If CinemaCon delegates were waiting for a busload of movie stars to show up at the convention, Warner Bros granted their wish this afternoon delivering, by far, more star power to the stage of the Caesars Palace Colosseum Theatre than the other studios combined. Clint Eastwood, Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Melissa McCarthy , Morgan Freeman, Johnny Depp, Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis were among the names who were trotted out by the studio to the delight of theater owners in the audience. But sometimes it gets awkward up there. Tatum and Kunis just read their lines off a teleprompter, and Depp couldn’t seem to figure out if he had any. Usually at these things he just walks across the stage and waves. Sandler actually was quite funny, bantering with a very pregnant Barrymore, who was still in tears she said over the preceding clip from Godzilla. Eastwood managed a standing ovation and, in talking about the very high-decibel sound levels of the film clips, charmed his way through a brief introduction to footage from his forthcoming musical Jersey Boys.
The heavy star presence distinguished Warners’ turn in the spotlight, the last of the major studios to come to bat, in a presentation that was otherwise very corporate in its approach. Warners had much to crow about and clearly knew it after coming off a record $5.03 billion year, 10 Oscars and a personal-best 21 nominations. It also had a 2013 summer that produced another record: All seven releases earned more than $100 million each. And Warners touted early results in 2014 as being just as promising, with The Lego Movie earning $400 million worldwide so far and the sequel 300: Rise Of An Empire already up to a symmetrically perfect $300 million. Whether the studio can continue on this kind of roll is anyone’s guess as it has a year ahead that’s almost totally lacking in bread-and-butter sequels. Read More »
UPDATE, 3:50 PM: Well that didn’t take long. After a brief hearing on Monday in which Judge Dale Fischer said she was “inclined” to toss the multimillion-dollar Trouble With The Curve copyright infringement lawsuit, the federal judge today has pretty much done just that. “Defendants’ cross-motion for summary judgment re similarity is GRANTED, Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment re similarity is DENIED, Plaintiffs’ motion for continuance is DENIED, and the motion to strike the FAC is GRANTED,” said Fischer in a 10-page memorandum (read it here) “All other outstanding motions are DENIED as MOOT,” the judge added.
Today’s order essentially frees Warner Bros and others from plaintiff Ryan Brooks and his Gold Glove Productions’ October 1 119-page complaint that claims that the idea for the Randy Brown-written 2012 Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams baseball pic was stolen. Brooks had said that Curve actually came from a script he had paid another scribe to have written. “Anyone who knows me, knows my journey, how hard I’ve worked, and continue to work. And it’s incredibly disappointing that someone with money and malice can wreak such negativity,” said Brown to me after the order from Fischer came down today. Brown, along with WB, Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions, talent agencies UTA and Gersh and others, was named as one of the defendants in the case – Clint himself was not.
Related: Warner Bros’ Lawyers Accused Of Calling Expert “Sexist” & “Bullying’ Tactics In ‘Trouble With The Curve’ Lawsuit Read More »
Warner Bros has some real trouble with the experts that the plaintiffs in the multi-million dollar Trouble With The Curve copyright lawsuit have been using. Real trouble. Like throwing them and the whole case out of the game … Read More »
It must have seemed like the Man With No Name was riding to rescue once again. Clint Eastwood likely saved a choking man’s life when he jumped into action and performed the Heimlich maneuver on him. It happened at a … Read More »
Manager Leonard Hirshan, who represented Clint Eastwood from his days in television to his turn as a multi-Academy Award-winning filmmaker, died on January 31 at his home in Beverly Hills. The cause of death for the longtime former William Morris agent was Merkel cell carcinoma. He was 86. Hirshan was a longtime William Morris agent — he spent 50 years at the agency and at one point was head of the agency’s motion picture group. He represented Elvis with Colonel Tom Parker, Walter Matthau, Sophia Loren, Eva Marie Saint, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Edward G. Robinson. He passed away with his two daughters, Karen Hirshan and Sarah Dey Hirshan, by his side. He and Eastwood were close and have what is likely the longest business relationship in Hollywood; they celebrated birthdays together; they were there for each others’ marriages; and Hirshan celebrated Eastwood’s triumphs such as when the filmmaker won Best Picture and Best Director for Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby and even traveled overseas to visit the set of Eastwood’s Flags Of Our Fathers. He was fiercely loyal to his clients and an extremely private person — except to speak proudly about the daughters and granddaughters he loved.
A native of New York City, Hirshan began in the mailroom of William Morris Agency’s NYC offices in April 1951 and quickly moved up the ranks to agent when be began representing then-unknown Saint. Hirshan pushed to land her a role in On The Waterfront which was her first film and earned her an Academy Award for supporting actress. In 1955, he moved to Hollywood, where he began very long-term relationships with Jack Lemmon and Matthau. Hirshan negotiated Presley’s deal for his very first feature film, Love Me Tender. In 2001, Hirshan left William Morris to form Leonard Hirshan Management where he continued to be the exclusive agent and manager of Eastwood. In meetings at William Morris, he would often say to the younger agents: “Get a piece of paper and a pencil and write this down.” He taught many agents about the business and negotiation skills. “He was a good mentor to me and the best negotiator I ever met and a true friend. Recently, we had lunch at the Soho House with (former agents) John Ptak, Bob Shapiro, Steve Kenis, Rick Nicita, and Fred Specktor,” said longtime friend Fred Westheimer, who worked with him for about 45 years at WMA. “This is a shock.” Read More »
The lawsuit over the 2012 Warner Bros baseball pic Trouble With The Curve just lobbed a potential legal bombshell. In a filing today (read it here), plaintiff Ryan A Brooks and his Gold Glove Productions say they have “clear and convincing proof that Defendants’ testimony and other alleged evidence rests upon fraudulent documents and things.” Citing a digital investigator looking at computer disks submitted by Warners in the case, Brooks’ lawyers claim that there is “clear evidence that the date/time stamps of the disks were manipulated to present inaccurate information about date of creation.” Despite the allegations, the studio wasn’t giving any ground. “The lawsuit is reckless and a waste of time and money. The allegations are false,” a WB spokesperson told me. Warner Bros released Trouble With The Curve in September 2012 and the pic grossed $35.8 million domestically and almost $50 million worldwide.
Related: Plaintiffs Take Another Turn At Bat As ‘Trouble With The Curve’ Lawsuit Heats Up
The filing today in federal court opposed Warner Bros’ December 4 motion for summary judgment to get the breach of contract and contract infringement case tossed. In an initial multimillion-dollar filing on October 1, Brooks alleged that the Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams pic credited to screenwriter Randy Brown was in fact written by one Don Handfield. Pushing back, WB said in December that it has “extensive, indisputable evidence” that Brown completed a number of drafts of what became the film and pushed to have the suit dismissed. Late last year, the studio submitted evidence to that end. That’s when plaintiff’s lawyer Gerard Fox brought aboard former U.S. Army Counterintelligence Special Agent Trevor Reschke as his digital investigator. Read More »
U.S. Filmmakers Lend Support To Iceland’s Film Industry
In early November, Iceland’s government announced plans to cut funding to the Icelandic Film Centre by about 40%. The news was met with upset within the industry, especially given that film production turnover has grown 248% since 2010, according to industry reports. That was driven by a number of Hollywood pics that shot locally including Oblivion, Prometheus and The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty and HBO’s Games Of Thrones. Film trade orgs have said the effect of the cuts would hurt the local economy and result in 200 job losses. The country’s film bodies have now received a statement of support signed by filmmakers including Clint Eastwood, Darren Aronofsky and Terrence Malick. “We, the undersigned, have had the great pleasure of working on one or more film projects in Iceland,” the statement reads. “In our view, the Icelandic film professionals we’ve worked with are of the highest standard. The expertise that they bring to the table – not only as filmmakers but as invaluable advisors on Icelandic practices, customs and locations – has brought immeasurable benefits to the work that we do. We stand with them, and with the entire film community in Iceland, in their efforts to maintain the current levels of government support for filmmaking, and thus we urge the Icelandic government to reconsider their current plans to cut the budget of the Icelandic Film Fund.”
MTV Preps ‘Ex On The Beach’ For Spring UK Bow
MTV has commissioned reality series Ex On The Beach, which is set to premiere in the UK in the spring. It then will roll out across MTV’s international network, excluding the U.S. The series is produced for MTV UK by Whizz Kid Entertainment and was shot on location in southern Europe. It sees eight single men and women invited to enjoy a luxury vacation in the belief they are being set up for a holiday romance. Instead, as MTV cameras watch, ex-boyfriends and girlfriends of cast members arrive unexpectedly. Each ex will have a different motive for appearing, from winning their partner back to exacting revenge after a breakup. Ex On The Beach is exec produced by Steve Regan, Lisa Chapman and Suzanne Readwin. Read More »
The legal battle over who actually wrote the 2012 Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams baseball pic Trouble With The Curve today hit fastball territory. Just a couple of days after Warner Bros threw back in a motion to have Ryan A. … Read More »
The only real surprise here is what took the studio so long. Warner Bros on Wednesday formally swung back at the plaintiffs in a lawsuit over the 2012 Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams baseball pic Trouble With The Curve. To continue the ballgame lingo, the studio doesn’t think the court should even step up to the plate to claims by Ryan A. Brooks and Gold Glove Productions, first filed October 1, that the idea for the Randy Brown-written film was stolen — WB wants the case thrown out. “The Warner Defendants’ motion for summary judgment should be granted and this case should be brought to a halt before defendants have to incur any further costs in defending it,” says the motion (read it here) filed Wednesday in federal court. “The Warner Defendants appreciate that early summary judgment motions are not the norm, but this case calls out for it, especially given the salaciousness of the complaint and Plaintiffs’ abject refusal to face the reality — attested to by various third-party witnesses — that Mr. Brown wrote TWTC in the 1990s.” Brooks is seeking tens of millions in his case as well as all the profits for the film. Curve came out in September 2012 and was a middling success with $35.8 million grossed domestically and about $50 million worldwide.
Related: Warner Bros Fires Back In ‘Trouble With The Curve’ Case
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The Clint Eastwood-directed Jersey Boys will hit the big screen on June 20, 2014, and Live By Night, the next movie written and directed by Ben Affleck, will be released on Christmas Day 2015. Warner … Read More »
You’ve got one week to drop your case or we’ll go after you for malicious prosecution. That in a nutshell is what an email today from a lawyer for Warner Bros told the attorneys for … Read More »
Ryan A. Brooks filed a lawsuit today in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California claiming that Warner Bros’ Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams baseball pic Trouble With The Curve came from three of his copyrighted scripts and a concept reel from Brooks’ production company. Among the defendants named in the 119-page suit (read it here) is Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions, several Warner Bros divisions and talent agencies UTA and Gersh. It alleges that the script of the 2012 movie credited to Randy Brown was actually penned by Don Handfield, whom Brooks had contracted on a work-for-hire basis along with his wife Tressa Difiglia Handfield to help him write Omaha, also a baseball movie with a father-daughter story at its center. “The copyrighted scripts and concept reel bear more than a striking resemblance to Trouble With The Curve“, said Gerard P. Fox, who is representing Brooks and his company Gold Glove Productions. Read More »
I’ve learned that Warner Bros wants to fast-track production for the first quarter of 2014 and is in “tentative negotiations” with Clint Eastwood to direct. This is after Steven Spielberg this month took American Sniper … Read More »
UPDATE: The Jersey Boys movie has cast its Bob Gaudio. And they’ve plucked him right off the stage. Erich Bergen will reprise his role of the Four Seasons singer in the film after playing … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Director Clint Eastwood has set Christopher Walken to star in Jersey Boys, the Warner Bros and GK Films feature adaptation of the hit stage musical. Walken will play the role of Angelo “Gyp” DeCarlo, the Jersey mobster who, in … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Don’t be surprised if Clint Eastwood is asked to host next year’s Tony Awards; he’s positioning himself to be that popular with the legit crowd. Eastwood is prepping to direct the movie version of Jersey Boys for Warner Bros. Instead of the Hollywood tradition of chasing screen stars, I’m told Eastwood is looking to cast the main role in the movie with the actors who are onstage every night in the various Jersey Boys stage shows all around the world.
It might give Sue Kroll a marketing challenge, but if he goes through with it, Eastwood certainly will deliver to Warner Bros a reasonably priced movie. Production on the film will start at the end of August on the Warner Bros lot. It is produced by Graham King and Rob Lorenz, with Valli and Bob Gaudio serving as executive producers. Read More »
The Tribeca Film Festival‘s Tribeca Talks section will feature conversations with Clint Eastwood interviewed by Darren Aronofsky, Richard Linklater with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, director Mira Nair with actress Bryce Dallas Howard, and Jay Roach with Ben Stiller. Among the Tribeca Talks: After The Movie event panelists are Whoopi Goldberg, Ellen Page, Gloria Steinem and Adrian Grenier. The Tribeca Talks panel series is open to the public and will take place throughout the festival, which will run from April 17-28, 2013 at locations around New York City.
Related: Tribeca Hits Hollywood Trying To Drum Up Interest Read More »
The Lincoln star was among the honorees at last night’s BAFTA LA gala the Britannia Awards at the Beverly Hilton. The Brit couldn’t help but try another portrayal of a real-life figure with a help of a certain furniture prop made famous during the Republican National Convention. “This is … Read More »