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Paramount Decides Having Michael Bay Stick Around Is A Good Idea

By | Thursday July 31, 2014 @ 9:08am PDT

Paramount Decides Having Michael Bay Stick Around Is A Good IdeaTentpole director-producer Michael Bay has extended and expanded his first-look agreement with Paramount Pictures. The new deal, just announced, extends the current agreement with Bay’s production company Platinum Dunes for an additional three years, and also expands it to cover Bay Films. The pact begins immediately. This seems like a no-brainer for the studio: Bay’s pics have made more than $6 billion at the global box office, and his hits for Paramount include the Transformers series, the latest of which, Transformers: Age Of Extinction, is at $966.4 million worldwide since its release a month ago. In all, the four pics have grossed $3.7 billion.

ParamountLogo_new“With an ever-growing, worldwide fan base, Michael is truly one of the most inspired and beloved filmmakers of our time,” Paramount chairman and CEO Brad Grey said. “We take great pride in the fact that Michael is part of the Paramount family and we look forward to growing our productive and successful partnership.”

Transformers-Age-of-ExtinctionBay’s other popcorn pics include The Rock, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, The Island, the Bad Boys movies and Pain & Gain. Platinum Dunes partners Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form are next up with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in August, horror pic Ouija and Project Almanac and a Friday The 13th reboot due in 2015.

Platinum Dunes is having a good run on the TV side too, with The Last Ship debuting this summer as cable TV’s top new series, and Starz’s swashbuckling pirate adventure series/Treasure Island prequel Black Sails, which seems destined for a third-season pickup. Read More »

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Hot (Tub) Trailer: ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2′ Redband Unveiled At Comic-Con

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 5:00pm PDT

Hot (Tub) Trailer: ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2′ Redband Unveiled At Comic-ConFour years ago, a modern dude quartet took a booze-soaked soak in a hot tub and were hurled back to the Reagan era. Now Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, and Clark Duke are suited up for the sequel (though John Cusack isn’t) and are joined for Round 2 by Adam Scott and Gillian Jacobs. This time when our heroes fire up their watery wayback machine, they accidentally are sent to the future. And of course they must alter said future so they can preserve the past — which is really the present. Got that? Anyway, Steve Pink returns to direct from a script by Josh Heald, who co-wrote the 2010 original. Paramount will unwrap Hot Tub Time Machine 2 on Christmas Day. Until then, here’s the decidedly NSFW redband trailer:

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Comic-Con: Christopher Nolan ‘Interstellar’ Trailer Wows At Paramount Presentation

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 4:30pm PDT

Comic-Con: Christopher Nolan ‘Interstellar’ Trailer Wows At Paramount PresentationParamount scored the first bona fide surprise of Comic-Con when Christopher Nolan strode onstage in Hall H. After some evasive small talk, Nolan showed the very first trailer for Intersteller. Much like Nolan’s Inception, which was too complicated to describe in a sound bite, the trailer basically showed enough footage to convince you that you are going to want to see this when it opens in November. With Oscar winners Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway leading his cast, it also showed that Nolan might very well have a major entry in the Academy race on his hands.

christopher-nolan-comic-conBasically, the trailer established that the world needs saving and that it’s down to McConaughey. A widowed and haggard father of two, he is loathe to leave behind his children but finds himself on what seems to be a space mission, though you get the clear impression time travel is part of this mix. Nolan cited Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 as a major sci-fi influence in his life, and you can see that he has tried to make something as ambitious, in his own way. It was Nolan’s first visit to Hall H, because all of his Comic-Con bait films were in various states of production or post production during previous geek fests. He was introduced by Matthew McConaughey, all cool and lean from his turns in Dallas Buyers Club and True Detective. Both of them soaked up the geek love, while playing hard to get. Asked if there was Read More »

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Skydance Promotes Jesse Sisgold To COO

By | Tuesday July 15, 2014 @ 10:00am PDT
Mike Fleming

Skydance Promotes Jesse Sisgold To COOJesse Sisgold has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer of Skydance Productions, replacing Paul Schwake. Sisgold, who was outside counsel for Skydance at his own Beverly Hills law firm before becoming president of Business Affairs and Strategic Planning in January, will report directly to David Ellison.

“In his time at Skydance, Jesse has demonstrated a deep understating of our business and creative culture,” said Ellison. “His entrepreneurial spirit makes him the perfect choice to continue paving the way for Skydance’s growth into the future.”

He will step up and oversee operations at Ellison’s shingle, which is producer and co-financier of what seems like most of the big ticket films at Paramount Pictures. That has included Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, World War Z, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Star Trek: Into Darkness. Upcoming films include the reboot of the Terminator franchise, the disaster film Geostorm, Mission: Impossible 5 and sequels to Jack Reacher, WWZ and Star Trek. Skydance also launched a TV shingle,  its first series Manhattan, to premiere on WGN America, about the quest to build the world’s first atom bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

”I’m extremely honored by this opportunity to help guide Skydance and its amazing team to the next level,” said Sisgold. “We are just getting started.”

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Paramount Acquiring Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence’ For 2015 Oscar Season

Mike Fleming

Paramount Acquiring Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence’ For 2015 Oscar SeasonParamount Pictures is in talks to acquire U.S. distribution rights to Silence, and the tentative plan is to release the film November 2015, right in that holiday corridor where awards-bait pictures dwell. Silence is one of those pictures on Scorsese’s bucket list, an adaptation of the Shusako Endo novel that Scorsese has longed to make for more than a decade. The project finally came together when Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films principals Randall Emmett and George Furla committed the production financing, with Corsan Entertainment co-financing. Shooting will get underway in Taiwan. The film takes place in the 17th century, where two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and to spread Christianity. The script is by Scorsese’s Gangs Of New York scribe Jay Cocks, and the filmmaker has pulled together a cast including Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, Ken Watanabe and Adam Driver.

silenceEmmett and Furla are producing with Emma Tillinger Koskoff and Irwin Winkler. Paramount seems a logical landing place for Silence. While Red Granite funded The Wolf Of Wall Street, Paramount released the  film, which was nominated for five Oscars including Best Picture. The studio also distributed Shutter Island and Hugo. Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions is Paramount-based and the filmmaker has a strong relationship with Brad Grey, a producer on The Departed who didn’t get a Best Picture Oscar because Grey took the top Paramount job.

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‘Mission: Impossible 5′ Female Lead Goes To Rebecca Ferguson

Mike Fleming

‘Mission: Impossible 5′ Female Lead Goes To Rebecca FergusonSwedish up-and-comer Rebecca Ferguson, who got a Golden Globe nom for her English-language debut in the title role of BBC’s The White Queen, has been set to play the female lead opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible 5 for Paramount Pictures, Skydance Productions and Bad Robot. This comes after Deadline revealed that Alec Baldwin is in talks to play the head of the CIA in the film, which Chris McQuarrie will direct with shooting to begin in August. This was a coveted role.

Ferguson was raised in Sweden and became established in London. The actress, who next will be seen in the Brett Ratner-directed Hercules, is repped by Charlies Collier at Tavistock Wood and Actors in Scandinavia. I would imagine there might be a Hollywood agency or five courting her after they read this. Cruise, who’ll reprise his role as Ethan Hunt, is producing with J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk, and David Ellison, Dana Goldberg & Don Granger exec producing the fifth installment of a franchise that has grossed north of $2 billion worldwide. Read More »

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Second Chinese Sponsor Said Griping Over ‘Transformers: Age Of Extinction’

Second Chinese Sponsor Said Griping Over ‘Transformers: Age Of Extinction’Hollywood is eager to take a bite out of the Chinese market which can provide fast and huge box office numbers – even if studios are only recouping 25% with no ancillaries. But the learning curve on doing business there can be steeper than a ride up Hong Kong’s Peak Tram. Paramount‘s Transformers: Age Of Extinction, which through the first five days of release earned $134.5M in the Middle Kingdom, has certainly been aided by the deep ties TAOE has to China on the production side. But that hasn’t stopped transactional headaches from surfacing. The latest hiccup comes over the Wulong Karst National Park located in Chongqing. Local representatives of the UNESCO World Heritage site say they are considering taking legal action against the film. According to local media reports, Huang Daosheng, the head of the landscape management committee, says the park’s name was due to be featured on screen announcing the locale, but is not in the finished film. There also is reported concern that because the scenes immediately following take place in Hong Kong, it mistakenly gives the impression the two are nearby when they are actually over 700 miles apart. (Evidently the landscape committee has never seen Ronin – or pretty much any other movie ever shot in Paris — whose car chase scenes would have one believe that Montmartre is right next to the Seine…)

Liang Longfei, head of m1095 a subsidiary of TAOE production and promotional partner, China Movie Channel, told local … Read More »

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YA Novel ‘Anatomy Of A Misfit’ Stirs Pre-July 4th Fireworks

Mike Fleming

YA Novel ‘Anatomy Of A Misfit’ Stirs Pre-July 4th FireworksJust when it seemed safe to punch out for the holiday, a hot book has studios in a lather. I’m hearing Paramount — with Allison Shearmur as producer — is in front-runner position and working on a pre-emptive deal for Anatomy Of A Misfit, a novel by Andrea Portes that sources feel has the potential to be a big book. The logline: The third-most-popular girl in school is secretly dating a troubled loner when the most popular guy is suddenly interested in her. She struggles to choose between them until she is faced with a tragedy that changes her entire perception of high school and the social order. Portes based the tale on a story from her own life. She’s a bestselling author who wrote Bury This and Hick, and she will team to write the script with Joel Silverman, who just scripted a film about 1970s Miami Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian for Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer, and now is adapting for CBS Films’ Lady In The Locker Room, about one of the pioneer female baseball beat reporters who covered the Oakland A’s in the 1980s. Anatomy Of A Misfit will be published in the fall by HarperTeen. Portes and Silverman pitched their take for the movie to producers, who took them to several studios before talks got serious with Paramount. The book’s being shopped by Jordan Bayer and Chris Sablan of Original Artists for lit agent Katie Shea at the Donald Maass Literary Agency. Studio says they … Read More »

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DeadlineNow: Calling Out Paramount’s ‘Transformers 4′ Box Office Fib (Video)

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Insiders Say Studio Fudged 'Age of Extinction' Numbers

Deadline's Anita Busch and Dominic Patten discuss the studio's trickery about the alleged $100 million domestic opening for its latest 'Transformers' sequel and preview the Fourth of July weekend at the box office, including Melissa McCarthy's 'Tammy', and the July 11 opener 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

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Paramount Eyeing Sarah Polley For ‘Looking For Alaska’; Debut By ‘Fault In Our Stars’ Author John Green

By | Wednesday June 25, 2014 @ 11:39am PDT
Mike Fleming

Paramount Eyeing Sarah Polley For ‘Looking For Alaska’; Debut By ‘Fault In Our Stars’ Author John GreenParamount Pictures is in talks with actress-filmmaker Sarah Polley to adapt Looking For Alaska, the debut novel by The Fault In Our Stars author John Green. The book has become a big priority at the studio since the sleeper success of The Fault In Our Stars, which just passed the $100 million gross mark on a $12 million budget. The film will be produced by Mark Waters and Jessica Tuchinsky through their Watermark Pictures banner.

polleyThe novel is where Green first honed his talent for serving up serious subject matter to which young readers strongly relate. The protagonist is 16-year-old Miles Halter, who, after an antiseptic adolescence in Florida, moves to a boarding school in Alabama and learns coming-of-age lessons from his roommate and his beautiful and mysterious best friend, Alaska Young. She enthralls Miles with stories of adventurous and self-destructive behavior — and teaches him to drink, smoke, and plot elaborate pranks against the school’s rich preppies — but despite their adulation for her, they can tell that she is unhappy and perhaps headed for big trouble. Read More »

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Paramount, Pangu Settle China ‘Transformers’ Beef As Jiaflix Chides Pangu For False Claims

Mike Fleming

Paramount, Pangu Settle China ‘Transformers’ Beef As Jiaflix Chides Pangu For False ClaimsStudios only reap about 25% of ticket sales there — less if the films are not co-productions – and no ancillaries, but China can still provide a major boost to the global bottom line on a movie like Transformers: Age Of Extinction. Those high stakes, coupled with the uncertainty of mixing Hollywood capitalism in a bureaucracy controlled by a communist government, means that U.S. studios and other companies doing movie business in this fast-growing region find themselves tip-toeing around,  trying not offend the wrong person.

ganisPangu Investments and Paramount have resolved the accusation that the studio breached its promise to feature the distinctive Pangu Plaza in the Transformers film, in the wake of Pangu ‘s attempt to delay the film’s June 27 opening in China. That hasn’t stopped Jiaflix – the company hatched by former AMPAS head Sid Ganis, Kenneth Huang and Marc Ganis to facilitate the production and distribution of films in China — from standing up for itself after taking some of the shrapnel from the Transformers dispute.

In a release issued from Beijing, Ganis and his partners excoriate Pangu for essentially creating an international situation to strengthen its financial position while dragging Jiaflix through the mud in the process. “Through a major campaign to the media in China and in the United States, Pangu has falsely stated that an entity called Jiafu China Ltd is a part of or affiliated with Jiaflix Enterprises LLC, the US based company that has participated in the production of the picture since April, 2013. This is completely false…We do not understand why Pangu, which is presented in an extraordinary manner to the world in Michael Bay’s Transformers 4, would make such inaccurate assertions. Perhaps the answer is found in a court filing yesterday in which Pangu demanded $1.8 million and, if successful, would result in Pangu receiving all of the benefits and placements in the film for free,” the statement says. (Full statement appears below). Read More »

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Chinese Sponsor Wants Out Of ‘Transformers: Age Of Extinction’

Chinese Sponsor Wants Out Of ‘Transformers: Age Of Extinction’In June last year, Chinese real estate developer Beijing Pangu Investment Company signed a sponsorship deal with the producers of Transformers: Age Of Extinction. Under the terms, the group’s flagship Beijing Pangu Plaza hotel would be featured in the film. Now, in an 11th-hour strike, Pangu says it has terminated the contract.

A statement from the company dated June 18, a day before this week’s Hong Kong premiere, has begun circulating in China alleging that its partners, Paramount Pictures, Jia Fu Company, Jia Fu China Co. Ltd. and Beijing Cheng Xin Sheng Shi Sports Culture Development Co. Ltd., “did not perform the terms” of what I hear was a deal worth roughly $1M. Pangu claims the contract was terminated on June 15 and says it is also terminating permission for the use of its image, logo, or views of the building from the inside or out. If already used in the film, “they shall all be deleted,” the company said. The building does indeed feature in the movie, which I caught at CineEurope this week. Could this issue affect the film’s release? I’m told no. A source says, “This is all about product placement, they didn’t feel like they got full promotion and exposure.” But, it has “nothing to do with distribution.”

China Film Group, the state-backed entity that controls distribution in the country, was not named by Pangu. The movie closes the Shanghai Film Festival this weekend and is set for a day-and-date China release … Read More »

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‘Forrest Gump’ Runs Again 20 Year Later; ‘Ghostbusters’ Returning For 30th Anni

forrest-gump1Life is still like a box of chocolates, and Paramount wants to remind everyone. The studio said today that it will rerelease Forrest Gump in Imax for the Best Picture Oscar winner’s 20th anniversary. The 1994 film that also won Academy Awards for star Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis and spawned a 12 million-selling soundtrack will return to the giant-screen theaters September 5. The news comes the same day Sony announced it is bringing Ghostbusters back tGhostbusterso theaters for its 30th anniversary. A restored and remastered version of the 1984 romp will start its limited engagement August 29 ahead of a September 16 launch of Blu-ray anniversary editions of the pic and its 1989 sequel.

Related: Third Installment Of ‘Ghostbusters’ A Go For Early 2015

Spongebob-squarepantsMeanwhile, Paramount also said today that it is moving up the release of SpongeBob SquarePants 2 by a week to February 6. It had been set as counterprogramming for Focus’ Fifty Shades Of Grey and Fox’s remake of Poltergeist. (Maybe the latter’s images of a child being pulled into a TV set hit a little too close to home.) Read More »

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Paramount Looking To Re-Team Mark Wahlberg And Will Ferrell In ‘Daddy’s Home’

Mike Fleming

guysoEXCLUSIVE: Paramount is trying to move fast on Daddy’s Home, with talks heating for Mark Wahlberg to reteam with Will Ferrell in the Gary Sanchez-produced comedy. Horrible Bosses 2 helmer Sean Anders and John Morris are in that discussion to direct and production would begin this fall.

This is the movie that looked like it was going to happen last year with Vince Vaughn and Ferrell, and Etan Cohen directing. That version of the film fell apart, but it is fast coming back together with Wahlberg, who just did Transformers: Age Of Extinction for Paramount. He and Ferrell are an easy match; they starred together in the 2010 hit The Other Guys. Anders & Morris stepped up to direct Horrible Bosses 2 after they scripted the sleeper hit We’re The Millers. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Hercules’

By | Tuesday June 3, 2014 @ 10:29am PDT

“I only want to be a husband and a father,” Hercules says humbly. So we all know what’s gonna happen to the family. Dwayne Johnson stars as the Son of Zeus, out for vengeance against men, beasts and descendants of Hades — who cannot be killed by an ordinary mortal. Based on Radical Comics’ take on the mythical muscle man, the Paramount-MGM actioner co-stars Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan and John Hurt. Brett Ratner directs from a script by Ryan Condal and Evan Spiliotopoulos. Check out the new trailer for Hercules, which invades theaters July 25.

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Paramount Pushes ‘Friday The 13th’ Back 8 Months, Gives Slot To ‘Scouts Vs. Zombies’

By | Friday May 30, 2014 @ 1:29pm PDT

Paramount-Pictures-LogoBack in November, the studio said its latest take on the Friday The 13th franchise would be unsheathed on March 13, 2015. Check that. Paramount announced today that it has pushed the horror pic back to November 13 — the next Friday the 13th on the 2015 calendar — and instead wFriday the 13th Jasonill begin its Scouts Vs. Zombies jamboree on March 13. Director Christopher Landon’s horror mashup will face off against Disney’s live-action Cinderella and Warner Bros high-seas drama Heart Of The Sea. The date change leaves Friday the 13th‘s Jason to battle the Untitled New Line Comedy, the only other pic currently slated for that weekend. Apologies to any triskaidekaphobics who were disturbed by the repeated use of the number 13 in this post. Send your complaints to Paramount.

Related: Chip Off The Austrian Oak? Patrick Schwarzenegger Joins ‘Scouts Vs. Zombies’

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Paramount, China Film Co Set Rob Cohen To Helm ‘Marco Polo’

By | Wednesday May 28, 2014 @ 1:36pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Rob MooreParamount and China Film Co said today that Rob Cohen will helm the 3D fantasy/action film Marco Polo. with shooting to begin in China later this year. The announcement was made at a press conference in Beijing by Paramount Pictures Vice Chairman Rob Moore, China Film Co Chairman La Peikang and Cohen. Moore said the story of Marco Polo is the perfect choice for this international collaboration, as it is well-known not only in China but also in the West. He also added that there has been great interest in Hollywood and China to participate.

Related: Paramount & China Film Co To Produce 3D ‘Marco Polo’

China-And-Hollywood__130605112955-150x150__130925193515__131105220131La said that with the rapid economic development in China, Chinese movies have entered a “great creative and great industrial” era and that Marco Polo breaks the traditional method of a China-U.S. co-production. He added that China no longer is only providing the money, talent and market but also being part of script development, technology complementation and film technician exchange and that this  will be a co-production that has never been seen before with a major Hollywood studio.

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Paramount Taps ‘Jackass’ Impresario Johnny Knoxville To First Look Deal

Mike Fleming

knoxBREAKING: Paramount Pictures has signed Johnny Knoxville and his Hello Junior banner to an exclusive 2-year first-look deal. This comes after Deadline revealed that he was brought in to voice Leonardo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and it follows a long string of hits with the studio including the Jackass films and Bad Grandpa. Those Jackass films have earned $336 million globally, and Bad Grandpa did just over $150 million worldwide.

Related: Johnny Knoxville Takes ‘Sick Day’ For Universal

zWith the possible exception of Jackie Chan (who does all his own stunts), no actor has sacrificed his body and absorbed more onscreen punishment than Knoxville did in those Jackass films.  Chan never took a paintball shot or numerous other projectile objects to the nutsack, which I recall seeing Knoxville do so often, in the name of comedy. Or been upended by a raging, charging bull, or been knocked unconscious by the over-sized jnboxer known as Butterbean in a clothing store. I could go on, but I think I’ve made the point that no one can begrudge Knoxville this good fortune as he limps into his new office on the Par lot. Let’s hope the deal includes medical.

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Hot Trailer: ‘Transformers: Age Of Extinction’

“After all we’ve done, humans are hunting us,” a brooding Optimus Prime tells Mark Wahlberg, later adding bluntly, “This is not war — it’s human extinction.” Here’s the latest look at Chapter 4 of Michael Bay‘s toy story-turned-moneymaking machine. Nicola Peltz, Stanley Tucci, T.J. Miller and Ken Watanabe co-star in Transformers: Age Of Extinction, which was penned by Ehren Kruger and again counts Steven Spielberg among its executive producers. There are crashes, explosions, general mayhem and peril — lots of peril. Paramount opens the Hasbro-spawned film June 27. Here’s the trailer:

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