Three of Tinsel Town’s brightest stars are about to secure the dough to make their next motion pictures*:
- Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox will team up to finance and distribute George Clooney‘s WWII-era art heist drama Monuments Men.
- Paramount Pictures closed a deal to acquire the T.S. Nowlin script Our Name Is Adam, with Tom Cruise attached to star as an astronaut who travels back in time and works with his younger self.
- Paramount is also eying Adam Sandler’s next comedy, an untitled project that Sandler will shoot after Grown Ups 2. [Update: Hit the jump for the title and info on Sandler's upcoming comedy.]
More on each project—including some surprise Bill Murray goodness—after the jump.
Clooney will write, direct, and star in Monuments Men, based on the true story of a special force of art lovers who went behind enemy lines to steal the finest art in Europe back from the Nazis. We previously heard Jean Dujardin, Paul Giamatti, and Cate Blanchett were on Clooney’s co-star wishlist. THR is only able to confirm that Blanchett among them is attached as the female lead, an art historian and member of the French Resistance. But THR also hears Mr. Bill Murray is now attached! My gut says Murray would play New York City ballet co-founder Lincoln Kirstein, the role previously earmarked for Giamatti. Though as with all movies, I hope there is room for both Murray and Giamatti.
Sony and Fox will split the production bill, estimated at more than $50 million. Sony will distribute domestically and Fox will take care of international distribution. Here’s the synopsis for the synopsis for Robert M. Edsel‘s account of the tale, The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History:
At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: “degenerate” works he despised. In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Momuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture. Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world’s great art from the Nazis. [Amazon]
Paramount entered into negotiations to buy Our Name Is Adam last week, and according to Deadline, closed the deal tonight. This will continue the relationship between Cruise, Skydance, and Paramount; they partnered on the most recent Mission: Impossible entry, the upcoming Jack Reacher, and have that Top Gun sequel in the pipeline.
Meanwhile, Sandler may take a break from his longstanding relationship with Sony for his next movie, an untitled project that THR is only able to describe as a “broad comedy.” Grown Ups 2 is the sixteenth Sandler vehicles that Sony has produced since 1999′s Big Daddy. Here’s the full list:
- Big Daddy
- Mr. Deeds
- Punch-Drunk Love
- Eight Crazy Nights
- Anger Management
- 50 First Dates
- Reign Over Me
- You Don’t Mess with the Zohan
- Grown Ups
- Just Go With It
- Jack and Jill
- That’s My Boy
- Hotel Transylvania
- Grown Ups 2
The average box office gross of these 16 movies is a healthy $92 million. If you restrict it to Sandler’s live-action broad comedies, the average gross swells to $116 million. Even though Jack and Jill ($74 million) and especially That’s My Boy ($37 million) relatively underperformed, I don’t imagine Sony will stay out of the Sandler business for too long. But it’s hard to know for sure since the studio declined to comment on why Paramount might take this one.
[Update: Deadline reports that Sandler's upcoming comedy will be a Western titled Ridiculous 6, taking aim at the famous Western, The Magnificent Seven. Sandler will co-write the picture with Tim Herlihy (Mr. Deeds) and will also produce and star in the film. Ridiculous 6 is already slated for spring of 2014. Speculation for the move from Sony to Paramount stems from the former studio's financial shortcomings and plans to spend a bulk of their budget on the Ghostbusters sequel.]
*This should be read in old-timey radio voice. It’s totally obnoxious in your natural inner monologue.