BREAKING: I can confirm that tonight’s New York Film Festival mystery film is Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, the John Logan-scripted adaptation of the Brian Selznick novel Hugo Cabret. The festival revealed late last week that it would feature a film by a master filmmaker, and speculation covered everything from Clint Eastwood’s J Edgar to Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I’m told that Richard Pena will introduce the picture at Avery Fisher Hall, but I’m not sure if Scorsese will be in the house. The film isn’t quite finished, but it will be shown in 3D, though there might be some green screen moments. Paramount releases Hugo on November 23. Scorsese hasn’t shown an unfinished film like this before (though he did once tell me that The Last Temptation Of Christ qualified as that when Universal rushed it into release because protesters were dragging crosses in front of the houses of studio higher-ups like Sid Sheinberg), and the NYFF hasn’t shown an unfinished print like this since Disney’s Beauty And The Beast in 1991. But it’s a great opportunity to build buzz on the movie, Scorsese’s first family and 3D film.
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has stepped up to become the distributor of the Martin Scorsese-directed 3D film Hugo Cabret, with the studio locking a November 23 release date, the day before Thanksgiving. The adaptation of the Brian Selznick novel is produced and financed by GK Films and Graham King felt strongly that the five-day Thanksgiving holiday was the optimum time for the picture to open. Hugo Cabret was originally slated to be distributed by Sony Pictures, under GK Films’ output deal. Sony had the film originally scheduled for a December 9 release and when the studio couldn’t provide the requested Thanksgiving date, Sony Pictures agreed to let GK Films move the picture.
Paramount has an overall deal with Scorsese and chairman Brad Grey has a close relationship with the director and King. The studio, which didn’t have a big Thanksgiving release, jumped at the chance to be part of Scorsese’s first 3D film. The picture stars Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley, Jude Law and Emily Mortimer.
EXCLUSIVE: Marking a high profile kick-off to Paramount’s Shutter Island Oscar campaign, American Cinematheque will present a retrospective of the film collaborations of Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorcese at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre the weekend of November 13 with the pair participating in a live “conversation” following a November 14 screening. DiCaprio will appear in person while Scorsese will be satellited in from London where he is currently working on his new film Hugo Cabret. All four of their film ventures together will be highlighted with The Departed and Gangs Of New York screenings as a double bill Saturday followed by The Aviator and Shutter Island on Sunday. The former three fllms all went on to Best Picture nominations with The Departed winning. DiCaprio received a Best Actor nomination for Aviator. Obviously Paramount is hoping the streak won’t be broken even though its early 2010 release date of February 19 puts it at a disadvantage with other later-breaking contenders including Par’s own December entries, The Fighter (December 10) and True Grit (December 25).
First half operating profits after exceptional items have also fallen 3% to £3.2 million. Total revenue fell 6.4% in the first 6 months to £19 million. Film production revenue fell by 8.5% to £10.8 million, while TV shooting income fell 7.3% to £5.1 million. Martin Scorsese’s Hugo Cabret was the biggest production to use Pinewood Shepperton between January and June. Other productions using the studios included Disney’s John Carter of Mars and Ruby Films’ Jane Eyre. Pinewood Shepperton has been hit by several Hollywood productions being delayed.
Crystal Amber, which yesterday became Pinewood Shepperton’s biggest shareholder, characterises chairman Michael Grade as “clueless” and called on him to stand down. The investor complains that Pinewood’s revenues have fallen, costs have risen and profits broadly halved since the group raised £50 million at flotation in 2004.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
Martin Scorsese didn’t meet the TV press during HBO’s panel on its new Prohibition-based series Boardwalk Empire. Instead, he was presented live via satellite from the London set of his latest film, the 3D children’s movie Hugo Cabret. Scorsese now has two projects with HBO — the gangster epic, and a history of rock ‘n’ roll with Mick Jagger, both with Terence Winter — so he talked about why he’s suddenly interested in the small screen medium at this point in his career. ”What’s happening the past 9 to 10 years, particularly at HBO, is what we had hoped for in the mid-Sixties with films being made for television at first. We’d hoped there would be this kind of freedom and also the ability to create another world and create longform characters and story. That didn’t happen in the 1970s, 1980s and in the 1990s I think. And of course …HBO is a trailblazer in this. I’ve been tempted over the years to be involved with them because of the nature of long-form and their development of character and plot.”
Creator Terence Winter, an alum of The Sopranos, told the critics HBO approached him to explore the subject of Prohibition. ”They told me, ‘Oh and, by the way, Martin Scorsese is attached if you find a series here.’,” Winter related. “I said, ‘I assure you I’ll find a series here.’” Scorsese, who directed the first …