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Box Office Late Nights: ‘Maze Runner’ Off To Good Start With $1.1M, ‘Tombstones’ Takes In $480K

57 minutes ago

Fox’s The Maze Runner grabbed $1.1M in late-night showings at 2,200 locations starting at 10 Pm. The best comparison is probably the sci-fi actioner Ender’s Game, which launched with $1.4 million in November 2013 and went on to have an opening weekend gross of $27M (on the other hand, it cost three times more than Maze Runner). So, perhaps Fox is more on the money with a lower estimate for this weekend.

Another comparison title is this year’s other Ya sci-fi actioner — Divergent (Summit/Lgf). It grabbed $4.9M in late nights that started at 8 Pm and went on to gross $54.6M in its first weekend out. Of course, that one was driven by the young female demo. The Maze Runner is tapping in with the young male audience better, so we will have to see how that translates tonight — which will probably be front-loaded with Ya fans. Fan reviews for the film are pretty good. »


- Anita Busch

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Nick Cave, Terry Gilliam, Kevin Smith Films Among 14 Specialty Debuts

13 hours ago

Films from notables Nick Cave, Kevin Smith and Terry Gilliam, and another featuring Downton Abbey vet Dan Stevens are helping fill this weekend’s box office, despite studio blockbuster debuts for The Maze Runner and This Is Where I Leave You.

In all, 14 specialty films are debuting this weekend, at the front edge of awards season and the time of year when “serious” films hit the screens left and right. We have The Guest, with Stevens; The Zero Theorem by Gilliam; Smith’s TuskTracks, the latest from the producers of The King’s Speech; and Cave’s doc 20,000 Days On Earth. 

And, like a TV informercial, there’s more: the doc Pump, boundary-jumper Stop The Pounding Heart; and Swim Little Fish Swim. Just to fill out the marquees, we also have Tribeca-winning doc Keep On Keepin’ On; Flamenco, Flamenco; Hector And The Search For Happiness;  Iceman; Hollidaysburg; and Not Cool. »


- Brian Brooks

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Shark Spec Script ‘In The Deep’ Won By Sony

15 hours ago

Exclusive: Sony Pictures has won a vigorous bidding battle pegged at high-six figures for In The Deep, a spec script by Tony Jaswinski that had created feeding frenzy all day. The film will be produced by former Warner Bros executive Lynn Harris; it is the first project she has put together with Matti Leshem in the new producing shingle Weimaraner Republic Pictures.

Shark week in September? Bidders included Sony Pictures and Warner Bros, both of which had Harris set up as producer. Fox had made an offer with another upstart producer pairing, former Silver Pictures’ guys Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman. Paramount had been brokering the action all day for Jaswinski, whose film Kristy premieres at the London Film Festival next month.

Tonally,  the spec is described as a cross between 127 Hours meets Jaws, with a touch of Gravity thrown in for good measure. A young woman who is dealing »


- Mike Fleming Jr

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‘Godzilla’ Sequel To Be Scripted By Max Borenstein

15 hours ago

Exclusive: Legendary Pictures has closed a deal for Max Borenstein to write the screenplay for the sequel to Godzilla, which Gareth Edwards will direct. It is the latest example of how Borenstein is becoming a go-to guy for Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni’s event-film factory. Borenstein wrote the first installment that relaunched the reptile and also penned Skull Island. The latter was teased at Comic-Con and just got Tom Hiddleston starring and Jordan Vogt-Roberts directing. Borenstein also scripted the upcoming Seventh Son for Legendary.

Legendary and Warner Bros have dated the sequel for June 8, 2018. Legendary is producing with Mary Parent, and Alex Garcia will oversee the project for Legendary.

Related: Fox Nabs ‘Minority Report’ Series From Amblin TV

Borenstein’s other projects include Paladin, Mona and, last but not least, the Minority Report pilot for Steven Spielberg from 20th Century Fox TV and Paramount TV. Borenstein is repped by UTA, »


- Mike Fleming Jr

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‘Fargo’s Noah Hawley To Adapt His Novel ‘Before The Fall’ In Sony Pic Deal

16 hours ago

Exclusive: Sony Pictures has acquired Before The Fall, a novel written by Noah Hawley, who shared the Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries for hatching the FX television transfer of Fargo. That series also brought Emmy nominations for Billy Bob Thornton and  Martin Freeman. Hawley will adapt his novel and he will produce the feature with John Cameron. The book tells the story of a mysterious private-plane crash, starting in Martha’s Vineyard, and focuses on the two survivors, an artist and a little boy, and the lives of the people who died in the crash — from the flight crew to the wealthy media mogul and his family and the coincidences that begin to emerge which suggest the flight’s crash may not have been an accident,

Sony’s Hannah Minghella and Andrea Giannetti are overseeing for the studio. Hawley, while readying another season of Fargo, is separately scripting an untitled »


- Mike Fleming Jr

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James Schamus On Screenwriting: “124 Pages Of Begging For Money & Attention”

16 hours ago

When James Schamus is on a bill, he can generally be trusted to deliver an intellectual reality check to the motion picture business. That’s just what he did tonight in London as the first guest of BAFTA’s 2014 Screenwriters’ Lectures series. Introduced as “renowned autodidact and multihyphenate,” the former Focus Features boss and the author of dozens of screenplays in 25 years of making movies used his 60 minutes at the lectern to reject the use of the word “art” as applied to screenwriting. His evidence began with the birth of the screenplay and meandered through copyright law and German esthetics. But it was a business lecture, not a philosophical one, he stressed. “If there’s one thing I can say, it’s that in 25 years in the movie business, I made money.”

But Hollywood has changed, he said. Waxing on the world of studio moviemaking, he put it bluntly: “Hollywood »


- Joe Utichi, Special To Deadline

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Ang Lee Next Directing ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ At TriStar

17 hours ago

Exclusive: Ang Lee will next direct an adaptation of Ben Fountain’s novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. It is Lee’s first film since he won the Best Director Oscar for Life Of Pi, and he’s reuniting with Tom Rothman at TriStar. Rothman, who continues to put together filmmaker-centric projects at his Sony-based label, ran Fox and worked closely with Lee on that difficult, groundbreaking, Oscar-winning 3D film that grossed $600 million worldwide. TriStar is teamed with Film4 on the picture, which will begin production in the spring.

It was expected Lee’s next film would be the Peter Morgan-scripted boxing pic about the Thrilla In Manila bout between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, shot in 3D at Universal. They are still working on a budget and the visual effects and look of that picture, but clearly Lee was eager to get back behind the camera.

Billy Lynn »


- Mike Fleming Jr

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‘Fault In Our Stars’ Box Office To Cross $300M Worldwide On Modest Budget: How’d It Happen?

19 hours ago

The modestly-budgeted The Fault In Our Stars (Fox has said it was $12M; others said it was $16 but more like $14M after the tax incentive) will gross over $300M worldwide by week’s end for Fox. If ever there was a perfect storm in releasing a film, this was it. This picture slogged through the monsters, the superheroes and the animated dragons of the summer to become one of the most profitable pictures in recent memory.

How did it happen? It didn’t hurt that the film was based on a bestselling book by John Green, but even still, that was far from a lock to getting it onto the big screen. This was a project that was pushed and pushed by producers Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey who nudged Fox executive Elizabeth Gabler into making the film. The exec said yes with a caveat: Keep a handle on the budget. »


- Anita Busch

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R.I.P. Publicist Bob Palmer

20 hours ago

The veteran publicist whose clients included Anthony Hopkins, Dick Van Dyke and Faye Dunaway, died September 15 at his Pacific Palisades home after a brief illness. Bob Palmer was 85. Through his Bob Palmer Public Relations, he also repped actors including Peter Strauss, David Soul, Sada Thompson and Michele Lee.

The Alaska-born, L.A.-raised Palmer became Director of Publicity and Advertising for United Paramount at age 22 and helped create campaigns for the Bay Area premieres of films such as Sunset Boulevard, Shane and The Greatest Show On Earth and promoted stage shows starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Patti Page, and many others. After serving in the Korean War, Palmer moved to ABC Television as a Senior Publicist, working on such TV shows as Maverick and 77 Sunset Strip. He left ABC in 1960 to produce a syndicated series and then joined Gene Autry’s Golden West Broadcasters »


- The Deadline Team

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‘King Arthur’ Crowns Its Guinevere

20 hours ago

Exclusive: Warner Bros and Guy Ritchie have set French actress Astrid Berges-Frisbey to play Guinevere in Knights Of The Roundtable: King Arthur. The casting comes after the studio set Sons Of Anarchy‘s Charlie Hunnam as King Arthur.

Berges-Frisbey was in the cast of Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. She was born in Spain, grew up in France and started on French TV in 2007. She had to learn English when she was cast as the mermaid Syrena in the Pirates blockbuster. Since Joby Harold wrote this to span as many as six installments, this is potentially a major star-making role for the young actress.

Berges-Frisby is repped by CAA, Untitled and Artmedia.

»


- Mike Fleming Jr

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Alexa Platt Returns To Open Road Films After Stint At AwesomenessTV

21 hours ago

Alexa Platt has been named Svp Strategic Planning and business development of Open Road Films, reporting to chief financial officer Steven Andriuzzo. Platt moves to Open Road from AwesomenessTV, which was acquired by DreamWorks Animation in 2013. She had previously been at Open Road in 2011 as VP Financial Planning and Analysis, so is returning to her old stomping grounds.

At AwesomenessTV, she was responsible for the financial operations and strategic planning for the YouTube Multichannel Network and its joint ventures with DreamworksTV, All Def Digital, and Seventeen McN. Prior to joining Open Road in 2011 (where she spent a year), Platt worked at Paramount Pictures as Director of Finance with Paramount Vantage, Vantage International Sales and lastly, Paramount Worldwide Acquisitions Group. She worked at the studio for four years.

She also worked at The Weinstein Company in 2005 in finance, business development and foreign sales divisions.

»


- The Deadline Team

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Box Office Preview: ‘Maze Runner’ To Put ‘Tombstones’ In Ground; ‘This Is Where I Leave You’ Debuts

21 hours ago

Three new pictures bow this weekend with Fox’s sci-fi action thriller The Maze Runner leading the way. It opens tonight at 10 Pm, having already made a strong bow overseas to heavily outpace Divergent and gross $8.5M so far. After this weekend’s bow in the states, the picture will likely have grossed its production budget back — said to be around $35M+ but they got a tax incentive from shooting in Louisiana which brought the net cost down. That’s not including marketing and distribution costs, but this should be yet another profitable film for Fox (which has been on a roll). CGI was also handled out of the U.S. (in Vancouver) through a company called Method. Here’s the thing, Divergent was heavily skewed female so the question is will the boys come out for Fox the same way girls (who tend to go to movies in packs) came out for March 2014 release? »


- Anita Busch

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Adam McKay, Seth Rogen Board Ben Schwartz Untitled Comedy

22 hours ago

Gary Sanchez Productions, Point Grey Pictures, and Good Universe have pre-emptively bought an untitled comedy pitch from Parks and Recreation‘s Ben Schwartz, with Adam McKay attached to direct and Seth Rogen attached to star. Plot details are under wraps, but Schwartz, who won an Emmy for co-writing Hugh Jackman’s Oscars opening number, will also co-star. Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and James Weaver will produce for Point Grey alongside Will Ferrell, McKay, and Kevin Messick for their Gary Sanchez banner. Good Universe’s Nathan Kahane and Joe Drake are executive producers and Erin Westerman will oversee the project for the company. Robyn Wholey will co-produce.

Schwartz is repped by Wme, attorney Lev Ginsburg at Ginsburg Daniels, and Haven Entertainment. McKay is repped by Wme, Mosaic and Level Four Business Management. Gary Sanchez is represented by Wme, CAA and Jackoway Tyerman. Rogen and Point Grey are repped by UTA and attorney Fred Toczek. »


- The Deadline Team

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J.C. Chandor Pic ‘A Most Violent Year’ Gets New Year’s Eve Release: Video

22 hours ago

A24 has slotted a December 31 release date for J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year. The pic will open in NYC and Los Angeles on that date, then expand nationally. Chandor is currently completing the film starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain for A24, FilmNation and Participant Media.  A Most Violent Year, co-financed by Participant and Image Nation Abu Dhabi, takes place in New York in 1981, a year in which the city had one of its highest tallies of violent crime. An immigrant and his family are trying to grow a business and their ambition collides with the crime element. Check out the trailer:

A24 made its biggest purchase to date with the pickup of A Most Violent Year at Sundance, where it acquired domestic distribution rights from Participant Media ahead of its production start. The plan even then was to release the film wide during 2014’s awards season, as »


- The Deadline Team

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Tom Sizemore Launches Crowdfunding Campaign For Detroit-Set Thriller He’ll Star In & Produce

18 September 2014 7:30 AM, PDT

Tom Sizemore has taken to crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to raise funds for his passion project An Honest Thief, a noir-ish thriller that the Heat and Saving Private Ryan actor is putting together as a starring vehicle. It’s his first film as a producer and a step toward rebuilding his up-and-down career following a public relapse in January, but Sizemore says he has refocused his sights on sobriety and is optimistic. “I want to get back,” he said over the phone Wednesday. “I want to make something I look forward to.”

An Honest Thief is written by the actor’s younger brother Aaron Sizemore and tracks three outcasts who plot to steal a prized baseball card collection from a local pawnbroker. Belgian helmer Giorgio Serafini (Gente Di Mare) is attached to direct the pic, which is set in Sizemore’s hometown of Detroit and will film on location. Sizemore will play Danny St. »


- Jen Yamato

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Hot Trailer: Jason Reitman’s ‘Men, Women & Children’

17 September 2014 5:43 PM, PDT

Here’s the new trailer for the pic starring Ansel Elgort, Kaitlyn Dever, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jennifer GarnerJudy GreerDean Norris and Adam Sandler as a group of high schoolers and their parents navigating life, love, and relationships in the age of social media and online obsession. Men, Women & Children, Jason Reitman’s follow-up to Labor Day had its world premiere at Toronto this month, and Paramount has set an October 1 limited release. The R-rated pic from Right of Way Films will expand on October 10 then go wide a week later.,

»


- The Deadline Team

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‘Let’s Be Cops’ Helmer Luke Greenfield Closes Fox Deal For Next Pic

17 September 2014 4:43 PM, PDT

Exclusive: Luke Greenfield, who wrote, produced and directed the Fox sleeper Let’s Be Cops, is back in business with the studio for his next film. He’s made a deal to direct and produce an untitled suspense thriller that, like his recent outing, depicts normal people using a loophole to empower themselves to live different lives. Here, a group of twentysomethings have diplomatic immunity because their parents are government officials. Since they literally cannot get arrested, the group uses this get-out-of-jail-free card to live an adrenaline-filled lifestyle filled with illegal stunts to satisfy their lust for life. But when the group gets trapped in real-world espionage, they are forced to risk their lives to save their diplomat parents, with the possibility they could be convicted of treason.

Greenfield teamed up with Peter Chernin’s company as producing partners with David Ready & Jenno Topping. Greenfield will not be writing this »


- Mike Fleming Jr

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Toronto: ‘Ruth & Alex’ Goes To Focus World

17 September 2014 4:24 PM, PDT

Focus World has picked up domestic rights to the Diane Keaton-Morgan Freeman pic Ruth & Alex following its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. Directed by Richard Loncraine (Wimbledon, My One And Only) from a script by Charlie Peters, the adaptation of Jill Ciment’s Heroic Measures also stars Cynthia Nixon in the story of a NYC couple (Keaton and Freeman) deciding whether to sell their longtime Brooklyn home.

Focus World, the alternative distribution arm of Focus Features, will release the film, and Myriad Pictures continues to sell international rights. Anjay Nagpal negotiated the deal for Focus World with Wme Global and CAA on behalf of the filmmakers.

»


- Jen Yamato

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Liam Neeson Sweet On Harlan Coben’s ‘Tell No One’

17 September 2014 4:18 PM, PDT

Exclusive: As Universal Pictures prepares for Friday’s opening of the Scott Frank-directed adaptation of the Lawrence Block novel A Walk Among The Tombstones, the studio is courting its star Liam Neeson for another thriller novel it is percolating. It’s Tell No One, the thriller by bestselling novelist Harlan Coben. There is a script by Oscar-winning Argo scribe Chris Terrio, but they are going to do some work before Neeson will officially attach. I hear it’s going to happen, even if it is a little ways away.

While Coben is an accomplished deliverer of page-turner thrillers, he has yet to really hit it in Hollywood. His best outing came on the French version of Tell No One, which was turned into a hit by filmmaker Guillaume Canet. The success of that film led to the Universal deal and Terrio’s writing. Gavin O’Connor has circled the film as director. »


- Mike Fleming Jr

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Kate Mara Offered Role In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’

17 September 2014 4:11 PM, PDT

Exclusive: Following an Emmy-nominated run on Netflix’s House Of Cards, Kate Mara has been offered a role in Ridley Scott’s The Martian. The 20th Century Fox sci-fier is picking up steam: Deadline reported this month that Jessica Chastain and Kristin Wiig are circling lead roles opposite Matt Damon in the saga of an astronaut marooned on Mars. The script is adapted by Cabin In The Woods‘ Drew Goddard from the book by Andy Weir, which sold to publisher Crown in 2013 after enjoying meteoric sales as an e-book. Fox has set The Martian for release November 25, 2015. Mara already is set to play Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman in the studio’s superhero reboot Fantastic Four, which Chronicle‘s Josh Trank is helming. She’s repped by UTA.

»


- Jen Yamato

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