Robert De Niro has joined the cast of Idol’s Eye alongside Robert Pattinson. The plot of the next film from director Olivier Assayas is being kept under wraps, but it’s described as a sophisticated heist action-thriller. It’s the second feature from Assayas to feature a Twilight Saga star in the lead following the director’s Clouds of Sils Maria, which recently premiered at Cannes and stars Pattinson’s Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart alongside Juliette Binoche and Chloe Moretz.
Benaroya Pictures has come aboard to produce and finance Idol’s Eye, which is expected to start production in October in Chicago and Toronto. Charles Gillibert developed and produced Idol’s Eye with CG Cinema, Bluegrass Films’ Scott Stuber, Film 360’s Scott Lambert, Alexandra Milchan and Michael Benaroya. Ben Sachs is executive producing. International Film Trust will be repping foreign sales. CAA, which arranged financing for the film, will represent domestic rights along with WME.
EXCLUSIVE: Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films has set Robert De Niro to star in Bus 757, a Stephen Sepher-scripted action thriller that Scott Mann (The Tournament) will direct. The film, which shoots in September in Baton Rouge, will be distributed by Grindstone/Lionsgate Films with Hannibal Classics’ Richard Rionda Del Castro and Patricia Eberle handling international sales. EFOF principals Randall Emmett and George Furla are producing and financing, and international financing on the $15 million film is being provided by Hannibal Classics and Michael Mendelsohn’s Union Patriot Capital.
Bus 757 centers on a casino card dealer who puts together a crew to simultaneously rob a bank and hijack a bus full of hostages to use as collateral. De Niro will play “The Pope”, a casino owner with illegitimate business practices whose assets are the targets of the heist. Now that he’s in place, casting will begin in earnest. Emmett, Furla, Sepher and Alexander Tabrizi are producing. Barry Brooker and Stan Wertlieb will be executive producers along with Daniel Grodnik, del Castro and Eberle and Tim Sullivan is co-producer. De Niro is represented by CAA, EFOF by WME. Mann is repped by Paradigm, Aperture Entertainment and Stone, Meyer. Read More »
Last night marked Saturday Night Live hosting gig #13 for John Goodman, who noted that he’d last hosted in 2001 but stopped “because I had to work.” Speaking of having to work, the Inside Llewyn Davis co-star wasn’t the only veteran actor who showed up to promote a new flick: Grudge Match duo Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro dropped by to cameo alongside Goodman as the “Three Wise Guys” in a pre-holiday Nativity sketch (Sly & De Niro’s old-guy boxing pic hits theaters on Christmas Day). Unfortunately they lacked the ease Goodman had elsewhere even dressed as a snowflake and a woman. Meanwhile Kenan Thompson got significant screentime in multiple sketches through the night, including a stint as Black Santa as Weekend Update poked fun at Megyn Kelly‘s recent yuletide comments. Watch highlights below:
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired worldwide distribution rights on The Intern, the north of $35 million budget comedy that Nancy Meyers wrote and will direct as her next film. This is the one that got shopped at last week’s AFM by Lotus. In this configuration, Worldview was out when the Warner Bros deal got done. Meyers will produce with Scott Rudin. In the film, Witherspoon will play the founder of a highly successful fashion website who is prompted to take part in her company’s Senior Intern Program. She is assigned a 70ish widower who shows up with a suit and a briefcase. Turns out he ran his own successful business before retiring. What starts initially as a clash between old-world and new-world business values grows into something more as the intern becomes a mentor to the young entrepreneur.
EXCLUSIVE: There have been developments in HBO Films’ long-gestating movie about Bernie Madoff starring Robert De Niro as the disgraced financier. Lie To Me creator Samuel Baum has been brought in as the new writer, and HBO has optioned a second book, Truth And Consequences: Life Inside The Madoff Family by Laurie Sandell. It will be used as additional source material alongside Diana Henriques’ bestseller The Wizard Of Lies: Bernie Madoff And The Death Of Trust, on which the HBO movie, also titledThe Wizard Of Lies, is based. The film, which tells the story of the imprisoned swindler and the $65 billion Ponzi scheme he concocted, has been in the works at HBO since 2011, when the network optioned Henriques’ book, attached De Niro to play Madoff and hired John Burnham Schwartz to write the script. Tribeca Prods is producing, with its principals De Niro and Jane Rosenthal executive producing. Baum is with CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: In a fast-mobilizing package at AFM, Worldview Entertainment has signed on to finance and produced The Intern, a new original comedy scripted and to be directed by Nancy Meyers. Robert De Niro and Reese Witherspoon are in talks to star. Meyers will produce with Scott Rudin and Worldview CEO Christopher Woodrow and COO Molly Conners. Lotus is selling offshore territories on the $35 million budget film, and CAA is brokering the domestic deal. I hear that three studios are vying for it, with Universal, The Weinstein Company and Warner Bros all in the mix.
Witherspoon will play the founder of a highly successful fashion website who is prompted to take part in her company’s Senior Intern Program. She is assigned a 70ish widower who shows up with a suit and a briefcase. Turns out he ran his own successful business before retiring. What starts initially as a clash between old world and new world business values grows into something more as the intern becomes a mentor to the young entrepreneur. Meyers has shown a generational zeitgeist touch with scripts that include What Women Want, Something’s Gotta Give and It’s Complicated. I’ve heard from some who’ve read it that this one really hits the mark and the modest budget is making it catnip to suitors. Meyers also writes great parts for actors, and this one seems strongly suited to Oscar winners De Niro and Witherspoon, both of whom Meyers hand-picked for the lead roles. Read More »
Robert De Niro is the latest Hollywood figure eyeing a bite of China’s booming economy. But the star is not prepping a movie on the mainland, instead he’s developing Project 179, an 850,000-square-foot complex in the heart of the Shanghai financial district. De Niro and his BD Hotels partners Ira Drukier and Richard Born are teaming with Empire Global Ventures, Amerasia S&T Corp, Douglas Elliman and Tribeca Enterprises to establish a major hospitality, dining and cultural destination on Nanjing Road in the waterfront Bund area. The complex, designed to reflect classic 1920’s Shanghai, will include a five-star boutique hotel, retail space, multiple restaurants led by well-known U.S. chefs, a cultural performance center and a multiplex. It’s due to open in 2016. De Niro’s new venture will be a neighbor of entrepreneur Bruno Wu’s Pinewood Chinawood studio base which will also be housed along the Bund.
The Supreme Court has answered the bell in the fight over early works based on the story of boxer Jake LaMotta – the subject of MGM‘s 1980 Best Picture nominee Raging Bull. The justices today agreed to hear the case brought by Paula Petrella, whose father Frank Petrella penned the two screenplays and a book that inspired the Martin Scorsese film and was given an acting credit under the name Peter Savage. When he died in 1981, the copyrights reverted to his daughter. In 2009, she sued Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. for copyright infringement for creating and distributing copies of the movie that earned Robert De Niro a Best Actor Oscar. But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that she waited too long to file the suit. In August, Paula Petrella asked the courts to reinstate the case, saying the Appeals Court dismissal was wrong based on recent copyright cases. Now the high court will determine the fate of the suit after the justices return to the bench October 7. It’s the final round of a grudge match decades in the making — not unlike De Niro’s upcoming film in which he and Sylvester Stallone play aged boxers who face off in the ring 30 years after their last fight.
EXCLUSIVE:HBO is carrying on James Gandolfini’s legacy withCriminal Justice. Oscar winner Robert De Niro has stepped in to take over the role originally played by the beloved Sopranos star in the pilot. De Niro is attached to act in Criminal Justice, a seven-hour miniseries, with Gandolfini remaining an executive producer posthumously. (HBO previously greenlighted Criminal Justice with Gandolfini as a seven-part limited series in May). Steven Zaillian, who has been shepherding the project for over four years, is set to direct the first hour. Richard Price wrote Criminal Justice based on the BBC series created by Peter Moffat. On the mini, produced by HBO in association with BBC Worldwide Prods., Film Rites and Tribeca Films, De Niro joins originally cast Riz Ahmed, Bill Camp, Payman Maadi and Poorna Jagannathan. Production is eyed to begin in March.
It was unclear in the immediate aftermath of Gandolfini’s untimely June death in Rome whether HBO would proceed with Criminal Justice. But because Gandolfini had been so committed and passionate about the project, which he was getting ready to start filming upon his return from Rome, the network and Zaillian began exploring ways to do Criminal Justice in his honor. The New York crime story centers on an ambulance-chasing New York City attorney, the role originally played by Gandolfini, who gets in over-his-head when he takes on the case of a Pakistani (Ahmed) accused of murdering a girl on the Upper West Side. While the lawyer part is central to the overall story, in the pilot the character only appears in the final scene. That led to discussions between HBO and Zaillian about recasting the part, not an easy task as I hear the network and Zaillian were looking for a great actor whom Gandolfini would have wanted for the role and who would honor Gandolfini’s memory with his performance. I hear their list consisted of one name only, Robert De Niro, who responded and came on board. Read More »
SUNDAY 9:30 AM, 5TH UPDATE: No surprise that a genre scarer did so well on a weekend frontloaded by Friday The 13th. But grosses flattened Saturday because of what my sources say was the big Mayweather vs Alvarez fight which scored big TV ratings from Las Vegas last night. That cooled what initially was hot total moviegoing this September weekend to $95M, only +10% over last year’s.
Regular readers know that I believe online domestic pre-sales are a more accurate indicator of a movie’s box office opening strength than traditional tracking. So it’s meaningful that FilmDistrict’s PG13 and 2D Insidious: Chapter 2 (released into 3,049 theaters) trended as Fandango’s top horror pre-seller of the year. And the grosses produced by Blumhouse horrormeisters Jason Blum and Oren Peli on just a $5 million budget were indeed record-breaking: an impressive $20.1M debut Friday (including $1.5M in Thursday’s late shows and Friday’s midnights) and $13.4M Saturday for a $41M weekend. Pic now becomes 2013′s 2nd biggest grossing horror opening behind The Conjuring and sets 2nd largest September debut. (Only 3 live-action movies in the past decade have ever opened over $30M in this traditionally slow month. Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania did $42.5M in September 2012.) Weekend was double what FilmDistrict was expecting and another winner for CEO Peter Schlessel who tells me he credits distribution chief Jim Orr and marketing czarina Christine Birch for the huge weekend. Sequel overwhelmed the first installment’s $13.3M. Here are more stats: Blumhouse now becomes the first production company to have two movies with budgets of $5M or under gross over $30M on opening weekend in the same year. With The Purge and Insidious: Chapter Two, Blumhouse has produced 2 micro-budget films in the past four months that grossed over $30M in their opening weekends. Combined, the two movies will have earned over $65M on their opening weekends with combined budgets of $8M. Yowza! Despite tepid critical reviews, audiences gave the Insidious sequel a ‘B+’ CinemaScore for James Wan‘s direction of the cast of Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne in Leigh Whannell’s screenplay. FilmDistrict’s marketing campaign targeted a younger audience (15-34 year olds) and focused on females during cable draws like ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars and the genre’s growing Hispanic market. The studio created customized Latino creative exclusive content featurettes, radio and TV spots as well as hosted a Miami Press day. The film’s trailer launched with The Purgeand continued via Comic-Con, paranormal conventions, the Vans Warped Tour, and exposure at Six Flags. Exit polling this weekend showed audiences were 52% male/48% female with 62% under the age of 25/38% age 25 and older. Internationally, Insidious 2 opened #1 in the UK, traditionally the second biggest market for horror films after the U.S., with a bigger opening than recent hits like The Conjuring and The Purge.
This other weekend’s new release was Relativity’s and Europacorp’s co-financed and co-produced dark adult comedy The Family (3,091 theaters). It stars Robert De Niro. Michelle Pfeiffer, and Tommy Lee Jones directed and co-written by Luc Besson and executive produced by Martin Scorsese in yet another unnecessary and derivative gangster pic. With a disappointing ‘C’ CinemaScore from audiences and tepid critical reviews, this R-rated pic opened with a so-so $5.3M Friday and $5.3M Saturday for a $13.9M weekend. That’s smack in the middle of what Relativity was low-balling but no Red which in 2010 opened to $21.7M and also was aimed at older males and females. “We are pleased with the result and the film’s performance. The point is that the movie cost $30M and it’s going to make back half its budget in opening weekend,” insisted a Relativity exec – not taking into consideration P&A or the usual 3X formula. But stars are supposed to deliver openings above $20M and this movie had 3 big names who can’t draw audiences anymore on their own. This is only De Niro’s second biggest opening over his past 10 non-Meet The Parents franchise pics. (Limitless, another Relativity film, was #1.) Going to the gangster well again and again just diminishes him. Relativity’s Ryan Kavanaugh took a producer credit: but surely he couldn’t have fantasized yet another De Niro cash grab with lousy reviews would do any awards business? Michael Caleo of The Sopranos co-wrote based on Tonino Benacquista’s novel Malavita. Since Relativity recently revamped its in-house marketing and advertising, I’d be wasting words discussing the very forgettable campaign which surely contributed to the mediocre result. Relativity and Europacorp made this pic as part of an overall co-production and financing deal, with Relativity releasing in the U.S., Europacorp overseeing international distribution, and EOne taking Canada.
Here’s the Top Ten list based on weekend estimates: Read More »
Henry “Razor” Sharp and Billy “The Kid” McDonnen fought twice back in the day; each won once, but the tiebreaker never happened. Fast-forward 30 years and the bitter enemies — played by cinema-ring Hall of Famers Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro — will settle things in Grudge Match. Kevin Hart, Alan Arkin, John Bernthal and Kim Basinger co-star in the Warner Bros film from director Peter Segal. Here’s the first trailer for the Christmastime release scripted by Tim Kelleher and Rodney Rothman:
EXCLUSIVE: FilmNation Entertainment has acquired from Jane Rosenthal the rights to the bestselling Ann Leary novel The Good House. They’re reuniting one of the great screen couples, Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro, and Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours (Streep starred in the movie) is set to adapt the book.
The novel is darkly comic, and told through the eyes of Hildy Good (Streep), a New England realtor and not-so-recovering alcoholic whose perfectly compartmentalized life starts to come apart at the seams when she forms a new friendship with Rebecca McCallister. As Rebecca becomes the subject of town gossip, Hildy rekindles an old flame with Frank Getchell (De Niro), a tell it like it is Yankee, who tries to un-complicate her complicated life. Streep and De Niro starred together previously in 1978′s The Deer Hunter, 1984′s Falling In Love and 1996′s Marvin’s Room.
De Niro’s Tribeca Productions partner Rosenthal will produce with FilmNation’s Aaron Ryder and Karen Lunder. Tribeca veep Berry Welsh will be exec producer and FilmNation partner Steve Samuels helped bring the project together through a relationship with the author.
Said Rosenthal: “Ann Leary has an intoxicating voice and created a truly original character in Hildy Good. When I read the book, I was only sorry it ended – but so thrilled that we’ll be able to bring it to the screen with Meryl Streep as the irresistible … Read More »
The Tribeca Film Festival has set submission dates for its 2014 fest, and it has named AT&T as its presenting sponsor. That role had been filled by American Express since the fest’s inception when it was hatched to bring business back downtown after the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks. Over the years, it also included some pretty memorable Amex commercials with the likes of Robert De Niro talking about New York. Amex will still be involved in a sponsorship capacity, but AT&T steps up after first becoming involved a couple of years ago.
“Our relationship with AT&T reflects a shared commitment to New York and the cultural community,” said Robert De Niro, co-founder, Tribeca Film Festival. “We’re very grateful for their support of Tribeca.”
TFF’s programming team, led by Chief Creative Officer Geoffrey Gilmore, Artistic Director Frédéric Boyer, Director of Programming Genna Terranova, Programmer Cara Cusumano and Shorts Programmer Sharon Badal, announced a call for submissions for narrative and documentary features and short film entries.
Deadlines to submit U.S. and international films for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival are as follows:
Sept. 16 – SUBMISSIONS OPEN
Oct. 18 – EARLY DEADLINE: FEATURES, SHORTS AND TRANSMEDIA PROJECTS
Nov. 29 – OFFICIAL DEADLINE, ALL FEATURES, SHORTS AND TRANSMEDIA PROJECTS
Dec. 27 – LATE DEADLINE, AVAILABLE ONLY TO FEATURE LENGTH FILMS COMPLETED AFTER OFFICIAL DEADLINE
Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones, Dianna Agron and John D’Leo star in the dark action comedy The Family (formerly Malavita). Directed by Luc Besson, The Family follows a mafia boss (De Niro) and his family as they are relocated to a sleepy town in France under the witness protection program after snitching on the mob. The Family opens wide on September 20. Check out the trailer that Relativity dropped today:
Los Angeles (May 14, 2013) – Two-time Academy Award®-winner Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained, Inglourious Basterds) is joining two-time Academy Award®-winner Robert De Niro (the upcoming Last Vegas, Silver Linings Playbook, Raging Bull, The Godfather: Part II), Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, the upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and Omar Sy (The Intouchables, the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past) in Good Universe’s and Lionsgate’s THE CANDY STORE, a character-driven action thriller by Academy Award®-winning writer and director Stephen Gaghan (Traffic, Syriana).
Lionsgate will distribute in North America. Good Universe is handling international sales and presenting the film as part of their slate in Cannes.
EXCLUSIVE: If you love sports films like I do, here is one that has knockout potential. Robert De Niro and Edgar Ramirez have signed on to star in Hands Of Stone, a drama written and to be directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz. Boxing fans will know where we are going from the title. Ramirez will play champ Roberto Duran. De Niro will play his trainer Ray Arcel in a drama that focuses on how each man changed the life of the other. It is set during boxing’s Golden Era, when Duran was among top notch fighters including Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Marvin Hagler, Hector Camacho, Vinny Pazienza. Duran fought them all and won 103 of his 119 fights. The focus will be on the Panamanian boxer’s incredible brawls with Leonard, culminating in an inexplicable ending of the famous fight where Duran quit in the ring and cried “No mas,” on a night when Leonard was having his way. That was a terrible ending to a rivalry that was everything depicted by De Niro in Raging Bull, when Jake LaMotta had those classic brawls with Sugar Ray Robinson. This was back when boxing mattered, and well before it got eclipsed by mixed martial arts fighting, which is way more accessible to the public and more smartly run than is pro boxing. CAA is handling domestic rights on the film. Read More »
So the Tribeca Film Festival has found a film to close its 2013 fest. It’s Martin Scorsese‘s The King Of Comedy, with a restored print that of course stars festival patriarch Robert De Niro. I find myself often critical of Tribeca for never really finding a niche that defines rivals like Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, and even upstarts like SXSW. So while most of those fests would move heaven and earth to land a closing night film that is unseen and has a high degree of wanna-see, the idea of closing the fest with a film released in 1983 seems a bit wacky. But that movie has so many classic scenes with De Niro, Jerry Lewis, and Sandra Bernhard and the theme of Rupert Pupkin’s fan obsession is so twisted (“Rupert, what are you doing down there?” “Mom!”) that I have to say, I’ve finally found a film worth falling in love with at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Here’s a short trip down memory lane:
Robert De Niro hit his stride in terms of movie recognition in 1973 when both Bang the Drum Slowly and Mean Streets put him on the map. The latter remains a special favorite because it marks the beginning of his long association with Martin Scorsese. Remarkably, De Niro didn’t come close to peaking after winning his first supporting actor Oscar for 1974’s The Godfather Part II — he’s still going strong nearly four decades later, thought by many to be our greatest living film actor. But effortlessly playing the young Don Corleone and doing it entirely in a Sicilian dialect should have signaled to anyone that this was a talent like no other. A look at the other roles that won him recognition from the Academy an impressive six times overall between 1975 and 1992 only confirms that early promise. There’s Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter, Awakenings, Cape Fear, and of course, Raging Bull, which brought him a second statuette for best actor in 1980. But consider some of the brilliant performances Oscar didn’t recognize, and you get an idea of the career we are talking about here: The King of Comedy, The Mission, Midnight Run, Awakenings, Once Upon a Time in America, Casino, Heat, and one especially close to his heart, Everybody’s Fine, to name just a few. As a producer, entrepreneur, and founder of the ever-growing … Read More »