Franchise-Hungry Millennium Wins Spec Auction For ‘The Civilian’

By | Thursday November 7, 2013 @ 4:28pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In a mid-six-figure deal, Millennium Films has acquired The Civilian, a spec script by Rachel Long and Brian Pittman that the film company hopes will give it another franchise, this one in the vein of Read More »

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Avi Lerner Saves His ‘ExpendaBelles’ News For Bulgaria

By | Friday October 25, 2013 @ 9:29am PDT
Mike Fleming

For some reason, Millennium Films chief Avi Lerner likes to drop scoops in the Bulgarian press. That might mean that his revelation to the Standart that he is negotiating with Meryl Streep, Cameron Diaz and Milla Jovovich to … Read More »

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Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp And Millennium Entertainment Heading To Altar?

By | Saturday October 12, 2013 @ 9:26am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: I am hearing that Luc Besson‘s EuropaCorp is the lead horse in the quest to acquire Millennium Entertainment, the distribution arm of Avi Lerner‘s Nu Image/Millennium Films empire that was … Read More »

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Millennium, ‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’ Team Resurrecting Zombie Flick ‘Day Of The Dead’

By | Wednesday July 10, 2013 @ 9:49pm PDT

As zombies continue to stalk screens both big and small, the third pic in George A. Romero’s original undead trilogy will walk again. Texas Chainsaw 3D producers Lati Grobman and Christa Campbell are teaming with Millennium Films and Taurus Entertainment to revive Day Of The Dead, which originally rose in 1985 and was revived in a straight-to-video version in 2008. “Contrary to other recent zombie remakes, our Day of the Dead will honor Romero’s original vision by reviving the slow, brooding zombie that terrorized so many of our childhoods,” Grobman tells Deadline. “The trend of the fast, agile, ‘sprinting’ zombie creates a lot of great jump-out-of-your-seat moments, but it doesn’t compare to the psychological fear and tension that builds when going up against Romero’s original undead army.” Romero’s film followed his 1968 genre classic Night Of The Living Dead and 1979 sequel Dawn Of The Dead. Day Of The Dead revolved around survivors of the worldwide zombie apocalypse who struggle to survive in fortified enclaves while trying to figure how to reverse the calamity. “Our goal is to reset the genre by finding the perfect balance between nostalgia and modernity,” Grobman says, “all while crafting a story that has both heart and brains — literally.” Read More »

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Millennium On The Block; Salem Partners To Handle Sale Of Distribution Unit

By | Monday April 22, 2013 @ 10:28am PDT

Millennium Entertainment, the distribution arm of Avi Lerner‘s Nu Image, is officially for sale, with investment bank Salem Partners brought in to shop a deal. Nu Image holds 60% of the company, while Nigel Sinclair and Guy East’s Exclusive Media has a 20% stake and hedge fund Prentice Capital has the other 20%. A sale has been in the cards for the past year as Sinclair and East considered buying the part of the company they don’t already own, but a deal did not come to fruition. With the sale now opened to other buyers, Deadline hears there’s been “a lot of activity.” Here’s the official press release:

Millennium Entertainment CEO Bill Lee announced today that Salem Partners, a leading Los Angeles-based investment bank and wealth management firm, has been retained to sell the company.

Millennium Entertainment enjoyed a record year in both revenue and earnings in 2012 propelled by one of 2012’s biggest indie successes, Richard Linklater’s comedy Bernie, which earned Jack Black a Golden Globe nomination.

Read More »

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Not So Fast, Avi Lerner! ‘Chainsaw’ Rights Holder Slices Sequel Plans

By | Wednesday January 9, 2013 @ 4:48pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: What could Avi have been thinking? Last night, after a long day and fueled by quotes from Millennium Films chief Avi Lerner, I broke a story that another Texas Chainsaw Massacre film would move forward later Read More »

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Avi Lerner’s Millennium Crosses $300 Million Mark With ‘Expendables 2′

By | Friday October 19, 2012 @ 4:26pm PDT
Mike Fleming

It took him 20 years, but Millennium Films’ Avi Lerner has notched his first film to pass the $300 million worldwide gross mark. The Expendables 2 just crossed that threshold. The movie, which the company said has grossed over … Read More »

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Avi Lerner’s Nu Image Sued By ‘Cops’ Producers Over Unpaid Film Revenues

By | Thursday August 9, 2012 @ 6:03pm PDT

The producers of Cops are taking the producers and distributors of Brooklyn’s Finest and Leaves Of Grass to court over money they say they are owed from the films. In an 11-page complaint filed today, (read it here) Langley Films, who make the long running police series, say Avi Lerner’s Nu Image, as well as Leaves of Grass Productions Inc. and Brooklyn’s Finest Distribution Inc., failed to honor an agreement to pay the company “a portion of the revenues” from both the 2010 comedy and the 2009 crime drama. The three companies are cited as defendants with Lerner, Nu Image/Millennium Films’ Trevor Short and former Nu Image/Millennium foreign sales chief Danny Dimbort named as principals who “may have engaged in a scheme to defraud Langley Films.” Millennium/Nu Image are the producers of, among other films, the upcoming The Expendables 2, Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy and the White House thriller Olympus Has Fallen directed by Antoine Fuqua who helmed Brooklyn’s Finest.

RELATED: Lawsuit Filed Over Stuntman’s Death During ‘Expendables 2′

Citing breach of contract and accounting, Langley says in 2008 it gave $3.65 million to pay some development and production costs on the Richard Gere and Don Cheadle-starring Brooklyn’s Finest and $1.5 million for the same for the Edward Norton and Susan Sarandon-starring Leaves of Glass. The complaint alleges that not only has it not received the promised revenue but also that the defendants partially reneged on an August 31, 2011 agreement to pay back the some of the money the Santa Monica-based independent producer had given them. Read More »

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Millennium Films, West Coast Film Partners Enter $100M Co-Finance Pact

By | Saturday May 19, 2012 @ 10:16am PDT

CANNES (May 19, 2012) — Millennium Films has signed a $100 million co-financing/co-production agreement with West Coast Film Partners. The agreement runs for three years and calls for the parties to co-finance two to three wide-release feature films per year.

The first movie West Coast will co-finance and co-produce is “White House Taken,” directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Gerard Butler. It’s an action movie about a U.S. Secret Service agent who has fallen from grace – until the White House is attacked and taken over by a team of North Koreans armed with extraordinary technology. Everything the Pentagon throws at the problem fails. But our hero knows the building like nobody else, and is the last chance we have to save, not only the President, but the entire country.

The deal was put together by Millennium President Mark Gill and West Coast CEO Klay Shroedel.

Read More »

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Antoine Fuqua Offered ‘Olympus Has Fallen’

By | Tuesday April 10, 2012 @ 3:57pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING… Antoine Fuqua has been offered Olympus Has Fallen, the White House takeover script by Creighton Rothenberger & Katrin Benedikt that Gerry Butler will star in for Avi Lerner’s Millennium. Fuqua is thinking it over, but he’s … Read More »

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Millennium Buying ‘Bernie’ With Jack Black

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: A deal is near for Millennium Entertainment to acquire U.S. distribution rights to the Los Angeles Film Festival opening-night pic Bernie. I’m told that it will be the first significant grab for former Film Department co-head Mark Gill since … Read More »

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Scott Eastwood Revs Up ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Scott Eastwood, the youngest son of actor/director Clint Eastwood, has been set for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D, the John Luessenhop-directed franchise reboot that starts production this week in Louisiana. Eastwood will play the role of Carl, the male … Read More »

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Mark Gill New President Of Millennium Films

Exclusive: The Film Department Shutters

LOS ANGELES, CA — Former Miramax Films and Warner Independent president Mark Gill has been named President of Millennium Films. The company plans to produce and finance five to eight star-driven, wide-release films per year with budgets between $20 and $80 million.

Gill will work closely with Nu Image/Millennium Films toppers Avi Lerner and Trevor Short and development head Boaz Davidson, starting in July, with particular focus on development, packaging, production and marketing.

Gill has 25 years of film business experience and a production track record of more than $1 billion at the box office.

Read More »

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Barry Levinson, Al Pacino To Team On Philip Roth’s ‘The Humbling’ Before Gotti Mob Saga

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Before Al Pacino and director Barry Levinson re-team for Gotti: Three Generations, the duo will first reunite on an adaptation of the Philip Roth novel The Humbling, which has been set for a fall start and will be financed by Avi Lerner’s Millennium Films/Nu Image. It is just the latest in a period of extreme productivity for Levinson, some of it directly attributable to the acclaim he got for directing Pacino’s Emmy-winning turn as Jack Kevorkian in HBO’s You Don’t Know Jack.

The Humbling revolves around Simon Axler (Pacino), a famous stage actor in decline who is revived when he retires to his upstate New York farmhouse and takes up with a much younger woman. It has a script by Buck Henry, Michal Zebede and Levinson. Levinson will be looking to quickly cast the young female lead, the actor’s agent, and several other eccentric characters you would expect in a Roth novel. Levinson committed to this movie after completing production on the low-budget eco-horror film The Bay, which he shot on hand-held cameras and which Lionsgate will release. He just spent time at the Cannes Film Festival to help stir interest in the offshore rights of the Gotti movie; and he’s right now in China, heading the jury at the Shanghai Film Festival.

I caught up with Levinson at Cannes, where he was uneasy about the idea of having to hawk a film (Gotti) that he and his Bugsy co-writer James Toback are giving a page one rewrite. He was completely sparked to be shooting a variety of films, from horror to documentaries (he helmed for ESPN’s 30 for 30 series The Band That Wouldn’t Die). But industry players who passed by us in the Majestic Hotel seemed intrigued at his chance to create a major new Mafia movie, and one prominent figure even volunteered to join a preliminary cast that includes John Travolta (Gotti Sr.), Joe Pesci and Pacino, whom Levinson recruited. Read More »

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CANNES: FilmDistrict Buys Gerard Butler Soccer Comedy ‘Playing The Field’

Mike Fleming

FilmDistrict bought U.S. rights to Playing the Field, the Nu Image/Millennium Films Gabriele Muccino-directed comedy that stars Gerard Butler as a retired soccer star. His penchant for scoring off the field ruined his marriage and his relationship with his … Read More »

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Avi Lerner’s Foreign Sales Ace Danny Dimbort Exits With Millennium Execs To Launch Red Granite International

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: In a pre-Cannes foreign sales shakeup bombshell, Millennium/Nu Image partner Danny Dimbort has left and joined forces with Red Granite Pictures. He’s taking the role of president in the foreign sales company Red Granite International, and has taken with him Christian Mercuri, who’ll be co-president, and Joe Gatta, who’ll be president of production. Relations between Dimbort and Avi Lerner have been strained for a long time. In January 2010, I reported as much, when Dimbort was gone for weeks and speculation was high that he would leave because he and Lerner disagreed on the kinds of movies they should be making. At the time, Lerner scoffed at the speculation, saying Dimbort  was “categorically not departing, and whoever is telling you that is just being mean. We’ve been partners for 30 years, he’s my best friend, and I love him to death. You want a problem? It’s that the American government doesn’t give a shit about the piracy of our product that’s taking place around the world. The stuff about Danny is bullshit.”

Relations got even more strained when Dimbort was busted by the Producers Guild for giving a producing credit to his teenage granddaughter. Now, I’d always heard Dimbort did this to make a point, because he was pissed that Lerner was putting girlfriends into producing and other positions where they would receive credit. Last year, I’d heard that Dimbort was bought out of his equity position in the company, but that it didn’t mean he was leaving. Now, he’s gone. Read More »

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Sundance: Anchor Bay Acquires Dito Montiel’s ‘The Son Of No One’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Anchor Bay has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the Dito Montiel-directed cop drama The Son Of No One, which was the 2011 Sundance Film Festival’s final premiere last Friday. I’m told the deal was in the $2 million minimum … Read More »

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Is Avi Lerner Friend Or Foe To Indieprods?

Two European sales companies — British based Hanway Films (the sales company of British producer Jeremy Thomas) and Paris-based Celluloid Dreams — are calling for Avi Lerner to step down as vice-chair of the Independent Film & Television Alliance. The … Read More »

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CBS Films To Distribute Millennium Redo ‘The Mechanic’ With Jason Statham

By | Sunday August 8, 2010 @ 6:11pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: CBS Films has made its first acquisition of a finished film, buying U.S.  distribution rights to The Mechanic, the remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson film that stars Jason Staham as a hitman who trains an apprentice who has … Read More »

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