Here’s the latest word on acquisitions at the European Film Market in Berlin:
- The Weinstein Company has acquired U.S. rights to Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as mathematician Alan Turing, for a reported record of $7 million.
- RADiUS-TWC has acquired U.S. rights to Joe Lynch’s action thriller, Everly, starring Salma Hayek, Togo Igawa, Masashi Fujimoto, and Hiroyuki Watanabe.
- Open Road has acquired U.S. rights to the Barry Levinson comedy, Rock the Kasbah, starring Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Danny McBride, Shia LaBeouf, and Zooey Deschanel.
Hit the jump for more on each picture.
The saga of releasing Bong Joon-ho‘s post-apocalyptic action film Snowpiercer has come to a close. For months, there’s been wrangling behind the scenes between Bong and producer Harvey Weinstein about which cut to release in the U.S. Bong, obviously, wants his cut, which was a huge hit when it was released in his native South Korea last August. Weinstein wanted twenty minutes removed to put a heavier emphasis on the action. It started to look like the film would remain stuck on the shelf (Weinstein has been known to do that), but today they’ve come to a reasonable compromise.
Hit the jump for more. The film stars Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris, Alison Pill, Ewen Bremner, Octavia Spencer, Kang-ho Song, and Ko Asung.
The biopic Grace of Monaco will no longer be hitting theaters this March, and it’s unclear when, exactly, we’ll be able to see it. The Weinstein Company pulled director Olivier Dahan’s (La Vie en Rose) Nicole Kidman-fronted portrait of Grace Kelly from its scheduled November release last fall, noting that the film wasn’t yet finished, but Dahan was singing a different tune. The filmmaker said that the film was, in fact, finished, but in two different versions: his and Harvey Weinstein’s. He called the situation “catastrophic” at the time, but it appears that the director and studio still have yet to hash out their issues, as The Weinstein Company has now pulled Grace of Monaco completely off its 2014 calendar, nixing its scheduled March 14th release date. The studio will instead release the British dramedy One Chance on that weekend.
No official reason was given for the move, but THR reports that the film has yet to be delivered to the studio, making it impossible to begin a marketing campaign. Hopefully we hear more soon. [Update: Variety reports that the movie will open this year's Cannes Film Festival, and so while it may not have theatrical release date, it will definitely have to be finished by May]
Miramax is dead, but founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein are planning to play with its corpse. According to Deadline, The Weinstein Company has struck a deal that will allow them to raid Miramax’s library and develop sequels and series based on old hits. The standouts of their plan include sequels to Shakespeare in Love and Rounders and TV series based on Good Will Hunting and Flirting with Disaster. There will also be a few in-development stories that TWC is transferring to their own development slate. Notably, they’ll be handling The Alibi, a comedy written by Stephen Colbert that’s about creating alibis for cheating spouses. There’s also The Ninth Life of Louis Drax, “a script that was being developed by the late Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack,” based on the novel of the same name by Liz Jensen.
Hit the jump for more on what the Weinsteins have planned for their older titles. Prepare to shudder.
Over the past several months, there’s been controversy regarding the North American cut of Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer. The post-apocalyptic action-drama has been a hit in his native South Korea, but The Weinstein Company wants to remove 20-minutes to make the movie more palatable to U.S. audiences. Bong’s response has ranged from restrained to furious regarding the cuts, but either way, there’s definitely some ongoing conflict behind-the-scenes. We originally reported that the cuts Harvey Weinstein wanted would play up the action and add opening and closing voiceovers. Bong has now clarified the nature of the cuts, and why his version may have the edge.
Hit the jump for more. Snowpiercer stars Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris, Alison Pill, Ewen Bremner, Octavia Spencer, Kang-ho Song, and Ko Asung.
Things are heating up for the live-action/CGI hybrid adaptation of the popular childrens book series Paddington. As production gears up to begin later this month, The Weinstein Company has come onboard to handle North American rights for the David Heyman-produced film. Paddington will be the first release under TWC’s new banner TWC-Dimension, which will serve as a distribution arm that will see Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein “team on films for which they share a common passion.” Additionally, director Paul King has filled out his cast for the film with Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, and Jim Broadbent. Hit the jump for more.
We’ve got a number of exciting acquisitions to report on this afternoon from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Briefly:
- The F Word – This fantastic relationship comedy from Goon director Michael Dowse stars Daniel Radcliffe as a young man who strikes up a close relationship with a girl (Zoe Kazan) who has a boyfriend (Rafe Spall). It was one of my favorite films from TIFF this year and CBS Films has acquired US rights to the pic. Read Matt’s review here.
- The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His/Hers – The ambitious two-part feature about a relationship between James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain is told from each partner’s point of view in two separate portions, and The Weinstein Company is now acquiring the U.S. rights to the Ned Benson-directed 190-minute pic per Deadline.
- The Railway Man – The Weinstein Company is also acquiring (per THR) this war/post-war drama starring Colin Firth as a former POW suffering from PTSD who attempts to reconcile the events of his capture. The pic as a whole never really comes together, but Jeremy Irvine stands out in flashbacks. Read my review here.
- Life of Crime – Deadline also repots that Lionsage and Roadside Attractions are nearing a deal for this Elmore Leonard adaptation starring Jennifer Aniston, Yasiin Bey, and John Hawkes.
Hit the jump for more details in the full press releases.
The Weinstein Company has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Once writer/director John Carney’s new film Can a Song Save Your Life?. The pic premiered last night at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and instantly became a crowd favorite. Mark Ruffalo stars as a washed up A&R man who discovers a young singer-songwriter (Keira Knightley) soon after being fired, and the two set out to change each other’s fortunes for the better. I had the pleasure of seeing the film earlier today at TIFF and it’s an incredibly sweet and fun pic that has the potential to be a real crowd-pleaser. The soundtrack is fantastic, and Carney finds a fascinating way to both incorporate music and celebrate the beauty of New York City. The pic is rounded out by swell turns from Hailee Steinfeld, Catherine Keener, and the surprisingly effective Adam Levine.
TWC paid a hefty $7 million for the film after a bidding war broke out, and they have committed $20 million in P&A (prints and advertising). It’s unclear whether the studio will release the film this year or next, and while it’s not really an awards movie I could see it doing really well with the holiday crowd. Hit the jump for the press release, and look for Matt’s full review on Collider soon.
The fall festivals aren’t only about prestige films being groomed for a chance at an Oscar. There are also plenty of acquisitions, and some of those acquisitions can quickly be turned around into awards, a recent example being The King’s Speech. According to The Wrap, The Weinstein Company, the Oscar-hungry distributor behind King’s Speech, has now made the 2013 festival season’s first major acquisition with John Curran‘s Tracks. The film is based on the true story of Robyn Davidson (played by Mia Wasikowska), who in 1977 set out on a solo 2,700-kilometre journey by foot across the Australian Outback following the collapse of her marriage and the death of her mother. The movie premiered at the Venice Film Festival, played at the Telluride Film Festival this weekend, and will then move on to the Toronto International Film Festival.
A few weeks ago, we reported that U.S. distributor The Weinstein Company was forcing director Bong Joon-ho to trim twenty minutes out of his hit South Korean film, Snowpiercer, to make it more palatable to U.S. audiences. It was an insult to both to Bong and to us especially since Snowpiercer may be a smart movie (I don’t know, I haven’t seen it), but at the very least, Americans should be able to understand the premise of a train traveling through a frozen, post-apocalyptic wasteland, and there’s a revolution brewing among the poorer passengers. Nevertheless, Harvey Weinstein wants twenty minutes gone and opening and closing voiceovers.
Bong was recently reached for comment on the forced edits. Hit the jump for what he had to say.
I’ve been really looking forward to Bong Joon-ho‘s post-apocalyptic thriller, Snowpiercer, but I guess I’ll have to wait to see his original cut. Even though the movie is a hit in Bong’s native South Korea, The Weinstein Company is handling distribution in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. According to if.com.au, “Weinstein is demanding Bong slash the 126-minute running time by 20 minutes for the version to be released in TWC’s territories,” to which Bong responded that the cuts “would eliminate much of the character detail, which would make the film seem more like an action movie. Weinstein is also adding opening and closing voice-overs.”
Hit the jump for more. The film stars Chris Evans, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris, Ewen Bremner, Octavia Spencer, Ko Asung, and Kang-ho Song. Snowpiercer currently doesn’t have a U.S. release date.
The Thomas Edison film The Current War is heating up. The Michael Mitnick script chronicles the true-life public battle fought between Edison and George Westinghouse for the domination of the early power industry, and it landed on the Black List in 2011. Last year Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter helmer Timur Bekmambetov signed on to direct, but further movement on the project failed to materialize. Now The Weinstein Company has stepped in to finance and produce the period pic, and while Bekmambetov is no longer attached to direct, a number of other helmers are circling the project—including Ben Stiller. Hit the jump for more.
Well it appears that director Robert Rodriguez won’t have two films opening within weeks from each other after all. The Weinstein Company announced today that Rodriguez’s long-awaited sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For has been pushed back nearly a year, from this coming October to August 22, 2014, making Machete Kills Rodriguez’s sole release this year. That’s some pretty disappointing news for fans who have already been waiting eight years for the promised Sin City follow-up, so hopefully the finished product will be worth it. The film’s impressive ensemble cast is lead by Josh Brolin as the physically-altered Dwight (played by Clive Owen in the first film), who is “hunted down by the only woman he ever loved, Ava Lord (Eva Green), and then watches his life go straight to hell.”
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is currently the only film slated for release on that August date. The pic also stars Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson, Jaime King, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dennis Haysbert, Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven, Ray Liotta, Juno Temple, Stacy Keach, and Julia Garner.
It’s quite clear that Bradley Cooper is a very popular guy. Coming off a Best Actor nomination for his work in last year’s Silver Linings Playbook, the actor has been courted for a number of projects. He’s currently filming another movie with SLP director David O. Russell called American Hustle, he’ll star in Cameron Crowe’s next film, and he recently flirted with filling a vacated role in the troubled Western Jane Got a Gun before dropping out due to scheduling conflicts. Now Cooper has added another project to his slate, as the long-gestating drama Chef has finally landed a director by way of ER veteran and The Company Men helmer John Wells. Hit the jump for more, including how Cooper’s incredibly busy schedule will play out over the next year.
After a successful Oscar campaign for The Weinstein Company’s Silver Linings Playbook, TWC is already lining up author Matthew Quick’s upcoming novel, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. Writer/director James Ponsoldt (Smashed, The Spectacular Now) has been tapped to both pen and direct the adaptation. It tells the tale of a boy who, on his birthday, plans to take a gun to school and kill his former best friend and himself.
Keeping it all in the family, TWC has also signed Ponsoldt to draft a screenplay of the 1970s Broadway musical Pippin, from Roger O. Hirson and Stephen Schwartz. The play features a mysterious performance troupe who narrate the story of a young prince on his quest for meaning in his life. Hit the jump for more on both projects.