In the wake of another strong finish for a Blumhouse genre film, The Purge: Anarchy, Universal Pictures and Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions have made a new 10-year first-look production agreement. This will include Blumhouse partnerships with NBCUniversal businesses, including Universal Television and Universal Cable Productions. Blumhouse will bring its Sinister franchise to Focus Features, making Universal home to three of the company’s most profitable micro-budget franchises, including The Purge and Insidious, which is already based at Focus. The announcement was made by Universal chiefs Jeff Shell and Donna Langley and Blum.
“This studio has had an incredible experience working with Blumhouse and it only makes sense to broaden that partnership to NBCUniversal’s broadcast and cable networks,” said Shell. “Jason and his team bring an energy and focus that can be felt across the company and we are thrilled to honor his passion for entertainment with a long term commitment and extension of that relationship.”
Langley brought Blum over to the studio in 2011. “Jason founded a company in Blumhouse that is unique and cutting edge, and we’re honored that they call Universal home. Jason is extremely driven and highly creative. His style coupled with his industry relationships and strategic business model have been a recipe for much success between our companies. We … Read More »
Marvel Comics‘ PR teased yesterday that it would be revealing an explosive new comic book title on The View. Why would Marvel choose that girly gab fest to unveil a superhero? Turns out they had good reason. They seem to have fired the Mighty Thor (in the comics at least; don’t worry, Chris Hemsworth, you haven’t been axed from tentpole duty) and are introducing a female replacement for the venerable God Of Thunder. It’s a new female superhero creation who has been handed the baton, or rather the mighty hammer, and will swing it against evil. Explained Marvel editor Will Moss: “The inscription on Thor‘s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well, it’s time to update that inscription. The new Thor continues Marvel’s proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute. She’s now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy.” Wow, Chris Hemsworth, call your agent quick! The new comic will be written by Thor: God Of Thunder‘s Jason Aaron with art from Russell Dauterman. Read More »
Stage and screen veterans Elizabeth Ashley and Byron Jennings have joined the ever-expanding cast of the upcoming Broadway revival of You Can’t Take It With You, already set to star James Earl Jones, Rose Byrne, Annaleigh Ashford and Mark-Linn Baker, among others. The show begins previews August 26 at the Longacre Theatre and opens September 28. Scott Ellis directs.
Meanwhile, Lincoln Center Theater and the Signature added new plays to their upcoming season lineups this morning, and young folks under stress — from love or lawlessness, take your pick — are prominent. Coming up first, at the Pershing Square Signature Center in August, is Naomi Wallace’s And I And Silence, in which Trae Harris (Orange Is The New Black) and Emily Skeggs (Fun Home) play younger versions of Jamie (Rachel Nicks, Nurse Jackie) and Dee (Samantha Soule, A Fable, Detroit ’67). Signature describes the play as concerning “two imprisoned teenagers, one black, one white, [who] form a perilous bond. As the young women serve time, they forge a plan for survival. When the outside world proves even more dangerous than the jail itself, their private world becomes an untenable practice ground for their new lives. And I and Silence explores the fierce dreams of youth and the brutal reality of adulthood in 1950’s America.” Caitlin McLeod, who staged the play in 2011 in London, repeats. The show begins performances August 5 and opens August 25.
Lincoln Center Theater will turn its mid-size … Read More »
Three months ahead of the premiere of Gillian Flynn‘s Gone Girl movie at Fox, eOne Television said today that it will develop and produce her first novel Sharp Objects as a one-hour drama series. Marti Noxon will serve as showrunner/writer on the project, while Flynn will be an executive producer (she adapted her own book for Gone Girl). Blumhouse Productions is producing and Jason Blum and Charles Layton will also executive produce, extending that shingle’s relationship with eOne which produced Blumhouse’s Sinister and Insidious films. eOne Television CEO John Morayniss and EVP US Scripted Television Michael Rosenberg will oversee the drama sereis for eOne, which is handling worldwide distribution.
Sharp Objects, published by Crown in 2006, centers on reporter Camille Preaker, who after a short stay at a psych hospital must return to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls — and deal with her neurotic, hypochondriac mother and the half-sister she barely knows. She must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story and survive the homecoming. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Television and David S. Goyer have optioned TV rights to horror novel Snowblind, from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christopher Golden (Ghosts Of Albion, Joe Golem And The Drowning City). The New England-set book, published earlier this year by St. Martin’s Press, tracks the denizens of a town still reeling from the disappearance of more than a dozen people who were snatched during a sinister snowstorm 12 years prior.
Goyer is coming off of Da Vinci’s Demons and Man of Steel and will supervise development and executive produce alongside Golden and Pete Donaldson. Project is being developed as a limited series. Snowblind also comes with a choice celebrity endorsement from horror maven Stephen King: “Snowblind is instantly involving and deeply scary. It will bring a blizzard to your bones (and your heart) even in the middle of July. Throw away all those old ‘it was a dark and stormy night’ novels; this one is the real deal. And watch out for that last page. It’s a killer.” Read More »
Danish actress Birgitte Hjort Sørensen has joined Pitch Perfect 2, the a cappella singing sequel Elizabeth Banks is directing for Universal and Gold Circle Films. Sørensen can be seen on Danish TV in the political drama Borgen and starred in the title role in Bille August’s art biopic Marie Krøyer. Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Skylar Astin, and Adam DeVine have returned for the sequel about collegiate competitive crooners. I hear Sørensen will play a member of a competing a cappella group alongside recently cast German YouTube star Flula Borg. Maybe they’ll bring it with a new international rivalry for Pitch Perfect‘s Bellas? Sørensen is coming off of a stage run opposite Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus and stars with Antonio Banderas this fall in Autómata. She’s repped by Paradigm, Untitled, Curtis Brown and Lindberg Management. Universal will release Pitch Perfect 2 on May 15.
India Eisley (Underworld, Kite) has joined the cast of indie thriller Sitter-Cam, about a scheming nanny, hired to look after a 5-year-old, who is spied on by her employers via hidden cameras. Ravenswood‘s Laura Allen, Cam Gigandet of The Twilight Saga, and newcomer Farrah Mackenzie also star in the film. It’s the directorial debut of helmer Nancy Leopardi, who’s currently in production in L.A. Project is said to have a sinister tone a la juicy ’90s domestic thrillers The Crush and The Hand That Rocks The Cradle. Read More »
BBC America dropped a trailer for their August 23 paranormal series The Intruders, about a secret society chasing immortality by taking over the bodies of others. The show, adapted from Michael Marshall Smith’s novel of the same name, is being spearheaded by Glen Morgan, a writer and executive producer of TV’s The X-Files and New Line’s Final Destination 1 and 3. With Blair Witch Project‘s Eduardo Sanchez and The Last Exorcism‘s Daniel Stamm directing episodes, the series is upping the ante with some serious horror and suspense. Set in the Pacific Northwest, John Simm stars as Jack Whelan, a former LAPD cop with a troubled history, whose quiet life is shattered when his wife Amy (played by Oscar-winner Mira Sorvino) goes missing. As calamity ensues, a sinister agent Richard Shepherd (James Frain) is embarking on a series of lethal executions, while a little girl (Millie Brown) runs away from home into a world of danger. Tory Kittles also stars.
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s some hot superhero dish to take into the weekend. There are reports tonight that Peyton Reed and David Wain are being considered for Ant-Man, but man, we are progressing down the comedy director food chain, and this is starting to feel stale. So how about Doctor Strange? Marvel is putting together its cast list, and I’m hearing that Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch are on it. While Marvel has teased this property with mentions in films including Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the film solidified and felt urgent when Scott Derrickson tweeted this week that he will direct the script by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer.
Related: ‘Sinister’s Scott Derrickson To Direct ‘Doctor Strange’
The character has been around since the early 1960s, during that crazy period where just about all the spandex-clad heroes in all the Hollywood blockbusters were hatched at Marvel Comics headquarters (that might be a movie). Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created the character in 1963 as a neurosurgeon who serves as the Sorcerer Supreme, protecting Earth against magical and mystical threats with powers of sorcery, mysticism, and martial arts. Marvel’s Kevin Feige is producing. These two guys aren’t the only ones in the mix, but let’s face it, they are both poised to become major stars. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: James Ransone (Sinister 2, Inside Man) has been cast opposite John Travolta and Ethan Hawke in director Ti West‘s In A Valley Of Violence. The Western, also written by The Sacrament helmer West, tracks a drifter (Hawke) seeking revenge on the thugs who killed his best friend. Ransone will play the son of Travolta’s character in a cast that last month added Taissa Farmiga and Karen Gillan as sisters who run the local town hotel. Jason Blum is producing for Blumhouse, and Jacob Jaffke and Peter Phok are exec producers. Ransone marks the third repeat Blumhouse Productions star to join the project; he’s also set for horror sequel Sinister 2, while Doctor Who‘s Gillan recently led horror pic Oculus. Hawke has done two previous features for the microbudget genre shingle, Sinister and The Purge. Read More »
Despite having a vacant director chair for its Ant-Man film, Marvel Studios has zeroed in on Sinister helmer Scott Derrickson to direct Doctor Strange. “My next movie will be STRANGE,” Derrickson tweeted Tuesday afternoon. Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created the character in 1963 as a neurosurgeon who serves as the Sorcerer Supreme protecting Earth against magical and mystical threats with powers of sorcery, mysticism, and martial arts. Marvel’s Kevin Feige is producing the big-screen outing about the Silver Age Marvel superhero and Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Alan Fine, Lee, and Stephen Broussard are exec producing.
Related: Will Risky ‘Ant-Man’ Be Marvel’s Waterloo Or Greatest Triumph?
Derrickson made his feature writing and directing debut with the 2005 horror flick The Exorcism Of Emily Rose and followed with his first major studio gig, 2008′s The Day The Earth Stood Still for Fox. The Keanu Reeves starrer was a critical disappointment. Four years later, Derrickson returned with smaller-scale genre pic Sinister, which he co-wrote with C. Robert Cargill, produced, and directed on a $3M shooting budget for microbudget maven Jason Blum. Sinister became an $87M box office hit for Blumhouse Productions and Summit. Derrickson’s next, the Jerry Bruckheimer/Screen Gems exorcism horror Deliver Us From Evil, opens July 2. He’s also set to write and produce Sinister 2. The helmer is repped by WME, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and attorneys P.J. Shapiro and Matt Johnson.
Related: ‘Ant-Man’/Edgar Wright Lessons: Kevin Feige’s Vision Rules Marvel; Time To Get Excited About ‘Kolchak: The Night Stalker’?
Read More »
Spartacus creator/executive producer Steven S. DeKnight has been tapped as executive producer/showrunner of Marvel’s 13-episode series Daredevil, set to premiere on Netflix in 2015. Drew Goddard was originally tapped as writer/executive producer and director. He pulled out from directing duties in late March when Sony gave him a big feature assignment, to write and direct The Amazing Spider-Man spin-off film, The Sinister Six. Goddard did write the first two episodes of Daredevil and will remain as executive producer. Marvel had been looking for an experienced showrunner to shepherd the series, zeroing in on DeKnight, and the company just officially announced his hire. Search for a director to helm the opening episode continues.
DeKnight has been under an overall deal at Starz, spearheading an U.S. adaptation of the Italian drama Romanzo Criminale among other projects. He has been let out of his deal by Starz to do the Netflix series. Daredevil is the first of four 13-episode superhero series Marvel is producing for Netflix, to be followed by Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage, with the characters from each show then coming together for an Avengers-type superhero teaming in a chapter-closing miniseries.
EXCLUSIVE: After leading April’s horror hit Oculus, Scottish actress Karen Gillan has been tapped for another Blumhouse Productions genre feature. The Doctor Who thesp is joining Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, and newly announced Taissa Farmiga in writer-director Ti West‘s revenge Western In A Valley Of Violence, which is ramping up ahead of a late-June shoot. She’s the second repeat Blumhouse actor to fill out the Valley cast, as Hawke starred in microbudget hits Sinister and The Purge for producer Jason Blum‘s shingle. Gillan will play Ellen, the older sister to Farmiga’s character. Together they run a hotel in the town where Hawke’s drifter seeks vengeance for the death of his best friend. Gillan next will be seen in the villainous Nebula role in Marvel’s summer tentpole Guardians Of The Galaxy and also is making a run at network TV as the star of ABC’s fall comedy Selfie, which was picked up last week. She’s repped by UTA and Troika Talent in the UK.
Related: Taissa Farmiga Joins ‘In A Valley Of Violence’
Producer Brian Kavanaugh-Jones (Sinister, Insidious), CAA lit agent Matt Rosen, and manager Jeff Silver (Fourth Floor Productions) are forming their own new management company focused on repping writers, filmmakers, and TV producers across multi-genres and mediums. The trio first met while working at CAA, where Rosen and Silver were in the film lit department and Kavanaugh-Jones was in film finance and sales. Grandview will see Rosen and Silver running management and repping clients while Kavanaugh-Jones advises on film production and packaging. Doors open in June on the new venture which will add Fourth Floor managers Chris Goble and Zac Frognowski. Automatik will retain executives Bailey Conway and Rian Cahill. Read More »
Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) helms Screen Gems’ summer scarer about Irish Catholic NYC cop Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) who teams up with a renegade priest (Edgar Ramirez) to investigate a demonic plague working its way across the city – and into family man Sarchie’s home. Derrickson wrote the script with Paul Boardman, his collaborator on Screen Gems’ Exorcism of Emily Rose. Deliver Us From Evil also reunites Bana with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, for whom he starred in Black Hawk Down. Olivia Munn and Joel McHale co-star in the July 2 release which the studio’s hoping might launch a new paranormal franchise. Check out the new trailer:
IM Global is coming to the Riviera with its biggest Cannes slate ever, and has just added a project that’s got a big awards pedigree. Oscar nominated writer Billy Ray (Captain Phillips, The Hunger Games) is set to helm The Secret In Their Eyes from his own screenplay that’s adapted from Juan José Campanella’s 2009 Foreign Language Film Oscar winner. Best Actor Oscar nominee and BAFTA winner Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow are playing the lead roles in the crime thriller. Oscar and Emmy winner Mark Johnson (Rain Man, Breaking Bad) is producing along with John Ufland. IM Global starts sales on the project in Cannes with production scheduled to start this fall in Boston.
Ejiofor will play a former MI-5 agent who returns to Boston on a joint task force with the FBI, still obsessed by the unsolved murder that continues to haunt him. As he inches closer to solving the crime, he uncovers a shocking truth that will shed a terrifying new light on past events. IM Global founder and CEO Stuart Ford says, “Billy has written a wonderfully intelligent, twisting screenplay and we’re lucky enough to have attached two world class acting talents at the top of their game for Secret. We’re confident of bringing further great cast on board as we move towards production.” Johnson adds, “The thought of combining the originality of the original film with the talent of Billy Ray and the support off IM Global is irresistible.” Ford, Matt Jackson and Campanella are exec producing. CAA arranged financing for the film and reps domestic rights. Ray is repped by CAA and Management 360; Ejiofor is repped by CAA and Alex Irwin at Markham, Froggatt and Irwin; and Paltrow is repped by Shani Rosenzweig and Tracey Jacobs at UTA and Aleen Keshishian at Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
As IM Global evolves into what founder and CEO Stuart Ford calls “an international facing studio,” the company continues to work with diverse filmmakers from all corners. Ford says, “It’s very exciting and a real privilege to be the platform for so many great movies and such phenomenal talent.”
The Secret In Their Eyes joins a host of other IM Global titles including Forsaken from Gravity co-writer Jonas Cuaron. Formerly known as Desierto, the thriller stars Gael García Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan Read More »
NBC, which is projected to win the season among adults 18-49 for the first time in 10 years, is betting big on The Blacklist with a post-Super Bowl berth and a high profile new time slot. The network has made the bold Thursday move we’d been expecting, shifting the flagship drama starring James Spader to the 9 PM tentpole slot on February 5, after a big showcase behind the Super Bowl on Feb. 1. Without further ado, here is NBC’s fall schedule, followed by analysis:
Related: Jeff Bader’s First Big Test: Fixing NBC’s Thursday Night
NBC FALL 2014-2015 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)
8-10 p.m. — “The Voice”
10-11 p.m. — “The Blacklist” / “STATE OF AFFAIRS” (beginning Nov. 17)
8-9 p.m. — “The Voice”
9-9:30 p.m. — “MARRY ME”
9:30-10 p.m. — “About a Boy”
10-11 p.m. — “Chicago Fire”
8-9 p.m. — “THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA”
9-10 p.m. — “Law & Order: SVU”
10-11 p.m. — “Chicago P.D.”
8-9 p.m. — “The Biggest Loser”
9-9:30 p.m. — “BAD JUDGE” (“The Blacklist” beginning Feb. 5)
9:30-10 p.m. — “A TO Z”
10-11 p.m. — “Parenthood”/”Allegiance”
8-9 p.m. — “Dateline NBC”
9-10 p.m. — “Grimm”
10-11 p.m. — “CONSTANTINE” Read More »
2014-15 NBC Schedule
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)
8-10 PM – The Voice
10-11 PM - The Blacklist / STATE OF AFFAIRS (beginning Nov. 17)
8-9 PM - The Voice
9-9:30 PM - MARRY ME
9:30-10 PM - About a Boy
10-11 PM - Chicago Fire
8-9 PM - THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA
9-10 PM - Law & Order: SVU
10-11 PM - Chicago P.D.
8-9 PM - The Biggest Loser
9-9:30 PM - BAD JUDGE (The Blacklist beginning Feb. 5)
9:30-10 PM - A TO Z
10-11 PM - Parenthood / Allegiance
8-9 PM - Dateline NBC
9-10 PM - Grimm
10-11 PM - CONSTANTINE
8-11 PM - Encore programming
7-8:20 PM - Football Night in America
8:20-11:30 PM – NBC Sunday Night Football
Related: NBC New Series First Looks: Video
2014-2015 NEW SERIES DESCRIPTIONS
A TO Z – This is the A-to-Z story of Andrew (Ben Feldman, “Mad Men”) and Zelda (Cristin Milioti, “How I Met Your Mother”) — a pair that almost wasn’t — and all that happened from the day they met. Andrew has always been a secret romantic … not above crooning to Celine Dion while driving to work, with dreams of finding “the one.” He imagines her to be just like that shimmering beauty he spotted that night in that silver dress at that concert two years ago. Zelda, having grown up with a hippie mom who believed the universe would provide for everything, rebelled into a no-nonsense practical lawyer who prefers the control of online dating. But when a computer glitch … Read More »
2014-15 NBC New Series
ALLEGIANCE (formerly COERCION)
PICKED UP TO SERIES
STUDIO: Universal TV, Keshet Media, Yes!
TEAM: George Nolfi (w, d, ep), Avi Nir (ep), Ron Leshem (ep), Amit Cohen (ep), Yona Wisenthal (ep) and Giyora Yahalom (ep)
LOGLINE: Alex O’Connor, a young idealistic CIA analyst specializing in Russian affairs, learns a shocking secret and his close-knit, affluent family is about to be split apart when its revealed that his parents, Mark and Katya are covert Russian spies deactivated decades ago. But today the Kremlin has re-enlisted them into service as they plan a terrorist operation inside the U.S. border that will bring America to its knees. Years ago, Russian-born Katya was tasked by the KGB to recruit American businessman Mark O’Connor as a spy — and the two fell in love. A deal was struck: As long as Katya remained an asset for Russia, and it was agreed that her services could be called on in the future, she would be allowed to marry Mark and move to America. After years in America building a happy life and without word from Moscow, they thought they had escaped. Now it seems that the new Mother Russia has one more mission — turning Alex into a spy. For these anguished parents, the choice is clear: Betray their country or risk their family.
CAST: Gavin Stenhouse, Hope Davis, Scott Cohen, Margarita Levieva, Morgan Spector, Annie Ilonzeh, Alexandra Peters, Kenneth Choi
CONSTANTINE… Read More »