6th UPDATE, MONDAY 9:09 PM PT: Updated numbers for Best Picture Oscar winner 12 Years a Slave and Pompeii have been added below. 12 Years a Slave‘s cume internationally is now $104.5M and its worldwide total stands at $157.6M.
5TH UPDATE, MONDAY 12:20 PM PT: Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures’ 300: Rise Of An Empire is now tracking up 11% over the original 300 internationally. Revised numbers have just come in from Warner which says the movie took $88.8M in 58 markets. Some of the major territories were slightly down, but the overall cume was up. The Lego Movie was slightly lower than predicted at $9.6M on 5,585 screens, however the overall overseas cume is $135.4M, a small bolt off the originally estimated $135.6M. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug added a confirmed $7.5M internationally — down from the estimated $8M — and with $679.7M total; again, a breath away from the previously reported cume of $680M. As ever, numbers are updated in the territory sections below, with more to come as they roll in. Read More »
Mary Elizabeth Winstead has been spoken for. One of the most hotly pursued actresses this pilot season has been tapped as the lead of ABC‘s drama pilot Exposed, from writer Charles Randolph, Peter Traugott’s TBD Entertainment, Sweden-based Yellow Bird Entertainment and Universal TV. Based on the best-selling Swedish novels by Liza Marklund, Exposed centers on Anna (Winstead), an investigative journalist who will stop at nothing to uncover the truth, including making questionable alliances. Winstead turned down some half-dozen pilot offers this season before settling on Exposed. The actress, repped by WME and Anonymous Content, has been straddling the indie and mainstream feature worlds with roles in indies like the 2012 Smashed, which landed her an Indie Spirit nomination, and in such big-budget movies as A Good Day To Die Hard and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Nico Santos has joined the cast of the Kevin James sequel Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. He will play Brian, the sassy receptionist at a Las Vegas hotel. Santos is a frequent panelist on Chelsea Lately and a regular on Night Crew. He recently signed a talent holding deal with CBS after the network’s Diversity Showcase in January. He is repped by Greene & Associates, manager Bernie Spektor and attorney Gregg Gelman
Adam Pally and Rosa Salazar have been tapped to star in Night Owls, an indie dramedy from director Charles Hood. Pally plays as a workaholic who has a drunken one-night stand with a beautiful train wreck (Salazar) — who he discovers to his horror is his boss’ jilted ex-mistress. Pally is a regular on The Mindy Project and starred on Happy Endings. He appears in the upcoming feature comedy Search Party, as does Salazar, whose credits include Parenthood and American Horror Story. He is repped by CAA and 3 Arts; she is with Paradigm and Seven Summits Management.
CBS News investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson resigned Monday after months of ill-concealed unhappiness with the network. It was the denouement of a drama that’s been played out among The Reporters Who Cover Television for some time, with Attkisson as the heroine. But while conservatives cast her as the gutsy reporter who stood up to her network’s liberal bias and its deep-sixing of her work on Benghazi and other Obama administration evasions and departs after acrimonious contract talks fell apart, liberals cast her as the mainstream investigative journalist who fell down the agenda-driven reporting rabbit hole. Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich CC’d her network when she retweeted Attkisson’s “I have resigned from CBS,” while New York magazine headlined, “The Right’s Favorite Mainstream Benghazi Reporter Resigns From CBS.” Yeah, it went like that pretty much all day.
Bart-weary and rather randy fourth-grade teacher Edna Krabappel made her debut during the first season of The Simpsons nearly a quarter-century ago. Last night, the character and actress behind her were given a final farewell. Marcia Wallace, who died in October, voiced Edna in more than 175 episodes of the venerable toon and won an Emmy for it. In Sunday night’s second of two original episodes, the educator’s widow, Ned Flanders — complete with black armband — reminisced about a night dancing with her. And neighborhood bully Nelson Muntz, something of a closet softie, chimed in as well. Here’s the scene, which aired as an epilogue:
The veteran publicist who worked with such luminaries as Bob Hope, Cary Grant and Michael Jackson has died. John Blanchette, who also guided Zsa Zsa Gabor’s career for more than three decades, was 68. He died March 4 at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica after a brief battle with leukemia, the Santa Monica Mirrorreported. He was the owner and president of Blanchette & Associates Public Relations. He worked on promotions for projects including Best Picture Oscar winner Argo, Emmy winner Behind The Candelabra, Il Postino and L.A. Confidential and his list of clients also had included Debbie Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Delta Burke and Valerie Harper. Before starting his own company, the native of Sudbury, MA, worked in publicity at Fox TV, KCBS Los Angeles and New World Pictures. Since the late 1990s, also wrote syndicates features on travel, wine, and food and was co-producing a TV special on Napa Valley.
EXCLUSIVE: Boutique agency Verve has signed German writer-director Bora Dagtekin, whose hit comedy feature F*ck You Shakespeer (Fack Ju Gohte) has been burning up the German box office since its debut last fall. Elyas M’Barek (The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones) stars as a bank robber who disguises himself as a substitute teacher to recover stolen money buried beneath a newly constructed high school. The raunchy, politically incorrect comedy produced by Rat Pack Filmproduktion and distributed by Constantin Films has grossed over $72.7M US to date in Germany and earned Dagtekin comparisons to The Hangover‘s Todd Phillips. Dagtekin’s previous hits in Germany include the acclaimed 2006 comedy series Turkish For Beginners (Türkisch für Anfänger), which ran for three seasons and nabbed awards including an International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences nomination. F*ck You Shakespeer lead M’Barek also starred on that show as well as its hit 2012 film adaptation, which Dagtekin scripted and co-wrote. Verve is in Austin showing F*ck You Shakespeer around this week at SXSW. Check out the NSFW trailer: Read More »
Nick Jandl (Green Lantern) and Cameron Scoggins (The Happy Sad) have signed on to CBS’ untitled David Marshall Grant drama pilot, from CBS TV Studios and Timberman-Beverly. The soapy medical show, based on an Israeli format, revolves around quadruplets – three brothers and a sister – who grew up on a reality show. Jandl, repped by Greater Vision Artists, will play Jonathan, the oldest of the quadruplets who’s fresh out of his residency and new to Easton Hospital, an eminent institution headed by his mother (Jamie Lee Curtis). Scoggins, repped by Gersh and Perennial Entertainment, will play Michael, another one of the quadruplets who runs an inner-city clinic. Read More »
Tuesday’s debut of the much-anticipated video game Titanfall likely will be a pivotal early moment for Microsoft’s newest console, the Xbox One, which has struggled to keep up with Sony’s cheaper PlayStation 4 since both launched in November. Almost four months in, Sony has sold 6 million PS4s, compared to 4 million Xbox Ones. With the Xbox One costing $100 more than the PS4, and with few other distinctive titles, Microsoft is hoping a successful Titanfall launch will keep it in the game.
Distributed by Electronic Arts, Titanfall is a rip-roaring online-only take on standard tropes of science fiction and first-person shooters, from creators of the Call of Duty franchise. It initially will be exclusive to the Xbox One, then also be launched for Windows-based PCs and Microsoft’s older Xbox 360 console. It is not scheduled to be available on Sony consoles, an unusual move by a big third-party publisher such as EA that normally wants to make its games as widely available as possible.
This has been an ongoing back-and-forth process over the last several years, with the broadcast networks at different times opting to fold current programming into their drama and comedy departments or re-establish standalone current operations. Fox now is doing the former, promoting head of drama Terence Carter and head of comedy Suzanna Makkos to EVPs, with both adding oversight of respective current series to their development duties. Under the previous structure, Carter and Makkos ran drama/comedy development and then paired up with their current programming counterparts to shepherd their newly picked-up series for the first season. Both will report to Fox COO Joe Earley. In their previous roles, Carter and Makkos had reported to Fox Chairman Kevin Reilly, while current programming had reported to Earley. Earley now is taking over more day-to-day responsibilities at the network, with Reilly pulling away from those to focus on big-picture issues, like the network’s new pilot model.
As part of the restructuring on the comedy side, Lauren Levy Neustadter has been promoted to SVP, and Samata Narra has been a VP for the past several months, both serving as Makkos’ senior lieutenants. On the drama side, … Read More »
“It’s official. Cheryl is back,” Simon Cowell tweeted today, of former TheX Factor UK judge Cheryl Cole. She’s returning in the same capacity for the 11th iteration of the singing competition series in that country. Cole famously left that show — after a successful run in which she mentored the eventual winner two of the three seasons she was on the panel — to come to the U.S. and be a judge/mentor on the doomed American version, only to get pulled after two audition rounds of the first season. That was the first inkling U.S. viewers got of the revolving door that would be the American TheX Factor judge/mentor panel. At that time, there was much speculation that her Newcastle accent had done her in, which Fox reality TV guru Mike Darnell denied. Nicole Scherzinger, who originally had been signed to co-host with Steve Jones, was named to replace Cole. She lasted only one season as judge/mentor; ditto Paula Abdul. Cowell himself is returning to the mothership, after his show struggled through three so-so seasons in the U.S. and was canceled last month. It will be his first season back on the flagship The X Factor, which has suffered a ratings decline. Last month, Cowell said, “I’m absolutely thrilled to be returning to The X Factor UK. … It’s been three years since I last judged the … Read More »
Adult Swim is looking to stir a debate with a series order to Black Jesus, a half-hour live-action scripted comedy from The Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder. The show stars newcomer Gerald “Slink” Johnson (Grand Theft Auto V) as Jesus living in present-day Compton, CA on a daily mission to spread love and kindness throughout the neighborhood with the help of his small but loyal group of downtrodden followers. The series pickup for Black Jesus comes on the heels of the Jesus race controversy triggered by Fox News star Megyn Kelley’s recent “Jesus is white” comments.
Black Jesus co-stars Charlie Murphy (Are We There Yet), Corey Holcomb (The Cleveland Show), and John Witherspoon (The Boondocks). Production on the new series has begun in Los Angeles for a premiere later this year. Possibly because of its subject matter, the network had kept the project pretty quiet. Its May 2013 upfront slate included a live-action pilot by McGruder but no premise was announced. McGruder, who created the series, will serve as executive producer through his 5 Mutts Prods. along with writer-director Mike Clattenberg (Trailer Park Boys) and LEG’s Norman Aladjem and John Bravakis. Johnson previously guest starred in an episode of McGruder’s Adult Swim animated comedy Boondocks.
Production and management outfit Anonymous Content has appointed Dave Fierson as Head of Business Operations. He most recently was head of the business and legal affairs department at Alcon Entertainment and before that was a senior counsel at Sony’s Screen Gems and an attorney in Paramount’s network TV production division. Anonymous Content CEO Steve Golin made the announcement today.
Lionsgate has come on to develop Epic Fail, a comedy from producer Nicky Weinstock and Ed Helms, who co-developed the original idea. Helms is now attached to star in the pic, which centers on an elite but unorthodox Special Forces team that takes their dysfunction and excessive firepower on a desperate mission to save America — led by the only soldier more badass and more mustachioed than a Navy SEAL: The Walrus.
Mike Arnold and Chris Poole will pen the screenplay. The duo has several scripts in development including the Black List script The Grackle. Weinstock is producing via his Invention Films banner along with Helms and Michael Falbo’s Pacific Electric Picture Company shingle. Invention’s Whitney Thomas will executive produce. Lionsgate’s Erik Feig, Matthew Janzen and James Myers will oversee for the studio.
Helms, Arnold and Poole are repped by CAA and Principato Young.
EXCLUSIVE: While Paradigm is in the process of importing ex-CAA agents Adam Kanter and Martin Spencer from Resolution, I’m told that CAA is adding sharp lit agent Ida Ziniti from Paradigm. This is all just happening, and I’m told that she is under contract until June and might not be going CAA until then.
Yann Demange’s debut feature ’71 generated a lot of heat when it premiered in competition at last month’s Berlin Film Festival. The anti-war parable takes place in 1971 and centers on a young British soldier (Unbroken‘s Jack O’Connell) accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the streets of Belfast. Unable to tell friend from foe and increasingly wary of his own comrades, he must survive the night alone and find his way to safety. Roadside Attractions and Black Label Media have partnered to take all U.S. rights on the Gregory Burke-scripted pic and plan an early 2015 release.
Robin Gutch of Warp Films and Angus Lamont of Crab Apple are producers, and the pic is backed by Film4, BFI Film Fund, Screen Yorkshire, and Creative Scotland. Protagonist Pictures is handling international sales. The deal was negotiated by CAA on behalf of Black Label and Howard Cohen on behalf of Roadside Attractions, with Mike Goodridge of Protagonist on behalf of the filmmakers. Here’s a clip that made the rounds during Berlin:
The performer who now just calls himself Diddy would use the music channel to boost distribution for his Revolt TV, another music service that launched in October, Bloomberg reports citing “three people with knowledge of the situation.” Comcast helped to launch Revolt to fulfill its agreement, in return for government support for its 2011 acquisition of NBCUniversal, to add minority-owned networks. But it’s been hard to secure distribution: Revolt only reaches about 22.8M homes, while Fuse is in 74M. Madison Square Garden put Fuse on the block in September retaining JP Morgan to “explore all strategic alternatives.” Distributors pay an average of 8 cents per month for each home Fuse reaches. Stifel analyst Benjamin Mogil noted at the time that Fuse could command a healthy price because its deals with distributors enable a buyer to reprogram the network to offer “anything other than live sports.” Many MSG shareholders are eager to see the company return cash to them, possibly by repurchasing shares. The stock has stagnated in recent months. In a call with analysts in February, Vice Chairman Hank Ratner — who was CEO at the time — declined to discuss MSG’s progress with the Fuse sale. Tad Smith, a former exec at Cablevision, took the top job at MSG last month. Cablevision CEO James Dolan is MSG’s executive chairman; his family controls about 69% … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Hot off the debut of his most recent film at SXSW, the multihyphenate has booked his next acting gig. Jon Favreau will co-star in Universal‘s crime thriller Term Life, which stars Vince Vaughn as a thief who plans and sells heists to the highest bidder. He takes his estranged daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) on the lam when a job goes bad. Hunted by mob bosses, contract killers and dirty cops, he takes out a life insurance policy on himself to leave something for his kid. One problem: It doesn’t take effect for 21 days. Production began March 1 on the pic, which Vaughn, Micah Mason Victoria Vaughn and Kevin Frakes are producing with Raj Brinder Singh exec producing. Peter Billingsley will direct from a screenplay by A.J. Lieberman, who created the original graphic novel with Nick Thornborrow. PalmStar Media Capital and Merced Media financed Term Life. Favreau most recently directed and stars in Chef, which bowed Friday at the Austin fest. His recent onscreen credits include The Wolf Of Wall Street, Iron Man 3, Identity Thief and People Like Us. He is repped by CAA and attorney Geoffrey Oblath.
Although its multimillion-dollar legal action against ABC over seemingly shuttered licensed soaps All My Children and One Life To Live continues, Prospect Park Networks today filed for Chapter 11. The online production company made the petition for protection in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware. “PPN is optimistic that this filing will make it possible to continue to maximize the value of its assets and settlement of past liabilities,” the company said in a statement today. “The company is optimistic about the prospects for a smooth transition into bankruptcy.” The action today leaves little room for the resurrection of All My Children and One Life To Live in their last online incarnation. After a long-awaited first season online, both soaps ceased production last August.