Last week, Mike Fleming talked about the premium on star-driven films at AFM and noted that schlock is in short supply. He’s too busy focusing on the high-end films. I’m here in the corridors of the Loews in Santa Monica, and I am a schlock connoisseur. While he might be right in labeling this AFM a cut below the Surf Nazis Must Die heyday of the ’90s, allow me to butcher a Mark Twain quote and say that rumors of schlock’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. While I might be bashful to ask him this directly, has Mike pondered the tantalizing cinematic possibilities of Kama Sutra 3D? And how about All Cheerleaders Die: Revenge Is A Bitch or Dead Sea: It’s Feeding Time or even Bigfoot Wars: The Battle For Boggy Creek?
And what about the mutant electric eels running rampant in Shock Attack? Or the time-traveling Army Of Frankensteins, where a neck bolt brigade shows up to fight in the Civil War? There’s the promising Bikini Model Academy with Gary Busey and Morgan Fairchild. Hungry? The cannibal tale Bone Boys is on the menu here.
Hands down, the schlock title to beat is FDR American Badass, with Barry Bostwick battling werewolves in a pimped-out wheelchair. It might be easy to dismiss what’s billed as a “kick-werewolf-ass movie for history buffs (or not),” but I am not here to judge. After all, did we not learn from Timur Bekmambetov that Abe Lincoln was a vampire killer and didn’t Quentin Tarantino fill us in on how Hitler and his cohorts were blown up in a theater during the premiere of the Nazi propaganda film Nation’s Pride? Here, FDR takes out Nazis as well as werewolves. MutliVisionaire Pictures seems to be getting a good response. And based on this trailer, can anyone be surprised?
Related: Domestic Box Office: ‘Thor 2’ Eyeing $86M to $87.7M Weekend
And while Thor crushed all comers at the box office this weekend, how about the D-level version of that, which Halcyon International has in God Of Thunder. Now, there’s a long history of satirical takes on movies (and the litigation that follows), but give Halcyon points for good timing.Both based on Norse mythology, as far as I can tell, the only difference between the Disney/Marvel franchise and this one is the main character’s tresses: This hero’s hair is shorter than Chris Hemsworth’s blond mane, and it looks like Supercuts was involved. It seems there wasn’t enough money in the budget for a suicide blond dye job, but Loki, Asgard and Thor are also here in a movie we’re told is “based on the Fox Comics Super Hero.” In postproduction, God Of Thunder will be in a theater, or a courtroom, near you in 2014. READ MORE »
Listen to (and share) episode 58 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s executive business editor and host David Bloom recap another intense week of quarterly earnings announcements, led by Disney’s Marvel-ous deal with Netflix; CBS’ blithe handling of the Time-Warner Cable fight; Time-Warner’s cord-cut HBO offer; and DirecTV’s flirtation with an Aereo-like option to reduce fast-growing retransmission fees. This week also saw Twitter notch a massive IPO whose rocket-ship outcome left many analysts scratching their heads, and a moment of silence for the death of former entertainment-industry brute Blockbuster, a one-time Colossus that now is a historical footnote.
Deadline Big Media, Episode 58 (MP3 format)
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Thor: The Dark World opened to an estimated $7.1 million for Thursday preview showings in advance of today’s North American opening in 3,841 theaters — including more than 3,100 3D locations. Overseas, the Marvel/Disney sequel starring Chris … Read More »
The 2013 AFI Fest opening night at Hollywood’s famed, newly IMAX’d Chinese Theatre was as AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale said “practically perfect in every way” — thanks in no small part to nabbing the North American premiere of Disney’s surefire Oscar contender Saving Mr. Banks. It was a no-brainer on AFI and Disney’s part to launch this holiday release (it opens domestically December 13) which chronicles the turbulent relationship of Walt Disney and Mary Poppins creator P.L. Travers during the the making of that 1964 musical classic which had its premiere at the very same theatre a half century ago. Director John Lee Hancock noted that in his opening remarks: “My life just keeps folding around. Just like in Mary Poppins it seems what happened has happened before. Fifty years ago there was a premiere here for Mary Poppins. About a year ago we were here filming the re-creation of that premiere, and now here we are again so it all just feels right,” he said. By the way, Poppins itself returns to the Chinese when AFI Fest hosts a red-carpet screening Saturday with stars Dick Van Dyke, Karen Dotrice and Oscar-winning composer Richard Sherman attending.
Related: ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ World Premieres In London – Can It Be Heading For Oscar Night?
Disney chair Alan Horn was taking congrats for the film he actually inherited when he came to the studio, and production president Sean Bailey was also singled out for praise in making this happen. Of course stars Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson were there, but both skipped the Hollywood Roosevelt after-party where Sherman was the main attraction. I told Horn this is a word-of-mouth movie if ever there was one and should be a big hit for the studio. How it fares in the Oscar race will be interesting considering the last three Best Picture winners — Argo, The Artist and The King’s Speech — all seem to be films that make audiences feel good about themselves with the former two having a special Hollywood connection just like this one. Banks seems to fit the same bill that Oscar voters have been responding to recently, effortlessly blending laughs, tears, comedy, drama and emotion. This was my second viewing in three weeks (I saw it at a small screening shortly before it had its world premiere at the London Film Festival) and it holds up. Hanks and Thompson are slam-dunk nominees here and the film has many possibilities — but it is facing weightier fare in frontrunners 12 Years A Slave, Gravity and Captain Phillips (another film with Hanks, which could make him a double nominee this year). Read More »
While he is under contract to Disney until next year, it looks like producer Jerry Bruckheimer‘s next home is going to be either Warner Bros or Paramount. Both studios are vying hard for the producer to come … Read More »
And with a signature and a date today, the more than $200 million copyright lawsuit by Hollywood against the file sharing site is over. A NYC-based federal judge today granted final approval to Paramount, 20th Century … Read More »
The Marvel characters to be featured on Netflix in the four-series deal the companies announced today are “not among the most popular,” Disney CEO Bob Iger just told analysts. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage ”were never going to become feature films.” But that could change if the shows planned for the streaming service catch on. That makes the agreement “great for Netflix” — and opens “a great opportunity for Marvel to create more brand value…There are more opportunities beyond our platform to produce product for.”
The Disney chief also urged investors not to fret about the long time it’s taking for the entertainment giant to work out a new program carriage deal with Dish Network. The companies agreed to keep talking — without any programming black out — at the end of September when their previous agreement expired. “Progress is being made,” Iger says. Still, a deal “could take some time.” That’s because the negotiations are less about the price for carrying traditional TV channels than they are about the fees and conditions for Dish to stream Read More »
It’s going to be a happy Christmas two years from now for fans of a galaxy far far away away. The new J.J. Abrams-directed Star Wars movie will open on December 18, 2015, Disney announced today … Read More »
Related: ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Gets December 2015 Release Date
Changing the screenplay team on the new Star Wars movie was all about time, said JJ Abrams today. “It became clear that given the time frame and given the process and the way the thing was going that working with Larry in this way was going to get us where we need to be and when we needed to be,” said the Episode VII director Thursday. “Working with Larry Kasdan, especially on a Star Wars movie is kind of unbeatable,” Abrams told Deadline. The upcoming Disney project is set to be released in 2015. On October 24, it was announced that Abrams would take over the writing of the script for the upcoming new Star Wars pic with Empire Strikes Back co-writer Lawrence Kasdan. Oscar winner and Hunger Games: Catching Fire scribe Michael Arndt had been on board as writing the script based on treatments he had drafted. The new Star Wars movie is set to start filming early next year in the UK. The Stars Wars: Episode VII director was participating in a media conference call Thursday with his fellow Almost Human EP J.H. Wyman on the upcoming Fox series. Read More »
The companies call this an “unprecedented deal” and “Marvel‘s most ambitious foray yet into live-action TV storytelling.” Disney will provide Netflix with live action series and a miniseries featuring Marvel characters Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage set in the gritty world of heroes and villains of Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Netflix has committed to at least four, 13-episode series over “multiple years,” beginning in 2015, culminating with a miniseries, The Defenders, that “reimagines a dream team of self-sacrificing, heroic characters.” The arrangement, which involves some 60 episodes produced by Marvel TV and ABC Studios, grew out of the deal that will give Netflix exclusive rights to Disney films in the premium TV window beginning in 2016. It is “unparalleled in its scope and size, and reinforces our commitment to deliver Marvel’s brand, content and characters across all platforms of storytelling,” says Marvel Entertainment President Alan Fine. Also unprecedented was the secrecy surrounding the package. As we reported last month, breaking the news of Marvel shopping the four series and mini to Netflix and a couple of other VOD and cable players, no one was allowed to breathe a word, with the seller, all potential buyers and everyone else involved allegedly bound by strict confidentiality agreements. Committing to 60 episodes off the bat is a big undertaking but would help a new to scripted programming player like Netflix that is looking to quickly build up a slate and want to capitalize on the Marvel brand. Said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, “Marvel is a known and loved brand that travels.” There had been talk of another Daredevil movie while Marvel TV first developed Jessica Jones as a series for ABC but it didn’t move past the development stage. The company’s first live-action series for Disney, ABC’s Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., premiered this fall and has been picked up for a full season. It has been a very strong performer in DVR/steaming viewing, hinting at the potential of other Marvel series on a service like Netflix. Here’s the release on the deal, brokered by CAA: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Disney is in negotiations with Jon Favreau to helm The Jungle Book, a new adaptation of the 1894 Rudyard Kipling novel that is a priority project for the studio. Justin Marks, scripter of The Raven, will turn in a draft shortly, and the studio hopes to get into production next year. Favreau — who wrote, directed, produced and stars in the modestly budgeted indie Chef – has a strong history with Disney, and this will put him back into the event film game. He helmed the first two Iron Man films and had been attached to direct Magic Kingdom, the pic where the theme park comes to life. Disney previously turned The Jungle Book into the classic 1967 animated film and a 1994 live-action feature helmed by Stephen Sommers. The book is public domain, and Disney has not yet set producers. Bet a few of them on the lot are going to be picking up the phone momentarily.
Related: Open Road Acquires U.S. Rights To Jon Favreau’s ‘Chef’
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EXCLUSIVE: ICM Partners has signed Ed Oxenbould, the young thesp who just wrapped production opposite Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner on the Miguel Arteta-directed Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day for Disney … Read More »
Hoping to gain some traction not only at the box office but also this awards season, DreamWorks and Disney unveiled their holiday comedy Delivery Man on Sunday night at … Read More »
Disney scored a Marvelous haul opening Thor: The Dark World overseas early Wednesday to $109.4M in 36 territories. The film opens stateside next Friday and is already making history. Thor 2‘s early … Read More »
Anna Lisa Raya is a Deadline contributor.
The second half of Deadline’s 3rd annual Contenders event at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills got off to an energized start after lunch on the outdoor terrace. Deadline Awards columnist Pete Hammond returned with Captain Phillips star Barkhad Abdi, who had one of the bigger moments of the day when he revealed he ad-libbed his momentous “I am the captain now” line in the Sony film, essentially stealing the scene from Tom Hanks. The film’s producers, Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti, were spotted in the audience joining in the roaring applause.
Related: Deadline’s Contenders 2013 – Morning Panels
Anyone who’s been waiting for David O. Russell’s follow-up to last year’s Oscar-nominated Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle (also for for Sony), will be happy to know the film was locked down today. This is per one of the film’s producers, Richard Suckle, who was on hand to discuss the genesis of the film which is loosely based on the ABSCAM scandals of the 1970s. One of his funnier reveals was that star Bradley Cooper — not wanting to perm his hair for the film — spent hours in hair and makeup every day getting it curled. Co-star Christian Bale, on the other hand, gained 40 lbs. for his role and shaved the crown of his head to perfect his character’s outlandish comb over.
Julie Delpy, co-writer and star of Sony Pictures Classics’ Before Midnight, had a lot to say about the intense writing and preparation that went into making the film appear as improvised and natural as it does. Acting the role was “extremely stressful,” she told Hammond. “There’s no plot. There’s nothing to hold onto but character and emotional arc.” Also for SPC is Tim’s Vermeer — a documentary about one man’s attempt to recreate a Johannes Vermeer painting — which was uncharacteristically directed by Teller (better known as the other half of Penn & Teller). He was thankful for his editor, Patrick Sheffield, who made sense of the over 2,400 hours of footage. Writer Kelly Marcel was on-hand to discuss Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, the only film ever allowed to feature Walt Disney as a character. She called the studio “unbelievably brave” in how hands-off they were with her and director John Lee Hancock.
Related: PHOTOS: Contenders 2013 Gallery
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EXCLUSIVE… UPDATE: Disney and Marvel Studios‘ Thor: The Dark World opened in a handful of territories on Wednesday taking in $8.2M. The pic starring Chris Hemsworth was the #1 … Read More »
Listen to (and share) episode 12 of Deadline’s audio podcast Global Showbiz Watch, with Nancy Tartaglione. Deadline’s international editor talks with host David Bloom about Tom Hanks in London and Quentin Tarantino in Lyons; the trial of the century, for London journalists at least, as the phone-hacking case that killed The News of the World gets underway; a couple of big Shanghai surprises from Disney and DeNiro; and a classy and smart Spanish mini-series that might make a worthy successor to Downton Abbey.
Deadline Global Showbiz Watch, Episode 12 (MP3 format)
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EXCLUSIVE: Marc Klein has been set to write Fairy Tale Wedding, the Disney romantic pic that will be produced by David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman through their Mandeville Films banner. Pic’s in the vein … Read More »
They tried again, but they did not succeed. Today the heirs of Captain America, The Avengers and X-Men co-creator Jack Kirby were denied their recent petition to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals for a rehearing or a full rehearing en banc on whether the estate had the right to issue termination notices to Marvel on his characters back in 2009. The brief order (read it here) from the panel at the NYC-based federal court comes just more than two and a half months after the appeals court shut down the heirs’ claims against Marvel and Disney by reaffirming a 2011 lower court ruling that the comic legend was under a work-for-hire deal and hence had no rights to terminate. Four years ago, Lisa Kirby, Susan Kirby, Barbara Kirby and Neal Kirby sent 45 notices terminating copyright to publishers Marvel and Disney, as well as film studios including Sony, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures that have made movies and TV shows based on boatloads of characters Jack Kirby created or co-created with Stan Lee and others. Jack Kirby died in 1994. Read More »