EXCLUSIVE: 30 Rock alumna Jane Krakowski is powering up with the cast of Columbia Pictures’ Pixels opposite Adam Sandler and Kevin James. She’ll play the First Lady to James’ President Cooper, who also once dated Sandler’s character Jules Brenner, in the science fiction comedy directed by Chris Columbus. The Happy Madison and 1492 Pictures production unfolds when aliens invade Earth after misinterpreting feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of intergalactic war. Pic is now filming in Toronto. Krakowski is the latest addition to a cast that includes Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad and Ashley Benson.
In the past year the Golden Globe-nominated thesp has turned in guest spots on The Simpsons and Modern Family after ending her Emmy-nominated seven season run as Jenna Maroney on NBC’s 30 Rock. On the features side she’s also got the upcoming Ashley Judd romance Big Stone Gap and Adult Beginners with Nick Kroll and Rose Byrne in the hopper. Krakowski’s repped by UTA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Pixels is due in theaters May 15, 2015.
EXCLUSIVE: Sony has acquired Stranded, a pitch that will be written by Tripper Clancy as a star vehicle for Kevin James. It’s a family comedy/action-adventure idea, and they are keeping the log line under wraps. The idea came from James and Todd Garner, who’ll produce together with Sean Robins from Broken Road. Jonathan Kadin will oversee for Sony. Tripper is repped by UTA and Benderspink. The scribe has Ambassadors at Fox and Winter Break at QED. James, who’s repped by WME and Jeff Sussman, is starring in Pixels and Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 for Sony.
EXCLUSIVE: Sony has found its leads for Pixels, the Chris Columbus-directed film. Kevin James and Josh Gad are in early talks to star in the film. Adam Sandler and Jack Giarraputo’s Happy Madison is producing. Tim Herlihy and Tim Dowling wrote the script, based on short by Patrick Jean. Production will begin this summer. The logline: When aliens attack by staging versions of ’80s video games on an epic scale, four champion arcade gamers are called back into action to save the world.
EXCLUSIVE:Sony is rounding up more familiar faces to join Kevin James in Sin City for Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. The sequel to 2009′s hit comedy will see Blart attending a security guard expo in Las Vegas with his daughter, where he’s mocked by casino security until he helps them take on a group of dangerous art thieves. In addition to SNL‘s Molly Shannon, who is in negotiations for a co-starring role, Wizards of Waverly Place‘s David Henrie, who appeared in Grown Ups 2, has been cast as Lane, a charming valet attendant whom Blart’s daughter Maya develops a crush on. Raini Rodriguez is in negotiations to reprise her role as Maya. Eduardo Verastegui (Bella) will play a Vegas hotelier whose hotel becomes a heist target. Nicholas Turturro (I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry) has been cast as one of Blart’s security guard rivals. And James’ brother, comedian Gary Valentine (The King of Queens), is set to play a sympathetic fellow security guard. James, Henrie, and Verastegui also co-star together in the upcoming WWII dramedy Little Boy. Andy Fickman is directing Mall Cop 2 from a script by James and Nick Bakay, who wrote the first pic. James, Adam Sandler, and Todd Garner are producers on the Happy Madison production, which films in Las Vegas in April. Henrie is repped by Untitled Entertainment and ICM. Rodriguez is repped … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The King of Queens star Kevin James is returning to his sitcom roots. I’ve learned that as part of the overall film and TV deal James just signed with Lionsgate, he will star in and executive produce a multi-camera comedy under the 10/90 model crafted by the Lionsgate-owned Debmar-Mercury. Under the template, Lionsgate and Debmar-Mercury sell sitcoms to mostly cable networks with an initial 10-episode straight-to-series order, which, if a ratings target is met, triggers a 90-episode back order that allows the sitcom to quickly amass enough episodes for its launch in broadcast syndication. Debmar-Mercury introduced the 10/90 model with Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne followed by Perry’s Meet The Browns and Ice Cube’s Are We There Yet? — all on TBS. In the model’s second incarnation, Lionsgate and Debmar-Mercury have been building comedies around proven sitcom stars including Charlie Sheen, the lead of Anger Management, now in production on its 90-episode back order; George Lopez, in production on the initial 10 episodes of Saint George; and Kelsey Grammer & Martin Lawrence, in preproduction on the initial 10 of the untitled Grammer/Lawrence project. Those three shows are on FX.
Kevin James has had a longstanding development deal with Sony Pictures that netted pics like Hitch, Paul Blart: Mall Cop and the Grown Ups movies as well as his CBS series The King Of Queens via Sony’s TV division. It was at Sony where James worked with now Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer, who oversaw Sony’s TV group during the creation, development and launch of that series, which netted James a Best Actor Comedy Emmy nom in 2006. He will continue that feature development deal and now is adding an overall pact with Lionsgate, the parties unveiled today. Under the agreement, Lionsgate will develop film and TV projects in which James will star as well as produce. “We’re delighted to be in the Kevin James business and, on a personal level, I’m pleased to reunite with my star from The King of Queens,” Feltheimer said announcing the tie-up. “Kevin is exactly the kind of versatile and entrepreneurial acting, producing and writing talent with whom we like to partner. He has a tremendous track record in both the film and TV business, and we look forward to partnering with him on a wide range of projects in the years to come.”
WME has signed Bas Rutten, the mixed martial arts champion who co-stars with Kevin James in the Sony Pictures comedy Here Comes The Boom. He collaborates frequently with James, previously appearing in Paul Blart: Mall Cop and lending his voice to the cast of Zookeeper. Now, like James, he is in the WME and Jeff Sussman Management fold.
Rutten is currently the co-host of the weekly Inside MMA program on AXS TV and has provided color commentary for several fight organizations including the former Pride Fighting Championships. He knows the subject matter: Rutten is a former three-time King of Pancrase World Champion and UFC Heavyweight Champion. He evolved from a devastating stand up striker who dropped 11 opponents by knockout and then became as dominant in ground fighting, winning 14 bouts by submission. He was undefeated in his final 22 fights.
EXCLUSIVE: Think Like A Man star Kevin Hart is in talks to join Kevin James in Valet Guys, the Sony Pictures comedy that is coming together for a late year start in Miami. In the script by Nick Bakay and James, they play two valet guys at a high-end hotel who lose a pricey sports car and have 48 hours to retrieve it. Murder is involved and they have to run for their lives. The film’s being produced by James and Todd Garner.
Hart’s hot stuff after the Screen Gems comedy Think Like A Man grossed $86 million on a $12 million budget to become one of the year’s breakout hits. James filmed the MMA pic Here Comes The Boom and is about to start Grown Ups 2.
EXCLUSIVE: Writer-producer-actor Nick Bakay had been at Verve and now will be repped by APA in all areas. He wrote the Kevin James movies Zookeeper and Paul Blart: Mall Cop and just finished penning Valet Guys, which James and Adam Sandler will star in for Sony. On TV, Bakay was a consulting producer on the James-starring King Of Queens, and he recently sold a pilot to Fox as part of a development deal with Happy Madison and Sony TV. In addition to a bunch of acting and voice-over work (he was the cat on Sabrina The Teenage Witch), Bakay moonlights as a sports columnist at NFL.com and contributes to ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. He continues to be repped by Jared Levine of Barnes, Morris, Klein, Yorn, Barnes & Levine.
After making a splash by funding the wildly profitable Darren Aronofsky-directed Black Swan, Timmy Thompson and Brian Oliver’s Cross Creek Pictures has become an increasing presence in the independent film producing and finance game. To help manage the growing project volume, they’ve hired Becky Sloviter to be senior vice president of development and production. She started work yesterday and had most recently been veep of development and production at MGM, where she worked on such titles as the Kevin James-starrer Zookeeper and the Drew Goddard-directed The Cabin in the Woods, as well as the musical Valley Girl which is on a fast track at MGM. Before that, Sloviter had been a production exec at Stuber/Parent Productions. Read More »
What a road this movie has traveled. This is Sony’s big Summer 2011 comedy, but pre-bankruptcy MGM did all the heavy lifting. It paid $2 million for the Jay Scherick/David Ronn script and hired Kevin James at a bargain price before he made Paul Blart: Mall Cop, and then steered the pic through production. It should have been MGM’s swing for the fences, but the MGM financial crisis caused it to be turned over for distribution by its SPE partners. Release date is July 8th:
Sony Pictures and MGM have finally announced the worst kept secret in Hollywood. They’ve reached an agreement that will return Sony Pictures to its role as distributor of the James Bond movies. Sony, along with studios like Warner Bros, Paramount and Fox, all engaged in talks with the reconstituted MGM on a deal that came at a hefty price. Deadline reported previously that MGM walked away with the right to be co-financier on several plum Sony films, including the David Fincher-directed The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, as well as others to be added to the mix, including the remake of Total Recall. The latter film might be particularly painful for Sony because sources tell us that MGM gets to distribute Total Recall in the highly valuable international TV market. This is considered a huge benefit to MGM in that it enhances the value of its international TV portfolio and robs Sony’s existing international TV partners of a title that is expected to be big overseas. Neither Sony nor MGM would comment on the horse-trading part of the deal.
Clearly, Sony wanted the Bond franchise back badly, and now Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton have brought 007 back into the fold. Deadline reported last summer that MGM was being reconstituted as a pure production play and shedding its distribution operation. That immediately put the studio’s most valuable title, 007, in play. Bidders began mobilizing before MGM made it out of bankruptcy. By January, several of the studios vying for Bond rights became increasingly frustrated by the attempts by MGM’s new chiefs Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum to leverage 007 distribution rights to get co-financing rights to plum projects at whatever studio won the deal. This came even after MGM had offered the villain role to Oscar-winner Javier Bardem, a courtship that is still going on (Anthony Hopkins has also been rumored as a potential participant on the evil side of the Bond dossier). Sony Pictures eventually got the upper hand and moved close to a deal in early February, after Sony threw co-fi rights to Dragon Tattoo and other titles into the pot. The announcement doesn’t deal with other MGM titles, but there are expected to be more that get distributed by Sony Pictures, which separately partnered with the studio on the Kevin James-starrer The Zookeeper. That film moved over to Sony when MGM went into deep freeze because of its crushing debt burden, and Sony moved it to the heart of the summer, with a July 8 release date. While Sony was winning that deal, rival suitors like Paramount (which has a strong relationship with Barber and Birnbaum over Star Trek) bristled at MGM’s asking price, plus a relatively low 8% distribution fee on the 007 film that Sam Mendes will direct and which Sony will release November 9, 2012, with Daniel Craig reprising. Here is the official announcement: Read More »
Over the past two years, Universal Pictures learned some hard lessons about adult dramas when high-priced films State of Play,Robin Hood, Duplicity and Green Zone failed to catch on with domestic audiences. This weekend, the studio will deliver some clarity on the immediate future of the adult comedy, when Universal opens The Dilemma, the Ron Howard-directed buddy comedy pairing Vince Vaughn and Kevin James. The film goes up against The Green Hornet, a 3D picture whose horrible Comic-Con buzz has turned been turned around by Sony Pictures Entertainment, which smartly moved the film out of the holiday corridor and repackaged it from a Seth Rogen pseudo-superhero film into a two-hander buddy comedy that happens to be about a superhero.
Insiders at Universal still like their chances with The Dilemma, which despite its PG-13 rating is chasing an adult audience. In Universal’s favor: James has become a comic star, and Vaughn has delivered in adult comedies Wedding Crashers,The Break-Up and Couples Retreat, all of which turned in domestic gross north of $100 million (a number that would make The Dilemma a win). The studio is also bullish because The Dilemma came in at around a $70 million budget, with a gross outlay somewhere in the 20% range. That gives The Dilemma a chance that Jim Brooks’ How Do You Know didn’t have, because its budget was just too high, at a reported $120 million. Brooks’ film opened at $7.5 million. … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Kevin James is back in business with The Zookeeper director Frank Coraci. Coraci is set to direct the untitled mixed martial arts picture that James will make his next star vehicle for Sony Pictures Entertainment. Deadline revealed the film when it first took shape last fall, with James playing a physics teacher who moonlights as a mixed martial arts fighter to raise money and save the music program his students love. He makes it all the way to the UFC.
SPE was eager to be back in business with James after Paul Blart: Mall Cop turned into a sleeper hit, and The Zookeeper tested so high that Sony slotted the film for released on July 8, 2011.
Allen Loeb wrote the MMA film, and James is producing with Todd Garner. Coraci makes his second film with James after teaming with Adam Sandler on such films as The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy and Click.
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Entertainment has made a preemptive deal for Valet Guys, a feature pitch from a potential vehicle for Adam Sandler and Kevin James to play veteran valet parking guys at a South Beach hotel who witness a murder and find themselves running for their lives. The pitch went for mid-six against seven-figures. Bakay and James will write it together.
Bakay’s collaborations with James goes back to being producer of King of Queens, and more recently co-writing Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Zookeeper, which will be released by SPE next summer. The comedy will be a co-production between James’ Hey Eddie, Todd Garner’s Broken Road and Happy Madison, the three companies producing Zookeeper.
At the same time, Bakay’s Verve reps have also closed a pilot script deal at Fox Broadcasting Corp, with Sony TV and Happy Madison producing. Though Bakay is writing big comedies and has done everything from writing to acting and even voicing the cat on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, he seems to have an inferiority complex when it comes to his father. That’s the basis for the show.
“I have always struggled living in my father’s shadow,” Bakay wrote in his pitch. “I’m first generation. My grandfather was essentially the father of neurosurgery in Hungary. My father was a brilliant neurosurgeon and researcher who escaped communism on a motorcycle with nothing but the diamond from his mother’s wedding ring … Read More »
Sony Pictures Entertainment has released a teaser for The Zookeeper, the Kevin James-starrer which will be one of the studio’s 2011 summer tent poles. The film was done as a co-production with MGM, but the early heavy lifting was done by former MGM picture chief Mary Parent, who paid $2 million for the Jay Scherick/David Ronn script and steered it through production. It should have been Parent’s first real swing for the fences, but the MGM uncertainty led it to be turned over for distribution by its SPE partners, who watched it and slotted it for summer, 2011.
EXCLUSIVE: It’s easy to forget that Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Amy Pascal had to be talked into making Kevin James’ Paul Blart: Mall Cop by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production company which also put Kevin in the summer hit Grown Ups and the upcoming Sony-MGM coproduction star turn The Zookeeper slated for a July 8, 2011 release. Of course now Sony Pictures is doing its best to keep the actor in a choke hold – so the studio just made a deal for an untitled mixed martial arts vehicle for James to shoot next year. The script will be written by Allan Loeb, and Kevin is producing with Todd Garner.
James is attached to play a physics teacher whose school faces drastic cutbacks. In an attempt to save his best friend’s job and the music program his students love, he moonlights in the octagon as a mixed martial arts fighter, ultimately leading to brawling in the UFC. The film is on a fast track, and production presidents Matt Tolmach and Doug Belgrad hope to get it into production next year. Jeff Sussman will be exec producer. James has really proven himself after moving into features following his King of Queens TV sitcoms run. His Hitch and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry were all co-starring hits until he could fly solo. Garner and James produced the Sony/MGM co-production The Zookeeper with Happy Madison’s Sandler and Jack Giarraputo.