While it seemed as though Steven Soderbergh would have a pretty big hole in his schedule after dropping out of directing The Man from U.N.C.L.E. over casting disputes with Warner Bros., the director quickly moved on to a brand new project called The Bitter Pill. Soderbergh has slotted the film as his next project, and now it looks as though he’s found a studio. Deadline reports that Summit Entertainment is in final negotiations to make a green light commitment to the film. Described as a “psychopharmacology thriller” in the vein of Basic Instinct or Jagged Edge, the film centers on “a troubled and depressed woman who is taking serious amounts of prescription drugs to deal with the anxiety surrounding the pending release of her husband from prison.”
Frequent Soderbergh collaborator Scott Z. Burns (The Informant!, Contagion) wrote the script, and he described it as dealing with people and their moods, saying “It’s about how we as a society can’t tolerate sadness and what that makes us vulnerable to.” The Soderbergh-Burns collaborations thus far as proven fruitful, and I’m onboard for pretty much anything the versatile filmmaker decides to tackle. After Pill he’ll move on to his final film before retirement/sabbatical, the Liberace biopic The Man Behind the Candelabra.
Earlier this month, we mentioned that Lions Gate Entertainment’s The Hunger Games must make at least $100 million in order to justify the sequels being made. While there’s no doubt in my mind the movie will make that at the box office, the independent film company does have another source of income: merge with Summit Entertainment. The studio that’s behind the current Twilight series (which has earned over $1 billion through 4 of its 5 planned films) is reportedly in talks with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. about a potential merger. The benefit to Lions Gate would be a much-needed cash infusion. This, in turn, could ensure the production of The Hunger Games sequels, which could pay dividends for Summit if successful. Hit the jump for more on the possibility of a merger.
Steve is over at the American Film Market where various studios are trying to sell the international rights to their upcoming films. One of the films being sold is Jonathan Levine‘s zombie love story Warm Bodies, and Steve snapped a photo of the promo image. The movie stars Nicholas Hoult as “R”, a zombie who falls in love with Julie (Teresa Palmer) after he eats her boyfriend’s brains and absorbs his memories. I got to visit the set last week and while I’m embargoed like crazy, I can say the movie looks like an interesting spin on the genre. Judging by this image, it looks like Summit Entertainment is going to play up the romance aspect (the movie also has horror and comedy) and making it look like zombie Twilight. That’s a risky bet since I don’t think those audiences are going to cross-over, but it’s still early in the game and remember: this is trying to sell international studios, not the public.
Hit the jump to check out the promo image. The film also stars Rob Corddry, John Malkovich, Analeigh Tipton, and Dave Franco. Warm Bodies opens August 10, 2012. [Update: We've updated the article with a full, comprehensive synopsis as well as a high resolution version of the image]
Director McG is currently in negotiations to direct the cop drama Puzzle Palace. Deadline reports that Summit Entertainment acquired the project as a pitch earlier this year from David Guggenheim, who then penned the script. No other plot details are given other than the fact that the project is a “cop drama.” Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen, who were producers on the Twilight series, are onboard as producers. McG was in line to direct Ouija, based on the board game, as his next project but Universal ultimately passed on the film so it’s now back in development. The director recently wrapped the action comedy This Means War starring Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, and Reese Witherspoon.
Guggenheim recently penned the drama Safe House, which stars Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds and is slated for release in February. He also just sold a pitch for the superpower-centered pic 364 to Universal which Ron Howard is poised to direct.
Summit Entertainment has claimed some calendar dates for its upcoming movies. According to Box Office Mojo, Jonathan Levine’s zombie flick Warm Bodies hits theaters on August 10, 2012 Scott Derrickson‘s horror movie Sinister will arrive on August 24, 2012; Louis Leterrier‘s magician heist thriller Now You See Me is due out January 18, 2013; Red 2 will open August 2, 2013; Gavin Hood‘s adaptation of Ender’s Game is set for March 15, 2013; and Step Up 4 has moved up from August 10, 2012 to July 27, 2012.
Hit the jump for more details on these films and what competition they’ll have on their weekends.
Summit bought an untitled action-comedy pitch today. Variety was unable to uncover too many details, but the one detail that did surface is wonderfully unique: the story will track two repo men who repossess… airplanes! The story was hatched by Douglas Cook and David Weisberg, the writing team behind The Rock—so how can you go wrong? Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers: Dark of the Moon) and JC Spink (The Hangover Part II) will produce.
This is the second pitch Cook and Weisberg have sold to Summit in recent months alongside a “female ensemble actioner.” The duo also has Blank Slate set up at Bold Entertainment and Nick Rachett at Disney. This busy slate comes over a decade after Cook and Weisberg’s last credit, 1999′s Double Jeopardy.
Summit is looking to get into the crime thriller game. Deadline reports that the studio has acquired the English-language movie rights to Jo Nesbø’s Norwegian thriller Headhunters. The book was recently published in the United States and quickly became a New York Times bestseller. The story centers on a corporate head hunter who finances his extravagant lifestyle by stealing artwork from his rich clients. He gets wrapped up into a murderous scheme after breaking into his most recent client’s apartment.
A Scandinavian adaptation of the novel has already been produced, and screened to positive reception at Fantastic Fest. Marianne Gray, Ole Sondberg, and Berna Levin are set to produce the English-language pic. Hit the jump to read a synopsis of the novel.
Summit Entertainment as purchased the spec script In the Flesh, an adaptation of the teen ghost novel A Certain Slant of Life. Kristin Hahn penned the script based on Laura Whitcomb’s novel, which centers on the ghost of a young woman who died 130 years ago. Her guilt prevents her from moving on, and she falls in love with another spirit who teaches her how to inhabit the body of a mortal whose spirit has died. Variety reports that The Twilight Saga’s Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfre are producing, which signals that Summit is hoping to keep a foothold on the “teen supernatural romance” genre that they’ve so successfully built with the Twilight franchise once the series comes to an end next year. Hit the jump to read a synopsis of Whitcomb’s A Certain Slant of Light.
The latest comic to be mined for cinematic gold is Image’s Area 52. Summit Entertainment has acquired the screen rights to the four-issue comic book series. The story centers on a top-secret warehouse in Antarctica named (naturally) Area 52 where countless otherworldly discoveries are stored. An alien killing machine is accidentally hatched in the lab, and the ragtag group of misfits tasked with manning the facility must use the stored mythological weapons and artifacts to stop the creature before it destroys the world.
I’m not familiar with the series, but if the studio can assemble some great behind-the-scenes talent I would assume that a pretty cool creature feature (or franchise) could be borne out of the material. Deadline reports that Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian (Transformers: Dark of the Moon) are producing the pic, and will next set out to find a screenwriter.
Summit Entertainment is moving forward with their adaptation of the young adult series Homelanders. Written by Andrew Klavan, the books tell the Bourne Identity-esque story of a high school student who awakens tied to a chair with no recollection of why or how he got there. He realizes that an entire year has passed, and sets out to uncover the truth as to why the authorities and terrorist organizations are after him.
Heat Vision reports that Summit has tapped Miles Chapman to pen the screenplay. Smallville showrunners Alfred Gough and Miles Millar are working alongside Chapman on the script, and are currently in negotiations to make their directorial debut on the project. Summit is apparently injecting a sci-fi element into the story, but I can’t help but wonder why we need another “Who am I?” on-the-run thriller with Abduction and The Bourne Legacy on the way. Currently two books have been published in the series, so if teens flock to Homelanders you can expect more amnesia goodness to follow. Hit the jump to read the synopsis of the first book.
Amidst the explosion of recent success he has enjoyed, director Justin Lin (Fast Five) has stepped aside as the director of Summit Entertainment’s Highlander reboot. Lin had been attached to direct the film since Summit acquired the rights to the property back in May of 2008. However, his schedule is somewhat hectic of late what with plans to direct Fast and Furious 6 next and potentially the latest Terminator installment after that. All scheduling issues aside, though, Lin will remain on the project in an executive producer capacity.
Hit the jump for more on the future of the reboot.
Last week, we let you know that Ethan Hawke had signed on to star in a low-budget, found footage horror film from director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose). Although details on the film were sparse at that time, info is beginning to bleed out now that Summit Entertainment has acquired U.S. domestic rights to the pic. According to Deadline, the film will see Hawke take on the role of a journalist who moves his family from corner to corner so as to get the skinny on gruesome murders that he then adapts into books. As the story goes, Hawke and co. move into a house where an entire family was murdered, only to find said footage which lets them in on what really happened.
It’s believed that the project will cost less than $5 million to make with Paranormal Activity and Insidious‘ Jason Blum co-producing alongside Brian Kavanaugh-Jones’ Automatik Entertainment. Given Blum’s track record of turning low-budget horror projects into profit, I’d say there is minimal risk at play here at least from Summit’s perspective. The studio is expected to follow the tried and true formula of releasing the pic, which Derrickson co-wrote with C. Robert Cargill, to limited theaters initially with a commitment for potential wide release to follow.
Summit Entertainment has acquired the rights to John Huddy’s too crazy to be fiction true crime tome Storming Las Vegas, and Deadline reports that the studio has attached Antoine Fuqua (Brooklyn’s Finest) to direct. The book tells the story of Jose Vigoa, a Cuban-born commando veteran of the Soviet Army who went on a violent 16-month crimes spree in Las Vegas targeting some of the Strip’s most famous institutions.
Vigoa’s stint occurred in the late 1990s, at a time when the city was attempting to re-brand itself as a family-friendly vacation destination. A 23-year veteran of the police force was charged with finding and capturing the men responsible for the spree, without letting news of the robberies affect the city’s image. Fuqua is currently also (kind of) attached to the Tupac biopic, though that production’s gone through a number of starts and stops. No word on who’s scripting Storming Las Vegas or how soon the film might go into production. Hit the jump for a synopsis of the novel.
Summit Entertainment has released the first image of Emile Hirsch in director Chris Gorak’s (art director on Fight Club) alien invasion pic The Darkest Hour. Starring Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Rachael Taylor, Joel Kinnaman, and Max Minghella, the film centers on five people who become stranded in Moscow (notice the beautiful architecture in the background) following a crippling alien attack.
Check out the image after the jump. The Darkest Hour opens later this year on December 23rd and will be part of Summit’s Hall H panel which runs from 11:15 – 12:15 on Thursday, July 21st. Make your way back here tomorrow for Matt and Adam’s roundup of the panel and for all of our continuing Comic-Con coverage.
Last year, the Twihards got a reprieve as Summit, having just released The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, had nothing new from the franchise to bring to Comic-Con. But the tent city Twilight fans seem to set up around the San Diego Convention Center will return as Summit has announced—to the surprise of no one—that The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 will be part of the studio’s Comic-Con presentation. It will be joined by Paul W.S. Anderson’s atrocious-looking The Three Musketeers and the alien invasion flick The Darkest Hour. As always, there will be footage and a Q&A. Twilight fans, telling Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner (if they’re on the panel) “I think you’re hot!” is not a question.
The better news for all of us is that the presentation will be one of the first panels in Hall H on Thursday, July 1st, so it will be out of the way early in the con. There will also be other, non-panel related activites for Twilight fans and non-Twilight fans so hit the jump for details from the full press release. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 opens November 18, 2011.