EXCLUSIVE: I’ve just learned that JJ Abrams and his Bad Robot production banner partnered with EVP Bryan Burk are one of, and perhaps the, most important relationships at Paramount. So this is no surprise. But betcha the terms were rich indeed to extend their first-look deal through the end of 2015. The deal dates back to 2006. Grosses on Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol are now $670M globally while those for the Star Trek reboot hit $385M worldwide. Abrams is right now shooting the Star Trek sequel which he’s producing and directing. Under the Paramount deal, Abrams also has made Cloverfield (producing) and Super 8 (producing and directing), both of which did well at the global box office.
UPDATE: Here’s the official press release -
HOLLYWOOD, CA (February 22, 2012) – Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc., and Bad Robot Productions jointly today announced an extension of their exclusive, first-look agreement through December 2015.
The prolific production company, whose original first look deal with Paramount began in 2006, is currently shooting the next installment of the studio’s Star Trek franchise. Once again, Abrams is directing and Bad Robot is producing the tent-pole, which will be released in 3D on May 17, 2013.
“J.J. is a unique talent and a captivating storyteller,” said Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. “J.J., Bryan Burk and the whole Bad Robot team are an integral part of Paramount and we’re proud to continue our collaboration. Their pictures have extraordinary resonance around the world and we’re so pleased Paramount will be their home for years to come.”
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EXCLUSIVE: Here’s another update on writer/director J.J. Abrams’ much anticipated Star Trek sequel — which is really No. 12 in the realm of Starfleet movies – coming out on May 17, 2013 from Paramount. I’ve learned that hot British film actor Benedict Cumberbatch has been cast in a lead role in the film. No word yet on whether he’ll be a hero or villain. But Cumberbatch landed some sought-after roles recently in War Horse (as ’Major Stewart’) and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (‘Peter Guillam’). He will also portray ‘Smaug the Dragon’ through motion capture and voice the ‘Necromancer’ in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There And Back Again. The 35-year-old London-born thesp is a veteran of both theatre and TV, most notably as ‘Sherlock Holmes’ in the 2010 modern BBC adaptation series Sherlock).
He also starred as ‘Stephen Hawking’ in 2004′s Hawking and received a nomination for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor and won the Golden Nymph for Television Films – Best Performance by an Actor. The British GQ magazine named him “Actor of the Year 2011″. Cumberbatch is repped by UTA and UK-based Conway van Gelder Grant LTD.
The Star Trek sequel is being co-written by Abrams with Lost’s Damon Lindelof, plus Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci. JJ is going to be making the movie in 3D. The first of Abram’s rebooted franchise opened May 8, 2009 for a $79M weekend and ultimate did $258M in North America and $130M international at the box office. The pic is being … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Sony moved Roland Emmerich’s Singularity from May 17th, 2013, to Nov 1, 2013. So now Paramount is grabbing that primo pre-Memorial Weekend date of May 17, 2013 for its much anticipated writer/director J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek sequel (which is really No. 12 among the Captain Kirk/Mr Spock star fleet movies). No title yet. But this one is being co-written by Abrams with Lost‘s Damon Lindelof, plus Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci. But JJ is going to be making the movie in 3D. The first of Abram’s rebooted franchise opened May 8, 2009 for a $79M weekend and ultimate did $258M in North America and $130M international at the box office. The pic is being produced by all those writers and Bryan Burk, who is JJ’s Bad Robot production partner. It is anticipated that David Ellison’s Skydance will be co-financing the film with Paramount. All key cast members will be returning, like Chris Pine and Zach Quinto and Zoe Saldana.
Paramount took a real risk rebooting what many thoiught was a tired franchise played out but the studio wound up with another potent franchise. That’s because Abrams’ reboot widened well beyond Star Trek‘s rabid but older fanbase and attracted a new and younger audience. (Paramount marketed the movie as “not your father’s Star Trek”.) And the critical reviews were 96% positive. The goal of the new pic was to finally attract more filmgoers overseas since the franchise had never done $100M international before.
As for the sequel, Abrams had to finish Super 8 so there was no way he could make the June 29, 2012 release date that Paramount initially had carved out for the film. Read More »
As expected, the MGM ownership situation is getting closer to being sorted, and it won’t be long before the Lion has a chance to roar again. Or at least emerge from its cage. Spyglass chiefs Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber have signed non-binding letters of intent that will make them MGM co-chairmen/CEOs. That leads to the next step, which is a pre-packaged bankruptcy proceeding that would convert debt to equity, removing the $4 billion albatross from around the Lion’s neck so that it can start generating films again. The prepackaged bankruptcy allows the company to be restructured while it freezes existing deals for franchises that include the James Bond series and The Hobbit.
The LA Times reports that the Spyglass guys are already looking past this hurdle, and are talking with Ken Schapiro about coming aboard as COO. He’s a vet of Qualia Capital, which was among the entities that kicked the tires on MGM before management decided to go with Birnbaum and Barber, who are expected to make projects but will likely eliminate the studio’s marketing and distribution arms and set the projects up elsewhere. All this means that The Hobbit, with Peter Jackson at the helm, can move forward, with co-financing partner Warner Bros distributing the two films worldwide.
The situation on 007 will be more feverish. Warner Bros, Sony Pictures Entertainment and 20th Century Fox are the obvious outlets, … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Damon Lindelof has taken his first big solo screenwriting job since concluding the ABC series Lost. I’m been told that he closed a deal to do rewrite work on 20th Century Fox’s Alien prequel, which the studio hopes Ridley Scott will direct as his next assignment.
In a development as vexing as a Lost plotline, studio insiders said that while Lindelof indeed met with Scott and the studio for that rewrite job, the exchange of ideas between them sparked a take that could well turn out to be a free-standing science fiction film. The studio will decide when Lindelof turns it in. Scott Free is producing and Lindelof’s CAA reps closed his deal last night. Read More »