BREAKING… Salinger distributor The Weinstein Company said today it is partnering with the documentary’s director-producer Shane Salerno to develop a feature film adaptation of the film. The live-action narrative will focus on the period in JD Salinger’s life between his service in World War II and the publishing of Catcher In The Rye, examining the effects war can have on an artist. Salerno is already signed on to pen the film’s screenplay. Salinger the docu opened September 6 in a platform release, grossing $22,742 per screen. TWC said today it will add new, never-before-seen material about Salinger’s life, his complex relationships with young women, and footage of the iconic author to its 62-city expansion this Friday. Salerno and David Shield’s companion book, also titled Salinger, debuted at No. 6 on The New York Times bestseller list. “This documentary has been an incredible journey and truly epitomizes what it means to be a passion project,” said Salerno in the release announcing the news today. “I’m beyond excited to share more of the fascinating material we discovered in its new special edition, and look forward to continuing my relationship with Harvey and TWC in developing a narrative film about this brilliant, intriguing man.” Added TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein: “Shane has created an amazing documentary about one of the most beloved but enigmatic literary figures of our time. We are glad he was able to take the …
After all the secrecy that went into the deal making for the book and documentary about reclusive author J.D. Salinger, it is all off to a strong start. The book by David Shields and Shane Salerno is debuting in the sixth slot of The New York Times bestseller list. The Salerno-directed documentary Salinger, which launched last Friday in four theaters, finished with a $22,742 per screen, which was tops in the marketplace. Even Salinger’s work benefited: The Catcher In The Rye hit the top ten on Amazon.
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
The weekend boasted a hefty number of Specialty newcomers though that translated into mostly unimpressive results. Most new titles this weekend will likely have short big screen lives. The Weinstein Company’s Salinger, however, skirted that 3-day trend with a gross of just under $91K and a cool $22,742 average putting it in the top tier of documentary openers this year, though titles such as The Act Of Killing ($27,450) and Stories We Tell ($27,053) still showed more opening muscle.
“There’s a lot of stuff about Salinger people want to hear and it’s a unique film,” said TWC’s Erik Lomis ahead of this weekend’s release. “It will get buzz and it’s worth the watch.” Following this weekend’s limited roll out, Salinger will head to 60 markets in 175 to 200 theaters the following week.
TWC’s French-language comedy Populaire had another new film in theaters, though its numbers were far smaller. Directed by Régis Roinsard, the feature grossed $16,662 for a slow $5,554 average. “It is strictly art house,” said Lomis about the feature. “I think it will appeal to an older audience but it also has a unique style that might play to people over 35.”
Magnolia Pictures also released two titles this weekend, though its theatrical numbers were blasé. Good Ol Freda grossed $8K giving it the weekend’s second best PSA among the newcomers, though that was only in one theater. Its other film, Touchy Feely with Rosemarie DeWitt and Ellen Page, fared worse, only grossing $4K in two theaters. Even director Lynn Shelton’s smaller budget previous film Your Sister’s Sister had an $8,402 opening weekend PSA in 13 theaters when it opened in June, 2012. Both Good Ol Freda and Touchy Feely were available via VOD/day and date.
Specialty B.O. Office Preview: ‘Touchy Feely’, ‘Adore’, ‘A Teacher’, ‘Salinger,’ ‘Populaire’, ’99% – The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film’, ‘Red Obsession’, ‘Tio Papi’, ’36 Saints’, ‘Mission Park’
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Even as attention turns to the next slate of films on the horizon at the Toronto International Film Festival, the coming weekend’s theatrical debuts are beyond plentiful. Magnolia Pictures bows Lynn Shelton’s Touchy Feely, starring Rosemarie DeWitt who starred in Shelton’s previous effort. The weekend also boasts two films with very different stories that center on older woman/ younger man sexual relationships in Adore by Anne Fontaine and Hannah Fidell’s A Teacher. The Weinstein Company is releasing two films, including doc Salinger (which played Telluride and is at TIFF) and French comedy Populaire by Régis Roinsard. Newcomer Active Fox Productions also has a duo with family pic Tio Papi and thriller 36 Saints. And Participant’s 99% – The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film join the weekend’s documentary titles along with FilmBuff’s Red Obsession. And crime-thriller Mission Park joins the fray after screening a number of Latino film festivals earlier this year.
Director-writer: Lynn Shelton
Cast: Rosemarie DeWitt, Ellen Page, Josh Pais, Scoot McNairy
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Writer-director Lynn Shelton’s Touchy Feely came out of the filmmaker’s work with Rosemarie DeWitt in Shelton’s previous film Your Sister’s Sister. The drama, which also stars Ellen Page and Josh Pais centers on a massage therapist who is unable to do her job when stricken with a sudden aversion to bodily contact. At the same time, her uptight brother’s unsuccessful dentist practice finds a renaissance when clients seek out his healing touch. “[Shelton] often develops stories working with actors,” said producer Steven Schardt who has worked with Shelton on a number of projects. “We had been talking to [DeWitt] for sometime.” Production had to move forward a month due to DeWitt’s schedule, which meant kicking the production into gear. It was also one of the “biggest” projects Shelton and Schardt had undertaken, though they still worked with a core of crew from previous shoots. “It was one of the longest shoots by far that we’ve done,” added Schardt. “It was 20 days as opposed to 12 days for Your Sister’s Sister.” They also worked with investors who helped fund Your Sister’s Sister.
As the 40th Annual Telluride Film Festival winds down, The Weinstein Company has kept a relatively low profile for most of the fest. But TWC caused a stir in offering up the World Premiere and first public screening ever of Salinger, writer/director/producer Shane Salerno‘s riveting and stunning portrait of reclusive author J.D. Salinger. The documentary begins its theatrical run on Friday and will appear on PBS‘ American Masters in January. It should be a certain Oscar contender for Best Documentary Feature, not only for its superb execution but also as an investigative piece that has elicited major revelations about never-before-known Salinger literary works left behind by the author who died in 2010, which are scheduled now to be released to the world between 2015 and 2020.
The film got a one-time only “surprise” sneak preview (but was tipped over the weekend by Deadline’s Mike Fleming) at the Palm at 9 AM this morning and was followed by an onstage conversation moderated by filmmaker Ken Burns. Salinger historian David Shields, cinematographer Buddy Squires, one-time Salinger muse and friend Jean Miller were in attendance joined via Skype by Salerno and Salinger friend/one-time editor A.E. Hotchner. Early reaction from the packed screening was thumbs up, even for a movie-satiated crowd who have been watching one great film after another since the festival began on Thursday.
A plane bound from Denver to the Tellluride Film Festival with 10 passengers crash-landed today when its left-side landing gear collapsed and it skidded upon landing at the Telluride airport. Salinger documentary co-author David Shields and Weinstein PR executive Emmy Chang were reported aboard. No injuries were reported.
EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing there will be a surprise late entry to the Telluride lineup that was announced earlier this week. There will be a sneak screening of The Weinstein Company-distributed documentary Salinger on Monday, September 2. I’m told that the film’s director Shane Salerno is on the way there with others involved in the film. The Telluride sneak screening, which is the first public showing of the docu, will be followed by a Q&A with the director before he heads to New York for the film’s premiere the following night. Salinger already elicited the bombshell revelation that J.D. Salinger left behind several literary works he wrote in seclusion which he directed be published after his death. There is more where that came from. The film opens in New York and Los Angeles next Friday, and begins broadening to other cities beginning the following week. I could not get confirmation from TWC, but trust me, you can dress for this one.
Deadlne readers have known since J.D. Salinger’s death in 2010 that Shane Salerno’s feature documentary would spill secrets about the reclusive author. And Harvey Weinstein took to asking journalists to preserve reveals as he got them to do during The Crying Game. But they strategically let the first big one out of the bag today, after 100,000 books were shipped. The New York Times reports that the docu Salinger reveals that there are plans to posthumously publish five new tomes starting in 2015, works that the Catcher In The Rye author penned from his concrete bunker after he went into seclusion and stopped releasing his works for public consumption. They include The Family Glass, expanding on characters from Franny and Zooey; The Last and Best of the Peter Pans; a manual of the Vedanta religion; a WWII-set novel inspired by Salinger’s own marriage; and a novella drawn from his time in the Army. The Weinstein Co. releases Salinger on September 6.
Sixty-plus years after The Catcher In The Rye began the public’s fascination with enigmatic author J.D. Salinger, a new documentary and book are ready to spill some secrets about him. Just keep them to yourselves, please. The Weinstein Company is teaming with publisher Simon & Schuster for a new campaign called “Uncover the Mystery but Don’t Spoil the Secrets”, which asks people not to reveal details from the movie and book — both titled Salinger – because of their “revelatory and confidential nature”. The film has only been allowed to be screened by a select group of press and insiders, the Weinstein Co. said, and those seeing it before its theatrical release are being asked to sign nondisclosure agreements. If the tactic sounds familiar, think back two decades. “Back in 1993, when Miramax released The Crying Game, we asked journalists and moviegoers not to reveal the film’s secret to their friends,” Harvey Weinstein said in a statement. “With Salinger, we have a similar situation: The joy of this documentary is discovering information that, until now, has been kept under wraps for decades.” Shane Salermo co-wrote the book with David Shields and directed the docu, which began production in 2004. It opens September 6.
The Weinstein Company has released its first trailer for Salinger, the Shane Salerno-directed documentary that Harvey Weinstein acquired after he and his team were the only film guys to see the film, the morning of the Academy Awards. That happened right after the PBS American Masters team were shown it and bought it for TV and Simon & Schuster editors saw it and bought a companion biography. I saw an early cut of the movie before any of them, before Salinger died. I haven’t seen the film since, but there’s a lot of good stuff in that movie that isn’t revealed here, even from the early version I saw. It has changed as others came forward following the death of the reclusive Catcher In The Rye author. What I don’t know is whether the filmmaker nailed down what Salinger was writing in that bunker of his, work he never released for public consumption. Here’s the trailer for the film that gets a release September 6, ending an odyssey for Salerno, a screenwriter who spent about eight years and $2 million of his own cash to make this:
EXCLUSIVE: It took Shane Salerno eight years and $2 million of his own cash to make his JD Salinger documentary and book. It’s paid off quickly: The Weinstein Company landed worldwide rights to the movie and will release it during Oscar season September 6, it will air on PBS’ American Masters in 2014, and Simon & Schuster scooped up the 700-page Salinger biography from Salerno and David Shields. All three deals were for seven figures, making it one of the richest-ever pacts for a feature docu. Now comes foreign book sales: I’m hearing the London Book Fair is hot over The Private War Of J.D. Salinger, which is not a companion to the movie but an oral biography featuring more than 100 never-before-seen photos and material not found in the two-hour film. Multiple six-figure advances are on the table in London, I’m told, and Simon & Schuster has already concluded at least one major overseas rights deal for the UK and Commonwealth — with Simon & Schuster UK — before rivals even arrived at the sales confab. The plan is to publish the book in the UK simultaneously with its September release in the U.S. Salerno will speak directly with other foreign publishers next week, and other deals could come from magazine serialization as well as a secondary push following the film’s big- and small-screen debuts. Overall, it’s possible global sales could reach into the several …
TOLDJA! Weinstein Company Confirms Worldwide Rights Deal For Shane Salerno Docu ‘Salinger;’ Sets September 6 Release
BREAKING: The Weinstein Company finally confirmed what Deadline told you exclusively on February 27: that the studio acquired theatrical rights to Salinger, the Shane Salerno-directed feature documentary on JD Salinger, the reclusive author of The Catcher In The Rye. TWC has set a September 6 theatrical release for the film. As Deadline reported, the deal is seven figures, around $2 million, and covers world rights except for the previous deal that licensed U.S. television rights to PBS’ American Masters. This was one of the most unusual deals in awhile, and came after Harvey Weinstein, David Glasser and the acquisition team were shown the film on the morning of the Academy Awards.
TWC was the only distributor that saw the finished film, and closed the deal right after. Salerno and his lawyer Robert Offer made three big deals for the movie, showing it only to parties that made deals, which allowed the filmmaker to avoid any leakage of revelations in the film that might have resulted with a screening for multiple buyers. It was first shown to American Masters, which quickly closed a 7-figure licensing deal to make it the 200th installment of that prestigious series early next year. It was then shown to Jon Karp and his editors from Simon & Schuster, and right after they saw it, they closed a 7-figure publishing deal for a biography that Salerno wrote with David Shields. So the movie has played three times, and resulted in deals north of $5 million, making it one of the richest pacts ever for a feature documentary. It took Salerno eight years and $2 million of his own money to make the movie and the book happen. Here is the official release from TWC:
EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company has acquired theatrical rights to Salinger, the Shane Salerno-directed feature documentary on the reclusive author of The Catcher In The Rye. The deal is seven figures, around $2 million, and covers world rights except for the previous deal that licensed U.S. television rights to PBS’ American Masters. The plan is to release later this year for Oscar season, and the deal came after Harvey Weinstein, David Glasser and the acquisition team were shown the film Sunday morning, the day of the Academy Awards. TWC was the only distributor that saw the finished film, and closed the deal right after. While everyone was partying over the Oscar weekend, TWC acquired Grace of Monaco with Nicole Kidman and Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom with Idris Elba. All three of these films will be in the Oscar season discussion, as will Fruitvale, the film that came out of Sundance with strong buzz, and which TWC also acquired. After two years of winning Best Picture, Harvey Weinstein watched Argo best his two candidates, Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchained. Looks like he really, really wants to be in the winner’s circle again.
That validates an unusual sales strategy that Salerno employed on the film with his lawyer Robert Offer. It was first shown to American Masters, which quickly closed a 7-figure licensing deal. The plan is to make it the 200th installment of that prestigious series, early next year. It was then shown to Jon Karp and his editors from Simon & Schuster, and right after they saw it, they closed a 7-figure publishing deal for a biography that Salerno wrote with David Shields.
Now, the documentary distribution rights are being sold to the only distributor that saw the film. I’m told that the entire deal for theatrical, publishing and U.S. TV rights will be north of $5 million, one of the richest pacts ever for a feature documentary.
For Salerno, this completes an eight year odyssey, and he has been made whole after investing $2 million of his own money into the documentary and the book. It also closes the circle for me; shortly after I arrived from Variety to Deadline Hollywood, Salinger passed away. This was not long after I’d seen an early cut of Salerno’s film. I thought it was absolutely fascinating. I haven’t seen it since, and the discretion shown in the dealmaking process indicates there are secrets that were held back. But here is what I said about it back then:
2ND UPDATE, 9:23 AM: It has been quite a week for J.D. Salinger. The Shane Salerno documentary Salinger has been shown to only two parties so far, and in both cases, the result was a smashing deal. First to see it was the American Masters team, which quickly paid low-seven figures to license U.S. domestic TV rights and make it the 200th installment of the prestigious program in January. Second to see it were the Simon & Schuster editors, who quickly made a worldwide rights deal on the companion book, The Private War Of J.D. Salinger. Agency sources tell me that deal was closer to $2 million than $1 million for the sprawling book by David Shields and Salerno. It will be published in September, just ahead of the theatrical release.
Next up: the feature distribution deal. I don’t get the impression there will be a big gang bang screening and then an auction; it will be a subtler, more selective process than that. But the goal is to lock in a distributor who’ll give it a nice theatrical play in the months before the American Masters premiere next year, and figure out DVD and those other ancillaries excluding U.S. domestic TV rights. By the time all this is done, it should be a nice outcome for Salerno and the eight years and $2 million he invested to assemble both the film and the book.
EXCLUSIVE: Bill Pohlad’s River Road Entertainment has optioned screen rights to the Joanna Smith Rakoff novel My Salinger Year, and has set Emma Forrest to write the script. Smith Rakoff’s novel, which will be published by Knopf in the winter, is inspired by the author’s own experiences as a college grad who takes a clerical job at the agency that repped famed author J.D. Salinger. The novel deals with an unexpected relationship she developed with the iconic author as she stood as a barrier between him and his adoring public, guarding the reclusive author’s privacy and answering letters that Salinger demanded not to see.
Forrest has an affinity for adapting a book based on the author’s story. She adapted her memoir, Your Voice In My Head, a project that is a priority at Warner Bros with Harry Potter‘s Emma Watson attached, even though David Yates recently dropped out. That book was about her own experiences of losing the psychiatrist who helped her through all kind of personal turmoil when he died of lung cancer without ever telling his patients he was ill.
EXCLUSIVE: Judging by the J.D. Salinger obituaries and tributes, there is just as much interest in the Catcher in the Rye author after his death as there was during his life when he shunned the spotlight for reclusion in Cornish, New Hampshire. Now I can report that Shane Salerno, a 37-year-old screenwriter who’s currently writing Fantastic Voyage for Fox and James Cameron, has directed and produced Salinger, a 2-hour documentary locked late last year after 5 years in the making.
Salerno financed the film out of his pocket, interviewed 150 sources, and accumulated so much information that he collaborated on a 700-page companion book with bestselling author David Shields.
The 150 sources interviewed in the film either worked with Salinger at The New Yorker or had contact with him otherwise, or were greatly influenced by him. The famous names include Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, John Cusack, Danny DeVito, John Guare, Martin Sheen, David Milch, Robert Towne, Tom Wolfe, E.L. Doctorow, A. Scott Berg, Elizabeth Frank, Gore Vidal, and many other fans, journalists, filmmakers, playwrights, and artists inspired by Salinger’s work.
The film — kept under the radar until now — wasn’t done in time for consideration at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. As a result, the filmmaker hoped to present it at a spring film festival, like Cannes. It will be shopped shortly.
I first learned about the project last year from some sources who’d been interviewed for it. After …
CBS may not be interested in having its former correspondent Dan Rather participate in its JFK assassination 50th anniversary plans, but ESPN is delighted to have him. The network said today that Rather will narrate Rozelle’s Decision-to-Play, one of its pieces planned to commemorate the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, set to air this Sunday at 8 AM on ESPN2 and 9 AM on ESPNEWS. The special will be re-aired throughout the week on SportsCenter and the network’s various NFL programming leading up to November 22nd.
President John F. Kennedy had been shot and killed 50 years ago next Friday just a few miles from where the Dallas Cowboys were practicing. The decision to play games just two days after the assassination was left to 37-year-old Pete Rozelle, in just his fourth season as NFL Commissioner. Rather, who helped coordinate CBS’ coverage of Kennedy’s trip to Dallas and was the first reporter to confirm Kennedy’s death, narrates the story of Rozelle’s decision — one the late commissioner called the biggest regret of his career, ESPN says.
Among the recollections:
Contenders 2013: ‘Wolf Of Wall Street,’ ‘Nebraska,’ ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ ‘Inside Llewyn Davis,’ ‘Fruitvale Station,’ ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler,’ ‘August: Osage County,’ ‘All Is Lost,’ ‘Place Beyond The Pines,’ ’12 Years A Slave,’ ‘Gravity’ & More Kick-Off Panels
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline.
Deadline’s 3rd annual The Contenders event kicked off this morning at the shimmering new Wallis Annenberg Center For the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, simultaneously launching the 2013 awards season precisely four months before the 86th Academy Awards. The spotlight fell on seven different studios/distributors and 22 films competing for awards consideration, with an overview of the Weinstein Company‘s impressive offerings getting things started in a highlight reel that felt like an Oscar contender in itself. An assortment of TWC writers, producers and directors were on hand to share anecdotes and tidbits with Deadline’s Pete Hammond, including Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler, Lee Daniels’ The Butler producer Pam Williams and writer Danny Strong, August: Osage County director John Wells, and the directors of the acclaimed documentaries 20 Feet From Stardom (Morgan Neville) and Salinger (Shane Salerno). Hammond quipped that TWC was so stocked with doc contenders this year that of the 151 eligible entries, “149 felt like they were from Weinstein.” Wells recalled how Osage County co-star Meryl Streep showed up to the first table read of ther script having memorized it and going off-book. “Everyone was like, ‘Wow’,” he recalled. “It was, ‘OK, game on’.”
Related: PHOTOS: Contenders 2013 Gallery
During a session promoting the Roadside/Lionsgate feature All is Lost starring Robert Redford in what the actor has called the most challenging role of his career, sound editors Richard Hymns and Steve Boeddeker marveled at how the film – with abundant action, a single star and minimal dialogue – was literally a sound editor’s dream. And during the following panel for the Focus Features hopefuls Dallas Buyers Club, The Place Beyond the Pines and We Steal Secrets, the morning theme of patience being a virtue came to the fore. Dallas Buyers Club producer Robbie Brenner calmly discussed how her film’s journey from script to screen spanned some 20 years – and nearly fell apart at the last minute when Canadian financing dried up.
UPDATED, 9:30 AM: Benedict Cumberbatch, fresh off his feature film flop The Fifth Estate, will return in the better-reviewed Sherlock starting January 19 in the 10 PM time slot following Downton Abbey, PBS announced this morning. In the UK, BBC has not yet announced Sherlock’s return date, but promises the three episodes will launch there before the PBS debut. PBS also confirmed Downton Abbey’s January 5 return. Scheduling Sherlock’s three 90-minute episodes to follow Downton, PBS said in its first-quarter scheduling news, “reinforces PBS’ move into 10 PM programming on several key nights.”
In this morning’s flurry of PBS announcements, the network made a special fuss over “Cumberbatch (The Fifth Estate, Star Trek Into Darkness) and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, The Office UK) returning as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in the contemporary reinvention of the Arthur Conan Doyle classic, created by Steven Moffat (Doctor Who) and Mark Gatiss. In a separate announcement, Masterpiece exec producer Rebecca Eaton cooed, “The genius Sherlock team has done it again,” adding, “These people are GOOD!” The Fifth Estate, in which Cumberbatch received good reviews playing WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, has nonetheless gone into the books as having the worst opening weekend this year to date.
PBS also said it was announcing a number of new programs, though we’ve known for ages that American Masters had gotten its hands on the much-ballyhooed biopic Salinger. Anyway, in this morning’s announcement, PBS also says per Nielsen that its 2012-13 primetime programming saw an overall average ratings increase of 7% over the previous season and that PBS now ranks eighth among all broadcast and cable networks “in overall general audience content.” We’ll get back to when we figure out what PBS is talking about, and we advise you not to hold your breath while you wait for numbers. PBS also claimed this morning it is now surpassed, in this PBS metric, by only the four major broadcast networks, USA, Univision, and Disney — overtaking ESPN, History and TNT in the ratings. Previously, PBS says, it ranked No. 11.
PBS’s upcoming primetime schedule is, per usual, thick with Brit on Sundays, science and nature shows on Wednesday, and arts and performance programming on Fridays: