Warner Bros Acquires Global Book Sensation ‘The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair’; Ron Howard To Direct

Mike Fleming

Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair MovieEXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired the Joel Dicker novel The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair for Ron Howard to direct and his Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer to produce with him. Deals are also in the works for Eugenie Grandval and Claire Lundberg to produce as well. Since published by the Swiss author, the novel has been a publishing phenomenon in Europe and especially in France, where is finished just behind Fifty Shades Of Grey, and Italy and Spain, where it outsold Dan Brown’s Inferno. It has sold over 2 million copies and won the prestigious Grand Prix du Roman and was nominated for the Prix Goncourt. Book was published by Bernard de Fallois’s Editions de Fallois.

ronbrianPublished in France under the title La vérité sur l’affaire Harry Quebert, the novel is about a young superstar novelist who finds himself embroiled in a sensationalized murder mystery when his mentor, an icon of American literature, is implicated in the crime of a missing 15-year-old girl who turns up dead in the author’s backyard. Penguin will publish the book in the U.S. in May. Read More »

Comments (4)

CAA Signs Oscar Winner Lupita Nyong’o

By | Tuesday April 22, 2014 @ 1:21pm PDT

lupita nyongoHot off her Best Supporting Actress Oscar win, Lupita Nyong’o has signed with CAA. The 2012 Yale School of Drama grad made her feature debut in the Steve McQueen-helmed Best Picture winner 12 Read More »

Comments 62

Lionsgate And Summit Combining Film Marketing Teams; Summit’s Nancy Kirkpatrick Out

palen kirkpatrickLionsgate is the latest studio to shake up its marketing operations, saying today it is combining operations under Chief Marketing Officer Tim Palen that will give him oversight of film marketing for Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment product as well as its Pantelion Films joint venture with Televisa and urban Codeblack Films label. With the consolidation, Summit’s president of worldwide marketing Nancy Kirkpatrick is resigning at month’s end (although she doesn’t appear to be in her office now). As the company streamlines its operations — it currently releases about 12 to 15 movies a year now — the question is if others might follow Kirkpatrick out the door.

Kirkpatrick, who is well-regarded, ends her tenure after shepherding the marketing efforts for all five Twilight Saga films as well as the recent launch of the first pic in the Divergent franchise, which bowed last month with a $56.4 million opening weekend and has grossed $175M-plus to date worldwide. Draft Day was the last picture to open and it didn’t do well, grossing only $9.7M this past weekend, but the last three Kevin Costner film openings have been soft.

Lionsgate_newlogo__130418225246-200x107“Nancy has done a great job and has been an important part of this company,” said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chair Rob Friedman, “And Tim has done an amazing job and has great relationships with both staffs.” One source noted that the word ‘integration’ has been talked about for awhile in the hallways of Lionsgate and Summit.

In fact, one of the biggest question marks since Lionsgate merged with Summit in 2012 was what would happen to their two veteran marketing heads. Eventually, Lionsgate’s Palen was given a new long-term deal to remain Chief Marketing Officer and it was decided Summit’s Kirkpatrick would continue in her role separately since the two entities had their own big slates to shepherd. As part of that structure, Palen was tasked with overseeing all of Lionsgate Films’ North American theatrical marketing campaigns and strategy, media, creative advertising and digital media initiatives as well as continuing to supervise the company’s corporate branding activities — he oversaw the marketing campaign for Lionsgate’s signature franchise The Hunger Games while Kilpatrick guided Twilight pics. As part of today’s moves, Palen now has expanded responsibilities for merchandising, theme park attractions and new business opportunities generated by the company’s franchises. He joined Lionsgate in 2002 as VP Theatrical Marketing. Read More »

Comments (14)

Sony Buys Lauryn Kahn Spec ‘I’m In Love With The DJ’ For Gary Sanchez

Mike Fleming

laurynEXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has made a pre-emptive deal for I’m In Love With The DJ, a romantic comedy spec by Lauryn Kahn that will be produced by Gary Sanchez’s Adam McKay, Will Ferrell and Kevin Messick. Deal comes right after Gary Sanchez made a Sony deal for Border Guards, a comedy that will star Ferrell and John C. Reilly, with McKay directing.

The new deal is for an R-rated comedy is about a girl whose two best friends tag along on her work trip to Spain that quickly turns into a crazy hunt for a hot DJ through the electronic dance music scene. Kahn is the young writer who, after spending four years as McKay’s assistant and honing her writing skills scripting, performing and directing numerous shorts for the Funny Or Die, sold the script He’s Fuckin’ Perfect to Fox 2000 for $1 million against $1.5 million. That film, now titled The Social Life, moved to Universal with Jake Syzmanski directing Amanda Seyfried and Rebel Wilson, with Gary Sanchez producing. Read More »

Comments 24

Cannes: Lineup Has Few Surprises, Big Canadian Presence & Lots Of Female Helmers

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 7:03am PDT

Cannes Lineup Announcement 2014Canadian, French and European helmers dominate the Competition roster for the 67th Cannes Film Festival. And, in what could be a record, there are 15 female directors across the entire Official Selection which was unveiled this morning in Paris. In total, 50 movies out of 1,800 submissions make up the Official Selection that encompasses the Competition, Un Certain Regard and the special screenings sections. Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week are announced next week. Many of the titles revealed today had been tipped, and there were no major surprises. But, as is Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux‘s habit, more films may be added before Grace Of Monaco kicks off the Riviera proceedings May 14.

Related: Cannes: 67th Cannes Film Festival Lineup Unveiled

the homesman1Two movies that were highly anticipated from U.S. directors are in the mix: Tommy Lee Jones’ The Homesman and Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher. Occupying the big Hollywood slot, DreamWorks Animation, as expected, will premiere How To Train Your Dragon 2 Out Of Competition. Frémaux, who first programmed DWA’s Shrek in Competition in 2001, said having the Dragon sequel in town was a way to “celebrate 20 years of DreamWorks” and a way “for us to thank them for the films they’ve given us over the years.”

Some movies that looked like long-shot possibilities welcome to new yorkcoming in were indeed left out. There was no mention of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice today, despite what we’ve heard was a full-court press by Frémaux. He noted that neither Terrence Malick (with Knight Of Cups) nor Emir Kusturica (with On The Milky Road) were ready. When asked what had become of Abel Ferrara’s Welcome To New York, the controversial film inspired by the Dominique Strauss-Khan scandal and starring Gérard Depardieu, he said tradition held that we “only talk about the films that we’re showing, so I’m not going to talk about Ferrara’s film.” However, scuttlebutt in the UGC Normandie theater this morning was that the film may be a late addition to the Out Of Competition lineup.

Related: Cannes: Official Selection Buzz Sharpens Ahead Of Thursday’s Reveal

Read More »

Comments (10)

Open Road Acquires U.S. On ‘Tupac’, John Singleton-Directed Pic On Hip-Hop Icon

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 11:43am PDT
Mike Fleming

tupacEXCLUSIVE: Open Road Films has acquired U.S. rights to Tupac, the long-awaited and highly anticipated feature on the life of Tupac Shakur directed by John Singleton. Scripted by Jeremy Haft & Ed Gonzalez and Singleton, the film traces … Read More »

Comments 21

Liev Schreiber, Jaden Smith Set For Slavery Pic ‘The Good Lord Bird’ Adapted From James McBride Bestseller

By | Tuesday April 15, 2014 @ 2:37pm PDT

Liev Schreiber Good Lord Bird Jaden Smith Good Lord BirdEXCLUSIVE: Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan) and Jaden Smith (The Karate Kid, After Earth) are set to star in The Good Lord Bird, a big-screen adaptation of the 2013 National Book Award winner by James McBride (Miracle At St. Anna, Red Hook Summer). McBride is aboard to produce the pic about The Good Lord Bird movieHenry “Onion” Shackleford (Smith), a young slave who links up with radical abolitionist John Brown (Schreiber) in 1856 Kansas and travels the nation with Brown’s motley crew of freedom fighters. Story is told with a satirical bent through the eyes of Onion, who wears a dress and is at first mistaken for a girl, as he bears witness to Brown’s historic campaign and encounters the likes of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman en route to the bloody Harper’s Ferry raid that helped spark the Civil War. McBride’s NY Times bestseller made Publishers Weekly‘s Top 10 Books of the Year list and has drawn comparisons to Mark Twain’s classic novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Fifteen-year-old Smith is coming off a run of feature turns in Sony’s Karate Kid reboot with Jackie Chan and sci-fier After Earth, opposite dad Will Smith. He’s set to return for sequel Karate Kid 2, which hired Breck Eisner to helm last week. Read More »

Comments 37

Rick Santorum’s Faith-Based Film Company Eyes Churches Also As Movie Houses

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 4:16pm PDT

450461553EchoLight Studios, the faith- and family-based production entity headed by self-professed Christian politician and former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, said it will distribute four films a year starting in September 2014 then one a quarter after that. But here’s the twist: The films will be playing in churches throughout the country instead of theaters. One of those films is Hoovey, starring Patrick Warburton (Rules Of Engagement) and Lauren Holly — a true story about a Midwestern basketball family who, with God’s help, stayed in the game and won. Audrey's Shower patrick warburtonThe film is an unlikely candidate for the nation’s theaters to begin with, but there is a larger goal for Santorum, who is the CEO and not in politics any longer — to bring in flocks to the churches. “We want to be a part of empowering the church to elevate its role as a cultural change agent,” EchoLight President Studios Jeff Sheets said in a statement. “Our vision is not to create sermons wrapped in a movie but to create content that inspires, fascinates and incorporates a strong Christian worldview.”

Related: Biblical And Faith-based Films In Hollywood To Stay?

Uh, that’s taking the faith-based craze to a different level — using churches as theaters. The Franklin, TN-based company is developing content with “strong ministry value as tools for the Church to use in their in-reach and outreach ministries.” They also said that a portion of the revenues generated from these films will “fuel the missional needs of the hosting local church.” So instead of the money going into Hollywood coffers, it’s going back to Santorum’s churches. And therein lies the business model. Read More »

Comments 41

‘Midnight Rider’ Director Randall Miller Attempting To Move Forward With Film In LA Following Sarah Jones Death

Sarah Jones Midnight RiderEXCLUSIVE: Filming was suspended following the fatal February 20 train accident that killed camera assistant Sarah Jones on the Georgia set of Midnight Rider – but Deadline has learned that director/producer Randall Miller is hoping to move forward with the production as early as June.

A source close to Miller confirms that discussions are underway on proceeding with the Gregg Allman biopic, but not in the Savannah-Atlanta region where the Jones death occurred. According to sources with knowledge of the plans, Miller wants to instead resume filming in the Los Angeles area where he and his Unclaimed Freight banner are based. According to one source with knowledge of the production, Allman, who is the executive producer on Midnight Rider, has to sign off on it too but it’s not clear if he has yet. A rep for Allman did not return calls seeking comment. It appears that Miller and Unclaimed Freight believe they have a legal right to move forward to complete the film.

Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia

Midnight Rider Doctortown trestleAtlanta-based Jones, 27, died when a train collided with equipment on active tracks in rural Doctortown, GA where the crew of Midnight Rider was set up for filming on a train trestle overlooking the Altamaha River. The film’s producers were reportedly still trying to rally crew to continue filming in the days immediately following the accident. Production was officially suspended six days later; Open Road Films still has a distribution agreement to release the film. Read More »

Comments 70

Sean Penn To Direct Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem In ‘The Last Face’ For River Road’s Bill Pohlad

Seanpenn1 Charlize TheronAn interesting film project is quickly coming together now with Sean Penn, Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem, which is readying to be shot in Africa. The love story, called The Last Face, will be directed by Penn and is on the verge of getting the go-ahead from River Road and Bill Pohlad, with Bill Gerber and Matt Palmieri also producing. Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue Is The Warmest Color) is also on board. Theron, who is romantically linked with Penn, will star as a doctor who doing humanitarian relief work in Africa amidst violent political conflicts in the region. She meets another doctor (Bardem) who is doing the same work, and the story revolves around tough moral decisions that must be made during time of civil unrest. Exarchopoulos is expected to play a journalist.Javier_Bardem

This will be Penn and Pohlad’s fourth collaboration. They previously worked together on Into the Wild, which garnered two Oscar noms. Pohlad also produced Terence Malick’s Oscar-nominated Tree Of Life, which Penn narrated and starred, as well as Fair Game. Of course Pohlad was one of the producers of this year’s Best Picture winner 12 Years A Slave. Penn, Theron, Bardem and Pohlad are all Oscar winners. Read More »

Comments (11)

Ex-Aardman Exec Launches UK Animation Studio Backed By Elisabeth Murdoch

sarah smithFormer Aardman Animation Creative Director Sarah Smith is branching out on her own, creating the UK’s first dedicated high-end CG feature animation studio, Locksmith Animation. The new shingle’s focus will be on creating a long-term slate of CG-animated … Read More »

Comments (0)

Jeremy Irvine Stars In Roland Emmerich’s ‘Stonewall,’ Ground Zero For Gay Rights

Mike Fleming

jeremyiEXCLUSIVE: War Horse star Jeremy Irvine has been set to star in Stonewall, the next film that Roland Emmerich will direct. Scripted by Jon Robin Baitz, the film is about the June 28, 1969 police raid at the … Read More »

Comments (10)

Sony Pictures, Scott Rudin Acquiring Michael Lewis Bestseller ‘Flash Boys’

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 9:25pm PDT
Mike Fleming

flashboysEXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures and producer Scott Rudin are near a deal to acquire Flash Boys, the hottest-selling book in the country. Michael Lewis’ nonfiction work is about a group of Wall Street guys who grew frustrated by a loophole that gave traders the opportunity to game the stock market. They banded together to reform the financial markets by creating an exchange that rendered impotent the act of high-frequency trading, a growing form of trading that gave insiders an advantage. A story that is the antithesis of the practices that created the 2008 financial crisis, the book traces how the Flash Boys walked away from huge-money jobs to use their expertise to investigate big banks, stock exchanges and high-frequency trading firms. They peeled back the layers to bare why many feel that Wall Street is such a rigged game. The Flash Boys are the kind of guys who would have hated Jordan Belfort, the anti-hero of The Wolf Of Wall Street.

Related: Sony Closes Slate Co-Fi Deal With Lone Star Capital, CitiBank

Read More »

Comments (3)

Sony Closes Slate Co-Fi Deal With Lone Star Capital, CitiBank

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 8:04pm PDT
Mike Fleming

UPDATE: The funding commitment is $200 million, with half of that debt and the other half equity. It’s a multi-year agreement to co-finance the majority of Sony’s film for the next several years, $45 billion 20-year fund out of Texas, and this is a big move for Sony and reinforces Amy Pascal’s ability to put together powerhouse slates. That doesn’t include the films that Jeff Robinov is expected to make at Sony with his own funding, big films that Sony can co-finance or merely distribute. The money actually comes from LStar Capital, the credit lending affiliate of Lone Star, and CitiBank. Studio’s getting good notices on both the second installment of Amazing Spider-Man and 22 Jump Street, and this is a big shot in the arm for Pascal and Michael Lynton. Many lamented when Sony weathered a tough time last summer with White House Down and After Earth and Smurfs 2,  and then got criticism from minority shareholder Daniel Loeb. Some of that criticism, that Sony spent too much on its successes and didn’t protect its downside risk, is being addressed through belt tightening and this, but the Sony team, and Pascal in particular, takes risks and makes tasteful ambitious films. In an era where television has emerged as an enterprising medium, while there is a sameness in studio films, empowering Pascal to take big swings is something many feel is good for the movie business.

sony_logo__121101084843-200x133__130207090832__130530213852__131031103916 EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has closed a slate co-financing deal with Lone Star Capital and CitiBank that will cover the full slate for multiple years. I get the distinct impression this covers the entire slate, which includes plum franchises like The Amazing Spider-Man and its future spinoffs. They won’t get James Bond films, which are owned by MGM, but there are great titles. They included 22 Jump Street, Think Like A Man Too, Sex Tape, The Equalizer with Denzel Washington, The Interview, a piece of the Brad Pitt starrer Fury, the untitled Cameron Crowe film shooting in Hawaii with Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams, a new animated Popeye, Annie, The Kitchen Sink, Wedding Ringer with Kevin Hart, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, the Adam Sandler pic Pixels, The Smurfs 3, and Hotel Transylvania 2, Goosebumps and the Dan Brown novel Inferno. Beyond Bond being off the table, it’s likely not getting the Men in Black reboot because other companies have options on it.

Related: Sony Looking At Other Suitors For Slate Co-Financing Deal

Read More »

Comments (12)

Warner Bros Taps ‘Jungle Book’ Scribe Justin Marks To Adapt Vertigo Comics’ ‘Federal Bureau Of Physics’

Mike Fleming

FederalBureauOfPhysicsEXCLUSIVE: Justin Marks is reuniting with producer David Goyer to adapt Vertigo Comics’ Federal Bureau Of Physics, penning the script based on a treatment by Simon Oliver, who created the comic with Robbi Rodriguez. The comic series was … Read More »

Comments (10)

Drew Goddard Near Helming Deal For Spider-Man Spinoff ‘Sinister Six’

Mike Fleming

sinsixBREAKING: Sony Pictures is nearing a deal with Drew Goddard to direct Sinister Six, the Amazing Spider-Man spinoff for the studio. Goddard wrote the script for this first of what Marvel and Sony hope will be a new film franchise that shapes up as an Avengers-like all-star team of bad guys. Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach are producing. The original six villains were Doctor Octopus, Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, Sandman and The Vulture. That lineup sounds about right, given that Venom has a movie of his own, with Alex Kurtzman already set to direct that one.

Related: Sony Plans More Spider-Man Sequels & Spinoffs

drewgoddardWhy is Sony bullish on expanding the Spidey franchise? Like everyone, the studio is hungry for tentpoles, but there is another strategy at play. Much the way that Fox has held on to rights to Marvel’s X-Men franchise by pumping out spinoffs, Sony needs to keep generating films to keep the rights from reverting to Marvel owner Disney. There is no timetable for the villain film, but this one most certainly will come out after The Amazing Spider-Man 3, which is set for release June 10, 2016.

Read More »

Comments 26

‘Karate Kid 2′ Locks Breck Eisner To Helm Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan

Mike Fleming

jadenEXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has locked Breck Eisner to direct Karate Kid 2, the sequel that will bring back Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan. Harald Zwart directed the 2010 original, which grossed $56 million on its opening weekend and … Read More »

Comments 34

‘God’s Not Dead’s Kevin Sorbo Takes Hollywood & Media To Task As He Backs Crowdfunding Campaign For Telefilm On Convicted Abortion Doctor Kermit Gosnell

Kevin and Sam SorboEXCLUSIVE: Kevin Sorbo is co-star of the past two weekends’ box office pleaser God’s Not Deadwhich has pulled in $24M to date on a $2M budget. Now he is putting his name behind an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to help launch the tele-production of Gosnell – the story of the Philadelphia doctor who ran the abortion clinic from hell and was convicted on three counts of first-degree murder — but not without taking a shot at the media and Hollywood. Feature documentarians Phelim McAleer and his wife Ann McElhinney turned to Sorbo and his wife, Sandra (known as Sam), to help raise $2.1M. ”Even the pro-choicers would look at this and say, ‘No, this isn’t right,’” Sorbo said. “This is something that my wife and I are behind because we believe in this project. It’s long overdue for this story to be told, and it wasn’t covered by the media nearly as much as some of the other murder cases were.”

The story of the abortion doctor rocked Philadelphia and the nation in 2010 as the horrors of Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s clinic came to light. He murdered babies born alive by sticking a scissors into their necks and snipping their spinal cords. He was not even a certified kermit-gosnellobstetrician or gynecologist. Gosnell had run the Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia since 1979 for poor and desperate women seeking abortions, late-term and otherwise. He is serving a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole. It was the gruesome details revealed during the grand jury that underscored how disturbing his crimes were. The remains of fetuses were put in bags, milk jugs, and other containers, and investigators found the severed feet of several fetuses in a jar. The clinic itself was unsanitary, and several women were harmed — one died. What became clear throughout the investigation was that the crimes had been going on for years. “A man with all the tools and the experience at his disposal and still somehow the baby won and was born, he then took measures to kill them,” said Sam Sorbo. “This is a man who seemed to enjoy protection under the law because abortion is such a political issue that they refused to investigate him for years even though there were complaints for decades.” Read More »

Comments 69

Busy With ‘Stonewall’ And ‘Independence Day 2′, Roland Emmerich Buys Arctic Dive Spec

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Roland Emmerich has been at the RolandEmmerichcenter of some of the biggest spec script deals I have ever written about. Usually, he’s the co-writer and some studio is peeling off millions of dollars and making huge gross commitments to one of his global-scale adventure films. Today, Emmerich has completed a spec script deal, but this time, he’s the buyer. I hear his Centropolis Entertainment has acquired rights to an untitled action thriller scripted by actor-writers Nicolas Wright and James A. Woods. Centropolis executive Marco Shepherd, who brought the project to the company, will produce. The film is set on a diving ship in the Arctic.

This is a script that Emmerich will likely eye as a potential directing assignment, but that hasn’t been determined and he’s plenty busy. He’s prepping to next direct Stonewall, a Jon Robin Baitz-scripted drama about a young man’s political awakening in the backdrop of the Stonewall riots. Emmerich is simultaneously prepping with former partner Dean Devlin the sequel to Independence DayDeadline told you that Will Smith decided not to return, but Fox has set the film for a July 1, 2016 release date, so the clock is certainly ticking. Read More »

Comments (14)
More Deadline | Hollywood »