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. … Read More »
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 … Read More »
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 … Read More »
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 … 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 … Read More »
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 … 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 … Read More »
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 … Read More »