“All that separates man from animal…are the stories he tells”. Those words appear at the beginning of the first official trailer for Kevin Smith’s wacky horror thriller Tusk which dropped last night at Comic-Con. Smith is clearly in his element in this genre. Set in the Canadian wilderness, pic stars Justin Long as a podcaster who’s assigned to interview a mysterious seafarer (Michael Parks) who happens to have a strange obsession with walruses. Haley Joel Osment and Genesis Rodriguez also star. A24 releases Tusk on September 19. Check it out:
XYZ Films has boarded Kevin Smith‘s new horror pic Tusk for international sales and will introduce the project at Berlin’s EFM next month. Demarest Films (A Most Wanted Man, Machete Kills) financed and is producing Tusk in partnership with A24 (Spring Breakers, The Bling Ring). Smith wrote the film, which was borne out of one of his popular SModcasts. Justin Long, Haley Joel Osment, Genesis Rodriguez and Michael Parks star. Tusk, currently in production, is described as a modern-day monster movie that follows a journalist named Wallace (Long) who finds the story of a lifetime in Mr. Howe (Parks), a worldwide adventurer with amazing tales and a curious penchant for walruses. A24 plans to release it wide in the third quarter of 2014.
A24 and Demarest Films have teamed up on Kevin Smith’s latest film Tusk. The film, which stars Justin Long, Michael Parks, Genesis Rodriguez, and Haley Joel Osment, was born out of one of Smith’s immensely popular SModcasts. The modern-day monster movie, which Smith also wrote, is currently in production. Sam Englebardt, David Greathouse, and Shannon McIntosh are producing. The film will be released third quarter of 2014.
EXCLUSIVE: Tyler Ross, Shareeka Epps (Half Nelson), Georgia Ford (daughter of Harrison), and Eshan Bay star in the ’90s-set indie comedy American Milkshake, about a white inner city teenager who dreams of making the basketball squad and getting one step closer to being what he is not – black. Phase 4 Films picked up the film from writer-directors David Andalman and Mariko Munro out of Sundance and is plotting a September 6 theatrical and VOD release through its new Kevin Smith Movie Club banner. Check out the trailer exclusively on Deadline:
Consider it a promise, or even a threat: Kevin Smith has finished his Clerks III script. “IT IS ACCOMPLISHED! First draft of CLERKS III is 137 pages,” he Tweeted today. “Plays like the EMPIRE STRIKES BACK of the Clerks trilogy.” Back in February he mulled turning the project into a book or online series. When Smith first announced he was writing the second sequel to the film that started his indie career he proclaimed, “Clerks III will be the best film I’ll ever make”.
David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
The next iteration of Clerks, based on Kevin Smith’s door-opening 1994 feature film debut, may be a book released chapter by chapter and influenced by reader input, the writer-director-online maven suggests. Speaking Friday night as part of a panel on “The Future of Online TV” at the Hollywood studio of the “What’s Trending?” online show, Smith said he had been pondering directing a third Clerks movie, then considered instead an online video series, “which, you know, would be kind of fun for me. It would be a way for me to get away from doing it with a studio.”
If the first three days of Comic-Con look to be a whirlwind of previews and panels, the last two days don’t slow down at all. There’s more exclusive sneak peeks, blood-sucking star-crossed lovers, the new show from JJ Abrams and Jon Favreau, Showtime’s family of drunks, a double shot of Seth MacFarlane, a high school singing club, outlaw bikers, Bart Simpson, a Time Lord and Kevin Smith. Like the first few days, some stuff will likely change and unexpected stuff will emerge, but Deadline has the breaking small-screen news covered. Here’s what to look out for at the convention on Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday, July 14
11-11:45 AM — Once Upon A Time
Reality and myth mix on the ABC series, so let’s see if they do at Comic-Con. Executive producers and co-creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz are joined by the breakout drama’s cast members Ginnifer Goodwin, Emilie de Ravin Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Meghan Ory and Josh Dallas to discuss their upcoming second season. Ballroom 20
John Karna is in negotiations to play the lead in Premature. The University of Oklahoma freshman would play a high school student in the movie, which occurs on Groundhog Day. Dan Beers will direct Premature from the script he co-wrote with Mat Harawitz. Aaron Ryder and Karen Lunder are producing. Karna’s last film Bindlestiffs was at Slamdance this past year. It was picked up for distribution by Kevin Smith. Karna is represented by the Coronel Group and attorney Jeff Frankel.
Bindlestiffs will be the first film released user the company’s “Kevin Smith’s SModcast Pictures Presents” banner. The deal for director Andrew Edison’s high school comedy includes U.S. and Canadian rights. Edison wrote the screenplay with Luke Loftin, and the two also produced and star in the film with Mike Akel and Matt Patterson. It centers on three smart-mouthed high school virgins who are suspended from school for graffiti and flee to the inner city to live out the plot of The Catcher In The Rye. Phase 4 will release the film in June in conjunction with a theatrical tour and Q&As with Smith and the filmmakers. The tour is part of a deal announced at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in which Smith and Phase 4 will exhibit and distribute up to 12 films per year under Smith’s SModcast label. Four titles will open theatrically with Smith doing a live tour in support of the films. Larry Greenberg of Phase 4 negotiated the deal with Katharyn Howe with WME Global and Caliber Media on behalf of the filmmakers. Phase 4 will open the film in June. Smith and Phase 4 will be at SXSW this weekend hunting for films for the label.
The upcoming SXSW Film Conference and Festival released final details for its lineup, adding 15 features and four shorts bringing its 2012 roster to 275 titles. SXSW recently unveiled its competition and genre lineups earlier this month. As previously announced, Lionsgate’s The Cabin In The Woods will open SXSW March 9th.
More panels were added today, joining more than 40 previously announced sessions for the 2012 SXSW Film Conference. Highlights include A Conversation with Joss Whedon, the return of Jeffrey Tambor’s Acting Workshop, a dialogue with Lena Dunham, Judd Apatow and more on the HBO series Girls, A Conversation with Cliff Martinez, and The Business of Kevin Smith among others. For full panel descriptions and participants, browse the schedule. The festival runs March 9th – 17th.
Key panels announced for the 2012 SXSW Film Conference include:
A Conversation with Seth MacFarlane
As the creator of Family Guy and one of the co-creators of American Dad!, Seth MacFarlane has brought his boundary-pushing brand of humor to millions each week. Join Seth for a noholds-barred discussion about his groundbreaking work in TV, his recent foray into the music world with his debut album and his transition to Hollywood with his upcoming directorial debut Ted, a live-action/CG-animated comedy starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis.
(Sunday, March 11, 11:00am, Vimeo Theater, Austin Convention Center)
Funny or Die: Future of Comedy & Everything Else
An intimate look into the corruption, lies and deceit that transformed a website into the most powerful media company in the world! How FOD transformed into a new model media company and how comedy pretty much rules the world…and everything else.
(Sunday, March 11, 3:30pm – Room 18ABCD, Austin Convention Center)
Kevin Smith Makes Distribution Deal With Phase 4, One Year After Telling Distributors To Go Screw: Sundance
Exactly one year ago, Kevin Smith was here at Sundance to premiere and hold a distributor auction for Red State. It turned out to be a sham, and Smith pulled a crowd of Jets fans out of the AFC title game only to subject them to a foul-mouthed harangue about how their movie business model sucked before selling the movie to himself for $20. Now, Smith has come in from the cold to announce he’s made a distribution deal with Phase 4. He actually had Lionsgate help out with ancillaries on Red State, so he already had stopped going totally commando. Here’s the release:
Park City, UT (January 23, 2012) – Berry Meyerowitz, President & CEO of Phase 4 Films, announced today that the company has entered into an exclusive distribution deal with SModcast Pictures, the production company founded and run by filmmaker Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Red State). Through the deal, Phase 4 obtains exclusive rights in the U.S. and Canada to exhibit and distribute up to twelve films per year under the newly created “Kevin Smith and SModcast Pictures Presents” label. Phase 4 will release four of these films theatrically each year, which will include a live tour with Kevin Smith, similar to that of Red State, with the remainder of films being released via all other traditional and digital platforms.
“We had a terrific experience
Kevin Smith is such a publicity whore that he doesn’t care how he gets press these days, even when it means telling old stories trashing his former mentor who in 1994 bought Clerks. ”I open the curtain at the back and I see Harvey outside, talking,” Smith tells UK’s The Guardian today, recalling the premiere of his movie Red State at the Sundance festival. ”He’s talking about the Jets. Loud as fuck. The opening of my movie, first seven minutes. Old Kev just would have gone, ‘Harvey, shh, movie’s on.’ But it disgusted me so much. It doesn’t get much more heartbreaking. So I fuckin’ lost it, and I went out and said, ‘Hey. Shut the fuck up!’ And he looked at me with fuckin’ hate in his eyes. And I said, ‘Yeah. That’s me and I’m saying it.’ And he just left.” Little wonder that The Weinstein Co passed on the script — even though Smith’s production company to make Red State was named The Harvey Boys.
AMC has greenlighted 2 unscripted series, Kevin Smith’s Secret Stash and JJK Security, about a private security firm. Additionally, the network announced that, just like Season 1 did, the second season of The Walking Dead will launch with a 90-minute premiere episode. It will once again kick off AMC’s two-week long Fearfest on Sunday, Oct, 16. The 13-episode second season will be split in 2: 7 episodes airing in the fall and the remaining 6 launching Feb. 12.
Secret Stash, executive produced by Kevin Smith, Charlie Corwin’s Original Media and Elyse Seiden (Red State), is set in Smith’s iconic comic shop Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. AMC has ordered 6 hourlong episodes of the series, which aims to capture the world of the neighborhood comic book store and fanboy culture, for a 1Q 2012 launch. “Draper. Meth. Zombies. This show couldn’t be on a better network,” said Smith, referring to AMC’s flagship dramas Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead.
Before this panel starts, we’re told to put on our 3-D glasses for a Real-D presentation. It’s the same one as last year, with a robot dog chasing a robot ball. Yeeha. Next, out comes Morgan Spurlock, to give us a tease of his newest documentary COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE. Says the idea came to him after he met Stan Lee at Comic-Con one year, gushed about how he was such a fan, and Stan gushed back ,saying they should do a documentary together about Comic Con. From there, Joss Whedon and Harry Knowles got involved.
We see a clip. It begins with Eli Roth talking about his first time taking a leak between a Klingon and a Stormtrooper. Snippets of Seth Rogen, Kevin Smith (talking about how now there are chicks at Comic-Con), Joss Whedon, Seth Green saying he actually met his wife at Comic-Con, Guillermo del Toro describing the Con as a Russian doll, with mini-cons inside the con, shots of the masquerade ball, artists alley, portfolio review… intertitles throughout tout everyone’s biggest credentials: ”From the producer of THE DARK KNIGHT…the director of THE AVENGERS… the mind behind aint it cool news…” Ends with Kevin Smith talking about how he wishes he could go back and tell his 11 year-old self that one day he’ll come to Comic-Con every year and be greeted by Stan Lee. Imagines 11 year-old will be upset by how fat he’s gotten. (Again, how is Kev this self-deprecating on one hand, yet a righteous …
Lionsgate is teaming with Kevin Smith’s SModcast Pictures to distribute Smith’s thriller Red State, the movie starring Melissa Leo and John Goodman that the director purchased theatrical rights to at Sundance earlier this by paying himself $20 at the end of a bogus auction for buyers (the film has made about $1 million from 15 single-show engagements as Smith shows it around the country). Under terms of the new deal, Lionsgate obtains rights to distribute the title on all packaged media, video on demand, subscription video on demand, electronic sell-through and TV in the US, while SModcast retains theatrical rights. The film is scheduled to be released on multiple platforms in September followed by packaged media before year’s end. Red State revolves around a group of teens in Middle America who receive an online invitation for sex but soon encounter fundamentalists with a much more sinister agenda.
Kevin Smith lost some cred with indie distributors last night when he hosed the teams that came to the premiere of Red State looking for an acquisitions title. Instead, they were subjected to a bogus auction that opened and closed with his $20 bid and announcement he would self distribute. Before he got to this sham climax, Smith spent 15 minutes shitting all over those buyers in the crowd, the ones watching films all day and pulling all-nighters to broker deals. His rant made Smith seem like a tortured, angry guy.
Smith introduced the film with a vulgar opening monologue, low-lighted by a spectacularly tasteless joke made at the expense of the young female producer standing next to him. After the movie, Smith reappeared. Wearing a hockey jersey, he introduced Wayne Gretzky’s stick, for some reason. Despite this hockey-themed beginning, Smith was oblivious to the fact we all simply wanted him to drop the puck and get on with the auction. Instead, Smith launched into his 15-minute long diatribe that betrayed a misunderstanding of the indie theatrical distribution game. He gave a simplistic and incorrect evaluation of the business model. Smith said if he sold his $4 million Red State, a distributor would need to pay $20 million in P&A, and would then need to gross more than twice that $24 million just to recoup (Smith seemed to forget that …
UPDATE, 8:25 AM: As I tipped you yesterday, Paramount’s Adam Goodman and acquisitions exec Matt Brodie and Indian Paintbrush’s Peter McPartlin closed the deal with the UTA team today around 6 AM for the Super Crispy Entertainment production Like Crazy about young love from co-writer and director Drake Doremus (Douchebag). I’m told it was a $4 million minimum guarantee and a “substantial” 7-figure P&A commitment. Adam Goodman, President of Paramount’s Film Group, and Matt Brodlie, SVP of Productions and Acquisitions for Paramount, along with Indian Paintbrush’s President of Production Mark Roybal, negotiated for the rights with the film’s reps Rich Klubeck and David Flynn from UTA, along with producer Jonathan Schwartz and Doremus’ attorney Lawrence Kopeikin from Morris Yorn. Later Goodman said in a statement, “Along with our partners at Indian Paintbrush, we are extremely pleased to be a part of such a great movie, and look forward to working with Drake, Jonathan, Andrea and a tremendous cast of actors.” Starring Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, and Jennifer Lawrence, Like Crazy was written by Doremus and Ben York Jones about a British college student who falls for an American student, only to be separated from him when she’s banned from the U.S. after overstaying her visa.
EXCLUSIVE 3:09 AM: Into the wee hours of Sunday, the 2011 Sundance Film Festival was inching close to its first big deal. I’m …
Sundance: ‘My Idiot Brother’ Heats Up; Kevin Smith Bummed, Morgan Spurlock Sells Out; Roger Corman Blows Up
In other Sundance news… The action on the Paul Rudd comedy My Idiot Brother began right after the premiere screening finished. The two parties chasing it hardest were Relativity Media and The Weinstein Company, with talk of a third bidder as well. The discussions were still taking shape around 2 AM, and the feeling was the film had a good shot to reach $5 million. Reaction to the film was that it was more heartfelt than broad comedy, and some of the players looking for a can’t miss wide release weren’t biting…
The unfortunate timing of Sunday’s Red State premiere –it starts right around the beginning of the fourth quarter of the New York Jets-Pittsburgh Steelers AFC Championship game created misunderstanding between director Kevin Smith and partner Jon Gordon over a football viewing party organized by Harvey Weinstein, but Harvey was quick to make it clear he was there to show love for the filmmaker he launched with Clerks. Smith and Gordon, who named their Harvey Boys banner for Weinstein, felt this way, according to an insider: “Kevin and Jon feel like the kids whose dad doesn’t show up for their baseball game because he went to a strip bar with the guys from the office instead.” Weinstein told me that despite the party, he never planned to miss Smith’s …
Kevin Smith is already challenging established acquisition protocol by trying to auction distribution rights in the Eccles Theater right after Sunday’s Sundance premiere of Red State. Some buyers say that gimmicky play isn’t what’s annoying them most. They’re especially peeved that the film’s 6:30 start coincides with what will likely be the beginning of the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship Game between the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers. A lot of indie distribution executives hail from New York and New Jersey (as does Smith), and they’ve waited a long time to see the Jets get into a Super Bowl. How’s that for bad timing?