Longtime Hollywood mogul Peter Chernin‘s indie company has just received a new infusion of capital to help with his goal of expanding into a global media company “across all fronts with this additional expertise and resources”. Led by Providence Equity Partners, the investors are taking what’s being called a “significant minority equity stake” in his television/movie/Internet company The Chernin Group. The official announcement will be made Monday morning. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Deadline has learned the investment is $200M. Chernin and Providence CEO Jonathan Nelson became chummy while they worked together to establish the online video site Hulu as a joint venture with NBCUniversal. The pair tell the Financial Times they also looked at making a bid for Yahoo together over a year — but then decided against it. They say the new partnership would have the resources to pursue “any deal of any size” around the world, from making multibillion-dollar bids to incubating start-ups. And they say their first deals are “very close” and could be announced within weeks. READ MORE »
UPDATED: There will be no second season of pre-historic drama Terra Nova on Fox. The network’s brass just made the decision after weeks of exploring potential Season 2 tweaks to the series set 85 million years in the past. Fox had to make the decision early so the show could make a fall return if renewed. Despite its pedigree — produced by Steven Spielberg and Peter Chernin – Terra Nova did not become a runaway hit, but its decent ratings, coupled with strong international sales for sibling 20th Century Fox TV, which produces the series, were keeping renewal hopes alive. 20th TV now plans to shop Terra Nova, starring Jason O’Mara and Stephen Lang, to other networks. At TCA in January, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly was non-committal when asked about the future of the series. “If this is all we make (of Terra Nova), we made money on it, the studio made money on it, and it seems to have resonated with the family audience,” he said. “There is a show, which if we are to bring back, there’s an audience there. But creatively, the show was hunting (for its identity). If we had more holes in our network, we’d be thrilled to lock that right in.”
It is interesting that from what I hear, it was Reilly who made the call to cancel Terra Nova, while it was his boss, Peter Rice, who championed and bought the project exactly two years ago. With House ending its run and Terra Nova gone, Fox has three more dramas on the bubble: two with slim chances of renewal — midseason entries Alcatraz and The Finder — and Fringe, which could clinch a 13-episode pickup if the budget can be pared down significantly. The new Kiefer Sutherland series Touch premieres later this month.
EXCLUSIVE: In a match that seems ideal, Tim Burton is in early talks to come aboard Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, the Ransom Riggs novel that 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment acquired last spring. Burton is in talks to develop the book as a potential directing project, and he would be involved in setting a writer to adapt the tale.
It involves Jacob, a 16-year-old whose childhood was filled with stories his grandfather told him about an orphanage for unusual children. Among the residents: a girl who could hold fire in her hands, another whose feet never touched the ground, and twins who communicated without speaking. When his beloved grandfather dies unexpectedly but leaves a message behind for his grandson, the teen heads off to his grandfather’s home on an isolated island off Wales. There he discovers the abandoned remains of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It is in great disrepair and as Jacob explores its bedrooms and hallways, he can see the children were more than peculiar, they might have been there because they were dangerous. And he can’t shake the feeling they are still lurking around. Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark and Jenno Topping are producing.
It’s just a matter of time, but “somewhere along the line you’re going to see a Chinese company buy a U.S. media company and technology company,” former News Corp COO Peter Chernin said today in an interview at The Paley Media Center. ”We’ll get up in arms. But it’s no different than us going in to buy their companies.” That’s something he’s been trying to do in his current role as chairman of the Chernin Group and Chernin Entertainment, where he’s scouring Asia for business opportunities. ”The tale of most of my career in the media business has been new technologies coming in and disrupting traditional media businesses,” he says. “You spend a lot of time wondering who’s attacking me? … I ultimately made the decision that it would be more fun to be a disruptor than to defend myself from disruption.” He particularly wants to develop businesses in Asia’s growing economies. For example, China has “the fastest-growing (movie) theatrical business in the world, about to pass Germany to be No. 3.” But local regulations and tastes make it difficult for U.S. companies to break in to key markets. Due to government restrictions in China, his view is for westerners to “avoid broadcasting first, avoid cable second.” India is more open, but western entertainment often baffles audiences. “It’s easier for the Chinese to understand the West than for the Indians,” Chernin says.
Paul Greengrass In ‘Fear Index,’ Robert Zemeckis Out Of ‘Replay’ As He Takes ‘Flight’ With Denzel Washington
Back in June, Deadline revealed that Fox 2000 had acquired the Robert Harris thriller novel Fear Index, about a scientist who uses a revolutionary system of computer algorithms to trade on the volatility of the world’s financial markets. His hedge fund is wildly successful until he is targeted by an intruder who breaks into his home. At the time, I’d heard that Paul Greengrass was attached to direct, and his reps at CAA denied it. I wrote it anyway. Now, Harris has said in an interview for his soon to be published book that Greengrass is indeed going to direct and the filmmaker’s reps are now acknowledging it’s true. The novel will be published next month in the UK and January in the US. Chernin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark and Jenno Topping are the producers. and Harris is scripting it. Greengrass next directs the Somali pirate pic A Captain’s Duty with Tom Hanks starring for Sony Pictures.
Robert Zemeckis has officially dropped out of the Warner Bros drama Replay, and the studio is trying to put the Jason Smilovic-scripted film back together with another filmmaker. Zemeckis exited because he has finally committed to direct Denzel Washington in the Paramount thriller Flight.
Bloomberg Game Changers last night profiled News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch with interviews including former No. 2 Peter Chernin and current Fox Sports chairman David Hill. There’s some good stuff in here, including Chernin talking about Murdoch’s hands-on approach:
EXCLUSIVE: Peter Chernin and his top production executive Dylan Clark are coming aboard as producers of Oblivion, the futuristic science fiction film that has Tom Cruise starring and Tron: Legacy‘s Joseph Kosinski directing. Universal acquired the project in April and just dated it for a July 19, 2013 release. It shook loose from Disney because the filmmakers couldn’t make it a PG family film. How do Chernin and Clark fit in, considering Chernin Entertainment is becoming a major supplier for 20th Century Fox? Back when Disney bought the comic amid a heated bidding battle when it was sold as a comic from Barry Levine’s Radical Publishing, hatched from an idea by Kosinski, Chernin and Clark were among those chasing it hardest. When the filmmakers got the blessing of Disney to shop it elsewhere, Chernin and Clark tried to interest Fox, but that studio has a lot of science fiction projects. After Universal got it, the filmmakers invited Chernin and Clark to join the picture, I’m told.
The PG-13 film starts production in the fall, with a script by William Monahan and Karl Gajdusek. Oblivion is a futuristic science fiction love story that takes place in an apocalyptic future where most of the population lives in clouds above an earth’s surface that has been rendered for the most part uninhabitable. An earthbound soldier — stuck there repairing drones that patrol and blast a savage alien life form — encounters a beautiful woman who crashed in a craft, and they have an experience that forces him to question his world view.
EXCLUSIVE: In a $500,000 against $800,000 deal, Warner Bros is finalizing a deal to acquire Father Daughter Time: A Tale of Armed Robbery and Eskimo Kisses, the Matthew Aldrich spec that Deadline told you yesterday had five bids on the table. The deal is just happening, and I expect the next development to be that Matt Damon is working on this picture as its star and also eyeing it as potentially the one on which he’ll make his feature directing debut. He will also produce through his WB-based company Pearl Street, with partner Ben Affleck, Chris Moore and Drew Vinton also producing.
This has been a spec auction with some big twists and turns, because one of the bids that rivaled the one from Warner Bros was made by Damon and Moore, with money from a private financier. Other bids came in from Paramount (with JJ Abrams attached to produce), Fox (for Peter Chernin), Mandate, Walter Parkes through his discretionary fund, with Relativity Media and others also in the mix.
The script focuses on a man who goes on the lam with his daughter, his accomplice on a three-state crime spree.
CAA, Aldrich’s manager Jewerl Ross and attorney Jamie Feldman were working on the auction all day yesterday and by last night, it looked like Damon and Moore would land the deal, but this morning Warner Bros upped the ante. Since the studio has a first-look deal that Damon made with his and Moore’s former Live Planet partner Affleck, it shouldn’t be a difficult maneuver to plug Damon right into the center of the film.
I’m hearing that Chernin Entertainment is close to a deal for Meet the New Boss, a spec script by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka that has James Bobin circling as potential director. deal is low against high six figures and Chernin is making it through his discretionary fund. The comedy …