OSCARS: ‘Foxcatcher’ Becomes Latest Film To Drop Out Of This Year’s Race

Pete Hammond

Scratch off another potential Oscar contender. Sony Pictures Classics has announced the planned December release of the Bennett Miller-directed drama Foxcatcher has been moved out of this year’s awards race and into 2014 so filmmakers “can have more time to finish the film”. The announcement is a bit startling since AFI Fest, a prime showcase for major Oscar contenders, recently had announced it for a major world premiere berth on November 8. Obviously that will have to be replaced.

Related: SPC Moves Bennett Miller’s ‘Foxcatcher’ To 2014

The film becomes the latest casualty this week in what is turning out to be a very competitive awards season. Earlier this week The Weinstein Company announced their expected contender Grace Of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman was being moved from November (after previously being scheduled for December) and on to its spring 2014 slate, effectively removing Kidman’s portrayal of Grace Kelly from the Best Actress race.
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SPC Moves Bennett Miller’s ‘Foxcatcher’ To 2014

By | Thursday September 26, 2013 @ 7:15pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Sony Pictures Classics has moved the release of the Bennett Miller-directed Foxcatcher to 2014. They said the filmmaker needs more time to finish the film that stars Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. It was expected … Read More »

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Sony Pictures Classics Catches Bennett Miller’s ‘Foxcatcher’

By | Thursday August 15, 2013 @ 5:12pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Sony Pictures Classics’ Michael Barker and Tom Bernard just got themselves a strong awards season film. SPC, as expected, will release the Bennett Miller-directed Foxcatcher in North America Pic’s in post-production and will be released December 20. Megan Ellison financed … Read More »

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Edward Norton & Bennett Miller Make Obama Documentary: Video

By | Friday November 2, 2012 @ 9:00am PDT

Edward Norton produced a video for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and is back to do another this year with the help of Moneyball director Bennett Miller. To its credit, the seven-minute video We Hold These Truths doesn’t feature any Hollywood types.

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Sienna Miller Plays Murdered Wrestler’s Wife In ‘Foxcatcher’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Moneyball helmer Bennett Miller is putting together the final casting pieces for Foxcatcher, the Annapurna Pictures-funded drama that stars Steve Carell as paranoid schizophrenic heir Jon DuPont, who created a training center for wrestlers and murdered … Read More »

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Lionsgate Getting Close On ‘Catching Fire’ Director

By | Wednesday April 18, 2012 @ 7:31pm PDT
Mike Fleming

The race to replace Gary Ross as director of The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire is likely between Moneyball director Bennett Miller and Francis Lawrence, who most recently directed Water for Elephants and who handled a big scale movie … Read More »

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HAMMOND: Oscar Hopefuls Swarm Hollywood Awards Gala

Pete Hammond

Across town, as President Barack Obama was drawing every celebrity not in contention for awards this season, the 15th annual Hollywood Awards Gala was taking place at the Beverly Hilton. All of the Oscar hopefuls who agreed to show up to accept an award were there in their Monday finest as this was a place to be seen if you want an ego boost at this early point in the season.

With 19 above- and below-the-line categories to plow through, this was a surprisingly fun show that, if it didn’t already exist, Hollywood would have to find some way to invent. Billed as the ”official” kickoff to awards season (if you don’t count all those film festivals we’ve just been through), The Hollywood Awards were created — and basically chosen — by executive director Carlos de Abreu, who, with Janice Pennington, founded the gala and accompanying film festival. They are the result of a months-long negotiation between him and the studios and distributors, who are using this early opportunity to get key positioning for the players they hope to advance during the long awards season leading ultimately to Oscar. The only caveat is that to get the award, you have to agree to show up.

This year, de Abreu has his pulse on some real contenders and handed out acting awards to — among many others — Michelle Williams, George Clooney and Christopher Plummer, who all could realistically be considered close to frontrunners in their respective categories.

A real highlight of the show was when Marilyn Monroe’s Oscar-nominated Bus Stop co-star Don Murray showed up to present Hollywood Actress of the Year to Williams, who plays the iconic star in The Weinstein Company’s My Week With Marilyn“I’m the last of the the on-screen lovers of Marilyn Monroe, and I still just happen to have a body that actually works, ” the 82-year-old actor said to much laughter. “Michelle re-created moments I was so intimately familiar with as I spent 14 months working with Marilyn. There’s not one thing in this film that’s not truthful. It was a revelation. Michelle’s performance made me appreciate Marilyn Monroe  so much more.”

Williams, noticeably nervous, said her friends always wanted to see her win a award so she could basically sweat through the experience. She did well though, closing with a touching perception about Monroe. “It seems to me that all Marilyn Monroe wanted was to be taken seriously as an actress, and she studied so hard and never really got there,” she said, adding that it was ironic Williams herself could get this kind of recognition that so eluded the star she played.

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Disney Eyes Early 2012 Start For ‘Lone Ranger’; Announcement Expected Next Week

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Deadline told you a week ago that things were looking up for The Lone Ranger for the first time since we broke the shocking news on Aug. 12 that Disney had pulled the plug over budget. I’m hearing that the studio is likely to have everything resolved by next week, and can start rehiring crew so that the picture will be ready to begin production in January or February. How that late start impacts the Dec. 21, 2012 release date remains to be seen, but Johnny Depp will get to play Tonto (Disney wouldn’t make the movie without him), and Armie Hammer will be back in as the title character. Ruth Wilson, the scene-stealing killer from Idris Elba’s British cop series Luther, is also expected back as the female lead.

Disney has gotten to this point after a painful overhaul of the movie by producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski to bring to $215 million a budget the studio feared could reach $250 or more. Verbinski’s struggle has been to reach that number while retaining enough of the spectacle that made them say yes in the first place. The cutting process has included the reworking of deals for Depp, Verbinski and Bruckheimer, and trimming the production budget and the long shoot. That would enable Depp, Gore and Bruckheimer to re-team after making the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films together. The Lone Ranger is one of several huge-budget films that Disney’s Rich Ross and Sean Bailey are managing. The others include John Carter, the Andrew Stanton-directed adaptation of John Carter of Mars with Friday Night Lights‘ Taylor Kitsch in the lead role, which has a budget around $250 million; and The Great and Powerful Oz, the Sam Raimi-directed James Franco-starrer, which is hovering around $200 million. Read More »

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Toronto: Where Are The Film Deals?

Mike Fleming

Just as it did last year, the 2011 Toronto Film Festival has gotten off to a slow start on the acquisitions front. I spoke with many buyers after last night’s onslaught of acquisition title premieres, and the common feeling was these distributors need to fill slots in their schedules and they want to fall in love, but haven’t quite gotten there yet with most of these films. They had some reservations on just about all of the films they saw. These films will clearly find distribution homes, but the reaction means that deals will drag out because those distributors aren’t going to be posting large minimum guarantees, the way they did in Cannes.

Even the big sale of the festival so far, the Steve McQueen-directed NC-17 sex drama Shame, wasn’t a huge commitment for all the press hoopla that followed Deadline’s reveal that the film had sold to Fox Searchlight. I am hearing the deal was a mid-six figure minimum guarantee around $400,000, and a P&A commitment around $1.5 million. That sounds about right, because the filmmakers were most concerned with entering this year’s Oscar race to capitalize on the performances by Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, and ensuring that not a frame of the picture was changed. But it doesn’t sound like a wide release picture.

As for the wide release titles, they are going to sell, but it will be a struggle for sellers to get the dollars they want. I saw one of those titles that sit atop buyer lists last night. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was scripted by Simon Beaufoy, directed by Lasse Hallstrom and stars Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Kristin Scott Thomas and Amr Waked, the latter playing a wealthy sheik who pays a fisheries scientist to stock a stream with trout. The film is sophisticated, funny, timely and utterly charming, and I would be surprised if it isn’t snapped up by Monday or sooner. That film got the best reaction from the buyers I spoke with. The pace of auctioning has been complicated by the volume of premieres last night, including Rampart, Take This Waltz, The Oranges, the hockey comedy Goon and the Morgan Spurlock-directed documentary Comic-Con: A Fan’s Hope. Buyers had to make choices, and some were seeing films like Salmon this morning. I expect a flurry of deals toward the end of the festival, which is how it played out last year.

Since there’s little going on so far, you have time to notice things. Here are a few things I’ve noticed: Read More »

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