If we weren’t sure of the target audience for the Mark Burnett minseries-turned-movie Son Of God, today’s release date announcement comes complete with testimonials not from movie critics but from some of the nation’s most recognizable men of faith including Rick Warren and Bishop TD Jakes. (Warren proclaims: “I’ve seen most of the films about Jesus produced in the past 50 years. Son Of God stands alone, in a class by itself. It is a powerful and poignant movie, the best Jesus movie I have ever seen.”) 20th Century Fox picked up feature film rights to the theatrical version of History’s miniseries last month, and the movie now set for a February 28, 2014 release includes footage not seen in the miniseries and has a 5.1 surround sound mix. But Fox doesn’t want the recut 2 hour, 15 minute feature version to be too different: The 10-part mini was a big hit in the spring, averaging 11.4 million total viewers during its five-week run on History; it earned three Emmy noms. Fox released the DVD in April and it quickly became the top-selling mini ever across Blu-ray, DVD and DigitalHD selling 525,000 in its first week alone. A sequel project to the mini, A.D: Beyond The Bible, has already been sold to NBC.
EXCLUSIVE: Though it doesn’t release the sci-fi action thriller The Maze Runner until September 19, 20th Century Fox has exercised the option to buy The Scorch Trials, the second book in the four-novel series written by James Dashner. The studio has set T.S. Nowlin to adapt. The Maze Runner, which was adapted by Noah Oppenheim, Grant Myers and Nowlin, marks the directorial debut of student Academy Award winner Wes Ball and has an ensemble led by Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter and Aml Ameen.
Ball will supervise Nowlin’s adaptation of The Scorch Trials. In The Maze Runner, a group of youngsters find themselves in The Glades, and have to find their way through a seemingly impenetrable maze. In The Scorch Trials, the main kids have escaped, but now they face an even more treacherous challenge on the open roads of a devastated planet. Nowlin most recently wrote on Fantastic Four, and he and the director went to Florida State University’s film school together and are also planning a feature adaptation of Ball’s short film Ruin for Fox. Nowlin’s credits include Agent 13, set at Universal with Charlize Theron and Rupert Wyatt attached, and Our Name Is Adam, which Mary Parent will produce and Tom Cruise will star in for Paramount. The Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Lee Stollman are producing The Scorch Trials along with Temple Hill’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen, and Joe Hartwick Jr. Emma Watts and Jason Young are overseeing.
Modern Family debuted at No. 1 with women among all syndication premieres in more than a decade, distributor Twentieth Television noted today, citing Nielsen’s newly-released stats. The ABC comedy, produced by 20th Century Fox Television, debuted at No. 2 in households among all syndication premieres over the same period, with a 4.1 household rating — behind only The Big Bang Theory‘s fall of 2011 syndication launch (4.5). The numbers reflect the comedy’s launch both in broadcast and cable syndication. Here’s the announcement:
Could The Book Thief come out of nowhere to pull off a heist in this year’s Oscar race? While distributor 20th Century Fox seems to be putting most of its marbles on this weekend’s New York Film Festival launch of its big Christmas Day release, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, the studio has concurrently picked another festival, the lower-profile but respected 36-year-old Mill Valley Film Fest, to World Premiere its stealth entry into awards season. The Book Thief played to a huge standing ovation at its Thursday night unveiling on the Northern California fest’s opening night. Tonight co-star Geoffrey Rush will be the subject of a tribute there. Based on Markus Zusak’s No. 1 best-selling novel, the story set in Nazi Germany during World War II finds a young girl seeking refuge in the world of books while her family hides a young Jewish man in the basement of their modest German home. As they did earlier today with Mitty, Fox has had simultaneous screenings on their lot for bloggers and critics, which is where I caught it yesterday.
20th Century Fox is hitting the New York Film Festival again today after last year’s big success with Life Of Pi, which opened the fest and went on to win four Oscars including Best Director for Ang Lee. Perhaps hoping lightning strikes twice, or maybe just praying for a commercial hit, the studio is holding the World Premiere tonight of its Christmas Day opener The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, which is directed by and stars Ben Stiller. Two and a half months before its release, critics and select press got a look at it earlier Saturday with precisely timed simultaneous screenings in New York and on the Fox lot in L.A. (An L.A.-based publicist told me they actually had a bicoastal countdown to the film’s start to make sure there was no unfair advantage.) And also like Pi, 20th earlier did an elaborate presentation during its April CinemaCcon event in Las Vegas to get exhibitors on board early for the movie they are hoping will be favorably compared to the Oscar-winning Forrest Gump. That move, which included 15 minutes of footage from the then-unfinished movie, also probably heightened blogger awards anticipation.
Looks like the high-octane sibling team of Joe and Matthew Michael Carnahan have nailed the script for the screen adaptation of Nemesis, the beloved work by Wanted and Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar. The project is set at Fox, and this guy isn’t easy to please. Here’s Millar’s evaluation of what the Carnahans have accomplished after they gave Millar the script.
Nemesis is one of the most relentless and powerful screenplays I’ve ever read. I was actually SHELL-SHOCKED after reading it, thinking about it for hours afterwards and discussing it with the family. As a movie, the Carnahans have crafted something we’ve never actually seen before and I feel like someone in Julia Phillips’ office must have felt when Schrader’s TAXI DRIVER script first landed on their desk. This is going to be one of the best movies of the decade. The fact that it’s a SUPERHERO movie is incredibly exciting to me. This is the next step for where a comic-book adaptation can go and, simply as a viewer, I’m now counting down the days until I can sit in a screening room and see the first cut.
This is going to be MASSIVE.
Highlighting the strength of commercial homegrown fare, four Argentinian films are enjoying an especially healthy run at the local box office these days. Each has studio distribution, opened No. 1 at their respective releases and each is currently nestled amongst big-ticket Hollywood fare in the top 20 pics of the …
Modern Family finished its fourth consecutive best-comedy Emmy victory lap just in time to begin celebrating its successful launch in off-network syndication. In broadcast, the series nailed the second-biggest comedy syndication launch in the past five years. It trailed only Warner Bros TV’s CBS multi-cam comedy The Big Bang Theory’s 2011 launch in households, with a 1.5 HH rating. In 18-49 the 20th Century Fox series’ 0.8 rating ties BBT’s off-net unveiling. And, in 25-54, Modern Family (1.0 rating) edges out BBT’s syndie launch (0.9). In New York, the mockumentary hit increased the Fox O&O’s household ratings 54% at 7 PM and 20% at 7:30. In Los Angeles, with Modern Family, the Fox O&O jumped 75% and 32% in the same time periods.
The ensemble comedy, which airs initially on ABC, also made inroads in its USA Network debut Tuesday night. Over its three hours on USA, the Pritchett family saga young-ed up the NBCU cable net’s primetime by about 13 years, to a median age of 32.2, compared with 45 with Law & Order: SVU on the comparable night last year. Modern Family shed some of SVU’s older viewers – accounting for the USA’s overall drop from 1.58 million viewers in prime same night last year, to just under a million on Tuesday. But the 18-34 crowd jumped by 27%.
Salil Mehta had been COO and CFO of NBCUniversal‘s Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media division since 2011. Now he has jumped to join 20th Century Fox Film as President of Content Management, a newly created position in which he will coordinate the studio’s content distribution in all media to maximize returns and generate new revenue opportunities. He also will be responsible for the digital media division and overseeing the studio’s worldwide TV distribution. In addition, he will be responsible for the company’s strategic planning and business development, including emerging media platforms, and will oversee Fox’s technology and engineering activities. He’ll report to Fox Film chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos.