BREAKING: Lot of naysayers out there predicting there will be little worthy product in Cannes, but here’s a title that should draw interest. As Exclusive Media winds down, former head of International Sales and Distribution Alex Walton has teamed with financier and producer Ken Kao for a Cannes launch of Bloom. The shingle comes to the Croisette with Sea Of Trees, the Gus Van Sant-directed drama that stars Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey and reportedly Ken Watanabe, and Life Of Pi’s Gill Netter producing along with Kao. The latter will finance through his Waypoint Entertainment banner. CAA and WME Global will handle domestic on the Chris Sparling-scripted film that stars McConaughey as a suicidal man who treks to a dense forest at the foothills of Mount Fuji. Though the Sea Of Trees is called the perfect place to die, he encounters a lost Japanese man (Watanabe) and invests all his energy to save him, and saving himself in the process.
Enjoying a resurgence with The Woman In Black, venerable British horror studio Hammer has chosen the Cinema And Television History (CATH) Research Centre at the UK’s Leicester De Montfort University to house its script archive. The CATH center will catalogue and curate a collection that includes screenplays from most of the studio’s film and TV productions from 1947-1990 along with extensive corporate paperwork, correspondence and other ephemera. This is the first time the archive will be opened to public research and study. Last month, Hammer announced a global restoration project for its library of films in partnership with Studiocanal, Pinewood and other international players and with the participation of 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros and Paramount. The studio was founded in 1934 and has produced such films as Frankenstein Created Woman,
Los Angeles, CA – November 30, 2011 – Brian Oliver, President of Cross Creek Pictures, Simon Oakes, Vice-Chairman of Exclusive Media Group and President & CEO of Hammer Films and Guy East and Nigel Sinclair, Co-Chairmen of Exclusive Media Group (“Exclusive”) announced today that Hammer has acquired the rights to the novel “Boneshaker” by Cherie Priest for adaptation to the big screen. Project will be co-produced by Hammer and Cross Creek Pictures and co-financed by Exclusive and Cross Creek Pictures.
John Hilary Shepherd, a 2010 WGA Award nominee for his work on the first season of the Showtime series, “Nurse Jackie,” is writing the screenplay. Tobin Armbrust, Head of Production is overseeing the project’s development for Hammer Films.
Los Angeles, CA (November 9th, 2011) – With the American Film Market drawing to a close, Exclusive Media Group (“Exclusive”) has confirmed a number of key sales in major markets for one of the hottest titles of Fall market – the Ron Howard directed epic, RUSH. Alex Walton, President of Exclusive Films International has completed all rights deals with StudioCanal (formerly Optimum) for the UK, Alliance Films for Canada, Aurum for Spain, Universum/RTL for Germany, E1 for Australia and New Zealand, MisLabel for Scandinavia, and Independent in Benelux. Additionally, Exclusive has completed deals in most of the rest of the world. Universal Pictures is releasing the film in the US in 2012.
Set against the golden age of Formula 1 racing, RUSH portrays the fast-paced, action-packed and exhilarating true story of two of the greatest rivals the sport has ever witnessed – James Hunt versus Niki Lauda and their illustrious Formula 1 racing teams, McLaren versus Ferrari. Principal photography will begin on RUSH in the UK and Germany in February 2012. The film will be shot in and around two legendary Formula 1 tracks in Silverstone and Nürburgring.
With the American Film Market kicking off next week in Santa Monica, sellers already are positioning the projects they will put in front of the more than 8,000 attendees from more than 70 countries. Here are a few projects already ramping up:
Stockwell To Direct Code Name Geronimo
John Stockwell (Dark Tide, Turistas, Into The Blue) has come aboard to direct the upcoming Code Name Geronimo, the latest among a slew of films centered on the Navy SEALs’ mission to find and kill Osama bin Laden. Voltage Pictures is selling rights at AFM on this film, which was written by Kendall Lampkin and is set to begin principle photography in January. ICM negotiated the deal and represents Stockwell. Geronimo is based on the actual incursion into bin Laden’s compound from the perspective of a small unit of SEALs. Of course, the most high-profile of the bin Laden film bunch is the Sony Pictures one from The Hurt Locker team of director Kathryn Bigelow and scribe Mark Boal, which focuses on the SEAL unit’s hunt for the al-Qaeda leader and is looking like it might not be released until after the 2012 presidential election. There’s also Relativity’s Act Of Valor, which features a half-dozen leads played by actual SEALs and was backed by the military. It is due out Presidents Day weekend 2012. That one was scripted by Kurt Johnstad (300) and directed by the ICM-repped Bandito Brothers’ Mike “Mouse” McCoy and Scott Waugh.
EXCLUSIVE: Exclusive Media Group will produce and fully finance So Undercover, an action comedy vehicle for Miley Cyrus that will begin production in December. What Happens In Vegas helmer Tom Vaughan will direct a script by Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleep‘s Allan Loeb and Steven Pearl (The Switch). Cyrus will play a tough, street-smart private eye hired by the FBI to go undercover in a college sorority. The film will be produced by Exclusive co-chairmen Guy East and Nigel Sinclair, along with Scarlet Fire Entertainment’s Loeb and Pearl, and Tish Cyrus. Jodi Zuckerman-Weiner is exec producer (for Cyrus’ production company Hope Town) along with Rob Cowan. Exclusive’s Tobin Armbrust, who found the project, will also be a producer. Exclusive Films International will sell territories at AFM, while Cyrus’ reps at CAA will make a domestic deal.
Chris Ball, Newmarket president and co-founder, will leave to form Wrekin Hill Entertainment, a new specialty film production and distribution label. Ball will continue his association with Newmarket’s owner, Exclusive Media Group, getting the new shingle started by releasing the Peter Weir-directed The Way Back, the harrowing period survival tale that stars Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Saoirse Ronan, Mark Strong and Colin Farrell. Wreckin will also release the Billy Joel documentary The Last Play at Shea. Both pictures were financed by Exclusive. Wrekin will also release Hesher, the Sundance Film Festival acquisition Hesher, starring Joseph Gordon Levitt, Natalie Portman and Rainn Wilson. All three films will be released in tandem by Newmaket and Wrekin Hill, but the latter will be the active shingle.
Ball will be joined at Wrekin Hill by longtime Newmarket colleagues Rene Cogan, who was Newmarket COO-CFO and John Crye, who had been Newmarket’s president of production and acquisitions.
The move comes at a time when Exclusive is building up its US theatrical releasing business. The overall company, funded by Cyrte Investments, is spearheaded by co-chairmen Nigel Sinclair and Guy East. Exclusive’s first production is Weir’s The Way Back, while sister division Hammer Films produced Let Me In, the remake of Let The Right One In. The third production division is Spitfire Pictures, which mostly focuses on documentaries like Last Play at Shea, which focused on Joel’s final concert …