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Mma Pastor Doc ‘Fight Church’ Inks Distribution, Morgan Spurlock TV Deal

30 minutes ago

Exclusive: Lionsgate and Morgan Spurlock’s Warrior Poets banner have sealed separate deals for Fight Church, the feature documentary tracking a group of Mixed Martial Arts-fighting pastors whose violent practices have sparked controversy within the Christian community.

Co-directed by Oscar-winner Daniel Junge (Saving Face, Beyond the Brick: A Lego Brickumentary) and Bryan Storkel (Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians), Fight Church follows several Mma-battling ministers who preach from the pulpit and the octagon and even train fighters using the teachings of the Bible. Lionsgate sprang for North American VOD rights and will debut the film on iTunes and additional digital platforms on September 16, while Netflix will premiere it in multiple territories this Fall.

Given the success of faith-themed content and the controversial subject matter the topic is ripe for exploration; after Deadline premiered the trailer this spring, the film made headlines and drew heated debate online. Oscar-nominated »


- Jen Yamato

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Venice: Grindstone Acquires Modern-Day ‘Cymbeline’ With Ethan Hawke & Ed Harris

51 minutes ago

Lionsgate’s Grindstone Entertainment has acquired North American rights to writer-director Michael Almereyda’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline ahead of its Venice Film Festival world premiere. Ethan Hawke and Ed Harris, Milla Jovovich, John Leguizamo, Penn Badgley, Dakota Johnson and Anton Yelchin star in the pic, which centers on an epic battle between dirty cops and a drug dealing biker gang set in a corruption-riddled America. Lionsgate Home Entertainment will release it in spring 2015.

Michael Benaroya of Benaroya Pictures and Anthony Katagas of Keep Your Head Productions are producers; Benaroya fully financed. CAA negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers and Barry Brooker, Stan Wertlieb and Ryan Black on behalf of Grindstone. International Film Trust is handling overseas rights.

“We’re thrilled to have acquired a visionary film with an amazing cast assembled by Michael Almereyda, and we’re excited about partnering with Benaroya Pictures, whose track record »


- The Deadline Team

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‘Got’s Emilia Clarke, ‘Hunger Games’ Sam Claflin To Star In MGM’s ‘Me Before You’

1 hour ago

Exclusive: MGM is negotiating with Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin to star in the Thea Sharrock-directed Me Before You, the adaptation of the Jojo Moyes best-selling novel. Karen Rosenfelt is producing Sharrock’s feature debut. MGM is partnered with New Line and Warner Bros, which has dated the movie for August, 2015 release.

Clarke, whose breakout came playing the mother of dragons Daenerys Targaryen in HBO’s Game Of Thrones, is playing Sarah Conner in Terminator: Genisys, and she is also going to star with Nicholas Hoult in Go Down Together, the Michael Suscy-directed revisionist take on Depression Era outlaws Bonnie and Clyde. Though a newcomer, Claflin’s track record is pretty remarkable: the final three The Hunger Games films, Snow White and The Huntsman and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

There was a lot of competition between young actors for this male lead, and he beat out »


- Mike Fleming Jr

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Alex Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout Inks 3-Year Universal Deal

1 hour ago

Universal’s making room for Alex Kurtzman and his Secret Hideout shingle. They’ve signed a three-year production deal with the writer-director-producer’s new banner, which is expanding its operations on the studio lot. Kurtzman, who first pacted with Universal in a two-year deal in 2012 with Star Trek co-scribe Roberto Orci and their K/O Paper Products, will be joined by Focus FeaturesJeb Brody and K/O’s Bobby Cohen as producers at Secret Hideout. Kim Rosen is also moving over to the new company from K/O Paper Products to serve as head of digital and interactive. Kurtzman & Co. will be adding additional offices on the Universal lot while developing filmmaker-driven projects with franchise and multi-quadrant potential.

Kurtzman continues to spearhead Universal’s relaunch of its classic monster franchises with Chris Morgan, starting with the Mummy reboot he’s helming for a summer 2016 release. He is also producing »


- Jen Yamato

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Telluride: ‘Birdman’, ‘Imitation Game’, ‘Foxcatcher’, ’99 Homes’ Stake Out Oscar Territory As Fest Ends

12 hours ago

In our conversation about his new film Birdman on Sunday — after its triumphant North American premiere at Telluride the night before — I told director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu that I never thought I would see the day when we would be talking about this creator of oh-so-heavy dramas like Amores Perros, Babel, 21 Grams  and Biutiful becoming a front runner to win a Golden Globe for comedy. “I have to laugh about that,” he said. “When I hit 50 last year I really thought I should lighten up a little bit. I have been doing some personal stuff that I thought would get me to a very nice place and understand a lot of things that before I didn’t.” He continued to challenge himself by filming Birdman with the illusion that it is one shot from first frame to last. It’s a device, but I must say it works perfectly for »


- Pete Hammond

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Hot Venice Clip: James Franco’s ‘The Sound And The Fury’

1 September 2014 12:25 PM, PDT

Exclusive: Prolific jack-of-all-artistic-trades James Franco arrives on the Lido this week to accept the Venice Film Festival’s Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award, which goes to a personality who has made an original contribution to innovation in contemporary cinema. Fitting then that his latest directorial effort, The Sound And The Fury, will have its world premiere out of competition at the fest (see the exclusive clip above).

Related: Telluride: Jon Stewart’s ‘Rosewater’ Wins Standing Ovation At Festival

The film is based on the novel of by William Faulkner; it’s Franco’s second time adapting the author — a notoriously tough challenge given the author’s penchant for stream of consciousness. Franco tells me he nevertheless stayed faithful to the book, which is broken into four sections and focuses on the decline and fall of the Compsons, a once-proud, aristocratic Southern family. A major obstacle to translating their story »


- Nancy Tartaglione

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Telluride: Eviction Stunner ’99 Homes’ Electrifies Fest, Igniting Hot Distribution, Oscar Buzz

1 September 2014 12:19 PM, PDT

After its smash international World Premiere in Venice, director Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes — an absolutely riveting drama about the 2008 home foreclosure crisis — had its North American premiere here at the Telluride Film Festival, and it has set this place ablaze. Despite lots of interest, as there should be, from domestic distributors, Bahrani told me immediately after this morning’s screening that the financiers behind the film are waiting until its Toronto debut next week to finalize anything. Starring Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon in career-best performances, this movie is not only a no-brainer for a quick distribution deal, it could be the rare — here comes that five letter word you hate so much, studios — drama that also could be a commercial powerhouse. Few films I have seen in recent years have cut so close to the bone as this one does. Americans, in particular, will respond strongly, and if ever there was a word-of-mouth movie, »


- Pete Hammond

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Film Arcade And Paramount Team On Romantic Comedy ‘Love, Rosie’

1 September 2014 10:28 AM, PDT

The Film Arcade and Paramount Home Media Distribution have acquired Contantin Film’s romantic comedy Love, Rosie. Film Arcade will distribute the film theatrically in the U.S. with Paramount Home Media handling all other platforms domestically. Release dates are tentatively scheduled for early 2015. Based on P.S. I Love You author Cecelia Ahern’s bestseller Where Rainbows End, Love, Rosie stars Lilly Collins and Sam Claflin as a pair of star-crossed lovers. The two have been best friends since they were 5, but are their own worst enemies when it comes to love, life and making the right choices. One awkward turn at 18, one missed opportunity, and life sends them hurtling in different directions. Pic begs the question, will they find their way back to one another or will it be too late?

Christian Ditter directs and Constantin Film’s Robert Kulzer and Canyon Creek FilmsSimon Brooks are producing. Constantin »


- The Deadline Team

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Box Office 4-Day: ‘Guardians’ No. 1 With $280M+ Cume As Summer Closes Down 14.7% Vs. 2013

1 September 2014 9:10 AM, PDT

7th Update, Monday, 9:10 Am: Calculations are out for the end of summer for the period May 2nd through Sept. 1 and this year the industry is down 14.7% from 2013. Specifically, this year grossed $4.055B compared to last year’s $4.753B, according to Rentrak. For the analysis on this, see:

Related: Box Office End of Summer, Some Profitable Hits in Overall Blah Season

6th Update, Monday, 8:17 Am: Guardians of the Galaxy will end the summer with over $280.5M domestically — and, of course, it’s still playing. We expect this one to eventually pass $300M as there is nothing opening next weekend. This one will clock in with an estimated $22.4M to $23M for the weekend. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will log roughly $166.3M in only four weeks for Paramount. This one will also play through the next weekend. There is nothing up to challenge the family market until Alcon’s Dolphin Tale »


- Anita Busch

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Venice: Lars Von Trier Speaks, Sort Of; Helmer Prepping English-Language TV Series, Eyes “Huge Cast”

1 September 2014 4:28 AM, PDT

Update: TrustNordisk has released further details of Lars von Trier’s TV series project which was first mooted during a press conference in Venice this morning. A “huge” international cast will star in The House That Jack Built with von Trier to start working on the script this fall for a 2016 shoot. Plot details are being kept close to the vest, but exec producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen said the series will be “without precedent” and cautioned, “You better hold your breath.” Louise Vesth is producing for Zentropa. It’s being developed in co-operation with Dr executive producer Piv Bernth. Dr is the Danish public broadcaster behind such series as Borgen and The Killing.

Previously: Danish bad boy filmmaker Lars von Trier appeared in Venice today in honor of the out of competition screenings of the Director’s Cut of his Nymphomaniac Volume I and II. Unlike his appearance sporting a »


- Nancy Tartaglione

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Update: Oz Grants Disney Transfer Of Tax Incentive To Lure ‘Pirates 5′ Down Under

1 September 2014 2:12 AM, PDT

Update, Monday Sept 1, 2:12 Am: The Australian government has approved the reassignment of a A$21.6M ($20.2M) tax incentive for Disney to bring the shoot for Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Down Under. In 2013, those same funds had been earmarked for 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: Captain Nemo, but the studio is understood to have asked for a transfer with that project now in stasis. According to local trade If.com, a spokesman for Oz Arts Minister George Brandis said, “The government is pleased to agree to Disney’s request to enable earlier funding to be repurposed for the production of Pirates Of The Caribbean 5.” However, “Any decision to film productions in Australia… is a commercial matter for Disney.” The incentive is said to fall a bit short of an extra boost Disney was seeking and could mean that regional agencies would be relied upon to make up the difference. »


- Nancy Tartaglione

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Update: Int’l Box Office: ‘Apes’ Dawns In China With $47M; ‘Into The Storm’ Whips Up Korea #1; ‘Lucy’ Crosses $150M; More

31 August 2014 9:02 PM, PDT

3Rd Update, 9:02 Pm Pt: International box office was even with last weekend across the Top 10 studio releases with Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes the big gorilla thanks to a strong China opening. Lucy was also in on the action again this frame with a cumulative $31.2M in Universal and EuropaCorp territories. Compared to last year, the session was up 39%. Players at that time included Elysium, One Direction: This Is Us and The Conjuring, with Monsters University adding another $10M in China.

Along with Apes this weekend in China, How To Train Your Dragon 2 was a strong performer and is expected to take the No. 2 spot with $6.3M in frame 3. After a period that saw a focus on boosting local movies, the market is now getting a steady influx of Hollywood titles – Expendables 3 opens there tomorrow (Monday) and Into The Storm blows in on Sept 12. Also in Asia, »


- Nancy Tartaglione

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