It’s a wrap for Joe Roth at Revolution Studios, which he founded in 2000. He’ll become a strategic adviser to the company with a first-look TV development deal, the company says today, after it received a major infusion of cash from Fortress Investment Group. The private equity firm says it intends to buy out Revolution’s original partners. Studio CEO Vince Totino and COO Scott Hemming will remain at Revolution. “The time is right for us to expand the Revolution brand through the development of original projects as well as those that are based on the valuable intellectual property in the Revolution library,” Totino says. “With Fortress’s financial resources and industry expertise and our continued partnership with Joe Roth, we plan to grow Revolution substantially in the coming years.”
Revolution became a financial disappointment after a promising start. Roth — a former studio exec at Disney and Fox — forged alliances with Sony, Starz and Fox, and stars including Adam Sandler and Julia Roberts. Roth also directed films including Christmas With The Kranks and Freedomland. But Revolution shuttered its film division in 2007 with a library of 50 titles as bombs including Gigli and Hollywood Homicide overwhelmed successes including Oscar winner Black Hawk Down and Maid In Manhattan. The TV production operation has continued with shows including Are We There Yet for TBS and Anger Management for FX.
After serving just over two years, Joe Roth is stepping down from the board of Legendary Entertainment effective September 25, the company announced today. Roth’s departure comes out of a potential governance conflict that he and the company saw could arise from him holding a position on Legendary’s board of directors and as a producer on Legendary Pictures’ upcoming Brilliance and Hot Wheels pics. Roth joined Legendary’s board in June 2011. The Revolution Studios head’s replacement on the board later this month will be Tom Werner, co-founder of That 70s Show producers Carsey Werner and Chair of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club. Besides Tull and soon Werner, the other members of Legendary’s board are former Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook, venture capitalist Jim Breyer and Procter & Gamble CEO and Chairman AG Laffley.
Jason Shuman and his Blue Star Entertainment filed the original $50 million lawsuit in April 2012, alleging that Anger Management producer Joe Roth reneged on an agreement with the consultant for work he had done for Roth’s Revolution Studios on developing Anger Management into a TV series for FX. Roth later countersued, asking the court to declare that Shuman’s consultant agreement had been terminated. According to papers filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court (read here), Roth and Shuman reached a settlement. The terms were not released. A trial in LA Superior Court was scheduled for next April. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Boy, does Joe Roth have the hot hand when it comes to irreverent fairy tale fare. Deadline revealed last Thursday that the Oz The Great And Powerful producer had partnered with Jane Startz Production to acquire movie rights to The School For Good And Evil. After a spirited auction, Universal Pictures won the property in a seven-figure deal for book and scriptwriting fees. It’s the first title in a novel trilogy by Soman Chainani that will be published in the U.S. by HarperCollins on May 14 and in the U.K. on June 6. The trilogy tells the story of ordinary boys and girls who are kidnapped from their homes and sent to The School for Good and Evil, where they are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains, princesses and witches.
The protagonist is Sophie, a beauty who is dumped into the School for Evil while her homely best friend Agatha is taken to the School for Good. Both girls find their fortunes reversed and are forced to confront the truth about their unexpected destinies. The book debuted this weekend #7 on The New York Times Bestseller list. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Oz The Great And Powerful’s Roth Films has partnered with Jane Startz Productions to acquired movie rights to The School For Good And Evil, the first title in a novel trilogy by Soman Chainani that will be published in the U.S. by HarperCollins on May 14 and in the U.K. on June 6. The trilogy tells the story of ordinary boys and girls who are kidnapped from their homes and sent to The School for Good and Evil, where they are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains, princesses and witches.
The protagonist is Sophie, a beauty who is dumped into the School for Evil while her homely best friend Agatha is taken to the School for Good. Both girls find their fortunes reversed and are forced to confront the truth about their unexpected destinies. Chainani and Hook scribe Malia Scotch Marmo are attached to write the screenplay. This one sounds like a fun bit of mischief for Roth Films, where Joe Roth and Palak Patel are whipping up retro-fairy tale hits and cranking them out like modern day Grimm Brothers. CAA reps the author and Roth in the deal.
FX has bought a drama pitch from L.A. Confidential author James Ellroy and producers Joe Roth and Clark Peterson. Based on Ellroy’s 2012 novella Shakedown, the project is set in the tabloid world and underbelly of Los Angeles circa the late 1950s and centers on the city’s top informant/operator/wire tapper/fixer, Fred Otash, who lives and works where the glamour and the grime intersect. A fictionalized version of legendary Hollywood vice cop-turned-private eye Otash, who exposed the sins of the rich and famous in the 1950s magazine Confidential, also appeared in Ellroy’s novels The Cold Six Thousand and Blood’s a Rover.
Ellroy, repped by CAA and manager Joel Gotler, is writing Shakedown and will executive produce the series with Roth, Peterson, Steven Hoban and Palak Patel for FX Prods. This marks a return to FX for Ellroy, who developed cop drama Throwdown Gun at the network two years ago. On the feature side, James Franco recently signed on to direct and star in an adaptation of Ellroy’s American Tabloid.
UPDATE, 6:03 PM: Legendary has confirmed Deadline’s scoop that it bought the Marcus Sakey novel Brilliance. In addition, it has attached Oz The Great And Powerful’s Joe Roth and Palak Patel to be the film’s producers. Alex Hedlund will oversee it for Legendary.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 5:06 PM: Legendary Pictures is in negotiations to acquire Brilliance, a book by Marcus Sakey that some are likening to X-Men. The author, who wrote The Blade Itself and Good People, here focuses on an alternate present-day scenario where 1% of children are born savants with special powers. Called “brilliants,” they are capable of exceptional things. A federal agent, who uses his skills to become a master hunter of terrorists, pursues a savant terrorist who intends to provoke civil war. The book will be published in July by Thomas & Mercer/Amazon Books. Earlier today, Fox, the home studio for X-Men, seemed to be in the driver’s seat, making an offer with a ticking clock, but that expired with no deal. CAA and Trident Media rep the author.
BREAKING: Signaling that Universal Pictures sees the project as a priority, the studio has set Joe Roth to produce the film adaptation of Daughter Of Smoke & Bone, the young-adult fantasy novel by National Book Award Finalist Laini Taylor. Roth Film President Palak Patel will executive produce.
The protagonist is a 17-year-old art student who is sent by her awful father on travels across the globe to collect teeth for an unspecified but creepy purpose. This leads her to an encounter with an angel and revelations about her family that lead her into adventures involving otherworldly beings. The book was acquired for high-six figures late last year in a pitched battle between Universal and Paramount.
Roth produced for Universal Snow White And The Huntsman and is working on the sequel, with Evan Daugherty just having turned in a script. Read More »
Anger Management producer Joe Roth’s countersuit today in the $50 million lawsuit over the upcoming FX series has “no merit,” says Bryan Freedman, lawyer for plaintiff Jason Shuman. Roth’s action today (read the suit here) was a response to the multimillion-dollar complaint Shuman and his Blue Star Entertainment filed April 18, which alleges that Roth reneged on an agreement with the consultant for work he had done for Roth’s Revolution Studios on developing Anger Management into a TV series. Roth wants the court to declare that Shuman’s consultant agreement with Revolution, which was entered into on August 12, 2008, was terminated on January 24, 2012. “The termination letter itself is completely disingenuous,” said Freedman, who also represents Deadline and its parent company PMC. “It seeks to end my clients’ involvement in the television series Anger Management as developed by Jared Bush with Cedric the Entertainer. There is no such agreement. The 2010 Anger Management Producer Agreement entered into between Revolution and my clients clearly states it is for the development of Anger Management ‘based on the previously released motion picture of the same title.’ ” Anger Management, starring Charlie Sheen, is set to debut on FX on June 28. Roth produced the 2003 Anger Management movie starring Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler. “What is extremely telling is that the termination letter completely ignores the existence of the 2010 Anger Management Producer Agreement,” added Freedman. “Facts do not cease to exist because they are intentionally ignored.” Read More »
Universal has bought the Black List script Bethlehem, scripted by Larry Brenner. Joe Roth is producing and Cedric Nicolas-Troyan is directing. Nicolas-Troyan makes his feature directing debut after putting together a presentation and pitching it to the studio in a fashion similar to how Roth set up Universal’s Snow White And The Huntsman. Nicholas did second unit work on that film. Brenner is currently working on Angelology at Sony with Overbrook producing and Marc Forster attached to direct. Magnet Management and CAA rep the writer. CAA reps Nicholas.
Producer Joe Roth and his Revolution Studios are being sued for fraud, breach of contract and misconduct by a producer claiming he was wrongfully cut out of the upcoming FX comedy series Anger Management starring Charlie Sheen. The $50 million complaint, filed by Jason Shuman and his Blue Star Entertainment this morning at Los Angeles Superior Court, claims that Roth reneged on a written agreement he had with Shuman, who originally developed Anger Management into a TV series. (You can read the lawsuit here.) Shuman says he was first brought in by Roth in 2008 as a consultant to examine Revolution’ film properties and evaluate which ones would be suitable for TV series adaptations. Shuman claims he helped develop the sitcom adaptation of the Ice Cube-starer Are We There Yet? and was the one who suggested that Roth should pursue Debmar-Mercury’s so-called “Tyler Perry syndication model,” first implemented on Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne, where a cable comedy quickly amasses enough episodes for a syndication launch. Are We There Yet was done with Debmar-Mercury, but Shuman contends that he wasn’t properly compensated for his work on the show, with a promise by Roth that he would “make it up” to him, including giving him significant backend participation and an executive producer credit, on the next film property they turn into a series. Shuman focused on Anger Management … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has acquired a pitch from scribe Jason Keller for a period origin story on the Dracula mythology that will be produced by Joe Roth and Palak Patel. I’m hearing the deal was high six-figures against seven-figures. It becomes the latest in a growing list of films about the iconic vampire borne out of the legend of Vlad the Impaler.
There is also a new version of Dracula Year Zero that has risen from the grave with Gary Shore directing, Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless writing and Moneyball‘s Mike De Luca producing. There is also an apocalyptic contemporary project coagulating that’s based on the book trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan that concluded with the recently released The Night Eternal, which del Toro will set up when he completes Pacific Rim. And Keller himself is attached to another contemporary vampire film, adapting the Justin Cronin novel The Passage for Matt Reeves, in which government experiments on terminally ill people launches a plague of vampires.
Insiders at Sony would only say the intention is to launch a period franchise. The deal brings together the combatants in the race to launch a Snow White film. Keller most recently scripted Relativity Media’s Mirror Mirror, and Roth and Patel produced Snow White And The Huntsman for Universal. Roth has been revived as … Read More »
After Brett Ratner’s spectacular self-inflicted demise as Oscarcast producer, the Academy gets down to business finding a replacement to join Don Mischer in picking up the pieces. I’ve heard speculation ranging from Scott Sanders (who was eyed before Ratner got the nod) to previous Oscar producers Joe Roth, Adam Shankman and Laurence Mark. Harvey Weinstein offered an out-of-the-box suggestion last night. Weinstein, who has sat through plenty of Oscarcasts, suggested drafting Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, and getting Tina Fey involved in the writing. The idea is they would make Eddie Murphy comfortable and give the broadcast a strong comic focus. I’m not sure Michaels or Fey could spare the time away from their weekly show obligations in New York, though. Who should produce the show?
EXCLUSIVE: Chad Damiani and JP Lavin have just been hired to adapt How To Survive A Garden Gnome Attack for Robert Zemeckis and his Imagemovers banner. The film is a live action film (the garden gnomes will be animated), based on the Chuck Sambuchino novel, which was optioned by Sony Pictures Animation. Zemeckis and his ImageMovers partners Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey are producing with The Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Eric Robinson. The book is a survival guide, preparing the homeowner on the off chance the lawn ornaments stage a home invasion. The intention is to make an edgy PG-13 version, so the gnomes will be scary. Zemeckis is developing the film as a potential directing vehicle. The scribes’ most recent credit is Max Steel for Paramount and producer Joe Roth, and they adapted the comic book Geronimo for producers Alexandra Milchan and Antonio Moura Santos Jr. The writers are repped by WME and Luber/Roklin.
EXCLUSIVE: If Joe Roth were any more closely associated with fairy tales, he’d be one of the Grimm Brothers. Roth, who help start Hollywood’s feverish devotion to fairy tale films by producing the $1 billion-grossing Alice in Wonderland, is negotiating to become producer of Maleficent, Disney’s re-telling of its 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty, this time told from the vantage point of the evil witch. It’s no secret that Angelina Jolie wants to play that character. The script was written by Linda Woolverton, who scripted Alice in Wonderland as well as Disney’s recently re-released The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. They are looking for a director after a preliminary courtship of Alice helmer Tim Burton didn’t work out.
Aside from Alice in Wonderland, Roth is producing Disney’s Sam Raimi-directed Disney pic Oz: The Great and Powerful with James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz, as well as Snow White and the Huntsman, the Universal Pictures epic that is being directed by Rupert Sanders and stars Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth.
EXCLUSIVE: Charlie Sheen Teaming With ‘Drew Carey’s Bruce Helford On ‘Anger Management’?
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that The Drew Carey Show creator Bruce Helford has entered negotiations to write, executive produce and run Charlie Sheen’s new comedy series Anger Management. Helford was one of several veteran comedy showrunners that met with Lionsgate TV and producer Joe Roth on the project and emerged as a leading candidate for the job about two weeks ago. Helford has been considered a strong choice to create a starring vehicle for Sheen, having done the same in the past for Drew Carey with ABC’s The Drew Carey Show and George Lopez with the comedian’s eponymous ABC sitcom. He will develop Anger Management based on the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler movie, with Sheen set to play an updated version of Nicholson’s character, a volatile anger management therapist. Once there is a showrunner on board, Lionsgate is expected to take out the project to networks and station groups in search of a buyer. Read More »
This is an announcement of the completion of the deal for the project, based on the 2003 Jack Nicholson-Adam Sandler movie Anger Management, which is in early stages and still has no network or writer attached. On the show, Sheen will play an updated version of the Nicholson’s character in the Joe Roth-produced movie, a volatile anger management therapist. “I chose Anger Management because, while it might be a big stretch for me to play a guy with serious anger management issues, I think it is a great concept,” Sheen quipped. While Lionsgate TV will produce, a key point is the involvement of the company’s subsidiary Debmar-Mercury as a distributor, meaning that the Anger Management sitcom will probably be done under the model created by Debmar-Mercury co-heads Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein and pioneered on the Tyler Perry TBS sitcoms House of Payne and Meet the Browns. The Anger Management series is being co-produced by Roth who previously teamed with Debmar-Mercury on another TBS sitcom under the company’s model that was based on a movie, Ice Cube’s Are We There Yet? The model, which so far has only been applied on cable, primarily on TBS, involves a significant ownership stake for the talent, something the release below indicates Sheen is receiving on Anger Management, as well as a short, usually 10-episode, initial network order followed by a massive 90-episode pickup when ratings thresholds are met. (That allows Debmar-Mercury to also launch the series in broadcast syndication.) The question is which network will gamble on a show starring a volatile star like Sheen, who is still embroiled in a $100-million lawsuit with Warner Bros. and Chuck Lorre over his firing from Two and a Half Men, and which writer will sign on to develop the series with him. TBS would still be a main target though the cable network would’ve had stronger motivation to gamble on the new series if it still had the the off-network rights to Two and a Half Men, which it surrendered to FX this past fall. But TBS, which is a corporate sibling of Warner Bros. TV, has indicated that it isn’t interested. Here is the release:
Los Angeles, July 18, 2011 — Former Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen is planning his return to series television in Anger Management, a new sitcom loosely based on Revolution Studios’ 2003 hit comedy feature of the same name. Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury, headed by Co-Presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, will distribute the series that will be produced by Lionsgate Television, led by Television Group President Kevin Beggs and COO Sandra Stern; Joe Roth and Revolution Studios’ Vince Totino; Sheen manager Mark Burg’s production company, Evolution Management; and Robert Maron.
Sheen will retain a significant ownership stake in the series inspired by the film, in which a mild-mannered, non-confrontational man is ordered to attend group anger management sessions led by a therapist who could probably use some anger management himself.
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There’s a reason that moviemaker Joe Roth doesn’t produce much TV. Because he comes up with terrible ideas like casting Charlie Sheen in a sitcom version of Anger Management. His plan is to join with Lionsgate TV for a small-tube series based on the 2003 big-screen feature that was one of the few non-stinkers from his Revolution Studios. Now this is a long way from seeing daylight. But, seriously, which showrunner would be so desperate as to work with whack job Sheen? Much less any actor who’s currently embroiled in both a lawsuit and arbitration against the producer and studio who fired him off his last sitcom? I want names…
EXCLUSIVE: NALA Films has set Paul Blart: Mall Cop helmer Steve Carr to direct and Rob Riggle and Thomas Lennon to star in The Boondoggle, the comedy that the producer/financier bought in January as a spec. Riggle and Lennon play two guys who attend a boondoggle business trip. Despite the island-paradise setting, everything possible goes awry. Christopher Halvorson wrote the original draft. The film will shoot in late summer with NALA Films funding it.
NALA’s Emilio Diez Barroso and Darlene Caamano Loquet are producing with Joe Roth, Palak Patel and Barrett Stuart. Shooting will get underway in the summer. Carr’s Rumpus Entertainment partner Jason Taragan will be exec producer. Riggle will next be seen in the Tom Hanks-directed Larry Crowne and is shooting 21 Jump Street, while Lennon will next be seen in Bad Teacher. Lennon, who rewrote this script with Riggle, usually writes with Ben Garant, who hatched Night at the Museum and Reno 911!
NALA Films just financed and produced House of My Father, the Spanish-language comedy that stars Will Ferrell, and the Max Winkler-directed Ceremony.