Chris Columbus and Eleanor Columbus’ Maiden Voyage Pictures is joining with Audax Films, Court 13, DCM Productions, Good Lap Productions, Le Grisbi, TideRock Media, and Treehouse Pictures to finance and produce Mediterranea, a feature based on the Venice Film Festival short A Chjana. Jonas Carpignano will write and direct the pic and the Columbuses will produce for their Maiden Voyage banner which launched last February. The movie centers on Ayiva, a young migrant worker who seeks to reunite with his best friend in the wake of the most significant race riot in Italian history, inspired by a true story. This marks Maiden Voyage’s second project after Little Accidents, which stars Elizabeth Banks, Chloe Sevigny and Josh Lucas and is screening tomorrow in the Premieres section at Sundance. It as well as A Chjana were developed at the Sundance Writing and Directing labs. The company officially launched its operations this year in Park City with the aim of partially financing and producing indie features. WME will represent both films. Writer-director Sara Colangelo’s Little Accidents is set in a small American coal town, where the disappearance of a 14-year-old boy draws a surviving miner, the lonely wife of a mine executive, and a local boy together in a web of secrets.
BREAKING: Chris Columbus and his 1492 Pictures have closed a fvie-year deal with Michael Witherill’s Rise Entertainment to develop and finance 1492′s films. The deal includes films that Columbus will direct and that he and partners Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe produce under the 1492 banner.
Films on the slate include an adaptation of the Anne Rice novel Christ The Lord, about the formative years of Jesus Christ with script by Betsy and Cyrus Nowrasteh, with the latter aboard to direct; Home Front, an adaptation of the Kristin Hannah novel that Columbus adapted and will direct; and House Of Secrets. Latter is the first acquisition made under the new deal, and it’s the first novel in a trilogy that Columbus has written with Ned Vizzini. Columbus plans to direct that one as well, about three kids lost in a fantasy world trying to find their way home. The first novel will be published by HarperCollins next spring. Columbus is writing that script and plans to get in production early 2014.
Chris Columbus will join Submarine Entertainment’s Dan Braun and Josh Braun, with writer-director Mike Dougherty (X-Men 2, Superman Returns), tomorrow for the panel Creepy: Reborn and Undead from 11 AM-noon in room 1A14 at Javits Center. There, they will discuss the direction of the horror anthology feature the Brauns, Columbus, Michael Barnathan and Sarah Feldmann Sheehan are producing based on the classic Warren horror title Creepy. Also on the panel is Creepy editor Philip Simon and Overstreet’s JC Vaughn. Columbus will write and direct one of the four stories and oversee creative together with 1492′s Barnathan.
Young fanboys might not be aware, but Creepy was a horror comic magazine staple before the era of graphic novels, when it was published from 1964-1983 and featured work by some of the top artists like Frank Frazetta and Spider-Man artist Steve Ditko, and writers like Bernie Wrightson, Gene Colan, Richard Corben, Al Williamson, Wally Wood and a host of others.
EXCLUSIVE: Chris Columbus is dusting off CREEPY Magazine to produce a four-part anthology film, one segment of which he will write and produce. Columbus and 1492′s Michael Barnathan have teamed with Submarine partners and New Comic Company’s principals Dan Braun and Josh Braun, and Sara Feldmann Sheehan to produce the film.
The Comic-Con set might remember CREEPY as a seminal horror comic magazine that was generated by Warren Publishing from 1964-83. Starting with iconic covers from Frank Frazetta, the magazine’s contributor list ranged from Spider-Man artist Steve Ditko to Bernie Wrightson, Gene Colan, Richard Corben, Al Williamson, and Wally Wood. Horror anthology films are also a throwback, when films like The House That Dripped Blood and Tales From The Crypt were made. This will emulate the set up of those films.
Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures has acquired the rights to John Grisham’s bestselling novel Calico Joe, and Columbus will adapt it himself and direct. Set in the world of Major League Baseball, the novel is about fathers and sons, forgiveness and redemption. Book was published in April by Doubleday and has been atop the New York Times bestseller list since it hit bookshelves.
“When I finished this beautiful, deeply moving novel, I immediately started to see the movie in my head,” Columbus said. “I knew that I had to write and direct Calico Joe. The story deals with universal themes of betrayal, tragedy and redemption. It has the potential to be a classic film and I am honored to be a part of it.” – Chris Columbus
Said Grisham: “Calico Joe is a special story that I worked on for five years. I can’t wait to see Chris’s adaptation of it.” – John Grisham
Grisham will executive produce, and Columbus will produce with his partners, 1492 Pictures’ President Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe. They most recently produced The Help.
Columbus and 1492 Pictures are repped by WME. Grisham is repped by David Gernert of The Gernert Company.
Novelist Kristin Hannah’s ‘Home Front’ Sparks Chris Columbus, While ‘The Things We Do For Love’ Moves Abigail Breslin
EXCLUSIVE: Novelist Kristin Hannah has made screen deals for two of her novels. 1492 Films has acquired Home Front, with Chris Columbus attached to direct, and produce with his 1492 cohorts Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe. The book, a bestseller for the sixth consecutive week, is a dramatic exploration of the toll war takes on an ordinary American family. This story is told from the vantage point of a woman who, in addition to being a wife and mother, is a Blackhawk pilot in the National Guard who is called to serve a tour of duty in Iraq. 1492 most recently produced the Oscar-nominated The Help, after acquiring the Kathryn Stockett novel long before it became a publishing phenomenon among female readers. The book was published by St. Martin’s Press.
“I was blown away by this book, I simply could not put it down,” Columbus said. “It told the story about the cost of war from a completely unique perspective: what happens when a wife and mother is called into action and how her family adjusts to life without her…and to a changed life upon her return. Home Front not only portrays the great sacrifices our military makes for us, but depicts so powerfully the hidden sacrifices their families make as well.”
At the same time, Hannah’s novel The Things We Do For Love is being developed by SPB Productions as a …
With four Oscar nominations — three for actors and one for Best Picture — as well as a big win at the SAG Awards for best ensemble, actress and supporting actress, The Help has emerged as an Oscar frontrunner. The Disney-distributed DreamWorks film took late-summer box office by storm, holding first place for three weeks and ultimately grossing over $167 million Stateside. With its mix of comedy and 1960s civil rights drama, Hollywood has likened The Help to the 1989 Best Picture Oscar© winner Driving Miss Daisy, which also charmed the masses ($106.6 million domestic). As heartwarming as The Help is, so was its journey to the screen. Author Kathryn Stockett wanted none other than her childhood best friend from Mississippi, Tate Taylor, an untested helmer in Hollywood, to direct. Enabling their dream was another mutual friend from the Magnolia state and Taylor’s producer, Brunson Green, who worked with Chris Columbus to push the project forward in Hollywood.
AWARDSLINE: Tell us the back-story of how The Help made its way from manuscript to the big screen.
GREEN: Kathryn Stockett wrote the manuscript and Tate Taylor was one of the first people she allowed to read it. After reading it, Tate immediately called me and said …
CBS has closed deals for The Rifleman, a drama project based on the 1958 Western series about a 1880s widower with a rapid-fire Winchester rifle living on a ranch with his son. Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island) and Patrick Lussier will write and Chris Columbus is set to direct the reboot, which, like the original, centers on Civil war hero, Lucas McCain, an unparalleled sharpshooter with a haunted past, who moves to the uncharted New Mexico territory to raise his son Mark. There, he joins forces with the Sheriff to protect his new town and become its unofficial guardian. CBS TV Studios and Carol Mendelsohn Prods. are producing. The original series, whose pilot aired on CBS as part of Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater before the series had a five-season run on ABC, was created by Sam Peckinpah and starred Chuck Connors as McCain. It was produced by Jules V. Levy, Arthur Gardner and Arnold Laven’s Levy-Gardner-Laven Prods. The only surviving member of the trio, who met while serving together in Air Force’s First Motion Picture Unit during World War II, 101-year-old Arthur Gardner, is executive producing The Rifleman reboot with his son, Steven Gardner, and Jules Levy’s son Robert. Also executive producing are Kalogridis, Lussier, Columbus, Carol Mendelsohn and her Julie Weitz. Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone director Columbus has a 3-for-1 deal with CBS, under which one of 3 projects he develops though CBS TV Studios and his 1492 Pictures is assured to go to pilot, which he will direct and executive produce. This marks the seventh sale for Carol Mendelsohn Prods. in the first full development cycle since Mendelsohn brought in Weitz as president of her CBS TV Studios-based production company. The deal for The Rifleman was brokered by WME and Dan Black. This is the latest period Western put in development at the broadcast networks this season.
EXCLUSIVE: MGM is in talks to acquire Killer Pizza, an Adam Green-scripted adaptation of the Greg Taylor book about a 14-year old boy who lands a summer job at a pizza joint that is actually a front for a monster hunting enterprise. Rafaella De Laurentiis is producing with 1492 Pictures and CJ Entertainment. 1492 Entertainment’s Chris Columbus brought it to MGM after meeting with the brass there and sensing the studio’s appetite for Gremlins and Goonies-type fare, and Killer Pizza fit that bill. After a long period of being frozen, MGM has become an active buyer, recently partnering with Sony on the Antoine Fuqua-directed Eminem-starrer Southpaw after DreamWorks let that project go. The company also acquired Where’s Waldo, which had been developed as an animated film property by Illumination Entertainment. APA and Industry rep the writer and CAA repped the book.
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.
EXCLUSIVE: Karen Croner has been set to script Hello Ghost, the film inspired by the Korean comedy about a man whose failed suicide attempt allows him to see ghosts who haunt him until he grants each of them one wish. Chris Columbus will direct a film that will be financed by CJ Entertainment, which has a first-look deal with Columbus and his 1492 banner. Columbus set Hello Ghost up in February 2011 with Next Entertainment World, the Korean distributor and financier. Croner, who’d been known for dramas that included the Meryl Streep-starrer One True Thing, continues to make a switch to comedy. She scripted Admission, which Paul Weitz will direct with Tina Fey starring, and Croner just finished Kiss and Tango for Jennifer Lopez and producer Denise DiNovi at Fox 2000. She’s repped by WME.
EXCLUSIVE: Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures has partnered with CJ Entertainment & Media to acquire remake rights to the 2010 Andre Ovredal-directed Norwegian film Troll Hunter. Marc Haimes is set to write the script. Deal comes just as Magnolia opens the original Troll Hunter in the US and on VOD.
The documentary-style film is about a group of students whose investigation into a series of mysterious bear killings leads to something sinister. They wind up following and documenting a mystery man who turns out to be a troll hunter. Columbus will produce with 1492 partners Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe, and CJ Entertainment. Filmkameratene AS’s John M. Jacobsen (who produced the original) will also be a producer along with his partner Sveinung Golimo.
“Troll Hunter was a visceral, thrilling, cinematic rock and roller coaster ride of a movie. Visually, there are scenes in this film that American audiences have never seen. We want to introduce an international audience to this amazing moviegoing experience,” said Columbus.
Columbus’ 1492 set up the film through its three-year development deal with CJ Entertainment & Media. They just acquired screen rights to Michael Koryta’s The Cypress House (Columbus will write that script) as well as a remake of the Korean pic Hello Ghost and Temple Stay with director JK Youn.
Haimes is writing Jitters at Paramount and Elevator Man at Summit.
EXCLUSIVE: Chris Columbus and 1492 Pictures have acquired screen rights to The Cypress House, a Michael Koryta novel that Columbus will write the script for and produce with 1492 partners Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe. The story is set along an isolated stretch of the Florida Gulf Coast during a devastating 1935 hurricane. The protagonist is a WWI veteran who’s plagued by premonitions of death for his traveling companions.
Columbia and his 1492 cohorts just produced the Tate Taylor-directed adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s bestseller The Help, which will be released in August. Columbus is separately developing to direct a remake of the Korean film Hello Ghost. The company is also developing Temple Stay with director JK Youn and production/finance partner CJ Entertainment & Media. Kortya’s repped by Angela Cheng Caplan and David Hale Smith. His new thriller, The Ridge, will be published June 8.
EXCLUSIVE: Getting feature directors to helm pilots was a hot trend this development season. CBS is already looking to extend it to next season, signing a deal with Harry Potter director Chris Columbus. Under the 3-for-1 pact, Columbus will develop three projects for CBS though CBS TV Studios and his 1492 Pictures. The goal is for one of them to go to pilot, which Columbus will direct and executive produce. This will mark the TV directing debut for the WME-repped Columbus, who helmed the first two Harry Potter and Home Alone movies as well as Mrs. Doubtfire and, most recently, the adventure Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief. He also produced the upcoming DreamWorks movie The Help.
EXCLUSIVE: The Lee Hae-joon-directed Korean drama Castaway On The Moon will be remade by CJ Entertainment. Mark Waters is attached to direct and Michael Goldbach will write the screenplay. CJ is financing development.
A man jumps off a bridge, only to wake to find himself lying on a deserted beach on an uninhabited island. In an apartment that overlooks the river, a reclusive girl who hasn’t ventured out of her room for years catches sight of the man through her telescope. She becomes fixated on him as he leads his lonely but apparently contented life, and it compels her to step outside again. CJ Entertainment’s Jiwon Park, Francis Chung, Mike Suh and Patricia Chun will produce with Waters and his Watermark Pictures’ cohorts Jessica Tuchinsky and Veronica Brooks, along with Annie Marter.
CJ is the production arm of the Korea-based CJ Group, the biggest studio in Asia. This is the latest example of the company getting involved in U.S. productions, a program that included making a development deal with Chris Columbus’ 1492 Productions last year. Waters just directed Mr. Popper’s Penguins with Jim Carrey, with 20th Century Fox releasing the film June 17. Goldbach wrote and directed Daydream Nation, the Kat Dennings-Josh Lucas-starrer which premiered at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival and will be released by Anchor Bay in May. His script Jaws of Life made the Black List. The writer is repped by UTA and The Collective, while Waters is repped …
The wildly successful director/producer/writer who of course helmed the first two Harry Potters (Sorcerers Stone & Chamber Of Secrets) and produced the entire film series of JK Rowling’s novels just gave his notice today to CAA and immediately signed with WME Entertainment. He’ll be represented by Ari Emanuel, Patrick Whitesell, Jason Spitz, Cori Wellins, and Anna Deroy. Columbus has been responsible for such comedy classics as Mrs. Doubtfire, Home Alone 1 & 2, Gremlins, Goonies, Nine Months, etc. He’s currently working on The Help.