EXCLUSIVE: Anchor Bay Films just acquired U.S. distribution rights to 13, Gela Babluani’s remake of his 2005 thriller 13 Tzameti. The film isn’t playing here at Toronto, but it will be one of a flurry of titles being shopped during the festival, something that proved very effective in Cannes, where some of the biggest acquisition deals were made on the basis of sellers showing promo reels to hungry distributors.
The remake stars Sam Riley, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Ray Winstone, Alexander Skarsgård, Michael Shannon, Ben Gazzara, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Mickey Rourke and Jason Statham. Anchor Bay president Bill Clark and EVP Worldwide Acquisitions and Co-Productions Kevin Kasha made the deal with WME Global’s Alexis Garcia.
“13 was a great pick-up for Anchor Bay Films,” Kasha said. “The film has an amazing cast and it truly keeps you guessing. We’re excited to be working with Babluani in releasing it.”
The original won the 2006 Sundance Grand Jury Prize, and Babluani won best director at the Venice Film Festival later that year. A desperate man steals an envelope promising a mysterious job that can make him a fortune. Assuming a false identity, he discovers he’s enlisted to be a numbered participant in an underworld Russian roulette competition where gamblers place bets on the contestants. The potential payoff is so high he goes through with it despite the long odds of survival.
Emmett/Furla Films, a company that has been growing more ambitious in the film financing and production arena, has teamed with Stepan Martirosyan and Remington Chase’s Envision Entertainment to establish a new $250 million revolving equity and debt fund to finance a new slate of star-driven commercial films. The fund was announced as EFF principal Randall Emmett comes to Toronto to make deals on films that include the Allen Hughes-directed political corruption drama Broken City, which stars Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe, and Frozen Ground, the fact-based thriller about a serial killer in Alaska that will star Nicolas Cage and John Cusack. Martirosyan and Chase are executive producers on the latter.
The fund carries no set restrictions on how and where capital is allocated, but it will continue EFF’s momentum. The company recently financed the Stephen Frears-directed Lay The Favorite — with a cast that includes Bruce Willis, Rebecca Hall, Vince Vaughn and Catherine Zeta-Jones — with films in the works that include the David Ayer-directed crime drama End of Watch with Jake Gyllenhaal and Anna Kendrick; Fire with Josh Duhamel, Willis and Rosario Dawson; and Freelancers, a drama that stars Robert De Niro, Forest Whitaker and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. EFF’s Emmett continues to be Jackson’s partner in Cheetah Vision Films, which has a deal at Lionsgate. EFF will make nine films this year. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Russell Crowe is set to star alongside Mark Wahlberg in the Allen Hughes-directed independently financed noir drama Broken City. Production begins in November. Wahlberg plays an ex-cop-turned-private detective who is hired by the mayor (the role Crowe will play) to see if his wife is cheating on him. The private eye confirms those suspicions, and when the mayor’s wife’s cheating partner ends up dead, the private eye immerses himself in the mayor’s business and uncovers a real estate scandal that involves the pol dealing himself choice city-owned properties. The script by Brian Tucker made the 2008 Black List. The $60 million film will be financed by Emmett/Furla Films.
Wahlberg is producing through his Closest to the Hole banner; Stephen Levinson through Leverage; and Randall Emmett, George Furla and Hughes are also producing. Wahlberg and Levinson, partners on Entourage and Boardwalk Empire, just wrapped the drama Contraband. Crowe is costarring as Jor-El in the Superman reboot Man of Steel and just wrapped The Man With The Iron Fists. Read More »
Mark Wahlberg and Allen Hughes are in early talks to team on Broken City, a noir-style drama about an ex-cop-turned-private detective who is hired by the mayor to see if his wife is cheating on him. When the mayor’s wife’s cheating partner ends up dead, the private eye immerses himself in the mayor’s business and uncovers a real estate scandal that involves dealing himself choice city-owned properties. Reps for Wahlberg and Hughes (who usually directs films with brother Albert, but each has been taking on solo projects as of late) caution that this is early going (the script had formerly been set up at Mandate), but the 2008 Black List script by Brian Tucker has now been set up to be financed by Emmett/Furla Films at a $60 million budget. Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Randall Emmett, George Furla and Hughes will be the producers.
Emmett/Furla Films just financed with Wild Bunch the Stephen Fears-directed Lay The Favorite, starring Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rebecca Hall and Vince Vaughn, is about to begin production on the $25 million Fire With Fire with Willis and Josh Duhamel, will partner with Groundswell Productions to fund Captive and is in pre-production with Exclusive Media to co-finance the David Ayer-directed Jake Gyllenhaal-starrer End of Watch. Emmett is also partnered with Curtis Jackson in Cheetah Vision, which is in the middle of Fire With Fire. Wahlberg’s repped by WME and Leverage and Hughes by WME.
Between The Mummy franchise, Van Helsing and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, director Stephen Sommers hasn’t made a movie outside the studio blockbuster system in about 13 years. He doing just that right now, getting underway this week on an adaptation of the Dean Koontz bestseller Odd Thomas, a series that’s expected to spark three more novels and perhaps a film franchise. The film stars Anton Yelchin as a short-order cook with clairvoyant abilities who encounters a mysterious man surrounded by dark, threatening forces. The cook’s unique abilities, which include an ability to speak with the dead, help him protect his town and family. The pic also stars Addison Timlin, Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Curtis Jackson, Nico Tortorella and Patton Oswalt. Sommers is producing with Fusion Films’ Howard Kaplan and John Baldecchi.
Sommers said the movie is unlike any he’s ever made, down to his decision to write the script without having the rights from Koontz, who has been burned enough by the movies to be wary. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Robert De Niro is set to star in the Jessy Terrero-directed Freelancers, and Forest Whitaker is in talks to join him and Curtis Jackson in the cop drama. The film begins production April 18 in New Orleans. Jackson plays the son of a slain NYPD officer who, with his two best friends, joins the Police Academy. After graduating, he’s taken under the wing of his father’s former partner Captain Vic Sarcone (De Niro) in the ranks of Sarcone’s Street Vice Crime Task Force and he becomes part of Scarcone’s rogue task force. Philippe Casseus wrote the script.
The film’s produced by Randall Emmett, Jackson, and George Furla. Rick Jackson, Jeff Rice, Fred Malmberg and Daniel Wagner are exec producers. De Niro has been starring in Another Bullshit Night in Suck City alongside Julianne Moore and Paul Dano for director Paul Weitz. He’s repped by CAA.