Monthly Archives: July 2017

Sony’s head of entertainment David Bishop left in March 2014

David Bishop, president of Sony Pictures’ home entertainment division, is leaving the company in March when his contract expires, a Sony spokesman said on Wednesday.

A replacement has not been named for Bishop, who has led Sony Pictures Home Entertainment since 2006 during a turbulent time for the home video business as consumer habits changed.

“David played a tremendous role in building the home entertainment organization we have in place today: an innovative business that can compete aggressively in the evolving digital marketplace,” said Michael Lynton, chairman and chief executive of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

This comes after a shakeup earlier this year in which Sony picked Dwight Caines as president of theatrical marketing for the company’s Columbia TriStar Motion Pictures Group. Caines assumed some responsibilities of Marc Weinstock, who was fired from his post as the studio’s head of domestic and international marketing. Longtime media relations executive Steve Elzer also left Sony this year.

The departures followed a poor box office showing from the film studio this summer. The Will Smith action movie “After Earth” made a disappointing $244 million in worldwide ticket sales, while the Channing Tatum film generated $205 million.

However, Sony has fared better with fall offerings such as  the animated sequel “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2” and the Tom Hanks-starring “Captain Phillips.” “American Hustle” is performing well in limited release and expands this weekend.

Brad Pitt’s Pilm Company

Plan B Entertainment, has signed a production deal with New Regency and RatPac Entertainment — an arrangement that precipitates his company’s departure from Paramount Pictures at the end of the year.

The pact takes one of Hollywood’s hottest and best-known production banners away from the Viacom Inc.-owned studio and aligns it with crosstown rival 20th Century Fox.

Plan B’s first-look deal with Paramount expires Dec. 31. The production company has been based at the studio since 2005.

New Regency and RatPac will finance future projects from Plan B as part of a multi-year, overall deal, New Regency said in a statement Tuesday night. The company is based on the 20th Century Fox lot and has a long-term distribution arrangement with the studio.

RatPac, the film finance vehicle of filmmaker Brett Ratner and Australian businessman James Packer, will have the opportunity to co-finance projects from Plan B that are in development at New Regency.

New Regency already has a relationship with Pitt and his company, having co-financed and co-produced Plan B’s recent success, “12 Years a Slave.” The companies also are working on “True Story,” a crime drama that stars Jonah Hill and James Franco. That project, to be released by 20th Century Fox, recently wrapped production.

New Regency Chief Executive Brad Weston praised Plan B in an interview with The Times.

“We had a great experience with Plan B on ‘Twelve Years a Slave’ and next year’s ‘True Story’ and we really like each other,” said Weston, also New Regency’s president. “It was a really organic outgrowth of a great relationship.”

Plan B said in a statement that the arrangement with New Regency and RatPac is a “perfect fit.” New Regency was founded by billionaire producer Arnon Milchan, who serves as its chairman.

At Paramount, Pitt’s company made this past summer’s zombie thriller, “World War Z,” which grossed $540 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. The expensive Marc Forster-directed movie, which starred Pitt, suffered from production issues, and required reshoots.

The A-list star will continue to have a relationship with Paramount: The studio is moving forward with Pitt’s “World War Z” sequel, which “The Impossible” director Juan Antonio Bayona would direct.

Paramount declined to comment.

Pitt formed Plan B in 2002 with then-wife Jennifer Aniston. He has long had a close relationship with Brad Grey, the chairman and chief executive of Paramount.

“World War Z” is by far the highest-profile movie made by Plan B that Paramount released.

Plan B produced the comedy “Year of the Dog” and the thriller “A Mighty Heart” for Paramount’s specialty film division Paramount Vantage. Both movies came out in 2007, with “Year of the Dog” taking in $1.6 million worldwide and “A Mighty Heart” topping out at $18.9 million.

However, Plan B found major success at other studios. Among the successes that Paramount missed out on were “Kick-Ass,” which was released in 2010 by Lions Gate Entertainment and grossed $96 million worldwide; the prestige picture “The Tree of Life,” which was directed by Terrence Malick and released by Fox Searchlight Pictures; and “12 Years a Slave,” an Oscar contender that also was distributed by Fox Searchlight.

“12 Years a Slave” has been a source of friction between Paramount and Plan B. The drama has been a critical and commercial hit, grossing more than $35 million worldwide, but Paramount didn’t get an opportunity to distribute it, according to a studio source with knowledge of the matter who was not authorized to comment publicly.

Paramount believes, according to this person, that Plan B violated its deal with the studio by not offering it a chance to distribute the picture, which was released in October.

New Regency declined to comment about the “12 Years a Slave” matter. Plan B did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It has been a busy few days for Paramount, which has lost one top-tier producer, but gained another. On Dec. 6, the studio announced it had inked a first-look deal with producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

As part of that three-year pact, Bruckheimer will produce “Top Gun 2” and a “Beverly Hills Cop” picture for the studio.

Plan B’s deal with New Regency and RatPac is the last company’s second high-profile film financing accord in recent months.

In September, Warner Bros. Pictures struck a financing deal with RatPac-Dune Entertainment LLC, a new entity formed by Dune Entertainnment’s Steven Mnuchin and RatPac.

Oprah Winfrey Have praised the Power 100 Women at the Entertainment Breakfast

The Hollywood Reporter’s “Power 100” Women in Entertainment Breakfast, honoring Oprah Winfrey with the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, presented to her by former California First Lady Maria Shriver.

The program: TV host Jimmy Kimmel opened the ceremonies, taking note of “this sea of perfect blowouts” and suggesting “Wouldn’t it be better to rename the event the 100 most powerful people in Hollywood and just not give any of the spots to men?” He then delivered a warning to Kanye West, seated with the Kardashian clan. “Don’t even think about taking this award away from Oprah,” Kimmel said.

Next up were the Hollywood Reporter’s editorial director Janice Min, publisher Lynne Segall and Sherry Lansing. Demi Lovato followed by naming participants in the magazine’s mentoring program, a joint venture with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Los Angeles, which pairs high school girls with mentors and awards them $10,000 college scholarships. Lovato surprised the audience by announcing not one, but two winners of full four-year scholarships, valued at $200,000 each, to Loyola Marymount University.

The crowd: The affair, presented by Lifetime, took place at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Wednesday (Dec. 11), the day the magazine released its list of the industry’s top female power players (and coincidentally the same day Screen Actors Guild nominees were announced, including Winfrey,nominated for supporting actress for her role in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”).

The packed Beverly Hills ballroom included  Anne Sweeney, the  co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, who was named No. 1 on the list for the fourth year. Also attending were Nancy Dubuc, president and CEO A+E Networks; Amy Pascal, co-chair, Sony Pictures Entertainment; Donna Langley, chair, Universal Pictures; Sue Kroll, president, worldwide marketing and international distribution, Warner Bros.; Jennifer Salke, president, NBC Entertaiment; Stacey Snider, co-chair and CEO, DreamWorks Studios; Sandra Stern, COO, Lionsgate TV; Jill Leiderman, executive producer, “Jimmy Kimmel Live”; Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO DreamWorks Animation; “The Butler” director Lee Daniels and the film’s screenwriter, Danny Strong.

More familiar to the general public were Jane Fonda, Gayle King, Whitney Cummings, Nikki Reed, Maria Bello, Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Kris Jenner, Naya Rivera, Big Sean, Allison Williams, Amber Valletta, Geena Davis, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Molly Sims, Ahna O’Reilly, Candice Accola, Angie Harmon, Gillian Jacobs, Mandy Moore, Cat Deeley, Alyson Hannigan and Judy Greer.

The presentation: “The woman that we are all honoring here this morning puts the capital ‘I’ in inspiring. She also puts the capital ‘I’ in influence,” Shriver said of Winfrey, continuing with more “I” descriptors:  imagination, instruction and impact.

After reciting a list of Winfrey’s many accomplishments, Shriver asked Winfrey to think back on her life from her birthplace in Mississippi to President Obama presenting her with the Medal of Freedom last month. “Think back to how hard you’ve worked, how many mountains you have climbed, how many scary, scary things you’ve pushed through, how many people you have proved wrong, how many people you have inspired,” she said.

The acceptance: “That beats a eulogy, I gotta tell you. It really does,” said Winfrey. “I mean, good Lord. And you’re alive to hear it.”

Winfrey defined power as “strength over time. That means strength times strength, times strength, times strength equals power.”

She talked of seeing herself on the cover of the Hollywood Reporter’s “rule breakers” issue. “When I saw the title of the cover, it brought tears to my eyes because my cover line was ‘innovator.’ And I thought, ‘Is that what this was? I’m a rule breaker and an innovator?’ I just thought I was getting my [rear] kicked.”

She concluded with the importance of using power to better the lives of others. “That is the true purpose of leadership,” she said. “How do you use your life to elevate the life of somebody else? That’s what everybody in this room has been called to do.”

Legendary bought TV production company Asylum Entertainment

Legendary Entertainment is expanding its television production repertoire by acquiring Asylum Entertainment, the firm behind the biographical miniseries “The Kennedys.”

Legendary, the entertainment company controlled by film producer and financier Thomas Tull, announced Monday it had completed a deal to buy 100% of Asylum Entertainment, a 10-year-old production firm.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Asylum specializes in unscripted and scripted fare. The 2011 miniseries “The Kennedys” featured Greg Kinnear, Barry Pepper, Tom Wilkinson and Katie Holmes. Originally produced for the History Channel, the network abandoned the project after complaints from Kennedy family members.

The independent Reelz Channel ultimately broadcast the series, which scored 10 Emmy nominations.

Asylum’s other credits include the sports documentary series “30 for 30” for ESPN and the 2013 movie “Ring of Fire” for Lifetime Entertainment with Jewel playing June Carter Cash.  Asylum is producing “Happy Valley” for A&E, which looks at how the sexual abuse scandal involving assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky seared the cultural fabric of Penn State University.

Legendary has been raising its profile in sports-themed content, producing this year’s biographical feature film on Jackie Robinson, “42.”

Asylum Entertainment’s founders, Chief Executive Steve Michaels and Chief Creative Officer Jonathan Koch, plan to stay on to run Asylum as a somewhat separate entity.  They will report to Bruce Rosenblum, the former Warner Bros. television chief who became president of Legendary’s television and digital media businesses last summer.

“This is an incredible deal that allows Asylum to scale our existing business beyond what we could have imagined,” Michaels and Koch said in a statement. “In terms of our programming philosophies and the audiences we’re trying to build and serve, Legendary is a perfect match.”