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Cannes: Red Granite Acquires Leonardo DiCaprio Pic ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’

Mike Fleming

Red Granite Pictures, which just formed an international sales division to be headed by ex-Nu Image execs Danny Dimbort and Christian Mercuri, has just bought into a big project. Red Granite chairman/CEO Riza Aziz and vice chairman Joey McFarland have acquired rights to Jordan Belfort’s memoir The Wolf of Wall Street and will produce with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Killoran’s Appian Way and Alexandra Milchan’s EMJAG Productions. DiCaprio has long wanted to play Belfort, with directors Martin Scorsese and Ridley Scott among those who’s sparked to directing the film. There were reports recently that Scorsese might resurface, but no director is set yet and there isn’t a start date. The project had been set at Warner Bros and nearly got made several years ago, but a tug of war between that studio and Paramount (where Scorsese has his overall deal) led them to instead collaborate on Shutter Island.

Script was written by Terence Winter, the exec producer of The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire. The drama chronicles Belfort’s rise and fall on Wall Street, a run marked by a hard-partying lifestyle, drug addiction, a 1998 indictment for securities fraud and money laundering. And a 22-month federal prison stretch. Belfort has been sober 14 years and is a motivational speaker.

Red Granite’s intention is to produce four to five films each year and make negative pickups. Along with Dimbort and Mercuri, the company brought … Read More »

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Avi Lerner’s Foreign Sales Ace Danny Dimbort Exits With Millennium Execs To Launch Red Granite International

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: In a pre-Cannes foreign sales shakeup bombshell, Millennium/Nu Image partner Danny Dimbort has left and joined forces with Red Granite Pictures. He’s taking the role of president in the foreign sales company Red Granite International, and has taken with him Christian Mercuri, who’ll be co-president, and Joe Gatta, who’ll be president of production. Relations between Dimbort and Avi Lerner have been strained for a long time. In January 2010, I reported as much, when Dimbort was gone for weeks and speculation was high that he would leave because he and Lerner disagreed on the kinds of movies they should be making. At the time, Lerner scoffed at the speculation, saying Dimbort  was “categorically not departing, and whoever is telling you that is just being mean. We’ve been partners for 30 years, he’s my best friend, and I love him to death. You want a problem? It’s that the American government doesn’t give a shit about the piracy of our product that’s taking place around the world. The stuff about Danny is bullshit.”

Relations got even more strained when Dimbort was busted by the Producers Guild for giving a producing credit to his teenage granddaughter. Now, I’d always heard Dimbort did this to make a point, because he was pissed that Lerner was putting girlfriends into producing and other positions where they would receive credit. Last year, I’d heard that Dimbort was bought out of his equity position in the company, but that it didn’t mean he was leaving. Now, he’s gone. Read More »

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Sundance: Anchor Bay Acquires Dito Montiel’s ‘The Son Of No One’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Anchor Bay has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the Dito Montiel-directed cop drama The Son Of No One, which was the 2011 Sundance Film Festival’s final premiere last Friday. I’m told the deal was in the $2 million minimum guarantee range and a P&A commitment for a theatrical release in at least 10 of the top 20 markets. The film stars Channing Tatum, Tracy Morgan, Katie Holmes, Ray Liotta, Juliette Binoche and Al Pacino and is a police thriller about a young cop assigned to the Queens neighborhood where he grew up. He’s forced to confront past troubles. The picture was financed by Millennium Films/Nu Image’s Avi Lerner and his partners Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short and Boaz Davidson. Before its premiere, the film had an early screening for buyers, and was forced to overcome a nasty trade article that claimed an “exodus” of walk outs, a story disputed in Deadline by sales agent and exec producer Cassian Elwes. Elwes had the last laugh as he and WME Global’s Graham Taylor closed what might be the last big sale of a festival full of them. Despite the one bad article, Elwes and Taylor had several bidders circling with offers in the $2 million range but Anchor Bay’s Kevin Kasha has sealed the deal.

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