Melissa Rosenberg’s Tall Girls Productions has tapped former Universal Cable Prods exec Kate Schumaecker as President. In her new role, Schumaecker will oversee day-to-day operations and develop television projects. Formed by Rosenberg in 2011, ABC Studios-based Tall Girls Prods is focused on film and TV series development with an emphasis on interesting, complex roles for women. In her previous position as VP Development and Current Series at Universal Cable Prods, Schumaecker was the executive on the final two seasons of USA’s Psych and developed various cable projects with a focus on USA Network. She oversaw four pilots, including Satisfaction written by Sean Jablonski, which was recently picked up to series at USA.
EXCLUSIVE: Melissa Rosenberg, the screenwriter behind the multi-billion dollar Twilight franchise, has sealed a deal to redraft an untitled female actioner from a comedy to a fast-paced female-ensemble spy pic at Summit Entertainment for producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian with Benderspink executive producing.
It’s always nice to see projects with a strong female leads written by a strong woman.
The project has gone through previous incarnations with a screenplay originally penned by Douglas S. Cook and David Weisberg (The Rock, Double Jeopardy) under the working title Blank Slate with a re-write by Erich and John Hoeber (Red) under the title The Kiss Off.
The story, now untitled, is now taking a turn away from what was going to be a comedy and gearing more the pic towards a female-centric actioner in the line with Salt, also produced by the team of di Bonaventura and Vahradian. It will focus on a group of female spies.
Given her track record, this is Rosenberg’s baliwick. And having worked myself with former CIA operatives through the Association of the Recovery of Children, I can tell you, the former females spies are just as tough … and definitely more wily … than the guys.
EXCLUSIVE: Twilight screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg first was tapped to create a drama series based on Marvel‘s Jessica Jones character three years ago, when the project was set at ABC. In typical Marvel fashion, no one is confirming, but I have learned that Rosenberg is attached to the project’s new incarnation at Netflix as writer and executive producer. Jessica Jones is one of four series Marvel TV and ABC TV Studios sold to the streaming giant in a deal announced last week. Jessica Jones is slated second for release, following Daredevil, which is close to locking in Lost alum Drew Goddard as writer/exec producer. The other two Marvel series in the package are Iron Fist and Luke Cage, with the characters from each show then coming together for an Avengers-type superhero teaming in a chapter-closing miniseries. I hear Jessica Jones is undergoing redevelopment in its move to Netflix. The character, created by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos, is a superhero suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder, which leads to her hanging up her costume and opening her own detective agency, where she ends up helping people and assisting other superheroes. Rosenberg most recently executive produced ABC’s drama series Red Widow.
Related: Bob Iger Talks Up Marvel-Netflix …
EXCLUSIVE: More than a decade after Alias, ABC is eying another drama about a female CIA agent. The network has put in development Clandestine, an hourlong project from Melissa Rosenberg‘s Tall Girls Prods. Written by feature scribe Matthew Sand (Ninja Assassin), Clandestine takes a look into the CIA world through the perspective of an unlikely asset: the hard-partying daughter of the American ambassador to the UK. As her work grows more dangerous, she discovers skills and talents no one ever thought she possessed — especially not her father, from whom she is keeping a dark secret. ABC Studios and studio-based Tall Girl Prods, headed by CEO Rosenberg and president Mandy Safavi (Ender’s Game), are producing. Rosenberg’s TV credits include ABC’s Red Widow and Dexter; on the feature side, she penned all five movies in the Twilight franchise and is currently writing Earthseed for Paramount. Tall Girls is repped by UTA and 3 Arts; Sand, who is writing Arclight for Universal and Imagine, is with Paradigm and Circle of Confusion.
EXCLUSIVE: Melissa Rosenberg is bringing another girl to her Tall Girls Prods. Film executive Mandy Safavi is joining the company as President. She will oversee day-to-day operations, focusing on bringing new voices to television. Formed by Rosenberg in 2011, Tall Girls Prods., which is based at ABC Studios with an overall deal, is developing and producing film and TV series with an emphasis on projects with interesting, complex roles for women in front of and behind the camera. “Mandy’s acumen for great material and her extensive background in feature films, especially in the world of fantasy and sci-fi, fit perfectly with the type of high concept, event television and award worthy material we’re looking to produce,” Rosenberg said. Added Safavi, “This is the start of a great partnership as Melissa and I share a deep passion for fostering and elevating rising talent.” Safavi most recently served as EVP and Producer at Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci’s K/O Paper Products. There Safavi shepherded and executive produced feature Ender’s Game, which opens this fall, and executive produced the Fox pilot Locke & Key, in addition to overseeing and producing the animated series Transformers Prime, which garnered her an Emmy.
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: Melissa Rosenberg has teamed with ABC and Endemol Studios for an U.S. adaptation of Endemol’s Dutch drama format Penoza. The Twilight scribe will write and executive produce the project, one of two dramas based on international Endemol formats that Endemol Studios has set up at ABC and ABC Studios, along with Spirited, which will be written by Chris Black (Desperate Housewives) and Henry Alonso Myers (Chuck). These are the first 2 sales for Endemol Studios, which was launched by Endemol USA in August. For Rosenberg, this is the second project this TV development season. She also executive produces Afterthought, a murder mystery drama at NBC written by Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman).
The Rosenberg-penned Penoza centers on a widow of an assassinated criminal who is suddenly forced to adopt her late husband’s role in order to protect her family. Rosenberg, who will serve as showrunner, is executive producing with Alon Aranya (The Naked Truth) and Howard Klein. Penoza was originally created by Pieter Bart Korthuis for Endemol’s NL Film & TV and producer Alain de Levita. The series is now filming its second season for KRO in the Netherlands. Rosenberg is the second highest-grossing female screenwriter of all time, having written all movies in the blockbuster Twilight franchise based on the novels by Stephanie Meyer, including Breaking Dawn Part 1, which opens tomorrow. …
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.
Broadcast Nets Are Going For Genre And Period Dramas This Development Season, But Can Such Series Work On The Big 4?
Genre series are all the rage in cable with the success of AMC’s The Walking Dead and HBO’s True Blood, which have been breaking series records to rank as their network’s top-rated series and become pop culture staples. A genre series, The Vampire Diaries, also is the highest-rated series on the CW, which has had continuous success in the sci-fi arena with veterans Smallville and Supernatural. But, with the exception of ABC’s Lost, sci-fi, vampire, zombie, fantasy and comic book-based series have struggled to attract sizable audiences on the major broadcast networks. That has not deterred the nets to heavily pursue such projects this development season. The 2 drama pilots ordered so far by Fox are both in the genre category: Locke & Key is based on Joe Hill’s comic, and Alcatraz features missing Alcatraz prisoners who reappear in present day. Genre projects have also attracted some of the biggest writer-producers in town: Lost‘s J.J. Abrams is behind Fox’s series Fringe and Alcatraz, David E. Kelley, who dabbled in sci-fi with Life on Mars, is developing a series adaptation of comic book icon Wonder Woman, Greg Berlanti co-created and is executive producing ABC’s freshman superhero family drama No Ordinary Family, Fringe co-creators Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are executive producing Locke & Key, and Battlestar Galactica‘s David Eick is involved in a series adaptation of The Hulk for ABC and …
EXCLUSIVE: Maggie Grace will play a new vampire threat to Kristen Stewart’s Bella in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. Grace, who played Liam Neeson’s in-distress daughter in Taken, will play the role of Irina in the final installments of the Stephenie Meyer novel, which director Bill Condon is directing in two separate films.
Irina is a member of the Denali coven, considered cousins to the Cullen clan as the only other “vegetarian” vampire group. When Irina blames the Cullens for the death of her lover, her actions set in motion a terrifying chain of events. The first of two pictures will be released by Summit Entertainment on November 18, 2011, followed by the finale on November 16, 2012. Melissa Rosenberg is writing both scripts, and Wyck Godfrey, Karen Rosenfelt and Meyer are producing. Grace just completed the Dwayne Johnson-starrer Faster for CBS Pictures and re-teamed with Taken producer Luc Besson in Lockout, the outer space saga that stars Guy Pearce as a wrongly convicted man offered his freedom if he can rescue the president’s daughter (Grace) from an outer space prison taken over by violent inmates. Grace is also waiting to reprise in Taken 2. She is repped by UTA and Global Creative.
‘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.