7 Days of Deals
Ka-ching! Who's inking on the dotted line this week.
DEAL OF THE WEEK: What the Academy Shakeup Means: As the newly appointed CEO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Film Independent chief Dawn Hudson is moving up from a nonprofit with an $8 million annual budget to a globally recognized operation that runs on $70 million annually. On June 1, she'll take the reins — along with Ric Robertson, the Academy's longtime executive administrator, who's been promoted to COO and will school her in the Academy's traditions — from Bruce Davis, who's retiring after 22 years as executive director. Academy president Tom Sherak says the new team is "the ideal combination of new vision and institutional continuity to move us forward." But in what direction? When Davis said in October that he planned to resign, the Academy, instead of handing the job to in-house heir apparent Robertson, signaled its desire to bring in a fresh perspective by conducting a full-fledged search. Declining to outline a specific agenda, Hudson says, "Education and outreach have always been important to me, as well as bringing new talent into the fold, and I hope that can be part of the outreach of the Academy." While the Oscars overshadow the Academy's year-round cultural and educational activities, the board saw in Hudson someone who could raise its profile in those areas. One insider raises the possibility that she might play more of a role in the Oscar show, though that has traditionally fallen to the Academy president and the producer he selects. Roberston says the new team will "take a hard look at the organizational structure and the staff structure and make some changes there." Might Hudson use some of her fundraising talent to revive the pricey museum the Academy wants to build in Hollywood? "That idea is still tabled," Robertson says, "although we continue to talk about it and try to be smart about if and when we kick it back into gear." The reality, though, is that any major changes will come only if approved by the 43-member board. "The bottom line," Sherak says, "is the board runs the Academy." — Gregg Kilday
Ovitz Selling Live Nation HQ
Former CAA topper Michael Ovitz and partners have reached a preliminary agreement to sell the Beverly Hills headquarters of Live Nation to commercial real estate investment firm Tishman Speyer Properties, multiple sources say. Ovitz co-owns the 9348 Civic Center Drive building with former CAA CFO Bob Goldman and real estate developer Bill McGregor through an investment entity. Sources say the 57,111-square-foot, four-story structure — named the Ice House for its original use as an ice-storage facility — is expected to trade hands for $20 million-$25 million. It's not the only property Ovitz and Goldman own together: They also co-own with others the former CAA headquarters at 9830 Wilshire Blvd. Tishman in January bought the former Hilton Hotels headquarters next door to the Ice House. (Tishman declined comment. Ovitz, Goldman and McGregor did not return calls.) — Daniel Miller
Hailee Steinfeld (ICM, Coast to Coast Talent, Protege Management, Hirsch Wallerstein), Oscar-nominated for True Grit, is in negotiations to star as Juliet in a new Romeo and Juliet. Italian director Carlo Carlei is helming from a script by Julian Fellowes, who is producing with Gabriele Muccino and former New Line executives Ileen Maisel and Mark Ordesky.
Michael Shannon (CAA, Byron Wetzel, Morris Yorn) will play villain General Zod in Superman: Man of Steel for Warner Bros. and director Zack Snyder. Shannon joins Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane in the cast.
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (UTA), director of 28 Weeks Later, will helm a remake of The Crow for Relativity. Edward R. Pressman is producing with Jeff Most, Ryan Kavanaugh and Apaches Entertainment's Enrique Lopez Lavigne and Belen Atienza.
Basic Instinct scribe Joe Eszterhas (ICM, Baumgarten, Ziffren Brittenham) has written Lust, an erotic thriller that Scott Steindorff and his Stone Village Productions are producing. The movie centers on a 30-year-old married woman who is seduced by a playboy during a business trip.
Willem Dafoe (WME, D/F Management) is in talks for Odd Thomas, a supernatural thriller directed by Stephen Sommers. The movie, with a budget in the $20 million-$30 million range, is set to shoot in New Mexico this spring and summer.
Californication's Madeline Zima (UTA, Brillstein Entertainment) will star in the British psychological thriller Storage. Matt Winn is directing from a script he wrote with Chris Denne. Mark Shields and Kirk Weddell of Atlantic Picture Co. are producing.
Screen Gems has picked up U.S. rights to Attack the Block, Joe Cornish's debut sci-fi adventure. Cornish (CAA) is known for his work with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World director Edgar Wright, who executive produced Block.
Yaya DaCosta (Gersh, Beth Rosner) and Colm Meaney (Innovative, Gold Coast, Bloom Hergott) will star with Brendan Fraser in the Belfast-set heist comedy Whole Lotta Sole, the feature debut of shorts filmmaker Terry George, who wrote the script with Thomas Gallagher.
Grey's Anatomy executive producer Mark Gordon (ICM, Hansen Jacobson) and his eponymous shingle have renewed for four years a pact with ABC Studios and inked a first-look film deal with Disney. Gordon has five shows on the air — ABC's Grey's and Private Practice, CBS' Criminal Minds and Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior and Lifetime's Army Wives — and his next film release is The Details, to be distributed by the Weinstein Co. in the fall.
Hearst has acquired a substantial interest in Survivor producer Mark Burnett's production company as part of a 50-50 joint venture to create new media, TV and events projects based on Hearst brands.
MTV has greenlighted a pair of Jersey Shore spinoffs, one featuring Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi (Neon Entertainment, Hirsch Wallerstein) and Jenni "JWoww" Farley (APA, New Wave, Del Shaw) and the other with Paul "DJ Pauly D" Delvecchio (ICM, ReignDeer, Myman Greenspan). Both series, to be executive produced by Shore's SallyAnn Salsano (UTA), will chronicle the lives the three leads away from the show.
Showtime has given 12-episode orders to House of Lies, starring Don Cheadle (UTA) and Kristen Bell (CAA, Brookside Artist Management, Schreck Rose), and Homeland, toplined by Claire Danes (WME, Signpost, Ziffren Brittenham) and Damian Lewis (WME, Markham & Froggatt).
HBO has ordered a third season of The Ricky Gervais Show. ... Fox has picked up Season 2 of animated series Bob's Burgers. ... Syfy has renewed hidden-camera reality series Scare Tactics for a fifth season, with Tracy Morgan (UTA, 3 Arts, Hansen Jacobson) returning as host and executive producer.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's (CAA, Bloom Hergott) The Governator cartoon has been sold to broadcasters from the U.K., Italy, Spain, France and Germany. Channels including RTL2 in Germany and Cartoon Network Latin America purchased the actioner on the basis of a trailer Schwarzenegger screened at MIPTV.
Channel 5 has picked up Lifetime's William & Kate: The Movie, which will be the centerpiece of the U.K. broadcaster's planned Royal Wedding-themed season.
WEtv is adding reruns of Frasier, Roseanne and Will & Grace to its primetime lineup. The network has acquired the shows' libraries on a nonexclusive basis.
Sundance Channel has acquired rerun rights to the '90s cult hit My So-Called Life.
MTV Networks Group is launching a video gaming division of Comedy Central and Spike called 345 Games, which will develop titles based on the group's franchises and brands. The first two games, to be released this summer, are based on Comedy Central's animated series Ugly Americans and Spike's Deadliest Warrior.
Dish Network's $320 million acquisition of Blockbuster has won approval from a bankruptcy court. In an auction for the video rental firm that started April 5, Dish outbid activist investor Carl Icahn, a group of financial firms and two other bidders.
Music publishing company Bug Music has inked a six-year lease for headquarters space at 6100 Wilshire Blvd. in the Miracle Mile area of Los Angeles. The deal for 23,134 square feet with landlord Kennedy Wilson is valued at slightly less than $4 million. The company, with a catalog that includes such hits as "I Walk the Line," "What a Wonderful World" and "The Real Slim Shady," will relocate from 7750 Sunset Blvd. this summer. Lisa St. John, Peter Best and Dan Baumeister of L.A. Realty Partners represented the landlord, along with Kennedy Wilson's Mickey Isen. Bug Music was represented by Brad Feld and Chris Keller of Madison Partners.
Christian Slater, star of the Fox series Breaking In, has moved from CAA to UTA. … Mandy Moore, recently in Disney's Tangled and ABC's Grey's Anatomy, has consolidated her agency representation at WME. She was with UTA for nonmusic affairs. … The Second City, the comedy outfit known for launching performers ranging from Gilda Radner to Tina Fey, has signed with APA. …Christine Woods, who stars on NBC's Perfect Couples, has signed with Gersh. … Gabriella Wilde of Summit's forthcoming The Three Musketeers has signed with ICM.