Location filming in Los Angeles was down 15% last week compared with the same time last year, the Los Angeles Times reported. FilmLA attributed the biggest chunk in the drop to a 44% decline in feature film production. Commercial shoots were down 11% and TV production shot on location was down 7%. Data is based on filming permits for shooting on streets, non-certified sound stages and in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.
Guillermo del Toro has teamed with director Mathew Cullen, cinematographer Guillermo Navarro and executive producer Javier Jimenez to launch Mirada, a 25,000 square foot studio in Marina Del Rey. Del Toro, a prolific producer of projects beyond his own directing vehicles, said that he expects to use the venue as a home base and a way for him to embrace a transmedia future. Del Toro will run a lot of his projects through a facility that has the ability to handle everything from pre-visualization to animatics, story boarding and visual effects work. The studio opens for business today.
Cullen and Jimenez are the co-founders the commercial design and production company Motion Theory, and Navarro is a veteran cinematographer who has worked with del Toro on Pan’s Labyrinth, the Hellboy films and The Devil’s Backbone. The facility is a former bottling plant that has been used for visual effects shooting on such films as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Blade Runner.
Discussions on establishing a home base began while del Toro was in New Zealand and planning to direct The Hobbit films. It wasn’t lost on del Toro that Jackson had amassed facilities that allowed him to do just about anything under his own WETA roof, and when he left the project, del Toro stepped up the studio’s launch.
“We didn’t have the Wellington model in mind when we were talking, but …
Deluxe, the world’s largest processor of film for the motion picture industry, is now the worldwide provider of 35mm release printing services for Universal which has abandoned Technicolor. (Could it be that Warner Bros is the only major Hollywood studio left using Technicolor?) I understand an announcement will be made Wednesday that Deluxe Entertainment Services Group has signed a multi-year, exclusive worldwide 35mm film print services agreement with Universal Studios that includes Focus Features. The deal follows last week’s opening of a digital intermediate suite by Deluxe’s subsidiary EFILM on the Universal Studios lot. To meet Universal’s day and date needs, Deluxe’s high volume processing and printing labs in North America are in Hollywood and Toronto, and internationally in London, Rome, Barcelona and Sydney. Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of investor Ron Perelman’s MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc.
EXCLUSIVE: I hear he starts on Monday at Dimension Films as President of Production after final details of his exit from Sony are negotiated. “Obviously we are on a mission to staff up key parts of the company,” The Weinstein Co’s David Glasser just told me. Since December 2008, Luff has been SVP of production at Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group, manage the development slate, including generating original material for potential theatrical release and identifying studio sequels for the DVD market. He oversaw development there on the upcoming Faster (co-financed with CBS Films), Soul Surfer, Quarantine 2, and Stomp The Yard 2. From 2005-2008, Luff was president of production for The Mayhem Project, a production and financing entity backed by two UK-based hedge funds. In 2003, Luff was named president of production at Morgan Creek Prods and before that had been EVP of production at Neal Moritz’s Sony-based Original Film shingle for six years.
At Dimension, Luff will oversee the completion of production and post production on both Spy Kids 4 and Scream 4 which are both shooting now. Then he will oversee the upcoming productions of American Werewolf in London, Hellraiser, Children of the Corn, Sin City 2, and the upcoming installment of Scary Movie. Also a reboot of both Scanners and Short Circuit. Not to mention he will focus on new productions and acquisitions for the division.
Lionsgate is making its argument for a merger with hobbled studio MGM, a move that is supported by Carl Icahn, who has been trying to take over the mini-major while simultaneously buying up MGM debt. The timing is meant to provide an option for the current restructuring plan that will be voted on by MGM lenders this month. That plan would revive the Lion most likely as a production entity without distribution and marketing, headed by Spyglass chiefs Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber. I’ve always thought the plan before creditors right now is an interim step, and that an alignment between the Lion and Lionsgate, or a studio like Warner Bros will happen down the road regardless, once the studio gets moving again on The Hobbit and James Bond. Here is Lionsgate’s release:
SANTA MONICA, CA, and VANCOUVER, BC, October 13, 2010 — Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) (“the Company”), the leading next generation studio, today emphasized the value creation potential of its proposed merger combination with Metro−Goldwyn−Mayer Studios Inc. (“MGM”). The Company filed an Amendment to Schedule 14D-9 with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday disclosing that it sent an October 11 proposal to MGM regarding a potential business combination between the two companies. Under the terms of the proposal, the combined company would be owned by shareholders of Lionsgate and creditors of MGM.
“This is a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity to create a dynamic, forward-looking studio that unlocks
Chris Ball, Newmarket president and co-founder, will leave to form Wrekin Hill Entertainment, a new specialty film production and distribution label. Ball will continue his association with Newmarket’s owner, Exclusive Media Group, getting the new shingle started by releasing the Peter Weir-directed The Way Back, the harrowing period survival tale that stars Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Saoirse Ronan, Mark Strong and Colin Farrell. Wreckin will also release the Billy Joel documentary The Last Play at Shea. Both pictures were financed by Exclusive. Wrekin will also release Hesher, the Sundance Film Festival acquisition Hesher, starring Joseph Gordon Levitt, Natalie Portman and Rainn Wilson. All three films will be released in tandem by Newmaket and Wrekin Hill, but the latter will be the active shingle.
Ball will be joined at Wrekin Hill by longtime Newmarket colleagues Rene Cogan, who was Newmarket COO-CFO and John Crye, who had been Newmarket’s president of production and acquisitions.
The move comes at a time when Exclusive is building up its US theatrical releasing business. The overall company, funded by Cyrte Investments, is spearheaded by co-chairmen Nigel Sinclair and Guy East. Exclusive’s first production is Weir’s The Way Back, while sister division Hammer Films produced Let Me In, the remake of Let The Right One In. The third production division is Spitfire Pictures, which mostly focuses on documentaries like Last Play at Shea, which focused on Joel’s final concert …
MTV CHANGE-UP: Tony DiSanto & Liz Gateley Exit For ProdCo Backed By Ben Silverman; David Janollari To Get Upped
EXCLUSIVE: I hear that MTV’s president of programming Tony DiSanto and his top lieutenant, SVP series development Liz Gateley, will be leaving the network to form a production company that will focus on film as well as scripted and unscripted television. I hear Ben Silverman’s Electus, backed by Barry Diller’s IAC, will own a stake in the new company which has already lined up a number of commitments, including some from MTV. Meanwhile, former WB entertainment president David Janollari, who joined MTV in January as EVP scripted development, will most likely be elevated to a top programming position at the channel. Janollari, who may not inherit DiSanto’s president of programming title, would probably oversee series but not specials, news and events. I hear Janollari has been offered the job and has until tomorrow to accept, which he is expected to do. DiSanto and Gateley are expected to stay through the end of the year to help with the transition.
EXCLUSIVE: Former Beverly Hills, 90210 stars Luke Perry and Jason Priestley have reunited for Goodnight For Justice, a Hallmark Movie Channel original movie starring and executive produced by Perry and to be directed by Priestley. The Western is based on an idea by Perry who I hear envisioned it as a series of 3 movies. Set in the American Old West, it centers on John Goodnight (Perry) a circuit judge on a quest to catch the outlaw who killed his family. Production is slated to begin on August 4 in Vancouver for a 2011 premiere. Priestley directs from a script by Neal and Tippi Dobrofsky. Perry, repped by Fortitude and Himber Entertainment, John Morayniss and Ira Pincus executive produce. Entertainment One will handle worldwide distribution.
EXCLUSIVE: After testing more than 1,000 males for the lead role of Ren McCormack in the remake of Footloose, Paramount Pictures is setting Kenny Wormald, a 25-year old trained dancer, from Boston, to star in a film that begins production almost immediately. I’m hearing he will star alongside Julianne Hough, and that Dennis Quaid will play Reverend Shaw Moore, the heroine’s strict father who’s trying to uphold a town ban on dancing. Craig Brewer is directing a script that he wrote based on the 1984 original Dean Pitchford script. Wormald previously starred in the little-seen film Center Stage. He and Hough are real dancers, and the plan is to take full advantage.
This completes a lot of movement on a property that seems such a strong candidate for an update.The project began with plans for Kenny Ortega to direct his High School Musical star Zac Efron. Then Efron wanted to distance himself from dance fare, and the studio focused on Gossip Girls hunk Chace Crawford. A search for the right heroine led to Julianne Hough from Dancing with the Stars, who was set into a holding deal and then spent months going off and honing acting skills that left the studio greatly impressed. Right as his Michael Jackson documentary This is It! became a hit, Ortega had creative differences with the studio. He left, and Paramount set Craig Brewer, best known for Hustle and Flow. Even he was touch and go, as …