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Tag: Focus Features (1-8 of 8)

Focus Features ousts co-founder James Schamus

In a move that completely changes the personality of Focus Features, Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley announced yesterday that Peter Schlessel will take over for longtime CEO James Schamus. The 54-year-old Schamus co-founded the company in 2001 and built a reputation for Focus as a home for mature prestige pictures like Brokeback Mountain, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Moonrise Kingdom, and Lost in Translation. Schamus was a New Yorker who also taught film at Columbia University, and he was as much identified with his impeccable taste as his trademark bow-tie. Ted Hope, Schamus’ former colleague at Good Machine, tweeted, “To me this really means the end of indie film — as we once knew it… Schamus = superstar.”

Schlessel, a former Sony exec, had been founder and CEO of FilmDistrict, which itself will be absorbed by the new, revamped Focus Features. At FilmDistrict, he’d produced movies like Looper, Drive, and Insidious: Chapter 2, and Universal is turning to him “to maximize its potential by including a greater variety of movies on Focus Features’ film slate.”
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Matthew McConaughey's 'Dallas Buyers Club' acquired by Focus Features

The second phase of Matthew McConaughey’s comeback has officially begun.

Focus Features announced today that it has acquired Dallas Buyers Club, a fact-based drama starring McConaughey as Ron Woodruff, an ’80s-era AIDS patient who founded a “buyers club” for HIV-positive people in need of medication. The film also stars Jennifer Garner as Woodruff’s physician and Jared Leto as cross-dressing AIDS patient Rayon. Jean-Marc VallVallée (The Young Victoria) directed the film; Craig Borten and Melissa Wallack wrote its original screenplay.

Focus plans to release Dallas Buyers Club during the second half of 2013.

Read more:
Matthew McConaughey on stripping down in 2012 — both physically and emotionally
SXSW: Matthew McConaughey talks ‘Dazed and Confused,’ walking away from romantic comedies, and new movie ‘Mud’
Sundance 2013: The Rebirth of Matthew McConaughey

Hacker group claims Emma Watson is attached to star in 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

And the rumor mill continues to churn.

Last summer, Emma Watson tried to quell rumors that she would star in Focus Features’ big screen adaptation of E L James’ erotica novel Fifty Shades of Grey, but the role of Anastasia Steele just seems to keep finding its way back to her.

This time the reports of her casting comes from hacker collective Anonymous, which with hacker team M3du5a stole and published documents from Constantin Film’s internal server. One document says Emma Watson is attached to star in Fifty Shades of Grey. READ FULL STORY

Focus Features to release animated pic 'The Boxtrolls' with Tracy Morgan

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On the heels of ParaNorman’s success, Focus Features has just closed a deal to release their third animated feature: The Boxtrolls. The film will be a 3-D stop motion and CG hybrid feature and is currently in production at LAIKA (the studio behind ParaNorman and Coraline) with a high-profile voice cast including Tracy Morgan, Toni Collette, Ben Kingsley, Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, and Elle Fanning.

Based on Here Be Monsters!, Alan Snow’s bestselling children’s novel, the film is set in the wealth, status, and cheese-obsessed town of Cheesebridge. The Boxtrolls are a group of trolls who live underground and come out at night to steal precious cheeses from the townspeople. When Archibald Snatcher (Kingsley) decides to eliminate the misunderstood creatures and it’s up to a young human girl (Fanning) to help the town and its underground dwellers find peace.

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Focus Features to release Jeremy Renner film 'Kill the Messenger'

Things are moving along for Jeremy Renner movie Kill the Messenger. Just a few days after Renner was announced as star and producer, the film has secured a distributor. Focus Features has acquired worldwide rights, EW has confirmed.

The distribution deal keeps Kill the Messenger in the family with parent company Universal Pictures, where the film was originally developed.
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Company behind 'Fifty Shades of Grey' porn sued by Universal

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What’s worse than a red room of pain? Hollywood and copyright.

Smash Pictures Inc., the makers of Fifty Shades of Grey: a XXX Adaptation, a porn movie version of the kinky bestseller, are being sued by Universal Studios (which acquired the rights to make a film version) and Fifty Shades Ltd. (a U.K. licensing company) for copyright infringement and false advertising, among other charges.

“Defendants [had a] knowing and willful violation of Plaintiffs’ copyrights in E L James’s bestselling novels Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed (the “Fifty Shades Trilogy”) by way of the production and distribution of adult films that take wholesale the dialogue, characters, and storyline from the Fifty Shades Trilogy,” said the lawsuit filed Tuesday and obtained by EW.

A part of the lawsuit is quotes director of the XXX Adaptation gave to media last year that said the porn would be “very true to the book.” Universal argues in the lawsuit: “XXX Adaptation is not a parody, and it does not comment on, criticize, or ridicule the originals. It is a rip-off, plain and simple.” The suit also features chunks of text from both the book and the movie to show how similar they are.

A spokesperson for Universal did not return EW’s request for comment.

Read more:
Yep, there’s a ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ jewelry line coming
Ten ways to tell you’re enjoying an evening with ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ author E L James
On the scene: E L James talks ‘Fifty Shades’ with Katie Couric

'Promised Land,' starring and written by Matt Damon and John Krasinski, gets Oscar-qualifying release

The first time Matt Damon teamed up with a fellow actor (Ben Affleck) on a feature screenplay (Good Will Hunting), Gus Van Sant directed it, Damon and his writing partner starred in it, and Damon and said partner walked away with an Academy Award. Fifteen years later, could the same thing happen again this Oscar season?

That appears to be the hope of Focus Features, which announced today it will release Van Sant’s newest film Promised Land — written by and starring Damon and John Krasinski — for an Oscar qualifying run in New York and Los Angeles on Dec. 28, expanding in a platform release through Jan., 2013. READ FULL STORY

New spooky 'ParaNorman' trailer: 'The witch's curse is real!'

The latest trailer for LAIKA stop-motion animated 3D adventure ParaNorman is out, and it’s got a creepier edge than the earlier trailers, which were much lighter. The Focus Features movie about little Don King-haired 11-year-old Norman Babcock — a boy who sees dead people and battles zombies — opens wide this Friday.

“The witch’s curse is real! And you’re the one who has to stop it!” shouts Norman’s Uncle Prenderghast, voiced by John Goodman.

“Me? No, you must have it wrong,” meekly replies Norman, voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In and The Road). Scariness ensues.

Sam Fell (The Tale of Despereaux) and Chris Butler directed the movie. Butler also penned it.

Check out the trailer below: READ FULL STORY

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