BREAKING: Carla Hacken is leaving her post as production president at New Regency. Hacken, the former ICM agent and longtime Fox 2000 executive vice president, just took the post last November as Arnon Milchan and CEO Brad Weston began to restructure the company to be a more filmmaker driven enterprise. Rumors began circulating in the last week that the fit with Hacken wasn’t a good one. This comes after Weston brought in vet Valerie Van Geldar to run marketing, installed Tim Clawson as New Regency’s EVP/Head of Physical Production, and Mandeville Films SVP David Manpearl came aboard as VP Production. Weston will now look for a production president to replace Hacken.
The company has begun cranking out films, the first of which will be the Allen Hughes-directed Broken City with Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe, followed by the Brad Furman-directed Runner, Runner with Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake; the Steve McQueen-directed Twelve Years A Slave with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt; the Darren Aronofsky-directed Noah with Crowe, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins and Jennifer Connelly; and the Shawn Levy-directed comedy The Internship with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.
Regency CEO Weston just issued this internal memo:
I am writing to let you know that Carla Hacken, our president of production, is leaving the company effective this week.
Carla joined New Regency from 20th Century Fox eight months ago, and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors.
A search is underway
… Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: New Regency president/CEO Brad Weston has named Valerie Van Galder to be President of Marketing. At the same time, The Weinstein Company’s Tim Clawson has been hired to be New Regency’s EVP/Head of Physical Production, and Mandeville Films SVP David Manpearl is coming aboard as VP Production.
Weston, the former production president at Paramount and Dimension, was hired less than a year by New Regency majority owner Arnon Milchan to refashion the company into an enterprise that would make the kind of ballsy and memorable filmmaker-driven films that once distinguished the company, back when Milchan generated L.A. Confidential, Heat, JFK and Fight Club. Weston has slowly been putting his own team in place, including production president Carla Hacken and EVP Production Alexandra Milchan; TV head Andrew Plotkin; CFO Mimi Tseng and COO Jonathan Fisher. Weston said Van Galder is a big hire for the company, and he feels New Regency has the final major pieces of its executive team in place, at a time with the film slate has begun to bear fruit. Read More »
The success in the U.S. of Showtime’s Homeland and HBO’s In Treatment, two shows based on Israeli series, has made other American companies look in that direction for ideas. The latest sees New Regency Productions announcing today a first-look deal with Israel’s largest content agency ADD for access to the company’s film and TV projects for development stateside. ADD represents Israel’s top directors, actors and content developers and specializes in creating and marketing TV — from dramas and comedies to reality and documentaries — and new media for the Israeli market and abroad. New Regency president and CEO Brad Weston said the pact is part of Regency’s “return to the television business.” CAA co-head of television Adam Berkowitz brokered the deal.
EXCLUSIVE: New Regency has signed a two-year first look producing deal with Len Wiseman and David Bernardi’s Sketch Films. The deal was made by New Regency CEO Brad Weston, whose mandate under Arnon Milchan is to turn New Regency into a director-driven enterprise. Wiseman is no stranger to New Regency’s distribution partner 20th Century Fox; he revived the Die Hard franchise with 2007′s Live Free Or Die Hard, which grossed $383 million worldwide. Wiseman just directed Colin Farrell in the Sony Pictures remake Total Recall, which will be released next August. Wiseman’s breakthrough came in the Underworld film franchise, cowriting and directing the first two films. He’s a producer and writer on the upcoming Underworld Awakening, which gets release in January.
Wiseman formed Sketch Flms with Bernardi, who is a former president of Scott Rudin Productions, and before that was a producer and exec at Imagine Entertainment. He hasn’t done a movie yet for New Regency, but that is likely to change. Said Weston: “Len is an expert in big event moviemaking, and he and David are welcome additions to our growing family of filmmakers. They will be key players as we build a slate of pictures.” Wiseman’s repped by CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: New Regency closed a mid-six figure deal for Hellbent, a thriller pitch that will be written by Aron Eli Coleite. Erwin Stoff and Michael Green will produce and New Regency CEO Brad Weston took it off the table as two other bids mobilized. It’s described as a prison escape movie with supernatural elements. Hellbent is the second deal in a month for Coleite, whose science fiction/drama spec script The End was recently bought by Warner Bros. That film focuses on three completely different storylines that are interconnected by the fact that the players in each one are trying to reconcile the fact that the world is going to end. There is a veteran broadcaster in London, a 16-year old girl and her boyfriend in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a devoted family man in Shanghai. They each try to make peace with their lives before an interstellar event ends the world in just six hours.
Coleite works with Green on the ABC series The River, and they previously worked together on Heroes. “We were eager to get in business with the new configuration of New Regency, and Brad really got the pitch and has had success with genre movies,” Stoff said. “That made it the right place for the pitch.” The scribe is repped by CAA, Green by WME and 3 Arts.
EXCLUSIVE: Longtime Fox 2000 EVP Carla Hacken is leaving the studio to become president of production for New Regency. It is the latest move in a restructuring of the company since Arnon Milchan reemerged as an active chairman and installed former Paramount Pictures production president Brad Weston as CEO with a mandate to become a more filmmaker-driven concern.
New Regency is partly owned by News Corp, whose 20th Century Fox distributes and often co-finances Regency-generated films. The move was orchestrated with the cooperation of Fox Filmed Entertainment co-chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman and Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler.
“Jim, Tom and Liz have been great partners and are incredibly gracious about Carla,” Weston told me in confirming the move. “They see this as a terrific opportunity for her, and a great way to help support New Regency. Arnon and I couldn’t be more appreciative.”
Hacken was an ICM agent when she was brought into the Fox 2000 fold 15 years ago by Laura Ziskin. She has worked closely with Gabler and developed such films as Unfaithful, The Devil Wears Prada, Walk The Line, Bride Wars, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and its sequel, Percy Jackson & The Olympians, Love & Other Drugs and In Her Shoes.
There has long been a tradition of cross pollination between Fox and New Regency (which is based on the lot). That includes Sanford Panitch (who moved from Fox to Regency and now steers Fox International Productions) … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: New Regency today acquired rights to turn the Jim Henson series Fraggle Rock into a feature film. The property was shopped and caught the interest of studios, before New Regency made the deal for a film that will be produced by The Jim Henson Company and the Montecito Picture Company. The series premiered on HBO in 1983, ran for five seasons and was broadcast in over 80 countries. It revolved around puppet characters Gobo, Wembley, Mokey, Boober and Red, who lived in Fraggle Rock. They interacted with humans who thought they were aliens.
New Regency was recently reconstituted by Arnon Milchan, who brought in Brad Weston to put together a slate of filmmaker-driven films that are mostly geared for adults. However, the Alvin And The Chipmunks franchise has been lucrative for New Regency, and this was an opportunity to add another family film franchise. It is not immediately clear whether the film will use puppets or be a CG/live-action mix. New Regency and the producers are figuring that out now and will set a writer shortly.
EXCLUSIVE: In one of its first moves since Brad Weston was named CEO and Arnon Milchan reinserted himself as the active head of the company, New Regency has come aboard the producing roster of Broken City, the Allen Hughes-directed drama that stars Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe. The film will be distributed through New Regency’s deal with 20th Century Fox. It was put together and funded by Emmett/Furla Films. In the Brian Tucker-scripted drama, Wahlberg plays a detective hired by the mayor to see if his wife is unfaithful. When her cheating partner turns up dead, the private eye devotes himself to exposing the mayor and uncovers a self-dealing real estate scandal involving the politician. Crowe plays the mayor. Wahlberg is producing through his Closest to the Hole banner; Stephen Levinson through Leverage; and Randall Emmett, George Furla and Hughes are also producing. Emmett brokered the deal.
While Milchan is finalizing a new credit line, he and Weston visited the agencies this week to let them know what they are up to. They want to turn the company into a filmmaker-driven company, engaging in the kind of films Milchan used to make, when he produced and funded pictures that included L.A. Confidential, Heat, Fight Club and JFK. New Regency is teamed with Paramount on the Darren Aronofsky-directed Biblical epic Noah, which finally got announced this week and which could start production early next year if John Logan’s rewrite of … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Chris Columbus is negotiating to become attached to direct The Secret Lives of Road Crews, an action comedy script by Kevin Lund and T.J. Scott about a clandestine group of road crew workers who are the last line of defense against a subterranean alien race. The script was originally bought as a spec by DreamWorks for producer Hal Lieberman several years ago, and it was one of the projects that former DreamWorks production president Adam Goodman brought with him to Paramount when those studios divorced. Lieberman is the producer, and Craig Mazin was brought in to do a rewrite. Goodman pitched it to Columbus and they are negotiating right now, but he has quietly been working on it. They are out to writers to get another pass on the script. Brad Weston had also been a producer on the project, but he will likely move to executive producer after taking the CEO post at New Regency. Columbus last directed Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, and his 1492 just produced the hit DreamWorks film The Help. He’s repped by WME.
After Arnon Milchan reconstituted New Regency with a new $500 million credit line and plans to reemerge at the helm with former Paramount production president Brad Weston as CEO, Alexandra Milchan has returned to the company as executive vice president of production. She will report to Weston. She is the daughter of Milchan, who owns 80% of New Regency, and she spent 13 years there, rising from assistant to senior executive, before leaving to become a producer.
“Alexandra has great relationships and a real passion for movies, and we are thrilled to have her back at New Regency,” Weston said. “She will play a central role as we work to return Regency to its roots, producing bold, filmmaker-driven pictures with a singular vision which will entertain audiences around the world.”
During Milchan’s earlier Regency stint, she worked on such films as the Jon Amiel-directed Copycat, Michael Mann-directed Heat, the Joel Schumacher-directed A Time To Kill and Curtis Hanson-directed L.A. Confidential. She left to start Emjag Productions, producing such films as the David Ayer-directed Street Kings, the Alexandre Aja-directed Mirrors, and the upcoming Walter Hill-directed Bullet to the Head, with Sylvester Stallone. She also developed The Wolf of Wall Street, which Martin Scorsese will direct with Leonardo DiCaprio for Red Granite and Appian Way; the Aja-directed The Space Pirate at Lionsgate, and an untitled Taylor Lautner project at New Regency.
EXCLUSIVE: Hours after Deadline revealed the impending exit of New Regency chairmen Bob Harper and Hutch Parker, I’m told that former Paramount Pictures production president Brad Weston is in deep negotiations to run the production/financing company as president/CEO. That is a position similar to the one held by Sanford Panitch before he left to run Fox International Productions. The chairman post that will be vacated by Harper and Parker will be filled by majority owner Arnon Milchan, who is really planning to roll up his sleeves and become way more involved than he has been in the past few years.
Weston is an experienced production executive who, before Paramount, ran Dimension Films with Andrew Rona, (who after starting the Rogue genre label for Universal is currently running Joel Silver’s company at Warner Bros). The big question is whether Milchan will be willing to put ain the time and the daily grind that is necessary to run a major production/financing company like New Regency, where Harper and Parker oversaw everything from production to marketing, distribution and the library. Rupert Murdoch tried a hands on approach years ago after Barry Diller left, but it is a tough thing to sustain when there are other businesses to run. Of course, Milchan owns 80% of New Regency (Fox is a part owner of the company), so he has the right to run things if … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures-based Fake Empire has acquired Let It Snow, a pitch package that includes rights to an anthology of three intersecting short stories by young-adult novelists John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. The script will be written by Jordan Roter, and the goal is to turn it into a teen Love Actually. It revolves around what a crippling snowstorm does to one town on Christmas Eve. The film will be produced by Paramount-based Fake Empire partners Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, who bought the pitch through their discretionary fund. Fake Empire’s Lis Rowinski brought in the project. Face Empire has set several projects since landing at Paramount, including Fun Size, which Schwartz will direct, and Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick.
Roter, who’s repped by WME and Underground, is already in the Paramount fold. She set up Camp Rules there, adapting her own novel into a film that has Kristen Kiwi Smith attached to direct and Montecito producing. Separately, Paramount and producers Gil Netter and Brad Weston hired Roter to rewrite How Could You Do This To Me.
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has acquired an untitled science fiction thriller pitch that will be written by Brian Miller. He’s the scribe whose writing sample won a contest held by Timur Bekmambetov. That script turned into Apollo 18, the Dimension Films “found footage” pic that opens April 22. Brad Weston will produce the pic. The deal came about after a general meeting with Weston, where Miller pitched what I’m told is a big idea with a budget under $30 million. The studio called the next day and took it off the table. Miller is repped by CAA and 3 Arts.