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Can ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ Lasso Youth?

Mike Fleming

Studios usually view Comic-Con as a venue to start momentum on projects that won’t be in theaters for up to a year. This Saturday, DreamWorks and Universal will try to turn the rabid youth demographic at Comic-Con into true believers for Cowboys & Aliens, a week before the picture opens. It’s crucially important to a movie that has a budget pegged by insiders at $163 million (whispers around town are it could be higher) big stars in Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, and the god-fathering  presence of Steven Spielberg and Imagine’s Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. It is also directed by Jon Favreau, whose Iron Man films and past Comic-Con patronage has made him a hero to that crowd.

Despite this pedigree, Cowboys & Aliens has endured a tortured development history involving more than a dozen writers. (Just five writers got screenplay credit after the Writers Guild not surprisingly held an arbitration trying to figure who did what over 14 years.) Now the movie faces even bigger challenges. It’s a mash-up of two genres that usually don’t cross paths, Westerns and science fiction. Word around town is the film has a  cash break participation pool in the 35% range. In the wake of the behemoth opening of  Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, tracking has been soft, there is no 3D conversion to justify higher ticket prices, factors that could put the … Read More »

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MGM Television Partners With The Team Behind ‘The Tudors’ For Viking Series

By | Tuesday May 24, 2011 @ 12:20pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: In one of the highest-profile TV projects to come out of post-bankruptcy MGM, the studio has teamed with The Tudors and Camelot masterminds Michael Hirst and Morgan O’Sullivan for Vikings (working title), a drama series about the famous Scandinavian warriors. Hirst, creator of Showtime’s The Tudors and co-creator of Starz’s Camelot, created Vikings and will executive produce with Irish-based producer O’Sullivan and producers/managers Sherry Marsh and Alan Gasmer. The series is eyed to begin production on a 10-episode first season next year at O’Sullivan’s soon-to-open studio facility in Ireland. It will be an Ireland-Canada co-production in the mold of O’Sullivan’s production model for The Tudors and Camelot. MGM, which has been involved in the development of the project, will finance 100% of the cost outside of Canada and Ireland and will distribute the series in the U.S. and internationally. Vikings is considered better suited for cable, and, because of the appetite for big, historic epics on pay TV, a pay cable play appears likely. Read More »

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