Jonathan Mostow is set to direct the pilot written by Without A Trace creator Hank Steinberg and Steven Kane. Based on the popular novel by William Brinkley, The Last Ship centers on the crew of a naval destroyer who, after a global catastrophe decimates the earth’s population, are forced to confront the reality of their new existence in a world where they are among the only survivors. McManus will play Lt. Jackie Makena, a crew member who runs the Combat Information Center and is in charge of missile deployment. Parnell will play Hugh Jeter, Command Master Chief aboard the USS Nathan James. Van Winkle will play Danny Green, the leader of a small crew of SEALS aboard the Nathan James. Elmore will play Lt. Alisha Granderson who co-steers the ship. Spruell will play Quincy, a paleomicrobiologist. McManus, repped by UTA and Magnolia Entertainment, most recently starred on NBC’s Awake. Parnell, repped by Greene & Associates, will next be seen in JJ Abrams’ Star Trek sequel.
British actor Toby Stephens (Die Another Day) has been cast in the lead role of Captain Flint in Starz’s upcoming pirate drama series Black Sails, executive produced by Michael Bay. The eight-episode series, created by Jon Steinberg and Robert Levine, is set 20 years before the events in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and chronicles the adventures of fabled buccaneer Captain Flint and his men. The series is in pre-production in Cape Town, South Africa, with Starz eying it for a launch in early 2014, possibly inheriting the Spartacus slot.
A&E has given a cast-contingent pilot order to Occult, a drama produced by Transformers helmer Michael Bay and written by veteran genre writer, The X-Files alum James Wong. The project, which draws parallels to X-Files and Fringe, centers on a FBI agent who returns from administrative leave after going off the deep end while investigating his wife’s disappearance. Eager to be back on the job, he is paired with an agent with her own complicated backstory who specializes in the occult. Together, they will solve cases for the newly formed occult crimes task force. Wong executive produces with Bay and his partners at Platinum Dunes Andrew Form and Brad Fuller. There is no studio attached yet.
EXCLUSIVE: TNT has given a pilot order to The Last Ship, an action drama series executive produced by Michael Bay. The project, originally announced as part of TNT’s development slate in May, is based on the …
It was announced today that Paramount has reached an $18.5 million settlement with Gabriella Cedillo, the extra who suffered a severe head trauma on the set of the Transformers 3 film on September 1, 2010. The victim’s attorney …
EXCLUSIVE: Starz is heading out to the high seas with a straight-to-series order for a pirate adventure drama executive produced by Michael Bay. The series, tentatively titled Black Sails, was created by Jon Steinberg and Robert Levine. The eight-episode drama is set 20 years before the events in Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Treasure Island and chronicles the adventures of fabled buccaneer Captain Flint and his men. Flint, the most brilliant and feared pirate captain of his day, takes on a fast-talking young addition to his crew who goes by the name John Silver. Threatened with extinction on all sides, they fight for the survival of New Providence Island, the most notorious criminal haven of its day — a debauched paradise teeming with pirates, prostitutes, thieves and fortune seekers, a place defined by its enlightened ideals and stunning brutality. “Starz is excited to be working with a visionary like Michael,” said Starz CEO Chris Albrecht. “Along with the high-octane action that is a hallmark of a Michael Bay production, it has the elements that Starz originals are striving to bring to the premium landscape: epic, larger-than-life, cinematic storytelling. The series is also a property we believe will appeal to the global content marketplace with broadcasters around the world.” The latter is important to Starz because, like with the Spartacus franchise and Magic City, Starz owns all domestic and international rights to Black Sails.
Today’s announcement that Universal Pictures would finance Vigilandia, a film by Paranormal Activity producer Jason Blum and the Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, is worth reconsidering on a philosophical level. Universal, which has spent …
BREAKING: NBCUniversal’s new owners at Comcast have given a vote of confidence to the studio’s feature film operation. They’ve exercised an option on Universal Pictures’ Chairman Adam Fogelson and extended his contract through 2014. I’m told that Fogelson is, in turn, in the process of exercising the option of Donna Langley and she will continue as the studio’s co-chairman. They will also keep their executive team intact. Fogelson will continue to have full day-to-day operating responsibility for the Motion Picture Group, reporting to Universal Studios President and Chief Operating Officer Ron Meyer (whose contract was recently re-upped through 2015) and will now also report to NBCUniversal Chief Executive Officer Steve Burke.
While Universal has had its ups and downs, higher-ups are clearly convinced that Fogelson, Langley and their team are making progress. They’ve had recent hits –Bridesmaids, Hop! and Fast Five– but also had some recent misses that include The Dilemma, Change-Up and Cowboys & Aliens. In the latter case, the studio was on the hook for one-third of the film, and shared that third with Relativity Media. It has also been a year in which Fogelson and his team have made some painful decisions and let pricey productions go. That began with the Guillermo Del Toro-directed At the Mountains of Madness, which Universal developed for years and which was ready to go with Tom Cruise, until the studio made a late decision not to go forward because of the possibility the $150M film could carry an R-rating. Universal also dropped two projects that were in advanced stages of development: The Dark Tower, the Akiva Goldsman-directed adaptation of the Stephen King novel series that was to be made into three feature films and two limited-run TV series, with the first film and TV segment directed by Ron Howard and produced by Brian Grazer and Goldsman; and Oiuja, the Hasbro board game that had McG directing and Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes partners producing with Hasbro. The moves were surprising because Howard and Grazer are cornerstone filmmakers for Universal; and Del Toro and Hasbro have overall deals there. Ouija is one of several Hasbro properties the studio dropped, the others being the Gore Verbinski-directed Clue, the Ridley Scott-directed Monopoly and Magic, The Gathering. These were part of a groundbreaking deal the studio made with the toymaker several years ago, but the studio and Hasbro have re-focused their attention solely on Battleship, Stretch Armstrong, and Candy Land.
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has quietly dropped out of Clue, one of the seven Hasbro games properties the studio contracted to make into movies in a ground-breaking six-year exclusive deal signed in 2008. Clue becomes the third project out of seven to be dropped by Universal (Monopoly and Magic, The Gathering were also kicked to the curb), but none of those projects are dead. In the case of the murder mystery board game Clue, Hasbro is funding the development and producing the film with Gore Verbinski’s Blind Wink. Verbinski, director of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films, Rango and the upcoming Lone Ranger, still plans to direct Clue, and he and Blind Wink’s John Krauss are producing with Hasbro’s Brian Goldner and Bennett Schneir.
They’ve just hired Flash Gordon scribes Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama to write the Clue script. The writers will draft a take that Verbinski and his fellow producers came up with that retains the murder mystery spirit of the board game, but broadens the setting to a global stage. Beyond scripting Flash Gordon for Sony Pictures, Sharpless and Sazama are redrafting Dracula Year Zero. That project’s still hanging on at Universal, after being halted just short of the start line because of a high budget, when Alex Proyas was directing and Sam Worthington was going to star. ICM reps the writers.
Is all this a clue that Universal no longer wants to roll the dice on board game movies? Insiders say no. Rather, they tell me that Universal and Hasbro gradually narrowed their focus to the four films that most made sense for the studio: Battleship, the Peter Berg-directed summer 2012 action movie that stars Taylor Kitsch and Liam Neeson, with Universal just releasing its first trailer (below); Stretch Armstrong, which has Rob Letterman directing and Twilight Saga’s Taylor Lautner attached to play the rubbery title character; Candy Land, which is being written by Kung Fu Panda 2 co-writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, who’ve described the film as Lord of the Rings, with edibles; and Ouija, which has McG attached to direct and Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form producing with Ian Bryce and Hasbro’s Goldner and Schneir.
HOLLYWOOD, CA (August 3, 2011) – Worldwide box office receipts for TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON, have hit $1 billion, Paramount Pictures announced today. To date, the third installment of the hit Transformers franchise, and the first shot in 3-D, has grossed $338 million in U.S. (through Monday) and $663 million internationally (through Tuesday).
“TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON is the first billion dollar grossing movie in the history of Paramount Pictures, marking a substantial milestone in the 99 year life of this legendary studio,” said Brad Grey, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Paramount Pictures. “We are grateful for the extraordinary work of Michael Bay and his film-making team, executive producer Steven Spielberg, and everyone at Paramount around the globe who played a part in helping make this latest TRANSFORMERS one of the 10 highest grossing films worldwide of all time.”
UPDATE: Michael Bay’s personal blog is filled with photos of himself from the worldwide premieres like the one above… Egads. He writes this to fans today:
Thank You Note From Michael Bay
I just want to take the opportunity to thank all the fans around the world for letting me have fun with the Transformers franchise. It has been a wonderful opportunity to have worked with about 4000 crew members around the world. These artists are some of the very best in the entire film business. I’m honored to have had you work along side me. We had an amazing time.
‘Dark of the Moon’ has some of the most technically challenging sequences ever shot. And shot in 3D. I must urge you to find the very best theatre and see this movie in that format. 3D was a forethought, not an afterthought in this movie. I’m glad Jim Cameron and Steven Spielberg really convinced me to shoot in this new technology. We used and invented many new techniques to make the 3D sharper, brighter and more color contrast. I think theatre owners heard their audience that they need to respect the specs of the projectors and not dim the bulbs to save money.
Many theaters are presenting it in the brand new 7.1 sound, which is awesome. This is the most complex, intricate sound track that me and my Academy Awarding winning sound team have done. They really out did themselves to make this a big picture experience. Hopefully you will have as much fun watching this movie as we all had making it.
Michael Bay now writes to projectionists after he’d already called the chief executives of major theater chains to implore them to show Transformers: Dark Of The Moon in a way that burns out projector bulbs more quickly but makes 3D look brighter and sharper. Talk about being pushy: you’d think there was a lot riding on Transformers 3. Paramount Making Too Many 3D Demands?
Just how pushy is Paramount with theater owners on Transformers 3? Well, The New York Times has this interesting detail today: that Michael Bay last week called the chief executives of major theater chains to implore them to show Transformers: Dark Of The Moon in a way that burns out projector bulbs more quickly but makes 3D look brighter and sharper. That’s because there’s been a continuing problem that ”the darkness of 3D is starting to impact movie satisfaction,” media analyst Rich Greenfield tells me. “This was a key problem with Pirates 3D, with both Green Lantern and Harry Potter starting off with darker imagery and then layering on 3D glasses that darken the images further.”
Last week was also when Paramount told theaters they have to play the pic in 3D next Tuesday night for the early screenings to spread buzz or they can’t play the film at all. I hear the company line has been “Michael Bay is insisting on the Digital presentation”. Or is this really all about numbers and Paramount’s screwing Disney and Warner Bros on their 3D dates? Case in point. Paramount won’t even accept the 35mm Technicolor 3D release prints if theaters have the Digital in house. And the studio is telling theaters it’s a four-week minimum in their Digital theater. This strategy succeeds in keeping Pixar’s Cars 2 out of some digital runs, which will cut back the grosses while forcing Warner Bros’ Harry Potter And The Deathly Hollows Part 2 out of 3D dates as well.
Granted, there were lots of legitimate reasons for Michael Bay to fire Megan Fox off the Transformers franchise a year ago. (Refresh your memory by re-reading, MICHAEL BAY’S REVENGE! No More Megan.) But now the Transformers 3 director gives GQ this …
Paramount isn’t confirming any of this, but I’m told that there soon should be good news and bad news on the Star Trek sequel front. The good news: With his film Super 8 set for release June 10, JJ Abrams is expected to announce shortly his return as director of Star Trek 2. The bad news: Even moving at warp speed, Abrams will be hard pressed to make the June 29, 2012 release date that the studio set for the film. I’m told that the move being considered right now is to push Trek back for a Holiday 2012 release. This comes after Paramount pushed back the other franchise film in its arsenal that has Chris Pine as its star. Pine’s also playing Jack Ryan in the reboot of the Tom Clancy-created series. Pine was expected to shoot that film first, but the script wasn’t ready. Paramount hired David Koepp to rewrite Adam Cozad’s script. Koepp just began writing this week after completing his film Premium Rush.
Why is Star Trek in such precarious shape, just 13 months before its release date? The film has three top-flight writers in Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof. Like Abrams, all of them have been busy on other films. Kurtzman directed Welcome to People. Orci has been busy on Cowboys & Aliens and in prepping the Gavin Hood-directed sci-fi epic Ender’s Game. Lindelof has been busy working on Prometheus, the Ridley Scott film for Fox that was conceived as a 3D prequel until Lindelof came on to do a rewrite and changed the concept so much that they consider it an original. The result? It doesn’t sound like they are close to having a script that will live up to the high quality of the first film that revived a dead franchise.