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Third Installment Of ‘Ghostbusters’ A Go For Early 2015; Death Of Pal Harold Ramis Prompts Ivan Reitman To Turn Over Directing Reins

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures is eyeing an early 2015 production start Ghostbusters New Movie in New York on its next installment of Ghostbusters. There is a major change, though. In the wake of the death of his close friend and original Ghostbuster Harold Ramis, Ivan Reitman has decided he won’t direct the film, after all. Instead, Reitman will help Amy Pascal find a new director to take over what everyone hopes will reboot what the studio considers to be one of its most important franchises.

In all the years Sony has tried to get this film up and running, Reitman has been the most stable part of the equation, long locked to direct his third installment. This included the long campaign to get Bill Murray to reprise his signature role, when it became impossible to even get him to read a script that Sony, Reitman and their other architect Dan Aykroyd were happy with. It has been clear for a while that Murray wasn’t going to be part of this, and momentum has been building. Then Ramis, a catalyst for some of the biggest film comedies of the 1970s and ’80s, passed away. That has changed everything.

Reitman spoke exclusively with Deadline on his decision, and I’m going to give him ample room to explain why he changed his mind after so many years of being the primary person pushing this forward.

orig“There has been all kinds of stuff, unofficially written about Ghostbusters,” Reitman told me. “I’ve been reading things online for about four years, speculation on who’s writing, what they’re writing, who’s in it, who we will use, and who’s directing. We’d decided not to comment up till now, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, and it was never clear what Bill was going to do. A lot of things happened in the last few months, the most significant of which was the passing of Harold, who was a very good friend who was extraordinarily influential in my career. We did five movies together including both Ghostbusters.”

Reitman confirmed the Murray chase, one that encompassed not one but two scripts. Read More »

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Kevin Costner Pigskin Pic ‘Draft Day’ Throws The Red Flag, R Rating Overturned On Further Review

By | Wednesday January 8, 2014 @ 3:42pm PST
Mike Fleming

kevincostnerPenalized with an R rating for harsh language, the Ivan Reitman-directed Kevin Costner starrer Draft Day appealed, and the Classification and Rating Appeals Board today gave it a PG-13. Costner plays a general manager trying to figure out what to do with the top pick in the NFL draft. If there wasn’t room for a few choice cuss words in that high-pressure event, it wouldn’t be believable football. CARA Chairman Joan Graves represented the ratings board, and Reitman and Lionsgate’s Erik Feig successfully appealed the call on the field. This is one of three movies in the offing for Costner, who should get a real career second wind after the football pic — which opens April 11 — Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and 3 Days To Kill. He pulled back in recent years but still holds the screen.

Related: Hot Trailer: Kevin Costner In ‘Draft Day’

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Hot Trailer: Kevin Costner In ‘Draft Day’

By | Tuesday December 24, 2013 @ 8:44am PST

As the NFL regular season heads into its final week, Summit has suited up the first trailer for its football flick. Kevin Costner stars in Draft Day as the employment-imperiled general manager of the Cleveland Browns, who tries to wheel and deal his way into the hearts of the team’s fans, new coach and owner. Jennifer Garner, Frank Langella and Denis Leary also star in the pic directed by Ivan Reitman from Rajiv Joseph & Scott Rothman’s script. Draft Day takes the field April 11. Watch the highlights here:

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Sam Elliott Joins Ivan Reitman’s ‘Draft Day’

By | Tuesday May 14, 2013 @ 10:58am PDT

EXCLUSIVE: He’s not on the field but he is in the game. Sam Elliott has joined Ivan Reitman‘s Draft Day, playing a college coach whose quarterback is a top NFL draft pick. Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner also star in the football film about the Cleveland Browns’ GM (Costner) as he desperately attempts to secure a No. 1 pick for his team. Frank Langella, Tom Welling, 42′s Chadwick Boseman, Denis Leary and Timothy Simons also have been cast. The Summit and OddLot Entertainment film is produced by Reitman for his Montecito banner with Tom Pollock and Ali Bell. Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman’s spec script was first acquired by Paramount last year before Lionsgate picked it up out of turnaround after it landed atop the Black List. Elliott most recently appeared Robert Redford’s The Company You Keep. He is repped by Gersh and The Hofflund Company.

Related: Tom Welling Suits Up For ‘Draft Day’

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Summit/OddLot’s ‘Draft Day’ Finalizes Cast Ahead Of Real NFL Draft

By | Wednesday April 24, 2013 @ 1:20pm PDT

Summit and OddLot Entertainment’s dramedy Draft Day began filming today in New York, timed to the real NFL Draft that begins Thursday at Radio City Music Hall. Kevin Costner stars alongside Jennifer Garner, Ellen Burstyn, Denis Leary and Frank Langella as the GM of the Cleveland Browns who tries to trade up for the first pick and save football in the city. The pic is directed and produced by Ivan Reitman from a Black List script by Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman. 42 star Chadwick Boseman has a small role as former star college player, and Terry Crews, Sean Combs, Josh Pence, Rosanna Arquette, Timothy Simons, David Ramsey, Wade Williams, Chi McBride, W. Earl Brown, Brad Henke, Griffin Newman, Kevin Dunn, Patrick St. Esprit, Arian Foster, Christopher Cousins, Pat Healy, Laura Steinel and Wallace Langham are also aboard. Read More »

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Frank Langella Is Cleveland Browns Owner In ‘Draft Day’

By | Tuesday April 16, 2013 @ 12:00pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Frank LangellaEXCLUSIVE: Frank Langella, who has teamed with Ivan Reitman for Dave and Junior, is back for the trifecta. He has signed to play Harvey Molina, the fictional owner of the Cleveland Browns, in Draft Day, the co-production between Summit/Lionsgate and OddLot Entertainment that stars Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Denis Leary and Veep‘s Timothy Simons. Costner plays the Browns GM who tries to trade up for the first pick in the NFL draft. It’s not coincidence all this is coming together before the actual April 25 draft at Radio City Music Hall, because the pic will be there. The script, which made the Black List, was written by Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman. ICM Partners-repped Langella just finished the upcoming Muppets Movie, and he has Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight for HBO premiering in October and Grace Of Monaco coming out this fall for The Weinstein Company.

Related: Denis Leary Signing On As Coach In ‘Draft Day’

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Ivan Reitman’s ‘Draft Day’ Adds ‘Veep’s Timothy Simons

By | Thursday April 11, 2013 @ 8:59am PDT

EXCLUSIVE: The Veep actor has been set for Ivan Reitman‘s NFL comedy alongside Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, and Denis Leary. Draft Day follows the GM of the Cleveland Browns as he frantically tries to secure a #1 pick for his team. Timothy Simons will play Marx, a scout with an opinionated presence in the draft day war room. The Summit/Lionsgate and OddLot Entertainment pic is produced by Reitman for his Montecito banner with Tom Pollock and Ali Bell. Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman’s spec script was first acquired by Paramount last year before Lionsgate picked it up out of turnaround after it landed atop the Black List.
Read More »

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Denis Leary Signing On As Cleveland Browns Coach In Gridiron Pic ‘Draft Day’

By | Tuesday April 9, 2013 @ 8:52am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Denis Leary has been set to star in Draft Day, the Ivan Reitman-directed football film that stars Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner. Pic’s getting underway through Lionsgate and Gigi Pritzker’s OddLot Entertainment. Leary will play Vince Penn, the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns, who finds himself at odds with the team’s GM (Costner). It adds extra pressure as the GM attempts to make the right picks to lift the franchise through the NFL draft. There was a ticking clock on this casting, because part of the film will be shot at the April 25 draft to be held in Radio City Music Hall. As originally constituted in the Black List script by Scott Rothman and Rajiv Joseph, the team was supposed to be the Buffalo Bills, but Lionsgate got better incentives in Ohio and made it the Cleveland Browns. Leary has been co-executive producing IFC’s Maron and is co-writing and producing Sirens, the pilot for USA Network. His Apostle banner also produced the Detroit firefighter documentary Burn, which won the Audience Award at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. He is represented by WME and Ziffren.

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Paramount In Talks For Tom Cruise Pic ‘Our Name Is Adam,’ But Studio Punts Ivan Reitman/Kevin Costner’s ‘Draft Day’

By | Wednesday October 17, 2012 @ 6:26pm PDT
Mike Fleming

UPDATE: I am hearing now that Paramount Pictures is pursuing the Tom Cruise-attached Our Name Is Adam. My bet is that the studio makes the deal. The price tag is high, but Paramount brass is doing everything they can to make the numbers work before their first look expires and others get a shot at it. In fact, they are in an exclusive negotiation now so I expect this will result in another film for Paramount and Cruise, beyond the revived Mission:Impossible franchise, Jack Reacher and possibly Top Gun 2, those three a co-production between Paramount and Skydance. Stay tuned.

EARLIER, 8:32 pm EDT EXCLUSIVE: There has been some heavy decision-making going on lately at Paramount Pictures. After the studio added the Oscar-bait Martin Scorsese-Leonardo DiCaprio pic The Wolf Of Wall Street to its late 2013 slate, Paramount has just  made a free agent out of its NFL-themed film Draft Day, putting in turnaround a film that has Kevin Costner attached to star and Ivan Reitman to direct. At the same time, the studio seems likely to take a pass on Our Name Is Adam, the T.S. Nowlin-scripted science fiction pic that our sister publication Daily Variety reported has Tom Cruise circling.

Let’s take each one separately. Reitman and partner Tom Pollock developed the Moneyball-esque Draft Day, the fictional account of the events that take place on a draft day for the perennial also-ran Buffalo Bills. Costner would play the team’s GM, but timing is a major challenge for this film.

Paramount chose not to make it in the small window that Reitman has before he is expected to finally get the long-gestating Ghostbusters reboot in front of the cameras next summer for Sony Pictures (sans Bill Murray). Costner–who has made more quality sports films than any active actor–Field of Dreams, Tin Cup, Bull Durham and For Love Of The Game–is also very busy. He’s filming the Jack Ryan relaunch, and after that he has the Luc Besson pic Three Days To Kill, about a dying assassin who has a short window to clean up professional and personal loose ends. It would be tough to find room to squeeze in the football film and finish before Reitman goes back to Ghostbusters duty. Read More »

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Paramount Selects Football Comedy ‘Draft Day’ Spec With Ivan Reitman Attached

By | Wednesday June 20, 2012 @ 3:37pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has acquired Draft Day, a comic script by Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman that has Ivan Reitman attached to direct. Reitman will produce under his Montecito banner with Tom Pollock and Ali Bell. The script revolves around the general manager of the Buffalo Bills as he spends the day of the National Football League draft frantically trying to get the number one pick for his struggling team. Joseph is a Gotham-based playwright and was a 2010 Pulitzer finalist for his play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. He is currently a writer on the Showtime series Nurse Jackie. Rothman is also a New York-based scribe who sold his first script, First Timers, to New Line, and sold Frat Boy to Warner Bros with David Dobkin attached to produce. The writers were classmates at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where each earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing. David Beaubaire and Josh Phillips will oversee for the studio. Gersh reps Joseph and Rothman is repped by CAA and Kaplan Perrone Entertainment.

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James Mangold And Cathy Konrad Team With Montecito For ‘Juliet’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Producer Cathy Konrad and James Mangold’s Tree Line Films will partner with Tom Pollock and Ivan Reitman’s Montecito Picture Company on an adaptation of the Anne Fortier novel Juliet. They’ve set the project at Paramount for Mangold to direct, and with Chad and Dara Creasey (New Line’s Mean Moms) writing the script. Mangold is booked to next direct Wolverine 2 for 20th Century Fox next spring.

The protagonist is a twentysomething woman who learns she is a descendant of one of the feuding families made infamous in Romeo and Juliet. She travels to Italy and discovers that the 600-year-old curse is still in effect and her fate is tied to literature’s greatest lovers. Konrad, Pollock, Reitman and Ali Bell will produce.

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‘No Strings Attached’ Reverses Recent Row Of Rom-Com Flop Openers: Possible $20.3M

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM: Rentrak is having system issues so box office will be a bit late today. But Paramount was so worried about its No Strings Attached being a stinker that the studio didn’t even bother to give me a pre-release briefing. I don’t necessarily blame them: any movie starring Ashton Kutcher is probably a bomb since his last one — PG-13 Killers with Katherine Heigl — opened to only $15.8M for Lionsgate. And rom-coms, especially sexy R-rated ones (Ed Zwick’s Love And Other Drugs which opened to only $9.7M for Fox with Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal) have been stillborn at the North American box office with this caliber of star. But No Strings Attached surprised at the box office, not only coming in No. 1 but with a decent $20.3M. Exit polls showed 70% of the audience was female, meaning it should be the least affected by football on Sunday. As for CinemaScore,  40% of those aged under 25 gave the film an “A-” while 60% over 25 scored it a “B”. 

This $25 million-cost movie started out as a Black List script titled Fuckbuddies and written by Elizabeth Merriwether. Natalie Portman came on board as a producer and star for Ivan Reitman and Tom Pollock’s The Montecito Picture Company, which co-financed in partnership with Coldspring and Paramount’s usual partner Spyglass Entertainment.

Natalie is hot after her Oscar-worthy transformative performance in Black Swan and now finds herself with 2 movies in this weekend’s Top 6. And perhaps risking overexposure because of her new pics opening in January, February, April, and May. Anyway, the pic took advantage of being the only wide opening this weekend and may hang on for $20M. (Remember, it took Ron Howard’s Dilemma starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James 4 days to even make that over the MLK long holiday.) The film had been tracking strong with 20-year-old females whom Paramount pursued aggresively not with traditional newspaper ads but instead with a big Facebook push of a sexy Red Band trailer. Meanwhile, Sony’s The Green Hornet 3D and Universal’s aforementioned Dilemma look to drop more than -35% each this weekend. Here’s the Top 10:

1. No Strings Attached (Paramount) NEW [3,018 Theaters]
Friday $7.3M, Saturday $8.2M, Weekend $20.3M

2. The Green Hornet 3D (Sony) Week 2 [3,584 Theaters]
Friday $5.1M, Saturday $8.7M, Weekend $18.1M (-31%), Cume $63.4M

3. The Dilemma (Universal) Week 2 [2,943 Theaters]
Friday $3M, Saturday $4.5M, Weekend $9.9M (-33%), Cume $33.5M

4. The King’s Speech (Weinstein Co) Week 9 [1,680 Theaters]
Friday $2.1M, Saturday $3.9M, Weekend $9.1M, Cume $58.6M
Read More »

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The Challenge Of Sequelizing Ghostbusters

Mike Fleming

Every time one of the original Ghostbusters stars promotes a film, they answer the inevitable Ghostbusters III question that fuels a new round of breathless stories that turn out to be apparitions. Ivan Reitman, back as director thanks to his strong original Ghostbusters deal, is the latest to weigh in as he promotes his latest film No Strings Attached. He is getting more mileage telling reporters that Bill Murray doesn’t hate the script than he is talking up the Natalie Portman-Ashton Kutcher sex romp. Here’s what I hear: Reitman and Sony Pictures have no idea if the mercurial Murray will smile on the script they’ve just sent him. Without Murray, the studio absolutely will not make the film, which gives an extraordinary amount of leverage to a quirky actor who leaves financiers sweating until the moment he shows up on the set.

This is too big a project to play games. “The studio won’t even think about forward on a $150 million film unless Bill has a closed deal and a commitment,” said an insider. “It’s too huge a risk to do any meaningful prep, hoping he shows up.”

It has been 21 years since the last Ghostbusters sequel, which wasn’t as good as the 1984 original and didn’t gross as much. Despite that, Sony Pictures Entertainment has tried over and over to scare up a new ghost comedy that would entice Murray and his compatriots Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis for … Read More »

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Jeffrey Clifford Takes President Post For David Heyman’s Warner Bros-based Shingle

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Jeffrey Clifford, the former creative exec at Disney and Warner Bros who ran Montecito for Ivan Reitman and Tom Pollock for the last four and one-half years, will move back to the Warner Bros lot to run Heyday Films for David Heyman. The deal isn’t done but Clifford will be set in the president post this week, I’m told. At Montecito, Clifford has a producing role in such films as Up in the Air, I Love You Man, and No Strings Attached. This is a signal that Heyman will ramp up his picture output at the studio. He has been consumed for the past decade, producing Harry Potter movies for Warner Bros. That odyssey comes to an end with the final installment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, a book that was split into two movies. Heyman’s in post on the picture, which will be released July 15. Heyman next is producing Gravity, the Alfonso Cuaron-directed 3D science fiction adventure film that will star Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Heyman will remain in London, where the Potter films were shot, and where Gravity will also be filmed.

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