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Hot Trailer: ‘The Equalizer’ With Denzel Washington

By | Thursday June 12, 2014 @ 1:36pm PDT

The Equalizer title cardDenzel Washington may be a long way from Edward Woodward, but the just-released trailer for the upcoming film version of that 1980s series, showcases Washington’s usual chillier-than-the-Antarctic cool as he comes out of retirement as a black ops commando to rescue a young woman (Chloe Grace Moretz) and deal with Russian mobsters. Antoine Fuqua directs Washington (again), from a screenplay written by Richard Wenk, based on the television series created by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim.  The film is produced by Washington along with Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Alex Siskin, Steve Tisch, Mace Neufeld, Tony Eldridge and Michael Sloan.

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Tony Committee Expands Nominators’ Klatsch Following Addled 2014 Race

By | Wednesday June 11, 2014 @ 12:19pm PDT

Tony Awards logoThe Tony Administration Committee, which oversees the Broadway awards jointly run by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, has expanded the list of nominators for next season’s awards to 50 people, including two from the administration of former NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The announcement comes in the wake of widespread dissatisfaction with the nominating process that culminated in the Tony Awards on Sunday, notably in the selections of nominees for Best Musical and in the number of stars in celebrated performances who were bypassed. They included Denzel Washington, Daniel Radcliffe, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Rachel Weisz, among others.

Related: Tony Bosses Condone More Loot And Revival Recognition But Kill Sound Awards

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DeadlineNow Morning Report: Colbert’s Amazon Boycott; NHL Final Down On NBC; Denzel & Fuqua Reuniting (Video)

By | Thursday June 5, 2014 @ 11:33am PDT


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Morning Report, Thursday June 5

Stephen Colbert tells Colbert Nation to boycott Amazon amid the retailer's spat with his publisher; Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final wins the night for NBC but takes a hit against last year's opener; MGM in early talks for Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua to reteam for 'Magnificent Seven' redo. Deadline's Dominic Patten reports.

Related:
Stephen Colbert Declares War On Amazon (Video)
Ratings: NBC’s Stanley Cup Final Game 1 Scores Night’s Biggest Number
Denzel Washington & Antoine Fuqua Eye MGM’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ Remake

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MGM Looking To Re-Team Denzel Washington And Antoine Fuqua In ‘Magnificent Seven’ Remake

By | Thursday June 5, 2014 @ 8:43am PDT
Mike Fleming

traininNow, here’s a project I’d pay to see. MGM is in early discussions with Denzel Washington to star and Antoine Fuqua to direct The Magnificent Seven, a remake of the 1960 John Sturges-directed film. The talks are early stage, but if you get those two committed, it won’t be hard to get six other guys to round out the cast in the story of a town that assembles a squad of seven elite gunmen to protect it. Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, and Charles Bronson were part of the ensemble cast of the original, which was released by United Artists and is a library title for MGM. The revived studio has coveted a remake for some time, originally developing a version for Tom Cruise. Nic Pizzolatto, who went on to write and exec produce HBO’s True Detective, wrote a draft and John Lee Hancock came on to rewrite a movie whose inspiration was Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. The setting is post Civil War, right at the end of the Wild West. Roger Birnbaum is producing it.

sevenmNo one this side of the late director Tony Scott is better at unleashing Washington’s inner badass than Fuqua. Fuqua directed Washington  to an Academy Award in Training Day, and the two of them re-teamed at Sony on The Equalizer. That film, scripted by Richard Wenk, got the studio so bullish that Sony and Escape … Read More »

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Denzel’s Younger Turn; ‘Irma’s’ French Toast; Susan Stroman’s Frozen Dessert

A RAISIN IN THE SUN cap 1431_BGerardColumn_badgeThe Tony-nominated revival of A Raisin In The Sun, coming a decade after a production in which Sean Combs made his Broadway debut as Walter Lee Younger, had some people wondering whether it was too soon. But as it turns out, that’s a discussion for pedants. Great plays deserve to be mounted as often as the talent is there to breathe life into them, and with Denzel Washington as Walter for a new generation, A Raisin In The Sun breathes life aplenty. Washington proved he was as comfortable on the stage as on screen four years ago, in a revival of August Wilson’s Fences – when James Earl Jones’ titanic performance as sanitation man and ex-baseball player Troy Maxon still cast a long shadow. Washington had no trouble making the role of Troy his own, and that’s the case today, as well: This elegant actor balances the ebullience of a man who dreams, with the world-weariness of someone tired of seeing those dreams deferred, as Langston Hughes alluded to in the poem that gives the play its name.

Walter is as angry at the world as the Jimmy Porter of Look Back In Anger, as angry as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire: young men infuriated by a world in which the cards are eternally stacked against them and the house always wins. Washington makes you feel, deeply, that terrifying, sad, inspired, hopeless, crushing yet ultimately liberating admix of emotions through which Walter careers from one hour to the next, one day to the next. Read More »

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Obamas Attending ‘A Raisin In The Sun’ On Broadway Tomorrow

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 7:20pm PDT

dezel washington barack obamaBroadway has made no secret of casting Hollywood A-listers in the past few years in an effort to fill more seats, and tomorrow the Great White Way will be getting two particularly prestigious patrons. If all goes to plan, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are set to attend the 8 PM performance of the revival of A Raisin In The Sun at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The president will be in NYC earlier in the day on official biz. This latest version of the revered 1959 Lorraine Hansberry play stars Denzel Washington in the Oscar and Tony winner’s first return to Broadway since 2010′s Fences. The Kenny Leon-directed and Scott Rudin-produced play sees A Raisin In The Sun return to the very theater where it first opened more than 50 years ago. Having had previews last month, the play — which is set on Chicago’s South Side, where the Obamas have a home in the upscale Kenwood neighborhood — opened on April 3 to a limited engagement that sees it running just to June 15. I’m assuming the Obamas, who will be heading back to D.C. after taking in the show, didn’t have to pull too many favors to get tickets to the nearly sold-out run. But with a hot commodity like this, it helps that they know people.

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‘A Raisin In The Sun’ Rounds Out Cast For Broadway Revival To Star Denzel Washington And Diahann Carroll

By | Thursday August 29, 2013 @ 8:10am PDT
Mike Fleming

The supporting cast has been set for the revival of the Lorraine Hansberry play A Raisin In The Sun, headlined by Tony-winning Fences star Denzel Washington and Diahann Carroll, who is making her first Broadway appearance in 30 years. They have set a September 21 on-sale date for tickets to the 14-week limited engagement. Previews begin March 8 before an opening night April 3, 2014 at the Barrymore Theatre. That is where the original production opened in 1959, which will be 55 years ago when the revival opens. Kenny Leon is directing and Scott Rudin is producing. Added to the cast are David Cromer, who directed the Obie-winning Our Town and Tribes. He will play Karl Lindner; also new to the cast is 13-year-old Bryce Clyde Jenkins, who makes his Broadway debut as Travis Younger. Read More »

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TCA: Denzel Washington To Narrate PBS’ ‘The March’

By | Monday August 5, 2013 @ 4:06pm PDT

Denzel Washington will narrate PBS‘ The March, a documentary chronicling the dramatic stories behind the historic 1963 March on Washington, credited as being a watershed moment in the civil rights movement that helped usher in sweeping civil rights legislation.
Roger Mudd was among those who showed up at PBS’ Q&A for the documentary, premiering on August 27. Mudd was CBS’s anchor for the network’s anchor for the network’s dawn-to-dusk live coverage of the march. Mudd, a congressional correspondent, covering Capitol Hill at the time, said this afternoon, “It was a hermetically sealed existence.” Read More »

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Hollywood Blues: ‘Smurfs 2′ Bombs Here And Blah Overseas; Denzel-Mark’s ’2 Guns’ Wins Weekend, ‘Wolverine’ Holds For #2

SUNDAY AM, 7TH UPDATEThis is yet another weekend that confounded and confused Hollywood as domestic numbers are coming in lower than projected and only international grosses are saving Summer 2013. Interesting that the Top Three films are all based on comic books. (Maybe that’s the reason?) Total moviegoing looks about $125M or about +8% from last year because of the glut of 3D films in the crowded marketplace. 

I’m shocked how badly the #3 film Sony Pictures Animation‘s The Smurfs 2 (3,866 theaters) bombed in the U.S. and Canada where even the most wretched family fare can catch a break at the summer box office. This 3D hybrid live-action/CG  animated sequel couldn’t even make in its first five days ($27.8M) what the 2011 original grossed in its first three-day weekend ($35.6M). Ouch! Guess little blue people creep me out and North Americans, too. The domestic total fell way short of the $35M first projected by the studio which blames too many PG films at the multiplex. But even the foreign cume was blah: $52.5M from 43 territories was “not enough to make up for U.S. underperformance,” a Sony exec tells me. That’s a worldwide total of $80.3M, far less than the $100M which Sony projected this weekend. Russia and Latin America beat Smurfs 1 while shockingly Europe (where the Smurfs began) did not. Let’s remember that the 2011 original made 75% of its coin overseas ($420M foreign vs $142M domestic) so Sony is was counting on a big worldwide weekend to save pic’s bottom-line. The negative cost for Smurfs 2 was $125M ($146M less production benefits of $21M). Sony also lined up for the sequel one of the studio’s largest global promotion campaigns with $150M from 100 corporations, licensees, and retail partners. (Including McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, blueberries). That’s a big deal for family fare not branded Disney, Pixar, or DreamWorks. As expected Smurfs 2 opened Wednesday #1 atop the North American box office but with only a lame $5.2M and then a lifeless $18.2M three-day weekend. Its Rotten Tomatoes score was a poor 12% but the ‘A-’ CinemaScore from audiences didn’t help domestic word of mouth. I hear the Sony brass was concerned from the outset because their sequel was out-tracked by Disney’s Planes (which opens August 9th). Smurfs 2‘s disappointment will only put more pressure on the studio from cantankerous investor Daniel Loeb who’s currently destabilizing the studio. The first film was taken out of turnaround from Paramount by then Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman/CEO Michael Lynton, now the Sony America bigwig. And that original Smurfs movie caught lightning in a bottle and grossed $563M worldwide. Because of that, Smurfs 3 already is scheduled for 2015.

Better news for Emmett/Furla Films which financed 2 Guns that’s being distributed in America by Universal with EOne releasing in Canada. Playing in 3,025 domestic theaters, it was the #1 film this weekend – 7th time Universal has claimed top spot at the North American box office in 2013 – with a so-so $27.4M. Audiences liked it much more than critics who gave it only a middling 58% Rotten Tomatoes score vs its ‘B+’ CinemaScore. The studio had trouble building awareness in the crowded marketplace so low-balled its projection of only a $22M weekend. But two marquee stars paired for the first time like Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg should open any film to at least $25M. Good thing the ‘R’-rated comedy actioner cost only $61M. I think what helped box office is that Denzel rarely appears in a bad pic so audiences trust that. And Wahlberg is a consistent draw. Their starpower clearly was pushing gross for this film based on the Boom! Studios comic book by Steven Grant and directed by Baltasar Kormakur (who reteamed with Wahlberg after Contraband) and screenwriter Blake Masters (TV’s Brotherhood). 2 Guns was tracking strongest with its target audience of young males and African Americans after significant multicultural outreach. To that end, Universal developed an 82-second English-language spot specifically for the bilingual Hispanic audience. Washington and Wahlberg made appearances on NBCU-owned Telemundo’s morning show Un Nuevo Dia which created a first ever interview paired with the Today Show2 Guns villain Edward James Olmos did Hispanic media and developed 10 spots with Mexican-themes. Other promotions were aimed at African-Amercans including BeET’s top rated 106 & Park and the 2nd largest black network TV One. Exit polling showed moviegoers were 14% Hispanic and 28% African-American.

In #2 is Twentieth Century Fox’s holdover, Marvel’s Wolverine (with the highest theater count of 3,924). Marvel character played by Hugh Jackman yet again dropped 59% drop from last weekend for $21.7M and a new domestic cume through Sunday of $95M. Worldwide total is $255.2M.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros/New Line’s low-cost $19M horror genre The Conjuring (3,155 theaters) crossed $100M after three weeks Saturday on its way to $135M all in. Studio says it’s now the 6th biggest horror film of all time and easily will end up as #4 or even #3.

Here are the Top Ten films based on weekend estimates:

1. 2 Guns (Emmett-Furla/Universal) NEW [Runs 3,025] R
Friday $10.0M, Saturday $9.8M, Weekend $27.4M

2. The Wolverine 3D (20th Century Fox) Week 2 [Runs 3,924] PG13
Friday $6.4M, Saturday $8.6M, Weekend $21.7M (-59%), Cume $95.0M
International Cume $160.2M, Worldwide Total $255.2M

3. The Smurfs 2 3D (Sony Animation) Week 1 [Runs 3,866] PG
Friday $5.5M, Saturday $7.1M, Weekend $18.2M, Cume $27.8M
International Cume $52.5M, Worldwide Total $80.3M
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Denzel Washington Heads Back To Broadway In ‘A Raisin In The Sun’

By | Thursday August 1, 2013 @ 4:52pm PDT

Denzel Washington will star opposite Diahann Carroll in the Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s classic A Raisin In The Sun. Previews begin March 8, 2014, with opening night on April 3, 2014 at the Barrymore Theatre where the original production opened 55 years ago. Set on Chicago’s South Side, A Raisin In The Sun revolves around the divergent dreams and conflicts within three generations of the Younger family: son Walter Lee (Washington), his wife Ruth (Sophie Okonedo), his sister Beneatha (Anika Noni Rose), his son Travis and matriarch Lena, called Mama (Carroll). Rounding out the cast are Stephen Tyrone Williams, Jason Dirden, and Stephen McKinley Henderson. Washington won a Best Actor Tony for his performance in 2010′s Fences. The Kenny Leon-directed A Raisin In The Sun is a limited engagement, running 14 weeks only through June 15, 2014. Washington currently can be seen in Universal’s action thriller 2 Guns with Mark Wahlberg which opens tomorrow.

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Hot Trailer: ’2 Guns’

By | Monday July 29, 2013 @ 4:39pm PDT

The new trailer has dropped for Universal‘s 2 Guns. Baltasar Kormákur directs from a script by Blake Masters. The action thriller stars Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as two undercover federal operatives from competing bureaus who are forced on the run together. The pic opens on Friday. Check it out:

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Vladimir Kulich Joins Sony’s ‘The Equalizer’

By | Thursday July 18, 2013 @ 6:55pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: The Denzel Washington-led reboot continues to pad its cast. Vladimir Kulich has joined Sony‘s The Equalizer, which also stars Martin Csokas, Melissa Leo and Chloe Moretz. The Vikings actor will play a Russian oligarch who funds an international black market enterprise. Washington stars as Robert McCall, a former covert agent who hires himself out to those in need. The $50 million thriller is based on the of the 1985-89 CBS series starring Edward Woodward. In addition to recurring as the warrior Erik on History’s Vikings, Kulich’s credits include Ironclad, The 13th Warrior and TV’s Angel. He is repped by Kazarian, Spencer, Ruskin & Associates and Open Entertainment.

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Denzel Washington Eyes Killer Role In Warner Bros ‘Shovel Ready’

By | Thursday June 6, 2013 @ 12:26pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Denzel Washington is in early talks to star in Shovel Ready, a Warner Bros adaptation of a debut novel by journalist Adam Sternbergh. Erwin Stoff is the producer. In a bombed-out, near future New York City where most of the population escapes reality by tapping into a digital fantasy world, a contract killer is hired to kill the daughter of a powerful, maniacal evangelist. Ultimately, the killer becomes the girl’s protector. It’s early days, but this evokes memories of Washington vehicles like Man On Fire, Book Of Eli, and the Antoine Fuqua-directed The Equalizer which Washington is about to shoot for Sony Pictures. Which means I will be there on opening day if Shovel Ready happens. Washington is repped by WME. CAA brokered the book deal.

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Melissa Leo Joining Denzel Washington In ‘The Equalizer’

By | Thursday May 30, 2013 @ 3:33pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Melissa Leo is negotiating to join Denzel Washington in the Antoine Fuqua-directed The Equalizer for Sony Pictures. The film, based on the ’80s CBS TV series, is being produced by Escape Artists’ Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch. Leo, who won an Oscar for The Fighter, reunites with Fuqua, who directed her in Olympus Has Fallen. Washington plays McCall, a retired covert operative who, seeking redemption for his dark deeds, quits a CIA-like agency and puts an ad in the paper that reads simply: “Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer.” Leo will play McCall’s former handler when he worked counter-terrorism. She provides him with intelligence about who he is facing when he runs up against a new adversary. The film begins production mid-June in Boston. Read More »

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‘Equalizer’ Update: Chloe Moretz Getting Lead in Film And Creator Michael Sloan To Write New Novels Based On Iconic Character

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: A couple of intriguing developments have happened on The Equalizer. After a strong reading with Denzel Washington, Chloe Moretz is getting the offer from Sony Pictures to play the female lead in the drama that will re-team Training Day tandem Washington and Antoine Fuqua. At the same time, Michael Sloan, creator of the 1980s TV series, has made a deal to write an original novel for Thomas Dunne Books that will continue the adventures of Robert McCall, the shadowy character originated by Edward Woodward who’ll be played on the big screen by Washington.

Moretz is a surprise choice to play the role of Teri, in that the role was originally drawn for a twentysomething. After Moretz did a chemistry reading with Washington, he was very impressed as was everybody else, and the role will be redrawn for Moretz to play a young prostitute, reminiscent of Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver. Deal has to be made, but between this and the upcoming Kimberly Peirce-directed Carrie, that little girl from Kick-Ass is turning into a young woman who’s taking on some of the edgiest roles in town. Read More »

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CinemaCon: Universal’s Sequel Machine Pays Off With Exhibitors

Pete Hammond

It was Universal Pictures’ turn in the spotlight this morning as Chairman Adam Fogelson served up a look at the studio’s sequel-packed summer slate and a summary of the studio’s 2012 hits and even big miss Battleship. He announced sequels in varying stages of development: Snow White And The Huntsman (for a targeted 2015 date), Ted, Bourne Legacy, and also for 2015 another Pitch Perfect, that sleeper which earned $110 million worldwide and has become the 4th biggest digital download in history. But clearly the studio’s biggest franchise news - thinking audiences can’t get enough of a good thing – was star/producer Vin Diesel’s announcement that the cast will return for a 7th Fast & Furious with a release date already set for July 11, 2014. Marketing honcho Michael Moses told me afterwards that the 7th film will go into production with new director James Wan in August right after the cast finishes up its worldwide promotions for #6. For such a stunt driven movie, 11 months is not much time and sets it up for an imposing ‘fast and furious’ schedule. In fact these things go so down to the wire that #6 director Justin Lin couldn’t be in Vegas to join the cast (including Paul Walker and Michelle Rodriguez) and producer Neal H. Moritz on stage to talk up the new film for the pumped theater owners. Moritz said he’s been darting between London, Vancouver … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Denzel Washington In ’2 Guns’

By | Friday March 29, 2013 @ 12:34pm PDT

Universal’s 2 Guns is directed by Baltasar Kormákur from a script by Blake Masters. The action thriller stars Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as two undercover federal operatives from competing bureaus who are forced on the run together. Pic opens in theaters August 2nd:

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Antoine Fuqua Eyes ‘Training Day’ Re-Team With Denzel Washington In ‘The Equalizer’

By | Thursday March 21, 2013 @ 10:30am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: On the eve of the opening of his latest film Olympus Has Fallen, director Antoine Fuqua is in early talks to re-team with his Training Day star Denzel Washington on The Equalizer for Sony Pictures and Escape Artists. That is the film that has had a lot of helmers chasing after the script by Richard Wenk prompted the studio to expedite Washington’s deal and set a late spring start date, likely in Boston. The film is a smartly budgeted thriller based on the TV series that will come in around $50 million and is designed to launch the first franchise for Washington, who’s coming off an Oscar-nominated turn in Flight.

Fuqua directed Washington to an Academy Award for Best Actor in Training Day for his portrayal of a crooked cop who creates havoc for a recruit (Ethan Hawke) he’s supposed to be training to join an elite undercover force. It was a full out badass performance, and Fuqua and Washington have been looking to work together ever since. This certainly seems like a strong fit for the helmer whose recent films have included Brooklyn’s Finest and Shooter. Read More »

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Rupert Wyatt Steps Away From ‘The Equalizer’

By | Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 1:05pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Rise of the Planet Of the Apes helmer Rupert Wyatt broke off talks to direct The Equalizer at Sony with Denzel Washington. He had another obligation and skeds ultimately didn’t mesh, I’m told. Sony and Escape Artists will lock in a helmer shortly.

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