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Hot Trailer: ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’

By | Wednesday December 4, 2013 @ 11:18am PST

Warner Bros has released a new trailer for 300: Rise Of An Empire. The Legendary Pictures follow-up to the 2006 pic focuses action on the sea as Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) tries to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. Themistokles is forced to face off against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), and Artemisia (Eva Green). Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, David Wenham, Jack O’Connell, Andrew Tiernan, Igal Naor and Andrew Pleavin also star. 300: Rise Of An Empire hits theaters on March 7.

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Legendary Sets ‘All Is Lost’s J.C. Chandor For Packers Coach Vince Lombardi Pic

By | Monday December 2, 2013 @ 3:27pm PST
Mike Fleming

vince-238x300EXCLUSIVE: After turning the Jackie Robinson-Branch Rickey story 42 into a hit, Legendary Pictures is now targeting Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi for a feature film. Legendary has made a deal with All Is Lost and Margin Call writer-director J.C. Chandor to write with an eye to direct a feature about the coaching legend who led Green Bay to five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowl titles. Legendary, whose principal Thomas Tull is a part owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a passionate pigskin fan, will produce the film with Mary Parent. She produced Pacific Rim and Godzilla for Legendary. Tony Ponturo and Fran Kirmser will be exec producers.

Chandor, who made his feature directing debut on his Oscar-nominated script Margin Call, is once again in the awards season conversation for his follow-up All Is Lost, which stars Robert Redford as a man struggling to survive on the open seas. Chandor is casting up his next directorial outing, A Most Violent Year, which will star Jessica Chastain with production to begin early next year.

chandorHe has already begun writing the new film, and Legendary has assembled a rights package that includes a deal with the Lombardi estate, as well as the Broadway play written by Eric Simonson that starred Dan Lauria and Judith Light. That play was based on the David Marannis book When Pride Still Mattered, and that is also part of the package. Read More »

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How Sony Pictures Answered Critics Going Into Thursday Investor Meeting With Cuts, Jeff Robinov Courtship, Blue Anchor Co-Fi

By | Monday November 18, 2013 @ 6:35pm PST
Mike Fleming

Oscar season is in full swing and is dominating attention, but the most important discussions taking place in town are being done with bankers in back rooms as heavyweight producers and co-financiers move around and will dramatically shape the future of studio event film slates for years to come. The players in the drama still to formalize landing places are Jeff Robinov and Graham King, Jerry Bruckheimer, John LaViolette and Joseph M. Singer’s Blue Anchor Entertainment. This after Thomas Tull’s Legendary Pictures left Warner Bros for Universal, and was replaced by Brett Ratner, James Packer and Steve Mnuchin’s RatPac Dune, which will co-finance the slates of Warner Bros going forward. Two of the next big moves seem to squarely involve Sony Pictures, whose heads Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal head into investor meetings on the Sony lot in Culver City on Thursday with some pending alliances that will greatly reshape their operations.

Related: Sony Hires Consultant To Find $100M In Showbiz Cost Cuts

The above players will be dealing in billions of dollars of production financing. RatPac Dune’s Ratner, Packer and Mnuchin fell into a right-place-at-the-right time windfall just as its Warner Bros deal commenced, and got kissed into Gravity as its first film. That put the venture off to a flying start as the film crossed the $500 million worldwide gross mark. I hear that Tull and Legendary might well get that deal underway in high style by co-financing Universal’s surefire blockbuster Jurassic World, though studio insiders said I’m getting ahead of myself because there is not yet a shooting script to show Legendary. While the RatPac Dune deal covers Warner Bros’ full slate, Tull gets to cherry-pick the films Legendary will co-finance, and the deal calls for a big Universal commitment on films that Legendary generates. This deal was papered by Uni president Jimmy Horowitz and chased aggressively by NBC Universal CEO Steve Burke as well as Donna Langley.

Sony Pictures Latest Studio Closing Big Co-Financing Film Deal

For Jerry Bruckheimer, Is Next Stop Paramount Or Warner Bros?

Read More »

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Legendary Sets Simon Crane To Helm ‘Hot Wheels’

By | Thursday October 17, 2013 @ 3:41pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Legendary Pictures has made a deal with accomplished second unit director Simon Crane to direct Hot Wheels. The financier/producer has also set Paul Attanasio to rewrite the script. The live action film is based on the venerable Mattel toy line and since Legendary moved from Warner Bros to Universal, the latter studio gets first crack at what could be a franchise vehicle in Hot Wheels. Attanasio will be rewriting the draft by Iron Man scribes Art Marcum and Matt Holloway. Joe Roth, Palak Patel and Sam Mercer of Roth Films are producing with Legendary, whose Alex Garcia is overseeing. Crane, repped by CAA and Media Talent Group’s Geyer Kosinski, has been in the mix for this job since late summer, and has been an active second unit director whose recent credits include World War Z and the upcoming Doug Liman-directed Tom Cruise-starrer Edge Of Tomorrow. It’s another good writing job for Attanasio, the Quiz Show and Donnie Brasco scribe who recently took a crack at the Scarface remake at Universal.

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Universal Dates Legendary’s ‘Warcraft’ For December 18, 2015

By | Tuesday October 1, 2013 @ 3:00pm PDT

This marks the first film dated under the new partnership between Universal and Legendary Pictures. As of now Warcraft is going up against Sony’s Inferno on the December 18, 2015 date. Duncan Jones is directing the movie adaptation of the hit Blizzard Entertainment vidgame World Of Warcraft. Jones co-wrote the screenplay with Charles Leavitt. Charles Roven and Alex Gartner are producing for Atlas Entertainment and Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni for Legendary. Stuart Fenegan, Jillian Share and Brent O’Connor will serve as executive producers. Blizzard’s Chris Metzen will co-produce.

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Paul Dano, Travis Fimmel, Anson Mount, Anton Yelchin On ‘Warcraft’ Short List

By | Monday September 23, 2013 @ 10:00am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE UPDATE, 10 AM: Here is the short list of actors going up for the other lead roles in Warcraft, the Legendary Pictures/Atlas Entertainment adaptation of the vidgame World Of Warcraft. I’m told that on the short list is Paul Dano, fresh from the weekend openers Prisoners; Travis Fimmel, a revelation as the star of the History Channel series Vikings; Anson Mount, who stars in the AMC series Hell on Wheels; and Star Trek‘s Anton Yelchin. Paula Patton is in advanced negotiations and Colin Farrell has been offered one of the leads.

EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, SUNDAY PM: Legendary Pictures and Atlas Entertainment are casting up Warcraft, the movie adaptation of the hit Blizzard video game World Of Warcraft that Duncan Jones will direct. I’m told that Paula Patton is negotiating for a lead role and that another lead has been offered to Colin Farrell. I’m not sure that Farrell is going to make a deal — sources said it’s 50/50 — and Jones is testing other actors for the major roles. Production will begin in January and Charles Leavitt wrote the script.

The role-playing game takes place in a medieval-like setting where players control avatars that take on gryphons, dragons, zombies, werewolves and elves. Time travel and alien worlds also are part of the mix. The project is one of Legendary’s biggest and was supposed to be made at Warner Bros. Since Thomas Tull’s financing/production company moved over to Universal Pictures, I expect the film to be located there as well. Read More »

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Legendary’s ‘Crimson Peak’ Names Tom Hiddleston As Benedict Cumberbatch’s Replacement

The actor who played the villain in ThorAvengers and the upcoming Thor sequel has joined Legendary Pictures‘ Guillermo del Toro-directed Crimson Peak, the company announced today. Tom Hiddleston will take over the role vacated late last month by Benedict Cumberbatch. With participating financing partner Universal Pictures, the Legendary production is slated to begin filming in January. Universal has an option to finance down the line. Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska and Charlie Hunnam also star in the gothic horror pic about a woman who discovers that her new husband is not who he claims to be. Exiting its future relationship with Warner Bros in July, Legendary Entertainment set up a new 5-year partnership with NBCUniversal earlier this summer. Hiddleston is repped by WME.

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‘Pacific Rim’ Is “American Propaganda”, Chinese Military Official Says

By | Tuesday August 27, 2013 @ 12:04pm PDT

The Guillermo del Toro-directed robots vs. monsters movie may be doing monster box office in China, but an officer in the People’s Liberation Army is no fan. “Hollywood has always been the best American propaganda machine,” wrote Zhang Jieli late last week in a PLA Daily op-ed about Legendary Pictures-Warner Bros‘ Pacific Rim. The PLA Daily is an official China military publication. “The decisive battle against the monsters was deliberately set in South China Sea adjacent to Hong Kong,” Zhang wrote in the editorial, published Friday. “The intention was to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to maintaining stability in the Asia-Pacific area and saving the mankind,” he claims. The wide-ranging piece, which also cites Fox’s Ice Age and the James Bond movies, says that Pacific Rim and other blockbusters are pushing “American values and global strategies”. While sidestepping the fact that all non-domestic movies in China need government approval to be shown there, it urges the Chinese military to steel themselves against the Western influence. “Soldiers should sharpen their eyes and enforce a ‘firewall’ to avoid ideological erosion when watching American movies,” Zhang warned. “More importantly, they should strengthen their combat capability to safeguard national security and interests.” Game site Kotaku first reported the op-ed. Other state media organs such as Xinhau Read More »

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Benedict Cumberbatch Exits Del Toro’s ‘Crimson Peak’

By | Wednesday August 21, 2013 @ 5:13pm PDT

Benedict Cumberbatch has dropped out of Guillermo Del Toro‘s gothic horror pic Crimson Peak, about a woman who discovers that her new husband is not who he claims to be. Sources say Cumberbatch’s very recent exit is not due to scheduling conflicts with the Legendary Pictures production, which is slated to begin next February. The Star Trek: Into Darkness thesp’s upcoming slate includes 12 Years A Slave, August: Osage County, and The Fifth Estate.

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Legendary Taking ‘Seventh Son’ In Divorce From Warner Bros

By | Thursday August 15, 2013 @ 4:32pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Seventh Son, the Sergei Bedrov-directed fantasy that stars Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, is on the move. The film, backed by Legendary Pictures, is moving away from Warner Bros and will be released by Universal Pictures, where Legendary’s Thomas Tull made a new deal. The film had a January 2014 release date but Warner Bros is out as distributor. This follows Legendary’s exit from the Man of Steel movies at Warner Bros. Staying put at Warner Bros is Godzilla, which Legendary produced and majority financed.

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Legendary Sets Sean O’Keefe To Script Tragic Wildfire Tale ‘The Esperanza Fire’

By | Wednesday August 14, 2013 @ 3:00pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Pictures has closed a deal with Sean O’Keefe to adapt The Esperanza Fire, based on the John Maclean book about a wildland fire started by an arsonist that killed a tightly knit forest service engine crew that bravely battled the blaze. Maclean, the son of A River Runs Through It author Norman Maclean, was an investigative journalist for the Chicago Tribune who has written several books around wildfire disasters. This one described the equivalent of ‘The Perfect Storm’ of wildland blazes. The firefighters who perished were pillars of their community, which was devastated by their deaths. An “area ignition” that took the lives of the men resulted in the first conviction of a wildland arsonist for first-degree murder and the death penalty. Read More »

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‘Pacific Rim’ $9M Opening In China Biggest Ever For Warner Bros: Sequel Likely Now

By | Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 4:48pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE… UPDATED: I’ve just learned that momentum is building for a Pacific Rim sequel based on the international box office for the Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros summer tentpole. The latest development is the 3D sci-fi actioner’s Wednesday opening in China to a record-breaking $9M from an estimated 5,700 digital 3D screens, 117 digital 3D IMAX screens, and 22 China Giant Screen sites. That’s a new high for any Warner Bros release and 23% bigger than for any Harry Potter film including 3D Harry Potter 7B. Pacific Rim grossed a huge 70% of the Top Five market share there. This is after the pic broke through to become the #1 film internationally on July 19-21 as it rolled out into less than half the global territories. Pacific Rim releases in Spain, Brazil and Japan on August 9th. The result is that screenwriter Travis Beacham (who had the original idea which also resulted in Legendary’s homegrown graphic novel) and co-scribe/director Guillermo del Toro’s film will likely have a sequel. No one is yet saying this movie is going to turn a profit due to the high cost of its Industrial Light & Magic CGI which sent the budget to $180M-$220M. Unfortunately, U.S. theatrical sales are not expected to exceed $100M all in so overseas coin was crucial. But international was always a big … Read More »

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Steve Burke Says ‘Despicable Me 2′ Is Universal’s Most Profitable Film Ever And Lauds Pact With Legendary

NBCUniversal chief Steve Burke made his observations this morning in Comcast‘s Q2 conference call with analysts as he discussed his company’s approach to films following its new production and finance partnership with Legendary Entertainment. Burke noted that NBCU is delighted with its animation alliance with Illumination. The partners’ Despicable Me 2 will become “the single most profitable film in the 100 year history of Universal Studios.” Meanwhile, Legendary is “going to make some of their own films” that target fanboys while Universal “will concentrate on everything else.” Burke says that NBCU will co-finance some of Legendary’s films, and it will co-finance some of Universal’s. He’s pleased with the outcome: “It was a competitive auction to see who would end up with the Legendary film relationship.”

Related: Comcast Beats Q2 Earnings Forecasts With Help From NBCU

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Comic-Con: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill & Cobie Smulders On Superhero Duty For ‘LEGO’ Pic

By | Saturday July 20, 2013 @ 12:51pm PDT

BREAKING… During the Warner Bros/Legendary panel at Comic-Con just now it was announced that Channing Tatum has been set to voice Superman in The LEGO Movie, the animated film that is due February 7 (check out the pre-Con trailer here). Jonah Hill will voice Green Lantern, and Cobie Smulders will handle Wonder Woman duties. There’s no shortage of big-name licensees involved in the pic, written and directed by the Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs/21 Jump Street duo of Phil Lord & Christopher Miller — Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles among them. MORE

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Comic-Con: Godzilla Unveiled In San Diego

By | Tuesday July 16, 2013 @ 10:19pm PDT

The movie isn’t out until May 2014 but Legendary Pictures tonight provided a glimpse in San Diego at what their Godzilla is going to look like. And while not a scene from the movie itself, you do get an up close and personal look at the monster as he almost sticks his head though the window-like screen. (Or just a smudge? Yes, it’s a lousy pic – but the first one.) Transformed was a section of Downtown San Diego into Tokyo street scenes full of monster paraphernalia, underground decontamination bunkers, and abandoned skyscrapers looking out over a destroyed city. The studio’s multi-level Godzilla Encounter is a theme park experience that lacks a theme park. But Legendary execs insist that’s not what Godzilla Encounter is aiming for. “We wanted to do something for the fans to give them a look at the legacy of Godzilla and a sense of the movie,” Legendary president Jon Jashni told me tonight. Of course now that Legendary are leaving Warner Bros, who is releasing Godzilla, and partnering with NBCUniversal in a five-year deal, theme park experiences are a certain part of the company’s future. However, that deal only allows Legendary to license the rights to NBCUniversal’s theme parks of properties they hold the IP to. Legendary are licensing the movie rights to the Godzilla character from Japanese corporation Toho Co. in an agreement … Read More »

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Comic-Con: ‘Godzilla’ Director Teases Legendary’s Plans For San Diego

By | Sunday July 14, 2013 @ 3:06pm PDT

Less than a week before their Hall H panel, Legendary today rolled out a Comic-Con message from Gareth Edwards from the set of the monster movie reboot. The Godzilla helmer says the company has “something very exciting planned” for this year’s SDCC. “Something very big is heading to San Diego,” Edwards adds. Legendary has set up a website reminiscent of the kind of thing we see every Christmas from NORAD that tracks a strange object originating from the North Pole. This new site has various pseudo-official like warnings of “oceanic anomaly” and the like. Also, a building on the city’s 7th Avenue and J Street has been decorated in very Godzilla-like graphics. Check out Edwards on SDCC here:

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Hot Trailer: ‘Seventh Son’

By | Wednesday July 10, 2013 @ 11:20am PDT

Jeff Bridges battles his old Lebowski lady friend Julianne Moore in the fantasy actioner Seventh Son, from Legendary Pictures and WB. Ben Barnes stars as the newbie apprentice getting a crash course in fighting evil in the CG-filled adaptation of Joseph Delaney’s The Wardstone Chronicle books. Alicia Vikander also stars. Oscar nominee Sergei Bodrov (Mongol) directs the pic which hits 2D and 3D screens now on January 17, 2014. Check out the first trailer:

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TOLDJA! Legendary Moves To NBCU With Multiyear Film And TV Deal

As Deadline’s Nikki Finke reported on July 6, Legendary Entertainment has set up a new partnership with NBCUniversal. While nothing formal has been announced, sources say the multiyear film/television financial, distribution, marketing, and production deal will start in 2014. After various meetings over the past few months, the deal was negotiated primarily by Universal prez Jimmy Horowitz, Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Comcast No. 2 Steve Burke. With the split from Warner Bros now complete, Legendary and the studio still have to share a stage down at Comic-Con next week promoting Godzilla and Seventh Son. Legendary and WB also have the Guillermo del Toro-directed Pacific Rim coming out on Friday; its premiere is tonight in Hollywood. Meanwhile, Warner Bros is working on a $450M-plus slate financing deal with Dune Entertainment that would be majority funded by Brett Ratner and James Packer’s RatPac Entertainment.
Universal’s Year-Long Turnaround Shows Movie Business’ Cyclical Nature

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Comic-Con: Legendary Bringing ‘Godzilla’ And ‘Seventh Son’ To Confab

By | Friday July 5, 2013 @ 1:02pm PDT

The official schedule isn’t out until tomorrow, but expect a big July 20 presence from Legendary at Comic-Con this year. Even with the split between Thomas Tull’s company and Warner Bros seemingly inevitable, Legendary will be holding branded panels for Godzilla, Seventh Son and other projects in the cavernous Hall H during WB’s block on that Saturday, I have learned. Both the still-filming monster movie and the Jeff Bridges-starring fantasy adventure pic are being distributed by WB under their current deal with Legendary. Like last year, the company will also be flying its Legendary Comics banner with a booth on the floor of the San Diego Convention Center. Additionally, Legendary has a monster-themed event scheduled in SD on the evening of July 16 just before Comic-Con opens. A showstopper at Comic-Con in 2012, the Legendary & WB Guillermo del Toro-helmed pic Pacific Rim comes out on July 12 this year. Godzilla bows wide on May 16, 2014.

Legendary And Lionsgate To Meet; Details On What Tull Wants
Legendary “Down To Handful” Of Studio Suitors
WB Delays ‘Seventh Son’ To January 2014

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