Steven Spielberg‘s international tour of newsy tidbits continues. Speaking to France’s Canal Plus recently, the filmmaker dropped info about his development of a Napoleon miniseries based on a screenplay by Stanley Kubrick. Yesterday, Spielberg was in India to talk about Lincoln, meet with the local industry and attend a party hosted by Anil Ambani, the head of DreamWorks partner Reliance Entertainment. He also spoke to The Times Of India about a project that DreamWorks plans to make locally. “We have finalized a script for a movie that DreamWorks and our partners Reliance Entertainment plan to make together. Part of it will take place on the India-Pakistan border in Kashmir. But we’re still trying to figure out the casting, locations and who’s going to direct it,” Spielberg told the paper. He also renewed talk of a long-gestating Martin Luther King project saying “DreamWorks-Reliance is also planning a movie on Martin Luther King Jr. I wouldn’t call it a biopic, it’s more a story of King and the movement and also about how his admiration for Mahatma Gandhi helped to shape his moral core.” DreamWorks acquired the civil rights leader’s life rights from the King Estate in 2009
The New York Times reports that after a long negotiation, DreamWorks is re-upping its deal with India-based Reliance. But with a plan to streamline its production pace down to 3-to-5 movies per year. Neither the renewal nor the tightening of purse strings are a surprise as it was widely expected since before the Oscars that both would happen. The second phase of Reliance’s investment was originally supposed to be less than the original $325 million, and the new money is upwards of $200 million. But the fact that it’s now about to happen means a lot: it’s another buyer back in the game at a time of contraction with Lionsgate and Summit merging.
DreamWorks partners Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider had been unable to move forward with production starts while awaiting word from their India-based partners, or even buy much new material as they awaited the decision from Reliance. The staff has continued to develop properties they had already acquired, and Spielberg has been plenty busy anyway, directing the biopic Lincoln with Daniel Day-Lewis. That film had financing partners beyond Reliance, as Fox and Participant Media are also in the mix. Fox is already in the mix on Spielberg’s next pic, Robopocalypse, and he might certainly help his cause by making a big scifi popcorn film that can succeed on a global level. That DreamWorks twisted in the wind this long is shocking, and some …
Yahoo Joins Original Scripted Programming Fray With Deal For Tom Hanks’ Animated ‘Electric City’: CES
Yahoo says that it has exclusive online rights to the sci-fi adventure series Electric City, which will be shown in several parts beginning in 2012 supported by “a deeply immersive and interactive online experience that enhances the drama, mystery and intrigue of the series.” Electric City will be available in several languages including French and Spanish, and will be complemented by opportunities for fans to interact with the cast and creators. No word on financial terms. The announcement coincides with this week’s 2012 International CES consumer electronics show. Here’s the release:
LAS VEGAS, Nev., International CES (January 9, 2012) – Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO), the premier digital media company, today announced that they have joined forces with Playtone and Reliance Entertainment to bring Tom Hanks’ multi-dimensional animated series “Electric City” to Yahoo! in 2012. As the exclusive online broadcast home for “Electric City,” Yahoo! will bring Hanks’ vision and storytelling to a global audience. Set in a futuristic society, “Electric City” is a new 90- minute action-packed sci-fi adventure series, and marks Yahoo!’s first foray into original scripted programming. “Electric City” was created by and stars Tom Hanks.
Walking With Dinosaurs 3D from BBC Earth Films, Evergreen Films and Reliance Pictures is the latest to use the Fusion 3D system from James Cameron and Vince Pace’s Cameron Pace Group. The fact-based CGI/live-action feature will combine photorealistic backdrops and animation from Oscar-winning Animal Logic (Happy Feet) and animation producer Jinko Gotoh (9, Finding Nemo). Twentieth Century Fox has scheduled Dinosaurs for release in late 2013 in the U.S. Worldwide rights are being handled by IM Global, a subsidiary of Reliance Entertainment, which is fully financing the film.
Emanuel Nunez has exited CAA. Nunez is the financing wiz who helped put bring offshore companies into Hollywood, particularly at a time in 2008 when those companies decided to bet on specific talent. He was a key point person on making the match between DreamWorks partners Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider with India-based Reliance Entertainment’s Amit Khanna. Reliance also made first look deals with the production companies of CAA clients that included Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, Jim Carrey, Brett Ratner, George Clooney and Jay Roach. He plugged in India-based UTV with Overbrook partners Will Smith and James Lassiter, and also M. Night Shyamalan. The Cuban-born Nunez had been at CAA since 1991, brought in by Mike Ovitz and Ron Meyer to find offshore funds for film. The agency confirms he’s no longer there, but claimed it had no information on where he went.