Former Felicity star Keri Russell has signed on to play the lead in Dark Skies, the supernatural thriller written and to be directed by Scott Stewart for Dimension Films. The film is more modest-budget scare fare from Insidious and Paranormal Activity producers Blumhouse, with production to begin this summer.
Related: Dimension Acquires Scott Stewart-Directed ‘Dark Skies’
Stewart wrote-directed Priest and Legion, and the film’s being produced by Blumhouse’s Jason Blum and Alliance Films, the latter of which is financing. Russell, whose film work includes Waitress and Mission: Impossible 3, is repped by WME and managed by The Burstein Company. Read More »
Dimension Films has set a summer start date for Scary Movie 5 and signed High School Musical‘s Ashley Tisdale for a lead role, the company said. Malcolm Lee is directing and David Zucker is co-writing and producing. Zucker wrote and directed the third and fourth installments of Scary Movie, which were the funniest. The big question is whether Anna Faris will bring back her Cindy Campbell character. There have been rumors that Regina Hall and Anthony Anderson will reprise their roles in the genre spoof.
Dimension Films announced today that it is partnering with Starz Digital Media to offer up the sequel to the fish-ploitation pic Piranha 3DD on-demand and online in places like Amazon, iTunes and Xbox Live the same day as its theatrical release Friday. It marks the first time a 3D movie is taking the increasingly common day-and-date distribution route. Beginning tomorrow, Piranha 3DD will be available for a 48-hour VOD rental; $6.99 in standard and high definition, and $7.99 in 3D. The first film in the franchise made $25M domestic and $83.2 globally when it was released in August 2010. The sequel stars Danielle Panabaker, Matt Bush and David Koechner.
Dimension Films said today that Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For is coming out October 4, 2013. The recently announced sequel to 2005’s Sin City will be directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, and the film’s script is co-written by the duo with William Monahan. Dimension will distribute in the U.S. There are few details available about the movie so far, but Mickey Rourke and Jessica Alba are returning to reprise their roles, and other cast members are expected to return. Production is set to start later this summer at Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios in Austin. Miramax is a producer along with Quick Draw Productions, AR Films, and Solipsist. Aldamisa International COO Jere Hausfater and President of International Sales and Distribution Nadine de Barros will oversee international sales at the Cannes Film Festival.
EXCLUSIVE: In a deal worth mid-six against seven figures, Dimension Films acquired Garden District, a spec script by Tony Jaswinski & Luke Goltz. Garden District is a low-budget horror thriller about a trio of self-declared mythbusters who get in over their heads while investigating what they think is just another hoax. It involved a mysterious video of a vampire’s execution that goes viral, and the mythbusters head to New Orleans to see if it’s phony.
David Kirschner and Corey Sienega will produce and Matt Signer will oversee it at Dimension. Kirschner, Sienega and Jaswinski previously set up Kristy at Dimension. The scribes are repped by Circle of Confusion’s Lawrence Mattis and Ashley Berns, and attorney Peter Grossman.
UPDATE, 4:33 PM : Dimension Films acquired the rights for The Man From Nowhere from CJ Entertainment. The deal was negotiated by Ted Kim for CJ Entertainment; Andrew Kramer, President of Business and Legal Affairs and Adrian Lopez, VP of Business and Legal for Dimension Films. Keith Levine, VP of Production and Development found the project and will oversee with Matthew Signer, SVP of Production and Creative Affairs.
11:25 AM, EXCLUSIVE: Bob Weinstein and SVP Matthew Signer acquired rights to the South Korean action thriller The Man From Nowhere this year and will supervise development of an English-language remake. Weinstein personally sought out Shawn Christensen after reading the spec draft of the writer’s Abduction, which Lionsgate bought last year after a bidding war. Directed by Lee Jeong-beom, the original Nowhere follows a quiet pawnshop keeper with a violent past who takes on a drug- and organ-trafficking ring to save the child who is his only friend. The film opened No. 1 at the Korean box office in August 2010 and held the top spot for five weeks in a row, becoming that year’s highest-grossing Korean film.
Christensen recently won the International Audience Award for Curfew, which he wrote, directed and starred in, at the Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival in France, one of the world’s most important short film events. Lionsgate will soon release Enter Nowhere, which he co-wrote with Jason Dolan. He previously … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Jason Jones will play an Interpol agent in the heist comedy The Black Marks. The film stars Kurt Russell as Crunch Calhoun, a third rate motorcycle daredevil and semi-reformed art thief who decides to take on one more job in the Jonathan Sobol directed feature. The Daily Show correspondent joins an extensive cast including Russell, Matt Dillon, Jay Baruchel (Goon), Terence Stamp (The Adjustment Bureau), Chris Diamantopoulos (‘Moe’ in the upcoming Three Stooges), Katheryn Winnick (Love and Other Drugs) and Kenneth Welsh (Grey Gardens). Darius Films principal Nicholas Tabarrok is producing the film. Jeff Sackman and Alliance Films Executive Vice President Noah Segal are executive producers. The Black Marks will be released by Dimension Films in the U.S. and in Canada by Alliance Films. Principal photography for The Black Marks runs from January 16 to February 25 in Toronto. Founded in 1998, Darius Films is a film and television production company with offices in Los Angeles and Toronto. Their most recent completed film, A Beginner’s Guide To Endings starring Harvey Keitel, Scott Caan and JK Simmons, will be released in the spring of 2012.
Dimension Films has tapped Disney writers program alum Matt Lieberman to script its family film Short Circuit. Tim Hill (Alvin And The Chipmunks), already attached to direct, will work closely with Lieberman in re-imagining the 1980s John Badham film about a lab robot that is electrocuted and becomes intelligent. Details of the new version are being kept secret. David Foster, who produced the original, is producing with Ryan E. Heppe, John Hyde and Brian Manis. A Summer 2013 release is planned with shooting scheduled for the end of this year. The deal was negotiated for Dimension Films by Adrian Lopez, VP of Business and Legal and Matthew Signer, SVP of Production and Creative Affairs, and for the filmmakers by Brad Rosenfeld at Preferred Artists and Melissa Rogal at Lichter, Grossman, Nichols, Adler & Feldman. Lieberman is represented by Rosenfeld, Rogal and Adam Kolbrenner at Madhouse.
Terence Stamp, Kathryn Winnick and Kenneth Welsh have been added to the cast of Darius Films’ The Black Marks, which Dimension Films will release in the U.S. The heist drama, written and directed by Jonathan Sobol, already tapped Kurt Russell, Matt Dillon, Chris Diamantopoulos and Jay Baruchel for the film, which began shooting this week. The story centers on a former band of thieves, led by retired motorcycle daredevil Crunch Calhoun (Russell) and his brother Nicky (Dillon), who reunite for one last big score that reveals the brothers have their own agenda. Darius principal Nicholas Tabarrok is producing, with Jeff Sackman and Alliance Films’ Noah Segal serving as executive producers.
Dimension Films has landed U.S. distribution rights to director Joseph Ruben’s thriller Penthouse North, which stars Michael Keaton and Michelle Monaghan and begins shooting in December in Ottawa. David Loughery wrote the script and is producing with Ruben, Jeff Sackman and Michael Baker; Jon Shiffman is executive producer. The story centers on a sadistic criminal named Hollander (Keaton) who plays a cat-and-mouse game with Sara Taylor (Monaghan), a photojournalist who was blinded in Iraq and also has a fortune of stolen diamonds hidden in her apartment. Hollander uses psychological and physical torture in an effort to find them, but Sara fights back. Dimension’s Andrew Kramer and Michal Steinberg negotiated the deal with Sackman and ICM, which helped package the film and co-repped U.S. rights.
EXCLUSIVE: Robert Katz is about to begin discussions to exit as president of Dimension Films, a job that is proving tough to fill for the long term. Katz, a well regarded exec who had been Film Department’s president of production and before that exec veep at Yari Film Group, took the job in late July following Brad Luff’s exit after less than a year. I’m told that the exit is fairly amicable and that it came down to a difference in vision between Katz and his boss, Dimension head Bob Weinstein, who has always been a challenging guy to work for. I’m not sure that Katz really had an opportunity to get on track in such a short time, but clearly the chemistry wasn’t right. Dimension last released Apollo 18, the $5 million budget “found footage” genre thriller that grossed $17.6 million domestic.
DreamWorks and Disney’s The Help and Fox’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes are the only two August releases that can be sure of making a profit, although New Line’s Final Destination 5 could make it over the line, according to the latest monthly estimate from SNL Kagan. The financial analysis firm makes its projections based on a ratio that compares a film’s estimated revenue from all sources to the costs that Kagan can calculate — which don’t include distribution fees, overhead, interest, profit participation, and residuals. A movie with expected revenue 1.75 times higher than the known costs is projected to be a winner, while those with a ratio of at least 1.4 are on the bubble. The Help easily succeeds with a 3.09 ratio vs. Apes’ 2.49. Final Destination just barely makes the gray area with 1.43. But other major releases fall short including Focus Features’ The Debt (1.18), Sony’s Colombiana (1.06), and Dimension’s Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (0.97). The biggest disappointments by Kagan’s calculations are Disney’s Fright Night (0.44), Fox’s Glee The 3D Concert Movie (0.44), Lionsgate’s Conan the Barbarian (0.48), Universal’s The Change-Up (0.67), and FilmDistrict’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (0.71). Overall, last month’s 14 releases had an average ratio of 1.24, slightly below the 1.25 for 12 films released in August 2010 and 1.45 for the 14 films in August 2009.
I don’t know how The Weinstein Co is going to stay on track with its reorganized finances if Dimension films keep bombing like this: a weak $12M opening weekend from 3,295 theaters. The whole underpinning of the Weinstein Brothers’ success at Miramax was that Dimension threw off wheelbarrows of box office cash. No more. Here’s yet another unnecessary sequel not helped by its 4D gimmickry, Aroma-Scope schtick, or Robert Rodriguez. (See Robert Rodriguez On His ‘Spy Kids’ Stinker.) The Weinstein Co saw the handwriting on the wall and didn’t bother to brief the media on the film ahead of time — and then failed to send out grosses Friday. With a ‘B+’ Cinemascore and exit polls showing that kids rated the film much higher than parents did (72 excellent and 90 in the top 2 boxes), the film should have done better especially with 3D’s higher ticket prices. But Spy Kids: All The Time In The World had 60/40 with 2D in terms of screens but only 54/46 in terms of business. (To give you some context, The Smurfs was 77/23 with 2D, which is more in line with the family film trend). Dimension can keep making this sequel swill, but until it comes up with fresh ideas for fresh films, then TWC could tank again.
EXCLUSIVE: Dimension Films is making a deal with Tim Hill to direct its reboot of Short Circuit, the 1986 film about an experimental robot manufactured to be a weapon until a lightning strike fills it with intelligence. It runs away and befriends a fractured family, the military in hot pursuit. Hill directed the Illumination pic Hop and Fox’s Alvin and the Chipmunks. Dimension optioned the remake rights in 2009, originally signing Paul Blart: Mall Cop helmer Steve Carr and screenwriter Dan Milano. The project has languished and Hill is being brought in to supervise a new script and get the iconic robot Johnny 5 moving. David Foster, who produced the original, is producing with Ryan E. Heppe and John Hyde. Hill is repped by Gersh and Principato-Young.
EXCLUSIVE: David Cronenberg’s science-fiction horror classic Scanners may be headed to the small screen. The Weinstein Co.’s Dimension Films is developing a drama series adaptation of the movies about a group of people with telepathic and telekinetic abilities, with The Hills Have Eyes writer-director Alexandre Aja signed to executive produce the series and potentially direct the pilot.
Dimension was not involved in the original 1981 Scanners film or its sequels, but acquired the rights to the franchise in a development deal several years ago. The original plan was to mount a theatrical remake, with David Goyer tapped to write two drafts, and Rene Malo, Clark Peterson and Pierre David signed as producers. But with the recent resurgence of genre TV dramas like AMC’s monster hit The Walking Dead, Dimension started also considering a small-screen adaptation. According to insiders, it was Dimension principal Bob Weinstein and Aja who conceived of the plan to transform the Scanners property into a TV show. Malo, Peterson and David remain attached as executive producers on the series, while Goyer is no longer involved. Dimension is already in talks with potential showrunners to create and run the series. Aja is repped by WME and Industry Entertainment.