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‘King Of Kong’ Director Seth Gordon Ready To Play ‘War Games’ In MGM Reboot

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: MGM will reboot the 1983 thriller War Games, and the studio has set Seth Gordon to develop the film to direct. Gordon, who made his breakthrough with the gaming documentary The King of Kong, most recently directed the New Line comedy Horrible Bosses, with Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Jamie Foxx. The reconstituted MGM has been going to town with remakes — landing Jose Padilha to direct Robocop and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to script Carrie – but the John Badham-directed War Games is one that seems particularly reboot-able.

The original starred Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy as computer prodigies who finds a back door into a military computer program. They think they are playing games with the computer only to find they could trigger WWIII if the computer launches nuclear missiles at the Russians. In terms of computer games, kids were playing Pong back then; the level of sophistication with vidgames and the Internet in the digital age opens a wealth of possibilities, and Gordon will be given a wide berth to create a new take on the tale. The deal also reunites him with MGM toppers Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber and Jon Glickman, who were at Spyglass when Gordon directed Four Christmases there. Gordon’s repped by WME and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

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CAA Signs Justin Theroux

By | Tuesday June 7, 2011 @ 6:09pm PDT
Mike Fleming

CAA has signed Justin Theroux. The actor/screenwriter, who’d been repped by UTA, will next be seen starring opposite Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd in the David Wain-directed comedy Wanderlust. Theroux’s recent writing credits include the Adam Shankman-directed musical Rock of Ages, which just started shooting, and Iron Man 2 and Tropic Thunder. Theroux made his directing debut on Dedication, which starred Tom Wilkinson and Billy Crudup. Theroux continues to be managed by 3 Arts Entertainment’s Nick Frenkel and Michael Rotenberg.

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A 14-Year ‘Gambit’ Finally Provides a Big Payoff For Producer Mike Lobell

Mike Fleming

Production begins today on Gambit, a caper comedy that stars Colin Firth as a London art curator who plans to con England’s richest man into buying a phony Monet painting. To do it, he enlists a Texas steer roper (Cameron Diaz) to pose as a woman whose grandfather liberated the painting at the end of WWII. Michael Hoffman is directing, Alan Rickman and Tom Courtenay also star, and it’s Firth’s first big job since winning the Best Actor Oscar for The King’s Speech. And the script was written by Oscar winners Joel and Ethan Coen. Isn’t Hollywood great, the way these things just magically come together?

Gambit actually took a remarkable 14 years to get to this point, a case study on how impossible it is for producers to succeed without infinite patience and an inability to comprehend the word “no.” These Don Quixote types are the only ones in the moviemaking equation who don’t cash big paychecks through the development process, collecting serious fees only when their movies get made. They have a harder road than ever, because cost-cutting studios have made first-look producer deals an endangered species. After all, producers are bringing them projects anyway. In the case of Gambit, the driving force has been producer Mike Lobell. A seasoned vet who has gotten 14 pictures made — The Freshman, Honeymoon in Vegas and Striptease among them — Lobell … Read More »

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Jennifer Aniston, Alicia Keys, Demi Moore and Patty Jenkins To Direct Lifetime Movie

By | Tuesday March 29, 2011 @ 10:22am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Jennifer Aniston, Alicia Keys, Demi Moore and Patty Jenkins have signed on to direct the Lifetime original movie Project Five, an anthology of five short films exploring the impact of breast cancer on people’s lives.  Aniston, Marta Kauffman, Paula Wagner, Kristin Hahn, Kevin Chinoy and Francesca Silvestri will executive produce the movie, which reunites former Friends star Aniston and co-creator/executive producer Kauffman  for the first time since the end of the hit NBC series. Sony Pictures TV is producing.

Kauffman developed the interconnected story arc of Project Five, which will mix drama and comedy to explore the effect that breast cancer and its diagnosis have on women and their relationships. The five short films in Project Five were written under Kauffman’s supervision by Stephen Godchaux (Spin City), Jill Gordon (Cupid), Howard Morris (Women are Crazy), Deirdre O’Connor (The Electric Company) and Wendy West (Dexter). Aniston, Keys, Moore and Jenkins will each direct one short, with a fifth director expected to be announced soon. “Our hope with Project Five is to entertain, inform and inspire dialogue, research and prevention,” Aniston said. “Otherwise, our goals are small — we want these films to move people and empower those affected by breast cancer to stand tall through this challenge, which impacts ALL of our lives, no matter who we are.”

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Adam Sandler Beating Justin Bieber For #1





SATURDAY PM UPDATE: Sources tell me that the studios are having difficulty getting their nightly Rentrak numbers. But initial intel is that this back-and-forth North American box office battle for #1 isn’t over yet and may continue until Sunday night. Sony Pictures’ Just Go With It, starring the sometimes funny Adam Sandler and the always annoying Jennifer Aniston had a big Saturday jump (+41%) from Friday with $13.4M in grosses. If that holds, then this latest Valentines Day-timed rom-com could come in at $31.2M for the weekend. As for Paramount’s PG-rated Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D, “Bieber fever hasn’t broken but at least he’s sweating,” a rival studio exec said tonight. Even with higher 3D ticket prices but about 450 less theaters, the punk kid held strongly from Friday to Saturday with only a -13% drop for $10.7M which would put the kid at $30.2M for the weekend. As for other openers, Disney’s Gnomeo and Juliet 3D opened with a soft $6M Friday but that was doubled Saturday by the matinee kiddie bump for a $25.4M weekend. And Focus Feature’s PG-13 The Eagle had decent numbers in both major cities and suburbs.

Here’s the Top 10:

1. Just Go With It (Sony Pictures) NEW [3,548 Theaters]
Friday $9.7M, Saturday $13.4M, Weekend $31.2M

If the rom-com holds at No. 1, then like him or not, Adam Sandler’s track record as one of the most consistent top performers in the business continues. This latest is based on the old Cactus Flower play/movie (which itself was based on a French play) by Sandler’s Happy Madison production company and directed by Dennis Dugan. But by now who hasn’t seen this dumbass premise of a single man who pretends to be married all over The Hallmark Channel? Yet it received an “A-” CinemaScore overall and an “A” from females despite lousy reviews. Just Go With It, should also be the main Date Night movie choice on Valentine’s Day so expect to see a substantial spike on a typical non-holiday Monday. Last weekend, Adam did a lot of press during the Superbowl as well as MTV Networks (including VH-1, Spike, and Comedy Central) where special interstitials were created with footage from the film. Additionally, there was a TNT and NBA promo tied to the upcoming NBA All-Star Game, while Sony worked with ESPN for a special “Just Go With It Moment” promo which was cut using footage from last year’s Game 7 final match-up, and a clip from the film.

2. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never 3D (Paramount) NEW [3,105 Theaters]
Friday $12.5M, Saturday $10.7M, Weekend $30.2M

In terms of Disney comps, this is less than the $31M opening weekend of Disney’s 2008 Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best Of Both Worlds Concert Tour pic but massacres 2009′s Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience opening weekend of $12.5M. Considering Bieber’s pic had a budget of only $13M, the punk did fine. (But if he’s “living his dream” at soon-to-be age 17, then mine is to send him packing from Hollywood until his testicles descend.) Born out of production boss Adam Goodman’s Paramount Insurge initiative overseen by Amy Powell to find talent from the Internet, this is the first offering. Goodman came up with the idea of pursuing a Bieber pic, so he, Powell, Megan Colligan, and Rob Moore traipsed to the Target Center in Minneapolis to watch the kid’s concert first-hand at the end of June. Negotiated with LA Reid of Island Def Jam records and Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun, the idea was to follow Bieber’s journey to a sold-out Madison Square Garden. Justin’s Internet army of fans were enlisted to submit photos and videos that would be incorporated into the film and the initial one-sheet. At the end of November, the decision was made to let fans pay $30 to sneak the film complete with souvenir purple glasses and wrist bands. About 60,000 fans saw the film Wednesday so they could spend Thursday and Friday spreading the word at schools. Paramount only included the value of the ticket in its box office reporting, though. The premiere featured a stunt with Ellen DeGeneres (who early on identified Justin as a star) after his Tuesday appearance on her show: Usher showed up with a fleet of vans and brought Ellen’s entire audience of over 300 people to the premiere. The promotion included sister company MTV’s Jersey Shore and The Situation to let teens know this film was not just for tweens. Meanwhile, Bieber’s mom went on Christian Radio to make inroads with faith-based audiences.

3. Gnomeo and Juliet (Disney) NEW [2,994 Theaters]
Friday $6.1M, Saturday $11.5M, Weekend $25.4M

The project was at Miramax and, as part of the recent sale, Disney kept the film which was distributed by Touchstone. Executive Produced by Elton John and his Rocket Pictures, Gnomeo & Juliet is the only animated film in the marketplace right now. The soundtrack released February 8th from Buena Vista Records  features 9 songs from the songwriting team of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, performed by Sir Elton. (There’s a remake of Elton’s 1973 hit, “Crocodile Rock” sung with Nellie Furtado.) The voice cast included James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Jason Statham, Patrick Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne, Dolly Parton, and Hulk Hogan. Shrek 2‘s Kelly Asbury directed what was billed as  “the greatest love story ever told” starring… garden gnomes with plastic pink flamingoes and lawnmower races in the mix.

4. The Roommate (Screen Gems/Sony) Week 2 [2,534 Theaters]
Friday $2.6M, Saturday $3.8M, Weekend $8.5M (-43%), Cume $26.1M

5. Eagle (Focus Features) NEW [2,296 Theaters]
Friday $2.7M, Saturday $3.5M, Weekend $8.5M

Focus will hit projected numbers if the film makes $8 million for the weekend. Tracking best with men both over and under 25 (strongest with men over 25), the film had a budget of mid-$20sM and strong international pre-sales. Reviews were only mixed (35% positive on Rotten Tomatoes, 55% on Metacritic). The film drew a mostly male, ethnically diverse audience: 64% Male, 47% Under 30, 62% Under 35, 38% Caucasian, 27% Hispanic, 21% African American, 13% Asian. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Just Go With It’

Mike Fleming

Here’s the new trailer for Adam Sandler’s next comedy, Just Go With It. Jennifer Aniston co-stars but the focus is on Sports Illustrated swimsuit model-turned-actress Brooklyn Decker, who is now shooting Battleship for Universal. Conspicuously absent from this trailer is Nicole Kidman even though she’s listed in the credits of the Sony Pictures comedy that debuts February 11, 2011.

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And In Other Film Deals…

Mike Fleming

Universal closed a 2-pic deal with Alan Alda. He’ll play the head of a naturist village opposite Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd in the David Wain-directed WanderLust. Then join Ben Stiller in the Brett Ratner-directed Tower Heist.

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Jennifer Aniston Returns To TV Primetime

By | Monday August 23, 2010 @ 9:23am PDT

Jennifer Aniston is set to guest star alongside Courteney Cox on the Season Two premiere of ABC’s Cougar Town on September 22nd. The two haven’t worked together since Dirt. Aniston bombed in the feature film The Switch over the weekend.

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Kevin Spacey: Another Horrible Boss Turn

Mike Fleming

spacey-headshot2Now here is perfect casting. Kevin Spacey has joined the roster of Horrible Bosses, the Seth Gordon-directed New Line comedy that stars Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx, Colin Farrell, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis. Donald Sutherland has also joined the cast–playing a nice boss. Brett Ratner and Jay Stern produced the film.

Of course Spacey’s playing one of the title characters. (For my money, Spacey played the most horrible boss I’ve ever seen onscreen in 1994′s Swimming with Sharks.) Filming on Horrible Bosses begins in July. CAA and Joanne Horowitz made Spacey’s deal. Spacey, who most recently completed the George Hickenlooper-directed Casino Jack, is now shooting the JC Chandor-directed indie Margin Call about eight high finance-types in the first 24 hours of the financial crisis of 2008. Spacey’s been working more lately, but he still is Artistic Director of London’s Old Vic Theatre.

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