Philip Marshak, who wrote and directed several cult classic films in the late ’70s and ’80s, including Night Train To Terror, Cataclysm and Dracula Sucks, has died. He passed away last night surrounded by his family at his Los Angeles home after a long battle with leukemia, diabetes and heart disease. his son, talent manager Darryl Marshak said. He was 80. Philip Marshak began his Hollywood career as an actor studying with Lee Strasberg, but then took a turn as an underground/guerrilla filmmaker in the late 60’s/70’s.
The Idina Menzel showcase If/Then bounced back last week after a slight dip, posting $822,516 in sales for the week ending Sunday, a $49,000 rebound according to box office figures released Monday afternoon by the trade group Broadway League. That was two-thirds of its gross potential at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, and attendance was good, at 88.5 % of capacity for the 1,311-seat house. Pippin recovered a bit as well, increasing $49,756 to $676,450 and filling 97% of the seats at the Music Box.
Overall, the box office was off a bit, by 3%, from the week before: $27,038,224 for week 9 of the season versus $27,867,272 during Week 8. Most of that dip could be attributed to the return to eight performances following a week of niners by The Book Of Mormon and The Lion King.
Of Mice And Men finished its run well in the black and breaking the house record one final time at the Longace, topping $1 million at $1,038,106, up more than $108,000 from the week before. Cast and crew return Tuesday night to film the show for later broadcast by National Theatre Live.
Peter Jackson‘s Hobbit trilogy wraps with the final chapter The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, which he gave fans a sneak peek at over the weekend at Comic-Con. WB has now unleashed the teaser trailer seen first in Hall H, in which the heroes of Middle Earth must contend with the ferocious dragon Smaug and the fast-mobilizing forces of Sauron, the latter of which took center stage in The Lord Of The Rings. Here’s the new look at the December 17 release set to hit theaters in 3D, 2D, IMAX, and High Frame Rate 3D:
Comic-Con UPDATE: Police Shed More Light On Accident; ZombieWalk Organizers Weigh In As New Video Emerges
5th UPDATE, Monday 12:30 PM: Lt. Marshall White, who is in charge of special events for the San Diego Police Department, has shed new light on Saturday’s incident, saying that while there were people dressed as zombies in the intersection where the woman was hit, they were not part of the initial group of ZombieWalkers, which were about four to six blocks ahead of that intersection at the time. The Walk has gone on for seven years previously without incident. This was the 8th year.
The October ZombieWalk that was to take place in the same place in San Diego is now cancelled, according to the group’s FB page, and Lt. White said the organizers told him that they would not be holding a ZombieWalk next year at Comic-Con but would plan a different event instead. That has not yet been addressed on their FB page, and we are awaiting a confirmation from the organizers now, but it appears that no official decision will be made until the investigation is completed. A 64-year-old woman was seriously injured in the incident as a deaf man with his family (also all deaf), drove forward, hitting the woman as they tried to drive through the congested intersection.
Deadline was told by ZombieWalk’s FB page administrator: “No ZombieWalkers were directly involved in the incident, except to help her. We are not making any statements or decisions until the investigation is complete.”
ZombieWalk organizers did not have a permit, but according to White, they didn’t need one because it was a small group that was about one block long and they obeyed traffic signals. Those instructions also were given to the crowd by organizers before the walkers left the park. According to the ZombieWalk FB page, 849 people had RSVP’d; the organizers also posted in advance safety guidelines for the walk, which included warnings “do not block foot or auto traffic.” 849 people is quite a crowd for an intersection, but White said the group wasn’t that large. “I don’t believe that there were that many people dressed as zombies as part of the walk. That’s my observation.”
He added: “I did hear an organizer on the bullhorn saying that everyone was to obey traffic laws and listen to all instructions from police. So that particular intersection at the time of the incident had people dressed as zombies, but they were not part of that walk. It was just on the path where they walked. It may have been part of the residual crowd.”
The documentary delves deep into the Thin White Duke’s personal archive and emerges with a detailed look at his many ch-ch-changes. Showtime has set an August 1 premiere for David Bowie: Five Years, which focuses on individual years during the most commercially successful period of his long career. The 90-minute docu starts with 1971, when he created the Ziggy Stardust persona; then moves to 1975, when Bowie scored his first two U.S. top 10 singles; 1977, which spawned the influential albums Low and Heroes; 1980, the year of Scary Monsters; and “Fashion”; and 1983, the peak of his global popularity with Let’s Dance and the Serious Moonlight tour. Producers got unique access to the rock chameleon’s personal archive of costumes, set designs, lyrics and memorabilia, and each year mines the sources of his inspiration and where it led him. Check out the trailer for the docu, which aired last year in the UK:
Three weeks into its freshman run, CBS‘ new sci-fi drama series Extant is sliding an hour from the post-Big Brother 9 PM berth to 10 PM starting this Wednesday. The Halle Berry-starrer, which has been sliding in Live+Same Day viewing since the premiere, most recently logging a 1.1 in 18-49, will switch places with the Criminal Minds repeats that had been airing at 10 PM.
CBS is making the change after a similar switcheroo worked well on Sunday. There, new drama Reckless too was falling hard in the ratings at 9 PM, behind Big Brother, leading to returning Unforgettable at 10 PM. After CBS switched Unforgettable and Reckless, Unforgettable‘s numbers naturally went up (+43% in 18-49) with a stronger lead-in from Big Brother. But Reckless didn’t suffer any further drop among adults 18-49 in its transition to 10 PM, staying consistent in the demo and even picking up 5% in viewers. CBS is hoping for a similar outcome on Wednesday, with an established drama lead-in from a stronger, Big Brother-buoyed Criminal Minds stabilizing Extant.
The scheduling change is made with enough lead time for this Wednesday’s DVR listings to be updated, which is important for Extant. The series debut of the mystery drama has seen a 50% bump in 18-49 from Live+SD to Live+7.
NBC said today he will return to the network as the final comic mentor on Last Comic Standing on Thursday at 10 PM. In the episode, the final five comics are flown to meet surprise guest Leno in Las Vegas and ask him questions about stand-up comedy. He answers, shares personal stories and anecdotes and gives advice before the next stand-up routines that whittle the contestants to four. The season finale is August 14.
Jay Leno has kept himself busy since departing as longtime host of The Tonight Show in February, from hosting his car show Jay Leno’s Garage (it was nominated for an Emmy) to surprising Arsenio Hall to announce (prematurely, it turned out) that The Arsenio Hall Show had been renewed, He also was inducted into the TV Academy’s Hall of Fame in March, and the next month he had a street named for him on the Universal lot.
In a morning meeting today ICM Partners announced it has hired another former Resolution agent, Kevin Hussey, and promoted NY-based talent department coordinator Sarah Kelly to agent. Hussey will be based in LA and Kelly will stay on the East Coast. Hussey worked at CAA for four years before joining Resolution as a talent agent in 2013, working closely there with Steve Alexander, who made the jump to ICM Partners on Friday as the agency’s 39th partner. Hussey, a former investment banker, was in the office today. Kelly began her career at ICM in 2010 as an intern, after which she became an assistant in the talent department working for co-head Adam Schweitzer. She was accepted into the agent trainee program in 2012.
Tara Lynne Barr has booked a recurring role in NBC‘s upcoming series Aquarius, a gritty 1960s drama about a cop (David Duchovny) who goes undercover to track Charles Manson and the Manson Family before their infamous murder spree. APA-repped Barr will play Katie (Patricia Krenwinkle), one of Manson’s adoring acolytes, who helps him lay a trap for the unwitting Emma, and later joins in the party when Manson deflowers his new recruit. Barr will next be seen in upcoming horror thriller feature 6 Miranda Drive.
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes just won an indirect endorsement for his argument that his shareholders would be better off letting him lead the company instead of accepting a cash and stock offer from Rupert Murdoch. Without a deal, Time Warner shares should hit $95 within a year, and there’s “a credible stand-alone bull case valuation of $105,” Morgan Stanley Research’s Benjamin Swinburne says today. The numbers are important: Time Warner rejected Murdoch’s $85 a share bid, and many analysts say that he could go as high as $105 before choking on the cost. That probably wouldn’t impress shareholders if they believe that they’ll see that price without the risk that would come with such a big deal.
Swinburne’s analysis begins by accepting Bewkes’ forecast that cable and satellite company payments to Time Warner’s Turner networks will grow at double digit rates each year over the next five years. “Given 7 out of the top 10 distributors have already renewed (as of early ’14), we see limited downside risk to [the] guidance,” the analyst says. Those payments now account for 20% of Time Warner revenues.
HBO also could grow subscriptions and revenues by tinkering with its pricing and deals with pay TV distributors. It has about 30M domestic subscribers, but the below-average penetration rates at Time Warner Cable and Dish Network suggest that there are “key opportunities for HBO to drive further revenue-generating subscriber growth.” Along that line, Bloomberg reported today that HBO is considering expanding a test with Comcast, introduced last year, that offers broadband service, basic TV, and HBO …
Christopher Walken will voice King Louie, the ruler of a troop of monkeys and apes, and Giancarlo Esposito will play Akela, leader of the wolf pack, in Disney‘s Jungle Book. It’s the latest edition to the live-action/animation hybrid pic, which Jon Favreau is directing from a script by Justin Marks. The duo join Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa and newcomer Neel Sethi as Mowgli – the only actor to physically appear on screen. The 3D pic has an October 9, 2015 release date.
Fresh off unveiling a Sin City: A Dame To Kill For‘s opening sequence and red band at Comic-Con this weekend, Dimension Films dropped the new girls ‘n’ guns-packed trailer this morning. The original Sin City opened 2005, and in the nine years since Rodriguez and Miller have added more crispness to the series’ black-and-white comic book aesthetic. The hyper-stylized and ultra-violent footage for the second one, which bows August 22, more than perked up Comic-Con attendees. Check out the trailer:
EXCLUSIVE: Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (The Descendants) have signed a two-year overall deal with Sony Pictures TV. This marks the first overall TV pact for the Oscar-winning writing duo. Under the agreement, Faxon and Rash will develop and produce series projects with Kevin Walsh, their film and TV producing partner at the trio’s B Story banner. Faxon and Rash previously penned the 2005 ABC comedy pilot Adopted and made their TV directing debut this past season with Fox’s comedy pilot Fatrick, which they also executive produced. Additionally, both have series experience as actors. Rash has a relationship with Sony TV with his co-starring role on the studio’s cult comedy Community, which recently found a new home at Yahoo, while Faxon stars on FX’s freshman comedy series Married.
On the feature side, in addition to earning an Oscar for co-writing The Descendants with Alexander Payne, the duo helmed their script for The Way, Way Back, which starred Steve Carell and premiered at Sundance in 2013. Faxon and Rash were repped in the deal-making with Sony TV by CAA. The duo have since signed with WME. Faxon is managed by Principato-Young; Rash by Intellectual Artists. Both are with Stone, Meyer, Genow.
Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network and Celestial Pictures have inked a long-term programming partnership that extends and expands on an existing licensing agreement. Under the new five-year deal, El Rey will have access to 255 martial arts titles from the Shaw Brothers vault – the world’s leading martial arts collection, many on an exclusive basis. Financial terms were not disclosed. El Rey and Celestial also are in talks on new original programming concepts based on the Shaw Brothers’ films.
The risks of a deal are becoming more apparent as 21st Century Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch prepares to sweeten the $80B offer that Time Warner rejected, MoffettNathanson Research’s Michael Nathanson observes in a thought-provoking report this morning. With memories of the AOL Time Warner debacle still fresh in their minds, Time Warner execs won’t accept a non-cash bid “unless it is wildly generous,” the analyst says. He hopes Fox draws the line at $100 a share, up from $85, but notes that Murdoch could go to $105 without losing his company’s investment-grade debt rating. Yet if he prevails at that price, then Fox would have little margin for error. And Nathanson warns that mega-mergers “are more complicated than the simplicity of adding two Excel spreadsheet models together.”
The bottom line is that Fox’s stock “is in purgatory”as long as Murdoch’s interest in Time Warner remains alive. And the legendary dealmaker may not be able to pull it off. “After initially believing that this deal gets done at $100 per share, we have our doubts that it will be done at all,” Nathanson says. Among his concerns:
What’s up with Chase Carey? The Fox COO is highly regarded on the Street, but his contract expires in mid-2016. Some shareholders “are nervous that this deal — and the value of [Fox's] stock — will fall short of expectations if Chase was to leave.”
EXCLUSIVE: Carlton Cuse is officially the hardest-working drama showrunner in town with three series and two pilots on his plate. USA Network has handed a pilot green light to Colony (working title), from Lost alum Cuse and Hercules co-writer Ryan Condal, who co-created the project and will executive produce. It hails from Legendary Television, marking the first scripted pilot for the company, and Universal Cable Prods.
Written by Condal, Colony was featured on USA’s development slate in May. It is described as a naturalistic drama set in the near future in Los Angeles, which exists in a state of occupation by a force of alien intruders. Some collaborate with the authorities and benefit from the new order, while others rebel and suffer the consequences. The project centers on a family torn by opposing forces and making difficult choices as they balance staying together with surviving the struggle of the human race.
Related: 2014 USA Pilots
“Colony is a gripping story that brilliantly weaves together an intense family drama in an authentic, yet unknown, world,” said USA President Chris McCumber. USA had been looking to return to the alien genre space, which the network tackled with the 2007 sci-fi series The 4400. Its most previous batch of pilots included World War II alien drama Horizon, which didn’t go to series.
Hulu’s subscription service Hulu Plus has bought exclusive VOD rights to stream online episodes of WGN America‘s new historical drama Manhattan, the companies announced the morning after the show’s debut. Under the deal, new episodes of the show will unspool each Monday after their initial Sunday airing on WGN until all 13 have played. The five most recent episodes will be available for free on Hulu’s basic service, after a three-day delay.
Hulu touted the deal in a release as the first time it has secured SVOD rights on a show before a single episode has aired. Manhattan is set in WWII in the Manhattan Project in New Mexico’s desert, where the federal government set up a secret project to research the first atomic weapons, and the surrounding and equally secret community set up to support the work. The show is being produced by Tribune Studios, Lionsgate and Skydance Television. Manhattan was created and written by Sam Shaw (Masters of Sex) and directed by Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing). Executive producers are Shaw, Schlamme, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Marcy Ross and Dustin Thomason.
China Briefs: Beijing Forum To Address Sino-U.S. Film Cooperation; Local Producers Eye ‘Avatar’ Rival
A forum to be held this week in Beijing will address critical issues facing the Chinese film industry, especially as they regard cooperation with the U.S. The state-backed China Film Association has created the International Communication Committee of CFA in an effort to educate and engage the global film community, particularly Hollywood, in how to partner with China’s film entities to access the market. As Hollywood increasingly seek to establish ties to China, some thorny issues have crept up. Recently, Transformers: Age Of Extinction has faced criticism from sponsors over their portrayal, while the Chinese are understood to be concerned about foreign press coverage of reported extortion attempts on the set in Hong Kong last year. I hear folks expected to attend the forum include top execs from SAPPRFT, China Film Group, Huaxia Films, the CFA and DMG. Also expected to attend panels and presentations are former Skydance COO Paul Schwake and screenwriter Evan Daugherty (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Divergent).
With Avatar the 2nd highest-grossing film in Chinese history, local producers are looking to cash in with their own rival take. The state-backed Xinhua news agency reports that Beijing Chinese Century Media Company is prepping 3D fantasy film Bainiaoyi to shoot in May 2015 in Hengxian County for release at the end of 2016. The tale based on Zhuang folklore follows a young …