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Sykdance ​Deal​ to Buy Paramount

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Good morning: In today’s edition of The Industry, we look at:

Aubrey Plaza is a cat, Barry Keoghan is an animal, Saoirse Ronan has a lamb, Andrea Riseborough battles two Skarsgårds and Paramount’s tug-of-war.

Let’s go!


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Sykdance ups deal to buy Paramount. The new proposal will increase the amount of money going to shareholders, who were not happy with the original Skydance deal that gave Shari Redstone, president of Paramount’s parent company, a premium $2 bn buyout.

Concurrently, the other interested party in this tug-a-war, Sony, who signed an NDA with Paramount two weeks ago after Skydance’s failure to make a deal following a 30-day exclusive negotiating window, discussed their investment strategy at an event.

The CEO, Tony Vinciquerra, stated:

“We will not make investments that don’t complement our core strategy, and our strategy is to have more IP, more product, more library to sell. We’re not going to get into other businesses. We’re not going to get into a general entertainment streaming service. We’re not going to be operating other businesses that are outside the strategy that we have defined.”

​Sony and Apollo Global, an asset management company, had previously offered $26 bn to buy Paramount Global, but that offer is off the table. Sony is now reviewing Paramount’s financial information before making another offer. Whatever that offer will be, Sony is only interested in the movie studio, leaving Apollo to manage or sell the other assets (like Paramount+).

Another tidbit of Sony’s strategy: AI. Vinciquerra stated:

“We are very focused on AI. The biggest problem with making films today is the expense. We will be looking at ways to…produce both films for theaters and television in a more efficient way, using AI primarily.”

The double exponential advancements of Open AI’s Sora, prove there are terrifyingly real use cases for AI in Sony’s pipeline.

Longtime CEO of Roadshow Films, Joel Pearlman, is officially stepping down.

During Pearlman’s three-decade-long career with Village Roadshow, he oversaw a diverse catalog of films with partners like Warner Bros, Lionsgate, A24, FilmNation, Village Roadshow Pictures, and many more.

Some of his credits include franchises like:

  • Harry Potter (2001-2011)
  • Lord Of The Rings (2001-2003)
  • Christopher Nolan’s Batman (2005-2012)
  • The Hunger Games (2012-2015)

New Village Roadshow CEO Clark Kirby, when discussing his time working under Pearlman, stated:

“Working with Joel has been one of the great privileges of my career. There are few people who have contributed more to the development of the Australian film industry more than him.”

Up next for Villiage Roadshow, The Crow, in theaters August 23rd.

Brian Weinstein is now Co-CEO of 3 Arts Entertainment (Majority shareholder: Lionsgate). He will also serve as a senior advisor to Lionsgate CEO. Weinstein has an impressive pedigree:

  • Bad Robot – President & COO – (2017 – 2024)
  • CAA – Global Client Strategy (2005-2017)

Lionsgate CEO, Jon Feltheimer stated:

“Brian is an entrepreneurial executive with the background and skills to work with 3 Arts leadership in continuing their company’s dynamic growth.”

He continued:

“3 Arts is an integral part of our talent strategy and a driver of content creation. Their unique combination of talent management and production expertise puts them at the forefront of capitalizing on opportunities for the talent business.”

Now that Lionsgate is more or less separated from Starz and launched on Nasdaq as a separately traded “pure-content” entity with Screaming Eagle Equity Partners, they’re in need of a keen content strategist to guide their growth.

Tidbits:

It’s a big day for animated projects:

Spongebob’s Plankton voice actor, Mr. Lawrence, is working on an animated Horror-Comedy Office pilot, Death Castle.

Steph Curry and friends take another stab at animation after Good Times flopped over at Netflix. This next project, GOAT, seems to be a Basketball Comedy in collaboration with the NBA.

Watch out for Creepers, don’t dig straight down, Minecraft animated series may soon come to Netflix.

Aubrey Plaza is a cat in a new Amazon comedy series, Kevin, about a housecat who decides he doesn’t want to live with people anymore. Plaza excelled in her previous role in an animated series, FX’s Little Demon.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Andrea Riseborough battles two Skarsgårds. No, it’s not the newly announced It prequal starring Bill Skarsgård or some secret Succession spin-off starring Alexander Skarsgård but instead a tale of a Swedish Serial Killer starring Stellan Skarsgård and Gustaf Skarsgård.

Here’s the synopsis for What Remains:

At a Scandinavian psychiatric hospital, an uneasy triumvirate of multiple murderer Mads (Gustaf), therapist Anna (Riseborough), and policeman Soren (Stellan) all have a vested interest in unearthing the truth, and a deepening co-dependency threatens to consume them all.

Oscar-nominee Riseborough displays a delightfully calculated empathy in the trailer.

Her characterization stacks with her more buttoned roles:

  • Oblivion (2013)
  • Black Mirror, Crocodile (2017)
    • A woman involved in a deadly hit and run whose vocation becomes hiding her transgression
    • Featurette

But Riseborough’s best work often tilts far to the other end of the spectrum. Her unflinchingly raw, typically low-life, yet effervescent characters shine in:

  • Nancy (2018)
    • An emotionally traumatized woman seeks solace in knowing she may have been kidnapped as a child
    • Trailer
  • To Leslie (2022)
    • In this Oscar-nominated role, she plays a lottery winner who lost all her money–a kinetic forlorn drifter
    • Trailer

We look forward to seeing her taut therapist role in What Remains shatter by way of the Skarsgards.

In theaters June 21.

Actor Jay Ellis is set to star opposite Kate Hudson in Mindy Kaling’s new Netflix series Running Point.

The basketball comedy Running Point has Isla Gordon (Hudson) forced to take on the role of President of the Los Angeles Waves, a professional basketball franchise after a scandal forces her brother to resign.

Ellis will play Jay Brown, a former celebrated player who now acts as the accomplished Head Coach of the Waves.

Ellis is most known for his role as Martin “Lawrence” Walker, Issa Rae’s long-term boyfriend in the HBO series Insecure (2016-2021, relationship journey clip). Ellis scored an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance.

Running Point is set to premiere on Netflix in 2025.

Tidbits:

Barry Keoghan may be reunited with American Animals director Bart Layton. Layton’s new film, Crime 101, has Mark Ruffalo and Chris Hemsworth attached, and Keoghan is currently in talks. We hope it works out; Keoghan’s mumbling portrait of an apathetic college kid pushed to extremes was wonderfully realized in American Animals (trailer).

Chris Hemsworth is potentially staying in the Transformers universe after Transformers One—this time in a Transformers GI Joe crossover film.

Wake Up Dead Man (e.g., Knives Out 3) returns in 2025. Potential cast includes: ​

  • Tom Hardy
  • Lindsay Lohan
  • Cailee Spaeny (Civil War)
  • Josh O’Connor (Challengers)
  • Andrew Scott (Ripley)
  • Kerry Washington
  • Glenn Close

And now Mila Kunis and Jeremy Renner.


FESTIVALS AND RESOURCES

Learn how to Schedule and Budget your film. Blair Skinner’s course on budgeting everything from 250K indies to $20M studio projects has already helped a bunch of our readers.

None more than Brandon Williams, who has production coordinated:

  • Empire (2016-2020)
    • E.G., 72 episodes
  • Starz’s Power Book IV: Force (2022)
  • Hulu’s The Cleaning Lady (2022-2024)

He discussed his experience with the course:

Film Parliament is a fantastic intro to those who want to learn the process of budgeting and producing their own film. The tutorials will skillfully guide you through every stage of the process, from script breakdown, scheduling, budgeting, and hiring crew.”

He concluded:

“The skills you will learn from Film Parliament would normally take years to learn in the business.”

What Blair has done so beautifully is create a course that has the granular detail that allows anyone who is serious about bringing their cinematic vision to life or about becoming a producer, line producer, UPM, or production supervisor to gain mastery over these skills.

Check out the full course description here.

Sign up for the course here.

Venice 2024. While nothing has been made official, there are a few films that are projected to be in the competition line-up:

  • Joker 2
    • Dir: Todd Phillips
    • Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Lady Gaga
    • Joker (2019) premiered at Venice
    • Trailer
  • Queer
    • Dir: Luca Guadagnino (Challengers, Call Me by Your Name)
    • Starring: Daniel Craig
  • Modi
    • Dir: Johnny Depp
    • Starring: Al Pacino
  • Maria
    • Dir: Pablo Larraín
    • Starring: Angelina Jolie

The Venice Film Festival runs Aug 28 – Sep 7.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

Veteran indie filmmaker Thomas A. Morgan will direct his narrative debut Exit Right, starring Susan Sarandon (Thelma & Louise), William H. Macy (Fargo), and Marcia Cross (Desperate Housewives).

Also written by Morgan, Exit Right centers on Jan Randall (Sarandon), whose brain – affected by inoperable cancer – makes her deeply afraid of being trapped inside. Refusing to take medications that would reduce her final days to a hospital bed, she moves into a tent in her backyard. Determined to give her one last gift, her husband John (Macy) courageously takes her on a trip of a lifetime around the world – on foot, in their own hometown.

The film feels like a spiritual cousin of Thelma & Louise (1991) with a dash of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007).

Morgan stated:

“This story is personal to me on many levels. As we age, who gets to influence how we die? Who do we want by our side? How do we define love or family or community? Bringing a story like this to the world is a life-long dream fulfilled for a little boy who sat in the theater every weekend, waiting to see life unfold on a screen.”

Morgan is best known for his documentary films Soufra (2017) and Waiting for Mamu (2014), the documentary short that tells the story of what life is like for children who grow up in prison and what hope exists for a better life.

Judy Greer & Sophia Lillis (Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves) join The Apprentice producer Daniel Bekerman‘s newest project, Knight’s Camp.

Here’s the official synopsis:

A dark comedy about teens at a LARP camp transported through time to take part in an actual 1297 battle.

Sounds epic!

Bekerman’s other projects:

  • The Witch (2015)
  • Anon (2018)
    • Starring Clive Owen
  • Love Me (2024)
    • Starring Kristen Stewart
    • Sundance 2024

Bekerman has a great track record for making genre projects and we hope this one will live up to the synopsis.

Casting for Knight’s Camp is currently in process.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Saoirse Ronan’s demons. In The Outrun, which premiered at Sundance, Ronan plays a recovering alcoholic who returns to her farm in Scotland. In the opening scene, her character delivers a lamb. ​

Per Ronan, this was not VFX:

“It’s really difficult to get ahold of the lamb and pull it out and keep it safe. I was so conscious of the fact that I might break the lamb’s neck. When you see one of those takes, that was probably the third lamb that I delivered, but the first couple, I was completely terrified and I had to look like I’d been doing this my whole life.”

Ronan’s uncanny ability to add a vivacious specificity to both the banal (Lady Bird) and the enthralling (Hanna) is what separates her from the majority of performers in her generation. ​

Watch the trailer for The Outrun here. She’s delightfully chaotic.

In cinemas across the UK from September 27. Currently, the film has no US distributor.


ON THIS DAY

2004. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released in UK cinemas.


That’s all for the week. We’re off on Monday for my birthday.

See you Tuesday!



Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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