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