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Iron Man (2008) More at IMDbPro »

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13 items from 2007

Interview with Mark Fergus

13 November 2007 | | See recent Tribeca Film news »

Director and Co-Writer of First Snow (Tff '06) and a Co-Writer and Oscar Nominee for Children of Men Last week we committed many a mea culpa in penance for earlier forgetting some Tff alums who had received an Oscar nomination. Mark Fergus andHawk Ostby were able to make their first independent film First Snow (Tff '06) thanks to a simple writing gig. Producer Hilary Shor had hired the duo to tackle the widely-considered unadaptable Children of Men by P.D. James. Now, Fergus and Ostby share a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination with three other writers, including the resulting film's director, Alfonso Cuaron. In the midst of nominee lunches and other Oscar-related activities, the duo is now working on the script of the big screen adaptation of Marvel Comics' Iron Man starring Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow and to be directed by Jon Favreau for Summer 2008. Fergus took some time out »

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'Wild' is a force in COLA race

21 September 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Paramount Vantage's Into the Wild will compete with the big boys in the 2007 California On Location Awards.

Wild, as well as Marvel Studios' Iron Man, 20th Century Fox's Live Free or Die Hard and DreamWorks' Transformers and their location teams are finalists in the feature film category. Wild's Matt Wersinger and Die Hard's Curtis Collins, Rick Schuler and Scott Fitzgerald of "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" and Kenny Brant of American Son are nominated in the location professional of the year for features category.

ABC's Brothers and Sisters and CBS' CSI: NY are the nominees in the television category.

Now in its 13th year, the COLAs honor top location professionals and production companies in stills, commercials, television and film, and will take place Oct. 14. »

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TV Comic-Con's 'Heroes'

30 July 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

SAN DIEGO -- Thanks to NBC's Heroes presentation, the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con International, which took place this weekend, will be remembered as the Con at which TV shows eclipsed feature films.

The Heroes panel, which started at 12:45 p.m. Saturday and was held in the Convention Center's second-biggest room, holding about 4,000 people, hit maximum capacity almost as soon as the doors opened at 10 a.m. Fans arrived early and sat through two other presentations -- for NBC's Bionic Woman and a TV Guide panel on TV heroes -- just to hear the Heroes creators and to offer their love to the cast. Even Danny Bonaduce stood in line to ask a question. Thousands more waited in line for hours in case, by chance, some room opened up.

When it was announced that Kevin Smith would direct the first episode of spinoff show Heroes: Origins, an already electric room amped off the charts.

Television's presence was the strongest it's ever been at the Con, where the small screen's influence has been slowly growing since ABC launched Lost in 2004, previewing the pilot in a large hall that was only half full at the time. But it was those early fans that helped the show become a buzz-worthy hit, and when an unknown show called Heroes previewed in 2006 and went on to become one of the biggest new dramas of the season, the Con's launching pad status was solidified.

Shows that lined up in hopes of blasting off this year included ABC's Pushing Daisies, CBS' Moonlight, NBC's Chuck and CW's Reaper. Underscoring the importance of the Con, even Fox's 24, heading into its seventh season, made its first trip to San Diego, perhaps to shore up geek support after a less-than-stellar year.

Also whipping geeks into a frenzy was word of Lucy Lawless returning to Sci Fi's Battlestar Galactica, and Sam Jones, who played Flash Gordon in the 1980 movie, set to appear as a guest star on the channel's upcoming Flash Gordon series. The channel also announced that Farscape creator Rockne S. O'Bannon has signed on to executive produce and develop stories for a new 10-episode webisode series based on the beloved show that will run on

This year, the film contingents at the Con didn't offer many standouts. The exceptions were Warner Bros. Pictures' Get Smart, with its cast in tow; Paramount Pictures' orchestration of the dual Spock casting of Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto in its next Star Trek movie; and Marvel Studios' Iron Man.

Marvel's efforts were almost a textbook example of how to make an impression at the Con. The company stoked the flames with a large mysterious crate with the words "Stark Industries" sitting on the convention floor. »

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Live from Fantasia : Nightmare Detective

24 July 2007 | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

- Nightmare Detective (Japan, 2007)Director: Shinya TsukamotoTo say that I was excited to finally witness a film by the director of Tetsuo the Iron Man and Tokyo Fist on the big screen is an understatement, and Shinya Tsukamoto didn’t dissapoint.A homicidal nut (played capably by Tsukamoto himself) able to enter the dreams of his victims in order to kill them off, falls into a metaphysical game of chicken with a ‘nightmare detective’ who possesses the same abilities and maybe even some uncomfortable affinities...Probably the most innovative director with a limited budget working in film, Tsukamoto’s strength lies in the way he fearlessly explores the medium of filmmaking and never panders to his audience. Nightmare Detective is somewhat more mainstream than Tsukamoto’s other films, but there’s lots of balls-out audio crunching mayhem to keep you awake and out of the reach of the film’s antagonist. »

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May tentpole trend extends to '08, '09

22 May 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

What's so special about May?

Of course, it's the grande dame of film festivals, the Festival de Cannes, which has been held in May for the past 60 years. But Thomas Mallory's hoary observation about the "lusty month of May" also applies to the global boxoffice, with summer tentpoles now staking out their day-and-date claims to the month with unprecedented gusto.

Internationally, the May syndrome received a major lift early this month when Sony Pictures' Spider-Man 3 set all-time international opening records of $176.6 million for a conventional weekend opening and $231 million for a six-day blast.

DreamWorks Animation/Paramount's animated sequel Shrek the Third got off the ground in four international markets this past weekend. Then, on Wednesday, Disney/BVI's third film in the Pirates franchise, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," lifts off in France and explodes around the globe by the end of next week.

Even before Spidey 3 ratified that May is a hot month for tentpoles as well as maypoles, the major studios penciled in or locked in no less than six potential blockbusters for May 2008. Dibs on overseas dates, tentative or firmed, have been taken by Paramount for Iron Man, May 2; 20th Century Fox, The Day the Earth Stood Still, May 9; Warner Bros. Pictures, Speed Racer, also May 9; Disney/BVI, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, May 16; Paramount, the fourth film in the Indiana Jones franchise, May 22; and Fox, Starship Dave, May 30.

And May hopes have extended to 2009, as well. Two studios have eyes on May 22, 2009, with Fox pitching James Cameron's Avatar and Paramount with Monsters vs. Aliens.

Many believe the flowers-after-showers month first came into global prominence with Universal's initial The Mummy in May 1999. It was a time when the overseas market was just starting to take hold as a viable summer outlet as new air-conditioned multiplexes began to proliferate.

"It is the start of the U.S. summer," Paramount Pictures International president Andrew Cripps said. "And as such, day-and-date tentpoles need to go into that period to maximize worldwide boxoffice and to certainly get out in key markets before piracy eats away at revenue potential and to tie into certain holiday times."

David Kornblum, vp international sales and distribution at Buena Vista International, is of the school that believes that giant hit movies put global audiences in the mood for more of the same. »

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Summer tentpoles get their May days

18 May 2007 11:00 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

What's so special about May?

Of course, it's the grande dame of film festivals, the Festival de Cannes, which has been held in May for the past 60 years. But Thomas Mallory's hoary observation about the "lusty month of May" also applies to the global boxoffice, with summer tentpoles now staking out their day-and-date claims to the month with unprecedented gusto.

Internationally, the May syndrome received a major lift early this month when Sony Pictures' "Spider-Man 3" set all-time international opening records of $176.6 million for a conventional weekend opening and $231 million for a six-day blast.

DreamWorks Animation/Paramount's animated sequel "Shrek the Third" gets off the ground in four international markets this weekend. Then, on WednesdayMay 23, Disney/Bvi's third film in the "Pirates" franchise -- "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" -- lifts off in France and explodes around the globe by the end next week.

Even before "Spidey 3" ratified »

- By Hy Hollinger

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ILM ready to forge Marvel's 'Iron'

14 May 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Industrial Light + Magic will be the principal visual effects house on Marvel Studios' Iron Man.

It also was confirmed Friday that ILM sister company Skywalker Sound will handle sound design and mixing on the film and that Deluxe's DI business Efilm, which opened a DI suite at Skywalker Ranch last year, will do the film's color timing and mastering.

Iron Man is helmed by Jon Favreau with John Nelson as visual effects supervisor; a May 2008 release is planned.

Visual effects supervisor Ben Snow is heading up the ILM team with animation supervisor Hal Hickel. Wayne Billheimer is producing for ILM, with Gretchen Libby as ILM's executive producer on the project. Chris Boyes will be the film's sound design and lead re-recording mixer.

"We are thrilled to partner with Industrial Light + Magic on 'Iron Man, ' " said Kevin Feige, president of production at Marvel. "The visual effects expertise they bring to this project fit perfectly with the high-tech look and feel of this film."

Added Charlie Davis, Marvel's senior vp postproduction, "The postproduction process on a movie of this scope is always very complex, and having ILM create the visual effects, Skywalker Sound design and mix the sound and Efilm digital color time the picture all in close proximity up in San Francisco is the best of all worlds come together."

Nelson won an Oscar for Gladiator. Snow served as a VFX supervisor on Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones. Hickel earned an Academy Award this year for "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest." Boyes is a four-time Oscar winner for Dead Man's Chest, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Pearl Harbor and Titanic. »

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Edward Norton follows the Green trail

16 April 2007 | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

- If Batman can do it - so can the Hulk.   Like the Warner Bros. re-launch of the Batman franchise, it didn’t take 3 or 4 sequels and an Arnold Schwarzenegger/Jim Carrey   appearance for Universal to press the restart button. While I was one among a dozen or so who thought that the comic book to movie adaptation had actually taken an interesting turn under the hand of auteur filmmaker Ang Lee, at the request set by the folks at Marvel, the comic book company wanted Universal to “think again”. Part one was the hiring of the action-specialist filmmaker Louis Leterrier (Unleashed).   If Bana can do it so can Edward Norton.   The actor certainly had an aura about him in The Illusionist – we totally believed in his Eisenheim character and since magicians sort of look like crazy scientists and since Norton has proven that he can generate rage on screen »

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Regency plans 'Party' for Bibb

11 April 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Regency Enterprises has acquired the comedy spec "The Bachelorette Party" as a starring vehicle for Leslie Bibb. Hal Lieberman is producing the project, which was penned by Matt Olson. Bibb also has landed a role in Marvel Studios' "Iron Man".

"Bachelorette Party", a romantic comedy in the vein of 'Wedding Crashers, ' marks Olson's first script sale.

Adam Schroeder is shepherding the project for Regency.

In "Iron Man", Bibb joins Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard and Gwyneth Paltrow in the Jon Favreau-helmed comic book adaptation. She will play a fast-talking reporter.

Bibb's credits include the summer comedy hit "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" and the indie "Wristcutters: A Love Story". Her upcoming credits include Lakeshore Entertainment's "Midnight Meat Train".

She is repped by ICM and Raw Talent.

Olson is repped by ICM and by Art/Work Entertainment. »

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'Tropic' hot for Baruchel, Downey

28 February 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Robert Downey Jr. and Jay Baruchel have signed on to star in the Ben Stiller-helmed comedy Tropic Thunder for DreamWorks Pictures and Red Hour Films.

In the film, everything goes wrong during the making of a big-budget war movie, and the actors end up becoming the commandos they are playing. Downey will play Kirk Lazarus, the greatest actor of his generation and a four-time Oscar winner. Baruchel will play Kevin Sandusky, an unknown actor on the set. Stiller, Justin Theroux and Etan Cohen penned the screenplay.

Shooting is set to start in July. Red Hour's Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld are producing alongside Eric McLeod.

DreamWorks' Jeremy Kramer and Adam Goodman will oversee for the studio, while Lara Breay is shepherding the project for Red Hour. Downey, who stars in the upcoming Zodiac and Iron Man, is repped by CAA and attorney Tom Hansen.

Baruchel, who next appears in Judd Apatow's Knocked Up, is repped by CAA and manager Willie Mercer at Thruline Entertainment. »

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Marvel beats Street despite weak Q4

27 February 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Marvel Entertainment, whose new film unit begins principal photography March 12 on Iron Man, its first self-produced film, said Monday that its fourth-quarter profit fell from $25.9 million a year ago to $11.7 million.

Revenue fell from $117.1 million a year ago to $85.2 million, but exceeded Wall Street's expectations. Nevertheless, shares fell 3.1% on Monday to $29.96. It was the third-largest loser on The Hollywood Reporter's Showbiz 50 stock index.

Marvel's better-than-expected results in revenue and profit might have been overshadowed by the company's guidance, which was lowered slightly because of a tax-rate assumption. Marvel said it would earn $1.30-$1.55 per share this year, while its previous guidance called for $1.35-$1.55.

"Given that this change is not based on fundamentals, we do not believe it should have a meaningful impact on the stock," said Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Michael Kelman.

Marvel posted an increase from publishing sales and toy sales, though not from licensing, hurt by falling revenue from its Spider-Man Joint Venture with Sony Corp. In addition, Marvel last year benefited from the inclusion of a $50 million license fee with video game maker Activision Inc.

Marvel chairman Morton Handel said Monday that its latest movie resulting from a licensing agreement, Ghost Rider, has earned $76 million at the domestic boxoffice since its Feb. »

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First Snow

8 February 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Blending noirish mystery and big questions about fate in an evocative Southwestern landscape, "First Snow" is a first-rate psychological thriller. Guy Pearce, no newcomer to playing a man obsessed, adds another exquisite performance to his resume as Jimmy Starks, the tightly wound Type A personality who unravels trying to forestall his death foretold. Dealing with nothing less than our awareness of mortality, the film is a genre riff with something to say. Every scene of the vivid drama pulses with the question of how we choose to live -- whether we treat that awareness as a gift or a curse.

First-time helmer Mark Fergus and his writing partner, Hawk Ostby -- two of the credited scripters on "Children of Men" and the upcoming "Iron Man" -- use elegant storytelling to craft an involving and provocative tale. Upping the impact are the production team's ace contributions, particularly Eric Edwards' atmospheric widescreen lensing of New Mexico locations and Cliff Martinez's spare, pulse-quickening score. After the film opens March 23 in New York and Los Angeles, positive reviews and word-of-mouth will pave its road to other art-house markets.

The contemporary Southwest, with its big sky, untouched Americana and faux-adobe housing developments, is the perfect setting for a story in which nostalgia is the source of both hope and doom. Pearce's Jimmy is a longhaired rebel in a suit, an Albuquerque flooring salesman with plans to make a small fortune selling vintage Wurlitzer jukeboxes. Waiting for his car to be repaired in a desolate high-desert town -- really just a collection of trailers and vending stands -- he kills time buying a $10 fortune from Vacaro (J.K. Simmons). The laconic fortuneteller assures Jimmy that his business venture will succeed, but when a momentary seizure takes hold of him during the reading, he won't explain to Jimmy what he saw that disturbed him so.

Back home, Jimmy finds the good things Vacaro predicted coming true, one by one. But seeing the fortuneteller's abilities validated, Jimmy can't rest until he knows the details of the flip side. Back at Vacaro's trailer, he insists on a second reading, and the reluctant man tells him that his time will run out with the first snow.

Thus begins the jangle-nerved Jimmy's restless search for the cause of his impending demise. The world becomes charged with omen. A medical checkup detects a possible heart problem. He senses ill intent from Andy (Rick Gonzalez), recently fired from the flooring company. In the static on the other end of persistent phone calls to his home, he hears something threatening. But it's when he learns that an old friend has been released from prison that Jimmy believes he has found the source of that dark blotch on his lifeline. Trying to prevent a fatal encounter with Vince, the single-minded Jimmy indirectly initiates contact with the troubled man and sets off a series of cataclysmic events. Along the way, he confides not in his increasingly alienated girlfriend, Deirdre (Piper Perabo), but in his skeptical co-worker and pal Ed (an excellent William Fichtner).

The actors, all strong, give the lyrical but never artificial dialogue the ring of life. Pearce is riveting as a go-getter who finds himself trapped between a murky past and a future defined by ambition. And well before his nemesis Vince appears onscreen, Shea Whigham makes the character a menacing presence in quietly chilling phone messages and conversations with Jimmy. Even so, the question of Jimmy's sanity is never far from the surface, and Fichtner is especially enjoyable as a foil for the unhinged protagonist.


Yari Film Group Releasing and El Camino Pictures present a Furst Films and Kustom Entertainment production in association with MHF Zweite Academy Film


Director: Mark Fergus

Screenwriters: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby

Producers: Bryan Furst, Sean Furst, Tom Lassally, Robin Meisinger, Bob Yari,

Executive producers: Oliver Hengst, Ernst August Schnieder

Director of Photography: Eric Edwards

Production designer: Devorah Herbert

Music: Cliff Martinez

Co-producers: Chris Miller, Todd Williams, Wolfgang Schamburg

Costume designer: Lahly Poore-Ericson

Editor: Jay Cassidy


Jimmy Starks: Guy Pearce

Deirdre: Piper Perabo

Ed: William Fichtner

Vacaro: J.K. Simmons

Vincent: Shea Whigham

Andy Lopez: Rick Gonzalez

Maggie: Jackie Burroughs

Running time -- 102 minutes

MPAA rating: R


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Bridges linked to Marvel's 'Iron Man'

6 February 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Jeff Bridges has joined the cast of Iron Man, the first feature film to be produced independently by Marvel Entertainment. Jon Favreau is directing the movie, which Paramount Pictures will distribute.

Robert Downey Jr. stars as armor-clad superhero Iron Man and his alter ego, billionaire industrialist Tony Stark. Bridges will portray a confidant and close business associate of Stark, a longtime employee at defense contractor Stark Industries who plays a major role in shaping Stark's life.

"We've been talking to Jeff for long time," Marvel's president of production Kevin Feige said. "He's excited about doing a movie like this, and we're excited to have him in this particular role. There are many facets to this character which I can't discuss, but looking at the spectrum of all of Jeff's roles, this fits in nicely with the man who played 'Starman, ' 'Tucker, ' 'Big Lebowski' with a little bit 'Tron' thrown in."

"This rounds out our ensemble, and I think it's one of the strongest casts ever assembled for one of our films."

Bridges' boarding marks the fourth Academy Award-recognized actor signed on for the Iron Man cast, which in addition to Oscar nominee Downey includes nominee Terrence Howard and Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow. »

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