Luis Prieto (Pusher) is directing action thriller Kidnap with Halle Berry starring as a mother who will stop at nothing to rescue her abducted son. Knate Gwaltney wrote the script for the project that’s a female twist on Taken. Di Bonaventura Pictures’ Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Erik Howsam are producing. Lotus Entertainment is handling international sales here in Cannes and CAA, which packaged the project, is repping domestic. Executive producers are Joey Tufaro and Colin Bates, and Claudia Blumhuber and Florian Dargel of Silver Reel along with Lotus’ Bill Johnson, Jim Seibel, D.J. Gugenheim and Ara Keshishian. Berry will also executive produce with Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, through their 606 Films. Berry is repped by CAA, Vincent Cirrincione Associates, and attorney Doug Stone with Stone, Meyer, Genow, Smelkinson and Binder. Prieto is with CAA, and Gwaltney is also repped by CAA and attorney Darren Trattner at Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein.
EXCLUSIVE: Silver Reel and Lotus Entertainment have partnered with di Bonaventura Pictures and CJ Entertainment for an English-language remake of Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance. The script is written by Broken City scribe Brian Tucker, based on the first film in Park Chan-wook‘s Vengeance Trilogy. The film centers on two men who are bound by their common sense of loss and headed on a collision course of revenge. The other installments in that trilogy are Oldboy and Lady Vengeance. A remake of Oldboy will be released in October by FilmDistrict, directed by Spike Lee and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Brolin and Sharlto Copley.
Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian are producing and Claudia Bluemhuber, Bill Johnson, Jim Seibel, Jacob Pechenik and Gero Bauknecht are executive producers. D.J. Gugenheim is co-producer and will oversee for the financiers while Ed Fee does the same for di Bonaventura Pictures. CJ’s Miky Lee and Joon Choi are executive producing, with Jiwon Park producing and Min Young Hong co-producing. This is the first acquisition in Silver Reel and Lotus’ newly formed partnership, one that is focused on developing and acquiring commercial and high-caliber projects. They are now looking for a director. Repping di Bonaventura, CAA brokered the deal and will represent the film’s domestic distribution rights. Tucker is repped by WME and Management 360.
EXCLUSIVE: Transformers producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura is making his first foray into the digital world, joining with Break Media on thriller Higher Power (see trailer below). Produced by Di Bonaventura Pictures and the digital video company’s SVP Entertainment Development Greg Siegel and Evan Cholfin, the film is a sci-fi thriller about a regular guy who acquires the power of a demi-God. The plan is to shoot Higher Power as a feature but release it in several formats. As one example, the movie will be reformatted into chapters to be distributed online through Break Media’s male-targeted network. Higher Power will also come out as a feature through more traditional distribution options including Netflix and Amazon, VOD and international film and television channels. 300 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine VFX specialist Matthew Santoro is slated to direct from a script by Julia Fair. “We are very excited about the opportunity to partner with Greg, his team at Break Media, and Matt and Julia on this project, which I believe can be a new model for bringing high-concept, long-form content to the public,” said di Bonaventura in a statement today. Both di Bonaventura and Santoro are repped by CAA. Check out the trailer here:
EXCLUSIVE: Dan McDermott and Lorenzo di Bonaventura’s Di Bonaventura Television has sold another drama project. Patron Saints, which will be written by Jeffrey Bell (Spartacus), is described as a mystery thriller about a covert group who help people in lost, desperate and impossible circumstances. Bell, McDermott and di Bonaventura are executive producing for ABC Studios where di Bonaventura TV is based.
This marks the third major sale for CAA-repped di Bonaventura TV this season. The company landed a put pilot at NBC for a Cleopatra drama written by Michael Seitzman and has Founding Fathers set up at ABC with Rich D’Ovidio writing.
Bell, repped by CAA and Cliff Gilbert-Lurie, began his TV career on The X-Files. He went on to serve as executive producer/showrunner on such series as Angel, Alias, Day Break and Harper’s Island. He also was co-creator and showrunner of the Lifetime series The Protector, developed and produced by ABC Studios.
‘Cleopatra’ Drama From Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura And Writer Michael Seitzman Lands At NBC With Put Pilot Commitment
EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation with two networks bidding, NBC has landed Cleopatra, a period drama about the famous Egyptian queen produced by Di Bonaventura Pictures TV and ABC Studios. The project will be written by Michael Seitzman who penned the ABC/ABC Studios drama pilot Americana this past season. Seitzman is executive producing with Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Dan McDermott.
Cleopatra is one of the most popular figures in ancient history. The last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, she is known mostly for her beauty and her liaisons with Rome’s Julius Caesar and Mark Antony and her tragic suicide that was followed by the fall of Egypt, which became a Roman province. The NBC project is described as an epic romance set in a world of sorcery, gods and monsters that centers on Cleopatra, Mark Antony and Julius Caesar. The young queen makes a sacred pact with a goddess to win back her throne, igniting a curse and an infamous love triangle that changes the course of history, forever ending the 4,000 year dominion of the Pharaoh.
There have been numerous screen adaptations of the story of Cleopatra, most notably the 1963 movie starring Elizabeth Taylor. There is also a high-profile new Cleopatra movie percolating at Sony, with David Fincher attached to direct, Angelina Jolie to star and Scott Rudin …
EXCLUSIVE: In their first development season after partnering last June to launch ABC Studios-based Di Bonaventura Pictures Television, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Dan McDermott landed a series on the air, ABC’s midseason conspiracy drama Zero Hour. Now the duo have netted one of ABC‘s first drama commitments of the new development cycle with another high-concept project. The network has bought drama pitch Founding Fathers, from Di Bonaventura Pictures TV and ABC Studios. Written by feature scribe Rich D’Ovidio (Exit Woods, Thir13en Ghosts), Founding Fathers is described as “Donnie Brasco set in the world of Texas militias.” It centers on Nick Keating who, after serving a third tour in Afghanistan, returns home to find his small Texas town under the control of a militia group led by his older foster brother. After being seduced by the militia’s surprisingly community-based motives, he accepts a rare invitation to join the group. But unbeknownst to his new “family,” Nick has a secret agenda that will put his life in jeopardy and lead him to question his allegiances. D’Ovidio executive produces with Di Bonaventura and McDermott.
EXCLUSIVE: Lorenzo di Bonaventura’s di Bonaventura Pictures is in negotiations to acquire the rights to The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters with the intention of turning it into a TV series. The producer had the Pierre Morel-directed pilot Zero Hour picked up at ABC. Quirk Books’ David Borgenicht will also be a producer. The book was just published.
The first in a trilogy, The Last Policeman offers a mystery set on the brink of an apocalypse. Shari Smiley of The Smiley Group made the deal for the author in concert with Joelle Delbourgo Associates. Smiley also reps the publisher.
The future of Hollywood franchises is international and it is female, producers agreed this afternoon on the Studio Tentpoles panel at the PGA’s Produced By Conference. “I think Hollywood was too stupid to figure that out for a while” said The Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson, citing the recent success of the her own new franchise and The Twilight Saga as examples of female-driven blockbusters. “I think that there will be something really big that will reverse engineer itself for the American market,” said Transformers and Red producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, taking a different perspective and noting the changing nature of the French film industry toward more populist fare. “It’s going to come at us and I think that will be a good thing.” Jacobson also lamented Hollywood’s pursuit of what she called the “fanboy” audience. “Can you think, between movies, TV, video games and porn, any audience that has a shorter attention span?” she asked. She pointed out that women are the primary economic decision-makers in most households. Di Bonaventura and Jacobson were joined on the panel by The Hangover movies’ director Todd Phillips and “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” producer Debra Martin Chase. Former Warner Bros executive Kevin McCormick, producer of the upcoming Gangster Squad, moderated the panel. Philips declined to say anything about the plot of The Hangover 3 except that it is “not going to be another forgotten night.”
Summit Entertainment and David Linde’s Lava Bear are the top two contenders for Bitter Pill, the Scott Z. Burns script that is being shopped as Steven Soderbergh’s likely next film. I’d say Summit is the frontrunner for a script that wasn’t distributed widely. Paramount was the other initial place (producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura’s deal is there), and there are a few equity financiers mulling the project as well, but it’s within a small circle. The film is a potboiler in the Jagged Edge-Basic Instinct mold about a troubled and depressed woman who is taking serious amounts of prescription drugs to deal with the anxiety surrounding the pending release of her husband from prison. Burns wrote it several years ago and set it up at Miramax under the title The Side Effects, and he intended to direct the film. The scribe then got busy with projects from The Bourne Ultimatum to 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: Captain Nemo, and never got around to it. He’s close with Soderbergh–they’ve done Contagion and The Informant! together and planned to do The Man From U.N.C.L.E before Warner Bros pulled the plug over budget and casting (Warner Bros was not one of the places they took Bitter Pill). Soderbergh read it and sparked to making it his next film. The deal should be done by week’s end. It’s being shopped by UTA and Anonymous Content. Stay tuned.
EXCLUSIVE: Filmmaker Burr Steers will make his TV writing debut with Palm Beach, a drama project for NBC from ABC Studios and Lorenzo DiBonventura and Dan McDermott’s studio-based Di Bonaventura Pictures Television. The project is described as an Upstairs, Downstairs-style family soap set in the exclusive enclave of Palm Beach. Steers, DiBonaventura and McDermott are executive producing with Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Shawn Simon. Steers, who made his filmmaking debut with the 2002 Igby Goes Down, which he wrote and directed, also helmed the features 17 Again and Charlie St. Claud, both starring Zac Efron. He is with CAA and the Gotham Group. This is the latest sale at NBC for ABC Studios, which also has a comedy penned by Howard J. Morris and produced by Courteney Cox and David Arquette and a drama penned by Daniel Taplitz and exec produced by Ian Sanders and Kim Moses at the peacock.
EXCLUSIVE: Summit Entertainment has acquired screen rights to Area 52, and will develop a live action adaptation based on the four-issue comic book series published in 2001. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian will produce, and JC Spink will be executive producer through Benderspink. The comic focused on a top secret warehouse in Antarctica called Area 52, a government storage dump for otherworldly discoveries, manned by a ragtag group of misfits who have been exiled to the middle of nowhere to staff it. When an alien killing machine is accidentally hatched in this repository, the group must band together and use the stored mythological weapons and artifacts to save themselves and the world. They are tying up the underlying rights to the Brian Haberlin comic, and will go out to writers shortly. Di Bonaventura and Vahradian are coming off Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Red, the latter for Summit. Benderspink most recently exec produced I Am Number Four and The Hangover 2.
EXCLUSIVE: Jeremy Renner, who received an Oscar nomination for the Ben Affleck-directed heist film The Town, is back in bank robbery mode. Renner is attached to star in King of Heists, an adaptation of the J. North Conway nonfiction book from Lion Press about one of the greatest bank robberies in American history. He’ll play George Leslie, who came to New York appearing to be a mannered gent, but secretly put together a crew and masterminded a heist of nearly $3 million in cash and securities from the Manhattan Savings Institution in 1878. Renner and his The Combine partner Don Handfield will produce with Black Bear Pictures’ Teddy Schwarzman. Black Bear Pictures optioned the book and plans to finance development and production.
Will Staples will write the script. Staples most recently sold the science fiction pitch Myth to Fox with Sam Worthington attached and Lorenzo di Bonaventura and James Cameron producing. Staples, who until recently wrote with partner Sean O’Keefe, is teamed with him on an adaptation of the Lorenzo Carcaterra novel Apaches for Jerry Bruckheimer, the pitch World’s Most Wanted at Universal and Kings of the Trail at Walden Media with Gavin Hood attached to direct. Black Bear Pictures is in production on the untitled Ramin Bahrani-directed pic that stars Zac Efron and Dennis Quaid, and begins filming A.C.O.D. with Adam Scott next spring.
‘Blind Side’ Writer-Helmer John Lee Hancock Teams With Lorenzo Di Bonaventura For ABC Crime Drama Project
EXCLUSIVE: John Lee Hancock is returning to television. The Blind Side writer-director has teamed with Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Dan McDermott’s recently launched TV company for an untitled crime drama project that has been sold to ABC. Hancock is set to write, direct and executive produce the drama, which centers on an unorthodox protagonist described as Walter Mitty of the crime world. Hancock will executive produce with di Bonaventura and McDermott for ABC Studios where Di Bonaventura Pictures Television is under a 3-year deal. Hancock dabbled in TV in the late 1990s with brief stints on Falcone and L.A. Doctors, which he created, but has spent the last decade in movies, most recently writing and directing The Blind Side. After several years of struggling to get the movie made with Julia Roberts turning down the lead and 20th Century Fox dropping the project altogether, Hancock saw his film rake in $256 million in North America alone and earn star Sandra Bullock an Oscar. Di Bonavenura Pictures TV is off to a fast start in its first development season. The company has already sold several projects to ABC, including a drama from Changing Lanes scribe Michael Tolkin and ER showrunner David Zabel about a complex female ADA and comedies The Wonderful Women of Will’s World from writers David Diamond and David Weissman, about a man who juggling his two ex-wives, his new younger wife and his three children; …
HOLLYWOOD, CA (August 3, 2011) – Worldwide box office receipts for TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON, have hit $1 billion, Paramount Pictures announced today. To date, the third installment of the hit Transformers franchise, and the first shot in 3-D, has grossed $338 million in U.S. (through Monday) and $663 million internationally (through Tuesday).
“TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON is the first billion dollar grossing movie in the history of Paramount Pictures, marking a substantial milestone in the 99 year life of this legendary studio,” said Brad Grey, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Paramount Pictures. “We are grateful for the extraordinary work of Michael Bay and his film-making team, executive producer Steven Spielberg, and everyone at Paramount around the globe who played a part in helping make this latest TRANSFORMERS one of the 10 highest grossing films worldwide of all time.”
EXCLUSIVE: Summit Entertainment has acquired screen rights to John Huddy’s non-fiction book Storming Las Vegas: How a Cuban-Born, Soviet-Trained Commando Took Down The Strip to the Tune of Five World Class Hotels, Three Armored Cars, and Millions of Dollars. Summit has attached Antoine Fuqua to direct, Lorenzo di Bonaventura to produce, and they smartly plan to title the movie, simply, Storming Las Vegas.
Published in 2008 by Random House, the book told the rags-to-riches story of a modern-day Robin Hood. Jose Vigoa was a larger-than-life Cuban-born commando veteran of the Soviet army who found his way to Vegas in the 1990s at a time when casinos were trying to embrace a squeaky clean image. Vigoa and his crew embarked on a violent 16-month crime wave that targeted some of the town’s most prominent casinos. He was pitted against a 23-year vet of the Vegas police force, who was charged with tracking down Vigoa and his cohorts without letting the story make the papers and spoil Vegas’ image. Fuqua, who last directed Brooklyn’s Finest, is also in business with Summit developing the action thriller The Tomb. CAA repped both the book and Fuqua in the deal.
JJ Abrams Moving Toward Helming ‘Star Trek 2,’ But ‘G.I. Joe’ Sequel Will Get His June 29, 2012 Release Slot
EXCLUSIVE: Now that the launch of Super 8 is behind him, JJ Abrams is moving toward a commitment to direct Star Trek 2. But just as Deadline has been telling you, there’s no way that he’ll be able to make the June 29, 2012 release date that Paramount carved out for the film. I’m told that the studio will give that slot to G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the sequel that will be directed by Jon M. Chu and stars Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson and Adrianne Palicki, with Lorenzo di Bonaventura producing.
Abrams has just returned from vacation and is hunkering down with writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof to work on the Trek script and beginning prep for a Trek sequel that will likely begin production in January and either be dated for release for the fourth quarter of 2012 or summer 2013. Abrams hasn’t formally committed and hasn’t approved a script yet, but the studio has exercised its option on the cast and they will be ready when Abrams is. All this means that Chris Pine will definitely play Captain Kirk before he reboots Jack Ryan for the same studio.
EXCLUSIVE: Friday Nights Lights series star Adrianne Palicki will play the female lead in the Paramount sequel to G.I. Joe: Cobra Strikes. She’ll play Lady Jaye and joins a cast that includes Channing Tatum, as well as Dwayne Johnson, who signed on to play the role of Roadblock in the Jon M. Chu-directed film. Ray Park is expected to reprise his Snake Eyes character, Lee Byung-hun is expected to bring back Storm Shadow, and RZA just joined the film. The studio’s casting quickly; they need the film for next summer because the Star Trek sequel won’t be ready and this rebooted film and World War Z are prime candidates to fill summer slots. The big question is who Paramount sets in the role of the original G.I. Joe, Joe Colton. I’ve heard Bruce Willis as a top choice, but last time I checked the studio was eyeing several actors, insiders said. Script’s by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producing the Hasbro property.
As for Palicki, she’s free because the Wonder Woman pilot didn’t get picked up. She’ll next be seen starring in Red Dawn and her screen credits include Legion, Women in Trouble and Lone Star. She’s repped by UTA, Anonymous Content and David Fox.
EXCLUSIVE: In the wake of Osama Bin Laden’s killing by a Navy SEAL team, Hollywood is suddenly obsessed with politically-charged fact-based mission movies. Momentum is building on one of those at Warner Bros, The Mission. David O Russell is circling the picture and the studio is courting Brad Pitt to star. This could all happen very quickly.
The picture is basically the methodical six-year mission planned by American and Colombian covert operatives to free 15 hostages from the Colombian jungle. The hostages included three Americans and Ingrid Betancourt, once a candidate for President of Colombia. The script is by Peter Landesman. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Scott Z. Burns will produce with McLarty Media, the showbiz consulting arm of D.C.-based international advisory firm McLarty Associates.
The hostages were held by the Colombian guerilla group FARC from between six and 15 years. It was a nightmarish existence as the hostages were moved around the jungles, often cruelly chained to trees at night by their necks. The central focus of the film isn’t the ordeal of those hostages but rather on Operacion Jaque, a covert effort involving numerous governments, diplomats and intelligence services and a vast network of spies, military advisers and soldiers plus high-tech surveillance measures. Nobody would confirm that Pitt was at all involved, and I’m not sure he’ll be set, but I am convinced they are talking.
Lorenzo Di Bonaventura Launches Television Company With Dan McDermott, Signs 3-Year Deal With ABC Studios
EXCLUSIVE: Feature producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura is planting his flag in TV in a big way. He has partnered with writer-producer Dan McDermott to launch Di Bonaventura Pictures Television, a TV production company that will be based at ABC Studios with a three-year overall deal. Di Bonaventura said he had always wanted to be in television but “felt I needed to establish my worth as a producer in features first.” Nine years and two tentpole movie franchises (Transformers, G.J. Joe) later, di Bonaventura started to explore the idea of a TV company with CAA, which put Di Bonaventura Pictures TV together and will represent the company.