Ross Lincoln and Jen Yamato are Deadline contributors.
2ND UPDATE, 8:15 PM: After Chris Beall’s confirmation that he has been removed from his position at Platinum Studios, Deadline spoke by phone to both Beall and Scott Rosenberg for additional comment. Beall for his part remains adamant that Rosenberg’s tenure atop Platinum has been defined by mismanagement, reiterating in particular his claim that the transfer of a controlling share of Platinum Studios stocks was unethical because, he alleges, it is “an entity that Scott does have an ownership stake in.” Rosenberg disputes those claims without reservation, and speaking exclusively to Deadline, he said “I do not control Rip at all, and that’s from any legal standpoint, as anyone who would want to look at SEC records, accounting records, all legal avenues one can see, I do not control Rip.” Deadline has been told that further comment on the matter by Rip Media will follow.
1ST UPDATE, 3 PM:Platinum Studios‘ Chris Beall received a legal letter from the company saying he was voted out as president and director — the morning of an investors call that was to address Beall’s move earlier in the week to oust CEO Scott Rosenberg. The letter, dated yesterday at 10:45 AM, confirms that a majority share of the company’s shareholders had voted Beall out. (Beall alleges that 790 million of the voting shares owned by Rip Media were illegitimately transferred by Rosenberg before the shake-up.) The board reconstitution left Rosenberg and Glenn Eggert as the only remaining directors, with Rosenberg named as the company’s Chairman, CEO, President, Secretary, CFO, and Treasurer. The vote came after Beall issued a letter of suspension to Rosenberg on Monday (read that one here) and sent an email (read it here) to investors and board members outlining the reasons for his actions. He set up a call for yesterday at 7 PM but neither Beall or Rosenberg were on it. Read More »
The author of a 1995 comic story with the same title as the movie Cowboys & Aliens has sued producers of the movie and a comics publisher, alleging they stole his idea. Austin-based author Steven John Busti filed the suit in federal court in Texas. The suit named DreamWorks Studios, Universal Pictures and comic book entrepreneur Scott Mitchell Rosenberg and his company Platinum Studios as defendants. Busti claims he came up with the idea for cowboys fighting aliens in 1994 and published a story the following year titled “Cowboys & Aliens” in a comic called Bizarre Fantasy. The suit also claims that in 1994 the publication Comic Shop News ran a feature on his Cowboys & Aliens idea in the same issue that ran a story on Rosenberg. Rosenberg’s LA-based Platinum Studios in 2006 launched the graphic novel series Cowboys & Aliens — which Busti asserted in the suit has striking similarities to his work. Universal and DreamWorks bought movie rights from Platinum. Busti’s claim is another black mark against the movie on which the studios placed high hopes and a big budget. A major disappointment financially, Cowboys & Aliens grossed about $175 million worldwide, barely more than it cost.
Fox is joining the Western trend this development season with an untitled drama project from producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who co-wrote this summer’s big-screen Western with a sci-fi twist Cowboys & Aliens. Written by The Shield alum John Hlavin, the project is described as a Western that tells the origins of Wyatt Earp, chronicling both the well-known incidents in his life such as the Gunfight at the OK Corral and lesser-known details of Earp and his brothers bringing order to a lawless frontier. UTA-repped Hlavin, who has a feature Western, The Gunslinger, in development at Warner Bros, brought the project to Kurtzman and Orci. The three will executive produce with Heather Kadin for 20th Century Fox TV and Kurtzman and Orci’s K/O Paper Products. Read More »
His movie may have ultimately been successful in edgingThe Smurfs for the weekend box-office crown, but Cowboys & Aliens star Harrison Ford still has a lot of rage towards the blue gnomes bottled up and let some of it out on Conan tonight.
Harrison Ford, on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! to promote his new movie Cowboys & Aliens, bumped into an old Star Wars friend. Judging by the decades worth of bottled-up rage, Solo probably regrets refusing an order to kill the Wookiee back in the day. Tonight’s episode of Kimmel was directed by Cowboys & Aliens director Jon Favreau.
Cowboys & Aliens director Jon Favreau‘s promotional push for the sci-fi Western continues with a directing gig on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!Favreau, who spent the weekend at Comic-Con, will helm the Wednesday episode as part of a Cowboys & Aliens-themed week of JKL featuring interviews with stars Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde and Adam Beach. Other feature directors who have directed episodes of JKL include Quentin Tarantino, J.J. Abrams and Michel Gondry. Speaking of moonlighting, James Franco will be returning for yet another tour of duty on ABC’s only surviving soap, General Hospital, this time reportedly long-term. He will reprise his role as artist/serial killer Robert “Franco” Frank.
Studios usually view Comic-Con as a venue to start momentum on projects that won’t be in theaters for up to a year. This Saturday, DreamWorks and Universal will try to turn the rabid youth demographic at Comic-Con into true believers for Cowboys & Aliens, a week before the picture opens. It’s crucially important to a movie that has a budget pegged by insiders at $163 million (whispers around town are it could be higher) big stars in Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, and the god-fathering presence of Steven Spielberg and Imagine’s Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. It is also directed by Jon Favreau, whose Iron Man films and past Comic-Con patronage has made him a hero to that crowd.
Despite this pedigree, Cowboys & Aliens has endured a tortured development history involving more than a dozen writers. (Just five writers got screenplay credit after the Writers Guild not surprisingly held an arbitration trying to figure who did what over 14 years.) Now the movie faces even bigger challenges. It’s a mash-up of two genres that usually don’t cross paths, Westerns and science fiction. Word around town is the film has a cash break participation pool in the 35% range. In the wake of the behemoth opening of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, tracking has been soft, there is no 3D conversion to justify higher ticket prices, factors that could put the … Read More »
Since when were there cars in Westerns? This definitely falls under the now-I’ve-seen-it-all NBCUniversal marketing from the same studio that once promoted its TV and movies by stickering grocery produce and cat food:
Gaffney, SC, May 25, 2011: JD Motorsports has partnered with Cowboys & Aliens, the upcoming action-thriller from director Jon Favreau (Iron Man) that stars Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde, in theaters July 29. For the first time in NASCAR history, a film will serve as a primary sponsor of a car for multiple races, and as many as 60,000 fans will have the chance to have their pictures displayed on the Cowboys & Aliens-themed car. The new partnership, which runs for 10 weeks, kicks off at the Top Gear 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 28, where the No. 01 Cowboys & Aliens Chevrolet Impala, driven by NASCAR veteran Mike Wallace, will be unveiled.
The car’s paint scheme features a mysterious lone cowboy, portrayed in the film by Daniel Craig, and action scenes from the event film. As a unique promotional tie-in, NASCAR and film fans will have the opportunity to be included on the car by having their submitted photos incorporated into the design as a mosaic. The mosaic version of the No. 01 Cowboys & Aliens car will be revealed for the first time at the Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona on July 1, 2011.
As part of the promotion, fans may also enter for a chance to win a trip to the Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona to see their picture on the car in person. Any fan who has been selected to have his or her photo on the car may visit www.cowboysandaliensmovie.com to see a 3D rendition of the car and search for their photo by name.
Universal Pictures has teased its Jon Favreau-directed Daniel Craig/Harrison Ford starrer Cowboys & Aliens all over the place, but the studio just announced it will reveal the first full-length trailer during the April 14 telecast of American Idol. The studio’s buying commercial time for the trailer. After that, Universal will put the trailer online through Apple to be gobbled up by every website. Networks get paid by studios to advertise their films, while websites treat every trailer as a news story.
EXCLUSIVE: Platinum Studios, a producer of the upcoming Cowboys & Aliens, has joined forces with Andrew Lazar and Top Cow Productions to turn the Top Cow comic Vice into a live action feature film. Vice tells the story of hard-core teen felons who join the FBI’s Critical Response Unit as a way to clear their records. Their bad attitudes and formidable powers make them as dangerous as the bad guys they pursue. Top Cow president Matt Hawkins created the comic in 2005. Lazar will produce with Platinum Studios chairman/CEO Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, and Randy Greenberg will be exec producer with Hawkins and Marc Silvestri.
EXCLUSIVE: Are these one-sheets for two DreamWorks Studios movies too similar? I’m told that Cowboys And Aliens director Jon Favreau thinks so. And this morning Universal and DreamWorks even had a talk about it. So look above at the teaser one-sheets for Cowboys & Aliens about aliens on earth for Universal/DreamWorks for release July 2011, and I Am Number Four about aliens on earth for Disney/DreamWorks for release February 2011. An insider emails me: ”Cowboys & Aliens finished their one-sheet designed by Universal and approved by everyone, including DreamWorks. A month later, DreamWorks posts their new poster for I Am Number Four. Jon Favreau went nuts at DreamWorks.” Interestingly, an exec at DreamWorks just told me there will be a 2nd “look” debuted soon (see one-sheet to the right) “that will make up the bulk of the campaign. And we don’t think audiences will have any difficulty distinguishing between the two.”
This is the first trailer for the film Cowboys & Aliens from Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures. Directed by Jon Favreau, it stars Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford. Joined by an arsenal of top moviemakers — Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, Favreau takes audiences into the Old West, where a lone cowboy leads an uprising against a “terror from beyond our world”. The release date is July 29, 2011.
DreamWorks is moving Steven Spielberg’s War Horse from August to December 28 of 2011. Stacey Snider said today that after screening footage, the studio decided that it felt “like a holiday movie.” In other DreamWorks moves, The Help, starring Emma Stone and Bryce Dallas Howard, has been dated for August 12, and Shawn Levy’s Real Steel, starring Hugh Jackman, will be moving from November 18 to October 7. Fright Night 3D, starring Colin Farrell,is now slated for August 19. Cowboys & Aliens doesn’t move, staying on July 29. The War Horse screenplay was written by Lee Hall and Richard Curtis and is based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo and the popular West End play. The War Horse shift puts it in direct competition with another Spielberg film, The Adventures of Tin Tin, from Paramount and Sony.
EXCLUSIVE: Damon Lindelof has taken his first big solo screenwriting job since concluding the ABC series Lost. I’m been told that he closed a deal to do rewrite work on 20th Century Fox’s Alien prequel, which the studio hopes Ridley Scott will direct as his next assignment.
In a development as vexing as a Lost plotline, studio insiders said that while Lindelof indeed met with Scott and the studio for that rewrite job, the exchange of ideas between them sparked a take that could well turn out to be a free-standing science fiction film. The studio will decide when Lindelof turns it in. Scott Free is producing and Lindelof’s CAA reps closed his deal last night. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Daniel Craig has closed his deal to play journalist Mikael Blomkvist in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a deal which factors in options for two sequels based on The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest. The novels comprise the bestselling trilogy by late Stieg Larsson.
Deadline told you first about the Craig talks, which back in June were hardly a certainty, because there were so many hurdles to jump. I’m told that with a whole lot of juggling between three studios, Craig will be able to make the movies. Essentially, he will begin work on the first film in Sweden, as soon as he removes his cowboy hat from shooting Cowboys and Aliens in the early fall. Scheduling was coordinated between Dragon Tattoo-maker Sony Pictures Entertainment, DreamWorks partners Stacey Snider and Steven Spielberg–who were flexible on the Cowboys and Aliens schedule–and James Bond rights holders Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson. The latter situation was tougher because of the uncertainty over when the next Bond film will get made–probably with Sam Mendes directing–because of MGM’s paralysis. CAA made Craig’s deal.
This puts Craig in a position no previous James Bond ever was in. He’s got two certain franchises between Bond and the Larsson books, and possibly another in Cowboys and Aliens, which he stars in with Harrison Ford, and for which Craig has an option on a second picture. Comic-Con crowds responded glowingly to … Read More »
There was some talk that this Universal panel might not happen, due to that apparent pen stabbing incident in Hall H prior. A hip-hop beat starts up, as Jon Favreau makes an entrance. He has an announcement to make: although it had been out there that COWBOYS AND ALIENS would be shot in 3D, he’s not going to do that. He says it’s because 3D movies need to be filmed digitally, and he believes westerns should be shot on film. “Take the money you save and see it twice!” He brings out yet another loaded panel: Daniel Craig! Olivia Wilde! Sam Rockwell! Adam Beach! Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci! And for the first Comic-Con ever, believe it or not…Harrison Ford! Read More »
EXCLUSIVE… UPDATE: The plot is thickening on the David Fincher-directed adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the internationally hot Stieg Larsson mystery novel. Of course, with the Swedish film version having made $100+M worldwide so far this year, many quarters are predicting that Sony Pictures will screw up the Hollywood version. Today, the studio set a December 21, 2011 release date for the film — even though the two leads are not locked in. The studio continues talking with Daniel Craig to play publisher Mikael Blomkvist, but sources tell me there’s a scheduling problem for him involving the long delayed next Bond pic and Cowboys & Aliens.
The studio is also signing test deals with a group of young actresses dying to play the complex role of Lisbeth Salander. While Carey Mulligan, Ellen Page, and Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) have been mentioned as possible Lisbeth candidates, I’m told others include Emily Browning (Sucker Punch), Sara Snook (Sleeping Beauty), Rooney Mara (The Social Network) and Sophie Lowe (Blame). Some have submitted their own tapes to director David Fincher already, while others will test shortly for the role. It’s a process similar to the one Sony orchestrated before choosing Andrew Garfield to play Spider-Man. Meanwhile, I hear Fincher is telling actresses to working on their Swedish accents, which indicates the novel may not Americanized. The book was adapted by Steve Zaillian and is being produced by Scott Rudin, who just worked with Fincher on … Read More »