Advertising and communications giant WPP is buying entertainment marketing agency Filmworks China whose clients include Electronics Arts, DreamWorks and TCL Television. Founded in 2010, the Beijing-based company markets entertainment media properties, licenses merchandise and handles product placement and celebrity endorsements. It has placed Chinese brands in Hollywood properties including Transformers: Dark Of The Moon and The Big Bang Theory. In 2012, it had revenues of about $2M. WPP, which has been actively expanding in China, says the country is its 3rd largest market with $1.3B in revenues. WPP is making the purchase, for which financial terms were not disclosed, via its global media investment management arm, GroupM. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.
BREAKING: DreamWorks Studios is in exclusive talks to acquire M.L. Stedman’s debut novel The Light Between Oceans, studio co-chairman/CEO Stacey Snider confirmed. Harry Potter series producer David Heyman will produce with Jeffrey Clifford. Rosie Alison, who brought the book into Heyday, will executive produce.
On a remote Australian island in the years following World War I, a lighthouse keeper and his wife are faced with a moral dilemma when a boat washes ashore with a dead man and a 2-month-old infant. When they decide to raise the child as their own, the consequences of their choice are devastating.
Deadline’s Pete Hammond revealed earlier today that tonight’s debate would include a special look at Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film Lincoln from DreamWorks/Disney. The 2:02 minute spot ran on ABC, CBS and CNN:
The conversations on DreamWorks‘ Julian Assange film that Twilight Saga’s Bill Condon will likely direct is now with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the WikiLeaks founder, and Robocop‘s Joel Kinnaman playing his former right hand man, Daniel Domscheit-Berg. The studio would not confirm this, but it seemed intriguing and dishy enough to discuss. DreamWorks acquired the books WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War On Secrecy, by David Leigh and Luke Harding, and Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange At The World’s Most Dangerous Website, written by Domscheit-Berg. Josh Singer wrote the script.
LONDON/TORONTO/LOS ANGELES – September 17, 2012 -DreamWorks Studios is pleased to announce that through their newly created collaboration with Mister Smith Entertainment, they have concluded the first of many key partnership deals with independent distribution companies Entertainment One (eOne), announced earlier today; Constantin Film; Nordisk Film; and Italia Film; reflecting the previously announced shift in DreamWorks’ international strategy. These deals signal the first phase of DreamWorks’ plans to create a network of partnerships for their product across all of Europe, Africa and The Middle East with the top independent distributors. This strategy will provide the Company with additional financial flexibility, while also taking advantage of a burgeoning global market.
PREVIOUS…BREAKING…4:52 PM PT: I’m told that DreamWorks will shortly be announcing that it has made a four-year output agreement with eOne, with that company releasing DreamWorks product in the UK and Benelux. The arrangement begins with Starbuck, which stars Vince Vaughn and shoots in October. This will be the first of several deals after DreamWorks aligned with Mister Smith in an effort to be more hands on in arranging distribution in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Disney distributes in North America, Latin America, Asia, Russia and Australia. DreamWorks partner Stacey Snider was at the Toronto Film Festival, and I believe one of her missions was to meet potential distribution partners. This deal was put in place by Mister Smith’s David Garrett and DreamWorks COO Jeff Small.
Now, Reliance fully finances all of DreamWorks films, but this offshore effort will result in advances on films. While DreamWorks reupped its financing deal with Reliance that would cover three to five movies each year, getting offshore advances should allow DreamWorks the cash flow to make more films if Snider and partner Steven Spielberg choose to do so. It also gives them a more hands-on relationship in the foreign releases of their films, which can only help performance. Upcoming DreamWorks films include the Steven Spielberg-directed Robopocalypse with Chris Hemsworth starring (that isn’t part of this arrangement because the film’s foreign is being handled by Fox International) and an adaptation of the vidgame Need For Speed, among others.
BREAKING: DreamWorks Studios has acquired feature film rights to Leigh Bardugo’s young adult fantasy debut novel Shadow And Bone. Harry Potter producer David Heyman will produce alongside Jeffrey Clifford. The book was published in June 2012 by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, and is the first in a planned three-book series called the Grisha Trilogy. A young woman must learn to control her newly discovered power in order to save her country from the Shadow Fold, a creature-filled darkness that threatens to overrun the land.
Here’s more fodder for those movies gearing up about WikiLeaks and founder Julian Assange. After months of house arrest in Britain and an eight-week stint hiding out in London’s Ecuadorian embassy, Assange was today granted asylum by Ecuador. Britain then threw down the gauntlet and vowed to extradite Assange anyway. The controversial figure had been awaiting extradition to Sweden on allegations that he sexually assaulted two women. In June, he entered the embassy and petitioned for asylum, fearing that Sweden would ultimately surrender him to the U.S. – which would also like to prosecute him. Via WikiLeaks, Assange has caused embarrassment to and drawn the ire of the U.S government for publishing hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and classified documents. Ecuador said it granted the asylum because it believes Assange would be politically persecuted if extradited.
Assange is currently the subject of a host of TV and film projects (and until recently was himself hosting talk show World Of Tomorrow from the house in England where he was holed before moving to the embassy). Australian TV movie, Underground, starring Rachel Griffiths, Anthony LaPaglia and newcomer Alex Williams as a young Assange, is debuting in Toronto next month. NBCU International will start sales at the festival. Then there’s the WikiLeaks feature that’s being developed by DreamWorks. Deadline recently reported that Jeremy Renner is looking at playing Assange in that one and that the studio is talking to Bill Condon about directing. Further, Universal and Marc Shmuger have an Alex Gibney-directed documentary, and HBO, Universal and Megan Ellison are also working on films.
DreamWorks Studios‘ feature film based on the Electronic Arts video game franchise will be released wide by Disney on February 7, 2014. DreamWorks offically acquired feature film rights to the property last month after setting Act …
LOS ANGELES – Jane Evans has been named Executive Vice President of Physical Production at DreamWorks Studios, it was announced today by Jeff Small, President and COO, and Holly Bario, President of Production at the studio. Evans joins DreamWorks from her previous post at Focus Features as EVP of Physical Production. She will start at the studio in July working on such projects as “Starbuck” and “Need for Speed.”