Twilight writer Melissa Rosenberg, executive producer/showrunner of ABC/ABC Studios’ upcoming drama series Red Widow, has boarded another ABC/ABC Studios drama project as showrunner, pilot Big Thunder. Rob Bowman (Castle) is directing the pilot, written by Jason Fuchs. Based on Disney’s Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster ride, Big Thunder centers on a brilliant, late 19th century New York doctor. He and his family are given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to relocate to a frontier mining town run by a powerful, but mysterious tycoon but quickly realize that not everything in Big Thunder is as it seems. For Rosenberg, the gig stems from the overall deal she signed with ABC Studios for her Tall Girls Prods. in October. She executive produces Big Thunder with Fuchs and Chris Morgan. Red Widow, which UTA-repped Rosenberg adapted from the Dutch series Penoza, premieres March 3.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
The ongoing winter TCA in Pasadena has introduced a number of new shows with serialized, mystery and/or whodunit plot lines: Sundance’s Ripper Street and DirecTV’s Rogue, to name a couple. At several TCA panels, a big question has been whether the episodes ordered for the show will lead the audience to a satisfying story conclusion — or leave audiences tweeting in post-traumatic frustration as they did when The Killing failed to solve its whodunit at the end of its first season.
ABC’s new drama Red Widow tells the story of Marta Walraven (Radha Mitchell), a housewife forced to continue the work of her organized crime husband Franklin after he is assassinated in a drug-related incident. The series is based on the 2010 Dutch drama series Penoza. Following today’s TCA panel on the show, executive producer Melissa Rosenberg promised that the 8 episodes ordered would wrap up key plot points.
EXCLUSIVE: Twilight writer Melissa Rosenberg is formalizing her relationship with ABC Studios with an overall deal. The rich pact for Rosenberg and her Tall Girls Prods, which is being finalized, stems from her partnership with the studio on the upcoming midseason ABC series Red Widow. Rosenberg wrote the drama, an adaptation of the Dutch series Penoza, and is executive producing/showrunning for ABC Studios and Endemol. The series stars Rahda Mitchell as a widow of an assassinated criminal who is suddenly forced to adopt her late husband’s role in order to protect her family.
If Summit Entertainment is actually serious about a merger or a sale, the company has the benefit of wheeling and dealing while it is at a high-water mark. Summit announced today that The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1, flew past $500 million in global box office in just 12 days. The film is at $508 million today. It was released November 18 and single-handedly has brightened the overall box office picture. The film has generated $223 million domestic, making it one of only 12 films to reach $220 million in 10 days. Creatively, I thought the movie would have been much better had director Bill Condon finished Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn book in one movie. Let’s face it, the Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) wedding and subsequent pregnancy were sooooo drawn out, and nothing much happened. But then again, I am not a teenage girl or a Summit executive looking at another half-billion dollar haul once the second installment comes out next November 16.
EXCLUSIVE: Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, here for today’s world premiere of his latest film The Intruders, is Summit Entertainment’s choice to direct Highlander. That is the reboot of the 1986 film about immortals who battle with swords, and live and die by the mantra that “there can be only one.” Fresnadillo is now in discussions to direct a film that Summit will co-finance with RCR Media Group. Fresnadillo is also attached to direct a reboot of The Crow, which has Bradley Cooper attached.
Fresnadillo, who first attracted Hollywood’s attention with the genre film Intacto, followed with the superb 28 Weeks Later. Today he unveils Intruders, an intense psychological drama that stars Clive Owen as a father who cannot protect his young daughter from faceless intruders. The film also stars Daniel Bruhl, who starred Inglourious Basterds and next stars as Formula One racer Niki Lauda in the Ron Howard-directed Rush. The film is an acquisition title that is high on many buyers’ lists, and the director’s UTA reps are selling it.
‘ECLIPSE’ KEEPS BREAKING RECORDS: Twilight Saga Threequel Sets Best Ever Wednesday Opening Of $68.5M; Thursday $24.2M; Six-Day July Fourth Holiday Estimated At $178M; Twi-Hards Mob Theaters In U.S., Canada, Overseas
10TH UPDATE, THURSDAY 11 PM: No. 1 at the North American box office was the Twilight Saga: Eclipse with what looks like $24.2M today for a new cume of $92.8M and $110M for 5 days with a total of $178M for the 6-day July Fouth Holiday since Wednesday. That would put the pic just shy of Spider-Man 2 which holds the July 4th holiday record with $180M.
9TH UPDATE, THURSDAY 3:30 PM: Summit Entertainment is disclosing that THE TWILIGHT SAGA: Eclipse had “an incredible start” internationally. Despite great weather and the World Cup, Eclipse launched with an estimated $19M from 22 markets. The only major territories that opened on June 30th were Italy, Brazil, and Russia. Other majors like Spain, Australia and Mexico launch today. France, Germany, S. Korea and Japan will launch in the weeks to come. Here are some highlights of opening day results: Eclipse Kicks Off Big International Run
8TH UPDATE, THURSDAY 8 AM: I can report now that the 3rd film in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga series of novels is off to a record-breaking start at the North American box office. Summit Entertainment’s ECLIPSE opened to $68.5 million today which shattered the best-ever $62 million for a Wednesday single day opening set last summer by Paramount’s Transformers 2. That $68.5M included Eclipse‘s record-setting $30M from Wednesday 12:01 AM and 3 AM showings at more than 4,000 theaters in the U.S. and Canada. Eclipse also registered the biggest single day opening during the summer play period, besting The Dark Knight‘s $67.2M. But the Twilight saga’s 2nd film, New Moon, still holds the largest single day opening record of $72 million. Eclipse is playing in 4,416 domestic locations, which sets another record for the biggest ever release in Hollywood history, surpassing Iron Man 2‘s 4,380 venues.
Stay tuned for the David Slade-directed Eclipse starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner from Melissa Rosenberg’s script to set more records over this 6-day July 4th holiday weekend. I’ve learned that 57% of the audience attending opening day did so because of the “subject matter”, while 36% did so because of the actor in the lead role, and 15% because of the actress in the lead role. Eclipse received a Cinemascore overall grade of “A” with 92% of moviegoers giving the pic an A or B.