UPDATE, 1:52 PM: Tom Hanks and Ron Howard, the star and director, respectively, of Sony’s first two tentpole movies based on Dan Brown’s novels, are returning for Inferno, we’ve learned. Hanks had been expected to reprise his role as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon for The Lost Symbol, the third novel in Brown’s book series. But Howard had bowed out of that project, which is now on the back burner, saying he wanted to produce it with Brian Grazer and their Imagine Entertainment but not direct. Now we’re hearing he’ll return for Inferno.
PREVIOUS BREAKING…Inferno was released in May and is the fourth Robert Langdon book written by The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons author Dan Brown. Sony, which has film rights to the franchise, has just set a December 18, 2015 release date for it. David Koepp, who wrote Angels & Demons, is aboard to write the script. The news means Brown’s third installment of the thriller series, The Lost Symbol, will not be the next movie for Sony. Danny Strong had been set to write that adaptation in March 2012 and the expectation was the film would be directed by Mark Romanek after Ron Howard opted out of directing as he had done on the first two pics. Not much has been … Read More »
Ross Lincoln is a Deadline contributor
Nearly six months after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Inferno has dissolved its Inferno Distribution and Inferno International units. The former division was the sales agent behind such films as The Kids Are All Right and Killer Elite. Inferno Films and Inferno Features, separately incorporated companies with the same management, will remain in business, and ongoing film productions have not been affected, according to Inferno. Founded in 2002, Inferno executive produced, distributed and helped fund the Brad Pitt film Killing Them Softly, which was released in November but performed poorly at the box office. Its production credits also include The Grey, The Women, and Southland Tales. Read More »
There’s publishing news on two timely novels that have feature film ramifications. The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown revealed that his new novel will be titled Inferno, coming from Doubleday on May 14. The book’s set in Europe and inspired by Dante, author of the 14th century poem The Divine Comedy, the author’s journey through hell, purgatory and heaven. The movie crowd won’t care much because the protagonist is once again the Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, which means that if anybody turns this into a film, it will be Sony. That deal made right on the ground floor by late former Sony Pictures chairman John Calley continues to give and give. Brown himself wrote a draft of the Angels & Demons follow-up The Lost Symbol, and Tom Hanks is still attached and Brian Grazer is the producer. Last time I wrote about it, Game Change scribe Danny Strong was working on the script and there was interest in director Mark Romanek after Ron Howard opted out after helming the first two global blockbusters. Read More »
UPDATE: Inferno’s Bill Johnson forwarded a press release which better explains why the company filed Chapter 11. According to the release, the company can continue to do business unimpeded, and the move was to protect part of the company from a judgment involving the 2005 film Just Friends. Release is below story.
EARLIER, 8:02 PM: The fall festivals, including the Toronto Film Festival, are filled with so much promise of films that are up for grabs for distributors, producers and financiers. It is important to proceed in a sober fashion. The Wall Street Journal reports that Inferno, one of the hot new production and financing companies, has filed Chapter 11. They helped finance the Brad Pitt-starrer Killing Them Softly, which was directed by Chopper helmer Andrew Dominik. Inferno explains they are sorting things out, but this makes you respect the companies like Sony Pictures Classics, which manage to proceed at a slow but steady pace, year after year, running it like a business, squeezing every dollar out of the films they distribute, and not over reaching like so many upstart companies seem to do. I’d hoped that Inferno would earn a place at the table as a viable new player, but this certainly doesn’t help. Chapter 11 is by no means fatal, but it is serious.
On Friday, August 24, 2012, Inferno Distribution, LLC and Inferno International, LLC commenced Chapter 11 cases in Los Angeles California
… Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: JOBS, the film that will star Ashton Kutcher as Apple genius Steve Jobs, will be sold at the Cannes Film Festival by Inferno. The film will be directed by Joshua Michael Stern based on a Matt Whiteley script. Production is slated to begin later this year. Five Star Institute’s Mark Hulme is financing and will produce a film that covers Jobs’ life from his twenties to mid-thirties. CAA will be selling domestic distribution rights on the picture and packaged the project.
Inferno has a hot hand coming into Cannes, with a slate that includes Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, the Olivier Dahan-directed Grace of Monaco that will star Nicole Kidman, and Maggie, the elevated genre film about the John Scott 3-penned spec script about the six-week metamorphosis of a 16-year-old teenage girl into a zombie.
“There is a lot of product out there and some buyers have said it’s more than they’ve seen in 30 years,” said Inferno’s Bill Johnson. “There are a lot of programmer type projects, but we feel pretty fortunate in that we feel we’ve got films that are standing out from the crowd.”
EXCLUSIVE: Saoirse Ronan has been set to star in The Host, the screen adaptation of the bestselling novel by Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer. Scripted by Andrew Niccol, the film figures to be one of the hot titles when Inferno launches sales at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival next week. Niccol, who was originally set to direct, might resurface as the filmmaker.
Ronan, the Oscar-nominated star of Atonement, The Lovely Bones and most recently Hanna, will play Melanie Stryder, one of the last humans putting up a fight against an alien species called Souls. These parasites invade human bodies, fuse to each person’s consciousness and systematically erase their personalities. Melanie is captured by the aliens and implanted by a Soul called Wanderer, something of a legend because of all of the “hosts” she has attached to on numerous planets. Wanderer’s goal is to get Melanie to give up the remaining pockets of humans, but instead the alien finds Melanie to be unique in her unwillingness to surrender her consciousness. Wanderer is so overwhelmed by Melanie’s memories and feelings, the alien is driven to reconnect with Melanie’s old life.
The concept is more of a visual challenge than Meyer’s Twilight Saga books, but one thing they plan is for Ronan to play both Melanie and Wanderer. Meyer’s book has an enormous fan base, and the author had long resisted offers to sell it. She finally made a deal two years ago with producers Nick Wechsler and Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz, who’d done the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road together. They deliberately developed the script outside the studio system, and invited the author to be very hands on in the adaptation. Read More »
I can’t blame Sly Stallone for wanting to milk The Expendables for all its worth. On his new Twitter account, Stallone says his director’s cut will be out in about six months but also “Inferno, which is the documentary, will be out soon – its hard core – everybodys on it.” What’s described as a brutal smackdown scene with former pro wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin when a stunt went wrong on the Brazilian set of the movie, as well as the resulting trip to the hospital where Stallone was told he needed surgery for a spinal cord injury to his neck, are all captured in the documentary Inferno: The Making of The Expendables. Sly also just finished up The Expendables‘ DVD commentary. “Turned out great, think you’ll like it.” He’s already soliciting opinions about Expendables II. (FYI, Sly asks everyone including his gardener about his films.) “I am thinking what would be the most dangerous places in the world to set the sequel?… Had dinner with Bruce Willis… I want him in Expendables II as a super villain. What do you think?”
SUNDAY AM: Since my weekend box office report puts all its emphasis on the big moneymakers, I want to give smaller movies some love (or hate). Here’s a separate wrapup for limited releases:
Fox Searchlight’s Cyrus finished in the 11th spot this weekend. After 5 weeks in release its per screen average fell to $2,465 with a weekend total of $1.075M from 446 locations and a new cume of $5.06M.
In 12th place, Focus Features’ The Kids Are All Right continues strong its 2nd week in release. Playing in just 38 locations, its per screen average is a big $27,285. Its weekend total was $1.025M with a 52% increase from Friday to Satuday indicating strong word-of-mouth. Its new cume is $1.77M.
Rocky Mountain Pictures’ Standing Ovation opened this weekend in 623 locations, making $159K on Friday, $106K on Saturday, for a $361K debut weekend. But its per screen average was only $560.
Also opening was Oscilloscope Pictures’ Kisses in 2 theaters for a $13.9K weekend and $6,950 per screen average.
Opening in one venue, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno from Flicker Alley made $3.8K for the weekend.
The Girl Who Played With Fire from Music Box Films is still capitalizing on the $100+M big screen success of Stieg Larsson’s worldwide bestselling novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. This 2nd in his crime thriller series expanded into 141 dates and made $640K this weekend for a per screen average of $4,540.