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How Did That ‘Salinger’ Docu Do On PBS? 2 Million Views

By | Tuesday March 11, 2014 @ 4:46pm PDT
Mike Fleming

THIRTEEN/WNET NEW YORKAfter all the twists and turns on the Shane Salerno-directed docu Salinger that began with a January 2010 Deadline reveal that the film had been shot, how did the documentary do? The American Masters version totaled 2 million viewers, including repeat broadcasts and DVR viewers. This was strong considering the film had been released by The Weinstein Company and was in the top 10 of the year’s theatrical docus, and that it was viewable on Netflix at that time. The Simon & Schuster companion book  written by David Shields and Salerno hit both the New York Times and LA Times bestseller lists. And Salerno more than made back the $2 million he invested to make the film, after he made three 7-figure deals with TWC, S&S and American Masters. It didn’t hurt the Salinger estate either, as Catcher In The Rye hit the bestseller charts again, 62 years after its publication in 1951.

“When combined with the incredible sales figures and national social media conversation, it demonstrates the true impact of public television,” said Stephen Segaller, the WNET programming veep in charge of Salinger. “The fact it was the 200th episode of American Masters makes the accomplishment even sweeter.” Read More »

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Hot Video: Tom Wolfe, J.D. Salinger And Charles Portis From ‘Salinger’

By | Tuesday January 21, 2014 @ 5:08pm PST
Mike Fleming

salingerTonight at 9 PM, American Masters for its 200th episode unveils the Shane Salerno-directed documentary on the life of J.D. Salinger, followed by Charlie Rose’s interview with the filmmaker who spent a decade and his own money uncovering secrets of the reclusive author. The PBS version of Salinger is 15 minutes longer than the version released theatrically by The Weinstein Company last fall, and here is a fascinating new clip in which Tom Wolfe describes an encounter between Salinger and a young Charles Portis, who went on to write True Grit:

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Skydance Productions Acquires Shane Salerno Sci-Fi Project In Big Year-End Deal

By | Wednesday December 11, 2013 @ 8:09am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In what might be the last big material sale of the year, Skydance Productions has acquired in a pre-emptive seven-figure deal an untitled science fiction project based on an original idea by Shane Salerno, who is currently co-writing one of the three Avatar sequels for James Cameron at Fox. Salerno will write the screenplay, and Skydance’s David Ellison and Dana Goldberg will produce. Paul Schwake will be executive producer. Skydance confirmed the deal, but would not comment on its size or the film’s logline. “The second we heard Shane’s pitch, we immediately wanted to partner with him on this project,” Ellison offered. “We are thrilled to be on board.”

sal;power_of_dog_1Salerno wrote and directed the feature documentary Salinger, which was released theatrically by The Weinstein Company, and makes its TV debut as the 200th episode of American Masters on PBS. It airs January 21. A book by the same title that he co-wrote with David Shields based on the docu research became a bestseller. Salerno’s also in the middle of several high-profile producing projects including an adaptation of the seminal Don Winslow novel The Power Of The Dog, along with The Lock-Artist and another untitled script being written by Winslow and The Town‘s Chuck Hogan. Salerno is repped by CAA and Robert Offer.

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Weinstein Co Plans Feature Film Based On ‘Salinger’ Documentary; New Footage Coming As Docu Expands

By | Wednesday September 18, 2013 @ 11:05am PDT

BREAKING… Salinger distributor The Weinstein Company said today it is partnering with the documentary’s director-producer Shane Salerno to develop a feature film adaptation of the film. The live-action narrative will focus on the period in JD Salinger’s life between his service in World War II and the publishing of Catcher In The Rye, examining the effects war can have on an artist. Salerno is already signed on to pen the film’s screenplay. Salinger the docu opened September 6 in a platform release, grossing $22,742 per screen. TWC said today it will add new, never-before-seen material about Salinger’s life, his complex relationships with young women, and footage of the iconic author to its 62-city expansion this Friday. Salerno and David Shield’s companion book, also titled Salinger, debuted at No. 6 on The New York Times bestseller list. “This documentary has been an incredible journey and truly epitomizes what it means to be a passion project,” said Salerno in the release announcing the news today. “I’m beyond excited to share more of the fascinating material we discovered in its new special edition, and look forward to continuing my relationship with Harvey and TWC in developing a narrative film about this brilliant, intriguing man.” Added TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein: “Shane has created an amazing documentary about one of the most beloved but enigmatic literary figures of our time. We are glad he was able to take the … Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Salinger’ Solid In Packed But Dismal Weekend For New Indies

By | Sunday September 8, 2013 @ 10:05am PDT

Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.

Indie FilmsThe weekend boasted a hefty number of Specialty newcomers though that translated into mostly unimpressive results. Most new titles this weekend will likely have short big screen lives. The Weinstein Company’s Salinger, however, skirted that 3-day trend with a gross of just under $91K and a cool $22,742 average putting it in the top tier of documentary openers this year, though titles such as The Act Of Killing ($27,450) and Stories We Tell ($27,053) still showed more opening muscle.

“There’s a lot of stuff about Salinger people want to hear and it’s a unique film,” said TWC’s Erik Lomis ahead of this weekend’s release. “It will get buzz and it’s worth the watch.” Following this weekend’s limited roll out, Salinger will head to 60 markets in 175 to 200 theaters the following week.

TWC’s French-language comedy Populaire had another new film in theaters, though its numbers were far smaller. Directed by Régis Roinsard, the feature grossed $16,662 for a slow $5,554 average. “It is strictly art house,” said Lomis about the feature. “I think it will appeal to an older audience but it also has a unique style that might play to people over 35.”

Magnolia Pictures also released two titles this weekend, though its theatrical numbers were blasé. Good Ol Freda grossed $8K giving it the weekend’s second best PSA among the newcomers, though that was only in one theater. Its other film, Touchy Feely with Rosemarie DeWitt and Ellen Page, fared worse, only grossing $4K in two theaters. Even director Lynn Shelton’s smaller budget previous film Your Sister’s Sister had an $8,402 opening weekend PSA in 13 theaters when it opened in June, 2012. Both Good Ol Freda and Touchy Feely were available via VOD/day and date. Read More »

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Telluride: Weinstein’s ‘Salinger’ World Premieres To Strong Response On Fest’s Last Day

By | Monday September 2, 2013 @ 11:28am PDT
Pete Hammond

As the 40th Annual Telluride Film Festival winds down, The Weinstein Company has kept a relatively low profile for most of the fest. But TWC caused a stir in offering up the World Premiere and first public screening ever of Salinger, writer/director/producer Shane Salerno‘s riveting and stunning portrait of reclusive author J.D. Salinger. The documentary begins its theatrical run on Friday and will appear on PBSAmerican Masters in January. It should be a certain Oscar contender for Best Documentary Feature, not only for its superb execution but also as an investigative piece that has elicited major revelations about never-before-known Salinger literary works left behind by the author who died in 2010, which are scheduled now to be released to the world between 2015 and 2020.

Related: J.D. Salinger Docu Bombshell: More Books To Be Posthumously Published

The film got a one-time only “surprise” sneak preview (but was tipped over the weekend by Deadline’s Mike Fleming) at the Palm at 9 AM this morning and was followed by an onstage conversation moderated by filmmaker Ken Burns. Salinger historian David Shields, cinematographer Buddy Squires, one-time Salinger muse and friend Jean Miller were in attendance joined via Skype by Salerno and Salinger friend/one-time editor A.E. Hotchner. Early reaction from the packed screening was thumbs up, even for a movie-satiated crowd who have been watching one great film after another since the festival began on Thursday. Read More »

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‘Salinger’ Crash-Lands At Telluride Film Fest

By | Sunday September 1, 2013 @ 4:10pm PDT

A plane bound from Denver to the Tellluride Film Festival with 10 passengers crash-landed today when its left-side landing gear collapsed and it skidded upon landing at the Telluride airport. Salinger documentary co-author David Shields and Weinstein PR executive Emmy Chang were reported aboard. No injuries were reported.

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Harvey Weinstein Giving Telluride Sneak Peek At Shane Salerno’s ‘Salinger’ Docu

By | Friday August 30, 2013 @ 2:53pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing there will be a surprise late entry to the Telluride lineup that was announced earlier this week. There will be a sneak screening of The Weinstein Company-distributed documentary Salinger on Monday, September 2. I’m told that the film’s director Shane Salerno is on the way there with others involved in the film. The Telluride sneak screening, which is the first public showing of the docu, will be followed by a Q&A with the director before he heads to New York for the film’s premiere the following night. Salinger already elicited the bombshell revelation that J.D. Salinger left behind several literary works he wrote in seclusion which he directed be published after his death. There is more where that came from. The film opens in New York and Los Angeles next Friday, and begins broadening to other cities beginning the following week. I could not get confirmation from TWC, but trust me, you can dress for this one.

Related: Telluride: No Jackman Or Gyllenhaal For ‘Prisoners’ Special Screening

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J.D. Salinger Documentary Bombshell: More Books To Be Posthumously Published

By | Sunday August 25, 2013 @ 1:15pm PDT

Deadlne readers have known since J.D. Salinger’s death in 2010 that Shane Salerno’s feature documentary would spill secrets about the reclusive author. And Harvey Weinstein took to asking journalists to preserve reveals as he got them to do during The Crying Game. But they strategically let the first big one out of the bag today, after 100,000 books were shipped. The New York Times reports that the docu Salinger reveals that there are plans to posthumously publish five new tomes starting in 2015, works that the Catcher In The Rye author penned from his concrete bunker after he went into seclusion and stopped releasing his works for public consumption. They include The Family Glass, expanding on characters from Franny and Zooey; The Last and Best of the Peter Pans; a manual of the Vedanta religion; a WWII-set novel inspired by Salinger’s own marriage; and a novella drawn from his time in the Army. The Weinstein Co. releases Salinger on September 6.

RELATED: Secret J.D. Salinger Documentary & Book, Now Revealed (Mike Has Seen The Film)

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Weinstein Co. Wants You To Keep ‘Salinger’s Secrets

By | Wednesday August 21, 2013 @ 5:16pm PDT

Sixty-plus years after The Catcher In The Rye began the public’s fascination with enigmatic author J.D. Salinger, a new documentary and book are ready to spill some secrets about him. Just keep them to yourselves, please. The Weinstein Company is teaming with publisher Simon & Schuster for a new campaign called “Uncover the Mystery but Don’t Spoil the Secrets”, which asks people not to reveal details from the movie and book — both titled Salinger – because of their “revelatory and confidential nature”. The film has only been allowed to be screened by a select group of press and insiders, the Weinstein Co. said, and those seeing it before its theatrical release are being asked to sign nondisclosure agreements. If the tactic sounds familiar, think back two decades. “Back in 1993, when Miramax released The Crying Game, we asked journalists and moviegoers not to reveal the film’s secret to their friends,” Harvey Weinstein said in a statement. “With Salinger, we have a similar situation: The joy of this documentary is discovering information that, until now, has been kept under wraps for decades.” Shane Salermo co-wrote the book with David Shields and directed the docu, which began production in 2004. It opens September 6.

Related: Shane Salerno’s JD Salinger Biography Eyes Global Windfall

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Hot Trailer: ‘Salinger’

By | Thursday June 13, 2013 @ 2:44pm PDT
Mike Fleming

The Weinstein Company has released its first trailer for Salinger, the Shane Salerno-directed documentary that Harvey Weinstein acquired after he and his team were the only film guys to see the film, the morning of the Academy Awards. That happened right after the PBS American Masters team were shown it and bought it for TV and Simon & Schuster editors saw it and bought a companion biography. I saw an early cut of the movie before any of them, before Salinger died. I haven’t seen the film since, but there’s a lot of good stuff in that movie that isn’t revealed here, even from the early version I saw. It has changed as others came forward following the death of the reclusive Catcher In The Rye author. What I don’t know is whether the filmmaker nailed down what Salinger was writing in that bunker of his, work he never released for public consumption. Here’s the trailer for the film that gets a release September 6, ending an odyssey for Salerno, a screenwriter who spent about eight years and $2 million of his own cash to make this:

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Shane Salerno’s JD Salinger Biography Eyes Global Windfall

By | Thursday April 18, 2013 @ 12:24pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: It took Shane Salerno eight years and $2 million of his own cash to make his JD Salinger documentary and book. It’s paid off quickly: The Weinstein Company landed worldwide rights to the movie and will release it during Oscar season September 6, it will air on PBS’ American Masters in 2014, and Simon & Schuster scooped up the 700-page Salinger biography from Salerno and David Shields. All three deals were for seven figures, making it one of the richest-ever pacts for a feature docu. Now comes foreign book sales: I’m hearing the London Book Fair is hot over The Private War Of J.D. Salinger, which is not a companion to the movie but an oral biography featuring more than 100 never-before-seen photos and material not found in the two-hour film. Multiple six-figure advances are on the table in London, I’m told, and Simon & Schuster has already concluded at least one major overseas rights deal for the UK and Commonwealth — with Simon & Schuster UK — before rivals even arrived at the sales confab. The plan is to publish the book in the UK simultaneously with its September release in the U.S. Salerno will speak directly with other foreign publishers next week, and other deals could come from magazine serialization as well as a secondary push following the film’s big- and small-screen debuts. Overall, it’s possible global sales could reach into the several … Read More »

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TOLDJA! Weinstein Company Confirms Worldwide Rights Deal For Shane Salerno Docu ‘Salinger;’ Sets September 6 Release

By | Thursday March 21, 2013 @ 1:52pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: The Weinstein Company finally confirmed what Deadline told you exclusively on February 27: that the studio acquired theatrical rights to Salinger, the Shane Salerno-directed feature documentary on JD Salinger, the reclusive author of The Catcher In The Rye. TWC has set a September 6 theatrical release for the film. As Deadline reported, the deal is seven figures, around $2 million, and covers world rights except for the previous deal that licensed U.S. television rights to PBS’ American Masters. This was one of the most unusual deals in awhile, and came after Harvey Weinstein, David Glasser and the acquisition team were shown the film on the morning of the Academy Awards.

J.D. Salinger Documentary Acquired By Harvey Weinstein
Secret J.D. Salinger Documentary & Book Revealed

TWC was the only distributor that saw the finished film, and closed the deal right after. Salerno and his lawyer Robert Offer made three big deals for the movie, showing it only to parties that made deals, which allowed the filmmaker to avoid any leakage of revelations in the film that might have resulted with a screening for multiple buyers. It was first shown to American Masters, which quickly closed a 7-figure licensing deal to make it the 200th installment of that prestigious series early next year. It was then shown to Jon Karp and his editors from Simon & Schuster, and right after they saw it, they closed a 7-figure publishing deal for a biography that Salerno wrote with David Shields. So the movie has played three times, and resulted in deals north of $5 million, making it one of the richest pacts ever for a feature documentary. It took Salerno eight years and $2 million of his own money to make the movie and the book happen. Here is the official release from TWC: Read More »

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J.D. Salinger Documentary Acquired By Harvey Weinstein

Mike Fleming

Salinger Documentary Harvey WeinsteinEXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company has acquired theatrical rights to Salinger, the Shane Salerno-directed feature documentary on the reclusive author of The Catcher In The Rye. The deal is seven figures, around $2 million, and covers world rights except for the previous deal that licensed U.S. television rights to PBS’ American Masters. The plan is to release later this year for Oscar season, and the deal came after Harvey Weinstein, David Glasser and the acquisition team were shown the film Sunday morning, the day of the Academy Awards. TWC was the only distributor that saw the finished film, and closed the deal right after. While everyone was partying over the Oscar weekend, TWC acquired Grace of Monaco with Nicole Kidman and Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom with Idris Elba. All three of these films will be in the Oscar season discussion, as will Fruitvale, the film that came out of Sundance with strong buzz, and which TWC also acquired. After two years of winning Best Picture, Harvey Weinstein watched Argo best his two candidates, Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchained. Looks like he really, really wants to be in the winner’s circle again.

That validates an unusual sales strategy that Salerno employed on the film with his lawyer Robert Offer. It was first shown to American Masters, which quickly closed a 7-figure licensing deal. The plan is to make it the 200th installment of that prestigious series, early next year. It was then shown to Jon Karp and his editors from Simon & Schuster, and right after they saw it, they closed a 7-figure publishing deal for a biography that Salerno wrote with David Shields.

Now, the documentary distribution rights are being sold to the only distributor that saw the film. I’m told that the entire deal for theatrical, publishing and U.S. TV rights will be north of $5 million, one of the richest pacts ever for a feature documentary.

For Salerno, this completes an eight year odyssey, and he has been made whole after investing $2 million of his own money into the documentary and the book. It also closes the circle for me; shortly after I arrived from Variety to Deadline Hollywood, Salinger passed away. This was not long after I’d seen an early cut of Salerno’s film. I thought it was absolutely fascinating. I haven’t seen it since, and the discretion shown in the dealmaking process indicates there are secrets that were held back. But here is what I said about it back then: Read More »

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Next Up For J.D. Salinger Docu: Film Distribution Deal To Follow S&S Book Pact

By | Wednesday January 30, 2013 @ 9:23am PST
Mike Fleming

2ND UPDATE, 9:23 AM: It has been quite a week for J.D. Salinger. The Shane Salerno documentary Salinger has been shown to only two parties so far, and in both cases, the result was a smashing deal. First to see it was the American Masters team, which quickly paid low-seven figures to license U.S. domestic TV rights and make it the 200th installment of the prestigious program in January. Second to see it were the Simon & Schuster editors, who quickly made a worldwide rights deal on the companion book, The Private War Of J.D. Salinger. Agency sources tell me that deal was closer to $2 million than $1 million for the sprawling book by David Shields and Salerno. It will be published in September, just ahead of the theatrical release.

Next up: the feature distribution deal. I don’t get the impression there will be a big gang bang screening and then an auction; it will be a subtler, more selective process than that. But the goal is to lock in a distributor who’ll give it a nice theatrical play in the months before the American Masters premiere next year, and figure out DVD and those other ancillaries excluding U.S. domestic TV rights. By the time all this is done, it should be a nice outcome for Salerno and the eight years and $2 million he invested to assemble both the film and the book. Read More »

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