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Andrew Lloyd Webber Suing Producers Of Aborted `Superstar’ Tour

By | Tuesday July 29, 2014 @ 6:26am PDT

Andrew Lloyd Webber Suing Producers Of Aborted `Superstar’ TourWhile shameless, erstwhile rock promoter Michael Cohl let the New York Times bullhorn his  vague plans for two new live theater projects, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group (RUG) has confirmed it’s own plan to sue the Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark producer for the stunning cancellation of a North American Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar that had been planned for this summer.

Tim Rice - A Life In SongRUG “is taking legal action against Michael Cohl’s Options Clause Entertainment following his cancellation of the 2014 North American Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar,” Lord Lloyd Webber announced through a U.K. spokeswoman, Janine Shalom. “The Really Useful Group (RUG) has no option but to proceed with legal action to recover its costs associated with the project and in turn, satisfy outstanding payments to suppliers and contractors.”

Cohl and his producing partner Jeremiah Harris took over the foundering production of Spider-Man at the request of U2 superstars Bono and The Edge, who wrote the score for the Julie Taymor-helmed show. By the time they were done, Taymor had been fired, half a dozen openings had been postponed, several people had been seriously injured, the show had become the butt of jokes ranging from Late Night With David Letterman to the cover of the New Yorker magazine — Spidey had ballooned to an $85 million disaster, the biggest flop in Broadway history.

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Salman Khan’s ‘Kick’ Packs Bollywood Punch; But Falls Short Of All-Time Records… So Far

By | Tuesday July 29, 2014 @ 4:33am PDT

Salman Khan’s ‘Kick’ Packs Bollywood Punch; But Falls Short Of All-Time Records… So FarAt 48 and with more than 80 films under his belt, Bollywood superstar Salman Khan is one of Indian cinema’s biggest draws. He shares A-List status with a group that includes Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar, Ranbir Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan. Working in an industry whose box office is up to 90% driven by local movies, they have a rabid fanbase. And that spreads throughout the diaspora, making it a global event each time one of their films is released. Khan just returned to the Eid al Fitr holiday season with Kick, an action romance thriller released by UTV on Friday. Last week, I wrote about expectations for the highly-anticipated film’s debut, and with many figures now in, here’s the post-mortem on the latest from the legend.

The film went out in India, North America, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and other markets on Friday July 25, performing well but falling short of all-time records. At home in India, Kick grossed an estimated 83.83 crore ($13.95M) on more than 4,000 screens for the biggest weekend debut of the year. It bested Khan’s earlier 2014 release Jai Ho, which did 60.68 crore in its first weekend in January. Kick is now the No. 6 all-time opener in India. The film marks something of a comeback for Khan who in 2013 stepped out of the highly-profitable Eid corridor for the first time in years, leaving the date to rival Shah Rukh Khan’s Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Nat Geo Wild Orders More Of Arrow’s ‘Animal Fight Night’; ‘The Voice’ Sings In Croatia, India; ‘Top Gear’ Falls Foul Of Ofcom; More

By | Tuesday July 29, 2014 @ 1:28am PDT

Global Showbiz Briefs: Nat Geo Wild Orders More Of Arrow’s ‘Animal Fight Night’; ‘The Voice’ Sings In Croatia, India; ‘Top Gear’ Falls Foul Of Ofcom; MoreThe UK’s Arrow Media has received a commission for six more hours of its wildlife show Animal Fight Night which premieres on Nat Geo WILD in the U.S. on August 18 before rolling out internationally in September. Animal Fight Night was first launched in the U.S. in October last year. It was Arrow Media’s first move into natural history programming and the company later received orders for Building Penguin Paradise (Nat Geo WILD) and Dogs: Their Secret Lives (Channel 4). Each Animal Fight Night episode uses CGI to recreate and examine same species battles between animal world adversaries and dissects the science behind the tactics and bodily weapons that various creatures employ. Read More »

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Esquire’s Head Of Digital Rob Juster Exits

By | Monday July 28, 2014 @ 9:15pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Esquire’s Head Of Digital Rob Juster ExitsEXCLUSIVE: Rob Juster, Esquire Network‘s head of digital, has left the NBCUniversal cable net, a co-venture with Hearst. Juster was a 10-year G4 veteran before segueing to Esquire after NBCUniversal made the decision last summer to rebrand Style as male-oriented Esquire and stop programming game-themed G4. Juster was named head of digital, reporting to Esquire head of marketing Deena Stern, who also oversees other areas, including digital.

Related: Esquire Network Names Three New VPs

It has been a slow build for Esquire, which lost more than 60% of the Style audience after the September 2013 switch. As it has been adding originals, the channel has made inroads in young demos, posting three consecutive quarters of growth among adults 18-49 and adults 18-34 and logging its best month yet in June in demos and total viewers. It has turned around the network’s gender skew, from 20% male at Style a year ago to 64%. But it has yet to reach the overall viewership levels of predecessor Style. In the second quarter, Esquire averaged 85,000 viewers in primetime compared with 126,000 for Style and 120,000 for G4 for the same period last year. Esquire may be able to close the gap in July, having just posted a week that was up from Style’s averages in both 18-49 and total viewers. The network’s top series in the adult demos is G4 import American Ninja Warrior.

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Hot Trailer: Michael Apted’s ‘Bending The Light’

By | Monday July 28, 2014 @ 9:13pm PDT

Hot Trailer: Michael Apted’s ‘Bending The Light’Veteran filmmaker Michael Apted‘s new documentary focuses on the relationship between the artisans who craft camera lenses and the photographers and cinematographers who use them. Bending The Light features never-before-seen footage from inside a premier Japanese lens factory and delivers interviews with two-time Oscar nominee Stephen Goldblatt, Greg Gorman, Laura El-Tantawy and Richard Barnes. The pic premieres August 3 at at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival. Here’s the trailer:

Bending the Light Trailer from Bending the Light on Vimeo.

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Paul Candland Upped To President Of The Walt Disney Company Asia

By | Monday July 28, 2014 @ 8:53pm PDT

Paul Candland Upped To President Of The Walt Disney Company AsiaThe 16-year Disney veteran and had been president of Walt Disney Japan and now will be charged with running Disney’s Asia strategy and coordinating its businesses in the region. Paul Candland will report to Andy Bird, chairman of Walt Disney International. The Walt Disney Company also said tonight that Stanley Cheung has been promoted to chairman of TWDC Greater China. He was managing director. Here’s the release:

Burbank, Calif., July 28, 2014 – Underscoring the growing importance of Asia to The Walt Disney Company’s global growth strategy, Paul Candland has been named to the newly created position of president, The Walt Disney Company, Asia, with oversight of Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, and Greater China. Mr. Candland, a 16-year Disney veteran and president of Walt Disney Japan, will be responsible for driving the company’s strategy and coordinating all of its business efforts in Asia. He will report directly to Andy Bird, chairman Walt Disney International. Rob Gilby, managing director, TWDC South East Asia, will report to Mr. Candland.

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R.I.P. James Shigeta

By | Monday July 28, 2014 @ 7:29pm PDT

R.I.P. James ShigetaThe actor whose 50-year career included a star turn in Flower Drum Song and a memorable roles in Die Hard and Midway, died today in Los Angeles. James Shigeta was 81. The Hawaii native had scores of film and TV credits from the late 1950s into the 2000s. In 1960, he shared a Best Male Newcomer Golden Globe Award with George Hamilton, Troy Donahue and Barry Coe after making his screen debut as a detective in The Crimson Kimono. Notable film roles followed in such early 1960s films as Walk Like A Dragon with Jack Lord, with whom he’d reteam years later for an early episode of Hawaii Five-O; Cry For Happy opposite Glenn Ford and Donald O’Connor; and Bridge To The Sun with Carroll Baker. He then starred in the 1961 film adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Flower Drum Song, which scored five Oscar nominations.

James Shigeta MidwayShigeta had more film roles later in the decade, but his career focused more on the small screen. He appeared on such dramas as Ben Casey, Perry Mason and I Spy and later recurred on Medical Center. Shigeta piled up the TV credits throughout the 1970s — Kung Fu, Ironside, Mission: Impossible, Emergency! — before playing Japanese Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo in Midway (1976). The sprawling World War II epic, the second film to screen in seat-rattling Sensurround in theaters, starred such Hollywood heavyweights as Ford, Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Cliff Robertson and Toshiro Mifune. Read More »

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‘Rio 2,’ ‘Non-Stop’ Fly To Top Of Rentrak DVD/Blu-Ray Sales, Rental Charts

By | Monday July 28, 2014 @ 6:39pm PDT

‘Rio 2,’ ‘Non-Stop’ Fly To Top Of Rentrak DVD/Blu-Ray Sales, Rental ChartsBluebirds of happiness were alighting at distributor Fox and creator Blue Sky Studios this week, as Rio 2 flew to the No. 1 spot in Rentrak’s weekly DVD and Blu-Ray sales charts in its home-entertainment debut. The sequel’s capering birds were followed at the top by two other animated hits beloved by kids and therefore their parents: Warner Bros’ The Lego Movie and Disney’s Oscar-winning and all-time animated box-office champ Frozen.

The theatrical arrival of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, another Fox filmlikely caused its cinematic predecessor, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, to swing back near the top of the charts a whopping 136 weeks (more than 2 1/2 years) after it first arrived there. 

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Comic-Con: Legendary Wants Joe Cornish For ‘Skull Island’

By | Monday July 28, 2014 @ 6:29pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Comic-Con: Legendary Wants Joe Cornish For ‘Skull Island’EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Pictures wowed the crowd in Hall H by unveiling Skull Island, a new feature by Godzilla scribe Max Borenstein based on the mythic origins of King Kong, where mutant giant creatures rule. They set a November 4, 2016, release and are wasting no time staffing up. I’m told they’ve offered the directing job to Joe Cornish, who has been offered big movies since his low-budget alien-invasion breakthrough pic Attack The Block. I’m not sure if Cornish will take the job because he’s offered so much — like Universal’s Section Six, the Aaron Berg-scripted drama about the formation of MI6 Brit intelligence branch, for instance. But this is going to be catnip to some hotshot director. When Peter Jackson re-made King Kong, the part where they landed on Skull Island and ran for their lives from over-sized exotic carnivorous creatures was the highlight of the movie. No comment from Cornish’s CAA reps.

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John Rhys-Davies & Tyler Jacob Moore Join ‘Once Upon A Time’ In ‘Frozen’ Roles

By | Monday July 28, 2014 @ 6:23pm PDT

John Rhys-Davies & Tyler Jacob Moore Join ‘Once Upon A Time’ In ‘Frozen’ RolesTwo days after its panel at Comic-Con, ABC’s Once Upon A Time unveiled two more actors joining the series for its Frozen-themed storyline. Veteran character actor John Rhys-Davies, known for roles in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy and Raiders Of The Lost Ark, will voice Pabbie the Troll King, and Tyler Jacob Moore (Shameless, GCB) will play the scheming Prince Hans. OUAT producer Adam Horowitz tweeted the news of both castings today. At the San Diego Convention Center on Saturday, the crowd was shown a clip of OUAT’s new season with Frozen characters Elsa and Anna (Georgina Haig and Elizabeth Lail) leaving flowers at the grave of their parents. The ensemble fantasy series returns for Season 4 on September 28.

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IM Global Launches TV Venture Led By Former Syfy President Mark Stern

By | Monday July 28, 2014 @ 5:55pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

IM Global Launches TV Venture Led By Former Syfy President Mark SternEXCLUSIVE: Feature-film financing, production and sales company IM Global is expanding into television production and distribution with the launch of IM Global Television. Mark Stern, former President of Original Content at Syfy, has been tapped as president and a partner of the new venture. Founded by Stuart Ford in 2007 and part of Indian conglomerate Reliance ADA since 2010, IM Global has been in a growth mode, presenting its biggest slate ever at Cannes this year, and has offices in LA, London, Mumbai, Mexico City, and Beijing. Stern will be based in the company’s Los Angeles office on Beverly Boulevard. “We’ve spent a considerable amount of time exploring the right entry point for IM Global to enter the television business, and Mark brings to our new operation an outstanding track record, skill set and profile,” Ford said. “In just seven years we’ve established ourselves as one of the most prolific feature film players outside of the major studios in Hollywood, and in partnership with Mark, I look forward to us now becoming a recognized force in the fast-evolving global television arena.” Read More »

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Paul Greengrass, Scott Rudin Re-Team For Al Qaeda Thriller ‘Agent Storm’

By | Monday July 28, 2014 @ 5:01pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Paul Greengrass, Scott Rudin Re-Team For Al Qaeda Thriller ‘Agent Storm’Sony Pictures has acquired the hot-button book Agent Storm: My Life Inside Al Qaeda, and it will reunite Best Picture nominees Paul Greengrass and Scott Rudin, who last made Captain Phillips together. Greengrass will develop to direct. The book, by Morten Storm, Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister, hits U.S stores in September.

Related: Fleming Q&As Paul Greengrass

stormThe tale follows a former Islamic radical (Storm) as he became a double agent for the CIA and British and Danish intelligence. Greengrass and Rudin also are teamed on Memphis, the superb story of Martin Luther King’s final march, his murder, and the manhunt waged by the federal agents who dogged Dr. King’s every step on behalf of J. Edger Hoover. CAA reps Greengrass.

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Tom Lipinski Upped To Regular On Cinemax’s ‘The Knick’; Wendy Crewson Joins Syfy’s ‘Ascension’

By | Monday July 28, 2014 @ 4:50pm PDT

Tom Lipinski Upped To Regular On Cinemax’s ‘The Knick’; Wendy Crewson Joins Syfy’s ‘Ascension’Tom Lipinski (Suits) has been promoted from recurring to series regular for Season 2 of Cinemax‘s 10-part series The Knick. Lipinski plays Phillip Showalter, a charming and aristocratic young man whose father is a millionaire rubber king, and who is Cornelia’s suitor. Steven Soderbergh directs and Clive Owens stars in the series set in downtown New York in 1900. It centers on Knickerbocker Hospital and the groundbreaking surgeons, nurses and staff who push the bounds of medicine in a time of astonishingly high mortality rates and zero antibiotics. Lipinski, repped by Gersh and Mike Gasparro at TMT Entertainment, just wrapped features Dial A Prayer and The Early Years. The Knick Season 2 debuts on August 8.
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‘Chef’ Re-Title Sent Back To Kitchen As Harvey Weinstein Cooks Up Something Tastier

By | Monday July 28, 2014 @ 4:48pm PDT
Mike Fleming

‘Chef’ Re-Title Sent Back To Kitchen As Harvey Weinstein Cooks Up Something TastierThe latest dish on the John Wells-directed cooking project with Bradley Cooper once called Chef: Harvey Weinstein has sent the just-announced title Adam Jones back to the kitchen. They’ll call it Untitled John Wells project until they whip up something tastier. All this arose when they were beaten to the table by Jon Favreau’s food truck film, and their plan to call the film Chef deflated like a bad souffle.

Lee-Daniels-The-Butler-poster__130723170234-275x308“Even though our writer Steven Knight claims we had the rights first, Jon Favreau killed us and made a great movie that we all love,” Weinstein told Deadline but wouldn’t say what potential titles were now on the menu. “And while our film deals with cooking it’s about different things… We tried to get Lee Daniels’ Chef Movie but Warner Brothers got there first and didn’t give it to us, so now we’re calling it the Untitled John Wells project.”

Weinstein was joking about last summer’s drama, when Warner Bros lawyers blocked TWC’s ask to use the title The Butler because WB had an early 20th century silent black and white short film in its library. It seemed like an apparent attempt to leverage  Weinstein into surrendering his claim to first dollar gross points on The Hobbit trilogy (like that would ever happen). Weinstein had the last laugh when he used the title Lee Daniels’ The Butler which, helped by the attention from the title fight, grossed $160 million worldwide on a $30 million production budget. Read More »

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Syfy Developing Alien Invasion Drama From Michael Horowitz & Hypnotic

By | Monday July 28, 2014 @ 4:43pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Syfy Developing Alien Invasion Drama From Michael Horowitz & HypnoticSyfy has put in development Absolute Zero, a futuristic thriller from former Burn Notice co-executive producer Michael Horowitz, Universal Cable Prods and Doug Liman and David Bartis’ studio-based Hypnotic. Set in 2124, Absolute Zero follows the denizens of a remote mining colony who discover a dangerous new species on a moon of Jupiter, setting off the first stage of an alien invasion ultimately heading for Earth. Horowitz is writing the scriphorowitzt and will executive produce with Hypnotic’s Liman, Bartis and Gene Klein.

Horowitz, repped by WME, Magnet Management and Lichter, Grossman, joined Matt Nix’s Burn Notice as a staff writer in the second season, rising to co-executive producer. He currently serves as a co-exec producer on Nix’s new series for USA, Complications, and developed drama Lithium for Fox last season. Hypnotic is repped by CAA.

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FCC Lacks Information It Needs To Judge TV Station Co-op Agreements: Report

By | Monday July 28, 2014 @ 3:47pm PDT

FCC Lacks Information It Needs To Judge TV Station Co-op Agreements: ReportThe Government Accountability Office dinged the FCC in report released today for failing to collect enough information to judge TV station joint-operation deals. The FCC wants to tighten restrictions to keep stations from combining ad sales or newsgathering resources. Critics of the deals say that broadcasters often use them to do an end-run around rules that bar a company from owning multiple stations in a market, thereby weakening competition and narrowing the range of local voices. Station owners counter that deals help by making it possible for financially weak stations to stay in business.

But the FCC has “not collected data or completed a review to understand how broadcaster agreements are being used and the potential impacts with respect to its media ownership rules and the corresponding policy goals of competition, localism, and diversity,” the GAO says. Read More »

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Stephen Bishop Joins Lifetime’s ‘With This Ring’; Tiffany Hines In USA’s ‘Rush’

By | Monday July 28, 2014 @ 3:46pm PDT

Stephen Bishop Joins Lifetime’s ‘With This Ring’; Tiffany Hines In USA’s ‘Rush’Stephen Bishop (Being Mary Jane) has been tapped for a lead role in Lifetime’s original movie With This Ring, slated to debut this year. Written and directed by Nzingha Stewart (The Game), the romantic comedy revolves around three single best friends, who after attending the lavish wedding of their best friend on New Year’s Eve, make the vow to be married within the year. Bishop will play Dr. Sean Braswell, a handsome, successful plastic surgeon who is a good man and father to Viviane’s (Jill Scott) 8-year-old son, Cory. Regina Hall and Eve also star. Bishop is repped by Michael Greene of Greene & Associates Talent Agency and Margie Weiner of Weiner Management and Penny Vizcarra of Integrated PR.
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Warner Bros, RatPac Close Deal For Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Winner ‘The Goldfinch’

By | Monday July 28, 2014 @ 3:13pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Warner Bros, RatPac Close Deal For Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Winner ‘The Goldfinch’RatPac Entertainment has joined Warner Bros in the pursuit of movie rights to Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller The Goldfinch. They finally closed the deal today for a film that will be produced by Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson of Color Force, along with RatPac’s Brett Ratner, whose Hercules opened Friday. James Packer will be executive producer. It shows how prolific the relationship is becoming between Warner Bros and RatPac, which teams with Dune on the overall slate financing deal with the studio.

warner_bros_logo_by_warnerbrosplz-d4jcoxr-2__130313223131__130711194807This ends a long drawn out negotiation and becomes the second book by the bestselling author for Warner Bros, which years ago acquired Secret History. I’d heard that the studio’s glacial pace on that book was a reason this deal took so long, but this is flat out  a coup for the studio, a real prestige title.  ICM Partners brokered the deal for The Goldfinch, which has been on The New York Times bestseller list for 39 weeks. Courtenay Valenti and Racheline Benveniste will oversee for the studio.

The novel focuses on Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker who survives an accident that kills his beloved mother. Abandoned by his father and unable to mesh in the elite social circle after he’s taken in by a wealthy friend, Decker stays connected to his mother through a small painting that eventually draws him into the art underworld. Read More »

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FINAL: Intl Box Office: ‘Apes’ Dawns Again; ‘Godzilla’ Stomps Japan; ‘Hercules’ Muscles In; ‘Transformers’ $300M+ In China; Asia Action Ramps Up; More

FINAL: Intl Box Office: ‘Apes’ Dawns Again; ‘Godzilla’ Stomps Japan; ‘Hercules’ Muscles In; ‘Transformers’ $300M+ In China; Asia Action Ramps Up; More3RD UPDATE, MONDAY 3:10 PM PT: All studios have reported actuals for the international weekend with no major discrepancies between the cumulative estimates reported Sunday and what’s come across today. Across the top titles, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes was up a tick to $54.84M from an estimated $54.4M; Transformers: Age Of Extinction was slightly lower at $36.9M versus $37.5M; Hercules was smack on with $28.7M; and How To Train Your Dragon 2 was up a whisker at $24.4M versus the $24M estimate.

cinemaworldOne notable factoid is that for the 2nd weekend in a row, numbers on Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore comedy Blended are higher than expected. Yesterday, they were estimated at $3.8M in 47 markets. Today, Warner says the actuals are $4.25M. That takes the overseas cume to $66.6M – the domestic cume was $45.4M. In Brazil, the film has been especially strong, adding $1.7M this weekend for a local cume of $6.8M and a slight 18% drop from last frame. When I asked what the deal is with Sandler, Blended and Brazil, I was told that his films are roundly popular there where family fare is also big – and this one is now bigger than Grown Ups, 50 First Dates, Bedtime Stories, Don’t Mess With The Zohan and Chuck And Larry.

Along with the above films, all figures throughout the below have been updated on: Planes: Fire & Rescue, Godzilla, Step Up All In, Sex Tape, The Purge: Anarchy, Maleficent, The Fault In Our Stars, Mrs Brown’s Boys D’ Movie, 22 Jump Street, Deliver Us From Evil, Neighbors, Kick, Edge Of Tomorrow, and Boyhood. Read More »

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