EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has acquired an untitled family comedy pitch from scribes Brian Gatewood and Alex Tanaka that will be developed as a star vehicle for Vince Vaughn. The film will be produced by Scott Stuber and his Bluegrass Films banner and Vaughn and his Wild West Picture Show banner.
Both of those producing shingles are based at Universal, and this marks the third collaboration between Stuber and Vaughn. They also teamed on The Break-Up and Couples Retreat. Vaughn stars next with Wedding Crashers co-star Owen Wilson in the Shawn Levy-directed The Internship, which Vaughn’s Wild West Picture Show produced and which Vaughn co-wrote.
Stuber has had the hot hand in comedy lately. He produced the last two comedies to make over $100 million domestically, with the Seth MacFarlane-directed Ted and the Jason Bateman/Melissa McCarthy comedy Identity Thief. After Ted became the highest grossing R-rated comedy in history, Stuber has reteamed with MacFarlane for A Million Ways To Die In The West. MacFarlane co-wrote the laffer and stars in it with Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried and Liam Neeson. Stuber and MacFarlane are also working on a Ted sequel. Vaughn’s repped by CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: Media Rights Capital has teamed up with its Ted partner Universal Pictures to co-finance Highwaymen, a drama about the Texas Rangers that hunted and gunned down Depression Era bank robbers Bonnie & Clyde. The film is coming together for a first quarter 2014 production start. John Lee Hancock will direct and Liam Neeson and Woody Harrelson are being courted to star. The John Fusco-scripted drama focuses on legendary lawman Frank Hamer, who was coaxed by a consortium of banks to assemble a posse and end the robbery reign of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in the 1930s. Casey Silver is producing.
Hamer was an old style Texas Ranger who’d survived 100 gunfights and killed 53 people, and he focused on the duo after their gang organized a jail break and killed a guard. They’ve been talking about this feature for awhile, but they will most certainly come after a miniseries on the same subject by History and Lifetime that’s being directed by Bruce Beresford and has William Hurt playing Hamer. Read More »
The international trailer for Ron Howard‘s Formula 1 racing pic Rush dropped today, with the domestic version due Thursday. Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl star as James Hunt and Niki Lauda, extraordinary rivals who dominated the sport in the 1970s. Peter Morgan wrote the script and Universal … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Studio is not confirming, but I’m hearing that The Hunger Games‘ star Liam Hemsworth is close to being set for the lead in The Raven, which Ricardo de Montreuil is set to direct at Universal … Read More »
Ethan Hawke reteams with his Little New York helmer James DeMonaco for Universal‘s The Purge. The thriller is set in an America wracked by crime and overcrowded prisons … Read More »
Despicable Me 2 launches July 3 in theaters but the Despicablimp already is in the air. The promotional vehicle (literally) for the Universal Pictures-Illumination Entertainment sequel took off today for a 20,000-mile coast-to-coast trip and makes its first official public appearance tomorrow over Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards in … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Dave Franco and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who’ve developed chemistry in a popular series of Funny Or Die web videos, are joining forces onscreen. They’re joining Universal Pictures‘ Nicholas Stoller-directed comedy Townies, the upcoming Seth Rogen and … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has acquired Family Therapy, a comic pitch that will be written by Jay Reiss about a dysfunctional but loving family that hires a therapist to fix their problems on the eve of an … Read More »
Universal releases Illumination Entertainment’s 3D Despicable Me 2 on July 3 after the first one made more than $540M worldwide in 2010 — it seems we’ve been seeing promos for the sequel ever since. But here’s a full trailer that shows Steve Carell back as super-villain Gru, along … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Colin Trevorrow, who made his feature directorial debut on the no-budget Sundance pic Safety Not Guaranteed, is about to make a Tyrannosaurus rex-sized leap in scale for his next film. He has been set by Universal Pictures to helm Jurassic Park 4, the third sequel to the dinosaur franchise hatched from Michael Crichton’s novel. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes scribes Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver have written the script. Frank Marshall is producing with Patrick Crowley, and Steven Spielberg is executive producer. It will be shot in 3D and get released June 13, 2014. This is Spielberg’s baby, and he got this giant franchise going by directing the first two films. This is a big piece of business for Universal and Spielberg; their last Jurassic Park picture was released in 2001, directed by Joe Johnston.
Trevorrow made his jump to features on Safety Not Guaranteed, which FilmDistrict acquired and released and which grossed $4 million. He’s making a humungous step up in every way by joining a franchise which, in three films, has grossed nearly $2 billion worldwide, with Universal preparing a theatrical rerelease of the first film in 3D on April 5. Read More »
BREAKING: Universal Pictures has set Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis to star in One Night On The Hudson, a TJ Fixman-scripted comedy that will be directed by Seth Gordon. Mary Parent and Cale Boyter are … Read More »
Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) are back for the follow-up to the original 2010 pic, which made $48.1M domestic for Lionsgate. Kick-Ass 2, directed by Jeff Wadlow and now from Universal, also stars Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes, … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Marc Abraham and Eric Newman are dissolving Strike Entertainment after an 11-year run as a Universal-based production company. The Universal first-look deal falls by the wayside this spring, and this ends a 15-year tenure at the studio for Abraham and Newman; Abraham previously partnered with Charlie Lyons and Army Bernstein in Beacon Communications, and Newman was a key executive there.
Abraham and Newman said the partnership simply ran its course and that the parting is amicable. They will continue to work together on a bunch of projects they still have percolating under the Strike banner, but they have differing ambitions.
Basically, Newman wants to continue to be a prolific producer. Abraham, who started as a writer and then made his directing debut on Flash Of Genius, the 2008 film that starred Greg Kinnear as the creator of the intermittent windshield wiper as he waged a long bitter battle against the major automakers that appropriated his invention. Abraham wants to focus his time on writing and directing, and plans to next direct I Saw The Light, a film about country music legend Hank Williams. Read More »
The hot legal battle between Universal and a porn producer over a hardcore adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey has been settled in the studio’s favor. Universal, book rights holder Fifty … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has pre-emptively acquired an untitled pitch by Josh Friedlander that will be produced by American Reunion helmers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, which the duo is eyeing as a potential directing project. It’s … Read More »
BREAKING: StudioCanal has filed suit against Universal Pictures alleging failure to honor fiduciary and contractual responsibilities in their longtime joint venture to fund movies produced by Working Title Films. StudioCanal says Universal owes “tens of millions of dollars and likely much more” as a result of an October 2012 audit of the joint venture’s development and overhead expenses on six of 44 movies made through the joint venture. The audit of the expenses, which according to the suit were managed by Universal, revealed that it had hidden certain off-balance sheet financing arrangements and misreported ancillary revenue from music publishing and other sources. The suit (read it here) also claims Universal double-charged the partnership for producing and other fees paid to Working Title without StudioCanal’s approval and deducted millions of dollars in unsubstantiated expenses before reporting results to StudioCanal. ”
StudioCanal says it has attempted unsuccessfully to discuss the audit and claims with Universal. StudioCanal executives flew to LA from Paris in late October for what they believed based on emails was a scheduled meeting with Universal’s team to discuss the situation. When they arrived, the Universal execs claimed they didn’t know anything about such plans, according to the suit. After that meeting Universal stopped providing accounting statements and payments, and StudioCanal alleges that subsequent attempts to communicate with Universal have proved similarly fruitless: “Universal is behaving as if its partner StudioCanal does not even exist”. The suit says Universal’s lack of cooperation has forced StudioCanal to litigate the matter. Read More »
Universal has dropped the second domestic trailer for Oblivion — the Tom Cruise sci-fi pic directed by Tron: Legacy‘s Joseph Kosinski. Cruise plays a drone repairman on an abandoned Earth who after rescuing a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft stumbles upon survivors of a devastating alien … Read More »