Relativity has retitled the film it picked up from Disney in July. The suspenser formerly known as Echo now is called Earth To Echo and will be released April 25. The story follows three friends (Teo Halm, Reese Hartwig and Ella Linnea Wahlestedt) who start getting weird coded messages on their cell phones and worry that something big is happening. No one pays them much mind, so they do some digging on their own and discover a mysterious being from another world who desperately needs their help. First-timer Dave Green directed the pic from a script by Henry Gayden. It’s produced by Andrew Panay , and Relativity’s Ryan Kavanaugh and Tucker Tooley are exec producing.
EXCLUSIVE: It seems a long time ago that Don Jon’s Addiction announced Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a writer/director to be reckoned with, after the film followed its January Sundance debut with a late night bidding battle that ended with Relativity paying a $4 million advance and a $25 million P&A commitment. That is a whopper for a film that was financed by Voltage Pictures’ Nicolas Chartier for around $3 million. Some eight months later, Relativity is releasing the film on 2400 screens under the title Don Jon. Gordon-Levitt plays the title character, a buff bartender who prefers internet porn to his many living and breathing bed partners. The film’s subject matter made it a hard R movie even though there is depth behind its provocative theme. It won’t be hard for this picture to be a financial win, especially if it catches a zeitgeist wave. Relativity production president Robbie Brenner said they held a buzz-building simultaneous screening in 100 cities last week and the crowds were as raucous as the one that first saw the film in Sundance. She and Tucker Tooley said they have done everything they promised Gordon-Levitt in Park City and they hope hard to serve as a home for a new film making voice. I interviewed Gordon-Levitt after his January premiere in Park City, and we did it again this week as he explains the process of going from festival sensation to mainstream ambitions.
DEADLINE: I am curious about what it’s like to see your film become a festival hit and then have to wait almost a year before the public sees it. How much has your movie changed since Sundance?
GORDON-LEVITT: We got a chance to finish the movie, basically. We got a version ready for Sundance, but really, it wasn’t finished. It didn’t have its opening credit sequence, I hadn’t had a chance to refine the voice over. There were a lot of tweaks needed in the editing. It is basically the same movie. No lines got cut, no story moments were lost and no real time was cut from the movie. The screws got tightened, and I think it is a lot better than it was at Sundance.
EXCLUSIVE: Relativity has closed a deal to finance, produce and distribute Anomaly, a live-action feature based on the interactive comic book created and written by top showbiz lawyer Skip Brittenham and Brian Haberlin. The script will be written by Ed Ricourt and Joe Roth is producing with Relativity’s Ryan Kavanaugh and Tucker Tooley. Set in the distant future, Anomaly centers on a disgraced Conglomerate Enforcer who gets a shot at redemption by leading a ragtag group of explorers on a first contact mission to a newly discovered planet. The mission turns out to be a deadly trap and the leader and crew are stranded with all their technology destroyed. Their only chance is to rely on their wits and earn the trust of the warring hostile inhabitants if they have any chance to return home to Earth. The multi-platform property started with a 370-page hardcover comic published last year.
EXCLUSIVE: Relativity Naming New Film Marketing Team; Russell Schwartz And Dana Precious In, Terry Curtin Out
EXCLUSIVE: I understand that New Line veteran Russell Schwartz is already signed to become President of Theatrical Marketing. And Marvel veteran Dana Precious is in final talks to assume the newly created position of President of Creative Advertising and Research. Both Schwartz and Precious will report directly to Relativity‘s President Tucker Tooley. ”It is a coup for Relativity to get both Russell and Dana who have overseen some of the biggest movies in recent years,” according to a source close to the studio. Relativity hopes to make the formal announcement early next week. The news follows criticism inside and outside Relativity of the handling of movie marketing by Terry Curtin – culminating in this weekend’s flop film pickup Paranioa. “Relativity is losing confidence in its marketing head,” a source close to the studio told me this morning when weekend box office results were announced. “Granted it is an incredibly crowded and down marketplace, but marketing should have at least opened the film to $10 million.” Curtin is leaving the studio with an uneven record since 2011 with highs of The Immortals and Act Of Valor and lows like Mirror Mirror. Schwartz and Precious will jointly oversee all aspects of markeing campaigns for Relativity’s growing film slate which includes Luc Besson’s action comedy The Family, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut Don Jon, Jimmy Hayward’s upcoming animated buddy comedy Free Birds, and Scott Cooper’s Out Of The Furnace. “Relativity has a strong slate in the second half of 2013 and early 2014 so they wanted to get a team with Russell and Dana’s track record and experience,” a source tells me.
Free Birds tells the tale of two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks who must put aside their differences and team up to travel back in time to change the course of history – and get turkey off the Thanksgiving menu for good. The stellar voice cast includes …
EXCLUSIVE: Fresh from The Internship, Owen Wilson is joining Jim Carrey to star in Relativity‘s Untitled Action Comedy directed by Napoleon Dynamite helmer Jared Hess. Based on an original screenplay by Emily Spivey, this comedy — it got known around town for the title Loomis Fargo, but that’s being changed — has a script by Chris Bowman (The Wrong Brother) and Hubbel Palmer (Humble Pie). Relativity has worldwide rights to finance, produce and distribute, and the film will be produced by Lorne Michaels and John Goldwyn through their Michaels-Goldwyn banner.
Pic tells the fact-based story of a disgruntled armored car driver who is persuaded to risk it all for love, money, and extravagance. He and his cohorts liberate $20 million from a bank vault. They promptly double cross him, and as the driver’s left alone on the run in Mexico while they live the high life, he becomes obsessed with getting even. Danny McBride, Jody Hill, Michael Aguilar and Kevin Messick will be exec producers alongside Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh and President Tucker Tooley.
David Shane has joined Relativity as EVP Corporate Communications. Shane will report directly to CEO Ryan Kavanaugh and president Tucker Tooley. He will be responsible for developing and directing the company’s communication strategy, overseeing media relations and serving as a communications adviser to the executive team. He will also partner with the company’s various divisions including film, television, sports, music, digital, home entertainment and international. Kavanaugh called Shane “a trusted adviser to the company and his creativity and strategic mindset will serve us well as Relativity continues to grow.”