EXCLUSIVE: Hot from a recent scripting run that includes Snow White And The Huntsman, Divergent, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and G.I. Joe 3, Evan Daugherty has been set by Dimension Films to make his feature directorial debut on Ink And Bone. The Weinstein Company genre arm last year bought the project as a spec script by Zak Olkewicz. Daugherty will do a rewrite before helming it. He takes the leap into directing after self-financing and directing a series of short films that premiered last fall. Called The Four Players, the shorts were a gritty re-imagining of the Mario Bros video game characters. They got over 1.7 million views after a release through Maker Studios.
In Ink And Bone, a female book editor visits the home of a horror writer so she can coax him to complete his novel. She discovers that all of his creations are holding him hostage. Lee Clay is producing, and Dimension execs Matthew Signer and Keith Levine are overseeing it. Daugherty is repped by UTA, Benderspink and Jeff Frankel.
Universal is developing a Snow White And The Huntsman sequel eyeing a 2015 release, Universal’s Adam Fogelson announced today at CinemaCon. Meanwhile, Kay Cannon (30 Rock, Pitch Perfect) is returning to script Pitch Perfect 2. The breakout hit broke $113M worldwide on strong reviews last October, starring Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson. Its soundtrack yielded three Billboard-charting singles and was the best-selling soundtrack album of 2012. Last weekend Kendrick even released her own music video for the “Cups” song she performs in the film.
This year’s nominees show how visual effects have spread from summer blockbusters to genres as diverse as superheroes, different flavors of fantasy, more traditional sci-fi territory, and even the art-house film. For each nominee, there’s a moment that makes it worthy of an Oscar nomination. Here, the visual-effects supervisors on the nominated films break down the key challenges and talk about the sequence that clinched the nomination.
The nominees: Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher White
No. of visual-effects shots: 2,176
Tech breakthrough: The complexity and number of techniques used to create the digital creatures. “It’s a combination of lots of things to get a creature to that point”, says Letteri. “It’s muscles, it’s skin, it’s facial capture, it’s performance capture”. All those things had to come together to bring to convincing life six leading digital characters with dialogue. Read More »
BREAKING: Universal Pictures has taken the unusual step of outright denying a Hollywood Reporter story that Kristen Stewart had been dumped from the sequel to Snow White And The Huntsman. The studio issued this statement from Universal Co-Chairman Donna Langley: “We are extremely proud of Snow White And The Huntsman and we’re currently exploring all options to continue the franchise. Any reports that Kristen Stewart has been dropped are false.”
The studio, which feels it has launched two potential franchises this summer in Huntsman and the Seth MacFarlane-directed Ted, has been trying to figure out what to do with the former. As Deadline revealed yesterday, David Koepp, who’d been hired in April to script a straight sequel, isn’t putting pen to paper. The film was pricey, but its near $400 million worldwide gross puts it on the bubble for another film. Much of the creative talk internally has been to focus that on the Huntsman character played by Chris Hemsworth, who is emerging as a breakout leading man and who proved to be a bargain for the $5 million he earned for the first installment of the film. THR used all this as a referendum to stamp out the participation of Stewart because of recent events, which seemed a bit harsh and unfair, particularly since nary a word of the sequel or a spinoff has yet been written. Huntsman director Rupert Sanders is in … Read More »
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 »
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 told that the studio is making all the moves that indicate another chapter is in the offing, and on a fast track.
Universal commenced David Koepp to write the sequel script, which Deadline revealed in late April might happen. The studio is now talking with director Rupert Sanders about a return, after he made his feature directing debut on the first installment. Sanders is interested; he had a great time making the first movie. But unlike most first time directors, he doesn’t have to come back. That’s because Snow White And The Huntsman was sold in an auction by CAA that included a presentation by Sanders of how he was going to shoot the film. Sanders was part of the package, as was producer Joe Roth, and that gave the agency leverage to make a much better deal than a first timer usually gets. The filmmaker is in demand now, but he hasn’t chosen his next film and a sequel might well be it. I understand that the actors in the film have options for two sequels, so that part of the equation shouldn’t be too difficult.
While there were plenty of potshots taken by journalists at Universal and … Read More »
As first revealed on Deadline, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is making good on its promise to liven up the official Academy weekend screenings by adding in-person filmmaker participation for the first time. On the June Los Angeles screening schedule sent out to members yesterday (and obtained by Deadline), the Acad announces: “MAJOR NEWS! Starting in June Los Angeles Membership Screening times in the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre will be standardized to 2:30pm and 7:30pm on both Saturdays and Sundays. This will allow studios and producers to provide artists, if available, from each film for 20-30 minute post-screen discussions. Be sure to check back regularly as additional names will be added.”
This is a major switch from the previous policy, which until the past awards season didn’t even allow Oscar voters to attend non-Academy sponsored screenings of contending movies where a Q&A would be taking place. The feeling was they didn’t want voters to be influenced by anything other than the actual movie. That policy was changed in 2011, and members were free to participate in and attend Q&As, and even food receptions are OK before nominations are announced. After that, Q&As are permissible. But now, beginning this weekend, the Academy is taking it even further and adding post-screening discussions in their own sacred house of film — a major change of heart and a boon for Oscar consultants who will probably see this a great opportunity to target the Academy voter … Read More »
Movie trailers are almost a commodity now, turning up in numerous places online, so movie companies must do something special to make theirs stand out. Having compelling footage helps, but Universal‘s Snow White And The Huntsmanhas gone a further step, releasing an interactive trailer that offers viewers behind-the-scenes clips, trivia about the movie and various features. Of course there’s an upsale at the end too, encouraging viewers to buy advance tickets. The movie opens wide June 1.
The Cannes Film Festival is often called the second most mediatized event in the world, next to the Olympics. But you wouldn’t know it this year. Cannes kicks off Wednesday night but it’ll be a low-key affair for most of the major and minor Hollywood studios. Because it’s an expensive place to set up shop with talent and teams in tow. I’ve heard estimates that put the cost of a Cannes gala screening and fete from $1.5M to $3M. So the studios think they get more bang for the buck, which is why Universal staged a premiere in London Monday night for Snow White And The Huntsman, or Sony is holding several premieres in a host of territories for Men In Black III. The feeling is that, if talent is available to go to a specific market, a premiere there plus a press day will generate more publicity than a similar event would at the Cannes fest. Then there’s the concern that big movies can get buried in the Cannes cacophony. “It’s over in a day and the next day they’re on to the next thing,” a top studio exec says. Another explains, “There’s so much noise you can’t have a standalone moment.”
A few years back, if a big film’s release date fell anywhere from mid-May to mid-June, is was a safe bet it would pop up as a world premiere at the Palais. That’s changed. Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman Amy Pascal was even in … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures must be expecting a fairy-tale ending for Snow White And The Huntsman. I’m told the studio is already in discussions with David Koepp to come aboard to write the sequel. The word is the studio hopes to fast track the project so that Huntsman helmer Rupert Sanders can make it the next project he directs.
Huntsman bows June 1, with Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth playing the title characters, and Charlize Theron as the evil Queen Ravenna. Trailers for the film have been intriguing, and it doesn’t seem that Universal lost anything by not being the first Snow White pic to hit the screen. After playing a game of chicken with Relativity Media over rival projects, Relativity won that battle by releasing Mirror Mirror on March 30. The film has so far grossed $56 million domestic, and $132 million worldwide. That’s hardly a blockbuster and the movies are so different in tone that perhaps Universal has a right to feel bullish enough to start on a sequel. CAA, David Fox and Eric Greenspan rep Koepp.
In its continuing campaign to lure Latino audiences to its movies, Universal debuted a trailer specifically targeting this market titled Summer of Battles during tonight’s Billboard Latin Music Awards on Telemundo. The two-minute Spanish-English ad combines footage from the studio’s upcoming summer movies Battleship, Snow White And The Huntsman and Savages starring Latino favorites Salma Hayek, Benicio del Toro and Demian Bichir. The premise is “Three Intense Battles. One Spectacular Summer. Only in Theaters”.
Universal may have been the last of the seven studios participating here in Las Vegas at CinemaCon but their one-hour-and-forty-minute presentation today at Caesars Palace’s Colisseum theatre was perhaps the starriest of all. Hosted with confidence and self-deprecating humor by the studio’s chairman and 13 year U veteran Adam Fogelson, the exec made good use of his background as the studio’s former marketing head to really sell their summer slate – and beyond – with good old- fashioned star power and well-chosen clips. In addition to extended looks at their summer lineup, the show also featured the first glimpse anywhere of footage from upcoming movies Les Miserables, 47 Ronin, Oblivion which just started shooting with Tom Cruise, next summer’s R.I.P.D., and a specially produced animated piece just for CinemaCon to announce the 2013 arrival of Despicable Me 2. But the clear emphasis was on this summer’s promising-looking lineup as Fogelson opened by saying, “it is a good time for Universal”, especially with the studio’s early 2012 box office success that he noted has made them No. 1 in market share so far this year with such films as Contraband, Safe House which has grossed over $200 million globally (Denzel Washington’s second biggest hit), American Reunion which Fogelson said will also surpass the $200 million global figure before it’s done as well as The Lorax which he noted is one of only three animated films since July 2010 to clear $200 million domestically – and two of them are from the studio’s partnership with Illumination. Read More »
Movie-ticketing service Fandango released results of its “Most Anticipated Summer Movie Survey” today, and the top pick among survey participants should be a relief for the folks at Walt Disney Studios: The Avengers. This echoes previous pre-release surveys that anticipate an opening in the neighborhood of $125 million for the tentpole movie that features an array of superheroes from the Marvel stable. Disney, still smarting from the failure of John Carter to connect with a wide audience, will be especially gratified that the Marvel Comics mash-up was a top choice of both men and women. In a survey of “thousands” of Fandango users (the company didn’t provide speicific metrics), 31% of men picked The Avengers, followed by The Dark Knight Rises (23%), The Bourne Legacy (14%), Men In Black III (8%) and Prometheus (7%). Women weren’t quite as excited about The Avengers, ranking it second with 16% behind the year’s second Snow White film, Snow White And The Huntsman (22%). The list of most anticipated films for women rounds out with Men In Black III (13%), The Dark Knight Rises (10%) and Dark Shadows (8%). Notably, actor Chris Hemsworth turns up in two films on the list: The Avengers, where he plays Thor, and Huntsman.
Mirror Mirror may not have burned up the box office in its opening weekend. Its estimated $19 million made the family film a distant and weak third, but that won’t stop a trend among Oscar winning actresses from going evil. Not since Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Olivia DeHavilland and other multi-Oscared legends collectively turned to horror films in order to regain boxoffice clout in the early 60′s have we seen so many Oscar winning actresses decide bad is good for a career, at least as far as playing mean queens and witches.
Taking a cue from the billion dollar success of Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland which featured a hilarious turn by Oscar nominated Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen, it seems a plethora of Academy Award winning female stars have jumped on the fairy tale evil bandwagon, perhaps in order to prove that Oscar also can still mean gold where it counts, at the boxoffice where none of this award-laden crop have been ‘the fairest of them all’ lately. Mirror Mirror’s conniving queen Julia Roberts is just the tip of the iceberg of this trend. Now with Charlize Theron in June’s Snow White And The Huntsman , Angelina Jolie about to start Maleficent in a couple of months and Rachel Weisz having wrapped playing the Wicked Witch Of The East in Oz The Great And Powerful, we have three other Oscar winners of the past decade jumping into the fray. It reminds me of the famous ad line for the 1949 melodrama Beyond The Forest: “Nobody’s As Good As Bette Davis … Read More »
Universal Pictures has released an extended new trailer for the Rupert Sanders-directedSnow White And The Huntsman, the revisionist fairy tale that will be released June 1. The studio has also released a featurette on the making of a film that stars Charlize Theron as the sinister queen, Kristen Stewart as Snow, and Thor‘s Chris Hemsworth as the Huntsman. The fantasy setting looks a lot like Middle Earth. Universal debuted the trailer on Comcast-owned Xfinity.com. Trailer is below, followed by the featurette. It looks pretty compelling, and the key is whether the young crowd that wants to see Snow White wrapped in chain mail and wielding a sword. Will those images be too upsetting? Similarly ominous images did not keep them away from Alice In Wonderland, which triggered the fairy tale frenzy.
Relativity’s Mirror Mirror, the studio’s take on the Snow White tale that stars Lily Collins, Julia Roberts and Armie Hammer, is moving its wide release to March 30, 2012. It had been set for March 16. The move now pits the Tarsem Singh-directed pic against Warner Bros’ Wrath Of The Titans that weekend — and notably comes a week after Lionsgate releases The Hunger Games (it’s probably a safe bet to get to the other side of that much-buzzed-about project). The move does place the family-targeted film closer to spring break and the Easter holiday, and comes on the heels of the studio moving dates for three other films earlier in the week to give its first-quarter slate some breathing room.
Of course, today’s shift still means Mirror is coming out before Universal’s competing Snow White film, the revisionist take Snow White And The Huntsman, which has staked out a June 1 date. But it’s the latest shift in the Snow White wars that has taken place since the two projects were announced, with both studios trying to move their pics ahead of the other on the schedule before Relativity moved its version way up to March.
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.
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 these are obviously vastly different versions of the Snow White tale.
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, 2012. Relativity’s rival movie — a lighter version of the same fairy tale directed by Tarsem Singh — recently titledMirror Mirror, reaches theaters first on March 16.