Folks in America’s media capitals will get an early look at Scott Cooper‘s awards-season drama. Relativity said today that Out Of The Furnace will open December 4 in limited release in Los Angeles and New York, two days before it goes out wide. The film, which had its world premiere November 9 at the AFI Fest and won an award at Rome last week, stars Christian Bale as a Rust Belt ex-con out for justice when his brother is drawn into a ruthless crime gang. It’s Cooper’s follow-up to his first feature, 2009′s Crazy Heart. He and Brad Ingelsby wrote the pic, which also stars Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana and Sam Shepard.
Chris Pratt In Early Talks For ‘Jurassic World’; Dwayne Johnson & Relativity Set For ‘Not Without Hope’; Hannah Marks Joins ‘Anesthesia’; Harry Hamlin & Irina Bjorklund Spark ‘Erotic Fire’
Chris Pratt is in very early talks for Jurassic World, the 3D sequel that Universal will release June 12, 2015. The actor would play the role Josh Brolin was being eyed for last month. Colin Trevorrow is directing the pic, and he co-wrote the latest draft with Derek Connolly. Steven Spielberg is producing the film with Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley. Pratt next appears in the Vince Vaughn starrer Delivery Man , which opens next weekend. He has a voice role in The Lego Movie and also will star in Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy. Recent film credits include Zero Dark Thirty and The Five-Year Engagement. Pratt also stars on NBC’s Parks And Recreation. He is repped by CAA and Mosaic.
Dwayne Johnson is attached to star in Not Without Hope for Relativity, which will finance, produce, and distribute the deep-sea survival pic. Johnson will play Nick Schuyler, whose best-selling memoirs form the true-story basis of the film. Pic tracks Schuyler and his three buds, including NFL players Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith and ex-college athlete Will Bleakley, whose fishing trip went awry, leaving the foursome adrift off the coast of Florida in 2009.
Relativity Media‘s Ryan Kavanaugh has aligned with e-sports enterprise Major League Gaming and joined its board of directors. I am not sure where all this sports e-stuff is going, but it certainly bolsters Kavanaugh’s credentials if, for instance, he was vying to become commissioner of your fantasy football league. Actually, Relativity Sports has become one of Kavanaugh’s biggest business, repping over 300 athletes and growing. This alliance, he hopes, will allow him to marry his sports and content creation businesses.
Relativity and Major League Gaming (MLG), the global leader in eSports, today announced a strategic content and marketing partnership across sports management, television, film and digital media. In addition, Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity, has joined the MLG Board of Directors, working with the MLG executive team to further the company’s position as a mainstream media property and breakout sport of the future.
The collaboration will accelerate MLG’s growth, drive appointment viewing and further strengthen Relativity’s presence in the gaming space through MLG’s deep engagement with the elusive young male audience. The two companies will work together in a variety of ways including:
Mipcom: Relativity’s Ryan Kavanaugh On ‘Limitless’ Possibilities, Movies As Pilots, New Content Platform For Studio’s Output
Relativity Media founder and CEO Ryan Kavanaugh strode onto the main stage here at Mipcom today, providing a run-down of his business model versus the Hollywood studios’ “blockbuster or bust” mentality, declaring that Relativity’s just-announced Limitless TV series “could be one of the biggest shows that’s ever been”, and announcing his intention to build a digital TV Everywhere-style platform within the next 12 months.
Kavanaugh was in Cannes in support of Limitless and Act Of Valor, two new series based on the studio’s own films. Bradley Cooper is executive producing Limitless, which is part of Relativity’s expansion into scripted television. Kavanaugh said some very big stars were interested, adding “Who knows? (Cooper) may be in the first episode.” Relativity also just received a greenlight at National Geographic Channel for its first scripted series, drama Act Of Valor. The company’s unscripted portfolio already has 17 series currently on air including MTV hit Catfish, an offshoot from its documentary feature.
Kavanaugh explained he had an “epiphany” about turning Relativity movies into TV shows after Catfish. Although the film was profitable, it was an underperformer by traditional measures. Yet, young people kept telling him how much they enjoyed it. “Based on what I was hearing, I went back to all of our underperformers” to look at their sell-thru, on demand and DVD numbers as well as the marketing and he realized that if a percentage of the films’ audience could be converted to TV, it would be a win. The same theory could be applied to films that had broader box office appeal, à la Limitless, he said. With 20 million-plus viewers already invested in the movie, “it was the biggest pilot of all time. No TV show has ever had this.”
EXCLUSIVE: National Geographic Channel is entering the scripted series arena with Act Of Valor, a drama from Relativity and Tandem Communications inspired by Relativity’s successful 2012 Navy SEAL feature. The project, which also marks Relativity’s first scripted series, will begin production in early 2014. Written by Erik Jendresen (Band Of Brothers), Act Of Valor the series focuses on pararescuemen, also known as PJs, who are the unsung heroes tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments. Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh is expected to address the project in his MIPCOM Media Mastermind Keynote in Cannes on Tuesday. “Relativity’s unique model allows us to successfully transform a film such as Act Of Valor into a highly engaging television series,” he said. “We could not ask for a better home for the series than National Geographic Channel.” This marks the second Relativity movie to spawn a series, following the 2010 documentary Catfish, which led to MTV’s successful reality series of the same name.
(Beverly Hills, Calif. and Dubai, United Arab Emirates) September 24, 2013 – Relativity today announced that the company has formed Relativity Middle East, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Relativity Media. The new venture will be headquartered in the region and be a turnkey content supplier for all forms of content in the region. In addition, the company will partner with Middle East-based producers to create original film, television and digitial entertainment content. At the same time, the studio has entered into a Middle East distribution partnership with Gulf Film, LLC, the leading film distributor and exhibitor in the region, accounting for over 50% of the Middle East’s film releases. As part of the multi-year agreement, Gulf Film will distribute Relativity’s films across all media in the territory including Relativity produced and acquired titles and third party, sales agency titles handled by Relativity International.
EXCLUSIVE: Relativity Media has signed on for King Of Cocaine, and the long-gestating Brad Furman-directed biopic of Medellin Cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar is finally in shape to start production in Colombia in January. In an intriguing development, John Leguizamo has been set to play the lead role. After watching actors from Oscar Isaac to Benecio Del Toro circle this and other Escobar pics, Leguizamo got the job basically because he refused to take no for an answer, a trait that Escobar could probably relate to if he was still alive.
Leguizamo, who was born in Colombia, has long felt he was born to play the role of Escobar, who rose from poverty to riches as a notorious drug kingpin until his murderous reign ended in a hail of bullets in 1993. How did Leguizamo get the job? Furman made his first film with Leguizamo, The Take, and he has always credited the actor with giving him his directing career. He wanted Leguizamo from the start. But the foreign sales numbers didn’t work. They worked better with actors like Oscar Isaac.
After Inside Llewyn Davis star Isaac dropped out, Leguizamo was once again told no by producer/financier Scott Steindorff, with whom he had just worked in the Jon Favreau-directed Chef. Leguizamo then went out and spent upwards of $15,000 of his own money for a fat suit and prosthetic makeup that rendered him a dead ringer for Escobar at his prime. Leguizamo and Furman filmed a screen test, and got it to Steindorff, who once again said no. Furman fought for it and got the producer to submit it to Relativity execs, without disclosing the identity of the actor. It not only showed him portraying Escobar, it even had a split screen comparison to the actual drug kingpin. Relativity’s Tucker Tooley and Ryan Kavanaugh for the test enough to ask who the actor was. Furman told them, and suddenly they took Leguizamo seriously. He was hired shortly after to star in the $25 million film. If this gives Leguizamo a new identity, it follows a tradition of examples that include the time that Coppola shot Al Pacino from low angle to get him The Godfather lead and did the famous test with Marlon Brando, who stuffed cotton in his cheeks. Or the time that Elijah Wood went Middle Earth for his own screen test and won over Peter Jackson for The Lord Of The Rings.
Missed them first time round? Check them out:
Squash Those Petitions! Why Ben Affleck As Batman Is Good Move For Warner Bros
By Mike Fleming Jr - OPINION: I was as surprised as anyone when Ben Affleck was named the new Batman by Warner Bros.
(Beverly Hills, Calif.) August 19, 2013 – Relativity announced today that Russell Schwartz, a consultant to the studio, is joining the company as President of Theatrical Marketing. In addition, the studio announced that Dana Precious will take on the newly created position of President of Creative Advertising. Schwartz will report to both Relativity President Tucker Tooley and CEO Ryan Kavanaugh. Precious will report to Tooley, who made the announcement.
Schwartz and Precious will jointly create and manage all aspects of Relativity’s marketing campaigns for its feature films including Luc Besson’s The Family, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Don Jon, Jimmy Hayward’s Free Birds and Scott Cooper’s Out of the Furnace.
Terry Curtin has decided to leave the studio to start her own consulting company.
“Russell is an extremely talented, resourceful and innovative marketer, and I have long admired and respected his campaigns since we first worked together at New Line,” commented Tooley. “Relativity is also incredibly fortunate to have such a creative force as Dana join our marketing leadership team as the studio continues to grow.”
Tooley added: “We thank Terry for her years of hard work and dedication to the studio. She has crafted creative marketing campaigns for some of the company’s most successful films. We are very grateful for Terry’s help in building Relativity into the successful studio it is today.”
Relativity Media has dropped a new trailer for Romeo And Juliet starring Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth as the star-crossed teenage lovers. Cast also includes Stellan Skarsgard, Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti and Ed Westwick. Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes penned the script for this latest adaptation of William Shakespeare’s classic tale directed by Carlo Carlei. It’s set to bow wide on October 11. Check it out (beware autoplay):
EXCLUSIVE: More than two decades after Jean-Claude Van Damme split-kicked his way onto the scene, the legacy of the Muscles from Brussels is making a double impact on Hollywood’s action game. Radar Pictures (The Last Samurai, Riddick) has a new vision for Van Damme’s 1989 martial arts actioner Kickboxer, one of two Van Damme reboots in the works around town. The original Bangkok-set pic from Kings Road Entertainment starred Van Damme as Westerner Kurt Sloane, a cornerman who trains in Muay Thai to avenge his brother’s crippling at the hands of a brutal Thai kickboxing champ. Kickboxer arrived a year after Van Damme’s breakthrough in Bloodsport sparking fan debate for decades over which pic is the better JCVD vehicle. (For its money Kickboxer boasted a memorable baddie in Tong Po, the villain who popped up in two of four subsequent sequels.)
Now Radar Pictures aims to reboot the franchise with Hong Kong director Stephen Fung at the helm. Fung’s hot festival run at Venice and Toronto this year landed him representation with Paradigm after his Tai Chi Zero opened atop the Chinese box office. The actor-writer-director is also repped by Principato-Young and is a partner in Diversion Pictures with Hong Kong star Daniel Wu. Jim McGrath and Dimitri Logothetis (Air America) will pen the Kickboxer script, with Logothetis producing alongside Ted Field and Nick Celozzi. Mike Weber and Peter Meyer will exec produce. Casting is underway now eyeing a fall or possible early 2014 start.
Relativity Media recently moved Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper‘s drama into the heart of Oscar season with a Thanksgiving week limited release. Check out the first trailer for Out Of The Furnace, starring Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana …