Via its arrangement with David Garrett’s Mister Smith Entertainment, DreamWorks has steadily been adding to its portfolio of offshore partners. Today’s news is that it’s pacted with the Hadida brothers’ indie powerhouse Metropolitan Filmexport in France. It’s also entered a deal with Inter-Film for Ukraine and a multi-picture agreement with MediaPro for Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. Here’s the release: READ MORE »
BREAKING: Actress Scarlett Johansson will make her helming debut on Summer Crossing, an adaptation of Truman Capote‘s first novel. Aldamisa will sell international rights here at Cannes, and CAA will make the domestic distribution deal. The plot: A 17-year-old debutant opts out of her parents’ Parisian travels to foster a romance with a Jewish valet parking attendant in the middle of a 1945 summer NYC heat wave. The novel had never been published by Capote, who threw it in the trash. It fell into the hands of the apartment janitor, who hung on to it. The manuscript resurfaced at a 2004 auction, where it fell back into the right hands and was published with the blessing of Capote’s former editor. How exactly the acquired material was brought back to light will remain a mystery, because Capote was dead. His work lives on as Johansson sparked to his early prose.
The VFX industry has seen recent mass migrations to tax-friendly locales overseas. Until now Belgium hasn’t been one of those major runaway destinations. But European film company uMedia has unveiled a new financing deal through its …
EXCLUSIVE: A film about two abandoned and scared boys trying to survive in New York City has found a new home. Codeblack Films has picked up US distribution for The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete. The …
BREAKING: Park Pictures Features signed Philip Seymour Hoffman to star in God’s Pocket, the upcoming film directorial debut from John Slattery, who adapted the Pete Dexter novel with Alex Metcalf. Richard Jenkins, Christina Hendricks and John Turturro will co-star. Gersh is selling. Park Pictures Features is producing with Hoffman’s Cooper’s Town Productions and Slattery’s Shoestring Pictures, which makes its producing debut. Producing is Sam Bisbee, Jackie Kelman Bisbee, Slattery, Lance Acord and Galt Niederhoffer for Park Pictures and Emily Ziff and Hoffman for Cooper’s Town.
Fox International Productions has taken distribution rights in Latin America, Germany and the U.S. on action thriller Mea Culpa which Gaumont is selling. The Fred Cavayé-directed pic stars Vincent Lindon, Gilles Lellouche and Nadine Labaki. The story follows a pair of good cops who’ve been longtime partners. Their lives go into a tailspin when one causes a tragic car accident. When his family is put in danger a few years after he exits the police force, he takes matters into his own hands. Cavayé’s previous films include Anything For Her, which was remade by Paul Haggis as The Next Three Days, and Point Blank, which is being developed as an English-language remake by Leverage and Working Title. Gaumont is screening exclusive footage of the pic for buyers here in Cannes. The $20M film bows in France in early 2014.
EXCLUSIVE: Bradley Cooper has now formally confirmed to star in the John Wells-directed Chef, making this one of the early projects stirring action from foreign buyers who can now visualize the Silver Linings Playbook star back in meltdown mode in this Shampoo-like drama. He plays a Paris chef named Adam Jones, who destroys his wunderkind status in a blaze of decadence and out of control behavior. He cleans up and returns to Paris sober, determined to redeem himself by spearheading a top restaurant that can gain three Michelin stars. This has been in the works a bit, and recently Cooper saw Wells’ upcoming TWC Oscar-bait movie August: Osage County and then TWC set Wells to direct Chef. They are now looking to round out that cast, and I’m hearing Michelle Williams and Marion Cotillard as potential female leads, and Omar Sy for co-starring role. The film’s produced by Stacey Sher, Erwin Stoff and Michael Shamberg.
The billionaire founder of hedge fund Third Point startled many in entertainment today with the news that he has paid $1.1B for a 6.4% stake in Sony – and wants the company to create a stock for its movie, TV, and music businesses, selling as much as 20% to the public. But on Wall Street, where Daniel Loeb is an A-list celeb, the big surprises are that he showed any interest in showbiz — and that his language in the letter he sent to Sony was so polite. As a value investor managing more than $13B, Loeb, 51, likes to engage in deep research and then bet on relatively boring companies and assets that others overlook. Third Point’s most recent quarterly investor letter highlights its holdings in International Paper and mortgages, as well as John Malone’s European cable company Liberty Global. Although Loeb was raised in Los Angeles, the son of a lawyer and an historian, he’s known as a New Yorker. He earned an economics degree from Columbia University before he hit Wall Street. After working 12 years for firms including Citibank, Jefferies and Warburg Pincus, he founded Third Point in 1995 with about $3M from family and friends.
2ND UPDATE, 2:15 PM: Sony doesn’t slam the door on Third Point‘s proposal for it to sell up to a 20% stake in its entertainment assets — but doesn’t encourage the idea either. Sony “welcomes investment in the company,” SVP Corporate Communications Shiro Kambe says. But he adds: “We are focused on creating shareholder value by executing on our plan to revitalize and grow the electronics business, while further strengthening the stable business foundations of the entertainment and financial service businesses. As President and CEO Kazuo Hirai has said repeatedly, the entertainment businesses are important contributors to Sony’s growth and are not for sale, and we look forward to continuing a constructive dialogue with our shareholders as we pursue our strategy.”
UPDATE, 10:28 AM: The CBS speculation has taken on new life following this morning’s news that hedge fund Third Point wants the electronics company to create a public stock for its entertainment assets. Third Point proposed that Sony keep at least an 80% stake in the studio and music properties. Still, the plan “will concentrate investor attention” on the businesses and “the synergies that potential acquirers such as CBS might eventually realize,” says Pivotal Research Group’s Brian Wieser — who likes the idea. Sony shares are +10.5% in mid-day trading and CBS is +2.6%. Late last year Sony firmly rejected a sale after CBS’ Les Moonves mused that he “would want to look at them” if the properties were for sale. Sony execs might start to think differently if they take the movie, TV, and music assets public. The stock would give them a clearer sense of how much the properties are worth and, therefore, how much they could collect from a buyer. And Wiser believes that CBS could show that it would do a better job than Sony — which he says “has never bridged a significant cultural gap nor overcome its hierarchical bureaucracy to work better with the U.S.-centered operations.” CBS will be flush with cash soon as it prepares to sell and restructure its billboard ad properties.
Homeland‘s Mandy Patinkin has signed on to Zach Braff’s Kickstarter pic Wish I Was Here. Braff announced the casting today on the film’s Kickstarter page where the film surpassed its initial $2 million goal in just four days. Braff directs and stars in the film which is based on an original screenplay he wrote with his brother, Adam Braff. Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg (Django Unchained, Contagion, Garden State, Erin Brockovich, Pulp Fiction) are producing through their company Double Feature Films. Wish I Was Here tells the story of Aidan Bloom (Braff), a struggling actor, father and husband who at 35, is still trying to find his identity; a purpose for his life. He and his wife are barely getting by financially and Aidan passes his time by fantasizing about being the great futuristic Space-Knight he’d always dreamed he’d be as a little kid. Patinkin will play Braff’s character’s father. His feature film credits include Yentl, The Princess Bride, Everybody’s Hero, Pinero, Lulu On The Bridge, Ragtime and Dick Tracy. Patinkin is repped by ICM Partners.
EXCLUSIVE: Inside Llewyn Davis‘ Garrett Hedlund is on board to play the lead in screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan’s directorial debut Violent Talent. The Wolf Of Wall Street’s Margot Robbie as well as RocknRolla’s Toby Kebbell and Four Lions’ Riz Ahmed will join Hedlund in the drama. Carnahan is directing Violent Talent from an original script he wrote. The film focuses on Eamon (Hedlund) as he and his two oldest friends Angel and Quan (Kebbell and Ahmed) try to build a criminal empire in a contemporary Chicago where he feels crime might be the most honest job around. Robbie’s character is known as Riley. Violent Talent will be produced by Tracy Falco through her Defender Entertainment Banner. Carnahan and Falco previously produced the Robert Redford-directed Lions For Lambs together. Carnahan wrote the script for the 2007 film. Nate Winslow of Defender will serve as an associate producer on Violent Talent. WME Global and CAA will represent the movie’s domestic distribution rights.