News Briefs

Korean Western The Good, the Bad, the Weird leads the list of nominations for this year’s Asian Film Awards. The film, about a chase for treasure through the wilderness of Manchuria, collected eight nominations, including best feature film, director and cinematography, as well as a two way nod for Jung Woo-sung and Lee Byung-hun in the supporting actor category.

Columbia Pictures won an auction last week for screen rights to Foundation, Isaac Asimov’s groundbreaking science fiction trilogy, Variety reported. The project will be developed as a directing vehicle for Roland Emmerich (2012). Emmerich and his Centropolis partner Michael Wimer will produce the film. Originally published as a series of eight short stories in Astounding Magazine beginning in 1942, Foundation is a complex saga about humans who are scattered on planets throughout the galaxy, living under the rule of the Galactic Empire.

The Walt Disney Co. won’t help produce and finance the next The Chronicles of Narnia movie being made by Denver entrepreneur Phil Anschutz’s Walden Media LLC movie company, Disney said Dec. 24. Disney blamed “budgetary and logistical reasons” for opting out of a third Narnia film, to be called The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The loss of Disney as Walden’s partner puts talent attached to the project “in doubt,” according to the movie-industry trade publication.

Variety reports the trust representing the late writer-director Colin Higgins has sued attorney Barry Hirsch for failing to properly represent his interests in the 9 to 5 stage musical. Colin Higgins Prods. filed suit on Jan. 14 against Hirsch and his law firm in L.A. County Superior Court, accusing Hirsch of legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty. The trust seeks damages to be determined in a jury trial. Among the many charges in the filing: Hirsch failed to adequately secure Higgins’ rights to a live stage show from Patricia Resnick, the original scribe for the movie, and failed to advise the trustee in 2006 that the firm was representing Resnick at the time she was writing the book for 9 to 5: The Musical. When the trustee asked how such a musical could be mounted without stage rights from Higgins Prods., Hirsch supposedly stated, “It may not be ethical, but it is legal.” According to the suit, Higgins, best known for penning Harold and Maude, inked his deal with Fox to rewrite Resnick’s 9 to 5 screenplay in 1979. Hirsch represented the writer-director and his shingle on various entertainment matters, including that contract.

The Film Department has acquired screen rights to Marcus Sakey crime novel Good People, with Tobey Maguire’s Maguire Entertainment and Film 360, the production division of Management 360, to produce the feature adaptation says Variety. As with all his producing projects, Maguire has first crack at the male lead role. Good People concerns a couple in debt from several rounds of futile fertility treatments who think their problems are solved when they stumble upon money found in their deceased tenant’s apartment.The Film Department’s Mark Gill and Robert Katz will produce with Maguire and Film 360’s Eric Kranzler and Ben Forkner. Neil Sacker and Michael Goguen will be executive producers. Maguire Entertainment has several projects percolating, including the Lawrence Kasdan-scripted sci-fi pic Robotech; the Ed Solomon-scripted Tokyo Suckerpunch, which Gary Ross will direct; and Crusaders, another collaboration with Ross, scripted by Danny Strong.

Deal making continued Tuesday at Sundance, led by Sony Pictures Classics’ nearly $3 million pickup of An Education, even as the fest took a dramatic pause during President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Fox Searchlight wrapped up a world rights purchase, pegged in the low seven figures, of competition romancer Adam. And Lionsgate nabbed U.S. and U.K. rights to Sam Rockwell comedy The Winning Season. While several fest regulars insisted that this year was shaping up to be business as usual, the day’s events attested to a more reflective mood due to Obama, the economy and the fest’s 25th anniversary, among other things. The weather has also been more consistently stunning than any vets can recall about 45 degrees and sunny every day, lending to an over-all optimistic mood.

The board of directors of Carmike Cinemas has removed Michael Patrick as chair-CEO of the country’s fourth largest theater circuit. Patrick has been chair since 1989. Carmike operates 254 theaters in 37 states, located primarily in suburban and rural areas. No reason was given for Patrick’s departure, although he will remain on the board. Carmike board member S. David Passman III has been named non-executive chair, and will work closely with COO Fred Van Noy and chief financial officer Richard Hare until a new CEO is named.

Warner Bros. will cut nearly 800 jobs — or 10% of its worldwide staff — as it’s the latest studio to reduce employment in the wake of the economic downturn. Studio toppers Barry Meyer and Alan Horn disclosed the cuts in a memo to employees Tuesday morning. “Based on the global economic situation and current business forecasts, the studio will have to make staff reductions in the coming weeks in order to control costs,” the execs said.

Arts Alliance Media will distribute feature doc Iron Maiden: Flight 666 worldwide on April 21 in association with the legendary British heavy-metal band, EMI music and Universal in the U.S. The doc focuses on Iron Maiden’s Somewhere Back in Time world tour last year, which saw the band fly to perform in 13 countries in a customized Boeing 757 airliner piloted by lead singer Bruce Dickinson. The trailer was released on YouTube on Tuesday and attracted more than 2,000 hits within an hour as word spread among fans.

SciFi Wire
Orlando Business Journal
The Hollywood Reporter