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9 items from 2008

Nick Phillips upped at Screen Gems

9 December 2008 4:00 AM, PST | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Screen Gems has promoted Nick Phillips to senior vp production. He will oversee production on select titles for the studio's slate and continue to report to Screen Gems president Clint Culpepper.

Phillips will oversee "Straw Dogs," the remake of the 1971 thriller being written and directed by Rod Lurie; "Boulevard," with rapper T.I.; a remake of "The Big Chill," which stars Regina King; an untitled Hamptons-set comedy; and "The Crossing," a project he brought into the studio.

Phillips served as vp production and oversaw "This Christmas" starring Chris Brown and "First Sunday" starring Ice Cube. Before Screen Gems, he worked at Dimension. »

- By Borys Kit

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'New York Goes to Hollywood' on August 4

4 June 2008 3:00 AM, PDT | | See recent BuddyTV news »

Fans will be happy to know that Tiffany “New York” Pollard, who has previously expressed her desire to be a great Hollywood actress, is pursuing her dream and moving to Hollywood very soon.  In fact, her fans will be able to catch her on this journey with her newest VH1 reality series, New York Goes to Hollywood.

After being rejected twice in seasons 1 and 2 of Flavor of Love, New York decided to take control and find love herself on her own reality series, I Love New York.  After her relationship with season 1 winner Tango didn’t work out, she decided to give another shot at the dating game, this time bagging Tailor Made, who proposed to her in the season finale.  Tailor Made and New York are going strong nowadays, and she has moved on to pursue her other dreams.

Earlier this year, VH1 announced that they will be following »

- BuddyTV

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Spike lights pilot on 'S.I.S.'

25 January 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Keith David is set to star in Spike TV's two-hour backdoor pilot S.I.S.

S.I.S., from Sony Pictures TV and Original Films, centers on a five-man elite secretive police unit -- SIS, or Special Investigation Squad -- within the LAPD that tackles major crimes and major criminals.

David will play assistant chief Joseph Armstrong, head of the secret squad.

Omari Hardwick, Matt Nable, Peter Stebbings and Colleen Porch already have been cast as the other members of the unit.

John Herzfeld, who penned the pilot, will direct as well as executive produce with Neal Moritz and Vivian Cannon.

David, seen in the feature First Sunday, is repped by Stone Manners and manager Josh Silver. »

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Weekend Box Office Report

21 January 2008 | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

- Weekend Top 10 # Title Date % Chg. Theaters Weeks Avg Total Distributor 1 Cloverfield $46.M -00.0 3,411 1 13,496 $46.M Paramount 2 27 Dresses $27.2  -00.0 3,057 1 8,920 $27.2M Fox 3 The Bucket List $16.1M -16.9 2,915 4 5,526 $43.6 WB 4 Juno $12M -11.8 2,534 7 4,735 $87.1M Fox Searchlight 5 First Sunday $9.4M -46.9 2,213 2 4,247 $30M Screen Gems 6 National Treasure:Bos $9.3M -17.2 2,963 5 3,158 $199.2M Buena Vista 7 Mad Money $9.2M -00.0 2,470 1 3,724 $9.2 Overture 8 Alvin & The Chipmunks $9.2M -1.1 2,962 6 3,106 $198.5M Fox 9 I Am Legend $5.75M -30.1 2,525 6 2,263 $248.2M WB 10 Atonement $5.6M +34.8 1,291 7 4,407 $32.8M Focus Gee- I guess Cloverfield is a hit... Super producer J.J Abrams's giant monster on the loose in NYC, shot in Blair Witch style thriller opened huge with about $46M over the 4 day Martin Luther King Holiday weekend. Cloverfield has been hyped on the net since the first teaser trailer was attached to Transformers back in the summer. Industry buzz was fairly strong, as the reviews have been fairly positive.  As the film only cost about $25M to make- Paramount Pictures »

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'Cloverfield' bow is big

21 January 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Paramount's modestly budgeted and stealthily marketed monster film Cloverfield opened monstrously indeed, with an estimated $41 million over its first three days, blowing away the weekend record for the long Martin Luther King holiday frame.

Similarly cashing in on what's become a key winter boxoffice session for the industry, Fox's wedding-themed romantic comedy 27 Dresses put $22.4 million into its gift purse, bowing in second place.

The 2001 military action film Black Hawk Down had marked the previous best MLK weekend. It posted a three-day gross of $28.6 million, which it stretched to $33 million through that year's Monday holiday.

Paramount executives expect Cloverfield to fall just short of $50 million through Monday.

Also during the weekend, Overture debuted the first of its slate of modestly budgeted films, bowing the female-ensemble comedy Mad Money about as expected with $7.7 million in seventh place.

Elsewhere, Warner Bros.' Jack Nicholson-Morgan Freeman starrer The Bucket List dropped a tiny 22% from the previous weekend -- its first in wide release -- to gross $15.2 million in third place, shaping a $42.7 million cume.

Fox Searchlight's platforming comedy Juno added 86 engagements for a total of 2,534 and grossed $10.3 million in fourth place, good for an $85.4 million cume.

Sony/Screen Gems' Ice Cube starrer First Sunday dropped 56% in its second session to gross $7.8 million in sixth place, toting a $28.5 million cume. Universal's animated The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie tumbled from the top 10 despite a modest 35% decline from the previous weekend to $2.8 million, with a $7.7 million cume.

In a limited bow, the Weinstein Co. unspooled Woody Allen's latest drama, Cassandra's Dream, in 107 theaters. Starring Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor, the film grossed $400,000, or an acceptable $3,740 per venue.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, Focus' Keira Knightley-James McAvoy starrer Atonement added 341 theaters for a total of 1,291 and grossed $4.8 million to finish 10th overall. With a sturdy $3,687 per venue, the latest grosses brought the cume for the Working Title-produced period drama to $31.9 million. »

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Weekend Box Office Report Week 2

14 January 2008 | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

- Weekend Top 10 # Title Jan 4 - 6 % Chg. Theaters Weeks Avg Total Distributor 1 The Bucket List $ 19.5M 5,879 2,911 3 $ 6,712 $ 20.9M Warner Bros. 2 First Sunday $19M   2,213 1 8,585 $19M Screen Gems 3 Juno $ 14M -11.7 2,448 6 5,718 $71.2M Fox Searchlight 4 National Treasure:Bos $11.5M -42.8 3,337 4 3,400 $187.2M Buena Vista 5 Alvin & The Chipmunks $ 9.1M -41.5 3,384 5 2,689 $187.7M Fox 6 I Am Legend $8.1M -48.3 3,353 5 2,424 $240M Warner Bros. 7 One Missed Call $ 6.1M -51 2,240 2 2,736 $20.6M Warner Bros. 8 P.S I Love You $5M -36.1 2,323 4 2,154 $47M Warner Bros. 9 The Pirates Who Don't do Anything $ 4.4M   1,337 1 3,305 $4.4M Universal 10 Atonement $4.3M -15.1 950 6 4,526 $25.2M Focus Despite mostly tepid reviews, Rob Reiner's The Bucket List topped the box office with $19M, which was better than expected as the film has been in limited release since the holidays, and has not done very well. Obviously stars Nicholson & Freeman have a lot of appeal to a broad audience- although I imagine the film will plummet next weekend. Meanwhile, the Ice Cube »

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No hole in this boxoffice 'Bucket'

14 January 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

The old boys can still bring it on.

Warner Bros.' Jack Nicholson-Morgan Freeman starrer "The Bucket List" finished at the top of the domestic boxoffice heap in its first weekend in wide release, grossing an estimated $19.5 million.

An offbeat comedy involving the tale of two terminally ill patients, "Bucket" beat back a tough challenge from Sony Screen Gems' urban comedy "First Sunday", with the Ice Cube starrer bowing in second place with $19 million. Fox Searchlight's "Juno", another quirky but more youth-oriented comedy, finished third with $14 million shaping a $71.3 million cume.

"Bucket" led a brigade of four Warners pics in the weekend top 10.

The studio's Will Smith starrer "I Am Legend" rung up another $8.1 million in sixth place to move its five-week cume to $240.2 million, while its "One Missed Call" horror pic placed seventh with a 51% drop in its second frame yielding $6.1 million and a $20.6 million cume. And Warners' Hilary Swank-Gerard Butler romance "P.S. I Love You" grossed $5 million in eighth place for a four-week cume of $47 million.

Another wide opener this weekend -- Universal's "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie," an animated feature from Big Idea Prods. -- found $4.4 million in boxoffice booty to capture ninth place. But Freestyle's medieval Jason Statham starrer "In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale" fetched just $3.3 million to bow well outside of the weekend top 10.

Industrywide, the weekend marked a 1% uptick over the same frame last year with $129 million in collective grosses, according to Nielsen EDI data. But in a year-to-date comparison, 2008 is off 7% from the same portion of 2007.

Elsewhere this weekend, Focus/Working Title's "Atonement" added 367 playdates for a total of 950 and grossed $4.3 million in 10th place. That stretched the cume for the Keira Knightley-James McAvoy starrer to $25.2 million, with the weekend's $4,526 per-theater average representing sturdy foundation for coming frames.

Picturehouse broadened its Spanish-language horror film "The Orphanage" by 641 engagements for a total of 707, grossing $2 million, or $2,891 per playdate with a $3.2 million cume. »

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Fox Searchlight claims Talbert and all his 'Baggage'

11 January 2008 | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

- Searchlight has sought to expand its presence in movies centering on the black experience, with plans to move ahead on a biopic about late rapper the Notorious B.I.G. and an adaptation of the multiracial female-bonding book "The Secret Life of Bees." Call this a pretty good week for David E. Talbert. The author/writer/director is moments away from the premiere of First Sunday and Fox Searchlight Pictures might already be looking to branding the multi-tasker as the next Tyler Perry. Variety reports that the indie unit will set Talbert to direct his own novel entitled Baggage Claim hopefully before the actor's strike this summer. "Baggage" centers on the thirtysomething Montana Moore, who, frustrated with being single, embarks on a 30-day, 30,000-mile barnstorm across America to find an appropriate suitor. Along the way she encounters several interested prospects, including a preacher, a politician and a tycoon.Searchlight is tapping »

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First Sunday

7 January 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

As a vehicle for Ice Cube's comic talents, First Sunday never gets out of first gear. It plods along at a sluggard's pace through a weak premise with crude execution and even cruder characters to arrive at an unearned sentimental ending.

As a producer, which he is here, Ice Cube has demonstrated an ability to pick smart comedy material (the Barbershop films) or at least solid commercial fare ("Are We There Yet?"). Here those instincts desert him. However, he may have developed enough good will through previous efforts to wring a week or so of modest boxoffice out of this exceptionally lame affair for Sony's Screen Gems division.

At no time does First Sunday threaten to become actually funny. Much more distressing, though, is the penchant of novice filmmaker David E. Talbert, who apparently has made a successful living writing "inspirational" comedies and musical plays for the black theater circuit, to rely on extreme caricatures of crooks, punks, church ladies, preacher men, "flamboyant" choir masters and con artists. A forced happy ending doesn't remove the bad taste from your mouth.

Ice Cube plays Durell, a clearly intelligent and well-educated young man who for no apparent reason can't get a job that doesn't involve criminality. His partner in crime, LeeJohn (Tracy Morgan, trying way too hard to make things happen), is too dimwitted to be even a passing acquaintance, much less a lifelong friend.

Nevertheless, the script insists that LeeJohn talks Durell into robbing, yes, a church of its building fund so that Durell has enough money to prevent his baby mama (Regina Hall, stuck in a role of permanent righteous indignation) from moving with his son from Baltimore to Atlanta.

They break into the church one night only to find virtually the entire congregation there and the building fund already looted. As they hold everyone hostage, warfare breaks out among the pastor (Chi McBride), his beauteous daughter (Malinda Williams), a fast-taking deacon (Michael Beach), the church secretary (Loretta Devine) and an over-the-top choir director (Katt Williams). Soon Durell is playing mediator and fixing the broken air conditioning while LeeJohn gets a loving hug no one ever gave him before.

It comes as no surprise that Talbert comes from a long line of Pentecostal preachers and means to prove that the church, if not God, works in mysterious ways to reform sinners and suss out the real crooks among the congregation. But a threadbare script, tone-deaf direction and stalled comic action are no way to get there.

Ice Cube as an actor is not at all bad here, as his character has some depth and meaningful inner conflicts. But if he's going to take producing credit, then he should take responsibility for deepening and strengthening characters other than his own and for building the comedy, hitting real nerve endings and refraining from chitlin-circuit stereotypes. Until he does, Ice Cube should stop working for himself.


Screen Gems

Cube Vision/Firm Films/The Story Company


Screenwriter-director: David E. Talbert

Producer: David E. Talbert, David McIlvain, Tim Story, Matt Alvarez

Executive producer: Stacy Kolker Cramer, Neil Machlis, Ronald Muhammed, Julie Yorn

Director of photography: Alan Caso

Production designer: Dina Lipton

Music: Stanley Clarke

Costume designer: Gersha Phillips

Editor: Jeffrey Wolf


Durell: Ice Cube

LeeJohn: Tracy Morgan

Rickey: Katt Williams

Sister Doris: Loretta Devine

Deacon: Michael Beach

Judge B. Bennett Galloway: Keith David

Omunique: Regina Hall

Tianna: Malinda Williams

Pastor Mitchell: Chi McBride

Running time -- 98 minutes

MPAA rating: PG-13


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