Steven Spielberg, John Williams and Jim Gianopulos were among the big names attending the dedication of the Lionel Newman Music Building. The building on the Fox lot in Century City has been renamed in honor of the late composer, conductor, pianist and longtime head of Fox’s music department, whose tenure with the studio spanned nearly half a century and more than 200 films, including his Oscar-winning score for 1969′s Hello Dolly! He also earned 10 other Oscar noms for such films as Doctor Doolittle and There’s No Business Like Show Business. He also worked on numerous TV series including Batman and M*A*S*H. Spielberg talked about meeting Newman during the scoring of Jaws, and five-time Oscar winner Williams spun tales of Newman’s colorful career at the studio. More than a dozen members of Newman’s family also were on hand, including his nephew Randy Newman, a two-time Oscar-winning songwriter and 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. “The music at Fox while Lionel was there was better than it was anywhere else,” he said. “The music he conducted, I always thought — and so did most of the composers — sounded better than the music he didn’t conduct.”
Governor Jerry Brown talked about the promise of California and played up the state’s economic comeback during a campaign fundraiser Thursday at Disney Studio boss Alan Horn’s Bel-Air home. …
EXCLUSIVE: It took a week from when we first broke news that Tony Sella was heading for the exits at Fox, but the move has just been made official. Studio chief Jim Gianopulos just issued …
His re-election is a year away and as much of a sure thing as anything can be in politics but Hollywood moguls unsurprisingly are already opening up their check books for Jerry Brown now. A $1,000 to $27,200 …
Hammond On Cannes: Elizabeth Taylor’s Memory Lives On At Festival As ‘Cleopatra’ Premieres And AIDS Event Hits 20th Anniversary
There are lots of stars in Cannes this year but I don’t think any of them are shining brighter at the festival than one who is no longer with us. Elizabeth Taylor may have died over two years ago at the age of 79 but she lives on, not only on the big and small screens where her many films still play, but also for all the amazing charitable work she did in her lifetime, particularly her fight against AIDS. Tomorrow night amFAR will certainly be remembering her at the 20th anniversary of Cinema Against AIDS, the signature event set during the Cannes Festival she helped start. And Tuesday night 20th Century Fox World Premiered its meticulous 2K digital restoration (it took nine months to complete) of the 1963 film, Cleopatra, infamous for the torrid off-screen love affair between its stars Taylor and Richard Burton.
On the occasion of its 50th anniversary the studio pulled out all the stops with a black tie premiere of the four-hour movie (that ironically almost bankrupted the studio), followed by a lavish party sponsored by Bulgari, the jeweler who supplied Taylor with so many of the baubles she was famous for collecting. In fact, as you entered the party on the J.W. Marriott rooftop it was hard to avoid them displayed in special glass cabinets. Included was the platinum and emerald necklace her co-star Burton gave her for their engagement in 1962. Host (and Bulgari spokesperson) Jessica Chastain actually wore it to introduce the film before taking it off and giving it back to Bulgari. She is the only person to have worn it other than Liz on her wedding day (or one of her wedding days). Also Fox brought in several original Cleopatra costumes. Fox Chairman Jim Gianopulos was there to help intro the film and told me later that the financial toll the film took on the studio has been overblown. “It turned a profit after three years,” he says although the movie’s cost was astronomical and ran off the rails. I asked Fox President of Post-Production Ted Gagliano about the story that director Joseph Mankiewicz actually had a six-hour cut and that two never-before seen hours of the film are somewhere in the Fox vaults. He says he has heard this as well but thinks it’s another in the long line of Cleopatra myths since they searched high and low and found nothing. One of the guests at the premiere, director and film nerd Alexander Payne told me after seeing the film again he wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn there was an even longer cut. “But who really needs to see a six-hour version?” he asked. Both Payne and his guest Laura Dern (whose father Bruce Dern stars in Payne’s Cannes entry, Nebraska, which premieres here Thursday) said they loved seeing the film in all its restored glory.
The USC School Of Cinematic Arts keeps making a big push to gain more support among current Hollywood moguls and filmmakers who aren’t has-beens. Smart business: the names will translate into more money and clout for the school and its BA, MA, MFA and PhD programs. USC has to compete just even locally with American Film Institute’s AFI Conservatory and UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television not to mention other rival schools nationally like New York University Tisch School of the Arts and internationally like Beijing Film Academy. So no surprise that Twentieth Century Fox Film Chairman Jim Gianopulos this week joined the USC film school’s Board Of Councilors. Last week, Bryan Singer donated $5 million and became the first alumnus to have one of the film school’s 6 programs of study named in his honor. Also last week, Paramount’s Brad Grey and CBS Inc’s Les Moonves joined George Lucas (alumnus) and Steven Spielberg (who applied twice and was turned down each time) at the gala reception opening of the Sumner M. Redstone Production Building for the school.
Gianopulos also joins Lucas and Spielberg – who’ve each donated buildings – on the USC film school board which takes a leadership roll in the school’s overall planning and development as well as supports its fundraising efforts. Board of Councilors Chair Frank Price, who used to preside over Universal Pictures and Columbia Pictures (twice), said in a statement: “Throughout his career Jim has always been dedicated to finding and supporting the next visionary filmmaker or technology and that fits right in with our goal as a Board. By working in support of the students at SCA we are ensuring that our industry has a bright future.” Gianopulos for his part explained: “I have long admired the commitment to being at the forefront of the cinematic arts that [Dean] Elizabeth Daley and USC have exemplified over the years.”
USC was funded in collaboration with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1929 and offers comprehensive programs in directing, producing, writing, critical studies, animation and digital arts, production, and interactive media. On Tuesday night, Hollywood bigwigs turned out for the Redstone building dedication which follows the Viacom Chairman’s donation of $10 million to the USC School Of Cinematic Arts kast January. The state-of-the-art production facility houses two soundstages, dubbed Redstone 1 and Redstone 2. Part of SCA’s new Cinematic Arts Complex, it features 2,600 square feet of production space for use by the about 1,000 students from the school’s various divisions who are studying production skills such as staging, lighting, directing, producing and forming/leading a crew. The building also is equipped with industry standard Strand dimming systems and Mole-Richardson lighting; floor lights, grip and electrical hardware; a Production Equipment Center; wooden stage floors; and soundproofing and soundproof utility doors, among many others features. “I’ve always said that content is king. It’s the lord of the realm. It’s the highest value in this industry,” Redstone told the crowd. “I’m hoping that adding my name to the Redstone building will further the art of storytelling and that, within its walls, the Spielbergs and Lucases of tomorrow will continue to make magic.”
The Hollywood Reporter is trumpeting that Fox Film chief Jim Gianopulos is “closing on a new long-term contract.” Well, thank you, Captain Obvious! It was clear to most that Jim G would be around awhile when the studio gave Tom Rothman his walking papers and anointed Gianopulos solo chairman. That …
EXCLUSIVE: Studio moguls often come into their jobs roaring like a lion. But then they leave like a lamb. Such was the case when a kinder and gentler Tom Rothman came back onto the Fox lot this week for his on-the-downlow swan song held at the Fox commissary. “It was very warm and cordial and packed with a ton of people,” one insider tells me about the goodbye party Monday night. An estimated 250-300 invitation-only guests ate and drank in honor of Rothman, who was ousted in that September 14th studio shakeup and left the lot on October 12th. Those there were mostly Fox film employees, but also (in random order) Ridley Scott, Aline Brosh McKenna, Bart Walker, Bryan Lourd, Dave Wirtschafter, Hutch Parker, Jim Mangold, Lili Zanuck, Mark Gordon, Peter Farrelly, Peter Chernin, Lauren Shuler Donner, Robert Newman, Simon Kinberg, John Davis, and Peter Rice. Rothman’s longtime Fox Filmed Entertainment co-chairman Jim Gianopulos — now solely chairman/CEO of Twentieth Century Fox Film — spoke first about their time together and all that they went through in their daily business. Like how Gianopulos came up with a signal in meetings to get Tom to stop talking (more like quiet down) by pulling on his ear. Jim said he noticed one day that his earlobe was longer than the other from tugging on it so much that he simply had to stop. Then, with a “gracious” nod to Rothman’s career slate of movies, Gianopulos introduced a reel. contd.
After, Gianopulos called up senior staff (presidents, etc) and Fox 2000 head Elizabeth Gabler spoke on their behalf ”emotionally” about Rothman. She showed one of the leather-bound scripts they presented him as a gift from all the films he had worked on during his 18-year tenure. Then the assembled group “raised a glass together and toasted him”. With that, Rothman spoke to the assembled group. As always, he was very articulate and intelligent but also ”warm and witty and self-deprecating”, said one of my sources. Described another, “Nice speech. It was nostalgic, sad, but classy to the end”. Naturally, there were lots of inside jokes. In a town where a new Mercedes
Finally opening wide today after a 10-year journey to the screen, director Ang Lee‘s epic and groundbreaking movie about the trecherous ocean voyage of two survivors of a shipwreck – a young man and an imposing Bengal Tiger – represents an enormous gamble for distributor 20th Century Fox. Even Lee who has won Oscars for equally groundbreaking fare such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain initally did not think this reported $120 million film based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel was viable. “I read it 10 years ago. I thought nobody in their right mind would put up more than $15 million for this. It’s too risky, too philosophical a book although it has great adventure in the middle part, the ocean part, but it’s a thinking book. So I didn’t think it was artistically filmable or technically so,” he told me when he came to town last week for a series of well-attended promotional screenings for the WGA, PGA, SAG, DGA and the Academy which drew a strong crowd Sunday night.
Lee wasn’t the only one who thought Life of Pi was unfilmable. Fox had been developing the picture with other filmmakers since aquiring the property in 2002 but until Lee got involved five years ago it was stalled. Even then it almost didn’t come together but the director prevailed in explaining his vision and the need to shoot it in 3D, his first time using that process. “I thought of 3D, that maybe with another dimension I could take a leap of faith. That was way before I knew what 3D was. It was a naive thought.
EXCLUSIVE: A major shake up is taking place at Arnon Milchan’s New Regency. Co-chairmen Bob Harper and Hutch Parker will not renew their contracts when they expire in December. I’ve confirmed with Harper that he and Parker are negotiating their exits. There had recently been a ripple of rumors about this, and there will be the inevitable speculation over whether the duo are jumping before being pushed. Harper didn’t get into that, but said that he was confirming because he and Parker were aware of the rumors and were most concerned with reassuring filmmakers with Regency projects that the duo would continue to be closely involved and see those films through to release. Harper also said the decision came after months of conversations with Milchan over whether or not to renew. Recently, they came to the conclusion that this was the best course. Milchan could conceivably name a replacement quickly, but Harper told me that he and Parker will continue to see through the completed films as well as some of the projects that are gearing up for production starts, regardless of how quickly the succession takes place.
Harper had been in the job for four years (he moved from the post of vice chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment and has worked for Fox since 1986), and Parker had been in the post for more than three years (he moved over from the post of 20th Century Fox vice chairman, and had been with the studio 13 years when he took the job). They have been involved in every facet of New Regency films, including production, marketing, distribution and administering the library. Harper said it is unclear what will happen next year, and that he and Harper haven’t solidified their plans. I wouldn’t be surprised if they remain on the Fox lot as producers or in some other capacity.
HOLLYWOOD, CA (May 19, 2011) – Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox and Lightstorm Entertainment jointly announced today that James Cameron’s “TITANIC” will be re-released worldwide on April 6, 2012.
The release, which marks the 100th anniversary of the Titanic setting sail (April 10th), will present the film in 3D for the first time ever.
Written, directed and produced by Cameron, “TITANIC” is the second highest grossing movie of all time. It is one of only three films to have received a record 11 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director; and launched the careers of stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
Called “A spectacular demonstration of what modern technology can contribute to dramatic storytelling” by Variety upon its release in 1997, the long in the works 3D conversion is being overseen by Cameron and his Lightstorm producing partner Jon Landau who produced the hit movie.