EXCLUSIVE: Starz has entered into a first-look deal with feature producer Mark Canton (300 franchise). Under the pact, Canton will focus on developing and producing original programming for the pay cable network. Canton is already in business with Starz, serving as an executive producer on the upcoming eight-episode drama series, Power. Created by Courtney Kemp-Agboh, exec produced by Kemp-Agboh, Canton, Curtis “50” Cent Jackson, Randall Emmett and David Knoller and co-produced by CBS TV Studios, Power tells the story of a wealthy New York City nightclub owner living a double life as the drug kingpin. “Mark’s success making breakthrough entertainment is singular, and we look forward to our partnership,” Starz managing director Carmi Zlotnik said. With its striking visual style, the Canton-produced 300 has influenced a slew of other productions, including Starz’s hit series Spartacus. “Chris Albrecht and his team at Starz have given me the opportunity to jump head first into the episodic television arena, with a mandate to bring exciting, powerful audience-pleasing programming to the network,” Canton said. “I appreciate their confidence in me, and am looking forward to a long and successful relationship with them in the years ahead.” Canton, repped by attorneys Jacob Bloom and Leigh Brecheen, will work on projects for Starz with David Hopwood, SVP at Canton’s Atmosphere Entertainment.
A war of words broke out today between Avatar director James Cameron and producer Mark Canton over whether Weinstein Co/Dimension’s current version of Piranha 3D is a crapfest. (Cameron was hired and then fired as the director of the original 1981 Piranha Part 2). Here’s what they are saying:
Cameron told VanityFair.com while publicizing his Avatar re-release: “I tend almost never to throw other films under the bus, but [Piranha 3D] is exactly an example of what we should not be doing in 3D. Because it just cheapens the medium and reminds you of the bad 3D horror films from the ’70s and ’80s, like Friday The 13th 3D. When movies got to the bottom of the barrel of their creativity and at the last gasp of their financial lifespan, they did a 3-D version to get the last few drops of blood out of the turnip. And that’s now what’s happening now with 3D. It is a renaissance. Right now the biggest and best films are being made in 3D. Martin Scorsese is making a film in 3D [Hugo Cabret]. Disney’s biggest film of the year – Tron: Legacy — is coming out in 3D. So it’s a whole new ballgame.”
Canton issued this rebuttal via Dimension’s PR department: “As a producer in the entertainment industry, Jim Cameron’s comments on VanityFair.com are very disappointing to me and the team that made Piranha 3D. Mr. Cameron, who singles himself out to be a visionary of movie-making, seems to have a small vision regarding any motion pictures that are not his own. It is amazing that in the movie-making process – which is certainly a team sport – that Cameron consistently celebrates himself out as though he is a team of one. His comments are ridiculous, self-serving and insulting to those of us who are not caught up in serving his ego and his rhetoric.
Jim, are you kidding or what? First of all, let’s start by you accepting the fact that you were the original director of Piranha 2 and you were fired. Shame on you for thinking that genre movies and the real maestros like Roger Corman and his collaborators are any less auteur or impactful in the history of cinema than you. Martin Scorcese made Boxcar Bertha at the beginning of his career. And Francis Ford Coppola made Dimentia 13 back in 1963. And those are just a few examples of the talented and successful filmmakers whose roots are in genre films. Who are you to impugn any genre film or its creators?