NEW YORK (November 7, 2013) – Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired US, German and Scandinavian rights to Paul Haggis’ THIRD PERSON. Written and directed by Haggis, the film had its world premiere at the 2013
The sun finally came back to a windy and rainy Cannes but the weather clearly couldn’t slow the nonstop parties, premieres, deals and hype for which this festival is famous. And despite the rain on Saturday the turnout for Lionsgate’s big Catching Fire bash was wall-to-wall at Baoli Beach, with everyone including star Jennifer Lawrence crowded into the large tent. One exec there actually was happy with the monsoon-like conditions. “The rain probably kept 30% of our RSVPs away which is probably good because i don’t know how we could have squeezed them in,” he said.
With everyone drying out Sunday there seemed to be even more party-hopping than usual. At the crowded Participant Films party at the Carlton, Focus Features CEO James Schamus was accepting congratulations on his re-upping at the company. I have rarely heard him wax more eloquently about a film than Focus’ recent pickup of The Dallas Buyers Club, the movie where Matthew McConaughey lost about 50 pounds to play an early AIDS victim. It’s not dated yet according to Schamus but is planned for fall sometime. “It’s just a bloodbath trying to pick the right date in that period but this movie is extraordinary. I just so admire what Matthew has been doing with his career in the last couple of years between Magic Mike, Killer Joe, The Paperboy, Mud and now this. You know me, I don’t rave like this a lot, but he really knocks this one out of the park. It is the performance of a lifetime,” he says of the actor in a film that is sure to be a main focus of Focus’ awards-season plans.
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Epic Pictures is launching sales on animated action-adventure Space Dogs 2, the sequel to 2010′s canine astronaut pic Space Dogs 3D. Vadim Sotskov of Kinoatis and Sergei Sernov are producing alongside exec producers Patrick Ewald and Shaked Berenson of Epic Pictures Group. The US-Russian project is currently in production in stereoscopic 3D. Epic is also repping global sales on action-thriller The Patrol: Operation Herrick, written and directed by Tom Petch, who is producing with Tom Stuart for AFG Film Ltd. The story of a British Army patrol battling the Taliban in Afghanistan stars Owain Arthur, Nicholas Beveney, Daniel Fraser, Alex Mcnally, Oliver Mott, Ben Righton, and Nav Sidhu.
Spotlight Pictures has come aboard to sell Tar, the biopic of Pulitzer-winner poet CK Williams that stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, Jessica Chastain, Zach Braff, Henry Hopper and Bruce Campbell. The pic follows the life of Williams (Franco) as he recalls the experiences that shaped the man he became and the writer he was destined to be. It was directed by 12 NYU film students and premiered last year at the Rome Film Festival. The sales deal was negotiated by Vince Jolivette for Rabbit Bandini Productions with Carlos Rincon at Spotlight.
EXCLUSIVE: Black Bear Pictures has stepped up to finance production of Gold, a script by Patrick Massett & John Zinman that is based on a true story about the 1993 Bre-X Mineral Corporation mining scandal in which vast amounts of gold were reportedly discovered in the Indonesian jungle. Black Bear’s Teddy Schwarzman will produce alongside Paul Haggis and Michael Nozik under their Hwy61 production banner. Massett and Zinman will also produce.
Zurich Film Festival To Present Paul Haggis with Golden Eye
The festival will also screen a retrospective of the Oscar-winning screenwriter and filmmaker’s work, which includes Million Dollar Baby, Crash and In the Valley of Elah. In addition, Haggis will lead one of the festival’s master class workshops, where he will discuss his work and career. Previous honorees at the festival, which will run Sept. 22-Oct. 2, include Roman Polanski, Milos Forman and Oliver Stone.
Universal, Sony Merge Home Entertainment In Australia
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Universal Pictures International Entertainment will combine operations in Australia in 2012 for the distribution of DVD and Blu-ray movies and TV shows. The new unit will be headed by Jim Bachelor, currently managing director for Universal Pictures Australia and New Zealand; and Kim Overall, managing director, Australia and New Zealand, SPHE, who will be in an advisory role. The unnamed joint venture, announced today by Eddie Cunningham, president of UPIE, and Matt Brown, EVP, international for SPHE, must still meet antitrust guidelines in Australia.
The late Elizabeth Taylor was fondly remembered during a tribute Thursday night at the ultra-glamorous annual amFAR Cinema Against AIDS event (now in its 18th year) at Hotel Du Cap. The event co-chaired by Kenneth Cole and Harvey Weinstein broke all records, bringing in a haul of more than $10 million after an auction that also saw record prices. In clips from movies like Cleopatra and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, along with footage from her work for the organization in which she was the founding international chairman and host of the first event in 1993 Cole saluted Taylor as someone who “spoke up when others wouldn’t and said things when others can’t. I hope this will always be part of her legacy.” Weinstein added, “It was an honor to work beside her and it was an honor to watch her movies.”
Continuing the Taylor theme of the evening, two “Elizabeth” items went for big bucks in the annual auction that is always a part of this glitzy dinner, thrown near the end of each Cannes Film Festival since ’93. A limited-edition Herb Ritts photo of Taylor taken in Malibu in 1991 fetched a whopping $150,000, while an Andy Warhol dated lithograph of Liz circa 1964 fetched $400,000.
Among the stars taking part in the evening and auction were Janet Jackson, Brooke Shields, Freida Pinto, Kanye West, Rosario Dawson, Naomi Campbell, Gwen Stefani, Gavin Rossdale, Patrick Dempsey, Milla Jovovich (who opened the proceedings with a sultry “I Wanna Be Loved By You”), Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn and Sean Penn. Penn, bringing up the rear, got big laughs demanding women abstain from sex unless their men cough up $10,000 apiece in order to break the record amount for the fundraiser. Twenty-one of them did just that. Boy George performed a couple of songs, too. Among those in the crowd were three Cannes jury members including president Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman (who also participated in the auction) and Jude Law, along with Melancholia star Kirsten Dunst, who looked happy not to have Lars von Trier as her date.
In a important show of solidarity, the 2011 Cannes Film Festival has added to its program films directed by Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof, the Iranian filmmakers who each drew six-year prison sentences (with a 20-year filmmaking banishment for Panahi) by a strict Tehran regime that charged them with “propaganda against the state.” Essentially, the men were vilified for publicly mourning protesters killed following the presidential election. Panahi, who won Camera d’Or honors at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival for his first film, The White Balloon, and the Golden Lion in 2000 for The Circle, was arrested again in February 2010, and sent to prison in Tehran on the dubious charge of collusion and propaganda. Filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Francis Coppola, Paul Haggis and Sean Penn, and numerous festivals and humanitarian organizations like Amnesty International, have decried the harsh sentences that have cast a chill on all Iranian filmmakers.
For its part, festival organizers reveal they just got the films that were made in “semi-clandestine” conditions.
Michael Mann, who last directed Public Enemies, is closing in on his next picture. He’s getting serious about Gold, a contemporary Treasure of the Sierra Madre-type treasure hunt about prospectors and speculators involved in the chase for gold. The project is just taking shape. It had been developed by Paul Haggis, who showed it to Mann as a writing sample for scribes Patrick Massett and John Zinman. Mann liked it so much that he became the director. He’s producing through his Forward Pass banner, with Haggis and his Highway 61 partner Michael Nozik. The hope is to begin production late in the year.
UPDATE: Martin Scorsese, who spoke out in support of Jafar Panahi both when he was first arrested and right after he was convicted, has added his support to the petition being circulated by Amnesty International. His participation …
EXCLUSIVE: CBS Films is making a deal to acquire remake rights to the Daniel Monzon-directed Spanish language film Celda 211. Paul Haggis is in talks to adapt with an eye to direct. He will produce the film under his Hwy 61 Films banner, with partner Michael Nozik.The Americanized version will …
EXCLUSIVE: The Paul Haggis-scripted Honeymoon With Harry might make it to the altar after six years of broken engagements. Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper two weeks ago read the lead roles in a run-through organized by New Line at De Niro’s Tribeca Productions offices. Now, Jonathan Demme is circling the project. All this has created the sense of optimism that a script regularly featured on “best unmade” lists is finally on a fast track. That Honeymoon With Harry is gaining momentum now is ironic. Hollywood is squarely operating in safe-bet mode and one of the script’s problems has been that it has strong comedy and drama elements but can’t exactly be called one or the other. The most apt description is to call it a James Brooks-style look at two characters who loathe one another but are stuck together at a time when each is in desperate shape.