Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Earnings: Time Warner Beats Q1 Expectations

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Posts revenues of $7.5 billion
Time Warner posted revenues of $7.5 billion, beating Wall Street's expectations.
Adjusted earnings per share rose to 97 cents a share. Analysts had predicted 88 cents on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Revenues excluding Time Inc. increased 10 percent to $6.8 billion. Adjusted Operating Income excluding Time Inc. grew 12 percent to $1.6 billion. The company plans to spin off Time Inc. as an indepent, publicly traded company this quarter.
Warner Bros. revenues increased 14 percent ($385 million) to $3.1 billion, mainly due to a stronger theatrical slate, led by “The Lego Movie” and “300: Rise of an Empire.”
Home Box Office boasted the most-watched freshman series in its history with “True Detective,” and the Season 4 premiere of “Game of Thrones” on April 6 drew HBO's largest audience since “The Sopranos” finale.
The NCAA Tournament helped TBS maintain its position as ad-supported cable's top primetime network among adults 18-34 and 18-49. CNN, boosted by Malaysia Airlines Fligth 370 coverage, was up 50 percent in its key demographic in March. And Adult Swim, finished the quarter as the top ad-supported cable network in total day for adults 18-34.
“We are off to a very strong start in 2014, with results that demonstrate both the returns we can achieve on our investments in great storytelling and the growth potential of our businesses,” said CEO Jeff Bewkes (pictured).

Warner Bros Hit With $10M ‘Gravity’ Lawsuit From ‘Rizzoli & Isles’ Author

First she said that the movie had nothing to do with her book, but today Tess Gerritsen is suing Warner Bros over the Alfonso Cuaron-directed Gravity. In a breach of contract complaint filed in federal court in LA today (read it here), the prolific author upon whose books TNT‘s flagship drama series Rizzoli & Isles is based now says she wants more than $10 million plus damages from the studio for the Oscar-winning movie. In her request for a jury trial, the author alleges that she is owed a”Based on the book by Tess Gerritsen”credit, a $500,000 production bonus and 2.5% of 100% of the net proceeds from any film derived from her 1999 novel Gravity, which New Line’s Katja optioned for $1 million the year it came out. Being that the Sandra Bullock and George Clooney starrer has made more than $716 million worldwide since its October 4 release, Gerritsen could be aiming for even more big bucks if her lawyer ever gets the real final figures from WB accounting. And the fact is right off the bat, her Gravity book does share some details with the movie: Both are about a female astronaut trapped in space and fighting for her life, though the book involves a virus on the International Space Station and the film does not.

Still, the book does sound a lot like the pic Cuaron is credited with co-writing with his son Jonas, but today’s suit takes a very different line than Gerritsen was giving as recently as October. “Yes, Gravity is a great film, but it is not based on my book,” the author bluntly told the Banner Graphic of Greencastle, IN. Beyond a belief that Cuaron was actually attached at one point to the film version of her book, something Gerristen says she didn’t know at the time, there’s no detailed explanation in today’s filing as to why that has changed, but it obviously has. A WB spokesman today had no comment on the suit except to say the studio had not even been served.

Additionally, according to today’s filing, Gerritsen’s Gravity became a lot more like what the the movie Gravity was when it was being developed by Katija/New Line over 14 years ago. “To assist in the development of the Gerritsen Gravity Project, Gerritsen wrote and delivered additional material that constituted a modified version of a portion of the Book. The additional material written by Gerritsen included scenes of satellite debris colliding with the International Space Station (“ISS”), the destruction of the ISS, and the surviving female medical doctor/astronaut left drifting in her space suit, alone and untethered, seeking the means to return to earth,” says the 11-page complaint.

Now, the courts in LA are littered with plaintiffs certain that their work was stolen by the studios or networks. Some are right or at least on the right path, but many are dreaming and, to some extent, hoping. However, very few of them have the credentials or the credits of Gerritsen. With two dozen novels to her name plus a 1993 CBS Movie of the Week screenplay and the broad-strokes similarities between her work and the movie, this likely will not be one of those cases that is dismissed quickly or easily. Doesn’t help that the novel and film have the exact same title.

Glen Kulik and Natalie Wright of Sherman Oaks firm Kulik Gottesman & Siegel LLP is representing Gerritsen in the legal action.

DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD By DOMINIC PATTEN | Tuesday April 29, 2014 @ 9:09pm PDT

‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Cast Revealed

The Force has been released.

John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join original cast members Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in “Star Wars: Episode VII.”

Disney and Lucasfilm made the announcement Tuesday, as casting speculations have run wild for months. Variety was first to report that Driver was in talks for the villain and that Boyega was on the short list for the male lead.
“We are so excited to finally share the cast of ‘Star Wars: Episode VII.’ It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again,” said J.J. Abrams, who is directing the new film. “We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”
While descriptions of characters were left out of the release, sources confirm to Variety that Driver will play a Darth Vader-like main villain, Isaac’s character will have a Han Solo look to him and Boyega will be a Jedi.
It’s unclear whom Ridley who will play, but sources have always said the children of Solo and Princess Leia would play a part in the film. Ridley could possibly play their daughter.
In a recent earnings called, Disney chief Bob Iger said this latest installment will be set 30 years after 1983′s “Return of the Jedi” and will feature new and familiar faces.
Abrams and partner Bryan Burk are producing this film through their Bad Robot banner with Kathleen Kennedy producing for Lucasfilm. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan did a recent rewrite to the script.

Adam Driver broke out with his role of Adam on the HBO comedy “Girls” and recently wrapped production on the Warner Bros. pic “Midnight Special,” starring Michael Shannon. The Gersh-repped actor also co-starred alongside Oscar Isaac, another “Star Wars” actor, in the Coen Brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis.”
Oscar Isaac has been a star on the rise in recent years with his most recent pic “Inside Llewyn Davis,” scoring him some of the best reviews of his career. He is repped by UTA and Inspire Entertainment and can be seen next in “A Most Violent Year.”
John Boyega starred in the U.K. cult hit “Attack the Block” and recently wrapped a recurring role on the Fox series “24: Live Another Day.” He is repped by CAA and Management 360.
Daisy Ridley is the newcomer of the bunch with her most notable credit being a guest role on the PBS show “Mr. Selfridge.” She is repped by Jonathan Arun Talent.
Andy Serkis, who is best known for his work as Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings” and Caesar in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” can be seen next in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” He is repped by CAA, Lou Coulson Associates and Principal Entertainment LA.
Domnhall Gleeson is the son of actor Brendan Gleeson and was last seen in Working Title’s “About Time” and was among the finalists for the villain role in Fox’s “Fantastic Four” reboot. He is repped by Paradigm.
Max Von Sydow is the veteran of the group and has been nominated for two Oscars. His past credits include a number of Ingmar Bergman classics, “Minority Report,” “Needful Things” and “Robin Hood.”He is repped by Diamond Management
VARIETY by Justin Kroll April 29, 2014 | 09:47AM PT Film Reporter@krolljvar

The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

The story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz's help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz's groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron's story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.

Charlize Theron & Clive Owen


W magazine Screen Testing with Lynn Hirschberg

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Warner Bros. Wins Lawsuit Claiming It Stole 'The Matrix'

'The Matrix'

It's official: The Matrix trilogy had nothing to do with Nazis.
On Monday, Warner Bros., Andy and Lana Wachowski and Joel Silver won summary judgment in defense of a lawsuit that contended that the Keanu Reeves starrer was stolen.
The lawsuit came from Thomas Althouse in California federal court in 2013. Why so late? The plaintiff said that it was not until 2010 that he had watched The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions and began investigating the possibility that those films released way back in 2003 had possible similarities to his own script, The Immortals. Althouse said he had submitted his script to Warner Bros in 1993.
What Althouse had tried to get made into a film concerned a CIA agent who gains immortality from a drug and finds himself in the year 2235, where Adolph Hitler and some Nazis have been reanimated from cryopreservation. In the script, the spy protagonist is now fighting with those now immortal Nazis who seek to oppress and destroy all "short-lifers."
"The basic premises of The Matrix Trilogy and The Immortals are so different that it would be unreasonable to find their plots substantially similar," writes Judge R. Gary Klausner in Monday's ruling.
So no similarity in plot, but how about themes? For this, we turn beyond Nazis to examine Jesus Christ.
"Plaintiff alleges that both stories have allusions to Christ," notes the judge. "However, allusions to Christianity in literature date back hundreds of years and are not generally protectible. Looking at the details of the works, the two works express these themes very differently. The Christian allusions in The Immortals concludes with the literal Second Coming of Christ, whereas The Matrix Trilogy concludes with a metaphorical reference to Christ, as Neo sacrifices himself to save others."
Alas, the lawsuit proves mortal, just like the rest of us short-lifers.
The Hollywood Reporter E-mail: Eriq.Gardner@THR.comTwitter: @eriqgardner

Trust Me

Director: Clark Gregg
Writer: Clark Gregg
A struggling agent for child actors and former child star himself, Howard Holloway spends years losing his most talented clients to his slick, arch-nemesis Aldo Shocklee. Until the day that Howard encounters the brilliant and unsigned 13 year-old Lydia who is on the brink of securing the lead in a new Twilight-style franchise. Howard tries desperately to close the deal of a lifetime and make his precocious young client a star while managing her drunk, volatile father, Aldo's relentless poaching attempts, and the hostile machinations of the project's casting director and mega producer, who both despise him. But the closer he gets to achieving the Hollywood score he has chased all his life, the more he develops a growing suspicion that his innocent young starlet may not be at all what she seems. Written by Production

Shailene Woodley & Michael Fassbender


W magazine Screen Testing with Lynn Hirschberg

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