Wherefore Art Thou, Juliet? In Latest Pic Migration, She Moves From Sony To Warners

By | Monday March 10, 2014 @ 9:03am PDT
Mike Fleming

rupert-sanders-directorEXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is in, and Sony Pictures and New Regency are out of The Juliet, an adaptation of the Alfred Bester short story that was developed by Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment. The film has a script by Henry Bean that is being rewritten by Paul Haggis, and Snow White And The Huntsman helmer Rupert Sanders is attached to direct. At one point it looked like Sony would make it this spring. Atlas’s Roven and Alex Gartner are producing with Frank Beddor of Automatic Pictures.

It makes me wonder, what is going on in Hollywood? I have been around long enough that I actually broke the story of when Warner Bros, clashing with John Hughes over $2 million in budget, allowed Fox to grab Home Alone and turn the $18 million film into a $477 million worldwide gross blockbuster. After that, studios used to never let projects go for fear of being embarrassed, a possibility that was reinforced when Paramount inexplicably let the option lapse on the Twilight Saga, the billion-dollar franchise that built Summit Entertainment. Studios used to keep everything, or heap on overhead costs that made them prohibitively expensive, or attach first-dollar-gross obligations, like the 5 percent that Harvey Weinstein got on The Lord Of The Rings and is trying to enforce on The Hobbit.
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Rupert Sanders Set To Helm ‘Ghost In The Shell’ For DreamWorks

Mike Fleming

rupert-sanders-directorEXCLUSIVEDreamWorks has made a deal with Snow White And The Huntsman helmer Rupert Sanders to direct Ghost In The Shell, a live-action film based on the Japanese manga futuristic police thriller that has a new script from William Wheeler. The film is being produced by Avi Arad, Ari Arad and Steven Paul. Fueled by the personal passion of Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks acquired the project several years ago with ambitious plans to shoot it in 3D.

ghostCreated by Masamune Shirow, Ghost in the Shell was first published in 1989 by Kodansha, one of the largest publishing companies in Japan. It went on to generate two additional manga editions, three anime film adaptations, an anime TV series and three videogames. DreamWorks released the second anime film.

The story follows the exploits of a member of a covert ops unit of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission that specializes in fighting technology-related crime. Read More »

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Warner Bros Taps Rupert Sanders To Helm ‘Napoleon’

By | Tuesday November 12, 2013 @ 4:00pm PST
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Looks like it’s Warner Bros‘ week to hire directors. The studio has signed Rupert Sanders to direct Napoleon, a Scarface-style look at the French leader that will be produced by Gianni Nunari. Jeremy Doner wrote the … Read More »

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Universal Sets ‘Breaking Bad’s George Mastras To Pen Cop-Mafia Clash ‘90 Church’

By | Monday August 12, 2013 @ 1:08pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Universal Pictures has set Emmy-nominated Breaking Bad writer/producer George Mastras to adapt the Dean Unkefer book 90 Church: The True Story Of The Narcotics Squad From Hell to be directed by its Snow White And The HuntsmanRead More »

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Rupert Sanders To Helm Frederick Forsyth Thriller Novel ‘The Kill List’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Snow White And The Huntsman helmer Rupert Sanders has come attached to direct The Kill List, an adaptation of the new Frederick Forsyth thriller that was acquired by producers Steve Schwartz, Paula Mae Schwartz and Nick Wechsler. Give those producers credit for wasting no time, as they just bought the book last month. After they acquired the Cormac McCarthy spec script The Counselor, they had that film in production in record time at Fox with Ridley Scott directing and a cast headed by Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz.

Sanders, who made his feature directing debut on Huntsman, has always been a big fan of Forsyth’s espionage thrillers, and Kill List reminded him of this Hemingway line: “There is no hunting like the hunting of men, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter.”

The producers are now meeting with writers to jump start the adaptation, and Sanders will be very involved in that process. Pic will be a co-production between Chockstone Pictures and Nick Wechsler Productions. Roger Schwartz is a co-producer. Read More »

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Disney Getting Close On ‘Pirates 5′ Director; Here’s The Short List

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: With The Lone Ranger in the can, Disney, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Johnny Depp have turned their attention toward setting sail on a fifth installment underway of Pirates Of The Caribbean. While a number of pie-in-the-sky giant … Read More »

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‘Huntsman’s Rupert Sanders To Next Helm ‘The Juliet’ For Sony And New Regency

By | Monday October 15, 2012 @ 2:37pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures and New Regency are making a deal with Snow White And The Huntsman helmer Rupert Sanders to next direct The Juliet, an adaptation of the Alfred Bester short story that was developed by Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment … Read More »

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Universal Buys ’90 Church’ For Rupert Sanders And Roth Films As Studio Ponders ‘Huntsman’ Spinoff

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has just acquired the Dean Unkefer book 90 Church: The True Story Of The Narcotics Squad From Hell, to be published by Random House in the US and Virgin Books in Europe in May 2013. This is a significant deal and it will reteam Snow White And The Huntsman director Rupert Sanders with producers Joe Roth and Palak Patel, who’ll produce with Deborah Giarratana. They will begin looking for a high-end writer immediately.

The book was sold by CAA in a preemptive deal with the studio, with execs Jeffrey Kirschenbaum and Maradith Frenkel overseeing it. Sanders has been developing the sequel to Snow White And The Huntsman, a movie which did just under $400 million worldwide. That project is now moving on a slower track, as the studio tries to figure out whether it wants to make a sequel, or instead a spinoff that focuses on Chris Hemsworth’s Huntsman character. David Koepp, who I’d reported back in April was hired to script a straight sequel, isn’t going forward at the moment and no script will be written until Universal figures out the next move. Studio likes the spinoff idea greatly. Because the Huntsman package sold in a five studio bidding battle, Sanders has no option tying him to either film, but he is squarely in the mix. Read More »

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Universal Gets Rolling On ‘Snow White And The Huntsman’ Sequel

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Studios are relying heavily on sequels this summer, but the toughest thing to do is to introduce something new that launches a franchise. It looks like Universal has done that with Snow White And The Huntsman. I’m … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Relativity’s ‘Mirror Mirror’

Last week we got a glimpse of Universal’s Snow White And The Huntsman directed by Rupert Sanders. The first trailer for Tarsem Singh’s take on the fairy tale arrived today. Relativity’s Mirror Mirror will make it to theaters March 16 ahead of Universal’s version set for June 1.

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Hot Teaser Trailer: ‘Snow White And The Huntsman’

Mike Fleming

Universal Pictures has released a new teaser trailer for Snow White And The Huntsman, the studio’s big revisionist fairy tale that stars Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron. Rupert Sanders directed the film, which will be released June 1, 2012. That’s several months behind Relativity Media’s Mirror, Mirror, but … Read More »

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‘Snow White And The Huntsman’ Banner




Universal has released new artwork for Snow White And The Huntsman. The three-character banner shows Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth as the title characters and Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen. Directed by Rupert Sanders, it’s slated to open June 1, … Read More »

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Joe Roth Taking Producer Role In Angelina Jolie-Starrer ‘Maleficent’ For Disney

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: If Joe Roth were any more closely associated with fairy tales, he’d be one of the Grimm Brothers. Roth, who help start Hollywood’s feverish devotion to fairy tale films by producing the $1 billion-grossing Alice in Wonderland, is negotiating … Read More »

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Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson Re-Upped Through 2014

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: NBCUniversal’s new owners at Comcast have given a vote of confidence to the studio’s feature film operation. They’ve exercised an option on Universal Pictures’ Chairman Adam Fogelson and extended his contract through 2014. I’m told that Fogelson is, in turn, in the process of exercising the option of Donna Langley and she will continue as the studio’s co-chairman. They will also keep their executive team intact. Fogelson will continue to have full day-to-day operating responsibility for the Motion Picture Group, reporting to Universal Studios President and Chief Operating Officer Ron Meyer (whose contract was recently re-upped through 2015) and will now also report to NBCUniversal Chief Executive Officer Steve Burke.

While Universal has had its ups and downs, higher-ups are clearly convinced that Fogelson, Langley and their team are making progress. They’ve had recent hits –Bridesmaids, Hop! and Fast Five– but also had some recent misses that include The Dilemma, Change-Up and Cowboys & Aliens. In the latter case, the studio was on the hook for one-third of the film, and shared that third with Relativity Media. It has also been a year in which Fogelson and his team have made some painful decisions and let pricey productions go. That began with the Guillermo Del Toro-directed At the Mountains of Madness, which Universal developed for years and which was ready to go with Tom Cruise, until the studio made a late decision not to go forward because of the possibility the $150M film could carry an R-rating. Universal also dropped two projects that were in advanced  stages of development: The Dark Tower, the Akiva Goldsman-directed adaptation of the Stephen King novel series that was to be made into three feature films and two limited-run TV series, with the first film and TV segment directed by Ron Howard and produced by Brian Grazer and Goldsman; and Oiuja, the Hasbro board game that had McG directing and Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes partners producing with Hasbro. The moves were surprising because Howard and Grazer are cornerstone filmmakers for Universal; and Del Toro and Hasbro have overall deals there. Ouija is one of several Hasbro properties the studio dropped, the others being the Gore Verbinski-directed Clue, the Ridley Scott-directed Monopoly and Magic, The Gathering. These were part of a groundbreaking deal the studio made with the toymaker several years ago, but the studio and Hasbro have re-focused their attention solely on Battleship, Stretch Armstrong, and Candy Land. Read More »

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Hossein Amini Doing Rewrite On ‘Snow White And The Huntsman’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Bracing for its race against Relativity Media on rival Snow White films, Universal Pictures has hired Hossein Amini to do a rewrite of Snow White and the Huntsman, the Rupert Sanders-directed film that stars Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart and … Read More »

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Sam Claflin Crowned Prince For ‘Snow White And The Huntsman’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures is setting Sam Claflin to play the role of the prince in Snow White and the Huntsman, the Rupert Sanders-directed re-imagining of the fairy tale that stars Kristen Stewart as Snow White and Charlize Theron as the … Read More »

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Universal Targets Hugh Jackman For ‘Snow White And The Huntsman’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Sensing a possible opening with Hugh Jackman because The Wolverine lost its director and a plan to shoot in Japan turned precarious, Universal Pictures has offered Jackman the huntsman role in Snow White and the Huntsman. The Rupert Sanders-directed film has Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron ready to star. Also, I’ve heard Universal is in talks with Hossein Amini to come aboard and do some script work on a project slated to begin production mid-September.

Whether Jackman accepts is unclear. Jackman would obviously have to be paid a premium to pump up the star power of a film that will  reach theaters after its rival, Relativity Media’s The Brothers Grimm: Snow White. That film has Julia Roberts playing the evil queen, but unproven thesps Armie Hammer and Lily Collins in the leads. Clearly, Jackman’s priority is his signature  razor-clawed X-Men mutant hero. He has been very hands on developing The Wolverine with screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie, and he himself drafted Darren Aronofsky, who exited earlier this month. Jackman and the studio are just getting started on finding a replacement. I’ve heard names like Duncan Jones, director of the well-reviewed Source Code, and David Slade, the Twilight Saga: Eclipse helmer who was in the mix before Aronofsky got hired. Read More »

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‘Tron: Legacy’s Joseph Kosinski Passes JJ Abrams To Become King Of First-Timers

Mike Fleming

Before it got released on DVD today, Tron: Legacy managed to play in theaters long enough to establish Joseph Kosinski as the highest-grossing first-time director of a live-action film in Hollywood history. The film’s $399 million global gross recently eclipsed … Read More »

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Update: Relativity Confirms Julia Roberts In Snow White Pic

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: Relativity confirmed they’ve signed Julia Roberts, and have set a June 29, 2012 release date. That puts The Brothers Grimm: Snow White six months ahead of the preliminary release plan for Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman. … Read More »

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