7 Days of Deals
Ka-ching! Who's inking on the dotted line this week.
DEAL OF THE WEEK: How Disney Got Avatar Land: During the year of discussions that led to Disney announcing a deal Sept. 20 to bring Avatar to its theme parks, director James Cameron and producer Jon Landau were adamant that the highest-grossing film of all time not be turned into just another movie-inspired ride. "They're talking about this as a transportive experience," Landau tells THR. "People who go to this land will feel as if they have gone to Pandora." The exclusive agreement among Disney, Fox (the distributor of Avatar and its two planned sequels) and Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment is worth well north of $25 million, says a source, and is tiered, meaning the value grows the more Disney expands Avatar to its parks worldwide. Construction on the first Avatar land at Disney World in Orlando will begin in 2013, but it might not open until 2015 (the first sequel is scheduled to bow for Christmas 2014). Digital technology, 3D, environmental issues and more will be included. "This gives us an opportunity to make it a world and make it about the themes that the movie and [Walt] Disney himself felt were important," says Landau. "That's the idea -- there is this world out there with animals and creatures, and we have to find a way to live in harmony with them." -- Alex Ben Block
John Malkovich (WME) is in talks to play the villain in Warm Bodies, Summit's adaptation of the zombie-centered book by Isaac Marion. Jonathan Levine (50/50) is directing the film, being produced by Bruna Papandrea and Mandeville's David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman.
Will Forte (UTA, Mosaic, Hansen Jacobson) is joining the Ben Stiller-Vince Vaughn comedy Neighborhood Watch, directed by Akiva Schaffer. The Shawn Levy-produced Fox film also stars Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade and Rosemarie DeWitt.
Jon Turteltaub (WME, Oasis, Hansen Jacobson) will direct the CBS Films and Mandate comedy Last Vegas, about a group of middle-aged men who attend a bachelor party. Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love) wrote the script for the Laurence Mark production.
True Blood co-star Lindsay Pulsipher (Gersh, Mathews Management) will play Bonnie in The Story of Bonnie and Clyde, a Cypress Moon Studios film directed by Tonya S. Holly. Pulsipher replaces Hilary Duff, who had scheduling issues.
David Oyelowo (ICM, the U.K.'s Hamilton Hodell, Inphenate) has joined One Shot, a Tom Cruise crime drama based on the Lee Child novel. Rosamund Pike co-stars in the Paramount-Skydance production directed by Christopher McQuarrie.
Writer-director Ryan Craig (Montage, Morris Yorn) will adapt the Brad Thor novel Takedown, which centers on a former Navy SEAL, for Warner Bros. Bill Gerber and Casey Wasserman are producing.
Marko King, Mary King and Jonathan Watters (Mechanic Company, Abrams Garfinkel) will write the American remake of Taiwanese supernatural thriller Silk for Gold Circle.
Prison Break villain Robert Knepper (Innovative, Framework) has joined Universal's supernatural action pic R.I.P.D. opposite Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges.
Screen Gems will remake The Raid, an Indonesian action movie that won the Midnight Madness sidebar at Toronto.
Fast Five director Justin Lin (CAA, Cinetic, Sloss Law) has sold Pong, a single-camera comedy about table tennis players, to NBC. Leverage's Michael Colton & John Aboud (CAA, Principato Young, Morris Yorn) will pen the project from Sony Pictures Television.
MTV has ordered scripted series Underemployed, starring Jared Kusnitz; Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous, with Bo Burnham; reality project Catfish, based on the Sundance movie; docuseries Hoods; wakeboarding series Wake Brothers; and football docudrama Wait Till Next Year.
ABC Family has renewed Make It or Break It and ordered 10 more episodes of freshman drama The Lying Game.
The Walking Dead special effects guru Greg Nicotero (UTA, Generate, Linzer & Associates) has inked a first-look development deal with AMC and been upped to co-executive producer. He also will direct an episode.
Arrested Development producer Barbie Adler (WME) has sold Loosely Related, a comedy pitch, to ABC.
Easy A director Will Gluck (UTA, Sloane Offer), Happy Endings star Casey Wilson (UTA, Sloane Offer) and June Diane Raphael (UTA, the Collective, Peikoff Law) have sold a comedy project to ABC.
Jim Belushi (ICM, Brillstein) and Diane English (ICM, Jackoway Tyerman) have set up a comedy at ABC revolving around a co-dependent father and his teenage daughter.
Producer Mark Gordon (ICM, Hansen Jacobson) will adapt his action-thriller film Source Code for TV at CBS. Lost's Steve Maeda is attached to pen the ABC Studios project. Gordon also sold comedy Virtual Virgins, with Keith Merryman and David Newman writing, and drama Courtroom 302, from My Generation creator Noah Hawley.
John Wells (CAA, Hansen Jacobson) is adapting the U.K. series Bad Girls for NBC. Nancy Pimental (Shameless) will write the project from Warner Bros. TV and Shed Media.
Oprah Winfrey's OWN is developing Secret Talent Scout, ordering six episodes of the reality series.
The Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl producer Alloy (WME) has sold the drama 666 Park to ABC. David Wilcox will write.
Perfect Couples star Kyle Bornheimer (CAA, Flutie Entertainment, Morris Yorn) has inked a deal with ABC to produce and star in a comedy pilot that he and his brother pitched.
USA Network has ordered a pilot with Nathan Lane in talks to star and Paging Dr. Freed, a comedy about brothers who take over their father's medical practice from Everybody Loves Raymond executive producer Michael Feldman.
USA also has picked up Covert Affairs, Royal Pains and Necessary Roughness for additional seasons.
FX has ordered Unsupervised, an animated series from the team behind It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
CBS has renewed Big Brother for a 14th cycle.
Paramount CEO Brad Grey has listed for $23.5 million his Holmby Hills home. The former Frank Sinatra property, on 2.3 acres, was purchased in November for $18.5 million.
Hugh Jackman's (WME) show Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway will run Oct. 25 to Jan. 1 at the Broadhurst Theatre.
Indie studio Media Rights Capital has closed $350 million in new financing. Lead banks include JPMorgan Chase, Comerica, Bank of America, SunTrust and Union Bank.
Toni Braxton, a six-time Grammy winner and actress (Broadway's Beauty and the Beast), has signed with ICM. … Josh Elliott, an anchor on ABC's Good Morning America, has signed with CAA. … Paul McCrane, whose credits include NBC's ER and Harry's Law, for which he won an Emmy for guest drama actor, has signed with UTA. … Gareth Evans, who wrote and directed Toronto breakout The Raid, has signed with Management 360. ... Cliff Dorfman, who co-wrote Warrior, has signed with Apostle Management.