EXCLUSIVE: Haifaa Al Mansour made history with Wadjda, the first feature by a Saudi Arabian woman and the first to be shot entirely within the Kingdom. For her second feature, the director is in negotiations to helm A Storm In The Stars for Amy Baer’s Gidden Media. The period romantic drama is about the tumultuous love affair between dangerously charismatic poet Percy Shelley and the brilliant and beautiful 18-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft. The relationship ultimately inspired the latter to write Frankenstein. The script was written by Emma Jensen, and will be produced by Baer. Joannie Burstein and Rebecca Miller are executive producing. Last Vegas producer Baer launched Gidden Media last November. Of A Storm In The Stars, she says, “From the minute I read the script, I was hoping to find a female director who would realize what Emma was trying to say — that Mary Shelley’s story is as much about female empowerment and about a woman ahead of her time, and not just a ‘monster’ origin story.” Baer sees similarities with Wadjda, the story of a young girl who challenges deep-rooted Saudi traditions in a determined quest to buy a bicycle. It’s “remarkably on point thematically — about a young girl chafing against the norms of her society as she tries to be true to herself. I couldn’t be more …
With the box office booming in Russia, local cinema chain Karo Film says it is investing $150M to fund an expansion program which will include the building of several next-generation movie theaters. Karo is already at work on what it says is Russia’s “most technically advanced cinema complex,” the Karo Vegas 22 Megaplex in Crocus City in southern Moscow. The opening is set for July this year with multiple premium large format rooms, Luxe RealD Experience rooms, five VIP screening areas with concierge service, bowling lanes and restaurants. Karo also plans to open two other multiplexes in Moscow this year, including the country’s second-largest cinema, Karo AviaPark, with 18 screens. Elsewhere, the exhibitor is in late-stage negotiations to break ground on new complexes in St. Petersburg and Siberia in the summer of 2015 with planned openings in early 2016. Of the $150M, $22M will be used to upgrade existing venues, and on increasing IT capabilities and infrastructure. Karo currently has 28 sites with 189 screens.
Eight months after Nancy Dubuc brought in BBC executive Jana Bennett to lead LMN and Bio and transform Bio into a lifestyle brand, the company has set July 7 as a launch date for Bio’s successor, FYI, and its inaugural slate of six series and two pilots. The series run the gamut of tried-and-true lifestyle areas: food, home/home renovation and personal makeover, with the network touting its programming as being younger skewing and upscale. Pilots include one featuring actress Jennifer Esposito and her gluten-free bakery. The project was first piloted by E!, which passed on it. Here is the slate:
UPDATE: Int’l Box Office: ‘Lego Movie’ Builds $93.5M Overseas; ‘Desolation Of Smaug’ Sets Records In China; ‘Frozen’ Hits $980M Worldwide; ‘Robocop’ Big In Brazil; More
3rd UPDATE, 3:20 PM PT Monday: The Lego Movie has upped its overseas weekend cume to $24M in its 48 markets due to stronger UK and France numbers. It now has an international total estimated at $93.5M. Key building block territories yet to bow include Russia, Japan, Australia and Germany. In the UK, Lego took the wind out of the box office with a 55% share among the top five films and its gross actually increased 1% from opening weekend. It has taken $36M in the UK since its debut. The French opening also came in higher than expected this frame with $3.1M from 521 screens. With U.S. cumes this weekend (where it was No. 1 for the third week in a row), the worldwide total is now $276.5M. Also via Warner Bros, Best picture Oscar contender Gravity‘s new cume worldwide is $703.6M after this weekend with international repping $434.4M. We are still waiting on confirmed opening weekend numbers from China for The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug.
2ND UPDATE, 2:10 PM PT MONDAY: Actuals are trickling in with no huge surprises in the bunch so far. Universal added figures for Ride Along, the Ice Cube/Kevin Hart action comedy that’s been so hot Stateside. It bowed in Iceland and South Africa this weekend with $20K at seven dates and $87K at 50 dates, respectively. Its …
Warren Beatty’s Untitled Howard Hughes Pic Finally Takes Flight Financed By Billionaire Boys’ Club; Ehrenreich, Collins To Star In Love Story; Bening And Broderick Also In
EXCLUSIVE: It took two decades, but it’s finally getting off the ground thanks to billionaires Ron Burkle and Steve Bing, Windsor Media’s Terry Semel, Arnon Milchan’s New Regency and James Packer’s and Brett Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment. The heavies have come together to finance Warren Beatty’s long-gestating Howard Hughes-based project. The roughly $26.7M production, which Beatty will direct and star in as Hughes, will revolve around Hughes’ assistant (Alden Ehrenreich, Beautiful Creatures) and his love interest (Lily Collins, Mirror, Mirror). New Regency, Beatty and Ratner are producing, with Packer executive producing. Regency will handle foreign through Fox. They’ve already shot a small amount of film on the picture, but it starts rolling in earnest today. Beatty’s wife Annette Bening and Matthew Broderick and other surprises are expected (a la Jack Nicholson, maybe? One can only hope). The focus of the film is the love story of the two younger characters.
EXCLUSIVE: Sony is rounding up more familiar faces to join Kevin James in Sin City for Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. The sequel to 2009′s hit comedy will see Blart attending a security guard expo in Las Vegas with his daughter, where he’s mocked by casino security until he helps them take on a group of dangerous art thieves. In addition to SNL‘s Molly Shannon, who is in negotiations for a co-starring role, Wizards of Waverly Place‘s David Henrie, who appeared in Grown Ups 2, has been cast as Lane, a charming valet attendant whom Blart’s daughter Maya develops a crush on. Raini Rodriguez is in negotiations to reprise her role as Maya. Eduardo Verastegui (Bella) will play a Vegas hotelier whose hotel becomes a heist target. Nicholas Turturro (I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry) has been cast as one of Blart’s security guard rivals. And James’ brother, comedian Gary Valentine (The King of Queens), is set to play a sympathetic fellow security guard. James, Henrie, and Verastegui also co-star together in the upcoming WWII dramedy Little Boy. Andy Fickman is directing Mall Cop 2 from a script by James and Nick Bakay, who wrote the first pic. James, Adam Sandler, and Todd Garner are producers on the Happy Madison production, which films in Las Vegas in April. Henrie is repped by Untitled Entertainment and ICM. Rodriguez is repped …
Int’l Box Office: Wavering ‘Wolf’ Reports, ‘Lego’ Building Big Numbers, ‘RoboCop’ No. 1 In 15 Markets, ‘Endless Love’ Opens in 25 Markets and ‘Monuments Men’ in 19
7TH UPDATE, WEDNESDAY 5:50 PM: Most numbers for The Wolf Of Wall Street are now in, putting the overseas cume at $225.5M in 48 markets, according to Red Granite. That number was hard-fought this evening and we’ve spent several hours verifying it. Initally this weekend, Deadline was told the overseas cume was $175M, then we heard $225M, with a pit-stop at $212M. When we inquired as to the potential discrepancy of $50M or therabouts we were ultimately told that differences in reporting times were the culprit. In any case, Wolf openings this week included Taiwan with $988K, Ukraine with $346K and Hong Kong with a three-day take of $550K. Individual territories are updated below with local cumes.
6th UPDATE, TUESDAY 5:00 PM: A flurry of new grosses and big territories added below including Germany, Australia, Japan and Korea. Top five film grosses are available now in each market. All numbers updated, but The Wolf of Wall Street total cumes worldwide.
5th UPDATE, MONDAY, 2:25 PM: Updated grosses on The Lego Movie show that the Warner Bro. film, which is in playing in 42 markets, is higher than previously thought, raising the weekend take to $28.4M for a international cume of $52.3M in only two weeks of release. That means that the animated film is poised to pass the $200M mark worldwide in just a couple of days as the domestic cume is expected to rise to $143.7M after the U.S. Presidents Day holiday weekend. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has a total international cume of $604.2M. Adding in the domestic take of $256.2M and worldwide the second Hobbit picture has grossed $860.4M. The first in the trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, grossed $714M in its international run, which amounted to 70% of its total worldwide cume of $1B. Smaug is on the same track, with 70% of its box office coming from international markets. It has yet to debut in two major territories: China and Japan. It will hit theaters in China on Feb. 21 and Japan on Feb. 28.
New grosses are added below and will be continually updated in the copy below as they come in throughout the afternoon and evening and into tomorrow.
John Singleton has signed on to direct, re-write, and produce Morgan Creek Productions and Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films’ Tupac Shakur biopic, which is hitting up a summer 2014 shoot. The long-gestating pic about the late iconic rapper and sometimes actor known as 2Pac got renewed momentum last Fall when Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films joined Morgan Creek as co-financier. Singleton will work with Ed Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft to revise their original greenlit script. Needless to say, Shakur’s lifelong ambitions as a rap star yielded one of the more colorful and tragic life stories of recent decades. The charismatic Shakur, a legendary West Coast hip hop fixture and one of the best-selling artists of all time, dabbled in an acting career throughout the ’90s with memorable turns in Juice, Above the Rim and later Bullet, Gridlock’d, and Gang Related before he was killed at the age of 25 in a 1996 Las Vegas drive-by shooting that remains unsolved.
A keynote session with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 helmer Marc Webb leads the final lineup for the 2014 SXSW Film Conference slate which also includes chats with filmmakers Jason Bateman (Bad Words), Mike Myers (Supermensch) moderated by Jon Favreau, Ralph Steadman (For No Good Reason), and actors Robert Duvall and Tilda Swinton. The SXSW Film Festival runs March 7-15:
SyFy star Emily Rose (Haven) has landed a recurring role on USA Networks‘ police drama Graceland. She’ll play Jessica Foster, the FBI’s sexy and forceful Assistant Deputy Director who’s both Mike’s (Aaron Tveit) superior and his ally (and potential love interest). Rose returns to SyFy’s Haven this Spring for its split 26-episode Season 5. She’s with Domain and Forward Entertainment.
Actress Idara Victor (Vegas) has booked a recurring role in AMC‘s new series Turn. She’ll play Abigail, a 26-year-old African American woman who was sold into the Strong household at the age of 13 and grew up alongside Anna Strong (Heather Lind), becoming her confidante and her housemaid. The period drama centered on the American Revolutionary spies known as The Culper Ring and is adapted from Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies. It premieres April 6. Victor is repped by Untitled Entertainment.
Bruce Dern Calls It A “Geezer’s Dinner”, But Oscar Nominees Show Up In Force At AARP’s Movies For Grownups Awards
The Oscar luncheon has become a lynchpin for other events and award-related activities since so many nominees are in town for the occasion. It’s a last-gasp attempt to get them out to as many events as possible before final ballots go out Friday. The Dallas Buyers Club group, the Wolf Of Wall Street and several others had AMPAS Q&As lined up Monday evening. But perhaps the biggest event — judging by the Oscar-nominated star power it drew – was AARP‘s 2014 Awards Gala on Monday night saluting Movies For Grownups. Their mission as they say is to “honor outstanding writing, acting and filmmaking with distinct relevance to the 50-plus audience”. Considering the average age of Oscar voters, this is a good place to be seen. Among the winners were 12 Years A Slave as Best Movie For Grownups, Gravity’s Alfonso Cuaron as Best Director, Nebraska’s Bruce Dern and Philomena’s Judi Dench as Best Actor and Actress, 20 Feet From Stardom for Best Documentary, and Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke for their Before Midnight screenplay. Susan Sarandon received the life achievement award from presenter Melissa McCarthy. Best Buddy Picture was CBS Films’ Lost Vegas with star Morgan Freeman and director Jon Turtletaub on hand. Best Grownup Love Story appropriately went to Nicole Holofcener for the terrific and sadly Oscar-overlooked Enough Said.
Related: 86th Academy Awards Nominees Photo
Vinessa Shaw (Vegas, 3:10 To Yuma) has signed on for a season-long arc on Showtime’s Ray Donovan. (SPOILER ALERT!) Shaw will play Kate, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for The Boston Globe who is writing a book on Sully (James Woods’ character from last season) and comes to L.A. to investigate his death. She joins recently cast Hank Azaria and Sherilyn Fenn in the upcoming second season of the Mark Gordon Co-produced series. Ray Donovan stars Liev Schreiber as LA’s best professional fixer, the man called in to make the city’s celebrities, superstar athletes, and business moguls’ most complicated and combustible situations go away. Shaw is repped by ICM partners, Thruline Entertainment and attorney Gretchen Rush.
International Box Office: ‘Robocop’ Stomps Into Asia; ‘Monkey’ Is King In China; Russian ‘VIY’ Breaks Records; ‘Smaug’ Hits $600M
There are strong debuts and holds for Hollywood in the international marketplace this week, despite a drop of about 25% from the similar frame last year when Django Unchained was the top film overseas. (Last week, international box office was off about 50%, so that’s an improvement of sorts.) Still, a fair few movies are making, and breaking records — especially in China. While Monday-morning quarterbacks have been gearing up for today’s Super Bowl, in the rest of the world where football is played without shoulder pads and where the Big Game isn’t due til this July, audiences flocked to movies in such diverse places as China, Russia, Germany, Korea and France. Notably, the Chinese New Year began on January 31 and with it came The Monkey King. The film took $46M in seven territories, and broke records at home, while TV reality series transfer Dad, Where Are We Going? grossed $34M (more below).
The only new studio entry on the international scene this week was MGM and Columbia Pictures’ Robocop which blasted its way into three territories in Asia. The movie, starring Joel Kinnaman, strategically bowed in Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore – taking advantage of the Chinese Lunar New Year – and scored a strong opening with $5.5M and a No. 1 trifecta. Robocop does not yet have a China date, although that’s expected to be clarified shortly. …
Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘12 O’Clock Boys’, ‘Peter Brook: The Tightrope’, ‘At Middleton’, ‘Best Night Ever’
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Oscilloscope may have the weekend’s biggest Specialty newcomer with 12 O’Clock Boys. The SXSW competition feature was a hit with audiences at the Austin, TX festival and played well there. It will have a fairly sizable opening for a documentary Friday. Anchor Bay’s At Middleton will play over a dozen runs. The Seattle International Film Festival premiere stars Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga in the romantic comedy. Other roll outs will be much more niche with First Run’s Peter Brook: The Tightrope targeting a New York theater/actor audience. Magnet’s Best Night Ever is an Ultra-VOD release that will have only one run outside the major markets before adding some playdates in the coming weeks.
Documentary 12 O’Clock Boys was an in-demand choice at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival where it premiered in competition. The feature is a stylish look at the 12 O’Clock Boys, a group of teens from West Baltimore who illegally ride their bikes en masse through the streets. The film follows story of impressionable young Pug, who aspires to join them. “I hired [director] Lotfy Nathan based on a short film he did,” said producer Eric Blair of Mission Film. “The short film did not have the same characters. I asked him to continue shooting footage and see about turning it into a feature.” Blair also grew up in the neighborhoods where he saw the 12 O’Clock Boys ride. Blair was aware of their mantra “living free by riding free” and used that as inspiration to inject lush slow-motion scenes into Nathan’s feature.
Kody Brown may be the only husband in TLC’s Sister Wives polygamist series, but he’s now not the network’s only polygamist. TLC announced today it would debut nine episodes of My Five Wives on Sunday, March 9 at 10 PM, after its successful one-hour pilot try-out in September.
Yes, Sister Wives is very successful for TLC, ratings-wise. But this new polygamist family has one more wife! And 24 children, to Kody’s 17! And is contemplating adoption! And is more “progressive” – that’s Hollywood-speak for cameras going into the bedroom and wives discussing their bedroom time with patriarch Brady Williams.
Plus, Brady and brood still live in Utah, while Brown and family had to flee Utah for Las Vegas in 2011 after a local prosecutor opened an investigation into the family when TLC aired the first season. And Brady’s name is Brady, which allows TLC to make Brady’s Bunch gags (see TLC’s news release below):
What’s next Oscar, a Best Actress nomination for Pia Zadora? After Deadline Hollywood uncovered the story behind a bizarre Oscar nomination for a little-heard song in an unseen film that was curiously written by a former Academy Governor and head of the music branch, the Academy took the highly unusual step today of disallowing the tune from Oscar consideration.
The companies didn’t disclose any terms of the arrangement. But they did note that Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, Penn & Teller, and Vegas will be added to what they call “a vast catalog of CBS content” from the broadcast network and Showtime. Amazon Prime subscribers already see shows including Medium, The Tudors, Star Trek, and I Love Lucy. Amazon has also had success with The Good Wife, which was its most popular show in Q4, as well as last summer’s Under The Dome which, it says, was Prime Instant video’s most-watched TV series last year. CBS plans to provide Amazon with the next season of Under The Dome, and recently announced that the streaming service will have Extant, the upcoming summer series from Steven Spielberg’s production company that will star Halle Berry.
Former Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak died today of complications due to a long battle with prostate cancer. The studio marketing, distribution and production executive whose Hollywood career spanned five decades was 68. President of the Academy from 2009-12, Sherak also was a champion of the Southern California Multiple Sclerosis Society, helping to raise about $40 million for the organization’s research and programs during the past 20 years — his charity work meant more to him than any of his business endeavors. Sherak died at his home in Calabasas, CA, surrounded by family and friends.
Related: Hollywood Remembers Tom Sherak
His family has released a statement this afternoon: “To the entertainment community: With broken hearts we want to share with you the news that Tom Sherak passed away today after a long 12 year battle with prostate cancer. He died at home surrounded by his family giving him hugs, kisses, and love. Tom is, was, and always will be, our loving husband, daddy, papa, brother, friend, and “Go to Guy.” He blessed this earth for 68 incredible years, and he will be missed every single day. Tom lived his life as an open book. He opened his heart and let the world in, and anyone who was lucky enough to know him knew first hand the power of his love. He gave everything he had to help others, regardless of whether or not he knew them. Tom is a true hero in our lives who has a star on the sidewalk and wings to fly. We love him so very much.”
In September, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed Sherak as the city’s first film czar. Taking a $1 salary, he was tasked with putting together a plan to halt runaway production and increase the shooting of films and TV shows in Hollywood’s backyard. Along with his growing team at the city’s Entertainment Industry and Production office, he had brought aboard former MPAA President Bob Pisano as an unofficial “consigliere” and tapped former Time Warner exec Rajiv Dalal as his deputy. “In just a few short months, Tom laid a policy foundation that my Administration will stand on for the next four years,” Garcetti said tonight. “Tom’s work will continue through my office and the many charities to which he devoted so much of himself. Tom was a public servant in the truest sense long before he joined my administration. He will be deeply missed.”
In October, during his first civic event since being named film czar, today said he intended to have a plan to increase production in the city around the beginning of 2014. Sherak and his team were working on that plan when his health took a turn for the worse, though he told our Pete Hammond after his job was announced that his public battle with cancer was not an issue. “I am going through all kinds of stuff with my body, and somebody once said don’t make a decision when your body’s going one way and your head’s going another way,” he said at the time. “I took another couple of days and said I wanted to meet with the mayor. … I told him when it was all done to let me go home and talk to (my wife). I did, and she said, ‘Take it.’ I next called my oncologist, and he said, ‘Tom, take it; you’re going to be fine.’ And that’s what happened.”
Sherak began his career at Paramount in 1970 in distribution, and after a stint as head film buyer at General Cinema, he worked at 20th Century Fox in various capacities in the 1980s. That’s where he began to put his stamp on some of the biggest movies of that decade, first as President of Domestic Distribution and Marketing, then Senior EVP of 20th Century Fox, and eventually Chairman of 20th Century Fox Domestic Film Group. He oversaw such titles as Romancing The Stone, Commando, Aliens, The Fly, Broadcast News, Predator, Wall Street, three Die Hard movies, Working Girl, The War Of The Roses, Home Alone, Edward Scissorhands, the Star Wars trilogy special edition, Mrs. Doubtfire, True Lies, Speed, Independence Day and Star Wars: Episode I –The Phantom Menace. Afterward he became a partner with Joe Roth in Revolution Studios, which released more than 30 movies during its seven-year run including Black Hawk Down, Rent, Click and Rocky Balboa. After serving at treasurer at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Sherak was elected president in 2009 and served three one-year terms.
He also had been a consultant that worked all over Hollywood, including for Marvel Studios on its superhero pics including Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and Thor; for Relativity Media; and Skydance Productions. Most recently he had an office on the Paramount lot and helped the studio work with the MPAA on ratings negotiations for Best Picture Oscar nominee The Wolf Of Wall Street.