EXCLUSIVE: Producer David Crockett (The Town, Hugo, The Gambler) and Andy Fraser have optioned Unstoppable: From Underdog To Undefeated: How I Became A Champion, the autobiography of 2011 NCAA wrestling champion Anthony Robles. Published in 2012 by Penguin imprint Gotham Books, Unstoppable chronicles the story of how Robles was born with one leg to a single mother from the wrong side of the tracks and became the undefeated collegiate wrestling champion. Eric Champnella (Mr. 3000, Thunderstruck, Eddie) has been hired to pen the script. Crockett and production exec Fraser have teamed with Robles’ longtime manager Gary Lewis to raise private equity to fund development of the project. They plan to begin production in 2015. Champnella and Crockett are repped by ICM Partners.
Ben Curtis moves to Brillstein Entertainment Partners after more than four years as manager at Untitled. He’ll be working in the management/production company’s Los Angeles office. “We respect Ben’s intense focus, unstoppable drive, and total commitment to clients,” said Jon Liebman, Brillstein’s CEO. “Ben has a great reputation among his peers and he has clients and relationships all over the world that will be a major asset for us.” The addition of Curtis to Brillstein’s management ranks follows the recent hire of former CAA agent Shawna Kornberg and the promotion of Zack Morgenroth to manager. “It’s an honor to join this bad ass group and its rich history. I can’t wait to get to work,” said Curtis. Before becoming a manager, Curtis worked as an assistant at Endeavor.
TWC-Dimension picked up rights to author Ira Levin’s 1973 Broadway thriller Veronica’s Room in December, and now has tapped Mark Bomback to pen the adaptation. The original play from Rosemary’s Baby writer Levin centererd on two students who find themselves invited to a crumbling New England estate for an audience with the last surviving member of the family that once lived there. The purpose of the visit is so that Susan, one of the students, will agree to impersonate Veronica, the long-dead sister of the fading Cissie. And that’s where the line between what’s real and what’s not begins to blur.
Bomback’s credits include Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and Unstoppable, and he did work on the Fifty Shades Of Grey movie. His script Art Of Racing In The Rain is in development at Universal. “Mark coming on board is huge for this project. He shares the same passion for Ira’s play that I do and together we hope to make something very sinister and special,” said Bob Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company. Bomback is repped by WME, Anonymous Content and Attorney David Colden.
Son Of God from Fox so far is the surprise of the weekend, taking in a phenom $1.2M Thursday in late-night shows that began at 10 PM. Universal’s Non-Stop also did bang-up business beginning with 8 PM shows and a total of 720K, according to estimates, as the actioner starring Liam Neeson right now is also playing strong. Two distributors compared Non-Stop‘s opening to that of Olympus Has Fallen, which went onto gross $161M+ worldwide ($99M of it in the U.S.) and that opening was $500,000. So right now Non-Stop is playing above that.
Son Of God still could end up anywhere on the box office top 10, depending how it does this weekend, but if last night is any indication, it could push right up the aisle past Non-Stop. Distributors and those who track the films for a living cannot predict what this picture will gross in its three-day. Reality TV king Mark Burnett, who is producing the picture and is doing a heck of a job garnering publicity with his exec producer Roma Downey, already helped drum up $4.5M in pre-sold tickets — that includes a tremendous amount of group sales from a Colorado-based company called Compassion International which is buying up tickets and giving away parishoners to churches in 40 U.S. cities. “It’s an excellent start and it looks as though Mark and Roma’s sincere grass-roots marketing efforts have ignited and motivated audiences across the country to see Son Of God,” Fox domestic distribution boss Chris Aronson said.
Related: Hot Trailer: Fox’s ‘Son Of God’
The moviegoers that come to see this particular genre aren’t frequent moviegoers so they are traditionally hard to track. To that point, only 30% of 1,000 people buying tickets for Son Of God have seen Frozen and only 28% have seen Gravity — two of the biggest box office hits today. However, at the same time, Fandango also found that 94% Son Of God ticket buyers want to see more Biblical stories made into motion pictures and 76% plan to see Paramount’s Noah starring Russell Crowe and 83% are interested in seeing TriStar/Screen Gems’ Heaven Is For Real (Greg Kinnear). The latter is based on the book that wouldn’t leave the New York Times bestseller’s list. Roughly the same percentage — 82% — are interested in seeing Fox’s Exodus starring Christian Bale. So Son Of God is going to give the studios — especially Fox — a lot of propriety information moving forward on marketing Exodus.
Paramount is also enlisting help from religious entities for their marketing materials. The National Religious Broadcasters and Paramount said last night that they made the joint decision to add an explanatory message to future marketing materials for Noah. Specicially, marketing materials will state: “The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis.” Studios are listening to the faith-based organizations and what works and what doesn’t.
Brace yourself for a bitter fight over media conglomeration: The No. 1 cable company and owner of NBCUniversal has a deal with Time Warner Cable to buy it for stock valued at $159 a share, beating Charter Communications’ $132.50 cash-and-stock bid, CNBC’s David Faber reports at the news channel’s website. The deal is set to be announced tomorrow morning, he says. (Comcast owns CNBC.) Each share of TWC, which closed today at $135.31, would be exchanged for 2.875 Comcast shares, which closed at $55.24. That would translate into about $44.2B (not including debt) vs. Charter’s $37.4B bid, which TWC rejected as inadequate. If consummated, a deal would add TWC’s 11.2M video subscribers to Comcast’s 21.7M and give the cable colossus coveted franchises in Manhattan and Los Angeles.
NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus stands by the decision to edit IOC president Thomas Bach’s Sochi Games Opening Ceremony speech, and said he was not surprised the Bob Costas pinkeye story had gone “viral” because Costas is a national Olympics institution. In a wide-ranging phone call with reporters today, Lazarus also said he was not worried the lackluster performance by U.S. athletes so far would translate to lower ratings, and dismissed suggestions NBC’s primetime tape delays would impact numbers, calling it an out-of-date notion. But he also said a focus on NBC’s primetime ratings, or even NBC’s ratings, was too narrow a way to look at Games’ performance for the company.
Lazarus and NBCUniversal research president Alan Wurtzel said that, as with the London Summer Games, they have discovered that extra digital content helps, not hurts, primetime ratings. “The more devices people use to view the Olympics on, the more they watch…A rising tide lifts all boats,” Wurtzel said. In a rat-a-tat presentation, Wurtzel tossed out a storm of stats demonstrating the network’s flood-the-zone, mostly live Olympics presentation strategy was working well and having no negative impact on NBC’s Games ratings in primetime. “Our strategy of providing more live coverage across all our platforms is once again proving to be very appealing,” Lazarus said. “Viewers want event programming. There is no bigger event than the Olympics. Our multi-platform presentation style has clearly resonated with them,” he said.
More than 30 million people in the United States have visited its Olympics websites, up 54 percent from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the execs said.
After lengthy negotiations, AMC and Sony Pictures Television have closed a deal to develop Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s controversial 1990s comic book series Preacher as a drama series. The project will be written/executive produced by This Is the End writers/directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, with Sam Catlin (Breaking Bad) serving as executive producer/showrunner and Original Films’ Neal Moritz and Vivian Cannon also executive producing. Despite speculation, there are no plans for Rogen to have an onscreen presence at this time. Preacher follows Reverend Jesse Custer, a tough Texas preacher who has lost his faith, has learned that God has left Heaven and abandoned His responsibilities. He finds himself the only person capable of tracking God down, demanding answers, and making Him answer for His dereliction of duty. Accompanying Jesse on his journey is his former girlfriend and a friendly vampire who seems to prefer a pint in the pub to the blood of the innocent. On his tail is an immortal, unstoppable killing machine named the Saint of Killers – a western lone gunman archetype whose sole purpose is to hunt and kill Jesse. “This is a great piece of material for AMC, and we’re thrilled to begin working with the creative team behind it to make another iconic AMC series,” said the network’s EVP Joel Stillerman. AMC is looking to …
Related: ACE Eddie Award Nominations
Universal City, CA, January 15, 2014 – Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Paul Greengrass has been selected by the Board of Directors of the American Cinema Editors (ACE) to be honored with the organization’s prestigious ACE Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year Award. The award will be presented at the 64th Annual ACE Eddie Awards ceremony on Friday, February 7, 2014 in the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, it was announced today by the ACE Board of Directors.
Fresh off Golden Globe and SAG nominations for his lead turn in Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips, Tom Hanks can add the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s Chairman’s Award to his cache of kudos this year. Hanks is receiving the honor in recognition of both Captain Phillips and Saving Mr Banks, his other awards season contender in which he plays Walt Disney opposite Emma Thompson. Here’s the release from the festival:
Palm Springs, CA (December 16, 2013) – The 25th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Academy Award® winning actor Tom Hanks with the Chairman’s Award for Captain Phillips and Saving Mr. Banks at its annual Awards Gala. The Gala will also present awards to previously announced honorees Sandra Bullock, Bruce Dern, Matthew McConaughey, Steve McQueen, Thomas Newman, Lupita Nyong’o, Julia Roberts and the cast of American Hustle. Presented by Cartier and hosted by Mary Hart, the Awards Gala will be held Saturday, January 4 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 3-13, 2014.
EXCLUSIVE: Sons Of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter has lined up his follow-up series to the hit FX drama, and it is as far from SOA‘s contemporary Central Valley biker community as they come (but probably just as violent). Sutter has teamed with Imagine’s Brian Grazer for The Bastard Executioner, a period drama project that has received a pilot greenlight from FX. Bastard Executioner tells the story of a warrior knight in King Edward III’s charge who is broken by the ravages of war and vows to lay down his sword. But when that violence finds him again he is forced to pick up the bloodiest sword of all. “I love the network. I love the world. I love the blood,” Sutter said. He will write the script and executive produce with Imagine’s Grazer and Francie Calfo for Fox 21 and FX Prods. through Sutter’s overall deal with Fox 21 parent 20th Century Fox TV, where Imagine TV also is based. Sutter is expected to start working on Bastard Executioner when he wraps the upcoming seventh and final season of SOA, with filming of the pilot slated to begin late next year.
“For 13 years at FX, starting as a writer and working his way up to an executive producer on The Shield, then as Creator/Executive Producer of Sons Of Anarchy, Kurt has interwoven literary and pulp storytelling within two of the most successful series in cable history,” said FX Networks CEO John Landgraf. “Now he has conceived a deep, provocative and historically precise narrative journey into our medieval past — and I have no doubt Bastard Executioner will be another remarkably original and gripping series. We’re also thrilled to be in business with Brian Grazer, one of the most gifted film and TV producers in the business.”
It’s been a year since Hurricane Sandy came ashore in New Jersey and devastated countless families in the Tri-State area and elsewhere. A little more than a month later, some of rock’s all-time biggest acts and a few of today’s hitmakers hit the Madison Square Garden stage to raise money for victims of the superstorm. The Concert for Sandy Relief — spearheaded by TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein, Madison Square Garden Executive Chairman Jim Dolan, and Clear Channel Entertainment President John Sykes — was televised around the world, and now it’s coming to the big screen. Amir Bar-Lev and Charlie Lightening directed 12-12-12, which premiered at Toronto. It’s produced by Meghan O’Hara and exec produced by Paul McCartney, who teamed with the surviving members of Nirvana that night, and Scott Rodger. The Weinstein Company‘s documentary looks behind the scenes at the show that featured a dream bill ranging from The Rolling Stones, The Who, Roger Waters and Eric Clapton to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Bon Jovi, Kanye West and Alicia Keys. All box office profits from the docu’s theatrical run, which starts on November 15 in LA and NYC, will go to the relief fund. Here’s the trailer:
Tom Arnold has been cast in indie drama Any Day, opposite Sean Bean and Eva Longoria. Rustam Branaman wrote and is directing the pic about a man who has a transformational experience through his relationship with his nephew. Arnold will play Roland, an ex-alcoholic who gives Vian (Bean) a shot and hires him to work at his restaurant. It’s the first pic by backer Jaguar Entertainment, whose Jeanette Zhou is producing alongside The Marshak/Zachary Co.’s Darryl Marshak and Pantheon Entertainment’s Andrew Sugerman. Filming begins October 21 in LA. Arnold is in theaters in Lionsgate’s Pulling Strings. He’s repped by APA and KLWGN Entertainment.
Victor Gojcaj is joining the cast of art crime pic The Forger, starring John Travolta. He appeared with Travolta in Columbia’s The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, when Tony Scott cast him in his acting debut as a train hijacker. Gojcaj also appeared in Scott’s Unstoppable. He is repped by aTa Management.
EXCLUSIVE: Scott Stuber’s Bluegrass Films has set Parkland writer-director Peter Landesman to rewrite and direct Down By The River, an espionage revenge thriller inspired by Charles Bowden’s nonfiction book. Landesman will come on to rewrite a script by Henry Bean.
Landesman and Naomi Despres brought the project to Stuber as the same time as Kill the Messenger, the story of how investigative journalist Gary Webb uncovered CIA complicity in bringing crack to U.S. cities and then destroyed the reputation of Webb, who committed suicide in 2004. Michael Cuesta directed the film for Focus Features with Jeremy Renner playing Webb. Stuber produced with Despres and Renner, while Landesman and Pamela Abdy are exec producers.
Toronto: Unstoppable Harvey Weinstein Brings Jim Dolan And John Sykes For Hurricane Sandy Concert Pic ’12.12.12′
EARLIER: After burning the midnight oil collaring the music-themed John Carney film Can A Song Save Your Life?, Harvey Weinstein will try to rebound tonight for more music when he engages in a panel discussion after tonight’s premiere of 12.12.12 with James Dolan and John Sykes (his accomplices in organizing the concert that raised $50 million for victims of Hurricane Sandy) and documentary producers Amir Bar-Lev and Meghan O’ Hara. The pic chronicles the televised concert that was pulled together very quickly and headlined Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Roger Waters, Eddie Vedder, Chris Martin, Michael Stipe, Adam Sandler, Eric Clapton, Jon Bon Jovi, The Rolling Stones, The Who and Kanye West. The film premieres 8 PM at the Winter Garden Theater.
Remember last month when Disney Channel’s Teen Beach Movie attracted five times as many viewers as Syfy’s Sharknado! but, sadly, Damon Lindelof did not live-tweet the TBM premiere so the press largely declined to live-hyperventilate as it was premiering?
Well, Nielsen today reported the audience for TBM has swelled by more than 5 million viewers, bringing its Live+7 audience to 13.530 million viewers. That makes it the No. 2 most watched movie in cable TV history, behind only – you know it’s coming – High School Musical 2. HSM2 has an apparently unstoppable Live+7 tally of 18.639 million viewers. To put this in perspective, the most watched non-Disney Channel cable movie ever, TNT’s 2001 Tom Selleck western Crossfire Trail, based on the 1954 Louis L’Amour novel, averaged 12.519 million viewers.
UPDATE, 11:35 AM: The social network company wasn’t making a judgment about Kirk Cameron‘s upcoming religious movie Unstoppable last week when it blocked links to the promo site. “To protect the hundreds of millions of people who connect and share on Facebook every day, we have automated systems that work in the background to maintain a trusted environment and protect our users from bad actors who often use links to spread spam and malware,” Facebook says today. But “in rare instances they make mistakes.” And this was one of them: The link “was blocked for a very short period of time after being misidentified as a potential spam or malware site. We learn from rare cases such as these to make our systems even better.”
PREVIOUS, SUNDAY AM: Former Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron‘s upcoming movie Unstoppable vows to answer the question “Where is God in the midst of tragedy and suffering?” But considering that theaters
Deadline’s unstoppable Film Editor Mike Fleming and indefatigable TV Editor Nellie Andreeva will be on vacation with their families starting Saturday, June 29th. Mike will be back by July 17th to cover Comic-Con with the Deadline team. Nellie will cover the Emmy nominations on July 18th but won’t return to work full-time until July 22nd. Please refrain from phoning, emailing, or texting them during this rest period – or I’ll yell at you. (They deserve time off!) Also expect a lightly staffed Fourth Of July week. Thanks for understanding. As always, contact Deadline with breaking news at Editors@Deadline.com.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is extending invitations to join the organization to 276 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures. Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy’s membership in 2013. “These individuals are among the best filmmakers working in the industry today,” said Academy President Hawk Koch. “Their talent and creativity have captured the imagination of audiences worldwide, and I am proud to welcome each of them to the Academy.”
The 2013 invitees are:
Jason Bateman – “Up in the Air,” “Juno”
Miriam Colon – “City of Hope,” “Scarface”
Rosario Dawson – “Rent,” “Frank Miller’s Sin City”
Kimberly Elise – “For Colored Girls,” “Beloved”
Joseph Gordon-Levitt – “Lincoln,” “The Dark Knight Rises”
Charles Grodin – “Midnight Run,” “The Heartbreak Kid”
Rebecca Hall – “Iron Man 3,” “The Town”
Lance Henriksen – “Aliens,” “The Terminator”
Jack Huston – “Not Fade Away,” “Factory Girl”
Milla Jovovich – “Resident Evil,” “Chaplin”
Lucy Liu – “Kill Bill: Vol. 1,” “Chicago”
Jennifer Lopez – “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” “Selena”
Alma Martinez – “Born in East L.A.,” “Under Fire”
Emily Mortimer – “Hugo,” “Lars and the Real Girl”
Sandra Oh – “Rabbit Hole,” “Sideways”
Paula Patton – “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Michael Peña – “End of Watch,” “Crash”
Emmanuelle Riva – “Amour,” “Hiroshima, Mon Amour”
Jason Schwartzman – “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Rushmore”
Geno Silva – “Mulholland Drive,” “Amistad”
Danny Trejo – “Machete,” “Heat”
Chris Tucker – “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Rush Hour”
London, June 3, 2013– Ian Somerhalder has joined the cast of THE ANOMALY, a highly original action thriller exploring the issue of global terrorism. Noel Clarke’s UK production company Unstoppable Entertainment announced that principal photography commenced on new sci-fi thriller last week. The Anomaly’s original screenplay was written by Simon Lewis and will be directed by Noel Clarke (126.96.36.199., Adulthood). Lewis’ screenplay follows the travails of a traumatized ex-soldier who wakes up in the back of a van, alongside a kidnapped boy, to find that he only has only nine minutes and 37 seconds of consciousness to work out why and how he got there.The film is produced by James Harris and Mark Lane of The Tea Shop & Film Company (Cockneys VS Zombies, Tower Block). The film will be shooting on location across London. Ian Somerhalder joins Noel Clarke, Luke Hemsworth, Brian Cox (The Bourne Ultimatum, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), and Alexis Knapp (Pitch Perfect, Project X).