At last October’s Mipcom, Israeli interactive talent show Rising Star, was the hot property, selling local versions around the globe. At the Mip-TV market next month, The Big Picture, a new interactive entrant from Israel, is aiming to be the next big thing. The game show hails from Israeli format company A Cappella, which recently made U.S. and UK deals with eOne for religion-themed drama Reaching For Heaven. Big Picture is created by TV host and mentalist, Nimrod Harel, whose first scripted series, The Believer, has been sold to Fox International Channels. A budget of $1M went towards developing and producing an English-language Big Picture pilot hosted by Andrew Günsberg (Australian Idol, Live To Dance) which A Cappella will shop at Mip-TV (see promo below). The trivia-based show asks a single contestant to identify photographs projected on a 20-meter high screen in the studio; the pictures can be of celebrities, political figures, events and such. There are 12 stages to the game with the ultimate possibility of winning $1M. The contestant can opt out at any time and take the money they’ve amassed, or continue vying for the top prize. If they get an answer wrong, they leave empty-handed. The interactive element in The Big Picture is the participation of the viewing audience. Via a specially-designed app that uses technology created in Israel’s booming start-up community, and with consultants …
Director Wladyslaw Pasikowski’s Jack Strong has taken the box office in Poland by storm since its release on February 7. The Polish, English and Russian-language film made about $1.5M in its debut and increased over the next two frames. It’s now passed the coveted 1M admissions mark, according to the Polish Film Institute, and has about $6M in takings. It’s the top film of the year and is expected to continue to have legs. The Cold War period thriller stars Marcin Dorocinski who was in last year’s top Polish grosser Drogówka (Traffic Department), American actor Patrick Wilson and Maja Ostaszewska. It’s based on the true story of Colonel Ryszard Kukliński, a high-ranking officer in the Polish army. Privy to the most classified operations of the Warsaw Pact, he become a CIA asset and from 1971 to 1981, Kukliński provided the West with over 40,000 pages of classified documents. Helmer Pasikowski (Aftermath) wrote the screenplay based on CIA documents, interviews with witnesses and never-before-seen materials from the archives of the Institute of National Remembrance. The Glos Wielkopolski newspaper called Jack Strong, “a very good thriller” somewhere in between “the intellectual complexity of Tomas Alfredson and the lightness of James Bond.” The film was produced by Scorpio Studio and co-produced by Vue Movie Distribution (formerly ITI Cinema), Orange Polska, and Tauron Polska Energia with co-financing from the Polish Film Institute. A limited run in the UK and Ireland …
The Tribeca Film Festival continues to roll out its lineup for this year’s 13th edition, which kicks off April 16. Here is the program slates for the Spotlight, Midnight, Special Screenings and Storyscapes sections. The fest’s shorts program will be unveiled Tuesday. Here are today’s films, which include Spotlight spots for Roman Polanksi’s Venus In Fur, the Robin Williams-starrer Boulevard from Dito Montiel, world premieres of films directed by actors Chris Messina and Courteney Cox, and of course the horror comedy Zombeavers:
The digital studio that specializes in scripted female dramas is partnering with the script site to find a writer to develop a YouTube series. The Black List will solicit teleplays to be evaluated by its community of industry pros and readers and deliver a shortlist of five writers to be considered for a script. Submissions are being accepted through May 6. WIGS, the digital studio created by TV and feature producers Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia, inked a multiyear deal with Fox last year.
UPDATE, 4:33 PM: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon has done its part to contribute to the wild viral video run of Frozen‘s Best Song Oscar winner “Let It Go”. YouTube is hosting countless versions that are getting millions and millions of hits, and now there’s this one from last night that has Idina Menzel contributing to Fallon’s take featuring kids instruments like the kazoo and toy blocks courtesy of house band The Roots. Check it out:
The 2014 Tribeca Film Festival unveiled 47 of its 89 feature-length films in its lineup today in the World Narrative and Documentary Competition selections as well as the out-of-competition Viewpoints pics. Thursday will see the remainder in the Spotlight, Midnight, and Special sections. The fest kicks off April 16 with the already announced opening-night film, the Nas documentary Time Is Illmatic. Dior And I will screen opening night for the World Documentary competition, the Rory Culkin-starrer Gabriel from U.S. writer-director Lou Howe will open the World Narrative competition, and Summer Of Blood will open Viewpoints — all world premieres and all to screen April 17. The fest runs through April 27. Here’s the lineups in the three sections:
Gold Medal Ice Dancers Meryl Davis And Charlie White Headline ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Cast Heavy On Athletes: Video
Fresh off their gold-medal win at the Sochi Olympics, ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White will headline the all-star lineup of ABC‘s competition series Dancing With The Stars when it returns for its 18th season – part of a celebrity lineup that’s heavy on athletes. Davis and White, who have been skating partners since 1997, will compete against each other on Dancing. They’ll be joined by double-amputee snowboarding champ Amy Purdy – a world-champion adaptive snowboarder and the show’s first Paralympian to compete. And, Sean Avery will be the first former hockey player in Dancing history. Also in this year’s celebrity cast: swimmer Diana Nyad, who became the first person to complete a historic 110-mile swim from Cuba to Key West in September of 2013 on her fifth attempt.
Joining the athletes in the battle for the mirrorball trophy: The Wonder Years star Danica McKellar, comedian turned game show host Drew Carey, actor Billy Dee Williams, former Full House actress Candace Cameron Bure, Real Housewives reality star NeNe Leakes, Australian pop singer Cody Simpson, and Big Time Rush actor-singer James Maslow.
The industry asked, and the Academy listened. At the end of tonight’s In Memoriam tribute to notable Hollywood figures who passed away during the year, the Oscars telecast acknowledged the death of second camera assistant Sarah Jones, who died in a train accident on the set of Midnight Rider less than two weeks ago. Following Bette Midler’s performance of “The Wind Beneath My Wings” after the traditional In Memoriam reel, a graphic memorializing Jones flashed onscreen. Jones is also included in the fuller Oscars In Memoriam gallery online.
Here’s the full list of honorees included in this year’s Oscars In Memoriam tribute. Who else should’ve made the broadcast?
Here we are again after the Golden Globes, Mike Fleming and Anita Busch taking on the task of play by play during the most wide-open Oscar race we can remember. Even on the party circuit, industry insiders who usually have a grasp of who’ll walk away with Oscars were evenly torn between Alfonso Cuaron’s 3D masterpiece Gravity and Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave. Then again, there were so many terrific films that got Best Picture nominations, and all of them have at least a puncher’s chance at an upset.
That includes American Hustle, where David O Russell co-wrote the Best Original Script nominee with Eric Warren Singer and got tour de force performances and nominations for Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Perfs so strong there was no room on the nomination roster for perennial Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner. The film is up for 10 awards, and has grossed over $240 million on a $40 million budget.
Then there is The Wolf Of Wall Street, with Leonardo DiCaprio giving the most emphatic and complete performance of a great career, and Jonah Hill right there with him as his crazy con man sidekick. The film is up for five nominations, including Martin Scorsese for directing a terrific adaptation from The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire vet Terence Winter.
OSCARS: Broadcaster ABC Unveils Nate Silver’s Number-Crunch Data Hours Before Awards Ceremony: Video
This morning, in the walk-up to its broadcast of the 86th Annual Academy Awards, ABC brought out ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chiefNate Silver and its general editor Walter Hickey to share results of their controversial number crunching about Best Picture Oscar winners through the ages on the network’s Sunday Beltway show This Week. Here are their six big takeaways:
1. It’s All About Adaptation
Silver and Hickey calculated that nearly 40% of best picture nominees originate from books, while about 18% originate from plays.
2. Oscar Hearts NYC
The Big Apple is an Oscars favorite, with about 20% of nominees taking place there. Next in popularity are London and Paris, while Washington D.C. and Los Angeles just barely make the top five.
3. 1930s or Bust
The 1930s turned out to be the most common decade to have a film set. “Since 1939, about one in seven best picture nominees have involved World War II in some way, shape, or form,” Hickey told ABC News’s Lara Spencer, best known as Good Morning America‘s lifestyle anchor. Overall, time periods filled with dramatic events are more likely to be seen in best picture nominees. “Decades that were more tumultuous – the ’30s, the ’40s, the ’60s probably – create more ground for really fertile, rich topics than happy decades like the ’90s, or the ’50s,” Silver said.
Deadline’s Dominic Patten put in his finger-wagging 2 cents for the CanalPlus documentary Marvel Renaissance: How The Superheroes Have Conquered Hollywood, (maybe that title is shorter in French?) which the network will air March 7 right after its broadcast of Marvel’s The Avengers. Patten was interviewed last summer at Meltdown Comics. Here’s the multilingual trailer that just dropped for the movie, which chronicles the fall and rise of Marvel to its current position as king of the tentpole:
Conan O’Brien will devote most of his TBS show Tuesday to guest Mel Brooks, who will talk about close friend Sid Caesar, who died this week at age 91. Brooks famously worked with Caesar on historically significant TV programs including NBC’s comedy series Your Show Of Shows, which aired in the early ’50s and boasted a writing staff that included Brooks, Neil Simon and Carl Reiner, among others. Conan boasts the youngest-skewing audience of the late-night talkers. Back in the fall of 2013, O’Brien did a Serious Jibber Jabber with Brooks about the latter’s long career in film and TV. Watch here:
Frank Pavich’s Jodorowsky’s Dune debuted in the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar in Cannes last year before being acquired by Sony Pictures Classics and playing the fall fest circuit. A trailer has dropped for the documentary about veteran Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s ill-fated attempt to bring Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novel, Dune, to the screen. In the mid-1970s, Jodorowsky (El Topo, Holy Mountain, Santa Sangre) came up with an ambitious take on the tome and spent two years in pre-production. The film was to star Jodorowsky’s own 12-year-old son Brontis alongside Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, David Carradine and Salvador Dali, set to a musical score by Pink Floyd with art design by H.R. Giger and Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud. But the project ultimately went unrealized and the rights lapsed. David Lynch made his own version of Dune in 1984 with Kyle MacLachlan, Sting and Sean Young. Here’s a look at what might have been:
Fox‘s Batman-themed drama Gotham has cast its lead, Detective James Gordon. Southland alum Ben McKenzie has been tapped for the role in the project, which has a series commitment. Based on DC characters from the Batman universe, Gotham explores the origin stories of Commissioner James Gordon (McKenzie) and the villains that made Gotham City famous. It includes younger versions of Bruce Wayne and Alfred as well villains the Riddler, Catwoman, the Joker and the Penguin. In Gotham, Gordon is an idealistic rookie detective for Gotham City Open Police Department’s Homicide Squad, a former college football star and a war hero. Gotham is written/exec produced by The Mentalist creator Bruno Heller, with Danny Cannon directing/exec producing for Warner Bros. TV.
The Gotham casting sets another highlight in McKenzie’s relationship with Warner Bros. TV where he has spent his entire TV career to date. It stems from a talent deal he signed with the studio in October. McKenzie was a fresh-faced 24-year-old with virtually no credits when WBTV cast him a decade ago as the lead of its Fox teen drama The O.C. He went on to topline the studio’s cop drama Southland and starred in WBTV’s CBS drama pilot The Advocates last …
Rosie O’Donnell Returns To ‘The View’, Disagrees “Tenaciously” With Barbara Walters Over Woody Allen Accusations: Video
Rosie O’Donnell returned to The View today for the first time since her headline-grabbing bow-out in 20007. Outgoing Den Mom Barbara Walters explained at the top of the show that they decided it was the perfect time to have Rosie back: “Valentine’s time, heart — everything — to catch up.” Today also is designated as Nation Wear Red Day — it’s a plug for women’s health issues, heart disease being the No. 1 killer of women in the U.S., according to a study. The Ladies of The View are wearing red. Rosie had a major heart attack a couple years ago. Match made in heaven.
“It’s good to have you back on the couch,” Babs says as Rosie comes out onstage. “If feels kinda weird – but good weird,” Rosie says. “I have a red bra on for heart week” she adds. She shows us the bra. “You have your own heart trouble, Babs says, getting down to business. Rosie: “I certainly did – I had a major heart attack.”
They talk about that. They talk about Rosie’s wife’s cancer. They talk about Rosie’s youngest child, and her oldest. “I have known you for a long time, and there are things we disagree on,” Walters says. “One thing I never disagreed: You’ve been a wonderful mother.”
Babs invites Rosie to do the Hot Topics segment with them. “Don’t worry, I’ll be good,” Rosie whispers to Babs as they go to commercial. “I’m not worried,” Babs whispers back. ”Is Hasselbeck here? Just checking!” Rosie snarks as Hot Topics gets underway. Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Rosie frequently got into verbal brawls on The View, during Hot Topics. We miss that. Hasselbeck’s gone from the show too; she’s now a host on Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends.
Horror vet Joe Dante (Gremlins), Xavier Gens (Hitman), and Timo Vuorensola (Iron Sky) have come aboard Paris-set horror anthology Fear Paris, from producers including Paranormal Activity/Insidious‘ Steven Schneider. Two additional directors will join the trio in the project which begins production this summer or fall. Pic weaves together interconnected stories set in the City of Lights spanning fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. This teaser sets the tone, particularly if you suffer from an (ir)rational fear of mimes:
More than four months after MSNBC confirmed that Ronan Farrow would be getting his own show on the cable news network, he finally has a debut date. Farrow’s yet unnamed show will premiere on February 24 at 1 PM ET, MSNBC announced this morning. Also joining the daytime lineup is longtime contributor and Grio.com editor Joy Reid. The recent fill-in host’s own show will also start February 24 at 2 PM ET following Farrow. “Ronan and Joy are two of the most thoughtful and impressive journalists out there and I’m excited for what they will bring to the afternoon,” said MSNBC president Phil Griffin in a statement today. The additions mean some current MSNBC shows will be moved around: Andrea Mitchell Reports will shift to noon, and NewsNation With Tamron Hall will move to 11 AM ET.
Ritesh Batra’s debut feature The Lunchbox recently screened in the Spotlight section of Sundance. It earlier played Toronto, Telluride and the AFI Fest. But the film first came to international attention when it charmed Cannes Critics’ Week audiences. That’s when Sony Pictures Classics acquired it for North America. In September, the film became the focus of some controversy when India did not select it as the Foreign Language Oscar entry. Many felt it had real chance at a nomination, or at least a shortlist slot, but India instead went with Gyan Correa’s The Good Road (it did not make it past the first stage). Sony Classics will release The Lunchbox in the U.S. on February 28. The film follows widower Saajan who is delivered the wrong lunchbox by the local dabbawalas. The meal has been prepared by Ila, a woman whose marriage is in crisis. When she learns of the error, she sends a note to Saajan in the lunchbox, kicking off their epistolary romance. Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur star. Check out the trailer:
Many investors fear that Netflix is committing too much cash to original productions — but Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told analysts this evening not to fret: While his recent project commitments will take spending on original programming “up pretty dramatically,” they will still account for less than 10% of Netflix’s total content costs. “Keep in mind, it is within the forecasted content spend, not in addition to.” He also talked up the benefits of series including House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black. “The audience for those shows is continuing to grow, as we hoped.” And he has seen “nice spikes” over the last few months as they’ve attracted awards attention. Netflix has added director commentary to House Of Cards, and Sarandos noted that many subscribers are re-watching the series ahead of its second season which will become available next month. The all-at-once release strategy doesn’t result in diminished interest on social media, he adds. For example, Google Trends showed that with House Of Cards and a similar serialized thriller out at the same time, FX’s The Americans, “week over week over week there was more chatter” about Netflix’s show. Sarandos wouldn’t confirm or deny Netflix’s aspiration to also produce big budget movies, but reiterated his case for entering the business. “To consumers, the line between a movie and TV is getting pretty blurry,” he says. “We want to …