Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wahlberg Considering Lone Survivor

Ben Promote may also starNavy Shuts are very trendy at this time around. No, we don't mean hipsters are actually spotted sporting SEAL uniforms (because they'd probably get duffed up for the), more the type of box office success Act Of Valour, Kathryn Bigelow's Bin Laden film as well as the activities in the real-existence SEAL Team Six have shoved them in to the popular culture awareness in the large way. Peter Berg will undoubtedly be wanting the momentum keeps going, as he's now in talks with Mark Wahlberg and Ben Promote for Lone Survivor.Berg, that's been trading nearly all his recent time concentrating on Battleship, modified Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson's book after trading time getting a SEAL team for just about any month in Iraq. The plot follows four people from the squad (Berg had been talking with his Battleship star, Taylor Kitsch about playing one of the other roles) running into three kids plus an some guy in 2005. They decide to enable them to live, as well as the mission ended up aborted. Nevertheless the Shuts then received attack by around 250 Al Qaeda soldiers, creating the deaths of 15 troops and losing one save helicopter. Luttrell ended up really the only survivor, which may be the role Wahlberg is onto play.Emmett/Furla Films is putting together the financing with Universal disseminating, and Berg desires to get boots on the ground between your fall, once he's finished the extended tour of duty marketing Battleship. That particular sails into cinemas on April 11.In related Wahlberg news, he's also told Candidate magazine that he's searching to keep the remake train chugging along for a while. His latest target? Norwegian thriller Headhunters, using the book by Jo Nesbo. He's lately been talking with Morten Tyldum as well as the rights holders about getting something going, nevertheless it remains to look if he works. The first film, incidentally, lands here on April 6.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Steller "Journey" continues abroad

It was clear sailing for the second-straight weekend for "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island," which again navigated to the top of the overseas box office. Pic grossed a resilient $27.5 million over the Feb. 17-19 weekend, pushing its worldwide cume to $130 million. The Warner Bros.-New Line family film got an early overseas push, bowing in territories like Australia and South Korea four weeks ahead of the U.S. And later key markets, such as China and Russia, are contributing topnotch grosses. In China, the sequel grossed $9.5 million in its second outing, while in Russia, the pic tallied a soph-sesh take of $4.1 million -- a whopping 176% ahead of the original "Journey" in its similar local frame. In North America, "Journey 2" held best among the domestic top 10, down just an overall 27%. Pic showed even more stickiness in Canada, falling 3%, thanks to the country's nationally recognized family day Feb. 20. Toplining franchise newcomer Dwayne Johnson, and budgeted at a reported $79 million, the sequel already has more than recouped its production cost, grossing $183 million worldwide as of Feb. 19. Warners and New Line have committed to a "Journey 3," based on the sequel's success. Elsewhere on the family front, Disney's holiday holdover "The Muppets" proved resilient in the U.K., rising a remarkable 60% on Friday and Saturday in its second weekend over its opening two days (Feb. 10-11). The film's three-day second-weekend total of $5.8 million in Blighty rang in 36% ahead of its opening weekend. In just 10 days in the U.K., the Disney pic, with $17.4 million, has outpaced Sony's "The Smurfs" by 36% and Warners' "Yogi Bear" by 193%. Pic has hit $59.1 million internationally through Feb. 19, with a global cume of $147.3 million. Contact Andrew Stewart at andrew.stewart@variety.com

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Horror!: Hammer To Open Script Archive To Public Research & Study

Enjoying a resurgence with The Woman In Black, venerable British horror studio Hammer has chosen the Cinema And Television History (CATH) Research Centre at the UK’s Leicester De Montfort University to house its script archive. The CATH center will catalogue and curate a collection that includes screenplays from most of the studio’s film and TV productions from 1947-1990 along with extensive corporate paperwork, correspondence and other ephemera. This is the first time the archive will be opened to public research and study. Last month, Hammer announced a global restoration project for its library of films in partnership with Studiocanal, Pinewood and other international players and with the participation of 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros and Paramount. The studio was founded in 1934 and has produced such films as Frankenstein Created Woman, The Plague Of The Zombies, The Witches and The Mummy. Hammer stopped production in the 80s and returned to features in 2010 with Matt Reeves adaptation of Swedish hit Let Me In. Its most recent film, Daniel Radcliffe-starrer The Woman In Black, has taken in over $60 million worldwide. Since 2008, Hammer has been a division of the Exclusive Media Group.

Friday, February 17, 2012

ICM Signs Steve Coogan

EXCLUSIVE: ICM just signed British comedian/actor Steve Coogan. Coogan last starred in Our Idiot Brother and the upcoming Michael Winterbottom-directed The Trip, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. He’s developing several other projects including Cruise of the Gods, the David Guion/Michael Handelman-directed comedy, and a feature based on Coogan’s Alan Partridge character. He’s managed by 3 Arts and is repped in the UK by Independent Talent Group.

Monday, February 13, 2012

AMC to unspool Japan doc

Helmer-producer Stu Levy has became a member of with AMC Theaters to create his docu "Pray for Japan" in 14 U . s . States urban centers for just about any single-screening engagement on March 14."Pray for Japan," which concentrates on four perspectives of last year's Great East Japan Earthquake, preems March 6 in Tokyo, japan, japan, wonderful proceeds enjoying useful benefits the charitable organization Japan Emergency NGO (JEN).Pic's domestic engagement recall the primary one-year anniversary in the earthquake and tsunami that devastated northern Japan and triggered global fears from the major nuclear energy plant accident. Comes from the domestic tests may even benefit JEN."We're honored to partner with Stu Levy to produce these effective tales, told through 'Pray for Japan,' towards the screens," mentioned AMC prexy of programming Robert J. Lenihan.Among the areas set to showcase "Pray for Japan" are NY, La, San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, Dallas, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Toronto. Contact Andrew Stewart at andrew.stewart@variety.com

Friday, February 10, 2012

The best spinner's greenlights 'Sullivan and Son'

The best spinner's has purchased 10 instances of comedy "Sullivan and Boy," starring comedian Steve Byrne. Byrne and showrunner Take advantage of Lengthy co-authored the pilot, occur a Pittsburgh bar that Byrne's character, an old corporate attorney, gets control. Vince Vaughn and Peter Billingsley are professional creating "Sullivan" with Lengthy, with Serta Lauria, Jodi Lengthy, Owen Benjamin, John Doyle Murray, Christine Ebersole, Vivian Bang and Valerie Azlynn co-starring. Show originates from Vaughn's Wild West Picture Show Prods. in colaboration with Warner Horizon TV. Ted Wass willl direct. " 'Sullivan and Son' is really a wise, funny, place of work comedy in the distinct comedy voices of Steve Byrne and Take advantage of Lengthy," stated Michael Wright, professional veep and mind of programming for The best spinner's, TNT and Turner Classic Movies. Lauria and Lengthy will have the mother and father of Byrne's character, Benjamin his closest friend. Bang has got the role of his sister, Azlynn is really a former sweetheart and Murray and Ebersole (who labored together on "Saturday Evening Live" 30 years ago) will have bar regulars. "Sullivan" is slated for any summer time premiere, to choose buddy comedy series "Males at the officeInch with Danny Masterson, James Lesure, Michael Cassidy and Adam Busch. Coming later this season for The best spinner's is going to be "The Marriage Band," with John Austin Eco-friendly, Harold Perrineau, Peter Cambor, Derek Burns, Melora Hardin, Jenny Wade and Kathryn Fiore. Contact Jon Weisman at jon.weisman@variety.com

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Drive-ins in digital bind

Big Sky Drive-in Theater in Midland, Texas was the first U.S. drive-in to go fully digital, investing $300,000 to convert three screens. The major studios are driving hard to stop distributing 35mm prints in North America by the end of 2013, but one sector remains tied to traditional film prints: the drive-in movie biz. Of the 366 drive-in theaters left in the United States only a handful have converted to digital projection; another 10% are expected to convert before this summer. Two key hurdles: Neither the Digital Cinema Initiative tech specs nor the Virtual Print Fee business model were conceived with drive-ins in mind. But this week, as the United Drive-in Theater Owners Assn. gathers in Kissimmee, Florida, for the industry's annual confab, drive-in owners are anticipating news of an addendum to the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) and changes to the virtual print fee (VPF) rules that should smooth the way for drive-ins to make the switch to digital -- and for film prints to truly disappear in the U.S. If drive-ins don't convert, they run the risk of obsolescence.National Assn. of Theater Owners prexy John Fithian said he expects a deal to update the DCI to be approved within weeks. Several studios have already signed off on the changes. For drive-in operators, an updated DCI is critical, since theaters must meet DCI specs to get digital prints and must convert to digital to receive VPF. Drive-ins can't meet the current version of the specs because they can't provide masking to change the aspect ratio of their screens and can't deliver 5.1 sound. Most drive-in sites have converted their sound system to FM transmission, by which patrons receive the soundtrack through their car stereo. Only a few have maintained old-style window speakers for nostalgia.The update is also expected to waive or revise the requirement that outdoor theaters meet the same brightness standards as indoor theaters: 14 foot Lamberts. Faced with interference from ambient light and throw distances as long as 900 feet in some theaters, even drive-ins with the most powerful projectors on the market get only about 10 fL. Most drive-ins typically get 5-7 fL. The enticement for drive-in operators is that digital projectors would provide more flexibility in theatrical programming, as well as the ability to present 3D, allowing exhibs to screen alternative content including concerts, sports and cultural perfs.But like their hardtop counterparts, drive-ins need Virtual Print Fee revenue to help defray the cost of digital conversion."We are seeking pretty much the same terms and conditions the indoor theaters are seeking," said Frank Hattinger, owner of six drive-ins in Southern California, Atlanta and Salt Lake City. Hattinger said he expects the VPF fee to cover around 75% of the cost to convert to digital. Despite the cost hurdles, a few drive-ins have already made the leap to digital. Sam Kirkland's Big Sky Drive-in Theater in Midland, Texas was the first U.S. drive-in to go fully digital, investing $300,000 to convert three screens. But most drive-in owners have been unable to make the switch to digital without the guarantee of VPF coin. And the VPF model itself needs an update to accommodate the unique business models of drive-ins. Notably, most ozoners, as Variety's slanguage has termed them, are seasonal, so they only generate revenue for part of the year. "It is economically a challenging conversion," said NATO's Fithian. "But you have to put it all in perspective. Even though drive-ins are typically seasonal they gross a whole lot more on one screen than a typical indoor theater does."Drive-in screens have been in decline for some time. In 1987, there were more than 2,000 drive-in screens. Close to 70% of those have closed, with a total of 606 screens at the end of 2011. Because most drive-ins have waited until the DCI and VPF issues can be resolved, those that waited to make the switch will reap a shorter VPF period than the typical 10-year payout offered to early adopters. Some drive-ins don't quality for VPF at all under current policy because they cannot show enough first-run features. Other operators want an exception for double features, which are common at drive-ins, and think the current VPF model for compensating double features is unfair."They have punished us basically for operating our business in different ways than other theaters operate their business," said Rick Cohen, owner of Transit Drive-in in Rockport, N.Y. "We run double features so we get a half VPF."Time is running short before the studios' September deadline to convert to digital and still be eligible to receive the virtual print fee incentive. Cohen said he recently paid $300,000 to convert four screens and expects to get $20,000 to $30,000 over six years from VPF."To be honest I don't even know what the VPF amount is. They won't even tell me because there is a non-disclosure agreement between Cinedigm and the studios." Cohen said. "The drive-in theaters that are successful and in a decent-size market are probably going to be able to survive, but the drive-in theaters that are out in the country -- those one- or two-screen theaters that don't fit into the VPF model that the studios have favored -- are not going to be able to make it." Contact the Variety newsroom at news@variety.com

Tune guild sets noms

The Guild of Music Managers features the nominees due to its second annual Grammy Day honours brunch, being held Feb. 12 in La. The Guild, founded in 2008, will recognition music managers in nine different groups, including three film honours, four television honours then one award each for trailers and videogames. Film managers for instance Alexandra Patsavas, Dondi Bastone and Julia Michels are the nominees. "We are thrilled to develop our honours this year and reveal all the great work being completed by music managers," noted Guild leader Maureen Crowe. Contact the number newsroom at news@variety.com