Arrow Films has acquired UK rights to God’s Pocket starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Sold by Electric Entertainment, the film is the feature directorial debut of Mad Men’s John Slattery. Electric acquired it at Sundance. IFC has U.S. distribution and Arrow will release later this year in Britain. Richard Jenkins, Christina Hendricks, John Turturro and Caleb Landry Jones also star in the film written by Slattery and Alex Metcalf. Based on the Pete Dexter novel, the movie follows a man who tries to cover up the accidental death of his stepson in a blue collar neighborhood in South Philadelphia. Arrow’s recent titles include Love Is All You Need, The Hunt and A Hijacking.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Arrow Takes UK On ‘God’s Pocket’; Channel 4 Warms To ‘Fargo’; Noah Taylor, Charlotte Riley Join ‘Peaky Blinders’; Amy Poehler At Mip; More
BREAKING: As Deadline was first to reveal after the exits of Lynn Harris and Sarah Schechter, Jon Berg and Courtenay Valenti have been promoted to EVP Development and Production at Warner Bros Pictures by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production. Both execs, who’ve worked forever with Silverman, will report to him. Duties will be expanded for Valenti, a 25-year studio vet, and Berg, who has been rising in the ranks since arriving in 2008. They will take grater roles in oversight and management of Warner Bros’ development team and budget, as well as managing the studio’s film projects.
The company launched last year by Rich Goldberg and Mitch Budin has made a pre-emptive strike ahead of Berlin, grabbing all North American rights to the psychological thriller. Vertical Entertainment picked up the Ombra Films production Mindscape from StudioCanal on the eve of EFM. Produced by Jaume Collet-Sera, the pic stars Sherlock Holmes heavy Mark Strong as a memory detective who enters people’s minds to help them recall details in order to solve crimes or investigate trauma. But when he suffers a stroke during a session gone wrong, he is left a broken shell of his former self. Brian Cox and Taissa Farmiga co-star in Mindscape, which is director Jorge Dorago’s feature debut. The filmmaker, who has helmed many award-winning shorts including La Guerra and has AD credits including Bad Education and Talk To Her, signed with WME after Cannes last year.
Hulu Plus has acquired subscription video on demand rights for CBS’ Elementary. This is an SVOD component of the exclusive off-network rights deal announced last week by WGN America for the drama series. Under the deal, Hulu Plus has the rights to offer complete past seasons of episodes of Elementary to its subscribers after each season has been broadcast on the CBS Television Network. Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller star in the modern-day take on Sherlock Holmes. Creator Rob Doherty, Carl Beverly, Sarah Timberman and Craig Sweeny executive produce for CBS TV Studios.
Tribune’s WGN America continues to aggressively build its programming slate with a second high-profile off-network acquisition. On the heels of its deal with Warner Bros for Person Of Interest, WGN has picked up exclusive off-network cable rights to another CBS procedural drama, sophomore Elementary, from CBS TV Distribution. The deal seals Elementary‘s renewal for next season and probably beyond. No premiere date has been announced, but Elementary is eyed as a companion to POI, which debuts on WGNA in fall 2015, with Elementary expected to join the cable network’s lineup around that time. No one is commenting but I hear the license fee for Elementary is in line with or a tad higher than that $1.1 million-$1.5 million per episode that POI commanded. (Both deals include a carved out broadcast window.) “Elementary is a first-rate drama and terrific addition to the lineup of compelling content that is redefining WGN America,” said WGNA president Matt Cherniss. “It’s a perfect complement to our recent off-network acquisition, Person of Interest.”
Blood Mountain, the next picture from Mongol director Sergei Bodrov, has attached Sherlock‘s Benedict Cumberbatch to star in the tale of a private military contractor whose Special Forces team is ambushed and killed during a covert raid, forcing him to personally escort one of the world’s most wanted terrorists over hostile terrain in order to bring him to justice. Project was written by Jonathan W. Stokes with revisions by John Romano. Lawrence Bender, Nicola Horlick and James Gibb will produce. Shaun Redick is exec producing alongside Rachel Green of Derby Street Films and Brooklyn Weaver (Out Of The Furnace, upcoming Run All Night) of Energy Entertainment. Silver Reel will finance the film, with executives Claudia Bluemhuber and Ian Hutchinson also serving as executive producers on the project. Skady Lis of Germany’s Getaway Pictures will serve as a co-producer. Getaway will handle the European co-production of the film with the UK and the U.S. Principal photography is slated to begin in April in Morocco. Altitude Film Sales will rep international rights in Berlin next month. UTA Independent Film Group reps North American.
TCA: PBS Chief Paula Kerger Announces ‘Vicious’ Premiere Date, Teases Ken Burns Country Music Docu, Talks ‘Downton Abbey’
PBS has announced the premiere date of the Britcom Vicious, starring Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as a gay couple who have been together nearly half a century. The six-part series, which PBS acquired from Shine International in October, will air on Sundays and premiere July 6 at 10:30 PM. Meanwhile, Jacobi’s drama Last Tango In Halifax has been ordered for a second season, returning June 29, PBS chief Paula Kerger announced this morning at TCA. Also unveiled: Ken Burns is working on a a documentary series about country music — though it won’t air until 2018, Kerger said this morning. Country Music will follow its evolution of over the course of the 20th century as it “eventually emerged to become America’s music,” PBS claimed in its announcement.
And, PBS will never, ever air Downton Abbey seasons closer to its UK run, Kerger indicated — hopefully putting a stake in that debate for press tours ever after. Kerger cited this month’s Season 4 debut audience – 10.2 million viewers, which was a 22% jump compared to the Season 3 opener (7.9 million), which itself had been a leap from the series Season 2 launch crowd of 4.2 mil. Downton is PBS’ highest rated drama ever. ”It’s become a bit of tradition after the holidays to come together to watch Downton,” Kerger said happily. “The audience build over the years…argues to keep the January time frame,” she said. And, of course, a fall launch coinciding with the UK’s Downton season would put it in the teeth of the commercial broadcast network’s fall-season rollout, which, she noted, TV critics in the room had criticized PBS for doing in the past. Not to mention that the series’ UK broadcaster determines its debut date not terribly long before it actually happens — no weeks and weeks of promotions, as is the norm in the U.S. PBS cannot upstage the show in the UK.
The ill-timed consolidation of the best TV movie and miniseries Emmy categories will likely be short lived. The TV Academy has started a procedure for the two longform categories to be restored for this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards, putting an end to the category’s two-year merger. “The recommendation has been made to split Outstanding Miniseries or Movie into separate program categories,” a TV Academy spokesperson said in a statement. “This is on the agenda to be discussed at the February 4th Awards Committee meeting.” The move, first reported by TVLine, is the first in a two-step process, with a recommendation first going to the awards committee and then to the Board of Governors for a vote. It was triggered by the so-called “rule of 14″ where more than 14 submissions in a category prompts a discussion of creating a new category and fewer than 14 opens a consolidation conversation. The dramatic drop in miniseries production at the end of the last decade — which resulted in only 2 getting nominated in the best miniseries Emmy category in both 2009 and 2010 — invoked the rule of 14, leading to the February 2011 vote to merge the best TV movie and miniseries categories.
One can argue that when made, that decision was already outdated because by early 2011 the miniseries genre was already coming out of the collapse with a number of solid Emmy contenders that year, including the opening installments of PBS’ Downton Abbey, which started off as a limited series; PBS’ Sherlock and BBC America’s Luther; as well as HBO’s Mildred Pierce, ReelzChannel’s The Kennedys, Sundance Channel’s Carlos and Starz’s The Pillars Of The Earth. But the TV Academy continued combining longform categories.
UPDATED: The movie world has changed drastically, particularly in the last five or six years,” Billy Bob Thornton said when asked why he’d signed to star, along with Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman, in FX’s first limited series Fargo.
“When I was coming up, if you went to television from film it meant something was wrong…Now it’s the opposite,” Thornton told TV critics at Winter TV Press Tour 2014 for FX’s series inspired by Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1996 film of same name. The kind of “mid-level movies and higher-budget independent films” Thornton said he and his peers came up in the business making, “that doesn’t exist any more. The motion picture studios make big event movies, and broad comedies, and action movies — and movies where vampires are all models. Television has now taken that spot. For actors who want to do good dramatic work, with dark humor and drama, you have to do it on television. If you want to be a celebrity, then go to the dentist in Beverly Hills and punch somebody,” he quipped — a reference to a reported recent Kanye West encounter with a guy outside a Beverly Hills medical office.
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Sherlock’ Season Finale Draws 8.77M UK Viewers; BBFC Changes Criteria For UK Movie Ratings; More
‘Sherlock’ Season Finale Ratings Tops Weekend In UK
A roundly lauded finale for Season Three of Sherlock was the weekend’s most-watched TV program in the UK. The modern detective series’ third installment, entitled “His Last Vow,” drew 8.77M viewers for a 32.1% share, according to the overnights. While it was possibly the best-reviewed episode of the current season, it also was the lowest-rated. Last week’s 90-minute turn, “The Sign Of Three,” had brought in 8.84M viewers and the January 1st opener, “The Empty Hearse,” was the show’s most-watched episode ever at 9.2M on BBC One. In March last year, star Benedict Cumberbatch said there would be a fourth series of a three more episodes. At a BAFTA screening and panel discussion last week, Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat said the next season will be made “as quickly” as possible. Season 3 kicks off in the U.S. on PBS on January 19.
UK’s BBFC Changes Its Movie Ratings Criteria
After a spending nearly a year polling more than 10,000 members of the British public, the UK ratings board is tweaking its guidelines. Beginning February 24, the BBFC will give greater weight to the theme and tone of a film, especially around the 12A and 15 certificate levels (12A is similar to PG-13 in the U.S. and 15 means suitable only for 15 and overs). The board will also pay particular attention “to the psychological impact of horror” and strong visual details like gore. The BBFC has previously shown itself to be squeamish: In 2012, Lionsgate UK shaved seven seconds off The Hunger Games when it appeared the board was going to stamp it with a 15 certificate. Fixes were made in four scenes of violence and one showing details of injuries. It secured the 12A with a warning that it had “occasional gory moments.” While the BBFC will be stricter with language at the U level (equivalent to an MPAA G), it will also be more flexible about allowing very strong language at the 15 rating. “Context, not just frequency, is the most important factor in how language in films is perceived by the public,” the BBFC said today. Further, the group’s findings show that the public is notably concerned about the sexualization of girls in mainstream films and about risks to vulnerable adolescents, including what some described as the onscreen ‘normalization’ of behaviors which parents consider inappropriate. According to findings of the poll, 95% of parents with children under 15 say they check the BBFC rating before watching a film and 89% of moviegoers ratings important. The most complained-about film over the past four years was 2012′s The Woman In Black starring Daniel Radcliffe. Eleven percent of moviegoers polled thought it had received too low a rating at 12A and should have been given a 15.
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 9, 2014 — The Society of Camera Operators (SOC) will present its Camera Operator of the Year Awards at their Annual Awards Event, as announced today by SOC Vice President and Awards Executive Producer David Frederick, SOC. The black-tie celebration announcing the winners will be held on February 15, 2014 at the Skirball Cultural Center. The SOC donates all proceeds from the Awards Event to the Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to help children overcome their vision deficits.
As previously announced, this years Lifetime Achievement Award recipients are Chris Haarhoff, SOC/Camera Operator (Saving Private Ryan, Fight Club, Almost Famous), William Coe/Camera Technician (The Avengers, J. Edgar, Jersey Boys), Barry Wetcher, SMPSP/Still Photographer (Goodfellas, Quiz Show, Sherlock Holmes) and Jack Carpenter/Mobile Camera Platform Operator (Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Crash, The Matrix). The Distinguished Service Award recipient is Stan McClain, SOC (National Security, Almost Famous, Any Given Sunday). The Presidents Award Recipient is Leonard Chapman, who has developed and improved equipment for moving cameras.
NOMINEES FOR CAMERA OPERATOR OF THE YEAR IN 2013:
While U.S. audiences were treated to the Season 4 premiere of Downton Abbey on PBS Sunday night, folks in the UK were tuned in to the second installment of the latest season of Sherlock. The 90-minute episode, titled The Sign Of Three, pulled in 8.84M viewers for BBC One and a 31.9% share. That was down slightly from the Season 3 debut on New Year’s Day which was the show’s most-watched episode ever at 9.2M. Still, The Sign Of Three was Sunday’s most-watched program of the day by a large margin. The final episode of Sherlock airs next Sunday in the UK while S3 starts on PBS on January 19th. On Britain’s ITV, meanwhile, Dancing On Ice returned in its final season Sunday night and scored its lowest ever launch with 6.76M viewers and a 26.5% share. That show is on its way out and will likely be replaced next January by the British adaptation of hit Israeli format Rising Star.
Year-End: UK Tax Breaks Too Much Of A Good Thing? Tasty Danish Offerings; French Film Biz Blues; Germany, Russia, Italy, Spain
The UK emerged in 2013 as an increasingly attractive location destination with new and expanded tax credits – but can it stand the bulge? Hollywood has cozied up to Britain, not only bringing its films there to shoot, but now its TV programs while it also continues to plumb it as a source of original drama to be remade in the U.S. Across the Channel, after a wake-up call in the waning days of 2012 by France‘s influential Vincent Maraval of Wild Bunch, the local industry spent 2013 debating its rich subsidy system that’s spent big (too big?) on talent. Germany‘s local share of the box office is expected to be down for 2013, only slightly, but it’s been fertile ground for the studios working in local language. Meanwhile, Olympics host Russia is seeing its star rise while Italy and Spain are still undergoing financial woes. And yet, nothing seems rotten in the state of Denmark where the box office is top heavy with local films and a new drama series could be the Danes’ answer to Downton Abbey. Here’s a look back at 2013 and some glimpses of what 2014 may hold:
The British government has strongly backed the film and television business by increasing tax breaks this year. But in so doing, has it backed the industry into a corner? Arguably one of the biggest stories out of the UK in …
The second half of the 2013-14 TV season kicked off Thursday night with the series bow of ABC’s The Assets and season debut of The Taste. Here’s a rundown of the midseason shows that will hit the airwaves for the first time during between now and May 31, along with those returning for new seasons or coming off hiatus:
Downton Abbey (PBS, Season 4 premiere)
Revenge (ABC, returns from hiatus)
The Bachelor (ABC, season premiere)
Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family, Season 4B premiere)
Intelligence (CBS, series premiere; regular slot debut at 10 PM Monday, January 7)
Ravenswood (ABC Family, Season 1B premiere)
Justified (FX, Season 5 premiere)
Killer Women (ABC, series premiere)
Cougar Town (TBS, Season 5 premiere)
Psych (USA, Season 8 premiere)
Chicago PD (NBC, series premiere)
The Spoils of Babylon (IFC, limited series premiere)
Enlisted (Fox, series premiere)
Banshee (Cinemax, Season 2 premiere)
Helix (Syfy, series premiere)
Shameless (Showtime, Season 4 premiere)
True Detective (HBO, series premiere)
Girls (HBO Season 3 premiere)
House of Lies (Showtime, Season 3 premiere)
Episodes (Showtime, Season 3 premiere)
Benedict Cumberbatch came back to life as Sherlock Holmes in The Empty Hearse, the first episode of Season 3 of Sherlock which aired on BBC One on New Year’s Day. The 90-minute installment was the series’ most-watched episode ever in the UK. Overnight ratings show that 9.2M viewers tuned in to learn how the high-functioning sociopath faked his own death in the last episode of Season 2, The Reichenbach Fall — and to witness his reunion with Dr John Watson (Martin Freeman). The Empty Hearse drew a 33.8% share to be yesterday’s most-watched program, peaking at 9.7M viewers, while provisional figures also make it the the most-watched drama of the whole holiday period in the UK. The run-up to Sherlock‘s return has been frenzied, with the BBC providing a host of goodies to fans who have waited nearly two years to revisit the character. A mini-episode titled Many Happy Returns was released by the BBC online on Christmas Eve and as of December 31st had been viewed over 1.5M times across the BBC iPlayer and BBC Red Button with millions more watching on YouTube. The next 90-minute Sherlock Season 3 episode, The Sign Of Three, airs in the UK on January 5th. Season 3 begins in the U.S. on PBS on January 19th. Until then, beware abundant spoilers around the Web. Here’s another look at the interactive trailer for S3 that …
Sherlock returns to the BBC on New Year’s Day and to PBS on January 19 for three new 90-minute installments of the detective drama. As a pre-holiday treat, the BBC has posted a seven-minute mini-episode that provides some exposition for the new go-round. (The move is similar to the BBC’s tease of the 50th anniversary Doctor Who movie Day Of The Doctor last month.) The network also offers a new blog post by Dr John Watson promising it will be his last, as it’s time for him to “move on” (read it here). Watson (Martin Freeman) and Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade (Rupert Graves) feature in the mini-ep, titled “Many Happy Returns”, as does Benedict Cumberbatch‘s titular high-functioning sociopath — with a wink. Check it out:
Global Showbiz Briefs: Wanda Cinema Line Adding 80 IMAX Theaters In China; New BBC Gig For Mark Freeland; More
China’s Wanda Cinema Line To Add 80 IMAX Theaters
Wanda Cinema Line, Asia’s largest movie theater owner, will add 80 additional IMAX theaters to its locations throughout China, the company confirmed today. Rollout will start in 2016 and will bring Wanda’s IMAX commitment to 210 theaters in the territory. Under the terms of the agreement, up to 40 of the 80 additional theaters will install IMAX’s next-generation laser projection system. Wanda Cinema Line was one of IMAX’s first exhibition partners in China, dating to 2007. The parties signed a revenue-sharing deal in the territory in 2011. IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond recently said he plans to more than double the company’s footprint in China over the next five years. At a November Bloomberg conference, he said: “I feel like I’ve got the wind at my back. … I’m a huge China bull.” In 2012, Wanda Group expanded heavily into the U.S., acquiring AMC Entertainment in a $2.6B deal, and today that company went public on the New York Stock Exchange.