BREAKING: Spike Lee, one of the stalwarts of New York filmmakers who helped put modern indie filmmaking on the map, has signed with ICM Partners. The move comes less than two weeks after his agent Billy Hawkins exited CAA, and ICM has just made the signing known to staffers. The agency jump comes 25 years after the release of Do The Right Thing, the Lee “joint” that landed Oscar nominations for Original Screenplay and put the helmer on the path to such vital films as Jungle Fever, Mo’ Better Blues and Malcolm X, which drew two more Oscar nominations. The move marks a return to the ICM fold, his home before moving to CAA.
Lee is as busy as ever now, and is in postproduction on Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus, a vampire pic for which he raised money via Kickstarter. His fundraising efforts on the site drew almost $1.3 million — and like the old days he pounded the pavement for the project, including appearances on CNN and CNBC to promote his campaign, saying, “I’m bringing people to Kickstarter who never even heard of Kickstarter.” He’s also working on another feature docu after successes in the genre with pics like 2006′s Hurricane Katrina tale When The Levees Broke. He also is at work on the docu Go, Brazil, Go, about that country’s economic rise. (Lee was nominated for his second Oscar in 1998 for the documentary feature 4 Little Girls.) Read More »
In addition to Spike Lee, CAA motion picture lit agent Billy Hawkins repped the likes of Iron Man scribes Art Marcum and Matt Holloway as well as Josh Boone, who is helming Fox’s The Fault In Our Stars starring Shailene Woodley. We’re being told Hawkins is departing … Read More »
By Deadline’s Brian Brooks and Jen Yamato.
Thanksgiving weekend yielded a box office bounty for The Weinstein Co. and a turkey for FilmDistrict and Spike Lee in a holiday weekend with slim competition from indie comers. TWC made a pair of bold moves, opening awards hopeful Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom on 4 screens to a strong $100,306 take averaging $25,076 per screen; the drama starring Idris Elba as South African president Nelson Mandela built up word of mouth on the fest circuit at Toronto, Mill Valley, The Hamptons, Chicago, and AFI Fest. TWC also seized the chance to bump last week’s Judi Dench-starrer Philomena from 4 theaters to 835 theaters and the pic subsequently broke into the Top 10 with a $4,538 average and a $3.789M weekend. Dench stars alongside Steve Coogan in the true story of a woman searching for the son she gave up for adoption decades earlier, a heartwarming family tale that was primed for holiday viewing. Alas, Thanksgiving weekend wasn’t quite so kind to FilmDistrict’s Oldboy which in its own bloody way is also about the ties that bind. Spike Lee‘s remake of the brutally violent Korean thriller from Park Chan-Wook, stars Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson, and Sharlto Copley in a vengeance saga with extreme twists and turns not for the faint of heart. It took in a paltry $850K on the weekend, averaging $1,458 in 583 theaters.
In other openers this weekend, IFC Films’ doc The Punk Singer bowed to a $24K gross in three locations from Friday to Sunday. The company noted that the doc “sold out multiple shows in New York and LA for its debut. The documentary on punk singer icon Kathleen Hanna will roll out to the top 10 markets in December. And Vitagraph opened Caught In The Web in one location. It was a slow start with a $330 gross.
IFC Films added three additional theaters for Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? in its second frame, grossing just under $20K for a $3,390 PSA. The feature averaged $10,620 in its opening last weekend in a trio of locations. Read More »
Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, filmed during the ex-champ’s one-man stage show and directed by Spike Lee, premieres November 16. Here’s HBO‘s official trailer:
Related: Mike Tyson And Spike Lee On HBO’s ‘Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth’
Spike Lee has exceeded his $1.25 million Kickstarter goal to crowdfund his next joint, about humans who are addicted to blood (“Funny, Sexy and Bloody. A new kind of love story – and … Read More »
Controversy over a comedy short helped Russell Simmons launch his new YouTube channel All Def Digital yesterday. But a firestorm of complaints over Harriet Tubman Sex Tape, in which the abolitionist has sex with her master in order to blackmail him into creating the Underground Railroad, led Simmons to pull the video today and issue an apology. “In the whole history of Def Comedy Jam, I’ve never taken down a controversial comedian,” said Simmons in a statement. “When my buddies from the NAACP called and asked me to take down the Harriet Tubman video from the All Def Digital YouTube channel and apologize, I agreed.”
“I’m a very liberal person with thick skin,” he continues. “My first impression of the Harriet Tubman piece was that it was about what one of actors said in the video, that 162 years later, there’s still tremendous injustice. And with Harriet Tubman outwitting the slave master? I thought it was politically correct. Silly me. I can now understand why so many people are upset. I have taken down the video. Lastly, I would never condone violence against women in any form, and for all of those I offended, I am sincerely sorry.” Read More »
FilmDistrict is moving Oldboy‘s release to a crowded Thanksgiving Eve, November 27, about a month later than its initial October 25 date. The Spike Lee-directed film now will go up against two Weinstein Company pics: Grace Of Monaco … Read More »
Like the celeb crowdfunders who came before him, Spike Lee attracted some criticism when he launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $1.25M for his next joint. Lee hits back at the haters in a new interview: “I’m bringing to Kickstarter who’ve never even heard … Read More »
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson‘s one-man stage show that was shot by HBO and directed by Spike Lee that premieres later this year originated in Las Vegas as a much different project, Tyson told the TCA gathering this afternoon. It originally had him backed by a rock band, Tyson noted, before Lee got involved and moved the show to Broadway for two weeks of shows last summer. “Spike changed it to just me,” he said, “though I liked it with the band a lot too.” The show — called Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth – finds the long-troubled and controversial fighter recounting his life’s highs and lows, from his boxing career to his time in prison. While a clip shown from the special made it appear that Tyson was speaking extemporaneously, in fact he’s following a script that was crafted by his wife. It was shot during two of the Broadway performances. While Tyson has had plenty of experiencing performing in entertainment projects, mostly in cameos, the boxer said today that doing his one-man show “felt like second nature.” He was happy to get the gig because it’s helping to pay the bills. “I didn’t know how I was going to be able to do it,” he admitted. Tyson also said he found parallels between emoting onstage and throwing his fists in the ring. “The only difference is I don’t have to go to the hospital after I perform,” he deadpanned. In both cases “it’s like being in a war.” Read More »
UPDATE: Spike Lee‘s gotten some Kickstarter love from fellow filmmaker Steven Soderbergh, whom Lee revealed backed his project to the tune of $10K – AKA the “courtside Knicks seats” level of donation. “I can confirm that Steven indeed supports his fellow filmmakers, especially when that support leads to courtside seats for the Knicks,” Soderbergh’s manager Michael Sugar tells me. Lee’s still got 28 days left to raise his goal of $1.25M.
PREVIOUS, 7:01 AM: Spike Lee has joined the likes of Zach Braff and Veronica Mars in going the Kickstarter route to get funding for a film that might not otherwise exist. Lee just started the clock on a 30 day attempt to raise $1.25 million for an untitled movie about human beings who are addicted to blood that he calls “funny, sexy, and bloody (and it’s not Blacula).” While most Kickstarter solicitations promise crowd funders little more than a seat at the premiere and some tchochkes of negligible value, give Spike credit for digging deep for his biggest benefactors. For bidders who put up $10,000, Lee promises to take each of them to dinner, and that person will then sit beside Lee in his wife Tonya’s courtside seat at a New York Knicks game. That has become a storied, and sometimes infamous spot at the world’s most famous arena, as Spike is to the Knicks what Jack Nicholson is to the Lakers. Read More »
Josh Brolin, Sharlto Copley, Samuel L. Jackson, and Elizabeth Olsen star in Spike Lee‘s remake of the brutal Korean pic about a man out for vengeance against the mysterious enemy who imprisoned him for 20 years. FilmDistrict will … Read More »
HBO has bought TV rights to Mike Tyson’s one-man show, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth. HBO Films will film the show in July for debut on HBO later in the year. The stage production features “Iron … Read More »
The Spike Lee-directed remake of Park Chan-wook’s cult Korean classic will now see its wide release on October 25, 2013, after FilmDistrict originally slated it for October 11. Oldboy will now bow opposite Paramount’s Paranormal Activity … Read More »
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Radiant Films International has acquired international rights to the comedy drama Wild. Written and directed by Vivienne DeCourcy, the movie stars Ella Greenwell and Tom Hughes. It tells the story of Mary Reynolds, a visionary young garden designer who puts everything on the line in order to compete in the Chelsea Flower show. Hughes stars as Christy, an idealistic environmentalist, whom Mary enlists to help her compete at the Chelsea, the Olympics of gardening. Wild is funded by Green Earth, the Irish Film Board, RTE and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. It will shoot in Ireland and Ethiopia over the coming months. Pic is produced by Treasure Entertainment and Crowe’s Nest in Ireland, together with Green Earth in the US. Rebecca O’Flanagan and Rob Walpole will produce from Treasure, with Sarah Johnson and Chloe Kassis Crowe exec-producing. Jay Cohen from the Gersh Agency is handling U.S. rights. Read More »
FilmDistrict so far has October 11, 2013 all to itself on the release schedule with Oldboy, which stars Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley and Samuel L. Jackson in a remake of Park Chan-wook’s 2003 cult suspense thriller. … Read More »
BREAKING: FilmDistrict grabbed US distribution rights to Oldboy, the Spike Lee-directed remake of the crazy South Korean suspense film. Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, and Sharlto Copley star. Roy Lee and Doug Davison via Vertigo Entertainment and Nathan Kahane on behalf … Read More »
Spike Lee was on the Lido today with Michael Jackson documentary Bad 25, and producer John Branca who reps the late singer’s … Read More »
ABC has acquired TV rights to Spike Lee’s Michael Jackson documentary Bad 25, which marks the 25th anniversary of the groundbreaking album. The network said it would air a version of the documentary at Thanksgiving … Read More »