EXCLUSIVE: Ben Ripley, who most recently penned Source Code, has been signed to a development deal with Sony to write a contemporary reimagining of Flatliners, the 1990 Joel Schumacher drama about medical students who dabble too far into near-death experiments that starred then-emerging actors like Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts and William Baldwin, as well as Kevin Bacon. Maybe Sony thinks a redo can launch a few more young careers in the same manner? Laurence Mark is set to produce, likely with Further Films, for Columbia Pictures. David Blackman is overseeing for Laurence Mark Prods. Ripley penned the April release Source Code for Summit Entertainment; the film was a surprise hit and has made $123.3 million worldwide to date.
Los Angeles, CA May 31, 2011 – Summit Home Entertainment announced today that its Sci-fi film SOURCE CODE will be available to consumers via VOD and EST on Friday, July 8, 2011, approximately two weeks prior to the film’s home entertainment release date of Tuesday, July 26, 2011. Traditionally standard VOD and EST are available day and date with physical discs. This particular case will test the demand for viewing a bigger budgeted film digitally prior to the release of physical discs. Summit is not shortening the industry established window between a film’s theatrical release and its home entertainment debut, rather this test aligns with the studio’s ongoing efforts to find the best way to present its films digitally.
Kagan: ‘Rio’ And ‘Fast Five’ Only Clearly Profitable Films In April With Summer Movie Profits Poised To Fall
Don’t be fooled by the headlines this summer that likely will focus on how strong movie ticket sales look compared to last year. Researchers at SNL Kagan predict that domestic box office for the period from late April to the end of August will be up 1.7% to about $4.2 billion. Not bad – especially considering that this year’s figure counts 42 releases vs. 45 last year — right? Not so fast. When Kagan looks at all sources of income including international sales, home video, and TV, it estimates that this year’s crop will generate $4.45 billion in profits on $12.3 billion in revenues. That’s down slightly from last year’s $4.49 billion in profit on revenues of nearly $13 billion. The forecast follows Kagan’s estimate that only 2 out of 16 releases in April clearly will be profitable: Fox’s Rio and Universal’s Fast Five. Three others could be profitable for distributors, depending on the terms of their deals with exhibitors: Universal’s Hop, FilmDistrict’s Insidious, and Summit Entertainment’s Source Code.
While the studios sort through their finances, theater chains will enjoy any uptick in summer sales. Box office revenues in the first quarter for the four biggest publicly traded chains – Carmike, Cinemark, Reading International, and Regal – dropped 17.2% vs the same period last year to about $803 million. Their concession sales were down 12.6% to about $337 million, although sales per customer rose 3.2% to $2.97.
A CBS2 TV station’s investigative report (video below) is alleging that the local transit authority in Chicago tried to elicit an alleged bribe for services on the Summit Entertainment movie Source Code. I’m told that Summit is not commenting since the studio was not directly involved. But the TV station is calling this “like something out of a movie.” ”The movie industry has brought millions of dollars to the Chicago area, shooting scenes all over the city and suburbs. One or more Metra employees may have tried to get a piece of the action, CBS2 and the Better Government Association have learned. Now, the rail agency’s inspector general is investigating.” A Metra train has a starring role in the film and was ”one of the many movie negotiations handled for more than a decade by Jonathan Gottlieb, a Metra special transportation services manager. But after Gottlieb negotiated a $19,000 contract for Source Code last year, a film location manager reportedly complained that Gottlieb demanded additional cash for all his hard work — $2,000 — be delivered in an envelope to him or another Metra employee. On the morning of the first shoot, the complainant said, Gottlieb was furious to learn the money would not be delivered and told her she’d never be able to work with Metra again.” Gottlieb has denied any involvement and said his record is unblemished. But “soon after the alleged incident, he retired from his $73,000-a-year job,” CBS2 reported.
South by Southwest 2011 has programmed a bunch of features to go with previously announced opening night premiere Source Code. Coming on the heels of Sundance, the Austin, Texas-based SXSW has put itself in position to secure films that didn’t play in Park City. Films that will create buzz include the Jodie Foster-directed The Beaver, which features Mel Gibson as a troubled exec who battles depression with the help of a beaver puppet, and Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, which Deadline told you last March was being filmed while O’Brien served his TV banishment by hitting the road with a 30-city comedy/musical tour. Here are the other films added to the program so far:
The Beaver (World Premiere)
Director: Jodie Foster, Writer: Kyle Killen
Summit Entertainment and Participant Media Present in Association with Imagenation Abu Dhabi and Anonymous Content – Two-time Academy Award winner Jodie Foster directs and co-stars with two-time Academy Award winner Mel Gibson in an emotional story about a man on a journey to re-discover his family and re-start his life. Plagued by his own demons, Walter Black was once a successful toy executive and family man who now suffers from depression. No matter what he tries, Walter can’t seem to get himself back on track…until a beaver hand puppet enters his life. Cast: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin & Jennifer Lawrence
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (World Premiere)
Director: Rodman Flender
After a much-publicized separation with his former employers, did Conan O’Brien …
The Duncan Jones-directed Source Code will be the opening night film of the South by Southwest Film Festival. The fest runs March 11-19 in Austin, Texas. Source Code stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright. The film will be released by Summit on April 1. Mark Gordon and Vendome’s Philippe Rousselet are producing.