After much foreplay in the form of increasingly graphic trailers that to me skate the edges of pornography, the release plan for Lars von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac has come together. Magnolia Pictures has announced that von Trier has cut his work into two films. The first, Nymphomaniac: Part One, will open in theaters March 21 after premiering on-demand March 6. This will climax in the April 18 release of the second film, which first will be on-demand April 3.
Von Trier is no stranger to controversy, as witnessed by the dopey comments he made promoting Melancholia which resulted in getting banned from the Cannes Film Festival, but the subject matter of this film should sell itself. In fact, he has vowed to do no press as both films premiere in Denmark on Christmas Day. Despite that, I wouldn’t be surprised if Magnolia has itself a multi-platform juggernaut that could be reminiscent of Last Tango In Paris, a squarely adult art film with something for everyone. That includes the voyeur crowd, as Magnolia boasts it has an unprecedented amount of explicit sex. The films haven’t yet been rated, but getting an R would probably work against the multi-platform release pattern of this pic.
The first film tells the story of Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac who is badly beaten and left in an alley. She’s helped by an older bachelor, Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård), who takes her into his home. As he tends to her wounds, she recounts the erotic story of her adolescence and young-adulthood (portrayed in flashback by Stacy Martin). This film stars Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Connie Nielsen and Udo Kier. The second part focuses on Joe’s adulthood and stars Jamie Bell, Willem Dafoe, Mia Goth and Jean-Marc Barr in addition to Gainsbourg, Skarsgård, Martin and LaBeouf. Here’s the most recent and rather graphic trailer:
The UK is already busting at the seams trying to accommodate all of the TV and film productions flocking there. With adjustments to film tax incentives that were announced today, it’s just upped the ante as a desirable place to work. British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivered the Autumn Statement to Parliament this afternoon, outlining new economic policies that will go into effect from April 1, 2014. In an incentive that lowers the barrier to entry, the government plans to reduce from 25% to 10% the minimum UK expenditure required in order to access the coveted film tax relief. From April, the relief will be worth 25% on the first £20M of qualifying production spend, and 20% thereafter. (The rebates are available on the lower of either 80% of total core expenditure or the actual UK core expenditure and there is no cap on the amount that can be claimed.) That last measure will benefit producers of bigger budget films who’ll get an extra £1M on the first £20M. The government said it will seek to clear an increase to 25% for all qualifying expenditure on larger budget films in 2015. That should keep Hollywood tentpoles keen on Britain, especially given the concern over California’s Film/TV Tax Credit program which currently excludes features with budgets over $75M.
Related: Pinewood Earnings Grow Amid UK Studio Capacity Crunch; Whither Expansion?
Dropping the spend requirement to 10% is going to help the independent sector, too. John Graydon, partner at accounting firm Saffery Champness which specializes in film and TV tax incentives, tells me, “If a producer just wants to do post in the UK, trying to get to that 25% spend was incredibly difficult. So in some cases, they went elsewhere.” Now, those seeking to do just post or VFX in Britain will have a better shot at making the numbers work. There are also changes to come to the cultural test which determines eligibility for tax relief. The test will be modernized to allow for European as well as British elements. It will become a 35 point barometer with a pass mark of 18 and will include an increase in the points available for principal photography/special effects/VFX and projects in the English language.
Related: Hollywood Pics Pack UK Soundstages As Space Crunch Starts To Squeeze
Overall, the moves are positioned to drive inward investment. In the first three quarters of 2013, it’s already up 28%. That’s partly due to a lucrative TV tax credit that offers a rebate on high-end dramas costing £1M or more to produce per hour. But with soundstages filled to the rafters, many TV productions are already being relegated to converted warehouse space. It’s also because several big budget Hollywood films are camped out at Pinewood and Warner Bros’ Leavesden Studios. But if Pinewood doesn’t get approval for its expansion plans next year, more big ticket pics could be turned away. As I recently reported, Marvel’s Ant Man was forced out of the UK due to space constraints. Graydon doesn’t see the new incentives as necessarily exacerbating the capacity issue since those enticed by the changes won’t always be the kinds of productions that would require soundstages. He does allow, however, “Stage space is an issue. We absolutely want to see that resolved as quickly as possible.” Read More »
Good Morning America interviewed ABC News’ Amy Robach this morning — three weeks after her double mastectomy and coinciding with her People magazine cover — to tell viewers she will undergo four months of chemo after her mastectomy revealed the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, as well as a second malignant tumor. “I’m going to work through it,” she said of the chemo, which she will begin later this month. “I saw Robin [Roberts] do it. I know how strong you were and you give me strength, Robin, because it is important to get up and have something to do each day,” she told the GMA on-air gang. Here’s a clip of Robach’s interview:
Robach’s cancer diagnosis after an on-air mammogram made news. American TV viewers have become accustomed to watching news talent having various on-air health checkups since Katie Couric’s on-air colonoscopy more than a decade ago; last month on NBC’s Today, Matt Lauer and Al Roker got on-air-but-behind-doors prostate exams. Read More »
Malcolm McDowell (Franklin & Bash) is set to co-star opposite Gael García Bernal in Amazon’s comedy pilot Mozart In The Jungle, directed by Paul Weitz. Based on the memoir by Blair Tindal, the project, written by Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman and Alex Timbers, is all about sex, drugs and classical music and shows that what happens behind the curtains at the symphony can be just as captivating as what happens onstage. McDowell plays Thomas, a seasoned conductor being forced into retirement by the arrival of hotshot new conductor Rodrigo (Bernal). Also cast in the pilot are Lola Kirke (Reaching For The Moon) as the impressionable oboist Hailey, Bernadette Peters (Smash) as Gloria, the Chairwoman of the Board of the symphony, Saffron Burrows (Law And Order: CI) as Cynthia, a cellist in the middle of an affair with Thomas, Peter Vack (CBGB) as Joshua, a talented dancer out of Juilliard who becomes Hailey’s love interest, and Hannah Dunne (This Is It) as Lizzie, Hailey’s friend and roommate.
Brianne Howey has landed a recurring role on ABC Family’s teen drama Twisted. She will play Whitney, a free spirit who is full of life and takes chances. She comes to Green Grove to live with her father (Ivan Sergei) for a fresh start. Howey’s TV credits include Revenge, The Middle, NCIS and 90210. She is repped by Untitled Entertainment.
Pam Grier is set to star in an action drama for Entertainment One. Written by Bennie Richburg, the project follows an ex-Homeland Security agent (Grier) who is pulled out of retirement to lead a young but highly qualified team of “shoot first, ask questions later” agents. They are on a trail of homegrown domestic terrorists who have set about to bring anarchy to the heartland of the United States and have to stop them before it is too late. Richburg and Grier recently collaborated on the adaptation of Grier’s memoir Foxy: My Life In Three Acts, which Richburg wrote. Grier is repped by TalentWorks; Richburg is repped by attorney Hillary Jones, who will also serve as a producer on the show. eOne’s Michael Rosenberg and Harrison Reishman oversee the project for the studio.
Sony Pictures has released its first teaser for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 today, and you can see the first stamp of Dwight Caines, the president of Theatrical Marketing for Sony Pictures. who hatched this campaign with his Sony Pictures International counterpart Nigel Clark. Caines ran digital marketing for Sony worldwide, and this first trailer has been launched simultaneously online in a massive global play. Versions of it were made more than 12 languages, including Russian and three different Chinese dialects. The trailer launched simultaneously on every Sony platform down to the Times Square billboard, and reams of other sites around the world. This is likely to become more common on event pictures, as all the studios embrace look at event pictures as global commerce instead of separate campaigns for domestic and international. The sequel brings back Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. This time around, the webslinger goes up against a coterie of villains headed by Jamie Foxx‘s Electro. Dane DeHaan, Paul Giamatti, Chris Cooper, Sally Field and Denis Leary also star in the Marc Webb-directed movie. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 starts its international rollout on April 16, 2014 and debuts in the U.S. on May 2, 2014. Here’s the trailer:
This morning, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer touted the UK’s falling unemployment rate as he delivered the Autumn Statement to Parliament. Unfortunately, he may have to recalculate his figures. A month after Dish Network said it would close Blockbuster‘s 300 remaining U.S. retail stores and distribution centers, Blockbuster in the UK is facing a similar fate. Moorfields Corporate Recovery, which was appointed administrator of the ailing video rental chain in November, said today that no acceptable offers have been received which means further closures ahead. Last month, Moorfields had already announced that 30 stores employing 182 people would close. Now, 62 more stores will shutter, eliminating 427 jobs. Moorfields added that it may be forced to close the remaining 91 stores, which would affect 808 employees. In January, Blockbuster UK sought bankruptcy protection with Deloitte acting as administrators. Then in March, the chain looked like it might get a reprieve as private equity firm Gordon Brothers Europe acquired the company’s business and assets. But Gordon Brothers was unable to orchestrate a turnaround and last month, Moorfields was appointed administrator. At the time, Moorfields said there were “parties who are interested in parts of the business. Our focus will be to secure a future for as much of the business as possible as well as trying to save jobs before Christmas.”
Sally Woodward Gentle was most recently creative director at Downton Abbey producer Carnival Films. Now striking out on her own, the exec has launched production company SID Gentle Films with financial backing from Ron Burkle‘s global investment firm The Yucaipa Companies. SID Gentle is eyeing scripted drama, TV movies and miniseries as well as indie features. The company is already in development on a Neal Purvis/Robert Wade-penned project for the BBC, and a supernatural thriller from Ben Court and Caroline Ip, also for the BBC. Former Carnival exec Henrietta Colvin is also joining SID Gentle Films as head of development. Lee Morris, who’s currently producing Da Vinci’s Demons, will come aboard as managing director in the New Year. Woodward Gentle’s producing credits include Channel 4′s BAFTA award-winning Any Human Heart, ITV drama series Whitechapel and Helena Bonham Carter drama Enid. She is also exec producing Carnival’s upcoming romancer The 7.39 starring David Morrissey, Sheridan Smith and Olivia Coleman.
BSkyB Opens Its Sky Store Rentals To All Broadband Users
BSkyB set a challenge today to streaming providers in the UK such as Netflix and LoveFilm by announcing it has opened its Sky Store movie rental service to anyone with a broadband connection. The service does not require a Sky subscription, meaning all users in the UK and the Republic of Ireland will have access. Sky, which is controlled by 21st Century Fox, says new films including Man Of Steel and Despicable Me 2 are available from today with other fresh titles available at the same time as they drop on DVD. Those will rent for £3.49 ($5.70) each. Library titles will go for 99p-£1.99. There are already about 1,200 movies online which can be streamed through SkyStore.com, or via NOW TV, Roku and YouView. Sky’s had success with renting movies to its existing customers with 2.1 million rentals in the third quarter.
Report: Netflix Mulls Expansion Into France
Netflix has been a long time coming to France, Europe’s third-largest market, but is the tide about to turn? According to Reuters, executives from Netflix met with the staff of French President François Hollande this week to discuss the move. Netflix is available in 41 countries including France’s neighbors to the north such as the UK, the Netherlands and the Nordic region. A French launch has been rumored over the years, but moving into the fiercely protected territory is ornery for the streaming service given a complex film-windows chronology. There is no such protection for TV series, but many U.S. shows air as much as a year later than they do in the U.S. on traditional networks like TF1. TF1 has a VOD service that offers first-run U.S. series on a one-day delay and pay-TV leader Canal Plus airs first-run series within a few days; it even launched a new channel this year on which to showcase them. But movies are hampered by rules that prohibit films from appearing on monthly SVOD services until three years after a theatrical release. Rentals via a set-top box are permissible four months after theatrical. The windows issue has long been a thorny one in France, with industry opinions divided, but discussions are ongoing. A Hollande rep told Reuters, “Netflix wanted information about the legal conditions that would affect its potential arrival in France.” Read More »
Jerry Bruckheimer may have his TV deal at Warner Bros, but sources say a feature deal at the studio for the producer is no longer in play. Bruckheimer now is looking to set up his lucrative production deal at Paramount. Sources close to the negotiation tell Deadline that they hope to seal a deal in the coming week but would not elaborate on the specifics — for instance, whether Bruckheimer would be given any special incentives or what the length of term might be.
Related: For Jerry Bruckheimer, Is Next Stop Paramount Or Warner Bros?
Bruckheimer is one of the few brand-name producers in town, having worked for years to establish himself as such and making a mint for Disney with the Pirates of the Caribbean series. He also is one of the most expensive producer deals in town, pulling in hefty producing fees and backend deals. He has also made a name for himself in television with such successful franchises as CSI and The Amazing Race.
The producer previously had a long run at Paramount with his former producing partner, the late Don Simpson, where they churned out Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop and Flashdance in their heyday.
Related: Bob Iger: ‘Lone Ranger’ Not Responsible For Break With Bruckheimer
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The cancer-science drama boasts a heavyweight cast led by Samantha Morton and Helen Hunt. Entertainment One Films has set Decoding Annie Parker for a summer day-and-date release in theaters and VOD. Veteran cinematographer Steven Bernstein is making his featuring directing debut on the film, which is based loosely on the life of Annie Parker (Morton), a cancer survivor who must deal with the deaths of her father and sister, a cheating husband (Aaron Paul) and her own mortality, and the career of geneticist Mary-Claire King (Hunt), who discovers a gene mutation that revolutionizes understanding and treatment of certain types of breast cancer. Bradley Whitford, Rashida Jones, Richard Schiff, Alice Eve, Maggie Grace, Marley Shelton, Chris Mulkey and Corey Stoll also star in the film, which Bernstein co-wrote with Adam Bernstein and Michael Moss. Steven Bernstein also produced Annie Parker with Keith Kjarval, Clark Peterson and Stuart W. Ross.
Daren Kagasoff has been cast in Ouija, a horror film inspired by the Hasbro board game. Universal’s pic from directors Juliet Snowden and Stiles White follows a group of teens playing with a Ouija board, making contact with an evil spirit, and desperately trying to close the door they’ve opened before meeting their own fate. Kagasoff will play Trevor, the handsome boyfriend who is skeptical about reaching out to their dead friend, in the ensemble cast. Michael Bay, Jason Blum, Brad Fuller, Andrew Form and Brian Goldner are producing. The actor starred as Ricky Underwood on ABC Family’s The Secret Life Of The American Teenager, which wrapped its five-season run in June, and appeared in the Fox pilot Delirium. He is repped by Gersh and manager John Carrabino.
Ian Harding has been cast as the lead in Dynamite: A Cautionary Tale, an indie from director Tate Steinsiek and produced by Ironclad Pictures. Based on a true story, it’s set during the advent of mainstream pornography in the 1960s. Harding plays Max Bornstein, a middle-class kid who leaves college to partner with a childhood buddy to distribute the contraband but whose life begins to spiral out of control as he becomes addicted to heroin. The film will shoot in New York City. Harding stars on ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars. He’s repped by Gersh and Authentic Talent & Literary … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Actor-director Andrew McCarthy is set to direct E!’s pilot Songbyrd. This marks the pilot directing debut of McCarthy, who replaces the project’s original director Michael Morris who fell out a month ago. The music-themed Songbyrd, created/exec produced by Krista Vernoff and exec produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, centers on songwriter Lauren Byrd (Bethany Joy Lenz), a character loosely inspired by hitmaker Diane Warren, and her staff. Eighties heartthrob McCarthy has been focusing on TV directing for the past couple of years, most recently helming three episodes of Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black. He is with Verve.
Related: The Real ‘Philomena’ Answers New York Post Critic
Gotta hand it to Harvey: When he sees an angle to boost the profile of his movies, he goes for it. The Weinstein Company is placing an ad in tomorrow’s New York Times referencing the skirmish between NY Post reviewer Kyle Smith and the real-life Philomena Lee, the subject of the distributor’s Oscar-season pic Philomena directed by Stephen Frears and starring Judi Dench as Lee. That’s the rift Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. told you about first last week by publishing Lee’s response to Smith’s review that called the pic among other things an attack on Catholics. The NYT ad excerpts Lee’s letter to Smith that Fleming ran full and comes complete with a a call to action — “Decide For Yourself” — even though the movie’s been in the marketplace since the week before Thanksgiving. Click over for the ad: Read More »
The mantra over at Stan Lee Media Inc must be “if first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Certainly that is its legal strategy. Almost three months after a federal judge in Colorado granted Disney’s request for dismissal of SLMI’s multibillion-dollar Marvel superhero copyright suit, the company is back in Pennsylvania court this week claiming it owns the rights to Spider-Man. “In response to Disney’s Spider-Man claims and/or in response to [American Music Theater's] counterclaims and third-party claims, SLMI respectfully seeks a declaratory judgment … that Disney cannot bar SLMI from using or licensing the Spider-Man copyrights and trademarks by virtue of the fact that SLMI (not Disney) is the owner of various copyrights and trademarks regarding Spider-Man and has properly licensed the copyrights and trademarks to AMT,” says the third-party defendant paperwork (read it here) filed Tuesday.
Stan Lee Media’s ‘Conan The Barbarian’ Suit Savaged Again
Sony Plans More Spider-Man Sequels & Spinoffs
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EXCLUSIVE: Kevin Hart is signing on to star with LeBron James in Ballers, the basketball comedy for Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment. Brian Grazer and Michael Rosenberg are producing.
Hart will first co-write the comedy along with his scripting teammates Joey Wells, Chris Spencer and Harry Ratchford. He’ll then star as a man who lives in the shadow of his NBA superstar brother (James), but gets a chance to prove himself when he and some pals attend a weekend fantasy basketball camp in Miami. Hart is certainly dominant in the stand-up arena, but posting up against this screen sibling could be dangerous. Hart is under 5’3″ while James is a towering 6’8.” That kind of sibling size differential hasn’t been seen since Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in another Universal comedy, Twins. They’ll sign a director when Hart and his cohorts turn in the script. The plan is to start production next summer when James has time off. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Peyton Reed is set to direct The Fifth Beatle, an adaptation of the bestselling graphic novel about the last years of The Beatles manager Brian Epstein. The film is being produced by Oscar-winner Bruce Cohen and Tony-winner Vivek J. Tiwary. Tiwary, whose credits include Green Day’s American Idiot wrote the graphic novel and the screenplay. Reed, who helmed The Break-Up and Bring It On, finds himself in an enviable position as this is the first film about the Fab Four that has been granted unprecedented access to the John Lennon/Paul McCartney music catalog. Production will begin next year. Now that Reed is aboard, the next step will be securing an actor to play Epstein.
Reed previously teamed with Cohen on the comedy Down With Love and he also helmed the Jim Carrey comedy Yes Man.
“From the moment I read Vivek’s graphic novel, I knew I wanted to be the person to bring Brian’s story to the big screen,” Reed said. “I’m a lifelong Beatles fan, obviously, but it’s Brian’s fascinating life that really blew me away and drew me to this project. He’s the ultimate outsider who, against all odds, became the ultimate insider. He was responsible for shepherding the most popular artistic expression of “love” in the history of modern culture, and yet he wasn’t allowed to express his own love during that time.” Read More »