Deadline is trying a little experiment, using the embedded Twitter widget below so our readers here can follow all of my tweets live from the Cannes Film Festival lineup announcement in Paris this morning. The widget will update with each of my Cannes posts on my Twitter account @DeadlineNancy as well as here. As soon as possible after that, I’ll follow up with more story coverage. Twitter users can repost and respond directly through the widget. Let us know what you think of this experiment. And now, on with the show.
Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Frémaux is about to unveil the Official Selection lineup for the 67th running of the event which kicks off May 14 with Nicole Kidman in Grace Of Monaco. Folks are settled in at the UGC Normandie movie theater on the Champs-Elysées to get some clarity on the rampant speculation that annually precedes the daddy of all international festivals. Will Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice be in the mix? Which of the myriad French movies made the cut? Has Cannes pinned down the Foxcatcher premiere? I’ll be updating the titles as they are revealed, so keep refreshing for the latest.
Winter Sleep, Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Clouds Of Sils Maria, Olivier Assayas
Saint Laurent, Bertrand Bonello
Maps To The Stars, David Cronenberg
Two Days, One Night, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Mommy, Xavier Dolan
The Captive, Atom Egoyan
Goodbye To Language, … Read More »
Heaven Is For Real is headed towards at least $3.7mil on its opening day today for TriStar Pictures with estimates looking like $20M for the 5-day, according to Sony. The best news is that the film, based on the best-selling Christian book, got an A+ CinemaScore for those 35 and under and an A overall. The film is the latest in the faith-based genre to bow this year, following Son of God and God’s Not Dead, however this one is right in time for Easter weekend. Son of God from Fox debuted at the end of February with $25.6M its opening weekend while God’s Not Dead garnered $9.2M and a very strong per screen average of almost $12,000 per screen when it opened on March 21. Heaven is For Real has roughly 2,400 runs.
Directed by Randall Wallace and starring fan fav Greg Kinnear, the film is about a little four-year-old boy who has a near-death experience and reveals to his parents that he visited Heaven. The film centers on his father’s decision to tell the world. The true-life story is about the Burpo family: Colton and his parents, Sonja and Todd (a pastor) who are from a small town in Nebraska. Colton almost died when he was in the hospital during emergency surgery. After he recovered, he began talking about the experience he had and how … Read More »
UPDATED Wednesday, 10:09 PM: After “a reconsideration” of its earlier hard stance against the Key Art for the documentary Fed Up citing ‘offensive language,’ the MPAA’s advertising administration reversed its decision late Wednesday night and will now allow the art for the Radius-TWC docu without any alterterations, a source close to the situation told Deadline.
So, TWC’s F U is OK. TY MPAA.
PREVIOUSLY, Wednesday, 5:07 P.M.: The MPAA has rejected the key art for Fed Up, a documentary film about the fast food and junk food industries which reveals how children and parents are being fed a bill of goods by food manufacturers. Distributor Radius-TWC has vowed to fight the decision on appeal. The poster featured here shows two M&M’s with the letters F and U next to each other. One wonders if they purposely pushed the envelope knowing that the poster might not pass muster with the MPAA, which cited the key art’s “offensive language.” Nothing like a good controversy to help marketing. Yeah, well, who cares, when the topic is about children’s health in this nation. ”If only Congress and the FDA cared as much about protecting Americans’ lives as the MPAA cares about suppressing our poster, we wouldn’t be facing the greatest health epidemic of our time,” said Radius-TWC co-presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego in a statement. The MPAA could not be reached for comment.
The film, which is executive produced by Katie Couric, who also narrates the film, is a Radius/TWC presentation after The Weinstein Company label acquired it this year at Sundance. It features several noteworthy people talking about sugar’s impact on the health of children. Included are former President Bill Clinton, Harvard Medical School associate professor in pediatrics Dr. David Ludwig, former FDA commissioner David Keller, Sen. Tom Harkin, former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, and food author Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma). One of the producers of Fed Up is Laurie David, who also produced the 2006 Academy Award-winning documentary film An Inconvenient Truth.
Related: Hot Trailer: Food Docu ‘Fed Up’
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Brazil’s ‘Rising Star’ Glitch Fixed; ‘Boom!’ Blowing Up In Israel
The second airing of the local adaptation of Rising Star in Brazil went off without a hitch on Sunday after a glitch during the premiere last week meant that some viewers were unable to enter their votes. Keshet International reports today that Superstar, as it’s known locally, had a 30% average audience share in its sophomore outing at 11pm Sunday on Rede Globo. The interactive app that allows viewers to vote whether an act moves ahead has been downloaded 1.4M times with 2.5M votes cast during Episode 2. Closer to home, Keshet’s super-hot Mip-TV format Boom! grew in its second airing on Israel’s Channel 2 last week with a 41.5% share; ratings were up across major demos as well. Boom! sold to the U.S. (Fox), France (TF1), Spain (Atresmedia), Hungary (TV2) and Belgium (VTM) during last week’s market in Cannes.
Cuarto Bringing Endemol’s ‘Host In The Box’ To Spain
Endemol’s Host In The Box format has sold to Spain’s Cuatro, with Endemol producing locally. The factual entertainment format, created by Endemol Germany, previously sold to Hungary, where it aired for eight episodes on Super TV2; it originally launched on ProSieben in Germany. In each instalment, a different host is locked inside a wooden box and shipped off to an undisclosed location in the home country.
Amazon Sets … Read More »
Gary Dourdan has been cast in a recurring role on BET’s Being Mary Jane and a guest starring gig on Fox’s Glee. On the BET comedy, he’ll play Sheldon Armstrong, a smoothly charming and casually handsome retired civil trial attorney who made a fortune suing corrupt corporations. He’s coming out of retirement to pursue his charitable outreach. He’s famous for never having given an interview in his life — but when Mary Jane (Gabrielle Union) sets out to interview him, he is quite taken with her and just might change his mind. On Glee, Dourdan plays D’Shon, Mercedes’ (Amber Riley) record producer. Dourdan, whose credits include CSI and Mistresses, is repped by Prestige Talent Agency and managed by ATA.
Sammi Hanratty has booked a recurring role on WGN America’s Salem. She’ll play Dottie, a leader among her peers whom Mercy (Elise Eberle) knows a little from school. She’s a confident young girl who brings her classmates over to talk with Mercy. She’s in awe of Mercy’s power and wants her to put it to particular use. Repped by Paradigm and Zero Gravity Management, Hanratty’s credits include Chosen, The Unit and Pushing Daisies.
Drafthouse Films‘ Evan Husney is stepping down from his post as Creative Director after nearly three years at the upstart distribution label. New York-based Husney, 27, will be shifting focus to producing and is working with directors Jason Eisener (Hobo With A Shotgun) and Todd Rohal (The Catechism Cataclysm) on their next features. Husney helped develop the specialty distro arm of Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas from the ground up when company founder Tim League tapped him to run creative ops in 2011. Shortly thereafter Drafthouse Films scored an Academy Award nomination with one of its first acquisitions, director Michaël R. Roskam’s Belgian drama Bullhead, which vied for Best Foreign Film at the 2012 Oscars. Last year Husney and the Drafthouse team mounted their second Oscar campaign in three years for Best Documentary nominee The Act of Killing, director Josh Oppenheimer’s critically-acclaimed documentary about Indonesian death squad leaders.
Related: Drafthouse Films Embracing Risks With Genocide Doc ‘Act Of Killing’
Since its inception the label has acquired a variety of specialty releases spanning genre, action, drama, comedy, foreign, and repertory titles, plucking often-challenging fare from the lineups of Austin’s Fantastic Fest (which League founded) and SXSW. “When [Drafthouse Films] started we wanted to acquire movies we loved and films we thought are great, utilize our backgrounds as programmers and approach distribution with a curatorial quality – a real cinephiles for cinephiles label,” Husney told me. Read More »
The Anchorman alum is set to play Scout Leader Rogers in the horror comedy from director/co-writer Christopher Landon. Paramount’s Scouts Vs. Zombies follows a group of — you guessed it — Boy Scouts who try to fend off a — how’d you know? — zombie attack in their small town. David Koechner joins a cast that also includes Joseph Morgan, Tye Sheridan and Logan Miller. Andy Fickman, Todd Garner, Bryan Brucks and Betsy Sullenger. Shooting is set to begin May 8. Koechner played sportscaster Champ Kind in the Anchorman movies and his credits also include The Office, American Dad! and a recent sketch comedy pilot for NBC that’s not going forward. He is repped by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
EXCLUSIVE: Tatiana Maslany, who earned a Golden Globe nod for her starring role on the BBC America sci-fi series Orphan Black, has been cast in indie feature The Paper Store. Maslany stars opposite Penn Badgley (Greetings From Tim Buckley, Margin Call, Gossip Girl) and Richard Kind in a revenge tale about a former college student who forges essays for cash, the client who becomes her lover, and their professor. Katharine Clark Gray penned the script with husband Nicholas Gray, who will direct. Jonathan Gray and Bonnie Timmermann are producing. Filming is set to begin next month in New York. Maslany is repped by Resolution, Magnolia Entertainment and Characters Talent Agency. Badgely, whose upcoming films include Ethan Hawke’s Cymbeline and Parts Per Billion with Frank Langella and Teresa Palmer, is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content.
The lines between TV comedy and drama get blurrier by the season with such genre-straddling shows as Nurse Jackie, Louie, Californication and Justified. Two hourlong series, Shameless and Orange Is the New Black, will compete as comedies at the Emmys this year after previously being submitted as dramas at awards shows. The subject was batted around during today’s HRTS Hitmakers panel at the Beverly Hilton, which featured Orange Is The New Black and Weeds creator Jenji Kohan as well as Carlton Cuse (Bates Motel, Lost) and Michelle Ashford (Masters Of Sex). Moderator Michael Schneider asked the trio if there’s such a thing as comedy and drama on TV anymore. “Only for the Emmys, apparently,” Cuse replied. Added Kohan, “I just wish there was an hourlong category and a half-hour category. I wish everyone wasn’t so focused on category.” For the record, the semi-word “dramedy” didn’t come up in the discussion.
Elf screenwriter David Berenbaum has been tapped to write the sequel to the 1993 hit comedy Mrs. Doubtfire, which is in development at Fox 2000 and has star Robin Williams and director Chris Columbus attached to return. It’s been 21 years since Williams donned a wig, dress, and prosthetics in the original film, about a San Francisco father named Daniel Hillard who who dons drag to spend quality time with his kids as he undergoes a divorce. Sally Field co-starred as Hillard’s wife, with Pierce Brosnan, Matthew Lawrence, Mara Wilson, Lisa Jakub, and Harvey Fierstein rounding out the cast. After two decades of stalling out through numerous scripts, Berenbaum’s is an original take. Columbus and Williams haven’t officially signed deals for the sequel but Columbus is producing for his 1492 banner and is creatively shepherding the project.
EXCLUSIVE: Now might be the perfect time for more faith-based features to get in on the box office hunger that’s propelled Christian-themed fare like Fox’s Son Of God and Freestyle Releasing’s God’s Not Dead into the Top 10. True-tale biopic Noble is one such film aiming to join the fray as it makes festival rounds and screens for buyers this month in LA and NY before heading to Cannes. Deirdre O’Kane (Moon Boy) stars as Christina Noble, a humanitarian and author who channeled her deprived and destitute childhood growing up on the streets of Dublin, Ireland into a lifelong mission to help children in need in Vietnam and Mongolia. Noble founded the Christina Noble Childrens Foundation in 1989 and wrote two books about her life’s work. Stephen Bradley wrote and directed the film, based on Noble’s life, which also stars Downton Abbey‘s Brendan Coyle, Game of Thrones‘ Liam Cunningham, and Sarah Greene. Melanie Gore-Grimes produced the UK/Irish pic, which was filmed in Vietnam, Liverpool, and Cumbria. Michael J. Hunt exec produced for his Ansty Productions. Noble won the Panavision Grand Prize at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Dallas International Film Festival, and next stops by the Nashville Film Festival and Newport Beach Film Fest. Continental Media is repping sales. Check out the trailer exclusively on Deadline: Read More »
With just days to go before they meet their Aereo foes face-to-face at the Supreme Court, the broadcasters this week took one last swipe at what they claim is the “blatant and unapologetic copyright infringement” by the Barry Diller-backed streaming service. “Aereo is in the business of retransmitting performances of the copyrighted works of others to the public for a profit,” said bluntly in a final reply brief filed by Disney, CBS, NBC, Fox and the other plaintiffs on April 14 with the SCOTUS (read it here). Aereo and the broadcasters are set to present their respective oral arguments in a 1-hour hearing before the High Court on April 22. In their March 26 response to the broadcasters’ February 24 filing, Aereo insisted that they are not engaged in public performance of copyrighted works. The company also said “this Court should not rewrite the Copyright Act in an effort to protect petitioners from lawful and logical advancements in technology or from the economic consequences of their transmitting works for free over the public airwaves.”
Related: The ABCs Of Aereo: What Is Aereo & Why Are Broadcasters Taking It To The Supreme Court?
With the previously recused Judge Samuel Alito now joining the case the court docket revealed today, the stakes have gotten higher for all concerned, as it is impossible for the SCOTUS to have a tie on … Read More »
Weekly Column: Few things in this world are more painful than the realization that an estrangement has occurred between two news organizations who had worked amiably together investigating doctors and lawyers squashing benefits claims of miners dying of black lung, at the behest of the coal industry. That is just what has happened after the Center for Public Integrity won a Pulitzer Prize this week for an investigation into this medical travesty, after other organizations had jointly awarded CPI and ABC News for the report. ABC claims CPI threw its staffers under the bus to soak up all the Pulitzer glory; CPI claims ABC News doesn’t deserve to share the Pulitzer because it only parachuted in periodically on the lengthy investigation, produced “sporadic” reports for television — not print — and repeatedly had to be saved from making embarrassing factual errors on its broadcast segments about the investigation.
Related: Pulitzer Board Honors The Guardian And Washington Post For Snowden Coverage
Meanwhile, White House Correspondents Dinner organizers took on the air of folks being pushed towards dangerous machinery in which they would prefer not to become entangled. That group already has announced it is giving its Edgar A. Poe Award to CPI and ABC News for the black-lung report, specifically because the two organizations “showed how a true collaboration between media partners can break significant new ground on an already well-reported story.” Joel McHale, who’s been booked to provide comedy at that annual black-tie dinner/celebrity petting zoo, is going to have a hard time topping that one for laughs.
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A judge in Florida has ruled in favor of Sony Pictures Television in a $50 million lawsuit over the reality TV show Shark Tank. “Sony Pictures Television won a directed verdict and the entire case was settled afterwards,” said Sony TV spokeswoman Paula Askanas today. The suit against the producers of the entrepreneurial reality show was filed by Florida attorney Bobbie Cellar. He claimed that he’d hired two of the show’s “sharks,” Daymond John and Robert Herjavec, to appear at an event he called the “Shark Tour,” an expo for people trying to start their own businesses. The suit claimed that Sony Pictures Television coerced John and Hervavac to withdraw from Cellar’s event because SPT didn’t want anyone to think the show and his expo were in any way connected. Cellar was unavailable for comment.
EXCLUSIVE: R&B singer John Legend and Step Up: All In scribe John Swetnam are teaming on coming-of-age dance drama Breaking Through, which has locked independent financing and is gearing up for a summer shoot. It’ll be the first feature of its kind to combine two subgenres — dance movies and found footage — in a plot described as a “documentary-style dance drama for the YouTube generation.” Casting starts soon on the pic, which is looking to discover new dance talent a la the Step Up films. Read More »
Megan Ellison’s film production and finance company Annapurna Pictures (American Hustle) has set its first major TV project, a series focusing on the intersecting lives of Hollywood icons and rivals Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. Written by Angela Robinson and Alex Kondracke (Hung), the project is set in the Golden Age of Hollywood and explores the relationships of the starlets with such notable figures as John Gilbert, Mercedes de Acosta, Tallulah Bankhead, Alla Nazimova, Barbara Stanwyck, Cary Grant, and John Wayne, among others. (You can watch the Hollywood Rivals TV documentary about Garbo and Dietrich’s relationship below.) Annapurna Pictures will finance or produce, with Ellison serving as executive producer. Just like the movies she takes on, telling the Garbo-Dietrich story has been a passion project for Ellison, who is paying WME-repped Robinson and Kondracke to write it on spec. Annapurna’s Stephen Feder will be the executive overseeing day-to-day development and production. Robinson is wrapping up an overall deal at HBO, as part of which she serves as an executive producer on True Blood and is directing a key episode from the vampire drama’s final season.
Are you kidding?
Did Paramount just officially start the 2014 Oscar campaign even as we are barely getting the Emmys off the ground and the Tonys are two months away? Uh, yes. Looks like it. One top studio exec (not from Paramount) forwarded me an email he got yesterday from the Paramount Awards Office that pronounced free admission starting April 15th - two by two for Academy members and a guest- to screenings of Noah at theaters nationwide – but only Monday thru Thursday since most theater owners usually don’t like to give up seats on the weekends, especially to rich and famous movie types.
Related: Can ‘Noah’ And ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Overcome Oscar’s Greatest Curse: A March Release Date?
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EXCLUSIVE: Punk rock journalist-turned-American Psycho director Mary Harron has signed with APA. Harron is attached to direct the Salvador Dali biopic Dali And I and is currently co-adapting the script from art dealer Stan Lauryssens’ book. Harron made her feature screenwriting and directorial debut with the award-winning 1996 Sundance and Cannes entry I Shot Andy Warhol, which nabbed her an Indie Spirit nomination. Her next film, the polarizing 2000 adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, went on to achieve cult status and garnered Harron a Director of the Year nod from the London Film Critics’ Circle. She reteamed with American Psycho co-scribe Guinevere Turner for 2005′s pinup biopic The Notorious Bettie Page, which she also produced, and adapted Rachel Klein’s novel The Moth Diaries in 2011 for her most recent feature of the same name. Read More »