This turned out to be the first big bidding battle of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which is now winding down. The Weinstein Company won out after sparking to the seven-minute teaser reel shown to buyers during the fest, outbidding others including Focus Features. Now it will join the distributor’s already bursting awards-season slate that includes Sundance winner Fruitvale Station, August: Osage County with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, Long Walk To Freedom with Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela, the Lee Daniels-directed The Butler, Grace Of Monaco with Nicole Kidman, and the Shane Salerno-directed documentary Salinger. Here’s the official release:
CANNES (May 23, 2013) – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today from the 2013 Cannes Film Festival that they are acquiring distribution rights in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Spain to director Stephen Frears’ (HIGH FIDELITY, THE QUEEN) dramedy PHILOMENA. Seven minutes of the film were shown to buyers in Cannes on May 16th, with TWC outbidding a number of other studios vying for rights. Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope penned the screenplay, which is based on the 2009 novel The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith. The project stars Judi Dench (NOTES ON A SCANDAL, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL) and Coogan (THE TRIP, WHAT MAISIE KNEW) and was produced by Coogan, Tracey Seaward and Gabrielle Tana. Baby Cow’s Henry Normal, BBC Films’ Christine Langan, Pathé’s Francois Ivernel and Cameron McCracken and Magnolia Mae Films’ Carolyn Marks Blackwood executive produced. READ MORE »
Hannibal Classics has set Danny Glover, Peter Stomare, Aubrey Peebles, Patrice Cols and Max Fowler to join Nicolas Cage in the action thriller Tokarev. The film, which starts June 8 in Alabama, marks the American debut of Spanish helmer Paco … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has hired Richard Cordiner to script Spacesuit, based on the book by Nicholas de Monchaux. This tells the true story of the unsung heroes of the Apollo space program — a team of bra and girdle designers from Playtex who successfully built the iconic spacesuit that enabled Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to walk on the moon. This improbable band of outsiders — led by a former TV repairman, a car mechanic, and their crew of spirited seamstresses — accomplished what all the aerospace giants couldn’t. It’s a long way from the shop floor of Playtex to the surface of the moon, and this incredible story tracks how it happened. Marc Shmuger’s Global Produce brought the project to the studio, and Shmuger and Tom McNulty will produce with Alexandra Loewy overseeing development. Kat Likkel and John Hoberg are exec producers and Jon Berg and Racheline Benveniste are overseeing for the studio. Read More »
CEO Amy Miles seems confident that consumers will continue to flock to theaters, even with the higher admission costs. “Sometimes we joke and say we are an industry that has been dying for the past 50 years,” she told investors today at Barclays Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference. But “as long as we continue to provide that great, affordable out-of-home experience…people are going to continue to go to the movies.” What’s “affordable” is in the eye of the beholder: Regal CFO David Ownby told the group that his company’s ticket prices for 2D movies “will go up in that 3% to 4% range” that’s been the pattern over the last few years. He notes that for IMAX movies Regal adds as much as $6.50 to the price of the basic 2D ticket. The chain’s own RPX large-screen venues have as much as a $5.00 upcharge while regular 3D films cost about $3.50 more than conventional 2D. This year’s potential blockbusters should help the cause. Read More »
The new study provides some statistical ammo for those in the Commonwealth who like the tax break, and are still smarting from a state Department of Revenue report in March that raised questions about whether it makes sense. The … Read More »
UPDATE, 10:55 AM: Cinedigm has just acquired all North American distribution rights to Visitors, with a fall 2013 4K release planned after the Toronto bow.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 12:01 AM: : The Toronto Film Festival has set the Godfrey Reggio-directed Visitors to have its world premiere at the festival September 8, in a most splashy manner. The film has an original score by Philip Glass and it is being presented by Steven Soderbergh. While that filmmaker is stepping away from directing features, he’s not done backing them and has been a big supporter of Reggio’s work since Koyaanisqatsi 30 years ago. The Toronto premiere will be presented in 4K digital projection and live accompaniment by members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Michael Riesman. The premiere will be held that Sunday at 6 PM at the Visa Screening Room at the Elgin Theatre.
Said TIFF Director and CEO Piers Handling: “Reggio’s Visitors is a poignant, powerful film. Coupled with live performance by 65 Members of the TSO, this event is an opportunity for Toronto audiences to be moved and to experience film in a whole new way.”
Of his involvement, Soderbergh told me: “I was a producer on the last Qatsi film but had lost touch with Godfrey and out of the blue I emailed his producer, Lawrence Taub. He told me they were in the last stages of cutting his new movie. They brought me out to Red Hook in Brooklyn to show it to me. I loved it and said, ‘What can I do to help, what do you want?’ They asked if I would be presenter and help them navigate making a distribution deal and finding a foreign sales person and I said, ‘I’m in.’ ” Read More »
Guillaume Canet’s English-language directorial debut Blood Ties is here in the official selection, out of competition. Lionsgate has taken U.S. distribution rights in what I hear is an over $2M deal, which is understood to be the biggest of the festival so far. The film will go out via Lionsgate sister company Roadside Attractions. Canet and James Gray wrote the script about two brothers, one a cop and one an ex-con. It’s based on the French film Les Liens Du Sang which starred Canet. He stayed behind the camera for this one with Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard, Domenick Lombardozzi, Mila Kunis, Matthias Schoenaerts, Zoé Saldana and James Caan starring. Lionsgate UK took rights for that territory last year. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In its second significant deal at Cannes, Radius-TWC acquired North American rights to Keanu Reeves‘ directorial debut Man Of Tai Chi in a low seven-figure minimum guarantee. The film is set in modern Beijing and follows the spiritual journey of a young martial artist (Tiger Hu Chen) whose unparalleled tai chi skills land him in a highly lucrative underworld fight club. As the fights grow tougher, he must compromise his own beliefs in order to survive. This is the second deal for Radius, which on Saturday acquired the Directors Fornight film Blue Ruin. TWC-Radius also has the Nicolas Winding Refn-directed Only God Forgives playing here at Cannes, with Ryan Gosling and Kristin Scott Thomas starring.
Related: Hammond: A New Day As HBO and VOD Movies Compete For Palme d’Or
Reeves, who also stars in the film, met Chen during The Matrix, where Chen was a stuntman and a trainer for Reeves. It’s Chen’s first lead role, and the film also stars international action fixtures like The Raid’s Iko Uwais and Jeremy Marinas. Michael G. Cooney wrote the script and Man Of Tai Chi is a co-production between China Film Group, Wanda Media, Village Roadshow Pictures Asia and Universal Pictures. Lemore Syvan is the producer. Radius will release the film in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Related: Cannes: Reeves Presents ‘Man Of Tai Chi’ Read More »
The fallout from Digital Domain Media Group’s bankruptcy continues with investors in the troubled special effects and 3D conversion firm taking the former CEO, the company’s auditors and other executives to court for fraud. Having lost millions in the James Cameron-founded company just before it went under last September, Iroquois Master Fund and Kingsbrook Opportunities Master Fund late last week filed a six claim complaint (read it here) against John Textor, his wife Deborah, various DDMG directors and auditors SingerLewak LLP. The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages as well as interest, legal fees and “such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper.” The complaint in New York State Supreme Court alleges common law fraud, aiding and abetting fraud, negligent misrepresentations and omissions, negligence, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and civil conspiracy. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Fox has snapped up life rights for the true crime project Narc, based on the actual story of an All-American college kid-turned-police informant. Zac Efron is attached to star as a student, frat president, and lacrosse team captain who’s busted for drugs intended for a party, then secretly turns narc and helps the cops bust criminals while carrying on his BMOC campus life. Efron’s manager and producing partner Jason Barrett will exec produce with Underground-repped Doug Banker. They’ve got a familiar friend in Fox exec Jason Young, who briefly departed the studio to help Efron establish Ninjas Runnin’ Wild in 2010 before returning as Fox’s VP of Production. Read More »
Barry Levinson has come on board to direct a love story loosely based on the best-selling novel The Cursed Piano by Chinese author Bei La. It takes place across Leningrad and Shanghai over the course of 40 years. Shanghai … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Mike Lobell, the veteran producer whose 14-years of persistence helped make the remake Gambit happen, is getting close on three other projects with strong elements. He has re-teamed with former partner, writer-director Andrew Bergman, on A Film By Alan Stuart Eisner, an ensemble comedy which so far has Project X‘s Oliver Cooper, Shirley MacLaine and Robin Williams attached, with Rob Reiner making a cameo. Lobell reports that the film has added Sienna Miller, Isla Fisher and Audra MacDonald. Eisner is a comedy dealing with a young man making a documentary to learn what happened to his family during WWII. He is out looking for financing.
Gambit, by the way, ended up with Michael Hoffman directing a script by Joel and Ethan Coen. Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz and Alan Rickman star and CBS Films is releasing.
At the same time, Lobell is getting traction on This Man This Woman, the adult love story written by Frederic Raphael. The project has gotten a boost with the attachment of Richard Gere, who long ago sparked to a film which focuses on the trials and tribulations of a marriage. This was the picture that once nearly went into production with Meg Ryan and Sean Penn. Lobell and Gere will now look for a director and their female lead. Read More »
The company’s U.S. stock closed +9.3% today — at $22.91, the highest it’s been since late 2011 — in unusually heavy trading after Japan’s Nikkei news service reported that Sony‘s board will explore the proposal from billionaire … Read More »
This is curious: Carmike was a founding partner at Fandango, and last year the companies announced that they had extended their “multi-year strategic agreement.” But it appears that deal wasn’t exclusive — and Carmike wants another … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences COO Ric Robertson is taking what’s being internally called a “sabbatical” from June through August. I have learned this is an unusual paid leave even though the Academy is complaining about a financial crunch. Normally, its staff are restricted to 30 days of unpaid leave (and then only with approval). “He has worked here for 31 years. Doesn’t he deserve it?” an insider told me. “He didn’t tell us what he’ll do. Maybe work on his golf game.” Robertson’s upcoming sabbatical has prompted AMPAS staff to wonder whether he will be pushed out and/or look for another job. In April 2011, he was passed over for Bruce Davis’ executive directorship and now reports to AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson, who was brought in over him. Insiders tell me that Robertson was primarily responsible for this year’s online voting debacle, which Hudson dumped in his lap when the Academy finally decided to implement Oscar balloting electronically — something Robertson and Davis resisted for prior years. (Grumbles one insider: “Dawn gives him anything messy that she doesn’t want to deal with or anything that means a lot of real work or anything that has a potential for failure, like the electronic voting.”) Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: DreamWorks is firming up a January production start for Glimmer, and a big reason for that is so that it will allow some scheduling room for Dylan O’Brien to play the lead. Jeremy Allen White also … Read More »
For a guy who died not long after the moon landing, Jack Kerouac is a pretty hot commodity these days. On the heels of Walter Salles’ adaptation of the Beat writer’s celebrated novel … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Wall Street and W scribe Stanley Weiser has optioned the Jamie Mason novel Three Graves Full, and he plans to write the script himself. The book, published by Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books, follows a mild-mannered guy … Read More »