It’s the first time the actor won’t be billed as Charlie Sheen. TMZ obtained this screengrab from the upcoming pic showing that he’s changed his name to Carlos Estevez for writer-director Robert Rodriguez’ upcoming campy thriller Machete Kills. Explanation: Sheen’s dad Martin Sheen was born Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estevez and never changed it legally to ’Martin Sheen’. So ‘Estevez’ is Charlie’s real last name just as it is Emilio’s. Machete Kills also stars Danny Trejo, Sofia Vergara, Mel Gibson, Jessica Alba, Antonio Banderas, Vanessa Hudgens and Lady Gaga whose big-screen debut came about because of a chance encounter with Trejo in an LA tattoo parlor. Pic is scheduled to be released in the U.S. in September.
The term “zombie director” refers to a board member who’s elected without the support of a majority of the shareholder votes — and their existance infuriates corporate governance watchdogs. But Cablevision reports today that two of the five candidates for the board seats to represent public investors failed to meet that threshold at yesterday’s annual meeting. Since the company only nominated five people for the openings — and there were no outside candidates — they couldn’t lose. But Bond Street Holdings’ Vincent Tese won with just 45.2% supporting him and 54.8% withholding approval. New Century Holdings’ Leonard Tow was supported by 48.2%. Another director who failed to win a majority last time — former JP Morgan Chase Managing Director Thomas Reifenheiser — barely made it above that level with 50.5% support. The results outraged New York City Comptroller John Liu who oversees the city pension funds’ 532,020 Class A Cablevision shares and had urged investors to oppose the board candidates. “Shareowners delivered a stinging rebuke to the five Cablevision directors we opposed for being ineffective and unaccountable, including majority votes against two of them,” Liu said. “Both Mr. Tese and Dr. Tow, should immediately step down. In Mr. Tese’s case, this is the third majority vote against his directorship in the past four years. Enough is enough.” Liu is running for mayor as city labor leaders allege that Cablevision CEO Jim Dolan refused to bargain in good faith with …
Sony Pictures Classics acquired North American rights to Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, the vampire pic that premieres tomorrow at Cannes in the In Competition section. The film was produced by Jeremy Thomas of Recorded Picture Company and Reinhard Brundig of Pandora Film. Christos Konstantakopoulos of Fairilo House served as executive producer. Starring Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin and Jeffrey Wright, Only Lovers Left Alive takes place against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangier and follows an underground musician, deeply depressed by the direction of human activities, who reunites with his resilient and enigmatic lover. Their love story has already endured several centuries at least, but their debauched idyll is soon disrupted by her wild and uncontrollable younger sister. “It would take a stake through the heart to keep Barker, Bernard and Leiner away from a good movie,” stated Producer JeremyThomas. Thorsten Schumacher and Jan Spielhoff for HanWay Films and ICM negotiated the deal.
Ryan Seacrest was a local Los Angeles DJ when he was picked by Fox’s head of alternative programming Mike Darnell as co-host and then sole host of American Idol. Seacrest became a TV star and has gone on to expand into producing and build a mini reality empire. “Mike Darnell was a pioneer in reality television,” Seacrest said today about Darnell’s decision to depart Fox. “He brilliantly paved the way for all of us, creating a powerful entertainment genre that audiences can’t get enough of. I’ve had the privilege of working with him for more than a decade, and I’ve learned so much from him. He has been an inspiration for imparting his creative genius constantly, a mentor as I launched my production company, as well as a dear friend. I’m excited to work with him as he blazes a new path in his incredible career.” Seacrest has one more year on his current blockbuster Idol contract and, with Darnell gone and the current judges and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe also likely out, he may be the only key returning auspice next season, providing continuity.
After 30 days and several big name castings, Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here Kickstarter campaign ended today up $1 million over its initial ask. The final result was just over $3.1 million. When it launched on April 24, Braff initially sought $2 million for the indie film which surpassed its $2M fundraising goal in just three days. ”Thank you, thank you, thank you. I won’t let you down! Lets do this,” posted Braff on Twitter, along with the pic to the right, after the campaign closed on Friday. The crowdfunding effort ended up with 46,520 backers including 3 who pledged $9,000 or more and 1 who pledged $10,000 or more. Kate Hudson, Mandy Patinkin and Josh Gad will join Braff in the film about a thirtysomething actor who is trying to figure out who he is. The former Scrubs star co-wrote the screenplay for Wish I Was Here with his brother and will direct the film. Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg are producing the pic through their Double Feature Films. Worldview Entertainment has stepped in to provide gap financing for the film.
Listen to (and share) episode 36 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s Executive Editor talks with host David Bloom about Apple’s taxing day on Capitol Hill; whether production tax incentives pay off the way the MPAA says they do; and Marissa Mayer’s big gamble with Yahoo’s $1.1 billion Tumblr acquisition.
Shortly after we broke the news of Fox President of Alternative Programming Mike Darnell‘s decision to depart the network after 18 years, I’ve got to speak to Darnell about the bombshell news. “I remember considering leaving the last time,” he said. “This happens every time my contract is up. It’s always an excruciating decision.” This time he couldn’t resist the temptation of other opportunities. “I love it here, but there are all these other things out there.” What are the things he’s most attracted to? “I will take a little time to feel my way through, but it will be something that is creative and exciting that has a sense of entrepreneurship,” Darnell said, indicating that a career as a producer might be in the cards. I hear he has already signed with Mark Itkin, the co-head of TV at WME.
As for the timing of his decision to leave Fox and likely the executive ranks, “my dream was to work on a big show that will go down in the history books,” he said. “I achieved that with American Idol, which may be the biggest show that ever was.” But Idol, as well as newbie The X Factor, had been taking up a lot of Darnell’s time over the …
EXCLUSIVE: The reality TV landscape will never be the same. After 18 years at Fox, the dean of unscripted TV executives, Fox’s President of Alternative Programming Mike Darnell, is stepping down. He will stay on through the end of June, when his current contract is up, and help with the transition. Darnell was offered a new long-term deal at the network but, after long deliberation, decided it was time to move on. Darnell faced similar agonizing soul-searching five years ago when he was offered rich producing deals elsewhere but ultimately opted to stay at Fox, where he’s had free rein on the unscripted side. This time around, he decided to leave the network, which he helped build first with noise-making reality specials like World’s Scariest Police Chases and When Animals Attack! and then with such tentpole series as American Idol and Family Guy. The colorful, unconventional, cowboy hat-wearing Darnell never shied away from controversy, relishing in the blockbuster attention projects like the Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? special and hit series Joe Millionaire brought on. In a testament to Darnell’s importance to Fox and parent News Corp, company chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch weighed in on his departure. “Mike took risks at a critical time and was a pioneering force in shaping the reality programming genre that exists today,” Murdoch said. “He’s a smart and fearless executive who will be missed.”
Darnell is expected to take some time off before making his next move, which I hear likely will be in the producing/entrepreneurial arena. “I’m extremely grateful that Fox has offered me a new long-term contract (and anyone who knows me won’t believe I’m saying this), but I’ve decided it’s time for a change,” Darnell said. “With my current deal ending in June, and having been here for 18 years (kind of a record in Hollywood), I had to make a decision: either stay (and basically admit to myself I was going to retire at Fox … not a terrible choice) or leave and try something new. I’ve been in ‘Reality’ since before it was even called that, and it has truly been an amazing ride. However, the world has changed drastically over the last few years, and now with hundreds of channels and limitless ways to watch television, I’ve decided this was the perfect time to take advantage of the rapidly changing marketplace. To say I am going to miss everyone here and that the people at Fox are like a family to me would be the understatement of the decade. I have so many people to thank (and I will call all of you!), but first and foremost, I want to thank Kevin Reilly, Peter Rice, Chase Carey and Rupert Murdoch for all their amazing support over these many years,” the exec said in a statement Friday.
Related: Anyone Care Who Won ‘American Idol’?
Fox is expected to begin the search for Darnell’s successor, who will navigate veteran American Idol and The X Factor through their upcoming overhauls, soon. “Mike has been a trailblazer for the entire industry and has made innumerable contributions to the growth and success of the network over the past two decades,” said Rice, Chairman of Fox Networks Group. “His passion for – and dedication to – television knows no bounds. He is like a member of the family, and Fox won’t be the same without him. While we wish he would’ve stayed forever, we regretfully accept his decision.”
FIRST BOX OFFICE: ‘Fast & Furious 6′ Easy #1 With $35M Friday And $100+M Memorial Weekend For Franchise Biggest; ‘Hangover III’ $14M/$50M; ‘Epic’ $11M/$50M; Records?
FRIDAY 1:30 PM, 5TH UPDATE: I’ve just received from my sources the first Friday and Memorial Weekend estimates which assume the four-day (and even 4 1/2-day) holiday period’s total box office can expand significantly over 2011′s record $270M. The easy #1 is Universal’s Fast & Furious 6 is pulling out ahead with $35M today (including Thursday late shows and Friday midnights) to target $100+M for the long weekend from 3,658 domestic theaters. This will be the franchise’s biggest opening by far. The #2 film is Warner Bros’ The Hangover Part III co-financed with Legendary Pictures making $14M today after earning $11.7M for its Wednesday late shows/Thursday midnights. It’s aiming for a $50M Memorial Weekend from 3,555 North American theaters over its 4 1/2 day debut. And #3 right now is Twentieth Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios’ toon Epic which is looking at $11M today and expecting $50M in 3,882 U.S. and Canadian locations for Memorial Weekend. It’s tracking after what has been a drought of family fare since March.
The real question is how much this Memorial Weekend box office can expand over last year’s to accommodate all 3 new tentpoles. There’s also 3 proven blockbusters still in the marketplace: Disney/Marvel’s Iron Man 3 in 3,424 theaters, Warner Bros/Village Roadshow’s The Great Gatsby in 3,090 locations (which today crossed $100M domestic after only 14 days and is the first Baz Luhrmann film to do so), and Paramount/Skydance’s Star Trek In Darkness in 3,907 theaters. Big online ticketseller Fandango reports this is its biggest Memorial Day weekend for sales ever with Fast & Furious 6 selling 53% more Fandango tickets than The Hangover Part III.
After 12 years, five films and more than $1.5 billion at the global box office, the sixth Fast & Furious installment should successfully transition from street racing to heist action to terrorist plot as it opens wide today. F&F6 debuted in 2,409 North American theaters for Thursday 10 PM late shows and Friday midnights and made $6.5M which speeded past Fast 5‘s $3.8M late show grosses from an uncrowded April 29, 2011. F&F6 debuts day and date in 59 total international territories this weekend after popping Universal’s biggest opening in the UK and Ireland last Friday. Pic already has $53.4M from 34 international markets, opening #1 in all of them as the franchise’s biggest opener. Another 25 territories release today.
THURSDAY 11:30 PM, 2ND UPDATE: Warner Bros’ The Hangover Part III co-financed with Legendary Pictures went wide in 3,555 North American theaters today and my sources say it opened to $11 million which includes Wednesday late shows and Thursday midnights. That’s miniscule compared to The Hangover Part II‘s Thursday opening of $31.6M - 3,615 locations on May 26, 2011 - which was the highest-grossing opening day ever for a live-action comedy. (H3‘s also is less than Thursday’s $13.5M debut a week ago for Star Trek Into Darkness.) Plus audiences only gave The Hangover Part III a ‘B’ CinemaScore compared to the ‘A-’ which the sequel scored. This threequel also scored even worse reviews (only 26% positive on Rotten Tomatoes) than H2 (34%) which was considered embarrassingly awful. By contrast, F&F6 and Epic both scored 70+% positive RT reviews. But H3 is still going to make a lot of moolah: worldwide moviegoers really like this mindless crap especially during the summer months. Internationally, the comedy is taking off in 3 markets this weekend – the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The studio tells me early numbers in Australia indicate a strong opening day of A$1.75M from 494 screens, dominating 80% of the Top 5. NZ also opened big, controlling over 70% of the Top 5. Next weekend H3 opens in 32 markets, including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil.
The first trailer has come out for the David Lowery-directed drama Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. The film, which IFC picked up at Sundance this year, stars Casey Affleck as a man who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met. Rooney Mara, Ben Foster, Nate Parker and Keith Carradine fill out the top flight cast. IFC Films have set the movie to come out on August 16. Check out the trailer here now.
Blake Shelton’s relief benefit concert for victims of the tornado that hit The Voice judge’s native state of Oklahoma will air live on NBC at 9 PM ET May 29, the network announced today. Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire and Vince Gill are the only other musicians set to appear right now, but sources say Shelton’s fellow Voice judges likely will perform in some capacity as well. The concert for the United Way will also air on Style, G4, Bravo, E! and CMT on either a live or delayed basis.
OKLAHOMA CITY - May 24, 2013 - Blake Shelton has organized and will headline the telethon “Healing in the Heartland: Relief Benefit Concert” on May 29, to take place at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. Grammy Award-winning artists Miranda Lambert, Reba and Vince Gill will also perform. Additional guests for the concert will be announced shortly. The concert will be televised live at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. It will also air on cable networks Style, G4, Bravo, E! and CMT on either a live or delayed basis.
“Everyone has their way to help, and mine as an entertainer is to perform to help raise money and awareness for this tragedy,” Shelton said. “This is why I want to do this special and especially hold it in Oklahoma City, which is near ground zero.”
Cancelled midseaosn CW drama Cult will return on the air June 28, with the six unaired episodes slated to run in two-hour blocks from 8-10 PM over three consecutive Fridays. The show’s creator Rockne S. O’Bannon shared the news on Twitter last night. With Cult’s scheduling, all serialized freshman dramas which had been pulled this past season are getting a chance to air all produced episodes. ABC recently slated burn-off runs for 666 Park Ave. and Zero Hour.
Ian Anthony Dale (The Hangover, NBC’s The Event) has joined the cast of TNT’s drama pilot Murder In The First as a series regular. Co-created by Steven Bochco and Eric Lodal, the project is a murder mystery that centers on San Fransisco PD homicide detectives Terry Seagrave (Taye Diggs) and Hildy Mulligan (Kathleen Robertson), as they take on a case that seems more like a maze. Dale will play Lieutenant Jim Koto, a no-nonsense homicide police lieutenant with movie star good looks who is Hildy and Terry’s superior. The actor, repped by A Management, Kohner Agency and Derek Kroeger, is recurring on CBS’ a Hawaii Five-O as Adam Noshimuri, son to head of the Yakuza and boyfriend of Five-O officer Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park).
Greek alum Aaron Hill has landed a recurring role on ABC Family’s new mystery drama series Twisted, centered on a charismatic 16-year-old (Avan Jogia) with a troubled past who becomes the prime suspect when a fellow student is found dead in her home. Hill, repped by SMS Talent and The Marshak/Zachary Co., will play Eddie, the kind of guy that you would bring home to meet your parents who also a brave and fearless cop. He also recently wrapped work on Ivan Reitman’s Draft Day.
The Directors’ Fortnight sidebar has its closing ceremony tonight with Yolande Moreau’s Henri screening after the prize ceremony. The section is actually non-competitive, but certain partners of the Société des Réalisateurs Français, the French directors’ body that organizes the event, attribute awards. Frenchman Guillaume Gallienne won two prizes tonight for Les Garçons Et Guillaume, A Table!, while Brit helmer Clio Barnard took the Europa Cinema Label honor for The Selfish Giant. Her film was recently acquired by Sundance Selects. Last year’s winners included Pablo Larrain’s No, which went on to be nominated for a foreign language Oscar, and Noémie Lvovsky’s Camille Redouble which later scored 13 nominations at France’s César Awards. Here’s the group that took prizes for the 2013 edition of the Fortnight:
This would be a first — an Oscar winner at the American Idol judging table. Sources have confirmed that Idol alumna Jennifer Hudson is in conversations with Fox about joining the talent show, which launched her career, next season. She may be one of several prominent Idol alums to return as judges next season, with inaugural winner Kelly Clarkson and second-place finishers Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken also in the mix. Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly said last week that Idol will likely revert to the three-judge format next season. The show’s overhaul will likely also include the (second) departure of executive producer Nigel Lythgoe. (He first left in 2008 but was brought back two years later to usher the transition from Simon Cowell to Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler). In TV, Hudson recently recurred on NBC’s Smash.
EXCLUSIVE: Relativity and The Weinstein Company are in advanced negotiations to team in the acquisition of U.S. distribution rights for Jane Got A Gun, the Western that is being directed by Gavin O’Connor and star Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Ewan McGregor, Noah Emmerich and Rodrigo Santoro. The deal is for a wide release but they haven’t finalized a slot for the film. CAA is brokering the deal. I hear CBS Films and Focus Features were also in the mix.
The film’s backers showed footage of the picture on Wednesday, and they were looking for a deal with no upfront money, a discounted distribution fee and a small equity percentage of the gross until the film’s overages are covered. Relativity was negotiating with JGAG producers and it became clear that Weinstein wanted a piece of the movie. Harvey Weinstein has a close relationship with David Boies, the hot shot attorney who is partner in Jane backer Straight Up Films. His daughter, Regency Boies, is a producer on the movie for Straight Up Films. Relativity will handle distribution, I’m told, and TWC is taking the lead on marketing the film, and they decided this would be a good strategic fit. The film is produced by Scott Steindorff, Portman and her Handsomecharlie Films, Aleen Keshishian, Terry Dougas, Scott LaStaiti and Straight Up Films’ Regency Boies.
The American Federation of Musicians are not letting up on Marvel and Disney for scoring their films overseas while getting tax breaks at home. This time the union was in Cleveland close to where filming for Captain America: The Winter Soldier was occurring. About 35 AFM members took to the city’s downtown streets on Thursday to protest the score for the star spangled sequel being outsourced to the UK while Marvel/Disney receive a nearly $10 million tax credit for filming in Ohio. Chanting “bring the music home,” union members handed out flyers slamming the profitable studio for heading “straight to Europe and hired foreign musicians under the table and on the cheap, robbing U.S. musicians of their jobs.”
“People we spoke to on the street in Cleveland were shocked by what the studio was doing, taking their tax dollars that are intended to keep jobs in the US and doing the exact opposite,” Linda Rapka of LA-based Local 47 told me. Rapka was in Cleveland with three other members from LA and two others from NYC Local 802. The AFM was joined in Cleveland also by members of the SEIU, the AFI-CIO and food services union UNITE HERE. The AFM, which has about 90,000 members in the US and Canada, are planning future protests against Marvel/Disney. This latest action this week comes just over month after the AFM staged protests in LA …
EXCLUSIVE: Tom Cruise has exited as the lead in The Man From U.N.C.L.E., the remake of the classic TV series that Guy Ritchie will direct for Warner Bros. Cruise was scheduled to star in the film with Armie Hammer, but he has stepped out of the picture to focus on producing and starring in Mission: Impossible 5. Paramount and Skydance are now planning to begin shooting the latest installment of that franchise before year’s end. Warner Bros has a script they like, and a top director who’s expecting to direct U.N.C.L.E. in the fall. The timing proved too difficult and so Cruise stepped out to focus on M:I5.
Warner Bros will now go hard looking for the lead of this movie, which is inspired by the original TV series ran from 1964-68, with Robert Vaughan and David McCallum playing Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, two agents of the United Network Command for Law Enforcement. With gadgets and their wits and charm, they fought the evil forces of Thrush. Hammer, who’ll be seen shortly alongside Johnny Depp in the Gore Verbinski-directed The Lone Ranger, is still firmly in the film.
This is another temporary setback for a potential franchise that Warner Bros has long been high on, going back to when the studio had Steven Soderbergh ready to direct George Clooney in the lead. The actor …
EXCLUSIVE: Nancy Dubuc is not wasting any time putting her stamp on A+E Networks. While she doesn’t officially transition into her new role as president and CEO of the company until June 1, I hear Dubuc already is working on plans for the brands. With A&E and History in top shape and Lifetime well into the rebuilding process, Dubuc is focusing her attention on the group’s next tier of networks, Bio, LMN and H2. As part of her turnaround plans, I’ve learned that veteran BBC executive Jana Bennett, who helped usher TLC into mainstream programming in the early 2000s, has been tapped to run LMN and Bio. (Dirk Hoogstra is in charge of H2.)
Bennett spent more than 30 years working for the BBC, most recently as president of worldwide networks and the global BBC iPlayer for the corporation’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, a position she held until departing late last year. In the US, Bennett is best known for her three-year stint as EVP and general manager of Discovery Communications’ then-The Learning Channel, where she shepherded the channel’s transformation and ratings growth by introducing reality and home makeover shows, some based on British formats, under the slogan Life Unscripted. They included such audience pleasers as Junkyard Wars and Trading Spaces. Bennett left in 2002 to return to London as director of BBC Television.