The NBC Universal property boasted of its 100M cable subscribers and doubled growth in unique visitors to its weather.com site at today’s NewFront in NY. There it announced three new web series which will debut on Weather‘s website, cable TV channel, mobile platform and for tablet in six 2-4 minute episodes launching on the same date:
Coming off its highest rated February in history, the National Geographic Channel is unveiling a slate of four new and seven returning series at its upfront presentation. The new series include Die Trying, featuring men and women pushing the limits of endurance; Building Wild, an extreme do-it-yourself-type home building series; Showdown of the Unbeatables, a battle of cutting-edge inventions; and The Legend Of Mick Dodge, described as “Forrest Gump meets the Jungle Man,” about a man who lives on his terms and his band of quirky friends. “We want to keep the momentum, coming off pour best year (2012) and month (February) with a mix of contemporary entertainment styles,” said NGC Chief Executive Officer David Lyle.
Additionally, Nat Geo brass are so high on two of its upcoming series, Brain Games (premiering in April), an interactive series exploring mind’s skills hosted by Jason Silva; and Ultimate Survival Alaska (premiering in May), an extreme adventure series testing a team of explorers, that the network is granting both second-season renewals before their freshman ones had debuted. Lyle stressed that Brain Games‘ take on science is “smart rather than intellectual while NGC president Howard T. Owens noted Survival Alaska‘s breakout potential. Also receiving series renewals are hits Doomsday Preppers, NGC’s highest-rated series, Wicked Tuna and Diggers. And while the slate presented to advertisers is dominated by unscripted fare, Nat Geo also is committed to growing its scripted area following the success of its first scripted offering, the Scott Free-produced factual drama special Killing Lincoln. “The DNA of the channel is to take creative risks and make bold moves and not be afraid to be different,” said Owens. NGC is getting some attention with the gritty docu series Inside Combat Rescue and has also coming up acquired feature documentary Chasing Ice and two-hour special American Blackout. Paired with Doomsday Preppers, the real-life Revolution imagines the first two weeks immediately following a catastrophic blackout and “will be filmed as a full-throttle disaster movie,” Owens said. Sibling Nat Geo Wild’s slate includes a new Cesar Millan series and two specials featuring the dog whisperer. Here are descriptions of NGC and Nat Geo Wild’s newly picked up series.
The estate of the late Tony Scott has officially rejected CAA’s efforts to seek more than $1 million in commissions. In a Rejection of Creditor’s Claims document (read it here) dated March 8, estate representative R. Dennis Luderer ticked the box next to “the claim is rejected for $1,040,522 + contingent costs.” The estate rep gave no reason for the action. The only other new information on the form was that the value of the late director’s estate was estimated as $1.25 million. CAA now has 90 days to respond to the estate’s rejection. The 68-year-old Scott died August 19, 2012, jumping off LA County’s Vincent Thomas Bridge that spans San Pedro and Terminal Island. The agency filed the claim in LA Superior Court on January 28 for the standard 10% cut from their client’s work on the films Man On Fire, Unstoppable, The Taking Of Pelham 123, Deju Vu and his directing duties on the video game Criminal. “This is a standard legal procedure. Tony had a wonderful relationship with CAA for 20 years and the estate will settle this as quickly as possible. This is nothing out of the ordinary,” a spokesperson for the estate told Deadline at the time. At present, the only hearing for the estate is scheduled for May 16, 2014.
The 2013 Tribeca Film Festival has announced the second half of its slate for the 12th edition of its festival set for April 17 to April 28 in New York City. The Spotlight section features 33 films – 21 narratives and 12 documentaries. Twenty-three of those films will have their world premieres at the festival. The Midnight section will open with Dark Touch. Special screenings this year include the reintroduction of the Restored/Rediscovered program with Charles Lane’s Sidewalk Stories and a special screening of Alberi by Michaelangelo Frammartino. New to this year’s festival is Storyscapes. The multi-platform transmedia program celebrates new trends in digital media and recognizes filmmakers and content creators who employ an interactive, web-based or cross-platform approach to story creation. Storyscapes will present five selections at a public, interactive installation at the Bombay Sapphire House of Imagination beginning April 19th and running through the 21st. The short film program will be announced the week of March 11. The complete list of films and projects follows:
The last in a three-part series in which AwardsLine breaks down all nine of the best picture contenders.
What the Academy says: 5 nominations (Picture: Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, Pilar Savone; Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz; Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino; Cinematography: Robert Richardson; Sound Editing: Wylie Stateman)
What the public says: $147.5M domestic boxoffice; $111.5M international (as of Feb. 1)
What Pete Hammond says: Quentin Tarantino’s spaghetti-western homage was a Christmas Day release and struggled just to meet its late-year release date. That means its five nominations including best picture are an impressive feat considering many members probably didn’t get a chance to see it because of the earlier voting schedule. It just shows the love for all things Tarantino, as this is the third film for which the director has seen a best picture nom. Although unlike Inglourious Basterds and Pulp Fiction, Tarantino didn’t earn a best director nomination this year.
With less than a month to go, the stage is set for one of the strangest Oscar showdowns in memory. Certainly the season started with some clear favorites emerging, like Argo at Telluride, Silver Linings Playbook at Toronto, then Lincoln just after the election, followed by Life Of Pi. I thought Paramount’s Flight also might emerge as a major best picture contender around this time, but when critics awards and early nominations for Globes and CCMAs started coming in, it was clear this was mainly just a play for Denzel Washington and John Gatins’ original screenplay. At Christmas time, we got Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, and the hotly anticipated Les Misérables to complete our seven-pack of best picture contenders. What many weren’t anticipating was that two small indie films that made a splash earlier in the year were also going to come in. Beasts Of The Southern Wild managed to hold on to all that momentum from its Sundance debut a year ago, and then
Listen to (and share) episode 11 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Pete, Deadline’s Awards Columnist, and host David Bloom discuss the impacts on major Oscar categories of this past weekend’s awards ceremonies for the Producers Guild and Screen Actors Guild. Are winners building momentum that may be unstoppable through to Oscar night, or are the races still wide open?
Creative Artists Agency is seeking $1,040,522 from the estate of the late Tony Scott over commissions CAA says it is due. The agency wants the standard 10% cut from Scott’s work on the films Man On Fire, Unstoppable, The Taking Of Pelham 123, Deju Vu and his directing duties on the video game Criminal. ”This is a standard legal procedure. Tony had a wonderful relationship with CAA for 20 years and the estate will settle this as quickly as possible. This is nothing out of the ordinary,” a spokesperson for the estate told Deadline. It is a fairly common practice for creditors to file such legal claims against an estate if monies are owned. The 68-year old Scott died on August 19, 2012, jumping off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in Los Angeles County that spans San Pedro and Terminal Island.The agency filed the Creditor’s Claim on January 28 in LA Superior Court (read it here).
TNT and TBS have signed a new three-year deal with SAG-AFTRA to carry the annual SAG Awards. Last night’s live simulcast of the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on the two cable networks drew a total of 5.2 million viewers, including more than 2.1 million adults 18-49. That was roughly on par with last year’s telecast, up 5% in the coveted 18-49 and down 1% in total viewers. “The SAG Awards are a perfect fit for TBS and TNT, giving us the opportunity each year to target comedy and drama fans with a star-studded night celebrating the best in television and movie acting,” said Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TNT, and TBS. “We are thrilled that TNT and TBS will continue to be home of one of the awards season’s premier events.” Here are the stats:
Though the media often refer to Outstanding Cast In A Motion Picture award as the Screen Actors Guild’s version of Best Picture, SAG balks at the comparison. The actors say their winners don’t always match up and in fact are strictly an honor for a cast. But Argo‘s big win in SAG’s marquee film category tonight is a Best Picture award. And there can be no question now that Argo is on a roll. Voters just seem to like this picture, and sometimes that’s all it takes. Right now its key rivals are probably beginning to feel like Argo is holding their Best Picture hopes hostage.
With the PGA win last night, and recent Critics Choice and Golden Globe wins for Picture and Director, Ben Affleck‘s 3rd outing as helmer is so far proving that three’s the charm. Those first two all-important Guild contests have very good predictive track records when it comes to Oscar. As someone connected with Argo‘s campaign emailed me tonight, “We’re making progress.” That’s an understatement. This morning one Academy voter who was angry after the directors branch snubbed Ben Affleck emailed this to me: “I voted for Argo for a SAG award. And if it wins tonight the world will see the all-powerful wizard: the Academy is not so smart.” Not surprisingly that same voter plans to give a first-place Best Picture vote to Argo – and …
Golden Globes Movies: Winning Films Enjoy The Taste Of Victory, But Does It Really Help Oscar Chances?
If anyone thought the Golden Globes results were going to add any clarity to the topsy-turvy atmosphere that has so far characterized this year’s Oscar race, forget it. In a week that has offered crushing disappointment and major highs to just about every serious contender, the Globes mixed it up Sunday but cleared up no questions about who is emerging as a frontrunner in one of the tightest and most interesting Academy Award contests in years. No one can figure this one out yet, and if they say they can, ask for proof because it just simply doesn’t exist. Yet.
On the other hand, one thing on which everyone seemed to agree was that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler knocked it out of the park as hosts and the show moved along in style. One former producer of an Academy Awards show sitting in the audience told me afterwards, “if I were an Oscars producer this year I would be worried. This was a very good show”.
Voting for Globes was in before the Academy Award nominations were announced on Thursday and before it was known the Acad’s directors branch had snubbed Argo director Ben Affleck while the rest of the Academy offered the film seven nominations. His directorial victory at Wednesday’s Critics Choice Movie Awards and subsequent Best Picture win along with the same two wins at Sunday’s Golden Globes …
EXCLUSIVE: TNT has put in development drama Hit based on an idea by Jamie Foxx. Co-written by Foxx and former Numbers co-executive producer Robert Port, Hit centers on two former high school football teammates and best friends — one a QB, one a WR -– who years later are “drafted” by the Miami P.D. and assigned to HIT (High Impact Team). The same shorthand that made them unstoppable on the gridiron makes them great partners taking down the most dangerous criminals in the city. Foxx and Port are executive producing with Foxx’s producing partner Jaime King.
I recently spent time with Quentin Tarantino as we did the December Playboy Interview for his latest film, Django Unchained. This was my second Playboy Q&A with Quentin. The first time happened before the release of Kill Bill, and it became clear to me during that interview that my subject was determined to make it as good as it could possibly be. He told me he’d grown up without a father, and at around 10 years old, his mother gave him a Playboy subscription to help make him a man. What he did was memorize the interviews with great actors and directors, and he made sure his Q&A stacked up. I came with questions, but felt like my biggest contribution was putting fresh batteries in the tape recorder.
So here we were at it again, years later when the former outsider and rule breaker had proven he was no flash in the pan, and who has grown into acceptance as a respected member of Hollywood’s film making elite. You can read our entire Playboy interview by clicking this link, and find out everything there is to know about how he put together Django Unchained, and the actors he considered before choosing Jamie Foxx to play the title character. And how one of the perks of being Quentin is the ability to cruise around Hollywood in the “Pussy Wagon,” the neon yellow Chevy Silverado SS that Uma Thurman drove in Kill …
SANTA MONICA (October 17, 2012) – GOOD UNIVERSE, a full-service motion picture financing and production company, is upping its commitment to being a leading force in international sales and distribution with the expansion of its global sales arm. Industry veteran Helen Lee-Kim has come onboard as partner and president of international to jointly build Good Universe with co-founders Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane. Brent Jack also joins as the head of international marketing and publicity.
Building upon key relationships, Lee-Kim will align the company with third party producers and financiers who are also committed to bringing feature films with broad commercial appeal to the international marketplace. She will also help drive the international group’s evolution into the television business. Jack will continue his decade long partnership with Lee-Kim, developing customized sales launches and supervising international rollouts for all films on the company’s growing slate.
Lee-Kim and Jack have long standing ties with Drake and Kahane following successful runs together at Lionsgate, as well as Mandate Pictures and Senator International. Together they have launched over 70 films which have generated over 4.5 billion dollars in worldwide box office.
The film community is waking up to the shocking news of Tony Scott’s tragic death. Some filmmakers reacted on their Twitter accounts–Ron Howard wrote “No more Tony Scott movies. Tragic day”–and there will likely be reactions from Guilds and from stars, directors, producers and studios that Scott worked with during his long career. Deadline will bring them to you as they come in. There are speculative reports about Scott’s death and I’m just not biting until I can confirm them. Tony’s brother Ridley left the set of The Counselor, the film he’s directing. It has been shut down for at least a week, so he could travel from London to Hollywood and handle his brother’s affairs. I will have answers soon and will convey them when I’m sure. Here are some of the tributes so far:
* Denzel Washington, who made the spectacular Man on Fire with Scott as well as Crimson Tide, Deja Vu, The Taking of Pelham 123 and Unstoppable, has just released a statement on the late director: “Tony Scott was a great director, a genuine friend and it is unfathomable to think that he is now gone. He had a tremendous passion for life and for the art of filmmaking and was able to share this passion with all of us through his cinematic brilliance. My family sends their prayers and deepest condolences to the entire Scott family.”
* EARLIER: 12:3O PM: Tom Cruise, who made …
It is doubly sad and ironic that action movie maestro Tony Scott would apparently choose to end his life by jumping from a bridge. This is the kind of scene you would more likely see because he was calling the shots from behind the camera – not the stuff of his life. The industry is going to have a very hard time accepting his death now or that there won’t be any more Tony Scott movies in the future. Even though he was 68 years old (an advanced age in youth-obsessed Hollywood), his career as a director, producer, and partner with brother Ridley was still so vital on all fronts. His career in fact seemed to reflect the name of his terrific final feature, Unstoppable (2010). To me, it seemed he was getting better, more accomplished, more defined with each passing year. What a shame we won’t see where he might have gone with the long-awaited sequel to his first major hit Top Gun (1986) 25-plus years after the first one. He was even hoping to tackle a remake of Sam Peckinpah’s classic western The Wild Bunch. Not sure if that was a good idea – but if anyone could have pulled it off, Scott probably could have.
3RD UPDATE, WRITETHRU: A source close to the Scott family just confirmed to Deadline that famed movie director and TV producer Tony Scott “has passed away. We ask that the family’s privacy be respected at this time.” Hollywood is shocked by this tragic news that he committed suicide because British-born Scott was well-liked personally and professionally and had a lauded and thriving career. “He was the loveliest guy. Genuinely,” a family friend tells Deadline. “He was one of the good ones.” Scott was best known for classic action films like Top Gun, Days Of Thunder, Beverly Hills Cop II, True Romance, and Crimson Tide, and the most recent Unstoppable. He also is a credited producer on this summer’s Fox blockbuster Prometheus directed by his brother Ridley Scott.
According to insiders who’d just spoken to Tony Scott last week, he was busy developing a Top Gun sequel re-teaming with Tom Cruise and producer Jerry Bruckheimer despite a 25-plus-year gap between movies. Paramount confirmed to Deadline tonight that Scott was still attached to direct, and just on Friday Cruise was touring the naval Air Station nearby Fallon, Nevada, as part of prep work. But before that project Scott planned to direct as his next movie the drug-centric action thriller Narco Sub based on a spec script by David Guggenheim for Twentieth Century Fox. Scott also was trying to make Hells Angels, The Movie happen.
The first leg of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival was announced this morning, and the slate of premieres and galas has a good mix of star power and potential acquisition titles. Looper was confirmed as the Gala Opening film, which is unusual in that festival organizers have traditionally chosen Canadian titles or documentaries. Here’s the full slate in the fest’s announcement:
Toronto – Piers Handling, CEO and Director of TIFF, and Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival, made the first announcement of films to premiere at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival. Films announced include titles in the Galas and Special Presentations programmes. The announced films include 17 Galas and 45 Special Presentations, including 38 world premieres.
Toronto audiences will be the first to see the world premieres of films from directors Andrew Adamson, Ben Affleck, David Ayer, Maiken Baird, Noah Baumbach, J.A. Bayona, Stuart Blumberg, Josh Boone, Laurent Cantet, Sergio Castellitto, Stephen Chbosky, Lu Chuan, Derek Cianfrance, Nenad Cicin-Sain, Costa-Gavras, Ziad Doueiri, Liz Garbus, Dustin Hoffman, Rian Johnson, Neil Jordan, Baltasar Kormákur, Shola Lynch, Deepa Mehta, Roger Michell, Nishikawa Miwa, Ruba Nadda, Mike Newell, François Ozon, Sally Potter, Robert Pulcini & Shari Springer Berman, Eran Riklis, David O. Russell, Gauri Shinde, Ben Timlett & Bill Jones & Jeff Simpson, Tom Tykwer & Andy Wachowski & Lana Wachowski, Margarethe von Trotta, Joss Whedon and Yaron Zilberman.
“We are thrilled to announce
UPDATE 6:15 PM: President Obama tonight is raising more Hollywood millions in New York at Sarah Jessica Parker’s West Village brownstone and at Mariah Carey’s event at the Plaza Hotel. The Parker event is co-hosted by Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Including tonight’s two events, Obama has had 19 celebrity fundraisers raising an estimated $51 million for his reelection campaign. This is now becoming a routine for Obama: he flies to one coast or the other, hangs with the glitterati, praises them effusively, and then takes the money and runs. Parker’s event was identical to the George Clooney fundraiser except smaller: the dinner consisted of about 50 guests at $40,000 a ticket with a lotto small donor winner trying to spend a “New York Night” with Obama. (The winner was Robin Hunt, a hospital administrator who brought her mother.) Parker appeared in the Obama campaign’s first national ad that debuted on the MTV Movie Awards on June 3rd. (The actress said in the ad that people should vote for Obama because he’s “the guy who ended the war in Iraq, the guy who says you should be able to marry anyone you want, and the guy who created four million new jobs — that guy.”) Get this: when the Obamas left the Parker/Wintour event at about 6:05 PM PT, the two women came outside and waved goodbye as the prez headed to his next fundraiser. At …