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 accused Paramount of doing “everything they could to avoid payment”. A source tells Deadline that the lawsuit filed in October 2010 would have gone on longer if Michael Bay’s name hadn’t been thrown into the legal mix. But the possibility that the director and his Platinum Dunes production company suddenly were to be pulled in as defendants apparently lit a fire under Paramount to speed a settlement. Today’s news comes after a year and a half of legal maneuvering, including attempts by the studio to move the case from Illinois to California, as well one already failed mediation. Then Paramount approached Cedillo’s attorneys early this year seeking a second mediation. It took just a couple more meetings between the lawyers for the settlement to be reached in late March. But it took up until today for all the paperwork to get finalized, and for Cedillo’s attorney to present the deal to the judge. “We are pleased that the Cedillo family has agreed to move forward with the settlement. This was a tragic accident and our thoughts and prayers remain with Gabriela,” a Paramount spokesperson said today.
Cedillo was represented by Todd A. Smith and Brian LaCien of Chicago’s Power Rogers & Smith. She was struck in the head by a metal bracket that broke loose off the cable holding a stunt car on the Transformers 3 set in Hammond, Indiana, during an explosion scene. The bracket flew through the window of Cedillo’s car, which she was driving as an extra, and hit her. It was revealed after the fact that the stunt had failed the day before and that the production did not have the correct permits for explosive devices on the day of Cedillo’s accident. According to a statement from Cedillo’s lawyer Smith, Paramount promised immediately after to take care of all of the medical bills and care for the disfigured and brain injured Cedillo, but “in reality, they did everything they could to avoid payment”.
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.Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that A&E has put in development an unscripted reality series executive produced by feature director-producer Michael Bay. The untitled project, a competition reality series that promises to test the strength of the family unit like never before, … Read More »
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 … Read More »
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. Read More »
Universal has dropped another board-game film adaptation from its groundbreaking six-year exclusive pact with Hasbro, sending Ouija into turnaround to join previous projects Clue, Monopoly and Magic, The Gathering. The Ouija film — which has McG attached to direct and … Read More »
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
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 … Read More »
After the writing team of Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec revived one Paramount franchise with their script for Mission: Impossible –Ghost Protocol, the studio has tapped them to rewrite another franchise Paramount is hoping to resuscitate. They will next go … Read More »
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. Read More »
While there have been reports that Paramount might kill World War Z because of a $125 million budget and no partners, I’m hearing that hot and heavy talks are going on with David Ellison’s Skydance and as many as two … Read More »
2ND UPDATE, FRIDAY 3 PM: This morning after being intro’ed by Patrick Whitesell, John Fogelman stood up at WME’s quarterly meeting inside the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and gave a small “I-was-lucky-to-work-here” speech. He received a standing ovation. Love … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After being dormant for the past 2 years, the Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay-produced drama project for HBO Cocaine Cowboys is shifting into high gear with a new writer. Michelle Ashford (The Pacific) has been tapped to write a … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Hollywood’s fixation with robots and the undead has fueled a spec package deal that includes underlying rights to the IDW Zombies Vs. Robots. JT Petty has used the Ashley Wood/Chris Ryall-created comic as the basis for a spec script … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: My scoop today comes with a big TOLDJA! Back on January 11th, I reported that three top producers including Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes were circling Taylor Lautner to star in their movies for 2012 and beyond. Now Bay’s aggressive … Read More »