BREAKING… Entertainment One will release Diana, the Princess Diana biopic starring Naomi Watts, on November 1 in the U.S. in limited nationwide release. The distributor plans an expansion in subsequent weeks. The Oliver Hirschbiegel-directed drama about a secret love affair that Princess Diana had shortly before her tragic death was one of the higher-profile pictures shopped at the Cannes Film Festival, and eOne bought the rights from Embankment Films and Ecosse Films. The deal for the newbie distributor and now the release date firmly in Oscar season certainly puts Watts in the Best Actress conversation. Here’s the trailer for it that dropped earlier this month:
Former Alliance Films EVP Noah Segal became co-president of eOne Films Canada following eOne‘s takeover of Alliance in January. He is now leaving eOne to start film production venture Toy Boat Pictures. His departure is effective August 30. Co-president Bryan Gliserman will continue to oversee eOne’s Canadian film business, reporting to David Reckziegel, president of eOne Films North America. In a statement Segal said: “This announcement is bittersweet. While I’m very excited to launch Toy Boat, I’m going to miss the incredibly gifted and hardworking team at eOne. However, they are in very good hands and I’m confident that I will work with them all again soon.”
Entertainment One has teamed with with Avi Lerner and his Nu Image to develop and produce a television series based on the hugely successful Rambo feature franchise. According to the companies, Sylvester Stallone is in negotiations to be involved with the project on a creative level as well as potentially reprise his role as the original Rambo. EOne and Nu Image plan to develop the series and shop it to broadcasters in the U.S. and internationally.
Based on the David Morrell novel First Blood, the Rambo films center on a troubled Vietnam War veteran and former Green Beret (Stallone) who is skilled in many aspects of survival, weaponry, hand-to-hand combat and guerrilla warfare. The franchise consists of the films First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III and Rambo. “Rambo fans cover all demographics and we’re confident that we’ll quickly find this series a home,” said eOne TV CEO John Morayniss. Added Lerner, “I’m excited by the prospect of collaborating again with my good friend Sly for an encore in this next phase of the Rambo legacy.” Lerner and Stallone worked together on the 2008 Rambo feature and had planned a fifth installment, which had been put on hold. The two also are collaborating on the Expendables film franchise, currently filming its third installment in Bulgaria. The Rambo TV series will be produced by eOne in association with Lerner and Nu Image, with Morayniss and Lerner … Read More »
Naomi Watts is Princess Di in Oliver Hirschbiegel’s biopic Diana, chronicling the Princess of Wales’ last two years and relationship with Pakistani heart surgeon Dr. Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews). EOne snagged the pic out of Cannes and is eyeing an Oscar season stateside debut. The US trailer will be out soon; until then, here’s the first-look UK version:
The pact means indie studio Entertainment One will exclusively produce and handle distribution on all TV projects from The Cartel including scripted and unscripted series and movies of the week. The companies already have a development slate in the works including Company Men, created by Alphas co-creator Michael Karnow, and Facing Demons by Flash Gordon executive producer/showrunner Peter Hume. “The Cartel brings a network of outstanding creative talent to eOne and opens the door to multi-platform partnerships and co-production opportunities for both U.S. and international audiences”, said Michael Rosenberg, eOne EVP U.S. Scripted Television, in announcing the deal today. The Cartel reps writers, directors, producers, and production companies, and on the production side the company and its subsidiaries (Cartel Pictures, Remember Dreaming Productions, and Pulser Productions) have helped produce eight films in the last three years, and are ramping up to 12 films a year including MOWs and indies.
Entertainment One has acquired North American distribution rights to the long-in-the-can film Knights Of Badassdom, which stars Game Of Thrones‘ Peter Dinklage, Ryan Kwanten, Steve Zahn and Summer Glau. The indie fantasy comedy revolves around a group of live-action role players who mistakenly conjure up a demon from Hell and must deal with the consequences. EOne plans a day-and-date U.S. release in theaters and on VOD. The Joe Lynch-directed pic, written by Kevin Dreyfuss and Matt Wall, hit Comic-Con with its geek-cred cast in 2011 (Community‘s Danny Pudi, Revenge‘s Margarita Levieva and Josh Molina also co-star). Dreyfuss, Wall and IndieVest Pictures’ Mark Burton produced. Daniel J. Heffner, Ketura Kestin, Rizwan Virk, Rich Cowan and Mike Elizalde executive produced. The deal was negotiated on behalf of IndieVest by Wade Bradley and for eOne by VP Worldwide Acquisitions Sejin Croninger.
Entertainment One completed its acquisition of Alliance Films in January, expanding its distribution network to include the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia, Spain, South Africa and Benelux. The company today reports a 40% increase in revenues for the first quarter ended June 30 as compared to the same period last year, driven in part by digital revenues which more than doubled. Its investment in content and programming has jumped 85% and the company says full-year earnings are in line with management expectations. Revenues from film have increased by over 65% on the prior year with 68 theatrical releases and box office of $68M, three times the 2012 result. At its first Cannes as a combined group this year, it scooped up multi-territories on Naomi Watts-starrer Diana, one of the higher-profile pictures shopped at the market. Also among the roughly 250 films eOne will release during the current financial year are The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, RED 2 and Ender’s Game. On the TV side, the 2013 production slate includes Season 2 of Saving Hope, Season 3 of Hell On Wheels and Season 4 of Haven. New shows in production include Discovery miniseries Klondike. Net debt at June 30 was higher than the corresponding point in 2012, primarily as a result of the Alliance acquisition, the company said.
Homegrown ‘Tiny Times’ Wows With $30.8M Opening In China
Tiny Times, a Shanghai-set coming-of-age drama revolving around four girlfriends, had a huge opening weekend in China, putting it on a par with last year’s breakout comedy Lost In Thailand. According to Film Biz Asia, the movie amassed $30.8M in three days. Including previews, it earned $42M in four days. The film is the directorial debut of novelist Guo Jingming and had a 45% market share for the weekend. Meanwhile, Man Of Steel and Jet Li- starrer Badges Of Fury incurred slight drops in their second weekends. Per the report, Man Of Steel had taken in $47.2M by the end of the weekend and Badges had $33.33M. Man Of Steel, however, is holding well, Film Biz Asia says.
eOne Appoints Co-Founder Of Its Aussie Unit To Head Distribution There
Entertainment One has promoted Sandie Don to head of distribution for its Australian operation, Hopscotch. Don will oversee theatrical distribution for Hopscotch/eOne including acquisitions, sales and marketing. She previously was marketing and acquisitions director. Along with partners Troy Lum and Frank Cox, Don formed Hopscotch Films in 2002; it was acquired by eOne in 2011.
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UK’s Sky Arts ‘Talks Music’ With The Stars
Britain’s Sky Arts is launching a new music interview series, …Talks Music. The 10-part show will look at the careers of some of the world’s most iconic music legends. Confirmed guests so far include Nile Rodgers, Boy George, Jeff Beck and Blondie’s Deborah Harry and Chris Stein. Whizz Kid Entertainment is producing, with Malcolm Gerrie conducting the sit-downs in front of a live studio audience. Gerrie and guests will also take questions from the floor. Jeff Wurtz, of Inside The Actors Studio, is directing and Gerrie is exec producing. A fall debut is planned.
Modern Times Group Buys Into UK Market For $23.6M
Modern Times Group, an international broadcasting outfit that operates free and pay-TV in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Russia and Africa, has added a UK-based international distributor to its portfolio with the acquisition of 92.4% of Digital Rights Group for £15M ($23.6M). Titles in the Digital Rights Group stable include The Inbetweeners, The Singing Bee, Kingdom, Sea Patrol and Criminal Justice. DRG founder and former CEO Jeremy Fox will return to the company, replacing exiting managing director Jonathan Jackson. MTG also picked up a 51% stake in Norwegian producer Novemberfilm for an undisclosed sum. The Oslo-based company produces series and commercials including key formats The Zookeepers, Insider and Missing. Read More »
Entertainment One has released a UK teaser trailer for Diana, the Oliver Hirschbiegel-directed drama about a secret affair that Princess Diana had shortly before her tragic death. Naomi Watts stars in the pic with Naveen Andrews as Dr. Hasnat Khan, the Pakistani heart surgeon Diana dated before meeting Dodi Fayed. Stephen Jeffreys wrote the script. The film was a hot property in Cannes last month where eOne made the acquisition for the U.S., the UK, Canada and Spain. The film goes out in the UK on September 20.
Lawrence Hill’s best-selling 2007 novel is getting the longform TV treatment, with Conquering Lion Pictures, Out Of Africa Entertainment and Entertainment One prepping the story as a miniseries. Production on The Book Of Negroes — which was published in some territories including the U.S. as Someone Knows My Name — will begin in the fall on the project written Clement Virgo and Hill. It will air stateside on BET and on CBC in Canada. The story centers on Aminata Diallo, who is taken by slave traders from West Africa to South Carolina. It follows her through the American Revolution in New York, the isolated refuge of Nova Scotia and the jungles of Sierra Leone, before she ultimately secures her freedom in England in the early 1800s. Produced in association with Canadian Broadcasting Company and Black Entertainment Television, the Canada-South Africa co-production is executive produced by Damon D’Oliveira, Virgo, Lance Samuels, Daniel Iron, Michael Levine and Carrie Stein. eOne is handling the worldwide rights.
Entertainment One Films International managing director Sally Caplan is stepping down from her post and will leave the company at the end of May. She’s moving on to focus on production. Caplan has been with eOne since November 2011, establishing the sales arm’s UK office. The team has handled international rights on such films as Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Animal Kingdom and the upcoming Maps To The Stars from David Cronenberg and Atom Egoyan’s Queen Of The Night. EOne Films International EVP Charlotte Mickie and head of sales Charlotte Van Weede will take over Caplan’s responsibilities for an interim period following her departure.
Canadian giant Entertainment One will team with Martin Katz’s Prospero Pictures to back David Cronenberg‘s upcoming ensemble thriller Maps To The Stars. Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Robert Pattinson and Sarah Gadon are to star in the ghost story that’s described as a scathing attack on celebrity-obsessed LA. The script is by Wild Palms‘ Bruce Wagner.
EOne will also handle worldwide sales, which it plans to launch in Cannes next month, and distribute in the U.S., Canada, the UK, and Australia and New Zealand. Production starts in July in Toronto and LA. This is Cronenberg and Katz’s fourth collaboration. Katz and SBS Films’ Saïd Ben Saïd are producing. Sentient Entertainment’s Renee Tab, Cronenberg’s manager, will exec produce. EOne’s Benedict Carver is also exec producing and will oversee for the studio. Integral Films’ Alfred Hurmer is co-producing.
After working as a consultant to Entertainment One Films US, Ryan Markowitz has been hired in the newly-created position of VP theatrical sales and distribution. Based in New York, Markowitz has managed releases for eOne titles including A Late Quartet and Cosmopolis. EOne’s domestic theatrical division focuses on upscale arthouse and indie genre films and feature documentaries. Upcoming titles include Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf’s, Brian de Palma’s Passion, Sundance pic We Are What We Are and Cuban Fury, starring Rashida Jones and Chris O’Dowd. Markowitz has previously held positions at New Line, Picturehouse, Apparition, FilmDistrict and IDP. He’ll be repping eOne at CinemaCon next week.
EXCLUSIVE: After expanding into directing, producer Tony Krantz is now making a foray into writing. Krantz and his Flame Ventures have partnered with Entertainment One for Saboteurs, an ambitious international drama series about the underground resistance in Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II. In his first-ever writing effort, Krantz penned the pilot script on spec. Given the project’s scope and setting, he sent it to eOne, which specializes in international co-productions. Not to sway them, he didn’t disclose he was the writer until he got a call a couple of days later that eOne was buying the project. (Of course, Krantz has writing in his DNA — his mother is popular novelist Judith Krantz.)
Saboteurs is a fictional story about the first resistance cell in Nazi-occupied Paris. It is set in the early months of WWII, before the U.S. got involved following the attack on Pearl Harbor. The cell consists of regular people with no training or experience who decide to fight back. Saboteurs is an action thriller chronicling their adventures as resistance fighters with a mix of Nazis, traitors, regular people and Americans. In addition to writing, Krantz will direct and executive produce. eOne is already eying U.S. cable networks for Saboteurs and is expected to meet with key international buyers at the upcoming MIPTV before officially launching the project at MIPCOM in the fall. Read More »
Rocker Gene Simmons will be in Cannes on Monday to interview Entertainment One president and CEO Darren Throop onstage for a Mip TV keynote session. The KISS co-founder will also be there to pitch his new hidden-camera reality show, Busted. Simmons and eOne are teaming on the show, which eOne is selling internationally (although Simmons has retained dibs on merchandise). The bassist created the behind-the-scenes series in which he goes on tour with some of the biggest bands in the world and gives audiences an all-access pass to backstage practical jokes. Executive producers include John Morayniss, Tara Long and Jeff Hevert on behalf of eOne and Simmons. No stranger to reality TV, Simmons previously starred in the long-running A&E show Gene Simmons Family Jewels along with two seasons of Gene Simmons’ Rock School for VH1. He also created the shows Mr. Romance for Oxygen and My Dad The Rock Star for NickToons. KISS released its 20th studio album in October last year.
Entertainment One has pacted with Jamie Campbell and Joel Wilson’s Eleven Film to develop scripted projects for the UK and international markets. The company produces documentary, current affairs, comedy and drama programs and is currently in development on drama projects commissioned by the BBC, Channel4 and Sky, working with writers including Jack Thorne (This Is England, Skins) and Paul Andrew Williams (Wallander). Its first drama series, Cast Offs, was written by BAFTA winner Thorne with Oscar nominee Tony Roche. Under the deal, eOne will have exclusive first-look rights to all Eleven-produced scripted TV development, serve as deficit financier and will handle worldwide sales, excluding the UK, for all TV projects including the current development slate.
Entertainment One has steadily been detailing a new executive structure following its takeover of rival Canadian giant Alliance Films in a $230M deal that was completed last month. Execs were quickly named for the UK and Spain operations and the latest announcement concerns its operations closer to home where eOne and Alliance have significant overlap. Here’s the release:
Montréal/Toronto/London – February 11, 2013 – Entertainment One (“eOne” or “the Group”) announces the Group’s Canadian Film leadership team, following its acquisition of Alliance Films announced January 9, 2013.
Patrice Théroux, who leads eOne’s global Film business, today confirms that David Reckziegel, will continue to oversee all North American Film operations, including the combined Canadian group, as President, eOne Films North America.
The Company also announces that Bryan Gliserman and Noah Segal will oversee eOne Films Canada, including the former Alliance Films teams, as Co-Presidents.
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