Lionsgate has acquired screen rights to The Wonder Of All Things, the sophomore novel by Jason Mott, whose debut The Returned is the basis for the ABC series Resurrection. David Heyman’s Heyday Films will produce with John Fischer and Jeffrey Clifford.
The logline: When a pilot loses control of his plane during an air show and crashes into the stands, two 13-year-old best friends, Wash and Ava, are trapped beneath the rubble. They are found by rescuers, but Wash is seriously injured, a chunk of steel protruding from his belly. Ava tries to help him by pulling free the metal, but blood rushes out; he’s dying. She panics and puts her hands on the wound, crying. When she pulls her hands away, the wound is gone, healed without a scar. Rescuers captured the miracle on their cell phone cameras. It goes up on YouTube, and she becomes the center of attention from media, scientists, and religious leaders. Like Phenomenon and The Green Mile, the film will be a collision between real-world reaction and supernatural events that are not easily explained. Lionsgate’s Jeyun Choi and Erik Feig reeled in the book in a deal brokered by Sean Daily at Hotchkiss And Associates on behalf of Michelle Brower at Folio Literary Management.
Credit the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors with making filming more difficult and more expensive in the County than in the City — enhancing one of the biggest obstacles to filming in the greater LA area. With the latest county fee increase going into effect today, the problem of skyrocketing bureaucratic costs threatens to negate much of the anticipated income from increased production heading Hollywood’s way if Sacramento finally approves a long-awaited film incentives package (it’s now in the state Senate after being passed by the Assembly in May).
“The City is great and the County sucks,” a veteran location manager told Deadline. “They think we have bottomless pockets.” It’s a sentiment shared by many location managers who have to deal with the City and County film agencies. “The County is far worse than the City,” said another.
To many local filmmakers, it’s clear that if the state hopes to stop the hemorrhaging of film and TV production and jobs, the County needs to get with the program. The City Council has an Ad Hoc Committee on Film and Production Jobs that holds regular hearings. The county Board of Supervisors? For all its dozens of commissions, councils, bureaus, and committees, exactly none is dedicated to the film and television industry or aimed at keeping entertainment jobs in a county that is larger than all but eight U.S states and includes incorporated areas and 88 cities stretching 4,084 square miles. Read More »
Are we seeing a trend here? The 18-minute musical penned by Kathie Lee Gifford is called Not Today And Tomorrow’s Not Looking Good Either and will air live on the Today show sometime before the end of the year. “It’s going to be live and it’s going to be so much fun,” a tickled Gifford said today on the show. Regis Philbin is set as a special guest star for the production, which will feature Today anchors and crew. Gifford’s project follows NBC’s successful live Sound Of Music special last year and ahead of the network’s version of Peter Pan slated to air live in December.
3rd UPDATE, Friday, 11:49 AM: An arraignment date has been set for Midnight Rider executive producer/unit production manager Jay Sedrish who has yet to enter a plea on the charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing. He will be arraigned on August 21 and is expected in court at that time, according to the District Attorney’s office in Georgia which is handling the case. Randall Miller and Jody Savin entered Not Guilty pleas last month saying that in their opinions, the death of the 27-year old camera assistant Sarah Jones on the GA set of the Gregg Allman biopic was “a horrible tragedy and horrible accident” but did not rise to the level of a crime. Specifically, they stated: “In the weeks and months that follow when the true facts of the events are revealed, people will know that this was not a crime: we never had criminal intent; we would never knowingly or intentionally put anybody’s safety at risk.” The charge of involuntary manslaughter actually takes intent into account.
Related: ‘Midnight Rider’ Filmmakers Enter Not Guilty Plea, Break Silence: “This Was Not A Crime”
Specifically, according to the indictment of Miller, Savin and Sedrish, on Feb. 20th of this year it is alleged under the Involuntary Manslaughter count they “did unlawfully cause the death of Sarah E. Jones, a human being, without any intention to do so by the commission of an unlawful act other than a felony, to wit: Criminal Trespass …” If convicted, they face a maximum of ten years in prison for the involuntary manslaughter charge and another year for criminal trespassing (which is considered a misdemeanor). Sedrish’s attorney was unavailable to comment Friday.
RELATED: Filmmakers’ Midnight Rider Safety Claims ‘A Lie’ Says Former Crew Member Read More »
Joseph Fiennes will star and Tom Felton will co-star in Kevin Reynolds’ early first-century epic thriller Clavius. Patrick Aiello is producing with LD Entertainment CEO Mickey Liddell and Head of Production Pete Shilaimon. LD is financing the film and eyeing an Easter Weekend 2015 berth.
Related: Biblical and Faith-Based Movies: In Hollywood To Stay?
Scripted by Paul Aiello with additional writing by Reynolds, Clavius is told through the eyes of an agnostic Roman Centurion (Fiennes) charged by Pontius Pilate to investigate rumors of a risen Messiah and locate the missing body of Jesus of Nazareth in order to subdue an uprising in Jerusalem. Along the Centurion’s high-stakes mission, his doubts of such a supernatural occurrence are challenged as he encounters the Apostles and other historical characters while piecing together the mysterious events that unfolded after the crucifixion.
Related: Sweet Chariot! MGM is Rebooting ‘Ben-Hur’
Production begins in August in Malta and Spain, and casting for the co-lead of Pontius Pilate is underway. Liddell and Aiello said there is a Gladiator tone as the drama unfolds in the 50 days after the crucifixion. Fiennes co-starred in the Brett Ratner-directed Hercules and wrapped Strangerland opposite Nicole Kidman, and he’s signed to star on the Anonymous Content drama series Nostramadus. Felton appeared in Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes after starring as Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter franchise. He just completed In Secret for LD Entertainment. Reynolds most recently helmed History’s Hatfields … Read More »
U.S. District Court Judge Alison Nathan declined today to grant Aereo’s emergency motion to be defined as a kind of cable company — even after it said yesterday that it “will likely not survive” without a quick determination because it is “figuratively bleeding to death.” CEO Chet Kanojia warned that he’s spending about $1M a month. Without help from the court, he said, the streaming service ”will not be able to generate additional revenue or additional investments.” That means “the company simply will not be able to survive and the substantial investment of time, effort, and money will be irretrievably lost.”
Aereo wants to be deemed a cable company so it can qualify for a so-called compulsory license from the U.S. Copyright Office. That would enable it to pay a relatively low, government determined fee to retransmit broadcast programming. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that Aereo could not stream broadcasters’ over-the-air fare without payment, in part because it seemed to resemble cable companies that are required to pay.
But Nathan says today that Aereo’s request for an emergency decision “jumped the gun.” She will follow a longer course to determine the company’s fate. Plaintiffs have two weeks to offer a proposed order in light of the Supreme Court ruling. Aereo has up to two weeks to reply. And broadcasters can reply a week later.
Aereo declined to comment.
A delay could be important. In asking for an emergency ruling, Kanojia said Aereo would be “immediately, irreparably, and gravely harmed” without one because it is ”incurring staggering costs without accruing … Read More »
Will Ferrell is circling to play softcore film producer Russ Meyer in a movie about the time he collaborated with film critic Roger Ebert to make Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls. The indie project is taking shape quickly. Filmmakers including Edgar Wright are intrigued, as are actors who might play the late Ebert, a strong role for anyone from Jonah Hill to Seth Rogen and others. Mark Amin’s Sobini Films and David Permut and Richard Waltzer are producing Russ & Roger Go Beyond, a script by Emmy-winning Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons scribe Christopher Cluess. Ferrell still has to make a deal, but he puts this on a fast track and the hope is to shoot early next year.
The script focus is the late 1960s, when cheap counterculture films like Easy Rider were minting money, and 20th Century Fox was struggling mightily over a number of big-budget flops. Meyer was already established as the outlaw helmer of softcore pulp films like Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill, and he wanted the legitimacy of making a studio film. Richard Zanuck, then head of 20th, gave him that opportunity because his profit margins were so high and his costs were minuscule.
When Meyer agreed to take on Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls, he insisted the script get written by Ebert, the third-string movie critic of the Chicago Sun Times who had written … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: As we watch Rupert Murdoch attempt a colossal Time Warner takeover, who better to evaluate its merit than Jerry Levin. He steered Time Warner as chairman/CEO for many years, adding Ted Turner and AOL along the way. A retired philanthropist and chairman of StartUp Health, Levin is still paying attention and is therefore better suited than most to explain the complexities of Murdoch’s ambitious plan and its far-reaching impact. He was gracious with his time and wasn’t interested in sugarcoating, so buckle up.
DEADLINE: Rupert Murdoch sees a match in Fox and Time Warner. All I see is a collision of duplicative assets, pink slips, two major studios making fewer movies, and nothing here that empowers creativity. Obviously I’m naive. What value do you see in a union between Fox and Time Warner?
JERRY LEVIN: None at all. It provides great theater; everybody gets excited when there are large transactions in the offing with iconic brands. But the fact is, it makes no sense, culturally or creatively. It’s not good for movies, and television, and storytelling. All it is is a financial construct that gets Wall Street going with valuations. It is so disruptive, particularly when you’re talking about two studios with vastly different cultures of their own. When you put these things together, usually there’s a push from Wall Street to cut back and make sure there are the right synergies, which there usually aren’t. It just means a lack of focus and trying to harmonize the cultures, particularly in this case, it doesn’t make any sense to me at all. Read More »
With $11.2M in domestic late nights, Disney/Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy bested the studios’ own start for Captain America: The Winter Soldier earlier this year. And it was a similar story abroad where the James Gunn-directed space chase earned $11M across its first day on Thursday. In total this weekend, GOTG hits about 40 markets. Among the openings yesterday were the UK, Russia, Korea, and Brazil. Those are key markets which were among the top consumers of Cap 2, and that’s one of the movies that Disney is using as a key comp today when it points to the strong starts around the globe. Russia was reliably receptive with a $3.2M opening day, the single biggest take of any territory so far. Across Asia/Pacific, Guardians earned about $3.4M from seven territories. Korea opened with $900K. That was 25% ahead of Thor 2 on a day for day basis, and is a very healthy number in a crowded field. There are two giant local movies at the Korean box office right now, Kundo: Age Of The Rampant and Roaring Currents. Across the region, Guardians‘ first day was 19% biger than Cap 2 and 37% bigger than Thor 2.
In the UK/Ireland, Guardians opened to $2.3M in previews, which is 8% above the opening day of Cap 2. IMAX results in the UK were worth 12% of the box office, off just 2% of the screen count. Without breaking out numbers just yet, … Read More »
After taking things day by day on Wednesday and Thursday, I’ve learned that Warner Bros TV has tentatively slated production on Season 8 of The Big Bang Theory to start next Wednesday, August 6. That is a week after the CBS series’ eighth season was originally supposed to kick off with a table read last Wednesday, July 31. Of course, holding the postponed table read on August 6 will be contingent on the five original cast members closing new deals. I hear talks continue with Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco, Helberg and Kunal Nayyar. The contracts of all five expired at the end of last season. The only Big Bang cast members who have deals in place and available to start work immediately are Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik, who renegotiated their contracts last fall.
For now there is no danger of Big Bang not being able to make its hourlong premiere on September 22. There is talk that the delay might lead to a minimal order reduction from 24 to 23 episodes, but I hear that could be avoided by shortening planned hiatuses or extending production in the spring. Like the 2010 salary renegotiations, Parsons, Galecki and Cuoco would likely end up with equal pay, more than doubling and likely tripling their most recent salary of $350,000 an episode as well as their current back-end ownership, said to be around .25 point. Helberg and Nayyar, who are … Read More »
It’s not exactly Hollywood accounting. The studio made a mistake, it says today in an SEC filing, that means its CEO’s compensation package for the fiscal year ending in March should be pegged at $66.3M — not $63.6M, as it reported on Tuesday. That’s up 428% vs last year, due in part to the lump of stock awards in his new contract, not 406%.
Lionsgate understated Jon Feltheimer‘s pay by $2.7M when it valued his 94,971 restricted stock units using what’s known as the Black Scholes formula. It estimates prices for stock options over time by assuming that markets will operate efficiently and that options can be bought and sold in ways that minimze their risk. The Black Scholes formula was used, appropriately, to come up with the $41.5M value put on Feltheimer’s option awards.
But Feltheimer’s stock awards should have been assessed at their fair value. Lionsgate says now that, using that method, they’re worth $14.4M — not $11.7M it reported earlier based on Black Scholes. All other compensation figures remain unchanged.
Lionsgate shareholders can voice their opinion about the packages in an advisory say-on-pay vote at the annual meeting, to be held September 9 in Toronto.
The long-time MTV Networks CEO will have a ringside seat at the transformation of media and retailing. Amazon reports in an SEC filing this morning that Judy McGrath was elected to the board yesterday, and appointed to the Leadership Development and Compensation Committee, effective October 1. As an incentive to stay, she received rights to 2,520 shares convertible at a rate of 840 a year over three years beginning August 2015.
McGrath was at MTV from 1981, beginning as a copywriter, and ran MTV Networks from 2004 to 2011. She replaced her mentor Tom Freston when he was named Viacom’s CEO. Last year she teamed with Sony Music to launch Astronauts Wanted * No Experience Necessary, which develops multimedia content for millennials.
She joins Amazon as the e-retailer steps up its investments in content creation, including video productions from its Amazon Studios. But the company has struggled to turn a profit. Its shares are down nearly 22% so far in 2014 and dropped about 10% last week after reporting a far bigger Q2 loss than investors expected.
Idris Elba boarded UK indie feature One Square Mile as a producer in June 2013, but at the time it was unclear if he would star as well. A little more than a year later, the movie has undergone a title change to A Hundred Streets, found a new director, firmed its cast, and is beginning production. Elba is starring alongside Gemma Arterton in the drama about four people with extraordinary stories that are all lived out within a square mile in contemporary London. Michael Caton-Jones was due to helm the film, but has left for another project. Stepping in is Irish TV director Jim O’Hanlon who will make his feature debut on the pic. O’Hanlon’s credits include BBC mini Emma, HBO/BBC biopic House Of Saddam, Cinemax’s A Touch Of Cloth and BBC drama/horror series In The Flesh. Leon Butler, who directed the short One Square Mile: London, penned the script for A Hundred Streets.
Elba and Arterton play an estranged married couple, he an ex-rugby superstar and she a housewife, as both struggle with life. Omar‘s Adam Bakri has also joined the cast as a rich playboy who gets more than he bargained for when a beautiful ex-girlfriend re-enters his life; and Edge Of Tomorrow‘s Franz Drameh is a small time drug dealer who strikes up an unlikely friendship with an aging actor. Read More »
In case you missed this hysterical story from Chris Pratt on Late Night With Seth Meyers Wednesday night, the Parks And Recreation actor recounted when he opted to take a nude scene — a little too far. Pratt told Meyers, ”It’s kind of funny now because they’re not going to fire me — I don’t think, because we’re going to be done this year. Wait! They could. They sent me a letter saying that I’m not suppose to make a joke about this, so just so you know, this is really serious.” Unlike other comedians whose bad jokes ran afoul with the NBC suits in the past (i.e. Norm MacDonald’s Saturday Night Live Weekend Update stint and then NBC West Coast Executive Don Ohlmeyer), Pratt luckily lived to see another day. He stars in Disney/Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy, opening Friday. Take a look at Pratt’s sitdown with Meyers:
Joe Castelo‘s ’80s private school drug ring film The Preppie Connection has accepted actor Logan Huffman into its click. Huffman will play Ellis Tynes, one of the wealthiest men at the school who is dating popular girl Alexis Hayes (Lucy Fry). At first Ellis looks at Toby Hammel (Thomas Mann) with disdain, but soon takes to him after learning that the lower class scholar is a drug dealer. Huffman’s credits include We Gotta Get Out Of This Place and Tyler Shields’ Final Girl. He is repped by APA, PYE Entertainment, and Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox Rosenberg & Light, LLP.
New Zealand actor Nico Evers-Swindell will be playing the part of Will Holloway in filmmaker Alex Ranarivelo’s indie feature Wrong Side Of Right which tells the story of a woman who goes undercover to expose an inhumane dog breeder. Swindell was last seen in Peter Landeman’s Parkland and played Prince William in Lifetime’s William & Kate. He is repped by Gersh and Vikram Dhawer at Authentic Talent & Literary Management.
Summer turned out to be the place to launch for midseason NBC series. Multi-camera comedy Undateable has been picked up for a 10-episode second season, following a similar renewal for drama The Night Shift. Both found a way to transform themselves from summer burn-offs to solid performers to returning series. Airing back-to-back originals, Undateable premiered with a 1.3 rating in adults 18-49, almost doubling the debut of NBC’s 2013 comedy series Save Me to post the highest-rated summer comedy premiere on the Big 4 networks in five years (since ABC’s toon The Goode Family on 5/27/2009). It even edged one of NBC’s fall Thursday comedy debuts, Welcome To The Family (1.2 on 10/2/13). Undateable‘s numbers slipped but largely stayed above the original broadcast comedies that aired last summer and kept clear of the lows posted by several NBC fall comedies last season, like The Michael J. Fox Show, Sean Saves The World and Welcome To The Family. Undateable, whose first season consisted of 13 episodes, also regularly topped Fox drama Gang Related. “Overexcited to do 2nd season of Undateable on NBC,” executive producer Bill Lawrence tweeted tonight. The renewal of Undateable, from Warner Bros. TV and Lawrence’s Doozer, bodes well for NBC’s midseason entry One Big Happy which was going to be the single multi-camera comedy on the network’s schedule next season. Created by Adam Sztykiel based on the book by Ellen Rakieten and Anne Coyle, Undateable stars Chris D’Elia as a carefree single … Read More »
Though videogames can be massive sellers (witness those billion-dollar debuts last fall for Grand Theft Auto V and Call of Duty: Ghosts), every title faces rapid obsolescence, at least in gamers’ eyes. Three years after hitting the shelves, even the hottest titles can look woefully quaint compared to the latest stuff. That creates a wildly different set of economic realities compared to Hollywood, where so much money is made from library titles, produced (and paid for) years ago and the sold, repackaged, and sold again on various distribution platforms around the globe.
But Sony’s game unit is now trying to make a similar library play with its deep collection of titles stretching back to the launch of the first PlayStation 20 years ago. Today Sony Computer Entertainment launched the open beta test of its PlayStation Now network, which will feature more than 100 updated, rentable versions of its older titles, including hits such as Spyro the Dragon from L.A.-based Insomniac Games.
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