7 Days of Deals
Ka-ching! Who's inking on the dotted line this week.
DEAL OF THE WEEK: Hot Act Scores 70/30 Split: The music industry had never seen anything quite like Odd Future. A ragtag collective from South Los Angeles, the group exploded onto the scene a year ago with racy rhymes about sex, drugs and hip-hop, its street cred prompting everyone from Jay-Z to Diddy to try to sign them. But with the hype came leverage as the group insisted on steering its own commercial ship rather than signing with a major label. The result: a unique deal between Odd Future Records and Sony-owned RED distribution that allows the group to maintain creative independence with an unprecedented profit split. Its first release by sub group The Internet, called Purple Naked Ladies, will be released digitally Dec. 20. Physical copies hit stores Jan. 31. According to a source, Odd Future received a 70/30 revenue split (even proven acts typically get only 50/50) on all recordings released by RED (four are planned for the first three years) along with final say on everything from album art to music video budgets to time spent in the studio. The group's manager, Christian Clancy of 4 Strikes Management, a former marketing executive at Interscope, says it was all about the group taking ownership of their future. "Creative control has been a kind of buzz word, but what you really want is business control," he explains. "I would rather make less money on our terms then get a big upfront check and give away what these guys have built." Indeed, the Odd Future infrastructure extends beyond music -- the members have their own clothing line, three of them are signed for an Adult Swim animated show, and there are plans for skateboarding gear, none of which involve RED. "My biggest fear was being in a marketing meeting about how to sell Odd Future, because I used to run those meetings and they're not at all what this is about," notes Clancy. "We were looking for a partner, not a label." As ego games go, he adds, "we won." -- Shirley Halperin
Eva Green (UTA, the U.K.'s Tavistock Wood) has entered negotiations to play Artemisia in Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures' prequel to 300, now titled 300: Battle of Artemisia. Noam Murro is directing.
Reese Witherspoon (CAA, Management 360, Hansen Jacobson) is attached to star in director Atom Egoyan's feature take on the case of The West Memphis 3, Devil's Knot.
Saoirse Ronan (CAA, Ireland's MacFarlane Chard) is in talks to star in How I Live Now, an adaptation of the Meg Rosoff young-adult book being produced by Film4, Cowboy Films and Passion Pictures. Kevin Macdonald (State of Play) is directing.
Sony Pictures has reupped for three years its first-look deal with Escape Artists, the shingle run by producers Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch.
Rachel Boston (Gersh, John Carrabino) is starring in and executive producing Black Marigolds, an independent drama that also stars Noah Bean.
Relativity is entering a joint venture with Senator Entertainment for a distribution output agreement in Germany while also making an investment in Senator.
Bryan Edward Hill (ICM, Element, Jeremy Tenser) will rewrite Just Cause: Scorpion Rising, the adaptation of the hit video game being produced by Adrian Askarieh and Eric Eisner.
Tim Shechmeister (UTA), a recent UCLA film-school grad, has sold Viral, a short film he made with his brother Matt, to Screen Gems. The Shechmeisters will co-write the big-screen version, and Tim will direct.
Author Laini Taylor (Eyebait, Nelson Davis) has sold film rights to her young-adult fantasy novel Daughter of Smoke & Bone to Universal.
Director-writers Spenser Cohen and Zach Luna (WME, Energy) have sold the spec script The Driver to Voltage Productions and Solipsist Films.
Howard Stern (Don Buchwald) will replace Piers Morgan as a judge on NBC's America's Got Talent.
Russell Brand (WME, Ziffren Brittenham) has inked a development deal with FX and will launch a six-episode late-night series in the spring.
FX has given a pilot order to The Americans, a drama about KGB spies posing as Americans in Washington in the early 1980s. Joe Weisberg (Manage-Ment) penned the script and will executive produce alongside Graham Yost (CAA). The project hails from DreamWorks TV, Fox TV Studios and FX Productions.
FX has renewed fantasy football comedy The League for a fourth season.
Hulu has pacted with Community producer Sony Television for a "digital syndication" arrangement that will see the subscription service Hulu Plus become the exclusive digital home for the series.
Madonna (Guy Oseary, Grubman Indursky) will release a new album in March on Interscope Records as part of her reported $100 million deal with Live Nation.
Live Nation will acquire BigChampagne, which collects and analyzes online digital media data.