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Too Early To Talk 2014 Oscars? Harvey Weinstein Buying ‘Grace Of Monaco’ With Nicole Kidman As Grace Kelly

24 February 2013 1:25 PM, PST

Exclusive: With two Best Picture candidates in the hunt, Harvey Weinstein has begun putting together the Oscar season slate for next year. I’m told that The Weinstein Company is wrapping up a deal to acquire domestic rights to Grace Of Monaco, the Olivier Dahan-directed drama that stars Nicole Kidman as actress-turned-princess Grace Kelly, Tim Roth as Monaco’s Prince Rainier III. I’m hearing that TWC has made a big bet, paying a $5 million minimum guarantee and a P&A commitment around $10 million for a minimum 800 screen run. I was unable to get comment from TWC or CAA, which shopped the domestic rights and established the film as a hot buzz title by showing a sizzle reel footage at Berlin. TWC’s Weinstein and David Glasser made the deal Friday night here in Hollywood with CAA on behalf of Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, who produced the film with Uday Chopra and Arash Amel. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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‘Beasts Of The Southern Wild’s Quvenzhane Wallis To Play ‘Annie’

24 February 2013 10:59 AM, PST

Breaking: Sony Pictures and Overbrook Entertainment have found their title character for Annie. They’ve set Oscar nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhane Wallis to play the role, in a film to be directed and produced by Will Gluck. Also producing are James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith producing through Overbrook, with Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, Jay Brown and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith through Marcy Media. That was the role that Willow Smith was going to play, but she grew out of it during the film’s long period of development. The contemporized re-imagining of the Broadway musical will shoot later this year for holiday 2014 release. Gluck, the helmer who directed Easy A and Friends With Benefits for Sony-based Screen Gems, signed on last month. Gluck has been revising a screenplay written by Emma Thompson and rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna based on the musical and its book by Thomas Meehan, »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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No ‘Death Wish’ For Joe Carnahan

22 February 2013 2:44 PM, PST

Exclusive: Joe Carnahan has abruptly withdrawn from Death Wish, the Paramount-mgm remake of the 1974 film. I’m told this happened over creative differences having to do with casting. Word is they didn’t agree on the guy playing the role originated by Charles Bronson. I understand that the studios want Bruce Willis and Carnahan wanted to go another way. Carnahan, coming off the Liam Neeson starrer The Grey, has other irons in the fire. I’m told one prime candidate is Narco Sub, the thriller written by David Guggenheim that the late Tony Scott planned to direct at Fox. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Tom Cruise Reaches $200 Million Worldwide Gross Mark For 19th Time

22 February 2013 9:54 AM, PST

Here is an interesting stat. Reacher, the Christopher McQuarrie-directed adaptation of the Lee Child book series with Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher, has crossed $200 million worldwide. That makes 19 films that Cruise has starred in that have done that well globally. Have any other actors put up those kind of numbers? I can’t think of any. There have been reports that Reacher might be a one off. The movie cost $60 million and I am hearing that they are already figuring out the sequel at Paramount and Skydance. Studios are all about franchise building, and some take off financially on the second go-around. There are so many good Reacher books written by Child that there’s a wealth of ground to cover here. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Lisa Cholodenko Exits ‘Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’

22 February 2013 9:26 AM, PST

Exclusive: It’s not a great day for Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day at Disney. The Kids Are All Right helmer Lisa Cholodenko, who has long been working on the project, has stepped out and decided not to direct it. The good news is that Disney still has Steve Carell attached to play Alexander’s dad, and the studio is still gearing up to make the movie this fall. So it means a good job for a director and Disney has already started searching. Disney signed on to the project last fall after Fox decided not to make the adaptation of the Judith Viorst children’s book. The film has a script by Cholodenko and Rob Lieber, with Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps producing with Lisa Henson. This is one of the more entertaining and humorous of the yarns you read endlessly to your kids at night. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Weinstein Co Acquires Nelson Mandela Movie

22 February 2013 5:00 AM, PST

The Weinstein Company (TWC) and Anant Singh announced today the acquisition, by TWC, of the North American, Australian and New Zealand distribution rights to the film of Nelson Mandela’s life based on his autobiography Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. The film is directed by Justin Chadwick (The First Grader, The Other Boleyn Girl) and produced by Anant Singh. Singh began communicating with Mandela about making a film based on his life while he was still in prison and acquired the film rights to Mandela’s book at the time of its publication in 1996 and development on the film began immediately when Academy Award® Nominee, writer William Nicholson (Les Miserables, Gladiator, Shadowlands) signed on. The completion of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom sees the culmination of Singh’s most ambitious project to date. On awarding the film rights to Singh, Mandela has said, “Anant Singh is a producer I respect very much. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Fox 2000 Acquiring Nicholas Sparks Novel ‘The Longest Ride’ For $5 Million

21 February 2013 7:44 PM, PST

Exclusive: After spirited bidding from multiple studios, Fox 2000 is wrapping up a deal for The Longest Ride, the next novel by Safe Haven author Nicholas Sparks. I’m told the deal is worth $5 million upfront, which is consistent with what Sparks usually gets for his movie deals. Temple Hill’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen will produce with Sparks and Theresa Park. They were the producers on Safe Haven. The book went out when A Safe Haven was released last weekend, and it came down in the end to Elizabeth Gabler’s Fox 2000, Warner Bros and Relativity Media. While my brain is squarely in Oscar mode, by my count this is far and away the biggest book deal this year and for that matter in quite awhile. All the bidders agreed to a quick fuse that will position the movie to be ready for release Valentine’s Day weekend in »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Adam Sandler Swaps Paramount Western For Blended Family Fare At Warner Bros

21 February 2013 6:00 PM, PST

Breaking: Adam Sandler has switched up his dance card and will push the Western he was going to star in to instead make a romantic comedy at Warner Bros. The film is untitled, and is set in the growing phenomenon of blended families. His Happy Madison will produce with Mike Karz’s Gulfstream Pictures, and the film will be his next starring vehicle, one that will mobilize quickly with a director and supporting cast. That pushes back Ridiculous 6, the Western-themed laffer that Happy Madison had moved from Sony to Paramount last year. That film will be moved back until next year at least. It averts a race of comic Westerns, as Mrc has a pretty firm spring start date on the Seth MacFarlane comic Western, A Million Ways To Die In The West, Amanda Seyfried and Charlize Theron also starring, with Universal the favorite to acquire the project. Sandler’s »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Megan Fox Back With Michael Bay For ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Reboot

21 February 2013 5:27 PM, PST

Looks like Michael Bay doesn’t hold a grudge. He’s just announced via his blog that Megan Fox will star in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the live-action/CGI feature from producer Bay, his Platinum Dunes and Paramount. Jonathan Liebesman is directing. This comes after Fox was most publicly dismissed from Bay’s Transformers threequel back in 2010 after the two clashed (Fox likened Bay to Hitler on set and called him “a nightmare to work for”, which set off a firestorm and led to her getting the boot). The TMNT reboot is dated for a May 16, 2014 release after it was pushed back to cut the budget to around $125M. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Warner Bros Buys ‘The Road Home’ For Helmer Scott Cooper And Leonardo DiCaprio

21 February 2013 9:49 AM, PST

Exclusive: Warner Bros has acquired the upcoming Michael Armour novel The Road Home, and Crazy Heart helmer Scott Cooper has signed on the write the script, direct and produce with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran’s Warner Bros-based Appian Way. The drama will be shaped as a potential star vehicle for DiCaprio. DiCaprio and Davisson Killoran jump right back into the frying pan with Cooper after he directed Out Of The Furnace, the revenge thriller that originally sold as a Brad Ingelsby spec that DiCaprio intended to star in for Ridley Scott. The film was rewritten by Cooper and got made by Relativity Media with Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson and Zoe Saldana starring, a co-production between Appian Way and Scott Free. The Road Home is a Depression-era drama that focuses on Creek, a war-scarred rancher on the Central California coast who finds himself entangled in scandal when he is »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Conde Nast Division Taps Vanity Fair, GQ Articles For Films On Mobsters And Horse Whisperers

21 February 2013 8:30 AM, PST

Exclusive: Conde Nast Entertainment Group, which launched under Dawn Ostroff to mine feature and TV properties from the archives of the publisher’s magazine stable, has unearthed two separate projects. Run by former Imagine and Fox Searchlight exec Jeremy Steckler, the feature division has set Fracture scribe Daniel Pyne to script The Camorra Never Sleeps, a drama about the notorious Naples-based criminal underworld that is based on the 2012 Vanity Fair article written by William Langewiesche. Conde Nast Entertainment Group has separately hired Reservation Road scribe John Burnham Schwartz to script a film based on The Horse Whisperer, a 2002 GQ article written by Robert Draper. The movie will certainly need a new title, but the article is based on the long-shot journey of Wesley Keith Ritchie, who went from a Kentucky prison inmate to being a horse rehabilitation specialist who found salvation through the broken down progeny of Triple Crown winner Affirmed. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Ethan Hawke Signs With The Schiff Company

20 February 2013 2:17 PM, PST

Exclusive: Ethan Hawke, hot off his latest pic Before Midnight which sold to Sony Pictures Classics at Sundance, has inked with The Schiff Company. He adds the management firm to his longtime agent team at CAA and lawyer George Sheanshang. Hawke, an actor-screenwriter-director who also works on the stage, was last seen on the big screen in October in the Summit horror film Sinister, and he next stars in the The Purge for Universal which bows May 31. Sony Classics plans a May 24 platform release for Before Midnight, the third installment of the Richard Linklater-directed series starring Hawke and July Delpy. The latest attracted seven buyers after it premiered in Park City to rave reviews last month and the final price tag was well into seven figures — one of the big deals of the festival. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Big Management Move: The Gotham Group And Principal Entertainment La Join Forces

20 February 2013 1:13 PM, PST

Exclusive: In a major move that links two highly compatible management companies, The Gotham Group and Principal Entertainment Los Angeles are joining forces. The managers at Principal will move from Westwood into the Gotham headquarters on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles on April 1. I’m told this is not exactly a merger, as the entities will continue to operate under their established names. But they will cross-collateralize their assets to make things happen. The fact that Principal is moving into The Gotham Group’s space indicates there could be a more permanent partnership down the line. The linkup was set by Gotham Group founder/CEO Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Principal partners Marsha McManus, Larry Taube and Liz Robinson. Gotham vets Lindsay Williams and Lee Stollman will help in facilitating the teaming up of the companies. Gotham is repped by CAA. Both companies confirmed the move and issued statements. Said Goldsmith-Vein: “The »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Romantic Sparks Fly As Studios Woo Nicholas Sparks For ‘The Longest Ride’

20 February 2013 11:41 AM, PST

Hot book on the block today. The Longest Ride, the new novel by Nicholas Sparks, is in play today, and it will most assuredly mean a big seven-figure deal with several studios and producers/financiers lining up for the author’s latest romantic weeper. This comes days after the author of The Notebook, Message In A Bottle and A Walk to Remember and The Lucky One saw his most recent novel adaptation, Safe Haven, nearly beat out A Good Day To Die Hard in their respective opening weekends. I’m told that when UTA starts entertaining presentations by buyers, they will make it clear that the goal is to have the movie ready for Valentine’s Day 2015 release. The book is divided into two intertwining love stories. It opens with a 90-year old man snowbound and stuck in his car after a major crash on an isolated road. As he »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Justin Lin, Michael De Luca Team At Warner Bros On Patrick Lee Thriller Novel

19 February 2013 6:32 PM, PST

Exclusive: Warner Bros won a multiple studio bidding battle for screen rights to an upcoming thriller novel by The Breach author Patrick Lee. Justin Lin is attached to direct and produce with Michael De Luca. The untitled action thriller was just auctioned in a big pre-emptive, three-book deal that will be published next winter by Macmillan. The book is the first of a series featuring an ex-special operative named Sam Dryden. In the character-driven thriller, Dryden runs into a mysterious young girl who is not quite what she seems, and he embarks on a journey to keep her safe from a powerful government agent intent on hunting her down. This comes as Lin puts the finishing touches on Fast & Furious 6 for Universal, which he directed and produced. That marks his fourth turn in the high-octane action series he helped revive, and Lin is now looking for other films to do through his Barnstorm Pictures banner. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Oscar Host Seth MacFarlane Has The Hot Movie Package; Auction On Western Takes Place In March With Universal In Hot Pursuit

19 February 2013 5:35 PM, PST

Exclusive: When he completes Sunday’s Oscar hosting stint, Seth MacFarlane will get down to business about where to place his next film, one that is shaping up to be the hot movie project in town. I’m hearing that Universal Pictures has the inside track to acquire A Million Ways To Die In The West, the live action comedy he’ll begin shooting this spring that is a kindred spirit to Blazing Saddles. Several studios are chasing the project, which so far stars MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried and Charlize Theron. MacFarlane is once again teamed in this venture with Media Rights Capital, which finally rode in a big winner when it backed MacFarlane’s last film, Ted, the foul mouthed stuffed bear comedy that has now grossed over $536 million worldwide and is out-grossing Skyfall in Japan. MacFarlane wrote the script with Ted and Family Guy cohorts Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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David O Russell, Jennifer Lawrence Reteam For ‘The Ends Of The Earth’

19 February 2013 2:51 PM, PST

Breaking: The Weinstein Company acquired worldwide rights to David O. Russell’s upcoming project The Ends Of The Earth. Jennifer Lawrence, who is up for for an Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook, will star. Scripted by Oscar-nominated Argo scribe Chris Terrio, the film is produced by Todd Black, Steve Tisch and Jason Blumenthal of Escape Artists. Russell signed his deal last night, and Harvey Weinstein expects this to be close to Django Unchained in terms of the epic size and budget. Lawrence just enlisted in Russell’s next film, the untitled Abscam film that also stars Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. Black and Tisch said “Jennifer Lawrence is one of the most versatile actresses we have ever seen. Her performance in Silver Linings was transcendent and was truly the heart and soul of the film. Jennifer was basically asked to play 4 personalities — depressed, sexy, romantic and »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Rupert Wyatt Eyeing ‘The Equalizer’ With Denzel Washington

19 February 2013 11:11 AM, PST

Exclusive: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes helmer Rupert Wyatt might well have found his next film after stepping out of the Apes sequel. I’m told that he’s in early talks to helm The Equalizer for Sony Pictures and Escape Artists. That is the film that has had a lot of helmers chasing after the script by Richard Wenk prompted the studio to expedite Denzel Washington’s deal and set a June start date, likely in Boston. The film is a smartly budgeted thriller based on the TV series that will come in around $50 million and is designed to launch the first franchise for Washington, who’ll be paid his customary $20 million. The film is loosely based on the TV series that starred Edward Woodward as a mysterious former covert operations officer who helps people in trouble, and was created by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim. The »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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CBS Films Acquires Coen Brothers’ ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

19 February 2013 10:01 AM, PST

Exclusive: CBS Films has landed domestic distribution rights to Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis. The film attracted heavy interest after its first screening was held last week on the Sony lot, one that drew a music crowd, a constellation of movie stars and numerous studio execs. The result was, everybody got hot and bothered about the film. I’m hearing there were three bidders for the pic and CBS Films got the film for close to $4 million for U.S. rights. Oscar Isaac stars in the pic, which takes place in the folk-music circuit in downtown New York’s Greenwich Village in the 1960s. Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, F. Murray Abraham and Justin Timberlake co-star. The Coens and producer Scott Rudin, reteaming after True Grit and No Country For Old Men, made the film without a domestic distributor; Studio Canal fully financed and is releasing »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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Christian Bale To Scale ‘Everest’ For Universal, Working Title And Helmer Baltasar Kormakur

19 February 2013 8:07 AM, PST

Exclusive: Universal Pictures and Working Title are teaming with Emmett/Furla Films on Everest, a mountain climbing disaster film that The Deep helmer Baltasar Kormakur will direct, with Christian Bale in talks to star. Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce with Wt’s Liza Chasin, along with Evan Hayes. Emmett/Furla’s Randall Emmett and George Furla are in discussions to co-finance the film and join in a producing capacity as well. Justin Isbell wrote the most recent script draft. Bale is in early talks to star in a tale based on the 1996 disastrous expedition to scale Mount Everest. Three different expeditions were hit by a sudden blinding storm and by the time it was all over, eight climbers died. The tale was first made famous by Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, his first-person account of being among the lucky ones to make it back down the mountain. »


- MIKE FLEMING JR

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