I can confirm that talks are down the road with Danny Boyle on the Aaron Sorkin-scripted Steve Jobs movie at Sony, based on Walter Isaacson’s book. The deal is by no means sealed, but the studio is moving quickly to get this to the start line. A report in THR says Leonardo DiCaprio is the choice to star, and his name was in circulation at the very beginning when the book first was optioned by Sony with producers Mark Gordon and Guymon Casady, who were joined by Scott Rudin when Sorkin came aboard to adapt. DiCaprio just committed to The Revenant with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for fall, so the timing might not work. But this is a movie on a very fast track. Boyle’s repped by WME.
Woody Allen Star Not ‘Fading’ As Moviegoers And Oscar Voters Ignored The Scandalous Headlines And Embraced The Movies – Analysis
Hey Woody Allen haters: if you were hoping his rare sojourn as strictly a hired actor in writer/director/star John Turturro‘s new comedy, Fading Gigolo, would flop due to his latest scandal and controversy you have to be sorely disappointed today. Not only did Gigolo NOT fail, it drew the second highest opening weekend gross for a 2014 indie release and reviews, though mixed for the movie are particularly good for Allen’s turn as a “pimp” for the aging lothario played by Turturro. With nearly $200,000 at just five theaters and a sterling $39,680 per screen average it came in only behind Wes Anderson’s hit, The Grand Budapest Hotel in terms of limited debuts this year. Millennium’s Bill Lee told Deadline Sunday the film was performing even better than they had hoped. It starts expanding next weekend. Now why is this significant?
Fox is pulling out all the stops for the global launch of X-Men: Days Of Future Past, with stars Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy stepping up to bat for a week’s worldwide premiere tour billed as the “X-Men X-Perience.” The trio — who respectively play Wolverine, young Magneto and young Dr. Charles Xavier in the film — made a web video announcement today (see below). After the New York premiere, they will be joined by castmembers Jennifer Lawrence, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Peter Dinklage, Ellen Page, Fan Bingbing, Omar Sy and Nicholas Hoult for tour stops including London, Moscow, Singapore, Melbourne, Beijing and Sao Paulo — though who will wind up where is still a secret. The X-Men franchise has morphed into a cash cow overseas, with the most recent titles — last year’s The Wolverine and 2011′s X-Men: First Class – pulling in well over 60% of their global box office haul from territories outside the U.S. and Canada. This is a marketing move typical of 20th Century Fox’s prowess in foreign markets, and since the days of Titanic and Braveheart it has always globetrotted talent in an effort to raise a film’s profile and maximize moolah. X-Men: Days Of Future Past opens day and date worldwide May 25.
Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told Wall Street analysts today that Maryland officials are engaged in “ongoing negotiations” to keep House Of Cards production in the state — even though lawmakers didn’t approve the tax breaks producer Media Rights Capital wants. “I would anticipate that these are overcome-able issues,” he says. The Netflix exec says that the state benefits from “staggering” benefits including “hundreds of jobs, and not just for actors.” The controversy has become a political volleyball, he said, though he was careful to note that Maryland “has been great for the show” and that “investors and fans are not at risk in any way.” MRC, which had planned to start shooting the third season of the D.C.-set drama in early spring, received about $26M in Maryland tax credits for its first two season, according to reports. The production company has been seeking a tax credit for Season 3 in line with Season 2′s $15 million. But that would require the Legislature to raise the total credits for all shows — including HBO’s Veep — to $18.5M from $15M. Those favoring the increase were unable to secure the votes they needed.
John Turturro To Replace Robert De Niro As James Gandolfini’s Successor In HBO Mini ‘Criminal Justice’
There is a casting change on HBO‘s miniseries Criminal Justice, the passion project of the late James Gandolfini. John Turturro has stepped in to play the role of Jack Stone, originally played by Gandolfini in the pilot. Turturro replaces Robert De Niro who committed to succeeding the beloved Sopranos star last fall but has pulled out because of scheduling reasons. Gandolfini is getting a posthumous executive credit on the seven-hour miniseries, based on the BBC series created by Peter Moffat. Richard Price wrote the adaptation with Steven Zaillian directing. On the mini, produced by HBO in association with BBC Worldwide Prods. and Film Rites and Tribeca Films, Turturro joins originally cast Riz Ahmed, Bill Camp, Payman Maadi and Poorna Jagannathan.
The New York crime story centers on Jack Stone, an ambulance-chasing New York City attorney who gets in over-his-head when he takes on the case of a Pakistani (Ahmed) accused of murdering a girl on the Upper West Side. While the Jack Stone part is central to the overall story, in the pilot the character only appears in the final scene, which led to discussions between HBO and Zaillian about possibly recasting the role and carrying on with the project that had been so important to Gandolfini. Criminal Justice is executive produced by Gandolfini, Zaillian, Price, Moffat, BBC Worldwide’s Jane Tranter, with Film Rites’ Garrett Basch and Attaboy’s Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders serving as co-executive …
Box Office Final: ‘Heaven’ Is Real Deal Behind ‘Captain America’ Which Shoots Past $200M; ‘Rio 2′ Perches At No. 3; ‘Transcendence’ Short Circuited
OPENING: Heaven Is For Real (SONY) stellar at $22.5M (3-day) and $29.5M (5-day) for No. 2; Transcendence (WB) despondent at No. 4 with $10.8M; A Haunted House 2 (OPRD) $8.8M; Bears (DIS) hibernating with $4.7M.
5TH UPDATE, 2:45 PM: The final numbers are in for the box office Top 20, and Sony/TriStar has a lot to celebrate this weekend as peeps flocked to Heaven Is For Real this Easter holiday with a final tally of $22.5M (three-day) and $29.5M (five-day). Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier has a very good chance of being No. 1 for four weekends in a row as there is nothing in the hamper next weekend to stop it. Not since Lionsgate unleashed The Hunger Games in 2012 has that happened, and before that, the last time was in 2008 when Warner Bros introduced The Dark Knight. Rio 2 is No. 3 in its second weekend out, dropping 44%, and racking up $75M in two weeks. Transcendence, the Johnny Depp-starring sci-fi film, short-circuited this weekend and should have been retitled Despondence as it came in under $11M for Warner Bros. and Alcon. Uh, no peeps cared for that one. Surprising coming from Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister who made his directing debut and delivered such a bomb. The trailer was confusing and hard to follow. Seemed like it was just a bunch of shots of Depp in different states of duress instead of selling futuristic sizzle. The one sheet was a headshot of Depp with digits on his head. And the production stills made him look like American Hustle‘s Bradley Cooper in perm rods. It’s like Lawnmower 2 for the YK2 generation. Yes, in fact, there is actually a Y2K joke in there … so 2000.
Leaving no question about Divine Intervention: Noah jumped up two notches yesterday over opener Bears and God’s Not Dead to round out the Top 10 … and … Draft Day (which dropped 42% this weekend) scored better in its sophomore frame and juked Divergent this weekend to get the No. 6 spot. A Haunted House 2 from Open Road creaked its way to No. 5 and $8.8M in its debut while Oculus dropped 57% in its second weekend. Opening next weekend: the Cameron Diaz-Kate Upton-Leslie Mann comedy The Other Woman (Fox), Brick Mansions (REL) which stars the late Paul Walker, and the horror film The Quiet Ones (LGF). Expanding from five theaters to 25 runs in LA and NY will be the John Turturo’s comedy Fading Gigolo (Millennium). Here are the final weekend box office numbers:
Legendary TV To Launch Global Distribution Unit Under Former Sony TV International Boss Michael Grindon
The latest piece in Legendary Entertainment‘s TV operations has fallen into place, with the company saying today it is forming a global television distribution division that will be headed by veteran Michael Grindon, who had been head of Sony Pictures Television International for 15 years. Grindon will report to Bruce Rosenblum, president of Legendary Television and Digital Media, who since being hired last spring has overseen the expansion of Legendary’s TV unit that now has the capacity to develop, finance and self-distribute its fare worldwide.
It’s the latest big movie for Legendary, which in December bolstered its TV roster with its first acquisition, nabbing indie producer Asylum Entertainment for north of $100 million by outbidding rivals in the midst of Legendary’s first development season, when it set up several projects. The plan is for Asylum to serve as a production label for non-scripted, long-form, sports and other genres. That deal jump-started Legendary’s unscripted and documentary production and gave it a toehold in longform programming, an area Asylum is building with Legendary’s help. It also has been adding execs including Tom Lesinski, President, Digital Content and Distribution; Gaumont International Television COO Richard Frankie as EVP Business Management; Wonderland’s Peter Johnson as EVP Scripted Series Development; and Greg Siegel from Break Media as SVP Development and Production.
Grindon will help build and operate a global distribution infrastructure at Legendary Worldwide Distribution and hire and oversee a team to handle the sales, marketing and servicing of all Legendary TV programming worldwide. The division will also look to handle international distribution for other indie production companies.
Bill Bellamy has signed with Resolution in all areas. He stars in and executive produces the syndicated comedy Mr. Box Office and toplined the Showtime specials Crazy Sexy Dirty and Bill Bellamy’s Ladies Night Out and exec produced and hosted last month’s Centric Comedy All Stars. Bellamy also is a recurring co-host on The Rachael Ray Show and appeared in the 2013 feature 10 Rules For Sleeping Around. He is managed by Barry Katz.
Jonny Campbell has inked with Verve. The UK-based TV director also has signed to helm the BBC/HBO adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. The Warner Bros-produced project will premiere on the BBC before airing on HBO. Campbell directed last year’s BBC Three miniseries In The Flesh and has helmed multiple episodes of UK series including Doctor Who, Shameless, Ashes And Ashes and Phoenix Nights. He is repped in the UK by 42.
The Time Warner CEO benefited from a new contract that took effect last year and the board’s conclusion that he “has been highly effective and successful” in a year when the share price appreciated 46%. Jeff Bewkes‘ 2013 package included: $2M salary, $8.2M stock awards, $7.8M option awards, $14.4M non equity incentives, and $126,889 in other compensation. The “other” category includes $55,191 for Bewkes’ personal use of the company plane as well as payments for car and driver and reimbursement for financial advisory services. The Time Warner board treats Bewkes like a rock star in comparison with other execs: His compensation accounts for 53% of the total paid to the top five officers, up from 48% last year. He made 5.5 times the median for his four top lieutenants, up from 4.5 times last year. Corporate governance watchdogs often become concerned that a CEO’s pay is out-of-whack when he or she makes more than three times the median for the others. Time Warner will hold its annual meeting in Burbank on June 13.
BBC America‘s clone drama returned Saturday night with its best-ever A18-49 rating and now is the network’s second-highest-rated series in the demo, behind only Doctor Who. Orphan Black was the No. 1 television show on Twitter and Tumblr for the day and is the No. 1 basic cable drama on Twitter for the week.
Orphan Black recorded a total of 785,000 across multiple plays — premiering with 620,000 total viewers and 391,000 demo viewers. On Saturday, the series reached a new high on Twitter, reaching 1.2 million unique users with more than 43,000 tweets about the show. This is up 185% from the previous best (Season 1 finale) and nearly six times greater than the series premiere. The premiere episode alone generated nearly 36,000 tweets, beating several high-profile premieres this season including Fargo, Homeland, True Detective, Vikings, The Americans, Turn and Arrow. On Tumblr, there were 1.8 million notes on posts about Orphan Black in the month leading up to the premiere, including 277,000 on Saturday.
Related: Amazon Prime Instant Video To Stream ‘Orphan Black’ Repeats
UPDATED: CEO Reed Hastings told analysts that the likely price increase is due to the fact that “over the last couple of years we’ve been improving the content selection on Netflix and broadening it.” For that to continue, “we have to eventually increase prices a little bit.” He’d consider having tiers of service but first wants to “be sure we grandfather [existing customers into the new system] cleanly.” As for his opposition to Comcast’s $45B plan to buy Time Warner Cable, Hastings says that Comcast CEO Brian Roberts is “very thoughtful, very long term and very reasonable. But I don’t know that we want anyone to control half of the U.S. internet.”
PREVIOUS, 1:04 PM: Current customers could keep their $7.99 a month price “for a generous time period” if the fees for new customers go up — possibly “a one- or two-dollar increase, depending on the country, later this quarter” — CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells say in a note to shareholders. They slipped that important piece of info into a report that basically reassured Wall Street, sending Netflix shares up 5.7% in postmarket trading. The company generated $53.1M in net income, up from $2.7M in the same period in 2013, on revenues of $1.27B, +24%. The revenue number is on target with the Street’s consensus forecast, and earnings at 86 cents a share beat projections …
EXCLUSIVE: Ahead of its screening at the Marché du Film at Cannes, the pic about three couples dealing with the same reality-shaking event has found a domestic distributor. Millennium Entertainment has picked up U.S. rights to Parts Per Billion, starring Rosario Dawson, Josh Hartnett, Teresa Palmer, Penn Badgley, Frank Langella and Gena Rowlands as the three couples forced to make life-defining decisions in the face of a biological catastrophe that threatens to destroy the human race. As the pandemic spreads and civilization is thrown into chaos, generations old and young must each make the ultimate decision. Brian Horiuchi wrote and directed the sci-fi drama, which was produced by Molly Hassell, Jennifer Levine and Michael Benaroya. No release date has been set. LA-based XYZ Films handled the Millennium deal and also is doing international sales for the movie, which screened at Hong Kong Filmart last month.
Column: Social media has had a tremendous impact on movie and television marketing, increasing awareness and visibility for a TV show or movie across the globe in a click — a lot clicks — of a button. Some of the best social media teams right now on TV are the two Jimmys — late-night talk hosts Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel. These two are in a constant battle for viewers and they really go at each other on social media. Their social engagement across platforms and their understanding of social heralds a new generation of savvy Hollywood stars backed by sophisticated online marketing teams that understand how to push past traditional media to build a tremendous fan base. Increasingly, stars, celebrities and their teams are using social media to extend awareness of their brands — because that is what they have become — online and off, driving ratings and box office as well as bigger fan bases.
These days, a performer’s social media footprint is strongly considered when marketers start strategizing a film’s campaign. Vin Diesel is the current king of social, almost entirely because of the monster presence he’s built on Facebook. In the months since his emotional tribute on FB for his good friend and Fast & Furious co-star Paul Walker who died in a car crash, Diesel has seen his Facebook presence vault from an already whopping 54M likes to 72.3M, according to RelishMix, which tracks social-media engagement by TV shows, films and performers. And in six months, his following has jumped 46%.
Unlike Kimmel and Fallon, Diesel has no team to manage his social profile. He does it entirely on his own. “Vin is a very unique case in that he curates that himself and the voice is authentic and all the posts seem real because they are real,” says Michael Moses, co-president of marketing at Universal Pictures. “He doesn’t have a social-media team. He maintains that. He has an authentic relationship with his fans.” Moses calls it “a higher level of commitment and engagement.”
Will the Supreme Court back upstart tech company Aereo in its bid to short-cut broadcasters with a service that provides an Internet connection to over-the-air TV signals? Deadline Legal Editor Dominic Patten is headed to Washington D.C. to cover tomorrow’s oral arguments before the Court. Here’s a quick primer on the legal aspects of the case and what to look for ahead of the court’s final decision, which is expected by July. (Please note that in the time since this podcast was recorded, the Supreme Court has agreed to allow the U.S. Solicitor General to join in the oral arguments on behalf of the broadcasters.) For a view on the potential business-side impacts of the case, make sure to listen to Deadline Executive Editor David Lieberman in his weekly Deadline Big Media podcast from Friday, where he and David Bloom look at whether the Aereo decision will upset the broadcast apple cart should Aereo win. Also, Lieberman and Patten collaborated on a series of stories this past week looking at “The ABCs of the Aereo Case,” beginning with this piece explaining what Aereo is.
LOS ANGELES (April 21, 2014) – The Producers Guild of America announced today the opening of the submissions and key deadlines for consideration for the 2015 Producers Guild Awards. The 26th Annual Producers Guild Awards ceremony will take place on Saturday, January 24, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.
Sister publication Variety reporting Tom Hanks wants to star for Steven Spielberg in an untitled thriller scripted by Matt Charman. Not sure if this will be next, as DreamWorks poured cold water on the Cold War project when Deadline inquired a couple weeks ago after hearing it might be next for Spielberg. In this one, Hanks would play James Donovan, a prominent American attorney enlisted by the CIA during the Cold War to slip behind the iron curtain to negotiate the release of a pilot captured when his U2 spy plane is shot down over Russia. The prolific Marc Platt is the producer.
I wonder if some of these projects, including the still-percolating Robopocalypse, will eventually square things financially for India-based Reliance, which sure seems to have so far come out on the short end of the stick after bankrolling a DreamWorks venture that seems to have run its course, and hasn’t generated much in the way of blockbuster hits since leaving Paramount. Stay tuned.