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Toronto Film Fest Will Close World Premiere of ‘A Little Chaos’; No Opener Yet; Jon Stewart, Chris Rock Get Perches

By | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 8:40am PDT

Toronto Film Fest Will Close World Premiere of ‘A Little Chaos’; No Opener Yet; Jon Stewart, Chris Rock Get PerchesUPDATED, 8:40 AM: The 39th Toronto Film Festival, running September 4-14, will close with the world premiere of Alan Rickman’s A Little Chaos with Kate Winslet, Rickman, Matthias Schoenaerts and Stanley Tucci. The opening-night film was not announced at this morning’s press conference.

Alan Rickman Kate WinsletA Little Chaos is the perfect closing-night film – it transports audiences to another time, another place, full of beauty, complexity, rivalry, politics and romance,” said Toronto artistic director Cameron Bailey. “Alan Rickman’s film will wind audiences up just as our festival is winding down.”

In this sumptuous historical drama Sabine De Barra (Winslet)  —  a landscaper with a taste for the unconventional — is invited to design one of the fountains at the Palace of Versailles. As she battles with the weather, the perilous rivalries at the court of Louis XIV and her own private demons, she finds herself drawn inescapably closer to the formality and enigma of the architect who hired her.

Of the 13 Galas and 46 Special Presentations announced, the initial lineup includes 37 world premieres from directors including Noah Baumbach, Susanne Bier, Peter Ho-Sun Chan, David Dobkin, Philippe Falardeau, Mia Hansen-Løve, Ning Hao, François Ozon, Christian Petzold, Lone Scherfig and Chris Rock. Here’s the list: Read More »

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Sony Pictures Vice Chairman Jeff Blake Exiting Studio After 22 Years

By | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 8:06am PDT

Sony Pictures Vice Chairman Jeff Blake Exiting Studio After 22 YearsEXCLUSIVE: Jeff Blake, who has served as vice chairman of Sony Pictures and chairman of worldwide marketing and distribution for Sony Pictures since 2005, is leaving the studio that he has been a part of for the past 22 years. Part of the innermost circle of Sony’s senior management team with CEO Michael Lynton and chair of Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group Amy Pascal, the departure is a real shake-up for the studio at the highest level. Blake is the stalwart pro and has been one of the longest survivors at any studio. He worked under several Sony regimes including that of Peter Guber and Mark Canton, Jonathan Dolgen, Alan Levine, Robert Wynne, Mel Harris, the beloved John Calley, Howard Stringer, and finally Lynton and Pascal. He exits August 1.

Sony announced it at 8 AM this morning, saying, “It’s with a heavy heart and great appreciation that we want to share with you news that Jeff Blake has decided to leave SPE to pursue other opportunities … he’s been an important part of the fabric of SPE. We have all loved his legendary role as raffle master at our annual holiday party, enjoyed his gregarious laugh and sense of humor and appreciate his reputation as one of the nicest and most easy-going guys in the business.”

Image (1) sony-pictures-logo__140323172613.jpeg for post 703140With Blake’s departure, the studio loses an executive with institutional and strategic knowledge of not only marketing and distribution both domestically and internationally, but on the business itself. He has worked at three studios, having joined the business in 1974 working for Paramount Pictures in Chicago. He has also worked with the best known names in the business at Paramount and at Sony (and even a short stint at Disney) – from Charlie Bludhorn and Barry Diller to Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Stanley Jaffe, Frank Mancuso, the wonderful Brandon Tartikoff, the aforementioned executives and so many others. Katzenberg and Mancuso became Blake’s lifetime friends and mentors.

decode-pascal-articleInlineHis departure comes after Pascal and Lynton and the rest of SPE’s senior management have been under tremendous pressure after a rough round last summer and a hit-and-miss year so far in 2014. Pascal and Lynton have spent this past year making changes at the studio and shoring up their ranks with execs like Michael De Luca coming in as president of production at Columbia, and the announcement last week that Doug Belgrad is expanding duties with a new president of the motion picture group title. Those expanded responsibilities included working with the marketing and distribution team which also saw changes last year. Sony has undergone extreme cost-cutting at the studio as well with layoff after layoff. They have also worked to bring in co-financing deals and closed a big one with Lone Star Capital and Citibank, a smaller agreement with Village Roadshow and have also been waiting for former Warner Bros. executive Jeff Robinov to secure financing to start producing movies to distribute.

“Certainly there has been an air of change at Sony for the past couple of years,” said Blake. “I put it out there prior to our summer if at some point, I needed to step aside that I certainly would but, in the meantime, I wanted to make sure that there were no distractions in releasing our summer slate. I’m really comfortable with my decision, Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: André Rieu Sets UK Box Office Record; Venice Critics’ Week Roster; Alibaba Pacts With Helmers; More

Global Showbiz Briefs: André Rieu Sets UK Box Office Record; Venice Critics’ Week Roster; Alibaba Pacts With Helmers; MoreAndré Rieu Concert Sets UK Box Office Record
Flying the flag for event cinema, André Rieu’s 2014 10th Anniversary Maastricht Concert became the UK’s highest-grossing music event of all time at the box office this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, CinemaLive screened the concert at 410 locations across the UK and Ireland, grossing $1.42M. The concert also screened at 234 moviehouses in European markets including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Romania, Finland and Croatia, bringing the total gross box office figure to more than $2.05M for the weekend. Rieu’s July 2013 cinema concert event set UK records with about $766K. The massive jump this year is one more feather in the cap of live event cinema which has been growing in popularity with music- and theater-loving crowds. Classical violinist Rieu, aka “The King of Waltz”, is known for his energetic and festive live performances. He has sold more than 35M albums worldwide. Further screenings of the concert will take place this coming weekend in Australia and New Zealand, followed by Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Russia and South East Asia to ultimately reach more than 1,000 cinema screens in 35 countries. Pretty soon, I’ll have to start adding these to my international weekend box office reports.

'400 Blows' centerpiece of Venice Film Festival PosterVenice Critics’ Week Lineup Revealed
The National Union of Italian Film Critics has unveiled its selection for the 29th running of Critics’ Week at the … Read More »

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TCA: FX’s ‘Fargo’ Coming Back As Prequel Set In ’79, With All-New Cast But Same Cold

TCA: FX’s ‘Fargo’ Coming Back As Prequel Set In ’79, With All-New Cast But Same ColdThe second season of FX’s Fargo will take place in Sioux Falls, S.D., in 1979, creator Noah Hawley said this afternoon at the TCA  Summer Press Tour. “If you were paying attention to Season 1, we made a lot of references to Sioux Falls,” he said told TV critics. Some of the second season also will take place in Luverne, Minn.

The season will be a prequel of sorts, in that the Lou Solverson character, played in Season 1 by Keith Carradine, will be back, only this time he’ll be just 33 years old and recently Fargo TCAback from Vietnam. “That time period is interesting — post-Vietnam, post-Watergate … the best of America versus worst,” Hawley said. “That sense, I think, that this war had come home with people, and the violence and brutality of it.”Lou Salverson went to Vietnam and came home, but now he’s come back and it’s here — it’s domestic.”

Related: TCA: FX Orders Second Installment Of ‘Fargo’, Fifth Season Of ‘Louie’

And while he said he would like nothing more than to see the continuing adventures of Molly and Gus, “I felt it would be disingenuous,” Hawly said of Deputy Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) and Officer Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks). Molly’s mom will be featured in Season 2 but will not be played by Tolman, despite urgings of several TV critics. “She should be in everything anybody ever made, as far as I’m concerned,” Hawley said. But he added that the idea of casting Tolman to play her character’s mother “seems a little gimmicky to me, and like cheating.” Using the same actors in different roles each season is “a brilliant turn on Ryan’s part, and he owns it — it would be imitative,” Hawley said of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story, with its practice of bringing back actors in different roles each season.

Related: FX’s ‘Tyrant’ To Stay In Turkey For Remainder Of Season 1 Shoot

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FINAL: Intl Box Office: ‘Transformers’ Adds $84.6M; ‘Apes’ Swings Up With $61.9M; ‘Boyhood’ Growing In UK; More

FINAL: Intl Box Office: ‘Transformers’ Adds $84.6M; ‘Apes’ Swings Up With $61.9M; ‘Boyhood’ Growing In UK; Morecinemaworld2ND UPDATE, MONDAY 3:20 PM PT: Updated figures for the international weekend have come in with all studios reporting. Among the top movies in the marketplace, Transformers: Age Of Extinction‘s 4th frame was up from original estimates to $84.6M in 58 territories ($662.6M cume), and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes was slightly higher than predicted in its 2nd frame with $61.93M on 10,347 screens in 51 markets ($103.6M cume).

Also of note, Fox’s The Grand Budapest Hotel has officially passed $110M internationally, adding $491K in 15 territories this weekend. Meanwhile, Boyhood, which Universal is releasing most everywhere overseas, added 60 locations in its 2nd UK frame. The result was a 0% drop from last week with $537K at 89 dates. The UK/Ireland total is now $1.5M (£892K). With the buzz growing, Universal is looking to continue the pattern by increasing the number of screens in more regional areas this Friday. In the next few days, the studio says the Richard Linklater drama will best the director’s Before Sunset (£932K) and A Scanner Darkly (£995K) to become his 2nd biggest film in the market behind School Of Rock.

Updated throughout the below are figures on the above films as well as Planes: Fire & Rescue, Sex Tape, The Purge: Anarchy, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Step Up All In, Maleficent, Blended, The Fault In Our Stars, 22 Jump Street, Edge Of Tomorrow, X-Men: Days Of Future Read More »

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James Garner: An Appreciation Of A Great Acting Legend Who Never Looked Like He Was Acting

By | Sunday July 20, 2014 @ 12:47pm PDT
Pete Hammond

James Garner: An Appreciation Of A Great Acting Legend Who Never Looked Like He Was ActingJames Garner just made it all look too easy.

That’s the only explanation I can give for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences failing to vote him an Honorary Oscar over these last few years of Governors Awards.  More than once I wrote a column of “suggestions” including  those egregiously overlooked artists deserving of the industry’s top award, and always near the top was my annual reminder of Garner. But I guess it is just too late now.  Garner, who died Saturday night at age 86, probably just would brush off the honor anyway, thinking those more “obvious” choices were more likely to ever get an Oscar. But it is precisely because he made  it all seem so effortless that he was annually passed over.

Brett_Maverick_-_James_GarnerIt couldn’t  have been because he was also a major television star could it?  Nah. Maverick , The Rockford Files, those fine TV movies, and those magical Polaroid commercials he did with Mariette Hartley  were all great. And  no one can deny the power of those TV movies he did including Promise, Barbarians At The Gate , Breathing Lessons, Decoration Day, The Long Summer Of  George Adams and My Name Is Bill W to name a few. These showed off an actor of real range. If it were just a career in television, it would be incredibly impressive but all the obits this morning calling him a TV legend, which he certainly was, missed the point of just what Garner’s remarkable acting achievement … Read More »

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Universal Buys Angelina Jolie-Brad Pitt Pic Deadline Broke In May

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 2:10pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Universal Buys Angelina Jolie-Brad Pitt Pic Deadline Broke In MayEvery studio was after it, but Universal Pictures acquired worldwide rights to the script Angelina Jolie is writing to possibly make her next movie, one she’ll star in with Brad Pitt. Deadline broke news of the project in May. It now has a title, By The Sea, and the studio says Jolie will direct. I’d heard that when I broke the story, but they weren’t admitting it at the time. Jolie and Pitt will produce.

Jolie and Donna Langley have developed a strong relationship after Langley tapped Jolie to direct Unbroken, the adaptation of the Laura Hillenbrand book about the late Olympian and war hero Louis Zamperini. That film bows on Christmas Day. Jolie has been fully focused on making that date, so don’t expect this next film to happen all that quickly. Read More »

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Fear, Rockets And Anxiety Overshadowed Film At Jerusalem Festival

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 8:30am PDT
Mike Fleming

Fear, Rockets And Anxiety Overshadowed Film At Jerusalem FestivalWhat’s it like to attend a film festival in a country that turns into a political powderkeg? Usually, festival attendees have only a figurative concern about bombs, and then it’s bad movies. The concern at the just wrapped Jerusalem Film Festival was literal and very scary. Hollywood attendees told me that they were rushed into a bomb shelter, as rockets soared and troops began moving on the ground in the ongoing clash between Israel and Hamas over brutal murders in the West Bank. The opening night film, Sayed Kashua’s Dancing Arabs was cancelled due to the fear of a fusillade of Hamas rockets, and Spike Jonze cancelled the master class he was holding Wednesday after a screening of his film Being John Malkovich. Jonze did this after he arrived in Jerusalem, and there were many other no shows, including Austrian director Ulrich Seidl. David Mamet, as tough as they make playwrights, went ahead with his master class as did director Park Chan-wook. Meanwhile, attendees hailed how first time festival director Noa Regev and staff held things together despite the worsening circumstances, but clearly those who hung in were happy to come home.

jeruWhat’s it like to be in the middle of such chaos? Here was the view from an attendee who asked not to be identified: “At first it seemed remarkably calm, but as the days went on I could sense that people were distressed and anxious. Then the atmosphere became stoic … Read More »

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June Diane Raphael & Baron Vaughn Join Netflix Comedy ‘Grace & Frankie’

By | Thursday July 17, 2014 @ 8:00am PDT

June Diane Raphael & Baron Vaughn Join Netflix Comedy ‘Grace & Frankie’June Diane Raphael and Baron Vaughn have landed roles in Grace & Frankie, Netflix’s upcoming half-hour comedy toplined by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. The 13-episode series, created by Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris (Sullivan & Son) and executive produced by Paula Weinstein through Skydance Prods, revolves around longtime nemeses Grace (Fonda) and Frankie (Tomlin), whose lives are turned upside down when their husbands announce they are in love with each other and plan to get married. Read More »

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Universal And Will Packer Close In On ‘Terminal Point’ Spec

Universal And Will Packer Close In On ‘Terminal Point’ SpecEXCLUSIVE: In his latest move at his new Universal home, hitmaking Think Like A Man Too and Ride Along producer Will Packer has acquired spec script Terminal Point from writer Stuart C. Paul. Details are under wraps on the script which Packer and fellow producer David Alpert snagged in a pre-emptive buy. It’s the first spec sale for Paul, who recently wrote and directed short film The Lord of Catan, about a young married couple (Amy Acker and Fran Kranz) whose game night descends into cutthroat competition. Read More »

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Do RealD’s Executive Departures Reflect 3D Fatigue?

By | Wednesday July 16, 2014 @ 12:51pm PDT

Do RealD’s Executive Departures Reflect 3D Fatigue?RealD has lost some top execs recently — and it may not be entirely coincidental. Yesterday was the last day for COO and General Counsel Craig Gatarz. He was right behind SVP Marketing and Communications Rick Heineman, who quietly left in June. CEO Michael Lewis says that they “have been valuable members of the RealD executive team” and that he wishes them “luck in their new endeavors.”  Gatarz, he adds, has a “true passion… for early stage companies so we are supportive of his desire to return to these roots.”

That likely isn’t the end: I hear that another senior exec is preparing to bolt.

Company morale took a hit in March with the retirement of Joe Peixoto, who was RealD’s President of Worldwide Cinema. The former top exec at United Cinemas International and Canada’s Famous Players chain helped to introduce RealD’s 3D technology with Disney’s Chicken Little, and drove many of the company’s deals with exhibition chains. Read More »

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Peter Shinkoda Joins Netflix’s Marvel Drama Series ‘Daredevil’; AMC’s ‘Galyntine’ Adds Cast

By | Wednesday July 16, 2014 @ 10:20am PDT

Peter Shinkoda Joins Netflix’s Marvel Drama Series ‘Daredevil’; AMC’s ‘Galyntine’ Adds CastPeter Shinkoda has been tapped for a major recurring role in Netflix’s Marvel drama series Daredevil set to premiere in 2015. The series was written by executive producer Drew Goddard, with Steven S. DeKnight as executive producer/showrunner. Daredevil is the first of four 13-cutmypic (3)episode superhero series set in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City. Shinkoda, repped by D2 Management and Characters Talent Agency, will play Hachiro. Shinkoda was a regular on TNT’s Falling Skies and recently guest-starred on Hawaii Five-O. His big screen credits include I Robot, Godzilla and Paycheck.
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Broadway Hands Dutch Mogul Joop Van Den Ende Latest K.O. As ‘Rocky’ Goes Down For The Count

By | Tuesday July 15, 2014 @ 3:31pm PDT

Broadway Hands Dutch Mogul Joop Van Den Ende Latest K.O. As ‘Rocky’ Goes Down For The Count

Dutch entertainment mogul Joop van den Ende is one of Europe’s savviest producers of movies, TV and legit, but he just can’t catch a break on Broadway. His latest venture, the musical adaptation of Rocky, was a hit on the Continent — it’s still selling out in Hamburg — but the tuner will shutter August 17 at the Winter Garden Theatre at a complete loss of its estimated $16 million-plus capitalization. Van den Ende will share the pain with a four-star roster of partners including Rocky himself, Sylvester Stallone, MGM, the two leading Broadway landlords, the Shubert Organization (which owns the Winter Garden) and the Nederlander Organization, along with a host of independent producers.

Rocky began previews February 13 and opened a month later to mostly critical yawns that tamped the box office despite some enthusiastic patrons getting in on highly discounted tickets. The show offered a certified coup de theatre from set designer Christopher Barreca in the final scene, which called for the folks in the front rows of the orchestra to move to stageside bleachers, offering a simulacrum of a live boxing event. The boxing ring in which Andy Karl’s Rocky Balboa fought Terence Archie’s Apollo Creed was drawn out on risers directly into the house, a knockout move. Strategic miking and custom-made props — including soft gloves that allowed the actors to actually pummel one another — enhanced the illusion. Read More »

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Update: Intl Box Office: ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Awakens To $31.3M Overseas; ‘Transformers’ Adds $100M+ To Crash Past $500M Barrier

Update: Intl Box Office: ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Awakens To $31.3M Overseas; ‘Transformers’ Adds $100M+ To Crash Past $500M BarriercinemaworldUPDATE, Monday 5:30 PM: Updates are in from Fox and Universal which had the films everyone wanted to know about in the domestic marketplace this weekend as well — Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and the indie favorite Boyhood. Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures’ Transformers: Age of Extinction took in a little less than the $102M estimate, but nonetheless grossed $100.3M from 12 markets, according to the studio, to sail past the $500M market in just three weeks of release. The international cume is now $540.6M. Added with the domestic gross and the go-bots are hitting on all cylinders with $713.4M worldwide.

All other numbers are updated below for those two films as well as for X-Men: Days of Future Past, How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Other Woman, Neighbors, A Million Ways to Die in the West, and The Fault in Our Stars and newcomer Rico, Oskar Und Die Tieferschatten. Just received Warner Bros. and Disney final international grosses so more updates below on Tammy, Jersey Boys, Maleficent, Edge of Tomorrow, Blended, and Godzilla. Sony has come in at 3 PM with its numbers for 22 Jump Street, Deliver Us From Evil, Heaven is For Real and Think Like a Man Too.

UPDATE, Sunday 2:10 PM PT: With the World Cup winding down tonight, next week will see Transformers: Age Of Extinction and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes expand significantly to … Read More »

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UPDATE: Herb Allen’s Sun Valley Retreat – Recap

UPDATE: Herb Allen’s Sun Valley Retreat – RecapUPDATED, Monday, 4:56 PM: Saturday’s panel with Secretary of State John Kerry and interviewer Charlie Rose went off without a hitch after some technical problems the previous day, but listening about the conflicts in the Middle East was not as interesting to moguls (‘what else is new, it’s a mess over there’) as the panel that featured billionaire investor Warren Buffet and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, according to some in attendance. Bezos, whose company Amazon has become a powerhouse in publishing and is creating its own content now, told the group gathered that the Amazon business model in publishing and creating content is here to stay. While the panels are always greatly attended, some of those who sat through the first few said they were a bit dry and boring, but “Buffet is always interesting to listen to,” said one attendee. Jeffrey_Katzenberg_118299588Said another, “All the networking is really done in the first day … unless you’re Jeffrey Katzenberg lining up meetings every hour.” Added another, “He sits there and does one meeting after another … he must have had like 20 meetings.” Yes, DreamWorks Animation’s Katzenberg was doing his ‘speed-dating’ meetings near the duck pond as usual which had some entertainment moguls laughing and others rolling their eyes (‘He has like what? One movie in the marketplace?’ Does he know how silly it looks?).

On Saturday, too, were presentations from the younger entreprenuers of Lookout, Xapo and Lending Club, which another attendee said he thought was fantastic (‘The guy from Lookout looked like he was 16 years old’). Also interesting to one attendee was the education panel with Eva Sarah Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools and Kaya Henderson who is the D.C. school superintendent. “They were really good together and kept everyone’s interest.” That panel took place last Thursday.

The five-day Sun Valley retreat wrapped up last night with the annual dinner hosted by Herb Allen, whose aserbic wit and self-deprecating humor was enjoy by all. In reference to the panel earlier in the week that featured producer Brian Grazer and TWC’s Harvey Weinstein talking about the creative process, one attendee noted that “Brian really hit the mark on it. He was pitch perfect. If he did that same speech in showbiz circles it might not resonate but it did with most of people who were not in the business.’” One of the things that they both suggested was to listen to the voices in your head and get in touch with your instinct, which Allen use as a set up for a joke at the Sunday night dinner: “I have the voices in my head. I just don’t know what to do with them yet.” Until next year …

3RD UPDATE, FRIDAY, 2:50 PM: People actually enjoyed the Michael Bloomberg panel today at the H2013-07-11t154703z_2111664344_gm1e97b1tzw01_rtrmadp_3_sunvalley-conference_Fotorerb Allen Sun Valley conference as the 72-year-old answered questions from journalist Willow Bay, wife of Disney’s Robert Iger. The former mayor of New York whose fight for reasonable gun laws is well-documented, spoke about his philanthropy efforts and giving back to society. Through Bloomberg Philanthropies, the billionaire does just that in the areas of education, the arts, gun issues, governance and public health. He spoke about how dysfunctional the current U.S. system is politically and otherwise to get things done — no doubt as he personally saw what happened behind the scenes in Washington D.C. as politicians in the pocket of the NRA stymied efforts to get background checks on gun sales passed. Leave it to a politician — an orator and a former Eagle scout (hey, it’s no small task) — to wake up the moguls.

The second panel, which was supposed to feature Charlie Rose interviewing Secretary of State John Kerry piped in live from Afghanistan, went awry as the video feed didn’t work (they tried for about 15 minutes to get it up and running to no avail). That conversation, which was expected to be about how heavily the U.S. should be involved in the current explosive situation in the Middle East, will now take place tomorrow after journalist Becky Quick interviews Warren Buffet and Jeff Bezos.

So they are attempting to fix the video feed for tomorrow, but let’s face it, if it doesn’t work, we doubt anyone will be upset as Kerry drones … on and on. Speaking of drones, there has been some attempt to make sure that drones don’t fly over the conference taking pictures, according to Bloomberg News. Ahhh, technology … the age of the paparazzi drone? If people are still awake after Kerry and Rose, a number of younger entrepreneurs will have their turn at bat.

Most all we spoke with don’t expect any major deals to go down at this conference. That Read More »

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Orson Scott Card Short Story Lures ‘A Late Quartet’s Yaron Zilberman

Mike Fleming

Orson Scott Card Short Story Lures ‘A Late Quartet’s Yaron ZilbermanYaron Zilberman is set to write and direct a feature based on Orson Scott Card‘s classic science-fiction short story, Unaccompanied Sonata. The property has been optioned by Nick Wechsler, Chockstone Pictures’ Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz and Opening Night Productions. The film will be titled Sonata, with Wechsler, Schwartz, Schwartz and Zilberman producing. The latter made his feature directorial debut on the 2012 film A Late Quartet. Tamar Sela will be executive producer and Roger Schwartz a co-producer.

First published in Omni magazine in 1979, Unaccompanied Sonata is about a child who has been brought up to be a musical prodigy, and who is kept away from other musical influences to keep his creative expressions pure. Raised alone in a cabin by servants, he spends his days toiling on a complicated musical instrument, as he’s kept from listening to the works of others. Finally, he gains exposure to the works of Bach, and when discovered by a “watcher,” the man is torn away from his lifelong composition and barred from making music ever again. Read More »

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Rob Lowe, Candice Bergen Set For Lifetime Movie ‘Beautiful And Twisted’

By | Monday July 14, 2014 @ 3:00pm PDT

Rob Lowe, Candice Bergen Set For Lifetime Movie ‘Beautiful And Twisted’Lifetime has given the green light to Beautiful And Twisted, a TV movie starring and executive produced by Rob Lowe. Set in Miami against a backdrop of money, hotels and excess, Beautiful And Twisted is based on the true story of Ben Novack Jr (Lowe), millionaire heir to the Fountainebleau Miami Beach hotel fortune, whose brutal murder shook the city’s elite to the core. In the aftermath of the killing, police untangle the sex, lies and payback behind Ben’s marriage to his wife and former stripper Narcy (Paz Vega), who they identify as the prime suspect in a killing that rivals history’s most chilling cases. Candice Bergen also stars as Ben’s mother, Bernice Novak.

Sony Pictures TV is producing. Teena Booth, Inon Shampanier, Natalie Shampanier and Stephen Kay will pen the script. Judith Verno also exec produces with Lowe.

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‘Harmontown’ Docu Starring ‘Community’s Dan Harmon Set For Fall Release

By | Monday July 14, 2014 @ 10:30am PDT

‘Harmontown’ Docu Starring ‘Community’s Dan Harmon Set For Fall ReleaseAfter he was booted from Community, show creator Dan Harmon hit the road taking his Harmontown podcast to fans across the country as filmmaker Neil Berkeley (Beauty Is Embarrassing) documented the tour. The resulting film, Harmontown, world-premiered at SXSW and has now been acquired by MCN/distribution co. The Orchard, which is plotting a theatrical and digital release this fall in North America and the U.K.

Film features Harmon buddies and former collaborators Jack Black, Ben Stiller, Sarah Silverman, Jason Sudeikis and Joel McHale among other comics and Community stars. Harmon, who returned to Community for Season 5, is an exec producer on the Future You Pictures and Starburns Industries film. “Harmontown is a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a man that would quote himself saying that a movie about him is fascinating,” says Harmon. “It’s more than a documentary. It’s your chance to figure out what’s wrong with me while cutting me in on the profit.” Read More »

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Second Stage Nails Down ‘American Psycho’ Musical U.S. Premiere

By | Monday July 14, 2014 @ 10:00am PDT

Second Stage Nails Down ‘American Psycho’ Musical U.S. PremiereOff-Broadway powerhouse Second Stage will present the U.S. premiere of the much praised (and much debated) American Psycho, the musical adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ 1991 novel (and 2000 Christian Bale-starring film) about excess, murder and flashing the right labels. The show — with music by Duncan Sheik, book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, staging by Rupert Goold and a starring performance by Matt “Dr. Who” Smith – opened last December at London’s Almeida Theatre and was considered a shoo-in for Broadway next season. It still may be.

"Lost River" Premiere - The 67th Annual Cannes Film FestivalFor now, however, the show will begin performances in February 2015 and open in March at Second Stage’s West 43rd Street home base. It will be mounted in association with Act 4 Entertainment by special arrangement with Edward R. Pressman (who produced the film). Act 4 is a Los Angeles-based film and new media development company founded by David Johnson and committed to projects that “motivate and inspire audiences across the world toward social action.”

That’s a challenge for the Ellis novel, which prompted furious protests from feminist and human rights groups in reaction to its explicit, play-by-play depiction of the brutal torture and murder of women at the hands of protagonist Patrick Bateman, which the book’s defenders insisted was satire of a society gone mad with material obsession and moral vacuity. The musical has inspired almost inevitable comparisons to Sweeney Todd. Read More »

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