Accusations Prompt ‘X-Men’s Bryan Singer To Skip This Weekend’s WonderCon Fanfest

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 6:57pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Bryan Singer WonderCon CancelEXCLUSIVE: In the wake of shocking allegations of sexual abuse against Bryan Singer that surfaced five weeks before the launch of the new X-Men film, Singer has cancelled a scheduled appearance at this weekend’s WonderCon in Anaheim, Deadline hears. Fox instead will send Simon Kinberg as the studio prepares to launch the Singer-directed blockbuster X-Men: Days Of Future Past. Kinberg wrote and produced the film and has been a part of the X-Men universe since the beginning.

WonderCon logoSinger had been scheduled to be on hand to do interviews for the film that Fox opens May 23. It seems fairly obvious that right now he’s not going to get the kind of questions that will help the movie, or that he could answer. Singer had been scheduled to represent X-Men among a bunch of big Fox movies vamping this weekend, appearing along with Andy Serkis, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman and director Matt Reeves from Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes; Jay Baruchel and writer-director Dean DeBlois from How To Train Your Dragon 2; and Dylan O’Brien, writer James Dashner and director Wes Ball from The Maze Runner.
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Fox Buys Pitch For Its ‘Chronicle’ And ‘Fantastic Four’ Star Michael B. Jordan

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Fox has closed a deal for Men Who Kill, a pitch 2014 CinemaCon - The Big Screen Achievement Awardsby T.J. Fixman that will be developed as a star vehicle for fast-rising Michael B. Jordan. The tone of the film is an international Bad Boys and it gives the studio another project with Jordan, who comes off his breakout role in Fruitvale Station and heads into the Fantastic Four reboot after previously starring in the Fox sleeper Chronicle.

20th_century_fox_logoAfter starring as a teen in the iconic TV series The Wire and Friday Night Lights, Jordan is making the transition to adulthood among a handful of young actors vying to be in the next generation of bankable leading men. This is the first action thriller vehicle being developed specifically for Jordan, who is separately attached to play Apollo Creed’s grandson in a new version of Rocky that will re-team him with Fruitvale Station writer-director Ryan Coogler. Read More »

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Leonardo DiCaprio, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu Commit To September Start For New Regency’s ‘The Revenant’

Mike Fleming

leodEXCLUSIVE: Leonardo DiCaprio has committed to star this September in The Revenant, a gritty thriller that Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu will direct for New Regency, for fall 2015 release through Fox. Gonzalez Inarritu and Mark L. Smith co-wrote the script. DiCaprio had been attached to team with Gonzalez Inarritu, but he is attached to many projects; getting the star to commit off his Oscar-nominated The Wolf Of Wall Street performance is a big development for Arnon Milchan and Brad Weston’s game plan to make tasteful, star- and director-driven fare.

revenantAnonymous Content’s Steve Golin, Keith Redmon and David Kanter will produce with Gonzalez Iñárritu, Milchan and James Skotchdopole. Brett Ratner and Paul Green are exec producers. The film will be co-financed by RatPac and Worldview Entertainment, latter of which just partnered with Regency and Fox Searchlight in the Inarritu-directed Birdman, which was just set for release on October 17.

An adaptation of the Michael Punke novel The Revenant: A Novel Of Revenge, Inarritu Gonzalez’s next film will star DiCaprio as Hugh Glass, a 19th century fur trapper who gets mauled by a grizzly bear, and then is left for dead by cohorts who rob him. When he survives, he is as pissed as a bee-stung bear and sets out on a treacherous journey to exact revenge on those who betrayed him. Sean Penn had been circling as one of those bad guys, but he won’t be in the film. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Ben Affleck in ‘Gone Girl’

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 4:54pm PDT

“I did not kill my wife!” Ben Affleck‘s hubby protagonist Nick Dunne emphatically declares in the first trailer from the high-profile big-screen adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s worldwide bestseller Gone Girl. And though that catchphrase might be an echo from 1993′s The Fugitive, Dunne is a guy — unlike Harrison Ford’s … Read More »

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UPDATE: James Cameron on ‘Avatar’ Sequel Timetable Following Rupert Murdoch’s Comments

avatar_poster-200x300Update, Saturday 10:25 AM: In a Reddit AMA this morning, Avatar director James Cameron expounded on the franchise’s timetable in regards to the screenplays, writing, “The second, third and fourth films all go into production simultaneously. They’re essentially all in preproduction now, because we are designing creatures, settings, and characters that span all three films. And we should be finished with all three scripts within the next, I would say, six weeks. There’s always pressure, whether it’s a new film or whether it’s a sequel, to entertain and amaze an audience. I’ve felt that pressure my entire career, so there’s nothing new there. The biggest pressure I feel right now is cutting out things I love to get the film down to a length that is affordable. There hasn’t been a problem finding new and wonderful things to include in the movie.”

In a Fortune interview earlier this week, Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch reiterated what Deadline reported back in August: That there will be three Avatar sequels released respectively in December 2016, 2017 and 2018. Read More »

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‘Game Of Thrones’ David Benioff & D.B. Weiss Plan ‘Dirty White Boys’ As First Feature

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 11:46am PDT
Mike Fleming

dwbEXCLUSIVE: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have taken on their first feature project since becoming the architects of the HBO series adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s Game Of Thrones, which opened its fourth season last Sunday. They’ve made a deal with Fox to write, direct and produce Dirty White Boys, the novel about three violent escaped convicts and the lawman who attempts to track them down. The 1995 novel was written by Stephen Hunter, who also wrote Point Of Impact, the novel that was turned into the Mark Wahlberg pic Shooter.

Benioff and Weiss have been forced to have tunnel vision because of the creative demands writing and exec producing the ambitious signature HBO series Game Of Thrones. This is the first project they’ve made a deal to direct together, and the first since they began the GoT journey. They said it all started while they were shooting the breeze with a bunch of writer pals.

d.b“We’re sitting around bullsh*tting and we started talking about lines we were jealous of before it came around to the familiar topic of greatest opening lines in novels,” Benioff told me. “Our friend Scott Frank brought up the opening line of Dirty White Boys. To be honest, I’d never hear of the book before, even though we’d heard of Stephen Hunter’s sniper series. Scott mentioned that opening line from Dirty White Boys, and it made me go out and buy the book, and Dan bought the book, and then we got past that first line and just fell in love with it.” Said Weiss: “It does grab you, the first line, and what keeps you is that the characters are so well drawn, really charismatic and awful people, so flawed. I don’t think you’ll be able to print the first line, because it’s got prison-soaked racism and is just really out there.”

I thought about this, and figured, what the hell. Hunter wrote it. I didn’t. Here’s the line: “Three men at McAlester State Penitentiary had larger penises than Lamar Pye, but all were black and therefore, by Lamar’s own figuring, hardly human at all.” Read More »

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Studios Slam Megaupload With Mega-Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

DJP LEGAL BADGEOver two years since notorious cyberlocker Megaupload was shut down on January 19, 2012, Hollywood today has gone on the legal offensive. Disney, 20th Century Fox Film, Paramount Pictures, Universal, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros. today … Read More »

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Paul Feig Taps Miranda Hart For Female Spy Comedy

By | Friday March 28, 2014 @ 11:39am PDT
Mike Fleming

mirandahartEXCLUSIVE: Paul Feig has a knack for finding gem comediennes and he thinks he has got one in Miranda Hart. The British veteran has been set to join Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Jude Law and Jason Statham in the untitled spy comedy that Feig is directing for Chernin Entertainment and Fox. Filming starts in Budapest on Monday and the film has been dated for Memorial Day weekend 2015·

The comedy marks the third collaboration for Feig and McCarthy, and he wrote the script, directs and produces through his Feigco Entertainment with Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and Jessie Henderson. ”I’ve been a fan of Miranda’s for years and am so excited to bring her to the big screen,” Feig said. “I’m also hoping I’ll finally get back that lawnmower I loaned her last summer.” Read More »

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CinemaCon: ‘X Men’, Other Women, Lots Of Girls And An Ape Steal The Show At 20th’s Big Vegas Show

Pete Hammond

With a chorus line of 40 Samba-dancing Vegas showgirls parading through the audience to the stage for a performance of a song from the upcoming CinemaCon2014_badgeRio 2 (4/11), 20th Century Fox got its CinemaCon presentation off in style. And the studio earned high marks for attempting to put a little showmanship that has been missing from some other presentations this week. Hey this is Vegas. Let’s liven it up, folks. And Fox did.

CinemaCon 2014 - 20th Century Fox Special Presentation Highlighting Its Future Release Schedule This is not to say the rest of their “show” was not all about showing off footage from their 2014 slate. It was, but clearly they put a lot of work into impressing these theatre owners who responded strongly to what Fox was offering. Distribution President Chris Aronson appeared with a feather headdress on (he looked pretty hot) but quickly took it off for a more corporate look as he welcomed the crowd and got things rolling including those previously reported remarks regarding NATO ‘s John Fithian and 12 Years A Slave. He pointed out that the studio’s total worldwide boxoffice was $3.39 billion, the fifth consecutive year they have exceeded the $3 billion mark. He then introduced 20th’s Chairman Jim Gianopulos who expertly hosted the event as he does each year, actually managing to sound like he’s not reading stuff off a prompter – an art both he and Disney’s M.C. Alan Horn have mastered. He launched right into it by announcing “we are starting summer in April this year” and bringing on Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann to introduce clips of their comedy The Other Woman. Then it was time for the “tentpoles” as he intro’d a clip package featuring the opening scene and trailer from X Men: Days Of CinemaCon 2014 - 20th Century Fox Special Presentation Highlighting Its Future Release Schedule Future Past (5/23), extended footage from How To Train Your Dragon 2 (6/13) from their partnership with DreamWorks Animation and a harrowing scene from Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (7/11) , the latter really whetting the exhibitors appetite. Let’s just say it involves a couple of drunk guys, a playful-seeming ape and an Uzi. Wow. Even Shailene Woodley, star of  20th’s June 6th romantic drama The Fault In Our Stars, said she was still shaking from the Apes footage when Gianopulos brought her on. Read More »

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CinemaCon: 20th Century Fox Fires Back At NATO Chief For ‘12 Years A Slave’ Remarks

By | Thursday March 27, 2014 @ 11:39am PDT
Pete Hammond

On Tuesday during his annual address to delegates at CinemaCon, National Association Of Theatre Owners president John Fithian caused a stir with a real head-scratcher that has keptCinemaCon2014_badge resonating among theater owners and some studio executives when he stated he waited to watch this year’s Oscar-winning Best Picture 12 Years A Slave at home, rather than at a cinema, becauseCinemaCon 2014 - The State Of The Industry: Past, Present And Future And Universal Studios Presentation it was too “unequivocally intense.”  For the head of an organization that is meant to promote movie-watching in theaters, singling out the Academy’s choice for Best Picture (with that Oscar distinction traditionally a real magnet to bring customers into theaters) was an eye-opener, and execs at 20th Century Fox to whom I have spoken were furious with the NATO chief for even suggesting, however personal, that the preferred way to see the widely acclaimed Fox Searchlight release was to wait and see it at home. This morning, near the beginning of their studio presentation at Caesars Palace’s Colisseum theatre, Fox shot back. ”All of (our) films are meant to be seen in the best possible venue, the cinema, your cinemas and that includes movies that win the Oscar for Best Picture like 12 Years A Slave,” said 20th Century Fox distribution president Chris Aronson in his opening remarks this morning that contained that not-so-veiled reference and response to Fithian’s comments.

Related: CinemaCon: ‘X Men’, Other Women, Lots Of Girls And An Ape Steal Show

12-Years-a-Slave-posterOf course it is no secret that many Academy members were, like Fithian, reluctant to watch the intense film, either in a theater or at home on their screener. That’s one of the reasons Fox Searchlight launched their second-phase “It’s Time” campaign in order to encourage them to view the film that would eventually take the top prize for the studio. But coming from the head of NATO, these remarks really stung, especially since he so publicly supports strict windows between the theatrical release of a movie and when it can be consumed at home. One Fox exec to whom I spoke was, in a word, livid when he heard Fithian’s remarks. Another major theatre chain head who played several runs of 12 Years A Slave and still has it in some theaters (even though it first opened in October) was equally outraged by the suggestion that the film is too intense for their screens. Another said, “It’s like if you were the head of Macy’s department store and urged people to shop in their store, but to buy your underwear online.” Read More »

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Craig Viveiros To Helm Ellen Page-Starrer ‘Queen & Country’

Mike Fleming

ellenpageCraig Viveiros will helm Queen & Country for Chernin Entertainment at Fox. The project, which will star Ellen Page, is based on the Oni Press comic book series Queen & Country written by Greg Rucka. Page will play a British agent who goes on the run from her own people as she tries to bring down a terrorist on English soil.

Viveiros made shorts and commercials, including the award winner Back To Back. Viveiros then produced, wrote and directed his debut feature film, Ghosted, which starred Art Malik, John Lynch and Martin Compston. He then moved to Haiti to work as a volunteer at the country’s film institute and returned to England to make The Liability with Tim Roth, Peter Mullan and  Jack O’Connell. Read More »

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Another ‘Avatar’ Copyright Case Tossed

By | Thursday March 20, 2014 @ 11:52am PDT

avatar_36439If you’re keeping track of these things, a Canada-based lawsuit claiming James Cameron‘s Avatar was based on someone else’s work has been thrown out. It’s the fourth legal victory since last year for Cameron, producer Lightstorm Entertainment and … Read More »

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Hot Teaser: Fox’s ‘Peanuts’

By | Tuesday March 18, 2014 @ 8:45am PDT

Paul Feig is producing Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios’ attempt at the first big-screen CGI version of Charles Schulz’s iconic comic (UPDATE: Readers were correct to point out there have been other Peanuts features). From this first look that dropped today it’s clear this take won’t offer … Read More »

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Fox And Paul Feig Set Ensemble Musical

By | Friday March 14, 2014 @ 11:30am PDT
Mike Fleming

feig1feig2Fox has acquired a pitch for an ensemble musical to be scripted by Yana Gorskaya and Maia Rossini. Paul Feig’s Feigco Entertainment will produce. Feig hatched the idea … Read More »

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James Mangold Boarding Travis McGee Tale ‘The Deep Blue Good-By’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: James Mangold is negotiating to direct The Deep Blue Good-By, mangthe 1964 John D. MacDonald novel that kicked off series of mystery novels with character Travis McGee. This has long been eyed by Fox as the deepbluelaunch of a star-driven franchise based on the beach bum McGee, a forerunner of muscular solitary heroes like Jack Reacher and Spenser For Hire, helping (and romancing) damsels in distress as he kicks ass against the powerful. The film was originally set as a star vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio. That’s not going to happen now, as DiCaprio has plenty of work in front of him and this film, with a most recent script draft by Mystic River novelist Dennis Lehane, is certainly ready to go. DiCaprio and his Appian Way partner Jennifer Davisson-Killoran are producing with Amy Robinson and Chernin Entertainment. Previous script drafts were done by Dana Stevens and Kario Salem. Read More »

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Fox Taps Charles Leavitt To Adapt ‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’

By | Friday February 28, 2014 @ 10:45am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Charles Leavitt has just landed another high-profile adaptation gig, Those Who Wish Me Dead Coverinking with 20th Century Fox to adapt Michael Koryta’s book Those Who Wish Me Dead, which Steve Zaillian’s Film Rites is producing. The project … Read More »

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Fox Acquires Soviet Spy Tale For Marc Webb To Direct

By | Thursday February 27, 2014 @ 1:05pm PST
Mike Fleming

mwebbEXCLUSIVE: In the second big material deal of the day, Fox has acquired Cold Comfort (aka How To Catch A Russian Spy), a film that will be developed as a directing vehicle for Marc Webb. The subject of the … Read More »

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Will Smith Won’t Appear In Sequel To ‘Independence Day’

By | Friday February 7, 2014 @ 3:12pm PST
Mike Fleming

wsEXCLUSIVE: After spending several years looking to generate a sequel or two to the 1996 Fox smash hit Independence Day, it looks like director Roland Emmerich and co-writer and producer Dean Devlin are going to have to take on those Earth-leveling aliens without Will Smith. I’m told reliably that Smith informed the studio that he won’t be joining in on a sequel that the filmmakers hope to have in theaters for July 4 weekend, 2016. That marks the 20th anniversary of the 1996 original that grossed $811 million worldwide and launched Smith on a trajectory to become the world’s most bankable movie star. Read More »

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‘Wolf Of Wall Street’s Leonardo DiCaprio & Jonah Hill Plan Re-Team In Story Of Richard Jewell; Labelled Hero, Then Falsely Vilified As Bomber At 1996 Atlanta Olympics

Mike Fleming

jhrjeEXCLUSIVE: Fox has closed a deal to acquire rights to Marie Brenner’s 1997 Vanity Fair article “The Ballad Of Richard Jewell”, which will be developed for Jonah Hill to play the title subject. Jewell was the security guard who discovered a backpack in the Olympics compound in Atlanta in 1996. Initially hailed a hero for reporting the suspicious knapsack and then helping clear bystanders from the area before it exploded, Jewell was subsequently vilified just three days later as a potential suspect, his life and reputation torn apart in the advent of the 24 hour news cycle. Leonardo DiCaprio will play a lawyer Jewell knew casually, a Southern attorney who mostly did real estate closings and seemed in over his head, but he guided Jewell through a hellish Twilight Zone that went on even after the FBI officially cleared Jewell’s name three months later.

leodBrenner, whose VF article was the original source material for the Michael Mann-directed tobacco whistle-blower tale The Insider, accompanied Jewell and his attorney just as it finally became clear he had nothing to do with placing the bomb. The film will be produced by Appian Way’s DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Hill and Kevin Misher, the latter of whom brought in the article. Misher Films’ Andy Berman will also have a producing role. Mike Ireland is overseeing for Fox.

jleoThis comes as both DiCaprio and Hill are up for Oscars for Best Picture nominee The Wolf Of Wall Street. It is particularly a strong role for Hill, who continues his remarkable transition from comic actor to serious roles that started with an Oscar-nominated turn in Moneyball and continues with the Rupert Goold-directed True Story, in which Hill plays Michael Finkel, a disgraced journalist who got the chance at redemption when a suspected killer (James Franco) took Finkel’s name, and would only talk to that journalist. That project is also at Fox, with New Regency. Read More »

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