Even 10 months out from its May 15, 2015 release date on alien adventure Pixels, Sony‘s playing the long game. This is the only Comic-Con the studio has to promote the Chris Columbus-directed Adam Sandler pic, after all. That means a full-court marketing takeover inside the busy Hard Rock Hotel just outside the Convention Center, complete with arcade open to the public, and the presentation of barely-there footage from the set at this morning’s studio panel.
In the pic, aliens invade Earth after mistaking feeds of classic arcade games as an act of intergalactic war. The film is still shooting and Columbus appeared via taped message to make a first impression on convention attendees. Fans in the Hilton Bayfront’s Indigo Ballroom also glimpsed co-star Josh Gad in a gag video showing him being chased … by a tennis ball. Below, check out Peter Dinklage in character in a clip promoting a Pixels video arcade set up at the Hard Rock in San Diego.
Sony at least had the effervescent Jack Black in tow to promote Goosebumps, its August 7, 2015 adaptation of the youth horror novels by R.L. Stine. Black plays a version of Stine in the film, in which the author keeps all the nightmare monsters from his literary works locked up in his books until a young neighbor (Dylan Minnette) accidentally releases them into the real world. Black and Goosebumps director Rob Letterman just finished the shoot and brought onstage with them a “co-star” from the film — Slappy the Dummy, the ventriloquist’s dummy that comes alive in the series’ popular Night of the Living Dummy stories. Read More »
Jack Black will be taking the stage at the Hilton Bayfront’s Indigo Ballroom on Thursday, July 24 for Columbia Pictures‘ Goosebumps panel. From 12: 30-1:30 PM, Black will be joined by director Rob Letterman, who he worked with on Shark Tale and Gulliver’s Travels, as the two show clips on how they’re bringing the monsters to life in their big screen adaptation of the bestselling kids’ book series. In Goosebumps, Black plays the book’s author R.L. Stine. Pic will open on August 7, 2015. In addition, director Chris Columbus will make a video announcement about his May 15, 2015 release Pixels starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Josh Gad. In Pixels, aliens wage war against earth after misinterpreting their ’80s videogames, and it’s up to the President’s (James) best friend, former vidgame champ Sam Brenner (Sandler) and his friends to save the planet. Throughout Comic-Con at the Hard Rock Hotel, there will be a Pixels-theme arcade with classic ’80s titles. There will be a vidgame competition for a Comic-Con attendee to win a walk-on role in Pixels.
Sony Pictures has set March 23, 2016 as the release date for Goosebumps starring Jack Black. The film, based on the series of books by R.L. Stine, will bow on a Wednesday. Goosebumps is directed by Rob Letterman and produced by Neal H. Moritz through his Original Film banner. Deborah Forte of Scholastic Entertainment, which published the books, is also producing. Dylan Minnette and Odeya Rush co-star. Goosebumps will bow the weekend after the animated family film Mumbai Musical debuts from DreamWorks Animation.
Related: Dylan Minnette To Star Opposite Jack Black In ‘Goosebumps’
EXCLUSIVE: In a very quick turnaround, HBO has given a series order to The Brink, its comedy pilot starring Jack Black and Tim Robbins, directed by Jay Roach and executive produced by Jerry Weintraub. Written by former Weeds executive producer Roberto Benabib and his brother Kim Benabib, The Brink is an epic dark comedy focusing on a geopolitical crisis and its effect on three disparate and desperate men: U.S. Secretary of State Walter Hollander (Robbins); Alex Coppins (Black), a lowly Foreign Service officer; and Zeke Callahan (Pablo Schreiber), an ace Navy fighter pilot. These three compromised souls must pull through the chaos around them to save the planet from World War III. Aasif Mandvi, Maribeth Monroe, Geoff Pierson, Esai Morales and Eric Ladin co-star on the series, executive produced by Roberto Benabib, Weintraub and Roach. Kim Benabib and Susie Ekins co-executive produce.
This marks the first HBO series for Weintraub and Roach, who both have deals with the pay cable network and established relationships there. Weintraub executive produced HBO Films’ Emmy-winning movie Behind The Candelabra, while Roach directed and exec produced the Emmy-winning HBO movies Game Change and Recount.
The Brink’s road to HBO’s primetime started with an email Weintraub received while in Europe, which contained the Benabibs’ script. “I read it and I fell in love with it,” he said. When he came back to Los Angeles, Weintraub had lunch with Roach about a movie project where Roach mentioned that he had been looking to do a half-hour comedy. Weintraub ran to his office and brought Roach The Brink script. Joking that Roach “is famous for taking three years to make up his mind” on anything, Wentraub heard from the director the very next day. “He calls me and he says, ‘I’m in, the script is too good’.” Read More »
Jack Black’s Electric Dynamite has come on to executive produce Wizard’s Way, the film that premieres this weekend at Slamdance. Black will serve as an executive producer along with Electric Dynamite’s Priyanka Mattoo on a mockumentary written and directed by Joe Stretch, Socrates Adams and Chris Killen. Black’s shingle also will develop a remake. WME Global is handling domestic sales.
Wizard’s Way documents the lives of Barry Tubbulb and Julian “Windows” Andrews, who spend their time playing an aging online fantasy video game called Wizard’s Way. Joe and Chris are two ambitious young filmmakers who have discovered something about the game that will change all their lives forever. A tussle between hipsters and gamers ensues, a struggle that cuts to the heart of much cultural conflict: Bap vs. Beef, Wizard vs. Dragon, Game vd. Life. With no other purpose in life, our lead sets out on his final quest: to find his Wizard’s Way wife in the real world. Wizard’s Way is a classic rites of passage story and an unlikely blueprint for modern living. Electric Dynamite, Black, Stretch, Adams and Killen are repped by WME. Electric Dynamite is also repped by Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox has put in development Wunderland, a workplace comedy written by Amanda Lund and Matt Gourley, with Diablo Cody supervising and Jack Black’s Electric Dynamite producing for 20th Century Fox TV. Co-created by Lund and Gourley, Wunderland explores the minutiae behind the scenes of America’s most beloved (fictional) theme park. The project is inspired by the couple’s years working at multiple theme parks, where Lund played an array of beloved princesses. Cody, a self-professed rabid theme park enthusiast and roller coaster expert, is executive producing with Electric Dynamite’s Black and Priyanka Mattoo. This marks a reunion for Lund and Electric Dynamite, who collaborated on the well-received web series Ghost Ghirls, which Lund co-created and stars in. Lund is repped by WME and 3 Arts. Writer-performer Gourley created the podcast Superego. Cody, repped by WME, MXN Entertainment, and McKuin, Frankel, Whitehead, is currently developing her TBS talk show pilot My Time With Diablo Cody and has teen drama project Prodigy at Fox with Fake Empire. On the feature side, the Oscar-winning writer recently made her directorial debut with Paradise, which she also wrote. Electric Dynamite is repped by WME and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern.
Fresh off a sale to Discovery of its sex therapy documentary Real 40 Year Old Virgins, British indie Zig Zag Productions has taken options on three new formats for the UK market. First up is Hide & Seek, a Japanese game show that Jack Black’s Electric Dynamite and Japan’s T Group are co-producing in the U.S. With the help of camouflage, set design and special effects experts, a family is hidden inside their own home while a celebrity ‘seeker’ searches for them. If the celeb fails, the family wins a cash prize. Discussions are underway with UK broadcasters. Zig Zag also picked up UK rights to Jockey Stars from Galway’s Abu Media. The reality series follows hopefuls through three months of training to become the next great jockey. The show was voted Best Reality Series at this year’s Irish Film and Television Awards. Finally, the company pacted with Montreal’s Trio Orange for social media dating/manhunt show Wanted.
Production has started on Ghost Ghirls, a Web comedy series from Shine America and Jack Black’s Electric Dynamite Prods, which is set to debut in spring 2013 on Yahoo! Screen.
Black, as well as Jake Johnson, Molly Shannon, Jason Schwartzman and other celebrities, are set to make cameo appearances in Ghost Ghirls, a comedic take on popular paranormal procedurals like Medium and Ghost Whisperer. The project, originally developed as a TV series for Syfy last year, chronicles the antics of two young female ghostbusters, played by Amanda Lund and Maria Blasucci (two-women improv show BEANS!) — a pair of investigators attempting to solve the mysteries behind paranormal phenomena. At the same time, they attempt to convince their clients, other-worldly visitors and themselves that they are legit. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: FX has put in development an untitled coming-of-age comedy from Shine America and Jack Black‘s Electric Dynamite. Steve Agee (The Sarah Silverman Program) and Rob Schrab (Children’s Hospital) are co-writing the project, said to be tonally similar to cult fave Freaks And Geeks. It is based on Agee’s childhood experiences at a military academy in the 1980s. Shine America’s EVP Scripted Programming Carolyn Bernstein and Electric Dynamite’s Black and Priyanka Mattoo executive produce the comedy, which stems from Electric Dynamite’s first-look deal with Shine. Black is with WME and attorney Warren Dern. Agee is repped by Caliber Media. Schrab is with UTA and Mosaic. At FX, Shine America also has high-profile drama pilot The Bridge starring Diane Kruger and Demian Bichir.
EXCLUSIVE: Syfy continues to build a comedy development slate as the cable network is yet to greenlight its first half-hour pilot. Syfy’s latest comedy buy is Ghost Ghirls, a project created by Jeremy Konner, Amanda Lund and Maria Blasucci and executive produced by Jack Black. Directed by Konner, Ghost Ghirls is a comedic take on popular paranormal procedurals like Medium and Ghost Whisperer starring Lund and Blasucci (improv two-women show BEANS!) as two women: Heidi, who has self-proclaimed psychic abilities, and Angelica, who is a tech wiz. Together they attempt to solve paranormal mysteries each week while trying to prove to themselves and their customers that they are competent ghost hunters. Electric Dynamite’s Jack Black and Priyanka Mattoo will executive produce with Ben Cooley, while Konner will serve as producer. Black and Konner previously worked together on Drunk History, the Derek Waters-created series of shorts, which Konner directed. In it, comedians get very, very drunk, then re-tell their favorite stories from history with re-enactment. Black starred in 2 shorts as Ben Franklin. Another short, Drunk History: Douglass & Lincoln starring Will Ferrell and Don Cheadle, won the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. … Read More »
Vicky Eguia has been named vice president of publicity at Millennium Entertainment, reporting to marketing head Brooke Ford. Eguia most recently had been publicity veep at Apparition and before that served stints at Newmarket Films and Picturehouse with former Apparition chief Bob Berney. Under CEO Bill Lee, Millennium has gotten aggressive in acquisitions, including the Oren Moverman-directed Rampart, the Juan Carlos Fresnadillo-helmed Intruders, the Richard Linklater-directed Jack Black-starrer Bernie and the Elgin James-directed Little Birds.
This Funny Or Die video from writer-director Josh Greenbaum explains why non-liberal America hates Hollywood. Featuring Matt Damon, Sean Penn, Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Jack Black, and Kevin Spacey. Wait for the scene with Bill:
EXCLUSIVE: Former Daily Show executive producer Josh Lieb has sold two multi-camera comedy projects — one at NBC with actor-comedian Nick Thune and one at Fox that Jack Black’s company is producing. Both hail from Warner Bros Television.
The Lieb/Thune comedy received multiple offers before landing at NBC with penalty. Lieb and Thune will write the script for the project, which centers on a heartbroken hipster who quits his job and city life and moves to a small Oregon town. Thune is attached to star, while Lieb would showrun behind the Fox project, which is in first position. Lieb will executive produce, Thune will co-executive produce. Thune, repped by WME and 3 Arts, has starred in NBC comedy pilots for the past two seasons, Beach Lane in 2010 and I Hate That I Love You last year.
Lieb’s Fox comedy, which has a script commitment, is co-produced by WBTV, Jack Black’s Electric Dynamite and Reveille, where the company has an exclusive production deal. Written and to be executive produced by Lieb, the untitled project centers on a newly divorced father of two who asks his twentysomething sister to move in with him and help him restart his life. After a four-year stint as Daily Show executive producer, WME-repped Lieb left the hit Comedy Central show at the beginning of the year to … Read More »
Deadline revealed in July that Millennium Entertainment was buying U.S. distribution rights to the Los Angeles Film Festival’s opening film Bernie, the Richard Linklater-directed movie that stars Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey, for a low-seven-figure minimum guarantee and $1 million P&A commitment. Millennium has finally confirmed the deal. Here’s the official announcement: Read More »
GOP Candidates Seeking Hollywood Help
“We were discussing the new season of Glee,” tweeted Modern Family‘s Jesse Tyler Ferguson about what he and President Obama said to one another last night at the Sunset Strip’s House of Blues. It’s where the actor emceed one of two Hollywood fundraisers for Obama’s re-election campaign Monday. According to a White House pool report, Obama greeted Ferguson, turned to the microphone, and said, “I was telling him that Michelle and the girls love them some Modern Family.” Some in the crowd chanted “Four more years”. Roughly 900 people paid ticket prices starting at $250 and as much as $10,000 (to secure a photo with the president).
The second fundraiser cost $17,900 for each of the 120 people in attendance at Melrose Avenue’s Fig & Olive restaurant. The private event’s co-hosts included Hollywood producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, his longtime political adviser Andy Spahn, and Tennis Channel CEO Ken Solomon. “I’m going to need your help, so don’t get tired on me now,” Obama was quoted by a pool report as telling showbiz attendees like Judd Apatow, Aaron Sorkin, Jamie Foxx, Jack Black, Eva Longoria, Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, and Jon Landau (producer of Avatar and Titanic). “I urge some of you to watch the Republican debates,” Obama added.
Obama received a standing ovation from the industry types seated at round tables with white table linens. But news of the president’s impending Hollywood fundraising was punctuated by several media articles proclaiming that Tinseltown support for him had eroded greatly since 2008. Recently Democratic activists like Robert Redford, Matt Damon, and Michael Moore have criticized Obama’s inability to stay the liberal course. Katzenberg seemed to address that disappointment when he introduced Obama by saying, “We must keep fighting for him so he can keep fighting for us.” Katzenberg also noted, “I have a dependency on President Obama. He inherited a crashing economy and two wars and opponents who questioned if he was even born (in the U.S.). Yet he kept us moving forward. He was dealt adversity on all fronts, but he maintained his stature.” Read More »
BREAKING: Charlie Kaufman is attaching Jack Black and Nicolas Cage and is talking to Steve Carell to star in Frank Or Francis, the next film Kaufman will direct. Kaufman’s projects are always shrouded in mystery (sometimes even after you’ve seen them), but they are always compelling and this one’s gearing up for a 2012 start. After writing scripts that included Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Kaufman made his helming debut on his script Synecdoche, New York.
Cage previously starred in the Kaufman-scripted Adaptation, the adaptation of Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief. Black, who most recently starred in the indie Bernie, sort of worked with Kaufman in that he did script work on Kung Fu Panda 2. and Carell (who’s about to open in Crazy, Stupid, Love) is working with Kaufman for the first time. UPDATE: I’m told that Carell and Kaufman actually worked together back in 1996 on The Dana Carvey Show, so everybody knows everybody. Kaufman, Black and Carell are repped by WME, Cage by CAA.
The pic is being mounted as an indie that’s our to financiers and will be produced by Anthony Bregman.
EXCLUSIVE: A deal is near for Millennium Entertainment to acquire U.S. distribution rights to the Los Angeles Film Festival opening-night pic Bernie. I’m told that it will be the first significant grab for former Film Department co-head Mark Gill since he took the reins of Avi Lerner’s company (UPDATE: reps for the company claim Gill was not involved, though he released Linklater’s Before Sunrise while running Warner Independent, and those reps said the deal was made by Millennium Entertainment’s Bill Lee and Vincent Scordino). The minimum guarantee will be around $2 million with a P&A commitment of around $1 million and the deal should be done by Monday.
Inspired by a true story, the film stars Jack Black as the title character, an amiable funeral director who kills a rich widow (Shirley MacLaine) and creates a ruse that she’s still alive. Matthew McConaughey also stars in a film that’s directed by Richard Linklater. He directed Black in School of Rock and McConaughey in Dazed and Confused. Pic’s a coproduction between Mandalay Vision and Wind Dancer. Cinetic’s John Sloss and WME Global’s Graham Taylor are making the deal. Another deal is in the offing for Canada, putting the North American rights in the $3 million range. The deal certainly helps the LAFF as a showcase for acquisitions, which always helps a festival seem viable.