks since Lionsgate merged with Summit in 2012 was what would happen to their two veteran marketing heads. Eventually, Lionsgate’s Palen was given a new long-term deal to remain Chief Marketing Officer and it was decided Summit’s Kirkpatrick would continue in her role separately since the two entities had their own big slates to shepherd. As part of that structure, Palen was tasked with overseeing all of Lionsgate Films’ North American theatrical marketing campaigns and strategy, media, creative advertising and digital media initiatives as well as continuing to supervise the company’s corporate branding activities — he oversaw the marketing campaign for Lionsgate’s signature franchise The Hunger Games while Kilpatrick guided Twilight pics. As part of today’s moves, Palen now has expanded responsibilities for merchandising, theme park attractions and new business opportunities generated by the company’s franchises. He joined Lionsgate in 2002 as VP Theatrical Marketing.
The CW has unveiled its summer schedule, which includes originals on all five nights the network programs. That includes the reboot of Whose Line Is It Anyway? which originally launched last summer, now moving to a new night, Mondays. It will be joined by original episodes of Beauty And The Beast, which has been benched for the rest of the season; two new scripted offerings, Canadian comedy Seed and web-to-TV comedy Backpackers; docu-reality series Famous In 12; and two magic series, Penn & Teller: Fool Us and a Masters Of Illusion revival. Here is the CW summer schedule with premiere dates and descriptions of the new series:
Chelsea Handler is no longer a part of the CBS late-night conversation, the comic having finished her deft manipulation of the media by announcing, “I would never go to CBS.” ”My mouth? What would they do with me there?” she told Ellen DeGeneres on Ellen’s talk show Wednesday, stating the obvious. “I would never be on a regular network. I would never do that to my fans, myself, or the network,” she added. Handler insisted the Instagram photo that she posted this week of her large-ish dog sitting on her lap, in which she’s seen holding papers upside down so that CBS logo could clearly be seen by viewers, was a giant misunderstanding, explaining she doesn’t look at photos before posting them. She’s talking to CBS about something entirely different, she said.
DeGeneres noted the one solid fact in the Handler late-night saga is that she has said she is ending her Chelsea Lately on E!. “Is that your choice?” Ellen asked. ”Well…..yeah,” Handler said, adding that she thinks it’s time to move on because she wants a vacation and some sleep.
Ellen asked Handler about the Comedy Central opening that will be created when Stephen Colbert leaves to replace David Letterman on CBS. “What is Comedy Central?” Handler snarked, adding, “I don’t want to take a job that somebody else has already done.”
The film’s official Facebook page unveiled that Paul Walker‘s brothers Caleb and Cody will help complete his action scenes on Universal’s Fast & Furious 7. The note says Walker had completed his dramatic work on the latest film in the lucrative franchise before he was killed in a car crash in November in Santa Clarita, CA. Universal postponed the original July 2014 release and pushed the sequel’s debut by nearly a year to April 10, 2015. Here’s the statement:
The FAST & FURIOUS saga is about family. The characters are connected by the bond of family, and it is how all of us who have worked together for more than thirteen years feel about each other. It certainly defines how we feel about our fans.
Our family experienced an unthinkable shock in November. We had to take time to grieve Paul, the brother we love and lost, and to figure out if we should move on with our film.
We came together and all felt the only choice was to continue. We believe our fans want that, and we believe Paul would want that too. Paul had already shot his dramatic scenes and most of his action for FAST & FURIOUS 7, and it’s among the strongest work of his career.
We have resumed shooting and now welcome Paul’s brothers, Caleb and Cody, into our FAST family. Caleb and Cody are helping us complete some remaining action for their brother and fill in small gaps left in production. Having them on set has made us all feel that Paul is with us too.
With less than a month until the upfronts, we’re kicking off our annual Pilot Buzz series. As usual, the first edition only includes a limited number of projects that have been garnering early attention as many pilots are still filming. So, if a pilot is not mentioned, it probably means it is too early to weigh in or the feedback I’ve received is inconclusive at this time.
Shonda Rhimes. Viola Davis. Need we say more? ABC’s sexy suspense legal thriller How To Get Away With Murder, executive produced by Rhimes and starring Davis, is packing some heat early on. Secret & Lies starring Ryan Phillippe also is getting encouraging early response. It also has a seven-figure penalty and is directed by Charles McDougall, whose strong pilot record includes Desperate Housewives, The Good Wife and most recently, Resurrection last season. Then there is Marvel’s stealth Agent Carter project. Last year, the company went into Fort Knox mode on its Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot, which was kept under lock and key. They took that a notch further this year with Agent Carter. Because there is a prototype — the project is inspired by a one shot, which was featured on the Blu-ray release of Iron Man 3 — word has been that it would forgo a pilot and go straight to series. The script was finished more than three months ago (“the script is great,” ABC’s Paul Lee said back in January), the option on one-shot’s star Hayley Atwell came up and was extended, but the green light never came. Now there is talk that a pickup for Agent Carter may come along with a renewal for Marvel’s freshman Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with the new series possibly serving as a bridge between the fall and spring portions of S.H.I.E.L.D. Also getting various level of early traction at ABC is mystery Sea of Fire and several dark horses, alien drama The Whispers (aka The Visitors), medical drama The Warriors and mystery Clementine.
EXCLUSIVE: Gersh has signed Ron Perlman and his production company. After Hellboy and Sons Of Anarchy, Perlman is building the next chapter of his career. He’s not letting any moss grow under him since completing his superb turn as Sons biker club leader Clay Morrow. Perlman has optioned several screenplays, he is currently starring in and exec producing Hand Of God, a pilot for Amazon that Marc Forster is directing, and he has made a deal to co-write with Michael Largo the memoir Easy Street—The Hard Way that will be published by Perseus Books Group imprint Da Capo Press.
I had the honor of being asked by Kurt Sutter to moderate the Sons panel that closed San Diego Comic-Con, and found Perlman to be so subdued and fatalistic about his character’s future on the show, almost seeming ashamed of what his character had done. Feeling he was losing his grip on the club (and not just because of the arthritis he tried to hide), Clay backstabbed Jax (Charlie Hunnam), his wife Gemma (Katey Sagal), and just about everyone else in the club, leaving bloodshed and a trail of bodies in his wake. It was impossible for the Comic-Con crowd not to feel like this was going to be his last hurrah. Now, the Emmy voters have been snobbish about Sutter’s series creation and have almost made it seem …
EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate/Summit will adapt Veronica Roth‘s Divergent novel trilogy into a total of not three, but four films starring Shailene Woodley as the dystopian sci-fi heroine Beatrice “Tris” Prior, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger revealed today. Following last month’s blockbuster hit Divergent and its planned 2015 sequel Insurgent, Allegiant – adapted from the third book in Roth’s bestselling YA book series – will be split into two separate films to conclude the franchise. Lionsgate had previously set Allegiant for a March 18, 2016 release. Allegiant Part 1 will keep that date, with Part 2 to follow on March 24, 2017. Both films will be produced separately.
Divergent has quickly made a box office star of Woodley, who will reprise her role in all three sequels as Tris, the 16-year-old girl who finds herself a target as one of few in her futuristic society who defy categorization into one of five personality-based factions. The first picture scored a $54.6M opening in March and has now racked up $117M domestic and $139M worldwide in three weeks of release. It’s still rolling out strong internationally and opens this weekend in France, Germany, Russia, Australia, Scandinavia, and other territories. Meanwhile sales of Roth’s novels have also enjoyed a bump from the film’s release, with boxed set and multi-book e-bundles jumping up 55 percent in sales last week and nearly 20 million copies sold worldwide.
The Twilight Saga films may be over, but the battle for money from the blockbuster franchise is not. Financier Goldcrest Film Distribution hit Summit today with a multimillion-dollar breach of contract lawsuit (read it here) over the movies. “As a direct result of Defendant’s deceptive accounting practices in which it systematically understates the Twilight revenues and overstates its costs, however, Goldcrest has received many millions of dollars less than it is due,” says the heavily redacted document filed today in LA Superior Court. The plaintiff says they are trying “to recover several million dollars in payments” from the more than $392 million that the first Twilight made worldwide. In a 2008 sub-distribution deal Goldcrest says in the filing it agreed to front Summit and others $10 million for four films based on the bestselling vampire books by Stephenie Meyer. For the upfront payment, the London-based financier was to get a hefty slice of the pics’ global net revenue.
Obviously that didn’t happen to Goldcrest’s satisfaction with what they allege are fast and loose moves on the part of Summit, now a Lionsgate subsidiary. “We uncovered numerous improper accounting charges, including retroactive ‘bonuses’ paid to actors Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson after Twilight was released, which were not due under their agreements. These bonuses were paid and charged back to Goldcrest long after Twilight was completed,” said Goldcrest attorney Mark Holscher of Kirkland & Ellis in a statement …
Fourth in a series.
With all its car crashes, explosions, and hair-raising stunts, the film and TV industry is a notoriously dangerous business. But your chances of getting killed while making a movie go up dramatically the minute you step foot inside a helicopter. Indeed, helicopter crashes have taken more lives on film sets than any other type of accident in modern times. Since 1980, 33 film and TV workers — nearly one a year — have been killed in helicopter accidents around the world, 14 in the U.S. and 15 more for American companies shooting abroad.
In the 1980s, two crashes alone — both being shot on the cheap in the Philippines by the same production company — claimed nine lives in the span of just two years. The ’80s were by far the deadliest decade for helicopter crashes on movie sets, accounting for all but five of the 31 helicopter-related film and TV production fatalities in the last 34 years. The list:
Tom Hardy is reuniting with his Locke director and screenwriter Steven Knight, and his Child 44 producer Ridley Scott for eight-part period series Taboo. Knight created the drama based on an original story by Hardy and his father, Chips Hardy. Tom Hardy will star as an early 19th century adventurer battling the East India Company during a time in British history “when the rising power of the Empire seeped into every dark corner,” says exec producer Scott. This is the actor’s latest foray into British television after recently coming on board the second season of BBC Two drama Peaky Blinders, which Knight also created. Scott Free London and Hardy Son & Baker are producing Taboo for BBC One and Sonar Entertainment. Shooting will start in the UK in January 2015.
Set in 1813, Taboo follows Hardy’s James Keziah Delaney who returns from Africa with 14 ill-gotten diamonds and seeking to avenge his father’s death. Refusing to sell the family business to the East India Company, he sets out to build his own trade and shipping empire and finds himself playing a dangerous game with two warring nations, Britain and America.
Tom Hardy calls it a “flagship British drama for this generation.” It’s a “hybrid of orthodox and unconventional storytelling, packed with darkness and spirited characters.” Knight adds that the lead character is “a deeply flawed and deeply troubled …
Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Nymphomaniac: Vol. II’, ‘The Unknown Known’, ‘The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came To Eden’, ‘Afflicted’, ‘Alan Partridge’, ‘Ilo Ilo’, ‘Frankie & Alice’
This is a jam-packed weekend of new releases, many hoping to be the perfect counter-programming pick against Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Magnolia is opening Nymphomaniac: Vol II just weeks after releasing Vol. I in theaters. The film is the continuation of the much talked about Lars von Trier two-parter that has fascinated fans of the Danish filmmaker for well over a year. Documentaries are also on tap this weekend, including Errol Morris’ The Unknown Known and Zeitgeist’s The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came To Eden. CBS Films is bowing Afflicted, a title it became involved with early on, while Magnolia will open comedy Alan Partridge. Cannes Camera d’Or winner Ilo Ilo from Singapore is opening in limited release, while Codeblack/Lionsgate will launch Frankie & Alice in over 150 theaters. Other titles not profiled in depth but also among this weekend’s packed list of theatrical openers include Searchlight’s Dom Hemingway, Anchor Bay’s In The Blood and TWC’s On The Other Side Of The Tracks. And A24 will open Jonathan Glazer’s experimental sci-fi Under The Skin starring Scarlett Johansson in limited release.
Magnolia opened the first part of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac duo theatrically March 21 (it was available via digital/VOD beginning March 6) and is now following up with the second part of the film, which follows the saga of sex addict Joe (she prefers the term ‘nymphomaniac,’ however). Charlotte Gainsbourg is featured more prominently in Vol. II, depicting the older Joe in the final installment of the film, following up Vol. I in which Stacy Martin is seen primarily as the younger Joe (porn stars are used for Joe’s sex scenes). Though both parts are currently available via digital/VOD (Vol. II launched on demand March 20), there will be some theaters that will screen both films for audiences preferring to see both parts back to back.
Sandrine Holt has locked a deal to join Paramount and Skydance’s reboot Terminator: Genesis, which stars Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, Jason Clarke as her son John Connor, Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese, and Arnold Schwarzenegger reprising his signature cyborg. The UK-born Holt would play Detective Cheung, who arrests Kyle and Sarah when they arrive in 2017. The time-travel saga is directed by Alan Taylor has a July 1, 2015 release set. Holt also just closed a deal to star opposite Norman Reedus and Djimon Hounsou in Air, the Automatik Entertainment pic, playing Abby, the wife of Cartwright (Hounsou). Holt played Gillian Cole, the work rival of Robin Wright’s Claire Underwood, in the first two seasons of Netflix’s House Of Cards. She also was cast in the ABC pilot Exposed, and was last on CBS’ Hostages. She is repped by Innovative and D2 Management.
Global Showbiz Briefs: eOne Names Pair To Its Board; Cast Additions And Changes For BBC One Dramas; More
Allan Leighton, Linda Robinson Named To eOne Board
Canadian giant Entertainment One has appointed Allan Leighton to its board as Non-Executive Director and Chairman. He replaces James Corsellis as Chairman, though Corsellis will remain a Non-Exec Director. Leighton is a former board director of BSkyB in the U.K. and previously was Chairman of The Royal Mail, CEO of Asda Stores Limited and Walmart Europe, Deputy Chairman of Selfridges & Co and Chairman of LastMinute.com. Also joining the eOne board a little more than a year after its acquisition of Alliance Films is media attorney Linda Robinson as Non-Exec Director. Patrice Theroux, who leads eOne’s global film business, is stepping down from the board to focus on his exec responsibilities.
EXCLUSIVE: In what should be a star-making role, Dayo Okeniyi has been set to star in Terminator: Genesis, the franchise reboot for Skydance Productions and Paramount Pictures. And here is some more good news for fans: they have made first plans to shoot three installments to put this saga to rest. The second and third films will be done back to back over nine months. The first film gets underway shortly in Louisiana.
Okeniyi and John Boyega were the two top choices for this pivotal final role, and this came down to a tug of war between storied franchises The Terminator and JJ Abrams and Star Wars, which also wanted Okeniyi to test for one of the leads of that film. Paramount and Skydance’s David Ellison stepped up and the actor unpacked his bags. Okeniyi, who co-starred in The Hunger Games and The Spectacular Now, will play a Steve Jobs genius who figures heavily into the conclusion of the film. He is Danny Dyson, who is also the son of the brainiac cyborg developer Miles Dyson, played by Joe Morton in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The young man holds the key to technology development that makes Skynet possible. He’s repped by UTA, Sweeney Entertainment, and attorney Joel McKuin.
2013 Most Valuable Blockbuster Final Four – #1 ‘Iron Man 3′ Vs. #5 ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’
We are down to the nitty gritty on Deadline’s search for 2013’s Most Valuable Blockbuster. This is the first of two showdowns today. Fueled by the numbers furnished by our insiders, we’ll find out just how profitable these movies really are.
OTHER FINAL FOUR MATCHUP
#2 ‘Frozen’ Vs. #3 ‘Despicable Me 2′
The Matchup: This battle between Katniss Everdeen and Tony Stark puts the year’s highest domestic-grossing film, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, against Iron Man 3, which turned in the highest offshore gross.
The Bottom Line: #1 seed Iron Man 3 got here by beating The Conjuring and Gravity, while #5 The Hunger Games 2 beat World War Z and turned in an upset by besting The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug. According to our experts, Robert Downey Jr received first-dollar gross at around $10 million against 10%, putting his payday around $73 million. The film was the year’s top worldwide grosser with $1.2 million and clocked in as the fifth-highest-grossing film of all time, trailing only Avatar, Titanic, The Avengers and the Harry Potter finale. It had the ninth-biggest foreign opening weekend of all time, and the sixth-largest worldwide opening ever. It completely righted the stumble that was Iron Man 2. On the downside, Marvel owed this movie to Paramount as part of that original financing and distribution agreement, so Paramount, which did the marketing and distribution, took in a 9% fee that amounted to $89 million. The film had a net production cost of $200 million, and the global P&A spend was $130 million worldwide.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire set records of its own. It crushed past records for a Thanksgiving holiday opener — both for weekend and the five-day holiday period. Its $71 million opening day was the seventh-best domestic opening single day total ever, and its $158 million opening weekend was the sixth-highest opening weekend in movie history. Because Lionsgate pre-sells foreign (much like New Line did for The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and Summit did with Twilight Saga), the mini-major doesn’t reap the full dividends of its international performance the way Disney did on Iron Man 3, and star Jennifer Lawrence was paid $10 million upfront against backend. Between her, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson and director Francis Lawrence, our experts place the participations at $21 million. The film had a net production cost of $130 million, and Lionsgate spent $50 million for domestic P&A.
The Winner: This is a tough one.
2013 Most Valuable Blockbuster – #5 ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Vs. #4 ‘The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug’
The final eight films in Deadline’s Most Valuable Blockbuster movie tournament face off today. This is the second of our quarterfinal matchups and for the first time we reveal the numbers behind the numbers that show just how profitable a movie really is.
The Matchup: There are similarities here that go beyond each of these being the second installment of huge global franchises. How huge? MGM, which was frozen in suspended animation not that long ago, is flush and considering an IPO because of the fortunes derived from its share of The Hobbit franchise, and James Bond. On the other side, The Hunger Games is doing for Lionsgate what The Twilight Saga did for its merger partner, Summit Entertainment. It is driving the fortunes of those combined companies, emboldening its creative team to take chances on building new YA franchises as it did with the weekend’s top-grossing film Divergent.
The Box Score: Here is how the films compare in revenue, ancillary projections and profits.