News Briefs

Carl Icahn has restarted takeover talks with Lions Gate. He has purchased 14.5 percent of the company’s stock and offered to buy up $325 million of the company’s outstanding debt. This comes on the heels of two failed takeover attempts, one for Yahoo and the other for Motorola and a failed previous attempt at Lions Gate in which the takeover king wanted two board seats. Top Lions executives have hired a phalanx of lawyers, investment bankers and publicists; they’ve cut overhead by 8% and cut 45 jobs from their workforce all in an effort to stave off the the hostile bid. Mark Rachesky, a former employee of the company and holder of a 20% share in the company, and a host of current investors and debt holders have come to the aid of of the embattled execs, all expressing their support and confidence. John Kornitzer, the company’s largest debt holder, has publicly stated that he will not sell to Icahn, stating that he wished the man would “go crawl under a rock.”

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group has picked up Edward Norton’s By the People: The Election of Barack Obama. The documentary, directed by Amy Rice and Alicia Sams, was produced by Norton’s Class 5 Films. It follows Obama from the announcement on Feb. 10, 2007, of his candidacy for President to his inauguration.

Overture Films has announced it will handle worldwide distribution and marketing for the romantic comedy Paper Heart, which debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and won the Waldo Salt Award for best screenplay. The film, directed by Nicholas Jasenovec and starring Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera, follows Yi as she embarks on a quest across America to make a documentary about the one subject she doesn’t fully understand: Love. Cera becomes the object of her affection. Overture will debut Paper Heart in theaters in Los Angeles and New York on August 7, and will expand it on August 14.

Warner Bros on Monday put its Bollywood counterparts on notice that they would sue for breach of copyright if the hit film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was remade in India. Advertisements were placed in the Times of India and trade magazines stating that Warner Bros is the joint author and co-owner of the copyright of the period drama, which earned 13 nominations at this year’s Oscars.

Fast & Furious went from zero to an estimated $72.5 million so fast this weekend that it crashed through box-office records and astounded naysayers who doubted the film would ever be produced. And with year-to-date box office about 5 percent ahead of last year at this time, with $2.39 billion, there are already predictions that 2009 could reach $10 billion. Not only has Universal’s $80 million car action feature claimed the biggest box-office debut of 2009 so far, outpacing last week’s Monsters vs. Aliens $58 million, the film marks the biggest April weekend in box-office history and the studio’s biggest three-day opening.

Kal Penn, (Harold and Kumar go to White Castle) a fervent campaigner for Obama during his Presidential campaign the actor ,who taught a class on Asian-American studies at the University of Pennsylvania last year, will join Obama’s team as an associate director in the Office Of Public Liaison.

Coming fast after the news that Gore Verbinski is quitting the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise to focus on his big screen adaptation of the game Bioshock comes the news that Sony Pictures is planning to adapt Shadow of the Colossus for the screen.The game focuses on a character called Wander who must wander through a cursed waste called the Forbidden Land and slay 16 enormous “colossi” in order to save the life of a girl, Mono. The game was much praised for its gorgeous art and high-quality score, and is sufficiently bare-bones of plot that there’s lots of wiggle room for screenwriters.


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