Bill Murray, aka “The Murricane,” is blowing through Berlin this week on what’s become a sort of one-man comedy tour — and a fun distraction from a thus-far quiet market. Yesterday, he was out in support of Wes Anderson’s opening-night film The Grand Budapest Hotel, riffing that he worked for “low wages and stale bread,” and today he was tickling buyers’ funny bones at a brunch for Rock The Kasbah. Murray shared a stage this morning with QED International’s Bill Block and director Barry Levinson, who were clearly pleased that the movie sold to Open Road for the U.S. just last night. But busy Murray wanted to make something very clear, “I don’t like to leave my house. I am a lazy person and I don’t like to work. But when I work, I work very hard… Did I mention I don’t like to work? I don’t like to be here right now. I like you all very much, but this work thing is crap.”
Related: Berlin: Open Road Acquires ‘Rock The Kasbah’
Regardless, shooting starts June 2 in Marrakech on the pic that also stars Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Danny McBride, Shia LaBeouf and Zooey Deschanel. Murray plays a has-been rock manager who takes his last remaining client on a USO tour of Afghanistan. When he ends up abandoned in Kabul, penniless and without his passport, he discovers a young girl with an extraordinary voice and manages her through Afghanistan’s version of American Idol. The collaborators said this morning that an authentic Afghan singer is being sought for the part of the girl while there will be a lot of Cat Stevens songs and the classic eponymous Clash tune, natch. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Jason Bateman, who made an auspicious feature directorial debut with the Toronto festival smash Bad Words, next will direct Nicole Kidman in The Family Fang, the adaptation of the Kevin Wilson bestseller. Bateman will also star in the film. The script is by David Lindsay-Abaire, who adapted his Pulitzer Prize-winning play Rabbit Hole as a vehicle that got Kidman an Oscar nomination. Olympus Pictures’ Leslie Urdang and Dean Vanech will produce with Blossom Films partners Kidman and Per Saari, Aggregate Films partners Bateman and Jim Garavente, and QED International’s Bill Block.
QED will finance, and principal photography will begin next year.
The Family Fang is about a couple of performance artists who routinely sucked their kids into taking part in a variety of bizarre events. When the full-grown children return home in a state of crisis, they are unwittingly enlisted to help in the execution of a daring and mysterious final performance by their parents, who are hellbent on achieving the act of a lifetime. Their kids harbor more than a little resentment and blame the performance art for how badly their own lives have turned out.
Related: ‘Rabbit Hole’s Nicole Kidman And David Lindsay-Abaire Re-Team On ‘Family Fang’
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Lava Bear and QED International will finance and co-produce Intrusion, a thriller to be directed by David Bruckner from a script by writer L.D. Goffigan that got a rewrite from Amy Herzog. Quadrant Pictures’ Doug Davison will produce the project with Tariq Jalil, Lava Bear, and QED’s Bill Block. QED’s … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: QED International‘s Bill Block has made a pre-emptive acquisition of 19, a pitch that will be written by Jim Agnew & Sean Keller. The intention is to turn this into a trilogy. It involves zombies, but takes that genre in a new direction, in that everybody … Read More »
As EVP of International Sales John Friedberg will lead QED’s sales efforts at Cannes, working closely with CEO Bill Block who announced Friedberg’s promotion today. Friedberg’s responsibilities will include spearheading distribution strategies for the company’s film slate, as … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Brad Pitt is in final negotiations to star in Fury, the David Ayer-directed drama that will start production in September. This is the Ayer script that Bill Block‘s QED International paid $1 million to acquire back in February. It was QED’s biggest spec deal ever, and when an indie company hooks a star like Pitt, it’s money well spent. Fury is a WWII script by the End Of Watch writer-director, and QED will produce with John Lesher and his Le Grisbi Productions banner. Ethan Smith, Block and Lesher are producing and they are eyeing a fall production start. QED is selling foreign.
The action takes place in 1945 as the Nazi regime collapses and the five-man crew of an American tank called Fury battles a desperate German army. Ayer and QED reteam after the action thriller Ten, which Ayer directed and which stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington and Mireille Enos. Open Road will release it next January. Lesher produced Ayer’s End Of Watch. Pitt most recently starred in and produced World War Z, but he’s back in the WWII territory of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. Read More »
QED International and Groundswell Productions have joined forces for Birth Of The Dragon, which will focus on Bruce Lee’s career-defining 1965 no-holds-barred TKO battle with kung fu master Wong Jack Man. Written by Oscar nominees Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen … Read More »
QED International announced today that it will handle non-North American distribution of Drake Doremus’ Sundance Film Festival title Breathe In. President of international sales Daniel Diamond … Read More »
Three days after CBS Films acquired domestic rights to Toy’s House at the Sundance Film Festival, QED International has scooped up non-North American rights to the coming-of-age comedy. It’s the first deal for John Hegeman, the former New Regency marketing boss who was appointed QED’s president of worldwide marketing and acquisitions just ahead of Sundance. Park City was his first task with the new title. Here’s today’s release on Toy’s House:
LOS ANGELES (January 25, 2013) – QED International has acquired international distribution rights to TOY’S HOUSE, it was announced today by Worldwide President of Marketing and Acquisitions John Hegeman. Under the agreement, QED will distribute TOY’S HOUSE in all markets outside North America. The film premiered to rave reviews at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and has just been picked up for US distribution by CBS Films which is eyeing a 2013 release date.
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BREAKING: Former New Regency marketing chief John Hegeman has been appointed by QED International CEO Bill Block to be its president of Worldwide Marketing and Acquisitions. It is a newly created position for QED, and comes as the company completes the David Ayer-directed Ten with Arnold Schwarzenegger, the John Turturro-directed Fading Gigolo with Woody Allen, and the Mac Carter fright film Haunt. Hegeman is a producer on the latter and was part of the Artisan gang that turned The Blair Witch Project into a word-of-mouth phenomenon. Block and Hegeman first worked together at Artisan during that period. Hegeman will brave the teen temperatures at Sundance looking for new talent this week and next. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: QED International is committing to spend serious coin on scripts and pitches that it hopes will translate into features with global appeal. QED CEO Bill Block has hired Nick Reimond to steer that effort as VP of Development and Production.
QED is getting started quickly, wrapping up deals for two spec scripts: the Zina Zaflow-scripted romantic comedy 52 Percent, and Leave, a thriller scripted by Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari.
Reimond comes to QED from Scott Rudin Productions and before that spent three years at Maguire Entertainment/Material Pictures. He started at Michael De Luca Productions. Reimond will be tasked with bringing in projects as Block intends to make QED a prolific buyer of material at a time when development spending is drying up all over town. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that the deal coming together will turn bestselling author James Patterson’s crime novel Double Cross into a 2nd movie starring Tyler Perry as the famous Washington DC crimefighter/psychologist. Perry’s first turn as Alex Cross opens this Friday from QED. … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The Australian actor will star in Haunt, the Marc Carter-directed horror film that is set to begin production next month. Harrison Gilbertson’s Ethan character is an introverted … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: QED International has committed to produce, finance and handle international sales for Haunt, an original horror film that Mac Carter will direct from a script by Andrew Barrer. A family that moves into a new home with … Read More »
Management/production companies looking for the next sale-able script, it might be right under your nose. Benderspink director of development Christopher Cosmos just sold his first feature script, The Fall, to Bill Block’s QED International. Benderspink will be attached as a producer, and the company now packaging Alexander, a TV pilot … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: QED International and Safehouse Pictures have set Brian De Palma to direct the Joby Harold-scripted thriller The Key Man. That film was recently set for U.S. distribution with Tom Ortenberg’s Open Road Films and will … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Open Road Films — the new distribution company created by exhibitors AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment — just snagged U.S. rights to The Key Man, a thriller written by Joby Harold. QED International is financing the movie, about a single father … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve just learned that QED International has closed a deal with CAA for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s next film, Cry Macho. Bill Block’s financing company can now go to the Cannes Film Festival as the exclusive dealmaker for an Arnold movie (after some initial doubt whether it would be his pic or Lionsgate’s Last Stand). Now the global marketplace will decide whether the 63-year-old former California governor resuming his acting career is still a movie star able to carry a film. The final agreed-upon payday for Schwarzenegger, I’m told, is $12.5 million plus 25% first dollar gross, slightly up from last week’s negotiating position which already was top dollar money. QED is hot right now: it’s also put together I, Alex Cross starring Tyler Perry and Neil Blomkamp’s latest project Elysium.
Al Ruddy, the 81-year-old Godfather and Million Dollar Baby filmmaker, will produce and Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer) Ruddy bought the 1975 novel by the late N. Richard Nash who’d adapted it into the Cry Macho screenplay. In his heyday, Schwarzenegger was a $25M/25% first dollar gross mega-player — and one deal even threw in his own giant jet. But only the rarest of the rare get those paydays these days. This pic calls for some acting chops for Arnold as a horse breeder who won the Kentucky Derby but whose wife and child get killed. He sinks into an alcoholic depression and winds up working for a hedge fund jerk who offers him a choice of getting fired or bringing back the rich guy’s son living with the ex-wife in Mexico. Unexpected plot twists ensue, including an Arnold-and-kid road trip back home. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve just learned that CAA is negotiating a deal for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s next movie that will pay him “top-dollar” money — even though no one knows if the 63-year-old is still a star who can open a movie. Filmmaker Al Ruddy — yes, the 81-year-old Godfather and Million Dollar Baby producer — bought a 1975 novel by the late N. Richard Nash who’d adapted it into the Cry Macho screenplay that CAA liked for Arnold. Now the agency and actor (turned California Governor turned actor again) are charging a king’s ransom for his services. I’m told the deal being closed right now with Bill Block’s financier QED International is to pay Schwarzenegger $10 million upfront and 25% first dollar gross on the back end. In his heyday, Schwarzenegger was a $25M/25% first dollar gross mega-player — and one deal even threw in his own giant jet. But only the rarest of the rare get those paydays these days, and the marketplace is still looking to see if Arnold can attract back his fanbase, which was already fading when he jumped into the 2003 California special recall election. Director Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer) also is making this pic his next project, which insiders are describing to me as “The Ransom Of Red Chief meets Ruthless People with the heartbreak of Paper Moon.”
The story revolves around a horse breeder (Schwarzenegger) who won the Kentucky Derby but whose wife and child get killed. He sinks into an alcoholic depression and winds up working for a hedge fund jerk who offers him a choice of getting fired or bringing back the rich guy’s son living with the ex-wife in Mexico. Unexpected plot twists ensue, including an Arnold-and-kid road trip back home. Problem is, the last time Schwarzenegger paired with a young co-star not his offspring, it was The Last Action Hero, and that 1993 movie tanked big-time. (I don’t count Kindergarten Cop.) “But Arnold is so smart about himself, his persona, and what he should play,” an insider tells me. And that’s usually true… Read More »