EXCLUSIVE: Thomas Lennon has joined the cast of Paramount’s Monster Trucks, the live-action/animation hybrid also starring Danny Glover, Jane Levy, Amy Ryan, Lucas Till, and Holt McCallany. Chris Wedge (Ice Age) is directing Paramount Animation‘s would-be franchise starter, which Mary Parent is producing. Plot details on the original script by Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger and Derek Connolly are under wraps, but Lennon’s is a “significant” role. Filming begins this month ahead of a May 29, 2015, debut. Actor, writer, producer, and director Lennon currently exec produces Comedy Central’s social media-fueled @midnight with partner Robert Ben Garant, with whom he co-created the network’s cop satire Reno 911! and MTV’s The State. The pair also scripted comedy features The Pacifier, Let’s Go To Prison, and the Night at the Museum pics starring Ben Stiller, and wrote and directed the 2013 comedy Hell Baby.
EXCLUSIVE: If the half-shell hero Leonardo sounds a bit like Bad Grandpa in the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the half-pint sensei Splinter sounds like Monk, there’s good reason. …
UPDATE: Intl Box Office: ‘Need For Speed’ Adds $29.2M For No. 1; ‘Noah’ Reigns In Mexico & Korea With $14M; ‘Peabody & Sherman’ Crosses $100M; ‘Spanish Affairs’ Muy Caliente; Asian Pics Advance; More
Highlights: Noah (PAR) floods Mexico and Korea with opening cume of $14M; Muppets Most Wanted (DIS) scores $1.5M in eight debut markets; Need For Speed (DIS/var) drives another $29.2M; 300: Rise Of An Empire (WB) seizes further $21.2M; Mr Peabody & Sherman (FOX) at $103M; Rio 2 (FOX) flies to $10.5M in Russia/Ukraine; The Grand Budapest Hotel (FOX) has extra room for $9.7M; Frozen (DIS) nearing Toy Story 3‘s record; Uni’s 8 Apellidos Vascos (aka Spanish Affairs) still seducing Spain; trio of Asian pics enters Top 20…
6TH UPDATE, MON, 12:43 PM PT: Final numbers are in now for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Monuments Men as well as Ride Along, 300: Rise of an Empire and The Lego Movie (which grossed more than previously thought). Final numbers also came in Monday night for Oscar Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave which added another $3.9M to raise its international cume to $121.7M, most of its gross has come from the U.K. with $32.7M; the film has made $178M worldwide. Lionsgate opened Divergent in 18 international markets, but are not releasing numbers as yet. We are using Rentrak which has five small territories (see below for more info on that). Lionsgate, as they always do, pre-licensed international so there are many distributors handling the film in their prospective territories. The big territory rollout for Divergent will be April 4 in the U.K., Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Mexico, and Finland, followed April 11 by France, Germany, Russia, Australia, Denmark and Norway.
NOMINATIONS BY STUDIO AND DISTRIBUTOR
Not counting shorts categories
Sony Pictures (includes Sony Pictures Classics) – 21
Warner Bros – 21
Paramount – 13
20th Century Fox (includes Fox Searchlight) – 11
The Weinstein Company (including Radius-TWC) – 11
Universal (including Focus Features) – 10
Disney – 7
CBS Films – 2
Adopt Films – 1
Drafthouse Films – 1
Enthuse Entertainment – 1
GKIDS – 1
IFC Films – 1
Janus Films – 1
Magnolia Pictures – 1
Netflix – 1
Participant Media – 1
Strand Releasing – 1
Tribeca Film – 1
Worldview Entertainment – 1
Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions – 1
Brad Pitt’s Plan B Move Unveiled: Moving To Deal With New Regency And RatPac Partners James Packer And Brett Ratner
EXCLUSIVE: So, what is happening with Paramount and Plan B, the production shingle run by Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner? We can report definitively that the company is moving to a new 3-year pact with New Regency and RatPac partners James Packer and Brett Ratner. This new marriage, which starts when the Plan B deal at Paramount expires at month’s end, comes after New Regency co-financed the Oscar contender 12 Years A Slave, and they are in postproduction on True Story, the film directed by Rupert Goold, with James Franco and Jonah Hill starring. Plan B has five projects percolating at New Regency, Arnon Milchan has a strong relationship with Pitt that goes all the way back to Fight Club, and Weston has a strong relationship with Pitt and Gardner from the New Regency business and when Weston ran production at Paramount. Those projects include Black Hole, The Operators and Big Bucks.
We’re told that this move is not acrimonious and that the relationship is fine between the Brads, as in Brad Pitt and Paramount chief Brad Grey. In fact, they completed their biggest film, World War Z — it was the highest-grossing film in Pitt’s career, though it’s unclear how profitable it was because of the high cost of re-shooting — and they are starting progress on a sequel that Juan Antonio Bayona directing. But the feeling was the Plan B label fit better with New Regency after the collaboration on 12 Years A Slave and so many other projects.
The move happens shortly after Pirates of the Caribbean producer Jerry Bruckheimer took residence at Paramount in a first-look deal he moves to from Disney. He joins Lorenzo di Bonaventura and David Ellison’s Skydance and JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot at the studio. Paramount doesn’t make a ton of movies, and a lot of Plan B’s projects languished. There should be more opportunity to get movies made in this deal, where Regency and RatPac go 50/50 on Plan B-developed projects. New Regency had a distribution deal with Fox. The way it works is, New Regency and RatPac finance future films from Plan B, and RatPac has the opportunity to co-finance the projects that Plan B currently has with New Regency.
New Regency sees this as a coup, a next step for a financier/producer establishing itself with tastemaker fare.
EXCLUSIVE: Greg Mooradian is joining Fox 2000 as EVP Production. He reports to Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler. Mooradian joins from Paramount, where he was SVP Production and helped initiate Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters and helped reinvigorate the G.I. Joe franchise with G.I. Joe: Retaliation, a sequel reconstructed at a lower price point. Before joining Paramount in 2009, he ran his own production shingle making youth-driven pictures that included the Screen Gems remake Stepfather, the Percy Jackson films for Fox 2000, and the Twilight Saga films for Summit. Mooradian started as a development exec for producer Arnold Kopelson on films like The Fugitive and Falling Down before becoming production president for Wendy Finerman and working on such films as The Fan and Drumline, the latter for Fox 2000.
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount and JJ Abrams and Bryan Burk’s Bad Robot are gearing up on their film about disgraced bike racer Lance Armstrong. I’m told that they are setting D.V. DeVincentis to write the script for a movie centering around the book Cycle Of Lies: The Fall Of Lance Armstrong by Juliet Macur. She’s the reporter who covered Armstrong for more than a decade at The New York Times. That period spanned his near-fatal bout with testicular cancer to his capturing glory with seven Tour de France titles. Those honors have been stripped after Armstrong finally copped to the swirl of rumors that he engaged in doping that upped his endurance and strength and made him unbeatable.
Paramount is in a three-bike race to make movies on Armstrong, and I’m not sure all three of these will happen, as compelling as the arrogant Armstrong’s downfall might be. Paramount was actually the first studio to declare it would make an Armstrong project, but since then, two other substantial film projects have cropped up. That includes the Studio Canal-funded, Working Title-produced pic that Stephen Frears is directing with Lone Survivor’s Ben Foster playing Armstrong and Chris O’Dowd playing journalist David Walsh, from a script by Trance‘s John Hodge. He adapted sportswriter Walsh’s book Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit Of Lance Armstrong. That movie’s almost done shooting, and surely will be first to the screen.
The last shoe to drop in the 2013 awards race hit Saturday as Martin Scorsese‘s much-awaited The Wolf Of Wall Street was unveiled to SAG voters at a couple of screenings at the WGA theatre in Beverly Hills. I caught the film earlier at a small 10 AM screening for some of the cast members on the Paramount lot and then moderated the Q&A following the 6:30 PM screening of the 3 hour film. To say it was rapturously received would be an understatement. Leonardo DiCaprio received a standing ovation when I introduced him, and co-star Jonah Hill also won huge applause from the packed-to-the-rafters house who also enthusiastically cheered co-stars Rob Reiner (who plays DiCaprio’s dad and stole the show at the Q&A), Jon Favreau, P.J. Byrne, Ken Choi and Cristin Milioti. I heard the film also received the same kind of enthusiastic response at the earlier screening too. Paramount also threw a party to kick things off in style. Celebration was in order since Paramount at one time wasn’t even sure the film would be ready as Scorsese has been editing to make a 2013 date. Originally it was scheduled for a November 15 release but moved to Christmas bumping Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit into January to make room for Wolf‘s wide release awards run.
Formal reviews are embargoed but as an initial observation I would label the movie ”Scorsese’s Satyricon,” a wild ride full of contemporary debauchery to say the least (DiCaprio compared some of it to Caligula), with a fine ensemble and a frenetic pace that belies its three hour running time. Even at that length it never lags. It is the perfect companion piece to Goodfellas and puts Scorsese right back in the thick of the Oscar race, if Academy members, particularly older ones, can deal with the almost non-stop parade of sex, drugs, nudity and rock and roll. Violence, a Scorsese staple in this type of film, is missing but there are a number of remarkable set pieces including a storm-driven yacht voyage that has to be seen to be believed (Rob Legato supervised the special effects team). An NC-17 was avoided by some reported judicious cutting but it’s hard to imagine the stuff that didn’t make it in considering the edgy material that did.
‘Anchorman 2′ PR Blitz Rolls On: Ron Burgundy Lands Gig With Canada’s TSN, Ponders ‘Doctor Who’: Video
Paramount‘s marketing team must be working overtime brainstorming PR stunts for their Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; now they’ve landed Ron Burgundy (AKA Will Ferrell) a gig on Canada’s The Sports Network. “Legendary broadcaster Ron Burgundy will join the network’s team of broadcasters beginning in December,” TSN announced Friday, with details of Burgundy’s new post to be revealed live during Sunday’s Grey Cup. Paramount’s got just under a month to pack in the promo gags before Anchorman 2‘s December 20 bow. Earlier this week Burgundy stopped by Conan to riff on Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s recent headline-making news. Today Paramount released a brief Burgundy video to capitalize on this weekend’s Doctor Who 50th Anniversary mania: