The hybrid documentary centers on a Somali pirate who hijacks ships off the African coast while struggling to be a father figure to his family. FilmBuff picked up North American rights to Last Hijack at SXSW and plans to release it theaters and on demand in the summer. Directors Tommy Pallotta and Femke Wolting splice animated re-creations into the documentary to represent the subject’s “memories, dreams and fears from his point of view.” Last Hijack, which premiered at Berlin, was produced by Wolting and Bruno Felix. The deal was negotiated by FilmBuff Head of Content Partnerships Steven Beckman and Match Factory’s Jenny Walendy and Julien Razafindranaly on behalf of the filmmakers.
Tatiana Maslany — who stars as a con woman and her numerous clones — was widely considering one the Emmys’ biggest snubs last year, though the Golden Globes did hand her a nom. Now here’s our first look at Season 2 of Orphan Black, in which Sarah (Maslany) is on a desperate quest to find her missing daughter (Skyler Wexler). Key exchange: When Sarah is asked, “What are you gonna do — just start shooting people?” she replies simply, “Yeah.” The sophomore session of BBC America‘s drama bows at 9 pm April 19. Have a look:
Fort McCoy had a run on the festival circuit in 2011 and 2012 and has been acquired by monterey media, which nabbed North American rights and plans a late summer theatrical release. Eric Stoltz, Kate Connor, Lyndsy Fonseca, Andy Hirsch, Camryn Manheim and Seymour Cassel star in the pic based on the true story of a family living next to a Nazi POW camp in Wisconsin during World War II. Conner wrote and co-directed with Michael Worth. The deal was made by Fort McCoy LLC’s Connor and monterey’s Scott Mansfield.
BOX OFFICE FINAL: ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’ Commands $45M; ‘Mr. Peabody’ Chases In $32.2M; ‘Son Of God’ Falls 59% In Second Weekend, ‘Budapest Hotel’ Per Screen Stuns With Over $202K
OPENING: 300: Rise of An Empire (WB) commands $43M to $45M and ended on the high end; Mr. Peabody And Sherman (FOX) $29M to $31M and made $32.5M; Son of God (FOX) dropped 61% in its second weekend. NOTEWORTHY: Best Picture winner 12 Years A Slave (FOX) re-upped to 1,065 screens and breaks back into the top ten. The Grand Budapest Hotel on four screens in L.A. and N.Y. a phenomenal, record-breaking per screen for a live-action film of $192,250 and might climb to $200,000.
5TH UPDATE, MONDAY, 1: 30 PM: The final numbers are in with The Grand Budapest Hotel pulling in $811,000 for Fox Searchlight to take in a per-screen average of $202K+ on four screens. High end of yesterday’s estimate. Warner Bros.’ and Legendary Pictures’ 300: Rise Of An Empire was on the money with yesterday’s cume and Mr. Peabody And Sherman‘s numbers were almost in line with yesterday’s while the ten spot was finally figured out … it went to Ride Along, not RoboCop – but only by a hair. We are keeping in yesterday’s chart below for comparisons for those of you who want to see the differences (i.e. Son Of God down 59% instead of 61%, so Sunday’s numbers were slightly better than expected).
Next weekend’s openers are Disney’s Need For Speed, Lionsgate’s Tyler Perry’s Single Mom’s Club going wide and in limited release will be Focus Features’ Bad Words, Warner Bros’ Vernonica Mars (also on VOD), and The Weinstein Company’s One Chance. Here is the Top 20:
1). 300: Rise Of An Empire (WB), 3,470 theaters / 3-day cume: $45M / Per screen: $13,006 / Wk 1
2). Mr. Peabody And Sherman (FOX) 3,934 theaters / 3-day cume: $32.2M / Per screen: $8,187 / Wk 1
3). Non-Stop (UNI), 3,113 theaters (+23) / 3-day cume: $15.8M (-45%) / Per screen: $5,085 / Total cume: $52.5M / Wk 2
4). The Lego Movie (WB), 3,290 theaters (-480) / 3-day cume: $10.9M (-48%) / Per screen: $3,317 / Total cume: 224.8M / Wk 5
5). Son Of God (FOX), 3,271 theaters (+11) / 3-day cume: $10.3M (-59%) / Per screen: $3,173 / Total cume: $41.8M / Wk 2
6). Monuments Men (SONY), 2,001 theaters (-1,001) / 3-day cume: $3M (-38%) / Per screen: $1,537/ Total cume: $70.5M / Wk 5
7). 3 Days To Kill (REL), 2,348 theaters (-543) / 3-day cume: $3M (-39%) / Per screen: $1,282 / Total cume: $25.5M / Wk 3
8). Frozen (DIS), 1,660 theaters (-86) / 3-day cume: $2.9M (-19%) / Per screen: $1,780 / Total cume: $392.9M / Wk 16
9). 12 Years A Slave (FSL) 1,065 theaters (+654) / 3-day cume: $2.1M (+116%) / Per screen: $1,982 / Total cume: $53M / Wk 21
10). Ride Along (UNI), 1,323theaters (-546) /3-day cume: $2,024M (-33%) / Per screen: $1,530 / Total cume: $129.9M / Wk 8
EXCLUSIVE: Frederik Pohl’s Gateway may finally get a screen adaptation. Entertainment One Television (Hell On Wheels) has teamed with De Laurentiis Co. (Hannibal) to develop and produce a drama series adaptation of Pohl’s sci-fi classic. The two companies landed the rights to the 1977 book in a competitive situation, with a number of producers pursuing. The project will be executive produced by De Laurentiis Co’s Martha De Laurentiis and Lorenzo De Maio along with eOne’s John Morayniss, CEO eOne TV; Michael Rosenberg, EVP U.S. Scripted TV; and Benedict Carver, SVP Filmed Entertainment. Search is underway for a writer to write the adaptation, with a number of established showrunners already interested because of Gateway‘s cult status. eOne TV will handle worldwide distribution. De Laurentiis Co., which has a history in screen adaptations of sci-fi classics — most notably the 1984 feature Dune – had been tracking Gateway for years as the book had gone through a number of incarnations, including being developed as a feature. When rights recently became available, De Laurentiis and De Maio went aggressively after it, partnering with eOne, a company they had been looking to collaborate with for the past three years. From the get go, the duo knew they wanted to do the adaptation as a series, not a feature. “Television gives us the opportunity of exploring the rich world of the novel and the complexity of its characters,” De Laurentiis said. Gateway actually started in a serialized format, running in sci-fi magazine Galaxy before its hardcover publication.
EXCLUSIVE: Carla Hacken has been named president of production at Sidney Kimmel Entertainment. Hacken, who set up a producing label at DreamWorks after a 15-year tenure as an executive at Fox 2000 and a short stay at New Regency, will start her new job March 17. She will oversee both film and TV projects for Sidney Kimmel’s company.
Hacken seems well suited to return to the executive suite. Hired at Fox 2000 from ICM by Laura Ziskin, she worked closely with Elizabeth Gabler and oversaw such Fox 2000 films as Walk The Line, The Devil Wears Prada, Unfaithful, The Family Stone, and the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid and Percy Jackson franchises. “Carla is a dynamic, creative executive who brings with her a wealth of experience and an undisputed respect and standing in the business,” said SKE president Jim Tauber. “Her leadership, insights and obvious skills will be invaluable to SKE as we expand our film and television production.”
Hacken tells me she hopes to bring to SKE some of the projects she set at her DreamWorks-based Paper Pictures label. Among those are Francesca Haig’s science fiction trilogy Fire Sermon, which Nicole Perlman is writing; the non-fiction book proposal The Noble Assassin along with Michael Sugar and Anonymous Content, about a WWII French aristocrat who joined the British Special Operations before helping organize the French resistance, with True Detective‘s Cary Fukunaga attached to direct; the Lionsgate-based thriller The Leaves with Gotham Chopra; Suess, the Black List script that has Colin Firth attached to play children’s author Theodor Geisel; an adaptation of Ruth Reichl’s Delicious; and The Man Who Forgot His Wife for CBS Films. There are television projects in the mix as well, including an adaptation of the Wendy Ruderman/Barbara Laker memoir Busted, with Prada’s David Frankel attached to direct and produce with Hacken.
EXCLUSIVE: More than a month after Quentin Tarantino slapped Gawker with a copyright infringement lawsuit over its promotion and dissemination of his leaked and now-shelved The Hateful Eight script, the website today responded in court — and it wants the whole thing thrown out. “Because there was no primary infringement to which Gawker’s links contributed, plaintiff has failed to state a claim for contributory copyright Infringement,” said Gawker Media LLC’s lawyers in a 26-page motion for dismissal today (read it here). “Even if plaintiff had been able to establish the elements of such a claim, Gawker’s use of links to materials already posted to the Internet by third parties was privileged as a fair use.” Gawker has requested an April 14 hearing before federal district Judge John F. Walter on their motion.
The premiere of CNN Original Series: Death Row Stories ranked No. 1 among cable news networks in the news demo last night in the 9 PM hour, averaging 255,000 demo viewers, besting MSNBC (117,000) and FNC (103,000). In overall audience, FNC’s Justice With Judge Jeanine won the hour with 990,000 viewers, to CNN’s 719,000 and MSNBC’s 243,000 with Caught On Camera. CNN noted the launch of its Death Row Stories jumped 99% in the news demo compared to prior four-week average (355,000 versus 128,000). Each in the series of one-hour documentaries follows a different capital murder case; the series is exec produced by Alex Gibney and Robert Redford, and narrated by Susan Sarandon. The project is part of a CNN programming shift to documentary storytelling — the most success of which remains the docu-film Blackfish which, last October, opened with an impressive 1.36 million viewers and 472,000 demo viewers. Two weeks later, CNN’s next docu-film, Pandora’s Promise scored a deflated 345,000 total viewers and 145,000 demo viewers, demonstrating the difficulty of documentary films that each has to be sold to viewers. Death Row Stories, on the other hand, has an eight-episode order.
In prime time last night, CNN was top-rated in the news demo, with 201,000 viewers, to MSNBC’s 175,000 and FNC’s 139,000.
If you want better privacy and security, you’d better pay for it instead of relying on ad-financed search, social media and other online companies most of us use, said a SXSW Interactive Conference panel featuring Edward Snowden, the former intelligence analyst making his first public video appearance since he blew the whistle on massive U.S. government surveillance. Snowden, still living in an undisclosed Russian location while he seeks asylum, took part in the panel long distance by way of a Google+ Hangout chat room. The irony of using such a free service while criticizing Google’s data security was not lost on Snowden or the ACLU specialists who joined him on the panel. The event has been criticized by politicians including Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He wrote a letter to SXSW last week urging the fest to uninvite Snowden, saying his inclusion rewarded him and “undermines the very fairness and freedom that SXSW and the ACLU purport to foster.” The appearance went off without a hitch.
Snowden — perhaps predictably for a long-time computer specialist — focused his remarks today on the technical and legal tools that could protect an average user from mass surveillance. Snowden said putting those protections in place, both in how government oversight works and in how we use our favorite online services, is essential to the Internet’s long-term viability. ”This is a global issue,” Snowden said. “(The U.S. mass-surveillance efforts are) setting fire to the future of the Internet. And the people in this room now, you’re all the firefighters. Changes in technical standards can make mass surveillance more expensive and less practical.”
This was expected, and needed, as evidenced by last week’s announcement that the online video service that targets gamers (read: teenaged boys and young men) axed about 30% of its workforce. But it’s interesting to see how much today’s release plays up the potential partnerships between Machinima and Warner Bros. Machinima CEO Allen DeBevoise says that there are “myriad opportunities” to connect their audiences. And Warner Bros Television Group President of Business and Strategy Craig Hunegs says he’s “excited” about the ability “to reach new audiences, create new original content, and discover new talent.” Don’t be surprised if they look for projects outside of Google’s YouTube, which collects about 45% of the ad revenues it sells for Machinima. No word here about the terms of the financing arrangement, although the companies say that current investors MK Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and Google Capital have also upped their stake. Machinima is said to have raised $67M, including $35M from Google. Here’s today’s official announcement:
EXCLUSIVE: It’s the end of the road for Fox‘s quirky family comedy Raising Hope, with the upcoming fourth-season finale serving as series finale. The blue-collar sitcom will bow out with an hourlong farewell on Friday, April 4, featuring back-to-back episodes from 9-10 PM.
Created by Greg Garcia, Raising Hope was the first comedy series in a while to stick at Fox. It proved a good utility player, doing well behind New Girl but also as a 8 PM anchor of the Tuesday comedy block last season. “Getting to know and love the Chance family on Raising Hope has been a sweet, hilarious ride,” said Fox chairman Kevin Reilly and COO Joe Earley. “Thanks to the incredibly talented cast — along with Greg, Mike and the entire crew — for making us laugh for four fantastic seasons.”
Related: 2014 Fox Pilots
Raising Hope had the odds stacked against it going into Season 4. Creator Greg Garcia left the series as part of his move from 20th TV, which produces Raising Hope, to CBS TV Studios. He was succeeded on showrunner duties by Mike Mariano. Then the show was sent to Fridays where it has languished, most recently pulling in a 0.5 18-49 rating this past Friday.
EXCLUSIVE: Following the success of Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street, a series project at Fox TV Studios is taking an inside look into the Wall Street culture of greed and excess — this time from the vantage point of its newest recruits. FtvS has optioned journalist Kevin Roose‘s bestselling nonfiction book Young Money: Inside The Hidden World Of Wall Street’s Post-Crash Recruits, an exposé that chronicles the lives and exploits of young Wall Street bankers after the crash of 2008. Burn Notice‘s Alfredo Barrios will write the adaptation, which will be shopped shortly. He is executive producing alongside Alan Gasmer (Vikings) and Peter Jaysen of Veritas Entertainment, who brought the book to FtvS.
The series premiere of TNT‘s action drama The Last Ship from Michael Bay will premiere on Sunday, June 22 at 9 PM, followed by the Season 4 bow of the network’s sci-fi drama Falling Skies at 10 PM. TNT’s other new drama, Legends, has been given a 9 PM Wednesday, August 20 launch date. The trio join returning summer runs for Major Crimes, Rizzoli & Isles, Perception and Franklin & Bash, new episodes of Dallas, and the launch of Stephen Bochco’s new crime drama Murder In The First — those dates have yet to be announced. Today’s news was announced during TNT’s panel at SXSW, which includes a sneak peek of Last Ship, which stars Eric Dane and Rhona Mitra and centers on a Navy vessel that may be humanity’s last hope in the wake of a worldwide catastrophe. Check out the sneak below as well as trailers for the other two series:
EXCLUSIVE: In the world of film score composition, musician-composers usually resort to Avid’s Pro Tools and plug-ins. As a pianist-composer myself and a lover of film scores, I found this quite innovative from 300: Rise Of An Empire composer Tom Holkenborg, known as Junkie XL. He is a former Dutch producer-engineer and former DJ and multi-instrumentalist who took apart a piano and re-purposed it to create the sounds of 300. He is not unlike Harry Partch who began making his own instruments in an experiment to generate different sounds in the 1940s to the late 1960s and was very interested in pre-classical, in particular the music of ancient Greece. Junkie XL also did the music on the upcoming film, Divergent. Have a look:
The most camera-ready opponent of Comcast’s merger plans with Time Warner Cable — who, ironically, owes his big break to Comcast-owned NBC — went on CBS This Morning to again blast the proposed merger, saying “consumers will end up paying more, there will be less competition, there will be less innovation and, worse, even worse service.” Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) this morning said he sent out an email to his constituents to get their “feelings about what kind of service they get from Comcast” and whether they think the proposed deal “will be good.” “I got 60,000 responses, and believe me, people don’t like their service from Comcast, and they don’t think this deal is going to help them,” said Franken — who, before entering politics in a big way was a writer and performer on the now Comcast-owned NBC’s Saturday Night Live from its launch in the mid 1970s until 1980, returning in 1985 for another decade. Watch his appearance here:
Franken matters because he sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee which, later this month, will hold hearings on the reported $45 billion deal that would give Comcast 30 million subscribers in 43 of the nation’s top 50 markets — aka about 30% of pay TV customers. Franken reminded CBS This Morning anchors this morning he hadn’t been any too happy about the Comcast/NBCU merger either.
Bromance is out, romance in. With USA dramedy Psych wrapping its eight-season run this month, star James Roday has set his followup series project, signing on as the male lead of CBS’ single-camera comedy pilot Good Session. Written by John Hamburg and Matt Miller and directed by Hamburg, the project revolves around a happy couple, Joel (Roday) and Lindsay, who go to a therapist to help them decide if they should have a baby but quickly discover they have more to discuss. Roday’s Joel is a dedicated middle-school guidance counselor who thinks his marriage to Lindsay (TBD), a jet-setting executive, is a happy one — but when they disagree about whether the time is right to start a family, they begin the painful, funny, embarrassing and, ultimately, rewarding, road of couples counseling. For the past eight years on Psych, Roday played faux psychic detective Shawn Spencer who, with the help of sidekick Gus (Dule Hill), solved police cases. Roday was an early social media adopter and, along with Hill, helped make Psych one of the first TV series to engage its fans digitally and make it a multi-platform phenom. Roday, repped by CAA and Principal Entertainment, recently wrote and directed feature Gravy.