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Random House’s Strong Half-Year Results Driven By ‘Dragon Tattoo’ Sales

Mike Fleming

Anyone who doubts the potential of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo need look no further than how the half-year earnings of Bertselmann and its Random House division were positively impacted by the sales of the Millennium novel trilogy by the late Stieg Larsson. Bertelsmann issued its half-year report this morning, and cited the performance by Random House as a big reason for its own record half-year results.  According to a letter sent company-wide by Random House chairman/CEO Markus Dohle, the publisher’s sales were up nearly 8%, and profit doubled to around $50 million on revenues close to $1 billion, despite a shaky economy.

The reason? Dohle singles out the sales of the Larsson trilogy, which Random House publishes in the U.S. and Germany. “Their cumulative 6.5 million-copy impact on our overall half-year figures is substantial, and Larsson’s print and digital sales continue to skyrocket,” Dohle writes in the memo. “Stieg Larsson is the first author ever to sell one million e-books on the Kindle. This additional e-book revenue and readership opportunity is just one of the many reasons we are so excited about our robust digital-publishing momentum.”

The e-book results for the half year are showing how important digital sales are becoming to the bottom line of all publishing houses. Dohle said worldwide digital sales are on course to exceed $100 million. The first half results were up 300% for Random House in the U.S. A majority of … Read More »

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Rooney Mara Gets Coveted Lisbeth Role In ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: Sony Pictures Entertainment has issued a press release on Mara. I’ve included it after Deadline’s story break.

EXCLUSIVE: Ending one of the most drawn out and closely watched casting searches for an actress in years, Sony Pictures Entertainment and director David Fincher have chosen Rooney Mara to play Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the film that begins shooting this fall in Sweden, with Daniel Craig starring. The film will be released December 21, 2011. Rooney was considered Fincher’s first choice in the process: the director had just helmed her in The Social Network. Closing a deal will amount to a formality, because Mara essentially agreed to terms when she and other young actresses signed on to tests that Fincher and producer Scott Rudin have conducted over the past several weeks. Her deal includes an option for two sequels that will cover The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, the second and third books in the Millennium Trilogy by the late author Stieg Larsson. The books continue the same murder conspiracy storyline.

Deadline revealed that Craig was signed a deal with two options weeks ago to play Mikael Blomkvist, the investigative journalist and part owner of the magazine Millennium, and Deadline also broke the story that Robin Wright was in talks to play Erika Berger, his occasional bed partner and the publisher of Millennium. Stellan Skarsgard was also … Read More »

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Robin Wright To Play Daniel Craig’s Lover In ‘Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Robin Wright is negotiating to star in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the David Fincher-directed adaptation of the Stieg Larsson novel for Sony Pictures Entertainment. She is in talks to play Erika Berger, the publisher of crusading finance magazine Millennium, and the occasional lover of journalist Mikael Blomkvist (to be played by Daniel Craig). The film is casting up quickly, even as Fincher and producer Scott Rudin take their time searching for the right young actress to play the computer hacker heroine Lisbeth Salander. Berger figures in Larsson’s sequel books The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, and Wright is negotiating a deal that includes options for both. Read More »

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Sony Starts Talks With Steve Zaillian To Script ‘The Girl Who Played With Fire’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Entertainment has begun deal talks with Steve Zaillian to adapt The Girl Who Played With Fire, the second installment of the Millennium Trilogy of crime novels written by Stieg Larsson. Zaillian adapted The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which SPE puts into production this fall after director David Fincher and producer Scott Rudin end the well-publicized search for an actress to play the troubled genius computer hacker Lisbeth Salander. Like Daniel Craig, that actress will sign a deal with two options covering The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest. Craig is playing journalist Mikael Blomkvist.
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Daniel Craig Closes Deal For ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Daniel Craig has closed his deal to play journalist Mikael Blomkvist in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a deal which factors in options for two sequels based on The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest. The novels comprise the bestselling trilogy by late Stieg Larsson.

Deadline told you first about the Craig talks, which back in June were hardly a certainty, because there were so many hurdles to jump. I’m told that with a whole lot of juggling between three studios, Craig will be able to make the movies. Essentially, he will begin work on the first film in Sweden, as soon as he removes his cowboy hat from shooting Cowboys and Aliens in the early fall. Scheduling was coordinated between Dragon Tattoo-maker Sony Pictures Entertainment, DreamWorks partners Stacey Snider and Steven Spielberg–who were flexible on the Cowboys and Aliens schedule–and James Bond rights holders Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson. The latter situation was tougher because of the uncertainty over when the next Bond film will get made–probably with Sam Mendes directing–because of MGM’s paralysis. CAA made Craig’s deal.

This puts Craig in a position no previous James Bond ever was in. He’s got two certain franchises between Bond and the Larsson books, and possibly another in Cowboys and Aliens, which he stars in with Harrison Ford, and for which Craig has an option on a second picture. Comic-Con crowds responded glowingly to … Read More »

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