Catch up on Deadline’s top film stories you missed this week:
James Franco’s Production Company Acquires Book About So-Bad-It’s-Good Cult Movie ‘The Room’
By The Deadline Team – James Franco’s Rabbit Bandini Productions has optioned book and life rights to The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the book published last fall by Simon & Schuster from actor Greg Sestero and journalist Tom Bissell.
BOX OFFICE: ‘Lego’ Blockbuster $69M+; ‘Monuments Men’ Solid Second; ‘Vampire Academy’ Has No Bite
By Anita Busch – The Lego Movie is in the record books as the biggest animated pic opener of all time for Warner Bros., surpassing Happy Feet which opened to $41.5M in 2006 (and went onto gross $384.3M worldwide). It’s also the biggest opener ever for the studio in February.
Universal Closes $1 Million Spec Deal For ‘Mena,’ 80s Drug Tale Ron Howard Will Direct
By Mike Fleming Jr. – EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures today closed a $1 million spec deal for Mena, a script by Gary Spinelli that has Ron Howard attached to direct.
Berlin Record Deal: Harvey Weinstein Pays $7 Million For Alan Turing WWII Tale ‘The Imitation Game’
By Mike Fleming Jr. – EXCLUSIVE: In what I am told will go down as the highest price paid ever for U.S. rights on a movie at the European Film Market, The Weinstein Company has locked a deal to pay $7 million for The Imitation Game, the Graham Moore Black List script that Morten Tyldum directed with Benedict Cumberbatch playing Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII.
Bill Murray’s Berlin Comedy Tour Day 2: Riffs On Work & George Clooney Questions
By Nancy Tartaglione – Bill Murray, aka “The Murricane,” is blowing through Berlin this week on what’s become a sort of one-man comedy tour — and a fun distraction from a thus-far quiet market. Yesterday, he was out in support of Wes Anderson’s opening-night film The Grand Budapest Hotel, riffing that he worked for “low wages and stale bread,” and today he was tickling buyers’ funny bones at a brunch for Rock The Kasbah.
Berlin: Johnny Depp Seals Deal To Play Whitey Bulger In ‘Black Mass’; Tom Hardy In Talks To Play FBI Pal John Connolly
By Mike Fleming Jr. – EXCLUSIVE: Johnny Depp has made his deal to star in Black Mass, the drama Scott Cooper will direct about the Boston crime kingpin-turned-fugitive Whitey Bulger, for Cross Creek Pictures and Exclusive Media.
Paul Bettany Joins The Avengers Gang For ‘Age Of Ultron’
By The Deadline Team – The British actor is graduating from the voice of Iron Man’s computer to a superhero role for the 2015 tentpole sequel. Paul Bettany has signed to play the Vision in The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, alongside Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).
Universal Wins 7-Figure Auction For ‘Red Rising,’ With Marc Forster Helming Mars Tale
By Mike Fleming Jr. – EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has emerged from a bidding battle with Sony Pictures to win screen rights to Red Rising, the just-released Pierce Brown novel that World War Z director Marc Forster will helm as his next film. The deal is in the seven figures.
Universal Signs Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson For ‘Pitch Perfect 2′
By Mike Fleming Jr. – Universal Pictures and Gold Circle, which just set Elizabeth Banks to helm Pitch Perfect 2, has signed the two core performers in the original sleeper, making deals with Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson to reprise.
Isabelle Fuhrman Joins Stephen King’s ‘The Cell’
By Mike Fleming Jr. – EXCLUSIVE: Isabelle Fuhrman, who played memorable baddies in both The Hunger Games and The Orphan, has landed the female lead opposite Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack in The Cell. The film is an adaptation of the Stephen King thriller novel about an apocalyptic event that amounts to a pitch heard by anyone on a cell phone at a certain moment in time, which turns them into zombified beings with a herd mentality. .