Overnight Productions today said it wants to cut ties with Robert Rodriguez’s Quick Draw Productions over the rights to Machete Kills. If successful, the court action could stop the release of the film – which Open Road acquired for distribution from Quick Draw last month. The complaint filed Tuesday (read it here), the producers of 2010’s Machete are seeking to terminate the April 2012 agreement in which they granted director/producer Rodriguez the rights to make another action movie about the rogue Mexican Federale. The rights would revert back to Rick Schwartz’s Overnight. The plaintiffs are seeking $2 million in damages
Director Robert Rodriguez tweeted first word today that the pop star would make her acting debut in Machete Kills (the sequel to 2010′s Machete) playing La Chameleon. “I just finished working with @LadyGaga on @MacheteKills, she kicked SO MUCH ASS! Holy Smokes. Blown away”! Rodriguez wrote. Gaga confirmed the news in her own tweet: “Yes its true, I will be making my debut as an actress ln the amazing MACHETE KILLS BY @RODRIGUEZ IM SO EXCITED!!! AH! Filming was insane”. Amber Heard, Danny Trejo, Sofia Vergara, and Mel Gibson also star. No release date has been announced.
EXCLUSIVE: Mel Gibson is now in serious discussions to play a supporting role in Machete Kills, the Robert Rodriguez-directed sequel that will bring Danny Trejo back as the blade-wielding former Federale title character. The film will be released by Fox.
In the sequel, Machete is drafted by the U.S. government to track an arms dealer through Mexico before he can launch a rocket. Deadline revealed earlier this month that Gibson was among the talent that Rodriguez was discussing for roles in the film, with others including Michelle Williams. I’m not sure about her, but Gibson is in, I’m told. He takes the role as he prepares to bow Get The Gringo, the film he co-wrote, produced, financed and stars in as the title character. The action drama is bypassing theaters and bowing on DirecTV before coming out on VOD and DVD.
George Clooney’s ‘The American’ Wins Weekend, Robert Rodriguez’s ‘Machete’ #2, Drew Barrymore’s ‘Going The Distance’ #5
SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM 3RD UPDATE: Late shows made the difference after a sluggish Friday box office, especially for matinees. But attendance picked up dramatically on Saturday, as much as +24%-to-+38%, allowing a clear winner for the 3-day weekend to emerge, Focus Features’ The American starring George Clooney with $12.9M. Sony’s holdover Takers was close behind Saturday. But Machete from Robert Rodriguez should finish the 3-day weekend with $11.3M, good enough for 2nd place. Here are Friday, Saturday, and estimated Labor Day holiday weekend grosses for North America. Analysis coming:
1. The American (Focus Features) NEW [2,823 Theaters] Opened Wed
Friday $3.8M, Saturday $4.9M, 3-Day Weekend $13.3M, Est 4-Day Holiday $16.1M, Est Cume $19.2M
This is the way a Clooney picture should be sold from now on. Even though early exits show that attendance was partly driven by the “George Clooney factor”, he just can’t muster wide domestic appeal even if he is still a big name on the international scene. Focus Features marketed Clooney’s The American to his core +35 adult audience as the more cerebral and sophisticated choice that was a counterprogramming alternative to the summer’s mindless crap. (Focus did the same with 2005′s The Constant Gardener.) Problem is, moviegoers didn’t like what they saw: the CinemaScore was a poor “D-”. Focus execs say Control helmer Anton Corbijn’s performance exceeded internal projections which undoubtedly it did. But a star of …
Even though Robert Rodriguez and Danny Trejo launch Machete today amidst an onslaught of press that tries to make the film a lightning rod for debate on immigration, that wasn’t their goal. What they really wanted was to bring back the spirit of exploitation films which seemed to seize on a political issue, only to use it as an excuse to blow shit up and drop in as much nudity and over-the-top violence as they could get away with. Mission accomplished. “This was always about making a what would feel like a good old ’70s exploitation film,” Rodriguez told me. “What they did back in the day was, run out, make an over the top movie that exploited a story in the news so that it felt like it was ripped from the headlines of today, and move faster than studios could. That’s what we did. It was 16 years ago when I met Danny and said I needed to make this movie called Machete, because he looked like this Clint Eastwood type who would not back down from a fight. Immigration is still relevant, nobody has done anything about it, but it’s a smokescreen. The real Machete story underneath was always about an action hero you underestimate, who comes from a violent background, this incorruptible former Federale hiding out as a day laborer.”
Danny Trejo is at Comic-Con this afternoon with director (and cousin) Robert Rodriguez to pump up interest in Machete, the film Fox releases in early September. But Trejo has more on his mind tonight than slinging free tacos to the geek contingent (which he is doing). Trejo is using the momentum from Machete, his recent appearance in Predators and the upcoming Spy Kids 4 to begin generating his own branded action vehicles. Might the reformed tough guy—who did hard prison time as a teenager before transforming himself into a drug counselor and finding his way accidentally into a movie career that spans nearly 200 films—be on the verge of a leading man career as the Latino Charles Bronson?
Trejo has completed his first film, the Gil Medina-directed Vengeance. Trejo self-financed that action vehicle and when he couldn’t get the deal he wanted at AFM, made a plan to give it away free to his fans for a $5 postage and handling fee. Trejo’s projects are now being handled by attorney (and former WME agent) Jeff Shumway, who is shopping a Vengeance sequel, as well as Ambition, an uplifting basketball project based around Utah Jazz star, Paul Millsap and his uncle/agent DeAngelo Simmons, and Legends, which Trejo (who plays the title nightmarish figure) describes as a Goosebumps-like scary movie with a “morality lessons.” That is also directed by Medina, Trejo’s partner. While that film caters to the youth market who knows Trejo from …