Legendary Pictures and Universal closed deals with Lone Survivor star Ben Foster, Vikings‘ Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Toby Kebbel, Dominic Cooper and Rob Kazinsky to star in Warcraft, the live action adaptation of the Blizzard Entertainment video game. Duncan Jones is directing a Charles Leavitt script that Jones rewrote. Production begins January in Vancouver, and Charles Roven, Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni and Alex Gartner are producing.
Foster, whom Lone Survivor director Peter Berg called the best young actor in Hollywood during our conversation at Deadline’s recent Contenders Event, is finally getting his due. Besides Lone Survivor, Foster is in the home stretch playing Lance Armstrong in the Stephen Frears-directed film about the Tour de France champ’s fall from grace from a doping scandal. He’s repped by WME.
The studio hasn’t made any decisions about the future of Fast & Furious 7 yet in the wake of the death of Paul Walker on November 30. But Universal said today that it will donate some of the proceeds from the upcoming Fast & Furious 6 DVD, Blu-ray and digital release to Walker’s charity Reach Out WorldWide. Here’s the release:
Related: Photos: Paul Walker, 1973-2013
Universal City, CA, December 3, 2013—Universal Pictures today announced that a percentage of proceeds from the upcoming home entertainment release of Fast & Furious 6 will be donated to Paul Walker’s non-profit Reach Out WorldWide, a network of professionals with first responder skill-sets who augment local expertise when natural disasters strike in order to accelerate relief efforts. Walker founded the organization after witnessing deficiencies in local activations following the January 2010 Haiti earthquake, and he remained passionately devoted to the charity.
Related: Reactions To Paul Walker Death: Vin Diesel Honors His “Brother”
“With the passing of Paul, the world has lost a man who spent a great deal of his life in service to others. We share in the deep grief of his family, friends and the countless fans who love him,” said Donna Langley, Chairman, Universal Pictures. “We keep Paul’s memory alive and honor his legacy through continued support of Reach Out WorldWide, the non-profit he founded to give hope to those who must rebuild after they have experienced natural disasters.”
Fast & Furious 6 will be available in North America on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital and On Demand on December 10, 2013.
Related: Other Paul Walker Movies Headed To Big Screen Cautious Over How To Proceed: “We Need A Bit Of Time”
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The L-O-N-G-time-coming sequel will arrive in less than a year — well, four days less. Universal said today that Dumb And Dumber To, starring Jim Carrey and Jeff … Read More »
USA Today landed in hot water today by with a clumsily written headline that came off as polarizing to some readers. “Holiday Nearly Beat Thor as Race-Themed Films Soar,” USA Today headlined in its box office report, prompting many to … Read More »
Anna Lisa Raya is a Deadline contributor.
The second half of Deadline’s 3rd annual Contenders event at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills got off to an energized start after lunch on the outdoor terrace. Deadline Awards columnist Pete Hammond returned with Captain Phillips star Barkhad Abdi, who had one of the bigger moments of the day when he revealed he ad-libbed his momentous “I am the captain now” line in the Sony film, essentially stealing the scene from Tom Hanks. The film’s producers, Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti, were spotted in the audience joining in the roaring applause.
Related: Deadline’s Contenders 2013 – Morning Panels
Anyone who’s been waiting for David O. Russell’s follow-up to last year’s Oscar-nominated Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle (also for for Sony), will be happy to know the film was locked down today. This is per one of the film’s producers, Richard Suckle, who was on hand to discuss the genesis of the film which is loosely based on the ABSCAM scandals of the 1970s. One of his funnier reveals was that star Bradley Cooper — not wanting to perm his hair for the film — spent hours in hair and makeup every day getting it curled. Co-star Christian Bale, on the other hand, gained 40 lbs. for his role and shaved the crown of his head to perfect his character’s outlandish comb over.
Julie Delpy, co-writer and star of Sony Pictures Classics’ Before Midnight, had a lot to say about the intense writing and preparation that went into making the film appear as improvised and natural as it does. Acting the role was “extremely stressful,” she told Hammond. “There’s no plot. There’s nothing to hold onto but character and emotional arc.” Also for SPC is Tim’s Vermeer — a documentary about one man’s attempt to recreate a Johannes Vermeer painting — which was uncharacteristically directed by Teller (better known as the other half of Penn & Teller). He was thankful for his editor, Patrick Sheffield, who made sense of the over 2,400 hours of footage. Writer Kelly Marcel was on-hand to discuss Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, the only film ever allowed to feature Walt Disney as a character. She called the studio “unbelievably brave” in how hands-off they were with her and director John Lee Hancock.
Related: PHOTOS: Contenders 2013 Gallery
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“I feel sort of a disconnect. It’s overwhelming. Very surreal,” the Fulfillment Fund Stars 2013 benefit gala honoree Chris Meledandri told me as he made his way around the Beverly Hilton ballroom last night. “There are some very interesting machinations intertwined in the room.”
It seems like every studio executive — current, fired or in limbo — that had great success with Meledandri’s brand of filmmaking was there. There was a Fox contingent honoring the man who brought them the Ice Age franchise including Chairman Jim Gianopulos, former co-Chair Tom Rothman, Peter Chernin and creative advertising whiz Tony Sella who may, or may not, be staying at Fox under the new re-structure. And of course a Universal contingent that included Ron Meyer, Donna Langley, new Chairman Jeff Shell, old Chairman Adam Fogelson, and Comcast’s Steve Burke among others.
Meledandri’s latest hit is Despicable Me 2, and when your movie makes over $800 million it’s not surprising to see thankful executives turn out in force. But as Meledandri said it was an “interesting machination”: Fogelson was one of the event co-chairs with Chernin, Meyer and Langley (among others) but sat a few tables away from the Uni power center. Another former Universal chairman, Marc Shmuger, was also in the room making for one of those uniquely ironic Hollywood nights — but a fun one with Ed Helms hosting. Presenter Steve Carell, who voices Gru in DM2, got the biggest laugh of the night in introducing Meledandri. “Chris now enjoys a successful partnership with Universal Studios and has provided them with a string of hits. Conventional wisdom tells us that he will soon be fired,” he said. I checked: The Universal table was laughing too. Read More »
This marks the first film dated under the new partnership between Universal and Legendary Pictures. As of now Warcraft is going up against Sony’s Inferno on the December 18, 2015 date. Duncan Jones is … Read More »
Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s Minions in 3D will be released on July 10, 2015. It originally was slated for release on December 19, 2014. In addition, the release date for Illumination’s Untitled Project in 3D … Read More »
Vin Diesel‘s been known to skirt traditional PR channels to share intel direct to his fans. This weekend he gave his 47M Facebook followers first looks from the set of Universal‘s Fast & Furious 7, in production under Insidious 2 … Read More »
The newest trailer for Riddick has dropped. It follows a red band version that was released at Comic-Con last month. The third pic in the franchise reunites The Chronicles Of Riddick writer-director David Twohy and star Vin Diesel, who plays the escaped convict antihero for the third time. … Read More »
The new trailer has dropped for Universal‘s 2 Guns. Baltasar Kormákur directs from a script by Blake Masters. The action thriller stars Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as two undercover federal operatives from competing bureaus who are forced on the run together. The pic opens on … Read More »
Ross Lincoln contributes to Deadline’s Comic-Con coverage.
Kick Ass 2 promises to be every bit as profane and violent as its predecessor, as evidenced by an expanded trailer which premiered today at Comic-Con. Featuring never before seen footage, the … Read More »
Universal has set a Christmas Day 2014 release for Unbroken, the film that tells the incredible story of Olympian and war hero Lou Zamperini based on Lauren Hillenbrand’s best-selling book. This will be Angelina Jolie‘s second turn as director following In The Land Of Blood And Honey. Unbroken is set to begin production in late September. “I’ve had the privilege of spending a great deal of time with Louie Zamperini, who is a hero of mine, and now—I am proud to say—a dear friend,” said Jolie in a statement. “I am deeply honored to be telling his extraordinary story, and I will do my absolute best to give him the film he deserves”. Deadline’s Mike Fleming broke the story last December that Jolie had been tapped to direct the pic, something she had campaigned hard for against several other directors.
Related: Jack O’Connell Nabs Louis Zamperini Role In ‘Unbroken’
Originally published by Random House in 2010, the book follows the incredible life story of Olympian and war hero Zamperini who, along with two other crewmen, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII—only to be caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp. The project has a long history with Universal, which first acquired the rights to tell the life story of Zamperini in 1957 and optioned the rights to Hillenbrand’s book in December 2010. Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country For Old Men) rewrote the screenplay from earlier drafts by William Nicholson (Les Misérables) and Richard LaGravenese (HBO’s Behind The Candelabra). Matthew Baer and Erwin Stoff are producing and Mick Garris and David Crockett serve as executive producers. The full press release follows after the jump.
Angelina Jolie To Direct ‘Unbroken’
Angelina Jolie Narrowing Choices For Young Lou Zamperini In ‘Unbroken’ Read More »
UPDATE: Kick-Ass comics writer and Mark Millar, who exec produced both the 2010 film and its sequel, responded to Jim Carrey today on his own blog: “[I'm] baffled by this sudden announcement as nothing seen in this picture wasn’t in the screenplay eighteen months ago. Yes, the body-count is very high, but a movie called Kick-Ass 2 really has to do what it says on the tin. A sequel to the picture that gave us HIT-GIRL was always going to have some blood on the floor and this should have been no shock to a guy who enjoyed the first movie so much… This is fiction and like Tarantino and Peckinpah, Scorcese [sic] and Eastwood, John Boorman, Oliver Stone and Chan-Wook Park, Kick-Ass avoids the usual bloodless body-count of most big summer pictures and focuses instead of the CONSEQUENCES of violence… Our job as storytellers is to entertain and our toolbox can’t be sabotaged by curtailing the use of guns in an action-movie.”
PREVIOUSLY, SUNDAY PM: Jim Carrey gleefully puts down baddies with a baseball bat and an attack dog in Universal‘s Kick-Ass 2 as a vigilante named Colonel Stars and Stripes. (“Try to have fun – otherwise what’s the point?” he smirks in the film’s trailer.) But in light of December’s Sandy Hook mass shooting, the comic star has publicly denounced the film’s violent content – much of which involves the film’s two teenage protagonists. @JimCarrey: I did Kick-Ass 2 a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence,” he Tweeted Sunday. “My apologies to others involve[d] with the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Sensing it could have a strong year-end awards season contender, Universal has decided to platform its January 10th wide release of its Afghanistan war drama Lone Survivor with a 12/27 limited (LA/NY) debut. The shift will qualify the film for Oscars and other awards and get critical and audience word-of-mouth out there before the broader previously announced early 2014 release. Having seen the Peter Berg-directed true story in unfinished form, the move makes sense for a film that, despite unrelenting graphic violence that is hard to watch at times, really packs the kind of emotional punch that should play well with awards voters.
Coming off the box office disaster of Battleship, the movie represents a strong return to form for Berg that is more in line with what he did on 2004′s Friday Night Lights than the aforementioned 2012 bloated blockbuster. The film, which stars Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Eric Bana and Taylor Kitsch (who also finds redemption after facing critical brickbats for both John Carter and Battleship), is a riveting story of four Navy SEALs involved in an ill-fated covert mission to thwart a high-level Taliban operative when they are ambushed by enemy forces in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. Notwithstanding some of the most intense and realistic battle scenes in recent memory, it goes beyond the average war film in fleshing out real three-dimensional human beings caught up in the moral consequences of war, and in that way is more reminiscent of past Best Picture Oscar winners like Platoon (1986) and Universal’s own The Deer Hunter (1978). One scene in particular is riveting to watch in which the SEALS, weighing their own chances of survival, collectively must decide if a small group of locals should live or die. Certainly the film presents moral dilemmas that will cause strong debate. It is based on the New York Times bestseller, Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account Of Operation Redwing And The Lost Heroes Of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell (with Patrick Robinson), the Navy SEAL portrayed in the film by Wahlberg. Read More »
UPDATE, 2:40 PM: Universal just announced it is moving Non-Stop‘s release to February 28, 2014, a week later than its initial February 21 date. The new date pits Non-Stop against Paramount’s sci-fi pic Almanac. It would have gone up against Tri-Star’s action drama Pompeii … Read More »
Universal has dropped the second trailer for Rush, the Ron Howard-directed racing pic about 1970s Formula 1 rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl star alongside Olivia Wilde and Alexandra Maria Lara. Peter Morgan wrote the script. This trailer will play ahead of … Read More »
Robert Redford may not be eligible for any awards at Cannes this year where his new film, All Is Lost premiered to strong response out of competition on Wednesday night, but if the reaction on the Croisette was any indication, he could be headed for the Oscars. The film, in which Redford is the only actor playing a man stranded at sea when his sailboat springs a huge leak, is a tour de force for the star and it won a 9-minute standing ovation at its debut tonight. Even the return of the rain that has plagued this festival could not put a damper on the mood of the filmmakers, Universal International (releasing overseas) and Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions (releasing domestically on October 18th). It is clearly an awards season play, not only for Redford in a role unlike any he has played but also Oscar nominated writer/director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) who proves his first film was no fluke and shows a remarkable ability to pull off this one-man show with real filmmaking skill. Read More »
The mobile gaming tie-in to Universal’s Fast & Furious 6 launched on the iTunes App Store last week and is #1 among free apps in 45 countries. Created with SF-based studio Kabam, it’s also the #1 overall game in 69 countries, the top racing game in 112 countries, and the #1 action game in 85 countries. Its iPad app version runs comparable if even wider in saturation as the top free app in 81 countries. By contrast, Paramount‘s Star Trek: The Game — tied to the release of Star Trek Into Darkness — stayed in-house and it’s doing lousy since it came out last month. According to VG Chartz, unit sales in its first three weeks are only 140K to date across PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 consoles. It’s also considered a failure because it’s very buggy despite years of development. Critics and users alike gave it poor reviews. So what happened?
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