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Lava Bear Sets ‘V/H/S’ Helmer David Bruckner To Direct ‘Intrusion’

By | Wednesday February 6, 2013 @ 1:46pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: David Linde‘s Lava Bear has set David Bruckner (The Signal, V/H/S) to direct Intrusion, a thriller script written by L.D. Goffigan. Along with Doug Davison, Tariq Jalil and Lucas Carter, Lava Bear will produce and production has been set to start later this year.

A young woman’s life begins to unravel shortly after moving to San Francisco, when she realizes she’s being pursued by a disturbed stalker. As the assaults and creepy incidents escalate she realizes that she has become the target of something far more sinister and horrifying.

Bruckner directed Amateur Night, the opening segment of the 2012 found-footage horror anthology V/H/S. He made his debut on the 2007 pic The Signal, which he co-directed with Dan Bush and Jacob Gentry. Read More »

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David Goyer Sets Supernatural Thriller With David Linde’s Lava Bear

By | Thursday April 19, 2012 @ 5:09pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: David Linde’s Lava Bear has made a deal to  develop an untitled feature based on an original idea by David S. Goyer. Lava Bear will produce the supernatural thriller along with Goyer. They will put a writer on it shortly. Goyer scripted the upcoming Superman: Man of Steel for Warner Bros, and Godzilla for Legendary Pictures. After co-writing Batman Begins with Chris Nolan, he co-wrote the story for both The Dark Knight and the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises, and Marvel’s Blade films and Ghost Rider. He previously worked with Linde while the latter was Universal Pictures co-chairman and Goyer directed the supernatural thriller The Unborn for Rogue Pictures. Lava Bear president Tory Metzger will oversee the project.

Lava Bear is currently developing films that include the Gil Kenan-directed A Giant, an untitled thriller from writer L.D. Goffigan, and the David Michod-directed The Rover. Goyer is represented by WME.

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David Linde’s Lava Bear Makes First Spec Buy

By | Monday January 30, 2012 @ 2:50pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: David Linde’s Lava Bear has made its first spec script buy as Linde and Lava Bear president Tory Metzger acquired an untitled thriller by scribe L.D. Goffigan. Lava Bear will produce with Quadrant Pictures’ Doug Davison and Tariq Jalil. Lucas Carter is exec producer. They are keeping the logline under wraps. It’s the first sale for the writer, who has been working as an assistant. Three offers materialized when the script went out under the title Intrusion. Davison and Linde worked together previously on the horror hit The Strangers, a factor in why this went the way of Lava Bear. Lava Bear is out to directors with plans to begin production in 2013. The scribe is repped by CAA and manager Jewerl Ross.

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Summit, Lava Bear In Mix For Steven Soderbergh Film ‘Bitter Pill’

Mike Fleming

Summit Entertainment and David Linde’s Lava Bear are the top two contenders for Bitter Pill, the Scott Z. Burns script that is being shopped as Steven Soderbergh’s likely next film. I’d say Summit is the frontrunner for a script that wasn’t distributed widely. Paramount was the other initial place (producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura’s deal is there), and there are a few equity financiers mulling the project as well, but it’s within a small circle. The film is a potboiler in the Jagged Edge-Basic Instinct mold about a troubled and depressed woman who is taking serious amounts of prescription drugs to deal with the anxiety surrounding the pending release of her husband from prison. Burns wrote it several years ago and set it up at Miramax under the title The Side Effects, and he intended to direct the film. The scribe then got busy with projects from The Bourne Ultimatum to 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: Captain Nemo, and never got around to it. He’s close with Soderbergh–they’ve done Contagion and The Informant! together and planned to do The Man From U.N.C.L.E before Warner Bros pulled the plug over budget and casting (Warner Bros was not one of the places they took Bitter Pill). Soderbergh read it and sparked to making it his next film. The deal should be done by week’s end. It’s being shopped by UTA and Anonymous Content. Stay tuned.

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Toronto: Magnolia Acquires U.S. Rights To Fernando Meirelles Drama ’360′

Mike Fleming

Magnolia Pictures bought U.S. rights to 360, the Fernando Meirelles-directed ensemble drama that stars Rachel Weisz, Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, Ben Foster, Jamel Debbouze and Moritz Bleibtreu. The film is a series of intersecting storylines that deal with love and infidelity, written by Peter Morgan and inspired by Arthur Schnitzler’s Reigen, the play most famously turned into the 1950s film La Ronde. 360 was high on buyer lists coming into Toronto, but despite the pedigree and starpower, many of the distributors found the subject matter too challenging to see a wide release. The film recently was chosen as the opening-night film of the BFI 55th London Film Festival. “Fernando Meirelles and Peter Morgan are two exceptional talents that have crafted a unique and truly special picture,” Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles said. He called it “a stunningly well made film, and a fantastic showcase for some of the most talented actors from around the world.” The film was produced by Andrew Eaton and David Linde, with Chris Hanley, Danny Krausz and Emanuel Michael. UTA Independent Film Group made the deal.

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Toronto: Buyers Get First Look At Christian Bale-Starrer ‘Heroes Of Nanking’, Now Titled ‘The Flowers Of War’

Buyers at the Toronto Film Festival got their first look today at Zhang Yimou’s The Flowers of War, which previously was known as Heroes of Nanking. The true-life drama stars Christian Bale and is set against the backdrop of the 1937 Nanking Massacre, when Japan’s army overran China’s capital city. An American (Bale) trapped amidst the chaos of battle and the ensuing occupation takes shelter in a church, joined by a group of schoolgirls and 13 courtesans, and helps lead the group to fight back. Zhang Weiping is producing and David Linde and Chaoying Deng are exec producing. About 20 minutes was shown to circling buyers and the press this morning, but it will be an interesting project to take on: The film is about 60% Mandarin-language and 40% in English. The film will have its world premiere in Beijing on Dec. 16. FilmNation Entertainment is handling international sales outside the U.S., China, and a few major Asian countries; North American rights will be licensed directly by New Pictures Films and producers Deng and Linde and Stephen Saltzman of Loeb & Loeb.

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TOLDJA! David Linde Formalizes Funding And Staff For New Shingle

By | Tuesday May 24, 2011 @ 9:50am PDT
Mike Fleming

Former Universal Pictures co-chairman David Linde has formalized a funding arrangement with Reliance Entertainment and set Tory Metzger to be head of production for his new company, both of which Deadline told you would happen months ago. I still expect the company to be called Lava Bear when all is said and done, but as of now it’s unnamed. Linde has also named Adam Rymer COO. He intends to make one to three movies a year for the next four years. Here’s the release that makes the whole thing official:

Los Angeles, CA – May 24, 2011 – David Linde and Reliance Entertainment jointly announced today the official formation and funding of Linde’s new company, a new platform for film production and financing. Reliance Entertainment is providing the capital to finance the yet unnamed new venture. Working from a global distribution structure combining studio and independent distribution, the company will both produce and finance projects creating a clear “brand” of films designed for the worldwide marketplace.

For nearly two decades, Linde has proven a unique ability to join a singular vision with the intricacies of the domestic and international film marketplace. The new entity is specifically designed to take advantage of Linde’s experience in successfully bridging studio and independent production and distribution while managing and building both existing and start-up companies.

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Ex-Universal Pic Chief Marc Shmuger Launches Global Produce Shingle

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Former Universal co-chairman Marc Shmuger next month opens the doors on his new producing venture. Global Produce will be the name of his new Universal-based company, and I’m told that Shmuger has hired Tom McNulty to be his top production executive. McNulty was the longtime president of Shawn Levy’s Fox-based company 21 Laps, and his producing credits include Date Night and The Rocker. He left and became an independent producer, but will return to the executive fold when Shmuger opens offices in Santa Monica in June. Shmuger came to Universal as president of marketing in 1998, rose to vice chairman before spending nearly four years as co-chairman alongside David Linde (who’s launching his new company, Lava Bear). They left in fall, 2009. Shmuger’s Global Produce already has its first project: back in January, Shmuger teamed with Oscar-winning documentary director Alex Gibney and they are now four months into a feature docu about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Universal is funding the film and Shmuger and Gibney are producing together.

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Tory Metzger Nearing Deal To Head Production For David Linde’s Lava Bear

By | Thursday January 20, 2011 @ 5:30pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Tory Metzger is ready to jump back into the production game. Metzger, one of CAA’s top talent agents when she left the agency in 2008 to run production for Media Rights Capital, is in talks to steer creative and production for David Linde’s Lava Bear. That’s the global platform for film production, financing and distribution that the former Universal Pictures chief is getting off the ground with discussions for a first-look Universal deal and a relationship with Reliance ADA. Metzger left Media Rights Capital last summer. She and Linde have a long relationship working on high profile films  both while she was at CAA and MRC. All sides declined comment.

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David Linde To Receive Reliance Investment

By | Thursday October 7, 2010 @ 9:04am PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Give me time to photoshop an Indian turban on David Linde’s head (like I previously did for Dreamworks’ Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider). Because I’ve just pieced together that Linde’s newly formed film entertainment company, Lava Bear Films, is in negotiations  with Reliance ADA. What’s happening is that India’s giant entertainment conglomerate intends to join Lava Bear as an equity partner. Here’s why: Reliance wants immediate access to films with global appeal, and Linde as the former co-chairman of Universal Pictures and before that Focus Features has a great track record as a top executive able to shepherd the production and distribution of films at both the studio and independent levels. Reliance also believes that Lava Bear’s production and operating strategy will be complimentary to the other investments Reliance has made in companies like DreamWorks and IM Global. At the same time this deal is underway, Linde is finalizing a first-look arrangement with his old employer Universal Pictures for all domestic, and certain international distribution, rights to Lava Bear films. The Reliance and Universal partnerships will be combined with output agreements with key independent distributors internationally. So Linde is creating global film production, financing, and distribution. Good for him. Everyone in Hollywood knows he’s a great piece of manpower and was unnecessary collateral damage (because of strong loyalty and bad luck) when Universal targeted his then Uni co-chair Marc Shmuger for firing.

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Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Game Plan Includes ‘Despicable Me’ Sequel, ‘Minion’ Spinoffs, Dr. Seuss, The Addams Family

Mike Fleming

Film Review Despicable MeEXCLUSIVE: Three years ago, Universal Pictures brass wooed Chris Meledandri away from his president post at Fox Animation to start its first family film unit. Over the weekend, Illumination’s first effort, Despicable Me, nearly doubled Universal’s gross predictions for a $56.4 million opening. Suddenly, the Meledandri decision looks like one of the better ones made by NBC Universal in a good long time. The studio has reinforced that by making a full commitment to the venture. Illumination’s original co-financing game plan made by former chairmen David Linde and Marc Shmuger called for Universal to fund only half the operation and film budgets, and Illumination’s founder and CEO Meledandri raising the rest. meledandri_chrisBut that plan was delayed by the credit crunch. Then Universal chiefs Ron Meyer, Rick Finkelstein and Adam Fogelson and Donna Langley told Meledandri, in a decision that went all the way up to NBC Universal’s Jeff Zucker, that they didn’t want to share and would fully fund him. Meledandri, who has autonomy but won’t make pictures that don’t excite the studio’s toppers, sparked to Uni’s financing plan because it incentivizes hustle to release and market the films. Despicable Me, for instance, was heavily cross-promoted in NBC-Universal platforms that included network, cable and theme parks.

The result is now a momentum changer for Universal on several fronts. Despicable Me ended a prolonged hit pic slump. It plugged the studio into a … Read More »

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