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‘Devil Inside’ Star Simon Quarterman And AJ Cook Lead ‘WER’

By | Friday March 30, 2012 @ 10:26am PDT
Mike Fleming

Simon Quarterman WERThe horror film WER just got Simon Quarterman set as the male lead. He’ll play Gavin Flemyng and stars opposite AJ Cook, the Criminal Minds star who’s also starring in the film. Quarterman reunites with The Devil Inside helmer William Brent Bell, who wrote the script with Matthew Peterman. Morris Paulson, Peterman and Steven Schneider are producing. WER is financed by FilmDistrict, Sierra/Affinity and the Incentive Filmed Entertainment fund. The film begins production in April in Romania.

WER brings a filmmaking style similar to The Devil Inside, but applies it to a different horror mythology — the werewolf. Cook plays a lawyer out to get an acquittal for a man charged in the brutal murder of an American family, and despite his gentle demeanor, she discovers he’s got a bit of a bark to him when the moon is full. Quarterman is represented by ICM and Elevate Entertainment. Cook is repped by Intellectual Artists Management and Paradigm.

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FilmDistrict Partners With Sierra/Affinity On ‘WER,’ Next Film By ‘The Devil Inside’ Team

By | Monday February 6, 2012 @ 2:18pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: FilmDistrict has taken an equity stake in WER, a horror film that is directed by The Devil Inside helmer William Brent Bell that is expected to be one of the hot titles at Berlin later this week. Bell wrote the script with Matthew Peterman, with whom he scripted The Devil Inside, a sleeper low budget horror film which has grossed $53 million domestic for Paramount. Shooting begins April 9. FilmDistrict could end up as the film’s domestic distributor, but that hasn’t yet been decided as Peter Schlessel’s distribution company recalibrates and should have new heads of distribution and marketing by Cannes. FilmDistrict, which is working on a sequel to Insidious and a remake of Evil Dead and is up for four Spirit Awards for Drive, will finance the film alongside Sierra/Affinity and its partner, the Incentive Filmed Entertainment fund. Read More »

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‘The Devil Inside’ Duo William Brent Bell, Matthew Peterman Prep New Horror Project

By | Wednesday January 11, 2012 @ 5:02pm PST

‘The Devil Inside’ Helmer William Brent Bell Takes To ‘The Vatican’ At Warner Bros

The creative team behind horror hit The Devil Inside have lined up a new untitled project that will be financed vby Sierra/Affinity and the Incentive Filmed Entertainment Fund. The Untitled Bell/Peterman Project will be directed by William Brent Bell from a screenplay he and Matthew Peterman wrote. It will bring a similar filmmaking style to another classic horror mythology. The plot is being kept under wraps but the project will begin production in Romania in April. Steven Schneider (Paranormal Activity, Insidious), Peterman (The Devil Inside) and Morris Paulson (The Devil Inside) are producing. Bell, Peterman and Paulson will oversee the movie through their production company Pototype. Sierra/Affinity will pitch the project to buyers next month in Berlin during the European Film Market. Sierra/Affinity and Incentive are also behind the upcoming Parker starring Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez and directed by Taylor Hackford from a screenplay by John J. McLaughlin. It’s based on the Parker novels by Donald E. Westlake. FilmDistrict is distributing in the U.S. Incentive also financed the Area 51 project written and directed by Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity).

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‘The Devil Inside’ Helmer William Brent Bell Takes To ‘The Vatican’ At Warner Bros

By | Monday January 9, 2012 @ 10:04am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired The Vatican, a pitch for a conspiracy-driven thriller to be scripted by David Cohen. William Brent Bell, who directed and co-wrote the weekend’s surprise hit The Devil Inside for Paramount’s Insurge release label, has made a deal to direct the film. The Vatican will be produced by Roy Lee, Lawrence Grey and John Middleton, and Bell’s producing partner Matt Peterman. Peterman wrote The Devil Inside with Bell, and produced that horror hit with Morris Paulson. Despite receiving an F from CinemaScore, the low-budget The Devil Inside grossed $34.5 million on an opening weekend that is usually dominated by holiday holdovers.

The Vatican, a sale that was conducted right before the holidays, will be fast-tracked by Warner Bros and is described as a hybrid that uses some found-footage techniques like The Devil Inside did. Cohen wrote Subject Zero, a script on last year’s Black List, and No One Lives, which is in postproduction, was directed by Ryuhei Kitamura and stars Luke Evans. Cohen is repped by ICM and Generate, and Bell is repped by CAA.

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Low-Budget ‘Devil Inside’ Biggest First Weekend Of A New Year: $34.5M Defies Slump

By | Sunday January 8, 2012 @ 11:15am PST

Jan. 6-8 Weekend Actuals

1. The Devil Inside (Paramount) NEW [2,285 Theaters] R
Friday $16.8M, Saturday $11.8M, Sunday $5.2M, Weekend $33.7M

2. Mission: Impossible 4 (Paramount) Week 4 [3,555 Theaters] PG13
Friday $6.1M, Saturday $9.0M, Sunday $4.7M, Weekend $19.9M (-33%), Cume $169.6M

3. Sherlock: Game Of Shadows (Warner Bros) Week 4 [3,603 Theaters] PG13
Friday $4.2M, Saturday $6M, Sunday $3.4M, Weekend $13.7M (-34%), Cume $157.0M

4. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Sony) Week 3 [2,950 Theaters] R
Friday $3.5M, Saturday $4.9M, Sunday $2.9M, Weekend $11.4M (-23%), Cume $76.9M

5. Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (Fox) Week 4 [3,425 Theaters] G
Friday $2.3M, Saturday $4.5M Sunday $2.7M, Weekend $9.5M (-42%), Cume $111.6M

6. War Horse (DreamWorks/Disney) Week 3 [2,783 Theaters] PG13
Friday $2.6M, Saturday $3.8M, Sunday $2.2M, Weekend $8.7M (-40%), Cume $56.9M

7. We Bought A Zoo (Fox) Week 3 [3,170 Theaters] PG
Friday $2.4M, Saturday $3.8M, Sunday $2.1 M, Weekend $8.3M (-37%), Cume $56.4M

8. The Adventures Of Tintin (Paramount) Week 3 [3,006 Theaters] PG
Friday $1.8M, Saturday $3M, Sunday $2.0M Weekend $6.7M (-41%), Cume $62M

9. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Focus Features) Week 5 [809 Theaters] R
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.4M, Sunday $1.3M, Weekend $5.5M (+405%), Cume $10.1M

10. The Darkest Hour (Summit) Week 3 [2,163 Theaters] PG13
Friday $1.1M, Saturday $1.4M, $660K, Weekend $3.1M (-25%), Cume $18.7M

What It Means To Get An ‘F’ CinemaScore…

SUNDAY AM, 5TH UPDATE: This ‘found-footage’ exorcism film surged for the normally slow post-holiday weekend and pushed 2012′s first official moviegoing weekend to gross $144M overall, +28% from last year. Paramount’s fledgling Insurge label’s The Devil Inside scored the biggest opening for the first weekend of a new year and the 3rd biggest January opening (behind Cloverfield and the Star Wars reissue). Even rival studios were saying hooray for the genre winner. But not without snark. “The industry starts out the year with a big number — and a people pleasing ‘F’ CinemaScore,” one rival studio exec snorted. But there’s no arguing that Paramount may have another Paranormal Activity mega-profit project in theaters this weekend. (FYI, Steven Schneider from the Paranormal Activity team is exec producer on this pic as well.) Insurge made a $1M acquisition of The Devil Inside and scored a big $34.5M opening weekend, including larger-than-average $2M midnights from 1,400 theaters. There fears that ‘F’ word-of-mouth for this genre film playing very young and very ethnic would be frontloaded. But it’s rare for a studio to recoup its cost from just the midnight shows.

The win pushed down into 2nd place Paramount’s Christmas and New Year’s topper M:I4 co-funded by David Ellison’s Skydance Prods. Meanwhile Sony Pictures’ The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo had the smallest drop of top pictures all week, demonstrating its adult audience is still out there after a slow start. Among Oscar-buzzed films, DreamWorks/Disney’s War Horse holds for the Top 5 while Focus Features’ Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy expanded into 809 locations and snuck into the Top 10 for the first time since its limited release five weeks ago:

1. The Devil Inside (Paramount) NEW [2,285 Theaters]
Friday $16.8M, Saturday $11.7M, Estimated Weekend $34.5M

It’s the second film for Paramount’s low-budget Insurge label. And much like the studio’s Paranormal Activity franchise, the studio focused on marketing designed to trick audiences into believing this nonsense. So the campaign made the low production values The Devil Inside into the film that “The Vatican Doesn’t Want You To See”. (At what point do naifs wise up? Maybe now because audiences gave this crapfest an ‘F’ CinemaScore and single digit Rotten Tomatoes kudo.) It was a no-brainer for the studio to debut the trailer on October 21st with Paranormal Activity. The Halloween time period also proved key online, with viral scare videos and 911 calls pushed to fans. Since the film was acquired for just $1m, Paramount also kept the marketing cheap, cheap, cheap. The TV ads kicked off during AMC’s The Walking Dead finale November 27th. There was a big ethnic push. The Hispanic campaign included English and Spanish language nets, wild posting, digital boards, and radio in the top 12 Hispanic markets. Branded horror programming roadblocks were placed on  Sify, Chiller, AMC’s Fear Friday, and IFC Fright Night. Select targets for high-profile finales included Terra Nova and American Horror Story. And getting into the holiday spirit, the studio made a red band trailer as well as 10-sec scary radio spots to counter-program Christmas and New Year’s Eve across all 6 live network and cable late night shows covering festivities. (No wonder the heartland hates Hollywood…) There was Viacom’s usual MTV synergy, this time featuring  reactions to the film from Jersey Shore numbskulls Deena and Vinny. The spot also aired on the show’s premiere the day before the film’s opening. ”The Devil Inside iPad and iPhone application served as another opportunity to scare unsuspecting fans,” an exec tells me. “The application is presented as a test to find out how possessed you are, that in turn surprises fans with a scare from the film. Since its launch in late December, the app continues to see 4-star rating on iTunes from a global user base.” As for the midnight shows, Paramount organized radio DJs, food trucks, and prize giveaways to make each screening seem special. Using Twitter as a tool, the studio on Friday morning sent out tweets about “an unexpected theater possession” where the film broke down and a contortionist from the film scared a packed theater of fans. The lengths to which Hollywood has to go to market horror these days. Ugh.

2. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (Paramount) Week 4 [3,555 Theaters]
Friday $6.2M, Saturday $9.1M, Weekend $20.5M, Cume $170.2M
Read More »

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What It Means To Get An ‘F’ CinemaScore…

By | Saturday January 7, 2012 @ 8:15pm PST

This weekend Paramount’s The Devil Inside received an ‘F’ CinemaScore. That almost never happens. In fact, in all my time reporting box office, I’ve never seen it. Needless to say, the studio was deeply embarrassed. Here’s what a Paramount exec emailed me about it: “People love us or hate us but I think evil spirits corrupted CinemaScore’s model. Because the breakdown was ‘A’ = 16%, ‘B’ = 18%, ‘C’ = 24%, ‘D’ = 23%, ‘F’ = 19%. I’ll admit I went to public school but I think this should have got us a ‘C’!”

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Devil Inside’

By | Thursday December 1, 2011 @ 12:03am PST

Paramount’s Insurge genre label put up this TV spot for the demonic possession flick The Devil Inside, directed by William Brent Bell who co-wrote with producer/partner Matt Peterman. It stars Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth, Ionut Grama, Suzan Crowley, Bonnie Morgan, Brian Johnson and Preston James Hillier. It opens January 6.

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Devil Inside’

By | Monday October 17, 2011 @ 2:09pm PDT

Here’s the latest trailer for Paramount/Insurge’s demonic possession-exorcism movie The Devil Inside, directed and co-written by William Brent Bell. Interestingly, it’s scheduled to open January 6, 2012, the same day as Lionsgate’s somewhat similarly themed The Possession, about the malevolent spirit that inhabits an antique box a young girl picks up at a yard sale.

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Paramount Sets Release Dates For Sundance Winner ‘Like Crazy,’ ‘The Devil Inside’

Like Crazy, which won the U.S. dramatic grand jury prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, will bow Oct. 28 in limited release via Paramount Vantage, the studio announced. The coming-of-age drama stars Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones and Jennifer Lawrence. Meanwhile, Paramount’s Insurge division, formed to generate micro-budget movies after the studio’s success with Paranormal Activity, has set a wide-release date for its first acquisition, William Brent Bell’s The Devil Inside: Feb. 24, 2012. Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth and Suzan Crowley star in the dramatic thriller.

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Paramount’s Insurge Makes Its First Micro-Budget Buy

Mike Fleming

Paramount Insurge, the division formed to generate micro-budget movies following the studio’s success with Paranormal Activity, has made its first acquisition. Insurge just acquired an untitled pic by director and co-writer William Brent Bell for worldwide distribution (it had the working title The Devil Inside but studio says it might change). Par-based Lorenzo di Bonaventura will be exec producer with Paranormal Activity‘s Steven Schneider. Faith is no protection for a young woman whose mother is accused in the mysterious murders of three religious figures. Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth and Suzan Crowley star. The film is produced by Morris Paulson and Matt Peterman, who wrote the script with Bell. CAA and Automatik Entertainment’s Brian Kavanaugh-Jones brokered the deal. Sierra/Affinity sold international rights. Filmmakers are repped by CAA and Generate, Andrade by Genesis Entertainment Partners.

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