Open Road Films has set a a February 27, 2015 release date for Little Boy, the inspirational family film directed by Alejandro Monteverde that was executive produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, the EPs behind Son Of God and MGM/Paramount’s Ben-Hur remake. The distrib acquired U.S. rights to the pic last month. The story centers on a 7-year-old boy who is willing to do whatever it takes to end World War II so he can bring his father home. Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Kevin James, Ben Chaplin, Michael Rapaport, Cary Tagawa, Ted Levine, David Henrie, Eduardo Verastegui and Jakob Salvati star. Pepe Portillo and Monteverde wrote the script.
It joins three other wide releases so far on that date: Warner Bros’ Will Smith comedy Focus, Fox’s video game adaptation Hitman: Agent 47 starring Rupert Friend (who replaced Paul Walker), and Focus Features’ Ryan Reynolds sci-fi pic Selfless.
Open Road Films bought U.S. rights to Little Boy, an inspirational family film directed by Alejandro Monteverde that was executive produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, the EPs behind Son Of God and the MGM/Paramount Ben-Hur remake. Pic’s about the magical story of a 7-year-old boy who is willing to do whatever it takes to end World War II so he can bring his father home. The story reveals the indescribable love a father has for his little boy and the love a son has for his father. Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Kevin James, Ben Chaplin, Michael Rapaport, Cary Tagawa, Ted Levine, David Henrie, Eduardo Verastegui and young newcomer Jakob Salvati star. Pepe Portillo and Monteverde wrote the script. In addition to Downey and Burnett, the producers are Verastegui, Leo Severino, Monteverde, Emilio Azcarraga, Bernardo Gomez, Micky Ohare and Sean Wolfington. Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg made the deal with Elliott Kleinberg, and Peter Lawson, as well as by Wolfington and Severino on behalf of the filmmakers.
BREAKING: After scoring huge ratings with the miniseries The Bible and carving out a second theatrical hit with the same footage in Son Of God, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Paramount Pictures’ Ben-Hur. Deadline has long been telling you about this ambitious new adaptation of the Lew Wallace 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of Christ, with script by Keith Clarke and Oscar winning 12 Years A Slave scribe John Ridley, and Timur Bekmambetov directing.
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Paramount signed on to co-produce and distribute, and after the rocky time the studio had with the Darren Aronofsky-directed Noah convincing the faithful that the Biblical epic didn’t blaspheme the Old Testament tale and having the film banned in Muslim territories, it’s not surprising that they would add Burnett and his wife, the former Touched By An Angel star Downey, to help steer the project with producer Sean Daniel. The film will be released February 26, 2016. Faith-based audiences turned the Mel Gibson-directed The Passion Of The Christ into the biggest-grossing independent film ever, but the recent turn of audiences from Biblical epics to films about the existence of heaven and faith in general, shows that these audiences want faithful adaptations of the Bible stories they want to see celebrated onscreen. The next big Biblical epic coming is the Ridley Scott-directed Exodus with Christian Bale starring as Moses. Fox opens that film December 12 and if it even approximates the ticket sales of 1956′s The Ten Commandments, it will be a huge blockbuster story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt.
Related: Biblical and Faith-Based Movies: In Hollywood To Stay?
The film consists of the core story that drove the 1959 William Wyler-directed MGM film that starred Charlton Heston as the falsely accused nobleman who survives years of slavery to take vengeance on the best friend who betrayed him, as both have to choose retribution or forgiveness. In the backdrop is the journey of Jesus Christ, leading up to him being crucified. It is sensitive stuff, and a guiding hand from those producers can be like a Good Housekeeping seal to a faith-based audience that has been flocking to sleeper hits like Heaven Is For Real. Noah has crossed $300 million in worldwide grosses. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Ann Peacock (The Chronicles Of Narnia, Nights In Rodanthe) has been tapped to adapt The Dovekeepers for Mark Burnett, Roma Downey and CBS.
In December, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey — the new It Couple of TV Miniseries/Event Series — landed CBS‘ first announced project from its new limited series and event programming unit. Like Burnett and Downey’s The Bible, The Dovekeepers is an historical series with religious overtones. The Dovekeepers is a four-hour miniseries based in Alice Hoffman’s historical novel about the Siege of Masada, and it will air on CBS in 2015. The mini will focus on “four extraordinary women whose lives intersect in a fight for survival at the siege of Masada,” according to CBS. Masada is the mountaintop fortress near the Dead Sea where the Romans found the last pocket of resistance after they conquered Jerusalem in 70 CE.
“We felt [the book] was best served if the screenplay came through the heart of a strong woman and Peacock is such a woman,” Downey said in a phone interview. “I met her right before Christmas; she came to our house in Malibu and I sat down with her and she clearly loved the book. Her book had Post-its sticking out from a hundred different pages where she’d lovingly made notes. She said whether she was brought on board or not, she was forever changed from having read the book and I was elated, because I could not put this book down when I first read it. I was like a woman who had fallen in love — I was hungry, turning pages, staying up later than I should have, in the absence of being able to pick it up the next day missing the book. When I was finished I missed the characters, longed for the characters – they got under my skin”. Read More »
NBC has given a formal green light to 12-hour miniseries A.D., Mark Burnett and Roma Downey‘s follow-up to their highly rated miniseries The Bible that aired on History earlier this year. The project, produced by LightWorkers Media with Burnett, Downey and Richard Bedser serving as executive producers, is eyeing a premiere in spring 2015. “Last year when Mark Burnett was launching The Bible on cable, I told him, without hesitation, that if he wanted to tell more of the story, we’d love to do it at NBC,” said NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt. “We are firmly in the ‘event’ business and nothing has more event potential than A.D. as it continues immediately after the The Bible ended.” The order for A.D., which will be written by BAFTA nominee Simon Block (The Shooting Of Thomas Hurndall), comes a week after NBC greenlighted its first miniseries under the network’s current longfprm push – the four-hour Rosemary’s Baby. This also marks the second miniseries order for Burnett and Downey in the past week after CBS picked up The Dovekeepers, which also has religious overtones.
Related: NBC Turns To Christ In Snagging ‘The Bible’ Follow-Up
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Mark Burnett and Roma Downey — the new It Couple of TV Miniseries/Event Series — have landed CBS‘ first announced project from its new limited series and event programming unit. And yes, it’s an historical series with religious overtones. The Dovekeepers is a four-hour miniseries based in Alice Hoffman’s historical novel about the Siege of Masada, and it will air on CBS in 2015. The mini will focus on “four extraordinary women whose lives intersect in a fight for survival at the siege of Masada,” the network said. Masada is the mountaintop fortress near the Dead Sea where the Romans found the last pocket of resistance after they conquered Jerusalem in 70 CE.
CBS, in its announcement, noted The Dovekeepers hails from the team behind the Emmy-nominated 10-hour miniseries The Bible, which scored big ratings for History in March, ranking as the top cable entertainment telecast of the year to date and helping make History the No. 1-ranked cable network for that month. The Bible opened with 13 million tuned in — which, CBS execs no doubt noted at the time, is about as many people as watched the opening of their Stephen King project Under The Dome (before factoring in DVR viewing on subsequent days) last summer. In its first week of home video release, The Bible was the top-selling miniseries of all time and the No. 1 ranked TV series on DVD and Blu-ray over the past five years — surpassing 1 million units sold in the past three months. It also spawned a feature film version to be released by Fox in February (check out that trailer here). In addition to its broadcast on CBS, The Dovekeepers will be distributed to countries around the world by CBS Studios International. Read More »
History’s 10-part miniseries The Bible was a big hit in the spring, averaging 11.4 million total viewers during its five-week run and garnering three Emmy noms, and partnering with 20th Century Fox on the feature film version makes sense. The studio already has a partnership with executive producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey for worldwide home vid rights, and the parties have been in the planning stages of an international launch around Christmas. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released The Bible on home video in April, and it has become the top-selling mini ever across Blu-ray, DVD and DigitalHD after selling 525,000 copies its first week on the street. As for the feature, details on release dates and overseas distribution are still being worked out. Burnett said in June that he had just completed editing the 2 hour and 15 minute feature version of the series focusing on the life of Jesus and was looking for a buyer. “Just on the scripted side, I could spend the next 10 years just distributing the Bible series and the movie”, he said of the project he and wife Downey produced with Hearst Entertainment & Syndication. Burnett and Downey have already sold a sequel to the mini, A.D: Beyond The Bible, to NBC.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage
History‘s 10-part miniseries The Bible continues to be the gift that keeps on giving, landing three Emmy nominations this morning including one for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie (as well as for sound editing and sound mixing). The noms further burnished the credentials of the series’ married exec producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey and come at a time when the project has taken on a successful life of its own: Burnett sold a sequel this month to NBC (tentatively titled AD: Beyond The Bible) and has seen the original mini emulate the massive ratings success it had on History overseas (it bowed to huge ratings this week in Australia). The series was No. 1 in its time period for all of TV when it aired in March and averaged 11.4 million total viewers during its five-week run. At the end of June it passed the 1 million mark in DVD sales, making it one of the best-selling DVDs based on a TV series of all time.
Related: Produced By: Mark Burnett On ‘Bible’ Follow-Up Read More »
UPDATE: 10:38 AM: NBC: turning to Christ to deliver it from its ratings hole. The network announced this morning it had bought the sequel to History’s hit miniseries The Bible from Mark Burnett — who also exec produces the broadcast network’s The Voice and Celebrity Apprentice. At the recent Produced By Conference, Burnett said he was working on a sequel to the 10-part miniseries that ranked as the top cable entertainment telecast of the year to date and helped make History the No. 1-ranked cable network for the month of March. “I could spend the next 10 years just distributing the Bible series” and the movie version he’s adapted, Burnett quipped happily at that confab. In this morning’s announcement, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said he followed closely the development of The Bible “and knew that the story was far from over after Christ’s Crucifixion. In fact, what happened in the aftermath — which is essentially the beginning of Christianity — is utterly fascinating.” Greenblatt said he’d told Burnett after seeing The Bible’s opening numbers that NBC was “on board with no hesitation for the follow-up miniseries.”
The Bible opened with 13 million tuned in — about as many people as watched the opening of CBS’ Stephen King project Under The Dome — before factoring in DVR viewing on subsequent days. For No. 1-rated CBS, that is a big number – for ratings-starved NBC, it’s manna from heaven. Only two shows on NBC clocked a bigger crowd than that during the recently concluded TV season: Sunday Night Football and both nights of The Voice. In its first week of home video release, The Bible was the top-selling miniseries of all time and the No. 1 ranked TV series on DVD and Blu-ray over the past five years — surpassing 1 million units sold in the past three months. Read More »
Oprah Winfrey hosts the Emmy-winning husband and wife team behind the History Channel hit The Bible Sunday night on her primetime show Oprah’s Next Chapter. One topic the pair will address is the controversy-sparking resemblance between Satan actor Mehdi Ouzaani and President Obama. “I honestly was horrified,” Downey tells Winfrey. “We love the President, we have nothing but respect for the President. We felt somehow hijacked.” And, on The Bible’s ratings coup: “We were delighted throughout the run of the series we saw various headlines — ‘God Beats Zombies’ — was my particular favorite”. The interview airs Sunday at 9 PM ET/PT on OWN.