Warner Bros and New Line have made an October 3 date with Annabelle, the doll from their horror hit The Conjuring. The companies had set aside the frame for an Untitled New Line Horror Film, today making the date and title official with their Conjuring spin-off. WB/New Line also have sequel The Conjuring 2 set to be released October 23, 2015. Annabelle, directed by John R. Leonetti and written by Gary Dauberman, is neither a prequel nor a sequel but centers on the doll seen in the 1970s Rhode Island-set Conjuring, which starred Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson and was directed by James Wan. Peter Safran and Wan are producing Annabelle , which stars Annabelle Wallis (Peaky Blinders), Ward Horton, and Alfre Woodard. Pic will face off this October against the David Fincher mystery Gone Girl, which just released a new trailer today.
Warner Bros./New Line released a full-length trailer for their Aug. 8 title Into the Storm and amid the onslaught of franchise films bowing that weekend (Lionsgate/Summit‘s Step Up All In and Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) this is one of the more underrated spectaculars on the summer release schedule. Clips were shown at Wondercon, and the film, helmed by Avatar VFX supervisor Steven Quale, literally puts the audience in the middle of the film’s small town, Silverton, that’s being beaten up by a series of twisters. Richard Armitage plays a single father trying to shield his teenage son from this bad weather day. Matt Walsh (Veep), changing his comedy hat for action, plays an obsessed stormchaser who along with his meteorologist associate portrayed by Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead), cuts through the puddles like butter in their armored Titus vehicle as seen here. Though it looks like a tank from G.I. Joe, the Titus is based on an actual stormcashing vehicle and was constructed for the film out of an old Dodge pickup truck.
EXCLUSIVE: New Line has made a pre-emptive deal for Brothers Of The Bride, a comedy pitch that will be written by PJ Byrne, Terry Scannell, Aaron Ginsburg and Wade McIntyre. Ben Stiller’s Red Hour will produce what sounds like a pretty good one. A dying father makes his three estranged sons promise they will work together to stop their little sister from marrying her obnoxious fiance. Byrne will play the middle brother in the sibling troika. He most recently was seen in The Wolf Of Wall Street and Horrible Bosses and Final Destination 5, the latter two for New Line. He’s currently starring in the CBS drama Intelligence, where he met Ginsburg and McIntyre.
Debbie Liebling brought it into Red Hour and Dave Neustadter and Walter Hamada will oversee it for New Line. Byrne and Scannell are repped by Principato-Young and Byrne also by Michael Greene and Associates. Ginsburg and McIntyre are at WME.
EXCLUSIVE: Welsh thesp Ioan Gruffudd is set to join Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino in New Line’s disaster actioner San Andreas. Johnson stars as a former Special Ops firefighter scouring a post-quake California for his ex-wife and daughter. Fantastic Four star Gruffudd will play Daniel Reddick, a wealthy real estate developer who’s engaged to Johnson’s ex-wife (Gugino). Alexandra Daddario is aboard as the daughter with Arrow‘s Colton Haynes also cast. Brad Peyton is at the helm of the Warner Bros and Village Roadshow co-financed co-production, which begins filming in Australia in June and hits theaters in Summer 2015. Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson are producing and Rob Cowan is exec producer. Gruffudd recently wrapped feature Home Invasion and ABC and WB’s pilot Forever. He’s repped by ICM Partners, Framework Entertainment, and Nelson Davis.
Hard to tell if it’s more paralegal than paranormal but something is definitely haunting The Conjuring franchise Warner Bros is trying to create. Today the studio and its New Line division were among the defendants named in another breach of contract lawsuit by producer Tony DeRosa-Grund and his Evergreen Media. This time 87-year-old Lorraine Warren herself, whose investigations into the seemingly supernatural with her late husband were the basis for last year’s thriller, was also listed as a defendant. Filed in federal court in Texas like last month’s suit, today’s complaint (read it here) seeking a jury trial also wants to stop any sequels going forward; a declaratory judgment of rights; and a series of unspecified actual, punitive and statutory damages likely to run into the millions. And what does the other side say? “We have not been served,” a WB spokesman told me today.
Looks like more than the paranormal are a threat when it comes to The Conjuring. After months in arbitration with Warner Bros over who owns what rights to the sequels and spinoffs of the successful New Line-released supernatural thriller, producer Tony DeRosa-Grund and his Evergreen Media late last week filed a breach of contract complaint (read it here) against the studio and its subsidiary. And it’s not just over movies: the 30-page complaint alleges that because of this dispute with Warners and New Line, Lionsgate eventually pulled out of a proposed Conjuring TV series deal it had with Evergreen in late summer last year. “As a direct consequence of Defendants’ deliberate actions and interference, Evergreen is unable to collect the compensation owed under its agreement with Lionsgate and has suffered monetary damages that reach well into the millions of dollars,” says the complaint filed in federal court in Texas on March 28. Released on July 19 last year, Conjuring has pulled in more than $318 million globally, and a sequel set for October 2015 was announced last month. Among other claims by DeRosa-Grund and Evergreen is that the producer has not been paid the profit participation he and New Line agreed on out of their use of case-file material the plaintiffs owned of the investigations of Ed and Lorrain Warren.
The plaintiffs evoke the names of Bob and Harvey Weinstein in their dense complaint as yet another example of Warner Bros and New Line playing a rights shell game.
EXCLUSIVE: Bates Motel star Michael Vartan has landed the male lead in Crawlspace, the New Line genre film that’s directed by Phil Claydon (Vampire Killers) and produced by Peter Safran and Rick Alvarez. Vartan will play a widower with a daughter who gets remarried and, after going through a rough patch of unemployment, gets the opportunity for a new start in a new house in the suburbs. Trouble is the house has a very disturbing secret from the past that rears up. Principal photography is set to begin March 24, 2014 in Los Angeles.
Vartan is currently playing the new romantic love interest to Vera Farmiga’s Norma in the A&E’s Psycho prequel series Bates Motel, which is currently airing in its second season. This guy is apparently not good at picking houses or women. He’s repped by UTA, Thruline Entertainment and attorney Frank Stewart.
EXCLUSIVE: Alexandra Daddario just landed the female lead opposite Dwayne Johnson on San Andreas, which New Line hopes will be its next big tentpole. In the Brad Peyton-directed film, Johnson plays a chopper pilot who sets out to rescue his estranged daughter after a massive earthquake hits California. Beau Flynn is producing and Village Roadshow Pictures is co-financing. Watch for Daddario; she is gaining notice for her role in HBO’s True Detective and is being courted for a role in the Entourage movie at Warner Bros. Daddario, who starred in Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, is repped by UTA and McKeon-Myones Management.
EXCLUSIVE: New Line Cinema has acquired Fist Fight, a comic pitch based on an idea by New Girl star Max Greenfield. The actor brought the idea to 21 Laps and developed it with them and writers Evan Susser and Van Robichaux, the scribes behind the 2011 Black List script Chewi. Greenfield also will serve as a producer on the film. Shawn Levy will produce with Billy Rosenberg and Dan Cohen. New Line’s Richard Brener, Sam Brown and Dave Neustadter will referee.
The exact plot is being kept quiet, but the aspiration is a Horrible Bosses tone for a comedy that follows an epic fistfight between two high school teachers set against the backdrop of the broken-down school system. WME reps Levy, Greenfield, Susser, and Robichaux; Greenfield is managed by Greenlight Management. Levy and Greenfield are repped by Ziffren Brittenham, and the scribes by McKuin Frankel.
The studio today said that Bob and Harvey Weinstein made a big “blunder” over the rights to The Hobbit movies and now they’re trying to fix their own mistake through the courts by suing over profits from upcoming sequels. ”This is about one of the great blunders in movie history,’ said WB in a statement today after the brothers and Miramax filed a $75 million in damages lawsuit in NY Superior Court Tuesday. “Fifteen years ago Miramax, run by the Weinstein brothers, sold its rights in The Hobbit to New Line. No amount of trying to rewrite history can change that fact. They agreed to be paid only on the first motion picture based on The Hobbit. And that’s all they’re owed.” The Weinsteins of course see it very differently. “This case is about greed and ingratitude,” says the filing (read it here) against Warner Bros Entertainment and New Line Cinema about the studio’s approach. “Warner’s position is simply an improper attempt to deprive the people originally responsible for hugely successful films being made from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien of their right to share in revenue from two of the three filmed installments of Tolkien’s The Hobbit,” it adds. As always in these things, it all depends how you look at the deal. For Bob and Harvey, the fact that there are three movies being made out …
New Line‘s Mortal Kombat movie project has lost its helmer. Kevin Tancharoen, who just about single-handedly jumpstarted interest in the martial arts video game-turned-live-action film property with his 2011 Mortal Kombat: Legacy web series, Tweeted his departure from the feature project Friday: “After 3 years of Kombat, I’ve decided to move on to other creative opportunities. I wish everyone involved in the movie big success,” he wrote. Tancharoen’s history with Mortal Kombat goes back to 2010, when he created a popular – and unsanctioned – live action pitch short film Mortal Kombat: Rebirth . That got him WB’s greenlight to do a full web series, the first episode of which has over 20M views on YouTube, and his subsequent reboot feature deal. Outside of his Mortal Kombat projects Tancharoen directed MGM’s Fame reboot and Glee: The 3D Concert Movie.
Related: New Line Reboots ‘Mortal Kombat’
UPDATE: Now it looks like Christoph Waltz will have room in his schedule for Horrible Bosses 2. New Line confirmed today that Waltz is in talks to play Chris Pine‘s father in the awful boss sequel. A deal is expected to close soon.
PREVIOUS, Oct. 9 PM: Colin Farrell was the most awful boss in Horrible Bosses, but New Line is trying hard to top him in the sequel. Word is they have courted Chris Pine and Christoph Waltz to play a father/son awful boss tandem for the next film. I’m now being told by insiders that Waltz won’t be available, but Pine might do it. It’s too bad they offed Farrell because, like more cowbell, I coulda used a little more Bobby, that bloated and insensitive boss’ son who fired the guy in the wheelchair and made sure to take his handicap parking pass. Sean Anders is directing the sequel, and Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman and Charlie Day reprise. New Line has dated it for Thanksgiving weekend 2014.
New Line has slated Horrible Bosses 2 for a November 26, 2014 release. It will go up against Fox’s animated pic Home that same day. The big competition that Thanksgiving weekend will be The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 which opens on November 21. Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day are set to return for the Horrible Bosses sequel with Sean Anders directing. Anders stepped in after Seth Gordon exited over the summer. The first Horrible Bosses brought in more than $200 million worldwide.
EXCLUSIVE: Ted Melfi, who made his feature debut directing Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts and Chris O’Dowd in St. Vincent De Van Nuys for The Weinstein Company, is in talks to helm Going In Style, the New Line remake of the 1979 bank heist comedy. Melfi wrote the script and Donald De Line is producing with Tony Bill exec producing. The offer to Melfi was made today and they are negotiating.
The original film was directed by Martin Brest and it starred George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg as three retirees who decide to rob a bank. That basic premise is being used in the sequel, but the back stories of the characters are different. A lot of golden age stars are circling this one, and a strong cast should be set soon.
For Melfi, this comes after he made a deal to develop for Sony Pictures and Chernin Entertainment an adaptation of the J.R. Moehringer memoir The Tender Bar, with Melfi to write the script and direct and Chernin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping will produce. Melfi is repped by UTA and Infinity Management International.
EXCLUSIVE: Horrible Bosses scribes Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley have gone back to the well at New Line, selling the comic pitch The Bus Driver for 7-figures. The duo will begin writing the screenplay right away. The comedy is about an ex-con who gets a job as a school bus driver and doesn’t prove to be a good influence on the kids.
The scribe team also worked on the New Line comedy Burt Wonderstone, and aside from the Horrible Bosses sequel, they’ve scripted Sony’s sequel to Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs. The duo is planning to debut as feature directors on their comedy Vacation. You might recognize Daley from his early work as an actor in Freaks And Geeks and other series. Goldstein & Daley are represented by UTA. Their attorneys are Adam Kaller and Ken Richman.
EXCLUSIVE: There may be some awkward moments at the world premiere for the supernatural thriller The Conjuring tonight at LA Film Fest. I’ve learned that one of the movie’s producers, Tony DeRosa-Grund, and the studio behind it, New Line, are heading to arbitration over the TV rights to the project. Make that the TV rights to the title of the project.
The Conjuring is inspired by Ed and Lorraine Warren, experts in paranormal activities, who investigated the spirits — both friendly and sinister — who allegedly inhabited the Rhode Island farmhouse of the Perron family. Texas-based DeRosa-Grund had been looking to turn the story into a movie for more tan two decades. After Ed played to him a tape from the case, he wrote a treatment and titled the project The Conjuring.
EXCLUSIVE: New Line has set Jesse Andrews to adapt Crazy U: One Dad’s Crash Course In Getting His Kid Into College, an adaptation of the Andrew Ferguson book that is being fashioned as a star vehicle for Will Ferrell by producers Gary Sanchez and Kevin Misher. Andrews wrote the Black List script Me, Earl And The Dying Girl, which he adapted from his own novel. Dan Fogelman is producing that one Indian Paintbrush is financing, and Alfonso Gomez-Rejon is directing for a fall start.
Misher Films’ Kevin Misher will produce with Gary Sanchez’s Ferrell, Adam McKay and Jessica Elbaum. The book is about one father’s adventures trying to brave the cutthroat competition to get his son accepted into the perfect college. Obsessed with keeping his son from making that one wrong step that could dash the youth’s dreams, dad tries to get an audience with the most sought after and expensive private college consultant in the country, insinuates himself in helping his son past the SATs, and all the campus tours and stressful admissions interviews, all culminating in waiting for the fat envelope that will determine success or failure in getting into an elite school that will siphon off all dad’s savings.
Andrews is repped by WME and MXN.
EXCLUSIVE: New Line has spent mid six figures for an untitled pitch by Joe Ballarini. The pitch, in a deal closed tonight, is a high concept action fantasy set in medieval times, and it was bought preemptively. Offspring Entertainment’s Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot and Matt Smith will produce.
Ballarini sold the spec Lockdown At Franklin High to Sony, and has been a steady writer at Fox Animation on such films as Ice Age 4, Leafmen and others. He also scripted The Resident for producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney and Turbo at DreamWorks and He’s writing Atalantis 7 for Walden media
Paradigm and Apostle’s George Heller rep Ballarini. UTA reps Offspring
EXCLUSIVE: Jason Bateman and Jim Garavente’s Aggregrate Films and Davis Entertainment’s John Davis and John Fox have joined to produce Game Night, a comedy that was acquired by New Line Cinema from a pitch by Mark Perez. The plan is for Bateman to star in an ensemble comedy about a group of couples caught up in a very real game night. They get together regularly to play games together but on this night, things get real and it becomes a murder mystery.
New Line’s Richard Brener and Michael Disco shepherded the sale of what I’m told is a comedy in the Horrible Bosses vein. Formed last February with a two-year first look partnership at Universal Pictures and Universal TV, Aggregate has gotten a lot going in a short time. That includes Identity Thief, which stars Bateman and Melissa McCarthy and opens Friday (Bateman produced it with Scott Stuber and Pam Abdy), followed by Bad Words, a comedy Bateman just wrapped as star, producer and first-time director. On the TV side, Aggregate has teamed with executive producer DJ Nash for Then Came Elvis, a single-camera comedy pilot sold to NBC, which was just green lit.
Perez’s scripts include Walt Disney’s The Country Bears and Universal’s Accepted and he sold his last two to Sony and Happy Madison, with both in active development.
Bateman and Perez are repped by CAA and …