The Venice Film Festival, which announced its lineup this morning, is expanding its online screening offering this year. Sala Web, the initiative that acts as a parallel online showcase for films officially selected in the Horizons and Biennale College sidebars, this year will be available 24 hours a day over five days from anywhere in the world. The virtual screening room provides a limited viewing window during the festival with a capped allotment of tickets to be sold through a dedicated online box office. Films selected make their online world premieres in the Sala Web simultaneously with their official presentations on the Lido. Tickets priced at €4 each go on sale in mid-August at www.labiennale.org. The fest runs August 27-September 6.
StudioCanal has set an October 10 UK release date for ’71, the Yann Demange-directed thriller that played to great reception in Berlin this year. Rising star Jack O’Connell plays a young British soldier accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the streets of Belfast. Unable to tell friend from foe, and increasingly wary of his own comrades, he must survive the night alone and find his way to safety through a disorientating, alien and deadly landscape. Sean Harris, Killian Scott, Martin McCann and Charlie Murphy also star. Gregory Burke wrote the screenplay. Roadside Attractions has U.S. distribution.
If ’71 is looking to bring in the male-skewing crowd, then … Read More »
The Berlin-based media giant will continue to distribute Lionsgate films in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in the new multi-year agreement, the companies say this morning. The output deal begins in Germany on November 20 with the release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1. It also will include the upcoming Johnny Depp film Mortdecai, and the live action Power Rangers films. Under the previous arrangement, Studiocanal “was a major contributor to The Hunger Games franchise’s evolution into a global phenomenon,” Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-chairs Patrick Wachsberger and Rob Friedman say in this morning’s release. The second film in the series, Catching Fire, “more than doubled the box office performance of the first Hunger Games film in Germany.”
Concurrently, Studiocanal Germany extended its TV licensing deal with ProSiebenSat.1 which serves free TV channels in Germany, Austria, and German-speaking Switzerland. Lionsgate releases will become the “centerpiece” of the TV arrangements, the companies say.
Well, this made me chuckle on a Monday morning. After a tease in March, Studiocanal has released a new trailer for the David Heyman-produced Paddington. The video below provides the first full look at the CGI bear with a passion for all things British who travels to London in search of a home. The UK’s Framestore, whose credits include Heyman’s Gravity, is handling VFX. Colin Firth voices Paddington while Hugh Bonneville, Nicole Kidman, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent play the live action roles. Paul King (Come Fly With Me, The Mighty Boosh) directs. The Weinstein Co’s TWC-Dimension is releasing in the U.S. on Christmas Day; Studiocanal unwraps it on November 28 in the UK.
EXCLUSIVE: Producer Neal Moritz and StudioCanal are ready to move forward with Cliffhanger, a re-imagining of the 1993 Renny Harlin-directed mountain climbing film that starred Sylvester Stallone. They’ve set Joe Gazzam to write the screenplay after he was among a group of screenwriters who pitched their take on a movie that still holds up as a guilty pleasure. The original was made by Carolco before that company crashed, and TriStar distributed it. StudioCanal ended up with the rights. There is no domestic distributor in place, but since Moritz’s Original Pictures is Sony-based, that studio should get a first crack at the project. Sony already has a mountain climbing project in Everest, the Doug Liman-directed film that has Tom Hardy attached to play Sir Edward Mallory, the British mountaineer who tried to be first to summit the world’s highest mountain. Cross Creek, Walden and Universal financed another film called Everest, with Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Robin Wright, Jason Clarke and John Hawkes starring in the Baltasar Kormakur-directed film about a disastrous attempt to summit the mountain in 1996 when the climbers were hit by a blizzard.
The original Cliffhanger revolved around a traumatized mountain climber forced back into an expedition after a plane crash leaves a lot of stolen cash and bad guys strewn on the Rocky Mountains. Moritz and Ori Marmur will produce for Original, and StudioCanal’s Ronald … Read More »
Directed by Pierre Morel, The Gunman stars Sean Penn as a former Special Forces soldier and military contractor suffering from PTSD. He tries to reconnect with his longtime love but first must go on the run from London to Barcelona and across Europe to clear his name. The movie was a huge sales title for StudioCanal in Cannes last year, and Open Road earlier this month acquired it for the U.S. The action thriller, which also stars Javier Bardem, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance and Jasmine Trinca, now has been set for a February 20 stateside release. StudioCanal, which has the movie in its home territories, will go first on February 18 in France, followed by Australia and New Zealand on February 19. It will time the UK release to the U.S. and open in Germany a week later on February 26. The Gunman originally had a December 2014 release in France, but I understand the switch was made to accommodate a closer day-and-date with the U.S.
Heading into Cannes, the refrain was roundly the same as the one we heard going into the last big market, February’s EFM in Berlin. Whether it be from sales people, buyers or producers both foreign and domestic, there was a lament that the big projects had failed to materialize and that despite hopes to the contrary, this would be a very soft sojourn on the Croisette. One buyer called the situation a “catastrophe.” It is simply harder to pull together exciting packages, execs said, as talent attachments take longer and numbers are harder to hit. Still, if international dealmaking was in line with expectations, there was a jolt in domestic deals from the get-go. On the eve of the market, Paramount spent a record $20M on Story Of Your Life. The deal for the Denis Villeneuve-directed sci-fi pic starring Amy Adams was brokered by Lava Bear’s David Linde with WME Global’s Graham Taylor and FilmNation’s Glen Basner. Basner was also in the middle of The Weinstein Co’s landmark $7M Berlin deal for The Imitation Game. That acquisition was the real news out of Berlin, but it did not have a knock-on effect of jump-starting what ended up to be a pretty tepid EFM.
On the contrary, the sunny skies in Cannes, after two years of non-stop downpours, were matched by a solid … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Much as it did with The Gunman at last year‘s Cannes, Studiocanal has nearly sold out on its hot project of 2014, Legend. The Brian Helgeland-scripted and directed gangster pic that sees Tom Hardy step into dual roles as the infamous Kray twins Ronnie and Reggie, is about 70% sold throughout the world. Among the buyers are Paradise in Russia and Rai in Italy. Those deals are significant with Russia such an increasingly hot market and Rai making very few direct acquisitions in recent years. Earlier in the market, Cross Creek bought Legend for North America. Universal will release through Cross Creek’s distribution deal with the studio. Sales chief Anna Marsh says there was a lot of competition on Legend with the response from buyers that it “was one of the best scripts” they’d come across. Emily Browning is also starring in the film that will follow the rise and fall of the notorious London gangsters in the 50s and 60s. Helgeland came to Cannes with Working Title‘s Tim Bevan and Chris Clark to talk to buyers this week and showed test footage of Hardy playing the twins. Shooting starts in June with a release expected in late 2015. Studiocanal is fully financing Legend in its fifth collaboration with Working Title which … Read More »
Studiocanal added Bastille Day to its roster on the eve of the festival last week in a package that stars Idris Elba and Blue Is The Warmest Color‘s Adèle Exarchopoulos. Focus Features has now acquired North American distribution rights to the action thriller to be directed by The Woman In Black helmer James Watkins. Andrew Baldwin wrote the script for the Paris-set pic that sees a rogue CIA agent forced to team with an unsuspecting American con-artist to thwart a terrorist attack on French soil. Principal photography starts later this summer. Philippe Rousselet is producing via his Vendome Pictures along with Steve Golin, David Kanter, and Bard Dorros for Anonymous Content. Studiocanal is financing and handling international sales. It will distribute in France, the UK, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.
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In an eve of the market deal, Oliver Simon and Daniel Baur’s K5 International has acquired international rights to psychological thriller Mine starring and exec produced by Armie Hammer. Fabio Guaglione and Fabio Resinaro, the team behind award-winning short Afterville, are co-directing Mine from their own script. Hammer plays a soldier who finds himself stranded in the desert after a failed assassination mission. There, he has to survive the many dangers while also battling the psychological toll of his situation. Peter Safran is producing through the Safran Company, which is also financing. Joan Mao is co-producer. Production is set to start September in the Canary Islands. Hammer, who is next up in Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E., is repped by WME which is handling Mine in the U.S. along with Safran.
Related: Cannes: Emma Thompson & Daniel Bruhl ‘Alone In Berlin’, More
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StudioCanal and its parent Canal Plus Group are partnering with key Scandinavian talent to produce TV series for the international market. Together, they have created SAM Productions which is named after its three principals: Søren Sveistrup, Adam Price, and Meta Louise Foldager. Each of the three comes with significant credits. Sveistrup is creator and writer of the original Danish series The Killing and exec producer of the U.S. version. He will create and write his own series and executive produce other projects. Price created Denmark’s Borgen and is also the host of a TV cooking show and author of several cookbooks. He will be a partner in the same capacity as Sveistrup. Foldager, whose feature producing credits include A Royal Affair and Melancholia, will be CEO of Copenhagen-based SAM and a producer and exec producer on upcoming projects. She will also still run her own production shingle Meta Film.
The plan is for SAM to work with strong Scandinavian creative talents across television and film. Canal Plus will also work with SAM to develop premium content for its pay channels. Studiocanal will act as iinternational distributor for the output. On announcing the deal, Price said, “The modern TV series is going through a golden period and it is great to find that also … Read More »
Studiocanal and Nordisk Film Production are partnering on A Hijacking director Tobias Lindholm‘s A War. Pilou Asbæk (R, A Hijacking) will star as Major Claus Michael Pedersen, an officer put on trial upon his return from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Lindholm wrote this year’s Foreign Language Oscar nominee The Hunt and the hit Danish TV series Borgen. A Hijacking, which Magnolia released Stateside, won Denmark’s Bodil Award for Best Film of 2012. The latest entry in the hot Scandi thriller arena, A War centers on a determined Danish company commander as he fights to make a difference and lead his troops. During a standoff with the Taliban, a young soldier is critically injured and Pedersen makes an instinctive decision to bomb the area in order to allow the arrival of a rescue helicopter. The mission succeeds and the young soldier survives, but the bodies of 11 Afghan women and children are found in the ruins. The major is arrested and accused of a war crime, returning home to face a military trial and a battle to keep his life and family together. Also in the cast are Tuva Novotny, Søren Malling, Charlotte Munck and Dulfi Al-Jabouri. Producers are Tomas Radoor and René Ezra for Nordisk. Studiocanal will start international sales in Cannes and release the film in France, Germany, the UK, … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In its latest aggressive pre-buy to line its slate with star-driven pictures, Open Road Films has on the eve of the Cannes Film Festival closed a deal to acquire U.S. rights to The Gunman, the action thriller that stars Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance and Jasmine Trinca. It was directed by Taken helmer Pierre Morel. The film was expected to be one of the hot titles for domestic distribution at the market that starts next week. The deal was made by Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg and Studiocanal chairman/CEO Olivier Courson. It is a commitment for a big wide release.
Based on the Jean-Patrick Manchette novel The Prone Gunman, the film stars Penn as a former Special Forces soldier and military contractor suffering from PTSD. He tries to reconnect with his longtime love, but first must go on the run from London to Barcelona and across Europe in order to clear his name. Joel Silver, Andrew Rona and Sean Penn are the producers. Adrian Guerra and Peter McAleese are exec producers. It is one of Studiocanal’s biggest productions to date. Read More »
Studiocanal-owned Tandem Communications (Crossing Lines) has pacted with X Files veteran Frank Spotnitz‘s Big Light Productions in a first-look distrbution deal. Spotnitz is in Cannes this week in support of the second season of Atlantique Productions’ Transporter The Series, on which he is showrunner. He was also on hand for the announcement this afternoon of the new deal with Tandem, saying he has a slate of projects at Big Light that are looking for the best partners and the best distribution platforms. The writer/producer founded London-based Big Light in 2013 after he moved to the British capital for Cinemax/BBC series Hunted, and found he wanted to stay. Projects being developed at Big Light include work from some U.S. talent, but overall are ambitious European drama series that will have global appeal. They’ll also draw on the best lessons he has been able to bring from the States. At the same time, he is enjoying the local sensibilities. “When you come to Europe, you wake up,” he said. “Hollywood people make lots of money, and here people do it out of passion.” Spotnitz added, “I love many, many things about Hollywood,” but says he’s found that in Europe, people work hard “because they want it to be good… In Hollywood, popularity is always first.” Tandem’s President Rola Bauer did not elaborate on terms of the deal, but said the company had been keen to … Read More »
Jesus Perezagua Exiting Fox International Channels
Fox International Channels President of Europe and Africa Jesus Perezagua has announced his departure. The exec has been at the company since 2003. He joined as managing director of FIC Spain and Portugal and in 2005 took over the company’s expansion plan in Eastern and Central Europe, Turkey and Greece. Perezagua became President of FIC Europe and Africa in 2011. He will step down from the role on April 30 but will continue to consult FIC. The search is on for a successor. Prior to FIC, Perezagua held posts at Iberian Channels and Online for Fox Kids Entertainment Espana and was Managing Director of Bandai Espana, a Japanese toy company specializing in TV marketing concepts. Read More »
Writer-director Hossein Amini‘s The Two Faces Of January, based on the Patricia Highsmith novel, has its world premiere here tonight as a Berlinale Special screening. Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Isaac and Kirsten Dunst star in the 1962-set noir that follows glamourous, mysterious American couple Chester and Collette MacFarland (Mortensen & Dunst) as they vacation in Athens. There, they meet Rydal (Isaac), an American working as a tour guide. Impressed by Chester, and attracted to Collette, he is ultimately drawn into a web of deception that leads to a dangerous battle of wits. Drive scripter Amini makes his feature helming debut with the lush-looking January which was shot during the political unrest in Greece (“quite often we’d have a scene and we could hear the riots,” Amini mentioned). He said today that he had first become interested in turning Highsmith’s book into a movie after reading it 25 years ago. Mortensen praised the director, saying he meant no disrespect to Highsmith in calling Amini’s movie “better than the book.” Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner produced the movie with Robyn Slovo and Tom Sternberg. Studiocanal is releasing in the UK in May, and is also selling internationally. Check out the trailer:
The company launched last year by Rich Goldberg and Mitch Budin has made a pre-emptive strike ahead of Berlin, grabbing all North American rights to the psychological thriller. Vertical Entertainment picked up the Ombra Films production Mindscape from StudioCanal on the eve of EFM. Produced by Jaume Collet-Sera, the pic stars Sherlock Holmes heavy Mark Strong as a memory detective who enters people’s minds to help them recall details in order to solve crimes or investigate trauma. But when he suffers a stroke during a session gone wrong, he is left a broken shell of his former self. Brian Cox and Taissa Farmiga co-star in Mindscape, which is director Jorge Dorago’s feature debut. The filmmaker, who has helmed many award-winning shorts including La Guerra and has AD credits including Bad Education and Talk To Her, signed with WME after Cannes last year.
Related: ‘Mindscape’ Is A Go; Mark Strong, Taissa Farmiga Star
Warner Bros UK Gears Up For Creative Talent Initiative
Warner Bros UK has recruited its first group of scholars, apprentices and trainees for the inaugural season of Warner Bros Creative Talent. The first selection will participate in the program to gain industry insight and work experience across Warner’s UK film, TV, games and theater operations. The initiative is part of Warner Bros’ long-term commitment to the UK’s creative industries. Among the first folks chosen to take part are students Rienkje Attoh, Sam Coleman and Sam Hughes who are receiving the first Prince William Scholarships supported by BAFTA and Warner Bros. Four others will work as camera trainees and sound trainees on Ron Howard’s Heart Of The Sea and Guy Ritchie’s Man From U.N.C.L.E. More information on the program is available here.
Hugh Bonneville Back As Ian Fletcher In BBC’s ‘W1A’
Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville will reprise his role as Ian Fletcher in a new BBC comedy, W1A. The show is a follow-up to BAFTA-winning comedy series Twenty Twelve, from BBC In-House Comedy. Shooting starts next month on the series that sees Fletcher, the ex-head of the Olympic Deliverance Commission, taking up his next big job – the (fictional) Head of Values at the BBC. His task is to clarify, define, or redefine the core purpose of the BBC across all its functions and to position it confidently for the future. In Twenty Twelve (available on iTunes in the U.S.), the network poked fun at the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics and here looks to be taking a shot at itself after the broadcaster suffered a string of PR scandals in the past year. But John Morton, who wrote the series, says: “It isn’t a demolition job on anybody or anything, and it isn’t one giant in-joke, and this isn’t a game of guessing who is supposed to be who. If it is satirical then it’s satirical about an environment, an ethos, and the absurdities of modern corporate life itself. The key principle is to operate at a level of reality just to the left or the right of fact, to create stories that haven’t actually happened but that could happen or might have happened.“ Says Mark Freeland, head of BBC In-House Comedy: “This is a kind of love letter to the BBC. But a letter that gets mislaid, because the remote computer system is not working.” Twenty Twelve’s Morton also directs the comedy that’s produced by that show’s Paul Schlesinger and executive produced by Jon Plowman. There will be an initial run of four 30-minute episodes to be screened in 2014 on BBC Two. Read More »
Deadline told you exclusively in July that Stephen Frears would be directing Ben Foster in a movie about disgraced Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong for Working Title. Now, they’ve finally confirmed all this and that Studio Canal will fully fund the untitled project for an October 18 start date. Foster will be joined by Chris O’Dowd, who’ll play journalist David Walsh. Guillaume Canet and Breaking Bad‘s Jesse Plemons have key supporting roles. Trance‘s John Hodge wrote the screenplay based on sportswriter Walsh’s book Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit Of Lance Armstrong. The film charts Armstrong’s rise through the 1990s and early 2000s, his battle with cancer and his dominance of pro cycling. It also follows Walsh who was at first charmed by Armstrong, but ultimately became an integral figure in exposing the doping rife within the sport.
Related: Ben Foster To Play Lance Armstrong
Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing as is longtime Frears collaborator Tracey Seaward — who most recently worked with the director on Philomena — and Kate Solomon (United 93, Green Zone). Working Title’s Liza Chasin and Amelia Granger will executive produce. Studiocanal is distributing in its own territories and will kick off international sales at the AFM.
They are in a race … Read More »
Harold van Lier joined France’s Studiocanal in 2007 from Summit and was most recently EVP International Distribution. He now leaves the company to become President of eOne Films International, taking over the job in January. (Just ahead of van Lier’s announced departure, Studiocanal said it has promoted Anna Marsh to the role of Head of International Film Sales.) Part of van Lier’s purview will be to launch a new financing and investment model at eOne which also says it has new production financing arrangements with City National Bank and OneWest Bank. Here’s the full press release: Read More »