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Paramount Taps ‘Jackass’ Impresario Johnny Knoxville To First Look Deal

Mike Fleming

knoxBREAKING: Paramount Pictures has signed Johnny Knoxville and his Hello Junior banner to an exclusive 2-year first-look deal. This comes after Deadline revealed that he was brought in to voice Leonardo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and it follows a long string of hits with the studio including the Jackass films and Bad Grandpa. Those Jackass films have earned $336 million globally, and Bad Grandpa did just over $150 million worldwide.

Related: Johnny Knoxville Takes ‘Sick Day’ For Universal

zWith the possible exception of Jackie Chan (who does all his own stunts), no actor has sacrificed his body and absorbed more onscreen punishment than Knoxville did in those Jackass films.  Chan never took a paintball shot or numerous other projectile objects to the nutsack, which I recall seeing Knoxville do so often, in the name of comedy. Or been upended by a raging, charging bull, or been knocked unconscious by the over-sized jnboxer known as Butterbean in a clothing store. I could go on, but I think I’ve made the point that no one can begrudge Knoxville this good fortune as he limps into his new office on the Par lot. Let’s hope the deal includes medical.

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Johnny Knoxville Takes ‘Sick Day’ For Universal

By | Monday April 28, 2014 @ 6:13pm PDT
Mike Fleming

knoxEXCLUSIVE: Johnny Knoxville has come attached to star in Sick Day, the comedy that Jeremy Garelick will direct for Universal Pictures. Jordan Cahan will rewrite the script originated by Garelick, the latter of whom picked Cahan because he is busy in postproduction on The Wedding Ringer, his directorial debut for Screen Gems. Brian Grazer is producing the comedy for Imagine Entertainment alongside Kim Roth. Edward Bates will also produce under his Bates Entertainment banner.

In what is a modern-day Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Knoxville will play one of three thirtysomething friends who uphold a tradition of calling in sick one day a year to fulfill fantasies while not getting caught. He is the first actor in the fold. I still can remember at Variety, being the first journalist to see and write about his absolutely shocking home movie shot by Jeff Tremaine and Spike Jonze that became the template for Jackass, where Knoxville subjected himself to the most medieval forms of abuse, capped by being shot with a handgun while wearing a cheap bulletproof vest. So forgive me if I get a little misty as my little Johnny gets another big studio starring role, where they have stuntmen, and he doesn’t have to get paintballed or gored by a bull or have his nut sack throttled in the many indignities he subjected himself to during his run as Jackass star. Read More »

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Johnny Knoxville, Tony Shalhoub Lend Voices To ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’

Mike Fleming

shalknoxEXCLUSIVE:  If the half-shell hero Leonardo sounds a bit like Bad Grandpa in the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the half-pint sensei Splinter sounds like Monk, there’s good reason. Johnny Knoxville has just been added to voice the role of Leonardo, and Tony Shalhoub is voicing Splinter, the Yoda-like creature that teaches chop socky technique to the turtles. Now, Pete Ploszek played the role of Leonardo during the filming part, while Seinfeld‘s Danny Woodburn played Splinter. Insiders tell me they were always open to changing the voicing component of the Jonathan Liebesman-directed film that Paramount releases August 8, and those actors were only guaranteed to physically perform the roles in costume. But as it has proven with World War Z, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Noah, Paramount also is a studio that isn’t reticent to adding ingredients to the souffle after it has risen, and right up to the point where it’s ready to be served.

Related: Hot Teaser Trailer: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’

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Hot Redband Trailer: Johnny Knoxville In ‘Bad Grandpa’

By | Monday October 21, 2013 @ 7:00pm PDT

Here’s a redband peek at Paramount‘s Bad Grandpa that gives a better sense of the R-rated shenanigans Johnny Knoxville perpetrates on unwitting Americans in his October 25 Jackass spin-off. Jeff Tremaine directs the Borat-esque road trip comedy with Fun Size‘s Jackson Nicoll as Knoxville’s pint-sized prankster-in-arms:

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Hot Clip: ‘Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa’

By | Wednesday October 2, 2013 @ 1:00pm PDT

Here’s the first clip from Paramount’s Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, in which Johnny Knoxville punks strangers while in character as senior citizen Irving Zisman. The previous three Jackass films grossed $79M, $84M, and $170M worldwide for Paramount – but they also kept to the show’s signature disconnected shocks and pranks vs. a Borat-esque hidden camera narrative. Bad Grandpa is scripted by Knoxville, director Jeff Tremaine, and Spike Jonze, and opens wide on October 25 against Fox and Ridley Scott’s The Counselor with no other major competition:

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Hot Trailer: ‘Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa’

Jackass jackanape Johnny Knoxville returns to shock doc comedy in Paramount‘s Bad Grandpa, pranking real life strangers in character as his recurring Jackass character Irving Zisman. The Borat-style faux setup has Zisman shepherding his 8-year-old grandson (Fun Size‘s Jackson Nicoll) on a cross-country road trip, awkwardly offending and surprising male strippers, bikers, funeral mourners, and child beauty queens and stage moms. The studio slotted Bad Grandpa into the October 25 slot vacated by Paranormal Activity 5, which moved to a January 2014 debut earlier this month. Here’s the first trailer:

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Toronto: Renée Zellweger To Make Directorial Debut With ‘4 1/2 Minutes’

Renée Zellweger will star with Johnny Knoxville in the comedy that marks the actress’ directorial debut. K5 International and PalmStar Media Capital concluded a financing and sales deal today on the film, which K5 will introduce to buyers in Toronto. 4 1/2 Minutes is set in New York City’s stand-up milieu with Knoxville playing a commitment-phobic comic whose life is falling apart when he takes a job looking after single-mom Zellweger’s genius son. The story is based on the comedy of real-life stand-up Dov Davidoff. Warrior‘s Anthony Tambakis penned the script. Zellweger and Tambakis are already working together on TV drama Cinnamon Girl, a 1970s-set project that the pair co-created and which Lifetime picked up to pilot in July. She’ll also star in the upcoming Broadway adaptation of The Hustler, written by Tambakis and to be directed by Warrior‘s Gavin O’Connor. PalmStar’s Kevin Frakes is producing 4 1/2 Minutes with Zellweger and Tambakis through their All Together Now banner. Raj Brinder Singh will executive produce. Film is set to start production in NYC in February. Zellweger is repped by CAA which is also handling North American rights.

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Nicolas Cage, Juno Temple And Johnny Knoxville Headed For ‘Wild Side’

By | Tuesday May 8, 2012 @ 11:10am PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING… Nicolas Cage, Juno Temple and Johnny Knoxville will star in Wild Side, a road trip action film to be directed by Jesse Baget from a script he wrote with Stefania Moscato. Zero Gravity Management’s Mark Holder and Christine Holder are producing and financing with Hollywood Media Bridge’s Phillip B. Goldfine and Oak Street Films. Arclight Films is selling international and Lionsgate is handling domestic. Shooting begins July 23 in Louisiana. Read More »

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CAA Signs ‘Natural Selection’ Helmer Robbie Pickering

By | Monday December 5, 2011 @ 8:52am PST
Mike Fleming

CAA has signed Robbie Pickering, who wrote and directed Natural Selection, the film that was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards last week, one for Best First Feature. The movie premiered at the last South By Southwest Film Festival, where it won Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. Pickering, who’d been repped by Verve, is writing with partner Jase Ricci a new Bugs Bunny animated feature for Warner Bros, and the Johnny Knoxville-starrer Moustache Riders at Paramount.

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Johnny Knoxville And Patton Oswalt Play Squabbling Sibs In Big Beach Comedy

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Johnny Knoxville and Patton Oswalt have signed on to star in an untitled comedy that will be directed by Todd Rohal and financed by Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf’s Big Beach Films. Knoxville and Oswalt will play battling brothers who attempt to honor their ailing father by taking a troop of boys on a camping trip. It all goes awry. Rob Riggle, Maura Tierney and Patrice O’Neal also star.

Rohal, who originally wrote the script under the title Scout Master, most recently directed The Catechism Cataclysm. Production on the new comedy starts this week. Turtletaub and Saraf are producing with Lisa Muskat, David Gordon Green is exec producer, and Big Beach’s Michael Clark and John Hodges are overseeing production. Big Beach produced the Paul Rudd comedy Our Idiot Brother, which The Weinstein Co launches on Aug. 26. Rohal, Knoxville and Oswalt are repped by CAA, Knoxville’s managed by 3 Arts and Oswalt by Generate.

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Paramount Buys ‘First Man’ For Johnny Knoxville, Ramps Up ‘Mustache Riders’ For The ‘Jackass’ Gang

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has acquired a new project and  made forward progress on another that will star Johnny Knoxville, who has made the studio huge money with the Jackass films. Best of all for Knoxville, both comedies are scripted, which should spare his body at least some abuse.

The studio has preemptively bought First Man, a pitch that Matt Spicer & Max Winkler will write, with Knoxville’s Dickhouse Entertainment producing. Knoxville will play a man whose wife is elected president. A natural hellraiser, he has totally behaved himself during his wife’s presidential campaign, only to find the dynamic of their relationship changes after he moves into the White House and becomes First Man. He is prompted to return to  rowdy form. Dickhouse Entertainment and Priya Swaminathan are attached to produce. Winkler wrote and directed, and Spicer produced Ceremony, which Magnolia will release April 8 with Uma Thurman, Michael Angarano and Lee Pace starring. Winkler & Spicer also scripted The Adventurers Handbook with Jonah Hill and wrote Whispers In Bedlam for Jason Reitman to direct at Fox Searchlight.

Paramount is also reconfiguring Mustache Riders, a project the studio bought in 2008.  This comedy is about three small-time crooks who set off on an adventure to find a buried treasure with a grizzled old outlaw. Knoxville and his Jackass cohorts Bam Margera and Ryan Dunn [who died in a car crash since this news was posted] are attached to star along with singer Willie … Read More »

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BOX OFFICE GROSS: ‘Jackass 3D’ No Joke With $50M Weekend, ‘Red’ Strong #2

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM UPDATE: Two movies roundly rejected by Hollywood, one for being too moronic and the other too moldy, led the North American box office weekend with a big $125M weekend overall:

1. Jackass 3D (Paramount) NEW [3,081 Theaters]
Friday $21.8M, Saturday $17M, Weekend $50M

As a studio exec joked to me Friday, “The Oscar race has been turned on its head”. That’s because Paramount’s Jackass 3D aimed at the youth market not only earned twice the gross of Sony’s Academy Awards-touted Facebook origins film starting its 3rd week Friday, but knocked it out of #1. Producers Johnny Knoxville’s and Spike Jonze’s stupid stunt pic directed by Jeff Tremaine earned a “B+” CinemaScore. Still the headline is that, despite the restriction of an “R” rating, it opened to a whopping Friday for the biggest single day ever in October because of the higher 3D ticket prices. That included $2.5M from midnight shows, also the most ever for October. Plus a healthy Saturday after the “first to see” subsided. Its $50M weekend take was the record for the biggest opening in the month of October (besting Scary Movie 3 which did $48.1M in October 2003 but was only 2D). Guess this shows Hollywood that movies don’t need a script and a plot, right? With a budget of only $20M, the studio would have been more than happy with the $30M weekend it expected from the higher ticket prices from the 2,452 3D-equipped locations. (The first 2D Jackass opened with a $22.8M weekend and the 2D sequel to $29M.) Believe it or not, I’m told the filmmakers debated whether or not shooting a film in 3D would mess up their comedic timing.

Exit polling showed the audience was 60% male, and 67% under age 25. Two of the biggest components of the Jackass 3D marketing campaign were premiering 10 minutes of 3D footage at Comic-Con via a mobile 3D screening room and the public spectacle of letting MTV’s Jersey Shore cast been seen watching and talking about the new film. There’s been relentless promotion by the Viacom sister company which first gave birth to the Jackass TV and movie franchise and even product licensing program (now featuring apparel, sunglasses, skateboards, even a Converse shoe, and hardbound book. As if Jackass fans read.) Last weekend, MTV marked the 10th anniversary of Jackass with 2 TV specials leading up to the film’s release: Jackass: The Beginning and The Making Of Jackass 3D featuring never-before-seen content from the gang: Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Ryan Dynn, Jason “Wee Man” Acuña, Preston Lacy, Dave England, and Ehren McGhehey. MTV also showed the franchise’s humble TV origins back in 2000 before it became a pop culture phenom. (P.S. The Making of Jackass 3D contains a visual of Deadline Hollywood. I couldn’t be more proud)

2. Red (Summit) NEW [3,255 Theaters]
Friday $7.3M, Saturday $9.2M, Weekend $22.5M

Every studio passed on making the stylish PG-13 comedy Red aimed at the adult audience except for Summit Entertainment: now the Robert Schwentke-directed pic features Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Bruce Willis — some of them as past-their-expiration-date assassins. That’s surprisingly strong considering the over-the-hill stars and subject matter. But the pic received an “A-” Cinemascore and 73% definite recommend. Exit polling showed the audience was 53% male, and 58% over age 35. In pre-release screenings, I’m told the film played as a crowd pleaser by mixing the right amount of action with humor based on witty lines and deft timing. It was tracking across all quadrants with the strongest being male moviegoers over age 30. But that cast was the #1 reason people went to see the film based on the cult DC Comics graphic novels by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner. Read More »

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