Here’s the first trailer for Clint Eastwood‘s adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway smash about legendary early-rock group the Four Seasons. Warner Bros’ Jersey Boys has taken a serpentine road to the big screen. It originally was at Sony before Graham King signed a multi-year deal with Warners …
Blumhouse and Entertainment One have inked Ciaran Foy to helm Sinister 2, the sequel to the micro-budget horror movie. Production starts in July on the follow to the Lionsgate/Summit pic, which starred Ethan Hawke and grossed more than $77M worldwide on a budget of $3M. Foy’s first writer-director effort, Citadel, …
After a lengthy search, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has tapped PBS POV exec Cynthia Lopez as the new commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting. We’ve learned Lopez’s appointment will be officially announced tomorrow at a noon press conference in NYC. Her exact start date has not yet been set. Lopez will replace Katherine Oliver, who exited in December at the end of former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s third and final term. With Lopez’s lack of experience in the city bureaucracy, sources tell Deadline that a key selection will be who the deputy commissioner could be in this new regime. The commission has been bullish about revitalizing the city’s film and TV production through generous tax credits and a streamlined permit process. Most recently Mayor de Blasio called Leslie Moonves, personally asking him to keep the Late Show in the Big Apple after David Letterman retires next year.
UPDATED: Saturday, 1:26 PM: Gosnell crossed the $1M threshold today on Indiegogo. The telefilm, which took to crowdfunding to raise funds, is about Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia physician convicted of three counts of first-degree murder for mercilessly killing babies of botched abortions who were born alive by driving a scissors into their necks and snipping their spinal cords. It is believed that the practice went on for years. The filmmakers have set a goal of $2.1M.
PREVIOUSLY, Thursday, 1:53 PM: Gosnell has just become the most funded movie ever on Indiegogo after bowing less than three weeks ago, surpassing efforts by the likes of James Franco and Shemar Moore. Both Kevin Sorbo, who last starred in God’s Not Dead, and Nick Sercy (Justified) filmed videos in support of Gosnell‘s crowdsourcing campaign. “After Kevin Sorbo and his wife Sam and Nick Sercy (Justified) who released a video two days ago on YouTube we noticed huge spikes after those videos were released,” said producer Phelim McAleer. “I think it really shows that people really respect Hollywood celebrities who reflect their views and tell their stories. They were really crucial to the success so far.” The producers still have a long way to reach their goal of $2.1M. To date, the producers of the anticipated TV movie, McAleer and his wife Ann McElhinney have raised $907,460 to date and the total continues to climb. The record for a crowdsourcing campaign continues to be Veronica Mars on Kickstarter, which pulled in $5.7M after hoping to raise $2M for the film. In comparison, Franco collected $327,929 for Palo Alto Stories on a goal of $500,000 falling short and Moore raised $638,983 on a goal of $500,000 for the romantic comedy The Bounce Back.
Lionsgate is the latest studio to shake up its marketing operations, saying today it is combining operations under Chief Marketing Officer Tim Palen that will give him oversight of film marketing for Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment product as well as its Pantelion Films joint venture with Televisa and urban Codeblack Films label. With the consolidation, Summit’s president of worldwide marketing Nancy Kirkpatrick is resigning at month’s end (although she doesn’t appear to be in her office now). As the company streamlines its operations — it currently releases about 12 to 15 movies a year now — the question is if others might follow Kirkpatrick out the door.
Kirkpatrick, who is well-regarded, ends her tenure after shepherding the marketing efforts for all five Twilight Saga films as well as the recent launch of the first pic in the Divergent franchise, which bowed last month with a $56.4 million opening weekend and has grossed $175M-plus to date worldwide. Draft Day was the last picture to open and it didn’t do well, grossing only $9.7M this past weekend, but the last three Kevin Costner film openings have been soft.
“Nancy has done a great job and has been an important part of this company,” said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chair Rob Friedman, “And Tim has done an amazing job and has great relationships with both staffs.” One source noted that the word ‘integration’ has been talked about for awhile in the hallways of Lionsgate and Summit.
In fact, one of the biggest question marks since Lionsgate merged with Summit in 2012 was what would happen to their two veteran marketing heads. Eventually, Lionsgate’s Palen was given a new long-term deal to remain Chief Marketing Officer and it was decided Summit’s Kirkpatrick would continue in her role separately since the two entities had their own big slates to shepherd. As part of that structure, Palen was tasked with overseeing all of Lionsgate Films’ North American theatrical marketing campaigns and strategy, media, creative advertising and digital media initiatives as well as continuing to supervise the company’s corporate branding activities — he oversaw the marketing campaign for Lionsgate’s signature franchise The Hunger Games while Kilpatrick guided Twilight pics. As part of today’s moves, Palen now has expanded responsibilities for merchandising, theme park attractions and new business opportunities generated by the company’s franchises. He joined Lionsgate in 2002 as VP Theatrical Marketing.
EXCLUSIVE: Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men: First Class, Antiviral) is in negotiations to join the cast of Roland Emmerich‘s Stonewall, about the 1969 Greenwich Village raid on the Stonewall Inn that became a flashpoint for the gay rights movement. War Horse‘s Jeremy Irvine was set earlier this month to lead the cast as Danny, a young man who experiences a political awakening during the riots. Jones will play an eccentric gay street hustler named Orphan Annie who at first resists then warms up to Danny and later participates in the Stonewall uprising. Jon Robin Baitz scripted the Centropolis Films production, which Michael Fossat, Marc Frydman, and Emmerich are producing. Kirstin Winkler and Adam Press are aboard as executive producers.
Cannes Film Festival: Could This Year’s Croisette Lineup Of Big Names And Academy Favorites Lead All The Way To Oscar?
So what does today’s announcement of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival lineup mean for Oscar?
Who knows except that out of competition entry How To Train Your Dragon 2 will almost certainly be nominated for Best Animated Feature. Other than that we will have to wait and see until we actually view the films in Cannes next month. But there are good omens in this lineup (which could still see one or two more titles added) if you look at the impressive group of actors represented in these films: Oscar winners Tommy Lee Jones (who directs the competition entry The Homesman), Meryl Streep, Juliette Binoche, Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, and director Michel Hazanivicius are among the prominent names and past nominees like Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Jessica Chastain, Hailee Steinfeld, Berenice Bejo, Ryan Gosling (who is making his directorial debut) are also represented.
My colleague Nancy Tartaglione did a great job predicting who would make — or not make — the cut and wrote an exhaustive overview earlier. Now it’s time to look at the awards implications outside of those that will be handed out May 24th at the Palais. I look at Cannes as a soft start to Hollywood’s awards season. There’s no question of its importance as the granddaddy of all film fests and as a key worldwide launch for a movie that has got the goods, but in the end the May date scares off some distributors who, by launching their fall Oscar hopefuls on the Croisette may feel it ultimately hurts their chances — and more importantly their momentum.
That’s no doubt a key reason Warner Bros chose to hold back past Cannes competitor and favorite Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice and Fox Searchlight did the same with Alexander Gonzalez Inarritu’s Birdman even apart from the usual reasons that they may not “be ready.” Last year Paramount decided at the last minute to take Alexander Payne’s Nebraska to Cannes even though he initially favored more postproduction time. Payne had competed once before with About Schmidt, headed the Un Certain Regard jury, and served on the main competition jury so he was a favorite of Cannes’ chief programmer Thierry Fremaux. The film ended up winning Best Actor for Bruce Dern but after Cannes the director “tinkered” with it and made it tighter before hitting the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day with his final cut. It went on to win six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Director and Actor after finally opening November 15 (it didn’t win any Oscars, though). It’s not the first time a filmmaker has made changes after their film was shown to the world’s press and reviewed in Cannes. The growing feeling among distributors is it is best to wait until the movie is really locked before risking exposure at this most visible of all festivals.
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has made a pre-emptive deal for I’m In Love With The DJ, a romantic comedy spec by Lauryn Kahn that will be produced by Gary Sanchez’s Adam McKay, Will Ferrell and Kevin Messick. Deal comes right after Gary Sanchez made a Sony deal for Border Guards, a comedy that will star Ferrell and John C. Reilly, with McKay directing.
The new deal is for an R-rated comedy is about a girl whose two best friends tag along on her work trip to Spain that quickly turns into a crazy hunt for a hot DJ through the electronic dance music scene. Kahn is the young writer who, after spending four years as McKay’s assistant and honing her writing skills scripting, performing and directing numerous shorts for the Funny Or Die, sold the script He’s Fuckin’ Perfect to Fox 2000 for $1 million against $1.5 million. That film, now titled The Social Life, moved to Universal with Jake Syzmanski directing Amanda Seyfried and Rebel Wilson, with Gary Sanchez producing.
EXCLUSIVE: UTA has signed to represent screen rights for After, a serialized story by Anna Todd that has become the most followed literary property published by Wattpad, an online community in which writers tell stories chapter by chapter. According to Wattpad general manager Candice Faktor, the three-part series After has been clicked on by more than 500 million.
Factor described the site as “a writer and reader community to collaborate and share nonfiction, fiction and fan fiction. It is a mobile experience that is very social and where writers establish a personal connection with their audience.” The site launched seven years ago and has built to 22 million monthly users, 80% of whom access the site on mobile devices. The company recently raised $46 million in Series C funding.
Agencies usually rep works from traditional publishers, but the priority in Hollywood is to find rabid followings that warrant screen adaptations. For Wattpad, After is the closest thing the site has experienced to Fifty Shades Of Grey, which began in similar fashion as fan fiction before it became a massive global bestseller and an upcoming Universal/Focus feature for author E.L. James. The way Faktor describes it, After sounds like a close cousin, without the S&M. “A happy, optimistic young girl falls in love with a guy with a dark side that is addictive, and their relationship is a rollercoaster ride,” Faktor said.
Anchor Bay has taken U.S. and Canadian rights to Kite, the live-action adaptation of Yasuomi Umetsu’s cult Japanese anime about a schoolgirl assassin hunting down the human traffickers she believes are responsible for her parents’ death. India Eisley (Underworld: Awakening) stars as the young and lethal Sawa opposite Samuel L. Jackson as Inspector Karl Aker, a renegade cop and the ex-partner of Sawa’s father, who firmly believes to succeed he has to take the law into his own hands. Callan McAuliffe (Underworld, I am Number Four) co-stars as Oburi. South African director Ralph Ziman took over the helm from the late David R. Ellis last year and scripted the picture himself.
The original anime was known for its extreme violence, nudity, and sexuality, including controversial scenes of rape that got Umetsu’s Kite banned in some countries. The live-action Kite is produced by Anant Singh and Distant Horizon’s Brian Cox. Moises Cosio and Alberto Muffelmann of Detalle are exec producers. Anchor Bay’s deal covers theatrical, home entertainment, digital and VOD rights while Weinstein Co. took international last year out of Cannes. Singh negotiated the deal with Alan Grodin of Weintraub Tobin Chediak Coleman Grodin for Distant Horizon.
Here’s a Kite trailer with an intro by Jackson that hit the web in January:
EXCLUSIVE: Fox has closed a deal for Men Who Kill, a pitch by T.J. Fixman that will be developed as a star vehicle for fast-rising Michael B. Jordan. The tone of the film is an international Bad Boys and it gives the studio another project with Jordan, who comes off his breakout role in Fruitvale Station and heads into the Fantastic Four reboot after previously starring in the Fox sleeper Chronicle.
After starring as a teen in the iconic TV series The Wire and Friday Night Lights, Jordan is making the transition to adulthood among a handful of young actors vying to be in the next generation of bankable leading men. This is the first action thriller vehicle being developed specifically for Jordan, who is separately attached to play Apollo Creed’s grandson in a new version of Rocky that will re-team him with Fruitvale Station writer-director Ryan Coogler.
The book retailer’s down 9.4% to $16.85 this morning after Chairman Leonard Riggio disclosed in an SEC filing that he unloaded 3.7M shares yesterday for an average of $17.30 apiece in a privately negotiated …
Canadian, French and European helmers dominate the Competition roster for the 67th Cannes Film Festival. And, in what could be a record, there are 15 female directors across the entire Official Selection which was unveiled this morning in Paris. In total, 50 movies out of 1,800 submissions make up the Official Selection that encompasses the Competition, Un Certain Regard and the special screenings sections. Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week are announced next week. Many of the titles revealed today had been tipped, and there were no major surprises. But, as is Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux‘s habit, more films may be added before Grace Of Monaco kicks off the Riviera proceedings May 14.
Two movies that were highly anticipated from U.S. directors are in the mix: Tommy Lee Jones’ The Homesman and Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher. Occupying the big Hollywood slot, DreamWorks Animation, as expected, will premiere How To Train Your Dragon 2 Out Of Competition. Frémaux, who first programmed DWA’s Shrek in Competition in 2001, said having the Dragon sequel in town was a way to “celebrate 20 years of DreamWorks” and a way “for us to thank them for the films they’ve given us over the years.”
Some movies that looked like long-shot possibilities coming in were indeed left out. There was no mention of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice today, despite what we’ve heard was a full-court press by Frémaux. He noted that neither Terrence Malick (with Knight Of Cups) nor Emir Kusturica (with On The Milky Road) were ready. When asked what had become of Abel Ferrara’s Welcome To New York, the controversial film inspired by the Dominique Strauss-Khan scandal and starring Gérard Depardieu, he said tradition held that we “only talk about the films that we’re showing, so I’m not going to talk about Ferrara’s film.” However, scuttlebutt in the UGC Normandie theater this morning was that the film may be a late addition to the Out Of Competition lineup.