Berlin Record Deal: Harvey Weinstein Pays $7 Million For Alan Turing WWII Tale ‘The Imitation Game’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In what I am told will go down as the highest price paid ever for U.S. cumbrights on a movie at the European Film Market, The Weinstein Company has locked a deal to pay $7 million for The Imitation Game, the Graham Moore Black List script that Morten Tyldum directed with Benedict Cumberbatch playing Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII. Keira Knightley also stars in a film that will be shaped as a major release for the next awards season.

Berlin2014_200CAA brokered this deal based on a promo reel that had five bidders going after it hard before TWC just took it off the table, with the feeling that it has one of its major Oscar hopefuls for the next race. TWC currently has Philomena in the Best Picture race that will be decided next month.

Compared to the small sales of Sundance, this is a whopper. Harvey and Bob Weinstein and their team headed by COO David Glasser bested five competitors that sparked to a 15-minute compilation of scenes on a picture that has just gone into postproduction. The film also stars Mark Strong and Matthew Goode, and it’s produced by Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman. It was Schwarzman’s Black Bear Pictures label that took the risk on the film after Warner Bros let it go. The TWC acquisition team of Robert Walak, Negeen Yazdi and Dan Guando chased this script for a year. TWC’s Michal Steinberg closed the deal.

Related: Benedict Cumberbatch In Talks To Play Alan Turing In ‘The Imitation Game’
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Canadian Distributor Elevation Pictures Launches With ‘The Imitation Game’

By | Saturday September 7, 2013 @ 9:50am PDT

Elevation Pictures is the new Canada distribution company from ex-Maple Pictures co-founder and co-president Laurie May. The new venture was introduced at the Toronto Film Fest today, two years after Maple was sold by Lionsgate to Canada’s Alliance Films in 2011. The announcement out … Read More »

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‘Headhunters’ Helmer Morten Tyldum To Direct ‘The Imitation Game’

By | Tuesday December 4, 2012 @ 3:46pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Morten Tyldum, the Scandinavian director who made Headhunters, will helm The Imitation Game, Graham Moore’s heralded screenplay about Alan Turing, the English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist who singlehandedly helped crack the German “Enigma Code” during World War II that helped the Allies stave off defeat. Tyldul will take on the project for Teddy Schwarzman’s Black Bear Pictures, with Schwarzman producing along with Ampersand Pictures’ Nora Grossman and Ido Ostrowsky. Moore will be exec producer.

Turing’s story, which topped the 2011 Black List, is hardly a happy hero tale. Not long after he made his contribution to toppling the Nazis in WWII, Britain criminally prosecuted him in the early 1950s for being a homosexual. He chose chemical castration over prison and was so demoralized that he eventually committed suicide by eating a cyanide-laced apple (legend has it that Turing’s advancements for what became the computer so inspired Steve Jobs that he named the company Apple). Read More »

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Black Bear Pictures Wins Graham Moore Black List Script ‘Imitation Game’

By | Friday September 28, 2012 @ 1:45pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: When I was covering Toronto, the big talk was all about deals for completed films. But the one script buyers were talking up was The Imitation Game, Graham Moore’s heralded screenplay about Alan Turing, the English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist who single-handedly helped crack the German “Enigma Code” during World War II that helped the Allies stave off defeat. In a competitive situation, Teddy Schwarzman’s Black Bear Pictures has come aboard to finance production of the film, with Schwarzman producing with Ampersand Pictures’ Nora Grossman and Ido Ostrowsky, with Moore exec producing.

Turing’s story, which topped the 2011 Black List, is hardly a happy hero tale. Not long after Turing made his contribution to toppling the Nazis in WWII, Britain criminally prosecuted him in the early 1950s for being homosexual. He chose chemical castration over prison and was so demoralized that he eventually committed suicide by eating a cyanide-laced apple (legend has it that Turing’s advancements for what became the computer so inspired Steve Jobs that he named the company Apple).

The script originally sold in a seven-figure spec deal to Warner Bros, when it appeared that Leonardo DiCaprio was interested in starring. The studio put J Blakeson on the project, but the deal had a quick trigger and the rights reverted back to the screenwriter, who then got the job of adapting The Devil In The White City for Warner Bros. That’s being crafted for DiCaprio to play serial killer Dr. HH Holmes, with DiCaprio and Appian Way partner Jennifer Killoran and Double Feature partners Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher. Read More »

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Warner Bros Sets Black List Top Scribe Graham Moore For ‘Devil In The White City’; Leonardo DiCaprio To Play Serial Killer

By | Friday December 16, 2011 @ 6:01pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has acquired The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic And Madness At The Fair That Changed America, the 2003 non-fiction book by Erik Larson. The studio has set Graham Moore to script the story of … Read More »

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The Black List Launching Web Site That Tracks Most Popular Scripts In Real Time

EXCLUSIVE: Film executive Franklin Leonard has maintained The Black List for the past six years to champion hundreds of talented screenwriters and unproduced scripts. Well over 125 screenplays have been made into movies, and they’re responsible for 20 Oscars and roughly $10 … Read More »

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Warner Bros Buys Spec Script About Math Genius Alan Turing For Leonardo DiCaprio

EXCLUSIVE: To anyone with an interest in those Enigma codebreakers who helped win WWII and the math geniuses whose work led to the creation of the earliest computers, then the name Alan Turing holds quite a lot of fascination. This British historical … Read More »

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