Security, an action spec from writer John Sullivan (Recoil) about a security guard who must protect a female witness from a gang of thugs in a mall after communication is knocked out from storm, has sold to Nu Image. The deal closed late last week and producers are eyeing A-list action talent to drive the pic. Security will be the first film produced by Jonathan Yunger and Jeffrey Greenstein, who started out as Avi Lerner’s assistants. Yunger cut his teeth on The Legend Of Hercules, which opened two weeks ago. “It is important to give opportunities to young talent,” Lerner said today. “Jonathan and Jeffrey have shown they have the talent to be good filmmakers and now is their time.” The project was brought to Nu Image by David Harris, a young producer and Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity brother of Greenstein’s at University of Central Florida. Harris will also be producing along with Les Weldon. Lerner, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson and John Thompson will exec produce. A July start is planned. Sullivan is repped by Benderspink and WME.
There might be one less name on the credits for The Expendables 3 if Millennium Films and Nu Image get their way. The producers have taken the Writers Guild of America West and scribe David Callaham to court this week for fraud, unjust enrichment and declaratory relief over the original Expendables. They claim a flawed and misinformed 2009 Guild arbitration gave the writer undeserved credit on the successful Sylvester Stallone-directed 2010 retro action pic as well as its sequels. To that end the plaintiffs want back the $102,250 that was paid to Callaham for as a “writing credit bonus” after the WGA arbitration went his way four years ago. In their demand for a jury trial and unspecified damages plus legal fees (read it here), they also want any sequel payments nixed and the court to rule that Callaham committed fraud by withholding vital correspondence from the WGA that revealed his true and much more limited role in The Expendables script. They also want the 2009 WGA ruling partially reversed and the Guild to “discipline” UTA-repped Callaham for not revealing emails in which he seemingly indicates his lesser involvement in the Expendables script.
“Plaintiffs are informed and believe that Callaham intentionally withheld these material emails, and concealed the limited extent of his contributions to The Expendables from the WGA screen writing credit arbitration panel in …
Entertainment One has teamed with with Avi Lerner and his Nu Image to develop and produce a television series based on the hugely successful Rambo feature franchise. According to the companies, Sylvester Stallone is in negotiations to be involved with the project on a creative level as well as potentially reprise his role as the original Rambo. EOne and Nu Image plan to develop the series and shop it to broadcasters in the U.S. and internationally.
Based on the David Morrell novel First Blood, the Rambo films center on a troubled Vietnam War veteran and former Green Beret (Stallone) who is skilled in many aspects of survival, weaponry, hand-to-hand combat and guerrilla warfare. The franchise consists of the films First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III and Rambo. “Rambo fans cover all demographics and we’re confident that we’ll quickly find this series a home,” said eOne TV CEO John Morayniss. Added Lerner, “I’m excited by the prospect of collaborating again with my good friend Sly for an encore in this next phase of the Rambo legacy.” Lerner and Stallone worked together on the 2008 Rambo feature and had planned a fifth installment, which had been put on hold. The two also are collaborating on the Expendables film franchise, currently filming its third installment in Bulgaria. The Rambo TV series will be produced by eOne in association with Lerner and Nu Image, with Morayniss and Lerner …
Millennium Entertainment, the distribution arm of Avi Lerner‘s Nu Image, is officially for sale, with investment bank Salem Partners brought in to shop a deal. Nu Image holds 60% of the company, while Nigel Sinclair and Guy East’s Exclusive Media has a 20% stake and hedge fund Prentice Capital has the other 20%. A sale has been in the cards for the past year as Sinclair and East considered buying the part of the company they don’t already own, but a deal did not come to fruition. With the sale now opened to other buyers, Deadline hears there’s been “a lot of activity.” Here’s the official press release:
Millennium Entertainment CEO Bill Lee announced today that Salem Partners, a leading Los Angeles-based investment bank and wealth management firm, has been retained to sell the company.
Millennium Entertainment enjoyed a record year in both revenue and earnings in 2012 propelled by one of 2012’s biggest indie successes, Richard Linklater’s comedy Bernie, which earned Jack Black a Golden Globe nomination.
Nu Image today filed a lawsuit against shuttered Overture Films for what could be millions in unpaid proceeds from a trio of films. The films noted in the complaint (read it here) are 2010′s Brooklyn’s Finest, the 2008 Robert De Niro and Al Pacino movie Righteous Kill and 2008′s Mad Money starring Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah. Nu Image says that they and Brooklyn’s Finest Distribution inked deals with Overture for exclusive distribution rights for the films “in the United States and its territories for 20 years.” Noting that all three seemed to make good money theatrically and in home entertainment, the complaint alleges Breach of contract, the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, Accounting and Declaratory Relief. Nu Image says that they have consistently received “sparse and oblique” participation statements from Overture and their then affiliate Starz Media. “Plaintiffs are informed and believe, and there on allege, that Defendant received or will receive monies, property or other benefits in connection exploitation of the Licensed Pictures, of which a percentage is due to Plaintiffs.
The producers of Cops are taking the producers and distributors of Brooklyn’s Finest and Leaves Of Grass to court over money they say they are owed from the films. In an 11-page complaint filed today, (read it here) Langley Films, who make the long running police series, say Avi Lerner’s Nu Image, as well as Leaves of Grass Productions Inc. and Brooklyn’s Finest Distribution Inc., failed to honor an agreement to pay the company “a portion of the revenues” from both the 2010 comedy and the 2009 crime drama. The three companies are cited as defendants with Lerner, Nu Image/Millennium Films’ Trevor Short and former Nu Image/Millennium foreign sales chief Danny Dimbort named as principals who “may have engaged in a scheme to defraud Langley Films.” Millennium/Nu Image are the producers of, among other films, the upcoming The Expendables 2, Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy and the White House thriller Olympus Has Fallen directed by Antoine Fuqua who helmed Brooklyn’s Finest.
Citing breach of contract and accounting, Langley says in 2008 it gave $3.65 million to pay some development and production costs on the Richard Gere and Don Cheadle-starring Brooklyn’s Finest and $1.5 million for the same for the Edward Norton and Susan Sarandon-starring Leaves of Glass. The complaint alleges that not only has it not received the promised revenue but also that the defendants partially reneged on an August 31, 2011 agreement to pay back the some of the money the Santa Monica-based independent producer had given them.
Less than two months before The Expendables 2 comes out, Sylvester Stallone today scored an action hero legal victory. Judge Jed Rakoff rejected Marcus Webb’s claims that The Expendables was his original idea and Sly stole it. Webb sued Stallone, the retro action flick’s co-author David Callaham, Millennium Films, Nu Image Films and Lionsgate in late October 2011. In his initial suit, Webb said he circulated a script several years ago among studios about “elite highly trained mercenaries” recruited to defeat a dictator. Webb alleged that the screenplay for The Expendables is “strikingly similar and in some places identical” to his The Cordoba Caper. Webb claimed that Stallone, who directed, co-wrote and starred in The Expendables, and his team must have seen his script because they were so alike. The Rocky star’s lawyers said that was unlikely especially being that one was an action movie and Webb’s was more of a caper flick. The lawyers also pointed out that Callaham had already written several drafts of what was to become 2010’s The Expendables before Webb’s script was even out there. The judge, who said a more formal order would be forthcoming, obviously agreed. The Expendables 2 comes out on August 17, 2012.
Los Angeles, CA – Roy Matalon has been named President of International Sales & Distribution for Nu Image, Inc. it was announced today (8/18) by principals Danny Dimbort, Avi Lerner and Trevor Short.
Matalon joins Nu Image after 14 years at New Regency Productions as Senior Vice President of Distribution of domestic and international theatrical, home entertainment and television; overseeing sales, licensing, and, marketing. Prior to New Regency, Matalon served as Managing Director of Theatrical Distribution for Columbia TriStar and Twentieth Century Fox in Belgium and the Netherlands (’95-’96), as well as Sweden and Scandinavian as supervisor (’90-’95).
“Roy brings over 20 years’ experience in international sales to Nu Image and we are very happy he has joined our team. Danny Dimbort is the best foreign salesman in the industry, and is highly respected. He is a legend,” says Lerner of his life-long friend. “We needed someone to head our international sales with good experience but who would also be open to learning Danny’s way of doing things. Roy is that person.”
“To be working with and drawing from Danny’s expertise, his relationships and years of experience is a tremendous plus for me. He really is the master of sales and I am thrilled to be with Nu Image alongside my friends Avi, Danny and Trevor,” says Matalon.
Dimbort and Matalon will be shopping the Nu Image slate at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Among the films they will be offering are: Expendables 2 (Sylvester Stallone),
EXCLUSIVE: Tania Raymonde (Lost) has been cast in a lead role in Nu Image’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D, which Takers helmer John Luessenhop will direct, Carl Mazzocone will produce and Lionsgate will distribute. Raymonde will play Nikki, a small-town girl with an attitude who is the best friend of Heather (Alexandra Daddario), who travels to small-town Texas to collect her inheritance, which includes her deranged cousin Leatherface. Avi Lerner and Mark Burg are producing. Raymonde is repped by ABA and Kritzer Levine Wilkins Griffin.
Millennium Films has picked up rights to The Paperboy, a sexual thriller based on the 1995 Peter Dexter novel that Dexter and Pedro Almodovar developed over 10 years. Matthew McConaughey, Tobey Maguire, Sofia Vergara and Zac Efron star, and Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels directs and produces with Hilary Shor (Children Of Men). Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, Danny Dimbort and Cassian Elwes executive produce. The plot centers on an idealistic Miami reporter who returns to his Florida hometown to investigate the possibly unlawful imprisonment of a death-row inmate. The deal was put together by CAA, and Nu Image is handling foreign sales.
Two European sales companies — British based Hanway Films (the sales company of British producer Jeremy Thomas) and Paris-based Celluloid Dreams — are calling for Avi Lerner to step down as vice-chair of the Independent Film & Television Alliance. The problem stems from accusations that, at the same time he’s helping run the organization pledged to be the “voice and advocate for independents worldwide”, some companies which Lerner controls are apparently exploiting those same indie filmmakers by allegedly owing them hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Lerner is co-chairman of Nu Image, which in 2007 bought the U.S. distributor First Look which is being sued by around 20 other film companies. Hanway Films’ head of business affairs Richard Mansell says his firm is owed nearly $500,000 by First Look, and pledges to soon pursue Nu Image through the courts in Los Angeles. Celluloid Dreams has won a court case against First Look for over $720,000 still owing from the U.S. release of Quentin Tarantino-starrer Sukiyaki Western Django, but hasn’t seen a dime yet. CEO Hengameh Panahi, one of Europe’s most respected sales agents, explains: “You can’t exploit somebody’s film and then not pay people.” IFTA would not comment on what it says are legal matters involving its members. Hanway Films’ Mansell says: “How can he represent the interests of an organization which is meant to adjudicate on and penalize wrongdoing by distributors? It makes IFTA itself a joke. If the organization had any …