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CinemaCon: Theatre trade group chief predicts first billion-dollar March

4 hours ago

National Association Of Theatre Owners (Nato) head lauds box office, warns against protectionist economic policy, hails diverse audiences and Millennial film-goers.

Nato president John Fithian on Tuesday delivered a typically robust appraisal of the theatrical business, backed by last year’s unadjusted $11.4bn North American box office record.

While Fithian did not address the thorny issue of windows – although he later acknowledged to reporters that talks were ongoing between distributors and exhibitors – he was only too happy to talk up the first quarter of 2017.

The Nato chief noted how the period bucked analysts’ predictions and was tracking a little over 2% ahead of the same period a year ago, powered by the likes of Beauty And The Beast, Logan and The Lego Batman Movie, horror smashes Get Out and Split, and Oscar season holdovers Hidden Figures and La La Land.

Box office heroics led to this grandstanding prediction: “It’s fair to say the industry will have it »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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CinemaCon: Stx plots Eddie Murphy, Elton John animations

6 hours ago

Separately, the studio said Robert Rodriguez has come on to direct the family animation Ugly Dolls, which Stx has now dated for May 10, 2019.

A healthy star quota including Jessica Chastain, Cara Delevingne and Mark Wahlberg turned out on Tuesday to charm convention attendees.

STXfilms chairman Adam Fogelson told CinemaCon attendees at The Colosseum in Caesars Palace that the studio has added two family animation titles to its growing slate.

Eddie Murphy will lend his voice talents to Bo Jr, the story of a bull, in development title The Eddie Murphy Project.

Also in development is an adaptation of the Broadway smash Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat featuring the talents of Elton John, Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Tim Rice. In development

Cara Delevingne joined French writer-director and EuropaCorp chief Luc Besson and Fogelson on stage to promote Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets and debut the new trailer.

The film opens on July 21 and falls under the »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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CinemaCon: Stx unveils Eddie Murphy, Elton John animation projects

6 hours ago

Separately, the studio said Robert Rodriguez has come on to direct the family animation Ugly Dolls, which Stx has now dated for May 10, 2019.

A healthy star quota including Jessica Chastain, Cara Delevingne and Mark Wahlberg turned out on Tuesday to charm convention attendees.

STXfilms chairman Adam Fogelson told CinemaCon attendees at The Colosseum in Caesars Palace that the studio has added two family animation titles to its growing slate.

Eddie Murphy will lend his voice talents to Bo Jr, the story of a bull, in development title The Eddie Murphy Project.

Also in development is an adaptation of the Broadway smash Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat featuring the talents of Elton John, Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Tim Rice. In development

Cara Delevingne joined French writer-director and EuropaCorp chief Luc Besson and Fogelson on stage to promote Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets and debut the new trailer.

The film opens on July 21 and falls under the »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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'Justice League', 'Aquaman' Vr experiences being developed by IMAX, Warner Bros

14 hours ago

Companies strike deal to produce Vr content for tentpole titles.  

IMAX and Warner Bros Home Entertainment have agreed a deal to co-finance and produce virtual reality experiences for three of the studio’s upcoming tentpole releases.

The deal commences with Zack Snyder’s superhero movie Justice League in late 2017 and will be followed by Aquaman in 2018 and a third, as yet unannounced title in 2019.

The tie-in Vr experiences will receive an exclusive window in IMAX Vr centres before being made available across other Vr platforms including in-home and mobile offerings.

The first of IMAX’s Vr centres launched in Los Angeles in January, and five additional pilot centres in New York, California, the UK and Shanghai are expected to open in the coming months. If the trial is successful, the company intends to roll out the centres globally.

Read more: IMAX, Odeon to launch first Vr centre in Europe

As previously announced, IMAX launched »


- tom.grater@screendaily.com (Tom Grater)

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Netherlands Film Fund backs 21 projects in latest funding round

14 hours ago

Beneficiaries include team behind children’s fantasy film Admiral.Scroll down for full list of projects

The Netherlands Film Production Incentive scheme has backed 21 film projects to the tune of €6.1m in its latest funding round, including 15 feature films, five documentaries and one animated feature.

The average investment was €291,185, with the smallest being €40,000 and the largest sum, €900,000, going to the team behind 2015 fantasy film Admiral [pictured] for their new project Redbad 754 A.D.

Currently in pre-production, Redbad 754 A.D. will be directed by Rob Reiné (who is attached to direct episdoes of Marvel’s upcoming TV series Inhumans) from a script by Alex van Galen. Dutch producers will be Farmhouse TV en Film, with Belgian outfit Bulletproof Cupid co-producing.

The Conductor, directed and written by Maria Peters and produced by Shooting Star Filmcompany, received the second largest grant with €898,111. Peters’ previous credits include romantic drama Sonny Boy and family film Mike Says Goodbye!.

Projects also receiving »


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Barclays reveals £100m UK TV fund

15 hours ago

Cashflow fund to compensate for staggered SVoD deals; Roughcut Television among clients.

British bank Barclays has launched a £100m fund aimed at UK TV production companies.

The fund has been established to directly target producers making content for SVoD platforms such as Netflix and Amazon, whose repayments can be staggered.

According to Barclays, the fund, Barclays SVoD Financing, will help companies manage cashflow and sustain employment, and the bank has developed a bespoke loan structuring method for producers.

One of the first companies to use the fund is Roughcut Television, producers of BBC Three series Cuckoo and People Just Do Nothing as well as Sky comedy Trollied.

As part of that deal, the bank has purchased Roughcut’s receivable as part of its SVoD deal with Netflix for Cuckoo, giving the company an upfront cash benefit as part of its multi-year streaming agreement.

Roughcut’s commercial director Tim Sealey commented: “Netflix are notorious for paying over a »


- tom.grater@screendaily.com (Tom Grater)

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Filming begins on 'Speed', the first Chinese TV drama to shoot in Australia

16 hours ago

$2.5m production underway in Adelaide and surrounding area.

The first ever Chinese TV drama to shoot in Australia has begun filming in Adelaide.

15 episodes of Speed, a 32-part Chinese TV and online series, are scheduled to shoot in South Australia over three weeks.

The $2.5m shoot will employ around 50 local crew, alongside 120 cast and crew from China.

From Beijing-based Chinese broadcaster Ciwen Media, Speed follows the journey of an underground street racer who goes on to race professionally.

The production will be serviced by 57 Films, which faced competition from producers in Canada, Italy and the USA to secure the production.

57 Films founder Paul Ryan will be Australian Producer on the series, with Julie Byrne from Triptych Pictures hired as Line Producer.

Ryan said Speed will be one of the largest international TV series to be shot in South Australia.

“Speed will further strengthen relationships between China and South Australia, inject millions »


- orlando.parfitt@screendaily.com (Orlando Parfitt)

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Fulwell 73, Irvine Welsh, Sony team on 'Ibiza87'

16 hours ago

TV drama series to chronicle dance music scene.

I Am Bolt and Class of 92 producer Fulwell 73 is in development on Ibiza87, a TV drama series charting the rise of electronic dance music in the late 1980s.

Loosely based on the exploits of UK DJs Danny Rampling, Paul Oakenfold and Nicky Holloway - all of whom are attached to the project - the series chronicles the story of a group of friends from south London who became well known DJs at the forefront of the acid house and electronic dance music scene.

Trainspotting writer Irvine Welsh and Dean Cavanagh are on board as writers.

Leo Pearlman at Fulwell 73 is producer; executive producer is Josephine Rose for Sony Pictures International.

The soundtrack is set to be curated and compiled by Rampling, Oakenfold and Holloway.

Pearlman said “This is the story of a youth culture movement that swept a nation and eventually the world, the wider cultural »


- andreas.wiseman@screendaily.com (Andreas Wiseman)

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'Berlin Station' starring Richard Armitage heads to Europe

18 hours ago

Spy drama licensed to Italy, Nordics and Spain.

Paramount Worldwide Television has announced a trio of international licensing deals for Berlin Station.  

The spy drama will be available in Italy on TIMvision (the Tim on-demand television platform), in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland on HBO Nordic and in Spain on HBO España.

The show, which stars Richard Armitage, Richard Jenkins and Rhys Ifans, will also participate in the upcoming Paris-based TV event Series Mania (April 12-23).

Last week it was announced that Ashley Judd and Keke Palmer had joined the cast for series 2, which begins production in Berlin on March 31.

Berlin Station is a contemporary spy drama that takes a look at the activity of a CIA office on a global stage in the midst of an investigation into a now-infamous whistleblower.

The series airs on Epix in the U.S. and is also available in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, the Middle »


- orlando.parfitt@screendaily.com (Orlando Parfitt)

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Miles Teller to star in Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Too Old To Die Young'

21 hours ago

Film star boards Danish auteur’s TV project.

Miles Teller has been cast in Nicolas Winding Refn’s upcoming Amazon series Too Old to Die Young.

In his first regular TV series role, Teller will play Martin, a police officer entangled in the world of assassins.

Refn, known for directing Drive and the Amazon Studios film Neon Demon, will write the dramatic series that explores the criminal underbelly of Los Angeles by following killers’ existential journeys in becoming samurai. Refn will direct the entire series. 

Ed Brubaker, whose credits include HBO’s Westworld and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, will co-write with Refn.

“I’m a huge fan of Nic’s work so the opportunity to work with him, and for a company like Amazon, with this type of material is very exciting,” Teller said.

Teller is best known for his starring role as a troubled young drummer in Damien Chazelle’s Oscar-nominated Whiplash. He also starred »


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CinemaCon: Wanda exec on how Hollywood can succeed in China

27 March 2017 5:44 PM, PDT

Keynote speaker John Zeng delivers five-point plan for foreign fare; highlights growth in second and third-tier cities.

International filmmakers must champion action films with strong visual effects and pick releases dates carefully if they are to succeed in China’s increasingly competitive distribution landscape, top Chinese executive John Zeng told Las Vegas attendees on Monday.

Outlining the final points in his five-point roadmap to success, Zeng urged content creators to invest in digital and social media campaigns, secure exhibitor support for marketing innovations, and establish alliances with powerful local partners.

In a wide-ranging keynote address at the start of CinemaCon’s International Day that tellingly did not address the quota system, the senior vice-president of Wanda Cultural Industry Group, president and board director of Wanda Cinemas, and board director of AMC Theatres touched on several overall trends.

“The trend of consolidation will be unstoppable,” he said, adding that film-going has become a regular habit in China, online »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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Miles Teller boards Nicolas Winding Refn's 'Too Old To Die Young'

27 March 2017 4:40 PM, PDT

Film star boards Danish auteur’s TV project.

Miles Teller has been cast in Nicolas Winding Refn’s upcoming Amazon series Too Old to Die Young.

In his first regular TV series role, Teller will play Martin, a police officer entangled in the world of assassins.

Refn, known for directing Drive and the Amazon Studios film Neon Demon, will write the dramatic series that explores the criminal underbelly of Los Angeles by following killers’ existential journeys in becoming samurai. Refn will direct the entire series. 

Ed Brubaker, whose credits include HBO’s Westworld and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, will co-write with Refn.

“I’m a huge fan of Nic’s work so the opportunity to work with him, and for a company like Amazon, with this type of material is very exciting,” Teller said.

Teller is best known for his starring role as a troubled young drummer in Damien Chazelle’s Oscar-nominated Whiplash. He also starred »


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CinemaCon: Experts address audience engagement best practices

27 March 2017 4:30 PM, PDT

Habits of Millennials, dynamic pricing come under microscope at convention; tech companies unveil latest product launches.

Content creators should forget traditional advertising methods to reach audiences and get in touch with the ‘engagement spiral’, an expert on Millennials told convention attendees on Monday.

‘The ‘spray and pray’ approach to engaging customers has become obsolete, Jake Katz, vice-president of audience insights and strategy at Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ digital network Revolt Media and TV, told industry delegates at CinemaCon.

Instead of adhering to the old philosophy of advertising, awareness, trial and conversion, and loyalty, Katz said industry and content creators should regard themselves as part of the ‘engagement spiral and push out their brand across social platforms that are meaningful to Millennials.

Furthermore the youth insights expert and strategist said content creators should keep in mind the 18-35 demographic wants real-life experiences, bears the distinction of being more cross-culturally experienced than any generation before it, and as a group »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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CinemaCon: 'Netflix my ass' - Sony chief teases 'Blade Runner 2049'

27 March 2017 4:26 PM, PDT

Ryan Gosling, Dwayne Johnson, Edgar Wright, Jon Hamm on stage in Las Vegas.

‘Netflix my ass,’ Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman Tom Rothman declared after showing early footage from Blade Runner 2049 to convention attendees on Monday.

It was a typically bold statement in a session on Monday evening that wasted no opportunity to extol the virtue of the theatrical experience and stress Sony’s commitment to globally appealing, diverse content.

Minutes earlier Rothman had introduced the sci-fi sequel’s star Ryan Gosling on stage at The Colosseum in Caesars Palace and revealed part of the film takes place in Las Vegas.

The Canadian leading man told attendees how shooting the sequel with Denis Villeneuve, Harrison Ford and the cast in Budapest had been a “surreal” experience.

Footage was predictably atmospheric and featured plenty of shots of a familiar dystopian skyline. In one chilling sequence Jared Leto’s sinister character intones, “We make angels »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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'Like Crazy', 'Indivisible', 'Italian Race' triumph at David di Donatello Awards

27 March 2017 4:25 PM, PDT

Trio dominates Italian film awards on Monday night.

Paolo Virzi’s Like Crazy (pictured) won five awards, including best picture, best director and best leading actress for Valeria Bruni Tedeschi.

Indivisible by Edoardo De Angelis won six, among them best screenplay and best supporting actress for Antonia Truppo.

Matteo Rovere’s Italian Race also won six mostly technical awards, although it claimed best leading actor for Stefano Accorsi.

Like Crazy from Lotus Productions (Perfect Strangers) and Manny films (7 Minutes) premiered in last year’s Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight and began the night on 17 nominations.

The story of two fun-seeking, mentally disturbed women on the run from their clinic was the most successful of the three films at the box office, earning $6.5m to become one of the biggest local hits of 2016. Its five di Donatello wins included best production design and best hairstyling.

Indivisible also also earned 17 nominations and is the pulp story of two conjoined sisters exploited »


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MGM, Annapurna strike output deal

27 March 2017 2:57 PM, PDT

Untitled Detroit Project to kick off later this year.

The parties announced on Monday the output deal that will cover all films produced by Annapurna Pictures in select international territories.

The multi-year partnership will include theatrical, home entertainment and television rights in territories including, and not limited to, Germany, Scandinavia, Latin America, Central Europe, Pan Asia and the Middle East. Screen understands the parties had not set the distributors for each region at time of writing.

Kathryn Bigelow’s Untitled Detroit Project written by Mark Boal will be the first film released under the pact later this year. It is scheduled to open in the Us on August 4. 

Bigelow’s film takes place against the backdrop of Detroit’s 1967 riots and stars an ensemble cast that includes John Boyega (pictured), John Krasinski, Anthony Mackie, Jason Mitchell, Will Poulter, Jack Reynor and Jeremy Strong.

“We have been strategically working to enhance the depth of our film pipeline, and it »


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CinemaCon: Andrew Cripps urges industry to share data

27 March 2017 2:41 PM, PDT

President of Fox International addresses challenges, notes theatrical box office “continues to drive the train.”

Andrew Cripps delivered a positive forecast for the theatrical business in keeping with the traditional tone of CinemaCon’s Monday opening keynote, while urging greater collaboration between distributors and theatre owners.  

“Audiences are changing and they’re harder to connect with through traditional means. Films are more expensive than ever… marketing costs only seem to go in one direction – up,” the President of Fox International said, adding that piracy and the growing proliferation of entertainment choices presented challenges.

The executive said he expected consolidation to continue, highlighted the need to offer enhanced theatre-going experiences, and urged the industry to grapple with and share data.

“If we can collaborate… to improve the customer engagement, then that has to be a good thing,” Cripps told attendees at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

“We live in interesting times. The movie business »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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Jim Gianopulos to run Paramount Pictures

27 March 2017 1:09 PM, PDT

Studio veteran will commence search for vice-chairman candidates.

Viacom president and CEO Bob Bakish ended weeks of speculation on Monday when he announced Jim Gianopulos has been named chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures.

Gianopulos, the vastly experienced former chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, will start his new job on April 3 and replaces Brad Grey, who departed in February following a poor run at the box office in 2016.

The new hire will oversee Paramount’s film and television operations worldwide, including production, marketing, distribution and all other facets.

He will oversee a new pipeline of content and develop co-branded releases from parent company Viacom’s other flagship brands – Bet, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, and Nick Jr – a strategy Bakish outlined earlier this year.

Gianopulos will also search for a vice-chairman. Producer Mike De Luca had been linked to that role before he took himself out of the race recently.

“Jim is a remarkably talented executive with all »


- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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Amazon developing 'The Underground Railroad' with Barry Jenkins

27 March 2017 11:05 AM, PDT

Brad Pitt’s Plan B set to executive produce.

Amazon has announced that Moonlight director Barry Jenkins [pictured centre] is developing a script-to-series one-hour original limited drama based on Colson Whitehead’s award winning novel The Underground Railroad. The Oscar-winner is set to write and direct. 

The Underground Railroad, published by Doubleday, was a New York Times bestseller and the winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction. The story chronicles young Cora’s journey as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. 

After escaping her Georgia plantation for the rumored Underground Railroad, Cora discovers no mere metaphor, but an actual railroad full of engineers and conductors, and a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil.

“Going back to The Intuitionist, Colson’s writing has always defied convention, and The Underground Railroad is no different,” said Barry Jenkins

“It’s a groundbreaking work that pays respect to our nation’s history while using »


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Im Global Television announces key hires

27 March 2017 10:52 AM, PDT

Company ramps up unscripted and alternative division

Im Global Television’s president of unscripted & alternative, Phil Gurin, has revealed the hiring of Jennifer Colbert as vice president of development, Tim Rosenman as director of development and Casey Kelly as manager of development.

Colbert previously served as an executive producer and showrunner for networks including A&E, Lifetime and Vh-1, as well as with production companies including Studio Lambert/All3 Media, 44 Blue Productions and Fishbowl Worldwide Media. Colbert has worked on reality shows like Talk Soup and Girls Next Door.

Rosenman joins Im Global TV having previously served as a development executive for Done and Done Productions and Lionsgate. He has worked on such shows as The City and The X Factor and was a consulting producer on American Idol for their season 14 finale and a new format for their 15th and final season. 

Kelly worked under Gurin as manager of development for The Gurin Company, where she was »


- tom.grater@screendaily.com (Tom Grater)

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