‘Heaven Is For Real’ Bows With $3.7M Wednesday Estimate For Sony

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 10:30pm PDT

Heaven Is For RealHeaven Is For Real is headed towards at least $3.7mil on its opening day today for TriStar Pictures with estimates looking like $20M for the 5-day, according to Sony. The best news is that the film, based … Read More »

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New Regency Acquires Randall Wallace ‘Gunslingers’ Pitch For Vince Vaughn

By | Monday July 16, 2012 @ 12:25pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVENew Regency has paid high six-figures for Gunslingers, a pitch that Braveheart scribe Randall Wallace will write for Vince Vaughn to star. Vaughn will produce through his Wild West Picture Show Productions banner with Victoria Vaughn … Read More »

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Jerry Bruckheimer On The Pitch Circuit With Afghanistan War Tale ‘Horse Soldiers’

By | Friday December 2, 2011 @ 12:55pm PST
Mike Fleming

Here’s something you don’t often see, producer Jerry Bruckheimer out pitching a movie package. I’m told the Disney-based producer has been out this week with a pitch for Horse Soldiers, an adaptation of the Doug Stanton book that has a … Read More »

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Older Thesps Show Staying Power: ‘Red’ Sequel, Schwarzenegger Planning Pics

Mike Fleming

In a move that’s not exactly surprising, Summit Entertainment brought back Jon and Erich Hoeber to write another installment of Red, the overachieving Robert Schwentke-directed action film that had been widely spurned around town because studios were nervous building such … Read More »

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Can ‘Secretariat’ Blindside Oscar Favorites?

Pete Hammond

This same time last year, no one was seriously considering the awards prospects of a little Deep South sports-themed movie called The Blind Side. Not even after I saw the film at a small screening on the Warner Bros lot and wrote in early November 2009 that I thought Sandra Bullock  would, against all expectations at the time, become a major Oscar contender. Instead, commenters and bloggers vilified my prediction. Of course, she not only went on to win, the film received a Best Picture nomination. Now everyone in Oscar punditry is looking for the “next Blind Side” with many eyes focused on the feel-good Disney sports drama, Secretariat that was sneaked last weekend to pump up word of mouth and tracking before its Friday opening. In many ways, the comparisons are apt. Both are true stories about one woman’s singular cause: taking an athlete  from rags to riches. In this case, though, that athlete is a horse and the woman is owner Penny Chenery played by Diane Lane who, unlike Bullock at this point, has already made several  potential Best Actress nominee short lists. And, with 10 nominees to pick for Best Picture,  the “Blind Side slot” for an old-fashioned feel-good movie the Academy falls for as much as the general public, even if critics don’t, is not out of the question for a crowd pleaser like Secretariat. Providing it is first able to achieve hit status at the box office. Its Rotten Tomatoes rating currently stands at 63% fresh and Roger Ebert has called it “a great movie” although the basic critical consensus is mixed, just as it was for Blind Side. Hip factor and critics aside though, the Academy has already shown a predilection for this particular type of “stand up and cheer” movie by nominating Universal’s Seabiscuit for 7 Oscars including Best Pic in 2003 and that was when there were just a measly 5 nominees.

Secretariat director Randall Wallace has previous Oscar experience: he was a screenwriting nominee for the 1995 Best Picture winner Braveheart and is not drawing comparisons. “The Academy has a mind of its own. It’s interesting the whole notion of what makes something Oscar-worthy,” he told me in a phone conversation yesterday. “I’m in the Academy and my criteria has to do with how it affects my heart and whether something is authentic. I don’t know whether Braveheart was thought to be a frontrunner or a dark horse, but you don’t make these movies with the idea of winning awards. You win awards for making a powerful movie.” Read More »

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