Just in time for the All-Star break, when America’s Pastime tries to snatch back some of the spotlight from the World Cup, Atmosphere Entertainment’s Mark Canton has teamed up with Mandalay Sports Media’s Mike Tollin and Peter Guber to option the Ben Bradlee Jr book The Kid: The Immortal Life Of Ted Williams. They will turn the complex life of baseball’s most prolific hitter into a miniseries they will shop once they hire a writer. Canton, Tollin and Guber will be exec producers, and David Hopwood will be a producer. Guber became an owner of the L.A. Dodgers only to watch that team’s iconic player, Jackie Robinson, get movie treatment from Legendary Pictures (and Pittsburgh Steelers part owner) Thomas Tull. Here, Guber gets another shot with a player with almost as rich a story as Robinson.
Williams is one of those larger-than-life when-men-were-men characters — Frank Sinatra in a baseball uniform. His baseball exploits were legend, and he was a hero on the battlefield as well as the ball field, twice interrupting the prime years of his baseball career to serve as a flight instructor in WWII and a fighter pilot in the Korean War. He also was an ornery, enigmatic man who had a love-hate relationship with Boston Red Sox fans and media, along with several wives, who quickly learned they were third in importance to him after baseball and fishing. He had a long rivalry with the Yankees and its star outfielder Joe DiMaggio, whose team won a bundle of World Series titles while the Red Sox were always the bridesmaids.
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ESPN‘s Bill Simmons, FiveThirtyEight statistician Nate Silver, and Mandalay Sports Media’s Peter Guber are among the panelists scheduled for South By Southwest‘s inaugural SXSports program, which will launch during the annual film, interactive, and music festival’s 2014 edition. Last year at the forward-thinking Austin fest Shaquille O’Neal gave a talk on social media and start-ups. The new track highlighting the overlap of film, media, pop culture, innovation, and tech in sports is part of the SXSW Film and Interactive conferences and runs from Friday, March 7 to Sunday, March 9. SXSports kicks off with an opening session with Golden State Warriors and Dodgers co-owner Guber, ex-Sony head and current CEO of Mandalay Entertainment. SXSports-branded features will screen in the main SXSW Film program which the fest announces in February. Here’s the first batch of confirmed SXSports sessions: Read More »
Former top cable TV executive Rich Battista has joined Mandalay Sports Media as CEO. The sports entertainment company was launched in March 2012 by Mandalay’s chairman and CEO Peter Guber and film and television producer-director Mike Tollin. Battista will oversee MSM’s day-to-day business operations, including spearheading business development and identifying strategic opportunities for investment and acquisition. Read More »
Peter Guber’s Mandalay Entertainment Group is expanding its presence in sports entertainment. Film and television producer/director Mike Tollin has partnered with Mandalay’s chairman and CEO Guber and vice chairman and COO Paul Schaeffer to form Mandalay Sports Media. Like Guber’s other companies, MSM is self-financed. It will develop and produce sports-themed entertainment programming for distribution across multiple platforms including film, television, mobile, and digital. MSM already has several entertainment projects in development with ESPN, Turner Sports, New Line Cinema, and Incognito Pictures, among other distribution partners. While creating content and intellectual property is key, “building enterprise value” is equally important, said Guber. Also joining MSM as a founding partner is CAA Sports, while Funny Or Die president and CEO Dick Glover, who has an extensive sports media background, including a seven-year stint at ESPN, will serve as a board member.
While MSM will function independently, it will likely share resources with Mandalay’s existing sports entities, Mandalay Professional Sports, which co-owns The Golden States Warriors, and Mandalay Baseball, a top owner/operator in Minor League Baseball. Both Guber and Tollin have long history in sports and sports entertainment. While Guber’s background is more on the entrepreneurial side and Tollin’s on the creative side, they both have produced a slew of sports-themed features, something Tollin plans to make a priority for MSM. Because of the increased importance of international box-office and the difficulty of … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Celine Rattray is leaving her post as president of Mandalay Vision to partner with Trudie Styler in the launch of Maven Pictures, a Gotham-based film development, production and financing company. The Maven partners hope to produce three to five films per year and fund development and provide equity for films. Mandalay Vision was formed in 2010 and came out of the gate with the Oscar-nominated The Kids Are All Right. Rattray was one of the producers.
Rattray is bringing over her production team from Mandalay Vision, formed to produce and finance prestige pictures. Exiting staffers are Hardy Justice, who’ll be senior VP of production/development, Jenny Halper, who’ll be development executiv,e and Nic Marshall, who’ll be director of operations. Aside from The Kids Are All Right, Rattray and Mandalay Vision produced the Rachel Weisz-starrer The Whistleblower. Styler’s credits include the Guy Ritchie-directed Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. Styler, the wife of musician Sting, also has her UK-based Xingu Films label, which is working on projects that include a Steve Zaillian-scripted adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns. She was BAFTA-nominated for the Duncan Jones-directed Moon.
It wasn’t immediately clear what the next move is for Mandalay Vision or whether the company will remain in New York. I will update when I hear back from Mandalay chief Peter Guber.
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has set Scott Rudin to produce Sinatra, the film Martin Scorsese will direct about the life of singer-actor Frank Sinatra. Rudin joins Mandalay’s Peter Guber and Cathy Schulman, who brought in the project to the studio almost two years ago after they secured life and music rights from Frank Sinatra Enterprises, which is a joint venture of the estate of Ol’ Blue Eyes and the Warner Music Group. Phil Alden Robinson had been the original writer, but I’m told they are looking for another scribe. Scorsese’s Sikelia is also producing as is Tina Sinatra.
Rudin, nominated twice in the Best Picture Oscar race this year for producing The Social Network and True Grit, produced the 1999 Scorsese-directed Bringing Out the Dead. Rudin’s currently producing the David Fincher-directed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which Steve Zaillian adapted from the Stieg Larsson novel, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the Stephen Daldry-directed adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel that stars Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. He is prepping at Paramount the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy The Dictator, and at Universal he’s got the Paul Greengrass-directed Martin Luther King Jr. assassination drama Memphis. Read More »