Paramount Buys ‘An Ember In The Ashes’ For Producer Mark Johnson

By | Thursday December 12, 2013 @ 4:54pm PST

bb-season-1-mark-johnson-interview-590EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has bought the rights to the yet-unpublished young-adult fantasy novel An Ember In The Ashes for veteran producer Mark Johnson, the force behind their hugely successful Chronicles Of Narnia film franchise. Johnson, whose has a … Read More »

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OSCARS: Controversial Foreign Language Race Begins But “Radical” Changes Could Be In Academy’s Future – Mark Johnson Interview

By | Monday October 7, 2013 @ 11:42am PDT
Pete Hammond

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has just released the list of a record-setting 76 contenders for the 2013 Best Foreign Language Film category  and members start viewing them in a two-month process that begins Friday night. But in a year that has produced any number of eye opening choices and omissions, there may be changes in store for next time that could significantly alter the process as it has been played for decades. One change could involve eligibility dates. Rules now state a country can’t enter a film unless it has opened in that country by September 30th of the qualifying year. That rule eliminated the high profile Cannes Festival Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color which doesn’t open in France until Wednesday, nine days after the cutoff date. It’s a rule that doesn’t really reflect the realities of international distribution these days as some American distributors have recently complained. The Academy has maintained it is necessary just so all the films can be screened in time before nominations have to be announced in January.

Related: OSCARS: 76 Countries Competing In Foreign Language Film Category

Also, continuing controversies due to the increasing politicization of the selection process of Foreign Language film entries in their individual countries could lead to what returning Foreign Language Committee Chairman Mark Johnson termed “radical” changes in the process and rules leading to the choice of the final five nominees.

Related: Another Film Ruled Out Of Foreign Language Race

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Producers Praise Cable Nets’ Flexibility, Despite Tight Budgets: Cable Show

By | Wednesday June 12, 2013 @ 9:38am PDT

That was the overall consensus  from a panel of producers at the cable industry trade show this morning that featured Marc Cherry (who created Desperate Housewives), Mark Johnson (Executive Producer of Breaking Bad), and Joe Weisberg (creator of The Americans). “Some of the most exciting work is being done on cable,” says Cherry who’s about to introduce Devious Maids on Lifetime. Networks are “so hungry for viewers that they’re willing to take risks.” He relishes the opportunity to develop a series without having to generate 23 or more episodes. With the intense plotting of a soap opera “the workload is just overwhelming…You can kind of feel it around episode 14 where the story starts to not make sense.” With Devious Maids “I had every episode plotted out. I couldn’t do that” with Desperate Housewives. Weisberg says he “didn’t think I had it in me” to handle the broadcast networks’ demands. “In cable you could do 13 episodes and then take a couple of months off.” Read More »

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Motion Picture Academy Email To Members: ‘We Want You To Be Advocates And Evangelists’

By | Wednesday May 8, 2013 @ 12:07am PDT
Pete Hammond

The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is still basking in the glow of its successful Academy general membership meeting on Saturday in LA and NY. So Academy President Hawk Koch and CEO Dawn Hudson sent out a letter summarizing the event to the Acad’s nearly 6,000-person membership Tuesday night. … Read More »

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HBO Orders ‘Buda Bridge’ Pilot Script From ‘Bullhead’ Helmer Michael Roskam; Michael Mann And Mark Johnson Exec Produce

By | Wednesday August 8, 2012 @ 6:08pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Michael R. Roskam, who got a Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar nomination last year for his Belgian film Bullhead, is at the center of a new HBO pilot script order, one which teams him with Michael Mann and … Read More »

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Fox Acquires Action Pitch ‘Riders On The Storm’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox had acquired Riders On The Storm, a pitch for an action film that will be written by Sean O’Keefe. The story follows a sophisticated heist crew that pulls off high-end robberies during severe weather events. The … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark’

Mike Fleming

FilmDistrict has released a full-length trailer for Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, the remake of the creepy 1973 telepic made at a time when ABC was cranking out the scares with such films as Bad Ronald and Trilogy of Terror. Troy Nixey directed it and Guillermo del Toro produced … Read More »

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Holly Hunter Lands ‘Still I Rise,’ In Talks For ‘Romeo And Juliet’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Holly Hunter has signed a deal to star in Still I Rise, joining Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal in the Daniel Barnz-directed drama about the campaign by a teacher and mother to transform a quality … Read More »

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Maggie Gyllenhaal And Viola Davis Lead Walden’s ‘Still I Rise’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Walden Media has has set a May 23 start in Pittsburgh on Still I Rise, the working title of a drama that will star Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis. Daniel Barnz, who most recently directed Beastly, will helm the … Read More »

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FilmDistrict To Distribute ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark’ Remake

Mike Fleming

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark has been acquired for domestic distribution by Peter Schlessel and Bob Berney’s FilmDistrict. The film will get an August 12 release and was the final and perhaps most potentially commercial of the films made … Read More »

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OSCAR: First Foreign Language Film Flap

Pete Hammond

Brazil’s Foreign Language Entry Causes Election Controversy

Producer Mark Johnson is head of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Foreign Language committee and tells me his panel will meet next … Read More »

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Computer Game ‘MYST’ Gains Movie Steam

By | Wednesday September 29, 2010 @ 7:47pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: MYST, the all-time top selling computer adventure game franchise, has been optioned for live action film treatment. Producers Hunt Lowry and Mark Johnson have partnered with Adrian Vanderbosch and Isaac Testerman of Mysteria Film Group. Mysteria got the rights from game developers Cyan Worlds. MYST debuted in 1993 and expanded with four top-selling sequels. It established a market for multi-platform CD-ROM gaming and continues to be the biggest selling adventure game ever.

Trouble is, MYST became popular for the atmospheric experience it provided, but it isn’t as easily adaptable as some vidgames because it doesn’t have a simple linear narrative. It does have a strong mythology that creates possibilities, though. Johnson is the producer of the upcoming The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and the hope is to bring the distinctive world of Myst as was done with Narnia. Read More »

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UTA Signs Producer Mark Johnson’s TV Biz

By | Monday August 9, 2010 @ 4:00pm PDT

I’m told Oscar-winning producer Mark Johnson and his Gran VIA production company have signed with UTA for representation in television. Johnson, who’s produced everything on the big screen from Rain Man to The Notebook to the Chronicles of Narnia series, is looking to significantly expand his presence on the small … Read More »

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