OSCARS: Do Recent 2013 Dropouts Make Any Difference In Best Picture Race? Definitely Not

By | Wednesday October 23, 2013 @ 4:47pm PDT
Pete Hammond

It seems highly unlikely that films once thought since Cannes to be potential Best Picture Oscar contenders — The Weinstein Co’s Grace Of Monaco and The Immigrant, both highly touted in May — would have made the Academy’s final list, even if it goes for the full 10 nominees this year. And no one is missing them now that they’ve moved on.

The real “SHOCKER” as some breathless headlines stated yesterday, was the decision by George Clooney and Grant Heslov, who won the Best Picture Oscar just last year for Argo, to move their planned December release of the World War II thriller, Monuments Men to February. (That decision follows a similar path Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island took a few years ago, a move that resulted in the film becoming Scorsese’s most successful ever at the box office.) As Clooney told my colleague Mike Fleming Jr. earlier today, he wasn’t in this for the Oscars and December was a good luck date where his Ocean’s Eleven and Ocean’s Twelve films had played. I had always heard from the beginning that Clooney wasn’t ever really looking at Men as an Academy Award play but rather a commercial picture — his Guns Of Navarone as he reiterated in the Fleming interview. In fact a top Sony source told me in the summer that Clooney had told them he wasn’t looking to campaign it (but the exec insisted they would cross that bridge when they came to it). Of course sometimes you can have both box office success and Oscar recognition.

Related: ‘Monuments Men’ Gets Feburary 7 Release Date Read More »

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Deadline’s Best Film Stories Of The Week

By | Sunday September 29, 2013 @ 2:55pm PDT

Catch up with the best of Deadline’s Top Film stories you may have missed this week:

OSCARS: ‘Foxcatcher’ Becomes Latest Film To Drop Out Of This Year’s Race
By Pete Hammond – Scratch off another potential Oscar contender. Sony Pictures Classics has announced the planned December release of the Bennett Miller-directed drama Foxcatcher has been moved out of this year’s awards race and into 2014 so filmmakers “can have more time to finish the film”.

Tom Sherak Named As LA Film Czar By Mayor
By Dominic Patten – The former AMPAS President today was appointed to the new LA Film Czar post by Mayor Eric Garcetti. The announcement of Tom Sherak‘s immediate appointment to the $1 a year position comes close to the 100 day deadline Garcetti gave himself to find someone to lead the effort to halt runaway production and work with the industry soon after being sworn into office in late June.

Tom Sherak Q&A: Cancer Battle And $1 Salary Not Stopping New L.A. Film Czar’s Latest Quest
By Pete Hammond – Former Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak has been named to the new post of LA Film Czar by Mayor Eric Garcetti. Sherak will be paid only $1 a year (“an infinity compared to what the Academy paid,” he laughed about his previous nonpaying gig) in the post designed to bring a halt to runaway production and put it back in Los Angeles, capital of the film world.

‘Cloudy With Meatballs 2′ Beefs Up For $35M And Easy #1, ‘Rush’ Slows To Small $10.6M, ‘Baggage Claim’ Gets Lost With $9.2M, And ‘Don Jon’ Can’t Seduce Past $8.8M Weekend
By Nikki Finke – A total of 4 major releases this weekend amounted to a soft domestic box office with total moviegoing slightly below last year’s. Read More »

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OSCARS: ‘Foxcatcher’ Becomes Latest Film To Drop Out Of This Year’s Race

Pete Hammond

Scratch off another potential Oscar contender. Sony Pictures Classics has announced the planned December release of the Bennett Miller-directed drama Foxcatcher has been moved out of this year’s awards race and into 2014 so filmmakers “can have more time to finish the film”. The announcement is a bit startling since AFI Fest, a prime showcase for major Oscar contenders, recently had announced it for a major world premiere berth on November 8. Obviously that will have to be replaced.

Related: SPC Moves Bennett Miller’s ‘Foxcatcher’ To 2014

The film becomes the latest casualty this week in what is turning out to be a very competitive awards season. Earlier this week The Weinstein Company announced their expected contender Grace Of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman was being moved from November (after previously being scheduled for December) and on to its spring 2014 slate, effectively removing Kidman’s portrayal of Grace Kelly from the Best Actress race.
Read More »

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SPC Moves Bennett Miller’s ‘Foxcatcher’ To 2014

By | Thursday September 26, 2013 @ 7:15pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Sony Pictures Classics has moved the release of the Bennett Miller-directed Foxcatcher to 2014. They said the filmmaker needs more time to finish the film that stars Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. It was expected … Read More »

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Producer Jon Kilik Rebuts Recent Comments By Soderbergh, Spielberg And Lucas In IFP Market Keynote

By | Tuesday September 17, 2013 @ 8:18am PDT
Mike Fleming

Jon Kilik, who has been producing films big and small from New York for as long as I can remember, gave Sunday’s keynote address to open the IFP Market. He makes some compelling points about the viability of film, countering warning cries from the likes of Steven Soderbergh, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. I’ve trimmed it a bit, but here’s the speech by Kilik, who produced the Bennett Miller-directed Foxcatcher which bows December 20, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire which opens November 22, and the Spike Lee-directed Mike Tyson one-man show The Undisputed Truth, which airs on HBO next month.

“I live near the Film Forum and last Saturday I went to see Jean Luc Godard’s “Contempt”, on it’s 50th anniversary. In the film, Fritz Lang plays the director of a commercial treatment of “The Odyssey”. His line near the end of the film sums up the separate but related realities of both love and filmmaking. He speaks his final 3 words, “ONE MUST SUFFER.”

A couple of weeks ago I was on a flight from Los Angeles to New York reading recent speeches and statements by some of our greatest American Filmmakers. This time, unfortunately, their words sent out more panic than inspiration. Steven Soderbergh, in his “State of Cinema” address at the San Francisco Film Festival claimed that “Cinema is under assault by the Studios, with the full support of the audience. The reasons for this are more economic than philosophical but when you add an ample amount of fear and a lack of vision and a lack of leadership you’ve got a trajectory that’s pretty difficult to reverse.”

In a recent talk at USC, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg predicted that the film industry is on track to have a “massive implosion” because there just isn’t enough time in the day for people to support all the films released in theaters. Lucas complained that it’s getting so bad it is even hard for him to get a film in a theater and that this should make producers of films very nervous.

According to these great titans, CINEMA is in danger of disappearing from the theaters and MOVIES are to be relegated to a lurid sensational experience akin to a theme park ride or Las Vegas Dinner Theater.

Many people have predicted the end of the film business. Or at least a cataclysmic shake up that destroys all modestly budgeted films of quality leaving us with only 4D motion control Blockbusters. These End-of-Days predictions have come before in our industry. The advent of Color was supposed to eventually doom Black and White – in which case we would have never had “Dr. Strangelove”, “Manhattan”, “Raging Bull”, or “Schindler’s List”. Or “She’s Gotta Have It”, “Stranger Than Paradise”, or “Pi” – giving birth to Spike Lee, Jim Jarmusch and Darren Aronofsky. Television was supposed to doom the theatrical experience – why would anyone want to go out to a movie when they can get it at home. Cable TV and DVD’s were supposed to do the same thing. Video on Demand and companies like Netflix were supposed to do it again.

It hasn’t happened – what has happened is that we now have more ways to make movies and more ways to get people to see them than ever before.

So my advice to us, all of us, from film students to Spielberg, Lucas and Soderbergh, all of us who make human movies that we care about, my advice is to ignore the prophecies, DON’T RETIRE, and keep on making films and showing films by any means available. Build and they will come.

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AFI Fest Selects Disney’s ‘Saving Mr Banks’, Bennett Miller’s ‘Foxcatcher’ For Opening Slots

By | Wednesday September 4, 2013 @ 6:00am PDT
Pete Hammond

With Telluride over, Venice wrapping up and Toronto about to begin, it’s never too early for another film festival to make some noise. So here comes the AFI Fest announcing their opening-night film November 7th will be a Disney awards-season biggie: the North American premiere of Saving Mr Banks starring Emma Thompson as Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers and Tom Hanks in a supporting role as Walt Disney. It is said to be warm and funny and a potential Oscar contender, not only for Thompson and Hanks  but also Best Picture. It is also a no-brainer opener for the AFI. It has a movie theme (Disney tries to convince the stubborn author to sell him rights to make Mary Poppins) and also is partially set at the Chinese theatre, where AFI Fest is headquartered. What could be more perfect? Hate to say I TOLDJA! — but I did. AFI announced they will also be showing 1964′s Mary Poppins itself in honor of its 50th anniversary. It’s actually only 49 years but hey, who’s counting? In a move that indicates filmmakers LOVE to have that opening-night slot , AFI also announced Sony Pictures Classics’ new Bennett Miller drama Foxcatcher will be the cleverly titled “Opening Weekend” Gala on November 8, a World Premiere. SPC’s co-president Michael Barker is very high on this one and told me over the weekend in Telluride that the company expects it to be one of their top awards contenders including for star Steve Carell’s transformative performance in which he is virtually unrecognizable. Barker indicated the film will start early press screenings in mid-October. Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum co-star. That Best Actor race promises to be more crowded than ever. The Coen brothers’ Cannes hit, Inside Llewyn Davis which just played Telluride and will also hit the New York Film Festival, was previously announced as the Closing Night film on November 14. Here’s this morning’s full release: Read More »

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Sony Pictures Classics Catches Bennett Miller’s ‘Foxcatcher’

By | Thursday August 15, 2013 @ 5:12pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Sony Pictures Classics’ Michael Barker and Tom Bernard just got themselves a strong awards season film. SPC, as expected, will release the Bennett Miller-directed Foxcatcher in North America Pic’s in post-production and will be released December 20. Megan Ellison financed … Read More »

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Columbia Acquires US Rights To Bennett Miller’s ‘Foxcatcher’

By | Thursday November 1, 2012 @ 10:51am PDT

Culver City, CA (November 1, 2012) – Columbia Pictures has picked up the United States distribution rights to Bennett Miller’s FOXCATCHER from Annapurna Pictures. In addition to the U.S. distribution rights, Columbia Pictures also joins the film as a co-financer. The deal reunites Miller with Columbia, having previously collaborated with the studio on last fall’s release of the Academy Award®-nominated picture, MONEYBALL. Panorama Media is commencing International sales of the film at the upcoming American Film Market.

Starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave and Anthony Michael Hall, FOXCATCHER was written by Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye. Producing the film are Megan Ellison, Anthony Bregman, and Miller. The film is currently in production.

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Sienna Miller Plays Murdered Wrestler’s Wife In ‘Foxcatcher’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Moneyball helmer Bennett Miller is putting together the final casting pieces for Foxcatcher, the Annapurna Pictures-funded drama that stars Steve Carell as paranoid schizophrenic heir Jon DuPont, who created a training center for wrestlers and murdered … Read More »

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