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Sony Pictures Acquires Publishing Phenomenon ‘The Rosie Project’

By | Thursday April 25, 2013 @ 1:55pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has optioned screen rights to The Rosie Project, the global breakout novel by Australian writer Graeme Simsion. The film will be produced by Sony-based Matt Tolmach and Michael Costigan, both of whom were longtime colleagues as Sony execs and get to work together again for the first time as producers. The deal was closed by Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad and production president Hannah Minghella. The author will write the script. Simon & Schuster will publish in the U.S. in October.

The Rosie Project centers on Don Tillman, a professor of genetics who may suffer from Aspergers and has never been on a second date until he embarks upon The Wife Project, designing a questionnaire to help him find the perfect partner: a punctual, non-drinking, non-smoking female who will fit in with his regimented lifestyle. When the unorthodox and free-spirited Rosie appears on the scene, it is clear that she fits none of his selection criteria, but she still may just be the perfect match to help turn his life around. Read More »

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Sony Acquires ‘Q’ For David Gordon Green

By | Monday November 14, 2011 @ 4:17pm PST
Mike Fleming

Sony Pictures is acquiring the Evan Mandery novel Q for David Gordon Green to write and direct, with Matt Tolmach producing. Published by Harper Collins, the novel is about a man who’s visited by a future version of himself and told not to marry the love of his life. He agrees and spends the rest of his life trying to undo that dumb choice and find the only woman he ever loved. Tolmach has history with Green; when he was a Sony exec, they worked together on Pineapple Express.

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Latest ‘Franken’ Film Will Be Adaptation

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: While the outbreak of zombie and vampire films has been well chronicled, Hollywood has also become flush with Frankenstein films. The latest is an adaptation of the Peter Ackroyd novel The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein, which has just gotten Pulitzer-winning Proof playwright David Auburn signed to write the script.  The project is set with RT Features, and Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert’s Ghost House Pictures. The story covers the youthful days of Frankenstein, who begins experimenting with corpses, influenced by the outspoken English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, whose Mary wrote the book. She’s a character in the film as well. RT Features’ Rodrigo Teixeira will produce with Tapert and Ilene Staple, while Fernando Loureiro, Jeff Vespa and Ghost House’s Nathan Kahane and Lawrence Grey will be exec producers.

That’s just one of several Frankenflicks. Universal is developing a new version of the 1931 studio classic movie with Guillermo del Toro and Scott Stuber; Summit Entertainment is developing This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, an adaptation of the Kenneth Oppel novel that is being produced by Twilight Saga’s Karen Rosenfelt; and Columbia Pictures and producer Matt Tomach recently acquired Frankenstein, a contemporary re-telling of the famous tale based on a pitch by Craig Fernandez. If that’s not enough, former Guns n Roses guitar hero Slash, whose Slasher Films is teamed with Scout Productions on a Jay Russell-attached Wake the Dead, a Frankenstein tale based on the graphic novel by Steve Niles (30 Days of Night). And let’s not forget Fox 2000’s remake of the 1975 camp classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, last heard from around Halloween, when the studio courted Glee’s Ryan Murphy, right after he wrapped an episode devoted to the original movie. Read More »

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Sony Pictures Acquires 7-Figure Royal Wedding Pitch From ‘(500) Days Of Summer’ Scribes

By | Wednesday April 27, 2011 @ 3:17pm PDT
Mike Fleming

In a 7-figure deal, Sony Pictures has acquired an untitled royal wedding-themed pitch by (500) Days of Summer scribes Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber that will be produced by former production president Matt Tolmach. Pitch, about a girl from the Midwest who goes to the UK and winds up marrying a prince, is described as Notting Hill meets Meet the Royal Parents. Sale was brokered by CAA and Kaplan/Perrone.

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Sony Picks Up ‘Moonwalking With Einstein’ Book For Tolmach Prods.

By | Wednesday March 16, 2011 @ 1:16pm PDT

Sony’s Columbia Pictures has acquired rights to adapt the just-released Joshua Foer book Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything for Matt Tolmach to produce. The story centers on the author’s real-life experience as a science journalist covering the US Memory Championship who decides to become a participant in the event. Said Columbia president Doug Belgrad, who made the announcement: “This is a very special book which transcends the already fascinating subject of memory. By explaining in personal and entertaining fashion a great deal about how our brains work, Joshua has written a book that sheds light on how memory is connected to humanity.” Hannah Minghella and Rachel O’Connor will oversee development for Columbia.

Tolmach Productions made news Tuesday when it hired former Overture exec Robert Kessel as SVP of Production.

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Tolmach Productions Hires Senior Veep

By | Tuesday March 15, 2011 @ 12:13pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Sony Pictures-based producer Matt Tolmach has appointed Robert Kessel to be SVP of production. At Matt Tolmach Productions, Kessel will  oversee the development and production of the company’s slate of films. Tolmach exited his co-president of production job at Sony to join the producing roster of the Marc Webb-directed Amazing Spider-Man, and he has since made several recent project acquisitions, including Frankenstein, The Slackfi Project and The Kitchen Sink.

Said Tolmach: “Though I only met Robert earlier this year, I’d known of him for a long time. He is well respected for his great taste, extensive skills, and relationships with filmmakers. He is going to be a tremendous asset to our company and I’m thrilled to have him on my team.”

Kessel most recently served as EVP Production & Acquisitions for Overture Films, overseeing such films as Let Me In and acquiring The Visitor and Sunshine Cleaning. Before that, Kessel was a partner and production head for seven years at Hart Sharp Entertainment, and before that an acquisitions exec at Miramax.

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Jonah Hill To Make Directing Debut On Black List Drama ‘The Kitchen Sink’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Jonah Hill is in talks to make his feature directorial debut on The Kitchen Sink, the Oren Uziel script for Sony Pictures about the unlikely alliance between a high school-aged vampire, zombie and human as they try to save their town from invading aliens. The script was a top choice on the recently released 2010 Black List. Matt Tolmach  is producing, and it was one of the first projects his company acquired after he left his executive job and jumped right in to produce the Spider-Man reboot with Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad.

Hill is hot stuff at Sony, co-writing 21 Jump Street, and co-starring in the transfer of the Fox TV drama alongside Channing Tatum and Ice Cube, with Phil Lord and Chris Miller directing. Hill also co-starred with Brad Pitt in Moneyball, the Bennett Miller-directed adaptation of the Michael Lewis book about Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane. That script was written by Steve Zaillian and gets released September 23 by Sony.

The title The Kitchen Sink is a self-aware reference to the fact that the scribe has thrown every known and currently popular movie menace into a story that is at its core a coming of age tale. When I first revealed that Tolmach had bought the script, the former Sony co-president of production told me: “I love high school movies, and sparked to the authenticity of these characters. It’s more … Read More »

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Spec Action: Sony Buys ‘The Slackfi Project,’ Warners Goes For ‘Line Of Sight’

By | Tuesday March 1, 2011 @ 11:36am PST
Mike Fleming

The material marketplace is picking up. Sony Pictures has just acquired The Slackfi Project, a spec script by Howard Overman that will be produced by Matt Tolmach. The logline: A hapless and broken hearted barrista is visited by two bad-ass soldiers from the future who tell him mankind is doomed unless he alone can save them. The deal was made by Overman’s reps at UTA and UK-based The Agency. Overman created the British series The Misfits.

While I was busy running around Hollywood for Oscar weekend, I didn’t get the chance to pull the trigger on Thursday’s preemptive spec deal for Line of Sight by Warner Bros for Silver Pictures. Script’s by F. Scott Frazier and it deals with a global threat on the order of Independence Day (but it’s not aliens). The script was based on an idea by Silver Pictures’ Alex Heineman, who also hatched that Project X pic that Silver produced with Todd Phillips. Joel Silver and Andrew Rona will produce and Heineman is exec producer. WME and H2F sold it.

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Sony Titles Pic ‘The Amazing Spider-Man,’ Issues First Shot Of Andrew Garfield As Webslinger

Mike Fleming

CULVER CITY, Calif., February 14, 2011 – Columbia Pictures announced today that the title of the next Spider-Man film will be The Amazing Spider-Man.The studio simultaneously released a photo of Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man, the first shot of Garfield in the famous full mask and suit.

The film, which is now in production and is being shot entirely in 3D, will be released on July 3, 2012. The film stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, Martin Sheen, and Sally Field. The film is directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt and Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad, and Matt Tolmach are producing the Marvel Entertainment production for Columbia Pictures. The executive producers are Stan Lee, Kevin Feige, and Michael Grillo.

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Matt Tolmach Options Black List Topper ‘The Kitchen Sink’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Matt Tolmach, the former Columbia Pictures co-president of production who transitioned to a producing deal, has acquired rights to The Kitchen Sink. That’s an Oren Uziel script about the unlikely alliance between a high school-aged vampire, zombie and human as they try to save their town from invading aliens. The script was a top choice on the recently released 2010 Black List. While Tolmach left his executive job and jumped right in to produce the Spider-Man reboot with Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad, he hoped to find the time to discover new voices. “I’d hoped one of the luxuries would be having time between Spider-Man setups to read scripts and rediscover writers,” Tolmach said. “I’d asked friends to send me scripts and when I read this, I was surprised nobody had bought it.”

The title’s a self-aware reference to the fact that the scribe has thrown every known and currently popular movie menace into a story that is at its core a coming of age tale. “I love high school movies, and sparked to the authenticity of these characters,” Tolmach told me. “It’s more in the spirit of The Breakfast Club than anything, but you get an idea of the title in an early scene where two kids are running from zombies. Those zombies suddenly are attacked by vampires. Just when they are all facing off, there’s a … Read More »

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In First Deal, Sony Buys Contemporary ‘Frankenstein’ For Matt Tolmach

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In the first project he has set at Sony Pictures Entertainment since exiting the co-president post to become a producer, Matt Tolmach is at the center of a preemptive pitch deal for Frankenstein. The film will be a contemporary version of the Mary Shelley novel. Craig Fernandez pitched the project and will write the script. Tolmach will produce through Matt Tolmach Productions.

Tolmach ended his run as co-president alongside Doug Belgrad on October 29 to take a multi-year producing deal at the studio that starts with him joining Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad as producers of the 3D Spider-Man reboot. That film begins production in the next few days with The Social Network’s Andrew Garfield playing the title role and Marc Webb directing.

Fernandez’s credits include the upcoming Lionsgate pic From Prada to Nada, described as a Latin spin on Sense and Sensibility. He also just scripted Everything Must Go, a DreamWorks Animation project based on Terry Pratchett’s The Bromeliad Trilogy, and is adapting the Octavia Butler novel Clay’s Ark for DreamWorks Animation and Shrek producer Aaron Warner. Original Artists’ Jordan Bayer, who brokered the Frankenstein deal, will soon shop Fernandez’ script The Courageous, a futuristic adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s Captains Courageous that will be produced by Jon Shestack.

While Universal is known for its classic monster franchises, SPE went through … Read More »

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Matt Tolmach Discusses Exit As Sony Pics Prez And Segue To Producing ‘Spider-Man’

Mike Fleming

Talk about a bolt from the blue. The town was surprised today when Matt Tolmach exited from co-president of production at Sony Pictures Entertainment to a producing deal that starts with Tolmach joining the Spider-Man franchise he has managed from day one as an executive. Now, any time a studio production president segues into a producing deal and claims it was his choice, it gets my spider sense tingling. Because most times, it takes a firing, or the Jaws of Life, to pry occupants from these powerful studio president jobs. But Tolmach and his longtime co-president partner Doug Belgrad say that SPE’s newest producer actually did make the move voluntarily and that he’s had the itch to do it for some time. He steps into a three-year first look deal and will have to soon transition out of the Thalberg Building (no producers) and take office space elsewhere on the lot. He hasn’t yet thought of a company name to put on the door. All this happens around Thanksgiving, when Hannah Minghella moves from her post at Sony Pictures Animation to become president of production. And Tolmach joins producers Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad in gearing up for a December 6 production start on the Marc Webb-directed 3D Spider-Man reboot with newcomer Andrew Garfield in the title role. Belgrad becomes sole Columbia Pictures president under SPE chairman/CEO Michael Lynton and co-chairman Amy Pascal.

“You’re right, these jobs are great and it’s hard for people to imagine anyone leaving voluntarily,” Tolmach told me. “We’ve been saying to each other all morning, ‘nobody does this.’ But I like that. Amy, Michael, Doug and I have had this miraculous run, but the people who really know me heard this today, called and said, ‘I get it.’ As great as these jobs are, what happens in success is you move further away from the day-to-day meat of the movies. There are meetings all day long, on millions of topics, and I’ve found myself wanting to do less of that. I’d rather be engaged in one or two movies than to be in a notes meeting, get to page 65 of the script and tell everybody, ‘I have to go to another meeting.’” Read More »

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Matt Tolmach Steps Out Of Sony Pictures Prexy Post To Become Spider-Man Producer

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Sony Pictures Entertainment has just announced this:

LONGTIME COLUMBIA PICTURES CHIEFS MATT TOLMACH AND DOUG BELGRAD TRANSITION INTO NEW ROLES

Tolmach Launches New Production Company and Joins Spider-Man Team As Belgrad Promoted to Sole President of Columbia Pictures

– Hannah Minghella Named President of Production for Historic Banner–

(Culver City, Calif. – October 29, 2010) – Matt Tolmach has launched a new production company and will become a producer on the next installment of Spider-Man, the blockbuster film franchise he helped shepherd since its inception in 2002, it was announced today by Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman. Doug Belgrad has been promoted to sole president of Columbia Pictures and will take on additional divisional responsibilities. As part of the transition, Belgrad has named Hannah Minghella president of production for Columbia Pictures.

Said Pascal, “I couldn’t be happier for or prouder of Matt, Doug and Hannah. Matt and I have worked together for over 15 years. Anyone who knows him knows he has been talking about this for a long time. He has always approached every project he has ever worked on with the attentiveness of a brilliant producer’s eye and that is what has made him such an excellent executive. As he takes this amazing step with his career, I know we will continue working together for as long as we are both in this business. We tried to convince him to stay in his current job, but we understand the time has

Read More »

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Sony Sets Wiseman For ‘Total Recall’ Redo

Mike Fleming

Yes, this is a reimagining of the Arnold Schwarzenegger blockbuster. Sony announced today that Len Wiseman is in final negotiations to direct Total Recall. (Funny how, two days ago, Wiseman’s agency ICM denied  anything substantive was going on…) Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach, the presidents of Columbia Pictures, said the film will be a new, contemporized adaptation of Total Recall, which was based on the story, “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick.  Kurt Wimmer is writing the screenplay.  Neal H. Moritz will produce through his Original Film banner. Toby Jaffe will oversee production on behalf of Original Film. Columbia Pictures secured the rights to Total Recall from Miramax. He most recently directed the pilot for “Hawaii Five-O” and is co-writer and producer of the upcoming Underworld 4. If this is Wiseman’s next film, it would be a blow for Fox’s hopes to have Wiseman return and direct Die Hard 5. As recently as last week at Comic-Con, Bruce Willis was quoted as saying he’d love to do another with Wiseman, after their collaboration on Die Hard 4 put vigor back into that franchise.

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