Tobey Maguire’s Material Pictures Taps Focus Features’ Christopher Kopp As Head Of Development

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 5:46pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Former Focus Features exec Christopher Kopp has been hired by Material Pictures as its new Head of Development. Kopp joins the Tobey Maguire-helmed shingle after an eight-year run out of Focus’s NY headquarters, which shuttered after last October’s surprise exec shake-up. Kopp … Read More »

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UPDATE: Focus’ ‘Theory Of Everything’ Set For November; Relativity Dates ‘November Man’ For August; Disneynature’s ‘Monkey Kingdom’ Due In 2015

Focus Features logoEddie Redmayne stars as physicist Stephen Hawking in Theory Of Everything, which Focus Features has set for a platform release on Friday, November 7, 2014. It will then expand the following two weekends. The Working Title biopic directed by Man On Wire‘s James Marsh focuses on the relationship between Hawking and his wife Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones), the arts student he fell in love with while studying at Cambridge in the 1960s. Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Charlie Cox, Simon McBurney, Maxine Peake and Harry Lloyd co-star and the script is by Anthony McCarten.

piercebrosnanRelativity Media said today it has dated the Pierce Brosnan spy thriller November Man for Wednesday, August 27, 2014. Olga Kurylenko and Luke Bracey co-star in the pic directed by Roger Donaldson based on Bill Granger’s novel There Are No Spies. The release date news comes a week after Relativity acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film, with a commitment to a wide release this year. Michael Finch and Karl Gajdusek wrote the screenplay, which centers on a former CIA operative who is brought back in on a very personal mission and is pitted against his former protégé in a deadly game involving high-level CIA officials and the Russian President-elect. Read More »

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Focus Dates ‘A Monster Calls’ For October 2016

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 10:33am PDT

monsterc__140305193750Focus Features announced it will release the Juan Antonio Bayona-directed A Monster Calls on October 14, 2016. So far the pic has the date to itself. Based on the award-winning children’s fantasy novel by Patrick Ness, (The Chaos Walking Read More »

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Focus Features Buys Black List Script ‘Times Square’ For Justin Lin To Direct

By | Wednesday March 19, 2014 @ 2:35pm PDT
Mike Fleming

CinemaCon 2013 Awards Ceremony - ArrivalsEXCLUSIVE: Focus Features has acquired the Taylor Materne & Jacob Rubin’s Black List script Times Square for Justin Lin to direct. The film will be produced by Chernin Entertainment, Perfect Storm Entertainment and Far … Read More »

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Focus Sets ‘The Signal’ For Summer

By | Friday March 7, 2014 @ 12:30pm PST

The SignalThe sci-fi thriller that screened at Sundance will hit theaters June 13 before expanding the following two weekends. In the Focus Features pic, three college students on a road trip across the Southwest experience a detour: the tracking … Read More »

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Hot Teaser: ‘The Boxtrolls’

By | Thursday March 6, 2014 @ 6:53am PST

The latest peek at Focus Features‘ upcoming 3D stop-motion pic is a more a dialogue-free look at its look than a preview of its story. To fill you in, The Boxtrolls – from ParaNorman and Coraline toon studio Laika and based on Alan Snow’s novel Here Be Read More »

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Focus Makes $20 Million P&A Deal For River Road, Participant And Lionsgate Intl-Funded Juan Antonio Bayona-Helmed ‘A Monster Calls’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In the third huge pre-buy deal this year,bayona Focus Features is committing $20 million in P&A to release A Monster Calls, a film that will be financed by River Road Entertainment and Participant Media. The film will be the next directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, who helmed the tsunami film The Impossible and made his breakthrough on The Orphanage. The film is an adaptation of the children’s fantasy novel series by Patrick Ness and it is already on course to begin production this fall for release in 2016. The novel focuses on a young lad who tries to deal with school bullies and his mother’s illness by losing himself into a vivid world of monsters and fairy tales. Ness adapted his own prize-winning work.

monstercIn the configuration taking shape, Focus releases the film wide domestically and Universal Pictures International releases in Spain. Lionsgate International is a key piece of this puzzle, as Patrick Washsberger’s troops will sell all other world territories. Producing is Belen Atienza, who teamed with Bayona on his films and produced Pan’s Labyrinth. Bill Pohlad’s River Road is coming off the Best Picture for 12 Years A Slave, and I’m told Pohlad and his team will exec produce with Participant Media’s Jeff Skoll and his team, along with Wachsberger.

This becomes the first major deal for Peter Schlessel since James Schamus and Andrew Karpen left Focus and Schlessel merged his FilmDistrict shingle in the company and took the reins. While Bayona is separately attached to helm a sequel to the zombie saga World War Z 2, this film will come first. Read More »

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Jeremy Renner-Starrer ‘Kill The Messenger’ Gets October 2014 Release Date

By | Wednesday March 5, 2014 @ 9:57am PST

KillTheMessengerFocus Features said today that Kill The Messenger will get a platform release on October 10, 2014, and expand the following two weekends. Jeremy Renner stars as Gary Webb, the Pulitzer-winner journalist who uncovered a CIA link to … Read More »

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Zach Braff’s ‘Wish I Was Here’ Gets July 18 Release Date

By | Thursday February 27, 2014 @ 11:10am PST

zach-braff-directing__131219181810Focus Features will release Wish I Was Here on July 18, 2014 in a platform release in NY and LA before the pic expands the following week and again on August 1. The news was announced via the film’s page Read More »

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Berlin: Focus Features Pacts With Sales Outfit Sierra/Affinity

BerlinFilmFestival_badgeAmid last year’s shake-up at Focus Features, the group’s international sales arm was shuttered. Focus is now turning to Nick Meyer’s Sierra/Affinity to handle rights outside North America on select titles from the company. The formalized relationship will complement the activities of Universal Pictures International, which distributes Universal and Focus movies internationally. The new tie-up had been expected, notably after Sierra/Affinity took over Mike Flanagan’s Oculus and follow-up, Somnia, at the AFM, both of which were previously with Focus Features International. The relationship with Focus and Sierra/Affinity kicks off at this EFM where the latter will service existing licensing and distribution agreements on Kevin Macdonald’s Black Sea and Jeremy Renner-starrer Kill The Messenger, a hot property for FFI last Berlin. Click over for more details on the new pact: Read More »

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Sundance: Focus Features Closes Zach Braff-Helmed ‘Wish I Was Here’ For Around $2.75 Million

Mike Fleming

zach-braff-directing__131219181810UPDATED 9:49 PM: Focus has sent out a release about its acquisition of Zach Braff’s pic. Read it below.

PREVIOUS: Focus Features is getting on the board here at Sundance, just closing a distribution rights deal to Wish I Was Here, the film which Zach Braff wrote and directed, and stars as a father struggling to home school his kids. Braff stars with Mandy Patinkin, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Jim Parsons, Ashley Greene, Pierce Gagnon and Joey King. The deal is $2.75 million for a theatrical release over 500 screens, and generous P&A to support it. There is also a strong back end.

Related: Zach Braff On ‘Wish I Was Here’ Kickstarter Campaign, His Critics & Industry Change

Interest in this one kick-started right after the film debuted Saturday night at the MARC. It came in as one of the high profile pics at Sundance, by merit of the Kickstarter crowd funding campaign undertaken by Braff and his producers, Stacey Sher, Michael Shamberg and Adam J. Braff. The film was repped by CAA with Wild Bunch. Kickstarter and Worldview financed the film.

It’s the first major acquisition since Peter Schlessel took over the shingle.

Related: Zach Braff’s ‘Wish I Was Here’ Kickstarter Hits $2 Million Goal In 3 Days
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Focus Features Shifts ‘Bad Words’ Release Date

By | Thursday December 19, 2013 @ 10:13am PST

Focus Features said today that Jason Bateman‘s Bad Words will bow in limited release on March 14, badwords2expand out on March 21 and open wide on March 28. On that date it will face off against Open Road’s … Read More »

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‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ Adds Callum Keith Rennie

By | Monday December 9, 2013 @ 4:30pm PST

Fifty Shades of Grey Callum Keith RennieUniversal and Focus Features have been busy rounding out the cast of Fifty Shades Of Grey, which stars Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey opposite Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele. Callum Keith Rennie (Battlestar Galactica) has been cast in the adaptation of EL James’ bestselling erotic novel as Ray Steele, Anastasia’s stepfather.  Rennie recently finished filming Weinstein acquisition The Young And Prodigious TS Spivet with Helena Bonham Carter and indie feature Ride with Helen Hunt. He’s repped by APA, Hodgson Management Group, and Kleinberg Lange Cuddy & Carlo. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Jason Bateman’s ‘Bad Words’ Red Band

By | Monday December 9, 2013 @ 2:34pm PST

The comedy from Darko Entertainment, Aggregate Films and MXN stars Jason Bateman in his feature directorial debut. He plays a 40-year-old Guy Trilby, who finds a loophole in the National Spelling Bee rules and enters the competition. As he dusts his preteen rivals, a reporter (Kathryn Hahn) digs into Guy’s … Read More »

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Focus Sets Ryan Reynolds Sci-Fi Thriller ‘Selfless’ For Winter 2015

By | Friday December 6, 2013 @ 3:40pm PST

As part of the October deal that saw FilmDistrict being absorbed into Focus Features, the latter has taken over distribution of two more titles and announced a new release date for one of them. The sci-fi thriller Selfless, starring Ryan Reynolds, originally had been set for Read More »

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‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ Taps Dylan Neal As Anastasia Steele’s Stepfather

EXCLUSIVE: Dylan Neal is the latest actor to join the cast of Universal Pictures and Focus Features’ Dylan Neal Fifty Shades Of Grey Movieadaptation of EL James’ bestselling Fifty Shades Of Grey. He’ll play Bob, Anastasia Steele’s (Dakota Johnson) stepfather and husband of Carla Adams (Jennifer Ehle). He begins shooting this week in Vancouver. Neal currently stars in Hallmark Channel’s Cedar Cove opposite Andie MacDowell. He is also shooting the second season of The CW’s Arrow, in the recurring role of the villainous Dr. Anthony Ivo. Jamie Dornan has been set to play Christian Grey opposite Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele in the pic directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, which will hit theaters February 13, 2015. Read More »

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OSCARS Q&A: Matthew McConaughey On The Struggle To Get ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Made & Diving Into Dramas

By | Sunday December 1, 2013 @ 4:29pm PST

matthewmccon1Over the last two years, Matthew McConaughey has transformed from simply being a bankable romantic-comedy lead to a gritty performer who doesn’t hesitate to roll up his sleeves and plumb emotional depths. In the same year he showed his flashy, exhibitionist side in Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike, McConaughey demonstrated exceptional range in a trio of smaller films with distinctive directors: Richard Linklater’s Bernie, William Friedkin’s Killer Joe and Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy. This year’s slate, which includes Dallas Buyers Club and Mud, shows that the actor isn’t finished taking risks. AwardsLine.LogoBWHe lost 47 pounds to play AIDS activist Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club and was a major force in getting the film into production; he’s working with Martin Scorsese in The Wolf Of Wall Street; and he’s shooting a sci-fi film, Interstellar. All that, and he still finds time to helm his nonprofit JKL Foundation, which focuses on the health and wellness of high-school students.

AwardsLine: What compelled you to help get Dallas Buyers Club produced?
Matthew McConaughey: It was something that I had on my desk that I was trying to do for a while, but it wasn’t popular enough for anyone to come up with the money. So we were like, “Let’s find the right team.” The more pieces you put in place, the more you show somebody that you’ve got a full package, then it becomes a more viable situation to get the money. And (director) Jean-Marc (Vallee) and I were locked, and we’re like, “Let’s set a date and do this thing this year.” We had Jared (Leto) and Jennifer (Garner) cast, and we budgeted for a lot less than Jean-Marc thought he could make it for. A week before the shoot, Jean-Marc calls me and says, “This is just not enough money to make this. We don’t have it, and we shoot in a week. (But) I’ll be there if you’ll be there.” I was like, “Yeah.” I had been losing the weight, and then I kept hearing “This is not happening.” And I was like, “This is happening.” Then that last bit of money came like a wave.

AwardsLine: What kind of feedback did you get from financiers as to why they didn’t want to come onboard?
McConaughey: (Laughs.) Well, Hollywood’s not quick to really expound on the “why not?” Usually the message that gets to me is, it’s not for them. Period piece, AIDS drama? That one line hurt. I’m sure there were many desks where that one-liner was all they read. Read More »

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Hot Teaser: ‘The Boxtrolls’

By | Thursday November 28, 2013 @ 12:02pm PST

The video below is part teaser, part behind-the-scenes tribute to the meticulous detail that goes into stop-motion. From Coraline and ParaNorman animation studio LAIKA, The Boxtrolls is still some way off – Focus opens it on September 26, 2014 – but the folksy tune … Read More »

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The Contenders 2013: ‘Place Beyond The Pines’ Director Derek Cianfrance Details Ryan Gosling’s Dream To Rob A Bank (Video)

By | Wednesday November 27, 2013 @ 4:28pm PST
Pete Hammond

For much of 2013 Derek Cianfrance‘s complex drama, The Place Beyond The Pines was the number onecontenders__131003211335 grossing independent film of the year. But at one time after it was bought by Focus Features at the 2012 Toronto … Read More »

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