INTL BO: ‘Spider-Man 2′ Spins $47M Web For Biggest Opening Of 2014; ‘Captain America’ Passes $500M; ‘Frozen’ Highest Animated Grosser Ever; ‘Rio 2′ passes $200M Overseas

Highlights: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (SONY) opens in 14 markets with $47M; Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS) passes $500M; Transcendence (WB) opens to $17.4M, mostly from China; Rio 2 (FOX) flies past $200M. Noah (PAR) at $197.4M; Divergent (LGF/SUM/var) at $18.1M  for $75.3M cume; The Other Woman (FOX) bows with $5.3M in four markets; Spanish Affairs (UNI) phenom as Spain’s top local-lingo pic ever, still No. 1 … twice the marketshare of Spider-Man 2′s bow.

cinemaworld__140406143949 UPDATED, Sunday, 6:50 PM. PDT: More estimates have been added for Rio2, Divergent, and further analysis on The Amazing Spider-Man 2. There will be another update tomorrow, but no territory by territory breakdown this week. It’s always interesting to see a snapshot of the top international pictures so far in 2014. Disney’s has the two lead spots right now with  Frozen $462M) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($385.1M), followed by The Wolf of Wall Street ($262.5M), which is being handled by Universal and many other distribs. The difference between the No. 2 and No. 3 pictures is a substantial $122.6M so far. Surprising, no? Rounding out the top five is Warner Bros.’  duo The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ($244.5M) and 300: The Rise of an Empire ($223M).

Amazing Spider-Man 2PREVIOUSLY, 10:27 AM, Sunday, PDT: Marking the biggest opening internationally of 2014, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has taken the markets by storm, grossing an estimated $47M as it bows in such major territories as the U.K., Spain, Germany and Belgium, Mexico and Australia. All told, 14 markets. It was a big box office weekend internationally with several major pics playing well throughout the world. But all eyes are on Spider-Man, which opened strong in territories earlier in the week. The top market for the Sony franchise is the UK/Ireland which grabbed $15M. It marks a 49% bigger opening than Winter Soldier in the territory but in 2012, the first installment has a UK opening weekend tally of $17.1M. The same group of market, Sony says, opened comparably to the first installment — and true, some are higher and some are lower. Of note is a huge $2.3M from 50 IMAX screens to equal a monster $47,000 per screen average in the UK/Ireland. The first installment of The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012 grossed a total of $40.3M in this territory in 2012, so this is an all-important market for the studio. Since it is a big school holiday in the UK, kids are out in numbers now so perfectly timed to capitalize on the influx.

Spider-Man has done particularly well overseas traditionally, although it has yet to top the $1B mark like other Marvel titles have done. China should be a great box office catch for this film as the first installment did exceptionally well, grossing a total of $48.8M in 2012. It will bow in China on May 4th, two days after the its domestic launch. Latin America is also usually very strong for Spidey. Japan, Korea and Russia — which together brought in $96.8M in 2012 — will be part of the 21 pack of territories it will open in next weekend.

ASM2’s production budget is said to be around $255M, with about $180M to $190M spent on marketing. Read More »

Comments (12)

Discovery Cancels Everest Jump In Wake Of Avalanche Deaths

By | Sunday April 20, 2014 @ 12:44pm PDT

everest“In light of the overwhelming tragedy at Mt Everest and respect for the families of the fallen, Discovery Channel will not be going forward with Everest Jump Live,” the network said in a statement early Sunday afternoon, adding, ” Our thoughts and prayers go out to the whole Sherpa community.”

Friday morning NBC News, whose Peacock Productions is producing Discovery’s Mount Everest live jump, had said  “the future of the production will be assessed at the appropriate time” after an avalanche occurred Thursday night — the deadliest disaster ever recorded at the peak.

Saturday, the project’s star, Joby Ogwyn had tweeted that the project would continue, a charity would be set up “to take care of our fallen Sherpa and those who could fall in the future” and that his jump had taken on a larger meaning:


 

But Discovery and other participants decided otherwise and the decision to pull the plug was made this morning.

The Nepalese government put the death toll at 13 Saturday. The victims,  Sherpa guides, were carrying equipment and supplies to camps for climbers getting ready for peak trekking season — including those preparing to participate in Discovery Channel‘s Everest Jump Live, produced by the NBC News division.

Related: … Read More »

Comments (8)

‘Frozen’ Is Highest Animated Int’l Grosser Of All Time As Disney Reaches $1B In Record Pace

By | Sunday April 20, 2014 @ 9:20am PDT

FROZENBased on the phenomenal grosses from Frozen and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Disney (which crossed $1BM worldwide earlier this month) now can boast that it crossed $1B internationally in record time. Frozen has just surpassed Ice Age 4 to become the worldwide leader as the highest-grossing animated film of all time in international markets with a total tally of $729.3M. In comparison, Ice Age: Continental Drift grossed $715.9M in 2012. In addition, Frozen is hovering at $400M domestically and should reach that watermark next weekend. It just skated across the $100M in Japan while Captain America 2 opened there as its final territory in its international run. Disney boasts the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the country now with Frozen leading the way.

So far this year, the studio also commands the top two positions internationally of all films in the marketplace … Frozen is No. 1 with $462M and Captain America is $385.1M for the second spot. To show the dominance internationally, the No. three movie – The Wolf of Wall Street — is $122.6M behind the Cap.

Related: INTL BO: ‘Spider-Man 2′ Spins $47M Global Web For Biggest Opening Of 2014

captain-america-the-winter-soldier01Marvel’s Captain America 2 has now grossed over $500M. In China alone, it is on the verge of passing $100 million. The sequel, 199% ahead of what the first installment did in its full run of $194M, has already passed the total international box office cumes for Iron Man 2 ($312M) and Iron Man ($267M) as well as Thor ($268M) and it did so in four weeks. In Japan, it grossed $2M, more than doubling the opening weekend of the first installment. It is still No. 1 in Korea four weeks running, too.

Related: Box Office: ‘Heaven Is For Real’ Rises High; ‘Transcendence’ Descends Into Hell

Read More »

Comments (15)

Specialty Box Office: ‘Fading Gigolo’ Seduces In Limited Opening; ‘Under The Skin’ Passes $1M

Indie FilmsFading Gigolo cashed in at the box office this Easter weekend, catapulting itself to the second-highest theater average of 2014 among specialty releases. The feature directed by John Turturro and starring Turturro, Woody Allen and Sharon Stone opened in five locations in New York and LA on Friday, grossing an estimated $198,399 through Sunday for a solid $39,680 average. That outranks A24′s strong debut for Under The Skin starring Scarlett Johansson, which opened at the beginning of this month. That film, incidentally, passed the $1M cume mark this weekend, with the Jonathan Glazer-directed experimental sci-fi pic grossing $140K in four theaters for a $35K average. The top opener by far of course is Fox Searchlight’s sizzling The Grand Budapest Hotel, which bowed to a record $202K per-theater average March 9.

Related: Box Office: ‘Heaven Is For Real’ Rises, ‘Transcendence’ Descends Into Hell

FadingGigoloThe opening for Fading Gigolo portends a good run for the comedy, which centers on Fioravante (Turturro), who decides to become a Don Juan as a way of making money for his cash-strapped friend Murray (Allen). Turturro told me last week the film had sold to “top notch” distributors worldwide with strong opens in some international territories ahead of its U.S. launch. “It’s a date movie and even people in their 20s like the movie,” he said. “If they like the movie, then anyone will like the movie.” Millennium Entertainment CEO Bill Lee said this morning that Fading Gigolo is performing better than even hoped. “We saw a spectacular jump from Friday to Saturday, which goes to show that audiences were craving a funny and heartfelt film,” he said. Millennium will hold in NY and LA next week expanding the film to 25 runs in both metropolitan areas. It will head to San Francisco, Dallas, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Miami on May 2, then to additional markets May 9.

Related: INTL BO: ‘Spider-Man 2′ Spins $47M Global Web For Biggest Opening Of 2014

Under The Skin saw a sizable expansion and grossed more than $467K in 176 theaters, averaging $2,656. Last week, the film grossed over $309K from 54 runs ($5,727 PTA). Its cume now stands at $1,086,241.

Related: Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Fading Gigolo’, ‘The Final Member’, More Read More »

Comments (0)

Box Office: ‘Heaven Is For Real’ Rises High; ‘Transcendence’ Descends Into Hell; ‘Captain America’ Will Pass $200M And Flips The Bird As ‘Rio 2′ Perched at No. 2

OPENING: Heaven Is For Real (SONY) best opener est. $21.5M to $22M+  (3-day) and $29M+ (5-day); Transcendence (WB) No. 4 with $11M+; A Haunted House 2 (OPRD) $8.8M rounds out top five; Bears (DIS) hibernating with $4.8M at No. 10 – if it doesn’t get pushed out by holdover Noah.

BoxOffice_logo__131122164403-275x206

Related: INTL BO: ‘Spider-Man 2′ Spins $47M Web For Biggest Opening Of 2014

UPDATED: SUNDAY, 7:18 AM: $200M, as expected, for Captain America: The Winter Soldier today as it parades in with a $26.7M weekend on Easter Sunday and $201M+. It now stands at $586.6M worldwide. This is the 12th Marvel film to cross that threshold. Easter weekend is up 8% over last year at this time. The holy holiday brings a couple of other surprises as the best newcomer of the weekend, Heaven Is For Real, is now expected to have a 3-day gross of $21.5M to $22M+ for a $9,200 per screen, far above any other picture in the Top Ten. And, depending how much of a drop off there is today, it may end its 5-day run with $29M+. That’s a nice sum for a picture that Sony says has a $12M negative cost (not including marketing). Captain-America-2-The-Winter-Soldier-TrailerKudos to filmmakers Randy Wallace, co-screenwriter Chris Parker, producers T.D. Jakes and Joe Roth and its stars Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly and Connor Corum. “The film definitely played not only to a faith-based audience but to a mainstream audience as well,” said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution. “The title itself provokes dialogue no matter what you believe. It’s based on a book and the true story of this family, so it makes it all that more compelling.”

Related: Specialty Box Office: ‘Fading Gigolo’ Seduces In Limited Opening; ‘Under The Skin’ Passes $1M

The other surprise of the weekend was that Fox’s animated film Rio 2 didn’t get off the ground as everyone expected at the start of the 3-day; it will make about $22.5M this weekend (down 43%) in its sophomore frame for a total cume of $75.3M (according to Fox) although all others have it higher. And the Johnny Depp starrer Transcendence started its slow descent for Warner Bros. and Alcon when it opened to lackluster numbers on Thursday and then received its C+ CinemaScore on Friday when its core audience got a look-see. The pic will make only $11M+ for the weekend. However, in China, it opened bigger than in the U.S. on 2,180 more screens, of course. It grossed $11.4M in China. Right under that is A Haunted House 2, the comedy/horror film that will end up with $8.8M for the weekend.Heaven Is For Real Open Road Films said it was a $4M negative (not counting marketing costs), so perhaps when this finishes its run, it may make a bit of cash. Btw, Open Road is the only distrib. to expect it to gross higher; they are saying $9.1M.

Related: ‘Frozen’ Is Highest Animated International Grosser Of All Time

Disney’s Nature film Bears slept through the weekend with only $4.8M and may not make it into the Top Ten as Paramount’s four-week holdover Noah may end up in that spot. If Noah rounds out the box office top ten, there will be three heavenly related films — Heaven is For Real, God’s Not Dead and Noah — this Easter Sunday. Noah is tracking at $4.8M by all distribs but Paramount who has it at $5M. Can’t call it for Noah yet. Draft Day, in its second weekend, dropped only 40% and its cume is hovering around $19.5M for Lionsgate (Summit) after another $5.8M 3-day, stepping around Divergent to come up a notch in the standings. The horror film, Oculus, dropped off 56% in its second weekend; it’s cume is at $21.1M. Here’s the chart:

Read More »

Comments 129

Veteran Fox TV Executive Fired Over Fundraising Campaign For Relatives Of Missing Malaysia Plane Passengers

By | Sunday April 20, 2014 @ 7:15am PDT

Fox Cable NetworksFox Cable Networks Group VP Standards and Practices Darlene Lieblich Tipton has been fired for using her company email address to organize a fundraising campaign to benefit relatives of passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which went missing last month. “The conduct and communications at issue were not authorized by Fox and were in violation of company policy,” a spokesman said in a statement. “As soon as we became aware we took appropriate steps and, while we cannot discuss the particulars, we can tell you the employee is no longer with the company.” Tipton had been at Fox for 24 years, 11 at Fox Broadcasting and 13 at Fox cable.

Comments (13)

Quentin Tarantino’s Staged ‘Hateful Eight’ Reading Reveals Pic Not Dead Yet

hateful 8 Quentin Tarantino as director“We’ve been rehearsing this for the last three days and we’re not bad,” Quentin Tarantino told a packed crowd tonight at the live staged reading of his The Hateful Eight script. With alumni from his past pics such as Samuel L Jackson, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, James Parks, Amber Tamblyn Michael Madsen, Denis Menochet, James Remar and Walton Goggins plus Bruce Dern by his side onstage at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown LA, the director’s 3.5-hour performance of the five-chapter Western set in post-Civil War Wyoming revealed that Tarantino has a career in theater if he ever decided to chuck the whole moviemaking thing.

Related: Samuel L. Jackson Part Of Saturday’s ‘Hateful Eight’ Reading

Despite the controversy and legal action surrounding the leaked script, which Gawker put online in January, tonight’s Film Independent Presents the World Premiere of a Staged Reading by Quentin Tarantino: The Hateful Eight, as it was formally titled, also revealed that the big-screen version might not be as shelved as the director first told my colleague Mike Fleming Jr. on January 21. “I’m working on a second draft and I will do a third draft, but we’re reading from the first draft,” Tarantino, wearing a black Stetson and red ribbed cowboy shirt, said to the 1,200 patrons in the almost SRO theater before the performance started. (The well-heeled crowd included longtime Tarantino producers Harvey and Bob Weinstein.) “The Chapter 5 here will not be the Chapter 5 later, so this will be the only time it is seen ever.”

Hateful 8 Samuel L. Jackson as the majorRegardless of how Hateful Eight lives on, the crowd loved the show they saw tonight — especially the hands-on onstage narration and direction from Tarantino. “Guys, you are starting to drift away from the dialogue on the page,” the Oscar winner told the actors at one point around halfway through. “No more co-writing,” he added to a big laugh from the audience. “He’s directing,” said Jackson at another part when Tarantino ran across the stage to whisper something into his ear. That also got a big roar from the crowd. A couple of other times, the director asked the actors to start a particular scene over again. Near the end of the performance, Tarantino playfully told Goggins to just read the script and not worry about the imaginary guns in his hands. Also during the later part of the show, both Goggins and Madsen broke from the script and joked with Tarantino about a narration line where Madsen’s character was described as looking like “he’s cumming in his pants.” Madsen told the director that “it’s never happened before.” Tarantino shot back that he’d show him one day what it was like.

Besides several standing ovations, only a 20-minute intermission broke up the show. Tickets for tonight’s event went for $150-$200 a pop, with all proceeds going to Film Independent’s programming efforts at LACMA. Security was a top concern, with the crowd having to give up their cell phones and other electronics before entering the downtown theater. Read More »

Comments 72

WonderCon: 20th Century Fox Executes Bryan Singer PR Control During ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ Panel

Keri Russell WonderconWhile fans were allowed to ask questions to the string of talent from Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, The Maze Runner and DreamWorks’ How To Train Your Dragon 2 at 20th Century Fox’s WonderCon panel, the one creative talent not fielding questions from the crowd was X-Men: Days Of Future Past writer and producer Simon Kinberg. While a “no questions” policy wasn’t blatantly announced, Fox gracefully saved its X-Men presentation for the final portion of its nearly two-hour panel. And it was brief next to the half-hour-plus devoted to Planet Of The Apes. Kinberg stepped in at the last minute after the studio pulled Bryan Singer in the wake of the director being slammed with a sexual abuse civil lawsuit. Kinberg promised the crowd that he had footage that was never seen before, but that wasn’t the case: He showed the same clip that was on the MTV Movie Awards last weekend with the young X-Men including Kitty Pryde, Colossus and Iceman fighting a rather large latex figure who absorbs their powers. Fox, unlike ABC — which pulled Singer’s name off their Black Box TV spots — kept the filmmaker’s name on the trailer that was shown at WonderCon today. The crowd was unfazed when his name came up on screen.

Related:
WonderCon: Warner Bros Still Earns Cheers With Largely Star-Less Presentation & Jaw-Dropping ‘Godzilla’ Tsunami Clip
Hot Trailer: ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ Read More »

Comments 29

‘What Maisie Knew’ Scribe Hit With $3M Libel Suit By Ronee Sue Blakley

What Masie KnewThe perils of co-habitating with a screenwriter are playing out in a $3 million libel suit filed by actress and singer-musician Ronee Sue Blakley against her former lover, screenwriter Carroll Cartwright. In her suit (read it here), filed yesterday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Blakley, the Oscar-nominated leading lady in the 1975 classic film Nashville, claims that she was falsely and maliciously portrayed in Cartwright’s screenplay for the 2012 film What Maisie Knew starring Julianne Moore and Alexander Skarsgard. “The primary thrust of the lawsuit is simple,” read the 15-page suit, which is is requesting a jury trial. “Cartwright wrote the screenplay to further his own feelings of hatred for Blakley by maliciously and falsely portraying her as a selfish and uncaring mother, when in fact she was a devoted and loving parent. This false depiction of Blakley has damaged her reputation and caused her to suffer severe emotional distress.” Read More »

Comments (15)

UPDATE: Supreme Court Allows Feds To Argue In Aereo Case Next Week

By | Saturday April 19, 2014 @ 12:48pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEUPDATE, 12:48 PM: Looks like three isn’t a crowd for the Supreme Court when it comes Aereo-logo__130126232434-200x206__131008001115__131212200214__140110201424__140211193750to the upcoming Aereo hearing. The high court has decided to let the Solicitor General’s office participate in the one-hour oral arguments session between Aereo and the broadcasters Tuesday in Washington D.C. “Motion of the Deputy Solicitor General for leave to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae and for divided argument GRANTED,” said the SCOTUS yesterday. The granting of the motion comes more than a month and a half after the federal government’s top legal office filed a brief supporting the broadcasters in their showdown with the Barry Diller-backed streaming service. That was followed by the Solicitor General’s office requesting the time to directly make its points. The broadcasters have given the federal lawyers 10 minutes of their time. Though the broadcasters have a couple of former Solicitors General on their team, the current Solicitor General will not be involved; before he took his present post, Donald Verrilli Jr. argued Hollywood copyright cases before the SCOTUS and hence has recused himself. The likely candidate will be Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler, who submitted the March 13 motion. Read More »

Comments 34

WonderCon: Warner Bros Still Earns Cheers With Largely Star-Less Presentation & Jaw-Dropping ‘Godzilla’ Tsunami Clip

By | Saturday April 19, 2014 @ 12:47pm PDT

Bill Paxton WonderconNext to the all-star fireworks Warner Bros unleashed at CinemaCon last month with Adam Sandler, Johnny Depp and Clint Eastwood, the studio kicked off WonderCon’s Saturday movie schedule on a sleepy note with a low wattage of stars. Comparisons to Disney’s previous D23s are inevitable, especially due to the fact that the Mouse House has trotted out such megastars at this same venue — the Anaheim Convention Center Arena — in its previous confabs, i.e. Angelina Jolie, Natalie Portman, and Robert Downey Jr. First up for Warner Bros today was a fresh Edge of Tomorrow trailer, spotlighting co-star Bill Paxton as a Kentucky sergeant. Paxton later took the stage, but Edge of Tomorrow star Tom Cruise didn’t show; the crowd Godzilla 2014 logodidn’t seem to mind, though, rolling their cheers in appreciation for the Aliens thespian, but still — Cruise isn’t here. Nor was Godzilla castmember Bryan Cranston, a fave for his panel appearances for Breaking Bad at ComicCon.

Related: WonderCon: 20th Century Fox Executes Bryan Singer PR Control During ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ Panel

Read More »

Comments (13)

RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ Falls, ‘Hannibal’ Surges, ’20/20′ Up As ABC Wins Demo For Friday

By | Saturday April 19, 2014 @ 9:58am PDT

kitchen nightmares april 18There was a lot cooking on primetime last night and Friday’s menu was a mix of the undercooked and the more-than-just-right. The second week of Season 6 of Fox’s Kitchen Nightmares traveled to the troubled Old Neighborhood Restaurant in Arvada, CO and to a Greek joint in Queens, NY, where the owner couple were in almost as much trouble as their establishment. Unfortunately for the two-hour reality show, the trouble didn’t stop there: the Gordon Ramsay series took a 17% dive from its 8 PM (1.0/4) premiere April 11 and an 18% drop from its 9 PM (0.9/3) broadcast last week. Read More »

Comments (11)

PILOTS 2014: More Early Buzz

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 9:01pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

panic-buttonWe’re heading into the homestretch of pilot season as the broadcast networks are beginning to view and test the completed pilots, a process that will continue for about two weeks before the nets move on to making pickup and scheduling decisions. Based on buzz around town, here are the most talked-about pilots three weeks before the upfronts.

Related: PILOTS 2014: Early Buzz Edition

ABC_logo_2007Every year, there is at least one pilot that comes out of nowhere and surprises everyone. We may have that this season in ABC‘s multi-camera Cristela. It was not even supposed to be a pilot. Developed at 20th TV-based 21 Laps/Adelstein for more than a year, the semi-autobiographical project co-created by and starring rising Latina stand-up comedian Cristela Alonzo was sold to ABC last summer with significant penalty. But when pilot-pickup time came along, ABC quickly loaded on high-profile sitcoms, including the 20th TV-produced The Winklers, starring Henry Winkler, and the untitled Kevin Hart project starring Romany Malco. Cristela didn’t get a pilot order, alonzobut the producers, who also are behind ABC’s Tim Allen sitcom Last Man Standing, decided to take the penalty, which I hear was about $500,000, and use it to shoot a presentation. (ABC called it “proof of concept.”Cristela ended up filming a full-length pilot on the stage of Last Man Standing using that sitcom’s crew, led by director/co-exec producer John Pasquin, with very little time to rehearse and prep. Because it was supposed to be a presentation, Cristela was not budgeted to get a testing, but I hear 20th TV brass liked the finished product and had it tested. I hear the results blew expectations, with Alonzo, who has no previous acting experience, scoring higher than most stars in recent 20th TV comedy pilots, including Allen, New Girl‘s Zooey Deschanel and The Crazy Ones‘ Robin Williams.

Related: Bubble Watch 2014: Where Endangered Broadcast Series Stand

Read More »

Comments 118

UPDATE: James Franco’s Former Biz Management’s Countersuit “Will Be Shut Down Quickly”, Says Plaintiffs’ Attorney

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 8:20pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGE"Of Mice And Men" Broadway Opening Night - After PartyUPDATED, 8:20 PM: Just hours after James Franco’s former management company sued the actor’s ex-rep and his ex-financial adviser for fraud and a litany of other claims, Tanner Mainstain Blatt Glynn & Johnson LLP has fired back with a counterclaim. “JLM, the management company, was rife with internal mismanagement, surreptitious behavior, duplicitousness and questionable ethical acts,” the Hollywood financial management company said in its 7-page filing today in LA Superior Court. “By its Complaint, the management company and its owners seek to make TMBGJ responsible for their own myriad Tannerinternal shortcomings.” The counterclaim alleges that in desperation to keep The Planet Of The Apes actor as a client, JLM partner and co-founder Randy James looked the other way at his former partner Miles Levy’s supposed skimming of a third of Franco’s commissions from 2006 to late 2013 as well as other indiscretions.

The lawyers for James and fellow plaintiff and former JLM director Ken Jacobson isn’t buying the spirit or the letter of the counterclaim. “This is no defense to the complaint’s allegations that Tanner Mainstain name partner Steve Blatt knowingly facilitated, concealed and profited from Mr. Levy’s theft from the corporation,” plaintiffs’ primary attorney Devin McRae said in a statement after the counterclaim was filed today. “The law doesn’t allow fraudsters to point to the victim and say, ‘It’s your fault I duped you’. This pleading will be shut down quickly.” TMBGJ is represented by attorney Randall Dean of LA film Chapman Glucksman Dean Roeb & Barger.

PREVIOUSLY, 1:06 PM: Last fall my colleague Mike Fleming Jr reported that James Franco and Miles Levy, his manager of almost two decades, had parted ways. Today, according to a multi-claim complaint (read it here) filed in LA Superior Court, we might have a sense of what really happened. “Box office star James Franco’s recently fired talent and financial managers, Defendants Miles Levy and Steve Blatt, conspired to, and did by fraudulent means, embezzle significant sums in commissions due James Levy Management for nearly a decade,” says the filing for a jury trial. It adds dramatically: “The thieves have been caught and the day of reckoning has arrived.”

2012 Palm Springs International ShortFest - Agents, Managers and Actors PanelLevy is said to have been skimming a third of the 15% Franco has been paying in commissions to the Burbank-based management company since 2006. Alleging breach of contract, fraud and unjust enrichment among other claims, James Levy Management co-founder Randy James and former company director Ken Jacobson have gone after Levy plus big-time Hollywood financial management firm Tanner Mainstain Blatt Glynn & Johnson LLP and partner Blatt for unspecified compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages. They also want an independent accounting, a court declaration of their rights, and an order “removing Levy from office.” The plaintiffs say they discovered this case of sticky fingers on March 20, 2014 and that is why they have brought this legal action now. Obviously, the 50-year friendship and 28-year business partnership between James and Levy has hit a bit of a rocky period to put it mildly. Read More »

Comments 28

Gwen Stefani In Talks To Take Christina Aguilera’s Chair On NBC’s ‘The Voice’

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 7:50pm PDT

Gwen StefaniNBC will have two “new” judges for The Voice in the fall as Gwen Stefani is in talks to replace the pregnant Christina Aguilera as a coach for Cycle 7, which starts taping in June. According to informed sources, Stefani also had been in talks for a judge position on ABC’s Rising Star, the interactive singing competition that’s set to premiere June 22. And she has experience on these kinds of shows, having mentored on Fox’s American Idol. The No Doubt singer and fashion icon might have given fans at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival TheVoice__121109194015-200x112__130425000858__130502160756__130516211150something of a Voice fall preview last week when she joined Pharrell Williams onstage for a take on her 2005 solo hit “Hollaback Girl.” NBC announced last month that Williams will join The Voice next season, replacing CeeLo Green, who had announced his departure in February.

Related: Chris Martin Joins ‘The Voice’ As Show Makes A Format Change
Read More »

Comments (19)

Universal Studios Japan Sets Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Opening For July 15

UniversalPotterJapanThe Japan branch of Universal Studios Parks & Resorts and Warner Bros’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction was originally unveiled in May 2012 with a target late-2014 opening date. They made it: The opening day will be July 15. The announcement was made today in Osaka during a ceremony that included Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, U.S Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and Harry Potter production designer Stuart Craig, who helped plan and build the themed land. The new attraction will be similar to the one in Florida and will include Hogwarts castle — the first of the new attractions to be unveiled today — Hogsmeade and multiple attractions. This will be the second Wizarding World franchise to get up and running following a lucrative launch at Universal Studios Orlando in June 2010 that revitalized that park. Last April, the LA County Board of Supervisors ended a seven-year process that cleared the way to begin construction on NBCUniversal’s 25-year Evolution Plan, which allowed work to begin on Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood last summer.

Related: Warners, J.K. Rowling Prep ‘Harry Potter’-Inspired Film Series

Comments (0)

BUBBLE WATCH 2014: Freshman ABC Comedy ‘Mixology’ Heating Up For Renewal

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 5:22pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Mixology Season 2 Renewal ChancesIt has been a three-way race for renewal among three bubble ABC comedies: sophomore The Neighbors and freshmen Trophy Wife and Mixology, There seems to be some movement within the pack, with the youngest, midseason entry Mixology, gaining momentum. I hear the network and the studio already have put in place a leadership plan for next season, with creators Jon Lucas and Scott Moore set to take over the reins as showrunners from Ira Ungerleider, who will be leaving after running the series for its original 13-episode order. What’s more, in a sign of confidence to Lucas & Moore and their lucasmooreshow, I hear ABC Studios is in negotiations with the duo for an overall deal. At the same time last year, ABC Studios inked an overall deal with Dan Fogelman, with his freshman comedy The Neighbors going on to clinch the only comedy renewal for ABC Studios a few weeks later. Mixology – set in a bar over the course of one night — quickly built a core fan base and has supporters at ABC, including network topper Paul Lee. Its ratings have been lackluster at best, but so have been the numbers for Trophy Wife and The Neighbors. Relaunching a heavily serialized comedy in the fall four months after a brief midseason run would be a challenge, though I hear the story might be reset for Season 2.

Related: Bubble Watch 2014: Where Endangered Broadcast Series Stand

Read More »

Comments 89

Hot TV Trailer: HBO’s ‘The Normal Heart’

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 5:12pm PDT

“To win a war, you have to start one.” This HBO telefilm arrives nearly three decades after Larry Kramer’s play premiered off-Broadway. Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons and Julia Roberts star in the adaptation directed by Ryan Murphy and scripted by Kramer. Set in NYC during the onset of the HIV/AIDS crisis of the early ’80s, The Normal Heart follows gay activists and their allies in the medical community as they try to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic. HBO already is looking into a sequel. The telepic, which co-stars Alfred Molina, Joe Mantello, Jonathan Groff, Denis O’Hare, Stephen Spinella, Corey Stoll, Finn Wittrock and BD Wong, bows May 25 on the premium channel. Here’s the first full trailer:

Comments (15)

Deadline Big Media 81: Previewing The Aereo Arguments

By and | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 3:43pm PDT

Deadline Big Media ep 81In this week’s podcast, Deadline Executive Editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom preview what could be a very big day in the history of broadcasting and technology, as the Supreme Court hears legal arguments Monday about Aereo and its business model. The Davids talk about what’s at stake and how it might play out, where broadcasters might go if they lose and whether a win will turn the broadcasting business upside down. They also look over that very messy, and pricey Disney acquisition of online video powerhouse Maker Studios, and examine why ESPN, pay-TV’s most valuable brand, felt compelled to pitch investors that it’s just fine despite competition, cord-cutting and other existential challenges.

Listen to the podcast in your choice of audio formats here:
Deadline Big Media podcast 81 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Big Media podcast 81 (.M4A version)
Read More »

Comments (1)
More Deadline | Hollywood »