UPDATE, 10:20 AM: The Stage reports London ticket prices have tripled in a decade. “The West End’s most expensive tickets have reached a new high of £152.25 ($261.23) after The Book Of Mormon increased its premium seat prices by 20% from last year’s £127,” according to a an annual survey conducted by the UK industry periodical whose results were released in June. “This is more than triple the amount it cost to buy a top-price seat in the West End only 10 years ago, when a record high was reached with a £49 ticket to see The Producers in 2004. Over the same period, house prices in London have increased by around 90%.”
Star power, great reviews and premium tickets worked some fast magic on both sides of the Atlantic this week as the producers of two of the hottest shows in recent seasons announced recoupment.
David Binder, the lead producer of Hedwig And The Angry Inch — the wild rock musical starring Neil Patrick Harris that in June won four Tony Awards, including best revival of a musical — said the show recouped as of last Sunday after 15 weeks (preview performances began on March 29). Harris, also a Tony winner, will be replaced beginning August 20 by Book Of Mormon and Girls star Andrew Rannells. According to the show’s documents, it was capitalized at $5 million.
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After helming Helen Mirren in the West End production of The Audience, Stephen Daldry will return to the London theater with Skylight. The major revival of David Hare’s Olivier Award winning play will star Carey Mulligan, Bill Nighy and Mulligan’s An Education co-star Matthew Beard. The drama is set on a bitterly cold London evening when schoolteacher Kyra Hollis (Mulligan) receives an unexpected visit from her former lover, Tom Sergeant (Nighy), a successful and charismatic restaurateur whose wife has recently died. As the evening progresses, the two attempt to rekindle their once passionate relationship, but find themselves locked in a dangerous battle of opposing ideologies and mutual desires. The Robert Fox Limited production will open at the Wyndham’s Theatre on June 18, with previews from June 6, and close on August 23. The original 1995 production was also at Wyndham’s.
Nighy is a Hare regular, previously starring in a 1997 production of Skylight as well as stage versions of Pravda, Map Of The World and The Vertical Hour. Later this year he’ll reteam with Hare for the 2nd and 3rd installments of the BBC’s The Worricker Trilogy series. Mulligan is making her West End stage debut in Skylight. She was last on stage in the Atlantic Theater Company’s 2011 production of Through A Glass Darkly at … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The hacker from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and the President from The West Wing have joined Working Title’s Trash. Martin Sheen and Rooney Mara are set for the Stephen Daldry-directed film that Richard Curtis adapted from Andy Mulligan’s 2010 novel. Sheen will play Father Juilliard, and Mara will play Olivia, an NGO worker, in the tale of three poverty-stricken boys (played by newcomers Rickson Tevez, Eduardo Luis and Gabriel Weinstein) who discover something unusual, mysterious and dangerous in a city dump in the Third World-set story. Elysium’s Wagner Moura and Os Maias’ Selton Mello have also been cast in the movie, from Working Title Films, PeaPie Films and 02 Filmes. It is scheduled to start production in Rio de Janeiro early next month. Working Title co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing with PeaPie’s Kris Thykier. Universal will distribute the film globally when it comes out in May 2014. The studio is also bringing out Curtis’ About Time with Working Title on November 1 this year. Sheen is repped by ICM Partners; Mara is repped by WME and Management 360.
After executive producing the London Olympics’ closing ceremony, Stephen Daldry is turning his attention to another live spectacle with The Audience, a stage play written by The Queen scribe Peter Morgan. The Queen Oscar winner Helen Mirren will return to the stage and the role of Queen Elizabeth II for the run in London’s West End beginning February 15, 2013. For 60 years, the Queen has met with each of 12 Prime Ministers from Winston Churchill to David Cameron in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace. The meetings are private with an unspoken agreement never to reveal their contents. The Audience imagines a series of pivotal, sometimes revealing meetings between the Queen and the PMs. Matthew Byam Shaw for Playful Productions, Robert Fox and Andy Harries are producing.
EXCLUSIVE: While Disney is at Comic-Con today to unveil some details on its Sam Raimi-directed Oz: The Great And Powerful, Universal is finally moving forward with its screen adaptation of the cash cow musical Wicked. I’m told that the studio is courting Stephen Daldry to direct the film, and I’m optimistic that he’ll make a deal. At the same time, Jon Favreau is in negotiations to direct Jersey Boys. Both Wicked and Jersey Boys are among the top-grossing Broadway musicals on a weekly basis.
Related: ‘Wicked’ To Cast Movie Spell For Universal: Creators Meeting With Hollywood Directors
Favreau has been the rumored front runner for some time to helm Jersey Boys, but Daldry is a surprise. Universal and the musical’s producer Marc Platt have been meeting with helmers since last year, as this was one of the most coveted gigs to come along in a long time. Wicked, a Wizard of Oz prequel, is based on the Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life And Times Of The Wicked Witch Of The West and focuses on the early relationship between Glinda the Good and Elphaba, a green-skinned beauty before she ended up flying on a broomstick. Wicked began as a movie development project with Platt and Universal, before they changed course and took it … Read More »
For the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, movie director Danny Boyle said he’s aiming for intimacy rather than spectacle. “We wanted to make the feel of the opening ceremony … intimate and personal,” he said in an interview today. The anticipated TV audience of a billion viewers is important, “but we wanted the 80,000 people who were lucky enough to be in there to be the conduit through which you feel this experience.” The ceremony will be called “Isles of Wonder” and it will involve a big bell and lots of nurses. The nurses are part of a tribute to the National Health Service, and the title was inspired by William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. A specially cast bell will ring out to signal the start of the opening ceremony. The bell will be inscribed with Caliban’s line in The Tempest: “Be not afear’d; the isle is full of noises.” Read More »
Coming into December Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, producer Scott Rudin’s third Oscar hopeful this Fall (after Moneyball and December 21 release The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), was expected to become an immediate major player in the Oscar game, but several problems crept up including some last-minute shoots, a new music score and a rushed series of screenings to play catch-up, particularly with SAG whose ballots were in the hands of voters already a few days before the film’s first screening, and well over a week before Warner Bros. could send SAG nominating committee members the DVD screener — a necessity to put it on an even playing field with most other hopefuls which had weeks or months to get their message and movies in front of voters. A SAG nominating committee member who greatly admired the film told me she thinks many ballots were already sent in before members had a chance to see this movie, which she admits she had never heard of.
The film is finally opening Christmas Day on a limited basis in New York and Los Angeles and will go wide on January 20, four days before Oscar nominations are announced. But will it get any, or has all the last-minute catch-up taken its toll?
Although it received four major nominations including Best Picture last week from the Critics Choice Movie Awards (which often mirror Academy tastes) it was completely snubbed for any Golden Globe attention by members of the … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Using his own money, producer Scott Rudin has acquired screen rights to The Marriage Plot, the novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey Eugenides that was published earlier this month by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. The novel is a love triangle about three Brown graduates in the early 1980s who wrestle with love, religion and coming of age. Eugenides previously wrote The Virgin Suicides and won the Pulitzer for Middlesex. Rudin produced the upcoming Oscar season films the David Fincher-directed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the Stephen Daldry-directed Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. He’s producing with Joel and Ethan Coen Inside Llewyn Davis, which begins production shortly. The author is repped by CAA and Janklow & Nesbit.
VIDEO: Martin Scorsese Introduces ‘Hugo’
HAMMOND: NY Film Festival Mystery Movie
BREAKING: I can confirm that tonight’s New York Film Festival mystery film is Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, the John Logan-scripted adaptation of the Brian Selznick novel Hugo Cabret. The festival revealed late last week that it would feature a film by a master filmmaker, and speculation covered everything from Clint Eastwood’s J Edgar to Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I’m told that Richard Pena will introduce the picture at Avery Fisher Hall, but I’m not sure if Scorsese will be in the house. The film isn’t quite finished, but it will be shown in 3D, though there might be some green screen moments. Paramount releases Hugo on November 23. Scorsese hasn’t shown an unfinished film like this before (though he did once tell me that The Last Temptation Of Christ qualified as that when Universal rushed it into release because protesters were dragging crosses in front of the houses of studio higher-ups like Sid Sheinberg), and the NYFF hasn’t shown an unfinished print like this since Disney’s Beauty And The Beast in 1991. But it’s a great opportunity to build buzz on the movie, Scorsese’s first family and 3D film. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: John Goodman has joined the cast of the Robert Zemeckis-directed Flight, which stars Denzel Washington as an airline pilot who averts a plane crash, only to come under a cloud for possible substance abuse problems. Goodman will play a friend of the pilot who helps him come to terms with his problems. Goodman, who stars in the Michel Hazanavicius-directed silent film The Artist, is shooting the Ben Affleck-directed Argo and most recently wrapped the Stephen Daldry-directed Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which stars Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. Goodman’s repped by Gersh.
Though Warner Bros found itself in the Oscar race last year with Chris Nolan’s Inception, awards season isn’t usually when the studio shines. This year, Warner Bros finds itself with not one but two potential contenders in the Oscar race, and the studio has found a way to give both films space from each other. Warner Bros has set the Clint Eastwood-directed Leonardo DiCaprio-starrer J Edgar for a limited release on Wednesday, Nov. 9, with a wide release set for two days later. Eastwood produced with Imagine partners Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, and Robert Lorenz.
Warner Bros has dated the Stephen Daldry-directed drama Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close for limited release on Dec. 25, with a wide release to take place on Jan. 20, 2012. That film stars Oscar winners Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, and it was produced by Scott Rudin, who’s always got at least one film in the Oscar race.
Warner Bros also slotted the sequel Journey 2: The Mysterious Island 3D for Feb. 10, moving the film off its original Jan. 27 date. And the Alfonso Cuaron-directed Gravity 3D, with George Clooney and Bullock, has been set for Nov. 12, 2012. The big role in that space film is the one played by Bullock, so Warner Bros could have two years of Oscar campaigning for the actress, who won her first Academy Award for The Blind Side.