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:
EXCLUSIVE: UTA has signed to represent screen rights for After, a serialized story by Anna Todd that has become the most followed literary property published by Wattpad, an online community in which writers tell stories chapter by chapter. According to Wattpad general manager Candice Faktor, the three-part series After has been clicked on by more than 500 million.
Factor described the site as “a writer and reader community to collaborate and share nonfiction, fiction and fan fiction. It is a mobile experience that is very social and where writers establish a personal connection with their audience.” The site launched seven years ago and has built to 22 million monthly users, 80% of whom access the site on mobile devices. The company recently raised $46 million in Series C funding.
Agencies usually rep works from traditional publishers, but the priority in Hollywood is to find rabid followings that warrant screen adaptations. For Wattpad, After is the closest thing the site has experienced to Fifty Shades Of Grey, which began in similar fashion as fan fiction before it became a massive global bestseller and an upcoming Universal/Focus feature for author E.L. James. The way Faktor describes it, After sounds like a close cousin, without the S&M. “A happy, optimistic young girl falls in love with a guy with a dark side that is addictive, and their relationship is a rollercoaster ride,” Faktor said.
UPDATED Wednesday, 10:09 PM: After “a reconsideration” of its earlier hard stance against the Key Art for the documentary Fed Up citing ‘offensive language’, the MPAA’s advertising administration reversed its decision late Wednesday night and will now allow the art for the Radius-TWC docu without any alterations, a source close to the situation told Deadline.
So, TWC’s F U is OK. TY MPAA.
PREVIOUSLY, Wednesday, 5:07 P.M.: The MPAA has rejected the key art for Fed Up, a documentary film about the fast food and junk food industries which reveals how children and parents are being fed a bill of goods by food manufacturers. Distributor Radius-TWC has vowed to fight the decision on appeal. The poster featured here shows two M&M’s with the letters F and U next to each other. One wonders if they purposely pushed the envelope knowing that the poster might not pass muster with the MPAA, which cited the key art’s “offensive language.” Nothing like a good controversy to help marketing. Yeah, well, who cares, when the topic is about children’s health in this nation. ”If only Congress and the FDA cared as much about protecting Americans’ lives as the MPAA cares about suppressing our poster, we wouldn’t be facing the greatest health epidemic of our time,” said Radius-TWC co-presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego in a statement. The MPAA could not be reached for comment.
The film, which is executive produced by Katie Couric, who also narrates the film, is a Radius/TWC presentation after The Weinstein Company label acquired it this year at Sundance. It features several noteworthy people talking about sugar’s impact on the health of children. Included are former President Bill Clinton, Harvard Medical School associate professor in pediatrics Dr. David Ludwig, former FDA commissioner David Kessler, Sen. Tom Harkin, former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, and food author Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma). One of the producers of Fed Up is Laurie David, who also produced the 2006 Academy Award-winning documentary film An Inconvenient Truth.
Related: Hot Trailer: Food Docu ‘Fed Up’
Drafthouse Films‘ Evan Husney is stepping down from his post as Creative Director after nearly three years at the upstart distribution label. New York-based Husney, 27, will be shifting focus to producing and is working with directors Jason Eisener (Hobo With A Shotgun) and Todd Rohal (The Catechism Cataclysm) on their next features. Husney helped develop the specialty distro arm of Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas from the ground up when company founder Tim League tapped him to run creative ops in 2011. Shortly thereafter Drafthouse Films scored an Academy Award nomination with one of its first acquisitions, director Michaël R. Roskam’s Belgian drama Bullhead, which vied for Best Foreign Film at the 2012 Oscars. Last year Husney and the Drafthouse team mounted their second Oscar campaign in three years for Best Documentary nominee The Act of Killing, director Josh Oppenheimer’s critically-acclaimed documentary about Indonesian death squad leaders.
Since its inception the label has acquired a variety of specialty releases spanning genre, action, drama, comedy, foreign, and repertory titles, plucking often-challenging fare from the lineups of Austin’s Fantastic Fest (which League founded) and SXSW. “When [Drafthouse Films] started we wanted to acquire movies we loved and films we thought are great, utilize our backgrounds as programmers and approach distribution with a curatorial quality – a real cinephiles for cinephiles label,” Husney told me.
EXCLUSIVE: Now might be the perfect time for more faith-based features to get in on the box office hunger that’s propelled Christian-themed fare like Fox’s Son Of God and Freestyle Releasing’s God’s Not Dead into the Top 10. True-tale biopic Noble is one such film aiming to join the fray as it makes festival rounds and screens for buyers this month in LA and NY before heading to Cannes. Deirdre O’Kane (Moon Boy) stars as Christina Noble, a humanitarian and author who channeled her deprived and destitute childhood growing up on the streets of Dublin, Ireland into a lifelong mission to help children in need in Vietnam and Mongolia. Noble founded the Christina Noble Childrens Foundation in 1989 and wrote two books about her life’s work. Stephen Bradley wrote and directed the film, based on Noble’s life, which also stars Downton Abbey‘s Brendan Coyle, Game of Thrones‘ Liam Cunningham, and Sarah Greene. Melanie Gore-Grimes produced the UK/Irish pic, which was filmed in Vietnam, Liverpool, and Cumbria. Michael J. Hunt exec produced for his Ansty Productions. Noble won the Panavision Grand Prize at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Dallas International Film Festival, and next stops by the Nashville Film Festival and Newport Beach Film Fest. Continental Media is repping sales. Check out the trailer exclusively on Deadline:
With just days to go before they meet their Aereo foes face-to-face at the Supreme Court, the broadcasters this week took one last swipe at what they claim is the “blatant and unapologetic copyright infringement” by the Barry Diller-backed streaming service. “Aereo is in the business of retransmitting performances of the copyrighted works of others to the public for a profit,” said bluntly in a final reply brief filed by Disney, CBS, NBC, Fox and the other plaintiffs on April 14 with the SCOTUS (read it here). Aereo and the broadcasters are set to present their respective oral arguments in a 1-hour hearing before the High Court on April 22. In their March 26 response to the broadcasters’ February 24 filing, Aereo insisted that they are not engaged in public performance of copyrighted works. The company also said “this Court should not rewrite the Copyright Act in an effort to protect petitioners from lawful and logical advancements in technology or from the economic consequences of their transmitting works for free over the public airwaves.”
With the previously recused Judge Samuel Alito now joining the case the court docket revealed today, the stakes have gotten higher for all concerned, as it is impossible for the SCOTUS to have a tie on …
Malta has stood in for European and Middle Eastern countries in a plethora of films in its long history as a shooting destination. The Maltese government is looking to keep the momentum going, announcing today that it has substantially raised its tax rebates. The credit has been boosted to 25%, plus an extra 2% if Maltese cultural elements feature. The new incentive scheme, which is pending State Aid approval, has also been broadened to include international TV series, miniseries and animation. To access the rebates, productions must pass a cultural test that takes into account the use of local or European talent, storyline, settings, and other criteria. The cashback system is available for above- and below-the-line spend and is capped at 50% of the production budget. Post-production also can be claimed with a cap of 150,000 euros. European and other offshore countries have increasingly upped their incentives to attract foreign productions; most notably the UK which is now so attractive it’s having to turn shows away. Films have been shot in Malta dating back as far as 1925. More recently, it’s been host to 2000′s Gladiator, 2005′s Munich, 2012′s Kon-Tiki, and 2013′s World War Z and Captain Phillips. And, the Popeye village, famously built for Robert Altman’s 1980, film is still on offer as a set.
The original video programming initiative will debut first on NBCUniversal’s various digital platforms, including channel websites, Hulu and VOD, NBCU said today in a statement. Promos for the digital series will appear during various programs on NBCU TV networks. In some cases, development of the digital series will be in collaboration with advertising partners. “This original, digital-first programming, scaled with the unmatched resources of our company and our production partners, underscores the unparalleled opportunities we can create,” said Linda Yaccarino, President, Advertising Sales, NBCUniversal. “The combination of digital video alongside television content is extremely powerful and becoming an increasingly important part of the connection advertisers make with consumers. We want to offer our partners the unique ability to harness the power of our creative assets along with our distribution capabilities including the video-on-demand platform like no other company can do.”’
Among the digital projects slated to come from Universal Cable Prods include new series Tesla And Twain and Last Single Girl. UCP is also developing additional original series in collaboration with 72 and Sunny Productions. Tesla And Twain is a comedic series loosely based on the real friendship between the great author and the great inventor… if they were suddenly transported to modern day Los Angeles. Last Single Girl tells the story of a single, over-educated and under-employed young woman who is coming to terms with being a grown-up while all of her best friends are getting married.
UPDATE: Intl Box Office: ‘Rio 2′ Soars With $63.4M; ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Blasts Past $300M Overseas; ‘Noah’ Adds $36.2M; ‘Divergent’ Nearing $50M
Highlights: Rio 2 (FOX) has $63.4M weekend, lands $12.6M in China debut; Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS) crosses $300M international; Noah (PAR) adds $36.2M; Divergent (LGF/SUM/var) nears $50M; Spanish Affairs (UNI) has 5th No. 1 weekend in Spain…
4th UPDATE, 7:15 PM, PST: The final Divergent numbers are in, with the film nearing $50M but not yet crossing it; it stands at $48.1M. The film is based on the YA novel of the same name (part of a trilogy) and Lionsgate is hoping it will become another big franchise. This is the same company that launched the wildly successful Hunger Games series. Divergent is at $124.7M in the U.S. after the 3-day weekend for a worldwide gross of $172.8M+.
3rd UPDATE, Monday, 1:52 PM, PST: New grosses are in for Rio 2, The Grand Budapest Hotel, 300: Rise Of An Empire, The Lego Movie, Spanish Affairs and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Rio 2 did better than previously expected internationally over the weekend, with a total tally of $63.4M to date; the worldwide cume on the animated family picture is over $100M.
2ND UPDATE, MONDAY 12:45 AM PT: Last weekend, Captain America: …
BOX OFFICE FINAL: ‘Captain America 2′ Tally $41.2M, ‘Rio 2′ Runs Afowl With $39.3M, ‘Oculus’ $12M Over Disappointing Opener ‘Draft Day’ With Only $9.7M
OPENING: Rio 2 (FOX) on Friday was expected to fly to No. 1 for $43.9M to $44.3M (Fox was the only one to predict $45M), then Saturday got its wings clipped by Captain America: The Winter Soldier and ended at $39.3M, Oculus (REL) was expected to scare up $12M to $12.8M for third spot and ended up at $12M; Draft Day (LGF) on Fri. was second round pick for $10.9M (although Summit estimated lower $10.5M) and ended the weekend with $9.7M. NOTEWORTHY: Captain America 2 (DIS) expected to fall 56% in second weekend but will take No. 1 with $40.5M to $41.4M to end the 3-day with $41.2M.
UPDATED, MONDAY, 3:37 PM: Rio 2 opened to $39.3M right in line with the first film which opened in 2011 to $39.2M. That hurts, but overseas, the film has already grossed $63.4M, so it has already pulled in over $100M worldwide and it should get some decent multiples as there is really nothing standing in its way for some weeks to come … well, there is the long- in-release Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Muppets Most Wanted. But for the sequel not to surge past the first film, something went a little haywire. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was the champ again this weekend and the final tally ended up at $41.2M but next weekend, it has competition when Warner Bros. opens the Johnny Depp sci-fi thriller Transcendence. The big disappointment of the weekend was the Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner football feature Draft Day (LGF). It took in only $9.7M. That’s three in a row for Costner that really didn’t thrill audiences — behind 3 Days To Kill and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, although the criticism for that film really was directed at Chris Pine not being a strong enough lead. Regardless, it’s too bad for all involved. Oculus, despite its C CinemaScore, was able to pull in $12M for the weekend which served Relativity well. Noah also bypassed Divergent to step into the Top Five.
The WGA West 2014 Hollywood Writers Report has uncovered modest gains for minority and women TV writers but on the film side employment in these circles is continuing its slide, offsetting overall gains. The full study, titled “Turning Missed Opportunities Into Realized Ones” – the ninth in a series of semi-annual reports commissioned by the guild — will be published in June. But some details were unveiled today in the Executive Summary (read it here) that analyzes employment patterns for writers working on broadcast and cable TV shows and theatrical features during the 2011-2012 season, highlighting women, minority, and older writers. Among them:
· Women remained underrepresented by a factor of nearly 2-to-1 among TV writers in 2012, claiming 27% of sector employment, and they earned about 92 cents for every dollar earned by white males in 2012 — up slightly from 91 cents in 2009. Women screenwriters accounted for 15% of sector employment (down from 17% in 2009) , and they earned 77 cents for every dollar earned by white male film writers in 2012, down from 82 cents in 2009.
· Minority TV writers posted an increase in employment share (from 10% in 2009 to 11% in 2012), also closing the earnings gap “a bit.” Data also show that minorities watch a disproportionate share of television and theatrical films, while increases in their consumer spending outpace the rest of the nation. On the film side, the minority share of film employment was steady at 5% compared by 2009.
· Older writers — especially ages 41-50 — claimed the largest share of employment in TV and film, as well as the highest earnings in each sector. The relative status of older writers tends to decline “rather rapidly” beyond 60.
Specialty Box Office: ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ Leads Newcomers; Nic Cage’s ‘Joe’ Opens Weak; ‘Railway Man’ Too Disturbing?
Only Lovers Left Alive held sway among Specialty newcomers this weekend, scoring the weekend’s highest average in a fairly crowded box office. The film starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston grossed nearly $97K in four theaters, averaging $24,244. Crowds packed the 268-seat Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center Friday night where director Jim Jarmusch took part in a Q&A for the 7pm screening of the film (he gave a rather interesting theory on William Shakespeare not being the author of his work). The weekend results for Lovers outperformed Jarmusch’s previous 2009 feature The Limits Of Control, which averaged $18,607 in three theaters when it opened in May of that year. It went on to cume over $426K domestically. Broken Flowers which starred Bill Murray, Sharon Stone and Julie Delpy had a slightly higher PTA launch, averaging $28,904 in 27 theaters when it opened in August 2005. The Focus Features release went on to total over $13.744M in the U.S.
“It’s a great start, people really seemed to love the film,” said SPC co-president Michael Barker Sunday. SPC will open Only Lovers Left Alive in New York and L.A. this weekend, expanding to San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C. the following week before heading to the top 50 markets through spring.
TWC opened The Railway Man in several locations, grossing $64,506 for an so-so $16,127 average. “We’re off to a respectable start on Railway Man,” said TWC president of Theatrical Distribution Erik Lomis Sunday. “Our exit information confirmed [what we thought]. It was a mostly an older audience. There’s some images that are disturbing, but it’s very relevant today with current events in Fort Hood. What we learned from the U.K. and Australia was that the midweek grosses were about as good as the weekends. So we’re just going to let it roll.
Syfy Gives 10-Episode Order To Space Opera ‘The Expanse’ From Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby, Alcon Entertainment
Syfy continues to aggressively build its original slate with a 10-episode order to The Expanse, a series based on James S.A. Corey’s series of novels. The project, which received a very rich straight-to-series order in a competitive situation, is in the space opera genre in the tradition of Battlestar Galactica that Syfy brass had been looking to bring back to the network. The Expanse was put together as straight-to-series by Alcon Entertainment’s TV arm Alcon Television Group and Sean Daniel and Jason Brown of the Sean Daniel Co., who developed the original pitch with Oscar-nominated writers Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men, Iron Man). This marks the first series order for ATG, which launched two years ago. Fergus and Ostby wrote the script on spec and will continue as writers and executive producers.
Related: 2014 Syfy Pilots
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.
Rio 2 will fly into theaters this weekend from Fox and easily peck away the rest of the flock of openers that includes Lionsgate’s Draft Day, the third Kevin Costner starrer this year,, and the horror film Oculus from Relativity. The current thinking is that the animated sequel will do roughly $40M to $42M while the second weekend of Disney’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier will play out to mid-to-high $30M number, but it might surprise. According to Fandango, both Rio 2 and Captain America are neck in neck with ticket sales, each representing roughly 25% of total sales. It really depends how much Captain America drops from its second weekend. Captain America grossed $95M with $10.2M coming from Thursday last weekend (its debut), so if it holds at 50%, it grosses $42.4M. The first Captain America dropped 61% in its second weekend, the first Thor dropped only 47% while its sequel Thor: The Dark World dropped 57%. The first Iron Man dropped only 48.1%, but subsequent sequels dropped 59.4% and 58.4%, respectively. All Marvel titles. Given the stellar reviews for Captain America, it might surprise.
Joey King (The Conjuring, Oz The Great And Powerful) has been cast in Lifetime’s original movie Outlaw Prophet from Sony Pictures Television. It focuses on the true story of Warren Jeffs, the leader of a Fundamentalist Mormon polygamist sect who spent more than a year on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List, eluded authorities and was ultimately caught by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper. Based on Stephen Singular’s book When Men Become Gods, the movie chronicles Jeffs’ rise to power after the death of his father, Rulon Jeffs (Martin Landau). King will play Elissa Wall, the battered young woman who brings Jeffs (Tony Goldwyn) to justice. King, repped by Dan Spilo at Industry Entertainment and Meredith Fine at Coast to Coast Talent Group, will next be seen in FX’s Fargo and Zach Braff’s indie Wish I Was Here.
CNN Gives Former Fox Star John Walsh New Home To Continue Hunting Most Wanted, Replaces Piers Morgan With Anthony Bourdain And Morgan Spurlock, Delves Into ‘Jesus Code’
Two weeks after Piers Morgan signed off CNN with another blast at the NRA, network chief Jeff Zucker announced he would fill Morgan’s timeslot with Anthony Bourdain and Morgan Spurlock, among others, and that he has given former Fox star John Walsh a CNN platform from which to hunt down most-wanted. CNN also unveiled plans to tap into the current fervor for religious programming with The Jesus Code — a forensic and archaeological journey through the Bible. At its upfront presentation to advertisers today in New York, CNN also detailed plans to bring back Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe to series TV in Somebody’s Gotta Do It, and Lisa Ling (Our America With Lisa Ling) will also join CNN with an original series.