Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World had already eclipsed the worldwide gross of its predecessor and officially crossed $500M globally yesterday, Disney confirmed this morning. It’s the distributor’s third title to top that milestone this year following Marvel’s Iron Man 3 and Pixar’s Monsters University. For the record, to date Thor 2 has grossed $152M domestically and $352.2M internationally for a $504.2M total — the overseas figure better than the final numbers for the first Thor, Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and Captain America. Those international totals include $46.1M in China, which just premiered Gravity to $9M in its first two days and is prepping for tomorrow’s day-and-date launch of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
5TH UPDATE: Considering that there was only one major new film in the marketplace, it has turned out to be a good weekend for the movie business. Before I get to the Top Ten, I hate to wear my heart on my sleeve, but like everyone else in America, I was completely captivated by the Batkid, and his crime fighting exploits accomplished in San Francisco after his cancer went into remission. It is a reminder that while there is plenty of cynicism in Hollywood, there is a reason this is called the Dream Factory that gives America heroes and hope. And the reaction by past Batman Christian Bale and future Batman Ben Affleck, well, if you are not touched, you should check yourself for a pulse.
Then there is Nebraska, which opened limited this week. What does it say when Paramount’s slate is chock full of films like World War Z and sequels of Star Trek and G.I. Joe, and by far the best film that studio has made is a $13 million black and white road trip movie with a former Saturday Night Live funnyman with no feature currency and a 77-year old forgotten actor who was dusted off by Alexander Payne to turn in the performance of a career that spans 53 years? Well, what it really says is this movie goes down as a total fluke. It was brought in by former Paramount Classics head Ruth Vitale, who’s long gone, but who bought it as a black and white project. The current Paramount brain trust probably gave this a harder time giving a green light than all of those other three films, but they did green light it and allowed Payne to make it his way, with Will Forte and Bruce Dern. The latter has staked a claim on a Best Actor nom at least. You would see him in a small dose in a film like All The Pretty Horses, and he pretty much lit up the screen and infused his characters with intelligence and integrity. Wait till you see what he does here, and how much this film benefits from being shot in glorious black and white.
My final observance of major box office news is our own news that we have brought Anita Busch into the Deadline fold. She will take over box office reporting and make it her own. I gotta be honest, I have to take off my shoes to count to 20, and I have no head for math. I have been filling in as best I can, while still breaking film stories and trying with Nellie Andreeva to change the narrative here and draw Deadline away from the expectation it will be a House of Hate, and instead a haven for fast breaking exclusive, attitude, sharp analysis and stylish writing. I think we’ve a major step in that direction with Anita, who understands this part of the business better than I do, and who will add insight when she takes over in early December. Nellie and I have been trying to get used to new roles. It has been daunting for me. The Wrap actually engaged some service to poll awareness of me, versus Nikki Finke. It was done about 28 minutes after Nellie and I took over, and it was comical, with an actual pie chart that shows I am lagging. For our entire run at Deadline, Nellie and I were happy to have Nikki Finke be the face and the galvanized presence. Neither of us have ever craved attention or had egos to feed, and we loved being able to simply be judged by what appeared under our bylines. As things settle down, it will be nice to get back to that and save the drama for the page.
On to Box Office.
Thor: The Dark World opened in Argentina, Paraguay and Hungary this weekend, and it still has yet to unveil in Italy and Japan. Its $38.4 million weekend (a 55% drop from last weekend) was eclipsed by the $52.5 million which the film grossed overseas (covering 94% of the world territories in which it will play) for a $90.1 million worldwide weekend take. That puts the film at $479 million globally, with a lot more to come. How did it compare with the original Thor? That pic grossed a total of $181 million domestic, so two weeks in the sequel has grossed 81% of its predecessor. The sequel has passed the global grosses of Captain America ($371 million) and Thor ($449 million). So those wondering if the sequel is measuring up, it has done 107% of the original Thor, and it is not near done.
EXCLUSIVE: Top literary manager Michael Prevett is teaming with Howard Braunstein’s Braunstein Films and Rain Management Group toppers Jonathan Baruch and Rob Wolken to form StoryBy Entertainment, an author- and creator-friendly venture that aims to generate film and TV projects for production based on the group’s source material. It will also be able to package, produce and finance projects. Braunstein, Baruch and Wolken will continue to run their companies in addition to StoryBy, which Prevett will lead. All of Prevett’s clients will join him at RMG, a management and multi-platform content creation outfit.
FX continues to bolster its library of theatrical hits, acquiring the TV rights to Gravity (Warner Bros), Captain Phillips (Sony) and this past weekend’s box-office topper Thor: The Dark World (Disney). It also has locked in Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2, and Prisoners. FX has been very aggressive in acquiring blockbusters, buying virtually every No. 1 movie in the box office for the past couple of years for the main network and FX siblings FXX and FXM. Other previously announced acquisitions include Iron Man 3, Despicable Me 2, Man of Steel, Fast & Furious 6, Star Trek Into Darkness, World War Z, The Croods, The Heat, Identity Thief, Grown Ups 2, The Wolverine, The Hangover Part III, and Pacific Rim. The new films will make their premieres on the FX Networks beginning in 2015.
2ND UPDATE: Thor: The Dark World has performed more strongly than expected and it will finish anywhere from $85.8 million this weekend to $87.7 million, even though I have one pundit who feels it could exceed that. Though many of our commenters have taken after Thor (and me, but the latter is inevitable given who I am temporarily replacing) in the comment thread following this box office report, Thor 2 is doing what a sequel is supposed to do. It is the ninth biggest November debut ever, coming just behind last year’s 007 pic Skyfall‘s $88.36 million, and it is the fourth biggest opening weekend of the year behind Iron Man 3‘s $174 million, Man Of Steel‘s $116.6 million and Fast 6‘s $97.4 million. It is scoring with younger audiences. Internationally, it is doing twice as well overseas as here, and that means the film could land upwards of $600 million.
The key will be how it plays before the opening of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which could have a $150 million opening weekend and consume all the oxygen in the room. Marvel seems to be able to do no wrong. The studio is in a zone I’ve seen in the past only with animated films, back when Jeffrey Katzenberg‘s Disney was cranking out one classic 2D animated classic after the other (my kids were small then, I saw The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast probably 500 times each and knew the words to every tune), and John Lasseter‘s Pixar. Marvel could probably score a big hit right now with a movie devoted to Tom Hiddleston‘s Loki character. The studio will undoubtedly come back to earth at some point, as the label tries to launch new franchises like Guardians Of The Galaxy and Ant-Man, and those will be Kevin Feige‘s real test.
There’s a real horse race going on for second place, and all three of the horses have held strongly. It’s a virtual dead heat for Bad Grandpa, Free Birds and Last Vegas. The drop-offs from last week’s numbers are low considering the arrival of Thor 2. Bad Grandpa only fell 43%, Free Birds is off 30% and Last Vegas only 32% as a younger audience is giving it a shot. Since there’s a statistical margin of error in early weekend numbers, the second place winner won’t be known until the photo finish comes in tomorrow morning, when all of the final grosses are submitted and Rentrak sends out box office actual weekend grosses.
Another title worth watching is Fox‘s slow build on The Book Thief, the Brian Percival-directed adaption of the Markus Zusak WWII novel for Fox 2000. It opened in four locations and put up a per screen average of $27,000, for $108,000 total.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa had another strong weekend and looks likely to squeak out second place. I saw this movie on the anniversary of a personal tragedy, picked up my distraught son from college and took him hoping to pull him out of the rut. I suppose it is easy to critically dismiss movies rife with physical comedy, but the two of us laughed like idiots, and director Jeff Tremaine and Johnny Knoxville will always occupy a place in my heart for helping my son get through what would have otherwise been an unbearable evening. As Tremaine told me, “Sometimes, you just need to laugh.” That movie, which cost a reported $15 million, ends the weekend around $78.5 million as Tremaine continues his evolution as a filmmaker with a movie on the decadent rock band Motley Crue.
Coming in third will be Free Birds, the Relativity released animated film that could get to $30 million after its second frame. Is that a good outcome for a film with a reported $55 million budget? I saw the Relativity team at last night’s AFI premiere of the Scott Cooper-directed Out Of The Furnace (more on that in a later post), and they seemed relieved that the film was performing more strongly than was expected going into the weekend. Over half that budget was covered by foreign pre-sales in what was the first film from Relativity and Reel FX as they find their footing in animation.
As for the rest of the Top 10, the under-$30 million Last Vegas will finish fourth and get to $33 million; Ender’s Game should finish with a $44 million gross. For a franchise starter with a $110 million price tag, that just won’t get it done. Gravity continues to defy its title, ending the weekend with a domestic gross around $231 million. I’d covered all of the project’s twists and turns when Angelina Jolie dropped out and Universal punted; when Warner Bros. struggled to find a package that worked. They came at Jolie again and when she passed a second time, the studio focused in on Natalie Portman and Sandra Bullock, after looking at a field of actresses that included Naomi Watts, Marion Cotillard, Carey Mulligan, Scarlett Johansson and some others. Then Robert Downey Jr. dropped out, and George Clooney stepped up. When I saw the movie, beyond feeling overwhelmed by an auteur-de-force Cuaron outing, I kept asking myself, how the hell did this movie get made? None of WB’s financing partners would touch it (RatPac was gifted the film). It made no sense on paper, as great films often don’t. It comes down to betting $100 million on a world class filmmaker. Globally it has crossed $430 million. Most refreshingly, like its 3D counterpart Life Of Pi, Gravity has no sequel in it. It’s just a great one-off, with no future installments to water down its memory.
One of the other two noteworthy films in the Top 10 is 12 Years A Slave. I must admit, I cannot stand violence against women and children (still haven’t seen Prisoners) and maybe that’s why I have missed seeing this movie at its Toronto, NYFF and Hamptons showings. My box office sources tell me that the film’s escalation from 734 to 1144 screens, which prompted a 37% spike in business, is good – not great. But the film has a chance to play well for a long time, as awards season heats up. I will see it before then.
Richard Curtis’s About Time will finish ninth in the rankings, getting to a $6.2 million gross. Does that make it a flop? I don’t think so. I’m told by insiders that the film cost under $15 million to make, and is has already grossed $43 million overseas. You empower a writer/director like Curtis and hope you get another Love Actually. Even if you don’t, when he covers the bet like he will here, it’s good news that he can keep taking his swings.
Finally, a word about the future of Deadline’s box office reporting. This is my second weekend at it; last week I put up numbers because nobody else did. And so I did it, in between moderating panels at our Contenders Event. I have my eye on someone who’ll soon be taking this over and who will elevate it and make it their own. But I do have some observations about this beat. There is a learning curve here, just as I am learning things every day in my new adventure here in Hollywood after covering this business from Long Island for so long. For instance, I learned from last night’s Out Of The Furnace premiere that when they post a 6PM start time, what they really mean is they won’t be dropping the puck for at least an hour after that. Box office has similar challenges for a newcomer.
People who have been critical of Deadline’s box office coverage in the past have said films got thumped based on the biased observations of studios jockeying for position. I don’t know about that, but I have seen all the spinning that goes on this weekend, and it’s an easy trap to fall into if you don’t actually go see the films and be better able to judge quality. I can see the spin at work, how one studio will over-project a rival’s weekend expectations, so that when the actual numbers roll in, the movie can be spun as disappointing. Or how reporting factors in tracking service projections. Tracking is a tool that allows studios to see whether their marketing is creating awareness, and campaigns are fine-tuned in the final weeks based on those results. That tracking is not a reliable measure of performance. When some journalists see that actual film performance falls below tracking projections, they thump the movies and not the flawed tracking.
I can tell you that while I am doing this for the next couple of weeks, I will try my best to see as many of the new movies as I can, something that wasn’t a priority here. I have a healthy respect for the creative process, for how hard it is to make a movie, and all the places it can go wrong. Last night at Out Of The Furnace, I met with the director, Scott Cooper. Here was a guy who put his own imprint on a spec script by Brad Inglesby (who was selling insurance when he got paid $500,000 against $1.5 million when Ridley Scott was directing and Leo DiCaprio starring), and Cooper made it very reminiscent of one of my fave films The Deer Hunter, with timely themes of economic hardship and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in soldiers returning from the Middle East. When I told Cooper how much I liked his movie, I could see him looking hard at me, as though trying to be sure I wasn’t shining him on (I wasn’t). Maybe it won’t be this way for every film he makes, but I could tell this one has themes that are very personal to Cooper and he really threw himself into this. Maybe this sense of empathy will make me the worst box office reporter of all time. I have seen already it isn’t pleasing some readers who come for bloodsport. I figure these would have been running around in togas in ancient Rome, using phrases like “epic fail” when they stopped throwing Christians to the lions. The only blood on display here will be my own, because I tend to bleed on the page sometimes. If that’s not good enough, so be it.
Thor: The Dark World opened to an estimated $7.1 million for Thursday preview showings in advance of today’s North American opening in 3,841 theaters — including more than 3,100 3D locations. Overseas, the Marvel/Disney sequel starring Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman added another $10.9M in box office yesterday from key markets including the UK, Russia, and France, boosting its international cume to $152.8M. That’s before today’s expected big opening in China and other smaller markets, which will put the pic out in 92% of the world. Last night’s domestic preview grosses topped previous Thursday grosses for Thor ($3.2M) and Captain America: The First Avenger ($4M), both in 2011. The first Thor opened domestically in May of that year with $65.7M in its first weekend, on its way to $181M here and $268M overseas.
Related: Hot Trailer: ‘Thor: The Dark World’
Last Wednesday, Disney opened Thor 2 to $109.4M in 36 overseas territories, helping the distributor break its all-time international box office record of $2.302B for a calendar year with two months to go.
Disney said Thor 2‘s 3D shows will include an exclusive extended sneak peek of fellow Marvel superhero pic Captain America: The Winter Soldier ahead of its April 2014 bow.
‘Thor: The Dark World’ Scores Superhuman $109M Overseas, Boosts Disney To Another All-Time Int’l Record
Disney scored a Marvelous haul opening Thor: The Dark World overseas early Wednesday to $109.4M in 36 territories. The film opens stateside next Friday and is already making history. Thor 2‘s early take helped bump Disney’s international box office on the year beyond its previous all time $2.302B record with two months of global cash-collecting to go. The studio brought the Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman Marvel sequel early and at #1 in key territories France, the UK, Korea, Germany, Spain, Taiwan, Australia, Russia, Mexico, and Brazil and still has Argentina, Italy, China, and Japan on the docket; at this pace it’s hurtling towards a better run than the first Thor flick overseas.
ABC’s Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to serve as a promotional platform for Marvel’s movies. Eleven days after the release of the next Marvel/Disney movie, Thor: The Dark World, the November 19 episode of ABC’s freshman series will pick up the where the feature leaves off, Marvel announced on its Web site. Titled “The Well,” the episode is described thusly: “In the aftermath of the events chronicled in the feature film Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World, Coulson and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pick up the pieces – one of which threatens to destroy a member of the team.” Star Trek: The Next Generation alum Jonathan Frakes will helm the episode, which will not feature characters or actors from the Thor movies.
EXCLUSIVE… UPDATE: Disney and Marvel Studios‘ Thor: The Dark World opened in a handful of territories on Wednesday taking in $8.2M. The pic starring Chris Hemsworth was the #1 film in each market which represented only 28% of its eventual international footprint. It had stronger starts in the UK and France than the 2011 first installment. The North American opening is November 8th. Disney and Marvel see what they call “tremendous room for growth” at the box office from the first Thor which grossed just under $450M worldwide. “All signs indicate we’ll have a much higher result,” an exec tells me. “I can’t put a number on it, but by the time we report domestic numbers on November 10th, we should be in really great shape.” Thor opened to $65M in May 2011 and went on to earn $181M domestic and $268.3M international. By contrast, the Thor sequel opens in November in the majority of its international footprint this weekend starting with major territories UK, France and Korea, then Australia, Germany, Spain, Taiwan and Hong Kong a day later, and Russia, Mexico and Brazil on Friday. Next week China and India open day and date with the domestic opening November 8th. The overseas release follows the world premiere on October 22nd and global press junket in London with director Alan Taylor, producer Kevin Feige, and stars Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgard, Kat Dennings, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and more. The U.S. …
DreamWorks Picks Up Rights To New Teddy Roosevelt Book By ‘Team Of Rivals’ Author Doris Kearns Goodwin
Looks like there is another Presidential movie in DreamWorks’ future. The Lincoln studio announced today that it has picked up the rights to The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. Out on November 5 from Simon & Schuster, the book about the bitter rivalry between the two former friends and Presidents is the latest from Doris Kearns Goodwin. The bestselling and Pulitzer Prize winning historian’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln served partially as the basis for the studio’s Oscar winning 2012 film about the 16th President. “Doris has once again given us the best seats in the house where we can watch two dynamic American personalities in a battle for power and friendship,” said Steven Spielberg in a statement today. It is not yet determined if Spielberg will direct the film, insiders say. Doris Kearns Goodwin was repped in the deal by ICM Partners.
Sterling Jerins Cast In ‘The Coup’; Laura Wiggins, Callie Thorne & Izabella Miko Join Indie ‘Thinspiration’
Sterling Jerins has signed for a role in The Coup for director John Eric Dowdle. Lake Bell, Owen Wilson and Pierce Brosnan star in the pic about a family of Americans who move overseas and find themselves caught up in a coup. They frantically try to escape an environment where foreigners are being summarily executed. Drew Dowdle, Michel Litvak, David Lancaster and Gary Michael Walters are producing. Jerins, who recently wrapped Dark Places and is shooting Life Itself, is repped by ICM Partners, Principal Entertainment LA and attorney Dave Feldman.
Laura Wiggins, Callie Thorne and Izabella Miko have joined Indy Entertainment’s dramatic thriller tentatively titled Thinspiration. Wiggins (Shameless) stars in director Tara Miele’s film as Hannah, a 17-year-old dancer who joins a “thinspiration” website and devotes herself to the glorification of “thin” until she becomes possessed by the dark world of pro-anorexia websites. Miko (Step Up 5) is the demonic webmaster who inspires the young woman to starve herself. Thorne (Necessary Roughness) plays Hannah’s mother, who tries to help her daughter through the crisis. Marcus Giamatti, and Sharon Lawrence also have joined the cast for producers Nancy Leopardi and Ross Kohn. Shooting is underway.
Disney/Marvel‘s next superhero sequel Thor: The Dark World just came on tracking this morning three weeks from release. The great news is that it’s showing very strong four-quadrant ‘awareness’ across the board building on the May 2011 original’s $65.7M opening weekend. And the good news is that it’s bringing in more ‘definite interest’ and ‘first choice’ among young and older females. But the bad news is that its projected opening weekend gross of $75M is nowhere near Iron Man 2‘s $128.1M opening weekend in May 2010. “The Avengers ‘halo’ effect is still working for these Marvel properties but not for, say, Wolverine,” a rival studio explains. Specifically, Thor still has its solid fanbase but also expanded its demographics. ’Awareness’ across the board is between 75 and 80 for every quadrant. ‘Definite Interest’ is 59 - and only about 2 to 3 movies a year come on that high – showing great among males and good for females. The fact that it’s able to target young females is somewhat unique for a superhero movie and no doubt due to star Chris Hemsworth as the pic’s eye candy. Finally, ‘First Choice’ has a strong 18% even for older females which demonstrates that moms want to take the kids. But Thor 2 still is no Iron Man 2.
EXCLUSIVE: The star of Disney Channel’s about-to-end Shake It Up continues her march into more mature material. Having joined the indie Home Invasion earlier this year, Bella Thorne has now signed on along with Kyra Sedgwick as the leads in Manis Film’s thriller Big Sky. The English language debut by Jorge Michel Grau, who helmed the original Spanish language chiller We Are What We Are, features Thorne as Hazel and the former The Closer star as her protective mother Dee. On their way to a desert facility to help the teen deal with her paralysing agoraphobia, the two find themselves attacked by gunmen and Hazel has to fight her own demons for the duo to survive. Production on the pic, from an original screenplay by Evan M. Wiener, starts this week in Albuquerque. Frank Grillo, who starred in End of Watch, Zero Dark Thirty and will be in upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier plays the male lead in the film along with Les Miserables’ Aaron Tveit. Randy Manis, Matthew Salloway and Christina Papagjika are producing. Christine Vachon is executive producing for Killer Films with Jeffrey V. Mandel of TBD Syndicate and AKA pictures’ Clayton Young. Ricky Tollman is co-producing. AKA pictures, a subsidiary of Benaroya Pictures, is co-financing Big Sky.
Having finished Warner Bros’ The Familymoon with Adam …
The Canadian short-story writer today became just the 13th woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature. Hollywood hasn’t done much with Alice Munro’s vast catalog, but her short “The Bear Came Over The Mountain” was adapted and directed by Sarah Polley as Away From Her, which starred Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent and debuted at Toronto in 2006. It landed two Oscar noms: one for Christie and one for Polley’s screenplay.
EXCLUSIVE: Oskar Thor Axelsson, who helmed the Nicolas Winding Refn-produced Black’s Game, has been set by Millennium Films to helm Point Of Violence, an action thriller scripted by Tony Mosher and Christian Parkes. The pic uses a sliding doors concept to tell the story of a hit man given the order to kill a woman who turns out to be a former lover. In one version, he carries out the hit, and in the other, he refuses and is forced to protect his old flame. The film will shoot early next year and Dobre Films is producing.
The Icelandic helmer put himself on the map with Black’s Game, a fictional story set in Reykjavik in the 90s when the crime and drug trade flourished and the game became much more violent and dangerous. In that backdrop, the film tells the story of a game that took control of the underworld. Axelsson is also attached to direct the Joby Harold-scripted The Key Man for QED and Open Road Films, and Garden District for Dimension. He’s repped by WME, Principato Young and Bob Wallerstein. Mark Gill and Christine Crowe are steering for Millennium.
UPDATE: Statement from Paramount chief Brad Grey: “Tom Clancy was one of the great storytellers of our time and his passing has been deeply felt by all of us at Paramount. We are forever indebted to Tom for making this studio his home, and our deepest sympathies go out to his family, and his many fans, at this great loss.”
EARLIER: Reports are coming in that bestselling author Tom Clancy has died at age 66 in a hospital near his Baltimore home. His military post-Cold War espionage thriller novels launched the Jack Ryan film series, and he was one of several authors who, in the 1990s, became franchise fixtures, commanded big bucks, and often fought with the studios that turned his books into films. He co-founded the vidgame developer Red Storm Entertainment, which is now owned by Ubisoft, and he has had his name on numerous mega-selling video games including the Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six series.
Clancy in later years wrote his books with the help of co-authors, but the star of this former insurance agent and military buff was really launched after it was revealed that President Reagan was a fan of his military thrillers. Paramount launched a franchise based on his signature character, CIA analyst Jack Ryan, with the 1990 Alec Baldwin-starrer The Hunt For Red October.
Clancy’s relationship with the studio and its filmmakers often became contentious, after Paramount chief Brandon Tartikoff bounced Baldwin when he wanted to delay while doing A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway. Tartikoff had just had a movie with Harrison Ford fall apart called Night Ride Down, but they were eager to work together, and the change was made. While Ford took the series through two Phil Noyce-directed screen blockbusters — Patriot Games and Clear And Present Danger — Clancy often bristled about how his work was handled, and I think he never warmed to Ford’s portrayal. That was especially true in Patriot Games, where Clancy grew incensed for, among other things, a scene in which an IRA backer delivers info on the culprits who tried to kill his wife. It came in a package with a doll, and Ryan’s child was seen playing with the doll. Clancy hated that. Paramount also owns the series based on a spinoff character, Clark, a mercenary who first appeared in the form of Willem Dafoe in Clear And Present Danger, and who headlined the novel Without Remorse. The studio has tried numerous times over the years to turn that book into a feature and is still trying. Ben Affleck took over the Ryan character in The Sum Of All Fears, and under producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mark Vahradian and Mace Neufeld, the series was revived with the Kenneth Branagh-directed Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, with Chris Pine playing a young Ryan, and Kevin Costner playing his CIA mentor. That film, which was based on Clancy-created characters but an original storyline by Adam Cozad, is in post-production and is set for a December 25 release date, and Paramount has high hopes it will reignite the series. Clancy also has a new novel due out that same month, Command Authority.
EXCLUSIVE: Production is getting underway today in London on an adaptation of the Martin Amis novel London Fields. Mathew Cullen makes his feature directing debut on the adaptation of the futuristic murder mystery that Amis adapted with Roberta Hanley. Amber Heard, Billy Bob Thornton, Jim Sturgess, and Theo James are starring. Heard plays the ultimate eternal sexual femme fatale, possessed of unusual beauty and hypnotic magnetism. Mysterious and clairvoyant, she sets a plan in motion to fulfill the prophecy of her own murder. Caught up in Nicola’s plan are a terminally ill writer (Thornton), a lowly street hustler (Sturgess) and an unhappily married banker (James), who become intertwined in a love triangle that unfolds in the grimy underbelly of London. Samson convinces Nicola to let him document her manipulations in a book she says will be his literary masterpiece but only she knows who the tale will end and who her killer will be.
The film is produced by Chris Hanley of Muse Productions, Jordan Gertner of Hero Entertainment, and Geyer Kosinski of Media Talent Group. A co-production with Demarest Films, the film will be ready for release next year and IM Global is handling worldwide sales.
In the first season since hiring Imagine TV veteran Erin Gunn as a development executive, David Shore‘s Sony TV-based Shore Z is beginning to function as a full-fledged pod. The company is co-producing with Sony a drama project for ABC written by writer Sarah Thorp (The Bounty Hunter). It centers on a normal, all-American family that becomes the target of an anonymous stalker, causing the unraveling not only of their lives but the fabric of the community around them. Thorp and Shore executive produce with Madhouse Entertainment’s Robyn Meisinger and Adam Kolbrenner, while Gunn serves as producer. Thorp, repped by CAA and Madhouse, has developed with Sony TV for the last several years.
Gillian Flynn has signed with WME and the agency will rep the Gone Girl author in everything but publishing deals. That includes film, TV and book to film deals. Flynn, who also wrote the bestsellers Dark Places and Sharp Objects, scripted the feature adaptation of Gone Girl for Fox. David Fincher has committed to next direct the mystery thriller, with Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike starring. Dark Places is also going into production with Gilles Paquet-Brenner directing and Charlize Theron, Chloe Moretz, and Tye Sheridan starring. Sharp Objects was picked up for movie treatment by producer Jason Blum and Flynn is also writing a pilot for HBO. Stephanie Rostan at Levine Greenberg Literary Agency continues to represent Flynn in Publishing, and Karl Austen is her lawyer.