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Universal Acquires ‘Found Footage’ Thriller Spec By ‘Strangers’ Helmer Bryan Bertino

By | Monday November 21, 2011 @ 2:56pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal has completed a pre-holiday acquisition of a spec script written by The Strangers writer/director Bryan Bertino. The project was acquired to be produced by Blumhouse’s Jason Blum, and Marc Platt and Adam Siegel of Marc Platt Productions. Bertino and his Unbroken Pictures partner Adrienne Biddle will also be producers. Blum and Platt have term deals at the studio. Blum is producer of the Paranormal Activity films.

I heard about the spec when it was circulated under the title Mockingbird, but at present it is untitled. Like Paranormal Activity, the Bertino spec is based on “found footage.” Bertino is not aboard to direct the film. Blumhouse just wrapped the Rob Zombie-directed Lords of Salem, as well as the Ethan Hawke-starrer Sinister for Summit Entertainment and is producing the ABC series The River. UTA made the deal for Bertino.

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Universal Wins ‘Grim Night’ Spec

By | Tuesday October 25, 2011 @ 7:16pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures just won an auction for Grim Night, a thriller about about a night that happens once a year globally, where people lock themselves at home and fend off the senseless and random attacks by Grims. Deal was in the high six figure against  seven-figure range. Unbroken Films partners Bryan Bertino & Adrienne Biddle are partnering with Marc Platt to produce. Bertino directed The Strangers. The script was written by Brandon Bestenheider & Allen Bey, who made their first sale. The duo helped move things along by making a teaser trailer for the spec that was leaked by their Verve reps before the auction began. About six other outlets were interested but Universal moved fastest. Here’s the teaser trailer:

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Mark Wahlberg Sets Sights On ’2 Guns’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Mark Wahlberg is in negotiations to star in 2 Guns for Universal Pictures. The pic is based on a Steven Grant graphic novel, and has a script written by Blake Masters. The graphic novel is published by Boom! Studios. Marc Platt is producing along with Boom!’s Andrew Cosby and Ross Richie. The drama is about a DEA agent and an undercover naval intelligence officer who unwittingly investigate each other as each steals mob money. This has been a studio priority for some time. David O Russell had set his sights on writing a draft with the idea he might direct it with Vince Vaughn in one of the leads. Wahlberg’s repped by WME and Leverage.

Wahlberg is locked to star alongside Russell Crowe in Broken City, the Allen Hughes-directed noir drama that will shoot in November. Wahlberg is producing that Brian Tucker-scripted project with Stephen Levinson, Randall Emmett, George Furla and Hughes and Emmett/Furla Films is financing the $60 million film. Wahlberg just completed the Baltasar Kormakur-directed drama Contraband, which he and Levinson also produced with Working Title.

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‘Evidence’ Goes In Spec Deal To Bold Films

By | Thursday January 20, 2011 @ 7:23pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Bold Films has paid six-figures to buy Evidence, a spec script by first time writer John Swetnam, who’ll be given first crack at directing. Marc Platt will produce along with FilmEngine’s Anthony Rhulen and Jake Wagner, and Bold’s Michael Litvak and David Lancaster. Police arrive at an abandoned gas station following a brutal massacre. The only evidence at the crime scene is the victims’ personal electronic devices, including a camcorder, flip Cam, and two cell phones.  With nothing else to go on, a detective must analyze the bits of “found footage” to piece together the identity of the killer. Script was one of several that went out late last week, and was the first to sell. Adam Siegel will be exec producer with Gary Michael Walters. APA’s David Boxerbaum brokered the deal with FilmEngine.

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David O Russell May Write/Direct ’2 Guns’

By | Wednesday January 12, 2011 @ 3:50pm PST
Mike Fleming

The Fighter director David O. Russell is in early talks to rewrite 2 Guns, with the idea that he’ll direct Vince Vaughn at Universal Pictures. The Marc Platt, Andrew Cosby and Boom! Studios-produced film, an adaptation of the Steven Grant graphic novel, is about a DEA agent and an undercover naval intelligence officer who unwittingly investigate each other as each steals mob money. Russell and Vaughn recently discussed working together on Russell’s script Old St. Louis. Russell just was nominated for top directing honors by the Directors Guild of America.

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‘Wicked’ To Cast Movie Spell For Universal: Creators Meeting With Hollywood Directors

Mike Fleming

100.0EXCLUSIVE: The smash hit stage musical Wicked is taking its first formative steps toward the movie screen. I’m told the musical’s producer Marc Platt, book writer Winnie Holzman, and songwriter Stephen Schwartz have begun meeting with filmmakers. Insiders confirm that JJ Abrams, James Mangold, Ryan Murphy, and Rob Marshall are among the directors who’ve met or otherwise thrown their hat in the ring. More meetings will take place when the musical’s authors come to town in the fall. The film will be made at Universal, which produced the stage musical with Platt.

After the billion dollar gross of Alice In Wonderland, studios are combing their fairy tale books for classics. It’s crowded on the Oz front  –Disney attached Sam Raimi to The Great and Powerful Oz, and Warner Bros has more than one film in development. But the $2 billion in global stage grosses for Wicked put it in league with Mamma Mia!, the long-running stage musical whose movie transfer grossed over $600 million worldwide for Universal.

 Wicked, a Wizard of Oz prequel, is based on the Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and focuses on the early relationship between Glinda the Good and Elphaba, a green-skinned beauty before she ended up flying on a broomstick. Wicked began as a movie development project with Platt and Universal, before they changed course and took it to the stage first. It was an immediate sensation, quickly … Read More »

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