EXCLUSIVE: Red Granite Pictures‘ president of production Joe Gatta has exited after three years at the company. He was responsible for Dumb And Dumber To (UNI), Horns (TWC), Friends With Kids (Roadside), Out Of The Furnace (REL), and …
‘Wolf Of Wall Street’ Producers Send Second Cease & Desist To Former UK PM’s Sister-In-Law Over Blog Posts Alleging Corruption
EXCLUSIVE: The legal war of words over where the money to make The Wolf Of Wall Street came from has just heated up again. Late last week, lawyers for financiers Red Granite and principals Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland sent another dense cease and desist letter to UK-based blogger Clare Rewcastle Brown and her Sarawak Report over her alleged “recent unlawful and outrageous activities in violation of our clients’ rights, including your persistent fabrication and dissemination of false information about our clients and their business.” As of yet, no official legal action has been taken against Brown over her numerous posts about Red Granite, where its money comes from, and who its investors really are. Still, in a 7-page letter (read it here) sent Friday, Red Granite attorney Sunny Brenner of Santa Monica firm Loeb & Loeb says: “Make no mistake: Our clients will not hesitate to take whatever steps they deem necessary or appropriate to safeguard their rights and protect their reputations, and your time to take the necessary corrective action is rapidly running out.”
Brown, sister-in-law of former UK PM Gordon Brown, told me today from the UK that she has no intention of pulling down her posts, which have been published over the past month. “I believe the substance of my articles are correct and much of what I have printed is drawn from already published material in the United States,” she said. “If there are any unintentional inaccuracies, I am always willing to address and correct and indeed apologize for them. However, the pages of blanket and contradictory criticisms from Mr. Aziz’s lawyers only have one objective, which is to threaten and intimidate me into withdrawing my articles in their entirety. This I have no intention of doing.”
Red Granite was first announced in 2011 with a Kanye West concert and a big Cannes party. The producers behind Friends With Kids and Out Of The Furnace provided all of the approximate $100 million budget for the Martin Scorsese-directed Wolf. After winning the Lead Actor in a Comedy/Musical at the Golden Globes, Leonardo DiCaprio singled out producers Aziz and McFarland with thanks “for not only being collaborators but for taking a risk on this movie.”
Just a month after Universal locked its deal to distribute Dumb & Dumber To, the sequel to 1994′s Dumb & Dumber, financier-producer Red Granite Pictures is attempting to freeze out the franchise’s original producers. A lawsuit filed today in Los Angeles seeks the court’s declaration that Red Granite owes no contractual obligation to Dumb & Dumber producers Steve Stabler and Brad Krevoy and that the duo are not entitled to any producer fees or credits they claim they’re contractually owed on the sequel. (Read the complaint here.) The volley marks the second time in the span of a year that neophyte outfit Red Granite has scuffled with producers over prior agreements on projects it has taken over; just last year the company filed a similar suit attempting to cut producer Alexandra Milchan out of Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf Of Wall Street despite her contract with Warner Bros, from whom Red Granite assumed the pic. Milchan countersued, and the scuffle was settled with Milchan retaining exec producer credit on the film.
The news that Warner Bros exited Dumb And Dumber To is hardly surprising. The studio has hovered over this sequel package like a wet blanket since January, unable to decide what it wanted to do with the property that originated through its production label New Line. Warners execs have hemmed and hawed over whether to let someone else finance while they distributed, or let it go completely. That apathy finally led to Warner Bros bailing a few days ago. At Cannes, the project was being discussed a lot, and I’m told that Wolf Of Wall Street financier Red Granite is in first position to finance the film and sell foreign. That company launched in Cannes with a Kanye West concert and fireworks on the beach a couple of years ago with a solid sales team headed by Danny Dimbort. But everybody’s waiting for them to start committing to splashy projects beyond the Martin Scorsese-Leo DiCaprio stockbroker film. This might be the moment for Red Granite to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. There are about five distributors ready to take domestic. Keep an eye on Universal!
Universal Pictures International has picked up the distribution rights to The Wolf Of Wall Street in six European territories. UPI will handle the film in Germany, the UK, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia and Spain, it was announced …
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has closed a deal for domestic distribution on The Wolf Of Wall Street, the Martin Scorsese-directed saga of the rise and fall of a Wall Street hotshot that stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort. The drama is shooting in New York, and it was financed by Red Granite. The plan is to release in the fourth quarter of 2013, which gives Paramount an awards contender to add to the product the studio showed in New York yesterday.
The film also stars Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Jean Dujardin, Rob Reiner, Kyle Chandler, Margot Robbie and The Walking Dead‘s Jon Bernthal. Boardwalk Empire creator Terry Winter wrote the script. This will be a hot title at AFM, but Warner Bros, which originally developed the project, gets to eyeball the bids that come in on each territory before the deals go down. Scorsese and DiCaprio last teamed at Paramount on the hit Shutter Island.
The past year has seen the emergence of producers from varied backgrounds who are working on high-profile projects with major talent. This year in Cannes, a constantly heard refrain is that there is an abundance of quality product. Below are some of the key producers responsible:
Megan Ellison: The daughter of Oracle founder Larry Ellison has deep pockets and good taste that have put her at the forefront of today’s hot producers via her Annapurna Pictures. She’s also respected for what one distributor says is her “strategy of working only with strong directors.” Of the official selection films in Cannes, she produced John Hillcoat’s Lawless. Last year at Cannes, she won a bidding war for the rights to make 2 more Terminator installments. On her upcoming roster are Kathryn Bigelow’s hunt for Bin Laden pic, being sold by the sales company she’s backing, Panorama Media. There’s also Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths (sold by Hanway), Paul Thomas Anderson’s upcoming The Master, which the Weinsteins have and Inherent Vice starring Robert Downey Jr as well as Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher with Steve Carell and Channing Tatum and also via Panorama. Deadline also recently reported a big deal is in the works for Ellison and Annapurna to fully fund American Bullshit, the drama that has David O Russell attached to direct, with Christian Bale also attached and Bradley Cooper in talks.
Red Granite: When Red Granite Pictures launched its international sales division in Cannes last year, they did so in style. You can tell a lot about a company from the way it throws a party and Red Granite’s last year is one people still talk about. Kanye West performed with Jamie Foxx joining him to duet on Gold Digger while Leonardo DiCaprio, Jon Hamm and Jennifer Westfeldt rocked out on the beach. In 2011, Red Granite’s first production, Westfeldt’s Friends With Kids, was released and the company has steadily been building its roster of impressive product including Wolf Of Wall Street with DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese and Out Of The Furnace starring Christian Bale, Zoe Saldana and Casey Affleck which Scott Cooper is directing. Red Granite is also selling those pictures. Exec Joe Gatta tells me the company’s vision is to “make quality movies first and foremost. It’s a tough business; we have a lot of competition and we want to stand out as a company that’s getting the movies made.” Gatta says Red Granite wants to “grow, but grow steadily.” That could “in the future” include distribution, but the company will definitely grow its sales division under Danny Dimbort, the former Millennium/Nu Image partner who Gatta calls “the best in the business.” The goal for Red Granite is to be doing 3-5 productions per year with some third party pick-ups in the mix.
Back in March, Deadline revealed that Martin Scorsese would next direct The Wolf Of Wall Street, with Leonardo DiCaprio playing the title character after the upstart Red Granite stepped up with the funding. Here’s the official release:
Los Angeles, CA – April 19, 2012 – Martin Scorsese will direct “The Wolf of Wall Street” starring Leonardo DiCraprio. The deal, which brings Scorsese and DiCaprio together for their fifth feature collaboration, was made official today.
Red Granite Pictures owns the rights to Jordan Belfort’s best-selling memoir The Wolf of Wall Street, on which the film is based. Red Granite principals Riza Aziz and Joey McFarland are producing along with Leonardo DiCaprio (Appian Way), Martin Scorsese and Emma Koskoff (Sikelia Productions) and Alexandra Milchan (EMJAG Productions). Irwin Winkler and Georgia Kacandes will executive produce.
Leonardo DiCaprio will star as Jordan Belfort – the ‘Wolf of Wall Street.’
Terence Winter (“The Sopranos,” “Boardwalk Empire”) adapted the screenplay, which chronicles Belfort’s dramatic rise and fall on Wall Street, along with his hard-partying lifestyle and tumultuous personal life, which included drug and alcohol addiction.
Alex Proyas hasn’t had much luck lately. The last two films he tried to make, Dracula Year Zero and Paradise Lost, both got scratched for budget reasons. He’s just aligned himself to The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag, based on a Robert Heinlein novella from 1942. Here’s hoping he gets …