CG specialist Marza Animation Planet is in pre-production on their first animated feature under newly appointed CEO Masanao Maeda, the company announced today. Maeda previously served as President and COO of SEGA of America before moving to Marza, which is financed by the SEGA SAMMY Group holding company. The animated family flick Robodog follows two odd-couple canines, one a robot and one a real dog, as they embark on an adventure and find their place in the world. Henry F. Anderson III, who was animation director on Disney’s hit Gnomeo & Juliet, has been tapped to helm.
Unified Pictures has added two animation vets to their upcoming take on the Biblical story. Kung Fu Panda director John Stevenson will head creative on and executive produce Noah’s Ark, the animated musical written by Philip LaZebnik (Pocahontas, Mulan, Prince Of Egypt). Pic tells the familiar tale from the point of view of Gilbert, a lovable meerkat who leads a ragtag band of animals to the ark. Animation pro Cameron Hood (Shark Tale, First Flight, How To Train Your Dragon) will co-direct. The CG-animated feature will be produced in-house at Unified, an independent financing, production, and distribution company based in LA. Stevenson is repped by CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: Rocket Pictures has set commercials director Michael Gracey to helm Rocketman, the biographical musical film about Sir Elton John. I’ve told you about this one before. There is a script in by Billy Elliot‘s Lee Hall, and Gracey will direct a feature that follows John’s journey from 5-year old musical prodigy who by age 11 won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, to a young man who rebelled against his strict upbringing, wore outrageous costumes and became a global icon who teamed with songwriter Bernie Taupin to sell more records that just about any musical artist of his era. “Michael has an innovative, imaginative and compelling vision for the film,” said Rocket CEO Steve Hamilton Shaw. “We want to create an experience that surprises and moves audiences and knew immediately that he was the perfect director to take them on this journey.”
Toronto-based Tayrona Films and Arc Productions have announced they are joining in a co-production partnership to produce four animated feature films. Separately, international producer-financier-distributor Tayrona said it is forming Tayrona Animation, which will finance and produce the films with Arc, the animation studio whose credits include Gnomeo & Juliet and 9. The plan is for Arc and Tayrona to contribute two films apiece to the arrangement. The first film in the deal is The Legends Of The Underzoo, an Arc property that follows a group of animal cubs who, when their zoo is threatened, set out to find a treasure buried in the legendary and mysterious Underzoo. Tayrona is also developing two projects for the deal based on books by Erik Daniel Shein: Darwin: A Galapagos Love Story and Aurora The Spirit Bear Of The North. A fourth project has not been determined. The pact announced today was brokered by Paradigm Motion Picture Finance Group.
BREAKING… The Kung Fu Panda director has come aboard Sherlock Gnomes, the 3D animated sequel to last year’s Disney-released Gnomeo & Juliet. Elton John‘s Rocket Pictures is producing again with the first movie’s co-writers Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil also back for the follow-up, which centers on the characters from the first movie enlisting the help of a famous gnome-detective in solving the sinister disappearance of gnomes from the suburban gardens of England. “John has the perfect sensibility for this movie, together with the vision to build on the first film to create a distinctive, fresh and action-packed adventure,” said Rocket CEO and producer Steve Hamilton Shaw. Stevenson is repped by CAA. Elton John is writing original music for the movie, which is now set to begin production early next year. Rocket Pictures, repped by UTA, also said today that it has hired former Walt Disney Animation production head Carolyn Soper to help oversee production on the pic, working alongside Hamilton Shaw as the company ramps up its animation ambitions. Rocket’s David Furnish and Elton John are also producing.
EXCLUSIVE: Kelly Asbury is in negotiations to direct Kazorn & The Unicorn for Sony Pictures Animation. Asbury co-wrote and directed 2011 Gnomeo and Juliet for Disney and co-directed Shrek 2 in 2004. Kazorn & the Unicorn follows the adventures of a young man and a unicorn as he seeks to locate a powerful weapon and prove his worth to his true love. Lloyd Taylor is writing the Unicorn screenplay. Sam Raimi, Josh Donen and Russell Hollander are producing. Asbury is already scheduled to work with Sony Animation on Pooch Café, which he is writing. Asbury is also scheduled to direct Will Gallows and the Snake Bellied Troll, a live-action/CGI-animated feature for Elton John and David Furnish’s Rocket Pictures. Asbury is repped by UTA and attorney Nancy Newhouse-Porter
Bone In The Throat, Closer To Fine, Spy Vs. Stu
LA-based Dignity Film Finance president Maggie Monteith has three films the company is financing and producing this year. Titles in active development areBone In The Throat, an adaptation of Anthony Bourdain’s bestselling novel produced by Lenny Beckerman and Peter Heslop (The King’s Speech) and directed by commericials helmer Graham Henman, marking his feature debut. Henman is co-writing the adaptation with Mark Townend. Also in the works is the romantic comedy Closer To Fine to be directed by Joshua Michael Stern (Swing Vote) who also scripted. Scott LaStaiti is producing. Stern is currently in preproduction on the recently announced biopic about Steve Jobs with Ashton Kutcher. Third project is Spy Vs. Stu, an action comedy to be directed by Hervé Renoh (Coursier). Screenplay was written by Allie Dvorin & Keith Mitchell and Gren Wells. Dignity also recently completed Theatre Of Dreams, directed by David Scheinmann and starring Brian Cox as Sir Matt Busby the legendary Manchester United Football manager. International sales are being handled by Intandem.
Twixt, The Echo
German distributor Pandastorm Pictures has picked up Francis Ford Coppola´s mystery-thriller Twixt from Pathé International and The Echo, from the exec producers of The Ring and QED International. Twixt tells the story of writer Hall Baltimore, the “bargain basement Stephen King”, who arrives in a small town for a book tour and gets caught up in a real murder. Cast includes Val Kilmer, Elle Fanning, Bruce Dern, and Ben Chaplin. In The Echo, an ex-convict (Jesse Bradford) has to live in his dead mother´s apartment as a condition of his parole. Spookiness and danger ensue.
On Wednesday, Deadline revealed that The Weinstein Company was acquiring the Dustin Hoffman-directed comedy Quartet. TWC just confirmed it with this release.
New York, NY – May 4, 2012 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that they have acquired U.S. and Latin American rights to Dustin Hoffman’s QUARTET from HanWay Films. The comedy stars Maggie Smith (HARRY POTTER franchise, GNOMEO AND JULIET), Billy Connolly (GULLIVER’S TRAVELS, THE LAST SAMURAI), Michael Gambon (HARY POTTER franchise, THE KING’S SPEECH) and Pauline Collins (ALBERT NOBBS, FROM TIME TO TIME). QUARTET, written by Sir Ronald Harwood, marks the directorial debut of Hoffman. QUARTET tells the story of Reggie (Courtenay), Wilf (Connolly) and Cissy (Collins) who reside in Beecham House, a home for retired opera singers. Each year they stage a concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday, which also raises funds for the home. Reggie’s ex-wife Jean (Smith) arrives at the home and creates tension, playing the diva part but refusing to sing in the concert.
EXCLUSIVE: Elton John’s Rocket Pictures has set up the 3D animated Gnomeo & Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes, a sequel to the 2011 Disney hit that grossed $194 million worldwide. Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil, who wrote the original, are writing the sequel script. Elton John is currently composing new songs for the film. Rocket Pictures’ principals Steve Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish are producing, and John is exec producer. The plan is to begin production in the fall, and they are talking to directors. Gnomeo & Juliet director Kelly Asbury will act as a creative consultant on the sequel.
When gnomes start disappearing from the suburban gardens of England, Gnomeo, Juliet and friends enlist the help of Sherlock Gnomes, “the greatest ornamental detective,” to track the culprit. Unfortunately, Sherlock is neither as brilliant nor as insightful as his human counterpart, and as the crimes against gnomanity continue, the threat to their world becomes bigger than they ever imagined.
Deadline’s Awards Columnist Pete Hammond contributed commentary for this article.
Despite Warner Bros’ pricey campaign to put the final Harry Potter in the mix for Best Picture, its efforts only resulted in the same old technical noms the series usually gets (Visual Effects, Art Direction, Makeup). Universal also did a sizeable campaign to get its raunchy summer comedy Bridesmaids into the Best Picture conversation, but conventional wisdom that the Academy frowns on broad comedies in the category proved true again, relegating the hit movie to screenplay and Supporting Actress Melissa McCarthy — exactly the two categories the film was always thought to have its best chance.
David Fincher, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Steven Spielberg, War Horse
Stephen Daldry, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Tate Taylor, The Help
Bennett Miller, Moneyball
George Clooney, The Ides Of March
DGA nominee Fincher was the one anomaly between the usually reliable DGA list and the Oscar nominees in this category. Terrence Malick grabbed that spot, while Spielberg not only was snubbed here but in animated feature too for The Adventures Of Tintin. At least he has a Best Picture nom for War Horse to comfort him. Daldry, Taylor and Miller join him in the Snubbed Club even though their films were deemed Best Picture-worthy.
Actor In A Leading Role
Leonardo DiCaprio, J Edgar
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Ryan Gosling, The Ides Of March or Drive
Perhaps it was a sign when the Makeup branch failed to list DiCaprio’s Hoover makeup in their original seven finalists. The Academy thoroughly rejected Clint Eastwood’s movie, and DiCaprio went down with the ship too.
Motion Capture just isn’t a favorite with actors so that doomed Serkis from the start. Brooks missed SAG too, so that should have been a sign. Perhaps the film was just too violent for some? (Brooks had the best anti-reaction quotes of the day on his Twitter feed, posting “And to the Academy: You don’t like me. You really don’t like me” and “Looking forward to the State of the Union tonight. Hope the new Axis of Evil includes Hollywood.”)
Both of the above were more talked-about for noms than Rooney Mara, but in the end the newcomer triumphed over some Oscar-winning vets.
Actress In A Supporting Role
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Youth was not served in a tough category.
EXCLUSIVE: Elton John’s Rocket Pictures has acquired film rights to Michael Buckley’s bestselling series Nerds, and will develop them as an animated family feature that Buckley will script. Rocket Pictures principals Steve Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish will produce. John is exec producer.
The Nerds series follows a group of unpopular and socially inept geeks who run a spy network from inside their elementary school. They battle the Hyena, a former junior beauty pageant contestant-turned-assassin, and an array of James Bond-style villains, each with an evil plan more diabolical and more ridiculous than the last. Three books have been released in the past two years by the Abrams imprint Amulet Books, and the next one comes in the fall.
The British Academy of Film and Television has released the longlist for its upcoming Orange British Academy Film Awards. My Week With Marilyn and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy lead with 16 mentions each. One point of note is the fact that Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – Part 2 was not named in the overall Best Film category. It is, however, on the list of Outstanding British Film potentials. Ryan Gosling also picked up two spots on the longlist for Best Actor, one for Drive and one for The Ides Of March. The longlist is the result of round one of voting by BAFTA members. It places 15 contenders in each category which will then be reduced to five eventual nominees. The animated film and documentary categories longlist five films each which will be reduced to three nominees per category.
According to BAFTA, all members vote in the first two rounds for all categories except Documentary, Film Not in the English Language and Outstanding British Film, which are voted for by Chapters (groups of over 80 members with specialist skills or experience in a particular craft area). The asterisks in the longlist below denote the top five selection of the relevant Chapter. In the final round, winners are voted for by specialist Chapters in all categories except for Best Film, Outstanding British Film, Documentary and Film Not in the English Language and the four performance categories, which are voted for by all members.
The final nominees will be announced on Jan 17 with the BAFTA ceremony taking place on Feb 12. The longlist is below:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Ides of March
The Iron Lady
Midnight in Paris
My Week with Marilyn
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Film Not in the English Language
As If I Am Not There
The Boy Mir – Ten Years in Afghanistan
Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries)
Little White Lies
Le Quattro Volte
The Skin I Live In
The Troll Hunter
Outstanding British Film
Attack the Block
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
The Iron Lady
My Week with Marilyn
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Beverly Hills, CA – Thirty-nine songs from eligible feature-length motion pictures are in contention for nominations in the Original Song category for the 84th Academy Awards®, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today. The original songs, along with the motion picture in which each song is featured, are listed below in alphabetical order by film and song title:
“The World I Knew” from “African Cats”
“Lay Your Head Down” from “Albert Nobbs”
“Star Spangled Man” from “Captain America: The First Avenger”
“Collision of Worlds” from “Cars 2″
“Dakkanaga Dugu Dugu” from “DAM999″
“DAM999 Theme Song” from “DAM999″
“Mujhe Chod Ke” from “DAM999″
“Rainbird” from “Dirty Girl”
“Keep On Walking” from “The First Grader”
“Where the River Goes” from “Footloose”
“Hello Hello” from “Gnomeo & Juliet”
“Love Builds a Garden” from “Gnomeo & Juliet”
“Bridge of Light” from “Happy Feet Two”
“The Mighty Sven” from “Happy Feet Two”
“Never Be Daunted” from “happythankyoumoreplease”
“Hell and Back” from “Hell and Back Again”
“The Living Proof” from “The Help”
“Coeur Volant” from “Hugo”
“It’s How We Play” from “I Don’t Know How She Does It”
“When the Heart Dies” from “In the Land of Blood and Honey”
“Ja Nao Estar” from “José and Pilar”
“The Keeper” from “Machine Gun Preacher”
“Life’s a Happy Song” from “The Muppets”
“Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets”
“Pictures in My Head” from “The Muppets”
“Summer Song” from “The Music Never Stopped”
“Imaginary Friends” from “Olive”
“Sparkling Day” from “One Day”
“Taking You with Me” from “Our Idiot Brother”
“The Greatest Song I Ever Heard” from “POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”
“Hot Wings” from “Rio”
“Let Me Take You to Rio” from “Rio”
“Real in Rio” from “Rio”
“Shelter” from “Take Shelter”
“Gathering Stories” from “We Bought a Zoo”
“Pop” from “White Irish Drinkers”
“Think You Can Wait” from “Win Win”
“The Backson Song” from “Winnie the Pooh”
“So Long” from “Winnie the Pooh”
NOMINATIONS BY MOTION PICTURE DISTRIBUTOR
The Weinstein Company 12, Columbia Pictures 12, Sony Pictures Classics 10, Touchstone Pictures 8, Paramount Pictures 7, Fox Searchlight Pictures 6, Liddell Entertainment 3, Roadside Attractions 3, FilmDistrict 2, Summit Entertainment 2, Universal Pictures 2, Warner Bros Pictures 2, Focus Features 1, Wrekin Hill Entertainment 1, Oscilloscope Laboratories 1, Relativity Media LLC 1, Sundance Selects 1, Walt Disney Pictures 1.
NOMINATIONS BY TELEVISION NETWORK
HBO 18, SHOWTIME 8, PBS 5, ABC 4, BBC AMERICA 4, FOX 3, NBC 3, AMC 2, CBS 2, FX 2, STARZ 2, SUNDANCE CHANNEL 1, USA NETWORK 1.
NOMINATIONS BY MOTION PICTURE
THE ARTIST 6, THE DESCENDANTS 5, THE HELP 5, THE IDES OF MARCH 4, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS 4, MONEYBALL 4, ALBERT NOBBS 3, HUGO 3, MY WEEK WITH MARILYN 3, 50/50 2, BRIDESMAIDS 2, CARNAGE 2, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO 2, W.E. 2, WAR HORSE 2, THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN 1, ARTHUR CHRISTMAS 1, BEGINNERS 1, CARS 2 1, CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE 1, A DANGEROUS METHOD 1, DRIVE 1, THE FLOWERS OF WAR 1, GNOMEO & JULIET 1, THE GUARD 1, IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY 1, THE IRON LADY 1, J. EDGAR 1, THE KID WITH A BIKE 1, MACHINE GUN PREACHER 1, PUSS IN BOOTS 1, RANGO 1, A SEPARATION 1, SHAME 1.
NOMINATIONS BY TELEVISION SERIES OR PROGRAM
DOWNTON ABBEY (MASTERPIECE) 4, MILDRED PIERCE 4, BOARDWALK EMPIRE 3, CINEMA VERITE 3, HOMELAND 3, THE HOUR 3, MODERN
FAMILY 3, TOO BIG TO FAIL 3, 30 ROCK 2, AMERICAN HORROR STORY 2, BOSS 2, ENLIGHTENED 2, EPISODES 2, GAME OF THRONES 2, NEW GIRL 2, APPROPRIATE ADULT 1, THE BIG BANG THEORY 1, THE BIG C 1, THE BORGIAS 1, BREAKING BAD 1, CALIFORNICATION 1, GLEE 1, THE GOOD WIFE 1, HUNG 1, THE KILLING 1, LUTHER 1, NECESSARY ROUGHNESS 1, PAGE EIGHT (MASTERPIECE) 1, PARKS AND RECREATION 1, REVENGE 1.
BEVERLY HILLS (Thursday, December 15, 2011): This morning at 5:30 AM the nominations in 25 categories for movies and television for the 2012 Golden Globes at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The stars were introduced by Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Aida Takla-O’Reilly. The ballots were submitted to the accounting firm of Ernst and Young on Monday. The awards will be televised by NBC live on January 15 at a star-studded ceremony hosted again by comedian Ricky Gervais:
The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards NOMINATIONS
HOLLYWOOD FOREIGN PRESS ASSOCIATION 2012
GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2011
BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
THE DESCENDANTS - Ad Hominem Enterprises; Fox Searchlight Pictures
THE HELP – DreamWorks Pictures, Participant Media; Touchstone Pictures
HUGO – Paramount Pictures presents a GK Films Production; Paramount Pictures
THE IDES OF MARCH – Columbia Pictures, Cross Creek Pictures, Exclusive Media Group, Crystal City Entertainment; Sony Pictures Releasing
MONEYBALL – Columbia Pictures; Sony Pictures Releasing International
WAR HORSE – DreamWorks Pictures; Touchstone Pictures
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
GLENN CLOSE – ALBERT NOBBS
VIOLA DAVIS – THE HELP
ROONEY MARA – THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
MERYL STREEP – THE IRON LADY
TILDA SWINTON – WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
GEORGE CLOONEY – THE DESCENDANTS
LEONARDO DICAPRIO – J. EDGAR
MICHAEL FASSBENDER – SHAME
RYAN GOSLING – THE IDES OF MARCH
BRAD PITT – MONEYBALL
BEST MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
50/50 – Summit Entertainment and Mandate Pictures; Summit Entertainment
THE ARTIST – La Petite Reine, Studio 37, La Classe Americaine, JD Prod, France3 Cinema, Jouror Production, uFilms; The Weinstein Company
BRIDESMAIDS – Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, Apatow Productions; Universal Pictures
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS – A Mediapro, Versatil Cinema & Gravier Production; Sony Pictures Classics
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN – The Weinstein Company
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
JODIE FOSTER – CARNAGE
CHARLIZE THERON – YOUNG ADULT
KRISTEN WIIG – BRIDESMAIDS
MICHELLE WILLIAMS – MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
KATE WINSLET – CARNAGE
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
JEAN DUJARDIN – THE ARTIST
BRENDAN GLEESON – THE GUARD
JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT – 50/50
RYAN GOSLING – CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE.
OWEN WILSON – MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
Two movies dealing with the earliest days of the film industry, Martin Scorcese’s Hugo from GK Films/Paramount and the black-and-white silent The Artist from The Weinstein Company, both scored a near-record 11 nominations each today in the Broadcast Film Critics Association’s 17th Annual Critics Choice Movie Awards. Both earned Best Picture, directing and writing nods, along with a boatload of technical nominations. The French sensation The Artist also scored two major acting mentions for lead actor Jean Dujardin and supporting actress Berenice Bejo. As for Scorsese, in addition to his producing and directing nods for Hugo, his George Harrison: Living In The Material World for HBO is up for feature documentary. And he also will receive the 2nd annual Critics’ Choice Music+Film Award.
The Critics Choice Movie Awards are January 12, airing live from the Hollywood Palladium on VH1. The diverse list of nominations released today falls in line with other critics groups in spreading the wealth, indicating no slam-dunk frontrunner in what remains a wide open race and unpredictable lineup of films. The early September release Drive had a surprisingly strong showing with 8 nominations including picture and director (Nicolas Winding Refn) and acting nods for star Ryan Gosling and supporting actor Albert Brooks. The FilmDistrict noirish thriller has been a critical favorite but was only a modest box office performer. DreamWorks’ smash August entry The Help also received 8 nominations. In addition to a Best Picture nod, half of the honors were in the acting categories including lead Viola Davis, supporting contenders Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain, and Acting Ensemble.
The 18 submitted features are:
“The Adventures of Tintin”
“Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked”
“A Cat in Paris”
“Chico & Rita”
“Gnomeo & Juliet”
“Happy Feet Two”
“Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil”
“Kung Fu Panda 2″
“Mars Needs Moms”
“Puss in Boots”
“Winnie the Pooh”
Several of the films listed have not yet had their required Los Angeles qualifying runs. Submitted features must fulfill the theatrical release requirements and meet all of the category’s other qualifying rules before they can advance in the voting process. At least eight eligible animated features must be theatrically released in Los Angeles County within the calendar year for this category to be activated.
Films submitted in the Animated Feature Film category may also qualify for Academy Awards in other categories, including Best Picture, provided they meet the requirements for those categories.
The 84th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.
On Saturday, The Walt Disney Studios crossed the $1 billion plateau at the domestic box office for the 6th consecutive year. The studio says it has reached this milestone 15 of the last 18 years. This year’s total was helped by Pirates Of The Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides, Cars 2, The Help, Gnomeo And Juliet, and The Lion King 3D.
Kelly Asbury, who co-wrote and directed Disney’s Gnomeo and Juliet and co-directed Shrek 2, has been hired to write Pooch Cafe for Sony Pictures Animation, the studio announced today. The pic is based on Paul Gilligan’s syndicated comic strip, which features a mutt named Poncho who hangs out at the local Pooch Cafe with his canine pals to discuss the topics of the day. Asbury, repped by UTA and NewhousePorterHubbard, also co-directed the animated Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron. “Kelly’s wit and cinematic sensibility pairs wonderfully with the irreverent characters and wry comedy in the Pooch Café comic strip,” said SPA production president Michelle Raimo-Kouyate, who made the announcement “We’ve been looking for something to do with Kelly, and this was a perfect match.”