‘Heaven Is For Real’ Bows With $3.7M Wednesday Estimate For Sony

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 10:30pm PDT

Heaven Is For RealHeaven Is For Real is headed towards at least $3.7mil on its opening day today for TriStar Pictures with estimates looking like $20M for the 5-day, according to Sony. The best news is that the film, based … Read More »

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UPDATE: MPAA Approves ‘Fed Up’ Key Art After “Reconsideration”

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 10:09pm PDT

FEDUP_keyart_RadiusUPDATED Wednesday, 10:09 PM: After “a reconsideration” of its earlier hard stance against the Key Art for the documentary Fed Up citing ‘offensive language’, the MPAA’s advertising administration reversed its decision late Wednesday night and will now allow the art for the Radius-TWC docu without any alterations, a source close to the situation told Deadline.

So, TWC’s F U is OK. TY MPAA.

PREVIOUSLY, Wednesday, 5:07 P.M.: The MPAA has rejected the key art for Fed Up, a documentary film about the fast food and junk food industries which reveals how children and parents are being fed a bill of goods by food manufacturers. Distributor Radius-TWC has vowed to fight the decision on appeal. The poster featured here shows two M&M’s MPAA logowith the letters F and U next to each other. One wonders if they purposely pushed the envelope knowing that the poster might not pass muster with the MPAA, which cited the key art’s “offensive language.” Nothing like a good controversy to help marketing. Yeah, well, who cares, when the topic is about children’s health in this nation. ”If only Congress and the FDA cared as much about protecting Americans’ lives as the MPAA cares about suppressing our poster, we wouldn’t be facing the greatest health epidemic of our time,” said Radius-TWC co-presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego in a statement. The MPAA could not be reached for comment.

The film, which is executive produced by Katie Couric, who also narrates the film, is a Radius/TWC presentation after The Weinstein Company label acquired it this year at Sundance. It features several noteworthy people talking about sugar’s impact on the health of children. Inclmpaa2uded are former President Bill Clinton, Harvard Medical School associate professor in pediatrics Dr. David Ludwig, former FDA commissioner David Keller, Sen. Tom Harkin, former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, and food author Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma). One of the producers of Fed Up is Laurie David, who also produced the 2006 Academy Award-winning documentary film An Inconvenient Truth.

Related: Hot Trailer: Food Docu ‘Fed Up’

Read More »

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UPDATE: Warner Bros Taps Former Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers As Communications Chief; Sue Fleishman Exiting

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 10:41am PDT

UPDATED WITH COMMENTS FROM MYERS AND FLEISHMAN: DeeDeeMyersWarner Bros has hired former White House Press Secretary and longtime political strategist/analyst Dee Dee Myers as EVP Worldwide Corporate Communications and Public Affairs replacing nine-year veteran Sue Fleishman. The move comes after Fleishman had to negotiate through a very rocky transition at the studio through several shakeups in 2013. That included the ascension of new Warner Bros Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara and the exits of the other two WB biggies angling for that gig — Warner Bros TV boss Bruce Rosenblum last May and Warner Brothers Pictures Group President Jeff Robinov the next month.

warnerbros_logoMyers is coming into a studio rocked by these exits. And although Warner Bros is still reaping the benefits of the pictures greenlit by Robinov — Gravity, The Lego Movie, 300: Rise Of An Empire, and others — it is being led by a studio chairman who has been in the job only a year and is seen as still trying to get his footing. The question is what will happen once the studio blows through all the projects set in motion by Robinov and what characteristic mark will Tsujihara make during his tenure? Fleishman was seen as Barry Meyer’s guy, which is kind of interesting because so was Tsujihara so go figure. Fresh blood now.

Warner Bros. has had a terrific run at the box office from those aforementioned films and is a force to be reckoned with TV powerhouse with such properties as The Big Bang Theory, The Voice, Two and Half Men, The Following, to name a few. They are also partnered with CBS in the CW Network where they produce Arrow, The Vampire Diaries, Shameless, and syndicated hit The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Myers is a smart, aggressive woman who is not afraid to speak up. In fact, she wrote a book Why Women Should Rule The World about how things might be better worldwide if more women were in leadership roles. Her husband has long worked as a journalist (at the New York Times and Politico) and is currently the national editor and political correspondent at Vanity Fair (where Myers also wrote). DeeDeeMyersClintonOriginally from Los Angeles, she worked for many years with former Mayor Tom Bradley and other politicians before heading to Washington, working with Walter Mondale’s campaign, Michael Dukakis, Dianne Feinstein, and then, of course, with President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton as the White House press secretary for the first two years of the administration. She was the first female press secretary and one of the youngest to hold the job.

She is certainly not the first political press secretary/strategist to make the move to Hollywood. Years ago, Anna Perez, Barbara Bush’s press secretary, was hired at CAA. Zenia Mucha, currently EVP and chief communications officer at Disney, worked  for Sen. Alfonse D’Amato and NY Gov. George Pataki. And Kori Bernards at Universal Pictures previously worked at the MPAA and in D.C. for 13 years with then-Minority Leader Richard Gephardt and Nancy Pelosi (now House Minority Leader). “There is a fair number of people who go back and forth,” said Myers. “There’s an affinity between politics and entertainment but that being said, it’s very different and there will be a transition for me.” Read More »

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QED International Layoffs Following Box Office Blunder ‘Sabotage’

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 6:16pm PDT

qedQED International has laid off five employees (which includes support staff and a junior lawyer) three weeks after the disastrous opening of Sabotage, directed by David Ayer and led by aging action star Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sabotage-Movie-HD-ImagesThe bloody pic flopped and is hanging on by its fingernails in the Box office Top 20 — it’s No. 18 in its third weekend — having grossed a mere $10M. John Hegeman, president of worldwide marketing, is still on board as he helps prepare the debut of the next Ayer-directed film, Fury, which has some star power in Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf and audience favorite Michael Pena. QED slapped down $1M to buy the WWII spec from Ayer over a year ago; it will bow in November. One insider said that QED is reallocating resources for development spending. To that point, today QED purchased Yellowstone Falls, a 52-page spec script by Dan Kunka, winning what was said to be a heated bidding war. The film, which will be produced by Kevin Misher and QED President Bill Block, is about a mother wolf who must battle to save her cubs after being separated from her mate following an apocalyptic event. The film will have nearly no dialogue and few actors. Sounds a little like Disneynature’s Bears — with mutated humans thrown in. Read More »

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Rick Santorum’s Faith-Based Film Company Eyes Churches Also As Movie Houses

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 4:16pm PDT

450461553EchoLight Studios, the faith- and family-based production entity headed by self-professed Christian politician and former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, said it will distribute four films a year starting in September 2014 then one a quarter after that. But here’s the twist: The films will be playing in churches throughout the country instead of theaters. One of those films is Hoovey, starring Patrick Warburton (Rules Of Engagement) and Lauren Holly — a true story about a Midwestern basketball family who, with God’s help, stayed in the game and won. Audrey's Shower patrick warburtonThe film is an unlikely candidate for the nation’s theaters to begin with, but there is a larger goal for Santorum, who is the CEO and not in politics any longer — to bring in flocks to the churches. “We want to be a part of empowering the church to elevate its role as a cultural change agent,” EchoLight President Studios Jeff Sheets said in a statement. “Our vision is not to create sermons wrapped in a movie but to create content that inspires, fascinates and incorporates a strong Christian worldview.”

Related: Biblical And Faith-based Films In Hollywood To Stay?

Uh, that’s taking the faith-based craze to a different level — using churches as theaters. The Franklin, TN-based company is developing content with “strong ministry value as tools for the Church to use in their in-reach and outreach ministries.” They also said that a portion of the revenues generated from these films will “fuel the missional needs of the hosting local church.” So instead of the money going into Hollywood coffers, it’s going back to Santorum’s churches. And therein lies the business model. Read More »

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BOX OFFICE FINAL: ‘Captain America 2′ Tally $41.2M, ‘Rio 2′ Runs Afowl With $39.3M, ‘Oculus’ $12M Over Disappointing Opener ‘Draft Day’ With Only $9.7M

OPENING: Rio 2 (FOX) on Friday was expected to fly to No. 1 for $43.9M to $44.3M (Fox was the only one to predict $45M), then Saturday got its wings clipped by Captain America: The Winter Soldier and ended at $39.3M, Oculus (REL) was expected to scare up $12M to $12.8M for third spot and ended up at $12M; Draft Day (LGF) on Fri. was second round pick for $10.9M (although Summit estimated lower $10.5M) and ended the weekend with $9.7M. NOTEWORTHY: Captain America 2 (DIS) expected to fall 56% in second weekend but will take No. 1 with $40.5M to $41.4M to end the 3-day with $41.2M.

BoxOffice_logo__131122164403-275x206UPDATED, MONDAY, 3:37 PM:  Rio 2 opened to $39.3M right in line with the first film which opened in 2011 to $39.2M. That hurts, but overseas, the film has already grossed $63.4M, so it has already pulled in over $100M worldwide and it should get some decent multiples as there is really nothing standing in its way for some weeks to come … well, there is the long- in-release Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Muppets Most Wanted. But for the sequel not to surge past the first film, something went a little haywire. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was the champ again this weekend and the final tally ended up at $41.2M but next weekend, it has competition when Warner Bros. opens the Johnny Depp sci-fi thriller Transcendence. The big disappointment of the weekend was the Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner football feature Draft Day (LGF). It took in only $9.7M. That’s three in a row for Costner that really didn’t thrill audiences — behind 3 Days To Kill and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, although the criticism for that film really was directed at Chris Pine not being a strong enough lead. Regardless, it’s too bad for all involved. Oculus, despite its C CinemaScore, was able to pull in $12M for the weekend which served Relativity well. Noah also bypassed Divergent to step into the Top Five. Read More »

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‘Midnight Rider’ Director Randall Miller Attempting To Move Forward With Film In LA Following Sarah Jones Death

Sarah Jones Midnight RiderEXCLUSIVE: Filming was suspended following the fatal February 20 train accident that killed camera assistant Sarah Jones on the Georgia set of Midnight Rider – but Deadline has learned that director/producer Randall Miller is hoping to move forward with the production as early as June.

A source close to Miller confirms that discussions are underway on proceeding with the Gregg Allman biopic, but not in the Savannah-Atlanta region where the Jones death occurred. According to sources with knowledge of the plans, Miller wants to instead resume filming in the Los Angeles area where he and his Unclaimed Freight banner are based. According to one source with knowledge of the production, Allman, who is the executive producer on Midnight Rider, has to sign off on it too but it’s not clear if he has yet. A rep for Allman did not return calls seeking comment. It appears that Miller and Unclaimed Freight believe they have a legal right to move forward to complete the film.

Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia

Midnight Rider Doctortown trestleAtlanta-based Jones, 27, died when a train collided with equipment on active tracks in rural Doctortown, GA where the crew of Midnight Rider was set up for filming on a train trestle overlooking the Altamaha River. The film’s producers were reportedly still trying to rally crew to continue filming in the days immediately following the accident. Production was officially suspended six days later; Open Road Films still has a distribution agreement to release the film. Read More »

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Robert Downey, Jr. Finally Gets His Own Twitter Account, Reflective Of Social Media’s Importance To Film Marketing

Kodak TheatreThe Iron Man himself has finally joined Twitter. With only 4 tweets this morning, he’s dipped his toe into the social media universe. Within hours, Downey has tallied 912K followers. Wow, word travels fast. And why not? Iron Man is a billion dollar franchise for Marvel since they first introduced Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark in 2008. Worldwide the first film grossed $585M, the second one, $623.9M and the third, $1.2B. The next Marvel title for the actor is Avengers: Age of Ultron which will bow May 1, 2015 from Disney. Welcome to the SMU, Mr. Downey, No doubt, Disney and Marvel are thrilled. The actor has long been a strong presence on social media due to his many fans who call him #RDJ. His fans post video bits from the actor from media, on-stage award shows, red carpet appearances, and other media events showcasing the wise-cracking, irreverance. His opening Tweet:

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BOX OFFICE: ‘Rio 2′ To Chase Out ‘Captain America’ For No. 1 At Box Office?

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 1:15pm PDT

RIO-2-AfficheRio 2 will fly into theaters this weekend from Fox and easily peck away the rest of the flock of openers that includes Lionsgate’s Draft Day, the third Kevin Costner starrer this year,, and the horror film … Read More »

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Sean Penn To Direct Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem In ‘The Last Face’ For River Road’s Bill Pohlad

Seanpenn1 Charlize TheronAn interesting film project is quickly coming together now with Sean Penn, Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem, which is readying to be shot in Africa. The love story, called The Last Face, will be directed by Penn and is on the verge of getting the go-ahead from River Road and Bill Pohlad, with Bill Gerber and Matt Palmieri also producing. Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue Is The Warmest Color) is also on board. Theron, who is romantically linked with Penn, will star as a doctor who doing humanitarian relief work in Africa amidst violent political conflicts in the region. She meets another doctor (Bardem) who is doing the same work, and the story revolves around tough moral decisions that must be made during time of civil unrest. Exarchopoulos is expected to play a journalist.Javier_Bardem

This will be Penn and Pohlad’s fourth collaboration. They previously worked together on Into the Wild, which garnered two Oscar noms. Pohlad also produced Terence Malick’s Oscar-nominated Tree Of Life, which Penn narrated and starred, as well as Fair Game. Of course Pohlad was one of the producers of this year’s Best Picture winner 12 Years A Slave. Penn, Theron, Bardem and Pohlad are all Oscar winners. Read More »

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Safety On Set: Three Workers Speak Out

By and | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 9:57am PDT

David Robb contributed to this story. Second in a series.

Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia

There seems to be a fear among crew members in the industry about refusing to take part when they feel something is unsafe on a set, or speaking out after an accident lest they will be seen as a problem and lose future work, ostracized from the industry they love. But that is not always the case. It has been done in the past and a few courageous individuals are doing it today in hopes of getting the conversation started in the film and TV industries for the sake of all of their brethren. Legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler, longtime location manager/scout Billy Fox and assistant location manager Brianne Brozey (in Local 399) who was injured on a set in March 2011 are willing to shine a light now on a very real problem in the industry.

NoahsArkIn 1928, motion picture pioneer Hal Mohr set the standard for safety in Hollywood when he refused to take part in a stunt he deemed too dangerous. Mohr, who would go on to win two Oscars, was the head cameraman on Noah’s Ark that day, and when shown how the flood scene would be shot, he objected on grounds that hundreds of extras’ lives would be put at risk. When he was overruled by studio executives, he walked off the picture in protest. As he had feared, when 15,000 tons of water were released on the specially built set, three extras were drowned and dozens more were seriously injured. One of the extras who survived that day would go on to become a Hollywood legend: John Wayne.

152_Hal-MohrThe accident Mohr had warned about — at the time the worst in the history of the young movie business — would lead to the implementation of the industry’s first stunt safety regulations, according to the book Stunt: The Story Of The Great Movie Stunt Men by John O. Baxter. Incidentally, Mohr is noteworthy as well for being the only person to win an Oscar despite never being nominated in a competitive category; he won by write-in vote for A Midsummer’s Night Dream in 1936. He was the first cinematographer to win an Oscar for both black-and-white and color photography.

Billy FoxLocation manager Billy Fox, who has worked in the business for 31 years, has witnessed numerous close calls in dangerous situations that have arisen from eager filmmakers and producers pushing the boundaries of safety to get a shot. He says sometimes even the location manager raising safety concerns on a shoot is seen as an enemy in the production’s ranks. “It’s ‘Whose team are you on?’ ” said Fox. On one feature in 1990, a planned train explosion that made Fox wary was beefed up for a bigger effect, resulting in downed power lines that blacked out a nearby town and cost the film millions in insurance costs. On another indie, he battled with the film’s director, unit production manager, and 1st assistant director over a car stunt he felt was unsafe and pulled his name from the film’s permit the morning of the shoot. “At 10:38 AM my pager went crazy. The second unit camera crew had been driven over, sustaining broken bones and a crushed pelvis,” he said. Read More »

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BOX OFFICE FINAL: ‘Captain America’ Smashes April Opening Record With Estimated $95M For Disney/Marvel, Includes $10.2M Thursday Previews; Year Up 6.8%, Weekend Ahead 23% From 2013

OPENING: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS), smashes April opening records with estimated $95M to $96.2M opening and ended up at $95M.

captain-america-wallpaper-batman-vs-superman-avengers-2-captain-america-2-spider-man-2-is-this-the-golden-age-of-superhero-movies

UPDATED, MONDAY, 1:00 PM: Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘s final numbers are in, and it’s on the low end of the estimate to $95M with international numbers still coming in. But what a huge start overseas: The Disney/Marvel franchise has commanded an estimated international cume of $207.1M, with $32.9M coming this weekend from China alone. So worldwide, it already has grossed $302.1M to date. It’s about 47% ahead of the first Captain America, which made $193.9M overseas and ended its run with $370.5M worldwide in 2011.

Domestically, it should be clear sailing next weekend for Captain America as bowing will be the animated kid’s fare Rio 2 From Fox, which has already hit overseas markets to gross $55.4M. It hasn’t swung into China or Mexico yet. The first Rio made $143M domestically and $484.6M worldwide in 2011. But family audiences are growing weary of both Muppets Most Wanted and Mr. Peabody & Sherman, which have been in the marketplace for three and five weeks, respectively, so its prime time to come out with another family film. In addition, Lionsgate Films’ opens in wide release the Ivan Reitman-directed Draft Daystarring Kevin Costner, who must be exhausted from the number of press junkets he’s had to go through this year with Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, 3 Days to Kill and now Draft Day. Blumhouse Prods’ horror flick Oculus from Relativity hopes to mirror the success of Evil DeadOculus premiered at Toronto while Evil Dead also went the festival circuit last year at SXSW before bowing in April. In limited release from The Weinstein Company will be opening the Colin Firth-Nicole Kidman starrer Railway Man, the WWII film based on the Eric Lomax’s best-selling book.

1). Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS), 3,938 theaters / 3-day cume: $95M ($10.2M from previews) / Per screen average: $24,129 / Wk 1

2). Noah (PAR), 3,571 theaters (+4) / 3-day cume: $17M (-61%) / Per screen average: $4,773 / Total cume: $72.3M / Wk 2

3). Divergent (LGF), 3,631 theaters (-305) / 3-day cume: $12.9M (-49%) /Per screen average: $3,573 /  Total cume: $114M / Wk 3

4). God’s Not Dead (FREE), 1,758 theaters (+580) / 3-day cume: $7.7M (-12%) / Per screen average: $4,416 / Total cume: $32.5M / Wk 3

5). Muppets Most Wanted (DIS), 3,052 theaters (-142) / 3-day cume: $6.1M (-46%) / Per screen average: $2,014 / Total Cume: $42M / Wk 3

6). The Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL), 1,263 theaters (+286) / 3-day cume: $6.1M (-28%) / Per screen average: $4,842 / Total cume: $33.19M / Wk 5

7). Mr. Peabody And Sherman (FOX), 2,931 theaters (-368) / 3-day cume: $5.1M (-43%) / Per screen average: $1,751 / Total cume: $102M / Wk 5

8). Sabotage (OPRD), 2,486 theaters / 3-day cume: $1.9M (-62%) / Per screen average: $2,486 / Total cume: $8.8M / Wk 2

9). Need for Speed (DIS), 1779 theaters (-926) /3-day cume: $1.8M (-57%) / Per screen average: $1,016 / Total cume: $40.8M / WK 4

10). Non-Stop (UNI), 2,515 theaters (-430) / 3-day cume: $1.7M (-55%) / Per screen average: $1,040 /  Total cume: $88.1M / Wk 6 Read More »

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BOX OFFICE: ‘Captain America’ Latenights $10.2M Push It Past $100M Worldwide On Path To $85M+ Weekend; ‘Divergent’ Passes $100M

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 8:22am PDT

captain-america-the-winter-soldier01UPDATED, FRIDAY, 8:20 AM: Captain America: The Winter Soldier late nights (starting at 8 p.m.) nabbed a whopping $10.2M last night to push it well past the $100M mark worldwide. The total includes $1.2M from 344 IMAX locations. Warner Bros.’ Man of Steel grossed $9M in late nights — it started at midnight — and went onto gross over $100M on its opening weekend. Other tentpole late nights were The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug ($8.8M for a $73.6M opening), and Thor: The Dark World” ($7.1M for an $85.7M weekend bow). Estimates for the debut weekend gross for Captain America is around $85M+ now. Divergent (LGF/SUMMIT) took in roughly $1.5M last night on  locations to push its gross to $101M as it heads into its third weekend of release. These two pictures are battling for the same 20-something demo, but Captain America is expected to crush everything in sight. At the moment, it ranks fourth as the top Marvel pre-sellers on Fandango, right behind Iron Man 2 which opened with a $128.1M in May of 2010 and above Thor: The Dark World. The top pre-seller continues to be The Avengers which was, far and away, the No. 1 title.  The $1.5B worldwide grosser opened to over $200M on its debut in 4,349 theaters Read More »

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‘God’s Not Dead’s Kevin Sorbo Takes Hollywood & Media To Task As He Backs Crowdfunding Campaign For Telefilm On Convicted Abortion Doctor Kermit Gosnell

Kevin and Sam SorboEXCLUSIVE: Kevin Sorbo is co-star of the past two weekends’ box office pleaser God’s Not Deadwhich has pulled in $24M to date on a $2M budget. Now he is putting his name behind an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to help launch the tele-production of Gosnell – the story of the Philadelphia doctor who ran the abortion clinic from hell and was convicted on three counts of first-degree murder — but not without taking a shot at the media and Hollywood. Feature documentarians Phelim McAleer and his wife Ann McElhinney turned to Sorbo and his wife, Sandra (known as Sam), to help raise $2.1M. ”Even the pro-choicers would look at this and say, ‘No, this isn’t right,’” Sorbo said. “This is something that my wife and I are behind because we believe in this project. It’s long overdue for this story to be told, and it wasn’t covered by the media nearly as much as some of the other murder cases were.”

The story of the abortion doctor rocked Philadelphia and the nation in 2010 as the horrors of Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s clinic came to light. He murdered babies born alive by sticking a scissors into their necks and snipping their spinal cords. He was not even a certified kermit-gosnellobstetrician or gynecologist. Gosnell had run the Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia since 1979 for poor and desperate women seeking abortions, late-term and otherwise. He is serving a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole. It was the gruesome details revealed during the grand jury that underscored how disturbing his crimes were. The remains of fetuses were put in bags, milk jugs, and other containers, and investigators found the severed feet of several fetuses in a jar. The clinic itself was unsanitary, and several women were harmed — one died. What became clear throughout the investigation was that the crimes had been going on for years. “A man with all the tools and the experience at his disposal and still somehow the baby won and was born, he then took measures to kill them,” said Sam Sorbo. “This is a man who seemed to enjoy protection under the law because abortion is such a political issue that they refused to investigate him for years even though there were complaints for decades.” Read More »

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Meryl Streep As Hard Rocker? TriStar Closing Deal For ‘Ricki And The Flash’

streepEXCLUSIVE:  Tom Rothman’s TriStar Productions is closing a deal to finance and distribute Ricki And The Flash, a hot package that had several studios circling because it comes with Meryl Streep playing a hard rocking mama. Scripted by Juno‘s Diablo Cody, the film will be directed by Jonathan Demme, and produced by Marc Platt and Mason Novick. This comes on the heels of TriStar’s deal with Robert Zemeckis to direct the 3-D experiential film To Walk the Clouds about the French aerialist Phillipe Petit who crossed between the Twin Towers on a wire in 1974. The project is based on Petit’s memoirs To Reach The Clouds and is being produced by Zemeckis with his ImageMovers Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey and Rothman. Landing Ricki and The Flash is a coup for Rothman.

demmeStreep will play a rock n’ roll-loving woman who chased her tattered dream at the price of her family, but gets a last chance to get it right by reconciling with her estranged daughter. This isn’t some development deal. Rothman has committed to make the picture and Streep is already preparing. Demme has directed documentaries with Neil Young, and there was an impromptu encounter with Demme and Streep where Young was present, and the iconic guitarist and singer gave her some pointers. She has already demonstrated her ability to sing on Mamma Mia! This is new territory for an actress who has done most everything; her character belts out hard rock at night and is a grocery store checkout lady by day. Shooting begins this fall.
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BOX OFFICE FINAL: ‘Noah’ Rises, ‘God’s Not Dead’ Surprises As Schwarzenegger Brought To Knees; ‘Budapest Hotel’ Checks In Again; ‘300′ Passes $100M

By | Monday March 31, 2014 @ 1:25pm PDT

OPENING: Noah (PAR) estimated around $43.7M for weekend’s No. 1; Sabotage (OPRD) tanks in No. 7 with maybe $5.2M; Cesar Chavez (LGF) in limited release. NOTEWORTHY: The Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL) expands for about $8.5M and another strong per screen; Bad Words (FOC) expands to weak result.

Box officeUPDATED, MONDAY, 1:25 PM: The final numbers are in and Paramount’s Noah grossed $43.7M (which includes strong Thursday late nights that started at 7 PM of $1.6M). Freestyle Releasing’s God’s Not Dead did, in fact, rise into the Top 5 and was down only 5% from last weekend, having added theaters, but still a very respectable showing in its second weekend with a solid $7,468 per screen. “It took a village to market the movie,” said Freestyle co-president Mark Borde. “On every conference call there were about 20 people on the conference call.” Gods-Not-Dead-FacebookPure Flix, a faith-based producer of product, produced this picture and it used a marketing company called Working Title Agency in Tennessee to come up with a very arresting one-sheet. “They also had a pre-sales group for tickets and a social media team, just various individuals that managed the YouTube and Twitter and Facebook. To be honest, there is no way to quantify the results of social media, but in this case, I have to say that I believe the social media aspect is a very strong contributor,” Borde said. “The Facebook had over a million likes and they weren’t bought. Not one penny was spent and at any given time, there were over 700,000 talking it at any given time.” It was also trending on Twitter No. 5 and Fandango as No. 3, said Borde, who added God’s Not Dead was actually tracking in the past two weeks.

Related: Biblical and Faith-Based Movies: In Hollywood To Stay?

“We knew that when we showed up in tracking we were going to do OK, but not this OK,” said Borde. “If you add all that together, we had a sense that we were going to be very strong in the marketplace. But the key to success in this movie is word-of-mouth. It’s the reason it’s held. We had the smallest drop of any movie from Saturday to Sunday on the first weekend and on the second weekend – Son Of God was our model and we had the smallest drop again. What that tells me is — we didn’t increase the buys or advertising — that’s word of mouth. That’s better than anything you can buy. There’s a lot of luck in the movie business, but Duck Dynasty stars were embroiled in a big controversy right before this happened and they were on the front page and we had the first movie they were in.”  They also had the very popular Chrstian pop rock band Newsboys. Freestyle Releasing will add about 200 theaters this weekend.

The Grand Budapest Hotel from Fox Searchlight expanded well with an $8.5M take for a per-screen average of $8,741. Opening next weekend is the Disney/Marvel franchise Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which is expected to take all of the air out of the box office as it opens wide and pull in the same demo as Divergent which had two good weekends in a row for Lionsgate and Summit grossing a total of $94.3M. Tracking already shows Captain America at anywhere from $80M-$85M or higher and it has already grossed more than $75M internationally since bowing this past weekend. It’s a total shoot-em-up and more bullets than there are extras in the film. Keeping the previous chart below so anyone who wants to can compare the estimates with the final numbers. Here are the final grosses for the Top 20 via Rentrak:

1). Noah (PAR), 3,567 theaters / 3-day cume: $43.7M / Per screen average: $12,257 / Wk 1

2). Divergent (LGF), 3,936 theaters (0) / 3-day cume: $2.6 (-53%) / Per screen: $6,509 / Total cume: $94.3M / Wk 2

3). Muppets Most Wanted (DIS), 3,194 theaters (0) / $3-day cume: $11.2M (-34%) / Per screen: 3,531/ Total Cume: $33.1M to $33.8M / Wk 2

4). Mr. Peabody And Sherman (FOX), 3,299 theaters (-308) / 3-day cume: $9M (-23%) / Per screen: $2,750/ Total cume: $94.4M / Wk 4

5). God’s Not Dead (FREE), 1,178 theaters (+362) / 3-day cume: $8.7M (-5%) / Per screen: $7,468 / Total cume: $21.7M / Wk 2

6). The Grand Budapest Hotel (FSL), 977 theaters (+673) / 3-day cume: $8.5M (+26%) / Per screen: $8,741 / Total cume: $24.1M / Wk 4

7). Sabotage (OPRD), 2,486 theaters / 3-day cume: $5.2M / Per screen: $2,121 / Wk 1

8). Need For Speed (DIS), 2,705 theaters (-410) /3-day cume: $4.2M (-47%) / Per screen: $1,562 / Total cume: $37.6M / Wk 3

9). 300: Rise Of An Empire (WB), 2,601 theaters (-484) / 3-day cume: $4.2 (-51%) / Per screen: 1,618 / Total cume: $101M / Wk 4

10). Non-Stop (UNI), 2,515 theaters (-430) / 3-day cume: $4M (-38%) / Per screen: 1,595 / Total cume: $85M / Wk 5

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Tom O’Donnell Replaces Leo Reed As Director Of Teamsters

By | Monday March 31, 2014 @ 12:47pm PDT

todonnellTom O’Donnell, the current president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 817 in New York, has been named director of the Teamsters Motion Picture and Theatrical Trades Division, replacing the venerable Leo Reed, who left the post … Read More »

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More / Medavoy Reunite After 13 Years Apart; Production / Management Co. Back In Action

By | Monday March 31, 2014 @ 11:30am PDT

paradigm__130923152221Medavoy__111113143028After 13 years apart, Erwin More and Brian Medavoy are reuniting to restart More/Medavoy Management. They currently rep two clients together — Neil McDonough (Mob City, Desperate Housewives) and Douglas Smith (Percy Jackson, Big Love, Ouji) — and others are expected to join Medavoy’s current management roster. Neither Medavoy nor More would say which clients were coming with them, but there are a number of actors and actresses that do not have managers at Paradigm. More leaves the agency business after 12 years and has gotten the blessing of Paradigm, where he has worked for the past five years. At one point he was head of the TV talent department where he worked with Sharon Stone, McDonough, Mariska Hargitay (now at CAA), Chris Vance, Jill Hennessy, Roseanne Barr, Chevy Chase and Dwight Yoakam and others. (Andrew Ruf continues to head the talent department at Paradigm).

Prior to Paradigm, More worked as co-head of the talent department at the former William Morris Agency. Medavoy left the business and lived in Whitefish, MT, for five years before coming back and building his own management company again. He currently represents such clients as Paula Patton, McDonough, Bella Heathcote, Kris Polaha, Reno Wilson, Michael Beach, Ben Koldyke and Eric Balfour. Manager (and former UTA agent) Matt Sherman joined with Medavoy last year. And Medavoy’s current producing partner, lit and talent manager Alan Nevins, will continue his association with More/Medavoy via Renaissance Literary and Talent. Nevins and Medavoy are already producing Gucci, a miniseries about Patricia Gucci, the daughter of fashion icon Aldo Gucci, which is in development at E! ”We’re putting the band back together,” laughed Medavoy, who said that their shared client McDonough helped paved the way for them to reunite after working on the actor’s projects together. “I have a 13-year relationship with Erwin and I know what we have done together in the past and what we can do together now. We’re not going to try to recreate More/Medavoy as it was because the business model now — with Amazon, Netflix and (other platforms) — there are a lot more opportunities out there (for their clients).” Read More »

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Biblical and Faith-Based Movies: In Hollywood To Stay?

noahmovieAfter the strong staying power of this weekend’s God’s Not Dead and the stronger than expected opening of Paramount Pictures’ Noah following on the heels of the surprise opening of Fox’s Son of God earlier this year, is there any doubt anymore Hollywood that if you build it, they will come? That’s three for three … but wait, actually there’s more. Back in 2008, the Kirk Cameron-starring Fireproof from filmmaker and associate pastor of the Sherwood Church, Alex Kendrick, took a lot of people by surprise. On a $500,000 budget raised by the church, the faith-based picture ended up grossing $33.4M when it was released by Samuel Goldwyn. They did it again in 2011, when on a $2M budget, TriStar released Courageous that opened to $9.1M and went onto make $34.5M. Before that, in 2004, the Mel Gibson-directed The Passion of the Christ opened to $83.8M domestically and went on to gross $611M worldwide. Read More »

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