BREAKING: Thomas Tull’s Legendary East said that China Film Co Ltd. has made an eight-figure equity investment in two Legendary Entertainment pics: the Jeff Bridges starrer Seventh Son and Warcraft, the pic based on the Blizzard online game that Duncan Jones is writing and directing. It marks the first time China Film Co has taken a stake in Hollywood films, and if the pics are approved by China‘s government it will distribute them in the booming movie market with support via Legendary East and global distribution partner Universal.
Related: China-Hollywood “Gatekeeper” Confirms Exit From China Film Group
China Film Co is majority-owned by China Film Group and is the largest producer and distributor of Chinese content — CFG has an exclusive grip on Mainland revenue-share releasing. There has been talk that a new government-approved distributor could emerge, but a number of China-watchers are skeptical. Today’s deal stems from the multi-year agreement Legendary East and CFC inked in May 2013 to together produce tentpole-scale films for the global market. As part of the investment structure, CFC will be credited on these films, and its equity recouped, on a worldwide basis, the companies said. Today’s announcement was made by China Film Co chairman La Peikang and Legendary East CEO Peter Loehr.
Related: A 2nd Film Distribution License In China? Not So Fast
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Nearing the end of its best year ever at the domestic box office, Universal announced a slew of release dates today. The recently shaken-up studio has set its reboot of The Mummy for April 22, 2016, and Seventh Son, the Jeff Bridges-Julianne Moore fantasy that Legendary picked up from Warner Bros in August, will bow February 6, 2015, a week before the arrival of Universal’s Fifty Shades Of Grey. Legendary‘s untitled Michael Mann cyberthriller for January 16, 2015. and Blumhouse’s Jennifer Lopez thriller The Boy Next Door hits theaters on January 23, 2015. The studio also is pushing its video game adaptation Warcraft — the first film that had been dated under the new Universal-Legendary partnership — from December 18, 2015 to March 2016. If that vacated date looks familiar, it’s probably because a little flick known as Star Wars: Episode VII was penciled into that slot three weeks ago. Warcraft has that new weekend to itself for now.
Related: Fleming Rants On Why Studios Can’t Launch Franchises Anymore, Leaving Us With Retreads Like ‘The Mummy’
So what competition will the newly dated pics face when they arrive a year or two or more from now? The Mummy and The Boy Next Door have no wide openers to contend with as of yet, but the other two do. Seventh Son will go against Sony/Screen Gems’ The Wedding Ringer, starring Kevin Hart, Josh Gad and Kaley Cuoco, and the Michael Mann pic will battle — in a jolt to the neck of Old Hollywood monster movie purists — Fox’s Frankenstein. If you’re scoring along at home, that will be four score and four years after Universal stitched together its Boris Karloff horror classic.
Here’s some background from the studio on its freshly slotted pics:
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BREAKING: Seventh Son, the Sergei Bedrov-directed fantasy that stars Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore, is on the move. The film, backed by Legendary Pictures, is moving away from Warner Bros and will be released by Universal Pictures, where Legendary’s Thomas … Read More »
Jeff Bridges battles his old Lebowski lady friend Julianne Moore in the fantasy actioner Seventh Son, from Legendary Pictures and WB. Ben Barnes stars as the newbie apprentice getting a crash course in fighting evil in the CG-filled … Read More »
The official schedule isn’t out until tomorrow, but expect a big July 20 presence from Legendary at Comic-Con this year. Even with the split … Read More »
Warner Bros and Legendary‘s fantasy epic Seventh Son had already weathered one major release date shift from February 2013 to October 2013 before the bankruptcy of VFX … Read More »
Warner Bros said today that it will release Legendary Pictures’ Seventh Son on Feb. 15, 2013. The drama based on Joseph Delaney’s young-adult novel series stars Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore and is directed by Sergei Bodrov. A couple of … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Ben Barnes, who played Prince Caspian in Fox’s fantasy franchise The Chronicles Of Narnia, is in negotiations for the starring role opposite Oscar winner Jeff Bridges in Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures’ Seventh Son, an adaptation of Joseph Delaney’s young-adult series. … Read More »
Just last week, the literary agent for UK author Patrick Ness was in Los Angeles discussing film rights to his celebrated Chaos Walking children’s book trilogy. “The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say,” is the brilliant opening line of the first book The Knife Of Never Letting Go but Ness’ agent Michelle Kass tells me she has been deliberately holding off selling the rights, despite big Hollywood interest, until after Candlewick published the final book Monsters of Men in September. But Kass admits there are some problems with trying to turn Chaos Walking into the next Harry Potter. “First, the book takes place in a world where everybody can hear everybody else’s thoughts. Second, it has some very adult moments. But I think that the Chaos Walking books could be turned into an astounding film, and it’s not just a children’s film.” Her trip west couldn’t be better timed. It comes just as British Prime Minister David Cameron is exhorting the UK film industry to make more fantasy films based on bestselling British children’s authors, even going so far as to tell the House of Commons: “I think one of the keys to Warner’s success is the Harry Potter film franchise which they have been making. There is a great tip and key for filmmakers here. That is, we have got to make films people want to watch.”
Warner Bros in particular has been searching for another British kids fantasy franchise to replace Harry Potter now that it’s coming to an end. It needs to put something in its $161 million studio facility that will reopen in north London in mid-2012. The studio has just renewed its option on UK educator turned author Joseph Delaney’s children’s fantasy series, The Spook’s Apprentice, which has been in development since 2005 and is now called Seventh Son. Sergei Bodrov has been hired to direct, and Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures are co-financing. They’re co-producing with Lionel Wigram, executive producer of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and a new children’s author himself, and Basil Iwanyk of Thunder Road (Clash Of The Titans). The book tells the story of a 13-year-old boy who is apprenticed to a forbidding wizard though I’m told the Warner Bros’ script now concentrates on the 2 teenage characters in the novel. Sounds like they’re making it more Harry Potter-ish. Read More »