EXCLUSIVE: Omar Epps will star in One Small Mistake, a neo-noir thriller about a man searching for truth and justice in a bigoted small town. British Emmy-nominated Alexander Harvey is directing a script adapted by Guy Bennett from French author Jean Francois Coatmeur’s La Bavure. Stefan Raiser and Felix Zackor of Munich-based Dreamtool Entertainment are producing the pic. Epps, who made his debut in 1992′s Juice and starred in Major League II, Higher Learning, Scream 2, Love & Basketball, and Against the Ropes. He’ll be seen next spring on ABC’s drama Resurrection produced by Plan B, debuting March 9. Epps is repped by Anonymous and WME.
Entertainment One and Atmosphere Entertainment will develop and produce the one-hour drama series King David. Penned by Patrick Moss and Jeremy Anderson, King David is described as a “mafia show in biblical clothing” which focuses on the contradictory character of the legendary warrior-king and patriarch – a man who must make monstrous choices that betray his personal ideals and turn his family against him. King David will be executive produced by eOne’s John Morayniss and Michael Rosenberg, and Atmosphere Entertainment’s Mark Canton. Atmosphere’s David Hopwood and Matthew Einstein will serve as co-executive producers. eOne will handle worldwide distribution.
EXCLUSIVE: The mantra behind Sony Pictures’ recent restructure that brings in Michael De Luca as production co-president was to make higher quality tent poles. That means spending money on hot writers. I’m told the studio is in early talks with David Guggenheim to script Bad Boys 3, which the studio hopes will bring back Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as fast-talking undercover cops who solve crimes with spectacular action, gunplay, and harsh language. Guggenheim scripted Safe House, the Denzel Washington-Ryan Reynolds action thriller.
Bad Boys II was released a decade ago, and the sequel grossed $273 million on a $160 million budget. Michael Bay directed the first two, but he doesn’t seem to be involved, at least at this point. Jerry Bruckheimer is producing the pic. Sony is trying to do this with the original cast, which makes it different from the other big franchise reboots in the works, Men In Black and Ghostbusters. Those are being rebooted. With Ghostbusters, that has a lot to do with Bill Murray being unwilling to reprise his signature role. With Men In Black, the deal making on that film got to be prohibitively expensive with all the talent and producer back ends, to the point it was becoming impossible for the studio to make money.
Longtime Law & Order and Law & Order: SVU cast member Dann Florek filmed his last episode on Friday. After showrunner Warren Leight Tweeted pics from the set on Florek’s last day (see below), Florek also took to Twitter to send off his 18 years on active duty with the L&O franchise. The veteran originated his role as police captain Don Cragen on the first season of the original Law & Order before departing the show after its third season. Creator Dick Wolf brought Florek’s Cragen back for 1998 TV movie Exiled: A Law & Order Movie before installing him as head of a sex crimes unit in NBC’s 1999 spin-off SVU. He now exits that show after 15 consecutive seasons:
EOne, Sundance Channel Partner To Adapt ‘Reaching For Heaven’; Israeli Religion-Themed Drama Relocated To Vegas
EXCLUSIVE: Last month, I reported that Entertainment One Television had picked up the format rights to Israeli drama Reaching For Heaven from Tal Shaked and Einat Shamier’s local outfit A-Cappella. EOne has now partnered with Sundance Channel to co-develop the series based on the format that was originally created by Norma Productions’ Assaf Amir. The U.S. version of the show about what happens to a marriage and family when one parent suddenly becomes religious, will be written by Mike Seid, who will transfer the story to Las Vegas. The original Reaching For Heaven was based on Ora Morag’s novel One Hundred New Apples. It followed a secular Israeli family whose patriarch turns to ultra-Orthodox Judaism. All members of the family do their best to preserve unity, but none are willing to join the father on his new journey to a religious life. The series ran locally for two seasons on Keshet.
EOne EVP of global productions Carrie Stein tells me that Seid, a modern orthodox Jew living in LA, pitched the transfer to Vegas and eOne was hooked. “His position was that it doesn’t really matter if you’re exploring” any religion, “it’s the premise of somebody breaking the marriage and family contract.”
The Contenders 2013: Weinstein Company Hoping Vast – And Large – Array Of Films Catches Oscar’s Eye (Video)
When it comes to campaigning for awards Harvey Weinstein has set the bar. Last year the company had two Best Picture nominees and this year they are throwing a wide variety of films at Oscar’s wall to see what sticks. For Deadline’s THE CONTENDERS event The Weinstein Company produced an 18-minute reel covering a large range of hopefuls. Take a look.
HLN‘s health and wellness programming brand “upwave” hasn’t been so good for its health and wellness, achieving a two-decade ratings low for the network over the weekend. HLN has been undergoing renovation under new GM Albie Hecht. On December 1, that included the addition of three new “upwave” programs. This past Sunday, at 8 PM, two of those programs, the half hours The Tim Ferriss Experiment and The Dose With Dr. Billy averaged a combined 22,000 viewers — 5,000 in the news demo. Those are the smallest numbers Nielsen has reported for HLN since at least October of ’91. The third “upwave” program, a cooking competition series starring Richard Blais and called Cook Your Ass Off, is their lead-in, at 7 PM.
New York, NY (December 10, 2013) – Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they will release again Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine on 300 theaters nationwide this weekend. The film was in 35 theaters this past weekend so will be expanded into a marketplace that will include another of Sony’s Oscar contenders, American Hustle and also Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, both will rollout in a limited release.
Sony is following a similar and previous strategy that they implemented for Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris which, after opening in May of 2011, was re-released two and a half months later. The expansion pushed its box office to $58 million.
“When we did this with Midnight in Paris, we re-invented the movie in the marketplace people either rediscovered or see it for the first time. It extended the release of the film. We opened Blue Jasmine in July, so this is a good opportunity to get this back into the conversation (during awards season),” said Michael Barker, Sony Pictures Classics co-president. He noted that in UK, Blue Jasmine is the the highest grossing Woody Allen movie to date.
The film has already been named one of the Best Films of the Year by publications such as Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone. Cate Blanchett has garnered numerous accolades in the Best Actress category from critics’ groups around the country for her role as Jasmine, an elegant New York socialite who moves into her sister’s apartment in San Francisco after
J.A. Bayona helmed the monsoon disaster pic The Impossible, but he might be taking on something close to that title as Paramount and Skydance have signed him to oversee figuring out a sequel to World War Z. The first film, which was directed by Marc Forster and released last summer, was perhaps the most maligned film in memory prior to its release, certainly for a film that actually turned out to be quite good. The film went significantly over budget, when basically the last third was scrapped for a tense, contained conclusion. Trouble is, Brad Pitt’s United Nations staffer effectively solved the zombie quandary.
The original scrapped ending featured a bloody mano a mano battle against humanity and zombies in Russia that led seamlessly into a second installment. But the studio and Forster felt it was all too much, after the show-stopping insect swarm of zombies that overwhelmed Israel. It turned off audiences and the drastic decision was made that nobody would want a sequel if they walked out disliking the first film. Even at a cost of $220 million or higher, depending on who you ask, and another $125 million to launch the film globally, WWZ‘s $540 million global gross made a sequel possible. How they make the storyline anything more than mop-up duty to eradicate the flesh eaters will be the challenge facing Bayona and Pitt’s Plan B. The Max Brooks book was written with a UN …
A24 and Demarest Films have teamed up on Kevin Smith’s latest film Tusk. The film, which stars Justin Long, Michael Parks, Genesis Rodriguez, and Haley Joel Osment, was born out of one of Smith’s immensely popular SModcasts. The modern-day monster movie, which Smith also wrote, is currently in production. Sam Englebardt, David Greathouse, and Shannon McIntosh are producing. The film will be released third quarter of 2014.
Deadline’s International Editor Nancy Tartaglione talks in this week’s podcast with host David Bloom about winnin’ time on the Continent, as the prizes are handed out in the British Independent Film Awards and the European Film Awards, including wins for Oscar contenders The Act Of Killing, The Great Beauty, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, The Broken Circle Breakdown and Metro Manila.
Separately, David and Nancy take a look at just-unveiled British tax credits that should be a boon to film projects of all budget sizes and also may entice more overseas visual effects work to the country’s post-production houses. They also applaud the innovative new interactive trailer the BBC has trotted out to tout the imminent return to air of Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, two years after its last episode aired.
EXCLUSIVE: Back in July the USA Network legal drama star tweeted how he was “hooked” on the BBC America show. Well, now Patrick J. Adams is in Toronto today shooting a guest appearance for the upcoming second season of Orphan Black, I’ve learned. Suits’ Adams will play the character of Jesse on a yet undated episode of the clone-heavy sci-fi drama series. Described as a brave but regular guy, Jesse lands in a ton of trouble when the clone characters played by Tatiana Maslany enter his life. Season 2 of Orphan Black is set to debut on BBC America and Canada’s Space on April 19, 2014. Suits is scheduled to return for a third season on USA Network on March 6 next year. Adams is repped by UTA, Andy Corren Management and attorney Lev Ginsburg.
UPDATE TUESDAY: While no side is discussing financials, I’ve learned more about the size of the deal, in which Legendary Entertainment acquired Asylum. I hear that Legendary ended up paying about eight times what Asylum is projected to make in terms of profits in 2014, which comes to a price tag just north of $100 million. Asylum is set to clear $12-$13 million next year, about three times what the company made in profits this year, as its balance sheet will be bolstered by the one-year output deal Asylum recently inked with ReelzChannel to deliver 50 hours of unscripted programming for the network in 2014, distributed over 10 series. While 8x multiple is within the range for a high-end deal, I hear Asylum’s decision to go with Legendary vs. the other suitors bidding for it came down to the plans Legendary had for the company’s future. In anticipation of the sale, Asylum has been aggressively staffing up in the last couple of months, hiring Stephanie Lydecker as SVP of Development to oversee unscripted development and Joan Harrison as SVP Scripted Programming & Development to oversee miniseries and limited series, as well as signing a pod deal with reality producer Sean Travis.
PREVIOUS MONDAY: In its first company acquisition on the TV side, in a competitive situation Legendary Entertainment has bought 100% of TV production company Asylum Entertainment, producer of The Kennedys miniseries. Asylum will be part of Legendary Television & Digital Media. While Legendary Television will remains focused on producing Legendary-branded scripted content, Asylum will serve as a production label for non-scripted, long-form, sports and other genres. Asylum will continue to operate as an independent company run by its founders, president and CEO Steve Michaels and president and chief creative officer Jonathan Koch, who will report to Bruce Rosenblum, President of Legendary Television and Digital Media.
UPDATE: International Box Office: ‘Catching Fire’, ‘Frozen’ Strong; It’s ‘About Time’ In Korea + Regional Analysis
UPDATE: TUESDAY PM: Welcome to Deadline’s first dedicated international box office round-up, with me as your host. After last night’s snapshot (below), here’s a look at the past weekend and an overview of what’s going on at the turnstiles in various overseas territories. Feedback, as always, is appreciated:
Internationally, this weekend was down on the comparable frame last year when films like Skyfall, Rise Of The Guardians and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 were in the mix. The top 10 titles this weekend saw a drop to about $118M from the Thanksgiving period that scored abroad with $182.7M, according to industry data. The actual holiday isn’t a factor overseas, but it does bring big movies to market. Overall, some European territories are off – to varying degrees – versus the first 11 months of 2012, while Latin America and Asia remain hot spots. This weekend’s big pictures overseas continued to be Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire which added $42.9M for a $340.6M cume and Disney’s animated Frozen which added an estimated $30.6M for an international total of $55.9M.
The place that’s highest on execs’ minds is China where “we’re all looking forward to a boom,” one tells me. Catching Fire and Warner Bros’ Gravity are still playing on the Mainland with respective cumes of $26.8M and $63.7M. But both films will taper off as the local industry ramps up a series of homegrown movies for the remainder of December. With quotas filled for 2013, Hollywood will wait until 2014 for the next debut which will be Universal’s Despicable Me 2 on January 10th. As the Chinese box office rolls along on its way to a potential $3.5B tally for 2013, the current top film is local 2D action-road trip pic No Man’s Land. Co-produced by DMG, it opened at No. 1 on December 3rd and won the week with $23.7M through Monday. It came just ahead of another local hit, The Four 2. The rest of the year will see a big push for local films as the territory continues an aim to up its local market share, which is currently at 55%.
Elsewhere in Asia, romantic comedy About Time had a strong No. 1 opening in Korea this weekend with $4M at 289 dates and 28% of the market. Director Richard Curtis has said this would be the last film he helms. It comes squarely 10 years after the movie he’s perhaps most associated with directing, Love Actually. About Time’s opening in Korea is double what that film did there. The low-budget time travel romcom with Rachel McAdams, Domnhall Gleeson and Bill Nighy has had pretty significant legs for Universal. It was first released in the UK in September and now has a cume of $48.3M. Summit’s Escape Plan – the actioner that teams Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger – has now muscled its way into 41 international markets, adding Korea this weekend for $925K and a No. 5 slot on 287 screens. Its international total is now $95.9M out of a worldwide gross of $120.5M. This was a slow weekend for local films in Korea despite the territory’s overall strength. Its box office growth in the first 11 months of the year is understood to be at about 7.6% and I’m told the homegrown market share could top out at 60%.
NBC announced this afternoon it will repeat its The Sound of Music Live! on Saturday, Dec. 14, 8-11 PM ET/PT. Sorry, It’s A Wonderful Life (The Jimmy Stewart movie has been bumped to Friday at 8 PM.) Craig Zadan and Neil Meron’s live staging of The Sound of Music continues to shower NBC with ratings. Immediately after Thursday’s broadcast of the musical re-staging was watched by an average of nearly 19 million viewers, NBC stations’ late-local news shot up 75% in households in the 56 metered markets (7.0 rating vs. season average 4.0 rating). That kind of payoff is sure to make local station execs happy, given that NBC reported a near-record number of promos run by both its O&O stations and NBC affiliates for a one-night event, not to mention advance coverage they’d given the live event before its broadcast on their local air and on their web sites.
After local newscasts, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno managed to match its metered-market season Thursday high – and did it with a repeat episode. (That’s excluding the previous Thursday, when Leno’s show went through the roof, owing to a Thanksgiving day football overrun.) With Sound of Music’s Live+3 viewing numbers now in, the Carrie Underwood starrer stands at 21.3 million viewers and a 5.5 rating in the demo. The only broadcast primetime entertainment series that tops SOM’s 5.5 rating in “most current” season averages is The Big Bang Theory, with a 6.9 rating. And, to the delight of NBC and advertisers who’d signed on, SOM viewers were upscale and well educated. In homes with $100K-plus incomes, The Sound of Music earned a 6.8 rating in adults 18-49, making it the highest-rated Big 4 entertainment broadcast in those homes since the Academy Awards in February. (In this, SOM is tied with ABC’s Modern Family season premiere on September 25.) In homes where the head of household has four or more years of college education, The Sound of Music scored a 7.0 rating in adults 18-49 — this season’s No. 1-ranked entertainment telecast on ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox in that category.
EXCLUSIVE: Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld is in talks to star in Ten Thousand Saints, a feature adaptation of Eleanor Henderson’s 2011 novel set in 1980s New York City in the age of CBGB, yuppies and gentrification that culminated in 1988′s Tompkins Square Park riots. Oscar-nominated duo Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (American Splendor) are attached to direct from their own script. The coming-of-age tale follows Vermont teenager Jude, who moves in with his hippie dad in NYC after his best friend Teddy overdoses. There he falls in with the no drugs, no sex, no meat straight-edge hardcore punk scene of the East Village. Steinfeld will play Eliza, who becomes pregnant with Teddy’s child and leans on his brother Johnny and Jude for support. Celine Rattray, Luca Borghese, and Archer Gray Productions’ Anne Carey are producing. Steinfeld is repped by ICM Partners and is set to star opposite Vince Vaughn in crime thriller Term Life.
Just over two months to the day that Hearst-owned WCVB-TV was denied its preliminary injunction motion against the Barry Diller-backed streaming service, the Boston ABC affiliate has began its predictable appeal. “Simply put, this case affects the very future of over-the-air broadcasting as we know it,” says the distinctly not understated 160-page appeal made Monday to the First Circuit (read it here). As others have argued about Aereo in other cases, part of their latest copyright argument against the service is that Massachusetts-based federal District Judge Nathaniel Gorton didn’t know what he was talking about in his October 8 order. “In denying WCVB’s public performance argument, the district court failed to engage in any independent analysis and appears to have relied exclusively on the reasoning of a Second Circuit case, which has been harshly criticized by copyright scholars and had not been followed by any other court outside that circuit,” asserts the filing. This week’s latest Aereo legal action comes as Disney, CBS, NBCUniversal, WNET, Fox, and Univision await to learn if the Supreme Court will hear their potentially game changing October 11 submitted petition to review a 2012 ruling not to shut Aereo down pending a trial. It also comes as Aereo announced plans to expand to new markets the likes of Detroit and Denver and has been slapped with a second injunction motion in Utah.
In March the CBS chief predicted that “within a year” it would be an industry standard for advertisers to pay for the number of viewers who see commercials within a week after they air (called C7), up from three days (or C3). But Leslie Moonves seemed less certain today when he spoke to the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. In next year’s upfront “there’s going to be a lot more C7″ — though it may not be the industry standard. (Earlier today Disney’s Jay Rasulo said it will take longer for the change to take hold.) “I don’t think it’s that hugely significant. … Eventually it’s going to be even greater than C7″ — perhaps going as high as C30. “We may not get paid as much, but you’re selling Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, what’s the difference if you watch now or 22 days from now?” Speaking of the ad market, he says that scatter sales are “fine.” National is “stronger than local, but local is OK.”