The surviving members of legendary comedy troupe Monty Python are reuniting for a series of live stage shows at London’s O2 Arena this July. On July 20, the last show of the “final reunion, sort of” will be broadcast to cinemas around the UK, as well as the U.S., Australia, Russia and Sweden. The UK’s Picturehouse Entertainment, which has carved a niche of bringing alternative content to cinemas internationally — including last year’s Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode — has acquired the international distribution rights to beam the show to the world. It will run in more than 450 cinemas in the UK as well as 1,500 more internationally.
Stephenie Meyer and Meghan Hibbett’s Fickle Fish Films has optioned rights to Mindy McGinnis’ debut young-adult novel Not A Drop To Drink, a survival story set in a world where fresh water is almost nonexistent. It’s the latest deal for Fickle Fish, which produced the film adaptation of Meyer’s novel The Host and the Sundance 2013 pic Austenland.
Published in September 2013 via HarperCollins, Drink centers on Lynn, whose survival in the dystopian world means protecting her precious freshwater pond against drought, snowless winters, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand. But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers are coming. A companion novel, In A Handful Of Dust, is already available for pre-order.
Paul Thomas Anderson, Nicolas Winding Refn Back Crowdfunding Campaign To Digitally Save Endangered 35MM Prints
As celluloid gives way to the digital era, filmmakers Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master) and Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) are some of the names lending their support to a new crowdfunding campaign to save and restore 35mm film prints. The campaign was launched today by the American Genre Film Archive (AGFA), a non-profit org whose mission it is to undertake high-resolution 2K digital transfers to preserve film prints too fragile for active circulation. Older and rare prints are an increasingly endangered treat on the repertory/art house exhibition scene and unless restored or digitally archived, frequently deteriorate too far to be screened and can be lost forever. AGFA specializes in horror, sleaze, action, independent regional film, and international genre cinema and has over 3,200 film prints in its archive. Organizers are looking to raise $15K by May 30 to fund AGFA’s first digital restoration, of Craig Denney’s 1975 sci-fi pic The Astrologer, which real life psychic Denney self-financed and stars in as a fortune teller who discovers psychic abilities and rises to fame by advising the President of the United States. Refn and Anderson have recently joined the AGFA advisory board which also includes Alamo Drafthouse founders Tim and Karrie League. “By any means necessary, we need to watch movies on film, because that’s why God created cinema,” said Refn. “The American Genre Film Archive has begun a mission to preserve what I consider …
Netflix has set August 1 for the premiere of the six-episode final installment of The Killing, and A&E has slotted Monday, June 2 (10 PM) for the third-season premiere of Longmire. The Killing stars Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman will return for the final chapter of the series, which was cancelled by AMC in 2012, then resurrected with a third-season order. It staged yet another comeback after being canceled by the network again in September. It was then picked up by Netflix for the final installment. Longmire, A&E’s No. 1 original drama series of all time in total viewers, will return for Season 3 with star Robert Taylor as Walt Longmire, along with Katee Sackhoff, Lou Diamond Phillips, Bailey Chase, Cassidy Freeman and Adam Bartley.
“We are thrilled that the team is locked in and that the [Stephanopoulos] deal was done so quickly,” ABC News said this morning. That in marked contrast to the long-running storyline about the division’s talks with GMA regulars Josh Elliott and Sam Champion — both of whom wound up being poached by NBC. Elliott went to NBC Sports and Champion to NBC co-owned The Weather Channel. Lara Spencer, whose contract came up around the same time as Elliott’s and Champion’s, re-signed to GMA in March, and recently was promoted to co-anchor. Elliott and Champion were replaced by Amy Robach and Ginger Zee, respectively.
Stephanopoulos’ contract was not set to expire until the end of the calendar year. But, given the GMA talent churn, the deal was an important one to close for new ABC News chief James Goldston, who is in his second week on the job. Terms of the deal, which sources said locks in Stephanopoulos for more than three years, were not disclosed. “We expect him to remain with us for many, many years,” ABC News said coyly of the anchor, who has been with GMA since 2010. Robin Roberts signed a lucrative deal to remain with GMA last December.
TLC is bolstering its West Coast Development and Production operations with the hires of two new vice presidents. Jack Tarantino has been named VP Production West Coast and Elvia Van Es Oliva joins as VP Development West Coast. Both are based in the LA office and report to Sandy Varo Jarrell, SVP, Production & Development West Coast. In his new role, Tarantino leads the department’s production team and their slate of current programming. Tarantino comes to TLC from Style Network, where he served as VP of Original Programming, overseeing the day-to-day of new and recurring series for the network. Van Es Oliva will lead her team in creating original concepts for the network, as well as working with the external creative community to add to TLC’s programming slate. Prior to TLC, Van Es Oliva served as SVP of Development for Fly On The Wall Entertainment.
EXCLUSIVE: Zombieland scribes Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese have been set to script Watch Dogs, a live-action feature based on the upcoming Ubisoft video game. Sony and New Regency are developing the film with Ubisoft. The story centers on Aiden Pearce, a hacker who turns the city of Chicago into his personal stomping grounds to carry out his own brand of justice after a violent family tragedy. He is certainly adept physically, but his true gift is his ability to tap into a citywide computer system and control everything from traffic lights to accessing intel that allows him to engage the bad guys, and thwart attempts to kill innocents.
Wernick and Rheese are currently developing Epsilon, a spec they sold to Sony for Greg Berlanti to direct and for Michael De Luca to produce. The scribes are repped by WME and Hansen, Jacobson. This is the third screen collaboration for New Regency and Ubisoft: Tom Hardy is starring in the Doug Liman-directed Splinter Cell, and Michael Fassbender is starring in Assassin’s Creed, which will have a director shortly. Here is a trailer that gives a better idea of Watch Dogs‘ movie potential.
The term is key: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says in a blog post that the ability to bar “commercially unreasonable” practices empowers the agency — in a plan he will begin to circulate — to crack down on Internet service providers that discriminate against some content providers. But open Internet advocates fear it’s too squishy, and could allow ISPs to create tiers of service that enable some content providers (Netflix or HBO GO, perhaps) to pay for speedy transmissions. Wheeler hopes to “conclude this proceeding and have enforceable rules by the end of the year.” The plan he will begin to circulate will look at net neutrality violations on a case-by-case basis, an adjustment needed to meet the objections that the D.C. Court of Appeals raised in January when it remanded the FCC’s previous net neutrality rules. But he vigorously objects to the “great deal of misinformation” that characterized his proposal as an effort to gut the principle of open Internet by allowing companies to pay for speedier service. His plan “would establish that behavior harmful to consumers or competition by limiting the openness of the Internet will not be permitted,” he says. The court said that the FCC could stop practices it deems not ” commercially reasonable” — and he says that his plan will “establish a high bar for what is ‘commercially reasonable.’”
On his Facebook page, Peter Jackson revealed that he has retitled the final installment of The Hobbit, which he had originally titled There And Back Again. All I can say is that after being initially skeptical when Jackson revealed he was turning the single J.R.R. Tolkien book and some appendices into a full trilogy, the second film was so strong after a whimsical first effort that I cannot wait to see the conclusion of this massive tale, and that he was right to stretch it out. The new title certainly conveys more urgency.
Here is Jackson’s missive:
“Our journey to make The Hobbit Trilogy has been in some ways like Bilbo’s own, with hidden paths revealing their secrets to us as we’ve gone along. “There and Back Again” felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo’s arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced—after all, Bilbo has already arrived “there” in the “Desolation of Smaug”.
When we did the premiere trip late last year, I had a quiet conversation with the studio about the idea of revisiting the title. We decided to keep an open mind until a cut of the film was ready to look at. We reached that point last week, and after viewing the movie, we all agreed there is now one title that feels …
So far, the symbiotic relationship between Telemundo and its NBCUniversal siblings had gone mainly in one direction — with Telemundo doing Spanish-language versions of programs on its English-language counterparts, like La Voz Kids (The Voice Kids), Top Chef Estrellas and Access Hollywood Al Rojo Vivo. Now the flow will start moving the other way too, with NBC committing to develop an English-language version of El Señor de los Cielos (The Lord Of The Skies), Telemundo’s highest-rated novela last season, and USA Network putting in development Telemundo’s upcoming novela Mujer de Acero (Woman Of Steel). The adaptations will be produced by Universal TV and Universal Cable Prods., respectively. This marks the first time that NBC and USA have optioned content from Telemundo. The move comes a year after the Spanish-language network was placed under the purview of NBCUniversal’s Bonnie Hammer, who also oversees USA, and Joe Uva was put in charge of it. NBC had been interested in cracking the telenovela genre. Last fall, the network inked a deal with Electus to develop three telenovelas with an eye toward airing one as a 13-episode series — with multiple episodes running each week, following telenovelas’ traditional air pattern.
Inspired by true events, the action-filled El Señor de los Cielos tells the story of Aurelio Casillas (Rafael Amaya), one of the most prominent Mexican drug lords from the ’90s, whose ambition was to become one of the richest and most powerful men in Mexico (watch the English-language trailer below.) It ranked as Telemundo’s #1 novela last year averaging 2.3 million total viewers and nearly 1.5 million adults 18-49. The season finale averaged over 3.6 million viewers and beat Univision among adults 18-49 and 18-34 in its period.
Jamaica Inn, the highly-anticipated three-part BBC One adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s 1936 gothic novel, kicked off to strong ratings on Monday night – and got a lot of people talking. But much of the chatter has come in the form of complaints – nearly 2,200 so far, according to BBC News. British viewers are decrying sound issues, and what people have called “mumbling” by the cast of the Origin Pictures production. (The Twittersphere is referring to it as #MumbleInn.) Downton Abbey‘s Jessica Brown Findlay stars with Joanne Whalley, Sean Harris and Matthew McNulty in the drama that’s set in 1820s Cornwall (a West Country county that has a very particular accent). But there’s been some debate as to whether the sound troubles were technical or artistic. Here’s the trailer:
After initial complaints, the BBC on Tuesday apologized, saying there were “issues with the sound levels” which would be adjusted for episodes 2 and 3. (Screenwriter Emma Frost also tweeted: “None of the production team knew what happened with the (transmission) sound. It was fine before.”) Even so, folks continued to gripe and after Monday’s first installment averaged 6.09M viewers, the mini shed 2M viewers by its last on Wednesday. When asked about actors’ delivery, BBC Drama Controller Ben Stephenson told BBC News,
NEW YORK– Social news agency Storyful, a division of News Corp, has partnered with Facebook for the launch of FB Newswire (http://www.facebook.com/FBNewswire), a resource that will make it easier for journalists and newsrooms to find, share and embed newsworthy content from Facebook in the media they produce.
More than one billion people use Facebook to discover, explore and participate in news-making events around the world. Powered by Storyful, which discovers, verifies, acquires and distributes timely and relevant video and user-generated content, FB Newswire is a resource for journalists that aggregates newsworthy content shared publicly on Facebook by individuals and organizations across the world. This includes original photos, videos, and status updates posted by people on the front lines of major events including protests, elections, and sporting events.
Rob Marcus pitched a what-me-worry response to an analyst who asked him this morning about Time Warner Cable‘s inability to persuade other pay TV providers (aside from close ally Bright House) to carry SportsNet LA — which the Dodgers own and TWC distributes. “The good news is the product is great,” the CEO says. “We have a first place baseball team and the production quality is outstanding….There are a whole lot of customers at Time Warner Cable who are happy” while others are “moving to Time Warner Cable” to watch the Dodgers. TWC is said to want other distributors to pay $4 per month for each subscriber — including those who don’t watch sports. That would make SportsNet LA one of the country’s most expensive regional sports channels. TWC needs the high price to help it cover its $8.35B, 25-year commitment for the distribution rights.
LOS ANGELES – April 24, 2014 – Fandango, the nation’s leading moviegoer destination, today announced it has signed an agreement with ZEFR, Inc. (ZEFR) to acquire MOVIECLIPS, the leading movie presence on YouTube. The MOVIECLIPS network consists of MOVIECLIPS.com and 25 YouTube channels, including the #1 movie trailers channel. The entire network encompasses a catalog of 45,000 curated film clips, trailers, and original video productions. With more than 7 million subscribers, MOVIECLIPS’ YouTube network averages 200 million video views per month.*
ITV Studios UK has moved quickly to fill the Managing Director post that will be vacated by Denise O’Donoghue at the end of 2014. Julian Bellamy, who is currently Discovery Networks International Creative Director and Head of Commissioning, will take over from O’Donoghue later this year, ITV said today. TV veteran O’Donoghue has been MD at ITV Studios UK for four years and will remain on the board of the country’s largest commercial production company after stepping down. Bellamy has spent three years at Discovery, running production and development across 200 countries, with commissioning teams in five international bases. Prior to DNI, he ran the UK’s Channel 4, managing over 2,000 hours of original programming per year including Undercover Boss, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and One Born Every Minute. He previously held executive posts at the BBC and E4. ITV Studios’ titles include Mr Selfridge, Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Breathless and the upcoming Thunderbirds Are Go! The production arm of ITV is one of the biggest growth areas for the group, which has been on a U.S. and UK shopping spree in the past 18 months.
Price hikes for Internet and the company’s growing attention to business customers saved the day for Time Warner Cable in Q1 as its video subscriptions fell and it grappled with rising costs for programming and its planned merger with Comcast. TWC shares are up about 2% pre-market after the No. 2 cable operator reported net income of $479M, +19.5% vs the period last year, on revenues of $5.58B, +2%. Analysts expected the top line to come in higher at $5.64B. After factoring out one-time costs, including merger-related expenses, earnings came in at $1.78 a share, a dime ahead of the consensus forecast. The period included $62M in expenses tied to Comcast’s $42B takeover effort, including $29M in “employee retention costs” and $33M in advisory and legal fees. Programming costs rose 2.9% to $1.3B, including costs associated with TWC’s LA regional sports channels for the Lakers and Dodgers. But with 11.16M video subs at the end of March — down 748,000 vs last year and -34,000 from the end of December — the average monthly programming costs per residential sub increased 10.2% to $37.69. (By contrast, Comcast eeked out a small increase in video subs in Q1.)
Expanding its European reach, AMC Networks‘ AMC/Sundance Channel Global is buying Frankfurt-based KinoweltTV. The pay-TV channel airs classic and contemporary films and is distributed to 4.5 million subscribers throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The acquisition provides the international arm of AMC Networks with distribution across all platforms in German-speaking Europe for the first time. AMC has been actively growing its overseas presence; last year, it paid about $1B for Chellomedia which produces and distributes TV channels across such territories as the UK, Benelux, Central Europe, Spain and Latin America, and reaches about 390 million households. Founded in 2004, KinoweltTV was the first German TV station completely dedicated to high-class feature films; it now offers European and American cult movies, indies, arthouse fare, classics and monthly retrospectives. The channel’s existing management will join the AMC/Sundance Channel Global team which is led by Bruce Tuchman. Achim Apell will continue as KinoweltTV’s Managing Director. Financial terms of the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, were not disclosed.
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘The Extra Mile’ Debuts Big In Israel; 24 Producers On The Move Partners Named; More
‘The Extra Mile’ Debuts Big In Israel
The Extra Mile, the new reality format from Israel’s Studio Glam, debuted locally on Tuesday as the most-watched show on Channel 10 in the past two years. The show, which challenges divorced couples to work together in hope of winning a trust fund for their children, had an average rating of 26.6 with a 37.7% share, the latter a 167% increase on the slot average. It was the highest launch in Channel 10 history and the No. 1 show of the day. At Mip-TV earlier this month, Endemol acquired rights to produce the format in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Scandinavia.
European Film Promotion Taps 24 Partners For Producers On The Move
The European Film Promotion, the international network of organizations that promotes and markets European cinema worldwide, has selected 24 emerging producers to take part in its Producers On The Move initiative at the Cannes Film Festival next month. From May 17-19, the program will include working sessions, one-to-one speed-dating meetings and various opportunities to exchange knowledge and follow-up discussions on future projects. EFP launched the scheme in 2000. Last year’s Producers On The Move resulted in 17 co-productions going into development. A full list of up-and-comers who’ll be in Cannes is available here.