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Marc Butan Departing Panorama For Sierra/Affinity As Megan Ellison’s Foreign Arm Focuses On Sales

By | Wednesday January 22, 2014 @ 3:48pm PST

SierraAffinityEXCLUSIVE: Marc Butan, who runs Megan Ellison’s foreign sales division Panorama Media,  is leaving to join sales-finance-production outfit Sierra/Affinity as co-president. He will share the president role with Sierra/Affinity’s Marc Schaberg who will be co-president and COO. Sierra/Affinity’s Nick Meyer and Butan worked together previously at Lionsgate.

At Sierra/Affinity, Butan will oversee feature film development and production activities. The idea is to have him build a slate of wide-release, director-driven commercial films with domestic and global appeal that will complement the slates built by partners OddLot Entertainment and Bold Films. As part of that, Butan will bring with him films from Panorama’s production slate: his new company will rep international rights to James Gray’s Lost City Of Z, John Hillcoat’s Triple Nine, Angela Workman’s adaptation of The Zookeeper’s Wife and Pride, Prejudice And Zombies.

Premiere Of The Weinstein Company's "Lawless"Butan and sales exec Kim Fox have run Panorama since its launch at Cannes in 2012 (among its first slate projects was an untitled Spike Jonze movie that ended up being Oscar Best Picture nominee Her and last year’s Zero Dark Thirty. Backed by Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, the unit’s goal was to ”produce, finance and arrange for worldwide distribution on a slate of filmmaker-driven projects with broad commercial appeal.” Fox will remain to run Panorama, which will handle sales of all of Annapurna’s titles as well as third-party titles but move away from production. ”As Panorama currently focuses on sales, we will continue to work closely with Marc … Read More »

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Megan Ellison To Back New Shingle Panorama Media, Launching At Cannes

By | Thursday April 26, 2012 @ 9:28am PDT
Mike Fleming

Los Angeles, CA – April 26, 2012 – Annapurna Pictures, Megan Ellison’s nascent production company, has agreed to back Panorama Media, a new production, financing, and international sales entity based in Los Angeles. Panorama will be run by company President Marc Butan and its Head of International Sales Kimberly Fox.

Panorama’s mandate is to produce, finance and arrange for worldwide distribution on a slate of filmmaker-driven projects with broad commercial appeal. In addition to originating product for the worldwide marketplace, Panorama will also serve as the international sales agent on select Annapurna projects and quality third party titles.

Panorama will launch at Cannes 2012 with its initial slate of films including the currently shooting Kathryn Bigelow project, a new project written and directed by Spike Jonze and Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher” project. The Company expects to announce several other titles in the weeks leading up to the market.

“I fully believe in Marc and Kim’s ability to develop and expand this business,” said Ellison, “I consistently see projects that I would like to support in addition to my current slate. Panorama will provide the extra bandwidth which will allow us the opportunity to get involved with these films.”

“I am looking forward to building an operation which suits the needs of both filmmakers and distributors worldwide while living up to the high standards set by Annapurna and its films,” said Butan.

“There is a great opportunity in the international markets today,” Fox adds,” Distributors are seeking, more than ever, high end theatrical titles – exactly

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Cannes: Andrew Niccol To Direct Saoirse Ronan In Stephenie Meyer’s ‘The Host’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Andrew Niccol has been set as the director of The Host, directing his scripted adaptation of the bestselling novel by Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer. The project, which is being shopped here at Cannes by Inferno Entertainment and producers Nick Wechsler and Steve Schwartz and Paula Mae Schwartz, will star Saoirse Ronan.

After resisting overtures to sell the book, Meyer finally entrusted it with the producers, who gave her strong creative input. She chose Niccol originally because she was a fan of his film Gattaca and script for The Truman Show. While Niccol adapted the book into the current script, he exited to make the film Now, which he has completed with Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy starring. The producers went down the road with several directors, but talks with Niccol to return started heating up in recent weeks. Ronan ramped up interest in the film when she was set to star.

Ronan will play Melanie Stryder, one of the last humans putting up a fight against an alien species called Souls. These parasites invade human bodies, fuse to each person’s consciousness and systematically erase their personalities. The story follows Melanie as she is captured by the aliens and implanted by a Soul called Wanderer, something of a legend because of all of the “hosts” she has attached to on numerous planets. Wanderer’s goal is to get Melanie to give up the remaining pockets of humans, but instead the alien finds Melanie to be unique in her unwillingness to surrender her consciousness. Wanderer is so overwhelmed by Melanie’s memories and feelings that she is driven to reconnect with Melanie’s old life, which includes falling for Melanie’s boyfriend. The result is a complex, romantic and emotional human/alien love triangle. Read More »

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‘Twilight Saga’ Author Stephenie Meyer’s ‘The Host’ Lands Saoirse Ronan To Star

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Saoirse Ronan has been set to star in The Host, the screen adaptation of the bestselling novel by Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer. Scripted by Andrew Niccol, the film figures to be one of the hot titles when Inferno launches sales at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival next week. Niccol, who was originally set to direct, might resurface as the filmmaker.

Ronan, the Oscar-nominated star of Atonement, The Lovely Bones and most recently Hanna, will play Melanie Stryder, one of the last humans putting up a fight against an alien species called Souls. These parasites invade human bodies, fuse to each person’s consciousness and systematically erase their personalities. Melanie is captured by the aliens and implanted by a Soul called Wanderer, something of a legend because of all of the “hosts” she has attached to on numerous planets. Wanderer’s goal is to get Melanie to give up the remaining pockets of humans, but instead the alien finds Melanie to be unique in her unwillingness to surrender her consciousness. Wanderer is so overwhelmed by Melanie’s memories and feelings, the alien is driven to reconnect with Melanie’s old life.

The concept is more of a visual challenge than Meyer’s Twilight Saga books, but one thing they plan is for Ronan to play both Melanie and Wanderer. Meyer’s book has an enormous fan base, and the author had long resisted offers to sell it. She finally made a deal two years ago with producers Nick Wechsler and Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz, who’d done the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road together. They deliberately developed the script outside the studio system, and invited the author to be very hands on in the adaptation. Read More »

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