The first photos of the new The X Factor judges panel have surfaced, with (from left) Paulina Rubio, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland and Simon Cowell on duty yesterday for auditions in Charleston, SC. Hurry Fox, take a picture before the lineup changes — again.
The new study provides some statistical ammo for those in the Commonwealth who like the tax break, and are still smarting from a state Department of Revenue report in March that raised questions about whether it makes sense. The MPAA commissioned analysis from HR&A Advisors says that the state’s $37.9M in tax credits in 2011 added $375.3M to the Massachusetts economy including 2,220 full time equivalent jobs. That “reconfirms that incentivizing productions creates jobs and generates enormous economic return for local and state economies,” MPAA chief Chris Dodd says. Recent productions in the state include The Fighter, Grown Ups, Moneyball, Ted and The Town. The MPAA findings contrast with the state Department of Revenue study that concluded the incentive cost taxpayers $44M in 2011 and added about $39M to the state’s economy. Early this year Gov. Deval Patrick urged the legislature to cap the tax break at $40M a year, charging that it provided too much assistance to highly paid movie stars. The incentive appears to be safe for now; last month the state House dropped the idea for the budget it approved. The film tax incentive, introduced in 2006, sunsets in 2023. It consists of a 25% payroll credit for employees who make less than $1M a year, a 25% production expense credit, and sales and use tax exemption.
David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
All six major Hollywood studios and a raft of major tech firms have joined to solve compatibility and other issues with next-gen “cloud computing” tools they are increasingly using to create, collaborate on, distribute, protect and archive movies and other media. Dell, EMC, Rackspace and EVault are among the big tech firms taking part. The Entertainment Technology Center at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts will manage the joint standard-setting effort, called “Production in the Cloud.” Ex-Sony Pictures tech executive Ken Williams, now the ETC’s executive director and CEO, said the studios are trying to avoid another round of format wars, such as those that dogged Hollywood with Blu-Ray versus HD-DVD or VHS versus Betamax. Such format wars bring “uncertainty, inefficiency, and confusion to the marketplace, and (slow) product adoption and business growth for all players,” Williams said. “This effort will work to avoid those pitfalls in the evolution of production.” The same cloud-computing revolution that has powered the rise of consumer online services such as Google Apps, Dropbox and Spotify is also transforming high-end services used in Hollywood such as editing video, sharing it with post-production and visual-effects companies and distributing the finished products to various outlets. The initiative also will develop standard formats for archiving films and providing security among other core functions.
UPDATE: Toronto Lands World Premiere Of Godfrey Reggio’s ‘Visitors’, With Cinedigm Aboard As Distributor
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 12:01 AM: : The Toronto Film Festival has set the Godfrey Reggio-directed Visitors to have its world premiere at the festival September 8, in a most splashy manner. The film has an original score by Philip Glass and it is being presented by Steven Soderbergh. While that filmmaker is stepping away from directing features, he’s not done backing them and has been a big supporter of Reggio’s work since Koyaanisqatsi 30 years ago. The Toronto premiere will be presented in 4K digital projection and live accompaniment by members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Michael Riesman. The premiere will be held that Sunday at 6 PM at the Visa Screening Room at the Elgin Theatre.
Said TIFF Director and CEO Piers Handling: “Reggio’s Visitors is a poignant, powerful film. Coupled with live performance by 65 Members of the TSO, this event is an opportunity for Toronto audiences to be moved and to experience film in a whole new way.”
Of his involvement, Soderbergh told me: “I was a producer on the last Qatsi film but had lost touch with Godfrey and out of the blue I emailed his producer, Lawrence Taub. He told me they were in the last stages of cutting his new movie. They brought me out to Red Hook in Brooklyn to show it to me. I loved it and said, ‘What can I do to help, what do you want?’ They asked if I would be presenter and help them navigate making a distribution deal and finding a foreign sales person and I said, ‘I’m in.’ ”
Newbie distributor Vertical Entertainment has snapped up US rights to the Russian 3D animated pic produced by Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. The Snow Queen tells the tale of a little girl who embarks on a journey to save her brother from the evil witch who’s covered the world in ice. Maxim Sveshnikov and Vlad Barbe directed the pic from a script by Barbe and Vadim Sveshnikov. Yuri Moskvin, Vladimir Nikolaev, Olga Sinelshchikova, Sergey Rapoport, Alexander Ligay and Bekmambetov are producers. Already released in Ukraine, Brazil, South Korea, Israel, Turkey, UAE, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, The Snow Queen has a sequel in the works for Winter 2014. Peter Jarowey negotiated the deal with WME’s Deb McIntosh. Wizart Distribution’s is handling international sales at Cannes, where last week Vertical acquired rights to Josh Duhamel’s SXSW film Scenic Route.
Vince Vaughn is a slacker who learns he’s fathered over 500 children as a result of a sperm bank snafu. Ken Scott writes and directs the remake of his own 2011 French Canadian film Starbuck, with Chris Pratt and Cobie Smulders co-starring. Disney/DreamWorks release the comedy November 22 opposite Lionsgate’s franchise sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire so they’ve attempted to get buzz rolling with a new teaser trailer:
USA Network has greenlighted Divide & Conquer, a half-hour comedy pilot written and executive produced by Peter Ocko (Fairly Legal, The Office). The pickup comes on the heels of USA last week making its first comedy series orders in 15 years with Sirens and Playing House and greenlighting half-hour pilot Love Is Dead. USA’s original comedy strategy is built around the network’s off-network acquisition of Modern Family, which launches on USA in September. USA’s first original comedies are slated to premiere in first quarter 2014 as companions to Modern Family. Among Sirens, Playing House, Love Is Dead and Divide & Conquer, Divide & Conquer is the only true family comedy that could go well with Modern Family. Produced by Universal Cable Prods, it gets into the heads of a big family: four children finding their way to adulthood in these complicated times, and the parents whose lives they’re sucking dry to get there. In addition to its development, USA also is considering a pickup of recently cancelled cult ABC comedy Happy Endings, which looks promising, and is taking another crack at pilot Paging Dr. Freed. Ocko is with Vision Art.
After keeping mum on reports that it was taking in docu-reality series Who Do You Think You Are for the past nine months, TLC now officially announced that it has ordered eight new hour-long episodes of the Emmy-nominated series, which was cancelled by NBC after three cycles. Production is underway for a July 23 premiere. Celebrities who will be featured on the new season include Christina Applegate, Cindy Crawford, Zooey Deschanel, and Chris O’Donnell. The series, produced by Shed Media U.S. and Is or Isn’t Entertainment, reveals celebrities’ ancestry.
Comedian-writer Hannibal Buress (30 Rock) has signed a development deal with Comedy Central. The pact includes a pilot commitment for a project Buress will executive produce; a one-hour stand-up special; a nationwide Comedy Central Live stand-up tour; and a recurring role on the network’s upcoming series Broad City.
This is “a new, developing phenomenon,” AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan told investors this morning at the Barclays’ Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference. Although advertisers still crave ratings points, they also increasingly want to reach people who say that “there are only two or three shows I watch and I live and die for them.” The trend is gaining momentum as viewers discover opportunities to binge view shows on pay TV, VOD and streaming services including Netflix and Amazon Prime. In addition, young viewers become obsessive about programs when social networks such as Facebook and Twitter help to connect them with others who share their passion. As a result, “that favorite stuff in media is emerging as the most important [driver] of value,” Sapan says. That’s encouraging for networks such as AMC — which has high-engagement hits with dramas including Mad Men, The Walking Dead, and Breaking Bad. But it’s hard to build a business around the trend: “Good dramatic TV shows aren’t known until they’re on,” he says. And nobody has perfect pitch. “There are many shows that have spectacular television pedigree and the show doesn’t work” while others from untested producers or stars “take off like crazy.” Sapan says he’s encouraged by his upcoming shows including Low Winter Sun (a police drama), Turn (about Revolutionary War spies), Halt & Catch Fire (about the computing boom in the 1980s), and Line Of Sight (a sci-fi drama the AMC chief calls “nuanced and exquisite”).
Here’s the U.S. trailer for the Edgar Wright-directed The World’s End, the third film that teams him with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Five childhood friends reunite when one of them becomes hellbent on trying a marathon pub crawl in their hometown, 20 years after attempting the last one. But the old stomping grounds have changed — a lot — since they were last there. Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Rosamund Pike co-star. Pegg co-wrote the script for the Working Title comedy. Focus Features releases in the U.S. on August 23, a month after the film’s UK debut July 19.
The Tony Awards will stay on CBS through at least 2018. The network has inked a new five-year broadcast agreement with The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing for the awards show, which honors Broadway’s best. This illustrates CBS’ increasing commitment to the Tonys. After a string of one-year renewals, CBS in 2010 made a three-year Tony deal, which will now be succeeded by a five-year pact. The Tonys have aired on CBS for 35 years, since 1978. The 67th annual Tony Awards will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall on June 9. The show returns to Radio City Music Hall after two years at the Beacon Theatre. Emmy winner Neil Patrick Harris returns as host.
SEATTLE—(NASDAQ: AMZN)—May 22, 2013—Today, Amazon Publishing announces Kindle Worlds, the first commercial publishing platform that will enable any writer to create fan fiction based on a range of original stories and characters and earn royalties for doing so. Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment division for its New York Times best-selling book series Gossip Girl, by Cecily von Ziegesar; Pretty Little Liars, by Sara Shepard; and Vampire Diaries, by L.J. Smith; and plans to announce more licenses soon. Through these licenses, Kindle Worlds will allow any writer to publish authorized stories inspired by these popular Worlds and make them available for readers to purchase in the Kindle Store.
ITV has unveiled the judges for Season 10 of The X Factor UK with Sharon Osbourne returning to the show. She’ll join Gary Barlow, Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh. Osbourne was last on the Simon Cowell series in 2007. Last year’s season nine finale hit a low in December and it’s been expected that a revamp was afoot. There will be new double auditions, one set in front of the judges “in an intimate audition room” and the second again with the judges, but in an arena. The auditions kick off on June 4.
Last year, the Broadcast Television Journalists Association might have helped fuel Homeland‘s surprise Emmy win by awarding its top drama prize to the then-rookie Showtime series. But with today’s announcement of nominees for its 3rd annual Critics’ Choice TV Awards, the group might make more noise with what it spurned than what it honored. HBO and FX lead the network tally with 21 and 19 noms, respectively, and CBS’ The Big Bang Theory and FX’s American Horror Story each drew six to top all programs. However, a look at the Best Comedy and Best Drama races reveal some surprising omissions. Missing from the BJTA’s comedy series hopefuls are three-time defending Emmy champ Modern Family (supporting actress Sarah Hyland is the show’s lone nominee), along with recently wrapped perennial 30 Rock and, perhaps most glaringly, HBO’s hipster darling Girls. And conspicuously absent from the drama series combatants is four-time Emmy winner Mad Men, which also earned only a single nom, for lead actress Elizabeth Moss.
Instead, vying for the Critics’ Choice Award for best drama are Homeland, HBO’s Game Of Thrones, PBS’ Downtown Abbey, CBS’ The Good Wife and AMC’s Breaking Bad — all of which also were nominated in the category last year — along with FX’s freshman The Americans. Up for best comedy are Modern Family‘s Wednesday night companion The Middle, landing its first major awards recognition, as well as Big Bang Theory, FX’s Louie, Fox’s New Girl, NBC’s Parks and Recreation and HBO Veep. (No sign of last year’s winner Community, led by new showrunners Moses Port and David Guarascio.) Netflix’s House Of Cards made an entrance into the awards circles with two acting noms, including one for star Kevin Spacey.
The awards will be handed out June 10 at the Beverly Hilton — not coincidentally during Emmy voting season. Parks and Rec‘s Retta will host. See the complete list of nominees, along with the breakdown of noms by show and network, after the jump:
An HBO film? A VOD movie? Competing for the Palme d’Or, all seriously in one of the last bastions of pure cinema, the Cannes Film Festival‘s main competition? Oui!
With HBO’s Behind The Candelabra and Radius-TWC‘s Ryan Gosling-starrer Only God Forgives from Cannes darling Nicolas Winding Refn, a new day — and date — has dawned here. And in all these cases, huge movie stars who might not have considered anything but a traditional theatrical release and all the trimmings that go with that are suddenly here with projects that — while also possibly traveling the theatrical route, too — will simultaneously, or even first, be seen on smaller screens. This might have been considered sacreligious in the Cannes of old, but in this ever-changing film industry it’s the way of the future, at least partially.
HBO made a big splash Tuesday night with its extremely well-received Steven Soderbergh-directed movie Behind The Candelabra, the story of a very closeted Liberace and his relationship with a young man that has become one of the best-reviewed films here. Its Oscar-winning stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon hit the Palais Grand Theatre’s red carpet, won raves and immediate awards talk here, even though one person said of the film’s Palme d’Or chances, “I can’t imagine Cannes giving an award to an HBO movie”. Really? Well, who could have imagined Cannes, a few years ago, actually embracing HBO and letting it compete at the big table which is exactly what Candelabra is doing. Many observers here think Douglas is in fact the frontrunner for the Best Actor prize for his uncanny portrayal of the uber-flamboyant Liberace. I would go as far to say that Douglas and Damon, who plays his young lover Scott Thorson (the man who wrote the expose upon which the film is based), would easily have been nominated for Oscars had this gone theatrical instead of cable in America (it will be in theaters internationally). Instead the film, which HBO begins airing Sunday in the U.S., and its stars will just have to settle for sweeping the Emmys, as it most likely will do. That it also represents what Steven Soderbergh says is his final film for the foreseeable future could actually increase his Palme d’Or chances in my view, perhaps as a message that he shouldn’t quit so soon. How ironic that no major studio or distributor wanted the film when it was initially pitched. But HBO jumped at the chance. Douglas for one is extremely grateful. He even had to hold back tears and got very choked up trying to thank his colleagues during the Cannes press conference yesterday for waiting for him while he underwent his cancer treatments.
So as their movie hits TV screens in America, could Soderbergh or his film be winning a prize in Cannes the same day? Stranger things have happened, but that would be a first.
Cannes Briefs: ‘Pioneer’ Sales; Adopt Takes Harry Dean Stanton Docu; Howard J. Ford Boards ‘The Tank’; Lionsgate Breaks Record; Dignity Options ‘God Of Driving’
Arrow Films has acquired all UK rights on Norwegian thriller Pioneer. It’s also sold to Benelux, Japan and Korea. Magnolia previously picked up the film for the U.S. Erik Skjoldbærg, whose Insomnia was remade by Christopher Nolan, directs the film which stars Aksel Hennie, Wes Bentley, Stephen Lang, Stephanie Sigman and Jonathan LaPaglia. The high-octane conspiracy thriller is inspired by 70s classics The Conversation, Three Days Of The Condor and Chinatown. It will be released in Scandinavia in September. TrustNordisk handles international sales.
Adopt Films has acquired all U.S. rights to Swiss director Sophie Huber’s documentary Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction, which premiered at last year’s Venice Film Festival and had its U.S. debut at SXSW. The look at the actor-singer incorporates informal musical interludes by Stanton, clips from his films, and reflections by friends and colleagues like David Lynch, Kris Kristofferson, Debbie Harry, and Sam Shepard. Christian Davi, Chiemi Karasawa, Christof Neracher and Thomas Thümena produced, Huber and DP Seamus McGarvey are exec producers. Adopt plans a fall U.S. release in time to qualify the pic for the Best Documentary Oscar.
Music Box has acquired German hit tragicomedy Oh Boy from Beta Cinema. The movie won six Lolas earlier this year including Best Film, Best Script, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. Jan Ole Gerster’s first film is a Berlin-set ironic portrait of a young man and the city he lives in. Earlier in the market, Beta sold out in all Europea territories along with Japan, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. Music Box managing director Ed Arentz said, “We’re thrilled to be working on one of the most entertaining debut films in some time. Writer/director Jan Ole Gerster has created a seemingly off-hand Berlin-set Catcher In The Rye and found a perfect lead in Tom Schilling. With the release of this film in the U.S., we disavow any responsibility for the likely increased influx of American slackers to Berlin.”