Maryland Passes Tax Credit Legislation With Eye On Keeping ‘House Of Cards’

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 8:33pm PDT

House of CardsFrank Underwood appears to have won his latest stare-down. After a tense standoff with House Of Cards producer Media Rights Capital, Maryland politicians have ended their holdout and are set to boost the state’s film tax credit program to keep the Netflix drama filming there. The General Assembly has approved the new legislation to increase the allocation ceiling from $7.5 million to $18.5 million, which likely would be enough to keep the show in the state. MRC, which had planned to start shooting the third season of the D.C.-set drama in early spring, received about $26 million in Maryland tax credits for its first two season, according to reports. The production company has been seeking a tax credit for Season 3 in line with Season 2′s $15 million, which had been impossible with Maryland’s cap at $7.5 million. Read More »

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‘House Of Cards’ Delays Production On Season 3 With Maryland Tax Credit Bills In Limbo

By | Friday February 21, 2014 @ 3:26pm PST

houseofcards__130207005839-200x257Season 3 of Netflix’s House Of Cards is holding off on beginning production until mid-June pending the outcome of two separate bills in the Maryland Legislature that would ensure another season of lucrative state tax breaks for the political drama, which just launched its Season 2 on the streaming service last week. The Emmy-nominated series set in Washington, D.C., was officially renewed for a third season earlier this month. Series key_art_mrc_studiosproducer Media Rights Capital, which planned to start shooting  Season 3 in early spring, received more than $11 million in Maryland tax credits for Season 1 and Season 2′s incentives could reach $15 million, the Wall Street Journal reported today. We hear that MRC is seeking a tax credit for Season 3 in line with Season 2′s $15 million, which as of now is impossible as Maryland’s current cap is $7.5 million. The two bills, which are languishing in committee, would raise the ceiling to $11 million or $18.5 million. Deadline has confirmed that MRC has sent a letter to several politicians, including Gov. Martin O’Malley, regarding the bills. The letter (read it in full below) pulls no punches in saying that the incentives must be approved if the production were to stay in the state. “In the event sufficient incentives do not become available, we will have to break down our stage, sets and offices and set up in another state,” said the letter, signed by Charlie Goldstein, MRC’s SVP Television Production. The issue has been stirring a heated debate in the Maryland Legislature. “Is it possible that they would just leave after we gave them $31 million?” Del. C. William Frick, D-Montgomery, said during a contentious hearing last week, according to WSJ. Read More »

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MRC Buys Top-Secret Spec For ‘Oblivion’s Joseph Kosinski To Direct

By | Monday October 14, 2013 @ 11:53am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Media Rights Capital has just bought a spec package for a grounded action thriller that will be a directing vehicle for Joseph Kosinski. Kosinski followed his 2010 directing debut Tron: Legacy with the Tom Cruise-starrer Oblivion. … Read More »

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MRC, Philip K. Dick Estate Settle Spat Over ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ Rights

Mike Fleming

UPDATE, 6:08 PM: Philip K. Dick’s daughter Laura Leslie issued a statement today about the settlement between her father’s estate and Media Rights Capital. From the sound of it The Adjustment Bureau will not be Read More »

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Universal Officially Signs On To Co-Fi Seth MacFarlane’s Western With MRC

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Universal Pictures has formalized the much-expected arrangement to co-finance with Media Rights Capital and distribute worldwide Seth MacFarlane’s Western comedy A Million Ways To Die In The West. The studio has also set a May … Read More »

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MRC, Universal Fund John Lee Hancock-Helmed ‘Highwaymen;’ Liam Neeson, Woody Harrelson Courted To Play Texas Rangers Who Killed Bonnie & Clyde

By | Wednesday April 10, 2013 @ 11:03am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Media Rights Capital has teamed up with its Ted partner Universal Pictures to co-finance Highwaymen, a drama about the Texas Rangers that hunted and gunned down Depression Era bank robbers Bonnie & Clyde. The film is coming together for a first quarter 2014 production start. John Lee Hancock will direct and Liam Neeson and Woody Harrelson are being courted to star. The John Fusco-scripted drama focuses on legendary lawman Frank Hamer, who was coaxed by a consortium of banks to assemble a posse and end the robbery reign of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in the 1930s. Casey Silver is producing.

Hamer was an old style Texas Ranger who’d survived 100 gunfights and killed 53 people, and he focused on the duo after their gang organized a jail break and killed a guard. They’ve been talking about this feature for awhile, but they will most certainly come after a miniseries on the same subject by History and Lifetime that’s being directed by Bruce Beresford and has William Hurt playing Hamer. Read More »

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Giovanni Ribisi Saddles Up For Seth MacFarlane Comedy

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Add Giovanni Ribisi to A Million Ways To Die In The West, the next film to star and be directed by Seth MacFarlane. Ribisi reteams with MacFarlane, who is once again teamed in this venture with Media Rights Capital, which finally rode in a big winner when it backed MacFarlane’s last film, Ted, the foul mouthed stuffed bear comedy that has now grossed over $543 million worldwide. Universal is expected to become the distributor of the Western, after releasing Ted. MacFarlane wrote the script with Ted and Family Guy cohorts Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, and Scott Stuber and Jason Clark are producing. They were producers on Ted with MacFarlane and John Jacobs. Read More »

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‘Ted’ Passes ‘Skyfall’ Box Office In Japan

By | Tuesday February 19, 2013 @ 3:39pm PST

Universal and MRC‘s Ted today passed Skyfall at the Japanese box office and now has grossed $32.5M in the territory, the biggest total so far in 2013. It already was the biggest R-rated comedy of all … Read More »

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Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman, Episode 23

Listen to (and share) episode 23 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. This week Deadline Executive Editor Lieberman and host David Bloom look at a bullish CBS and its new minority stake in AXS TV; an upbeat Discovery despite missing the quarter’s expectations, Media Rights Capital’s new movie co-financing business and Time Warner’s decision get out of a very old business.

Deadline Big Media, Episode 23 (MP3 format)
Deadline Big Media, Episode 23 (MP4A format) Read More »

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Media Rights Capital Raises $175M To Launch Movie Co-Financing Business

By | Wednesday February 13, 2013 @ 12:44pm PST

EXCLUSIVE: This is a big deal — both because it’s a new line of business for Media Rights Capital, and because the company was able to raise the cash at a time when the lending markets remain tight. P… Read More »

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‘The Raid’ Helmer Gareth Evans Makes 7-Figure Pic Deal With Media Rights Capital

By | Monday June 4, 2012 @ 9:41am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Media Rights Capital has closed a deal with Welsh writer/director Gareth Evans for his first English language action drama. Evans will make seven figures to write and direct. They are keeping the plot under wraps, but it will feature … Read More »

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MRC Fires Back At Philip K. Dick Trust With Own ‘Adjustment Bureau’ Court Action

By | Tuesday April 24, 2012 @ 3:02pm PDT

Adjustment Bureau LawsuitOne day after the Philip K. Dick Testamentary Trust filed their latest Adjustment Bureau suit in state court, defendants Media Rights Capital responded. The company today filed an action in federal court to determine whether “Adjustment Team”, the Dick short story on which the 2011 film was based, is in the public domain or not. (Read the filing here.) This has been a source of contention between the parties since the film was released March 4, 2011. A court ruling could settle any suits over payments and profit participation allegedly due the trust from the film by resolving whether the trust actually had a binding ability to option rights to director George Nolfi back in 2001. “When the Philip K. Dick Trust filed its initial lawsuit in federal court, we looked forward to the court ruling on whether the underlying story to the Adjustment Bureau is in the public domain,” MRC said in a statement released today. “We were disappointed when the trust dropped its lawsuit before the court could reach a decision. The issue remains an important one, so today MRC filed an action in federal court asking the court to rule on the public domain issue. We look forward to a prompt resolution of this issue.” Read More »

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MRC “Couldn’t Be Happier” With Dismissal Of ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ Lawsuit

By | Friday February 17, 2012 @ 4:27pm PST

Following the dismissal of the Philip K. Dick’s lawsuit over The Adjustment Bureau, Media Rights Capital expressed relief and a sense of vindication. In its statement today, MRC said “We could not be happier for our partner George Nolfi now … Read More »

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Sony TV Joins ‘House Of Cards’ Team

Sony Pictures Television has come aboard as a distribution partner on House Of Cards, the Kevin Spacey-starring political drama series that Netflix landed in a high-profile deal back in March. Beau Willimon (The Ides Of March) wrote the pilot, … Read More »

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Philip K. Dick Estate Sues Media Rights Capital Over ‘Adjustment Bureau’

By | Thursday October 27, 2011 @ 5:16pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Attorneys for the estate of iconic science fiction author Philip K. Dick have filed suit in US District Court in California against Media Rights Capital over what it alleges is an attempt to get out of payments for the … Read More »

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Syfy Developing TV Series Version Of Movie ‘The Adjustment Bureau’

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Syfy is developing a TV series based on this year’s MRC/Universal Pictures movie The Adjustment Bureau, which was written, directed and produced by George Nolfi and starred Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. Former Smallville executive producers Darren Swimmer … Read More »

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Media Rights Capital Seals $350 Million Revolving Credit Facility Over Five Years

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Media Rights Capital partners Modi Wiczyk and Asif Satchu have closed a five-year, $350 million revolving credit facility with funding provided by a group of banks led by JPMorgan Chase, Comerica, Bank of America, SunTrust and Union Bank. The syndicate includes East West Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank Leumi and City National Bank. The funds will be used to finance MRC’s feature and television productions. MRC’s last credit facility was also $350 million over three years, secured in 2008 in the midst of the economic downturn, from a consortium of banks that included JPMorgan Chase and Comerica.

MRC, which has enjoyed strong relationships with talents and the agencies, changed its feature structure from constructing pictures it licensed for distribution to  studio, (it famously made a $42.5 million deal for Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat follow-up Bruno with Universal for U.S. and English-speaking territories) to actually financing a lot of them through a five-year distribution deal with Universal Pictures. That studio has become a prime outlet for MRC fare, though it was District 9 distributor Sony Pictures that licensed the Neill Blomkamp-directed futuristic film Elysium, which stars Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley. It was the second MRC film for Damon, who starred with Emily Blunt in the Universal-distributed The Adjustment Bureau, which grossed $128 million worldwide. MRC is also in production on Ted, the feature directing debut of Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane that stars Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis and will also be released by Universal. MRC has two more projects with Blomkamp and two with Fincher, among others. MRC makes the case-by-case decision whether the productions are licensed to studios or fall under its new distribution deal at Universal.

MRC, after a failed foray that involved programming the Sunday night lineup for the CW, is active on the small-screen front. MRC has The Ricky Gervais Show on HBO and is developing series that include the CBS sitcom How to Be a Gentleman with Entourage’s Kevin Dillon, and a serialized political drama for Netflix that is being produced by David Fincher and stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. In all cases, MRC makes deals that grant talent at the ground floor an ownership stake in the film or TV project. Read More »

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MRC Buys Black Hole Thriller For Cronenberg

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Media Rights Capital has made a pre-emptive acquisition of the Jonathan Lethem novel As She Climbed Across the Table, in a package that has David Cronenberg directing, Bruce Wagner writing and Film Rites’ Steve Zaillian and Garrett Basch producing. Lethem is the author of Motherless Brooklyn.

The novel is a love triangle among an academic, his particle-physicist girlfriend, and the black hole that comes as the result of her lab experiments to replicate the origins of the universe. The physicist dumps her boyfriend to spend all her time with the black hole — which she calls Lack — and the university professor will do anything to win her back, even confronting his rival for her affections and risking a trip down a cosmic rabbit hole. The premise has comedic and thriller elements, and Film Rites brought it first to Cronenberg, who has covered dangerous and creepy obsessions in films ranging from The Fly to Crash and Dead Ringers. The film reteams Cronenberg with Wagner. Cronenberg was exec producer on Wagner’s adaptation of his own novel, I’m Losing You. Read More »

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Hot Red Band Trailer: ’30 Minutes Or Less’

Mike Fleming

Sony Pictures has released a Red Band trailer for the Media Rights Capital comedy 30 Minutes Or Less. The R-rated laffer stars Danny McBride (who’s becoming king of the Red Band trailer) and Aziz Asari, and reunites Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer with his star Jesse Eisenberg. The film opens Aug. … Read More »

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