Paul Walker’s Brothers Jumping In To Help Finish ‘Fast & Furious 7′ Action Scenes

By | Tuesday April 15, 2014 @ 2:18pm PDT

The film’s official Facebook page unveiled that Paul Walker‘s brothers Caleb and Cody will help complete his action scenes on Universal’s Fast & Furious 7. The note says Walker had completed his dramatic work on the latest film in the lucrative franchise before he was killed in a car crash in November in Santa Clarita, CA. Universal postponed the original July 2014 release and pushed the sequel’s debut by nearly a year to April 10, 2015. Here’s the statement:

Paul Walker DeadA Note to the Fans of FAST & FURIOUS

The FAST & FURIOUS saga is about family. The characters are connected by the bond of family, and it is how all of us who have worked together for more than thirteen years feel about each other. It certainly defines how we feel about our fans.

Our family experienced an unthinkable shock in November. We had to take time to grieve Paul, the brother we love and lost, and to figure out if we should move on with our film.

We came together and all felt the only choice was to continue. We believe our fans want that, and we believe Paul would want that too. Paul had already shot his dramatic scenes and most of his action for FAST & FURIOUS 7, and it’s among the strongest work of his career.

We have resumed shooting and now welcome Paul’s brothers, Caleb and Cody, into our FAST family. Caleb and Cody are helping us complete some remaining action for their brother and fill in small gaps left in production. Having them on set has made us all feel that Paul is with us too.

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Hot Trailer: Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Lucy’

By | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 10:54am PDT

Luc Besson and Scarlett Johansson have teamed for Lucy, a sc-fi pic that centers on a woman caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior. Morgan Freeman co-stars, and Universal is releasing the pic from … Read More »

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Universal Moving Head Of International Theatrical Operations Post To LA; David Kosse Opts To Remain In London

By | Tuesday April 1, 2014 @ 11:34am PDT

Universal-Pictures-logo-2013__140130232555Universal Pictures is shaking up its overseas structure, relocating the head of international theatrical operations from London to Los Angeles. Just who that is, though, remains a question mark. Well-respected ten-year Universal veteran David Kosse, who is … Read More »

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2013 Most Valuable Blockbuster – How The Minions Came To Rule Hollywood

Mike Fleming

Well, now that Universal‘s Despicable Me 2 has proven itself 2013′s Most Valuable Blockbuster, the film’s impresario, Illumination Entertainment founder Chris Meledandri (below), deserves to take a victory lap. More seriously, the tournament was conducted to give a clearer idea, beyond the weekend and annual box office standings, of the profits and Total Cash on Cash returns that films generate. These are the factors that keep studios in business and keep co-financiers coming back for more. As a final cap, Deadline Hollywood provides readers with the revenue and costs charts of all 16 films that participated in the inaugural tournament. This data was always expected to be the most memorable part of this exercise.

Despicable Me 2 Chris Meledandri Profit

As a refresher, here’s how our tournament played out, with links to each game: Read More »

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Sam Worthington & Robin Wright Join Universal’s ‘Everest’ Expedition

By | Monday March 24, 2014 @ 10:34am PDT
Mike Fleming

robwrightsamworthEXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has set Sam Worthington and House Of Cards’ Robin Wright to the ensemble cast of Everest. They join Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Jake … Read More »

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Universal Shifts ‘Everest’ Release Date

By | Friday March 21, 2014 @ 11:37am PDT

Universal-Pictures-logo-2013__140130232555Universal Pictures is pushing the Baltasar Kormakur-directed 3D adventure Everest to September 18, 2015, seven months later than its original date of February 27. It now avoids going up against Warner Bros romcom Focus starring Will Smith and Margot … Read More »

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Erica Rivinoja To Write ‘Girl’s Trip’ Comedy For Universal And Will Packer

By | Wednesday March 19, 2014 @ 10:30am PDT

EricaRivinojaUniversal has tapped Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 co-writer Erica Rivinoja to pen Will Packer‘s untitled Girl’s Trip comedy. Packer, coming off of the Universal hit Ride Along, set this up last month as his Read More »

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Roundup: Joe Cornish To Helm ‘Section 6′

By | Tuesday March 18, 2014 @ 10:00pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Universal has set Attack The Block helmer Joe Cornish to cornishjdirect Section 6, the Aaron Berg-scripted formation of the British intelligence agency MI6 during WWI. Unbroken star Jack O’Connell is starring. The Wrap had this first. Cornish directed … Read More »

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Sofia Coppola To Helm ‘The Little Mermaid’

By | Tuesday March 18, 2014 @ 10:01am PDT
Mike Fleming

Sofia Coppola Little Mermaid MovieEXCLUSIVE: Sofia Coppola is negotiating to direct The Little Mermaid, a live-action version of the classic Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale for Universal Pictures and Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. … Read More »

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Universal Stakes Out Martin Luther King Holiday Jr. 2016 For ‘Ride Along 2′

By | Thursday March 13, 2014 @ 5:30pm PDT

Ride Along CrewUniversal Pictures announced that it will release the Kevin Hart-Ice Cube buddy comedy Ride Along 2 for the 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. It’s a date worked very well for the original Ride Along, … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Get On Up’

By | Thursday March 13, 2014 @ 4:31pm PDT

“One day,” young James Brown’s aunt tells him, “everybody gonna know your name.” And so it was. Universal has dropped the first trailer for its biopic on the Godfather of Soul. Chadwick Boseman segues from playing Jackie Robinson in 42 to channeling another American legend in Get Read More »

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Charlize Theron Sets Karen Croner-Scripted Universal Pitch Based On ‘Everything Nice’

By | Thursday March 6, 2014 @ 3:59pm PST
Mike Fleming

theronEXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has acquired a pitch inspired by the Ellen Shanman novel Everything Nice that will be written by Karen Croner as a potential star vehicle for Charlize Theron. Theron will produce with her Denver And … Read More »

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Universal Sets Max Botkin To Lend Scripting Hand On ‘Prosthesis’

By | Tuesday March 4, 2014 @ 4:09pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has set Max Botkin to MaxBotkinwrite Prosthesis,  the visually-driven science fiction film created by Arvind Palep, who’s attached to direct. Universal acquired the property based on a 10-minute teaser trailer, blending VFX with storyboards … Read More »

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Sony Finally Closes ‘Winter’s Knight’ As L. Frank Baum Keeps Racking Up Credits From Grave

By | Sunday March 2, 2014 @ 12:01pm PST
Mike Fleming

tv-scripts-200X2002ND UPDATE, 12:01 PM PT: After much back and forth Saturday involving Sony, Universal and a last-ditch overture from Warner Bros, Sony finally closed its deal for Winter’s Knight, the Viking-mythology-tinged origin story of St. Nick and Christmas. Sony emerged as front-runner when it agreed to pay $1 million to newbie scribes Ben Lustig and Jake Thornton, for the biggest spec sale of this year so far. That was the easy part. Deals were then made for producers Marc Platt and Lawrence Grey. More challenging was making a deal with the white hot Kon-Tiki helmers Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, but that effort was led by incoming Sony-Pictures-logo__130125035333-200x312 (1)Sony Pictures Production President Michael De Luca. His persuasive pitch was that he plans to bring in the next generation of emerging filmmakers, much the way he did at ’90s New Line with the likes of David Fincher and Paul Thomas Anderson. That, and a precedent-setting mid-seven-figure salary for the directing team, sealed the deal. If Disney can keep to its schedule and get the next Pirates of the Caribbean to set sail before year’s end, the directors will make that after completing the pilot for the Netflix/Weinstein Company series Marco Polo, and Winter’s Knight will come after. Also intriguing is how this movie will lengthen the movie credit resume of L. Frank Baum, best known for The Wizard Of Oz. The subject matter is his 1902 book The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus. Of course, Baum’s work has fallen into public domain, meaning anyone can pillage it for movie ideas. At the rate Baum is going, with all the Oz incarnations and now this work being turned into big money Hollywood films, he might end up spinning in his grave almost as fast as Shakespeare, long Hollywood’s most heavily exploited public domain wordsmith. Read More »

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Universal Re-Slots ‘The Purge: Anarchy’

By | Friday February 28, 2014 @ 5:06pm PST

The Purge AnarchyThe studio has pushed back the release of its micro-budget horror thriller by a month. Blumhouse Productions’ The Purge: Anarchy had been slated for June 20 but now will go wide on July 18, where it will face … Read More »

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Vincent D’Onofrio, Irrfan Khan To Play Villains In ‘Jurassic World’

By | Friday February 28, 2014 @ 11:29am PST
Mike Fleming

khanEXCLUSIVE: Vincent D’Onofrio and Indian star Irrfan Khan VincentDOnofrio2will star in Universal‘s franchise reboot Jurassic World. D’Onofrio will play the bad guy in the pic that Bryce Dallas Howard … Read More »

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UPDATE: Universal’s ‘Term Life’ Adds Mike Epps, Jordi Molla & William Levy

By | Tuesday February 25, 2014 @ 5:36pm PST

Mike EppsUPDATE, 5:36 PM: Mike Epps has been added to the cast of Universal’s Term Life, starring Vince Vaughn and Hailey Steinfeld. Epps will Darryl Mosely, a dirty cop who is trying to frame Vaughn’s character. The actor, whose recent credits include The Hangover Part III and Sparkle, next stars alongside Forest Whitaker, Anthony Mackie and Sanaa Lathan in Repentance, which Lionsgate opens Friday. He is repped by CAA, managers Dan Spilo and Niles Kirshner and attorney Todd Rubenstein.

williamlevy squarejordimolla squarePREVIOUS, 1:17 PM: Universal’s Term Life has recruited two new castmembers to join the crime thriller starring Vince Vaughn and Hailee Steinfeld. The pic tracks Nick Barrow (Vaughn), who takes his estranged daughter (Steinfeld) on the lam when a heist goes south and he takes out a life insurance policy on himself that doesn’t take effect for 21 days. Jordi Molla (Riddick, Bad Boys II) has been cast in the Peter Billingsley-helmed pic as a ruthless Mexican cartel leader Victor Fuentes, who’s after Barrow. Molla recently filmed a regular role on FX’s upcoming Hoke. Also joining Term Life in the role of Molla’s son Alejandro is William Levy. The Cuba-born telenovela star and Dancing With The Stars Season 14 contestant most recently filmed feature The Veil. He’s shooting Change Of Heart with Jim Belushi and Virginia Madsen and will be seen in Lionsgate’s Addicted. Read More »

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‘Ride Along’ Producer Will Packer Sets Up First Film At Universal, Comedy ‘Girls Trip’ With Malcolm Lee Directing; ‘Ride Along 2′ Will Start Shooting This Summer

Will PackerBREAKING: Will Packer, who produced the $123.1M-to-date grosser Ride Along with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube and currently has two pictures in the box office Top 10 with About Last Night (also a Hart vehicle that has grossed $38M in two weeks), has set up his next film with Universal Pictures via his Will Packer Productions banner. It’s a comedy, Girls Trip, with Best Man’s Holiday helmer Malcolm D. Lee set to direct. It has yet to set a writer. Ride Along 2 will be Packer’s next picture with Tim Story at the helm, it was just confirmed. Ice Cube and Kevin Hart recently closed a deal to reprise their roles as the quick-witted security guard (Hart) who has his eye on his partner’s (Cube’s) sister. The sequel will start shooting a week after Think Like A Man 2 opens on June 20, 2014.

Related: ‘Ride Along 2′ Gets Rolling, Tim Story To Direct

Malcolm D. LeeLee, of course, recently directed Best Man Holiday for Universal which has grossed over $71.6M worldwide. Details of the new project are being kept under wraps. Packer has risen as a formidable producer in recent years, earning him the nickname, Will “Power” Packer. His buddy comedy Ride Along opened to a record $48.6M over the four-day Martin Luther King holiday weekend this year for Universal. Sony then scheduled his The Wedding Ringer, which he is producing with Adam Fields, for the MLK holiday in 2015. Wedding Ringer is a Jeremy Garelick-written and -directed comedy starring Hart again. The bankable Packer also produced Think Like a Man, which grossed $96M worldwide.

Related: Universal Makes First-Look Pact With Producer Will Packer

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Jack O’Connell In Talks To Topline Universal Spy Thriller ‘Section 6′

By | Friday February 21, 2014 @ 2:54pm PST

EE And Esquire BAFTA PartyJack O’Connell is in final negotiations to star in the thriller Section 6 for Universal Pictures. This is the pic for which the studio won a bidding war in October 2013 for the spec … Read More »

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