Don Granger Takes Exec Veep Post At David Ellison’s Skydance Productions

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: As David Ellison‘s Skydance Productions gets DonGrangermore creatively ambitious in the popcorn pictures it makes in partnership with Paramount Pictures, the label has added a former Par stalwart exec in Don Granger. Granger joins Ellison and Dana Goldberg at Skydance in the post of EVP Feature Productions. It is a newly created position and he will report to Goldberg, the company’s chief creative officer.

SkydancelogoAs Skydance continues to pursue tentpole films like with the reboot of The Terminator franchise, Granger seems like an ideal fit because he has spent most of his career shepherding exactly these kinds of films. He most recently worked with Paramount and Skydance producing Jack Reacher, and before that had a strong relationship with Tom Cruise as president of Motion Picture Production at United Artists when Cruise and Paula Wagner revived the label. Granger before that was senior exec at C/W Productions and before that was partner in Mutual Film Company. He cut his teeth at Paramount, where he worked from 1990-2001 and shepherded such franchises as Mission: Impossible, Star Trek, Tomb Raider and the Jack Ryan films, as well as Saving Private Ryan. The brass at Paramount is different, but many of those franchises are ones that Skydance is involved in. Read More »

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Jai Courtney Gets Offer To Play Kyle Reese In ‘Terminator’ Reboot

By | Wednesday February 19, 2014 @ 11:43am PST

"Felony" Premiere - Red Carpet - 2013 Toronto International Film FestivalThe casting for one of the key characters in Paramount and Skydance Productions’ Terminator: Genesis is almost complete — but not finalized. What’s true is that Jai Courtney has been offered the role of Kyle Reese, a gig that figures to span at least two movies that will end the story of Skynet’s battle with the resistance that began with James Cameron’s two films and two more that followed. As we told you last week, it was down to Courtney and Boyd Holbrook to land the Reese KyleReeserole originated by Michael Beihn in the first pic. If the Courtney deal makes, he will join Arnold Schwarzenegger as the signature cyborg, Game Of ThronesEmilia Clarke as Sara Connor and Zero Dark Thirty’s Jason Clarke as her son John Connor in the time-travel saga that will be directed by Alan Taylor. The film has a July 1, 2015 released date.

Related: ‘Terminator Genesis’: Between Jai Courtney, Boyd Holbrook For Kyle Reese Role?

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Skydance Taps Jesse Sisgold As President Of Business Affairs & Strategic Planning

JesseSisgoldEXCLUSIVE: Jesse Sisgold has been appointed to the newly created position of President of Business Affairs and Strategic Planning at David Ellison‘s Skydance Productions. He will have oversight of business and legal affairs across all company units, as well as strategic planning for the company’s expansion, which recently has included launching a TV division last spring.  Sisgold arrives from his boutique entertainment/corporate Skydancelogofinance law firm Sisgold PC, which closed about $400 million in deals in 2013 — including every TV deal Skydance finalized from talent to distribution. Sisgold also handled development-related deals for Skydance pic projects including the Terminator reboot, Dean Devlin’s disaster epic Geostorm and the Christopher McQuarrie-directed adaptation Star Blazers. “It has been a privilege to work with Jesse this past year, and we are honored to have him officially join the Skydance family,” Ellison said today in announcing the hire. “His role will be crucial in Skydance’s growth and we are thrilled to have him on board.”

Related: Megan Ellison Won’t Fund ‘Terminator’ Revival; Skydance, Paramount Paying Read More »

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Megan Ellison Won’t Fund ‘Terminator’ Revival; David Ellison, Paramount Paying

Mike Fleming

Terminator-Arnold-as-Terminator__131206182643-575x323EXCLUSIVE: Although Megan Ellison and her Annapurna Pictures started the process on reviving the Terminator franchise, she has divested herself financially of involvement in the final two or three pictures that will now be solely financed by her brother David Ellison’s Skydance and Paramount Pictures. This has been confirmed to me, and I’m told she will retain an executive producer credit. No one was specific about how the funding of the films will be handled, but I’ve heard that Skydance will now fund 66%, and Paramount will pay for the rest. Others say this has not been determined, as the film is now being budgeted.

meganCoupled with a changeover at the top of her sales company Panorama yesterday, it might seem that Megan Ellison is tapering off. I don’t believe that’s the case. Even when she took control of The Terminator franchise when she paid $20 million or more to acquire the rights at auction around the time of Cannes 2011, this property was an anomaly for her. Her heart is in taste-maker auteur-driven fare, and she has become a patron saint of prestige films that might not otherwise get made. That is what she will focus on. Her efforts include recently named Best Picture nominees American Hustle and Her, last year’s  Zero Dark Thirty and The Master, and the upcoming Bennett Miller-directed Foxcatcher.

For her brother David, Terminator: Genesis and possibly two other films to wrap up the storyline are right in his wheelhouse. He’s at home co-financing and producing large-scale popcorn pictures, and this one fits right in with his other franchises: Mission: Impossible, Star Trek and World War Z. Both of the Ellison siblings confirmed this has happened. Read More »

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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 … Read More »

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‘Terminator’ TV Series In Works In Conjunction With Film Reboot; Zack Stentz & Ashley Miller To Write And Exec Produce

Nellie Andreeva

Terminator TV SeriesSkydance Prods. and Annapurna Pictures, the companies behind the upcoming Terminator film trilogy, are expanding the franchise to television with a TV series to be done in conjunction with the first rebooted Terminator film slated for … Read More »

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Chris McQuarrie To Direct ‘Star Blazers’ From ’70s Sci-Fi Anime Series For Skydance

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Skydance Productions has set Christopher McQuarrie to write and direct Star Blazers, the live-action adaptation of the space-set 1970s anime TV series also known as Space Battleship Yamato. McQuarrie, Josh C. Kline, David Ellison and … Read More »

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Skydance Productions Ups Dana Goldberg To Chief Creative Officer

By | Thursday August 8, 2013 @ 10:00am PDT

Skydance Productions has created a whole new job for Dana Goldberg. The David Ellison-run company’s former president of production, Goldberg has been promoted to the new position of CCO. In her new role, Goldberg will oversee all … Read More »

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TOLDJA! Tom Cruise Getting Gang Back Together For ‘Mission: Impossible 5′

Mike Fleming

Paramount and Skydance have confirmed what I told you yesterday: Tom Cruise is back as star and producer of Mission: Impossible 5. No director or writer yet, officially. Here’s today’s release:

HOLLYWOOD, CA (May 7, 2013) – Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions has announced that Tom Cruise has signed-on to star and produce a 5th installment in the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE franchise. The actor will reprise the role of Ethan Hunt, who was first introduced to moviegoers in 1996.

The project is expected to announce a writer and also a director shortly and will be developed by Cruise, Paramount and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, who served as producers on previous films in the hit series. Skydance Productions, who served as co-financers and executive producers of the last installment will work closely with the team in the development and production process.

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Tom Cruise Signs Deal To Star In ‘Mission: Impossible 5′; Will Chris McQuarrie Direct?

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Ethan Hunt has accepted another mission. Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions have set Tom Cruise in a deal to star in and produce a fifth installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise. Both Paramount and … Read More »

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Skydance Spends Big For Global Disaster Film By Dean Devlin And Paul Guyot

By | Wednesday January 9, 2013 @ 11:13am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In a seven-figure deal, David Ellison’s Skydance Productions has pre-emptively purchased an untitled global disaster film spec script written by Dean Devlin and Paul Guyot. Devlin will make his feature directing debut. Skydance’s Ellison and Dana Goldberg will produce with Devlin and his Electric Entertainment team of Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan.

Devlin returns to the global destruction sandbox he played in when he and then-partner Roland Emmerich sold their Independence Day spec for millions, a guaranteed Fox green light and release date, and a global gross north of $800 million. They continued the destruction with Godzilla. While Emmerich continued crushing the planet with The Day After and 2012 (he and Devlin are working on two Independence Day sequels), Devlin formed Electric Entertainment and has put together movies (one was Flyboys, which featured avid aviator Ellison onscreen), and the Noah Wyle telepic series The Librarian. Devlin is currently exec producer of the TNT series Leverage. Guyot, Devlin’s co-writer on the spec, is supervising producer of that series. Read More »

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Megan Ellison Enlists Brother David For ‘Terminator’ Reboot

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Nearly 18 months after Megan Ellison pledged over $20 million for the rights to finish The Terminator‘s humanity vs the Skynet cyborgs storyline with a new series of films, she has finally closed the complicated rights deal with Pacificorp. Other than the fact no progress has been made all this time on a script, the surprise here is Ellison has enlisted her brother, David Ellison, to be her financial and creative partner. There is still no studio attached, but future Terminator films will be done as a co-production between her Annapurna Pictures and his Skydance Productions. The Ellisons will produce, while Dana Goldberg, Paul Schwake and Ted Schipper will be exec producers.

Even though Pacificorp spent $29.5 million several years ago to win the rights after Halcyon turned them over to bankruptcy court, insiders tell me that the big numbers in place 18 months ago have been adjusted downward. That is because of the uncomfortable specter of a ticking clock that has continued to wind down as no forward progress was being made. New copyright laws allow for North American rights to The Terminator to revert back to creator James Cameron in 2019 (that happens after 35 years, and The Terminator was 1984). While that law hasn’t been tested in the courts, no major film company would want to move forward on a project with a potentially catastrophic rights crisis looming. So the original pricey deal — made with the expectations there would be three films — was scaled down because the reality is they might only get to make two installments. Four films have been made so far, the first two directed by Cameron, another by Jonathan Mostow and the last, 2009′s Terminator Salvation, helmed by McG. Read More »

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Paramount Eyes Chris McQuarrie To Helm Tom Cruise In Next ‘Mission: Impossible’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: After directing Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher, Christopher McQuarrie is poised to take on the next installment of Cruise’s signature tentpole. I’m told that McQuarrie is the choice to helm the fifth Mission: Impossible film that is in the early stages of being put together by Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions. They will hire writers before making it official, but he’s the guy that Cruise and JJ Abrams want.

M:I-5 is a big priority for the studio after the Brad Bird-directed Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol grossed just under $700 million worldwide. McQuarrie, who won the Oscar for scripting The Usual Suspects, has more recently become Cruise’s go-to guy as a writer. After collaborating with Cruise on Valkyrie, McQuarrie has had a credited or uncredited hand in most of Cruise’s recent films including All You Need Is Kill, Ghost Protocol (uncredited), and the Top Gun 2 film which is in limbo after the death of director Tony Scott. Paramount and Skydance also have McQuarrie developing to direct Without Remorse, the action thriller based on the Tom Clancy novel. Read More »

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Paramount, Skydance Close Deal For Tom Cruise-Attached Script ‘Our Name Is Adam’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has closed its deal to acquire Our Name Is Adam, the T.S. Nowlin script that will have Tom Cruise play an astronaut who travels back in time and works with his younger self. … Read More »

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Skydance Sets Laeta Kalogridis And Patrick Lussier To Script Sci-Fi Adventure

By | Monday April 16, 2012 @ 12:16pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: David Ellison’s Skydance Productions, which has been in the middle of the recent Paramount hits Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol and True Grit, is making good on its promise to develop its own original material. Ellison has set Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier to script an original science fiction adventure based on an idea hatched at Skydance.

They are keeping the idea close to the vest. Kalogridis’ scripting credits include Shutter Island and Alexander, and she was exec producer of Avatar. With her Mythology Entertainment partners Bradley Fischer and James Vanderbilt, she’s producing White House Down, the Vanderbilt-scripted drama that Roland Emmerich will direct for Sony Pictures. As for Lussier, his script credits include Wes Craven’s Dracula trilogies, My Bloody Valentine and Drive Angry. He is separately co-writing an untitled thriller for producer Jason Blum that Lussier will direct. Read More »

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Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci In Talks For Deal With David Ellison’s Skydance

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Details are sketchy at the moment, but Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci’s studio-based K/O Paper Products company is in negotiations to join David Ellison’s Skydance Productions. The deal would be uniquely structured, sources say; Skydance declined comment. Kurtzman and … Read More »

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Rosamund Pike Gets Female Lead In Tom Cruise’s ‘One Shot’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Rosamund Pike is negotiating for the female lead opposite Tom Cruise in One Shot, the Christopher McQuarrie-directed adaptation of the bestselling Lee Child novel series for Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions. Pike was among a small group … Read More »

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Paramount Sets Zombie-Infestation Pic ‘World War Z’ For December 21, 2012

Mike Fleming

Paramount Pictures has set Dec. 21, 2012 as the release date for World War Z, the Marc Forster-directed adaptation of the Max Brooks zombie-infestation novel. The film is in production now, with Brad Pitt and Mireille Enos and James Badge … Read More »

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Tom Cruise Locked To Play Jack Reacher In ‘One Shot’ For Paramount And Skydance

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions have closed a deal with Tom Cruise to play Jack Reacher in One Shot, the thriller based on the Lee Child bestselling book series about the former military policeman-turned-drifter. An early fall start date … Read More »

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