EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate and Gigi Pritzker’s Odd Lot Entertainment has acquired Spitfire, a pitch by Grant Thompson to tell the fact-based story of Louise Smith, a rebellious firebrand who takes the stock car racing scene of the 1950s by storm with her steadfast driving skills and changes the fate of racing forever. Female drivers were surprisingly instrumental in the founding of NASCAR just after WWII. A forgotten forerunner of contemporary female drivers like Danica Patrick, Smith was the quintessential small-town girl with big dreams who smashed through the gender preconceptions of the time to ultimately race at the famed Daytona Beach road course and helped secure the initial funding for what would become the billion-dollar sports giant NASCAR.
Nicky Weinstock of Invention Films is producing. NASCAR is exec producing. NASCAR holds the key to a vast potential racing audience, but it is stingy about the films it gets involved in. The last big one was the Adam McKay-directed Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby, which starred Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Sacha Baron Cohen. Obviously the question is whether that largely male audience will turn out for a female-themed racing film, but the formula worked well for Sony and Penny Marshall in A League Of Their Own. Read More »
Veteran motorsports announcer Marty Reid has been axed from his post at ESPN, the network told the AP. Reid’s departure follows an on-air gaffe during the September 21 Nationwide Series Kentucky 300 race when he mistakenly called a win for driver Ryan Blaney prior to the finish. The three-decade ESPN sportscaster was replaced this weekend by Allen Bestwick who will call the remainder of Nationwide Series events this season.
NASCAR and Fox Sports have yet to reveal the cause of Sunday night’s accident in which a nylon camera rope fell onto the track and into the stands during the Coca-Cola 600. Ten attendees were injured with cuts and bruises and several cars damaged in the incident, which caused officials to temporarily halt the race at Charlotte Motor Speedway nearly a third of the way in. Use of the three-rope overhead camera system made by Austria-based CamCat has been suspended indefinitely, Fox said in a statement.
Fox’s deal announced today extends its current pact with NASCAR by eight years to 2022 and is worth $2.4 billion, the first fee increase for these racing rights in a decade. The network will pay about $300 million annually beginning in 2015 and keep its Daytona 500 , add TV Everywhere digital rights that had resided within the racing series previously, and air the first third of the Sprint Cup Series. The contract was worked out two years before the old one expired as part of an exclusive negotiating window. ESPN and Turner are next up for non-exclusive talks, which won’t begin until next summer. NASCAR’s current TV package is worth about $4.48 billion. Read More »
Universal Studios Home Entertainment will kicks its Blu-ray and DVD campaign into gear at the “Fast Five 225″ auto race on Sept. 16 at Chicagoland Speedway. The latest installment of The Fast and the Furious franchise will be released on Oct. 4. Fast Five stars Tyrese Gibson and Jordana Brewster will serve as the grand marshals. ”The combination of Fast Five and NASCAR is sure to be a huge thrill for race fans,” said Universal Studios Home Entertainment president Craig Kornblau. “No two brands are bigger crowd pleasers or deliver a better action-packed, edge-of-your-seat racing experience.”
Since when were there cars in Westerns? This definitely falls under the now-I’ve-seen-it-all NBCUniversal marketing from the same studio that once promoted its TV and movies by stickering grocery produce and cat food:
Gaffney, SC, May 25, 2011: JD Motorsports has partnered with Cowboys & Aliens, the upcoming action-thriller from director Jon Favreau (Iron Man) that stars Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde, in theaters July 29. For the first time in NASCAR history, a film will serve as a primary sponsor of a car for multiple races, and as many as 60,000 fans will have the chance to have their pictures displayed on the Cowboys & Aliens-themed car. The new partnership, which runs for 10 weeks, kicks off at the Top Gear 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 28, where the No. 01 Cowboys & Aliens Chevrolet Impala, driven by NASCAR veteran Mike Wallace, will be unveiled.
The car’s paint scheme features a mysterious lone cowboy, portrayed in the film by Daniel Craig, and action scenes from the event film. As a unique promotional tie-in, NASCAR and film fans will have the opportunity to be included on the car by having their submitted photos incorporated into the design as a mosaic. The mosaic version of the No. 01 Cowboys & Aliens car will be revealed for the first time at the Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona on July 1, 2011.
As part of the promotion, fans may also enter for a chance to win a trip to the Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona to see their picture on the car in person. Any fan who has been selected to have his or her photo on the car may visit www.cowboysandaliensmovie.com to see a 3D rendition of the car and search for their photo by name.
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