Megan Ellison Beats Out Lionsgate for TERMINATOR Rights

by     Posted 3 years, 79 days ago

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Lionsgate has missed out on the rights to The Terminator franchise again.  After losing the bidding war to Pacificor back in February 2010, the rights went back up for sale at Cannes and Lionsgate once again tried to grab the franchise.  But on Wednesday we learned that Megan Ellison, whose Annapurna Pictures had taken to backing prestige directors like Paul Thomas Anderson and Kathryn Bigelow, unexpectedly threw her hat into the ring.  Now Deadline is reporting that Ellison has won the bidding war and it’s a surprising film to add to her indie-dominated portfolio.  Hit the jump for more on Ellison’s other projects and my thoughts on her Terminator acquisition.

Megan Ellison Enters Bidding War with Lionsgate for TERMINATOR Rights

by     Posted 3 years, 81 days ago

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Producer Megan Ellison and her Annapurna Pictures have entered a bidding war with Lionsgate over the rights to the Terminator franchise.  As you may recall, Ellison previously has set her production company to backing smaller films with acclaimed directors like Paul Thomas Anderson’s untitled religious drama and Inherent Vice, and Kathryn Bigelow’s hunt for Osama Bin Laden film.  It looked like Lionsgate was going to win the rights with a bid yesterday, but Deadline reports that Ellison has submitted a higher amount even though she doesn’t have a distributor locked in (although it’s probably not too difficult to find a studio willing to distribute a Terminator film).

Hit the jump for more on this potential deal.

Does Osama Bin Laden’s Death Help or Hinder Kathryn Bigelow’s KILL BIN LADEN? [Updated]

by     Posted 3 years, 90 days ago

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First off, a little perspective: I am aware that the extent to which the long-awaited death of Osama Bin Laden affects movies is miniscule compared to the closure and sense of justice that death provides to those affected by Al-Qaeda’s terrorism.  If a sense of closure for families that lost someone on 9/11 is a “10″, then news about a Bin Laden movie is about 0.0001.  But we’re a movie news site and the death of this hated piece of shit has affected various movies in production, most notably, Kathryn Bigelow’s Kill Bin Laden.

As we’ve previously reported Bigelow and Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal want to do a smaller movie before moving on to the international drug crime drama, Triple Frontier.  In January, we reported that the indie thriller was about the hunt for Bin Laden, but then Variety updated their story to say the film had nothing to do with Bin Laden.  What could have led them to originally think that it did?  Apparently the script is called “Kill Bin Laden”.  And it actually does have something to do with the recent Al-Qaeda corpse.  Hit the jump for more.

Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures Picks up Untitled Spike Jonze-Charlie Kaufman Project

by     Posted 3 years, 152 days ago

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Producer Megan Ellison has recently been proving herself to be the patron saint of film nerds.  In addition to backing Paul Thomas Anderson‘s adaptation of Inherent Vice and his untitled Scientology movie, as well as a movie about WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange, it now looks like Ellison and her Annapurna Pictures are acquiring an untitled satire that would re-team director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman.

We reported back in December that the Being John Malkovich and Adaptation duo were pitching a new film, so presumably this is it.  Deadline reports that the untitled satire is “about how world leaders gather to figure out all the seismic events that will take place in the worlds, from oil prices to wars that will be waged.”  I have a feeling that the project will be a tough sell, but I’m glad that Ellison is clearly up to the challenge.

Paul Thomas Anderson Close to Financing for His Scientology Film and an Adaptation of INHERENT VICE

by     Posted 3 years, 171 days ago

If you’ve been yearning for a new Paul Thomas Anderson film like the rest of us cinephiles, we’ve got some very good news for you. It looks like billionaire heiress Megan Ellison (daughter of Oracle boss Larry Ellison) is in negotiations to co-finance not one, but two new Paul Thomas Anderson films! The writer/director had been working on a religious drama said to revolve around the founding of a Scientology-like religion tentatively titled The Master, but was getting nowhere finding financing (this is Hollywood after all; just look at the vitriol spewed at Paul Haggis following his denunciation of Scientology).

The film was set to star Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the founder of a spiritual movement called the Cause, with Jeremy Renner taking on the role of his young protégé. Vulture reports that Renner was forced to drop out of the project given his full schedule (offers started pouring in following his Oscar-nominated turn in The Hurt Locker), but Hoffman is still attached to the film. Hit the jump for much more, including the status of Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pychon’s period crime-drama Inherent Vice.

Mark Boal to Produce and Possibly Write Film about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange

by     Posted 3 years, 178 days ago

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Screenwriter Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker) and financier Megan Ellison have optioned the rights to a New York Times Magazine piece about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.  The story was written by Times executive editor Bill Keller and was published online on January 26th (you can click here to read it).  The article details The Times and The Guardian’s dealings with Assange and the WikiLeaks organization.  Boal has not yet committed to writing a script based on the Times Magazine’s piece.  He is currently teamed with Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow to do an untitled indie thriller followed by the larger drama Triple Frontier starring Tom Hanks.

The Wrap reports that this is the latest of several Assange-based films in the work.  Documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney is doing a film on Assange, and Josephson Entertainment and Michelle Krumm Productions have optioned Andrew Fowler’s upcoming biography on the WikiLeaks chief.

First Images from PASSION PLAY and RABBIT HOLE; Starring Mickey Rourke, Megan Fox, Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart

by     Posted 3 years, 347 days ago

Continuing on the journey of first look images, after the jump you can check out the first images from writer-director Mitch Glazer’s Passion Play and director John Cameron Mitchell’s (Shortbus, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) Rabbit HolePassion Play stars Mickey Rourke, Megan Fox, Bill Murray, Kelly Lynch, and Rhys Ifans, while Rabbit Hole stars  Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest, Miles Teller, Tammy Blanchard, and Sandra Oh.

While Mitch Glazer wrote Scrooged, Great Expectations, and The Recruit, this is his first time behind the camera, so fingers crossed he’s made a solid transition.  On the other hand, John Cameron Mitchell has only made two films in the last ten years, so I’m very curious to check out what got him behind the camera again.  I just wish he hadn’t cast Nicole Kidman, as her frozen face has distracted me from enjoying her performances of late.  If this had been the Kidman of ten years ago, maybe I’d have a different opinion.  Anyway, hit the jump for the first images and the synopses:

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