Paramount Pictures and China Film Co Ltd have inked a deal to produce the 3D fastasy/action feature film Marco Polo. It was announced today by China Film Co’s Zhang Qiang and Paramount Vice Chairman Rob Moore at the signing during the Beijing International Film Festival. This is a first-time venture between between CFC and Paramount but the second deal in days for China Film Co and a U.S. studio. On Monday, the Chinese group announced it had made an eight-figure equity investment in two Legendary Entertainment pics: the Jeff Bridges starrer Seventh Son and Warcraft, the pic based on the Blizzard online game that Duncan Jones is writing and directing.
Paramount and China Film Co said they felt Marco Polo was something that would appeal to both the Chinese and overseas markets. The adaptation will be based on historical context of the famed 13th century explorer but will go beyond the traditional “biographic” type story by positioning it as a fantasy action movie. Shooting is planned to begin in October in conjunction with Yuehua Entertainment, Phoenix Entertainment, and Huahua Film & Media Culture.
Few other details were revealed, but Moore and Zhang said the movie will be directed by an experienced action adventure director from the U.S. and feature a top-tier cast from the U.S. and China. Zhang emphasized the significance of this first-time cooperation between the two companies and hopefully the beginning of a series of future co-production films between China and Hollywood.
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Are you kidding?
Did Paramount just officially start the 2014 Oscar campaign even as we are barely getting the Emmys off the ground and the Tonys are two months away? Uh, yes. Looks like it. One top studio exec (not from Paramount) forwarded me an email he got yesterday from the Paramount Awards Office that pronounced free admission starting April 15th - two by two for Academy members and a guest- to screenings of Noah at theaters nationwide – but only Monday thru Thursday since most theater owners usually don’t like to give up seats on the weekends, especially to rich and famous movie types.
Related: Can ‘Noah’ And ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Overcome Oscar’s Greatest Curse: A March Release Date?
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EXCLUSIVE: Just because spring has sprung doesn’t mean there isn’t still action coming out of January’s Sundance Film Festival. I’m told that Paramount is closing a low-seven-figure deal for Rudderless, the film that Shameless star William H. … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In what should be a star-making role, Dayo Okeniyi has been set to star in Terminator: Genesis, the franchise reboot for Skydance Productions and Paramount Pictures. And here is some more good news for fans: they have made first plans to shoot three installments to put this saga to rest. The second and third films will be done back to back over nine months. The first film gets underway shortly in Louisiana.
Okeniyi and John Boyega were the two top choices for this pivotal final role, and this came down to a tug of war between storied franchises The Terminator and JJ Abrams and Star Wars, which also wanted Okeniyi to test for one of the leads of that film. Paramount and Skydance’s David Ellison stepped up and the actor unpacked his bags. Okeniyi, who co-starred in The Hunger Games and The Spectacular Now, will play a Steve Jobs genius who figures heavily into the conclusion of the film. He is Danny Dyson, who is also the son of the brainiac cyborg developer Miles Dyson, played by Joe Morton in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The young man holds the key to technology development that makes Skynet possible. He’s repped by UTA, Sweeney Entertainment, and attorney Joel McKuin.
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Here’s the first look at the Michael Bay-ified version of the iconic comic quartet. Looks like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been toughened up, a departure from the franchise’s more kid-friendly animated past more akin to the Turtles’ ’90s-era live-action iterations. Megan Fox and William Fichtner star … Read More »
Paramount has set a January 30, 2015 release date for its MTV Films-Platinum Dunes sci-fi pic now known as Project Almanac. The Dean Israelite-helmed found-footage pic originally was titled Almanac and had a late February 2013 release date. Then … Read More »
BREAKING: Paramount Pictures and 12 Years A Slave producer Plan B said that writer-director Adam McKay will take on Michael Lewis‘ bestselling book The Big Short: Inside The Doomsday Machine, adapting and directing the book about … Read More »
Participant Media, Paramount Home Media Distribution, and Samuel Goldwyn Films will jointly release CNN Films’ documentary Ivory Tower, the Sundance Film Festival pic chronicling crisis within the American education system. Directed by Andrew Rossi (Page One: Inside the New York Times), Ivory Tower questions the value of higher education among spiraling tuition fees and student debt. Pic will hit theaters in June via Samuel Goldwyn with Paramount handling DVD and home entertainment. Paramount is also handling distribution outside of the U.S. Participant previously released Rossi’s Page One and teamed up on education-focused campaigns for Paramount Vantage’s Waiting For Superman and CBS/Pivot’s Teach. The company will spearhead a social action campaign for Ivory Tower this summer. Read More »
The trades got into it this week with Variety floating the boat that Noah star Russell Crowe‘s attempt to meet Pope Francis was spurned by the Vatican, while THR refuted that was ever real because of the feeling Crowe’s stardom would attract too much attention. So what’s the truth? Deadline has learned that Noah star Crowe, director Darren Aronofsky and Paramount executive Rob Moore did in fact get to meet Pope Francis today, after the Vatican extended an olive branch and hosted the trio in the official VIP section of this morning’s Udienza.
I think the studio was a little coy earlier in the week. This was something that Aronofsky wanted to do after he’d just made this Biblical epic. He was going to be near Rome promoting it, and has been moved by the Pope’s message of tolerance, feeding the poor and preserving the planet. But they didn’t want it to seem they were after some cheesy photo op to promote a Biblical movie. I’d heard those same rumors and called Monday, but I guess I’m glad I waited to see what would actually happen. Aronofsky was certainly moved by the experience. Read More »
Actor Logan Miller is joining Paramount‘s upcoming Christopher Landon horror comedy Scouts vs. Zombies. Miller, whose credits include two seasons on Disney XD’s I’m in the Band, Cinedigm’s Night Moves and Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, plays Carter, a class clown who yearns to … Read More »
Paramount has released the second trailer for Darren Aronofsky’s Biblical epic Noah starring Russell Crowe. Co-star Emma Watson intros the latest look at the pic after the trailer debuted earlier in the day on her social media feeds. There’s been plenty of back and forth on the Paramount-New … Read More »
Transformers: Age Of Extinction isn’t due in theaters until June 27 , but the first real trailer for the Michael Bay pic is here now. As was teased during the 30-second spot that ran during the Super Bowl last month, it looks like it’s a whole new world … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Big news on the MLK movie front. Paramount is in final negotiations to acquire domestic distribution rights to Selma, a feature drama about Martin Luther King‘s 1965 landmark voting rights campaign regarded as the peak of the civil rights movement, and none other than Oprah Winfrey has boarded the project as producer. Paramount is tying down U.S. and Canadian distribution rights to the film. Ava DuVernay, who came aboard the project in July, rewrote the original script by Paul Webb and slipped it to Winfrey, who sparked to DuVernay’s rewrite. We’ve been waiting for a strong cinematic tribute to the iconic civil rights leader, and this remarkably becomes the second MLK project that Winfrey is involved with. Her Harpo also is behind a seven-part HBO miniseries America: In the King Years. Selma is on a much faster track. The plan is to get rolling in front of cameras as soon as possible. Lining up a domestic deal and a name of Winfrey’s caliber were key to getting the ball rolling, and when the deal makes production is expected to start right away. Pathe UK, Brad Pitt’s Plan B and Christian Colson are already aboard as producers.
Winfrey’s presence both on and off the screen was a big reason Lee Daniels’ The Butler traveled so well overseas. The Butler has grossed $167.7 million to date — more than $50M of that internationally. This gives Selma a leg up on the other two major features that are percolating. Oliver Stone last month saw a script rewrite on his MLK biopic rejected by DreamWorks and Warner Bros, and it caused him to back out of the project. Meanwhile, Paul Greengrass still isn’t ready to move on his biopic Memphis that he plans to make with Scott Rudin.
Related: Fleming Q&As Paul Greengrass On Oscar Contender ‘Captain Phillips’, MLK
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The casting for one of the key characters in Paramount and Skydance Productions’ Terminator: Genesis is almost complete — but not finalized. What’s true is that Jai Courtney has been offered the role of Kyle Reese, a gig that figures to span at least two movies that will end the story of Skynet’s battle with the resistance that began with James Cameron’s two films and two more that followed. As we told you last week, it was down to Courtney and Boyd Holbrook to land the Reese role originated by Michael Beihn in the first pic. If the Courtney deal makes, he will join Arnold Schwarzenegger as the signature cyborg, Game Of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke as Sara Connor and Zero Dark Thirty’s Jason Clarke as her son John Connor in the time-travel saga that will be directed by Alan Taylor. The film has a July 1, 2015 released date.
Related: ‘Terminator Genesis’: Between Jai Courtney, Boyd Holbrook For Kyle Reese Role?
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After coming off a year in which its World War Z was touted to be about the worst movie ever until it turned out to be a worthy edge-of-the-seat summer hit, Paramount Pictures isn’t sitting by while the tide rises on bad buzz involving Noah, its biblical epic that Darren Aronofsky directed with Russell Crowe starring. Our sister publication Variety bannered a story titled “Survey: Faith-Driven Consumers Dissatisfied With ‘Noah,’ Hollywood Religious Pics”, which cited a general poll by something called Faith Driven Consumer. While a movie like Noah will need a faith-based crowd in order to be a hit, this story sits on a slippery slope in that no one surveyed has seen the movie, and while the story says 98% of those surveyed were not “satisfied” with Hollywood’s take on religious stories, it doesn’t appear they were even asked specifically about Noah. I’ve heard the rumors that Noah was a tough shoot, and I have no idea whether it is any good or not. About all we know is that co-financier New Regency staked Aronofsky to a long-term deal after the movie wrapped, and that Aronofsky turned down a lot of big jobs after Black Swan specifically because this movie was burning in him. Why a flimsy survey was used as a club to wallop Noah probably comes down to a desire to stir up traffic (which it certainly did). From here, it looks like Paramount has a right to gripe. Here is Paramount’s highly unusual rebuttal to the Variety story:
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EXCLUSIVE: Writer-director William Monahan has signed a two-year first-look deal with Paramount Pictures. His company, Henceforth Pictures, has a number of projects already in development, including several Monahan originals. The deal comes as the Monahan-scripted reboot of The Gambler is in production at Paramount with Mark Wahlberg and Jessica Lange starring and Rupert Wyatt directing. Monahan also adapted the book Cocaine Cowboys into Desperado, a film that will re-team Lone Survivor helmer Peter Berg with Wahlberg and which Paramount will put into production in the fall.
Monahan separately has turned in a scripted adaptation of John Le Carre’s most recent novel, A Delicate Truth, to BBC Films. He has numerous other projects in the pipeline, including Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For, as well as an adaption of Sympathy For Lady Vengeance that will star Charlize Theron, with Monahan producing with Theron and Megan Ellison. He also adapted the adventure novel The Wild Geese, which was previously turned in to the 1978 film that starred Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Roger Moore. Monahan is producing that with Greg Shapiro and Patrick Milling Smith. Read More »
UPDATE, 11:45 AM: Just got a quote from Sacha Baron Cohen on his Paramount re-up. It was delivered in French, but here is the translation:
“Any studio that puts out a movie where Leonardo DiCaprio snorts cocaine from … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount is negotiating with 3 Arts Entertainment to acquire the film rights to the forthcoming book Thirteen Hours: A Firsthand Account Of What Really Happened In Benghazi. The book, scheduled for publication in late spring, was written by author Mitchell Zuckoff with surviving members of the Annex Security Team who fought the battle. Their names are being kept confidential. The book is going to be published by Twelve, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group, with Editorial Director Sean Desmond editing.
The script will be written by Chuck Hogan, whose novel Prince Of Thieves became the Ben Affleck-directed The Town and who teamed with Guillermo del Toro to write the vampire novel trilogy The Strain which is being turned into a series by FX. Erwin Stoff will produce, and Richard Abate is executive producer. Stoff is producing the upcoming Unbroken and Edge Of Tomorrow. Read More »
UPDATE, 10:12 AM: Tom Cruise’s longtime lawyer wasted little time responding to the $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit filed against his client, Paramount Pictures, CEO Brad Grey, Skydance and David Ellison, JJ Abrams and others over 2011’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. “Tom Cruise has never stolen anything from anyone. This bizarre lawsuit against 13 people for combined copyright infringement and ‘age discrimination’ will be quickly dismissed by the Court,” Bert Fields said in a statement just sent to Deadline.
PREVIOUS, 8:14 AM: Accusations of stolen screenplay ideas and the lawsuits that follow are pretty standard stuff in Hollywood. Some come from established writers but many come from creditless claimants banging on the gates for big bucks seeking what they say is rightfully theirs. In that vein, Timothy Patrick McLanahan has filed a $1 billion copyright infringement suit (read it here) against Tom Cruise, Paramount Pictures, studio CEO Brad Grey, Skydance Pictures and David Ellison, JJ Abrams and Bryan Burk (who is called Brian Burke in the suit) and their Bad Robot company and more over 2011’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Representing himself, McLanahan is alleging that the successful fourth MI pic was based on a script he wrote more than 15 years ago titled Head On. “Upon reviewing and watching the script and movie of Ghost Protocol, I immediately recognized that the scripts for this movie had been illegally written and produced from Head On’s 1998 copyright. Ghost Protocol was released on December 16, 2010 and this lawsuit is being filed within three years of when that movie was released,” he states in the 10-page-plus exhibits federal court filing in California. In the suit, lodged December 20, 2013 and filed on January 13, McLanahan also claims intellectual property theft and age discrimination and basing his damages claim on the more than $694 million the pic has made worldwide and what he says is “were DVD and blu-ray sales of $144,500,000.”
Related: Writers Sue Fox, Peter Chernin, WME and Others Claiming ‘New Girl’ Is A Ripoff Read More »