I hear actor Charlie Sheen has parted ways with longtime manager Mark Burg. It is unclear if the separation is permanent, but if the duo’s history is any indication, we shouldn’t bet on it. The two have had fallings-out before, most notably during Sheen’s epic spring 2011 meltdown, but they’ve reconciled. Even if Sheen is not a client of Burg’s anymore, the two remain business partners as they both serve as executive producers on Sheen’s FX comedy series Anger Management, which is 40 episodes into its 100-episode (10+90) order. I hear there were no signs of a Sheen-Burg separation on the set of the show this week, and Anger Management producers appeared unaware of any change in the duo’s relationship. Sheen performed his duties on the show until Friday when he left the set due to illness. He is slated to do The Tonight Show With Jay Leno on Wednesday.
EXCLUSIVE: Cassian Elwes, who two years ago transitioned from WMA independent film head to producer and packager of indies, has made a partnership deal with Evolution Entertainment. Elwes and Evolution principal Mark Burg will team for Evolution Independent. While Evolution is best known for genre fare like the Saw franchise and for Two And A Half Men, Burg and Evolution president Mike Menchel will rely on Elwes to find highbrow independent film projects to invest in.
Elwes left WMA when that agency merged with Endeavor and Endeavor partner Graham Taylor took the reins of the department. He is still a fixture at film festivals, as a sales agent brokering distribution deals and also on behalf of a high number of films he has been producing. Having ready access to funding strengthens those efforts. Elwes said he continues relationships with financier/producers like Michael Benaroya.
“I thought after WMA I might never work again, and that has turned out not to be the case,” Elwes told me. “It has been two years, I just started the 15th movie I’ve produced, and I’ve sold eight others. Mike and Mark were willing to put their company resources to fund a certain number of films each year. We will do four or five this year, and beyond that, my guess is it will be even more than that. This is a fresh infusion of cash into a …
EXCLUSIVE: Twisted Pictures, the company behind the Saw series and other genre films, has made an output and distribution deal with Wild Bunch. The Paris-based distribution and sales company will acquire and distribute the worldwide rights in all media for Twisted Pictures, the genre label of Mark Burg’s Evolution Entertainment. The deal will run for three years, and Twisted Pictures plans to generate up to two films each year, with an emphasis on low-budget genre fare featuring new filmmakers. It’s a major step forward for Burg since he bought out co-founder Oren Koules’ 50% stake in Evolution last June and named Mike Menchel to run the production/management company as president. Evolution, longtime manager of Charlie Sheen, was a producer of Two And A Half Men and will be a producer on Sheen’s upcoming FX series Anger Management.
EXCLUSIVE: Scott Eastwood, the youngest son of actor/director Clint Eastwood, has been set for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D, the John Luessenhop-directed franchise reboot that starts production this week in Louisiana. Eastwood will play the role of Carl, the male lead, and the deal calls for him to be part of what is envisioned as a trilogy. Lionsgate will distribute the film that’s being produced by Carl Mazzocone and exec produced by Avi Lerner and Mark Burg.
Eastwood has been acting mostly in indies, and recently completed the Charles Burmeister-directed Epic, the Jack Heller-directed Enter Nowhere and the Lawrence Roeck-directed Carmel. He has also played roles in films his father directed, Invictus, Gran Torino and Flags of Our Fathers. He’s repped by UTA and Joanne Horowitz Management.
EXCLUSIVE: Evolution Entertainment partners Mark Burg and Oren Koules are splitting after 12 years. Burg has purchased the 50% of the management/production company owned by Koules. Burg has reconstituted the company and named former CAA agent-turned-producer Michael Menchel its new president.
This brings to an end a partnership that achieved the dream of every boutique management/production company. When these guys got through Evolution’s Gregg Hoffman the script for Saw from Leigh Whannell and James Wan, they put themselves at risk personally to come up with the money to buy it and to cover the $1.2 million budget themselves. They made a licensing deal with Lionsgate but were left owning a film that grossed $103 million worldwide. They continued in that fashion on six sequels, most of which were low budget, with the last costing around $20 million. The cumulative worldwide gross of the series reached $870 million, and Burg and Koules made a fortune. Some of it they parlayed into other fright films under their Twisted Pictures banner, with many of the films directed and populated by clients of the management company. Their client stable includes Charlie Sheen.
Vanity Fair is previewing online a portion from its upcoming profile of troubled actor Charlie Sheen. Here are 2 pretty juicy excerpts, in which Sheen’s manager Mark Burg recollects how Sheen closed his most recent $100 million deal for Two and a Half Men last May during a Lakers game and how the actor first met the series’ co-creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre and agreed to do the show, from which he was recently fired.
“Don’t ever play poker with him,” says Sheen’s manager, Mark Burg, recalling how, in 2010, he made Sheen’s $100 million deal with CBS between the national anthem and the start of a Lakers game. “Warner Bros. was like, ‘We’re offering a million dollars [per episode] for two years, and nobody walks away from $48 million.’ I said, ‘Guys, he’s going to walk. I’m not bluffing.’” Burg tells (VF contributing editor Mark Seal) that CBS chairman Les Moonves “had two different schedules—one if Charlie didn’t come back,” before he gave in and made Sheen the highest paid actor in television history. “It wasn’t until the day before the up-fronts that I picked up my son at school, and we were driving to a Laker playoff game, and I had Charlie and his attorney Jake Bloom on speakerphone the entire drive down. At the time they were up to $72 million, a million and a half
Luke Y Thompson is covering the Con for Deadline:
Lionsgate had their SAW VII event off-site –a cocktail party where drinks were named after the killer Jigsaw and the returning Dr. Gordon (Cary Elwes), and then footage in 3D was screened across the street. Producers Mark Burg and Oren Koules are introduced, alongside director Kevin Greutert and star Tobin Bell. They announce that this will be the final film in the series. (Really? Because I thought Part 3 was supposed to be. Guess that means if this does well, the next one will be a reboot/remake). And here’s the Editor In Chief of the Guinness Book of Records, back again, to present SAW with a plaque for “most successful horror franchise of all time”. He notes that SAW III holds the record for highest grossing Halloween-timed movie also.