7 items from 2015
Relativity Media — the digital-age entertainment company that claimed clever financing and data analysis could help it unlock the secret to box office riches — filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday against a swarm of disgruntled investors and other creditors. The 11-year-old company that founder Ryan Kavanaugh had styled as a “next-generation global media company” will be sold at auction, a statement from the company said.
The upcoming sale will center on the enterprise’s film and television units. Left outside of the insolvency action are Relativity Sports; Relativity EuropaCorp Distribution, a joint venture with the European film operator; and Relativity Education. All those units will continue on as independent concerns. The company’s fashion operation, M3/Relativity, was shut down this week and its employees laid off Wednesday as part of a pinkslipping of 75 employees.
Kavanaugh and his board proposed the immediate auction of the company, which stated liabilities of up to $1 billion, »
- James Rainey and Brent Lang
Hollywood’s latest evangelist blew into town without a film degree or a single production credit, but armed with abundant smarts, a knack for salesmanship and buckets of charm. Even Ryan Kavanaugh’s shock of red hair assured he got noticed in any room he entered.
Eleven years later, Relativity Media’s CEO stands on the brink of an inglorious retreat. His Beverly Hills-based company appears on the verge of bankruptcy, a key lender is calling him a “con man” and suing for fraud, and other creditors are pushing for the 40-year-old entrepreneur to be shown the door. While Kavanaugh scrambles to find a savior, the company’s 350 employees are preparing for the worst, with a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing expected as early as this week.
Kavanaugh’s would-be Studio of the Future never fulfilled its brash leader’s promise: to harness clever financing and computer modeling to unlock the formula for winning films. »
- James Rainey and Brent Lang
New Stanley Kubrick movies?! Not just one, but an entire trilogy? Whoa! Cool. Deadline is reporting that Marc Forster, director of Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland, Stranger Than Fiction, The Kite Runner, Quantum of Solace, Machine Gun Preacher and World War Z previously, has signed on to develop a feature film trilogy based on Stanley Kubrick's lost original screenplay The Downslope, that Kubrick wrote in 1956. Forster will direct & produce the first movie in the trilogy, then will only produce the other two, with other directors being lined up (most likely, but as of yet unconfirmed). This will be a "sweeping, historical action-drama" during the Civil War about Confederate Army Col. John S. Mosby who goes after Gen. Custer. The legendary, seminal filmmaker Stanley Kubrick originally wrote the script for The Downslope in 1956, apparently spending years "studying, developing and writing the story." He wrote it after the release of Fear and Desire, »
- Alex Billington
Liam Neeson is in final negotiations to star in yet another cat-and-mouse action-thriller, A Willing Patriot. The actor will play an FBI agent who is trying to outwit a terrorist and capture him before he can carry out a deadly attack. No other cast members have been confirmed at this time, but with Liam Neeson on board, the supporting cast should fill up quickly.
Martin Zandvliet is directing from a screenplay by Jason Keller (Escape Plan, Machine Gun Preacher), which was originally developed at Warner Bros. before it was moved to MadRiver Entertainment, which is fully financing the movie. The project is being shopped to buyers at the Cannes Film Festival, with a domestic distribution deal expected to be announced at the festival. Here's what producer Marc Butan had to say about Liam Neeson's casting in a statement.
"Liam Neeson is one of the defining actors of our generation »
In light of Liam Neeson currently filming Martin Scorsese's "Silence," you might think that the actor would want to take a break from action films. You couldn't blame the guy after the dreadful "Taken 3," and the goofy but somewhat tolerable "Run All Night." But you would be mistaken. Deadline reports that the actor will lead "A Willing Patriot" (I can already see the stars-and-stripes inspired poster right now). Jason Keller, whose credits include failed Oscar bait "Machine Gun Preacher," fairy tale flick "Mirror Mirror" and Arnie/Sly vehicle "Escape Plan," penned a none too taxing story which will find Neeson dusting off his special set of skills as a CIA agent who has to find a terrorist. Yep, sounds like another Mad Libs movie from Neeson. Martin Zandvliet will direct the movie, which is expected to pick up domestic distribution at Cannes, then to clutter up a couple thousand cinema. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Oscar nominee Liam Neeson has found an unlikely second career wind in action fare like Taken and March’s Run All Night, and though the actor claims he only has a couple of years of action movies left in him, he’s now in final negotiations for another one: terrorism-themed thriller A Willing Patriot.
Neeson will play a veteran CIA agent who is plunged in a deadly battle of wits with a sinister terrorist who is on the cusp of executing a devastating attack against the United States. Desperate to stop his opponent from carrying out the plot, the agent is willing to sacrifice anything, even his own life, for this final chance at absolution for his past sins.
- Isaac Feldberg
You have probably heard a lot about producer Adi Shankar over the past few weeks, after he released two new short films from his "Bootleg Universe," Power/Rangers and the 007 adventure In Service of Nothing. What you may not know is Adi Shankar has produced a number of major Hollywood movies, such as Machine Gun Preacher,The Grey, Killing Them Softly, Lone Survivor and last year's A Walk Among the Tombstones. Out of all of his movies, though, 2012's Dredd 3D remains the one that fans desperately want a sequel for. And now he is here to tell us how this can happen.
We've heard plenty of talk abut Dredd 2 over the past few years, with the fans even putting together an online petition to drum up support, which received over 100,000 signatures. Unfortunately, while Dredd 3D was a critical hit, it failed at the box office, taking in just $13.4 million domestically and $35.6 million worldwide. »
7 items from 2015
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