BREAKING: While we’ve got plenty of projects that mix genre staples from zombies to wolves, the town went wild for a highly unusual combination. In heated bidding, QED emerged victorious and acquired Yellowstone Falls, a spec script by Dan Kunka, who most recently sold his script Bermuda Triangle to Warner Bros, with Charles Roven and Madhouse producing. Deal was six figures against near seven-figure purchase price if the movie gets made.
This script is unusual in that it was 52 pages, with few human characters and essentially no dialogue. The action begins after an apocalyptic event that saps the humanity from most of the mutated humans that remain. At its core, it’s the story of a mother wolf, separated from her mate as the rest of the pack flees to safety, is forced to defend her cubs from the oncoming swarm. It sounds like those spare nature-based movies Jean Jacques Annaud makes, with a little genre thrown in. Telling a story like this with almost no dialogue is a real creative challenge, but movies like Gravity and Life Of Pi sounded shaky, too. This will certainly be different.
The film will be produced by Kevin Misher, as well as QED’s Bill Block. When Misher was a producer at Universal, Kunka was his personal assistant, later promoted to office manager. Misher developed the spec with Kunka before it his the marketplace. Kunka, … Read More »
Weeks after Deadline revealed that Universal put the brakes on the Peter Billingsley-directed Term Life with Vince Vaughn and Hailee Steinfeld, QED International and Worldview Entertainment have signed on to finance and produce the crime thriller. Universal, which developed the film, will handle U.S. distribution. Andy Lieberman wrote the script and Vince Vaughn, Victoria Vaughn and Micah Mason are producing through Wild West Picture Show Productions along with QED’s Bill Block and Worldview’s Christopher Woodrow and Molly Conners. Anton Lessine and Sasha Shapiro will executive produce with Worldview’s Maria Cestone and Sarah E. Johnson. Principal photography will start next year.
Vaughn plays a man, being hunted by a ruthless mob, who takes out a life insurance policy on himself to benefit his estranged daughter, and must survive the next three weeks until it kicks in. It is based on a graphic novel by Lieberman and Nick Thornborrow, which was published by Image Comics. QED will introduce the film to buyers at the AFM. CAA, which packaged and arranged financing for the film, brokered the deal.
BREAKING: Bill Murray will star in Rock The Kasbah, with Barry Levinson directing a script by Mitch Glazer. The film is being backed and produced by QED’s Bill Block, Venture Forth’s Jacob Pechenik and Shangri-La Entertainment’s Steve Bing. They will shop the film to international distribs at Toronto. Pic tells the story of a burned-out music manager who goes to Afghanistan on the USO tour with his last remaining client. When he finds himself abandoned, penniless and without his passport, he discovers a young girl with an extraordinary voice, who stows away with him back to Kabul to compete on the popular television show, The Afghan Star, Afghanistan’s equivalent of American Idol. “Bill Murray and Barry Levinson are the perfect team to capture the lunacy, heartbreak and hope of this story. I’m ecstatic,” said Glazer. Levinson is repped by ICM Partners, Elaine Goldsmith Thomas and Barry Hirsch. Glazer is repped by WME and Melanie Cook.
EXCLUSIVE: Logan Lerman is joining Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf inFury, the WWII tank thriller that David Ayer wrote and is directing for QED and Sony Pictures. Lerman will play Norman Ellison, an Army typist and the youngest and most inexperienced member of the crew who is thrust into being a tank gunner.
Sony Pictures won the right to distribute domestically and in most of the world, with some territories belonging to QED, whose Bill Block took a big risk by paying $1 million for Ayer’s spec, and then watched it pay off quickly when Pitt committed to the $80 million film. 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. 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. Read More »
BREAKING: In what amounts to the biggest spec deal so far this year, Bill Block‘s QED International has paid $1 million for Fury, a WWII spec script by End Of Watch writer/director David Ayer. Ayer will direct, 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.
Describing his project, Ayer said his goal is to “bring a fresh execution to the genre. What these men went through is worthy of a complex, honest portrayal. This will have incredible, visceral action and complex rich characters. I plan to bring tank combat to life in a way that lands with a modern audience.” Read More »
LOS ANGELES, August 21, 2012 – QED international has appointed Daniel Diamond as President of International, it was announced today by QED International CEO Bill Block. Diamond comes to QED International from Morgan Creek Prods. where he served as President of International Distribution.
Diamond’s appointment is part of an operational expansion of QED as it heads into the Toronto Intl. Film Festival and AFM with a robust film slate including TEN, directed by David Ayres and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; FADING GIGOLO, directed by John Turturro and starring Turturro and Woody Allen; and ELYSIUM, directed by Neil Blomkamp and starring Matt Damon. Earlier this year, Media Content Capital made an eight-figure investment in QED International.
“We’re committed to bringing the best films to our international partners, and heading into the fall markets, we’re better equipped than ever to deliver on that promise,” said Block. “Daniel will add significantly to our global fire power. His shrewd understanding of the changing rights business and his exceptional relationships in every market will allow us to achieve better market penetration globally, and we’re thrilled he can join us as we gear up for Toronto and AFM.”
John Turturro wrote and will direct the comedy Fading Gigolo starring Turturro, Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara, Vanessa Paradis and Liev Schreiber. An October start date is planned for the movie, which revolves around a book store owner (Allen) with a money-making scheme who convinces his friend (Turturro) that a fortune can be made by becoming a professional gigolo. Antidote Films’ Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Cinetic Media’s Bart Walker will produce alongside QED’s Bill Block, Paul Hanson, Sasha Shapiro and Anton Lessine. Block and Chris Corabi negotiated the deal for the pic on behalf of QED, with Walker and George Sheanshang on behalf of John Turturro, and Stephen Tenenbaum.
Media Content Capital has made an 8-figure investment and will become a shareholder of QED International, the financing and sales company run by Bill Block. The funds will be used to ramp up development, sales and financing operations as QED produces and or acquires four to seven films a year and grows to handle third party productions. The investment will allow Block to pay minimum guarantees to acquire offshore rights to completed film.
QED burst on the scene several years ago with the sleeper hit District 9 and the Oliver Stone-directed W. Among the films QED is currently financing and producing are the action thriller Ten, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, which Open Road recently acquired for U.S. release; the Neil Blomkamp directed Elysium, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster for Columbia Pictures; and the crime thriller I, Alex Cross, starring Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox, Rachel Nichols and Ed Burns for a Lionsgate/Summit release this October.
On the investment, Block said it “gives us the balance sheet to support filmmakers in getting their movies made and allows us to expand our business and platform to better serve our clients and the creative community.”
Said Media Content Capital’s Sasha Shapiro: “We believe content is increasing in value around the world. QED’s risk mitigation approach to financing new films is appealing to us. We look forward to working with Bill and the QED team in growing the business.”
Open Road has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Ten, an action thriller that David Ayer will direct with Arnold Schwarzenegger starring. The film will be funded by QED International. Skip Woods wrote the script. It’s about an elite DEA task force dealing with dangerous drug cartels that executes a tactical raid on a cartel safe house. It’s a ruse, and the DEA squad is stealing the merch. They think they’ve gotten away with millions, until team members begin getting bumped off.
Open Road is releasing Training Day scribe Ayer’s upcoming cop thriller End Of Watch on September 28. Bill Block, Paul Hanson, Joe Roth, Palak Patel and Al Ruddy are producers while Alex Ott of Ayer’s Crave Films is exec producing. QED CEO Block and Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg put together the deal. CAA reps Schwarzenegger and Ayer.
Schwarzenegger is starring in the QED-financed Black Sands, an action film that will be directed by Act Of Valor’s Scott Waugh and Mike McCoy. Woods did the rewrite on a script that has Schwarzenegger playing a loner who wages war against a ruthless weapons manufacturer and his private army in the Southwest.
Here is a trailer for Ayer’s upcoming film End Of Watch:
Producers of Summit Entertainment’s upcoming release I, Alex Cross, directed by Rob Cohen with Tyler Perry stepping into the role created by Morgan Freeman, have filed suit against other producers who claim they should receive compensation and screen credit for the movie. Bill Block and Paul Hanson are partners in QED, which produced the project that Summit has acquired for distribution. QED claims in the suit that prolonged negotiations that began in 2008 with potential producers Jan Korbelin and Marina Grasic (who with Mark Lindsay have launched Cargo Entertainment) and their company Visitor Pictures failed to come to an agreement on Visitor’s involvement with the development of I, Alex Cross. QED claims it drafted and redrafted multiple memorandums of understanding for Visitor’s involvement that were all rejected and no agreement was reached or signed. In 2009, QED says it formally notified Visitor that all previous offers were withdrawn. QED asserts that development of the movie proceeded without Visitor, who “indeed sought to have no involvement,” according to the suit.
Now that principal photography on I, Alex Cross has finished and the movie is expected to be released next year, QED claims that Visitor has resurfaced and is demanding compensation and screen credit, probably in preparation for legal action of their own. QED and other plaintiffs Suejack Inc and JPB Businesses are seeking a court ruling in the case to remove the “cloud” cast over I, Alex Cross by Visitor’s claims before the movie is released. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Arnold Schwarzenegger is set to star in Black Sands, an action film that will be directed by Scott Waugh and Mike McCoy. Financed by Bill Block’s QED, the film will begin production April 1, 2012. In the script that Skip Woods has rewritten, Schwarzenegger will play a loner who wages war against a ruthless weapons manufacturer and his private army in the Southwest. The tone is Man On Fire meets High Plains Drifter. Block will be selling worldwide territories starting today.
Woods scripted A Good Day To Die Hard, which Fox is readying for production. Waugh and McCoy most recently directed Act Of Valor, an action adventure that features actual Navy SEALs. That film was acquired at an auction for distribution by Relativity Media, which paid a $13 million minimum guarantee and a $30 million P&A commitment, and scheduled the film for release on February 17, which is President’s Day Weekend.
Al Ruddy will produce Black Sands with Block and Paul Hanson. Waugh, McCoy and Max Leitman are the executive producers through their Bandito Brothers banner. Sergio Altieri and Kevin Elders wrote early drafts of the script that Woods is rewriting. scSchwarzenegger has squarely returned to his action wheelhouse since returning to acting after ending his run as California governor. He’s shooting the Kim Jee-woon-directed The Last Stand for Lionsgate, after completing The Expendables 2.
QED just completed I, Alex Cross, the Rob Cohen-directed thriller based on the James Patterson novel, with … Read More »