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Netflix left its mark at Cannes yesterday by acquiring worldwide distribution rights to Kevin James action-comedy The True Memoirs of an International Assassin. The purchase furthers the streaming service’s aggressive forays into feature distribution, especially given that the budget is said to be on the scale of other James titles, including Sony Pictures’ Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and Zookeeper.
Under the terms of the deal, The True Memoirs of an International Assassin will be presented as a “Netflix event,” debuting exclusively on the streaming service next year and entirely circumventing a theatrical release. Major theater chains like AMC and Regal have been vocal in their opposition to Netflix failing to observe the traditional release model of a theatrical bow followed by home media release, so one can imagine those companies are none-too-happy to hear about the streaming service’s latest acquisition.
- Isaac Feldberg
Netflix has made its first big splash at the Cannes Film Festival by acquiring worldwide distribution rights to the upcoming Kevin James comedy “The True Memoirs of an International Assassin,” Variety has learned.
The purchase, which is in final negotiations, is a formidable coup for Netflix as it continues to build on its reputation in the realm of distributing original films.
Under the deal, “Assassin” will be presented as a Netflix event in 2016, meaning it will debut exclusively on the streaming service and not in theaters. The budget for the production will be considerable, according to a source, and on par with other James movies made by major studios like Sony Pictures. The figures for the deal were not disclosed.
In the comedy, James plays an accountant mistaken for an assassin when a novel he’s writing is accidentally published as nonfiction, forcing him to flee to Belize. “Assassin” will »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Scream Queens, which received a new trailer this week.
USA Network has formally given a series order to Queen of the South. The series will be based on the 2002 Spanish novel La Raina Del Sur by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, which has already been adapted into a Spanish-language telenovela, and will star City of God and Predators‘ Alice Braga in the lead role of Teresa Mendoza. The series synopsis is as follows.
Queen Of The South tells the powerful story of Teresa Mendoza (Braga). When her drug-dealing boyfriend is unexpectedly murdered in Mexico, Teresa is forced to go on the run and seek refuge in America, where she teams with an unlikely figure from her past to bring down the leader of the very drug trafficking ring that has her on the run. In the process, she learns the tools of the trade and strategically positions herself to become the leader of the Cartel. »
- Deepayan Sengupta
Whither Netflix at the Cannes Film Festival? As business is underway at the Marche du Film, Ted Sarandos (who scooped up Cary Fukunaga's "Beasts with No Nation" which was spurned by Cannes) gave a heated keynote on Friday and, as usual, his remarks about the future of the theatrical model prompted outcries and defensiveness in the house. Watch the full hour-long Q&A below, and read press corps highlights. The Hollywood Reporter: Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos came under fire from European film protectionists during his keynote at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday. When the floor was opened to questions, one French reporter asked Sarandos "if he was aware" that within "5, 10, 15 years," the Netflix model would "destroy the film ecosystem in Europe." At issue was Netflix's policy of not contributing to European film subsidies as most broadcasters in Europe are compelled to do. Sarandos rebuffed the heckler, »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Sarandos spoke about how Netflix is making an aggressive push in the feature film business, with as many as five or six projects on the horizon, including “Ridiculous 8,” starring Adam Sandler; Cary Fukunaga’s “Beasts of No Nation” (acquired for $12 million earlier this year); and the sequel to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”
He said the budgets for many of these films are large — in the mid-$10 million to $50 million range. Some of Netflix’s productions, such as the Sandler movie, won’t be released in theaters, Sarandos explained.
But others will receive a theatrical release, although he didn’t go into specifics.
“Nothing we are saying or doing is meant to be anti-theater or anti-cinema,” said Sarandos. “I think it competes beautifully on its own.”
He added »
- Ramin Setoodeh
One of HBO’s more acclaimed series last season was their freshman drama True Detective, as the show garnered acclaim for a number of aspects, including the direction of Cary Fukunaga who, in an unusual move, helmed all eight episodes of the show’s first season. What got a number of fans intrigued, however, was the news that each season of the show would stand alone, a claim that was bolstered by the departure of the cast as well as Fukunaga, leaving writer Nic Pizzolatto as the only creative link between the show’s first season and its second.
The show’s setting is poised to move from Louisiana to California, with Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch, and Rachel McAdams filling out the lead roles this time around, and Better Luck Tomorrow‘s Justin Lin poised to take the director’s chair for the season’s first two episodes. »
- Deepayan Sengupta
TNT is venturing into both the Gilded Age and the Elizabethan Era, via two new projects announced Wednesday at its Upfront presentation.
The cabler has made a series commitment to an eight-part adaptation of The Alienist, Caleb Carr’s bestseller that is set in 1896 and follows then-New York City police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt as he attempts to solve gruesome murders.
RelatedTNT’s Legends Adds Sons of Anarchy, »
Turner Broadcasting, whose portfolio includes TBS, CNN, truTV, Adult Swim, and Cartoon Network, among multiple others, is moving forward with more original programming. The big news comes at TBS, which got The Daily Show funny couple Jason Jones and Samantha Bee on their own projects. As had been announced, they would be producing a show for TBS starring Jones, and we now know it's called The Detour. They're also set to do an "issues-oriented series" (we're thinking it'll be similar to something we saw on Tds) with Bee headlining. Steve and Nancy Carell have a show on TBS called Angie Tribeca starring Rashida Jones, and Conan O'Brien reunites with The Office producer Greg Daniels for a TBS comedy pilot about alien abductees called The Group (nope, not the Mary McCarthy kind). Cary Fukunaga, True Detective's great man-bun, is doing a TNT show called The Alienist, based on the novel »
- E. Alex Jung
TNT has made a hefty series commitment to Paramount TV’s adaptation of Caleb Carr’s novel “The Alienist,” spearheaded by “True Detective’s” Cary Fukunaga and screenwriters Eric Roth and Hossein Amini.
The deal for the project came down on the eve of Turner Broadcasting’s upfront presentation Wednesday morning in New York. New TNT/TBS boss Kevin Reilly has promised to overhaul TNT’s original drama offerings in an effort to bring more provocative and edgy material to the cabler known for its procedural hits.
TNT is said to have made a whopping $5 million-an-episode deal for the eight-part series, a clear signal to the industry that TNT is ready to spend big for glossy properties. The exact number of episodes is still to be determined, TNT said.
- Cynthia Littleton
The makeover of TNT and TBS is underway. At his first Turner upfront, Kevin Reilly, President of TBS and TNT and Chief Content Officer for Turner Entertainment, unveiled his plans for the two networks as well as several pickups. They include a high-profile event series, The Alienist, from True Detective‘s Cary Fukunaga;two drama pilots at TNT, Will, from Craig Pearce and Animal Kingdom, from John Wells; as well as two orders at TBS: a series one to pilot Wrecked and a… »
Six months into his new position at Turner, Kevin Reilly has big plans for TNT and TBS. Ahead of his first upfront presentation as Turner's chief content officer and head of both networks, Reilly announced plans to rebrand comedy-focused TBS and a shift in focus at drama-themed TNT in addition to doubling the number of originals at both cablers. The new directions included a limited series order to Cary Fukunaga's The Alienist and two buzzy pilots at TNT, as well as TBS' series pickup to Wrecked and a pilot order to an alien-themed comedy from Conan O'Brien
- Lesley Goldberg
While the topic of wealth inequality is a hot-button issue, the indie market place has blossomed as a new breed of producer — several are independently wealthy, all are smart, savvy — has stepped in. They are making the kinds of mid-budget movies that Hollywood isn’t making anymore, self-financing their own projects and making an effort to fill the void created by the studios’ overall change in strategy to one that focuses on tentpoles.
Producers like Megan Ellison, Jeff Skoll, Gigi Pritzker and Teddy Schwarzman have lately been joined by new players like Monika Bacardi and Todd Courtney, with their own philosophy about filmmaking, as well as specific criteria about the kinds of projects they choose to develop and, ultimately, produce.
- Neil Turitz
While there are sure to be some sales of buzzy film titles lighting up Cannes, there’s an ominous cloud hanging over this year’s market: the currency crisis in Europe and Russia. As a result, the financial underpinnings of several key film territories are at risk.
“The market in general is not healthy,” says Avi Lerner, chairman of Millennium Films and producer of “The Expendables” franchise. “We’re losing money territory by territory. Japan is not good. Russia is at zero because of the ruble. Europe is bad. Spain and Italy, over the last few years, have gone down. The only major territory we’ve seen growing stronger and stronger is China.”
But the Asian nation has its drawbacks, too — namely, a rigidly enforced quota system that makes it difficult for foreign films to get released, and a vast amount of piracy. But the Continent remains at the heart »
- Brent Lang and Ramin Setoodeh
It’s just concluded tonight in London and so we’ve got the full list of those hard-working stars of the small screen, who excel in one of the fastest changing formats of entertainment and impressing more and more all the time, it’s the House of Fraser British Academy Television Awards 2015 winners! The ceremony was hosted by Graham Norton at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and was broadcast on BBC HD.
There were two awards for The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, with Jason Watkins receiving his career-first BAFTA in the hotly contested Leading Actor category. In the Supporting Actress category Gemma Jones, who was last nominated in 1977, received her first ever BAFTA, for Marvellous, the feature-length biopic of Neil Baldwin. Marvellous was also successful against strong competition in the Single Drama category. Georgina Campbell won the BAFTA for Leading Actress for her harrowing portrayal of a victim of »
- Dan Bullock
With new adaptations of It and The Stand in the works from major Hollywood studios and talented, in-demand filmmakers, Cary Fukunaga and Josh Boone respectively, it.s not a bad time for Stephen King adaptations. And we can add one more to the list, as Splice director Vincenzo Natali is bringing In the Tall Grass to the big screen. Talking to Screen Daily, Natali revealed that not only will he direct In the Tall Grass, he.s handling screenplay based on the novella written by King and his son and fellow horror writer Joe Hill. Now available as an e-book, the story originally appeared in the pages of Esquire in two parts back in 2012. Described as a horror road trip, In the Tall Grass follows a young man named Cal DeMuth and his pregnant sister Becky. While driving through Kansas, they hear a boy crying out for help in a »
The second season of True Detective is one of the can’t-miss events of this summer, but according to showrunner Nic Pizzolatto, those expecting an identical experience to the Gothic, non-linear first season will be in for a bit of a surprise.
The new season, premiering on HBO on June 21, sets itself apart with a more unified, straightforward timeline that prioritizes the various ways in which the main characters collide and co-operate with one another.
“As the characters multiplied and their individual and group complications grew, a more integrated and linear structure worked best,” Pizzolatto told Medium. “And there was the conviction that if we were to do something entirely new, then we shouldn’t lean on past conceits, but really build from scratch.”
According to Pizzolatto, the tone has also changed, moving away from the spookier atmosphere that Cary Fukunaga created for season 1.
“The gothic horror suggested by Louisiana »
- Isaac Feldberg
I am very, very excited for True Detective Season 2, even if it’s going to be significantly different than the masterful first season. The biggest difference this year is that there will be multiple directors, in contrast to Cary Fukunaga helming every episode of Season 1. And now creator/writer Nic Pizzolatto has revealed another difference between the two seasons: his initial plan to delve into the “secret occult history of the U.S. transportation system” has been discarded, he says in an interview with Medium: “There’s definitely bad men and hard women, but no secret occult history of the U.S. transportation system. That was a comment from very early in the process, and something I ended up discarding in favor of closer character work and a more grounded crime story. The complexity of the historical conspiracy first conceived detracted from the characters and their reality, I felt, and »
- Adam Chitwood
We’re getting into a new age of Stephen King adaptations. The Stand and It are both being redone for the big screen, from directors Josh Boone and Cary Fukunaga — both very promising projects. And now Vincenzo Natali, who made films like Cube and Splice and is a director on Hannibal, is going to adapt In the […]
- Russ Fischer
It hardly seems like a year since we were arguing over the merits of eventual Palme winner "Winter Sleep" and goggling as all previous records for the upper limit one could be charged for a sandwich were shattered, but in just a week's time, the 2015 Cannes Film Festival kicks off. This year it will be Ingrid Bergman staring down at us from every flagpole and billboard, and the Coen brothers presiding over an illustrious competition jury. But most importantly, there will be an arguably more-stacked-than-ever catalogue of mouthwatering films for us to work our way through. There were a few disappointments, such as the no-shows of Ben Wheatley's "High Rise" and Cary Fukunaga's "Beasts of No Nation," but we guess they have to leave something for other high-profile festivals of the year. With a Cannes lineup this broad and deep, it would be churlish to complain too much. »
- The Playlist Staff
Although best known for his comedic roles, Poulter has shown a willingness to take on a diverse range of movies. He appeared in last year’s The Maze Runner, and will also be in Oscar-winner Alejandro G. Innaritu’s hotly-anticpated The Revenant, alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, so should be up for the challenge of portraying the rather terrifying jester.
Variety reported that he was up against Ben Mandelsohn and Mark Rylance for the role, but that Fukunaga was “blown away” by Poulter’s audition.
The script, penned by Fukunaga and Chase Palmer, »
- James Hunt
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