Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Solomon Northup’s 1853 Autobiography Headed To The Big Screen

Steve McQueen has come aboard to direct Twelve Years a Slave, which will star Chiwetel Ejiofor in a true story about a New York man who was kidnapped in the mid-1800s and forced to become a slave on a Louisiana cotton plantation.

Twelve Years a Slave is McQueen’s adaptation of Solomon Northup’s 1853 autobiography about a married, educated, free Black man who eventually was captured and enslaved while on a trip from New York City to Washington, D.C. Historians over the years have reportedly used Northup’s book as a guidebook to slave life in the early 1800s. The book goes in detail of the court case which led to Northup’s reclaimed freedom.

In the meantime, McQueen is preparing to unveil his latest fare Shame at the Venice Film Festival. The drama reunites him with Michael Fassbender in a story about a deviant sex addict who reconsiders his dark ways after his younger sister, played by Carey Mulligan, moves in with him. McQueen made waves with his riveting debut film Hunger, about the Irish hunger strike that starred Michael Fassbender and earned the emerging director the 2008 Cannes' Camera d'Or. Focus has its own feature rights package that include Fela’s music, while Brad Pitt's Plan B is producing Twelve Years a Slave.

Both, McQueen and Ejiofor are British. I am often baffled with Hollywood's decision-making to neglect, overlook and by-pass American talent, in this case, specifically Black American talent for films and directorships for a rare Hollywood funded film about Black American history with a non-stereotypical plot.

SMH!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Boy from New Zealand

It is always nice to learn of a sleeper hit. At the 2010 Sundance Film Festival a funny little indie film from New Zealand with lots of fresh faces and hilarious moments called Boy generated a ton of laughs and lots a of word of mouth; however, director Taika Waititi left Sundance without a distribution a U.S. distribution deal.

Waititi took Boy back to New Zealand where it has become a hit on its home turf. Now, as usual, Hollywoodteurs are back -- as they can now see the potential greenery. Boy and Waititi has secured an U.S. distribution deal with Mark Urman's Paladin.

Set in New Zealand in 1984, the film focuses on an 11-year-old "boy" (James Rolleston) who grows up in the remote Maori community of Waihau Bay. "Boy" is obsessed with Michael Jackson and imagining his long absent father (Waititi) is a world traveler. However, when his dad returns, he is an eccentric loser who has served a stretch for robbery. Together, they try to come to grips with one another and develop a lovable neo-non-traditional father-son relationship.

Definitely waiting for showtimes for this one.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Architecturally Cinematic

Everyone knows I enjoy all elements of filmmaking. One element is locations. While most think of film locations as simply a room, a cafe, train station or a house, for me it is environment. It is space. It is access to light -- whether natural or designed. It is the unique architectural details of the location set which brings depth, texture and hopefully additional layers to the art direction, story, and at best becomes another character to the unfolding story.

When I was in film school in Southern California, I met an attractive young architect fresh out of Architecture school. On weekends he would zip to down Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco through Malibu to Long Beach (the least expensive beachfront property in Southern California at the time). He would guide me on private tours of undiscovered Los Angeles area neighborhoods and introduced me to buildings I never saw, although I drove pass these structures on my way to work, to class and to location sets practically every day. Clearly these places were standing; however, I never knew they existed or provided any architectural importance besides: house or office. His expertise helped me to see more.

Yesterday I tore open the plastic wrapper of my big fall September 2011 issue of Architectural Digest with Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith on the cover. And yes, I too, lament over our lives and society being completely engulfed with celebrity; however, Will Smith is a true Hollywood star unlike no other. AD brilliantly captures this as the Smith's (Will, Jada, Trey, Jaden and Willow) open their 25,000-square-foot Malibu adobe style home for the first time.

Greenlight is a blog about getting your project the greenlight, and this posting shows us how we can live after the light turns green. See for yourself in the September issue of Architectural Digest.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Not Too Broken

The Hughes Brothers (Book of Eli and Menace II Society) go solo with Allen Hughes of the wunderkind Hughes directing duo enlisiting Hollywood A-listers Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg to star in Allen's independently financed film noir drama Broken City.

In Broken City, Wahlberg plays Billy Taggart, an ex-cop turned private detective hired by an unscrupulous mega metropolis Mayor (Crowe) who suspects his wife's infidelity. When Taggart confirms the mayor's suspicions, his wife's lover ends up dead. Now the private eye turns to the mayor unraveling and uncovering his shady real estate business dealings setting the stage for personal and political scandal.

The script was written by Brian Tucker and made the 2008 Black List. The $60 million price tagged production will be financed by Emmett/Furla Films. Principal lensing begins in November with Wahlberg producing through his Closest to the Hole shingle along with Stephen Levinson's Leverage banner. Hughes, Randall Emmett and George Furla are also in the producing seat.

The 2008 Black List is the list of the best unproduced screenplays circulating around Hollywood. I think it is time for the Greenlight Green List operative. The Green List will be a list of screenplays that meet all of the mundane nuances of a Hollywoodteur script, yet is intelligent, clever, story-driven, plot-having and thought provoking that and can be produced on your cellphone, camcorder or Arriflex regardless of budget and names.

Crowe next stars as Jor-El in the upcoming Superman film, while Wahlberg will be seen in Contraband with Kate Beckinsdale in January 2012 and joins Mila Kunis in the comedy Ted, about a man whose teddy bear that comes to life.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Very Powerful Film - Yesterday

She was named Yesterday (Leleti Khumalo) because her father said yesterday was definitely good and the future is unknown.

Darrell James Roodt directs Yesterday, an Oscar "Best Foreign Language" nominated film unfolding an amazing story of a young contemporary rural African family. Yesterday is the first Zulu language feature film to be released internationally and with this caliber of filmmaking it is certainly not the last. All of the production elements are superbly blended into a near perfect and epic movie. The acting, led by Ms. Khumalo, is verite, easy and will settle you in immediately for this cinematic journey along with her daughter, Beauty (Lihle Mvelase), coal mining husband Kenneth (Kenneth Khambula) and the new school teacher (Harriet Lenabe) she befriends.

The cinematography, brilliantly executed by Michael Brierley, is so vivid and lush and pushes the story of this African village leaving one longing to dismiss all Western amenities in favor of this real beauty. As a filmmaker, one of the true test of a great film is: Can you turn the volume off and still be entertained? Yesterday not only passes this test overwhelmingly, I also understood the conversations without reading the subtitles.

Yesterday is the type of movie more people need to see. It successfully captures life, history, culture and time in 90 minutes. We're all going to live a lot longer than ninety minutes, thus Yesterday is a wise investment into you future.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kingpin Passion - Black Mafia Family Flick

Program Pictures has acquired the motion picture rights to the story of the Black Mafia Family (BMF), the Detroit, Michigan based drug trafficking empire created by brothers Demetrius "Big Meech" and Terry Flenory.

The Black Mafia Family organization began in the late 1980s and by the 2000 BMF had established multi cocaine distribution cells in major US cities. The Flenory brothers established two main hubs, Los Angeles and Atlanta. Through their Los Angeles, run by younger brother Terry, BMF had direct links to Mexican based drug cartels while mastermind and elder brother managed the Atlanta hub.

In 2000, BMF attempted to legitimize itself by entering into the music business, starting BMF Entertainment and helped promote a number of artists, including Young Jeezy, as well as BMF Entertainment's sole artist, Bleu DaVinci.

The screenplay is currently being written. Hutton, who is producing along with Morgan Creek's David Robinson, stated - in true Hollywoodteur form, “We have a passion and enthusiasm in bringing Big Meech’s story to the big screen." Hollywoodteur passion supersedes biopics of gloried drug kingpins over the worthy likes of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, Toussaint Louverture -- or another young man who rose from very humble means to tremendous wealth and power: Reginald F. Lewis, all without illegal activity -- save a few white collar exploits, of course.

The Hutton and Robinson are also producing the Tupac biopic, which starts production later this year. One can see where H & R think they are heading - the bank. However, more likely straight to video or the 125th Street DVD bootleg blanket.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Antoine Fuqua Is Storming Las Vegas

The bug in my ear reports Summit Entertainment has acquired screen rights to John Huddy's non-fiction book Storming Las Vegas: How a Cuban-Born, Soviet-Trained Commando Took Down The Strip to the Tune of Five World Class Hotels, Three Armored Cars, and Millions of Dollars with Antoine Fuqua attached to direct with Lorenzo di Bonaventura producing.

Published in 2008 by Random House, the book tells the rags-to-riches story of a modern day Robin Hood, Jose Vigoa. Vigoa was a larger-than-life Cuban born commando veteran of the Soviet army who found his way to Las Vegas in the 1990s when the casinos were trying to embrace a squeaky clean image. Along with his crew, Vigoa embarked on a violent 16-month crime spree targeting some of Sin City's most prominent casinos.

Ultimately, Vigoa was pitted against a 23-year veteran of the Vegas police force, who was charged with tracking down Vigoa and his cohorts without letting the story make the papers and spoil Vegas' image -- something that decades of prostitution, gambling, racketeering, gangsters, mobsters, public drunkenness, pole dancing, frizzed out cotton-candied coiffed hair, and miles and miles of sand dusted spandex and polyester couldn't do.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Beginners - Get Lucky

Could it be beginner's luck? Currently playing in cinemas is the terrific film Beginners starring Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor.

Beginners is like a ice cream treat in the summer heat. Directed and written by Mike Mills, Beginners is the perfect film to escape the sweltering temperatures and obsurdity of the current summer blockbusters and Hollywoodteur tentpole frenzy. Plummer stars as Hal, a widower and father of a single thirty-something son Oliver (McGregor). While Hal is resigned to and begins to live his real life upon the death of his wive of forty-four years, Oliver is learning to make deeper connections and how to construct a romance of his own with the lovely Anna (Melanie Laurent).

With inspired editing and fresh story sequencing, Oliver reflects and analyzes childhood memories of his parents' long marriage and acts of affection. He soon learns relationships and marriages of all kinds and types are simply about communication and self definition.With a touch of irony, I watched Beginners in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood on the very first day of legalized gay marriages. I sat watching a film that suggests it is not about religion, family or government approved relationships, it is a mutually and self satisfying commitment you can (and must) create for you and with your partner.

Look for Beginners to be apart of the upcoming award season's nominations and winners roll call as both Plummer and McGregor are fantastic. Beginners is a wonderful film that is the perfect beginners' film for people who leery of independent film. Here is a nice story and a great film.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mad Men's Christina Hendricks Joins Glee's Chris Colfer In New Indie Flick

The upcoming indie comedy Struck By Lightning from Brian Dannelly gets a bolt of rising star power as Mad Men's Christina Hendricks, Modern Family's Sarah Hyland and Glee's Chris Colfer, who also penned the script, joins the Struck cast also starring Dermot Mulroney and Allison Janney.

Struck By Lightning is the story of a young guy, played by Colfer, who is struck and mortally wounded by lightning and chronicles through a serious of flashbacks his mischievous exploits, schemes and blackmails of his fellow classmates as he forces them to contribute to his literary magazine. David Permut is producing with Rob Aguire and Mia Chang. Colfer and his manager Glenn Rigberg are executive producers with Jason Michael Berman.

Colfer who recently announced he will graduate from Glee next season is a busy guy, having recently written a pilot for Disney Channel, The Little Leftover Witch, based on the children's book and will also publish two (2) books with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers that will be released in summer 2012.

Congratulations are also in order as both Colfer and Hendricks received 2011 Emmy nominations for their amazing work on Glee and Mad Men. Respectfully.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Johnny Depp Gives Disney Edge

Did you know actor Johnny Depp had a production company? Given his anti-Hollywoodteur behavior, most may find such movie mogul business affairs a bit out of sync with Depp. But not really, the thespian is one of the most financially and critically successful cinema products ever. And he does possess a French significant other, unmarried (but not single) status, children and a French chateau.

So word is. . . .Johnny Depp's production company, Infinitum Nihil, is teaming up with ultimate Hollywoodteur branding operative Disney on a feature film version of the '70s TV movie The Night Stalker. First seen in the 1972 telepic, The Night Stalker featured tabloid styled reporter Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) hunting a serial killer who was draining the blood of beautiful girls on the Las Vegas strip. At its time, Stalker was pretty scary stuff for television (no cable peeps). Depp is the potential star and he and his Infinitum Nihil partner Christi Dembrowski will produce with David Kennedy executive producing.

Dembrowski and Depp expressed glowing memories of the ABC telepic and series Kolchak: The Night Stalker and pitched Disney's Rich Ross and Sean Bailey the Chicago based investigative escapades of Kolchak, a trouble magnet for supernatural situations requiring his inventive skills to destroy vampires, werewolves, zombies and other unearthly creatures, of which, Kolchak has to convince his skeptical editor the stories were not products of his active imagination.
Depp and Dombrowski, whose Infinitum Nihil has a production deal with GK Films are busy boys with The Rum Diary written and directed by Bruce Robinson and starring Depp released by FilmDistrict coming in October and the Martin Scorsese directed 3D Hugo Cabret hitting screens on November 23rd. Currently they are now shooting the TV series transfer, Dark Shadows, at Warner Bros, with Depp starring and Tim Burton directing.

Who better than the edgy international unmarried family man Johnny Depp to push the boundaries of the Disney family film formula. Disney, under Ross and Bailey's tutelage, has also taking on one time FBI filed west coast gangster rap artist Ice Cube (N.W.A.) with his feature directed Chrome and Paint.

What next - a Minnie and Mickey Mouse 3-D anime romp tape?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Spike Lee Takes On Oldboy for Mandate

Mandate Pictures has signed Spike Lee to direct a remake of the highly acclaimed South Korean film and person favorite, Oldboy. Mandate President Nathan Kahane will executive produce a screenplay adaptation from Mark Protosevich, who will co-produce. Roy Lee and Doug Davison (The Departed, The Grudge) will produce.

Oldboy, the original, was directed by Chan-wook Park and released in 2003 taking the Grand Prize Jury Award at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. Oldboy unfolds the story of a man who is kidnapped and imprisoned on his daughter’s birthday. For fifteen years, he is held captive. Upon his release, he begins a quest for vengeance and the reason for his imprisonment. He soon finds out his kidnapper is not done with him yet as more torture awaits him.

It will surely take expert scripting to translate and retool such a fantastic and inventive film. The best news is, now American movie lovers might see the original. Original - a word not easily spoken, embraced or loved by Hollywoodteurs - hence the remake.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Meryl Streep Wants Another Oscar

Although it is only July 2011, the leading contender for the 2012 Oscar Best Actress category is Meryl Streep for the upcoming biopic The Iron Lady. In Iron Lady, front-runner Streep brings to life the first woman and former Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom who served from 1979 to 1990, Margaret Thatcher.

Here is a first look Ms. Streep as Margaret Thatcher in the Weinstein Company's The Iron Lady, which is due out December 16th in a Oscar Hollywoodteur Weinstein generating release before opening nationwide in 2012.

Today, Thatcher remains a figure who revitalized Britain's economy, impacted the trade unions, re-established the nation as a world power, increased personal wealth, achieved victory in the Falklands Islands conflict and forged alliance with the Reagan's 1980s glamocratic United States.">
On the flipside, Thatcher's premiership was also marked by high unemployment, social unrest, drug abuse and family breakdown. Speaking in Scotland in April 2009, before the 30th anniversary of her history election as Prime Minister, Thatcher insisted she had no regrets and despite being Britain's first woman Prime Minister, some critics contend Thatcher did little to advance the political cause of women, within her party or the government, and some British feminists regarded her as "an enemy."

Sounds like Oscar fodder.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Precious Director Picks Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman has replaced Sofia Vergara in Precious Oscar nominated director Lee Daniels' new drama, The Paperboy, also starring Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron.

A series of calamities caused Vergara to step out of her Paperboy role after Tobey Maguire dropped out of the cast altering the production schedule with a trickling effect. Now principal lensing is slated for later this summer.

Paperboy is an adaptation of Pete Dexter's novel, The Paperboy and centers on a reporter and his brother who investigate the events surrounding a murder in order to exonerate a man on death-row. Kidman will play a woman with a dark side who writes letters to men on death row. She brings the case to the attention of the reporter, developing a relationship with him.

Looks like Daniels knows how to pick Oscar potential material - proving steering clear of the Hollywoodteur format does work and can generate gross international and domestic box office receipts.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Relatively Soderbergh

Relativity Media is taking over the U.S. distribution of Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire from Lionsgate. The action film has a high profile cast featuring Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas, Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor and Channing Tatum will now be released in January 2012.

Haywire was produced before it had secured a distributor; however, if your name is Soderbergh, you don't fret as you know your vision will be paid for and well distributed. This time Hollywoodteur producer Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity cashed Soderbergh's dream out.

Apparently Relativity needs film product and has been aggressively going after projects, and if you are a Hollywood child, Relativity has cash to throw around for flickster sell-outs. Previously title Knockout, Haywire tells the story of a freelance covert operative (Carano) who is betrayed during a mission in Barcelona. The screenplay was written by Lem Dobbs with Gregory Jacobs and Lem Dobbs producing.

Soderbergh has had one of the more interesting raises to Hollywood statue, truly selecting projects that reflect his love of the craft and art of filmmaking and storytelling. One can always expect a certain freshness in a Soderbergh film joint. Here is a peek at Haywire in production.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

George Clooney Sexting!

The Venice Film Festival will open on August 31st, with new the George Clooney directed drama, The Ides of March.

Adapted from the Beau Willimon play Farragut North, Ides stars Clooney as a presidential candidate, Ryan Gosling as a head of media and Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a campaign manager along with Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood starring.

Taking place during the Ohio primary for the Democratic nomination, the film is extremely topical, given the recent resignation of Congressman Anthony Weiner for sending lewd photos of himself to online "sexting" partners. Similarly, The Ides of March involves the scandalous activities of a rising political figure.

Hollywoodteur G. Clooney has had several of his films presented at the star studded Venice Film Festival. His VFF repertorie includes Intolerable Cruelty, The Man Who Stared at Goats, and the Steven Soderbergh directed Out of Sight. The Ides of March is being distributed by Sony Pictures and is currently slated for a fall release.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tree of Life for Pitt & Penn


Tree of Life is sublime. It is the film any and every studied filmmaker who laud cinema and cinema theory would want to make. It is smart, academic, personal and artsy filmmaking can be without being at all amateur, nor alienating. In fact, you could hear a pin drop in the theater. The audience was completely engaged and stimulated with what was happening on the screen. Tree wants and acts like it wants to be a coming of age movie; however, it is more about the genesis of coming to be and existing.

Written and directed by Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain and chronicles life through the eyes of a 1950's Texas family with sci-fi features, surrealist themes and impressionistic imagery through space, oceanic waves and human anatomy. Tree easily conjures up comparisons to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey; however, this would simply be homage as Tree is so strikingly original in glueing all of the elements of the narrative together like you have never seen before.Premiering in competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, The Tree of Life won the celebrated Palme d'Or and has since garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews for its technical and artistic merits, yet also received polarizing reactions in response to Malick's directorial style, in particular, film's fragmented and non-linear narrative.

Finally a movie to truly get excited about and inspired by at the cinema. Hollywoodteurs take note!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tell No One

Warner Bros and Universal Pictures have optioned rights to Harlan Coben’s thriller Tell No One. One of the biggest-selling mystery writers in America, Coben has yet to see one of his books given the Hollywoodteur treatment. That was until now, Ben Affleck is attached to direct the screenplay written by Chris Terrio. Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall are producing Harlan first Hollywood film. The studios will co-develop the picture, with Warner Bros releasing domestically and Universal Pictures International launching it overseas. The deal also involves Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, as the project is a loose remake of the French film adaptation of Coben’s book, which was directed by Guillaume Canet with EuropaCorp ties.

Coben originally set up his book at Sony Pictures in 2002. The studio hired Star Trek scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, however, it never came together and Sony let it go. Meanwhile in France, Canet then got involved, figured out how to make the premise work, set it up at EuropaCorp and turned it into French film. The plot involves a pediatrician who is out one night with his wife when she suddenly vanishes and he is severely beaten. When she turns up murdered, he is prime suspect. Canet managed to make all of that work, while Hollywoodteurs spent years unable to come up with a script to greenlight.

Hoping for yet another franchise, other Coben's other books have been bought by stealthy Hollywoodteurs seeking a R.O.I.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Madonna's Directorial Debut Lands a Distributor

W.E., the feature film directorial debut from multi-hyphenate Madonna has been acquired by The Weinstein Company (TWC) for U.S. distribution. A romantic drama co-written by Madonna and Alek Keshishian, W.E. was produced by Madonna and Kris Thykier and executive produced by Scott Franklin (Black Swan).

Starring Abbie Cornish (Limitless) and Oscar Isaac (Drive), W.E. spans six decades beginning in 1998 with the Sothesby auction of the late Duke and Duchess of Windsor's estate as a device to flash back and forth between pre World War II England and contemporary New York City.

W.E. is a contemporary love story juxtaposed that of King Edward VIII and American divorcée Wallis Simpson. In Interview magazine, Madonna said, "W.E. was fantastic and complicated. It is really about a girl who has this obsession and is going to the auctions." Coming soon.

As everything with Madonna, she reduces the potential sublime to accessibly interesting and pushes only the buttons to get the results she desires.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

$43 Million Act of Valour

Hollywoodteurs stirkes again. This time in what will shape up to be the biggest amount paid for a finished film with an unknown cast. Relativity Media pays a reported $13 million minimum guarantee with a $30 million P&A commitment for Act of Valour from Ryan Kavanaugh's company.

Valour is the first original movie of many to come about Navy SEALs since the group killed Osama Bin Laden. Others SEAL films are in various stages of production including a Kathryn Bigelow directed drama about the hunt for Bin Laden which Sony Pictures has acquired. Scripted by former Navy SEAL, Kurt Johnstad (300) and directed by the Bandito Brothers' Mike "Mouse" McCoy and Scott Waugh, Act of Valour, is a mission movie involving Navy SEALs with half dozen lead roles played by active duty Navy SEALs and the United States military was behind the production providing an extra layer of authenticity.

After screenings over the past few weeks at the Arclight and in New York, distributors began bidding. The auction, held by WME Global's Liesl Copland and Graham Taylor, heated up with Dark Castle, Alcon, Lionsgate, Film District all in the mix with comparable bids. However, the sellers were intrigued with the Hollywoodteur aggressiveness of Relativity's Ryan Kavanaugh, Tucker Tooley, and Terry Curtin's comprehensive marketing campaign.

Act of Valour was given the greenlight and executive produced by Legendary Pictures' Thomas Tull. Word is, Valour is very patriotic, heavy on action and will play in wide release - 3000+ screens, either at Veterans Day weekend in November or a Presidents Day release in February 2012.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Woody In Paris

Woody Allen's latest film, Midnight in Paris, starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams, is doing so well that Sony Pictures Classics is moving the film into a total of 944 theaters this weekend. Can you believe this is the widest play ever for an Allen pic after Anything Else in 2003? Truth is, I don't even recall Anything Else, which opened in 1,033 locations to begin with, and quickly vacated theaters cuming $3.2 million domestically.

Making its world premiere at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, Midnight in Paris opened in only six theaters on May 20th with one of the best location averages of all times with $99,834 at the domestic box office. The following weekend, Midnight expanded into 58 theaters, and then into 147 locations last weekend.

Midnight in Paris has done stellar business all along the way, cuming $7.4 million to date and landing on the top 10 chart for the past three weekends, despite its limited release. Sony Classics’ Tom Bernard and Michael Barker said they didn’t intend to expand nationwide until June 24th, but once they counted the gross receipts they quipped, "the film is working with audiences," and their plans quickly changed.

“Not only is this one of Woody Allen’s best films, it has this magical element which lends itself to be the alternative entertainment to the big studio picture. It has tremendous crossover potential,” Barker said. In Midnight in Paris, Wilson’s character discovers an alternate reality while in Paris with his wife. Wilson plays the sort of “everyman” character that a moviegoers tend to see in more mainstream films, versus in arthouse titles or in an Allen film. Critics across the country, and not just in New York have given Midnight in Paris great reviews.

Midnight in Paris has done great business in more commercial multiplexes and has even broken a number of house records in arthouse theaters, including the Landmark in Los Angeles. Allen’s top grossing film in recent years was Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which earned $23.2 million domestically. At its widest point, the film played in 726 theaters. Match Point grossed $23.2 million, and, at its widest, was in 512 theaters.

Get Paris on your weekend calendar.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

From Black Swan to Noah's Ark

HOT STREET: Hot from Hollywodteur Boulevard is 2011 Best Director nominate Darren Aronofsky is offering the studios a $130 package for his very own edgy re-telling of the Noah's Ark story.

Aronofsky wrote a script that is currently in rewrites with John Logan. New Regency is eyeing a co-financing role with suitors like Paramount, Fox and Summit all considering stepping up for the other half.

What is being described as a big fantasy epic, Noah, is an opportunity for Aronofsky to create his very own big Hollywood production - and world - after dropping out of The Wolverine. Now, Aronofsky is eager to make his next film a bonafide Hollywoodteur spectacle. And with more heat on him than ever, after directing the hugely profitable Black Swan, which grossed $315 million worldwide on a $12 million budget, his move towards the Ark will certainly have Hollywoodteur studio executives lining up in to get on-broad, offering tons of cash to flush out Aronosky's creativity, personal ambitions and vision.

Aronofsky recently flirted with Exodus, the 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment produced telling of the story of Moses, unfolding Moses' defiance of the Pharoah and his subsequent delivery of the Hebrews from enslavement. Nobody has tried to tell the Noah's Ark story in as ambitious a manner as Aronofsky intends.

Tinsletown waits to see who will step up to assist Aronofsky cash in on Noah's Ark.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Angelina Jolie Gets Salty

Angelina Jolie wants to do a Salt sequel and Sony Pictures is moving forward on the much speculated franchise.

Kurt Wimmer has begun writing it for Jolie to reprise her role as Evelyn Salt, the CIA agent who after being outed as a Russian spy, spent the first movie running for her life - very Bourne Identity-y. The original film smartly left open a window for a possible sequel at the climax, which was directed by Phillip Noyce.

No word on who will be the Salt II director. Universal Pictures tried to draft a sequel of Wanted for Jolie; however, things did not pan out.

Pitch Me

Busy budding Hollywoodteur screenplay writer, Aaron Guzikowsi, is blowing on the fresh ink from a deal he has made with Warner Bros based upon a recent pitch of a science fiction action film project. The yet unnamed project has Sam Worthington attached and will reunite Worthington with his Clash of the Titans producer Basil Iwanyk.

While the logline is being kept under wraps, sources say it is a intergalactic war film. Iwanyk's Thunder Road shingle is currently in production on the Titans sequel. He also produced The Town and is prepping the Jeff Bridges starrer Seventh Son and the Clint Eastwood directed A Star is Born with Beyonce, all for Warner Bros.

Guzikowski wrote Prisoners, the Black List script which sold to Alcon Entertainment with Incendies helmer Denis Villeneuve slated to direct. He also scripted the Contraband remake that just wrapped with Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale and Ben Foster starring for Universal and Working Title.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sex Tape For 7-Digits

Sony Pictures paid a low 7-digits to acquired a working title script Sex Tape. Penned by Kate Angelo, Sex Tape is about a married couple who get a night off from their kids, get adventurous and decide to spice up their lives by making a sex tape. The next morning the couple awakens to find their sex tape no where to be found. Then the couple must find out who their tape it and how to get it back.

Sex will be produced by Escape Artists partners Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch, who came up with the idea. UTA and David Fox represent Angelo, who most recently scripted the Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy The Back-Up Plan. Columbia Pictures execs Andrea Giannetti and Adam Milano will steer and fast track the Sex project.

Hollywood, so full of imagination and intriguing ideas.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Hollywood - The Aryan Nation

Recently the The Hollywood(teur) Reporter featured a story called "Hollywood's A-List Redined." So, how does Hollywood define redefined? The list consisted of nine (9) "hot" young actors of which THR proclaims Tinseltown Hollywoodteurs are banking on to helm their future studio blockbusters, tentpoles, reboots and franchises. This list had no women, no Blacks, no Asians, no Hispanics and no Latins. Essentially the Hollywood continuum of an aryan entertainment culture.

As America, the United States of America specifically, becomes less and less white, and more and more Asian, Latin, Hispanic, Black, Mixed Race, Multi-Ethnic, why does Hollywood imagery continue to be more and more white and even less and less diverse? The next time you step up to a cinemaplex box-office you may want to redefine what entertainment means to you.

As usual, Tinseltown executives will stack their careers on the money - the economics of maintaining an aryan entertainment industry. Movie going audiences cannot expect Hollywood to do better, they will constantly say, "We are running a business." In actuallity these Hollywoodteurs are ruining the business of entertainment. Their mega productions are rarely entertaining, as they are loud, chaotic, senseless -- not to mention sexist, racist and unoriginal.

It is up to Asians, Latins, Hispanics, Blacks, Mixed Race, Multi-Ethnic and Euro-Americans to shut this Hollywood down. If governments can be over thrown and toppled via the internet; it is now time for prejudice, racist, Aryan, discriminating Hollywood to be cut off from our greenbacks.

If you do not pay for it. If you do not support it. Billions of dollars will not continued to be invested Hollywood's aryan cinema.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Man Who Copied

Greenlight is a term used in Hollwoodteur circles proclaiming success in getting financing to produce a film project. Recently I read about a Brazilian film from first time director Jorge Furtado called O Homem que Copiava. After seeing The Man Who Copied - English title, I was pleasantly surprised the film got the greenlight.

André Macie (Lázaro Ramos), a young man who works in a photocopier shop in a southern Brazil city. From a distance, between tall apartment buildings and via binoculars, André spots and falls in love with his neighbor Sílvia (Leandra Leal), who works in a clothing store. In order to get closer to her, he decides to purchase a night gown from her shop for his mother's birthday which he can not afford - not to mention it is not his mother's birthday - at least not any time soon.

To pay for it, André begins photocopying money, which quickly spirals out of control. Once he realizes that he can get away with photocopying money, he decides to try it on a slightly larger scale. Even so, he realizes that the amount he can make by photocopying is limited and thus he looks for better ways to get money. Along the way to his next money making situation André employees his sexy co-worker Marinês, one of her dates Cardoso and his criminal minded childhood buddy Feitosa.

The Man Who Copied takes a few unexpected plot twists and turns and André and the gang are involved with a bank heist, an apartment explosion, a lottery winning and two deaths all on their way to a rich new life in Rio de Janerio.

Copied is the perfect movie for Hollywoodteurs to remake - although I see tons of references in recent cool indie films such as 500 Days of Summer, it has all the elements of a great Hollywood film. Unfortunately Hollywoodteurs can only see and recognize one Brazilian film in their lifetime and for now, that is the multi Oscar nominated mega millions generating Cidade de Deus (City of God).

Friday, June 3, 2011

This is Lovely & Wicked!

Looks like Melissa Marr's highly popular wicked teen faery novel series has been given the greenlight by Universal with Mary Harron set to direct Wicked Lovely with sporadic Hollywoodteur Vince Vaughn producing the big screen adaptation.

The plot revolves around a young teen named Aislinn, who has seen dangerous faeries her entire life but has managed to survive by adhering to a strict set of rules that have kept her safe. That was until now. At 17, Aislinn finds herself torn between a seductive faery king and the mortal she loves. She must go against everything she was taught in order to confront a world she was raised to fear.

Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands) wrote the script. Vaughn, Victoria Vaughn and Peter Billingsley are producing for Wild West Picture Show Productions. Marr has written five books in the series, and the fifth and final title, Darkest Mercy, was published in February.

Harron, of American Pyscho fame, recently directed The Moth Diaries with Lily Cole, Sarah Bolger and Scott Speedman. Lovely reads like a gamine Harry Potter with potential for yet another Hollywoodteur movie franchise with crossed branding and marketing opportunities galore via exploits of a young adult literary series.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tarzan Set To Swing Again

Craig Brewer has inked a deal to write and direct a new installment of Tarzan for Warner Bros. To be told over three films as outlined by Brewer, Hollywoodteur studio Warner Bros is pleased to grant the greenlight to a potential lucrative trilogy while keeping its bottomline under control by streamlining the production.

Warner Bros has been stymied watching several attempts to relaunch the Edgar Rice Burroughs's infamous jungle fable. Screenwriter Adam Cozad has been working on a script that tells a different version of the man raised by apes in the jungles of Africa from infancy. Cozad's recent work includes the Jack Ryan reboot and Archangel, the pic that has Tron: Legacy's Joseph Kosinski attached.

How the studio decides which film to make remains to be seen, but clearly Warner Bros is determined to revive a live action Tarzan with budding Hollywoodteur, Brewer, who is in demand after directing the remake of Footloose for Paramount, and chose this over other opportunities. Hollywoodteur Jerry Weintraub is producing with Alan Riche and Tony Ludwig. Tarzan has been a fixture of films since the Depression, not of the current post Bush era, but the 1930s, most notably in the series of films that starred Olympic swimmer Johnny Weismuller.

Brewer, whose Footloose will be released October 14th, last directed Black Snake Moan and Hustle & Flow.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Jackie Robinson Biopic Slides In

Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson was the first Black Major League Baseball (MLB) player of the modern era. In 1947, Robinson broke the baseball color line when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers. As the first black man to play in the major leagues since the 1880s, he was instrumental in bringing an end to racial segregation in professional baseball.

Now, Legendary Pictures has announced it has made a deal to collaborate with the estate of Jackie Robinson and his widow Rachel on a feature biopic about the Brooklyn Dodgers second baseman who broke Major League Baseball's color line. Brian Helgeland will write the script and direct the film. Legendary chairman and Hollywoodteur Thomas Tull will produce with former Walt Disney Studios exec, Dick Cook serving as an executive producer and Hollywoodteur insider on the film.

Hollywood has long been interested in bringing Robinson's story to the screen. Spike Lee once tried to direct a version with Denzel Washington in the lead role. Robert Redford has for years tried to tackle the story from the vantage point of Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers executive who signed Robinson to the team. Both Cook and Tull are also big baseball fans, which led to Cook involving himself in the picture and getting the greenlight for via Legendary's deal at Warner Bros.

Robinson's speed, defense and hitting ability made him a Hall of Famer, but the core the film is his discipline and quiet determination. In not reacting to the taunts and threats of racist fans and fellow ballplayers, Robinson opened the door for other Black stars who followed him, like Larry Doby and Roy Campanella. His legacy goes way beyond hitting statistics. Tull said, "The legacy he left on history, society and the sport of baseball is one that will never be forgotten, and we are pleased to tell this amazing story of a true American hero."

While other Jackie Robinson projects stalled, Tull has the passion and capability to fund any film he cares about. Known mostly in Hollywoodteur circles for being a co-financier and producer of The Hangover Part II, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel, lately Legendary has been gravitating to movies about icons. A recent film about iconic 60s rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix was halted when Tull could not get the Hendrix estate on board, even though Paul Greengrass was lined up to direct with The Hurt Locker's Anthony Mackie poised to star.

Sounds like pure Oscar potential here. Anthony Mackie should be able to knock this Jackie biopic right out of the baseball.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Given The Greenlight

Fox Searchlight's Hollywoodteur presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley walked away from Cannes with the Palme d'Or award for Terrence Malick's visionary The Tree of Life, in theaters this coming Friday, they also gave the greenlight to the first film by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris since Little Miss Sunshine.

The new film, He Loves Me, is a reunion of sorts. Besides being back in the Searchlight camp, He Loves Me stars Paul Dano, whose career was launched by Sunshine. Dano will be paired alongside his girlfriend, Zoe Kazan, who wrote the script. The film also reunites Dayton and Faris with Sunshine producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa. Casting news reveals Jeff Bridges is being courted to join the production, currently set for July.

After Little Miss Sunshine won two Oscars and was a Best Picture nominee, Dayton and Faris were courted like crazy by studios and became attached to a number of projects, none of which pan out. After five years since the release of that Sunshine, the team is ready to go.

Repped by CAA and Anonymous Content, Dano, recently completed, Looper, sold in a big Cannes acquisition deal to FilmDistrict and he just wrapped the Paul Weitz directed adaptation of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City for Focus Films opposite Robert De Niro. Dano will be seen this summer in Cowboys & Aliens.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

True Fan of Independent Film, Donald Krim Succumbs

Donald Krim, president of Kino International and co-president of Kino Lorber Inc., died on Friday in his New York home after a one-year battle with cancer. He was 65.

As president of Kino International, Krim helped introduce now influential film directors including Wong Kar-Wai, Michael Haneke, Amos Gitai, Aki Kaurismäki, Julie Dash and Andrei Zvyagintsev. During his career, he received the Mel Novikoff Award from the San Francisco Film Festival in 2000 for his work to “enhance the filmgoing public’s knowledge and appreciation of world cinema.” Six years later, Krim received the William K. Everson Award for Film History by the National Board of Review. He also was honored with the Film Preservation Honors Award by the Anthology Film Archives that same year. Most recently, Krim received the Visionary Award at the 24th annual Israel Film Festival.

After graduating from Columbia University, Krim worked at United Artists, where he met Bill Pence, who founded Kino International. In 1977, Krim bought the company and began to expand by releasing new films. In 1987, Kino International opened up a home entertainment section, Kino on Video, which then became the most respected independent labels in the field.

Over the years, Kino International has released many influential films, including Shôhei Imamura's Vengeance is Mine and The Ballad of Narayama; Percy Adlon's Sugarbaby; André Techiné's Scene of the Crime; Michel Khleifi's Wedding in Galilee; Volker Schlöndorff's The Legend of Rita; Amos Gitai's Alila and Kedma; Wong Kar-Wai's Days of Being Wild; Kelly Reichardt's Old Joy; Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani's Ajami; Yorgos Lanthimos' Dogtooth and Julie Dash's Daughters of the Dust - a film the Library of Congress deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

In place of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Fresh Air Fund, the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and Red Hook Rise. They do not make them like Donald Krim any more. R.I.P.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Jerry Bruckheimer: A Short Comedic Biography

It seems like there is more truth in this short biospoofography of legendary Hollywoodteur Jerry Bruckheimer. Directed by aspiring filmmaker Nathan Gotsch, it showcases Bruckheimer's lack of originality and so much more. Gotsch cleverly timed his cinematic calling call with the opening of Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 and spoofs Jerry Bruckheimer's recent Hollywoodteur tentpoles, celebrity collabs and franchise genres.

Apparently, Gotsch's short is an exclusive viral hit around Hollywoodteur offices, where being spoofs by unknown however soon-to-be franchised filmmakers with potential original ideas provide billionaire Hollywoodteurs like Bruckheimer feel a little more human rather than machine.Yesterday afternoon, Gotsch saw this email sent to the Director of Development at Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures: "That shit is funny as fuck," the executive's message said. "We’ve all watched. It went around the studio. Nicely done, team awesome."

Stop and think about it. Really, it is just more of the same. What is smart or original about Gotsch's piece? And mere fact he able to get his short film to the Director of Development at Walt Disney Motion Pictures says it all. He's probably Bruckheimer's Hollywoodteur nephew posing as a Gotsch.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cannes' Sleeping Beauty

FROM CANNES - Independents take note as Sundance Selects, a sister division to IFC Films and IFC Midnight, acquires the U.S. rights to fresh directing talent Julia Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty.

Beauty features an emerging cast of actors including Emily Browning, Rachael Blake, Ewen Leslie, Peter Carroll and Chris Haywood; with Jessica Brentnall producing from Leigh's screenplay.

A haunting portrait of Lucy (Browning), a university student drawn into a mysterious hidden world of unspoken desires, Sleeping Beauty premiered in competition this week at the Cannes. Hollywoodteur Jonathan Sehring, president of Sundance Selects, said, "For the last 5 days, people throughout Cannes have been discussing Sleeping Beauty. We are thrilled to introduce Julia Leigh and her arresting debut to American audiences."

"Along with the entire Sleeping Beauty team, I'm extremely pleased that the film will be getting a release in the U.S. through such a fine distributor as Sundance Selects, especially under a label that has featured films from so many directors we admire," Leigh said sounding very much like a Hollywoodteur puppet. Leigh and Browning are repped by UTA, who sold their Beauty.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Weekend Pix: Children of God

Film producer Trevite Willis and TLA Releasing bring Children of God to the movie theater this weekend. Directed by emerging Bahamian filmmaker Kareem Mortimer and based upon his groundbreaking short film Float, Children of God premieres in New York City on Friday, May 20th at the Quad Theater.

The year is 2004 when the Caribbean world is rocked by the emergence of Rosie O'Donnell's gay family cruise ship. Real documentary footage unveils the mass homophobic hysteria rampant throughout the some parts of the Caribbean. Jonny (Johnny Ferro), a young obsessive compulsive Bahamian artist, faces losing his scholarship at a local University escapes from his gritty life in Nassau to the serene Bahamian island of Eleuthera where he re-encounters the sexy and charming Romeo (Stephen Tyrone Williams). Also heading to the island is Lena Mackey (Margaret Laurena Kemp), an extremely conservative forty year old anti-gay activist, who believes the only way to fix her problems is to limit the rights of homosexuals. Jonny and Lena paths cross inspiring Jonny to paint and give himself a new zest for life.

Children of God is the first gay themed feature film from the Caribbean and has screened at film festivals throughout the world. God showcases the talented Stephen Tyrone Williams, who shows great signs of being a future Hollywoodteur.

See Children of God this weekend.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rock This!

FROM CANNES -- Summit Entertainment has secured the U.S. rights to Snitch, a drama based on a true story starring Hollywoodteur by way of Canada Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson with direction from Ric Roman Waugh.

Inspired by the PBS series, Frontline, Snitch, unfolds and follows a suburban dad (Johnson) whose teenage son is sentenced to 10 years under mandatory minimum drug laws. To reduce the sentence, the father goes undercover to catch a senior drug dealer. The screenplay was penned by Justin Haythe and Waugh.

Exclusive Media is producing with Johnson and his producing partner Dany Garcia, as well as with Frontline's David Fanning. Snitch is being co-financed by Exclusive, Participant Media and Imagenation Abu Dhabi. Exclusive Film International is handing global sales at the Cannes market. Rights in Canada, the UK and Spain to the property have already been taken by Alliance Films.

This is newsworthy, Hollywoodteurs watch PBS programming and now they are turning thoughtful "real" real life stories into Hollywoodteur styled movies. Oh Hollywood - you are so very creative and imaginative.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Angelina Jolie Directs

Angelina Jolie adds director to her Hollywoodteur resume. The much chattered Angelina Jolie feature directing debut now has a title and a distributor.

Graham King and his GK Films partner Tim Headington, who financed it, have placed it with their FilmDistrict arm. FilmDistrict CEO Peter Schlessel have slot In The Land Of Blood And Honey, the Bosnia-set drama that Jolie scripted, for a December 2011 release in the US.

Set against the backdrop of the Bosnian War in the 1990s, Blood and Honey "illustrates the consequences of the lack of political will to intervene in a society stricken with conflict. The film is specific to the Bosnian War, but it's also universal," Jolie said. King offered, "The filmmaking is impeccable, and signals the arrival of a visceral and compelling storyteller.”

Jolie doesn't appear in the film. Zana Marjanovic, Goran Kostic and Rade Serbedzija star with a cast comprised of locals, many of whom were children of the war. Jolie shot the film simultaneously in English and their native language, which was called Serbo-Croatian and is now referred to as BHS.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bridesmaids Takes Millions to Alter

Bridesmaids from Universal Pictures elopes from the box-office with a very impressive $24.6M weekend opening -- well above prejudice testosterone driven Hollywoodteur expectations. Lady filmmakers grab your moviemaker prenupts!

Bridesmaids stars former Saturday Night Live alums, Kristen Wiig, as Annie, as a maid of honor whose life is unraveling while preps for best friend, Lillian's (Maya Rudolph) upcoming wedding alongside a host of energetic bridesmaids including Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper. Produced by Judd Apatow and directed by Apatow mentoree Paul Feig from a screenplay written by Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo.

After last weekend's Jumping the Broom success and now Bridesmaids, Hollywoodteurs might consider one less luncheon at the Ivy and spent more time devising innovative marketing and PR plans, not to mention producing and financing decent scripts and projects rather than simply relying on formulaic cash-cow Hollywoodteur A-listers strategies which have all proven themselves lackluster box-office ROI.

Congratulations to Bridesmaids.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ryan Gosling Cannes

FROM CANNES -- Indie darling, latent hot-boy and Oscar nominee Ryan Gosling is set to star and make his directorial debut with a remake of the 1980 Taylor Hackford movie The Idolmaker. The original Idolmaker, starred Ray Sharkey in a story about the life of rock music promoter and producer Bob Marcucci, who discovered Frankie Avalon and Fabian.

Gosling who is in Cannes for the premiere of the competition film Drive, co-starring Carey Mulligan and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, has been showing hollywoodteur personality traits with a focused shift from indies to more mainstream - if cool flicks. In Warner Bros' Crazy, Stupid, Love he co-stars with Steve Carell opening on July 29th, he is starring in another re-make, the 1970's glam-tech sci-fy Logan's Run, and joins A-listers Sean Penn and Josh Brolin in Warner Bros' Gangster Squad, scripted by Will Beall.

Let's pray to the Hollywoodteur deities that Gosling can successfully infuse vision, quality and ROI to his now trending selection of upcoming mainstream movies pursuits.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Meryl Streep Prepares for Another Oscar

Bonjour de Cannes -- The brothers Weinstein are making their hollywoodteur status known. This time closing a deal with Pathe for U.S. rights to the next Meryl Streep Oscar nomination - the Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady.

The Weinstein Company is partnering with Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies on the acquistion. It’s their third joint venture this year, following pick-ups of Our Idiot Brothers and The Details. Iron Lady will be completed by September in time for a 4th quarter launch.

Harvey and Bob Weinstein can hardly focus on the gigantic Cannes red carpet on the croisette as they formula plans for their Oscar generating machine and plot mansion and mantle slots for another Oscar trophy. The essential plan is to focus on a major awards run singling out Streep's performance and control and finance - finesse rather, the attention and fall-out for tons of notoriety and ROI (rent-on-investment).

Directed by Phyllida Lloyd, who directed Streep in Mamma Mia!. The Lady screenplay was penned was by Abi Morgan. The film was produced by Damian Jones with a $13 million production budget financed and produced by Pathe, Film 4 and the U.K. Film Council.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Cannes Shopping Spree

From Cannes -- Hollywoodteurs Harvey and Bob Weinstein must have received a grand IRS refund check as The Weinstein Company shopping spree commences with its second acquisition of the 2011 Cannes Official Selection films. This time TWC has acquired distribution rights to the film noir Chinese martial arts, Dragon (Wu Xia), directed by Peter Ho-Sun Chan for most world distribution rights outside of Asia and French speaking Europe. The Cannes red carpet rolls out on May 14th for the Dragon (Wu Xia) premiere at Cannes. In true hollywoodteur behavior, TWC also optioned remake rights to the film - and that's global.

Set in the late Qing Dynasty, Liu (Donnie Yen) is a papermaker, leading a simple life with his wife Ayu (Tang Wei) and their two sons when Detective Xu (Takeshi Kaneshiro) enters their remote village to investigate the deaths of two bandits during a robbery. Xu quickly realizes that the incident in question was no ordinary botched robbery. Xu's probing threatens to dredge up the dark secrets of Liu’s buried past, threatening not only Liu and his family but the entire village.

Harvey Weinstein offered, “Peter Chan is a true artist and with Wu Xia he has created a dream project, combining two of my favorite genres: film noir and martial arts.” Harvey was surely thinking: Now for the hollywoodteur remake starring Blake Lively.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Leonardo DiCaprio As A Wall Street Wolf

Red Granite chairman/CEO Riza Aziz and vice chairman Joey McFarland have acquired rights to Jordan Belfort's memoir The Wolf of Wall Street. Boyish hollywoodteur Leonardo DiCaprio is set to produce with Jennifer Killoran's Appian Way and Alexandra Milchan's EMJAG Productions.

Having long wanted to play Belfort, DiCaprio has approached directors Martin Scorsese and Ridley Scott to direct the film. The project had been set at Warner Bros and nearly got made several years ago, but a tug of war between hollywoodteurs, Warner Bros and Paramount, where Scorsese has his overall deal, led them to collaborate on Shutter Island instead.

The Wolf screenplay was written by Terence Winter, the executive producer of The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire. The drama chronicles Belfort's rise and fall on Wall Street, a run marked by a hard-partying lifestyle, drug addiction, a 1998 indictment for securities fraud and money laundering and a subsequent 22-month federal prison stretch. Today with 14 years of sobriety, Belfort is a motivational speaker.

Red Granite's intention is to produce four to five films each year. Red Granite most recently completed the Jennifer Westfelt-directed Friends with Kids, which stars Jon Hamm, Megan Fox, Westfeldt, Kristin Wiig and Adam Scott.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Weinstein Buys World Rights

From Cannes - The Weinstein Company featuring uber Hollywoodteurs Harvey and Bob Weinstein has won a quiet but fevered bidding battle for worldwide distribution rights to the next and still untitled film from Paul Thomas Anderson. With production set for June 13th, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix - the Weinstein are probably already mapping out their Oscar 2012 strategies. This Anderson's first lensing since Oscar winner There Will Be Blood with {talent rather than red carpets, random twits, fb posts, unauthorized sex tape leaks} Daniel Day Lewis.

The project was auctioned off last week at CAA Hollywoodteur headquarters. While Hoffman and Phoenix are locked in, actresses are holding their tresses as Anderson continues to eye femme leads Madisen Beaty (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Amy Adams, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo's Lena Endre and the often overlooked yet phenom Laura Dern.

This is "The Master" project that Anderson has been working on for some time now. Hoffman stars as a man who returns after witnessing the horrors of WWII and tries to rediscover who he is in post-war America. In his new journey he creates a belief system that captures and rallies other lost souls.

The film is fully financed by Megan Ellison's Annapurna banner. Ellison is rapidly emerging as a godsend to Hollywoodteur indie auteur projects, as she enables Anderson to make the movie in the $35 million budget range after Universal stepped away.

Monday, May 9, 2011

F Gary Gray Cannes Deal

From the Cannes Film Festival news is director F. Gary Gray is now attached to direct The Last Days of American Crime, a heist movie in which budding Hollywoodteur Sam Worthington is set to star, for IM Global and Radical Pictures. Gray most recently directed Law Abiding Citizen.

IM Global is offering The Last Days of American Crime at the Cannes Film Market. Last Days is based on the Radical graphic novel written by Rick Remender and illustrated by Greg Tocchini. Karl Gadejsak is penning the screenplay set in the near-future where the government plans to implement a form of legal mind control, making it impossible for its citizens to commit unlawful acts. Worthington, of Avatar and Terminator 3: Salvation fame, will play a career criminal, who must put together the last heist in American history on the last night that crime is possible. The actor’s Full Clip Productions label is also producing alongside Automatik Entertainment.

Stuart Ford (IM Global founder and CEO) and Radical founders Barry Levine and Jesse Berger made the announcement today. Full Clip’s Michael Schwarz will produce with Levine and Berger. “This is such a powerful, iconic piece of material. We really believe this movie can bring something fresh to the noir universe and become an explosive action feature film. We're delighted to be working alongside the super talented Radical team, Gary and Sam,” Ford said. Levine chimed in, “The Last Days of American Crime graphic novel is one of the most coveted titles in the Radical catalog and our most successful international seller."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Jump For Laz - Weekend B.O.

The good news at this weekend's box office is Jumping The Broom from TriStar, which was expected to cash-in $8M - $10 million, will ante up closer to $14M and a #3 weekend finish just behind mega budgeted blockbusters Thor and Fast Five and ahead of the wron-com Something Borrowed, dare I say starring Kate Hudson.

One can only imagine what the expectations were for Kate and the rest of the run-of-the-mill Borrowed cast. Hollywoodteurs seem only to be happy looking at a screen reflecting themselves, friends, high school, college, workplace and families and placing them in familiar Hollywood derived places, and if you can get nearly famous Hollywoodteur offsprings to play - this helps get the greenlight, hereby perpetuating your shallow existence void of any other participants in society, unless they can be the victims of your discriminating taste. These little date-y styled movies were so well made and so fun in the 1930s.

Back to Broom, made for just $6.6M (probably less the Kate Hudson's Something Borrowed salary), in typical fashion Broom had Hollywoodteurs actually working for their oversized and undeserved inflated salaries with atypical marketing tactics to reach an audience treated as a sidebar at best. And guess what Hollywoodteurs? It worked. Now that's something to borrow and implemented: if you create inspired advertising and marketing for your products, you just might receive above your expectations especially from audiences you do not know or invest in.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Jeremy Renner Dominates Hollywood

Jeremy Renner continues his march towards Hollywoodteur status. The two-time Oscar nominee has been on an upward trajectory since starring in Oscar winning best picture The Hurt Locker, has formed his own production company, The Combine, with partner Don Handfield. Hitting the ground running, Renner and Handfield are developing a Steve McQueen biopic that will serve as a starring vehicle for the actor.

James Gray, who wrote and directed We Own the Night, is attached to write the McQueen screenplay based on the two books by Marshall Terrill: Portrait of an American Rebel and The Life and Legend of a Hollywood Icon, while video director Ivan Zacharias makes his directorial debut. Renner and Handfield will produce with Hurt Locker producer Greg Shapiro, Cross Creek Pictures’ Brian Oliver (Black Swan) and Zacharias’ producing partner Nick Landon. Sounds like a budding bunch of Hollywoodteurs vying for top status.

With swagger and attitude, Renner seems like a great fit for the iconic '70s star. However with McQueen in the development stage and Renner has plenty to keep him occupied, including Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol already in the can, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters currently in Berlin shooting for Paramount, after which he segues into Marvel’s The Avengers, now lensing in New Mexico. Renner takes the reigns to the The Bourne Legacy for Universal, which would shoot in the fall, and there's animation, Renner lends his voice for the latest installment of Fox's Ice Age franchise.

With The Combine, Renner and Handfield, an actor-turned-filmmaker, are trying to create entertainment from an artist-based perspective. Sources say, “the company will provide a framework to create, develop and support the vision of actors, writers and directors across all platforms.” Spoken like the future generation of Hollywoodteurs.