As Deadline reported yesterday, it looks like Hollywood has a new king of the MLK Day weekend. A week after the record-breaking debut of Ride Along, Sony said today that it has booked Kevin Hart starrer The Wedding Ringer into next year’s holiday frame. The Screen Gems/Miramax comedy is slated for January 16, 2015, where it will exchange vows against Fox’s Frankenstein and Universal’s Untitled Michael Mann project. Hart stars as Jimmy, who provides best man services for socially challenged guys. One groom-to-be (Josh Gad) hires him — then goes so far as to name nine fake groomsmen. Jeremy Garelick is directing Wedding Ringer from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jay Lavender. Adam Fields and Will Packer are producing.
BOX OFFICE FINAL: ‘Ride Along’ A $48M Phenom Breaks Records
UTA’s Barbara Dreyfus Named Head Of Motion Pictures For Will Packer’s Production Company
Universal Makes First-Look Feature Pact With Hitmaking Producer Will Packer
Miramax, which last year set a deal with Bob and Harvey Weinstein to spearhead new productions from the library they built, hired vet Zanne Devine to be exec veep of production and development She reports to chairman Thomas J. Barrack, Jr., and Miramax CEO, Steve Schoch. She will acquire, produce and develop film and TV projects for the library driven company. She has worked with Miramax as a producer and strategic advisor on production and she’s leading the charge on such projects as a TV series based on Martin Scorsese’s Gangs Of New York, another from Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s From Dusk Till Dawn and the Max Minghella-scripted The Ninth Life Of Louis Drax, a project originated by Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack. She will also be a liason in the TWC projects.
“We are very excited to make Zanne’s relationship with Miramax official as we enter what we believe will be a significant expansionary period for the company,” said Barrack. “Zanne brings tremendous strength as an award-winning film producer and seasoned entertainment executive with passion and vision for current projects and the future of Miramax. We look forward to Zanne’s input and contributions as Miramax commits itself to creating content that supports its return to prominence as a major supplier of new, smart, provocative, quality entertainment.”
Production is underway on The Wedding Ringer, the formerly untitled Kevin Hart comedy being directed by Jeremy Garelick in his feature helming debut. Among the finalized cast in the pic that co-stars Josh Gad and Kaley Cuoco, Mimi Rogers, Affion Crockett and Ken Howard: Olivia Thirlby, Jorge Garcia, Cloris Leachman, Dan Gill, Corey Holcomb, Colin Kane, Jenifer Lewis, Alan Ritchson, Ignacio Serricchio, Aaron Takahashi, and Nicky Whelan. The film was written under the title The Golden Tux by Garelick and Jay Lavender back when they were writing partners on films like The Break-Up. It centers on Hart, a charismatic guy who provides best man services for socially challenged guys who can’t get somebody to agree to stand by them on the day of their wedding. Gad plays a groom-to-be who finds himself in just such a situation, but, to make matters worse, he fabricates the names of not only a best man but nine groomsmen as well. When all else fails, he seeks out Jimmy’s services to carry out a charade designed to make him look his best but threatens to destroy everything if it fails. Miramax’s Adam Fields and Will Packer are producing. Screen Gems president Clint Culpepper is overseeing the production on behalf of Screen Gems.
UPDATE SATURDAY 2:30 AM: Ignore those media stories claiming Miramax and The Weinstein Co are in talks for a potential merger. Even while on vacation I can tell you definitively they’re overblown. I’ve learned a merger is impossible because of The Weinstein Co‘s structure. As I first reported Friday, what is true is that Colony Capital/Miramax chief Tom Barrack and Harvey Weinstein just spent time in St Tropez conferring about ways to work together because of lots of joint venture opportunities. Such co-productions would give Harvey access to his most coveted projects from his Miramax heyday which is why he wanted to buy it back from Disney in 2010. The Weinstein Co and others are courting Miramax because its cash flow will exceed $160 million this year. “So all of the production groups would like to plug into this free cash flow with their development pipeline,” my insider said Friday.
EXCLUSIVE … FRIDAY 1 PM: Hollywood needs more production and financing right now. So the good news is that Miramax is about to become a movie/TV player ”big time” under Colony Capital chief Tom Barrack’s direct oversight following Richard Nanula’s exit. “There will be some big announcements in the next 60 days of productions and joint ventures,” one of my sources says. I’ve learned that first up is this project: Miramax and Starz have agreed to develop and cofinance a one-hour TV series based on the critically well-received 1997 Miramax film Copland. The pic’s scripter-director James Mangold is executive producing the TV show with Cathy Konrad and Adam Fields. Mangold and Bryan Goluboff (The Basketball Diaries, 2008′s In Treatment) are writing the pilot. Read More »
What do they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in France? Amazon Prime subscribers will be able to find out beginning today after it expanded a non-exclusive licensing deal with Miramax, originally struck in 2011. The streaming service says the agreement provides it with “hundreds of Miramax titles” including Pulp Fiction (where John Travolta famously posed his question about McDonalds’ burger), Good Will Hunting, Life Is Beautiful, The English Patient, Kill Bill, Amélie, Reservoir Dogs, and Trainspotting. The companies provided virtually no other details about the terms. The agreement is consistent with Miramax’s efforts to license rights wherever it can to films in its vaults. Last year it teamed with Amazon’s LoveFilm in the UK and Germany. The studio also provides streaming rights in the UK and Ireland to Netflix.
More Trouble For Colony Capital’s Richard Nanula
Nanula Takes Leave Of Absence From Miramax And Colony After Sex Scandal
SANTA MONICA, July 8, 2013 – Global film and television studio Miramax announced today that Thomas J. Barrack, Jr. has been named Chairman of the company, effective immediately, replacing Richard Nanula, who has resigned. Mr. Barrack is Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Colony Capital, LLC. Miramax is privately owned by an investor group that is led by Colony Capital, LLC.
FremantleMedia is launching a new slate of scripted titles at Mip-TV which kicks off next week in Cannes, France. Among them are Wentworth, the reimagining of Prisoner Cell Block H, and The Making Of A Lady, from Runaway Fridge. Wentworth is a 10-part FremantleMedia Australia production that will premiere on Oz’s Foxtel in May. Event thriller Lady stars Linus Roache, Joanna Lumley and Lydia Wilson and is based on The Making Of A Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Read More »
Miramax and Martin Scorsese have teamed to develop a television series based on Scorsese’s 2002 film Gangs Of New York, which was released by Miramax. The film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis and Cameron Diaz focused on early confrontations between rival gangs in New York in the mid to late 1800s. The series, co-produced by Miramax and GK Films, will draw from the events surrounding organized gangs at the turn of the century and shortly thereafter in America, not only in New York but in other cities such as Chicago and New Orleans and the birth of organized crime in America. “This time and era of America’s history and heritage is rich with characters and stories that we could not fully explore in a two-hour film,” said Scorsese. “A television series allows us the time and creative freedom to bring this colorful world, and all the implications it had and still does on our society, to life.” Scorsese is behind another sprawling period drama, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, which earned him an Emmy for directing the pilot. The new Miramax has been looking to re-establish itself as a TV player after making a splash years ago under Harvey and Bob Weinstein with Project Runway.
Billionaire Ron Tutor told analysts and journalists back in May he was looking to unload his movie assets, and now it looks like he has found a buyer for his biggest one, selling his stake in the studio to co-owner Qatar Investment Authority. Variety reports the construction magnate had a “large minority stake” in the Miramax library, which he partnered with QIA and Colony Capital to acquire from Disney in 2010 for $663 million. (Former owners Harvey and Bob Weinstein, who also tried to buy the Miramax library back in 2010 with Ron Burkle, had valued the assets at $400 million). Variety said QIA’s stake is now around 75%. Miramax has done deals with the likes of Netflix and Hulu to exploit its catalog titles, which number around 700, but no new films are in the works and questions remain about the future of the library. Tutor said in May that some of his assets are tied up in bankruptcy with fellow film financier David Bergstein and other litigation.
Jens Eriksson Joins MTG Studios
Sweden-based MTG Studios has appointed former Zodiak Media Group Nordic exec Jens Eriksson as president and COO. He will take up his post on January 8, 2013. MTG Studios, which formerly went by the moniker Modern Studios, is the holding company for the production and distribution arm of Modern Times Group, which makes and distributes content for television, print media and the Internet. MTG Studios owns reality format producer Strix (The Farm), Central and Eastern European production group Paprika (Wife Swap In Romania) and communications company Redaktörerna. Read More »
Stepping up its competition with Netflix, Amazon’s Lovefilm has entered a new subscription VOD deal with Miramax for the UK and Germany. The pact starts this summer and follows a recent streaming agreement with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution. The company also has deals in place with Warner Bros, Sony Pictures, NBCUniversal, eOne, Studiocanal, Disney, ABC, the BBC and ITV. It operates in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Norway. In the UK, Lovefilm competes directly with Netflix, which launched in January with output from Disney, Fox, NBCU, Paramount and Miramax among others. Among the library titles included in the Lovefilm/Miramax deal are Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood, Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator and Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill pictures.
Miramax is making a move into Russia with its first deal to stream classic movies in the hot market. A multi-year subscription VOD partnership will see Russian multimedia entertainment services company Stream offer Miramax library titles including Kill Bill, From Dusk Till Dawn, Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting and The English Patient to customers. Films will be accessible at www.stream.ru for streaming or download. Stream’s portfolio includes 7,000 movies and TV episodes from international and Russian studios including Universal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Bros, Disney, Central Partnership and Timur Bekmambetov’s Bazelevs.
Investor Ron Tutor told analysts and journalists today on an earnings call for his multi-billion-dollar construction businesses that he was looking to unload at least some of his share of movie business assets within the next 10 days. Tutor is one of a group of investors who purchased Miramax from Disney for $663 million in 2010. In response to a question near the end of the call, Tutor said if for any reason the plan to shed movie assets falls through, he likely will execute a stock sale in July. Some of the assets are tied up in bankruptcy or other litigation, but onetime Tutor investment associate David Bergstein has agreed to drop his litigation concerning his dealings with Colony Capital in exchange for “a small amount of money” for his efforts to achieve the Miramax purchase.
It’s Official: Disney Seals Miramax Sale
David Bergstein Reaches Miramax Deal, Drops His Own Lawsuit
Financier David Bergstein and Miramax owners Filmyard Holdings have reached an agreement today on their ongoing legal dispute. No details of the deal were made public, other than that Bergstein will dismiss the case he filed against the company and investors April 9. However, a source close to the arrangement tells Deadline that Bergstein will receive a “small amount of money in the deal.” The source added, “this is a full retraction by David and he holds no stake in the company.” Bergstein had claimed in the suit that he was owned 3.3% of the company and $6 million for putting the deal together in the first place. “I am pleased that I was able to sit down with my counterparties in this suit, discuss our differences and resolve them,” said Bergstein. “I fully retract the claims made in the lawsuit against Filmyard, Miramax, Colony Capital, Richard Nanula and Josh Grode. I’d like to thank everyone involved for their understanding and cooperation.” Read More »
Aldamisa International announced Jere Hausfater’s appointment today as chief operating officer. The former Miramax International EVP will oversee the company’s global day-to-day business and operations. Hausfater, who has also held executive positions at Walt Disney Studios and Essential Entertainment, will report directly to co-CEOs and co-chairs Sergei and Marina Bespalov. Founded in 2011, Aldamisa International and parent company Aldamisa Entertainment produce, acquire, finance and manage international sales for a wide slate of films.
Film financier David Bergstein sued LA law firms Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and Levene Neale Bender Yoo & Brill today over his former lawyer Susan Tregub switching sides. Seeking at least $100 million in damages, Bergstein alleges the firms gained confidential information about him and his companies from Tregub while she was his in-house attorney. Stroock and Levene Neale represent Aramid Entertainment Fund’s David Molner and other creditors in their bankruptcy cases against Bergstein. “In the course of their representation, Defendants have crossed the line from zealous advocacy from the netherworld of unethical misconduct,” the 51-page complaint says (read the suit here). Stoock partner Daniel Rozansky and Levene Neale partners David Neale, Irving Gross, and Beth Young are also named as defendants. Bergstein, who is represented by Alex Weingarten of LA-based Weingarten Brown, seeks a jury trial. Read More »