Dutch entertainment mogul Joop van den Ende is one of Europe’s savviest producers of movies, TV and legit, but he just can’t catch a break on Broadway. His latest venture, the musical adaptation of Rocky, was a hit on the Continent — it’s still selling out in Hamburg — but the tuner will shutter August 17 at the Winter Garden Theatre at a complete loss of its estimated $16 million-plus capitalization. Van den Ende will share the pain with a four-star roster of partners including Rocky himself, Sylvester Stallone, MGM, the two leading Broadway landlords, the Shubert Organization (which owns the Winter Garden) and the Nederlander Organization, along with a host of independent producers.
Rocky began previews February 13 and opened a month later to mostly critical yawns that tamped the box office despite some enthusiastic patrons getting in on highly discounted tickets. The show offered a certified coup de theatre from set designer Christopher Barreca in the final scene, which called for the folks in the front rows of the orchestra to move to stageside bleachers, offering a simulacrum of a live boxing event. The boxing ring in which Andy Karl’s Rocky Balboa fought Terence Archie’s Apollo Creed was drawn out on risers directly into the house, a knockout move. Strategic miking and custom-made props — including soft gloves that allowed the actors to actually pummel one another — enhanced the illusion. Read More »
Hollywood’s fascination with the mob continues.
Brad Furman has come aboard to direct Sylvester Stallone in Scarpa for Avi Lerner’s Millennium Films, a high-profile project currently being pulled together and one they hope to put before the cameras next year, possibly in the first quarter. The project will be produced by Irwin Winkler (Rocky). Stallone will star as Gregory Scarpa, a former capo and enforcer (hitman) for the Colombo crime family known as the Grim Reaper.
The script is by crime aficionado Nicholas Pileggi, whose screenplay for Goodfellas was nominated for an Oscar and whose Casino was also critically acclaimed. (And, btw, he should have been nominated again for Casino which he adapted from his own book). Both were directed by Martin Scorsese.
Stallone would play one of the best-known sociopaths in organized crime — a man who murdered for the family, suspected in the murders of his own biological family, then turned FBI informant (like many of the wise guys end up doing). He was eventually indicted for multiple murders. He called himself the Killing Machine and boasted of 50 murders — as if that was something to be proud of. His own daughter said living with him was like living with a serial killer. He later became a prisoner in his own body and died in 1994 from AIDS-related complications in a Minnesota prison. Karma.
You know all Italians are not criminals, though you wouldn’t know it from the movies Hollywood puts out. Read More »
Last month, we saw a big swath of the Expendables 3 crew yukking it up during a massive stunt in Cannes. Today, they’re back with the first full-length trailer for the Millennium Films threequel. This episode reunites key cast members including Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren and Randy Couture. It also adds Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Kelsey Grammer, Antonio Banderas, Kellan Lutz and others. Director Patrick Hughes plants the band on a quest for revenge after one of their men is murdered on what should have been an easy job. Deep in enemy territory, they face an unexpected threat. The film starts its international rollout on August 13 and Lionsgate releases in the States on August 15. It’s going out with a PG-13 which Stallone said in Cannes was “to reach as many people as possible. It’s very close to an R, believe me, it’s right there. But I think we owe it to the next generation. We thought we’d join that club for a while.”
Millennium Entertainment acquired all U.S. rights to John Herzfeld’s dramedy Reach Me, and Sylvester Stallone, Kyra Sedgwick, Kevin Connelly, Terry Crews, Thomas Jane, Danny Aiello, and Tom Berenger head the cast. Herzfeld wrote the script, and he produces with Rebekah Chaney, Cassian Elwes, and Buddy Patrick. The film, which was long in the works and was crowdfunded for finishing funds (initially on Kickstarter, they switched to Indiegogo), will be released in select cities and then on demand October 24.
Related: John Herzfeld And Sly Stallone Hope Kickstarter Can Raise Finishing Funds For ‘Reach Me’
A group of strangers’ lives collide as a result of a self-published motivational book by a reclusive author in hiding (Berenger). When the book’s positive message goes viral a tabloid journalist (Connolly), his editor (Stallone), an arsonist ex-con (Sedgwick), a gunfighter cop (Jane), an alcoholic priest (Aiello), and a dimwitted gangster all plow into each other and irrevocably impact each other’s lives. Lauren Cohan, Nelly, Omari Hardwick, David O’Hara, Ryan Kwanten, Tom Sizemore, Elizabeth Henstridge, Danny Trejo, and Kelsey Grammer are also in the film. Red Granite is handling offshore sales. Read More »
When I exclusively reported earlier this month that Millennium Films was planning a massive stunt with the cast of The Expendables 3 storming the Croisette today, I had a feeling it would be rather extraordinary — but I didn’t know it would end up to be one of the most entertaining events I’ve attended in 17 years in Cannes. The action brigade rolled into town this morning – on tanks no less – giving throngs of onlookers something to gawk at, and journalists inside a packed press conference the hourlong thrill of seeing mega-franchise stars riffing on everything from their advancing age to the state of today’s action films, how their competitiveness has waned from the ’80s and why this movie will be PG-13. “We are children with arthritis, we are young forever,” said writer- star Sylvester Stallone to great applause when he was asked how he and his cronies will know when it’s time to hang it up on actioners. He added, “I think if you wake up in the morning and your ass falls off, it’s time to retire.”
For now, the franchise isn’t eyeing retirement. It has made about $580M at the global box office so far. But both of the first films were rated R. This one is going out PG-13. Stallone explained, “We want to reach as many people as possible. It’s very close to an R, believe me, it’s right there. But I think we owe it to the next generation. We thought we’d join that club for a while.”
Related: Cannes: Sly, Arnie, Mel & More To Storm Croisette For Mega ‘Expendables 3′ Event
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EXCLUSIVE: In one of the greatest assemblages of international star power — and muscle — that Cannes has ever seen, a baker’s dozen of Expendables 3 castmembers are set to hit town on Sunday, May 18 for a full day of events. Attending are Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, Dolph Lundgren, Kelsey Grammer, Randy Couture, Kellan Lutz, Victor Ortiz and Glen Powell, along with director Patrick Hughes. Millennium Films president Mark Gill tells me the day will start with a screening of footage from the movie, followed by the action brigade arriving at the Carlton Hotel for a press conference and photo call. How will they get there? Why, in tanks of course! Millennium, which is organizing the testosterone fest, is seeing that a stretch of the Croisette is shut down to accommodate the armored vehicles. At the Carlton, it’s also bought banners representing each of the characters which will adorn the façade. Later that evening, there will be a big soirée at the Palm Beach nightclub.
Cannes is habitually used as a platform to launch and promote Hollywood movies off the red carpet, but in recent years the studios have cut back on … Read More »
David Letterman looking for some viral moments on his CBS late-night show tonight – like the two Jimmys.
MGM is kicking off a yearlong campaign to celebrate its birthday and has produced a trailer that will be shown in theaters, on MGM’s various channels and home video products, and via social media. As part of the celebration, the studio has built 4K restorations of titles for Blu-ray including Rocky, Rainman and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, and the studio’s Leo the Lion is getting the pawprint treatment at the Chinese Theater this morning in Hollywood with Sylvester Stallone and CEO Gary Barber among those expected to attend. Although it is MGM’s 90th birthday, most of the highlights here are centered on the film library the studio still owns (lots of United Artists movies — James Bond, Pink Panther, etc). There’s not much on MGM’s Golden Era in the 1930s and ’40s — those rights were acquired by Turner and now held by Warner Bros. Still cool though. Check it out:
There might be one less name on the credits for The Expendables 3 if Millennium Films and Nu Image get their way. The producers have taken the Writers Guild of America West and scribe David Callaham to court this week for fraud, unjust enrichment and declaratory relief over the original Expendables. They claim a flawed and misinformed 2009 Guild arbitration gave the writer undeserved credit on the successful Sylvester Stallone-directed 2010 retro action pic as well as its sequels. To that end the plaintiffs want back the $102,250 that was paid to Callaham for as a “writing credit bonus” after the WGA arbitration went his way four years ago. In their demand for a jury trial and unspecified damages plus legal fees (read it here), they also want any sequel payments nixed and the court to rule that Callaham committed fraud by withholding vital correspondence from the WGA that revealed his true and much more limited role in The Expendables script. They also want the 2009 WGA ruling partially reversed and the Guild to “discipline” UTA-repped Callaham for not revealing emails in which he seemingly indicates his lesser involvement in the Expendables script.
“Plaintiffs are informed and believe that Callaham intentionally withheld these material emails, and concealed the limited extent of his contributions to The Expendables from the WGA screen writing credit arbitration panel in … Read More »
Last night marked Saturday Night Live hosting gig #13 for John Goodman, who noted that he’d last hosted in 2001 but stopped “because I had to work.” Speaking of having to work, the Inside Llewyn Davis co-star wasn’t the only veteran actor who showed up to promote a new flick: Grudge Match duo Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro dropped by to cameo alongside Goodman as the “Three Wise Guys” in a pre-holiday Nativity sketch (Sly & De Niro’s old-guy boxing pic hits theaters on Christmas Day). Unfortunately they lacked the ease Goodman had elsewhere even dressed as a snowflake and a woman. Meanwhile Kenan Thompson got significant screentime in multiple sketches through the night, including a stint as Black Santa as Weekend Update poked fun at Megyn Kelly‘s recent yuletide comments. Watch highlights below:
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Open Road’s Homefront stars James Franco and Jason Statham from a script by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Sylvester Stallone. The Gary Fleder-directed action thriller follows a widowed ex-fed who moves his daughter to a small town to start rebuilding. Nice idea, anyway. It opens just in time for Thanksgiving. Here’s the red band trailer, complete with gunshots to the face, impalings, explosions and more f-bombs than Madonna on Letterman. If you like your job, keep the volume down:
Henry “Razor” Sharp and Billy “The Kid” McDonnen fought twice back in the day; each won once, but the tiebreaker never happened. Fast-forward 30 years and the bitter enemies — played by cinema-ring Hall of Famers Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro — will settle things in Grudge Match. Kevin Hart, Alan Arkin, John Bernthal and Kim Basinger co-star in the Warner Bros film from director Peter Segal. Here’s the first trailer for the Christmastime release scripted by Tim Kelleher and Rodney Rothman:
Homefront stars Jason Statham, James Franco, Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth, and Frank Grillo. Gary Fleder directed Sylvester Stallone’s adaptation based on the book by Chuck Logan. Statham plays a widowed ex-DEA agent who retires to a small town for the sake of his 10-year-old daughter. The only problem is he picked the wrong town. Open Road Films acquired the Millennium Films pic in June and has set a November 27 release date. Here’s the trailer:
EXCLUSIVE: All summer we’ve debated the merits of Kickstarter as Zach Braff, Spike Lee and the makers of Veronica Mars successfully used the mechanism as a way to fill in funding gaps for movies they wanted to make. Well, here’s a new wrinkle: John Herzfeld, who wrote and directed 2 Days In The Valley, 15 Minutes and The Death And Life Of Bobby Z, was already shooting the ensemble film Reach Me when one of his backers fell out to the tune of $250,000. Rather than squash the movie, he, his star Sylvester Stallone and producer Cassian Elwes have made a pitch for the funds through Kickstarter.
With a cast that includes Stallone, Lauren Cohan, Kelsey Grammer, Kyra Sedgwick, Nelly, Entourage‘s Kevin Connolly, True Blood‘s Ryan Kwanten, Thomas Jane, Tom Sizemore, Elizabeth Henstridge, Terry Crews and Danny Trejo, you wouldn’t imagine they would have any trouble finding the coin for a film about a group of very different people connected by a self-help book written by a reclusive football coach. Herzfeld says he put everything he had into the film and that he and his producers Elwes and Rebekah Chaney went through hell to get this far. Stallone himself does most of the talking in the Kickstarter pitch along with Herzfeld. Read More »
Entertainment One has teamed with with Avi Lerner and his Nu Image to develop and produce a television series based on the hugely successful Rambo feature franchise. According to the companies, Sylvester Stallone is in negotiations to be involved with the project on a creative level as well as potentially reprise his role as the original Rambo. EOne and Nu Image plan to develop the series and shop it to broadcasters in the U.S. and internationally.
Based on the David Morrell novel First Blood, the Rambo films center on a troubled Vietnam War veteran and former Green Beret (Stallone) who is skilled in many aspects of survival, weaponry, hand-to-hand combat and guerrilla warfare. The franchise consists of the films First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III and Rambo. “Rambo fans cover all demographics and we’re confident that we’ll quickly find this series a home,” said eOne TV CEO John Morayniss. Added Lerner, “I’m excited by the prospect of collaborating again with my good friend Sly for an encore in this next phase of the Rambo legacy.” Lerner and Stallone worked together on the 2008 Rambo feature and had planned a fifth installment, which had been put on hold. The two also are collaborating on the Expendables film franchise, currently filming its third installment in Bulgaria. The Rambo TV series will be produced by eOne in association with Lerner and Nu Image, with Morayniss and Lerner … Read More »
Here’s your official The Expendables 3 lineup: Returning Expendables Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews and Arnold Schwarzenegger will be joined by fellow action vets Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, and Harrison Ford. New recruits include Kellan Lutz, MMA star Ronda Rousey, welterweight boxing champion Victor Ortiz and Glen Powell. If you missed Sly’s sly tweeting last week, Bruce Willis is out of the franchise — and how. Mel Gibson is aboard as Conrad Stonebanks, Barney’s (Stallone) ex-Expendables co-founder who’s back with a personal mission of vengeance to end the mercenary gang. Patrick Hughes (Red Hill) is directing from a script by Creighton Rothenberger & Katrin Benedikt (Olympus Has Fallen) and Stallone. Filming begins today in Bulgaria with almost exactly a year until Lionsgate releases the pic on August 15.
‘Expendables 3′ Woos Chan, Snipes, Cage & Jovovich
Harrison Ford In For ‘Expendables 3,’ Bruce Willis Out
Bruce Willis Says He’s “Bored” Doing Action Flicks
Harrison Ford will join the brawny cast of Sylvester Stallone’s Expendables 3, Deadline has confirmed. Stallone announced the surprise casting news today – along with an apparent dig at Expendables & Expendables 2 cast member Bruce Willis. “WILLIS OUT… HARRISON FORD IN !!!! GREAT NEWS !!!!! Been waiting years for this!!!!” he Tweeted Tuesday. Stallone, who wrote and starred in the Expendables films in addition to helping nab the franchise’s line-up of ’80s and ’90s action stars, subtweeted five minutes later without naming the subject of his scorn: “GREEDY AND LAZY …… A SURE FORMULA FOR CAREER FAILURE.” Coincidence?
Willis had a cameo in the first action pic as Mr. Church and reprised the role with expanded screen time in the 2012 sequel. Jackie Chan, Wesley Snipes, Nicolas Cage and Milla Jovovich are among the new faces joining the franchise. Patrick Hughes is directing the threequel which Lionsgate has already set for an August 15, 2014, release. Ford is repped by UTA and next stars in Paranoia, which opens August 16, then Summit’s November 1 sci-fi adaptation Ender’s Game.
Related: ‘Expendables 3′ Woos Chan, Snipes, Cage, Jovovich
EXCLUSIVE: MGM is setting Ryan Coogler to direct Creed, and the studio is in early talks with Coogler’s Fruitvale Station star Michael B. Jordan to play the grandson of Apollo Creed in a continuation of the Rocky saga that Coogler is going to write with Aaron Covington. Sylvester Stallone will reprise Rocky Balboa as a retired fighter-turned-trainer. This comes in the wake of a strong summer platform opening for Fruitvale Station, the film that won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Awards at Sundance, and captured Prize Of The Future at the Cannes Film Festival, where Coogler and Jordan were the toast of the Croisette. Coogler intends for this to be his directorial follow-up to Fruitvale Station so the intention is to make it happen quickly.
Now, I know the knee-jerk reaction is to say it’s hard to get excited about what amounts to the seventh film in the Rocky series. This feels different to me, mostly because of how it came together. Much the same way that Coogler burned with the desire to tell the tragic story of Oscar Grant in his feature debut and begged Jordan to play the role in the $900,000 budget film, this whole idea also came from Coogler. When he signed with WME, Coogler identified Creed as a dream project. While Coogler already had the relationship with Jordan, the agency put him together with Stallone. Stallone, who is right now heavily involved in a stage musical transfer of his original Oscar-winning 1976 film Rocky, loved the idea and felt it was strong enough for him to bring back his signature screen character. Stallone and Coogler then approached MGM’s Gary Barber and Jon Glickman, and they flipped for it. The film will be produced by Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, who produced the original, along with Stallone and Kevin King.
The intention is for Jordan to play the grandson of Apollo Creed (played in the early movies by Carl Weathers). Raised in an upper-crust home thanks to the ring riches earned by his grandfather, the young man doesn’t have to box and his family doesn’t want him to. Yet, he has the natural instinct and gifts and potential that made his grandfather the heavyweight champion until Rocky Balboa took his crown in 1979′s Rocky II. Creed’s grandson needs a mentor and turns to Balboa, who is out of boxing completely and not eager to return. Read More »
Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger are still expendable in Summit‘s October 18 actioner Escape Plan (formerly The Tomb). This time they’re beefing up the action behind bars. Sly stars as an expert prison breaker trapped in a high tech facility of his own design who attempts escape with the help of Schwarzenegger’s grizzled convict. Mikael Håfström directs from a script by Miles Chapman (Road House 2) and Jason Keller (Machine Gun Preacher). Here’s the first trailer:
Related: Stallone & Arnold In ‘The Tomb’ (PHOTO)