EXCLUSIVE: WME has signed Paranormal Activity helmer Oren Peli. Peli leaves CAA, shaking loose from that agency after longtime agents Martin Spencer and Adam Kanter moved to Jeff Berg’s Resolution. Peli is a big piece of business, at the forefront of the micro-budget found-footage horror craze. He produced and oversaw the sequels of Paranormal Activity, produced and scripted Chernobyl Diaries, and produced Insidious and the Rob Zombie-directed Lords Of Salem. Peli most recently wrote and directed Area 51. Peli also co-created The River for ABC last year. He continues to be lawyered by Linda Lichter.
BREAKING: Alcon Entertainment has acquired North American and international release rights in Germany, Spain and Japan for Chernobyl Diaries, the next horror thriller produced by Paranormal Activity helmer Oren Peli. Alcon co-founders and co-CEOs Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove made the deal and the film will be released by Warner Bros via Alcon’s output deal on Memorial Day weekend this year. Script was written by Shane and Carey Van Dyke, who sold the script The Watching Hour to New Line.
The film will be directed by Brad Parker, who makes his directing debut after serving as the visual effects supervisor on Let Me In. Peli and Brian Witten and producing. The film was fully financed and sold internationally by FilmNation Entertainment. Kosove and Johnson are Executive Producers. Based on an original story by Peli, Chernobyl Diaries is set in the city of Prypiat that once housed the workers of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, the horror-thriller follows a group of friends who, while vacationing in Europe, find themselves stranded in the abandoned city only to discover that they are not alone.
Dave Fierson, Alcon’s SVP of Business Affairs, brought the movie into Alcon. The deal was negotiated by Scott Parish, Alcon’s COO/CFO, Scott Edel of Loeb & Loeb and Nancy Bruington of O’Melveny & Myers on behalf of Alcon and by Alison Cohen, Linda Lichter and Micah Green on behalf of Oren Peli and FilmNation’s Glen Basner.
States Kosove and Johnson: “Alcon is thrilled …
Steven Spielberg/Oren Peli thriller series collaboration The River makes its U.S. debut on February 7 on ABC. In a first for producer ABC Studios, the shows will then be available via iTunes in the U.K. 24 hours later. There is currently no U.K. broadcaster deal for The River, although an announcement is expected soon. Meanwhile, U.K. iTunes customers can watch the series on a one-day delay during its entire run. Experiments like this are partly a means to deter piracy and are proving more frequent (they’re also welcome for frustrated fans in Europe). In 2010, for example, ITV made Vampire Diaries available on iTunes in the U.K. before it started airing the popular show. In France, leading broadcaster TF1 makes episodes of shows like House available via its own VOD service on a 24-hour delay from the U.S. TF1 also airs the series on TV at a one-season delay and the show remains a ratings powerhouse. In the U.S., Fox last
EXCLUSIVE: FilmNation Entertainment is fully financing an untitled thriller hatched by Paranormal Activity helmer Oren Peli, which is just getting underway in Eastern Europe. Peli wrote the story and Brad Parker is directing. Peli wrote the script with Shane and Carey Van Dyke. Peli is producing with Brian Witten. The film centers on a group of friends stranded in an eerie and desolate city that was abandoned in the aftermath of a nuclear disaster. Nature has begun to reclaim everything and as the sun sets on the radioactive ghost town, the group hears inhuman-sounding cries that indicate they are not alone. The ensemble cast includes Jonathan Sadowski, Devin Kelley, Jesse McCartney, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Nathan Phillips, Ingrid Bolso Berdal and Dimitri Diatchenko. CAA will broker the domestic deal. FilmNation is handling international sales.
“We looked at a lot of projects to find FilmNation’s first fully financed movie, and when we were presented with the brilliant concept of this film, coupled with Oren’s pedigree, it the made the decision very easy,” said FilmNation CEO Glen Basner. FilmNation wrapped the Jennifer Lawrence-starrer House At The End Of The Street, and The Raven, which stars John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe. FilmNation is in production with the Jeff Nichols-directed Mud, starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey.
EXCLUSIVE: As his new film Unknown gets its international premiere in Berlin today and rolls out in U.S. theaters, director Jaume Collet-Serra is making a deal to direct Red Circle, the remake of the 1970 Jean-Pierre Melville-directed Le Cercle Rouge. The film is being written by Eastern Promises scribe Steven Knight for Working Title Films partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, who’ll produce with Arthur Sarkissian.
Collet-Serra was just at the center of a Warner Bros deal for Harker, a potential franchise he’ll direct that focuses on vampire hunter Jonathan Harker character from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with Leonardo DiCaprio among its producers. The director’s stock is up because with Unknown, he delivered a thriller in the $30 million range that, like Liam Neeson’s Taken, was shot outside the U.S. and is geared to do strong business overseas in addition to its domestic gross. The heist film Red Circle has similar potential, as it will be set in Hong Kong. Collet-Serra hasn’t fixed on his next feature assignment. When he returns from Berlin, he will go right to work directing The River, the ABC series thriller pilot hatched by Paranormal Activity‘s Oren Peli. Collet-Serra’s repped by CAA.
Upstart distributor FilmDistrict has issued a new trailer for Insidious, the horror film by original Saw writer-director team of James Wan and Leigh Whannell, produced by Paranormal Activity’s Oren Peli, Jason Blum and Steven Schneider. The film, which looks like a good old fashioned haunted house movie, opens April 1.
Broadcast Nets Are Going For Genre And Period Dramas This Development Season, But Can Such Series Work On The Big 4?
Genre series are all the rage in cable with the success of AMC’s The Walking Dead and HBO’s True Blood, which have been breaking series records to rank as their network’s top-rated series and become pop culture staples. A genre series, The Vampire Diaries, also is the highest-rated series on the CW, which has had continuous success in the sci-fi arena with veterans Smallville and Supernatural. But, with the exception of ABC’s Lost, sci-fi, vampire, zombie, fantasy and comic book-based series have struggled to attract sizable audiences on the major broadcast networks. That has not deterred the nets to heavily pursue such projects this development season. The 2 drama pilots ordered so far by Fox are both in the genre category: Locke & Key is based on Joe Hill’s comic, and Alcatraz features missing Alcatraz prisoners who reappear in present day. Genre projects have also attracted some of the biggest writer-producers in town: Lost‘s J.J. Abrams is behind Fox’s series Fringe and Alcatraz, David E. Kelley, who dabbled in sci-fi with Life on Mars, is developing a series adaptation of comic book icon Wonder Woman, Greg Berlanti co-created and is executive producing ABC’s freshman superhero family drama No Ordinary Family, Fringe co-creators Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are executive producing Locke & Key, and Battlestar Galactica‘s David Eick is involved in a series adaptation of The Hulk for ABC and …
EXCLUSIVE: Rob Zombie has committed to make The Lords of Salem his next directorial outing. The film has been put together by Haunted Films, the company run by the Paranormal Activity team of Jason Blum, Steven Schneider and Oren Peli. The pic is a co-production between Haunted Films and Alliance Films, marking their third film together. The first, the James Wan-directed haunted house thriller Insidious, was acquired by Sony Pictures Worldwide right after its midnight premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last week. Barry Levinson is currently shooting the second, The Bay, in South Carolina. Octane, the genre arm of IM Global, will handle
You thought a suburban home was scary. How about the Amazon river? Oren Peli, the writer-director of the indie phenomenon Paranormal Activity, is bringing to primetime The River, a cinema verite-style thriller drama in the vein of Paranormal Activity set on a mysterious river. After a heated bidding between ABC and NBC, the project is close to landing at ABC with a rich put pilot commitment. The TV division of DreamWorks, the studio that discovered Israeli-born video game designer Peli and his $15,000 supernatural thriller Paranormal Activity that ended up grossing almost $200 million worldwide, is producing with ABC Studios. Peli hatched the idea for the project with veteran TV writer Michael R. Perry (Law & Order: SVU) who penned the upcoming Paranormal Activity sequel. Perry is writing the pilot script, with Peli possibly directing. Peli also is executive producing with his producing partners Jason Blum and Steven Schneider as well as Perry and DreamWorks TV’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey. According to one description of the project floating around, The River follows the story of a famed adventuter/tv personality who goes missing and is presumed dead deep in the Amazon. His friends and crew go to look for him on their state-of-the-art research vessel.