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DEAL OF THE WEEK: Berlin Roundup: Two Guns Leads Booming Market: International film executives are saying danke as the bonanza European Film Market comes to a close. An uptick in sales activity was led by the Denzel Washington–Mark Wahlberg action project Two Guns (think Lethal Weapon), which generated $45 million to $50 million in presale business for Mark Damon’s foreign sales company Foresight Unlimited, making it one of the biggest market titles in recent years. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions swooped in and bought rights to most of the world, while eOne Entertainment is plunking down $10.6 million for the U.K. and Canada.
“It feels fulfilling,” says Damon, 78, who isn’t shy about proclaiming this his best market ever (and he’s been to more than 100). A former actor who made his name starring in spaghetti Westerns, Damon founded Producers Sales Organization in Rome in 1977 with the idea of providing foreign distributors with product by financing films independently through presales. He went on to work at a number of companies before launching Foresight in 2004.
All told, Damon and Foresight president-COO Tamara Stuparich de la Barra walked away from EFM with $65 million in business between Two Guns, the Reese Witherspoon starrer Rule #1 and Jim Carrey‘s irreverent comedy Pierre Pierre from Borat filmmaker Larry Charles.
Two Guns, which arrived at EFM with Universal as domestic distributor, wasn’t the only title doing big business. FilmNation’s Robert Redford-starrer All Is Lost, from Margin Call writer-director J.C. Chandor, drew the eye of Universal, which prebought distribution rights to nearly 20 markets, including the U.K., France and Australia. What Universal didn’t take went to individual distributors (Lionsgate has U.S. rights).
The film is unique in that it features just one character, a man who is lost at sea and must rely on his instincts to survive. “We have never sold this many territories to a studio,” says FilmNation CEO and founder Glen Basner. “It’s a great vote of confidence in the film.”
FilmNation also sold out two other high-profile projects: Philip Seymour Hoffman starrer A Most Wanted Man, based on the 2008 John le Carre thriller, and Steven Soderbergh‘s Bitter Pill. Sierra/Affinity also enjoyed a prosperous EFM, selling out Kate Hudson‘s first action pic, Everly, the Jason Statham starrer Heat and horror film Wer, the next movie from hot The Devil Inside director William Brent Bell. — Pamela McClintock
VH1 Talk Show for Jenny McCarthy
VH1 might have found its chelsea handler. The pop-culture network is developing The Jenny McCarthy Show, a talker set to premiere in late summer or fall. “We wanted to create a signature show that really hit that female funny sweet spot, and Jenny was always on the top of our list because our audience grew up with her,” says VH1 executive vp original programming and production Jeff Olde, referencing McCarthy’s mid-1990s work on MTV dating show Singled Out. While McCarthy’s irreverent brand and the addition of executive producer Michael Davies (Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live) make the project a natural fit for late-night, VH1 hasn’t decided on a time for the show, which will feature guest panelists, celebrity interviews and McCarthy’s take on pop culture. The WME-repped actress, comedian and author had talk shows in contention at NBC and OWN, but neither moved forward. Quips Olde, “We just kept stalking her until she was free.” – Lacey Rose
THR, AP Team for News Service
News from the Hollywood Reporter is about to travel a lot further. THR and sister publication Billboard have closed a deal to make their content available to customers of the Associated Press global distribution network. Starting this month, an entertainment feed of breaking news and feature stories will be available for online use for AP member outlets that subscribe to specific content distribution arrangements. “We’re thrilled to be able to provide The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard material among our content offerings to customers,” says Lou Ferrara, AP’s managing editor for entertainment. “It makes for a one-of-a-kind, comprehensive package of entertainment stories every day.” Adds The Hollywood Reporter editorial director Janice Min, “Being part of AP’s massive distribution network will open THR to huge new audiences from around the world.” – Matthew Belloni
Saoirse Ronan (CAA, Ireland’s MacFarlane Chard) is in talks to star in Disney’s Order of the Seven, an action-adventure set in China. Effects wizard and commercials director Michael Gracey is helming.
Hailee Steinfeld (ICM, Coast to Coast, Protege, Hirsch Wallerstein) will join Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson in the musical romance Can a Song Save Your Life?, written and to be directed by John Carney (Once). Exclusive Media is producing and financing.
Jenna Fischer (WME, Odenkirk Provissiero) and Rita Wilson (CAA) will join Emily Osment, Steven Weber and Davenia McFadden in Kiss Me, an indie coming-of-age drama being directed by Survivor host Jeff Probst.
Imagine Entertainment is developing Anne Rice’s The Tale of the Body Thief, the fourth book in the author’s Vampire Chronicles series, with writer-producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek).
Emma Thompson (WME, DLA Piper) and newcomers Jack O’Connell (Conway, Van Gelder, Grant Ltd.) and Alice Englert (CAA, the U.K.’s Hamilton Hodell, Shanahan) have joined Viola Davis in Beautiful Creatures, Alcon’s adaptation of a young-adult novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Richard LaGravenese directs.
Anchor Bay has picked up The Aggression Scale, a thriller from Snowfort Pictures and Film Harvest that premieres at the SXSW Film Festival in March.
Radius-TWC, the new VOD-oriented label from The Weinstein Co., has picked up the U.S. and Caribbean rights to Pusher, an English-language remake of a 1996 Danish movie directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive).
Jennifer Aniston (CAA, Brillstein, Hansen Jacobson) is attached to star in Miss You Already, a comedy-drama co-written and directed by Paul Andrew Williams that is set to shoot this summer.
A Prophet actor Tahar Rahim (CAA, France’s Aura Star) will play the lead in The Cut, the final entry in the Love, Death and the Devil trilogy from German director Fatih Akin.
Michael C. Hall (WME, Authentic, Peikoff) and Ben Foster (WME, Ken Jacobson, Felker Toczek) have joined Kyra Sedgwick and Jennifer Jason Leigh in the cast of Kill Your Darlings, a story of a murder that brought together Beat Revolution architects Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William Burroughs (Foster) at Columbia University in 1944.
Michael Andrews (First Artists Management) will compose the score for Universal’s The Five-Year Engagement, directed by Nicholas Stoller and starring Emily Blunt and Jason Segel.
Mike Mitchell (CAA, Hansen Jacobson) is attached to direct Jitters, a family adventure project set up at Paramount. Benderspink’s Chris Bender and JC Spink are producing.
Deluxe has acquired Hong Kong-based visual effects, animation and postproduction service provider Centro Digital Pictures (Mr. Popper’s Penguins, The Muppets).
Christopher Plummer (ICM, The Pitt Group) and Frank Langella (ICM) will star as Supreme Court justices in HBO Films’ Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, about the boxer’s opposition to the Vietnam War, for director Stephen Frears.
Jersey Shore producer SallyAnn Salsano (UTA, DMF Law) is making eight episodes of Southie Pride, revolving around five South Boston women, for TLC.
Actor Michael B. Jordan (UTA, The Schiff Co., Bloom Hergott) is reteaming with Friday Night Lights and Parenthood showrunner Jason Katims for his hospital-set NBC pilot County.
Husband and wife Dmitry Lipkin (CAA, Hansen Jacobson) and Colette Burson (UTA, Gang Tyre Ramer), creators of HBO’s canceled Hung, have inked a two-year overall deal with Fox 21.
Ben Falcone will star and wife Melissa McCarthy (CAA, The Schiff Co.) will executive produce a CBS comedy pilot about a man who moves back home with his parents. Falcone and MADtv‘s Larry Dorf will pen the project.
ITV Studios and HDFilms are developing a reimagining of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s 1970s franchise Space: 1999, to be called Space: 2099. Jace Hall will executive produce.
Jon Voight (CAA, Medavoy) and Elliott Gould (APA, Steve Kenis, Morris Yorn) have joined Showtime’s drama pilot Ray Donovan. Voight will play the title character’s former inmate father, and Gould will portray Ray’s mentor.
Blythe Danner (Anonymous, Wendy Heller) and Sarah Bolger (CAA, Hamilton Hodell, Mosaic) have joined ABC’s Shonda Rhimes pilot Gilded Lilys, playing the family’s grandmother and rebellious daughter, respectively, in the period drama about New York’s first luxury hotel.
KJ Steinberg (WME, Lichter Grossman) will pen Mistresses, a drama revolving around four women with scandalous romantic lives, with ABC eyeing a summer 2013 bow.
Tony Shalhoub (ICM, Mary Goldberg, Skrzyniarz & Mallean) and Allison Janney (WME, Thruline, Nelson Davis) will star as parents in NBC’s Greg Daniels comedy pilot Friday Night Dinner.
Stephen Root (Gersh, Brillstein) will recur on the upcoming third season of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, playing a swindler turned lawman.
Pushing Daisies alum Chi McBride (UTA, The Collective) has joined CBS’ untitled Greg Berlanti/Nicholas Wootton cop drama previously known as Golden Boy.
NBC’s Western drama pilot The Frontier has found the bulk of its ensemble cast: Ethan Embry (APA, Thruline, Sloane Offer), Megan Ferguson (Don Buchwald), Jake McLaughlin (Paradigm, James/Levy), Al Weaver (Julian Belfrage), Bridget Regan (Gersh, TMT) and Gina Bramhill (UTA, Schacter).
TBS has ordered Sullivan and Son, a 10-episode comedy starring Steve Byrne as a Pittsburgh attorney who quits his job and takes over the family bar. Ted Wass penned the pilot. Byrne, Vince Vaughn, Peter Billingsley and Rob Long will executive produce, with Long serving as showrunner.
Glee‘s Keong Sim (Omnipop Talent Group) has joined David E. Kelley’s TNT medical drama pilot Chelsea General and has booked a guest spot on CBS’ Mike & Molly.
John Goodman (Gersh, Frankfurt Kurnit) will star opposite his former sitcom wife Roseanne Barr in NBC’s comedy pilot Downwardly Mobile.
Mandy Moore (WME, Storefront, Ziffren Brittenham) will star in a family comedy pilot for ABC.
The CW has added The Bill Cunningham Show to its daytime lineup beginning in September.
Discovery has inked a deal with the Colombian government to produce content for and about the country.
Syfy has renewed supernatural drama Being Human and reality competition series Face Off for third seasons. … Bravo is bringing back The Real Housewives of Miami for a second season. … Spike TV has renewed unscripted tattoo series Ink Master for a second season. … TV Guide Network has renewed SallyAnn Salsano reality series Nail Files for a second edition.
Kevin Bacon (WME, The Schiff Co., Gaines Solomon), Chris Colfer (Inphenate, Felker Toczek) and John C. Reilly (WME, Framework, Gendler & Kelly) have joined the cast of 8, writer Dustin Lance Black’s Proposition 8 play. George Clooney is set to star in the Los Angeles production, to be directed by Rob Reiner.
Hasbro will create games and toys from Zynga’s popular online games, which include FarmVille, Words With Friends and Mafia Wars.
British actor Dan Stevens, who stars as Matthew Crawley on PBS’ Downton Abbey, has signed with WME.
CAA has signed its first Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra, who won the Miss World pageant in 2000.
Kieran Darcy-Smith, the writer-director of Sundance Film Festival opening-night premiere Wish You Were Here, has signed with WME.
Screenwriter Benjamin A. van der Veen (the biopic Che) has signed with APA.
Spanish writer-director Enrique Urbizu, whose No Rest for the Wicked has been nominated for 14 Goya Awards, has signed with Gersh.
Flashdance and L Word star Jennifer Beals has signed with APA.
THE NEXT BIG THING
Reps: WME, Australia’s United Management
Why He Matters: After appearing in Animal Kingdom, the Cinemax action series Strike Back and Warner Bros.’ upcoming The Gangster Squad, the Aussie has landed the lead role in Warners’ untitled 300 sequel.
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