The creators of web series about a foul-mouthed teddy bear with a penchant for drinking, smoking and prostitutes has filed a copyright infringement suit against Seth MacFarlane, Universal Pictures and the producers of Ted, the 2012 film about a foul-mouthed teddy bear with a penchant for drinking, smoking and prostitutes. Bengal Mangle Productions claims that Ted “is an unlawful copy” of its own animated teddy, who was featured in two different web series, Charlie The Abusive Teddy and Acting School Academy. The suit (read it here), filed today in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, states that those web series aired in 2009 and 2010 on You Tube, FunnyOrDie.com and other streaming websites.
“Both Charlie and Ted reside in a substantially similar environment, including that both Charlie and Ted spend a significant amount of time sitting on a living room couch with a beer and/or cigarette in hand,” the suit claims. “Charlie and Ted each have a substantially similar persona, verbal tone, verbal delivery, dialogue, and attitude.” Read More »
These two worlds were bound to collide, right? Advertisements are everywhere, especially in Tokyo. And we’ve seen folks covered scalp to toe with tattoos, piercings and brandings. (Keep that last one in mind.) So now comes the inevitable next step: A PR guy in Japan’s capital has begun putting ads directly on the thighs of young women, who have to wear short skirts to flaunt their wares. One of the most popular ads touts this week’s local Blu-ray launch of Universal’s Seth MacFarlane raunchfest Ted, which seems somehow apropos. “It’s an absolutely perfect place to put an advertisement,” Hidenori Atsumi, the brains behind the bodily billboards, tellsThe Guardian. “This is what guys are eager to look at and girls are OK to expose.” And not just a few — more than 3,000 young women have signed up for the gig. (They have to be at least 18.) They get paid by walking around for eight hours a day sporting the strategic adverts. The boss recommends they be augmented by over-the-knee socks. Now that’s targeted advertising.
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA, May 31, 2013—Universal Pictures International (UPI) today announced that the studio has reached $1 billion at the international box office. This is the earliest the studio has reached that milestone in history, besting a previous record set on July 17, 2012 through the performance of such global hits as Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, American Reunion, Snow White and the Huntsman and Ted. 2013 marks the seventh year in a row that Universal has reached $1 billion internationally. In 2012, the studio enjoyed its highest grossing year at the international box office with $1.794 billion in total grosses.
It was Universal Pictures’ turn in the spotlight this morning as Chairman Adam Fogelson served up a look at the studio’s sequel-packed summer slate and a summary of the studio’s 2012 hits and even big miss Battleship. He announced sequels in varying stages of development: Snow White And The Huntsman (for a targeted 2015 date), Ted, Bourne Legacy, and also for 2015 another Pitch Perfect, that sleeper which earned $110 million worldwide and has become the 4th biggest digital download in history. But clearly the studio’s biggest franchise news - thinking audiences can’t get enough of a good thing – was star/producer Vin Diesel’s announcement that the cast will return for a 7th Fast & Furious with a release date already set for July 11, 2014. Marketing honcho Michael Moses told me afterwards that the 7th film will go into production with new director James Wan in August right after the cast finishes up its worldwide promotions for #6. For such a stunt driven movie, 11 months is not much time and sets it up for an imposing ‘fast and furious’ schedule. In fact these things go so down to the wire that #6 director Justin Lin couldn’t be in Vegas to join the cast (including Paul Walker and Michelle Rodriguez) and producer Neal H. Moritz on stage to talk up the new film for the pumped theater owners. Moritz said he’s been darting between London, Vancouver … Read More »
Mark Wahlberg and Ted’s appearance on this year’s Oscars presenting the Sound Mixing and Sound Editing awards may have only lasted nine minutes, but it was months in the making, I’ve learned. The decision to have the blockbuster hard-partying talking bear as part of the Oscarcast with his big screen co-star was made soon after Ted director Seth MacFarlane was named host of the 85th Academy Awards in October. MacFarlane and Oscar producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan approached Ted distributor Universal Pictures to pay for the high-tech appearance, to which the studio quickly agreed. “It’s a great platform for us and makes total promotional sense with a Ted 2 in the making,” an insider told me of the studio dolling out the cash. Wahlberg signed on immediately last fall after a call from his co-star MacFarlane.
After that, MacFarlane asked Ted co-writer Wellesley Wild to put the script together for the segment. The Oscar host himself then tweaked it, sources tells me. Just like when Ted appeared on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! last December, the movie’s producer Jason Clark took over putting everything together. Tippet Studios’ Blair Clark, who also did the visual effects on the movie, oversaw the 3D animation/motion capture. The segment you saw tonight was actually taped in mid-January. People in the Dolby … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: When he completes Sunday’s Oscar hosting stint, Seth MacFarlane will get down to business about where to place his next film, one that is shaping up to be the hot movie project in town. I’m hearing that Universal Pictures has the inside track to acquire A Million Ways To Die In The West, the live action comedy he’ll begin shooting this spring that is a kindred spirit to Blazing Saddles. Several studios are chasing the project, which so far stars MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried and Charlize Theron.
MacFarlane is once again teamed in this venture with Media Rights Capital, which finally rode in a big winner when it backed MacFarlane’s last film, Ted, the foul mouthed stuffed bear comedy that has now grossed over $536 million worldwide and is out-grossing Skyfall in Japan. MacFarlane wrote the script with Ted and Family Guy cohorts Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, and Scott Stuber and Jason Clark are producing. They were producers on Ted with MacFarlane and John Jacobs. You can see he is a loyal guy, and so why wouldn’t he go back to Universal when the result was so good last time around. Read More »
Universal and MRC‘s Ted today passed Skyfall at the Japanese box office and now has grossed $32.5M in the territory, the biggest total so far in 2013. It already was the biggest R-rated comedy of all time in Japan in its fifth week in the territory, where it enjoyed four weeks in a row at No. 1 following a January 18 bow. Skyfall has grossed $32.3M since its December 1 premiere there; The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, meanwhile, has grossed $19.7M since its December 14 release; and Life Of Pi has grossed $17.4M since its January 25 bow.
Overall, Ted has grossed $317.3M internationally and more than $536M worldwide, with Japan its final stop in the release schedule.
EXCLUSIVE: This is a big deal — both because it’s a new line of business for Media Rights Capital, and because the company was able to raise the cash at a time when the lending markets remain tight. Private equity firm ABRY Partners was the lead investor in the $175M equity sale. It joins AT&T, WPP Group, and Goldman Sachs, which just increased their stakes in the independent film and TV studio that’s behind Universal’s hit film Ted and Netflix’s House Of Cards. MRC plans to use the cash to co-finance films. It will work with multiple major studios, but doesn’t have its eye on any particular projects yet. It can expect lots of offers: Studios are eager to find co-finance partners to help reduce their investment risks. And MRC can participate in several projects since it’s free to recycle returns from its investments to support other films. “MRC will approach studios as a financial partner, as well as an operating partner where we can,” MRC co-CEO and co-founder Asif Satchu says. Investment bank Moelis & Co and J.P. Morgan advised MRC and helped raise the capital. This is the first funding deal for MRC since 2011, when it closed a $350M revolving credit facility.
Anthony D’Alessandro is Managing Editor of AwardsLine.
This year’s crop of contenders—a doc tune, a musical melody, a jazz ditty, and an Indian lullaby—are similar to the genres that the category has recognized in recent years. Pop-radio songs, which arguably have been sparse over the last 10 years with the exception of the Beyoncé-performed Dreamgirls song “Listen” and Eminem’s Oscar winner “Lose Yourself” from 8 Mile, marked their return this year with Adele’s James Bond ballad “Skyfall”. A glance at this year’s best song nominees:
Backstory: Looking to bring emotion to glacial meltdown, J. Ralph, who scored the Oscar-winning docs The Cove and Man on Wire, enlisted the breathy vocals of Scarlett Johansson and the touching high notes of violinist Joshua Bell. “As the song plays over the final sequence of the film”, Ralph says, “I wanted to create a transportive, hypnotic experience where the audience could absorb all they had seen, as if Scarlett is singing to each person individually. The song explores the dialogue between mankind and nature and the perception of time. In the end, no one is bigger than Mother Nature”.
Odds: Given the Academy’s penchant for songs that earnestly jibe with a film’s sensibility, don’t count out “Before My Time” just because it’s tagged to the end … Read More »
Mark Wahlberg and his teddy bear co-star, “Ted,” will be presenters on the Oscar® show, telecast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today.
“We are happy to make it possible for Mark and Ted to make their debut appearance on the Oscar stage,” said Zadan and Meron. “And we won’t deny that Ted used his pull with our host to get himself the booking.”
Wahlberg and Ted starred in the hit summer comedy “Ted,” which is now the highest-grossing R-rated original comedy of all time.
“I’m excited to present an Oscar with Mark Wahlberg,” said Ted. “I’m spending the next month learning to pronounce ‘Quvenzhané.’“
EXCLUSIVE: Ted co-writers writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild have signed with UTA. This comes as FBC picked up their untitled pilot and moved it right to series, one of the few large commitments of the season. The writers had been repped by WME.
The scribes co-wrote the Universal hit comedy with Seth MacFarlane, which grossed more than $500 million worldwide. The duo also scripted the Untitled Western that MacFarlane is set to direct and star in, this spring. They are also currently writing for the Academy Award telecast which MacFarlane is hosting. They are also expected to write the Ted sequel.
Sulkin & Wild have been writer/producers on Family Guy since 2005, rising to Executive Producers, and the duo is currently under an overall deal at 20th Century Fox Television.
Sulkin & Wild continue to be represented by attorney Ken Richman.
The Ted actor and his furry co-star will be part of this year’s Oscar telecast, which happens to be hosted by the film’s director Seth MacFarlane. Mark Wahlberg made the announcement on Anderson Cooper’s talk show Anderson Live in a segment taped to air Friday. He also confirmed that there will be a Ted sequel, after the first pic about the raunchy teddy bear became the highest-grossing R-rated comedy in history this summer. Wahlberg said a deal for Ted 2 has already been locked and the script is being written now. Here’s the segment:
The stuffed star of Seth MacFarlane‘s Ted — the Universal pic that became the top-grossing R-rated comedy of all time after its June premiere, grossing more than $500 million worldwide to date — was a “guest” on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night (MacFarlane might have been lurking around somewhere). He did break a bit of news on a Ted sequel, saying of plans, “We’re basically going to do the same movie, but in Thailand, like The Hangover“.
Thanks to yesterday’s overseas box office numbers, Universal‘s R-rated comedy has crossed the $500M mark globally. It’s now grossed $281.4M internationally and $218.7M in North America. Ted already was the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time and the studio’s top-grossing film of 2012 after the raunchy comedy opened the last week of June to $54.4 million. Seth MacFarlane wrote and directed and provided the voice for the film’s title character, and Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis co-starred. Media Rights Capital developed it with Scott Stuber, who produced with MacFarlane, John Jacobs and Jason Clark.
Ted‘s worldwide gross reached an estimated $469 million today. That puts the Universal/Media Rights Capital comedy ahead of the previous recordholder, Warner Bros’ The Hangover and its $467.5M. So that makes Ted now the #1 highest grossing R-rated original comedy of all time around the globe. Ted went over the top by opening #1 or #2 this weekend in France, Belgium and Switzerland. The Seth MacFarlane pic starring Mark Wahlberg is now open in 44 international territories. and its international total is now $250.5M (after adding $13.9M at 2,900 dates this weekend). Pic still has 4 territories yet to open - including Malaysia on October 18th, India on October 26th, Venezuela on December 21th, and Japan in January. Domestically, the film is now in Week 16 with a cume at the end of this weekend estimated to be $218.5M.
The producers had “promised” the Academy they would name a host by the end of September, and they met the deadline. “He was great on SNL, he’s an amazing, amazing host and we’re well aware of the multi-faceted Seth. It has been a great year for him, so why not have him be considered. I think what we wanted was the consummate host, whatever came along with that package and we think Seth is that person,” said Meron. Zadan adds they had been talking about MacFarlane for a long time and wanted to work with him one day. They informed the Academy of their idea and started to get everyone on board even from the moment they first got the Oscar job. “The thing that makes us most excited about Seth is that in order for us to produce a show that is versatile and has great entertainment value, the more diverse the host is the better the show”, Zadan says. “The fact is Seth does everything. He does comedy, he sings, he dances, he’s a great comic writer; I could go on and on. He just does so many things so well, he gives us an embarrassment of riches to create a show that is really entertaining”.
As for MacFarlane, he’s “ecstatic. I was surprised. I have done a fair amount of hosting in the past but nothing of this magnitude. I was very, very pleasantly surprised.” He says the timing is great since Ted — which he wrote and directed and voiced the title character — has been a much bigger hit than anyone imagined and it gives him an added foothold in the motion picture business, rather than someone primarily just known for TV work.
So what kind of plans does he have for the show? “It’s so early on, it’s hard to give a specific answer to that”, MacFarlane says. “It is the Academy Awards so I think you can expect anything. It’s the Oscars so you always want a musical component and you want an injection of comedy and so I think it will be a mix of many elements”. He added that he doesn’t plan to copy other hosts and specifically mentions Johnny Carson but says he “would never dare to try and emulate him, he’s my favorite host”.
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve just learned that the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences will announce today that TV, film, stage, and singing star Seth MacFarlane will host the 85th Academy Awards. The Emmy-winning TV animation mogul was chosen in large part for mastermindng Summer 2012′s huge R-rated comedy motion picture Ted: the $420 million worldwide box office hit was MacFarlane’s feature directorial debut, and he co-wrote and produced and voiced the title character, too. The success of the pic gave him street cred with the snobby film community. And it now looks as if MacFarlane’s hosting stint September 15th on Saturday Night Live‘s fall season premiere was a tryout for Oscar telecast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. He did well, especially during his standup where he sang and did voices and looked great and was thoroughly entertaining.
Of course during the Emmys he didn’t find his mark and stood on the stage awkwardly when he was a presenter. But that, too, showed he could roll with the punches and he made a joke and continued. All in all, it’s an inspired choice by the Academy and seems certain to bring in younger demographics which is what the telecast needs desperately to boost ratings. Also MacFarlane is that rare multitalent: actor, voice actor, animator, screenwriter, comedian, producer, director, and singer. He is best known … Read More »
BREAKING: Seasoned production executive Jon Mone will join Universal Pictures as EVP Production. He moves from Scott Stuber’s Universal-based Bluegrass Films, and has been in the Universal fold since 2006. Universal’s co-presidents of production Peter Cramer and Jeffrey Kirschenbaum made the hire and Mone reports to them.
Mone recently served as executive producer on the Stuber-produced Ted, directed by and starring Seth MacFarlane, Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis. Stuber, who was attached to produce Ted, and Media Rights Capital brought the film to Universal and the studio acquired it before principal photography began. It is Universal’s highest-grossing film of 2012: With $425 million worldwide and counting, Ted is the third highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time behind The Hangover and The Hangover Part II. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The trio behind Ted, the biggest comedy hit of the summer, are teaming for another project, this time in television. Fox has snagged the multi-camera live-action comedy, written/executive produced by Ted co-writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild and executive produced by Ted co-writer/director/star Seth MacFarlane, with a put pilot commitment that has a series penalty behind it. The untitled project, from 20th Century Fox TV where MacFarlane is under a rich overall deal, centers on two successful guys in their 30s who have their lives turned upside down when their nightmare dads unexpectedly move in with them.
Writing team Wild and Sulkin have worked with MacFarlane for a while — they have been on Family Guy since 2005, rising to executive producers. Family Guy is one of three animated series MacFarlane has on Fox, along with spinoff The Cleveland Show and American Dad, as well as the upcoming reboot of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.
Ted, starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis and MacFarlane as the voice of Ted, has become the sleeper hit of the summer, grossing $408 million worldwide to date. MacFarlane, Sulkin and Wild are repped by WME.