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Toronto: Magnolia Acquires U.S. Rights To Fernando Meirelles Drama ’360′

Mike Fleming

Magnolia Pictures bought U.S. rights to 360, the Fernando Meirelles-directed ensemble drama that stars Rachel Weisz, Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, Ben Foster, Jamel Debbouze and Moritz Bleibtreu. The film is a series of intersecting storylines that deal with love and infidelity, written by Peter Morgan and inspired by Arthur Schnitzler’s Reigen, the play most famously turned into the 1950s film La Ronde. 360 was high on buyer lists coming into Toronto, but despite the pedigree and starpower, many of the distributors found the subject matter too challenging to see a wide release. The film recently was chosen as the opening-night film of the BFI 55th London Film Festival. “Fernando Meirelles and Peter Morgan are two exceptional talents that have crafted a unique and truly special picture,” Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles said. He called it “a stunningly well made film, and a fantastic showcase for some of the most talented actors from around the world.” The film was produced by Andrew Eaton and David Linde, with Chris Hanley, Danny Krausz and Emanuel Michael. UTA Independent Film Group made the deal.

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Warner Bros Ready For ‘Sherlock Holmes 3′

By | Sunday October 23, 2011 @ 12:14pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has set Drew Pearce to write Sherlock Holmes 3, continuing the Guy Ritchie-directed series that stars Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. The deal will soon be sealed with Pearce, who is currently writing Iron Man 3, which will also star Downey.

This development comes even before the opening of the second installment of the franchise, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which bows December 16. The film focuses on the battle between Holmes, Watson, and their nemesis, Professor Moriarty. Jared Harris plays that role, and Noomi Rapace joins Rachel McAdams in the sequel. Pearce also did some writing on Pacific Rim, the big alien invasion film that Guillermo del Toro is about to begin shooting in Toronto for Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pearce is repped by WME and Warren Dern.

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Hot Trailer: ‘Sherlock Holmes 2′

Warner Bros. put up a new trailer today for the return of Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which opens December 16. Opinions?

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Magnolia Closing In On LFF Opener ‘360’

EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing that Magnolia Pictures is set to close a U.S. deal for Fernando Meirelles’ sexual drama 360, which opened the 55th BFI London Film Festival last night. Artificial Eye is also in talks to release 360 here in the UK on March 3 2012, I understand. Co-produced by Revolution Films, the UK production company behind IFC’s The Trip, the Peter Morgan-scripted feature follows a sexual circle of prostitution, infidelity and true love. Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz and Jude Law star. Paris-based sales agent Wild Bunch is selling the BBC Films-backed project internationally. Reviews here this morning have been pretty muted: The Daily Telegraph summed up the film as a “glossily unengaging trudge through other people’s love lives,” describing one moment where a character imagines a plane carrying away his lover as “spectacularly stupid.” The Times of London gives the film a pretty dismissive 3-star review, calling the plot improbable, and said the merry-go-round structure “crushes performances into twenty-minute slots that often fail to elicit our sympathy.. The Evening Standard though was much more positive, calling 360 “a well-crafted package” and “a film of beautiful moments, elegant structure and vivid locations.” Read More »

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BREAKING: Tonight’s NYFF Mystery Film Is Martin Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’

Mike Fleming

VIDEO: Martin Scorsese Introduces ‘Hugo’
HAMMOND: NY Film Festival Mystery Movie

BREAKING: I can confirm that tonight’s New York Film Festival mystery film is Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, the John Logan-scripted adaptation of the Brian Selznick novel Hugo Cabret. The festival revealed late last week that it would feature a film by a master filmmaker, and speculation covered everything from Clint Eastwood’s J Edgar to Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I’m told that Richard Pena will introduce the picture at Avery Fisher Hall, but I’m not sure if Scorsese will be in the house. The film isn’t quite finished, but it will be shown in 3D, though there might be some green screen moments. Paramount releases Hugo on November 23. Scorsese hasn’t shown an unfinished film like this before (though he did once tell me that The Last Temptation Of Christ qualified as that when Universal rushed it into release because protesters were dragging crosses in front of the houses of studio higher-ups like Sid Sheinberg), and the NYFF hasn’t shown an unfinished print like this since Disney’s Beauty And The Beast in 1991. But it’s a great opportunity to build buzz on the movie, Scorsese’s first family and 3D film. Read More »

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Participant Media Can Boast ‘Contagion’ #1 & ‘The Help’ #2; ‘Warrior’ #3 Disappoints; ‘Bucky Larson’ Bombs; Kevin Hart Still #10?

SATURDAY PM: This is shaping up as 2011′s lousiest box office weekend in North America with only $70M total grosses. Yes, even worse than Hurricane Irene’s. A lot of surprises in this weekend’s numbers and a fuller analysis is coming. But no surprise which new North American movie is No. 1:

1. With $8M Friday and +20% for $9.7M Saturday, it’s a $24M weekend for Warner Bros’ Contagion playing in 42% more theaters — 3,222 — than its nearest newcomer. This Participant Media-backed disease movie looked like yet another yikes-you’re-all-going-to-die formula pic. But I’m surprised it didn’t generate more appeal what with Oscar-winning Steven Soderbergh directing 6 Academy Award winners or nominees: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, and Laurence Fishburne. (Readers are urging me to include Oscar-honored John Hawke and Elliott Gould as well…) That added oomph to credited screenplay writer Scott Burns’ material. “Yes, it was important to be provocative and to scare people,” a Warner Bros exec tells me about the $60M-budget pic. “But both the print and trailer and TV campaign present a more well-rounded view of the mystery. We did sell the visceral experience — a smart and thrilling look at a  killer virus, the science behind it, and the aftermath.” Warner Bros took the film to Venice to solid reviews and conducted an aggressive consumer campaign. Besides, adult movies are working at the box office.

2. Entering its 5th weekend in release, DreamWorks/Disney’s hit dramedy The Help which is also backed by Participant Media made $2.7M Friday and $4M Saturday going to $9.4M from 2,935 locations for the weekend. It’s estimated new cume of $137.8M by Monday.

3. This seemingly anticipated mixed martial arts drama Warrior starring Tom Hardy (Bane in the next Batman) and Joel Edgerton was only released for 1,869 runs. It opened with $1.8M Friday and $2.1M Saturday for what was just a dismal $4.8M weekend. Another very disappointing opening for Lionsgate which was very high on this actioner. Did last weekend’s sneaks let some wannasee steam escape? Will this hurt Hardy whom Hollywood execs consider a hot soon-to-be-star?

4. Focus Features’ adult holdover The Debt earned $1.4M Friday (-45% from a week ago) from 1,874 theaters and a projected $4.5M weekend for an estimated $21.6M cume by Monday.

5. Sony Pictures’ holdover Colombiana made $1.1M Friday and $1.9M Saturday from 2,354 runs for a $4M weekend and $29.8M cume.

But I have it on good authority that Sony execs were hiding out at the Toronto Film Festival (where better-than-expected Moneyball officially premiered Friday night) rather than get tagged by its Columbia Pictures’ R-rated Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star which had one of the most annoying TV ad campaigns I’ve ever been assaulted by. Mercifully, its box office take was miniscule: $540K Friday and $570K Saturday for only a $1.2M weekend. That wasn’t even enough to make it into the Top 10 much less Sony’s hoped-for $4M. Fortunately the budget is purportedly just $10M. Usually Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production banner gives Sony box office gold: stupid pics popular with audiences. But this was fool’s gold.

Before I give you the rest of the Top 10, you should know that Kevin Hart’s Laugh At My Pain was No. 10 Friday despite Hartbeat Productions and Codeblack Entertainment releasing it into only 99 theaters. It opened to $758K Friday and an estimated weekend of $2M. But it may ultimately be beaten by The Weinstein Co’s Spy Kids 4D. (I’ll know Sunday AM.) Hart’s fans turned out for this profanity-filled film version of his recent stand-up tour. It offers less than an hour of Hart onstage but also includes such bonus footage as Hart touring his old neighborhood in Philadelphia and faking a bank heist. Directed by Leslie Small, this 1-hour, 28-minute pic and its entry into the Top 10 now establishes Hart as a bonafide star beyond just his YouTube videos which have drawn tens of millions of views. Look for the major studios to take notice.

Read More »

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Joe Wright To Direct ‘Anna Karenina’ For Focus With Keira Knightley As Lead

It’s official: Atonement director Joe Wright and star Keira Knightley are reteaming for Anna Karenina, the Working Title films adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel that was written by Tom Stoppard. The film will be distributed by Focus Features in the U.S. and Universal Pictures International worldwide sometime in the second half of 2012. Working Title co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing with Paul Webster; the trio were 2008 Oscar nominees as producers of Atonement. Read More »

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2011 Toronto: ‘Shame’ Will Start Dealmaking Flurry, But Buyers Wait To Be Blown Away

Mike Fleming

Last year’s Toronto Film Festival started slow for acquisitions, but finished with a flurry of modest distribution deals that served notice the specialty film business had finally pulled out of its nosedive. This year’s festival hasn’t started and already there are fireworks. Deadline broke news yesterday that Harvey Weinstein would start a VOD business, making the acquisitions market for fringe films more competitive; and last night, I heard that a bidding battle had already broken out for the Steve McQueen-directed Shame,  which should be sold by the time it screens Sunday. Fox Searchlight is the favorite, Sony Pictures Classics is in the mix and I’ve heard that The Weinstein Company is hovering. Bidding began right after its Telluride screening, and the mid-six figures thrown around yesterday will probably go higher. That’s huge, considering the movie is an unabashed NC-17, McQueen has final cut, and the sex-obsessed protagonist is unlikable. Oh, yeah, and the sellers want it released this year for Oscar consideration to capitalize on Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan’s Oscar-caliber performances.

Does this mean we’re in for a drunken buying frenzy? Hardly, buyers tell me. They are eager to see the films, but say there’s no title here that’s going to guarantee somebody will overpay. They are also mindful that many of last year’s deals turned out to be box office busts. More deals will be made than … Read More »

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BFI London Film Fest Opens With ’360′ From Fernando Meirelles

Mike Fleming

The BFI 55th London Film Festival will open with the European premiere of 360, the Fernando Meirelles-directed drama that stars Rachel Weisz, Jude Law and Anthony Hopkins. The film opens Oct. 12 and the festival unveils the rest of its titles next Wednesday. I’m told that the opening film came down to 360 and My Week With Marilyn, but the latter film couldn’t make it because star Michelle Williams could not free herself from the production schedule of Disney’s The Great and Powerful Oz, and co-star Kenneth Branagh will be onstage in Belfast. These fest openers are sometimes determined by availability. For instance, the New York Film Festival seriously eyed Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy for its opener, but the film’s star, Gary Oldman, could not free himself from The Dark Knight Rises.  The festival opens with Carnage, even though that film’s director Roman Polanski will certainly be a scratch.

360 is a Peter Morgan-scripted drama of interconnected stories about fidelity. It’s considered one of the hot acquisition titles that will unveil next month at the Toronto International Film Festival, and a possible Oscar contender. (Weisz won Best Supporting Actress for 2005′s The Constant Gardener, which was her last film with Meirelles.) The film is produced by Andrew Eaton and David Linde, Emanuel Michael, Danny Krausz and Chris Hanley. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Andrew Niccol’s ‘In Time’

Mike Fleming

Fox and New Regency put up a trailer this weekend for In Time, the Andrew Niccol-directed futuristic science fiction thriller that takes place in a world where people who want to live beyond 25 have to purchase time. The protagonist’s clock is about to run out when a rich guy tired of living gives away his time. Niccol used a similar plot driver in his 1997 directorial debut Gattaca, where Ethan Hawke got the chance to escape his dreary home planet and got a shot at space travel despite inferior genetics when an elite athlete (Jude Law) whose body is ruined gives him his ticket off the planet. It worked well in that movie, and In Time gives Justin Timberlake an opportunity to move from romantic comedies to action terrain in a movie career that so far has been a pleasant surprise. Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde and Cillian Murphy also star in a film that opens Oct. 28.

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Celebs Fight Murdochs Over Newspaper Phone Hacking

Hollywood isn’t famous for courage — especially when it means standing up to someone as powerful as Rupert Murdoch who owns one of the biggest movie and television companies. So it’ll be interesting to see how far actors Jude Law and Hugh Grant take their lawsuits charging that Murdoch papers hacked their phone conversations. There’ve been a few developments this week in those cases: The FBI plans to talk to Law about his suit last week alleging that News Of The World based a 2003 story about the actor on hacked phone messages, the BBC reports. The matter could go to U.S. courts because Law says the paper listened to mobile phone messages between him and an assistant made on a domestic network while both were at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport. Last month Law’s former girlfriend, Sienna Miller, accepted a $164,000 settlement from NOTW from a different claim that the paper had hacked her phone. Law says that the problems at Murdoch’s newspaper empire weren’t limited to NOTW: Last month he sued the Sun for violating his privacy, alleging that it based four stories in 2005 and 2006 on his secret phone messages. The Sun fired back that Law’s charges are ”deeply cynical and deliberately mischievous” adding that the paper’s investigation found that Law’s claims “have no foundation whatsoever.” That case will go … Read More »

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Steven Soderbergh Reiterates Retirement Plans: Wants “A Smallish Farewell Parade”

Mike Fleming

While I have been on record expressing the sentiment that there are many filmmakers who should retire before Steven Soderbergh, I just got off the phone with the filmmaker. And damn it, he still wants to punch out by the time he hits 50. “I’m still following my plan,” he told me. “I’ve been stupid about it, I should have kept my mouth shut, but at the same time, I don’t think there’s anything that unusual about it. By the time I finish with the series of projects I’m planning, it will be 26 or 27 films. That’s plenty and if you take volume over quality; I’m twice as good as Kubrick.”

Forecasting his exit also didn’t help in terms of preparing the industry to make a fuss over him. “I figured by giving them two years lead time, they would line up those lifetime achievement awards, but there have been no calls or anything,” Soderbergh joked. Asked what he would like, he said, tongue firmly in cheek, “The Oprah thing. A year-long daily celebration of my fabulousness would be nice. Or maybe just a smallish parade.”

Soderbergh and I were speaking about Relativity Media’s decision to release Haywire, which it financed but set distribution originally through Lionsgate. Though that picture was shot before Contagion – the thriller about the outbreak of a deadly virus that stars Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard and Jude Law – Haywire will be released Jan. 20, 2012, three months after Contagion. Soderbergh will talk the picture up while promoting Contagion, which he feels will help an action film that leans heavily on Gina Carano, known only to mixed martial arts fans who’ve seen her fight on the circuit. Soderbergh also liked the Relativity move because it reunites him with Relativity’s new marketing chief Terry Curtin, with whom Soderbergh worked at Universal on Erin Brockovich.

“I think it might be best for Haywire to follow Contagion, which is the kind of film people like to see me make,” Soderbergh said. “It’s in the vein of Traffic, an entertaining multi-layered story about something timely right now. Because Gina has never been in a movie before, being able to draft off Contagion will be very good. We knew she could do the right stuff, but she really delivers as a screen presence. She looks comfortable, and then she tears these guys in half.”

Soderbergh said he’ll start work in September on Magic Mike, the film that will star Channing Tatum and Alex Pettyfer as male strippers in a coming-of-age story reminiscent of Saturday Night Fever. He’ll follow by directing George Clooney in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. in February. After that, Liberace with Michael Douglas and Damon will likely be Soderbergh’s swan song. While I reminded him that he’s walking away at a time when he has plenty to say and the wisdom to know how to solve problems that maturity brings, he disagreed. Read More »

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CANNES: Hammond Analysis, Jury Explains Their Vote, Winners Talk

Pete Hammond

CANNES AWARD SHOCKER: Terrence Malick’s ‘The Tree Of Life’ Wins Palme d’Or

In the end, it was the movie that has been the most talked about over the past two Cannes Film Festivals, so it was probably preordained, even in a great year for movies like this one has been, that Terrence Malick’s epic dissertation on life  would win the big prize, the Palme d’Or, and so it has. But Malick wasn’t there to accept for The Tree of Life, and instead producers Bill Pohlad and Dede Gardner took the stage, saying he was too shy to show, a line they first used in their post-screening press conference and later tonight at a post-awards news conference. They were joined at the press confab by a jubilant Patrick Wachsberger of Summit, who has been handling international distribution, and EuropaCorp’s Luc Besson. Pohlad said he talked to Malick just before the show and said, “I think there’s a chance we might win something.” Gardner said Malick told her he would have thanked his wife and parents if he were there, but of course he wasn’t there. Earlier in the week at the premiere, he skipped the news conference and the red carpet but appeared in the theatre to take applause and see the film. The Tree of Life was the sole competition entry to be designated as American, even though two other winners … Read More »

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Paramount To Distribute Martin Scorsese’s ‘Hugo Cabret’ For Thanksgiving

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has stepped up to become the distributor of the Martin Scorsese-directed 3D film Hugo Cabret, with the studio locking a November 23 release date, the day before Thanksgiving. The adaptation of the Brian  Selznick novel is produced and financed by GK Films and Graham King felt strongly that the five-day Thanksgiving holiday was the optimum time for the picture to open. Hugo Cabret was originally slated to be distributed by Sony Pictures, under GK Films’ output deal. Sony had the film originally scheduled for a December 9 release and when the studio couldn’t provide the requested Thanksgiving date, Sony Pictures agreed to let GK Films move the picture.

Paramount has an overall deal with Scorsese and chairman Brad Grey has a close relationship with the director and King. The studio, which didn’t have a big Thanksgiving release, jumped at the chance to be part of Scorsese’s first 3D film. The picture stars Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley, Jude Law and Emily Mortimer.

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Emily Mortimer and Michael Stuhlbarg Reunite With Scorsese for ‘Hugo Cabret’

Emily_MortimerMortimer, who appeared in Shutter Island, and Stuhlbarg, who co-stars in Boardwalk Empire, have become the latest cast additions to Scorsese’s 3D children’s movie. Hugo Cabret began shooting in London last month. Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass) star. Rounding out the cast are Jude law, Ray Winstone, Christopher Lee, Richard Griffiths (The History Boys) and Frances de la Tour (Alice in Wonderland). Hugo Cabret, the story of an orphan who solves the mystery of a broken robot, is something of a family reunion for Scorsese. John Logan, who wrote The Aviator, has written the script. And Graham King of GK Films is producing alongside Scorsese, Tim Headington and Johnny Depp. DP Robert Richardson, production designer Dante Ferretti, costume designer Sandy Powell and editor Thelma Schoonmaker all worked on Shutter Island. Cabret represents Scorsese’s first foray into 3D.

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