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UPDATE: Will Risky ‘Ant-Man’ Be Marvel’s Waterloo Or Greatest Triumph?

By | Saturday May 31, 2014 @ 1:20pm PDT
Mike Fleming

UPDATE: Amid the morning news that Adam McKay has backed away from talks of directing Marvel‘s Ant-Man, the Anchorman director took to Twitter to say the following:

 

PREVIOUS, 8:04 AM ANALYSIS: Marvel and the reps of Adam McKay will spend the weekend trying to make a deal for the Talladega Nights helmer to replace Edgar Wright as the director of Ant-Man. McKay, the former Saturday Adam McKayNight Live writer who grew up on that show with Will Ferrell and moved with him to feature films, has become an accomplished director of comedies (Step Brothers is my favorite), but this seems to be a risky move (reports have him already deciding this is not for him). I was already skeptical of how serious to take the Ant-Man thing when Paul Rudd was cast as the title character, not because Rudd isn’t a good enough actor, but because he’s so identified as a comic actor. Setting McKay as director pushes the perception of this movie more towards, say, The Green Hornet than something like Captain America: Winter Soldier. I would have been less surprised had McKay been set to direct Ghostbusters, after Ivan Reitman bowed out, than a superhero film. One of the best things about these Marvel superhero movies under Kevin Feige is that they don’t take themselves too seriously in between giant action sequences. The blend of the occasional great comic line was particularly sharp in the Joss Whedon-directed Avengers film.

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Relativity Acquires ‘Fearless’ For Film On Navy SEAL Team Six Hero Adam Brown

By | Friday May 30, 2014 @ 11:24am PDT
Mike Fleming

fearlEXCLUSIVE: In competitive bidding, Relativity has acquired Fearless, based on the Eric Blehm bestselling book on SEAL Team Six operative Adam Brown. Brown battled personal demons, including drug addiction and jail time, to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a Navy SEAL. With the support of his wife and family, and drawing on his faith, Brown persevered through relapses and overcame what should have been career ending injuries to earn a spot on the elite SEAL Team Six unit. In a final act of true selflessness, Brown volunteered for an exceptionally dangerous mission during which he was killed protecting his teammates. Like Lone Survivor, this movie is the story of a tale of courage and sacrifice and a man’s unwavering love for his family, his fellow SEAL members, and his country. Have to say I don’t think there can be too many powerful movies that remind us of the sacrifice these soldiers make under the most dangerous conditions.

Ryan Kavanaugh and Christy Fletcher of Fletcher and Co. will produce the film. Tucker Tooley will serve as executive producer. Brett Dahl is overseeing the project on behalf of the studio. The author previously wrote The Last Season and The Only Thing Worth Dying For.

Said Tooley: “Navy SEAL Adam Brown’s story is one of incredible determination, strength and heroism, and Relativity is proud to work on a film that honors him.” Resolution’s Rich Green repped the author and Linda Lichter repped … Read More »

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Sony Imageworks’ Flight To Vancouver Latest Blow In VFX Subsidies Battle

The_Amazing_Spider-Man_2_(film)_poster_001Sony Pictures Imageworks announced late Thursday that its headquarters will relocate to Vancouver, leaving the fate of its 270 Culver City VFX workers in question. The Oscar-winning VFX and digital animation wing of Sony recently handled effects on WB’s Tom Cruise sci-fier Edge of Tomorrow and Sony-Columbia’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Its current and future big-ticket projects include Disney/Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy, Columbia’s Pixels, the Angry Birds movie, and Sony’s Hotel Transylvania 2 and the untitled Smurfs sequel — all of which will be spearheaded by the Vancouver team as the company preps its move into a new 74,000-square-foot state of the art facility in Vancouver’s Pacific Centre.

Related: HBO, City Of LA, & Unions Praise Passage Of New Film & TV Tax Credit Bill

A smaller LA-area office will remain as the headquarters shift is completed next year, though it’s unclear how many current employees will make the move. Dozens of staffers from SPI’s Southern California office were relocated in January to Vancouver, where SPI first set up shop in 2010 with just 80 artists. The move to the new Canadian digs, which can accommodate up to 700 employees, comes as ongoing concerns grow among some VFX pros that British Columbia’s generous 58% tax incentives could lure even more runaway VFX production to the region, away from hubs like Los Angeles.

sony pictures imageworks“The 58.4% subsidy for BC-resident VFX artists shows how unsustainable subsidies have become and how expensive it would be for states like California to compete in the ‘race to the bottom,’” said VFX activist Daniel Lay, who runs the VFX Soldier blog. “Even [the passage of] California state bill AB1839 would probably do little to stem the effects of VFX runaway production to B.C. because of how much higher it is. Furthermore, B.C. is starting to lose their advantage to Quebec, which not only matches BC’s labor subsidies but provides 25% on non-labor costs also.” Read More »

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‘Pitch Perfect 2′ Adds German YouTuber Flula Borg

By | Thursday May 29, 2014 @ 6:04pm PDT

Flula Borg Pitch Perfect 2EXCLUSIVE: Now that Pitch Perfect 2 has its original stars back, director Elizabeth Banks is adding some new aca-flavor to her cast. German DJ, comedian, musician, actor, hype-man, host, and YouTube personality Flula Borg is the latest to join the Universal Pictures and Gold Circle Films musical sequel about college a cappella singers vying for competitive crooning kudos.

The Bavarian-born LA transplant has amassed over 45M views on his YouTube channel and appeared on Spike’s Auction Hunters, Last Call with Carson Daly, and Current TV. Character details are being kept under wraps but I hear he’ll be playing a member of a competing a cappella group opposite returning Pitch Perfect stars Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, and Skyler Astin. As with other YouTubers trying to make the leap from digital fame to other platforms, it could be a springboard for Borg’s budding acting career. Workaholics sketch performer Adam DeVine, who’s also back for the sequel, had a breakout turn in the first film playing the over-the-top captain of a rival a cappella squad. Read More »

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Climb Toward ‘Cliffhanger’ Reboot Moving Forward; Joe Gazzam Set To Write

Mike Fleming

cliffEXCLUSIVE: Producer Neal Moritz and StudioCanal are ready to move forward with Cliffhanger, a re-imagining of the 1993 Renny Harlin-directed mountain climbing film that starred Sylvester Stallone. They’ve set Joe Gazzam to write the screenplay after he was among a group of screenwriters who pitched their take on a movie that still holds up as a guilty pleasure. The original was made by Carolco before that company crashed, and TriStar distributed it. StudioCanal ended up with the rights. There is no domestic distributor in place, but since Moritz’s Original Pictures is Sony-based, that studio should get a first crack at the project. Sony already has a mountain climbing project in Everest, the Doug Liman-directed film that has Tom Hardy attached to play Sir Edward Mallory, the British mountaineer who tried to be first to summit the world’s highest mountain. Cross Creek, Walden and Universal financed another film called Everest, with Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Robin Wright, Jason Clarke and John Hawkes starring in the Baltasar Kormakur-directed film about a disastrous attempt to summit the mountain in 1996 when the climbers were hit by a blizzard.

gazzamThe original Cliffhanger revolved around a traumatized mountain climber forced back into an expedition after a plane crash leaves a lot of stolen cash and bad guys strewn on the Rocky Mountains. Moritz and Ori Marmur will produce for Original, and StudioCanal’s Ronald … Read More »

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Oscars: How Cannes May Have More Impact Than Ever On The 2014 Race

Pete Hammond

As my French fog lifts in the wake of my return from the Cannes Film Festival it’s a good time to look at how it might havethe-academy-oscars-new-logo-1 impacted the 2014 Oscar race as the calendar turns to June and we have the first big benchmark out of the way. That’s not to say that Cannes is a huge indicator of where this thing will be come Fall when it really heats up, but this is one of the better years I think in terms of Cannes and potential for its ultimate impact on the awards season. Some years are better than others. You might recall in 2011 three films in the official Cannes selection, The Tree Of Life, Midnight In Paris and The Artist all went on to Best Picture nominations with the latter even winning. It’s never too early to speculate.

Related: DeadlineNow: Early Frontrunners In The Oscar Race (Video)

sony-pictures-classics-logoSony Pictures Classics (which had Midnight In Paris)  certainly seems to think 2014 is going to similarly big so they put out a press release earlier this week touting their triumph on the Cote d’Azur . They held the hot hand this year with a flurry of titles they brought and bought to Croisette.  They come out of Cannes very strong with contenders of various stripes across several categories including Best Picture for Foxcatcher and Mr. Turner (with an outside shot for Directors Fortnight entry Whiplash which actually … Read More »

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UPDATE: HBO, City Of LA, & Unions Praise Passage Of New Film & TV Tax Credit Bill

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Don't Play The Film & TV Tax Credit Blame Game

Production is flowing out of the home of Hollywood as politicians seek to expand California’s 5-year old $100 million Film and TV tax credit program. Next week, new applicants will be picked by lottery for the upcoming year. Deadline’s Dominic Patten explains while there is lot of blame to go around from the loss of jobs and the sad state of the industry in California, don’t blame Canada.

UPDATED, 3:18 PM: The California Film and Television Production Alliance has weighed in with its support for today’s Assembly vote to expand California’s $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program. “California Film and Television Production Alliance logoThe strength of the unanimous vote demonstrates the Assembly Members’ clear understanding of the vital economic importance of the motion picture industry to California and their determination to return this state to a competitive position,” reads a statement from the coalition of guilds, unions, producers, small businesses and associations that promotes TV production in California. Its members include the Television Academy, SAG-AFTRA, CBS Studios, HBO, PGA, MPAA, DGA, Disney, more than 30 California cities and dozens of other groups. Read the full statement below the original post.

california-tax-credits3__120901092343__120929195413__131031165021__131112185634__140109040050__140219155328__140424175515__140501004243__140513170807PREVIOUSLY, 1:38 PM: It’s not yet the law of the state, but efforts to expand California’s $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program took a legislative leap forward today. In the midst of a bill-passing frenzy, the state Assembly voted overwhelmingly for legislation that hopes to halt production flooding out of the home of Hollywood. Introduced in late February, the multi-sponsored Film and Television Job Creation and Retention Act drew 62 yes votes from Assembly members in the chamber with zero opposed. Another 9 votes were added to the bill afterwards, as the Assembly’s rules allow, bringing the total to 71. The state Assembly has a total of 80 members. 

Related: Where Hollywood’s Union Jobs Are Going: Call These States The Runaway 3

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Personal Managers Launch Offensive In Battle Over Talent Agency Act

LogoNCOPMThe National Conference of Personal Managers is going on the public relations offensive in its ongoing fight to overturn California’s Talent Agency Act, which prevents managers from procuring employment for their clients. The group has launched a website and is naming names, shaming dozens of stars who have sued their managers during the past 30 years for, of all things, helping them get jobs. The list includes Cher, Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney, Richard Pryor, Jennifer Lopez, Rosanne Barr, Arsenio Hall, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Sean Hayes and many others.

Related: Managers File Appeal In California Talent Agencies Act Suit

NCOPM tried to get the law changed so that personal managers could legally help their clients find jobs, but its effort was shot down last year in federal court. NCOPM appealed in October and is still awaiting a ruling. So now it’s going on the shaming offensive while trying to educate the public about the raw deal it believes personal managers are getting under the law. Its new website also is trying to raise money to continue its legal battle, which has seen all three major talent guilds — covering actors, writers and directors — opposing its efforts in “friend of the court” filings. Read More »

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‘Ant-Man’ / Edgar Wright Lessons: Kevin Feige’s Vision Rules Marvel; Time To Get Excited About ‘Kolchak: The Night Stalker’?

Mike Fleming

edgaA couple of things to consider in the divorce between Edgar Wright and Marvel over Ant-Man. In my mind, Wright’s surprise exit Friday over creative differences shows that while Marvel certainly will try to tap strong directors for its superhero properties, the power at that studio clearly resides with one person, Kevin Feige. You might recall this is the second high-profile shooter who was ousted from a big Marvel movie. Patty Jenkins, who guided Charlize Theron to an Oscar performance in Monster, had been set to helm Thor 2 until she clashed creatively with Marvel. If you recall, the hiring of Jenkins was considered a big step forward because so few female directors get a shot at a superhero film. Feige replaced her with Alan Taylor, the Game Of Thrones helmer who did a fine job and has taken on the job of resuscitating the Terminator franchise for Paramount and Skydance Productions.

Related: Director Patty Jenkins Exits Marvel’s ‘Thor 2′

antmaThe exit of Wright is more surprising, considering he came to Comic-Con several years ago and showed a sample of the shrinking technology that would anchor the film. Then, Wright got Feige’s blessing to postpone the movie while he did The World’s End because Working Title partner Eric Fellner had a life-threatening health matter and Wright felt honor bound to see through the final leg of the Cornetto trilogy. The fact that Wright is so revered among the demo that Ant-Man will have to appeal to shows the confidence that Marvel has in Feige’s vision — and, indeed, the movies under his watch have been so good it’s hard to argue. It seems similar to the hold that producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson wield over the James Bond franchise. How many huge directors have expressed desire to helm a 007 film but were rebuffed or stepped away because the ultimate creative call resides not with any filmmaker but the producers who are the flame keepers of the franchise?

Related: Comic-Con Q&A With Edgar Wright

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Was Wall Street Too Pessimistic About The Summer Box Office?

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Wall Street More Upbeat Amid Promising Summer Box Office Sales

Deadline Financial Editor David Lieberman discusses why investors are more optimistic about the summer movie season.

godzilla-2014-france-wallpaperMany investors appear to think so today after domestic box office sales for X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Godzilla beat some forecastsand B. Riley’s Eric Wold upgraded the industry. AMC Entertainment shares are +3.2% in early trading, and Cinemark is +2.4%, after Wold changed his recommendation for both to “buy” from “neutral.” He also raised price targets for Regal, Carmike, and 3D technology company RealD. Although the summer pop corn movie season has only just begun, Wold says that the early results were good enough for him to change his forecast for Q2 and Q3 to flat box office revenues vs the strong sales from the period last year, as opposed to a low-single digit decline. He’s especially impressed with premium ticket sales for 3D and IMAX venues, which collectively accounted for 51% of the opening weekend sales for Godzilla. Last year’s Gravity “introduced more movie-goers to the benefits of seeing a movie in 3D,” he says. In addition, studios are picking better films to offer in 3D while theaters schedule them to become “more of the default choice as opposed to an upgrade decision.” Once investors move past their concerns about the summer 2014 box office, he says, they’ll focus on 2015 could set a record with sequels for hits including the Avengers, the Hunger GamesMission: Impossible, Fast And Furious, and … Read More »

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Cannes: From Chekhov In Turkey To Rampaging Dogs Award Winners Prove This Fest Had It All

Pete Hammond

It’s all over but the re-runs.  The 67th Cannes Film Festival  unofficially ended Saturday night with the crowning of Nuri Bilge Ceylan’sCannes2014_badge__140417160328-150x150 (1)  endless, but admired, Chekovian epic Winter Sleep being crowned with the coveted Palme d’Or. Because French elections fall on Monday the festival decided to end the key competition a day early and leave Sunday to repeats of movies shown earlier, just as they did on Saturday where fortunately I was able to catch up with Winter Sleep just so I would be prepared for its big victory.  At 3 hours and 16 minutes it was easily the longest movie in the competition and still managed to prove, just as the three-hour Blue Is The Warmest Color did last year, that length doesn’t matter when it comes to impressing juries. At the post – press conference Jury President Jane Campion said she was worried initially. “I was scared when I looked at the running time and it said three hours and fifteen minutes. I thought I might need a toilet break. But it had such a beautiful rhythm and it just took me in. Actually I could have sit there for another two hours. It was all very Chekhovian. I could see myself in all of the characters,” she said.  Another two hours? Don’t encourage him, Jane.  Turkish arthouse fave Ceylan has been coming to Cannes for an ego boost for years and … Read More »

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DeadlineNow: ‘X-Men’ To Dominate Weekend Box Office (Video)

Today kicks off our DeadlineNow video news service, in which Deadline’s journalists offer instant analysis and commentary on the news as it happens. Check back throughout the day for more reports.

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X-Men: Days Of Future Past' Eyes $100M

Deadline Film Editor Anita Busch looks ahead at the Memorial Day holiday weekend box office, which includes the opening for 'Blended,' and holdovers 'Neighbors', & 'Godzilla.

Related: Box Office: ‘X-Men’ Nabs Stellar $8.1M In Late-Night Thursday Opening For Expected $100M+ Weekend

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Cannes: Quentin Tarantino On Digital As The Death Of Cinema; A ‘Django’ Miniseries; ‘Hateful Eight’ Prospects & More

“It’s rare toQuentin Tarantino Press Conference - The 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival see a filmmaker who doesn’t have a movie here in Cannes do a press conference,” said Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Frémaux as he introduced Quentin Tarantino to journalists this afternoon. But Cannes loves Tarantino and the feeling is clearly mutual. His Pulp Fiction Palme d’Or is “my single, absolutely, positively greatest achievement,” the director said. Besides, even if he doesn’t have a new movie here, Pulp Fiction is screening tonight in celebration of the 20th anniversary of winning that Palme. Tarantino is also hosting the Closing Night screening of Sergio Leone’s A Fistful Of Dollars. That film, he said, marked “the birth of genre action cinema as it’s become to be known ever since.” Otherwise, there was plenty to discuss. In a wide-ranging chat with the press, Tarantino waxed on the rise of digital projection as the “death of cinema”; the status of The Hateful Eight; and possibly revisiting Django Unchained as a miniseries, among other topics.

Cannes2014_badge__140417160328-150x150 (1)Tonight’s Pulp Fiction showing will be the only time during this two-week event that a movie will be screened in 35mm, Frémaux noted. Later queried about that, Tarantino said, “The fact that now most films are not shown in 35mm means the war is lost. The death of 35mm is the death of cinema.” He allowed that the “good side of digital is the fact that a young pulp-fiction-gunsfilmmaker can now just buy a cell phone, and if they have the tenacity… can actually make a movie” to help start them on their way. But, he thundered, “Why would an established filmmaker shoot on digital? I just don’t get it.” He likened seeing movies digitally projected in a theater to watching “television in public.” Perhaps as we’re in the waning days of May, he did allow for some optimism to spring. “I’m hopeful that we’re going through a woozy, romantic period with the ease of digital, and I’m hoping that while this generation is completely hopeless, the next generation will come out and demand the real thing.”
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Cannes: ‘Pulp Fiction’ Reunion Shapes Up As Travolta Expected To Join Tarantino, Thurman For 20th Anniversary Tribute

Pulp Fiction Reunion CannesEXCLUSIVE: Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman are confirmed to attend a special celebration of Pulp Fiction here in Cannes tomorrow night. Now I’m hearing word that Vincent Vega himself will join his director and co-star in the festivities. John Travolta is not yet set in stone, but he’s been in town this week and I’m told the festival is hoping to Cannes2014_badge__140417160328-150x150 (1)confirm his attendance tonight with the actor keen to take part. The plan as it stands thus far is for the Pulp Fiction posse to walk the red carpet at the Palais at 6:30 PM on Friday night, then head off to a cocktail ahead of the film’s special beach screening which the director will introduce. Miramax is presenting and hosting all the Pulp Fiction activities.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since Pulp Fiction won the Palme d’Or. But that was not the first film Tarantino ever had in Cannes — two years earlier in 1992 his Reservoir Dogs was an Official Selection title that ran out of competition. Since then, movies he’s directed that have appeared at the Palais include Kill Bill Vol 2, Death Proof and Inglourious Basterds. Tarantino is already in Cannes this week and will host the closing-night screening of Sergio Leone’s 1964 Spaghetti Western A Read More »

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Cannes: More Domestic Activity Than Expected; Offshore Soft; Russia In A “Panic”

Cannes2014_badge__140417160328-150x150 (1)Heading into Cannes, the refrain was roundly the same as the one we heard going into the last big market, February’s EFM in Berlin. Whether it be from sales people, buyers or producers both foreign and domestic, there was a lament that the big projects had failed to materialize and that despite hopes to the contrary, this would be a very soft sojourn on the Croisette. One buyer called the situation a “catastrophe.” It is simply harder to pull together exciting packages, execs said, as talent attachments take longer and numbers are harder to hit. Still, if international dealmaking was in line with expectations, there was a jolt in domestic deals from the get-go. On the eve of the market, Paramount spent a record $20M on Story Of Your Life. The deal for the Denis Villeneuve-directed sci-fi pic starring Amy Adams was brokered by Lava Bear’s David Linde with WME Global’s Graham Taylor and FilmNation’s Glen Basner. Basner was also in the middle of The Weinstein Co’s landmark $7M Berlin deal for The Imitation Game. That acquisition was the real news out of Berlin, but it did not have a knock-on effect of jump-starting what ended up to be a pretty tepid EFM.

the-weinstein-company-logo-1__140502172505-275x153On the contrary, the sunny skies in Cannes, after two years of non-stop downpours, were matched by a solid … Read More »

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UPDATE: Sarah Jones Family Files ‘Midnight Rider’ Wrongful Death Suit, Seeks Damages “For The Full Value Of Sarah’s Life”

By | Wednesday May 21, 2014 @ 4:45pm PDT
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Sarah Jones' Family Files Lawsuit

Deadline Film Editor Anita Busch discusses the industry-wide implications of the massive wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the family of the camera operator struck and killed by a train during production of 'Midnight Rider'. Film Editor Anita Busch reports.

Sarah Jones death Midnight Rider2ND UPDATE, 4:45 PM: Open Road Films, which had been set to release Midnight Rider in the U.S., issued a statement about the new lawsuit late this afternoon: “This event was a horrible tragedy, and our deepest condolences go out to the Jones family, the crew members and others who have suffered. Open Road Films was not involved in the production in any way at any time, and we have been named in this suit without justification.”

Related: Open Road To Bring Gregg Allman Biopic To U.S. Theaters

UPDATED WITH COURT DOCUMENT: Today’s lawsuit, which seeks unspecified punitive damages, claims that Sarah Jones was killed because the defendants ”operated without minimum safety precautions and contrary to standard industry practices for productions of this scale and for productions involving dangerous filming conditions.” (Read the filing here.) It also claims that a CSX rail company rep told one or more of the defendants that only two trains would pass per day at the filming location, and that none of the production’s crew obtained permission to film on the train trestle bridge – and that they concealed this fact from the rest of the crew.

This is the second suit to arise from the Midnight Rider shoot. The biopic’s subject, Gregg Allman, sued director Randall Miller’s production company Unclaimed Freight on May 2 alleging that their big-screen option rights to his life have ended. That case was settled last week.

Related: Gregg Allman Settles ‘Midnight Rider’ Lawsuit

PREVIOUSLY: A whopping 18 defendants were named in a wrongful death lawsuit filed in Georgia this afternoon by the parents of Midnight Rider camera assistant Sarah Jones, who was killed in a train collision during filming on the indie feature on February 20. Jones’ parents, Richard and Elizabeth Jones, filed the complaint in Georgia’s State Court of Chatham County on behalf of their daughter’s estate, asking for a jury trial. Among those named as defendants in the Jones family suit were director/producer Randall Miller and producer wife Jody Savin, along with their Unclaimed Freight production company. Unit production manager Jay Sedrish, 1st A.D. Hillary Schwartz, location manager Charlie Baxter, and exec producer Nick Gant and his Meddin Studios were also named, as was Midnight Rider distributor Open Road Films, exec producer Gregg Allman, and Film Allman, LLC.

Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia

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Cannes: Weinstein Co In Exclusive Talks For Russell Crowe-Helmed ‘The Water Diviner’

Mike Fleming

croweEXCLUSIVE: I’m back on my feet after an awful case of jet lag, in time to lob a couple end-of-day stories as the Cannes Film Festival continues supplying splashy deals into the waning days. The Weinstein Company tonight is now in exclusive negotiations to acquire The Water Diviner, and is in position to land the directorial debut of Russell Crowe. This comes after Crowe traveled to the Croisette and presented about 12 minutes of footage to an array of distributors at the Majestic. He then hung around and met with them. The distributors I spoke with all came away very impressed by what Cannes2014_badge__140417160328-150x150 (1)Crowe had done. In the end, he and his WME Global reps felt that Harvey Weinstein would be the right man for the job of releasing the film. TWC has offered $4 million with the promised of a wide release. Crowe and Weinstein worked together years ago on Master And Commander.

Related: Russell Crowe Sets ‘The Water Diviner’ For Directing Debut

In the film, Crowe plays an Australian man who travels to Turkey to find his three sons, who went missing after the brutal Battle of Gallipoli during WWI. I am told that the-weinstein-company-logo-1__140502172505-275x153there is an epic quality to the subject matter in the script by Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastasios, covering a war that absolutely decimated a generation of young Australian men. Anyone who saw Peter Weir’s Gallipoli knows the scale of carnage. I’ve heard The Water Diviner has a Braveheart quality to it. Read More »

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‘Hells Angels’ Feature Rides Over To Writer-Producer Rob Weiss

By | Wednesday May 21, 2014 @ 8:46am PDT

Sonny Barger MovieEXCLUSIVE: Writer-producer Rob Weiss (Entourage) is taking over Fox 2000‘s Hells Angels feature about legendary member Sonny Barger, who has long been considered the undisputed godfather of the motorcycle club. Barger helped found the Oakland chapter in 1957 when he was only 18 and became instrumental in its rise as an international organization. Weiss will co-write with Jeff Santos and direct the story of Barger’s life, which has been a controversial one so he has a lot of material to draw on … 60 years’ worth. Weiss said he is looking to tell the story about the beginnings of Hells Angels.

robweiss3(1)“We’re approaching this as a genesis story of the motorcycle club culture,” Weiss said. “I’ve wanted to do something in the biker space for a long time.” He said they are going to focus on Barger’s entry into Hells Angels from the late 1950s and follow his story into the 1970s. He calls it “a period piece that explores the early days of the club, the philosophy of the formidable, most loyal brotherhood that started it and what drove Sonny, who had the leadership and the vision to expand the club. And he did so amid almost unsurmountable obstacles like rival clubs and law enforcement.” Weiss is drawing on the books Barger wrote himself as well as input from the Hells Angels legend. “His life is a metaphor for the wild ride that is set against a very shifting America,” Weiss said. Read More »

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Toni Collette, Marisa Tomei Outta Work As Broadway `Joneses’ To Shutter

By | Tuesday May 20, 2014 @ 9:53am PDT

"The Realistic Joneses" Opening Night - After PartyBroadway producer Jeffrey Richards, who is having a terrible spring, announced this morning that The Realistic Joneses, starring Toni Collette, Marisa Tomei, Michael C. Hall and Tracy Letts, will end its Broadway run on July 6. Richards is also the lead producer of The Bridges Of Madison County, the Jason Robert Brown/Marsha Norman musical that closed last Sunday at a loss of $8.5 million. Estimated cost of the Joneses: $2.5 million to $3  million.

"The Realistic Joneses" Opening Night - After PartyAn offbeat comedy-drama about suburban neighbors with mysterious pasts, the show came into New York after a Yale Repertory Theater tryout last year that was critically lauded, especially but hardly exclusively by N.Y. Times scribe Charles Isherwood. Reaction to the Sam Gold-staged show on Broadway was mixed, through Isherwood called it “far and away the most stimulating, adventurous and flat-out good play to be produced on Broadway this year.” It failed to garner any Tony nominations, though the play had many supporters and was doing respectable business, playing last week to 91% of capacity at the Lyceum Theater and taking in $590,378 — which was 82% of its gross potential and a $21,000 improvement over the week before during a down week on the Street.

Absent a long-term bump from the Tonys and offering little appeal to the summer tourist crowd, business was likely … Read More »

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